How best to tackle a challenging situation?

It’s that time again.  Time to put the honesty hat on and brace yourself for an argument.

Whether it be a difficult and honest conversation with a friend, employee or client we often freak out, get nervous and lose our shhhhh$t…before the conversation has even begun.  Our brains rehearse every possible scenario and we often go in expecting the worse.

There are 4 pillars to keep in mind when tacking the traumatic convo:

–       Prepare: Know exactly what you want to say.  Write it down and read over it a few times.  The more you know your stuff, the less likely you are to waffle on and allow emotion to mount.

–       Use Evidence:  Stick to the facts.  “I asked you to do this in this email, and this is what you have given me”.  No one can argue with fact (unless you’re a 10 year old child…and you will just argue with everything!)

–       Eliminate Emotion: I’m not telling you to be a robot and not be empathetic when communicating sad/bad news, however it is best not to hold the persons hand and shed a tear with them.  Stay strong.  The best way to do this is back to preparation, expect various outcomes and decide the best way to react.

–       Confidence: Be confident when communicating.  If you are confident in what you are communicating, the individual is more likely to be comfortable.

Whilst these 4 pillars are terrific for tackling a challenging conversation, they can be applied to many situations in life.

Last week I was given a mission:  Cook a plant-based dinner for 4 of my lovely girlfriends.  What do I cook people who eat what I don’t eat anymore?? (think wine, bread, pasta, chocolate, chips, lollies, but also lots of fruit, veg – these are some healthy but ‘normal’ girls).

I prepared, I stuck to some evidence (what do our tastebuds LOVE?!), I eliminated emotion (don’t freak out when they tell you the green juice tastes like the grass they ate that day in kindergarten) and I was confident serving them some tasty deliciously nourishing food.

The verdict? They requested the recipe…for the juice, asked how to make the ‘pasta’ and are addicted the to raw ‘cheesecake’…more about that one later.

Here I give you…

Caramalised Maple, Balsamic & Coconut Roasted Pumpkin served with Basil & Pine Nut Pesto ‘Pasta’.

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Caramalised Maple, Balsamic & Coconut Roasted Pumpkin (serves 4)

Ingredients:

–       Half a butternut pumpkin cut into wedges. (approx. 6cm long by 2cm thick.
1 wedge per person)

–       1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

–       1 tablespoon organic maple syrup

–       2 tablespoons organic coconut oil

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Melt coconut oil and whisk with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
  3. Pour mixture over pumpkin wedges and rub in.
  4. Gently place each pumpkin wedge on the baking tray and place tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Turn pumpkin half way through to ensure caramalisation on each side.
  6. After 20 minutes gently poke pumpkin in the centre with a fork to ensure it is cooked in the centre (fork should easily go in).

Basil & Pinenut Pesto Pasta (serves 4)

Ingredients:

–       4 organic zucchinis

–       1 cup baby spinach

–       2 cups fresh basil leaves

–       2 tablespoons olive oil

–       ½ cup toasted pinenuts

–       2 cloves of garlic

–       pinch of pink salt & black pepper

–       juice of half a lemon

Method:

–       Mix all ingredients except zucchini in a small food processor or blender.  If using a blender please pulse, stop half way through and mix with a spoon to ensure an even and chunky texture.

–       For the ‘pasta’ use a vegetable spiraler or potato peeler and form long strips of ‘zucchini pasta’.

–       In a large bowl coat ‘zucchini pasta’ with pesto.

–       To serve place a pumpkin wedge upright on a flat plate.  Using tongs pick up some ‘pasta’ strips and twist the tongs a few times so the pasta wraps around the tongs.  Gently place the tongs on the plate and release the pasta so it is a circle of pasta strips wrapped around each other (see picture).  Decorate with fresh basil leaves and whole pinenuts.

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