Thursday, 23 April 2015

Chicken meatballs and linguine

This makes a delicious family meal, but works just as well when you're entertaining. The kids can even help you make the meatballs. Serve with a green salad and warm bread.

1 packet of linguine 

400g chicken mince
1 small onion, finely diced
1 tsp of crushed garlic
Splash of cooking oil
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato puree
1 chicken stock cube
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
Optional: Basil leaves and Parmesan cheese

1. Combine chicken mince, onion and garlic in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Shape mixture into about 16 meatballs.
2. Oil a non-stick frying pan. Place over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add meatballs and cook until brown on each side, turning frequently for about five minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, sugar and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through and sauce has slightly reduced.
4. While meatballs are cooking, boil pasta in a large saucepan of salted water for eight minutes or until just tender. Drain well.
5. Remove meatball mixture from heat and stir in basil leaves and Parmesan cheese. Spoon over hot linguine and serve immediately.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Make your goals work

Instead of a list of dreams, make one decision for one main goal for the year. Don't bite off more than you can chew... that only makes daydreams, not resolutions.

Be realistic. Don't make a resolution to put R20 000 into your savings if you make R24 000 a year. You have living expenses that have to be met. Don't resolve to lose fifty kilos if it would compromise your health. Take a big dose of reality before finalising your resolution.

Make a plan of action.
If you want to save R1 200 in a year, you know you'll have to save R100 a month. Make a working budget with that amount budgeted for savings. If you make a goal to be nicer to your mother-in-law, make a solid plan of action to do that.

Make your goal important.
Write it out and put it somewhere (bathroom mirror, fridge door, etc.) so you'll see it every day. That's old advice, but good advice.

Keep a diary or journal. Use it to detail your  plans and actions, as well as your thoughts and feelings about them. Every week, set aside a few minutes to look over your progress. Decide what you can do in the week ahead. See if you've slipped in the last week and if so, find a way to get back on track. Once a month, look back over your entries and see how far you've advanced.

Daydream about what life will be like once you've met your goal.
Keep it a vital part of your everyday thoughts. If it's increasing your savings/investments, think of the feeling of success, security, and/or empowerment it will bring. If you're looking forward to a new purchase or change of lifestyle, daydreaming should come easily!

Ask yourself:
"Do I want to be in the same situation at the end of the year as I was last year?" And answer it. Honestly. Then get up and go after it again.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Chakalaka pasta salad

This is a very easy dish that would be a great accompaniment with a braai or picnic.

Cook a packet of your favorite pasta and add a tin of chakalaka and some mayonnaise. Mix together and season to taste. This salad can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Breastfeeding 101

Nursing mothers have long known that by breastfeeding, they are passing on immunities to their babies to help fight viruses and illnesses. A specific protein in breast milk helps jump start a baby's immune system, providing active protection to the baby. Breast milk is acknowledged as the most complete form of nutrition for babies, with a range of benefits for their health, growth, immunity and development.

Benefits of breastfeeding:
• Breastfeeding strengthens the immune system of babies. During nursing, the mother passes antibodies to the child, which helps the child resist diseases and improves the normal immune response to certain vaccines.
• Respiratory illnesses are far less common among breastfed infants as are the likelihood of ear infections.
• Breastfed children are less likely to contract a number of diseases later in life, including juvenile diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and cancer before the age of 15.
• Another benefit of breastfeeding is the protection from allergies such as eczema.
• Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop osteoporosis later in life, are able to lose weight gained during pregnancy more easily and have a lower risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

Mother do's and don'ts while breastfeeding:

• Diet is an important factor in protecting your baby from chemicals in breast milk, but you can also try to limit the risk of exposure of your baby to chemicals by avoiding the use of pesticides in the home, garden or on pets, and avoid exposure to solvents such as paints, glue, petrol fumes, perfume and nail polish.
• Do not smoke or expose your baby to the smoking of others.
• Avoid alcohol.
• Avoid fish that may have high mercury levels such as tuna, which also has high levels of iodine that can affect a baby's developing nervous system.
• Avoid eating raw fish such as sushi and oysters.
• Eat a balanced diet low in animal fats and high-fat dairy products.
• Eat a diet rich in whole grains, pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables. These foods are high in vitamins and minerals.
• Avoid caffeine.
•Avoid eating nuts, especially if your family has a history of eczema and food allergies.
• Avoid eating spicy foods.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Easy lemon cheesecake

Perfect for Sunday afternoon tea.


200g digestive biscuits
100g butter
200g cream cheese
150ml double cream
75g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 if you really like lemon)

1. Put all the biscuits into a food bag, hold the end and crush the biscuits with the end of a rolling pin. Alternatively, grind with the back of a large wooden spoon in a mixing bowl.
2. When you have lots of small crumbs, add the butter. Melting it slightly beforehand will help you mix the base together.
3. Once you have a moist biscuit base, fill an 20cm cake tin or dish with the mixture, and press down with the back of a spoon. Leave in the fridge to set.
4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and double cream until you have a thick, creamy mixture.
5. Add the icing sugar and lemon juice, and mix in until smooth and thick.
6. Pour on top of the biscuit base, and spread out evenly.
7. Leave in the fridge for a few hours until the topping has set.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Should you change jobs?

Thinking about making a career change? Consider these reasons when it comes to taking the plunge.

You want more of a challenge.
If you've been in a position you just don't feel offers any more challenges, speak to your boss first. If you are not encouraged by the discussion and the economy is good, it may be a good time to start looking for a new job and/or career.

The thought of going to work causes physical and/or mental anguish.
If you wake up every morning and dread going to work, or have physical symptoms unrelated to other circumstances in your life, it's time to start networking. Life is too short to spend time in a position where you are feeling negative physical side effects.

There is no room for professional growth over the next year.

If you are a go-getter, you don't want to be told you will be promoted within a certain time frame and still be stuck in the same position months later. If this is the case, you may want to start looking for new opportunities.

A bigger/smaller company better suits your personality.
The corporate cultures at large and small companies vary considerably. You can either be a big fish in a small pond where many eyes are on you or lost in a sea of talent where it's more difficult to stand out.

A better and firm offer from another company presents itself.
Sometimes you aren't even looking and a new job opportunity is brought to your attention. Even if you are truly happy in your current position, check out the new job. It certainly can't hurt, but be sure to weigh all options.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

A feast for Easter

Celebrate Easter with a wonderful family breakfast or lunch. Here are some of our favourite dishes:

Easter breakfast
Easy eggs benedict
Buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup
Hot cross buns

Easter lunch

Chicken, leek and mushroom pie
Slow-cooked chicken stew

Cape pickled fish
Serves 6-8


2kg firm fish fillets such as hake, snoek or kabeljou
Flour seasoned with salt
Sunflower oil
3 medium onions, sliced
15ml curry powder
10ml turmeric
5ml ground coriander
10 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
7ml salt, plus extra
375ml white wine vinegar
375ml water
100ml white sugar
25ml cornflour

1. Toss fish in seasoned flour and fry in a little oil until golden brown and cooked through. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and fry onions until soft, then add curry powder, turmeric, ground coriander, peppercorns and bay leaves. Cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes.
3. Season with salt, stir in vinegar and water and bring to a simmer. 
4. Add sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Taste and correct seasoning. If necessary, add more sugar.
5. Combine cornflour with a little water to form a paste and stir into mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring until mixture thickens.
6. Allow mixture to cool slightly before pouring it over fish.
7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 48 hours before serving.
8. Serve at room temperature with crusty bread.
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