#NaturesFarmsChallenge – Savory inspired goodness

We’ve been trying out the Nature’s Farms products for a few weeks now and I have to say I am IN LOVE with their packaging.  It is clean, colourful and just screams “buy me, buy me.”

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It doesn’t hurt that the products are really yummy too!  Once Gemma started feeling better she scoffed a whole bag of their black forest biscuits on her own and I have had to resort to taking the shortbread biscuits to work to even get one for myself!

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I’ve used the pasta a few times and I even made an old favourite that my Dad used to love eating last week Sunday – pap, booerewors and spicy sauce.  I used to make maize meal a lot growing up and I have to say this one cooks up so nicely and is smooth and just all round delicious!

BUT my savory challenge dish was actually a Bobotie inspired dish… I love bobotie but my family are not so keen on it so I took my usual recipe and gave it a bit of a twist… If you want to try it out here goes:

Bobotie Inspired Spicy Pasta Dish

Ingredients:

¾ bag              Natures Farms pasta shells

2                         Onions

1                          Egg per plate served

Splash              Olive oil

500 grams       Extra Lean Beef mince

5ml                    Tumeric

2ml                    Cumin

2tsp                   Fresh green chilli’s

2tsp                   Fresh ginger

Handful            Fresh coriander

2 tbsp                Apricot jam

Small tin          Tomato paste

60ml                  Mrs Balls Hot Chutney

30ml                  Worcester sauce

2 handfuls        Seedless raisins

Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Chop onions and saute with garlic in olive oil

Add cumin and salt & pepper

Add mince bit by bit and fry until browned

Add tomato paste, ginger, chilli’s, apricot jam, chutney, Worcester sauce and fry on low heat (I added some light white wine to my sauce, again not necessary but you might want to add some water to have the sauce a bit less thick if you wish)

Boil water for pasta shells and cook until al dente – I added the 5ml of turmeric to the water to colour the pasta shells yellow but this is not necessary

Boil water and cook eggs until hard boiled (approximately 8 minutes)

Add raisins to the mince sauce and fry for a further 2 minutes

Plate pasta on the side of your plate, cover in mince sauce, and slice boiled eggs and place on top of the mince sauce, sprinkle with fresh coriander to taste

SERVE & ENJOY!

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I have had the BEST FUN with this challenge – thank you to GWK Group and #NaturesFarms for asking me to take part.

If you wish to purchase these awesome products head into your local Pick n Pay, or for more information on Natures farms find them on Facebook, Twitter or via their website.

 

This is a sponsored post

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Stuck in a sickness cycle…

We are generally a healthy bunch, we get the sniffles here and there but overall we can’t complain about lack of health in our home… Until the last three weeks that is…

It all started at the end of July.  The 27th to be exact.  Kade came home from school and coughed once or twice that night.  Thursday dawned and he was right as rain, went to school, came home and that night spiked a fever of 39.6 and went into stridor in the early hours of Friday morning…

That was the start of it.

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The next night I was overtaken with massive fevers and body convulsions that lasted two days.  I had aching joints and a headache that reminded me of being on lucrin.  I started coughing as well.

Gems fell prey next and started with fevers and coughing.  Cliff thought he could dose himself up and avoid all the lurgy that was in our house, but alas two days later he was also man down.

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In the last 3 weeks we have been to the doctor seven times.  Kade & Cliff once, Gemma thrice, me twice.  We’ve been on five sets of antibiotics between us.  Cortisone.  Celestimine.  Monte-air.  Bisolvin.  Pro-biotics.  You name it, we’ve had it in spades.

There has been severe sleep deprivation (Cliff and I), glazed eyes and listlessness (Kade and Gems) and just overall grumps to the max.

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We have had to cancel so much in the last few weeks because I was not prepared to expose people to this super bug!  A 30th celebration (sorry Shan!), a very special baby shower, birthday lunch with a special friend (sorry Marce!), birthday parties for Kade (sorry my boy), family braai’s, lunches with friends visiting from overseas… We’ve been hiding out in our house and honestly I think we are all a little sick (haha excuse the pun) of our home!

I’ve been worried sick, overwhelmed and relieved all in the same breath.  I’ve been surprised at the kindness of a fellow mom who dropped off some pulmicort for me when we ran out and Gems was battling to breathe.  I’ve slept a sleep so dead the night my mom and sister took the kids so we could get some rest.

