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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 30 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

This weeks edition of what we bought, spent and ate this week, is a little different than our normal grocery shop. We still menu planned and shopped only to the list but we shopped somewhere different. Last Friday we decided to drive up the range to Maleny, a beautiful hinterland town known for its rolling green hills and dairy industry.

We have been there a few times before and have loved it so much, the people in town are so friendly with locals all stopping to say hello to one another and often embracing. We had lunch out at a little cafe, the food was wonderful and it was full of locals meeting for lunch. We then went to the local IGA (Independent Grocery Alliance) and did our weekly shop.

Hello local cheeses-Maleny Dairy and Kenilworth Cheeses

While we were in Maleny I also wanted to go to "The Source" bulk food store, it is a very upmarket version of "Simply Good" the reason I wanted to go was I had a $20 voucher that I had been given ages ago when my sister and I went to Bea Johnson's talk about her zero waste lifestyle (it was sponsored by The Source) The owner of the shop wouldn't honour the voucher, which was a shame, but he did offer us 10% discount, which was better than nothing. I did hum and haw over whether to buy anything there at all as the prices were a lot more expensive than our normal bulk place, but lovely hubby encouraged me just to have a look. I did find lovely fine wholemeal bread flour, raw cacao and dish washing powder in bulk and LH found some chocolates he liked, so yes we did end up buying from there. I won't bother again, even though the layout and shop was schmick, the prices are eye watering.

Now on with the food-
What we bought

What we spent

The Source Bulk Store-$35.20
IGA Maleny-$132.65
Coles-Cat food (not pictured)-$8.80
Aldi-Dog mince (not pictured)-$18.90

TOTAl-$195.55-Swings and Roundabouts

What we ate

Friday and Saturday-Asian Inspired Chicken Tray Bake

Sunday-we were both still so full from this lovely grazing lunch, neither of felt like dinner 

Monday-Beef Ragu-Thermomix Style 

Tuesday and Wednesday-My Easy "Lasagna" 

Thursday-Cheesy Artichoke Pasta Bake-Thermomix Style 

Your turn, what did you make for dinners this week?

Have a lovely day,


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 29 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

Welcome to another post about how I try and save money each week. As my life is so predictable I find my frugal things to be very much the same week in week out, sorry if I repeat myself too much! In saying that the past few week have been anything but frugal, we decided to have a staycation instead of going away camping (because of the dreadful bushfires) in doing so we also decided to eat out a few time and also had a one night getaway down the Gold Coast which involved lots of lovely eating out.

Swings and roundabouts! All work and no play ect! I think we balance the budget out okay by going back to living a quiet and simply life at home. For instance this past week, this Beef Ragu, which only uses 500 grams of beef mince, fed us for three nights on the run, morphing into this Easy Lasagne on the second night, then there was enough for another nights dinner plus a lunch for lovely hubby. Also I was able to use up a small jar (about 200 grams) of Orecchiette from the pantry for the Easy Lasagna so it was a very budget friendly recipe.

As usual this week 5 frugal things is about food and preventing food waste, what can I say, it is in my DNA. Mum and Dad lived very frugally in all aspects of their lives, ultimately you are what you upbringing was like, that's what I believe anyway.

Now on with the five frugal things-

1. Made good use of my Thermomix by making icing sugar, brown sugar and cashew milk. I now make a quarter quantity of the original Easy Peasy Cashew Milk recipe and for me, it make the perfect amount to put on my muesli all week long without wasting a drop. Lovely Hubby prefers his muesli with the fruit salad and yoghurt on top.

2. I had a quarter of a lovely golden pumpkin that we had bought a while ago, it was still fine but I wanted to prevent any waste, so I roasted, blitzed and froze the pureed pumpkin into one cup portions to use down the track in recipes like this Pumpkin Spice Bread or this Roast Pumpkin Baked Semolina Gnocchi

3. Had a family get together last Sunday for lunch, we decided that it would be less burden on my Sister if everyone bought something to add to a grazing table. Some yummy food was enjoyed and much cheaper than going out for lunch. 

