Saturday, 8 December 2018

Where I'll Be

It's a cloudy, overcast morning here so my view, out to the East's horizon, is obscured. A sliver of sea and our glimpse of today's destination, our beloved Straddie island, waits behind that cloudy cloak. By late afternoon, we'll be there.

Where I'll be is not that far away from home but it is a world away from city life, from work and school routines and from bustling Christmas crowds. We'll while away our time surrounded by Straddie's beauty and absorbed in her nature. The mainland will be far from my mind.

I'll catch up with you all again in a few weeks. Until then, I wish you many happy moments as your days unfold.


Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Chocolate-y Choc-Chip Cupcakes

Small chocolate-y choc chip cupcakes, made light and moist by a mixture including both sour cream and yoghurt, are a lovely semi-sweet treat.

Delicious treat!

I took this recipe, for Sour Cream Double Chocolate Muffins, and tweaked it just a little so I could use up a little bit of sour cream and a little bit of plain yoghurt I had in the fridge. As usual, I made them with spelt flour but you could always use plain flour. Here's how I made them:

Chocolate-y Choc-Chip Cupcakes
(Makes 12 small cupcakes)

Dry Ingredients:                                                                           Wet Mix:
3/4 cup white spelt flour                                                              1/2 cup sour cream                
1/4 cup cocoa powder                                                                   1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar                                      1 small egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder                                                       30g melted butter
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda                                                             1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 180C and prepare pan by lining with cupcake cases.

2.  Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until well combined with no lumps.

3.  Blend wet mix ingredients together in a large measuring jug or bowl.

4.  Make a well in centre of dry ingredients and pour wet mixture in. 

5.  Mix together until just combined.

6.  Half fill each of your cupcake cases with batter.

7.  Bake 15-20mins until cupcakes have risen and are springy to touch.

8.  Cool in pan for a few minutes before finishing cooling on a wire rack.

Silicone cupcake cases.

You can use paper or silicone cupcake cases to line your pan. I tend to use my set of individual silicone cases when I know the cupcakes I'm making are going to be quite moist or I want a little fluted cupcake shape. 

While not overly sweet, these little cupcakes are very chocolate-y indeed! Pop one into a lunchbox or on your afternoon tea plate for a little burst of chocolate-y choc-chip goodness in your day!


Friday, 30 November 2018

Frugal on Friday

With Christmas fast approaching, it can be easy for money to flow out faster than usual. My strategy has been to minimise the expense of this festive season by making many of the gifts we will give to our loved ones, teachers and neighbours. Little gift tags have been made from scrap paper and old Xmas cards. Gifts that need to be sent to family far away are ready to send and I will post these in the first week of December to avoid paying express post costs which can be very expensive. (I have not always been this well organised!!) I have been planning what we will have for Christmas lunch and simple homemade salads, cold roasted chicken and a delicious dessert will be shared around our old wooden table.  

There is too all the little things that we do, that regularly save us a few $ here and there. We don't stop doing these things just because the "silly season" is upon us. I really think it is these small things, done often, that keep more money in our pockets. Here's a few frugal things from the past week:

Meat Free Meals
It has been very hot of late so we have mostly been having salads with quiche or cold meats.  Though, on a cooler evening, I made a meat-free meal to use up a tub of ricotta (close to its use by date) and the remnants of a few veg - a sweet potato, a piece of pumpkin, a chunk of zucchini and one lone carrot. Drizzled with olive oil and roasted, it is just delicious!

 Baked ricotta and roast vegetables.
(Ready to go into the oven.)

No Waste
I bought a tray of 20 mangoes from a little local shop. When I calculated the cost, per mango, it worked out cheaper than buying them singly at a local supermarket. So none of these gorgeous ripe fruits were wasted, I peeled, sliced and then froze most of them for smoothies and desserts to enjoy during Summer. The peel was composted.

Delicious mangoes ~ peeled, sliced & frozen.

I also discovered an open packet of Mountain Bread in our freezer. Just a few thin sheets but they had split and broken under the weight of what had been stacked on top of them! So, I defrosted them, finished the process of breaking them in to bits, and then baked them until dry and crispy. Now we have a container of yummy bread chips to dip into the half bottle of salsa in the fridge.

Bread chips
(Made from Mountain Bread I found in the freezer.)

Handmade Gifts
I have continued making small and simple handmade gifts to give for Christmas. I am on a roll with these tea towel tote bags:D  The bag below was made from a touristy tea towel I found in my favourite little antique shop, it cost me $8 which is more than I would normally pay, but I was after something very specific for a beautiful lady who is a proud New Zealander.

A  tote I made from an op-shop tea towel.
(I love the flax linen!)

Next year, I will return to permanent, part-time work. Rather than spend lots of money on new work clothes, I have been sewing my own and rummaging through op-shop piles. This flow-y, versatile top cost just $3. It just needs a good iron!

A dressy new-to-me work top.

I love reading about what others do on the frugal front. I get so many ideas about different ways to save money. Have you done anything particularly frugal this week that you can share?