Category Archives: Food

Our favourite things – products & recipes recommended by MGFC members

I run a Good Food Club – which is essentially a monthly buying club from our home in Cape Town. We facilitate Farm-to-Table style living by supporting, for the most part, local, sustainable, natural/organic style small businesses.

We have the most incredible families who participate in this club. With over 800 products available to purchase, we have so many different styles and intentions when shopping. From hormone free meat, to grass fed farm butter, to chemical free cleaning detergents and menstrual cups.

Last month I asked my members to share what they loved buying from the Good Food Club and why… and this was what I received back.

From Debbie Knighton-Fitt (me!):

So you know I’ve always been a greenie right? It’s pretty much the reason I started the GFC.

So here are my non-negotiables, every month…

Butter, Eggs, Swiss Cellar – pickled onions and jams (once you start, you LITERALLY can’t stop), strawberry yoghurt, mozzarella cheese (for pizzas). Cake flour (we make a lot of pancakes and pizza bases), beef mince, mango strips (my absolute spoil), oh mega peanut butter, and my (fantastic!) new wellness doc really recommends Superfoods’ Super Thrive Women.

We eat the chicken burgers once a week, as well as boerewors for braais, and nachos with the corn chips. Another spoil is the (chocolate and) hot chocolate from cocoafair (YUM!). We buy 5 packs of salami and freeze them, and take them out when needed. It is THE most delicious salami I’ve ever tasted. I always buy frozen blueberries, strawberries and plain yoghurt for smoothies. The honey is a must, I love the spices (mainly cinnamon and cumin) and Eikelaan & Metro Organics fresh produce! I try get my hands on as much organic fresh produce as possible. I also buy the salmon now (due to Cara’s influence) and eat it with my 2 year old to get some good omegas into her.

A few other favourites: fresh organic coriander, quinoa, dates and raisins (for lunch boxes), halloumi spring rolls (YUM!) and 1kg cashew nuts when I’m feeling flush.

Body products: Love the Pure Beginnings range for us all, the natural deo (is incredible!) and I cannot CANNOT recommend the menstrual cup enough. If you’ve ever thought about buying one, DO it.

From Lauren Potgieter:

I love buying the angelfish for Jamie Oliver’s FISH PIE. It’s full of good things like carrots, spinach and boiled eggs (weird I know, but it works) and if you don’t want to use double cream you can use double cream yoghurt instead.

From Cara Eachus:

Salmon offcuts: I use it often in pastas and with scrambled eggs or on a sandwich with cream cheese and cucumber.

I also do the venison-droewors-in-the-freezer-trick for lunch boxes. It defrosts super quickly though so I keep it in the freezer and just take out little bits each evening when I make the boys’ lunch.

I do a yum meal with the pork fillet. I make a chutney by frying a diced onion, a clove or two of crushed garlic, thyme and some grated apple then smoothing that onto puff pastry. Searing the fillet in the pan and then placing that into the pastry and baking it for about 30 minutes. A delicious meal! 

The strawberry JAM! I am never going back. It is to die for. Also a big thumbs up to the raw creamed honey, one of my faves. I love a spoon in a banana smoothie or on toast.

A little treat is the edible flowers. I add them into ice cube trays to make interesting ice or top baked goods with them. For Harry’s dedication tea I even added them on top of sandwiches.

The frozen berries which are so extremely well priced are used in smoothies, Harry’s fruit purees and in muffins or cakes. At Christmas I made a big sorbet with them.

I really love the halloumi. I fry slices in lemon juice and place on top of vegetable pastas (I try make meatless meals at least twice a week) or eat as a snack.

The eggs and venison mince are also well priced and make many good healthy meals with those good proteins. I have recently started buying the boerewors and pork sausages (both delicious!) and make a sausage pie with them or use them for bangers and bash otherwise boerie rolls. I used the lamb stew meat last night in a tomato bredie – oh my yum – but am definitely keen to try the chuck stewing meat next time.

From Jolene Bonney:

I love the venison mince. My two favorite dishes are Keftedes with Tzatziki (Jono makes the most amazing greek yoghurt that we use for this) and the other dish I use it for is a venison mousaka. If we need a quick and easy dinner I make a halloumi cheese salad and throw in a generous amount of blueberries too.

I’ve included the keftedes recipe:

Venison Keftedes 

  • 3 slices bread (I use oats instead)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons finely fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (3 tablespoons if using fresh)
  • 500grams venison
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • flour for dusting


1) soak oats in milk and eggs for a little

2) mix everything else in

3) let the mix sit for about an hour

4) roll into small balls

5) dust with flour

6) fry in olive oil

From Garth Stephenson:

So here is what I generally do with the stewing meat I buy from you:

Brown the following in a large pot

Once the meat is browned, add the following:

  • ½ cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • ½ pack of mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 x tomatoes, chopped or 1 can of diced tomato mix
  • 2 x table spoons of balsamic vinegar
  • ½ x bottle of wine, red or white (I prefer red)
  • ½ l water
  • Mixed herbs and rosemary to flavour (fresh or dried)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to flavour
  • A dash of tobasco sauce

Bring to the boil, and then let simmer on lowest heat for 1-2 hours (depending on how hungry I am). Stir regularly and add more water/wine if liquid boils off.

Before serving, add beef stock and let simmer for 10 minutes.

From Yvette Newton:

Chuck stewing is great for beef bourginon, tomato bredie, wraps with warm veg and hummus. It also goes quite far if you use a tomato base and add veg/beans etc.

Mince – I buy 2kgs and then make bulk meatballs and freeze. Each 500grams is used for a meal – spaghetti bolognaise, nachos, meatballs mash and veg, burgers.

Rib stewing is good for potjie. We make it once a month during winter.

Salami packs are great for quick lunches and pizza toppings.

From Michelle Gibbs:

Venison sliced biltong, it’s a WIN, gonna try order more and keep half frozen next time I think but very happy with it so far!

Pork fillet 👌🏼 drizzle with oil, sprinkle herbs & oven roast 180 degrees, 20-30min’ serve with mash/veggies etc & gravy. Delicious! We cook it on braai too with marinade, its always a win 🙂

Desiccated coconut, amazing price, great for crunchies!

Stir fry greens, delicious sliced & thrown in at end of stir fry

Nu Eco dishwashing liquid, works brilliantly, I’ve tried a few earth friendly and this is by far my fave. Great smell & bubbles, cleans excellently & MGFC price is fab! Natural deo works really well.

Treat: I love white choc covered hazel nuts.


  • 250g butter or margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1tbspn golden syrup/honey
  • 1tspn bicarb

Melt in microwave approx 1min (or stove top!)

Mix in:

Combine well, spoon into greased baking tray.

Oven 180 for 15 – 20min.

When remove from oven immediately divide into blocks with spatula in tray, leave to cool in tray.


Combine well, ladle onto hot oiled frying pan, spread around & fry, flip & fry until done 😉

Thank you to everyone who sent in their suggestions! Enjoy your shopping and your cooking xxx


This Years Homemade Christmas Gift – Red Onion Marmalade

I know what you’re thinking… most delicious homemade christmas gift, you were thinking of my fudge recipe were you not? Well, you were close, but this year, I branched out and decided to make something savoury (ish – depending on if adding 1/4 cup of sugar to anything can be considered savoury).

We try in our family, to include the homemade element over Christmas, for personal and somewhat anti-consumerism-Christmassy reasons – so I’m super pumped to have this all made up, in my fridge and ready to throw on a cheese plate.

Red Onion Marmalade. Yum guys. Yum.

This pressie has been made and has been/will be distributed to parents, in-laws and teachers alike. And it’s easy and so very, very delicious.

I tried a few recipes, and this one is by far my best (thanks to All Recipes):


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste

Tip: Genius Debbie remembered she had a slicing attachment on her food processor, and so no onion-tears for me. Boom.


Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir onions and sugar in hot oil until onions start to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Stir red wine and balsamic vinegar into onion mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid is evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes more. Season with salt.


All you need are some jars (I get mine from Bonpak), and some brown paper (PNA/MerryPak) and some twine/string. I attached a little card with a note and onion marmalade ingredients. How cute, and HOW simple?

What is your fave homemade treat?

R3000 Grocery Challenge – (HOW) WE DID IT!

So last month, we spent under R3000 on groceries – all food. All food. How did we do it?

Let me keep this simple. In essence, you spend on food what you want to spend, or what you allow yourself to spend. It really is that simple. If I had R1000 budget, then it would have been pap, for 30 days, for each meal. Perspective.

I’d love to share my biggest takeaways:

My preface: It is GOOD to love, enjoy, find healthy value in, be filled by, be inspired by, create, and bring community together with FOOD.

So bearing that in mind – here’s how we did it:

1. Quality vs Price. Don’t get me wrong guys – I’m all about quality. Our Good Food Club allows me to get good quality (hormone-free, antibiotic-free, free-range, grass-fed, natural etc.) at a reasonable price – so I’m not sacrificing quality. This is not always possible though. You have to pick your battles. I chose to downgrade on coffee beans (from Organic to Italian Dark Roast and saved R40) and brown bread (from Superior to, well, regular – and saved around R3 a loaf).

2. Don’t buy more than you need: The more you have the more you eat. If you have 2L of milk, you’ll go through it faster than if you had only one. I’m such an automatic ‘stock-upper’ when it comes to basics that we end up consuming (and buying) way more than we need. Do you need 5 cans of tomatoes? Probably not.

3. Shop the sales: Food Lovers on a Wednesday, PnP discounted goods/bulk packs, Woolies sales even. Buy from the factory shops, such as Elgin. You can save tens, if not hundreds of Rands, by keeping your eyes on the numbers.

4. Meal plan: I know, I know, who has time for this? But really! Meal planning not only takes away that frustrating ‘Gah, what are we eating tonight’ thought around 4pm each day, but it removes the spontaneous buying… and it doesn’t need to be complicated or in-depth – just jot down some meal ideas and shuffle it as you go through the week…

5. Convenience shopping: Engen One Stop at 9pm is SO convenient, but will always (okay, 99% of the time) be more expensive. You PAY for convenience, don’t forget that. Ready-made meals are always more expensive, unless it is a $1 mac and cheese box my best friend and I lived on in the states in our early 20’s, which resembled very little of real mac and cheese. I shudder to think what was in there…

6. Buying take away lunches: Hubby and I felt this one, but I’m proud to say we did not buy ANY take away lunches, and the greasy take away joint in our business park makes GOOD ‘slap chips’. It was a rule – NO bought lunches. And when it’s a legit rule – it simply isn’t an option to break it.

7. Eat when you’re hungry – not bored: A good old Michael Pollan Food Rule.

8. Grow ‘extras’ in your garden: coriander, cherry toms, basil, spinach/rocket, spring onion. Those items cost money and OFTEN go off in your fridge. Garden herbs and greens are fresh, organic and ‘free’ in essence.

9. DONT WASTE FOOD: If my kids didn’t finish their school lunches, the lunch boxes were opened and the food was finished before any more was on offer. Darling child, eat your crusts/remaining apple/orange segment you left in there because it still had ‘the pip in’. You’ll honestly save an extra sarmie or piece of fruit you could use in the next days’ lunch box. Also, give your pantry a good clear out – spices, pasta, cans, almost-finished-packets of random stuff – it is all most likely (ermmm…) usable – so get your spring cleaning on and eat what has been neglected for too long (like 2 year old fondant, for example).

10. Simplify: Eat simply and drink simply. Water. Kombucha. Coffee. Easy meals, few ingredients – you can make something taste delish with less than you think. This way of eating is less stressful to prepare and lighter on the wallet. Save your gourmet meals for a special occasion.

11. Cook in bulk, stretch and freeze: I did this with mince and soup. I streeetched the meals (added lentils to mince and doubled the soup) and froze many portions. Not only does it make for quick dinners, but filling lunches at work.

12. Don’t get sucked into consumer culture: This is something a friend noticed she was doing, and honestly, I hadn’t even made the comparison. We walk around with our shiny, smooth (tired) credit cards and nonchalantly swipe swipe swipe. Put R3000 in an envelope labelled GROCERIES and you will avoid the shops like the plague. We are SO accustomed to buying WHAT WE WANT, WHEN WE WANT IT. For eg: we only use a salt grinder at home. But ours finished, so hubby suggested I use the table salt instead (WHAT? NO WAYS). But we did, and we survived.

We are a culture that doesn’t like to sacrifice. We don’t enjoy not having what we want. And we do this with food too.

Does that help? Can you relate? What did you learn? Do you know how much you spend every month?

As far as how this has transpired for us? I’m implementing what we’ve learnt, but I’m also going easy on myself. But no doubt, there will be times coming, when we need to tighten up again (I’m desperate to redo our floors, so R3k might be our ‘new normal’ for a while :)), and I’m happy to do that, aware that for MANY PEOPLE R3k is their average monthly income; they don’t have the luxury of having that much for food alone. That has been eye opening for me.

So give it a go – and let me know how you do. Good luck. xxx

R3000 Challenge: Pauper to Princess 

I promise I had this weeks meals planned.
With my R40 left, my meal plan was as follows:

Basil, cherry tom and chicken pasta,

Roast Chicken with veg,

Toasted sarmies with leftover roast chicken and cheese,

Soup (with whatever Food Lovers veg are on their mad Wednesday special).

And then this.

A gift.

You know when you settle for second best and then out of nowhere you land up hitting the bulls eye? Accepting that humble vulnerable spot, only be be bumped unexpectedly to first place?

That was us. Today. I’d counted the apples and pears for lunchboxes, gone 2 days with no milk in my coffee, eaten the crusts of my boys’ leftover peanut butter sandwiches (okay not really), but I was crawling apprehensively towards the finish line, nervous.

But it takes a village, and it seems my humble public meekness around our food budget brought out some of the most wonderful and generous acts of said village. Today we received THREE days worth of Day to Day meals (not even two as seen in the text above) as well as home-reared free range eggs, biscuits, dried fruit snacks AND jelly tots for the kids.

This evening we had steak, tomorrow we’ll be smacking our lips with smoked chicken and the next day pork chops. Fresh, healthy, local, nutritious family meals, when I was absolutely mentally prepared for (and content with) leftovers on toasted sarmies.

I sit here, on my bed, writing this, STUFFED. And grateful. While it may seem like I’ve been carried across the finish line (and maybe I have), there is a deeper lesson I’ve taken away from today. It’s that people are awesome. Share your journey – the hardships, the struggles, the challenges, the achievements. Be vulnerable. Accept gifts, give gifts, share. Share life, share food, share tears, joy, conversation, thoughts, ideas, generosity, abundance, privilege, concern, love.

Marcelle. You’re a great example of someone who shares. Thank you x

R3000 Challenge: I’m in trouble… 

YOI! I’m in trouble. I did a quick shop yesterday. (I’m surprised at how often I need to go to the shops, as it turns out – 5ppl can eat quite a lot).

I spent another R300, which, in my vague calculation (still unsure of total GFC order) leaves me around R600 for the rest of the month. 😳 I have meat, and staples. But today my confidence may have superseded the reality of my situation because I might have made some rash decisions.

I bought 2 x 3kg bags of butternut. Why 2? Did I need 2? I’m not so sure. I also needed tea. So I bought a box, of 107 teabags. Do I need all 107 teabags? Can I even drink that much in 15 more days? Not a chance. But the bulk buyer in me came to the party.

The saver came to the party too and I couldn’t refuse the Jungle Oats on sale, nor the Bubbly chocolate. If Bubbly is ever on sale, it’s almost sinful to say no. Surely? So I caved, and as I grabbed two slabs off the shelf I thought twice about my budget. And naively took the hit. 

I seeeeeeriously need to tighten the purse strings. Because I have a birthday boy coming up, and cake (and school party treats) will be a necessity shortly.

RIGHT! Two points that have been raised by numerous readers: FREEZING GLASS JARS.

Yes, I too believed one could never freeze glass, but, it turns out you can. A friend showed me or else I would’ve been way too scared to try. They must be decent glass jars and you must be sensible. Don’t freeze HOT food, straight from the oven into the freezer, and take care when defrosting. Don’t take it from the freezer and pop it straight in the microwave/oven. Go easy on your glass.

I buy my glass jars from Bonpak in Prime Park, Diep River. They’re the same size and shape as the Oh Mega Nut Butter jars.


A friend messaged me today, and she was reading my mind. Her message was as follows:

I love the challenge blah blah because… you “buy what you need, no need to overdo elaborate meals EVERY night, good for the hips, good for the world / enviro (cause not over consuming in this consumer crazy society etc etc). Every time I have made my “normal” purchases I think of you and how you’re exercising such restraint and it makes me see the “normal” purchase as a super spoil.”

Someone else (talking about something similar but different) spoke of our consumer culture like this: shopping (unnecessarily, in our case maybe for food/eating) is a way of “filling voids, eradicating boredom, fostering laziness, thwarting creativity, not to mention draining our bottom line“.

I sometimes imagine asking someone from the early 1900’s to watch our western culture. And I wonder how sensible popping into the same shop every 2nd day would seem? Especially in today’s unbelievably demanding lifestyle, when we don’t actually have the time to spare? Does buying a takeaway coffee look cool, indulgent or irresponsible? Is it a prerequisite to your morning? (Coffee is ABSOLUTELY a prerequisite to mine, and I thank the Good Lord for the creamy sweet nectar every morning as I sip it). Pre-cooked meals? Are they convenient, or necessary, or have we barely stopped to consider the joy and creativity involved in cooking we’re blindly robbing ourselves of? Nooooooo judgement here guys – I’m asking myself these exact questions… (and I could’ve fueled a small country on the amount of take away coffee I had last month…)

What is food? What have we made it? Where have we been sold a lemon by society? I’m ALL about good food. I’ve said this already. I love what it represents; different textures and colours, what humans are able to create with micro greens and edible flowers, the complexity of flavours and beauty and satisfaction in a delicately prepared meal. But when did we put it on autopilot?

R3000 Challenge: What we’ve been eating…

All you faithful readers – you’re keeping me going this month. There is so much accountability and interest in this 3k challenge, I’m so inspired. And whether we make it or not – lessons have already been learnt which have been so good for me.

For eg: Yesterday I popped into Checkers (a spare minute away from my kids) and I did a quick price check on some regular items. Some were more expensive, some were less. Saffas reading this, Checkers confuses me. Either way – I left with milk sachets, ginger, lemon (my winter drink of choice/necessity) and Bovril (for R39.90 the cheapest I’ve seen it). Total spent at Checkers R93.77.

Here are some tips and trick and what I’ve been eating:

I’ve fed my sweet tooth with the (massive) block of fondant that has been sitting in the freezer for over 2 years. I kid you not. It was taking up room, and with no spare budget for chocolate, ice cream, cookie dough etc. this was it. I’m glad to not have to relocate it after each new frozen food shop.

The boys have not had cracker bread this month. A quick simple snack – but at R21+ a box. Not this month. Also the juice boxes we spoke of? None of that either.

I’m limiting us to 1 big bulk bag of coffee beans and 1 tub of hot chocolate per month. That way we need to ration it all. Self control.

All in all, I’m much less impulsive in my shopping. Much less. We are not living on bread and butter (quite yet), but because I really don’t know what the end of the month will look like, I question my needs vs. wants.

This past Friday was Market Day at my Good Food Club. As I arrived to fetch my goodies, I saw this: a special. It is hard for me to refuse a special.

Yes friends, this is TOP quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil at such a good price. And I refused. Because it would’ve been too much for the budget. See my self control?

Saturday we scored huge. After a crazy busy morning with play dates and builders, we dropped everything (in my brother-in-law’s hands) to attended my cousins funeral. Hubby and I had barely eaten all day, so grabbed a handful of post-memorial snacks. Hungry again and on our way home, our brother and sister-in-law invited us to the Spur. We don’t frequent the Spur, but they had promised their kids a Spur treat and (super generously) offered money towards our bill. (How amazing!) My first thought was “for suuuure!” and my second was “oh wait, this is going to eat in the budget hard“. Pondering the situation we found ourselves in, hubby kept telling me to – quote – “tell your readers, we’ll take it from the Building Budget”. Pah, as if there is a building budget. 

So, because I feel so committed to you all and this challenge my conclusion, “right, it has to come out the 3k budget”. I was prepared to take the hit. Hospitality, remember? Long story short, our super generous family covered the whole bill, so Saturday was covered. Mahala.

Tips and tricks: find old sugary treats to keep you going and hint at family members to take you out.


Breakfast: Good ol’ fashion Jungle Oats, with a splash of milk and drizzle of honey. I have 3.5 kg’s of honey from my Good Food Club (paid for by this months budget). Brea has fancy yoghurt with some fruit and I usually have 7 cups of coffee. Or 1 cup, heated 7 times.

Lunch: My girlfriend and I joke about deconstructed meals.”I had a deconstructed fruit salad” she’ll say – when she means she had an apple, pear and orange, for eg. Ha. So I usually take a handful of paleo friendly goodies to work. First prize is always leftover dinner, otherwise I’ll grab some boiled eggs, butternut and avo, apple, carrot and cucumber sticks, cherry toms, banana etc.

Boys lunches: Always, a sandwich, cut up apple and cheery tomatoes. Their snacks are either raisins, dried mango (when on sale at my GFC), dates, sometimes nuts, boiled eggs, cut up cucumber, fruit etc. And water. All fresh. No prepackaged snacks.

Afternoon snack: Anything I can find in the fridge, tea (and fondant). Often fruit.


  • We’ve made 2 massive batches of soup and frozen them in jars (I buy glass jars from Bonpak).
  • We’ve had cheese, tomato and basil (home grown) toasted sarmies.
  • We’ve had chicken and cheese quesadillas with homemade salsa.
  • I cooked 500g of mince and added almost anything I could think of to beef if up (carrots, mushrooms, peppers, 2 cans tomatoes, and lots of lentils). I also divided the mince into jars and have frozen them for quick meals.
  • We’ve had cous cous with chicken (1 chicken breast), butternut, mint, feta and toasted almonds.
  • We’ve had chicken sausage (Elgin) on roasted sweet potato and rosemary chips.
  • Last night we had the pre-cooked frozen mince over sweet pot mash. Yum.

Soup recipes here: Sweet Pot & Bacon Soup and Roasted Butternut and Rosemary. 

Here was my initial meal plan idea – before this challenge was official. Friday night is movie night in our house so, hence the popcorn.

And as we stand, I’ve spent R1171.93 (EXCLUDING my Good Food Club food which should come in at around R1000ish). So I’m sitting on just under R2200.

How you doing? 🙂

R3000 Challenge: Where we shop, and how… kinda

You’re back! Nice to have you here… if you missed the intro, you can read it here.

Let’s start off with a few general thoughts. Follow me will you? These will come through again and again as we tiptoe through this month on our teeny tiny budget.

Firstly: I LOVE food! I LOOOOOOVE goood food; the flavours, textures and how communal it is. How creative it is, how delicate and bold, how it can inspire, fuel, satisfy and be enjoyed in so many ways. So this is exceptional and intentional and not long term. It’s intended to open our eyes and have us think a little more about our usual grocery-buying habits. Here we go…

I think, in general, we can eat less. Eat when hungry, and not spontaneously. I shop the sales, ALWAYS, esp at Woolies. I try not buy more than we need (something I put into practice intentionally today as I’m so often loading my trolley with 5 cans of tomatoes when I could easily do with only 2 or 3, or say 6 slabs of chocolate when I only need, well… less than that). The less you have the less you consume. Choose your purchases well, and buy different goods at different shops. It’s a pain I know, but if I can do it with 3 small kids, so can you. Food is very often a ‘you get what you pay for’ situation – so keep that in mind. Sometimes paying more for something is necessary and important, sometimes not.

Let me share how we usually do things around here. I generally shop at my local Good Food Club, Pick n Pay, Woolies, and our Elgin Free Range Chicken store.

I start the month at my Good Food Club: (Sorry, I know you don’t all have a Good Food Club – it’s buying direct from the farmer. Often cheaper-ish, sometimes not, but the quality of the food is way up there.)

Here I get 2 large trays of free range eggs, and hormone free cheese, butter and yoghurt. I usually buy dates and raisins (kid snacks), meat, olive oil, wine (but not this month!), honey, natural nut butters, bio wheat flour and some household goodies such as eco washing power/dishwashing liquid etc.

Next I shop at PnP for things such as:

Bread (for kids lunchboxes; hubby makes our own bread with the bio flour from our GFC), milk (usually in sachets unless the bottles are on special). Things such as some fruit and veg (see Woolies list below), wraps, cans of tomatoes and tomatoes paste, sauces, sandwich spreads, balsamic vinegar, spices, oats (our designated winter breakfast), and usually chocolates and treats (but not this month!) etc.

Then I hit up Woolies:

I’ve actually found that many Woolworths items (BARRING their pre-made, deli or specialty foods) are cheaper than PnP (and Checkers). At Woolies I buy almost all their specials – ALWAYS cherry tomatoes (my kids eat them like sweets) and apples (I can’t handle bruised floury ones I usually end up with from PnP). I get the lettuce packs (unless my garden is thriving) and COFFEE BEANS. I always buy the silver Organic bag – but alas, the budget is calling me toward the dark roast Italian beans at R40 less. The yoghurt tubs are often buy 3 for price of 2 and I prefer their yoghurt to PnP. At Woolies I buy the 4 huge bags of vegetables for R125 deal. I know PnP is cheaper but I can’t find large bags of sweet potatoes at PnP for the same deal. So I usually buy 2 x huge bags of sweet pot and 2 x huge bags of butternut – those are my BASE STARCHY VEGETABLES for most meals.

Elgin Free Range Chicken: I buy chicken breasts, whole chickens and their chicken sausage. It’s cheap.

A couple guidelines to our month of cheap. There are certain things I CAN NOT live without/will not compromise on:

Decent coffee beans, hormone free meats (for the most part), free range eggs, real butter, apples from Woolworths and avocados.

Restrictions: This month I have HAD to cut out chocolate/snacks (hubby and I LOOOVE chocolate), and… wine. I know. Sigh. Wine and chocolate will only appear should I have leftover cash (I’m not holding my breath).

We are also NOT eating out, or getting take out (unless it’s genuinely cheaper than cooking something). If you track spontaneous buying, you’ll be amazed at how much food is bought spontaneously. No coffees or nibbles on the go. Thanks to Discovery, I’ll still be able to grab a weekly Vida or Kauai – mahala.

Baking this month will be considered a luxury. Baking uses a ton of butter which is expensive, and all sorts of deliciousness which adds up FAST. But let’s remember, we’re not on diet, we’re saving money. And by not baking, my body will thank me later.

Hospitality Clause: There is always a hospitality clause. Hospitality always trumps a diet/budget/restrictions. People matter more.

Drinks: We don’t ever drink carbonated bevvies, unless it’s tonic for gin or Appletizer on special occasions. We are water, coffee (GOOD COFFEE) and wine people. Sometimes tea. The only time I buy juice is when I buy box juices for picnics or outings with the kids. Sorry kids – it’s water this month.

With no wine this month, cheaper coffee beans and water from the Newlands Brewery Spring means I’ve already saved around R550. Boom.

Next post: what we’re ACTUALLY eating…

Living Close to the Ground

So yes, I often splurge my dreams out on this blog about moving to Galiano Island and roasting our own coffee beans, running along the shoreline, slowing right down to a snails pace and pulling homegrown veggies out of the ground – and throwing it straight onto my plate. That whole farm-to-table idea of thinking. Foodscaping. Heard of it?

So recently I invited my friend and ex-colleague Lyle from Grow Forward to come help us get a grip on growing our own food. Hubby bought some pallets, with the idea of making raised planter boxes. We LOVE handy hubby. And! I haven’t been so inspired in a long time (I’m sleep deprived and heavily relied upon to change nappies/find lunch boxes/discard of rotten food/read books/build puzzles/rock baby to sleep/negotiate dinner eating etc. and so you can see where I might’ve lacked inspiration). Lyle is the epitome (the EP-IT-OME) of someone who has found their calling in life. He is passionate, knowledgeable and full-on inspiring. Invite him into your home (garden) and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

We made an early evening appointment at our house (so hubby and my mom – the one who we hope to manage the ‘home-farm’ – were present). Lyle arrived, gloves in hand and not scared to get his hands dirty – literally. He took a look around, and heard our pleas. We spoke about what we envisaged; our hopes, our ideal crop, dining choices and aesthetic preferences and what we want to a) save money by growing ourselves and b) what we won’t completely stuff up trying to grow ourselves. Lyle gave us amazing new ideas, really helpful tips, practical suggestions, and looked around thinking through what we could already use and how to get going, one step at a time. What I loved was that it did not involve us outlaying a small fortune to get going. It was using what we had, and taking it one step further.

I was sooooooooooo, soooooooooo inspired.

Look at what we (when I say we, you all know I’m talking of the hub) have been doing…

Keen? Of course you are!

There are basically two different ways you can do this with Grow Forward.

We went the Home Food Coaching route because, well, we want to try get our kids involved (something Grow Forward wholeheartedly believes in) and we’re keen to get our hands dirty. Sure, let’s be honest, I’m already trying to keep multiple small lives alive around here, and so if I had the money and no room for error, I’d get Lyle to do it all. But how great to have our kids grow up in a home, where we EAT what our garden produces.

Only 2 days after our meeting, I received our consulting notes from Lyle, with everything we had discussed, and lots of tips, suggestions, pictures, research and a plan as to how to g(r)o(w) forward.

This is brilliant. Who doesn’t want to pull organic, homegrown food from their garden? But for most of us, all with great intention, we don’t have the time to research, plan, build and grow ourselves. We just need someone who understands the ecosystem of a healthy garden to pop their head in and give us some instruction. Lyle is that person.

You can contact Lyle on: or follow him on facebook or Instagram.

We’re eating Snowballs this Christmas

It is snowing in Vancouver. Thick, beautiful, soft, quiet snow. And I looooved the snow when we were there so I’m in full on jealous mode.

Our beautiful Vancouver home.

Paging through a recipe book made by one of the communities on campus at Regent I was reminded of this most delicious sugary treat – Snowballs. Perfect for a hot summery Christmas in Cape Town, right?


  • 1 Pkt digestive biscuits (400g)
  • Bag marshmallows (cut in half, or half again for smaller snowballs)
  • 100g Butter
  • 1 Tin sweetened condensed milk (350g)
  • Coconut to coat


Melt the butter, add the condensed milk and then the crushed digestive biscuits. With wet hands, pack the butter/condensed milk/biscuit mixture around the marshmallow halves (or quarters). Roll the balls through the coconut.

If I was HARDCORE green (like this blog was called ‘our VERY BRIGHT GREEN life’ then I would’ve milked the cow and churned the butter, shredded the coconut myself and made my own healthy homemade marshmallows. But now I have 3 kids, so go easy on me will you.?

And EAT. And Merry Christmas xxx

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

The perks of growing up means you start to think about things that matter. Like brunch. How underrated is brunch? Brunch means you can wake up later (admittedly not right now), it be okay for you to be on your 3rd coffee; brunch often comes with friends, and it’s totally acceptable to have either savoury and sweet.

Brunch, as we have learned, is one of the best meals of the day. And thanks to our foodie Aussie friend, we were introduced to this recipe which is one of the best things you might ever taste. Ever. Don’t be put off by its high maintenance. Invite some friends over and put them to work in the kitchen – community at its best.

A sure fire way to start your weekend off RIGHT. Very, very right.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast (I’ll give credit to the one who opened our eyes to good, honest, community building food – Claire Perini).

What you need:

  • Loaf (or 2 or 3) of unsliced bread – an oval shaped loaf (cut into thick sliced, and then lengthways and then slit in the middle for stuffing).
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle cinnamon
  • Large tub of strawberries (you can also use nectarines, raspberries or blueberries) but strawberries are in season in SA…

  • Tub of double thick plain yoghurt (full cream preferably, and organic if you wish to add some kind of healthy something to this recipe)
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • Maple syrup (the good kind, not the fake stuff)
  • Bacon (optional – and always so good with maple syrup – yummmmmm)


Preheat the oven to 180C. Slice fruit and stuff those little bad boys into the bread (not too full though). Whisk all the other ingredients together. On medium heat butter the pan, dip the stuffed bread into the egg mixture and fry on each side (turning once only, it doesn’t need to be completely cooked as it will cook a bit more in the oven). Popsy pop in the oven to crispy crisp it up for about 10 mins.

And you’re done. Please make this recipe. It’s a taste sensation. 

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