Saturday, June 30, 2007

Day 30. I made it!

You've probably noticed I've kinda given up on cooking these last few days and am eating my way caterpillar-like through the contents of the freezer.

So, first up, here's the last and final list of what I ate:

Breakfast: Apple, sultana and honey Oat Temptations

Lunch: Fresh, still warm bread with vegemite.

Dinner: Cream of lentil soup.

Total spent since June 1: $150.46

Which equates to $5.01 a day. I'm pretty chuffed.

I'll do a more in depth round-up of the month tomorrow (AFTER I've been shopping!) and would love to answer any questions you have. Leave a comment!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Day 29, and more free wine...

Gratuitous full moon shot taken from the bus stop on my way into town this evening. Very atmospheric and Misty Magazine-like (anyone else used to read Misty as a kid?)

I'd been invited to the opening of Lost Houses of the Molonglo Valley and Anna Eggert: Mesmerisedat CMAG by Taph, followed by a VIP evening at Pepe's Paperiewhere the beautiful papers whispered alluringly "Buy me! buy me!" and I whispered back "Bugger off til next month!"

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Tea. The last of the bread, toasted, with peanut butter.

Morning tea: Apple. Slice of cheese.

Lunch: Leftover pumpkin & spinach risotto.

Afternoon tea: Ginger muffin

"Dinner": Crackers and dip and too much free wine.

Total spent since June 1: $150.46

Days to go: 1!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

And on Thursday dinner and drinks were free! (Day 28)

Breakfast: Tea. Toast and the last of the Apricot spreadable fruit. Cereal and milk.

Morning tea: Ginger muffin

Lunch: Leftover Mediterranean pasta and bean soup

Afternoon tea: Chocolate

Dinner: Red wine and vegetarian pizza (free at industry function)
Finished today:

* Milk
* Apricot spreadable fruit

Bought today:

* Milk
* Flour

Total spent today: $5.00

Total spent since June 1: $150.46

Days to go: 2. Can't wait can't wait can't wait!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On Wednesday I went "Wowza!" (Day 27)

The Frugalling Fairy has been busy on my behalf (well, someone has to keep the op shops of Canberra in business while I'm not shopping...)

Here's what I found in a bag she handed to me last night:a pile of the most wonderful vintage fabrics just ripe for a bag making frenzy.A sprouter and a set of containers to solve my leftover crisis.And if that wasn't enough, a bar of Lindt 85% to tide me over til Sunday.

All I can utter is "I am not worthy..." (but thanks anyway!)

In other news last night, Trudy Bunny was spotted fraternising with undesirables and I discovered Sola Rosa are (is?) playing the ANU Bar on July 20th. How exciting! Tickets will be purchased next week.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Tea. Berry Oat Temptations.

Morning tea: Apple and chocolate

Lunch: Toasted sandwich with cheese, eggplant, mushroom, red pepper and sliced black olives.

Afternoon tea: Popcorn

Dinner: Leftover Mexican chili polenta pie from Day 14. Ginger muffin.

Total spent since June 1: $145.46

Days to go: 3

A midweek video to cheer you up

Craftzine show how Shreddies are really made.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On Tuesday I took tea (Day 26)

It's been freezing cold* and raining the whole day. (*Thanks to Seepi for telling me we hit a high of 4 degrees)

There were bright spots, though:

* I got to splash across to the post office in my spotty gumboots this morning.
* I got an email from Knit1 Blog1 saying my application to be part of Craft ACT's exhibition next month of work by (oddly enough) knitters who blog "is excellent - 10 outta 10 for that"
* Taph invited me to the opening of the Lost Houses of the Molonglo Valley exhibition at CMAG this Friday night.
* And tonight's Stitch 'n' Bitch night.

Today's menu:

Breakfast: Tea. Mushroom, broccoli, semi-dried tomato and parmesan frittata

Morning tea: Apple, slice of cheese

Lunch: Cream of Lentil soup from the freezer with toast

Afternoon tea: Hot chocolate and a ginger muffin

Dinner: I'll be scarfing down half a Muttar Paneer Indian ready meal with rice from the freezer.

Total spent since June 1: $145.46

Days to go: 4

Monday, June 25, 2007

On Monday I made muffins (Day 25)

It's been a cold and dreary June day.

Just right for a little baking, especially as I'm out of chocolate and think I'll go nuts if all I have to eat for morning and afternoon tea for the next 5 days is apples, slices of cheese and plain popcorn.

Over the weekend I was sorting out my baking shelf and came across a bag of crystallised ginger which got me all excited with visions of gingerbread dancing in my head. But alas, I'd forgotten to buy butter last week and with only 5 days of the Fiscal Fast to go I didn't want to buy anything unless I really really couldn't live without it.

So I started pondering and hunting through my cookbooks. Muffins. I thought. They use oil don't they? (admittedly not usually wonderful locally grown cold pressed olive oil but needs must). And so I found a recipe which I thought could cope with the mangling I needed to do to fit what I had.

May I present The Muffin Loosely Based On A Ginger Muffin Recipe? (Note how well they match the leaves strewn across the backyard!)

Instead of knobs of ginger I used crystallised. I replaced the walnuts in the recipe with some slivered almonds I discovered in the dark recesses of the cupboard (probably from here

which makes them well over a year old. Whoops!). And I figured that Lime Refresher could be considered ginger syrup if you squinted.

