Saturday, 26 July 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

This week has been a busy one at my house.  I had a few big houses to clean as well as my own.  On Tuesday my husband and I braved the cold to make a trip to the Dandenong Market for a few bits and pieces.  There was lots of computer work to do,  recipes to type up as well meals to cook and treats to bake.

Here's my list of frugal tasks for this week -

*  Continued to save the warm up water from the showers and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Picked lettuce from the garden for two meals.

*  We had homemade take away hamburgers and wedges for tea one night.  The rolls,  hamburger patties and wedges were made from scratch.  The lettuce was from the garden.

*  My husband ran two charity bbqs last weekend.  He bought home all the empty bread bags for me to recycle.  I turned them inside out,  brushed off the crumbs and hung them on clothes horses to dry out.  I use them for many things like storing my homemade bread in,  for rubbish bin liners and to scoop out the kitty litter.

*  Stewed some old apples from the fridge.  There was enough to make apple crumble for dessert that night and another portion for the freezer.

*  Bought 3 boxes of 24 icecreams from NQR for $1.99 a box.  Some will be eaten now and hopefully some will be left for Summer.

* My daughter baked lots of biscuits ( cookies ) and filled up the biscuit jar.

* Sewed some lovely strips of material onto hand towels to give as presents.  Photos to come in the next week or so.

*  Picked a big bowl of lemons from our lemon tree.  I juiced half of them and froze the juice into ice cube trays.  This will be used in future to make lemon butter,  lemon slice,  lemon biscuits and lemon chicken as well as pouring over cooked fish.

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread.for the freezer.

*  Froze left overs from a tuna casserole.

*  Bought pita bread from the Dandenong Market.  They are sold as 4 bags for $3.  Much cheaper than any brand in the supermarket.  They will be made into pita chips.

*  Bought tinned soup for $1 a can.  I now have enough stock until they come on sale again next Winter.

*  Made chocolate choc chip muffins.  Some will be eaten fresh,  the others will be frozen for lunch box treats.

What did you do this week to save time,  money or energy ?

Kitchen Cloths For Free

Keeping your kitchen clean,  tidy and ( almost ) germ free can be quite costly. There seems to be a cleaning cloth for every surface and a spray for each different spill.   All these items can add huge costs to your grocery budget.

I've found a way to eliminate the need to buy kitchen cloths and sponges without compromising on quality.  About 5 years ago I was in Tasmania on holidays with my family.  We'd been spending some time visiting my inlaws and I was helping out in the kitchen.  I couldn't find any sponges to wipe the benches until my mother in law showed me a drawer full of old face washers and hand towels.

As soon as we arrived home fom our holiday I searched my linen cupboard for face washers that were getting a little on the old side.  Sure enough I found four straight away that were too faded for the bathroom but too good for the laundry or the rag bag.  In one corner of  each face washer I wrote the letter " K " for kitchen with a laundry marker.  This ensured that the face washers weren't returned to the linen cupboard after washing but stored in a kitchen drawer with the tea towels.

Each day I change over the face washer and wash the dirty one in the washing machine with the towels.  If  I've had a busy day in the kitchen with lots of cooking and baking I might use a few.  It's a great way to help prevent cross contanination. They are very durable and don't fall apart when you use a bit of elbow grease on a hardened spill  I also use microfibre cloths for the timber dining table and kitchen splash back.

Those four original face washers lasted for three years with constant use until the edges started fraying.  I crossed out the letter " K " and wrote "L " for laundry on each one.  They were then stacked in the laundry cupboard to mop up spills.  After that they made their way to the rubbish bin.

The cloths cost me nothing but saved me about $100 over three years.  Bargain  !!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Homestyle Meat Loaf

Meat loaf is a great comfort food for Winter and a delicious cold meat to have with salad in Summer.  It is a fabulously easy recipe to make and I quite often make four meat loaves at a time when I buy a big tray of beef mince.  Once cooked I double wrap them, label and freeze for a quick dinner on a busy day. .  Use your hands to mix it all together or if you have an electric mixer it will save your hands from getting cold in the raw meat.  

