Thursday, 22 November 2007


I'm off to Melbourne very early tomorrow morning and as I am working late tonight I won't have time to post. Once I get back on Monday night I hope to be able to update you on my travels and my shopping. I'm hoping to pick up a few items of clothing for my children as part of their Christmas presents. Not planning to spend a lot of money although I think I might be drinking a few cups of coffee at lovely seaside locations and just enjoying my mini break. I'll try not to get caught up in the buy, buy, buy mentality.
Take care of all of you and if you want to participate in shoestring Sunday - Mr Linky is still open on last weeks post.
Thank you all for your lovely comments and ideas - I love reading all your blogs and thoughts.

I'll leave you with this quote from Rhonda at down to earth which is my thought for the coming week.
"Simplicity is not a tea bag, it's a pot of tea and it needs time to develop it's full flavour."

Go read the rest of her blog, if you are not already a visitor there, she is a very inspiring lady!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Menu Planning Monday, or is is Tuesday?

In reality I did my menu plan on Sunday and it was quite easy as I am only here until Thursday night. On Friday morning I am flying to Melbourne with Zoe and her Mum for 4 days. Can you believe she is already 12 weeks old? I'm kind of excited but at the same time I really don't enjoy flying (I suffer really bad motion sickness), but nonetheless it will be nice to have a change of scenery.

Here is my Menu plan inspired by Lightening's restaurant style write up :

Plum marinated pork skewers served with a selection of two gourmet salads - Modern Greek salad with sun-dried tomatoes and Orange and avocado salad in a mustardy dressing.

Tuna and avocado rice paper rolls - a hands on meal - ideal for hot weather - roll your own choice of salad, avocado and tuna slices delicately marinated in sun dried tomato and basil.

Tender chicken leg portions coated in a sticky marinade and rolled in lightly toasted sesame seeds. Served with lightly fried rice and a sprinkle of egg and vegetables.

Thai inspired flavourings season juicy balls of chicken, served with a selection of seasonal vegetables.

Asian flavourings combine with crisp vegetables and chicken to make a cool and delectable chicken salad.

I think I need more practice at this! Hope you get a small laugh at least :)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Another Shoestring Sunday

Shoestring Sunday's are a way to review my frugal/green activities for the past week and to look forward to what I might try next week.

MAKING - still working on the apron and haven't yet made my veggie bags!

REMEMBERING - to carry my zip-up shopping bag with me at all times. It takes up a little room in my handbag, but saves me so many times from bringing home another plastic bag. Also to put my "green" bags back in my car boot (trunk) as soon as I have finished unpacking the shopping.

SAYING NO - to plastic bags at the supermarket, by a small amount of rearranging my groceries they did all fit in my "green" bags I had brought from home.

MENU PLANNING - including side dishes in order to avoid wasting food. It seems I was in the
habit of buying the same fruit and veg each week, only to have odd leftovers which sometimes went bad before they got used. (see menu plan in separate post).

INVESTIGATING - Places in Adelaide that I can buy bulk items, like flour and sugar as well as looking for suitable vermin proof storage containers (also working out where to put said storage containers). Any ideas?

PRICING/investigating - Ice-cream makers. Have been thinking about it for a while as I can never quite figure out what to do with the empty containers. I would have one a month, sometimes more in summer, but given my son's limited diet it is one of the few treats he gets to have regularly. My parents are going to purchase my chosen model for me for Christmas. YAY!
Any feedback on this would be welcomed from any Aussie readers who have one - also would anyone know if Choice magazine might have a recent article I can read at the library?

BORROWING - Magazines, Books, CDs and DVDs from the library. This week we are listening to Lily Allen and watching Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen.

COOKING - New recipes for Muffins, Greek Salad & Avocado and Orange Salad.

