Saturday, February 13, 2010

Feb 11 2010

This week I planned to only spend $80, since I wanted to keep $20 back to buy more fruit in the weekend, and some organic meat if my friend was visiting the organic butcher.

I came home with 20c to spare, and this selection of groceries...

Large head of brocolli
Large Lettuce
2 avocados
2kg carrots
1kg courgettes
4 onions
1 bulb of garlic
large Telegraph cucumber
2kg pears
2kg red gala (new season) apples
1kg Nectarines
1kg Apricots
1kg Plums
5 bananas
10 mushrooms
2 loaves of bread
12 free range eggs
2L organic milk
Udon Noodles
Coconut Cream
Earth Care toilet paper
potato chips
3 tins spaghetti
1 tin sweetcorn
Jar of mayonnaise
250g choc chips
500ml olive oil
macaroni elbows

I spent the extra $20 going to the movies when I got an unexpected break from the children. I probably shouldn't have, but since it is a rare event and I don't know when the next one might come- I'm glad I did :0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 14th 2009

A lot has changed since the last time i wrote on here...the primary difference is that I left my husband in September. The three children and I are now living in Auckland again, on the Domestic Purposes Benefit.

I am very grateful for this benefit, though it is not easy making ends meet when your rent is more than half what you are paid. Additionally, I needed to borrow money to get in to this place (and to pay for beds, and seats etc). Luckily I was able to ask my brother for help, so I am not paying back any interest.

Our current grocery budget is $100 a week. It's not really enough to eat healthily, lose weight, be mindful of the children's food intolerances, and be eco-friendly as well...but it is enough.

This is what we managed to get this week for $94. I used some extra grocery money to buy more rechargeable batteries on sale. It also costs us $7.20 on the bus (return) to get to the cheapest supermarket. This also means 10 minute walk there and back (with the groceries). With 10-ride passes, the amount for me to take 3 children to the shop and back is $6.50 (children under 5 ride free).

From the Fruit Shop...
3kg Potatoes
800g Peaches
1kg Plums
1kg Pears
1kg sunrise and granny smith apples
2 large iceberg lettuces
2 ears of corn
1 large telegraph cucumber
1.5kg Bananas (everything else is from NZ, which is important to me)
1kg Carrots
1kg Courgettes
3 avocados
1 garlic
and because we rushed out without breakfast...
1 tangelo, 1 apricot, a apple and 1 pear

From Countdown (supermarket)
500g Premium Beef Mince
420g Corn-fed Free range chicken breasts
400g Sausage meat
400g Flaky Pastry
Loaf of Home Brand white bread (they don't make multi-grain)
1 60L rubbish bag (it costs $1.70 for a rubbish bag where we live- I try to use one a fortnight)
500g Soap Powder (I prefer to buy the eco-sore or down-to-earth one, but there isn't enough this week)
400g Raisins
Healtheries Rice Cakes (all the kids love these)
3 Raro sachet cordial...I never buy these, but just for a summer treat, and I plan to make ice blocks for the kids
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tin coconut cream
500g brown sugar
250g Dilmah Leaf Tea
1L organic milk
1kg Colby Cheese
500g Butter
500g Popcorn
2 Milky Bar for treats while we wait for the bus

We didn't need to buy eggs this week, because we are looking after a friend's chickens. We have tomatoes and beans in our garden. I will probably go out in the weekend and buy more fruit.

Breakfasts are porridge, toast, cornflakes, weetbix, or eggs. Lunches are sandwiches, leftovers and salads. Snacks are fruit, popcorn, rice cakes, cheese, home baking. Loose Menu Plan for dinners this week...

Thursday Jalousie- giant sausage roll...I probably won't eat it, so hopefully there will be enough to freeze for another dinner, or lunch for the kids
Friday Chicken Laksa (1/3 chicken- noodles, stock, coconut cream, spices, courgettes, carrots and beans)
Saturday Spaghetti and Meatballs (half the mince)
Sunday Homemade Hawaiian Pizza, (ham leftover from Christmas) and chips
Monday Chilli con carne with homemade tortillas
Tuesday Satay Chicken and rice
Wednesday Macaroni Cheese

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Last Hurrah...

For a while :0)

Apologies to those who read my other blog- this is nearly the same :0)

Ben is about to pack up the computers ready for the big move tomorrow morning.

There still seems plenty to do before then...and after then with all the cleaning...but I (we) have done masses.

