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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 30 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I am a bit later with todays post, I just wanted a sleep in a bit I guess and then straight after breakfast I headed outside to water the garden, add the fruit and veggie scraps to the compost bin and turn it over and just generally tidy up outside. Well, now it after 11 and I have just had a cup of Liquorice tea to see me through until lunch and sat down at the computer to punch out todays post.

I hope you are not bored with this weekly topic, I post it because it is a way of tracking my spending and also I know I love to see what other people are paying for groceries and eating from week to week across the globe.

Now on with what we bought, spent and ate this week

What we bought
Shopping from Left-
Northside Discount Fruit Barn, Marjax Meats, Coles and Aldi

A carton (10) of Cocoquech coconut milk, Coles had a super special of 2 litre's for $3.00, that is the cheapest I have ever seen it

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$15.48
Marjax Meats-$9.95

TOTAL-$94.08 Woo Hoo! another week under $100, way to go!

What we ate
Friday-Leftover Savoury Mince Scrolls and Baked Beans

Saturday night we went to a dear friends 60th birthday, we had the most wonderful baked fish (Red Emperor) and lovely salads, but I forgot to take a photos

Monday-Honey Prawns

Tuesday-Sausage Pasta with Snow Peas

Wednesday-Pan Fried Pearl Perch with Quinoa, Broccoli and Roast Pumpkin Salad

Thursday and Friday-Morrocan Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Stew with Persian Feta and Steamed Basmati Rice

It is all of a sudden really hot here, Brisbane and surrounding areas have had some scorching days with no rain in sight as yet, maybe next week? I think we will be looking for simpler, lighter dinners it this heat keeps up and it's only spring! At least we are always a few degrees cooler being by the sea, we always get a nice breeze to cool things down a bit.

I hope you have a lovely weekend (long weekend here) and get to do everything you need or want to get done.

One Year Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 29 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello Friday, my favourite day of the week. It is made even more special by the fact that we (Queensland) have  a public holiday on Monday (thanks to Queen Elizabeth's Birthday) so, hello to a long weekend as well. I will have an extra day at home, hopefully, I will get into my sewing room, it needs a bit of a tidy up/sort out, so I can actually see my sewing table. It has, yet again, become a bit of a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff and nonsense.

I would like to get it all clean and tidy again so I can make a good start on the little quilt for my grand niece, you know the one I keep talking about getting started and eventually finished! It was supposed to be for her 4th Birthday back in August, now I want to get it finished for her for Christmas. Once I get a move on with it, it won't take long to put together.

This is what I have been up to frugality wise-

1. Picked and ate two little Red Paw Paws from our tree, I pick them a bit green and then slowly let them ripen in the fruit bowl. They aren't very big but they are super sweet. I grew this tree from saved seed

2. Made a beautiful batch of very economical scones, there is no butter in the dough, just milk, cream, flour, salt and baking powder. They are super light and easy to make

3. Made some pita chips out of some leftover flat bread. I made fish wraps on Sunday and had a few wraps left over, so I cut them into triangles, sprayed them with rice bran oil, dusted them with this salt and bake them for 10 minutes at 150 C. They turn out crunchy and delicious 

4. Made another batch of homemade toothpaste, it is an excellent toothpaste, with no nasties and no plastic tube to go into landfill

5. Line dried all the washing, there has been no rain, at all lately, but next week there is a possibility of some, it would be a welcomed change. Our garden, grass and plants in pots are so very dry and all of our golden cane palms are dropping their fronds, what a mess. 

So, that's my 5 frugal things, I would love to hear what you have been up to on the frugal front.

Have a fab Friday and a lovely long weekend 

One Year Ago-Sorrell Soup


Melanzane Pasta Bake

Thursday, 28 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Oh Mary Berry, how I love thee, what a fabulous woman and amazing cook she is. I only just discovered this lovely lady about 6 months ago and now I am totally hooked on her youtube videos. It's not just that she is such a great presenter, this woman can really cook. She has something for every occasion and makes it all look very simple. I have so many of her recipes saved in favourites, that it may take my ages to get to cook them all. Todays recipe is the first one.

We, as a family, have always loved the flavours of Melanzane and for years we bought, on special occasions, Focaccia Di Melanzane (a closed pizza) from our local Italian Restaurant, Mama's. Unfortunately that wonderful restaurant has closed its doors, and we miss it on occasions such as birthdays when we would order our fix of Melanzane.

Well, we won't miss it anymore, because of this fabulous dish, it's all wonderful Melanzane flavour, with the extra love of pasta in the form of old fashioned lasagna sheets layered with the spectacular Melanzane sauce and of course a Parmesan béchamel.

