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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 31 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I've just had my first week of working less hours and I have to say, it's been lovely. I now work from 9am to 3.54pm, having an extra 1 1/2 hours at home in the morning. This week I focused on weeding the yard, doing about 45 minutes a day outside and it was wonderful. I still get up early as I am so used to it now, it's never easy but so worth it, I then empty the dishwasher and prepare our breakfasts then I head down to the computer and work on my blog for about 40 minutes. Then it's time for breakfast and I head outside.

Along with this time outside, I have been able to finish up the kitchen, leaving it really clean and ready for dinner prep, start and finish some washing and do a general tidy of the house before heading out the door for the working day. I just love it.

Having just a bit of extra time in the morning also makes me super aware not to waste any of it, I make a list of what I would like to achieve in that time and just get on with it. I do feel a little more tired as I am doing more, but I have been trying to get into bed a little earlier too, I don't want to start burning the candle at both ends, I want this to be as enjoyable and easy on my body as possible.

Now on with the frugal stuff-

1. Decluttered my wardrobe and dropped off the bag to a local op shop. Not really frugal but it felt good to have clothes that are either not flattering or getting a bit tatty in my wardrobe and draws. I am trying to channel William Morris who says "If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it :Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"

2. Caught the water while rinsing the Quinoa for this salad and used the water to keep some plants hydrated. 

3. Finally made a start on some new dog coats for our little woofs, I had bought some pyjama pants from a local op-shop a while ago, just for this purpose. Little Pippa's coat is so old but a really great design, so I took a pattern off it and started cutting out the coats last Sunday. I will show you the finished coats soon. 

4. Called into my local Coles and Woolworths on a few occasions to see if there were any marked down produce. Along with working less hours there will be less pay coming in, so we will have to be a little more savvy at stretching the grocery money. 

5. Rang Reserve (Salary sacrificing company) to finally and hopefully, once and for all, organise to include our health insurance as part of my salary sacrificing bundle. I have tried on 4 occasions to do this over the last year and each time I received conflicting advice on how best to do it. They are certainly not easy to deal with and you need time and patience to do so. With starting a little later I was able to ring and speak to them about it. Well, 5 rather lengthy phone calls later I hope I have started the ball rolling. Again with working less there will be less pay coming in so I need to make every cent work in my favour. 

Your turn, how did you save money this week?


Grocery Bargains

Thursday, 30 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

A little while ago I hinted about a dilemma I am facing at the moment. I stumbled upon a Facebook group called "Markdown Addicts Australia" and yes it is exactly what the title implies. People post their latest haul of grocery markdowns. Some of the markdowns are just amazing, like 90% off, I have never seen anything like that where I live or maybe I am just not at the shops at the right time (or not at all really).

I feel you would have to be passionate to go late at night, to get those kinds of discounts. Now my dilemma is this, while it is great to get wonderful discounts, all of the food is over packaged in lots of plastic and a lot of it is over processed as well. Many pre-marinated meats, pre-packed salads, and battered or crumbed meat products that we just don't eat.

So what I've been doing of late is popping up to my local Coles and Woolworths, late in the afternoon, two days during the week and once or twice on the weekend, to see if there is anything worth while bringing home. So far this is what I've found-

2 x 4 packs of Pain au Chocolate at 1.05 each, 1 bunch of Watercress at 50c and and a small bunch of Spinach for 97C

A two pack of little gem lettuce for 80c, 2 x 6 packs of Beef Sausages for $7.50 and a 2 kg bag of Potatoes for $1.30

A Brioche loaf for $2.50 and a 500 ml container of Butter Milk for $1.50

Almost 900 grams of Blade Steak for $8.72

A loaf of Seed Bread for $1.45, a packet of Lebanese bread for 64c and a bag of organic lemons for 90c

Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of markdowns, just not on food we choose to eat. I find my local Coles do not mark down very often but the Woolworths just down the road from me, do, they even have 3 designated areas for marked down produce, in the fruit and veg, the meat and the dairy sections.

I return all the scrunchy plastics that the food comes wrapped in to my local Coles for recycling through Recycle, and the trays/containers, both plastic and foil, were popped into our recycling bin, so I don't feel too bad about it. I know and understand that recycling is also not the answer and this is where my dilemma lies. What's a girl to do, save the environment or save money on groceries? It would appear you can't do both.

