Melon Spinach Smoothie

Last day of holiday in Denmark – 3 weeks flew by – all too quickly, but I enjoyed every single minute.

It was all that I had hoped and wished for – sunshine, bright summer nights, family, friends, swimming in the sea, running in the forest, blackbirds singing, relaxation, books, strawberries, new potatoes, fun – bare feet and freckles. Oh it was good!

Now I am ready to go back to the west coast of Canada – enjoy summer there and getting back to work.

Before I run, I want to share some photos and a green smoothie recipe that became a favorite this summer.

The melons are so ripe, juicy and incredibly sweet.

Gorgeously Sweet Melons

Gorgeously Sweet Melons

Melon Spinach Smoothie

One big handful of fresh spinach

1 sweet melon – I used 1/2 Gaia and 1/2 cantaloupe

1 big peach

Ice cold water

Some frozen grapes

Melon Spinach Smoothie

Melon Spinach Smoothie

So good and so refreshing on a warm summer day! 

Plenty time for reading

Plenty time for reading

Wild Flowers

Wild Flowers

Morning run in the forest

Morning run in the forest

Biking to the beach

Biking to the beach

Swimming

The life guard’s post

Caprifolia

Caprifolia

Sunsets

Sunsets

A 10:30 pm goodnight swim

A 10:30 pm swan family goodnight swim

Where ever you are – I hope you are soaking up summer and enjoying life!

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Summer without stress

I’m off! Today is the day I have been longing for – for months – the first day of the summer holiday!

I am off to spend 3 delicious weeks in a summer-house by the sea.

I can hardly wait.

Summer

Summer

I am so excited and at the same time I know it’s important to plan ahead, so that we make the most of it. Successful holidays don’t just happen. Holidays can be disappointing! We all have expectations and dreams and they may not turn out the way we wished, hoped and longed for. Unfulfilled expectations cause stress and disappointment!

The time leading up to the holidays can be particularly stressful.

We all need our holidays – to recharge, rejuvenate and fill ourselves with new energy.

So how can we increase our chances of fulfilling it …

This is “my” plan for a stress-free summer:

  • Unplug. Actually turn of all electronics and be out of reach. Yes, no need to check emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs etc.
  • Mindfulness – live in the moment. Practice mindfulness, breathe, and be in the moment.
  • Meditate – to reconnect with myself through daily mediations
  • Read books – instead of computers and internet, I want to read great books, in the shade …..
  • No plans – be spontaneous. No schedules, just feel the flow and be part of it.
  • Play – God yes, be crazy, play let go, have fun, look silly
  • Bare feet – connect to the earth and the ground -lots of research on this …. great idea.
  • Go slow – nothing I need to do or nothing I need to get to – just inhale the moment – remember to stop and smell the roses.
Smell the roses

Smell the roses

“Every Sweet-scented rose tells from it’s heart the secrets of heaven and earth” –Rumi

Bare feet in the sand

Bare feet in the sand

Beach

Beach

I know this will not be easy and I am sure I will have withdrawal issues for a while 🙂 But I also know how vital, how crucial, it is to disconnect to reconnect – and recharge.

IMG_0675

” And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”

Khalil Gibran 

I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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Elderberry Flower Juice

A summer tradition – as soon as the elderberry trees starts blooming, I am on a mission.

Ice Cold Elderberry Flower Juice

Ice Cold Elderberry Flower Juice

I get out early in the morning while the sun is rising and the mist hangs low on the fields, to pick the beautiful white and deliciously smelling flowers.  It’s a Danish tradition, we look at it as a confirmation of summer – the elderberry flowers are blooming and the first strawberries are ready. Then I know summer is here!

Elderberry flowers

Elderberry flowers

Since I moved to the West Coast of Canada I have not seen any Elderberry bushes anywhere. Last year I told my friend how much I missed that tradition and she said – “but I have one!”

So this year she, the dear soul, donated every single flower to my mission – that’s generosity!

Elderberry Flower Juice

40 Clusters of flowers

3 organic lemons

1 1/2 kg Raw sugar – (the original recipe asks for caster sugar to get a clear blonde juice, but I prefer to use the healthier raw sugar)

2 liters of boiling water

Rinse the elderberry flowers, put them into a big bowl. Wash the organic lemons, slice them and put them with the flowers.

Getting ready

Getting ready

Add the sugar – pour over the boiling water and stir till the sugar has dissolved.

Leave it to cool – cover it and put it in the fridge for 3 days to “brew”. Take it out and stir every day.

Brewing

Brewing

On the third day strain the juice through a cloth pour it in to distilled bottles. There is no preservative in the juice and therefore it will not last long. What I do to keep it fresh is to freeze it in ice-cube trays, then I can take it out as I need it. Use them as flavorful ice cubes – ie in white wine or in apple juice.

It’s delicious!

Even on strawberries with freshly chopped mint……

Local Strawberries

Local Strawberries

Enjoy!

On Ice

On Ice

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

We are enjoying beautiful spring weather here on the West Coast of British Columbia.

This morning I decided I would make a true “Awaiting Summer Smoothie” – because to be honest with you, I crave summer like crazy!

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

Awaiting Summer Smoothie

 

I had some deliciously ripe mangos (juicy and sweet)

some fresh pineapple,

and a cute pear with red cheeks.

Pear with red cheeks

Pear with red cheeks

Some fresh mint, freshly squeezed juice of lime and some cool coconut water.

Mint & Lime

Mint & Lime

Sweet Mango

Sweet mango

For 4 people:

1/2 pineapple

1 pear

1 big mango

1-2 lime

2 sprigs of fresh mint

2 cups of coconut water

Put it all in the blender along with some ice to cool it down. Blend into a fabulous nutritious and delicious drink.

Enjoy!

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer – Albert Camus

Delicious plums – in 3 different ways

Plums are gorgeous, don’t you think?  – I love the color and the taste of this fruit that tells me that fall is around the corner.

I went out yesterday and picked every single plum on the tree in the garden and made delicious raw jam, raw vanilla macadamia nut plum cheese cake and a cool plum almond nut milkshake.

Here are the recipes:

But before I get started I would like to thank two very special ladies! One is Somer, who just started a very cool new blog called Vedgedout – she was part of another very, very cool blog called goodcleanfood. One day I was reading a post from goodcleanfood by Somer, about making vegan cheese – I made a comment, and won a packet of Pectin!! A couple of weeks later I received a little package from Somer in the post. What a wonderful surprise!

Please check out both goodcleanfood and vedgedout – heartfelt thank you for the Pectin, Somer! I feel very spoiled!

The next heartfelt thank you, goes to another amazing woman who has transformed her life and healed herself from disease through a plant-based diet. Plant- Based Diet Adventures, thank you so much for nominating me for both the Kreativ Blogger Award and One Lovely Blog Award! Again, I feel very very spoiled, thank you!!

Also, you may like to check out plant-based diet adventures 

And now to the 3 recipes.  I’ll start with Plum Marmalade

Plum Marmalade

4 cups of plums

1 pk of Pectin

3/4 cup raw sugar or 1/2 cup of honey

Juice of 2 lemons

Crush the plums in the food processor. Mix well with sugar/honey and lemon juice. The package of Pectin contains 2 packages, one with pectin and another with calcium. Dissolve the content of calcium in one cup of water. Add 4 teaspoons of pectin to the plums, sugar and lemon juice and process for a couple of minutes till the pectin is dissolved. The recipe says add 4-12 teaspoons of calcium water while running the processor, I added 8 teaspoons, one at the time, till the marmalade thickened.

Enjoy – I enjoyed a homemade cracker with plum marmalade and a cup of tea!

I now have one jar in fridge – and I doubt if it will last long, the rest went in the freezer and will not be taken out until a very grey , rainy and cold winter day.

Cool Plum Almond Milkshake

The perfect after school snack

1 cup of crushed plums

Juice of one lemon

3 dates

1/2 cup of almonds

2 cups of water

crushed ice

Add everything to the blender and blend into a smooth cool and lovely milkshake. (If you do not have a high speed blender, soak the almonds and the dates for a couple of hours to soften them)

And now to the Vanilla Plum Macadamia Cheesecake a la raw food, so no eggs, no sugar, no butter, no cream cheese – still good? Oh yes and sinless!

Vanilla Plum Cheesecake

For the base:

1 cup of raw almonds

The grated rind of one lemon

2 tablespoons of agave sirup

6 dates

pinch of sea salt

In the processor blend all the ingredients well. Add into small pie forms and press the crust together. Leave them in the freezer while you make the “cheese” filling.

Filling

one cup of macadamia nuts

one vanilla bean

one big scoop of coconut butter

4 spoons of agave sirup

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup water

Soak the macadamia nuts to make them soft – add them to the blender along with the vanilla bean, the coconut butter, the agave, the pinch of salt and the water – blend into a creamy and delicious “cheesecake” filling. Add on top of the crust and put them back in the freezer till you need them. Then take them out 5 min before you serve them and arrange a big spoonful of the plum marmalade on top and enjoy!

Cedar Planked Salmon on the BBQ

Coming from Scandinavia I have been used to only one kind of salmon. Beautiful salmon, and it was simple to shop because you never had to choose between different kinds.

But here on the West Coast there is always the dilemma – a hard choice every time, between 5 different species of salmon: Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink and Chum (as well as the wonderful Steelhead salmon/trout) – all wonderful in different ways.

For this recipe I chose wild Sockeye – deep orange and with a beautiful taste, perfect for cooking on the cedar plank. Preparing salmon in this way is new to me as I have never seen it done this way before. But after trying it once, it has become a favourite. The taste, when it has been BBQed on the cedar plank, is just incredible – beyond comparison, and difficult to even describe in words.

 

Cedar planked salmon with tarragon and dill

one side of salmon

one bunch of fresh tarragon

one bunch of fresh dill

one shallot

1/2 cup of olive oil

freshly squeezed lemon

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Soak the cedar plank for several hours in water before use – I soak it all day to get it ready. Here on the West Coast where Cedar grows all over, it is easy to buy the planks – all ready for the salmon. They are split very thin (8mm – 5/16″) and if buying elsewhere make sure you get a natural plank that has not been treated with anything! A plank can be re-used several times.

Place the salmon on the plank and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Put it on the hot grill. Cook it half-way through before adding the marinade.

Finely chop the fresh tarragon, dill and shallot onion, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, add sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Now pour the marinade on top of the salmon and continue cooking til the salmon is just done – make sure not to overcook it! (Check this by  gently pressing a finger on the thickest part of the salmon – it has to feel firm.) Depending on the thickness, it will be ready in about 15 -20 min .

I served the salmon with two favorite salads and just that – simple and delicious!  A Panzanella salad, a gorgeous salad with baked summer-ripe tomatoes and a green salad with celery leaves and pine nuts.

Panzanella salad

A fantastic flavorful salad and a perfect match to go with the fish.

6 sun ripe tomatoes

1/2 cucumber

1/2 small red onion

big bunch of Italian parsley

a good drizzle of olive oil

a sprinkle of good balsamic vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

2 slices of good but stale bread

Half the tomatoes and put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake them slowly for about an hour in a 350F oven, checking that they do not burn. Take them out and leave them to cool.

Half the cucumber and scrape out the middle, slice it and put it in a salad bowl. Add the cool tomatoes, wash and chop the parsley and add it to the bowl. Finely chop the red onion add it to the salad – drizzle with the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.

Put a few drops of garlic oil on the bread and grill them slightly on the BBQ or in the oven. Tear the bread into smaller pieces and toss it in the salad – mix well so the bread soaks up the flavors and the juices of the salad. Serve it with the fish.

Green salad with celery and pine nuts

Use different kinds of lettuce – a great mixture of your favorites.

A few stick of celery – preferably the middle of the celery with its leaves

2 spoons of pine nuts

dressing

This dressing is a classic that has been in my family forever – we use it, let me just say, a lot
The trick is to use the best ingredients – the better the ingredients the better the dressing.

2 spoons of good balsamic vinegar
a teaspoon of good Dijon Mustard
a pinch of sea salt

olive oil
one clove of freshly squeezed garlic

Mix this – then add a little olive oil while you constantly stir, add more olive oil while stirring – continue doing this till you have a thick, dark yummy dressing. You can add a little maple syrup for a sweetness if you like. This salad dressing is so good and so easy to make.

Wash and prepare the lettuce add them In a bowl. Chop the celery stick and leaves, add them to the salad, add the dressing and mix well – sprinkle with the pine nuts and serve with the fish.

Cool and creamy raspberry shake

Sunshine, freckles and bare feet – summer in the backyard and life is good!

Time for ice cream and cool…………….. milkshakes!

This ‘milk’shake is a healthy one – but beware, it is addictive! It tastes so good, it’s cool, sweet and creamy – It’s summer and hey, it’s good for you! So, who cares?

Cool and creamy raspberry shake:

300 g fresh raspberries

8 -10 dates all depending on how sweet you like it

2 cups of raw cashew nuts

1/2 vanilla pod

3 cups of water

ice cubes

Soak the cashews and the dates in water for a couple of hours. Add the soaked nuts and dates to the blender, add fresh raspberries, scrape out the vanilla bean and add it along with 3 cups of filtered cold water and a good handful of ice. Blend in to a smooth drink.

Enjoy!