The balance between quick convenience and healthy food choices seems like a fine line that we have to tightrope-walk every day. Luckily, Stir! it up has put convenience in a range of little boxes, and also stuffed it full of delicious nutrition!
Working full time and running The Little Hedonist on the side as a passion product is pretty much a 24/7 job. It leaves me with little time to spare, and even less time to prepare rounded, nourishing meals.
With food a large part of my daily life, I always strive to not let convenience get the upper hand over healthy food choices. This is sometimes very difficult, as a long day at work means I might not feel like cooking a nutritious meal when I get home. I might return late night from an event, with little energy to peel vegetables or grill chicken. And sometimes on a weekend, I simply don’t feel like preparing a healthy meal, because most of the time that involves preparing from scratch.
Sustaining healthy eating habits are a time consuming activity. Even with the best of intentions, we all fall short sometimes. We give in to ready-made meals and turn a blind eye to the long list of artificial flavourants, preservatives, salt and sugar that it contains for the sake of convenience.
For that reason, I’m constantly searching convenient products which offers me the health benefits of a balanced, wholesome meal but without the commitment. Something that can save me on time, but is generous on taste. Something that is fuss-free, but that contains all the right nutrients my body needs in a moment of weakness.
Little did I know that “something” I’ve been searching for, was Stir! it up.
Stir! it up is the brainchild of Stellenbosch-based Nini Jerman whose pantry was always stocked with ready-made packaged sauces to add to her family meals. Until she became aware of the ingredients that went into these products!
Nini and her team make their sauces by hand, air-drying the various ingredients, before drying in solar ovens to remove all moisture and extend the shelf-life without adding any non-natural ingredients.
To use, liquid is simply added to the dried sauce, whether it be water, stock, coconut cream or milk, then add browned meat, chicken, fish or vegetables and hey presto, a fabulous dish awaits!
To date Nini has created 11 different dried sauces – five that fall into what she calls the Global Range (Asian with Rice Wine Vinegar and Sesame Oil, Italian Sun Dried Tomato & Basil, Mediterranean Wild Mushroom, Smokey Curry, Thai Ginger) and six varieties in the African Range (Moroccan Tagine, North African Chermoula, South African Braai, West African Maffé, Tunisian Harissa and West African Yassa) (press release).
Thai ginger sauce
I decided to stick to the convenient recipe suggestion on the back for the packet for Thai ginger chicken. I opened up the packets, not sure what to expect. Inside I found a handful of fragrant flakes, which smelled fresh and full of natural, vibrant flavour. These are the dehydrated vegetables that will form the base of the sauce.
I added a handful of additional ingredients, like red onion, garlic, red chilli and some fresh green beans. I re-hydrated the sauce with a can of coconut milk and added it to the chicken in the pan. I cooked a pot of jasmine rice in the 20 minutes it simmered and thickened, and cut up some coriander and lemon wedges for serving.
A wholesome, nutritious and incredibly fragrant meal. The sauce thickened beautifully, and the dehydrated vegetable flakes dissolved completely into the smooth, comforting sauce.
The best part? You don’t have to use a can of coconut milk. You can use milk, cream, water or stock to re-hydrate your Stir! it up sauce packet. You can add whatever veggies you have in the fridge, and choose the meat of your liking. Convenient, fuss-free and quick.
Next up, I tried the Moroccan Tagine. A massive fan of aromatic North African cuisine, I rarely try my hand at it because it’s a dish that requires time, and a lot of it. It also needs a tagine, which is still on my “to acquire” list.
Furthermore, I rarely cook with lamb – for very much the same reasons – it’s time consuming and finicky. I couldn’t have been more surprised at the outcome. Again, I added a handful of additional ingredients, like garlic, fresh tomato and baby potatoes, along with beautiful lamb knuckles.
This sauce packet smelled like dates and spices, and I reconstituted it with beef stock this time around. I pretty much left it to simmer for about 40 minutes with minimal effort on my part.
When it was time to dish up, I could hardly believe the meal in front of me: deliciously tender lamb in a tomato-ey, fragrant sauce, with melt-in-the-mouth baby potatoes and enough sauce to drown the rice in. Absolutely delicious.
I am thrilled by the concept. To sum it up: Nini and the Stir! it up team basically makes sauces with fresh herbs, vegetables and spices in their kitchen, just like you, but they take the effort out of it and replace it with seamless convenience. And, instead of adding a load of preservatives to guarantee a longer shelf-life, they simply remove the moisture by dehydrating and air-drying the sauce.
I love the idea that the sauces are completely suitable for vegans and free from gluten, dairy and wheat, as well as low in salt and sugar. Having said that, you can tailor the sauces to your family’s needs by adding meat, chicken, dairy or whatever you have to hand. And without any added preservatives, colourants or additives, it’s simply the most natural, clean way of cooking. I mean, it makes sense, right? It’s straightforward nutrition.
I’m a big fan of Stir! it up sauces. It ticks all of my boxes in terms of nutrition, convenience and all-round goodness. I’ll never have to guess what to make for dinner with a few of these boxes in my cupboard. I’m excited to try out other flavours in their extensive range (which you can purchase online, by the way!).
If you’re also walking the daily tightrope of wholesome family meals in next to no time, do yourself a favour and order a handful of Stir! it up cook-in sauce boxes. They also make incredible gifts for the keen home cook or the busy mom.
And the cherry on top? Join the Stir! it up club now, and get 10% off your first online purchase!
Thank you, Stir! it up, for showing me a new way of cooking delicious meals that’s packed with pure, uncompromised, all-natural goodness, whilst supporting local!
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.