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

Easy & Delicious: Three Ingredient Bread with Delicious Toppings

Dinners & Lunches

easy-and-delicious-bread.jpg

Bread is definitely one of the big loves of my life. A freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven, thick butter…yummyyyy! But as amazing as homemade bread is…the preparation can be a bit discouraging.. Luckily there are a few quick and easy winner recipes out there,like the ciabatta,  this is also one of those winners!!!

To  bake this bread you will need a mixer and exactly 3 ingredients. You then have lots of choices for possible toppings…you know, just for extra flavour and excitement!!!

Ingredients

500g Selfrising flour

500g Buttermilk

1 sachet Cream of Mushroom Soup

Method

Mix all ingredients together, I used the K-beater of my Kenwood mixer. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bread pan and bake for approximately 1h at 180 degrees C.

Toppings

When the bread is baked, place on a wooden plank and cut into slices – hold bread with  a cloth as it is still hot and cut using “long movements” to ensure you don’t squash the fresh bread;-)

Place sliced bread on aluminium foil and fold the sides of the foil to form a container.  Melt butter and Bovril/Marmite and pour over bread. Top with hands full of cheese and close foil at the top. Place back into the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt.

Easy bread_boveril_butter_cheese topping

Alternatives: I haven’t tried any alternatives yet but I’m sure a Mediterranean olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, or a sweet option like cream and brown sugar caramelized on top, maybe caramelized onion, bacon and honey – could be options to consider… Let me know what you think and alternatives you have tried!  Lets be creative and adventurous:-D

Hope you enjoy this recipe just as much as I do. Have a blessed day!

xoxo

J

DEVOTIONAL: EVERY DAY IS A FRESH START

Art, Devotional

Every day is a fresh start

Every Day is a Fresh Start

Yesterday has passed, we can’t add or take-away anything.  We can’t change anything we said, didn’t say, wanted to say – or do…and to sit and worry or be angry about things in the past not only ruins the new day that started but also ruins the new opportunities that may come your way.  It stops us from smelling the roses, seeing the new sunrise and listening to God’s voice – and we know God is not in the loud noises but in the soft whisper of the wind – so we need to listen carefully 🙂

The author of Lamentations starts off by telling us in chapter 3 about God’s wrath and the bad stuff he has seen, then in verses 22-24 he says this, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’”

Ecclesiastes 7:10 tells us, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’  For it is not wise to ask such questions.”  When we look back at the “old days” we want to remember only the good things that happened but we forget it wasn’t all good…or we look back and only remember the bad stuff and forget it wasn’t all bad.  We are not objective about the past.  Matthew 6:34 “Each day has enough troubles of its own.”  So why go and worry about yesterday’s troubles or what the future may hold.

No matter what happened in the past when you cry out to the Lord, Psalm 40 tells us God reaches out and helps us. Psalm 40:2&3 “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”  Ecclesiastes 7:14 says “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:  God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.” In other words…life is unpredictable, so why look back or ahead, just enjoy today and make the most of it.

Smell the roses; look at the sunrise 🙂 and search, with optimism and expectation, new opportunities, new excitement, love, laughter and new ways to help those in need.

Have a blessed, wonderful and NEW day!!!

God Bless

XOXO

J

LUNCH BOX IDEAS: EASY & DELICIOUS OATS CRUNCHIES

Dinners & Lunches

My aunt loves baking different kinds of cookies, bars and other yummy and delicious goodies.  This is one of her winner recipes.  It’s super easy, filling, delicious and if you add a bit less sugar – like I do sometimes – it is a healthier snack option as well.  I’ve even added cranberries and dark chocolate bits.  The sky’s the limit…experiment and let us know what wonderful alternatives you made!

Make a batch, keep them refrigerated and just add to your lunchbox for that 10 O’Clock or afternoon snack…Mmmmmm!

Oats crunchies lunch box recipe-03

 

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!!

XOXO

J

DIY: UNIQUE BIRD CAGE LAMP/COAT HANGER

decor

A lamp/coat hanger with endless possibilities…

DIY_Unique Coat Hanger-Bird Cage Lamp_1

A floor lamp made from a coat hanger and bird cage lamp.

HOW THIS DIY FLOOR LAMP WAS DESIGNED

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like change and I like original decor…not something you will find in every other house, shop or hotel.  This is not always possible, since I also love buying from shops and markets and I also follow trends to a certain extend, but I like originality rather than mass production.  Designing is a bigggggg passion of mine and luckily I married a very handy husband who can bring all…or let me rather say some of my plausible ideas…into existence!

One day I walked through the isles of one of our local grocery shops and saw this beautiful little wooden and black bird cage.  Then and there I decided this will become a lamp…and it did.  We bought a light fitting at our local hardware shop, some electrical cord and we already had an extra light bulb at home.  My hubby then unscrewed the top wooden knob of the bird cage, fixed the fitting, connected the cord and at the other end of the cord installed a light switch.

DIY_Unique Coat Hanger-Bird Cage Lamp_3

The next question I had was, “where do I want to hang this?”  So the idea of a coat hanger came to mind.  Yet again I called in assistance from my loving husband, I dragged him down the isles of our local hardware shop – again – on the look out for “black steel things” 🙂 …I usually go to the shops with an idea and then know what I want when I see it, not planning too far ahead 🙂 … so we found the black steel hooks, we decided to use the wood pallets we had at home for the stand, for the top we bought a steel curtain rail end and then he made me this beauty!!

DIY_Unique Floor lamp_bird cage and coat hanger-01

STYLE IDEAS

Here comes the fun part…

This lamp/coat hanger stand gives you multiple options!  I just bought a few hang plants and a copper wire diamond at a market to hang on the coat hanger.  BUT you can chop and change what you hang, someone even suggested to hang a clock.  You can also hang photo frames with family photo’s.  And the day you decide to hang your bird cage lamp somewhere else, you can even start using the coat hanger to hang coats 😉  Just remember when you style this floor lamp keep balance in mind..more than one smaller items clustered together and bigger items on their own for instance, but it will depend on the specific items.

So go out and be creative…the sky’s the limit ❤

XOXO

Janine

HOLIDAY FUN: WATERCOLOUR BIRD ART

Art, Travel & Holiday Fun

INYONI_Watercolour Bird Art

FUN HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

WATERCOLOUR PAINT: BIRDS (INYONI IN ZULU)

There’s nothing like traveling and road trips during your December holiday.  My husband and I are definitely travelers by heart, discovering new places and experiences.  (I will try to start sharing some of our 2017/2018 December holiday plans, places and some holiday food soon, we went to a few places that’s not known for great signal so I fell behind a bit 😉 )

Even while traveling I still like to take time to be creative, but packing your oil paint and canvas or tools for a bit of wood work is not always plausible.  So I discovered how easy it is to take along watercolour paint.  It’s a matter of packing a small box with the paint colours, two or three paintbrushes and a watercolour paint book.  There is always a container of some sort available to mix your colours in.

I would take time during our holiday to find a beautiful scenic spot to sit at – maybe with a sunrise or sunset – and then just sit and play with the paint.  I discovered the secret to really round off your painting is using a black fine line pen to accentuate the outlines.  I am a big amature when it comes to watercolours, so if anyone wants to add tricks of the trade in the comment section to help the “just-doing-it-for-the-fun-but-wants-to-learn-more” people we will appreciate it 🙂

I hope you will make some “me-time” to sit and play with your watercolours, you never know if you will really surprise yourself with the end result!

Have a fantastic 2018!

Lots of Love

Janine

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