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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 31 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Well, I cooked my first flop in the Thermomix this week, it sounded lovely, Mexican One Pot Pasta, now I know pasta is not Mexican but it had all the flavours of a Burrito Bowl but with pasta. And it was a quick, vegetarian dish which always catches my eye. The problem wasn't the flavour, that was on point, it was the gummy texture of the pasta which ruined it for us. Everyone had one serve and didn't go back for seconds, that is a tell tale sign that, while it filled our bellies, no one truly liked it. There was some left over which I took for lunches over the next two days, I was so glad to see the end of it!

The rest of the week was lovely though, food wise, so I shouldn't complain, I made my Goan Fish Curry which we haven't had for ages and really enjoyed it, it's a great curry with loads of flavour but not too much heat, my kind of curry. We had one fillet of Mowing (AKA Mother-in-law fish) which was just perfect in the curry, it has firm flesh and the flavour isn't too overpowering.

Rain was predicted during the week but, as always, it didn't arrive, our raised garden beds are bone dry, even with regular irrigation. I searched Gardening Australia to see what I could do for the dry soil and found a they recommended a soil wetting product either granules or a spray on solution, I went for the Wettasoil spray on version and applied it last Sunday in anticipation of rain. I am hoping it makes a difference.

The prices of fresh fruit and veg and meat is on the rise due to the drought, our poor farmers are doing it incredibly tough and we will support them as much as we can, buying Australian grown products where possible.

Now on with the rest of the food-
What we bought

Shopping from Aldi

A few items from Coles

Fruit and veg from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn, that drumhead cabbage was $5.99, it is sign of the drought!

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$18.75
Marjax Meats-Not pictured, 1.5 kg of chicken thighs fillets, 1.5 kg of pork cushion chops and 1x smoked ham hock-all this meat was for the Feijoada-$48.80


What we ate

Friday-The boys had left over Butter Chicken and I had an egg on toast with smashed avo and feta

Saturday and Sunday-Feijoada 

Monday-Tempura Whiting, steamed Basmati rice, bok choy and kim chi

Tuesday-One pot Mexican Pasta-the offending dish

Wednesday and Thursday-Goan Fish Curry 

Over to you, Dear Reader, what did you make this week?

Have a lovely day,


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 30 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello quiet weekend to myself. Lovely Hubby and Son are going up to Somerset Dam for a Bass fishing competition, starting today. It is Father's Day on Sunday so it's lovely that they will have this time together, sharing their love of fishing. They will be latish home on Sunday but I will have a lovely roast dinner ready for them when they do get home, maybe even a dessert.

I plan on a quiet weekend, I will do the grocery shop this afternoon straight after work, LH usually does the shop but he is leaving quite early today. I have ordered a boned leg of lamb from our butcher so I will pop over the bridge and pick it up sometime on Saturday but apart from those two errands I intend just to stay at home and get some weekend jobs done. I'll be picking up our future SIL from the airport on Sunday morning, he'll be with us again next week, working on their home down here.

A few of my regular weekend jobs include, a few loads of washing, water the garden, feed and turn the compost bin, wash the dogs bedding, a quick vacuum including the lounges, Ninja our little black cat has a few places going at the moment where she likes to sleep during the day, I can't believe how much hair one little cat can lose. I have a Dyson that my kids gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago, it is just the best vacuum as it has really strong suction and I love that you can empty the canister and clean it too. It makes quick work of all the cat hair on nearly-every-lounge!

I'm totally fine, yes very comfortable thank you!

Now on with the frugal stuff-

1. Rode to work every day, I have been riding consistently lately mainly due to the fact that staff can no longer access the car park at the hospital, not that I ever parked there anyway, I used to park on one of the side roads around the hospital. Anyway, now EVERYONE is parking on the roads surrounding the hospital and as I start late I might as well ride in. Its good, free exercise too and I've noticed my uniform is not quite as tight lately.

2. Used up some leftover herby mashed potato to make 4 little potato cakes on Sunday, I had some for lunch on Sunday and the rest on Monday.

