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my favourite porridge recipe

August 20th, 2011 at 10:24 pm

I have had a weekend of studying and have caught up mostly. I didn't get as much done as I wanted to... but I am nearly ahead of what we're supposed to be doing. I still have about three hours until I plan to stop though, so hopefully I'll get there!

In saying that, I thought I'd take a break. Big Grin

I decided not to do the grocery shopping for a couple more days. DH bought some milk which is all we really need at the moment, we will survive a few days with what we have.

Last night we had Indian takeaway for dinner, but both still have enough left over for each of us to have it for dinner tonight Smile

Today I was sitting at my desk listening to a presentation for one of my subjects, eating a bowl of porridge for lunch, when I realised how screwed up my eating patterns are. Not that I mind. I just don't get around to having a big breakfast and on the weekends it usually gets to midday before I am hungry. I like sweet food as opposed to savoury, and in my mind, porridge is a lot healthier than, say, a slice of cake for lunch! Big Grin During the week I take muesli and low-fat berry yoghurt for my mid-morning/lunch snack. Wednesdays I usually have a salad for lunch.

Anyway, the main point of my post was to share my favourite porridge recipe (I think it's called oatmeal in the states???). This is usually what I have (for lunch, but you can ignore that bit...)


1/4 cup rolled oats
pinch salt
tsp desicated coconut
pinch cinnamon
handful sultanas
(combine in a saucepan with 2/3 cup cold water and bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for a few minutes until cooked)

in a bowl, combine:

2 dried pitted prunes, sliced thinly and
3-4 dried apricots, sliced thinly

add the cooked oat mixture to the bowl and stir to combine the other dried fruit. add some honey if wanted.

update time (& cute dog pics)

August 19th, 2011 at 05:34 pm

After a late Friday night (full of laughing and talking with our tattooist... well, we were laughing and talking and DH just grimaced for most of it Big Grin it was in a painful spot on his arm...) I'm up late after a nice sleep in (til nearly 9am!!)and about to start a weekend chock full of study!
Thought I would update, first though... Big Grin

The guy who bought the tyres has just picked them up and given us the $60 he owes us. The lady who bought the cabinet dropped by on Thursday to pay $50 off and buy 10 cupcakes she asked me to make for her. She asked if she could pay for the rest of the cabinet next week, as she is a bit short of money this week due to unexpected kids expenses (totally understand - my mum deals with this all the time), I told her it was fine. She is a lovely lady, single with two kids and I think she is doing it tough (obviously not too tough as she can buy cupcakes!). I have her address and phone number, and she has already given us $60 toward it. We could sell it again for no hassles if she changed her mind.

Also, she asked if I made birthday cakes Big Grin I doubt my abilities with cake decorating, even though that is what I am employed to do. (BTW, 'cake-decorating' as a term, when I use it anyway, actually means: making the cake, and then decorating it... in case people are confused!) I don't like making things for people I know, or people who seek me out as an individual. I am afraid they won't like what I do. I need to get over this, as I realise I can make some pretty good-looking and great-tasting cakes most of the time. (sometimes... most times... better than my boss Big Grin shh, don't tell him I said that...)

I just don't have any of the supplies or equipment to make them at my house. DH is always encouraging me to 'invest' in these things and I think it's an unneeded expense. Maybe not. I don't know? I could probably make some good side-money, and even if I just bought the decorating equipment and left the actual cake-baking to be done at work, in my own time and paid for the scratch ingredients from my boss. Things to think about, I guess.

Heard back from one of the jobs, unsuccessful. (what a surprise... not). I suppose I will not hear from the other ones. I do not always get an email saying I was unsuccesful, they usually just leave you hanging. Nice.

I have begun taking some pre-conception vitamins Big Grin (holy dooly, are they expensive! I don't take vitamins as our diet is varied and healthy, but I figured I probably should for this as it's recommended... even at a discount chemist a months supply is $20) DH had a doctors appointment on Thursday and has to get some blood tests done next week. I also have to find a doctor, and get a check up. And go to the dentist. Sigh. Next week...

Work update:
My best friend quit. It was the day after she had that guilt-trip from my boss's wife, and after I had that horrible phone conversation with her too. I did not work that day (worked at my other job), but the next day (thursday) I went in and my boss was SUPER nice to me. Almost too nice. I guess he is afraid that I will up and leave too, because of his wife. You know... even though he is a really nice guy (apart from the lying and obsession with his social status) I wish I was offered a job right now, just so I could ring up his wife and say 'I quit, and it's because of you and your unprofessionalism'.
I know, it's a bit low and immature. But look at what I have had to put up with! Would you really blame me??
My boss would survive. He's worked very long days before. Perhaps his wife will have to help out at the shop a bit more than her token once-a-month visit? Big Grin

DH has some work this week which is great. Even though he's had a few weeks off, our bank account is still looking healthy.

We have been doing the weekly grocery shop on Saturdays or Sundays, together. It is easier for me this way and saves time with DH coming. (Even though he usually wanders around looking at other stuff). This week looks like it will be a really small shop: we have so much stuff in our pantry it's ridiculous, even though I have not bought a lot of stuff over the past couple of weeks either.

We're doing the shop tomorrow (Sunday) and I am going to make our meal plan off what we have in the pantry, and just nip into town for the essentials, and fresh fruit and veges.

