This Weeks 5 Frugal Things on a Friday

Hello Dear Reader,

I have had a lovely week, this past week, in that I only worked four days, I had Wednesday off as an accrued day off and it was fantastic. Having that day in the middle of the week really broke the week up, I got so much done and also had some down time. Lovely Hubby and I went shopping for new hiking shoes for when we go on our "Trip of a Lifetime" in four weeks time. All the camping stores that are close by were advertising greatly reduced specials on all their gear including footwear and as we want to be as active as possible on this holiday we both needed good strong and comfortable footwear. Unfortunately the most comfortable hiking shoes that I tried on were not on special but I really feel I need something comfortable on my feet so I won't end up with sore feet. I am going to really try and pack lightly for this trip as previously I have taken items of clothing "just in case" and have never worn them. So I want to be really savvy when I pack this time.


On the food front, the Shepherdess Pie I made on Sunday was a hit and it also made a huge quantity. We had it for three nights, multiple lunches and I also froze some for lunches on the weekend. I will definitely make it again but maybe I will halve the recipe next time. I think a good place to start with saving money is to have a few meatless meals during the week, meat is expensive, even the cheaper cuts, so going meat free for a few nights certainly cuts down your grocery bill.

1. I will make this Shepherdess pie my first frugal thing, it made a huge quantity, it was meat free and everyone loved it. A true frugal dinner.


2. I made two loaves of bread. I made plain white bread on Friday night, as I didn't have any Rye flour left (I picked it up on Saturday) They were nice but not as lovely as the light Rye bread I usually make.


3. Picked up some marked down produce on Tuesday afternoon at my local Coles Supermarket. Tuesday afternoon from about 4pm seems to be when they mark a lot of their produce down


4. Made another batch of Bentonite Clay Toothpaste. I just love this toothpaste, it gets your teeth really squeaky clean, leaves your whole mouth fresh and I think it tastes wonderful. I am now using 5 drops each of Peppermint Essential oil and 5 drops of "Digestzen" Essential Oil from doTERRA to flavour the toothpaste. The Bentonite Clay is super fine so it polishes the teeth as you brush.


5. Made a beautiful fresh salad from ingredients already in the house. On Monday I discovered I didn't have enough potatoes to see me out the week and as I didn't want to make an evening dash to the supermarket, I made this delightful salad. 


So that sums up my frugal week. How was your week on the frugal front?

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Sultana and Spice Loaf

Hello Dear Reader,

Well, this week, I had a bit of a dilemma. I had some cream starting to go off, it was only one day out of the "best before" date and the large carton I buy every two weeks usually lasts well until the last drop. I buy single cream, without thickening agents and both my son and I love it in our coffees. The dilemma occurred when I was about to pour the slightly off cream down the drain, I found I just couldn't do it, wow, I must be really frugal or just a bit bonkers, when I can't stand to throw away one cup of cream!! And now I have told everyone how crazy I must be, but I just can't stand waste of any kind.

So what did I do? I kept the cream, poured it into a jug to measure how much there was (exactly one cup) and googled "cooking with slightly off cream" and guess what? I am not the only mad woma to think"maybe I can cook something with cream that has gone past its best". So I made this Sultana and Spice Bread and I have say, it is delicious.

I guess I just wanted to see if it worked, as I had heard of people using "sour" cream in baking to give cakes and breads a good rise and light texture, well it certainly did that. The recipe I found is an American one, but as usual, I have tinkered with the recipe and used sultanas instead of raisins and also reduced the amount of sugar from 1 cup to 2/3 of a cup. It uses bread flour and makes a sturdy loaf, which cuts well and is beautiful fresh or toasted. I cut it while it was still warm from the oven to taste it and it was crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and yesterday, when had another piece, I toasted it and spread it liberally with butter, oh my it was so delicious.

Out of the carton, this cream didn't have that slightly sour smell at all and looked perfectly fine. I certainly wouldn't jeopardise my or my families health by serving something that I thought could potentially lead to food poisoning, frugal or not.

