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.

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.

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.

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