More Green and Thrifty
Two weeks ago my lovely friend Monique flew away to visit family on the Gold Coast, and she left me a bag of groceries that would have otherwise gone off in the fridge. So this week has been a game of What Can I Do With What I Have Been Gifted? I wish I had taken a photo of the ingredients before I greedily ate them up, but we all know that forward planning and organisation is not my thing. However, I did manage to find ways to almost everything I was gifted, and I am very pleased about that. And this is how you can tell true friends - they are the ones who know it's okay to give you the last last centimetre of goat's cheese in the jar, and the last two centimetres of beet sauerkraut. Monique's parting words: I just know you will find a use for the last two millimetres of goat's cheese flavoured oil in the bottom of the jar. Well, of course I did, in fact I made it my priority.
Most of the ingredients I was gifted were vegies, and I started in on them right away. Most of the pumpkin and one sad beet went right into the oven to be roasted, along with a couple of potatoes from my friend Carla's flower farm. You need to grow potatoes on a flower farm because you cannot live on dahlias (although they are edible..). I used the goat's cheese oil to roast the veg, and some rosemary from the garden. I ate this for dinner along with a bunch of white beans I had been cooking in the crockpot.
Roast vegie bowl with white beans and Ngaio Marsh mystery audio book for dinner
Then I made a dozen little eggy muffins with eggs from Carla's chickens, and cream cheese, the last scoop of goat's cheese from the bottom of the jar, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and half a leek from Monique. Plus, I threw in some cubes of the roast pumpkin. These were very yummy and I ate a couple every day for lunch until they were gone. Then I put some soup on. The rest of the pumpkin, half a left-over sweet potato from my own stores, potatoes from Carla, old carrots from the bottom of the fridge, some cabbage Paul gave me a couple of weeks ago and a bunch of parsley and a capsicum from Monique. Also more beans from the crockpot. Doing pretty well, but not finished yet. Some apples from Monique's apple tree and some overripe pears in the fruit bowl turned into stewed fruit for my porridge, and I added three mushrooms from Monique to the lamb shank stew I made for Red. Whew. Nearly done. Lastly I dried a sprig of basil from Monique's garden to add to my home-dried basil stash.
I am feeling very fortunate that so many of my calories these last couple of weeks have come from what would in some households have been composted before catching a flight out of town. Here's to friends who hate food waste as much as I do, and who know that I will value every scrap:)
Sadly, Mon brought covid back home with her, a gift from her daughter, because it's nearly Mother's Day, right? So I made her Nourishing Soup with a lot of hearty veg and lentils.
In further thrifty news I have been working my way through the mending basket. I have four, count them, four baskets of mending ranged around my loungeroom on top of cupboards. I have accumulated all these over the years, because I hate throwing anything out, but not quite got to the actual mending bit.. When The Girl came back to visit at Christmas she helped me to rescue about five shirts, but then the momentum left me, until this week when I took a deep breath and pulled down the first basket. It is quite a large basket. I have made one pile of sewing that requires me getting the machine out. That may happen sometime during the winter. And with the help of audio books I have been slowly making my way through the rest of the basket. I am about halfway through the hand mending. In one basket, mind you. As of now I have rescued four pairs of socks, one pair of jeans, a thermal top and one pair of yoga pants (all darning), and a tank top and a pair of undies that just needed seams sewn back up. I am so happy with myself! These are clothes that without repairs would have ended up in landfill, and I have given them a second life, and given myself a heap of clothes back. I still have three and half mending baskets to go. Think of all the clothes I will have at the end of that!
It is cold in the evenings now and I have started lighting the fire. I am using some logs I collected two years ago when I was still doing gardening work, from a client who was pruning a bunch of trees, birch, willow and oak. I stored them under the deck and now they are dry I have been sawing them into foot lengths with my little red chainsaw. I now have a couple of week's worth of logs stored in my shed. I will need a lot more, but right now I have free heat:)
And it is winter garden time. Actually, it is a bit late, as usual, but I have grown a lot of winter veg from seed and am throwing them in the ground as fast as they are ready. Snow peas, broad beans, lettuce, spinach. The kale I planted form seed got eaten up by evil cabbage moths, so I had to buy a punnet. But even so, it is pretty good value to spend three dollars for eight kale plants which will see me all through the winter, the gardening gods willing. I paid three dollars last week for a bag of baby kale which will last me for one week. It really is cheaper to grow your own.
This week has been about pumpkins. I never grow pumpkins because I think they take up too much garden space, but this year a butternut pumpkin grew out of the compost I spread on the garden in spring, and it grew up the bean trellis, all by itself, and now I am going to plant pumpkins in front of the trellis every year. It was the most beautiful pumpkin, and I saved its seeds, by scooping them out, rinsing them in a sieve and drying them on paper towel.
And then the lovely Carla presented me with a pumpkin, also from the flower farm.
And just to prove that Carla grows something other than vegetables on her flower farm, here are photos I took when I was helping with deadheading one day:
And not a pumpkin to be seen...
A couple of last things - in the Feng Shui post I promised Kate a photo of all the shiny things I hang in my window to catch the sun, and here it is:
All of these were hand-made by Red, except the angel which I bought from a craft market many years ago.
Last thing, a reader asked about home-made cleaners in the last post. Here are links to the bathroom cleaner I use, and I know I've posted my general purpose spray recipe but can't find it, so here is the Miracle Spray recipe that I use, and here are the rave reviews of it and suggestions of how to use it. Just use any washing soda, the brand is not important. I get mine from the bulk food shop. This is such a cheap and effective spray!
As always, tell me about your green and thrifty projects. Your stories give much inspiration to us all.