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Winter Warmers

Do you work long hours? Or are you just plain old lazy in the afternoons? I get it… We all get it. Its Winter in Canberra and it’s damn cold outside!

Don’t tell me you’re one of those people whose slow-cooker is slowly but surely accruing dust in the corner cupboard?! Don’t be that person! Using your slow cooker is so easy and let me tell you, it is CHEAP as well! Not to mention, slow-cooked meals are the most perfect thing to come home too on a cold winters night! The smell of a home cooked meal (without doing much) is the most welcoming feeling.

The following recipes are my absolute favourite to do in the slow cooker and they can be tailored to your taste and to be honest I never use a recipe book once I’ve made the dish once because I am such a MasterChef that I can’t help but tweak it to suit my taste!

Chilli Con Carne

Have you actually eaten Chilli Con Carne before? Honestly, it is delectable and can be made to taste, depending on your palate! This is something different to your standard Bolognese sauce. It’s also a great vegan/vegetarian option for my veg friends out there! Honestly, how could you go past it? Spice up your Tuesday night!

Lamb Shank Soup

Seriously, lamb falling off the bone – yes, please! This is a recipe I never do the same! I use all the basics; celery, carrot, onion and rosemary but I genuinely just chuck in whatever I have that is starting to get soft in the fridge – zucchini, potato, pumpkin, mushrooms, just whatever you want! Maybe you have some 4 bean mix in the cupboard, I don’t know but put it in! I also change this from a soup to a stew, and sometimes chuck in some pasta! GO crazy people!

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore is a seriously yum Italian stew, comfort food for sure and easy peasy! Chicken, onion, herbs, veggies in a thick and rich tomato sauce.. I mean who would say no?? Talk about a luxurious winter meal! Oh, and btw I don’t mean your mums version of chicken cacciatore back in the day with overcooked chicken and sloppy veggies, this is one delicious dish and you will be going back for seconds for sure!

Mongolian Beef

I have never met a person who doesn’t like Mongolian Beef (or a vegetable alternatively)! It is spicy and sweet and all things delish! And it only takes 10 minutes to prep! This one is made for those busy parents/shift workers who have no time to prep or cook. I can promise you won’t be picking up your phone for the local Chinese takeout once you’ve made this dish – and once you’ve experimented with Asian meals in a slow cooker, the world is your oyster!

Lemon & Rosemary Chicken

This is a dish that I invented and much like the Lamb Shank Soup, you can literally chuck anything and everything into this. Whatever you have laying around in your fridge/cupboard, chuck it in! Chicken and rosemary is often questioned, but I would be willing to say it is on par with lamb and rosemary – it brings out a whole new side of chicken I’m sure you didn’t even know existed. You’re welcome. Brown the chicken, chuck in all your veggies and load it up with chicken stock and white wine and boom – sexified slow cooker chicken.

Vegan Mexican Bowl

Another option is to chuck some beans, cayenne pepper, jalapenos, carrots, onions and any other veggies you’re feeling for into your slow cooker. Add some vegetable stock and black beans and let it cook! When it’s ready, you just need to add some brown rice and top with some lime juice and salsa for an extra spice and that Mexican flavour!

I’m just going to finish by saying “you’re welcome”.

Please share your favourite meals with me by messaging our Facebook Page – I can be a creature of habit and I’d love to hear your twist on my recipes and even some of your own!

Author: Emily Walsh

Dreaming about a new car

Dreaming about a holiday, new shoes, buying a house or new car? Having some trouble saving?  Saving can be a difficult task when you have constant influx of bills, however, dreams can come true. Check out my tips and experience of how I saved for my brand-new Volkswagen Golf… along with other bits and bobs!

Step 1 – Vision boards:

To start saving you need to have a goal. Start by writing down things you want to or need to save for. Have a clear vision as to what you want to save for and how much you will need to save. Cut out places from a magazine or Images of locations you want to visit. By visualizing your goals, it can help you focus on the bigger picture. I had a cork board in my home office pinned with Golfs… Seeing that every day, reminded me what I was working towards and giving me that little extra motivation. Now it’s covered in different properties…

Step 2 – Set a date:

Setting a date of when you want to buy the car, go on your holiday or buy those new sparkly shoes is really important because you’re left accountable for something with yourself. This can also help with working out how much you need to put away each week.

Step 3 – Budgeting:

Budgeting is something that very little people enjoy. According to the Cambridge dictionary, budgeting is defined as the process of calculating how much money you must earn or save during a particular period of time, and of planning how you will spend it.