Our eatng has been all over the place this week. So much chocolate, we should buy shares in Cadbury. But we're getting the work done, dh that's the main thing. I know what I want to be doing health-wise, and I am considering this a temporary measure.

I made sourdough pizza that didn't taste disgusting...actually, it was surprisingly good! I've made sour dough fruit loaf 3 times, and Princess loves it.

I amde creme fraiche, and while I thought it was bit odd (having never tasted it before, so nothing to compare) my friend who had tasted it before enjoyed it and said it was good.

My yoghurt has been going great, not this week, since I decided we don't need it. Princess has taken to eating yoghurt mixed with strawberry conserve on muesli. I guess the muesli should be soaked, but we're taking smallish steps. I'll be reading plenty when we're gone.

I can't wait to get really stuck in again. We've had no fridge since Tuesday...that's been interesting. With no real plan for what to do isntead of refrigerate, I've floundered a little- but it's worked alright...

I wish this could be a loverly long post about all the cool things we've been up to...actually not that many cool things, but we have spent some time with friends, and lots have been happening while the kiddos grow and learn at home.

I can't even add photos for some bizarre reason. I have a neat one of Tombliboo stacking cans of drink...I know, what happened to minimising sugar?

Well, when I have a big job (and what could be bigger than moving out our lives from the last 3 years?) I need Coke. I don't apologise for it, or even wish it wasn't so- it just is, and that's life. I need chocolate too. It would be nice to sit down for a meal some time soon.

So Tombliboo got busy stacking them- he managed to build a tower of 8 coke cans before I got the camera. It was quite impressive. I really didn't think he would get past 5. Then he stacked them according to colour (Sprite and Coke), and then alternating colours. The side-by-side towers...then a big long row. He had so much fun with those cans, it was crazy!

I've got a really cute one of Princess, who has lost both her top front teeth...she looks adorable, and hilarious all at the same time. I've got several of her with some items she won in a mega prize pack on Sticky TV.

It was super mega...she got a Dora packpack, towel, duvet set and dvd, a Diego backpack, towel, duvet set and dvd, Twister, Guess Who, an mp3 player (which is her current fave), pink Lego, a Narnia book, a Charlie and Lola activity book, some Slime, some more slime that glows, a Wall-E soft toy, a BalaNZe Board (which is super-cool btw), and an Avalanche snow-maker.

There's a fair bit of it that isn;t interestign to her, which we will eb able to sell when we get settled, and get her somethign she does want. But it was a massive buzz!

J-Man has been busy making a video clip for his best friend. It makes me cry. I'm not much or a cry-er, but I blubber like a baby when I see how much he adores J12.

So, it's all go. Ben will be at het truck place at 9am, back here as quickly as possible. Grandma and Poppy will eb here too with a van, and maybe a trailer...and then we will load everything up. I've got a box or two to pack tonight before I sleep, but mostly it's all done. Phew!

I more or less emptied the garage today- was very ruthless. Put it all out the front, and before I had even done so there were people to take it all away.

We only have one shelf left inside, and possible a couch...some shelving in the garage which we'll offer to the neighbour's if N doesn't want them...and that's about it.

Oh, there are plenty of dirty tools and so on outside, which will need to be arranged on to the truck somehow. But mostly, it's all under control.

Once the truck is gone, I will clean for a bit, but I think I'll need to take off right away to take the kiddos to a show we have tickets for. It will be a nice break from the monotony of constantly cleaning/packing/tidying/throwing away.

I think I might go to sleep actually.

The truck needs to be back in Auckland by 10:30am Sunday, so Ben will decide if he wants to do a round-trip in a day, or leave early Sunday morning. There'll be a bed for him in Keirkeri (unlike here, lol).

Actually, we have had offers of beds, but I think a night on the floor might be fun.

Then, Sunday morning will be devoted to cleaning as much as possible in as short a time as possible, so we can possibly enjoy some time together before we split.

Ben will be staying with Nana, and the kiddos and I will be heading for the bach.

It's as neat place, right on the's kinda basic, and yet not at all! There's a toilet now!

Mostly, by "basic" I think I mean there's no phone. Cellphone coverage is pretty dicey. We get texts though, so it isn't as bad as it once was (you used to have to drive for a few minutes to stand at some rocks and dial out).

The kids can't wait...they are sooo excited! Not Tombliboo, I don't think he knows what is going on- he keeps telling me about what is missing and saying, "I want to go home", when we're already here.

