Get the recipe here: http://themummymenu.weebly.com/blog/spinach-and-avocado-pasta-sauce
Sometimes you just want something that doesn't use a million pots and pans - something you can just throw everything in a casserole dish and chuck in the oven. I made this the other night and got told it looked "very professional" on the plate. I nodded and said thanks, all the while knowing just how easy it was to put together.
1.5kg chicken drumsticks
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Lay out onion, then carrots, then drumsticks (tightly packed together)in a casserole dish. Sprinkle paprika, salt and pepper over top of the chicken, drizzle with olive oil, then dump the can of tomatoes over it all. Sprinkle with basil and cook on the bottom oven tray for 45min-1hour or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.
I love a good bowl of soup, and it's something I love to whip up when there's not a lot on the cupboards and plenty of leftovers to throw in because anything goes when it comes to soup! This was a recipe I made up on one of those days when I just didn't feel like cooking meat, let alone eating it, and it turned out wonderful (husband only asked where the meat was once he had demolished a whole bowl...) This would probably be a great one to freeze for rainy, inspiration-less days.
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 large handfuls spinach, finely chopped
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp ginger, finely chopped
1 cup red lentils
1 Tbsp rosemary (fresh is best, but dried is fine)
5 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
Heat oil in a large pot at a medium heat. Cook onions until soft, then add garlic, ginger, salt and rosemary for a couple of minutes. Add rest of ingredients. Bring to boil then turn down to simmer for about 20mins until the potatoes and carrots are soft. Throw in the spinach for a couple of minutes at the end. Enjoy on a chilly winter's night!
I did it! I hibernated for the winter, ditching my business social media, got head down, bum up, and got some work done! And guess what - I finished my book!
Back in June I wrote a blog post about how frustrated I was becoming with all of the crap appearing in my newsfeeds telling me to be this person and that person and scaring me into thinking I was doing all of the wrong things in my business, my life, and motherhood.
By hibernating I really wanted to get away from outside influences and start trusting my own mind again; start simply putting my creations on the table and saying, "here it is, this is what I know, take it or leave it" and being confident about it.
So I did.
I went back to making food for the pure joy of making it - not so I could post a recipe or get lots of likes. I also thought a lot about what I want Keen Bean Wellness to offer, and I think my book, The Mummy Menu, is just it. I want to empower and encourage Kiwi mums into looking after themselves through good food and healthy lifestyle practices.
What did I learn from my hibernation?
That yes, mums are busy and we often don't have time, but if we're truly passionate about something, we can find the time or make the time to do it. Yes, some things get left behind, but the important things like the happiness and health of you and your family always remain. To write this book I crammed all of the things I would usually do at night during the day, and once the child was in bed I would make myself write. I found a way that worked for me and motivated me.
That winter should be a time to hide away a bit and reflect on things (especially for us introverts) and I highly recommend it. Our environment is just so much more active and alive when it's sunny and there is a lot more to do and talk about, so by taking winter to reflect you aren't really missing out on much.
That trusting your own mind is a terrifying, liberating thing. By stepping away from the clickbait and inspirational quotes flooding newsfeeds, you realise that you do actually have a lot to offer the world and you don't need to Google everything "just to be sure" because you can rely on your own knowledge.
So what's next?
A published book, that's what. Something I have always dreamed of. At the moment I am in the process of putting together submissions for publishers and looking at self publishing options, so I am putting a lot of feelers out there in the knowledge that the right thing will show itself and by summer The Mummy Menu will be available somehow, somewhere!
Thank you, Keen Beans, for your patience with me and I look forward to continuing this journey with you!
You many or may not have noticed that Keen Bean Wellness has been rather quiet lately. I would use maybe the best excuse in the world (gets you out of anything...) - motherhood - for my absence, as we all know that motherhood is busy and as our babies get older, they get busier, which means we too get busier.
But I don't think that's it..
Yes, it's hard to find time during the day to sit down and write some thoughtful blog posts, and sometimes by the time baby is in bed, I'm too exhausted to think, let alone write or plan.
But I still don't think that's it.
Like anyone, if my heart is truly in something, I will make time for it. I will make it happen.
What it is, I think, is that these last few weeks I've felt like something is missing. Something tangible. Something I can feel, touch, create, appreciate.
Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest is so full of inspiring images, articles, life hacks, books I should read, movies I should watch, 10 things I should do NOW to live an extra hundred years, why the world is heading towards self destruction.
Then I tear myself away from my computer and ask myself what I'm actually doing.
The other day I had one of those days when I felt like I wasn't getting anything right. Like everyone was telling me what to do, how to live. Then I snuggled up in bed at the end of the day and scrolled my Facebook feed and realised that all that was happening as I scrolled was that people were telling me what to do and how to live my life.
I know I don't have to do everything they tell me to, I can read it and move on or not even read it at all, but a part of me thinks, how many people out there are spending more time scrolling Facebook and other websites/social networking and getting told they need to do this and they need to do that, than actually doing the things they want to do, living the way they want to live?
I miss the "old days" when you could take a photo without thinking about how many likes it might get, or how many social media platforms you're going to share it on.
I miss being a mystery to people; bumping into somebody I haven't seen in a long while and having them be surprised by something I've told them, because these days everyone knows everything because we post it all online.
I'm also afraid.
I'm afraid that this generation of adults is becoming one that looks to the internet for constant reassurance. Reassurance that they're wearing the right clothes, taking the right types of photos, eating the right foods, raising their families the right way.
The crazy thing about it is that this is what Keen Bean Wellness is all about - telling people how to live.
Don't get me wrong, I think I have some valuable, useful advice to give people, but I feel like there's a better way to do it; a more satisfying way to do it. Rather than constantly trying to think of what blog posts or Facebook photos will get the most attention and finding to time to write the posts and take the photos just for the sake of likes, I want to get my head down and work on something special and valuable that will make me feel proud and happy. I want to focus more on quality of work than quantity of likes. I want to get out of people's faces and not turn into that page that gives out a thousand different kinds of advice which makes it impossible to do any actual living in between.
I want to do this without the distraction of having to keep my blog and Facebook page alive and likable, and I also want to slow down in my own life and stop trying to do a million things at once.
So I've decided I'm going to hibernate for the winter. I'm going to get my head down and work on some quality stuff for you and for me, and I'm going to try and live a more old fashioned kind of life where recipes come from a book, photos are taken to put in an album for the next generation and creating something means to trust your own mind.
I know it seems ironic that when I have finished this thing I want to create, I will probably tell you here or on Facebook because the reality is that's the way to reach people in business these days. But in creating it, I want to go old school, and I want to trust my own mind.
I know it also seems ironic that I'm telling you this through a blog post, but I wanted to tell you that I'm hibernating and that I will be back with something special (while maybe also giving you something to think about in the meantime), rather than just disappearing and having everyone simply forget about Keen Bean Wellness.
I do enjoy what I do here, but in the last year my life has changed dramatically and I think anyone would be surprised if my business didn't change with it. To be honest, I haven't really known what direction I've wanted to go in for awhile, so taking the time out to work on a project close to my heart, one which I have no idea what direction it may head in, feels good to me.
And it's good to feel good. It's good to do something just because you want to. It's a perfectly good use of your time and in no way is it a waste.
So as I leave you for the winter, I encourage you to create, to feel good, to prosper, to do just what you want to do. Or don't. Who am I tell you what to do.
Have a cozy warm, lovely winter.
Who remembers The Circle of Life? Have you looked at it since The Mummy Menu? Well for the next few weeks I'm bringing it back to life and helping you get things back into balance.
This is an exercise I do regularly and I find it does this magical thing... It makes me realise that if things aren't working well, it doesn't take much to change them. All it takes is first prioritising and then implementing small steps in your week to satisfy those parts of your life that are lacking.
For example, take Creativity. Some of us may need a lot of it in our lives and others not so much. But if you find it is lacking, if you need more, all it takes is for you to find an hour in your schedule during the week to fit something in. It could mean getting up an hour earlier, or preparing food for the next day so you don't have to worry about food and can instead focus on your creativity.
So each week we will focus on each part of The Circle of Life and you can explore what it means to you, how important it is in your life, and how you think you can nurture it.
The Mummy Menu got me thinking. It got me thinking about what I would want to know about food if I were one of the Mummies coming along. I'm a very visual person and easily inspired by a pretty picture. I also like my followers to know that I practice what I preach and, although it can be really hard sometimes with a nine month old baby who is more like a destructive, chatty, very mobile two year old most of the time, I make good food a priority in my day.
It has become even more important now because Isaac mimics everything we do, so I want to instill good food habits in him early.
So I thought I would do a Food Diary for three days last week, which will hopefully inspire you all to put more thought into what you eat this week and maybe give you all some ideas about what to cook.
I have a bunch of great recipes on my Pinterest page if you're looking for some more inspiration.
I thought my week deserved to be kicked off with something hearty. Since having Isaac I've found that breakfasts full of hearty protein give me the energy I need for the day. Pre-Isaac I had muesli with fruit and almond milk, which I still do sometimes, but i find myself topping up with eggs mid-morning.
I've also been trying to make the most of this golden weather, so bacon and poached eggs for breakfast was made even more amazing by sitting in the sun watching the bees cruise around in the flowers while perusing My Petite Kitchen Cookbook for inspiration. I also had a echinacea and lemon tea since I've had a cold all weekend.
Me and the cutest little cutie face there ever was chilled in the sun for morning tea. We shared a couple of kiwifruit and some rice crackers. Apparently eating the inside of the kiwifruit wasn't enough for him though - hence the smashing of the leftover skin into his mouth.
I actually prepared my lunch ingredients while I made breakfast and the child was napping since I knew I would probably only have enough time to quickly cook it up and eat it while he was eating his lunch. Even thought it was a hot sunny day, I opted for soup because I'm trying to kick this cold and I just love soup no mater what the weather. It was full of nourishing ingredients such as onions, garlic, veggie stock, ginger, celery and carrots with some lovely slimy noodles for an awesome texture.
For dinner, deliciously spicy chicken curry with green beans (which I hoped would clear my sinuses but no such luck!). Inspired yet? Tomorrow it's my turn to cook dinner, and there's lots of broccoli in the fridge so watch this space!
Today was a busy, busy day and I kind of missed lunch but I managed to fit in some good, wholesome snacks throughout the day to keep me going.
Breakfast was two lovely poached eggs on toast with a slice of lemon in hot water to drink while I read the paper. "Lunch" was some crackers with hummus, a banana and some homemade popcorn.
The popcorn was also enjoyed by some boisterous babies at our coffee group catch up the next day. If enjoying it means two of our boys (ahem, mine included) pouring popcorn, crackers and fruit out on the floor then crawling all over it, picking bits up and eating them as they went.
Then for dinner, I made one of those one pot meals where you cook the meat, veggies and pasta all in one pot. So I cooked up some chicken and a little bit of bacon and threw in lots of veggies, a bit of pasta, some veggie stock, soy milk and a can of chopped tomatoes and voila!
For breakfast on Day Three I once again indulged in poached eggs, this time with salmon and spinach pan fried in a little bit of olive oil, garlic and lemon juice (not as good as smoked salmon, but cheaper and still yum).
Lunch was my simple go-to stir fry that I have a lot. It's so easy, with rice noodles, broccoli, spinach and a nice sauce (I will endeavor to post the recipe soon). Also very filling with not much food.
It was my turn to cook dinner again and I found myself pretty exhausted and uninspired, but managed to rustle up some chicken drumsticks, homemade chips and broccoli.
"I feel awesome! Very relaxed and inspired."
"I've learnt the importance of balance and self care, allowing yourself to do what you need to do."
"Thanks heaps for today, I've come away from it with new motivation. "
These are just some of the things my lovely Mummy Menu ladies have said about Saturday's inaugural event!
At the end of the afternoon, we all reached a point where we could have sat there at the table after lunch talking for hours, but unfortunately it had to end sometime, so I asked everyone, "how do you feel?" and they all smiled and said things like, "Great!", "Awesome!", "So relaxed!" and that was the main aim of the day for me - for all of these mummies to feel amazing.
So many things about the day made me so happy that this idea had come to me and that I had the means to make it happen.
Like, the way our mummies looked all glowy and a little bit spacey after coming back from a foot spa and massage - they had maybe 10mins each but sometimes that's all you need to relax.
How everyone got along and laughed and shared their stories with each other.
How we all completed a Circle of Life in which we rated each aspect of our lives, and almost everyone had a realisation about something they needed to change or improve in their lives, and how we helped each other out with ideas to make those things happen.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of the lovely ladies who joined me on Saturday. You have inspired me to keep inspiring mummies by holding more Mummy Menus!
I don't know about you, but when I look good, I feel awesome. Sometimes all it takes is a new haircut or getting your nails done to boost your confidence and make you feel like a new woman! Making people feel great is what Kirsten O'Connor does for a living and we are lucky enough to have her joining us at The Mummy Menu to treat you all with some nourishing shoulder massages and a foot spa.
Who are you, in a nutshell?
I'm a dorky, self proclaimed nerd who collects comic books, draws, cooks, blogs, bakes and helps bring out the beauty in others for a living.
What inspired you to become a beauty therapist?
Honestly, the idea of making others feel good about themselves made me want to pursue this career. I have had so many times in my life that I wish I had someone to make me feel beautiful and the fact that I could get to be that person for someone inspired me.
What is the best thing about it?
Getting to meet so many different kinds of people and hear stories from all over the world from all different backgrounds. Being a part of an industry that is so global and such a big community is something that makes the job worthwhile.
What are the health benefits of massage?
Not only does it have huge benefits on your mental well-being but physically there are so many benefits. It helps to increase circulation, stimulate cell turnover by aiding the skin's natural exfoliation process, warms muscles to relieve pain, works out tension and knots that are causing discomfort, brings oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and helps to detox the body by increasing lymphatic circulation.
What is your daily beauty routine?
It's a long list! I'm very rigid with my routine as I have to practice what I preach. I make sure that I cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night. I have a lightweight oil free moisturiser in the morning because I have oily skin and I have a heavier moisturiser with more active ingredients for nighttime. I use an eye cream morning and night (currently loving Clinique's Pep Start in the morning!). I exfoliate every second day using a scrub and do a face mask twice a week.
For my body I make sure I exfoliate three times a week and moisturise every day.
I also do a hair mask twice a week using coconut oil and always always always use heat protector when I'm styling with heat.
What are the top three things we should be doing to look after ourselves?
1. Drink water. All the time. Not only is it good for your insides but it is really important to maintain the hydration of your skin and hair. The less water there is in your body, it gets used up before there is a chance to send some to your skin, leaving it dehydrated with a rough texture.
2. Know your skin type and use the right products for your skin types both on your face and body. As a beauty therapist knowing the difference between skin types is key. Knowing that dry skin lacks oil and dehydrated skin lacks water means you know which products to use and which to avoid. Using the wrong products can cause problems from breakouts, wrinkles, over stripping of the skin, sensitivity and so many more. There are tons of people and places out there that can help determine your skin type so make sure you check one out if you haven't already!
3. Indulge every once in a while. When it comes to looking after yourself, taking time out of your schedule to have a massage or a facial or even just a manicure can make you feel amazing. It's important to take care of yourself physically and mentally. The physical benefits of these treatments are awesome but for most people the sense of calm and relaxation that comes over them is more important. It doesn't have to cost a million dollars to make you feel like a million dollars.
Do you believe in beauty from the inside out?
Absolutely. Diet, Exercise and Attitude can all help to create a beautiful you. The benefits that come from all three of the above do so much good for your body from clear skin to healthy hair or a big smile on your face. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it is not determined by numbers on a scale or the size of your jeans. If you feel beautiful on the inside it shows on the outside.
What are you looking forward to most about The Mummy Menu?
Getting to meet some new people and sharing my passion for making them feel great about themselves. Spreading the word about how important it is to take care of yourself first!
Don't ever tell Anka Schmid she can't do something because next thing you know, she'll be running up that hill, doing a handstand at the top before racing her partner Dan up a tree.
Even though she is streets ahead of me in yoga class, she is one of the most humble people I know and cares more about how it makes you feel, rather than how far you can stretch your body.
This lovely lady is now putting together a routine to share with The Mummy Menu, so I asked her a few questions so we can all get to know her before we get bendy!
Who are you, in a nutshell?
I'm a fun loving person who thrives on spending time with family, friends and animals, preferably climbing hills, swimming in the river or relaxing in the sun. The other half of me loves curling up the couch at night with soft blanket. So I guess you could say I'm an active, bendy, mink blanket snuggling yogi.
What inspired you to start doing yoga?
As so many things these days I was inspired by social media. A few years ago I saw some pictures of a couple doing yoga. We have all seen those photos and I decided to try out some yoga by myself. Truth be told, I felt ridiculous and completely awkward doing it. Eventually I invested in some yoga classes and fell in love with the moves and the post vinyasa feeling.
What is the best thing about it?
I love walking into a yoga class after a long and exhausting day and walking out feeling like you can tackle anything be it cooking up a storm or doing the dishes (I don't like doing the dishes haha).
How has it helped you?
Yoga helps me to focus on the simple things in life and to slow down my ridiculously fast thinking mind and also to strengthen my whole body. The beauty about yoga is you can take from it what you want or need. If you just feel like doing a physical workout that's fine, if you just need to sit in silence for three minutes or one hour that's fine, or if you want to focus on your breathing while you're upside down in a handstand with your legs crossed behind your head that is fine as well.
How do you fit it into your daily life?
I love doing yoga in a class, having other people around me really helps me get further with my practice, however I only do this about once a week. All other times I just do it at home or out in nature by myself or with friends.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
As I said before yoga calmed my mind and gives me an out from the daily stresses we are exposed to. It is well known that stress is one of the biggest factors for injury or illness, so to be able to reduce it is fantastic.
On the other hand the actual physical side of yoga strengthens your body and releases any tightness in muscles and nerves that you might carry.
What are the craziest places you’ve done yoga?
The great thing about yoga is you can do it anywhere, which means I have practiced it on mountain tops, in old factory buildings and on top of a water tower. Wherever you may practice, create your own mountain top!
What are you looking forward to most about The Mummy Menu?
I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and introducing them to yoga and showing them some new moves but also to hear all the Mummys' stories and experiences.
Hello and welcome!
I'm Sarah and this is my space where I share my adventures in healthy eating, positive living and general dreaming with my little family in Wellington, New Zealand.