Save money, make chicken and lentil casserole on the weekend

We are both doing the work thing at the moment & so are having to plan a little ahead so that we don't suddenly find ourselves buying food on the way home to feed the troops. Tonight we are eating Chicken Casserole that I made on Sunday & have kept in the fridge. We are eating it with couscous. All I had to do was pop it in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius & boil the kettle for the couscous (1 cup of water for 1 cup of couscous, put it in a bowl, fork through it & pop a plate on top of the bowl. By the time you sit up, it will be ready)
Chicken Casserole
Saute 1 clove of garlic & the white end of a leek in a tbs of olive oil
Add 1kg of chicken casserole pieces and stir around until they are "browned" off
Add a generous dash of cumin & stir around
Add a good splosh of white wine or chicken stock (whatever you please)
Add a good handful of red lentils
Add a heap of chopped up veggies (whatever you have on hand). I put in carrots, sweet potato, beans, peas, zucchini and broccoli.
Throw in some marjoram & thyme & let it cook for about an hour, then let it cool for another night, or eat up!
If it is getting dry, then add a little more liquid, if it is too wet, turn up the heat.
Serve with couscous, pasta, potato, toast, or whatever you please!

Buy seasonal gardening supplies

For those who are unable to get to their local nursery & have a great conversation (the best way) about what is best to plant where & what....there is always the online shopping way. I have just stumbled on an online aussie site Green Harvest Organic that provides info about seasonal, has kits, books, school gardens etc.

Active Transport

Melbourne train cramming, originally uploaded by lantrix.
I'm helping my sister-in-law out for a couple of weeks in her office in the city and have opted for the "Active Transport" option to get there and home.

Benefits are aplenty!
After so long not travelling in peak hour:
1. it is quite fun (yes, it is!),
2. I get to people watch,
3. smile at unsuspecting people,
4. get a little incidental exercise,
5. get to work quicker,
6. cheaper than parking,
7. less fumes for the environment (probably would be even less if I rode a bike, but I don't have anywhere to shower),
8. and occasssionally I see someone I know!

Get into it, walk, run, skate, roller blade, skip, kayak, row, swim, ride, bus, train or tram your way to work! Active transport is good for you & the environment!

Recycle This

Junk Vista, originally uploaded by Jack of Nothing.
Got stuff you don't need anymore? Clear your house & your head of these things and try your hand at getting rid of them by selling or "freecycling" them. It puts them back out there for other people to love and admire, and you get your space back!

One of the Australian websites for free recycling is OzeRecycle.
Ebay is one way to sell as is having your own garage sale.

To Market, To Market, To Save on your Money...

Five different pears - in season now

...and buy the best produce there is to find. Every week you can find us down at the Queen Vic Market buying up big on our fruit and veg for the family (we do buy up big). I have been going there for the last 12 years and couldn't imagine not going there for few reasons.

One is the camaraderie from all the stall holders who have gotten to know me over the years and the recipes that they will give me and hugs and the stories they share
Two is the smell of the fresh produce - nothing beats it
Three is I always know what is in season by seeing the fluctuations in price
Four is that I can choose to get the best of the best by being picky about what I will put in my trolley
Five is the coffee at the end
Six is the borek that I have with it
Seven is all the friends that I bump into there
Eight is knowing that I will not get it any cheaper anywhere else in Melbourne
Nine is coming home with a trolley that I can hardly lift out of the car and knowing that it will all be eaten by the end of the week

using cake stands on cake stands for new season apples

Feed the troops with Spaghetti Bolognaise

I have very hungry boys & I like to feed them good food that will keep them going for a long time and that is also filled with lots of good stuff. As they have been getting bigger, it has been getting harder to fill them up, so I have been having to get smarter about how I do it without busting the budget. This is my bolognaise sauce recipe with a difference - fleshed out and added to, but no flavour has been sacrificed.

Spag Bol to feed a family

Saute in big pot (15 litre) that has about 1 tabs of olive oil:
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
leek chopped finely (you can use brown onion - it give me migraines)
1 kg of lean mince (you don't need all of that fat)

Then add and keep stirring around:
1 large or 2 small grated zucchinis
1 large grated carrot


2 x 800g tins of diced tomatoes
2 x 400g tins of brown lentils
1 big handful of red lentils
1 generous handful of freshly dried oregano crushed
1 generous handful of fresh basil ripped
Give it a good stir & let it come to the boil and then let it simmer for about 20 min - 30 mins or as long as you want. The long you leave it, the better the flavour. Everyone will be begging to eat this. Serve with a grating of Australian Parmesan. Tuck in!
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