And they're fine (if just a teensy weensy little bit odd):I ate two for afternoon tea and plan to freeze the rest.

And finally, here's today's roundup:

Breakfast: Tea. Date Oat Temptations. Toast and ginger/ lime marmalade.

Morning tea: Apple, slice of cheese, almonds

Lunch: Leftover frozen Blackeyed Bean Potato Topped Pie and green beans from Day 10.

Afternoon tea: See above.

Dinner: I'm guessing leftover pumpkin and spinach risotto. Either that or coleslaw...

Finished today:

* Milk

Bought today:

*Milk (I really really can't live without it!): $2.50

Total spent since June 1: $145.46

Days to go: 5

I had dinner with them last night...

... and here they are again at breakfast this morning!US Elle, June 2006, p105. Full page article on Flight of the Conchords ("The next big boy band")

Which just proves that my Dad's more of a groover than I am. Sigh...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fiscal Fast weekend round up (Days 23 & 24)

Saturday 23rd June:

Brunch: Cup of tea. Omlette with mushrooms, cheese and parsley.

Lunch: Coleslaw with cabbage, the last apple from Day Seven, 2 sticks of that bloody celery from Day 14 and some toasted sunflower seeds (I made a bit too much so have a large bowl of leftovers in the fridge but it's so yummy I'm tempted to eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner until it's gone...)

Afternoon tea: Still warm no-knead bread with local honey. Latte with S.

Dinner: Pumpkin and chickpea casserole, bread with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping bowl. Chocolate. (Remember the pumpkin, also bought on Day Seven? I figured I really should get around to eating it...)

Sunday 24th June (a day of lasting):

Breakfast: Tea. Toast with strawberry and rhubarb jam. The last of the yoghurt (which I should have kept for this evening's dinner, I realised just after I finished it)

Morning tea: The last of the Day 14's chocolate supplies. I'm pretty proud I've managed to eek it out for 10 days!

Lunch: The freezer is stripped of its last salmon pattie and last wholemeal roll. The cupboard under the microwave of the last potato. And I make salmon burger with wedges and coleslaw. Homemade junk food! Excellent!

Dinner: On the menu for tonight is rice with leftover spiced lentils and mango chutney. See how some yoghurt would have worked really nicely? Pah!

Instead I might just explore my cookbooks to see how hard it is to make some sort of Indian bread...

Finished this weekend:

* Pumpkin (may be replaced next week depending on how I feel)
* Onions (oops, should have checked supplies before I went to the Farmers' Market yesterday!)
* Garlic (ditto above but a much more serious lack - might have to make an emergency purchase here...)
* Office tissues (have already tucked a hanky into the pocket of this week's hoodie coverup)
* Yoghurt (only 3 days til payday. I'm sure I'll cope)
* Wholemeal rolls (maybe I'll experiment at making next weekend's bread wholemeal and rolls. Oh - except next Sunday's July 1st so I could just go buy some. Interesting concept...)
* Salmon patties (this is only a very occasional purchase anyway, like fresh pasta. So off the list)
* Chocolate (I suppose if I get desperate I could always raid the swap smarties again!)

Bought today:

* Whiskettes (OK, I couldn't cope after just 24 hours - I did, however check the "natural" ones but they're from the USA. I decided local is best, right?)
* Dishwashing liquid (also gave up there. Bad bad me)

Total cost: $5.78

Total spent since June 1: $142.96

And now I'm off to watch Flight of the Conchords: A Texan Odyssey on YouTube.

After both tiny happy and someone else on my blogroll (can't remember who, sorry!) both mentioned them in the past few days I remembered my Dad had given me a video when I was over at Christmas simply marked Flight of the Conchords*. I had no idea what it was and it's been sitting on my pile of "things to watch when I get a chance".

But after two rave reviews I sat down last night to watch it. And was thoroughly enjoying it. Until it stopped suddenly. So now I'm off to find the end online (dontcha love the internet?)

(* Sort of makes up for me randomly sending them a tape of Get Ready to be Boyzvoiced a while back, doesn't it?)

Just listed on eBay

I'm having a bit of a clean out around here so if you're in the market for a set of 1/12th scale Marcel Breuer Model B3 (Wassily) chairs and sofa head this way!
I'll also have some discounted Lundby dolls house "seconds" (mainly squished boxes) in my shop over the next day or so...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We came over all glassy eyed...

S (still without a cool blog nickname) and I did The Cultural Trifecta today - The Cooee: Australian in the 19th Century exhibition at National Library (not as interesting as I was hoping unfortunately), the recently opened Canberra Glassworks and the Very Important Photographs exhibtion at National Gallery (which we arrived at with only 16 minutes before the gallery closed so it was a whistlestop tour and I HAVE to go back for much longer look very very soon).

Total cost of the outing? $6 for Sally since she kindly shouted me coffee. $0 for me.

Let me show you round "Australia's newest cultural attraction" (their words, not mine!)

The Glassworks is housed in the newly renovated Kingston Powerhouse ("Built in 1915, the powerhouse was the first permanent public building in the ACT. It was designed by John Smith Murdoch in the Federal Capital style"), which has stood empty next to The Bus Depot markets for many many years.They've kept a lot of the historic industrial character, something sorely lacking in Canberra.The really exciting bit is when you go upstairs you can watch glassmakers at workAnd soon you'll be able to have a go at making your own piece of glass in a programme they call Off the Street!

Day 23 - Off to The Farmers' Market - Wee Hee!

8am, after scraping the ice off the car, I headed up the road to EPIC and new supplies for the week. I'm getting good at this frugal stuff as I even remembered to take my empty egg carton from two weeks ago and return it to the egg lady for reuse!

On the list this week:

* Locally produced olive oil
* Half a dozen eggs
* 250g mushrooms
* 1 red pepper
* 1 head of brocolli
* 1 kilo apples
* 1/2 a cabbage
* 1 eggplant

Total cost: $27.10

Total spent since June 1: $137.18

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 22 - Finish it off Friday

(Not in the usual meaning of the phrase, alas. I must get back into that habit)

Breakfast: Oddly enough, I'm feeling a little ordinary (silly me, forgot that your tolerance for alcohol goes down if you haven't had any in a while) so make french toast to have with my tea, thus using the last egg and the last of my bread.

Morning tea: Apple and some chocolate

Lunch: I play Freezer roulette and come out with a container of fettuccine with tuna with breadcrumbs and peas. I find myself oddly ecstatic that I'm eating tuna and peas, which I haven't had for a while. To celebrate I whip up a helping of cinnamon honey yoghurt to end the meal.

Afternoon tea: Celery with peanut butter. I'll eat the last of this (now wilting) celery if it kills me!

Dinner: It's Friday night! I celebrate the end of the week with a salmon cake from the freezer with wedges and beans (also from the freezer), ignoring the fact that it means I'll eat fish twice in the same day (but if you're going to do that Friday's the day to do it, right?)

Finished today:

* Eggs (I'm heading to the Farmers' Market in the morning for new supplies - and will be dutifully returning my empty carton for reuse)
* Bread (I've already started the next loaf off on its almost 22 hour journey to edibility)
* Whiskettes (Do I include Nibbs in my project and make him live with just canned food for the next 8 days or do I decide to buy them and have a much less stressful week? Is there an organic version I could get instead?!)
* Dish washing liquid (I use Earth Choice already so it falls within my parameters for allowable purchases. But perhaps there's a better option? Can I make it myself?!)

Total spent since June 1: $110.08

And as I spend the rest of my evening downstairs in front of the heater, with chickpeas soaking and bread rising, I will try to ignore the following invitation from Wellington that ended an email that arrived today:

Toodle-pip and TTFN, I have a nice Shiraz here for drinking tonight, I'm sure you'd enjoy it, why don't you just hop on a plane and pop over for the weekend!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

I's drunk!

And it was free!

And I got fed (I think)

And managed to gesticulate wildly and cover the surrounds with wine (whoops! I think there are dry cleaning bills involved... Mainly mine, thank goodness!)

And met some very lovely people.

And hatched some mad plans.

(*Hick!*) A Moo wall? Fabulous idea if I say so myself!!

Oh and the jewellery was very very lovely.

If you're in Canberra and like vintage beads or buttons - The Front Gallery Lyneham is the place to be for the "Into the light" exhibition. I was drooling. My wallet was leaping. But I managed to keep it under control...

Did I take my camera? No... Argh!!!

A 21st present!

I'm feeling very much like a lucky cow today as this arrived in this morning's mail from Melbourne:
Which made a fine start to an excellent day. With lovely soft, nice smelling hands (that's me, not the day, just in case you're confused!)

Breakfast: Cup of tea (as always). Apple sultana oat temptations, toast and vegemite (the fact I was craving vegemite makes me think I should be buying some mushrooms at the Farmers Market this weekend as I've not had any yet this month - and I usually eat them pretty regularly).

Morning tea: Almonds and chocolate. It's interesting that I expected to have run out of chocolate ages ago and here I am, three weeks in and still have supplies. Cheers again, Aunty A!

Lunch: Spiced lentils in baked potato - a recipe I'd ripped out of a Woolworths catalogue ages ago and which suddenly sounded appealing as I noticed that it used two stalks of my stash of The World's Most Expensive Celery plus a large amount of coriander, which was definitely on it's last legs.

The recipe calls for a tin of Woolworths Select tomatoes (funny that) but the only tin of tomatoes left in the cupboard is basil and oregano flavoured - which I doubt would go too well with curry and coriander. So I round up the last two tomatoes in the fridge and unearth the final frozen serving of Dolmio. Which seems to work OK. I used up the last of the olive oil and am left with about a tablespoon of lentils. The latter makes me slightly grumpy ("$9 worth of lentils and it only makes 2 meals?!" ) Until I remember it actually made 12 meals.
Yes, once again I had leftovers to deal with...

Afternoon tea: Mug of hot chocolate.

