Wednesday, 17 July 2019

3 Ways To Use Bread Crusts

Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover bread crusts ?  Do you throw them out ?  Bread crusts can be used to make many delicious treats with little cost.  Here are three ideas to use bread crust that I personally use in my kitchen -

*  Blitz,  dry and season to make seasoned bread crumbs.  They can be used to coat chicken drumsticks,  salmon patties,  bind ingredients together in hamburger patties,  meatloaves and sausage rolls.  They make a great tasty topping for potato bakes,  tuna mornays and casseroles.  Here's my recipe for Dried seasoned bread crumbs

*  Make a delicious bread pudding in the slow cooker.  Spread the crusts with a jam of choice,  cut into large pieces then place in the slow cooker.  Add the liquid ingredients then cook for three hours.  A very thrifty dessert.  Here's my recipe for Bread Pudding

*  No pastry in the freezer ?  Use flattened out bread crusts instead of pastry in your pie maker.

tearing the crusts ready to blitz

Fine bread crumbs

Drying in the oven

coating salmon patties

Saturday, 13 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 13th July 2019

This week we made a conscious effort to use up what we have and to make sure we didn't waste a thing in the kitchen.  Next week I'll be doing my first monthly shop with the $100 budget for three people plus our cat.  So far I only have 16 items on the shopping list.  All are ingredients and the cheapest brands available.  I'll be researching cheaper baking recipes especially ones that use less butter ( which is so expensive these days ).

Here's our frugal list -

*  Made 14 bars of coconut oil and olive oil soap.  Most will be used by Darren and I and a few will either be sold or given as presents.  This pays for all of the ingredients.

*  Made pita chips for snacking on.

*  Darren bought a few shirts using gift cards he received through Velocity points ( Midas car services ).  A couple of the shirts were on clearance so the gift cards went further than we thought.

*  Made pumpkin scones using pumpkins bought for 99 cents a kilo.  I've cooked,  drained and frozen the rest of the pumpkin to make more scones later on.

*  Wrote another cheap menu plan and focused on using up bits and pieces in the freezer.

*  Gratefully received more lemons and mandarins from a friend.

*  Cooked up a roast beef in the slow cooker.  The three of us had it for dinner that night.  The leftovers were carefully portioned out for another two meals in gravy and the rest went into a Massaman beef curry.  In total I got 15 portions from the roast beef.

*  Stocked up on choc bits on sale at half price in Coles.  I'll be looking for cheaper biscuit recipes that use less butter.

*  I drove my Dad into the city on Thursday for a doctor's appointment.  Our usual car park has changed it's rates and conditions of entry making it impossible to park there for a couple of hours.  We found a much cheaper option that charges $5 an hour instead of the usual $16 + per hour.

*  This week I only needed to buy milk,  potatoes and carrots.  My local fruit and veg shop had a managers special on brushed potatoes for $2 a 5 kilo bag.  I also purchased a 5 kilo bag of juicing carrots for $5.99 instead of the usual 1 kilo bag for $2.  I guess we are eating more carrots for the next few weeks.  I was quite surprised at the quality of the carrots.  They are just as good as the usual carrots.

*  Jessica bought a roast chicken to help out.  I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veg soup ( 7 portions ).  A container of chicken stock went into the freezer for more soup making later on ( will make 8 portions of soup ).  The rest of the meat was made into a chicken pasta bake and frozen ( 7 portions ).  In total I made the chicken stretch to 22 portions.

*  Froze leftovers of chop suey for 2 people.

*  Topped up our cars with petrol while the price is still reasonable.

*  Turned lights and standby lights off where and when possible.

*  Dried clothes on clothes horses over the vent in the bathroom ( and closed the door )

Do you freeze the leftovers from dinner ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Our Low Budget Menu Plan

Due to a recent cleaning job loss I've taken to writing out super budget friendly menu plans to help keep our grocery costs low.  We are currently living off our stockpile and only spending $100 a month to feed the three of us plus our cat.

We have reasonable amounts of meat in our freezer,  bought at the best possible price and portioned out carefully.  We are not big meat eaters but we do eat meat 5 or 6 nights a week even if it's just soup with little bits of chicken in it.  We DO NOT eat leftover meat in sandwiches the next day or eat dinner leftovers for lunch either.  It's much dearer than an egg on toast,  soup or a crumpet / muffin.

