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

saving spending saving!!!

At the moment we are still stuck living with my mum and stepdad and all I can think of is how to save more money.   We will hopefully be meeting with a mortgage broker in the next couple of weeks to get pre-approval for a home loan so we will know exactly what we are working with but in the meantime I have a list of things that I need to spend money on.  My car needs the CV joint fixed and a tune as well as a drivers side door handle.  This little visit will cost me close to $1000 no doubt 😒.  I have put it off for a while but I use my car a lot (especially living at mum’s) so it has to be done before it gets even worse.  Next is my husband’s car- the air conditioning compressor needs replacing which will cost us about $1500! We have put this off for ages but it is so hot in the car that Lennox is wet with sweat even with the windows down so we end up driving my car more which is why the problems with my car became so urgent.  We need to get his fixed so I can drive less as it aggravates my neck problems…..it’s like a domino effect! Then there is car rego to pay for both cars which is about $1500 for a year. Oh my god so just when you think you are getting more savings you gotta go and spend it all on these un-fun things!!

Sooooo anyway, all this has made me think in even more frugal ways and I haven’t done a full shop in the supermarket for 3 weeks now just so I can save more and get creative with using what we have.  I have saved an extra $150 from doing this and we certainly haven’t been starving!  I have to say I do enjoy this kind of challenge.  I have only bought eggs, bread, milk, cheese and fruit for Lennox and I have been using the veges (fresh and frozen) that we had left – just being  more frugal with how much I use and using more of the staple items in the pantry.  I have cut out the prepackaged baby snack foods and I am baking more healthy yummy treats that we can all eat.  Today I made a very basic cinnamon slice.  I usually add apples or bananas to this but I didn’t have any to spare.  I just dust some icing sugar on to finish this off.  It is really yummy, gluten free and goes great with a coffee for me 😋.

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this is my basic cinnamon slice

I also made some quinoa ‘meat’balls (quinoa flakes, gf breadcrumbs, cheese, eggs, broccoli and herbs) and will be putting them in our pasta dinner tonight and mini protein pancakes for snacks for Lennox -she loves them and there is nothing bad in them, just 2 eggs, 2 bananas and half cup of oats – I blend the mixture and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, then thin it out with some milk or water so it goes further and makes more! She must be having a growth spurt as she is eating constantly this week and is always saying ‘more’!

I have also just discovered the 52week savings plan, I can’t believe I have never heard of this before but now that I have, I want to make this a habit for life and teach this to Lennox.  So on top of our normal savings plans for house, holidays and the unexpected, we will be doing this and hopefully have a little cash nest egg for the end of the year with all of the festivities!  Thanks for reading through my babble!!😝

i am bored….i need to write more.

i am getting pretty bored about the place as we are living in limbo at my mother’ s house and all our stuff is in storage.  My husband works full time and is helping build the studio we will live in on his weekends so I spend my time playing/changing/feeding/settling our almost 9 month old little girl.  I have taken to doing some gardening here but most of the property is bushland, and I am trying to do more exercise in the mornings when my mum can watch Lennox, but other than that I have no clue what to do with my time.  I have baked a few cakes, made up a weeks worth of baby food etc do the cooking and washing blah blah blah but I am bored.
The whole purpose of being at mum’s is to save money to buy our own place so I don’t really want to start up a hobby that costs money, and although I would like to paint and do pottery (and have the stuff to do that here) I can’t really get into that stuff with a toddler toddling about.  So therefore, my only conclusion is to write more.  This could be a warning to everyone, or a blessing 🙂 but either way – watch this space! x