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.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Vicky Challenge. And the making of meat pies.

First of all I need to add up my Vicky Challenge!  Last week was another one of those weeks that I got a big surprise about prices in the real world.
After making a lot of pies I thought I had better check on the current prices at the local bakery to be ready for today.
Major shock! It is lucky I didn't guess that is for sure. I found that a plain pie is $4.90 and a potato pie is $5.10!  A family pie is $24.  I was obviously seriously out of touch and hadn't bought one for a while!

So for my challenge this means my 17 individual meat pies were:
13 potato topped pies =  $66.30
4 pastry topped pies= $19.60
1 family sized meat pie = $24.
Total $109.90

When I made these we ate a meal of beef casserole, baked potatoes and sour cream on the first night as well.  So my savings from this cook up were much more than I thought!

I also did regular things, made all the lunches for work and made the fishing day food all of which saves about $150.

I washed up my wool blankets where many people get these dry cleaned.

Made 12 jam tarts.

We had two use it up dinners which were yummy.

And I did my own manicure.
All up I wrote  $345 in my savings book.

My savings subject this week is going to be pies. It is a big saving making them but additional savings come from the fact that you can use up a lot of left overs to make them! Also that many stews, casseroles, savour mince, curries etc can become a pie and you get a really different meal from left overs. And many cold meats that are left over can become a hot meal again in a pie.
The next way they save you is they are so easy to make and are a complete meal in one package. They freeze very well. So they make great meals on busy days and in emergencies.
If you keep basics like these in the freezer you never need takeaway.
A pie is also a lovely gift as it is a whole meal. For someone who lives alone and isn't well I would make a dozen small pies that can go into the freezer and taken out one at a time.

Many men especially seem to just love meat. Pies are a meaty meal they seem to like. Yet they are a meat stretcher! An individual pie is a meal in itself and this is how they are eaten here in Australia, especially at lunch time. But you can serve pie for dinner and add mashed potato and all kinds of vegetables to the plate making your meat go even further.

For kids that are not very good on their vegetables you can smuggle so many into pies as they cook down so basically without knowing it you are feeding them tomato concentrate, onion, mushroom, carrots and whatever else you have added in. You can pack in a lot of goodness.

This is just the way I make pies. It is really easy and I cheat anyway as I always keep puff pastry sheets in the freezer. If you want to make your own pastry then use a favourite recipe instead.

I use my crockpot as to me that is the easiest thing and you get lovely tender meat. However if you make stews or casseroles in the oven then that will work too. I would never make a single serve casserole. I always stretch it or double or triple it and make spare meals or pies.

In this case I made beef pies. I knew I mainly wanted pies but that on the first night we would have this meal as a casserole with baked potatoes and sour cream. So mid afternoon I sunk whole big potatoes in to the mix so I just fished them out for dinner!
This mixture was beef cut up roughly, 3 large onions chopped, about four cups chopped mushrooms, about 1.5 kilos beef (there are 2.2 lbs in a kilo) ) a tin of tomato soup, some soy sauce, heaps of carrots and broccoli... sometimes I use a tin of mushroom soup but I didn't this time... seasoning...

It went all day and at the end I thickened it slightly with some gravy mix. But then it was quite rich and beefy. I break up the meat with a spoon a bit before pie filling.

So on night one we had casserole with baked potatoes. It would have been nice over rice too. Or mashed potatoes or creamy polenta...

I let it cool and put the whole lot in the fridge overnight and made my pies the next day.

If you have a regular recipe for stew or casserole that you like it is going to make good pies! See how you can add more veggies to this and turn it into wonderful pie filling. Left over casserole becomes a whole new meal once in a pie!
Beef is expensive here now. So is lamb. But you can see all the vegetables far outweigh the beef and yet when it cooks down it looks really meaty.

Some other good combinations are chicken or turkey pies.... onion, celery, corn, carrots and a tin of cream of chicken soup. This is so easy and yum! It makes a great casserole and great pies! Or any chicken casserole recipe that you like.

Venison... either a red wine or tomato base and winter vegetables.

Lamb, rosemary, mint, veggies...

Mince (ground beef) tomato soup or tomato puree, gravy, onion, herbs...

