Month: December 2017
Money, money, money… must be funny…
It’s that fabulous season during which we reflect on the events of the past year, successes and failures, happiness and sadness. Some people set goals and intentions for the future and some take it that one step too far with this silly list of things called New Years Resolutions. I gave that silly list up a long time ago… I am a mom. My goals are simply to keep the little people alive, brush my hair now and then and try not to burn the house down.
Seriously though, it’s not easy having a business, blogging in between, managing school and activities (I’m that mom who needs several extra reminders). Why am I talking about school already? Let me stop right there… I mean, if you enjoy arguing about lunches at 6am, I cannot recommend parenting highly enough.
My point being, with all this going on we still want to find time for entertainment and save money too. Impossible? No!
Here’s the secret to saving a packet of money on restaurants (first and foremost), leisure and entertainment, beauty, retail and even hotels!
It’s a buy one get one free Christmas miracle and it keeps getting better and better. With The Entertainer there’s always something to smile about and so, we were invited along to the Johannesburg launch of the #Entertainer2018 held at Parker’s Comedy Club and had an absolute blast!
We, being myself and SuperDad and about 100 of Joburg’s coolest food and lifestyle bloggers, were treated to a lineup of hilarious comedians, good food and the freshest news about the new app.
With an established footprint from Hong Kong to the UK, The Entertainer has recently added Bali to the list of locations – my bucket list destination just became a little bit closer to reach! The app also tracks your actual savings and the cost of the (teeny weeny) annual fee will pay for itself several times over even if you only use it once a month.
Sounds like a great deal to me! SuperDad may even be persuaded to go and eat at an outside establishment occasionally…
Thanks to The Entertainer for a fabulously fun evening and for many more to come in 2018! Cheers!
These are the big questions in life…
1. What’s for dinner; and
2. What to do with the kids?
I can happily say that I now have the answers to both of those!
The Adventure Clubs app is honestly one of the best entertainment ideas for kids (and parents) that I have seen in a long time. It would take me days to research and come up with half as many fun, educational and interesting things to do with the kids.
Even if I could manage to make a list of fantastic activities, there would be heaps of admin involved in making the arrangements. It would probably be far more expensive and I wouldn’t have any idea what the quality of the experience would be, whether it’s safe or not and trying to figure out friends’ schedules to go in a group is a nightmare on it’s own…
Adventure Clubs has a huge selection of super adventures for all kids between ages 6 months and 10 years of age. From hip hop dancing and baking classes to helicopter flips, there’s something for everyone and when you’re watching your kids make wonderful memories, you will definitely enjoy sharing those moments with them too!
Every experience is designed by parents, for parents. Well planned and coordinated, the experiences are attended in groups with other parents and children as well as a group coordinator/leader.
Our first experience was at La Cremosa in the Dainfern Square shopping centre, where we got to go behind the scenes inside the gelato “factory”. We were taken through the entire process of making delicious, creamy gelato from pouring the milk all the way through to eating!
My boys really enjoyed every minute of it and got chatting with the friendly staff as well as the other children. Of course their favourite part was the eating!
I could go on and on about the benefits of this concept but it’s really something you just have to go and experience with your family as soon as possible! To give you a push in the right direction, I have one adventure to give away to a lucky reader!
It will be one of your choice, available in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, to the value of R300. All you need to do to enter is to download the Adventure Clubs app easily on either App Store or Google Play, browse the range of experiences and then comment here with your favourite one. Easy as gelato!
Winner will be announced on 5 January 2018. In the meantime, make sure you are following Adventure Clubs on Facebook to see all their great news and of course, follow MammaChef Jozi so that you don’t miss the announcement!
I am so glad that I discovered this before leaving on holiday and we’re definitely making use of it while we are at the coast. When you don’t know the area all that well, it’s not easy to find new and interesting things to do… Adventure Clubs saves the day!
Download and have a look through the Adventure Clubs app and comment on this post (or on the same post on MammaChef Jozi Facebook, Instagram or Twitter). Names will be placed into an online hat and a random winner will be drawn.
When we think of “festive meals”, I’m quite sure everyone thinks of different things. For some it’s the roasts and the spread that Mom or Gran have spent days on. Some might think of a braai day with family games. Your family might have the full on turduckin with stuffing et al… One thing most of us have in common is that it’s a special time with loved ones and some kind of food!
My dear friend, who blogs at Mom of Two Little Girls, recently published a Christmas series. Across this series, she collected a fantastic storybook collection of Christmas traditions from different people. MammaChef Jozi even made it into the mix and you can read my family’s story and the rest of the collection here.
I don’t usually do the cooking over the festive season. Our special days are traditionally spent in the homes of my parents or my in-laws. Wherever we are it’s an all out Christmas feast and the most wonderful time!
This year however will be something different, the first time that we are away for Christmas and I’m still thinking about what to do for lunch… The daily meals over the holiday season, in my opinion, should be easy, summery and designed for sharing.
I was also asked by some followers on Twitter for festive recipes. So I looked around for some inspiration and came up with the fabulous festive feasts here…
If you were watching my social media, you would have noticed that I thought this particular recipe was absolutely awful. Whether it was because I had too many anchovies or the mustard dressing was too bitter when combined with the anchovies… it just wasn’t right.
However, there were some things about it that attracted me to trying it in the first place. After having tried it there were also elements of it that I loved.
So, I have kept the good stuff and changed the bad stuff for you!
It’s a very healthy, refreshing break in the indulgence of Christmas menus.
When I grow up, I want to be Jamie Oliver
His website has everything you could ever want in good, easy, healthy food! From vegan recipes to the most indulgent chocolate desserts (and these blueberry pancakes). One of the first cooking shows that I watched was his, years ago and I have always identified with his food philosophy which is essentially about good, simple, healthy food and balanced meals.
My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.
A MammaChef Jozi FAQ
One thing I am asked very frequently, especially when people see me for the first time, is how I eat the foods I cook and stay slim and healthy looking. They always use one example in particular – pasta! Everyone knows how much I love my pasta!
The simple answer is, yes I do eat everything I cook! The key here is balance, lots of variety, fresh and seasonal vegetables full of nutrients and all that wonderful stuff. I limit myself to one serving, I eat sensibly during the day and we have treats occasionally – we don’t have dessert with every meal.
Now that I have cleared that up, I will give you the wonderful, light and fluffy, super duper easy recipe for these beautiful blueberry pancakes!
The Easiest Blueberry Pancakes
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1 extra large free range egg
- blueberries – as many as you like
Mix together the egg and milk, then combine with the flour. Whisk until you have a smooth consistency and no (or just a few little) lumps.
Add blueberries directly into the batter if you like. I added mine afterwards.
Use a small measuring cup to pour batter into a pan, over medium heat. Leave enough space in between so that your little pancakes can spread out without running into eachother.
Cook for 1-2 minutes on one side, until bubbles have formed on the top of the pancake. Flip over and cook on the other side for another 1-2 minutes, until just nicely golden.
Great for a Sunday morning breakfast!
The Latest Buzz – Muppie Lounge
Muppie Lounge, #MuppieMummie, Muppie everything and anything that’s funky and chilled and happy! If you haven’t heard one of these terms, you must have been living under a rock. Time to get informed and on trend!
The woman behind this range is an absolutely stunning (inside and out) mother of four little kids, yes you read that right. She designs every adorable character by hand, mostly with charcoal, each one with it’s own story. She chooses the products, manages every single aspect of the business, including the website (online store) and blog. The only part she outsources is the labelling and printing.
Labelling, cutting and sizing is done by a non-profit organisation called Bibi Hearts. Their focus is providing essential items for children with cancer in hospitals and job creation for abused women, the elderly and disabled people. Printing is entrusted to a small business which is close to her heart that also handles the printing for her ministry activities.
The secret ingredient is Love
Just before your item is shipped to it’s loving new home, she takes the time to personally write a postcard.
When your item arrives safely in your hands and you open the beautiful packaging, you can just sense the huge amount of love that went into creating it!
I was fortunate enough to receive my very own Muppie Lounge gifts from the first range – which is the robot range. What made my gift especially special, was that I received an item that isn’t even available to the public just yet! Yes, I can proudly say that MammaChef Jozi is officially the very first owner of a Muppie Lounge Robot Apron! I have also been eyeing the tablecloths and I’m sure more foodie/cooking related items will be added in future.
The tees are really not your run of the mill t-shirts. The styles are feminine and can easily be dressed up or down. As much as she insists that they are casual mom-wear, they really have a sense of chique to them. Of course, we never forget about the little ones. Kiddies can have their own share of the Muppie Love too! Just saying, I’ve received my Christmas packages already… shhhh!
I honestly can’t wait to see what the next range will be. Each customer gets the VIP treatment, but it’s also the creativity, the quality, the passion and the absolute pleasure of dealing with Muppie Lounge that makes me a loyal customer and a proud #MuppieMummie.
The gifts I received as inspiration for this post got me hooked.
Muppie Lounge has a very user friendly, easy to navigate online store. You are able to browse to your delight and purchase safely and conveniently. The deliveries are done in a flash too.
Some of my Muppie Moments and highlights in the gallery below.
Inspiration from everywhere
Has Summer forgotten about us? Wherever you go lately, people are discussing how strange the weather has been. Of course we won’t complain about the rain, we just wish we could send some of ours down to Cape Town to alleviate the drought… which reminds me of the campaigns I’ve seen all over Social Media, making travellers aware of the restrictions in place. If you are heading to Cape Town this December, one of the campaigns you can follow on Twitter is #waterwisetourismCT with very helpful tips and updates for conscious water usage.