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We seem to be turning the corner, we are all out of the grips of fever but are all still coughing (we’ve been told the cough takes FOREVER to go away) but I can tell you something, I hope and pray that we NEVER have to go through a sickness cycle like this again anytime soon.

Having a healthy family is something that I will never take for granted again.

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#NaturesFarmsChallenge – Sweet : my twisted recipe

I bet you guys didn’t know that I love cooking? Growing up, my sister and I were expected to have started the evening meal by the time my folks got home from work, so cooking is something that I’ve always done and enjoyed.

The good people at Natures Farms challenged me a few weeks back to come up with a South African recipe with a twist and I was so chuffed.  A cooking challenge?  Me : “Whoo hoooo!”

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Then I got thinking about what I constituted as traditional South African food… Braai’s, Bobotie, Koeksusters (ooh I should have done these actually), Melktert, Pap en sous, Morogo…  I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do a sweet dish or a savory dish, so I just thought “fudge it, I’m going to do both.”

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For my sweet offering, I decided to give a new twist to a dish that I am sure is a favourite in every South African home – the Melktert!  The recipe I used makes two smallish tarts or one large one.

Microwave Ginger & Clementine Melktert

Ingredients:

6 cups                   Full cream milk

3 whole                Clementine’s

3/4 cups               White sugar

5 tbsp                    Natures Farms cake wheat flour

5tbsp                     Maizina (I actually used 10tbsp of the Natures Farms cake wheat flour)

1 tbsp                    Butter

3                              Eggs

5ml                         Vanilla essence

1 packet               Natures Farms Ginger Biscuits

Sprinkle of          Cinnamon

Method

Extract juice of the 3 clementines

Pour the milk & clementine juice in a large dish and microwave for approximately 15 – 20 minutes to boiling point.

Crush your Natures Farms Ginger Biscuits and pack them in your tart dish for the base.

Cream the butter & sugar together

Add the eggs and mix

Add the maizina & flour & mix well

Thinly grate rinds of the clementine peels and add to the mixture (this is an optional step but I found it added GREAT flavour and a new texture dimension to the tart)

Once milk is boiled pour the flour mixture in (be careful because it can bubble over, pour a drop first and then the rest) and mix well

Microwave 6 minutes & stir well twice in-between

Add the vanilla essence and mix

Pour mixture into your tart dish on top of the Natures Farms Ginger biscuits

Sprinkle cinnamon to taste on top of mixture

Thinly grate some clementine rinds on top of mixture and add garnish if required

Set in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes

EAT & ENJOY!

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My family loved this twisted Melktert and squashed it in 2 days flat!  You can purchase your Natures Farms products at your local Pick n Pay (and get some Super Animal cards while you’re at it) and try out my twisted Melktert for yourself – if you do try it please let me know what you thought!

Keep an eye out for my SAVORY dish which was my personal best of the two I created!

For more information on Natures Farms find them on Facebook, Twitter or via their website.

 

This is a sponsored post

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A whole hand!

Kade Ethan,

On the 3rd June you turned FIVE.

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You will find out in time as you get older that your mother has many grand intentions on getting things done at specific times and that sometimes it just takes her a while to get them done.  Like this blog post.  The intention was to write my annual birthday letter to you on the 2nd June and have it post on the 3rd… well… clearly that didn’t quite happen.  It’s taken me 38 years to realise that sometimes it’s ok to let go of the grand intentions and that as long as what needs to get done, gets done in the end, that the world won’t stop turning on its axis and the tides will not stop rolling in and out.  That’s your five year old lesson from your old mom.  Anyway enough said on that matter…

You entered into your fifth year with two wobbly teeth (the bottom two) and shortly after you had your birthday you fell at school knocked the one especially wobbly one and your teacher had to pull it out.  You were freaking out about the blood but as soon as the tooth was out you were as proud as punch!

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You’ve had your first brush with ringworm and for the first winter in two years you had a bad chest infection again.

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You are in perpetual motion.  You never stop moving, even when you are supposed to be watching a movie you are constantly up and down, jumping around and when I ask you to calm down you state calmly “I cannot mom, I am run by an engergizer bunny”

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You are so smart, you have me gawking at you in amazement somethings with the things you come out with.  You have a delightful sense of humour and you have me giggling often at your silly jokes.  You are a good friend to your little buddies.  You are loyal and steadfast and I am so very proud of the boy you are turning out to be.

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You take your job as big brother very seriously and you always insist on walking Gemma to her class every morning at school and your teacher tells me you check on her a few times during the day.  You fight like cat and dog over the silliest things (and drive me to my fair share of wine because of it) but at the end of the day, you always have your little sister’s back.  That is a great quality to have my boy.

