Green and Thrifty

First of the wonderful spring roses. Mme Alfred Carriere, Handel, Abraham Darby.

What has happened this week on the green and thrifty front?

Well, Rosy went on a school camp for the week, and I spent two days emptying out her highly cluttered and untidy small bedroom (no, really, it's small, about six feet by ten feet, with a big chimney breast in the middle of the wall. Standing room only, and a bed). How is this green and thrifty? Well, every week Rosy tells me that she needs more t-shirts/bobby pins/bun pins/ballet tights/hairbands etc, and who would know because her room is a continuous jumble sale-collection of clothes and half-finished craft projects and tiny treasures and an extreme stationery collection. I weeded out all her too-small clothes, so now she can see what clothes she owns. And yes, she does need a couple of t-shirts, but also now Posy has a whole new wardrobe for two year's time. But actually, under all the debris I found about a hundred hair ribbons and hair bands, and about twenty thousand bobby pins. They are now in a big pot, and I will never need to buy any ever again... also, now a lovely clean, blank canvas to decorate for her Christmas present, goody, goody. Must get on to present making now..

A couple of weeks ago I bought a carton of capsicum seconds for $10. Roasted most of them in the oven, and preserved them, now five jars of lovely marinated pepper strips in the cupboard, and one in the fridge that didn't seal properly. I have never made these before, and I'm so happy. Last year I froze capsicum strips  and stored them in zip lock bags, but this year, jars in the cupboard, no plastic!

There were a couple of squishy capsicums left over, so I invented a deliciously yummy piri piri sauce. Actually, I didn't, I used a Jamie Oliver recipe, left out the raw onion, and added the raw capsicum instead.
Pop some chopped chilli, zest and juice of one lemon, two cloves garlic, one tablespoon apple cider or white wine vinegar, a glug of olive oil, a glug of Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoon paprika, and two slightly squishy capsicums in the blender. This is such a lovely sauce with eggs, meat, or on salad. Tastes even better after a couple of days.

I dug out the eco-bokashi bins from under the house. I bought them a couple of years ago when I thought I could save the earth by buying lots of green products. I don't know that I would go out and buy them now, however, now I have them, I will give them a go to 'process' my meat and fat scraps and other food scraps. They don't compost so much as pickle between layers of fermented wheat bran, and then you dig it into the garden. I have two big bags of official bokashi mix in the cupboard. When I have used it up, I am wondering if hops used for home-brewing would work? I will have to hang around some home brewers..

Fran sent me a dozen eggs from her lovely chookies. Her lovely chookies eat all her favourite plants, so really, we are now eating Fran's favourite plants. Sorry about your plants Fran, but those eggs are amazing. We celebrated them by using up the very last of last summer's PYO blueberries in muffins that turned the most wonderful shade of sunshine yellow when we put the eggs in. I left a bag of lemons on the verandah for Steve to take home to Fran. There was a note: STEVE, THESE LEMONS ARE FOR YOU! Steve put down the eggs two feet from the lemons, but 'didn't see them'... Never mind Fran. Next time... 

Fran wants me to collect empty wine bottles for her to use for a crafty garden project. While immensely willing to help, not sure if that can be classed as a thrifty project..

This week I turned off all the heating, hopefully for good this season. I know readers anywhere north who are already experiencing bushfires will find it hard to believe, but this is the first week this spring that we have been able to break out the t-shirts (in the middle of the day. Jumpers and ugg boots at night and early morning still. Flannelette sheets still firmly on beds..).

Today I picked up a wonderful collection of books that were on hold for me at the library. I realised I was underutilising the library by going in to hunt for the same favourite authors over and over again. Disappointingly, Agatha Christie hasn't written anything new in a while, and I have a bad track record with just pulling books off the shelves. I have taken to reading blogs with the library catalogue window open, and ordering books that my trusted bloggy friends recommend. Reviews to follow.

