Remember KISS

Leave a comment

We all know the KISS principle – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Sometimes I read things online or hear conversations that really leave me wondering if it is time to remind ourselves of this and, dare I say it, get back to basics.

Today I read a comment on social media from someone who wanted to know if there were any good Apps for menu planning.  I do have an iPhone and have several Apps on it but certainly do not need one to plan a menu for the week.

If you can make a decision on what to eat for dinner, make sure you have the ingredients, prepare the meal and serve it to your family then you are capable of menu planning – and it does not require an App or any other gadgetry.  A pen and back of a used envelope work quite well.

Some people plan for a month, others have a 4 week rotating menu or a set dish each week such as Monday night is pasta and so on.  Some make a fixed decision about what meal on what day or the opposite view is a list of potential meals and choose what suits each day.

2012-05-05 05

There seem to be as many ways to plan a menu as there are people but here is my take on it.

I plan meals for the coming week – 6 or 7 nights – and do it each weekend before I go shopping.  I know what staple pantry items I keep and the first step is to check for anything in the refrigerator which needs to be used up.  I also make a note of the types of meat I have in the freezer and take into account what is growing in the garden.  Basing our meals on what is seasonally available is important to me and nowhere is this more evident than what is in your own garden.  Take into account any family commitments eg: sports training, late meetings, social events.  I then make a list of meals using the ‘rules’ I have set up.  These are unique to me but I am sure you will have some of your own.  They may relate to pricing, type of food, preparation time and so on.


My ‘rules’ are that in a 7 day period there will generally be one fish, one chicken and two red meat dishes with the remainder vegetarian which will include at least 1 egg-based meal.  Also, I try to make sure I rotate the carbs in a meal and do not have rice on consecutive nights.  Our meals are gluten-free but that is really no problem for me – it is simply how we eat.  The weekday meals must be able to be made ahead and reheated or prepared quickly due to long days at work and commuting.  I generally prepare enough of at least some meals to freeze for another week.


Then it is simply a matter of roughing out a plan on a piece of paper.  From this you can then make a shopping list and buy only what you need for the week.  This will assist in eliminating wasted food and save you money.

I think the aspect of menu planning that people find the most daunting is actually thinking of meals to add to the list.  If you are struggling with this just start by keeping a notebook and writing down meals as you think of them and the meals you eat each night until you have at least 12 meals and use that as the basis of your plan.
2011-09-07 04
There is nothing particularly clever or high tech about menu planning.  It is simply a method of taking the angst out of deciding what to eat for dinner each night.  It removes the fallback position of “let’s grab a pizza/fish and chips/hamburger” and puts you in control.

Throwback Thursday


Pardon the quality of the photo but I just had to share this – now that I have finally stopped laughing.

IMGI have no recollection of this being taken and don’t think I had ever seen it until a couple of weeks ago when it was unearthed amongst my late mother-in-law’s belongings.  I believe my late father-in-law probably took the photo – apparently his trademark was heads or legs cut off or as in this photo – subjects in the corner of the frame.

The photo really has no redeeming features apart from being a pictorial record of being in a particular location.  I cannot recall the dress and do not know what is under my right arm although I do recognise the calico shoulder bag on my right shoulder.

Can you guess the location and year (approximate)?

Use and Enjoy


Even though I have decluttered quite a bit of stuff, I still have a lot of glassware and crockery in the sideboard that do not get used every day.

I recently cleaned out the drawer in the kitchen which hold the mugs and glasses.  I off-loaded some of the odd glasses from the back of the drawer which were never used as well as some plastic tumblers which were all crazed and for which we no longer have the matching jug.

I could have left the excess space but instead, I decided to add 5 coloured glasses which have been in the sideboard.

006 (2)

There were once 6 of these glasses which came from my parents’ place.  I always loved them and they were for special occasions.  It would be easy to fall into that trap but I decided that since I really like them I will use them every day.  If they get broken I will not mourn, instead, I will be glad that had the opportunity to use and enjoy them.

I have not taken the time to respond to your comments on my previous post but I will do so, hopefully tomorrow.

Storage from the Sun


When I wrote this post last month, I mentioned that we were getting a battery system for our solar panels.

Well, the installation was completed on Tuesday afternoon and since then all of our electricity consumption has been independent of the grid.

As well as the battery system we also have more panels.


This is the cabinet which holds the batteries.


Inside, it looks like this.

003The interesting thing about the system which we have is that it is a hybrid system.  In fact, we really have 2 banks of solar panels – the original ones which we have had for 5 years remain connected to the grid and any power generated is fed back to the grid with a monetary return to us.  The only things that we have connected to this system are the oven and a single outdoor power point.

Everything else is powered by the solar panels of other system during the day and at night by the excess which is stored in the batteries.

This also means that we can power our home from the batteries (except for the oven) during any periods of power outage.

Following the completion of the battery installation on Tuesday, we have had four brilliant, sunny days.  The screen shot below shows our generation and use and tells the story clearly and simply.


This shows the last month and each bar is one day.  The yellow bar shows the solar generation, the green line is power exported to the grid, the red line is our consumption and the black bar is power drawn from the grid.  The last 4 days are since the battery system has been operational.  Our solar generation is higher (we now have more panels), 100% of what we generated from the grid-connected panels was exported to the grid and most importantly, we have not used any power from the grid.

I know that every day will not be clear and sunny nor will we have as many hours of daylight as we are getting at the moment as we head towards the summer solstice.  However, we are confident that we will continue to be able to supply our power needs independently of the grid.

There are numerous new technologies available for battery storage systems so it would pay to very carefully consider your circumstances before rushing into a decision like this.  However, if you live in Australia and are interested in more details about our system please email me and I can get some information for you.

Cause for Celebration


I missed writing a blog post last night as I went out to dinner with my mother and brother.  The occasion was my mother’s birthday.

2015-11-21 01

While this year was not what is generally regarded as a ‘milestone’ birthday it was particularly significant to me.

8 months ago Mum was not in the best of health and over the next 3 months declined further until her open heart surgery in June.  We were all well aware of the very real possibility that she may not get to celebrate her next birthday.  However, the surgery was a success and Mum has recovered exceptionally well.  So, it is with great joy that we were able to to celebrate her birthday yesterday evening.

2015-11-21 02

Happy Birthday, Mum!  May there be many more.

Something Has Changed


Have you noticed something different in the last couple of blog posts?

Every so often WordPress seems to upgrade parts of the site.  It is usually in the actual platform of how bloggers can view stats or in the way editing is done.  I have never seen it affect the actual layout of a blog before.  However, there have been changes to how images are uploaded but most importantly, it seems that the images appear much larger on the blog than before.

What do you think?  Good idea or not?  Regardless of what you or I might think, it would appear that the changes are here to stay.

2011-06-17 04