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 31 July 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Beating the costs of deli meats.

Welcome to a brand new month!
My Vicky Challenge last week went fairly well and we are trying hard to up the anti towards our solar panels!

My savings and earnings included:

$125 from blog ads.
I made all work lunches and the fishing day picnic saving $150.

Cooked all meals plus double tuna mornay, double batch of brownies (part as a gift) and a fair few things went into the freezer.

I mended a sheet.
Sorting out my laundry sink cupboard I found I have more dusters than I knew!

At Aldi I saved about $45 on fruit loaves and turkish breads alone! The little shoes were a bonus!

Andy did the pruning of a big tree. The tree is higher than the house and it sprawled over into the neighbours yard. Now it is away from gutters and cleared from the fence line. I estimate this would have been at least a few hundred dollars if we hired someone to do it. I am counting $300 for this.

I got ahead with freezer meals and supplies, added to the pantry and gift cupboard.
All up I wrote $620 in my savings book.

This week my savings subject is deli meats. Talking with Cookie we got onto this subject of preserved meats and it went from there!  I promised her I would post how I make meat loaf so here it is!
The act of making and taking lunches to school and work is going to save a fortune compared to buying them. But deli meats are mostly quite expensive. Making your own roast meats and mixes is a good way to keep those costs down.
Firstly I was telling Cookie how I do corned beef in the crockpot. (these are the kind of conversations that go on in the comments section!) A lovely friend taught me to do this. You fill the crockpot with enough water to cover the corned beef. Add a splash of vinegar, bay leaves and peppercorns. Let that cook all day. It turns deep red and so tender.
That night it is dinner with mashed potatoes, mustard and veggies.
The rest is cold meat for during the week!
A homemade pastrami is easily made by taking one of these (once cooked) and drying it off. Then roll in a good thick layer of cracked pepper and roast in a pan on low for an hour.
This is rich and full of flavour. You can slice it thinly so it goes a long way. In my large crockpot I can do two corned beef at the same time and use one as corned beef and one as Pastrami.

If you look at pre sliced meats, especially the ones in little packages the costs are crazy. It varies so much. i.e. a kilo of sliced ham in the deli is $24 or so. A kilo of ham in the little plastic packages is closer to $40 a kilo. A kilo of ham on the bone which you slice yourself is about $7 a kilo, at least when they are on special!  A kilo of bacon is under $10. So there are many variations to get pretty much the same thing! (these are my local prices)
This applies to chicken and other meats just the same.
I often do a roast leg of lamb and the left over meat is sliced for most of the weeks lunches. Overall this is much cheaper than buying deli meats.

For those that like them egg sandwiches are an alternative to meats too.

One that is a help to me is good old fashioned meat loaf! This is great in sandwiches and rolls and in lunch boxes as little mini meat loaves. I make these in muffin tins. For little kids make them in mini muffin tins and for big kids make them in texas muffin tins!
The key with meatloaf is it slices nicely when cold and not so nicely when hot. So for dinner to serve hot I will make it up in muffin trays.

This is also a very good "use it up" recipe and can be cooked in the oven or in the microwave. It is cooked in 14 minutes!

The recipe is very adaptable.

The basic recipe is
About 1 kilo ( 2.2 pounds) mince meat. (That is ground meat)
1 large onion or two smaller chopped.
2 cups breadcrumbs, or torn up fresh bread or stuffing mix (homemade or pack mix)
3/4 cup of milk, bit more if you used dry crumbs.
1 egg.
1 cup tomato paste or relish, or BBQ sauce, or chutney or tomato soup or spaghetti sauce! (or a mixture of any of these)
Pepper. Herbs you like (I like oregano) or chilli.

Cheese is optional.

This can be cooked in the oven in a loaf pan or two smaller tins, in muffin tins, whatever suits. A full sized tin is one large meatloaf. I would use a medium oven setting and allow an hour. The smaller sizes will be less of course. Once they look at though they are bubbling right through and browning on top that is my guide. I think 15 mins for muffin ones.

You can make in the microwave. You simply pat it into the shape you want. Top it as you like,  I covered mine in a layer of tomato paste and grated cheese. I microwave on high 14 mins.
That is it! I browned mine for a couple of minutes under the grill. Or it can go in the oven for a few minutes. It is purely to give colour as it is cooked. If it is for cold meat in sandwiches then the growing doesn't really matter.

You want a well mixed mixture and it to seem moist but that it will hold together.
I used the left overs from a jar of tomato relish, some tomato paste, and I used a pack of stuffing mix. With that I didn't need to add herbs. I just added pepper.

I made a few mini meatloaves in muffin trays and this was dinner. I am not going to make anything and it not be meal as well! This is a good old fashioned dinner. I think in the US meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots is called Blue Plate special. Or maybe I saw that on a movie?

Once cold they slice nicely and make great sandwich/roll filling.

You can freeze them whole or freeze slices for emergencies! When the kids were at school I froze trays of mini ones that went while into lunch boxes. You can also use mini ones as meatballs and serve over pasta. Or make cheese burgers and use this instead of the burger!

Mince can be expensive here now. Once it was the economical meat. Now I buy it up when there is a good special.  The addition of the breadcrumbs, egg, onion, tomato etc all bulk it out quite a bit.

The things I use instead of deli meats varies depending on the time of year. Sometimes after Christmas I can get turkey at a great price. Then we have roast turkey in everything for a while! Sometimes hams are on special or lamb or chicken...  They all become roast meat sliced up and used instead of deli meats.