Thank you to Artman for my fantastic new logo :) If you want to join in shoestring Sunday please feel free to take the logo and use it on your page :)

Thursday, 15 November 2007


The problem every mother faces every school day morning, what to put in the children's lunchboxes. This morning I realised I had exhausted my supply of home baked goods (with are supplemented with a few failsafe store bought items). We are in the middle of a heatwave right now so the prospect of a full on baking session was not appealing! Also next week the temperatures are soaring again.
My solution was to mix up two batches of muffins, putting them both in the oven at the same time - one sweet and one savory.
I went for a hunt on my computers hard drive to see what I could come up with - hope you like them :)

Savoury zucchini muffins

Degree of difficulty: Medium

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 - 25 minutes

Ingredients for muffins
150 g bacon (chopped) - I used ham as I had no bacon
1 small onion (chopped) - could also use chopped leeks
1 cup of self-raising flour
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
2 cups grated zucchini (approx two small ones)
1 cup grated tasty cheese

1) Pre-heat a hot oven to 200C.
2) Saute bacon and onion in a non-stick fry pan.
3) Place flour, oil, eggs, mustard and paprika in bowl and mix.
4) Add grated cheese and zucchini to flour/oil mix and stir well.
5) Add slightly cooled bacon/onion mix to the rest of the muffin batter and stir well.
6) Spoon into non-stick muffin pans (of any size) but do not over-fill muffin pans.
7) Place in oven for 15 minutes (mini muffins), 20 minutes (cup-cake size muffins) or 25 minutes (large muffins).

My BF was my taste tester he rated them well and likened them to zucchini slice in a muffin :)

The second batch were sweet ones and I decided on this recipe as I had 3 aged bananas in my freezer :)

Banana and Choc Chip Muffins
Making muffins means days of quick snacks with no unnecessary packaging. Steph (our other resident Domestic Goddess) reckons these are fantastic. They can be frozen too, so you can make double and relax for a week or two.

2 ½ cups (375gm) self raising flour
½ cup (110gm) firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup (95gm) dark choc chips
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (3 large, very ripe bananas)
2/3 cup (160ml) buttermilk ( can use regular with a squeeze of lemon to thicken it)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ cup (125 ml) extra light olive oil
1)Preheat oven to 200 C or 180 C fan forced.
2)Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl.
3)Stir in chocolate chips and banana, then combined milk, eggs, essence and oil.
4)Mix till just combined.Do not over stir the mixture or your muffins will be tough and will not rise sufficiently.
5)Stir gently until barely combined.
6)Spoon into large muffin pans and bake for about 20 mins.

My children taste tested these and wanted more - I have no idea who Steph is , but i thank her anyway for her great recipe :)
Both lots were baked together in the oven in about 20 mins, so the kitchen didn't get too overheated after all.
The photo above shows them all ready to be frozen (well technically not all , what the "taste testers" didn't consume!)
Notice they they are all encased in pieces of baking paper, I prefer to do this instead of greasing the tins or buying the premade muffin cases. I just cut/tear baking paper into small squares to line my muffin tins. I found the cases were expensive and some of the muffin gets stuck to them unless you also grease them. Also I don't enjoy scrubbing burnt muffin tins (the bits that always spill when you fill them). This way I have minimal clean up, plus I just remove one from the freezer as is and insert into lunchbox paper and all (instant wrapping)!
Enjoy :)

Monday, 12 November 2007

Rice bubble slice

A lunchbox staple in our house and easy to melt butter and marshmallows in the microwave - no heating up the kitchen in Summer! This recipe comes from the failsafe website.

200 g of home-made marshmallows (see recipe elsewhere or 2 x 100g packets of Pascall's white marshmallows)
80 g butter or Nuttelex
4 cups rice bubbles
Measure rice bubbles and place them in a large bowl. Line a lamington/ swiss roll tray with ovenbake paper. Melt marshmallows & butter over low heat, stirring so it doesn't burn. Alternatively melt butter in microwave, add marshmallows and microwave on high for another 30 seconeds. Pour the marshmallow and butter mix onto the rice bubbles. Mix well. Tip into lined tray and press down. This may work best with a metal spoon as the mixture cools.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Shoestring Sunday!

Thought I might try something new and share of few of my frugal/green ideas for the coming week. Thank you to Towards Sustainability for the inpiration to do this!

- CUTTING tubes open when I think they are empty - like my toothpaste this week. It amazes me how much more you can get out of the tube, when you think you have squeezed out every last drop.

- USING wooden pegs on my clothesline - I had some old style "dolly" pegs in my craft supplies that have now made it into my peg bag.

- waffles for breakfast - Yes, I also own another "maker" that makes the most lovely buttermilk waffles - they also freeze well like the donuts (for those of you who are interested) and reheat nicely in the toaster :)
- aprons for the apron swap at Down--to--Earth
- fruit and veggie bags from some netting I have left from my daughters fairy costume days
- rice bubble slice (very similar to the commercial LCM's) will post recipe later today.

- MENU PLANNING - will also post later today

What frugal/green activities have you been trying or will you try today? Do you like the idea of us all trying to post about his each week?

Friday, 9 November 2007

Instant Oats - Frugal ideas

Jenn @ Frual Upstate had this idea on her blog for making your own instant oatmeal packets.
I know we used to consume a lot of these over winter and now I can make them failsafe as well so my son will be able to eat them! He loves his oats in winter!

Homemade Instant Oatmeal(Makes 8 Packets)
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal
Put 1 cup oatmeal in the blender or food processor and blend to a powder(you may want to do this 1/2 C at a time).
In each of 8 zipper style baggies 1/4 cup un-powdered oats, 2 tablespoons powdered oats, and 1/8 teaspoons salt.
To use: Empty packet into a bowl. Add 3/4 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for2 minutes. For thicker oatmeal, use less water – for thinner oatmeal, use morewater.
You can adapt this recipe to many different flavors.
For brown sugar oatmeal add 1TBS packed brown sugar to each.
You can also add raisins, splenda, chopped dried apples, or even make a fruit and cream version by adding 1TBS powdered creamer and 2TBS dried fruit.
I am going to try a mix with some powered milk and brown sugar added to make it creamier - will let you know the outcome :)

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Butterscotch Popcorn

Don't blame me for this one - blame Jenny in Williamstown - she is a member in one of my Yahoo groups - we were talking about Christmas gift ideas and she made this last year along with home made cookies for all her family and friends as her homemade gifts.

The butterscotch popcorn recipe I use is the one in the Women's Weekly Original Cookbook. Easy as!! And everybody loves it.
Here it is:-
125g popping corn
2 tablespoons oil
125g butter
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup sugar
In a large saucepan or frypan, heat oil until very hot.
Add corn, place lid on pan, shake pan continually until popping ceases.
Place popped corn in large bowl.
Combine honey, sugar and butter in separate pan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves, slowly bring to boil;boil 5 minutes.
Pour syrup over popped corn and mix till corn is well coated.
Pour quickly onto well greased oven trays, cool.

She also had this to add -"You might have to make a double lot because you'll eat most of the first one yourself, I'll bet!!!!I am fighting the urge to go and make a batch myself right now!!!"

I'm also fighting the urge, but will try it on the weekend when the children are around to sample eat it all - so I can stick to my diet!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Honeycomb Cheesecake Slice - another family favourite

Honeycomb Cheesecake Slice
2 cups plain chocolate biscuit crumbs

4 oz (125g) melted butter

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons Gelatine

1 tablespoon water

3 Violet Crumble bars (break into small bits)

2 x 8oz (250g) packets cream cheese, softened

Lightly grease 8" x 12" shallow pan, line with paper. Can also make in a springform pan. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter in a bowl and mix well. Press evenly over base of prepared pan and refrigerate for 30 mins.Beat cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until light and fluffy. Sprinkle Gelatine over water in cup, stand in small pan of simmering water, stir until dissolved and cool slightly. While beating, pour the Gelatine mixture into cream cheese. Fold in 2/3 of broken Violet Crumble. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and refrigerate until set. Sprinkle over remaining violet crumble before serving.
Instead of the violet crumble bars I used some failsafe dark chocolate and honeycomb, which I pulsed in the food processor. The remains of this were sprinkled on top of the finished cheesecake.
Take care of you