Curry... chicken or beef curry makes beautiful pies!

All of the above combinations are so flexible. Do not ever add water to your crockpot unless you're making soup. Thats my tip!

Use flavours your family loves and use what is a good price where you live. Currently here is it cheapest to make chicken pies. Or to simply use up left overs in your pies.

You can also use cooked meat. In this case you can skip the cooking phase as if you use smallish chopped veggies they will cook in your pie. Basically you need to shred the meat or chop it up, add some liquid or gravy (I would use a tin of soup) add your veggies... I would use chopped carrots, celery, a tin of corn, onion... and fill your pastry case.

You want your mix to have a gravy base without being to runny. Think thick casserole consistency.

I used a large sized muffin try to make individual pies. If you have little kids I would make them little ones in the right sized tray for them. Just crease your plates, trays and I always add a square of baking paper underneath. This stops you getting any broken ones.

Then fill them about 3/4 so there is room for topping or pastry topping.

I topped these with mashed potato and a sprinkle of cheese and baked them.

Others I topped with pastry.  These are really small pie dishes so still individual in size.

When I cut my pastry I set aside the cut off bits and these become your decorations. I take no time over this and you can do anything you want. You could cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter and scatter these over the top.  I used to get the girls to make shapes from the offcuts and they would go on top. Boy did we have some interesting decorations!  They would spell words and all kinds of stuff. Or you could put on the initial of each person. Kids love their name things!
For the sake of the freezer I used to put C for chicken or B for beef on pies too.

With the scraps I quickly cut leaf shapes. I am not fussy about this and it's quite random. If you are a perfectionist maybe get a leaf cookie cutter. 
To make a rose just cut a strip maybe 3/4 inch wide and roll it up...

Sit your leaves around your rose. On a larger pie I will do three roses. Squish the rose down a little into the pie and squish the "petals" out just slightly...

This is very forgiving and not an art competition. Its a pie. It all looks pretty good when baked! 

You can brush your pie with a glaze such as egg and milk.  I mist mine with olive oil spray.
Don't forget to seal your edges and prick some air holes.

Don't let perfectionism stop you.

I have a very flexible attitude to the whole process. Whatever vegetables I have in the fridge that need using are going to go into my pie. 
If I am short of pastry I will do pastry bottoms and potato tops. You can do a scalloped potato top. Or sweet potato. Or pumpkin and potato. Or you could use no pastry on the bottom and use a little individual casserole dish and just a pastry top! 

If you intend your pie to be frozen or re heated I would cook them a little light so they are still blonde and not too dark. This means on the reheating day they won't end up looking too dark or dry.

When cold they freeze so well. I pop them into sealed bags and label. 
If I know I am having a busy day I might take a pie out of the freezer in the morning. If I am caught later in the day I will choose individual ones as I can thaw those quickly in the microwave and finish them off in the oven.
When we go away on holidays I might take a pie out of the freezer in the morning before we leave. When we get to our destination and by evening it will have mostly thawed and I will pop it in the oven for dinner. 

Fruit pies are just as easy but another subject. I will do some when we get to summer with fruit coming in.

Another time I will do pasties as you need very little meat for them and almost all vegetables. They also freeze well!

I think our pies are similar to US pot pies...  only portable as they are usually totally encased in pastry and you can eat them in your hand.

I hope pies will help you use up your left overs and give you ready meals and save you money!

How did you go last week in your savings challenge? As usual I learned something and got a surprise with prices! 
Have a great new week! I think we are all experiencing the first signs of a new season! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,
    Thanks for posting the ideas for the meat pies and how you do them. It's always nice to get new cooking ideas and see how different countries make things.
    I look forward to the pasties recipes, as they are much more common up in the north Midwest, than in the West, in the U.S., but such a nice thing for lunches.
    You did great on savings!
    Have a wonderful day.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, I love finding out the US way of doing things. Peach crumble being an example as I never had heard of a crumble!
      We love pasties. With relish! Another handy thing to have in the freezer.
      Have a wonderful week Glenda! With love