How did you save and earn last week? I hope you found great ways to get ahead!
And what do you make or buy that keeps costs down on filling sandwiches and lunch boxes?  If you make anything that could be used as good lunch box fillers please share! This is a big area that we can make savings in! I am working on a post about lunch box fillers that are not sandwiches or rolls coming up soon!

Have a wonderful week and a wonderful August! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel,

    Those meatloaves look delicious! I used to make another variation which included some cumin and diced capsicum and cheese on top it was like a Mexican style meatloaf. Mince meat used to be a staple here, when it was cheaper and we were eating meat of course! Homemade pastrami? Who would have thought! Pastrami is so expensive so making it at home is a wonderful idea! Yesterday we had a picnic and I made curried egg rolls and cheese and pickles. The rolls were free from the op-shop! I also baked a chocolate cake, biscuits, water and a thermos of tea. Packing lunches when we go out saves us a fortune. I've been busy crafting and tidying this week xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      Cumin is a good idea! We love the flavour. I will try it.
      I also like the curried egg cheese and pickles. Excellent to get free rolls!
      That would have been a lovely picnic with your beautiful cake and biscuits!
      Your crafts are always so lovely Mel. You cram a lot into a week too. With love and thanks,

  2. Such good ideas for deli meats. I never knew how to make pasatrami before! We go up north (Michigan) to a factory that makes cheese and has a store that's attached that sells mistakes (Cheese that doesn't come out in perfect shape). We love to buy it and make cheese slices and we shred it too for recipes. We need to go soon we are out!

    I've been busy harvesting the garden. We had quite a long spell without rain so the harvest isn't as great as last year. It's always amazing though what we get! Saves a lot of money!

    Have a good day!

    1. Dear Vickie, We love cheese! That is great to be able to get it on special prices. I am so glad to hear your are harvesting even though the rainfall was less. We have had many years of low rainfall and now this winter we have so much rain! So no matter how much it rains no farmer would complain!
      I hope you have a great new week, with love

  3. Great post Annabel Also not only are homemade deli meats cheaper and tastier than store bought but also so much healthier. The store bought ones are filled with all sorts of nasty preservatives and additives including nitrates which have been linked to bowel cancer and are a real worry. Your blog is wonderful Thank you Shelley

    1. Dear Shelley,
      I am not keen on the nitrates and preservatives either. Theses show up in my skin I notice if I eat too much. I think a home roast sliced up is lovely plus also cheese, egg, peanut butter and salads etc. A little bit of meat can go a long way then too! Many thanks. Love

  4. Great idea for staples for lunch meat,iam on the road with work and i usually eat in the car,i will fill up an air tight container with a big salad,tonight etc i bought a cooked chicken from Coles(it was almost bare by the way!!) that was our tea with mashed potato,peas and beans, and some left over chicken will go into a container to go with my salad for my lunch,some days i go to IGA to get marked down rolls and croissants,and some times make a bread and butter pudding with this and some raisin bread,we have recently bought 4 chickens and they have been giving us eggs each day so a big savings here!xx

    1. Dear Mel,
      Your such with the chicken sounds lovely. Andy eats in the car (van) he heads off early and takes breakfast in the van too.
      It is great your chickens are laying already! They must be very happy! Eggs are so useful and good I think. A big asset to have.
      Making croissants into bread and butter pudding is a heavenly idea. I have done it with sweet buns. Its beautiful! Love this thanks Mel. Croissants are a big treat here but I see them on social sometimes and they are beautiful with ham and melted cheese!
      Many thanks Mel, with love

  5. Thank you Annabel excellent post

    Once a fortnight I make up 24 bread rolls and freeze them for the girl's lunches for the following fortnight. I usually roast a chicken which I pick up for under $10 and this leaves enough for a meal for us as well or I use some of the chicken in Fried Rice or pasta bake to freeze. So for under $10 I get enough chicken for 24 rolls and one meal for us all.

    Another thing I do to save money is to buy a whole salami or Mettwurst and slice it thinly myself and freeze what will not be used in the coming short term. It is much cheaper to buy a whole salami or mettwurst than to buy it sliced by far. I too use roast meats and meatloaf for sandwiches.

    God Bless and have a great week ahead

    1. Dear Mel, Your rolls sound so good. The roasted chicken is such a good idea. I am wondering... do you make up the rolls with the chicken and freeze these as I am wondering how the cooked chicken freezes and thaws and someone else is asking. I am hoping you will have the answer!
      The whole salami tip is a good one. And that keeps well too. I had not thought to freeze that. These are good as a little bit has such a lot of flavour!
      Many thanks Mel. Have a great week! With love

    2. Annabel I freeze half the rolls with chicken and mayonnaise and half with chicken and BBQ sauce. I never get complaints it tastes just fine. I also make up and freeze Salami rolls, cheese and ham with pickles (or relish), Cooked sausages with tomato sauce on rolls. I have never had a problem with any of them. I wrap them in alfoil first then pop them into a freezer bag and seal.