I'm thinking our meal plan will go something like this:
sweet & sour tofu with egg noodles
pumpkin & cashew stirfry with basmati rice
minestrone soup
vegetarian pasta
baked fish, salad & sweet potato
mexican beans & rice
steamed vegetables, tofu & rice

We ate our first bananas since January, last week!!! It was very exciting for us. Since the floods in January bananas have been about $15-$20 a kilogram. Doesn't matter if they are organic or not, price is the same. Well, shopping at our local organic grocer we spied them at $9.99 a kilogram so we bought four little golden, beautiful, sweet cavendish. They were lovely! The oranges have been delicious lately too...

DH is having sellers remorse on some of the items we sold at the garage sale Big Grin oh well. He sold a PS1 for $7 with a whole heap of games, a chip, two guns etc. His uncle rang him the next day to see if he still had it, and said he would have given him $40! Even still, last night our tattooist said he would have given us $60! What are the chances?! (But, it went to a young high school girl who is no doubt going to have a lot of fun with it... I personally think it went to a good home). In the end, we made $450 and I think the reason we made that much was because our prices indicated we wanted to sell the stuff, not have people umm and aah over the price, but instead go 'hey! I'm going to buy that! Right now!'.

The coffee table (the one I didn't want him to sell! lol!) he sold for $40. Then two people came back that had been in the morning to ask about it, and asked how much he sold it for. LOL. But like the PS1, it has a nice selling-story to it too: the guy bought it because he wants to teach his grand-daughter to play chess. I mean, could you ask for it to go to a better home?!

And lastly, my poor baby Banjo!!! Earlier this week, he kept licking his face and seemed to not be closing his mouth. (He is a dog that pants half the time... so I wasn't especially worried at first, but then it got to a stage where I was a little worried). We tried looking at his gums and teeth, nothing. His breath was a lot smellier than normal. I took him to the vet on Thursday. The vet looked at his gums and teeth (as DH and I did), couldn't find anything, suggested maybe he had a sore throat and got a flashlight to inspect the inside of his mouth. Opens Banjo's mouth and what do we find, but a piece of a stick jammed in the roof of his mouth, horizontally between the molars on the left and right side! (hard to describe...) The vet said 'ahh, this is your problem!' quickly reached in and pulled it out. Our poor Banjo must have had it in for a few days, two great big holes on the inner side right next to his teeth and huge cut across the roof of his mouth (and blood!). The vet gave us some painkillers and antibiotics to clear up the infection. He asked if Banjo had trouble eating or drinking. Nope! I had even given him a bone the day before. Our vet laughed and said 'This ones a tought nut!'

On the trip home he sat in the front seat and when I looked over, he was curled up in a little ball with his paws on his snout. Fresh pain after getting it pulled out... ouch. He was a brave little fellow. I feel so bad that I didn't know, but the vet said unless you knew what to look for you wouldn't have known - he said he didn't expect to find that at all, he just thought Banjo had a sore throat, and that you wouldn't have been able to see without a light, as the roof of Banjo's mouth is speckled anyway, the stick was pretty much camoflaged. Poor Banjo!!! Total cost $70.25 for short vet visit, A/B & pain meds. (worth every penny I should add!!!!)

Here are some pictures of the last time we took them out, to my little sisters birthday picnic in the park:

Banjo:



Jed:

updates, diets, outings.

August 2nd, 2011 at 07:09 pm

I just checked my account and my tax refund has been cleared. Yay! That means DH's will go through tomorrow.

(I had done mine and looked at the pile of reciepts for DH's and decided to post-pone it to the next night. And thank goodness, it took me nearly an hour!)

I have been inspired again reading Ceejays blog to start a short and sweet health kick regime. Even though we *are* much healthier right now than a month ago (and even then - we were much healthier than a lot of people we know!) I have found I haven't budged any weight that I wanted to. Frown I blame winter, studying, lack of energy etc etc. But, I only have about five weeks until TTC and even though some would think it's pointless (seeing as, well, I'll probably be putting on a lot more weight in the 9 months after...!) I still want to be as fit and healthy as I possibly can before pregnancy.

My aim is to take the dogs for a longer than usual walk/run (around an hour) on a different walking track. This one has a few hilly areas and gives me a bit of a workout. I'm hoping to do that five days a week, one day of rest and one day of yoga. Also hoping to slip a few sessions of boxing in there too, but that's only a maybe, depends on the time.

Diet-wise, I have cut out drinking coffee during the week, and only drink one or two cups on the weekend. This is for a few reasons: firstly sometimes I get weird heart palpitations, sweats and shakes when I have a cup of coffee (I haven't gotten them since I stopped, a few months ago). Also, because obviously I won't be drinking coffee while I'm pregnant, so this is me weaning Big Grin. And lastly, because DH had to give up drinking, I figured I'd do something too.

You should have seen us the first night! Sitting down to dinner, It went something like this:
---
DH: Can't I just start this tomorrow? I've had a long hard day working with dad and I want a glass of wine.

Me: What! No! If you do that, then tomorrow you'll say the same thing, then the next day, and the next, then there won't be any point at all. And besides, I haven't had a coffee all day and my head feels like it's about to implode. So you CAN'T have a wine.

---

Continuing on the diet discussion, I haven't quite figured it out actually. But I'm thinking along the lines of a few weeks eating steamed vegetables, brown rice, soups etc. Might have one day in there to relax a little and eat something naughty. But for the most part I want to eat fresh unprocessed organic food, mostly vegetables. Minimal dairy. Extremely reduced sugar intake (probably only my 'free' day). Etc Etc. We'll see how I go. It's so difficult trying to study though, with low energy levels. I find my concentration wanes a lot. Now I understand why my old flatmate used to eat 1kg of lollies every week - the sugar keeps you UP. lol.

