The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 9th December, 2016.

It was a good week! I am feeling like I am getting somewhere and Christmas is under control.
We had quite a lot of rain too which has watered the garden.

Some of the ways I feathered the nest are:

I did a heap of cooking. On the weekend I had a baking day. I made several Spinach, bacon and sun dried tomato Quiches,  Pizzas and with some left over pastry I made simple pastries.



Chloe was here and I sent her home with a Pizza and a Quiche. 

The pizzas were made from the sourdough. That worked really well! In fact we loved it!  This dough is amazing! 


This is dough rising in the warm window! Now a regular sight here!


I did some painting.

I juiced a heap of lemons and froze the juice in ice cube trays for in the heat.

Two of my tops needed minor alterations and I did those.

I shopped at Aldi and it was great. The meat was out at wonderful prices.

On the way to the nursing home there is a great op shop so I went in there....  one thing I have been wishing for is some really big tins to store giant fruit cakes in.  I got seven! Three of them are really large! It was under $10 for all of them.  I am making them over so will post a pic next week.
And I got a huge storage jar for $2...


It was fantastic!

I have two lots of sour dough starter in the fridge. One lot is due to be fed mid week and one lot on the weekend. The mid week one I made into buns.


This was an experiment. I filled them with apricot and walnuts. They looked good but I didn't think the dough was sweet enough. Andy however loved them. Now I have read up and will use the recipe I used to use years ago for sticky buns next. They were amazing! If I can convert this I will have a real crowd pleaser!

We added to our preparedness... we got a new and better BBQ and it is wonderful! It has a burner for boiling a kettle etc. I can do anything .... roasts etc.

I learned to make electrolytes from scratch and bought the right salts and froze lemon juice.  Each week I am doing something towards the coming heat and feeling we may not have electricity the whole time.

When I was at the shops I looked in a trendy gift store. It is a great place for ideas. Two things I noted...  one is that hand crocheted dish cloths are in fashion. At $12 each and quite small... The other was hand made soap. They had Goats Milk and Honey. They were both $12.50 EACH, unwrapped too.  So for everyone making soap or thinking about it this is a wonderful gift and worth much more than you think!

Today I am having an at home cleaning and odd job day.  Needed!

I hope you had a great week! How did you save money, get ahead, build up your pantry or any other good things?

Have a wonderful weekend! xxx


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for November Part 2.

That week went fast! This is part two of Show and Tell... it is beautiful to see so many gifts made and ready to go!

First we have Cookie. Boy has she been busy!

This is some of what she made last month! We have tea cosies, a bag, coasters, lip balm...


The painting in the background is an old window that Cookie painted to decorate her fireplace.


I just love the crochet edges on these!





And here Cookie lengthened and embellished a tunic with a crochet border.  I think this is a brilliant idea!  What amazing work Cookie.  Thank you! 


Melissa K used an old photo to make a very special card. This is of her Mum when she was a little girl with her little brother. She has passed away now and Melissa used this to make her Dad this card.
I thought how beautiful. And the idea to use vintage photos .... child hood photos... with copies so easily made these are a beautiful idea for card making!


Vicky cut up an old fur jacket she had and made her Granddaughter a vest. What a gorgeous idea and lovely present! In my craft cupboard I have a fur coat kept for cutting up... now I am thinking a little vest for Harper! 

Mimi had a great month. Go and have a look at her tutorials on A Tray of Bliss. (The link is always on my side bar.) I am planning the soap in January to kick start my new present cupboard!



Sheila made her Mum aprons  in a light fabric just as her Mum requested. They were a custom order you could say! Also Sheila was able to make them from remnants. What a lovely gift!


Thank you so much everyone! I hope you all enjoyed seeing what was made last month as much as I did. Each show and tell has given me new ideas! Most of all each one has warmed my heart. There is something terribly happy about all this creating and industry!

What are you working on at the moment?  Baking is in my immediate future as I have Shortbread, Coconut Ice and Fudge planned.

Mainly now I am wrapping and organising. It has been a busy few days so far!
I hope you are having a good week!  Already I am excited to report a heap of good finds and nest feathering on Friday! See you then! xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Money saving recipes.

