Recent Hints

Eat your way to lovely, strong nails with blancmange!

If biting your nails is a problem, start growing them from the inside out, with this easy coffee blancmange recipe! All you need is:

One x 400g can coconut milk or cream. 2 tbsp gelatin 2 tsp coffee 1/4 cup hot water Sweetener of your choice, e.g. sugar, stevia or artificial sweetener

Stir the gelatin into the hot water and mix well.
In a separate bowl, put in the coffee and sweetener of your choice and stir, then tip in the can of coconut milk or cream. Pour in the hot gelatin mixture and stir all together well. Refrigerate for one hour.

The result? Delicious, smooth coffee blancmange, with the health benefits of coconut, and gelatin for nail growth!

NLP means great nails for me!

If nail biting or picking is an issue for you or someone you know, you may like to consider Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I had just one session and it made a fantastic difference for me. I was sceptical throughout the session, until the end of the session when the problem had completely gone away. I was really surprised and completely pleased! Would definitely recommend.


Hottest Hints

Eucalyptus oil for cleaning

I used to buy a large can of air freshener ($42 per year) plus a can of Glen 20 each month ($71.52 per year) for my home and bathroom. On top of that I would also buy a large spray bottle of Febreeze quarterly ($54 per year). That is a total of $167.52 just for freshening the house each year.

On top of that, there was the additional cost of $9.00 a week on floor washing cleaners and disinfectant ($468 per year). A grand total of $635.52 per year.

Now I buy two large bottles of eucalyptus oil ($22), plus I have bought two very sturdy two litre capacity spray bottles (at a once-off cost of $18).

One bottle is reserved for carpet, bathroom and fabric deoderising and freshening, which now has us enjoying the additional benefits of no fluorocarbons or chemicals being used in our home, and eucalyptus oil is twice as effective when it comes to fighting bacteria. I use two tablespoons of eucalyptus oil per two litres of boiled, spring or filtered water.

The second spray bottle is used as a floor sprayer. I now don't use a bucket and mop. I just sweep the floors, wet the mop, spray the floor as I go with the eucalyptus and, hey presto, clean, deoderised and disinfected floors in one easy go. I use four tablespoons of eucalyptus oil per two litres of boiled, spring or filtered water.

The total cost saving for an entire year has been $448, which is now being spent on music lessons for our children. The house always smells fresh, the floors are cleaner and we've had fewer colds than ever before.

29 responses in the members' forum

Student secrets to eating for $15 a week

During my uni student years I developed a menu-planning and grocery shopping system that allowed me the freedom to eat well, generously fuel my bicycle-based lifestyle, entertain guests regularly and experiment with new recipes, all within my strict food budget of just $15 a week!

It works like this.

  1. Decide how much you will spend on your weekly groceries. In recent years I have had to increase my spending to about $21 a week due to rising food costs and CPI, but the system still works really well when I use it and is a great way to separate needs from wants.

  2. Choose the staples and basics that are to be made every week as needed. These could include soy milk, tofu, sourdough bread, yoghurt, sprouts, hummus, fresh lemon cordial, Anzac bickies, gomasio or whatever else you require.

  3. Give the ingredients needed to make these staples first priority when making the weekly shopping list. If you have a local food co-op you can buy mostly organic ingredients with minimal packaging in exactly the amounts you need.

  4. Check what else is in the fridge, cupboard, garden or neighbours' garden and pore over your large collection of second-hand recipe books to see what can be created with these other ingredients. Recipes which require two or less extra (and inexpensive) ingredients are preferred and a list of these and their corresponding cookbooks/page numbers is made and stuck on the fridge. There will usually be a selection of mains, side dishes, desserts, treats and beverages on the list.

  5. Give the extra ingredients needed for the chosen recipes next priority on the shopping list. Over time you will intuitively know when your shopping list is 'full'.

  6. Once out shopping, specials of the day such as a big bag of discounted apples or cheap cooking tomatoes take third priority. If not consumed within the week, these can form the basis of recipes chosen for the following week.

  7. Last priority (and usually only considered after the register shows you are still under budget) are those inevitable temptations that one wants rather than needs. It often helps me to take my recipe list with me and remind myself that I can make a delicious self-saucing carob pudding at home for a fraction of the cost of the tiny chocolate bar I am now contemplating. All of a sudden the money seems much better spent on a kilo of brown rice!

  8. Back at home, simply cross the recipes off the list as they are made. There will always be plenty of food for dinner parties or last-minute guests, and the sometimes tiresome decision of 'what to cook?' becomes easy.

Using this system I have never run out of food or felt like there was 'nothing to eat'. In contrast, I have stayed at many houses where, despite having pantries and fridges which are bursting with food, the occupants have driven to the supermarket and easily spent $30 or $40 just to cook up dinner for the night.

Seems unbelievable? Try scratching every processed food item off your own shopping list and see how many more kilos of real food you can come home with for the same amount of money. Don't forget too, to keep an eye out for trees in public areas which are loaded with fruit or nuts. I have used the $15 a week food budget for stretches of up to a year at a time, which means I certainly wasn't relying on stockpiles of food from more extravagant days tiding me over. Necessity breeds creativity, and I am so happy to have been forced early on to examine and separate my wants from my needs in this regard. Even when times are tough, I know I can eat well!

101 responses in the members' forum