We are thinking of going to Greazefest on Sunday ( www.greazefest.com ). It is a 1950's car/fashion/style/hotrod/music themed festival that we've wanted to go to for a few years and finally we have the weekend spare when it's on! Exciting. But, we are still deciding, because the day will probably cost $100+ ($25 each entry, petrol to get there, food etc). And DH is just about to spend a bit of money on some screenprinting paint and a bulk lot of blank tshirts. We have a friend who operates an art studio who has offered to sell some of DH's designs.

Even though we're about to embark on running the flooring business ourselves with less input from DH's dad, I think DH wants to find a way to make money without having to do physically draining work, use chemicals, and deal with pedantic clients. (Unfortunately the clients can't be helped, DH's dad runs a premium flooring business that is unlike the subcontracted ones you hire out from a carpet shop who do a usually sub-par job.)




Menu for the week

August 28th, 2010 at 05:12 pm

I don't post these often enough, but will try to get back into the habit. Like we usually do, I did all of our fresh fruit and vegetable shopping yesterday morning at the market. Spent a little more than normal because I bought some nice organic freshly ground coffee, 250g for $10.50. More expensive than what we normally pay for our regular brand, but it's nice to have a change now and then. Also bought two turkish savoury pastries for DF and I for breakfast, $6.50. It's become a bit of a habit, not sure it's one I want to break though! It's kind of our Saturday treat. DF takes the dogs for a walk and I do the market shopping, then we have coffee and the pastries for breakfast. YUM. Too bad it's now Sunday and we can't have another!

Anyway. Back to it. Our menu plan for the week:

- Spaghetti Bolognaise for DF/ Toasted avocado cheese and tomato sandwich for me
- Dum Aloo (Indian Potato & Spinach Curry).
- Pumpkin & Fetta tarts & Salad
- Miso Soup with vegetables & crispy tofu
- Ginger Vegetable Stirfry with brown rice.
- Homemade Pizzas


It's my birthday next week. I haven't planned anything with friends and I'm not sure I want to really. I'm turning 23 so it's not really a big deal. I'd rather go out to dinner with DF and see a movie or something, than have to plan something, organise food and a meeting place etc.

Meals

July 26th, 2010 at 04:25 am

I haven't been posting my meal plans lately. But I have been keeping to them mostly, which is good. Sometimes going out or getting takeaway is unavoidable though, but we have been keeping it to a minimum. Also trying to keep the meals to their healthiest, it's so easy to eat badly when it's winter! Lasagne, Pasta, Toasted Sanwiches, Pizza, Nachos etc etc. Homemade still, and good in moderation... NOT for every dinner meal of the week! *sigh* LOL Big Grin

This weeks meal plan:

- Minestroni Soup & Toasted Sourdough
- Roast Balsamic Vegetables & Salad
- Chili Ginger Vegetable Stirfry & Brown Rice
- Lamb Steak/Tofu Burgers with baked potato wedges.
- Dum Aloo Indian Curry & Naan Bread
- Dinner Out (Friends Birthday)
- Roast Pumpkin & Spinach Risotto


I made some banana & choc chip muffins on the weekend, which have all gone, and also some dark chocolate and ginger biscotti.

more babies

July 19th, 2010 at 05:57 pm

Our niece's 1st Birthday went well. We got 2 shirts screen printed the morning of the party - we were actually about 45 minutes late to the party, but we arrived when most people were getting there as well, so thank goodness for that. (It was an hours drive to the destination from our house). DF wasn't feeling well in the morning (too much ginger wine the night before, methinks) and that kind of slowed us down.

Yesterday my only expenditure was $23.85 on fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. We are going out to dinner on Friday night, as DF's grandparents have been staying with his dad and they are leaving on Saturday morning. On Saturday we are having DF's sister and BIL stay the night. I was planning on making a Mexican banquet for dinner: a pot of mexican chili beans, steamed rice, corn chips with melted cheese, homemade guacamole and sour cream and maybe some tortillas and baked potatoes. I will only have to buy kidney beans, corn chips, avocado and sour cream, and I was thinking of making the chili beans the day before so I only have to reheat it.

DF's sister and BIL announced at their daughters 1st birthday party that they are expecting their 2nd child. They had already told us the week before, so we had to act surprised. Smile Exciting news for them, and for DF because he loves being an uncle. But extremely daunting for DF and I (having to endure about an hour of interrogation from all sides of the family and some friends as well. Some questions and comments that stick in my memory:

"You better have some soon!"
"You're next!"
"When are you going to start a family?"
"Don't leave it too late!"(excuse me? I'm 23 in a months time...HOW is that leaving it too late?)
"When are you going to give us more grandchildren?"
"Wouldn't it be great if you had them now and they could grow up together?"
"It's best to have them young, you know..."

and my personal favourite, from a friend:

"When are you going to pop one out?"

Absolutely charming, is all I can say.

crumble recipe for TheNest

July 18th, 2010 at 01:00 am

My recipe is pretty basic, but hope it's useful for someone!


(Serves 4-6)

Topping:
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup desicated coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup caster sugar
2-3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub in the butter with fingertips until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. In a large rectangular dish, pour in the fruit and then liberally sprinkle the topping mixture over the top (I try to get a 1cm even coating over the fruit). I sometimes drizzle with golden syrup or honey - but usually forget! It's great with or without, so don't stress too much. Bake @ 200 C until the topping has browned and serve with yoghurt, cream or icecream.

