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 9 June 2016

Feather your Nest Friday, 10 June, 2016.

It has been a busy week! Also cold and wet! Most of the week was stormy and much of Australia had severe storms and floods.  Here we were fine and the rain is good for the farm but others weren't so fortunate. I hope everyone is safe and sound.

Some of the ways I saved money were:

Last weekend I made the last of my cheap bananas into more cakes and shared those around plus added to freezer and the weeks lunch box meals.

This weeks soup was pumpkin as I got a lot on a good special. Pumpkin is hard to cut up that is the only downside! Usually this takes me ages and my arm is sore so this put me off.
So I listened to Jamie Oliver and did it his way. We had a roast Monday night and before I turned the oven on to pre heat I put all the chunks of pumpkin in the bottom of the oven. It was already cut into big chunks... (I chose those as easier than whole pumpkins!)

I cooked a big leg of lamb which we got several meals and lots of cold meat from for lunches. I left the pumpkin in the whole time and also after I took the lamb out in the residual heat.

Next morning I got it out. It sliced like butter! And the soup turned out darker and richer. It was wonderful. I added two sweet potatoes and onion to the soup. I do all soups in the crockpot.

Before I blended it at the end of the day I fished out a couple of cups of the pumpkin and set it aside.

Soup was my lunches plus I got ten containers to freeze and I gave Chloe three of them. 

The next day I used the pumpkin I set aside and made three dozen large scones (biscuits) to go with soup meals and snacks.  They turned out so nice! You can add a cup of mashed pumpkin to your usual recipe. I did two large cups over the recipe x four. (eight cups SR Flour)
I am truly hopeless at scones. For years I tried and could not make them. My Nan stood over me and watched and said "these cannot fail" and they still did. 
So to my scones I add egg plus extra baking powder and now they rise! This was the cure.

Most of these were frozen. Andy took one a day to work. The girls got some. I ate them for breakfast...

The next day I had two crockpots going. Butter Chicken in one which made two meals. And baby food in the other. I used lamb bones, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, carrots and broccoli.  At the end I added a cup of pasta and let it cook in the juices then removed it and set that aside as a little addition to meals for Harper. Last I removed the bones and left a little bit of meat on them as she will also sit and chew a bone for about an hour!  Then I blended the veggies and meat.  I got 45 portions! 
So healthy, with bone marrow and broth....  not a drop is poured away or wasted. In the shops this is $110 worth of baby food approx but I think this is much healthier than bought stuff. 

I freeze in muffin trays, then trip them out into large bags...

I love to be able to do this and I love that it is so appreciated too. 

We had a left overs night.

I cut Andy's hair. 

With a voucher I scanned I accumulated a heap of Coles points towards a gift card.

Otherwise the usual stuff... made all lunches, used up left overs, made gifts etc.

Some of the ways I got ahead:

Lots added to the freezer. 
A birthday gift made ahead of time.
A few things added to the present cupboard.

I built up my pantry with:

10 cans of evaporated milk. A large packet of teabags. 12 rolls of garbage bags.

Today I am feathering my nest by just cleaning and tidying. Lots of cooking and activity seem to leave me with cleaning and organising to do. (ok, mess.)

The next two weeks I am having a freezer challenge. It is full to the point if I find great specials I can't fit them in there! There are so many odds and ends... half a cup of cooked rice, a huge bone from the roast lamb and 101 random things!  My challenge is to make most meals from all of this and to use my grocery money just for fresh veggies, milk etc and the rest of the money I would normally spend to go on adding to my pantry. So getting ahead!

I will write down the meals as I go. I am planning baked rice custard from that rice to begin with.

How was your week? How did you build up your home, get ahead, save money...?

Have a great Friday and weekend. I am working on a new blanket I started and embroidering a deer onto a little top. Also making a chocolate birthday cake for a gift. Staying in and staying warm basically! xxx


  1. Annabel I had never thought of doing the pumpkins in the oven that way. How simple and sensible.
    I had my stitches out today! (Insert happy dance). I am not allowed to do any heavy lifting or shovelling till at least the end of the month but am no longer covered in wound patches that made me so itchy!!!!!!!!!!!!Yippee!!!!!!
    Our daughter has won a position locally and has resigned from her Brisbane position. She is moving in with us next weekend. She has come for a visit this week with her little car bulging. All of this is in what was our guest room and will now be hers. Next weekend we will head off in the car with trailer to get the last of her things.
    This week has seen me cleaning out the guest room and rehousing various items from the room and the very large cupboard. There is still so much to do. I purchased some Space Bags and plan on putting most of her linen in these. Once squished they can go in a plastic box in the shed.
    With the wild weather earlier in the week I hung the washing on the camping line, set up under a ceiling fan. I hung the sheets over the backs of the veranda chairs. Everything got dry eventually.
    I took a load of Country Living magazines with me to the Dr surgery and they were gratefully received. I had a re read of one this morning in the waiting area.
    My week has been busy but I really cant think of what else I have done to account for the business. Oh well.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      On Jamie Oliver he didn't even cut the pumpkins up he just threw them in the bottom of the oven when he was cooking other things then used them during the week. I thought !!! why aren't I doing that? He did the same with whole apples when he cooked pork he didn't peel or seed or anything. They were all gorgeous. Light bulb moment for me!
      Yay on your stitches coming out! And on your daughter getting a local position. Much to celebrate for you!
      It was lovely to donate magazines for others to read. I love country living they make lovely cards! Beautiful pictures. Mum gets them so sooner or later I get my hands on them!
      I hope you make progress on the spare room. You should see my spare room... stuff accumulates in there!
      Have a great weekend! With love,

  2. The baby food is such a blessing for your little granddaughter! Any young mom would be thrilled to have such healthy food to feed her little one. Bravo, Annabel!

    To build up my pantry (actually my freezer this week!), I purchased ground beef on special and put the two huge packages worth of it into the crock pot along with chopped onion and seasoning. It was brimful! Once cooked, I portioned it out into containers and froze them. That is two month's worth of cooked ground beef as a basis for many meals for my family, done with very little effort on my part. It's a small thing, but truly not so small as it made me feel so clever!

