Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


I spent a few hours today at my garden plot at the community garden as it was our monthly Working Bee. I enjoyed our meeting and look forward to pitching in some hours towards grant submissions to better our area and resources. This will also allow me to build on my fundraising skills for future job prospects.

As for my little plot, the sun was harsh and the rocket I planted 2 days ago is yellowing and withering. I have planted other produce in the last 4 weeks which is surviving. Eggplant, mint chocolate, parsley, tomato, crystal apple cucumber, Lebanese cucumber and ginger. Still no sign of radish or sunflowers poking through the ground.

Another plot owner cleaned up over the weekend and discarded 6 taro plants. I saved them from the compost heap and claimed them as my own. I aim to replant 3 and to cook and eat the others. This will be new to me as I have never purchased or cooked TARO in it's raw form before.

I've placed my foot next to the taro in the photograph for you to have an idea of the very large size. Do you have any suggestions for no fuss food preparation of these for my family? I love trying new foods however I am impatient with complicated recipes. Also after reading various information on the taro I feel nervous about toxicity if not prepared well.

Looking forward to your suggestions :-)

Stephanie at Frugal Down Under.


  1. Never heard of it. Brought from tahiti by maori's - the internet says.......so must be true. It also says wear gloves when preparing and cook well or can cause mouth and throat irritation - like artichoke? then use like spuds? one would go along way - also says not commercially grown in NZ - maybe you could sell some!

  2. This was a new plant to me. I looked it up and it turns out this is not a new plant, just a new name. We use that as an ornamental plant and call it Elephant Ears. We don't eat them. But, that is our loss, I suppose. I will be watching closely to see how your prepare them and if you like them.

  3. Hi Frugal Queen after your comment I went and did a bit of Googling. It seems to be used in so many countries in different ways, but not much in the USA, UK or Australia where the majority of my readers are from. I know a Nepalese woman who like Taro so I might share it with her and ask her to show me how to prepare it. I also have a Filipino colleague who LOVES food and to cook - so maybe he can help me out too. Both of these countries also eat the leaf which would make me very nervous.

    Hi Practical Parsimony, They do look like elephant ears. I enjoy Taro in Thai sweets here at the local markets. Dolly likes banana leaves steamed with sweet sticky rice and taro. But it's too complicated for me to make and only $1 at the market for one. I opting for an easy way to prepare them. Boiled and mashed sounds good but I want to be careful.

  4. Enlightening comments as I had never ever heard of it. But not sure if I would be willing to try it....

  5. I absolutely LOVE Taro, my favourites root veg, so very hard to come by in Melbourne. Have absolutely no idea how to cook it unfortunately! Enjoy :)

  6. I googled it and not only do they look like elephant ears, the internet says they ARE Elephant Ears. That is the name of the plant here, grown as an ornamental. lol...I did not mean that they resemble the ears of elephants. I will have to investigate a bit more. I will be looking forward to your cooking posts of taro.

  7. We have a traditional cake using taro which is known as yam cake. Not by baking but by steaming. Not hard to cook but I don't remember how to do it now. You might need to google. Or we also enjoy them by fritters like banana fritters. If you are growing them, the young stem, can be enjoyed but you have to be careful to blanch them first, the sap itch sometime. Then we use the blanched cut young stem in hot sour soup.

  8. Never heard of Taro before! Can't believe someone discarded it.

    Sft x

  9. We have so much of it growing here I am now going to look at growing them if they taste nice.

  10. Hello. I travelled in bit, and EVERY time I saw the elephant ears of growing taro or the dug-up roots and asked how to cook it, I was always told to leave it alone as it could severely iritate my mouth and digestive system unless I learned how to (respect it and) cook it like a native (which I'm not as I was born in England). I sincerely don't want to be an alarmist but perhaps careful Googling is the best approach. I retire in 30 days and am looking forward to regaining time to return to gardening, so my thoughts are always with you. Warm wishes.

  11. Just wanted to drop by and check your ok?

  12. I grow taro in my garden and I use the tubers as well as the leaves in my cooking. I take the leaves, turn them over, cut the veins down so that the leaves are almost flat, then soak yellow split peas or lentils, and blend them with salt and hot peppers (as many as you wish). Spray a pie dish with Pam, then spread this blended paste on the back of the leaves. Roll the leaves and seal with a toothpick to hold the roll together. Then I steam the rolls, 2 or 3 at a time, for about 10 minutes to cook them. Allow to cool completely. Heat 1 or 2 teaspoonfuls of oil, add mustard seeds and wait for them to pop, then pour the oil and seeds over the rolls. Cut the rolls into 1/2 inch thick discs, sprinkle grated carrot and coconut and eat as a snack.
    The tubers are cooked whole with the skin on, then I peel the skin and cut the taro into small cubes. Heat oil, add the cooked cubes, and add salt and pepper to taste and fry briefly. Yummy!


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