  2. Dear Annabel,
    Those look so good I just want to eat one right now. Yes we call these pot pies. It seems that they were very popular when I was a child then fell out of favor for store bought frozen dinners. Recently though it seems that pot pies and casseroles are "in" again. I love this type of food so Ive always cooked this way. Another idea for a pie is to use a flour tortilla for the crust. Ive done that in a pinch and the ingredients dont have to be tex mex type fillings.
    Ive not been keeping up with my actual savings but here are a few things I insourced this week. Sewed 6 napkins and two hot pads from scraps. Crocheted a washcloth. Made lots of smoothies and shakes for son after oral surgery. Did manage all meals but one here at home. Taking care of son was a bit stressfull so hubs picked up supper one night. Did baking as usual.
    Other savings came from shopping. Lots of stores are having 70%-80% sales. I added lots of items to my Christmas shelf and saved a ton. I also bought (clearance priced) high quality shampoo, conditioner, and hair gel to put in the good grooming section of the pantry for my teenagers. And just for fun I bought a beautiful 1,000 piece puzzle from Hobby Lobby using a 40% off coupon. Hubs and I will enjoy putting it together this fall. (We enjoy stay home dates).
    This week will see my oldest starting up the fall semester at college. The other two are getting settled into their homeschool routine. And hubs is working on updating my kitchen with materials that were given to him left over from someone else's remodel.
    Have a great week.

    1. Dear Ginger,
      We have noticed that a lot of old favourites are "in fashion" and it seems the really homey good things. Lamb shanks here have been featured at great prices in restaurants. I think it could be because less people cook and so these comfort foods are thought of as beautiful meals full of memories and people love them! And probably lover many fancy things.
      That is a great tip about using a flour tortilla.
      The napkins and hot pads sound lovely!
      I hope your son got on ok with that surgery. And your oldest son gets on well with going back to college. Getting back into a good routine is excellent.
      A kitchen re model sounds very exciting! How nice to be given materials you can use!
      All up that was a really good week as the massive savings were so good! It is not very often I see 70/80% off. These are the times to stock up! Well done Ginger, with love,

  3. Dear Annabel,
    My mouth is watering! I used to make chicken and vegetable pies quite a lot and would serve them with veg and mashed potato. Like you said, we would have casserole one night and make pies with the leftovers. Although I don't buy meat anymore, we eat it on special occasions, I found a joint of lamb in the bottom of our freezer, given to us by a friend I think I'll shred that and make some pies. Yesterday I made those Chinese custard tarts, some mini quiches and 4 large apple tarts with some soft apples. I love a good baking day! Have a great week xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      I need to head over to your blog and see if you post pics of these tarts. I love custard tarts and I want to know what is the Chinese influence on them and the recipe if you are sharing it. Sounds beautiful. And a treat. Your baking day sounds wonderful.
      A lamb pie would be really good. Or with lamb cut up you could also do pasties then it is mainly veggies with a little meat.
      Have a great week Mel. With love

    2. Hi Annabel,
      The Chinese custard tarts are traditionally served at Yum Cha. They are a really flaky buttery pastry with a baked egg custard in the middle. So yummy. I only bog on Wednesdays and Sundays and the tarts will be in Sundays post. xx

  4. Annabel, you are correct in saying this is what we in the U.S. call pot pies. Your instructions are very good. Thanks for doing the tutorial, I picked up a couple of tips that will make the process easier! Now to carve out some time and do some freezer cooking in the form of pot pies!!!!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      It seems like we have similar things and often with different names! When a lot of veggies are coming in from the garden I think Pasties would be good as they are mainly vegetables. Just a little bit of meat in those. I am think of making some next! I think wait and do this when the harvesting and canning is over! Its a nice thing to do in winter... make pies and casseroles etc. With love

  5. Dear Annabel,

    Thanks for the pie recipes. This is something I wish to make when I have a little more energy. I would probably not use tins of soup as we never tend to stock them in the house any more since the last time we used a tin it was flavourless.

    I brought home my new little boy from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, although we then ended up in intensive care due to jaundice. I went public and for the whole pregnancy and birth was probably out of pocket about $100 so I would regard that as a saving of about $10000 last time I was told the out of pocket private hospital and obstetricians costs! I did find out the hard way that my only food choice was to purchase food at the dreadful hospital cafe. Luckily we were only there for one day instead of three as expected. So maybe I only saved $9880.

