Monday, 2 January 2012


2012 is going to be an interesting year. I've chosen my word for this year to reflect some of the happenings.
- I'm going to be moving house at least once, maybe twice in the next twelve months;
- I'm going to move back to studying at  TAFE part-time (Accounting);
- I'm going to move more (i.e. exercise) at least 3 times a week
- I've already moved into 2 days per week in a different role with my current employer for 6 months;
- I've going to move (re-arrange) my routines to make more time for family & friends;

You've probably got the idea by now.
I'm going to be watching my dollars very closely this year while I move, sub-divide, sell one lot then build.
For a portion of the year I'll be paying a mortgage and rent so things will be tight, but I have allowed for rent in my new home budget. Unfortunately my current house is crumbling around me and the cost to renovate it to a comfortable standard is more than I have or am able to borrow. Hence the path I am taking means I will have a new, low maintenance house with no extra debt.
I hope it all falls into place now.
Step one has been finding a rental property that is affordable and not too far from everything that we do as a family. It seemed like a false economy to move too far away for cheaper rent but then spend more money on petrol. I'll know this week hopefully if i get the property I've put in for. In the meantime I'm packing boxes and trying to look at my budget. Thank you to Frogdancer for sharing her food budget spreadsheet with me.
Off to clean up the kitchen and then bed. Tomorrow is a busy day and more boxes will be packed!

take care of you

Monday, 10 October 2011

Good Food & Wine Show

Yesterday (Sunday) I was lucky enough to win tickets to attend the Good Food & Wine Show in my home town of Adelaide. I took a fellow food & wine lover, my oldest friend Cathy along with me. Thank you Westfield West Lakes for the tickets (that I won in an on line competition via their on line newsletter)! Mine was a runner up prize so was just entry to the show - would have loved to have won the VIP pack, but regardless we still had loads of fun!
We went for the afternoon and I have to say one of the best things was spending time together without partners or children. It is not often we get to hang out just the two of us.
We spent the afternoon wandering around trying lots of yummy produce and tasting many lovely wines. Some of the produce was local, some from interstate but the majority seemed to be Australian.
We did buy a $3 wine glass each which seemed to be the only way to get to taste most of the unfortunately I did break my buy nothing new pledge for the month :( I alos purchased a few gourmet food items - some organic vanilla beans which were only $1.90 each if you bought 10 (Cathy and I split these). I was very surprised at the price as one standard one at the supermarket is like $6 the last time I looked. I'll be using these to make some vanilla sugar and some home made vanilla essence/extract. These could make an appearance in my Christmas gift baskets I think. Now I just need to find some inexpensive vodka.
Getting back to the show, we also got to attend the Fisher & Paykel celebrity theatre and see Ainsley Harriott and Matt Moran. Sadly I didn't get to meet either of them afterwards, but they were both entertaining and funny. Ainsley would have to have been my favourite and the most entertaining of the two. The dishes they both cooked looked fabulous and fairly easy to make at home. Not sure if the recipes are somewhere, might have missed that bit but was all fun.
We also picked up along the way some tomato relish, raspberry vinegar and organic Apricots (part of the Macro range available at Woolworths). There were definite advantages to going on the last day as a lot of the stalls were selling products cheaper or doing package deals, so we managed to make a few savings there. 
All in all we had a great afternoon and great fun together. I'll think about going next year even if I have to pay the $20 ticket price. I think for all the goods we got to sample it was good value for money and I got to try a lot of products I've seen in supermarkets or gourmet delis, and wanted to try.
Anyone tried any new food products lately?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

buy nothing new

So many times of late I've written posts in my head, lying in bed at night! Finally tonight I'm putting my thoughts out there in the world again. 2011 has been a difficult year but I'm determined not to let it get me down!
I've still been on my frugal bandwagon, although I think my spending has gone a little off track of late.
In order to make myself accountable I've signed up to buy nothing new month. Although it stops me buying new things other than groceries and essentials, I can still buy used or swap. See more about it here .
I've got some new frugal recipes to share and my thoughts and ideas on living a frugal and fun life.
Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Food for thought...finding time

I think we all need to find time to do the things we love...scrapbooking is my time for my Self.