I would love to know your thoughts on this subject, join in.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Simple Salmon, Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder
Two Years Ago-Home Made Vanilla Essence

Home Made White Oil

Wednesday, 29 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

It's been quite a while since I had a really good look about the garden, since selling most of my potted plants there hasn't been the need for me to go out into the garden and just potter. Because it had been so very dry, for so long, all I've been doing is keeping the water up to the few plants I had left, really not paying much attention to them at all. We did get some much welcomed rain over the weekend, but we need lots more to fill the tanks.

I had noticed that the lime tree has quite a few gall wasp nodes, citrus leaf miner and is full of flowers, but as I will be moving it shortly into the soon to be established raised garden I thought I wouldn't worry about those problems as I will be giving it a really good cut back. Unfortunately when I do that I will probably loose all of this coming seasons fruit. C'est la Vie.

What I had missed completely was that the poor lemon tree was full of black citrus aphid and citrus leaf miner. What a mess. I went to grab my natural white oil (Eco Oil) but the lid had seized on the glass jar I had decanted it into. The original plastic bottle that it had come in, was that old that it had perished, anyway, even with lovely hubby trying to unscrew the lid and then boiling water poured over the lid, no amount of muscle power would budge it. So unfortunately the jar and its contents went into the bin.

I then remembered a segment on my favourite show "Gardening Australia" showing how Jerry makes his own white oil for pests like scale and aphids. So I hit the "Gardening Australia" site and found the recipe. It is easy and very economical to make.

Here's how I made it-

Ingredients for Home Made White Oil, from left-1 cup cooking oil to 1/2 a cup of dish washing liquid.

Pop into a jar with a tight fitting lid

And shake, shake, shake

Label both the jar and a clean 1 litre spray bottle

Pour 1 tablespoon of the concentrated white oil into the 1 litre spray bottle and top up with water.

Now, use this horticulture white oil to spray over the affected foliage. A word of warning though, as there is oil in the spray, do not spray plants in the heat of the day, when temperatures are expected to be over 30 C, you will cook your plant.

Have a lovely day,


Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food Week 5-Curry Week

Tuesday, 28 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I so enjoyed the Jamie Oliver, Ministry of Food again this year and I have some great new recipes, hints and tricks to add to my repertoire. The teachers/educators are all super lovely, encouraging and very good at what they do. I think they must come from a teacher background and are then trained in all things Jamie Oliver.

It is a very well oiled machine, we have 1 1/2 hours from go to whoa each week and often there is another class starting just after ours, so the kitchen is reset each time, as good as new, in preparation for the next class. I think it is very good value for money, $20 a week, $100 in total. And you get to take home a very generous meal you've cooked at the end of each week.

Here is a little snippet of the video they play at the end of the last week, Jamie Oliver encouraging you to spread the love a bit more and share the recipes you've learnt. 

So, here I am, doing exactly that, sharing the love of another wonderfully easy recipe. The final week was all about curry, we made Jamie's Chicken Rendang and homemade Chapati. Delicious, easy and quick.

You start out by making a super easy curry paste, just 7 ingredients 

2 onions, 2 large thumb sized pieces of ginger, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 bunch of coriander (twist off the stems and save the green tops for later)  2 red chillies, 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon. Roughly chop the onions, ginger, garlic, chillies and the stems of the coriander, then blitz them in a food processor until smooth. Now add the turmeric and cinnamon, give the curry paste a really good stir and set aside until needed

Seal the chicken thighs (450 grams, cut into 3 cm chunks) in a hot pan, then remove it to a bowl. Now add the wonderfully fragrant curry paste to a pan on medium low heat, sauté for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. 

Return the sealed chicken to the pan along with one can of coconut milk, bring to the boil, turn heat down to low and let blip away for 30 minutes until reduced and thickened.

During that time, pop the rice on and make your simple Chapati's. 

In a bowl combine 250 grams of wholemeal flour, 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and 150 ml of tepid water. Use a fork to bring the dough together in the bowl

Then knead on a floured surface till smooth

Portion chapati dough into 12 equal pieces, roll each potion out until super thin, turning and flouring as needed

Heat a medium sized fry pan, on medium heat, add a chapati, cook around 2 minutes a side until cooked through

Don't be tempted to overcook them, they will lose their unique flexibility 

We served our curry with the chapati's, steamed basmati rice, chopped coriander, lime wedges, extra chilli and sautéed lemon and garlic spinach 

It was a wonderful end to a great class, we all sat down for a "family" meal at the end of the class. This chicken curry is full of flavour, the meat is fall apart tender and the chapati's make an excellent accompaniment. 

