Green and Thrifty

There are two types of cooking: the first is when you find a nice recipe and go out and procure the ingredients for it. The second is when you pull a whole bunch of nearly dead ingredients out of the fridge, stack them on the kitchen bench, and wildly cast around for something to do with them all as they are going off before your very eyes...

Today's cooking session was of the latter variety. What I had to work with was: some limp celery and an elderly cauliflower. That became cauliflower soup. A chicken carcass became chicken noodle soup. Some left-over rice became fried rice, which is a miracle food in my book, because it is the one food Posy will always eat. Sure enough, she turned up with a buddy just as I had finished cooking it, and they ate it for lunch. I made naan bread to go with the soup, and The Girl whipped up a chocolate self-saucing pudding, so we are all set for weekend food, and the fridge is much tidier.

I have ad awful cold id the head. I have been dripping copiously into one of The Man's large hankies, and popping out to pick sage leaves from the garden every few hours. Here is my pretty green sage tea. It tastes... sage. But I think it is making my throat better.

If I were to implicitly believe my herb book, in addition to its antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties, my sage tea would be curing my: tonsillitis, bronchitis, TB, arthritis, gout and 'women's problems' (that would be all of my problems, I guess). It will also calm my heart and delay the ageing process due to its antioxidant properties. Go sage. Edited to add: Forgot to note - sage tea is a big no-no if you are pregnant, but excellent after giving birth (helps contract the uterus) and excellent for menopause, as highly estrogenic. If you are pregnant, do not drink any herbal teas unless you know they are safe for pregnancy:)

While I was out picking sage, I noticed the oregano was at peak lushness, so I picked a whole bunch of that to dry. Most herbs are better fresh, or made into herb butter and frozen, but I really like dried oregano. And I find if I pick it now, it isn't covered in white fly as it will be in a few weeks. I know, extra protein, but I am happy with today's vegan option.

You want more green and thrifty? Well, here's one The Girl prepared earlier. One of her dear friends has a birthday, and The Girl made her a hamper of mug, book, and special teas, because she is that kind of kindred spirit friend. The Girl packaged up the teas in lovely bags with home made labels, painted a beautiful card:

And gift-wrapped it in a shoe box with knotted-string-and-button detail. Mmm, perfect.

It is school holidays and very low key at the moment. Rosy has spent days lying in the hammock and reading in her pyjamas after spending the first part of the week with her friends at the beach. I am thrilled that Posy has discovered some local buddies who live on the same block, so that they can visit each other without having to cross the road. They spend so much time with each other, whizzing up and down the streets on their scooters, in and out of each others' houses. It is very relaxing for all the parents, because none of us have a bored ten year old girl under our feet. Mostly I only know they are here because I look out the back door and see legs dangling down out of the pear tree. And there is the shrieking of course. But generally it is muffled. Anyway, mostly it is all very calm and cruisy, and they are painting, playing board games, scooting and constructing complicated pulley arrangements with rope and baskets in the tree.

Happy Spring Days! Tell me about your thrifty projects this week..


Jo said…
Dear lovely friends with word press blogs - I can't comment on any of your sites! What is going on? I have been trying for a week or so, and it Just Doesn't Work. Does anyone else have this problem?
Anonymous said…
Jo, I think Wordpress and Blogger sometimes have a d├ętente and sometimes are all like Howard - we will decide who comments and the manner in which they comment. Sometimes I can't post comments on Blogger blogs. In fact yours has been the only one that lets me edit my comments and then keep writing. Others make me enter my wordpress name for each edit. I think Blogger knows you are all warm and friendly and supportive so it allows Wordpressers more flexibility.

Glad your hols have been restful and "smell the roses" or sage kind of holiday. If at least metaphorically.

Frugality here is necessitated by all our travels. And not wanting to go shopping. So tonight was limp mushrooms fired with half a capsicum and an onion, toss in a tin of chopped tommies and a jar of my favourite stir through pasta sauce. I always have this sauce in the pantry for such nights and it extends the sauce and makes it less salty with all the other fresh ingredients. Serve on pasta. And used up last of grated cheese. Fridge nearly cleared out and vegie crisper now washed.
Anonymous said…
I love it when limp veggies and accusatory leftovers make their way to the kitchen bench (for the second time) and gustatory magic happens. Most of the time our leftovers end up tasting better the second time around than the first. Sage sounds like the purest green fountain of youth. Might be time to replant some in the garden methinks. I remember my grandmother making us gargle with dried powdered sage made into a tea whenever we had sore throats, so there must be something in it. What an amazing gift and what a talented painter. Gorgeous butterfly detail there Ms Jo. Please pass on my admiration :).
We recycled fence palings that were on our existing fence around the house and used them on the front of our new, much bigger, fence. We took a monumentally huge rhubarb root from a friend and turned it into a slightly less monumentally huge rhubarb root and buried it in Sanctuary in its new forever home. Most of the rest of the root made it into the compost pile so it may grow more and if not, it will lend its nutrients to prospective future plants. I found little quince seedlings in among the compost scraps in the compost heap and am just about to pot them up to give away. Quince trees are amazingly hardy and will grow just about anywhere with very little water so they make excellent trees for dry properties.
I am going to pot up seeds for our summer veggie garden today. I haven't started seedlings from seed before this. I usually just buy them in punnets but this year I am actually on my game so why not give it a try? Growing them from seed means the seedlings actually cost a whole lot less and you can grow as many as you like and succession plant them. That gives me a chance to plant out some weird and wonderful things that I might not otherwise get a chance to try. I am going to plant peanuts this year along with tepary beans, an incredibly drought tolerant variety that I have been meaning to try and San Marzano tomatoes. I love the possibilities of growing from seed because that way you get what you want and don't have to limit yourself to what Bunnings has on it's display. Most green stuff on Serendipity Farm is going on in the garden except for my hands...they are black ;). I hope you get over that cold soon. What a pain to have it for the holidays.
I have had the same problem with Wordpress blogs for months - I spend ages composing thoughtful comments and then they disappear into the ether...when you work out how to overcome it let me know. In my extreme non-techy way the timing coincided with when I implemented the parental controls on my computer. Now I can't remember how I did that and whether it would be a bad parent thing to undo the controls just so's I can comment on blogs. Plenty of thrifty things this week - the best being the purchase of an easiyo yogurt maker in a charity shop for £2. I'm disproportionately excited at being able to continue my yogurt making adventures. Also on the green and thrifty front - can you remember the recipe for your Gumption concoction? The link to the website from your blog no longer works and I can't quite remember how I made it before - was it just lots of bicarb and a bit of washing up liquid and water or was there another magic ingredient I have forgotten?
CJ said…
I had no idea about the anti-ageing properties of sage, I shall eat some immediately. Your daughter sounds like the very best friend a girl could have. CJ xx
Jo said…
Lucinda, I will have to do some research on that. It is driving me a bit nuts. I have things to say that the world needs to hear!!
I'm liking your pasta sauce hack, very cunning. If I need a quick pasta sauce I do jar of tomato passata, oregano (dried!), onion, garlic (both sauteed), with grated cheese mixed in. Basic, but my family is used to basic! But I do like the idea of adding the limp fridge veg.
Fran, you are amazingly busy and productive as always. I have given up buying seedlings in the last couple of years too. I always plant seeds straight into the vegie garden, as I fatally neglect any seedlings I pot up. There is a VERY local seed company based at Legana Inspirations nursery. They develop their seeds in conjunction with Steve Solomon, and because they are bred to local conditions, I have never had a failure.
I have baby sage seedlings popping up in the garden if you want one:)
Sara, isn't it infuriating? Technology just kills me. And I don't even have parental controls on my computer (being a bad mother! My parental control consists of making Posy use my laptop at the dining table), so that is clearly not the problem in this case. Aaargh!
Well done on the yoghurt maker. One day I will add that to my list of things to try on a rainy day.
And yes, I actually fixed that broken link the other day, also updated the post with my preferred recipe:

I still make it up every few weeks, brilliant on the grout.
CJ, we shall be 21 again in no time:)
Jo said…
Ok, little bit of research - it may be that my comments are being sent to spam on word press blogs. So, possible solution, if I comment frequently on your word press blog, Fran, Jessie, Lucinda I am looking at you, and possibly others, I'll check later, if you would like to hear from me (and this is a perfect opportunity to get rid of me!) see if you can fish my recent comments out of the spam folder. Apparently you might have to do this a few times, and then word press will realise that I am not spam. Maybe.
I remember this happening a few times with word press bloggers on my site. I was forever fishing Fran's comments out of the spam folder when she started commenting:) But eventually blogger got the idea.
If my comments aren't in your spam folder we will have to go to Plan B. Which I haven't thought of yet. Maybe post cards?
Linda said…
Decided to make soup for lunch yesterday using a parsnip and three large carrots that had been in the fridge for a week. Along with an onion, garlic, a few chilli flakes and some split red lentils (which have been hanging around for ever!). Blitzed with my stick blender the soup was creamy and delicious.
Jo said…
Ooh, yum Linda. I really don't think you can go wrong with soup, you can throw anything in providing you season it well.Yours sounds divine:)
Jo said…
Hooray, Lucinda found my comments and released them from Word press prison, so now I can comment on her blog again. This is clearly a word press plot.
I must say I do appreciate enormously Lucinda's comment above, comparing word press to John Howard. Perfect! (Australian in-joke regarding right-wing, former Australian prime minister)
Anonymous said…
Oh goody, I didn't know about sage tea. I feel guilty neglecting it in the garden! I make tea from lemon verbena leaves and it smells fab. Took some to my local food swap (the leaves) and people snapped it up. Tastes like most herbal teas though, like dishwater (apart from T2 brand's liquorice, fennel and peppermint, just divine!) As for thifty behaviour, it is pretty normal around here, lots of vege seed planting, homemade lunches and dinners, and the kids have started selling some of their excess books and toys on ebay with great results.
GretchenJoanna said…
If you had not specifically mentioned your limp celery, I'm afraid mine would have gone from limp to limper, to the (blush) trash, but now I can think straight and make it into soup tomorrow, or at least the first stage of one of my favorites, Cream of Celery Soup. Because we're coming into cool weather here!

When I had a Blogger blog, I remember that I could set my commenting policy myself. On WordPress no one ever asked me how I wanted to field comments, and I don't know what it's like for people. I just remember that when I was trying to comment from Blogger to WordPress, I had to have a simple free WP account and sign in every time I wanted to comment.
Now that I'm coming from WP, I am amazed at how many different entries/gates/rules there are when I want to comment on a Blogger blog. Some of them force me to use a Google account identity, which will link people to my abandoned blog, but most of them have more options.
Yours, for example, does not have a choice of "WordPress" for my identity, which would be my preference, but at least I can put in my Name/URL. I've heard from other WP users that OpenID and WordPress are at odds and indeed that option never works for me.

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