Wass up! 

Wass up! 

 

There are some things that will always brighten up my day and that’s skin products that smell absolutely divine! I also love supporting locally made products.

Wass is a 100% natural and organic range of products made in Cape Town. I discovered her recently at Kamers and have been using her products ever since! We have already gone through two body balms and we’re almost done with the bath salts. I started using the bath salts for my kids when they went through their bouts of flu. It helped to clear their sinuses and was a great way to calm them down before bed time. They even slept better!

As you can see, I bought the whole range. Her products are categorized by seasons. I love all of them for different reasons. But right now, my favs are autumn and fall. I also love the travel size roll ons which she calls temple oils. She has one for day, night and travel. I love putting them on throughout the day.

These products are kid approved. It may seem excessive to use such lavish products on them but after they were born, I realized they both had very sensitive skin and was allergic to many chemicals in the heavily scented baby products. I became more conscious of the products I used on them and therefore, our family now uses a lot of organic and natural skin products. Our skin is happy and it helps that everything smells so darn good. My kids even request the bath salts and our daughter loves the body balms! LOL So for us, this is a no brainer…I will be replenishing our stock right after this post!

Where to buy: Unfortunately, no one stocks Wass in Joburg. She sells at a couple stores in Cape Town. You have to head to her website, Wass. The bath salts and her scrub are not listed on the website but I’m sure you can drop her an email to order them…definitely a bath must for the cold winter!

Never knew Kale could be this good…

shaved brussels sprouts and kale salad

I have always had a love hate relationship with kale especially when it first appeared in all the NY trendy health restaurants. I just couldn’t get myself to love it. Maybe hate is a strong word but it wasn’t exactly a must have at my meals nor something I would actually look for on a menu.

Until I saw somewhere on Instagram that I could just sauté it with some olive oil and garlic…then it became a instant favorite of mine. How simple. Then I thought maybe I just like it cooked vs raw until I came across this salad, Shaved Brussel Sprouts & Kale Salad. I love brussels sprouts so decided to give it a try. It’s so so simple….maybe what makes it so darn good is the sweet basil dressing. I’m not convinced it’s just the dressing though. I think it’s the whole combination of the kale, sprouts, dates and hazelnuts. Again, hazelnuts isn’t exactly the kind of nut I would put in my salads. It was a nice surprise.  This is just a quick easy side and easily a meal once you add some protein. I’ve had it with chicken and salmon. I love the fact that I can just throw it together in minutes if you shave the brussels sprouts ahead of time. For me, this is going to be a great summer salad.

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 pitted dates, chopped (I like to add more)
  • ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 4-6 tablespoons SWEET BASIL DRESSING

Instructions

  • Slice the bottoms of the brussels sprouts off and then put them in a food processor.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, you can slice them thinly with a knife or buy pre packaged shaved brussels sprouts.
  • Remove stems from kale then slice the kale into thin strips. I buy the pre packaged kale from Woolworth’s.
  • Add kale into a large bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of the Sweet Basil Dressing on top and massage it into the kale with your hands.
  • Then add in the shaved brussels sprouts and add in 3-4 more tablespoons of dressing and stir to coat.
  • Top with chopped dates and hazelnuts!

Sweet Basil Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, loose
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 pitted medjool dates, soaked in hot water to soften
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until dates are broken down and it is smooth and creamy!  Drizzle over a salad or chicken!

 

I decided to list the recipes on my blog as it seems to be easier for people to follow but you can always click on the links to the original recipes above too.

Homemade Mayo & Curried Mayo Chicken

Homemade Mayo & Curried Mayo Chicken

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Who doesn’t like mayo!!! I love tuna with mayo, chicken with mayo, french fries with mayo, and almost every sandwich that has mayo. Mayo just adds that certain sweet and tangy taste that you can’t get from anything else. So after checking and trying out a few recipes, I basically came up with my own. There are so many adjustments you can make according to your tastebuds.

Here are a few substitutions/suggestions to consider while making your mayo and of course, taste it while you make it. You can sub the avocado oil for macadamia oil. You can use less 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and you can add a touch more honey. I try to use everything organic and sometimes that alone changes the taste. I feel organic apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard have stronger flavors so you can always use less and add more as make and taste it.

Mayo Recipe:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 180 ml extra virgin olive oil (don’t use one that’s too heavy)
  • 180 ml avocado oil

So I like to make things as easy as possible. I made my mayo in my NutriBullet but you can use a hand blender if that’s what you have. Add all the ingredients except the oil in a bowl and start blending and slowly add the oils. For me, I added the ingredients into the Nutribullet cup and whisked them then I added the oils and gave it a whirl in the Nutribullet. I had no issues at all. If it’s too thick then add a little warm water.

With this recipe, I was able to make the two 250 gram glass jars in the pic. I just took half the mayo out and added the curried mayo ingredients to the other half. Again, I gave it a quick spin in the NutriBullet. The mayo should last about two weeks.

