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Monday, 30 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I have wanted to make one of these, all in one, baked pasta dishes, for a long time and last Sunday I finally got around to doing it. I had found a recipe using the Thermomix but at this stage I'm not too sure I like mince cooked in a Thermomix. I've only made one recipe using beef mince and that was a Beef Chow Mein. It was delicious but for me the texture was a bit odd. I guess the Thermomix isn't great at everything!

Look what a baby face he had back then!

Anyway, that is a long way of saying, this time when searching for a recipe, I hit my recipe books up instead of looking on the internet or on Cookidoo which is a Thermiomix website and found a fabulously easy and totally delicious recipe for Pastitsio. It is from George Calombaris's recipe book called "Greek Cookery from the Hellenic Heart" from way back in 2009 and I have to say I love it. I do make something similar that I call Easy "Lasagna" but this is a little different in that there is only a few ingredient in the beef mince and you add eggs to the cheesy white sauce so that when it bakes it fluffs up like a soft soufflé. It is divine!

As usual I have tweaked the original recipe to suit our tastes and to also reflect the ingredients I had at home.

Ingredients for Pastitsio-the pasta and mince layer, clockwise from right-500 grams of beef mince, 60 grams of grated mozzarella and 100 grams of grated parmesan cheese, mixed together, a good handful of Thyme and 2 stems of rosemary, both finely chopped, 2 cinnamon quills, 3 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane, 1 onion, finely diced, 250 grams of pasta, I used spiral, 1 can diced tomatoes and 2 tablespoons tomato paste

 To a large non stick, heavy based fry pan add the onion, garlic, rosemary and thyme and sauté in a little oil on medium heat till soft

Push the softened onion and herb mixture to one side then add the mince and brown, breaking up any lumps with a wooded spoon 

Now add the can of tomatoes, tomato paste and cinnamon quills 

Mix well and let bubble away on low heat for up to an hour if you have time.

The sauce will be reduced and nice and thick. Just before the mince is ready, cook pasta in the usual way and set aside to cool.  

To the base of a large 25 cm x 25 cm greased casserole dish, add the cooked and cooled pasta and 1/2 of the cheese mixture. Using your hands mix the cheese into the cooled pasta 

Pour and scrape over the cooked mince and level off the top 

Ingredients for the cheesy soufflé layer-clockwise from top-800ml of full cream milk, warmed through for a minute or two in the microwave, 100 grams of plain flour, the remaining 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 3 eggs, whisked and 100 grams of butter 

Add the butter to a saucepan and melt on medium heat 

Add the flour and cook out on low heat for 2 minutes 

Add the warmed milk whisking the whole time, once smooth and thick take off the heat to let cool a little 

Add the cheese and the whisked eggs and let melt and incorporate into the béchamel sauce 

Pour and scrape over the mince layer and bake at 200C for 45 minutes or until golden brown and the béchamel has set

Golden, puffy and gorgeous

Make it today.

Have a lovely day,


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 29 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I think you can guess what I am grateful for today! The safe arrival of our daughter and future son-in-law yesterday morning at 8am from Cairns, they made wonderful time. They were exhausted but had to do a few things, so they headed out about an hour later, came home just after lunch and fell into bed.

The little corolla was packed to the hilt and was a great little car on the highway. I was awake from 2am with lots of thoughts running through my head, all the what if's! Why do Mums do this to themselves?

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
Three Years Ago-Sorrell Soup

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 28 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Our darling Daughter and her Partner are arriving today sometime, they are driving down from Cairns with a car full of fragile items that they don't trust with the moving company. They have snagged a very thrifty way to drive down the Queensland Coast, they are driving a rental car, that needs to be moved from the Cairns airport to the Brisbane airport, it's costing them a dollar a day! Talk about thrifty! The apple hasn't fallen far from the tree.

We are continuing to be very careful with our water usage with the gardens only getting irrigated once a week, although last Saturday we were lucky enough to get 2 ml of rain, just enough to settle the dirt and give the plants a little drink but it was very welcomed. We have been saving the warm up water in the shower, pouring it into the watering can and I have been giving it to the lawn out the front, it's not completely happy with some really brown patches but I'm hoping by giving it a little everyday I can keep it alive.

Now on with the food from the past week-

What we bought

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$25.35


What we ate

Friday-Leftover Lentil Bolognese that was morphed into a veggie chilli over a steamed potato with sour cream, cheese, jalapeños and chopped coriander 

Saturday-Baked Beans on toast with Roasted Mushrooms and Garlic and Herb Butter 

Sunday and Monday-Pastitsio, with Roasted Maple and Cinnamon Pumpkin and Sautéed Silverbeet

Tuesday-Sausages with Garlic and Herb Mashed Potato and Sautéed Mixed Greens 

Wednesday-Tempura Whiting with steamed Basmati rice and Sautéed Mustard Green 

Thursday-Simple Chicken Curry with steamed Basmati rice and snow peas

What did you make this week?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Melanzane Pasta Bake 

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 27 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Well that's the end of another week, I feel as though I am on a train that is hurtling along at a great speed at the moment, the train is travelling very fast but the vista looking out from the train isn't changing much as I only see home and work! With one exception, I did travel into Brisbane on Tuesday for a half day work shadow with the Eat, Walk and Engage team and I loved it. Not the travelling into the city part but seeing the actual team and the service they provide. They are a close knit and well oiled team that are doing an amazing job, working with patients, who may be delirious, that are at risk of malnutrition, not engaging socially or in their therapy which could lead to more complications and a longer hospital stay.

This is the position that I want to apply for at my hospital, it should be advertised soon and I am reading and studying all the information I can get my hands on relating to this program in the hopes that it prepares me for the application. I am full of self doubt and nerves but I did read once that if you don't step out of your comfort zone you will never learn new things. So I will have to put on my big girl pants and just do it.

I also did my presentation to the Physiotherapists on Wednesday afternoon and just as I thought I would be, I was incredibly nervous and stumbled over my well rehearsed powerpoint and waffled on for too long and then to make matters worse I wasn't expecting questions at the end of it and again I stumbled and fumbled for the right thing to say. I have been berating myself for it ever since and of course in reflection and hindsight, I now know what would have been the perfect thing to say! I need to rein in my nerves as they are making my working life difficult!

Now on with the frugal stuff which thankful happens naturally and I don't need to think about it!

1. Cut up and soaked a big bunch of celery to remove all the dirt, I then dried the celery on a lint free tea towel before storing in an air tight container. The tea towel lines the container and keeps the celery fresh and crisp for weeks. Love no waste

2. Cut lots of green veg from the garden to go with dinners, some of the leaves are a bit tattered with holes in them, luckily, you can eat the holes too😜

3. Made some more cashew milk to go with our homemade muesli that we have for breakfast everyday

4. Ate a veggie based dinner on Saturday 

5. Cut back the rosemary and parsley, bunched them up and took them into work to share the love. 

Your turn, how was your week and how did you save money and get ahead this week?

Have a lovely day,


The Best Garlic and Herb Butter

Thursday, 26 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Roasted Field Mushroom with my Garlic and Herb Butter 

Just a quick little post this morning. I adore anything to do with butter and garlic so today's little recipe combines my love of both of these. This garlic and herb butter is simply delicious and can be used in so many ways. Think generously spooned over field mushrooms before roasting in the oven, placed over fish before steaming in a foil pouch, stirred into fluffy mashed potato, melted over steamed or stir fried veg and of course spread onto a loaf of bread before a final bake in the oven.


For every 225 grams of softened butter add in 2 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane and a good couple of handful of herbs, I used parsley and garlic chives, finely chopped 

Throw everything into a large bowl and gently mix till well combine 

Ready to use 

Creamy Herby Mashed Potato with my Garlic and Herb Butter melted throughout

Your turn, what would you use the garlic and herb butter for?

Have a lovely day,

Three Years Ago-Happiness is...

A Garden Update-September 2019

Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I thought I would share a little garden update and have included the newest section of our garden which is out the front of our home. I wanted to make almost everything edible in my garden so there is a delicious reward for using all that precious water. 

I do have a few of Fiddle Leaf Figs which require very little water and our two Moreton Bay Figs out the front share a bucket of water about every third day, so again they don't need a lot of water. We still have a few big plants that belong to our son, a Lychee tree that he grew from seed and three Jade trees which all need to be repotted. I just have to be patient until he is ready to move them next door with him! They also require very little water which is just as well.

Please enjoy a little walk around my garden-

In the video I mentioned I am growing our potatoes in a grow bag, they are a brilliant idea because when the potatoes are ready for harvesting you simply upend the bag and collect the potatoes. I bought my potato grow bag from Green Harvest.

What is growing in your garden at the mo?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Last Weeks Grocery Bargains
Two Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Three Years Ago-How I Keep the House, Mostly, Cat Hair Free, Some of the Time

Tip Tuesday

Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Today's tip comes from my late MIL. The first time I saw her do this I thought, oh my goodness she is going ruin her top! She was in the kitchen pouring dish washing liquid on one of her good tops. My late MIL was quite the fashionista and always wore lovely clothes even when at home, doing housework or cooking in the kitchen.

A top she was wearing one night while cooking had been splattered with oil, the next day I saw her spot treating that top with ordinary everyday dish washing liquid, and it worked like a charm. You simply pour a small amount of neat dish washing liquid on the oil stain, rub it in a little and let it sit for a little while before washing in the usual way.

I mostly wear an apron when I'm cooking but sometimes I forget and also sometimes I get an oil stain on my top. I have been using this same technique forever and it absolutely works every single time!

Now this particular top is as old as the hills, I bought it second hand ages ago and have worn it very often, so it has had some good mileage, it is getting a bit threadbare with little holes appearing on the front of it. But it's still good for around the house and garden. And now it doesn't have any oil stains on it either!

My darling Mum was the stain queen and would always spot treat any stain before washing in the washing machine or hand washing but I never saw her use this technique, that is probably why I thought it was strange. 

Your turn, what is your best laundry tip? Any stain queens out there?

Have a lovely day,


Lentil Bolognese-Thermomix Style

Monday, 23 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I love this, not at all traditional, meatless bolognese, it has everything going for it, it is delicious, it's easy, it's quick and it makes a very economical meal to boot. It is loaded with herbs, tomato-y goodness in the form of fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes and tomato pesto, roasted red capsicums for sweetness, and a little heat from dried chilli as well.

You can add and subtract the herbs depending on what you like and maybe what's in your garden at the moment. I have no basil presently but oodles of thyme, parsley and oregano, so they all joined in the lentil bolognese party.

Ingredients for Lentil Bolognese, Thermomix Style, clockwise from top right-1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed, 1 can tomatoes (any variety you like) 1 jar of tomato pesto, 1 jar of char grilled capsicum,  drained, 200 grams of small tomatoes, cut in half, a good handful each of thyme, parsley and oregano, 1 onion, quartered, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon or more to taste of dried chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste and a good splash of olive oil 

To the bowl of the TM, add the onion, garlic, herbs, chilli and olive oil

And blitz on speed 3 for 7 seconds 

Cook for 3 minutes/100C/speed 1

Add the drained lentils, jar of tomato pesto, drained char grilled capsicums and can of tomatoes and cook for 17 minutes/100C/speed 1, That's it!

Pour and scrape into a serving bowl 

And serve over any kind of pasta you like

This easily fed the two of us for dinner on the first night, plus an extra serve for LH, there was some leftover which morphed into, an easy Friday night dinner, over a steamed potato with sour cream, jalapeños and chopped coriander, veggie chilli style. 

Make it today.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 22 September 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

Today I am grateful for our kind and gentle Dentist. Is this a thing to be grateful for? For someone who was traumatised and terrified of the dentist when I was a child, I truly am so very grateful for my Dentist who is patient, kind and thoughtful.

Yesterday I had my 6 monthly checkup, nothing was wrong, thankfully, he de-scaled my teeth, gave my mouth a cancer check and the usual clean and fluoride treatment, I am good for another six months. I always book the next appointment before I leave too so there is no way a big scary cat like me can get out of the next appointment!

Here's a big cheesy grin for my Dentist!

What are you grateful for today? And were you also afraid of the Dentist when you were young? How do you feel now?

Have a lovely day,