Last week I had quite a few money savers. Plus I hope that learning how to keep sourdough and make all kinds of things from this has given me lots of savings in the future.

For my challenge I wrote down...
$300 in savings from DIY painting.
$50 from making up two presents from soaps and my cooking.
$20 from all the gingerbread.
$100 from making all the lunches.
This gave me a $470 total.
I can't believe there are only a few weeks to go and I will know my yearly total!

Last week we were talking about keeping the costs down when taking food to an event, pooled dinner etc. and also when we make gifts of food to give.
Already I have some of your best recipes to share!  There will be a part two and maybe a part three I think.
Anyway tried and tested recipes are wonderful. We have some USA to AU differences in terminology, measurements etc.  Feel free to ask questions. Google can sometimes help. I had to ask google many things such as what is a stick of butter? We don't have those...   Google gives quick weight and measurement conversions, temperature conversions etc.
I have recipes I am going to try for sure and when I do I will post the pictures of those also.
Thank you to everyone for sending in your recipes and photos!
We all feel like we know each other. Somehow it is lovely to see what you cook!


Firstly Rachel shared a recipe she makes. I really like the sound of this.  I don't know how it works but I know some kind of magic happens when you use dates, boiling water and bi carb soda... something sticky and yum!



Eggless Date Roll
                                                     (M. Smith, Imbil, Qld)
                                                       [my variations are in square brackets!]

1 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup sugar [dark brown works well]
1 Tablespoon butter/olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3/4 cup boiling water [1 cup makes it nice and moist]

Combine the above set of ingredients.
--------------------------------------
Add 1 1/2 cups plain flour [freshly milled whole wheat works well] and 1 teaspoon baking powder

Bake in moderate oven 35-40 minutes [25 minutes in a small oven], using a loaf tin.



This looks to me like a lovely thing to make at home, for afternoon tea, or for a gift! Imagine it wrapped in cellophane with a bow. Lovely! 



Now over to Jane...

Tim tam balls
Ingredients.
 1 pkt Tim Tams
1 container cream cheese
Method:
Process biscuits and cheese together. roll into balls. Roll in chocolate sprinkles. place in the fridge to firm up. Try not to eat too many.

This made up 14 golf ball sized balls.

For those without  a processor, crush the biscuits finely then mix with the cream cheese. 

You could use coconut instead of chocolate sprinkles. You could place naked Tim Tam balls in the freezer then cover in melted chocolate.

This basic, delicious recipe, has any number of variations.
Enjoy
Love Jane

Note Aldi Divine biscuits can be substituted.

Now I am glad of this next recipe as it is so useful and there are many variations but it is healthy, economical when Zucchini are in your garden or cheap and can be taken on a picnic, packed in lunch boxes and so on.  This is Jane's Zucchini Slice.




375g zucchini 
1 large onion
3 rashers bacon
1 cup grated cheese 
1 cup SR Flour
1/2 cup oil
5 eggs.
Grate unpeeled zucchini. Finely chop onion and bacon. Combine all ingredients. pour into a well greased lamington tin (I use a lasagna tin). Bake in mod oven 30-40 mins.

We had this for dinner tonight. It's  delicious hot or cold. When the children were small this was a lunchbox favourite.







Now over to Cookie...
These are her Cookie Rolls...
1 cup sugar,
3/4 cups oil or melted butter
4 eggs
4 tsps. vanilla or orange extract
5 cups all purpose flour
5 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. salt.

Filling
cinnamon and sugar( mixed together)
raisins, nuts(optional)
Jelly or preserves
grated apple (optional)
additional oil or butter for brushing.

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix together the sugar,oil or melted butter, eggs, and flavoring.  Add
the dry ingredients and mix well.  (dough can be refrigerated and
brought back to almost room temp if you want to do this in stages.)

Grease cookie sheets.  Divide dough into 3 to 5 pieces and roll each
piece out on a floured surface.  Brush the dough with oil or melted
butter, spread on the jam, sprinkle with raisins, and nuts and apples
if using, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Roll up the dough in
jellyroll fashion, brush top with more oil or butter and sprinkle more
cinnamon and sugar lightly.  Cut into 1/2 inch slices but not all the
way through.  Bake at 350 F. 20-25 minutes or until done.  Remove from
oven and cool slightly and cut all the way through.  (the rolls spread
so leave enough room on the baking sheet to allow this.) Makes about
60


Cookie added some easy instructions down in the comments below and a picture...




