How do you instil confidence in your children every day?


What about yourself?


Do you remind yourself of the positive attributes you have, and focus less on the challenges or negative situations?

Well, about a year ago, my 6-year-old daughter came to chat to me one evening about a situation in the schoolyard she had to deal with that day. She was upset and troubled by it and for her, it was a Big Deal. I, of course, wanted to reassure her how great she was and how this moment would pass. More than that, I wanted to give her the tools to deal with situations like this whenever they arise, and they will arise, again and again.

And so we sat down and created our 'jars of awesomeness!'

We got a sheet of paper, wrapped it around a large jam jar, cut it to size and then decorated it.  We put our names on it and stuck it onto the jar. We then got lots of 'post it' notes and we started to write down some of the good things that have happened to us lately or things we were proud of, eg. helping someone in the yard, making up after an argument, doing well in a test.... For the more adult version, it was achieving a goal, overcoming a challenge, doing something enjoyable etc.  

Then, the next time she was feeling down, challenged or lacking confidence or motivation, I encouraged her to sit down with the jar, empty it out and look through each of the pieces of paper to remind herself of all the great things she has done. At 6, she chose to draw little pictures that reminded her of a positive situation. For me, I wrote the note and a date.


It is all too easy to forget what we have achieved, where we have come from and all too easy to focus on the here and now. One year on, the jar is full so I think it is time for us to start another jar! Some weeks we wrote something each day, others only once a week, either way, there was always a jar of notes to tell us how great we really were.

And so to a jar of healthy eating awesomeness!


I often offer this in the goodie bags at my cookery classes. It is a fantastic, nutritious and tasty snack, ideal to have in the car or at your desk at work when you get hungry. I have activated the seeds so that they are easier on our digestive system.

Phytic acid, contained in nuts and seeds is the storage form of phosphorus in plants. It binds to minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, and manganese in the digestive tract, making them unavailable. When we consume foods with phytic acid, our ability to absorb the minerals is impaired and mineral deficiencies and bone loss may result.

Eating a handful of nuts occasionally will not make a big dent in your nutrient absorption, but if you eat a lot of nuts and seeds (and grains and legumes) it will impact your health.

Phytase is the enzyme that breaks up phytates. Some animals have plenty, but humans do not. The way to reduce phytic acid and neutralize it, is to soak, sprout and/or ferment the nut or seed. I have one client whose child is deficient in Vit B6 and Zinc, and I suggest these toasted seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds to assist with that. It is a great nut-free, nutrient dense healthy food to have at school.  Enjoy!

Toasted Pumpkin and sunflower seeds



1 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1-2 tbsp. tamari/Bragg liquid aminos



1.     Soak seeds in water for approx. 1 hr.

2.     Rinse and drain seeds.

3.     Place in a dry pan on the hob over a medium heat for approx. 10-15 mins until all the water has evaporated and seeds are crunchy.

4.     Alternatively, place in an oven at 180°C, on a flat tray for 10-15 mins until dried through.

5.     Sprinkle with 1-2tbsp tamari.


Variations: If you don’t have time to soak the seeds, just simply rinse and toast.


Serving suggestions: serve in a bowl and allow people to nibble away! Package in small containers for snacks on the go or for lunch boxes.


Storage:  Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to three weeks if they last that long!


Fiona is a chef, home economist and mum of two. Her passions lie in cooking and sailing. She runs healthy cookery demos from her home in Dublin and provides in-company healthy cooking demos with Fiona’s food for life. Check out her awesome recipes and blog here.

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