Art from the past

Art

Personally I have always enjoyed creating anything beautiful using any medium…BUT…I always got so frustrated because the picture in my head just didn’t look anything like the physical end result! Then in 2014 I started painting classes at Beate Naudé in Richardsbay.  These social painting evenings were the highlight of my week!  Beate is an amazing art teacher who guided me into actually painting something I was proud of…and no I’m not claiming Picasso end results!!  So I thought I’d share a few of my first paintings with you.

Mykonos-01Plaas-01Succulent-01Sunrise-01Kaapsche Hoop-01

Dinner with next day lunch: Banana Bread Waffles…YUMMY!

Dinners & Lunches

Banana bread waffle_plain_syrup_butter

Whenever I end up with a bunch of overripe bananas…you know, those bananas you bought with every intention of eating your weeks quota of fruit, but then didn’t got to it, again!…well when I look at those bananas my first thought is BANANA BREAD!

This week I looked at those four bananas and thought…”BANANA BREAD WAFFLES!”  Why not?  So I tried it and must say I was pleasantly surprised.  It is soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside with the typical sweetness of banana bread.  I will personally recommend this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups Butter
  • 1 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1 t Baking powder
  • 1 t Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 3/4 cup Milk
  • 30ml custard powder (optional)
  • 4 Ripe bananas, Mashed
  • 1 t Vanilla

NOTES:

  1. I usually use my Kenwood Mixer which works much easier, but I felt like going old school today and mix everything by hand.
  2. When baking waffles in waffle pan it is crucial to spray the pan every time before baking the next waffle.
  3. Mixture is enough for: 1 banana bread and 5-6 waffles or then about 12 waffles.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C if baking a bread as well.

2.  In a bowl mix the butter and sugar together till creamy.

Mix butter and sugar

2.  Add the eggs and mix.

Add 2 eggs

3.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the mixture and mix.

Add flour_baking soda_salt

4.  Mix the Bicarbonate of Soda and custard powder with the milk, then add to the dough and mix.

Add milk_bicarbonate of soda mixture

5.  Lastly add the mashed bananas and vanilla.

 

6.  Heat up the waffle panSpray & Cook the pan properly.  This step needs to be repeated before baking each waffle.  The cooking time and quantity of dough used will be determined by the specific waffle pan.  Place a big heaped Table spoon of dough in the center of the waffle pan and close.  Leave for approximately 3 min then take out.

If baking a banana bread as well, pour dough into the greased bread pan and bake more or less 45 min.

Banana bread waffle_waffle machine

7.  Serving suggestions:  Enjoy the waffle pieces plain as a walk-around-snack; top it with butter, honey, jams, cheese, nutella…I actually love butter and Bovril/Marmite on top as well.  Banana bread is very sweet and the savoury topping contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the bread/waffle.  Berries can also be added when serving as dinner or even as breakfast.

Banana bread waffle with spreads & condiments

NEXT DAY LUNCH

  1.  Top your waffle pieces with your topping of choice or leave it plain and place into a container.
  2. Peel a tangerine and place the slices into a small container and add a whole pear.
  3. Throw a couple of nuts and biltong into a zip-lock bag for protein snacks.
  4. A yummy, healthier carb snack to add is a yogurt coated rice cake.

Lunch_Fruit_Snacks_Banana bread waffle

 

I hope you impress a few people with your lovely, sweet and crunchy Banana Bread Waffles 😉  Enjoy!

Love

J

Dinner with next day lunch: Biltong, Corn and Cream Cheese filled Pepper

Dinners & Lunches

Bitong and cream cheese filled yellow pepper

Biltong, Corn and Cream Cheese filled Pepper

While driving home the other day I started thinking about what’s available in my kitchen when I get home because I have limited time, I’m not in the mood for too much effort but I need to give my husband a healthy meal.  So I came up with this meal.  It was quick and easy, not a lot of dirty dishes and carb conscious! It was also very filling, if I may add…This meal can double up as dinner and lunch.  So either make enough to put one into your lunch box the next day or use the filling to fill a whole wheat sandwich, wrap or pita bread for lunch.

INGREDIENTS

(Just as a note, I didn’t measure everything to the tee, so if the mixture is too dry just add more cream cheese or plain yogurt.)