CRACK

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Supplies
1 large baking sheet with sides covered with foil that has been greased
Saltine crackers, 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of butter, 1
cup dark brown sugar, 12 oz bag of Heath's bits of brickle, plain or
chocolate covered.

Place the saltines on the foiled covered baking sheet salt side up. In

a saucepan melt the butter and brown sugar together, bring to a boil
and then simmer for 5 minutes.  Pour this mixture evenly as possible
over the saltines and bake for 6 to 10 minutes depending on your
oven..  Remove immediately and pour chocolate chips over the crackers
spreading them as they melt.  Sprinkle with the bits of brickle.  Let
cool to room temp and then refrigerate to harden.  Break into pieces.
These are best refrigerated and keep almost indefinitely (if you can
keep out of them) in the freezer.


Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Supplies
1 lightly greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

For the cake
Mix together one cake mix of your choice (I usually make this with
chocolate or lemon Duncan Hines mix), 1 egg and 1 stick of melted
butter.  Press into pan.

For the filling.
8 ounces of cream cheese softened
2 eggs,
1 stick of melted butter
16 ounces of powdered sugar.
1 tsp vanilla


Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Add
butter and beat.  Add powdered and mix well.  Spread over cake mixture
and bake 40 to 50 minutes.  You want the center to be a little gooey
so don't overbake. Remove from oven and cool completely and cut into
small squares.  I usually get 24 servings out of this recipe as it's
very rich and only a small amount is needed.

If using a chocolate mix you can gild the lily by sprinkling chocolate
chips and nuts on the filling before baking.  When using a lemon mix I
add extra lemon zest and juice or lemon extract to the filling.

Annabel, I costed this one out and it came to about 18 cents per
serving for 24 servings.  Everything used in this recipe was bought on
good sales making it a pretty cost effective dessert. Love Cookie.

Thank you so much Cookie I really want to try this... anything gooey is good with me! 


Now to Cristy... 







Red Beans and Rice from the kitchen of Crafty Cristy
1 pound dry red beans, fully cooked
1 32 ounce can chopped tomatoes, with the juice
1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 ½ cups chopped celery or 1 T celery seed (optional)
4 teaspoons minced garlic or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons pepper
½  teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 cup water or chicken broth
Cooked rice
1 pound smoked sausage, your favorite type

Directions: Prepare red beans until they are soft and ready to serve.
Salt to taste.
Then, combine prepared beans, tomatoes with the juice from the can,
chopped onion, celery, garlic, thyme, oregano, pepper, cayenne pepper
and chicken broth in slow cooker. Cook on low 8 hours.
Prepare 2 cups raw rice and 4 cups water in pot on the stove until
done. Salt to taste. Add butter to taste.
Saute 1 pound smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces until lightly browned.
To serve: Put the cooked rice on the bottom of the plate, spreading
around. Top rice with the bean combination including the juices. Top
that with the sausage. Serve.
If you are taking this for a potluck, then combine the rice, bean
mixture and sausages after cooking each individually. Stir well.
***It is easy to make this recipe spicier, if that is your preference.
Just add more cayenne, and black pepper, or Tony Chachere’s Creole
Seasoning.


This really interested me! Thank you Cristy!


Thank you everyone! Sometimes just one new recipe is a money saver for us. When we find something that the family loves that isn't expensive to me we are on to a winner!

How did you do with your Vicky Challenge or how did you save last week?
I am hoping to get this week off to a good start.  I did a lot of cooking over the weekend and do not have to cook for a couple of nights which I love. I have Christmas things to do. Things to post, things to wrap! 
Have a fantastic week! xxx







Thursday, 1 December 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 2nd December, 2016.

We are now in December and it was the first day of summer here for us. Summer is my challenging season. I am trying to think about the things I do like about it which are swimming and the beach, salads, easy meals and BBQ's....   oh and fruit and making jam and fruit pies! Actually picking fruit would be one of the best things of all!

