Why I have a Second Fridge & Freezer.

The best investment I ever made was buying a second hand chest freezer and a fridge. I bought the freezer 15 years ago for $50 and it’s still going strong. The fridge I’ve had for 5 and cost the same. I store the freezer in the garage and the fridge is on the alfresco close to the kitchen. It’s come in handy so many times. I recommend them to everyone. I have big fridge/freezer combo in my kitchen that has all the day to day things in it. The other are primarily for storage. And this is why:

This is my Aldi shop.

IMG_0459I don’t do one every week as they don’t have everything. I don’t like bulk shopping their fresh produce because the tellers like to throw it and bruise it.

Not including the toilet paper (for the main bathroom the kids use) and the vinegar (for cleaning) the food total was $269.37

The cheese alone was $69.90 as I bought 10kg. Why?? This is Bega cheese. If you buy the original it’s about $11-12 but at Aldi it’s $6.99. Which in the long run is about $50 saving on cheese alone. And it has a long date, like months, so it stores well in the fridge if you have the room. Which I do because I have two.

The butter I buy in bulk too. It’s certified organic and in the 2 major chains you can pay up to $7 for 250g. At Aldi… $3.29. So I save $74.20 buying at Aldi and I’m helping the organic farmers. We have a local organic farm here who I know supplies his milk to the major chains. So it’s win/win.

The plain rice crackers are made by Sakata and are only .89c. You will pay double that for the original packaging. I will only buy Sakata or Aldi plain rice crackers as they are the only brand that don’t have MSG in the ingredients. Just rice, oil and salt.

My kids love the muesli clusters. Although full of sugar they are great to have with yoghurt and fresh berries for a snack. I have not seen anything remotely similar anywhere else.

We are a bit fussy with yoghurt and over the last couple of weeks have tried a few of the cheaper alternatives. I only buy plain yogurt and normally we will buy Jalna the biodynamic version which is $5.95. My daughter really liked this one and it’s only .45c cheaper but buying in bulk with some long dates (May 25th) I know it will last awhile making it worthwhile.

There is nothing better than REAL maple syrup and Aldi are the cheapest with Coles coming in a close second. It’s only $5.69 a bottle and as it stores on the shelf, it will last so long. We haven’t been eating it a lot lately, normally I would buy about 6.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made buy Cobram Estate. It’s always a flat rate of $19.99 in Aldi. The major supermarkets have it on special from time to time but normally it’s about $30.

The Rice Bubbles and Corn Flakes I bought to compare the ingredients and price. The Rice Bubbles on a whole have about the same amount of sugar as the Kellogg’s brand but they use glucose syrup and Kellogg’s don’t. Just sugar. When it’s less processed then it gets more of my vote. So we won’t be doing them again. The cornflakes faired a lot better. $2.49 for 750g. Need to check the price of Kellogg’s.

We have been making our own bread lately so .75c for a 1kg packet of flour will give me 2, 900g loaves. Bargain.

The drumsticks we are going to make our own KFC but I just remembered I forgot to get buttermilk, so I’ll do them later on.

$3.00/kg for red capsicum. Bargain. Paid $7.50 in Woolies the other day, dang it.
$6.00/kg for mushrooms. Major chains are $10-12.

Potted Herbs were $3 compared to $4 in Woolies and they were looking better too. The other Veggies were about the same. I just got them to make dinner with this week.

And the tea is organic. I don’t know why but I can’t get organic tea in bags. I use the tea primarily for kombucha but I do like feeling like a bit of a snob when people ask for tea and it has the organic label on it. 🙂

I now have $55 left of my budget of $500 for the fortnight. And there is still a week to go. Yikes!

*at time of publishing it turns out that the rice bubbles and corn flakes were cheaper than Kellogg’s.

Toilet Cleaner

I know its a bit weird going from food to cleaning products but thats how my brain works. It’s a mess most of the time with ideas and thoughts running everywhere. Anyway I digress.

I’m not making my own toilet cleaner here because I think most people know you can clean a toilet with Bi-carb and vinegar if you want to. In fact thats what I was doing for years. That is until I thought it high time that my children started to help me. There is nothing worse as a child than having to clean the toilet. And if your hands have to get down and dirty with it as well it can be very off putting. So long story short, I thought I would make this as less traumatic as possible for my children.