400 grams of beef mince
3 tablespoons of white rice – cooked

¼ cup of tomato sauce

1 egg
1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes or one small onion diced

½ tablespoon of dried chives
Salt and pepper to taste

 Boil the rice until it's cooked.  Drain and cool  Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  Place into a well greased oblong loaf tin.  Press down well until top is flat.  Cover with foil and cook in an oven for 40 minutes at 180degrees celcius. Take the foil off.  Drain most of the juices and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes.  Turn onto a clean chopping board and slice.  Serve with gravy, mash and vegetables.  Serves 4 people.  Freezes well.

Leftovers are great in a toasted sandwich with lashings of sauce.

This meat loaf costs about $2 to make with mince costing $4.69 a kilo  in July 2014 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

Quite often it's hard to remember all the things I've done during the week to save time,  money and energy. Some days can be crazy busy.  So this week I decided to keep a list on the fridge.  Each time I complete a frugal task I write it down.  Here's this week's list -

*  When the heater was on during the day we had the temperture set at 18.5 degree instead of 20 degrees.  We are getting use to this new setting.  Some days when the sun was shinning we had the heater off.

*  Bought Jap pumpkin for 69 cents kg.  I bought two whole ones.  I cooked,  drained and froze lots of pumpkin.  This will be used to make pumpkin scones - my all time favourite morning tea.  I'm hoping to have enough in the freezer for when the price goes up during Summer.

*  Grated 8 bars of no name laundry soap using the food processor.  I've stored it in a lidded bucket to be used to make laundry powder.  This should be enough for the next eight months.

*  Saved the warm up water from the showers and poured it into the washing machine.   It's rained so much this week that the garden didn't need the shower water.

*  Used the timer for shorter showers.

*  Bought 8 bottles of Pantene shampoo and conditioner on sale at better than half price in Woolworths.  This saved me $32 on the full price.

*  Bought apples and pears at the fruit shop for 99 cents a kilo.

*  Cut up cereal boxes to make page dividers for my new price book.

*  Made pita chips for snacks using pita bread. They are great for dips and making nachos.

*  Baked an orange cake using a whole orange I blitzed in the food processor and froze at the end of last Winter when oranges were cheap.

*  Made 21 pumpkin scones with cheap pumpkin  These are now in the freezer for future morning teas.

*  Made 3 loaves of wholemeal bread.

*  Fed the chooks bread crusts and plate scraps.

*  Made a double batch of Miracle Spray ( surface cleaner ).

*  Bought roast beef on sale at Tasman Meats for $6.99 kilo.  I cut each roast in half as they are too big for the four of us.  They are in the freezer fo future meals.

*  Made chunky beef soup with three slices left over from Wednesday's roast beef dinner.  This soup fed the four of us with 7 serves left to freeze.

*  Froze  a single serve of left over tuna pasta bake.  When I get a good stash of frozen meals,  I incorporate them into my menu plan.  Everyone gets to choose what they are having.

*  Mended holes in 3 pairs of socks.  A saving of $10 if I'd thrown them out and bought new ones.

What have you done this week to save time,  money and energy ?  I'd love to see your list.  Please post it in the comments section.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Foaming Hand Wash Savings

I'm a firm believer in having soap of some description available to keep hands clean in my home.  I've tried many different soap products over the years.  A bar of soap might be the cheapest option but it has it's drawbacks.  If the soap dish isn't cleaned or wiped regulary the bar of soap ends up sitting in a pool of soapy water. getting softer by the minute.  I'm also not keen on the idea of everyone putting their dirty hands all over the same bar of soap.  Germs - mmmm  !!

Automatic soap dispensers leave drips of soap on the bench.  I've come across this many times when I'm cleaning client's homes.  I've accidently set them off when my hand gets too close.  They are expensive to buy in the first place and the refills are costly too.

Liquid hand soap dispensers are what my family has been using for years.  I don't mind them but it's hard to find a cheap refill.  I've tried making my own liquid hand soap with varying degrees of success.  Mostly it ends up goopy and clogs the dispenser.