    Now little boy is home we are eating either super simple meals or ones which were frozen beforehand. His arrival was complicated by my husband having to start a new job with night shifts for the rest of the year but we have only succumbed to takeaway once.

    I have also saved money by having enough gender neutral clothes for the first three months that I have only had to buy a few warm things new for about $30 and also bought 6 boy items at local op shops for the grand total of $7. As one of the items was from Pumpkin Patch I must have saved well on just that one thing.

    My next task is to declutter all my outgrown girls clothes and retrieve anything from the pile which could be for a boy and then to keep an eye out in op shops for boys clothes as he won't last in them for long!

    Thanks for your post,


    1. Dear Allie,
      Congratulations on your new baby boy! That is wonderful news! I am sorry you had the little set back with the jaundice and hope you are all doing really well now.
      No wonder you are low on energy now though. Now is the time to get as much rest as you possibly can.
      We are lucky with some lovely soups and they are a really handy flavour base but you can use stock, gravy and anything that goes i.e. tomato paste, puree, canned tomatoes... in turkey pie I have put a jar of cranberry and in lamb I have put a jar of mint jelly... and so on.
      I hope you are all settling in with the new baby and he is thriving. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your news (and big savings too!) Love

    2. Thank you Annabel! He is absolutely beautiful too :)

      And thanks for the extra tips. I'm only in Sydney and we used to have tinned soup sometimes when I was younger but last time we tried one it looked the right colour but had no flavour at all!

      However, when things settle here I shall pull out the slow cooker and experiment with your suggestions.


  6. Annabel, your pies look wonderful! And so easy to make. Thank you for the instructions.
    At what temperature do you bake them for and for how long?

    1. Dear Laurie it is impossible to say since all our pies will be different sized pie dishes, thicknesses and fillings. So the main thing is to do a medium oven not too hot or your pastry gets too dark and your pie doesn't cook. So think medium oven and cook until lovely and golden. That usually works out just right. You can always cook on a lower temperature and turn it up a bit if it needs to brown more. Also as I said do them a bit lighter if you plan to re heat them so they don't end up too dark. I hope you get on well. Thank you so much! xxx

  7. Dear Annabel, thank you for another wonderful blog post today. There are so many possibilities with pies and they are yummy, economical and popular.
    My savings this week include : winning a meat tray consisting of steak and sausages , saving about $75 .
    Received 4 serves of homemade soup from my mum $20
    Received a medium sized chicken and leek pot pie made by mum, $12 savings
    Received 4 meals from my parents $30
    Made 3 cards to give as part of a small gift $12
    Subsidised social support ( someone to go and do shopping for me ) a saving of about $15 in taxi fares if I had to go by myself and a saving of $20approx if I had to pay a professional company.
    I saved about $45 in taxi fares by getting rides with my parents.
    I bought steak knives half price , saved $20.
    Didn't have to buy bird seed as I have plenty in my stockpile , saving $5 approx.
    I think that is it for the week Annabel. Total savings this week approx $230
    Thank you again for a lovely post today Annabel , have a great week everyone. Love BarbW

    1. Barb, it is always lovely to read your work! Your family sounds wonderful!
      Regards, Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Barb,
      You had great savings and it was awesome winning that prize! What a big help to have someone to take you shopping. Taxis are a big expensive so avoiding them is great. Well done and I hope you have another really good week! With love,

  8. Annabel this is a very informative post with lots of great pie ideas. When the kids were still at home we had a pie maker, similar to a toasted sandwich maker. The kids used to make some very interesting pies. A favourite of theirs was baked beans with some bacon and a whole egg. I liked leftover chicken in cream of chicken soup with celery and broccoli. When our son left home the pie maker went with him. Might have to re visit our pie making skills.

    1. Dear Jane, You have reminded me how good egg and bacon pies are! I forgot about those!
      I know the pie makers. They are a very good thing especially for hungry teens who need food and need it in a hurry! Its a good one that your son left and took the pie maker with him! He must have loved it!
      Have a good week. I hope your little Granddaughter is doing very well! With love

  9. Hi Annabelle

    Those pies look delicious! I usually do mine in stock and then add a roux to thicken it up. Beef is on offer this week here so I am going to get one and use it for pies.