Note: I use a variety of different fruits as the base, so I haven't listed it in the ingredients. If I'm making it at a friends place, it's easier for me to use canned fruit. A great combination is mango and peach (I used an 800g tin of peaches and a 400g tin of mango cheeks). The measurement of the fruit doesn't really have to be exact, but I'd say you would use about two to three times as much fruit as you would the topping. (Maybe about 800gm of fruit?) With tinned fruit, I use some of the juice (or syrup) but not all of it. If you are using fresh fruit, it's a good idea to add some fruit juice so that it doesn't get too dry - or stew the fruit beforehand and use the stewing liquids.

Other good combinations:
- banana, apple & currant
- apple and pineapple
- mixed berries
- pear & apple
- custard & apple
- apricot & peach
- mango and banana

but you can use pretty much anything you have on hand. I sometimes add other dried fruit and nuts (like pecans or walnuts) and even lime or orange zest. Also during winter I make up three or four times the amount of topping and keep it in the fridge or freezer, ready to go. It lasts a while.

gnocchi recipe for HouseHopeful

June 22nd, 2010 at 05:25 pm

Househopeful, this is for you Wink (and anyone else that wants it)

I hope it turns out for you like it did with me. Smile It takes a bit of 'feel' with making the dough. In the recipe book I got it from, they described gnocchi as 'velvety soft pillows' which is something I kept in mind when making the dough and it helped a little to get the right consistency. Have fun! It's a little messy, but only takes about 1/2 an hour or so, and actually works out to be quite cheap!

Potato Gnocchi
1kg potatoes
300-350gm plain flour
salt/pepper
olive oil


Note: It is a good idea to have the sauce ready & simmering BEFORE you make the gnocchi, as it is supposed to be made, cooked and eaten straight away. If you want to prepare the gnocchi a little prior to cooking it, when you roll it out, place it on a floured board and cover with a dry tea towel - be careful not to let the gnocchi touch each other as they will stick together, and sprinkle atop with a bit more flour so that they don't go gluggy. Throughout this process you might have to sprinkle more flour here and there so that the gnocchi does not get sticky.

- Boil the potatoes (with skins) covered in salted water until soft (about 15 minutes)
- Peel the skins off and pass through a potato ricer (I actually used a sieve and the back of a spoon) directly onto a clean bench.
- Sprinkle flour with one hand and gently fold over/knead with the other until you get a doughy consistency with a bit of spring.
- Have another pot of boiling water ready, and a dish sprinkled generously with olive oil, cracked pepper and salt. Place this dish in a hot oven to keep your gnocchi warm while you cook it.
- Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each part into a rope about 1.5cm in diameter. Cut the rope into 3cm sections, roll along the side with a fork (this is the classic gnocchi 'groove' and helps the sauce stick to it) and drop into gently boiling water.
- The gnocchi will sink to the bottom for a while, and when it floats and bobs at the top it is ready.
- Pick the cooked gnocchi out with a slotted spoon, drain for a few seconds over the pot and then place in your oiled/salted/peppered tray. (It is best to try a few pieces at the start to make sure they are cooked until you get used to the timing)
- Shake the tray slightly to coat the gnocchi in the oil and return to the oven.
- Cook the gnocchi in batches of 10 or so pieces until all are done. Be careful not to add too many to the pot at once.

Serve immediately with sauce & grated parmesan.

(I serve them with a very simple sauce: garlic sauteed in olive oil with freshly diced tomatoes, loads of freshly chopped basil & pepper).

having a bit of a slack attack.

June 21st, 2010 at 07:43 pm

It feels like I haven't posted in ages. Probably only a week or so, but feels longer.

I had a three day week last week, which was nice, relax-wise, not so nice money-wise. I went and visited DF's sister in her town (an hours drive from our place) to go op-shopping with her, and DF finished work early and was able to go at the last minute as well.

I only bought three cups (one coffee cup, two teacups) and spent $2.20. The main expense was lunch, but it was nice to have a meal with DF's sister and our niece. Spent around $40 on two meals and drinks.

Saturday it seemed we caught the op shop bug, went into our town and spent a couple of hours poking around various stores.

DF found a good quality bottle-capper for his home brewing, for $15. (They are $49 brand new). He already has two others though! I am going to sell one of them on eBay, hope to make atleast the money back he spent on it. We also bought a book, a painting, a jigsaw puzzle and DF bought himself a pair of pants.

I think jigsaw puzzles are going to be my new 'thing' hehe. DF, myself and my little sister sat around for about 6 hours on Sunday trying to piece together a 1000 pce! We're slowly working at it. It's good fun though. I just hope all the pieces are there. That's the problem with op-shop jigsaw puzzles! But I guess it adds an extra element to it. Well, that's what I'm telling myself anyway... Big Grin

My meal plan is working well this month. Next week is our big shopping week, so I will be working on July's meal planner soon.

Last night I made potato gnocchi for the first time, from scratch! And it actually turned out really well! I was so pleased. And the sauce I made to go with it was delicious too, just a really simple garlic, fresh tomato & fresh basil pasta sauce. YUM.

I did some baking last week too, now that I have an oven! Big Grin (Though everything I made has since been eaten...) I made various batches of biscotti (gave some away to friends as well) and an orange & almond (gluten free) cake. It was soooo good.

