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What is Right and What is Wrong?

Monday, 30 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,


Sorry for the hijacking of this blog post today, it was supposed to be a fabulous recipe for Cheesy Baked Pasta, but yesterday was just a schmozzle, so I just didn't get any time to devote to my blog. I try and spend an hour or so every Sunday, getting all my ducks in row, blog post wise, for the week ahead, but for lots of reasons it just didn't happen yesterday.

I will ask this question though-What is right and what is wrong with my blog?

I would like genuine feedback as to the content of my blog, as I seem to have stalled in the attracting new followers (not that it is my main aim) but I often wonder if everyone is sick to death of the topics I write about. Readership is up, but commenting by readers is at an all time low, making me think that I must be doing something wrong. I would really like to know if this blog, the way I write and the content is relatable or is it now not keeping up?

Am I too personal?
Am I too repetitive?
Do I write too often?
Am I just another frugal living person with not too much new to write about?
Is the content boring?
Should I stop writing about what I am thankful for?
What do you like to read about?
Do I post too many photo's?

I know, so many questions, I am still enjoying this blogging business but I do feel that I must be missing the target somehow.

I would really like some feedback as to how I can improve the reading quality of this blog, go ahead make my day!

One Year Ago-How I freeze herbs to prevent waste
Two Years Ago-What we don't buy

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Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 29 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

.

Today I am grateful that my family and I have all been lucky enough to be employed or self-employed, all of our lives. I stayed in my first job (Pharmacy Assistant) for 20 years before studying and obtaining a Cert III in Aged Care, I later studied and obtained a Cert IV in Allied Health which then gained me the position I have today. I work in a Rehabilitation Unit as an Allied Health Assistant to Physiotherapists.

Lovely hubby started a trade certificate as a mechanic but a major illness when he was 18 (Syringomyelia) stopped that in its tracks. Once he recovered, he worked in his parents business for many years (Pallet Manufacturing), when they sold the business he stayed on for another 12 years working with the new owner. Later he studied and obtained a Massage Therapy Degree and has had his own business for over 20 years. He now works part time due to another major illness in 2009, subcontracting to our son who now owns and runs the Massage Practice. Our son studied and obtained his Massage Therapy Degree in 2008 and he also is a partner in another Massage Therapy Practice where he works one day a week.

Our daughter studied to be a Dental Assistant but soon lost interest as the head Dentist was difficult to work for, she applied for a job at Health World (a leading Australian supplement company) and stayed there for 5 years before turning her artistic hand to a Tattoo Apprenticeship. She and her partner now own and run a very popular and busy Tattoo Studio in Cairns and are both very passionate about their art.


What are you grateful for today?

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Sunny Side Up Sunday

Hello Dear Reader,

.

Today I am grateful that my family and I have all been lucky enough to be employed or self-employed, all of our lives. I stayed in my first job (Pharmacy Assistant) for 20 years before studying and obtaining a Cert III in Aged Care, I later studied and obtained a Cert IV in Allied Health which then gained me the position I have today. I work in a Rehabilitation Unit as an Allied Health Assistant to Physiotherapists.

Lovely hubby started a trade certificate as a mechanic but a major illness when he was 18 (Syringomyelia) stopped that in its tracks. Once he recovered, he worked in his parents business for many years (Pallet Manufacturing), when they sold the business he stayed on for another 12 years working with the new owner. Later he studied and obtained a Massage Therapy Degree and has had his own business for over 20 years. He now works part time due to another major illness in 2009, subcontracting to our son who now owns and runs the Massage Practice. Our son studied and obtained his Massage Therapy Degree in 2008 and he also is a partner in another Massage Therapy Practice where he works one day a week.

Our daughter studied to be a Dental Assistant but soon lost interest as the head Dentist was difficult to work for, she applied for a job at Health World (a leading Australian supplement company) and stayed there for 5 years before turning her artistic hand to a Tattoo Apprenticeship. She and her partner now own and run a very popular and busy Tattoo Studio in Cairns and are both very passionate about their art.


What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 28 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Work seemed a breeze this week, with only 4 days at work thanks to the ANZAC day public holiday, ANZAC day fell on a Wednesday this year and I was so grateful for the day off in the middle of the week. I wish all weeks were like that, 2 days work, 1 day off, then another 2 days and, voila the weekend is upon you. It's amazing what that does to your attitude.

I have another short week next week too, I have requested Thursday and Friday off in preparation for leaving the following Monday for my "Beautiful Bordeaux" river cruise with my darling sister. I am starting to get very excited indeed. I think I have everything I need, clothes, shoes and toiletries wise, so now it is just a matter of packing those items up over next weekend and making sure I come in under the 23 kg baggage limit. Although with scenic you are allowed 30 kg I noticed that one of the flights only allows 23 kg with charges applied if you exceed this amount. When we travelled to Alaska last year my bag only weighed 19 kg and I am taking very similar items of clothing so I don't think I will have any problems.

