Easy shepherd’s pie

This is one of our weekly favourites and great for a chilly evening.

My last post was about the nutritional benefits of orange fruits and vegetables and this is a delicious way to include pumpkin and carrots in the one meal.

This recipe will feed around 6 people or 3 with left-overs for lunch or dinner the next day as well.


  • 500 gm beef mince (try and get low fat)
  • 2 large carrots – peeled and diced
  • 2 sticks celery – diced
  • 1 large brown onion – diced
  • 1 tin of diced tomatoes (400 gm)
  • 250 ml of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of frozen green peas
  • 1 pumpkin (around 2 kg) – I use Kent but butternut would be fine
  • 2 tabs of olive oil
  • 1 tab of chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • baking paper and baking tray
  • baking dish approximately 9in by 13in
  • optional – 1 cup grated cheddar cheese for topping


  • Heat oven to 375F/200C
  • Peel pumpkin and cut into pieces – 3-4cm size and place onto baking tray lined with baking paper, place in oven – bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven when cooked.
  • While the pumpkin is cooking – place the celery, carrots and onion in a large saucepan with 2 tabs of olive oil. Cook over medium heat until onion is lightly browned.
  • Add beef to celery, carrots and onion and combine. Cook over medium heat until beef is lightly browned.
  • Add chicken stock and tinned tomatoes – stir and cover. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and cover. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Add frozen peas and parsley.
  • Bring back to boil and simmer uncovered stirring frequently until liquid has reduced by at least half. The liquid left will form a sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Using a fork roughly mash the pumpkin on the baking tray.
  • Pour the meat mixture into the baking dish
  • Cover the top of meat mixture with mashed pumpkin. I use a spoon and start with a spoonful of pumpkin at each corner and then gradually cover the top. You may need to used a fork to smooth over any gaps.
  • Add grated cheese if required
  • Bake in 375F/200C for approximately 30 minutes or until top is lightly golden.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Lets eat the rainbow – orange

The colour orange – blending the happiness of yellow and heat/energy of red.

Orange radiates warmth and sunshine. Our sunrises and sunsets glow with orange tones representing the start and ends of our daylight – the photographs below are great examples with sunrise at Lake Mungo and sunset in Tasmania.

During their time in the sun, orange fruit/vegetable producing plants use orange pigments (carotenoids) to convert sunlight energy to chlorophyl (via photosynthesis).

It’s a great way to think of orange as concentrated sunshine!

Let’s have a look at why orange fruits and vegetable are so special and why they are beneficial to our health and should be included in our diet.

click here to Read more

Three powerful words for positivity.

The logo on my new T-shirt (UNIQLO – design by Grace Lee)

I bought a new T-shirt today – half price, which is always good.

I didn’t think too much about the logo on front at the time – other than it not being too bright or tacky.

While on the bus home, I thought about the 3 words on the T-shirt.

Can before can’t

What powerful words.

So often do we put road blocks in the way before we even start something new in our lives, our self talk can be destructive and stop us from trying new things. I’ve been guilty of this in the past with my inner self telling me:

  • I’m too old
  • No point starting because I’ll never finish
  • What’s the point, anyway?
  • I can’t do this – I’m a woman
  • And lots more – too many to list.

We all need to have goals in our lives. Whether it be planning the next holiday, family or religious events, weight-loss, fitness etc. From a personal perspective, I feel a little adrift when I’m not working towards something.

If we decide we can’t do something before we even give it try then how do we know what we might have achieved? Achieving a goal leads to confidence in your abilities and it feels great!

I’m a much more optimistic person these days, even after a cancer diagnosis 4 years ago. I believe that if we think we can achieve a goal that’s a great starting point. Take one step at a time and deal with obstacles as they arise.

Don’t stress about what can go wrong – focus on what can go right.

I’m excited about new opportunities that await, I set myself challenging goals (like doing a chin-up at the gym) and we are planning our next holiday into the outback of Australia.

So when thinking about a new project don’t let the first thing that pops into your head is I can’t do it.

Let those thoughts be I CAN do it – its amazing what you achieve if you put your mind to it.

Lets eat the rainbow – red

I love the colour red. Red cars seem to go faster, red clothes look warmer and red sunsets are – just beautiful. Our blood is red and red may symbolise good fortune and luck in many Asian cultures.

Red symbolises passion, love and joy – red roses are the flower of choice on Valentine’s day.

What about red fruits and vegetables? How do they fit in to the features of red? Are they hot, spicy, passionate, lucky or just beautiful?

Let’s have a look at why red fruits and vegetable are so special and why they are beneficial to our health and should be included in our diet.

click here to Read more

Would you like PFAS with your microwave popcorn?

Popcorn is a pretty healthy snack and when cooked correctly it provides a load of vitamins and minerals, is low fat(excluding butter) and is really high in fibre.

From a health perspective one thing to be aware of is what’s in the packaging used in pre-packaged microwave popcorn bags.

When thinking about processed food, I tend to think about the food that’s inside the package and not the packaging itself. I’m pretty conscious of BPA used in plastic containers but not really done much research into some of the other types of packaging.

click to Read more

Inner health – the appendix – where, what and how.

A lot of us don’t have an appendix and seem to do just fine. So if we can survive without it what the point?

Let’s have a look at the appendix and work out why we had/have one in the first place.

click here to Read more

Inner health – the spleen – where, what and how.

Hands up who knows where our spleen is and it’s function? Read on to find out more about this mystery organ.

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Inner health

Most of us have a rough idea of where our major organs like hearts, lungs, brain and intestines are and their function, but what about all the other internal bits and pieces?

Like the spleen – most us know roughly where it is but does anyone know what it does?

Click here to Read more

Soy or not to soy – that is my dilemma.

I never been a huge soy consumer. Soy milk occasionally, miso soup every now and then and some tofu or tamari in stir fries.

After my breast cancer diagnosis in 2014, soy was totally off my menu.

I, like so many other women, had oestrogen positive breast cancer and after radiotherapy started on aromatase inhibitors (which stopped my body from producing oestrogen).

Is it ok for women with oestrogen positive breast cancer to consume soy?

Here is where I started to become totally confused.

click here to read more

Reconnect with nature

How often do we spend our time outside as if with blinkers on, I’m guilty of this too. Such a hurry to get from A to B, we forget to slow down and take in what’s around us. I often pass others walking to work or the shops, headphones on, head down in their own little world.

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

No wonder pedestrians with headphones on are at risk when crossing roads. So focussed on whats inside their head, they forget that there’s a world outside. No interaction or acknowledgement of their surroundings or others they pass.

When was the last time you took a walk in the park and took time to stand or sit and do nothing but take in the sights around you?

With no distractions.

Our ancestors were closely connected to their environments, they had to be. They needed to know where to find food, water, shelter and also how to avoid predators.

Many of us seem to have lost our connection with nature.

click here to read more