Hello March!

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Hello everyone! As I sit here, writing and sipping on my tea, outside does not look happy – the rain is crashing against my window and the wind is blowing something crazy. On a brighter note: it’s the first of March and you know what that means, right? Spring is coming! As Ralph Waldo Emerson so eloquently put: “The earth laughs in flowers”. I love seeing all of the flowers in full bloom. Though, as much as I love the flowers and springtime, I love summer even more. Why? Here is my list of what I look forward to this summer:

  1. Sunshine – okay, the West Coast is gorgeous. We have the mountains, the forests, the lakes, the ocean. However, it rains…a lot. To be frank, I am a bit tired of the rain and grey skies, which is why sunshine is the number one thing on my list. Waking up and it actually looking like morning is kinda nice, too.
  2. Adventures – there is no time like summer time for adventures.
  3. Cookouts & BBQs – Burgers, grilled meats/seafood, veggies, and grilled pineapples with ice cream on top. Cornbread, pies, and sweet tea…yes, please!
  4. The clothes & shoes – If you’re a person who is perpetually warm, you may not really feel me on this one. I get cold rather easily, so, during all the other seasons, I generally layer my clothing. In the summer, however, I can wear my favorite clothing items without hiding them under other clothing items (and wear things I normally wouldn’t wear during other seasons). Makes sense? I hope so. As for the shoes, I can wear flats and not worry about soaking my feet in a puddle; I can wear heels and not worry about them getting muddy; plus, my feet don’t have to be trapped in boots or sneakers, meaning my toes and be free in a pair of flip-flops.
  5. Swimming & lounging – Lounging in the sun after swimming in the lake/pool/any body of water.
  6. Fruit – I absolutely love fruit! I consume fruits like a hoover while they last. Those juicy mangoes and watermelons and peaches and pineapples *salivating* – I like pulling up to the farmer’s market and grabbing all kinds of delicious summer treats.
  7. Camping and warm nights – Close your eyes. Can you hear the crackling of the wood, too? Bonfires on a warm summer night are magical. Spending time in nature, roasting marshmallows, chatting around the fire. Sign me up!
  8. Ice cream & cold treats – well, here’s a no-brainer. With summer comes all kinds of ice cream, frozen drinks, and iced teas.
  9. Amusement parks – I haven’t been to a proper amusement park in ages, but I gotta get to one this summer.
  10. Fresh cut grass – I really enjoy the smell of it.
  11. Markets and fairs – I think going to a local market and/or fair is one of the most fun things to do in the summer.
  12. Wedding planning – last, but certainly not least, is planning the wedding. I am very excited for this process and it will be so incredible to finally have my fiance back home with me!

This list could potentially become very long, so I will cap it off at twelve points of why summer is the season I love and look forward to. There shall be many summer-themed posts coming up.

To wrap up today’s post, I’d like to share some recipes with you which are perfect for welcoming spring – some small nibbles along with a sweet indulgence at the end. I find that instead of eating one large plate of food in the spring and summer months, I like to tantalize my taste buds (and give my stomach a rest after the hearty winter food) with a few well thought-out complimentary bites.

 

Spring onion flatbreads:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 170g spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 215g plain all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • oil for pan-frying
  1. Head an oiled frying pan on medium heat. Add green onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, or until soft
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and 1 teaspoon salt. Add your onion/garlic mixture to the bowl, then add cilantro. Gradually stir in 250 ml of boiling water. Stop adding water when you notice a loose dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  3.  After the dough has rested, rip off walnut-sized pieces of the dough and roll out into 20 thin ovals.
  4. Fill a frying pan with 2 cm of oil and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the breads two or three at a time for about 30 seconds on each side, or until golden and crisp.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve with tzatziki (recipe follows)

Tzatziki

  • 1 Lebanese (short) cucumber
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250 g plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint
  1. Finely grate the cucumber and squeeze out all the excess moisture. Transfer the cucumber to a bowl; then add yogurt, vinegar, dill, mint, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix it all together to make sure ingredients are well combined. Serve with spring onion flatbreads.

