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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 31 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

And hello weekend, you came around quick. It would have been a four day week because of the Australia Day Holiday on Monday, but it ended up being a three day week for me as I used some sick leave for Wednesday. I have been really struggling to get a full nights sleep for a while now, waking at about 2am (I never check the time, as from experience, it makes being awake at an ungodly hour, worse) and just getting back to sleep when the alarm goes off at 4.50am. But Tuesday night took the cake. LH had to be up at 3am to drop our kids to the airport, I was so afraid that he would sleep through the alarm that I barely slept a wink. I looked and felt like a zombie on Wednesday morning and I knew I would be no good to anyone if I went to work. I need to be completely on my toes in my role and I felt I would be more of a hinderance than a help, so I rang in sick.

I actually hate doing it, especially working in a hospital environment but that is what sick leave is for (I have lots of hours of sick leave accumulated) so I stayed home and got some rest. I did a few jobs in the morning, one load of washing, I made yoghurt and a batch of hummus and then I went back to bed, I slept from 11am till 3 pm, solid, waking parched and hungry. Thankfully, LH cooked dinner, I cleaned up and was back in bed by 8 pm.

I had a checkup for my hormone level last week, I actually booked in to see a new Doctor, who also specialises in bio-identical hormone therapy, at the same practice, as the last time I saw Dr Holloway (one year ago) he told me he thought he would be retired by the time I was due to see him again. Well he's still there but in a way I'm glad to see a new Doctor and she like Dr Holloway is of a certain age with over 30 years of experience in bio-identical hormone therapy. She has tweaked my dosage and timing of taking the troche to see if it makes a difference to my sleeping pattern. Here's hoping!

I think I have prattled on long enough about my insignificant, first world, problems, now on with how I saved money this week-

1. I resisted the urge to go to Spotlight for more material to finish my quilt. I am on a tight budget at the moment as we have some big bills coming up (Vet and Rates) so I spent Monday (Public Holiday) just finishing the quilt top and then I got on to using up some of my stash, more to continue the creative outlet rather than having a clue what to do with the finished patches I have created. I really don't have a huge stash but it is quite amazing how far a small amount of fabric will go.

2. Made another batch of yoghurt, currently I am making vanilla yoghurt using the vanilla pods from making home made vanilla essence. Talk about ringing every last bit of vanilla from these pods. This is the third immersion that these vanilla pods have been through and there is still life and flavour in them yet.

3. Made a Chicken, Leek and Corn soup from chicken legs I had in the freezer and 3 giant leeks I had in the garden. It is definitely NOT soup weather but we enjoyed it just the same. I have frozen a container to put it towards our camping trip in a few weeks time. I have gotten into the habit of taking pre-made meals to make the camping holiday even easier.

4. Ate our one and only feed of whiting from the freezer, LH caught 7 whiting last week while he was up scoping out a good camping spot for us.

5. Made some more Chicken, Leek and Corn pies from a frozen portion of this mixture. It made another 12 pies and they were great for lunches this week.

Let me know how you saved money this week.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-My Love Language 
Three Years Ago-No Blog Post Today 


Cheesy Corn Cakes with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Thursday, 30 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am such a fan of the Kmart pie maker and have found so much inspiration on the Kmart Pie Maker Facebook page, classic sweet and savoury pies, mini beef wellingtons, mini quiches and even scones have been made and posted on this FB page. I really wanted to make some corn fritters but I ended up making more of a corn cake/mini corn quiche instead. I also wanted to up the flavour and protein so I added a whole block of Aldi Danish Feta along with a good handful of grated mozzarella cheese.

I purposely made a very light, barely there batter, as I wanted lightness and to let all the flavours shine through, rather than being swamped in a thick batter and to add to the loveliness I made a silky smooth avocado sauce to dip these delicious corn cakes into, by adding a splash of sweet chilli, in my books, just finishes this off beautifully. I served ours with grilled bacon and I have to say it was the perfect choice, sweet corn, salty bacon and silky avocado sauce, what a great combination.

Ingredients for Cheesy Corn Cakes, clockwise form left-200 grams of danish feta, cut into tiny cubes,  1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese, 1 can of corn kernels, drained well, 1 teaspoon baking powder, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 cup of plain flour, 1/3 cup milk, 1 egg at room temperature, a good handful of parsley, finely chopped and 2 spring onions, finely chopped

In a large bowl, add the plain flour, baking powder, salt and pepper, egg and milk and whisk till smooth 

Now add the corn kernels, spring onions, feta cheese cubes, grated mozzarella and parsley 

Mix till well combined 

Preheat Kmart Pie Maker and lightly grease, spoon in mixture and level with the back of a spoon and cook for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, then flip corn cake over to brown the other side 

For the Creamy Avocado Sauce

Ingredients for Creamy Avocado Sauce-from left, 50 grams of light sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, 1 perfectly ripe avocado and a good squeeze of lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a jug and using a stab blender, blitz till smooth and silky

Smooth as silk and perfect with these gorgeous little corn cakes

Make them today.

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-When Jack Met Jamie 
Three Years Ago-Macadamia ANZAC Biscuits 
Four Years Ago-My Favourite Knives 

Chicken, Corn and Leek Pies

Wednesday, 29 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Growing up, Mum only made a couple of kinds of pies, she would make a beef mince, meat pie, using dripping in the pastry and an egg and bacon pie using the same flaky pastry. The meat pie was just sautéed beef mince and onions, thickened with cornflour, she would always make my sister and I a turnover with the leftover mince and pastry to take to school the next day, it was so simple and yet so delicious.

For my first foray into the world of pie making in a long time I chose the simple and classic combination of chicken and leek pie filling, I made in my Thermomix for ease but it could easily be made on the stove top. And just like Mums pie recipes this one is also simple and makes lovely pies that are delicious hot or cold, the chicken, corn and leek filling is enough for 24 (yes you read that right) Kmart Pie Maker pies using the fold over method.

Ingredients for Chicken and Leek Pies, clockwise from right-1 brown onion, cut in half, 2 medium leeks, roughly chopped, 80 grams of plain flour, a good handful of parsley, finely chopped, 50 grams of butter, 500 grams of chicken thigh fillets cut into 3 cm pieces, 50 grams of cream, salt and pepper to taste, 250 ml of chicken stock (I use Massel) and a can of corn kernels, drained well 

Add the onion and leeks to the TM bowl and blitz on speed 5 for 3 seconds

Now add the butter and flour 

And cook for 3 min/ 90C/reverse/speed 1

Add chicken stock and cook for 1 min/90C/reverse/speed 1

Add chicken thighs pieces, drained corn and cream and cook for 12 minutes/100C/reverse/speed 1

Finally add the chopped parsley, salt and pepper

And mix for 10 seconds/reverse/speed 1

Your simple and delicious chicken and leek filling is now ready to be piled into little individual pies or one large family sized pie. Here are the instructions using the fold over method for the Kmart Pie Maker that I posted on Monday. 

Rustic and completely delicious

The only thing that I would change the next time I make these is to cut the chicken into smaller pieces, more like 2 cm rather than the 3 cm so the texture of the filling would be more consistent. 

What is your favourite pie filling?

Have a lovely day,

One Year Ago-No Blog Post Today 
Three Years Ago-Coconut and Lime Fish Wraps 


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday, 28 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

Todays tip was born out of not wanting to go to the shops for one item, I will make do, if it means not having to set foot inside a supermarket. I have used this tip quite a few times when I have run out of dishwashing tablets (I use the Aldi DW tabs-40 tabs for $7.69) it works well enough to get you out of  a pickle however I don't know that I would use it as an everyday substitute for your normal dishwashing tablets. So the next time you have a full dishwasher but have run out of dishwasher tablets or powder use this little tip-

Ingredients for emergency dishwasher powder-from left-salt, dishwashing liquid and bicarb soda 

Add 3 drops of dishwashing liquid to the dispenser then fill the dispenser 2/3 of the way with bicarb soda

Add salt until dispenser is just about full and wash on cycle of choice 

The result is a sparkling clean dishwasher and contents 

As I mentioned, I have used this method enough times to know it works well. Over to you, what hack or tip have you used when you had run out of something at home and didn't want to hit the shops?

Have a lovely day,

Two Years Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Three Years Ago-Spinach and Ricotta Pie
Four Years Ago-Molasses Gingerbread

Puff Pastry, Fold Over Method, for Kmart Pie Maker

Monday, 27 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

I owned a pie maker about 15 years ago when they were all the rage, first time around, I did use it but hated the waste of pastry it generated, so, like a lot of appliance that don't work out for one reason or another, my original pie maker sat unloved, until one day, I gave it away. Fast forward those 15 years to just before Christmas last year and a lovely lady at work told me about her Kmart Pie Maker and how she had just joined a Facebook group for owners of Kmart Pie Makers.

I was so impressed with what I saw that I went out and bought 4 of those pie makers (1 for our daughter and son + partners, 1 for my darling sister and 1 for us). I have used it every weekend to make easy and perfect poached eggs (3 minutes from room temperature eggs) it make amazing puff-ball pancakes, I've also made some delicious cheesy corn cakes and of course pies. The first pies I made were Chicken and Leek and they were a hit, I made the simple filling in the Thermomix and then popped some puff pastry in the pie maker, spooned in some filling, did some pastry origami and let it do it's thing.

