Monday, March 2, 2015

This weeks insourcing #4.....

Well I'd call the last week kind of patchy.
Do you get those patchy weeks, where for every step you take forward, you take two backwards? That was my week last week.
Amongst my insourcing savings were the following....
I had a huge meal prepping session and probably saved myself anything up to $100 in similar purchased supermarket items and definitely saved $300 on a restaurant meal. Our friends came to us for Pork Belly Roast and Garlic Mash and they saved money too.
I hemmed two dresses, shortened two pairs of pants that were too long for me, replaced a button, and took up a recently purchased t-shirt that on me was more like a dress as I'm a shortie. Savings of around $100 on paying for similar alterations done at the dry cleaner.
I made a bulk batch of béchamel sauce. This is so handy to have on hand, and means that we can have a seafood mornay, or chicken and corn crepes in an instant. Savings of $40 on instant takeaway meals!
I made agar-agar jelly to cut into cubes to add to my daughters iced tea, Bubble Tea style. We're yet to work out exactly what those 'bubbles' are but we think they're some sort of sago pearls, so I'll be looking into that too. This saves $6 a couple of times a week to satisfy her cravings. I know that sounds insignificant, but she's saving for spending money for our holiday in June, and $18 a week for her, means another $250 or so for her to spend at Harrods, so it's not to be sneezed at! Especially with currency conversion rates just now :(
I bought frozen edamame beans from a Japanese grocer to steam for afternoon tea. We love these and eat them in place of potato much healthier, and at $6 for a tiny container from the Japanese Sushi place, we're saving up to $30.
I planted some basil and a chilli bush. The last basil and chilli I planted died courtesy of my black thumb. Clearly I didn't inherit that gene from Mum! Savings on bought herbs and chilli and bought Thai inspired takeaway....let's say $50.
And finally I conjured up a wedding cake out of nowhere and with just three days notice.
This cost under $70 and fed 50 guests with some left over to take home.
Here's how I made the Broke and Busy Persons Wedding Cake...
Disclaimer....this is labelled the Broke and Busy Persons wedding cake, so there's not much in the way of 'I made it from scratch'.
This is really more of an exercise in what anyone can do with very little in the way of time or money, or perhaps even, skill!

My cake saved the Bride & Groom about $400 on a similar professional cake, so that brings my tally to around the $1000 mark for all I achieved this week. I'm happy.
This cake is the product of the following ingredients....
3 vanilla cake mixes made as per instructions in a 45cm round cake tin
1 kg of bought fondant
1 batch of Wilton humidity proof buttercream (which I actually did make from scratch!)
1 purchased spray of fondant flowers
1 green satin ribbon
1 cake board
So on Day 1, the cake was baked and chilled for a day ( time to do anything else!).
On Day 2, the buttercream crumb coat was applied and chilled for one hour, before I applied a second thicker coat, and chilled it again. This gave me a something to carve and mold into nice smooth surfaces and edges before applying the fondant. I like this Youtube tutorial for how to....
The whole thing chilled again overnight.
Day 3 was spent wrestling with fondant, and believe me, it is a wrestle, draping it over the cake and trimming it, and brushing it with edible pearl dust, which I love.
The final touches of the ribbon, rings, and flower spray were added when the cake was transported to it's final display spot on the wedding table.
The whole thing cost less than $70. I'm not sure how much a similar professional cake would cost, but I pretty much guarantee it wouldn't be $70!
My point is, that we all think these things need to be professional and perfect, and we outlay hundreds of dollars on something that's only going to be eaten at the end of the day anyway. And if perfection is a priority for you, then that's fine.
But for my brother and his new wife, budget was paramount, and they were thrilled with their cake.
With a bit of money, a lot of courage, and not too much effort, I was able to create something pretty for them, and I was proud of myself.
This cake is not perfect. But it was made with love. And the wedding was full of love and celebration too. Therein lies the 'perfection'.
Go on. Be brave. If I can do it, you can too.