Grilled lime prawns

  • 48 raw king prawns (peeled and deveined)
  • 125 ml fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 6 tinned sugar canes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • salt and black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, basil, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Next, toss in your prawns and make sure they are well coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge; let the prawns marinate for about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the sugar canes into 1/4 inch thick strips that are about 4 inches in length. Thread two prawns per sugar cane stick. You can make small cuts in the prawns to help the threading process.
  3. Cook prawns on a hot griddle (or BBQ) for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through. Serve with lime wedges.

Salt and pepper squid:

  • 1 kg small squid tubes
  • 250 ml (1 cup) lemon juice
  • 250 g (2 cups) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons white pepper (ground)
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 4 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • oil for frying
  1. Wash and pat dry the squid tubes, then cut them into thin rings. Put the rings in a flat dish (not metallic) and pour the lemon juice over the top. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry again.
  2. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Fill a deep heavy-based saucepan 1/3 third full of oil and heat to 350 C, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns within 15 seconds.
  4. Dip the squid into the egg white and then into the cornstarch mixture. Shake off excess.
  5. Gently drop the squid into the oil in small batches. Deep-fry for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden. Serve right away.

*dip into tzatziki!*

Fig and mascarpone tart:

For the pastry:

  • 175g (1.5 sticks) of softened butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250g (2 cups) all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 50g white chocolate, melted
  • 250g (1 cup) mascarpone
  • 18-20 fresh, ripe figs
  • 6 tablespoons apricot jam, strained

*an 8-inch tart pan*

  1. Preheat oven to 350 C. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and stir until well combined.
  2. Fold in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough and line the tart pan with it. There should be pastry left over, you can freeze them and use again later.
  4. Bake the pastry  case for about 10 minutes or so, or until lightly golden and firm. Let it cool.
  5. Brush the base of the tart with melted white chocolate and let it set. Meanwhile, beat mascarpone for a minute or two, until smooth and light. Spoon the mascarpone onto the tart and spread it out in an even layer.
  6. Quarter the figs and arrange them vertically in the mascarpone, place them close together in concentric circles until the there are no gaps in the tart.
  7. Place the jam in a small saucepan and add 1 tablespoon of water. Heat on low heat, stirring until smooth and warmed through. Remove from heat and gently brush figs to give them a nice shiny glaze.
  8. Serve with your choice of beverage (mine, of course, is tea).

I hope you try the recipes – they are worth the effort!

[Also, my apologies for the post going up so late in the day. My desktop computer died on me today and it took a while to identify the issue. I do have my laptop but my desktop is now out of order for a while.]

+Update: I’ve finished my journal/sketchbook decorating, along with the box. Decided to add them into this post as they are rather summery and fun. Also, I bought a new sketchbook/journal that has sturdier pages as well as binding (my other one was not as durable as I’d like). The box (left) came wrapped in canvas, I just added everything else you see on it. However, to match that, I bought canvas sheets and wrapped the journal myself. Here they are 🙂

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Have a great week, everyone!

 

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Blue Sky Paradise

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Lately I’ve been in a tropical mood. I miss the sunshine. Where I live, there is little to no sun these days…mostly just rain and grey skies. Though, today was a relatively nice day. Don’t get me wrong, I love our mountains and north-west nature, it truly is captivating and beautiful. Yet, my soul is most fulfilled laying under a palm tree while sipping on fresh coconut water (or a little virgin mojito out of a coconut).
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I have always said that I was born with the ocean, salty air, and sand in my soul. I greatly enjoy the water – especially listening to the waves. I love the smell and taste of coconuts, pineapples, mangoes, and basically any tropical fruit. I am happiest on a beach, with the sun on my shoulders, starring at a large body of blue water that I can run into and leave the world behind.

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While in my tropical mood, I have been craving all kinds of foods – most of which I’ve had during my travels. Today, I am sharing a recipe with you that brings me memories of hot sand, the salty breeze blowing from the ocean, and sunshine.