This is how you will save money. Start off by setting aside a certain amount of money each pay day. This can be anywhere between $5 to $100. Now it doesn’t seem like a lot, however, this simple change can make a big impact in the future.

To keep track of how much money you put aside, get a notebook, blank document of excel spreadsheet prepared. Write the date down and how much you set aside that pay day and have a total at the end. You could even have this sitting next to your goal amount to see how far you have to go!

Step 4 – Don’t be too hard on yourself:

Life happens… things come up that you have to pay for, celebrate or enjoy. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when you’re not able to put away the exact amount that pay period. Just work hard to hit the target the next time!

Step 5 – It’s time to purchase:

When buying your new car, house or holiday make sure you get the best deal! Speaking with friends or family who are involved or have experience in that industry can really help with securing the best deal possible.

If you have any budgeting tips or tricks, let us know by messaging us on our Facebook Page! I think we can all use some extra tips in this field.

Author: Rille Beath

Canberra’s top fivers

Canberra – Australia’s capital. The city of mouth-watering restaurants, foggy mornings, and chic hotels. This vast bushland has many attributes that make it an amazing place to visit and live. Have a read below of the top five places to go for different scenarios.

Views from the 6

If you’re looking for a scenic place that offers an unreal view of Canberra – Mount Ainslie Lookout is the place to go to. This point offers picture-perfect views of the whole of Canberra – you can see the Parliamentary Triangle, Black Mountain Tower and the vast, large mountain ranges. You can either walk up the mountain and be rewarded in the end by its beauty OR simply take the easy drive up. Fancy reading more about Mount Ainslie? Click here for the need to know info, such as – location, features, reviews and more!

Mojitos – Mo Problems

Nothing beats a good cocktail and if you’re on the hunt for a scrumptious delight – Kokomo’s is the place to head to. The hip restaurant/bar/nightclub has a Tropicana feel to it with a gorgeous, jungle décor. They offer a long list of various cocktails, whether you like salty or sweet – they’ve got the one for you. I recommend trying the “Miami Vice” slushie cocktail (one word: amaaaazing) – click here to visit their website and have a geez here for their full drinks menu.

You beauty!

Canberra has many exciting attractions, however, the number one to go to is undoubtedly the Australian National Botanic Gardens. If you’re like me and have a love for all things outdoors, this is the place for you. The gardens offer a range of native trees, flowers and other various plants. If you’re lucky, you might also spot some furry little friends – a wallaby, kangaroo or vicarious birds! Follow here to have a look at their website.

Food > Love

It’s your one-year anniversary and you’re in charge of picking the restaurant. You’re seeking a place that is upscale yet laidback and you and your partner have a strong love for all things Italian. I know the perfect place for you! Molto Italian located at Kingston Foreshore offers a wide range of Italian dishes in a gorgeous setup. Click here to have a read of their inviting website.

Feeling like a standard schnitty and chips?

If you’re looking for a central pub with hearty food and good vibes – The Old Canberra Inn is the place for you! This quaint, family-friendly locale offers the finest craft beers on tap and live music nearly every night. Did I mention Happy Hour is 4pm – 6pm, Monday – Friday?! Click here to visit their website.

I hope you enjoyed reading through Canberra’s top fivers and get a chance to pop into each of these locations. Feel free to message us on our Effective People Facebook page to let us know what you think of the above local spots!

Author: Dana-Louise Deklin

Five tax return tips

I sat down with our Accounts Team this morning to get some tips on how to best complete your tax return. Check out some of them below:

Receipts – Collect all of your receipts from work-related purchases throughout the year. It will be easier to remember what you need to claim back and provide your proof for items you may be entitled to claim.

Motor Vehicle Expenses – If you drive for work, from client to office, or office, client then home you may be entitled to claim some money back for your petrol and other car expenses. If you do travel over 5,000km, make sure you keep a log book as you will need to use this to prove your usage.

Home Office – If you regularly work from your home, you may be entitled to claim some of the expenses in running the office. This can be for things like; notebooks, keyboards, computer, files, desks, electricity etc. Within reason, of course.

Income protection insurance – The ATO allows you to claim the costs of your income protection premiums for policies taken out separately to your Superannuation. So, if you have income protection as part of your super package, the premium is not tax deductible.

Hack – This one is a fun one – if you have a handbag that you can justify as being completely used for work purposes, you may be able to claim it as a tax deduction. Check with your accountant first, but generally, for handbags under $300, you might be able to claim this as a deduction!

If you have any tips for us, please message us on our Facebook Page! Otherwise, (I know it’s over but) Happy EOFYS, happy shopping and happy times spending your hard earned tax returns!

Author: Holli Hope-Jones