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June 5, 20200

Gnudi is a variation of gnocchi with no or very little flour. Often served with butter and sage, I like baking them in homemade tomato sauce instead because it’s lower in fat.
This recipe is healthy, gluten free, simple to make, and absolutely delicious!  You need to use firm ricotta otherwise the mixture tends to be a bit soft. Otherwise you can add breadcrumbs or flour to the mixture to make it firmer, but of course then it won’t be gluten free any more.

Serves 4

Ingredients

500gm firm ricotta
200gm spinach
50gm Parmesan, grated
2 eggs
pinch nutmeg
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 x 400gm tin crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a hot pan, wilt the spinach with a few tablespoons of water and transfer to a tray to cool.
  2. Once it’s cool enough to handle, squeeze out all excess moisture with your hands and chop the spinach finely.
  3. Mix together the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, eggs and nutmeg and salt and pepper until well combined.
  4. Roll heaped dessertspoon amounts of the mixture into balls.
  5. Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  6. Add the tomato paste and cook over a medium heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour the sauce into a greased ovenproof dish and space the ricotta balls evenly on top.
  8. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes at 180°C.
  9. Serve with a simple green salad and crunchy bread.

Print Recipe HERE >>

More about Matt HERE >>

 


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June 4, 20200

sKids has been teaching kids to cook healthy meals since 2016, so we are already sold on the massive benefits learning to cook can have for life long health and wellbeing.  Celebrity Chef Matt Golinski shares his story on how ‘Cooking’ helped him through tragedy.


When the worst imaginable life event happened to Matt Golinski, it was cooking that helped him navigate his way through it. In 2011, the celebrity Australian chef lost his wife Rachel and three daughters in a fire at their home. Matt suffered severe burns in the blaze, and spent the next four months recovering in hospital.

When he got out and started the long journey of trying to put the pieces of his life back together, Matt turned to his lifelong love of cooking. He found getting into the kitchen to create a simple meal helped bring a sense of normality back into his life at a time when things felt completely out of control. In this blog, Matt explains the role cooking has played throughout his life, and the positive impact mental health it can have on anyone. He also shares one of his favourite family recipes for you to try at home.

What role has cooking played in your life?

I decided I wanted to be a chef from a very early age, and 40 years later I still love every day I spend in the kitchen. When you’re lucky enough to choose a profession that you love doing it never feels like work. Through cooking I’ve made hundreds of great friends, travelled all over the world, and had the opportunity to make thousands of people happy by filling their bellies.

How did cooking help you through the traumatic experience of losing your family?

In a time when I was feeling so helpless and most things were out of my control, I was still able to do the thing I loved and that helped a lot. After four months in hospital, the first thing I did was pick up a knife and make dinner so I could at least have that tiny bit of normality back in my life.

What are some benefits of children learning to cook at home and school?

Cooking involves organisation, timing, science, patience and fine motor skills which can all be transferred to other aspects of life, but most importantly it’s an opportunity to be creative and have fun. And the best part is that the end product is something you can eat!

Any tips for parents wanting to get their children more involved in the kitchen?

Always keep things simple and fun. Choose things to cook that don’t make piles of mess or take a long time. Food doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious.

More about Matt HERE >>

 


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May 22, 20200

 “There’s nothing better than having an activity like baking or cooking together because it allows you to do something while also allowing you to talk one-on-one.” Dr Sarah Watson, Senior Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist

The pandemic has changed so many aspects of our daily lives, including an extended period at home for most families. As children start to return to their schools many parents are wondering how to best support them through this transition.  For many children, the return to school will be a straightforward one. They’re excited about seeing friends, getting back into the classroom and taking part in their regular activities. For others the change will be harder. COVID-19 and measures to contain its spread have disrupted nearly every aspect of children’s lives, potentially fuelling anxiety.
As a parent or caregiver, you can help support your child’s healthy development and relieve their stress, as they return to school. In this blog, senior clinical child and adolescent psychologist Sarah Watson explains how spending time with your children and doing simple activities can make a difference.

Communication

One of the most important things parents can do is talk to their children about returning to school and find out how they’re feeling. Some children will be excited, while others may be concerned, uncertain and anxious.
If the latter is the case it’s important to give them as much information as they ask for, says Dr Watson. “What breeds anxiety is often the unknown. So the more information you can get from the right source, the better.”
Regardless of age, children need to know you’re available to listen so ensure you make time for them, which will promote a sense of security and protect their mental wellbeing. “Foster an environment where asking questions is encouraged and non judgemental answers are provided. Children won’t ask parents questions if they patronise or criticise.”

Warning signs

Look out for any extreme changes in your child’s mood and behaviour over an extended period, particularly withdrawal or anger, as this can be a concern, says Dr Watson. The causes of this change can range from bullying to friendship issues, hormonal changes, or the impacts of COVID-19.
Particularly for younger children, proximity seeking is another indication of anxiety. This is when a usually independent child suddenly becomes clingy with a primary caregiver, to gain a sense of security. If your child shows these signs, it’s time to try and find out the origin of their feelings and potentially seek support from a professional.

Have a plan

If your child is feeling nervous about returning to school, think of ways you can help ease their fears. If you can’t answer a question they have, it can also be useful to get in touch with their teachers for extra information.
Find out what is worrying them in particular and come up with a plan together. For example, if they’re worrying about the social aspect of school, you could organise a place where they can meet a friend before school starts so they can go in together. “Often once they get past that first day, sometimes it’s even just the first 10 minutes, they feel a lot better,” says Dr Watson.

Shared activities

One of the best things parents can do to support their children, particularly through this time of transition, is to build a trusted relationship. A great way to do this is to do activities with your child because it creates a safe environment, says Dr Watson. “There’s nothing better than having an activity like baking or cooking together because it allows you to do something while also allowing you to talk one-on-one.”

Children thrive when they feel safe and protected and when their family connections are stable. So spending quality time with your children and regularly checking in on their wellbeing will make them feel loved, accepted and secure.

 

About Dr Sarah Watson

Dr. Sarah Watson, BA, MA(Hons), DClinPsych, MNZCCP
CLINIC DIRECTOR & SENIOR CHILD & ADOLESCENT CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST (REGISTERED – CLINICAL SCOPE)
Dr. Sarah Watson is the Clinic Director and a registered Child & Adolescent Clinical Psychologist at Totally Psyched. Sarah has over ten years experience as both a Psychologist and leader across a variety of settings, all specialising in working with children, adolescents and their families.

Sarah worked for many years in one of Auckland’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) as a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of teams and led many specific multi-agency ministerial projects. Prior to her doctoral clinical training and having a family of her own, Sarah worked in South London & Maudsley for several years as a Residential Social Worker and Assistant Psychologist; working with children with severe mental health needs who were in residential government care (‘children’s homes’).

Sarah has successfully been in private practice based in the hub of Auckland’s North Shore for over eight years. She is regularly asked for her expert opinion and has appeared on various radio and television shows including The Project, Breakfast, Seven Sharp, The Paul Henry Show and is regularly contributing to the NZ Herald and other media. She is also a speaker at professional development conferences for GP’s, Teachers, Professionals, Social Workers, RTLB’s and Counsellors nationwide.

Sarah maintains a small clinical caseload, working with children, adolescents and families across a variety of areas. She is particularly interested in working with families affected by neurodevelopmental delays (ADHD & ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Professional Qualifications
Doctorate of Clinical Psychology, University of Auckland
Master of Arts (Psychology), awarded with Honours, Massey University
Bachelor of Arts (Education and Psychology), The University of Auckland

Memberships to Professional Colleges/Boards
New Zealand Psychologists Registration Board (Clinical Scope)
New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists (NZCCP)
ADHD NZ, Clinical Advisor & Board Member


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April 7, 20200

With Easter fast approaching, this Easter is likely to more be memorable than most, as it will be spent in your bubble! However, still a great opportunity to create special family traditions …. but in the Bubble!

Easter is celebrated on a different date each year. Easter Sunday always falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the March equinox. In our part of the world the March equinox is on the 20th of March.  For many, Easter is a religious holiday that commemorates the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We get the name Easter and some of our traditions from the pagan festival Eostre. Over time this has been replaced with the modern spelling – Easter. Rabbits were special to this festival, which is why we have the Easter Bunny today.  Regardless of your beliefs, creating your own Easter traditions is a great way to have an awesome Easter experience.

Here are our top ideas for celebrating Easter.

Talk about the origins of Easter

If you want to share the origins of Easter with your children you could talk to them about how the holiday remembers the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. According to Christian beliefs, he was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. There are lots of great books on this subject available in public libraries to read with your children.

Go on easter egg hunt in your Bubble

This is a well-loved tradition for many families. Egg hunts around your Bubble could be great fun and can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. You could just go hunting for chocolate eggs or make up clues and challenges for your children to follow.