    Yesterday, the strap on my purse broke in a way that neither my husband nor I can figure out how to mend, so that required an "emergency" trip to my favorite thrift store to look for a replacement. I found a lovely like new purse for $2 (USD), and while there I found a classy pair of ballet flats, two books to take on my next vacation, and two thick magazines packed with detailed photos and descriptions of fancy handmade greeting cards! I paid $8.75 for all of this.

    Hope everyone else is having a great week! Teresa

    1. Thank you Teresa!
      The ground beef was excellent! And getting so much cooked up. I do a similar thing with a tomato base, onion,oregano etc and then it becomes spaghetti sauce, pizza topping, meatloaf, meatballs, lasagne, "chow mien" and other things. It is so versatile and handy. A lot of very good meals! Well done and the crockpot is so helpful especially for making things tender and flavoursome.
      I am so glad for you about your luck at the thrift store! You got several bonuses on top of a bag! All for an amazing price! Love that! That would have been a massive saving!
      Many thanks Teresa, have a lovely weekend to you too, love

  3. Dear Annabel , wow what a culinary delight filled week you have had , it is lively that you make meals for Harper, that would give you peace of mind knowing that you are saving Lucy time and money and that Harper is eating well.
    The pumpkin idea is wonderful , I find hard vegetables difficult to cut up too, due to carpal tunnel, I could try that method for pumpkin if
    I wanted to make my own soup. Mum gas been making me meals including soup but
    I do live to cook for myself now and then .
    Thus week I received a surprise delivery of Flowers and a teddy bear from a friend, it was a total surprise and brightened my day, week, year!.
    I received more meals from my parents.
    Made two very basic cards using materials I have here,used a gift from my gift cupboard .
    A lovely lady who does my cleaning reorganised my linen cupboard, it looks beautiful she did an excellent job as well as her other usual tasks.
    I had more free doctors visit and treatment for my knee and have a visit to the physiotherapist tomorrow ( free , under a scheme for patients with chronic health issues) . I get 5 visits a year free.
    I have been resting and recovering so have not done a lot myself but getting help means the world to me and enables me to live independently.
    My weekend ( besides physio) is going to include some craft if I am up to it as I have yet to start those notebooks that I was going to do weeks ago , I am determined to have them ready for June show and tell.

    I am also on the look out for some reasonably priced single quilt cover sets as I have single comforters ( I have a double bed but double or queen doonas are too heavy for me . ) . I am trying to come up with a solution for storage for my stockpile for in the bottom of my pantry. I am contemplating plastic storage tubs on wheels . Do you have any ideas Annabel? Or anyone else, I want a fairly cheap, easy storage solution for my extras such as stockpile of tea bags, crackers, rice, and any other regulars I use that I buy half price or better.
    Thanks for sharing your nest feathering with U.S. Anbabel yet again you have inspired and encouraged me.thank you so much. Have a great weekend Annabel and everyone x Barb W.

    1. Hi Barb,
      I hope the physio visit helps :)
      The large plastic containers you mentioned are great, I have heaps of them and store our art and craft supplies in them. I think they were $9 from Kmart. Otherwise banana boxes are quite handy too and free :)xx

    2. Dear Barb,
      Kmart have really good prices on things like the comforters also Ikea. Also op shops of course but that is harder for you as it can take a lot of looking.
      I am not sure how big the space is in the bottom of your pantry. Plastic tubs can be good. Something that fits the space just right is great so keep the measurements of the floor to the first shelf with you and the width of the space. Hopefully somewhere like Cheap as Chips or your cheap stores might have something.
      It is great you can get physio treatments for free and I really hope it helps your knee. That would be wonderful. Also I hope they can give you helpful exercises to do at home and other tips that might help it. Anything that helps would be wonderful.
      You had a lovely surprise and good things done like your linen press.
      I will look forward to seeing your note books! Have a great weekend Barb, many thanks! With love

    3. Hi Annabel,

      Thanks for sharing your tip about the pumpkins. I just bought 4 massive ones here for 29c a kilo. I will roast and freeze some, make soup and scones as well. Baby potatoes are also 29c a kilo, so I bought 7 kilos. I was thinking I should have got more because we eat mostly vegetarian and can go through a lot of spuds, but am not sure how long they would keep for. Any ideas would be great :)how wonderful you are to make Harper such delicious food, bone broth is so healthy! I haven't been keeping track of my savings this week, but still cooking all my meals from scratch and baking treats of course. I've been a bit under the weather so this is more enough work for me! It has also been really cold here for WA. We had the coldest winter day in 5 years the other day. I've pulled out our beanies and gloves to wear around the house lol xx

    4. Barb I saw some small, medium and large rectangular tubs on wheels in Kmart today. I know they have them in Bunnings as well. They're not food safe but may be what you need for storing your specials.

    5. Barb, just a suggestion for storing extras in your pantry. My mom has a very small pantry (cupboard, really). She used "tins" she has collected over the years to store rice, tea bags, crackers, etc. Maybe you could find a plastic tote on wheels and then use tins for the food. These can be found in thrift stores but also if you buy food such as cookies in tins, then just reuse them.

      Hope you are feeling better! Teri :)

    6. Dear Mel, I hope you are feeling much better and glad your dentist appointment is over and done with.
      29c a kilo is wonderful. Yes I would get more. Being baby potatoes and if you have freezer room I would cook a few kilos of them and pop them into the freezer. Then add them to meals and casseroles etc. Also you could just get them and keep a close eye on them and if any start to deteriorate have a fast use up session i.e. potato bakes etc.
      It sounds cold! I am feeling it here. Rugs are on the lounge and every warm article of clothing is out.
      Have a lovely weekend Mel, with love

    7. Hi Mel,
      My local grocery store will sometimes run a special on potatoes, two dollars for a ten pound bag. It is just me and my husband, but that is too good a deal to pass up! I store them in my refrigerator and have had them last months without them turning into a garden :) Hope that helps!
      With love, Kelsey

    8. Hi Annabel, yes dentist is over-for now. I still need 2 wisdom extractions and other work done. I have heaps of freezer room so I'll cook some up as suggested, thanks!
      Hi Kelsey, exactly this is too good a deal! I normally pay $7 for 10 kilos, this is the cheapest way to buy. So 29c is just an amazing deal. Hubby put me off buying more because he is worried about shelf life and them sprouting. I will try putting some in the fridge. Thanks!

  4. Hello Annabel, look at that baby food. I have to say, it sounds delicious. I bet Harper loves it too. 45 portions is incredible and such a big help. I love all the meals that you made. I haven't tried making pumpkin scones, but I really love them, so I should. Your week sounds lovely and it sounds like you have been giving so much to others, through your cooking. I think being cooked for is one of the loveliest things you can do for people. I love your chocolate cake gift idea. I made a big corn beef and then we had lunches and then corn beef fritters for dinner. Yum. Then I made some of your delicious shortbread for my husband. He ate the lot! Haha. Thanks Annabel. Minus the two packaged for a friend. I worked out I only need to organise two more birthday gifts this year. I also made some tissue paper flowers to top gifts. I have been rejecting on my cleaning and previously, I loved having everything cleaned at once. However, I am thinking I may have to adjust my schedule with a busy, active toddler. I am thinking, I may need to do bits every day. That way it all gets done, but I don't feel overwhelmed. I was happy op shopping last week because I found 3 pairs of shorts for my son and 2 dresses for me. Sending you love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      I feel like cooking is something I can do to help. Mum always helped me with meals too so I remember how much difference it made. Thats another reason I like to make food as gifts.
      Your op shop find were great! Very nice! That is a good day!
      I agree about breaking things down to more manageable chunks. On Flylady you do a room or zone a week, more deeply plus a weekly "house blessing" which is a bit of a run around in each room. I still follow this mostly. Over the year you cover everything and keep on top. Also if you miss something you skip it and do it next week. I still adhere to Fridays I give the inside of the car a quick clean. It really helps. Even ten minute bursts ... over the week it is all done! I love that!
      The corned beef sounds lovely. Andy LOVES corned beef. I need to do that sometime soon. I do it in the crockpot with peppercorns. Anyway he things its great and then make sour dough rolls with corned beef for lunches which he also loves. (popular!)
      Have a lovely weekend Bridge, I hope the weather hasn't been too rough there. With love,

  5. Annabel, thanks for the tips about cutting the pumpkin. It is always a terrible job. Tomorrow we have Rhonda from the Down to Earth blog speaking at our local library so I am looking forward to that. Have a lovely weekend.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      Enjoy your day! I hope you pick up lots of tips but also encouragement listening to Rhonda. Also I hope she inspires new people to live simply and enjoy life. I use a lot of her recipes. With love

  6. What a great way to cut the pumpkin i always get john to cut the pumkin,when you mentioned that you gave Harper the bone to chew it reminded me of my mother that is what mun did when she ran the hotel she would sit me in a high chair in the bar and i would be happy for ages chewing on that bone,lol one of my clients gave me a ton of lemons today so iam looking forward to making some lemon and lime cordial.
    Have a great weekend xo

    1. Dear Mel,
      When Lucy was tiny my Dad was holding her in the kitchen while he read the paper. I walked back in and he had given her the bone of a t bone steak that was enormous. She was chewing ferociously on it and continued for a good half an hour. She wasn't very old. From then on it was a thing with her and now her baby is the same!
      Lemons are wonderful. I use one a day just in water to drink and if I have a few I love to make lemon butter. (if I also have eggs!)
      Have a lovely weekend to you too! With love

  7. Hi Annabel!

    It's funny, pumpkin has risen upwards to $3/kg here, so I'm just enjoying YOUR wonderful pumpkin works! It's a good thing you can roast those pumpkin chunks, and roast lamb is wonderful! Yum!

    It must be corned beef time, even though it's winter! Other meats are a bit highly priced at the moment, and my husband loves corned beef and pickles!!

    When we had that bitterly cold, windy weather, I spent a little time up a ladder in the carport checking my winter fruit supply. Ripening is slower than expected. This fruit (which I'm leaving as a mystery for you right now!) is quite a challenge, so I will be interested to see how this year's intended cooking and preserving trials turn out! How's that for a little suspense?!

    During the week, I cut my husband's hair, too, and, together, we got more weeding done. While shopping, there are a couple of op shops in a second small town that I have been checking for pure wool. At the counter, a four dollar purchase was reduced to $2, meaning that I purchased one hundred grams of pure wool for 75 cents. I was amazed! I'll have to keep looking!! At the second shop, I was thinking of Barb and you as I purchased three large coffee jars @50 cents! These are for food storage. They'll keep out silverfish!

    We had a day out with my parents, attending a commercial agricultural show. At the end, we decided a day trip elsewhere next year would be better! Nevertheless, the highlights of our day were seeing Jimbo, a kangaroo joey, being cared for by a young boy and his mother, and we repeated the story of the wombat your brother raised, which slept in a wardrobe and watched television on the lounge!! We noticed the waste of whole pecan nuts in their shells being trampled underfoot in the wood chip ground surface of a large tent! We had a free lunch, even though we had taken our own! We had four hardware items on our shopping list, and bought none! We spent very little! Somewhere in my memory was the thought of magnesium oil (which was mentioned on a skin care product making site, via Strangers & Pilgrims on the Earth) and I came across some there. It is a natural source of magnesium (from condensed sea water of ancient oceans, if I understand rightly) that is absorbed through the skin, being particularly useful for relaxing muscles and increasing circulation to the area. We're trying it, and its potential is looking good to me (think tight muscles & muscle cramps, headaches .....). Dad did a deal, and gave me some before I could make a purchase! At the end, we shared some baked egg custard, made with real vanilla. Mum loved it! She has the remains of the vanilla bean in her sugar jar. Mum described how, as a school student in New South Wales, she would drink her share of the milk delivered to the school (as a government programme), and she especially liked drinking it through a vanilla flavoured straw. I had no idea Mum loved vanilla so much!

    Our cellular internet provider has notified us that they will be working on an upgrade between the 14th & 27th of this month. This means we could have connection problems. If this happens, just look out for my smoke signals to you!!

    I'm proud of your pumpkin work! Go Aussie, go!!

