Month: July 2017

Monday & The Happiness Advantage

Weekends

On Sunday afternoon I found myself wondering where on earth the weekend went to so quickly? It seemed like I had blinked and it was gone. It was such a lovely weekend though and can only be followed by a very good week.

On Saturday morning we managed to get out to a Parkrun for the first time in weeks. It started off freezing cold but once I got going with some music in my ears to set the pace, I enjoyed it so much that I actually set a personal best time! Of course, on Sunday I was feeling the after effects in my body but it was totally well worth it! Perfect way to walk off the week.

Sunday was an opportunity for SuperDad to get out and play some golf in the morning while we got to hang out with family. My sister in law made the most amazing Feijoada, which is a traditional Brazilian/Portuguese stew made with mainly beans and pork. Served with rice and freshly baked bread rolls, it was just the perfect thing for a winters day.

The happiness advantage

As I spend quite a bit of time in traffic, especially in the mornings, I like to listen to podcasts and TED Talks as a way to keep my mind occupied with interesting, inspirational thoughts and very often learning about new concepts and ideas. I have been lucky in that the right one seems to find me at the right time, rather than me deciding on something and looking for it.

This TED Talk by Shawn Achor – The Happiness Advantage – was the one that found me on Monday morning and it completely set me up for the week. It’s short and to the point, about how positive brains link to better performance and some tips on how to get yourself there. Find twelve minutes for yourself and watch the talk here:

 

 

Saturday Shakshuka with Mince

This Saturday, I felt like something a little bit different. I had mince, bread rolls and eggs and I have been looking at so many delicious looking shakshukas all over the “food web” lately, I thought it’s about time to try my own!

It was really, really a fantastic meal! Definitely something we will be having often in the future!

Shakshuka with mince

Recipe 

Chop 1 onion and sauté with 1tsp chopped garlic over high heat. Add 500g beef mince and season with 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce, ground coarse salt and black pepper. Cook until well browned. 

Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1-2 tsp dried Italian herbs and smoked red chilli flakes to taste. Stir in 1 Knorr beef stock pot and half a tin of boiled water. Lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until sauce has reduced. 

Make a hole in the mince and crack an egg into it, repeat with 4-5 more eggs. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes over low heat until egg is softly cooked. Remember if you are serving up from the pan that the egg will continue to cook, so dish up and eat as soon as possible. 

We served this with rolls toasted in the oven, sprinkled with some more chilli flakes and jalapeños for the chilli lovers!

Sunday thoughts

Thoughts become things

I have been spending a lot of time delving into articles, books and podcasts about mindfulness and the neurology of how the mind actually affects our physical bodies. 

The mind is so incredibly powerful and the words you speak to yourself have a huge impact on your life experience. 

Be kind to yourself!

Christel’s Creative Cooking 

Christel’s eagerly awaited feature for the week is finally here! The delay is all mine, I must confess. This week for some reason just seemed to fly by me and I didn’t get to everything I had planned… 

She has also included a white sauce recipe, which could be a base for just about any sauce and a must have for any kitchen! So without any further delay…

Quick and easy tuna sauce
Quick and easy Tuna Sauce

2 medium red onions
3 tomatoes

Chop everything up, put the onions in a saucepan and fry until tender. Add the tomatoes and stir occasionally until saucy. Add salt, pepper, garlic flakes and a bit of sugar/honey (to take the acidity out of the tomatoes)
Add 1 (or 2) cans of tuna. 
Stir for about a minute to combine everything. Add a packet of Woolies ready made cheese sauce. Stir for a minute until mixed. Sprinkle with oregano flakes or fresh herbs. Eat on oven toasted ciabatta or mix into pasta.
You can also add mushrooms and/or green, red & yellow peppers into the mix. Or leave the tuna out completely and eat it with only vegetables.
If you really want to impress your eating companions… here’s the recipe to make your own White sauce from scratch:
It makes 1 cup
30g butter
30g plain flour 

250 ml milk

Seasoning

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over a moderate heat and bring to the boil whisking continuously. Use a spiral or ballon whisk as this will get rid of lumps and give the sauce a more glossy appearance.
Cook for a further 2-3 minutes until thick and smooth and there is no taste of flour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For cheese sauce add 1 cup grated cheddar to the hot sauce and stir to melt the cheese. You can add 5 – 10ml curry powder to the flour to make curry sauce. For parsley sauce you can add chopped parsley to the mix. You can add mustard to the mix for a mustard sauce.
The possibilities of what this sauce can become, are endless.

Fish & Chips with a twist

As Wednesdays are usually soccer nights, I always try to plan for a dinner that is as quick and easy as possible. I had a little more time than planned though, so I did a bit of creative cutting and frying of the chips.

