Friday, October 24, 2014

Food Waste Friday (and a new appliance!)

Every Friday I join in with The Frugal Girl and Simply Being Mum to confess any food I have wasted during the week, in the hope of reducing my food waste through increased awareness of what is in my fridge (and public accountability!)

Firstly, I apologise for my absence! We have had school holidays and have been busy having fun! (another post on that later :) )

Unfortunately, I did have some waste this week.

Waste Item 1: A squishy Orange! It looked fine in the bag, then I picked it up...

Waste Item 2: A squishy Kiwifruit. Again, it looked fine in the fruit bowl! I need to remember to check ALL the fruit before picking one up, so as to use up the ripest first.

I did have to make a save along the way:

Save 1: Greek Yogurt
Once again I had some Greek yogurt about to go past it's best. Once again, muffins solved this problem :)

Now for the fridge photo:

You may notice something new on my middle shelf. That's right! Supermarket bread! Only a few weeks ago I was sharing my favourite recipe for Simple Bread, but, in typical Clare fashion, shortly afterwards I changed it! 

While we were on holiday the kids ate supermarket bread and, as usual,  they loved it. They requested politely that I start buying them supermarket bread again, and with less work for me, and at only $1 a loaf, who am I to argue? Especially as my stand mixer was on it's last legs!

Which led to the purchase of my new favourite appliance (not quite pushing the vacuum cleaner out of top spot...I will write about my vacuum another day!): The Breadmaker!

I never thought I wanted a bread maker, but it really has made the process so much easier. It's taken me a few weeks to get the hang of it and perfect my recipe, but it seems to be working!

So, not a perfect week waste-wise, but not too bad :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Food Waste Friday

Every Friday I join in with The Frugal Girl and Simply Being Mum to confess any food I have wasted during the week, in the hope of reducing my food waste through increased awareness of what is in my fridge (and public accountability!)

Or No Food Waste Friday!! There was no food waste here this week! Hooray!

I did have to make a couple of saves along the way:

Save 1: Greek Yogurt
Once again I had some Greek yogurt about to go past it's best. Muffins solved this problem, and the yogurt made them especially fluffy :)k

Save 2: Bread crusts
These were turned into rough, rustic crumbs and frozen.

It would appear all this writing down of my food waste is working :) Here's hoping for another food waste free week next week!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Food Waste Friday

Every Friday I join in with The Frugal Girl and Simply Being Mum to confess any food I have wasted during the week, in the hope of reducing my food waste through increased awareness of what is in my fridge (and public accountability!)

This week, despite being sick, I have managed to keep my food waste to a minimum! I am so happy about this because, in the past, when I have been sick all attempts to minimize food waste have gone out the window!

The fridge this week: Nothing out of the ordinary in here this week. Everything is in date and in good condition and has a use planned for it.

Top Shelf: Flax seeds, the much coveted chocolate and M&M's boxes have been joined by a container of chocolate finger biscuits (it was one of those weeks!),  hummus, yogurts.

Middle Shelf: this is my 'leftovers' shelf housing: vegetables for lunch, half an orange ready to go for my daughter's lunch tomorrow, a container filled with tinned peaches,  and the containers we use to store lemon halves.

Bottom shelf: eggs, all in date.

Drawers: vegetables on the left, fruit on the right, all still in good condition

Door: Spreads, cheese, condiments, water, rice milk, milk, all still in good condition. The lite milk has been joined by some pink milk this week!

Now onto the food waste and some saves!

Waste Item 1: Left over stir-fry that was supposed to be for lunch on Monday. I was feeling completely off my food and the thought of eating eggs and vegetables for lunch was just too much! I had a jam sandwich instead (and a chocolate biscuit...not great for my immune system, but it's what I felt like!)

Waste Item 2: A lemon. It was in a bag in the fridge and from the top it looked fine! When I lifted it up however, it had turned. It has been a good reminder to check ALL the lemons instead of just grabbing one when I'm making dinner, and using up the ripest one first!

Waste Item 3: An orange! Again, in a bag in the fridge. 

Waste Item 4:  There was a serving of yogurt in the bottom of the container that had gone past it's use-by date. Again, when I was sick I really didn't feel like eating it. Normally this wouldn't happen because I love Greek yogurt! (and I forgot to photograph it...)

But once again there was a save!

Save Item 1:  Hummus again! Writing on the lid is really working for me! We had a tub that was about to be past it's best, and once again it made it onto our dinner plates as an added condiment. The kids actually exclaimed 'Ooh! hummus! I love hummus!' when they saw it, so I may have to do it more often!

