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 3 August 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 4th August, 2017.

It has been a cold and wet week but wherever I look there are signs of spring like blossoms on trees. This is making me start to plan for spring!

Some of the ways I built up my home this week included:

I followed Laine's advice and started following The Fundamental Home and I started menu planning. Now I have always menu planned to some extent. I can always say what we are having for dinner tonight, tomorrow night and the next night. I often write down a weeks plan.  But this is different! Now I "get it" and it's amazing.  Laine is also new to menu planning and there are going to be some posts on it.  Even Laine who would be the best saver I ever knew is now almost halving her grocery spend this way.  That is her goal anyway!  It is really exciting!

I worked on using up lemons.  I froze lemon juice.  I made two lemon cakes and sliced them up then froze the portions.  Then I made Lemon Butter to freeze.

I also worked on my pie crusts. This time I tried a sour dough pie crust recipe I had been wanting to try.  It looked good but this rule of dough having to be cold before rolling out means you need to be super strong to even roll it out!   Still the crusts looked good...

I filled two pies. One is frozen. 

So I learned more about sweet pie crusts but I still am not happy with the crust!  No wonder I was intimidated by pie crusts. It was for a reason!  Now I am going to follow what my Mum does.  She makes a warm pie crust, not trying to cut cold butter into flour and you don't need to be Hulk Hogan to roll it out.   It ignores all "the rules" and is a good pie crust.  This happened to me with scones. I could never make scones. They were like hockey pucks.  This plight lasted something like 30 years. Then I decided that if the rules don't work I will try making them another way and I ignored all the "mix very lightly"  rules.... and now I make sky high scones.  So maybe pie crusts will go the same way.  Maybe the rules are a secret chefs way of sabotaging normal people!?
Andy is happy eating the experiments anyway.

I made two focaccia breads.
More yoghurt.
6 sausage rolls. 
Sweet Potato soup.

I cooked some venison Mum gave us.

I cooked a lamb shank in the crock pot all day with sweet potato to make baby food for Scarlett.  This is full of bone broth and goodness.   Most of it went into ice cube trays for the freezer.  

This is so cheap to make and so nutritious. Also I had the satisfaction of seeing her eating some and she opens her mouth like a little bird and in it goes!  😊

At the op shop I bought two lovely little purses. One is pale pink on the outside and real leather. Inside it has many compartments and they are all floral pink fabric! It is gorgeous. ($2) 
These are to better organise my grocery money.  One will be just my weekly grocery money.  The other will be my saved fund for when I find too good to be true deals!  

Speaking of good deals.... last week with Hilde I got a nice brie for $2.  I thought I can make a meal of this!  This is for Jen in NZ.... 

Sit it on a piece of puff pastry.  Top it with some cranberry sauce and some nuts...

Pecans or walnuts are good for this.   Then wrap it up and bake it until the pastry is golden.

Let it sit for a little while before you cut it or the cheese will be too runny.  Cut it when just still warm.

I serve it with rocket, pear and sticky balsamic glaze.  

It was so yum and a nice meal... and the protein was $1 per serve. 

This week I started making up a heap of dry mixes. This one is Cream of Chicken soup.  I use this mix a lot when making pumpkin or sweet potato soup as a scoop of this gives the most beautiful flavour.

Over the weekend I am making Butter Chicken mix, Enchilada mix, French Onion soup mix...  I will put up all the recipes in a post.   The biggest savings is going to be the enchilada mix.  Enchilada sauce in a jar is really expensive... and I always need three jars as I make several trays at once.
Also these mixes leave out all the weird artificial flavours and colouring and preservatives!  I am thinking some mixes would be very nice additions to kitchen gift themed baskets.  I am making some for the girls as they both like things with all natural ingredients. 

So that was my week.  I feel happy because I have been learning a lot.

