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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 31 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello winter, you arrived a few days early, on Wednesday morning! I take the little woofs for a quick walk (about 20 minutes) every morning and brrr, it was cold. I wore my ugg boots, jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, my super warm Aldi puffy jacket, a scarf, gloves and cap! I must have looked like I was ready for the snow, but hey, at least I was warm.

On Wednesday afternoon, while riding home from work, I saw a neighbour, a few doors down from us, watering the freshly laid turf out the front of his home, I ride or drive past his house every work day and over the past month or so his garden has been undergoing a transformation. I wanted to ask him who had done it for him and also was he happy with the outcome? He was very happy with the landscaping and was happy to recommend a little, local landscaping company.

We want to remove a palm, two cycads and an ornamental grass from our front rock retaining wall/garden. It would be a huge undertaking so it is a job we really can't do ourselves. I have sent an email to this landscaping company to give us a quote on taking on this big job. I would like to replace the palms and cycads with citrus trees, a mandarin, an orange and another lemon tree. I want our whole garden to be edible!

This garden refurb wasn't on our goals for the year but sometimes there is no time like the present to put an idea into action. I am hoping the quote won't be too crazy and can start this job as soon as possible.

Here's what I have been up to on the frugal front-

1. Picked a couple of huge avocados from our daughter and her partners avocado tree on their block of land, the one on the left ripened this week so I scooped out all the flesh, and gave it some love in the form of lime juice and salt and pepper. The bowl of smashed avo is now in the fridge ready to be smothered on toast.

2. Made a batch of pita bread for LH to take fishing with him, I made 8 chicken wraps using this recipe and then froze the other half of the dough for later.

3. Made a jar of condensed milk using ingredients already at home

4. Used my slow cooker for the first time this year, to make a magnificent chicken soup. I will be posting this recipe on Monday, it's a corker! I love my slow cooker so much, it is economical to run and never lets me down. 

5. Rode my bike to work from Tuesday, our daughters partner is down here this week organising house stuff and he needed my car to get to appointments. So even though it was cold it was good to get back to riding everyday.

How did you save money or time this week?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Bee Gees Way

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I am on a bit of a pumpkin themed roll at the moment, I recently made this amazing spiced pumpkin loaf served with a maple, cinnamon butter. While I was making this loaf it occurred to me that I could use the same spices and steamed pumpkin in a pancake and that is exactly what I did.

Holy pancakes, this little recipe is so super delicious, they are soft to the bite and full of spice infused pumpkin-y goodness. And of course they are easy to make, like most pancakes it is a simple matter of mixing wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and cooking them in the usual way.

Make them this weekend!

Ingredients for Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes, clockwise from top left, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups plain flour, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of mashed steamed pumpkin, 40 grams of butter, melted and 1 cup of milk of choice (I use powdered milk when baking)

In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to combine and also to sort out any lumps

In a jug add the milk, egg, melted butter and mashed pumpkin and whisk to combine

Pour wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and gently mix to incorporate 

Cook in the usual way

Serve warm with a good slathering of the maple, cinnamon butter

These pancakes are just lovely, easy, light and luscious. You could easily whip the mixture up the night before and have them as a special breakfast in the morning. They would also make a lovely addition to a packed lunch, just use any excuse to make them, they are that good.

What is your fav way to serve pancakes?

Have a lovely day,


Easy Condensed Milk in the Thermomix

Hello Dear Reader,

This is another little project/experiment that has been on my to do list for a long time, making Condensed Milk in my Thermomix. But why would I bother when you can buy perfectly good Condensed Milk from Aldi for $1.69?

The other issue is that I can't buy powdered milk from the bulk store which would save another piece of rubbish being sent to landfill. The Aldi powdered milk comes in a foil packet which is not recyclable however Aldi's condensed milk is sold in tins which are recyclable.

The cost breakdown is as follows-

125 gram water-free
225 gram sugar-20 cents (Aldi brand)
110 gram powdered milk-61 cents (Aldi brand)

TOTAL-81 cents

It works out to be less than half the cost of buying a can which is $1.69

So, at the end of the day, lets call this experiment one of cost and convenience, I now know I can whip up what is equal to a can of condensed milk in less time and at half the cost of buying it from Aldi.

Ingredients for Easy Condensed Milk in the Thermomix, from left-
225 grams of white sugar, 125 grams of warm water and 110 grams of powdered milk

Add all ingredients to the TM bowl and mix for 5 min/100 degrees/speed 4

Scrape down sides then mix for 1.30 min/100 degrees/speed 4 

Pour and scrape into a glass jar, let cool completely before using or storing in the fridge

As the condensed milk cools it will thicken. This condensed milk can be frozen or stored in the fridge for 2 weeks. I will be using it to make yummy Lemon Bars, yet another project that has been on my to do list for a long time.

