Wednesday 26 February 2020

Rice Salad

Last year it was our turn to host Christmas lunch for my extended family.  With Australia having warm Christmas Days,  I try to keep this in mind when organising the menu.  I wanted to try a rice salad for a change but didn't have a recipe.  After doing a Google search and blending a couple of recipes,  I came up with the following.  It was a hit with the family and a few days later I made it again when we had a heat wave.

1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice
!/2 red Capsicum finely diced
1 medium Carrot, grated
1 small Cucumber finely diced
1 Celery stalk finely diced
1/2 cup of Raisins, chopped
1/4 cup of crushed Cashews - optional


1/3 cup of Olive Oil
2 Tb Soy Sauce
1 Tb Lemon Juice
2 Tb Honey
1 Tb Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp dried Ginger

Wash and drain the rice.
Cook as per packet instructions
Once rice has cooled,  place in an extra large bowl.
Add capsicum,  carrot,  cucumber, celery, and raisins to the rice and mix well.
In a small jar add all the dressing ingredients and place the lid on.
Shake well and add to the rice mixture. Spoon the dressing through until well combined
Serve cold.  I serve the cashews on the side for people to help themselves

Serves 6 - 8 as a side dish.

Saturday 22 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd February 2020

It's been an interesting week at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  We had family move in last Sunday.  Combining two households has been a little challenging and all our cupboards are now choc a block full.  We really do feel like the tv show called ' Packed To The Rafters ' ( one of my favourite tv shows ).

Wednesday night Darren and I had just arrived at a bible study when Darren received a call from Megan telling us she'd gone into labour and was home alone.  We arrived home to find that Kurt had taken her to hospital.  So off to the hospital we went to bring Luka back home for bedtime.  Kurt and Darren stayed on for another hour or two only to be told it was a false alarm and that the baby was moving around in such a way that it was causing .Megan extreme pain.

Friday morning Darren received a call to let him know that a very close family member had passed away after a 10 month illness. Although we knew the time was near,  nothing quite prepares you for the death of a loved one.

So with all this going on,  up until Thursday I didn't have anything on my frugal tasks list to share with you.  I also had 4 days of cleaning work and completed my monthly food shopping ( last Monday ).  Life just didn't allow for anything terribly thrifty to be done.  I guess when you've lived a thrifty life for so long,  some things become second nature.

Looking back on the week I did complete a few frugal things -

*  Diluted the dishwashing liquid and refilled the bottle.

*  Planted more bean,  lettuce and silverbeet seeds.

*  Made apple butter in the slow cooker using gifted apples.  I've had it on my toast for breakfast the last two mornings and have really enjoyed it.  Thankyou to the blog reader who suggested it last week.

*  Gratefully received more lemons,  pears and apples from a cleaning client.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.  Saved kitchen water was used on pot plants outside on our deck.

*  Fed the compost bin and the worm farm with kitchen scraps.

*  Started picking beans from the garden.  Darren picked silverbeet to go in our spag bol sauce.

*  Went to the 50% off sale at Savers and bought 2  Summer tops for $3.50 total.  These are light and breezy and will be great for a holiday for our 25th Wedding Anniversary later in the year.

*  Diluted a bottle of foaming hand wash that was gifted to us.

*  Resisted  the urge to get takeaway last Sunday when our house was in chaos.  Instead, we made pizzas from scratch using what we had in the fridge and freezer.

*  Bought chicken thigh fillets for $3.99 kg and 5 kilo bags of potatoes for 99 cents from a friend who was at a cheap butcher shop.

*  Picked raspberries and strawberries from the garden.

*  Our strawberry plants are throwing runners ( small  new plants )  I've positioned and planted these runners to multiply our strawberry plants.

Potted color

Homemade apple butter

Planting strawberry runners

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

What is your garden producing at the moment ?

Saturday 15 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th February 2020

Looking back on my week it doesn't feel like I've achieved any major frugal goals.  I'm meant to be participating in a no spend month with the Cheapskates Club.  That lasted about 5 days.   Our fence needed a repair and couldn't be put off any more.  Then I came across some great bargains of everyday items we use.  Resisting the sales would mean we'd be spending more money sometime down the track.  Maybe March can be our no spend month.