It has been a really good week and big!  I realise it more when I look at the list I write down.  I keep a kind of dot points list on the fridge or I would get to Friday and if someone asked me what have I been doing I would draw a blank.
Well that is why I jot things down...


Some of the ways I feathered the nest this week include:

Inspired by Mimi's gorgeous soap making I have been saving rose petals and buds.


Just picking them is beautiful. And the scent is heavenly. 


I have a lot of already dried little pink buds and baskets of yellow and white petals.

I also picked a lot of parsley seed heads. I am going to share those around and the excess I give to the birds.

Earlier in the week I made a lot of Gingerbread and made up a gift basket for my Uncle. Instead of Gingerbread men I made Deer.  (ok technically a Moose)


This baking gave us snacks and I gave away packets of biscuits as little presents.

I also packaged up some of the soaps I made in January. This gave me two gifts that I needed this week. I used boxes that are meant for baking. They were perfect! 


This is the very last of the soap I made so in January I will get back to making more.  


Allie helped me for about 6 hours this week. This was a big help! We were talking abut soap making and she went home and made her first batch! She made one with coffee that looked amazing!
Between us we got a lot more painting done.  I reached the end of my 100 day challenge on Tuesday. 
While I did get heaps more done because of the challenge I am not finished painting. I wanted to be finished by December.  I think I have about three days to go.  Maybe over the weekend I will reach the finish line!

Like soap making Sour Dough bread was on my list of things I would like to try/learn.
You know when you have something you would like to try but something holds you back? Originally with soap making it was the fear of the caustic soda.  That turned out to be easy as there are so many good tutorials to follow and so many methods to make soap that it shouldn't stop you.  
With Sour dough my issue was the starter and the mystery of it.
Having mentioned this To Nanna Chel the next thing I know there is a mystery parcel at my doorstep!

Nanna Chel sent me some sour dough starter!  Hers is called Gertrude and as it is alive she thinks it should have a name.  Meet Gertrude...


Andy looked worried. He asked me exactly how well do I know this lady? When I asked why he said "how do you know that isn't Anthrax or something?" 
And this is how I found a name for our starter.  Anthrax.

I followed the instructions and was doubtful thinking I will for sure kill this thing!  Being someone who likes a back up plan I reserved some just incase. 
But two days later it looked like this...


So it was up and running quite happily!

The next day I added flour and water to one part to make what they call the sponge... which becomes your bread. The other part I saved and that is what keeps you going for next time.

I think I was helped by warm weather.  My dough rose happily as well...



First I made plain bread. It was really yum but I think I slightly undercooked it. Five more minutes next time. 



Next I made rolls with some seeds added...


They wouldn't win any prizes for shape etc but they were delicious!
Both times I timed things toward having warm bread at dinner time.  Then I used it in Andy's lunches and froze some.

Today I have a bowl going that looks like the first picture... and tomorrow I am making dough again and rolling it out in polenta for pizza bases.  So hopefully that works.

It has been really fun and interesting. The instructions seemed daunting at first but step by step they just worked!  Thank you so much to Nanna Chel for getting me going!  I can add this to new skills I learned this year.  I am so pleased! You never need to buy yeast as you are farming your own! It is fabulous!

Yesterday I put up the Christmas tree. I am finishing decorating today.  Harper is coming over to play and help :)

I hope you had a wonderful week. How did you build up your nest? Have a lovely weekend. xxx



Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for November. Part 1.

I already have quite a few pictures for November so I thought I would get started on show and tell for the month.  I hadn't even mentioned it yet but everyone is getting in the swing of it!  However my usual notice is that I would love to see what you have been making! It benefits us all! We gather tips and ideas and inspiration. Plus it is motivating to me to know I will be showing you what I made so I am always thinking how I better get cracking!
Please email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com and even projects still being worked on, foodie gifts etc are all welcome!

Being the very end of November we are really getting close to Christmas! But the next few weeks are an opportunity to finish projects, make a few more things and make it to the finish line!
It has been fantastic!  My own present cupboard has been so full and it is wonderful I can go and put together a great gift for almost anyone.

