Yippee! My favourite month - April - is finally here. The weather is getting warmer. The trees and flowers are blooming once again. People are out in parks - laughing and playing. The sun has this magical ability to bring everything back to life. With Spring here it feels almost as if a blanket of lethargy has been magically taken off. I feel a shift happening in my energy, do you?
Plus, April is my birthday month and for that reason, I love it even more. Haha, and YES, in case you haven't noticed, I'm big on celebrating my birthdays.
Picnic with friends on my birthday is a must for me as I not only get to hang out with people I love and bask in those much-needed sun rays but also get to pig out on my favourite food. To help you pack your picnic basket, I’ve gathered up my TOP three picnic recipes.
Baked Cauliflower Bites
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup cheddar cheese
¼ teaspoon oregano (optional)
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard (optional)
pepper to taste
a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Preheat oven to 180°C
Place raw cauliflower in a food processor and plus for a few seconds until the cauliflower resembles rice.
Place cauliflower in a large bowl, add eggs, cheddar cheese, mustard, herbs, cayenne pepper and season with pepper. Mix until fully combined. Scoop the mixture into nonstick silicone cake molds (this recipe makes around 12 depending on the size of your cake molds).
Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are golden and the middle is no longer soft. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing from the silicone molds.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce. I usually eat it with guacamole or sriracha sauce.
Homemade Sriracha Sauce
2 cups roasted cherry tomatoes (roast the tomatoes in the oven 180°C with 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt for around 20-30 minutes)
1 cup red chillies (seeds removed)
6 cloves garlic (crushed)
4 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons raw honey
1- inch chunk of peeled ginger (optional)
1/2 teaspoons sea salt
Transfer the roasted tomatoes to a food processor or blender.
Add all the ingredients and pulse until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
As soon as it comes to the boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Transfer the sriracha to a large glass jar, cover and keep in the refrigerator until needed.
Now, treat, anyone?
Forget about devouring crappy conventional muffins made out of lousy ingredients, instead, try baking these delicious pumpkin goodies made from beneficial ingredients that help to improve your health rather than destroy it!
Paleo Pumpkin Muffins
2 cups almond flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
5 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 can pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 12- muffin cups; set aside.
Add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until smooth
Divide batter into silicone muffin cups.
Bake for 40-45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
If you like these recipes, check out my blog for more. If you decide to make any of my recipes don't forget to tag me on Instagram @ThriveInShanghai. I’d love to see it!
Now, my birthday reflections...
So, I'm 37 now and the older I get the more I understand the importance of staying in my own lane. Throughout my teens and twenties, I borrowed other people's versions of happiness, success, and purpose as my own, even though these weren't aligned with my core values and dreams. This, as you can imagine, left me unfulfilled, unhappy and exhausted. Finally, in my 30s I decided to fully show up for myself and let my deepest desires be reflected not only in my vision but also in my daily actions. Sure, I still stumble and play small but more often than not I’m moving towards the kind of life I want to live and the kind of person I want to be. Even though I haven’t arrived yet, and I probably never will in this lifetime, at least I know I’m heading in the right direction.
Over the past 365 days, I’ve been working on clarifying my values, setting boundaries and mapping my version of happiness, success, and purpose. Studying positive psychology, coaching psychology, working with my clients, and being coached myself has definitely helped me with the process. Learning how to stay in my own line has been the biggest lesson from this year. When creating my vision for this year I realised that I don’t care much about the corporate world, I also realised that working in an office is not for me (of course there is nothing wrong with that! Some people thrive in the corporate environment). I also don't care much about being the richest, the most admired, the most well-known person in my community, city or this world. What I care for the most is simplicity: being in nature, being around people I love, eating fresh food, having a dip in the ocean, having my feet in the sand, breathing fresh air, creating value, and with that positively impacting others. These are the things that bring me joy and happiness.
Sadly, we’re living in times when having a simple life is expensive. We need to pay a premium to live by the sea, to have a garden, to eat natural food, and even to breath fresh air. For this reason, it is so vital to find balance. Although I haven't fully transitioned to health coaching and positive psychology coaching, through knowing what my heaven on earth looks like, I've managed to stay in my own line and combine my dreams with the daily grind of my 9 to 5 ;-). For now, being clear on who I am and what I want is giving me the necessary direction to keep moving forward and stay “sane” in this crazy fast-paced world.
I hope this month’s message will help support you in mapping up your own version of happiness, joy, meaning, and success. The one book that really helped me to get clear on what I want out of life is Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfections” - if you planning on reading just one book this year, then pick this one! It’s truly life-changing.
And here is a short poem I wrote one morning to help me embrace who I am - both the light & the shadow...
The Path To Self
I know you most when
I walk in nature
I know you most when
When I’m broken open
And messed up
I know you when
I’m full of joy
And when I suffer
I know you to be there for me
You never once walked out on me
You wrap me in a blanket of love
You show me the light through revealing my inner-strength each time I stumble
Each moment with you is an adventure
And each fall an opportunity to reveal yet another gift
Yours in health,
P.S. I have a quick announcement to make… ready?
For those ready to make a commitment, I have limited spaces available for one-on-one work. I find that free information is a great start, but it's personalised support and accountability that really make the difference. Find out more here. Time to ditch the dieting for good, make peace with food and love our healthy bodies.