"I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day. "

Read the rest of the article here.
..thanks to Ali Edwards for the link.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Beef and Lentil Rissoles / Buttermilk pancakes

A couple of recipes I'm going to try in the near future - I found them in a low-gi cookbook at a friends house :

beef and lentil rissoles

1/2 cup (100g) red lentils
400g lean minced beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 small capsicum, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
about 1/2 cup (70g) unprocessed oat bran

1. Cook the lentils in a saucepan of boiling water for about 20 mins or until soft; drain well.
2. Combine the lentils with the beef, onion, capsicum, garlic, herbs, sauce, egg and pepper in a bowl; mix well.
3. Add enough oat bran to form a burger consistency. Shape the mixture into 24 rissoles and place on a lightly greased baking tray.
4. Bake in a hot oven (220c) for about 40 minutes, or until cooked through, turning halfway through cooking time. Alternatively, cook the rissoles in a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat or until browned and cooked through.

Makes 24 small rissoles.
234kj, 4g carbs, 2g fat, 1g fibre

Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup (100g) 1-minute oats or unprocessed oat bran
2 cups (500ml) buttermilk
1/2 cup (75g) dried fruit medley, chopped
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp margarine, melted
low fat milk, optional

1. Combine the oats and buttermilk in a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Stir in the dried fruit, flour, sugar, bicarb, egg and margarine; mix thoroughly. Let stand for up to an hour.
3. After standing, add a little low fat milk if the mix is too thick.
4. Heat a non-stick frying pan and grease lightly. Pour in about 3 tablespoons of mix, cook over moderate heat until bubbly on top and lightly browned underneath. Flip and brown on other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

I've only made these with the oats, not the oat bran and also omitted the fruit medley. They are very light and fluffy with a nice consistency due to the oats. Serve with some stewed fruit and low-fat plain or vanilla yoghurt.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Butterscotch Biscuits

Quick to make and I always double or triple the recipe and freeze the uncooked flattened balls :)
If cooking from frozen allow an extra couple of minutes.

125g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (optional)
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 1/4 cups self- raising flour

Beat butter, vanilla essence, sugar and golden syrup together in a bowl. Stir in sifted flour until all combined. Roll into walnut sized balls. Place about 5cm apart on greased oven trays and flatten with a fork. Bake for 15 mins (soft) or 20 mins (crunchy) at 180c.

* My children prefer them crunchy - to freeze the dough I line a container with freezer wrap or baking paper and the slightly flatten rolled balls onto it. You can do multiple layers you'll just need to flatten the balls first before adding layers between sheets of paper.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Choc Weetbix slice & Chewy Weetbix biscuits

I took this with me a friends house for an Undercover wear party. It disappeared fast! It is also a firm favourite with my children :) I found these recipes when I was trying to use up some weetbix that my children have decided they don't want for breakfast.

Choc Weetbix slice
7 Weet bix, crushed
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups SR flour
2 tlbsp cocoa
250g butter, melted
3 drops vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180c. Mix all ingredients very well until there are no dry patches. Press mixture into a lined lamington tray. Bake for 20 minutes. When almost cooked - prepare the icing mixture and ice within 2 minutes of removing from the oven. Cut into small pieces when cool.

1 cup icing sugar
2 tblsp cocoa

Mix together with enough hot water to make a thin icing.

Notes - the original recipe has 4 tblsp coconut and only 6 weet-bix.
Everyone loved it without the coconut but you could change it back if you wished.

Chewy Weetbix Biscuits
250g butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 tblspns golden syrup
1 tspn bicarb soda
3 tspns boiling water
2 1/4 cups SR flour
9 crushed weetbix
1 cup choc chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add golden syrup and keep beating, then add bicarb dissolved in boiling water. Fold in flour, crushed weetbix and choc bits. Roll into small balls and place on trays and flatten slightly, leave enough room for spreading. Bake in 180C oven for 15 mins.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

So much for my new years resolution to blog more!
Seems I am blogging less this year.
I'm going to start adding a few more of my favourite recipes on here to share with you all.
I've even been working with a few gluten free recipes!