    I have had huge savings here this week. I looked on eBay like you said for the Victorian ornaments and they range from £15-£50!! With the flower arranging equipment I have easily saved £800.

    With the free food we have got from the allotment and the fresh produce from my parents and in laws garden we have easily saved another £140

    I have repaired 2 cardigans and 2 blouses which have saved me £150 if I were to buy them again new.

    One of the things I am most excited about this week is a treat I have bought myself from eBay. I love candles but they have got really expensive here. I decided to buy some stuff for me to make my own. I looked on eBay and there was a 'job lot' it includes so so much and I got it for £7.50!! It was a local pick up but it was by my brother and sister in laws house 3 hours away. Well I spoke to my sister in law and I am having my niece and nephew for a few days this week so she is sending it up with my parents for me. I will send you a photo of the goodies. From what I can tell j have had a saving of over £250!

    Have a wonderful week Annabelle xx

    1. Dear Laura,
      I had an idea those ornaments might be collectable... they will probably increase in value over time as well!
      All the produce you have had come in has been the most wonderful bonus!
      The candle making supplies sound amazing! It was so handy you had someone nearby that could collect it all! That is fantastic! You are going to have a lot of fun with that! Well done! You might make thing for yourself and for gifts and supplies which would be a win win win!
      That was a great week Laura! With love

  10. Hi Annabel!

    You've done it again! Never mind that your pies are so pretty! ..... the flavour and satisfaction wrapped up in the pastry make meat pies a fun meal! Thank you for all the effort you've put into sharing your pie work!! I'm still thinking about mint jelly/sauce in lamb pie ..... sounds tasty!!

    How did I save/get ahead in the last week? Well, we are in the long, arduous foundational stages of putting basics in place before we can see fruits of our labours. Where we've been weeding is likely to become our chook zone. That will take more time and effort! I dream of plenty of eggs for baking and lemon butter!! Maybe, just maybe, if you carry on the Vicky Challenge next year, I might have enough to go on to produce the savings and value-adding that I am aiming for. We'll see!! Meanwhile, my parsley garden is gradually growing, and today I noticed almond blossoms - supposed to be the first to bloom in spring! We're relishing the warmer days, and our work benefits also. It's foot work time!! I have plenty of ideas and challenges. We don't really have time for our shopping!!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      We are seeing blossoms too and have had a couple of very spring like days including today. It is so much easier to work outside in this weather.
      Chooks would be wonderful. An investment that will keep on giving and saving. I will look forward to you getting to the next stage with this project!
      I think the parsley will take off with spring as well as everything else! Have a wonderful new week Rachel! With love

  11. Dear Annabel,
    You pies look delicious. Many thanks for posting the recipes of how you make them. Having something deliciously homemade and encased in pastry is going to make a wonderful meal. I've bought one of those electric pie makers that make individual pies a number of years ago but have only used it for fruit pies or to make quiches in. It will be a really good thing to use to have a meat pie and not heat up the kitchen.

    My Vicky challenge this week included a trip, with a list in hand, to Costco to restock OTC items and some pantry and freezer items. For the things like aspirin, neosprin, airborne, etc. in bulk I made sure each item had at least a 2 year expiration date on them. In quantities like Costco sells I really have a 2 year supply of most things. A large litre of the olive oil I like which is about $17 in regular stores was $8 there, the Kirkland coffee was $9 for 3 pounds rather than other brands on the outside that were $7 for 1 pound. I counted my savings by making a trip to Costco at about $300.

    The garden is continuing to produce well, despite the high temperatures and humidity. The zucchini is producing like mad and I harvested 15 pounds of it just this week. My garden is organic and zucchini is $1.89 a pound at the organic farms, so I counted it as a $28 and some change savings. Having so much zucchini to me is a wonderful gift as it's such a versatile vegetable. I have dehydrated some, made pickles, bean free hummus for dips, this week 3 chocolate zucchini loaves to freeze and 1 to serve, cream of zucchini soup base for the freezer to be enjoyed this winter, zucchini relish, and some dairy free cheese that appeared on Pinterest, zoodles in place of pasta, the list could go on and on. I also dehydrated a quart of okra and froze 2 more quarts of green beans.

