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Cleaning the Kitchen Sink

Wednesday, 31 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I have quite a ridged house cleaning schedule, I find I work best when I have a list of things to do at certain times of the week. It has worked so well over the years and it would feel strange not to keep doing it.

One of my favourite cleaning jobs is wiping over the entire kitchen on a Friday afternoon (I know, weird!) there are three reasons I love this job, I like to have a really clean kitchen to work in, it heralds the end of the working week and Friday night is "On Toast" of leftovers night so it also means a very easy night of cooking. Sweet! I always feel so good when I have finished this job.

I use only a few cleaning products to clean my kitchen thoroughly. Firstly I fill the smaller sink with very hot water then add a splash of washing up liquid and some eucalyptus oil, I use this to wipe over all surfaces of the kitchen, followed by a wipe with a clean dry cloth. Lastly I scrub the kitchen sink with bicarb, I sprinkle the bicarb directly onto the sink and use a damp cloth to scrub the sink. The bicarb has enough of an abrasive action to bring the sink up shiny and as good as new.

I also use bicarb on the glass stove top to really make it shine.

What do you use to clean your kitchen? And do you have a cleaning schedule, what works for you?

Have a lovely day,


Ricotta Doughnuts

Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Lovely Hubby had bought a large quantity of real ricotta a little while ago, you know the ones sold in a colander and vacuum sealed. I had popped it on the shopping list as I wanted some to serve with a slow cooked beef ragu I was making and as it was a new line Aldi are now stocking, he bought that one instead on the little container of, not so traditional, ricotta. I've always wondered what the difference was.

That left me with a lot of ricotta to use up, so I baked some with fennel, chilli and oregano and then there was exactly one cup left! What to do with one cup of fresh ricotta? Make Ricotta Doughnuts of course.

I love this super simple recipe, just mix a few ingredients together and lightly fry spoonfuls till golden. They are indeed just like little light doughnuts, with a lovely texture and flavour. I served them simply with a sprinkle of icing sugar and ice cream, but I think they would be even more delicious served with this sauce, just saying.

Make them today, you'll be so glad you did!

Ingredients for Ricotta Doughnuts, clockwise from left-1 cup plain flour, 3 tablespoons of milk of choice (I used Cocoquench) 1 cup of ricotta, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of sugar

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking powder, and in a jug whisk together the ricotta and milk

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and using a butter knife, mix to combine, you will have a wet and sticky dough. Let dough rest for up to one hour if you can

Heat oil in a small saucepan till very hot and add heaped teaspoons of dough to hot oil

The little dough balls will turn themselves over but sometimes they need a little encouragement, they are ready when they are floating and have turned a golden brown

Pop onto some paper towel to absorb any excess oil, then sieve over icing sugar and serve immediately

Crunchy, light, golden balls of dough. Simple and so delicious.

Watch them disappear.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-My Clutter Magnet # 2

How to Extend the Life of a Pumpkin

Monday, 29 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Over the years I have learnt little tricks to extend the life of fresh produce, you paid for it, you might as well get to use all of it. I like to buy a whole pumpkin to reduce the amount of single use plastic coming into my home. However, buying a whole pumpkin can be hit and miss, firstly you don't know what the flesh looks like until you cut it and you run the risk of the pumpkin going off before you can use it all.

Here is what I do to make sure none of it is wasted.

Firstly when buying the pumpkin make sure the stalk is dry and intact, if the pumpkin has been dried properly the flesh will actually last a lot longer. Tap the pumpkin and if it sounds hollow it is usually a good pumpkin and has been dried properly. If the pumpkin hasn't been dried properly the flesh will be sappy, pale and will lack flavour.

When you do cut it, take out all the pulp and seeds, I cut the pumpkin into quarters first, take out all the pulp and seeds and let the quarters dry before storing them in the fridge. I use a spoon to scrape out all the fibrous, stringy pulp, try and take it right back to the actual pumpkin flesh. Then sit them in a dry place for a couple of hours to let them dry out a little. I will either wrap them in  a dry, clean, lint free tea towel and pop them in the crisper draw or store them in a tea towel lined, sealed container.

With the seeds, after they are washed and dried, I bake them in the oven with a little oil, salt and five spice. Deliciously crunchy and no waste. 