4. On a whim last Saturday I felt like salad wraps for lunch so I popped up to our local Coles and bought some Lebanese bread, tomatoes, cucumbers and a lettuce to go with this egg salad. The Lebanese bread was lovely but soon lost its freshness, so I cut the remaining up and baked some Oven Baked Pita Chips. 

5. Rode my bike to work everyday, even though it was hot and I arrive at work like a hot mess, at least I am getting some exercise. If I do drive I still have to walk a mile as our hospital is in the process of building a high rise car park, so where staff used to be able to park is now a construction zone. 

Over to you, how did you safe money or time this week?

Have a lovely day,


Easy Baked Brie with Garlic and Lemon Thyme

Thursday, 28 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

Yesterday I mentioned that I served this wonderful salad with a baked brie, I wondered whether or not to post this "recipe" as it as easy as easy can be, really not a "recipe" at all, just a simple idea to take brie, which is already so delicious, to another level. I also know this is not a new thing, baking gooey cheese has been going on since the 70's and probably before that too.

As usual I wanted to use ingredients already at home and as I have a huge quantity of lemon thyme growing out in the front garden, that's what I used, as well as finely sliced garlic. We just loved these flavours, they worked so well with the delicate brie and of course dipping fresh and warm baguettes into the melting cheese was the best bit.

This was a holiday treat, definitely not something for everyday, but I thought I would post it as the silly season is just about upon us and it would be lovely to take along to a Christmas get together.

Here's how I made it-

You will need-one wheel of brie cheese, a handful of lemon thyme and one clove of garlic, finely sliced

Using a sharp knife, cut six slits in the brie and push in a slice of garlic and a sprig of lemon thyme. Wrap in baking paper and bake for 20 minutes at 180C 

Unwrap, scatter with finely chopped lemon thyme leaves and devour

Sorry, not sorry! 

Have a lovely day,


Fennel and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Olives and Cashews

Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

I made this salad while I was on holiday last week, after I was gifted two bulbs of gorgeous home grown fennel. I guess fennel could be quite the divisive vegetable as it has a very strong liquorish flavour, which I love, but maybe some people don't. Anyway I wanted a recipe to really let this veggie shine and be the star of the dish.

As usual I googled recipes using fennel, found a few and then combined the best of them. I served this fabulous salad with a divine baked brie and warm baguettes for dipping, it was the most deliciously light dinner.

Ingredients for Fennel and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Olives and Cashews, clockwise from right-
two small or one medium fennel bulb finely sliced on a mandolin plus a few feathery fronds to finish, two big handfuls of rocket, one cup of olives of choice, two bunches of asparagus cut into 3cm lengths and one cup of roasted cashews (not pictured) 

For the dressing
 20 grams of Dijon mustard, 50 grams of olive oil, juice of one large lemon and salt and pepper

Char grill or roast the asparagus until just starting to take on some colour, set aside to cool. 

Add all dressing ingredients to a lidded jar and give it a really good shake, set aside till needed

Combine all salad ingredient into a large serving bowl, pour over some dressing and gently toss. Set the dressing on the table for everyone to help themselves to more if wished. 

This is such a lovely salad, full of delicious and interesting bits, the fennel adds just the right amount of liquorish hum and is balanced nicely by the peppery rocket and charred asparagus. I think it will become my new favourite!

Tell me, what is your go to salad? 

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-What we Bought at Daiso 


My Tips for a Less Stressful Life

Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

Today I would like to give you a few tips that I do consistently which, I believe, helps me lead a less stressful life. They are not rocket science, they are very simple things that don't take a lot of your time  and they are free to do.

