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Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 31 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I was a bit late taking the dogs for a walk yesterday afternoon as my sister and I had been to visit our Aunty Brenda in hospital. She is doing okay, she has a lung infection but add in her age and the fact that she is on dialysis 3 times a week, it has knocked the wind out of her sails. She is comfortable and improving, so that's a good sign.

It had been raining on and off all day and the rain was really quite heavy driving into the hospital but had cleared by the time I dropped my sister off at her place. On the way back down the highway towards home, it began to rain again, not too heavy and you could see the sun trying to peak through.

When I got home, I immediately changed into some wet weather gear and took the little woofs for a walk, nothing stops their walk, well maybe a storm would, but a light sprinkle of rain doesn't worry them.

Here is what I saw during the walk-

Today I am grateful for rainbows at the end of a long tired day.

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-One Second Everyday-March 2018
Two Years Ago-A New Beginning 
Three Years Ago-What's Growing in the Garden


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 30 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello to the weekend, like everyone I so look forward to the weekend, but, maybe unlike some people, I look forward to it so I can stay at home. I know, so totally boring but I love it. This weekend I plan to do a lot of jobs around the house as well as run a couple of errands outside the home.

-do the washing
-make a jar of muesli
-make a loaf of bread
-make a big pot of chicken soup
-do some quilting
-do a quick vac plus run the vacuum over the lounge, why? enter one black cat
-have my hair cut
-visit our Aunty Brenda who is in hospital at the moment
-collect our daughter from the airport tomorrow morning early

I think that will keep me out of trouble!

What's on your "to do" list today?

Now, here's what we bought, spent and ate this week-

What we bought

Simply Good Bulk Store

Northside Discount Fruit Barn



What we spent
Simply Good Bulk Store-$42.17
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$29.09

What we ate

Friday-Beans on Toast with melted cheese and schrishra

Saturday-BBQ Steak with Mushroom Sauce and Roast Pumpkin and Pesto Salad

Sunday-Roast Pumpkin and Haloumi Burgers

Monday-Tempura Whiting with steamed Basmati rice and Choy Sum

Tuesday-It was just me for dinner so I had some left over steamed rice, choy sum and a quick asian omelette 

Wednesday-Stir Fried Prawns

Thursday-Pork and Maple Sausages with Creamy Potato Bake and Grilled Broccoli

What ever you get up to today, I hope you have a lovely day.


Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Three Years Ago-What we ate this week

This Weeks Five Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 29 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Did I mention we have had rain? Well, we have and I'm still relishing in it. The days are much cooler and the raised garden beds are really wet for the first time since we built them. We have started to remove the spent pumpkin vine, but there are still 4 really good sized pumpkins that are taking their sweet time to ripen. It may be some time before I can plant out an autumn crop.

In the end garden bed, where the lemon and lime tree is, I have sowed a row of Mustard Green, it is a lovely leafy green asian veg that is easy and quick to grow. I planted those as I had read it helps combat nematodes in the soil. You see, when I removed the pumpkin vine that was growing there I found little nodules on the pumpkin vine roots, a telltale sign of nematodes. My plan is to sow a row of mustard green seeds every third week, eventually covering the whole garden, hopefully it will be a win/win situation with us being able to eat a continuous crop of leafy asian greens and the soil being treated for nematodes.

We hadn't improved the soil in this end garden as we had wanted to wait to let the citrus trees establish themselves before we disturbed the soil too much. Last weekend we dug through 3 bags each of compost and animal manure, I also read that enriching the soil counteracts the spread of nematodes in the soil, so fingers crossed, with the mustard green crop, compost and manure we will have healthy soil.

What's happening in your garden at the moment?

