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Banana Bread Pancakes

Tuesday, 28 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I love happy coincidences, you know the sort, you are on one of your favourite blogs and then something catches your eye, like a comment or a photo and there you go, another interesting looking recipe, well, finding a wonderful little recipe, is my kind of happy coincidence. It happens quite frequently and it is usually a beautiful photo or a lovely comment that leads me there.

I have found two really beautiful recipes this past week using this highly scientific formula. They are both borrowed from Whole Nourishment, I have fiddled with the recipes to suit the ingredients I had on hand and our taste. There is no flour in either of them, but you wouldn't know it, the texture in both of these recipes is fantastic, especially this one, the Banana Bread Pancakes, they are light as a feather and taste just divine. I served ours with butter, maple syrup and farm fresh raspberries, bought on Sunday from the Redcliffe Jetty Markets.

Ingredients for Banana Bread Pancakes, clockwise from top right-
95 grams of nut butter of your choice (I used this one), 2 eggs, 1 ripe Banana, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a smallish mixing bowl, mash the banana

Now add the eggs, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well

Add the nut butter of choice 

And, again, mix well.

Cook in the usual way

They do colour up quickly, so keep an eye on them

Serve them warm from the pan

Your turn, where do you find your recipes?


One Pan, Cheesy Chicken and Veggie Dinner

Monday, 27 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I found this recipe over at Mels Kitchen Cafe and knew it would be a corker! I love a one pan/pot dish that is tasty, easy and full of goodness. As usual, I tinkered with the recipe to reflect the ingredients I had to use up at home. I used a head of broccoli instead of kale as we really are not fans of kale in our home, I know it's very, very good for you but I just don't like it (Yet) I had one sweet potato left over from making these, and a tonne of cheese in the freezer, all I had to buy was the chicken thighs and a red capsicum, so this dish came together very fast, indeed.

I steamed the broccoli separately and popped it into some iced water to stop it from cooking further, this cut down the cooking time and the broccoli stays lovely and bright green. So technically it is a two pan/pot meal but I think it's worth the extra bother.

Ingredients for One Pan, Cheesy Chicken and Veggie Dinner. clockwise from top right-
1 cup grated cheese of your choice, 1 red capsicum, diced, 1 orange sweet potato, weighing about 650 grams, diced, 2 onions, diced, 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane, 1 head broccoli, 1/2 cup chicken stock (I use massel stock cubes) 1 kg chicken thigh fillets, cubed into smallish pieces, salt and pepper to taste and 1 tablespoon of oil of choice (I use rice bran oil for everything)

Dice sweet potato and cut broccoli into small flowerettes. Steam the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes and refresh in iced water, set aside until needed

Dice capsicum and onion and grate garlic on a microplane

Dice chicken into smallish pieces

Heat a heavy based fry pan to medium hot, heat oil until really hot, add chicken and and cook through on one side

Flip chicken over and cook through on the other side, there will probably be some liquid come out of the chicken, but thats okay. Remove chicken and reserve the liquid in the pan

To the hot liquid/oil in the pan, add the capsicum, onion and garlic, sauté until veggies are starting to soften

Now add the diced sweet potato and stir through, add the chicken stock and pop a lid on and cook on medium low until potatoes are soft. This took me about 10 to 15 minutes, check the moisture level occasionally and add a small amount of water if it look dry

Now add the cooked chicken and stir through

Add the steamed broccoli

And gently stir through

Sprinkle over grated cheese

And grill until golden brown and bubbly

A complete and delicious dinner. 

So, tell me, what is your go to, one pan/pot meal?

Home Made Coleslaw Dressing

Sunday, 26 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

When we go away camping I always take a container of dry slaw, that is coleslaw without the dressing. I make my coleslaw with red cabbage, celery and carrot, I then just dress the coleslaw as it's needed, prolonging the life of the veggies.

I think once any kind of salad is dressed it starts to break down because of the acids in the dressing. We had quite a lot of this dry slaw left over so we had it with sausages and mashed potato for dinner during the week. This is my go to coleslaw dressing, it is just sweet enough and just tart enough for our taste and depending on the type of mayonnaise you use, it will be more one way or the other anyway. I use good old Kewpie mayo as I love its creamy blandness, I think it lends it self to more without taking over. I want to taste all of what I am eating not just the mayo. This is made in the thermomix but really just a bowl and a whisk is all that is needed to mix it really well and give it a bit of air.
Ingredients for home made Coleslaw Dressing, clockwise from top right-
250 grams of mayonnaise of your choice, 1/4 teaspoon celery or caraway seeds, 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar

Put all ingredients into the TM bowl

And blitz for 20 seconds starting at speed 1 and increasing to speed 4, scrape down sides and repeat as before

Mix through your dry slaw and serve


What do you put in your Coleslaw?

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff

Saturday, 25 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Beef Stroganoff is typically an Autumn/Winter dish, but I made this one, a few weeks ago, when we still had blazing hot heat. Even though it was very hot whether, we still enjoyed this meal tremendously. I love the fact that you don't need to brown and seal the meat, it's a step I never enjoy doing, even though it is supposed to add a bit more flavour to the final dish. You do, however sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms so that is where the extra flavour comes from. I cut the meat into chunks, as I find if you cut the meat too finely, when using a slow cooker, it just "disappears" into the sauce. 

This slow cooked Strog makes a lot of gravy/sauce, which is wonderful, as the potato/rice/quinoa/couscous or noodles (what ever you use) will just soak all that gravy up and be totally delicious. 

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff-clockwise from top right-
1 1/2 tablespoons Ground Paprika, 500 grams mushrooms, sliced thickly, 3 garlic cloves, chopped, 2 onions, chopped, 600 grams of beef (I used rump) cut into largish chunks, 1 cup beef stock (I use Massel stock cubes) and 2 tablespoon tomato paste

Chop the onion and garlic finely

Chop the mushrooms into large chunks

Sauté the onion and garlic and add to bowl of slow cooker

Now sauté  the mushrooms it the same pan

Add beef stock and tomato paste to mushrooms, bring it to a gentle boil while stirring

Add mushrooms mixture, sliced beef and paprika to bowl of slow cooker

And give everything a really good stir

Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, topping up with a little water if it gets too dry. Serve with sour cream and parsley and what ever carb you like to absorb all that gorgeous gravy.

What do you make in your slow cooker in the hot whether?


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 24 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Sunset on Monday evening, this photo was taken from my front door. Aren't the colour truly beautiful? The lights you can see are from the football fields that are across the road from us

I am back into living my normal frugal, small and quiet life after being away camping last week. Not that camping is extravagant, by any means, but I love being home, in my sanctuary, where I can relax and just be at home.

I have had a few flops lately, which is disheartening, but, that is what life is all about, isn't, giving things a go and hoping for the best. The first flop is my home made yoghurt, I have had great success making vanilla yoghurt with a spilt vanilla beans and a yoghurt culture, it turned out thick and creamy and just delicious but when I had a go at making a lemon myrtle flavoured yoghurt it didn't work out, it semi set, but was very watery, I don't know if something went wrong in the method or weather it was the lemon myrtle leaves that prevented it from setting. I now have 2 litres of semi-set lemon myrtle flavoured yoghurt that I will have to find another use for. By the way, the actual flavour of the yoghurt is delicious, its just the texture that isn't right. Any ideas what I can do with it now?

The other flop is my home grown red paw paws. While we were away for the week camping, quite a lot of fruit ripened and looked ready to be picked. Unfortunately the fruit does not taste right, it is sappy and not sweet at all. The colour of the flesh is also not right, staying an orangy-yellow rather than the lovely reddish hue of ripe red paw paw. They feel soft and look ready to be picked, but they are definitely not right. Lovely hubby had heard that the first crop is always a bit sappy, which doesn't sound right to me. The leaves have turned very yellow and are dropping off, this particular tree was affected by black spot, which it seemed to overcome, maybe this fungal infection has done something detrimental to the health of the tree? This tree had produced some small but really beautiful fruit recently, so this is a new thing. Any help shedding light on, not so marvellous, red paw paws would be really appreciated.

Along with the flops, there have been some successes, so I will keep going and keep learning from my mistakes, it's either that or give up, and I am not going to do that. I love my small, simple life that I have created and the flops I have had, cost very little in monetary terms, the milk that the yoghurt was made from was marked down to clear and the red paw paw trees were grown from saved seeds, its just the time it wastes that upsets me more than anything. You can't get your time back!

This is what else I have been up to on the frugal front.

1. Rode my bike to work everyday, the whether is starting to get a bit cooler and it is a relief not to arrive at work all hot and bothered

2. Made another, new to me, vegetarian recipe last night. We have started to eat one meat free dinner per week to save some money and it is better for our bodies not to have so much meat.

3. Line dried all the washing, we have had a few showers but not that much to stop the washing being dried

4. Made my lunch every day to take to work

Todays morning tea and lunch are-
Greek yoghurt with honey and macadamias and a nut bar, a slice of sourdough bread, dill infused tuna and cucumber and of course my little square of dark chocolate

5. Emptied, washed and repacked the camp boxes, ready to go again for next time. We have already booked our next camping trip, it's in early May and we can't wait to be back at our beach. It is a super frugal holiday and looking after your belongings (any belongings) extend their life and saves you money $$

Your turn, what have you done this week to save money?


Things I have learnt, the hard way

Thursday, 23 February 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I have had some epic failures in my time, especially during my transition to a more simple life. There are countless blogs, books and youtube clips showing how to do everything from building your own tiny home to making sauerkraut and I watch and read a lot of these "how to" guides in the hope that I will get, what ever it is I am trying to do, right the first time. I am a very visual person and will watch and re-watch a "how to video" over and over until I feel confidant to give it a go.

I know you learn by your mistakes and you can't expect a different outcome if you do the same method over and over. For instance, I kept washing the bath towels with my homemade laundry liquid in the hope that, this time, I would have a better result. NO, that was not the case. Towels seem to hang on to, which ever ingredient in the home made laundry liquid, and they became quite funky smelling. I mean really musty and not pleasant at all. No matter how long they were line dried for I would end up with baked, funky smelling towels. So, I bought a eco friendly laundry liquid (Aldi eucalyptus wool wash, in a recyclable container) to use specifically for the bath towels, problem solved! Clean, non funky, bath towels and I feel okay while using the eco friendly laundry liquid.

I have compiled a list of things I have learnt the hard way, and I am sure there will be plenty more in years to come. Want to join in? Send me your list

Never make pastry when its hot and humid, there will be tears in the kitchen

Don't use homemade laundry liquid on bath towels all the time, they end up smelling funky.

Works great, just not on towels, all the time
Don't tell everyone about your lifestyle choices, sometimes you get shot down in flames

Don't plant spiky plants down a narrow walkway, you will get spiked every-damn-time!

Garden compost and potting mix are two very different elements

You can't make profiteroles in the blistering heat

Sometimes home made sweet rolls look decidedly not like the picture

The don't look very inviting do they?

The freezer will not improve a failed meal. Don't keep a flop by putting it in the freezer, it will not get better

Not all saved seeds will germinate, maybe the fruit or veggie it came from was put through a process so it will be more shelf stable, it must do something to the seeds and some will not germinate

Shifting a cracked pot with a heavy plant in it will make the crack even bigger, like, completely break apart. Thank goodness for electrical tape

There, I fixed it!

Do not plant lettuce seedling in the blistering heat of summer they will bolt for seed every time. I have lost count of the times I have done this, expecting a different outcome

Don't keep clothes in the hope that you will lose weight and fit them again, I know my body shape has changed forever, so I just need to adjust to it

Don't walk strong dogs in your thongs, you need a good pair of runners that will, at least, not let you be dragged over

Don't underestimate the power of a thermomix, I have made mush when it should have been a rough chop, by leaving it 5 seconds too long

Don't expect a frozen chicken to defrost completely in 24 hours in the fridge, it needs more like 48 hours

Food thermometers do not lie, if it says it's not ready, it's not ready

Take heed of the crunching noise coming from the dishwasher

Also take heed when you see your pavers beginning to lift because of tree roots, act sooner rather than later

Don't stay out longer than 9am or 10am in the blistering heat and humidity, you will feel sick for the rest of the day

Citrus Leaf curl does not fix itself

Don't buy or borrow more books if you haven't had time to read what you already have

So, that's my list, want to join in?