Dinner: Dunno - leftovers probably (unless the jewellery opening thingy I'm going to has free food)

Bought today:

* 1 litre milk, $2.50

Finished today:

* Olive oil (I'll be buying more but will be hunting for locally grown - a quest for the weekend, I think)
* Tomatoes (also on the list for the weekend shop)
* Curry powder (I haven't decided about replacing spices yet - and if I put the decision off for another 9 days won't have to!)
* Dolmio (oh deary me no... not justifiable at all, at all...)
* Fresh coriander (will probably have a break from coriander this week - and maybe by the time I feel the need for it again my coriander plant will have recovered from my last picking which left it, let's say, a little stubbly)

Total spent since 1 June: $110.08

Cravings du jour:

* Sushi! I want sushi!!!! Lovely lumps of salmon and avocado embraced by a cloud of rice and surrounded by a wrap of seaweed. With a little soy sauce and wasabi. Sigh...
* And I want the April DJ Mag that I have put aside across at the newsagents with the free Ben Watt CD attached.
* And since I'm going to be in Lyneham this evening, how nice would it be to pop into the IGA and pick up a six pack of Stones Ginger Beer? It's payday, afterall dontcha know...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 20 - Not feeling much of a...

as I rediscovered my stash of black and white smarties when I ventured into my black and white swap box. Yes folks, not only do I still have chocolate in the fridge from a week ago (a shocking enough fact in itself) but I'd forgotten I had ten boxes of smarties in my workroom. Duh!

Breakfast: Cup of tea. Toast with banana and honey. Yoghurt.

Morning tea: Smarties!

Lunch: Leftover sweet and sour tofu from Monday.

Afternoon tea: Apple and a wedge of blue brie.

Dinner: Leftover baked pumpkin and feta fettucine from the freezer. Cup of rosehip tea.

Total spent since June 1: $107.58

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 19 - an interesting mix

I spent most of the day bored out of my gourd. It was cold and raining, after all. I even toyed with the idea of doing a (much depleted) Pantry on Parade like Making Good Use did.

I ate. That was the excitement for the day. Until I checked my email and stuff.

Bloglog tells me I've hit a new record with visitors in a day: 190. Mainly from IKEA Hacker. I feel really bad. Like they've come for a visit and found me in my PJs. Blergh.

An email from Kerry: "Well hello and THANK YOU for the wrist-warmers! What a warm woolly surprise. Goodbye cold hand skin!
I read about them on your blog but had no idea they were for me!
I put them on as soon as I opened it, and even wore them to bed last night. I would've worn them in the shower, but y'know..."

I'm suddenly feeling much warmer...

AMP email me to say they're giving me money (yahoo!)

And Lovely L (long missing from my social life) invites me to a Contemporary Jewellery exhibition opening at The Front Gallery and Cafe in Lyneham.

So today on the Fiscal Fast? Not so bad after all...

Breakfast: Cup of Tea (applauded by The Tea Party Girl. Who would have thought that something so essential to me (like TP) is seen as an added extra in other parts of the world?!) Toast and peanut butter (that "I MADE that!" tingle still going strong around here) plus cereal and milk.

Morning Tea: Cinnamon Pinwheel scones (no need to act surprised here)

Lunch: Bliss in the form of oven baked fish and wedges. Unfortunately, the last of the fish...

Afternoon Tea: Cheese slices and stuffed olives. Thus using up the last of the olives. Tits.

Dinner: Cream of Lentil Soup leftovers with "garlic bread" made with no knead bread, olive oil and garlic.

Finished today:

* Frozen fish (Ha ha ha ha ha)
* Stuffed olives (ditto)

Total spent since June 1: $107.58

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 18 - and leftovers are ruling my life...

Food is taking up more and more of my brainspace as my Fiscal Fast continues. (The parts of my brain that aren't devouring the huge backlog of books I have piled around the place, that is.)

More to the point, not wasting said food is starting to feel like a bad game of Tetris...

Today's a good example:

For Breakfast I had a cup of tea (no surprise there). And toast with apricot fruit spread as I still have half a loaf of no knead bread from Saturday which I'd like to eat as much of as possible before it starts growing a beard. Plus some yoghurt which I'm not worried about as I opened it yesterday and pretended it was sour cream to take the heat off the (left over) Mexican chili pie. Which I was only eating because it was in the fridge as I'd run out of containers for leftovers in the freezer. (Still with me?)

At Morning tea I had: A cinnamon pinwheel scone (to use up the batch I made yesterday - I could try freezing them I suppose but I've never tried freezing scones. In retrospect I should have made muffins but scones seemed so much quicker, easier and, well, more Winter Sunday afternoon ish.) Apple - from the lot I bought the weekend before last. Which I probably should fast track in terms of eating.

Then there was Lunch: And the problem of the leftover pancakes from Saturday. Which I heated up and wrapped around the last of the spinach (wilted) which I mixed with the last of the corn from Thursday and a wedge of melted Blue Brie. This was delicious, I have to say.

By Afternoon tea time I was overwhelmed so just had a handful of almonds.

And, finally, Dinner with a menu decided based on the fact the tofu had been open since Friday.

I tried a new recipe for me from Alison Holst's Meals without Meat (again!): Sweet and Sour Tofu.

Which would have been very nice, I'm sure, if I'd only followed the recipe. I had less soy sauce than she listed and the only wine vinegar I had was Balsamic (which is not quite what she was meaning) but I could sort of see what she was getting at and would try it again once I've restocked the soy sauce, bought some proper wine vinegar and maybe had some red pepper to go with the green.

And it was really nice to have rice. I don't think I've had rice since I started the Fiscal Fast...

