Showing posts from April, 2015

Rice and beans

Made myself rice and beans to eat today.  Cooked white rice in the microwave, fried up onion, herbs from garden, carrot, mixed with baked beans.  Added salt and pepper.  Yum. 

Simple, frugal, tasty! 

Made some more brown rice cakes.  Am quite chronic fatigue-y and hungry as a result.  The rice and beans certainly help!

Old school saving tip

Here's a saving tip straight from my childhood.  My parents always gave us enough, and they did it by being smart with their money.

One of the things that I grew up with, and got lazy with, I've started doing again,

cutting my toothpaste in half - put it in container, and use it ALL up! 

As it is, I use very little per serve. 

A little fluoride toothpaste does seem to give me healthier teeth.  I tend to have fluoride free water, so it's topical use.  I know there's controversy about fluoride but my need for fillings was dramatic when I went without for a period, so I use it topically.  Before that, I had one filling in years, when I went without I needed three.

A little toothpaste does seem to go a long way! 

Spicy coffee

Assuming you can drink all the following, and you are one of my types, for whom coffee is a part of stopping a migraine in its tracks, I recommend trying this little indulgence:

in a coffee plunger place:
1 serve of fresh ground coffee (I used Gloria Jeans Caramel Indulgence ground beans)1/4 teaspoon fresh ground ginger1/4 teaspoon ground liquorice root Add 1 cup of slightly off the boil hot water, let sit for a minute or two,

serve in a favourite cup,


I enjoyed mine without any milk.  It'll warm you up on a chilly autumn evening too!

One brave thing

Today, I received news that at least for the moment, the social services are going to leave me alone, and pay me a little more.  It's not a fortune, but it's an improvement.  Given another miserly budget will be released soon, and I have lost all trust, and hope in my government, in record time, I can only hope that it stays that way for a while.  I really would appreciate some stability.  I do not expect it.

The above relief, combined with a spectacularly bad customer service experience have given me what is thinking about boiling out into a full blown migraine.

I did the brave thing today.  I immediately complained about the truly horrific customer service I received, and will give them the benefit of a reply. 

Earlier in the day, I rang my local council and expressed some concerns.  I needed to put them in writing and have received a realistically good outcome from being brave.  I will continue to ask for a bit better, it's the only way things improve.

Right now, reta…

If I could afford a caravan...

A theory: our hero tries to get better

Firstly, I have my wanting to run away moments.  If I am lucky, I am well enough to get myself to the next suburb.  I did that today, and managed quite the walk.  I can not say I felt great walking, my body still needs plenty of healing, but it truly is a privilege to get out of bed, go in my car, and go for a 10 minute walk, in the drizzle and watch the world go by.

Secondly, I can not for the life of me afford to run away, other than the occasional out of house experience.  I saw a caravan advertised in my area for sale, and curious, looked at the price.  It was $17 000 I can't afford to part with.  Just a little irritating. 

By the way, I was thinking about the refugees and those that have not been able to flee persecution in world, and counting my blessings while working along.  I have not lost perspective, occasionally, I want to run away for a few days.  Perfectly normal impulse.  Tomorrow, if I feel well enough I might make another walk.   Let's hope so.

Anyway, THE TH…

Happy gut, happy life?

I'm doing some reading to get my head around biology to try and come up with something that is going to help me manage, and preferably cure my CFS/SEID/ME.  In the process I came across this fascinating article about the importance of fibre/ prebiotics, and healthy gut bacteria.

Worth a read:

I'm going to grossly over simplify the article:
onions, whole-grains, and other prebiotics (natural food high in fibre) can help mediate less healthy choicesdiet high fibre is good for the bodydiet reasonably high in high fibre carbohydrate may prevent major health problemsreducing inflammation is according to the research to date, presented, a key to preventing major health problems such as type 2 diabetes, morbid obesity, heart disease, some cancers including bowelprebiotic food can help eradicate and reduce endotoxins.  Endotoxins in large enough quantities at can be life threatening.  Definitely w…

Body weight in chocolate?

I'm not eating my body weight in chocolate.  Lately, I haven't craved it very much.  Right now, though I wouldn't mind a bit of chocolate.  Perhaps not my body weight! 

I'm drinking a cup of berry tea and thinking the mood should pass soon. Alternatively, cocoa infused yogurt tomorrow!

Or maybe popcorn...mmm...

I think I might just be a bit hungry...

back to the tea!

New house smell

Tip posted on Apartment Therapy, under the article

I'm assuming all my readers, do not read apartment therapy, and I thought one or two of you might find this useful:

For new house smell / to make your house appealing to buyers during an open home or inspection:

an old house sales trick, still recommended today, fake fresh bread. Forget about baking bread though, the cheat is to grab an inexpensive loaf of white bread, cut the top crust off, liberally sprinkle with vanilla essence, and place in a hot oven for a few minutes for the house to smell like, new house smell/ fresh bread/ appealing. Remember to switch off oven.

While I am at it:

Other tips for those experiencing the joy that is house selling (I've never owned, but lived through parental house sales, and helped with the cleaning and presenting, oh, and how many times have I moved? I forget!)

Use a real estate agent, …

Cinnamon - possible interactions and risks

In the interest of balance, let me add this link on cinnamon, from WebMD

Cinnamon is generally fine for most people.  Some people, like any food stuff, may be allergic and should seek immediate medical attention if they find themselves reacting to this food.  Allergic reactions should always be treated seriously and emergency services should be contacted immediately if anyone is showing difficulty breathing, or their is a sudden change in health status.

It may also interact with some medications, such as diabetic medications.  Anyone with diabetes would be well advised to have regular check ups with their primary doctor, endocrinologist, nutritionist specialising in diabetes, and link in with their local diabetes association.  There are also some excellent magazines with meal ideas and lifestyle modifications available in newsagents, and in my local library (hopefully in yours, too).

I know that…

Cinnamon - good for body and soul

Drinking a cup of cheat's cinnamon coffee (instant coffee, little cinnamon powder, little sugar, hot water, a little soy milk) and wondering whether it's helping my body heal.  According to this article, it has many potential benefits.

The one that interests me the most is that it may be a potent anti-viral.  Given that I have viral triggered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/SEID/ME, I think I will keep up with the cinnamon coffee!  I find that I crave spices when I am chronic-fatigue-y (some days are worse, than others).

Often I crave marsala chai (spicy tea which includes cinnamon) and find drinking it helps me feel better.  I have quite the stash, and bought some more spices for my next batch.  I may make syrup for the next lot and then I can have it in my coffee, or my tea!  I could even have it in a sizzling cup of soy milk.

Present inspiration

I really have not done much today.  My body insisted that I rest, and when it insists, it does not tend to be subtle about it!  So, I rested, a lot. 

I did almost finish a small present I am making for someone.  It's a jam jar decorated with a knitted cosy and buttons and filled with herbal tea bags that I know the recipient likes.  I just need to make some finishing touches, and it's done!

Three ways with chicken

If I was a Masterchef (TV program) type, I would be writing about how to present chicken three ways on the plate, for the one dish.  I am not the Masterchef type.  I am the make-my-food-stretch type.

A few days ago, I learnt that it's possible to cook chicken in a crockpot with milk, spices, lemon and soy milk.  Normal people would be able to have their chicken tenderised by cow's milk.

We ate our tender chicken with beans, carrots and mashed potatoes - seriously good, tender chicken.  I guess if you wanted a bit more flavour you could brown your chicken skin first in the crockpot, but I liked to keep things simple and quick.

Then, the leftover chicken and juices were put in the fridge and the chicken was turned into a meal of curried chicken with brown rice. 

Tonight we had chicken soup.  See? Chicken three ways!

Liquorice cure: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /M.E, now called S.E.I.D (edited)

I am reading about liquorice as a possible life long treatment, management and effective cure for people with viral mediated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME/SEID.

Here's the link:

Edit: My personal interest in the link, relates to the liquorice information.  The sugar free/ fruit free protocol does not fit with my experience or personal research to date on this condition.  I just thought someone else may find this interesting.

This blog is for personal interest purposes only and does not replace professional medical advice.  For some people liquorice root can be incredibly dangerous, check with your doctor and monitor your blood pressure if you do decide it might work for you.

A five cup of tea day

Today has been a five cup of tea day.  I woke up early craving chai spiced tea early when I could not sleep, and then when I awoke later, having caught up on the sleep, two more cups gone. 

The Head Gardener is having a migraine so I helped out with a few easy things and we've muddled through.  THG made half the dinner and I finished and served it.  I put the oatmeal and sultanas in containers ready for her breakfasts, made another batch of dairy yogurt for her to eat and cleaned the dishes.

It's very funny to find myself craving spicy tea but if my body wants it, then hopefully that's a sign that it helps me.

Have to be in it, to win it

While I type it's about 6 am where I live.  I've already entered at least 8 competitions in the hope that someone will take pity on me, and find my 25 word answers brilliant, and send me free stuff.
I forget to do things like enter competitions.  Entering them where the cost is little, certainly improves my chances of winning!

I have fixed my caffeine to blood ration with 3 cups of spicy chai tea and been reading an inspiring blog.

Room for improvement (edited)

One of the many things that I do to optimise my treatment and overall health is to ask my doctor to order a full blood test to give us a clear picture of my health and to prevent any issues.  The reason I do this is because with some of the vitamin deficiencies I have experienced in the past, while I get symptoms, it's better to get on to them early.  With the complex range of conditions I have it also makes sense to use reasonable modern preventative diagnosis.

My last lot of tests showed that while my kidney function is healthy, there is room for improvement.  One of the things that I would like to achieve in the next twelve months is an improvement in that test score.  I will have to continue to monitor it, as while it is fine, it's on the borderline of fine and not optimal.  My plan then is to come up with some strategies to optimise things while living with my unique health challenges.

The following information has been gleaned from Kidney Health Australia and The Mayo Cl…

Electronic declutter

Had a quick organise of one of my email accounts.  For reasons best left to myself I have more than one account.  My main account gets inundated with all kinds of advertising.  Some emails sent to me I do read, most unfortunately end up deleted.

I spent a little time organising emails that cheer me up and putting them in electronic files, a little time deleting emails I can live without and a little time responding to important emails.  I have a few things going on that need staying on top of.

It feels good to do a quick organise.  I am a little on the sleep deprived side and that was something I could do during the day, take breaks, and come back.  It makes a real difference when I do it regularly.

Frozen apple and cinnamon treat

I made some apple and cinnamon stewed fruit yesterday.  To add natural sweetness to mine I added a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon and liquorice powder.  When it was cool I added it to plastic cups and added a tablespoon full of my thankfully successful vegan yogurt.

I made my yogurt by using some commercial soy yogurt I frozen previously as the starter.  The ingredients I used are
one teaspoon of guar gum;
150mls of coconut milk;
500mls of soy milk;
2 teaspoons of sunflower oil
yogurt starter (1 tablespoon commercial soy yogurt)

I cooked all the ingredients in a saucepan until whisked and warm (milks are all pasteurised) then placed the milk mix and starter in the yogurt thermos, waited overnight ....and best vegan yogurt ever.  I would use it up in 4 days, or freeze ideally.  Vegan yogurts do not seem to keep as well as dairy yogurts in the fridge.  Stir when you take it out and put it in the fridge and freeze some starter the next day for the next batch.

To better understand the yo…

Article about liquorice health benefits

A comprehensive article about potential health benefits of liquorice:

Check with a medical professional before using liquorice root as it may interact with drugs for diabetes and other medications, can be dangerous to people with, and treating high blood pressure.  Caution should be taken with natural remedies when pain killers and prescribed medications are used.

If in doubt, go without.

A easy way to save money

The ultimate way to prevent spending?  Go out the door with a vague feeling you might buy a treat.  Discover that you forgot any money of any kind, and decide to go for a short, glacially paced walk.  Yes, I did do this today, and it did keep me on the straight and narrow, so there's something to it I guess!

Kitchen Garden Pie

For dinner, last night I made a simple, healthy, vegan, vegetarian, frugal, tasty, gluten and dairy free pie.  Quite the mouthful, and most of the produce is from The Head Gardener's quarters, so let's just call it a Kitchen Garden Pie. 

For the filling, first I whipped up a quick white sauce with:
herbs from the garden, mainly flat leaf parsley1 teaspoon of my homemade vegan spread2 tablespoons of plain rice flour1 tablespoon of general purpose gluten free flour1 small clove of garlicabout a 1/4 cup of water1/2 cup of soy milk1/8th a cup of coconut milk(seasoning to taste - e.g. salt and pepper, you could use soy sauce, paprika and/or white pepper) Make a white sauce by placing the vegan spread and diced garlic in a stovetop saucepan to melt, add in the flours and stir until turning golden.  Then, slowly add soy and coconut milk, and allow to thicken.  Add water if you want a less rich sauce. Chop up flat leaf parsley and add to sauce.  Let cool.

Add precooked chickpeas (or o…

Book review: Frugal cooking book

Just read through a book by a couple of Australian writers, called "Money Saving Meals" by Philippa Sandall & Dianne Temple. 

The book title really says it all.  This book is excellent for people just starting out with saving money by planning and cooking their meals.  It has plenty of tips on how to make food stretch, and delicious meal ideas and recipes that can be useful for anybody looking to reduce grocery spending.  I recommend it as a gift for people who are fine tuning their dollar stretching in the kitchen!  Well written, easy to read, sensible advice, 5 stars.

In the mood for a challenge?

Found this article about extreme, but fairly sane, ways people have found to save money.   If you are in the mood for a challenge, you could try one, or come up with something suitable for your life circumstances.

A better life

I always want to strive for a better life, while being content with the resources I have available.

Things I did today, for a better life:
two loads of washing (admittedly I had a washing machine to help, much easier)made, blended and shared cups of uplifting homemade herbal blend of liquorice and lemon verbena (check with your doctor/ herbalist/ pharmacist to ensure these [in particular liquorice] are safe for you to take, and monitor your blood pressure/ sugar).jazzed up some jam labels by printing off fancy font and sticking onto craft paper.  Very cheerful!  It was a team effort, the Head Gardener put the preserves together, and used up a bag of frozen pre-cut fruit I had done in one of my kitchen moments.3 minute room and bathroom cleans, much better!made the main meal for tomorrow, to make it a much more traditionally restful Sunday (dislike making meals at the last minute, I like to have at least some stuff prepped before if possible)playing with soy and coconut vegan yogurt.  P…

Wait and save

I enjoy a challenge.  I like goals.  I like to spend my time feeling like I am getting somewhere.  It doesn't have to be about a shiny car, or a big house, or the latest fashions.  I just like to know that I am improving at something. 

To quote my parents general take after parent-teacher interviews, "just as long as your doing your best".  At the moment, without taking all the joy out of life, I'm trying to be smarter about what I do with my money. 

I've not stopped spending or anything, but even though it seems completely impossible at the moment, I still want to buy myself a shed/ shack/ shelter one day.  Heck, I'd even like the seemingly impossible, to get off any kind of currently necessary government support, to be able to pay my way.

One of the things that I have noticed makes a smarter spender of me is to take my time with spending where practicable.  I think sometimes we all take those things too far.  Sometimes it's best to spend the money and…

Little luxuries at home

Today, when I finally surfaced.  I won't tell you the hour, but it was decidedly decadent.