How did you build up your home this week?  I hope there were lots of little chances to get ahead in some way.  
Have a lovely weekend! xxx


  1. Inspiring as always Annabel. I've been making lemon butter too, and enjoying it on toast, in cup cakes, as lemon meringue pie (Wayne was in heaven)and cordial. I've zested all the lemons that were used and frozen it for baking, then put the peels in the dishwasher to clean and deodorise. Best of all the lemons were free, from my brother before he moved house. Today I've done my monthly shopping, made a double batch of brownies and choc chip slice, some naan and a loaf of yummy wholegrain bread. The house is warm and I'm grateful because it is so cold and damp, and it smells amazing, a lovely way to start a weekend. Have a lovely week, Cath

    1. Dear Cath, It was so good you could get those lemons before your brother moved! That was a big day as monthly shopping is a lot of work. I find the unpacking the hardest part. Putting everything away and portioning out etc can just take ages! So to get cooking done as well I think is an excellent job! It is also cold and rainy here. Yesterday was a shocker. This afternoon we have had many weather warnings for a big storm. So I am doing the same... inside warm and toastie and cooking and making mixes up! I went to the Greek wholesaler yesterday and got bulk onion flakes, oregano and a few things as they are so much cheaper than the supermarket. Also got good tinned tomatoes at 59c a can. Very happy! I have dough rising for pizzas so far! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  2. You've been busy! It all looks delicious... I look forward to seeing your post with the homemade mix recipes. Thank you!

  3. Dear Annabel, that Brie in puff pastry looks incredible! I'm having my son and his wife over for a birthday lunch tomorrow, so I might steal that idea as an entrée! A good week here. Mainly with DIY renovations and gift making. All meals from scratch of course, and a big washing session while the weather is fine and windy. So all blankets, sheets, rugs, everything...washed and dried in the sunshine. The house smells like the outdoors! Lovely! Mimi xxx

  4. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds,
    Thank you for another excellent blog post Annabel, you have had a great week Annabel. I have wanted to make Caths cheapskate club cream of anything soup for awhile now . I might see what ingredients I will need and put them on my shopping list . I absolutely love the cheese in pastry idea , yum !.
    My week was made much better this morning when I received a phone call . The phone call was to ask me if next Wednesday is ok for my new kitchen to be installed , yippee !, so I said yes Absolutely !. I am not sure if I should count this in my Vicky challenge but if I did it would be about $9000 just for my kitchen , maybe more !.
    I am also maybe going to receive help from Centacare ( who do my cleaning and meal prep etc) to pack up my kitchen , saving my Dad from having to do it all as I am not able to do a lot. My Dad is an unofficial carer for my mum and I so he already has a lot to do.
    Anyway other savings for me this week were 2 hours subsidised cleaning ( as usual) $40 saving compared to a private company .
    I saved at least $45 on medication as I am on the PBS safety net card and get free medication for the remainder of the year.
    I went to the doctor and was bulk billed , saving me $60
    I banked a cheque that I had forgotten about ($14)
    I was given 2 meals from my parents( saving me $20)
    I have had meal prep on Monday and will have it again today so that saves me on takeaway or going out for dinner or on convenience foods , a $35 savings approximately .
    I found $10 in my handbag that I had forgotten about , so a $10 savings .
    I saved about $30 on groceries this week and put the $30 plus another $70 in my holiday savings .
    I bought a gift at a good price and saved at least $10 by buying it reduced.
    I think that is it for this week Annabel , so a total savings of $334 or if I count my kitchen it's an amazing saving of at least $9334 ,!. Either way a great week !.
    I hope everyone has a great weekend , love Barb W.

    1. Glad to hear that you are getting your new kitchen at last Barb! I'd love a new kitchen.

  5. Hi Annabel and beautiful bluebirds and I hope you have all had a wonderful week :) .

    Annabel I look forward to seeing the post of your recipes of your mixes too. Fantastic you are menu planning as well, we work on just having full pantries and freezers and just pick a meal each night to cook but mind you there is only the two of us and we are empty nesters and store bulk supplies of everything.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $456.16 this week.

