Delicious Green Soup

Delicious Green Soup
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When my husband travels, it’s hard to make dinner for one.  Hence, my recent curiosity into soups. I have never been big on soups but the occasional french onion soup has piqued my interest. Yet I don’t think I’m ready to make my own! The last couple weeks I have made several soups and was surprised to find that they are actually really easy to make and a great to just have in the fridge. It’s also a nice warm treat during these cold Joburg winter days. My favorite so far has been this Alkalizing Green Detox Soup. Surprisingly, its filling and good for you! It’s absolutely delicious and if it’s not enough, a nice warm baguette would make this a complete meal!
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch fresh kale leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely diced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1&1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • Toasted nuts and seeds, to garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Heat the coconut oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic, asparagus, fennel and celery stalks and cook for 5 minutes over low heat.
  2. Add the vegetable stock, bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the kale leaves and spinach, and remove from the heat.
  4. Transfer into the blender, add lime juice and process to obtain a smooth cream. Add more vegetable stock to adjust the texture.
  5. Serve warm, topped with toasted nuts and seeds or in my case some garlic croutons.

Almond Flour Banana Bread 

Almond Flour Banana Bread 

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I am always on the lookout for the perfect healthy banana bread recipe. I have tried dozens as it’s a favorite for the whole family. I have found tons of banana bread recipes that are good but none that I could deem 100% healthy and good till now! Almond flour has always been tricky and most of the recipes I tried, the bread would either come out too dry or tasting like cardboard. I found this one last week and made muffins instead of a loaf but today decided to make it as a loaf and it’s absolutely delicious and moist. I usually change a little something in a recipe but with this one I didn’t change a thing. When making muffins though, I found they were ready within 20 minutes. Today the loaf did take almost an hour, I think it varies depending on our oven. I prefer this one with walnuts but when I made them for the kids last week I omitted them. I also used raw honey vs. honey and used Greek yogurt vs. plain yogurt. Again I think these are preferences. Give this one a try and I am sure it will become a family favorite! Would taste divine with ice cream! Lol

Almond Flour Banana Bread

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I used GREEK yogurt)

3 bananas ripe, mashed

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Grease a large bread pan with butter or coconut oil.

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: almond flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add in the honey, yogurt, mashed bananas, and vanilla. Whisk together until combined.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour the batter into a large bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until the center is firm.

Allow to cool. Remove from pan.

 

Something Old into Something New

Something Old into Something New

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Who doesn’t love a bargain! One of my favorite pastimes in New York was to comb the vintage and second hand stores for a great find! It was always so fulfilling to find a great deal on a vintage bag! There were a couple right by our neighborhood so it was always a breeze to pop in.

I haven’t quite found the same in Joburg but I have discovered a hidden gem, New To You, in Bryanston. They sell new and second hand furniture and there’s always something you need! To say I was here once a week when I first discovered it would be an understatement! Lol My best friend and I would find some excuse to stop by and fortunately/unfortunately we would always find something we had to have. Coming from a NYC apartment, we just didn’t have enough furniture to fill a house. New to You helped furnished our new homes. Most people don’t know that our pieces are second hand!

There’s something for everyone and Tracey, the owner, is great. She could not be any easier to deal with. If you find something you like and it doesn’t fit in your car, she organizes delivery as soon as the next day! It made shopping for furniture less stressful and also instant gratification…no wait time! This became our quick fix as we don’t shop much here in Joburg but this certainly, satisfied our shopping needs! And I know many of you can relate…when you get that itch to just buy something! Another great thing is that prices are so good that you still had money to get pieces reupholstered if the color or fabric didn’t suit your needs. Tracey doesn’t house anything that isn’t up to par. Plus the quality of her pieces are better than what you get in stores these days! Sometimes older is better! You can find everything from headboards, coffee tables, desks, ottomans, sofas, pillows, nickknacks to furnish your home. Definitely worth a drive by if you’re in the area. You can also shop on their website but going in and browsing is half the fun!

Where: New to You

Address: 2 Brian Str, cnr Peter Place, Bryanston (1 block below Sandton Clinic)

Hours: Thurs & Fri: 9am – 4pm, Saturday: 9am – 1pm

Website: newtoyou.co.za

 

One Stop Shopping

One Stop Shopping

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I don’t know anyone that doesn’t like one stop shopping…so when Wellness Warehouse showed up at Moema’s old spot in Parktown North I was excited! They also have a location at the Thrupp’s Centre.

