svētdiena, 2014. gada 16. marts

Winter and spring greens- smoothy inspiration

Winter is well known from how it depletes our vitamin and nutrient levels. To keep them at the "feel and look good" level, we try to introduce more green smoothies in our diet, so here are some tasty (it may not look like that always) inspirations we've done:

Sprout smoothy:

Juice 1 large carrot and 1 grapefruit and pour into blender
Add small handful of leftower buckthorn berries (toddler dinner)
Add almost whole leftower banana (toddler dinner)
Add bunch of sprouts: green pea sprouts, wheat grass
Blend it well, strain if neccessary

Creamy greens: 

Juice couple of oranges and pour the juice in the blender, add kefir
Add handful of spinach and beetroot sprouts
Add a spoon of bee pollen
Add half of banana

Notice: bee pollen keeps the very characteristic taste in this smoothy! Skip if don't like it, but it's a super-super-food..

Extra tip: Do not wash the blender after you've done with making home made peanut butter for "no waste" smoothy! Make a smoothy right afterwards or next morning, it really tastes great and wont go bad!


trešdiena, 2014. gada 19. februāris

Waste not! Carrot juice pulp and seed mix cookies

As promissed, here is the cookie recipe that will help you to save the food from waste. Juice pulp is a wonderful ingredient!

Carrot cookies: 

700g carrot juice pulp
3 eggs
50-100g butter
60ml olive oil
50-100g walnuts
200ml seed mix (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, linseed etc.)
150g almond meal (can use tapioka flour, oatmeal flour or any roughly ground flour, or even a ground coconut with any flour of your choice)
0-100g sugar (or coconut sugar, other eco-and-health-friendly alternatives like agave syrup, just use according to your taste)

Mix all the ingredients together. Heat the oven to some 200 C. Put small bits on the baking sheet and pat them thin. Bake them in the oven until look crispy and the edges have started browning.
Time of baking will depend on how thick or thin you make the cookies, and also how large. I like mine sometimes large and thick to remain a little soft, but then I sometimes make them very small and thin so if not eaten immediately they would turn into kind of crackers.

Baking advice: first make a test pan with some 4-6 cookies, if they tend to fall apart, add some more flour to the mix, because it also depends how wet is your juice pulp.

Keeping in mind alterations you can make, it is easy to keep these lovely bits also gluten free!

Bonus tip: To green your home and your wallet: In our kitchen we use the baking parchment multiple times, until its really torn or cannot be used due to some other cake/cookie residue on it. 
For example, my mom baked a honey cake on my brothers birthday on 7th december, then we used the same sheets for Christmas gingerbreads, and last week I baked carrot cookies on the same sheets. Some of them got too wet, but most of them are folded back in the drawer.

In case someone in your household must eat gluten free foods only, keep in mind where you put your gluten free used baking parchment sheets, and keep them separate from the ones that are used for 'regular cookies'.

I hope you enjoy your cookies!
I think I'm gonna see how they turn out if I add some goji berries to the mix!

otrdiena, 2014. gada 11. februāris

Juice the rainbow!

While I am not participating in Jason Vale's global detox this year, one of my resolutions was to juice again EVERY day. We have been too stuck on the schedule of drinking fresh juice in the morning as the first "food" of the day. Well, our little one has lately changed her sleeping pattern and now she loves to sleep sometimes even until over 10am. In our city apartment at least that means no loud noises in the morning- so no juicing, no blendind.

So now I am learning to turn myself into "fresh juice ANY time of the day" drinker, and have it in the evening if not able to juice in the morning.

Just for some inspiration I wanted to share our juiced rainbow:

I am still very, very thankful to last years Pumpkin harvest. Cheers!! 

ceturtdiena, 2014. gada 6. februāris

Waste not- beauty masks

Waste not idea becomes more and more important. I have even started the course of Environmental Engineering just here in Latvia along with my UK Sustainable Devlopment distance learning Masters.. Will see how it goes, but the story here today is about beauty.

I'm not gonna discuss the polluting effect of shampoo botles or health hazards from chemical components in the decorative cosmetics, I think I'm already beyond that phase. I can't even remember when I used a store bought mask for either part of my body. The best ones come from your kitchen and nature, righ? Right! So what's the issue?

First, I like many recipes that I read online, in books or get from a friend. However, sometimes they include ridiculous amounts of products! Sometimes you can read that for facial you should use a half of banana or half of ripe avocado, or sometimes even 1 ripe avocado.. and that is only the base or 1 ingredient! Seriously? For what size of a face is this mask? Not mine for sure. And since we do not do facials every day, there is really no point of making a larger batch to use it tomorrow too.. Last time I did home spa in sauna (like this) with my best friend, the mask we made from whole avocado with some egg yolks, hemp oil and a drop of carrot juice covered not only both of our faces but whole two bodies! So, ladies, let's reduce the mask to the amount really necessary!

Second, while I like the recipes I read, I never ever buy anything just for the facial (or hair or any other mask for that matter). Use only those ingredients you already have on hand. I particularly like to enjoy the masks I make in one of two ways. One- I cook something and noone will notice the missing spoon of yogurt or double cream, one piece of dark chocolate or anything else.. Other- I like to use something that might otherwise go to waste- a small piece of banana my daughter left uneaten the night before, or a bit of avocado that nobody wants anymore, a teaspoon of oatmeal crumbs etc. You can see the double benefit of doing that, righ?

This morning while everyone was sound asleep I wanted to make a facial and I came to think about these things, so I made a portion just right for my face and neck- large spoon of leftover doublecream (the rest will be cooked in the eggs later on), 1 slice of my daughters yesterday's banana (the rest went into my smoothie), and a pinch of oatmeal. My face was happy and I was happy no seeing the products that did not fit on my face go to waste.

Let's be beautiful, not wasteful!

otrdiena, 2014. gada 21. janvāris

January homework 1- A Simple Year

The first homework on the course should probably be the easiest one, however, this it probably the one I dread..
It is to declutter the CAR.

Travelling every week forht and back to the countryside, bringing over food, things, bedsheets to wash + a toddler (and all the mess that sometimes comes with it), our car is probably the worst place of all of ours. It's less constant clutter though, it's the things that fall out of the bags or stay forgotten somewhere in the trunk.

I asked for the help of my husband to do it, and we did it over the weekend. Joshua is right, it is a very tight space with a well-defined goal: Get from point A to point B. I'd like to add an extension "and to carry things from point A to point B". But those things you carry should be only the ones you need to carry and then you should take all of them out. There's really  no need to have an extra pair of shoes in the trunk or several water bottles that even with our "refusing to drink bottlet water" sometimes get in (and never leave). And coins! And hairpins! And old papers!!  Gosh..

otrdiena, 2014. gada 14. janvāris

January: Clutter. A Simple Year

I already mentioned before that this year I embark on an adventurous journey called  A Simple Year course that is finally here to remind us that things don't bring happiness, and simplicity is what we need most often to really enjoy our lives, sharing time not things with our loved ones.

January is the month I am to deal with the clutter. I have voluntarily but intuitively already dealt with the clutter in my wardrobe, now I'm reading into the course material to apply it to the rest of the rooms and storage spaces.

Inspiration "Golden Hour" from National Geographic

As Joshua from Becoming Minimalist (our mentor) puts it:

"Ultimately, there are 4 steps necessary to remove clutter and embrace a simpler year: 1) be convinced; 2) believe it is possible; 3) remove the excess; and 4) implement new habits to manage clutter. "

And I agree to him! First I have to be convinced that it's best to remove the stuff and to believe that I can do without it. No matter how green I've strived to be, I'm still one of those old fashioned country style of people maybe, who keeps things just in case I need them (again or ever).. It is kind of green not to throw them away, because I hate filling my trash can. On the other hand, maybe there's someone who actually needs the item instead of just keeping it in the drawer..

ceturtdiena, 2014. gada 9. janvāris

Project 333- my new beautiful wardrobe

This is one of the things on my "The List". I have applied to "A Simple Year" course and look forward to receive the first "package" whatever that may be (for sure not some random things and stuff to clutter our home more).

Meanwhile I have decided to engage in one other project which may be a part of this course- Project 333.

The basic idea is this:

  • When: Every three months (It’s never too late to start so join in anytime!)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear,  and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout)
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.
  • What else: consider that you are creating a wardrobe that you can live, work and play in for three months. Remember that this is not a project in suffering. If your clothes don’t fit or are in poor condition, replace them.

At my personal circumstances I find it a little challenging! So, since I am testing this first without almost any guidance, I am sort of creating some room to maneuvre before (and if) it oficially starts within A Simple Year. My situation is that I live in two places, and it would be terribly difficult to carry all the stuff I might need between the places, therefore I have separate closets in each place. So for now I will keep that way and have the set of 33 in each home, and will continue to bring with me nothing but the clothes on me so in none of the places would be overflow of clothing. The city closet is still cluttered, as I have not yet been there since I started this.
An inspiration- what to do with currently empty hangers :)
But the countryside one cleared out pretty nicely! And I also reduced the amount of home or so called in-lounge clothing to only really neccessary amount of pieces-few short and longsleeve shirts, one lounge dress, one pair of leggings and one capri pants for indoor kitchen/ crawling with toddler/ messy works moments and one "garden jeans". Also the amount of home outdoor winter jumpers is very much reduced to only two to be rotated depending on the temperature outside (there's a harsh difference whether it's around 0 or -20).

Since I do both yoga and dancing which takes specific outfits that cannot really be worn anywhere else, I have kind of a double of the workout clothing set- one for yoga only, the other for dance practice only.

I have a little grim perspective for next season, when the outdoor activities will become more dirty and messy, so that the project will not work so well then. But currently I am still up to it, and testing. My closet looks really, really empty!
An inspiration- what to do with currently empty hangers :)

To dress with even less I have also gone through the items that are not included in 33 list- underwear, socks, tights, pyjamas! I have to admit the success I've never seen in my closet before- I've got rid of many items, I've organized away the ones currently not in use or not in season, therefore also reducing the potential of mess coming back to my drawers I hope!

What I have, well not skipped, but 'alternated' is the way I included accessories and jewelry (apart from the pieces I NEVER take off)- the ones still on the list are now moved to my cosmetics purse, but the rest remain in the larger jewelry box that I've made a pact with myself not to open until the rotation time comes. I have found that I don't use as many pieces as I have, some are left in drawers for ages. So I have put few also in a "give-away-box", but still deciding whether I should try to sell them on some ebay-type of lists or give them the way I usually give things away, or donate in second hand charity shops that will bring an extra good karma.. Since I am saving up now for many not-things of my "save money for.." list, I am still in decision process.

The result- I feel lighter myself as my closet has become clear of things I do not wear (these I donated or the really worn out ones have gone to rugs or crafts), of things that are out of season (I hope it will soon be real Latvian winter), and of things that do not fit me anymore.
It really is a wonderful way to reorganize your mind, emotions and overall feeling!

And I actually can't wait I'm having a free evening in city apartment to declutter my closet there too!

Anyone cares to join me?