Since I bought it, I had been thinking of a way to stop any wasted pastry while still making cute little pies, my brain came up with something like this method, but with more cuts around the edges and then one day I stumbled on a simple living forum and there before my eyes was the solution I had been looking for. It is simplicity itself and best of all there is absolutely no wasted pastry what so ever. In case you're wondering, I buy the Coles own brand puff pastry as I find it is the best quality for the price which is $2.30 for 6 sheets, it puffs up beautifully and bakes to a lovely golden colour.

I have to say these pies are definitely smaller and more rustic than then ones made with two perfectly round pastry circles but they seal quite well and best of all, there is no waste.

Working quickly so that the pastry remains quite cold, cut each square of puff pastry into four equal squares, then make a cut, approximately one inch long on each side of the smaller individual squares

Pop the cut squares of puff pastry into your preheated pie maker and gently overlap the edges where the cuts are 

Spoon in your filling of choice and gently fold over corners into the middle 

Continue till pie maker is full 

Close lid and bake till golden brown and filling is piping hot

There maybe some leakage of filling through the top corners of the little pies, but again, these are rustic homemade pies, not perfect, factory made ones. One more thing, I'm not too sure that this method would work in other pie maker brands as I am pretty sure the Kmart variety is much smaller than other brands. What do you think?

Have a lovely day

One Year Ago-Sunny Side Up Sunday
Three Years Ago-Salmon and Potato Frittata 

Sunny Side Up Sunday

Sunday, 26 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

And Happy Australia Day!

Today, I am grateful for a long weekend, today is Australia Day and as it falls on a Sunday, the public holiday will be tomorrow. I will be staying home and getting into my sewing room, spending time on my quilt. It is actually coming together quite quickly, which is wonderful. I am loving the dramatic black background of this colour scheme. I am also going to have a go at free motion quilting for the first time, usually I just sew vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines, following the angles of the quilt, I am quite looking forward to it. 

What are you grateful for today and how will you be spending the Australia Day Holiday?

Whatever you are doing, I hope you have a lovely day,

Three Years Ago-A Before and an After 

What we bought, spent and ate this week

Saturday, 25 January 2020
Hello Dear Reader,

On Wednesday Lovely Hubby went for a drive up to our favourite camping spot to see how it is looking since it was closed for refurbishment and regeneration last year. We know the managers well and they were only too happy to let LH into the park for a look around.  He scoped out and booked a good site for us, one that has no shade so that our solar panels will be exposed to the sun all day. The solar panels run the fridge, lights and water pump in the camper trailer. Luckily we have a large canvas canopy that attaches to the camper trailer for sun protection.

Of course he took his fishing rod too and was lucky enough to catch 7 lovely Whiting to add to the freezer (7 whiting make 1 meal for us). Along with the 7 Whiting he caught lot of Dart which are a menace and not very good eating, but at least he caught a feed of our favourite fish, they will be on the menu next week. All the Dart were thrown back to live another day, they are a hardy fish and are very greedy, even the tiniest Dart will have a go at your bait.

It's been a sweltering hot week with lots of humidity, afternoon storms and most importantly, rain, our tanks are full and the garden soil is wet for the first time in a long time. I haven't been riding to work as it just too hot, I know riding to work was one of my goals this year but even the walk from the car is a challenge. As soon as it cools a little I will get back on my bike, a little exercise everyday helps me fit into my uniform, it is getting a little snug again!

Now on with the food we had at Chez SHI this week-

What we bought

The Aldi Shop

Fruit and Veg from the Northside Discount Fruit Barn

A couple of items from Coles

What we spent
Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$22.36

What we ate 

Friday-Watties Baked Beans on Toast

Saturday-Chicken and Leek Pies

Sunday-Family Dinner, we went to Yum Cha on Sunday with our Daughter and SIL at the Aspley Oriental Restaurant, while there we noticed they had an Asian BBQ store, so we bought some Char Siu and Siu Yuk and invited all the kids around for dinner. We also popped into the Asian grocery store there and picked up a few things we regularly use.

Monday-Cold Roast Pork Rolls

Tuesday-Cold Roast Lamb Rolls

Wednesday-Prawn Stir Fry

Thursday-Cheesy Corn Cakes with grilled bacon and creamy Avo. These delicious corn cakes were made in my Kmart Pie Maker, it's the best $29 I've ever spent. I think I will be making a new label on my blog soon-Kmart Pie Maker Recipes!

Over to you, what did you make for dinners this week?

Have a lovely day,

Four Years Ago-Homemade Peanut Butter