The Simple (Savings) Life

Posted November 8th, 2007 by Penny Wise

Well, you could knock me down with a feather, maybe my lucky streak is still hanging around after all! Just picked up the mail and found I had won $100 in vouchers from Four Square (Mr Patel's in other words!) I still don't have a clue why exactly, other than I do remember filling in something for a Coke promotion many moons ago. Still, it's much appreciated and I shall tuck it away for Christmas. I forget sometimes how very lucky we are to be living the SS lifestyle and how much we take good food for granted now. I don't know about other countries but there was a big uproar in NZ recently about new findings that red meat is linked to cancer, particularly processed meats like ham and bacon. I could hear everyone discussing it intently around me the next day but I wasn't remotely concerned. I don't eat meat at all! Still, it's nice to know that because none of our meat is processed our so-called risk is supposedly lower. Mind you, this sort of carry-on is nothing new. I remember it wasn't so long when everyone was scared to eat burnt toast for its supposedly carcinogenic properties and for years nobody bought eggs when I was growing up in England, thanks to Edwina Currie telling the population that most of them contain salmonella.

Sometimes we do get a harsh reminder of just how lucky we are though and boy, did I get one the other day! I was pottering around Mr Patel's when I turned the corner and a pot of Fantastic Noodles jumped out at me. I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten anything like that and I just fancied some for my lunch, so I treated myself to one. Some treat! I spent most of the afternoon and all that night visiting the loo and listening to my stomach protesting. My poor naturally-fed body obviously didn't know what had hit it! One mistake I am definitely not keen to repeat, along with not bothering to use chemical cleaners again. Ferreting around in one of the cupboards I found a bottle of cheap toilet cleaner that hadn't seen the light of day in months. I didn't really want to use it but didn't want to waste it either so decided to use it up. The smell was so overpowering I ended up with a migraine and had to go to bed! It was dreadful and make me think of poor old Sally with her Germiflu from the newsletter. Needless to say, I'm not going to be using that again either.

I do think I'm going to have to try another alternative to my nice, safe, aluminium-free Avon deodorant though. Now the warmer weather's here I'm becoming increasingly embarrassed at perpetually smelling like a wildebeest. I tried to convince myself it was a nice, earthy smell but even Liam keeps telling me I stink. It was awful today, I had to go and help mum and her ladies serve meals to her monthly luncheon club for 40 seniors and the whole time I was trying to avoid passing plates over their heads so I wouldn't waft anywhere near them. I think I'm going to have to go hunting in the Vault for some ideas as I don't want to pong, especially now we seem to get recognised all over the place from That's Life!

Had our first lettuce from the garden yesterday, yippee! Heaven help us once all Noel's vegetables take off - he's been so impatient with the boring winter garden maintenance and now the fine weather is here, he's barely out of the garden, or popping up to the garden centre for yet more seeds and plants. We won't be able to move for veges soon! Ali's chicken Speckles is growing fast and tomorrow we pick up Nushka, the little Jack Russell. You know, I can't believe what a year it's been for dogs. Ella, our tubby eight year old Lab has gone and ruptured her cruciate ligament again. The same one we paid $1500 to fix not so long ago. I just don't know what to do about it. Noel seems to think if we leave it, it will somehow miraculously right itself. On the other hand, I've talked to the vet and we have two choices. Either pay another $1500 to get the operation done again (and it could still keep happening) or have our three-legged dog put to sleep. The vet tells us we have to be realistic. I'm trying not to think about it at the moment, I've had enough memorial trees planted for one year.

To change to a brighter subject, I'm SO proud of myself! I had a bit of a tummy bug yesterday (no, not the noodles this time) and I really needed to go and do some food shopping but I just didn't feel up to it. I looked all through my recipe books and even the $21 Challenge Guide but I still couldn't come up with anything to cook for dinner. Noel was harping on about being disorganised and having no food in the house and I had a Barb Kane moment - I thought 'I'll show you Mr Smartypants!' and in a flash of inspiration I remembered seeing a Sophie Gray recipe for Red Lentil Bolognaise (it's in Stunning Food from Small Change). Yippee, I had everything in the recipe to make it! The only downside was, I knew Noel and the kids were going to absolutely hate it. Noel - the Kiwi bloke epitomised - eating lentils? Not likely! However, that was all I could come up with so they had to like it - or lump it. I served it up in fear and trepidation and, you know what? They loved it! The kids wolfed down two platefuls, I've never seen them eat anything so fast! Just as Sophie said in the book, it's perfect for desperation dining but I think we'll be having that one again plenty in the future, desperate or not!

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