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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 29 July 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I am posting an extra one today as I don't know when I will have access to a computer due to travelling. Yep, we are off on our trip today. So below is a wrap up of what we have bought, spent and ate this last week. I have been using up any perishable foods to make sure there is no waste. Our Son will be taking care of the house, our cat, Ninja and the two little fluffies, next door. He is more than capable of cooking himself dinner and I know he won't starve. 

What we bought
Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn

Shopping from Coles

Shopping from Aldi

Meat from Marjax Meats, Rothwell

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$23.47
Coles-$55.35 + some extras picked up during the week (not pictured) $44.61
Marjax Meats-$64.10

TOTAL-$184.68 again, higher than I would like but we did have a family dinner of a Lamb Roast with all the trimmings and it easily fed 8 of us, with left overs for the boys lunches the next day

Saturday-Mexican Beans and an egg on toast

Sunday-Lamb Roast with Roasted Potato and Pumpkin, Cauliflower in cheese sauce, steamed Broccoli with home made gravy and mint sauce. And for dessert I made a Sticky Date Pudding. I was too busy enjoying myself with my little family, that I completely forgot to take a photo.

Monday-Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

Tuesday-Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara with Angel Hair Pasta and steamed Broccoli

Wednesday-Panfried Pearl Perch with easy Potato Bake and Green Beans with Balsamic dressing

Thursday-Thai Yellow Chicken Curry, oh my this was so delicious, if I had another stomach I would have went back for more. This delicious curry was made by our Sons Girlfriend, it was such a blessing not to have to cook as I was still busy packing.


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 28 July 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

And, we're off! We are leaving this morning at 7.30 for the Brisbane International Airport for our flight to Canada, holy cow, I am so excited. Bags are packed and double checked, we will have breakfast soon and then shower and get ready. Our Son is taking us to the airport as he is starting work later today. Blog posts maybe sparse, but hang in there, I will try and post as often as I can. 

This week has all been about cleaning, tidying, paying bills, using food up and just generally putting things right, before we leave. We will only be gone for 2 weeks, the longest holiday we have ever had, but I don't want to worry about the house while we are gone and I also don't want to leave too much for our Son to do. He will be up to his eyeballs in work and keeping the home chugging along and the pets happy. 

This is what I managed to get done on the frugal front this week-

1. Made a spectacular Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum soup to use up some pumpkin and 3 beautiful Red Capsicums. It was divine.

2. Made another batch of laundry liquid using this recipe. It is by far my favourite recipe and so very economical. 

3. Tidied the pantry, why is that frugal. Well, now I can see what I have and I also did a bit of a stocktake to see if anything needed using up before it's used by date. I found a litre of vegetable stock that was almost out of date, that went into the soup above.



4. Mended one of the dogs winter jackets, it is quite old, but it is a really well made one. I had some strong ribbon which I doubled over, stitched and then sewed it onto the jacket as an anchor point for the strap that goes under Pippa's belly, like a horses blanket. It will see her out this winter and I will buy her a new one for next winter

5. Froze the rest of a large bottle of tomato paste in ice cube trays. I bought these large ice cube trays from Kmart, each one of the square sections holds 1/2 a cup, an ideal recipes size. They are silicon so the blocks of tomato paste just popped out. Love no waste!

So, that was my week of frugal, I would love to know what your frugal achievements were this week.

Have a lovely Friday


Where I Live

Thursday, 27 July 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I spend most of my days between home and work, not seeing much else for weeks or months on end, which is such a shame, when I live in a beautiful place like Redcliffe. Redcliffe is about a half hour drive from Brisbane, Queensland's capital city. We love it, it still has that small, beach side feel and anywhere you live, is not far from a beach. Redcliffe is a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides and is just spectacular at this time of year. The seas are flat and tranquil as far as the eye can see and there are loads of people out and about enjoying the sunshine.

I really must make an effort and get down to the beach more often, it lifts my spirits like nothing else can and I always come away recharged and de-stressed. I took these photos on Monday and Tuesday, while we were running some errands and going to very boring (read tax agent) appointments. We are so very lucky to have some very old and huge trees all along the beach front, mainly Norfolk Pines and Moreton Bay Fig trees, with many natives as well.

We have a whole park that was built around very old and gnarled Cotten Tree's, in fact that is what the park is called, Cotten Tree Park. The trees are just wonderful for kids to climb, my kids loved it when they were young. It is always full of families celebrating birthdays and family get togethers.

Yesterday I had to run an errand down the other end of the peninsula, along Margate beach, again I was greeted by beautiful blue water and gleaming sunshine, the warmth of the sun on my back was glorious and again I wondered why on earth don't I get down here more often. It is maybe a 10 minute drive to Margate beach and is where lovely Hubby and son have their business. This is the view from their clinic.

And lastly, this is the walk I do with the dogs of a weekend but as I am on holidays at the moment the little fluffies have been enjoying this longer walk everyday. On Sunday we had a family dinner and my little Grandnieces always love to take the dogs for a walk, the afternoon was still warm and it was just lovely. My darling sister bought her little dog down for a ride as well, she has a little Bichon Frise called Remy, he hates being left at home. 

