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27 January 2009

A week's menu

A reader asked recently if I'd write a post about what we eat during the week. I'm happy to do that but I think you'll see by our list that we're plain and simple people. I always cook from scratch and I tend to cook in a similar way to my mother and grandmother. We do have the occasional meal they wouldn't have known how to cook, but they're rare and I feel most comfortable with old-fashioned foods.

If you're still learning to cook, I've written a post here about developing flavour in food without adding anything artificial. I believe it's best to understand how flavours work together and how food cooks than to follow a recipe to the letter. If you have that deeper understanding, you'll be able to expand beyond your recipes and create meals that suit your family and your budget while getting the best from the food.

We usually have the same lunch - homemade bread sandwiches with salad, plus either cheese, tuna, salmon or boiled egg. Once a week we'll have scones instead of bread. We drink either tea or a cold cordial or water. I won't keep repeating that in the list below.

Tea and toast

Macaroni and cheese with garden salad. Made enough for two nights.
Orange buttermilk cake

Fried eggs on toast and tea

Macaroni and cheese with garden salad
Orange buttermilk cake with buttermilk ice cream

Scrambled eggs with herbs on toast and tea

Homemade pizza with cheese, tomato, mushrooms, caramelised onions on top, and a beer
Fresh peaches

Baked beans on toast and tea

Boiled eggs with fresh garden salad and potatoes
Buttermilk ice cream with a spoon of freshly made strawberry jam on top

Crumpets and honey with tea

Fresh snapper (fish) with potato salad and garden salad
Yoghurt with strawberries

Boiled eggs and toast soldiers, and tea

Beef stew with mashed potatoes and wax beans - made enough for two nights

Baked beans on toast, and tea

Beef stew with herb dumplings. The recipe for beef stew is in the developing flavours link above.
Canned peaches and ice cream

As you can see our vegetables were mostly in the form of salads and potatoes. We don't have much growing at the moment but this will improve when we do our big March planting. We still have potatoes from the last harvest, golden nugget pumpkins, wax beans, bok choi, lettuce, cucumbers, capsicum (peppers) and herbs, so our meals are fashioned around what we have produced. The salads are supplemented with home preserved beetroot and bread and butter cucumbers. I am buying tomatoes and onions at the moment.

So, there you have it. It's not fancy but it's usually fresh and delicious and it keeps us going. We are both pretty healthy. Hanno takes medication for high blood pressure but I'm not on any medication. I hope you get some ideas for your own meals from this meagre sample. Cooking from scratch, especially if you have fresh produce, is a very healthy way to cook.

ADDITION: Margaret has written a post about setting up a buddy system to help people learn how to carry out various household tasks, It's well worth a read.


  1. Thank you so have given me some ideas :) I enjoy your blog because you give such wonderful details in how to live a simple, frugal, and beautiful life.

    (Mom to six little ones)

  2. Yummo that sounds like a wonderful menu.
    Still reading every day
    The Other Rhonda

  3. Rhonda, just a quick word to say that I have linked your site to a post I have done on what we can do to help those facing difficulties at the moment. I hope you don't mind. I am throwing out the idea that we can maybe set up a buddy system to help those who would like to learn some basic skills. I also want to say how very helpful I have found my visits here. Thank you for all the work you put in, Margaret

  4. Looks delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  5. WHAT DELIGHT! I'll have to come over to your house (oceans away) to eat!

    Now, I thought you were a vegetarian??

    On another note, I LOVE everything you write. There is something so comforting about the topics covered, and the way you approach them. I can only imagine you must be a wonderful person.

  6. Yum! but what are toast soldiers?

  7. It all sounds deliciously fresh and flavoursome...yum!
    I have my hens eggs due to hatch tomorrow...
    Any tips or ideas???I have never done hatching before??
    We are having a week of high temps 38 and 39 (100's)
    So anything advice wise from anyone would be appreciated.