The recipe was for two. I ate one serve. The other is sitting in the top part of the fridge, in a bowl, next to one of the serves of last night's cream of lentil soup (which I made because, dammit, if I'm spending $7 on a bunch of celery I'll use every last stalk of it - and this recipe called for two stalks) (See previous comment re: lack of containers for freezing leftovers)

So I already know what I should be eating tomorrow. But I want oven baked fish! With wedges! Who cares if I have nothing resembling tomato sauce anymore?! I want to at least pretend I'm eating junk food!!!

Then again, there's a pumpkin which is approaching two weeks old. And some coriander (that maybe I should freeze.) And some of that tofu marinade from Day Seven (which I can now add garlic to) plus half a packet of udon noodles and about 100g tofu....

Finished today:

* Spinach (on the list for the weekend)
* Corn (I think I'd prefer mushrooms or zucchini this week, if they're available...)
* Soy sauce (who knows...)

Total spent since June 1: $107.58

Boredom level: Very high. Especially as today I found out the dates for this year's Sydney Design and was sent a presale invite for The Cure in Sydney in August. Both of which would have meshed rather well, assuming I had a spare day's annual leave (which I don't) and the ability to spend money at the moment (which I also don't). Blergh!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fiscal Fast weekend round up (Days 16 and 17)

Saturday 16th June:

Brunch: Cup of tea. Pancakes with caramelised banana. Plunger coffee.

Lunchtime snack: Crostini left over from Thursday evening

Dinner: The rest of the tofu chili from Friday's pizza with slices of yummy scrummy home-made No Knead Bread.

Sunday 17th June:

Brunch: Cup of tea. Poached egg, curls of parmesan and wilted spinach on toast.

Lunch: Left over Mexican chili pie from Thursday that wouldn't fit in the freezer. Dark chocolate

Afternoon tea: Cinnamon pinwheel scones

Dinner: Cream of lentil soup and no knead bread.

Finished this weekend:

* Grated cheese (guess I'll be grating my own from now on... )
* Butter (on the list for Thursday.)
* Milk (I went and bought another carton: add $2.50 to the month's total)

Total spent since June 1: $107.58

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Just loafing around...

My newly mixed bread dough and I spent yesterday evening in the lounge, watching the first series of The Office (and I'm sorry to say, like Kath & Kim, I just didn't get it). Me on the sofa, my dough happily installed on top of the gas heater.

Then I tucked it up for the nightand went to bed myself.

See, I was worried if I just left it sitting there overnight the cold would kill it. And since this is my first bread I'm being super-vigilant.

I did wonder momentarily if I should swaddle it in towels, take it upstairs and tuck it into bed with me but decided co-sleeping with your bread dough was just too weird ("I need a queen sized bed because I sleep with my hot water bottle, my cat and my rising bread dough...")

This morning I unwrapped it and popped it back in the heater and myself back on the sofa. It seemed happy to see me. And finally around 2pm it was into the oven for it (and fingers crossed for me)

And this was the result: My very first attempt at bread baking and it looks perfect.

Now I just have to wait for it to cool down so I can sample it and see if it tastes as good as it looks (and smells!). As Jeffrey Steingarten* says in the May 2007 US Vogue article I baked it from:

Bread develops much of its flavour after it is taken from the oven, as the aromas of the crust migrate inward. That's what the late Professor Calvel wrote. Your instinct will be to rip the bread apart as soon as it is no longer capable of administering third-degree burns. As you mature, you will see the advantage of complete cooling.

(* For me, Jeffrey Steingarten is to US Vogue as E. Jean Carroll is to US Elle and Douglas Lloyd Jenkins is to NZ Home & Entertaining - one of the main reasons I subscribe)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day 15, the midway point! (a post mainly in dot points)

Bought today:

* Yoghurt (bio dynamic. I want to try making my own and have been recommended the
Easiyo maker as a good simple way to keep it warm while it does its thing. V says she's seen one at Vinnies for $2 in the past. I'll have to put it on my list for when I allow myself back into op shops)
* Yeast (I want to try making bread this weekend...)
* Bread Improver (not sure if this was a complete waste of money but since I've looked in three places for "Bread Flour" without success I thought I could add this to my ordinary flour and achieve the same result...)
* Green pepper (I should have saved some from last night but forgot)

* 2 lots of postage to Melbourne (the wristwarmers and the shoebags): $8.85. Yeah I know it doesn't come under the heading Essential Groceries but a) I'm at the halfway point so I figured I'd have a "Jubilee Moment", b) I'm sick of having them both hanging round here and would prefer to get them on their way and c) Buying stamps really isn't buying stuff is it?

Total spent: $20.10

Today's Menu:

Breakfast: Cup of tea, the last crumpets from the freezer with ginger lemon & lime marmalade, yoghurt.

Morning tea: Red chili dip from last night with crackers

Lunch: Tofu chili pizza (there goes the last of the tomato paste and the last pizza base) with tomato, cucumber and corn salad (also from last night)

(Here's the ubiquitous daily home made food picture)

Afternoon tea: Dark chocolate and an apple

Dinner: Left over
Cream of carrot soup. Crackers and cheese from last night.