On the food front, for the coming week I will be making double quantities of some dinners to freeze down so the family have a few meals in the freezer while I am away. Our beautiful Daughter is coming down to do a couple of weeks of Guest Spotting at another Tattoo Studio, to re-introduce herself down here in Brisbane. I will be away for most of it but at least I get to spent some time with her this coming week, before I leave on my holiday.
Now on with what we bought, spent and ate this week-

What we bought
Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn and Coles

Shopping from Aldi

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$24.65
Coles-$11.30 + $13.62 later in the week for chocolate chips, a deodorant and a red onion (not pictured)
Aldi-$93.90

TOTAL-$144.47, another week under budget!YES!

What we ate

Friday-Left over Chicken Curry

Saturday-Stir Fried Prawns

Sunday-Bacon Carbonara with Linguini

Monday-Fish Curry

Tuesday and Wednesday-Cheesy Meatball Skillet with Fine Egg Noodles

Thursday-Cheesy Baked Pasta, I will post this recipe on Monday

Lots of cheese, curry, pasta and cream action this week, quite indulgent but very delicious, just what the cooler weather calls for. Over to you, what was the eats at your place this week?

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

0

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 27 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I read lots of blogs that have a similar theme to mine, live simply, frugally and without waste, while trying to be kind to the environment. It's not a hard life, maybe a little more time heavy, but to me it is worth it. I think living small and frugally the majority of the time, tallies up to major money saving at the end of the day. Meaning, it's the small stuff you do the majority of the time that makes the difference.

Plodding away slowly and purposely, with eyes on the bigger picture, is how I would describe my life. I don't go shopping just for fun, I am careful with our water usage, I use things up and wear them out, I buy second hand where I can, we eat at home, I pack a lunch everyday and make sure there is always something in the fridge for the boys lunches, I listen to music for free using Spotify, I don't go to the cinema, I walk and ride for free exercise, I clean the house with home made cleaners, I think about every purchase I make, I menu plan and use up all leftovers, I compost and feed the worm farm with the fruit and veggie scraps, I take the plastic food wrap I can't avoid with food packaging to Coles for recycling, I spend most of my days at home when I am not at work and I love all of it.

This week I saved money and was kind to the environment by-

1. Used our tank water to water the garden and plants in pots


2. Fed the compost bin the fruit and veggie scraps plus paper and cardboard household waste


3. Packed my lunch every day for work-today's lunch is a fruit bun (frozen hot cross bun without the cross) left over from Easter, which I will toast and have with honey for morning tea and lunch is an egg salad with Aioli and my one piece of dark chocolate.


4. Line dried all the washing, I don't think there is anything nicer than sliding in between clean sheets after a big day.


5. Spent ANZAC day at home, cleaning, de-cluttering and tidying


Over to you, how would you describe your life? And what did you do to save money this week?

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

One Year Ago-Water Kefir
6

Banana and Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, 26 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,


A couple of weeks ago I had an over abundance of very ripe bananas, so I mashed them and froze them down into 4 banana portions. Then over the weekend I had a hankering for something chocolate-y and sweet, I know-Chocolate Banana Muffins. I went searching for a recipe that involved both of these ingredients and found quite a few on line, so I took the best from a few of these recipes and made my own version of the classic Chocolate-Banana Muffins.


These muffins are smooth, dense and very chocolaty with just a hint of banana. I think the mashed banana makes the texture like velvet and of course like all muffin recipes it is super simple. Prepare two bowls, one of dry and one of wet ingredients then get the two of them together, lastly mix in the chocolate chips plus one diced banana and you have just created magic.

Ingredients for Banana and Chocolate Muffins, clockwise from far left-4 smallish mashed bananas weighing approximately 300 grams (give or take), 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, 1 medium banana, diced, 2 teaspoons vanilla essence, 1 3/4 cups plain flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup oil and 2 eggs

In a large bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, salt and baking powder, whisk to aerate and break up any lumps, alternately you can sieve the dry ingredients 

To a medium sized bowl, add the eggs, oil, mashed banana and vanilla essence

Whisk until light and fluffy

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients 

And lightly whisk to incorporate, don't over mix

Now gently fold in the diced banana and dark chic chips 

And gently incorporate

Spoon mixture evenly into 12 muffin or cup cake wrappers

And bake for 5 minutes at 220C then turn heat down to 175C and cook for a further 11 minutes or until just cooked

Dense and dark

With just a hint of banana

I love these muffins, big time, such a pleasure to eat with a cuppa, they are just sweet enough and even though there is quite a lot of banana in the mixture, the flavour is more chocolatey then banana-ry with a wonderful moist (sorry, there's that word), dense texture. Muffin Heaven.

