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This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 26 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I started this weeks frugality by using up every bit of fresh or frozen food I could so that I didn't need to go shopping until Wednesday, so that meant we went two weeks without having to do a grocery shop. We had done a shop on the previous Wednesday before leaving for Fraser Island where we spent a week getting home the following Saturday. I made the best pasta bake for dinner on Monday night with only 150 grams of spaghetti that, along with other things from the pantry, fridge and freezer made a big enough pasta bake to make two dinners for us and two lunches for LH as well. Here is how the pasta bake came together-

1/2 an onion, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, grated on a microplane

6 anchovy fillets

1/2 a teaspoon dried chilli flakes

Sauté all of the above in some olive oil till soft

Now add 

2 cans of tomatoes

2 heaped tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons brown sugar

A good slurp of balsamic vinegar

Now let that mixture bubble and blip away till thickened and reduced

Next add

A jar of drained marinated artichokes

A good handful or two of whatever olives you have, de-seeded and roughly chopped

And about a cup of diced ham or whatever other deli meat you have

Again let this mixture blip away

Now cook whatever pasta you have and add it to the above sauce

Finally make a béchamel sauce 

Add the tomato and pasta mixture to a greased casserole dish and pour over the béchamel sauce 

Bake for 30 minutes on 165C

Let cool slightly before slicing and serving 

It was truly delicious!

I saved more money this week by-

2. Blitzing the last of the hotdog rolls we had taken away with us to Fraser Island and popped the resulting breadcrumbs in the freezer

3. Froze the rest of the jar of tomato paste I had opened for the above recipe 

4. Bought home some chillies and tomatoes from the caretakers of the place where we stayed on holidays and dried them out to get the seeds-

5. Hand pollinated another pumpkin to ensure that the pumpkin sets. I hand pollinated this JAP pumpkin   on Sunday and it has already started to grow bigger.

Over to you, how did you save money this week?

Have a lovely day,


One Less Thing, Actually Three Less Things

Thursday, 25 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

Just before we left to go on holidays we made an executive decision that has already freed up some of my valuable time in the morning, What was it? We sold three of our advanced Fig Trees which we and my late In-Laws have had for over 20 years. The reason why we sold them is because all three have been plagued with Cuban Laurel Thrip which I have tried so very hard to control and get rid of this menacing pest, but week in week out there are more affected leaves to remove. 

From afar this Fig looks very healthy and happy but if you looked closer you would see every new leaf had been curled by this invasive sucking thrip. It was our lovely future SIL who said "just get rid of them, it's not worth it" and you know what? He was absolutely right, it was as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had felt I owed the trees and my late In-Laws to try and overcome this super pest, but every single morning I would be out there wasting my precious time at home, sweeping yellowed leaves and plucking yet more affected leaves from each and every fig. 

While we were away on Fraser Island one of the figs from out the front fell over, again, due to strong wind, so that was another reason to relieve ourselves of that ongoing torture, they have fallen over so many times it is a wonder the pot survived each fall. The courtyard and the front of the house now look so much cleaner and fresher without constant leaf litter on the ground. 

One other thing, the fig in the courtyard had rooted itself into the ground, we wondered why it looked so healthy and green compared to the figs out the front. The people that bought the figs had to use a hacksaw to cut through the thick root. I neglected to tell them about the pest but I practically gave them away and the people that bought them had driven a long way to collect the figs, I figure that all the wind thrashing the leaves should blow away at least most of the thrips! Good riddance. 

Have a lovely day,


Camp Dinners and Other Meals we ate this week

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I didn't keep the shopping dockets from last week as I really didn't intend on doing our usual "What we bought spent and ate this week" this week. So instead I will just tell you what we had in the way of dinners ect while away on Fraser Island and also the few simple meals we've had since being home.


We had Weetbix with tinned peaches and cocoquench most morning and for a special treat we took frozen sliced ham from the freezer, with this we had Ham and Cheese Croissants for breakfast two mornings

We had this again once we got home to use up the last of the croissants and ham


I had made our favourite Smoked Trout pizzas on Saturday night before we left and we had the leftovers for lunch on the way to Inskip Point on Sunday 

I made up a tin of tuna mixed with tartare sauce and had that for lunch with salad on bread rolls over three days

We also had ham with mayo and salad on Turkish Bread on two days


I made a lovely big pot of Broccoli Cheese soup to take away with us, that did us for two nights plus one night at home before we left

 We took a packet of frozen bacon and made BLT's on toasted Turkish bread

I made up this rissole mix and we had rissoles, baked potatoes and salad on two nights

And finally we bought a four pack of the Aldi brand Knackwurst and had them on hotdog rolls with sauerkraut and honey Dijon mustard, simple and delicious 

We took our Airfryer with us as the cabin only had a microwave oven, a toaster and a kettle, we love our Airfryer as it takes very little time to cook anything in it, like 20 minutes for the rissoles and the Knackwurst and about 15 minutes for small baked potatoes and the bacon. It is very easy to clean too. 

