Crunchy Creamy Ice Cream

ice cream

It has been a hot sticky Sydney Summer so far. Weather like this makes me crave something cold and yummy!

I was craving ice cream over the weekend and didn’t have any available. I decided to whip up this creamy concoction and am so glad I did!

Crunchy Creamy Ice Cream

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Super
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Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, frozen
  • 1/2 small tin coconut cream
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon macadamia nuts
  • 1 pinch Himalayan salt

 

Method

  • Throw everything in to a high powered blender and whizz for 1 minute, until blended and creamy, with some crunchy bits still intact.

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Middle Eastern Beef Stew

beef stew

This slow cooked meal is succulent, full of flavour, and really hearty.   I have included a recipe below for leftovers which is delicious!

Middle Eastern Beef Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients: Stew

  • 1 kilo oyster blade steak, de-boned and cubed
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 thumb size piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 x 400g tins organic diced tomato
  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced lengthways then chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • Coconut oil for frying

 

Ingredients: Vegetables

  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1/2 bunch silverbeet
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 chilli, sliced

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  • Heat coconut oil in a casserole dish over a medium-low heat.
  • Fry onions for 5 minutes until softened. Remove and place aside.
  • Heat more oil in casserole dish and fry beef in batches until browned. Remove.
  • Return onions to pan, and add garlic, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Fry for 2 minutes.
  • Return beef to pan, and add red wine. Boil until liquid reduced by half.
  • Add carrots, sweet potato and tomatoes to dish. Stir then place dish in oven.
  • Cook for 1 hour. Remove, stir, add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further hour.
  • Meanwhile, steam broccoli and silverbeet until tender. Refresh under cold water. Heat oil in a frypan and cook garlic and chilli for 1 minute. Add greens to pan and continue frying for 3 minutes.

I had plenty of leftovers so decided to place the stew on the bottom of a smaller casserole dish, topped with the leftover greens, then made a cauliflower mash with ½ head cauliflower, ¼ cup almond milk, and 2 tablespoons of parmesan.  Baked in a 200 degree oven for 40 minutes until golden and crispy.

beef stew pie

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Omelettes two ways

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Kale, mushroom and avocado omelette

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I love eggs.  My favourite eggs are Farmer Brown’s organic pastured eggs, which I get from Feather and Bone.

I whip these omelettes up at least a couple of times per week.

For myself, I make a kale, mushroom and avocado omelette.   For my partner, I make a baby spinach, bacon and avocado omelette.  Below is the recipe to make both of these.

Baby spinach, bacon and avocado omelette

Baby spinach, bacon and avocado omelette

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Omelettes two ways

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 pastured, organic eggs
  • Splash of water
  • Salt, pepper and chill flakes
  • 1 rasher of pastured nitrate-free bacon
  • Handful baby spinach leaves
  • Handful kale, shredded
  • ½ avocado
  • Handful mushrooms, sliced
  • Thyme leaves
  • Ghee, butter or coconut oil for frying

Method

  • Crack eggs into a bowl and add a splash of water. Whisk using a fork or balloon whisk. Add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.
  • Meanwhile, heat your choice of fat in a saucepan and cook bacon until crisp.
  • Remove bacon and use remaining pan fat to sauté mushrooms for 3 minutes until browned, adding thyme to the pan near the end of cooking. Remove and set aside.
  • Add oil or butter to pan and sauté kale for 2 minutes, or until cooked to your liking. Remove and set aside.
  • Heat an omelette pan over medium heat and add coat with your choice of fat. Add half of the whisked eggs to the pan and swirl around to coat the base of the pan evenly with egg. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until egg mix sets and starts to come away from the sides of the pan.
  • Add fresh spinach, bacon, then ¼ of the avocado to half of the omelette. Using a spatula, fold the other half of the omelette over the filling ingredients. Slide off the pan onto a plate and serve immediately.
  • Add the remaining half of the whisked eggs mix to the pan, and repeat process for making omelette. Add kale, mushrooms, and remaining avocado to one half, fold over and enjoy!

Experiment with different flavours for the omelettes.  One of my favourite combinations is asparagus, tomato and goat’s cheese.  My partner loves chorizo, spinach, red capsicum and onion and good old ham, tasty cheese and tomato.

I’d love to hear your favourite omelette combinations! If you would like some more breakky inspiration, head over to my website and click on the recipes tab.

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Mango Ice Pops

 

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Summer is here down under, and we are expecting a scorching season!

I was shocked to see what types of nasty ingredients were in an innocent looking ice block, including colours, preservatives, and other unpronounceables, so I decided to experiment with DIY ice pops.  These are so easy and yummy, you won’t want to buy any pre-made ice blocks again.  Oh and Charlie loves these!

Mango Ice Pops

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 mango
  • 1 whole young coconut

Method

  • Cut open the coconut and pour the water into a blender.
  • Scoop out the flesh of the young coconut and add to the blender.
  • Chop up the mango and add to the blender.
  • Blend for a couple of minutes until smooth.
  • Pour into ice-block moulds and freeze until set.

Enjoy!  I had some leftover blended coconut and mango, so I poured into glass jars and served as smoothies.  I also froze some left-over liquid into ice cube trays, and used in other smoothie combinations.

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Feel free to mix up the ingredients.  For the first batch I made, I used coconut water only and added sliced strawberries and kiwi fruit.

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I’d love to hear if you’ve made these, and what flavour combinations you’ve tried!  If you are interested in more free recipes, head over to my website and check out the ‘recipes’ tab.

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Emotional Intelligence Series: Owning your Feelings

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In case you haven’t worked it out yet, I love my dog Charlie. He has completely changed my life. Rather than bore you with the soppy details again, you can read more about him here.

As I walked into the office on Monday, I informed my colleagues that I have really been enjoying waking up early and taking Charlie for walks before work.

“Oh no, you’re making me feel guilty!” exclaimed a lovely fellow dog-owner.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the adage “nobody can make you feel anything”, yet it seems to be so commonplace in our vernacular to attribute our feelings to somebody or something else.

Why is this problematic?

  • Locus of control: if we believe that things that happen in our life are a result of outside forces (called an external locus of control), such as other people, luck, bad bosses, crappy weather, then we can feel helpless and hopeless, totally give up on trying to improve our life, adopting what is colloquially referred to as a ‘victim mentality’, and are always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. Conversely, having an internal locus of control means that we take charge of our life, feel empowered, and create our own plan for successful living.
  • Communication: believing that others cause our feelings can lead to us communicate in an aggressive or passive way, rather than being assertive. When we communicate aggressively, such as by saying “you’re making me angry!”, we send the message that the other person’s feelings, needs and wants don’t matter. We create an imbalance in the relationship because it is likely that the receiver of our communication will feel too intimidated and fearful to speak their truth. Likewise, when we communicate passively, we also create an imbalance in the relationship because we feel too timid to speak our truth but may harbour resentment towards the other person instead. For example, I really wish I had the courage to tell you that I didn’t like the way you made a joke about my appearance in front of my colleagues, but I was too submissive to let you know, so I kept quiet then complained about you behind your back.
  • Emotional intelligence: the ability to own your own emotions is a component of emotional intelligence, which is linked to more positive mental health, greater social skills, and successful leadership skills.

How can I own my feelings?

  • Notice: the first step is to pay attention to the way you describe your feelings, and particularly what you attribute them to. Notice if you catch yourself saying “he made me feel so upset” or “she really pissed me off”
  • Understand your emotions: all emotions act as guides to make us sit up and pay attention.  Learn to appreciate and accept all emotions, because they serve a really useful purpose.  For example, if I notice myself experiencing anger, it usually means that my boundaries have been violated in some way.  Read more about emotions here
  • Make space for emotions: rather than trying to suppress or ignore emotions, particularly the more difficult ones, make space to allow your emotions to breathe.  The next time you feel a particularly strong emotion in relation to an event or situation, pay attention to where you feel the emotion most in your body.  If you could give the emotion a colour, what would it be?  Describe the weight of the emotion. There are a few activities you can try to help you get in touch with your emotions here
  • Communicate assertively: practice using “I statements” which help you to express your feelings in a way that doesn’t blame others.  You can read more about assertiveness and I statements here
  • Stop engaging in comparisonitis: create your own expectations for how you would like to live your life.  This is really about knocking the “shoulds” out of your vocabulary.  It helps to be clear on what your values are, so that these can guide you like a moral compass.  Here is an activity you can try to start getting clarity on your values

If you would like some personalised assistance to develop your emotional intelligence, contact me to discuss how my health coaching program can assist you to create your own roadmap to success. 

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Perfectly imperfect

Man eating free

I’ve been working on being less perfect lately.

Of course I’m being silly, I’m nowhere near perfect, but this hasn’t stopped me from striving for perfectionism in the past.

For example, I recently obtained 97% on a test that I completed, and had the opportunity to re-sit the exam (in the hope of scoring a perfect 100%), but I realised this was unnecessary and part of this perfectionism pull.

What is perfectionism?

There are two types of perfectionism – normal and neurotic.

Normal perfectionism is where we conscientiously strive to achieve high standards that we set for ourselves, without any negative side effects.  Think of the elite sports person who continuously sets goals for themselves to work on improving their form, increasing their effort, and trying to accomplish a personal best. You can see how perfectionism in this context is adaptive and healthy.

Neurotic perfectionism is where these standards are taken to an unrealistic extreme level, and may be detrimental to a person’s self-esteem and psychological health.  Neurotic perfectionism is generally accompanied by highly critical self-evaluations, such as “I am a failure”.  Neurotic perfectionism is also linked to psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and is also a risk factor in suicide.

Tips for being less perfect

  • Recognise that perfectionism can be both helpful and a hindrance. Any personal strength used to excess can be a detriment, for example if I am very good at helping others, then I may neglect to help myself or prioritise my own health. Learn to recognise when perfectionism is serving you and when it is working against you.
  • Redirect your diligence to healthy habits: an example might be to set up a daily relaxation ritual rather than a daily “beat myself up” practice.
  • Focus on activities that bring you joy: too often, perfectionism leads to doing things that bring a sense of achievement, and not necessarily a sense of joy. Realise that these two constructs are not necessarily interdependent and choose joy over accomplishment every now and then
  • Self-compassion training: self-compassion has been scientifically shown to reduce stress and depression, improve self-worth, build resilience, and increase optimism and happiness (Dr Rick Hanson). It involves having warm-hearted concern and positive feelings towards oneself, as if you were your own best friend or innocent child. To make it easier, start by noticing the sense of being cared about by others, then move to calling up compassion for others before finally redirecting that sense of compassion towards yourself
  • Experiment with sitting with the emotions and bodily sensations that arise for you when you acknowledge that perfectionism is unattainable. Remember to incorporate some cognitive defusion into this experiment (“I’m noticing that I am feeling uncomfortable when I tell myself that perfectionism is unattainable”, “I am aware that I am having the thought that…”, “I’m experiencing the sensation of…”)
  • Give yourself permission to stuff up: we are human after all, and mistakes are part of living and learning.
  • Break the rules: do something naughty every now and then. Eat ice-cream straight out of the tub and spill some on your shirt whilst doing so, go to work without ironing your pants, or deliberately send a text message with a typo in it to a grammatically-obsessed friend!

If you would like some one-on-one coaching around reducing unhealthy perfectionism, contact me for further information on how my health coaching program will help you reach your goals: psyched4success@hotmail.com

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National Psychology Week: Nurturing your relationships

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National psychology week aims to increase public awareness of how psychology can help people and communities lead healthier, happier and more meaningful lives.

One of the most common issues that people seek support from a Psychologist for is relationships.

Just to give you an example, the other week the primary issue for 80% of my clients was relationships.  Specifically, my clients were experiencing the following:

  • Work relationships: feeling excluded from social events at work; feeling bullied by the way a manager had provided work direction
  • Family relationships: feeling pressured to be the sole carer of an unwell parent; siblings arguing about the best care for an elderly parent
  • Intimate and sexual relationships: not feeling physically attractive or receiving sufficient levels of intimacy from a partner; wanting to end a relationship but not wanting to hurt the partner’s feelings; feeling alone within an intimate relationship; feeling sexually unsatisfied
  • Triangulation and fidelity issues: developing feelings for a person extraneous to the relationship; recently discovering a partner had been cheating for months.The common theme seems to be this issue: how do we nurture our relationships with others (pleasing our partners, ‘keeping the peace’, being available) whilst balancing our relationship with ourselves (respecting our own needs, wants and desires)?One of the first steps to resolving relationship issues is communication. In fact, we can take this a step back and say one of the first steps in preventing relationship issues, both personal and professional, is communication.

Steps to building healthy relationships through communication:

  • Make time to connect with those you are in a relationship with: text messages and Facebook posts don’t count. Consider scheduling regular ‘catch ups’ or ‘chats’ with those in your life.
  • Open and honest dialogue: be aware of secrets that fester and derail any genuine opportunity for repair within relationships
  • Respect for self and others: demonstrate respect with appropriate body language and considerate use of words and tone
  • Active and reflective listening: avoid distractions, be present, and reflect back in your own words what you think your partner/friend/colleague is saying
  • Stick to the topic: avoid digging dirt up from the past
  • Use ‘I statements’: it is much more effective to use an ‘I statement’ to communicate your message rather than a ‘you statement’ which tends to sound blaming and activates the defences in your listener. Compare the following statements and think about which one might be more effective: “I get the feeling that you don’t want to talk about this issue at the moment. When might be a better time for us to sort this out?” vs.: “what’s wrong with you? Why won’t you listen to me? You need to talk about this with me now!”

How can Psychologists help?

Psychologists are experts in human behaviour, having studied the brain, memory, learning, human development and the processes determining how people think, feel, behave and react. With respect to communication, Psychologists are trained to help you articulate your needs, wants and desires in an assertive way.

Psychologists are trained to coach you to develop clear, clean and concise ways of getting your point across that still respects the needs, wants and desires of the receiver of your message.

Psychologists can also teach your conflict resolution skills to help you iron out disagreements with others in constructive ways.  Furthermore, Psychologists can also provide relationship and couples counselling if you want a safe space to discuss concerns as a couple, team, group or family.

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