Top 5 Menu Planning Motivation Tips to Get You Back On Track

Top 5 Menu Planning Motivation Tips to Get You Back On Track

Do you look at your diet & sometimes shake your head with disgust?

Have you lost your mojo in the kitchen? 

Are you so busy that you no longer have the time or energy into eating well?

Well don't beat yourself up about it! I've been there to and I can tell you that it IS possible to work, have a family & eat food that is quick, healthy & tastes great. Read on to find out my Top 5 Menu Planning Tips for Motivation.

 

A successful life depends on successful habits

Successful people are simply those with successful habits ~ Brian Tracey

What does life success look like to you? Has it changed as a mom? Have you managed to incorporate the habits you need for happiness into your life as your family has evolved?

I'm gonna come clean here....

Streaks App Screenshot

This year, I've struggled as I've been navigating the balance of my little boy at preschool a couple of days per work and trying to squash all my work related to-dos into those 2 days. Not only that - my daughter started school, so suddenly although I've gained a couple of days uninterrupted work-time, the before and after school time we spend as a family has been thrown into chaos. Because we run a yoga studio - often if one of us is at the studio - the other one is home, we are caught in a bit of parenting juggling act where systems are everything.

Suddenly there are fundraisers, theme days, homework, topic talks, sporting events, school lunches, uniforms and oh. my. goodness.... It's no wonder moms find it difficult to manage the extremes of the influx of new 'jobs' on the to-do list.

At the moment I'm working on cultivating habits that help me feel more successful. And I don't mean that in a financial way - but just the feeling at the end of the day that I contributed to something and worked on my life dream, that I was a good mom, that I gave everything I needed to my partner and myself, that we ate well, that I felt happy, healthy and inspired and not overwhelmed. 

The problem for many of us is to not feel overwhelmed when trying to introduce new habits. And to ask ourselves if the habits we are choosing are really making a bigger, better difference to our overall quality of life.

A tool I've just discovered that rewards repetitive behaviour is called Streaks.

It is so simple - which I think is key for busy moms. It asks you to track 6 tasks or things in your life and set the frequency that you need to do that task. Then all you need to do is check it off each day. At the moment - I'm trying to bring my work and home life into balance - so I've dedicated my 6 areas across business and personal - the things that matter most to me. But you could set it up to JUST focus on home, or business, or whatever it is that you want to cultivate a habit for.

One of the best online teachers I've had for organisation is Chalene Johnson's 30 Day Push. If you are feeling like you need FOCUS then it is an amazing free resource online.

I would LOVE it if you let me know what areas of your life you are working on right now...

What habits are you wanting to cultivate?

What habits (if you do them) will help shift other problem areas?

 

quick soba salad for unexpected lunch guests

stretch and glow soba noodle salad recipe

I'm always on the hunt for quick meals that are nutritious and can be made on the fly for those times when you finish work late and the kids are going feral, or for when unexpected guests pop over and a visit turns into lunch!

So here it is - my amazing on the fly super soba salad!

 

I have a friend Yvonn - who is super organised (she attributes that to her being German), she is also super creative and a beautiful person and this salad was inspired by one such spontaneous lunch that we had at her place in Byron Bay a while back.

I've always been fond of Soba Noodles after living in Japan for 4 years - but if you've never cooked with them before note that they are made from buckwheat and regular wheat - so if you need a gluten free alternative, then try using rice noodles instead.

The other reason I love this salad is that the noodles, nuts and the dressing make the base, so it's a perfect 'pantry meal' meaning that with just a couple of other fresh ingredients you suddenly have a complete meal ready to go in less than 15 minutes. 

The Base:

1 packet of soba noodles

1 handful of nuts (I prefer roasted almonds - but cashews work well and sunflower seeds are a good nut-free alternative).

1 head of broccolli

1 handful nuts or toppings such as roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.

 

You can also add in things like snow peas, steamed green beans, rocket, tofu (cooked in a little bit of the dressing) etc.

 

Dressing:

1/4 cup vinegar (apple cider or white wine)

1/4 cup brown sugar or agave

1/4 cup peanut or olive oil

4 teaspoons Soy Sauce or Tamari (Gluten Free Soy Sauce)

4 teaspoons Sesame Oil

 

Optional:

Freshly grated ginger (1 knob): I LOVE freshly Grated Ginger so I pretty much include it in a lot of my cooking - but kids will often complain that its spicey - so just add it in afterwards if you are dishing this up for the little ones.

Lime Juice to taste

 

Method:

1. Grate your ginger, then mix in all other ingredients for dressing and set to one side.

2. Boil 2 saucepans of water, following the directions on the packet - cook up the soba noodles (these can be then be rinsed and served warm - or cooled down).

Whilst the noodles are cooking, boil water for your steamed veges, then steam or lightly cook, blanching once done.

I like to use greens in this salad that I can steam quickly plus some raw salad ingredients.

For this salad I used a head of broccoli + a couple of handfuls of rocket from the garden - but you can also use steamed green beans, zucchini, carrots, edamame (green soy beans).

 

Fussy Kid Tips:

My kids have just turned a corner with their acceptance of most vegetables (thank GOD), but for a while there, they would happily eat something one day, and then I would make the mistake of mixing it through whatever we were eating the next day - and then THOSE WORDS come out "I don't like THAT" and the whole dinner would kind of become an issue. Stress over dinner is just painful because by the end of the day everyone is tired and "Ain't no one got time for dinner table tantrums!"

I know that my kids go through phases so one thing I would do for new foods or things they are "testing me" on is keep persevering by putting it on the plate - but separate the ingredients. So for this salad you just put dish it up onto their plate like a tasting platter then mix all the ingredients for the adults. I've found this way they usually end up the trying the foods they are complaining about.

Everyone's kids are different - but mine are flipping stubborn (maybe they inherited their mommy's control freak gene) - so this approach works for us and avoids the dinner table meltdown!

Spiced Apple, Peacan & Carrot Muffins

spiced apple muffins stretch & glow yoga

Here in Australia it's winter and although we live on the coast and the weather is relatively mild - it's often quite windy & drying.

In Winter I like to make snacks that feel nurturing & spell comfort food, but still nutritious. Muffins for us are great because they are portion controlled for lunch boxes (if they last that long). 

These muffins are easily made to suit those on a vegan or gluten free diet but if you eat eggs and wheat then they work equally well.

They are really moist & also perfect for unexpected afternoon teas or a treat at the end of the day when you FINALLY get the kids into bed for the evening

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MAKES:

12 muffins

 

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 flax* eggs OR 1 whole egg

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup very ripe mashed banana

1/4 cup agave or maple syrup

1 whole grated apple

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1.5 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup milk (almond OR regular milk)

1 heaped cup of grated carrot

2/3 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1 cup flour (gluten free or plain flour)

1/4 cup chopped peacans or walnuts

 

NOTES:

Flax eggs are used as a vegan substitute for real eggs in recipes such as pancakes, muffins & cookies.

  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp water

To prepare add flaxseed meal and water to a dish and stir. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. Add to recipes in place of 1 egg.

I've given dairy/gluten free options throughout the recipe so you can modify it depending on your dietary requirements.

 

HOW TO MAKE:

Prepare flax eggs in a large mixing bowl & preheat oven to 200 degrees c (375 f).

Prepare muffin tin with squares of baking paper or lightly grease.

To flax/eggs add mashed banana, syrup, olive oil & whisk to combine.

Add grated apple, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & whisk to combine.

Add milk & stir.

Add grated carrot & stir.

Add oats, almond meal, flour to blend & stir.

Divide evenly into muffin tins & top with a whole peacan (optional).

Bake for approx 30 minutes until golden brown & cooked through (to check insert a toothpick and ensure it comes out clean) (a little longer for GF blend).