    Here is how we saved this week and feathered our nest -

    In the kitchen -

    - We made 2kg of chocolate fudge for $10.22 saving $77.78 over purchasing it.
    - This week we also made a meat free meal of pancakes from our premix we make in the fridge too and they were eaten with our homemade strawberry jam and cream, yum yum.

    Our purchases -
    - I bought a mini hand held sewing machine on Ebay for $1.99 with free postage. I thought this would come in handy for little sewing jobs that needed doing without turning on the sewing machine.
    - Purchased 5 pairs of wool cashmere blend socks on Ebay for myself as mine are wearing out saving $53.64 over purchasing them locally in our stores.
    - Bought 5 pairs of cotton blend socks from Ebay saving $1.01 again as mine are so old they are wearing out too.

    In the garden -
    - Picked a kilo of turnips from the gardens saving $6 over purchasing them in the shops.
    - Dug up our old root bound strawberry plants from the gardens and saved 40 good new plants by dividing them to plant in the gardens saving $40 over purchasing them.
    - Pulled up our last of our green and Cherokee wax butter beans plants from the vegetable gardens to save the seeds to plant next season.
    - Purchased a 8 x 5' trailer load with caged sides of horse manure from a local horse breeding stud saving $288.80 over purchasing it in bags locally. This is now spread out and raked over the gardens to amend the soils for planting spring vegetables.

    Electricity savings -
    - Saved $4.10 in electricity by using our solar lanterns to light our home, boiling our water for our cuppas, washing up the dishes twice with water heated on the slow combustion fireplace and steaming our vegetables on the slow combustion fireplace once this week too.

    Craft and sewing -
    - Listed 15 of my handmade items on Ebay on a free listing promotion saving $24.75 in normal listing fees.

    Gardening earnings -
    - DH earned $50 from occasional paid gardening work and I eared $18 from sales of saved vegetable seeds from the gardens. We used some of this money for buying new drip irrigation connectors for the drip irrigation watering system in the front gardens to set them out better, a trailer load of horse manure and some stamps for postage.

    Have a great week ahead everyone :) .


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, That was another really good week! Your seeds are a very successful thing to sell! That is really good! The chocolate fudge sounds just beautiful! I notice that when we do things and save in a whole heap of different areas it really seems to add up. The pancake pre mix sounds excellent, I will get you to share that in the mixes post if you would. I find making up mixes of things we regularly like to make is a huge help. I had a challenge as I only recently started making enchiladas... and then the whole family loves them. But the jars of sauce are ridiculously expensive and I always need three jars... so now I have a pre mix made up! Feel happy about that!
      Your week had great savings well done! Have a good weekend! With love

    2. Annabel thank you for your encouragement and you are so right that making premixes and other treats in our homes does add up to a huge saving if you look at it over the course of a week or even a year :) .

      I will be happy to share the pancake premix in the mixes thread as it also makes muffins and scones or in the US know as biscuits too.


  6. I am looking forward to reading those recipes Annabel. I am pretty good at menu planning, I just keep forgetting to defrost the meat I need for the next days cooking! That is why I like to keep tinned tuna in the pantry. Though when I forgot to defrost meat for a meal last week we had curried eggs and rice for dinner instead. I saw my oncologist today and I am now on annual follow-ups instead of six monthly. So there is a saving there on specialist fees and travel costs ;-) As always I mean to write down how I build up my home during the week and as usual I have forgotten to do so. We did pick up a box of mandarins for $5 when I went to a road side fruit stall to pick up some veggies. The stall is an outlet for a local farm and is also the closest fruit and veggie vendor to where live. Your lemon pies look so good!

    1. Congratulations on graduating to an annual visit to the oncologist. As a fellow survivor, I am cheering you on.

    2. Dear Sherri,
      That is such good news... I know from friends that going to annual check ups pretty much means everything is great! How wonderful! Celebrate that!
      The road side stall sounds very good. Also a back up plan in the pantry is a very good idea! Have a lovely weekend! With love

  7. Annabel, your lemon butter looks beautiful. I need to plant a lemon tree!

    Yum! The brie in pastry looks amazing. I went to the cheese shop this week and bought another big slab of Parmesan for $6. Unfortunately this week their special was on blue cheese wedges, I'm not a blue cheese girl! But next time the brie is reduced I will be trying your recipe for sure.