In the spirit of Using What I Have I finally cooked some quinoa that has been in the pantry for about two years. I bought it from my favourite wholefoods shop because it was local and organic, and I loved the idea that a little farm in Tasmania was growing an ancient South American grain. But I didn't want to actually EAT it. I kept glaring at it and thinking, I don't want to eat you, you hipster vegan health food you, I'm sure you taste horrid. But I couldn't throw it out, that is WASTE. I am clearly not an early adopter. Think I mentioned that already somewhere.

So today was the day, or yesterday actually, because I soaked some for twenty four hours before I cooked it. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but then I saw a photo in a magazine of a salad with pear slices and wild rocket (arugula) and walnuts with a blue cheese dressing, and I thought, yes, I will do that and add quinoa. So I made up how much water to add, and how long to cook it, and then I went and read my important emails, then I smelt burning... aaargh, turns out if you soak quinoa you don't have to cook it very long. But I scraped off the top layer which was fine, and look:

Oh, my goodness, most divine lunch ever. No blue cheese, but French dressing just perfect. So now I LOVE quinoa, and will bore everyone silly about it, just like everyone has been doing to me for years.

What else can I use up? Oh, yes, found some packets of prunes. Quinoa porridge with prunes?

In the garden this week: lemons, lettuce, rocket, parsley, oregano, sage, warrigal greens, spinach, a handful of snowpeas, the only we are likely to get from our unenthusiastic snowpea vines. And artichokes, but I haven't eaten any... yet...

Tell me about your green and thrifty projects this week.. 


Tanya Murray said…
Oh so much of this post resonates with me; tidying girls bedrooms and finding a mountain of hair accessories, 2yr old quinoa in the cupboard, red capsicum. I really want you to tell the group about your eco-bokashi bin next month. We missed you this week. Love T
Anonymous said…
I am SO envious of you for your roses :(. I adore them. I had Pierre de Ronsard and several gorgeous headily scented David Austin’s to plant out. I was going to have arbours and arches bedecked with gorgeousness but then I met the possums. Possums adore roses. They adore them with their teeth. I gave my poor stripped roses away. I waved goodbye to them with tears in my eye and a hanky at the ready...narf7 can't have roses. I CAN help you with a recipe for how to make homemade bokashi compost (the inoculant included) though thanks to good old Pinterest...

If you type "bokashi" into Pinterest you can find some really interesting things. I had pinned this post a while ago as I couldn't afford the system but found how to make your own buckets and the mix on websites. There are some amazing resources out there; you just have to find them :)

As a vegan I feel like a bit of a failure when it comes to quinoa. I have had the same bag (maybe related to yours as I got it from David ;) ) sitting in the freezer for years. I read that it contains something that binds the protein and you have to wash...WASH! Rinsing...soaking... another routine...forgedaboudit! Apparently it is amazingly easy to grow and same goes for chia and amaranth so I am going to erect a small enclosure to the liberation of South American grains on Serendipity Farm and let them go wild, away from the marauding mob that would gladly scoff them as tender tiny shoots. I have been warned by many that they go feral but like Jerusalem artichokes...I have 4 acres folks! Feral food? I am all for it! Much better than thistles and bone seed methinks! So it's tasty? I can liberate the bag (and its twin that I bought about a year ago...) from the freezer and give it a go?

Prunes...prunes and almond meal and port and walnuts all baked up into tiny little friand or a large dense moist scrumptious cake. I wonder if cooked quinoa would have a similar effect to ground almonds in cakes? Might have to give it a go. Please stop teasing me about artichokes... "Je t'aime le artichaut". Steve promises to give more than a cursory "Man look" next fortnight when he drops off your eggs in case there are lemons (or artichokes ;) ) awaiting pickup. What with our heavily camouflaged HUGE fully enclosed veggie garden that will soon be full to the brim of verdant greenery and that will look incredibly suspicious to the drug spotting planes that regularly fly overhead...are you SURE you still want these surreptitious, furtive egg and lemon interactions with the Sidmouth 2? ;)
Oh, I have some two-year-old quinoa, too! Will we ever eat it? Well, no one in the family but me will, so that question needs to be rephrased: Will I ever eat it? How long does quinoa last? Is it compostable?