Anyway, this week is going to be a healthy eating week heh heh.

I have lots of things to do, plan, book etc over the next week or so. But I am feeling so unmotivated!

I have to:

- book a time to get an ultrasound (NO! NOT pregnant)
- order a new bottle of gas to be delivered
- make a time for Banjo to get his second bathc of vaccinations
- organise to pick up 2 x bookshelves from a friends place
- make a new ink booking
- Schedule a time BEFORE the 13th July to get Jed & Banjo desexed.
- Book a follow up appointment for the doctors to see about my ultrasound and my blood test results.
- start getting all of our reciepts ready for our tax returns (earliest I can file is start of July).
- start thinking of ideas for our nieces birthday present - she turns 1 in two weeks and DF wants to make something for her. eeek!
- also have to mend several of my cardigans which are coming apart at some seams around the neck - I am so lazy I just stopped wearing them, then realised the other day I have hardly any cardigans to wear! LOL.

Anyway. It feels like I have a huge amount of things to get through, but a lot of them are really easy to accomplish... But *sigh* it just takes a bit to organise, and when I go to do something, I think of all the things I have to do to achieve it (such as: booking the vet is easy enough, but then I have to WASH the dogs, and drive them to the vet, and then deal with them healing, argh. But if I don't do it, their registration will be over $200, compared to $20 if I DO get them desexed...)

Or ordering gas is simple enough, but then because we have not set up an account (still on the same bottle that was full when we bought the house) I will have to go through all that. Not to mention I have no idea of the size of the bottle... and I am at work now so I can't check it.

Booking a time to get my ultrasound means I will actually have to GO THERE and get it Big Grin

Booking in more ink means I will have to call, and then at some stage take in the drawings, and then ...

anyway, you get the picture...I just can't be bothered. I think I'm having a major procrastination attack! I would much rather be doing my jigsaw puzzle... Big Grin

Anyway... now that I have all that out of my system, I am going to make some calls, book some things, make appointments, and generally work through til I see the light at the end of the tunnel!!! Wish me luck (and send me motivational energy!) lol. Smile

missing cd, biscotti, pizza recipe

June 14th, 2010 at 04:43 pm

Yesterday I got a few things done. I sorted out our music collection alphabetically (600+ cd's - quite a mission!). Found out one of my cd's is missing so I am trying to track that down. (Radioheads' In Rainbows) We have one friend who takes a pile every now and then - we trust him to bring them back but maybe he might have misplaced one. Grrr. And don't ask how I managed to know that ONE disc was missing out of six hundred, I am clearly a freak in that regard Big Grin

I also partly tidied our office. Well, I did my half. DF's is just too messy and cluttered to deal with. I hope that my side being clean will encourage him to sort out his! I just have a pile of paperwork to sort through and file, and then I need to sort out a bunch of reciepts for tax (July 1st).

I baked Anzac biscuits and biscotti yesterday. I've never made biscotti before and it was a success! And sooo easy. I estimate the cost is probably the same as buying a packet, seeing as it has four eggs in it for a single batch (and at $6 a dozen, egss aren't cheap!) But atleast I know they are fresh, what goes in them, I can make different varieties, and play around with the sugar content. Not to mention all my ingredients are organic - the packet ones are not. So I guess if I were to make it vs. buying and ORGANIC packet biscotti... cost-wise we'd probably come out ahead.

Anyway. DF really liked them too, and his dad! Who we had over to help Banjo-proof our fence. There's now two layers of wire, and bricks holding the ends down so he can't dig out, if he ever decides to do that, AND it's higher. Hehe. Try getting out of that one, sucker!

Yesterday I didn't spend any money. Today I have to buy milk and meat for the dogs. I'm having a coffee with a friend, but if we go to the place we intend to - I have a loyalty punch card that has a free coffee on it. So I'm technically not spending any money! Love that!

Tonight we're having pizza - but I'm making it. On pita bread bases. DF has some leftover roast lamb which I was going to put on his.

I'm making a pizza we used to make when I worked at a restaurant, it's delicious! (my then-boss won a state award for it)

The toppings are:
Fresh sliced tomato
crumbled feta
Sundried Tomato
Red onion
Lamb
Tzatziki Yoghurt sauce drizzled over the top after it comes out of the oven. It's divine!

Obviously I won't be putting lamb on mine. I was going to try roasted pumpkin, fresh spinach, feta & walnuts on a pizza too. I might make 3 - the lamb one, one minus the lamb, and then the pumpkin one. DF can take the leftovers for lunch. Big Grin

meal plan, oven is fixed!

June 1st, 2010 at 05:29 pm

Don't ask me how, but DF fixed our stove and oven. YAY! It is super exciting seeing as we haven't used it for nearly 8 months.

Just in time for winter as well, so we can enjoy bakes, pies, quiches, crumbles, puddings... and most likely tight waistbands... he he.

The best part, it didn't cost a CENT to fix as DF was able to do it at home, by himself, with whatever he needed from our own supplies.

Our Meal Plan for this week:

- Carrot Fritters & Salad with cucumber raita

- Pumpkin, feta & asparagus quiche & steamed vegetables

- Ricotta, Spinach, Roast Capsicum & Pumpkin Lasagne with salad.

- Homemade Pizzas on pita bread rounds

- Asparagus, Spinach & Corn Risotto

- Grilled Vegetable Skewers

- Roasted Sweet Potato, Cucumber Raita & Salad

I am looking forward to cooking with gas again, and seeing how much our next electricity bill is seeing as we've changed a few things here to save on electricity costs.




bbq skewers

May 24th, 2010 at 06:50 pm

I put barbecue vegetable skewers on our menu plan at the beginning of the month but have been putting it off because for some reason I thought they would be bland and boring. So last night I decided to make them because I wanted something quick and easy to make for dinner, and I had just bought a whole heap of fruit & vegetables as well.

I remembered seeing an add for a vegetable stock powder which we actually have in our cupboard (Vegeta - if anyone's interested). They suggested sprinkling it over grilled vegetables to add flavour. So I did, and the skewars were delicious. My only problem is that I didn't make enough, and we ended up having grilled corn as well Big Grin

Anyway, so I guess that's a tip for anyone out there that is looking for a quick meal.

I used pieces of: yellow squash, capsicum, mushroom, asparagus, zucchini & chicken for DF. Yummo.

Oh and another thing: on my last entry, it says I have 2 comments, but when I check, there is only one. Can anyone see the other one, or is it just a glitch (in the matrix Big Grin) ??

I spent a lot today!

May 8th, 2010 at 09:14 pm

Started off buying two almond croissants for Mothers Day. Went to mums and had a coffee with her and my little sister. Then went to the shops for a few random things, but ended up finding good deals on items that I had been meaning to buy for a while.

Even though individually the items were good prices (compared to what I have seen around) all up I spent a fair bit today Frown

Todays Expenses:
2 almond Croissants: $5.80
Coffee: $4.35
Underwear x 2: $55.26
DF's home brewing supplies: $18.25
Ankle Boots: $49.00
2 x Watersaver Planter Troughs: $28.00
Animal Repellant: $10.54
Pumpkin Seeds: $1.32

Total Spent: $144.52

Also put $20 fuel in my car. It was $1.35/L for E10! Which is expensive, but, it's Sunday, so I don't know why that particularly shocks me.

I'm excited about the shoes, I might post a picture later on. I'm waiting for DF to get home from work to tell me if he thinks they look any good, as I usually need a second opinion. Big Grin

The animal repellant is to stop the doggies going where we don't want them to go. They have been naughty digging holes underneath our stairs that leads from our backyard up to our deck. Grr! Also I was thinking of spraying the stuff on all the areas they like to pee on, hoping that maybe they stop doing it. Has anyone ever had success with this???

I bought the pumpkin seeds to scatter over our hill. I figured that we may as well utilise the hill the best we can, because we're too lazy to do any upkeep on it (It's really steep! And I hate weeding! Isn't that a good enough excuse???). If the pumpkin grows rampant, atleast it will be a useful plant, and might possibly overtake any weeds on there.

As soon as I got home I did about an hour of repotting/gardening/planting etc. I replanted my basil plants (about 10 of them grew in a pot that I was growing lettuces in, the orginal basil plants seeded and died - then after I planted the lettuces, the basil grew as well!). So they are in a separate trough all on their own now. I also scattered some extra seeds in the pot too.

I watered, fertilised and added more potting mix to my lettuces, and added more seeds to that too.

Then with my last trough-pot, I sprinkled a heap of mint seeds. I love mint, so even they all turn into seedlings, I won't mind.

Also I moved our tomato plants over to the trellis that DF set up for our passionfruit. I'm not sure if you should grow tomatoes and passionfruit together, but oh well. We'll see how it goes.

Also found my marigolds, which I thought were dead, had regrown from seeds dropped from the original plants flowers. They were just growing from a random patch of dirt where I'd kicked over the planter pot. Big Grin So I moved one of the seedlings to my lettuce trough in the hopes of deterrring those pesky grasshoppers.

From now on my gardening technique will be referred to as Accidental Gardening, because most of my success is purely accidental.

So I feel like I accomplished a little bit today, and it's only 2pm! After this entry is finished, I'm going to give the house a vaccuum and mop, then bring in the dry clothes off the line and tidy the kitchen. Then I might watch some Scrubs while I fold washing.

For my only day off this week, I feel like I achieved a good amount, granted I do what I plan to this afternoon. Poor DF is sick with the flu, has worked 14 days straight and has atleast another 7 to go WITHOUT A DAY OFF. Frown

So far this week I have stuck to our menu plan. I find that I don't stick to a particular meal-for-each-day plan, but rather pick what we feel like out of a list of meals for each week. It seems to work better that way - sometimes if you make an eating plan so rigid, you end up ordering takeaway because you can't be bothered cooking what's on 'The Plan'. Tonight I'm thinking of making a sundried tomato pesto sauce over pasta with steamed green beans, grilled capsicum and parmesan cheese.

Well, time to drag myself off the computer and start vaccuuming!

dog food trial

April 12th, 2010 at 12:18 am

We have started to trial our doggies with a new brand of dogfood (dry food - we don't feed them tinned food).

Previously we were using a couple of different types of mid-range dryfood, like Pal, Pedigree etc. About $7.50-$8 for a 3kg bag. It lasts about 8 or 9 days between the two of them.

Having spoken to the vet about which is the best to feed them health-wise, he said basically with dry food, you get what you pay for, and he explained that with premium brands generally you don't feed them as much as you do the mid to low priced range.

So at the moment I'm trying out a brand called Optimum - $11.55 for 2kg. I measured out the correct amount to feed them - and it was literally HALF what I had to feed them with the other brands.
I felt like I wasn't giving them enough over the past few days with it, as they really seem to like it and eat it as soon as I give it to them, unlike the other stuff which they pick at through the day.

