Monday, 1 May 2017

Menu plan for 1- 6 May

This week's menu and grocery plan is as follows:

Tonight I'm making a chicken bake, this recipe I got from a domestic helper at a house I was a temporary au pair for, I was very impressed with the simplicity of the meal and the delishiousness ( is that a word?)

Monday: Chicken pieces baked in mayonaise and chutney, served with mashed potatoes, a mushroom, onion and green pepper stir fry and home grown butternut. (Recipe to follow)

Tuesday: same as Monday

Wednesday: Cottage pie with extra added mixed veggies, and chick peas

Thursday: Same as Wednesday

Friday: Wors with chips, mixed veggies

Saturday: A braai with the remainder of the wors, chicken pieces, lamb chops and a potato bake.

Sunday: Pasta with pesto and feta. ( we use Ina Parmans pesto either the coriander or the basil ones)

Grocery list for the week:
1. Chicken pieces x 15 depending on the size and amount of people. (I allocate a thigh and wing per person per meal for the chicken mayo bake, and a drum stick per meal for my son,  and pretty much the same for the braai)
2. Mayonnaise
4. 2kg of potatoes ( this will cover the mash, the cottage pie and the potato bake)
5. Mixed veggies (frozen)
6. 500g of mince 
7. Gravy powder
8. A tin of chick peas
9. A packet of wors ( I use ostrich wors that has 7 pieces in, I split it between the Friday night and Saturday night)
10. Pack of lamb chops
11. 500ml cream
12. Cheese
13. Pesto
14. Feta
15. Mushrooms
16. Onions
17. Green pepper
18. Bacon. 
19. Butternut.
20. Frozen chips
21. Pasta

The mushrooms, bacon, cream, cheese are for the potato bake. I'm really going to do my best this week to do a post on the recipes I'm using.
As always some of these items you'll have in your pantrty or fridge.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Modern day couponing (south African style)

I'm becoming  a couponing queen, and in  modern times couponing is no longer clipping out of magazines and newspapers its gone digital!

South Africa has caught onto the concept and is doing an excellent job of it. There are a few apps and sites that I use with almost every shopping trip I do. Now these are exclusive to South Africa, some are bound to a particular shop and others are open to many.

Snap n save: Is an open one, with a long list of shops you can shop at ranging from Pick n pay, Spar, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Makro, Woolworths, Shoprite Usave, Food lovers market, Clicks, Dischem and so many more.

How does it work: Register, Log on to the website or app and check what offers are available, click on 'book' if its an offer you'd like to buy. Your booked offers go into "booked offers" you have 48 hours from booking to buy the items before they are removed from your booked offers.

Shop at one of the listed shops buy the item and keep your till slip, when you get home ( Or in the car or where ever really) log into your snap n save account, click on snap and follow the prompts, which will guide you through submitting your till slip ( select store you shopped at, select the items you did buy) and take the photo or photos if your slip is long. Be sure to include the whole slip, with date and time, store name, and goods purchased. Click on submit.

It can take up to 4 days to get your money back in your virtual wallet.

For more in depth FAQ,s go check their page..

Where can I spend my cash back:  when you have more than R10 in your e-wallet you can cash out. You can choose either to have it eft'd into your banks account, or changed into a wicode. A wicode is a 7 digit number that is entered at the till when you have shopped at one of the participating stores and that amount is deducted from your total. The participating stores list is constantly growing, right now it includes: Checkers, Checkers Hyper,Pick n Pay, Pick n Pay Hyper, Dischem, Cellucity to name a .few

Sign up now using my unique promo code “Laurend826” to claim your R10 when you snap your first till slip. 

Unilever: This one is specific to Unilever products and works on wicodes or your cell phone number depending on the store. The participating stores are: Spar, Checkers, Pick n Pay, Dischem and Shoprite. Start by going to the Unilever site, register, choose a shop, their offers are then displayed. Each retailer seems to have wicodes that run from the first of each month to the last day of the month. You may only buy one of an item at each shop ( but if Pick n Pay, Checkers and Spar have the same offer you may buy one from each of them as they all have different wicodes)

Add the item you want to your basket and checkout, a unique wicode is then sms'd to you. You tell the cashier you have a wicode and they enter it when when they have rung up your purchases, your discount is then applied and taken off your final total.