Here is the menu plan we just finished using -

Wed 26th June - Roast lamb in gravy ( already cooked and in freezer ) with roast veg and steamed veg

Thurs 27th June - Chunky chicken and veg soup ( stock with chicken bits from the freezer )

Fri 28th June -   We used some money from our treat fund to eat out before going to the movies ( voucher )

Sat 29th June - Chunky chicken and veg soup with crusty bread

Sun 30th June -  Homemade hamburgers with seasoned wedges.  We didn't have lettuce on hand so we went without.  The wedges were homemade and seasoned with salt,  garlic and rosemary

Mon 1st July -  Silverside ( already cooked and in freezer ) with roast veg and steamed veg

Tues 2nd July -  Lasagne with steamed veg

Wed 3rd July -  Sausages,  mash and steamed veg

Thurs 4th July -   Jessica cooked a gnocchi and chicken dish

Fri 5th July - Lamb chops,  mash and steamed veg

Sat 6th July - Chicken skewers ( on clearance ) with cucumber,  garlic bread and tomato.  We were going out to a party so didn't want to eat too much

Sun 7th July -  Eggs,  bacon,  spinach and mushrooms on toast.


*  The lasagne cost $1.30 per serve.  I used tomatoes from our garden that were cooked and frozen last season..  I get 12 serves from the lasagne and always fill up the plate with veggies.  The leftover portions are frozen for future meals.

*  Roast lamb,  beef and silverside is portioned out to 2 slices each for Jessica and myself and 3 or 4 slices for Darren.

*  1 lamb chop per person and they were bought on clearance for $7.99 kg.  They are put on the menu plan about once a month due to their dearer price.

*  Sausages are portioned to 1 1/2  each for Jessica and I and 3 for Darren.  Sometimes I jazz them up with 1/2 a tin of tomatoes seasoned with Italian herbs.

*  Homemade hamburger patties are 80 grams each.  If tomatoes are too dear I don't buy them to go in the roll.  Tomato sauce is used instead.   We usually include cheese,  cucumber and  lettuce in the roll and Darren sometimes fries an egg to put in his.

Here is June / July's grocery shop.  Milk,  fruit and veg were bought as needed each week.  We were gifted with lemons and mandarins. Because vegetables are so dear,  I've been buying carrots,  cauliflower, frozen beans and corn.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 6th July 2019

Our week has been a very budget conscious one.  Last week I lost a much needed cleaning job.  I love my cleaning work and it pays quite well.  Unfortunately the work can come and go without much notice.

We are staying positive and being proactive about cutting the budget back to the bare essentials to limit the damage.  I'm hoping to post our current menu plans shortly to give you an idea of what we are eating.

Here's our frugal list for the week    

*  Used downloaded Flybuys offers to get 10 cents a litre off petrol.  We used it a few times to keep our cars topped up just before the price increased by 42 cents per litre.

*  Gratefully received lots of lemons and mandarins from a friend.  This blessing came at a time when really needed.  God is looking after our needs.

*  Sold two bottles of Miracle Spray to my cleaning clients.

*  Saved washing machine water and shower warm up water to pour into the washing machine.  This reduces our washing machine water usage by 50%.

*  Created a cheaper menu plan for two weeks to help feed the three of us for $100 a month.  In the next day or so I'll be writing another cheap menu plan for the next two weeks.

*  Made a pot of soup using chicken stock from the freezer.  This fed the three of us for two dinners and one lunch.

*  Made lemon butter from frozen lemon juice ( last year's supply ) and our chicken's eggs.  I've enjoyed it on my homemade toast for breakfast every morning.

*  Jessica made decorated biscuits using leftover frozen dough from her birthday biscuit cake ( back in May ).

*  Made cranberry hootycreek biscuits from dough in the freezer.  We enjoyed them for morning and afternoon teas.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made two batches of dried seasoned bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.  Salmon patties will be on our menu plan shortly so the bread crumbs will be used then.

*  Made a bottle of room spray for our bathroom using essential oil and cooled boiled water.

*  Used a gift card to buy much needed socks ( on clearance.  Aa surprise at the checkout ).

Jessica's biscuits

Homemade lemon butter

Hamburgers and seasoned wedges for dinner.  

Gifted mandarins

How have you saved money this week ?

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Grocery Blowouts

Do you ever get " I want, I want " in your house ? Do your kids or spouse put an order in  for you to buy a particular grocery item that is out of the ordinary, too expensive or not overly healthy ?  How do you handle the situation ?  Do you automatically write it on the shopping list and just buy it ? 

