In 2008, Annika Sorenstam left her career as a pro golfer to focus on her family. Now a full-time mom to one-year old daughter, Ava, Annika is dedicated to raising her family with balance, grace, and devotion. Among the many “routine” tasks of motherhood, Annika loves to cook and makes much of Ava’s food from scratch. Being Swedish, Annika feeds her family a variety of foods while incorporating a European style of cooking into their menu.
Annika took some time out of her busy schedule to share a few of her favorite tips for successfully feeding her family. In her home, she’s discovered a lot of ways to make food fun, healthy, and full of memorable moments. Here’s how Annika feeds her family well, with a recipe for her favorite Pasta Bolognese.
How does food & family work in your home?
Dining together is an important thing in our family. We enjoy the time together and make sure we do it at least once a day. This is the time we catch up with each other and share moments from the day. I love to cook and after a long work day. I look forward to being in the kitchen and making something for the three of us. I find it relaxing and it recharges me at times. Mike is in charge of the table-setting and the clean up. We have our roles and each do our part.
What does family dinner look like in your home?
It varies as I think it’s important to have a diversified diet. I try to alternate the ingredients. We have chicken, fish and meat at least once a week. I incorporate vegetables and fruit as much as possible. Our side dishes vary from rice to pasta to potatoes.
What are your family’s favorite meals?
Our homemade pasta Bolognese.
How do you make family mealtimes memorable?
Just by being together and enjoying each other’s company. Ava has added a whole new dimension as she sits in her high-chair between us and keeps us entertained. It may be slightly louder and a little more action, but it is very rewarding.
What would you have your children learn from you about food and family?
It’s important to be together despite busy schedules. Eating smart at the right times goes a long way. I think it will also lead to open communication as Ava gets older and shares her school day’s activities with us.
Do you have any special traditions, customs, or memories of mealtimes with your family?
I have many. Having dinner together is a tradition I have taken from my childhood. It makes me comfortable and gives me harmony and peace. I cherished these times as a kid and Mike was the same way with his family, so we have established this routine with our young family to share the tradition.
What sort of food & family philosophies drive the way you feed your family?
Moderation and consistency are my mottos. It’s all about eating a little bit of everything, that way it’s fun and not boring. Having a variety of foods is important to make sure you get all the nutrients a body needs to function and grow. I also live by having a consistent eating schedule, if possible. Our bodies like routines and structure.
Favorite recipe books and food websites/stores/products?
Whole Foods is our favorite store. I watch the Food Network for ideas and I love to cook with fresh seafood.
Does your family support a food-related charity that you’d like to introduce to our readers?
My Foundation (www.annikafoundation.org) teaches children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition.
ANNIKA’S BOLOGNESE PASTA
“This has always been one of my favorite dishes to cook as well as eat! It’s a very simple recipe and one that I look forward to making when I am in need of a home-cooked meal. It’s a great dish to enjoy after a day of practice or a long workout. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!”
1 lb. ground beef
1 yellow onion (chopped)
1 carrot (chopped into small pieces)
1 28 oz. can tomatoes (stewed or crushed)
1 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp milk
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
¼ cup half-and-half
Pinch of pepper
1. Start by browning the ground beef. Add a pinch of pepper to flavor the meat. When finished browning, put on paper towels to absorb the grease.
2. Slowly sauté the chopped onions until golden brown. Add the chopped carrots and blend together.
3. Add the browned beef and the milk to thicken.
4. Add the beef stock and soy sauce.
5. Pour the canned tomatoes into the mix and let simmer for an hour. If using dried oregano and basil, add them before simmering— if using fresh herbs, add them at the end.
6. When you are ready to serve, stir in the half-and-half to make it a little creamy and tasty!!
7. Serve hot over your favorite pasta — mine is fettuccini — with some good Parmesan cheese.
In her 15 years as a professional golfer, Annika became the most dominant women’s golfer of all-time. Throughout her storied career, she rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and events and brought unprecedented attention to women’s golf. Annika stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and the ANNIKA brand of businesses, including the ANNIKA Academy, ANNIKA Financial Group, ANNIKA Course Design, the ANNIKA Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, signature high-end wines with Wente Vineyards and an online retail shop, shopannika.com. In 2007, Annika created the ANNIKA Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition, and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams. Throughout Annika’s many successes on and off the course, she remains a sincere, down to earth and approachable person. Annika loves cooking, fine wines, and spending time at home with her husband Mike McGee and their daughter Ava.