Now on with the frugal stuff-

1. Sowed saved mustard green seed in the garden. I collected this seed a while ago from when I was growing mustard green in the vegpod

2. Saved the pumpkin seeds from another homegrown pumpkin. I will keep a few big plump seeds to sow next spring/summer. We intend to plant just one pumpkin vine next spring/summer and let it grow throughout the long hot summer just like we did this year. I won't try to grow anything else in our cruel summer again. I will keep a few and roast the rest when the oven is on next.

3. Ate only 2 meat based meals this week, the rest was fish, prawns, veggie and pulse based meals

4. Sewed 3 more tiny houses each day, I only have 18 to go to finish the quilt. Then I have to sew all 80 of them together, add a boarder, sandwich the layers together, quilt and bind it. I would like to finish it by Easter for my grandniece.

5. Fed the compost bin all the fruit and veggie scraps as well as the shredded paper from our shredder. I shred the free local paper to add carbon to the compost.

Over to you, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Mexican Potatoes 
Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today 
Three Years Ago-The Best Roast Potatoes 

Golden, Curried, Pumpkin Soup

Thursday, 28 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

So far, from our garden, I have harvested two spectacular pumpkins and have 4 beautiful big ones still on the vines ripening. I am super chuffed to be finally eating something from our garden and hope that it is just the beginning.

So far I have made a gorgeous salad, starring roast pumpkin, a lovely Roast Pumpkin Semolina Gnocchi, some delicious Pumpkin and Haloumi Burgers and this super delicious Golden, Curried, Pumpkin Soup. I've made it in the Thermomix but it could easily be made on the stove top and then blended with a stab blender at the end.

The bright yellow golden colour comes from, pumpkin, of course but also carrot and sweet potato which also lends a beautiful sweetness to the soup, it also has curry powder and garam masala to add even more golden colour and flavour to this lovely warming soup.

Ingredients for Golden, Curried, Pumpkin Soup, clockwise from top right-800 grams roughly chopped, mixed, golden pumpkin, sweet potato and carrot (I had a ratio of 500 grams pumpkin, 200 grams sweet potato and 100 grams carrot) 1 tin coconut cream, 2 cloves garlic, peeled, 1 large brown onion, peeled and quartered, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon or more to your liking of your favourite curry powder blend and 600 grams of veggie stock

Add the garlic and onion to the bowl of the TM

Chop for 3 seconds on speed 5

Scrape down sides and add the garam marsala and curry powder along with a splash of oil

Sauté for 5 minutes, at 100 C, on speed 1

Now add golden veg

And chop for 10 seconds on speed 6

Add the veggie stock and scrape down the side of the TM bowl

Cook for 30 minutes, at 100 C, on speed 2. When finished cooking, add the coconut cream 

And blend for 1 minute on speed 9 

Smooth, golden and full of flavour. Such a glorious colour. 

Serve with chopped parsley or coriander and a swirl of cream or yoghurt

Your turn, what is your favourite recipe using pumpkin as the star ingredient?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-No blog post today

Thick and Creamy Vanilla Yoghurt in the Thermomix

Wednesday, 27 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

In a bid to reduce the amount of plastic coming into the house, I have been making our own vanilla yoghurt that we have on our fruit salads for breakfast every morning. I have made yoghurt many times before and have been happy with it, but now, using the Thermomix, I have been able to achieve a really thick and creamy style of yoghurt.

Like most "pot set" yoghurts, once disturbed, the whey will start to come away from the yoghurt, to keep a thick textured yoghurt, I pour off the excess whey before I scoop the yoghurt out and add it to a container I have in the freezer. Once I have enough I will make these whey crepes with the excess whey.

Ingredients for Thick and Creamy Vanilla Yoghurt in the Thermomix, from left-50 grams of white sugar, 50 grams of powdered milk, 1 litre of full cream milk, 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence and 3 tablespoons of yogurt either from a previous batch or a good quality bought one

Add the milk, powdered milk, sugar and vanilla essence to the TM bowl

Heat for 30 minutes at 90 C on speed 3, then leave to cool till it reaches 37C. I remove the TM bowl from the machine to hasten the cooling. Be patient it will take about an hour to cool

Once cooled to 37C, add the 3 tablespoons of reserved yoghurt (either from a previous batch or shop bought) and mix for 10 minutes at 37C on speed 3

Pour your yoghurt mixture into a preheated Thermoserver (preheat by pouring boiling water into the Thermoserver, pop on the lid and let heat through for 10 minutes, then pour out hot water and dry with a clean tea towel) Pop on the lid and wrap Thermoserver in a large towel to trap the heat. Let sit, undisturbed, in a warm place, for up to 12 hours, the longer you leave it the tangier it will be. I like mine at the 12 hour mark. Chill before using.

And voila, lovely creamy and thick vanilla yoghurt

Portion into clean jars and pop into the fridge

I love this simple and quite lovely yoghurt, it does take a bit of time but it is something you have going on in the background while you are in your kitchen doing something else. To me it is so worth it knowing I am stopping another piece of plastic from coming into the house.

Do you make yoghurt, what are your tips and tricks for a thick and creamy yoghurt?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Three Years Ago-Setting the Table

That Time I Bought Fresh Yeast, Chipotle Chilli's and Bottled Water

Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Warning:long and very boring post!

A little while ago while at work, I was packing up my lunch things, juggling a book, lunch bag, tea plunger and mug plus my phone, the phone slipped from my fingers and landed face down on the pavers. I gingerly picked it up, hoping for a miracle, but alas, I had done a really good job of smashing the screen.

This really upset me, not that the phone is that important to me (although I do love the camera) it was the mere fact that I had been so careless and the result was a now imperfect looking phone. Every time I looked at it, it irked me, it didn't help that the screensaver was a lovely photo of LH and I, not that it was very clear now because of, you know, the big ugly cracks all over the screen.

So a few weeks down the track and I had had enough of the unfortunate looking screen, I hopped on line and made an appointment at Apple, Chermside, which was the closest Apple store to me, about a 35 minute drive from home. I made the appointment at 4.40 pm thinking that would leave me enough time to get there after finishing work at 3.54 pm.

It probably would have been IF I hadn't have missed the turnoff for Depot road. The very busy Gateway Motorway has changed so much in the last few years and obviously the GPS mapping app on my phone hasn't kept up with the changes. I thought if I just keep driving surely the GPS would catch up and redirect me.

It finally did and was able to get off the Gateway Motorway and then I had to travel the labyrinth of back roads to finally get to my destination, amazingly, arriving only 10 minutes late. I have to tell you I have definitely lost my nerve when it come to driving on busy roads. By the time I found a car park at the shopping centre, I was beside myself with the stress of being lost, being late and now having to find the actual Apple store in this humungous shopping centre.

I found the store and was helped straight away by a very kind young man who could see how stressed I was. He then proceeded to tell me that the wait time was over an hour. I could have cried, I envisaged handing my phone over and having it fixed in only a short amount of time, then I could be on my way back to the safety of home.

So there I was, in a huge and very busy shopping centre at 5 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, I had forgotten my water bottle and hadn't thought to pack a snack to keep my going, I was in my work uniform and looked and felt bedraggled after a hectic day at work. I had to pull myself together, so I focused on turning this very stressful situation into something a little more positive.

Firstly I needed to buy water, so I headed into a supermarket and chose a glass water bottle, payed for it and went and sat down to hydrate. Feeling a little better I tried to think of an item that I really needed and had been unable to find locally. I ended up choosing two items, fresh yeast and chipotle chillies as I had been looking for these items for a long time and had had no luck in finding them.

I saw a health food shop and thought that was a good place to start, they didn't have any fresh yeast but they told me of a shop way down the other end of the shopping centre that did. So off I trundled to the other end of the shopping centre, which took up a fair bit of time. The shop was called Fresh Sensations which turned out to be an amazing fruit and veg shop/amazing Italian Gourmet Deli. I had a really good look through their huge range of international products but was unable to find the fresh yeast. I finally asked one of the assistants and she found it for me amongst the cheese!