What's on your to do/to make list at the moment?

Have a lovely day,


Another Trip to the Bulk Store

Tuesday, 28 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Last Saturday I went up to Simply Good, a bulk store about 30 minutes drive from us, I planned the trip for later in the day, hoping to avoid heavy traffic, which is exactly what happened. I arrived at the store with about 20 minutes until they closed (1pm on a Saturday) so the shop was practically empty, I was in and out in no time.

Buying from the bulk store has become a good habit for us, we take the empty glass jars with us and buy just what we need, at the moment we seem to be visiting about once a month, which is great. As I run out of something I write it on a running list on my phone and put the empty jar in the strong jute bag ready to go.

Here is what I bought on our last trip-

Back row-
laundry liquid, dish washing liquid, quinoa, chickpeas, rolled oats

Front row-
mung beans, smooth peanut butter, ground cumin and ginger

The total cost was $37.94, which may or may not be cheaper than buying equal amounts from a supermarket, however it is the fact that I can buy these products, package free, that will keep me shopping this way. 

By the way, I had original bought the big jar, in the middle of the back row, to fill with powdered milk, but unfortunately they don't stock it, so I half filled it with quinoa.

Over to you, what's your guess, do you think it would be cheaper or more expensive buying this amount of products from the supermarket?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Quick Asian Omelette 
Three Years Ago-My Secret Obsession 

Oven Pancakes

Monday, 27 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Just a quick little post this morning as I have a training day for work and I have to leave by 7.20 am to be at another hospital, closer to the city, for an 8.30 am start. We think the traffic will be heavy, so we are leaving a bit earlier to allow plenty of time to find a park and the venue. A lovely friend and work colleague is coming with me, as she already has to drive a very long distance to work.

So today's recipe is a very simple and quite spectacular, puffy pancake, very similar to this one, except this time I have done smaller individual pancakes. This amount of pancake mixture yielded 3 very puffy and delicious pancakes which we ate, simply with butter and maple syrup but the addition of berries or indeed any fruit of choice would be divine.

Ingredients for Oven Pancakes, clockwise from left-6 eggs at room temperature, 1 cup plain flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup milk powder and 3/4 cup water (or 1 cup milk of choice) 

Firstly heat an oven proof fry pan in the oven to 220 C. Add all ingredients to a medium bowl

And whisk till smooth 

Carefully remove frypan from the oven, working quickly, pour in a small amount of oil and swirl to coat, then ladle in about 1 cup of pancake mixture, without delay put frypan back into oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. As always keep and eye on it, you want it golden and puffy. My frypan is 18 cm in diameter at the top with a 12 cm base. 

See, golden and puffy.

Serve immediately with topping of choice. As they cool, these little pancakes will deflate but they will still be delicious.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Two Years Ago-What we bought, spent and ate this week
Three Years Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 26 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for a Hubby that will eat anything I make, even this, slightly weird, but totally delicious, Sprouted Mung Bean Bread I made during the week-

He loves our weekly "Beans on Toast" just as much as I do-

He doesn't mind eating less meat and more veggie based meals-

And he patiently ate the not quite set, homemade yoghurt, until I got the recipe just right 

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely day,


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 25 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

We had a very rare night out last Saturday night with our Son, his lovely Partner and her Parents. We went along to Pilpel, a newly opened restaurant on the Peninsula. It is a middle eastern restaurant with a set menu for dinner, there were about a dozen veggie based entrees with one lamb filled pita which were all very generous and delicious. The entrees included (if I can remember them all) spiced couscous, carrot salad, deep fried mushrooms and broccoli, a potato salad, a chickpea salad, a bean salad, a tomato and cucumber salad, focaccia, roasted sweet potato and pumpkin and spiced red onion. All with a middle eastern twist.

Then the mains came out, talk about a generous and elaborate serving of roasted meats, chicken, beef and lamb, again all delicious. There was plenty of left overs as the portions were just so big, I doubt anyone could eat it all. Between us, we all took home some leftovers, to prevent waste. I don't think we will go again, it cost $49 a head and even though it was lovely and we were all full as boots, once is enough.

Now on with what else we ate this week-

What we bought

Fruit and Veg from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn

 A few items from Coles

The Aldi shop

What we spent

Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$10.95
Coles-$12.00 + $14.10 for butter and cat food (not pictured as these items were forgotten when writing up the shopping list and bought separately) Also had to buy some chicken thigh fillets from the deli at Coles as our butcher was out of them $12.24 for 1 kg)-$38.34

TOTAL-$100.94 + the night out =$200.94 ouch!

