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Coriander, Mint and Roasted Cashew Pesto

Wednesday, 28 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,
That's what I think of when I taste this pesto and also BAM, KA-POW and ZAP! So childish, I know. Anyway, you must make this incredible pesto, it's like a party in your mouth, so many amazing flavours that pop and sizzle and bring joy to your taste buds, like it's their birthday and they just got what they've always wanted. Gosh I do prattle, don't I?

It is another simple recipe, lightly roasting some cashews, then bunging everything into a food processor and blitz. Easy and the flavours of mint, coriander and lime together are just amazing!

Make it, love it, eat it with everything.

Ingredients for Coriander, Mint and Roasted Cashew Pesto, clockwise from top right-a good handful each of mint and coriander (I grow perennial coriander) 1/4 cup oil (I use rice bran oil) zest and juice of one lime, 2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 cup cashews, roasted in a 150C oven until just starting to colour

Throw everything into a food processor and blitz until you are happy with the consistency

I kept mine a little chunky

I used this amazing pesto stirred through a Thai inspired pumpkin soup I made last night, the flavours went so wonderfully together, I am also thinking of using the left overs in something similar to this recipe, using a can of coconut milk instead of cream, serving it with egg noodles and sweet potato, I will let you know how it goes or if you make it, please tell me how it went.

Over to you, Dear Reader, how else would you use this zingy pesto?

Have a lovely day,


Veggie Shepherds Pie

Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

If there is only one recipe you cook from my blog, do yourself a favour, and make this one. It is the most delicious, meat free, comforting, give yourself a big hug from the inside, dinner I have ever made. Really and truly! The winning combination of veggies, herbs, yummy gravy and buttery mashed potato, will have you coming back for another helping. The, well done, mushrooms make the most amazing gravy and with herbs like rosemary and oregano makes the gravy taste very "meaty".

It is simplicity itself, all you need is a bit of time, so I made this one on the weekend when I always have a bit more time to devote to the kitchen. A bit of chopping, sautéing, boiling, mashing, baking and grilling later and you have a fabulous, family friendly dinner that smells and tastes just wonderful. Have I convinced you that you must make it yet? If you do, please let me know what you think of it. It is my favourite recipe I have made this year, so far, and with recipes like Coconut Caramel Chicken and Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Curry, that is really saying something.

Ingredients for Veggie Shepherds Pie, clockwise from top right-2 cups of veggie stock(I use Massel) 1 kg of potatoes, boiled and mashed with 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of cream, 50 grams of butter and 1 finely chopped spring onion, 2 tablespoons each of plain flour and tomato paste, 1/2 cup red wine, a good handful of parsley and oregano, finely chopped and 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 brown onion, finely chopped, 3 medium carrots, diced, to yield 2 1/2 cups, 500 grams of mushrooms, thickly sliced and 2 cups frozen baby peas

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy based, non stick frypan and sauté the onion and garlic until just about transparent 

Now add the carrots and mushrooms and increase the heat to high 

And sauté 

For about 10 minutes, giving it a good stir every few minutes until the mushrooms are well cooked down and the carrots just soft

Now add the plain flour and tomato paste

And sauté until thickened and starting to catch, then deglaze the pan with the red wine and veggie stock

Chop the herbs

And add to the pan along with the frozen peas

Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until the gravy is nice and thick

Transfer to a suitable casserole dish

Cover veggies and gravy with buttery mash and bake for 10 minutes at 200 C, then sprinkle over some grated parmesan cheese and grill for 5 minutes or until just starting to colour

Golden and delicious

Serve while piping hot

Give it a red hot go this week, I just know you will love it.

Have a lovely day,


How To Cook Fluffy Quinoa

Monday, 26 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Ahh Quinoa, remember when it was the latest food craze/superfood? What seems like years ago now, it was something just a bit different, a "grain" that is full of protein, that is now just another pantry staple. And like most "grains" there is always a better way to cook it. I have found this method to be the best, you will always end up with light, fluffy, perfectly cooked Quinoa.

Gosh my life is exciting, isn't?

