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Archive for August, 2011

Shopping for One Canned Fish & Seafood

August 31st, 2011 at 11:37 am

This is the second in this series

Can's of Tuna - You can buy small cans 95g, 185g or large 420g tins only buy when on special or at the lowest price you can get. Most tuna now is canned in Thailand in our area. So buy the size that suits your needs.

I use sardines in tomatoes sauce 1/2 can for me & 1/2 can for the cats. I tried to keep it for myself but that is not going to happen. As for smoked salmon that I do not let them even taste it as one will take the food off my plate if she gets the chance.

Same with canned salmon I have be very careful how I make my meals or very quick about putting it away. As for frozen fresh fish and seafood I use these too! Mainly grilled or poached again the cats get one piece between them I get the other. I don't buy fish that much so it's a treat for all of us. Frozen crumbed fish I get to eat as I will not give them any of it. Same with marinara mix I buy when on special then bag it into single serving lots and freeze. If there is a lot of normal fish pieces in it the cats may get a treat if not then I get the lot. Shopping for one can have its perks by having more expensive threats but in small quantity.

Text is Is Canned Tuna Frugal? and Link is
Is Canned Tuna Frugal?

1 quantity Basic tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
650g marinara mix (see note)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Cooked spaghetti pasta, to serve
Make Basic tomato sauce
Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half then adding wine
Add marinara mixture for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with spaghetti.
Top with parsley.
Serves 4 -6
Marinara mixes are available from your local fishmonger, seafood retailers and some supermarkets. Marinara mix here is small pieces of white fish, fresh salmon, mussels, green prawns & calamari mix together. All in bit size pieces. Whatever is the cheapest normally white fish & calamari has the most portions in this mixture at times you will get no salmon at all.

MARINARA PASTA cheat's version

Cooking this for one person this is how I cook it.

Put your pasta to boil. When cooked drain and save small amount of pasta water to pour over pasta. This takes about 10 minutes to cook

In the mean time, I find it's better to cook the marinara mix in a frypan with drop of oil by starting with the thickest piece of seafood then work your way through mixture until get to calamari cook this for a few seconds, heat your pre made basic tomato sauce I do this in a microwave add the marinara stir through and serve over cooked pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Text is Basic Tomato Sauce and Link is
Basic Tomato Sauce

Shopping for one my way on Chicken & Meats

August 27th, 2011 at 09:03 am

This is the first in this series

A little while ago someone ask in comments here.

" I am really struggling to keep my grocery spending down, I always allow $70.00 a fortnight, but I am finding it's not enough, I don't eat Meat, I only buy Chicken Drumstick's, can's of Tuna, lot's of Bean's, and veg, but it is very difficult, I would love some idea's from you, how I can stretch it, also Cat Food is very expensive here! I live off of a very tight Budget as it is, but find I am dipping into my saving's more and more, just to live, very depressing, thank you for sharing with us."

So over next few posts I will try to answer some of these areas.

In the past week I have bought more meat for the freezer.
1/2 kg (1lb) Short cut bacon packed into single serve with layer of freezer bag between each layer of bacon slices. 2-3 slices is enough for one serve.
4 kabanas, which I have sliced up and pack into 50g (2oz) packets.
Gypsy Ham 100g which is already sliced will eating over the week.

2 trays 4 x chicken drumsticks (see notes below)

3.6kg (8lb) 8 breast chicken with skin on. (@$6.99kg skin on and @$10.99 skin off this was a better buy even through I had do an extra 20 minutes work than I normally do when buying skin off breast chicken. I got the tenderloins which is most times missing). I bagged them up into 4 x diced chicken 250g each, 4 x 300g sliced chicken for poaching or frying. 2 x250g tenderloin chicken 3 pieces each

Chicken Drumsticks & Wings - I buy organic ones that marked down to almost half price when I can and come home and freeze them immediately. Thaw to use as needed. I buy normally 4 drumsticks packs and portion size is two per serve. So when I cook these I cook for 2 servings.
Rule of thumb
- Large drumsticks serve one & small drumsticks serve 2 per person
- Chicken wings 4-6 per person

Eating it later in the week again.

Breast or Thighs of Chicken - I do try to buy breast of chicken when on special for the same price as thighs and diced it up before freezing with no more than two breasts per pack. I will get four servings out of these packs and they can be refrozen to use later in the same month.

Some recipes that I found

Text is Asian Style Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Asian Style Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Lemon and Thyme Marinated Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Lemon and Thyme Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Portuguese Style Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Portuguese Style Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Cheat's Apricot Chicken with Rice and Veggies and Link is
Cheat's Apricot Chicken with Rice and Veggies

Text is Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
and Link is
Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

On this site also there is an ebook p240 that you can download that has some very good information and recipes, these recipes above is in the ebook but written differently. P166

Text is Thai Creamy Chicken Satay and Link is
Thai Creamy Chicken Satay

Tomato Vegetable Sauce

2 cups (mixed vegetables, or beans, corn kernels, sweet peppers)
1 bottle of Cacciatore Sauce or any pasta sauce (2 cups)
1 can 400g diced or crushed tomatoes
Few dried herbs
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Place the lot in microwave dish, defrost and then cooked for 1.55 minutes (W1100)
or 3 minutes (W700) in microwave.
Serve 4

Cooked drumsticks then cover it with Tomato Vegetables Sauce
Can be served over fish as well!

You must remember that I'm cooking for one.

Size and the way you buy things does counts.

Buy only special or store brands if you can use coupons then use them if it's the best option.

I always think that a good buy in protein is around $1.25 or under per serving.

MMMM Free Food!

August 24th, 2011 at 12:06 pm

My favourite Australian bird is a

Text is
Kookaburra and Link is

and I have this young one taking a liking to my backyard and will sit on my clothes line, garden wall and my garden arches and waits for free food, lawn grubs I think to appear. Here are a few photos that I got from my kitchen widow; itís been raining for the last few days so the ground is wet. These are the kind of native pets I love to visit. The crows donít like him one bit. Kookaburras normally stay together in family groups this one is alone so he has been kick out to fend for himself. Has been around for a few weeks but this time I was able to get a closer to him.

At lunch time

At 4pm

750th post milestone

August 23rd, 2011 at 06:19 am

I thought I would mark this milestone with it own post. I would never think that I would get to this point when I start blogging.

Still lots of ideas coming up that I have read or thought off. I hope post a little more in the near future.

Now on to the next milestone 1000 posts or Million viewings!


City Street Art

My views on the sock monster & over coming it

August 22nd, 2011 at 11:02 am

I once was paid by a neighbour to sort laundry basket of socks out. Having 3 males in their household most of the socks were odd, I only found 18 pairs of wearable socks in the whole basket.

The balance was odd or with holes that were unable to be mended if you still mend sock these days.

Some remarked the other day that they came home from they overseas holiday with no socks but took 10 pairs with them and sock monster ate their socks.

After thinking about this problem after first instance, I watch my own habits more closely and came up with this conclusion.

The monster sock eater is ourselves I found, I have a habit of wearing my socks to bed then they come off during the night and either left in the bed or under the bed. Now if you are travelling and doing this youíll have a great loss of socks or sock is left behind in each hotel will soon add up. At $15.00 a pair for diabetic socks that a lot of money to loose.

To overcome this habit I have now made it a habit to put the pair of socks with my shoes or together before I leave the room each morning, since doing this I have never loss a pair of sock to the sock monster.

Another thing I found is buying as many pairs the same in style & colour as possible and on special minimum of 25% off that means multiple pairs at the same time to maximum benefit. I did on the last special and got 3 pairs of diabetic socks for $18.48 by buying multiple packs and buying on special.

Saving money and keeping it in my bank is my main aim so I can
s-t-r-e-t-c-h every cent out as much as possible. With a pair of ankle sock around $5.00 and a pair of diabetic sock $15.00. The longer a pair stays together the better.

Senior moment!

August 17th, 2011 at 09:14 pm

I did take the Cat for his after operation check and then asked why I didnít get my senior card discount like I did on the first visit, I do know that I forgot to show it again but found out that they should have put it on his file so that discount would be automatic come off next time. So I asked the vet and was told to come back on Tuesday which I did and got $23.00 off the total. In the end all up I paid $575.40 for one tooth removed and cleaning of the mouth. He is fine now and reclaiming my bed if he can.

His quilt cover

Strategy - Ask about any discounts and donít worry if you forgot to ask about it, worse they can say is NO so just ask.

Day Two at the Show - Ekka to the Locals

August 14th, 2011 at 09:25 am

I had the morning at home and waited for my son to drop in. He wife is away with work so we could use both pass on Friday. He arrived at my place 15 minutes after he finished work. Getting dressed we were on our away by 2.30pm arriving to park the car near the showground Carparking was $15.00 so we found street parking for $6.00 for the last four hours on the meters. He waited until 3.00pm so we only had to pay for 4 hours.
Walking over to the

Text is EKKA and Link is
EKKA showground we used our pass to get in again. Then walked though Side Show Alley and the Show Bag Pavilion we never bought a thing here. We had afternoon snacks at a Red Rooster stand at least my son did cost him $15.00, I had a fruit drink and mandarin from home.