Here's what I managed to get done when I wasn't shopping -

*  Dried all washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made lots and lots of zucchini fritters using zucchinis from our garden.  I've frozen some to have with simple meals in the future.

*  From Savers I bought a Thomas The Tank doona cover in mint condition for $6.99 less 20%.  For myself I bought a light Summer dress.  The price tag said $9.99 but I noticed there was a small oil stain on it.  I asked for a small discount and they knocked it down to $4.99 less 20%.

*  Picked raspberries

*  Filled up both cars just before the price of petrol went up by 47 cents a litre.  We paid $1.26 per litre.

*  Our local small op shop had a three day sale to clear out stock.  Everything in their store was going out for $1.  I picked up lots and lots of shampoo,  conditioner,  deod,  Sukin  toiletry products,  soup flasks,  hairspray,  toothpaste and shower gel.  Most of these products usually retail  for $3 - $15.

*  Ate freezer meals for two dinners.

*  Picked silverbeet,  strawberries,  beans and lettuce.

*  Collected water from the shower,  bath and kitchen sink to reuse where possible.

*  Use an electric fan to help keep cool during the humid weather.

*  Sold the baby pram we used for our girls and Luka.  The lady I sold it to generously paid for me to deliver it to her.  It was hard to part with such a beautiful pram but the lady will be using it for her great grandchild.

The family pram was sold

$1 bargains

$1 bargains

Bread making

How did you save money this week ?

Saturday 8 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th February 2020

Gardening and jam making have been in full swing at the Gower Abundant Cottage this week.  Whenever the weather was allowed,  we were out in the garden tidying,  pruning and pulling weeds.  It doesn't take long to keep a garden neat if you tend to it every now and then.

Here's what we have been up to -

*  Made another two batches of plum jam.  I almost have enough jam to last 12 months.  Some will be given as presents,  some will be sold and the rest will be for us to consume on toast each morning.

*  Picked more zucchinis from the garden.  I need to make more zucchini fritters and freeze them.

*  Made up powdered milk to use in mashed potato,  lasagne making ( white sauce ) and baking when we were running low on milk.  Powdered milk is a slightly cheaper option than bottled milk.

*  Sold 2 jars of berry jam and one of tomato relish to a cleaning client.

*  Picked lettuce,  strawberries and beans from our garden.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Wrote out a menu plan until 2nd March.  I've added in a few cheaper meals like fried rice,  spag bol and soup to keep to our tight food budget.

*  Bought lots of beef mince from Tasman Butchers for $7.99 kg and froze it into meal portions of 250 g.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  Luka's bath water and the washing machine rinse water to pour into the washing machine.

*  Fed the compost bin and worm farm with kitchen scraps.

*  Darren used worm tea to feed our garden.

*  Made up a big lasagne and added a large grated zucchini.  As I was making up the lasagne I noticed the meat sauce seemed to be stretching further.  Instead of a 12 serve lasagne,  it made 16 serves.  I could put it down to a miracle like Jesus feeding the loaves of bread and fish to the crowd,  but it was probably the zucchini that stretched the meat.

*  Bought more Sukin toiletries at 60% off.  They have been put away for birthday and Christmas presents for this year.

*  Gratefully received lots of lemons,  apples and pears from a cleaning client.  I've already zested and juiced the lemons and placed it all in the freezer.  I'm not sure how to best use the apples and pears.  We are not big fruit eaters so I'm thinking of stewing and freezing the fruit perhaps for putting in cakes and desserts.

Our free blessing

I was making jam this week when Luka was visiting.  He wanted to be picked up and cuddled by Nana.  How could I resist ?

How did you save time money or energy this week ?

How would you best use pears and apples ?

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Zucchini Fritters

Darren came across a similar recipe to this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.  I'm always looking for something different to make that has normal ingredients and goes great with salads and meats.  Darren was thrilled to have another excuse to fire up the bbq.
The recipe below is one I made up from the original recipe using what I already had on hand..

1 large Zucchini
1 small Carrot
2 medium Silverbeet leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of Plain Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 cup of grated Cheese
Zest of 1 Lemon
Season to taste with dried onion flakes,  parsley,  garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Oil for frying

Grate the zucchini with the large holes on your grater.
Use the fine grating side to grate the carrot.
Squeeze out all the liquid from the zucchini and carrot.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large fry pan or on the bbq.
Drop a soup spoonful of mixture into the oil and spread  slightly.
Cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side on a medium heat
Serve with sour cream,  tomato sauce or a dip of your choice


*  I didn't have lemon zest in the freezer so I just used lemon juice.
*  If you don't have silverbeet on hand,  spinach or any green herbs will work too.
*  Darren used a bbq mat on his bbq to cook the fritters.  This really helped with the clean up and still gave the fritters lots of color.
*  Fritters can be frozen but need go between or squares of cereal packet in between each fritter to help separate.
*  If you have an air fryer,  fritters can be reheated in about 3 minutes.

Makes about 15 fritters.

Saturday 1 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st February 2020

I've had a very productive week in the kitchen with lots of cooking,  baking and bottling of goodies.  Darren has been kept busy out in the garden tidying things up now that Luka is on the move.  We are looking at everything with the eyes of a child.  Luka has become Darren's little shadow when he's over here visiting.  Mind you,  Darren is the one who takes Luka outside to feed the chickens, pull some weeds and to enjoy time on the deck with Darren drinking tea and Luka playing on his toys.

Here's what else we've been up to -

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We've been enjoying this as toast each morning with homemade jam on top.  Absolutely delicious.

*  Made up a bulk amount of salmon patties.  We had some for dinner that night and the rest went into the freezer in meal sizes.  From 2 tins of salmon we made 27 patties.

*  We've been picking one zucchini every couple of days.  I found a recipe on Facebook for zucchini fritters.  As per usual I changed the recipe to suit out tastes and to add more flavour.  Darren has been cooking them on the bbq.  They are delicious and super easy to make.  We've served them with tomato sauce or sour cream.  Darren also likes them cold.  The recipe will be coming soon.

*  Made 3 jars of jam using frozen berries Jessica left behind when she moved out.  I have a cleaning client who loves berry jam so 2 jars will be sold to her.

*  Made a big batch of cranberry hootycreek biscuits.  Some dough was cooked and the rest went into the freezer.  My brother,  sister in law and niece came over for a cuppa last Sunday.  I was able to give them a completely homemade afternoon tea of scones from the freezer served with raspberry jam ( yum  !! ) and the cranberry hootycreeks.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to add to the zucchini fritters.  We have also been picking lettuce to go in our salads with the warmer weather.

Cleaned the kettle with citric acid  It really comes up clean again. like it's new.  We've tried vinegar and it didn't work at all.

*  Made 7 1/2 jars of tomato relish from tomatoes we were given.  I'm very excited about making the relish.  Over the last couple of years I haven't had enough tomatoes at one time to make relish.  We enjoy it on chicken,  silverside and deli meats.  My Dad is a big fan of the relish so he'll be getting a jar with his birthday present coming up soon.  I'll also be selling a few jars which will recoup all the ingredients cost.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next lad.  I've also saved Luka's bath water when he's here.  Megan doesn't have a bath where she lives ( modern homes apparently don't need them ).  So Luka gets very excited to see the bath at our place and Nana is very happy to give him lots of water playtime.  We also saved the shower warm up water.  With the weather warming up we are trying to recycle as much water as possible for the garden too.

*  Bought more Sukin products from our local op shop at rock bottom prices ( $1.50 per bottle )  Both our girls have recently announced to me that they love everything Sukin so that's what they are getting for birthdays and Christmas.  I was also given a few bottles so they have been put away for presents too.  Just when I thought our gift budget was looking a bit grim,  I've had blessings come my way that have really helped.

*  Up until a couple of days ago we've had really mild weather.  We haven't had to use our evap cooling much at all this Summer.  We are hoping this is reflected in our next electricity bill.  I also got out a electric fan from the shed and Darren assembled it.  This really helps with airflow on the 40+ degree days.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and froze leftovers.  We've also stuck to the menu plan and only moved a few meals around to suit the day.

*  Gratefully received a bag of plums from my Dad's tree.  Some will be eaten and the rest will be made into jam.

Homemade tomato relish

Zucchini fritters

Homemade bread

How have you saved time,  money and energy this week ?