Tuesday, 17 January 2017

When should your baby start on solid food?

There is no set rule that says exactly when you must start your baby on solids. Generally your baby will be fine on milk for at least the first four months, possibly six months of his life. But there will come a time when he will not only want to eat solid food, but his growing body will need it.

So when is the right time? All babies are different and you need to do what is right for your baby, so the decision to offer solid foods should be made with your doctor or clinic sister. Here are some general milestones to look out for that may indicate he is ready for solids.
• Your baby is at least four months old.
• He has doubled his birth weight.
• He is starting to show an interest in what you are eating.
• Your baby was sleeping through the night and is now waking up.
• He still seems hungry after his normal feed.
• He can lift his head and place his weight on his arms when lying on his stomach.
• He can hold his head steady when held in a sitting position.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Homework helps

When your child starts "big school" it can be a bit of an adjustment when they have to start doing homework in the afternoon. It can also be difficult for you as a parent, if you are very busy or are at work during the day. Here are a few guidelines to make dealing with homework a bit easier. If you aren't the one at home in the afternoon then share these tips with the person looking after your child.

• Take an interest in your child's school work and set time aside each day to go through their homework with them, especially if they are younger.
• Ensure your child has somewhere to work where they can sit and concentrate properly with no distractions.
• Encourage your child to do their homework when they get home from school (after lunch), when their mind is still focused. If you have a routine that your child has agreed to, getting the work done will be much easier than if you leave them to do their homework whenever they feel like it. They won't ever feel like it!
• Don't put your child under pressure, instead be positive and encourage them to do their homework.
• Give them lots of praise.
• Keep track of what work they have been assigned so projects are not left until the night before.
• Give them lots of guidance, but don't do the work for them, or force them to do it your way.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Weekend finger food

Whether you have kids or not, having friends over for a chilled night of games, movies or simply catching up, is always a great way to spend a Saturday night. And you don't have to haul out the fancy china to do it. Here are a few of our favourite finger snacks that are great for watching some footie or battling it out in 30 Seconds.

Avo dip with corn chips

2 avocados
½ cup of cream cheese
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional)


1. Mash the avocado and cream cheese together.
2. Add onion, lemon juice and season as required.
3. Serve on a platter with corn chips.

Mini hot dogs
Heat up sausages of your choice (we used chipolatas) and put into hotdog rolls cut into portion sizes and garnish with whatever you fancy.

Chocolate chip cookies


2½ cups flour, sifted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
250g soft butter or margarine
1 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecan nuts (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
2. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.
3. Cream the butter, brown and white sugar, eggs and the vanilla essence.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture and then mix in the chocolate chips and the nuts.
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 12 minutes until brown.
6. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool.

(Makes 30-35)Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Twice-baked potatoes

We can't really claim that this is a quick weeknight meal because potatoes can take a while to cook through. But it is easy and who doesn't love a good stuffed potato? Serve as a side dish or with a fresh salad for a really tasty supper.

40ml sunflower oil
5ml salt
6 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
2 cans tuna chunks in brine, drained
95g butter
1 tub chunky cottage cheese
Handfull fresh chives, chopped
1 egg
4 spring onions, finely chopped
Salad leaves to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
2. Rub the oil over the potatoes and sprinkle with salt. Bake the potatoes for one hour until completely tender.
3. When the potatoes are cooked and cool enough to handle, cut a thick slice off the top of each one.
4. Scoop most of the flesh into a bowl, leaving a thick enough border inside the skins to retain their shape.
5. Add the butter, cottage cheese, chives, spring onions, salt and pepper to the potato in the bowl and mash.
6. Beat in the egg and fold in the tuna chunks. Divide the mixture between the potato shells.
7. Place the filled baked potatoes on a lightly oil baking sheet and return to the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Healthy flapjacks

Give your kids their favourite breakfast without the sugar.


¼ cup white self-raising flour
1/3 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup low fat milk
Mix together milk and egg.
Sift flours into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and gradually add the egg/milk mixture.
Whisk until all the liquid is incorporated and the batter is lump-free.
Leave to rest, covered with plastic for 10 minutes.
Heat a non-stick pan and drop tablespoons of the mixture into the hot pan about 2cm apart.
Cook over a medium heat for one minute or until the underside is golden brown.
Turn flapjack over and cook on the other side, remove from pan and repeat the process until all the batter is used up.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Meal planning

Why is meal planning so important?

1. It's a great way to save money on groceries. Not knowing what you're going to be cooking can lead to wasted groceries and wasted money. Make a list of exactly what you need for the week and stick to it.

2. Healthier eating. When you put thought into your meals it's easier to see where you're eating too much of a certain food or too little of another. Meal planning allows you to choose different vegetables and meat so your children get all the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.

3. It's easy! Put aside an hour during the week to plan the following week's meals. Choose your recipes and make a detailed shopping list with quantities of perishables so you don't buy too much. Buying perishables in bulk can be cheaper, but that's no use if you end up throwing half of it away.

4. It'll save you time if you know exactly what you're making for supper when you get home from work. No more trying to decide at the last minute and running to the shops for a missing ingredient. You always ending up buying more than just that one item!

"When I think of all the money and food I've wasted due to poor shopping habits I feel disappointed in myself. Smart meal planning has definitely save me time and money and best of all I lost some unwanted kilos." Glenda, mom of three.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A festive menu

It's almost time to start cooking! Set a table out in the South African sunshine and settle down for a fabulous feast of holiday favourites.

Glazed gammon

2kg gammon
2 litres ginger ale (enough to cover the gammon completely)
1 onion, thickly sliced
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves
6 peppercorns
Glaze of your choice

1. Place the gammon with its netting in a large saucepan and cover with the ginger ale.
2. Add onion, bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns. Cover the pot and bring to the boil.
3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes per 500g of meat.
4. Remove from the pot and place onto an oven pan. Carefully cut away the skin leaving a thin layer of fat.
5. Pour over the glaze (any glaze of your choice).
6. Put gammon into a preheated 200ºC oven and cook for 20 minutes until golden brown.
7. Serve hot or cold.

Honey-glazed carrots
Simmer carrots in a large, wide pan until just tender – about 15 minutes. Drain off all but a few tablespoons of the cooking water, then add a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of butter and season well. Turn the carrots over the heat until glazed and golden.

Green beans wrapped in bacon

500g green beans
250g bacon
50ml brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
2. Put the green beans in boiling water until the stalks turn bright green.
3. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, prepare a large bowl with ice and water.
4. Drain and drop the beans into the ice water for about two minutes, then drain.
5. Cut bacon strips into halves or thirds. Group four to six beans into small bundles and wrap a strip of bacon around each bundle.
6. Place the green bean bundles on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with brown sugar and olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Pavlova with fresh summer berries
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