So that's an instant cash back deal :)

You can also use Snap n Save on any applicable deals so at times its a double coupon.

Pick n pay app: This one only started the beginning of April but is really proving itself. Its connected to your smart shopper card and has improved on many features. Namely they now give you discounts based on what you frequently buy at pick n pay, and even give you money off coupons if you spend over a certain amount ( R5 off R50 or more spent, R10 off R80 or more spent are two I have received) so if  you frequently buy a certain brand of bread, or coffee etc you now get discounts!

You start by downloading the app, register using your smart shopper card, offers unique to you are listed, you select the ones you want and they are automatically loaded onto your smart shopper card! As easy as that. Buy the listed items, swipe your card at the till and the discounts are deducted. If you don't buy them on that day they are saved until you use them or they expire ( they have a one to two week time frame depending on the offer. New offers are loaded weekly, from what I can tell that happens on a Thursday)

( here you can use your pick n pay discount and a snap n save discount on the same item if it is applicable eg: Snap n Save have a weekly discount on any brand of bread and any brand of milk 1 litre or more. So if Pick n Pay has a discount on bread  or milk you can actually coupon twice.)

Also did you know that as a smart shopper card holder you can get the pick n pay food magazine for free each month?

Spar app:  Spar app is new to me, I knew the loyalty card existed but was told by a few different spars that the card was bound to a particular store, so if you shopped at a few different spar stores you had to have an independent card for each store. That seemed impractical to me. With the app you don't need a spar card, you register, select the items you want to buy from their offers. Go to your preferred spar, buy the selected items, tell the cashier you have special offer items and want to enter your cell number, you then  enter your cell phone number at the till point and the discount comes off. The offers seem to be valid for around a month.

Checkers site: Checkers site has a wicode option, you can select offers, or browse the offers available and get a general code for all the offers. I found this one the least user friendly as I never got the code sent to my cell number, but it always worked if I entered my husbands number.I also found that the offers haven't been changed in many months, I'd go as far as saying this whole year. But saving is saving and if they have items you want to buy on their promo list use the code, enter the wicode at the till point and the discount is applied. 

Some tips:

1. Make sure you are buying the correct brand/size/flavour listed on the coupon or it won't apply. Some coupons are very specific about size/weight/flavour eg: 'Sasko brown bread 700g'. others will just say 'any  brown bread'.

2. Check the expiration date of the coupon and use it timeously.

3. I make a list of the coupon items on my grocery list, I add the wicode next to the item so I don't forget to mention it to the cashier.

4. Keep your till slips for Snap n Save until you have your cash in your e-wallet for that item. Sometimes for unknown reasons an item can be rejected, you can resubmit for that item if you're sure it was an error on their part. I have had this happen twice and both times I got the cash manually added to  my e-wallet within 48 hours of resubmitting.

5. Use reusable shopping bags, have you recently checked the price for a bag? Using your own bags can save you around R4 a week, that may not sound like much but a saving of around R20 a month is not bad, and also fantastic for the environment.

Just for interest I tracked my savings for the month of April, and they are as follows;

Snap n Save: R49.80
Unilever: R172
Pick n Pay: R97.41
Spar: R8
Checkers: 0

Making my savings for April R327.21

My savings on bags for the month is around R30 as I did a big grocery shop, and a bulk buy at Makro.

I'm excited to see what the savings for May will be :)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Menu planning and grocery list

A bit late due to very bad Internet signal of late. And a kid who hasn't napped in weeks :/

Things as a SAHM (stay at home mom) can be insane. Trying to do the job of many (cleaner, child care, personal chef etc etc) can be incredibly over whelming, trying to do everything "perfectly" is a huge task.

