Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lose weight the healthy way

The truth is, if you want to lose weight, you need to make some changes. But that horrible word “diet” doesn’t have to hang around forever. Caring about yourself and living a healthy life is the real secret to looking and feeling fabulous every day. The list of tried and tested eating tips is endless, but these are some of Club’s favourites:
1. Wash it all down
Your body naturally loses water every day and it needs to be replaced. While water does not directly make you lose weight, it does prevent headaches, improve the condition of your skin and most importantly, you don’t have to worry about calories! Also remember that dehydration can make you feel hungry, so drink a glass of water before rushing for a snack.

2. Take it slow
Don’t use the biggest plate in the cupboard because you’ll end up filling it and overeating. Rather fill a small plate. Portion control is one of the best ways to cut down on calories. If you still feel hungry after eating, wait about 20 minutes. It takes a while for your brain to register that your stomach is full.

3. Make it work for you
Choosing a drastic diet plan and turning your lifestyle upside down will only end in disaster. You need to adapt an eating and exercise plan to make it work for you otherwise you’ll never be able to keep it up. To lose weight and keep it off, be realistic about your goals.

4. Sugar in disguise
Fruit juice can be misleading, because many people think that because it’s made from fruit it must be healthy. And while juice is still healthier than fizzy drinks, it’s packed with added sugar. Either cut down on the amount of juice you drink or make sure you dilute it with water first.

5. Be aware of what you eat and how you eat it
All the facts about food groups and calories can do your head in, and honestly, who cares about the fat content when it tastes so good? But our food choices are really important to our overall health, and it’s essential that we know what we’re eating.

Consider your cooking methods: Choose steaming, grilling, baking, poaching and stir-frying over deep-frying. To cut the fat content of your meat, as soon as you finish browning the meat, pour it into a dish covered with a double layer of paper towels. Then put another paper towel on top and blot the grease. If you want to remove even more fat, rinse the meat in a colander under hot (but not boiling) water. The water will wash away fat and cholesterol and cut about 50 per cent of the meat’s fat content. 

Diet alone is also not the answer. You'll lose weight and get healthy faster if you exercise. Check out our posts on keeping moving over the weekend and a great home exercise.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Vegetable biryani

South Africa is known for a lot of great things, one being our delicious food. This vegetable biryani is packed with flavour and deserves its spot as one of South Africa’s favourite dishes.

500 grams basmati rice
4 cardamom pods
2 sticks cassia
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 medium carrots, sliced
250 grams sweet potatoes, diced
500 grams butternut, diced
1 large onion, sliced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 ready mixed sachet of briyani spices
1 packet green beans
1 large onion, finely sliced


1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
2. Cook rice with cardamom and cassia according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a saucepan and follow the step-by-step process on the ready mixed briyani spice packet.
4. Fry vegetables to soften slightly and add some stock.
5. Cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes, then add the beans.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Hot cross buns

Happy Easter! To celebrate, and if you're up for some holiday baking, how about some delicious home-made hot cross buns?

450g flour
5ml salt
2.5ml each of mixed spice, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
50g castor sugar
20g instant yeast
100g currants
3-45ml mixed peel, chopped
150ml tepid milk
60ml tepid water
50g butter, melted and cooled, but not firm
1 egg, beaten

Shortcrust pastry: (for the crosses)

50g plain flour
Pinch of salt
25g butter
9ml cold water


60ml milk and water
45ml castor sugar


1. Cover a baking tray with flour and preheat the oven to 190ºC.
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, spices, castor sugar, and then mix in yeast, currants and peel.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, water, melted butter and egg.
4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the milk mixture and mix to a soft dough.
5. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead dough until smooth.
6. Put dough in a large greased bowl, cover with oiled clingwrap and leave to rise until double in size.
7. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough into 12 pieces and using the palm of your hand, roll each piece into a ball, shaping into a bun. Arrange buns spaced well apart on a floured baking tray, cover and allow to prove for 30 minutes.
8. Roll out the shortcrust pastry thinly and cut into 9cm long strips. Use a little water to dampen strips and lay two on each bun to form a cross.
9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Heat the milk and water with the sugar, and brush this glaze over the hot buns twice. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Save money every month

Saving for unexpected emergencies and major life changes is important, but it can be really difficult. Here’s how to get it done – quick and easy!

1. Don’t buy things you don’t need

Don’t give in to the sweets counter at the supermarket or the special on a brand of chips. Stick to your shopping list and you’ll save money in the long run.

2. Keep a record of your expenses each month

Write down everything you spend your money on for a month. Be as detailed as possible, and try not to leave out small purchases. If you see a lot of unnecessary expenses on your list, cut it down to the essentials.

3. Make a budget plan
On your budget plan, subtract your final list of expenses from your income to determine what you are able to save every month. Try to leave a little room in your budget plan for unexpected expenses such as car or household repairs.

4. Set saving goals

Determine how much you need to save, to buy a house for example, and establish a time frame. Make sure your goal is attainable within this time period.

5. Stick to your saving plan

A budget won’t do you any good if you don’t follow it and stick to your goals. Build some self-discipline and remember what you are saving for.

6. Don’t use your credit card

Without the convenience of credit cards you’ll be less inclined to spend money on unnecessary items. Using cash will make you more conscious of what you are spending your money on every month and you won’t want to constantly draw money from an ATM because of bank charges.

Saving money and reaching your goals is possible for everyone. It takes a bit of planning and a lot of discipline, but you can do it. It’s never too early to start preparing for a great future.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Chicken, leek and mushroom pie

As the weather starts to cool down, a tasty pie is exactly what your tummy needs. To make it a real "pub-style" meal serve it with chips and salad.


4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks or strips
3 medium leek, sliced
250g mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp of dried thyme
250ml chicken stock
1 tbsp corn flour
Salt and pepper to season
Drizzle of olive oil
1 roll of ready-made pastry


1. Fry the chicken in a little drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat until starting to brown and then add the leek, mushrooms and thyme.
2. Add the chicken stock.
3. In a separate bowl mix the corn flour with a little water until all of the corn flour has dissolved, then add this to the chicken mixture in the pan.
4. Once the sauce has begun to thicken take off the heat.
5. Place the filling into a pie dish.

Pastry Lid:
1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
2. Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the ready-made pastry approximately half a centimetre thick.
3. Lay the pastry over the pie filling, crimp the edges with your fingers and thumb or a fork and cut off any excess pastry.
4. Poke a small hole in the centre of the lid to let the steam escape.
5. Brush the pastry with a beaten egg mixed with a splash of milk and bake for about 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden.
6. Remove from the oven and let the pie rest for a few minutes before serving.

Friday, 11 April 2014

5 things to know before going into labour

Parents-to-be spend nearly 40 weeks planning for the arrival of their babies – but once the contractions start, the urge to panic can be overwhelming! Here’s a checklist of questions you should be able to answer before the big day:

1. Know what your medical aid covers

It’s important to find out in advance what your medical aid will cover relating to the birth: for example, how many nights are you allowed to stay in the hospital, and will they pay the anaesthetist if you have a epidural?

2. Know the route to the hospital

Make sure you’ve driven the route to the hospital several times so that it becomes second nature – and have a back-up plan in case of heavy traffic!

3. Have a plan for the other kids

If this isn’t your first baby, make sure you have plans for taking care of your other children. Make sure you have someone reliable and trustworthy lined up who can be called on short notice to baby-sit.

4. Have your suitcase packed

Most hospitals will supply you with a list of things to bring along for both yourself and the baby. Make sure your bag is packed a few weeks in advance, so you don’t have to worry about this if you go into labour earlier than expected.

5. Communicate your birth plan
It’s important to know what you want from your labour: Do you want access to an epidural for pain relief? Who do you want to be with you through the birth? Do you want to breastfeed immediately after delivery? Make sure you and your doctor are clear on the answers to these questions – but be flexible; in a medical emergency your doctor may have to deviate from this plan for the sake of you and your baby’s health.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Dealing with unemployment

Unemployment is a scary reality, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there is no shame in being unemployed. Support from your family, friends and even professional organisations will go a long way in keeping you motivated and positive.

One step at a time

• Surround yourself with positive, supportive people; talk to a mentor, counselor, religious leader, or friend when you need to regain a positive perspective, visualise yourself in your new job.
• Cut expenses as much as possible during the transition. Take a temporary position if needed; bringing in extra income not only helps financially, but it can also help you feel productive.
• Make a list of all your skills and accomplishments and remind yourself of them daily!
• Ensure your CV reflects your skills and accomplishments related to your current goals.
• Be proactive and develop a solid job-finding plan.
• Prepare a daily schedule for your job search and follow it (just as if you were working).
• Keep track of your contacts and follow up!
• Practice your interviewing skills regularly until you are happily working.

The South African job market is a tough place, and employers are obviously fussy about who they hire. There’s no recipe for coping with losing your job or finding a new one. The only thing you can do is to try and stay positive. Even if it feels like you’re fooling yourself with each new job interview, staying positive will make you easier to live with, and hopefully it will make you easier to employ.
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