Feeling down?put your blues to good use!

Apparently many people are experiencing an existential crisis -or mini-crisis- these days.

I can’t say I share the emotions since I had an existential mega-crisis a long time ago, and ever since I am not absolutely sure there is necessarily a meaning to all this, but I try to enjoy the journey nonetheless.

This does not, in any way, imply that I don’t have any down moments-the opposite is true.

I have my moments.

What I found out, after many years of private non-scientific voluntary based on one participant study, is that there are a few things that allow me a quickly get back to whatever it is that I am (not) doing.

Since these really are strange times, and even 20 minutes off the scary news is welcome, I am hereby sharing one of my top “quick fixes”, so to speak.

 Well, yea.cleaning.

Don’t give me that look.

I am serious.

Provided you got to the clutter-free home you desire (do you? why do I assume everyone wants to live with less than with more? I am aware some people are comforted by the presence of things they haven’t used in more than 10 years, because, they might need it someday .soon.of course, 2 days after you throw the dang thing away- the person who refused to throw it comes with a great idea he wishes he could implement- if only we didn’t throw that piece of junk away) ), anyway, if your house is in order despite those “never throw anything” party poopers- then cleaning can be made really easy, and super gratifying.

And quick healthy and frugal gratifications are very welcome, thank you very much.

Of The 3 tips I have, 2 are quite frugal, but one is expensive, though is so worth the cost all in all.

The costly tip is rumba iRobot.

Mine has been with us for quite a few years now, and I try to keep it clean, so it will last longer (and clean better, obviously). I put the chairs up, clean countertops ( great opportunity to risk crumbs scattering on the floor), and put rumba to use. an hour and the house is crumbs +dust free.

I have no links or shares in iRobot, so just do whatever. but, I can tell you that I don’t mind cleaning the house twice a week since all I have to do is get the chairs out of Roomba’s way.

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Tip #2: Now, there are smaller rooms- such as toilets and bathrooms, that Roomba cannot clean, so I use a simple broom- the thing is- that broom needs an occasional clean too. so I understood a few weeks ago. my broom is synthetic, and I  wash it with some hand soap and water. yes, it gets much easier when you screw off the stick.(………)

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The last tip also involves buying something, again, no affiliated anything here, I’m not going to suggest a brand, do your own research, just make sure it’s not all cheap plastic, so it will be durable

The magic bucket.

It really is magic mind you, so easy to use, so perfect for wooden floor, swishes so swiftly on the floors and is very ergonomic.

. img_20191218_1309482534669742997095097.jpgEnjoy- the cooliflower.

Painting, re painting, enjoying.

5 Environment-friendly gardening tricks for free.

It’s time for some gardening alchemy I think.

I am not about to bother you with the hype talk about: “the important lessons we need to learn concerning the horrendous way we’ve been treating our planet before the c. virus, and how we all need to change our ways when this is all over”.

 I get itchy when the “we need to ” begins a sentence.

If you believe something needs to change- then either change it yourself or quit talking.

only 2 options.

So-

Since it’s spring here, and a good time for gardening-but that small quarantine thing is preventing me from getting to the nursery or receiving ordered supplies, I had to make do with what I have around-in my garden or just outside of it.

yes, one person’s trash is another person’s gold and all that.

told you- alchemy.

Here are 5 of my best tips for frugal environmental gardening in quarantine.

#1: efficient frugal cat deterrent!!!

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Cats seem to like our garden, and seem to take a particular liking to digging in newly planted garden beds.

I searched online- some quite horrible ideas were suggested.

Then I found a suggestion I tried-

Cats, apparently, do not like strong smells like vinegar and citrus peels.

So I sprinkled vinegar around my garden beds, and tossed lemon and grapefruit peels around there too.

I think it did a nice job, but too many peels lying around, my garden beds started looking like a compost bin, and all the vinegar evaporated after a day and I ended up buying tons of vinegar.

So-

I switched to banana peels!

