Thursday, April 26, 2012

Been a Busy Week

With a monthly shop, ANZAC day which is also my dad's birthday, and catching up on the cleaning since the children are back at school. I might not have had much time for writing, but I have been knitting :)
Finished my son's hot water bottle cover.
DS7 Hot Water Bottle Cover already for winter.
This is my 1st time following a knitting pattern and I'm pretty happy with the result. As well as the cost about $7.50 (we already had the hot water bottle). DS7 likes how soft the yarn is, good for snuggles.
Now I'm working on DD10 hot water bottle cover.
Now if I could just knit a new chicken run :) We now have 2 of our chicken's laying eggs. But even though that is great, it has also made them want to escape to our veggie garden for extra treats. They have been finding ways out, but we keep blocking.
The eggs are lovely, beautiful shells, sunny yellow yolks. So helpful with the baking.
Will have to come back later to share about the monthly shop and our raised garden bed update.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Knitting

Finished knitting my dish cloth and was happy to see that I didn't use a lot of the cotton yarn. So what next?
Then it came to me, a knitted soap saver bag. After seeing a few photos of them I gave it a try, and I'm very happy with the results. Now when we have any leftover soap we can place it in the bag. Then use the bag to wash with.
Dish cloth, and soap saver bag, and still more cotton yarn to use.

Found making this little bag easy to do, and can't wait to use.

See the leftover soap bits inside the bag.
To make the soap saver, I just knitted a dish cloth square. Then using the same cotton yarn, sew the sides together into a bag. Also using the same cotton yarn to make the draw string.
Maybe one day I will make the soap :)
What next to knit?
I do have more cotton yarn left to use, so will make another dish cloth. But I would also like to try knitting some hot water bottle covers, and personalise them for each of my children. With some different yarn of course.

I'm now off to bake some more bread
Yesterdays loaf was yummy, all gone now though.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Knitting My First Dish Cloth

Since the sour dough bread has been working wonderfully, I thought I would try my next saving goal knitting my own dish cloths. Now I'm no gifted knitter, scarves are the best things I have knitted. But with reading up on these knitted squares, these are suppose to be good for beginner's. And were given to young women to practise their knitting stitches.
Mischief checking out my bamboo kniting needles. Wonder what she thinks of the colour of the cotton.

The cotton yarn cost $7, hope it makes more then one. This is as far as I got by the afternoon.
I'm enjoying knitting, it's like kneading bread. It keeps my hands busy, and lets my mind wander.
If this work then I won't be buying anymore dish cloths, and I would like to then make some for gifts (once I get the hang of knitting them).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bread Update and Chickens

The Sourdough Bread all ready for slicing.
 Yummy bread, very happy. Found it very easy to make too.

"They say bread is life. And I bake bread, bread BREAD." quote from Ronny Cammareri in the movie Moonstruck (1987)

Our Chickens at work, very helpful at digging up weedy roots.
The chicken have been wonderful help in their chicken run with digging up the roots. Makes it easier for me to pull those weeds out and level the ground. And all that awesome dirt (and manure), is going into our raised garden bed. Soon it will be ready for winter planting.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making Our Daily Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Starter for next days loaf.

Today Sourdough bread rising before being kneaded.

Kneaded bread in bread tin, waiting for last rising.
For a while now we haven't been blessed with free bread. So decided to try making our own bread. As the cost of yeast for the amount we would go through each day, and the extra time waiting for the yeast to get active. made me want to give sourdough a try. First loaf was wonderful, and today making second loaf and it's working well already. But will it keep working for the rest of the week?
We used potato water for our starter, with some sugar and salt.
And yes did have a freshly baked slice of bread with homemade raspberry jam. All we need to do now is make our own butter, YUM!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Red Beans and Rice and Other Poorman's Meals

Last night I finally made Red Beans and Rice. I have been wanting to make for awhile, looking over lots of American recipes and reading up on the history of the recipes.
This is what I came up with - It's a poorman's meal that was usually done on Monday. Sunday they would have a dinner of Ham or pork, and the leftovers would go into the pot with the red beans red bell peppers and celery to slow cook for the day. For an easy meal served with rice, after a day of washing.
There were lots of different types, "Mum ma's" always have their own way to cook for their family. But the basics were always about the same.
Yesterday I was able to pick up some pork bones for $2, and slow cooked them in chicken stock. I did add some red wine vinegar, chili powder and garlic salt. The red beans were in a can so already soaked, and cooked. In a large pot I added chopped onion, garlic, celery and bell peppers. Then a can of red beans, and a can of chopped tomatoes (found a few recipes used tomatoes). As I didn't have a lot of chili powder used some cumin powder, which worked for my family anyway. Finally added the liquid from cooking the pork bones, and sliced the meat of the pork bones (more like it fell off the bones). And after a bit more cooking (including the rice in another pot), dinner was ready.
And was well liked by my family, it was all eaten and bowls licked.
So well worth trying :)