It is a bit of a labour of love, not that it is difficult, you just need some time to put it together. So, my advice is to make it on a weekend, when you have more time to devote to your kitchen, but please, make it, it is so totally divine and simply the best way to eat aubergine. The are four components to this recipe, the tomato and basil sauce, the roasted aubergine slices, the Parmesan béchamel and the soaked lasagna sheets. Each component is easy to do, as I said, it just takes some time to bring it all together.

Ingredients for the Tomato and Basil sauce, clockwise from top left-
500 ml passata, a bunch of fresh basil, chopped (basil is not in season at the moment so I used a good squeeze or two of basil paste) 1 tin of diced tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane and 2 teaspoons of castor sugar

Combine all ingredients for the Tomato and Basil sauce together in a jug, set aside until needed

2 to 3 aubergines, sliced into 5 mm rounds, I ended up using 2 aubergines, salt and pepper, oil of choice (I use Rice Bran Oil for everything) 5 to 7 sheets of dried lasagna (this will depend on the size of your dish)

On a couple of lined oven trays, place the aubergine slices, pour over some oil, grind over some salt and pepper and, using your hands, gently massage oil into aubergine slices

Bake in a 200 C oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, turning over slices halfway through

Soak the lasagna sheets in hot water (from the kettle, for 10 minutes or until just softened) drain and separate sheets, put aside until needed

For the Béchamel Sauce

50 gram butter
50 gram plain flour
600 ml milk, warmed in the microwave for 2 minutes 
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
100 gram Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy based saucepan, on medium heat, melt butter, sprinkle over flour and using a whisk, cook roux out for a couple of minutes, take saucepan off heat, add the warm milk to the roux, whisking all the time. Put saucepan back on heat, turn heat down to medium-low, keep whisking until mixture has thickened. Add two-thirds of the grated Parmesan cheese, the dijon mustard and salt and pepper and whisk in. Keep on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until needed.

To Assemble the Melanzane Pasta Bake

Start by spreading one third of the tomato and basil sauce over the base of your casserole dish, mine measures 28 cm square x 6 cm deep

Spoon over one third of the Parmesan béchamel 

Layer over one third of the roasted aubergine slices

Top with another third of tomato and basil sauce and béchamel, then another layer of roasted aubergines. Continue until all ingredients have been used (3 layers in total)Finishing with a the last third of aubergine slices

Top with reserved grated Parmesan

And bake at 200 C for 35 to 45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is

Just the most heartwarming and delicious dish

Yes, it's a bit of a faff, but it is so totally worth it.

What's a dish you make that is a bit of a labour of love?

Have a lovely day


The Easiest, Lightest Scones You'll Ever Make

Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This recipe was given to me by a lovely gentleman at work, he is quite famous for these particular scones and as he was able to just rattle off the ingredients and method from memory, he must have made them hundreds of times. I love that there is no butter to rub into the flour, probably my least favourite job in the kitchen. I also love the simplicity of ingredients that would be found in most kitchens.

They really are the easiest and lightest scone I have ever made and tasted, the dough is easy to manage, not too sticky or dry. I used a very small glass to cut out my scones and I got 22 out of my scone dough. I like dainty little scones, just small enough to pop into your mouth in one go. I love my scones with lashings of butter and honey or golden syrup, as that is what we always had when Mum made her "Sunshine Milk" scones. I don't even know if this brand of powdered milk is still around, Mum always used it in her scones and pikelets. 

Ingredients for "The Easiest, Lightest Scones you'll ever make", from left-
1 cup cream and 1/2 cup of milk, 2 cups SR flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons icing sugar and a pinch of salt

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl

Pour in the milk and cream

Mix with a knife until incorporated

Turn dough out onto a floured surface

And gently knead until smooth, don't over do it, a light hand is all that is needed, no pun intended. But honestly don't excite the gluten in the dough or your scones will be dense

Gently flatten dough to about 2 cm

Cut out desired size rounds, gently re-rolling and cutting dough until all used

Lay on a lined tray, nestle the scones next to one another as this helps them rise even more

Bake at 220 C for 10 to 12 minutes

Devour while warm from the oven. If it will be a while until they are eaten, wrap in a clean tea towel to keep them soft and warm.

What is your go to scone recipe? And can anyone tell me if Sunshine milk powder is still around?

Have a lovely day


Easy Golden Chicken Curry

Tuesday, 26 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

Following on from yesterdays post, about this really easy and delicious Golden Curry Paste, this is the curry I made using a 1/2 cup of that gorgeously golden curry paste. As I mentioned yesterday, it is the kind of curry paste that any type of protein would go with, in this instance I have used chicken thighs, but I think it would work equally well with beef, pork, fish or tofu and veggies. 

I love that there are only a few ingredients needed to turn the golden paste into dinner. A can of diced tomatoes, a can of coconut milk, a little extra chilli if you like, some green veg and a sprinkling of chopped coriander at the end.