I am already starting to plot and plan what I will make next year. And I will be starting in January like I did this year.

Firstly we have Jane. She says sewing is so joyful for her.  I am amazed by what she gets done even when obviously really busy with heaps of other things.
There are Angels, A Christmas tree, crochet, gift tags ...


Then we have an Australian Christmas romper and Christmas stocking for her little Granddaughter.


Jane also made her new Great Nephew a soft toy and his own first Christmas stocking. And this amazing bag! Truly beautiful work!


Janine S made so many things and she feels that she is not a fast worker! Her display does not show already given Birthday gifts etc. She knows that she has used over 70 yards of fabric this year!


There are still things she has been finishing including toiletries bags and pj pants for her nephews.  There are little outfits, t shirts, socks, placemats and so many things here! What a selection! Well done Janine! I am pleased to say that Janine says she will be doing this again next year and is really happy with the results!  This is what I mean about how things add up!

The range of items Jane and Janine have made could just never be achieved in December alone. The whole year approach is the way to go!
I think also to use the months of the year that you have more time. In winter I just get more crafts done as the garden takes so much more work in summer.  I get some sewing done when it is really hot and I just need to keep busy inside the house.

Mum has been knitting kitchen towels. They are a beautiful cotton. She has also been making things for Harper and the new baby!



Tomorrow I am putting up the Christmas tree! Today I have my first Sourdough bread rising and hopefully cooked in time for dinner.

I hope you are having a good week and am looking forward to seeing what you have been making in November! xxx

Sunday, 27 November 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Saving on food gifts.

My Vicky Challenge last week wasn't very huge but it was ok!
I counted making all the lunches, cutting Andy's hair and quite a bit of painting.
I wrote $345 into my savings book.

My savings topic this week is baking for gifts.  This can also include what to make when we are taking food to a combined event or when you just feel its appropriate to cook for someone.
I used to fall into the trap of feeling I had to spend a lot on these things. This is amazingly obvious but it took an article by Wendy to make me wake up to it!
Then I thought it over. Andy had taken a very expensive platter of food to a family event.  I had taken a huge bowl of trifle to a family dinner.  I noticed the desert was raved over and talked about for a long time so that was a success for sure. The difference between the two costs was over $150!
Wendy was really onto something here!  If you arrive with something generous and delicious that is the main thing.  It does not have to be expensive ingredients to make something that would be expensive in the stores or to be enjoyed by everyone.
Since then a friend was worried as she was asked to bring something to a large gathering and the hostess asked her to make it a cheese platter.  My friend really has a tight budget and a huge cheese platter was going to cost a small fortune. I suggested to her that she ring up and offer to make a giant potato salad instead.  And she did! Everyone loved it and this change saved her a huge amount and she was so relieved!

Chloe makes biscuits as her foodie gift or contribution.  They are delicious and everyone goes crazy over them! For gifts she packages them up nicely.  They are cheap to make and have variations.  I asked her for the recipe.




Butter Biscuits
(this makes around 25 biscuits)
125g butter, softened (this is about one cup or two sticks US) 
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg 
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon milk
Icing sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 180. Line 2 baking trays with paper.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add the egg and mix till combined. Sift flour and baking powder over the butter mixture. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
Roll into balls (I make mine small so like 2 teaspoons of dough) place onto trays (allow room for spreading) and press with a fork to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12-15 mins depending on how big  you made them until lightly golden (I do 10-12 as I like mine kinda squidgy). Transfer to a rack to cool and dust with icing sugar.


These can be varied with a cherry on top, a nut on top, make an indentation and add a dab of jam etc.
180C is a medium to fairly warm oven.

On the weekend I needed a gift for my Uncle.  So I baked Gingerbread cookies. They are one of my go to recipes to give.


I have to apologise as I realised I had made a mistake when I posted this recipe ages ago! I have fixed it now!  The recipe is here.


I made five dozen and packaged them up leaving some for us this week.  These have given me several presents!

My Uncles gift became one of my little Christmas Cakes, a jar of farm honey, a large Gingerbread cookie in the shape of a Moose, a packet of cookies and a bag of my hand made goats milk soap.


He seemed to love it! 