We went down to government pavilion for my son to look around then went over the Woolworth Pavilion and got some free food samples and two kidís aprons and shopping bags for the junior members of the family as there are different offers each day.

Walked around companies show case pavilion never spent any money there, walk over to the wool pavilion and had a look at the animal nursery the cows and horses then walked over to find something to eat yet again. I had a bottle of water and steak sandwich $10.50 DS had coke & hamburger $11.00.

On the walk up to the grandstands, we drop in at RM Williams stand, I bought T-Shirt for $15.00 but I had a voucher for $10.00 so I was able to use this so only paid $5.00 for the t-shirt in the end.

We went to the memberís grand stand at around 5.30pm and stayed there until 8.30pm when we went home. My son bought some coffee and hot chocolate for both of us. I had my muesli bar that I had with me.

Friday night was the night at they open the show, so we were there for this once. I did take a few pictures, they had some different breeds of cattle & cows on the ground and bullock team while the grand opening parade matched on to the oval. The person opening the show this year was our first lady of the Australia the Governor General Quentin Bryce, I meet her when she was the State Governor for Queensland
Text is here and Link is
here in 2006.

Text is Ekka 2010 pictures are back up and Link is
Ekka 2010 pictures are back up

Bullock Team

Opening Honour Guard Parade & Cattle

Honour Guard

Opening speech and police horses

Just before blessing of the plough

Also we watched the camp drafting, HiLux Heroes (5 truck team), bike jumping, Monster Truck Mania, Jet Van and then the firework.

Thatís my day trips to the Ekka for this year! Home by 9pm.

Strategy - Have a treat now and then!

Strategy - Park your car in a spot that you will get your daily walk done too!

Day One at the Show - Ekka to the Locals

August 13th, 2011 at 11:30 am

I went to the Ekka on Thursday & Friday this week . Day one I caught the bus, got off at the special Ekka bus stop in the city and had to wait 30 minutes for the bus to come so much for bus every 10 minutes service when we got to the other end you could see what was happening with the buses and why they were late in doing round this trip. Traffic parked in the bus lane to drop off people in wheel chairs with both lanes blocked in a two lane narrow street aright first day stuff up. Itís only 10.25am.

I didnít have to worry about special Senior Day as I use the family guest member pass each year so I can get in for Free as I normally have it for the first two days of the show then the others use it the rest of the time.

My first stop was the Woolworth Pavilion a look at what going on there, missed all the cooking show this year. Had a cheese toastie at the Coon Bar for $2.00 and then kept walking. Went off down that side of the show grounds to find the Art & Craft pavilion only find it had moved downstairs, wandered around paintings and the cake icing and all that baking. Mine never look that good! While viewing the painting I got talking to a senior couple who husband put a painting in the show. After leave there wandered down to the fruit & vegetable pavilion, boy have they cut back there not so many entries as before I think the flooding back in January has a lot to do with it too!

As the Qld Government area is a demolition site they have moved over the lower level of the cattle building near where the school band play. I had a walk around there and went to see about fire ants updated as I always looking out for these when I walk around as we are in tail end of an area for these buggers. There are still only 500 nests in Qld but if left unchecked half of Qld be covered in less than 20 years. I was given and post pack if I was to find a nest and was told to kill the ants by freezing it before sending off it too! I donít think so I just phone them I think. If itís on someone else properties just donít tell them just call the DPI and leave the telling to them.

Next stop was lunch, I had 2 Greek Chicken Souvlakia and I had a fruit drink that I bought from home. Had a little rest while eating then off to see the show bags pavilion which is in a marquee smack in the middle of side show alley resulting in rides and stalls now partly on the second oval and around this huge marquee. The old show bag pavilion area is a demolition site as the whole site is being revamped.

I didnít like that area so returned to the Woolworth Pavilion had another walk around collected some recipe leaflets and walked back to the Super food Ideas stall and bought 2 bags for $10.00 and walked out the door, I was stuffed for the day Itís only 1.30pm. Walk down to the bus stop and caught the bus back to the city which with it drop off across the road from my bus stop to go home wondering if I will catch my closest bus to home, I did by 2 minutes walked in my house at 2.20pm. Tired but saw as much as I could stand up for that day and there another day to come!

Spent only $20.00 for the day.

Boiled Fruit Cakes

Some Cake Icing Pictures


Soft Pastels

Oil Painting

Catís operation went well.