    Speaking of your recipes, I made the raisin bread this week. Well buns actually, as I only have one loaf tin. And they were all gone in a day, so a win!

    Today I started sewing my sons quilt, I may have got a bit carried away and served up dinner an hour later than usual lol. It's nice to start sewing after so much cutting!

    I hope everyone has a good weekend, I'm hoping to get some more sewing done :)

    Jen in NZ

    1. Dear Jen,
      This little brie dinner can work out amazingly cheap if you can get the brie on a good deal. The other one is to dip in egg then breadcrumbs and fry in wedges... with kids this might produce good little portion sizes.
      We love that raisin bread! I cut it thickly and we pan fry it.
      It sounds like the quilt is making good progress! These wintery weekends could be good for sewing. We are getting a big storm this afternoon so I am just inside doing things... I am quite happy too! There is always loads to do!
      The parmesan will be so useful anyway and it seems to keep a long time. I have pizzas planned for dinner with my dough rising now. With love,

  8. I love to read what you've been up to Annabel, it gives me new ideas. I have just put this lemon slice in the oven to take to a dinner tomorrow. It has a reasonable amount of sugar, but also makes a reasonable size slice. You don't really need to know how to make pastry - you can use a food processor and it will come together with very little work. For the filling, it just needs to be whisked together in a bowl.
    Thank you also for sharing about laines letters, I have found them encouraging.

    1. Dear Melissa, Thank you for the recipe! Also a lot of ladies are gluten free so I think this will get tried out by a few of us!
      I am glad you are enjoying Laines Letters. Anytime I need a bit of encouragement or even cheering up I read them. They have a restorative and calming affect on me! Thanks so much! With love

  9. Annabel, those are some mouth watering pictures of food for sure! Yum! I'm canning boiled peanuts for my husband and hope to finish this task today. It looks like we're going to wind up with about 35 quarts for the pantry which should last him through the year until peanut harvesting time again next year.

    1. Dear Patsi, I don't think Ive ever had boiled peanuts. But I love peanuts so I should like them! Your pantry is filling up as each week you are preserving a lot! Have a great weekend! With love

  10. What a blessing your bounty of lemons is! And I love your heart-shaped pie pans!

    We picked blueberries at a local farm this week. Though not certified organic, this farm uses organic practices. The blueberries are reasonable and delicious.

    Bacon ends and pieces were on sale 50% off this week. I stocked up. I now prefer these to sliced bacon.

    I had a thrifted white blouse that I didn’t love wearing. Since I have long arms, I don’t really care for long sleeved blouses. I hemmed this one to ¾ length sleeves and now I’m wearing it and loving it!

    Thanks to Patsy’s 15 minute a day sewing challenge I am making good progress on restoring/repairing my son’s transportation quilt. I made it for him 35 (!) years ago when he graduated from a crib to a twin bed. Now his son is about to do the same so I am thoroughly enjoying readying this quilt for him.

    Today I have to go to the 'big city' to do a bit of shopping. I will be praying for wisdom and for eyes to see the good deals. I will be downloading Hobby Lobby's 40% discount coupon to my phone.

    Love all the inspiration from all of you. Since I am relatively new to this blog, I am enjoying getting to know all of you!

    1. Dear Cheri, I love heart shapes! I have cookie cutters, pie plates, side plates and all sorts in hearts!
      I only recently found that I could buy bacon odds and ends...the one I found also has salami and so on all in one pack. So I got one and thats getting opened tonight as I am making pizzas. The rest I will divide up for pizzas and toasties and freeze for other nights! Was a bargain!
      The quilt sounds wonderful! I also have been amazed how much a 15 minute challenge can achieve!
      I hope the shopping goes well. 40% is a good discount.
      I am so glad to have you here and you will soon know everyone! With love

  11. This week's money-saving activities:

    Used mint and lemon balm from my garden to make tea, and other fresh herbs in cooking, and enjoyed a few ripe berries from our baby blueberry bushes and blackberry canes.

    Cooked grilled chicken, brown rice, pork roast, and potatoes to heat up this week, made stock in the crockpot, and prepared another batch of oatmeal and mixed grains cereal for work-week breakfasts. I learned that the homemade pre-prep hot cereal that I freeze would cost $10 a package in the store - over $100/month for breakfasts! We took home-packed lunches all week.

    Checked out some new books from the library.

    Froze leftovers for later meals and pulled muffins out of the freezer for snacks.

    Used the pantry to make a nice Sunday breakfast and lunch - no grocery shopping this week.

    Planted another dwarf fig tree, some hyssop, butterfly bush, and summer lilac that we purchased at a local nursery sale. We have been rewarded with new pollinator sightings already!

    Collected some seeds from my cinnamon basil plant that is flowering.

    My husband fixed the gate leading to our backyard, using materials he saved from other projects.

    We each cut our own hair, and I gave myself a pedicure.

    Used yarn from my stash to start a pretty shawl that will be cozy for winter, and might make a nice gift.

    Spent some time enjoying our home and flower garden - the lavender and roses are doing beautifully and it was a joy to see so many blooms in our own small yard.

    1. Dear Kathy, What a lovely week and with really good savings too!
      I have not heard of cinnamon basil but I love basil and as soon as spring comes I am planting! I do know butterfly bush and I love that.
      All the breakfasts and lunches are a massive saving. When you work it out weekly and then yearly you see how much difference it really makes! I hope you have a great weekend! With love

  12. Could you post the recipe for the warm pie crust? I have a terrible time with crusts and this is the perfect time to make pies with all the fruits sweet and ripe. Thank you!

    1. Dear Vintage Ellen,
      I had to check with Mum so sorry on the delay! Mum says in a large saucepan melt 2 oz butter or margarine (or two spoonfuls) and 1/4 cup milk gently. Beat in an egg fast and 1 to 1 and a half cups SR Flour. Knead this until lovely smooth dough and roll out while still warm. You can roll out between two layers of baking paper. Mum always doubles this recipe and says it is so easy and good to roll out. And it breaks all the rules in the books but it works and she only uses this recipe. This is really a basic dough rather than a sweet one so some icing sugar could go in to replace a bit of flour for added sweetness. Good luck with it! Love

  13. Dear Annabel and Blue Bird friends
    My week has been full of savings, I just love it when that happens.

    Firstly I had a look at an on line store for a chemist that I use to love going to - ended putting an order in because they had a few things on sale at really good prices. Spent $95- but saved over $152-. I have heaps of soap coming, just need to find a place to store it and let it dry out so that it lasts longer. A set of 3 small shower gels and 2 small hand creams that usually sells for $17- was $5-95. I will break these up for my Red Hat Ladies Christmas party, everyone will get a small gift and it hasn't broken the bank. I spent enough to get free delivery too so a savings with that as well.

    While waiting to see the doctor on Monday (in all of the germs and guess who is now sick?) I found an on line store had a leather wallet deal for my son. I purchased one for my son and one for my husband and saved $150-.

    I picked up a nice long sleeve top at Katies and saved more than 50%.

    Had to go and pick up my new prescription from the compounding pharmacy. On the way home I had my list of places to stop and what we were getting. Potting mix (good brand) was 1/2 price at one place. We needed a couple of items from Aldi to get us through until next Friday when I should be over this bug and able to tackle a grocery shop. The IGA had apples, oranges and bananas on special and also found that they had fresh pineapples as well. Then it was to the Golden Circle Factory outlet where I only picked up what was needed, 420g tins of spaghetti to go in the stockpile (60 cents a tin for SPC), jars of mint sauce and some cracker biscuits for my husband to take for lunch instead of sandwiches sometime.

    My husband made a double batch of sausage rolls in the afternoon, they are now in the freezer.