  • 2 Big or 4 Medium Sweet Peppers
  • 1 Corn cob or 1 can of corn seeds/kernels
  • Small biltong pieces – about half  a cup or more if you prefer
  • 180 ml Cream Cheese (I didn’t have enough cream cheese so I used half cream cheese and half full cream plain yogurt)
  • Grated cheese for topping

1:  Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2:  Cut the top of the sweet pepper off and clean the seeds out.  If the sweet pepper can’t stand upright, cut a small part off the bottom.  Place on a pan and bake for 5min.

3:  If you’re not using the canned corn, steam the corn cob for 5-6min and then cut off the corn seeds.

4:  In a mixing bowl mix the biltong, corn seeds and cream cheese.  Fill the pepper and top with the grated cheese.

5:  Put filled peppers back into the oven for another 5-6 min.

6:  Take the peppers out of the oven and serve it with strawberries and sugar snaps – I told you in the beginning I was quite tired and not in the mood for too much effort 🙂 If you have another awesome side you think will complement the filled pepper please inform me at the comment section below.

Bitong and cream cheese filled yellow pepper

7:  If you went for the option to make extra’s for lunch you can place it in a container for the next day or you can use the extra filling to fill pita bread, whole wheat bread or a wrap.

Hope you enjoy the baking and eating!!!

xxxx

J

Dinner with next day lunch: Coconut Chicken and Steamed Papaya

Dinners & Lunches

“I don’t know how the food will taste tonight Love,”  are famous words in our house.  Since I can remember, sticking to a recipe has always been a challenge for me.  I even ended up making tea rusks instead of coffee rusks the other day…I will maybe still share the recipe when I’ve perfected it;)  I remember making Malva pudding as a child – a South African classic –  and having the thought that the dough wasn’t brown enough, so I added cocoa to it…which was frowned upon back then:)

At the beginning of each week I’ll buy groceries – without major planning – and each night I decide how I feel and then make something out of it…naturally some dishes are hits and other misses.  I will share some of them with you and you can decide for yourself and share what you think.  You’re more than welcome to give suggestions on how to improve it.  The steamed papaya in this recipe was inspired by a Zanzibar recipe from an old African recipe book I bought at a second hand bookshop in Greyton, South Africa.

Since packing lunch boxes – after preparing a whole meal and eating – is mostly a mental and physical struggle for me, I prepare them simultaneously.

Ingredients for dinner and lunch: (Serves 2)

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 1 med/large Papaya
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Salt (I love Nataniel’s Roasted garlic and rosemary salt)
  • Herbs of your choice (I used Basil and French Tarragon)
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • Fruit and veggies of your choice (My choice: strawberries, cucumber, carrots and tomatoes)
  • Whole wheat Couscous
  • 2 x Pita bread
  • Full cream plain yogurt
  • Feta cheese
  • Mayonnaise
  • Any other sauces of your choice

1:  Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C

2: Cut papaya into cubes.  Place half of the cubes in a steamer and steam for about 6 minutes.  Share the other half of the papaya cubes between two little containers for lunch.

3:  Heat olive oil, 1 garlic clove and herbs in a pan.  Place chicken breasts in pan and fry approximately 2 min on each side.  Salt according to preference.  Melt 30ml of butter in die center of the pan, add the steamed papaya and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Fry another 1 – 2 min.

4:  Transfer the chicken and papaya to a casserole and add a cup of coconut milk.  Close casserole and bake approximately 12 min.  While Chicken dish is in the oven also place 2 pita’s (for lunch) in oven to heat for 2 min and take out to cool off.

5:  Boil water.  Place half cup of Couscous in a bowl – with a lid – add salt.  Pour in boiled water until Couscous is covered and close with lid.

6:  Cut the strawberries and add to papaya cubes in lunch containers.  Add 2 Tsp double cream plain yogurt and close container.  Cut the carrots and cucumber in strips and place in a container.  Throw a couple of nuts and biltong chunks into a little zip-lock bag/small container, for a protein snack.

7:  The chicken dish will be finished by now.  Take out of the oven.  Dish up a chicken breast, Couscous, steamed papaya with a bit of coconut sauce and add any cut veggies or salad of your liking.  I just kept it simple with Belle-tomatoes.

8:  Place the other 2 chicken breasts on a cutting board to cool down while you’re enjoying your meal.

