Healthy Christmas Leftovers

Stuck with Christmas leftovers? This is usually not a bad situation to find oneself in unless you have already reached your limit for overindulgence. Well Zest Magazine (November 2013) has the answer:

Image from Zest Magazine November 2013 issue.


Christmas Cookies - No icing required!

Baking cookies is always such fun but the cookies themselves can be boring. This is quickly addressed with some icing and ta-da, you have beautiful cookies ready for the biscuit tin. However in South Africa, Christmas time is summer time so icing melts and gets sticky, the designs (which you spend hours on) is distorted and soon you are grumbling ba-humbug. But here is another easy idea from Martha Steward's Easy Food Magazine (December 2012 issue - available form zinio.com) for beautifully decorated cookies, no icing required!


Pizza dippers

I thought I would share one of our snacks that are so easy to make. I buy frozen Margarita pizza and add extra mozzarella cheese to it and then I dip it in basil pesto (homemade with extra Parmesan). Cut them in slices or wedges and serve with a small cup of pesto on the side or as I have done. Quick and easy and surprisingly delicious.


Marinara Sauce 5 ways

Everyone loves pasta but many people like me get stuck in a rut making spaghetti bolognese every time. Now thanx to Martha Stewart's Every Day food (December 2012 issue - available at zinio.com) we now have 5 different versions to try out that includes adding just 3 ingredients!

I hope you will enjoy using this recipe as much as I do.

Every Day Food available from www.zinio.co or see below:


Chakalaka Cheese Hotdogs

These hotdogs are brilliant to make in big batches for loads of hungry guys and children without having too much time in the kitchen. The buns turn crispy, the hotdogs warm and the chakalaka nice and spicy. Chakalaka is a South African spicy vegetable relish similar to Indian Achar. You can use any spicy relish or chutney.

6 hot dogs
6 hotdog buns
6 tbsp chakalaka or any spicy relish
60g grated cheddar

1. Preheat oven to 180*C. 

2. Cut the hotdog buns horizontally almost all the way through. In an oven safe dish add the buns itch the cut side facing up.

3. Add 1/2 tbsp chakalaka to each bun, spreading it evenly. add the sausages and 1/2 tbsp chakalaka on top. 

4. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted, the buns are crispy and the hotdogs are heated all the way through.



Chakalaka is a South African relish/sauce that is very popular especially with the ethnic population who are the authors of this amazing condiment. Some use it in stews, as a base, as the main ingredient or as a topping. We get to buy this amazing product in a can! But you can make yours at home and it only takes a few minutes. I like mine to be fine as I only use it as a condiment

1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 garlic clove, puréed
1 tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 peri peri powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 medium carrots, grated
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1 cup corn, frozen (optional)
1 cup peas, frozen (optional)
1 can tomato and onion mix
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion in the oil until soft.
2. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for 1 minute.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked but not too soft.
4. Season with salt and pepper.


Green Eggs (and Ham)

I love pesto whether homemade or store bought. I love Princess Pesto products and they have such an interesting range such as Greek and Thai pesto. I'm big on the Thai at the moment and decided that boring scrambled eggs need a sprinkle of excitement. So introduce cheesy pesto scramble eggs.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Kiri cheese block or 1 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp pesto (any flavour)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used low fat)
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Toasted sourdough bread to serve

1. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. 
2. Add the salt and pepper and whisk again.
3. In a non-stick pan, heat a bit of butter and the cheese to melt a bit.
4. Add the eggs and over medium heat scramble slowly.
5. When the eggs are almost set, turn off the heat and add the pesto. 
6. Stir through and serve while hot and slightly runny.


Hawaiian Cheese Burger

I have said it before and will say it again: there really is no substitute for a homemade burger! You know exactly what is in it (just pure beef for me thank you) and you can adjust your toppings to anything you feel like - camembert, rocket and redcurrant jelly sounds yummy. Or you can go old school like I did here.

But there is a trick to it: don't you hate biting into your Hawaiian Burger just to have the (cold) pineapple slide out the back? And if you want a proper size pattie then your mouth is too small to have a bite of pattie, bun and pineapple which means you loose so much flavour! Then use CRUSHED PINEAPPLE.

  • 4 thick burger patties (beef)
  • 4 burger buns
  • 8 slices gouda or cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp crushed pineapple
  • Lettuce or rocket
  • 4 tsp 1000 Island sauce
1. Barbecue the burger patties until almost done to your liking.
2. In a bowl mix the pineapple and 1000 Island sauce together.
3. Top each pattie with a tbsp of the sauce and pineapple mixure then add 2 slices cheese on top.
4. Continue to barbecue until the cheese is melted (and the pineapple mixture is hot).
5. Assemble each burger with a bun, some rocket, a pattie and some more sauce on top.

Enjoy with some home made fries, And I promise every bite will give you a taste of Hawaii


Chicken, Avocado and Mango Wrap

I like making my wraps into these little parcels, as it means none of the filling can escape as you start eating it from the one corner. I'm a little pesto crazy at the moment. I used plain Basil Pesto though Thai Pesto would have been even better!

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/4 small mango
  • 1 tsp basil pesto
  • 2 tbsp grated cheese
  1. Heat a grill or George Forman Grill like we use.
  2. Mash the avocado (I like leaving some pieces bigger so don't mash it too fine), add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Dice the mango.
  4. Dice the chicken.
  5. Spread the middle of the tortilla with pesto.
  6. Top the pesto with chicken, avo and mango.
  7. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and fold edges in to form a little parcel.
  8. Place in the grill and grill until the tortilla is crispy and the cheese is melted.
  9. Enjoy while hot.


Fresh Herbed Salmon

I am always wary of cooking fish as it is such a dificult ingredient to get right. Over cook it and it is dry, under cook it and it is slimy (or so I think of it - as you can see I'm not a big sashimi fan!).

Then you have the white fish variety and the more meaty fish such as tuna and salmon. I am much more willing to cook with salmon than any other fish as I at least know how the fish is supposed to look like and it doesn't need to be cooked all the way through.

For this dish I used just a couple of fresh ingredients to give the fish some flavour and nothing else.

  • 4 salmon fish fillets
  • 1 cup fresh coriander
  • 2 tsps fresh ginger, granted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. Spray a pan with olive oil.
3. Place each fillet in the pan.
4. Smear the garlic and ginger evenly over the fillets.
5. Top with the fresh coriander.
6. Drizzle over the lemon juice and the olive oil.
7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes depending on the thickness and size of your fillet. 

It is done if it flakes easily and is an even colour all the way through. Serve with mash and steamed green beans.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorn Candy for Thanksgiving

A cute treat for Christmas or thanksgiving with only 5 ingredients! They are so good, all peanut buttery and they look so pretty too!

Taken from Martha Stewart (available form Zinio.com)


White on White Breakfast Granola

I love the crunch of this breakfast but if you don't then you can mix everything together and leave it for 10 minutes. It makes the granola go a bit soft but not too much to still be enjoyable.

• 1 cup almond granola
• 1/2 cup vanilla yoghurt
• 1 tsp white chocolate chips (optional)

1. Mix the chocolate chips and granola and add to a bowl.
2. Top with the yoghurt.
3. Top with a littlle granola and chocolate chips.


The Cake Plate

How many times have you decided to visit a nice bakery or cafe with the intention of having a delicious slice of cake  only to see the cakes on offer and it hits you: indecision! Well, fear the selection no longer. The Velvet Cake Company has their little deli/cafe called Treat in Durbanville and they have come up with the perfect plan: The Cake plate.

Have your cake and eat it, all 4 half-slices! I would suggest sharing the cake plate because it still is a lot of cake, but this way you get to discover your favourite

I had the following:

Red Velvet

Miss May, a granadilla cake

Caramel Cheesecake

And a carrot cake

Now here is the worst part: I enjoyed the selection so much I will have to try the cake plate again because I still can't decide. Sad isn't it....


Santa'S Shoebox Project

Santa's Shoebox is a charity event that I think everyone should participate in. It is a yearly event whereby you pledge one 'shoebox' filled goodies to one child in need. These boxes include very basics to something a little bit more fun and can range from between R250 to R500 per box (depending on the goodies you choose). And it really is just a regular shoebox filled with goodies!

(Photo above is not mine)

Each box must contain some essentials but how much you wish to add is up to you.

We pledged 6 boxes for 3 boys and 3 girls from ages 4 to 7. We added the basics like a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap, one set of clothing and school supplies. We also added some sweets and some toys. These children have so little so giving them just a box filled with goodies is the least we can do for christmast.

These pledges run every year until mid October when the boxes are collected to be distributed. How about next year you join? Or better still if you do not have such a drive why not start one?


Gourmet Boerie Restaurant

One of South Africa's great 'fast food' is called a boerewors roll. A 'boerewors' is a sausage, usually made from beef and spices with the most favourite spice used being coriander. It's braai'ed (or barbecued) and placed on a fresh hotdog roll. The traditional boerewors roll has fried onions and a 'smoor' made of onions and tomatoes.

It is an easy and cheap meal to make and because it really is so quick to make we make it for sporting events, at the beach or just because we feel like it.

However we tend to only make it the traditional way, which is why I'm so glad to introduce a restaurant in a Cape Town called Gourmet Boerie.

They really push the envelope in combinations, from the Mexicano (salsa, sour cream, guacamole, jalapeño, coriander and lettuce) to the Hangover (bacon, caramelized pineapple, avocado and cheese sauce) or the Pure Sophistication (caramelized onion, goat's cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, basil pesto and rocket).

But if you are anything like me you won't be able to choose - I always want to try everything! But it won't be good for your waistline so I am glad to introduce the Boerie-sliders!

And what do you get? 'n Old School Boerie, the Hangover, the Mexicano, the Pure Sophistication, the Chakalaka Boerie, the Tomato Madness and the Gorgonzola.

Want more? How about a selection of mini desserts? A selection of 3 mini desserts are also available. Brilliant, right?


Paprika Chicken, Avo and Srawberry Wrap

I followed my own advice  in regards to filling these wraps. They are just as good in a quesadilla though I would add more cheese. The sweet strawberries with the paprika chicken works really well.
  • 1 tortilla wrap
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese / cottage cheese
  • 1/2 avo
  • 2 big strawberries sliced
  • Fresh coriander
  • 2 cheese slices 
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Paprika chicken
1. Spread tortilla with cottage or cream cheese. Add cheese slices.
2. Add avo and sliced strawberries.
3. Add fresh coriander (as much as you like).
4. For extra cheesy taste, add Parmesan shavings.
5. Add the paprika chicken, roll and either enjoy as is or place in a grill and grill until golden and crispy and the cheese is melted.

Paprika Chicken
  • 500g chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika 
  • 1 tbsp oil
1. Slice chicken breasts into even strips.  Coat with paprika.
2. Add oil to a hot frying pan. Add chicken.
3. Add chicken and fry until cooked but not dry.


The Velvet Cake Company - Durbanville

I shouldn't be sharing this. I shouldn't have discovered this place in the first place - especially when one has baby weight to loose, but Oh My Gosh, wait till you see this place!

I have always loved cake. From the original (but never boring) vanilla cake to something more exciting. But my cakes are never fluffy enough or moist enough or just good enough but now I have found a place where every cake desire you can imagine!

What about a Grasshopper CheeseCake? Or a Blue Velvet Cake? Or a multi-colored cake with a cheese cake bottom?

Situated at 21 Pasita Street, Durbanville (so close to home!) and you can also order from their website www.thevelvetcakeco.com or email at order@thevelvetcakeco.com

They do special occasions, birthdays, Easter, Christmas or just because it's Friday!

I'm going to order something special for my Mom's birthday just before Christmas!


Lunch: Thursday, 14 November 2013

Today's lunch is a tasty, low fat chicken chilli con crane with brown rice and grated cheese. For Little Emma's sake it was really just a chicken stew but it was really good in any case.

It was bulked up with many veggies and finely shredded chicken.

Here is a low fat Chicken Chilli Con Carne recipe for you to try.


Lunch: Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Day 2 on the Served Fresh Diet and it was still going good, which shouldn't come as a surprise as this really is a diet-for-dummies: everything is prepared for you, though with everything going so hectic, I was unable to post everyday so here are some of the lunches and dinners I enjoyed.

And mushroom 'tartlet' with coleslaw. I absolutely loved the little tartlet that was mainly egg and mushrooms with cheese on top. 

Chicken, veggies and couscous. I'm not a big fan of couscous as it can be very dry and boring. Though this dish had some favours, it still wasn't my favourite.

Unfortunately little Emma had to go in for some tests due to severe reflux and I ended up having to stay in hospital Thursday and Friday so I missed my lunches and had take-away instead. So therefore the diet lasted 3 days. Let's hope it gets better from here on.


Our Little E

Our beautiful baby girl was 9 days old when we took her for a newborn photo shoot with the wonderful Lizelle Krige in Paarl. She also took our maternity photos. Time really flies and children grow up so quickly that we decided to capture every moment thereof. Usually we just take the photos ourselves but a professional photographer just knows how to make it special.

She is also great at incorporating personal traits into the shoot like these. She used Hubby's kickboxing wraps for a real personal touch.

Because E was born the day after this blog's 1 year anniversary, I couldn't help but share these photos. How I love this small little bundle!