    We had overnight guests for 4 nights last week and all meals were served at home with the garden providing the side dishes and things that had been premade and frozen for the main meals. They were here for some classes and not with us during the day, which is the reason many things got accomplished. We also enjoyed watching the Olympics with them in the evening. I also shared how to make the simple soap with the goats milk.
    I put in my book a $450 savings this week. I'm so glad I joined the challenge and can tangibly see the value of things I've done but have always just taken forgranted as just all in a days work. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, What a good stock up you had. Good idea on checking the date on things too.
      It is wonderful about the garden. All that zucchini is amazing! I agree you can use it in so many ways.
      Thank you for saying how the challenge has worked for you. I feel the same many things are things I always do and I have always been busy. I have had people say to me "oh so you're a lady of leisure" and asked me if I feel bad about not contributing financially! So this challenge has really helped me see how huge the financial contribution is! I think it has opened my eyes in a lot of ways. I have found more ways to save too as I have gone along!
      Well done on such a good week even with guests. The garden has really helped get you ahead with food. Wonderful! With love

  12. These just look so delicious I will have to try them. I think your rose decorations are what makes them look that way! Have a great day!

    1. Thank you Vickie! They are super easy which is a big bonus! xxx

  13. Hi Annabel,

    Those pies look delicious! Thank you for all the ideas and tips to make them ourselves. I know what you and others mean by being out of touch with current pricing for husband and I were in the city on Saturday and we thought we'd go for a "treat" together for a change, and were shocked by the prices...and then when you eat/drink it think to yourself, "This tastes so much better at home!" :) Sort of spoils the "treat". :)

    Thanks to everyone for your well wishes for my feels so much better, even if it still looks gruesome. :)

    We got a day of rain, yesterday!! And today is still a bit drizzly, so no gardening today... The washing machine needs a new part which my husband is ordering today to do the work himself (which will save us beaucoup $$), but it's out of commission, so no laundry to do...I guess it's baking and homeschooling and helping my girl progress with her dress! Sounds fine to me!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen,
      Sometimes the current prices are not such a great surprise! Yikes!
      Gruesome is, I am pretty sure, not a good state for your thumb. I hope it is ok. Be careful about it.
      I hope the rain is great for the garden. And I hope the washing machine repair is soon! Have a great week Jen, with love

  14. I live in the U.S. and my Mom used to always make what we called meat pie. Basically the same - just a yummy think meat/veggie interior and a nice crust over it. It was everyone's favorite, especially my hubs.

    Mom would always make a big one for Sunday dinners and a small one to send home with us! My brothers were always envious!!!!

    I have made them a few times since she has passed, and they are good - but not as goods as Mom's!
    I always make extra crust -on the side - as we love the taste of the crust with all the inside yummies.

    Have a great day.

    1. Dear Cheryl,
      I love your Mum and the way she would send a pie home with you. My Mum does that! Keep on making them and yes I like the crust too ... its the crisp with filling and lovely.
      Much love

  15. Thank you for the tutorial. Your meat pies do look very much like our pot pies. I haven't made a pot pie in a very long tim and your look delicious!

    The main way I am saving money is staying out of the grocery store. When we thought we were going to move I realized just how much food I have on hand that needs to be used. I also am finally realizing how little two people eat and that I do not need to keep so much on hand as I have trouble keeping up with expiration dates too often. I cannot assign a number to it but I have only purchased fresh foods for many weeks and that has cut the budget by about half.

    1. Dear Lana,
      Yes keeping ahead of expiration dates is a big job and I am having to learn to rotate and keep on top of that. It is great you have saved so much money lately. I am sure that will come in handy in another area!
      Pies are a winter thing to me. Maybe in winter stews and pies will be back for you! With lots of love,

  16. Puff pastry is actually diabetic friendly pastry. I must be sure to pick some up from the store next time I'm in and keep it on hand! I LOVE pot pie but I've avoided since diagnosis with diabetes but I think I could manage a nice one with the puff pastry. And you did such a beautiful job making them pretty! I had left off counting up my savings in a cash value way but I did salvage some pieces from a dresser John wanted out of his music room. I'm going to turn the frame of that piece into record/CD storage and have our player on top of it. That means I can move the dresser we have now into the bedroom, so moving one piece out meant I now have two much needed pieces for two different rooms and I'll say that's got some good value there!