Decorate eggs

This is a great way to get creative with a traditional Easter symbol. To prepare your eggs, poke a hole in each end of the shell using a thick needle, and gently blow the egg out into a bowl. When you have a hollow shell, wash it out and dry carefully. Gently paint and decorate the eggs. Once dry you can attach string and hang them as decorations. If hollow eggs are too fragile for your child to paint, let them decorate hard boiled ones instead.

Bake hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns are a delicious way to start a family tradition. They’re not hard to make but do take a little time. If you need a recipe, this is a great one from well-known Kiwi chef, Chelsea Winter. They make a yummy family breakfast for Easter Sunday.

Egg and spoon race

A sport the whole family can play! Each person grabs a spoon (the smaller the spoon the more difficult it is) and balances an egg on it. You could have a simple race where the first person to the finish line wins.

Stay Safe, Be Kind, Plan the Bubble hunt, Eat Chocolate, Count our Blessings.


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March 3, 20200

There’s no doubt the atmosphere around the subject of climate change is, well, changing. Globally, young people are taking a stand against the way our planet is being treated and the need for leaders to take urgent action, with teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg leading the way. The ‘Greta Effect’ has shone a light on the realities of global warming, and united young people in climate strikes around the world.

When it comes to future impacts of our lifestyle choices, a lot is still unknown. However, we do know the higher your carbon footprint, the more damage caused to the environment. A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions that come from the production and use of a product or service, such as transportation, housing and food. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere, causing global warming.

This is where you can help. We’ve put together a list of several simple things you and your family can do in your daily life that have a huge effect on the environment. Remember to get your school involved too, as these can be fun activities for children to share with their classmates, so we can all start reducing our carbon emissions, today.

Eat Local

The products in your local supermarket may have come from countries around the world and all that transportation on trucks, trains, and planes adds up to a big impact on the environment. Read labels and where possible, opt for locally-produced, in season foods. Visiting a local market to choose fresh foods is a great family activity, and your children can take some to school to share with their classmates! Check out websites http://www.farmersmarkets.org.nz/find-a-market.html and https://www.ripenear.me to find delicious, fresh produce grown in your area.

Plant a garden

Better yet, grow your own food. Growing fruits and vegetables in your own backyard, is not only good for the environment, it’s a great way to teach your children about where food comes from and get them involved in the kitchen. Set aside a corner of your garden for growing small crops like tomatoes, strawberries, peas, beans and peppers. Enjoy harvesting your food with your children and using it to prepare delicious, eco-friendly snacks for their lunchbox.
Here are some tips to get you started, https://www.yates.co.nz/child, and information on what to plant each season, https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/homed/garden/85565720/the-beginners-guide-to-starting-a-vege-garden-10-fast-and-easy-crops. Also check out #kidsgardeningnz on Instagram for ideas and inspiration.

Reduce waste

There are some simple solutions to help you lower your food waste and save money. Plan your weekly meals by checking what food you already have and making a grocery list before you go. This will ensure you have enough food for all of your meals, and stop impulse buying. Get creative with your leftovers and extra produce from your garden instead of throwing them away, or freeze them. These can be reheated for fast after school snacks or meals. Check out this website for lots of great ideas on how to use up your leftovers, https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/recipe/using-leftovers/.

Recycle

  • Much of our household rubbish ends up in landfills. Recycling gives packaging and products a new life, and getting your family and school involved, can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.
  • Here are some ways to make sure your waste ends up in the right place:
    – Check the number inside the triangle on the bottom of plastic containers to see whether it can be recycled (most council recycling collections accept 1 and 2).
    – Clean empty food containers
    – Separate them into containers for glass, plastic, tin cans and glass
    – Leave them out on your council collection day or deliver to accepted drop-off points
    – For a complete guide on what you can and can’t recycle in NZ, click here https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/08/a-complete-guide-to-what-you-can-and-can-t-recycle-in-new-zealand.html. Found a great use for your recycled materials? Post your photo on #recyclenz.

Drive less

Driving releases carbon emissions, so reducing how often you use the car is a great way to help the environment. Before hopping into the car, consider other options – could you carpool to school with other local families, use public transport, cycle or walk instead? You’ll not only save money on fuel; going carless can also be a great way to get fit!

Changing your daily habits is one of the most significant things you can do to help the planet. By reducing your carbon footprint, you’ll not only be taking your environment into consideration, you’ll also learn new skills, save money and have fun as a family.