3. Made a big pot of Feijoada and had all our little family over for dinner, our daughter and future SIL were here too, I love it when we're all together. Eating at home is always cheaper than eating out even though there was lot of meat in this dish. 

Aunty Brenda gave me this tablecloth a little while ago, it fits perfectly on the table when both ends on the table are extended 

4. Made another batch of vanilla yoghurt, I have fiddled with the original recipe so it is even more thick and creamy, I will post this new technique next week. 

5. Made sure all leftovers were used in a timely manner. I use glass containers to store leftovers in the fridge, I love them as nothing is overlooked. 

This mornings fridge

Over to you Dear Reader, how did you save money or time this week?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Grocery Bargains 

The Best Egg Salad

Thursday, 29 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I love a good lunch time, salad plate, it takes me back to when I was young, when Mum or Nan would make us a lovely cold salad plate to enjoy during our stupid hot Summers in Gympie. There would protein of some sort, usually corned silverside but sometimes cold sliced boiled eggs, lettuce (hello Iceberg lettuce which was the only lettuce available in those days) home grown tomato, Golden Circle canned beetroot, pickled apple cucumbers and a slice of buttered wholemeal bread, we just loved it.

Last Saturday I had a hankering for such a salad plate for lunch so I popped on some eggs to boil and then rummaged around the fridge for some ingredient to make the very best egg salad I could with what I had on hand. I wanted a creamy, herby and mustardy flavour with a hint of spice and that is exactly what I ended up with. I added a tiny pinch of turmeric to not only boost the flavour but also the colour. This delicious egg salad would make a spectacular sandwich filling also.

Ingredients for "The Best Egg Salad" clockwise from bottom right-a good handful of parsley, finely chopped, 2 spring onions, finely sliced, a few fronds of dill, finely chopped (not pictured) 4 hard boiled eggs, 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons sweet mustard pickle, 2 tablespoons of mayo of choice and 2 tablespoons of greek yoghurt

Grate or mash the eggs in a medium sized bowl

Add all other ingredients 

And mix well

If you have time, let the egg salad rest in the fridge for an hour or so to let all the flavours mingle 

Serve with a salad plate or pile onto a sandwich

Over to you Dear Reader, what is your Summer time lunch memory?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Home Made White Oil 
Three Years Ago-Home Made Glass Cleaner


5 Minute, No Knead, Almost Sourdough Bread

Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

A few weeks ago, when I went to link the recipe for the 5 Minute, No Knead Bread I had made and featured on "This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday" post, I was surprised to find that I had never posted one. Now I know that this recipe isn't new, in fact I've been making it on and off for many years. I thought I would go ahead and post it, as recipes come and go and maybe a few readers hadn't heard of this one.

It truly is 5 minutes of work but then it has a very long proving time, 8 to 12 hours, depending on how cold it is. I find it best to mix the dough the night before and then let it prove overnight, shape, let prove again for a an hour or two and bake it in the morning then let it cool, rest and dry out for the rest of the day. If you cut it too early it can be a bit gummy, so do yourself a favour and let it be for at least 6 hours before you slice it. It is worth the wait.

Probably the most important part of this recipe is what you bake the bread in, I use my heavy, Le Cruset, dutch oven but I have heard of people use an enamel lidded roasting pan with great results too. The idea is to bake the bread in an oven within the oven, if that make sense. You bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on and then remove the lid to brown the gorgeous loaf for another 15 minutes.

The resulting loaf is pretty close to a sourdough bread, dense, crispy outside with a slightly chewy inside, a delightful taste and lots of lovely holes. It is lovely fresh but I love it even more as toast and it keeps well too. What's not to love? Give it a whirl today.

Ingredients for 5 Minute, No Knead Bread-3 cups bread flour, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast, 1 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and brown sugar and 1 1/3 cups of tepid water

Whisk the dry ingredient together

Add the water

Mix with the butter knife till a sticky ball comes together

Move the dough to one side of the bowl and oil or spray with cooking spray, now move the dough and do the other side of the bowl

Cover dough and let it prove for 8 to 12 hours

It is ready when it looks spongy with lots of holes

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface

Using a flat dough scraper flip in one side of the dough to the middle

Continue flipping the remaining 3 sides of the dough into the middle

Then turn the dough over so the seam side is underneath, shape into a smooth round

Immediately place onto a piece of baking paper and slash with panache

Let prove again for another 1 to 2 hours. Meanwhile preheat oven to 240C.