    1. Dear Terri,
      If you make the pies with just the tops or just the bottoms I think it is fine as the filling is largely protein. Thank you for your comment on them!
      It is lovely to salvage something to repurpose it! It can take a bit of inventiveness but I love the sound of that. Well done! With love

  17. You make them look so good, I was wondering how you made the roses, so simple yet so pretty.

    1. Dear Tealady, they are so simple I think I have blown any illusions of cleverness related to roses on pies! But many things are like this, just a simple trick and once you know you're set! I love that! I just found out some new tips on pastry which Im going to show. The result is so professional and once you know the secret its an ahaha moment! With love

  18. Annabel, what a beautiful post. Honestly, those pies are just so sweet looking. I can tell you made them! I love the roses and I love the idea of decorating them. It's these things that are most memorable and thoughtful. I really love the idea of your flavour combinations. Lamb and mint- yum, or chicken curry- delicious! Also, I like that there are so many toppings you can do, great suggestions Annabel, like the pumpkin or sweet potato etc. I never knew about freezing them, and it is such a great idea. I learn so much from your blog. Your cooking always looks delicious and such a comfort. I just know that anyone that eats your food, feels loved. I'm about to make a chicken pie for tonight. I have confidence now. Thank you for making a difference in my life and in my family! Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Pies are really great for bring back leftovers in a new way. Usually no one even suspects they have seen this before! Left over meat can really go a long way in a pie as well. If you take a pie out of the freezer and head off on holidays it is about right that evening to put in the oven for the first nights dinner! It is a very easy meal. Try making the roses... little clusters of them look really nice! Good luck! I hope to hear you become a famous pie maker at your house! with love Annabel.xxxx

  19. Thank you so much for sharing how you make a beautifully decorate your meat pies. I used to love to eat pot pies, as they are called here in America, as a child. They were comfort food for me. I still pick them up occasionally when I am feeling down. I'm thinking I may just make some of my own. :)

    1. Dear Debbie,
      They are so easy and good. As you can see I do a big lot at a time. A good meal in the freezer is a great thing too. Thank you very much! Love

  20. Annabel, your pies look so delish, yum. I love the way you decorate them - it makes them so special. As a child my Nana would make THE BEST apple pies and they were always decorated on top with pastry leaves, I'm sure the tastiness came in the leaves :-).
    I use my piemaker all the time to use leftover bolognaise, but never think to freeze any of pies. I need to change my ways though, as I found a pack of commercial pies in the freezer and we had them the other week as a quick, no take away meal - in a word, YUCK!!, though it seemed a good idea at the time of purchase.
    This weeks Vicky Challenge (for the things I remember)- 1. painted our newly renovated laundry with paint bought on sale for $10/4litres, estimate we saved $200 on painting (took 2 days with a lot of prep)+ $20 on paint
    2.received 4 huge agapanthus plants from a friend, $50.
    3.saved $10 at Coles on 5 items purchased
    4.saved $15 on prescriptions from Chemistwarehouse.
    total savings $295
    Have a great week

    1. Dear Janine, I love the sound of your Nana's app pies!
      I always think it is just as easy to make tow or three of something while Im at it. That really helps me get ahead. And they do freeze very well.
      Well done on getting the laundry painted! That is a big job! Great savings for the week! Have a good week again this week! With love