Over to you, what do you do to fresh produce to prevent waste?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-My Clutter Magnet 

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 28 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for the upbringing our Mum and Dad gave us. Mum always involved us in the housework and cooking. Even as a very young child I can remember helping Mum make her double bed and cream the butter and sugar for cakes using the rotary beater. As teenagers we vacuumed and mopped the house on weekends and were expected to wash and wipe up after dinner. We helped with the grocery shop every week too. It didn't hurt us one little bit, in fact it gave us important life tools to cope with real life.

Mum made my first Ballroom Dancing dress and did my hair

Mum was quite "old fashioned" something I really didn't enjoy at the time, petticoats, singlets, famine home made clothes and foam rollers for curled hair were a big part of our lives. But looking back we were always beautifully dressed and cared for. Mum often dressed us as twins, sewing the clothes herself, what a woman.

Mum also made our school uniforms while we lived in Gympie

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, 27 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

With Lovely Hubby and I now empty nesters we have been eating lots of leftovers, I made this beaut Bolognese Bake on Sunday and it made quite a lot, talk about the gift that keeps giving. We had it for dinner on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, it also supplied lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

You know the swings and roundabouts I mentioned in last weeks 5 Frugal Things post, well it was definitely more of a high end, swing-a-thon on the food budget this week. But eating at home is always going to be cheaper than going out, so I am not going to give that too much thought.

If you're looking at the photo below and thinking how many tomatoes do they need? Well, I didn't purposely count out 26 tomatoes to take home, they were out the front of the Northside Discount Fruit Barn in one of those "sold by the bucket" tables. I didn't know how many there were until I emptied the bucket out into one of my mesh bags for weighing at the register! Never mind, they have been great in my salad sandwiches for lunches and I have also roasted a huge tray of red capsicum, tomatoes, egg plant, onions and garlic to be used on Pizzas with left over roast lamb for tonights dinner.

Now on with the rest of the food-

What we bought

Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn

Shopping from Coles

Shopping from Aldi

What we spent 
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$72.90
Marjax Meats-$74.90 (Rolled Loin of Pork and a Butterflied leg of Lamb)

TOTAL-$213.38-way up on last weeks $87.15, Swings and Roundabouts!

What we ate

Friday-Baked Beans on Toast

Saturday-Lemon Myrtle and Ginger Chicken with steamed Basmati rice and Mustard Green

Wednesday-Super Special, Creamy Potato and Salmon Bake with steamed Asparagus

Thursday-Lamb and Pork Roast with Roast Potato and Pumpkin, Cauliflower Cheese and Steamed Broccoli. This is what our daughter requested for her Birthday dinner.

Join in, what was on your family table this week?


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 26 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I have had a short week at work this week as I had requested yesterday and today off so I could be with my daughter on her birthday. She arrived with her partner on Wednesday, they are down here working for the next couple of weeks, getting their names known down her and networking. They own a very successful Tattoo business and when they move down here in the next year or so they will be setting up shop down here. It will be lovely to have them both at home for the next little while.

They work very long hours, so in reality we won't see too much of them, I will probably be asleep when they get home, but there will be dinner waiting for them when they do get home.

We had a lovely family dinner to celebrate our daughters birthday, she didn't want to go out, just to have everyone together and a roast dinner was her request. Done and done.

Here's my frugal list this week-

1. Made sure all left overs were used up in a timely manner. My rule is the food must be eaten in three days (at the very most four) and hygienically handled and stored.

I always put the leftover front and centre in the fridge to prevent them being overlooked

2. Line dried the washing

3. Turned the almost empty oil bottle upside down to encourage every last drop of oil out of the bottle. It is amazing how much oil clings to the sides of the bottle.

4. Cut a whole pumpkin up to roast some for dinner last night. I always remove the pulp and seeds from the cut pumpkin as it lasts longer if the quarters are dryish and free from pulp. I also rinsed and dried the seeds and then roasted them with a good grind of salt and five spice.