What we ate

Friday-leftovers from the freezer-Lentil, Pumpkin and Cashew Curry with Papadums, yoghurt and chutney

Saturday-We had a very rare night out with our Son, his Partner and her family, we went to a newly opened restaurant on the Peninsula called Pilpel. It has a set menu with many veggie based entrees, roasted meats for mains and Turkish Delight Ice-cream for dessert. It certainly was different! This amount of food was served up for 6 adults...Way too much!

Sunday and Tuesday-Ginger and Pineapple Chicken with steamed Basmati rice and Mustard Green

Monday-Stir Fried Prawns with steamed Basmati rice

Wednesday-Tempura Whiting with steamed Basmati rice and Mustard Green

Thursday-Ham steaks with Maple Apple Sauce, Mashed Potato with parsley and Mustard Green

Your turn, what floats your boat? Eating out or staying home?

Have a lovely day

Two Years Ago-Jamie's Chilli Con Carne 

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 24 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I had a bit of an unusual week this week, on Monday evening I started to feel unwell, with a headache, body aches and pains and a bit of a temperature and it continued till Wednesday, I woke up yesterday feeling much better after a good nights sleep. I didn't go to the doctor as I felt sure it was just a virus and she would probably recommend hydration, rest and analgesia, which is exactly what I did. I pride myself on rarely getting sick especially when working in a hospital environment, but I am not infallible. I hope that is it for me for this season's lurgies!

While unwell, I didn't do too much around the home, I did do a few slow quiet things to keep the home humming along and here's what I got up to this week before I became unwell.

1. Continued to harvest loads of asian greens to go with dinner, the mustard green and mizuna have gone wild

2. Cut out squares from recycled gift paper to make some more origami seed packets

And started out some Bellino tomato seedlings in the kitchen 

3. Refreshed the vanilla beans with more vodka to make vanilla essence, this is the third time re-using the same split vanilla beans, I may be pushing my luck, but we'll see

The one in front is on it's second immersion and looks like it is ready to use

4. Cut another of our magnificent home grown pumpkins and gave half to our son and partner next door.

5. Posted two books away using recycled paper and string to wrap them in. Both books were quite sturdy, as was the paper, so I felt confident the books would arrive safely, without purchasing padded envelopes for them.

5a. I thought I would include this one, I made a claim through Tupperware for a split lid. It is a simple online process which doesn't require you to send away the faulty Tupperware. All that is required is a bit of time to make the claim and then wait for the replacement. As this particular range has been deleted the replacement item will be this one (the lime green one on the bottom). You do pay $8 for to cover the postage but I think it is still good value. Tupperware have a lifetime guarantee!

How did you save money or time this week?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Fish and Broccoli Laksa 
Three Years Ago-Everyone Needs a Rest Day

Easy Cheesy Focaccia

Thursday, 23 May 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

If you have never made any kind of bread before this Easy, Cheesy Focaccia would be a great place to start, as there are only a handful of ingredients AND the method is super easy AND the finished bread is a thing of beauty AND it is so delicious. You must make this one, okay!

Now, I have made it in my Thermomix, but really, all it needs, is a good mix with a spatula, truly. It makes quite a wet dough, so in hindsight, I feel the bowl and spatula option would have been the better way to go (hello sticky dough sticking to every nook and cranny of the TM bowl) Then all you need is time to prove your bread baby, bake it and bask in the glow of compliments and adulation that will come your way, for the most delicious, cheesy, herby, bread.

Ingredients for Easy Cheesy Focaccia, clockwise from top right-3 cups white bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup each of parmesan and tasty cheese, grated and mixed together, 2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary or herb of choice, 1 & 1/2 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon instant dried yeast and 2 tablespoons of oil of choice plus a little more for oiling the baking tray

Preheat oven to 180 C, oil a large baking tray (mine measures 25 cm x 35 cm x 4 cm) add 1/2 cup of the mixed grated cheeses plus all other ingredients to the TM bowl 

And knead for 3 minutes. This step can be easily done with a bowl and spatula

Meanwhile, add remaining mixed, grated cheeses and finely chopped rosemary to a bowl and pop back in the fridge till needed

Pour and scrape dough into the well oiled baking tray and using your hands spread and press the soft, sticky dough, evenly throughout the pan. At first there may appear to be not enough dough, but there is, just be patient. Stipple the top of the dough with your fingers 

Then brush with 2 tablespoons of oil and scatter with remaining cheese and rosemary mixture. Now, cover with a damp, lint free tea towel and let prove for about an hour till puffed and doubled in size

Bake for 180 C for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown

Let focaccia cool in baking tray for about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a suitable board, slice and devour

This makes quite a big tray of bread-y goodness and it reheated beautifully the next day, it would be a great addition to any meal to stretch it a bit further too. Hello soup weather!

Make it today!

Have a lovely day,