  8. Hi Rhonda Jean :) Popping in today to catch up and wanted to send you a hug. Love, Q

  9. Thanks for the menu ideas Rhonda. And Margaret - thanks for the list of new sites for me to browse around!! I love seeing other peoples way of living.

  10. Rhonda, I just found your site a few days ago. What a wealth of information. Thank you for the time you spend writing and your heart for others. I'm reading archived material and sending your link on to a friend whose husband just lost his job. I see by the comments other readers leave that we are all in these tough times together. . . . . . .We hope to have chickens this spring. I'm pouring over your advice. This is all new to me. . . . . I'm trying to make my husband's paycheck stretch to the max. He has always been so good to want me at home. Thanks for your help.

  11. Hello ladies! Thanks you for your comments and kind wishes.

    Hello Laura! thanks for saying hello. I love knowing who is reading.

    Anon, if you read back a little way, a few months ago I started reading Nourishing Traditions and was in absolute agreement with the case presented there. We now eat grass fed, free range meat occasionally. This is for the health benefits associated with it. The meat we eat is shin beef, that breaks down with long slow cooking to give natural gelatin - which is good for arthritis. I hadn't eaten meat for ten years before that but we got back into it quite well with no upset stomachs.

    Money Funk, toast soldiers is toast cut into three equal rectangles that you can dip into a boiled egg.

    Country cupcakes, I have never been successful hatching eggs. I'm pretty sure that if the mother hen has enough space around her she will find the coolest spot to keep her brood. Make sure she has plenty of shade and cool water. Good luck!

    Hugs Quinne! Say help to your littlies for me.

  12. Thank you for sharing! Everything sounds so good :)I am new to your's a keeper! Can't wait to dig into it :)

  13. What wonderful simple meals. They sound and look so good. I have never heard of buttermilk ice cream, but it sounds absolutely wonderful. I will have to google it for a recipe Thank you again for a wonderful post. and I just loved yesterday's. It IS so easy to save, if people just will.
    Thank you,

  14. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Mmmm, that beetroot looks yummy! I'm still waiting on mine to grow bigger. Have you tried it grated fresh on a lettuce salad - it's really good!
    I think I'm an old-fashioned cook too - taking after my mother and grandmothers. I marvel at the fancy meals some of my friends turn out and I've tried a few, but I always come back to the old favourites, and at this time of our lives when we are so busy with little ones, the old favourites don't take too long to put together. I'd love to be able to experiment more though with some of those fancy cookbooks that are around.
    Love coming here to your site. It is like visiting with a favourite relative in a familiar place with cosy times and good advice. :o)
    Rachel L from NZ

  15. Rachel, I just visited your blog to see Alice. She is so beautiful. Take care love.

  16. Good morning Rhonda. I've saved money and time and circumvented many a takeaway meal since I began menu planning. I am yet to write down this week's menu but it's in my head:
    Mon: Leftovers from BBQ lunch
    Tues: Cold honey&sesame chicken (cooked yesterday my day off), coleslaw, green salad followed by yoghurt with berries.
    Weds:New recipe for the week: beetroot (cooked yesterday my day off), pumpkin and polenta salad.
    Fruit dessert.
    Thurs: Veal with baby eggplant & boccocini, baked potatoes, broccolini
    Fri: Homemade vegie pizza.

  17. Everything sounds great, Rhonda...but mostly I am just really jealous of the weather you get to have. It is so cold here...brings tears to my eyes.
    I am longing to be out in the garden!

  18. What a delicious week!

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Rhonda Thank you for menu I love the idea of baked beans and toast i have never heard of it in US but my husband would love it. take care Debra Lynn

  20. Everything sounds delicious! I love that your food is home grown and not pretentious -- just good, healthy home cooking! Sometimes I think we forget that simple cooking is delicious (and better for us!) Great post!


  21. Thank you for your blog Rhonda, it's so lovely..and really, really helpful :)

  22. You are so inspiring. I love all the food you showed us and also how you try to include everything in your life as way to be happy.

    Thank you

  23. MMmmm that macaroni and cheese looks delicious - just popped by to let you know I made some scones, very successful....also managed to find some Devon cream so I am a very happy lady right now! :)

  24. Hello,I was reading that you eat the 'Nourishing traditions" way, well if you don't mind, have you lost or gained any weight since changing your diet?

  25. true blessings, we haven't noticed any difference in our weight but it's really only the occasional meat meal that we are eating so far. We're also soaking grains, many of the recipes are close to what I was already cooking.

  26. Rhonda, Your beef stew with dumplings looks wonderful. I have saved a copy of it to try out. Thanks for another informative post.


  27. Hi Rhonda,
    Great menu. I've been looking for ideas for meatless meels. I checked out you vegetable soup recipe and am wondering what a swede is? Also (I know I sound dumb, but I always thought a parsnip & a turnip were the same thing (no, I've never eaten either!). Also, when you make the herb dumplings with the beef stew, do you cook the dumplings on top of the stew?

  28. Hi Rhonda,

    I just wanted to suggest that all of your readers could do something like this for a kitchen table discussion. I think food is one of those areas that are a great place to start in changing how you live-but everyone is at different stages. I think it would be great if we could get inspiration from people in a similar situation.

  29. Rhonda -

    Thanks for that post, it gave me a couple of 'new' ideas - something you can never have enough of when it comes to cooking! :-)

  30. Joanna, the only stupid question is the one that goes unasked. If you're American, you would know a swede as a rutabaga. It's a type of turnip.

    A parsnip looks like a large creamy coloured carrot, whereas the common turnip is round with a purple top.

    Yes, the dumplings are gently placed on the top of the stew and the steam and heat cook them.

  31. A good post. However I notice that whilst you eat a garden salad (lettuce, tomatoes) just about every day you don't have much in the way of vegetables rich in antioxidants. Here in the UK we're constantly advised to eat our "5 a day" which is at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables. These should be rich in antioxidants e.g. the darker coloured fruit and veg. There is very little nourishment weight for weight in lettuce!
    Paula in the UK

  32. Lovely as ever. How about soup? We love that... and it lasts for days. Your beef stew and dumplings looks so yummy that I'm going to have to make it soon!

  33. Paula, you're wrong about lettuce. It's a source of antioxidants vit A and C as well and calcium, iron and potassium. Tomatoes as well are a rich source of antioxidants, as is beetroot, garlic, black tea and berries. All eaten by us last week as well as potatoes, beans, carrots and celery (in the stew).

    Ladybird, we eat a lot of soup in winter, in fact our favourite winter meal is either vegetable and barley soup or pea soup. I hope you enjoy your stew. :- )

  34. Yummy! I just did two posts about my pantries, I think you'll enjoy. :)

  35. Thank you for sharing. I guess that there is a part of me that thinks I absolutely need to make something new and exciting every night of the week. In reality, I crave simple, wholesome foods and meals like yours. I don't know who I'm kidding, my husband has eaten the same thing for lunch at work every day for the past year and a half and can't imagine life any other way- turkey and cheese with mayo, a can of soda, peanut butter and crackers, and a granola bar. Same thing every day, can you imagine! And I think I have to make something impressive and new every night!!! Ha! Seeing your post made me realize how much I want and should throw complexity out the window. :) Thank you.

  36. Just a thank you for your constant inspiration.Although I'm no kid I am still striving to maintain a very independent lifestyle.We spent the month of January eating from our pantry it was quite an experience.Simple eating is a plus to an uncluttered life.

  37. Morning Rhonda,

    I am wondering if you will share your Macaroni and cheese recipe?
    I love and cook all of your recipes, they are all second to none. I absolutely love home cooked meals and so do my family.

    (Bris nth, Australia)

  38. hi
    I am very very regular on your blog and read your back dated posts over and over again to get inspired
    Thanks for your lovely writing...
    can you tell me if you eat between meals too and if yes what is it that is normally eat


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