CREAMY BASIL AND CASHEW PASTA

Welcome to my children’s new favourite recipe. In fact my seven year old calls it her favourite more than daddy’s – and let me say that is a feat! Of course you can change this around to be nut free too by taking out the cashews, adding more flour, and substituting rice milk for coconut cream. Feel free to share this but share the love and let people know where you found this yummy stuff.

Pasta for four people – approx 400g of penne pasta – can be gluten free, or even zucchini ‘pasta’ spirals.

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INGREDIENTS

1 brown onion finely diced
2 garlic gloves smashed and chopped
2 cups of basil ripped
2 tspn plain flour (can be gluten free)
500mls organic rice milk (or dairy free alternative)
1 cup of cashews (preferrably soaked in water for 2 hours)

Coconut oil for cooking.

METHOD

1. Brown onion and garlic with coconut oil.
2. Add basil leaves and cook til moderately wilted.
3. Set aside in bowl.
4. Heat 1 tbs of coconut oil in pan, mixing in flour to make a smooth paste.
5. Slowly add rice milk on a low heat, mixing well to ensure no lumps.
6. Blend basil, garlic, onion, and cashews until smooth.
7. Add to creamy mixture and heat through.
8. Stir through cooked pasta

*Please note – this mixture can be frozen and reheated. If it dries out add some more rice milk and stir through*s

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VEGETARIAN YELLOW CURRY

There is nothing like a tried and tested recipe to make your taste buds sing, especially when it is nutritious and wholesome, and approved by some very picky children. This used to be our chicken curry favourite but now that we have become vegetarian we now just use pumpkin instead of chicken and my girls just love that. Although this appears to have a lot of preparation in it, I assure you it doesn’t actually take too long and if you double the quantities like we do, it makes enough for dinners for my shift work or even another nights dinner that can be frozen.

My children constantly ask me to make this for them and I have made it for a few other people now , with it going down a treat! This weekend however I got the big thumbs up from my nieces four little ones as they sat around the table to this yummy dish – meat free too! Not one of them complained, and they all had smiles on their faces at the end. So here is the recipe – please enjoy and share – and credit to where you found the recipe is always appreciated.

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INGREDIENTS

1 onion sliced
2 shallots diced
1 leek sliced
1 capsicum sliced
1 celery stalk diced
2 zucchini – finger length wedges
2 cups green beans
2 carrots – finger length sticks
4 cups broccoli florets
4 cups pumpkin cubed – partially steamed or cut in smaller cubes

Coconut oil – for wok
2 tbs Valcom Yellow Curry Paste (more if you require more heat)
1 400ml tin Ayam Organic Light Coconut Cream (more to alter consistency)

*Serve with Basmati rice or cauliflower ‘rice’ *

METHOD

1. In a wok (or alternative) brown onion, shallots, and leek in coconut oil.
2. Add capsicum and celery until partly cooked through.
3. Add zucchini, beans, carrots and broccoli – placing lid on until partly cooked through.
4. Stir through curry paste thoroughly.
5. Add in pumpkin.
5. Pour in coconut cream and stir through.
6. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or til cooked, on low heat.
7. Serve with ‘rice’ of choice.

SERVES 4

*Please note – we are vegetarian however if you are a meat eater you can choose to add free range chicken breast by sealing in wok prior to first step*

A CHILD’S PATH – PART 1

I love my children. Deeply, completely, wholeheartedly. Now for us mothers and fathers there is only one big thing we want for our kids and that is for them to be happy. But what does happy look like? When you nut it out there are specifics that we want for our kids or at least some general ways of being we want for them. For me and many parents out there some of them look like the following

What do I want for my children to grow up with?

– a sense of adventure
– feeling their fear and doing it anyway
– self respect and self love/worth
– being friends with vulnerability
– courage to reach for their goals without hesitation
– living their values

Well if I want my children to grow up with this I have to be real with myself – it doesn’t just magically happen. It happens when they see us being the example, when they see us having the same. If we want for our children we must plough head first into these things and get uncomfortable with our deepest darkest fears and insecurities – or our children will grow up only wishing the same for their children and there we have it another generational plague of insecure beings not realising their potential. It’s time for us as parents to stop hiding behind safety – behind the what ifs, don’t want to’s, I cants, too scareds, blah blah blah. It’s time for us to dare greatly and be.

So are you daring greatly? If not, why? And what can you do to move into the way of being that you want for your children. They are watching – be their compass and there light – I know you can.

VALUES TO STAND BY

Value is value regardless of context. Many people relate value with words like: worth, money, success, and measurement. Who doesn’t just love an Urban Dictionary definition of a word? Sorry, not going there due to boring examples and references to Pokemon cards. However the Oxford Dictionary says that value is a monetary measurement of worth, or a principle or standard of importance.

The origin of this word is Latin ‘valere’, but what is interesting is the Old French which is ‘valoir’. It’s interesting because ‘valoir’ actually means to be worth – wow – ‘be’ worth. So in living a life of value it becomes important to ‘be’ that value. In being authentic to your values it is important to STAND BY those values, not for those values to be held in STANDBY mode until it benefits you.

Standing by your values however, can be mighty tough in this world of conditioned societies, boys clubs, girls clubs, corporate clubs, enabler clubs, mummy clubs, judgement clubs and popularity or appearances clubs. Sometimes it is far easier to keep walking down the path that keeps our connections together, instead of staying true to what is essentially you. In simple terms to ‘be’ worth – your worth, is simply to live your truth.

‘Living your truth’ is a rather ambiguous term when you pry it open and explore its inner bearings. It could be a reference to so many different things but I really like to look at it as your baseline for life. The core concepts that apply to every single situation you may face, so that when you face good times and bad times you know that you stay true to you if you face it with these in mind.

Example.

Your truth is ‘NON JUDGEMENT’…how do you respond (unless react is your word) when:

1. A friend has a belief on a particular issue that you believe is wrong because it isn’t aligned with your beliefs eg.doesnt vaccinate their kids.

2. Your sister in law chooses to stop a relative from interacting with their child because of the negative impact it has on that child’s feelings.

3. Your brother chooses to skip his sons grand final soccer game to watch the grand final of the footy with his mates.

Now if you look at what your thought patterns were in each of these…did they align with non judgement? Not conditional non judgement. Unconditional non judgement, not matter the reasons, no matter the person, no matter the details. If you apply this method of looking at your actions and reactions in accordance to what your top five values are, you can get a good grasp on whether you are living your truth or following the herd.

I have been a bit of a sheep in the past, in fact my name is Sunny and I’m a recovering people pleaser. These days however I am exploring my beliefs, trying to stay open to growth, and reminding myself daily that there are more sides to a rubiks cube than the ones you see on the outside.

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“DIFFERENT ISN’T WRONG IT’S JUST DIFFERENT”

These days I am standing firm in what I believe is my truth at the time I believe it, and learning that to do this isn’t the formula for ‘how to make friends and influence people’. It is a great way to define those who are with you on your journey and those who want to derail it, think of it as a way to get to know the people in your life a whole lot better.okay yes I’m being a bit sarcastic and cheeky…but it’s not far from the truth.

So I am going to nut out our top five family truths over the coming weeks and will share it on here. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE TRUTHS?

THE SKIN I’M IN

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‘Black is slimming’ they say. ‘Black hides your lumpy bits’ they say. ‘Black hides a multitude of sins’ they say. ‘They’ conveniently leave out the counterpoints on the colour black, and for quite some time I have grappled on the mat between both points of view. I can surely say that I’m gunning for the view against these terms of flattery at this time in my life.

It is a recent revelation to me that whilst the flattery that has surrounded voluptuous girls wearing black appears to be innocent all round, in fact it points to the opposite. The descriptions of what black is said to do for you points to the idea that there is something that requires hiding behind the shadows of a colour choice, hinting that it is something to be shameful about. Now for me it is indicative to the extra layers I’m in the process of working through (aka fat), but it can mean something equally questionable for people of any size.

Let me ask this of you, and of myself. Since when did we become so unlikable that we needed to cover ourselves up? Since when did it become okay to expect our daughters to love themselves, yet be hippocrites by hating ourselves? Since when did it become okay to put ourselves in the ‘not good enough’ box, leading others to think the same? Seriously, we are far more evolved and aware than that – or are we? Now this isn’t about health per se – because I eat well, work hard, and exercise – and self worth should not be dependant on how we look. Well I have challenged myself in this area, and called myself on my own shit!

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I have reached a point in my life that I feel the need to challenge myself and switch on the BS radar far more frequently – I’m not getting any younger and frankly I don’t want to reach my forties (not for a few more years yet phew!), with the same self loathing that has plagued my first 34 years. I’m already working on my health and I’ve come quite some way with shrinking into a new shape, blasting away much chronic disease and quitting smoking, but this self image crap needed sorting. So I’ve stepped into the light and am embracing everything BUT plain black – I’m dressing like the colourful vibrant 30-something woman that I am, and in the process teaching my girls that self love is important in the process.

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Apart from uniform style work clothes, I have not bought anything in a solid black or dark colour in quite some time now. And to top it off I am embracing wearing clothes that DO NOT resemble an over sized circus tent, but frame the skin I’m in with curves and all. My husband loves it! My kids think I’m dressing less like a grandma (horror – they used THAT word!). And my friends have commented that its nice to see some colour. In fact I think it brightens me up!

So I set a challenge to you out there whatever your shape – be bold and wear something that challenges your perceptions about ‘the skin I’m in’ – and reblog your thoughts and experiences.

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THE ART OF CARING – a nurse in crisis

Lets face it, we are paid to care – or so says society’s conditioned perception and those black and white filtered accounts of Florence Nightingale from the 1800’s. In some circles we are vocationally entwined for eternity to this role of nurse for no pay, doing it soley for the love of it and the promise of becoming a revered saint on the ‘other side’. There are still an enormous cohort that have visions of nurses gliding through the corridors with a grace that is ever so befitting for an angel of God. Glowing and softly spoken her mere presence brings promise of good health and longevity, and you are certain that she was sent here for a divine purpose. What a perfect fairy tale that I’m about to destroy – apologies in advance if you we’re hoping for some gooey BS about nursing being a perfect way to attain bliss and an enlightened soul. Now for the real story.

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I remember looking at the nursing profession (both women and men – however I will focus this as a woman nurse because that’s what I am and I don’t pretend to be PC because this is my blog), thinking ‘Wow, what caring and self sacrificing women. I want to be that [martyr] when I finish university”. I warned you I wasn’t going to be PC. Well didn’t my perception change when I got out of my first year at university. I found a world of competitive, mostly women with awesome goals far beyond what you could dream of, and an industry that gobbles them up. That’s not to say all of its like this but I’ve seen it way more than once. If you manage to get the highly sought after graduate position that every woman and their ambition wants then you have to slog your way from being what us Aussies call ‘vegemites’ aka newbies, to someone the student nurses strive after in a short 12 months. Now I didn’t get the graduate program I had first wanted but I ended up with 3 offers where many ended up with none – palliative, medical and undecided in public and private hospitals I decided on the palliative because the others would not fit around a new found colony of cancer cells on my cervix, and I really believe I had some things to learn there. Some really tough stuff to learn.

So this glowing vision of gracefully gliding nurses soon gets a raw and real kick in the butt when reality sets in. What’s the reality you wonder? Well the reality for many of us nurses is this. We work solidly from the moment you step foot on your workplace soil, because nurses don’t start work at clock on time but in fact from the moment a potential patient or relative spot you at thirty paces in your uniform in the car park – because in the health industry nursing navy’s are like red to a bull. Then when we do finally clock on our bladders suddenly become made of impenetrable cast iron able to withstand the shock of a magnitude 7 earthquake, or at least the constant trickle of water each time you wash your hands. Lets not forget either that during a shift of 8 to 12 hours your metabolism is able to work on no food or if your lucky some snacks you left in your bag last weekend from a picnic in the park – lunch, what’s that?. Then you glide gracefully in the steaming sticky bathroom as you wash your patient, and with each step you feel a squelch in your shoes despite the well designed blue booties – and that’s a feeling you just cannot forget. I’ve been vomited on many times over the past years, in fact I think I have seen every colour and texture known to mankind or alien, and have in all honesty resisted the urge to follow suit hundreds of times. But it’s not all gore and goo, there’s all the emotional goo as well.

The emotional goo is what I know will do my head in one of these days. There is just no way you can escape the goodbyes between a young mother dying of cancer and the children who don’t recognise her and refuse to go near her. There is no way to escape the feeling of complete uselessness you feel when no amount of pain relief works to suppress the agony of another. There is no way to escape the heart wrenching guilt you feel when you reassure a relative that you will call if there loved one deteriorates only to have to call them 5 minutes after they leave to say its too late. There is no way to escape the feeling of incompetence when you make a human error, or fail to attend to every need simply because there is not enough hours in your shift to do so. But more so there is no way to escape the feelings that encompass your soul when the increasing demands of your jobs starts eating away at the bonds you have at home. You can never regain those missed awards, reading in your child’s class, school excursions or just something as simple as those first steps.

Some of you might think that I’m being a grumble guts but the point of this is to ask – who does the same for the nurse? I’m sure each of us have those moments in our nursing lives where we feel as though amidst all the caring we become invisible to the world, but it does beg an answer don’t you think? Who IS caring for those who care? Who is standing up and saying enough is enough? Who is taking their hand and walking with them through their darkest moments?

Nurses do love what they do, feel honoured to be there at those vulnerable times, and generally are grateful to be able to do what many can’t – but we are human, have feelings, have lives, have desires, have dreams, have sorrows, and have a sacred soul. This is true for me, but I have begun the process of asking myself – am I really the best nurse for this job at this time or am I being lead in a different way? A question we all should ask of ourselves.

NURSES ROCK!