I'm getting organized for Christmas, which is green and thifty in the same way finding all of Rosy's bobbie pins is. I won't buy extras of things I know for sure I already have. I probably won't anyway. I'm going to try not to ...

Linda said…
The unlikely journey of Harold Fry by Sarah Joyce. This is a book you MUST get from your library. Great read. My husband and I had a great afternoon a couple of weeks ago when the author did a question and answer type interview at Warwick Words Festival. She is lovely, talented and an ex Actress of RSC fame ( THE theatre in Stratford- upon - Avon). John and I literally couldn't put it down. Ditto the majority of the friends we have lent it to. Just made loads of tomato chutney in glass jars! Picked green cherry tomatoes from plants donated by our son-in-law. Left them in a plastic ice cream tub in our laundry and they eventually turned red. Lots of work skinning them and added windfalls from an old apple tree in our garden. So, thrifty and green? Used a recipe from a neighbour who uses her 91 year old Mum's recipe.
Anonymous said…
Blog post to come from me about this weeks thriftiness. ;)
Quinoa is awesome! Think rice, think quinoa. You HAVE to rinse or soak it due to the saponin (natural soap) that's in it as it makes it taste awful if you don't. And yeah, easy to grow from what I've heard so that's my rice replacement for when the world goes to (even more) hell in a handbasket. ;)
I looked everywhere for your email address the other day too Jo (you sent me one about homeschooling a while back) but do you think I can find it anywhere? Can you email me please? It's all good and there will be no cyber stalking I promise. :)
Unknown said…
Woo Hoo, i have a 4 day weekend coming up and a planned visit from A certain Hippy. 4 days of cleanup and decluttering. It feels like im moving stuff from one room to store in another and its not actually leaving the house.
Unknown said…
Oh Sorry, that photo of your roses is simply beautiful. Like a Hallmark Card for Mother's Day. Now there is a thrifty idea!!!
Jo said…
Tanya, I so missed the Living Better group on Thursday, and I would love to tell you about my compost, and hopefully I will have a go at Fran's amazing home-made bokashi - thanks Fran. So sad about the roses. Hope you find room for them inside your vegie enclosure, and thanks for the heads up, I will deny all knowledge if you are arrested!
Frances, the taste and texture of quinoa was a revelation! Nutty and a bit chewy. Yum, yum! And speaking from personal experience, it lasts well for at least two years in the cupboard!
Thanks for the book recommendation Linda, it's on the list! Well done on the tomato chutney - I use my mother-in-law's recipe, which came from her mother - who knows how long it's been in the family! I also ripen my green tomatoes in the laundry.
Jessie, looking forward to the post. I emailed you (I hope) from the details on your website. Something I keep meaning to do is to set up a contact 'thingy' here, with an email account that doesn't feature my full name. Not that I mind with any of you lovelies of course, but I do want my family to remain a bit anonymous on the web..
Anonymous said…
What a gorgeous rosé! We had an old man who has a garden full of roses and dahlias across the road. His whole back yard is full and he has no fence. The flowers grow down to the street. Because his is a corner block, his back yard is diagonally across from my front yard and I can stand outside and admire his roses. Unfortunately he died and his sons are subdividing the property and putting up a house on the roses. So sad! If only I was a gardening type, I would take cuttings or dig them up.

I love this line: " I kept glaring at it and thinking, I don't want to eat you, you hipster vegan health food you." Don't you just hate it when you really don't want to jump on a bandwagon becuase it seems just to be a fashionalbe trend but then you discover it is actually really good, and then you are a late bandwagon jumper?

Sorry, no green and frugal here this week. I bought lots of lollies for all the visiting kidlets on Halloween and the lollies all come in plastic bags. But on the up side, we've had very little food waste, eating all our leftovers. And, unlike Tassie, no heating needed here. And does it count as green that I can't get one of my boys to shower or wash his clothes and sheets as much as I would like - think of all the water saved!?