    During the week I have been using up 'bits' that were in the 'fridge made honey mustard chicken which was quite tasty and didn't take that long to cook.Also made '5 ingredient apple slice' to use up some apples.

    I have kept a record of what I have cooked every week apart from this one. Trying to use up items in the freezer including ready cooked frozen meals.

    Many moons ago I use to have a little book that I not only recorded what I spent when doing the food shopping but also the fortnightly menu for the 4 of us including baking.

    We didn't end up going to see my mother in law - don't want her to get this bug.

    Have a great weekend everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      What a great week! The online chemist was amazing. Thank you for telling me about that. Also thank you for telling me about the Home Website... I signed up for that and didnt know about it!
      I hide my soap to age behind the linen in the linen cupboard and in my blanket box. They are safe and sound there and make everything smell nice. Some has been there for years it would last ages once put to use.
      You are doing what I am ... if somewhere for any reason then shop the stores near there. It makes every trip interesting!
      It is great to have sausage rolls in the freezer... I find them very handy too.
      Have a great weekend. We are about to be hit by a big storm they say.... with love,

  14. I have a neighbor who sells her produce at the local Farmer's market. Last Saturday evening she brought over a huge bag of cucumbers. None were over 3 inches long. She said she knew I made pickles and would I like them. I said sure, even though I was already exhausted from working in the gardens all day. She asked if I needed dill and then brought over a bunch of that too. Also asked about garlic, but we had just picked ours. It was close to midnight by the time I had finished cleaning and clipping the ends on all of them and had them soaking in the salt water brine. The next day I made the pickles and got 11 quart jars and 3 jelly jars of dills. I am calling them baby dills, as I fit between 20 and 25 cucumbers in each jar.
    Picked the last of the snow peas and used a bunch in stir fry. Thinned the carrots, the thinnings went into the stir fry also. Picked the last of the lettuce and planted more. Picked the first few grape and cherry tomatoes.

    Made herb bread with fresh basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Normally I put parsley in too, but it isn't ready yet. The zucchini are coming along, enough to eat but not overwhelming yet.

    This weekend I am making fried rice (the rice is all cooked and in the fridge. I use brown rice, as I prefer it plus being the whole grain it is healthier. Also going to make my DH's Italian grandmother's meatball stew. It takes whatever is in the garden and then cooks low and slow in a tomato based sauce. I don't like it, but he loves it, so I make it for him for lunches. I will have leftover fried rice for mine.

    I have a cabbage and cauliflower almost ready. the garden is quite late this year in Eastern Washington State, as we had tremendous amounts of rain all through May. Hoping for a long warm fall.

    1. Dear Nancy, You are really making hay while the sun shines! How wonderful of your neighbour too! Your garden sounds so good! So does the tomato sauce that slow cooks! I like to cook an egg in a rich tomato sauce like that and have it on toast! That is a meal for me that I would do if Andy is having something else.
      I also love fried rice! As a kid that was one of my favourite dinners!
      I have heard a lot of ladies say this about the late season. Have a great weekend! With love

  15. Oh wow! Meal planning will change your life! I have meal planned for at least 25 years. I have started planning lunches , too and that is really helpful when we are busy and hungry since I don't have to think about it. I use a wall calendar to plan. This saved a whole lot of grief with kids asking what was for dinner! If a meal is not used I circle it and then when I plan again I just move it forward. Having it on the calendar allows me to look back and then I can get ideas or see how long it has been since we had a particular dish. I am always amazed at how little I actually need to buy when I go through the menus and make my grocery list. It has also almost eliminated food waste.

    I purchased some Christmas gifts for the grandchildren at deep discount prices this week. They are recorded in my Christmas notebook and tucked away in the big dresser where we store gifts. We get to buy baby toys again this year!

    Our biggest savings is purchasing a new to us vehicle for 50% less than retail through a friend of ours who is a car dealer. It has low miles and is the exact one we wanted. Our son is an engineer for an auto manufacturer and he makes this vehicle so he was able to give us pointers on which year to look for and such. We are glad to be able to drive what he makes. Savings $8,000! We paid cash from our savings account for purchasing vehicles. We make a payment to ourselves each month and it really pays off when we need it.

