Saturday, 16 June 2012

Austerity Measures

I am on a (necessarily) self imposed austerity drive at the moment. We are trying to survive on one income that is devoid of shift penalties, charge allowances and even a continuing education allowance - thank you to whoever decided that putting in a 3 month limit on claiming it when starting a new position even if you have been paid it since it's inception and whoever "forgot" to put in the paperwork when I started working here!

Some things are a necessity here - heating is a big one. I do not function well first thing in the morning when the frost is thick on the ground and the car and even the outside furniture (must take a picture one morning). I need to be warm to inspire me to get out of bed sometimes. Internet is a given - Husband is studying by distance and an internet connection is a condition of enrolment.The kids also have their maths homework online every week. It's also my social outlet. We don't go out much. Textbooks and residentials are an unpredictable expense. Food is one area that we can cut costs in.

I've been menu planning for a couple of months now. Nothing too rigid. It involves writing down what we want to eat for the fortnight on a (silver) whiteboard on the fridge - can't have it clashing with the stainless steel. Things get mixed up as we see fit - tonight for example was supposed to be Roast Pork Belly but I forgot we are going to the school trivia night so am making spaghetti and meatballs instead. A couple of nights last weekend were a bit slack - we'd gone out for lunch with friends and neither Hubby nor I wanted dinner, one kid wanted party pies the other chicken nuggets - means there's more in the freezer for next week. There is now less wastage of vegies, we almost never have takeaway (once a month if we are lucky) and we are starting to enjoy cooking again., when you don't have to think about what is for dinner that afternoon or early evening it is alot less stressful.

School lunches are another area where we are saving money. Even the Aldi snack bars can get too expensive. I have discovered I can make 4 boxes worth for the cost of 1. Anzac biscuit bars are a good tummy filler too, as are pikelets. So this morning we are having a big cookup.

Homemade rice bubble bars

Here's the Rice Bubble Bar recipe.
6 cups rice bubbles
4 cups marshmallows (small ones or the large ones chopped up)
3 tbsp butter

Grease and line 2 slice tins with baking paper.
Place rice bubbles in a (very) large mixing bowl.
Melt marshmallow and butter in a microwave jug in 30 second burst for 1 -2 minutes unitl butter melted and marshmallows shiny. Mix well - the volume will decrease dramatically.
Pour marshmallow mix over rice bubbles and mix quickly till covered.
Turn out half mixture into each slice tin and press into tin with spoon.
Sprinkle with choc bits or hundreds and thousands.
Cover with baking paper, and press each slice tin on top of other to press flat.
Refrigerate for an hour then remove from tin on paper cut each slab into 12 pieces.
Keep refrigerated in air tight container. Switch to container for lunchbox consumption.

And here's the plate of pikelets!
Anzac biscuit bars and Chocolate Caramel Slice have topped off the afternoon's baking. Should be enough snack food for the week and tonight's festivities.

Anzac Bar ready to go in the lunch box container

Kaz x

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