  6. We don't have packed lunches here, as everyone is usually in and out and eat lunch at home, so it is more often than not leftovers. I thinly slice leftover beef roast and add to a big salad (thai style) with noodles and peanuts. We use leftover oven crumbed chicken sliced thinly with greens/avo in wraps. Leftover rissoles are put with chutney and tomato/lettuce avo into sandwiches. (Like your meatloaf) Good old egg sandwiches (curry) we have once a week, the rest of the days are soups or toasted sandwiches in jaffles (using up casserole leftovers) we also used tinned tuna or salmon, but have with rice.( I freeze rice)

    Today I finished my Coles shop to gain 10,000 pts ($50) I used previous credit to pay for 3/4s of my order, as there were many half priced items on my list. I bought pink bakeware (cake tins) for my DD. There were some meat markdowns as well.

    One thing I noticed was how bare many shelves were. There has been an industrial dispute affecting supplies, which will soon resume (sign said) I thought of your advice Annabel, and how helpful it is to be prepared and have a good stockpile. I was fortunate to get one or two items that were last in stock to make my qualifying shop. Makes you realise just how precarious the food supply chain is.

    I went to the op shop on 1 dollar day, and bought an old hardcover bread cookbook which is really good. Other items were a pink tablecloth and vintage pink and yellow floral sheet. Got a heap of items from the library, including a new BBC series on dvd I wanted to watch.

    1. Dear Kaye, I love the sound of your lunches!
      Well done on the Coles points. These are my most successful ways to earn back some dollars and free groceries. You've taught me a lot on them!
      Interesting about the industrial dispute! Our shelves empty in produce areas due to storms and hail damage the sign says. However I noticed other areas with no explanation. Yes one thing goes wrong and the shelves are empty very fast.
      Love your op shop buys and $1 day! Tomorrow I am posting something one of the ladies made from a $1 tablecloth... you will like! With love

    2. Dear Annabel,

      Oooh, I will look forward to that post! :-)

      Another thing we have when veggies are leftover is a frittata or veggie fritters. These are good cold with chutney or a relish. Also, omelettes when you have lots of eggs! I just realised these can be cooked in the pie maker! I have a small one (cupcake or muffin sized) party creations or something it is called. It cooks several at once! I had better get this "servant" out of my store room and put to work! Lol

      I think I said how we had invested in a stainless steel large electric Sunbeam frypan. Best item I have bought all year! I love it and no fear of teflon flaking off no matter how much it needs scrubbing! (And believe me, it does after cooking herbed honey rissoles) It is wonderful having appliances getting plenty of use. Good economy as well. ;-)

      Love, Kaye xoxo

  7. Hi Annabel!

    This is a winning post for my man! I had mentioned to my husband that you were planning to cover meatloaf, and he was pleased! I like that you don't require advertised sauces in your ingredients, because your way encourages me to actually bake it! Thank you!! My first meatloaf is coming up!!

    We've been eating slow cooked corned beef (they say to let it cool in the cooking liquid) ..... and I never knew what pastrami was!

    I'm of no real help on the subject of lunch boxes. While planting forests, we could eat very little (with all that bending, and the heat), so my husband organised small serves of canned peaches in mango juice, with delicious, thick Gippsland cream! Alternatively, we would have a small, juicy, salty salad of olives, cheese and tomato. In the cold of winter, we might have bread, butter and honey! For pruning, we had to have something of substance for lunch, like a slow cooked Hungarian goulash with sour cream, and a huge enamelled cup of hot tea! Working around the particular person, and their needs, can be quite interesting and challenging! My Dad worked outdoors, and loved a container of baked beans to spoon onto bread!

    The warmer weather is wonderful for us, and conducive to all work! It makes our days so much more fruitful!

    It's wonderful that Kelsey and her husband have had such good news on the work front. May they be blessed beyond measure!!

    Have a great week, Annabel!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Those lunches sound delicious Rachel! Love, Bridget

    2. Dear Rachel,
      Thank you so much. That really does mean a lot to me. And I agree with Bridget, your lunches sound delicious!
      With love, Kelsey

    3. Dear Rachel,
      Meat loaf is a man pleasing dish I think I hope you like it!
      Your working lunches were great. Slow cooked goulash! Yum! The thing is a break and something t eat and drink revives you and you can go on especially with physical work like you were doing.
      I am so happy for Kelsey too! Thank you for telling her that!
      I hope you have a wonderful week Rachel! With love

    4. Thank you, Bridget!
      As I slowly place people in my mind, I think of you as a lovely mother who takes her young son to the beach and park regularly. This is likely more wonderful than you realise!!
      With warm regards, Rachel

  8. I love the meatloaf Annabel and the pastrami. I never knew that's how you make pastrami, so I can't wait to make it, I was just telling DH tonight. You're so right, making lunches saves a fortune. I'm pretty easy, I love boiled eggs or soups etc., it's my DH who needs a substantial lunch. Mostly he is happy to have a hot meal of left overs. So I always make extra at dinner time. At the end of the week, he is happy to have tuna, so I'm lucky. However, I'm keen to try and make pastrami, freeze cooked chicken (do I just freeze it in strips and is it ok to freeze without liquid?) and buy whole salamis. It would save even more. These small changes would add up to a lot in our budget. Thank you Annabel for the thoughtful and encouraging post. Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      Your Dh sounds very good and happy with what you make. This is a big help! I am not sure about the chicken. I don't freeze it cooked. However I just asked Mel as I think she makes up chicken rolls and freezes so I will let you know. One thing... at the moment it has become cheaper here to buy a cooked chicken than cook on myself. And they are always fresh as they sell out several times a day. I make a lot of things from them. We will have a meal from it then Ill make wraps and rolls etc and Andy is set for the next couple of days. They are handy!
      Corned beef is really easy and men seem to love this and the pastrami is a big fancy and goes a long way! With lots of love,

  9. All good ideas! I think deli meat is a bit cheaper here in the US but it is still the most expensive option for sandwiches. My husband still likes a good old peanut butter sandwich one or two days a week. Egg salad is probably the cheapest option for me since eggs are .79 cents a dozen currently and it too is one of hubby's favorites.

    1. Dear Lana,
      It is really interesting finding out the price differences. It is a long time since I saw eggs much under $5 a dozen and usually a fair bit more. That is such a bargain for a wonderful protein!
      I think peanut butter is a great protein and nutrition thing too plus filing! With love

  10. Wow even I could make that pastrami, thankyou for sharing your ideas. Ruth.

  11. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you so much for posting your meatloaf recipe. With the heat here, popping it into the microwave is a great plus. I've learned so much from you on how to do things in the microwave. It's been one tool in my kitchen that has rarely ever been used except to quickly defrost something or reheat. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    I posted the info on the coiled baskets on Friday's post. I hope it is helpful to you.
    Now to the Vicky Challenge. A lot got accomplished this week, and I put $450 in my book as an estimate of all of the food that was preserved and the baskets that were made, and the $50 rebate for the Jet Pak that was used for pantry storage items. I don't know if this would be helpful to you but here it is often less expensive to buy a chuck roast, sirloin roast or round roast when it's on sale and grind the meat myself to make the mince. An old fashioned meat grinder or a food processor will get the job done. I often do this when roasts go on sale for $3 dollars a pound or less. My mom did this when we were growing up, and so I do it too.
    We share the concerns about food shortages and bare shelves. Sometimes it's items that I would consider staples, like salt, baking soda, vinegar, as well as fresh vegetables.
    olive oil, sugar. With the volatile weather we're experiencing and massive flooding, crops and supplies are ruined, and trucks cannot make deliveries because they can't get through due to road closing and other events. I keep my faith that God is my provider in all things, but I must do the footwork. Wishing everyone a productive week. Blessing. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Thank you for the information on the baskets! I love baskets and would love to have a go at these.
      Well done on the excellent savings. It is good that you have a grinder that can make the mince. Yes I think that would often be cheaper.
      There are a lot of factors that can easily see supermarket shelves empty and fast! I like your description too. Its work plus faith. I think of the Proverbs woman getting food from far away places and not being afraid of the winter. She was a worker. But she trusted in God too. I love those verses so much! I think of them everyday.
      Well done on an excellent week with love

  12. Hello Annabel and all,

    What a lovely post today, Annabel! I'm always amazed and inspired by what you do in your slow cooker. I really need to make a plan and work mine harder and more frequently. I've never had corned beef before, but the thought of making pastrami and cold cuts out of it is making me think I should try it for my family. I enjoyed seeing your meatloaf recipe and comparing it to my own. I use quick oats in place of bread crumbs, no milk (or liquid of any kind, really), and different spices. It's amazing how changing a couple of ingredients can change the taste and texture of the same basic dish and make it taste completely new. :) You're adding to my longing for cool weather so I can bring our cold weather dishes back. We were just drooling over our favorite warm comfort meals yesterday in anticipation of autumn's arrival (hopefully soon!). A tip that I do with my version of Shepherd's Pie to stretch the meat so that I can make one pound of mince feed myself and three grown men (DH and 22yo and 18yo DSs) is to add two cups (approx. one can) pre-cooked black beans to it and chop them right into the mince as it cooks. It effectively doubles the dish without sacrificing any taste or money. :)

    I've not been participating in the Vicky Challenge this year as life's been challenging enough up until now, but I'm almost ready to start. In fact, I will start, right now. How's this for last week?
    Packed five breakfasts and 10 lunches throughout the week, $105. Used up loads of old bananas and made two dozen banana/chocolate chip muffins and two loaves of banana bread, $34. Made a batch of biscuits, $7. Made two loaves organic whole wheat bread, $12. DH cut the lawn at our current home twice (the rain!) and once at our old house (pray for a sale!), no idea really, but I'll average it at $15 per cut, so $45. DH fixed the lawn mower that oldest DS backed over with his truck, lol, so I'm going to guesstimate that saved us at least $80. (that's why we only buy $50 mowers, lol) Neighbor is doing loads of tree trimming and giving us the wood after he takes what he wants for burning in our fireplace, so I'm going to say this last week's haul saved us $50. That same neighbor gave us probably a two-gallon bucket's worth of organic, freshly picked tomatoes, so I'm going to say $20.

    I'm going to stop there, because I'm flabbergasted at what I've managed to pull out of thin air just recalling the last week. I'm definitely going to start keeping track this week - today. All told, last week's total is $353. That makes me feel so much better; our finances are starting to feel tight with the two mortgages/utilities, and so much more going on. Thanks for starting this and keeping it up, so that slow starters like me actually start. :)

    Sorry it's so long... I don't comment hardly at all, but when I do it's sometimes a book, lol.

    Have a lovely day, all of you lovely ladies!

