Fighting the winter slump with soup!

I love soup.  In fact I make soup more often than I make any other dish.  I have just returned from  vacation (nothing quite like escaping the winter for three weeks), and needless to say the cold is really getting to me.  Today I decided to make some soup to warm my tummy and give me an energy boost.  It is easy to make and inexpensive.  You can use pretty much any ingredients you want, and it is bound to be tasty.

Here is the recipe that I used.  It was delicious and hearty.

2 yellow onions,   1 red pepper,   1 green pepper,   3 cloves fresh garlic,   4 ripe tomatoes,   1/2 cup red lentils,   4 long sticks of celery, 2 cups spinach   1/2 cup courgette,  700ml water,   a dash of nutmeg, oregano and basil.

Recipe

1.  Chop all the ingredients depending on how chunky you like your soup. 

     Pre-soak the lentils  (about 1 hour)

2.  In a large pot,  saute the garlic and onions for 2 minutes.  Then add the courgette.  After about 2 more minutes add the peppers, celery, spinach and tomatoes.

3.  Drain the lentils and add.  Add the water and all spices.

4.  Boil all the ingredients together for about 10 mins.  Then reduce and simmer for 5 mins.

Enjoy!

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Creamy Blueberry Smoothie

Blueberries are superstars in terms of their unique health benefits.  They are high in antioxidants and low in calories (80 calories in one cup).  They help to maintain blood sugar levels, and have great cancer fighting properties.   Their beautiful purple colour make them a delightful addition to any smoothie.  You can use blueberries fresh or frozen, recent studies showed that blueberries do not lose antioxidant properties when frozen.

I was feeling like something creamy and sweet but still healthy, so I made this smoothie:

Ingredients

1 medium banana

1 cup blueberries

100 ml coconut milk

 50 ml soy milk

100 ml water

Add all the ingredients in the blender and blend for half a minute.

Enjoy!


Turn your frown upside down, Bad days gone good!

We all have bad days, sometimes even a bad week.  The good thing is that we control our own moods!  So if you’re feeling down, or having a blue Monday, here are a few ways to add some sunshine to your smile!

 

1.  Find something to laugh about – It can be your favorite comedian, a TV show, a funny picture, or even a call to a friend who always makes you laugh.

2.  Sing and Dance – Put on a tune that’s lively, perhaps even a little crazy. Sing and dance.  (Come on, everyone has that secret, embarrassing song hidden on their player that you secretly love, but won’t ever tell anyone!)   Whip it out and be a little crazy!

3.  Do something kind for someone, for no reason. – You’ll feel good about yourself, and you would have brightened someone elses day.

4. Do something kind for yourself, for no reason – Be good to yourself, treat yourself to something small.  A chocolate, a massage, a great meal, whatever works for you.

5. Sweat it out – Working out releases endorphins!  You are bound to feel much better after your choice of exercise.

6.  Meditate – Take some time to meditate on things that make you happy.  Even the smallest things can bring you joy, wether it be the smell of fresh grass or talking to someone you love.

7.  Appreciate nature – go outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature.  You’ll realize that you are smaller than nature, and so are your problems.  Plus the fresh air will re-energize you.

8. De-clutter your environment – if you’re at work, tidy your desk.  If you’re at home, make the bed, wash the dishes. De-cluttering your environment will de-clutter your mind and enable you to think more clearly.

9.  Think about things you are thankful for, the people in your life, your career, anything that you are grateful for.

10.  Turn off the electronics for a while!  Spending too much time online, surfing, chatting, or just ummmmmm, doing nothing leads us to be inactive.  Get out, take a walk, do something other than just sitting there!

11. Sit quietly for a few minutes in a sunny or warm spot and remember why YOU’RE SO AWESOME!

 

HAVE A GREAT DAY EVERYONE!


Vegan Banana Pancakes

Pancakes are the shiz!  There is nothing better than Sunday morning breakie, pancakes and all.

No eggs or dairy necessary!  This vegan recipe substitutes normal milk with soy milk, and egg with banana.  The result = light, fluffy banana flavored pancakes.  You can spice up the mixture with blueberries, cinnamon, nuts, or anything else that you heart desires.

Ingredients

250 g Store bought pancake mix (or 1 cup organic flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoons baking powder, a pinch of salt)

1 banana

1tsp vanilla essence

1 cup soy milk ( you can use coconut milk to for a richer version)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Recipe

1.  Put dry pancake mix in a mixing bowl.  Mash up one banana, heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, mash again.

2.  Add the banana, soy milk, vanilla essence and cinnamon to the dry mix.  Mix well.  Heat the pan with a little olive oil.

3. Spoon enough batter for one pancake into the pan.  Cook until you see bubbles in the middle of the pancake and turn.

Try not to eat all the pancakes until finishing!  Nom nom nom 🙂  Enjoy!

Delicious optional extras for pancake mix – blueberries, almonds, walnuts, orange essence, organic peanut butter, strawberries, apple pieces,  lemon zest


Happiness is…

It seems as though everyone is searching for happiness.  We search, we find, we lose, we fail, we strive for it like it is some long-lost treasure, buried under years of stress and conditioning.  But what is happiness really?  Happiness is a range of positive emotions and a mental state of well-being.  But more importantly happiness can be whatever you want it to be.  Happiness is not some long-lost treasure, and if we treat it as such, we will never be happy.  Here are some things that I have learnt about happiness:

 Happiness is……

1. … being in the moment.  Enjoying your life, who you are, what you are doing right now.

2. …loving yourself. 

3.  …when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
      Mahatma Gandhi

4. …loving the people around you, for the good and the bad.

5. … is an experience, not a demonstration.

6. …finding the beauty in your everyday life.

7. …transcendent and ever-changing.  It is universal and ever-present.

8. … appreciating sadness.  Without sadness we would never know happiness.  Feel it, appreciate it, then let it go to make room for happiness.

9. …being genuine and kind to those around you.

10. …your choice.


My Fall Favorite – Pumpkin and Spinach Soup!

Fall is upon us, and there are pumpkins everywhere.  I feel that pumpkin is one of the most underrated vegetable.  There is just so much you can do with it.  From appetizer to dessert, it makes a hearty addition to any meal.  Pumpkins are full of carotene which are powerful antioxidants.  They have great anti-aging properties and contain many disease preventing nutrients.  The high fibre content  will satisfy your hunger and aid digestion, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.  This recipe is perfect for a chilly evening, and tastes even better when kept in the fridge overnight and reheated.

This recipe was my first attempt, and the result was a delicious, hearty soup that was perfect for dinner.  It felt warm and nourishing, I will certainly be making this again soon.

Ingredients

2 medium-sized pumpkins (soft-boiled and peeled), 300g -400g spinach and kale (use according to your taste preference), 1 yellow onion, 3 cloves fresh garlic, 100g ginger, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon turmeric, 200ml coconut/soy/almond milk, 200ml water.

Recipe

1.  In a large bowl, mash the pumpkin and add your choice of milk.  In another large pot or wok, saute the onion, ginger and garlic in the turmeric for 2 minutes.

2. Add the pumpkin mix to the pot, mix thoroughly and add the water and cinnamon.  Boil on a low heat for about 30 minutes, you can add more milk or water in the boiling process as you feel necessary. 

3.  Towards the end of the boiling process add the greens and boil for a further 5 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy.

This recipe makes at least 4 large servings.


Green smoothie of the week – Kiwi and banana!

This fast and filling smoothie will leave you with a full tummy and loads of energy!  It’s a great pick-me up for any time of the day!  Great for ridding the body of that awful hangover toxins.

Ingredients

1 large leaf of kale (Great for preventing cancer, detoxifying and promoting bone health)

300g -400g spinach (Nutrition power-house, far too many benefits to list,  great for vegetarians and vegans)

2 kiwis (High in fibre and great for detoxifying your system)

1 banana (High in potassium and gives a great boost of energy)

250ml-300ml water

Chuck everything together in your blender, blend for about a minute and enjoy!