I definitely think that being mindful of my food waste during the week and actually writing it down is working! Here's to another reasonable (or better!) food waste week next week!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Simple Bread

I mentioned briefly in my Food Waste Friday post that I make my own bread every day. Making bread has somehow got labeled as a 'difficult' task, but, in my opinion, that couldn't be further from the truth! I usually mix my bread just before I start making dinner and in 2 and a half hours it is done, all while I have been home doing other things.  If I know I am going to be out or especially busy the next day, I make two at once, and there is very little hands-on time required.

As well as, in our opinion, tasting far superior to supermarket bread, an added bonus we have noticed is the absence of the 'intestinal discomfort' that so often accompanies mass produced bread products. We can eat home-made bread with no side-effects (and it's cheaper!)

The recipe I use was inspired by this recipe at, but I have tweaked it a little over time to make it more to my liking.


500g High Grade Flour
a pinch of salt (or to taste, I hardly use any)
2 teaspoons (around 10g) active yeast
375ml lukewarm water
Olive oil

Measure 500g High Grade Flour into the bowl of a stand mixer. (of course, you can mix and knead by hand, but it is a bit more work!) Add the salt, yeast and water.

Set your stand mixer to 'Fold' and, using a dough hook, knead for roughly 10 minutes, or until a smooth dough is formed.

Pour 1 - 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a large ceramic bowl.
Remove the dough from the mixer and roll in the olive oil until well coated. Add more oil if necessary.

Cover the bowl with either plastic wrap or a tea towel and stand in a draught-free place to rise for 60 minutes. It should roughly double in size.

Either line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper, or grease the loaf tin thoroughly with oil or butter.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C (around 400F)

Uncover the dough and punch it in the middle to release the excess gas then knead for a couple of minutes in the bowl until it is back to it's original size again. 

Place the smooth dough ball into the loaf pan and flatten slightly to fill the tin. Stand in a warm, draught-free place for 20 minutes. 

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes (this may vary depending on the oven), then remove and place on a cooling rack until cool. Store in an air-tight container. 

There you have it!

Are you a regular bread baker? Do you have a favourite recipe? Share in the comments!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Food Waste Friday

Every Friday I join in with The Frugal Girl and Simply Being Mum to confess any food I have wasted during the week, in the hope of reducing my food waste through increased awareness of what is in my fridge (and public accountability!)

First off, after having spent the last few years snooping around SimplyBeingMum's fridge, I thought it was only fair to do the grand tour of mine :)

Top Shelf: Flax seeds, the much coveted chocolate and M&M's boxes (though I have noticed the chocolate box is nearly empty! Must.not.hyperventilate!), hummus, yogurts (a small container with cheese in it that  my daughter forgot to take to school)

Middle Shelf: this is my 'leftovers' shelf housing: tomato soup, vegetables for lunch, tofu for my Husband's dinner, half an orange ready to go for my daughter's lunch tomorrow and a container that will soon house half a lemon.

Bottom shelf: This shelf is reserved for eggs and meat (either fresh or defrosting, like these pork medallions are).

Drawers: vegetables on the left, fruit on the right, all still in good condition

Door: Spreads, cheese, condiments, water, rice milk, milk, all still in good condition.

Now onto the food waste and some saves!

I really though I was going to do brilliantly this week, what with my renewed enthusiasm for sharing my waste online! I am somewhat of an 'achiever' and I was determined to have no waste!
Then I cleaned out my fridge...

Waste Item 1:

I was so annoyed about this one! I am usually so careful about checking the dates when I buy something, but I was doing the grocery shop in a hurry and I only glanced at the date, thought 'that looks ok' then realised when I got home that I only had one week to use them all up! Needless to say it didn't happen and half the box ended up being disposed of after the best before date.

Waste Item 2: half a lemon that got forgotten about. (but I didn't photograph that)

But I did have some good saves!

Save Item 1: Being mindful of my food waste, and noticing a tub of hummus that was about to expire led to an extra condiment being dished up on my children's dinner plates. Chicken, with tomato sauce AND hummus :) Both being hummus fans, this was a big hit and it looks to become a regular addition to their dinner plates!

I have also started writing when I need to use it up by on the lid with a sharpie so if I see it's time is nearly up, I can use it up in a hurry.

Save Item 2: No photo of this one, but I managed a save with some stale bread. Again, knowing I was going to have to own up to my food waste made me more mindful of it during the week. I make my own bread every day and when slicing it up I had made the crusts at the end a bit large. My husband is the only one who likes eating the crusts and he was away, so I decided to use them to make a crumb topping for our vegetables for dinner.  Rather than getting out the food processor from the bottom cupboard, I just made 'rustic' crumbs by crumbling them up with my fingers. The bonus of stale home-made bread is that it crumbles easily and they went very crispy in the oven, topped with a little cheese :)

So, not the perfect week I was hoping for, but much better than I would have done without the motivation of accountability! Here's hoping for another almost (or completely!) waste free week next week!