    1. Dear Shani, I also enjoyed hearing how you make meatloaf! I love that there are so many variations.
      Welcome to the vicky challenge! I think we achieved an important thing right here in your first week doing it... that is you're flabbergasted by how much your efforts addd up to in dollar terms. Its a surprise and really a good thing to know. It feels good. No one can try and tell you that you are wasting your time. I think its really motivating and an education in the vale of things. I am glad you were surprised and felt good! it is an eye opener!
      Thank you for commenting and I hope you have another great week! With love

  13. I am going to try the pastrami. I have never made that before and that sounds wonderful! You have had good savings for sure! Have a wonderful week, Lynn

  14. Oooohh! I now know how to make pastrami! Thank you for sharing that simple tip. I'll try to get a couple of corned beef at Aldi and use them as you suggested for sandwiches. We've done corned beef before but I had no idea pastrami would be so easy!

    1. Dear Terri, This can go in your savings boot camp discoveries! Having corned beef fist then pastrami mixes things up. Pastrami is YUM in sourdough sandwiches!
      Much love,

  15. Great ideas, as always, Annabel!!! And extremely timely! I've been making sure hubby and son always hav things to pack for lunches so they won't be tempted to buy and so I usually pre-package sandwiches, fruit & veg servings, treats, etc.

    Son enjoys Rev Wraps (a brand of tortilla wrap with meat, cheese inside). I picked up a couple for him since we are going out of town and he will be home on his own. They were on a special sale for 79 cents each (rather than almost $2).

    I then bought tortillas (10 pack- $1.19, 12cents each), I have pepperoni slices that I bought (big package on sale for. $1, so I'm guessing about 5 cents a wrap) , shredded cheese ( about 5 cents worth since I buy it in bulk), homemade pizza sauce (using my own tomatoes, spices). I'm guesstimating a cost on the homemade pizza wraps as about 20 cents each!!! And as others have mentioned, the ingredients are fresher.
    We've had some extra little streams of income again this week. A friend asked if we could build her a spice shelving unit for her kitchen wall. She already had a pattern with instructions and supply list but she wanted it to be larger to fit her particular area. Built that in about an hour and she was delighted! Made 4 more state outlines from free pallet wood and got paid for those. Someone online saw my trivet sets that I have been sewing/quilting as gifts and asked me what I would charge to make her a set. We agreed on a price and so, again, another little stream of income! We are always ready to work on extra projects to make a bit extra! Those little bits can translate into big rewards in our savings!!
    Our giant tree fell down a week ago and it's now been cut down and the yard has been cleaned up. The insurance has paid the tree service (btw- taking down, cutting up and cleaning up afterwards was almost $4000!!! So you may want to reconsider your estimate on the tree trimming!!)
    The insurance also paid us for the "contents" of the yard that were damaged- our gas grill, some yard chairs, a yard swing. Since this is towards the end of summer, we were able to replace the grill and get some really good deals on some yard improvements! We are over the moon happy with how our yard is progressing! I bought and planted 2 more raspberry bushes and another apricot tree on clearance!!
    I haven't been as orderly the past two months on logging my Vicky challenge savings, but I am still certain that they are awesome! When we get back from our vacation up north, I'll start charting our actual savings better!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      This is another time I am thinking how interesting to see your local prices. A wrap here filled for lunch would be $8 or so. But for both us us so much cheaper to make a heap at home!
      The pizza wraps sound amazing! I love that idea!
      I am coming looking to see if there is a picture of the spice rack! I would love to see that! What a great thing to make!
      The cut out wooden states I loved. You do have lots of income streams coming in combining both of your skills. That is fantastic!
      I saw the mess of that tree! I thought it was so fortunate it didn't land on your house! But its a terrible mess to deal with. I am so glad insurance covered that!
      Well done on the items to replace things too. It was a big set back but you made the most of things.
      I am so glad that is all cleaned up! Now you can try and get back to normal! I hope it is a good week! With love

  16. Thank you for the meatloaf recipe Annabel, that is one thing that I have never made. Might have to now that I have your recipe.

    My husband only eats ham as a cold meat, we have roasts and cut the extra meat off and freeze it for another roast - he just doesn't like any other cold meat.

    I am always on the hunt for ham specials so keep an eye out on the catalogues. Drakes IGA seems to be the best source of ham for us it is usually advertised at $10-99 a kilo every few weeks so some times I head in and pick up a couple of kilos and pop it in the freezer broken down into bags of about 100 grams or so.

    My husband only eats ham and cheese sandwiches, even here at home. He might have a change and have peanut butter or if we are having a toasted sandwich he will add tomato to it - that is it.

    This week my friend gave me some more coffee jars - some will be used in the shed and free up the vintage ones that my husband has on display. The Moccona ones have been washed and are away until I am ready to fill them. This will happen after the air conditioner is put in.

    I made Wendy's whole orange cake, twice. Working on a price I spotted in a catalogue each cake is worth at least $6-, we ate one and 3 are in the freezer so $24-.

    We are still working our way through the freezer so only buying what is needed, bread as we had run out and a chicken to roast for Sunday night.

    My husband couldn't help himself on Sunday, we went for a drive and he decided that he was going to have a scone with jam and cream - the scone looked like a bread roll and my husband said it tasted awful.

    Must be time for me to make some scones for the freezer.

    Have a great week everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      It sounds like your best bet is good deals on ham! It is very nice when people say that our own cooking is better than the bought stuff! I have to smile when that happens!
      The jars sound great. They are really useful!
      I hope you are having a good week Lynette! It is much better weather here, some sun even! With love

    2. Annabel I forgot to add in some more savings - found feather pillows 2 for $19-95 save $50-, also purchased a new thermos and saved $40-.

