The books contained recipes from both Nans, Mum and me. There were tips on all kinds of things and many photos, mementos and even Birthday cards given by my Mum to her Mother and so on.
So now I am adding to the books!
First I make some recipe cards and gave Chloe some of my more recent recipe suggestions, many of these are slow cooker recipes. I decorated these with stamps given to me by Barb.
When life is busy and especially when you have a baby and little children nothing is a help like the slow cooker.
If you want to get started on Slow Cooking this is an early post on some slow cooking basics Your number one handmaiden.
and part two Crock pot cooking series part 2. After that there are lots of posts, see my index Crockpot cooking series...
So this is my number one helper. Having soups, stews, baked apples, curries, etc going is so good and most of your work is done when that busy time arrives late afternoon, early evening.
These things are all good winter meals. In summer I still use my slow cooker as who wants the oven on? Even if we are having a BBQ I might have filled the slow cooker with corn or potatoes for an easy side dish in the evening. And when there is fruit I stew lots and freeze portions and in the slow cooker.
All your winter stews/casseroles always add lots and lots of veggies! Make it go as far as you can with sides like rice, mash, rolls, pasta... anything! Your left over casserole will make the most beautiful meat pie fillings! Pies seem to be a completely different meal and they freeze so well for when you need something fast. Also you can make child sized ones in muffin trays or family sized ones. Casseroles, Pies and Curries.
If your slow cooker is really baked on and messy oil it with hot water and a dishwasher tablet or some fabric softener. Ignore it until the next day. Then it will clean so easily.
Actually this applies to most baking dishes.
This is my Grandmother (Dad's Mum) Ivy.
Harper is Harper Patricia (my Mum) Ivy.
Meat is pretty expensive to VERY expensive. I go between a few main ways to save on meat. My husband loves his meat and I do too...
Method 1. Buy the best deals and markdowns and know your prices. Check the fresh meat section, the deli section AND the frozen section of your supermarket. The difference across these can be huge. See if you have a wholesale butcher near by and sign up for the specials. At the moment here the best buys are chicken, pork and roast lamb. Lamb is really expensive unless you buy a leg and then I can get it at $8 a kilo. Otherwise I can get port at $4.50 a kilo and chicken for less. Yet it is also easy to pay $44 a kilo for lamb. So it is not just the type of meat is it the cut. Knowing all this I still watch for mark downs as well.
If you buy roasting cuts then you also have your own deli meat for lunches. So you can buy a leg of ham for $8 a kilo and slice your own or pay $22 a kilo or more for shaved ham. That is so much difference. Small packets of deli meat are even more some up to $40 a kilo.
Method 2. Serve meat with a ton of sides. A curry it easy to do this, by the time you serve Naan, raita, salad and rice it is amazing how much actual meat you need. This continually amazes me.
Our Nan's served a roast with many veggie sides, stuffing, Yorkshire puddings, gravy... the meat itself went a very long way. They knew what they were doing!
Method 3. Use a small amount of a stronger flavoured meat to give the impression of meat but really there is hardly any. Bacon is awesome for this a few bits of bacon in a salad and a man might like it lol or some chorizo in a pasta or some salami on a pizza..... it is just a bit but it packs a big punch.
This page is in Lucy's book. It is a page about having a dress up box.
Dress ups were a major hit at our place and I had enough for all friends to dress up too.
Set aside or hide your left overs. If you want this all to become tomorrows lunches, sandwich meat or a freezer meal make it disappear so it doesn't get hoovered up before you have a chance. I hear this problem a lot!
Don't waste bread. If you always have bread going stale divide it up and free portions. Otherwise put left over bread to good use! I have heard of people that buy a loaf a day and throw out half of it.
Here are some uses for left over bread... Never waste one slice of bread.
Use up all left overs. If you keep a bag in the freezer for odds and ends for soup or stock then even the ends of a bunch of parsley or the leaves of a bunch of celery will be wonderful and almost free goodness for your next cook up. Restaurants don't throw these out they would soon go broke! The same with bones, left over veggies etc. It is all valuable.
When you make something make extra. If I bake cakes, biscuits, scones, anything I am not just going to bake one batch. Always double (or more) and freeze some.
If you are roasting veggies add a lot more and the next night use them in a pizza, frittata, salad.
If you have left over stone fruit this is a good recipe to use it up Economical and yummy cake.
This recipe is for sweet or savoury muffins and will turn almost any bits and pieces into lunch box fillers... Miracle Muffins. And they freeze perfectly!
When you are a bit low on food have a baking day. Scones and pancakes are great fillers when the budget is low. So is soup. A little bit of ham or bacon is enough to make fried rice or a pizza. You can extend a lot and seemingly make something out of nothing! There are some cheap recipes here The Money Saving Baking Day.
