The End is Nigh

21 Feb

I don’t even know if I’ve said that right but what I mean is I have made the difficult decision to give away blogging.  This may be a phase such as the many times this has happened before or it might just be permanent this time round.  I just want to thank anyone who has read this blog or followed me or left a comment, you have made me smile.  I won’t go into all the boring reasons why I am not blogging anymore – it’s not thrilling news really, trust me.  I just wanted to say goodbye…

…so goodbye dear readers xo

ps. you can still find me on instagram at krismakes.  I’ve also closed my zibbet shop but I may have some offerings up on my facebook page krismakes.

 

A ramble about saving money in the kitchen…

21 Jan

I just wanted to do a quick post about some of the things I’ve been doing the last few days to save money in the kitchen which in turn saves waste or should that be other way around?  Either way if you want to learn more about what I am personally doing, then read on my friend.  I’m really getting into the whole stopping food waste movement within my own home.  In fact I’ve really put my foot down.  I think it all started with that watermelon rind relish..anyways here’s my list.

  • I am making smaller  meals.  There are only two humans in this house to feed and I find these days that a lot of recipes make more than the traditional 4 serves, more like six or eight even!  While I don’t mind leftovers for lunch the next day, I don’t want to be eating them all week long.  Ah but what about freezing leftovers I hear you say?  Yes I do that too but I prefer to plan to freeze leftovers or extra when I make something that I know will survive being frozen and reheated well, like bolognese sauce.  So now I’m reducing, sometimes halving all the ingredients a recipe calls for.  We still get another meal or two out of it, I don’t have to buy as much and so far there’s been no food thrown in the bin.
  • I had a good think about the leftovers I do freeze, I love making casseroles and stews with potato but after thawing and reheating the potato is just yuck.  Something happens to the texture when it freezes and it is not pleasant at all.  So I thought about it for a while when I had a few serves of chicken curry (with potato) that I knew wouldn’t get eaten in the next few days and I came up with = soup.  Yep simple as that.  I froze the curry in one person portions and put instructions on in case I forgot my grand plans.  I am happy to report that when I dashed home for lunch yesterday I grabbed my defrosted chicken curry, tossed it into the Thermomix for five minutes or so on 70 degrees celsius then gave it a quick whiz on reverse and viola, I had a lovely soup.  Because the potato was mushed up during the “whizzing” the texture problem disappeared.  You could still do this without a TM, just reheat your dish and use a stick mixer, blender or try a potato masher.  If it comes out too thick add some liquid like water, stock, cream, milk etc.  Now I’m really looking forward to my winter stew leftovers.
  • I’m also trying to use the leftovers in a different way, for example making extra rice one night and putting some aside for the next nights meal to be made into something else entirely.  Then it becomes not leftovers but a “get ahead” cooking idea saving time and energy.
  • I’m trying to use what I’ve got and not buy special ingredients.  There’s a lot of things that can be substituted without changing the results of a recipe much.  It’s harder to do in baking but cooking just begs for some improv.  Last night I wanted to make a creamy pasta dish and I didn’t have any cream but I knew I could make my own evaporated milk which is often used as a lighter version of cream.  So I did a quick search and found the easiest instructions: 280g of water + 90g powdered milk, whiz in Thermomix speed 5 for 5 seconds.  Done.  And I can assure you my creamy chicken and bacon ranch pasta was indeed creamy.  Of course you can whiz your homemade evap. milk in a blender or just whisk by hand.  Too easy.

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  • On the subject of meal planning I’ve tried it all, one week, fortnightly, monthly even but right now what is working for me is daily.  I know it doesn’t sound like much planning but what I’m trying to achieve is using all the food in my fridge, freezer and to a lesser degree pantry and stockpile.  I want to shop out of my own kitchen and save my pennies.  I find it easier when I am rummaging around in the chest freezer to pull something out for tomorrow nights dinner and take a look at what I’ve else I’ve got at home to make it a complete meal.  This is also where substituting comes in handy.  By doing it day by day I find I am using my brain much more to come up with ideas and recipes to use what I have instead of writing down a month of meals and a massive shopping list to go with it.
  • Two words: failed recipes.  Don’t you hate it when you see a great recipe on Pinterest and try it out only to have it flop for whatever reason (not always the recipes fault).  I’ve changed my attitude to these failures.  Usually they would sit in the biscuit tin or fridge untouched as time passed by then I would have to throw them in the bin because, well they must be off or stale.  No more food waste.  I told you I was putting my foot down.  A while ago I made what was going to be a lovely fruit bread for my toast in the mornings.  Well I missed the breadmaker beep to add the fruit, threw it in way too late and of course the sultanas just baked on the outside of the loaf.  Not good for toast (all those ‘tanas dropping and popping in the toaster).  So what could I do so I didn’t waste it, well I decided it would be perfect for bread and butter pudding, which we love to eat.  The loaf is currently residing in my freezer waiting for the weather to cool enough to turn the oven on.  Did I mention I love eating bread and butter pudding for breakfast?  Win!  Last week I attempted two Pinterest recipes that did not work out at all.  One was a cookie dough ball recipe which wouldn’t roll itself into balls so I squashed it flat in a dish instead.  The other was a peanut butter oat cookie that just didn’t want to set hard enough.  These were both no-bake recipes (I did mention it was hot didn’t I?)  anyway the consistency of both products was not conducive to eating as is so I put on my thinking cap and decided I would use them (separately) in my oatmeal and in smoothies.  I am currently making my way to finishing them and I am just about overjoyed that they did not get tossed in the bin.  By the way the cookie dough ball is awesome in oatmeal – it has choc chips in it which just ooze through the oats.
  • I’ve also decided to toughen up and not be such a prissy when it comes to using blemished or slightly not quite right produce.  There are many things you can safely eat without having to throw it in the bin, for example limp or wrinkled produce can be tossed into soups and stews.  So before I chuck anything in the rubbish now I give it a really good going over and asses if it can be salvaged either as a whole or some part of it.  If you’re not sure about food safety issues you can look them up online.  I’m talking mostly about produce here – fruit and veggies not meat, dairy etc.
  • It’s a funny thing that I’ve just got stuck into these strategies this last week or so and Taylor over at Home Storage Solutions 101 has posted an Eat From The Pantry And Freezer Challenge.  How very timely!  I am following Taylors 52 week declutter/organisation program (which is free) and I can tell you it has helped me immensely in all areas of my home – and it’s good for the budget too.  I plan to talk more about the 52 week program in another post so stay tuned.

Well so much for a short post, I hope some of you may be inspired to challenge yourself to stop food waste and save money in the kitchen.  If you have any tips or please share them in the comments below, I’d love to hear your ideas.

From Food Waste to Fabulous – Watermelon Rind Relish

10 Jan

Food SOS – save our scraps people!  Did you know you could make a delicious savoury relish out of watermelon rind that you’d normally toss in the (compost) bin?  I have to thank Pinterest for this enlightenment.

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I looked at a whole bunch of ideas for using up watermelon rind; pickled watermelon rind; watermelon rind jam and even watermelon rind candy, but I settled on the relish because it looked like a quick, simple and easy recipe…and it was!

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I followed the recipe for watermelon rind relish from the Attainable-Sustainable blog with a few tweaks as follows:

  • my red capsicum (bell pepper) was less than whole
  • I didn’t have any jalapeno pepper so I used some crushed chilli from a jar (just a touch)
  • I used mustard powder, about 1tsp as I didn’t have mustard seeds

I’m really into substituting and using what I have rather than running to the shops.  It saves money, time and hassle.

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My rind came from a quarter watermelon piece which made up the 4 cups needed, this was from an everyday, large, seedless melon.  I did use my Thermomix to quickly chop the rind, onion and capsicum.  Next time I will probably do the simmering in the TM too.

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The recipe made two jars of relish which is a good amount for a two person household, I gave one to my Mum but there are also instructions on canning the relish if you want to keep it in the pantry rather than the fridge.  I didn’t bother because we’ll eat ours straight away.

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With cheese and crackers!  Mum said she had hers on some corn fritters, oh my.  Have to try that next.  I just love that you can make something really yummy out of scraps that would normally go in the bin.  Stay tuned for more posts on this topic.

There are a lot of worrying statistics out there about food waste.  You can check out the facts at Foodwise about how much food us Aussies are throwing out.  I really can’t stand wasting food in my household, probably because I’m a “Simple Saver” and to me it’s like throwing my money in the rubbish bin.   According to Foodwise we are tossing up to 20% of the food we purchase, that is around $70 a month for our household or $840 per year.  Oh My Golly.  That’s just not good enough so I’ve decided to change my ways and I’ll be sharing my journey with you as I find out all the tips and tricks along the way as well as sharing what works for me and what does not.

So do you think you’ll try your hand at watermelon rind relish…or pickles…or candy?  I’d love to hear about it.  Also tell me how you eat your relish?  On burgers? On crackers like me?  Do you even like relish?

I tried to find out where watermelon rind relish originated from but couldn’t – if you know the answer please share it with us, I’m really intrigued.

new directions in 2015 and the truth about blogging

3 Jan

 

Hello all and Happy New Year to you!  A brand spanking new year is an amazing gift isn’t it?  A huge blank slate.  A time to plan, to start over, and to dream of all the wonderful things you can accomplish this year.

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I have been thinking a lot in the past six months about this blog, whether to continue doing it, feeling guilty about not posting frequently enough, toying with the idea of creating other blogs for other topics, wondering if anyone still reads this one?

If you’ve been here before you’ll know that my blog is predominantly a craft blog with a few wee sprinkles of other parts of my life.  I’ve read a lot of blog tips and advice and one major point has always been to find your niche and stick to it like glue.  I always thought crafts, particular paper crafts was my niche and my passion but honestly I have many passions and I really want to share them with anyone who will listen (or read them).

So I have made the executive decision to write about all my passions right here on this single blog.  The truth about blogging is that you are the owner of your blog, it’s yours, you are in controland you have absolute power.  I like the sound of that.  It really comes down to this – if I want to write about plucking my eyebrows then I can and will, even though it’s not craft related (or it could be if I plucked them into a pretty pattern I suppose).  In life there is always going to lots of advice around about anything and everything but in the end you need to go with your gut or your heart or whichever body part you wish.  This to ME feels like the right thing.

Yes my dear friends there will be a shift of focus in 2015, but don’t worry I still intend on posting lots of crafty goodness, after all it is a rather large passion of mine!

Wondering what to expect from now on?  Here’s a list of some of the topics I’d like to talk about in 2015…

Simplifying

Cooking/Baking

Decluttering

Organising

Finance and Saving Money

Cleaning

Gardening (or my poor attempts at it)

Relationships

Careers/Early Retirement

Arts and Crafts

Blogging

Health

It’s a pretty big list I know but I’m hoping there will be enough variety for everyone.  Are you planning any big changes in 2015?  Which direction are you going in?  I’d love to hear about it and if you’re a fellow blogger please leave a comment so I can come visit!

 

krismakes giveaway time

31 Dec

Hi all just a quick note to let you know I’m having a giveaway – you can check it out through my instagram feed ~ krismakes or through my facebook page ~ krismakes !

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I am just asking your opinion on a new product I want to put in my zibbet shop so please join in the fun.  Hurry as entries close tonight New Years Eve2014 at midnight.  Good luck everyone.

No More Christmas Card Guilt – Send A New Years Card

30 Dec

Have you ever been caught out at Christmas, receiving a card from someone you didn’t have on your Christmas card list?  It’s happened to me a few times over the years and boy does it give you a guilt trip (if you’re so inclined – unfortunately  I am!)  So you know the solution right?  Send a New Years card!  This is a fantastic little trick and the great part is you don’t have to make sure it’s going to arrive before New Years like you do with Christmas cards, as long as it get’s there in the first two weeks of the New Year then I think that’s perfectly acceptable.

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But hang on a second, don’t go rushing to the shops to spend money on New Years cards – make your own!  The recipient will totally forget that you didn’t send them a Christmas card once they have your gorgeous, handmade News Years card in their hot little hands.  The added bonus is it’s a great way to get your mojo going again after the frazzle and stress of Christmas.  If you have little ones be sure to get them in on the act…can’t you just hear your relatives ooohing and ahhhing over their cute hand drawn cards?

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Unfortunately I don’t have any little helpers so the creativity is all down to me.  I’ve made a variety of cards to show you that you don’t really even need any New Year specific stamps, just think of all the wonderful things you associate with it and raid your stamp folders.  Think fancy drinks, sparkly things, clocks, stars, balloons, party hats, flowers, just about anything will do.  If you’ve got a set of numerical stamps even better – you can use them every year.

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I think nice bright party colour card bases work well and don’t forget that special New Years sparkle, a bit of sticky bling or iridescent heat embossing will add some extra wow.

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And you don’t have to spend all day (or all week) making your cards.  I’ve kept mine pretty simple as you can see but they are still very effective and with a lovely message inside wishing your friends and family a wonderful 2015 these New Years cards are the perfect solution to a holiday guilt trip.  So spill the beans, who did you forget to send a Christmas card to this year?

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krismakes Zibbet shop

30 Dec

Want to buy some handmade goodness from krismakes? Now you can, simply head to my Zibbet shop krismakes, make yourself a cuppa and settle in for some fun online retail therapy!

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Right now you can choose from handmade cards and button badges and soon I will be adding button flairs, stationary and envelopes, bags and lots more so be sure to stop by the blog regularly to find out about the latest product releases.

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