Then I spied the Mexican section and there front and centre was the same brand of chipotle chillies I seen on this youtube clip on how to make chipotle mayonnaise. I was very pleased to have found both of these items at the same place.

I have washed and refilled the water bottle 

It was still too early to pick up my phone so I went and found a comfy seat near the Apple store to bide my time. I did some people watching and was amazed to see people of all ages and walks of life using the shopping centre as a place to socialise and spend time in, people were dressed up, meeting other people to go and have dinner and so on. I was so far out of my comfort zone that I found the whole situation very stressful and I couldn't relate to it at all. I don't go shopping just because, I don't go out to dinner on a whim and I really don't enjoy being in a big, crowded place. As I spend so much of my time in two places-work and home, anything a little bit different sends me into a tail spin, I get very anxious and feel like a duck out of water. Am I weird to feel that way?

The collection time for my phone of 6.15pm came and I flew into the Apple store, I was served very promptly and was back in my car by 6.40 and home by 7.15pm. I breathed the biggest sigh of relief as I pulled in my driveway, vowing never to go to a shopping centre at that time of the afternoon ever again. We had left over pumpkin soup and toast for dinner, I showered and then I flopped into bed. I was so worn out by stress, anxiety on top of a big day at work.

Does anyone else feel the same way? Do big shopping centres send you into a spin?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Creamy Chicken, Broccoli and Pasta Bake
Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Three Years Ago-My Easter Menu


Soft, Jumbo, Wholemeal Breadrolls

Monday, 25 March 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Pumpkin and Halloumi Burgers

I love a good burger and when you think of it, a burger is only as good as the bread roll or bun! I've been hankering after a good veggie burger for a while now and of course I had to have a really good bread roll to go with it. So, as usual I hit google and there were hundreds to choose from, but the common thread for a really soft roll was using a dough that was enriched with egg, milk and butter. Who am I to disagree, after all everything is better with butter.

As usual I have blended a few recipes to come up with this one and it is such a great bread roll/burger bun, it is soft, it is still sturdy enough to take a heap of fillings and it is easy to make with everyday ingredients.

This quantity makes 6 jumbo rolls or 8 regular size rolls or 12 slider size rolls, it is totally customisable, just weigh out the final dough, divide it according to your preferred size and portion out from there. Also I have used the Thermomix to make this dough but any bread maker, stand mixer or indeed your own hands would be up for the job. If not using a TM, extend the kneading time to 10 minutes or until a really soft dough has been reached.

Ingredients for Soft, Jumbo Wholemeal Rolls, clockwise from centre top, 515 grams of wholemeal bread flour, 1 tablespoon instant yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 egg, 60 grams butter, melted, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups warm milk (neither too hot to touch nor too cold)
(I use powdered milk) 

To the bowl of the TM add the yeast, brown sugar and warm milk, mix on speed 3 for 2 minutes

Let prove till puffed and spongy looking, then add in the melted butter and egg, mix on speed 5 for 10 seconds

Then add the flour and salt

Knead for 6 minutes, the dough will be sticky and quite wet, but that is okay, that is the secret to soft bread rolls later on

Turn dough out into a greased bowl, cover and set in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Weigh out dough and divide according to what size rolls you would like

Mine weighed 1056 grams, divided by 6 = 176 grams 

Using both hands, turn dough over on its self while turning it around (I hope that make sense) leaving a smooth top

Pulling the bottom centre together into a tight knot

Put onto a lined oven tray, brush with milk and sprinkle over sesame seeds if you wish

Let prove again for 30 minutes or until doubled in size 

And bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 200C 

These really are the very best roll, so soft but robust at the same time and did I mention quite healthy, not a preservative in sight! 

Hit me, what is your fav recipe for soft bread rolls?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today