Saturday, September 13, 2014

How I stay organised

I have tried so many different ways of staying organised and on top of things at home over the years!

Over the last 15 years or so I have worked hard to teach myself to be organised and implement systems that keep surfaces clear and jobs completed, both at work and at home. At work I am very focused, but at home I am somewhat of a 'scattered' thinker and without systems in place, jobs don't get done! I'm not fantastic at sticking to my systems all the time and I often use the 'scheduled' parts as a guide rather than strictly following times, but no one has ever run out of underwear (whew!) and everyone always gets fed, so I must be doing alright :)

These are my current favourite ways of organising my jobs, calendar and the miscellaneous pieces of paper that are inclined to disappear when no one is looking!

Before I made any schedules or planners I made some goals which I display on the inside of the wardrobe door so I can be reminded of the things I want to achieve. I know I won't achieve all of them at once, but I find being reminded of them helpful as I know where I am heading.

Flowing on from that is the schedule displayed on the kitchen wall that gives us a detailed outline of what we need to do to get important things (like getting to school and getting to bed) done on time. I definitely don't always stick to these timings! Right after I made this chart I came down with a nasty virus that left me absolutely exhausted and both kids came down with a different virus and one came down with a throat infection! Needless to say our morning routine hasn't looked much like this as we have been trying to get as much sleep as possible to recover! This has been one of the times I have used this as a 'suggestion' rather than a schedule :) But as we did something similar last school term with morning timings, I know it does work really well for us when we are all fit and healthy! As someone who is not naturally a morning person, having the schedule and 'trying' to stick to it is more successful than not using one at all :)

This is the job planner I keep on the kitchen wall to help me make sure everything that needs doing gets done in terms of laundry, cleaning and lunch preparation. I originally decided to display it there so that if I am not home or am unwell my husband and kids know what jobs need to be done, but now they can see it, they are helping most of the time anyway! The kids particularly enjoy setting out the placemats and the napkins at dinner time.

For to-do list items, I have a diary that sits on top of the printer (sometimes on the kitchen bench) that I use to record what needs doing in terms of errands and general jobs and cross them out as I go (which I have always found very satisfying!)

One of my favourite organisational tools is my version of Karen Ehman's Brain in a Binder .
With so many notices coming home from school and birthday invitations and such things, I find it so much easier to keep them in one place. 

I use a ring binder with plastic folders and plastic sleeves inside to hold important documents until the are no longer relevant. 

I have one of these fantastic plastic folder sleeves for each person, plus one for receipts, shopping lists, and sections for craft ideas, cleaning tips, takeaway menus and calendars (which we display on the fridge and I store here when finished. We use a print out of our Google calendar, so we have it on our computer and phones too, but things always end up getting added in pencil and I like to have a record of them).  I love knowing where everything is and it makes finding things so much simpler!

Lastly, I keep a shopping list in a plastic sleeve in the pantry. I am terrible at saying 'oh dear we've nearly run out of  'xyz', but not writing it down and then forgetting when it comes time to make my shopping list on Tuesday night. By having one out and ready to go, I record things as soon as I notice they need to go on the list. (and yes, I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to making my shopping lists. I loathe forgetting things and having to go to the supermarket again!)

So there you have it! My organising systems, for the moment, until they change again :)

I really enjoyed Amy Hack's Life's youtube video about how she uses her filofax, and I am keen to try using one myself, like a mini version of my 'brain in a binder'. I'll let you know how it goes! 

Do you have any organisational tips or tricks that work brilliantly in your home? Please share them in the comments :) 


Friday, September 12, 2014

I'm back!

I originally started Doing it Simply in 2012 to communicate and share with other simple living enthusiasts and aspiring minimalists, but, ironically, my desire to simplify my life led me to close down my blog! 

But now I'm back and starting afresh for the simple reason that I really need accountability and community to keep me on track! 

Doing it Simply focuses on our attempts at embracing a kind of 'moderate-minimalist' way of living, an intentionally simple lifestyle.  The blog will feature ideas on (amongst other things): 

  • decluttering (I love the William Morris quote "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” and this has inspired many a decluttering frenzy!)*
  • systems and routines that help make life simpler at home, 
  • ideas for simple family fun 
  • and every week I will be participating in Food Waste Friday over at and
*disclaimer: Our choice to live with less stuff is certainly not a judgement on other people's lifestyle choices. This is what works for us at the moment. We certainly have many things that other people would consider clutter and a true minimalist would be horrified with the size of our CD collection! But that is why I believe the 'useful and beautiful' part of the Morris quote is so important. What is 'useful and beautiful' to me (I have lego displayed on my piano...) may not be to you, and vice versa :) 

Thanks for following along and I would love to hear any thoughts, tips or tricks you have for simplifying, organising and reducing your food waste in the comments!