Chicken for pita bread

9:  Cut remaining chicken into strips.  Also cut open the Pita’sAdd mayonnaise, chicken strips, remaining Couscous and feta cheese.  You are more than welcome to add other ingredients as well.  I didn’t add more veggies because I already packed some in a container.  Place your pita into a sandwich container and close.

10:  Place your lunch containers into the refrigerator, ready to grab the next morning.  Two delicious, healthy meals prepared while saving time!  This is my kind of cooking:)

Hope you enjoy!

xxxx

J

 

 

 

 

 

Oil painting: Campfire next to a river… Now that’s life!

Art

Oil painting_Campfire next to river

As I’ve mentioned before, I have only started painting about three years ago, meaning, that most of the paintings I’ve attempted are firsts for me:)  For this specific painting the fire was a definite first!! I don’t know if you’ve noticed but photographing sunsets, sunrises and fires are not the easiest thing to do.  You never seem to really catch the beauty of it on camera. Well painting it, I can tell you, is even more of a challenge (well for me in any case).  A good friend of mine helped me to start off and well, this is the end result… As I know myself I will probably try to adjust it up and till it’s delivered to my very first customer, who was the photographer of the photo I painted this from. This photo was taken at their  favourite campsite.  I guess they wanted a reminder of their happy place even though they’re not there.

What is your happy place?  I can’t really narrow mine down to one place or thing but I would definitely say mine is somewhere in nature.  I love sitting alone in God’s Creation, it makes me feel closer to Him.  I get the almost tangible feeling when the wind blows around me that I can experience the presence of God.  The Bible says in Kings 19:12 that God was not in the earth quake or the fire, He whispered in the stillness of the wind..I really don’t hope anyone will have a request for me to paint the wind somewhere though:)

I hope you all will have an amazingly blessed day and have the opportunity to also visit your happy place soon for a nice relaxing time!

God bless

J

xxxx

(PS.  This painting was also difficult photographing, since the whole picture changes a bit depending on the angle you’re looking at it and the type of lighting its getting.)

LIFE’S A MYSTERY

Devotional

Life is a mystery..

How do we see life?  How do we see the obstacles and opportunities?  Do we see things that happen in our life in a negative way?  Are we without patience and we want to know what’s ahead, our future, the next step… and it’s more about the end goal than the journey?  “If we could just know what the economy will do, what the weather will be like, what career to choose, field of study” etc….

I heard a 9 year old boy pray the other day and it was so beautiful to hear his outlook on life.  While praying he thanked God that life is a mystery!..and this got me thinking.  The picture of a treasure chest came to mind.  Our lives are like a chest full of unopened “treasures” and it’s an exiting journey – a treasure hunt – to unlock the different “treasures.”  And yes, the “treasure” at the end of the journey is awesome, the bonus, a blessing, BUT the journey should be just as exciting.  Think of your childhood and all of the Easter egg hunts or other activities/games where you had to follow clues and solve problems and “hunt” the end prize.  The prize was very exciting but the “hunt” was where the real excitement took place.

Is this not the way we should approach our lives as well?  Enjoy every step and obstacle, solve the problems with excitement because you know at the end there will be a blessing if you persevere in the journey.  Whether it is to make a big life choice or the little things in life.

I think it’s time we get our childlike faith and wide-eyed-excitement back regarding life. To see problems as opportunities and look for creative solutions instead of more problems and to stop complaining too easily but rather be thankful for all the blessings which we have already “unlocked”.  Change our daily mindset and see the beauty in life again.  Try something new every now and then because you never know if you have a hidden talent or interest.  Stop caring so much what the world think about you and the little box they want to place you in and start standing up for who you are!!!

Remember, you are more than you think you are.  God designed you and your journey – and yes, sometimes we miss a clue or misinterpret the “treasure map” and end up on a different road but if you ask for Godly direction again, you will still reach the finish line. It will maybe just take a bit longer and you might pick up a few more bumps and bruises along the way.

So lets all thank God today that life’s a mystery and that we have the opportunity to solve the puzzle or find the “treasure!”

Lots of love
J

“Feeling” nothing…

Devotional

Its not about me its about You Lord

Religion is not just about ’emotions,’ meaning that when I ‘feel’ good, God is good but when I ‘feel’ sad, frustrated, angry.. then God is not so good anymore.

