Before we get to this most simple and tasty of pasta recipes, I want to chat about a couple of things (skip ahead if this bores you, I don’t mind!). Firstly, I have been sadly absent here for far too long. As always, when I am away from this blog for any length of time, I miss it. As someone who doesn’t obsess in the least over SEOs, stats and such (I might if this blog was monetized, but as it is not…), I feel that I can share virtually anything in this space related to my passions and my life, and it’s ok. I have no anxieties about clicking publish (other than my typo-phobia) and maybe that’s one of the perks of having a 7-year relationship with a completely organically evolving, non-strategic blog; not money from ad revenue, but the gift of freedom of expression. In any case, my absence is justified and has been necessary on account of time (lack thereof). And no, I am not about to spring another pregnancy announcement on you, however something has certainly been in a kind of creative gestation period… a phase that is coming to a close as I type these words.
I have been working on my first cookbook! 😮
It’s something I have talked a little about on Instagram, but as my manuscript is with my editor and things are still being finalised in terms of the design, I am yet to do the big TA-DA! In fact, I honestly can’t fathom it, even after months of loving dedication and intense hard graft. My head and reality are not quite in sync about it just yet.
I have also worked as a food stylist and recipe creator for two of my fave brands, IKEA and Friggs, and have continued to submit magazine articles on the regular (on that, if you happen to live in Scandinavia, I have several recipes in the current issue of Glutenfri Matlust Magazine). I have renewed my contract with Royal Caribbean (yay!), so that means more traveling, shooting (and eating!) food this year, and I have already spent a week aboard Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, sampling and capturing the culinary offerings. Literally all of these opportunities were on my 2018 wish list, so the gratitude is immense.
Simultaneously, the self-imposed pressure to live up to my own expectations (let alone what I assume to be the expectations of others), an absolutely unprecedented hormonal freak out that my body decided to have post-weaning Oliver (I am still moving through that) and a string of illnesses and accidents concerning my children (of which broken bones and chickenpox are just two), have meant not enough sleep, too much coffee and the inevitable stress snowball effect that comes with the everything-at-once conundrum. Yep. That old chestnut. Again. I bore myself with it, believe me.
Right now I am doing what I can to nourish myself back into some semblance of balance and normalcy. I see a LOT of posts on Instagram along the lines of “Do you struggle with ….? I hear you. I did too. And now that I am super successful, I want to share my secrets with you! Just sign up for/click the link for/swipe up for… etc.” I’m going to be honest. This might not be inspirational. It certainly isn’t the ‘living the dream’ quick fix solution I am sure sells well for others because that’s what the vast majority of people probably want to buy. But I haven’t cracked the code of ‘freelance WAHM life’. And I am not trying to sell you anything either. For now, freelance life for me is very much a process of going with the flow and learning from every stumble, every little victory, each mistake and all challenges faced and (hopefully) overcome. And just maybe I’ll have my rough edges polished off over time and my desk will morph into something Pinterest-worthy. Or maybe I am stuck with being the creative go hard or go home (figuratively, as I work from home!) type. When I’m engaged in a project – whatever it is – I do it with my whole heart and all my creative energy. That is a good thing. I think. Well, at the very least I suppose it means I give a damn… and at best it means I love the process and that I am genuinely invested in my clients. I truly think that it’s the latter.
The downside? I find it hard to step back. I have a tendency to criticise the 💩 out of everything I do. I check. I recheck. I can get obsessively bogged down in little things. And, whereas I used to have a manager saying “Marisa, go home.”/”Don’t work on weekends.”/”Why are you eating lunch at your desk?”/”You really have to start saying no.”, now it’s up to me. And, left to my own devices, I realise I haven’t been the kindest of self-managers.
A serious physical manifestation of my hormonal issues (exacerbated by stress) landed me in my doctor’s office a few weeks back. Whilst there, it was suggested to me that I should also see a psychologist as, according to some scale, I am (or rather was on that day, at least) “mildly to moderately depressed”. Believing my situation to be temporary and seeing the possibility that my recent anxiety flare-ups were intrinsically linked to my hormonal imbalance issues, my doctor nevertheless deemed it an issue worth addressing (albeit in a non-medicated way). I decided to follow her advice. And, lo and behold, talking things through also helps. It doesn’t fix perinatal anxiety or post-breastfeeding “blues”, of course. But it does help in terms of perspective… and breaking the isolation of it all. Funny how communicating with other humans does that, eh?
I mentioned in one of many Instagram rambles lately that I was struggling with certain aspects of my health and wellbeing. Long-time trusted friend and connection Julia, a naturopath and nutritional medicine practitioner (and owner of Julia Michelle health clinic in Melbourne), stepped in with the most timely assistance ever. I was literally in the final proofreading stages of my manuscript when she said “We should chat!”. Post-conversation with her, I’ve started taking supplements, upping my water intake, reducing my coffee consumption, adding more protein to my meals and generally being more mindful about how I am treating myself. It will be interesting to compare this cycle to the last one, of which the PMS stage was traumatic to the point where I found myself on the phone to a mental health services line that my husband called for me in an I-don’t-know-what-to-do-to-help-you-panic (I certainly won’t be calling that number again for a stress and PMS-induced anxiety attack!). I can safely say that things have gotten steadily better over the past three weeks. Or rather, they seem to have stabilised somewhat. Which is the same thing, as far as I am concerned. My doctor believes it is only a matter of time (and consistent better self-care) before my hormones have found their new normal after years of pregnancies and breastfeeding (and no periods).
And so, I just keep on keeping on. Trying to be a little kinder to myself and practicing what I already know works. More sleep, more sunshine, more downtime, more water, better self-care, quality time with loved ones, time set aside for doing enjoyable things, more movement, good nutrition. The simple things work, as always.
Is this an opportune moment to segue into a nourishing yet time-saving recipe? I think it could be…
❤ from a slightly better-rested Miss Marzipan x
EDAMAME PASTA WITH FRESH TOMATO, KALE & OLIVE SAUCE
Gluten-free, 100% plant-based
This pasta sauce is so tasty, so simple and very customisable. The sauce is a variation of one that I have been making for years. If you’d like to see this recipe ‘in action’, there’s a stories highlight I created on Instagram (from about 18 weeks back).
1 packet edamame pasta (or pasta of choice)
10-12 ripe plum tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
A bunch of kale, washed, trimmed of the woodiest stems and chopped roughly
Kalamata olives (as many as you like… be generous!)
Chilli flakes, optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Simply take the tomatoes, cut them in half width ways and place them cut side down in a deep frying pan (one with a lid) over medium heat.
- Add a splash of olive oil and the garlic.
Place the lid on and allow the tomatoes to cook for around 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sauté the kale in a pan over medium high heat for around 2 minutes, then set it to the side.
- Prepare your edamame pasta according to directions.
- Use tongs to lift the skins off the tomatoes and give your tomatoes a mash to create the sauce. Add the olives and kale and stir through. Season the sauce to taste (chilli flakes are a wonderful addition).
- Spoon a generous amount of sauce onto each portion of pasta. Scatter over a few fresh basil leaves and serve immediately. Enjoy!
*I want to be clear, as always, that I share my personal experiences here in an anecdotal fashion for the purpose of transparency and ‘connecting’, and not to medically advise anyone. I am not ‘anti-medication’ or ‘pro-medication’. I am pro-getting-the-right-help-depending-on-individual-and-circumstance (and doing so with assistance from qualified professionals if need be). I am pro-feeling better.