Monday, January 30, 2012

14 Years Today

Yes 14 years of marriage and we are celebrating frugal style FREE :)
free movie tickets (thanks sis), free coffee and food (thanks other sis) free of children time (thanks mum + dad and sis)
And tomorrow will be big dinner with children to celebrate with them. Jamie Oliver style roast Lamb (from Ministry of Food cookbook) with grape juice bubbles.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eating From Our Garden

Vegetables from our garden used to make Ratatouille

Love NZ grown garlic, the freshness and the colour.

A Ratatouille stack (Ok I call it that) its layers of sliced egg plant and courgettes that are salted and lying between paper towels and plates. I found this from a french cookbook, it helps take away the bitter funny taste from both egg plants and courgettes.

Our de-skinned Roma tomatoes ready to make the sauce.

Our Ratatouille with some fried mushrooms to the side.

Free unwanted Marrows, that we used to make Stuffed Marrow with. This yummy meal uses the marrows like a boat to hold a tomato, garlic and mince filling. And topped of with cheese was a hit with my kids.

Yesterdays wander in the garden provided us with these sunny treats. We used the courgettes and carrots in our fried rice dinner. The egg is saved for today's bake off. And the tomatoes are for today's sandwiches.
Our dear garden is blessing us with so much yummy food. I went out yesterday to bless it back with some Worm Wee from our worm farm. And to fill up the container I have for our guava seedling I added some of our compost, which is coming on so well. Won't be long and we will be ready to plant the seedling. It was a gift for DS13 from his Poppa, he loves a good munch on guavas :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chicken Pox

DS13 is getting better from his Chicken Pox, but  slowly. Sure has kept me busy, so I haven't been able to share as much as I have wanted too.

But must say dear 'Momma' hen has been constantly laying one egg a day now. Very helpful with our baking supplies. Also she has been doing a wonderful job of cleaning up our sunflowers, lettuce, tomatoes and sliverbeet (well the ones that are going to seed).
As for the garden I will be using and old plastic toy box to move the strawberries from the kids garden and start cleaning up and filling up that part of the garden for more veggies. Hopefully also to lay a concrete edging around. Have also been filling up a large blue tub with soil to plant our guava seedling.
Our tomatoes are doing well, we have some huge beauties growing. (thanks to our dear neighbour, who gave us the seedlings).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade (KFC) seasoning, and other food

The homemade (KFC) seasoning
2 Cups plain flour
1 tsp each of salt, basil, oregano, thyme.
2 Tbsp each celery salt, pepper, mustard powder, ground ginger.
4 tsp garlic salt
6 Tbsp Chicken stock powder
8 tsp paprika
Mix all together and label in a glass jar.
Then to make the chicken. Dip chicken pieces into flour, egg and breadcrumbs. Then roll in the KFC seasoning. Spray with cooking spray and bake in oven till done.

The mixture filled a preserving jar we had, and we have lots left over to make more yummy chicken.

Chocolate Chip Cookies made with our 1st egg.
This morning has been a baking morning. First made Chocolate Chip Cookies, and used our 1st egg to make them. I love a fresh cookie with freshly ground coffee. Then also made Chocolate Coconut Brownies. Will be making ginger slice next.

As I was doing my morning watering of the veggie garden, found some yummy fresh veggies which will be used to make dinner tonight. But also found our 1st Butternut Squash, which is about 12cm tall now. Also have more potatoes growing, and lots and lots of large tomatoes. When those tomatoes get ripe, will have to make some tomato relish with some of them.
Fresh veggies from our garden, yum
So what am I going to make for dinner with our courgettes, and Roma tomatoes?

Ratatouille :)

My mum is bringing over an eggplant, yummy. Oh I realise looking at the photo I forgot to pick the green pepper (also needed to make the ratatouille). Extra ingredients needed is oil, salt, sugar, onion, garlic. Now to go with the Ratatouille will be making a mushroom and chicken dish.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our 1st Egg!!!

Woooo Hoooo! Go Momma
Beautiful size 5 egg
What a wonderful surprise today. Can't wait to bake with it. We were wondering why Momma hen was very noisy today.  DS12 went into the coop and had a hold of her, which settled her nicely. And with my coupons I can get 2 bags of free chicken food for the coming month. $20 value free :)

But also today DS13 has Chicken Pox, hopefully gone by time school starts for him. Sick grumpy teen is no fun.

Homemade (KFC) Fried Chicken

My family enjoys a dinner of KFC, but for years I couldn't eat it without feeling very sick afterwards. Something with it I reacted too, and left a bad experience of family takeaways. But with the help of a dear lady in America, we tried making our own. And have found it not only cheaper (which is also good) but easy and yummy. And the best part for me, no being terribly sick afterwards!
We used chicken drumsticks, easy to coat with the flour, egg, breadcrumbs, and lastly seasoning.

Yummy homemade takeaway :)

With homemade banana splits for dessert.
We don't feel like we are missing out not having takeaways. Instead we feel more empowered being able to make our own yummy meals.
So our list of homemade takeaways has grown
  • Pizza
  • Hamburgers
  • Fish and Chips
  • Fried Chicken
  • American Hot Dogs
Will next have to make our own sushi, and mince and cheese pies.
Think it would also be fun to find out the cost difference between buying from the shops or making our own.

Free Family Fun

Couple of the kids walking in front of me having a conversation.
It doesn't have to cost much to have fun together as a family. Some of our best times together is getting out of the house and going for a walk. Even having a board game night is alot of fun, or home movies (our family made) with freshly popped corn. School holidays don't have to mean spending lots of money.
We got a shock going to Kelly Taltons these school holidays. DS6 had been wanting to go for a long time, so we went with only 3 children. And had the shock of our lives $103 for 2 adults and 3 children. We have decided that's the last we are going for a long time. Would rather go to the museum for free, as there is more to see and do. The zoo is also off at the moment, would cost us $78 to go as a family. Though with a little drive we can go to a cheaper zoo for $49 and bring our own picnic. Or even better go to the Botanical Gardens for free and have a picnic near the pond with ducks to watch.
Looking at the sun through the tree leaves.

Photo doesn't capture all the twinkles that we could see.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Then There was Four

We only have 4 hens now, all our roosters went to new homes. Ah the peace, well not really as we still get woken up by our native birds singing in the trees outside.

We love our 4 girls, relaxing to sit and watch them.
The next plan is to get two laying hens from my Aunty. Hopefully Rhode Island Red chickens.
Today will be chopping up our seedy bread for the chickens. Free bread to give some free food :)

Saved $22 on haircuts

At our local hairdressers the cheapest place to get haircuts, still cost about $11 for a kids haircut.
So to save money DH and I did our own haircutting of 2 of our sons hair.
DS6 before his haircut.

DS6 after his haircut, he wanted to have a rats tail (but don't think that will last)

DS12 before his haircut.

DS12 after his haircut, he looks so good :)
It's not that hard to do, and doesn't take that long. Now if we can do this for the rest of the year it could save us about $264 (if they had a haircut each month)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Last Day of Ham

We are finally coming to the end of our ham.

6 days of Ham

It has been great and I would do again. We have had Honey Glazed Ham with 2 salads, Cold ham and Lemon, Ginger, Turmeric rice, Creamy ham and mushroom pasta, as well as
Sliverbeet and Ham Quiche we had for our 4th Ham dinner.

Potato Rosti we had with our ham for our 5th Ham dinner.

Our 5th Ham dinner with lettuce and tomatoes from our vegetable garden.
And tonight for our 6th Ham dinner we are having Ham and pea soup with fresh bread.
Pea and Ham soup, yummy.

We also had a dessert for out last night of ham. 3 flavours of Instant Pudding layered in a ramekin. Cost $3 for the 6 of us.

This $30 ham has been real value for our family. Not just with dinners but also with ham sandwiches and a couple of breakfast meals. We still have lots of meat in our freezer, to last us not only to the end of the month but even a few weeks of February.
When getting the milk for the week this morning, I noticed ham was again on special. So I might pick up one at the end of the week for our freezer again.
But we are looking forward to no more ham for awhile. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

3rd day of Ham for Dinner

This time it was Creamy Ham and Mushroom Pasta.
Which was very fast and easy, though I did find I was missing one ingredient - Evaporated Milk.
So instead of going and buying a can for about $2 I looked up online how to make it myself at home. This is what I found and it worked really well.
Evaporated Milk

And the Creamy Ham and Mushroom Pasta was yummy.
Creamy Ham and Mushroom Pasta
I think we are now at halfway with the ham, But DH (Dear Husband) is thinking of using some for ham and eggs for breakfast. I will also be making a Sliverbeet and Ham Quiche for the 4th dinner.

As a side note I have finished 2 more cards for my card box.
I love sunflowers

A simple card
Now DD10 is making cards too. lovely to watch her get creative. And with her help we are saving another $7. Total card saving to $19 now. Next we will be making envelopes for all our cards. But I need some practise with those.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Saved $10 on Cards

With making my own cards, (and the cheapest I can get in the shops costing $1 each) I have saved $10 an awesome saving. So I will keep making more to cover all the Birthdays, Thank You, Get Well etc
The savings really do add up when you think about it. At the time you are in the shop looking for a card, you can think "What a $1, that's cheap" But when you do add up all the Birthday cards you get for a year.
Well for us that would be about $30-40 (kids friends included)
So here are some more cards I have made.

Ham Dinner Number 2

Day 2 of using our Ham up for dinner. Had Ham with Lemon Ginger Turmeric Rice.
The rice is a recipe from Jamie's Ministry of Food cook book. Takes plain rice and gives it a new life.
Cooking the lemon, ginger and turmeric into a paste. Smells good!

Plain basic rice.

Becomes yummy, colourful happy rice.

And served up with the ham. Happy Family
We still have lots of ham to eat, and more recipes to try.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crafty Cards

While waiting for a visitor today, I decided to start working on making cards for this year. Firstly by cutting pictures out of a couple of magazines. Then gluing them to card, and adding a quote from some rub-on's I have. So far made 2 before the visitor came.
Card making materials

1st Card with the quote "Keep true to the dream of thy youth." Friedrick Von Schiller

2nd card, think I'm getting better at this
Have to also work on envelope making
1st envelope is not the best, but does the job.

Honey Glazed Ham and Vegetables Fresh from our Garden

Summer Ham Yum
Brought this ham on sale for $30, before doing the $21 Challenge.  Now to see how many meals we can make from it to make it worth while purchase. Last night was fresh warm glazed ham. Glazed with a mixture of Honey, Brown sugar, chopped pineapple, ground ginger, and apple cider vinegar. Was a great way to use up the leftover pineapple we had. Tonight we will be having cold sliced ham, with lemon, ginger and turmeric rice.
Served the ham with this salad made with vegetables fresh from our garden.

Also had a potato salad with fresh chives from our garden.

And to brighten up our dining table, some fresh sunflowers from our garden.
It was a lovely meal, and a great time with DD10 who helped make the meal. She felt good helping, and ate her dinner all up.
Tonight will try and get DS12 to help with dinner.