As it turns out, cats- at least the ones I have roaming about in my garden, are not especially keen on the smell of banana peels, plus it composts to essential nutrients for the soil, plus it is super cheap (well, peels). you know what to do with the actual banana right? in case the bananas are ripe (even very ripe) freeze them, then make the yummiest vegan healthy creamy nutrient-packed ice cream or smoothy ever- here is a link: they’re as cold as ice+6 Healthy simple vegan snacks+frugal tips

#2: need to weed? put your weeds to good use!

Live in a blazing summer area? then you need to mulch your plants, to prevent them from drying out.

Why bother buying wood chips or whatever professional mulch, when you can simply use your dried weeds as mulch?

Apparently, some weeds are actually super beneficial to the soil when they decompose, such is the nettle-

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There is a caveat to this tip-

If you happen to weed at the point where the weeds have flowered -then you are risking having their children and grandchildren remain in your garden using this method.

So-either weed before flowering, or cut the flowering part off and mulch only with the stems and leaves.

#3: Do not throw vegetable cooking water! 

Provided you didn’t use oil or salt while cooking the veggies- or legumes- then once the water has cooled down, they are great nutrient providers for your plants- and double duty is always fun, especially when it comes to water.

#4: That goes for egg boiling water as well!

Apparently, when you make hard-boiled eggs (for your carnivore family members-they will see the light, someday), a lot of the calcium stored in the egg-shells, is transferred theater, so- why not use to supplement your tomato plants and thus avoid that horrid blossom end rot?

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While you are at it- ask your carnivores to keep their egg-shells for you, crush them a bit and add them to your tomato soil early on- it takes time for this to compost.

#5: out of planting containers and stores are closed due to quarantine?

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wp-15864218941117793064747582745087.jpgwp-1586420611964935037742320650059.jpgI collected thrown out car wheels, including a huge tractor wheel (the trick is to roll it home, otherwise- no friggin way)and thrown out plain plastic nursery plant pots, (I swear they weren’t actually in the dumpster- just standing next to it, thank god for lazy people (?)).

I had some leftover paint from another project so I used it to re-paint the plastic pots.

Use your imagination. use Pinterest. use google.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Getting through quarantine.

#1:getting creative in the kitchen.

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Ok-

This is a lettuce wrap (!) with a beet-tahini spread .I had some leftover baked beets that were surprisingly not in demand (simply wash and bake the beets, halfway through you can take them out and peel them, (they peel so easily once baked ), put back in the oven and sprinkle with coarse salt and a dash of olive oil for good measure, bake Until tender). though, now that I think of it may be the fact that they weren’t in demand might be kind of a turnoff- don’t let that influence you one bit(beet)!, and soybeans, baked for 6 hours in a slow cooker.

*For your convenience- here is a link to a variety of things soybean related. they are a superfood mind you.

Protein packed wonder: soy beans!!

Oh, and parsley from the garden.

Parsley is one of the easiest and most rewarding seeds to grow, just sprinkle the seeds and water, plus some sun- but other than that- they can even grow in wintertime.

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#2: baking ( vegan)buns:

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The deliveries from the online supermarket arrive only 15-21 days after ordering, so if this is the situation where you live, and/or- you love the taste and smell of freshly baked buns, and/or- you are in dire need for a family pleaser (no ! no crowd pleasers! no crowds allowed!!!) bake these.

They are healthier than the plain flour homemade buns, let alone much healthier than store-bought ones.

I am well aware that spelt flour is more expensive than plain baking flour- the reason being that there is a health hype around it, but- the difference is -where I live- between 1-2$ a kilo, which makes it cost-effective for me- considering the health benefits.

4 cups of spelt flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2.5 tbsp dry yeast

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp (tea. spoons-not tablespoons)

2.5 -3 cups of luke warm -warm but not boiling water. dip a finger to check before ruining your yeast. start with 2 cups of water and slowly add more water. the consistency should be stretchy damp dough.