      Yes I love it when they say the home cooked is better than the bought stuff - mind you my husband is always checking out scones - might have something to do with when his father made them and the kids all got sick and needed their tummies pumped - they apparently were like rocks.

      I have 2 jars left, have decanted my dried fruit into 4 jars, they hold a lot so that will mean less packets hanging around.

      Hope that the weather stays good down there.


  17. Dear Annabel,
    Due to your encouragement last year on using the crockpot, we use it regularly now. One of the favorite ways, I like to utilize the crockpot, is to cook two round steaks at a time, then shred them. I separate the meat into glass pyrex containers and freeze it in useable sizes. It is handy for stir-fry, making sandwich filling, and for casseroles. We do exactly the same with chicken breasts. Both types of meats, shredded make great meat spreads for sandwiches.

    A couple of good savings this past week were on skirts and on dishes. I purchased two skirts that were originally $50 each for $20 each. I had been looking at Fiesta Ware for some time. I wanted some dishes that would brighten the kitchen baker's rack and go along with the French Country Tuscan theme. Macy's had them on sale this week, so I decided now was the time to buy them.

    We purchased ten place settings, which consists of ten dinner plates, ten bowls, ten salad plates, and ten coffee mugs; plus I added into that ten luncheon plates. The total for all of it was $256.62; we saved $451.89 off of the regular price. We were very happy with the savings.

    We really enjoy meat loaf, also. I make them up and freeze them for future main dishes. We don't eat many sandwiches, as we are home all of the time, but the meat loaf makes a nice lunch, along with some vegetables.

    Have a wonderful week, Annabel.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I am so glad you use your crockpot more! I find it so helpful. It is doing the work for me and when I am tired dinner is done!
      It is lovely you got new skirts! And at such a great price!
      Also I know the Fiesta Ware. Now you have ten piece settings you will be well set up. Very good to buy them on a big special like that.
      I have found the meatloaf freezes really well. I sliced heaps up in single serves. it would go well with left over veggies too.
      Have a great week Glenda, with love

  18. Hi Annabel,
    Interesting that your topic today included corned beef as DH had a special request for this for dinner. I use the pressure cooker for this, so a quick meal and it always yields us a few meals, plus sandwich meat (there's just the two of us).
    Before retiring, Dh loved to take leftovers for lunch, so it was easy to just cook a little extra the evening before. On the otherhand, I must have made thousands of vegemite sandwiches when my children were living here ... nothing else interest them, ha, ha. When we visit DD (she lives overseas), a catering size tub of vegemite is always on the request list.
    Those meatloaves look so yum! What a clever idea to use muffin tins - would definitely eliminate the mess from trying to cut a hot meatloaf.
    Another request this week was for apple strudel(after watching a Rick Stein show in Vienna). I had filo pastry in the freezer (bought on sale for $1.50) plus stewed apple again in the freezer and made with some sad looking apples earlier this year. All up, the ingredients yielded 3 large strudels for about $3. I'm thinking these would probably be about $10 each if purchased. One was given to DDIL, another for the freezer and one for dessert + snacks.
    Have a good week

    1. Dear Janine, It is funny about Vegemite not being available overseas. It is a good present because of that!
      I just love the apple strudels! They sound heavenly. Very nice that you got three and could share too! I might look this up and see if I can find Rick Steins recipe. When I think of him I think of seafood but he must do all kinds of things.
      I love left overs for lunch. So easy and no waste.
      Many thanks Janine, with love

  19. Dear Annabel,
    This is a timely post for me, as well! Starting Monday I will begin packing lunches for my husband once again. A ham and cheese sandwich is the usual, but I am always looking for new ideas and variety. I am going to have to try your corned beef recipe. Thank you so much for posting that as my husband has been wanting corned beef, but I had no idea where to begin as I have never even eaten it. Now I know, and I can do it in the crockpot so that is a major bonus.
    You have also reminded me that I can use meatloaf in sandwiches. My husband loves meatloaf but Papa doesn't like it, so maybe this would be a good solution. Cook it and use it in lunches.
    Our grocery store has what they call a weekly meal deal. If you buy a product like ground beef, you get free hamburger buns, ketchup, cheese, and pickles, etc. We take advantage of these offers quite often, as it saves so much. Often they have chicken for fajitas in large packages and then you get free tortillas, salsa, chips, and beans. We buy the fajitas almost every time, as my husband will grill the whole package and we will eat them as intended for the first meal. After that, the chicken makes the best chicken salad sandwiches. We have several packages in the freezer, so I'll put that on the menu, now that I think about it!
    For the Vicky Challenge this week, I saved $257.35 by shopping grocery specials, using coupons, and doing the cooking and cleaning. I did not report the last two weeks, but I managed to save 638.16. I am very happy about that!
    I hope everyone has a good and productive week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      How exciting about Monday! I hope you find the corned beef so easy to do that it is a winner.
      Muffins, sweet or savoury are wonderful for lunch boxes. So are little containers of salad, fried rice etc. I put an ice pack in during summer and everything stays nice and cold.
      I love the idea of the meal deals! That is clever and a saving as well.
      Well done on such good savings!
      Tell your husband god luck for Monday! It is a big day for you all! Its a dream coming true! With love Annabel.xxxx

