If you’re reading this, then congratulations…you made it through yet another monster festive season! Give yourself a pat on the back.
For me, this season was not only full of jolly holy, fireworks, ham, and champagne, but I also moved into my new apartment a couple of weeks before the fat man in red came marching back into our lives. To be fair, this wasn’t my brightest move, however as I mentioned above, we’re all still here to tell the tale…
Moving meant I got to set up shop in a brand-new kitchen with a completely different configuration of draws, cupboards and bench space – so I thought I would dedicate this week’s post to the top 4 ways I organise my kitchen for optimal health!
Ditch the ‘Messy Draw’
My number one pet peeve in any area of the house is what my mum used to call the “messy draw”. Growing up, our ‘messy draw’ was in our kitchen, and the only way to describe it was, ‘open house’. Everything was welcome in this draw from pens, scissors, sticky tape, glue, string, notepads, my yoyo collection, mum’s sunnies, and I’m pretty sure my barbie lived for a week or two. Everything was in a big tangled mess. Once we moved out though, the ‘messy draw’ was put to rest, never to be seen or heard of again, and structure was restored.
My point is that everything HAS a place, and everything should be IN its place. I know so many people who have their own version of the infamous ‘messy draw’, and the excuse is always “but I know where everything is” …come on, stop kidding yourself. In reality you open up that draw, sigh because it’s too overwhelming, and shut it again without retrieving what you needed.
The trick I suggest to organising the chaos, is utilising draw dividers or plastic trays. Using dividers to section off different parts of the draw allow you to allocate a set place for each item that lives in it. Have a section for pens, another for sticky tape etc. If you want to ditch the ‘messy draw’ all together, find other places for the items that are currently in it eg the office, and then immediately use the draw for storing something else such as placemats, so the temptation to chuck stuff back in there is removed!
Tupperware is Your Friend
If you’re on Instagram these days, you will most likely have seen one, two, maybe 50 million posts of people’s pantries FULL of clear reusable containers storing all their foodie goods. Let me tell you now…ditching the open packets of half used rice, protein powder, crackers, whatever it may be – and transferring them into clean, clear containers is LIFE CHANGING.
Using this method of storage makes it so much easier to see exactly what you’ve got, how much of it you have, and it saves so much space!
My pro tips if you are going to adopt this strategy are, a) buy containers that have a vacuum seal/lip on them to keep your products fresh, and free of unwanted invaders; and b) label your containers. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting the salt and sugar mixed up!
Out of sight, Out of Mind
This tip is for those people (like myself), who have cupboards that are just plain awkward. You know the ones. I’m talking about that bizarre corner cupboard with the double hinged door; and all those shelves that you can’t reach, even when you’re standing on a stool.
For hard to reach areas, once food goes there, it is only going to get pushed further and further back, until you decide to do an annual spring clean and rediscover it all again. For areas such as these I recommend using a Lazy Susan (Disclaimer: I’m not referring to a lazy woman named Susan). A Lazy Susan allows you to more easily rotate the products you have within your pantry, making them visible, accessible, and therefore less likely to go off – reducing wastage!
Create Kitchen Work Zones
Coming up with this idea definitely made me realise I’ve been spending far too much time at work, and should probably dial it back to reality – however it might be useful to some of you out there that are as pedantic about their cooking as me!
Thinking of your kitchen in terms of work zones is extremely useful no matter what sized kitchen you have. Zones dedicated to food prep, cooking, cleaning, and storage are what I use. This not only helps me organise where to store everything, but also reduces the mess I make (…kinda), as well as preventing any cross-contamination when I am cooking. Using these zones helps with the flow of cooking and cleaning, making the whole process easier, more efficient, and more fun!
Once again, I hope you find some, if not all of these tips useful, and at the very least – entertaining :)
4 months. 16 countries. 7 currencies. Hundreds of memories. Countless new friends! That pretty much sums up where I have been and what I have been up to since my last post! Never fear though! I am back! Fresh, and ready as ever to kick back into gear, developing some new, delicious recipes and content for your all.
To start it all off, here is the recipe to my current OBSESSION... it's actually pretty sad how much I love these little guys...
These Coffee Protein Balls are the perfect addition to your day, particularly around a workout as they provide you with the much needed energy to perform at your peak, as well as protein which aids in your recovery. What's not the love right?!
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Coffee Protein Balls
Normally I would write a little life update, or something inspirational that I have recently learnt - however today I really can't think of anything much to write other than I LEAVE FOR EUROPE IN 1 WEEK! YEWWWWWW! (That's an 11/10 excited on the Steph Scale for those of you who don't know me).
These muffins seriously live up to their name even if it makes me cringe EVERY time I read it lol. My top tip with these is to 100% use 3 very ripe bananas as they are naturally sweet and are the star of the show in this recipe (even over my favourite spice, cinnamon).
Recipe (serves 12)
I've never been a fan of cheesecake...until now! This recipe by @the_smallseed_ (check out her insta and prepare to drool) - is absolutely divine! Dairy free, gluten free and vegan - yet so creamy and flavoursome. I made it over the weekend for a couple of family events I was attending and it's safe to say that other people were lucky to get a slab because I ate just about all of it. No regrets!
Recipe is below as always!
Recipe (serves - 1 Steph)
For the Base
For the Base
What a chaotic week it has been so far and it is only Tuesday! I've got just 3 more days until I'm moving back out of my gorgeous apartment in Wollongong, and heading back to Sydney - ready to start a new adventure just before heading off to Europe!
My life this year really has not stopped surprising me. Every day I seem to wake up and have the completely unexpected occur! One minute I'm a full-time student, the next a full-time employee, the next I'm moving back to Sydney to no real set location...who knows what is around the corner!
Remembering to stay calm and enjoy every moment as it passes is something I'm really trying to focus on, and being present so that I don't miss any of these awesome experiences I get to have in my life. If you're one to forget to pause every now and then, then try it out - you'll be surprised at what you notice around you and what you learn about yourself.
Recipe (serves 3-4)
From the moment we are born, we are subject to expectations. We’re expected to cry, sleep, feed and poop. These expectations are basic human instincts, and they are indicators of healthy development – but as we mature, these expectations become more complex and we also learn to expect things from ourselves.
Growing up, we learn to “expect” to finish a university degree, attain a job, own a car, purchase a house, earn enough money to live a life that exceeds that of those around us – so we flog ourselves at work – telling ourselves that “it’s worth it for the money”.
What would happen if we decided to expect happiness? If we expected to live a life of health – one that didn’t require medications for the smallest of deficiencies? How would our lives change if we expected to wake up with a smile on our faces, and do in life exactly what it is that we have a true passion for every day, rather than waking up and cringing at the idea an 8hr work day?
Perhaps a better question would be – how would your mindset change if happiness and health became one of the main focuses in your life?
Now some of you may be sitting there thinking ‘well I do expect to be happy and free of illness – why would I expect to be sick and mopey?’ – but do the actions in your life reflect this? When you think of going to work, do you expect you’ll be smiling all day? When you wake up at 5am in the middle of winter, do you expect to be excited to rip into your day? Or are you just wishing for the weekend when you can relax because you don’t have to see that annoying co-worker who sits across from you?
Personally, I’m someone who struggles to stick with something that I don’t find enjoyable, and I’ll admit, I’ve dropped out of a lot of things that I have tried, and jobs that I’ve started purely because I absolutely hated them. However, I have stuck to many things as well – and when I was thinking about this topic, I realised that those things were the things in life that I had a real passion for and was completely enthused with. These include dance, my degree (despite my Major selection being slightly rocky in the beginning), my first real job in the health industry, and recipe development/photography.
Moving forward I’m taking note of what I really enjoy about these things:
If you’re feeling stuck in what you’re doing, unfulfilled, and as though you’re just going through the motions of life – take a moment to jot down the few activities that you REALLY enjoy. Then take a look back at them and draw out a couple of common themes amongst them (as I have above). These themes should truly reflect with you and what you enjoy most.
From here, don’t just dismiss what you have done. Create a new expectation for yourself. Expect to implement more of what you love in your life, and most of all – EXPECT A CHANGE.
'Date Me' Peanut Butter Slice
I think that everyone along the east coast of NSW would agree with me when I say that winter has arrived, and it has taken no prisoners! Man! It is COLD! But hey, my lack of motivation to go the gym lead me to think up a new recipe for an old classic that I have loved my entire life - BANANA BREAD!
We all seem to have those dishes that we grew up with that bring back such fond memories when we eat or think about them, for me, banana bread is definitely one of those dishes. I remember mum driving me home from school one day and chatting about what I wanted to do when I was older - my response - "I want to do what you do, because you get to eat banana bread every day". Legit! That was my reason for wanting the job that mum had! (Mum used to be in HR and each day someone would go out to grab coffees and pastries etc, and mum would order banana bread).
Now my current self would never dream of being in HR, but my love of banana bread still remains. For that reason, here is my healthy variation on this old gem. I hope you enjoy!
PS. There's a big ass fork mark right in the centre of my pic and I didn't realise until I'd taken all my shots and cut into/eaten half of it - so I'm just going with it! I'm only human! Hahaha :D
Friday nights spent in bed, typing up recipes from meals I have cooked throughout the week honestly makes me the happiest lil foodie around. To top it off I'm spending the weekend at home, meaning I don't need to travel back to Sydney for ANYTHING - so I am getting the opportunity to plan out some new recipes I'm going to trial over the next couple of days! Yay!
Stay tuned! So much more to come!
Recipe (serves 4)
.What a crazy, and eventful week it has been! Lol not really, but there's been a few big things that I have realised this week which I would like to share with you:
1) I need new goals. In the last few weeks I have noticed that my personality has been slightly different. I haven't been entirely feeling like me, and I have lost sight of some really important goals I have had in place this year. This might seem strange, but I just haven't felt as bubbly, energetic and driven as I normally do, nor have I been wanting to socialise as much. I have attributed this to my new job, which, as of Monday, is now my old job because I resigned (more on this in a little bit). SO! Now I have started to focus back on my routine and the goals I set at the start of this year. Falling back into a routine that aids my health both physically and mentally, with some clear cut goals in place is step one to getting back to feeling like ME!
2) I never want to change myself to fit the shape that someone else sees as perfect. There is so much talk about "perfection" within society - I have written about it previously - but I think as a result of my recent mental state, I have believed that I'm not good enough. I've noticed myself nitpicking little things about my body that I'm unhappy with. Things that I never would have even thought about, given the mindset I have been in in the last 8 or so months. Having realised this I'm making a conscious effort to stop myself when I do start to have negative comments pop into my mind, and change them to positive thoughts. Doing this is one of the simplest, yet also the hardest actions when in a body shaming mind-frame, but it makes the biggest difference in the end. Realising what your body is capable of, and appreciating that, rather than shaming it for what it isn't, can determine the path you take - that being whether you spiral down further, or whether you grow. I pick the latter.
3) I'm going to spend my life doing what makes me happy. There is no chance I'm wasting a minute of this life that I am blessed with, doing the things that bring me down, or stress me out. In the 3rd hour on day 1 of my most recent job, I knew that it was not for me, and here I am 6 weeks later, feeling the exact same. I took the job because all I was focused on was money, and I didn't really mind what I had to do to get it. At the start of this week I came across a speech which honestly changed my life the moment I heard it. It is a speech my Alan Watts, and if you haven't read/heard it, then I highly recommend you look it up - it is called "What if money was no object?". One section in particular resonates with me, and I will leave it with you to really think about, and I hope you may be able to apply to your own life:
"When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, 'You do that, and forget the money', because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will be doing things you don't like doing, in order to go on living - that is to go on doing things you don't like doing - which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of the things you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way". - Alan Watts
PS. I make some kickass cookies the other day - so here is the recipe!
Sometimes all we need is time to ourselves. Learning to be alone is an important aspect of life, and can be valuable in helping you see your own life and situation from a clear perspective. I think in society today, being alone is viewed as a bad thing, and something that isn't natural. That spending time with yourself means in some way that you are "crazy", or depressed, or anti-social - when in actual fact, being with yourself can give your mind the time it needs to reflect, and relax.
I have spent just about the entire weekend on my own - besides the odd interactions with my incredibly social housemates, and the checkout chick from Coles. I've spent my time cooking, going to the gym, watching Netflix, going for walks, grocery shopping, planning more of my Europe trip - and after a mental few weeks of constant travel to and from Sydney, and interaction at work and home - I have found that spending time with myself has allowed me to wind down, and improve my mindfulness.
I know that heading into this next week will be absolutely chaotic, but at least I am able to approach it with a clear and fresh perspective.
Never fear time out from life. Give yourself the break you need, for that is what leads to holistic health.
Ingredients for the filling