Healthy and delicious lettuce wraps

I love anything spicy and fusion and Asian is a favorite of mine. I think it is mostly because I love the explosion of flavours in my mouth – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter – it is  party in the mouth, simply and I love that!

We have always been big fans of lettuce wraps the traditional way – but this healthy version is now the preferred version – it tastes incredible and it makes you feel nourished and energized after eating it. It is really easy to make and even the kids love it – also works as a healthy snack.

 

I use organic Romaine lettuce for wraps and I fill them with what ever vegetable takes my fancy. Today it was snap peas, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, zucchini sliced into Julienne strips and arranged on the lettuce. I added some fresh cilantro on top.

For the dressing/dipping

I used

2 tablespoons of Hoisin sauce,

2 tablespoons of soya sauce

2 tablespoons of white wine,

A fresh squeeze of lime

1 table-spoon of sweet chili sauce

2 small teaspoons of cane sugar

1 table-spoon of finely chopped fresh ginger

1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh garlic

1 table-spoon of chopped green onions

Mix it all together and use it as a dipping sauce.

Wrap the lettuce around the filling and dip into the sauce for a mouth-watering experience.

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Healthy Apple Lemonade – and Thank You!

Weekends go fast! Don’t you think? Monday again and another week awaits us fresh and new.

This weekend was fun and full of sunshine. On Saturday, I was slinging green smoothies over the counter at a fundraiser and it was so much fun. There we were outside by a big chestnut tree,  sun was shining and lots of people had come out to enjoy the weather and the market, the Anglican Church had put out.

For me it was a bit of an experiment and I was not quite sure how the green drinks would be received. I was overwhelmed – people were lining up all wanting to try a drink of health. I was astounded to see kids in the line up too – many came back for seconds!! I wish I had bought a camera guy to help me shoot pictures – but the pictures in my memory are awesome.

Like the one little blond guy who poured green smoothies down and finished them off with a fabulous big smile on his face and the two kids, wearing hats and sunglasses looking so cool – had a sip of their smoothies and both their faces lit up in big smiles. I asked them how they liked the smoothies and two thumbs came flying up. Another little guy came with his dad and shook his head when his dad asked him if he wanted  a green smoothie. The dad took one sip of his glass and passed it to his son. He carefully tried it – then asked for his own!

Kids want to be healthy and if health is available they will make healthy choices – especially when we join in.

So I have been dreaming of smoothie bars in school yards and kids !

The smoothie I made at the market was this one

Before I give you the recipe for Healthy Apple Lemonade I would like to thank the wonderful people who nominated me for several awards – I feel very very spoiled !!!

Thank you to I ATE LUNCH  for awarding me with ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD and thank you ZEN AND GENKI for the THE SUNSHINE AWARD.

Thank you to GO BAKE  YOURSELF for THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD and thank you to WHOLISTICME for the THE KREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD

And while writing this blog post another award came in from UP HIGH LULLABY – Thank you for the INSPIRING BLOG AWARD

Thank you SO SO much to all of you from the bottom of my heart – I so appreciate it!! THANK YOU!!!!

Here we go – Healthy Apple Lemonade – what better to drink on a hot summers day? I mean in the shade under the apple tree?

1 lemon and 10 apples – it is important that the apples are hard and not soft. For this I have used green apples. You can also add a piece of ginger.

Juice it all and serve on ice.

Green and delicious juice

If there is one thing I am really addicted to – it is having my green juice and/or green smoothies every day!

In the beginning it was just me onboard – I would make a big batch of green smoothie, put it in the fridge or take it with me in a thermos, sip of it all day and feel great. Quite quickly, actually within a couple of days, I could hear my husband “sneaking” into the fridge and pouring himself a smoothie 🙂 and before too long – starting to insist and complaining if the jug in the fridge was empty!

To start with, the kids would hold their noses and shake their heads when they saw us drinking “the green stuff” and we would smile and say “cheers”. Then one day they too wanted to try. Time went by and we would drink fruit smoothies with almonds in the mornings, then one day:-)  “Mom, it’s not fair that you have finished off the green smoothies by the time we come home from school”!!

Now there is a fresh batch of green juice or a green smoothie everyday after school.

This  juice is made from :

A fresh bunch of Kale

10 green green apples

1 lemon and

a piece of fresh ginger

served on the rocks, of course.

A great afternoon snack!

Happy weekend !!

Spicy young coconut soup

This past week we have had some wonderfully warm and delicious summer days. So, with weather like that, and all the fresh and wonderful produce available I really enjoy creating and devouring new raw food  dishes. It’s fresh, it’s tasty and it is so good for body and soul .

Today, I was inspired by a fresh young coconut and thought: “How about some chilled, raw, spicy coconut soup?” – what a great meal that could be!.

So I cracked open a young coconut – but … it was not as easy as it sounds! However, in the end well worth it. I poured the nutritious coconut water into the blender and scraped out the soft and delicate coconut meat.

I added 2 cups of filtered water into the blender with the fresh coconut water.

Then I took:

the meat of the coconut

4 fresh lime leaves

Freshly squeezed lime juice – I used 4 of the small key limes

1 clove of garlic

2 tbl. spoons  of Braggs

2 teaspoons of good curry paste – different curry pastes have different strength,so add less and try as you go till it fits your taste

A slice of fresh ginger

2 handfuls of almonds

2 medjool dates

And blended it all into a creamy delicious raw soup base!

For the filling I finely chopped some ripe cherry tomatoes – the “reder” the better, some  zucchini, some mushrooms – I use either Portobello or brown, and added some sprigs of coriander.

Sprinkle the filler over the chilled soup and serve with extra cilantro. You can use any of your favorite vegetable as filling.

and … Enjoy!!!

Emotional health

Allowing your emotions to show is often looked upon as weakness – I don’t see it as weakness, I see it as the doorway to the most important experiences in life.

I am working on a textbook and this is a snippet of the work I try to convey as a psychotherapist – I would love your thoughts and feed back!

We live in a world that is mostly frightened of emotions. In our day, emotions are often something we hide from one another as we try to stay “strong” or “brave” – like a tin soldier. We fear that others will not like us if we show emotions – we fear rejection and to protect ourselves we create layers or walls of defenses.

Defenses are not created on purpose and not because we are weak – it happens unconsciously, as a way to survive.

We were born with emotions and we need emotions to navigate in life.

We learn to contain emotions from parents/significant others who react to us in healthy ways, without fear, when we express emotions. As children we need to be valued, understood and mirrored so that we can learn to contain emotions ourselves. By being seen, acknowledged and understood, a child learns to contain his or her own emotions and those of others. Of course this we can only dream of, it is of course not possible to provide all the time, even if we want to and know the importance of it, but if the child experiences healthy respect for emotions most of the time, they will develop a healthy sense of self.

The Swedish psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Clarence Crafoord talks about “containment” and his diagram (see below) gives us a way of understanding this important and edifying concept.

When something happens in the outer world (see the * in “outer world”) it activates an emotion in the child. From this, the child experiences a tension (” T “) and not knowing what it is, the child asks (back in the outer world): “Mom, is this okay?, what is this?, will I survive?, Do you still love me when I feel like this?” 

The diagram then shows how the parent/significant other refers to their own inner reference (” IR “) system. Inner Reference (IR) systems have been built from the experiences we have had as a child, how we were met or not met, when we showed emotions.

The parent either answers back to the child. “I see you are angry. It is okay to feel anger. Tell me more, what made you angry?  I understand that you got very angry when that happens ….. Anger is a natural feeling and I, of course, still love you when you are angry.”  Or – like many of us have tried:Hey, you stop that right now, go to your room, without your dinner and stay there till you can behave yourself! We don’t like you when you are angry.”

The response is then stored and builds the child’s Inner Reference system (IR) and becomes the way they relate to themselves and the world.

From the healthy response, a child will learn to contain emotions and react adequately on them. But if we as parents have a poor Inner Reference system , i.e., did not have good experiences and responses from our caregivers when we showed emotions as children, our responses to our children may not be good and they learn anxiety when they feel emotions and do not get good feedback. If the emotions are not acceptable for us or significant others because we did not learn to contain emotions, we may show anger, resentment and rejection towards the child – based on our own childhood experiences.

A child is 100% dependent on her/his caregivers; without them, the child cannot survive – so the anxiety from being rejected is high. To the child it means life or death! It is here that defense mechanisms are developed – in order to survive and be loved the child learns ways to appease. However, this costs and we pay a price, we suppress ourselves, our emotions and our needs.

Defense mechanisms can stay with us and create problems for us throughout our life. And when the defense mechanisms are too strong, we no longer feel our emotions and needs and we cannot navigate in life and feel what is good for us to do. We miss out on intimacy and authentic connection with others.

If we did not experience a healthy response to our emotions when we were children, it is as in Crafood’s diagram – our IR system gets built of these inadequate responses.

I was one of the people who did not get healthy responses to my emotions as a child and my IR system was not supportive of good emotional health. I needed many defense mechanisms to survive.

Looking at Crafood’s diagram helps to understand: Moving back a generation, I can put my mom in as the child and my grandparents on the parent side. My mother’s emotions were not met sufficiently by her parents when she was a child. Thus, she did not learn healthy ways to respond to emotions. I could also put my grandparents and my great-grandparents into the model. Crafood’s model shows the way that we inherit  behaviours. There is always a reason to the way we respond and it is not about blaming, it is about understanding.

By understanding why my mom did what she did and at the same time feeling the emotions that comes with that, brings me into a place of empathy, love and forgiveness. Feeling the emotions was the most crucial part – by feeling the emotions I healed and was able to break the circle of emotional “unhealth” and then I was able to give my children more of the good responses that build on to their emotional health.

Clarence Crafoord’s containment diagram has no age frame or limitations – we can change our Inner Reference system (IR) by sharing emotions with people who are able to be present with us. And assist others in having great experiences when they share emotions too. It is never too late to do that – awareness, understanding and feeling is key to all change in life.

Emotions are the doorway to strength, joy, love, creativity – to the most important things in life!

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Fajitas with stacked baked vegetables

I came up with this recipe and thought it was a perfect Friday/weekend dinner – a taste of summer and comfort,

at the same time healthy, easy to make and so good they have been added to our list of favorites!

The fajitas are made with baked aubergine, tomatoes, onion and zucchini stacks and Portobello mushrooms, served on a warm tortilla with tomato salsa and guacamole.

For the vegetable stacks you need

Big ripe tomatoes

Aubergine

Zucchini

Red onion

Portobello mushrooms

Olive oil

Lemon juice

Slice the aubergine and place them side by side on a baking tray that has been drizzled with olive oil. Squeeze some lemon juice on the aubergine and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Slice the tomatoes and put them on top of the aubergine. Slice the onions and add the slices on top of the tomatoes. Slice the zucchini and add the slices on top of the onion – drizzle with olive oil and sea salt.

Clean the Portobello mushrooms removing the stalks – but be sure to include them too. Place the mushrooms – tops down – on a baking tray that has been drizzled with olive oil and add another little drizzle of olive oil to them along with some sea salt.

Bake the vegetable stacks and the mushrooms at 360 F til tender and golden – about 45 min

For the guacamole:

Tender avocados

Lemon

Lime

Garlic

Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

The avocados are just amazing right now – so intense and tasty. So I don’t add too many things to the guacamole to be able to enjoy the flavors of the avocado itself. Just mash it up, add freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice and freshly squeezed garlic, taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fresh Salsa

This evening, I cheated because I was in a hurry and bought a freshly made salsa from my local store. Usually I make my own, like this:

Fresh ripe tomatoes

Red Onion

Bunch of fresh coriander

Red chilli

Lime juice

Finely chop tomatoes, onions, red chili and fresh coriander – mix it all together, add some freshly squeezed lime juice, taste with sea salt.

The glorious result

Assemble:- place a warm whole wheat tortilla on  a plate – add  a good spoonful of guacamole, add the baked Portobello and vegetable, top with the salsa  and serve.

And enjoy

We have a long weekend here – the kids are off school Friday to Monday – and we are looking forward to a long beautiful weekend.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!

May I be Frank

Last week I “met” an incredible man, with an amazing story. He is one of THE most inspiring persons I have ever “met” and I am in awe by his story I saw the documentary “May I be Frank” –  An incredibly inspiring story about Frank, a Sicilian from Brooklyn, living in San Fransisco. Frank is on drugs, overweight, actually morbidly obese, depressed, pre-diabetic and fighting hepatitis C. He is living life in the fast lane with drugs, women and alcohol – and suffering.

Some day, some how (?), he walks into a Raw Food Vegan Restaurant and they ask him “What do you want to do before you die?” He says “I want to fall in love one more time, but I don’t think that will ever happen with the body I have”. The young guys in the restaurant convince him to try to change his life and in the process be part of a documentary.

The movie “May I be Frank” was born and Frank was “reborn”!

To watch the transformation he goes through is incredible. He goes on a plant-based diet and gets rid of the toxins in his life. He starts to only eat pure food. He learns to meditate, to practice yoga and he learns to be kind to himself.  I laughed and I cried throughout the film – and I absolutely love when Frank at some point says “I am becoming the Frank I was supposed to be all along”!

Watch the trailer and be inspired!

On the website you will be able to read more about Frank and you can rent or buy the movie. I watched it on “Play it fwd” paid to watch it on-line and was able to pass it on to a friend for free.

Today Frank is a walking testimony of what is possible. He looks drop dead gorgeously handsome and, yes he has fallen in love – with himself, with life and with a beautiful woman who loves him back!

He is Frank!

http://mayibefrankmovie.com/

Worlds healthiest “fast food”

Are you busy and think  it takes too much time and effort to prepare healthy food?

Green smoothies are the easiest and healthiest “fast food” ever. When I am really busy and don’t really have the time to prepare  a nutritious meal – I make a green smoothy! It has everything in it that my body needs, the nutrients, the proteins and the fibers – it keeps me glowing and energized for hours on end. I make a big portion, put it in the fridge and even when I’m heading out on the road, away all day, I can bottle it and take it with me to enjoy later.

This recipe has

Fresh spinach

Mango

Grapes

Celery

pear,

Lime

Kiwi

And filtered water/ice cubes

Cheers to your health!

Green Smoothies are:

  • easy to make and easy to clean up afterwards
  • loaded with nutrients and proteins
  • full of fibers that keeps you full and satisfied
  • a perfect way to reduce/eliminate cravings for unhealthy food
  • a good way to balance your blood sugar
  • easy to digest and assimilate
  • a great way to alkalize the body helping to fight disease
  • a great way to lower cholesterol naturally
  • an energy booster
  • boosting your immune system
  • great way to help lose weight
  • an easy way to get  greens and fruit – in fact it is difficult to eat your way through the amounts of greens and fruits we need, but by juicing or making smoothies, its easy.
  • supporting your overall health – both physical and emotional.

Cheers to your health

Virtual Vegan Potluck – It’s Party Time

This is it – the day I have been looking forward to for weeks have finally arrived! The Virtual Vegan Potluck

– The Virtual Vegan Potluck was initiated and arranged by one of my favorite virtual friends and bloggers, Annie at anunrefinedvegan!

She birthed this idea and made it possible – thank you Annie!! I brought you some flowers from my garden

How it works: 

The virtual vegan potluck is a gathering of enthused foodies, lovely people who have created amazing dishes that they have “virtually brought” to this party. Please come and mingle, enjoy and visit with all the amazing bloggers and indulge with your eyes and soul in these fantastic creations. I feel like I am in heaven – this is a vegan gourmet feast! And a perfect way to be inspired!

I hope you enjoy it and visit all the bloggers and see their delicious creations.

There are two buttons below – a beautiful forward and backward button created by Annie. Click one of them & you are on your way!

For this amazing feast I have created a grilled pepper and zucchini salad with pine nuts – it is served on a piece of homemade roll with a deliciously tangy humus that I have specially created for today.

The Grilled Pepper and Zucchini salad with roasted pine nuts:

4 peppers

4 small zucchini

pine nuts

Fresh big leaved parsley

Split in half and grill the peppers on the BBQ on the skin side till they are literally black on the skin. I added some fresh oregano and rosemary inside while they were grilling. Leave them to cool in a closed container to help loosen the skin. Peel off the skin.

Slice the zucchini and toss them in a bowl with a dash of olive oil. Put them individually on a baking try and bake them at 360F till they are lovely and golden. Check them and remove from the tray as they are ready. They will not all be ready at the same time so keep an eye on them – have patience. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper when they are done.

Dry roast the pine nuts on a frying pan – just slightly gently browned.

Cut the red peppers into smaller bite sized bits. Mix with the golden baked zucchini slices. Pick the leaves of the parsley, rinse well and add to the salad. Serve with roasted pine nuts.

Deliciously tangy and homemade humus

1 1/2 cup of chick peas – garbanzo beans

3 bay leaves

3 springs of fresh thyme

3 table spoons of organic Tahini

juice of 1 lemon

small bunch of big leafed parsley, rinsed

5 small cloves of garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cup of olive oil

small teaspoon of ground cumin

Soak the chick peas for 24 hrs. Cook in plenty of water with bay leaves, thyme sprigs and sea salt – for about an hour but check along the way – they need to be soft, not crunchy.

Strain them and leave them to cool. When they are cool put them in the blender, add 1 & 1/2 cups of olive oil, squeeze in the juice of one lemon, add 3 tablespoons of organic tahini, the garlic and a small teaspoon of ground cumin, chopped parsley. Blend it all together, add some filtered water if it is too thick. Taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Homemade humus is easy to make and it tastes so good – you can really taste the difference!

This is it – ready to serve and enjoy!

This salad taste so good! And being a true Dane I like to serve it as an open-faced sandwich on a freshly made bread rolls with the humus and the salad on top, just like this

Oh by the way – those little flowers are edible sweet little rosemary flowers.

This is my contribution. Thank you for coming to the Virtual Potluck – I am thrilled you came – and so the party continues the show goes on and on and on – click forward or backward as you please.                                                                                                                                                                     Enjoy and have fun