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1SE 2018

Monday, 31 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I have been taking a little video of my normal, everyday life since February this year, that is when I discovered this very clever app. It was the lovely Leanne from Cottage Tails that put me on to it originally and like most things I love, I've just ran with it all year long. Next year (hello tomorrow) I will be starting a year long 1SE.

I think it is a wonderful visual of your day, week, month, year. The stuff you do everyday make up your life. In mine there is lots of food, family, fur babies, sunrises, sunsets, bird life, beach life, holidays, dog walks, flowers, garden talk, settling my late in-laws home, cups of tea, arriving at work, bread making, full moons, camping, housework, our home, The Bee Gees, Jamie Oliver and Nigella, wildlife, sewing, our tropical fish in the aquarium, birthdays, rain, rainbows and bees.

The very last video was taken this morning as I walked the little dogs, I see white cranes quite often but they are very shy and don't normally let you get too close, this one must have been one the hunt for breakfast as it was unfazed by me and the little dogs.

Next year, I intend to do a food only, year long, one second everyday, of what is on our dinner table that particular night. I will try to video it the same way each time for continuity, I am hoping at the end of the 365, a one second snapshots of food, it will look amazing.

Please enjoy this little video, made up of my ordinary, everyday life (well, maybe Bordeaux isn't my everyday life) it was a fun, lovely, exhausting and exhilarating year. One I am most grateful for and most proud of.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-The Top 10 Sweet and Savoury Recipes for 2017
Two Years Ago-Lemon Myrtle Shortbreads


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 30 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

My gardening apron is an old Masterchef one I used to use in the kitchen, it is fabulous for gardening as it has long deep pockets to keep tools or seed packets in

Today I am grateful that I am strong enough, strong enough to turn the soil in my garden, strong enough to work in a physically demanding job and strong enough to walk our two, incredibly robust for their size, dogs.

I am not all that strong really but to be strong enough is good enough. Yesterday I dug in 3 bags of animal manure into each bare garden bed, raked the soil evenly, then covered each bed with sugar cane mulch and watered it in. It was hot, sticky, smelly work but I got it done, LH opened the bags of manure and spread them over each garden bed, but I dug the soil over with a garden fork. Unfortunately I ended up feeling quite sick from the heat and slept for 2 hours after lunch. I think I am stronger than I actually am.

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-What we bought, spent and ate this week
Two Years Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 29 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

It's been quite the "Same, Same but Different" kind of week here at SHI, we've had Christmas lunch for dinner for the last three nights, not that I am complaining at all, in fact I have loved every minute of it. Last night we finished off the roast lamb and home made gravy on toast for our usual "Leftovers/On Toast" night which, I must admit, is probably my favourite night of the week. I schedule this night on a Friday night, knowing I will probably be quite tired at the end of the working week. I love an easy night.

We haven't been grocery shopping yet this week, I wanted to use absolutely everything up first, so tonight I am baking the ham (boneless) we bought just before Christmas, we also have a big bowl of this Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Salad to use up from Christmas Eve. This will probably do us quite a few meals then we might just pick up a few things to keep us going till next Friday when lovely hubby does the usual grocery shop.

What we bought

Shopping from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn

The Aldi Shop plus a container of Bacon from Marjax Meats

Shopping from Coles. The tea and coffee went to work for our beautiful Nurses along with homemade Gingerbread Biscuits and the turkey mince and cranberry sauce went into a batch of turkey, walnut and cranberry savoury rolls I made to take to work for our shared Christmas Lunch, if you would like I will post the recipe for these soon

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$18.66
Marjax Meats (Bacon-Pictured in Aldi shot + lamb x 2 , pork x 2 and ham x 1 for Christmas-not pictured)-$173.50 (we had already put a $50 deposit on the meat last week, yes the meat was expensive but it fed 20 people on Christmas Day plus oodles and oodles of leftovers)

TOTAL-$323.93-thankfully Christmas comes once a year

What we ate

Friday-Leftover Baked Fish with Chorizo Crumb

Saturday-Leftover Beef Ragu on Toast

Sunday-Fish Burgers

Monday, Christmas Eve-Aldi's Salmon Wellington with my Quinoa, Cranberry and Almond Salad plus Banoffee for dessert

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday-Christmas Day plus 2 days of leftovers

Friday-we had the last of the roast lamb and gravy on toast

So very grateful for lots of leftovers this week, it's been like having a little holiday. Over to you, did you also have a week of leftovers?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Back into the Swing

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 28 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

And just like that it is all over, Christmas and Boxing Day all finished with for another year. I'm kind of relieved, in one way, but sorry it's over so quickly, in another. There is so much work and organisation that goes into, even a simple, Christmas. This year was quite different to our usual small family event, this year we had 20 extended family all enjoying a combined Christmas lunch. It was all divine and easy as everyone did their bit and it all came together beautifully.

We have been feasting on left overs for two nights running and there is still enough for one more dinner tonight. The ham bone, which no one else wanted, has been frozen down, to make a Pea and Ham soup for winter, everyone took home a parcel of food from Christmas Lunch and the last of the Banoffee pie I made for Christmas Eve was finished for dessert last night, so all the food has virtually been used up. Love no waste.

Now on with the frugal stuff that continues week in week out here at SHI-

1. Yesterday I made a double batch of this Tomato Relish to use up some excess tomatoes from the Vegepod

2. Made sure all left overs were used up in a timely manner

3. Dried all the washing in the sun, unfortunately we have had no rain

4. Made gravy with the pan juices left behind after roasting the lamb and pork for Christmas Day. I actually made this gravy on Boxing Day, as someone else had been elected to bring the (shop bought) gravy. We enjoyed this gravy with the leftovers on Wednesday and Thursday and there is still enough for tonight. Normally I make Jamie's Get Ahead Gravy which is so delicious but this one is a close second.

5. Made a loaf of Rye Bread on Boxing Day

Over to you, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,


A Walk Around the Garden

Thursday, 27 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Are you ready for a green overload? Yesterday afternoon, while I was watering the garden, I took photos as I went, discovering some really lovely growth. Most of the plants were free in one way or another, grown from saved seeds, self seeded from else where in the garden, gifted, saved from near death (that would be the potted fig tree) or in the case of the pineapples, grown from the spiky top of the previous pineapple, that is the marvel of nature. Gardening needn't cost you a fortune.

Pour yourself your favourite cuppa, this is a very long post.

I spied a spider sitting on a leaf of the saved fig tree, it was quite a weird looking spider

I swear this amaranth wasn't there last week, they grow like triffids 

The Pomegranate is quite happy where it is

With lots of new growth

I also "saved" this plant, it once belonged to our son, who at the time, many years ago, was doing Bonsai and had plans to Bonsai it, well that didn't happen and now it is a huge tree.

The mint just runs wild in the gravel next to the path between the shed and the house, occasionally it dies back but then comes back with gusto.

We have pineapples galore

All grown from previous spiky tops of home grown pineapples, it takes about 2 years to reach an edible size, but I don't mind, it is fun and free.

I will leave the parsley to go to seed and collect them

Sweet potato and pumpkin vines going wild

Remember the fig tree I saved, look at it now

And remember the Avocado I grew from seed, look at it now!

Sage and spring onions in an old unused drinks tub, we simply drilled some holes in it and voila, a free and lovely looking planter.

Also, remember the "acquired" Fiddle Leaf Fig seedling? 

I have propagated 3 beautiful plants from that tiny seedling

This is the original Fiddle Leaf Fig, I just keep cutting the top off of it and planting it on

This is a lovely pink lily, that we collected from our daughters block of land, is going to seed, of course I will collect the seeds for future planting

Young ginger plants, grown from "sprouts" on bought ginger

We have now chopped and dropped the green manure in all the raised garden beds except for this end bed, we will probably tackle that job over the weekend. This is the bed that we didn't treat with Troforte, it is still struggling to reach the lofty heights of the other beds that were given a dose of Troforte

I am just letting the pumpkin vines do their own thing as we won't be planting anything else in these beds until March next year. Unfortunately the little baby pumpkins keep withering and falling off, does anyone know what I am doing wrong?

My Lemon Myrtle has almost finished flowering

And we bought the native bee hive back from next door, we temporarily relocated it while the garden beds were being built.

And finally our rogue Passionfruit vine has sprouted back to life again after being severely cut back, it is such a strong healthy vine. Here's to another season of huge and sweet passionfruit.

What's growing in your garden at the moment?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Salmon and Potato Frittata

P.S. Lovely Hubby and Co all arrived home safely at about 1.30 yesterday afternoon, earlier that expected, it was quite a bumpy trip and no fish were caught, quite disappointing for them, but that is why they call it fishing and not catching! I did, indeed, smile quietly to myself when the garage door started to open, signalling their arrival. 

This Morning

Wednesday, 26 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I hope you all had a lovely day with your family yesterday for Christmas Day, there so much preparation for one day isn't there and it's gone in the blink of an eye. We all had a truly lovely day yesterday full of good food and family.

