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 🙂  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 – you 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. 🙂 
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 😊.  

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 sautè 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 💛


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!

H O M E and H E A L T H

In my last post I mentioned our plan for buying a place of our own in May to save our sanity.  I chose to wait three more months instead of buying right away as we needed the extra savings to have 10% house deposit and so we could also have a great savings history and sort out some other things like desexing our dog.  We have been looking at different units and townhouses in the areas we like so we are more educated in what a good price is as well as what we want for our first place and what we are willing to compromise on.

At the start of this month I viewed a unit(condo) in Mermaid Beach that I could really see us being happy in, so we ended up making an appointment with the broker earlier than planned.  Since then, we have been in regular contact with the broker and the real estate agent as there have been several issues and setbacks towards getting pre-approval for a home loan.  Luckily the unit(condo) is still available but we might miss it as we are waiting for paperwork to come through for us.  Even if we miss this unit, I trust that the right one will show up for us, I am just really glad that we have begun this process as it takes way longer than I thought it would!  So if anyone out there is in the same stage and hasn’t talked to a broker about pre-approval yet and all the documentation you need, then I would get on to it!! We had talked to a broker earlier on but more as an enquiry into what deposits we would need and what our price range would be but apparently some bank criteria has changed and loans are harder to come by at the moment.  So many people that I have talked to have said that it seems so hard to get through the pre-approval process.

I have been keeping up with our 52 week savings game so we have cash for Xmas and also saving $100 a week for our snow trip in August as well as saving for our house.  I do have to go out today and buy our little girl some warm onsies for winter this year.  She is rapidly outgrowing all her clothes, so I have to get a few onesies, tights and singlets.  She kicks off all blankets so I don’t bother with them anymore so I have to make sure she is warm enough without them while she sleeps.  The onesies are also great under her snowsuit.  Our new car is still awesome too, and I am looking forward to driving down south to the snow in it!

In other news, I have been suffering from daily migraines for months, and it seemed to be getting worse.  I had an intuitive thought recently that giving up dairy may help and looking into it, dairy is a food that causes inflammation and all sorts of issues for a lot of people let alone the problems it causes the cows 😩….I do prefer a vegan life and I have always felt great when vegan – I had taken to drinking a lot of cows milk when pregnant and had kept this up during breastfeeding as I would crave it.  Anyway, I thought it was worth a try so gave it a go.  I seemed to go through a full on dairy detox and I had stomach problems and bad headaches for the first 6 days but am now feeling the best I have in a very very long time and I lost 1.5kilograms in that week!

My husband is also doing well without gluten in his diet and has had more energy and lost weight because of the change.  I also like gluten free eating although I am not as strict on this for me and our baby.  I definitely notice the difference but geez gluten free and vegan products really empty the wallet!  Although I have found that if you stick to mostly to wholefoods then it isn’t so expensive.  Hopefully when we are finally in our own kitchen I can try making some gf breads too!

I am so looking forward to having our own space again.  I belong at the beach and living away from parents!  Yesterday Lennox and I had the day to ourselves at home.  It has been ages since we got to do that and I had forgotten how important that time is to me and for her.  I loved it.  It will be so awesome to be back at our beach every day and spending time together.

I hope you all have a safe holiday season 🌞

 

 

 

things are looking up 🌞

My last couple of posts have been a bit negative nancy so I thought I should focus on and write about the great things that have happened lately.  Firstly, my husband and I have made a deadline for when we get outta here (my mum’s).  Its in 3 months – end of May-  as long as all goes well with getting a loan and finding the right place.  We decided that a deadline is what we needed to keep ourselves sane enough to continue being here and it allow us to plan and knuckle down to save enough for our new place.  Our relationship has definitely benefited from this and we are doing well.

Secondly, I sold a dreamcatcher I made on etsy!! It is my first sale and I am so excited and motivated by this.  It has spurred me on to make more pretties and work harder at getting new things into my shop more often.  Today I went and bought a few more hoops to make more dreamers as I didn’t have any to make new ones.  Here is a pic of my packaged and ready to send dreamcatcher.

first sale

I added a handful of little crystals and a shell and silver mermaid to the package for something a little extra to say thankyou to the buyer.  I really hope she loves it, I put so much love into these and it is always scary to put yourself out there and be open to judgement.

Thirdly, and very excitingly, we traded in Brett’s mazda and bought a new(ish) car!!! It’s a 2012 Toyota RAV4 and it is in immaculate condition and very very low kms for its age and has 3 year warranty as well as lots of other little perks.  We are so happy about it and it is going to be perfect for all of the driving that we do and for going to the snow.  I am totally in love with it and so is Brett.  It also has enough room for another bub if we are lucky enough to be blessed again.  We decided to do this as the mazda was needing quite a bit of work and was getting quite old and had done over 300000kms. It kind of ends up cheaper for us just to buy this and spend only $80 a week on the repayments rather than spend thousands trying to fix up the mazda.  Anyway, here it is…..

new car

thanks for reading…. I will probably be posting pics of all our little trips in this baby from now on! hahahah ✌

wow,that was a bad day.

I should have stayed home, I even said to my mum that I didn’t want to go anywhere today but I did because today is swimming lesson day for Lennox.  So I leave the house and drive to swimming, I had trouble getting a park near the pool thanks to council works so I parked much further away.  I was not feeling very good so I thought I would pick up a coffee on the way.  Lennox was a bit whingey and I was trying to get her and her swimming bag out of the car and I locked my bag containing my car keys, wallet and phone in the car.  My head was just not right today.  So anyway, after some attempts to break into my own car by myself and some lovely strangers, I decided I would have to join up for roadside assistance $180!! and get them to come and open my car as I had no choice 😭. I did get to have that coffee though we didn’t make it to swimming unfortunately.

It is also my mum’s birthday today and my husband’s on saturday, so I wanted to pick up a nice present for them today…. I chose an expensive perfume for my mum and asked to have it gift wrapped – it looked really nice. I gave it to mum and she opened it, and it wasn’t the perfume I chose at all!!! Now I have to go back and try and get an exchange even though it has been opened.  OMG I should have stayed home. 🎻