So today I gave them some more after they'd eaten the first amount, but they didn't touch their seconds Big Grin I guess this means they're getting enough.

(BTW: I can buy it in larger bags which means it's slightly cheaper, I just wanted to try it out first.)

What do you feed your dogs and why? The reason I ask why, is because for our own groceries I would never sacrifice my health to save money at the checkout, so I don't see how it can be ok for me to do that with our dogs either. So to a certain extent, money doesn't come into play when it concerns our dogs food. I'm obviously not going to feed them Wagyu Beef and Caviar, but I'm not going to feed them something full of preservatives, sodium and pigfat either.

slow cooker is dead (i think) & Menu Plan...

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Our slow cooker seems to be un-usable at the moment. I don't know what happened, but the glaze cracked inside and outside, and the last time I used it, there were dots of black stuff on the outside of the ceramic pot...? Weird! Not game enough to use it again. *sigh* Looks like I will have to ring up the manufacturer and buy a replacement ceramic pot thing. I wonder how much that will be? I assume I did something incorrectly - I think once or twice I put the bowl in the sink and then later read that you shouldn't submerge it in water Anyway...Great. Awesome. (NO, I did not submerge the actual electronic part - I'm not that dumb).

Anyway. So I am getting our old one off my parents again to use, even though it is waaaay too big. I am just going to use it to make a big batch of minestroni soup, and a batch of mexican chili beans, and freeze them in portions.

Anyway, so this is our menu for the next week and a half. The 'week' actually started on Tuesday (two days ago)... Big Grin I just got lazy, was supposed to post this a few days ago... SOrry!

Tuesday: Warm Rice Salad (Rice, Tuna, Cucumber, Capsicum & Parsley)

Wednesday: Grilled Vegetables mixed with cous cous, dried chopped apricots & drizzled with tahini-yoghurt.

Thursday: Home-made Burgers with avocado, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pineapple, beetroot & beef/vege patty.

Friday: Takeaway (Thai food = Yum!)

Saturday: Toasted Sandwhiches

Sunday: Sundried Tomato, Feta, Parsley & Garlic Stirred through fresh pasta

Monday: Nachos

Tuesday: Steamed Veges & Rice (lamb chop for DF)

Wednesday: Miso Soup, Somen Noodles, Tofu & Vegetables.

Thursday: Basil Pesto & Pasta with grilled vegetables & chicken for DF.

Friday: Home-made Sushi (tuna, avocado, tofu)



Meal Plan (two weeks worth!)

February 6th, 2010 at 03:08 pm

THIS WEEK:

Saturday: Greek Salad, Grilled Lambchop/Tofu & side of beans.

Sunday: Dum Aloo with Rice (Indian Potato & Spinach Dish)

Monday: Steamed Brocolli, Garden Salad & Grilled Lambchop/Tofu.

Tuesday: Vegetarian Pasta (fresh tomatoes, zucchini, brocolli, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, basil)

Wednesday: Indian Tofu Curry with rice (slowcooked)

Thursday: Rice Paper Wraps (vermicelli noodles, tofu/chicken, grated carrot, mint, cucumber, capsicum)

Friday: Toasted Panini (turkish bread with cheese, pineapple, sundried tomatoes, fresh tomato, cracked pepper)

NEXT WEEK:

Saturday: Greek Salad & grilled steak/vege patty

Sunday: Rice with Steamed Veges

Monday: Pasta with Pesto Sauce & Grilled Veges (capsicum, zucchini, squash)

Tuesday: Mexican Chili Beans with Rice (double lot - freeze a portion for later)

Wednesday: Minestroni Soup with sourdough toast

Thursday: Slow Cooker Risotto (peas, green beans, pinenuts, pesto)

Friday: Homemade Sushi (cucumber, tuna, tofu, avocado)


Purchases required:
Vegetables (mint leaves, squash, capsicum, zucchini, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, rocket, fresh spinach, kidney beans, corn, green beans, fresh ginger, avocado)
Chicken, Turkish Bread, Tinned Tomatoes, plain yoghurt.

Everything else I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer. We will see how I go with two weeks worth of meals planned!

I am determined that we will not eat out for any dinners unless there is a really good reason (like friends birthdays etc).

Simply cannot afford it. Or rather, if we eat out, it means we cannot afford OTHER things we would RATHER buy. I know at times when I am tired (and everyone else, no doubt), takeaway seems like a brilliant idea, but the reality is that the money would be better allocated somewhere else. Big Grin



Meal Plan for the week

January 28th, 2010 at 10:41 pm



Slow Cooked Vege Pasta Sauce with Spinach Pasta Spirals

Garden Salad, Grilled Tofu/Lamb Chop & Steamed Veges

Homemade Sushi

Slow Cooked Indian Vege & Tofu Curry with Rice

Salad & Grilled Vege Patty/Lamb Chop

Toasted Paninis

Vege Pasta/Spaghetti Bolognaise

Fresh Spring Rolls

I'm going to continue to tackle the grocery expenses in February (and dining out expenses). This menu plan should see me only having to purchase rice and pasta for dinners, as well as veges and fruit from the markets.


menu, surveys

January 24th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

It was 34C today. Eugh.

I just checked a survey site account and had enough to cash out a $20 GC for a shopping centre I use. There's $5.50 remaining in the account too, and I am close to getting a $30 check from another survey site.