Curried Mayo (just add the following after)

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • dash of lemon juice

 

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I love making use of leftovers and this is how the curried chicken mayo came about today!

  • 2 cups rotisserie chicken
  • 4 fresh medjool dates, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup baby fennel
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped cashews
  • 3-4 tablespoons of the curried mayo (personal preference)

If you give these recipes a try, please let me know how it turns out as it’s my “first recipes”.

**Disclaimer: I’m all about eyeing my ingredients. If I feel like a recipe doesn’t have enough of something I just add or if I feel it’s too much, I add less. These kind of recipes, fall into this category. It’s all about tasting as you go. It’s usually the baking ones that you have to be more accurate.

 

Little Miss & Mr Men Obsessed

Little Miss & Mr Men Obsessed

So at bedtime, we read to our kids every night and currently, they are obsessed with Little Miss and Mr. Men books. I say currently but it’s been over a year that I bought Becket his first set of Mr. Men books for his 4th birthday. It was an instant hit so 6 months later, I got Finley her first set of Little Miss books. I can’t tell you how many times we have read each book but they have become classics in our home. There is always a Mr. Men or Little Miss book in the night’s storytime rotation. So it’s not surprising that I love to give these books as part of a birthday present! They are small, cute, and easy to read. Finley loves to read them now on her own too. The original collections are great but I’m a bit obsessed myself with the newer ones like Mr. Men at Bedtime.

Of course, you can find them here in Joburg at Exclusive Books but even better, is that you can find them on Takealot for a deal.  For everyone else, I am sure you can find them on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

Marataba

Marataba

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One of the advantages of living in Africa is going on safaris. The kids simply love it and now that they are older it’s easier to manage the early morning wake up calls! We discovered Marataba Safari Lodge when Brian bidded on a school auction and won. It’s only a 4 hour drive from Joburg so the road trip is manageable. It’s located near Waterberg at the Marakele Park, Thabazimbi. For those concerned, it is malaria free. So a quick weekend getaway is definitely possible. We were surprised that many of our SA friends have never heard of it but I guess it’s mainly a lodge that caters to tourists.

We can’t say enough great things about them. The service, accommodations, food, and drives were all exceptional. Our guide, Andre, was amazing and the kids absolutely loved him. He was so knowledgeable and the kids asked him a million questions. They love animals and it probably helps that Wild Kratts is their favorite show. They are walking animal dictionaries. You can ask Becket almost anything and he knows and when you ask him how he knows…he says the Wild Kratts! LOL They even had afternoon activities for the kids so the adults can relax. The landscape is one of the most beautiful that we have seen as they have water and mountains. It’s rare to find this combination. There’s something about getting back to nature. It’s magical. It also helps that you sleep like a baby….we think it’s the air!

Marataba was so magnificent that we went back again in April when my parents came to visit. So this one is a keeper. If you’re adventurous and don’t plan on taking the kids, they have a brand new eco lodge, Marataba Trails Lodge, that caters solely to walking safaris. Definitely something Brian and I plan to do….one day!

The best chicken sausage…

The best chicken sausage…

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I am that person who orders the lumberjack breakfast, the breakfast sampler, the classic..whatever you want to call it but it’s all the same! It has a little bit of everything…eggs, bacon, pork sausage, potatoes, hash browns, pancakes, mushrooms, tomatoes. I love it all…I won’t discriminate as every combo has sausage.

Yet, we all know that pork sausages aren’t really healthy so when I came across this healthy chicken sausage recipe, I had to try it. Sorry the pics aren’t great and yes, I burned a few. They got better along the way and this was already the second batch in two weeks. That’s how good they are. I love keeping them in the fridge so I can just reheat them in the morning while I make my eggs. This has been my go to breakfast…eggs, chicken sausage, sautéed kale and sriracha. Heavenly and it keeps me full…it’s a great post workout breakfast! Trust me, you won’t miss the pork sausages. Enjoy!

Recipe:
Caramelized Fennel & Date Chicken Sausage

Tips: the first time I made this I didn’t have fennel so I used fennel seeds but I put them in my nutribullet to get the fennel in powder form. I also added green onions/scallions. Either way it was just as good. The fennel powder did give it more of that anise flavor but it would also depend how much you put in. It’s just a good alternative if you don’t have fresh fennel.

Everything is better with strawberries…

Everything is better with strawberries…

 

I’m always in search of a good salad that’s easy to make and great for dinner parties. So when a good friend sent me a pic of this salad, I knew I had to find it.  Sure enough after a quick Pinterest search, I found it….Creamy Strawberry Feta Pasta Salad!

The salad was a huge hit at dinner that night. I forgot to add the avocado but it was still a great salad. The strawberries and the poppy dressing were what made the salad! I have to say though that the recipe calls for a lot of pasta and the dressing yields quite a bit. I halved the pasta and the dressing. It still fed 4 people easily with leftovers for one. Give this one a try….it tastes even better the day after! For a complete meal, you can always add whatever protein that suits you!