Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Beans and pasta with meatballs

A simple pasta dish that is made extra tasty by using a pack of pork sausages.

6-8 pack pork sausages
1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 celery sticks, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes (you can add an extra can if you want more sauce)
1l chicken stock
500g macaroni
410g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Handful parsley, chopped

1. Snip the ends off the sausages and squeeze out the meat. Roll into rough walnut-sized meatballs.
2. Heat half the oil in a large, wide pan and fry until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Add the rest of the oil to the pan. Fry onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add the meatballs and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked though. Stir in beans and cooking for another five minutes.
5. Mix sauce with cooked pasta, season, stir in parsley and serve.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Family time

Experts reveal the six ingredients to a happy, successful family life:

Secret 1: Communicate
Frequently, families are set up where everyone talks to the mother and she sends on the messages on behalf of the others, but in a happy family all the family members are able to communicate openly with one another.

Secret 2: Put the marriage first
Set a real example of love. There are many families where kids always come first, but they become substitute providers of love, which is an unfair burden to put on a child.

Secret 3: Break bread and play together

Families that eat and play together, stay together. Family dinners are essential because it's a time to connect. Have a few other activities that the family also does together on a regular basis.

Secret 4: Don't work too hard
All work and no play does worse things to a family than make it dull. If you don't prioritise your family, your children will start to believe they're not as important.

Secret 5: Build and honour traditions

Traditions tend to bring family members close together because they give a sense of belonging. They can be unique to your family, such as a weekly pizza night, or a family song.

Secret 6: Keep your voices down

Children thrive on stability and having a calm environment at home. Set rules for your kids, and punish them when necessary, but don't lose control – it shows you are out of control of the situation.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Eat more fish

Although no single food alone can make a person healthy, eating more fish is one way that most of us can improve our diets. The experts recommend that you eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week. Here are some tips to help you add more fish to your diet:

• Start slowly by substituting fish or shellfish for another type of meal each week. Once that is an established part of your eating plan, increase to two seafood meals per week.
• Try marinating and grilling fish "steaks". Grilled fish kebabs are a tasty option if you choose firm-fleshed fish such as kingklip or tuna.
• Check the shops for a wide variety of marinades and spice mixtures to use with fish. And don't forget that old classic – lemon juice, garlic and herbs.
• Have some cans of tuna on hand for quick lunch or supper ideas. A tuna salad sandwich or a tuna and noodle casserole can be ready in no time (just go easy on the mayonnaise).

• Introduce fish and seafood to your children when they are young, so they get into the habit of eating it. And find ways to "hide" it instead of just giving them a piece of fish.
• Choose broiled, grilled or baked fish more often than fried, which is higher in total fat.

Here are some of our favourite fish recipes:
Hake fillets with tomato relish
Fish pie
Potato and fish cakes
Lemon and herb baked fish

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The junk food crisis

It's no secret that most kids, of any age, will choose junk food over fruit and veggies. But you're not doing them any favours by giving them chocolate and chips to make them happy. Here are three simple tips:

You're the parent and you're in charge. Don't forget that you decide what food to buy. Sure, your kids will bug you for treats, but you're the adult. Your children won't go hungry and they'll eat what is available. They can still have their favourite, less nutritious snack every now and then.

Let your children stop eating when they say they've had enough. Lots of parents grew up with their own parents telling them to finish everything on their plate, but that approach doesn't help kids listen to their own bodies when they feel full. If children notice and respond to feeling full early on, they're less likely to overeat.

Be a good role model and eat healthily yourself. It's difficult to expect your child to understand why they have to have an apple when you're eating a slab of chocolate on the couch. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, and don't skip meals.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tandoori chicken

Add a little spice to your week with this deliciously easy tandoori chicken recipe. Serve with poppadoms, savoury pancakes or wraps.


500g chicken breast
30ml tandoori paste
400ml yoghurt
Lettuce, cucumber, tomato (optional)

1. In a bowl use 300ml of natural yoghurt and add the tandoori paste.
2. Cut the chicken into strips and marinate with the mixture.
3. On a medium heat fry the chicken for five to seven minutes until it is cooked through.
4. Cook the poppadoms or wraps in the microwave as per the packet instructions.
5. Divide the chicken between the poppadoms/wraps, top with salad ingredients, a dollop of the remaining yoghurt and coriander and serve.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

How to survive the loss of a spouse

Losing your spouse is never easy, whether it happens early or late in life, suddenly or after a long illness. But there are steps that can help you heal and move forward.

Be prepared
Unless you pass away first, you're guaranteed to have to face the death of your spouse one day. Make sure that you have the following in a safe place: your wills, letters of instruction, life insurance policies, retirement plans, birth certificates, marriage licence, deeds to any property owned, vehicle registrations, recent bank and financial account statements, and a list of any outstanding debts.

Accept help
Family and friends will rally around with offers. Take them up on anything that can make your life easier, from making telephone calls to preparing meals. But stay in charge of your life – don’t let anyone else take over, especially in financial matters. Don't be afraid to reach out to people either. They may think you need time alone to grieve when you actually just need someone to talk to.

Look after yourself

Emotional exhaustion can destroy your appetite and break your sleep. Force yourself to eat nutritiously, even if it’s only a little. Exercise regularly and ask your doctor for any help with sleep problems. It may also be useful to write down your feeling in a journal.

Don't blame yourself

Feelings of anger and guilt are normal. Talk it through with a close friend, minister or counsellor if need be. “If only I’d done X, this may not have happened”; “I never told them I loved them that day”; “I felt relief when they finally died after the burden of nursing them.” These things don’t mean that you loved the person any less, just that you’re human and doing your best.

Don’t hurry grief

The mourning process may take you months or years. Expect to go through various emotions: shock and denial, anger, despair or depression and finally acceptance. You can only heal in your own time and no one has the right to tell you to “cheer up” or “get over it”. But if you seem stuck in one stage, especially depression, consider counselling.

When you’re ready, move on

After the loss of a spouse, your life will never be quite the same. But eventually you’ll reach a stage when you accept death and the changes it’s brought, and begin to live in the present. Keep honouring the person you’ve lost in meaningful ways, but also let go and move forward. They would want you to find happiness, and you can – alone or with someone else.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Try this sweet treat for school lunchboxes or afternoon tea at work.

310ml flour
310ml breakfast oats
310ml coconut
185ml sugar
20ml syrup
125ml butter or margarine
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
45–60ml boiling water


1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.
3. Melt the syrup and butter together. Combine the bicarbonate of soda with the water and add to the butter mixture. Mix together with the dry ingredients.
4. Press the mixture into a 20cm x 20cm square tin and bake for 20 minutes. Gently press down the sides if they start to rise too much.
5. When light brown, remove from the oven and cut into squares. Switch off the oven.
6. Return the crunchies to the oven for about 10 minutes to dry out.
7. Allow to cool before removing from the tin.

Makes about 12 crunchies
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