Eat Nice Life Reminders Pip-Life

Good Things We’ve Been Eating

Pip meals

Content note: This post discusses depression and anxiety (as well as food!) I have been cooking a lot of things and resting a lot of late. Doesn’t that sound sloth-ish? It’s not really though because years of tough times, anxiety and sleep deprivation have caught up with me and I have finally been getting some help from a psychologist to sort it all out. PHEEE-EWWW.

It’s good that you can access at least 6 Medicare subsidised sessions per annum via a mental health plan referral through a GP, right? I mean, I did feel even more worried and then CRY a lot when I finally talked to my doctor. And it was a challenge to start unravelling my troubles. And I am still a bit out of pocket but I am eating more rice and potatoes to pay for it because it’s totally worth sorting out your woes and getting help with tough times, I think.

Thus, what I have also mostly been trying to do is a) not put too much pressure on myself to achieve and share and b) eat good stuff and have quiet times. Perhaps this sounds good to you too?

A lot of this strategy involves finishing work and then making nice things and watching Doc Martin a lot. I can recommend it. It’s also important to sleep for as long as possible during the night and not have bonkers dreams about moving house, hair cuts, disappearing walls etc (#NoteToSelf really)

I am telling you this in case you need to do similar and haven’t managed to take the plunge. I so recommend it. Or you might be an old hand at this and be looking for like minded buddies. I am here! Fist bump!

But back to the subject at hand … We (Ari and I) have been eating …

Chrissy Teigen’s mum’s Red Chicken Curry

This recipe is brilliant and I have been eating it very often. I started off using chicken breasts as suggested but switched out to chicken thighs because I have been a bit too impatient to simmer things gently and breasts need that.

Red Chicken Curry

Chrissy Teigen’s Thai Basil Chicken

Takes no time. Is delicious. Highly recommended. Works every time. If you don’t have Chrissy’s cookbooks you should know that they are really good and full of great recipes.

Thai Basil Chicken

Vegetable Samosas

I started off using the recipe from Together and now I sort of cobbled together a hybrid based on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe from this op shopped but brilliant cookbook.

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

Stuffing. Lots of gravy. Yum.

Roast Chicken

Potato Curry

My own recipe. A total fave to have at room temperature on hot rice or hot toast. Yum.

Potato Curry

Potato Latke w Onion-y Sour Cream 

I tried these for the first time on the weekend and they are excellent and delicious. I used the Molly Yeh recipe I have been sharing the link around for.

Potato Latke

Maangchi’s Spicy Braised Potatoes

This is such an easy recipe and I make it when I want something speedy and hearty that requires very little effort. I do turn down the spice a bit because YOWZERS that spicy red Korean paste is HAWT and I also eat it with hot jasmine rice.

CWA Ginger Cake

CWA Ginger Cake

It’s the Essendon origin one that you bake for 40 minutes from the CWA Classics book … but I had to bake it for one hour. It was delicious!

Baby Banana Cakes

PWMU Recipe Book Banana Cakes

I made these before work one day in baby form in a mini loaf tray that I bought from Saver’s. I am always on the lookout for fancy pans. They turned out great.

Chicken Pot Pies

Chicken Pot Pies

Based on this Martha Stewart recipe

Raspberry Puffy Things

Based on this recipe.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I made this from a book I bought at Saver’s recently. It’s Madhur Jaffrey’s Simple Indian Food and it was very delicious although I accidentally took my eye off the ball and separated the sauce a bit. I made it better by adding cream and that hid the separation. It was super yum and I will try harder next time. I did not take a photo.

Toast with Vegemite

I have been eating this a lot. I am on some SSRI medication that makes me queasy and the simple salty and crunchy things help. No photo, alas!

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

Ari and I have been liking this. I started off with a recipe but then I got it twisted in my own way and it’s nice. I am a bad person due to adding cream so you should know that.

Okay look yes it IS a lot of potatoes but potatoes help me, I swear.

This week I’m going to make grilled chicken with a tomato-cucumber-red-onion salad and eggy potato salad. Also Penne with spicy Bolognese sauce. And Sausages with mashed potato and spicy stewed tomatoes. I am not sure what else yet, but those are the plans so far.

What have you been eating, champs? TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!

xx Pip

If you or someone you love has mental health challenges, support is available via Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

  • Clare
    January 12, 2019 at 12:02 PM

    Thank you Pip. What a comforting post to read in a time of need. I loved Grace’s comment with a list of nice things to do. I’m going to try those nice things I think. I love cooking delicious, yummy, hearty, happy, comforting food and to be honest I haven’t been doing it and I think it’d help if I did. So thank you for sharing what you’re doing.

  • KWadsworth
    December 11, 2018 at 5:38 AM

    There’s a cookbook I swear by – it’s a vegetarian cookbook published by the people who own “Moosewood”, a restaurant in New York State. (Forgive me if this is obvious information, just making sure.) At their restaurant they always have a couple of different soups-of-the-day and a couple different salads-of-the-day, and their weekday lunch special is that you can pick a cup of whichever soup you want and a small bowl of whatever salad you want, as a combo plate. Their “Daily Special” cookbook is a collection of nothing but all their different soups and salads, with some notes that suggest which can go with which others.

    I have been using this for years as a way to shoehorn more vegetables into myself. It’s also perfect for make-ahead cooking – on the weekend I make a couple of different pots of soups and a salad or two, leave it all in the fridge, and then over the course of the week, packing a lunch for work is just a matter of “okay, lemme pick some of this soup and some of this salad, pack it in the tiffin, add an apple, done.” Or at night, dinner becomes the same thing. Or I’ll add a roasted chicken leg or something. I like cooking, but there are days when I don’t want to actually do the prep work and want to just open the fridge and have food magically be there. This helps make that happen.

    And best of all – after a year of working with this cookbook, I suddenly had the epiphany that “wait….all these soup recipes are the same, the only thing that makes one soup different from another is the specific vegetables I use.” And that helped me relax and get a lot more improvisational – I used to follow recipes pretty meticulously even when I didn’t have to, but now I’m just “okay, this recipe calls for turnips but I don’t have any….I do have parsnips, though, I’ll just use them.” I’ve also “invented” soups by just opening the fridge and saying “okay, what do I have a lot of that I need to use up?”

    • Pam
      April 13, 2019 at 5:39 PM

      Wow that sounds really great and very simple – always need to add more salad and veggies
      Where can you get the book and what’s the title ?

  • Jade
    December 9, 2018 at 10:12 PM

    Dearest Pip, I think one of the worst things about my dreadful anxiety (and grief) was just how tiring it is battling against it every single day. I tried to explain it as similar to when you’re on the phone, trying to have a conversation and a small child is tugging at your clothes, talking to you whilst you’re trying to concentrate on what’s really happening. The ONLY mental peace I had was listening to Harry Potter audiobooks (the Stephen Fry versions) when I went to bed. I had my iPod in all night because I’d wake up and almost feel my brain trying to click into anxiety mode so I’d pop my headphones back in and block those thoughts out. Be kind to yourself, rest up and keep eating the lovely food that makes you feel better xxx

  • Em
    December 6, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    Love you. Love the blog. That. is. all. Am having WWPD? wristbands manufactured posty hastey. xxxx

  • Andrea
    December 6, 2018 at 10:18 AM

    Sending love Pip xxx I’ve been eating silverside, gnocchi, bagels, veggie burgers and chocolate pancakes! I’m also really obsessed with ginger bread as we get close to Christmas.

  • Grace
    December 6, 2018 at 10:12 AM

    Pip it turned my smiley faces to question marks they’re happy smiles sending you love .

  • Grace
    December 6, 2018 at 10:06 AM

    Hi Pip I second the comment above, I have done a lot of personal work in this area and discovered that the brain needs right foods to function well. High good fats, minerals, vitamins and happy hormones. All of theses we have some control over, positive inputs create a positive environment. Also being aware of the negative inputs that create anxiety such as the mineral stealers coffee, tea, sugar, bad fats, food and environmental chemicals. Our thoughts and feelings are chemicals and the object is to create happy chemicals to ‘reset’ the brain/emotional standby setting (this means that when there is little outside influences you at rest feel an inner happiness/light) . There are methods to achieve this and if we’ll think about this process in similar terms to physical fitness we can understand that at first it will be hard and that it will take perseverance. The things that worked for me are :
    A gratitude list
    A walk everyday focusing on the simple beauty of nature and visual beauty (studies show that looking at beauty has a healing effect on the brain, not meaning the media view, but nature art etc.
    Practice of some for of art or craft ( you’ve got this ????)
    Removing everything causing negatives from our life where possible (foods, situations, media -being highly discerning about what I watched/read/listened to always looking for positive inputs (please understand that things that create anxiety such as mysteries etc are not helpful at this stage)
    Removing all environmental chemicals as they have such a negative effect on the brain-perfumes, room fragrances, cleaning products etc
    Being kind to my self
    Creating positive self talk and stopping the negative self talk
    Smiling which creates happy hormones- there is a ytube ted talk on this study where your body position creates the hormones so if you put a pen horiziontaly in your mouth after a minimum of two minutes your body goes ‘ she’s smiling she must be happy and releases happy hormones’ I did this while studying and it worked. Sorry no link but think of the fun you can have searching for it ???
    Box breathing-breathe in count4 -hold 4 breathe out4 -hold 4 every time I felt anxious or depressed (remember these feelings are chemicals and we want to shut them down as quickly as possible and replace them with positive ones) if after this I still felt not ok I gardened it always worked and also had hope in the process I though this is going to work I just have to keep going forward.
    Remember that it was a long period of stress that got us into this place this looks scientifically like lots of stress chemicals flowing through our bodies until they create a strong pathway and become the new normal our job- with help is to ‘reset’ the chemicals back to a happy/peaceful state. Our bodies have reacted to overload we need to be grateful for them and gentle with them ?
    Find laughter-friends movies books etc laughter is very healing
    Treat this in the same way as you would a physical injury, give yourself the time, food, environment and exercises to make a strong recovery. Hope is a powerful friend.
    All the best love Grace

  • Tracey
    December 6, 2018 at 8:16 AM

    Sending beams of light and love to you, Pip.

  • Priscilla Chalmers
    December 6, 2018 at 8:08 AM

    AWW PIP – I feel your pain. I have been “in therapy” for most of the last two years (lots of not very nice financial things going on in my household) and honestly, I would not be here had I not sought help. I am very lucky as I live in a Regional ‘University’ town which means I have access to a University Psychology School which allows me to have unlimited sessions for $25 a pop. I have finished my sessions for the year and I feel so much better but know that I really have to keep on top of it all. My mantra is ‘everything will be ok’ – and it will, and I hope this for you as well xx

  • Edie
    December 6, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    Awww Pip you are the best. We have to talk about this stuff, it’s so important. You are looking after yourself so well. And the food! I shall have to try some of those. Plus… potatoes are life! Yes! Xxx

  • Reannon
    December 6, 2018 at 1:09 AM

    Pip, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having such a hard time but I’m really glad you’re getting some help. Year ago I too had a mental health plan & the appointments I had with a councillor really helped.
    And WOW! All that food looks amazing! You are, as always, an inspiration.
    Hang in there, things will get easier/better/less anxiety filled xx

  • Annamari
    December 5, 2018 at 9:52 PM

    Thank you, Pip, for sharing, it really does help others in similar situation and there are so, so many suffering with all sorts of mental issues. These things are normal! I am sure everyone who follows your posts will root for you and cheer and wish for all the best. If there is anything we can do to help, let us know.

  • kate
    December 5, 2018 at 7:29 PM

    I hope you are soon feeling a whole lot better Pip, and thank you for sharing your story.
    I’m so impressed by all the cooking you have done and the deliciousness of it. wow.
    If you ever need any help with leftovers or such, just reach right out and ask.
    cheers Kate

  • Yvette
    December 5, 2018 at 6:31 PM

    OMG I will be there for dinner soon!
    And agreed, potatoes are healing.
    Roast chicken with veg is comfort on the plate.
    Love to you Pip for sharing and being vulnerable and strong and tackling things head on whilst cooking yourself some joy xx

  • Kate
    December 5, 2018 at 6:12 PM

    Anxiety is so annoying! I’ve really struggled on and off, therapy was really good, especially combined with some SSRI meds!

  • Helen Murti
    December 5, 2018 at 5:39 PM

    Someone told me there are 7 keys to good mental health and they all start with the letter F:
    Facts – about mental illness which you get from your doctor or psychologist
    Fitness – some kind of exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the block
    Food – eat more vegetables, and less sugar & processed food
    Friends/Family – reach out for support
    Faith – believe that things will get better
    Future – have something to look forward to
    and remember to have Fun.

    These have helped me with my depression & anxiety. And I know it does get better. xx

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