For every 1 cup of Quinoa you will need 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Rinse the Quinoa well, I do it over a bucket as I can't stand to see so much water going down the drain

Really get you hands in there and agitate and rinse very well, at first the grains will seem like they are waterproof but eventually the saponin coating will be washed off

Pop the rinsed and drained Quinoa into a saucepan, add the water and salt and bring to a rapid boil

Turn heat down to low and let cook away gently for 10 to 20 minutes until all moisture has been absorbed. I find mine take more like 20 minutes before all moisture is gone, but as always, every stove is different, so just keep an eye on it

Once all moisture has been absorbed take the saucepan off the heat and immediately cover with a lid and let "steam" for another 5 to 10 minutes, this will make the Quinoa really fluffy and light

There you have it, the best way I know how to cook light and fluffy Quinoa. You're welcome.

Do you do anything different when cooking your Quinoa?

Have a lovely day,


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 25 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Sunny Side Up Sunday is where I share just one photo (well, maybe two) that sums up what I am feeling grateful at that moment. Today I am grateful for my creative outlet of quilting.

What are you grateful for today?

Have a restful Sunday,


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 24 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned yesterday we have had a welcomed change in temperature and now have had some amazing rain, the plants are loving it, as am I. The seemingly unrelenting Summer has finally let go and we are enjoying some cooler weather. Bring it on, is all I can say.

With this coming weeks menu, I have already changed gears to more warming meals that will warm our hearts and bolster our bodies. Food is pivotal in my life, as you have probably already gathered, new recipes are always welcomed as are my tried and true recipes from that I have written about in this blog. Making and eating good food makes me happy, it's as simple as that.

Yes, I probably could trim the grocery budget but it is where I choose to invest money to make sure we are eating good food, every day. I don't spend money in other areas of my life, I rarely by new clothes, makeup, skincare, shoes, "stuff" and trinkets for our home, they just don't bring me joy, but good food, does. I know we are truly blessed to have this choice.

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

What we bought
Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn


Aldi, again

Chicken from Marjax Meats, they will fill containers I bring in from home, to save using single use plastic bags

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$40.05
Marjax Meats-$19.85

TOTAL-$94.82, well under budget!!
What we ate
Saturday-an old favourite of ours, simply called "Mince and Egg" our son had bought 500 grams of mince during the week, that he hadn't used, so I used it in this dish

Monday-Tempura Whiting with steamed basmati rice and bok choy, we caught this whiting last week at Noosa North Shore, there is nothing like fresh fish

Wednesday-Prawn Stir fry

Thursday and Friday-Cheesy Chicken, Quinoa and Black Bean Bake with steamed broccoli

Over to you, Dear Reader, what do you choose to spend money on? What is important to you?

Have a lovely day


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 23 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Well, finally a much cooler change has breezed through and taken the stifling heat with it, I am hoping that is the end of our summer, I won't be sorry to see it go! We've even had a bit of rain which is a blessing. This past summer was particularly awful, with high temperatures and high humidity, although we are always a few degrees cooler, being on the coast, it was still the hottest summer I can remember for quite awhile.

With the heat settling down, I find myself feeling more motivated to get on with some big jobs that I have been putting off, such as clearing out, digging over and preparing the veggie pod for some new plantings and a really good tidy and clean up of outside. With two Aussie blokes in the house we seem to accumulate lots and lots of stuff, particularly fishing gear and storage for fishing gear. At the moment the outside looks like Tackle Land, in fact that's what I call the shed "Mark and Jake's Tackle Land". I am hoping that this weekend will see a big clean up and sort out.

Now on with what I have been up to on the frugal front-

1. Made the food stretch and used up all groceries before I went shopping again, we had a few items left over in the fridge and from camping and really wanted a clean slate before bringing in more food to the house. I get overwhelmed when there is too much food in the house, am I odd in feeling this way? I know plenty of people that feel completely the opposite.

2. Was gifted a big bag of magnificent passionfruit, it is the same variety as I grow, but mine isn't bearing at the moment, this variety of passionfruit is called Panama Gold and the pulp is super sweet.

3. Mixed the last of the worm castings into the veggie pod in preparation for new plantings, there must be heaps of seeds in the worm castings as there were lots of sprouted fruit and veggies seedlings in the mix, it will act as a green manure and improve the soil even more. The only remaining plants I have in the veggie pod now are 3 x Perennial Coriander or Mexican Coriander.

