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Life hacks: Create your stress-free space

Actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher’s top tips for adding some serenity to a packed schedule.
Simple recipes can help maximise on your me-time.

Over the last few years, self-care has taken on heightened importance for parentsof young children. Actress JoAnna Garcia Swisher, best-known for her role of Vicki Appleby in Freaks and Geeks and herself a mother to two children, has these tips to offer when it comes to parents creating their own ‘sanctuary’ despite packed schedules and noisy living areas:

Balance beautiful with functional: Find hosting staples like cutting boards, utensils and napkins that match the vibe of your personal space so the area can double as an entertaining space.

Keep it easy to clean: Choose furniture and decor that can handle a little mess from snacks, which are perfect for enjoying while binge-watching favorite shows. She recommends snacks like Mrs. T’s Mini Pierogies partnered with a favourite dip.

Add a personal touch: Showcase a piece that tells a story, like a favourite embroidered pillow, piece of meaningful jewelry or framed photo of an amazing memory.

Bring In something cosy: Add cosy touches like a blanket, fluffy pillow or favourite indoor wear.

Make a statement: Let your inner designer shine by taking a chance on something bold that represents a part of your personality you don’t normally indulge.

Plan an anchor piece: This item is the foundation for everything, such as a vintage armchair, comfy couch or storage piece that tells a story. Choose this item first then build around it.

Parents on cooking duty can also prioritise self-care by whipping up an easy-to-make recipe, like these Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers, for themselves, a gathering of friends or an afternoon family snack. Pasta pockets filled with creamy mashed potatoes, cheesy goodness and other big, bold flavours, Mrs. T’s Pierogies are simple to prepare. This means more time for parents to do the stuff they love like unwinding from the day with favourite foods in their recharging spaces. You will find even more recipe inspiration at MrsTsPierogies.com, which has partnered up with Garcia Swish to spotlight the importance of finding ways to recharge and help prioritise you-time.

Recipe: Margherita Pizza Pierogy Skewers

For the pizza skewers you will need: 1 box Mrs. T’s Mini Classic Cheddar Pierogies, 3 cups cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for brushing pierogies, divided, 1teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1-2 cups mozzarella balls (18 total), fresh basil leaves, bamboo skewers (10 inches)

For the fresh pesto you will need: 2 cups fresh basil, 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4    cup pine nuts, 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese, salt, to taste, ground black pepper, to taste.

Preheat air fryer. In small bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt, ground black pepper and oregano; toss to coat. Transfer tomatoes to air fryer tray or basket. Cook in air fryer 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are slightly charred; remove and set aside.

Lay pierogies on same tray or basket. Make sure not to overlap. Lightly brush each side with olive oil. Cook about 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Flip halfway through cooking.

To make the pesto, in a food processor, process basil; garlic; olive oil; pine nuts; Parmesan cheese; salt, to taste; and pepper, to taste, until smooth. If preferred, you may also use store-bought pesto.

Add one pierogy to bamboo skewer followed by one tomato, one mozzarella ball and one basil leaf. Repeat with ingredients until each skewer is filled. Drizzle with pesto.

For more Sunday Circle magazine features check out this feature about Fjura, a multi-disciplinary artistic collaboration, or this interview with fashion content creator Malcolm Gauci.

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