August 10th, 2011 at 09:22 pm

He is home and much better, he didnít need to have his teeth pulled but one needed a filling and every needed teeth clean. He has a sore under his tongue and this was cause the infection in his mouth. He doesnít like car rides at all, but will go into the cat carrier without to much fuss. He has to go again on Saturday morning for a post op check and see if he needs another needle, I hope not at $75.00 each. Todayís operation cost $469.00 with the visit on Saturday included.
For 14 Ĺ year old I was told his was healthy for his age.

This is post op shot him.

7th Monthly Financial Summery for 2011

August 7th, 2011 at 08:20 pm

I am a little late in putting up my monthly balance others things do get in the away at times, my cat is doing fine until his operation on next Wednesday to have his teeth removed so far its only two of them.

As I work on 28 day cycles, my dates may be out to a calendar months so here are the figures for my last period.

Itís time to start again on reviewing my monthly daily living allowance.

These are the categories for this challenge.
Items === Approx Budget===Spent
Eating out===$35.00=====$38.05
Groceries===$135.50 ==== $77.51
Clothes ====$35.00======$17.90
Gas======$25.00 ======$25.30
Pets====== $50.00=== ==$4.14
HH items===$42.50=====$44.64
Fares== ====$9.00
Entrainments= $12.00 ====$26.00
Garden =====$10.00
Gifts & Donations =$35.00===$71.50
Medical =====$15.00======$25.00
Diabetes Expenses====$50
Misc ======$9.00
Personal Allowance =$85.00 ====$138.89

Note only one amount is a no spend
Budgeted for this period $580 spent $495.17 so under budget by $84.83

No Spending days over the 28 days = 15 days in total.

Personal allowance covers confectionery, lotto, books, stamps, craft & hobby supplies.
Eating out including meals out with family and friends, we all go Dutch.

As for medical this is the extra out of pockets amounts that came up this month just on medicine. Vitamin D 250 capsules saving on these was $19.95 on the bottle I first bought.

As for my medical visits out of pocket expensive if they are related to Diabetes then I will class them as Diabetes Expenses will come under this new category. Diabetes Expenses Ė nil

A most will be one off items or once per year expenses. But I need to track these items on my small budget and pension. Each time I pay for some thing in this category I will need to cut something in other categories.

My credit cards are still paid in full each month.

My one big over spend this month was on books as one of the bookstores had a closing down sale Borders here and non- fiction books were going for 75% off so I stocked up on a few that were on my wish list to buy! Spending $100.74 for the month including 4 papers.

I had to buy a birthday gift this month a watch, now I will have to pay for it to be engraved out of next month budget.

I do keep my bill money separated from this summery. This year I will be budgeting around $650 per period month to cover all my bills. This month bills were around $177 so balance banked this month. These funds do cover all my fixed bills for the year if I can stick to this schedule as I have done for the past ten years or so. On my budget excel modelling chart I can pay the full amount this year.

As for food out, I dined out 4 times this month costing between $5 & $9 a time most were around the $9 mark as I can no longer eat at fast food outlets. That $9.00 meals at casino is still looking the healthiest and best deal in the city for now.

My grocery bill came in normal for this month and I was stockpiling a few items both food items and non-food items.

Most of my social outing are dining out this is part of my social outings money and spending allowance.
If any changes to my spending habits will need to come out of my daily living allowance categories of my budget as my bill categories are very tight now. Still need to work on a few categories as you can see but over all I had a good month.

Strategy: - Track your daily spending down to the cent by writing it down daily.

Cat Dental Problems

August 2nd, 2011 at 10:22 pm

One of my cats doesnít like being touched by anyone or picked up since he was born 14 Ĺ years ago, so itís a nightmare if he is sick to take him to the Vetís. He was sitting next to me the other night and I noticed that one of his teeth looked black around the gums and his gums were a ghostly white. It looked like an abscess to me by next morning but he is eating and drinking normally.

In the end I rang the vet clinic for appointment and got the only on left for that day so I took him to the vet. After a lot of fuss I got him into his cat carrier and screaming all the way, luck I was only going to the nearest clinic with all fuss he made but by the time we got there the abscess was gone but he had an infected mouth and two top teeth that are gotten and have to come out. He had an injection as I canít give him anything myself. The injection will last 2 weeks and cost around $75.00, he look better all ready for it. Next week he will go back to have his teeth removed and the vet will check his kidneys first with a blood test. If anything wrong then there no operation on his teeth. Not looking forward to that vet bill.

So first vet visit cost $129.40 including a Senior Card %. All up. In my budget I have $500 in a float for vet bills so will use this for now and pay any extra out of my saving on my grocery bill this month. I didnít spend any money on anything else since last Friday.

Text is Cat Dental Problems - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment and Link is
Cat Dental Problems - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment