Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On the run Kids smoothie

Rebecca loves raspberries and peaches so this is a great drink to take in the car on days where time is fleeting.

Peach melba smoothie

75-80g raspberries
2 peaches chopped up or about half a can peaches in natural juice (drained)
200ml peach drinking yoghurt
150 ml milk
1-2 teaspoon honey

Blend all really well until smooth. Place in the fridge to get cold.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A brilliant lunch

We had this for lunch today and it's a great 'go-to' recipe because the ingredients are all lurking about the kitchen.

Chicken Pasta Salad
about 200-250g wholewheat pasta, cooked, drained and cooled
2- 3 chicken breasts, cubed
handful sun-dried tomatoes (the ones in the oily juices), chopped
handful black olives, pitted and chopped
handful of peppadews, chopped
5-6 spring onions, chopped
log of Chevin (goat's cheese) or a round of feta, crumbled

Cook chicken with a teaspoon of garlic and herb salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce. Place remaining ingredients in a bowl and tip the chicken in. Mix and serve.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Not a salad

This morning I daydreamed of bread, and that was remedied with the loveliest raisin bread...

'Helene Pringle dashed across the driveway and into the yard of the yellow house. He observed with some fondness that she bobbed when she dashed, rather like a small hare across an open field. She clutched a parcel in her hands, which she transferred to his. "Bread!" she exclaimed, huffing a bit. "Just baked. I hope you and Cynthia will enjoy it."
"Thank you Helene!" The seductive warmth of the loaf seeped through the brown bag. "I just might eat the whole thing standing right here!"
His neighbour laughed with a childlike merriment.'

~ In this mountain (J. Karon)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Moroccan-inspired salad

The great thing about salad is that it's basically a bit of chopping and a lot of lovely layering, and you end up with something beautiful... this salad is good with lamb or grilled chicken.

A packet of mixed green leaves
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 large aubergine, sliced
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
small handful of walnuts
small handful of fresh dates

Firstly slice and salt the aubergine. Leave for 20-30 minutes. Wipe. Heat a pan and fry the aubergine in a little olive oil. Let cool.
Drain the liquid in the chickpea can. Then rinse and drain the chickpeas. I then mixed it with 4-5 tablespoons of this dip (if this is not available, just use something similar or half hummus and half yoghurt mixed, and season to taste).

Assemble all the ingredients leaving the walnuts and dates to sprinkle over the top. Serve.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Colleen's Watermelon Salad

This salad was such a refreshing addition to the Christmas Eve table - and we have been eating it ever since.

Shred 1/2 a small lettuce and mix with a large handful of rocket (or use all rocket), cut half a watermelon into cubes and place over the greens. Chop up a round of feta and add to the salad. Finally sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds.

Whisk the dressing and pour over salad just before serving:
35 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 teaspoon good sea salt (Maldon)
a serious grinding of black pepper

An excellent summer salad, the peppery rocket and the sweet watermelon are magical together.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The best potato salad

I think I will continue with the salad theme this week because I have this delicious salad to share. My favourite Potato Salad. A winner!

1 small punnet baby potatoes

1 packet of lean bacon, cubed

For dressing, whisk the following:
3 heaped tablespoons sour cream

2 heaped tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

I like new (baby) potatoes as I think they have a better flavour. Heat a pan and crisp up the bacon. In a pot, boil the potatoes. Drain and set aside to cool. Cut into halves. Mix the dressing in a bowl. If you find the dressing too thick, thin it out with a splash of milk.

Add the potatoes and blend well (but gently) to cover. Sprinkle bacon generously over the potatoes. Serve. If you are serving it later, set salad in the fridge as it keeps well (but only add the bacon when serving to keep the crunch). Sprinkle a little green (a little chives or parsley) on top if you have it - don't buy it especially.

I have bacon fans in my house but if bacon is not your thing then add half a grated onion and 2 gherkins finely chopped instead. Happy days.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waldorf Salad

We have been eating lots of salad. This is still a classic... originally made in the 1800's in NYC at the Waldorf Hotel. Nice old-world feel about serving this. Lots of flavours.

For the salad, I tear up 1 butter lettuce, 1 small to medium green apple chopped (leave the skin on), 1 stick of chopped celery, 3-4 tablespoons of walnuts, a handful of green grapes

For the dressing, I use 3 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt, 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoons of salt, a good grinding of black pepper

Plate up the lettuce. Toss the apple and celery in the dressing to coat and pile over lettuce. Spread the walnuts and grapes about and spoon a little more dressing over if necessary. Crunchy and delicious - perfect in the summer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Iced Tea

We have been experiencing some intense heat this week. This is the perfect ice-cold antidote.

4 cups of Honey flavoured Rooibos tea, sweetened to taste (I don't like it sweet, so I use about 3-4 teaspoons of Sugar or Honey, but add more if you like it sweeter) - leave tea to draw and cool. Remove teabags. Then add 4 cups of Berry Juice and let it get very cold in the refrigerator. Add stacks of ice. (Sometimes I add a stick of cinnamon but don't let it seep for too long as it can be overpowering. If I want a tart taste, I use cranberry or grapefruit juice instead - very refreshing).

This is perfectly simple and delicious! You can drink many jugs of this.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The big ocean

How exciting is the Volvo Ocean Race... we have been tracking the teams around the world, in the vast oceans, with their tiny yachts, for months. Sport or madness - I'm not sure. Wayne had the privilege of doing a small stint with 'Team Camper' when they were in Cape Town, so no prizes for who we are rooting for.

Amazing stuff.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A welcome cup of tea

I've had a bit of a tummy bug this week and in order to cheer me up today, Becca slipped into the kitchen and then brought me a tray of tea... at just the right time, between 4 and 5 pm.

"She watches over the ways of her household" ~Proverbs

Monday, January 16, 2012

Six years ago, to the day

First time going to a morning play group! Dang cute. As an only child she needed a little more social time with like-minded "I want to play all morning with you in the sandpit". Did I cry that day! I couldn't wait for those three hours to pass, but she love it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fig tree

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places."
~ Habakkuk

Interestingly the fig tree does not bear any flowers or show any signs that a harvest is coming, it looks dead and then it pops the leaves and then immediately the fruit... so while it may seem at times that what we are doing is not yielding, even though we might not be eating natural fruit we should still tend the soil because something is going on under there. And God in His wisdom knows what we need even before we ask, so keep rejoicing and tending to the spiritual work of believing Him more (more than what we see with our natural eyes) - because, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Compost, seriously.

I told my friend that I would never be doing this again. It meant intense digging, keeping all the fresh kitchen scraps, cuttings, leaves etc (this piles up quickly), then all the layering takes place, and watering. Then you start the next one. No, not for me!

BUT now I have an enormous fertile mass of compost to show for it. It's one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, so maybe it was a worth it...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Entering a new school year

The colour coding and covering, with lots of tea to help the task along.

Neatly stacked and ready for school.

Now the application and work begin.

"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work." - Mark Twain

Monday, January 9, 2012

Leaving the dinner table

'When fruit has been taken and a glass or two of wine passed round, the time will have arrived when the hostess, after catching the eye of the lady first in precedence, rises, and gives the signal for retirement to the drawing-room. The men will rise at the same time, the one nearest the door opening it for the ladies, and all courteously standing until the last lady has withdrawn.'

- Mrs Beeton's Household Management (from 1861)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Our God is Happy

What a beautiful concept! When the preacher said it, I was surprised. I spend the rest of the afternoon thinking about this. Not only that but God equates this with the celebration and joy at a wedding. Read the words of Isaiah...

"For as a young man marries a virgin... and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you" - we make Him glad!

Let's be real. This is great news. Who wouldn't want happiness, not a passing sensation but a deep joy bubbling in us. To be transformed into this image, this divine truth. He is happy and full of joy...

Jesus echoed this sentiment in the new testament, "these things I have spoken to you that My joy may remain in you and your joy may be full"

Isn't it true that the whole gospel is a proclamation of Joy. Yes. God gives what He has in abundance and He gives it abundantly. Joy. Happiness. Even when we don't sing to Him, He rejoices and sings over us. His Joy is our strength because it's the steel in every situation, and a sign of our salvation.

Tumultuous times come but that does not change the truth of His character.

Spurgeon said, 'the Joy of the Lord in us is always a sign and symbol of a strong spiritual life'

This is one of the treasures I want to mine for this year. To see Him in Joy and to live Joy.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Love light

"God commanded light to shine out of darkness... to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ"
~2 Corinthians

A new year does bring a sense of hope, a time for planning and reflection, the dawn of new light... fresh vision.

"Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us"

A time to think about ourselves, body, soul and spirit and to think about others. To trust our steadfast God to use our frail form to shine hope in an ever darkening world. To truly be salt and light in the daily fabric of our lives and to love, without which we would just be clanging bells of noise. Because its His goodness that draws man to repentance.

"An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge"
~John Wesley

May the thread of 2012 be boldy woven with fruit that abides and feeds others by His grace... and now abide faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Pretzels

What a marvellous discovery, this has become my favourite snack! Wayne gave me a packet in my Christmas stocking... well... I have bought five more packets since then.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A blessed new year

May this year be crowned with goodness and abiding joy.

This weekend we saw some precious buried treasure...

and a new year challenge...

A new day and a new year full of possibility and opportunity for loving more, forgiving more and living in His grace!