High rise storage, chips, and pesky cats

“More oily rag mail!” said our postie as the latest bag-full of frugal tips was heaved into our letterbox. Here are some of the gems we discovered.

Thrifty from Hamilton has a number of tips. “Gain extra storage space under a bed base that is too low by placing 5cm blocks of wood under the legs. This enabled me to fit 3 plastic under-the-bed storage boxes beneath a single bed. Boxes measure 800mm by 400mm by 170mm deep and there is 20mm clearance gap with that under my bed. The blocks used were from a decking job. Don’t go too high with the blocks – remember someone still has to climb in and out of bed!”

And this tip for keeping cats out of the garden. “Dab eucalyptus oil around the area. Cats detest smells like eucalyptus oil. I believe they don’t like the smell of vinegar either but I haven’t tried that out – only the eucalyptus oil. Reapply every few days.”

And this low-cost cleaner. “An ‘Awesome’ brand of calcium lime and rust removal is available in a green bottle (US 32 fl oz – 946 mls to us) selling for between $3-5 at some $2 shops, The Warehouse or Bin Inn. Just as good as more expensive brands. Worked well for me – I got rid of the white spots around my shower head, cleaned up the base of my taps, and removed a rust stain in the toilet bowl, all for the princely sum of $5 – and I still have 3/4 of a bottle left! As I’m flatting that is about all I’m prepared to spend.”

Gayle B from Christchurch has a super healthy snack idea. “Making kale chips has become quite popular and is easy especially with the flatter varieties. I tried the same process with silver beet and it works well. Heat the oven to 150C. I spray a flat tray with rice oil, then after cutting out the white stem I rub both sides of the silver beet on the oiled tray then sprinkle a little salt and/or Za’atar (Moroccan spices of all types are good). Cut the leaf into bite size pieces. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until crisp. If they need a little longer, turn them over.  When cooked, put them in a container with a paper towel on bottom.  My grandkids eat kale and silver beet ‘chips’ instead of the fatty variety with great enthusiasm, and they are really good as an at-work snack.”

The kale chips tip is timely, as no doubt frugal gardeners will have lots of silver beet. Fortunately, oily raggers have many great ways to use it in the kitchen.

Hammelschwanz from Whakatane says “I make a thick white sauce with whole milk and add finely pureed silver beet or spinach. The creaminess hides that ‘teeth blunting’ feeling. Serve the vegetable with mashed potatoes and a fried or poached egg. Try and add a little vegetable stock powder or nutmeg to the blended vegetable and sauce mix.”

LandP writes, “Here are the ingredients for a meal for four: 750 grams of silver beet, 2 eggs, 6 tablespoons flour, 500 grams cottage cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, and 1½ cups grated tasty cheese. “Wash the silver beet, trim and chop finely; cook and drain squeezing out excess water. Beat eggs and flour together until smooth, add silver beet, cottage cheese, salt, nutmeg and pepper combining them well. Put into a well greased 23 x 34cm baking dish sprinkling more grated cheese over the top. Bake uncovered at 180 degrees for 45 minutes; it can be eaten hot or cold. Works just as well with spinach.”

Lorraine suggests this. “This is a useful way to use as little or as much silver beet as you prefer. I add 4 leaves of silver beet chopped finely to a batter mixture of 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 or 2 eggs whisked, and milk to thin. Fry spoonfuls in a little hot oil. It’s lovely with tomato sauce, which should appeal to children.” [Who can disagree with that – adding tomato sauce to anything usually does the trick!]

And now to the questions. Rachel from Tauranga asks, “How do you feel about soda stream machines and yoghurt makers? Do they save money – are they worth it?”

Thrifty asks, “Does anyone have an economical homemade recipe for fabric softener including the amount to use per load please?”