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100 Healthy Days – Mindfulness in every day life

vegan hot chocolate

The best way to enjoy 85% dark chocolate is to drink it! ūüėČ

This morning I saw a post on Facebook about a woman who decided to turn the #100happydays tag into #100healthydays. Ordinarily I look at these people who transform themselves into super-toned fitness enthusiasts and think ‘It’s just not for me.’ This is because I’ve tried the gym thing and unfortunately due to frequent injury I find it impossibly to maintain the necessary consistency.¬†

On this occasion, however, it wasn’t the super-toned physique that caught my imagination but the idea of the tag. I completed the #100happydays tag on Instagram and, though there were a few days when everything was so horrid that I blatantly had to make something up, I did complete it. It was just one day at a time, and I never knew what the thing was that was going to make you happy, so I had to be on the lookout for it. It made me more mindful throughout the day of how I was feeling, and that can’t be bad!

So why not apply this idea to health? Personally, I know that being more mindful of what I eat and how I take care of myself is really important. I tend to indulge and obsesses over food. After finishing my all-consuming music degree I found that I had to unfollow all the food accounts on Instagram and Pinterest as I just felt overwhelmed. I wanted to make everything and try everything and felt enormous pressure. It may sound silly to someone who has never had the obsessive thing, but it became a bit of a problem! Now I avoid looking at pictures of recipes online, or buying foodie magazines and I feel much less overwhelmed. If I want to look something up, I will happily search, but I try not to let it take over my thoughts too much. 

So here was my first day of #100healthydays! I’m not aiming to be a size 0 at the end, I’m not aiming to be anything! Just more mindful of what I eat and how I move, and proud of the choices I’ve made for my body.

breakfast

Cinnamon to steady blood sugar is great in the morning!

Breakfast is always porridge for me! I just love it! I love using different ingredients for variety but this morning it was pretty basic! Banana to prevent my twitchy eye/leg/arm, cinnamon to keep my blood sugar steady, oats for slow-release carbohydrates and fiber and peanut butter because it is yummy and contains a small amount of protein! 

Rocket Man salad

Chickpeas are full of fiber and keep energy levels steady throughout the day.

At lunchtime I was out and about meeting my friend Orla at the Mahon Point Farmers Market. I love it there! There is so much to look at and so many delicious options! I steered away from the cake and had a salad from the Rocket Man, Cork’s most popular salad bar. This was a chickpea and roast vegetable/ spelt and beetroot salad combo. ¬†There weren’t as many veggies as I would have liked but I was on the move!

Homemade blackberry jam with vegan hot chocolate.

A snack around 4pm keeps me from gnawing my arm off (or stuffing my face with chocolate!)

The 4pm snack is going to be my new best friend. I always get hungry at this time and never realised that I could just plan a snack before dinner. Well, now I know and this is what I had: seeded rye bread with homemade (by me!) blackberry jam and vegan hot chocolate made with 85% dark chocolate, unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract. Yum.

Vegan white bean and vegetable hash with nutritional yeast.

Rosemary, garlic, nutritional yeast and black pepper made this cannellini bean hash taste so good!

 For dinner I made this recipe for Vegetable White Bean Hash. I added 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, which has added a lot to the flavour. The recipe really needed some more herbs or spices as the recipe was a little bland. The yeast really cheered it up, though! 

So, that was my day apart from a skinny cappuccino! ¬†I’ve tried to take my time with things today. Making dinner, I didn’t want to rush and just appreciated having the time to prepare the vegetables and listen to a podcast while cooking.¬†

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The Pumpkin Pie

Yes! Finally, the pumpkins are here! Aren’t they beautiful? I’ve literally spent the entire day making various dishes with these lovelies. It ¬†sometimes bothers me that Irish people don’t really use pumpkins for anything other than jack-o-lanterns. ¬†I have noticed a record number of said seasonal decorations all over Cork city, though, and they are gorgeous!I’ve never been one to sit around lamenting and not doing anything so here is my pumpkin pie experience! I’ve put together a ‘How To’ style tutorial to show you what to do with your pumpkin when it’s all big and orange and staring at you questioningly. The first step to any pumpkin recipe is to first pur√©e the pumpkin. Once it’s pur√©ed, you can freeze it or use it for various recipes.

1. Slice your pumpkin in half, and then into slices. Scoop out the innard-goop and put it into a bowl. You can rinse them later and bake the seeds if you want to use every part of the pumpkin. The stringy bits are great for compost!
2. Place the pieces (skin intact!) into a steamer and steam for approximately 20 minutes until soft. Remove from the steamer and allow to cool before peeling. Do NOT try to peel the slices while they’re hot! You WILL burn yourself.

3. Allow the skinless pumpkin chunks to drain in a¬†colander¬†for 10 minutes to get rid of excess juice. Sometimes this isn’t necessary, if you feel your pumpkin isn’t very watery, you can skip this step!

¬†4. Whizz up the pumpkin with a hand blender, or mash with a potato masher until it’s a thick pur√©e. Now you have your base ingredient, ready to use! If you have some left over, you can freeze it in a lunchbox or in small amount in freezer bags.

PUMPKIN PIE!

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tsps cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 0.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 0.5 tsp salt (optional)
  • 4 large, free range eggs
  • 3 cups pumpkin pur√©e
  • 18 floz evaporated milk 

1. Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer. It will be a very wet mixture.

2. Line a pie dish with short crust pastry. I find that this recipe makes enough for at least one extra pie, so have some extra pastry to hand, just in case!

3. Pour in the pie-filling, not filling the dish more than 3/4 full, as the mixture will rise! Bake at 200 degrees Celsius for the first 15 minutes.

4. Turn down the heat to 165 degrees Celsius and bake for a further 45 Р60 minutes, until a knife comes out clean from the centre.

When it is done, take it out and EAT IT UP, YUM YUM! ūüôā

I hope you try this recipe! I originally found it online somewhere about two years ago and I’ve stuck with it. It’s really delicious! I have a lovely recipe for pumpkin and spinach¬†lasagne¬†which I’ll post soon. Let me know what you think! x

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Coming tomorrow!

These last few weeks have been insane for me. Between work and traveling, I’ve barely had time to sit down. Between last Thursday and Tuesday I went from Cork -> London -> Gothenburg -> London -> Cork -> Dublin -> Cork with work from Tuesday evening to Thursday evening. So today (Friday) has been the first day that I’ve been able to go out and get some food shopping.

I BOUGHT PUMPKINS!!

Three of them. Beautiful little ones! I’m excited about making them into pies, soups, pasties and curry! It’s been more than a year since my last Pumpkin Post. This time I promise to post recipes.

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Taci! Taci!


On the Sky Arts channel on Saturday there appeared to be some sort of opera marathon. I came in for a bit and watched a documentary on Caff√© Taci in New York City. It’s a restaurant that has regular opera nights. Singers come and serenade the diners once a week. It sounds amazing. I would so love to sing or eat there. Or both. It seemed so lovely – such a warm and understanding, supportive atmosphere. I wish we had something like that here in Cork. It would be amazing to be able to have somewhere to perform frequently if we liked. I wonder if anyone would come. I’d say they would – there appears to be quite a devoted opera following in Cork. Imagine an open mic opera night!! Amazing!!

If only I could snap my fingers and hop of a flight to New York. I could do a musical tour of the city and go to Broadway and Julliard and Café Taci and the Metropolitan Opera. I need to do this.

Excuse me while I tell ever single one of my New Yorker friends about Caffé Taci.