Ingredients for Sultana and Spice Bread, clockwise from top right-
2/3 cup of white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 cup of slightly sour cream (not totally off), 1 cup of sultanas, 2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground clove, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, a pinch of salt and 2 cups of bread flour 

In a large bowl, add the bread flour, sugar , spices and salt

Now use a whisk to mix and aerate 

Add the sultanas and coat them in the flour and spice mixture

In a small bowl whisk the egg and vanilla together

Add the bicarb soda to the cream and stir to dissolve

Add the egg mixture to the cream and mix well

Add the egg and cream mixture to the flour, spice and sultana mixture

Add mix until just combined

Pour and scrape into a greased and lined loaf tin. Bake at 170C for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. It will smell heavenly.


So, I have bared my frugal, no waste, soul. What do you think? Have I taken it too far this time or does it make sense to you, not to waste a thing. 
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Tuesday Afternoon Bargains

Hello Dear Reader,

Yesterday afternoon I called into Coles on the way home from work, on my bike, to pick up a carton of cream, for our coffees, as the one we had in our fridge had started to go off. It was only one day out of the "best before" date and we normally we have no issues with using the cream, before it starts to turn. Anyway, while I was there, I thought I would have a look through the fresh produce section to see if there were any fruit and veg marked down. I was lucky to find the following-


From left

3 x bunches of Watercress at 50 cents each-they have been picked over, washed and stored in an airtight container to be used for this recipe-Potato, Avocado and Watercress Salad


A kilo bag of organic carrots for $1.37-I will make this delicious soup-Carrot and Coriander Soup. I have made it before, years ago. I will look forward to making it later today for lunches.

2 x bunches of Continental Parsley at 50 cents each-I have picked the bunches over, cut the stems off a bit and put both bunches into a tall, wide glass with iced water. I will use the parsley over the next few days where I can and then I will chop the rest finely and freeze it down for later use


A kilo bag of Baby Red Royale Potatoes for $2.62-I will use some of them up in the same recipe as the watercress above and then just use the rest in the week ahead.




As I walk through the supermarket and have a good look at the markdowns, I will only buy what I can use within a few days to a week and of course, only what we like to eat. Nothing is a bargain, no matter how cheap it is, if you don't use it, like it or eat it.

Does your local supermarket mark items down close to closing time or on a particular day? Do you hunt out the bargains?
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Wonderful Quinoa, Roast Pumpkin and Broccoli Salad

Hello Dear Reader,

Just a quick post this morning. Last night when I went to make dinner, I discovered that I only had 2 potatoes left for the mashed potatoes I had planned to make, to go with some fresh fish, lovely hubby had caught on Sunday. Unfortunately I also needed those spuds for the Colcannon, I want to make later in the week and as I really didn't want to go to the supermarket to buy more, I had a quick look through the fridge and pantry, hit google and found this great little recipe.

I have tinkered with the original recipe a bit, by adding some steamed broccoli to make it more of a complete dish. It was quick, super tasty and just lovely with the pan fried reef fish. I had one last little wedge of pumpkin left and a head of broccoli that hadn't been used as yet, from last week, so in they went. I have coriander that has self seeded in the gravel along the footpaths of our garden and there are still some limes on our tree, so this little salad came together very easily.

Ingredients for Wonderful Quinoa, Roast Pumpkin and Broccoli Salad, clockwise from top left-
300 grams of pumpkin, cubed, 1/2 a head of broccoli, 2 teaspoons of Ras El Hanout, juice of one lime, a couple of bunches of coriander and 3/4 cup of Quinoa, rinsed really well

On a lined baking tray, pour 1 tablespoon of oil over the pumpkin cubes and then sprinkle over the Ras El Hanout. Rub spice all over pumpkin 

Roast until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside to cool

Meanwhile, cook Quinoa in 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, turn heat down, pop a lid on the saucepan and let cook away on low for 10 to 12 minutes or until all moisture has been absorbed. Turn Quinoa into serving dish and pour over juice from 1/2 the lime. Gently fork over to mix lime juice into Quinoa

Top with cooled pumpkin and cooked and cooled broccoli. I cut the broccoli into small flowerettes, bought them to the boil and cooked them for 2 minutes, poured off boiling water and immediately plunged into iced water to stop the cooking. Drain well. Top broccoli with chopped coriander, including the stalks and root.