The inspiration for this particular week’s meals therefore came from everywhere but the weather! My eldest son came back from a holiday with his father on Monday and got to choose dinner… and so it became Pizza Monday! In my opinion, any week that starts with pizza can only be a great week!
The Meal Planner
Download your meal planner here and click on the recipe name below for the printable recipe card.
Tuesday’s recipe came from the lovely people at Pauli’s Food Co. I often rave about their sauces but this is the first time that I decided to try one of their recipes. There are so many delicious ideas on their blog as well and I was fortunate enough to be given quite a few of their recipe cards on my last visit to them. This Pauli’s Tomali Marinaded Chicken Pieces was one of them.
My Low Carb Cottage Pie has somewhat celebrity status in our house. It’s completely flop proof (I promise) and I have a few different variations of the same recipe. I have done a vegan cottage pie using lentils and sweet potato, of course there’s the regular potato mash version which is the perfect comfort food and when looking for some low carb inspiration I just added a little twist and topped it with sweet potato mash instead.
Thursday’s dinner popped into my mind as I was walking through the isles of the grocery shop, listening to a very chirpy rendition of Jingle Bells.
This Chicken & Red Pepper Pesto Pasta includes some spinach to add some healthy greenery to your gut. I used Ina Paarman’s Red Pepper Pesto and this is a dish you can literally serve up in 15 minutes!
There are so many options for pasta now and you can find just about anything to suit your dietary preference. Use some wholewheat pasta, gluten free pasta or even butternut spaghetti to change it up.
I shall call this one Fridge Friday, as the inspiration really came from the fridge. I had cooked some beetroot that was waiting to be roasted, had some carrots and hey presto! Kassler Chops & Roast Carrot, Beetroot and Lentil Salad
On the day, I ended up using Canellini beans instead of lentils, which were still tasty but I would have preferred lentils I think.
Over the next few weeks I will be trying out some “Festive” recipes. To help me with some inspiration for those, let me know what makes a festive recipe for you? Is it something that takes hours to cook like a turkey with all the sides? Is it summery and light (if you’re in a Summer Christmas zone like us, of course)?
Drop me a little note in the comments below or give me a shout on any of my social media! Love hearing from you as always!
Nothing says “comfort food” like a warm, creamy baked canneloni. Loaded with lots of good, green spinach to make it healthy too!
This will definitely become a firm family favourite.
…as what’s on the chairs.
I lost a friend last week. We had been friends since varsity days and had some crazy times, fun times, shared some great moments, laughed together and cried together as you do. Living in different places eventually we didn’t see eachother much but we were definitely always in minds and hearts, happy to share in happy moments etc… always taking for granted that we would get together soon. Suddenly she was gone… and all I can see in my mind is her huge smile and hear her laughter.
If I could share a bowl of popcorn with her around a table, I would be happy. It’s not what’s on the table, but what’s in the chairs that matters.
Sleep sweet my friend…My maat van yster en plaat 🙂
Where to find inspiration?
Our quick and easy meal plan for last week was really made up by the scruff of it’s pants! It did still come out very well but I have to say that with the weather being as odd as it has been the last few weeks, I found it quite hard to come up with inspiration. When it’s hot and sunny I would think of fresh and summery ideas. When it’s cold I would go for warm comfort food. I pushed through though and went mostly on what I had around the house already.
It was also SuperDad’s birthday and the guest of honour gets to choose whatever they want for dinner. He gave his vote to Blake, who decided on chicken leg and potatoes. Mamma played with the idea and waved my little wand (spoon) to come up with the week’s most popular recipe, which was grilled chicken and smashed potato salad. It received a big thumbs up from this adorable little boy, whose mommy sent me these gorgeous pictures of him absolutely loving his meal.
I have to add that we are all raving about his awesome Lego eating set! If you want to rush out and get yourself one, head over to Makro. I couldn’t find it online, but they can be found in store. Certain items also available at TakeAlot. The range is from Placematix and comes with cutlery as well.
Easy as Pie… so to speak
I find pie quite daunting to make, actually. In any case, my recipes must always be easy and quick to make so that’s where I start when looking for ideas. It does narrow things down.
Onwards and upwards to the yummy business!
Fish, rice and veg is plain, simple, the easiest thing ever and you can add any vegetables of your choice. I have a few rice lovers around so plain rice with anything is always a winner. Gluten free of course and adding the chickpeas gives an extra protein boost.
Mamma’s MomentTime seems to be absolutely spinning past us and these past weeks have gone by in a blur. I have been so super busy between business and blog (definitely not complaining) that when I find a spare moment it’s gold, it’s so precious and I wouldn’t waste it on negativity.Yet, I see people who still manage to complain about anything and everything. Do they not see that by focusing on all the negativity, they are creating more negativity in their own lives? Try, for just one day, not to complain and instead find something positive to focus on. See how it changes your perspective and even your reality.