Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yummy Chicken Pie recipe

I posted a week or so back about making food to take to work for lunch. One of the things I make is a Chicken Pie. Here's the recipe.

Base :
1/2 cup of uncooked brown rice
1 onion finely diced
1 whole egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon each of cumin, turmeric, dried coriander
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)

Topping :
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Other veges - corn, broccoli, mushrooms - pretty much whatever you have on hand.

Cook rice, drain well. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (Celsius).

Base :
Saute onion for 2 minutes in a non-stick pan with a small amount of oil. Add spices and cook for a further minute. Place in a medium size mixing bowl, add cooked rice and breadcrumbs mixing well. Beat egg and milk and pour into rice mixture, combine well. Grease a pie dish (23cm) then press the rice mixture evenly around the base and up the sides of the dish.

Topping :
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Add the remaining ingredients except for 1/4 cup of grated cheese (which gets sprinkled on top of the pie). Mix all the ingredients together, add salt and pepper. Pour mixture over the rice base, sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until set in the centre and browned on top.

Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. Can be served hot or cold.

I hope you enjoy this recipe - it's one of my favourites. It would be easy enough to turn this into a vegetarian dish by leaving out the chicken.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What are your priorities?

I have plans to have a No Spend month in November. To me this means I will not spend money on anything that is not necessary. In reality this means no dining out, no outings (that cost money), no clothing purchases, no treats.

When I was considering doing this I realised that for this to be successful I needed to figure out what my priorities are. Of course I could spend money on a meal out but that would mean less money put aside in my savings account. Please don’t think I am one of those people who save, save, save and never spend their money. That is definitely not me. I have some goals to achieve and to be able to succeed with those goals I need to save money. So, for me, it is a no-brainer. If I want to be able to have my lounge re-plastered and painted I need to put money aside. If I want to upgrade my ugly, aging bathroom I need to put money aside. If I want to landscape my front garden I need to put money aside. Getting that work done is more important to me than going out for a meal.

Having a No Spend month should boost the coffers quite nicely and will provide me with an incentive to look at what frivolous spending I can curb without too much pain.

All those small expenses add up to significant amounts of money that could otherwise be saved for those higher priorities. If you are a coffee drinker and spend $3.50 each working day for a takeaway coffee, that mounts up to $840 annually (calculated at one coffee five days a week for 48 weeks of the year). I’m not a coffee drinker so my estimate of $3.50 for a takeaway coffee may well be incorrect but you get my drift right?

Consider what your goals are that require money. Would you like to buy an investment property? Would you like to upgrade your home or car? Would you like to take time out from work? Would you like to rid yourself of debt?

Write your goals down. Work out how much you need to save to achieve those goals. Figure out which goals are most important to you and review your goals regularly. Consider what you are spending on items you could live without. Next time you are about to spend money think about your goals and consider whether the expense is necessary or not. If it’s necessary is there a cheaper option?
For anyone who thinks my bathroom upgrade is frivolous here is a photo of the current bathroom. I’ve lived with it for 8 years and fervently hope that I can upgrade it within the next year.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ideas for work lunches

Buying lunch each day works out to be an expensive and sometimes unhealthy proposition. It's easy to pay $6 - $8 just for a sandwich. That all adds up to too much in my book so I bring my lunch from home each day. The trick is to plan ahead so you don't end up bringing the same boring food day after day. It helps that there is both a refrigerator and a microwave available for me to use at work. Plus there is a sandwich press and toaster too.

Leftovers are great to take for lunch as this reduces waste at home as well as providing something tasty. Today's lunch is leftover salad, couscous and two venison sausages. Yum!

Often on a Sunday I will cook something specifically for lunches - this could be a vegetable curry, risotto or soup. I have been delving through my cookbooks recently looking for new ideas. One recipe I found was for a chicken and corn pie - the "crust" is made with breadcrumbs and brown rice and also includes some spices. The filling of the pie is chicken, sweetcorn, eggs, milk, cheese and whatever other vegetables I have in the fridge that need to be used up. I used brocolli and cauliflower in this which made the pie delicious and healthy. I'll post the recipe for this when I get a chance.

I have a few ideas to fall back on when there are no leftovers and I haven't had time to cook anything specifically for lunch. One idea is to cook up some brown rice and a grab a can of tuna - I heat these up and add a good dose of black pepper. Another idea is to make up a sandwich that can be toasted for lunch - my favourite is mushroom, spinach and cheese on grainy bread. Delicious!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things I've done

Although the following list probably originated in the States I thought it was interesting to do anyway. The things I've done are in bold.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day.

This was an interesting exercise...... makes me realise how much more is out there!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Attitude wins!

The forecast for the weekend was for rain. It would have been easy to plan for a sleepy, laidback day today. Instead I decided to go full-blast and ended up having one of my most productive days for ages.

Groceries were first on the list and were all over and done with before 8am. First thing Saturday morning is my favourite time for getting my weekly grocery shop out of the way. The bill was nice and low which made my day!

I put a load of laundy on and then had scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast (yummy fresh eggs from my lovely chooks!) while reading the newspaper and was at the gym by 9am. After a good cardio workout and some weights I was done with exercise for the day and headed to the library. I selected myself a good mix of books and a couple of movies to watch and then it was off to pick up chook supplies. I put my order in for wheat, laying mash and oyster shell then wandered off to get some cash to pay for it all (the store was having difficulties with their POS system). I managed to get a wee bit waylaid on my way back in the local craft store. I picked up a pattern and some wool to knit a baby jersey for a friend who is expecting. After picking up the chook food I headed for home.

It was raining on and off but it wasn't cold and it wasn't windy so I decided to get out in the garden which is what my original plan for the weekend had been. I finally planted my seed potatoes - I had been feeling guilty for not getting them in earlier but noted that some potato plants that had self-seeded in last year's potato patch had been badly frost burnt during the week so it was probably a good thing I had been a bit slack. I then planted my blackcurrent bushes that a friend had given me - I can't wait until they start producing but apparently it will take a while for that to happen. Once that task was done I got to work in the greenhouse and planted the following seeds : silverbeet, lettuce, sweetcorn, sweet peppers, zuchinnis, squash and chillis. My eldest son had ordered some super-duper hot chilli seeds off the internet so I planted those along with some other chilli seeds (not so hot) that I had bought. I spent a bit of time weeding the herb bed and planted some basil.

That was all the gardening done. I am in the process of having my house painted currently - the painters came the other day and waterblasted the house leaving lots of paint flakes around the place. I hosed the deck off and finally tidied all the miscellaneous junk off the deck that had been there for ages.

By this stage it was mid-afternoon so time to have a lunch break and get some inside jobs done. I spent some time sorting my bedroom out - general tidying up etc then it was time to have a bit of a relax so I watched one of the movies I got out from the library. Once that was finished with it was time to get dinner sorted - tonight we had homemade burgers followed by caramel dumplings - yum! And the evening has been spent getting my knitting underway - it's years since I knitted anything so I had a couple of false starts (of course I had chosen a tricky pattern!) but it's now going nicely.

So, reflecting on how my day has gone I realise today was all about choosing my attitude this morning, getting my body moving and working through my to-do list. Now I am happily tired and very content. Hope you all had a good day!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Today I've been thinking about my Dad - Father's Day tends to do that to me.

I reckon overall Dad's have a pretty thankless task. I certainly didn't grow up as a Daddy's girl. Our family was very much traditional in that, while we children were young, Dad was the breadwinner and he certainly ruled the roost. Woe betide making a noise when the News was on the tv each night. I still get into trouble every Sunday when I ring Mum and Dad as I always manage to ring when the footy is on. :)

When we were growing up, one look from Dad and you knew when you were in trouble. And I remember the phrase "You just wait till your father gets home!" being said to me on numerous occasions.

But, you know, Dad was always fair and I know he loved us all equally and I respect him for that.

Here's a photo of my Dad with me last March. Love you Dad! Have a great Father's Day.