7 Days of Frugal Family Recipes: Day 3

Saving money for holidays and other fun things can be so hard especially when on mainly one income but I find that if you don’t waste your money on unnecessary purchases and meal plan then it is pretty amazing how much you can save!

I make this meal usually at the end of our week before the shopping gets done and I just tend to use what veges are left over in the fridge so nothing goes to waste. ¬†It is definitely my favourite dish at the moment and is so great for you too ūüôā ¬†Some may think it is weird to have roast veges on noodles but it is actually amazing. Of course you could have it with rice, cous cous or quinoa but it isn’t as yummy as noodles! If you have parsnips in season you can make a parsnip gravy to pour over (roasted parsnips blended to a creamy consistency with a bit of vege stock)

Balsamic Roast Tofu and Veges on Rice Noodles (V,GF)

Ingredients:

  1. 250g firm tofu
  2. 1 zucchini
  3. 1 small capsicum (bell pepper)
  4. half a small butternut pumpkin (squash)
  5. 1 large onion
  6. 1 carrot
  7. add any other ingredients like broccoli, cauliflower or kale
  8. half a bulb of garlic separated with skins still on
  9. olive oil to coat veges
  10. balsamic vinegar
  11. 1 packet of rice stick noodles
  12. tamari
  13. salt and pepper


Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius and chop all the veges and tofu into similar size chunks (about 2cm cubes) and put them all into a large baking tray sprinkle with olive oil (or oil of choice) and salt and also splash over some balsamic vinegar.  Mix all of this through with your hands to coat all of the veges and tofu and put in oven to bake for approximately  30 minutes. While this is in the oven, put on a large pot of water on high and bring to boil for rice noodles and cook but do not over cook or they turn to mush. Pretty much cook them like pasta Рyou want them to still be a bit firm but not tough.

Drain rice noodles and serve with a dash of tamari over it to soak in the noodles and then pile the roasted veges and tofu on top. Sprinkle with black pepper (if you made parsnip gravy – pour that on). ¬†You can thank me later hahaha … ENJOY!


Peace and Love,

Naomi

7 Days of Frugal Family Recipes: Day 2

This recipe is my favourite to make in winter or cold rainy days…. or anytime! It is so yummy, feeds a tribe of people and I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like it.  I like to use a vegan and gf beef flavoured stock cube to really pump up the flavour of this dish and any meat loving friends love it.  I have also made this with just salt and no other flavours besides the veges and lentils and it still tastes great.  Like all of my cooking, I modify it as to what I have at home and make it work. ūüôā 
This could also be made with mexican style seasonings and a can of mixed beans or kidney beans instead of lentils.  

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before this got demolished but I am sure you have all seen a shepherds pie before! 

Shepherds Pie with Crispy Kale (V,GF)

Ingredients:

  1. tbsp oil – whatever you prefer; olive, coconut, canola etc
  2. 1 vege/gf beef flavoured stock cube or equivalent (salt could also be used instead) 
  3. 1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh herbs. (i like to use oregano in the mix and dill in the mash) 
  4. 1 400g can brown lentils or prepared dried lentils can be used (or can use kidney beans or mixed beans)
  5. 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  6. 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  7. 200g chopped mushrooms
  8. 1 large onion diced
  9. half a large red capsicum (bell pepper) chopped
  10. 500g sweet potato- peeled and chopped for steaming 
  11. quarter of a head of cauliflower cut into large florets for steaming
  12. 3 large kale leaves chopped for sprinkling on top
  13. optional: nutritional yeast for mash
  14. salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (180 if fan forced) in a large steamer put sweet potato and cauliflower in and steam til soft then mash with a dash of olive oil and some salt and tsp of dried dill you can also add nutritional yeast to this. 

While the cauli and sweet potato are steaming, heat oil in large frypan with lid off.  Add onion and cook until it turns clear then add capsicum (bell pepper), carrots and mushrooms and stir through then put on lid to sweat and slightly steam the veges quickly. Once they have softened slightly add lentils and stock cube and half a cup of water as well as any herbs you would like for flavour (I like to add a tbsp of balsamic vinegar too).   Turn heat to medium and replace lid and cook for 5 minutes then add can of crushed tomatoes and let simmer on low with lid on for about 10mins or until flavours have blended and the tomato flavour has mellowed.  

Once mixture is ready and potatoes are steamed, place mixture in a large casserole dish and pile sweet potato/cauli mixture on top then cover the  top with the chopped kale and a sprinkle of salt.  Place in oven and cook until kale turns crispy then serve with a sprinkle of black pepper! ENJOY!!!!! 

Peace and Love,

Naomi

weekly goal: 7 days of frugal family recipes

This week I would like to share with you all some vegan and gluten-free recipes that I love to make that are really yummy but dont break the budget.   I plan to write a recipe a day for 7 days.

These recipes could easily feed a family of four (or have plenty of leftovers for lunches or effort-free dinners).   I definitely emphasise vegetable content in these recipes also as we can all use more vegies in our diet plus they are not very expensive. 

My first recipe I will share is what I made us for dinner tonight.  Tofu & Vegies in coconut turmeric broth and cumin potatoes.