So to try make things a bit easier on myself. I wrote up a menu for a month, and added the grocery list. I did the shopping for all the frozen and store cupboard goods in one big shop.

I only cook on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday and Thursday we eat the double meal I cooked on Monday and Wednesday.

Fridays I rotate between a few easy cook meals ;
Pies with either mash/chips/baked potatoes  and veggies.
Bangers and mash and veggies.
*Wors and chips/mash/baked potatoes and veg. The weeks we do wors is the week we do a **Braai on a Saturday.

Saturday nights are more outdoorsy, I rotate between a braai, seafood and a ***potjie .

Sunday night is Pasta night. I rotate between Creamy chicken, Bacon Carbonara, and Pesto and feta.

So my first week of menu planning which was for first week of February was as follows:

30 January, Monday: Cottage pie with butter beans and mixed veg, topped with a squash and potato mash.We ate it on Tuesday too.

1 February, Wednesday: chicken cordon bleu casserole, and we ate it on Thursday night too.

3 February,  Friday: Ostrich wors with chips (fries) some mixed veggies and gravy.

4 February, Saturday: a braai (barbecue) with the remainder of the sausage, some lamb chops and some chicken kebabs, I also made a potato bake (recipe to follow)

5 February, Sunday: Creamy Chicken and Avo Pasta, topped with feta.

I set a reminder to get the frozen meat out if the freezer the night before I need it, so that it can defrost in the fridge during the day- I will say I learnt this the hard way today when I realised at 4:45pm after coming home from a play date that I hadn't taken the chicken for  Wednesday night out. :/
Never the less I did a quick defrost and cooked dinner and managed to serve it up on time. I earned my cape  that night.

Grocery list for that week was as follows:

Ground beef x 1 packet
9 skinless chicken breasts ( 4 are for the chicken cordon blue, 2 are for the kebabs, 3 are for the pasta)
Potatoes x 2kg bag ( you'll have left over for next week)
Baby marrows
500ml cream and a 250ml cream
Can of butter beans
Bag of frozen mixed veggies
Packet of ostrich sausage
Pack of lamb chops
Frozen chips
Gravy powder
Packet of bacon
(mushrooms and bacon are for the potato bake)

Some of these I had at home in my pantry already but just in case that's the list for the week.

* Wors is a type of sausage/chorizo in a casing, usually ground beef mixed with spices.

** Braai is what South Africans call a barbecue, we cook on an open fire. Things we cook range from wors,chicken pieces, lamb chops,chicken kebabs.

*** Potjie This is a stew type meal cooked in a cast iron three legged pot (like a witches cauldron) Its also cooked on fire.

I really hope to update the menu posts, and grocery posts and actually make it a weekly thing on a Sunday night.Wish me luck ;)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Evolution of Our Pantry

I'm back after a bit of a break. Between Internet issues and my son not napping all day my time kinda slipped away.

My pantry is up! Not 100% Complete,it still needs doors but I'm taking it as is for now.

Our pantry cupboard next to the back door, before we officially moved in and before we painted.

That's the doorway into our lounge area, and the wall space on the right is where the new pantry is. This is also before we moved in. The peach tiles and peach walls were not to our taste.

 This is the inside of the pantry, well part of it. We wanted a different shelf format and I remembered to take a few before pictures part way through. #facepalm

I hated the narrow shelves that were too closely spaced and staggered. this format gave us very little packing space and the closely spaced shelves meant we also couldn't stack goods.

Excuse the mess, while shelves the full size of the pantry gave us more space accessing things was incredibly difficult and frustrating. The door being quite narrow added to the difficulty.

Here you can kind of see the space and shape we were working with. This was the start of the removal of the entire pantry.

The start of the new pantry using the entire wall space. That is my canned goods stacker ;)

The sides of the pantry up, Can stacker moved so that the drawer shelves can be worked on.