Frugal luxuries at home I have enjoyed the last few days:

Pilates and weights session (6 minutes today total): investment=time, cost minimal (important you know what you are doing, I was shown technique at gyms in the past, learnt new exercises via DVDs)Gourmet tea: enjoyed in the garden, investment low, return on investment=good mental health, time wandering in the sunshineSleep in: investment=time.  Possibly taking the need for rest a little far.Candle light: bulk tea lights bought with a gift card, hours of enjoymentFavourite cups: investment low, joy highDecorative paper: bought on special, hours of fun & nice presents and cards I can make myself, or package for lessHomemade vegan yogurt: working on technique, but overtime costs less than anything available in stores and gives me health benefits.  Might need to buy new culture, or use more culture in the interim.  Annoys me that I hav…

Fast and fabulous scrambled eggs

Went for a shop with my mum and struggled to keep up with her natural stride, went to the library and came back with some wonderful books and the first series of 'White Collar'.  Almost unheard of to get something so modern and a mainstream TV series from my local libraries.  Such a nice change from the usual things on offer.

Finally found a DIY product I want for a reasonable price to finish my desk and met a neighbour at the same time.  Of course, one of the few days I ventured out, it's not in stock but I will visit again.

Oh, AND, Postman Swat came and delivered my licorice tea powder, and it's no cure, but the tea helps.  If you are prone to high blood pressure only consume one cup a day.  Only need 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon per cup.  Naturally sweet and very economically this way compared to bags.

I used my pretty paper stash, filled two jars with the powder and decorated so they are cheerful and frugal. 

Spent the evening trying to make another vegan yogurt.  All in a…

Basic income tax files

To make filing for your income tax easy you need to know two things.  Your income for the tax year and any deductions that you can claim.  If you work for yourself there are quite a few, although not as many as the mass media would have you believe.

If you work as an employee then there are few deductions. 

If you run a small enterprise then filing the papers under those two headings makes tax time easier for everyone and gives you the option of filing with an online service provider, or seeing a local tax agent.

Obviously, your filing will be dependant on your circumstances and can be far more complicated.  This is just a good place to start.  If you need help learning about business and personal tax contact your tax office and /or pay a book keeper, or tax agent/ accountant.

I used to do my own tax, but now the rules are so complicated that I recommend using a qualified tax agent/ accountant.  I still do the basic organisation of paper work before I go, or lodge with an online serv…

$30 dollar car service

How can I get my car serviced for $30?  Well, essentially I can't.  It's all but impossible.

I am going to manage it by, having already spent $1000 dollars in the last 12 months on the car, and knowing exactly what needs doing.  In my car's case I just need an oil change and nothing else.  I also am able to barter for the services of someone that I know is competent.  I like to think of it as occupational therapy (really he should be paying me! :D ).

I already have 4 plus litres of motor oil, and more I can have for free from my father's surplus (he keeps trying to get rid of it, because he was given it). 

I bought a oil filter for $13.50
Oil free
Labour is $14 worth of fancy pants coffee which just happened to be on special and is normally $16-$18 worth.

If in doubt, safety first, spend the money on a mechanic.  Next service will probably be at the local mechanic.

Fish cakes

When I finally surfaced today I managed to get a few things done.  I've done a spot of knitting, made fish cakes and steamed vegetables for dinner and cleaned the kitchen up. 

I've just done the basics ready for my mum to take her papers to the tax expert to fill out.  She needs one or two pieces of information but thankfully it should be fairly straight forward this year.  Unfortunately that's primarily because she made no money.

Anyway, dinner was a bit of faffing about, but it tasted good and everyone liked it, which is always a good thing.  Healthy, fairly cheap, nutritious and nothing fancy needed in the kitchen department.
Hobart Chic Fancy, Frugal, Fresh Herb, Fish Cakes Serves 3 generous adult portions

1 teaspoon vegan spread
1/4 cup of soy milk
3 medium in season potatoes - cleaned (I kept the skin on)
1 small can of red salmon (about 200 grams)
Herbs from the garden (I used parsley, fennel, cress)
2 tablespoons of gluten free general purpose flour
1 …