If your home needs a brighten up a day of cleaning and re arranging makes a world of difference. Clean windows do too. It is amazing what a difference a day can make!
I use a timer all the time. I will put it on to remind me about the oven but also for many other things like to put the washer on, bring clothes in, anything! So many times that timer reminds me of something I have already forgotten.
If you can get more done in ten minutes when you hear a visitor is coming then use this technique to get lots done. Put on your timer for ten minutes and go go go! Flylady has it that you put on your timer for 15 minutes. She says you can do anything for 15 minutes. And it works. If it is something you really hate than put it on for five! It will still get done!
Many times getting things done can be helped by thinking about the order we do things in. Some things are obvious like getting the washing hug out and it will be drying while you are doing other things. But thinking about the order you do things can really be helpful. There is a post here The order of the day.
Another helper is to get your handmaidens working. When I get up I like to get the dishwasher, slow cooker, washing machine and often the mix master going. Get all your helpers working! While these are working I can get on with other things. This really gets things moving!
Both books have stores about the Great Grandmas and photos.
I also wrote up the family tree as far back as I could get.
In school holidays we would have re arrange the bedroom days. The girls loved this! They would dream up a new place for the bed and furniture and we would shift everything. It was a spring clean and total new look. They loved it. It was a win win for me. Sometimes this all took three days of activity and the end result was a "new room" normally it was just a zero or low cost makeover.
Another school holidays activity was a baking day. This was usually one or two days before school went back. We would bake, decorate and package lots of lovely things for school ad some for friends. It added to the freezer too. As they got older the part they did became more and more so they learned a lot. Decorating biscuits and cakes was the most popular though. We did Gingerbread girls wearing bikinis and other mad things.
A fast and massive lift is to make your kitchen/dining room table loo beautiful. Plus on a tablecloth or runner, some flowers or an arrangement of things in the centre and set it nicely. This always looks so nice.
Keep bars of soap in your linen press and blanket box to make everything smell lovely. Dove pink soap is perfect for this and cheap! It smells so good! Then you always have spare soap and when you open the doors things smell heavenly.
I am always hearing "my family won't eat leftovers"
And "my family insist on brand name products"
When you go to a restaurant you are likely to be eating left overs. They don't waste anything even the onion skins and celery leaves are used. Left over roast veggies might become soup....
If you are inventive with left overs no one knows they are left overs! And don't tell them either. That casserole is now "shepherds pie" or "beef and mushroom pie" and those veggies are now "gourmet pizza" ... you get the idea!
This is along the lines of when someone says they will never buy thrift store linen. They imagine the linen in a hotel is brand new every night! No, it is just washed!
I use decanters, jars and tins. In go my Aldi (or other bargain) products. No one has ever known what brand I am buying as packets are history fast and they have always just eaten what is in m containers. No questions asked. This can be a good way to save a fortune.
Keep a gift, card and wrap cupboard. When there are sales stock up on all of these things or make them. This will save so many trips to the shops and a fortune.
When choosing a recipe think of what you have rather than what you are dreaming of. Apple muffins are really just as good as blueberry and a fraction of the price.
If there is something you run out of that sends you to the store regularly stock up on it. We keep fresh milk but also long life, canned and powdered. I am not going to the store for one thing.
Keep a good pantry and never pay full price for anything. When you get ahead then you will be able to just wait for the next sale cycle. Then stock up. This means you are paying half price for all your regular items. What a saving.
Also know your substitutes or learn to use the internet to find them. If you run out of something find something you can substitute.
Stain treat things straight away. I have soaking buckets so that anything with a mark is soaking until it is washed. If anyone has a stain they can't get out guess where it comes!?
Never put clean dry clothes in a basket. A basket is a crease machine! Even lightly creased things will come out of there deeply creased! I dry things on hangers and fold from the line. Never add crumples this defies logic! It is making so much work! It is like punching yourself in the head.
When you go from one room to another take things with you. So much putting away happens automatically then.
Ask and you shall receive.... if you are wishing for a slow cooker, a bread maker, anything... tell your family and friends. Most likely someone will have one they never use and give it to you. This applies to canning equipment, jars, fruit, herbs, veggies, yarn, fabric and pretty much anything. Put the word out there. You will be amazed.
That is enough for today! I already lost one whole blog post as my laptop seems to be playing up.
What are your best household tips? I love to find new ones. Sometimes ONE tip can be a game changer. A couple of years ago one tip from The Cheapskates Club saved me $600 that year and has ever since. These are the times you think WHY didn't I think of that!?
I hope you are having a good week! Busy here. I have three fruit cakes in the oven and the timer is on! xxx