Friday, August 21, 2015

A Week in Meals

As a request from the lovely Stephanie I have been recording what I have been cooking and baking this week, just to show you what sort of things get my family through the week, and how I use all simple basic ingredients to make my food from scratch.  This week was probably a good week to demonstrate because I've been on a super duper tight budget due to shearing being a seasonal job, so during winter there isn't much work for my husband, and by the end of winter we tend to 'fly by the seat of our pants' so to speak.  I have spent very little on food this week, picking up some apples and bananas yesterday, a bit of milk during the week (we go through litres a day) and a few other odds and ends.

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of quality of my photos.  I'm not a food photographer by any means, and these have all been snapped quickly on my phone as I don't have time to set up my camera and fancy lighting, props and such when I have four starving children demanding to know when dinner is ready!

So...away we go.....
Monday - During the day I feed my kids sandwiches, toast or cereal for breakfast, and then they get sandwiches for lunch.  Nothing exciting here.  I will also have toast or perhaps a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich, which I cook  up in the fry pan....having put butter on the OUTSIDE of the bread, so it's extra unhealthy.  It's delicious.  For dinner on Monday we had this ridiculously good leg of lamb.  It was a small one, but perfect for the kids and I because my husband has been away shearing this week.  It's rather backwards, because when we are short of cash we eat like kings, meaning that I dive into the stock of home grown meat in our freezer, and this means finding legs of lamb, pork shoulders and other enormous slabs of meat to roast.  My husband butchers our animals himself, so this process doesn't cost us anything, plus NOTHING compares to home grown meat, lamb especially.  I did my usual roast potatoes, pumpkin and carrots, served it up with some peas and gravy and we were away.  There was plenty of meat left over which I cut off the leg, stuck on a plate and wrapped up for the next night's dinner.
After dinner I made some ice cream (not for dessert!), but we were running low.  I have two ice cream containers that I have on rotation, so when one runs out I make more, so there is always a bit in the fridge.  My recipe for this can be found here.  It's really sweet, so you only need to serve a little bit.  I find that the mini ice cream cones work well for the kids.  They love them and you can give them the littlest bit of ice cream and they are still happy.
I also made a Hedgehog Slice.  This is my Nan's recipe, and one that my Mum used to make often.  I need to have a supply of either cakes, biscuits or slices in the pantry because my eldest needs snacks in his lunchbox at school and my pre-schoolers are bottomless pits.
This recipe calls for 250 grams of butter so it's not for the faint hearted!
Tuesday - Tonight's dinner was simple, we had left over roast lamb which I fried up in fry pan with some onion, garlic, beef stock, gravy powder, peas and mint sauce.  I then made some mashed potato and made Shepherd Pies.  I used mashed potato for the tops of the pies so they would be more filling and so I wouldn't use as much pastry.  It was a bit of a 'Let's make this stretch as far as we can' effort and I was feeling very 1940's while I was doing it!
In the end these pies weren't that filling, or perhaps I was just extra hungry, and as my 12 year old was asking for more, I decided to whip up a Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert.  I stray from the recipe with this a fraction and put jam as well as butter on my bread, which I think just gives it a little more flavour.
Wednesday - Another day of sandwiches (boring but cheap and substantial) and for dinner we had exactly the same as last night, although there was more potato to lamb ratio going on.  Since my four year old only paddled in his Bread and Butter Pudding the night before I decided that I would make a Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding, which I haven't made for ages, but it's really quick and easy.
It also only has two tablespoons of cocoa throughout the whole recipe so it's not too rich, which is perfect for kids.  After dinner I had another empty ice cream container so I made more ice cream, so there was now plenty in the freezer.
Thursday - Another toasted cheese and tomato sandwich kind of day (Mmmmm...they're just so good) and I filled the kids up with tinned spaghetti and more sandwiches.  I must put in a plug and thank the Earl of Sandwich of this incredible invention, it is proving to be a life saver in these lean times!  Anyway dinner wasn't very exciting.  I had a packet of pasta (the nicer egg ribbon pasta, not the dried stuff) which I simply plopped a jar of pasta sauce and cheese on to.  Some nights I just can't be bothered.
However I did make more cordial today (recipe here) and a Wheetbix Slice, which is also my Nan's recipe.  Wheetbix is an Australian Cereal and comes in these individual mini brick shape bits of wheat cereal, which my daughter loves, although I think are pretty tasteless.  They go really gluggy really quickly (blergh!) and if she splashes it around and gets it on the floor or table you have to be pretty quick to wipe it off because it sets like concrete.  I'm dead serious.
The cordial makes up about 2 and a half bottles and lasts me about 2 months.  It's really easy and works out as a cheap way to have cordial.  The oranges and lemons in this batch came from my parent's orchard, so it's a lovely batch of extra home made cordial!
This is the Hedgehog and is a big hit with my kids.  It's really quick and easy to make, which is the type of recipe you need when you have lots of kids who are always eating you out of house and home.
Friday - I gave my kids Scrambled Eggs With a Face for breakfast this morning, which basically means slopping scrambled eggs in a bowl and drawing a face on with tomato sauce.  Classy, I know, but they love it.  I had toast with bread I had baked the other week, which I pulled out of the freezer this morning.  At the moment I am baking a loaf of bread in my bread maker, however I didn't use a pre-prepared bread mix, rather did this one from scratch.  I haven't done it this way in the bread maker before, so we will see how it goes!  Dinner tonight is likely to be $5 worth of chips from the Fish and Chip shop up the street because my eldest son has a ballet concert and I have to be there by 6.15pm! 
Anyway, that's my week of cooking and baking!  I hope you've found it somewhat interesting! 
What are your best quick and easy meals or sweet treats to make?


  1. Goodness look at you go! You have been a cooking// baking machine! I'm not a huge meat person, but here and there I do enjoy it. Don't be so down on yourself about sandwiches. (; They are delicious, and like you said, CHEAP!! All we ever have for lunches are sandwiches and left overs. My stomach seems to not want to handle bread as much as it used to, so I actually "save" myself for bread if we have garlic bread or maybe a pot pie. Instead of bread for my sandwiches, I throw some veggies or what have you on a nice big lettuce leave with hummus. SOOOOO delicious. Have a lovely weekend Amber!

    1. Weirdly this is a pretty standard week when it comes to cooking and baking. I'm so glad I bought that charity shop apron the other week, stop myself from constantly being covered in flour! x

  2. Delicious looking meals and the baking looks fantastic too!!! <3

    I have a new post up on the blog, would love to know your thoughts:

    * Electric Sunrise - Fashion and Lifestyle Blog *


  3. I'm so glad you were able to share this! Thank you!! We've talked about these roasted potatoes, but I've never seen them... OOOOOHHHH YEAH. They look delicious. Wish I had some right now!! I love to hear that you've been making your ice cream for more than just a single post. That really shows how delicious it is. I haven't had a free moment in a while (we've been having to resort to five second meals like a hot dog!!! UGH!) but when things start to calm down I will be sure to try out your recipe. Have NOT FORGOTTEN!!! ;) ;)
    Your Shepherd's pie looks fantastic. I've never thought to use left over meat to make the pie. To me I always thought it would be a very "involved" dinner, but with cooked meat it feels much more simple than I was making it out to be. I've used left over meat in similar ways... why not pies, Stephanie!?!?! Bread and Butter pudding looks fantastic, too! You've got some serious baking skills!!!

    The more you mention Cheese and Tomato toasted sandwhiches the more I drool. I love the sounds of it. And it will be added to the MUST EAT list. My stomach is growling. We have Weetabix and I bought it and ate it ONCE with honey.. Poor Spencer didn't want it to spoil so he just ate it with milk for some of his breakfasts. LOL need to get more creative with it I guess....

    Thank you again for sharing, this was very helpful and inspirational (I MEAN SHEPHERD'S PIE REALLY)... MUCH LOVE!!!

    1. Yeah, the potatoes were pretty good, and these were the ones that were better than normal because they were cooked in with the lamb, so soaked up all that meaty goodness. Gahhh! The shepherds pie worked well actually, it was a bit of an experiment, but having a pie maker is the best thing. So quick and easy and a good way to use leftovers. Bread and butter pudding is easy as. I had another cheese and tomato toasted sandwich for breakfast this morning.......!

  4. Yum and then some!!! What a scrumptious week you had. Hedgehog slice is so delicious. I haven't made it many, many years. Thank you for the reminder! I'll have to play around with a GF version soon (perhaps for Halloween time - the chocolate/cocoa in it suits that holiday superbly).

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Oh, pleased to hear that you have Hedgehog slice in Canada!

  5. Incredible how you can make such good meals out of what's around in the cabinets. My husband cooks mostly here: he bakes off a pan of chicken thighs, a big pot of rice and frozen veggies. Then sets out a dozen bowls and makes a dinner in each: meat on bottom, then veg, then rice over the top. Lay a saucer atop and freeze. He eats them all day long--six mins in the microwave and he's munching.

    I'm more like you: grilled cheese, toast, piece of fruit... that's all I need once or twice a day. We have no kids left at home so it's way different from your lifestyle. That's why I love your blog.

    1. Your husband's idea sounds fantastic. What a good way to have a 'ready to eat' meal, that hasn't come out of a packet either! I'm glad you enjoy my blog, it's lovely to have you here!