The latest trend is foaming hand wash.  I'd heard you could get empty foaming soap pumps in the $2 stores but I couldn't find one.  Then I  saw foaming hand wash on sale at a local chemist for $1.99 .  I thought I'd give it a go and I must say I love it.  Those of you who know me know that I don't usually rave about any new product or trend simply because I don't buy them.   But this is a great product.

The bottle has a sturdy base making it easy for little kids to use.  It doesn't drip and you only need to use a little.  It feels luxurious on the hands and smells divine.  When the bottle was half empty I refilled it with water to see if it still worked and it did.  Then I got some shower gel out of the cupboard and thought I'd make my own.  After all,  foaming hand wash looks just like ruuny shower gel.

Here's what I did -

Use 1 part clear shower gel to 4 or 5 parts water.   Shake well and refill the pump.  How easy is that ?

Hand wash pump,  diluted shower gel and full strength shower gel 

If your foaming hand wash pump is empty them make it up in that.  If you have a bigger bottle of any type with a removable lid then use that.  Then you can continue to refill the pump when it gets low.  The shower gel can be colored as long as you can see through it.  I've used creamy shower gels and they do work.  Just not as well and the clear ones. 

Foaming hand wash refills are available in the stores but cost almost $6.  This will refill the pump bottle about three times.  I buy 500 ml shower gels on sale for $2.50 and can get 8 refills for the pump.  This costs 31 cents per refill. A bit of a bargain if I do say so.

Why don't you have a go of making foaming hand soap yourself.  I'd love to hear how you go.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

Each weekend I will be posting the frugal tasks I've completed during the week.  These tasks can be anything that has saved time,  money and energy no matter how big or small. Most of these tasks have now become second nature to my family and has helped us to live abundantly in other areas of our tight budget. You might have seen me demonstrate some of these things on tv a few weeks ago.  Nothing was made up for the story.  It's what I do every day to live the good life.

 I'm hoping this will give you some ideas that you can put into practice in your home.  Please feel free to post your frugal tasks too.  We can all learn from each other.

This weeks' tasks -

*  Saved the warm up water from the shower and poured it into the washing machine for the first load.
*  Saved the final rinse water from the washing and poured it back into the machine for the next load.
*  Poured my shower gel into a pump bottle and diluted it a little.
*  My daughter made lots of biscuit dough for the freezer and baked some to fill up the biscuit jar too.
*  Refilled the dishwashing bottle and diluted it by 50%. 
*  Dried the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents.
*  Reduced the amount of washing I normally do. I'm getting the family to wear their clothes for longer than a few hours before they think they need washing.
*  Avoided using the clothes dryer although my husband used it for one load of washing when I was at work.
*  Cooked all meals from scratch.
*  Picked silverbeet from the garden to bulk out a meal.
*  Kept the heater temperature at 18.5 degrees instead of 20 degrees for a few days.
*  Scraped the peanut buter jar out to get every last drop.
*  Sold some eggs to a neighbour and friend.
*  Only had two lights on in the house ( most of the time ).

What frugal tasks have you done this week ?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

A Cold Winter's Day

Today is a cold and wet day in Melbourne. We've had some strong winds too. On days like today I'm very greatful for ducted heating in my home. I've set myself a challenge of keeping the temperature on the heater set at 18.5 degrees instead of the usual 20 degrees. So far so good. I've kept myself busy and warm doing the vacuuming, mopping and clothes washing. I've hung the wet washing on clothes horses. A bonus of floor ducted heating is that you can place your clothes horses over a duct and in about 24 hours you have dry clothes.  A double use of the heating.

I have a beautiful lamb stew cooking in the slow cooker for tea tonight. The aroma of lamb,  tomatoes and rosemary is amazing, I'm drooling just thinking about it. I'll be serving it with buttered toast on the side. All being well there will be some leftovers for tea tomorrow night.

I'll be getting out the blankets tonight and closing the curtains a little earlier to keep the warmth in.
Lots of good things to warm the soul.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

My Abundant Life

Welcome to the very first post on My Abundant Life.  The main goal of my blog is to inspire others to live the good life through cooking yummy meals made from scratch,  gardening,  crafting,  sharing household tips and good conversation.

I hope you enjoy my blog as you journey with my family and I .