Finished today:

* Crumpets (I've found a recipe! I'll try making my own this weekend!)
* Pizza bases (definitely not replaceable)
* Tomato paste (still thinking about this)

Things I'm missing:

* Going to the newsagents to see what new magazines they have for me. I popped in today for a couple of deep breaths of new magazine smell (and to remind them that I won't be picking anything up this month. Is it cheating to have them hold my mags until July 1 then pick them all up and have a magfest?)
* Op shops (although not as badly as I had thought I might)
* The thought that I could if I wanted do all sorts of things. Go for drinks at The Hyatt. Pick up a Turkish Pide for dinner when I'm sick of the sight of my own cooking. Buy that new CD that I've been wanting. See a show. Go to a gig. Buy a fabulous outfit. Piss off somewhere.

Of course I know that I probably wouldn't do any of those things (except maybe the CD) if I wasn't on a fast but to know that I can't makes them suddenly so much more alluring...

Although I'm approaching it like I approach being a (fish eating) vegetarian. I can eat meat any time if I really want to. Therefore I don't. Ditto this Fiscal Fast. It's self inflicted and so I could, any day I want, say "Bugger this for a joke", blow the cobwebs off the Visa card and head for the mall. But knowing I could stops me from doing it.

I'm finding it interesting seeing what I miss, what I don't and how, in such a short period of time, my attitudes have changed. Doubly interesting will be seeing what happens on July 1st.

And now I'm off to curl up on the couch with a video from my vast selection. And some leftovers.

Total spent since 1 June: $105.08

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dinner, Day 14

I supplied: Mexican chili bean polenta pie. Salad of tomatoes and cucumber. Coffee.

Aunty A supplied: Wine. Cheese, crackers, crostini and dip. Dark chocolate (and it turns out she doesn't even like dark chocolate - she just wanted to stick with the whole Mexican theme!)

Leftover in my fridge/ freezer/ cupboard:

* 1 serve of cooked kidney beans
* 1 serve cooked fresh corn
* 4 meal-sized serves of Mexican chili bean polenta pie (now would be a good time to share second lesson learnt today: Remember when you open a fresh packet of chili powder that it will be significantly hotter than you are used to with the old supply. Probably best to use slightly less for a while...)
* 1 serve of tomato cucumber salad
* 1 serve Red Chili Dip. Plus crackers to go with it.
* Crostini
* Wild Wasabi and Red Chili Cheese (very yummy)
* 1 full, unopened block of chocolate.

Reasons to be proud:

* I soaked and cooked the kidney beans from scratch
* The corn was cooked on the cob then cut off

Reasons not to be proud:

* I gave up and asked Aunty A to pick up a tin of tomatoes while she was at the supermarket
* There seems to be a disproportionate balance between what I made and what Aunty A bought (and left behind...)

You what?! (Fiscal Fast Day 14)

Pay day! Yay! But it was raining this morning so I doubted City Walk Markets would be there. And I needed to get groceries as I was out of milk (again) and had Aunty A booked in for dinner tonight.

I really couldn't face the supermarket after last week's visit so decided to explore As Nature Intended in Belconnen: the nearest we can get to a Whole Foods or a Marco Wholefoods here in Canberra.

My lesson this week: I really should take more notice of prices.

I was trundling round with my dinky little trolley dropping this and that in it: some celery, a green pepper, an ear of corn, kidney beans and a bunch of coriander for dinner tonight and oh! doesn't that spinach look nice, I'm missing spinach and the milk I need and some chickpeas and lentils are always a cheap choice....

Then I got to the checkout counter and the total. $47.97. I blink twice. I gulp. I pay. I go home and actually read the receipt. My bunch of celery cost me $6.99. Erk! And the "cheap choice" lentils came in at $24.90 a kilo. You what?! If I'm spending $9 on some protein I think I'd prefer to be buying a large packet of smoked salmon. Sorry!

Oh well, what's done is done. Besides it's organic and Australian grown so got to be better for me and the environment blah blah blah.

Today's purchases:

* 618g kidney beans
* 368g red lentils
* 450g chickpeas
* Bunch of celery
* Bunch of spinach
* Green pepper
* Ear of corn
* Bunch of coriander
* Bottle of milk

Total: $47.97

And I currently have a very happy tummy as V&M filled it full of cheese and dips and crackers and wine and minestrone and risotto and chocolate and apricots with cream and cointreau last night. Oh - and V had a bag of snakey things which we devoured after checking the serving size (1 bag=10 servings=7 snakes=You what?! "Here darling, have 3/4 of a snake...")

Then to top it off my boss was visiting today so I dragged him to Tilleys for lunch and he bought me Salt and Pepper Squid....

Total since June 1: $84.98

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Day 13: Unlucky for some (but not for me)

Life in the TSS Frugal Fast House seems to be back on track. I suspect yesterday's tanty was caused by the knowledge that I was missing out on the DJ's sale evening. Not that I really need anything but old habits die hard. (After, it would seem, a little moaning, groaning and sulking.)

It's been bloody freezing today. I've found myself wanting to do dishes as the concept of having my hands in hot water for a period of time is suddenly awfully enticing.

And I have the most awful craving for a packet of Allen's Snakes Alive which definitely doesn't fit within the rules of the challenge.

Breakfast: Cup of tea. Apricot Oat temptations and milk.

Morning tea: The last cracker with cheese and an apple.

