Monday, January 31, 2011

Dinner from the solar cooker

Today my solar cooker arrived from ebay. It is a cardboard reflective thing, tonight it is cooking our dinner!

Chicken legs and in the stove in side is rice, carrot and cashews to go under it.

Carrot, cashew nut rice :
Heat oil in saucepan, cook 1 onion until soft.
Add 1 tsp each of  coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, ground coriander turmeric.
Grate and add 250g carrot, mix.
add 250g rice and 500ml water and tsp sea salt.
Bring to boil with lid. Turn off heat and let absorb. 
Fluff with fork, add 100g roasted cashews and parsley.

The legs cooked in 2 1/2 hours which was great but I like my food to look cooked, you know a bit char-grilled, so Pooh kindly made them look the part quickly on the bbq! What a good man.

Yummy dinner, very tender and not too much power needed ;o)

Monday, January 24, 2011

A quick cheapie meal

I thought I'd share tonight's "I can't be bothered cooking" meal. It is surprisingly cheap especially if it's from your garden.  Butterflied chicken breasts, bbq-ed mushrooms, zucchini, capsicum, sweet potato and I forgot the onions! But they take moments to cut up and it's fun standing outside on the bbq (especially if someone else does it!) Oil, herbs from the garden, lemon from the tree... yum!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Birthdays should not cost a fortune

Children are so fun to buy or make for :o)
Here's an example of a birthday in our house. This little house was discovered in an op shop in a ratty box that had missing people written all over it. I bought it in hope that the house would be good enough to paint and resurrect it for a birthday. After I got home I opened it up to find the people were missing as the box stated but it did have lots of furniture and the house section had never been opened. It was still in factory bubble wrap! It was $10

We made some people and the wee one was tickled pink. The child received clothes for their little buddy, a ball and their own bath towel. This is plenty for a child.

If we get extravagant gifts how do we 'out do' our selves each year? How does the child learn satisfaction and contentment? These are very important issues in this have it now society.

The front opens up, the roof lifts off for attic space.

Someone really sweet made and sent these for Lyn the boy buddy. Thank you xxx

Now is the time to stock up on Christmas things

I know we just got through the Christmas period, some of us still gasping for breath but now is the time to snag some bargains for future Christmases!
Here's an example. I popped into Koorong during the week and got these books. The activity books was $24.95 I got it for $6.25. It has lovely craft ideas for a wide range of ages. The second is an advent style with activities and verses from Dec 1st to Christmas day. $7.95 down to $3.45.
I saw Christmas decorations in Spotlight for 5 cents each! I resisted as it happens ;o)

Now is the time to start preparing ahead, especially if you are just starting out, not everyone has a box full of decorations after all :o)

Home made card from scraps

My friend Sandra (bless her socks) sent us a few card making magazines and in them was a great sliding card idea. So out of our very humble card making supplies DD made this for a friend tomorrow. A clever girl she is!

Black card stock with gorgeous printed paper sewn on. We down-loaded a "grunge" font and printed out the words.
Added ribbons (I think they were cut off garments, you know those ones that hold the garment on the hanger).

We printed a verse we liked in the same font placed it on top of the remaining printed paper used on front of card. Added a "Pull" and "Hold"  printed out mounted on black card.

Cute hey!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Weekend sewing projects

I've been busy in the craft room this weekend. The first is a reversible little purse bag from Martha Stewart's site. It take 45cm of each fabric, outer and lining.

The second bag was a friends pattern and I found the fabric at Spotlight, it didn't take much fabric either. Click on photo to make it bigger to see the detail.

It was a very successful time! I think the first one could easily be made from scraps, nice gift ideas :o)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

21 years to day!

Pooh and I are celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary today! In typical frugal fashion we shared a box of noodles and ginger beer while overlooking the beach that we met on 23 years ago :o)
We had our trusty little toothbrush holders filled with cloth serviettes, knife/fork/spoon, the big children looked after the little ones and we had a very nice few hours reminiscing!
Gee my shirt looks wrinkly, it takes the focus off my own wrinkles as I squint into the setting sun (and into the face of my beloved).  LOL

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Resisting using the clothes drier

This is a seemingly boring idea but it's a case of looking after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves :o)

Rain, rain and more rain since coming home.

So in the garage I strung up cord for the washing to dry the clothes or at least part dry!
Perhaps I'll only need to slightly bing them in the drier? Fingers crossed I don't.

The latest electricity bill showed we used 7.65 kWh per day. The lowest for years, I'm trying to keep it up!

A brilliant book for homemade basics

ISBN 978 1 921569 80 7 (pbk)
Homemade by Readers Digest

In planning my frugal year ahead I just had to share this book. I have many many many books (I have a book addiction that is going to go unsatisfied this year) but I have to say this is the best one that covers basic supermarket items that you can make at home. Think of all the preservatives and additives that you could avoid, money saved and you will not be supporting big companies! Often the recipes can be made from items that you already have in your pantry.

