Finished in a flash, this vegetable egg fried rice is so fuss free it’s an absolute life saver. If you know you’re going to be pressed for time, cook the rice on a Sunday afternoon and keep cold in the fridge. All you need to do is fry up the veggies, crack open an egg and pour a glass of wine!
Intention is an idea formed in the heart
This series is inspired by my personal Intention for 2018. I have spent over a year now working on living life with positive intention and this has involved many hours of research, listening to podcasts and Ted Talks, reading and just really expanding my own world of knowledge and experience. It has had such a phenomenal effect on my life and outlook.
Whether the subject is food, mindfulness, physical health, parenting etc. years of personal study (and experience) have formed each droplet of water that comprises my little fountain of wisdom. I am still constantly learning, always soaking up more information and absolutely loving the exploration.
One of my wishes for 2018 is to share more with my family, my friends and of course my readers, things that I believe will help us live a more beautiful, positive life. Your thinking absolutely creates your reality and it’s so important to love both your body and mind, taking the most special care of both of them in order to be the best you that you can possibly be.
Once you have started with yourself, then you can share it with those around you.
Intention is more than wishful thinking, it’s willful direction.
Looking and feeling healthy
My goals for 2018 with regards to business and development are going to take an immense amount of energy. This body of mine had better be strong and ready for what my mind has planned!
Having my own business does mean having the flexibility to be available for my family when they need me too and this year they are going to have the best me, present and jumping up and down if necessary. Just don’t expect any running! Let’s not cross the line here…
So I am starting with me
And you can start with you, along with me!
This is not about being supermodel skinny or perfectly ripped and toned… that’s not what this is about. This is about realistically, in my lifestyle and with my resources, feeling happy and healthy and being the best ME.
I could stand to lose a little roll or two and after the December splurge I am looking forward to getting back on track!
I like to think that I generally have healthy eating habits and a positive attitude towards food and I instill the same in my family. We eat a good variety of fruits and vegetables, meats and fish. We don’t avoid carbs but I try to include a variety of grains for them and cut out the gluten for myself.
Unfortunately, chronic pain is a part of my life. Fibromyalgia is a disorder associated with muscle, joint and nerve pain as well as severe fatigue, memory problems and a variety of other issues that often make me feel like a really old lady.
Further to that, I also have degenerated discs in my lower back which come with their own special bag of tricks for me.
I take daily medication to relieve the nerve pain and some other symptoms but other than that I prefer to manage the conditions without too much medication.
A critical factor is avoiding inflammatory foods such as gluten, sugar and dairy. I will explore the how’s and why’s of everything in more detail in separate posts.
This healthy eating plan is suitable for everyone and anyone! I am also not advocating any particular “diet”, neither will I call this a diet. It’s a lifestyle change with positive, healthy intention at the core, following guidelines and research that simply make sense – eat good food and stay away from the bad stuff! In a nutshell.
Together with my meal plan and weekly shopping list, it fits seamlessly into a busy family lifestyle.
Meals are flexible and adaptable so that you don’t have to cook separate meals. Recipes are super easy and cooked in a flash! Everything you need to make life less complicated and more delicious.
The main points of my healthy lifestyle plan will all be explained in upcoming posts, but are essentially the following:
- Drink water! 3 litres per day.
- No sugar
- No gluten
- Limited dairy
- Fresh ingredients in their natural form
- Affordable and easily accessible… okay just normal ingredients. I may have the odd chia seed but you won’t find any pea protein powder or kombucha in my kitchen.
- Mediterranean diet – closest to the way my family normally eats and red wine is included!
- Quick, easy, delicious!
- Fibre is essential.
- Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplements.
- Have a treat now and then, be gentle with yourself. Do this because you love yourself, not to punish yourself.
- Stretch, chill, smile!
Some small changes can make a huge difference. I hope you will be joining me on this adventure and more than that, I hope that you will be inspired and that I will be able to add just a teeny tiny bit of value to you.
We’re going to feel positive, eat positive, live positive and love the beautiful life we live.
Remember that Beautiful Intention is not just a healthy diet, it’s a holistic lifestyle focusing on loving yourself (body and mind), your family and the world we all live in and simply loving this beautiful life.
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.
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!
The easiest meals I could possibly come up with (challenge to self accepted!)
Still in the beginning phases of my business and looking at how this week would be going, my meal planning on Sunday last week was all about what I already had in the kitchen (saving some precious cents) and what would take the least amount of time or be so easy that I could just stick it in the oven and carry on with other things until the timer goes off. The very easiest meals for my life at that moment! Obviously they still had to uphold the MammaChef Jozi standards, being healthy and not boring!
I’m actually quite proud of achieving exactly what I set out to do… although I really must start printing out my recipe cards myself! That will save me a good few minutes of searching too!
The Big D
I have alluded to it in last week’s post but I will just come right out and say it… I’m officially on a Diet. Those of you who know me, know that I’m not the biggest of people and I’m normally quite comfortable in my own skin. I have never been prone to on and off diets (and I will add that I am highly allergic to gyms) but as the years and the wrinkles add up, it seems that the metabolism isn’t quite what it used to be.
