Thinking Thriftily: Meal Planning, Planning a Container Vege Garden & Free Stuff!

Hello Everyone! Just look at these beautiful Cherry trees in full bloom in our street! It reminds me that Summer is just around the corner.

Well, I’ve had a very productive week. First of all, Mr. Lifeology spotted this chair at a thrift store and just knew it would be perfect for our living room.

So he loaded it up in his pick up truck and brought it home. $34.00 and it’s in perfect condition. It didn’t even need cleaning!! But I cleaned it anyway. I’ve been looking for a nice comfortable arm chair that I can curl up by the fire in and read.

Then, we got a free deep freeze. I work for an appliance company and one of the services we offer is that, while delivering your new appliance, we take away your old one and recycle it. A lot of the time, the old appliances are in good condition. The customer was just upgrading or something like that. This deep freeze was one of those items.

We have plans for that deep freeze – I’ll tell you about it later on in this Post. Excuse the mess in the garage – that’s going to change shortly!

I’m always looking for ways to save money, but even more so these past few months. It seems that groceries have gone up in price tremendously and I’m finding it hard to keep up! So this week, I made a grocery list based on more meatless meals and more suppers that can double up as lunches for me. Last night I made Roast Beef (my favourite). There was still half of it left over and so I made a delicious Beef and Black Bean dish that I can have for supper when Mr. Lifeology is away, and also for lunch. This works best if you have leftover rice as well, but I didn’t have any so I cooked the rice and refrigerated it while I cooked the beef. This makes enough for 2 people. You can find the full recipe on my Recipe page here

In a pan, bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, add 1 cup rice (I used brown rice) and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the rice in a strainer, run it under a cold tap to cool, then allow to dry out in the fridge.

Slice your leftover roast beef (about 1/2 – 1 lb) into finger-sized strips

Peel and finely slice a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger and 2 cloves of garlic, 2 green onions, 1/2 a fresh red or green chile or use 1/2 teaspoon of dried chile, pick the cilantro leaves off a small bunch of fresh Cilantro and put to one side, and finely chop the cilantro stalks.

Ger yourself a big bowl and put in the ginger, garlic, chile, green onions, cilantro stalks and roast beef strips.

Add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil

and mix everything together
Preheat a wok or large frying pan on a high heat and once it’s very, very hot add a good lug of peanut oil and swirl it around
Add all your chopped ingredients from the bowl. Give the pan a really good shake to mix everything around quickly.
Stir-fry for 2 minutes, taking care to keep everything moving so it doesn’t burn. Add 2 tablespoons of good quality black bean sauce
and 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce

and the juice of half a lime
Keep tossing
Taste and season with black pepper and a little more soy sauce. Remove pan from the heat, transfer everything to a bowl and cover with aluminium foil.
Give the pan a quick wipe with a ball of paper towels and put back on the heat. Add a lug of peanut oil and swirl it around. Crack in an egg and add a tablespoon of sauce – the egg will cook very quickly, so keep stirring. 
Once its scrambled, stir in your chilled rice, scraping the sides and the bottom of the pan as you go.
Keep mixing for a few minutes until the rice is steaming, then taste and season with a little soy sauce.
Divide your rice between two bowls or plate. Spoon over the meat and black bean sauce and sprinkle over the cilantro leaves.
Absolutely delicious!!
Mr. Lifeology and I have been planning for some time, to grow our own vegetables this season. We got tired of paying high prices for produce that has been refrigerated to the point that it’s completely tasteless, and I’m not sure what’s been genetically modified or treated with poisonous pesticides. We’ve grown tomatoes in pots with great success a few years ago, and this time we’re going to turn our front garden bed and back deck into a herb and vegetable garden. We plan to use our newly acquired (free) deep freeze to freeze our home-grown vegetables. What we can’t freeze, we’ll can. Right now, our deck looks like this
This week, Mr. Lifeology is going to paint the deck – right now it’s very slippery – and then on the weekend we’re going to buy all the pots and wire and soil and hanging baskets and seedlings that we need to start our herbs and vegetables. We also have a garden bed in the front that we’ll be growing some herbs and flowers, garlic and green onions and a Clematis for privacy – and beauty, of course. We’ve already killed the weeds with a mixture of 1 gallon of vinegar, 2 cups Epsom Salts and 1/4 cup of dish soap.
It really does work!! This is my garden bed 2 days after spraying with this mixture
All the weeds are complete dead! I can’t wait to get started. Follow along and, please, any gardening advice would be most welcome – a seasoned gardener I am not!
Well, the sun’s comes out, so a cold beer and then a walk for my dogs!