  1. Beautiful cake Mimi, and I so agree with what you say.Im sure your dear brother and new sister in law will remember the personal touches to their wedding day, in years to come :-)
    Many years ago my dear great aunt remarried at 82 and I had a 10month old at the time.I made her a heart shaped wedding cake in palest pink. It wasn't perfect but made with love as yours was. She also made me a heart shaped wedding cake in white 40 years ago. Sadly she has been gone a good while now but the memories Ive had with her are still with me. We were very close.Thankyou for reminding me... Love Maria xx

    1. Oh gorgeous that your great aunt remarried at the age of 82! It just goes to show that love knows no boundaries. And that you made her a pale pink heart shaped cake just makes me sigh....that is beautiful. I'm glad that my cake, reminded you of the cake you made for your darling Great

  2. I'm intrigued by this insourcing. Forgive me, as sometimes I'm blonder than I pay to be:)
    So do you transfer the money you would of spent to a savings acct? Or take it out of the bank and save?
    I spend MUCH less if I get cash out and spend that. Big fan of Dave Ramsey.
    Your blog is delightful. I love hearing about things that are unique to you and your country.
    Wishing it was summer here! Bitterly cold in Minnesota, BUT the Sun is shining !

    1. Hi Lori, and welcome. We kind of do the reverse, and it sounds like you do too, and I'll be posting more on that soon. The insourcing, just gives us a standard of living, that would otherwise cost us a fortune. We live REALLY well, believe me, but I give myself a set budget for food, and our general expenses and it's deliberately lean. Everything else gets transferred to an account not accessible by ATM, and stays put. If we need to access it, we have to actually get online and transfer the money, and mostly that gives us enough time to rethink the purchase. We refer to our money primarily as 'savings' not 'earnings' because the term 'earnings' implies that having 'earned', we 'deserve' to spend. We just don't see the sense in funding someone elses retirement or holiday or fab new home and car. We'd prefer to fund our own! I am primarily a stay at home Mum, and I find that putting a value on what I do in the home, is a constant reminder of what I would have to earn at a job outside of home, to provide the same standard of living. It's very useful and surprising a lot of the time! But as I say, more on that soon. I've heard about the cold where you are. I wouldn't survive! 21C or 70F in your temperature, sees me running for a cardigan and slippers! I'll look forward to seeing more of you....Mimi xxx

  3. Oh,and also, you refer to loving to travel, well. We do also.
    Do you have post about that? How you save, tips etc?
    Anything is most appreciated!

    1. Hi again Lori :) We have many strategies for funding our travels and I'll be sharing those

  4. Goodness Mimi, what a week you have had!! Busy, busy, busy!! Ah, you are just going into fall and we here in the Northern US are so sick of winter, snow, and ice storms! It sounds wonderful to be planting in the garden, even with a black thumb lol. Your cake is just gorgeous, I am sure the wedding was delightful too. Could you elaborate on what you did for your prep work? I am thinking you chopped and froze onions, carrots, green peppers? And I love garlic mash, but did you really eat an actual pork belly roast? I cook a pork roast, but not a pork belly. Great post today!! Hugs, Nana

    1. Hi Nana...As I said to Lori, above, I would just curl up and hibernate in your Winter! 70F is chilly here in Sunny Queensland! Thankyou for your comments on the cake. It was pretty, wasn't it. As for my prepping, yes I do all of that, but I also cut up meat sold as roasts, into schnitzel, casserole cubes and stir fry, joint and marinate chickens for quick meals, poach chicken breasts for lunches and dinners, bake, make cookie dough and freeze it and so on. My recent post on Preparing Meals Ahead is a good indicator of what I get up! And yes we eat pork belly roast and braised. It's a popular restaurant meal here and just so lush and tender. I'll post my recipe soon. Thankyou for your lovely comments...Mimi xxx


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx