Happy, healthy, balanced New Year to you!
After all that indulgent, caution to the wind eating and drinking it is time for a seasonal clean up for us.
There are so many bugs including the dreaded super flu going around , we need to boost our immunity, sleep better as well as lifting ourselves from the dark moods that can engulf people with the reduced sunlight and storms that leave us indoors for days on end.
So, braving the rain, wind and puddles I went shopping and stood wearing my private halo at the check out…
There is nothing worse though, when embarking on any kind of regime than the feeling of deprivation. I for one kick back badly at being told I “can’t” anything!
Healthy food must be tasty, filling, look good and do good.
We need multi-tasking dishes of the finest order.
Another thing, how about making your meals pretty?
I collect bowls and plates, it’s a bit of a thing, started at Jurby Junk on the Isle of Man when I lived there , a wonderworld, tables piled on tables and all piled with other people’s junk, somebody else’s treasure! I have never lost that love of bowls and cups, big or tiny with patterns inside as well as outside, huge jewel coloured bowls to pile with leaves and wide rustic plates to place lots of different tasting, textured and coloured morsels onto. Ideal if the food colours are slightly monotinous or dull but, when the food is bright and varied, let it tell it’s own story on plain white, as above.
Here is a recipe for you plus an alternative to show how easy it is to switch the flavours up…
Stir fry 1
I chopped …
1 yellow pepper
1 handful runner beans
1/2 inch ginger and turmeric
I steamed the beans whilst I stir fried everything else (onions for a few minutes first) for ten mins.
Added the beans to the stir fry with …
1 handful spinach ripped
Leaves torn from 6 leaves of purple Kale and ripped
Splashed with some Braggs (you could use soy sauce) and a few grinds pepper and tipped into a bowl.
I threw on top a palm full of Goji berries and lots of spiced pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds.
Stir fry 2 using similar basic ingredients …
I chopped …
1 red pepper
1 handful runner beans
1 carrot into small sticks
3 largish mushrooms quartered
1/2 inch ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
I steamed the beans whilst I stir fried everything else (onions for a few minutes first) for ten mins.
Added the beans to the stir fry with …
1 handful spinach
Leaves torn from 6 leaves of purple Kale
I sprinkled with …
1/2 teaspoon five spice powder
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons soya sauce
Stirred it all until all the leaves were wilted and served sprinkled liberally with lots of spiced pumpkin, chia and sunflower seeds.
Don’t think diet, don’t think deprivation think delicious, nourishing, light and bright. If you are used to drinking alcohol or hitting the chocolate bikkies slouched in front of the TV most nights think of indulging yourself in the evening instead, try doing something you don’t do when you drink – like make something, go out swimming or for a dark walk (watch those puddles – actually wear wellies and enjoy those puddles!), start a new hobby, read a new book, start learning something, do self massage, have long, early bubble baths and snuggle into bed early.
Find a turn around for yourself, turn what may feel negative (only because of habit and because you are saying no) into something positive and fun or indulgent.
Here is to a year of finding our best, happiest and healthiest selves.
Feeling heavy, slow, tired, down, stuck, unhappy, achy, old, “just not 100%”?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO!
Come to us for a few days (or more) and lets look at what is going wrong, or just not going right, re-evaluate, find a way, make some changes and while we are doing that let us nourish you with the best and most delicious food and drinks. Be supported, be prepared, be changed.
We are now taking bookings from 16 March 2018!
15% discount on all bookings from March to end May as the indoor spa pool will be closed for maintenance and the outdoor pool may be a bit cooler than 28° – weather depending, late April and May should be fine!
Have a look around our site and contact us with any questions at all, for more info or to book your stay.
Charlie Brown; “Some day we all will die”
Snoopy; “True, but on other days we will not ”
Let’s make the best of our days, our loves and our lives.
Some day we die, the other days we don’t and those days we need to enjoy the living not worrying about dying.
If you are struggling with that reach out to somebody, don’t suffer alone.
We’ve just been for a blustery walk around a loch and up a very steep and rugged hill, picked some blackberries and one very lonesome bilberry and a twig of pine to make tea from. Blown away the cobwebs, boosted our endorphins and foraged some Vitamin C and antioxidants… Robins now chomping his way through some Scottish fudge.
I’d better go and rescue him. (Yes, him, from it!).
Peaceful and beautiful Loch Fyne, loving it come rain or shine.
My lovely daughter asked for some tips for easy, tasty, fast and cheap packed lunches.
Tired of the, and by the, sandwiches, wraps, even more supposedly healthy options available within easy reach of where she works in Paris she needed to get back on top of this.
Everyone needs to enjoy a meal and function on all cylinders afterwards at lunch time no matter what we do. Lighter, brighter, cleaner food helps lift our mood rather than lower it (foods can do both), give us energy, keep us fresh and physically and mental bright and vibrant.
Even the best of us need motivation sometimes, she is a very healthy eater, amazing cook, experimental and enjoys the best of France too (think of those divine cheese stands at the market, the freshest fish, I won’t go on) so she came a-calling on Momma. Who, by the way, also goes to her and literally hundreds of recipe books both cooked and raw for inspiration.
First, of course I mentioned green smoothies, my go to lunch at least 4 out of 7 days a week but she wanted something ‘to eat!’ so I suggest making some wraps of sliced or even pulsed which is faster (unless you have a mandolin – which I have but dare not use, it looks lethal!) vegetables. Carrots, mushrooms, spring or red onion, radishes, avocado, whatever you have and like, even some cauliflower or broccoli.
Mix it all up with a few herbs if you have them, maybe a good sprinkle of ready to eat sea salad, a drop of olive oil or sesame oil would give a more oriental flavour and some balsamic or a drop of tamari or soy sauce some good combinations to mix in small quantities OR to put in a mini sealed pot to dip into:
- olive oil – balsamic – basil – salt n pepper
- sesame oil – soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy) – splash of maple – pepper
- Teriyaki sauce (I use the coconut version, because it has no soy)
- a blended avocado, drop of cider vinegar, pinch salt, italian herbs or chopped chives
- juice of one orange, splash of soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy), dash of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salad. I think this is one of my favourite dressings for salad too, I put lots on and happily drink what is left out of my bowl, if we don’t have visitors of course.
- blended plums (3 or 4), a sprinkle cider vinegar, chilli depending on taste and heat, tbsp olive oil, onion – match quantity to size of one plum, a small chunk of fresh ginger, a date or two and, depending on meetings, a clove of garlic.
You could make a raw wrapper, use a wholewheat pitta bread, corn tortilla or a great and light one is a rice wrapper that they sell for spring rolls.
As with all my recipes adjust to suit you. I am not a chef, I throw things together and make them work (and occasionally they don’t) and I have been doing this for many, many years so know what we like and work more on instinct – even when following a cooked recipe, it has to be said, much to Aimee’s dismay. And Robins on occasion, as you can see here .
Nom nom.Learn More
I just neeeeeed something savoury. I am so distracted by it I couldn’t even decide on my title.
I don’t want juice or smoothies or chocolate or ice cream or anything other than something mouth-wateringly savoury!
So that is salty, deeply flavoured, oily, maybe a hint of sweet to push those flavours even deeper.
I’m thinking Indian takeaway, Cantonese sizzling beef with all those bits and sweet and sour prawns, BBQ spare ribs, full English breakfast…
So what do I do about that then? Not only do I not want to have those because I am being ‘good’ and even if I wasn’t I never feel good after eating any of those things so I rarely do. Also I am in the middle of very rural France and the nearest place to find anything near something on that list is not local (lucky for us and one of the reasons why it is the perfect place for a retreat, no temptation!).
After a fast fridge rummage here’s what I have done about it –
I sliced up a couple of mushrooms and tossed them around in a mixture of olive oil, coconut amos, smoked paprika and maple syrup with some finely chopped rosemary (not sure that will add anything or not, it was a token green leaf though).
I had one mushroom left, which isn’t much use alone, so sliced and tossed that with oil, balsamic vinegar and fleur de sel for a good old salt and vinegar crisp flavour with a grown up twist.
After a while of tossing and leaving and tossing again I put them all in the dehydrater (if you don’t have one it doesn’t matter, see below) which is where they are now. I did eat a few on the way and they are so what I needed. It is amazing what will cut through a craving.
The sucre/salé flavour (the first marinade) was so divine I made some more and am waiting for sliced aubergines to absorb some of it whilst I write. Lets face it, I am really writing to keep me occupied so I don’t keep pinching the warm mushrooms from the dehydrator!
I need to address something here. If you don’t have the ingredients or equipment that are used in a raw food recipe it is usually easy to adapt to what you do have. It is very different from making a cake which needs three eggs and you only have one, that wouldn’t work (I know, I’ve tried it).
Also, if you are wanting to be healthy and clean you do not have to be raw! No, you don’t. You can be and you can eat a lot of raw foods and you can eat things cooked or prepared in the best way you have available to you. I do not eat an all raw diet all the time by any means. I do have blips into all raw (and have spent a lot of time being all raw for reasons I’ll one day share). Mainly we eat a lot of raw foods, high vegetarian, little dairy (love cheese, you should see the cheese stall at our local market, drool) unprocessed and using the best ingredients I can find and afford to use.
Here are some tips on adaptation using the recipes above as an example:
If you don’t have coconut amos, it is the first time I have actually – I only discovered them last time I was in the UK, you could use Brags liquid amos, or light soy sauce, or plain old soy sauce.
No Maple syrup? Use Agave or date syrup or blend up some dates or dried figs would work. Really not a good idea to use general sugar or golden syrup obviously (I think that’s obvious given what we are doing here, if not let me know below ;). I think at a push you could blend some sweet fruit, I’ll give it a go and report back on that one.
Smoked paprika is quite yummy for giving that deeply savoury almost barbequed flavour. If you don’t have it try a bit of chili, mustard would probably give a good result, something a bit punchy. Garlic would be great.
And of course, the dehydrator… so yesterday was very hot and I put some soaked almonds and some fresh lemon balm out to dry in the sun. My Man has been promising for years to make me a hanging cage with shelves that I can dehydrate things in outside but he keeps having to do stuff like re-point the back wall, mow the field, design a product, help a client etc and so it continues to be on the list. The point being that you could dehydrate outside if the weather was being helpful. You could also put the oven on low and leave the door open though somehow, when ever I hear that theory, I just shudder at how expensive it is to leave your oven on and the door open.
Anyway the other option, and probably what I would do in real life, is just put them in the oven on low with the door shut. They would be ‘a bit’ cooked, yes, but they will still be very good nutritionaly, healthwise and taste amazing! You could just heat them until they have softened and warmed. There would be a difference in that the juices would run a bit which isn’t a problem, it is just a difference.
So remember if you don’t have something in one of my recipes, adapt. Then it is not a problem it is merely a difference and we all like to be different don’t we?
I can’t think of anything else useful to say, I am just going to check out those mushrooms in the dehydrator…
Its extra clean ‘n’ lean time again (why don’t we just keep it up continuously?!).
Anyway, I’m not beating myself up about that I am embracing what IS.
My first thought, as usual, “oh, I’m so excited!” closely followed by “Oh, I’m so deprived….”. Especially when in the book I am reading they are sitting down to gin and tonics before dinner, delicious morsels followed by sumptuous meals with sauces and fine wines and all the things I LOVE and we meet friends and they are all going out to the bar that night and having pizzas and a very merry time and we, My Man (MM) and me, have ‘that’ conversation –
Me “How come everyone else just eats normally and drinks when they want and has lots of coffee and cake and they all look healthy and happy and are having SO MUCH FUN?!”
MM “Yes, it does seem that way, maybe we should give up giving things up?”
Me “Well, no we are lucky we can do this and have all the equipment and knowledge and its delicious anyway and we feel so much better…. Don’t we?”
MM “Yes, we do. Lets just get on with it” (he knows me so well)
Me “But, but, but, but, but”.
As MM always says, with his Master NLP head on, I am a miss matcher. I want what I can not have or the opposite of what I can have. I buy fish for dinner and by dinner time I do not want fish under any circumstances (of course I eat the fish, and enjoy it when I have it, I’m not spoilt just contrary ;).
So I had a little think.
When I eat clean, delicious (I am quite good at it even if I do say so myself, and so I should be, people pay me!!) food I feel lighter in mood and body. Within a day I feel this way so nothing to do with losing weight. Neither of us are over weight but we do get kinda flabby when we eat the bad stuff too often, as happens sometimes (yes, I admit it, even people who help others eat well and feel better are human, who knew? You can see another post on this here).
Today is the start of day three. I am less puffy, 3kg lighter, brighter and feeling great. We do eat pretty healthily 90% of the time. We drink wine (me) and beer or wine (MM) too frequently but rarely to excess.
After one beer/glass of wine we relax and stop thinking about work – that was always how it was anyway when we were working 12 + hour days at high pressure. Now life is more relaxed. Yes, loads needs doing, we live in a very old house and there is always a wall that needs re-pointing, a field to mow, loads of cleaning to do, the website to update (new one coming soon!!!) and jewellery orders to fulfil and designs to work on.
But old habits die hard.
When we eat more lightly, drink juices and smoothies and no alcohol, the day is longer. We are not chasing the party feeling. We are calmer. We do more like going for a walk late evening, just sitting outside instead of in front of the TV, and so feel more satisfied.
So I flipped the thought that I am deprived and thought “I feel so good, imagine depriving myself of this light, calm, peaceful, productive-in-a-good-way feeling” – It worked. I know it sounds simple and I really, really had to feel it, it wasn’t just a throw away thought. And I have to keep reminding myself that I love feeling like this. I have a divine perfumed bath at the end of the day, my indulgent reward, with my book and stay there for hours tumbling into bed afterwards and feeling good about my day. What is not to like?
Flip that thought, it takes a bit of work but so does staying awake in front of the TV with a pizza and bottle of wine inside you or thinking over and over “I’m so tired/fat/spotty/grumpy/stressed/down/joyless/unhappy/angry/anxious/add your word here”.
If you need help don’t hesitate to ask – flip phrases free for you XX
Robin, he who puts up with me, commented patiently this morning that I have the attention span of a gnat.
It is true I like change. Regularly, however big or small.
Hence having moved more times than I can remember and when a house is finished ( OK, when a house is nearly finished or even just been going on too long) another will catch my attention and…. poor Robin, he who gets all the really hard work.
So, having discovered Annie Sloane paints in Derbyshire, those that need NO preparation ( joy, my favourite thing, straight in!!) we brought some back to France and after 25 years of living with cheapish, orangey varnished wooden chairs around my very ancient and beautifully worn big pine table I decided to Annie Sloane them.
Duck egg blue was the colour of choice, the paints are really chalky and gorgeous, then you wax them to stop the paint coming off. I couldn’t wait to get started.
I have just finished the third. Not bad going you might think. But, a small confession, the first was done about 8 weeks ago, maybe more. The other two started yesterday so I earned some (well deserved) brownie points for having seen two through to the end in 24 hours but oh, how tedious!!
You do not know how many sides a chair has until you try to paint them. And then wax them!
Imagine if I had also had to clean/ sand/ prep them too, and wait for them to dry – this paint dries in no time, ideal for gnats.
Possibly a majorly good development idea – Annie, please can you put the paint in a spray? Maybe thats one step too lazy.
I told a friend, via chat, yesterday that I was going to do some yoga and try to do more than 15 minutes. He said, very wisely, “its not how long, its the quality of the movement”.
I read his comment afterwards. How true it is, how right he was.
I did my yoga teacher training 5 years ago. It was tough, magical, empowering, strengthening, inspiring, everything I could have dreamed. How could I forget, even for a moment that every movement, part of a movement and breath counts.
As I did my practice, which actually did last way longer than 15 minutes because I was in the moment and each movement did count, it was just getting onto the mat that was the problem, it felt gooood.
I asked had he trained in martial arts. He had. I guessed because mostly people who think that way, or would say that, have trained in some ancient art.
Everyone should have that knowledge, that the quality of the movement counts – all movement. Being present, right here right now and making the most of it all.
Sooooo, never mind how many sides a chair has, I am going to enjoy painting each and every one of them…..
Says me; “Actually Robin, don’t you think the chairs would look really good alternating, duck egg blue then cheap orangey varnish, then duck egg blue, now we have three and three?”
Says he; “Attention span of a gnat”.Learn More
OK so its not your usual combination, its not tripe n onions (yucky) or anything edible, but it is brilliant.
I have a really bad reaction to strong paints, to lots of chemicals really – I am sure most of us do but we get used to it, which is not good. Anyway, even having used ‘good’ paint the woodwork paints still smell strongly to me.
Onions are a treasure, did you know that if you put a cut one in a room with someone who has a bad cold/ flu/ bug, the onion absorbs the germs so you have less chance of being the next one with your nose in a hankie? Also if you put one next to your bed with the above, the duration of the illness will be reduced? Apparently so.
So, as you may know, we (with a little help) are working madly to finish off the renovations to our house to open our healthful, restful, rawful retreat. It’s been a long job but we are really getting there now.
The first day of painting I suddenly had that burning sensation (which I had forgotten about, it was a bit of a shock) and I rushed to put cut onions out …. hopefully.
I went out and when I returned, quelle surprise!, the smell had dramatically reduced and no burning sensation in my wind pipe!
So today with 6 doors and a long corridor painted I have onions in each door way and carefully placed up the stairs.
Eau de maison à la paint ‘n’ onions – lovely!