We made a half portion of this recipe at the class, but it was still ample for the 2 of us with one little bowl of leftovers.

Over to you, do you have a favourite Jamie Oliver recipe?

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Simple Things
Two Years Ago-Goan Fish Curry

Mocha Self Saucing Pudding

Monday, 27 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I have wanted to make a heart warming pudding for ages now, and with winter almost at an end I thought it was high time I did exactly that. Lovely Meg from A Hopeful Nature and Cheryl from A Simply Good Life gave me a prod along to make one of these magic puddings, as they had both made a self saucing pudding recently.

I love coffee, I love the smell of it and the taste of it, unfortunately it doesn't like me quite so much, it makes my mouth dry, makes me feel wired and weird and gives me heart palpitations but I thought just a little bit in a pudding shouldn't hurt me too much.

And of course chocolate also loves coffee, so I thought I would make a mocha flavour of one of these delightfully easy self saucing puddings. It's a bit of kitchen magic that makes all the liquid you pour over the "cake" part of the pudding and turns it into a gorgeous sauce to swath the light as air pudding . Have I convinced you to make one yet? But wait, there's more. It is so, so, so easy to make, two bowls, one, whisk, one spoon/spatula, a bit of mixing, boil the kettle, mix the liquid, pour it over and bake. Too easy.

Ingredients for Mocha Self Saucing Pudding, clockwise from top left-
1 cup SR flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup castor sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder + 2 extra tablespoons for the sauce, 70 grams butter, melted, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon instant coffee and 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180 C. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the SR flour and coco powder making sure there are no lumps

Now add the caster sugar and mix again

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and melted butter together

Add wet to dry ingredients

And mix well until all incorporate

In a jug, mix together 1 1/2 cups boiling water with the extra 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, the instant coffee and the brown sugar, whisk well until dissolved

Pour and scrape pudding mixture into a suitable, greased, shallow casserole dish, I used a pie dish, measuring 27 cm in diameter and 4.5 cm high

Pour liquid, over the back of a large spoon, over the pudding

And bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until pudding is just set. Don't cook it too long or there will be no sauce left

Serve piping hot with vanilla ice-cream

We finished all but one little bowl of this gorgeous little pudding on Saturday night, any left overs will be less sauce-y as the sponge absorbs it as it cools, so right there is a reason to have seconds!

Make it tonight while it is still cold outside.

Have a magic Monday


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 26 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for some rainfall at last. It was truly wonderful to hear the rain on Friday night, a sound we haven't heard in months.

And this morning I woke up to the sound of gentle rain on the roof, it's not heavy, just enough to settle the dust, but, it's rain, at last.

Now, if only our poor farmers could get some much needed rain.

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, 25 August 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

We seem to ebb and flow with the amount of meat we eat here at chez Stay Home Instead. This week we've had less meat than previous weeks, eating two fish and one veggie based meal to round out the week. I will happily go without meat but do crave it every now and then, and as we've been eating less meat on the whole, over the last few years, lovely hubby is happy to eat a veggie based meal once a week. I guess it's just what your body gets used to.

We had one of our favourite meals this week, which is tempura whiting with rice and asian greens, lovely hubby mentioned during dinner that we hadn't had it in ages, I replied, no, that's impossible as we seem to have it most weeks. So, I looked back over my diary and sure enough we hadn't actually had it since April!!! I couldn't believe it. Our son and lovely partner have been doing a lot of fishing lately, catching lots of winter whiting and taylor, so he went and checked how many trays of whiting were in the freezer, there are 14 feeds of whiting there waiting for us. Looks like this dish will be on the menu every week for a while.

What we bought
Shopping from Aldi

Shopping from Coles

What we spent
Coles-$18.25 + $6.00 for 2 bunches of asian greens, as we had forgotten to add them to the Sunday shop

What we ate
Friday-Jamie's Chicken Rendang, I had made this on the previous night at the last Jamie Oliver MOF

Saturday-Dinner out at Kiyomi

Sunday-Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara with Spaghetti (I forgot to take a photo, so this is one from the archives)we didn't have any green veg with this pasta only the garlic butter loaf below

Monday-Goan Fish Curry with steamed Basmati rice, greek yoghurt, chutney and papadums

Wednesday-Tempura Whiting with steamed Basmati rice and Bok Choy

Thursday-Mexican Sweet Potato Wraps

Now it's your turn, hit me with what was on your family table this week AND what was this weeks best grocery buy?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Broccoli Salad