    (Also, Barb might be interested to know that I took out the draw in the bottom of our fridge, and our 5 kg bags of rice are stored there, since the fridge is a cold, DRY place. This also helps to keep bugs at bay!) I'm glad you mentioned baked rice custard/pudding. I started making it last winter, and now is a good time for it. Thank you!!

    I hope you are warm in your nest. The weather is more mild here now.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your new crochet rug!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, I am glad you found some pure wool. Its a matter of keep looking as I have found a fair bit over time. Once a whole bag of pure baby wool in pale pink with the beginnings of a project someone had given up on and there it all was. It was beautiful wool, about 12 balls.
      I would have wanted to pick up the pecans! They are something ridiculous a kilo! And yum. But I guess crawling around amidst the wood chopping isn't probably the wisest decision!
      I use magnesium. It fixes my restless legs issue that is very uncomfortable and drives me mad... now I take magnesium I never get it. So that was a discovery!
      It is good to know your Mum loves vanilla, she is like me. It lifts the ordinary into something luxurious.
      Ok Ill watch for some signals and interpret them!
      Have a beautiful weekend! With love

  8. Dear Annabel,

    You definitely had a busy week! I am very sorry to hear about all the storminess and flooding, but so glad you didn't have any flooding.

    It has been cold and wet, here, too. The weekend was beautiful, so we did get a bunch of the garden planted, but otherwise on that front we are behind. It doesn't look good for the upcoming week, either, so we'll see. I hope it doesn't shower much more today and that the garden isn't too wet to work up a bed or two tomorrow, because tomorrow morning looks like our one window of opportunity for the week for planting.

    Besides getting some planting done last weekend, I've kept busy indoors for the rest of the week. Got a batch of rhubarb-ginger marmalade made and some rhubarb frozen. Went thru the big chest freezer a bit and reorganized for a new season. Your freezer is overflowing and ours are ready to defrost and refill! I found some "hidden gems" in the freezer, and used some older berries to make a big cobbler for dessert last night. Also took out some apple pulp that I froze last fall when I was too busy canning to deal with it. Made it into apple butter this morning, and I just now heard the "ping" of the last jar sealing! :)

    Otherwise, it's been clean, clean, clean, around here! The girls and I cleaned their room from top to bottom, and we cleaned and reorganized another room in the house that has been in "transition" (read: has had no purpose except to accumulate clutter) for well over a year since I shut down my business. That was a major job (which is why it hadn't already been done), and I'm so glad it's done!

    Sold 4 doz. eggs and a loaf of bread, made yogurt, and did all the usual things like baking, hanging laundry, making meals, etc. All in all, am very satisfied with this week, even if we did have to light a fire last JUNE! :)

    Have a great weekend!

    OH, I had to look up "echidna", as I'd never heard of sounded like a spider to me! :) They look from photos like hedgehogs...cute!
    xx Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, That was a very productive week and your house must be looking and feeling lovely!
      Love the berry cobbler, apple butter and marmalade.
      Your usual things are great things! Plus enough eggs to also sell is a big asset.
      I hope the weather lets you get your garden beds planted. A lot of ladies have said they are help up with weather... rain is good if its light and on your newly planted things. It sounds like a late season. So I hope you can get everything planted as I want to hear about an awesome harvest!
      Many thanks Jen that was a great week. With love

  9. Dear Annabel, Such a great week! Lots of cooking and Harper is so lucky (as is Lucy) to have you making all those yummy meals!! Saves a ton but like you said, much better for her! :)

    I've always baked my pumpkin and other winter squash before "mushing" for the freezer/baking breads, cakes, etc. I will have to try adding some to biscuits, sounds so good! They are a lot harder to cut, though.

    I was going to go back and comment on several posts but will just say everything here. I hope that is ok! LOL

    Kelsey, I love the storage bench your husband made so you could fit buckets into a pretty space! It is so handy to refill your pantry that way too!

    I love what everyone is making for gifts! Lots of cupboards are getting full! :) Vicki, the tutu you made is precious and looks just lovely on Harper!!!

    The last few weeks, I've been filling my jars with more bone broth, filling the pantry and freezer with marked down tea, coffee and meat. I've also been dehydrating onion greens and lettuce from our garden, plus picking fresh veggies for evening meals. I've yet to put up my baked beans but it's on my to-do list! LOL We also have some very small garlic cloves hanging in a net bag to dry and this will be made into garlic powder. I've also made banana butterscotch muffins and today, I'm making chocolate zucchini muffins. We bought a huge bag of small zucchini for 99 cents and a huge bag of hot peppers for 99 cents. The peppers will also be dried and used in marinades, sauces, etc.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Annabel and everyone!! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri, Thank you, yes it is fine to reply all in one spot.
      Your big bags of zucchinis and peppers for 99c was a great bargain! I love hearing how you have added to the pantry and what you are cooking. The muffins sound amazing!
      Zucchini are a good thing as you can do so many things with them and the muffins is an example.
      Today I am making chocolate cakes! One is for a birthday present. Some for us!
      Have a lovely weekend and I hope you get your beans done next week! with love

    2. Dear Teri,
      I have dehydrated a lot of vegetables, but never lettuce. Would you mind sharing how you use that once it's dehydrated? If you have already shared that in a previous post, please forgive the redundancy, but I missed it. That would be a wonderful way to have the greens in winter.
      Love and hugs,

    3. Dear Teri,
      Thank you for complimenting my bench! That means a lot, as I aspire to have a pantry like yours.
      Love, Kelsey

    4. Dear Glenda,
      A few years ago, we grew more lettuce than we (or others) could use, so decided to dehydrate it. Then, I thought "so how am I going to use it"?! I decided to grind it and add it to my veggie powder. This goes into my homemade "shake and bake" mix, dry salad dressing mixes, sauces, etc. I figured it would get used this way, add the nutrition and not be wasted. This year, we have a bunch, so what we don't eat will be dried before it gets too hot.

      I also add the ground lettuce (and spinach) to my celery salt mix. It makes it look a little greener. I use celery salt in place of plain salt for lots of cooking. I know you can't use it like fresh. Hope this helps! :)
      Love and hugs, Teri :)

    5. Dear Kelsey, Thank you!! I just wanted you to know that you are doing a great job with your pantry. It's taken me years (with lots of trials and errors) to have lots of extra food/supplies in our pantry. My biggest piece of advice is to store foods you eat and rotate regularly. From your comments, you are doing a terrific job!!
      Love, Teri :)

    6. Dear Annabel,
      I made my chocolate zucchini muffins and they turned out great. However, I'm new to baking with plain yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt, which I freeze in 1 cup containers), and have a question. This is a new recipe. It called for eggs and yogurt, no oil. Do you use oil in your muffins, cakes when baking with yogurt? Sorry if this is a silly question! The muffins are very moist and yummy. I was just wondering about why no oil/butter was called for. :) I know using no oil (or a substitute for it) is healthier plus less expensive, so this is possibly a very good thing!

      Also, I'm thawing pumpkin to make biscuits/scones because yours looked so delicious!! :) This is new to me also. lol
      Love, Teri

  10. I really enjoy reading about your week every Friday Annabel, and you always seem to achieve so much! I remember my mum used to put pumpkin in the microwave to soften it for cutting, I can't remember how long for though. I always feared they might explode but they never did lol.

    I made a couple of egg-free date loaves this week, only because we had run out of eggs, and it was a really good recipe. So one went in the freezer and the other was shared with friends. I also made up four batches of crumble mix, why did I not think to make extra previously?! Are you familiar with spaghetti squash? I only recently discovered it as we received some in a mixed vegetable bag. Well I roasted it for 30 minutes, scooped out the flesh (it comes out like strands of spaghetti, hence the name), and chucked the lot in with some nacho mince. Nobody knew it was in there (sometimes you have to be a bit crafty hiding new things!), and it pretty much doubled the quantity of mince mixture. So I managed to freeze a second dinner. I have another that will find it's way into bolognese sauce today.

    My current craft project is a Star Wars cross stitch picture for my nephew's 21st birthday next month, I'm a bit nervous about it, but he is surrounded by people who spend a lot of money on gifts. So I decided it needed to be something that can't be bought. I am actually really wanting to knit or crochet at the moment, but I really need to stick with this first.

    I wrote a comment on my phone about the show and tell the other day but a weird screen came up when I tried to post it so I think it is lost. Anyway, I really enjoyed the post, there are so many lovely gifts being made. I loved Kelsey's cat coasters and the gift bag looked so beautiful and professional! All of the knitting and crochet is just beautiful, Jen in NS has amazing knitting skills! And Mel's pickles looked amazing, I'm such a fan of food gifts. I'm sure I've forgotten something, my original comment was much longer!

    Have a lovely weekend everyone!
    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      I think with the microwave you just have to stab a few holes in the skin of the pumpkin first.... otherwise I think you are right. Exploding pumpkins!
      You did beautiful cooking. Date anything is good with me! This reminds me I should make the sticky date puddings...
      I do know what spaghetti squash is but I have never used it. That is a fantastic tip if it added so much to your mince mixture! And you stretched that into another meal! Well done. I love that!
      If your nephew is into star wars your project will probably be a hit. I really hope you will show us when its done! In a similar fashion someone else has a son mad keen on Dr Who. She was knitting him a Dr Who scarf which is a HUGE project due to the size of it but how fantastic!
      I think the comment from the phone was lost, sorry! Thank you for trying!
      Thank you for your comments, the projects were lovely. So many beautiful ideas.
      Have a great weekend Jen. You did very well. Your cooking adds so much to your household. When your children are older write out all the family recipes into books for them plus any of your Mums or Nans etc that you love. Will make a wonderful and cherished gift! I did those when the girls left home and still add to them sometimes.
      With lots of love,

  11. Dear Annabel,
    You had a very productive week. The scones look delicious.
    I did a bit of baking this week, but since much of what I bake is gluten free, it is not nearly as fun as it used to be. I used to bake a lot as it was easier; just grind the whole wheat flour and go for it. Now it's use three or four kinds of flour, plus other additions.
    We added to our pantry storage by purchasing quite a lot of organic beef for the freezer. John took an inventory, so we would know what we need to further add.
    I saved @ $150 on items this week that were on sale. I am making another list for areas we need to complete and fill in the food storage room.
    We ordered three new Nanking Cherry bushes as the one's we had just planted died from too much rain this spring. The one's we ordered are much larger, so that is even better.
    The side yard is almost done, except for some areas that I need to decide what I want planted there. The raised beds are done, so John will be planting those next week with vegetable seed. We are never considered completely frost free here until June 8. Our growing season is only 120 days, but we do as much as we can in that time frame.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      You had great saving on your groceries and it is good to hear the garden is progressing. That is a short growing season. But it is a matter of making the most of the conditions you have. It is a much milder climate here. i think I would get the shock of my life with snow and blizzards etc.
      It is wonderful John works on the raised garden beds. Team work is a great thing. All the ground beef sounds very good too and useful in many kinds of recipes.
      Have a levelly wekend Glenda, with many thanks,

  12. Annabel you get more done with your wonky arm than most do with two good ones. I am sure that Lucy appreciates everything that you do for her and Harper.

    Didn't find any bargains in the bargain box at the local IGA this week - it obviously depends on how diligent they are with their movement of product when restocking the shelves. Meat, even when marked down is expensive there. I did purchase some chicken drumsticks to pop in the freezer to make soup with over the next week or two. They were less than $3- a kilo and quite meaty so should make some good soup.

    Yesterday I did a trip to the Island - saw the naturopath and learnt that a mark that I have had on my arm for quite a number of years has been handed down from my father - need to take a trip to Coles for some Cod Liver oil to rub on it and it should help with the problem.

    Popped into the really good op shop but it is undergoing a major building expansion so not much there. Mind you like Rachel I did find some large coffee jars (nescafe 300 gram) to use for storage of food items. Then I went to Aldi for a top up shop. I decided earlier in the week that I wanted to work our way through the freezer so that I can get rid of the bits and pieces that are in it.

    Thursday I attended a free safety forum - personal & home with a few road safety rules thrown in - only a hand full of people attended which was a shame.

