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technology

18 Sep

These last couple of weeks my laptop has been “out of order”. It is amazing how when you are used to something and then it is not there, you do things differently. I use the laptop most of the time for my blog. I find it easier to write with it on my lap and that is why I haven’t written much the last couple of weeks. When I thought about writing and that I would have to sit at the desk, I just didn’t feel it.

Today I have it back. Something so simple as the lights went out. Yes, the backlight of the screen blew and no they cannot be replaced, a new screen is required.

The benefit or silver lining to this is that I have found two people with whom I have had great conversations about apple vs pc, laptop vs tablet and versions of cell phones. It was great. I love talking technology and picking the brains of those who actually know something and maybe being able to give them some food for thought too.

The upside is that now I do not need to buy a new computer device and can get the new phone I want instead. My current one is now 6 years old and feeling the wear so my only decision is which one? Ah the joy of going out and looking at gadgets!

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A Different Way With Mince

10 Aug

Cooking day has come around again for me and I don’t feel like spag bol but I have mince ready to cook. So, I pulled out my recipes to see what I could find.

While I don’t have all the ingredients, I did find one I can easily change to use ingredients I do have. This is what is great about cooking. Experimenting with what is in the pantry. The children may have suggestions, or you may be able to draw on some experience.

So, I have chosen a dish that includes pasta. It is simple and cooked on the stove top. 500g mince (5 serves), 2 onions chopped, 2 rashers bacon (don’t have, replace with bacon stock or finely chopped ham) can tomato soup (don’t have, replace with crushed tomato), 1 1/2 cups water (substitute 1/2 cup for red wine if you like), 1 beef stock cube, 1/2 tsp mixed herbs, seasoning, 1 cup macaroni.

In large pot cook onion and bacon, add mince and brown. Pour off excess fat. Add tomato, water, stock, herbs and seasoning. Cook covered 20-30 mins.

I use a Tupperware pasta cooker to cook macaroni, drain and add to pan, stir through.

Enjoy with some steamed broccoli or beans for colour.

This is an easy recipe to change. If you think you have one that could be changed but not sure, send it to me and I will give it a go.

Cooking and a busy life

7 Aug

I have been thinking about all those who have the busy lifestyle of today and how to fit in cooking with the demands of work and school. Many people find it easier to have fast food meals these days and as we know these are not the best for a healthy diet.

The simple recipes I include here don’t necessarily solve those problems so I have had an idea on how that can be done.

In order to attack childhood obesity children need to be involved in cooking and learning how it can be fun to experiment with flavour without necessarily complicating the process.

My thought is that the cooking probably does not want to be done on a weekday night. So let’s do it on the weekend when there are actually three night to choose from, Friday being one.

It doesn’t require cooking three nights. Even if you choose one and cook two or three dishes. Get the children to help, preparing vegetables, trimming meat, choosing flavourings, collecting fresh herbs etc, even choosing recipes.

Getting the children involved also allows for educating them in money and budget issues.

With everyone pitching in it is an opportunity for a family chat to catch up on the week and prepare for the one coming. These times are important and you may not be having it at present. This is a way to introduce it without pressure.

To decide how much to cook you just take the number of people in the family and multiply by 7, being the number of evenings per week. This is how many serves you need, so given that each of my recipes will give 5 serves, you can choose either two or three dishes, using different cuts of meat and you will have 10-15 serves for the week. With one serve each out for cooking night and  the rest in the freezer, you are ready for the week.

It doesn’t matter if there are more than you need for the week, having extras can be a bonus if something unexpected comes up.

When you are putting these meals in the freezer, there are two options; put all single serves in or in larger containers put daily serves. Tupperware heat n eat come in larger sizes too. The thing to be careful with in the second option is that someone may not turn up for that meal and once defrosted it cannot be frozen again and I would also be cautious about keeping it for the next day.

I hope this idea has some appeal for you.

bbq

3 Aug

It is still winter but the days are delightful. While the mornings are cold and frosty at -2, by early afternoon it is almost a relief to get outside and do something active.

I have been walking around the neighbourhood, getting to know it and checking out the gardens. What grows well? What looks pretty? etc. It is quite a lesson.

