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Sunday Scraps – Low Waste, Low Cost, Slow Boats and Beachside Strolls

Quick Scraps this week. 

I started writing this on Sunday evening from a cabin by an East Gippsland Lake, just a leisurely twenty minute stroll to the seaside. I’ll finish and post on Tuesday when we’re home ( although I think Mr Scraps has fallen in love with this piece of Australia and may be seriously considering not returning to our little rented river house). 

It’s only been a short stay and we had to drive through this to get here…

Which was a bit of an unexpected scary surprise.. But totally worth it. It was the Threenagers first experience of snow so despite the hairy trip over the mountains, it was awesome. In fact the whole trip has been awesome.

We’ve cruised the lakes, walked on the beach, watched seals play on the rocks, made sandcastles, collected seashells and eaten icecream cones lakeside.

And we’ve managed to do it all without breaking the bank, eating cheap junk food or leaving a trail of trash behind us (although I did bring home several paper napkins for our compost bin and a chip packet to add to our Redcycle bag because I didn’t come across one of their bins on our journey). 

We’ve eaten out at least one meal each day, which we planned and budgeted for. But the rest of our meals and snacks were prepared at home. I just popped a couple of the homemade frozen lasagnes from last week, a Ham and Egg slice, some fruit, Milk, Cheese, crackers, bread rolls and a few other bits and pieces in an esky. It’s winter and the car trip was only about 5 hours, plus a few stops to check out Op Shops and stretch our legs, so it was all still icy cold when we arrived. If we do the trip over summer (hopefully our Miss Cara Van project will be complete by then) we’ll have to borrow /buy a car fridge.

The cabin has a kitchen with all the basics, so we didn’t need to bring anything else. Next time we might  bring the fishing rods and catch our dinner like the locals. Although fishing for crabs is out,  according to our landlords… There were signs stuck up all over the cabin kitchen telling us not to cook them. I’d like to think it was because the owners found the thought of boiling a live creature abhorrent but I suspect it was because of the smell and potential mess…

Everyone has their own water bottle for when we’re out and about, so we save a lot by not having to buy drinks for everyone. 

We avoided “fast food” places and opted for “sit down”  small businesses who serve food on real plates with real cutlery. 

We also brought our Zerowaste style personal care kits (deodorant, toothpowder,  soap etc) so we didn’t have to rely on those little sample sized plastic wrapped things most hotels and cabins supply.

So we’ve  managed to produce practically no trash. We also came across very little considering this part of Gippsland is high traffic for tourists (although it is the middle of winter here and despite being school holidays, for most places it’s definitely off season). 

One thing we did find however, was this…

Mr Scraps picked this one up on the beach at Lake Tyers, thankfully just before the Threenager stuck herself with it while building sandcastles. 

Scrap House Bread

Mmmm Home baked  bread. 

Grandad Scraps  was apprenticed as a Baker in the 1950’s and he’s passed on a few tricks over the years. He taught us to make bread rolls when we were kids and since we started trying to find ways to reduce our sugar intake, our grocery bill and our household waste, I’ve rediscovered my love of bread baking.

Even if you’ve never really baked before, bread is really easy ( the only hard part is the waiting). There’s lots of basic recipes available on the interwebs but this one is my go-to because I only have to prove it (let it rise) once.

Scrap House Bread

(Makes 1 Large Loaf)



5 cups flour (you don’t need special “bread flour” plain/all-purpose white, wholewheat or wholemeal will do. I often do 2 cups rye and 3 cups wholemeal or wholewheat) 

1 & 1/2teaspoon dried yeast 

1 cup boiling water

1 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon rice malt syrup (or sugar, honey or molasses to ‘feed’ your yeast) 

Measuring cups/spoons

A large bowl 

An oiled bread tin or tray.
Mix the yeast, syrup and 2 cups of the flour in a bow. Mix the boiling and cold water together and stir into the contents of bowl until well combined ( it’ll be a smooth goopy mix,  like paste). 

