Baby Kale & Portobello Salad with Walnuts and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I can never get enough salad – I think there are so many fantastic creations out there.

This one is simple and super delicious!

Baby Kale Salad with Portobello

Baby Kale Salad with Portobello

Baby Kale  & Portobello Salad with Walnuts and Sun-dried Tomatoes 

Baby kale

4 Portobello Mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

6 sun-dried tomatoes

A good handful of coarsely chopped walnuts

3 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar reduction

1 teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard

1/3 cup Olive Oil

1 clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse the baby kale and put it on a clean cloth to take a way excess water before putting it in a salad bowl.

Clean the portobello and chop them.

Portobello

Portobello

Fry them with a bit of olive oil in a pan- till they are golden. Add sea salt, lemon juice, garlic and some freshly ground pepper. Leave them to cool slightly before adding them to the salad.

Cut the sun-dried tomatoes and chop the walnuts. Add to the salad.

Make the dressing;

Dressing

Dressing

For this salad I used a really great local balsamic vinegar reduction that I have fallen in love with  – “Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Cabernet Merlot Reduction made with love! “ – it’s intense and slightly sweet, you can taste it’s made with love (perfect for salad and so many other things)

Nonna Pia's Vinegar

Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Vinegar

In a bowl, put the Dijon mustard and the balsamic vinegar. Stir together. Whisk in the olive oil little by little. Add sea salt and freshly squeezed garlic.

Toss the salad together and enjoy on it’s own or like this with parmesan or some goat cheese.

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Walnut Bread

Nothing quite like homemade bread……

People frequently ask me – “really, do you make your own bread?”

– I would never have time for that, they say, but really, it doesn’t take that long to make delicious homemade bread. Once you have gotten into the routine, it’s the easiest thing on earth! Honestly! And fun! And rewarding!

Actually, mixing up the dough takes less than 5 min. And then the secret is to leave it to raise for at least 4 hours, the longer the better – I usually mix it in the evening before going to bed. Put it in the fridge or leave it on the counter with a wet cloth, to do it’s magic overnight.

In the morning I let it rise a second time, while the oven is heating and then I pop it in to bake, which it does while I’m in the shower.

Freshly baked bread in the morning is such a treat for everyone.

Just imagine waking up to the smell of homemade bread – a day starting like that, is bound to be a good one!

Not all bread now-a-days is honest as there are so many additives that go into store-bought bread today. Unless of course you get it from a good baker!

When you make your own bread you know what goes into it. 

Bread from the good baker

Bread from the good baker

 Walnut Bread

2 cups of water

1 teaspoon dry yeast

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of raw sugar

3 tablespoons of olive oil

4 cups of organic unbleached flour

1 cup of chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of extra flour

Dissolve the yeast in the water, add the oil, the salt and the sugar, add the chopped walnuts and add the flour little by little while stirring.

Walnuts

Leave the dough to raise with a wet cloth overnight or at least for 4 hours.

Fold in a little extra flour and sprinkle some on a clean countertop. Place the dough on the flour and gently fold the the sides of the dough underneath – without kneading it.

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Allow the dough to raise on the table while you heat the oven to 450 F – place a cast iron pot with the lid in the oven for 1/2 hour to heat it.

Take the cast iron pot out and carefully place the dough in the very hot pot, put the lid back on – please don’t burn yourself! And place the pot back in the hot oven and bake for 30 min.

Take the lid of and bake for another 10 min

Take it out, and try to let it cool a little before cutting it, I know it’s difficult :-).

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Enjoy!

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U-Turn

During my recent visit in Denmark I heard about a very interesting study concerning lifestyle related diseases like diabetes 2, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stress, depression, etc.

The study aims at finding out whether it is possible to reverse lifestyle related diseases? Ie., once we suffer from these diseases,  is it possible to make a  U-Turn? And can that be done by simply changing ones own lifestyle?

The experiment, U-Turn, has been started by Chris MacDonald, a Cand. Scient in Human physiology, originally from the USA, but has been living in Denmark for the past 14 years. He is the founder of Health in Balance and Strong Body Strong Mind.

Chris has been coaching and guiding numerous people back to health with very positive results and continues to be a tremendous inspiration to Danes every day!

U-Turn is an experiment that is being documented by the Danish National television. Over a period of 6 months, Chris MacDonald is guiding the 8 participants, all suffering from lifestyle related diseases such as, type 2 diabetes, stress, depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.

The program includes daily training, physical exercise, healthy food, getting a good sleep, along with support and emotional coaching.

Half way though the program the participants will go to France and hike the GR10, a hike that takes them thorough the French Pyrenees, a 850 km hike with considerable elevation, a very strenuous hike!

(Photo source National Geographic)

Throughout the experiment participants are closely followed by doctors from a Copenhagen hospital, to keep them safe, to monitor their well being and their need for medication.

Chris  MacDonald and his team want to see what happens to sick people when you ask them to eat healthy, walk every day and be physically active and minimize negative stress. What happens to them over a 6 months period of time?

Will they feel better? Will they be able to reduce or even eliminate their need for medication? Will they be able to reverse disease and return to great health?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

So far, the National Television has produced 4 programs that have broadcast, taking the viewers along on the journey with the 8 participants and documenting the results they achieve. These programs cover the first half of the experiment.

It’s blood, sweat, tears and laughter – it’s amazing to see the courage, dedication and the victory! 

The participants have been monitored at the hospital when the experiment started, during and half way thorough. The results are astounding:

  • They lost weight
  • They lost dangerous body fat around inner organs
  • Achieved normal blood sugar levels
  • Lowered cholesterol
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced liver counts
  • 3 participants no longer need medication/
  • the rest have been able to reduce the amount of mediation significantly
  • They are of course in much better shape

I think the message is powerful.

Lifestyle changes are the strongest most effective medicine!

I am looking forward to following the experiment and I will report back to you, when it finishes.

Lifestyle related diseases can be reversed and healed by lifestyle changes!

Walking is man’s best medicine – Hippocrates

Muhammara – Spicy Lebanese Pepper and Walnut dip with Pomegranate

Today is THE Day of THE amazing VVP – The Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Welcome!

168 bloggers gather around the virtual table, each bringing a delicious vegan dish.

You do not have to be vegan to enjoy it – believe me!

This is THE perfect place to be inspired and possibly even awe stricken by all the incredible delicious and creative dishes coming from the vegan kitchen!

VVP was originally created by Annie, the amazing woman behind the wonderful  blog anunrefinedvegan.

Thanks to all the wonderful people behind VVP – Somer, AnnieJason and Lidia for hosting the event. You guys rock!

This is how it works:

If you want to start from the very beginning you have to go to veganbloggersunite – Or you can go from here and simply scroll down and press the “go forward” or the “go back” buttons, and away you go.

And so the party begins! I hope you have fun!

My contribution this year is an appetizer, inspired by the Lebanese kitchen. It’s intense, spicy, a little hot with a hint of sweetness. It’s delicious and it tastes SO good as dip for veggies or on a cracker.

This is my version of the Lebanese dish Muhammara – originally it is made with the little Piquillo peppers, but I used red peppers to make a milder version.

red peppers ready for the grill

Red peppers ready for the grill

Muhammara 

Spicy Lebanese Pepper and Walnut dip with Pomegranate 

3 red peppers

1.5 cup of walnuts

2 slices of good bread

1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

1 tablespoon of cumin

1 heaped tablespoon of chopped sun dried tomatoes

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 green chili (depending on how hot you like it)

1 tablespoon of paprika

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon

Sea salt – and freshly ground pepper

Grill the peppers on the BBQ or bake them in a hot oven till the skins are completely black. Let them cool a bit before removing the skins, the seeds and the core.

Put the walnuts and the bread in a food processor and pulse until finely processed.

Walnuts and bread

Walnuts and bread

Add the grilled peppers and the other ingredients,

Muhammara magic

Muhammara magic

the pomegranate molasses, the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil to the blender mix.

Pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar

Pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar

Process until it turns into a smooth paste.

Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds and a dash of olive oil.

Fresh pomegranate

Fresh pomegranate

Enjoy the Muhammara with homemade crackers

Served with crackers

Served with crackers

A delicious mouthful

A delicious mouthful

or serve the dip with fresh vegetables

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“I drink to the general joy o’ the table” – William Shakespeare Macbeth

Thank you for coming I loved having you here!

Please visit the other blogs by clicking the links below. Have fun!

go_bck

Can you lower your hereditary cholesterol? Naturally?

Yes, absolutely you can!

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I never thought it would be, because my doctor told me –

“young lady, you have the hereditary kind of high cholesterol and that means no matter what you do, you will never be able to lower it naturally. The only way for you is medication.” 

So, for the past 10-12 years, I have been on statins – every single day I popped a pill, to help me to keep a low count on my cholesterol.

However, other health problems inspired me into changing my lifestyle.

And today, I can celebrate 3 years with normal cholesterol levels and no medication!

So does that mean you need to be on a really restricted diet? No desserts, no streaks on the BBQ, no butter, no cheese, no life…….no fun ?

Nope – I eat everything and I have lots of fun!

Even cream cake

Even cream cake

So how do I do it?

It’s really simple and if I can do it, so can you!

(Please don’t go off your medication without talking to your doctor!)

This is how I do it:

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  • I shifted the balance on my plate. So 80% of what I eat is plant-based. This means 80% of what I eat is vegan, plant-based, green leaves, lettuce, salads, spinach, kale, nuts, seeds, lentils, grains, roots, all kinds of veggies, and lots of fruit.
  • I eat plenty of food that contains natural cholesterol lowering agents, like nuts especially walnuts and almonds, oatmeal, berries, avocado, fish, tomatoes, etc.

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  • 20% is whatever I like to eat – it can be anything.
  • Every day I exercise, except for one day of rest!  45 min. to an hour! Yes I know, you don’t have time! I didn’t either, but you can find time! Exercise is brutally important when it comes to lowering cholesterol naturally. I get up earlier in the morning. I wake up and have millions of excuses for not going, but I tell myself that I only have to tie my shoelaces, get out and run to the end of the curb. If I still don’t like it, I can go back home……. but it has never happened, once I am out there, once I have taken the first breath of that beautiful morning air, the last thing I want is to go back home.
  • Meditation – When we are stressed and tired we are more likely to make unhealthy choices, eat fatty foods, drink too much etc. Also research shows that the release of stress hormones can damage the blood vessels, so plague sticks more easily. I find mindfulness meditation is a great way to unwind.

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A great article about food writer Mark Bittman and his concept VB6 – Vegan before 6 

Stay tuned for the VVP – The Virtual Vegan Potluck, taking place this Saturday! 160 + bloggers will bring their delicious food to the virtual party 🙂

Cycling in Wonderful Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Hi from Copenhagen – my favourite city! I am visiting and loving every minute!

One of the first things you will notice when you come to Copenhagen is that there are bikes everywhere – people on bikes everywhere. Everyone

bikes!

Bikes everywhere

Bikes everywhere

You see men in business suits, polished shoes, briefcase and all, snipping through the streets. You see women in high heels, skirts and shades, moms and dads on cargo bikes with little ones comfortably placed in the front. No matter the weather – come rain or shine – even in the coldest winter, people bike.  All ages, dressed up, dressed down, all going somewhere, pedalling through the streets.

Happy cyclist

Happy cyclist

It all adds to the charm and vibrance of Copenhagen.

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Yesterday I saw a very handsome gentleman biking trough the streets of Copenhagen. No hands on the handlebars and casually texting away on his cell as he rode.

Unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough on the camera to catch him.

This bike outside the Supreme Court – perhaps parked there by a lawyer or judge…..

An old guy

An old guy

We Danes are crazy about biking – we don’t bike to stay fit, primarily. We bike because it is much more convenient, much easier to get from point A to B, and easier to park. Perhaps a basic reason is that parking a car in Copenhagen is a nightmare – it’s almost impossible to find parking and it’s terribly expensive.

April last year opened a super highway for cyclists –

To encourage long distance commuters to take the bike and thereby

  • Reduce CO2 emission
  •  Promote Health
  • And Happiness

The highway is 11 miles long and runs from the suburb into the centre of CPH.  If you drive 12 miles pr hr during rush hour, you are guaranteed a green light.

The plan is to make 26 super bike highways like this – a total of 186 miles. Super effective bike highways – a haven for cyclistst!

Read and see more about the SUPER HIGHWAY for bikes in a great article from New York Times.

Bike lanes of course

Bike lanes of course

Denmark aim at being carbon nutral by 2025 .

Many Danes simply give up their cars because biking is SO much easier, faster and safer – in the city!

On the bike lane there are airpumps every mile, footrests for bikers, handlebars to hold onto at traffic lights, even tilted wastepaper baskets to make it easier for cyclists to throw away garbage…… Ren Kœrlighed til København – Clean Love to Copenhagen.

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1/3 of all trips in Copenhagen are made by bike.

Its faster and more convenient – on top of that, it makes you healthier and ……. happier – maybe this is one of the reasons why the Danes are considered the happiest people in the world?

Nyhavn

Nyhavn

Copenhagenize – is a concept and a very cool organization that promotes safer, faster and better biking infrastructures in the cities. They travel the world to spread the message ” Copenhagenize is possible everywhere” 

This month is National Bike Month check it out here