    Our home 'phone, which is attached to the internet (NBN) stopped working just after my husband went away - got home yesterday and it is now working. Not sure for how long because the naturopath is having huge problems with their 'phone - hasn't worked for 2 & 1/2 weeks and then they were saying that the oldies on the Island are having major issues with their 'vital call' buttons because of the issues with the NBN.

    Not only is it costing the naturopath business but also could cost the life of an elderly person.

    My husband was offered another week of work but they really were not ready for him so he will go back later. He needs to come home and see his mum and do a few things around here and get a good home cooked meal.

    Rachel I am not sure where you are but there is an event not far from us that is primarily for farmers and those with small holdings. We have gone a couple of years but have noticed that it really doesn't have the good cross section of things that was at the first one we attended.

    The EKKA (show) use to be where all of the farmers did their buying but that has changed too and there are not the items there like there use to be either.

    Hope everyone has a great weekend - I have woken up to a cooler day with very little sunshine - not a great drying day but it is what it is and I cannot complain as we near the middle of the first month of winter.


    1. Hi Lynette!
      Thank you for your note about the show for smaller holdings. I am putting puzzle pieces together to assume that you are in North Queensland, but there are islands around Brisbane, too!! Anyway, I am told that good small farm & forestry equipment comes more from New Zealand, just like good SMALL farm tractors have to be bought second hand. Australia is very much aimed at big farms. We like to keep small, & consolidate!!
      I'd be interested to know about the cod liver oil and skin mark.
      Your husband will certainly be glad to be home, & relax a little.
      Enjoy your homemaking adventures!
      Regards, Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Lynette, Thank you! With a sore arm its been a matter of adjusting a lot and doing what I can do rather than being upset about what I can't do (which would be lifting and painting etc!)
      It is good your husband can come home, have a break, see his Mum and so on and then go back for another weeks work. Yes I think some home meals too.
      I am using up in the freezer too. i made a start so far this weekend have already used up some bits and pieces. Long way to go though!
      I am very doubtful about the NBN. Here it is not faster at all as it is connected to bits that slow down the speed so complete waste of money I think around here at least. Sound questionable there also...
      The drumsticks sound good. It is disappointing when theres a lack of bargains. I see mark downs and sometimes they are not worth looking at! A bit of a markdown isn't a markdown to me! Other times it will be great luck and truly decent markdowns, half price or under. Then Im interested!
      Have a lovely weekend. With love and thanks,

    3. Rachel I am about 1/2 way between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Not too far off the highway that takes you north and you can turn off it to head to the Island ( attached to land with a bridge).

      My husband has just had 3 weeks worth of work up far north Queensland. I have been up there a couple of times but know that I couldn't live there in the summer when it is so hot and humid - here was bad enough last summer.

      The show is called Farm Fantastic - and while we found it great the first year we attended the past couple of years it hasn't been as good - probably because it seems to be when it rains.


  13. Hi Annabel and all the lovely ladies who contribute,
    Can I add a trick I have recently learned for pumpkins? If you can get whole pumpkins more cheaply than cut up ones, instead of trying to get a knife through them, I take them outside and hurl them onto the concrete, and they magically split apart! The kids think it is hilarious, and it is strangely satisfying to do?!
    Also, if you are not planning to have the oven on, the split pumpkins cook beautifully in the slow cooker in 2-3 hours - very easy. Rebecca T

    1. Dear Rebecca, Thank you for this tip. I will certainly try it.
      I know that on the farm Dad has split pumpkins for Mum with the axe. They are seriously hard work to cut up! Also I can imagine smashing pumpkins to be therapeutic at times!
      Many thanks! Love

  14. Hi Annabel!

    If Jen from NS is reading, I recall that she was looking for recipes for using whey left over from cheese making with goats' milk. I am including a link to Joybilee Farm, where they are using their goats' whey to make a fancy named caramel and other products.

    Rachel Holt

    1. Thank you for thinking of me and my "uses for whey" request, Rachel...I will go and have a look! Jen

  15. Hello Annabel,
    I havent posted anything here in months but I have been busy here at home. Since my last response Ive graduated one of my homeschoolers and all the parties, photos,and events that go with that. My friends' daughter did all the photography in exchange for cookies! Last Saturday we had a big BBQ here at home to celebrate and I made baked beans,potato salad, and cookies. Friends brought other dishes including chocolate dipped potato chips with bacon. Delicious!
    This week my nephew joined us for three nights and my daughter had her friend over. With 5 teens we only ate out one time, so I think thats pretty good really.
    The heat is almost here in full force so Ive been adding baked goods to the freezer to lessen oven use when its in the upper 90's on up to 110. Ive baked chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, cinnamon muffins, cornbread, and biscuits. Each day I make up a gallon of tea, a gallon of 1/2 sugar koolaid, and fill a gallon of water. I line that up on the table to keep people from constantly turning on the water taking a sip and then pouring it out???Why do kids do that? Ugh. So I just line up the pitchers.
    I dyed a light weight white cotton sweater to a beautiful periwinkle color and also dyed a few white tees to give them a new look for summer.
    We finished all our meat butchering before it got hot so Ive got goat, chicken, and pork for awhile. At the moment Im over run with eggs (about 60 too many). Oldest son and I are going to attempt dehydrating eggs. From the garden Ive had a few tomatillos and the tomatoes are looking good.
    Beauty wise I trimmed, thined, and colored my hair. Trimmed daughter's hair, and gave myself a manicure.
    We have the fans cleaned and set up for summer. Also this week we put polyshield in the back room to lessen the heat. Children helped and we gave the house a good overall cleaning to start summer.
    Annabel, I really enjoy reading about all the ways you feather your nest and especially the sewing and cooking you do for Harper.
    Take Care,Ginger

    1. Dear Ginger,
      Congratulations on getting to a homeschool graduation! That is a big achievement.
      Your cooking sounds beautiful and also your BBQ celebration.
      60 spare eggs is a lot! I wonder if you could sell some or barter with them. A few of the ladies sell a dozen a week or so and this helps wth money for something else. Eggs are a great thing to have.
      Thanks so much Ginger! You are saving a fortune with your beauty services. And the house sounds clean and fresh which is so nice. Well done on it all as it is a lot of work but very satisfying. With love

  16. Annabel,
    This seemed to have been a week of nothing but errands and gardens. They are doing very well at the moment and if it keeps up anticpipate a very full pantry! And hanging laundry on the line to dry. I like the busy seasons better than the slower ones! Cleaning is so nice when you can open the windows and let the breeze blow in it's freshness. Lots of dusting! It seems a constant battle and that it one chore I don't like! I did lots of ironing and that I love to do! I hope you have a great weekend!
    I get restless legs also and wow does it drive you crazy!