I'm looking forward to really being with them. J-Man asked where Twilight is. He read 60 pages on the first day we got it but none since. We will eb rading a lto more books, andthat is ezxciting. I shoudl ahve organised hwo we get library access today, but I didn;t...we'll ahveto wing it.

Or get books out hedre and drive a bit further to return them (an hour). Not sure yet...but I am lookign forward to lots of snuggly book-reading.

I have a picture in my head not really based in reality, of us all snuggling up lsitneing to a wodnerful story (read by me wihtotu lsoign my voice, or fallign asleep).

Normalyl Tombliboo steals the book adn hides it, adn the same with it'sreplacement...maybe it will be differnt in a different place.

I'm also imagining that maybe the kids will pile in to my bed (those that aren't already in there, lol) for stories in the morning ,since I won;t be up checking my e-mails (because I can't).

I hope some of that comes true.

I hope I can learn to be a "lazy", not completely, just enough to relax...really relax.

As I type, Tombliboo has gone to sleep early (9pm), and J-Man and Princess are having fits of giggles playing a bizarre chasing game which has something to do with the green slime from her prize pack. Ben is packing up the her computer, and I need to get pack to all my millions of jobs.

Hopefully this lets everyone know what we will be up to.

I hope to add snippets whenever I am able...which really might not be very it's adieu from me for a little while.

You'll be hearing a lot from me when we are settled in our new house, in a new town.

If anyone would like to visit, please do :0)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We're chugging along, getting rid of stuff and packing the rest away.

I finally got the lounge clear yesterday- I haven't been doing as much "usual" tidying, just moving-related stuff, so it was a tip.

I made fruit loaf with sourdough, and Princess loved it- said it was "the same as the one at the shop!"

I made it in a similar way to the hot cross buns- I never write things down, just add a bit of this and that.

Basically the usual sourdough, and at the kneading stage- added sultanas, xylitol, nut meg, mixed spice, cinnamon and a bit of salt.

I just made it again this morning (we were nearly out!) and added some melted butter as well, and forgot the salt, so we'll see how that one turns out.

We ate butter chicken for tea last night- a favourite with everyone. When I wasn't eating meat, I made butter chickpea instead- noone else liked it, but I thought it was pretty good!

Butter Chicken (or chickpea)

Saute some chopped onions and little snippets of carrot in butter, when they're nearly done add some cinnamon.

Take out half of that mixture and put it in with the rice to cook.

Add more butter, and cook the chicken (or skip that step if you're using leftover chicken).

Add two tins of Indian tomatoes (or ordinary tomatoes, with garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric- anything really to get it indian flavoured), and let it simmer.

Add 2T (or so) ground almonds, and coriander (preferably fresh, but whatever) and cumin seeds (if desired).

Simmer until the tomato juices reduce. Before serving, add sour cream or creme fraiche or just plain cream.

I got creme fraiche, because I want to try to make my own after or next trip to the farm.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I packed over 60 boxes last week, which is why you haven;t heard from me :0)

Still, it doesn't look like anything has been done- the place is a pigsty.

Plenty more to do.

But, and I'm really proud of this "but"...I haven't just thought "oh well, we'll eat whatever".

Yes, there were easter eggs, and yes, we even bought a loaf of bread on Saturday (mostly for the sake of our poor cousin M11 who probably didn't know what him him when he saw what we now eat!), but mostly, mostly- the diet has remained the same.

My sourdough started to go al l funny, and I suspect this is because our house is like a fridge (no, I'm no exaggerating!). It;s sorted now though, and as the photo above will show...

It actually rose for the first time ever!

It was sooooo lovely and bubbly, I couldn't believe the difference. It's like "ahhh- so that's what "bubbly" means!"

Previously I'd only had the odd bubble here and there. And this coincides with what I read, that sourdough gets better and better- this will be my 4th loaf of bread I think.

Princess has requested fruit toast, and I think after the success of the hot cross buns- I just might be able to pull that off!

It's payday today- but we haven't been paid...silly boss not sorting stuff out for Easter (again!), but it doesn't matter in the slightest. I have a chicken casserole (leftover) in the freezer, a tray of chicken breasts, some steak which I will throw in to the slow-cooker.

Got heaps of apples, carrots, enough lettuce, plenty of spuds...a half loaf of sourdough ready to eat, another whole one in the oven now, a bag of mini sourdough rolls in the freezer. It wouldn't matter if we weren't paid for three more days, except that the rent is due today.

The only thing we are out of is raw milk and cream- we didn't go to the farm this weekend. I made a bavarian cream (gourmet dessert) but the cream was smelling a bit iffy- and it wasn't good. It was OK, but not good.