4. Packed my lunch every day

Yesterdays morning tea and lunch

5. Made sure all leftovers were eaten in a timely manner, I put any left overs front and centre in the fridge to make sure they are not overlooked. Love your leftovers

So that is my 5 frugal things, nothing amazing, just simple things that will save us money in the long and short term.

Has this cooler weather inspired you to have a bit of a tidy up? What is on your to-do list this weekend?

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Things I Have Learnt the Hard Way


The Start

Thursday, 22 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

We have a mammoth job ahead of us, clearing out my Mother in laws home, next door to us. There is absolutely no hurry and, in fact, I find it so overwhelming that up until now, we have done very little. We had started to clear out her bedroom, but came to a full and complete stop when we realised just how much stuff there was.

With help from a lovely lady (a family friend that used to clean for my Mother in Law) the bedroom has been cleared of all her clothes and shoes, it was a huge undertaking with boxes and boxes and then more boxes of clothes and shoes given away. My late Mother in law was a fashionista and always dressed beautifully. I am quite sure there were clothes that she hadn't even worn which is such a shame. Both my In-Laws were consumers and shoppers, even in ill health they seemed to acquire things/stuff/clothes on a regular basis.

My darling sister has always loved wrought iron furniture and a while ago I delivered a lovely outdoor table and chairs that belonged to my late In-Laws and she just loves it. I also took a bird bath up to her, as she has wanted one and as she doesn't have a cat, she can enjoy the birds in her garden. I know she will love and cherish these items from my late Mother in law.

My Sister and I with our Aunty Brenda just after Christmas

The lovely wrought iron outdoor setting

Those two items are just the tip of the iceberg, there is just so much stuff to go through, so many pieces of furniture and debris from their lives. It is almost as if I am frozen and can't move forward with this project, it just seems so insurmountable. I don't feel attached to any items in their home, in fact quite the opposite. I have no nostalgic or emotional ties to anything, which, I guess will be easier when the time comes to really start to getting serious about clearing out their home.

The amount of stuff left over from their lives, reinforces my belief in living a small and simple life, you can't take anything with you, there is no need for 100's of pairs of shoes, 50 pairs of trousers or multiple dinner, glassware and cutlery settings. You only have one life to live, make it one of simplicity and not about buying stuff. 

Have you been through something similar to this? How did you go about this huge undertaking? I look forward to your thoughts.

Have a lovely day,


Roast Sweet Potato and Chorizo Frittata

Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I really didn't feel like facing the shops last weekend, to do a grocery shop, having just arrived home from camping and as there was a few groceries to use up, this is one of the dinners I made with ingredients already in the house. I had taken the chorizo to use in a toasty or in an omelette while camping, well, neither of those occurred so those lovely chorizo came home with us, the other item that was left over from camping was the cubed sweet potato, I had take it to make a veggie curry that also didn't happen.

So I got those two stunning ingredients together along with 5 remaining eggs in the fridge and made a fabulous Sunday night dinner that was both delicious and easy. As always I roasted the Sweet Potato, it ramps up the flavour so much and doesn't take any more time or effort than steaming them.

-Firstly roast the Sweet Potato cubes in a little oil and salt and pepper until soft and just starting to turn golden.

Ingredients for Roast Sweet Potato and Chorizo Frittata, clockwise from top right-
350 grams of Sweet Potato roasted as above, 2 Chorizo, diced (I use the Aldi brand), 1 medium onion, finely diced, 5 eggs and 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander

Whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water until frothy

Heat a large, non stick, heavy based fry pan on medium heat and add a little oil. Sauté onion until just starting to colour

Add the ground cumin and coriander

And sauté for another minute or until fragrant

Now add the diced chorizo and sauté until the gorgeous flavoured oil from the chorizo starts to render out into the pan

Add the roasted sweet potato and gently stir to coat in all that wonderful spicy flavour

Still on medium heat, add the whisked eggs and let cook for a couple of minutes or until the edged are just set, pop under a hot grill to finish cooking, it will puff up and be golden on top when done

So deliciously easy

So out of a few left over ingredients, Sunday night dinner never looked so good or was so easy and there was no waste. SWEET!

What have you made out of left over ingredients that was a smash hit?

Have a lovely day