How I Freeze Herbs to Prevent Waste

Hello Dear Reader,

I try and grow the herbs I use in cooking and at the moment I have Basil, Oregano, Garlic Chives, Parsley, Sage, Society Garlic, Mint and Marjoram, growing prolifically in my garden. However, when I see herbs at the supermarket, marked down to crazy prices, I snaffle them up and if I don't have a use for them straight away, I will freeze them down for later use. This is how I do it.

You will need a sharp knife and an empty ice cube tray and of course your herbs

For Dill, I gently tear off the woody stalk and gather the feathery tops together

Chop them finely

Fill the ice cube trays about 1/3 full with chopped herbs and just cover with water

Freeze for an hour or so

Pop herby ice cubes out of tray and put into a container or zip lock bag. Write on it what kind of herb it is and the date it was frozen. When needed, simply defrost a cube, in a little fine mesh strainer and voila, approximately, one tablespoon of chopped herbs. 

You will have herbs at your fingertips, you will save money AND there is no waste, Sweet!

What do you do to prevent waste in your home?

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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

As we have changed the way we shop and what day we do the shopping, I am now going to post "What we bought, spent and ate" on a Saturday morning. We now shop at the weekend markets and pick the odd item up from the supermarket on the way home. I still menu plan, but I am a bit more relaxed, buying meat from the market that is a good price, that particular week. I always ask, "What is your best buy this week" and they are more that happy to tell us. I am loving this new way of shopping as I feel the money is going directly to the grower/producer, I find it better value for money and we shop in a more relaxed atmosphere, what's not to love?

This is what we have been up to on the "What we bought, ate and spent" front-

What we bought
On the left-shopping from Coles and ALDI shopping on the right

Shopping from the Northside Fruit Barn

Shopping from the Jetty Sunday Markets

What we spent
Coles-$30.40 plus $9.44 for chicken breast (Not pictured-this is for dog training which I am starting with our newly inherited dogs) and a dozen free range eggs

Northside Fruit Barn-$39.20

Sunday Jetty Markets-$63.20

Woolworths-$17.00 (Not pictured) another dozen free range eggs and dry dog food

TOTAL-$195.89

What we ate
Saturday-Pumpkin and Bacon Pasta 

Sunday and Monday-Marinated Pork Porterhouse with Potato, watercress and avocado salad

Tuesday-Pumpkin Soup with grilled Bacon and Croutons, I was so disappointed when I cut the pumpkin to find it a bit pale and sappy, the soup was okay, but not as sweet as it normally is. I don't normally buy whole pumpkins for this very reason, at least when it is cut you can see the colour

Wednesday-Steamed Cod with ginger and spring onions, steamed basmati rice and choy sum. Lovely hubby and son had caught the fish just the day before, so fresh

Thursday-Pineapple and Ginger Chicken, steamed basmati rice and bok choy

Friday-Caesar Salad, I cut up the rest of these bread rolls for the croutons, so yummy

With an egg on top for extra protein, just delicious. This is the recipe I use for the dressing but I also add 1 teaspoon of  Dijon mustard to it and I don't use that much oil, using only 1/4 cup of rice bran oil instead, I feel 1/2 a cup of oil, that the recipe calls for, is way too much!

So, tell me, what has been on your family dinner table this week?

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This weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, it's the end of another week, I have been loving these last few weeks, with all the public holidays, I have only been working four days a week! It's wonderful to have that extra time at home to get some more things ticked off my to-do list. I have continued de-cluttering as well, I hadn't done any for a while but on ANZAC day, I felt like doing some more sorting, so the kitchen got another go over and de-clutter, I mean really how many wooden spoons do I need, I can only use one at a time! I have catalogued my de-cluttering journey over on the page "My year of less stuff" if you want to see what I have been up to lately.

On the frugal front, this is what I have been up to-

1. Saved, dried and de-seeded the Rosella seed pods from the Rosella's I bought from the markets a while ago to make Rosella tea. When the time is right I will plant the seeds out and have a go at growing my own Rosella's. I love this tea, so this is something I look forward to doing.


2. Called into my local Coles on the way home late on Saturday afternoon and picked up some mighty bargains. The Watercress was used in this salad and dill has been chopped and frozen in ice cube trays for later use and the red onions are being used when ever I need an onion for a recipe.


3. Line dried all the washing, there has been little to no rain which is sad for the garden but great for getting clothes dried

4. Packed my morning tea and lunch for work every day, yesterdays morning tea was yoghurt with strawberries and macadamia's, a banana and a cup of divine peppermint tea and below is what I had for lunch-

A slice of spinach and feta quiche with herby potatoes and sprouted mung beans, a pear plus my one piece of dark chocolate and of course a cup of peppermint tea. 

5. Rode to work everyday. The days are getting a lot cooler but I rug up against the cold with a jacket and scarf, by the time I get to work I am quite warm

So that is my 5 frugal things, what have been your frugal achievements this week?

1

Water Kefir

Hello Dear Reader,

I have been reading about water and milk kefir for ages now and really wanted to give it a go. Kefir is a form of probiotics that are very good for gut health. Our digestions system get hammered, by maybe not eating perfectly, all of the time. I do try, but lately I have been reaching for quick carbs that really aren't doing me any favours. In a bid to improve my gut health, to curb my desire for carbs and to maybe lose just a couple of kilo, I ordered a sachet of water kefir on line from"Nourish Me Organics" and have started a little, water kefir, production line in my kitchen. I went with water kefir instead of milk kefir, as I am really not a huge fan of milk but I do eat yoghurt and cheese so I didn't want more dairy in my diet.

The fermentation makes the water bubbly and fizzy, like soda water, but with tiny bubbles. I have flavoured one batch with mint and ginger but left the other one plain to see what I prefer. You can "flavour" the water keffir with fruit juice (bought or homemade) but again I have never been a fan of fruit juice, preferring to eat the whole fruit.

Ingredients for making water kefir, from left-15 grams of water kefir grains, 500 mls filtered water, pinch of salt, pinch of bicarb, 15 grams of good quality sugar (I used organic raw sugar) and 1/2 teaspoon molasses. You will also need a lidded jar to start the fermentation in, as always, I have just recycled a tall glass jar for this purpose, love my glass jars!

The kefir grains look like little amber, gel like, blobs

In a jug, mix up the water, pinch each of salt and bicarb, molasses and sugar, then add the kefir grains

Pour into fermentation jar and let sit on counter top for 24 to 48 hours, giving it a gentle swoosh and shake every now and then, the instructions suggest you taste the water kefir every now and then, just to get used to what 12 hour, 24 hour and 48 hour water kefir tastes like. 

After 48 hours (no longer than that as the kefir grains will starve) strain the kefir grains and set the liquid for its second ferment. This is where you can flavour it with fruit juice, I chose to just add the extra tablespoon of sugar and flavour it with ginger and mint. After you have flavoured it, this jar then sits on the counter for 5 to 7 days for its second ferment, this is where it gets bubbly.
Now, if you want to continue the process, start by measuring out 15 grams of kefir grains (they multiply) storing the surplus grains in the fridge in a glass container. Then start the process all over again
Fizzy water kefir

I have a glass of this delightful probiotic first thing in the morning, it is the nicest way to get more beneficial flora happening in your gut.

Have you ever tried water or milk kefir? What flavour do you add for the water kefir?
3

Cottage Cheese Bread Rolls

Hello Dear Reader,


I had bought a container of cottage cheese for a recipe a few weeks ago and I obviously didn't get around to making that particular recipe (I can't even remember what I had planned) so there was this whole container of cottage cheese looking at me every time I opened the fridge. As I don't like waste at all, I thought I would see what wonderful and clever recipes were out there for using up cottage cheese. Of course, all I needed to do was a google search and I found this site, dedicated to using up cottage cheese. Yeah! I adapted the recipe using just plain white bread flour instead of the wholemeal stated in the original recipe, as I didn't have any wholemeal flour in the house.

So that is how I ended up making these glorious little bread rolls, I have since made a loaf of light rye bread using the same recipe and it also was a winner. I just love it when the promise of a good recipe comes true. It is a sturdy dough, nothing to be frightened of, it is easy to handle and makes for a light and super tasty bread. The rolls were beautiful fresh and also toasted, as a breakfast roll, a few days later, with lashings of butter and honey. YUM

Ingredients for Cottage Cheese Bread Rolls-clockwise from top left
1/2 a cup plus 3 cups of white bread flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 tablespoon instant yeast, 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 65 grams of butter, melted and 1 cup of cottage cheese. You also need 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra water and 2 tablespoon extra melted butter

In the bowl of the Thermomix add the 1/2 cup flour, yeast and lukewarm water

Mix on speed 3 for 1 minute and let prove with lid on for 5 minutes or until it looks spongy and a few bubbles appear

Now add the cottage cheese, melted butter and salt

And then the flour

Knead for 6 minutes, if after 3 minutes it is still looking dry-ish and not coming together, add the extra water. I used the whole 3 tablespoons and the dough then came together beautifully

Put dough into a greased bowl and let prove for 30 to 45 minutes

Or until double in size. Preheat oven 200C

To form your bread rolls, first weigh the dough, then calculate how much each roll should weigh when making 16 rolls. Grease a heavy based fry pan that has a handle that will go into the oven
( I use these) and place your formed rolls into the fry pan, in a cylindrical pattern

Pop into a preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with extra melted butter and serve to your, now drooling, family

Beautiful

What is your, go to, recipe for light as air bread rolls?

4

Homemade, Shea Butter, Lotion Bars

Hello Dear Reader,


I have been using and loving a lotion bar from Ethique for quite a while now but I wanted to see if I could make one myself. I have quite dry skin, it's not sensitive and I can usually use most skincare products on my skin with no issues. I already had the beeswax from when we went to Kuranda Honey House up in Kuranda, I had bought it to have a go at making beeswax wraps (I did have a go but I didn't use quite enough beeswax, that's another job for later ) anyway, all I had to do was order some Shea Butter, which I got from here, melt it down with some olive oil and coconut oil, add some lavender oil, pour this combined melted oils, wax and butter into silicon moulds, let them cool and voila, moisturising lotion bars made in no time for very little outlay.

I made a very small quantity for my first go, it still made 8 little, cupcake shape, portions and I think it will keep me going for quite some time. The ratio I used was 33 grams each of Shea butter, Bees Wax and Olive oil, 50 gram of coconut oil and 1 gram of doTERRA Lavender oil or other good quality essential oil, suitable for application to the skin. I added the first four ingredients to a high sided, wide mouthed glass jar, popped it into a small saucepan of water and bought the water to a very gentle simmer, turned it down and stirred the oils, wax and butter occasionally until they were all melted together. Off the heat I added the lavender oil and stirred it through and then poured the still hot mixture into waiting silicon moulds. Easy and a success on the first go, don't you love it when things just work out?

Ingredients for Homemade Shea Butter Lotion Bars, clockwise from upper right
50 grams of coconut oil, 1 gram of good quality lavender essential oil, 33 grams of beeswax, 33 grams of olive oil and 33 grams of Shea Butter plus silicon moulds to set lotion bars in

In a wide mouthed, high sided glass jar melt the first three ingredients together in a water bath on lowish heat



Mix occasionally with a wooden skewer until melted 

Off the heat, add the lavender essential oil and mix well

Pour into clean silicon moulds of your choice and let cool and set

To use, simply warm the lotion bar in between the palms of your hands and apply resulting oil to your face and body. It's also wonderful for dry cuticles, heels and lips, in fact any where on the body that is dry or chapped. Even though it is an oil it doesn't leave your skin super shiny or feeling oily, just soft and smelling wonderful.

Have you ever made your own lotions and potions? What is your favourite beauty product to make?
2

Stuff that doesn't matter to me

Hello Dear Reader,


On my quest to live a more frugal lifestyle, some things, that I once thought I couldn't live without, now simply don't matter to me anymore. Some people might think being frugal means lowering your standards or going without. My life couldn't be further from that version of frugalism. I am simply more discerning in my choices and choose quality over quantity. I try and find a way to have what I love, on a budget, while sourcing products that are made with love and are kinder to the planet.


I always in-source my life, never paying for services I can do myself. I make do and mend, and this philosophy, I think, is fundamental to living a small and frugal life. Keeping my life simple and small takes effort and it is sometimes hard work, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  For instance, one of my favourite pastimes is gardening, I always say gardening is not for wimps, for I find it physically challenging, however the few successes I have had, far outweigh the failures. There is nothing like picking fresh herbs, fruit or veggies from your garden to add to your lunch or dinner, it is a small pleasure that I just love and couldn't do without.


For 20 years of my working life I worked it retail Pharmacy and at the time I just loved it. I worked in every aspect of Pharmacy and when I was younger, just adored the cosmetic department. I would spend a long time getting ready for work, making sure my skin and makeup was perfect, my hair, just so, my nails polished and that I was perfectly groomed. I still take pride in my appearance but I no longer buy and wear makeup that is on trend. I have simplified my makeup to a good quality foundation, a natural blush and a lipstick. My hair has always been short but now even more so and takes me no time at all to keep it styled. So staying up with the latest trend in hair and makeup, simple doesn't matter to me anymore

Most of the time away, from work, I don't wear any makeup at all

Keeping up with TV shows and movies also doesn't matter to me, as I now only watch two shows, they are both on the ABC on Sunday. I watch Landline from 12 till 1 and then Gardening Australia from 1 till 1.30.


I used to love Masterchef, but to me, it is now out of reach of the simple, good home cook and you must already be able to cook and primp and display your food to such a high chef-y standard that it lost me along the way. I loved it way back when Julie Goodwin won it, she is such a wonderful cook and baker but still has a commonality amongst the everyday home cook and I can relate to her style.

A few other things that simply don't matter to me anymore are

Clothes-of course I buy and wear clothes but I never go to expensive fashion stores for them, I Op shop for anything I need




Jewellery-I have a small range of jewellery that will see me out. I don't even look at catalogues from jewellery shops, it just doesn't float my boat

Bags and shoes-again I have a small selection of bags and shoes. I have whittled down my shoes to ones that are comfortable and practical. I have also made quite a few patchwork bags that will keep me going for a while


Fast food and going out to restaurants-We rarely eat out and only when it is a special occasion and we never get take away, we just decided not to do it. I would rather have an egg on toast or open a can of baked beans than get take away. It's easier and of course cheaper. It does help that we both love cooking and eating good food so it's a no brainer.



So, high fashion, on trend makeup and hair, fashionable bags and shoes, expensive jewellery, eating out and keeping up with the latest TV shows and movies do not matter to me one little bit. I think I still look okay and my hubby and family love me the way I am. As long as I am happy and healthy, I will continue whittling down my life to achieve my wish of living a small, thankful and frugal life.

Over to you, what doesn't matter to you any more?

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