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You can drive me absolutely batty, but with one little smile and side eye wink you have my heart melted in a way that I don’t think another living soul will ever be able to manage.  I love you monkey bum, my defender of the faith.

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May your 5th year be your most special one yet!

Lots of love

Mom

xxx

 

 

12 Married years…

Cliff and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary this year.  To mark the occasion we went to see the Parlotones Orchestrated show at Montecasino and oh my word, it was FANTASTIC!

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I’ve always loved the Parlotones but Kahn has this amazingly natural energy when performing live and honestly the orchestral element to the show really blew it out of the water.

I had so much fun taking in the incredible lighting (having worked in a theatre in a competing casino highlighted my interest in stuff like set design and how technical lighting is) and singing along to all the tunes that I normally sing in the car whilst stuck in traffic.

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I loved how the music director was SO INTO his job for the night and when they did their rendition of “Lisa se Klavier” well I got goosebumps!  We even got to meet Lira after the show when we went for cocktails.  Now she annoys me on The Voice SA but what a sweet woman.

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I’ve learned that even after twelve years of marriage I still have the best fun with this man that was chosen for me.  When we get the chance to just be us and let our hair down, he is still the one I wish to laugh, sing and be silly with.

Thank you my love for TWELVE wonderful (and challenging) years.

 

Happiness is… a Bunk Bed

Kade has been bugging us for a bunk bed FOREVER!

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One of his friends got one about a year and a half a go and every time we would go over for a playdate ALL I would hear about was how cool Morgie’s bed is and “Morgie has a bunk bed”, “I had so much fun on Morgie’s bunk bed” and then would come the whining and pleading for a bunk bed of his own.

Look, I don’t blame the kid!  When I was little ALL I WANTED was a bunk bed.

We’ve been doing our research on bunk beds but holy moly guys, I am not sure if bunk beds these days are made of pure gold but gees louise they are EXPENSIVE!!!  Then you’ve got the added expense of the mattresses and new bedding.  It wasn’t looking so positive for our boy child to get his wish and I was bracing myself for another year of bunk bed whingeing…

Then an unexpected bonus payment happened and we did some more research found a reasonably priced (but well made) option and we bit the bullet and ordered the bed for Kade.  We told him it was his birthday present and that he would get it a bit early and then everyday since we’ve been asked “is it bunk bed day yet?”

Yesterday was bunk bed day!

He is SO chuffed with it.  He insisted on sleeping on the top bunk last night (my shattered nerves!) and even wanted Gemma to sleep on the bottom bunk. (she did not, she slept in her cot but we will soon transition her to his old “big bed” *sob*)

He is in love with his new (very cool) bedding and I am so happy that he’s happy.

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There really is nothing quite like that joy you get when you are able to make your kids day.

Jonesing for a trip to Times Square?

Ever since I can remember there have been two places on my bucket list to visit before I die.  One is Russia (which I fell in love with after watching Doctor Zhivago in my early teens)  and the other is The Big Apple!

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Growing up I was captivated by images of the Empire State building, the statue of Liberty, Times Square and of course Central Park.  We moved a lot owing to a father in the military but I mostly grew up in little dorpies and I longed to know what it felt like to live in a city.  A place that was noisy and busy and that never slept.

Then I hit my twenties and “Sex in the City” entered my realm.

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Well.

My lust for New York City exploded!  I was working out in the bush at a game lodge and the girls and I used to meet in one of our staff lodges weekly to get our fix of the show and the city that captivated us.  Sitting on those couches stuffing our faces with ice cream and Oreo’s we would dream of having a brown stone like Carrie’s or giggle about being as bold as Samantha when it came to our sexuality!

If like me, going to New York has always been on your list of things to do in this life, but it seems like it’s a little out of reach (hello rand dollar exchange!) I have some excellent news for you… Oreo is giving 3 families the chance to win a once in a lifetime trip to New York!  You will explore all the the iconic landmarks (lucky fishes!), the parks, historic hoods and get to visit the birthplace of OREO – the OREO Factory!

It couldn’t be easier to enter…

Grab your (176g or 429g) box of OREO from your nearest store, text the last 5 digits of the barcode to 40185 or (armed with the self same barcode) enter online HERE

While you enter I will sit quietly and sneakily eat all the Oreo goodness that I got at the #jozimeetup and continue with my dreams of fulling this bucket list trip for myself one day!

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