The idea is simple really. I bought the most environmentally as possible toilet cleaner on the market. Well at the supermarket anyway. I went with Earth Choice. I also like that I can take the lid off and re-fill it, and it’s in clear plastic.

I get an empty toilet cleaner bottle. (or you could just tip out the contents into another glass or plastic receptacle, make sure you label it though) Fill it about 10%. This is about an inch high for this bottle.

Then I add  ¼ teaspoon of  Xanthan Gum. This is optional. It just means you don’t need to shake every time you use it.* And for little helpers (and not so little helpers) forgetting is something they seem prone to. I then add some water. Just regular tap water is fine. About half way. This gives you room to shake.

You need to shake it a lot to make the Xanthan Gum dissolve and distribute through the mixture. I leave the bottle on top of the washing machine. Every time I put a load on or get it out I give it a good shake. Once the Xanthan Gum has dissolved you fill it to the top with more water. Give another good shake and you are done.

Now the kids can help without getting all icky. And it does’t matter if they use too much because it’s thinned out. My kids get in an clean the toilet every day. They have their own bathroom they are responsible for. And this has helped keep costs down. If you have a problem with scents this helps as well because it’s not as potent. And you still get a frothy bowl when you first use it.

*The water will sit on the top of the toilet cleaner if you don’t add Xanthan Gum, so if you don’t shake all the time while using it, you will squirt your toilet with good olé water.

Chicken Broth (Stock)

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Drink it as is…

The first thing I want to Blog about is chicken broth or stock. I love this stuff. Its FULL of minerals that the human body is able to absorb. And lets face it, we are not getting a lot of them these days. Chicken broth is great on its own or you can use it for soups or stews or anything else that calls for it. We consume most of it as it is, straight from the pot.

I first came across homemade stock about 9 years ago when I read a great book, “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”. This book changed my life in a lot of ways regarding the food I was consuming and feeding my children. I never actually made my own broth back then. It wasn’t until I came across Sean Croxton on YouTube and started listening to his Real Food Summit that I wanted to try it. From there I got acquainted with Diane Sanfilippo and her book Practical Paleo. I use her recipe to make my bone broth. You can find the recipe here.

So what do I do???

When we eat chicken, whether it be a whole chook from the charcoal chicken place, KFC, or we have bought some drumsticks or whatever from the supermarket, I keep the bones, gristle, and any skin or fat the kids don’t want to eat. I put them in a ziplock bag and place them in the freezer. I keep adding until I get 2kg of bones. (a medium 22x25cm bag will hold about 2kg) Once I get the 2kg of bones I follow Diane’s recipe and double the quantity.

Here are the ingredients in Australian measurements:

  • 8ltr filtered water (I just fill my 10ltr pot)
  • 2kg chicken bones
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp salt
  • cloves from 2 heads of garlic peeled

I place all the ingredients into a 10ltr pot. (if you only have a 5ltr pot just halve the recipe) I put it on low for 24hrs. When the bones are frozen they can make the pot too cool so I will add only enough water to heat them up and defrost and then add the rest of the water. You could also put it in a slow cooker if you wanted.

And thats it. After I’ve let it cook for 24hrs I strain the broth into large Pyrex bowls and then put it into containers to freeze. Sometimes I’ll strain it twice once through the sieve the second time through muslin cloth. Then, once the bones are cooled, I take out the larger ones that haven’t started to disintegrate too much, and bag them into a ziplock bag. These I’ll use next time as there are still plenty of minerals left in the bones. Sometimes I have 1kg of used bones then I only need 1kg of new bones to make it nice and tasty.

You can use other bones from other cuts of meat but it tastes a bit different to just using chicken. All are good for you. The more different types you use the more of the different minerals you will get.

If you need some feel free to stop on by. I made it 3 days in a row last week. We have plenty for a while. 🙂

For a printer friendly version click here: Chicken Broth (Stock)

About Me.

Wow! Here I am writing a Blog. Just for the record, I read Blogs. Well, no, I skim them, for the bits I need.

I love to be outside the box, but I am also a realist and know that isn’t always possible. My dream is to live fully off grid but I know that is not possible for me right now, so I do what I can with what I’ve got. I love alternative thinking though at the same time I love the original traditional thinking from long ago.

I have 4 children and parent them solo. We all have issues with chemicals and additives so looking for natural alternatives has been a continuing trend for us. We have gone a bit backwards in our ways and I’m determined to get us back on track.

So this Blog is about us and what we do day to day. Happy Reading. 😀