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

things are looking up ūüĆě

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 ‚úĆ

its time to bunker down, lose weight and save money

Over a year ago, when I was 5 months pregnant with our baby girl, my mum and stepdad offered us a way to save money for a house deposit.  My stepdad was going to build my mother a studio for her to do her art in and they asked if we would like to live in it to save for a deposit and then mum can use it for her studio afterwards.  We jumped at the opportunity as we had been renting for years and although we had kept our dream alive of owning a property one day we knew that it would be quite a while off as rent takes up so much of your savings.

this is the trench dug around the outside of the studio for a walkway

this is the trench dug around the outside of the studio for a walkway

not a bad place to live :)

not a bad place to live ūüôā

So anyway that was January 2014 and my stepdad said it would probably be ready by August that year. ¬†It is now February 2015 and although we are not in the studio yet, we have moved in to their house and are occupying the upstairs rooms while it is built. ¬†We have left our gorgeous beachside living and are now in the valley near a river and mountains on acreage. ¬†I am already struggling with the differences as I am very much a beach girl, but am staying positive at the savings we can make and that we are now able to afford some things that were difficult to save for while renting! ¬†Hopefully the studio is only a couple of months off being finished as we have no privacy and all of our stuff is in storage – if it isn’t completed by winter then we will have to spend a day digging through the storage to the back where all of our clothes and blankets are!

Lennox and her Nanna

Lennox and her Nanna

Lennox (our little girl) is now 8 months and is loving the extra attention and love she gets from her Nanna and Pop Rocket.  She is so keen to start walking and is getting into all sorts of trouble around the house.  It is so great for her to have so much love and for my mum to see her everyday growing up.  We are so lucky to have this opportunity to save with no financial stress at all and hopefully one day own our own beachside property for her to continue growing up in.

there is a lot of wildlife out here - so many spiders! but also kangaroos and possums, moths, butterflies and snakes.

there is a lot of wildlife out here – so many spiders! but also kangaroos and possums, moths, butterflies and snakes.

While we are here, away from everything and everyone I am going to work on losing the baby weight I gained while pregnant. I put on so much weight! I was doing personal training on the coast but don’t want to drive an hour to go to it so I am doing my own program of walking/hiking around the yard and up and down the long steep driveway as well as weights and situps etc. I have lost a kilo since moving here two weeks ago so that is great ūüôā I am also doing the gardening and cleaning up of the yard to help out here. Mum and I are also putting in a vege patch. It is great fun to do and it also keeps me busy and active otherwise I do get a bit bored as I am not in my own house and don’t have any of my stuff around me. ¬†I will keep a log on all of the progress with weight loss and yard clearing – there is so much to do!!

garden cleared of weeds and vines, ready for our vege patch!

garden cleared of weeds and vines, ready for our vege patch!

my mum spreading the manure around the vege patch.

my mum spreading the manure around the vege patch.

And now I must go and get packing for a night of privacy, tomorrow is our wedding anniversary Р1 year of being married and we are going to go spend a night in a mountain lodge! So excited! ahaha  We have come so far since we met in 2012 Рlife has changed so much for us and we feel like the universe is totally supporting us and helping us on our way to achieving our dreams!  WOOOOHOOOOOOO

sunset over the valley.

sunset over the valley.

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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I GOT MARRIED!!!

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

  Yep I did it, I got married. ¬†I actually never thought that I would. ¬†We got married on the¬†1st of February 2014¬†– we chose that date because is was a new moon and the first of the month (great … Continue reading