Coconut Shrimp with Tropical Rice:

For The Rice:

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Zest of 1 lime (removed with a vegetable peeler), plus make wedges for serving
  1. Combine 1 cup water, the coconut milk, salt and pepper, rice and lime zest in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for about 8 minutes or until rice is tender but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove from the heat and discard lime zest; add cilantro, pineapple, and scallions, do not stir. Cover and let sit 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and stir to combine all ingredients.

For The Shrimp:

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and set a wire rack on top; coat the wire rack with oil.
  2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Make a breading station by beating the egg and 2 tablespoons water in one bowl. Then combine the coconut and panko in a second bowl.
  3. Dip the shrimp in the egg mixture, then the coconut-panko, gently press on drink to make sure the coconut sticks; transfer to the prepared rack. Bake until the shrimp are fully cooked – should be about 10 minutes.
  4. Turn on the broiler  and broil for 2 minutes to lightly brown the coating of the shrimp
  5. Serve on side of rice with lime wedges
There is something magical about the beach; particularly if you can find a secluded spot with no one else around. It gives the mind a vacation. I guess you can say the ocean is my soul medicine.
There is also something magical about food. For example, food gives families a time to sit down together after a busy day, it can cheer someone up, it brings contentment to the stomach and spirit, and food creates a unique atmosphere.
I don’t need ostentatious restaurants that cost a fortune for a thumbnail worth of food. Give me a picnic of soul food on the beach with my sweetheart – that’s my perfect evening.
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Earth’s Intelligence

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Hello people of the net! Hope everyone is having a good weekend! On the west coast of Canada, we get to enjoy a long weekend – our work week will begin on Tuesday.

In other news…

I’ve recent become a little bit more conscious of what I put into my body and what I put on my skin…and let me tell you, the changes are really noticeable. I started using more natural ingredients for skin care and now switched to a natural deodorant (without aluminum because the other ones have been causing me irritation – too much info? haha). I feel better…I notice the difference. Maybe the difference is partially from feeling good about what products I use, nonetheless, I’m happy. I have also been able to find really good bargains on the natural brands, so it hasn’t cost me more than the other products I’ve replaced, which is fantastic. I still do use my Victoria’s Secret Coconut Milk body butter because I just adore the smell and the way it makes my skin feel; but, I also use a 100% natural body lotion from a German brand called Lavera and I really like it. I am not really going to go bananas and start switching out everything for organic and 100% naturally derived ingredients for several reasons (read below). Right now, I am just a little more conscious of trying to do good things for my body and take care of my skin. We only get one vessel to reside in haha. The better we take care of it, the better it serves us. Right? Right. I also try to pay attention to the cruelty free products and I believe in preserving our planet. That said, let’s get into some of my new products:

Current Natural Products I am Into

Burt’s Bees Rose Toner – This toner feels incredible and it smells divine. After using it for just a few days my skin looks better and feels cleaner. This is a keeper.

Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit Facial Cleansing Wipes – Again, this stuff smells delicious. It feels super refreshing and it removes makeup in a snap. If I am not wearing makeup, I still like to use these wipes after washing my face. They’re awesome.

Burt’s Bees Herbal Blemish Stick with Tea Tree Oil – I don’t dislike the scent, it just smells like fennel and a hint of something else (I assume it is the tea tree). However, this thing is now a permanent staple in my skin care routine. If I see a blemish on my face, I pop a bit of this stuff on it and in the morning it’s as good as gone. I hope they never discontinue this product. This is my holy grail.

Aveeno Fresh Essentials Daily Nourishing Moisturizer (with SPF 30) – I really like the fact that this product contains natural ingredients (though not 100%) and it also contains SPF, which is just wonderful. It doesn’t feel greasy or heavy and doesn’t cause any breakouts. Overall, this is a really great product, even for my sensitive skin.

Lavera Orange & Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion – This lotion is cruelty free, organic, all natural, and it smells like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. If you don’t know what that is I will say this: the lotion smells like fresh oranges and a hint of dark chocolate. Besides its glorious scent, I find that the lotion absorbs easily and keeps my skin hydrated. I can’t say enough good things about it. Definitely not an easy brand to find, but this was given to me by my dad as part of a gift and I am very, very pleased with it.

The Green Beaver Company Natural Deodorant in Lavender – I genuinely adore the scent of lavender, so that’s already a win in my books. I bought this because aluminum is not a good ingredient and my other deodorant made my skin irritated. So far, the deodorant is great. I will say the staying power is a bit weaker than those laced with aluminum, but I don’t mind reapplying it at some point in the day if needed – especially if it means a cleaner and better product. It’s also purely Canadian! Yay!

Organic/All Natural Food Items I’m Into

Blue Monkey Dark Chocolate Coconut Chips – uuumm…need I say more? This is like dessert in a bag and it’s good for you! Yes.

The Tea Room Fusion Chocolate Bar – Specifically the 60% dark chocolate bar with raspberry rooibos tea. This chocolate bar is delectable and unique. I want try a lot more of their flavors.

Madame Flavour Tea – I bought this tea on a whim one day after a tough exam. Oh, was it ever a good decision. I now have the Romantic White with Rose, Delicate Green Jasmine & Pear, and Cheerful Raspberry Hibiscus Tisane. I can’t decide which one I like the most out of those three, they are all delightful. The only unfortunate thing is that I have yet to find it anywhere except the one store I originally bought it at…I really hope they continue to stock it!

Olympic Organic Balkan Style Plain Probiotic Yogurt – Creamy, flavorful, & great for you. I eat it in the morning and as a late-night snack with a bit of honey and/or fruits and nuts. It’s perfect.

We may be clever, inventive, and adaptive beings. That said, nature is intelligent, too. The more I read about the benefits of different herbs, fruits, vegetables, and plants, the more I want to utilize them. For example, my very good friend is kindly giving me a bottle of Eucalyptus oil and I am going to make it into natural products. Eucalyptus oil has great benefits such as: odor elimination, air freshening, antiviral properties, respiratory aid (such as when sick with a cold/flu or if you suffer from allergies or asthma), it’s calming and can help alleviate a headache, it is anti-microbial (you can spray your bedding by combining water mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus oil), and the list goes on. My mom also has a tangerine oil which I will use for its many great properties – one of which is its sedative/soothing effect (great to use for sleep troubles).

As I mentioned above, I am not going to be going bananas. One of the main reasons I won’t be switching fully to all natural and organic products is the price point of most things. I would love to be able to afford only buying food from organic farmers and only buying organic and natural products in general. That said, I do hope that I can at least make the full dietary switch one day. Another reason I won’t make the bigger switch is because, as much as I hate to say it, a large portion of natural home care, health and self-care products aren’t as effective for certain purposes; sometimes we need the other chemicals. Those products that do work well are, again, pretty pricey. It is also difficult to track down the good products in stores because some stores sell it, others don’t. That last statement wouldn’t stop me but, combined with what I said before that, it’s just another reason that I am not making big lifestyle changes in that realm.

Yes, what you put in your body and on your skin must be of respectable quality, but there are wonderful products that aren’t 100% natural. Of course I prefer to use cruelty free, I prefer organic, I prefer nature’s bare ingredients, and I do my best to use products like that. However, I believe that a healthy balance is the important thing – if there needs to be synthetic chemicals or harsh chemicals in a certain product for it to do its job, then that’s what I will use. At the end of the day, I will always gravitate to things that are as close to nature as possible because I believe the earth is super intelligent; what I mean by that is you can find something for almost any need just by knowing what to look for. So, in today’s world, I believe there needs to be a good balance of utilizing what we have created and what nature has to offer – which is what I am trying to accomplish. The other very important bit is not harming the world. I believe in taking care of earth. We have just this one planet to call home (even with all the Mars advances), I think it’s super important that we look after it with care. 🙂

breathe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Bought a Journal.

 

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Hey everyone! I have been experiencing some internet troubles the past few days, hence the late post. It’s very irritating and I don’t know the cause of it (maintenance?). Anyway, on to today’s post:

In a previous post I wrote about my new year “resolutions” and in that post I spoke about Saturday being my day to unwind/de-stress. Since I was in high school, I have really enjoyed keeping journals. Oddly enough, as years went by, I forgot about the journals and have not written in them, nor started any new ones. However, I’ve recently become inspired to start again. I feel very excited about this because I believed I have reached a stage in my life where everything exciting in beginning to happen. I think that eventually it will be very heartwarming to look back on the documented memories. Journaling and writing letters is an ancient tradition, of course it has taken on many forms over the course of time, but one thing I know for sure is that keeping a journal is good for mental health (bonus: it’s fun).

Over the span of two days, I have acquired a sketchbook and a journal. The sketchbook will be transformed into a scrapbook journal, for documenting events/fun memories/trips and the like. While the other will be used for daily journaling – musings, general thoughts, etc. I also bought a nice box (which is wrapped in very pretty canvas) to store my scrapbook and journal supplies.

Non-digital photo albums are on their way out, which is unfortunate. I personally really enjoy having printed photos. Digital devices can break or you can accidentally delete something – many things can happen to digital copies of your memories; but physical prints (if kept well) can last for a very, very long time. I still use Costco’s photo printing service! Books and photos to me don’t feel the same if they are digital. Sure, the convenience of an online textbook is fantastic, but if I were to sit down and read a book for leisure, you can be sure that it will be a physical copy. As for photos, I have a lot of photos that I keep on my phone or computer as digital, because they aren’t all that meaningful. The photos I like to print are ones that are of memorable moments and have emotions attached to them, which is why my scrapbook journal will be the perfect place to keep those meaningful photos and events in a unique and fun form. Very excited!

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This is my daily journal.

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This is my scrapbook journal – the cover will be decorated, of course.

 

These are my two new journals! My daily journal says Happy Everything on the front of it, which I find to be an extremely uplifting reminder to smile. The scrapbook is just a regular, large sketchbook which I will vamp up. Once I have completed the set-up and acquired everything I desire, I will post updated pictures of all of my supplies along with my decorated box and scrapbook journal.

 

 

 

I am now off to kick-start my daily journaling and then off to slumber land! Have a good week, everyone.

P.S. I will be back again before next Tuesday with a new post, so check back soon 🙂

P.P.S. Here is a recipe for a good drink – I like to drink this on cool, dreary days as I write or do homework.

Coconut Hot Chocolate

What Goes in it:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 14 – ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 14 – ounce can sweetened condensed milk (2/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream

How to Make It:

Step 1: In a medium saucepan combine your milk, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Whisk it all together. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk in cocoa powder until it is well incorporated.

Step 2: Keep on medium-low heat for a minute more after adding the cocoa powder, stir often. Then remove from heat and whisk in the pure vanilla extract. Serve in large mugs with whipped cream.

*To make this a dairy-free option, skip the whipped cream and replace the 3 cups of milk with almond milk or coconut milk*

Trust me, if it is cold and grey outside, this drink will make you feel ten times better.

 

 

How To Enrich Your Life

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Hello everyone!

I often hear people say “life is short”…well, it actually isn’t that short. It is literally the longest thing you can ever do. So, wouldn’t it be nice if the longest thing you ever did was the most pleasant thing you ever did? Of course. However, life is a mysterious road which, if we are lucky, is filled with more good mysteries to uncover than bad ones. No matter what, though, our life depends on us. Our attitudes, choices, decisions, actions, & thoughts. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like we are in control, and though there are times we really aren’t, most of the time we can at least control our reactions. Training thoughts, attitudes, and reactions takes practice, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. I’m still working on that myself. While we are on the topic of life, I would like to share with you the ways which I have found to enrich my life – and by no means does it make me an expert on this, but perhaps you will find it to be a pleasant read (or maybe even inspiring). So here are some of the ways I enrich my life:

  1. Be a human sparkle. That doesn’t mean to be excessively vivacious or obnoxiously flamboyant. I mean that you shouldn’t restrain yourself from being bright and cheerful. Radiate positivity. Smile often. Be grateful. If you are in a poor mood, try making your significant other laugh – that will likely take the edge off your mood (plus it’s so uplifting to see your sweetheart smiling).
  2. Learn to value yourself. You are given one life, one chance to be you, one opportunity (with a million little ones sprinkled about) to make your life truly yours. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, don’t compete with the rest of the world. There is no such thing as perfect people, there is no such thing as flawless. Embrace everything about yourself- work on becoming the best version of your own unique self. As Dr. Seuss put it: “Today you are you, that’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you”. Through all of this though, stay humble.
  3. Take care of your mind. Keep your mind pure. Do not let thoughts corrupted by fears control you. Do not let anger and resentment consume you. Do not overthink/over analyze or brood. Do not evade communication or difficult conversations with those you love; express yourself in a kind, gentle, and sensitive manner. Quiet your mind through meditation, journal writing, going for a walk, or other methods which suit you best. Direct emotions & thoughts instead of letting them direct you; instead of reacting instantly, take a moment to reflect on and understand what the situation is. Often times our emotions do cloud the reality of a situation…it’s not wrong to feel the emotions, it’s just better to pause and take a moment before reacting. Let your thoughts and emotions flow like the river – accept their path, appreciate their significance, learn, grow, and let the “waters” of the mind flow peacefully.
  4. Believe. There may not be magic in the sense that we imagined it when we were kids, but there really is magic around us. There is a sense of magic in love, in a plate of delicious food, in the waves of the ocean, and even in a headbutt from your cat. Believe in the good; believe that everything will be okay and that all things will end up as they are meant to.
  5. Show your loved ones how much you care. We are all busy, but we all make time for what matters most to us. Take the time to show the people (or person) you love most just how much you appreciate them and care for them. It will not only enrich your life, but it will also enrich theirs.
  6. Take a Moment. Whether you are having your morning tea/coffee, reading a textbook, doing laundry, or eating dinner – take a moment. Even if it’s just a second, take that second to acknowledge the present. You don’t need to think about it for any prolonged period of time, nor give the moment any mental energy…all I suggest you do is just let the mind register it. We all seem to either be stuck in the past or living in the future, taking a second to register your present can help alleviate some stress.
  7. Celebrate your victories – even the tiny ones. I found that when I do this, I feel so much better. I mean it; be proud of yourself for all the things you accomplish, even if they seem trivial. Say you have never made a fancy dish before, and tonight you pick up a cookbook and cook something you’ve never even considered before. Be happy, be proud! It doesn’t have to be perfect, the fact that you did it is a cause to say ‘good job, self’. Do so in everything and watch how much further you go.

To end this post, I want to share a recipe with you which makes the best apple pancakes:

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded tart apple
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • Honey and berries/fruit for serving

Method

  1. In a big mixing bowl, combine the egg, butter, milk, vanilla extract, and apple. Mix until well combined. In a second mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and cinnamon. Give the dry ingredients a quick mix so that everything is blended together. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, adding a little at a time and making sure to mix well between each addition.
  2. Heat an oiled frying pan on medium heat. Use a small ladle or tablespoon to scoop the batter onto the pan. Cook until browned on both sides.
  3. Serve immediately with some fruit/berries and honey.

This recipe is great for a weekend breakfast treat, plus it’s pretty simple and quick to make.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

 

 

30 Random Questions

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Hey everyone! I’m a little late with the blogging schedule because today was kind of a busy day and my original plans didn’t work out quite the way I anticipated them to. Sorry for that, but it’s not going to change future blog posts, I will still be posting on Tuesdays! 🙂

Second week of school went by – I was sick!! Ugh. The worst part was not only feeling poorly, but being too ill to actually attend classes. Missing material was very displeasing. I did my best to make sure I covered whatever was missed – mostly over the last two days of the week and over the weekend. Last week looked something like: sleep, wake up coughing and with a plugged nose at 2 am, sleep again, wake up again, sleep a bit more, then wake up and decide 3rd time wasn’t a charm. Have a boat load of medicine (which I normally don’t ever have), have tea, have water, have more tea, finally manage to eat something. Try to sit down for homework and readings but realize eyes won’t focus, head hurts, and if I tilt my head ever so slightly downward nose runs like a faucet – so, no studying. Rinse and repeat. I managed to get some studying done (when I felt meds kick in full force). I am sure everyone wanted to hear that story, right? Haha. Thankfully, I am cured and I am healthy again! Yay! I am always so fascinated by how complicated and ingenious our bodies are.

I thought, since I was feeling pretty “blah” last week, it might be fun to answer 30 random questions for you guys to lighten up the mood. Here we go!

  1. Do you sleep with closet doors open or closed? Umm…closed. I don’t care too much when they are open, but I definitely prefer them closed. Why, you ask? No idea…
  2. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Out. I cannot stand feeling constricted when I sleep. I totally mess up the bedding in hotel rooms!
  3. Do you cut out coupons and then never use them? I usually do use coupons I cut out. Though, sometimes, I forget and then I don’t end up using them because they expire.
  4. Do you always smile for pictures? Hmm…I find fake, wide, toothy smiles look terrible in photos (at least when I do it). Unless someone makes me laugh or someone catches me naturally smiling. So, I am going to say yes, I do smile in photos, but I don’t show teeth.
  5. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? No. I just walk…
  6. Have you ever peed in the woods? Yep. Camping.
  7. Do you still watch cartoons? If adult cartoons like Family Guy, Simpsons, F is for Family, count…yes.
  8. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you find any? Bury it!? I just found treasure! I’m keeping it locked in a safe at the house.
  9. What do you drink in the winter? I drink tea, as always. I also drink hot chocolate and eggnog – a lot of eggnog.
  10. Can you change the oil in your car? Yes, I can.
  11. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? Nope! Clean record.
  12. Are you afraid of heights? No. But, depending on where I am, I can sometimes be afraid of falling from very high-up places.
  13. Do you sing in the car? On occasion; if I am being silly with my fiance or I am alone and bored or super tired haha.
  14. Is Christmas stressful? Nope. I love Christmas! Even on the rare occasion that I might find myself a little stressed before Christmas, I don’t pay the stress much attention. So, my answer is no, it is not stressful.
  15. Occupation you wanted as a kid? Oh boy, that’s a long list! Haha. I think it was always something to do with medicine – veterinarian, medical doctor, nurse, paramedic, etc. However, I also wanted to be a flight attendant at one point in time.
  16. Can you curl your tongue? I believe I can.
  17. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Yes! On the engagement day!
  18. Can you swim well? Very well. I worked as a lifeguard back in the yester-years.
  19. If you became a multimillionaire over night, what is the first thing you would buy? A nice car! And then a house for my future family to grow in. So, first thing is car…then I would drive that car to look for homes. LOL.
  20. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear right now? I hear my cat purring.
  21. What is one food you cannot live without? Well, I couldn’t live without food in general, seeing as I would starve and die. So…all food?
  22. What did you do for your last birthday? My sweetheart took me horseback riding! It was the most amazing time. I am a huge horse person (don’t hear that too often, do ya? haha), so the experience was absolutely incredible. Thank you again, honey!
  23. Do you have any tattoos? Yes. I have two tattoos.
  24. Have you ever dyed your hair? Yep. I have dyed my hair blonde, dark purple, and black. However, I haven’t dyed my hair in years.
  25. What is your favorite scent? That’s a bit difficult to answer, because I like quite a few scents for different purposes haha. I will say coconut would be my favorite scent for a lot of things – but only if it’s not artificial smelling. I actually bought a coconut milk body butter today, it’s delicious.
  26. How many pillows do you sleep with? Haha – this is funny because my fiance likes a lot of pillows, and I usually have only two.
  27. What is your essential kitchen appliance? Ah…a fridge. Because that is where I store food at home. Other than that, probably a stove, because you can do anything with it- boil water, fry, bake, roast, you name it.
  28. Baths or showers? I actually like both equally, but I take more showers than baths. I take baths to relax and showers to get clean…
  29. Do you have any secret family recipes? I do, actually. A few of them 😉
  30. Would you like to build/design your own house? Umm…hell yes!

Well, that was my 30 random questions. I hope you enjoyed this post and I am wishing everyone a good rest of the week!

 Hooray for most things!

– George Carlin

 

 

Detox Tea – is it a real thing?

Hey everyone! So, I am still sick and at home resting to recover. I decided to take this time to talk about something that I’ve noticed has become a big thing. Not only is it a fad, but people are actually buying into it – which is an issue I will address in this post. Now, you all know how much I love tea…but…

If you are thinking of purchasing something for a lot of money, you want to make sure it’s worth the investment. If that something that you are thinking of purchasing is one of those “cleansing” teas or “detox” teas or “skinny” teas which are delivered to you monthly for loads of cash…save your money. I think they are a massive waste of your hard-earned money. That’s not to say that tea in itself doesn’t have the properties these marketers and companies are trying to sell. All tea has antioxidants, “detox” properties, “cleansing” properties. It doesn’t have to be packaged in a nice tin with pretty labels and delivered to you for ridiculous prices – you can get the same results with any good quality tea you buy (for a tiny fraction of the price). It is true that tea should be loose leaf for it to be decent quality tea, but that doesn’t mean it should cost you a fortune. You can go to many different tea merchants and tea shops online and get yourself a fantastic selection of teas for much less than these other “super tea” companies are selling for.

It’s really not hard to get sucked into the marketing and the packaging of these expensive teas. I mean, they do a convincing job! There are people on social media raving about these cleanses, too – “look how clear my skin is after drinking this tea for a week” or “this tea made my stomach so flat” or “I have so much more energy after drinking this tea” – they’re probably getting paid to tell you this, and if they aren’t…then they are most likely following the current fad (who wants to admit they spent a fortune on a packet of tea which did nothing for them?). The biggest selling point these teas share is that they tell you that your body is absorbing all these “toxins” while you’re breathing and eating and living and just being human. Well, sure! That’s a fact…thankfully, though, we have a few organs that do the cleansing and detoxifying for us: liver, skin, kidneys, and lungs. If your body wasn’t able to do this on it’s own, their would be a serious biological issue which would require medical treatment.

A lot of the companies aren’t very specific about what these toxins they are talking about are. What are the names of these toxins? What do they do to the body? What makes this combination of tea the perfect solution? Something to keep in mind. Where is the scientific evidence that their specific product (which is being sold as something that is used to detoxify your body) does the job the best? A healthy diet, good sleep, keeping active, and staying hydrated are the main things that will help you feel healthy.

That said, tea has been used for centuries as an aid in traditional medicine and even meditation. There are many different, natural teas that have properties which are good for your stomach or your skin or your body in general. You don’t need to pay these companies to get your hands on something that is found in almost every tea shop, supermarket, or even online. You can get some great quality valerian tea for getting a better sleep, peppermint tea for digestive aid, ginger tea for nausea, lavender tea for stress relief. It’s just about knowing your stuff and doing  your research.

Another rather unsettling fact is that a lot of the teas that are made for weight loss can actually make you dehydrated and cause you to lose muscle tissue (and muscle weighs more than fat does…so, is that healthy weight loss?). A lot of these “skinny” or “fit” teas contain herbs and seeds which are appetite suppressants, diuretics, and even laxatives. These things can mess with your gastrointestinal flora (which is what keeps yours entire stomach balance in check) and can also make you lose water. In addition to that, if you want true tea benefits, you need to customize the tea to your needs and your body.

To wrap up, I am sure you are all intelligent people. I also know that there are companies out there who really know how to market things and make it tempting to believe them. Take this as a kind reminder to be careful of what you put in your body. We only get one body, let’s treat it with respect and make health-conscious decisions. Drink your tea, but don’t buy into the expensive (and sometimes harmful) trends.