Here's some of the contents page:

"In the Kitchen"

Pantry Staples
-breakfast cereals
-condiments and spreads
-salad dressings
-cooking stocks
-dessert sauces
-dry mixes

Pickled, Preserved and Frozen Foods
-pickles and relishes
-jams, jellies and marmalades
-frozen vegetables
-frozen fruit

Baked Goods You can Make
-quick breads
-yeast breads
-pies and meringues
-biscuits, slices and brownies

Snacks, Nibbles and Drinks
-fast foods and snacks
-breakfast treats
-appetising treats
-cold drinks
-hot drinks

Take-away Food and Ready Meals
-deli style dishes
-Main-dish Pies
-Pasts dishes

Easy-to-make Sweet Treats
-custard mousses and puddings
-fruit desserts
-ice cream
-frozen yoghurt
-ices, granitas, sherbets and sorbets
-frozen iceblocks

There are also sections called "Health and Beauty Care" and "Around the House" that are wonderful but I'm focusing on food at the moment!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Check lists for overnight or longer stays

Our long holiday revealed that I am very unprepared for time away, impromptu or planned trips way from the house.
So I've come up with some lists that I can refer to so I don't forget those little items that have you going to the nearest shop and spending unnecessary money.
Feel free to copy and paste and adjust for your own use. Laminate and keep in a handy spot!

Overnight or a few days.

Hopefully pre packed
*Toothbrush and toothpaste. (Those free samples from the dentist are a great size for toothpaste)
*Hair brush/comb (ties and pins if needed)
*Shampoo samples or small refillable ones
*Shower cap
*face cream/moisturiser

Make up -perhaps have a small bag of your basics.

Towel (small sized), face cloth or micro-fibre cloth and a small towel (old cloth nappy) to use as a foot mat (why doesn't everyone have these?LOL)

Sanitary items
Over night and day time. A menstrual cup is fabulous thing to have, small and washable.

*A small first aid kit:
*Anti fungal and antibiotic creams
*hydrogen peroxide
*Medication and spare medication if needed
*Burn cream/bug bites etc like "Bepanthen" or "Eurax" which is brilliant for sandfly bites /midgies
*I like to take a thermometer with little ones too.
Substitute with any herbal equivalents like lavender oil, tea tree oil etc

*underwear - bra, undies, socks (a change for each night stayed)
*Going out clothes?

Shoes as appropriate to occasion and weather
*thongs/flipflops (especially for public showers)

*blanket or sleeping bag

*a book (or kindle) 
*travel game

*Water bottle and spare water. For longer stays a water filter.
*Thermos prepared.
*Dried or easy to carry food. Muesli bar, dried fruit
*Frozen or prepared sandwiches wrapped in a moist cloth serviette (keeps them fresh for hours)

Food utensils -In a prepared kit we have:
This is for preparing lunch mostly, rolls, deli meat, tabouli etc
*Chopping board
*steak knives, forks, spoons
*small cloths of place-mats (little children put their food down any where! Ick!)*
*Can opener 
*Tea towel
*Plastic bag for dirty items. ( Make sure they get washed and returned to kit asap!)

If self catering main meals:
*Dinner for the first night? (we use a thermal cooker, cook meal for 10 mins on stove top then continues to cook for hours later in car-no power needed)
*Quick oats for porridge for breakfast (we do these with hot water in the thermal cooker or a wide mouth thermos) 
*Gas Ring. If taking thermal cooker take camp gas ring to heat any food.
*Frozen meals for subsequent evenings in needed
*If taking dinners, plates/bowls needed.
*Dishwashing liquid and a bucket or washing up bowl.

2011 is here!

Don't you love a new year, it's like a clean slate :o)

We had a great free holiday, here is a picture over view for you!

I'd love to say this was us but it was a couple tootling around and with their permission I took some pictures. This was in Khancoban. Isn't that groovy.

 The little guy found a street named after himself!

The NSWer's sent the Victorians back home on foot!

The boys enjoyed a motor bike, swimming and feeding horses.

We found free fruit for small amount of jam. But it didn't make it, it went squishy in two days :o(

On the farm we were allowed to dehydrate the ripe apricots which the dog seemed to enjoy too.

Here's the dehydrated  end result. We peeled and cut in half other than that no other preparation. No preservatives or chemicals. I'm pleased with the colour of them.

And look who we visited on the way home, yes we sang the song!

There's a track winding back
to an old-fashioned shack,
Along the road to Gundagai.
Where the gum trees are growin'
and the Murrumbidgee's flowin'
beneath the starry sky.
Oh my mother and daddy are waitin' for me
And the pals of my childhood once more I will see
And no more will I roam 'cos I'm headin' right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.
..... (as you do!) 

Wishing everyone a wonderful healthy and creative new year!