    Eggs were 25 cents a dozen at Aldi this week so we bought as many as we think we can use before their date. I am harvesting a lot of tomatoes right now so no buying those and we have enough to share. I have hand removed a bunch of those horrid green tomato worms this week before they did too much damage. I also used some old cane fishing poles that were in the garage to stake them up since they are taller than their cages now. Our three year old grand daughter loves tomatoes so she helps eat them up. Watermelons have been $2.39 so we have been enjoying those for meals and snacks. I made three dozen strawberry blueberry muffins for the freezer since those fruits were on sale this week, too. Now we have a yummy mid-morning snack ready to go and they are loaded with fruit.

    Have a good weekend all!

    1. Dear Lana, You are going to be a big help on the meal planning posts I am working on. Some things have to "click" and I have really just started to get how meal planning longer term does pretty much eliminate waste and also rotate things in the pantry and freezer... and so many benefits. Each week my list of meals is growing too... I am loving it!
      How helpful having a friend who is a car dealer! What a savings week you had! That is really wonderful.
      The eggs! Aldi here has the cheapest eggs I know of and we are excited to get them for $4 a dozen! The tomatoes will be great too... they are such a basic and so versatile.
      You have to say that was a really good week! Many thanks Lana, with love

  16. I can so identify with the need to use a 'different' sort of recipe in order to get good results. I now have two different recipes for pastry that always turn out just fine. One uses shortening and the other cooking oil and both roll out right away, do not have to be chilled. It was the same for making bread. I've found a handful of recipes that always work well for me and so those are the recipes I go to most often.

    I have just finished catching up with your week. So happy to read the tips from Laine. Want to try this new to me way of making yogurt and will see how I like it. I have been using a method that requires heating milk and cooling everything to a precise temperature and it works just fine but if I can make it with this other recipe as well, then...I'll have saved a bit more!

    I have my stuff up for the week at

    1. Dear Terri, I agree! We have to do things that work and are practical! If I cant actually roll out a pastry as it is too hard then its not going to happen... so warm it will have to be.
      All the recipes Ive had before for yoghurt have also called for precise temperature checking. So this has been so easy. Mind you I do think if you have something that is working then that is a good thing. I only had one trouble and that was with a yoghurt that failed as a starter and I learned that "culture" as an ingredient means nothing and it has to say "live culture". I am heading over to read your blog as I am behind this weekend... we have had severe storms. Have a great new week, with love

  17. Learning to make pie crust is on my fall, winter, & spring bucket list....if I can figure it out in 9 months!! Aldi used to stock it year around so I cheated, but now it's only seasonal!! I priced it at another market and nearly fainted. So, I need to learn....

    I look forward to the dry mix recipes. I think they'd be really handy to have around. I love your label! So beautiful!

    All your food always looks delicious. I bet your home smells wonderful!!

    1. Hi Debby in KS and seeing yours and Annabel's need to learn how to make pastry I decided I would post the recipe we use for every pie we make. By the way we melt our butter and don't cut it into the flour and don't refrigerate the dough, so much easier and you don't have to be muscle woman to roll it out.

      This recipe is from the Lion House Pies book.

      This is for a double crust pastry and we use this for meat and fruit pies and you don't have to prebake the crust either.

      For all pies brush with milk and for fruit pies sprinkle sugar over the top too and don't forget to cut vent holes in the top pastry crust.

      2.5 cups all purpose flour.
      1/4 cup of granulated sugar. (we use raw sugar)
      1/2 teaspoon salt. We use 1/4 teaspoon of ground rock salt.
      1 cup melted butter cooled.
      1 egg beaten.
      1 tablespoon of vinegar. We use white cheap white vinegar.
      1/4 cup of chilled water.

      In a medium bowl mix flour, sugar and salt. Beat the egg vinegar and chilled water together and then pour in the melted butter on top and put in your mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix up until the dough holds together. Divide into two balls.

