Wednesday 30 May 2018

Chunky Chicken And Veggie Soup

This hearty soup is very thrifty,  tasty and filling.  What more could you ask for ?

1 1/2 litres of homemade chicken stock or  store bought
Shredded chicken from the carcass or 1 chicken breast
1/2 cup of soup mix - washed ( Mc Kenzies )
4 - 5 large potatoes,  peeled and finely cubed
4 medium carrots peeled and finely cubed
2 sticks of celery or 1 broccoli stalk finely diced
1 400g tin of corn kernels
Dried onion flakes or 1 finely diced onion
2 teaspoons of dried or fresh parsley
1/2 cup of small shell pasta
1 tablespoon of chicken stock powder ( if needed )

Place the stock and washed soup mix in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add all the veggies, parsley,  onion and chicken to the stock.

Simmer for 1 hour after adding the veggies.  Add extra water if the soup becomes too thick.

Add the pasta halfway through the cooking process

Once cooked,  add the chicken stock powder if needed.

Serve with crusty bread or on it's own

Can be frozen

Serves 6 - 10 depending on how hungry you are.

Here's the link to slow cooker chicken stock 

Saturday 26 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 26th May 2018

Hi everyone.  My weekend away at Phillip Island was lovely and relaxing.  We made a few cards each,  made lots of bookmarks for a primary school as well as Father's Day cards for a school stall.  We suspended card making on Saturday night to watch the Royal wedding and enjoyed a cup of tea with homemade scones,  jam and cream.  Back at home Darren was busy painting door trims with the help of Megan's boyfriend.  The girls watched the wedding while the men ducked in and out of the lounge room with funny comments.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a large tub of margarine from a friend.

*  Stocked up ( again ) on bargain priced shampoo and conditioner.  They were all $2 each and some were large pump bottles.  I think I have enough for the next 5 - 7 years.

*  Fed kitchen scraps to the worms.

*  Picked another handful of feijoas from the ground under the tree.  Feijoas are generally ready to eat once they are on the ground.

*  Stocked up on 160g tubes of toothpaste for $2 each.  They are available at NQR.

*  Collected my prize of a jar of burger sauce from House Of Burgers in Berwick.  Now to make homemade burgers to try it.  I'm sure it will be yummy like the food we've tasted there.

*  Received the refund from Coles for the refrozen fish.  I used that money to buy a cooked chicken which goes a lot further in this house.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker from the above chicken.  This was then turned into chunky chicken soup which gave us 10 serves.  The rest of the meat went into the freezer.

*  Found a new squeezy frosty mug in Savers op shop for $2.99.  It's still in an unopened box so I've put it away for a present some time in the future.

*  Saved lots of water in the shower,  washing machine and kitchen sink. We then reused it to water plants,  soak saucepans and pour into the washing machine ( not in that particular order ).

*  Took  a homemade meal,  muffins and a packet of biscuits  to my weekend away at Phillip Island.  The other ladies who came shared in providing the meals and snacks.

*  Used lots of bread bags to line our bathroom bins.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.

My stockpile

Around the home

Tidying up my tins in the pantry

In the garden

Autumn in the garden.

How did you spend your week ?

Did you watch the Royal wedding ?

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Pre - Winter Fridge Clean out

For most of Australia,  the warmer weather has disappeared and Winter is just around the corner.  It's time to give your fridge a clean out to use up or throw out any Summer related foods and sauces.

Last week I looked at the shelves on my fridge door and declared we have too many bottles and sauces.  Now that Summer has gone,  I'm not inclined to make potato salad or coleslaw every week.  With this is mind,  any bottles with just a little in the bottom were tossed out.  I've asked Darren to use up a couple of smoky bbq sauces that were opened at the same time.

Next I wiped out the shelves and the wall of the door where saucy finger marks and drips appear from time to time.  It doesn't matter how careful I am with the soy sauce bottle,  there always seems to be a ring left on the shelf.

While I was in the organising mood,  I took stock of the sauces used more frequently in Winter.  Although mint sauce,  soy sauce,  Worcestershire sauce,  Dijon mustard and wholegrain mustard are used  during Summer,  by the time Winter comes around,  they are on the low side and are used more frequently.  These sauces were added to my shopping list for the next couple of months.  I'll be stocking up again as soon as they come on sale.

Is your fridge due for a pre - Winter clean out ?

What will you be using up or throwing out ?

Saturday 19 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 19th May 2018

Happy Royal Wedding Day.  As you read this post,  I'm down at Phillip Island with a couple of friends making cards all weekend.  I'm hoping to take some time out to watch the wedding and have a cup of tea and scone - British style.

Here's my frugal list fro the week -

*  Made lots of soap using this recipe.

*  Sold one dozen eggs,  a lemon slice,  mini quiches and sausage rolls for the catering order I spoke about last week.

*  Made raspberry and white chocolate muffins using  raspberries from our garden last season.  Both girls received some for their freezers and for Uni snacks.  Darren and I will enjoy the rest.

*  Baked cranberry hootycreek biscuits for a Mother's Day afternoon tea using biscuit dough I'd frozen.

* Secured a better discount with our electricity and gas provider.  We are now receiving 34% discount on both from Energy Australia.  The old discount was 30% on electricity and 18% on gas.  We will also be receiving a $50 credit on both bills for signing up to the new deal..

*  Saved lots of shower water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Made up two bottles of room spray.  One was for our use and the other was for a present.  This time I used lemon myrtle essential oil.

*  Received a refund letter from Cole regarding the fish that had been frozen.

*  Placed blankets around our home to use on the cold nights.  No need to turn the heater back on later at night when watching tv.

*  Received our water bill and it's decreased by almost $50 from the same time last year.  If only I could decrease all the service charges.

*  Dug out a saucepan steamer insert and started using it to steam our veggies each night.  I've been putting it over the potatoes or rice when it's cooking.  Cheaper than using the microwave.

*  Closed the curtains earlier each night to help the ducted heating work more efficiently.

*  Gratefully received a few home grown tomatoes from a friend.

*  Gratefully received lots of glass jars from my parents.  They are a great size for jam making.

*  Dried most of the washing on clotheshorses with only the sheets and work tea towels going in the dryer.

Flowers for Mother's Day

Latest batch of soap

Raspberry and white choc muffins

Princess doesn't want me to go away

She'll sleep anywhere

Will you be watching the Royal Wedding tonight ?

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday 16 May 2018

This And That Pasta Dish

A couple of months ago I had a little bit of cooked chicken and a few slices of shaved ham in the fridge.  With the ' Use It Up ' challenge in full swing,  I wanted to make the most of those little scraps.  So I made  up this recipe and to be honest,  it was very tasty.

1 cooked chicken fillet,  shredded or pickings from a chicken frame
150 - 200g of shaved ham ( any will do )
1 tin of crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 a diced onion or dried onion flakes
1 glove of garlic or dried garlic granules or powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of  dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

350 - 400 grams of spiral pasta
Grated cheese to serve

Cook the pasta as per instructions

Add the tomatoes to a medium saucepan. 

Add all seasonings,  meats and onion. 

Cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste if it needs a little extra flavour and thickening.

Just before serving add the spinach and stir through

Drain the pasta then serve the meat sauce on top.

Add cheese if desired

Serves 4

Saturday 12 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 12th May 2018

Life as a thrifty mum is never dull.  My weeks are filled with various tasks that help us stretch our hard earned dollars.  Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Made two batches of double strength Miracle Spray.  I double all the ingredients into a two litre bottle then top up with water.  When it's decanted into a spray bottle I dilute it down to normal strength.

*  Made lots of sausage rolls and mini quiches for a catering order.  While I was at it I made enough for Jessica's 21st birthday party and froze them.

*  Had the heater off for half the week when the weather was mild.  When the cold weather hit,  we kept the curtains closed and closed the doors to unused bedrooms.

*  Redeemed the voucher for a cooked chicken from Coles.

*  Fed the compost bin with lots of kitchen scraps and used tea leaves.

*  Fed lettuce leaves and bread crusts to the chickens.

*  Made a big pot of vegetable soup.  I included broccoli and cauliflower stalks to help thicken it up.  Both Jessica and Megan were given two single serves to freeze.  Darren and I ate some then we froze another six single serves.

*  Picked a handful of feijoas.  Unfortunately we won't be getting a good crop this year.  Still,  I'm very grateful for the few mouthfuls I'll get.

*  Picked white roses from our garden to brighten up the kitchen.

*  Ate freezer meals ( leftovers ) one night.

*  Converted $10 worth of Flybuys points into money.

*  Used $20 worth of vouchers from surveys to buy some groceries.

*  Found lots of great bargains in the op shop to help both girls set up their kitchens.  It's amazing how many new or near new items are donated to op shops.
My small Feijoa haul.

Op shop finds

From the garden

In the kitchen.

How frugal was your week ?

Did you try a new frugal task ?

Wednesday 9 May 2018

A Disastrous Dinner

About 6 weeks ago I was in a local supermarket just as a staff member was putting reduced stickers on a few packages of meat.  I waited until he had finished before I pounced to grab a few bargains.  One of them was a packet of Barramundi fish. Although it was still a bit on the expensive side ( for us ),  I thought it would be a lovely treat that I knew Darren would certainly enjoy.

Because I already had dinner sorted for that night,  I popped the fish into the freezer to be eaten at a later date.  That later date was last week.  I had the veggies and rice  cooking,.  The zucchini slice was in the oven and it was time to start cooking the Barramundi.  As it was cooking in the pan,  I thought I'd better check the packet to make sure I was doing it right.  In very small print at the bottom of a fair bit of writing was the dreaded words ' Do Not Freeze '. I'm assuming this means the fish was bought into the store frozen and then defrosted on the shelf.

I couldn't believe it.  That very important piece of information was so obscure most people wouldn't notice it.  With the rest of the meal ready to serve,  I panicked.  I didn't have any other meat defrosted or easy to cook within minutes.  So Darren said he'd pop up to the supermarket to get a cooked chicken.

Ten minutes later I get a phone call from Darren.  He informed me there were no cooked chickens available.  I panicked again.  Then I remember another frugal mum saying that Coles offers a free chicken at a later date if none are available between the hours of 9am - 8pm.  Darren was there right on 8pm.  So I passed this piece of info on and suggested he quickly find someone to help him.  He was able to get the voucher but it still didn't help me serve a complete dinner.

I asked Darren to grab any piece of meat that was under $10 a tray but secretly hoping it was much cheaper.  He came home with a tray of beef sizzle steaks for just under $10  There were six on the tray and although they were small,  eating two each  would be a costly meal.  By now I could see money going down the drain and I was trying to stop the flow.  The other elements of the meal had cooled,  gone soggy or over cooked.  NOT MY FINEST HOUR  !!!

There has to be a moral to this sad story.  After all,  I  always try to help you save money.

Don't buy reduced  meat unless you've read the fine print on the packet.


Don't buy reduced bakery items unless you've read the fine print.  Many bakery item are also bought into the store frozen then defrosted on the shelf.

Not all items are suitable for freezing even though they usually would be.

At the time I wrote this post,  I'm waiting for Coles to get back to me regarding a refund.  Of course they want me to return the packaging for a refund.  Of course I threw it out but Darren did take photos and I went them to Coles.

Look how small the warning is.

Saturday 5 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 5th May 2018

After getting through another busy week,  all I can say is,  I'm glad I'm an organised person.  Darren ,  Jessica and I went to a wedding expo on Sunday,  then lunch afterwards.  Bargain shopping followed at a newly discovered store called Bodero ( check them out on Facebook ).  I worked four days this week, cooked,  baked,  kept up with the housework and helped with the painting ( I do the masking tape ).

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Used up a sample tube of toothpaste ( from a wedding expo ).

*  Lined the bins with bread bags,

*  Bought two sports hoodies ( $6.99 each ),  two cardigans ( $6.99 each )  and two almost new oven trays ( $1.99 each ) at Savers op shop.  I used a 20% discount card to get them even cheaper.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We were having trouble with the slices sticking together in the freezer ( and sometimes breaking ).  To prevent this from happening I put half a loaf at a time in the fridge to be used over 3 days.

*  Saved lots of bread crusts to eventually be made into dried seasoned bread crumbs or bread and butter pudding.  I'm storing them in the freezer until needed.

*  Made a batch of gravy powder mix.

*  Baked cranberry hootycreek biscuits for snacks.  I used dough from the freezer and only baked what we needed for the week.  This eliminates so much wastage.

*  Bought good brands of shampoo and conditioner for $2 a large bottle from a clearance store.  I've been happy with the products so I've visited the store again to build up a stockpile.

*  Bought petrol for $1.32 per litre when most places are charging about $1.50 per litre.

*  Received our gas bill for the last two months.  Thankfully it's only gone up by 53 cents this year comparing it with the same time last year.  We are happy with this considering gas prices are soaring.

*  Sold three jars of jam and one dozen eggs.

*  Tried to keep most of the lights off after dinner each night.  Some nights we only have light from the tv.

*  Started using tea leaves instead of using teabags when drinking tea.  We keep forgetting we have boxes of tea leaves so it's been good to get the tea pot out.

*  Cut up a cereal bag to use as go between for hamburger patties,  crumpets and chops.

*  Gratefully received a gift voucher for a free muffin and hot drink after experiencing poor service late last year.  When I contacted the company's head office to find out if the issues I raised had been resolved,  they offered the voucher.

*  Gratefully received a voucher for a free cooked chicken from Coles.  It's a bit of a long story so I'll write about it on Wednesday.

*  Gratefully received a few glass jars to use for jam making.

A bargain at $2 a bottle

From the kitchen - spag bol

Cranberry hootycreek biscuits

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Dusting - Three Ways.

Recently a blog reader asked if there was a quick or easy way to dust her large home.  Unfortunately the answer is " no " but there are ways to reduce the time you spend dusting.

There are three ways to dust your home with varying degrees of success.  Generally,  the quicker you dust your home,  the less dust you pick up.

*  Using a feather duster,  fluffy duster or electrostatic duster is the least effective way to pick up dust.  Yes,  it takes just a couple of minutes to flick the duster around even a large home.  The dusty surfaces might look a little better but you've just moved the dust from a surface to the air.  Then it will either fall to the floor or reappear on the surface again as the air gets stirred up when people move around.

*  Microfibre cloth dusters.  I picked up one recently at a Daiso store for just under $3. It comes with a plastic handle that a microfiber cloth slips over.   Recently I was in a hurry to get lots of dusting done with little time to spare.  I found it quite easy to wipe over window sills,  around tvs and over flat surfaces.  The dry duster picked up quite a bit of dust which I brushed off outside.  The cloth was then washed in the washing machine,  dried and reused.

*  Wet dusting with a microfiber cloth.  This is the method I've been using since microfibre cloths became available in the discount stores.  Wetting the cloth picks up and traps more dust and dirt than any other method I've used.  The only drawback is time.  It takes more time to rinse out the cloth over and over again to keep a clean cloth.  This is my preferred method  of dusting and is especially effective if there are hayfever,  asthma or allergy  sufferers in the house.

How do you dust your home ?