Ingredients for Easy Golden Chicken Curry, clockwise from top left-
1/2 cup of Easy Golden Curry Paste, a bunch of asian greens or other green veg, 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (or more to taste), 1 tin coconut milk, 1 tin of diced tomatoes, a handful of coriander, finely chopped and a kilo of chicken thigh fillets cut into 2 to 3 cm dice

In a heavy based, non stick pan, heat 2 teaspoon of oil to medium heat, add the curry paste and chilli flakes, sauté a few minutes until fragrant

Now add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer

Add the can of diced tomatoes and again bring to a gentle simmer

Add in the diced chicken turn heat up until just bubbling, then turn heat down to medium-low so that the curry is just blipping along. Let cook for 40 to 45 minutes. In this time the sauce will reduce a little and will thicken 

About 5 minutes before serving add in the green veg of your choice and turn heat up to medium, stir veg through to cook, you will want the veg. just cooked through, still with a bit of bite. Sprinkle with chopped coriander just before serving

I served ours with steamed basmati rice, papadums and chutney

The chicken will be, fall apart tender, and there is plenty of sauce to coat everything, including the rice. Simple, golden, deliciousness.

One Year Ago-Happiness is...


What $39.00 will buy you at the Golden Circle Outlet store

Sunday, 24 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

This is my second trip to this outlet store and, again, we walked away with some wonderful bargains. You can read about my review from the first visit here. Lovely Hubby came with me this time, so there were a few bags of chips and mint lollies put in the trolley (he can't walk past a packet of chips) but on the whole it is good food with a few convenience foods thrown in, all at great prices.

From left-chips and mint lollies, dates, garlic aioli, a few different types of baked beans, reduced sugar raisins, quinoa crackers and some more of those compostable bags I bought last time

From left-Pink Himalayan salt, sardines, feta and roasted peppers, flavoured tuna, all natural noodle bowls and a giant bag of egg noodles

I think the best buys were the pink Himalayan salt at $4.75 for a kilo, a 150 gram packet of craisins for $1.00, the Santa Maria sardines for $1.50, a 1 kg pack of San Remo egg noodles for $2.75 and Hart and Soul Pho Bowls for $1.00 each. I had bought this brand of instant noodle bowl, a while ago, when I went up to Toowoomba for an Allied Health Assistant Forum, I bought it because it was convenient for travel and also, and this is the best bit, it contains no nasties, quite amazing for an instant noodle type bowl. The brand is Hart and Soul and you can read them here.

So a few treats and convenience foods, but not too shabby for $39.00. I love this place and will go back again. Do you have something similar where you live?

Have a lovely Sunday


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 23 September 2017
Hello Dear Reader,

I have been having a bit of a sort out of my fridge, freezer and pantry to make sure all bits and bobs have been used up. That has resulted in freeing up space and reducing waste. Also our weekly shop was a lot smaller, in fact, this is the first shop under $100 that I can remember in forever. We usually hit around the $150 mark, so it is a delight to spend less, use up stuff and have a good sort out. 

Even though I am careful every week to make sure everything is used up, I had a habit of throwing things in the freezer without writing on them exactly what it was or how much of it there was. I no longer do this and now write what the item is and the date I put it in the freezer. I can hear my Mums voice saying"waste not, want not" and I make sure nothing goes to waste, ever!

What we bought
Shopping from Aldi and Coles

Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn and Marjax Meats

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$38.62
Marjax Meats-$21.70
Sunday Morning Markets-$6.50 (for 3 eggplants, not pictured)

TOTAL-$91.59 Woohoo!! My first week under $100 in ages, although we did have a night out at a restaurant to celebrate the birthday of our sons lovely girlfriend. It was a fantastic night out and money well spent.

What we ate

Saturday-We had the pleasure of going out for dinner for our sons girlfriends birthday. It was in city at a teppanyaki restaurant called Kabuki
We had a ball and the food was wonderful, but I forgot to take a photo of all the courses, I was too busy eating😋
This photo is of the chef showing off

Sunday-Melanzane Pasta Bake with sautéed silverbeet with garlic, this is a recipe I have wanted to try for ages, I will post it soon as it is absolutely delicious. 

Monday-Chicken and Pesto Pasta with steamed broccoli

Tuesday-Savoury Mince Scrolls with maple syrup and cinnamon roasted pumpkin and steamed broccoli

Wednesday-Tempura whiting with steamed basmati rice and choy sum

Thursday-Golden Chicken Curry with steamed basmati rice, papadums and chutney

I also made a trip to the Golden Circle Factory Outlet at Morayfield, last Saturday and spent $39.00, I will post what I bought there, this coming week. So, technically not under $100, but still within our budget. We are careful with our money 90% of the time so every now and then we can have a night out and buy some extras for the pantry.

Over to you, how do you shop? Do you buy only what you need for the week ahead or do you buy in bulk? What works for you and your family?

Have a lovely Saturday, dear readers

One Year Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday