Blog

Overhaul

Sometimes our eating habits need an overhaul.  This is when meal planning becomes your biggest ally.

These past few months we have had to change the way the family eats. I have always cooked fairly healthy, low GI meals but now we have had to introduce carbohydrate free dinners. This has meant that I have had to rethink our entire meal plan.

Meat free Mondays no longer contain pasta or challenge me to make gnocchi. Now it includes things like Frittata’s and salad.

Gnocchi
Homemade Gnocchi

Mincemeat Tuesdays can’t contain spaghetti bolognaise, sloppy Joe’s or even taco’s anymore. Shepard’s pie and cottage pie now either feature cauliflower mash or mashed turnips instead of potatoes.

Wednesday night fish has also become a new adventure, tuna lasagne made with zucchini slices instead of lasagne sheets.

Lasagna
Lasagna

Thursday  there is no roast potato with the chicken and beef stew is now filled with patty pans, baby marrow, onions and carrots, there is no rice in sight, unless it’s cauliflower rice!

Friday night is a big night for dinner; we start with soup, then salad and main course and occasionally desert. With it being winter here in South Africa and my family really liking soup, I am having to look up new recipes, the family favourites of potato and leek soup, curried butternut soup are needing an overhaul too, so besides the standard chicken soup, we are now having baby marrow soup, carrot soup, leek soup and a bell pepper soup! I do admit to serving some carbs in the form of couscous or brown rice on a Friday night.

Butternut and Sage pasta
Butternut and sage pasta

Saturday and Sunday night have always been about leftovers so the meal plan stands unchanged.

No matter who you are a meal plan is essential when changing your lifestyle, I had forgotten how important it is to have a template when planning for your new eating habits. I am not partial to the low carb high fat (banting) mostly because I like my carbs, my breads and pasta’s.

Now lunches include healthy carbs and spaghetti bolognaise is made with zucchini spaghetti. I at least enjoy the challenge of new recipes and cooking challenges.

Have you changed your eating habits recently? Gone on a new diet? How did you make the change?

 

I’m expanding my business

Dear family, friends, newsletter subscribers, Facebook friends and acquaintances and most especially, followers.

Some exciting news…. I now only work part time and am focusing on building my side business into a full time business.

For those who have been following me, you will know that 2 years ago I started a meal planning business called Kashering Your Life. I help people plan their meals according to their dietary requirements and draw up their shopping lists. This helps reduce,not only the grocery budget, but also the amount of food being wasted in households.  My grocery spend is down 20% from 3 years ago when I started meal planning for myself and we waste a lot less food. While I cannot guarantee a savings of 20% I can guarantee that you will save money.

 

I have been on Chai FM radio with Alan Bender and The Yad Aharon show, as well as being interviewed for an article in People magazine South Africa.   I have written guest articles for blogs such as anniemation.co.za. and beingme.co.za. I am a volunteer ambassador for the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, which aims to fight obesity and food wastage worldwide.

My advice on saving money in SA People Magazine in Sept 2015

I plan to hold workshops every 4 months on meal and menu planning including how to successfully use online grocery shopping. I have been working on my first new paid workshop which will be hosted as a private Facebook group and will run over 12 weeks.  This will include a free 20 minute Skype session before and after the course, as well as live and recorded tutorials, workbooks and resource tools to help you.

12 week FB workshop coming soon!

18 months ago I started “We’re getting Sorted” a Facebook group to help me get my home more organised.  This group is over 460 people strong, all with the aim to take control of their homes. I am now incorporating it into my business.  I do not come into people’s homes and re organise or declutter; what I am doing is giving support for you to do it yourself, while holding myself accountable, by working on my home alongside the members of the group. As this group grows, I hope to invite experts in decluttering to give us advice and help, as well as hold competitions.

For 45 years being a nurse was my passion.  I was 5 when I decided on my career path. Now my passion is helping people who would like to take control of their health and that of their family through meal planning.

With our rand in junk status, now more than ever, we need to find ways to make our money stretch. I am looking to help as many people as possible. If you are interested in working with me, or know of someone who could benefit from either a course or one on one sessions with me, please feel free to forward them my contact details.

You can find me all over social media. Twitter: @adibog; Instagram: kasheringyourlife, my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/kasheringyourlife/ or drop me an email at adrienne@kasheringyourlife.co.za.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely

Adrienne Bogatie

When did you l

Do you remember the last time you cleaned the curtain rails, the top of the book shelves or even the ceiling?

Having a schedule to let you know when it is time to clean out the dust bunnies from under the beds, can make you feel more in control.

For working women, it is often difficult to stay on top on the household chores, or for those with domestic help, being able to ensure that your house is kept to the standard it should be, with someone to clean full time, is an invaluable thing.

This is why creating a cleaning schedule will help everyone. Having chores assigned to children and knowing when there is heavy work to be done will make life easier.

Planning your cleaning schedule is best done by breaking it all down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, 6 monthly and annual cleaning.

How do you know when to do this?

Starting at your front door and working your way through each room is part of it. As you enter each room, start at the top left and work your way down each side and then across. Using my eldest daughter’s room as an example would work like this.

Standing in the doorway to my left (same wall the door is in), I start at the ceilings, which should be cleaned every four months. The cupboards are on my left.  Open the cupboards. The shelves need cleaning annually, the clothes are re-packed quarterly, at least, to coincide with the change of seasons and growing.

Then the outside of the cupboard, the doors and handles are cleaned monthly. Next is the wall and bookshelf/wall unit.  Cleaning out the cupboards and shelves on this is also an annual task and the outside of the cupboards should be washed monthly.

The skirting boards should be damp dusted quarterly but can be vacuumed when the carpets are vacuumed.

The next wall contains the window; this means that curtains and curtain rails need to be cleaned. We have machine washable curtains so those go into the wash at least annually, the windows are washed quarterly and the window sills and burglar bars are done monthly and dusted weekly.

The curtain rails are washed at the same time as the curtains are; there is no point in washing the curtains and then putting them back onto dirty, dusty railings. Railings should be dusted when the ceilings are done.

To my right is the last wall. This needs to be washed quarterly as well. If there are pictures or photos on your walls, these should be dusted regularly and damp dusted when the walls are washed.

Daily – make bed

Weekly – change bed linen and vacuum

Quarterly – damp dust skirting boards, wash windows, move and clean under bed

6 months- wash walls, clean light fittings and switches

Annually- deep clean carpets and launder curtains

Lastly the carpets: carpets should be swept daily, vacuumed weekly and washed annually.

I found when drawing up my schedule, it also helped to have someone else with you to look critically at all the spaces in case you miss something.

I hope this helps you feel more in control of your home, remember that trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming and cause you to give up. Doing a little at a time will give you a better chance of success.

Please feel free to download the cleaning schedule I created in Facebook group. We’re getting sorted. If you are not in the group, please feel free to join or download the schedule by following this link. www.kasheringyourlife.co.za/printables/house-cleaning-check-list

Do you remember?

Do you remember the last time you cleaned the curtain rails, the top of the book shelves or even the ceiling?

Scheduling

Having a schedule to let you know when it is time to clean out the dust bunnies from under the beds, can make you feel more in control.

Dust bunnies
Dust bunnies accumulate, if you don’t move your furniture

For working women, it is often difficult to stay on top on the household chores, or for those with domestic help, being able to ensure that your house is kept to the standard it should be, with someone to clean full time, is an invaluable thing.

This is why creating a cleaning schedule will help everyone. Having chores assigned to children and knowing when there is heavy work to be done will make life easier.

Planning your cleaning schedule is best done by breaking it all down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, 6 monthly and annual cleaning.

How do you know when to do this?

Starting at your front door and working your way through each room is part of it. As you enter each room, start at the top left and work your way down each side and then across. Using my eldest daughter’s room as an example would work like this.

Left

Standing in the doorway to my left (same wall the door is in), I start at the ceilings, which should be cleaned every four months. The cupboards are on my left.  Open the cupboards. The shelves need cleaning annually, the clothes are re-packed quarterly, at least, to coincide with the change of seasons and growing.

Cupboards
I wish mine were this tidy, but tidying every few months will help

Then the outside of the cupboard, the doors and handles are cleaned monthly. Next is the wall and bookshelf/wall unit.  Cleaning out the cupboards and shelves on this is also an annual task and the outside of the cupboards should be washed monthly.

The skirting boards should be damp dusted quarterly but can be vacuumed when the carpets are vacuumed.

The next wall contains the window; this means that curtains and curtain rails need to be cleaned. We have machine washable curtains so those go into the wash at least annually, the windows are washed quarterly and the window sills and burglar bars are done monthly and dusted weekly.

The curtain rails are washed at the same time as the curtains are; there is no point in washing the curtains and then putting them back onto dirty, dusty railings. Railings should be dusted when the ceilings are done.

To my right is the last wall. This needs to be washed quarterly as well. If there are pictures or photos on your walls, these should be dusted regularly and damp dusted when the walls are washed.

Some ideas

Daily – make bed

Weekly – change bed linen and vacuum

Quarterly – damp dust skirting boards, wash windows, move and clean under bed

6 months- wash walls, clean light fittings and switches

Annually- deep clean carpets and launder curtains

Lastly the carpets: carpets should be swept daily, vacuumed weekly and washed annually.

I found when drawing up my schedule, it also helped to have someone else with you to look critically at all the spaces in case you miss something.

I hope this helps you feel more in control of your home, remember that trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming and cause you to give up. Doing a little at a time will give you a better chance of success.

Please feel free to download the cleaning schedule I created in Facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/. If you are not in the group, please feel free to join or download the schedule by following this link. http://www.kasheringyourlife.co.za/printables/house-cleaning-check-list

Is your timing right?

Timing

An important aspect of successful meal planning is timing. When you draw up your meal plan one of the main components you need to keep in mind is your daily routine and how much time you have to make that particular meal.

A couple of weeks ago I made a new recipe for the first time, Beef Wellington. I planned it for a Wednesday night. This was not a well thought out idea. The reason I chose Wednesday is that I work half day, so I knew I would have the time to make this meal and there would be no rush. The only clever timing choice about the Wednesday was that it did take me 3 hours to make the Wellingtons. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/my-month-with-gordon/

Beef Wellington
Renamed Beef Waterloo. 10 Delicious servings

My timing was a little off. I needed liver pate, being strictly kosher, I can only get this from one or two sources and they only make this for Friday as a Sabbath treat! I was two days too early.

Timing for your menu makes your life easier.  If you have a lot of extra murals, you don’t want to plan a meal that is going to take an hour if you will only be home at 7pm.

For moms with children doing extra murals (especially in winter) my suggestion is to use a slow cooker.  I love the convenience of chucking everything into one pot in the morning, turning it on low and leaving the house. By 5pm the house smells wonderful and dinner is ready. The other convenience is everyone can help themselves (if they are old enough) according to their times.

Another consideration for timing is finger food. If you are going to be running around during the children’s dinner time, why not plan to make wraps? These can also be made ahead, wrapped and kept in the fridge, for everyone to eat later in the car. Wraps are a healthier alternative to take out and cheaper too.

Give meal planning a try and see how much easier it makes your life.

Washing Scheduled

Do you spend a part of your morning picking up washing from different parts of the house? How close to the laundry basket does the dirty washing get?

Last year I introduced small washing baskets into each bedroom, as well as the ones already in the bathrooms and for the most part the dirty clothes make it in. I must admit the favourite spot for most of the dirty clothes is next to the washing basket.

Different fold up soft baskets for colour sorting

Colour coded

The other small change I implemented is different colour baskets to help me sort all the washing at once. I bought these mesh baskets; they are easily folded away and stored in a cupboard between use. They were cheap and I bought 2 a month until I had the colours I wanted.

I then created a schedule. I only have one child in uniform, so as you can imagine we have a lot of laundry each day. If you have nursery school children or younger, you will also have a fortune of washing to do.

On Schedule

I created a schedule for the washing to be done, this mostly ensures that the most important clothing items are washed first.  This helps especially when it rains for days.

I have 4 children plus my husband and myself, with a smallish washing machine. Unfortunately my beautiful large Speed Queen died after 25 years of dedicated service and because of its age there are no longer spare parts. I have a really good machine now but it is small and we do around 3 loads of washing per day.

Here is my schedule:

Monday – whites/lights, blacks and hand washing

Tuesday – blue/ greens, brown and reds/orange

Wednesday-  Linen ( there are 5 beds, this takes the whole day)

Thursday – Towels and table cloths.

For the most part this schedule works well. Obviously there are colours and patterned clothing that you have to decide where they fit in,

I have an ironing lady who comes 1 full day and 1 ½ day each week, I do my first load of laundry at around 6 am, all three loads are then done by 8 when I need to leave for work.

Put it away

I have spoken to a few ladies who do not have help and one of their main issues is not getting the clean laundry to where it belongs.  This is another system that you need to then put into place. How to get the clean clothes back where they belong? Depending on the age of your children you can possibly get them to put their own stuff into their cupboards.

This would only work well with some of my family members, my husband, my eldest daughter, who is an organiser by nature, and my youngest and my son, who would get it to the cupboard but not sort it. My middle child has server ADHD and depending on what happens between where she collects the washing and her bedroom will dictate where the washing ends up. If it makes it to her bedroom she will also get it into the cupboard but not sorted.

Getting it fixed

Another aspect of laundry is repair. Lost buttons, torn pockets and seams. Create a small repair kit to help with mending or a space to put the clothes into so that they can be taken to be repaired.

Another handy tip I learned is to have a singles basket. This is for the socks that have lost their partners, every few months go through the basket and see if you can find matches.

My month with Gordon

Gordon Ramsay is my chef hero!  I think the reason for this is because his philosophy appears to be the fact that good, tasty, healthy food can be simple and doesn’t have to cost a fortune. In February I was gifted his Ultimate Cookery Course cook book.

The Ultimate Cookery Course
One of the best gifts I have received. Gordon Ramsay’s The Ultimate Cookery Course

Being kosher, recipes are often a problem when they are in a celebrity chef’s cook book. I have to substitute a lot of ingredients or the equivalent is unavailable and I have to try and make my own. Also these recipes tend to be long and complicated; it is easier to make up my own.

A client had told me about the TV show and that there was a cookery book out with the recipes shown on the show. I was so excited until I priced the book here. There was a special on Amazon, but they don’t deliver books to South Africa. A very kind soul heard my discussion on the books and how I had seen a few episodes and would love to try them.

Next thing you know I am in possession of the cookery book!

For the month of March I made one recipe a week from the book.  I am not being paid to review the book or promote it. I will tell you now that I will be making more recipes from the book! Each one I tried was successful even with having to make the necessary changes for dietary requirements.

Stuffed Chicken

Two carcasses picked clean! I double the recipe for stuffed chicken as there were 7 for dinner. I made two large chickens with stuffing. The stuffing recipe was easy to make.  Even with the two adaptions I needed to make, the chicken was amazing. Everyone cleared their plates and went back for more.

Beef Wellington

I messed that recipe up quite well and it was still a hit! Firstly I defrosted the wrong meat and ended up with 10 pieces of rib eye steak. I planned the meal for a Wednesday. I needed liver pate (we call it chopped liver) and the kosher butchers’ only have this available on Thursday night. Then I made the mushroom duxelle with ordinary button mushrooms as I couldn’t find wild mushrooms. For pancetta I used lamb maken.  I called the new recipe Beef Waterloo.

The recipe made 10 huge Wellingtons.  We ate for 2 days and even with the meat being slightly over cooked on the second day, it was still delicious.

While the maken didn’t have the same flavor of pancetta, the fat kept the beef moist. The duxelle worked out well and was very tasty too.

I do admit I will probably only do this again next year as it took me 3 hours to make.

Beef Wellington
Renamed Beef Waterloo. 10 Delicious servings

Sea Bream with Tomato and Herb Salsa

I substituted the Bream with Silverfish and I trusted the fishmonger when he said they were the same. My family are not big fish eaters. This dish was amazing and the family has agreed that I can make it again.

I have since started cooking all fish the way Gordon teaches in his show and the improvement is amazing. Fish is still not the most popular protein in my house, unless it is tinned tuna.

Gnocchi

I doubled the recipe and it wasn’t enough! I do think I need to invest in a ricer for this one. Gnocchi is quick and relatively easy to make.

Gnocchi
It may not look good, but the taste was phenomenal

I have made gnocchi before and even though it was nice, it was quite stodgy. This time the gnocchi were almost perfect, light and flavourful, and the one or two lumps didn’t deter anyone and I had to go back and make a second batch.

I now have new recipes to add to my recipe bank and a whole lot more to try.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef and why? What recipes have you made of theirs? Continue reading My month with Gordon

Dirty Laundry!

Your laundry room

Where do you do your laundry? Do you have a laundry room or do you have laundry equipment in the kitchen? Wherever it is, it needs to be organised.

How often does your washing machine get cleaned?  Are your washing detergents organised?

Do you have old expired bleach? Believe it or not, bleach expires and quite quickly too.

Laundry area
If your laundry area is dirty and untidy, how can your laundry be clean?

The laundry areas can get untidy very quickly, as your washing machine and tumble dryer, if you have one are flat surfaces, and flat surfaces attract clutter.

What do you do with stray socks? How about the small change in people’s pockets?

Look at the area around your machines, is everything there specific to washing clothes and linen or do you have a collection of odds and ends.

An idea for those of us who have very little or no designated laundry space, are baskets where you can put similar items into. A basket to hold all your softeners and bleaches and another for a small sewing kit for repairs.

How can you have clean clothes and linen if the area is in chaos?

Does it belong?

The first aspect to laundry is getting the area sorted. Get rid of anything that isn’t to do with laundry. Clean out the space, whether it is a cupboard or a room. Empty old and expired laundry supplies and throw the containers away or recycle them, find new ways to neatly store everything.

Once your clothing is washed, it often needs ironing. Make sure your iron and ironing board are both in good condition.

Rainy days

Are you able to dry laundry on a rainy day without your tumble dryer? If you have the space, maybe consider putting up a retractable washing line on the wall. This may be especially important if you have small babies or you live in an apartment building where the washing lines are often on the roof.

It is also a good idea to have a small basket to collect your stray socks. That way you may periodically be able to find the matching sock.

Collecting the lost and found

I read an article a while ago where a lady had a small jar in her laundry room and any money found in pockets went into the jar. I also think another idea would be a catch all basket, anything found in pockets would go into this, e.g. pens, ticket stubs or parking stubs etc.

Do you have any idea on how to remove stains? What to use for what type of stain. A good idea might be to create a stain removal kit to keep with your laundry detergents.

Do you have a laundry room? How old was your oldest item in the laundry room?

Winging it with a meal plan!

You like winging it in your kitchen. You want to meal plan but you hate recipes! No problem.

Meal planning with no recipe

Meal planning is about more than recipes, it is about a lifestyle change. Simplifying your life and making time for you to spend doing what you prefer. It also saves you money.

My Meal Plan
Meal plans don’t have to have a recipe

In a previous blog post we looked at themed meal plans and that is where not following a recipe will fit in. Dinner Theme Meal Planning

Your meal plan template allows you to go to the store and use your imagination for ingredients.

Using a template

If you step into a store with the idea in mind that your main meal ingredient is chicken, you then can decide while in the store or in your pantry what other ingredients you will be adding to make this into a healthy balanced meal.

 

You don’t need to only plan your main ingredient; you can even plan your cuisine. An example of this is Mexican + Meat. Now you can go to the store knowing you want to buy meat and spicy/tomato ingredients.

This method allows you to make use of specials, as well as not buying too much and having it sit in your kitchen and go to waste.

While this is a method I do not think I could use successfully in my home I do think that it would be very successful for single people, college/varsity students and possibly stay at home moms (as an excuse to get out of the house possibly?).

Singles

For single people meal planning can be a little tedious and most have a fairly fluid social life.

This means if you meal plan for more than a week in advance you will likely have food going to waste. Just having your template can work not only for meal planning, but also for your social life.

For example if you have Fish on your template for a certain night, then you can use this to help decide on a restaurant if you are going out for dinner. It can also be used to decide whether it is canned tuna or perfectly seared tuna steaks, whichever you have time for.

College/Varsity

For college/varsity students living either in an apartment with other students or on campus where you only have limited way to prepare foods, then this method will also help with budgeting and saving money.

Having a template and being able to use that to decide on your ingredients will be a big part of your life. Students living in res will usually only have a kettle and microwave and this can to a certain extent limit your options, go online and search for ideas to help you.

Going online to look for microwave recipes will help. Instant noodles are very versatile as a base for some great meals. These can definitely be bought in advance and then dressed up, with ingredients bought fresh on the day.

Choose your flavor of noodle and then add. For example choose a fish flavoured instant noodle meal and add some salmon off cuts and a tablespoon of cream cheese for a delicious supper.

Instant noodles
Buying instant noodles and dressing them up with fresh ingredients is a great way to budget your food bills

For those sharing, it will definitely help you with your food budgets.

Stay at home moms

Staying at home to raise your children is an amazing thing to be able to do. If you are the type of mom who wants to stay at home, and if your finances allow you this option.

There does come a time, however, when even the most dedicated moms need to get out. Going to the mall and buying your groceries can fulfill this need two fold. The first is retail therapy without feeling guilty for spending money; the second is feeding your family nourishing meals.

Shopping without a recipe can allow you to choose ingredients that are versatile in terms of the ages of each family member.

I love hearing how people go about deciding what’s for dinner, so why not let me know how you decided and what methods work best for you?

In your fridge and in your freezer

Your fridge and freezer are one of the most used items in your kitchen, except for the sink, stove and ovens. We do not deep clean these often enough.

Basic hygiene

In a program I once watched, a cleaning team went into a home that had a vegetarian and two meat eaters sharing the space. They dyed a piece of meat with ultraviolet dye and then asked everyone to prepare their meals. The contamination of all the food was quite surprising, even with washing utensils after each use. Is your kitchen actually clean?

How often do you clean the back of the fridge/freezer door handles? Cleaning the inside of the fridge should be a regular task in your households cleaning routine.

If you have a self-defrosting freezer you need to schedule a good clean out of that as well. For those of us who have to periodically defrost the freezer, it is the perfect time to deep clean the shelves.

Month end shopping

I planned this task to coincide with when most people will be doing a big shop. Pay day has just been and we are all about to replenish the food in our kitchens. If you are putting this task onto a regular cleaning schedule, the best time to do this is right before the grocery run. You will then have a nice clean fridge and freezer in which to put all your new shopping.

It's on top!
The top of my fridge makes perfect storage space!

Fridge decor

How cluttered is the outside of your fridge? It is time to make room for the new paintings and drawings the children bring home from school. When the children were younger, any birthday invitations we received went onto the fridge door, sometimes sitting there for weeks after the event.

 

Bicarb always

To get a good deep clean and to get rid of any odours that may linger after the food is gone, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water, make this into a paste and spread it with a cloth onto the surfaces and use a toothbrush to get into the crevices of your fridge/freezer.

My Freezer
Cleaning out your freezer will save you money!

Leave it for about 5 minutes and then using warm water wash it off.

For stubborn marks and odours, spray vinegar and then wash with the warm soapy water. Pay special attention to meat spills.

Repacking your fridge

When repacking your fridge, it is important that certain items be placed on specific shelves. Items that need defrosting should be placed on the bottom shelf in a bowl, or on a tray, to prevent the inevitable spillage from cross contaminating the rest of your food.

A rule of thumb is, cooked and ready to eat items top and middle shelves, food needing to be cooked, middle and bottom shelves.

Your fridge door is best used for items with a longer shelf life.

Don’t over fill your fridge as this can cause items to freeze and uses more electricity. Don’t overload the fridge door with heavy items as this can cause breakage.

How to pack your fridge

For more information check out the list I saved on Pinterest for how to pack your fridge https://za.pinterest.com/pin/6051780730348903/ or go to http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/refrigerator-storage-chart.html.

Packing your freezer is just as important as packing your fridge properly. You actually want to have this packed full, as the freezer works better with more food inside.

Pack like items together and also size and shape to make stacking easier. Label and date all frozen food.

Happy cleaning! Let us see those before and after photo’s please.