Saturday, 29 September 2007

Powdered milk and other gems...

Why is it some weeks just fly by and I feel like I am chasing my tail? The past week has been like this and now school holidays have started here it will probably just snowball for a while.
I did manage to shop and menu plan so here it is (I didn't quite manage two weeks as I wasn't feeling creative enough for more than that).

1. Spaghetti Bolognaise
2. Roast Pork & Veggies (in my new-to-me webber kettle bbq)
3. chicken schnitzel & potato bake (family favourite)
4. chicken wraps and salad
5. salmon, prawns and chips
6. homemade hamburgers
7. roast beef (in the slow cooker)
8. fried rice
9. Moroccan chicken with cous cous
10. rissoles and veggies

I have been making the tortilla recipe from A Vision Splendid to use as our home made wraps. Go on you know you want to try them. They are so easy! I find it make 6 good size wraps, which don't fall apart as you are trying to eat them! Plus they are very frugal to make. My short cut tip is: I make up some powdered milk with hot water, measure what I need and refrigerate the rest - this way I don't have to heat the milk to make them.
Powdered milk is something I have been making up regularly. I tend to use it mostly in cooking, although I have been trying to get my son to drink it as well since he seems to have several glasses of milk a day. It is so much cheaper than fresh milk and if you are only using it in cooking you won't notice the difference in taste.
Here are some hints about using powdered milk.
Did you know you could make your own low-fat milk?
Just mix together regular milk with skim milk powder and water. Mixing equal parts of each will give a milk with 2% fat.
If you are using powdered milk in recipes this might help as well -
2 tablespoons powder and 1 cup of water = 1 cup milk
1 cup powder and 1 litre of water = 1 litre of milk
Thought I might finish off with a fast & frugal recipe - using powdered milk - haven't tried this yet but will report back in a few days when I have.

Fast Fruit and Nut Slice
1 cup SR flour
1 cup wholemeal SR flour
1/4 cup skim milk powder
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 - 1 cup water

Gradually add oil and water to dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Spread the dough into a lightly greased lamington tray.

1 cup raisins
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup crushed nuts
grated rind and juice of 1 orange

Combine topping ingredients and spread over dough. Bake in oven at 200c for about 20 minutes. Cut into 24 pieces. Serve while still warm.
Take care of you.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Busy week...

Well it seems it has been a few days since I have managed to put any thoughts down here. My sister was visiting earlier this week form Darwin so that meant I spent most of my free time with her. We also had soccer presentations, Dinner with baby Zoe and her family (Friday night), work all day followed by another fabulous Scrap and Salad at Mandy's on Saturday night. Today on Sunday i had a far too leisurely morning (meaning I got nothing done - apart from folding and putting away some washing). Lunch today was a social club function at a seaside all-you-can-eat restaurant. It was a pleasant afternoon with good food and good company. The problem of course with all-you-can-eat establishments is that you always eat too much. The up side i guess is I won't be cooking or eating dinner tonight! The other problem is since I have3 done very little for most of the day I really don't feel like starting anything now! How does everyone else keep themselves motivated at the end of a long day, when there are still chores to be done?

Friday, 14 September 2007

More recent Zoe pic

And now for something with no added sugar!

My boyfriend saw this today on Ellen, I had to see it to believe it!

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce

2 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

2 (4.5-ounce) cans fruit cocktail (undrained)

2 eggs, beaten

1 (9-ounce) box raisins

1 pinch salt

1 or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Butter Rum Sauce, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Cube donuts into a large bowl. Pour other ingredients on top of donuts and let soak for a few minutes. Mix all ingredients together until donuts have soaked up the liquid as much as possible.Bake for about 1 hour until center has jelled. Top with Butter Rum Sauce.

Butter Rum Sauce:

1 stick butter

1 pound box confectioners' sugar

Rum, to taste

Melt butter and slowly stir in confectioners' sugar. Add rum and heat until bubbly. Pour over each serving of Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.

Apricot and Ginger Muffins - Feedback

Well in my travesl today a number of people taste tested the muffins. I got good reaction when they were still warm, but once they had cooled they were a bit on the dry side. My verdict is that I will make them again and maybe add some sultanas or other dried fruit. I would also chop the fruit up a little. As I used my home preserved apricots (which are softer than the tinned ones) they did still tend to clump a bit.