Leave it sit about 10 minutes in a warm spot to activate the yeast (it’ll go all bubbly on top). 

Stir in the rest of the flour and salt until it comes together then turn out onto a clean surface and knead for at least 10 minutes. You do this putting the heel of your hand onto it,  pushing it away from yourself  across the bench, folding it over on itself and squishing it down, turn it around ninety degrees on the bench and repeat. Keep kneading until your dough is smooth to the touch.

Pat it into the desired shape and place in an oiled tin or on an oiled tray. This is also the same tin/tray you will bake it in. 

Lightly cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm spot to rise. It’ll double (or more) in size. It usually takes about half an hour but can take a lot longer depending on the weather. 

HINT: If it’s a particularly cold day you can get it to rise quicker by boiling a cup of water in the microwave then popping your dough in and popping your dough in there for 20 minutes or so. (Don’t switch it on). It creates a warm moist environment which helps feed your yeast.  A hot steamy bathroom or  sitting a coffee cup of boiling water in a large esky also works.

Bake in a hot oven (200C) for about 30 mins or until it’s golden on top and sounds “hollow” when you tap on it. 

HINT: It bakes better if you pop a tin filled with hot water in the bottom your oven.

Turn out immediately onto a rack to cool. 

HINT: It slices best if allowed to cool completely,  but we can never wait that long so everyone here has just gotten used to jaggedy edges.

VARIATION: Divide your dough evenly and pop it into muffin pans to rise for cute dinner rolls.

To store just wrap in a clean tea towel or put in a cotton or linen bread bag and pop in your bread bin or a tin. It keeps quite well for two or three days. 

If we ever happen to have any that lasts longer than that it either goes to the Immortal Chicken or the bread container in the freezer to be used for breadcrumbs or puddings.

 You can probably make several loaves at once and  freeze  but I haven’t tried it with this particular recipe, because it’s so simple, I just make up a loaf a few times a week as we need it. 

Feeding Families – Week 1 Menu and Recipes

For the first  week, after unpacking the groceries (you can see what we already had and what I brought here), I made two small loaves of bread, a batch of Not Little Bear Biscuits, divided and cut the Ears of Corn into 3 portions and placed them in the freezer, reserving one whole ear for making Mexican Chicken Soup on Saturday. I also sliced 2 of the 4 bunches of Leeks and placed them in the freezer.

In addition to this the Threenager and I spent a lovely hour on the Monday morning making some sauerkraut from what was left of the red cabbage. I also made two more loaves of bread on the Sunday and brought 6 more litres of milk throughout the week at a cost of $6.

This brought our total grocery/cleaning/toiletry spend to $95.

You’ll notice that most breakfasts and lunches list more than one meal type. This is because 5 days a week the Teens are at school and the BHG, Threenager and I all sort of do our own thing even if we are home together all day. The youngest Teen does food technology at school and often eats what she cooks in class (this is paid for in her school fees so doesn’t come out of our household food budget) and the eldest Teen does a little farmhand work on weekends and school holidays. He sometimes (maybe once or twice a week) chooses to spend a little of what he earns at the school salad and pasta bar rather than bring lunch from home. They go to an awesome little country high school that provides some really healthy food options, so please no emails or social media messages or posts about not feeding growing teenagers properly.