I make this when silverbeets are in season as they are usually only a couple of dollars and the bunches are so huge as I like to use the whole bunch in this dish. This recipe was inspired by a couple of different dishes that I have had on my travels through Malaysia and Fiji.  When in those countries these dishes were eaten with your fingers and no cutlery and served on a banana leaf.  Tonight I didn’t have any banana leaves handy so a bowl and plate it is ūüėä.  

This dish is also great for making little modifications based on flavour preferences or available produce in your fridge and pantry which is how I do most of my cooking.  Generally I would prefer sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes but I only had the latter today as I got them cheap!

Tofu & Vegies in Coconut Broth (V, GF)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  2. 250g of firm tofu chopped into (approx) 2cm cubes
  3. 1 bunch of silverbeet (swiss chard) washed and sliced across leaves like ribbons.
  4. 1 large onion roughly chopped
  5. 1 large carrot peeled and sliced thinly
  6. 1 handful of chopped broccoli or other vegies you would like to add (e.g., cauliflower, asian greens, zucchini)
  7. 1 can of coconut milk/cream
  8. 1 cup of water 
  9. 1 vegetarian gf stock cube 
  10. one (approx) 4cm chunk of fresh ginger finely chopped or grated.
  11. 3tsps of turmeric
  12. salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Heat oil on high heat in large soup pot and add onion and carrots and handful of chopped vegies and saut√® with lid on pot and stirring regularly until they begin to soften slightly (about 3 mins) then add tofu and 1 tsp of turmeric.  Keep regularly stirring the ingredients another couple of mins so they don’t stick and burn the bottom but keep the lid on between stirs. Add stock cube and cup of water and put the lid on again to let that simmer for about 3 more minutes then add the ginger and all of the chopped silverbeet, stir it as best you can then replace lid to let the silverbeet steam and soften. When it looks like the silverbeet has softened stir the mixture then add the coconut cream and 2tsp of turmeric (you may want to add more depending on personal preference) and a good dash of black pepper, turn the heat to med-low and leave lid off.  Let simmer for about 10mins for flavours to intensify and mixture to reduce slightly. Adjust seasonings to taste and ensure vegies are soft but not mush!  Voila!!

Cumin Potatoes (V,GF)

Ingredients:

  1. 1tbsp coconut oil 
  2. 2 tsps cumin
  3. 4 cups of chopped potatoes with peel on (in rough cubes approx 2cms) 
  4. 1 onion roughly chopped
  5. salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil on med-high heat in deep frypan (that has lid) and add onions and potatoes then put lid on between stirs to allow heat to build up and potato to soften.  If oil dries up you can add a little bit of water or a bit more oil to potatoes to keep steaming and cooking them. Next add cumin and salt and stir frequently but placing lid on frypan after each stir and cook until potatoes are soft but still retaining a firm shape (this can take a while depending on how large you diced the potatoes). 

This recipe could be modified with sweet potatoes or by adding curry powder or chilli powder instead, but as I have a fussy 2 year old our options for spicy food are limited.   This dish is great as is or if you would like to extend it a bit further in case of large families or friends over; it is great with rice, cous cous or flat bread.  ENJOY ūüíõ


I hope this was easy to follow, I rarely write down recipes so this was quite the challenge for me!  Thanks for reading and let me know your feedback!! 

Peace and Love,

Naomi

sunday driving


We went for a drive into the hinterland and down south today.  We used to do these drives all the time when we lived with Mum but we haven’t since we moved to our own place.  This was partly because funds have been a little bit tighter but also because we don’t have the intense desire to get out of here like we did at Mum’s hahahah.  We just love where we live so much! 

Just over the border into New South Wales

I am itching to travel and our winter snow holiday is 6 months away so I thought we could all do with a mini adventure day drive to some of our favourite places.  It will give us that taste of travel without spending much money and it is something we can all do (pup included) without too much preparation or organisation.  I love feeling like a tourist in our area.  It makes you see the place so differently and helps you enjoy it so much more.  I also love seeing it through Lennox’s eyes.  She loves going on adventures and so does out dog Kaida. 

Kaida loves to travel too!

 

The only thing is I want the house clean for when I get back!  I hate walking away from a filthy house to have a great day only to have to come back to it all at the end of the day.  It is just something I have to do.  So before I go today I am doing the dishes, will sweep the floor and hang out the washing so when I come home it is all fresh and ready to make dinner and cosy up at home in fresh sheets ready for our start to the week. It doesn’t take long to do but it feels so good to come home to! 

Knox Park, Murwillumbah

It is so important to have good places for breaks on road trips – no matter how long the drive is.  As a mum I have found this so much more important than I did before having a child.  There are so many reasons a good place to break is important but one that has a play area, toilet and shade/shelter is a must. Even if the play area is just a creek, fountain or garden with some grass is fine, as long as it is off the road a bit so you don’t have to worry that your lil one will run off into cars. 

a monument to the original lumberjacks of the area.