Rather than adding a whole 'nother post- I wanted to say what this is like so far...

Princess, aged 6 and a half has amazed me...she has perfectly adjusted to a new diet. She sees all sorts of possibilities, rather than noticing all she can;t have. (And we don't really use the word "can't), I don;t want her being denied anything she is hankering after).

She loves the bread, loves eating more meat, isn't asking for anything "bad" basically very happy.

She is lactose intolerant, and her speech is a bit muddly atm, and her nose permanently blocked- but, it was like that before we switched to raw milk, so I can't be sure if she reacts to that as well, or not.

Tombliboo just fits in- his main food is breastmilk, so he's cool :0)

J-Man (10) is not at all happy...he is bemoaning the lack of "real" bread, and "real" milk, and "real" ice cream and all sorts of other bits and bods. He has spent over $30 (of his own money) on McDonald's and rubbish food in the last few days. He wakes up wanting chips, which is the only snack food he knows we have in the house. It's hard work. Hard to know what to do.

DH didn't know what to do with himself last wek about lunch..his lunch in the weekends has always been sandwiches. But he seesm to be coping just fine. He just wants to be full...he would like more icecream, and I will work on that- but it's not cheap when you make it yourself with *real* ingredients.

Me...well, I love it. I felt like Coke in a major way yesterday- and had dh bring some home. I haven't had it in the house for weeks...but it's the thing I have (and chocolate) when I am hard-out on a mission (packing the house). I found it really sweet, still love it though...alas.

I love being able to make bread with no yeast- in fact only flour and water! I love eating (small amounts) of icecream with nothing nasty in it.

I even like the raw milk in my tea- which I never did before.

Now for the gross bit...for the first time in I can't remember how long, I had my monthly without bleeding right through my clothes. It was light. Possibly normal even. Like it was when I was dairy and wheat free when Tombliboo was a baby- but i wasn't dairy or wheat free this month...hooray!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hot Cross Buns!

I made hot cross buns from the sourdough! They were good!

It was on a bit of a whim really, though I had thought of it earlier in the week. I suddenly realised if we wanted to eat them on Good Friday morning (as we usually would), I would need to get them started on Thursday night.

With all the busy-ness around here my sourdough has not been fed properly, and it was all turning to rubbish...there were no bubbles, and only a slight sour smell. I didn't have any hopes of the buns rising, but hoped it wouldn't matter.

It really didn't...sourdough, Karen assured me, and I am discovering for myself is very flexible :0)

We had our first date since my 30th birthday last night, so it was a rush to get them organised....but i did it.

This is what I did...At the final stage, I added flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg, a pinch of salt, a little xylitol (sugar replacement) and some cocoa. Kneaded as usualy, then made little buns out of them. Left them in the oven overnight.

This morning, I added crosses, baked them for 30 minutes, then glazed them.

They're not overly pretty, but they tasted great.

J-Man wouldn't try one, Tombliboo said, I 'fraid I don't like dis" (but he has never been in to bread of any sort), but Princess, dh and I loved them!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sorry I'm late...

I know my three readers must be wondering where I disappeared to- it's frantic here.

Looks like we'll be moving sooner than we thought, much sooner...and with the added stress of not having an income in 4 weeks, there just seems no time for the puter (naturally).

Then I've been out all day today with the tinies, having lots of fun...I'll try to write in the next day or two.

Meanwhile, the sourdough is dead easy...basically it's this.

Get some filtered water...if nothing else (and this is all I did) make it un-chlorinated by leaving water in a glass jar or jug uncovered in the fridge.

Mix equal quantities of (preferably) wholemeal flour and filtered water in a glass jar.

leave for a day or two...the website I saw said two days, mine was ready in one (however, it's suddenly got much colder). Leave the lid loosely on, or (as I have done) a large-mouthed jar with a towel over it.

The bacteria necessary to "catch" a sourdough starter is already in the bread- it doesn't need to be open to the air.

When it starts to smell sour, and this is a judgment call really- I wasn't sure initially...out 1/2C flour and 1/2C water in the jar and mix.

When that gets bubbly, or sour-smelling and rising, add another cup and leave that a few hours to get really bubbly.

If it doesn't bubble you get a hopeless loaf, which is pretty good for mousetraps- but not right, lol.

Once that's ready, add more flour to knead it, then leave it *again*, this time in a loaf tin, oiled and lightly floured. Bake for 35-45 minutes in a moderate oven.