My blog of the day is hanigan family recipes - loving those cute easter eggs!! YUM!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Easy Tuna Dip

Thank you to another Lisa for this recipe! Here is my version. This was a huge hit on Christmas Eve at my place.

Easy Tuna Dip

250g (8oz) cream cheese
185g (6oz) can tuna in brine or springwater
4tbs sweet chilli sauce

Drain tuna really well. (I tipped mine into a sieve and left it to drain for about 5 mins - stirring it a couple of times. If your can is slightly larger it won't make any difference to the finished product.
Allow cream cheese to soften, then beat it with electric mixer till it is soft and fluffy.
Stir in tuna and chilli sauce and mix until all combined.
Taste and add more sweet chilli sauce, to your own taste.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve with hard biscuits, as the dip sets once you refrigerate it.

Recipe can be halved.
If using the soft cream cheese in the tub you won't need to whip it first.
Also you can cheat and buy the tuna with chilli in one of the foil sachets and just stir that through the tub of soft cream cheese!
Also works with light cream cheese.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2009 - Nurture

This idea originally came from scrapbook guru Ali Edwards in 2007.

Here is the spiel from her blog:

"one little word

A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can be sharp and biting or rich and soft and slow.

Last year I began a tradition of choosing one word for myself each January - a word that I can focus on, mediate on, and reflect upon as I go about my daily life. Last year my word was something I wanted to bring into my life in a more tangible way."
2008 was "Less" - which I really didn't do well at. I think most of the things I was aiming for didn't happen due to my own procrastination.

2007 was "enough" - which was the beginning of my journey to a simpler life and the year I stopped buying "stuff" just for the sake of it.

2009 - I have chosen "nurture".
Nurture [nur-cher]

-verb (used with object)
1. to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
2. to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster: to nurture promising musicians.
3. to bring up; train; educate.

4. rearing, upbringing, training, education, or the like.
5. development: the nurture of young artists.
6.something that nourishes; nourishment; food.

Over the next few weeks I am going to set a tangible goal for each month, that reflects the word nurture.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Slow cooker cassoulet

1 onion, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
300g chopped bacon
2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
400g diced lamb
400g diced pork
2 cups haricot beans
1 cup beef stock
1 cup water
140g tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
400g can diced tomatoes
1 bouquet garni

50g butter
2 cups soft breadcrumbs
1/ cup chopped parsley to serve

Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 8-10 hours, stirring halfway through cooking if possible.

Melt the butter in a frying pan and fry breadcrumbs until golden.

Serve cassoulet sprinkled with parley and toasted crumbs.

Thyme Dumplings - to top a slow cooker casserole

1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp dried thyme
25g butter
approx 1/2 cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder and thyme. Melt butter and mix into flour. Add milk until a soft dough is formed. Roll mixture into balls and drop onto top of casserole. Do this about 1/2 an hour before the casserole is ready.

Slow cooker - Moroccan Hotpot with cornbread

2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 chicken thighs, cut in half
2 chorizo sausages, cut in 2cm slices
400g can moroccan-style tomatoes
1/2 cup water

Place onions, tomatoes, chorizo and chicken into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.
Half an hour before the end of cooking, spoon corn bread topping onto the chicken mixture, spreading to cover. Turn the slow cooker to HIGH and cook for a further half hour.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp paprika
25g melted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Mix all dray ingredients together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Mix together wet ingredients and pour into the well. Mix well to combine.