When going on longer road trips it is so awesome to have good places to stop and recharge or have somewhere comfortable and pretty to make and eat food and for our little girl to run off some of the energy that gets built up by sitting in the car for hours.   Today we stopped in Knox Park Murwillumbah NSW.  We have never stopped there before but we will definitely stop there again as it was huge and the gardens were beautiful, it had a huge shaded playground as well as heaps of green space and also this cool lily pond with a duck and ibis island!  We had a great little picinic under a tree near the lake – even though there are tables and chairs I like sitting on a blanket under a tree.  

lily from the pond


We drove down through to Pottsville, we were planning on going further on but then saw this spot at the creek and had to stop.  We spent all afternoon here, it was magic.  We so needed a day like this and it didn’t cost us anything but $20 petrol.  I took food and water and we just had fun! 

Pottsville, New South Wales

a massive friend we met today in the creek. glad we just met the one!

how to have a kick-arse wedding under $3000

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Don’t want to spend a lot of money on a wedding but still want to have it all?¬†¬†I’ll tell ya how I did it!! ¬†I am still on a high after having the most perfect day and you can have that too.

I was 6 and a half months pregnant when we got married so I really didn’t want to be stressing about everything being perfect and because of this, everything turned out more perfect than I could have organised. Keep a lot of things simple and then get fancy with a few things that mean the most to you and RELAX AND ENJOY: don’t be a bridezilla!

We wanted to invite about 70 guests and our priority was to create a loving and warm atmosphere for ourselves and our guests.  We managed to do all of this and have our dream wedding and reception for a total cost well under $3000.  Below are some tips to help you have the wedding that you want without putting yourselves in debt.

Celebrant . Find one that has a price that is inclusive of as many meetings and paperwork as necessary.  A lot of celebrants charge a base rate and then charge extra for paperwork, filing of documents, any more than one meeting etc.  Avoid those if you can.

Invitations.  Personalised and D.I.Y invitations are very popular and all you to create the atmosphere for your wedding from the get go.  We used photoshop to create our own (see cropped picture below).  We chose a photo from a day together we loved and then used a font we liked to type the details over the top and had it printed.  We got a lot of compliments for our invitations which surprised me!

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Rings.  We were lucky and found a jeweller having a 40% off sale! wooohoooo!!  I definitely recommend not rushing into buying the first ring that you really like, it pays to shop around and take your time with this purchase and absolutely jump on any big sales!!

Reception.   Your reception is one of the biggest expenses for your day.  Backyard receptions are on totally on trend and allow you to really personalise your day for all of your guests.  Choose a colour theme you like and keep it simple to enhance your surroundings.  Nothing is better for a ceiling than the sky at sunset and stars at night for your reception although it is good to have a wet weather plan.  Your decorations can be made or sourced by you leading up to the day (e.g jars as tealight candle holders, old food tins as vases, fairy lights for extra ambient lighting)

Keepsakes.  Make your keepsakes personal for your guests to take home and remember the day.  Your gifts can be doubled as the placenames.  I have seen little pots of tealeaves with names of the guests on them and small mirrors or soaps with guests names carved in.

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Bridal party.  Bridesmaids and groomsmen can buy their own clothes for your day however for the Bride and Groom this can be a huge expense. Shopping online can save a lot however this expense totally depends on the people involved.  I was happy with a beautiful dress I scored second-hand but that is not for everyone.  If you can resell your dress after the big day then you can make some money back.

Flowers.   Purchase these at a lesser cost from the local markets rather than the florist Рput the bouquets and button hole flowers together yourselves and saved so much!!

Photographer. ¬†Enlist a friend/family member (or two) who is into photography….. many people would think this is risky but after attending heaps of weddings and seeing the photos that “professional photographers” come out with I am positive you will get a great result (we did) as long as they take a lot (and i mean a lot) of photos. You never use all of the photos that you get done and with everyone having smartphones etc you end up with hundreds of gorgeous photos.

Food.  If you are really thrifty you can (and enlist help to) make the food for your guests and save thousands.   You have so many options of how you would like to cater your wedding from a tea party style reception to cocktail party with finger food and you will save a bunch of money.  A great idea I have seen is to have a mexican style theme for your food and have a build your own tacos/nachos bar, everyone loves mexican, its filling and not too expensive to put together.

Alcohol and other drinks –¬†keep an eye on cleanskin and internet based wine sales – you save a tonne of money and can get very high priced wines for a very reasonable amount. ¬†Beer and softdrinks can be bought on sale from supermarkets and liquor warehouses for very reasonable prices.

Music.  This is easy to sort out.  Load  your iphone with two playlists; one for the dinner and one for the dancing!!  You can even time it all perfectly as your program for creating these will tell you exactly how long your playlist will be.

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All of your guests will have an amazing day and will love the relaxed  and personal but well organised feel of the day, Most importantly the bride and groom should sit back and relax and totally enjoy the wedding and reception without dramas or money worries Рthe day is about you remember!!

Make your own¬†dreams come true¬†and ya don’t even have to break the bank!! ¬†What we spent on our wedding we made back with our gifts (we had a wishing well) and that meant that we got to have the honeymoon of our dreams!!

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I was never a big believer in weddings until I had one and now realise it is one of the most awesome things to experience and I highly recommend it!

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