31/10/2014

Happy Halloween throwback!


It's Halloween in the USA. South Africa is getting on board with spooky sweets and cute outfits etc available from most shops. I just wish it would be even bigger here. I would be the first one to dress up and walk the streets! But lets stick with lunchbox goodies. Here is a throwback recipe I forgot to share.



What do you need:
  • Kit Kats, chilled
  • White chocolate, melted and dyed green
  • Black or brown gel icing
  • Rolo chocolates
  • Candy "eyes"
  • Twizzler Black Licorice Twists, cut into thin slices



What must you do:
  1. Brush white chocolate on top third of a Kit Kat.
  2. Press a Rolo into the chocolate on top of the Kit Kat. If the chocolate has set, use icing or additional chocolate to get it to stick.
  3. Press two candy "eyes" into the white chocolate for the eyes.
  4. To create the stitch above on the cheek, use black gel icing to draw a horizontal line and drag a toothpick through the line to create a stitch effect.
  5. Press a thin slice of licorice into the white chocolate for the mouth. If needed, use icing to get it to stick.
  6. Press two small slices of licorice into the side of the Kit Kat to create the bolts.
Enjoy!

30/10/2014

Quick Avo and Cheese Toast




What to do when you are just way too busy to prepare a proper lunch box and you just can't stomach another stint of leftovers? Well throw a couple of rye bread slices in a bag, add an avocado and a couple of Kiri Cheese squares and there you go! Quick, easy and even cheap and if you double the bread and cheese to 4 slices and 4 cheese squares you have enough for 2 days! Or if you are me, then lunch and a 3pm snack...


This is my go to lunch and if I'm very busy at work I might even have this lunch 2 to 3 times a week (like the last couple of weeks). Rye is very good for sustenance, the cheese for my protein and my good fats from the avocado. Sugar free lunch that doesn't take forever to prepare.

What is your go to lunch that is easy and healthy?

22/10/2014

Little Em turns 1!


I'm still shocked that a whole year has gone by! 


I just had to start with this beautiful photo taken by Lizelle Krige Photography at Paarlberg Nature Reserve and even though Little Em was a bit sick, hadn't slept at all that day and refused to smile for most of the photoshoot, it still came out great.


Now too the party. I'm not a "pink" loving type of girl and Little Em gets confused as a little boy because I love putting her in jeans and a T-shirt but with Woolworth's going Hello Kitty crazy ever since she was born, the theme grew on me. I might go so far as to say that I am a Hello Kitty convert and can't wait to fly via Hong Kong again! So many things to buy...


Unfortunatly the craze has died down a lot by the time the party was to take place and I didn't buy the goodies while I could. So I had to improvise a lot of the stuff. The dolls, balloons and flags carried the theme so well and the cake stood proud in the middle of the table. (More on the cake later).


I found this adorable bright pink wooden doll house and used little Hello Kitty dolls in it to add some colour to the table. I also had some fresh flowers (pink & white roses and my favourite flower: tulips).


I also had some goodies from our trip to Phuket that I added: pink strawberry flavoured Kitkat chocolates and Hello Kitty pez dispensers. I also found little Hello Kitty lego figarines which I also added to the gift bags.


I recently discovered the joys of liquid chalk markers and used it on the window and sliding door. On the window I added the Menu being: Peanut butter and jam sandwiches; Ham and cheese sandwiches; Fruit kebabs; Cream cheese mice; Kebabs, potato salad, Pesto Noodle salad, mixed salad and rolls (more on that later). On the sliding door was the following info given all in regards to Little Em's first year: weighing 8,9kg, 174 463 thing put in her mouth (most hoping to be chocolate), 3 hospital visits, 1 tumble from the bed but she can climb down carefully by herself now, 4 teeth, 387 baths, 7 facial expressions and 4 flights from Cape Town via Dubai to Phuket and back.


Now the food and drinks: these milk drinks were so quick to make and added so much to the whole rainbow theme. I printed happy birthday printouts, cut them and just added them to the bottles. I also had Hello Kitty juice from Woolwoth's which were grabbed by the kiddies.


I made gift bags with toys, colouring books, sweeties, gifts, bubbles and some of these cookies made especially for the party. I collected stuff to add to the bags for about 6 months so was able to add a lot without it costing too much at once. I also send some of the cookies to school and gave them to grown-ups for take-home gifts.


I didn't want to have just sweets and unhealthy selections so I added these fruit kebabs in rainbow colors: green kiwi, yellow pineapple, orange melon, red strawberry, pink raspberry and a blueberry. These were a great hit with the kiddies and grown-ups alike and I was so glad I added them to the menu.


I made 2 different sandwiches: ham & cheese and peanut butter & jam in 3 different shapes. The little ham and cheese hearts were a big hit with Little Em and the other 1-year-olds as they were small and easy to handle.


The peanut butter and jam sandwiches were cut into flowers (more difficult that you would think as the mould was just slightly too big!) and the ham and cheese sandwiches were cut into crowns with a heart cutout in the centre which I displayed separately.


We made these little mice to go with the whole theme of Hello Kitty. They were easy to assemble but the cheese were very cold so they cracked a bit. I used chocolate buttons for the ears, chocolate drops for the nose and liquorice for the tails.


I had 2 tables and 7 chairs set up with Hello Kitty mugs and paper napkins. Everything planned and then never used! All the kiddies ended up sitting at the wooden bench so we moved the plates and everything over. And I bought the table and chairs especially for the party. Maybe they will use it next year...


Aunt Michelle bought a lot of Hello Kitty goodies at the local China Town and these balloon rattles were a big hit. It has a bell on the inside to amuse the kids while being safe and no-one can get hurt.


What did the multitude of grown-ups eat? We had a menu of Sosaties (kebabs) of chicken, pork and beef marinated in different sauces braaied (barbecued) outside, 3 salads and hotdog rolls. The idea being that each person takes a kebab and puts it on a roll very much like a hotdog. But being South Africans, they demolished the kebabs 2 at a time, only some had rolls and many ignored the salads!


We had a very South African potato salad made by my mother-in-law, a tomato, mozzarella and pesto noodle salad and a green sale with feta, raspberries and blueberries.


Just look at that beautiful face! The birthday girl didn't understand all the attention and looked at everyone with the funniest expression when we sang happy birthday.


And now the most important part: THE CAKE! When the need for an amazing cake arises I always turn to Karen from the The Mixing Bowl Cake Company who also made Little Em's christening cake and this amazing Finding Nemo Cake so obviously I wanted a beautiful cake to be the centre piece of the whole party but also taste great and boy did Karen deliver! 


I alone had about 6 pieces (and I'm probably forgetting about another 3) for dinner and again breakfast the next day. It was such a shame though that I had to cut into the cake in the first place. It was just so pretty with so much detail.


But just look and the inside! Soft rainbow colours that fitted the theme perfectly. And so moist too. The cake was still amazing 4 days later! We had 2 layers so a lot of leftovers. I had half of the left over cake personally giving me one hell of a sugar rush and a migraine to boot but so worth it.



The best part though is the fact that the 7 little ones really had a great time. There was so much to do and eat that they never got bored and misbehaved. I rented some extra toys to put in the garden from Paula's Party Stuff and it really was a great way so entertain the kiddies. Something I will do again though Em got so many toys that I really don't have to rent any ever again.


Thank you so much to everyone for helping me make Little Em's first birthday party such a success. Now to start planning next year's party. Any ideas?


16/10/2014

Hungry Hubby Turns 2!

So many things have happened! This has been an amazing, though hectic year. Last year this time little Em was born now she is turning 1. Hubby has moved off strict lunch boxes so my focus has been more on healthier living with the occasional proper indulgence. We haven't been to too many new places and restaurants, as new parents we choose to rather stay home and have family time. We did have a fantastic holiday in Phuket with baby traveling like a trooper. Back at work I have been so busy that lunches has become a struggle and cooking dinners had to be quick. But all in all, another good year! 

Thank you for sharing it with. The journey is just starting!

Here's a look at the last year:



Summertime salads and these are Cohen-friendly too!


My 5 minute glutted and carb free microwave bread. What more do you need?


Dinner is alway a struggle of "what to make" but pasta and wraps are quick and easy and can be whipped up in 20 minutes flat.



A comfort lunchbox is like a comfort blanket - always welcome and adding leftovers just makes it easier!




I love croissants and am always looking for a reason to enjoy them with some decent ham and cheese and a small spread of mustard.


And of course there are the lunch boxes:





Big or small, leftover or just something 
for the lunchbox...



Hmmm french toast..







And lastly weekend lunches, cooking classes and desserts.






I have had an amazing year. How was yours?




14/10/2014

Chicken Jalapeno "Popper" Roll-ups



Another twist on Jalapeno Poppers (still my favorite!). The combination of jalapeƱos and creamy cheese just doesn't get any better but add some protein and throw it all in a wrap and voila, best dinner ever that takes 20 minutes from start to finish!

• 2 cup cooked chicken, sliced
• 4 tbsp cream cheese
• 8 tbsp grated cheese (I use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
• 4 tbsp sliced pickled jalapeƱos
• 4 tsp sweet chilli sauce
• some mango for sweetness (optional)
• 4 tbsp sliced chorito sausage or salami (optional)
• ½ avocado, sliced (optional)
• 4 flour tortillas

1. Divide everything between the four tortillas
2. Fold double and fry in a non stick pan until the cheese has melted and everything is hot.
3. Enjoy immediately!

13/10/2014

Ham, Cream Cheese and Cucumber Pinwheels

Dorsogna_Sandwiches_2I am still on the birthday party food mission and this is another little gem form Cooking for Busy Mums that will make a great lunchbox addition. Quick and easy really does it and they even have a little how-to video.


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Pkt  Fresh English Ham 
  • 6 Slices White or Wholemeal bread, crusts removed and chilled 
  • 150gm Cream Cheese, softened 
  • 1 Continental Cucumber, cut into strips 
  • Salt and Pepper

LETS PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

  1. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese.
  2. Lay a slice of Ham on each and strips of cucumber.
  3. Roll each slice up tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  4. Unwrap and slice into little round pinwheel sandwiches.

These could be easily made in the evening left in the fridge overnight and then sliced in the morning to go straight into lunch boxes.

Makes 36 pinwheels

08/10/2014

Party Sausage Rolls


With a first birthday party around the corner, I have been looking for snacks that would not only be great party food but also fantastic lunchbox treats. With that in mind I went hunting in the shops and though mini sausage rolls would be perfect. And as I'm so lazy I will just buy some frozen ones to bake. After my I Quit Sugar experiment, I've been more aware of what has been going into products, especially ones I'm giving the little one. So I was horrified when I saw the lists of ingredients in a common sausage roll. So laziness be damned, I was going to have to make my own, no matter the effort. I was pleasantly surprised with the version I found below. I modified it a tiny bit but quick and easy is my motto and these deliver! Make a bunch and keep some frozen in the freezer to whip out whenever necessary.

INGREDIENTS
  • 500gm Veal or Beef Mince
  • 1 Carrot, grated
  • 1 Small Zucchini, peeled & grated
  • 1 Tsp minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Brown Onion, chopped finely
  • 1 Tsp Seeded mustard
  • 1 Egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Sheets Puff Pastry



LET’S PUT IT ALTOGETHER

  1. In a large bowl place all the ingredients and mix well to combine with your hands.
  2. Cut a sheet of puff pastry in half, lay 1/4 of the mixture through the middle of the half puff pastry making sure to go all the way to the edges evenly.
  3. Roll the pastry over the mince mixture and all the way over to seal.
  4. Cut into bite sizes approx 6-8 per roll. Place onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Spray with a little cooking oil. 
  5. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
  6. Bake in a 200 degree Celcius oven for 10-15 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.

Lunchbox Friendly: Perfect cold the next day in lunch boxes.
Freezer Friendly: Freeze at the point where you have just cut into bite sized pieces. When ready to cook simply place the uncooked mini sausage rolls on the tray still frozen. Adjust cooking time by an extra 5 minutes.




Www.cookingforbusymums.com

07/10/2014

Honingklip Brewery Botrivier




Honingklip Brewery is a real South African micro brewery situated in Botrivier about an hour's drive from Cape Town. It is run by a husband and wife team and you really get a great selection of beers to choose from. Can't choose then try the 4 testers for R20.


Hungry? then have s sausage platter with over 20 sausages to choose from. Great to just line the stomach. And you get a selection of 4 sourdough breads as well.


They have seating inside and outside and a little play area for the kiddies. 


Little Em enjoyed the sun so much that we definitely will do this again.