Apricot and Ginger Muffins

Thought I would try and make these today - have a couple of people to visit so will make a double batch and take a few on my travels.
Recipe is from the ABC radio (Australia) backyard recipe finder. One of my fave sites for finding quick and easy recipes. Will update tonight and let you know if this one is a keeper! Will use up some of my home preserved apricots instead of the tinned ones.
Here it is

Apricot & Ginger Muffins

Serves Six
Degree of difficulty: Medium
You need:1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/3 cup brown sugar
200gr tinned apricot halves, drained
1 egg
3/4 cup skim milk
2 tbs honey
Method:Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, fold through apricots. In a separate bowl mix wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients, don't over mix. Spray muffin tray with a little oil, fill tray and bake for 12-15 mins until cooked. Cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Greener Living

Thank you to Rhonda and all the ladies who post on her blog, for reminding me of all the things we can do/are doing to help make our lives greener. In response to her post of what will you do here is my list:
- using fabric shopping bags @ the supermarket
- having a bucket in the shower to catch the water before it heats up (about 4l per shower)
- having empty cordial bottles in my kitchen that I fill with the 3-4l before the hot water comes through - this is used for drinking, rinsing and filling the kettle - if all 6 bottles are full it is used in the washing machine or to water plants.
- bucketing the rinse water from the washing machine onto the garden (today I purchased a diverter hose to make it easier)
- not owning a clothes dryer - I have a fold down line under my verandah that most of the washing gets hung on. In winter if it is too damp I hang it inside in the lounge room where there is a heater.
- from a young age I have "nagged" my children into turning off lights and appliances (tv, vcr, dvd) when they are not being used - and to not leave those little standby lights on either!
-replacing ordinary globes with energy efficient globes when they stop working.
- removing the diffusers from most of said lights so I can get more light from said bulbs, has also meant I can use lower wattage.
- recycling as much as I can.
- buying goods with the least amount of packaging.
- making my own liquid laundry detergent (see post here)

I'm sure there are a lot of other things I do which will come to me later. I'm posting this quote directly from Rhonda's blog...
"So today my friends, I want you to commit to your change. I want you step up today and decide that even if you haven't done anything yet for your planet, and especially if you have, today I want you to tell me in the comments box what small step will start or continue you along the road to a greener life. I want you to tell me about your change and how it will affect your life. Please don't close this blog down now and walk away. Today is the day when instead of just knowing that something needs to be done, you start doing it.
I want every one of you to email this post to a friend so we can get a million small steps happening. I want you to help me tell as many people as possible that we are doing this. And, most of all, I want to know what you will do."
My commitment this month is to make some re-usable mesh bags for my fruit and veggies to be weighed in and no longer take home the plastic bags. I am also going to try and use my new diverter hose as much as possible, which might mean I have to spend a bit more time in the laundry, but so be it.
So what will you do? Leave me a comment and send the message to all your friends!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

You Make me smile award

Lib over at Lib's Private Paradise has given me an award.Thank you Lib and I feel humbled to think you are inspired by my blog.
Don't actually know the origins of this award, but apparently I can pass this on to as many or as few other Bloggers that make me smile. Please take the badge and wear it with honor and keep doing what you are doing because each and everyone of you "MAKE ME SMILE" !!!
Ooh where to start I read so many fascinating blogs these days...but I will go back to a few of the original blogs I stumbled upon these ladies never cease to amaze me with their posts and make me smile with their thoughts, posts and wonderful photographs.
Jewels at Eyes of Wonder
Rhonda at Down to Earth
Busy Woman at A Vision Splendid

Thank you ladies and hope you wear your badges with honour :)

Monday, 3 September 2007

Home preserved

Well it seems it has been over a week since I last posted on here. It is amazing how one night of virtually no sleep can throw your body out of rhythm. I am finally starting to feel normal and get my household routines back in place. First on my agenda is to hang some washing, but my other task for today is to move my jars of preserved fruit to a new cupboard. Last year I was fortunate to get plums and apricots from friends' trees and some cheap nectarines from the local market. All these were dutifully "bottled" using my new Fowlers Vacola preserving unit (basically it is a large plastic barrel with a heating element in it). There are quite a few good websites out there with instructions on using them, so I won't bore you with the details. A few of the sites I refer to for help & parts are Bake and Brew and Green Living Australia. Rhonda is also going to be posting about preserving over the next few motns so keep an eye on her blog too! Or just use Google. I'll also post as I manage to do more preserving.
Anyway the washing machine is beeping to say it is finished so off I go to start my day! Hope you have a productive day and take care of you.