What does excite me about this weather is that it will not be long until it is BBQ time again. I love the new style of BBQ where it is more than sausages. I rarely eat snags, they are full of calories and cholesterol, soooo bad for you but tasty. Of course these days there are lots of varieties and not all are bad but then they are not economical.

What I like to cook on the BBQ is a roast. Lamb leg stuffed with fresh rosemary sprigs  and a nice glaze, chicken with herbs or marinated beef and onions.

I love sitting around the bbq on a pleasant spring afternoon, preferably the men doing the cooking. The kids running around the yard, the adults relaxed.  What could be better than that?

Throw in some tasty salads, nothing fancy required but I do know some great recipes. It is something to look forward to isn’t it?

Cholesterol and diet

31 Jul

Well, I have just had my cholesterol rechecked. Last month it was 8.0 and now it is 7.3. The doctor want to put me on drugs but I really don’t like drugs, especially when they can be avoided. We have struck a deal. If I can get it below 7.0 by December he will let me continue, otherwise I will go on the drugs.

Now, how have I got it down so far? It is quite easy really. My high level is not caused by ingestion of cholesterol. I eat little that contains it. My body just makes too much and reabsorbs it. The trick is to stop the reabsorption.

So, here is what to do. Have porridge for breakfast, that is cooked rolled oats. Not the flavoured ones just the plain one, quick oats with no additives is ok but costs more so why bother? 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup skim milk, 1/8 cup water into the microwave for 90 seconds. With the bowl I use, I break this up to 60 then 30 so it doesn’t overflow. To this I add 1 desert spoon of psyllium husks and 4 slices of cooked peaches with juice. Just mix it all together and it is plenty sweet enough. If you would like a different flavour, add 1 tsp cinnamon.

 

With my lunch salad I add a drizzle of flaxseed oil. Doesn’t matter how much, at least a teaspoon.

For an afternoon snack it is a handful of walnuts and almonds.

That is it. How easy is that?

If your high level is due to ingestion, it is so much easier. Cut out cheese and butter, eat only lean red meat, 100g raw measure per serve and skinless chicken, no more than 115gm raw measure per serve. If you must have a spread either use butter sparingly or use low fat cream cheese like Philadelphia.

I want to thank you for all the comments and making me think about the technology of the blog. Because of it, here is a photo of my breakfast.

What is great about this is that it adds very little to the budget and for those having expensive sweetened cereals will save money and help to avoid type 2 diabetes.

Stir Fry

26 Jul

For lunch today I had a vege stir fry. It is easy to do. I was feeling guilty because the last couple of evening meals have been pasta, so I was short on my  vegetable intake.

Someone once showed me fool-proof stir fry which I would like to share with you.

The cooking utensil is a non stick pan or wok with a lid.

First cut up your vegetables. I like onion, garlic, cabbage, capsicum and zucchini. You might like to add things like carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, Bok choy. Cut them all into thin strips or slices.

Heat the pan to high with a tabs of your preferred oil, coconut or olive for preference. Add the onion, then garlic, cook for a minute then add the cabbage. When that starts to soften, add the remaining vegetables.

Once all is hot add 60-80 ml water and cover. Leave until steam starts to escape. Remove lid and allow all water to evaporate.

At this point there are several options. If you choose to have meat, then now is the time to add cooked meat, chopped, to warm through. Then it is time for the flavouring. Choose from soy sauce, satay, sweet n sour, or maybe a beaten egg or cheese. Add it to the pan, stir through and serve.

This is a meal chock full of goodness and flavour. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Easy favourite

22 Jul

Not feeling like exerting myself with the cooking tonight so going for a familiar favourite that I can whip up quickly. Spag Bol.

I cook this often so it is easy to put together for me when I don’t feel like working at it.

Finely dice 1 large onion and 1 clove garlic, fry until golden, add 500g mince and stir til well browned. Add 150g tomato paste, 2 cups water, 2 chicken stock cubes, 1 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/4 – 1/2 cup red wine.

Simmer over low heat for 1-1 1/2 hours. Serves 5

Usually I serve this over shredded cabbage but tonight I feel like pasta so that is what i am having. It is easy to cook with my Tupperware pasta cooker.

If you are setting up a kitchen, I recommend you go for Tupperware. It is easy to care for, easy to use, covers all your cooking needs and has a lifetime guarantee. My kitchen cupboards would be much more organised if the current stock was available when I started setting up my kitchen.