5. Celebrated our daughters birthday at home with family. 

Your turn, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,


Easy, 5 Minute, No Knead, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia

Thursday, 25 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I have made this spectacular focaccia in the past but I wanted to see how one would turn out using the "5 minute, no knead" method. And I have to say it was fabulous. I simply threw all the ingredients in the bowl in the morning, gave it a bit of a mix, covered it and let it do its thing all day. Then, later in the afternoon, I made a simple rosemary and garlic oil and got those two together. It makes a lovely "like sourdough" loaf, chewy, yeast-y with loads on complex flavours. It is not a light loaf, it is dense, with a slightly crunchy outside and a softer chew-y belly.

It is a great loaf considering you do very little to it, there is no kneading, just that bit of a mix in the morning and then the dough is scraped and turned out of the bowl, you then stretch and push it out into a long oval, brush with the flavoured oil and pop it into a hot oven. See, not too much faffing!

Ingredients for Easy, 5 Minute, No Knead, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia. In a large bowl add 3 cups of bread or plain flour, 2 teaspoons instant yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups of tepid water.

For the Rosemary and Garlic oil-to a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of oil (I use Rice Bran oil for everything) 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary and 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane. Mix well and set aside till needed.

Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine

Now add the tepid water

And, using a butter knife, mix well until dough leaves the side of the bowl

Push the dough to one side of the bowl and oil the bowl (I use rice bran spray)

Then do the other side, this will prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl later

Cover and let rise for up to 8 hours in a warm spot

Turn dough out onto a lined baking tray, and with oiled hands stretch and pull the dough into a large oval and stipple the dough with oiled fingertips. Now brush with Rosemary and Garlic oil so that the oil sits in the little pools

Bake in a 200C oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown and smelling wonderful 

Slice and devour.

This makes a very generous loaf and reheats beautiful in the toaster. I am really happy with how this turned out, quite an interesting "crumb"with lots of "sourdough" like holes throughout the loaf. I served it with this Bolognese Bake and it made a lovely addition 

Make it today. 

Have a lovely day,


Bolognese Bake

Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Hello Dear Reader,

I love all things to do with pasta and often have a few varieties in the pantry. We had bought a huge bag of angel hair, egg pasta from the Golden Circle Factory Outlet a little while ago, I love this kind of pasta as it cooks very quickly and you can pick out as many little "nests" as you need. I always add mushrooms and garlic to my "bolognese" but I thought how lovely all those flavours would be in a baked pasta, so, on Sunday afternoon, this happened in my kitchen.

The mushrooms add bulk and loads of lovely flavour and the sautéed red capsicum brings a lovely sweetness to the sauce. It does make quite a large amount, so it is great for a large family or just the two of you with lots of leftovers, which is how it went down at our place. #empty-nesters

Ingredients for Bolognese Bake, clockwise from top left-500 gram lean beef mince, 400 gram of mushrooms, sliced, a jar of pasta sauce, bought or home made, 250 grams of pasta of choice (I used angle hair) a good handful of parsley, 2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1/2 a red capsicum, diced and 2 cups of grated "pizza blend" cheese

In a non stick, heavy based fry pan, add a little oil and sauté a handful of mushrooms at a time, this way you will get golden, gorgeous mushrooms that will add tonnes of flavour. Set aside till needed

To the same pan, add the mince and brown, move it to one side and add the diced capsicum and sauté for a few minutes

Now add the sautéed mushrooms and grated garlic to the pan and give everything a good mix

Add pasta sauce, rinsing out the jar with a slosh of water and adding that to the pan as well, turn heat to medium-low and let blip away for 10 minutes. Meanwhile cook pasta in the usual manner, drain well. 

To a large, greased casserole dish spoon half the bolognese mixture over the base, drape over half the pasta, add half the cheese and finish layer with half the chopped parsley 

Continue with remaining ingredients, finishing with the last half of cheese 

Bake for 30 minutes at 200C till golden and gorgeous 

I love the slight chewiness the top layer of pasta takes on, it adds an interesting texture. The cheese keeps it from drying out too much and there is oodles of sauce blipping away just underneath.

So, it is essentially "Spaghetti Bolognese" in the form of a bake, easy and very delicious. Because of the layers it was easy to cut into squares and re-heated beautifully the following two nights, the flavour was actually even better. You could, of course, use any kind of pasta you have lying around. 

Have a lovely day,