    1. Dear Vicky, I don't like dusting either. It is never ending! I love to have the house opened up, breeze flowing through. I however don't iron. Ever. lolI line dry everything on hangers. I could do your dusting and you could do my ironing!
      I hope you are having a good weekend. We have sunshine today! (Sunday) which is lovely. Lots of love

    2. You got a deal! It's pretty sad when you walk by things slowly so you don't create a breeze and blow dust! LOL!! You have such pretty things I doubt I would consider it a chore though!

  17. Hello again Annabel , I just wanted to give you an update and thank the ladies who thought of me about the storage solutions ( Jane and Teri S) and also Rachel for thinking about me and the coffee jars as it reminded me to use some I still gave put away.
    I went to big w today as it is in a shopping centre where you can hire scooters free , Got a reversible green and pink washable comforter set with pillow case for $25 and three wire baskets that fit perfectly across the bottom of my pantry $9 each . I have some tins and glass bottles so I will use one basket for glass bottles I think and one for unopened boxes like tea bags ( I have about 4 or 5 boxes of tea bags bought 1/2 price, crackers unopened, etc( my stockpile basically. One might be used for my unopened milk powder . I have to have a play!.
    I did think about plastic storage boxes but liked the wire baskets and everything will be sealed.
    the physio said not to walk too much with my knee and he has strapped it, again for free as part of my free physio visits. I also have exercises to do for my Achilles tendinitis , he was very helpful. I have been going to this physio for years.he is amazing.already with the strapping it has given my knee some support .
    I just want to get in and organise my pantry but might have a cuppa and do some craft first.
    Thank you Annabel and ladies for your advice and support and encouragement .
    Love BarbW

    1. Thanks Barb. Everyone is so kind and helpful! xxx

    2. Barb the wire baskets sound like a lovely idea. Glad you were able to find a solution.

    3. Barb, I agree with Jane! I'm glad you found baskets that will work for you! Teri :)

  18. Your making of the baby food brought back so many memories, my son who is 33 only had homemade baby food, we were to poor to buy canned baby food. And to think now it's the thing to do for healthy babies.

    1. Dear Tealady, yes your homemade food was probably superior to the tins anyway! Here was are, we COULD buy canned baby food, I stand there and look at it, read the ingredients and feel no we can do better and for much less. Well done to you! I bet your son was a healthy baby too! With love

  19. Dear Annabel,
    You did a great job getting ahead this week with all of the delicious looking food you made. I'm sure you are a big help to Lucy.
    Well, I bet you can guess what I have been up to this week! More cleaning and packing in the kitchen at the ranch. Except for the pantry, I finally have the kitchen cleared out (about thirty boxes later!) and next time I go out to the ranch I will give the whole kitchen a good scrubbing. We are going to start slowly moving things out there. It is strange that we don't really have a plan or timeframe (I'm a planner/list maker) but everything is falling into place somehow! I looked at the calendar the other day to see how long I have been in this process and it has been four months! I'm glad I didn't know how much work it would be when I first started out lol.
    We did get ahead this week, as we sold the rest of the ducklings. When we are able, two adult ducks will be added to the freezer.
    Today, I was sidetracked in a store by an aisle full of pretty things that caught my eye. Well, it turned out to be a clearance aisle! I came away with four medium sized baskets for 5 dollars. They were regular 5-6 dollars each, so big savings and cheaper than I have found them at any thrift store. I will paint them Annabel style and add some to my gift cupboard. Oh, and they have nice fabric liners in them, too!
    I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I think you will be moving soon the way you are going! Imagine the first night sleeping and then your old house will be the one you visit to get it ready to sell. Its a big process but you are getting heaps done.
      The baskets sound just lovely. I find baskets so useful, for gifts, storage, organisation... even one in the car is handy.
      I hope you are having some rest over the weekend. We have a long weekend here and also the sun is shining today (Sunday) so that is really nice. Lots of love from

  20. Dear Annabel

    It has been some time since I have been able to get onto the computer on a semi-regular basis. Work is exhausting me and making it hard to complete other tasks but over the last few weeks I have been coping much better and getting a lot more done so here I am back again and so very grateful to have your wonderful blog to catch up on. I have been reading all afternoon. This past few weeks to "feather our nest" I have been cooking meals at home and immediately freezing single portions for days when I am not up for cooking thus eliminating the need for take away. On my days off from work I also cook three meals in advance and pop those into the freezer also.

    I needed some rather urgent day surgery recently and so instead of dipping into my emergency fund for the gap payments and to cover lost wages for my time off I put my name down for extra shifts and made up the loss in money that way.

    During the wet weather recently I hung all the washing to dry inside. I mended rather than threw out three pieces of clothing for my daughter and one for me. I needed new shoes one for work and one for casual but instead of buying the casual shoes I had my Ziera shoes resoled for $24.95 instead of paying $230 for a new pair. I took home fabric handkerchiefs from the school lost and found because they throw them out. I soaked them and washed them for myself. I took home scraps of food from work instead of them being thrown out for the dog, saving me buying enough dog food for 8 meals.
    I cleaned out the craft cupboard and found materials to make 12 cards. I bought new sheets from the op-shop to use for sewing fabric. I picked tomatoes and lettuce out of the garden. I used up "old" apples to make crumble. I learnt how to make my own custard using a much better recipe than the old one I had. I asked for and received good sized plastic boxes with lids from work they make fabulous storage containers for so many things and they are food grade.We shaved the dog ourselves saving $110 on grooming. I made a cross stitch baby bib for the gift cupboard.

