To Travel is to Live

Packing and getting ready for my flight tonight to Copenhagen.

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote: To Travel is to Live” Hans Christian Andersen

I am overly exited and really looking forward to seing family and old friends again!

Email, skype, Viber and texting is all very good – but nothing in the world, takes the place of a real hug,  real conversation and real actual time spend together!

I will be posting on the 1st of November and be part of the amazing Vegan Virtual Potluck – so stay tuned.

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Raw for a day

Try to go raw for a day? To eat only plant-based foods that have not been heated! A whole day with freshly pressed juices, greens smoothies, veggies, fruits, nuts, leafy greens – what better way to boost your energy and nourish your body!

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a big fan of VB6, i.e., be Vegan Before 6 pm. Often the whole family go whole days as plant-based eaters and we feel huge changes in our bodies, both physically and emotionally. And our body are satisfied, so we keep coming back for more.

I think it is great to go one day a week completely raw and allow the body to feast and rejuvenate.

This means for one day:

  • No coffee
  • No processed sugar
  • No diary
  • No meat
  • No alcohol

It means lots of:

  • Filtered water
  • herbal tea
  • freshly squeezed juices
  • green smoothies
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • leafy greens
  • nuts
  • seeds

Going raw for one or more days can be a really great way to boost your health.

Menu

For breakfast – Raw banana oatmeal with almonds and freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice

Mid morning – A green smoothie with spinach

Lunch – Salad with apples, pomegranate, pine nuts and a pomegranate dressing

Afternoon – Chocolate milkshake made with almonds, dates, vanilla and coco

Dinner- Green and delicious spring rolls

Breakfast: Raw banana oatmeal with almonds and freshly squeezed orange and pineapple juice

Banana oatmeal:

1/2 cup raw oats

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup filtered water

1 banana

3 Medjool dates

Add it to the blender and blend it to a smooth porridge, serve with slices of banana and a teaspoon of agave syrup

For the juice I simply pressed organic oranges and 1/2 pineapple – served it on ice.

Mid morning:  A green smoothie and a handful of nuts

This smoothie is so good!

Good handful of fresh spinach

a pear

1/2 some pineapple

a grapefruit

an orange

some filtered water

crushed ice

Blend all of this, serve and enjoy

Lunch: Salad with apples, pomegranate, pine nuts and pomegranate dressing – avocado and a green smoothie

I love this very fresh salad – the pomegranate and the apples go so well together, and with the pine nuts and the  dressing it is just heavenly good.

I use a mix of organic lettuce – use any of your favorite

1/2 pomegranate

one apple

2 spoonful of pine nuts

For the dressing:

1/2 pomegranate

2 spoons of raw honey or agave

2 spoons of balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2-1 clove of garlic

sea salt

Take out the seeds of the pomegranate and add to the blender along with balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil – blend into a dressing.

Arrange the washed and dried lettuce in a bowl, toss it with some of that delicious dressing, cut the apple in to bite sizes and add to the lettuce, sprinkle with pine nuts – enjoy!

Slice an avocado in half on the side and some of the green smoothie.

Afternoon: Chocolate milkshake made with almonds, dates, vanilla and coco

This is a treat – to make it extra smooth soak the almonds beforehand for at least 3-4 hours.

Add 1 cup of soaked raw almonds

2 -2 1/2 cups of filtered water( all depending on how you like it)

a bit of vanilla

5-6 Medjool dates

2 spoons of  raw coco powder

Crushed ice

Blend and enjoy – cool, chocolaty, creamy and sweet!

Dinner: Green and delicious spring rolls 

These rolls have become a favorite of ours – packed full of flavors.

see recipe here

Crispiest Crunchiest no-knead Bread

Okay – I love bread,  I am a bit of a bread-nerd actually. I make it every day – it has become a routine for me to whip it up before I go to bed, plunk it in the fridge overnight or tuck it in on the kitchen counter with a wet cloth on top and kiss it goodnight. Go to sleep, wake up, turn the oven on, make my tea, put the bread in the hot oven, have my shower and ………. voila freshly made warm and delicious bread!!!

But before I share the bread recipe,  I have something really exciting to share!

The 1st of November I will be participating in an awesome event – The Virtual Vegan Potluck!! I participated in one in May this year and it was so much fun! More than 100 wonderful bloggers from all over the world will bring their amazing food creations to the Virtual Potluck table! So stay tuned in – come and visit and join the fun.

I am not vegan, but I enjoy to nourish my body by feeding it lots of plant-based foods, and more plant-based foods than other types of food. The Virtual Vegan Potluck is a great way to get inspired – I promise you – there will be lots of scrumptious recipes.

I will be creating a new dessert. I can reveal that I am making a raw food healthy version of an old (fat) favorite. It will be soft, wild, intense and super delicious. And at the time, I will be in Copenhagen, so it will be created directly from my Danish kitchen in the heart of the old city.

So stay tuned – 1st of November 2012 – and now to the bread!

It is becoming popular to bake bread in an extremely hot oven in a cast iron pot with a lid!  I have been watching these developments for a while, but had never tried it. One small thing was that I didn’t have the pot! Then one day I saw a post from In Pursuit of more – one of my favorite blogs! Shira had made bread so delicious, in a cast iron pot – it was so gorgeously beautiful that bread, that I had to make it. I went straight out, bought a pot and went in the kitchen to make bread. Gosh I could hardly sleep that night – excited to get that bread in the oven!

Let just say it – it became the crispiest, crunchiest bread I have ever tried – it was sooooo good!

Here is my recipe:

2 cups of water

1 teaspoon dried yeast

3 tbs olive oil

2 teaspoon salt

4 cups wheat flour

1 cup rye flour

1/2 cup wheat to work the dough on the counter

In a big bowl – add the water, dissolve the yeast in the water add the olive oil and start adding the flour a little at the time, while constantly stirring,  until you have a  dough.

Cover with a wet cloth and leave it to rest

The longer you raise it the better the bread – so preferably overnight!

For this bread I left it for 4 hours in the bowl, on the kitchen counter. I will show you the difference – later. They both turned out really nice but, the one bread that was left overnight was crispier and had more air holes in the structure.

After the 4 hours – I carefully scooped it out on to a clean counter with 1/2 cup of flour – there I carefully folded it and dusted it with extra flour like this

No kneading needed – cover with a wet cloth and leave to raise for another 2 hours like this

After about an hour and a 1/2, turn the oven on to 450F. Once it has reached the temperature – put the cast iron pot and the lid into the oven. Let them heat up for a 1/2 hr – no need to grease it or oil it, just heat it.

After heating it – carefully – and equipped with what you need so as not to burn yourself, take out the pot – and carefully, carefully place the dough in this extremely hot pot

Put the lid on and put it back in the oven to bake for 35 min. After 35 min. remove the lid and continue baking for another 10 min.

Viola the bread is ready to enjoy!

And, for the more patient cooks:

Here is the bread that I made which had been raising overnight. It was made with just organic wheat flour.

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight” – M.F.K. Fischer

Lets play!

I knew it – I’ve said it all along – play is a need! I feel the truth of it in the core of my very being – we need to play – as much as we need to be loved, feel connected, eat, drink and sleep – we need to play. But, seriousness reigns, it has taken over, work and duties rule the world.

We play when we are children, but as soon as we start school we are trained to sit still, put play aside, in order to learn to concentrate on more important stuff, like Math, Social Studies and English.

We are hushed and told to behave, we learn what is appropriate and what is not – and as we grow, sadly, play becomes more and more inappropriate. “You are too old for that! ” Play becomes a guilty pleasure taking our focus away from the “real” things in life, like work.

Dr. Stuart Brown, a researcher who has dedicated his life to the study of play and how play affects us, has found wonderful things about the importance of work, and so sorry: play! His research shows that play is good for us!

Kids do it, naturally. People in love do it, naturally. Animals do it, naturally. We all do it, naturally! But most of us work to suppress that part of us, many of us have actually forgotten how to do it and  become uncomfortable even thinking about it. The old messages come up – don’t be silly now – it’s not appropriate – don’t make a fool of yourself, and so on.

I am so happy I stumbled upon Dr. Stuart Brown and learned about his research on play. Play is a need.

At the moment I am devouring Dr. Brown’s book that is simply called Play. On the back of his book it says:

Play is fun, but it is anything but trivial. It is a basic biological drive as integral to our health as sleep and nutrition. When we play, we are open to possibility and the sparks of new insights. Play – defined as any kind of purposeless, all-consuming,restorative activity – is the single most significant factor in determining our success and happiness.”

I am sure he is right – if we don’t play there is an imbalance, there is something missing. I am sure you will agree with me that nothing heals like a good laugh, play makes us forget and we are in the moment, nothing else matters  –  it is food for the soul, and at the same time we connect with others and create bonds.

I hope you will enjoy this Ted Talk

The message is clear – LET’S PLAY 😉

More about the book,  http://www.stuartbrownmd.com/

Life is too important to be taken seriously – Oscar Wilde

Green smoothie with apple and fresh thyme

There is something about mixing fruits and herbs – Apple & Thyme – Strawberry & Basil – Peaches & Rosemary – it creates such wonderful flavor combinations. Here, while the autumn rain is pouring down outside my window, I still recall the Strawberry/ Lime/ Basil popsicles we made this summer.

Today’s delicious green smoothie is made with apples and thyme and it is scrumptious!

Continue reading

Great scientific proof – mindfulness treats depression and anxiety

Anyone who has ever been defeated by depression or overwhelmed by scary anxiety attacks, will know what I am talking about here. It is an awful experience!!

But, it doesn’t need to be! It’s indeed possible to get help and find relief from both anxiety and depression! There are many great roads leading to Rome – one of them is mindfulness, which is what I’m going to talk about.

I read an interesting research article in the Danish Videnskab.dk. The Danish researchers have found that practicing mindfulness actually helps, if it is done properly. The study shows that young adults suffering from depression or social phobia, and, as well, cancer patients, suffering from depression and anxiety, all show significant improvement after just 8 weeks of intensive mindfulness training!

The research has been published in an Ph.D study: ‘Mindfulness-based therapy for social phobia, recurrent depression, and psychological symptoms in cancer patients and survivors‘.

The research shows;

  • Patients using a mindfulness program improved the same as patients who went through Cognitive treatment.
  • the re-occurrence of depression is significantly less if patients use mindfulness, and
  • cancer patients feel less depressed and anxious.

According to Psychologist Dr. Jacob Piet from Aarhus University who was in charge of the research – it is quite fantastic that an intensive 8 weeks course of mindfulness practice can improve peoples’ lives like this! But, it is an intense program and people have to be motivated.

Dr. Piet says that mindfulness means “conscious presence” and many misunderstand it and think it is “just” something we do. But it is not that simple, he says. Mindfulness is a competence that comes with dedicated practice and intense training – every day.

When you are mindful you are in the present moment aware of emotions, sensations, thoughts, impulses  – you observe what goes on right now, without judging or analyzing.

To use mindfulness as a successful treatment it has to be practiced intensely over a period of time.

The first study that was done showed that relaxation was just as effective as confronting a fear. A group of young patients suffering from social phobia – was separated into two groups.  One group was treated with cognitive therapy where part of the treatment was to confront the fears – which is common in cognitive therapy. Another group was treated with mindfulness based therapy .

The results showed that mindfulness treatment was just as effective as cognitive therapy.

The second study showed that mindfulness can be as effective as medication! This study involved 593 patients with reoccurring depression and as a treatment diligently practiced mindfulness. The results showed a decrease in re-occurrence of depression with up to 43%! The research is so promising that the British Health Authorities recommend the method to all people who have previously suffered depression.

Cancer patients, as a group, are understandably often suffering from depression and anxiety. In the third part of the study, 1403 cancer patients participated. The results showed that after 2 months practice, the patients felt less anxious and less depressed. These cancer patients felt emotionally better, after using the mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness

I can understand why mindfulness could play such an important role in overcoming depression and anxiety – and even preventing it from reoccurring.

Mindfulness teaches us to be in the moment – it teaches us to observe without judgement – whatever feeling, sensation, thought or impulse there is. It teaches us to feel, rather than suppress – it teaches us to tune in with our core. It teaches us to relax, take some time every day to be in the moment, without judging without fixing – just being.

Interesting links about mindfulness:

Center for mindfulness

http://mymindfulnessblog.wordpress.com/

UCSD Center for mindfulness http://ucsdcfm.wordpress.com/

UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center http://marc.ucla.edu/

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

In Canada, it’s Thanksgiving, a long weekend and I have been baking little Sugar Pumpkins for the famous and traditional pumpkin pies that I will be making this weekend for Thanksgiving dinner.

This afternoon, I thought that an afternoon Chai tea and a homemade cinnamon roll would be something wonderful! And since the sugar pumpkins were standing there – so beautifully, cooling off,  before going in to the pies, I thought, maybe pumpkin would taste really good in cinnamon rolls? And with Chai tea?

I had extra pumpkin, so what the heck. I gave it a try and 2 cups of blended deliciously baked and beautifully orange pumpkin went straight into my cinnamon dough.

These Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls will go in the recipe book – they were so tasty, moist and overly yummy. And they were awesome and perfect with the afternoon Chai tea.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

1 1/4 cup of milk

1 1/2 teaspoon of dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

2 cups of baked and blended pumpkin

7 cups of flour + a bit more for rolling the dough out

1/2 cup of raw sugar

1 teaspoon of cardamom

1/2  teaspoon of salt

Gently heat the milk with the butter and let it cool slightly before you add the yeast. Dissolve the yeast in the milk/butter, add the sugar and the salt, add the pumpkin – add the flour – a little at a time while stirring – keep adding flour and stirring til you have a perfect dough, i.e., not too sticky – just so that is leaves your fingers when kneading.

Leave the dough under a wet dishtowel or similar to raise for about an hour.

Now make the filling

1 cup of  butter

1/2 cup of raw sugar

3 teaspoons of cinnamon

Soften the butter and add the sugar and the cinnamon – work it into an even paste to spread on to the dough when it has been rolled out.

When the dough have risen for about an hour, add some flour on a clean counter top and pour out the dough – mix with the extra flour until it doesn’t stick to your fingers.

Roll the dough out thinly

Spread the filling out evenly and thinly

and roll the dough lengthwise.

Cut the rolls about 2″-3″ thick) and place them on baking paper and a baking tray. Leave them to raise again for about 1/2 to 1 hr – bake in an 355 F hot oven for about 12-14 min.

Serve with tea – this afternoon, we had Chai tea. My favorite Chai tea in the whole wide world comes from Sky Tea.

Watch Jeni, one of the founders of Sky Tea make the perfect Chai, her award-winning Masala Chai.

Enjoy!

Wishing everyone happy Thanks Giving, where ever you are!

Sick and tired of dieting?

Are you sick and tied of dieting? I was so sick and tied of diets that promised that they could work wonders, but never changed a thing. I was tired of feeling deprived of the great meals that I was missing, of eating boring, tasteless food that really didn’t satisfy me in any way. I was sick and tired of counting calories and feeling guilty if I ate something “bad”. Life is too short for that.

The great revelation for me was to eat more plant-based foods!

In our family, we have now changed many of our meaty meals to plant-based foods.

Sometimes we do VB6 – Vegan before 6, meaning no animal products until dinner. Then you eat anything you like for dinner. Sounds  fabulous? It is! VB6 was invented by NYT food journalist Mark Bittman because his health was suffering (see the link below). But through VB6  he got his health back.

I love this idea, it is something we can all do, quite easily. It is totally doable, not a big change, but it has huge impact on our overall health and well-being. By eating like VB6 or a similar scheme, you can keep your cholesterol down, your blood pressure healthy, your blood sugar good, your weight down and, at the same time, you will feel energized and full of life.  We love this way of eating so much that we actually sometimes expand the idea to VUF – Vegan until Friday!

Eating this way is delicious, tasty, satisfying and nourishing and it feeds your entire body and soul. It is the perfect way to stay healthy and loose the extra weight. I never think calories when I eat like this – my weight stays ideal and I feel ideal – there is no going back for me. I love this way of living and eating – I enjoy my meals and I never feel I am missing out because I am not.

Take this burger for instance – a quinoa burger with all the trimmings, guacamole, arugula on a homemade bun. The perfect exchange.

A favorite burger – Quinoa burger made with sweet potatoes and mushrooms.

500g Mushrooms – I use the brown mushrooms or Portobello

3 shallots

2 medium size sweet potatoes

2 cups of cooked quinoa

2 teaspoons of paprika

3 tablespoons of flax-seed meal

2 cloves of garlic

Sea salt and pepper

Flour

Chop the mushrooms, chop the shallots, add some olive oil on to the frying pan and brown the mushrooms,garlic and onions. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Bake the sweet potatoes till they are soft, e.g., for about an hour in the oven. Scoop out the sweet potato from the skin and put it into the blender, add the mushrooms, onions and  garlic. Blend into a soft mixture. Put the mixture into a bowl and mix in the flax-seed meal. Mix it well.  Let it cool. Make the patties and gently turn them on a plate with a bit of flour/sea salt/pepper on all sides. Fry the quinoa burgers in olive oil till they are golden brown on both sides.
Serve on a warm homemade bun, with slices of red onions, homemade guacamole, slices of tomatoes, and lots of fresh crisp arugula.

Enjoy!

Another delicious veggie burger from Somer at  Vedgedout

We went plant-wild for a week, check it out here

Read more about Mark Bittman and VB6

Dill cured salmon on freshly made rye

Gravad Lax is a Nordic specialty, a true delicacy. Try it once, and you will be hooked forever. Gravad Lax, means “buried salmon” and refers to the way the salmon was prepared back in the middle ages, when fishermen salted the salmon and then buried it in the sand, to preserve it .

But since the coming of the fridge, this is no longer part of the process 🙂 Today the fresh salmon is “buried” in a combination of salt, sugar and lots of dill. The salmon is then left in the fridge to cure for 2 days. When the fish is ready, it is served on a slice of freshly made rye bread (preferably the Danish variety) with a sweet Dijon dressing on top. This is the perfect appetizer or lunch and it is sure to make the angels sing and your taste buds dance.

A perfect way to get natural Omega 3.

I often make this for guests and it is a bestseller every time!

This time it started with a very fresh Coho salmon – but you can use any type and gravad halibut, is delicious too!

Dill cured salmon (Gravad Lax)

Equal amounts of salt and sugar, e.g., 2 tablespoons of each.

Generous amounts (heaping handful) of freshly chopped dill

Cut the salmon in half lengthwise and remove any bones – or a more easy option is to buy it ready to go, at your local fishmonger. Please use is natural (wild) and not farmed salmon, the fresher the better!

Place your half salmon on top of a piece of cling film, skin side down. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of salt and mix well. Sprinkle a thin layer of the salt and sugar mixture evenly on the salmon (I use about half of this mixture to a medium size half salmon) when covered, add freshly chopped dill, making sure the dill has been carefully washed and dried beforehand, add generous amounts of dill to the fish, to cover it completely

Cover the fish with cling film and turn it around so the skin side is up – put the salmon in the fridge and leave it in a dish to cure for two days.

When ready make a sweet Dijon dressing to serve on top

5 teaspoons of good Dijon mustard

6-8 teaspoons of raw sugar – maybe more if you like it even sweeter

1/3 cup of olive oil

A good bunch of freshly chopped dill

Mix it all together to make the marinade. You can add a bit of creme fraiche (sour creme) to make it creamy and mild , if you like.

Thinly slice the salmon

And serve on a piece of freshly made rye bread

with the Dijon marinade on top

Homemade rye bread click here