  21. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you so much for sharing the pie tutorial! My husband was reading your post with me and said your pies look delicious, and I agree! I think all the men would love a meat pie.
    For the Vicky Challenge, I saved $358.55. I was telling my husband how much I was saving by cooking his breakfast, packing his lunch, and sending him a thermos of coffee each morning. He said my estimate was not enough! So we figured it to be about $15 per day. This is $300 a month! $3600 a year! Just for doing three things each morning. I was very happy to see that and it is extra motivation in the early hours of the day.
    Other ways I saved were by making pitchers of iced tea each day for a treat, arranging native flowers in a bouquet for the table, purchasing note books and craft supplies on sale, making a key lime pie, and I purchased two nice skirts at the thrift store on half off day, bringing my total to just under five dollars. I also did the usual cooking and cleaning.
    Annabel, isn't that something about the "lady of leisure" comment above? I laughed because we all report each week about what we have done, and we have always accomplished a lot and have been so busy. My visit with my high school friends was very interesting. I was telling them about our move and all we have done, that I have never been so busy as I am here at the ranch. I just got blank looks from them, as if what could I possibly do all day at home? Lol, I thought, oh well never mind. It makes me even more thankful for communities like this where homemakers encourage one another. I am glad to be part of it!
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      It is so good you world out these sayings early on. Your effort just added $3600 to your yearly income! Most people would consider that a decent pay rise!
      The flowers and iced tea sound lovely!
      When I think of all you have done and how far you have come plus your daily life at the farm I think how busy you are! No blank stares here! It is funny what people place a value on.
      Well done! It sounds like you are getting into a new routine with work and farm life. I was thrilled when you said you now only need to buy specials as you are far enough ahead! With love

  22. Hi Annabel,
    Please forgive me for being tardy! I just wanted to pop in and say hi to everyone. Your meat pies look so yummy, better than anything I have ever seen at a store. And we do get sticker shock! It just truly amazes me when I see people but things they could easily cook at home. One of my indulgences is flavored rice or noodles in the packets, but I always stock up when they're on sale cheap. I hope everyone has a god rest of the week.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I know you have been busy busy busy! You have a good week too. I know you are on to tomatoes! With love

  23. Hi Annabel,

    Thanks heaps for your wonderful post. I love baking and eating pies as much as reading about them. So you made my day writing and sharing lots of tips on how you make your pies. Didn't think of using my slow cooker to make casserole type fillings. You helped me to save time and money on that. Please don't laugh at me. When I did potato toppings, I used to boil them separately and mashed them while making the filling in another pot or pan unless I used leftovers. Gee .... no place to hide my face. Lol!

    I love most of your ways of doing things. Sometime back I bought a small cutter set which I use to cut small shapes to place on tops of pies and cut veggies for my soups & broths etc. As you keep saying, meals look lovely and appealing when you give them a 'feminine touch'.

    I already have started recording my savings though I couldn't do it properly all the time due to various reasons. It's an eye-opener. I'm wholeheartedly grateful to you and Vicky for sharing the Vicky Challenge. I had no idea how much I have saved all this years by doing lots of things which I thought was "well, it had to be done so I did it". At least I'm happy I had a good attitude towards this sort of work but recording them was unbelievable. Last time we went grocery shopping I managed to save almost the same amount of money we spent on purchases just by shopping at Aldi and a fresh food market. It's not the same knowing you saved some money and how much you saved when it was on paper. So, thank you once again for getting us on board.

    With lots of love,

    1. Dear Millie,
      Thanks very much! Well I just put in tow giant potatoes with the casserole to go with our dinner as that is fine plus any other veggies for dinner. But I have several crockpots. So if I want mash potato I do one whole crockpot just of potatoes and mash them in that crockpot to go with whatever else or on top of the pies. Just put in whole or sliced potatoes and a little water... maybe half a cup. Let go all day and mash! For scalloped potatoes slice them and pour over milk or cream and cheese.
      I love that you are prettying up your pies!
      Thank you for what you said about the challenge! It is a continual eye opener for me too! And Aldi is a big help to me. Each year I have identified one big thing that has really saved us. Last year it was changing to a chemist warehouse. This year it is Aldi for sure!
      Thanks so much! With love
      oops PS when you mash the potatoes then add the milk or butter you need. xxx

  24. OH my goodness these are beautiful and that beef casserole in the slowcooker is mouthwatering to look at.

    Would you share your pie crust recipe? It looks so flaky! Mine never turns out like that.

    1. Dear Karla, I am terrible at pastry! I buy frozen sheets when on special and always keep several packets on hand so that if I have leftover meat, casserole etc I can quickly turn these into a pie. Even eggs and bacon can become a quick pie. This is cheating I know but it is worth it to me as I am not a good pastry maker but Im an ok casserole maker! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I hope you have pie success. They are so handy even making a lovely gift! With love

  25. Loved this post, have pinned it too! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth! :)

    1. Thank you Jes! These meat pies I froze have already been very handy! xxx


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