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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday, I mean, Saturday

Saturday, 29 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Sorry for the lateness of getting this post up, it's been a big and tiring week and I feel absolutely wrung out with not much brain space except for getting only the very basics done at home. I even used the drier twice this week as I just didn't have the time or strength to hang out the washing. Now normally I will do anything to avoid using the drier but my fatigue and brain fog won this week.

You know how things can go wrong when you simply aren't paying attention, well I have a doozy of an example for you today. I planted out an Italian Parsley boarder out the front garden last year and it went gang busters, the most healthy parsley I have ever grown, it just must have been the perfect position  for it. Well, a while ago I noticed it had started to go pale and not looking as vibrant as it had been, on closer inspection I found some small yellowish flying bugs on the leaves and when you brushed past the parsley, those tiny bugs would fly about and then land again amongst the tall parsley grove.

I was so time poor that I didn't do anything about and I am so sorry that I didn't act in a more timely manner because the parsley became overrun with this small bug, sucking out all of the goodness and it was obviously struggling to survive. So last weekend I pulled out all the parsley and LH said he would run it through the mulcher, intending it to go into the compost.

That afternoon, I heard the mulcher going but didn't pay much attention until I had to go outside for something, I was greeted by a cloud of tiny swarming bugs everywhere I looked, I realised way too late that we had just unleashed thousands of those destructive bugs and invited them into our raised veggie gardens in the courtyard, where they were happily settling down to eat what ever they could find. Within a week my rocket, mustard green and chervil have all been sucked dry, leaving bleached and sad looking herbs and veggies.

I did try to look up what could the little bugs possibly be and how to get rid of them, but to no avail, so I used a dishwashing liquid solution of them, mixing it up in the watering can and dredging the plants and soil with the frothy solution. I think it helped a bit but there are still so many bugs, so tomorrow I will apply this garlic oil solution to try and kill these menacing, tiny, yellow, winged bugs. Any gardeners reading? Do have a clue what they could be?

PS. The bins of shredded parsley were dragged out the front and went straight to the dump the next day. What a terrible mistake to make.

Even though it was a busy and exhausting week, looking back I did manage a few things to save us money-

1. Made our usual 1 kg batch of vanilla yoghurt, the organic milk from Aldi costs $1.99, then I add 80 grams of powdered milk and 50 grams of sugar and a splash of homemade vanilla essence, which adds up to just a few cents really, so for just over $2 we have 1 kg of lovely, thick and creamy yoghurt.

2. Picked snow peas and beetroot from the garden, thankfully the bugs haven't touched either of those.

3. Picked the last of the dill, chopped it up, spread it in a thin layer on a lined baking tray and froze it, once frozen I popped it into a glass, container in the freezer. I also froze some in melted butter for things like soups, mashed potato and creamy sauces.

4. Fed the compost bin all the shredded paper from the office, the spent coffee grinds and all the fruit and veg peelings and waste.

5. I did dry most of the washing on the line in the sunshine, last weekend was so windy and the washing dried in no time. Swings and roundabouts even happen in the laundry I guess. Some weeks are just better than others.

How did you save money this week?

Have a lovely weekend,


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 26 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Our grocery budget is having lots of fun on the swings and roundabouts at the moment, last weeks grocery total was very small, only $74, however this weeks total is very high, due to buying a lot of meat for this Feijoada. We decided a while ago to only buy free range meat, it is more expensive, and it should be, and we are happy to pay it. We have reduced our meat consumption greatly over the years ( I did try to go without it but LH wasn't having a bar of it) but I think this is our best compromise.

The other thing that made this week expensive is that there was some confusion over what chicken I needed for the Feijoada, LH reckons I asked for chicken legs but I am sure I told him chicken thigh fillets so in the end we had to go and buy 1.5 kg's of free range chicken thigh fillets from Coles for the Feijoada and the 12 chicken legs that he bought home from Jason's Quality Meats have been frozen down for future use.

Here is what else we bought this week, how much we spent and what we ate-

What we bought

The Coles shop

The Aldi shop

F & V from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn 

What we spent 

Coles-$43.35 + $24.00 for the extra chicken
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$24.46
Jason's Quality Meats-$45.00

What we Ate

Wednesday-We had our son over for dinner and we served Calamari, sweet potato chips and this Greek Salad 

Thursday-This was supposed to be Bacon, Pumpkin and Pea Risotto but we couldn't find any arborio rice so I used Basmati...bad idea, but at least we had something to eat!

Friday-we had a container of this Chicken dish in the freezer from a while ago so I dug it out and served it with fried potato and a perfect egg. 

Saturday and Sunday-Feijoada, we had all of our family over on Saturday night, it was so lovely to have everyone together. We are planning another one this coming Saturday as we are making Borsch

Monday-Prawn stir fry

Tuesday-Pumpkin, Tomato and Coconut Curry

How was your grocery budget this week? Did it get stuck on the swings or the roundabouts?

Have a lovely day,


My Easy and Delicious Greek Salad

Monday, 24 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

I had bought a couple of small Lebanese cucumbers a few week ago to use on fish burgers, well, with one thing and another that particular dinner didn't go ahead, so by the end of the second week those same cucumbers were still looking at me every time I opened the crisper draw. I don't like to waste anything so I set about using them up in a salad to have with calamari and chips.

I had a punnet of small tomatoes in the crisper, a block of feta, kalamata olives and dill growing in the garden, right, I thought, that combination should be delicious...and it was. I also made a very simple salad dressing, made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano and a little fresh garlic and some more dill to echo the flavour of the salad. The recipe below fed three of us for dinner one night but the quantities are easily doubled.

Here's how it came together in my kitchen...

Ingredients for My Easy and Delicious Greek Salad, clockwise from left-a punnet of small tomatoes, halved, 1 cup of olives of choice, de-seeded and roughly torn, a good handful of dill, finely chopped, 1/2 a block of feta of choice, diced (I just used what I had on hand which was Danish feta, for a more authentic salad use Greek feta) 2 Lebanese cucumbers, diced. 

For the dressing, from left-1/4 cup of olive oil, 30ml of red wine vinegar, 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar, 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill, and a good grind of pepper

Put all dressing ingredients into a screw top jar and shake well 

As you cut up your salad ingredients, pop them into a large bowl, pour over the salad dressing and give it a gentle but thorough mix. Let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the flavours mingle 

When dinner's ready, gently scrape into a serving bowl and it is ready for the table 

I was hoping there would be some left for my lunch the next day, but we all had seconds and the bowl was empty! This is a totally delicious and super easy salad, pop it on your menu this week.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-No Blog Post Today 

This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 21 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Ever so slightly, daggy cucumbers, were used up in this fabulous Greek salad

I am so glad it's Friday, it's been a busy week, I worked everyday in between my old position in Rehab and my new position for the Eat Walk Engage program. And to make matters worse I start at 7am for the EWE program and I have to say, I'm not a huge fan of early starts at work, I am an early riser but the reason I do that is so I can get so much done at home before I leave for work (my normal start time is 9am)

At the moment the alarm goes off at 4.40 am, I feed Ninja, empty the dishwasher, make our breakfasts (muesli, fruit and yoghurt) I then take the little woofs for their early morning walk. Then it's back home, give them their breakfast (steamed rice one morning and a tin of sardines split between the two of them the next) I have my breakfast, then I wash up the few things that can't go in the dishwasher, hop in the shower, get ready and leave by 6.40. You can understand why I'm not a fan!

So in between all this busyness, what have I done on the frugal front? Well, nothing too amazing really but every little bit helps I guess!

1. Kept the seeds from a butternut pumpkin/squash that we bought last week, I asked LH to buy the largest one he could find, as I found from growing JAP pumpkins for the last two years that I get bigger pumpkins if I grow them from saved seeds from a big pumpkin. That's my logic anyway.

2. Signed up for Medicare online so I could get the Medicare refund for a phone consult with my hormonal specialist. I have been on Bio Identical Hormone Therapy for the last 5 years and I truly believe it has helped me enormously.

3. Picked up another empty bottle while on our walks with the little woofs. We pick up at least one bottle every two or three days and collect them to cash them in. It takes about 2 months to fill these two black bins and we get between $11 and $15 dollars cash back. Hey, it's free money.

4. Kept to the two light rule throughout the house. I can remember when I was little and would sometimes visit my Nan and Papa who lived across the road from us in Gympie. The house would be in almost darkness with only the light from a lovely shell lamp on over the black and white TV and a tall reading lamp which stood beside my Papa's chair. Frugality runs in the family I guess.

5. Made sure anything perishable was used up in a timely manner. I had two little cucumbers in the fridge since the grocery shop before last. I had meant to use them up the week before, but because of lots of leftovers, the menu was re-jigged. I used those two, not as fresh as they could be, cucumbers in this wonderful Greek salad on Wednesday night. They were still totally fine, still crunchy and not blemished in any way, just a bit longer in the tooth. I will be posting this recipe on Monday while it is fresh in my mind. It's a corker!

Join in, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-No Blog Post Today 
Two Years Ago-My Poor Paw Paw
ThreeYear Ago-Freeform Beetroot and Feta Tart
Four Years Ago-Oat, Honey and Dark Chocolate Bliss Balls


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 19 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

We spent a total of $73.67 this week at the usual three different shops-The Northside Discount Fruit Barn, Aldi and few items at Coles. I'm really happy with that low total, I wish it was consistently under $100, but as we all know, grocery shopping ebbs and flows with your life doesn't? Some weeks we just need more than other weeks.

Lovely Hubby does the grocery shopping on a Wednesday and we menu plan for 6 meals with an easy "on toast" night thrown in too, which more often than not is baked beans on toast and always on a Friday. I feel it is a fitting end to a long week with a super easy and frugal dinner. It is a nice way to start the weekend too, winding down, not having to think too much about dinner. Last Friday we were lucky enough to have some leftovers, which is not always the case, but was very welcomed.

This coming week though will be a spend-y type of week as we are making this Feijoada which has a lot of meat in it but it does make a huge quantity, I always make it in winter and invite our whole family, so that is happening this coming Saturday. It is the kind of dish that gets better the longer it sits and we always look forward to the leftovers.

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

The Aldi shop

A few items from Coles, the paper package contains fresh ricotta 

And a little bit of fruit and veg from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn. I asked LH to buy a big butternut pumpkin so that I could save the seeds to plant out next year. I want to have a go at growing this variety instead of the JAP pumpkins we have grown in the past two years.

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$12.65

What we ate

Wednesday and Friday-Curried Mince Turnovers with Mashed Potato with spring onions and maple cinnamon pumpkin

Thursday and Saturday-Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato Dhal with steamed basmati rice and papadums

Sunday-we didn't feel like anything to eat as we had a little get together for afternoon tea with our little family. I made hummus and had it with crackers already at home, I made this silverbeet impossible pie recipe into mini pies in the Kmart pie maker, I also made one of these Pumpkin and Spice loaves with the maple cinnamon butter with what was, sadly, the last of our homegrown pumpkins. I also purchased one the EKKA strawberry sundae kits and we each had one of those as well. No wonder we didn't feel like dinner. 

Monday-Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Tuesday-Tempura Whiting, steamed basmati rice and mustard green with oyster sauce

What was on your menu this week?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-No Blog Post Today
Two Years Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday 
Three Years Ago-North to Alaska
Four Years Ago-This Week 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

One Bowl, Sweet Potato and Spice Muffins

Monday, 17 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

This recipe came about as I had some sweet potato left over from a lovely Dhal I made last Thursday, it actually made a mountain of Dhal, we've had it for dinner twice and there is enough for four, single portion lunches, this week. I wanted to use the sweet potato up in a muffin, which are ideal for my morning teas at work.

I remember seeing a recipe for sweet potato muffins on "The Frugal Girl" blog a little while ago and thought I might give it a go and I'm so glad I did. The recipe is really easy and so very delicious, it has lots of spice to help along in the flavour department and not unlike this Pumpkin Spice Loaf really, except it uses sweet potato and of course, made into muffins.

The resulting muffins are just what you want muffins to be, light, high topped, moist and delicious, especially when warm from the oven, spread with a heavy hand of butter or the maple cinnamon butter in the above link, is also very, very good. The original recipe called for a pecan streusel on top, but I know my limits in the kitchen, especially when I'm tired, which seems to be all the time lately, so mine are nude, but still so very yummy. I also changed a few things in the recipe, like using raw sugar instead of brown and only 3/4 cup instead of the 1 cup called for the original recipe, they are still sweet enough.

Ingredients for One Bowl, Sweet Potato and Spice Muffins, clockwise from right-
3/4 cup of oil (I used rice bran oil) 1/3 cup of light sour cream, 1 cup baked or steamed sweet potato, 3 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 1/2 cups plain flour and 3/4 cup raw sugar

Preheat oven to 165 C and line a muffin tin with muffin papers. Start by whisking the oil, sour cream, sweet potato and eggs in a large bowl, till light and fluffy. Then sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir until just combined.

Divide evenly into prepared muffin papers

And bake for 18 to 20 minutes (mine took 18 minutes) till golden brown and smelling amazing 

Serve warm with loads of butter 

Give them a whirl the next time you have some sweet potato going spare.

Have a lovely day,


Best Laid Plans and Moving Forward

Sunday, 16 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Goofy smiles all round after watching a sunrise while camping a few weeks ago, obviously before we've had tea or coffee or even looked in the mirror!

And happy Sunday to you all, I hope you have a lovely relaxing day and spend it doing what you love to do. What am I doing today? Well, right now I am making a plan of how I want to move forward with my little blog. Firstly, I will continue to use the Legacy version of Blogger for as long as I can, but who knows how long that will be until Blogger cuts it away completely? And secondly I have decided to blog three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I love and thrive on structure and having a schedule in all facets of my life, so it makes sense to have one for blogging too.

Isn't this wonderful, a Penny Farthing bike, it was in the bike compound on Friday, I would love to see it being ridden, what a hoot!

Once again there is change in the wind with my working life, I have to make a decision soon if I will reduce my works hours or, go in the complete different direction and pick up another part time job, ending up with what equates to full time hours. If that is the case I will have even less time at home as I would be starting early and finishing late. I will know more by the end of this week and make a decision next weekend of how I want to move forward.

I will post this beaut little recipe soon, it's a Peanut Butter and Sweet Potato Dahl, very mild, sweet and creamy. It's a mishmash of a few different recipes that I thought would work together and it did!

My precious time at home would be less, hence my ability to blog everyday, so I am being proactive and setting up a new blogging schedule while I still have the time and brain space. So, from tomorrow, look out for new posts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As we are now shopping on a Wednesday I will align the "What we bought, spent and ate this week" posts on a Wednesday, running from the previous Wednesday to the Tuesday of the current week.

The sunset on Thursday afternoon while walking the little woofs

Fridays will always be what we have been up to on the frugal front with Mondays left free for what ever takes my fancy, it could be a new recipe for the most deliciously moist Sweet Potato Muffins or it could be a delightful recipe for Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, you will just have to pop by tomorrow morning to find out.

Thank you to all my kind readers who commented on my return to this space, it truly warms my heart to read such lovely, kind words, thank you Maria, Penny, Jana, Angela, Kelly, Guida, Manchester Lass and Cheryl you made my day!

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday
ThreeYears Ago-Hello Hello 


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things

Friday, 14 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

This week we had Monday off for the "EKKA"show holiday, the "EKKA" for anyone not living in Brisbane and Queensland is the Royal Queensland Show which is the annual agricultural show of Queensland. BUT of course, because of Covid 19 it did not occur this year, but they still gave us a holiday for it. Thank you EKKA!

One of the main fundraising stalls is the famous Strawberry Sundae stall run by the organisation
 "The Common Good" which for the past 33 years has raised money for critical medical research, again because of Covid 19, this wonderful fundraiser wouldn't have occurred but those clever people over at "The Common Good" simply sold kits of the their most famous ice creams for you to pick up and take home. I bought a small kit and are having our little gang over on Sunday to eat Strawberry Sundaes, we can't wait. While it is not frugal, it will be a delicious reason to get everyone together.

Now on with the frugal stuff-

1. Celebrated LH's birthday at home with home made pizzas, at his request, I also made him this peanut butter brownie for dessert

2. Planned only one meat meal on the menu this week, I made curried mince turnovers for dinner on Wednesday night.

3. Line dried all the washing

4. Packed my morning tea and lunch everyday for work and we always pop away leftovers for LH to have for lunch the next day.

5. Made a batch of vanilla yoghurt. Unfortunately, I had two batches not set a while ago, I put it down to being so cold, even though the yoghurt is incubated in a double walled, pre-warmed, stainless steel container and then wrapped in a big towel. So now I use the "prove" function on my oven, it keeps the temperature at a steady 40C for as long as you want it. I leave it in the oven for about 4 hours then turn it off and leave the container in there over night, it has worked beautifully. The "failed" yoghurt was made into pancakes which we had for morning teas and weekend treats. As you know by now, I waste nothing. 

How did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Our New Garden Plans
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today
Four Years Ago-Op Shop Bargains


Wednesday Roundup

Wednesday, 12 August 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

And welcome to another edition of Wednesday Roundup, where I do a brain dump of random things that have happened over the past week. But, I've had more than a week though, haven't I? Hello four weeks of silence, thanks to me being belligerent and having no patience at all for the new Blogger interface (I promise that is the last time I will mention it, okay?) In all honestly though, I don't think it would matter if I left it 6 months before I posted again, not much has changed in my life or will change for the foreseeable future.

My life is pretty basic and simple, sleep (well, kinda) work, eat, repeat, we are all on some kind of treadmill, some are more exciting than others while some, like mine are on automatic without so much as a change of gear or incline, and I am okay with that. What's that saying-It is okay, to be okay with a simple life, or something like that.

On My Mind-

Trying to make up my mind if I can or want to reduce my work hour to just 20 hours a week, at the moment I am doing more like 34 hours in between my new position and my old one. I really must bite the bullet and contact HR to find out what my actual take home pay would be if I dropped to just 20 hours a week.

On the Breakfast Plate-

Yes, your guessed it...Muesli, fruit and yoghurt and a cup of green tea. I never tire of this combination of yummy food to get me going for the day. We were gifted the sweetest red papaya last week and have been waiting impatiently for it to be ready to eat. It is just delicious!

What's Growing Well in the Garden-

The winners at the moment are the lime tree and the snow peas-

I think I left it too late to plant the broccoli, the plants themselves are big and healthy but there is no sign of them forming heads...

What Project Have I Been Working On-

After getting home from camping a couple of weeks ago, I set to work organising our bedding and towels that we use exclusively for camping so that they would be easy just to grab and pack. I originally thought that a plastic see through container would be the way to go but then they take up too much room, so I settled on these wonderfully compact and functional packing cubes from Kmart. They are light weight, very flexible and stack away so neatly. While I was at it I re-packed some treasured baby knits and crochet blankets.

On the Menu This Week-

We had fish burgers on Monday night, using the bream and flathead that we caught while away camping, I also made these rolls, they just make the best burgers.

From the Camera-

This was taken last Friday on my early morning dog walk, I love the rays of sunlight through the trees

Looking Around the House-

Thinking it is time to start de-cluttering again, it is not that I have bought anything recently (except for some basic work clothes from Kmart for my new position) it is just that I don't use so many things in the house.

Housework I'm Not Looking Forward To Today or This Week-

The shutters really need to be done again, the ones in our bathroom are in a really bad way, covered in dust and little tufts of black cat hair. I guess it doesn't help that Ninja sleeps all day, everyday underneath them and she loses so much hair.

How has your week been? I would love you to join in the fun, simply cut and paste the following, fill in the blanks and post them in the comments section

On My Mind
On the Breakfast Plate
What's Growing Well in the Garden
What Project Have I Been Working On
On the Menu This Week
From the Camera
Looking Around the House
Housework I'm Not Looking Forward To Today or This Week

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-Light and Fluffy, Sour Cream Pancakes
Two Years Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today-still away in Alaska