I have grown up to believe that everything happens for a reason. That there is a higher power (call it what you will) that has a plan for us. The tests and challenges we face, equip us with the knowledge and the tools to be able to work through hardship and walk out the other side, somewhat wiser and stronger than we were previously.
While it can often feel daunting to to be challenged by life's plan, there is some comfort in knowing that while the bar has been moved, we have stood in front of challenges before. We may have walked away some what battered and bruised but with the foresight that if that situation did arise again that we would know exactly what to do.
I feel I have met my fair share of challenges in life thus far. Along with the every day trials and tribulations I lost a close friend when I was 12, dislocated my knee the night before nationals swimming, which basically ended any potential career, when I was 13, developed an eating disorder when I was 15, depression at 17, lost my dad to Motor Neurons Disease at 26, and the last ten years have been no exception to the rule.
When my son was nine months old, we decided to go on a holiday to Fiji. From this week overseas I got more than a holiday, I was handed a very important life lesson. I expected to be sipping cocktails by the pool, soaking up the sun, playing in the pool with my little man and enjoying some time out from my everyday routine before returning to work after maternity leave.
I didn't expect to be standing on a roof top after we had been issued with a Tsunami warning, due to an earthquake off shore. I didn't expect to have my son strapped to my chest in his baby bjorn, singing him lullabies and promising that mummy would take care of everything. I didn't expect to be feeling grateful for my swimming ability, that if we were swept away in the wave, I could try and keep us afloat. I didn't expect to be thanking my luck stars that I knew CPR, so that if I needed to administer it to him I could.
I remember standing there thinking that if this all worked out ok and we walked away, I would as cliché as it sounds live every day like it was my last. Take hold of all the opportunities that life presented me with and approach them with passion. This attitude worked for a little while.
Then life happened. I fell pregnant and had my daughter. I was back working trying to juggle the two kids, family commitments and fit in dragon boating racing and keeping myself fit at the gym. I was under the illusion that the feeling of stress and overwhelm were just meant to be part of every mums day. I had forgotten to live every day like I was on the roof top.
Operation roof top has commenced!
Living each day with the commitment to do what makes me happy. This doesn't mean I no longer have to clean my house, iron the school shirts or pack lunches. It just means that I make sure the things that make me happy get infused into my day. Reading books to my children, playing a board game, grabbing a take away coffee at the cafe, getting some sunshine, participating in some form of physical activity, doing handstands, eating great food and getting into the kitchen and creating dishes that my family enjoy.
Saturday ticked all those boxes. We got up, went to an early CrossFit session as a family. Grabbed a delicious almond milk coffee on our way to our little mans soccer game. The sun came out long enough for us not to get wet and there was still sufficient mud from the early morning down pour, for the boys to enjoy playing in the mud. We arrived home and painted empty egg cartons and boxes. We got our hands dirty in the kitchen making healthy donuts (recipe to come). The music went on and the vacuum cleaner and duster made an appearance while the little people played in the backyard with their buddies.
Then came the Spinach, Pumpkin and Ricotta Bake. A recipe that is hearty, flavoursome and worth every second it took to make.
500g Pumpkin- Sliced thinly (2mm wide)
500g beef mince
2 cups spinach leaves
1 cup ricotta
2 carrots - peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic - peeled and diced
1/2 onion - diced
2 Tbsp fresh basil
3 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp salt
We need to make the meat sauce first before we can assemble the bake.
1. Spray a pan with coconut oil and heat over medium heat.
2. Saute onion and garlic until onion is soft.
3. Add tomato puree, paste, carrots, basil and salt. Let simmer for approximately 15minutes until carrot is soft.
4. Transfer sauce into the food processor or a blender if you have a powerful one. Blitz sauce until smooth.
5. Cook beef mince on stove top.
6. Tip the sauce from the food processor onto the cooked mince and stir through. We are now ready to assemble the bake.
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease an oven proof baking dish
2. Tip half of the beef mixture into the baking dish
3. Use half of the pumpkin and layer on top of the meat sauce
4. Use 1/2 cup of ricotta to spread on top of the pumpkin
5. Sprinkle1 cup of spinach on top of the ricotta
6. Use remaining meat sauce over the top of the spinach
7. Repeat process with pumpkin
8. Combine the remaining ricotta and spinach and spread on the pumpkin.
9. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil after 30 minutes
10. Remove from oven and enjoy
Here is a look at what the process looked like
Do what makes you happy. Give yourself something to look forward to each day. Make there more parts of your day that you enjoy rather than don't.
Live life like your on a rooftop!
What are you going to implement TODAY so that you are on the way to a super smashing life? Leave a comment below or contact me on twitter, instagram or facebook.