Menu Plan for the week:

Salad, Lamb Chop/Vege Patty, Steamed Veges
Toasted Paninis
Indian Vegetable Curry with rice
Dinner Out (DF's sis's bday)
Vege Sauce & Pasta
BBQ & Salad

I shopped at the markets on Saturday - BIG difference in the produce. Smile Oh well, I tried. It might be convenient to drop by the store during the week instead of every Saturday mornings - but it's so much fresher at the markets.

I will hopefilly only need to buy olives, feta, tofu & some other assorted goods from the grocery store. Not a lot needed this week.

That's all for now!


Currently Reading: Half-Assed - A Weightloss Memoir

Revised Meal Plan

January 10th, 2010 at 11:56 pm


Monday: Slow Cooked Potatoes with Salad & grilled Tofu/Lambchops

Tuesday: Slow Cooked Vegetable Risotto

Wednesday: Mexican Beans with Rice

Thursday: Jacket Potatoes & Mexican Beans with salad.

Friday: Toasted Panini

Saturday: ?

Sunday: Lentil Dahl.

Weekly Meal Plan x 2

January 5th, 2010 at 07:17 pm

Meal Plan for the week:

Monday: Minestroni Soup
Tuesday: Takeaway Pizza
Wednesday: Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
Thursday: Salad, Steamed Veges (Lamb Chop for DF)
Friday: Mexican Beans & Rice
Saturday: Steamed Veges & Rice/ Spaghetti Bologaise for DF
Sunday: Mexican Beans & Jacket Potatoes.

This week should be very minimal in grocery expenditure as I have most of the items I need at home already. I am hoping that January will be a 'Clear Out The Pantry' month.

On that note, this is a loose meal plan for next week:

Monday: Vegetable Risotto
Tuesday: Minestroni Soup
Wednesday: Salad & Grilled Tofu/Lamb Chops
Thursday: Lentil Dahl
Friday: Vegetable Curry & Rice
Saturday: Dining Out (friends bday)
Sunday: Bolognaise for DF/Steamed Veges & Rice

The only items I need to buy food-wise are:
Meat for DF/Meat for Dogs
Tofu for myself
Fresh fruit & Veges
plus some other extras for lunches etc.
We don't need many other grocery or household items, so I am hoping this will be an under-budget month.

update to the sushi trial

December 13th, 2009 at 12:20 am

An update to my entry about making sushi for the first time:

It worked out splendidly! It rolled perfectly and everything was even, nothing fell apart. DF loved it and took some for lunch the next day.

I think this could well be the start of a new obsession. Atleast it is summer and a good time to be eating cold rice and seaweed. I am sure that it is atleast partly healthy...? We make them with avocado, cucumber, tuna, tofu, carrot, capsicum and pickled ginger in different combinations. I was thinking brown rice would be an interesting experiment, but I am not so sure it would work. Has anyone ever tried this???

While it's not a super-cheap meal, it's not particularly expensive, atleast in my books. Dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day can be made for around $10, which is a pretty ballpark figure for most of our meals. I know many people feed their families of four, five or six for less than this amount, but I like to have fun in the kitchen now and then. And when I find a recipe that I can make without a stove or an oven, don't stand in my way! Lol.

meal plan, sushi?

December 8th, 2009 at 02:48 pm

It's grocery-shopping day for me today so I've been making a loose meal plan for the week. I have nori in the pantry which I have been meaning to use (I usually shred it over miso soup or have it with rice or an omellette). I have never made sushi at home before so I was thinking of doing that some afternoon this week, all I need to buy is some suhi rice as I have everything else at home.
At my staff party we were discussing sushi (as the boss bought a sushi platter). It seems that it is a common mistake that people make in thinking that 'sushi' is rice, seaweed and raw fish. Yes, SOME of it is, but not all of it.

I am hoping to not get a lot of things at the store this week, we don't need a lot. And we have been basically eating salad every night as it's too hot to eat anything else! This is my meal plan for the week (it could change):

- Salad & Steamed Veges (& lamb chops for DF)
- Sushi (well, I will attempt it...)
- Slow Cooked Rosemary Potatoes with salad.
- BBQ'd Veges & Salad
- Fresh Spring Roll Wraps
- Pasta with basil pesto & grilled capsicum


That's all I have for now... Big Grin

letting people pay, savings, dinner

September 29th, 2008 at 04:16 pm

Well, I am trying to keep my expenses to a minimum because I know that this weekend's spending will be quite high.
Yesterday, however, I spent $8.50 on lunch with a friend plus $3 on a drink at work. (usually my drinks at work cost 50c as we get cheap cans of coke for the staff - but we had run out! so i bought a can of mother for $3)
I used my free coffee card for a coffee, even though my friend was very adamant that she wanted to pay (I snuck in before her though). Normally I would let people pay if they insisted - but she is very generous, and unfortunately I know how much she earns and I feel really bad when she wants to pay for me. She is an apprentice, earning a third of what I do (for the same job!). Would anyone else feel this way? The reason I know how much she earns is because I have helped her with her budget. Am I being a bad person by not letting her pay for me?

Last week I transferred another $100 into my savings - so for the month of September I saved $200 more (in my home loan account) than my 'normal' automatic deductions.

Today I have to get petrol and a couple of grocery items. I need: chickpeas, coriander, yoghurt, cheese and some kind of dessert for BF.

Tonight for dinner we are having a chickpea and cauliflower curry I found in a recipe book.

And I haven't forgotten that Homebody asked for the recipe for the lentil dal I made last week - I will post it soon!