Pop your cooking vessel into the oven 15 minutes before your loaf is ready for baking, so it gets very hot. Remove the pot from the oven and working quickly lift the dough into the pot, put the lid back on and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes

After 30 minutes, remove the lid

And bake for another 15 minutes

Let loaf cool, rest and dry out a little before slicing, I give mine about 6 hours

Over to you Dear Reader, have you made this recipe before? What baking vessel do you find best?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Simple Things
Three Years Ago-Goan Fish Curry

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday, 27 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I would just like to say a very big thank you to everyone that posted a message yesterday of encouragement, condolences and said so many lovely things about my little blog, it has lifted my spirits so much. Blogs don't work without readers and comments so I will keep blogging until I have nothing more to say...Thank you all again.

I learnt this tip from George Colombaris (Masterchef judge) many years ago when I used the watch this juggernaught of a show. When pouring the last of cream from the bottle, pop the "empty" bottle with the lid just sitting on the top, not sealed, in the microwave and hit high for 5 seconds, the remaining cream that clings to the lid and sides of the bottle will thin down and become very pourable, by doing this you get at least another tablespoon or more of cream from the bottle. Absolutely no wasted cream.

Over to you Dear Reader, hit me with your hot Tuesday Tip.

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Pork and Red Bean Curd
Three Years Ago-My Menu/Shopping List


Hello Again

Monday, 26 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry I haven't been in this space lately, I just felt that I didn't have too much to contribute at the moment. I want to thank everyone that left messages of encouragement, I am truly blessed to have such lovely readers.

This photo was taken 1 year ago, all the girls...

We lost our darling Aunty Brenda last Monday afternoon, almost 2 weeks to the day that she entered hospital, after a fall which resulted in a fractured pelvis. It was just too much for her and she decided, with a sound mind, to stop dialysis and let nature take its course. Her small and close knit family were with her everyday and we all had a chance to say our goodbyes. She will be laid to rest tomorrow.

I have been reflecting a lot lately about the content of my blog, when I first started blogging, nearly four years ago, we were living on a limited income after Lovely Hubby's illness in 2009 meant he never returned to full time work. I was working, full time, in a Government Agency and while the pay was okay it wasn't marvellous, but I was thankful for a secure job. We lived simply and carefully,    thought about every purchase, I had always been thrifty, preferring to buy second hand clothes and shop for bargains. In the beginning of this blog EVERYTHING was about living frugally and saving money wherever we could, these days it's a hodgepodge of new recipes to try and our future plans.

After the loss of both LH parents, we inherited a whole house full of memories and a huge amount of "stuff" right next door to us, which we sorted through and now our lovely son and his equally lovely partner are living there, making it their own. Along with the home there was carefully obtained and wisely invested, share portfolios curated by LH Mum over the course of her lifetime. We (I really mean LH) in turn, are carefully looking after these investments and hope that they will see us live a comfortable life. Please let me state we are not all of a sudden "really well off" just in a better position then we were.

There is a new position at work that I am thinking of applying for in the next few months and if I am lucky enough to be the successful applicant it will mean going back to full time work. It is however not as physical as my job is now. The reason I am contemplating this move is my current occupation is very physical, like, all day, non stop, and I am not getting any younger, I want to grow old with a body that is in good shape and not knocked around or broken. This is all pie in the sky stuff but hey, you have to plan, I've always said, if you don't plan, you don't do.

We continue to live a frugal, thrifty life, doing everything we have always done to save money, even though our budget has more wiggle room in it now, I guess old habits die hard. What I want to know my blog still of interest to you, it really isn't that interesting, I'm pretty ordinary, living a pretty ordinary life.

Our amazing future SIL has been with us again, building their home down here, he is always a pleasure to have around and we look forward to sitting down with him every night for dinner. He really appreciates not having to cook at the end of a long hard day on the tools. And we love feeding him too. Their plans have changed dramatically too with the big move down here happening in only a few months time instead of next year. They will be renting a little home on the peninsula until their home is at lock up stage. They were able to get out of their business lease a lot earlier than originally thought and they both can't wait to be down here full time, neither can we!

I have had this past week or so off blogging, sleeping in, way past the alarm going off, trundling into the kitchen by about 6am, emptying the dish washer, making our breakfast and then taking the little woofs for their morning walk. Then its time for breakfast and a bit of yard or house work before getting ready for work, then it's a quick ride to work where I'm at from 9 till 3.54 (exactly) then home again. See, nothing too interesting. We're still cooking at home every night and packing our lunches for the next day and of course we are still menu planning and buying only what we need for the week ahead. We still have short showers, catching the warm up water for the potted figs out the front, stick to the 2 light rule, I sun dry the washing and am still making homemade cleaners. Not too much has changed.

Well, for someone who thought they didn't have a lot to contribute, I think I just did a pretty good job at filling this page!

Over to you Dear Reader, is my blog something that you will continue to read? Even though we are not doing it tough anymore, even though we don't live a rockstar life and are happy to live a quiet, uneventful life.

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

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 17 August 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I have just the weekend ahead before I go back to work and I want to make the most of it, so today I plan on getting the laundry cleaned and decluttered, it's actually not too bad so it shouldn't take too long. And in the afternoon I want to give the outdoor setting a good clean, it has been neglected for a long time. Lovely Hubby very kindly pressure washed the whole outside of the house and the patio for me on Wednesday afternoon, so apart from the outdoor setting everything outside is clean.

We are expecting a very hot start to the week next Monday, with hot and dry northerly winds, so I will have to give the gardens a really good soak at some point, to give the veggies a fighting chance. Regular readers will know that I made a rookie mistake when I planted out our veggie garden for the first time, I planted way too much in one go, meaning we ate like kings from our garden and then it came to a screaming holt. Successive planting is what I am doing now but it is too little too late. Never mind, I learnt that lesson the hard way.

Tomorrow we intend to visit Aunty Brenda again, we went yesterday afternoon, Brenda is getting a bit more drowsy every time we visit, but she is rousable and joined in with conversation when she could. My sister is a talker, which, sometimes, is a blessing as it lets other people just listen and gather their thoughts and as she talks about mostly positive things so it lifts the mood. Aunty Brenda is now in the palliative care unit and we met her Doctor this afternoon, gosh is it just me, but they seem like kids, obviously the older I get the younger they appear. Non the less he was lovely, kind and took his time, what he didn't do was familiarise himself with her name before he entered, he also mustn't have read her chart as he didn't know what the "lumps" were in her forearm, they were the ports for dialysis.

I wonder sometimes, if I share too much here, I am a very pragmatic person and are usually under control of my emotions and thoughts. I can write and talk about our darling Aunt's current battle and then talk about what we bought, spent and ate this week in then same post, is that wrong? We all deal with difficult situations differently I suppose?

I also want to address the unbalanced nature of this week, as my mum would have said, we lived high on the hog, this week. We went our for dinner last Friday night to celebrate a few family members birthdays and we also had a night away at "The Star" last Sunday night. Not at all in keeping with our usual simple and frugal life but we both really enjoyed the experience. I guess it balances out in the end though as we've had baked beans on toast 2 times this week.

Now on with the other food we enjoyed this week-

What we bought

The few items from Coles

The Aldi shop

What we spent

Simply Good-$48.45, sorry, no photo 


What we ate

Friday-Our night out at The Bavarian 

Saturday-Baked beans on toast 

Sunday-Dinner out at The Imperial 

Monday-Baked Beans with an egg on toast 

Tuesday-Upmarket Tuna Pasta Bake with a green salad

Wednesday-Our son invited us over for home made fish and chips

Thursday-Sausages with roasted broccolini and herby mashed potato

Over to you Dear Reader, what was on your family table this week?

Two Years Ago-Here and Now