3 tbsp olive oil.

use your Magimix or whatever blender you have, mix for 10 minutes, drizzle some more olive oil so it won’t dry up or stick to your hands later on ) then wrap with a plastic bag (one you can reuse later) and put in a warm place to rest for an hour.

Go rest- an hour is time enough for a wonderful nap! read why in the link attached.

Nap chat

Apre׳ your nap,Make buns -don’t get all excited and start folding origami out of these- just make a round ball and punch it on the top.

coat with some olive oil and perhaps black sesame seeds, wait 10 more minutes- for the second round of dough rising, then- to the oven -preheated to 180 (Fahrenheit)for about 10-15 minutes- or until the house smells like a bakery+ the buns are caramel-colored, the buns are light and when tapped on they sound fairly hollow.

These buns freeze really well- provided you freeze them once they cool down- but not later than that!

#3: pre-washing apples with vinegar+water:

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When my apples arrive from the online supermarket, I do not store them right away in the fridge, rather I soak them in 4 parts water 1 part Simple vinegar for a few minutes. read online on the benefits of soaking fruits and veggies in vinegar.

I then dry them overnight- so as not to store damp apples or have to towel dry each and every apple (???).

#4: I sit and watch my dog and the cat sleeping.

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This relaxes me.

I have no idea why.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time to free the frugal beast within you!

I read the other day about couples in quarantine fighting about money spending, where one spouse is concerned about being forced out of work, and the other is stress shopping online.

 

This got me thinking about stress management and the different ways different people express and deal with anxiety.

 

I don’t stress shop, but I can definitely find my way to the fridge back and again ( and again), plus ( actually, that’s not much of a plus), I can become very short-tempered, and generally not a very pleasant person to be around.

 

So I decided I should keep myself occupied.

Lucky for us, spring is here, and even this awful c.virus can’t change the gorgeous weather we have here, which I suspect will turn into a harsh boiling summer in about 2 seconds, so I am making a point of appreciating this split second that the weather is perfect and the mosquitos are not here yet.

There is a lot of work to do in the garden, though I am far from complaining.I love every second of it.

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I think that since I am in no way qualified to give any advice on the stock markets, or economic situations, I will say that the only thing, in my opinion, that is totally and completely in our hands ( literally), is learning to rely on our own resources, so as to spend the least amount of money necessary.

I hope the financial situation will get back to usual soon, but until then you can:

#1.instead of ordering take out – get into the kitchen and start cooking.

Get creative, learn new cooking skills ( but please not fancy skills that require special pans).

Make your own pizza, bread, cooked beans, ( dried beans and lentils take considerably less space than canned ones, plus they are cheaper and healthier.

Only too happy to provide you with some options in the links.

Tips for frugal simple vegan homesteading

10 Lunch Ideas: vegan -healthy-protein packed- simple- tasty.

Beet it!

Protein packed wonder: soy beans!!

#2:Instead of binge-watching, exercise.

Being prepared: keep in shape! (+a frugal tip on how to get yourself a “personal massage therapist” for life for a just a few $)

5 tips on Double duty – the only way to go!!

10 Lunch Ideas: vegan -healthy-protein packed- simple- tasty.

Frugal tip- taking care of your stuff+easy homemade pizza recipe!

#3: instead of online shopping for clothes, get your closest ready for summer.

this way you spring clean+check exactly what is your current summer clothing situation, since many times we forget during winter, that we actually have quite a lot of summer apparel.

Multi-purpose shoes!(and vegan too!-no affiliated links or ads or whatevers)

#4; Spring clean your medicine cabinet. just, you know, to make sure you have the basic stuff to take fever down and ease throat ache.

Can you always be prepared?

 

#5:Learn new ways of cleaning your place efficiently. and disinfecting it, too.

Clean green / V for vinegar

Stay healthy, and happy.

the cooliflower.

If you don’t have bread, why not have (rice) cakes? (M.Antoinett)

Until a few weeks ago, I never ate rice cakes.