My other go to recipes are shortbread, coconut ice, orange cake, banana cake...
My favourite things to take to a gathering are potato salad, rice salad, a cake or pavlova, nuts and bolts (snack) or a tomato bake that my Nan always made.
A beautiful cake or pavlova is always a massive hit as they look so spectacular!
Baking someone a birthday cake is always an amazing success. This is a great gift!  It makes people feel special!

A little bit of strategy and thinking can be a huge saver here! Using what you have would be the other obvious tip. Contributing or giving something fresh from your garden would be perfect! 

What is your best recipe that is suitable either for gifts or to take to a shared dinner?  Feel free to suggest your ideas and the whole recipe if you would like and lets build a selection of ideas. 
If you would like to contribute a photo as well then email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com and I will put together a future post of these recipes.  Think of taking a photo too as the Christmas season goes on as I would love to see!
Being almost December this is a good time to be thinking about this and suggestions will be so helpful!

When you have recipes in mind you can also accumulate the ingredients over time and keep them on hand. This means you can buy them all on special as well. Kaye keeps a tub especially for her Christmas cooking ingredients and saves them up. I love this!

How did you save last week? I hope you had lots of opportunities to get ahead and do well! 
And I hope this week will be a good one! xxx



Thursday, 24 November 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 25 November, 2016.

Look at the date! One month to Christmas! Happy Thanksgiving to all the US readers as while it is Friday here I know it is still Thursday in the States and it is Thanksgiving. How wonderful to give thanks and celebrate.

It was a quietish week here as I just worked on finishing little areas of painting. I did a small hallway area and my linen cupboards and doors. This really brightened things up and is another bit finished!
Andy is working on the weekend so I will try and finish the new doors and frame and that will be another thing ticked off the list. I am getting there...

Some of the ways I feathered the nest and saved this week were:

Many usual things such as making all the lunches and dinners. So far we have not had takeaway food this year. Last year we have takeaway food one time!

I cut Andy's hair. It was a rug. He must be much cooler now!

I planted more basil and 6 capsicum plants, 2 red, 2 yellow and 2 green.

I have been adding herbs to the big pots we have with trees in them to utilise these spaces.

We have enjoyed flowers in the house as roses are still going and the Hydrangeas are just starting to come out.


I had an exciting parcel in the mail!  Nanna Chel makes sourdough breads. Her blog is Going Grey and Slightly Green which is on my side bar. She really got me back on to soap making with her tutorials.  I was thinking I would give Sourdough bread a try next.  The thing that holds me back is the starter and feeling like it is a science experiment and what if it goes wrong?  WELL yesterday a little parcel arrives and it is some of Nanna Chel's started Gertrude (yes it is alive and has a name!)  and I have been given links to read and learn how to revive this starter then keep it growing and make my bread from this.  Last night I read for hours learning about feeding your starter and making loaves from it etc.
Next week I will get started. I need some bread flour and to get myself organised.  Stay tuned! Thank you Nanna Chel!
Providing I don't mess it up this will make great gifts. My Dad LOVES crusty loaves of bread. I could keep everyone in bread actually!


Today I am up to day 96 of my 100 day challenge! Most days I have painted, prepared an area and/or spring cleaned. It has been a ridiculously long challenge but it turned out to be about right to get all this finished up.  My main goal was to be finished by December and it looks like I will be!


I used mince from the wholesale butcher to make a giant batch of spaghetti sauce. We had this for dinner last night. I simmered it for three hours, the key to the flavour I think.
The rest I divided up into meal sized portions. One lot for the weekend and the others for the freezer.


I chop oregano and parsley from the garden to go into it and a sprinkle on top.  I find this very good in the freezer. It can be a meaty pizza base, over noodles or zoodles, with tacos,  corn chips or even toast.  It is useful and yum.  

Some Christmas presents were wrapped and cards written.

Once a week or so Andy drives past an Aldi. Our local one is still a few months off. So I study the catalogue and he has a list so that if he has time to dash in her gets the best specials we can use. This little system has been a big help and saver! He is there today!  Of all my savings this year Aldi would account for most of them. 

How did you build up your nest this week?   How did you get ahead or save?
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx