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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 30 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned yesterday, the boys are away up north on a fishing charter, lovely hubby messaged me  this morning to say they were back at the port and were starting to pack up the truck for the long drive home, they should be home some time late this afternoon. And wow, what a difference on the food front this week, with two hungry men out of the picture. I haven't had to cook very much at all this week, which was a lovely change. I have an inkling that this is what our typical week may be like once and son and partner move next door full time. Cook once and eat twice or even thrice!

I made Slow Cooker Pork and Beans on Sunday and that did us for two nights plus one meal for the freezer, then I cooked Salmon, Corn and Potato Chowder and again that stretched to two nights with a couple of bowls for lunches. Then on Thursday I made Thai Roasted Salmon with Coconut Rice, there was some of the rice left over and that has been frozen down to go towards another meal sometime.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of what we bought this week, lovely hubby always takes the photos for me after he has done the shopping, I am sure he would have taken then photos, but as he is away I don't have access to his phone camera๐Ÿ˜”I do have the dockets though.

What we bought
Northside Discount Fruit Barn

Marjax Meats



What we spent 
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$19.55
Marjax Meats-$11.30


What we ate

Saturday-It was just me for dinner and I had a bowl of leftover Beef and Black Beans and steamed Basmati rice from earlier in the week

Sunday and Monday-Slow Cooker Pork and Beans with Chorizo and steamed Broccolini

Tuesday and Wednesday-Salmon, Corn and Potato Chowder

Thursday-Thai Roasted Salmon with Coconut Rice and Pak Choy with Oyster Sauce

So a week of not a lot of cooking action and lots of leftovers used up! I just love it. What was on your menu this week? Does your menu change when certain family members come and go?

Have a lovely day

Two Years Ago-Drunken Chicken

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 29 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Another week down and only one week to go until I am on long service leave, but who's counting? We've had a bit of a different week here at Chez Stay Home Instead, the boys are away on their fishing trip up north and our Daughter and her Partner are down here doing some guest spotting at another studio to reintroduce themselves down here in Brisbane. That meant two family members out and two in. It has been no bother though, the kids are easy to have around, in fact I have barely seen them, with all of us working full time.

I have kept the home fire burning for them, having dinner ready when they get home and keeping up with the laundry, you know all those things that they would normally have to face when they get home. They work very long days so I don't mind smoothing their way a bit.

Now on with the frugal things-

1. Froze down some bread ends to start some breadcrumbs off again. I had used up my stash of fresh breadcrumbs in the freezer a few weeks ago, for fish burgers, while having a good old clear out and clean up of the freezer. I have stored the bread ends in this fabulous little soft flexible sealable pouch. It's called the stasherbag and I received it from "The Mighty Fix" when I used to have a subscription with them a while ago.

2. Chopped and froze down some fresh dill I had bought to make this wonderful Salmon, Corn and Potato Chowder, it did us two nights with 2 bowls left over for lunches.

3. Portioned out and froze down some more tomato paste to prevent waste. I had actually forgotten that I had already portioned some out a few weeks previous, well they were still there in the ice cube tray, albeit a bit dry looking, ready to store away in a sealed container in the freezer. 

4. Made some baked goods out of 2 x 3 frozen mashed bananas I found in the freezer while clearing it out. I made Banana, Walnut and Sultana Bread and a Banana, Chocolate and Date Loaf.

5. Fed, turned and watered the compost bin with all the fruit and veggie scraps as well as all the waste paper products from the home. I also add the shredded paper from the office. My compost seems to be doing well, it smells like a rainforest, I will empty this compost into the new gardens when we set them up.

Your turn, what frugal things happened in your home this week?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-What we ate this week

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Thursday, 28 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

This song lyric came into my head yesterday while thinking of what to write for todays blog post, I actually had never listened to the whole song before, so I googled the original song, which was written and sung by Slim Dusty. The lyrics really don't reflect what I feel, I mean, obviously I am not a song writer for starters, however, I feel there is a connection with those lyrics.

I am at the stage in my life were I can see where I've been and where I want to go. I am healthy, thank goodness and intend to stay that way. I know from working in a Rehabilitation Unit for many years that you can be an amazing 90 year old or a not so amazing 60 year old. It isn't always in your control, genetics, lifestyle choices or just plain bad luck can bring your plans and your life undone very swiftly. I would love to be one of those amazing 90 (or 100) years olds, still living a simple life, staying active and eating well and with my memory in tact.

My own parents died very young, they were both in their 60's, Mum from a stroke and Dad from Cardio Myopathy, both drew the short straw in the longevity stakes and I still struggle with their absence in my life. I quite often think about what they would be like today and what they would think of how crazy this world has become today. They instilled in us a strong work ethic and that family always comes first, I will always be grateful for these two important life lessons.

We have instilled these same virtues into our, now adult, children and I hope and pray that their own dreams and aspirations come to fruition. We'll be there, of course, to support them in their own journeys to make a happy life for themselves, trying to smooth the way where we can and give solace when we can't.

I am looking forward to a few things in the near future-creating a new bountiful, abundant garden before Spring, packing up my late MIL home to make way for our Son and Partner to move in, to make it their own, having a week away with my hubby to celebrate our 31st Wedding Anniversary in early August and our Daughter and Partner moving down to Redcliffe to build their dream home and set up their business down here. All the little ducks are lining up and I am so happy to have things moving along after feeling like I was stagnating for so long.

As Slim says,

There are strange days
Full of change on the way
But we'll be fine, unlike some
I'll be leaning forward, to see what's coming

Looking Forward, Looking Back, what do these lyrics mean to you?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Tuesday Afternoon Bargains
Two Years Ago-Sorting the Seeds


Banana, Walnut and Sultana Bread

Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been on a mission to clear out my freezer of little bits and bobs I froze down to prevent waste. I had 2 lots of mashed frozen bananas, the first one went in yesterday’s recipe of Banana, Date and Chocolate Loaf and the other lot went into this superb Banana, Walnut and Sultana Bread. I say bread because it is a yeasted bread instead of a cake like bread. I have to tell you it is just wonderful, fresh or toasted. It has a light soft texture and an almost caramel-y flavour due to the sultanas and the subtle sweetness of the bananas. I made a free form loaf but you could pop it into a bread tin to give it more of a cafe style look, once it is sliced. 

I have been having this delicious bread, toasted, with home made peanut butter and sliced banana on top for morning tea, it is altogether delicious. I used my Thermomix to knead the dough but it could easily be made by hand or a bread maker. If using the Thermomix add the roasted walnuts and sultanas in the last minute of kneading so they don’t get smashed to smithereens. 

This is how I made it-

Ingredients for Banana, Walnut and Sultana Bread, clockwise from centre top-
3 teaspoons of instant dried yeast, 3 1/2 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 40 grams of butter, melted, 1/2 cup of sultana's, 3/4 cup of milk, warmed, 1/2 cup of walnuts, roasted in the oven for 10 minutes and 2 large or 3 small, mashed bananas. (Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together to evenly disperse everything)

In the bowl of the TM add the yeast and warm (not hot) milk, mix on speed 2 for 1 minute

Let sit for 10 minutes or so until nicely bubbled and frothy

Now add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt mixture and the mashed bananas, knead for 5 minutes

Place the sultanas and roasted walnuts around the MC (measuring cup) on the lid

Then remove the MC and let the sultanas and walnut gently fall into the dough, using the movement of the TM, for the last minute of kneading

The dough will be slightly sticky but coming away from the TM bowl after 6 minutes of kneading

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour

By this time it will be doubled in size

Scrape onto a floured surface and stretch out into a long oval shape

Roll dough up from the short end into a tight loaf, tucking the ends under 

Slash with panache and brush with milk

Let it rise again for about 30 minutes, then bake in a 200 C oven for 10 minutes before lowering temperature to 180 C for the last 20 minutes of baking

I love this loaf, it is not too sweet and is wonderful sliced fresh or toasted, it is full of goodness and your kitchen will smell divine. Make it today.

Have a lovely day,


Banana, Date and Chocolate Loaf

Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

 I have been slowly cleaning out bits and bobs from my freezer that have been hanging out for far too long. The inspiration for this clear out came from the lovely Kristen over at "The Frugal Girl" where she has been doing exactly that, clearing out her deep freeze. Now I don't have a deep freeze, I just have a normal freezer (the bottom 1/4 of the fridge) I find that big enough as we shop weekly and don't tend to bulk buy many things that require freezing.

What I do however is pop food in the freezer to prevent waste, such things as very ripe bananas, milk, herbs, cheese, yoghurt, sour cream, fresh breadcrumbs and the like. So over the last few weeks I have been using those items up and now my freezer is looking a whole lot clearer and cleaner. Amongst all of those frozen tid bits were 2 x 3 small mashed bananas, mashed in well sealed containers. I find bananas frozen this way perfect for cakes, they are as good as the day they went into the freezer, there is a little discolouration but that is totally fine for baked goods.

So I decide to make a banana cake, I also had some chocolate chips in the pantry begging to be used as well as 2 big jars of dates, now that got me thinking. Mmm Banana, Date and Chocolate, what a winning combination. So that's what I made. I soaked the chopped dates with a little hot water and bicarb to soften them and then drained them before adding them to the loaf mixture, it worked a treat. The loaf is soft and moist (there's that word) with a scattering of dark chocolate throughout. It is also super simple coming together with just one bowl and spoon. Make it today.

Ingredients for Banana, Dates and Chocolate Loaf, clockwise from top right- 1 1/2 cups of SR flour, 2 large or 3 small bananas, mashed, 50 grams of dates, chopped and soaked with 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb  of soda and enough boiling water to cover, soak for about 10 minutes then drain well, 100 grams of butter, melted, 1/3 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 100 grams of dark chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of brown sugar

Firstly preheat oven to 175 C and oil and line with baking paper a 24 cm x 12 cm x 6 cm loaf tin. Then in a large bowl, add the mashed bananas and brown sugar

And mix well to combine

Then add the melted butter and milk and again mix well to combine

Now add the SR flour, well drained chopped dates and chocolate chips

And mix gently but thoroughly so no streaks of flour remain

Pour and scrap into a prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 to 35 minutes at 175 C, as always every oven is different so please check your loaf every now and then. Also if you are using a different size loaf tin (narrower and taller) the time will vary.

There you have it, a super simple, but oh so delicious, loaf that will use up any sad bananas hanging about in your freezer or fruit bowl. 

What do you freeze to prevent waste in your home?

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Shepherdess Pie

Keeping It Real or is that Reel?

Monday, 25 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Take a look at this little video, welcome to my world-

Do you live with boys? How do you cope when their lives spill out into every area of the house?

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Easy Beef Rendang
Two Years Ago-No Post Today (Still in Norfolk Island)

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 24 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful, again, for the kindness of my readers, I received a lovely package in the mail on Friday, but I didn't open it until after lunch, yesterday, delayed gratification at its best. I did know this gift was on its way, as lovely Katrina had offered to knit me some dish cloths, well along with those lovingly hand made dish cloths were some hand warmers and a fabulous treat of New Zealand Chocolate.

I am so touched by this gesture and know I will just love using those dish cloths as well as the hand warmers and of course the special chocolate with a lovely warm cup of tea. Thank you Katrina, you made my weekend.

I am blessed and lucky, thank you Katrina.

Have a wonderful Sunday,

Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 23 June 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I must admit to feeling a bit low at the moment, it's not just one thing in particular, but I think it may be a combination of a heavy work load, a messy house and yard and the lack of afternoon sun on my face when I walk the little dogs. I find I am also missing my sewing, I haven't done any quilting for so long and I really believe having a creative outlet really helps to round out your life.

To address the messy house situation, well what can I say, I live with two fishermen and this week they have been preparing for a fishing charter that they left for this morning at stupid O'Clock. Our lounge room looks like a Tackle Shop, I wish I was kidding. I think they have bought in every fishing rod and piece of fishing tackle they own to sort out what they want to take with them, holy fish, what a mess. I know that it will be eventually cleaned up but it really looks terrible.

And the other thing that is really bothering me at the moment is the mess I look out onto everyday with the garden reno's. I know I just have to put up with it, but again it is such a mess add to that that the boys have really relaxed and let things go outside, they have just left their gear where ever they feel like it. Mess attracts mess I think and once one piece of fishing gear is left on the outside table it attracts more. Boo Hoo!

Let it go, let it go, let it go! That is what I keep telling myself, it will eventually be tidy again, one day, maybe!

Now on with the food-

What we bought
Fruit and Veg from Northside Discount Fruit Barn

Meat from Marjax Meats

Shopping from Aldi

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$45.20
Marjax Meats-$70.70

TOTAL-$213.87, mmm, yes well, all that meat!

What we ate

Saturday-Fish Burgers

Sunday-Slow Cooked BBQ Pork with Warm Potato, Lemon and Parsley Salad

Monday-More Slow Cooked BBQ Pork with Herby Mashed Potato and Sauerkraut 

Tuesday-BBQ Chicken (cooked on Sunday) with Creamy Potato Bake with Garlic, Spring Onions and Cheese and steamed Broccolini

Wednesday-Beef and Black Bean Stir Fry with steamed Basmati rice

Thursday-Beef Ragu with Angle Hair Pasta

Your turn, what did you make this week?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today (Norfolk Island)