They were considered “bad diet food” in my personal food terminology.

I do hope you remember I am no RD or Dr or any other (non) possible combinations of these 2 letters.early retired health enthusiast.as I always say- use your brain, it was put there for a reason.blindly following people’s advice is not recommended in any case.

Yes, that includes doctors.I always try to check the facts online before consulting a doctor.

And the best thing is to take excellent care of yourselves so as to minimise your dependence on doctors altogether.

Back to those rice cakes.

I remember growing up all the moms were living on these , topped with cottage cheese, with a side of cucumber.and lots of coffee.

The word was that these are as tasty as cardboard, but they are low on calories so they are a Dieters best friend.

That was such a turn off I steered away from these round light things for many years.

This boycott ended when I thought about encorporating more whole wheat grains .

I love bulgur, but dislike quinoa, emerant, and spelt grains.

I love spelt flour though, also spelt pasta , but all about those another time.

I realized a few weeks ago that there are rice cakes made of spelt, and quinoa, and oats too.

And that they are quite tasty if eaten fresh.( the label says to keep refrigerated after opening, in a sealed bag or container.and that if it gets stale then you should microwave it . haven’t tried microwaving though.)

And you can top them with other things than cottage cheese.

Like raw tahini, and greens, and bell pepper and baked chickpeas, like in the picture .

Or: the sweet option:

Raw tahini ( yes you can see I like raw tahini- lot’s of Iron and protein.good taste too.) and homemade date spread.

Or: another sweet option:

Peanut butter and said date spread.

The nutritional values are:

For 3 spelt cakes:( come on.that’s no cake.lame name to say the least)

between 70-90 calories ( depending on brand and size of “cake”).

About 2 grams of protein, again depending on brand.

0.7 grams of fiber, and 5.4 grams of carbs.

Nothing else.no vitamins no minerals ( maybe sodium if there is added salt).

For comparison:

1 cup of cooked spelt grains benefits you with: 246 calories, 10.7 grams of protein, 52 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber and a nice amount of magnesium and manganese.

I would say the numbers are in favour of the cooked spelt version.

Obviously no one in his/her right mind eats those so called “cakes” unplugged- meaning plain no topping on it, so let’s, for the sake of discussion, add the above described toppings:

1 Tbsp raw tahini gives you 2.6 grams of protein, vitamin a, iron and potassium, and 89 calories too.

add some greens and bell pepper, you get more nutrients and vitamins, but , still, the numbers are in favour of the cooked version.

though not by a huge delta.

 

To conclude this incredible research, I would say that if you like cooked spelt grains, and can and will consume them without stir-frying them in tons of oil , you win .

If, like me, you simply cannot stand the taste of those cooked grains, and there is a limit to what you are willing to do in the name of nutrition, well then , go to option #2: the spelt rice “cakes”, topped with a thin but efficient layer of a healthy topping.

There is absolutely no point in topping these heavily, even with nutritious food, because , as I’ve learned the hard way, healthy calories somehow count the same way unhealthy ones do.

Which is totally unfair, and someone should do something about it.better now than never .

No point in topping them with unhealthy stuff either, because, well, if you want to eat junk food, go get proper junk food, why waste unhealthy indulgence on something that, in a way, does taste like a derivative of cardboard?

Like those moms when I was growing up: eating layered cakes but drinking coffee with sweet n low.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.

 

 

 

My yoga teacher’s method of avoiding C.virus.

*This post is merely a suggestion. I am not a doctor, not an epidemiological researcher nor head of any health administration. I am qualified to make salads and legumes, nothing else. use your brains in deciding whether to take my or anyone else’s advice at any time- especially now. oh- and naturally these suggestions go alongside health department regulations. that was obvious- right?

My yoga teacher is 70 years of age, definitely not old, in great shape and looks amazing.

Last Friday, in what turned out to be the last yoga class before the gym was shut due to this awful virus, I was fortunate enough to participate in another one of her weekly classes I enjoy so much.Yes, we kept 2 meters apart, used our private mattresses and opened all the windows.