Wellness Warehouse originated in Cape Town in 2007 and has only now made its way to Joburg. This was my first visit there and it reminded me of a mini Whole Foods from the states. It sells a variety of organic foods, natural skincare, and supplements. It also has a small wellness cafe where you can get fresh wraps, salads, kombucha and juices. Looks like their Cape Town stores also carry fresh produce but I don’t see any of the stores around here doing that yet. Well, beggars can’t be choosy so I will take what I can get for now. Hopefully the growing success will convince them branch out here like they have in Cape Town! Here are some of my favorites from Wellness.

Skoon 

Loving this natural skincare line that I picked up at Wellness. For me, these products are the foundation of my skincare. I will venture out and use more specialized products but when it comes to the basics, I like to keep it simple.

Taken from the Skoon website:

SKOON provides you with the health giving properties your skin deserves by harnessing the best of nature with science. Combining ingredients like Wildflower Honey and Buchu, organic oils of Jojoba and Coconut etc with established scientific actives, we ensure your skin is nurtured just the way it should. Most importantly though, our full range complies with the stringent, toxin-free, criteria of the globally recognised EWG (Environmental Working Group).

Here’s my loot:

  • Whitewash – purifying clay cleanser
  • Gel to Milk – cleaner and  makeup remover
  • Retinin Minipot – resurfacing moisturizer
  • White Cloud Manuka – concentrate
  • Ruby Marine Minipot – overnight hydrating mask
  • Frangipani Flowers Minipot – solid body oil
  • Pretty Smooth – moisture gel
  • Mineral Matte – balancing serum

After two months, I can’t say anything bad about the products. They work well and I’ve been happy with the results. They are pretty standard. There are no miracles but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with the Retinin Minipot. I wake up with brighter skin and we all know, us moms, need all the help we can get in this department.

 

Rude Health

This is one of the lines that Wellness carries that caters to milk alternatives, raw cereal, crackers and health bars. My favorite though is the Ultimate Almond Milk as it has nothing but water and almonds! It’s the closest thing to making your own almond milk as many of these milk alternatives have stabilizers and other chemicals in it to make it long lasting or froth like regular milk. So remember to check and read your labels!

Wazoogles 

I have never been one that enjoys protein shakes until I found Wazoogles. Wazoogles is a plant based protein powder developed by two brothers in Cape Town. I can’t say I have anything to really compare Wazoogles to but I do know that it gives me a great morning boost and keeps me satisfied till lunch time. More importantly, it tastes good! My shake is a scoop of the powder, frozen bananas, frozen berries, tablespoon of almond butter, dash of honey and ice. I put everything in my nutribullet and I’m set to go!

So next time you walk by a Wellness Warehouse, it’s definitely worth a visit or you can easily shop on their website, which I like, as everything gets delivered to your door!

Happy Shopping!

La Boqueria

La Boqueria

I’m always up for a night out as these days it’s rare and what a treat La Boqueria was. Newly renovated in Wombles’ old haunt, La Boqueria, welcomes people in with their open and airy industrial boho decor. I could totally see this place buzzing in the warmer months as their steel doors open out to a large patio. The bar is situated on the far left and is very inviting. It also helps that they have great drinks! The place is grand and even when it’s packed you won’t feel like you’re on top of each other. For me, this is key as the last thing I want after a long day with the kids is someone breathing over me or in my personal space! Since we were situated in the private room, there were no complaints. It’s upstairs and gives a great view of the whole restaurant.

The restaurant is suppose to be an ode to their favorite food markets around the world and surely they do. Yet, I have to say some dishes were better than others. For me, the serrano and asiago croquettes were the star of the evening. Our party ended up ordering quite a few of these as they were that good. For my entree, I made the mistake of ordering the Wonder Bowl which was a hot ramen noodle bowl with miso broth, grilled pork belly, soba noodles, Asian greens, dried chili, pickled cabbage, sprouts and poached egg. Now if you ever had a ramen bowl, you would know that it doesn’t contain soba noodles! I should of known better but I thought the rest of the bowl could make up for the noodles. Boy was I wrong, it was a disappointment. The rest of the party was divided…some had steak, kebabs, paella, poke bowl and the reviews were mixed. The desserts on the other hand were all crowd pleasers. Sorry no pics as they were gone in a flash! I would of been perfectly happy with my Miss. Demeanor cocktail, croquettes and dessert!

Place: La Boqueria

Where: 17 3rd Avenue Parktown North

My Take: Love the ambience, great food and drink. I would stick to the more traditional tapas as that seems to be their forte. The more adventurous dishes definitely need more tweaking but this won’t stop me from visiting it again. For a mom’s night out, this is  worth a try!

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.