This is not the only Poorman's Meals our family has tried.
  • Pizza, that takes little amount of ingredients go a long way.
  • Clara's Poorman Meal with hot dogs and potatoes, very yummy and filling.
  • Waste Not Want Not Soup, which helps clean out the fridge.
  • Slow Cooked Irish Stew, which takes cheap meat into a good meal.
  • DH's Tomato and Bacon Pasta, makes alot.
  • 3 Day Chicken, makes chicken cheap. Day 1 Roast chicken, Day 2 leftover chicken, Day 3 chicken soup. (can also do with leg of lamb)
  • Bean and Sausage Casserole, served with mashed potato, wonderful comfort food.
  • Corn and Tuna Fritters, a great way to have fish.
And then there are others I want to try
  • Scots Potato Pies, where a large potato is used to hollow to make the pies.
  • French Onion Soup, great way to use cheap onions.
  • Clara's - Drunken Chuck's Minestrone, looks like an interesting recipe.
And I'm sure there are others I have missed, that would be great to try.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Busy Easter Monday

With DH home for a short holiday, I made use of his help. And was able to have a very productive day.
Started on Sunday night with making overnight Easter Cookies with the whole family. I found this recipe in Sophie Gray's "Destitute Gourmet more stunning food from small change" book.
They are called the Easter Story Cookies, and are a great way to share the Easter Story with children.
The end result we enjoyed on Monday morning. Yummy Easter Story Cookies
 We made the cookies as we shared the story, and then placed in a hot oven to cook overnight (the oven turned off though). And in the morning woke to these yummy treats, alot cheaper then buying the kids Easter Eggs.
After breakfast and a quick clean of the kitchen, I got ready for a day in the kitchen.
Made a Coffee Cake with Coffee icing, to use up the last of the old coffee beans.
Then I made Raspberry Jam. It's my favorite jam, and last year had been buying it at the supermarket. And around $3 it had been adding up. I wanted to see if I could make it cheaper. First I picked up some jam making sugar (it has jam setting mix in it already), brought 1kg for $3.60. Then 1kg of frozen raspberries for $4.
Ingredients ready, and the jars from last year.

Made more then expected, thankfully had some extra little jars. These 2 little jars are in the fridge ready to use.

Fresh Raspberry Jam on fresh bread. Perfect treat :) 
Conclusion with the Raspberry Jam, it was well worth making. Made about 5 jars (the 2 small jars together is the same as 1 jam jar), so $1.52 per jar bets buying from the supermarket.
While making jam I started on dinner in the crockpot. Beef stew with some of the last tomatoes, and courgettes from our garden. Later added dumplings to the stew to make it more filling (as we had an extra person for dinner).
I also did some extra baking, being school holidays, with the children inviting extra friends over, helps to have extra baking.
Made Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Gingerbread Biscuits.
Lastly made more stewed feijoas for breakfast, and from the leftover feijoa juices made a feijoa jelly for dessert.
At the same time was keeping the kitchen clean, dishes washed. And was able to wake up today with my kitchen ready for breakfast.
Now that my DH is back at work, I can have time now with my children.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Free Apples and Feijoas

A bowl of our free fruit waiting to be eaten or cooked.
 Thanks to our dear friends we were blessed with bags of apples. Yummy apples, from 2 different trees. They can eat them all, and sadly not many people were wanting them. So I have been busy cooking them up (yummy stewed apple on weet-bix), preparing for the winter months. I hope with all the extra fruit we will be having this coming winter, will help with combating colds and flu's. Our 2 feijoa trees have given us lots of fruit, so have been cooking them up as well as enjoying fresh fruit for dessert. Looking at the cost of apples and feijoas in the shops, I am very thankful for this saving. One shop had the cheapest apples at $1.99 per kilo, and feijoas at $3.99 per kilo. We have had over 6kgs of apples and over 8kg of feijoas.
Jars of fruit filling our cupboards
As this seasons apples and feijoas passes, our next free fruit is mandarins. They are already starting to change colour, from dark green small fruit to lime green larger fruit.
Oh and while I remember our apple tree had 3 fruit, not an amazing number. But hopefully as it has a chance to spread it roots and grow, it will provide us with more applesd next year.