Lunch: Freshly made Cream of Carrot Soup, whipped up from the classic Alison Holst's Meals without Meat and chosen to use up the last of the cream from Sunday night.

It wasn't until I'd popped the toasted crumpets with cheese under the griller that I realised I probably shouldn't be having cheese again as I'd had it for morning tea but by then it was too late. Oh well, lunch was delicious (if a little monochromatic!)

Afternoon tea: The last of Sunday's Tarawera chocolate sponge cake.

Dinner: I'm off to V & M and E's for dinner tonight. I have no idea what I'm eating. Which makes a very nice change after the past couple of weeks...

Finished today:

* Crackers (Not being replaced)

Total spent since June 1: $37.01

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


My wallet broke this morning. I think it's feeling unloved, unwanted and lacking in attention.

Today was.... boring. I'm sick of this. I want to go spend some money! What sort of stupid idea is it having a month long Fiscal Fast anyway... *grumble* *moan* *sulk*

Breakfast: Cup of tea. Fruit toast (last two slices in the freezer) with ginger lemon lime marmalade. Plain yoghurt.

Morning tea: Latte with a client. Kevin behind the coffee machine at Deeks seemed pretty happy to see me.

Lunch: Left over baked satay udon noodles with vegetables from the freezer. Lindor chocolate ball.

Afternoon tea: More latte drinking with a(nother) client.

Dinner: Baked fish and wedges served with Lebanese cucumber and tomato chunks drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Chocolate cake and cream for afters

Finished today:

* Fruit bread (That's it for the next 18 days...)

Total spent since June 1: $37.01

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fiscal Fast Day 11 (and my 500th post)

Taph has joined in the fun with a Cook from the Cupboard project. She says she has "a reasonable amount of wine and spirits in the house". I'm trying to work out how I can wangle dinner at her house for the next wee while to help her out with that problem :-)

Today's tally for me included:

Breakfast: Cup of tea. Peanut butter on wholegrain toast.

Morning Tea: Lindor ball. Yuuuuuuuummmmmm....

Lunch: Pasta and bean soup from the freezer. Toasted crumpets, also from the freezer, with pesto.

Afternoon tea: Tarawera Chocolate sponge and cream (oh, it's a tough life...)

Dinner: Fettuccine, toasted breadcrumbs, peas, tuna and Parmesan. Wine.

Finished today:

* Basil pesto. (Yummy but not replaceable.)
* Frozen peas. (In the same boat as the frozen corn from yesterday.)
* Pre-grated Parmesan (not a drama as I still have some in block form)
* Small tins of tuna (errrr...?)

Total spent since June 1: $37.01

And, hey, it's my 500th post!

To celebrate I've decided to give away that delicious hand coloured foldable shopper I made yesterday. Very trendy, you know - I just finished reading an article in US Vogue about how cool reusable shopping bags are at the moment... (and went on to read an article about no knead bread - something I so want to try very very soon)

So if you'd like to get your mitts on a one of a kind hand crafted tres chic TSS shopper, leave a comment on this post. If you feel really motivated you could tell me what your favorite post has been. If not just a comment will suffice - either option has equal rating around here!

I'll draw a winner at the end of the month.

Weekend round up (Days Nine and Ten)

I forgot to do a daily round up yesterday or Saturday (although, lucky you, you got to see real life photographic evidence of what I ate for most of the day on Saturday!) so here's a double dose to celebrate the long weekend:

Saturday 9th June (Day Nine)

Breakfast: Cup of tea, Apple drop biscuits with cinnamon honey yoghurt and plunger coffee

Lunch: Home made fish burger: toasted wholemeal roll, tartare sauce, salmon pattie, the last of the bag of spinach (which lasted happily 3 days past it's best before date), tomato and cucumber. Almonds.

Afternoon tea: Crackers and the last of the hummus

Dinner: Bendy celery and carrot bake from the freezer, left over from Day Two.

Sunday 10th June (Day 10)

Breakfast: Cup of tea, Apple drop biscuits with rhubarb and strawberry jam.

Morning tea: Crackers with cheese and sliced tomato

Lunch: (From the freezer) Penne pasta with zucchini, mushrooms & sun dried tomatoes

Afternoon tea: Hazelnuts

Dinner (for Four):

Entree: (supplied by J&M) Carrot and celery sticks, garlic crispy bites, red chili dip, sweet chili and ginger cream cheese pour-over. Main course: (blog action shot requested by S. She also requested a more interesting name than "S" but we're still working on that last bit!) Potato topped casserole made with black eyed beans. Green beans as a side dish. Dessert: Tarawera chocolate sponge cake.

It was originally supposed to be a chocolate version of this with cream courtesy of S but there was a whoopsie as I took it out of the tin. My first thought was to magic it into a trifle but I had no custard and when I looked up the recipe in the trusty Edmonds cookbook it said I needed custard powder, which I didn't have. Pah!

So I just crumbled chunks into pudding bowls, nuked the jam til it was runny and poured it and the cream over the top. Tasted just as good, especially with tea and a dark Lindor ball chaser (another contribution from Sally)

Finished this weekend:

* Bag of baby spinach. (Replaceable, with changes.)
* Hummus. (Think I'll have a crack at making my own, even though I have no tahini...)
* Hazelnuts (I'm not even sure where these came from!)
* Tinned tomatoes (I've got fresh. I think they'll do. I also have one can of tomatoes with basil and garlic as a back up)
* Frozen corn (let me think about that...)