Make them, love them, watch them disappear.

What other word can you use instead of "moist"?

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

6

Asian Chilli Relish

Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,


As I have mentioned before, I read and collect recipes at any given opportunity and over the years have collected quite the stash. I have also sorted, re-visited and re-evaluate these recipes, to no avail, I still have way too many, yet I hold on to them and also keep collecting them. Last Sunday, after I had been out in the garden, I had a flick though one of the big folders that I keep some of the loose pages of recipes in and I am so glad I did, a few things leapt out at me. I have an abundance of Lemons, Limes and Chillies at the moment so the recipes that caught my eye were all about this abundance.

I would like to tell where I got todays recipe from, but I had cut and pasted the original recipe leaving only the recipe details with no authors or cook books name. What I can tell you though, is it's a corker. Sweet, salty and, of course, hot, such wonderful flavours and textures that would be divine with a good steak, added to a stir fry or just with cheese and crackers.

It is simplicity itself, made even easier with by a food processor doing the finer chopping, although I did remove all the seeds and membranes (please use gloves) it certainly wasn't hard or too time consuming. Then just bung all the ingredients into a saucepan, bring it to a boil and let it blip away for 10 minutes or so, giving it a good stir every now and then, let it cool and then jar it up. This quality made one good sized jar, but the recipe could easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many chillies you have to use up.

Ingredients for Asian Chilli Relish, clockwise from far left, 120 grams of chillies, whatever variety you grow, 2 tablespoon oil (I use Rice Bran oil for everything) 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup water, 1 red onion and 3 cloves garlic

Halve and deseed the chillies and roughly chop the garlic and red onion

Throw the chillies, red onion and garlic in the bowl of a food processor

And blitz until you have reached a "small chunks" size. If using a Thermomix, blitz 5 seconds speed 5 then scrap down the sides and blitz again for 5 seconds on speed 4

Now add all ingredients to a medium sized saucepan, on high heat and cook for 10 minutes or so until reduced by half

Then reduce heat to low and let blip away for another 5 minutes or so until thick and sticky

Jar up

Let cool and then pop on the lid

You can use this relish immediately but like most relishes it will improve with time. The sugars in this relish should make it keep well for at least a month but I don't think it will last that long, it is that delicious!

Over to you, how do you preserve your abundance from your garden?

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

5

Two Ingredient Naan Bread

Tuesday, 24 April 2018
Hello Dear Reader,


Last week, when I made this wonderful Mulligatawny Soup, I wanted to have some fresh bread with it but knew that I wouldn't have the time to make a loaf, so I went online in search of a quick bread to serve with it. I really didn't know what I was searching for but when this great little recipe showed up, I thought "that's absolutely perfect". A very quick and easy bread to make with only two ingredients and best of all, I had those two ingredients already at home and I'll bet you do too.

So the magic ingredients are-SR flour and Greek or Natural Yoghurt, see nothing special but get those two together, give it some love in the form of a good knead, a good roll out and some heat from a fry pan and voila, almost instant Naan Bread. I made this Naan bread two nights in a row because it was so good but on the second night I invested some more ingredients and was rewarded with an even better tasting Naan bread. On the second night I added 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of Nigella seeds, I also made a quick garlic butter to brush over the Naan as they cooked, holy moly, really quick, Garlic Naan Bread-even better!

So here is the quickest, easiest most delicious bread you will ever make-

Ingredients for Two Ingredients Naan Bread, 260 gram SR flour and 200 grams of Greek or Natural Yoghurt. I would encourage you though to include 1 teaspoon each of salt and nigella seeds plus make a simple garlic butter by melting 20 grams of butter with 1 clove of garlic, sliced and a good grind of salt on low heat for about 10 minutes. So technically it is 5 ingredient Naan Bread!

Knead the ingredients in a bowl until it just starts coming together, it may seem like it will never come together, but believe me, it does

Then turn out onto a lightly floured bench or board 

And give it a good knead for 5 minutes or so

Roll out into a longish sausage shape

And divide into 6 pieces, you don't need to be precise, rustic is good

Cover with a damp cloth for 10 minutes to rest

Then roll out with a floured rolling pin into longish ovals, again, no precision needed. Roll them out, not too thin and not too thick

Heat a heavy based, non stick frypan to medium high heat, brush with a little oil and add two Naan breads at a time

Cook them for 2 minutes a side, once the first side is cooked, brush the top with the melted garlic butter and keep warm on a platter as you cook the rest of the Naan

This is the second batch of Naan Bread I made with the Nigella seed, such wonderful flavour

Brushed with garlic butter and ready to be devoured

Give them a whirl tonight!

Have a lovely day
💗Fi

One Year Ago-No post today
Two Years Ago-Fruit and Spice Loaf (also a wonderful Hot Cross Bun recipe)
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