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.
Time 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.
A Special Occasion Calling for Cake
We always like to bake something for Super Dad’s birthday. The decision making is a difficult process… he has had Barney cupcakes, he has had chocolate cake sprinkled with really everything Wade could get his hands on. This year, Blake got to choose the Birthday Dinner. He also requested party packs with popcorn for all his friends at school. This didn’t materialise, needless to say.
Since he was choosing dinner, I chose the baking based on what was at hand. I had plenty of carrots and as I went through recipes hunting for a good one, I found that I already had just about everything I needed for these delicious carrot cake muffins (are they actually cupcakes though?). Carrot cake with buttery cream cheese icing is probably one of my favourite things. It has to be super moist, must have the little crunch of nuts and must have loads of icing! These definitely didn’t disappoint and I will be keeping this recipe close!
Just before I start, I have to say that one of the most annoying things when I’m working from a recipe is scrolling up and down to see the amount of ingredients. My recipes may not look quite like the standard recipe format, but it just works much easier for me.
Carrot Cake Muffins Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
3/4 cup milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 3/4 cups grated carrot (I used about 6 medium sized carrots)
1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped.
Halved pecan nuts for topping
For the Icing
- 100 g cream cheese, softened
75 g butter, softened
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
- 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C and spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tbsp caster sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 3/4 cup carrots and 1/2 cup chopped pecan nuts together in a mixing bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients.
Pour 3/4 cup milk, 1 beaten egg, 1/2 cup sunflower oil into the hole and fold all together until just combined.
Spoon into the cups in the muffin pan. The cups will be just about full, this is not a problem as they don’t rise a whole lot.
Bake for about 22 minutes until beautifully golden and with a slightly crispy texture. Remove from oven and let them cool completely.
To make the icing, add 100 g cream cheese, 75 g butter and 2 tsp lemon rind. Stir in 1 1/4 cup icing sugar, then beat all together until fluffy and light.
Spread the cream cheese icing onto the carrot cake muffins when cooled, top with pecan nuts and enjoy!
Last week was my own birthday (of course I turned 21 again) and my little Blake turned 4 the day after. On Sunday we had a lovely lunch with family at home and everything conspired perfectly, including the weather, to make for an absolutely beautiful day!
My dearest dear husband, aka SuperDad, makes the world’s best espetada and this has become our “signature” dish when we have the family over.
In summary: good food, good wine, lots of laughter, sunshine and the most amazing people!
I have decided that from now on, I will have no more birthdays. I think it would be a better idea to just commemorate my first birthday suit day! No more of this ageing nonsense!
MammaChef has had a beautiful, chilled birthday in Jozi with my boys and granny and spoiled myself with a yummy #Woolies lasagne, giant greek salad, red wine and doughnuts for dinner!
However, I will not leave you without something delicious today and this is thanks to the most wonderfully creative woman I know, my amazing friend Christél Schutte.
PS this recipe is banting friendly and easily vegan too!
Filled Shrooms with 3 different fillings.
Main Ingredient : big brown mushrooms
1. Butter, crushed garlic, Italian Parsley and cheddar cheese.
2. Butter, any flavoured cream cheese spread OR Feta Cheese broken up into small pieces. Cocktail Tomatoes, thinly sliced on top of that. And cheddar cheese.
3. Butter, spring onion or chives (cut into small pieces). Crispy bacon OR leftover mince. I used Speck which is an Italian dry-cured, lightly smoked ham. I fried it in a non stick frying pan until crispy. Parmesan cheese on top.
Salt and pepper on all of them. You can also use mozzarella instead of cheddar.
Pop into oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, 180°C, Grill. The bigger the mushrooms the longer it will take and the other way around for smaller mushrooms.
Easy for the kids to join in and you can get creative with your own toppings.
Replace butter with olive oil if you like.
PS… don’t ask MCJ how to thinly slice a cherry tomato! I reckon you need some MasterChef skills for that! Feel feel to give me some tips if you get it right!