Thick Winter Veggie Soup

This is my go-to recipe for a hearty, warming lunch or dinner. A thick veggie soup with barley.

I’ve changed it up recently, and I’m loving the adjustment of adding tomatoes, it just gives it a lovely tang.

You will need:

One large onion chopped fine

Two stalks of celery sliced

Two carrots, peeled and cubed

Tinned peeled, chopped tomatoes

650ml chicken stock

Salt and Pepper

1 X cup of barley or soup mix – cook separately alongside soup till starts to soften.


Fry onions in oil till soft. Add celery and carrots and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes and let simmer for 2 minutes

Add chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste.

Add barley/soup mix to the soup and reduce to a low heat and leave to simmer till all the veggies and barley are soft.


A little slice of heaven.

After living in a big city growing up and in Cape Town in my twenties, living in a small South African town has it’s moments, when those moments hit we escape into “the valley” to a place called Padlangs and relax with our kids over some amazing food and slow relaxed atmosphere.

Padlangs is in Patensie, a small farming town about 30 minutes from were we live. It’s a hub of citrus farms in our area and has the most beautiful meandering road running through it. The farm stall/restaurant is set on a large manicured lawn with lots of space for the kids to run and play, jungle gyms for them to play on and a splash pad to cool off with as the valley gets sweltering hot in summer!

This place has the most incredible food, good, wholesome, stick to your ribs food. Whenever we eat there I am ALWAYS satisfied, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and we literally spend three hours over lunch and just relax with the kids, a drink and awesome food.

We headed out there this Sunday to try out their new bread box. It. Is. Delicious! Yummy artisan breads, rooster brood with spreads, cheese, biltong and pickles. I nearly died! We sat causally on the lawn and nibbled on our breads while the kids played in the splash pad, it was beautiful weather and we could’ve stayed forever.

I would suggest making a booking as the place is pretty full, packed to capacity on Sunday’s and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed, please don’t expect fast food, it’s not that kind of place, it’s about relaxing, having conversation and enjoying the view across the valley. We love it, our kids love it, and a breath of fresh air on a stuffy weekend.

Chicken Biryani recipe.

This recipe is from the Pick n Pay Fresh Living magazine earlier this year, the edition with the feature on eggs.  It was so delicious!  My hubby is usually the one who makes curries on the weekend but I was dying to try this one as my mom had already tested it out and said it was super easy (I’m the easy cook).  I also am in love with anything that has rice as a main ingredient so this was heaven for my taste buds.  There are a few things i’d change for the next one, definately will use fresh garlic, will take out a little curry powder (I’m not a hot fan), and this time i’ll remember to take the side veg out to eat with the meal, hahaha, I forgot it all one side I was so excited about my yummy Biryani!

My hubby was cautiously optimistic, checking on me every five minutes, making sure I’d followed the instructions correctly.  He was really nervous to leave this novice curry chef alone in the kitchen.  He was suitably impressed with the end result, so it’s a definite repeat recipe for our home, also this just shows you how easy it really is to make, and the recipe is uncomplicated and easy to follow.

I cannot seem to find a link to the actual recipe on their website so I’ll have to do it justice here.

One pot wonder!You will need: 

1 packet 5 piece chicken braai pack

3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, crushed (I used pre crushed from a woolies four box)

2 onions, sliced

2 Tbs curry powder (I used the woolworths mild curry)

2 Tbsp cumin seeds (I used ground cumin as I had no seeds available)

1 1/2 cups rice

3 cups (750ml) chicken stock (I use Ina Paarmans)

Salt and milled black pepper

2 Tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted

2 soft boiled eggs (i didn’t do the eggs, I’m not a big egg person)


Sear chicken in a large frying pan with 1 Tbsp oil until golden brown.

Add garlic and 1/2 the onion and saute until soft.

Add curry powder and cumin seeds and fry until fragrant.

Stir in rice and saute for 5 minutes, ensuring rice is completely coated in spices and oil.

Add stock and cover.

Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 20 minutes.  Season.

Stir through coriander and peas.

Fry remaining onion in vegetable oil at medium to low heat until golden brown and crispy.

Drain on paper towel.

Serve biryani topped with crispy onion, soft boiled egg and extra coriander.

Chicken Biryani Plated

Chicken Biryani

Let’s catch up.

Okay, I know, I’m like a stranger now, it’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything.  Can you forgive me?

It’s been a month of change, stress, detox and school holidays (thankfully not a month of those).

We’ve navigated our way through the Easter holidays and Easter without too much chocolate and overeating.  Also made a yummy Easter cake to celebrate what Jesus did on the cross for us, it’s a beautiful tradition for our little family.  Also got bunnies painted on my nails cause I’m strange that way.

I’ve had some wonderful breakthrough with my depression and I FINALLY feel almost normal, rest and pursuing new habits are definitely paying off for my mental health, and my family is reaping the reward of having their mama back to almost normal.

In other news, I made a chicken Biryani for the very first time on Sunday, and it was AMAZING!  I’ve always loved rice, rice with anything, rice as a main course, fried rice, rice with gravy, yes i’m weird.  Now that I’ve discovered that rice cooked IN the dish I am in heaven!  I never knew this wonder of cooking existed, and so easy to make!  It was a Pick n Pay magazine recipe, I’ll post the recipe soon.