Pour over rest of lime juice and toss gently to just combine.

A quick, complete and deliciously fresh salad, for anytime of year. 

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Shepherdess Pie

Hello Dear Reader,

Years ago when I first started getting really serious about being more careful with money I started reading the "Frugal Queen" blog and I am still hooked. She and her hubby have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can achieve great things if you both work hard together and share the same dream. Being frugal isn't a lifestyle choice on its own but rather a tool to help you reach your goals and dreams for the future.

 The idea for this recipe came from "Froogs" but until now I hadn't made it. It is just a meatless variety of good old fashioned Shepherds Pie using Puy lentils and veggies for the base and of course a mashed potato topping. This quantity makes quite the dish, and will easily feed 4 to 6 hungry adults. It is packed full of goodness and has a lovely flavour that you get from the long sautéed veggies.

Two points that are important when cooking with lentils, always pick them over before using and don't add salt before they are cooked. Over the years I have had my fair share of small stones amongst lentils, you don't want to find them with your teeth and secondly if you add salt before the lentils are cooked they will go tough and never seem to soften. Now on with the recipe.

Ingredients for Shepherdess Pie, clockwise from top right-
1.25 litres of veggie stock(I use Massel stock cubes)375 gram packet of Puy lentils, picked over, rinsed and drained, 1/3 cup of port or red wine, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, a small handful of parsley, 200 grams of mushrooms, sliced, celery, diced (I used up the heart of a celery-use what equates to about 4 sticks of celery) 2 onions, chopped,  4 carrots, diced plus 2 kg's of potato's and 1/3 cup of grated cheese (Not pictured)

Sauté the veggies on medium heat, in about 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil

For about 15 minutes until nicely golden

Meanwhile slice the mushrooms and chop the parsley

Push the sautéed veggies to one side of the pan and add the mushrooms, sauté them until softened 

Add the chopped parsley and mix all sautéed veggies together

Add the rinsed and drained lentils plus the veggie stock

Let cook for 40 to 50 minutes until most of the stock has been absorbed and the lentils are soft. I cooked this on medium low heat with the lid of the pan, ajar

While the lentils are cooking, peel, boil and then mash the potatoes. Use one cup of milk and 50 grams of butter to make the potatoes lovely and creamy

Once the lentils are soft add the tomato paste and stir through, take pan off heat

Put the veggie and lentil mixture into a buttered casserole dish, pile the hot mashed potatoes on top and scuff the top of the mash with a fork. Sprinkle over 1/3 cup grated cheese

Bake at 190C for 30 minutes or until golden 

Serve piping hot. I love a squirt or two of tomato and chilli sauce on mine, no class at all. 

I love that it makes a mountain of a dish, plenty for dinner and plenty of leftovers for another meal or lunches during the week. Filling and delicious. 

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Easy Beef Rendang

Hello Dear Reader,

About 10 years ago we went to our first Good Food and Wine Show in Brisbane and it was simply amazing. There was a stunning amount of great food companies and of course row after row of wine makers. We probably went for four years running and then were disappointed one year, as there was so much wine and not enough of the good food, we stopped going. I will always remember my first Good Food and Wine Show as there was so many freebies, give aways, samples and celebrity chefs it was so worth the entry cost.

Any way, that is a long story, about how I discovered this simple but delicious Beef Rendang. We were attracted to the Ayam stall because of the amazing aromas coming from it and also because they were handing out bowls of this delicious curry with steamed rice. What an easy meal it is, just beef, one jar of Ayam Beef Rendang, one can of Ayam coconut milk and some toasted coconut for garnish. The recipe calls for Rump steak but I used the Oyster blade steak I was given to replace some, not so wonderful rib fillet, we bought from "The Meat Truck" at the local Sunday morning Markets, a few weeks ago. The Oyster Blade was quite fatty, so I removed all the visible fat and let it cook for two and a half hours instead of the one hour, stipulated in the original recipe.

