Spendless Sunday + Cous Cous Salad

Well, after my last post, B and I did a whirlwind trip back to Orange to do a day’s work in a vineyard there as we were still waiting on the Bathurst grapes to ripen. When we got back to the campsite at the bottom of Mt. Canobalas, it was completely deserted…it was really eerie. Just a week earlier, there were upwards of 60 backpackers there with pretty established campsites. Now not a trace! We were jumping to all kinds of conclusions like serial backpacker murderers, but discovered that everybody had been moved on due to noise and apparent pollution threats to the creek that was running behind the camp. An article in the local paper had claimed there was excessive rubbish, which was rubbish – the fact was that the council was not emptying the one bin on site. In the two weeks we spent there, it wasn’t emptied once, and so campers were putting bags next to the bin. Anyway, it was a bit of a shame as it was a really nice spot and had a good vibe.

Driving down the highway on the way back to Orange, we spotted a little Jack Russell running across the road. Oh gosh! – we thought he would get squished for sure, so we pulled over and he came running excitedly up to us. B nicknamed him Muscle Russell as he had little short legs and a stocky body. We put him into the van and drove around looking for his home.

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As we were in the country, houses were few and far between so we expected that he hadn’t come too far. We found a house with a little dog house (but no dog) and Muscle Russell seemed right at home, running over to a drink bowl straight away. Nobody was home, so we left a note explaining what had happened and that if Muscle Russell wasn’t theirs, hopefully they knew which neighbour he belonged to. We got in the van to leave, when suddenly Muscle Russell appeared on the driveway in front of us! He had escaped from a little hole under the fence – oh yes, he knew this house too well. We took him back and blocked up the hole and bid him farewell. I think he really wanted to come on a trip with us though….little cutie!

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Anyway, we are back in Bathurst now and have almost a full week of work lined up at various vineyards at the moment, which is exciting. We’ve got every day except Tuesday booked so we’re pretty psyched. All the people we’ve come across in Bathurst have been so helpful and willing to give us work, it’s great! We’re staying at a free campsite until we start work tomorrow, so as to minimise the cost to us. We can deal without showers for a couple of days anyway. We went to the monthly farmers markets yesterday at the showgrounds and picked up a few little goodies for the next few days meals. There was so much yummy stuff, but having no refrigeration capacities at the moment, we had to be a bit more reserved.

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B cooked a delicious warm potato and kale salad last night with, will definitely be making it again in the future. As we’ve been travelling around and doing work where we can, we have also become really conscious of the spending we do. Living in the van, we obviously have a limited amount of space and while we do have some ‘leisure’ objects (guitar, craft materials, books), we have to be careful that we don’t accumulate useless clutter. So far, we have been doing well – swapping books we read for new ones and questioning any purchases we do make as to whether we do really need them – whether they will improve our quality of life immensely or not. At the moment, we have our eyes set on some solar panels for the van, which would mean we could keep our fridge running when we are not at a powered campsite and therefore not have to throw away some of our food when it goes bad (and not have a stinky fridge!) We are also keen to get some bikes to hook onto the van so we can ride about the place.

Anyway, back to the point – we declared today to be ‘Spendless Sunday’, or ‘no money sund-y’, a day for not spending! We walked into town and visited the art gallery as they’d put up a new exhibition, with a series of Goya etchings which was cool to see. We popped into the library to do some blogging, and then we’re going to have a picnic in one of the lush parks here. We were going to pack a raw zucchini pasta for our picnic, only to find that the zucchinis were mushy and mouldy…yuck. I scrounged around the cupboards, determined to stick to spendless sundays and whipped up some cous cous salad. Lacking a few ingredients to what I would normally make, but yummy nevertheless.

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Simple Cous Cous Salad

100g wholemeal cous cous
150ml water
1/2 massell veg stock cube
1 tsp oil
1 tsp nuttelex
1/2 can of chickpeas or beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
Handful of cherry tomatoes
Four stalks of kale, stems removed and chopped finely
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
3/4 tsp Smoked paprika

Bring water, stock, and oil to the boil in a saucepan.

Take of heat, stir in cous cous and cover. Leave for a couple of minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Stir through nuttelex. Mix in onion, beans tomatoes and kale. Add spices and lemon juice and stir through.

YUM! Ordinarily, I’d add some more veggies – shredded carrot, or corn, or spinach, and some coriander or parsley. But this is certainly edible and with no extra expenditure!

Ooh…I almost forgot. B found a cute little frog last night! Eeee….! He was so cute and jumpy.

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