Allow to cool for 15 mins.

Store in an airtight container.

BUSY MUMMA TIPS:

Double the recipe & freeze a batch = half as much baking & twice as much preparation!

 

Original recipe from The Minimalist Baker.

Pocket Rocket Smoothie

pocket rocket smoothie

A story about rocket (arugula), smoothies, & possums.....

So the hubby & I are not the best at gardening - I mean we try - but you can't be good at everything and to be honest it's kind of disheartening to spend a heap of time on the garden only to have the neighbourhood possums come and mow everything down overnight.

about a year ago the garden was going SO well, then we were renovating, and I went overseas, it was winter and when I came back it had all just gone to shit.

Overgrown with weeds, as I took a closer look, I noticed the bed of rocket had actually survived the lethal combo of possums & neglect. It seems possums don't like spicy foods so much so I cut everything back to the ground and the rocket (nothing else) came back stronger than ever.

This morning I had a bunch of rocket that the hubby had picked last night - so I thought I'd throw it into this morning's smoothie and it turned out so delicious who would have thought you could put spicy stuff in smoothies and that it would taste good!!!???

 

rocket smoothie stretch and glow yoga

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 large dessert spoons natural yoghurt

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup water

1/2 avocado


OPTIONAL:

1 tbsn Naturally Vanilla At. Health Protein Powder

1 tbsn agave or sweetener of your choice

Small handful of rocket (arugula) - you could also add kale for more fibre


Pop everything into your blender then enjoy :-)

Most kids will love this smoothie because of it's beautiful mauve colour (be careful if your arugula is quite peppery though - my smoothie wasn't spicey, but I could still taste it was in there.


NB. I know some people don't like protein powders - but the ones from At.Health are simply divine and personally I find that when I include the protein powder it keeps me feeling satisfied for longer - but this smoothie is divine either way. 

Rise N Shine Yoga Practice

20 Minute Rise N Shine Yoga Practice

How often to you wake up from a rough night with your kids feeling like hell?

The first thing you do - is try and convince your significant other to be on breakfast duty, followed by dragging your sorry butt out of bed and head straight for the coffee.

Sound familiar?

Then probably you either skip breakfast (because you have to deal with bed-hair, washing, getting kids to school or a last minute home-work project) and by the time 11am rolls around if you've brushed your teeth and are out of your pyjamas it looks like a good day.

Well - there is ANOTHER way to start the day - but it takes a bit of willpower - and that is trying to get your butt out of bed just 20mins before you otherwise usually would and do this Rise N Shine practice.

It includes some hip & hammie stretches as well as a really nice gentle Sun Salutation to ease your body into the day. We finish with a gentle but energising pranayama (breathing practice).

Set yourself a goal to commit to this practice this week 7 mornings in a row and see how much better you feel.

Did you try it and love it?

I regularly share new yoga practices - so make sure you're subscribed to our mailing list so you never miss a thing.

Love Deb! xxx

 

 

Quick & Easy Carrot, Coriander & Ginger Soup

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I first had this soup on a yoga retreat some years ago.I love this recipe for it's simplicity - which makes it a perfect soup for mums on the go - just 15mins prep (which I'm sure you could cut down to about 10 if you're using organic carrots & ok with leaving the peel on) means that it's a great go to when you're slim on ingredients & time. For larger families this is a great budget meal as well.

I like to serve this with a green salad & sourdough - but it's also fine on it's own.

I'm not sure who came up with the original combo of carrot, coriander & ginger - but it's a total winner. There is an amazing raw version of this soup (with avocado) - which is perfect for summer - but I've modified this version to include red lentils - which for me makes sense as an autumn & winter option as it gives a wonderful hearty flavour - with the added benefit of plant based protein.

Vegans can enjoy this served with a dollop of hummus to add some creaminess or cashew nut cream, but those who eat dairy will enjoy it with yoghurt or parmesan to add some zing.

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qUick & easy carrot, coriander & ginger soup

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsn olive oil

6 carrots peeled & loosely chopped

200g red lentils

2 brown onions coursely chopped

2 garlic cloves crushed

2 teaspoons finely grated ginger

handful fresh coriander chopped to taste 

1 tspn cumin

1 tspn coriander

1 tspn paprika

5 cups vegetable stock or cubes to equivalent

 

To Serve:

Dollop natural yoghurt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Freshly chopped coriander

Cracked pepper

 

TO PREPARE:

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry off onions - once slightly brown add in ground coriander, paprika, cumin, fresh ginger & garlic & be prepared for an olfactory feast. Stir until the aromas are released.

Add in the chopped carrots, red lentils & vegetable stock & bring to boil.

Turn down to medium heat and simmer for 20 mins (I find this is a good time to bath the kids, read a book, watch peppa pig or do whatever you do when it's dinnertime and the kids are going nuts hanging off one leg).

To serve mix lemon juice with yoghurt (to be honest I don't bother with this step - just get it on the table!!!), coriander & cracked pepper.

Enjoy!

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Kale Recipe for Nourish & Nest

kalesalad

I know it's winter - but for me there's nothing better than to make up a big salad for lunch as an alternative to the heavier foods that we sometimes tend to favour as the whether cools down. I also love to make hearty soups at this time of year - but often crave fresh greens - so this is the perfect salad as you can pre-prepare it and then eat it as a main or a side.

If you have never tried using kale in salads - it is THE BEST! 

Unlike traditional lettuce which goes soggy once you've dressed it - kale actually needs dressing in order to break down the fibrous nature of the leaves. The number one rule to using kale in salads is to make sure you 'massage' the leaves before adding all your toppings. 

You can use plain olive oil, lemon juice or the dressing itself to 'massage' the kale. 

This salad is one from my amazing friend, raw food chef & exercise physiologist Corrine Travaglini from Edible Solutions.

This salad has now become a retreat staple and recently I share it on the Nourish & Nest Blog (an amazing company founded by good friend Tara Skipp) - check it out if you haven't already - anyway - this salad is a staple at our house because as a busy mum with a business and and two kids, I love the fact that I can prepare a big batch of the salad and use it over a few days (although it never lasts that long!!!)

kalesalad_stretchandglow
stretchandglow_kale

 

Clean & Green Kale Salad:

Kale x 1 large bunch

Parsley x 1 bunch finely chopped

Mint x 1 bunch finely chopped

Goji Berries x 1/2 cup (I like to add these in just before I eat the salad as I like mine chewy).

Pumpkin seeds or Sunflower seeds x 1/2 cup

Cherry Tomatoes x 1/2 punnet cut in half

I also add in avocado if I'm eating this as a main meal.

 

Dressing:

1 tspn garlic powder

1/4 cup olive oil

approx 1/4 cup white wine vinegar - I like to add a bit less then this so add half then taste.

1/2 freshly squeezed lemon

2 tbsn coconut syrup / agave / maple (maple is my favourite)

pinch salt

 

To Prepare:

1. De-stem the kale & chop finely (you can eat the stems but they are really tough!)

2. Prepare your dressing then massage the kale until it changes colour & texture (it should go a deeper green and start to soften up).

3. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, then add with your toppings & stir through.

4. Serve by itself - or as a side to your favourite winter soup.

Busy mum / Fussy kids tips:

You can pre-prepare this salad and it will last a couple of days even with the dressing. For mums on the go if you know you have a few busy days - cook up extra portions of your favourite soup that your kids love and freeze - make this salad in advance then you have a healthy meal in less than 15mins. My kids are still little and aren't keen on kale (yet!!!) they also change what they 'like' on a day to day basis - so I will usually separate out the ingredients on their plate antipasto style - that way they can pick and choose what they feel like on the day and will usually eat all the elements separately (nuts/seeds/berries/avo/tomatoes etc).

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