We want to “get” something from church, worship and our relationship from God but when we don’t ‘feel’ anything – joy, peace… – or get a specific message for ourselves during Bible study or church, or if we don’t receive what we prayed for…IMMEDIATELY and in our own way, then we are disappointed with God.  We say: “God doesn’t love me, ” “He doesn’t care how I feel or about my situation,” “Does He even know I exist and that I’m struggling?”

YES, He knows about you and your problems and He loves you dearly, BUT we are missing the point!  God did not create the world for us and to please us in every way we want.  Everything is about Him and His glory…He is the Creator…not us!

So we should actually be asking:  “What can I do to please God?” “Even if I don’t ‘feel’ anything during worship, let me continue in any case because it’s not about me. It’s not what I can get out of it.”

We need to make a mindset change and try to not ‘use’ God for our own benefit.  As soon as you start submitting to God’s will and renewing your mind by thinking of Him before yourself, you will start ‘feeling’ peace in your life…and no, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have obstacles you need to overcome, you can now just overcome them WITH God, in His will.  He wants to help you because He really cares! But God is not just Love, He is also Just and Righteous, so He will go against His own nature if He tries to please people to earn their favour…and He doesn’t need to do that, He is God.

Take some time to sit and think if you’re not maybe doing or saying things that’s blocking you from hearing God’s Word.  He’s waiting patiently, in love, for you to turn to Him with an open heart…not a perfects heart…just a willing, open heart and He will help you to clean it again.

God really loves you!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 12:2 ” Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Hebrews 5:11-12 “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.  You need solid food!”

2 Timothy 2:11-13,15,19 “Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription:  “The Lord knows those who are His,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Hope you all have a blessed week!

XOXO

J

Decor: Room divider as headboard

decor

Interior design has always been a passion of mine.  It was also apart of my studies.  Everyone doesn’t have the privilege to pursue this as a career though, so I use my own house for all of my inspirations…and my poor husband just needs to try and keep up!

Decorating your house, just as a normal salary earner, is not always the easiest thing to do.  You look at pictures on the internet and in magazines and think…hmmm..my house looks nothing like that and will also not look like that within the next 10 years!

What I have learned over the years, is that beautiful decor takes time.  When we started putting up house, as soon as I had a bit of money to my disposal, I would impulsively go to the shops and buy the first thing I sort of like but can afford.  Later I ended up with non-quality items and a house that didn’t look anything like I wanted it to.  I realised then, that I should rather save up for a bit longer and then buy the items I really want.  Also, family and friends sometimes have stunning items that’s in their way but its perfect for your house.  Ask, you can maybe buy it cheaper from them or, even better, get it for free! Another “fun” option, is one me and André enjoys…go DIY!  There is so many amazing projects on the internet and in magazines you can find and make…if you can find time off-course!

In the following post I’ll share a little bit about the decor of our one guest bedrooms.

Neutral coloured bedroom with room devider as headboard

Last year we had the privileged to build a brand new house.  So as time passes, one room at a time is being tackled and changed, and changed and changed 😉  The quilted throw at the bottom of the bed was made by my ‘Ouma’ at the age of 85….and needless to say its very special to me.  It is also the focal point of this room and the rest of the decor is planned around it.

The absolutely beautiful room divider that’s being used as a headboard in this picture, is actually just a visitor in our house presently.  My sister didn’t use it to its full potential at this stage 😉 so I used the opportunity to borrow it for a bit to play around with.  I love change around me and non permanent, multi-functioned items like this gives me that opportunity.  Today it can be used as a headboard and a months time as a divider in my reading corner…that’s to say if it visits me long enough!

The white embossed bedspread was purchased from Zara Home…a shop I adore because it has unique, quality products and they change their shop’s colour schemes constantly!  The bedroom in this photo is quite a small guest bedroom with a dark floor.  I chose the white bedspread, as well as the ceiling-to-floor white curtains, not only to lighten up the room but also to visually enlarge this space.

My general style is quite minimalist where I incorporate ‘old’ and modern.  We were so blessed to inherit a few special ‘old’ pieces for our home from parents, grand- and great grandparents, including this antique, wooden bedside cabinet, who apparently was carried over the Drakensberg with the ‘Voortrekkers’…I won’t bet my chocolate cookie for the accuracy of this information but I choose to believe it!!  🙂

Well that’s the just of it…hope you’ll all have a blessed and beautiful day!