I find the speed of this life we are all caught up in now, makes my head spin and I'm not really in the thick of things, I am not a shopper, I avoid going out into very busy and loud places when I can, preferring to stay home instead. I don't watch a lot of TV, just the news most nights and I try not to spend endless hours on my phone, scrolling. I have essentially unplugged my life and it suits me just fine.

I don't follow fashion or fads, I just wear and do what works for me. I must admit I think I am quite boring, but that is okay, it is my life and I have actively curated my life and home to be a welcoming quiet place to run to at the end of the working day.

Here are my four things that I do every day or every week to make my life less stressful-

1. We make our bed everyday.

There is something very simple and joyful about making a bed properly. I can vividly remember helping mum make her bed when I was very young. I remember seeing the dust particles falling through her sun lite bedroom after giving the heavy woollen blanket a shake, It mesmerised me. I even remember the label on the woollen blanket which was an Australian brand called Waverley. We were taught how to make our beds properly (hello hospital corners) and that just continued throughout my life. Funnily enough now, we mostly fold back the quilt and top sheet after making the bed, to let it air, but we still make it neat and tidy, every morning before I leave for work. That feeling of getting into a made bed is just lovely.

2. Keep the kitchen clean and tidy.

Leave your kitchen clean and tidy before you go to bed, you'll be so glad you did when you get up in the morning. There is nothing worse than having to wash up before your day even begins. I also do a small wash up in the morning before I leave for work, of things that don't go in the dishwasher.

3. Keep on top of the washing.

When the kids were at home, of course we generated a lot of washing, it is far less now with just the two of us. Back then I washed four or five times a week, now I wash three times a week, work uniforms and general clothes on Wednesday and Saturday and sheets and towels on Sundays. Have a washing system that works for you, don't let the washing build up, even if that means washing every day.

4. Menu plan.

Knowing what is for dinner every single night, I think, is my best tip. You make your menu and shopping list once for the week ahead and then you don't need to think about it again till the next week. Make it achievable for the amount of time you have in the evenings, factor in leftovers and always have an easy night whatever that means to you. To us it is an "On Toast" night involving baked beans or eggs.

Over to you, what are your tips for a less stressful life?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Cheese and Chorizo Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago-Lists
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today

Easy Wholemeal Baguettes

Monday, 25 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

Today I want to share a great little bread recipe that is easy, very versatile and tastes delicious. I have gone back to using wholemeal bread flour as I feel it is better for us and we love the taste too. We buy our bread flour in bulk from Simply Good, once a month, I buy about three kilo's at a time and keep it in a well sealed container in the bottom of the pantry. Of course you can use any bread flour you like, you will just need to adjust the amount of water as I find wholemeal flour needs more water.

I wanted some baguettes for dipping into meltingly gorgeous baked brie and also for a wonderful Asian Inspired Chicken Tray Bake, I will share those recipes with you too, later this week. The dough is very easy to handle and will yield two large, three medium or four small baguettes, simply weigh the dough and divide by how many baguettes you want, then divide up the dough and form into a long rectangle and firmly roll up into a long baguette shape.

I used my Thermomix for this recipe, but as long as you knead the dough for at least 10 minutes by hand you should get the same result.

Heres how they came together in my kitchen-

To the bowl of the TM, add 450 grams of wholemeal bread flour, 10 grams each of active dry yeast, salt and brown sugar, 30 grams of oil of choice and 380 grams of tepid water. Knead for 6 minutes.

Pour and scrape dough into a large, well oiled bowl, cover and let prove for 30 minutes 

Turn proved dough onto to floured surface and divide into four portions, you can either eye ball this or actually weigh out your portions  

Pull and stretch each portion into a long wide rectangle 

Then tightly roll up into long baguette shape 

Gently transfer to a lined baking tray, brush with water and sprinkle with sesame seeds then slash with panache. Let prove again in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size

Then bake for 25 minutes at 200C 

While still warm, slice or tear off a chunk and smother with butter, sit back, close your eyes and enjoy, try not to eat them all in one sitting! 

Have a great day,

Three Years Ago-No blog post today, still in Cairns 


Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 24 November 2019
Hello Dear Friends,

Today I am grateful for a whole week at home, as most of you know by now I love my home and garden. I love spending time in my home, fluffing up my nest, cooking, baking, preserving, making yoghurt and bread, cleaning, gardening and just generally being at home. I am an introvert, a home body and I look forward to the one day that I don't need to go back to work.

What are you grateful for today?

Have a lovely Sunday,

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-No blog post today (away camping up the beach)


What we bought, spent and ate over the past two weeks

Saturday, 23 November 2019
Hello Dear Reader,

I'm playing catch up this week as I had missed a couple of weeks due to some downtime on my blog, caused by a technical glitch, AKA-me! Please let me know if you see any double up's of posts or if you are still having problems searching for a particular post. From my end it looks better and I find it easier to search for something too, but then I know basically where it should be!

We've had some different meals these past two weeks, due to celebrating a family birthday, spending a night down the coast and being on holidays this past week. We have eaten out a lot more than we have all year long, it's been a big splurge and I have enjoyed every second of it.

I would rather spend money on good food than anything else, I don't enjoy shopping (other than food) and if I have to go to a shop for something, I have my list and get in and out as soon as I can. I find I am now completely overwhelmed by large shopping centres, just finding a park is bad enough let alone actually shopping with way too many people in one space for my comfort.

How do you feel about shopping? Now on with the food-

What we bought

15th-21st November (week 2)

8th-14th November (week 1)

What we spent
Week 1-$69.15
Week 2-$97.81

What we ate

Friday 8th-Baked Beans on Toast

Saturday and Sunday 9th and 10th-Our Son and his wonderful Partner made Pizzas for his birthday get together, they made ten pizzas in total, they were super delicious and best of all there were leftovers!

Monday 11th-Chicken Pot Pie, roast pumpkin and perpetual spinach from the front garden 

Tuesday 12th-Sausages with roast pumpkin, new potatoes (home grown) with herby butter and sauerkraut 

Wednesday 13th-Tempura Whiting, Kim Chi and home grown perpetual spinach 

Thursday 14th-Salmon Cakes with Quinoa and Chickpea Salad and Socca

Friday 15th-Leftover salad, a perfect egg and another Socca

Saturday 16th-Fennel, Roasted Asparagus and Cashew Salad with...

Baked Brie with Lemon Thyme and Garlic and homemade Baguette for dipping

Sunday 17th-This is the night we stayed down at The Star-we went to Cucina Vivo

It was totally delicious

Monday 18th-Chicken and Corn Soup

Tuesday 19th-Sushi

Wednesday 20th-Chicken and Cashew Stir Fry

Thursday 21st-We didn't eat that night due to a very large lunch, I mean this thing was monstrous. I ordered what I thought would be a very light and lovely lunch...Char Grilled Veggie Stack with Halloumi...Well, what can I say it was totally delicious but seriously, would have fed two people easily. I did my best though... Lovely Hubby had a pulled brisket burger with fries and salad, which was equally as generous and he was still full at dinner too. I drank lots of peppermint tea to ease my over full tummy during the afternoon. We have eaten at this place twice now (the last time was a family dinner ages ago) and I am quite happy not to go again. The servings are just too generous. On another topic the lovely waitress waxed lyrical about the lunch time meals being served on Palm Leaf plates which are compostable. I wanted to ask her where the compost bin was for the restaurant because a compostable product actually needs to be put into a compost bin for it to break down. LH very nicely suggested I didn't ask...or as my daughter would say...don't poke the bear!

But wait there was more, we both had the lunch special which included a glass of wine and baklava for dessert, they were absolutely delicious, probably the best I've tasted.

Wow, what a fortnight for food, I should eat nothing but steamed rice and filtered water for a while, talk about decadent...Normal service will return shortly! 

Have a lovely day,