Saturday, 27 August 2016

My Menu/Shopping List

Hello Dear Reader,

We all have a system that works for us, when planning a menu and shopping list for the week. I just use a piece of scrap A4 paper and folded it into quarters. I then title the quarters :

Top left hand square-days of the week and Butcher,  my menu runs Wednesday to Tuesday, as we shop on a Wednesday

Bottom left hand square-Fruit and Veg

Top right hand square-Woolworths/Coles, depending on where lovely hubby is shopping that week. This then depends on what catalogue specials are on and whether it is worth going to both supermarkets

Bottom right hand square-ALDI

So, then we make up a menu, taking into consideration anything happening that week that will have an influence on dinner prep, also what, if anything, is left over from the previous week, to use up. We don't always get the paper catalogue delivered, so we have a quick look at the online catalogues, to see if there is anything that we use and need, on a good special.

Things can change and sometimes we find a better price at another supermarket and will go there instead, it helps to be flexible and have the time to do that. As we have all three supermarkets within 3 km of home, it is an easy choice for us. I realise not everyone is that fortunate.

As I work full time and lovely hubby part time, he has taken over doing the shopping, I have to say, I do miss it a bit, as I find I am getting out of touch with prices and what is available, but for us, at this time, this is how it has to be.

If you are having some issues with budgeting, meal planning is a great place to start, food is expensive no matter where you live. I find meal planning encourages you to use up food you already have in the house, this will prevent waste and save $$$.

We all have to eat and eat well, to not only survive but live a good life. You need to nourish your body and mind with quality food, from all food groups, to be the best version of yourself you can be. I know everyone has heard it before but you can't expect good performance if you don't feed your body good fuel, it's that simple.

I try and cook from scratch as much as possible, but if it cheaper to buy a ready made product, such as a tomato based pasta sauce, I will buy it. The ALDI brand cost $1.57, so I am happy to pay that small amount for convenience. Like wise, with stock cubes, I don't always have time to make chicken and beef stock and freeze it into portions for later use, so I use Massel stock cubes, they are a quality product that I am more than happy to use and are inexpensive.

You just have to go with what is right for you and also what works, not all of us have the luxury of time, so sometimes, you have to cut corners a bit to get dinner on the table. We all do the best we can and when we know better, we can do better.

So, tell me, what is your system for making a menu and shopping list? What works best for you?

Friday, 26 August 2016

This weeks 5 frugal things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, didn't this week fly by? Time seems to being moving by so quickly, I wish it would slow down a bit! It's not that I am super busy, really, I seem to be able to get everything done without too much stress and bother and I am still getting into bed quite early, all pluses considering I feel I have no time! So in the end, I must be doing something right!

As I mentioned on Wednesday I have started my spring cleaning by doing one window and one blind a day, I didn't manage it on Wednesday as I had a blinding headache so I had the day off, both from work and from "home" work. Sometimes you just have to listen to your body! Lovely Hubby worked on my neck (Remedial Massage) and has given me some relief, thank goodness for that.

This is the office window and the view I look out of when I am at the computer, this photo was taken 5.59am this morning just before I published this post
So, here goes, this weeks 5 frugal things on a Friday

1. Cleaned the house with home made cleaners, it really is incredible that such simple ingredients clean just a well as all those chemical laden ones, that cost a fortune. My go to cleaners are mostly based on plain white vinegar ($1.19 for 2 litres at ALDI) Eucalyptus oil ($6.99 for 200 mls) and good old dish washing liquid, Cheap as chips and a clean home to boot.
Simple 3 ingredient Laundry Liquid

Shower Cleaner, take 1

Shower Cleaner, take 2 - Epsom salts, Dishwashing liquid and Bicarb soda. This is the shower cleaner I have been most happy with, shiny tiles and clean, clear glass AND no nasty smelling chemicals!

2. Made another batch of Pumpkin and Lentil Savoury rolls to use up the rest of the pumpkin, no waste-sweet! I had bought this huge pumpkin a while ago when they were $1 a kg, I have made many pumpkin soups, savoury rolls and just plain old roast pumpkin with this one. Once the pumpkin is cut, I remove all the seeds and pulp and wrap it in foil, it keeps well for a long time like this.

3. Made another sourdough bread, this time it's a Light Rye Sourdough with Caraway seeds

4. Dug out my first crop of homegrown ginger, I am thrilled with this and I have replanted the next "eyes" hopefully they grow well for the next season too!

5. Bought some lovely quilting fabric from "JJ's" to make another little patchwork quilt, I love these gentle colours and prints. They look really cute and soft together. JJ's has been established for around 30 years and their prices on their quilting fabric is hard to beat. 

The last row isn't sewn on yet, that's why it look wonky. The finished quilt will be about 
32"x 38" with a 3" boarder and a 1. 5" binding, it's a small quilt to give as a baby gift. 
I have used the "Large Simple Wedge" from The Missouri Star Quilt Company to cut out the triangles

So, tell me, what have you been up to on the frugal front?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Broccoli Salad

Hello Dear Reader,

I'll bet you don't hear those two words together very often-"Broccoli" and "Salad"but stay with me. If you love broccoli, as I do, when you read this little recipe you'll know it's going to taste great. Lovely hubby says he could eat this just by itself! It's that good. So, along with the broccoli there is bacon and we all know that any veggie from the brassica family are best friends with bacon, they just go together so well. Add the sweetness of sultanas, the soft saltiness of a grated mature cheese and a simple tangy-sweet mayo dressing and you have just made heaven on a plate.

I have made this recipe twice so far and when I went to make it the second time, I was out of sunflower seeds, so I replaced it with toasted macadamias, oh my, it took this already divine little salad to another level. So substitute away, I say. I have tweaked this recipe a little (I have steamed the broccoli and reduced the sugar in the dressing) but the original recipe comes from Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Ingredients for Broccoli Salad-from top left
Dressing-2 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar-put into a screw top jar and shake, shake, shake
1/2 cup grated mature cheese, 1/2 a small red onion finely sliced, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or toasted macadamias, 1/2 cup sultanas,  4 slices bacon-fried golden and cut into chunky pieces and 450 grams broccoli-steamed for 1 minute and then put quickly
into iced water and then drained well

Steam Broccoli for 1 minute, then plunge into iced water and then drain

Drain Broccoli on a clean, lint free tea towel
Into a large bowl combine cooked and drained broccoli, grated cheese, finely sliced onion, sunflower seeds or toasted macadamias, sultanas and bacon

Pour over dressing

And toss really well. If time allows, let salad sit in the fridge for 2 hours and then give the salad another really good toss. Transfer to a clean serving bowl

Eat by itself or like we did, served with slow cooked BBQ pork chops and apple, fennel and chilli sauce

So, tell me, what is the best salad you have made/tasted?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

What we bought,spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

This week, I have started to do a bit of spring cleaning, I have chosen to tackle the windows and blinds first, as they are really in need of a good clean. Two week ago lovely hubby gave me a hand to clean the windows and blinds closest to the kitchen (four sets) after the accidental burning of dinner a while ago. There was a lingering smell of acrid smoke hanging around and I was pretty sure the blinds just opposite the kitchen were holding onto that smell. I was right, after cleaning those windows, blinds AND everything else around that area, the smell settled remarkably.

So, with cleaning one set of blinds and windows each afternoon, as well as the usual afternoon jobs, I have chosen to cook simple dinners that don't take a lot of time to throw together. We also had leftovers of Sundays dinner for Monday night and used up veggies in the fridge to make a veggie curry for Tuesday night. As my Mother in law is in hospital this week for her usual procedure, we are able to be a bit more relaxed in what we eat and at what time we eat.

What we bought
Shopping from ALDI, Woolworths and Nothling Brothers Quality Meats

What we spent

ALDI-$96.00 (Lovely Hubby bought a new garden hose, not pictured for $24.99)



Nothling Brothers Quality Meats-$40.91


What we ate 
Wednesday-Lovely Hubby cooked a whole Coronation Trout, Chinese style with ginger and spring onion. Our Son had caught this magnificent fish about 3 weeks ago. 

It was totally delicious

Thursday-Pizza night, I am loving their Deli Veggie with Camembert is becoming my new favourite. As usual we had vouchers to use for the Pizzas

Friday-Slow cooked Pork Chops with Apple, Fennel and Chilli sauce and Broccoli Salad

Saturday-Pumpkin, Silverbeet and Feta Savoury Rolls, same recipe as the Silverbeet and Feta Parcels with the addition of roast Pumpkin and formed into long rolls instead of triangles

Sunday-Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Bake with Steamed Broccolini

Monday-leftover Creamy Chicken Pasta with Broccoli Salad

Tuesday-Thai red Veggie Curry with yoghurt, chutney and papadums

So, over to you, what was for dinner at your house this week?

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

My Moussaka

Hello Dear Reader,

Who remembers the line in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" "Moose Ca Ca", I do, every time I say Moussaka. Childish, isn't? Any way you say it, this is a delicious take on the original Moussaka. This recipe doesn't mess too much with the traditional flavour of the lamb mince but replaces the cheesy white sauce on top with finely sliced, par cooked, potato slices and then it is topped with grated, mature cheese. It makes for a more hearty meal, I think.

This is another one of those "torn out and kept" recipes from a Woolies"Fresh" free magazine from November 2015.

Ingredients for My Moussaka-from top right
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and allspice, 1 cup grated cheese, 500grams lamb mince, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 brown onion, 2 tablespoons each finely chopped oregano and parsley, 3 to 4 potatoes (approx 650 grams with skin on) 2 garlic cloves, 1 medium eggplant and a bottle of chunky tomato pasta sauce (any brand)I use what ever is on special
First, pre-heat oven to 200C.
Then peel potatoes, leave whole and put into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Drain and cool
Cube eggplant
Finely dice onion and grate garlic on a microplane
Saute the garlic, onion and eggplant, cook stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, remove from pan and set aside
Add mince to the pan and cook for 10 minutes, breaking up any lumps, until browned
Add, both tomato paste and tomato pasta sauce to cooked mince
Stir sauce and paste through and then add spices and oregano. Again, stir through
Now add back the onion/eggplant mixture and let simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened slightly. Transfer mixture to a 8 cup capacity casserole dish
Slice cooled potato into 5 mm thickness and cover the top of the mince mixture 
Sprinkle with grated cheese and put into a preheated oven for 25 minutes
Or until cheese is melted and golden
Sprinkle with parsley and serve
Hearty and delicious Moussaka

Over to you, what is your favourite "meat and potato" meal?

Monday, 22 August 2016

Chickpea and Chorizo Pot Pies

Hello Dear Reader,

I had a surplus packet of Chorizo, that I had popped into the freezer from when I made Feijoada back in July and I was wondering what to do with two lonesome Chorizos. Well, I was going though one of my recipe folders the other day and there was this great recipe. It came from "U on Sunday" the wonderful free magazine that comes with the Sunday Mail. It is the only part of the paper that I read from cover to cover.

This recipe is from a Jessica Brook and was dated 11 May 2014. I am forever tearing out and keeping recipes from magazines and papers. I try to keep them organised by using binders and folders and I do go through them every so often to see if a recipe is still relevant to me. So, thank you, Jessica Brook, it's a fantastic little recipe, easy, warming and delicious.

Ingredients for Chickpea and Chorizo Pot Pies. From Top right-1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon dried chilly flakes, 200 grams Chorizo, a good handful each of oregano and parsley, finely chopped, 250 gram of cooked chickpeas or 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 sheet bought puff pastry, thawed slightly. 
Remove the casings on the Chorizos, discard the casings and put the chorizo's into a food processor
Blitz until finely chopped
In a bowl, add the blitzed chorizo along with the can of tomatoes, herbs, chickpeas, chilli, sugar and vinegar
Give it a good stir
Divide mixture into 4 ramekins (1 1/4 cup capacity) and brush the edges with a beaten egg. Cut out four slightly larger discs of puff pastry and top ramekins with it, press to seal

Brush, generously, with beaten egg and put into a very hot preheated oven (200 C)
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown
Simple, warming and delicious. The filling is like the best "Savoury Mince" ever!

So, tell me, do you cut and keep recipes from magazines and papers? How do you file them?