XOXO

J

Very Easy but Tasty Meatballs “Frikadelle”

Recipes: Meat

 

I don’t know about you, but I love easy dishes.  We just don’t have time anymore to slave away in the kitchen after a hard day at work.  This recipe is one of those easy “go to” recipes that never fails. The great thing about it, is the basic recipe is moist and tasty just like it is…but you can still add any flavours or other ingredients of your choice.  It depends on how adventurous you feel that day.  Meatballs, or “frikkadelle” as we call them in Afrikaans, also freeze well.  This specific batch I made is for this purpose.  I am going to devide them into little freezer bags, ready for “that day”, where you are so tired and don’t have time to cook, but bellies to fill.

Ingredients

 

3 Basic Ingredients

500g red meat mince

1 container of sour cream (I used créme fraîche today)

1 packet of brown onion soup

Additional Ingedients 

I added..

1 egg

125ml oats

You can also add  grated apple and herbs etc.

Method

Preheat the oven to a 180 degrees Celsius.  Mix all ingredients together.  Form little balls with your hands and place in a dish.  You can decide how big or small you want your meatballs to be..cocktail size, normal size, or super size!  The time you cook the different sizes will just very.

Prepared meatballs

Bake meatballs approximately  35 minutes…and it’s done!

Perfect, tasty, juicy…but o-so-easy meatballs! Enjoy!!!

Easy but tasty meatballs

Xoxo

J

DIY: My little succulent garden in a vase

DIY: Gardening

A little while back I received the most beautiful tulips in a vase as a present.  I nurtured these tulips to the best of my abilities, but just like most flowers – well maybe just in my home – they have an expiration date.  I decided to reuse and recycle the vase and the rocks at the bottom to build myself a new little flower garden, but this time with succulents which can survive much easier for longer!

Before:  The beautiful tulips

Tulips in a glass vase.  Brightens up the diningroom/livingroom.

The steps of building your succulent garden

Step 1: Rocks at the bottom of glass vase

Step 1:

Place rocks at the bottom of the vase.  This vase doesn’t have holes at the bottom to help drain the excess water and these rocks will help to absorb some of the water.

Step 2:

Wet the potting soil.  It shouldn’t be drenched in water, just moist enough to keep the soon planted succulents alive.

Add potting soil onto the rocks and then cover it with the fine river sand.  The sand is optional, I just like the beige/white colour of the sand better than the look of the brownish rough potting soil.  It all depends on your style.

Little succulent garden in a glass vaseLittle succulent garden in a glass vase.

Step 3:

Make little holes in the soil and plant the succulents.  You will see some of mine is still very small.  They were little off-springs of the bigger one you’ll see in there.  Succulents grow very easily so you are more than welcome to plant mature succulents but I know these babies will grow quickly and fill the space.

Step 4:

Place your little succulent garden where you see fit and enjoy looking at it everyday and see how it grows.  Especially living in the city it is one way of at least feeling a bit closer to nature…

Greetings

J

 

Trees and Seasons

Devotional

Psalm1:1-6


Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinner nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.  He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Tree oil painting

It took me years to paint this tree as it is now and not because it took so long to paint it, but because I kept on changing it.  We’ve been joking that this is a seasonal tree.  It started off as a black and white tree, then it grew green leaves and grass whereafter the sun started setting on it…and a fence were built.  Probably one of these days it will grow blossoms for Spring😊

After looking at this painting for a while the thaught came to mind that our lives are also like this tree.  We go through different seasons in life and some may not be so much ‘fun’…thats maybe your winter season where it feels like everything is ‘dying’ around you.  Anything and everything that can go wrong will! BUT remember its only a season and will pass!! Even in nature there’s a good reason for winter just like our “winters” also have a good reason.  We might just not understand the reason yet. What I have personally learnt about these difficult times in our lives are to go and ask God what the lesson is you need to learn and sometimes the quicker we learn the lesson the sooner Spring can come.  During one of my ‘Winter’ seasons a friend gave me this scripture…

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trails of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete,  not lacking anything.”

When we persevere through our troubled times we will grow stronger, like it says in Psalm 1, we will prosper and bear fruit. As soon as we enter into Spring again we can then share our good fruit with the people around us who’s in their ‘Winter’ season. By helping others and remembering to be thankful  when our troubled times ended, our roots can then grow even deeper and we can grow so much stronger that the next time Winter comes again..and it will…we will be able to handle it better than the previous time and who knows, maybe it won’t be as cold as the previous one❄☺

Kind regards

J