Bek said…
Those roses are gorgeous! Glad you have joined the quinoa bandwagon. Also, leftover quinoa makes a great patty with eggs and whatever veg you have on hand. My cupboard stalwart is bulghur; I like having it in the cupboard and I keep meaning to soak it for salads (not like I don't have enough parsley...) but I just never seem to get around to it.
The only green project I'm working on this weekend is to convert my nature strip from a mass of overgrown weeks pretending to be lawn, and coverint it with newspaper and mulch and making more garden beds to fill with flowers and veg. Especially all the extra seedlings I seem to end up with but just can't waste.
Jo said…
Lynda, enjoy your weekend with The Hippy! I hear you on moving stuff around. Posy discovered the pile of bits and pieces Rosy was getting rid of from her room, and snaffled them all! I will have to wait for her to go back to school before I surreptitiously move it out of the house..
Lucinda, how wonderful that you have such an environmentally responsible son. I have one too :)
Bek, verge planting, so brilliant! Want to see photos of that. We have a footpath, no verge sadly.
I wonder if you could do tabbouleh with quinoa? I also have all the parsley..
Linda said…
Re my previous post! The book title is actually " The Amazing Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' and the author is Rachel Joyce! I had had a long and busy day when I wrote the previous comment!
Jo said…
Ha, Linda, I just typed in Harold Fry to the library website, so never noticed the discrepancy! It looks like a gorgeous plot, very Bilbo Baggins-ish, leaving the house on a grand adventure without coat or pocket handkerchief! Will hopefully be able to collect it soon..
Tammy said…
What an incredibly thrifty week you had!

I'm sure you daughter was surprised to see how much stuff she had. It must have been like Christmas come early, as there must have been things in her room she forgot she had.

I love quinoa, and I'm not a hippy. I think it is wonderful that it is being grown in Tasmania. I hope you continue to enjoy your new-to-you discovery ... and that your family enjoys it as well.

I am a firm believer in borrowing from the library. Like you I use book reviews to find new reads. I've also discovered the joy of using book award nominees. I normally love the Man Booker prize contestants, so those go on the list. Also, my library now shows the New York Times best sellers on its site and makes it easy to add those to the queue.
Jen's Busy Days said…

Please don't let those roses go. We have moved some that were buried under bushes in this rental to just inside the front fence and they are going well. If they have good roots they will survive it seems. Maybe suggest to the owners that they contact a local gardening group to remove them rather than destroy them if you can't take them. Oh, it would be so sad to see roses just tossed aside as waste!

Jo, on the green/thrifty front we have been picking cherry tomatoes by the icecream container full. They are wonderful popped whole in your mouth just before a Salada with cheese or cabanossi.

I am getting inspired to see how I can reduce my non-biodegradable rubbish. My chooks get fed anything they can handle. By the way bantams don't scratch a whole lot (at least mine don't) so maybe you could have some little fluffy things to watch and get super cute little eggs from. They are a bit like small babies, you can enjoy them all day long and not even realise that time has flown.

Best wishes
Jen in NSW
jo i had my heater going yesterday. miserably cold unpredictable tassie spring weather!!!
i cook my quinoa in my rice cooker. that single act changed my life :-) no more gluggy quinoa, fluffy lovely stuff! i can't wait to make a kind of tabbouli with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers when dad'd summer crops are producing (no storebought tomatoes for me).
and i have a rose very similar to your big fat pink one, mine is pierre de ronsard. just heavenly, very old fashioned.

oh, and prunes? may i suggest?...
Jo said…
Tammy, I love your ideas for finding good books!
Jen, am quite jealous that you have tomatoes already. I am about to plant ours! I love it when you get a crop that the children actually want to eat all day!
e, I have friends who went to Hobart this weekend, who were quite disgusted that they'd missed our beautiful weather here in the north!
I have Pierre de Ronsard as well, they will be out tomorrow I am predicting. Love them!
Oh, and please, boozy prunes WITH chocolate. Who could say no? Although once I add booze and prunes, may not be so thrifty?
Jen's Busy Days said…
Jo, at least your weather is constant. Mine has gone from 35deg on the weekend to 21 today and then a creep back up to 34 by Thursday. I am not sure if it is winter or summer.
Jo said…
Jen, I will not complain about Tasmania's weather. I'd much rather be slightly chilly than boiling hot!

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