Sunday, 27 January 2008

Shoestring Sunday

Well it is that time of week again, so in keeping with my frugal theme this morning I did my fruit & veg shopping at the Torrens Island Markets.

I spent a grand total of $15.20 and my best buy of the day was a 3kg box of Swiss brown mushrooms for $6 ($2kg, can't go past that).

I also sewed myself some of those net produce bags to transport some of the smaller items.

Some of the fruit and veg was a similar price to my local bulk fruit & veg but other items were cheaper. There were other bargains to be had, but not being in the mood to preserve food I restrained myself from buying one of the cheap boxes of tomatoes on offer.

So what did I end up with:

Apart from the 3kg box of mushrooms, zucchini (courgettes)for $1kg, capsicums (peppers) for $1.99kg, carrots for $0.80kg, a whole red cabbage for $1.50, nectarines $0.99kg, beans for $2.00kg, satsuma plums for $1.99kg, eggplants (aubergines) for $0.99kg.

If you want to shop at the markets, here is my frugal guide to getting a good deal:

- Know your prices at your local shops (are you really getting a bargain?)

- make sure you pick your items carefully (check the bottom of boxes if you are buying a whole box, sometimes the produce at the bottom is rotten)

- take your own shopping bags and a trolley if you have one

- get some friends together and form your own informal food co-op - shop in bulk and save even more (lots of Google links on how to do this!)

- arrive early and talk to the stallholders

-have fun!

Hope you are all having a great long weekend (for those in Oz)!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Lisa's List

I love visiting other websites and sometimes I stumble across some really cool stuff. I notice a few other bloggers share their cool links too :)
Thought I might share a few of my favourites each week:

Found this sticky chicken rub that might make it onto our menu for this week (you have to scroll down a bit as it is at the end of the post.) Even better that it can go in the slow cooker :))

Love this idea, not sure I will get time to make one, but this pencil roll is a great back-to-school project for all the sewers out there. (This one is made for crayons, but could be easily adapted for textas or pencils).

These yummy calzones are a nice variation on pizzas for dinner and a great way to use leftovers up. They can also be frozen and reheated for a quick meal later.

Also thought I might try this yummy recipe for a vegetarian pad thai, which looks very frugal :)

And last but not least I made this couscous salad last week with some leftovers form dinner the night before. It got good reviews.

Let me know what you think?

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Shoestring Sunday Reworked

It's been a while since I did a shoestring Sunday, but this week I finally have something important to write about.
Don't let your freezer get like this...

I'm loathe to admit that my freezer has been like this before and instead of getting the seal replaced then, I just defrosted it and started again...meaning to get it done at some point!
Right now I am enjoying 2 weeks annual leave so one of the jobs on my list was to defrost and get the seal replaced, BEFORE I turn it back on. I am also fortunate to have a friends fridge/freezer stored in my garage at the moment so I am using that space to store what was in my freezer. Tomorrow mornings job then is to find someone to replace it and at a reasonable price. Yes, it will cost me money to replace it, but at the same time it has been working very hard producing all that ice so in the long run it will save me money on my electricity bill and cut greenhouse gas emissions by replacing it.

Do you have something that you have procrastinated about that has cost you money?

As an added bonus has a great article about running an energy efficient freezer. Amy also has lots of other great articles on her site as well as some yummy recipes on her other blog The Aldi Queen.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

WARNING!!!! I take no responsibility for any calories gained from reading, making or eating this cheesecake! This ones for you Mark :P
And for the all the people who called me evil when I posted the honeycomb cheesecake recipe...this just confirms you were right :)


1 c. graham cracker crumbs (I used milk arrowroot biscuits)
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. sugar
2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. whipping cream
4 oz. semisweet chocolate
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. hot coffee

Cream cheese adds a rich texture to this delicious and unusual cheesecake.
Combine crumbs, brown sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter.
Press into bottom and halfway up sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
Beat peanut butter, sugar, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and vanilla in large bowl of electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
Beat cream until soft peaks form.
Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.
Spoon into crust.
Refrigerate 6 hours.
Melt chocolate with coffee in double boiler over gently simmering water.
Spread atop filling.
Refrigerate until firm.

N.B.I have never actually put the choc/coffee glaze onto the cheesecake as it seem rich enough already without it.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Three Gifts Challenge

Rhonda @ down to earth started this challenge last week and here is my contribution.
1. Always taking my bags with me to the supermarket (I also carry a small zip up bag in my handbag) - for those who forget their bags - PUT YOUR SHOPPING LIST IN THEM! That way if you get inside the supermarket you will have to go back for the list and the bags too :) If you leave them at home I can't help you with that one :)

2. Trying to buy items with the least amount of packaging, in recyclable packaging or buy in bulk where possible if it has to be in plastic.

3. Making myself some of the net produce bags and putting them with my grocery bags in the boot of my car (Immediately after I have unpacked them)

I'll also be continuing to try and use more public transport to work and riding my bike for errands. i haven't been doing this as much as I would like, but I have been trying to combine multiple errands when I am out and about :)

It's not too late to join up and spread the word - click the link and go join -oh and leave me a comment to let me know you have joined :)

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Beetroot relish

I can't remember who asked me over a week ago for the link to this recipe, but here it is again and also have reproduced the recipe for those who can't get the link to work.

Yummy Beetroot Relish
Chef: Leanne Arfuso
In a Pickle's Leanne Arfuso makes relishes and chutneys an artform.
Beetroot is easy to grow and in this relish, delicious to eat!

You need:
1 kg beetroot – raw, peeled and grated
750 ml white vinegar
Bring to the boil in a wide mouthed pan. Cover and simmer for 10 min.
1 kg cooking apples - peeled, cored and grated
500 g onions – chopped
5 garlic cloves - diced
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp Spanish paprika
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
500 g brown sugar
Method:Bring mixture back to the boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Simmer uncovered 1 ½ hours or until relish has thickened.
Stir vigorously every 10-15 minutes, more often as the vinegar cooks down.
Bottle into warm clean, dry, sterilized jars.
Screw clean, sterilized lids into place while still hot.
Although bottles can be recycled, lids should always be new with every batch of pickles, chutney or relish.

This recipe makes about 4 jam sized jars of relish :)

Monday, 7 January 2008

Decluttered Dresser

As promised I have taken an after pic (now that I have found my camera).

My next mission is my scrapbooking cupboard & desk - have remembered to take before photos this time.

Will report on my progress later, off to tackle it some more and stop procrastinating!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Decluttering & Smiley Saturday

Weight loss is a form of decluttering...It won't happen overnight, but it will happen. After all in reality it didn't appear overnight so it won't disappear overnight either. Life would be so much simpler if we could lose weight as easily as we put it on, but that is not the case. It takes hard work, discipline, commitment and a great support network. Can I just say I have a fantastic group of family, friends and workmates, who are supporting me and some are joining me in my weight loss journey! One of my best friends & I are both following the Kate Morgan Plan, she has already lost quite a few kg so I am hoping to also do the same. I have been doing a little bit of exercise, but I have to say the excessively hot weather we are having right now has not really given me the enthusiasm to want to do too much.
In the mean time I have also been working on decluttering and cleaning up various parts of my house. Yesterday I totally cleaned my bathrooms (yes, I have two!) following mostly Rhonda's instructions for Green cleaning over at her blog Down to Earth. If you are not already a huge fan like I am, after one visit and reading her beautiful words you will be .
Yesterdays other mission was my dressing table/dresser top.
I started by taking everything off and giving it a good wipe over to remove allt he bust bunnies and everything else on it. I also changed the cover I have on it from a Thai woven purple and gold one with cute fringing to a white batternberg (sp?) lace one. Then I looked at all the items I had taken off and decided which ones I wanted to remain. The criteria was, is it something I either:
(a) use regularly
(b) love to look at or
(c) belongs with its friends who are on of the above.
My camera seems to have gone AWOL, but I will add a picture to this post of the finished product when I figure out where it is! Suffice to say it makes me smile each time I walk into my room, as does my semi-sparkling and decluttered bathroom. Hence I have linked to Lightening's Smiley Saturdays. Go here to see more!
Today list of things to do:
(a) declutter and re-organise my scrapbooking supplies
(b) make ice-cream using excess cream from Christmas
(c) make more beetroot relish - this is seriously good stuff if you haven't tried it you should! The recipe I used last time is here, but this time I am going to omit the cinnamon.
Okay enough blogging for today, off to have my breakfast and tackle the above list!
If anyone needs a bit of weight loss motivation I am happy to email support, just leave ma comment :)
Any other questions, thoughts etc...I love reading them :)
Take care of you.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Years Resolutions

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, will post about how mine all turned out with photos in a few days!
It seems like everyone else in blogland I too have been thinking and reflecting on 2007, as well as thinking ahead to 2008. Rather than make a resolution as such I tend to pick a word to remind me of my direction for the coming year. I think i originally got this idea form a scrapbooker I admire...possibly Heidi Swapp?
In 2007 my word was "ENOUGH"
in 2008 I am going with
To me it means:
- less petrol consumption (use public transport at least twice a fortnight, maybe more)
- less weight (I have a friend for us to keep each other motivated)
- less shopping
- less stuff (decluttering)
- less food (consume less, grow a little of my own starting with spring onions, herbs and salad leaves)
- less chocolate/cheese (two of my greatest weaknesses - not going to give them up, just limit the amounts I consume to being a "treat")

I'm sure other things will come to me throughout the year and I hope to blog at least twice a week to keep you informed of my progress on all these goals. My friend and I photographed each other in our bathers and no I definitely won't be posting that photo on here! Just one more tool to keep us motivated.
I value everyone's feedback and comments. So please feel free to comment.
What resolutions have you made for 2008?
Anyone else going on the weight loss path with me?
What would you like to see on my blog this year?