23 Oct 2018

Starting the garden

My plan for the garden is just to do a bit each weekend and I'm starting with potted herbs. Buying fresh herbs at $3-$4 a bunch really adds up so this week we potted up some herbs.

Coriander


Mint.




Thai Basil.




I also bought a lime tree.




... and repotted my lemon tree, which was looking a bit sad.



Yesterday was my first day back at work and I ended up working almost 1.5 hours late dealing with a bit of a crisis. DH had more meetings at his job and his hours are now increased slightly - but still part time. We both came home feeling a bit flat and worn out. I really hope we can stick to our retirement timeline - we'll give it our best shot!

20 Oct 2018

Making soup.

I've been busy cooking soup the last few days and my freezer is starting to fill up again. I now have 46 individual serves of soup in the freezer.  I really love soup and often eat it for breakfast or lunch. Its also one of the most healthy and cheap meals you can have. My favourite way of cooking soup is in the crockpot and adding any veggies that need using up.  So, what soups did I make?

Roasted Tomato - This was from Chrissy Teagans recipe book and each serve ended up costing me about 60 cents.

Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup - I make this a lot, just a good stock, a couple of cups of red lentils, carrots, potato, capsicum, a couple of tins of beans, celery and herbs. Makes a lovely thick soup.

Pumpkin & Veggie Soup - I used all the pkts of frozen veggies in the freezer (broccoli, cauliflower, stir fry mixed veggies, carrots) added some onion, celery, half a small kent pumpkin and chicken stock. Blended it up and it tastes so good!

Chicken Bone Broth - I always have this on hand in case I get sick. With my gut problems this is what I eat if I get a flare up and can't tolerate foods. Bone broth is really healing for an inflamed gut. I use chicken legs, celery leaves/stalks, carrots, oregano, salt pepper & onion. ( I also make a beef one sometimes). I cook it in the crockpot for about 12 hours, then strain. I do brown the bones with a little olive oil and the onion before cooking and add the pan juices to the pot.

(I forgot to take photos of all my soup cooking unfortunately!)

We usually buy a bunch of celery every 1 -2 weeks and I chop the top of the celery off with all the leaves, put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it. I always add these bags to my broth and sometimes to my soups-really adds a nice salty flavour - ( I rarely use salt in cooking due to kidney problems)

So, all in all a good few days cooking and it means I've got good food ready to eat when I am too tired to cook after work.  I still haven't got the muffins done yet so might do that tomorrow.

17 Oct 2018

Refreshed and refocused!

We've been home for a few days now. After being so busy for the last month its been nice to take it easy at home and just get unpacked, catch up on sleep and re-acclimatise to different weather. 

The holiday was great!  It was so nice to just have time to sit around and talk to each other about our plans and how we're going to go about setting ourselves up for retirement.

I also re-read Down to Earth & The Simple Home by  Rhonda Hetzel and it was a lovely reminder of what I'm aiming for - simple living and time to enjoy my home and family. I really am ready to just stop working. I feel like time away from work has let me get things back in perspective.

So we have decided our next step is to get our vegetable gardens done so we can get back to growing our own vegetables. We will have raised, square foot gardening beds - probably about six across the back of the yard. I'm also going to start a potted herb garden out the front where there is full sun.

Now that DH is working less he'll have time to do the work around the yard. The garden beds need to be cleaned out and replanted, paving, fences & paths need completing. Theres plenty of work to keep him busy.

We're also going to look into solar power - electricity prices here are just so high - and increasing the insulation in the house.  Overall we're trying to make the house retirement ready and reduce our running costs.

We passed another milestone with our mortgage by reaching the end of Year 14 balance. Our current mortgage balance is now $136,990. 

So today I am cooking. I have made chicken bone broth, vegetable soup and am about to make biscuits and muffins. I've got the freezer almost defrosted and  I am trying to work out a better system for storing food in a chest freezer so that food can be rotated and not lost in the bottom - if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.

8 Oct 2018

Enjoying our holiday!

We've had a wonderful few weeks holidays, seeing Alaska and Japan in the cruise and now we have a few days in Tokyo. I have good internet access today so thought I'd share a few pics from our travels before we leave for the bullet train. 

Alaska is just beautiful!  Such amazing views everywhere we looked.







We saw icebergs and glaciers for the first time!







We enjoyed getting outdoors and doing some bushwalking.











The holiday has been such a good break - lots of time to unwind and refocus on where we are headed. Financially - we've stuck to our budget and won't be coming home to any holiday bills.  I'm looking forward to summer and getting some work done around the gardens over the coming months.

We'll be home in the next week so I'll post a bit more then and I have a few days till I go back to work so lots of time to catch up on blog reading.  Now we're off to try and navigate Tokyo Station!