I do love all of the Ayam products as there aren't any artificial ingredients or numbers insight and you can clearly taste and smell all the wonderful spices in their curry pastes. The Beef Rending is no exception, with a long list of real and authentic ingredients-toasted coconut, onions, garlic, chilli, ginger, tamarind, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and cloves. I love that I can buy and use an exceptional product with no nasties. Now on with the recipe.

Ingredients for Easy Beef Rendang
One jar of Ayam Beef Rending, one can of Ayam Coconut milk, 1/4 cup of shredded coconut, toasted, 750 grams of beef (I used a slow cook type of beef)

Remove the lid of the coconut milk and scrape off the thick coating of coconut milk into the frypan, You use this to sauté the curry paste in

Heat a heavy based, non stick pan to medium high and once the coconut milk has stated to bubble add the whole jar of Rendang sauce, scrapping out every last bit from the jar

Sauté until fragrant 

Now add the beef and sauté until nicely browned

Add the can of coconut milk, give it a good stir to incorporate. Pop a lid on and turn the heat down to low. Let blip away for and hour if using Rump steak or up to two and a half hours if using a slow cook type of meat. You may need to top up with water occasionally if cooking for a longer time

Once the meat is, fall apart, tender, garnish with toasted coconut and serve

I served ours with steamed basmati rice, papadums and chutney. Delicious and warming on a cold, mid week, night. 

I know it is a bit of a cheat, using a ready made curry paste, but I love these products, it is easy to open a jar on a week night to make a wonderful, flavourful dinner. I got this curry on by a quarter to five in the afternoon, after work and we were eating by a quarter past seven that night. Of course if you use a more tender meat you can have the curry done in one hour. 

This post is not sponsored, I just love the Ayam products.

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What we bought, spent and ate this week

Hello Dear Reader,

As I mentioned yesterday I had made a beautiful big pot of pumpkin soup which kept on giving, so it was another week of not really cooking a lot, which I just loved. There is something to be said for having dinner already sorted at the beginning of your day. I also made a big pot of cabbage rolls which fed us for two nights as well. I love this dish but I didn't have a recipe for it, I did have a good look though, hoping it would be amongst the reams of loose, hand written recipes, from my husbands Nanna and Grandmother.  But unfortunately it wasn't.

All the recipes I found online weren't really close to what I remember, so I just went on memory. It was lovely Hubby's Mum that actually used to make it, but the original recipe was from Gran. Lovely Hubby's late Mum was a wonderful cook but she didn't have recipes for all the dishes she made, in fact now that we have started to go through some of the stuff in her home (next door to us) I haven't seen one recipe book! How funny! Never mind, the cabbage rolls turned out pretty close to how I remember having them and everyone enjoyed them. They were lovely and warming to have on a cold night.

What we bought
Shopping from Coles

Shopping from Aldi

Mince from Marjax Meats at Rothwell, they are happy to put the meat in containers I bought in from home

Shopping from Northside Discount Fruit Barn

What we spent
Coles-$31.77

Aldi-32.50

Marjax Meats-$13.90

Northside Discount Fruit Barn-$64.64

Total-$142.81

What we ate
Saturday, Monday and Wednesday-Pumpkin Soup with toast and butter

Sunday and Tuesday-Cabbage Rolls with steamed basmati rice

Thursday-Easy Beef Rendang with steamed basmati rice, papadums and chutney

Friday-Stir Fried Prawns with snow pea, bean sprouts and green onion with egg noodles. Lovely hubby gets the prawns direct from the trawler owner on a barter system. Sweet!

One Year Ago-Norfolk Island

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you have a lovely weekend. I love to read your comments, they are always so positive and supportive. Thank you. 
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