Why “The Beauty Challenge” helped me.

I’m a mom, with two boys aged 3 and 1. I am a stay at home mom with no nanny. So that means I run the house, I do the laundry, I wash the dishes and clean the toilets, shop for groceries, fetch the older one from school, handle all the extra mural appointments and activities, make dinner, and hopefully by the end of the day still have enough sanity left to have a conversation with my husband before passing out at 20h30.

Enter the Beauty Challenge.

My friend is a mom of three (newest one was 10 weeks prem and has just been introduced to the world), she works full time and has a hair and make up business after hours for special occasions and weddings. She recently posted a challenge on her social media to “post your look” as a mom, wife, to show us what you do to your hair and make up during the week (or don’t) and I decided to join in.

I take an extra five minutes in my morning, or just before going out, to add an extra touch to my make up, still haven’t been able to get to the hair yet – it’s thick and curly so my go to is to just leave it to curl and look natural which is fine for now. My make up is usually simple, eyebrow pencil and mascara, but since the challenge I’ve been taking extra time to try a bit more and add some extra steps to my routine. The thing that I’ve noticed is that my self confidence has lifted slightly and my self worth has deepened as I’m spending time on “me” and focusing on “myself” for an extra five minutes a day. The challenge was never meant to be intimidating, it was meant to say “start with what you normally do, add just one extra step, one time try a lipstick or different colour eye shadow, do a little extra and share with us on social media to see what you do”.

It has been encouraging for me to see how other women “do themselves up” for the day, whatever day that might be and glean some tips and tricks along the way, also it helps me to focus on having a little “me” time and feeling a little more confident within myself as a busy mom. My husband has noticed a difference in me and the increase in self worth in myself is filtering through to our marriage and our intimate life, so it’s a bonus on all levels!

Here are my few from the last couple days, I don’t do a lot of make up, but i’m learning so much from my friend and hopefully this will be the start of a new look for me as a mom, time to redefine myself before my 40th (in two years).

Friday, finally!

I don’t know about you moms, but life definitely moves faster when you have kids.  I mean it’s already Friday again, it was just last Friday two blinks ago!?!

This week has been a little better, mama bear is better after a round of anti-biotics for a very painful sinus infection.  We caught croup in my three year old early and managed to avoid a hospital visit – bonus!  My 11 month old seems to be migrating to a much better sleep schedule at night, so more sleep all round – double bonus!

Valentine’s day was on Wednesday, how did that go down in your homes?

My hubby had a bunch of beautiful roses delivered to my door.  I was busy hanging up the laundry so it just made me feel extra loved and glamorous.   He ALSO bought me a vacuum cleaner.  No, he’s not THAT kind of man, we needed a new one and we are at that stage of our relationship and income that milestones are celebrated with new household appliances.  Lame, I know, but we get quite a kick out of it.  Our fifth anniversary present to ourselves was a dishwasher…best gift ever, just by the way.

Hoping to get some serious relaxation in this weekend, hopefully nice weather to get down to the beach.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend!


Potty training 304

I say potty training 304 because that’s many tries it takes for the three year old to realise that when he needs to wee he needs to do it in the toilet and not in his pants, on my sofa, in my bed or in the car seat.  I’ve read a ton of other posts online about potty training in “three days” and potty training with “bribes” and the like, well let me tell you, not one of them have worked for us.

Not one.

Let me just say this, our three year old is quite proficient in getting himself onto the toilet and weeing in the toilet on his own, but try and “make” him go?  Hahahahahahaha!  It’s like trying to negotiate with Castro.  Here’s a little run down:

Me: Cal do you need the toilet?
Cal: Mmmmm no!
Me: Cal, lets go make a wee on the toilet.
Cal: No, I don’t need to wee.
Me: Cal we’re going to go sit on the toilet!
Cal: No, I don’t want a sweetie! (we have a jar of small chocolates for when he sits on the toilet)
Me: Cal! We are GOING to sit on the toilet!
Cal: No, don’t come with me!  Don’t come with me, I can do it!
*Slowly follow Cal into the bathroom to spy*
Cal: The wee’s all gone!
Me: okay off the toilet lets put your pants on.
Cal: I want a sweetie.
Me: *sighs in exasperation*

Is it just me?!  Am I the only mother who finds this whole exercise super frustrating?  Not to mention the poop underwear.  Can we talk about the poop underwear for a minute?  Today, we ventured out for lunch after school (no nappy), so tense mamma bear here keeps asking him if he needs to wee, watching him like a hawk.  We make it all the way home, he sits on the toilet, nothing.  I start feeding my one year old in his feeding chair, Cal is playing on one side then I see his pants are wet. *sigh* right, get dry pants, pull his pants off and he’s ALSO pooped in his pants! At this point the one year old is wailing for his next spoonful of food, my three year old is standing patiently waiting to get his bum cleaned.   So whilst pulling wet wipes out the packet with one hand, plopping a spoonful of pureed butternut into the one year old’s mouth, wiping the three year old’s bum, placing poop pants on the kitchen counter, feeding the one year old a spoonful of butternut, putting clean pants on the three year old, fetching a packet for the poop and a bucket for the soiled pants, placing another spoonful of butternut in the one year old’s mouth, and putting the soiled pants in to soak.

Right.  Everyone happy now?

Do you have any tips? Hillarious stories? Please share them with me in the comments!