    TEASER ALERT----I bought a small knitting bag from the op-shop for $2-99 and when I got it home I opened it to find a brand new tablecloth for embroidery. It has a lovely flower pattern printed on it with all the threads. It is a Semco brand and similiar ones are over $50 on eBay. I could not believe my luck it is the most beautiful linen and has the holes in it to do a crochet edging. I am so happy I cannot wait to work on it.

    God Bless I hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

    1. Dear Mel,
      I am so pleased to hear from you! I know you are very busy and Im sorry about you needing surgery. Well done on how you dealt with that.
      You have done a lot! I don't blame you for being tired with long hours and everything else it takes to keep a household and children going. So all your extra achievements are a lot!
      That was good with the shoes. I love era shoes and need comfy decent shoes or my feet ache. Getting them resoled will probably give you a long time more out of them. Did you see my Ziera shoes that I got for $8! They are for good occasions but I was so thrilled with them.
      I love the sound of your tablecloth! That will be a lovely project. Feel free to show us the end result!
      Today is a perfect day to get some washing dry so I am doing that and hope you are enjoying a sunny Sunday. I hope too that tomorrows holiday is good for you and a bit of extra time to enjoy.
      It was so nice to hear what is happening and that made my day Mel, with love

  21. Dear Annabel and everyone...isn't it funny the things we don't think to share. I've been using that trick with the pumpkin since my Nanna showed me as a child! It never occurred to me that everyone didn't do it that way. Good on Jamie for bringing that tip to! Everyone had a good week...very inspiring! I did a lot, including hand washing pure wool blankets (they are so expensive to dry clean and always smell weird afterward...honestly, why would you do that?), made baked custard and creamed rice for desserts, sewed and crafted for gifts and to keep mind and hands busy, and bathed the dog which is always a challenge in the cooler weather! I helped my sister cook (she has 11 children!), and also helped her do a frugal shop. My daughter and I resisted more temptations at the thrift shop than usual, so money stayed in the bank, and we enjoyed soups and slow cooker meals which are always a saving on the budget. Winter can be so fun in that respect! Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Cutting up pumpkins has always been a pain in the neck to me! My arm simply won't do it hence my progress on this!
      I do not like dry cleaning at all. It is so expensive and then you get to smell chemicals and have them in your house. No thanks. I do hear there are now chemical free dry cleaners but I will just stick to our home ways that smell lovely and cost almost nothing!
      Beautiful cooking as always. Somehow I didn't know about your sister with the big family. I am so glad she has you to help when she needs it.
      We are loving soups, curies, stews etc. Shepherds pie is on the list this week. You really feel like them in the cold. I am loving it too.
      I hope you have a lovely long weekend. With much love,

  22. Dear Annabel,
    Your cooking looks delicious! I love pumpkin,but have never tried pumpkin soup. Isn't it fun making food and special clothing for your grand baby? She is such a little doll! I know Lucy appreciates the help, as well
    Our weather is the opposite of yours---record breaking heat and dry. It reached 117 F a few days ago. Thankfully, it has cooled a little. Funny how 107 or even 110 seems better.
    We are making a shade cover for my garden. All of the plants are in containers. I am picking cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, a few asparagus beans and mint. We were gifted a few heirloom tomatoes. I'm saving seeds from them to plant next year. After several failures, my sweet potato slips are growing and putting on roots so I have been able to plant them. I had good luck with them a couple years ago. They love the heat and make pretty vines along with flowers, eventually. I'm hoping these will thrive. It's hard to keep plants from turning into crispy critters in the heat.
    I need to get going, so will update more next time. I hope you are having a good
    weekend! Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      If you love pumpkin then you will love pumpkin soup and scones. I add sweet potato to mine. It is my favourite by far.
      When we have 117 or so I have umbrellas I put over some of our plants. They just get so burned. I hope your sweet potato grows too! That would be wonderful. Many thanks Elaine, with love

  23. Dear Annabel , thankyou for the pumpkin tip,IM been away and have a pumpkin waiting to be used except like you my arms and thumbs are sore from use.Even though we've been away a week and Ive had a rest from laundry, baking and housework I have been crocheting and made a heap of cards , one is winging it's way to you now ;-)
    I was able to buy some card bits while away so started on Christmas cards and had a play with ideas and very pleased with myself .Some were fiddly but others were very simple ideas which worked .
    For the first time ever DH not buy coffees or treats en route, my suggestion which in the past fell on deaf ears. I took a thermos of coffee and simple nibbles travelling to destination, and we stopped at a friend's on the way back and had lunch with her.And we did not once go to a coffee shop , instead we bought items at the supermarkets ,the opshop and several other shops for simple takeaways in between the meals I cooked. .So I feel we still supported the town we stayed in.And we've been going there for decades where we did go out for a dinner and coffee and to markets and shows when our family were growing up.But then I use to work a lot baking and making meals as well as laundry so this was the first time Ive done very little of the usual.
    Since I got home,Ive updated our small kitchen freezer contents and planned the next 6 days meals so I use up whats there .Gave DD a soup block (how I freeze it), used a bean nacho mix on pizzas for family lunch today and some for our lunches tomorrow.Cooked up 2 lots of cookie dough from freezer .Then looked at and planned this week as I have a few things that need doing like my cars wof and service.Servicemen coming to do an installation, a class to makeup,meet an online friend woohoo, and several other errands I managed to get done today instead.So feel ahead of myself now phew! Its pouring outside and quite windy , as was Friday when we got home, I was lucky to get 3 loads of washing done , between line, dryer and airing racks.
    One treat I did get done before our break away was my nails and it was so worth it ! as my nails got so mucky with cardmaking and have been in water a lot and the gel manicure has preserved them as far as I can tell.I couldn't believe the lady had a special on when I enquired, that sold me :-).Ive been doing my own nails for decades .I could get addicted to this haha.
    Hope everyone had a good weekend, love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      Oh thank you Maria I can't wait to see your card! That will be lovely.
      It was great to get away for a break!
      I know how nails get when card making! Glue, glitter and so on do wreck nails. That was a nice treat to enjoy.
      It was great you got more panels done for your rugs. They soon add up. It is the right weather for woolly crochet. I am working on a blues, grey and cream rug. So ok for a man too. I had these colours left over and quite a bit of it... that decided it!
      I am so glad you had a nice trip! With love


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