When the girls were younger they'd ask for Uncle Toby's Sports Plus cereal. This was ( and still is ) a yummy cereal, but I must admit, it cost a lot more than the usual no name Rice Bubbles or Corn Flakes they ate. My trick was to never say yes or no straight up. . I'd always wait to see if it came on sale over the next few weeks. Then I'd look at my grocery slush fund to see if there was enough money to cover the extra cost.

Another way to prevent your grocery bill from blowing out on these unusual requests is to include these treats in their birthday present or Christmas present when possible. For many years I've been putting together Santa sacks for my girls, Darren and I each Christmas.  In the sack was a box of requested cereal ( when the girls were younger )  as well as other yummy treats. The only problem I had was finding room in my pantry for the extra cereal boxes after Christmas.

So, as the requests start coming in,  write a list of items wanted by the family so you'll remember them all for their Christmas stockings. The bonus is, it gives you plenty of time to find things on special. You could use money you've put away for presents, therefore leaving your grocery money just for buying the usual items.

No more grocery blowouts. 

How do you handle grocery requests from the family ?

Saturday, 29 June 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th June 2019

Darren and I had a lovely week away with my parents last week.  We stayed at a resort in Mildura ( northern Victoria ) just near the Murray River.  The mornings and nights were close to freezing cold but we did enjoy lots of delightful sunshine during the day.

Darren had his birthday while we were up there so we had a ride on a paddle steamer boat in the morning and a roast dinner at the resort that night.  The roast dinner was an event holiday makers can pay for to the resort and a two course meal is provided.  Twelve people attended and we had fun getting to know all the others on our table.

As you can imagine,  it's a little hard to be thrifty when on holidays but we did manage to save some money.

*  We used our thermos for morning and afternoon teas.  This is such a simple task that saves so much money.

*  Used our saved Flybuys dollars to buy a few holiday groceries for our meals.

*  I took a frozen chop suey and rice for dinner one night.

*  Space was limited in the car but I did manage to pack cranberry hootycreek biscuits,  muesli bars,  fruit,  water bottles,  rolls for lunch on the way up,  tea bags,  sugar and  chocolate.

Our paddle steamer ride

The mighty Murray River

The weir at Mildura

A tropical garden path at the resort

Yes it's cold

How do you save money when on holidays ?

Saturday, 15 June 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th June 2019

Here is my frugal list for the week -

*  Cleaned ( descaled ) the kettle using citric acid and water.

*  Cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and vinegar on a long hot cycle.

*  Made a pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup using homemade stock from the freezer.

*  Bought a couple of pairs of jeans and a scarf from Savers and used a 20% discount stamp.  I always save the 205 off stamp for bigger purchases to maximise the savings.

*  Made a bread pudding in the slow cooker using our chicken's eggs,  bread crusts and a little jar of jam from a hotel breakfast.  It was a delicious dessert that was almost free.

*  Took snacks and lunches to my cleaning jobs to save money ( and to eat healthier ).

*  Gratefully received a bag of lemons from a friend.

*  Made another pot of chicken stock from a store bought cooked chicken.  The stock has been frozen for future soup making.

*  We had our annual family outing to the football at the MCG on Monday ( AFL ).  To save money we took snacks and water bottles with us.  I did buy a bucket of chips for my lunch which cost $4.50.

*  Made a double batch of cranberry hootycreek biscuit dough.  From that dough I made 1 1/2 dozen biscuits for morning teas and the rest of the dough was frozen into logs for future baking.

Chunky chicken soup for dinner

Cranberry hootycreek biscuits

Luka at his first AFL ( football ) game.

Making bread pudding in the slow cooker.

How did you save time,  money or energy this week ?


Saturday, 8 June 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th June 2019

It was lovely to spend a couple of days at home this week just pottering around.  Lots of little jobs and a bit of tidying needed my attention after our upside down life of the last few months. Over the last few weeks my spare time was used to look after my family and their needs.

Here's my latest frugal list -

*  Jessica baked and decorated her own birthday cake.  Like her mum,  she's not a fan of store bought cakes.  After doing some research,  she made a biscuit cake that was delicious.  There was lots of dough leftover so I froze it for future baking.

*  Filled up our cars just before the petrol price went up.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  washing machine rinse water and kitchen water to reuse where possible.

*  We had the need to buy a baby car seat for car rides with Luka ( and future grandchildren ).  The one I liked the best happened to be on sale that week.  The sales person said they sold many of that particular seat due to it's features and budget friendly price.  A couple of days later Megan had gastro and Darren made a dash to Megan's at 4am to bring Luka back to our place while Megan recovered.

*  Baked a batch of ANZAC biscuits using dough from the freezer when visitors came to see Luka ( while he was staying with us ).

*  Lined our bathroom bins using recycled bread bags.

*  Cut the top off a conditioner bottle and vitamin E bottle and scraped out the remaining contents.  There was enough for another 4 - 5 days.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I costed these loaves a few years ago at about $1.60 for two loaves.  Similar loaves would retail for $4 - 45 each

*  Defrosted our little freezer and did a stocktake of the meat in there.  I used boiling water in plastic containers on the shelves to defrost the freezer.  Once the water cooled I poured it into the washing machine.

*  Froze the remaining contents of a jar of tomato paste into an icecube tray and froze for future use.

*  Megan did a clean out of her wardrobe and gave the clothes to me to donate to Savers. So far  I've received  three discount stamps for her future purchases.

Jessica's birthday cake

Scraping out the contents

Freezing tomato paste to avoid waste,
Nana and Luka watching tv together.

Do you like to potter around your home ?
How frugal were you this week ?

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Prepping For Winter Illnesses

Are you  prepared for colds and illness that arrive with Winter each year ?  I quite often hear about people being caught out unprepared when illness strikes.  Spouses and family members are sent out on mercy missions to restock the bathroom cabinets with much needed medical supplies.

Here are some ideas for being prepared -

*  Having a good supply of tissues,  hankies or homemade hanky / rags to wipe a drippy nose is very important.  Perhaps buy a box or two of extra soft tissues just in case you get a bad cold.

*  Stock up on headache tablets,  cold and flu tablets or any other medications you use to ease illness symptoms

*  Vicks vapour rub is great for easing a blocked nose.  Do you have any or do you know where your tub is ?  Does it still have a strong fragrance or is it well past it's best before date ?

*  Eucalyptus oil is a wonderful natural product for clearing sinuses and blocked noses.  Do you have any left in your bottle after making Miracle Spray ? ( hehehe ).

*  Tea Tree oil is a wonderful natural disinfectant that can also be used on cold sores.  If you need to buy some,  it's generally located on the bottom shelf  in the bathroom section ( next to the eucalyptus oil ) at your local supermarket.

*  Lemon and honey are great for relieving sore throats.  I freeze the lemon juice into ice cube trays  each Winter for use all year round.

*  Your choice of cough lollies to help ease a persistent cough.

Much needed supplies

Freezing lemon juice into icecube trays

Are you ready for the Winter sniffles ?

Saturday, 25 May 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 25th May 2019

This week's frugal list isn't as long as usual due to the continuing challenges we are dealing with on a daily basis. I'm happy to get through each day with a reasonable tidy home and to eat home cooked meals.  Everything else is a bonus.

Here are the frugal tasks I completed this week -

*  Refilled the dishwashing liquid pump and diluted it by 1/3.  I added a little water to the almost empty bottle and turned it upside down to get every last drop out.

*  Refilled the shampoo and conditioner bottles and diluted the conditioner by 1/3.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Purchased silverbeet,  lettuce and broccoli seedlings to plant in our veggie garden.  Darren will be emptying the compost bins into the garden,  then I can plant the seedlings.

*  Charged all our electronic devices including shavers,  fitbits,  mobiles,  ipads and laptops over the weekend when electricity is a little cheaper.

*  Kept the curtains open on sunny days to capture the warmth.  This helped to keep our heater usage down.

*  Fed our compost bins every couple of days with kitchen scraps.

*  Mixed rolled oats in with the chicken feed when we were getting a little low on chicken pellets.  We also fed them bread crusts and Darren tipped all the lawn clippings into their run.  Over the next few days the chickens had fun digging around for bugs.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Froze lots of single serves of leftovers from our main meals.

*  Saved water from the washing machine and shower like we usually do.

*  Dried lots of washing on clothes horses and only used the dryer when really necessary.

*  Picked a couple of handfuls of feijoas from under the tree.

The inside of feijoas that are scooped out to eat.

Home baked bread

Freezer meals

How frugal was your week ?
Did you try a new frugal task or recipe ?