Slow cooker Minestrone

Serves 6-8

1 c red kidney beans
2 carrots, diced
3 pieces celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 rashers bacon, de-rinded and chopped
2 x 400g tins tomatoes
1/4 c tomato paste
6 c boiling chicken stock
1 bouquet garni
1 c macaroni elbows
1/4 small cabbage, finely sliced
parmesan cheese to serve

Soak kidney beans overnight. Drain and rinse, discarding soaking water.
Alternatively, boil for 15-20 minutes, discarding cooking water.
Place the following in the slow cooker: soaked beans, carrots, celery, garlic, bacon, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock and bouquet garni. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.
Add macaroni an hour before the end as well as salt to taste. Add cabbage half and hour before ready to serve. Serve hot garnished with shaved Parmesan cheese.

***Did you know that red kidney beans, unlike other beans must be presoaked or precooked before using in the slow cooker. These beans contain aflotoxins, which are removed in the pre-soaking.
Don't be tempted to keep the soaking/precooking water you are not wasting nutrients but stopping these toxins making you sick.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Spicy Chickpea Salad

I've been trying to replicate a bought salad, I think this might come close. I've yet to try it as I don't have the ingredients on hand. I'd love your feedback if you try it before I do!

1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground paprika

400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved (or you could use 2-3 large ones roughly chopped)
a handful of chopped parley
salt and pepper, to taste

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing together well.
Likewise toss all the salad ingredients together.
Pour dressing over salad, stir well.
leave for at least and hour for flavours to develop.
Season with salt and pepper to taste, before serving.

Makes 2 serves.

Fresh Pear Cake/s

I'm going to try this on the weekend as I have some pears laying around.

150g softened butter
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour, sifted
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 170c
Line a medium 12 cup muffin pan.
Beat together all ingredients, except pears and almonds, in a bowl with an electric mixer - until light and creamy.
Spoon mixture into each cup - lay a couple of slices of pear on top of each and sprinkle over almonds.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.

This can also be baked in a greased and lined 20cm springform pan @ 180c for 45 minutes.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Apricot, white chocolate and oat muffins (updated)

These were a bit of an experiment to use up some of the remaining home preserved apricots.
I forgot the oats in the original recipe, but they are here now :)
Makes 24 medium muffins

425g tin of apricots in syrup, drained quickly (I used home preserved ones)
1&1/3 cups white sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup white chocolate chunks, chips or buds
extra white chocolate

Puree apricots (could also use fresh or dried ones that have been stewed).
Stir in sugar, oil and eggs.
Lightly stir in remaining ingredients until just combined.
Spoon batter into lightly greased/lined muffin tins.
Top each muffin with a piece of the remaining chocolate.
Bake 15-18 minutes in 180c /425f oven.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
These are awesome when still warm.

Old fashioned rice pudding in a slow cooker

Loosely adapted another recipe to make this - cinnamon was nice but I think next time I would use less or leave it out altogether.

3/4 cup white long grain rice
3 & 1/2 cups milk
3 tbs powered milk
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch salt
3 tbs butter (I grated mine into the mix)

Grease the inside of the slow cooker.
Stir in all the other ingredients.
Cook on high for 2 &1/2 to 3 hours.
Check after the lesser time - it will also keep cooking after the slow cooker is turned turn it off when there is still a bit of liquid - it will solidify on standing.

I'm back!!!

Yes, I'll admit I haven't been around for a has been moving a long at a cracking pace and right now I am finding it hard to keep up some days!
Nothing exceptional to report - just spending more time hanging out with friends and family.
I'll post some new recipes below - at least that is one thing I am doing lots of and trying new recipes.
Enjoy and take care of you all!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Satay Chicken (slow cooker)

This one is loosely based on one that I think came from a FlyLady email.

12 skinless chicken thighs
3 tbs soy sauce
4-6 cloves garlic (crushed)
1tsp powdered ginger
3 tsp oil
2 tbs chilli sauce
1/3 cup peanut butter

Combine all the sauce/marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well - except for peanut butter. Toss halved chicken thighs in mixture to coat thoroughly.
Pour everything into lightly greased slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Remove chicken from dish and stir in peanut butter and
2tbs cornflour dissolved in 2 tbs water.
Return chicken to the pot and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Serves 6 with rice.