Day

Breakfasts Lunches Dinners Snacks
Wednesday Toast with Butter & Vegemite

Weetbix & milk

Toasted Cheese & Tomato Sandwiches

Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwiches

Single Breasted Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry with Boiled Rice

Self- Saucing Choc Pudding (h/m) with Frozen Yoghurt

Peanut Butter on Bread

1 Banana

2 Apples

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday Weetbix & Milk

Toast with Cheese & Tomato

Leek & Cauliflower Soup

Cheese & Tomato Sandwich

Nutella Sandwiches

 

Grilled Beef Sausages with Baked – ½ Sweet Potato, 3 Garlic Cloves, ½ Red Capsicum, 1 Large Potato and 1 & ½ Ears Corn boiled

Orange Jelly  Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding & Eater Cheater Custard (h/m- Recipe Below)

 

2 Apples

3 Bananas

Not Little Bear Biscuits

handful of Choc Chips

Grapes

Friday Toast, Vegemite & Butter

Wheaties & Milk

Toast & Nutella

Nutella Sandwich

Can of Irish Stew Soup

 

Adults & 3-year -old lunched at grandparents’ house.

Everyone had main meal at grandparents’ house.

1 Banana

Leftover Custard

1 Apple

2 Bananas

Saturday Toast, Nutella, Apricot Cheese, Tomato slices, Peanut Butter

Oats

Leek & Cauliflower Soup

Toasted cheese sandwiches

Mexican Chicken Soup

Flatbreads

Coconut milk

1 Apple

Bread, Nutella

Choc Chips

Carrot Sticks

Slice of Cheese

Sunday Oats

Toast

Peanut Butter, Nutella

Mexican Chicken Soup

Bread

Savory Mince

Bread

Chocolate Nut Squares

Coconut Milk Custard

Orange Jelly

1 Apple

Chocolate Wheaties Slice

Molasses Men

Monday Toast, Peanut Butter

Weetbix & milk

Savoury Mince

Small can of Tuna

Bread & Butter

Homemade Coleslaw Dressing

Slamon Patties

Sweet Potato Chips

(with Red Dip Dip – Recipe Below)

2 Apples

Chocolate Nut Squares

Wheaties Slice

Molasses Men

Tuesday Weetbix & Milk

Toast with butter & Vegemite

Oats

Chicken Nibbles

Coleslaw, Cheese & Tomato Sandwiches

Savoury Chicken & Cabbage Stew

Apple Cake

Molasses Men

Mandarins

Oranges

Wheaties Slice

Beverages Cosumed During the Week Milk or Akta-Vite Coffee Tea – Black, matcha & herbal

 

Lemon Water (h/m)

RECIPES

These are a few of the things I made during the week. To avoid a massively long post and so they can be searched more easily, I’ll pop some others into separate posts and tag them in the table above as they are published.

 Red Dip-Dip

AKA: Low Sugar Tomato Sauce 

This is a staple in our house. The Threenager loves it and won’t eat any kind of meat or hot chips without it.

1 large (600g) Jar of  Passatta or equivalent in tinned tomatoes

(look for the ones that are just tomatoes, without anything extra added).

½ brown Onion (finely chopped)

1 Clove Garlic (finely chopped)

¼ Cup Malt or Apple Cider Vinegar

2 tablespoons  Rice Malt Syrup

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Nutmeg

1 Whole Clove or a pinch of Powdered Cloves

 

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Put everything in a saucepan, bring to the boil then immediately reduce heat and simmer gently until the Passatta (or juice of canned tomatoes) is reduced to half its original volume. Blend until smooth or push through a sieve. Pour into a clean jar or bottle.

Refrigerate between use.

Will last about a month in fridge.

It can also be frozen.

 

Single Breasted Chicken & Sweet Potato Curry

Serves 6 with rice as a main meal.

1 Large Chicken Breast

1 large Onion

Red & Yellow Capsicum

Curry Powder

1 Red Chilli

½ Large Sweet Potato (approx. 500g)

¼ Cup Milk Powder

2 Cups Water

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Boiled Rice to Serve.

Finely dice onion and chilli.

Chop Chicken Breast, Sweet Potato and Capsicum into small cubes.

In a pot or large frypan, heat olive oil and over a low heat sweat off onion and chilli until onion turns clear.

Add ¾ of water, chicken, capsicum, curry powder and sweet potato.

Cook over low heat until chicken is cooked and sweet potato is cooked but still firm (you may need to add a little extra water during cooking).

Mix milk powder with remaining water and stir through.

Cook until thickened.

Served with Boiled Rice.

 

Eater Cheater  Homemade Custard

Serves 6

2 Eggs

2 Heaped Dessert Spoons Cornflour (or Tapioca Flour)

1 Desert Spoon Rice Malt Syrup

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence

2 & ½ Cups Milk (or use milk powder)

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together eggs, cornflour, vanilla, essence and rice malt syrup until smooth and fully combined with no lumps.

Place over low heat and continue to whisk until thickened to desired consistency.

If custard is too thick, slowly drizzle in some more milk until desired thickness is achieved.

Variation: Replace regular milk with coconut milk.

Note: while this is simple and only takes about 10 minutes, it is not something you can walk away from at all. It needs to be continuously whisked/stirred to avoid burning or becoming lumpy.

What do I do with these? 7 things you can do with Potato Skins

So we all know that there’s some awesome nutrients in vegetable peelings and that we should just scrub our veg clean and eat them whole, peel and all. But sometimes it doesn’t look so pretty, think brown bits of potato skin in your lovely fluffy white mash. Sometimes it’s the texture, the skin is often much tougher than the inside even if it is yummy. Or maybe you just have a fussy eater and you’d rather save the tears and  just remove the peel than spend an hour arguing at the dinner table.

But don’t toss your potato peels in the trash.
Even if you normally feed them to your chickens or put them in the compost, you might want to consider trying some of these ideas first.

1. Make Quirky Crisps

Heat your oven to about 150 C / 330 F and line a baking tray with parchment or one of those fancy silicone mat things.

Toss your clean, dry potato peels (and any other veg peels you may have laying around, carrot, beet, sweet potato and parsnip just to name a few) in about tablespoon of oil (olive oil or coconut work well) and whatever seasonings you prefer. Salt, pepper, a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, Cajun spice and taco seasoning are all good options but you can probably come up with lots more.

Spread your peels in a single layer on the tray and pop them in the oven for about 40 minutes or so until crisp. Keep an eye on them.

Let them cool on the tray a little before eating. They’re great for dips.

They’re usually best eaten within a few hours of baking, but you can keep them in an airtight container a few days and re-crisp them by popping back into the oven for a few minutes.

2. Use Them as Croutons

Prepare as above and crunch them up on top of soups or use them to pimp your salads.

3. Use them to Colour Greying hair

Now I haven’t tried this one, but know someone who swears by it. Apparently The starches in the vegetable act as a natural colourant They have been used as a dye alternative for fabrics for centuries, so it’s not surprising that they would darken greying hair. Just boil some water, add your peels to the pot and allow them to boil for at least 25 minutes. Strain and use to rinse your hair a few times a week. The trick, I’m told is consistency.

4. Potato Peels for Puffy Eyes

Using your leftover potato peelings, place the underside of them on each eye for around ten minutes. The enzyme ‘catecholase’ is in potatoes, which acts as a skin lightener – say goodbye to dark circles!

5. Use them to Clean Your wood Stove

I don’t know the science behind it and I wouldn’t recommend burning potato peels instead of cleaning the flue of your stove, but burning potato peels does seem to extend the time between cleaning.

6. Use Them to Remove Rust

It’s the inside part of the potato that does it, so you need peels with a bit of flesh still attached, but you just dip them into some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and rub away. You might need to pop your peels into a mesh bag of some sort first, perhaps a good way to re-purpose one of those awful mesh fruit n veg bags.

7.Remove Mineral Spots from Your Glassware

If your dishwasher leaves mineral spots on your glassware, simply use the flesh side of a potato skin and rub the spots on your glass. This should remove any grime that’s been left behind.

So there’s seven ways to use your potato peels. If you know of any others or have tried any of the above ideas and can vouch for their success (or failure) feel free to leave a comment and let us know.