With December and beach time glimmering on the horizon – it’s time to get back into a shape that I’m comfortable with. I do have a plan that works for me, is focused on healthy weight loss, fits into my days and lifestyle easily (therefore more easy meals), doesn’t cost buckets of money and doesn’t inconvenience my family! It’s pretty much perfect!
The main ingredients of my Big D Plan are:
- Intermittent Fasting – read more information here. I eat for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours each day. I feel less hungry, less bloated and full of energy, in a nutshell.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – in a cup of water with a teaspoon of honey first thing every morning. Loads of health benefits, good for skin, supposed to break down fat. My gran firmly believed in it too and the smell always reminds me of her… which also makes it more pleasant to consume!
- Water! 2-3 litres per day. The bladder does get used to it!
- Smart Lunch – My lunch is at around 12pm and because it’s the easiest thing in the world, wherever I am at that point during the day, I have my bowl of FutureLife. I either have the Smart Fibre – it does contain gluten but packs a lot of fibre and comes with probiotics – or I have Zero Smart Food – gluten free, no added cane sugar, lots of goodness in a little box.
- Healthy snacks – fruit and nuts, seeds, only raw and in their natural form. Helps for the occasional sugar craving.
- Off limits – sugar, dairy limited to plain yoghurt and cheese, avoid gluten.
- Dinner – whatever is on my meal plan! I do make a variety of vegetables and meats or fish, so it’s easy to cut out the carb portion for myself (eg. bread or potato) and when I do pasta I generally have gluten free. I still have my glass or two of red wine! Red only as it has less sugar than white and does have health benefits.
It’s very much based on the Mediterranean diet and also follows anti-inflammatory guidelines. Works for me, losing weight, feeling awesome and I only have another maybe 4 kgs to lose so I should be good to go in time for the Christmas Feast! Yippee!
Get to the Meal Plan already!
Let me not keep you in suspense any longer… Below is the downloadable Meal Planner for the easiest cooking week ever, as well as the recipe cards for each day’s easy meal.
And there you have it! It’s just starting to rain outside and I am looking forward to a lovely, chilled evening at home. It is, as per usual, Pizza Friday and I have absolutely no idea what we’re having. Day off!
If you would be at all interested in my runaround on the hunt for Wade’s new Epipen this week and the service that won the “little guy” a new loyal customer, head on over to my LinkedIn article here.
To get next week’s meal planner and recipe cards in your inbox on Monday, just enter your email address in the little purple box somewhere along the top of your screen… it’s for you, for free! Otherwise you will have to wait for the posted one all the way on next Friday, doesn’t sound like a good idea to me!
Wishing you a beautiful weekend, be safe and be light!
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?
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.
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)….
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.
SuperDad does dinner
Last night turned into a switcheroo as Dad was working slightly late, leaving me on soccer duty and SuperDad on chef duty.
He seems to have the equivalent of “green fingers” in the kitchen. He doesn’t cook often but when he does, it’s always a big hit!
I did have something quick and easy planned as soccer nights leave very little time for cooking, so you could say he was set up for success. Enter Woolies Pulled Chicken with every colour of the rainbow that you could possibly fit into a wrap!
Seriously, when you arrive home in the dark and very close to frozen, to a poured glass of wine and a table set with a picture like this you can’t help but glow with happiness!
Each person got to put together their own wrap with choice of fillings, toppings and sauces, which is always fun for the kids. Besides the vegetables we also added homemade guacamole, humus, jalapeños…
The chicken is so tasty that it barely needs any of the extras, but it does look fantastic!
Crispy pork schnitzel with spicy rice and veg
Just good old Mamma food for Tuesday – crispy pork schnitzel from WOOLWORTHS with my special spicy rice, fresh asparagus and corn. Every last crumb was eaten!
I followed the cooking instructions on the pack for the pork schnitzels, however I did grill them at the end for about 2 minutes per side just to give them some extra colour.
I make my spicy rice by frying up some chopped onion, red and yellow pepper. About 5 minutes before the rice is completely cooked, I add 3-4 tablespoons of Robertson’s Spice for Rice, 2 tablespoons butter and the fried veg.
Mielies boiled and asparagus steamed.
Spaghetti bolognese to me is like my most comfy pair of fluffy winter slippers… it just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My ultimate comfort food (with loads of cheese) and I dare say one day my boys might tell people that nobody could make good old spag-bol like their Mamma! It’s their absolute favourite and makes a regular appearance on our weekly dinner menu.
Fry 1 chopped onion, 2 teaspoons crushed garlic over high heat until soft. Add 700g lean mince, season with ground salt, pepper and a dash or two of Worcester sauce. Brown well. The trick is to leave the mince to almost char on the bottom of the pan and then let the tomatoes pick up all the flavour.
Add 2 tins chopped and peeled tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1-2 tsp paprika, Italian mixed herbs. Lower heat and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes.
Cook a large pot of gluten free spaghetti according to instructions. Always add about 60ml pasta water to the sauce before draining – adds a little extra shine and makes for a lovely consistency.
Stir in some finely sliced fresh basil before plating. Serve with grated mature cheddar or Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is dedicated to PicknPay – for the great special on mince, SanRemoPasta as always for the best gluten free spaghetti and last but absolutely not least, RobertsonWinery for an equally comfy and smooth Merlot!
Wishing you an amazing week!