      This is a wet dough but bakes beautifully. By the way a tip which will make life easier is to roll out the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper, take the top paper off and position over pie plate and drape in the pie plate and don't press it and peel the bottom paper off carefully.

      Before putting on the top pie crust on top of your filling brush the outside with water and repeat the process with the pastry and paper. Cut excess pastry from around the outside of the pie plate with a knife and press the outside with your thumb all the way around to seal it.

      If any recipe calls for a baked pastry shell bake in an oven at 375 degrees F or 190 oc.

      I hope this helps you all to make beautiful pastry and we have never had it fail yet :).

      Happy pie making everyone.


    2. Dear Debbie, This is a good and useful thing to learn and also it is just great to learn new things.
      Thank you Sewingcreations very much for helping Debbie and all of us actually as this is so handy for lots of us! Thank you for taking the time to write this up! With love

    3. I have invited friends over to the house to have a pie crust class of sorts and just taught them how to do it. DO you have someone who could do it hands on for you? I would be intimidated myself if I had to learn it now but I was my Mom's cheif pie crust maker when holidays rolled around. She would do fillings and I was on pie crusts. As a kid I did not realize how this would be so valuable to know later on.

      Mom's recipe-multiply this by how ever many crusts you need
      1 cup all purpose flour
      1/3 c shortening
      1/2 tsp salt
      Cut shortening into flour and salt.
      Add ice water and mix lightly with a fork until the dough will just hold together in a ball. Flour your counter and rolling pin well.
      Place your disk of dough on the flour and turn to coat it. Then start rolling from the center with out pushing down. Just let it happen gently. Put your pinacross the center of the rolled out dough and take a metal spatula and gently scrape and lift the dough and fold it over the pin. Lift the pin while gently scraping and releasing the rest f the dough. Position it over the pie dish and unfold and finish the crust. Practice will make it easier and no one will know if your crust was ugly and patched under the delicious filling! Cheering you on!

  18. Hello Annabel, what a lovely post. Thank you for spreading all of your love, warmth and positivity to all our homes and families. You really do make a difference. I LOVE the sounds of your cheese in the pastry. Delicious. I can't wait for your posts on the mixes. I try and make a Mexican seasoning, but it hasn't quite got enough heat/flavour, so that's a work in progress. Saves a lot though! I had a god week. These days I am pretty tired and limiting things on, but on Friday I went to the toy library (3 toys hired for a month for a nominal amount per year- such a great deal) with my son and then thought of you and combined it with a trip to the butcher that is not too far away. The prices were fantastic. 30% off regular supermarkets, if not 50% off. Once we get a small freezer, I will aim to get over there once a month and meal plan for the month. I like meal planning now, but it will be easier and more economical I think when planning it for the entire month based on special meat buys. That lemon tart looks so good! My favourite! Lots of love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge, I was so happy reading this! This is just what Laine does... if you are already nearby this is the time to check these stores. You may be able to sign up for specials online on on Fb from this butcher. That is the way to do it... stock up on things at the best price and then plan your menu for there. Once you are just a bit ahead you never have to pay full price again. You can just wait for the good deals and a trip to stock up at great prices! A freezer is a big help for sure. Supermarkets just are not necessarily the cheapest place its just they are convenient.
      Thank you for the kind comment! I have been thinking of you as you settle into your new home! Have a good new week! With love,

  19. Hi everyone,
    I will be trying out some of the pie crust recipes, as mine always turn out like lead.
    Hope you are all keeping well? Has anyone heard from Rachael Holt?


    1. I think I have, Kim! She's out on assignment for awhile!

      Rachel Holt

    2. Dear Kim@Him, Him Me... I was about to come back and tell you that I emailed Rachel doc heck on her and she is ok and here she is one minute before me! Hello Rachel! Thank you!
      Pie crusts seem a problem! I hope you have new success! With love Annabel.xx

  20. Glad you're ok Rachel. Thanks for letting us know you're still around.


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