The almost final product. I am beyond pleased with my new pantry!
The drawer shelves mean I can pull them out and access anything at the back without repacking an entire shelf. The chalk board fronts mean everything is labeled and I know exactly where things are ( read as: hubby can find and replace things ;).

Thursday, 2 March 2017

2 down 10 to go

Wow! February is over and we're into March. February was a terrible month, I don't even know what happened to it. Our internet is so dippy, most evenings it was almost completely down and I didn't want to risk typing a whole post just have it disappear! We got lots of things completed, some new tasks started and others I'm still progressing with them.

A decided to start a new routine of no napping so 12 hour days started, and that meant less blogging, less crafting. But on the plus side I have been teaching him letters and he's doing amazingly well. This is one proud momma :)

* I said good bye to a good friend who moved to a different continent :( .
*M and I celebrated Valentines day and 9 days later our 4th Wedding anniversary.

*Its 3 years since I finished working at my job and became a stay at home wife/now mom too. And I don't miss it, not even a little. My decision is confirmed each time I set foot in my old work place. I can't say names, but its a place I have to go to on occasion.

Valentine's day dinner, we ate at home because we celebrate bigger with dinner out on our anniversary. But we ate in heart style :)

A valentine from A to his daddy

And the valentine gift I received. I love love love le creuset

Diy  updates will follow in a different post.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Creamy Chicken and Avocado Pasta

Last night I made this pasta, I seem to make it about once a month or so, It's 'M's'favourite and the pasta he requests it the most. And if 'A' could say it in a sentence he'd also request it. Right now he calls it "hmmmmm mmmmm" 

 Don't you just love the combination of feta and avo? Or  if you're not an Avo fan the Creamy Chicken is yummy all by its self too. I also sometimes swop out the chicken for bacon.

 serves 2 

250ml cream
2 chicken breasts cut into strips
1 chicken stock cube/ or recommended qty of powder chicken stock.
1 diced onion
some butter for frying the onion
pasta for 2 people
1 whole avo

Fry up the onion and partially cook the chicken strips,season to your liking
Break up the stock cube into the pan and add in the cream.
Simmer gently until the sauce thickens and the chicken is fully cooked. If it needs some help to thicken stir in some corn flour.
Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta, top with sliced/diced avo and feta.

This truly is the YUMMIEST pasta ever! 

I entered this particular recipe into a magazine pasta competition and actually was selected as one of the top 10, my recipe is in a magazine :) 


Tuesday, 31 January 2017

1 down 11 to go

31 days of the year gone, and in a blink of an eye too. I'm up to date with the declutter challenge (yay me!) And today I was incredibly grateful that I had done the under the sink update.

I had just tapped a sink of water, the dishwasher was running and I heard water rushing, I glanced over at the sink to check that I'd switched it off, I had. I didn't see any thing out of place and put it down to the dishwasher noise. I kept hearing the noise and looked over again. And saw it....

Water rushing out of the cupboard under the sink! I flung it open and saw that a pipe had burst off its fitting and hot water was poring out! All over my clean, organised cupboard! I grabbed the caddy out that I had put general cleaning things into, pulled out the vinegar from the green cleaning caddy and shoved it under the burst pipe and yelled for 'M' to come help.

The water was switched off and it obviously stopped pouring out. I quickly and efficiently cleared the cupboard out. Had this happened a month ago it would have taken me ages to get all the cleaning things, glass bottles and other junk out.

So moral of my story: Do the cleaning challenge, you won't regret it.

On other news, we have our outside lights up, I have my tin pictures hanging in the kitchen. Our fan is working (at last) but it working brought foul weather that doesn't require a fan :/ . I did some spray painting again and did some updates.

 The table was yellow trimmed and now is navy, the final update picture will be when its in its final spot in the house.

 The lamps were the same turquoise as the chandelier and are now the same navy as the chandeliers.

 The picture frames have been sprayed but final picture will be taken when they're in their final spot.

Our lights outside, l love them <3.

The pantry is waiting to be sprayed, so hopefully it will be installed soon :)