 Addressing the huge elephant in the room, my yoga teacher told us we are now going to do our breathing session.These breathing techniques are going to strengthen your immune system, and especially your respiratory system, so your body can manage the virus more efficiently, if not avoid it altogether. 

I admit we all smiled. I mean, we love her, she is a wonderful teacher, but come on. 

Then she proceeded to tell us she never had a cold or caught the flu, although she was never vaccinated against the flu as health recommendations for people over 65 are here. 

Now we were listening more carefully.we did 3 sets:10 triangular breathing, 10 Nadi sudhi (alternate nostril breathing) and 3 kapalabati. 

I’m thinking:

option 1:If you already know these techniques and practice them regularly, then you must know that she has a point- if not a totally scientifically proven one, then surely from the mental wellbeing point of view. Go ahead then, practice. 

option 2:You know the techniques but prefer to rely on westerns medicine in this kind of situation. Absolutely legit- but until they find the antidote to the C.virus- what do you have to lose practicing a bit of yogi breathing? 

Option 3:You have absolutely no clue what I am talking about.well then- this is what I am talking about.

Triangular breathing:

wp-1584516915443532048151191789698.jpgDownload a Metronom app (free, of course, come on people), sit comfortably, preferably in a position that allows you to keep your spine straight and lung up for the task of consuming some oxygen, and let’s go.Start by closing your eyes, imagine a triangle is formed, starting from the bottom left, rising in 6 beats of the metronome -while inhaling deeply when you get to the top, hold your breath for 6 beats while forming the imaginary triangle from top to the right corner, and exhale for another 6 beats, closing the triangle from right to left corner. Keep going for a few more rounds, bearing in mind to inhale deeply, and exhale just as deep, meaning try to be literally out of breath when starting the climb up the triangle again.

If you feel moving along the excercise that you can easily manage 8 or even 10 bets of the metronome inhaling- holding breath-exhaling-well then, just do it.

 finished?great. Now hold up your right palm. and fold in the index finger and the middle finger. Put the thumb on your right nostril, so no air goes in or out of it, and inhale as deeply as you can for 6 beats of the metronome, then hold your breath for 12 beats and when exhaling for 6 beats, free your right nostril and close your left one with your pinky and ring finger. finished exhaling? great. keep your ring finger and pinky closing that left nostril, because now you are inhaling for 6 beats when that left nostril is still closed.after inhaling for 6 beats, hold breath again for 12 beats and exhale- releasing that poor left nostril and putting your thumb to use again-closing the right nostril. this is round 1. continue like this for 5 rounds.

 Survived?Great- go check on-line what Kapalabati breathing is because this one is very difficult to explain verbally. you need to see to understand. 

I have no idea if this is actually a way to avoid the virus, but it sure is a great way to regulate your breathing and calm down in times of anxiety. Just saying. 

Enjoy- the cooliflower.       

 

Back to basics: listening to the radio: the classic fm app.

I used to love listening to the radio.

You know, back in the days when music apps weren’t around, and dinosaurs roamed about.

Then Spotify and YouTube music came along, with their wonderful sound and almist endless variety of musical choices, all for free- if you can stand the ads.every.friggin.song.

Yes I am aware you can upgrade to premium and lose the ads, but since I haven’t decided which music app I preffer, no point in upgrading.

In the meantime, I found a great (free, of course, what do you think I am??) music app that allows you to listen to a British radio station that plays nonstop classical music, called “classic fm”.

If this is a turnoff to you, and you’d rather listen to 2020 hits only, at the risk of sounding both old and condescending, perhaps its time to broaden your horizons?

just suggesting.no pressure here.

Any kind of new genre needs some time to get accustomed to.

Took me a month to get my ears used to Deep purple.at first it sounded to me like a lot of screaming , but sure enough, after a month, I got used to Ian Gillan , and now I love listening to them.

I believe it’s easier to get hooked on classical music though.the sound is so precise and clean, easy on the ears.

Since I am old, I love pink Floyd, led Zeppelin, deep purple, pearl jam, the beatles, Metallica, nirvana, and Beethoven, chaicovsky, bach and Mozart.and Mendelssohn.

yeah.old.I know.told you.love it.who cares what everyone is listening to.

Listening to classical music while swimming is something else.really.being underwater gives music a sound so clean and complete, that I am the verge of tears listening to Chaicovskys symphony “pathetique” .

Strongly recommended.even above water.

So why listen to a British radio station and not use youtube music or spotify?

Well just to make it clear, I have nk shares in that station, nor do I know anyone there.

The thing is, the producers at that station pick absolutely great music pieces , that as an amateur to classical music, let’s you get acquainted to all the essentials, plus advanced at the same time.

For example- they really appreciate Mozart and Beethoven, and then you get berlioz and Saint-saens, Shostakovich and chopin.and many others.

The music is accompanied by a short explanation, giving you some background.

Another thing is you get less ads, and, you get to hear British news breaks.

Yes, they do talk about the weather alot.

And they have a lot of rain too.in places like Yorkshire, and south Wales.

Haven’t heard anything about Andrew and magen though.

Plus, I have to admit, listening to the radio does bring back fond memories of being a teenager glued to the radio.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.

The cheapest comfort.

Oh come on.

Don’t go telling me the cheapest most effective comfort is a hug.

Because:

1.Hugs aren’t necessarily cheap.

I mean relationships, at least true and sustainable ones, those ones that getting a hug from is actually comforting and not, let’s say, super annoying, are not that cheap- emotionally speaking .

I may be speaking for myself only here, though I suspect I am not the only one thinking relationships are hard work.

Certainly not something you’d consider cheap.

2.Sometimes a comforting hug is simply not available. for various reasons.

Any way, It’s winter here, and quite cold, so we heat the house using ok our fire place, and the AC, though AC use is quite rare.

Yes this is dough rising next to the fire.big believer in double duty here.

So what’s the big deal? well no big deal, actually, just that there are many occasions when the temperature is on the verge of being cold, but I’d rather have the windows open to let some fresh air in, or I just finished a run in 6-7° Celsius (around 40°farenheit) and need a quick fix so to speak.

And sometimes my back needs extra tlc , or my shoulder blades, or stomach.whatever.

The simple frugal solution for all these situations is truly simple, and sustainable.

A hot water bottle.

Yep.

Granny style!

I Have no trouble at all being called “uncool”- because I most certainly am one of the most uncool people I have come to know .

The only question I ask myself befire doing anything is not “oh my, what will people think of me?”, since I truly don’t give a damn about what people I don’t know think of me, and as for people I know, well, I don’t particularly like many of them, so.

The ones I know and like, well, they are quite used to my “uniqe” (…..) behaviour.

My daughter just sent me a quote from “The Hobbit” that seems to be appropriate:

The people I care about know about My habit of going to bed at 19, getting up at 3-4 am, my habit of drinking ACV infused hot water, ( they know because there is no escape from the strong smell of ACV), they know I am stubborn, opinionated, prone to judgment and cynicism, and a lot of other unflattering stuff.

So, not cool is really an understatement.

As soon as I get up in the morning in the winter, or when it gets a bit chilly, or when I get back from my run, or prepare to retire to bed (yes, early, retire early), and need something to back my back, I pour hot water (3 cups if you need to know) to my hot water bottle, and thank whoever invented this thing.

This can keep you warm for an hour at least, which is much more than those microwave stuffed things, that are very nice but keep warm for a few minutes top .

Now if you have one of these lying in a drawer or closet somewhere, take it out, wash the fabric that covers the bottle and go get your money’s worth of it.

If you don’t, check online and get one, I am not sponsored by anyone, nor do I know anyone who makes or sales these things, so.

You will thank me , I assure you.

Enjoy, the cooliflower.