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The fish was Country Fry from Sea Harvest, baked in the oven. Baby carrots and mixed peas and corn. Potato sliced with the skin on, shallow fried in a little canola oil until just golden and crispy.

Chicken fillet burgers

Crumbed Chicken Fillet Burgers with Healthy Stuff

I am half ashamed and half proud to say that I forgot that I wanted to bake some oven chips with our burgers, so it turned out to be quite a healthy burger dinner indeed!

I also confess that it would have looked better with white cheese, but in true Mamma style, I didn’t have any so I used regular ol’ yellow cheddar cheese and it was equally delicious, if not as pretty! Re-emphasising that this is MammaChef and not MasterChef! HashtagMommyCookingBlog!


Crispy, crumbed chicken breast fillets from Woolies, topped with cheddar cheese, melted in the oven. Served on a fresh bread roll with butter lettuce, dijon mustard and caramelised onions.

Our sides were coleslaw and a very healthy and refreshing salad of cucumber, cherry tomatoes, basil, chickpeas and avo.

Happy, happy little bodies and full tummies all around!

 

Last week’s roundup & a special occasion

Good grief, it’s Wednesday and I haven’t posted a summary of last week yet! Where does the time go?! Or should I say… time flies when you’re having fun! This is definitely the truth!

Monday:  (Meat Free) Zucchini & Mushrooms

Tuesday: Flop Proof Cottage Pie

Wednesday: Chicken, Chickpea & Spinach Curry

Thursday: Pan Seared Fish with Tomato, Basil & White Wine Sauce

Friday: Easy Peasy Gluten Free Chorizo Pasta

Please have a look at my gallery of Sunday’s incredible buffet lunch at Aurelia’s, The D’Oreale Grande Hotel at Emperor’s Palace

The family came together to celebrate my Sister- and Brother-in-Law’s 30th wedding anniversary! A very special occasion celebrating two extremely special people, their exemplary marriage and the beautiful family and memories that they have created. So much love (and so much food)!

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Mandela Day 

It is Mandela Day in South Africa on 18 July 2017, which would have been Nelson Mandela’s 99th birthday. 

In honour of his legacy, we encourage each person to devote 67 minutes of their time to charitable causes, giving back, making a change in communities and supports local causes. 

Having had the privilege of meeting the great man twice in my life, I completely support this initiative and I also know that his legacy is not limited to action on one day of the year. We should be doing good, in any way we can, wherever we are, every single day. 

Whether it’s smiling at someone who looks like they might be having a tough day, letting someone go ahead of you in traffic, donating used things that you don’t need anymore… share love everywhere! The world needs more love!

Madiba Day
Happy birthday, Madiba!

Cheesy Mexican Rice & Meat Free Mondays

Meat Free Monday

You may have noticed that MammaChef Jozi is an avid supporter of Meat Free Mondays (see the South African Facebook page here). So what’s the big deal?

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You don’t have to go vegan, but even one day of not eating meat has so many benefits.

Lowering your carbon footprint – this includes greenhouse gasses which are produced by livestock, farming, transportation and the masses of water it takes to produce meat.

Think of the animals – commercial farming methods have lead to unimaginable treatment of animals and going one step further than Meat Free Monday, it would be a good idea to be conscious of where your food comes from.

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Your health – Reducing intake of meat has been proven to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and even cancers. When planning a meat free meal, we tend to focus on adding even more nutrition to our plant based meals, thereby including foods with more polyunsaturated fats, plant protein, fibre and vitamins.

Why Monday? Well, Monday just seems like a good day, doesn’t it?

So… if not, why not?

Cheesy Mexican Rice

I ended up making an enormous wok type pot of this and after dinner, there was only enough left for one of us to take for lunch. It was so, so very yummy and I really just chucked a lot of stuff in a pot and waited for it to cook (while having my little glass of wine)….

Cheesy Mexican Rice
Cook 1,5 cups rice (white long grain or any of your choice) according to packet instructions.

While the rice is cooking, saute 1 chopped onion and 1 tsp chopped garlic in a large oven proof wok or pot/pan for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 tsp dried oregano and paprika and stir well.

Add in a tin of brown lentils, 3/4 tin chopped tomatoes, 3/4 tin of red kidney beans, 1 cup frozen corn, 1 cup frozen peas, 1 Knorr vegetable stock pot and 1/2 cup water.

Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the liquid has cooked down.

Set the oven to grill.

Add the cooked rice to the veg mixture, top with 200g finely grated mature cheddar cheese and pop the whole pan in the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.

Sprinkle chopped spring onion over the top and add as many optional extras as you wish – we added fresh chopped chilli and extra cheese (I love cheese). You could also add avo, sour cream, tacos for crunch, etc.

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