Since being home we have had another round of Ham and Cheese Croissants, Baked Beans and Baked Potatoes and a cobbled together pasta bake using up all sorts of bit and pieces from the freezer, fridge and pantry 

I really think having yummy food (not necessarily super healthy) while your camping/glamping or living in a basic cabin makes the whole thing worthwhile. What are you go to camping or easy dinners while away on holidays?

Have a lovely day,

Fraser Island

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Hello Dear Reader,

We have had a lovely little week away over on Fraser Island, the weather wasn't very kind to us nor did we catch many fish, we did, however, do a lot of exploring of this world heritage listed island. As it was drizzling on the day after we arrived we decided to go for a drive through the interior of the island to Central Station and Lake McKenzie. It was very bumpy but so worth it. The bushy interior, that reminded us so much of the family farm in places, gives way to a magnificent rain forest that is lush and green and fertile. I tried to capture some images but I think I failed.

Lake McKenzie/Boorangoora, it was just about to rain and was windy so we didn't venture in for a  swim

The colours of the rainforest were amazingly green and just beautiful, this moss was like green velvet growing on the rocks

You can see how undulating the track was, an actual full size tour bus goes through these tracks, we barely fitted so it must be a tight squeeze for the bus

K'agri is the indigenous name for Fraser Island 

We didn't camp as we have recently sold our camper trailer, we stayed at Dilli Village in a lovely plain but clean unit, we were only there to eat and sleep anyway, so this suited us just fine. The lovely caretakers used to manage Noosa North Shore but landed this role due to their wonderful management skills and easy going personalities. Apart from some workers on a couple of days we were the only ones staying there, which again suited us just fine, we like our peace and quiet. Like most places on Fraser Island, Dilli Village is surrounded by fencing to keep the Dingoes out, all camp grounds and townships are secured by fencing and even the entrance to townships have cattle grid like entrances to deter the inquisitive and opportunistic Dingo population.

We drove past the wreck of the Maheno most days either on our way to explore or just to hopefully find some fish. I will link the story of the Maheno here.

On our way down to Champagne Pools

Champagne Pools is to the left lower hand side of the photo

And this cheeky Butcher Bird is almost like a pet to the caretakers, he/she is very tame and likes to hitch a ride on the mower. He/she came into out unit one day looking for food.

The only downside to the whole holiday came as we were driving home, to get to Fraser Island you need to drive to Inskip Point via Rainbow Beach, which when travelling from Brisbane, you have to drive through my old home town of Gympie. Whenever we drive through Gympie we always drive past my childhood home and my primary school, I get very nostalgic whenever we do this, long story short, while waiting on a break in traffic coming the other way, so we could to turn right into a road, a car drove straight into the back of our truck. There were no screeching brakes, just a loud crash, the poor gentleman who was driving the other car was in complete shock and looked just terrible. We called the police and an ambulance. He was dazed and white as a ghost and we both felt just so bad for him, he kept apologising, he said he suffered from terrible depression so I can only imagine what this will do to him emotionally. His car is a total write-off. Because of where he hit us, we feel he may have had a micro sleep or was effected by drugs or alcohol. Both he and LH were breath tested at the sight before the other driver was taken to hospital. I don't know the outcome of his breath test but LH was completely fine, he would never drink and drive. 

This is the passenger side of the other drivers car. It make no sense at all as we were turning to the right, this is why we think he was asleep. 

This is where the other drivers car came under our truck. It pushed the muffler and the whole right side of the truck back. It bent the tail lights and the bumper bar. 

All in all it was lucky no one was injured or worse and we have good car insurance. It really rattled us both and we were on tender hooks till we got home which was and hour and a half drive. The truck went into be assessed yesterday but as any parts need to come from America, it will be a while till it is like new again. 

Have a lovely day,


This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Friday, 12 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

And hello to the next 10 days off of work. We have a little one week get away planned and we are both so looking forward to it. We are going over to Fraser Island for the first time and we have been told that once you go, it will become a long time favourite. It is a bit further away than our usual beach holiday which is Noosa North Shore, our most loved beach. The drive up to Inskip Point is about three hours and we will catch the barge over to the island from there. We are already packed except for the cold food and our toiletries, I don't think we have ever been this organised for a beach holiday ever.

Tomorrow I will be making up the rissole mix, making a lovely cheese and broccoli soup to take away with us and also making the little woofs food for while we are away. Our lovely daughter and her fiancé are looking after the little woofs, Ninja and the salt water fish tank as well while we are away, they are such a blessing and we can relax knowing everything is safe in their hands. 

Here is how we saved money this week-

1. Ate all leftovers in a timely manner. I store all leftovers in glass containers and store them front and centre in the fridge. LH has leftover Smoked Trout Pasta for lunch today and he had it yesterday too. This photo was taken yesterday morning. 

2. Sewed a little draw string bag out of the liner to the rice bag. They have started to line the cloth zippered bag that we buy our Basmati rice in, it feels like a plastic woven material that is quite strong but the edges unravel easily. I hemmed it first and then made a little drawstring closure using some ribbon from my stash.

3. Kept on with the crumb quilting, it is quite amazing what you can make out of scraps of material

4. Packed my lunch for work everyday and made up lunches for LH to have too. He usually has leftovers however if there are no leftovers we always have these frozen Char Siu Pork Buns in the freezer for him to have for lunch. We stock up on them when we go to the Asian Supermarket. He simply puts a few in a bowl, adds a tiny bit of water, pops another bowl on top and microwaves/steams them for a few minutes.

5. Froze the last of the tomatoes that were taking their sweet time to ripen, most of them are still green but that is okay as I will make this Green Tomato Pickle out of them when I have the time. I'm sure it won't matter that they've been frozen.

Your turn, how did you save money this week?

I'm having a little blogging break while we are away, I'll speak to you in a week or so, stay safe everyone and thanks for reading my ramblings.


Easy Beetroot and Chocolate Loaf

Thursday, 11 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

A few weeks ago, I had two elderly homegrown beetroot languishing in the bottom of the crisper draw that really needed using up, I kept thinking just use them, just use them, go on, just use them. I thought I would try them raw, grated into a salad, or bake them and again use them in a salad. But then I thought that two medium beetroot would be the perfect amount for a beetroot chocolate loaf, so that is what I did.

I used my really easy "No Mixing Bowl" chocolate cake recipe for the base and simply baked the beetroot in some foil and cooled it before use. I have substituted balsamic vinegar instead to white wine vinegar in the original recipe to add to the colour. I love how sweet the beetroot are after they've been baked and I swear there is no hint of beetroot flavour in this rich and moist but not too sweet chocolate loaf. It stores and cuts beautifully and would be perfect in a lunch box. 

I have used my Thermomix for ease but any food processor would be fine for this recipe. 

Here's how it came together in my kitchen-

After baking and cooling 200 grams of beetroot, blitz them for 3 seconds, speed 5, scrape down sides and repeat until no big chunks remain. Preheat oven to 175 C. 

Now add 65 grams of light flavoured oil (I use rice bran oil), 1 cup of coffee, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 30 grams of cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 220 grams of plain flour and 145 grams of raw sugar. Blitz for 5 seconds on speed 4, scrape down side and repeat.

Pour and scrape into a greased and lined loaf tin, mine measures 19cm x 9cm x 5cm. It looks quite red at this stage but bakes to a beautiful dark chocolate colour. 

And bake for about 35 to 40 minutes till cooked through

As usual I didn't make an icing for this loaf tin, preferring it plain, but you could easily ice this to make it extra special.

Have a lovely day,


What we bought, spent and ate this week

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

This was another high week for the shopping budget, what was the culprit this week? 

Well there were these-

LH saw them at Aldi and thought they would be good for the new hybrid caravan, we have bought a set of these before for home, they are good quality and look lovely too and are quite reasonable at $29.95 for the set. Also our fetish with expensive ginger continues...this week the ginger set us back $11.25, I really must try and grow more. Here's what else we bought, spent and ate...

What we bought and spent

Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$44.08


What we ate

Wednesday-Pan Fried Fish, Chips and Salad

Thursday and Friday-My Thai Beef with steamed Basmati Rice and Mustard Green

Saturday-Coconut Prawns, steamed Basmati Rice and Mustard Green

Sunday and Monday-Roast Chicken, Roast Potato, Pumpkin and Broccolini and Cauliflower in Cheese Sauce 

Tuesday-Pan Fried Fish with chips and salad...again

What was on your family table this week and what food item do you buy that is constantly expensive but you still buy it anyway?

Have a lovely day,

Completely Hooked

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

 Hello Dear Reader,

I have lined my bin in the sewing room with an old pillow case, once full of fabric scraps it will eventually become a pet bed

My usual weekend consist of lots of inside housework on Saturday and then the outside jobs like feeding the compost bin, sweeping the courtyard, watering and weeding the gardens, washing the dogs and washing all their bedding as well. But lately I have been a little kinder to myself, I've been spending most of the mornings till about 10 or 11 am getting everything done and then I've been heading into the sewing room for some therapeutic sewing. 

I am completely hooked on crumb quilting, over the weekend I managed another 3 squares using really small crumbs of quilting fabric, I even took another look at the bin in the sewing room and was able to reclaim quite a few pieces to sew into the squares.

As Jenny from Missouri Star Quilt Company says, some quilters won't throw away a one inch square, well, guess what? I've discovered that I'm that kind of quilter. 

This is all the leftover squares and long strips of fabric that I have left to use in more crumb squares 

I still have some larger pieces of fabric that I will probably cut into strips to do some more strip quilting which I really love also. I will keep going with crumb and strip quilting until I have no fabric left what so ever. It feels so good to make something from almost nothing. 

Have a lovely day,