  20. Dear Annabel, your meatloaves look mouthwatering and I just gave them a 'plug' on my post this evening! Poached chicken and my spicy sausage are other good alternatives to traditional deli meats, and I have to say, I didn't know how to make Pastrami till now, so thankyou! I'm reminded again of the importance of a well stocked pantry as a friend of ours lost his job yesterday. No warning, no nothing, no redundancy package. Just four weeks pay in lieu of notice and see you later. The family are devastated as the mother has multiple health issues and there is a teen still at high school and an older dependent studying at University. They're hoping he'll get another job quickly, but as he is older, that seems unlikely. They were completely unprepared and I know they won't accept what they perceive to be 'charity'. I'm heartbroken for them. Nobody is immune! This is a very experienced older man, with a great work ethic, and now, no income. What to do? Does anyone have suggestions for helping one very proud family? Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Thank you for that! I saw how we were talking about similar things. What we can make and do at home is a wonderful thing. Many people are just discovering this and theres always so much more to learn.
      I am sorry for your friend and his family. I am hearing this over and over especially from people who have worked in the same place for years and years and imagine they can stay on and retire... but thats it BAM its over. Some have no phone or car instantly as it was the companies!
      My suggestions would be to assure them this is happening to so many people. That they need to absorb it and assess their situation. They may or may not have savings, a mortgage etc. Re plan. Ie if they planned a holiday they might need to reassess such things. Assess his job prospects. Most that I know have not found the same kind of job and full time work but have instead found work mowing lawns and trimming hedges , odd jobs, consultancy work and so on. We have come to feel the days of the long term job are pretty much over. Everything's part time and casual just about. So security isn't what it once was and several income streams are now necessary. I hope you can offer Mimi ways of shopping and cooking if they don't know these already.
      I would also suggest the teen and uni student get part time jobs if they don't have them already. This is good for them anyway.
      It is a shake up and worry when these things happen. I feel sorry as most good men feel very responsible for providing and this is very hurtful and painful for them.
      Many thanks Mimi, I hope the last of the week goes well for you. With love

    2. Thankyou Annabel. Those are solid suggestions. I will try to help them if they will accept help. The teens both work part time now, and some sacrifices of music lessons and little luxuries have been made. I'm praying for them that things will come good. Thankyou for your thoughts. Mimi xxx

  21. Annabel I made meat loaf tonight and you are not wrong about it being harder to cut when hot. However, I tried cutting it neatly with my Wiltshire Stayshire knife and it sliced through it nicely. I always have to make sure I am not slicing my fingers as well of course as it is razor sharp.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I used to have little rectangle muffin trays... these were nicer shape for meatloaf. I would love to get one of those again. It is much harder to cut when hot, thanks for this tip!
      I am a terror with a sharp knife. Its a wonder I still have all my fingers honestly.
      Many thanks, Love

  22. Dear Annabelle, I had a day off from work yesterday as we had some repairs that needed to be done to our home security system. Consequently, I rummaged through the fridge and found some corn tortillas that needed using up. I browned some ground beef with a small chopped onion, added a can of cream style corn, a can of drained and rinsed black beans, a cup of frozen corn and paprika, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. I placed four tortillas in the bottom of a greased casserole dish, placed several spoons of ground beef mixture on top, then a layer of shredded cheese and repeated my layers twice more and baked for about 30 minutes to get hot and melt the cheese. I had enough to make a smaller casserole for the freezer as well! I often prepare two casseroles at a time so that one is always a standby for a quick meal.

    Saturday we made breakfast burritos for the freezer. There are many things that I make to freeze such as homemade calzones: pizza flavor, chicken/broccoli, ham and cheese, etc, using whatever I have on hand to fill them. I also make bean burritos, trays of lasagna, homemade eggrolls, and homemade taquitos. Sometimes I cook a huge roast in the crockpot and we eat dinner one night and then I shred the beef for BBQ beef sandwiches. I've been freezer cooking for years and this has really helped us save money.

    I made 15 breakfasts and 12 lunches this past week for three of us to take to work, saving us at least $175! I hope to get on board with the Vicky challenge soon so I can keep better track of all my savings. Fond regards, Jeanette P.S. Your meatloaf looks yummy and my husband loves meatloaf!

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      I really love the sound of your tortilla casserole! Yum that sounds good!
      That is a lot of beautiful cooking. I am glad your freezer is such a help to you too.
      All those lunches and breakfasts sound beautiful and such a saving.
      The Vicky Challenge helps you see the enormous value in things. Most of the time when I see what the shops charge its a shock! Like the other day I checked on the pice of sausage rolls. I had calculated mine at $3 each but the shops had gone up to $3.80 each. That made the three dozen I made worth a fortune! We would never pay that!
      All your meals sound gorgeous Jeanette! Thanks for sharing your week! With love

  23. Annabel and ladies,
    I'm here, I'm here! I am late to the party again sorry! Since I am so late I will keep this short. First you can freeze cooked chicken. Just slice or shred or separate the parts as you like. We have been major busy the garden and canning is in full swing. I have everything written down, but have not added my totals for the week. We have harvested and canned lots of beans and the last of the pickles, collected eggs, hung clothes on the line, scrapped some metal, cleaned and painted the cellar, and Rick repaired and sold some mowers. Your meatloaf looks yummy! I love meatloaf of any kind. It is always such a tasty filling meal. I am so happy for Kelsey and Rachel you will love making meatloaf! Everyone is doing so well I am so happy to hear everyone's saving each week!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thanks for the tips on the chicken. I know you have been working like a bee on your garden and canning! When you factor in the painting, shelving etc it is a lot of work! Rick has done a lot! Selling the mowers was excellent too!
      I hope the week is going well! With love

  24. Can somebody please help me? I really fancy the corned beef and pastrami. do you have to but special beef cuts and put it in brine, etc yourself or can you get the same effect by cooking in a crock pot? the only Corned beef we seem to get in the UK, is the tinned stuff which has a key on the tin to open it & is usually sliced up for sandwiches.
    Love reading this Blog. I don't comment very often but have learnt so much.