I have been awake since 4 am as Lovely Hubby, our Son and his beautiful Partner have taken the boat out fishing. When I look at the boat in the garage, it looks really big, but on the ocean it is a tiny blip, I'm always anxious when they all go out on the ocean, I hope they have a lovely and successful day of fishing, but I will breath a sigh of relief when they get back home safely.

Lovely Hubby is Captain Safety as far as fishing and boating is concerned and would never go out in bad weather, they call into the Coast Guard to log on and to tell them the approximate time of their return, all this doesn't stop me from worrying though.

So this morning I will keep busy, on my list for today is to-

Organise the left overs from yesterday, they were all put onto one big platter and I want to see what we have left
Do a quick vacuum
Wash the tablecloths from yesterday
Give the dogs a little walk this morning
Wipe over the kitchen
Wash the oven trays from yesterday (I ended up roasting the pumpkin at our place)

I received this beautiful tea pot and blossom tea blend from my beaut kids for Christmas

That should keep my mind and hands busy until their return at about 3 this afternoon. I will have some music playing (hello Dolly) and drink loads of tea. That will be my day. Tell me, what do you have planned for today?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-How To Make Caster Sugar in the Thermomix
Two Years Ago-My Plastic Replacement for December

Merry Christmas for 2018

Tuesday, 25 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

My Christmas Pavlova for our work Christmas Lunch

I would like to wish all my lovely readers a lovely Christmas Day, spent with those you love most in the world, may you have a peaceful and happy day that brings together family in the best possible way. Thank you, as always, for popping in everyday to read my little blog, somedays are more interesting that others, but that's my life, somedays are diamonds. I truly appreciate the time you take to comment, I know we are all busy these days and every moment is precious, so thanks again for always making my day.

Some of our small gang

May your table be full of good things to eat, that everyone is grateful for what thoughtful presents they receive and that someone else volunteers to wash up. I hope that during the day there is a chance to relax and recharge, have some fun and to share the love.

Today will be spent with extended family of our Son's Partner's, at their new home, next door, with everyone pitching in and doing their bit, it should be a wonderful day. Last night we had the chance to sit down with my Niece and Grandnieces, our Son and Partner for a relaxed and easy dinner, everyone got home early and that's exactly the way I wanted it. During dinner we face-timed our Daughter and Partner and everyone got to have a chat, which was lovely. We will so miss them today but it's only one day and it just wasn't worth spending a small fortune on flights, just to be here for a couple of days.

Have the loveliest of day,
Merry Christmas

One Year Ago-Merry Christmas  2017
Two Years Ago-Merry Christmas 2016


Home Made Vanilla Custard

Monday, 24 December 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

This year we have the pleasure of joining in with our sons partners family for an extended family Christmas lunch. It will be the first time that I haven't had to do everything, it will certainly by a welcomed change. I am in charge of roasting the lamb, lovely hubby is roasting the pork and I am making a Sticky Ginger Pudding along with todays recipe of a divinely smooth and silky Vanilla Custard.

Over the weekend I got a head start on all the food we will be needing for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I wrote out the list here and I am glad to say it's all done except for the actual Sticky Ginger pudding which will easily come together on Christmas morning.

Now on with the easiest and foolproof Vanilla Custard you'll ever make.

Ingredients for Home Made Vanilla Custard, clockwise from right-
1 cup each of milk and cream, 4 egg yolks, at room temperature, 1/3 cup caster sugar, 1 tablespoon cornflour, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and one vanilla bean, split (I make my own vanilla essence so I used one from the bottle) it is totally fine not to use a vanilla bean just increase the essence to 1 tablespoon 

In a medium bowl add the egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour

Whisk until light and creamy

Warm the milk, cream and split vanilla pod, if using, through on medium heat until small bubbles start to form around the edge of the saucepan. It is important not to let the milk and cream mixture to boil. You want a low simmer

Now add the milk and cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking the whole time

Add the custard mixture back to the saucepan and again on medium-low heat, bring it to a gentle simmer, whisking the whole time, until it is thickened about 10 to 15 minutes

The custard is ready when you can draw a line across the back of a spoon and there are no drips

Pour and scrape into a jug, scrunch a piece of baking paper and wet it slightly, press it to the top of the custard, this will prevent a skin from forming

Silky smooth and rich Vanilla Custard

Use this splendid custard hot or cold, it is quite thick but still pourable when cold. This custard will be served along with the Sticky Ginger Pudding on Christmas Day.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday