Thursday, 19 April 2018

Even The Love Notes Are Recycled

Recycling is important in our house and we are always trying to think of more and more ways to do our very best. So, it may come as no surprise to you, that we even recycle our love notes. I wrote the original two that have the changes, and Danny added the changes as a way to leave a love note in return. The one with no changes, well I just like that one.

After we have love-noted each other, I photograph the images to keep and recycle the paper in the appropriate receptacle.

I did recently see these little cards you could buy to give to your loved one, in the form of a pre-printed cutesy card- but that seems like a waste to me in more ways than one.

Do you recycle anything unusual in a creative way ?

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

When You Need Something Quick And Frugal

Click On The Picture For A Closer Look
Last week, I was pawing around at work, looking for something a bit on the sweet side. I wasn't prepared to buy chocolate from the office, so I went to my friend. He could only offer me a scone from the canteen. I was happy to receive it from him and promptly scoffed it.

It did the trick, though had more in common with a rock cake and desert sand than a scone.

I promised him that when Danny, H and I went to visit him, that I would bring him some of our home made scones as a 'thank you'. So this morning H decided he would make them and as a result we ended up with ten, beautiful, toothsome offerings, that were beyond easy to make. I will add that we added an egg wash and a little niblet of sugar on top before cooking.

They cost literally nothing to make, but were a perfectly presentable food to offer to friends. As well as this they are filling and useful for school lunches.

Let me know if you try them, or if you have your own scone/cake/easy bake/gift recipe.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Crap That Ends Up In Landfills

I don't like rubbishy little bits of crap. And I suspect if you're reading this blog, that neither do you. I think giving plastic toys away with food-like substances at particular junk food establishments is criminal..on so many levels.

So recently, I happened upon this item here. It had been left, abandoned on the table at work. Nobody ever really wanted it and nobody could tell me where it had come from. Hey, I like to ask the hard questions. It was going to be chucked in the bin, but I simply had to photograph it, so I could whinge and whine about it on this blog. But Danny stepped in with an idea, and ever since, this useless, rubbishy piece of rubber has had a real reason to live, in our house.

As you may know we don't drink out of glasses, we drink out of jars. However, this gets a bit of a (1st world) challenge when we're having hot coffee. We usually put up with warmed fingers, until this wrist band decided it would be happy to become a reusable cup holder. And, now, our little fingers stay cool.

Now, I am sure this is no great revelation to anyone. I know our readers are resourceful, creative types, who leave wonderful comments. But I have posted this thought for the day as a reminder that there are tiny, smidgy little things we can do, if we add a bit of thought to it. One little reused wristband isn't going to change the world, and doing away with the making of such superfluous claptrap in the first place would be better. But if it's here, whatever it is, it's certainly better to find a reason/way to give it another life, than to send it to the finite whole in the ground.

So I ask you, dear readers, please share how you reuse the stuff and nonsense that comes your way. Do you have a good idea for items that others would like? Beyond recycling and composting, I'll wager you all have some wonderful ideas. To see an example click here on Greg's Frugal Flipper, he's a star repurposer and a damn fine blogger.

Monday, 16 April 2018

2 Ingredient Beer Bread

Now I have seen this recipe with a few more ingredients, not many, but a few. However, in the interests of keeping everything simple, I decided that as long as it tasted nice, I wasn't going to add anything extra. It tastes great like this and is a quick filler/addition to rustle up when you need to pad something long as you have the grog to make it.

So here it is:

2 ingredient beer bread

A bottle or a can of the cheapest beer you can find. The two times I have made this I used a 375ml can and a 333ml bottle, so exact precision doesn't seem to matter.

2 cups of SR flour

*Put the flour in a bowl, tip the beer on top and mix with a spatula.
*No kneading required.
*Scraps the lot into a greased (I used butter) loaf tin and cook.
*It should look messy, not smooth like kneaded bread.
*I cooked on 160 degrees C until a skewer came out clean.
*It has a crusty top and a bready, slightly cakey consistency.
*Perfect for mopping juices of any kind or toasting.
* It's not the cheapest bread you could make, but it is quite cheap.
*It is also very filling and does not generate any plastic bag waste

Let me know how you go, or if you have any other uber simple recipes to share with others.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Weekly No Spend Update (6 & 7)

Oops, I completely forgot to post my spending last Sunday, so you’ve got two weeks of my day to day cash flow to sift through. I am pleased to report that it’s a super boring update though. This is very pleasing to me! Boring is great.

So, how much spending and not spending have I been up to in the last two weeks?

2/4- NSD
3/4- NSD

4/4- $33. Danny, H and myself had dinner out. For two reasons. One, H had his first school exhibition. H started at this school only this year, it's a rather unusual school that really caters to artistic, creative and out-of-the-box thinkers. As a result, one of the things kids have to do, four times a year, is a presentation, to teachers, parents and a peer. This went until almost 6pm. The second reason is that H doesn't get to eat out much and as a 'Well done kiddo!" we congratulated him with a feed at his choice of restaurant.

5/4- Shopping Day. $150 for food and petrol. $6 for eggs. Bus fayres for a week for child $13.60 and pocket money $20.

6/4- NSD
7/4- NSD
8/4- NSD
9/4- NSD
10/4- NSD
11/4- NSD

12/4- We needed cream and I gave in to some Maltesers, that I sort of shared with Danny! $5.10

13/4- NSD
14/4- NSD
15/4- NSD

I am very happy with this result. Ok, the tea out was a splurge, but it was an ok one, for the three of us, and an acknowledgement of how proud we are of H's work at his new, groovy school. The Maltesers, well they were half-price and I did share them, kind of. I am finding that forward planning is the key to as little shopping as possible. I am also finding that having the ability to freeze and bulk cook is also an amazing boon to our saving and not-shopping life.

The thing I am learning most of all is that it is possible to make up quite a lot of lost time, if you were shopper or spender in your past, as I was. I was worried that I could never make up for all the lost years of overspending. And perhaps I never will, to the point of what could have been. But that's all in the past now and focusing on right here, right now, has a pretty good chance of boosting where Danny and I are heading.

We are going to look at a house some time later this week. If has a lot of our ticks on it, though it might be rather too large for us. But it has a water view and a large garden, (not acreage) for vegetables as well as some fruit trees. At this stage we are just looking at any houses or land parcels that come up, to see if we can pinpoint what we really want. We do fluctuate between tiny house/cabin/shipping containers/cottage type dwelling. We do know we want something small, about 1/2 to an acre with provision for or already having, a workshop.

I will leave you with one we really liked, but only discovered after it had had an accepted offer on it. The Cottage Where Our Timing Was Bad!!!!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Where Would We Be Without The Italians?

Even Finding Love Hearts In The Kitchen
 I seriously love anything Italian, or at least my own romantic notion of Italian. I love it even more when the Italian thing in question, is food, especially free food.

Behold, Daniel's breakfast below. The bread was half price. The tomatoes free, the eggs swapped for chicken scraps and the butter, home brand. He was pretty happy with that feast.

Ok, It's Not Italian as Such, But They Do Have tomatoes In Italy!
And then, a quick bolognese sauce was put together. We had no tinned tomatoes, so I chopped up some more free tomatoes, plus some found/ignored carrots for extra veggie scrumptiouness, onions, beef stock, salt, pepper, tomato paste, garlic paste and some basil from the garden when plating up. We'll forgo the pasta and have jacket potatoes instead, maybe even leave out the cheese and put a dollop of Greek yogurt on top.

 And now, more of the green tomato recipes. I had lots of good ideas given to me in the comments and have decided to try a green tomato pasta sauce. My measurements are approximate as I like surprises in the cooking area. So about 2.5 kilograms of green tomatoes, roughly cut up, red chilli flakes to taste, one large onion cut up, equivalent of about 3 cloves of garlic, or to taste, salt and pepper and about 1/4 cup of olive oil. I bunged it all into the slow cooker. When it's ready I will cook some pasta and pick some basil from the yard to top it off, maybe add a little grated cheese too.

As I write this I am also drinking a cup of plunger coffee, it also makes me feel cheaply decadent and a little Italian. OK, if I really wanted to be a little more authentic I would have it black, in a tiny cup...but I'm not quite there and my love of things Italian is really only my own special version of it.

But there you go. Plenty of good, mostly healthy food for the weekend, most of which came to us at little or no cost. This makes me super happy, I hope your weekend food rocks your life too!

Friday, 13 April 2018

My Why?

The View I See Each Day
What is your why?

Why do you do the things you do? What makes you tick? Why do you sometimes settle for your life as it is right now? Is there a long-term plan? Are you simply in a blue-fug? Do you live like no-one else today, so you can live like no-one else tomorrow?

My why is this right now. We have a plan. It's about a four-five year plan. Each day, working, saving and frugality lead both Danny and me toward our retirement off-grid.

I work a job that stresses me out, even though at the heart of it, I believe in the little people I work for. I often lose faith in what I do because of so much extraneous crap. The politics of the job frustrate, anger and mess up my mind so much. Edicts from a smug-suit wearing-pen pushing-ivory towered-yes person somewhere, telling me and my colleagues how to do things. Edicts from those who have no clue what really goes on in a tiny room, with 30 small people and one adult.

Sometimes I have to be in bed at 8 pm, because I am so tired, especially mentally.

I also spent a lot and wasted a lot of money in my twenties and thirties, and whilst I do have some solid long-term things to show for it, I could have done so much better.

For so long, I never had a why. I also never had someone to have a why with. But now I do. And in the meantime, I have to focus on the means to my why. And the means to my why, means I must work to get there. I can not spend the next five years questioning what I do each day. I have to remember why I got into the job I have, remember my little people and forget the proclamations of the besuited-curriculum changing-standardised testing-pseudo politicians, who see kids and their education as a business.

If I do that, I can enjoy my the road I'm travelling to my what. I can remember the reason why I do what I do, and I can see the destination in it's proper time.

Yes, I will be part-time in the next five years. I will lessen my commitment to working for the government and slowly back out of what I am doing completely. We will slowly take more and more steps to the off-grid life, in a small, very manageable setting and have occasional work supplement us, as and when we need it.

And in the meantime, I'll also have this view, every day, as I travel the windy road to my job. And that has to count for something.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Fried Green Tomatoes In Franny & Danny's Kitchen

A good friend, Cindy-Greenfingers, gifted us with 7.5 kg of green and red tomatoes. Oh my goodness, we were overexcited!

So what to do with them? I read somewhere that green tomatoes were great to make a cheesy vegetable bake with. Along with some eggplants, some found zucchini, chicken stock, some ageing cheddar and feta, we were able to have the most delicious dinner. It was lasagne, without the pasta.
Even the (suspicious of all vegetables) teenager hoofed into it quite well. I had the leftovers today for my work lunch and I was so sad when the bowl was empty.

It was so thrilling to have a multi-delicious, make it up and see type dinner.  Very low cost too.

We also decided it might be fun to dehydrate some tomatoes as well, behold the photo above.
And the best bit? The amount of tomatoes we have used so far, hasn’t even scratched the surface of the kind gift! Green tomatoes are easy to slice, give a nice strong texture in a layered bake and just impressed me no end.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Being A Savvy Buyer (1)

I find myself becoming very suspicious when I visit the supermarket and would like to point out the myriad ways they try to trap you. It pays to take a little longer to shop. Watch this space for more dodgy Woolworths items!

Behold! Woolworths are doing me a really big favour! They're reducing their sausages to $4 OR I can get an even bigger bargain of three packs for $12...Oh hang on a minute, I can do my times tables...there's no bargain there!

Danny and I couldn't even tell what these toilet-shaped things were. We read the little card, and still didn't know. What we did see is that they were not toilet bowl cleaners. What the hell?

Toilet paper bargains...woo hoo! My backside is going to be clean as a whistle...all I have to do is pay $12 for 24 rolls..That's fifty cents a roll. Oh hang on, I'll have a look further down the aisle...there's our regular toilet paper, at 21 cents a roll....Woolworths...your red and white sign does not fool this little black duck!

What rip-off/we're pretending to do you a favour (but not really) items have you seen lately?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Waste......Turning My Anxiety Into Opportunity

First of all, let me say...I would NEVER buy anything like the fruity, squeezy packet pictured above. Never. First of all because of the excess of packaging, mostly unrecyclable, secondly because the contents within could be easily made, in a far more healthy manner than presented here and thirdly because the price is stupid!

So, why do I have a picture of a squeezed out packet, an apple and a rather large zucchini?

Well, here are just a couple of examples of foodstuffs I have rescued this week. They are not ALL the items I have rescued this week. They're just the ones I have photographed.

I have rescued all the items from work and elsewhere. Every day for example, someone puts a whole, perfectly good apple in the bin, before 8:30 am. By lunchtime, the squeezy fruit thing appeared as well. The vegetable I found, unpicked and ignored, along with an abundance of ripe tomatoes. No-one wanted them. This is a daily occurrence. It's not a one-off or a mistake, it's a regular thing.

Other items that come up on the radar a fair bit are muesli bars and bananas.

I understand that little people have their lunchboxes filled by parents and parents like to see their kids eat what's in the lunch boxes. So my thinking is that perhaps the kids chuck the stuff out, to make it look like they've eaten their food. But perhaps parents could speak to their kids about what they actually like.

In the past, often, I have kids who are crying because they've had something packed in their lunch that they don't like. But I do know, from research, that kids often simply chuck stuff out, because they can. So, the rescued food (and I have a friend who also helps me rescue unloved food) comes to me and I keep it in my office. Then when another child comes to school, without food (which you might be surprised, is a common thing) then there is something to give to that kid. It might not be healthy, it might not be quality, but it is certainly better than letting a kid go hungry.

Wasted food gives me anxiety. Because to me, it is symbolic of many things that are wrong with the way we are teaching or not teaching, our young ones. I don't get waste, because with a little forethought, there's usually something you can do with it. Something a lot more useful than throwing it in the bin. At work I am a bucket Nazi and any fruit peelings, cores or sandwiches go into a chicken bucket or compost bucket (we have both). The children are mostly aware of this and do a good job. We have also had good conversations about zip-lock bags and one-use items and I was really heartened to see that some kids had opinions and told me how their families reused things. But I am just one person, my clients are just one class. There's so much more that we educated adults could do.

My anxiety leads me to think of other ways to do things. I have to use it to find opportunities with waste, and feeding hungry kids is a's a small start.

I sure would love to know who the apple dumper is though....

Monday, 9 April 2018

Apples, Apples & More Apples

Peel And Lay On Dehydrator

Put Scraps In Bag For Chickens

Turn Borrowed Dehydrator On

Place Dehydrated Apples In Container

You know, I never thought I was an apple fan.

I’d buy them from the supermarket, mainly because they were the cheapest of fruits to buy, usually. I’d eat them out of obligation and commitment to fruit consumption, but rather begrudgingly because they had little taste and a floury texture.

But this last summer/autumn season has changed my mind. And it’s not because they’ve been free, or foraged, donated or garbage-bin picked, it’s because finally after almost fifty years, I’ve found apples that taste like apples, or how I remember them tasting when I was a kid.

We’ve stewed, dehydrated, eaten fresh (black bits and all). We’ve sliced, diced and chopped. And I have been extremely, happily, surprised.

We’ve taken apples from my dad’s back yard.
Been gifted with them from a client.
Found a few whole ones in a rubbish bin.
Found them on a remote country lane and roadside, thank you for random trees in the middle of nowhere.

And the thing most of them have in common is that none of them came from Woolworths!