My darling Sister, Niece and one of my Grandnieces, the other little one was too busy walking one of the dogs to stop, apparently😉


Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum Soup

Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

We only have 2 more days until we leave for our Canadian/Alaskan trip, so I am in the process of making sure all perishable foods are used up. Last Saturday we did a smallish grocery shop, only buying what we would need for the week ahead plus a few specials on pantry items. As most readers would know by now, I hate waste of any sort and try to use everything up in a timely manner. I also don't stockpile or buy more than what I can use in a week, this reduced the chance of waste, dramatically. The reasons I don't stockpile or buy in bulk can be read here. It is a system that works for us, it's not for everyone as everyones circumstances are different.

Any way, that is a long way of saying, holy cow, this is an amazing soup. I had 3 beautiful red capsicums and some pumpkin that needed using up before we go away, so I thought a nice soup could be made using these lovely ingredients. I added chilli flakes, cumin, a red onion and some garlic for extra flavour and I used a litre of vegetable stock that I already had in the pantry, from a while ago. Simple, everyday ingredients turned this vegetable soup into a deliciously sweet, spicy and deeply flavoured soup. I also roasted all the veggies to boost the flavours tremendously.

Ingredients for Spicy Roasted Pumpkin and Roasted Capsicum Soup. clockwise from top right-
1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 500 grams of pumpkin, cut into chunks, 1 red onion, quartered, 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 500 grams of red capsicum, de-seeded and quartered, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 litre of vegetable stock and 2 tablespoons of oil, a small handful of coriander, chopped and a 1/4 cup of cream (not pictured)

Preheat oven to 200 C and prepare an oven tray with non stick paper. Throw all the ingredients into a bowl, sprinkle over the spices and 2 tablespoons of oil (I use rice bran oil for everything)

Toss to coat in oil and spice mix

Spread out spicy veggies in a single layer, onto the prepared oven tray

Bake for 30 minutes at 200 C or until soft and well roasted

Put roasted veggies into a large saucepan, pour over the veggie stock, bring to a gentle boil, pop a lid on, turn heat down to low and let bubble away for 20 minutes 

Blitz until smooth and silky. If you wish, you could freeze the soup at this point

Then add the 1/4 cup of cream and blitz again

Sprinkle over chopped coriander or herb of choice. Chives or parsley would work well also

We had this soup for lunch yesterday, with toast and butter, and it will be eaten for delicious warming lunches over the next day or so, just perfect for a cold winters day.

Do you make a "whatever is in the crisper draw, soup" what has been your favourite?


Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder

Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I adore sweet creamed corn, it evokes lovely childhood memories of having it on hot buttered toast for lunch or dinner during the cold winters in Gympie. We often had an "On toast" dinner on a Friday or Sunday night, with Oops, Alphabet Spaghetti or Creamed Corn to choose from. I don't even know if Oops is still around, it was just tiny, hoop shaped pasta in a tomato sauce, nothing flash, but we loved it. Not more than creamed corn though, the creamed corn was so lovely, sweet, soft and comforting. Life was full of simpler choices back then.

That is probably why I love this chowder so much. It is a doodle to make with very few ingredients. It makes plenty for 4 hungry people with maybe a couple of bowls left over for a lovely lunch the next day. The original recipe comes from my darling sister, she used to make it when she first moved out of home, as it was an inexpensive dish to make, it was filling and of course delicious. She taught it to me many, many moons ago and I can remember it being one of the first soups I ever made for lovely Hubby when we first started dating (over 30 years ago). This is the original recipe written by my sister, all those years ago. I have changed it slightly over the years but it is still pretty close to the original.

The secret to making the chowder thick and creamy is to gently squish the soft cubes of cooked potato against the side of the pot, breaking up the potato cubes slightly, while still having chunks of potato throughout this gorgeously, comforting chowder.

Ingredients for Corn, Bacon and Potato Chowder, clockwise from top left-
500 grams of potatoes, peeled and cubed, 2 cups of chicken stock (I use Massel stock cubes), 2 cups full cream milk, 2 large cans of creamed corn, 1 cup of corn kernels (I use frozen), 1 to 2 onions, finely diced, 1 to 2 spring onions, finely chopped and 3 rashers of bacon, chopped

Chop the bacon and finely dice the onion

Sauté bacon and onion in a large heavy based saucepan on medium heat with a little oil, until the onion is translucent and the bacon is golden

Add the cubed potato, corn kernels and chicken stock to the saucepan, bring to a gently boil, pop the lid on, turn heat down and let cook away for 20 minutes or until the potato is soft

Now add the 2 cans of creamed corn and the milk. Season with salt and pepper and then let blip away on lowish heat for 10 minutes. Don't forget to gently squish the cubes of potato against the side of the pot, this will thicken the chowder

Garnish with finely chopped spring onion

What food evokes lovely simple childhood memories for you?

Have a lovely day.

One Year Ago-Smoked Salmon Pasta