30 August 2018

A Homemade Remedy to Ease a Cough and a Sore Throat

AJ came home last night with a nasty cough and a sore throat.

Straight away I went to the cupboard and took the jar of Manuka honey, and gave him a big teaspoonful to suck. He whinged - it doesn't taste nice - but it works so being the mean mother I am, even though he's an adult, I stood next to him to make sure it all went down.

The relief to his sore throat was almost instant, and his cough eased a little, but still niggled.

Then I remembered this recipe for homemade cough drops I found on Frugal Farm Wife, and went straight to the kitchen to make a batch.

Because they're no-cook, and they use ingredients I always have on hand, it was quick and easy. We were blessed with four jars of coconut oil a couple of weeks ago so they didn't cost much to make either.

Instead of raw honey, I used Manuka honey, and the peppermint oil was a doTERRA oil (Hannah is a doTERRA consultant). Coconut oil and honey are both antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral - perfect for treating winter bugs. And they're safe to use as often as necessary, with no nasty side effects.

Before I went to bed AJ suffered another teaspoonful of Manuka, and I sat a dish of cough drops next to his bed for him.

They worked! I was expecting him to stay home today, he really was that unwell last night, but this morning his sore throat was gone and the cough was barely there.

He swallowed another spoonful of Manuka honey and packed a container of cough drops before he left for work, happy as larry and feeling fine.

MOO Peppermint Cough Drops

These MOO cough drops ease coughs and sore throats quickly and effectivley.


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup Manuka honey (or raw honey)
  • 2 - 3 drops pure peppermint essential oil


  1. Stir the honey and peppermint oil into the coconut oil. Don't be tempted to melt the coconut oil, the honey will sink to the bottom and it won't blend.
  2. Press into a small, baking paper lined dish, or use a silicone cake pan.
  3. Mark into 1cm squares with a knife and refrigerate until firm.
  4. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container.
  5. Have one - two every 20 - 30 minutes to ease coughing. 

29 August 2018

Making Meals Cheaper - One Pan Dinners

French Shepherd's Pie
When time is poor and the budget is tight, my go to dinners are simple one-pan meals. I love them.

Almost a whole meal is done in one pan - only one pan to wash! That really makes me smile. Only one burner on the stove = less gas used, a slightly cheaper bill and that make me smile too. Or just the slow cooker or pressure cooker is used - both of them pretty much set and forget cooking and I smile when I use these "handmaidens" because they free me up to do other things.

But what I really like about one pan dinners is that they make meals cheaper.

One pan dinners often use very little meat. Think Tuna Surprise is another budget winner, coming in at around 60 cents per serve (depending on which tuna you buy and whether you MOO the cream of chicken soup or buy a tin). It's simply a tin of tuna, a tin of cream of chicken soup (or the equivalent of MOO Cream of Chicken Soup), 3 cups of cooked rice or macaroni and then whatever leftover or sad veggies you have. I often add frozen peas and corn, grated carrot, diced onion, sliced celery, shredded silverbeet or spinach, and grated zucchini depending on what is lurking in the fridge or freezer. To keep the cost down, instead of grated cheese, the top is sprinkled with MOO breadcrumbs that have been mixed in a little melted butter. This is delicious with salad, hot or cold and it freezes and thaws well.

Tonight we're having French Shepherd's Pie for dinner. Yes, I've rearranged the meal plan yet again - it's not set in concrete. After a club dinner at the weekend we were gifted the leftover roast lamb, roast beef and roast chicken, as well as peas, corn, carrots and a big tub of gravy. There was enough for at least five meals for us, and that's an enormous blessing.

It was all immediately packaged into meal portions and put into the freezer, but when Hannah realised there was some lamb, she requested French Shepherd's Pie.

French Shepherd's Pie uses as little as 200g of leftover roast meat, some mashed potato and a few herbs and can easily feed six people for under $3 - that's just 50 cents a serve and a definite budget winner. And tonight's dinner will cost under $2, with leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

I love one pan dinners, especially when they're almost free. Even when they're not, they save so much time and energy I try to have at least one on the meal plan each week.

Yield: 6

French Shepherd's Pie

This dish uses the scraps of lamb left from a roast. You don't need a lot of meat to make a hearty dinner, full of flavour, that everyone will love.


  • Leftover roast lamb or beef, about 200g OR
    200g mince
  • 1 large onion, grated
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and boiled
  • 1 beaten egg
  • Olive oil for frying


  1. Oil a lasagne dish well. Cut lamb or beef into 1cm cubes or brown and drain mince. 
  2. In a large fry pan heat a little olive oil and fry onion until transparent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add meat and herbs, mix to combine.
  4. Mash potatoes and stir through the meat mixture. 
  5. Pat the potato mixture into the lasagne dish. Run a fork over the top of the potato to rough up. Brush with beaten egg.
  6. Cook in a moderate oven for 25 - 30 minutes until heated through and top is golden brown. Serve warm.
Created using The Recipes Generator

28 August 2018

Re-building the stockpile - starting early

Having been away for six weeks earlier this year, and not doing any grocery shopping while we were away, then just doing the absolute necessities since then, the grocery slush fund is quite healthy.

But the pantry and freezer are looking a little thin, to be expected as we're almost three quarters of the way through the year.  I'll tackle the freezer later, but this week I decided to use the slush fund to re-build the grocery stockpile now, as much as I could, back to a 12 month supply.

Why? Well because the slush fund is healthy, and right now there are some great grocery bargains happening on things we use regularly.  I am looking forward and seeing price increases due to the drought.  Already butter and cheese have skyrocketed in price, and I can see flour and flour products going up and up and up in the near future as wheat crops fail.

And because the stockpile is like my security blanket - I can cope when I know I can feed my family, and keep them and our home clean and healthy.

It's important to me to be able to provide healthy, tasty meals for my family. It's important to me to be able to keep our home clean and comfortable. It's important to me to ensure our personal hygiene is exemplary. And it's very important to us as a family that all these things are done within our means. I consider these things to be a part of my job as wife, mother and homemaker. Having a stockpile makes my job so much easier, simply by reducing the stress of grocery shopping.

Here's a list of our basic stockpile, broken down into categories:

Grocery stockpile:

Baked Beans
Baking Paper
Cereal - Ricies
Cereal - Weet-bix -1.2kg
Cereal -All Bran
Cereal -Rolled Oats
Choc Bits/Melts
Condiments - Coleslaw dressing
Condiments - Herbs
Condiments - Honey
Condiments - Jam
Condiments - Mayo
Condiments - Nutella
Condiments - Peanut butter
Condiments - Peppercorns
Condiments - Salt
Condiments - Spices
Condiments - Stock cubes
Condiments - Vegemite
Cream of Chicken Soup
Custard Powder
Dried Fruit - Cherries
Dried Fruit - Dates
Dried Fruit - Mixed Fruit
Dried Fruit - Sultanas
Drinks - Coffee, Instant
Drinks - Coffee, Pods
Drinks - Cordial
Drinks -  Tea bags
Flour - Gluten
Flour - Plain
Flour - SR
Icing Sugar
Legumes - black beans (canned)
Legumes - soup mix
Legumes - split peas
Legumes - kidney beans
Mustard - wholegrain
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts
Oil - Olive
Oil - Vegetable
Pasta - Noodles
Pasta - Spaghetti
Pineapple rings
Popping corn
Powdered Milk
Sauce - BBQ
Sauce - Soy
Sauce - Sweet Chilli
Sauce - Tomato 2L
Spaghetti - tinned
Tinned fruit
Tomato Soup

Freezer stockpile:

Casserole/Stewing Steak
Cheese - Tasty
Chicken - Drumsticks
Chicken - Fillets
Chicken - Wings
Chickens - Whole
Corned Beef
Fruit - oranges, strawberries,  apples, lemons, peaches
Legs of Lamb
Roasting Beef
Sausage mince
Vegetables - carrots, celery, onion, eggplant, capsicum, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, pumpkin, tomatoes

Non-Food pantry stockpile:

