Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Larder

I have been stockpiling groceries for a few years.

My stockpile consists of those things which are staples in our home, and mean that we always have a spare or three of anything when in the past we were often running out. This gives me time to go to the shop and buy it -hopefully when it is cheaper than normal. In Australia our supermarkets seem to cycle through high prices and then lower prices to entice shoppers back into the store. If I can time it properly, I can, for example, buy 1 kilo bags of our favourite coffee for less than $20 each, rather than the $25 they are at the high end of the price cycle. The way I do this is to buy enough when  it is cheap to last us to the next cheaper offer.

My stockpile includes UHT milk -I use this to make yoghurt and it also saves us from a rush trip to the shop if we run out of fresh milk.

I keep the ingredients for my home made washing powder in the stockpile -borax, washing soda and lux flakes.

I always have tinned fruit and some kind of tinned vegetables, along with tinned tomatoes and tomato concentrate, anchovies and cat food.

I always have shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap in bulk supplies, along with toothpaste,  deodorant and toilet paper.

Recently I cleared several cupboards to create this Larder for the stockpile -it is in the laundry and is extra to the pantry in my kitchen.

In the last 12 months or so I have extended my stockpiling by using the facility provided to me by our RACWA membership, to shop at a bulk grocery store usually selling to catering companies and other shops. This huge warehouse is close to my home so it is easy for me to access it. Once a month I buy cartons of the things I usually use -I don't buy everything every month, but over a period of 12 months I have built quite a nice array of things we use most.

Now, I know that this bulk buying is working for us as a strategy for several reasons, because I have noticed our spending on groceries has dropped by over $50 a week.

The prices are not always as cheap as the cheapest prices in the supermarkets, for any individual item, but I am not one to travel about looking for 50c off this or that. 

The way it works is:
1. Having the basics in the house, we never have to go to the shop for ingredients to make dinner in a hurry. We also don't buy take away food -almost never in the past 12 months!

2. Shopping monthly for the basics means weekly shopping trips are just for milk, meat and fresh fruit and vegetables -this keeps me out of the stores. If I am not shopping, I am not spending-you know how hard it is to go in for 'just one thing" and to actually stick to your resolve!

3. I think the prices of the cartons -which is always cheaper than buying individual items -averages out to make the overall cost cheaper too.

I also use a local supplier of bulk dried goods who deliver by Australia Post, to buy the flour and other needs for baking that I use a lot -I am very happy with the quality and service of this company. With the right ingredients my bread has become a firm favourite at home -we pity those who must eat 'plastic bread' from a plastic wrapper instead of a firm, fresh LSA sourdough or a Russian Black bread loaf or a white rosemary scented, crisp crusted home baked loaf. 

I am really happy with my new larder and the skills I am learning about stockpiling and feeding my family better food for less. 

To read more about Five Star Frugal Living follow the link to my friend's link up party. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Simple holiday times

I have been  on holiday for weeks now! I am happy for my friends who have spent the same time in Europe, visiting friends. Good luck to them!

My holiday has been spent at home.  I like it here. The accommodation is first rate-exactly my style of thing! We are so close to the beach we can walk every day -down near the water's edge and up to the reef. Me and my DH, just holding hands and walking each morning before it gets too hot.

Then we come home to do holiday things from home.
I have lots of new books to read. One of them is this cook book- and I have been trying out the recipes! The first cake I made was the Madeira cake -and it is a stunner. All I am saying is that if you have only ever known shop bought Madeira cake, you have never actually tasted the buttery, lemony sensation that it really is!

I also am learning to make pastry and pies.

There is a great sewing room here at my holiday location (smile) and I have been sewing -of course! This is a new table runner I made. 

And we have been doing holiday activities -like this wonderful Sunday evening Jazz concert in the park, where we took a picnic and had a fabulous time. 

There is still more holiday left -but the count down has begun. I will be trying to get lots of fun out of the last week and a bit.

Oh, and this week I am linking up with :

Sunday, January 4, 2015

All the pretty things -a birthday High Tea

It sometimes seems that our community wants to make a big production out of every event. I am constantly amazed at the way that weddings, for example, have become so expensive.  

I like simple celebrations so when considering what we would do for my DD and my own birthday this year, it was obvious to me that we would keep it simple and small.  Even though my birthday was one of those which some people think of as a milestone (it has a zero at the end!) , I would hate to take a parachute jump, and I don't believe that I am entitled to an overseas trip for my birthday either.

I do love to celebrate however, and the picture shows what we were able to do just using what we had.  I suggested "High Tea" but done at home on our patio. My DD and I both have birthdays which fall between Christmas and New Year, so we invited about a dozen people to share afternoon tea with us. 

This is the table grandly laid out for our birthday High Tea last weekend.  

 We were so lucky to have a great summer day -which was not at all too hot. 

We made asparagus rolls, curried egg sandwiches, roast pork rolls, and hummus and crudites. 
There was a cheese platter with olives, and a compote with summer grapes.

There was a coconut oat slice, Nigella's Marmalade Chocolate cake and double choc biscuits which we also made. 

DD made the toblerone chocolate cheesecake.

We served Champagne, and also had Earl Grey and Ceylon tea.
Cold peppermint tea and iced coffee were available, and there was a fruit punch in  a pretty glass jug. 

I am quite a collector of pretty things, and this was a great occasion to show them off. 
I was able to use my 'inheritance' - the Country Roses tea set which was my MIL's, 
as was the silver tea service (not shown). 
The Royal Osborne forget me not tea set is from my elderly aunt.
My own collection of  Queen Anne roses tea set -(close up below)

The Flowers of the Month Royal Albert tea pot and milk jug above were found in an op shop in Fremantle. 

I decorated the patio with roses from the garden in a pewter op shop mug, and had some of my quilted table runners on the table and coffee table.

It was a lovely afternoon  and both birthday girls enjoyed it.