Gained this weekend:

* 1 bottle white wine
* Half a container of thickened cream
* Eight Dark Lindor balls

Bought this weekend:

* Butter. $1.15.

Total spent since June 1: $37.01

And in the blog world,
Just another Frugal Pixie has just announced she's started a Living on Less challenge until August 3rd.

This is a little older but I found it interesting reading based on my experienced this past ten days: Maggie Alderson discusses how a reformed shopaholic found peace without purchases (although she's spending again now - but three months is an impressive feat!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pretty bloody chuffed!

In the past 24 hours I've:

1. Sewn up three pairs of wristlets (one pair to go)
2. Washed the kitchen and bathroom floors

3. Yelled at a pack of yobbos who were trying to steal my letterbox at 11:30 last night.

4. Finally finished those dratted shoe bags (and had thread to spare - see no need to worry!) 5. Dealt with the pile of mending that's been lurking in the corner of my workroom for ages. I'm particularly stoked about this:Which was created because I spilt a blob of oil from a jar of sun dried tomatoes slap bang in the middle of the T shirt a couple of months ago. Rather than throw the shirt out I flung it into the mending pile and today inspiration hit me.

Remember around this time last year I bought a pair of chinese black and white spotty PJs from The Smith Family in Goulburn for $7.50? I dug out the top from them and cut a rectangle from it to cover the stain then chose some ribbon from the stash I collected at Michael's in Philadelphia last year to edge it with.

Sewed both onto the shirt then took the pants and edged the legs with some more of the ribbon to make it look more like a set rather than just random bits of clothing.Doing that brought back memories of my Mum in the 70s doing similar with my sister's trousers - I don't know if she'd grown out of them or ripped them but they ended up with a tartan edging around the hems and a fish appliqued on one knee. From memory the fish ended up upside down so was given a bubble with "Oops!" above its head.

Anyway, I digress. I'm stoked that I created something usable out of a 6 year old T shirt that was destined for the bin.

6. And the fun continued when I was putting the ribbon away and spied my fabric markers. Haven't done any colouring in for a while the latest TSS foldable shopper!7. Had a visit from J & M who delivered their belated birthday present to me. Or should I say "presentS"?

They arrived with potting mix, plants and a funky black and while watering can and proceeded to creat an oasis of black and white (and green) pansies on the front porch where once there was, well, not a lot. What a super-thoughtful long-lasting (hopefully!) present!7. And now I'm off to clear the dining table of drifts of fabric, buttons and braid and whip up dinner and dessert for four. Have a good night!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Knitters, there were none

The announcement said 12 - 1:30pm.

I arrived just before 12:30pm. The gazebo was deserted. I wondered if there was a second gazebo I didn't know about.

I ate my lunch. I knitted. And sulked (not really!)Then I went home.

Saturday shopping: buy stuff, get stuff free...

I was up at sparrow's fart this morning and off up the road to The Capital Region Farmers Markets at EPIC, where there was a continuation of Thursday's get more than you pay for theme...

My eggs came with a featherand a chuckle(maybe next week I'll see if they'll sell me a dozen partridge eggs. I wonder if they come with a free pear?).

My carrots came with a mass of greeneryWhich makes storing them a little challenging!

And my garlic came with free dirt. How terribly rustic...I also discovered locally made tofu!All up I spent $9 this morning, bringing my total for the month so far to $35.86 (just over half my usual weekly grocery budget)

Then I came home and made Apple Drop Biscuits with cinnamon and honey yoghurt for breakfast. Just a
week late.(Who needs to go to a cafe for brunch anyway?!)

Now do excuse me, I feel the need to go knit in public.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Day Eight: "D" Day

D is for Discounts at the David Jones pre-clearance night this coming Tuesday. My invitation arrived in this morning's mail. I won't be going, of course, but realise the added burden of scheduling my month-long Fiscal Fast for prime sale season... D is for Delicious Deliveries. Also in this morning's mail was my Moo card order from last month. Anyone fancy doing swapsies?
D is for Death. My upstairs phone died this morning. D is also for Dad, who was trying to ring and discovered this fact. Luckily I have another phone I can use but I'm bummed out as it presents me with another of those fix it or replace it decisions. Which I don't have to make til next month!D is for Dry. Which is what three loads of washing are after a short time on the line on this incredibly windy Canberra day.

And also the state of Chateau TSS as I drank the last of my wine this evening!

And, lastly, D is for Daily update:

Breakfast: Cup of white tea (did I mention this "real" milk tastes funny?). Wholegrain toast with honey and a banana.

Morning Tea: Crackers with a wedge of blue brie and an apple.

Lunch: I was fortunate to have a working lunch and had a toasted focaccia with smoked salmon, alfalfa sprouts, capers and mozzarella cheese served with salad and a latte.

Afternoon tea: Still working. Two lattes.

Dinner: My last portion of "Fresh" (before I froze it!) spinach and ricotta ravioli with Dolmio sauce.

Finished today:

* Just the pasta, which is only an occasional treat, bought when it's on special and immediately frozen into meal sized portions.
* Wine. The less said about that the better, OK?

Total spent since June 1: $26.86