Oven bags
Freezer bags
Vacuum bags (for the Foodsaver, not the vacuum cleaner!)
Baking paper
Patty pans of various sizes
Freezer paper
Paper bags
Foil trays
Plastic tablecloths

Cleaning stockpile:

Laundry soap
Washing Soda
Bicarbonate Soda
Citric Acid
Eucalyptus oil
Lavender oil
Ti Tree oil
Ocedar furniture oil
White vinegar
Dishwashing detergent
Dishwasher powder
Scrub buds
Spare gas lighters (2)
Bug spray

Toiletries stockpile:

Toothbrush heads (for the electric toothbrushes)
Dental floss
Hair spray
BB cream
Lip balm
Shaving cream
Dove bars
Body cream

First aid stockpile:

Bandaids of various shapes and sizes
Burn cream
Burn dressings
Betadine gargle
Antiseptic cream
Antiseptic wipes
Elastic bandages
Eye bath
Water purification tablets

Garden stockpile:

Lots of different types of seeds
Icy pole sticks to use as plant markers
Torn sheets to use as ties
Brass hose fittings (2 spare sets)

Clothing stockpile 

(these days I only stockpile for Wayne and myself):
Long sleeved t-shirts
Track pants (for Wayne)
Warm winter jackets (bought at Aldi on half-price clearance - $9.95 each!)

Gift stockpile:

Wrapping paper
Gift bags (new)
Gift bags (recycled)
Cards & envelopes (birthday, thank you, thinking of you etc.)
Gift cards  & envelopes
Gift tags
Sticky tape
Double-sided tape
Curling Ribbon
And lots of things for presents, but because the recipients read my blog, I'm not listing them!

My list this week will had flour, sugar, butter, hard cheese, baked beans, tomato soup, pineapple, spaghetti on the Aldi list and use some of the slush fund to pay for them.

On the Coles list I had toilet paper, laundry soap and borax and I used Flybuys dollars to pay for them - which essentially made them free. I only collect Flybuys points on fuel and the few regular grocery items I can't get at Aldi, so it takes a while to build up but every little bit helps our budget so we soldier on until we have enough points to go shopping.

16 August 2018

Happiness Homemade - MOO Fabric Softener

Vinegar is an amazing fabric softener, and it works to keep your washing machine clean too. But sometimes you want something more. Something with a little fragrance, that will remove all the detergent residue, keep the laundry soft and not damage your washing machine (and most commercial fabric softeners are not friendly towards your washing machine).

This fabric softener works a treat if you have sensitive skin, suffer from eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis or if you're sensitive to the ingredients in commercial products.

So here's a simple, frugal, effective and safe fabric softener you can whip up in under a minute.

You will need:
Epsom salts
Non-iodised rock salt
10 - 15 drops of your favourite pure essential oil

Simple put equal quantities of Epsom salts and sea salt in a jar, add your essential oils and shake like crazy to mix.

Then add 1 tablespoon into the washing machine (I add it in when I add the detergent) and let it do its job.

How easy is that?

You can buy Epsom salts from the supermarket and some pharmacies. It will cost you about $8.50 for a kilo box.
Rock salt is approximately $4/kilo.
Essential oils vary hugely in price, but I allow 10 drops costing 50 cents (most will be much less, this works for me and makes costing the fabric softener a little easier).

That equates to $6.50 per kilo, or 7.5 cents per tablespoon (working on 64 tablespoons per kilo average in an 8 kilo washing machine).

03 August 2018

Use it Up - Day 2

Please forgive the terrible photo, I took it in a hurry this morning. I'll reshoot it later, for a better view of the Use It Up cards!
Yesterday I used up more scrapbooking paper, and managed to get cards and matching envelopes made. Each card also has a matching gift tag in the bag.

There was a little paper left from each set, so I very quickly turned those bits into laminated bookmarks.

So, 10 full sheets of DSP used, 11 scraps of Christmas DSP, some little bits from the scrap box and three A4 laminating sheets for the bookmarks.

The stash is slowly, slowly disappearing.

What did you use up yesterday?