    1. Hi Kim. You can brine your own piece of beef and yes it does have to be brined to become 'Corned Beef' or 'Silverside' as it's also known. I know my cousin also asked her butcher in the UK (who had never heard of it) to make it for her, and now he sells out of it every time he does a batch! Try Googling Brined Beef, and see if that helps. I've certainly brined chicken with wonderful results and it's not difficult at all. I hope this helps a little. Annabel may well know how it's done too. Mimi xxx

    2. Kim in Australia we have what is called corned silverside - it is a piece of beef that is already brined then we cook as per Annabel's instructions. My mother inlaw adds a strip of orange rind to hers but I just do the way I learnt when I was young.

      I have just found some pickled pork on sale (again brined and will be cooked in a similar fashion to the corned beef).

      So perhaps using interchangeable words when speaking to a butcher may help you find what you are looking for.


    3. Dear Kim,
      In the supermarkets here Corned Beef is sold in the meat section and its ready corned and ready to cook. Also called Corned Silverside as Lynette says.
      You can corn your own piece of beef and my Dad does this but to me then you are ending up with more work. It could be called something else or possibly it is an Australian thing! I think though the US ladies are getting it. Possibly ask a butcher if they sell corned beef or is it called something else? The one you mention sounds to be already cooked too..
      Thank you so much for your comments! With love

    4. Kim, Here in the US (at least where I live) you can either buy corned beef (already brined) or beef brisket (there's at least two cuts). The brisket would be "plain" and you can season it/brine it or just cook it plain. If you want to make pastrami, cook it in a slow cooker plain or with seasoning/herbs and then do as Annabel does it. Hope this helps. Teri

  25. Great ideas and recipes! I am late to this post but here is our all time favorite lunch meat recipe!

    Have a productive week! :) Love, JES

    1. Thank you Jes! That is a really good recipe. Just the sort of thing Im looking for. Thanks!

  26. Hi Annabel,
    We had a lovely week. I will have my daughter put a picture of the tutus on Facebook I have a dumb phone and it will not do it.
    To make them I measured peanuts waist and added 14 inches of ribbon to that.I tied a knot at each end so I knew her waist size. I cut and tied tule to the the size of peanuts waist. I made the tule quite long so she can use it now and grow into it. I also hot glued a pink flower to a head band and one to a smaller ribbon to tie onto her waist. I also did the same for baby sister that is not here yet. Their are loads of tutorials on you tube.
    I shopped at Smart and Final it is an industrial supply store.
    I got giant bags of boneless skinless chicken and some other chicken. Giant baskets of blueberries and 5 lbs of organic carrots for $2 dollars. I peeled some of the carrots and made homemade hummus to go with it. I also bought eggs for $ 1.50 a dozen> that is a good price for California. I normally pay $3
    dollars a dozen. I also went back to making yogurt I do it in the crock pot. This saves so much $$ Lili at Creative Savv does
    it in a cooler. She is the one that started me on making my own
    yogurt. I used milk but you can also use coconut milk or any other milk. I also keep potting the succulents that the gardeners clip and plan to throw away. I am going to try and trade some for produce at the Farmers Market.
    I am guessing at least $300 in savings. This has been so helpful seeing that I really do save. The meatloaf looks so yummy. I will be making some when the weather cools off.
    Have a blessed week.
    With love Patti
    PS congratulation Kelsey

    1. Dear Patti,
      I look forward to seeing your tutus!
      All the produce you get sounds beautiful and its wonderful to make your own yoghurt!
      I love the idea to get the succulents going and trade at the market. Succulents are very popular and quite expensive in the stores. If you can start them from free bits you could end up doing really well! A good tip is to wrap all your pots in burlap for nice presentation and tie them up with string. They look so stylish even in a basic plastic pot. My florist does this. She also wraps burlap around tin cans. Looks good.
      Your savings were great! Thanks for sharing your week! With love

  27. Dear Annabel, I too am a bit late to comment. Today I made French bread (saves a trip to the grocery store) and it tastes so much better. We have also been eating lots of garden veggies with our meals, made coleslaw and froze some corn. The corn was gifted to us.
    If I might add a bit about cooked chicken in the freezer. I chunk/shred chicken and turkey, making each baggie enough for one meal and put all into freezer bags. I have found that cooked chicken/turkey frozen, should be used within a couple months. It won't hurt for longer but it tends to dry out. This is just the meat without a sauce, gravy, etc. in the freezer. I do this a lot and then have a quick meal "ready", cutting prep time down when I'm already tired! LOL
    Have a good rest of the week, ladies! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      It sounds like your garden is producing well and that is wonderful!
      Thanks for the tips on the chicken and turkey in the freezer. This is good and the way you do it is very handy.
      Have a god week to you too! With love

  28. The Great Ocean Road is a coast road running from Torquay to Warrnambool.


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