My 6 tips for Intermittent fasting: part 1.

First things first: the disclaimer- I am not a dietitian, nor a health expert, or anything even remotely close.

I am a health enthusiast, a huge believer in self-reliance and self-care, in preparing ahead instead of fretting later, and generally researching the important stuff in life- maintaining a healthy lifestyle that can enable me to enjoy early retirement.

And another thing before I start:

Intermittent fasting -for me- is a great way to maintain healthy eating, without the need to portion control.

The thing is- I love eating.

I mean really love eating. I enjoy the food I make, I love cooking, baking, making vegan healthy food is -for me- super fun, and every time I make something in my kitchen (that is- every day) I just have to taste it-you know- to make sure everything turned out fine.

Also – I find it really hard to stop eating before I feel completely full- and I do mean completely full. I do envy those moderate people that can leave food on their plate and say: “Oh- I’ve had enough”. I mean- there’s still food on your plate-how can you be done???

But- that’s me- If you are one of the blessed ones that can feel satiated and stop eating- you win, and maybe you don’t really need to exercise intermittent fasting, to begin with.

Intermittent fasting- for me- allows me to eat whatever I want, and how much I want- though not go overboard- because that can be harmful on its own.

It also has- or claims to have- a lot of other health benefits- So- intermittent fasting?? +My struggles with intermittent fasting.+How I improved my blood works results.

The thing is- I find it really difficult to manage food making for the household- with my scheduled fast.

I fast between 12 am and 7 am , meaning I pass the afternoon and evenings drinking cinnamon tea , and many many days- about 3-4 hours after I start my fast I tend to get really hungry.

I have absolutely no idea how people with young children manage Intermittent fasting- unless there is someone else at home who takes over the cooking -food preparation-or they have the strongest willpower out there.

My kids are grown -2 are out of the house already, and the teenager is easy to please, using the methods described in the following tips.

So-

What are those tips already???

#1: Make sure you set your fasting hours in the most efficient way possible:

If you choose the common 16-8 fast, you naturally want to aim to include as many of those 16 hours fast during sleep time. for obvious reasons. this also means that the 4 hours before actual sleep, and 2 hours after waking up can be used to efficiently fast. again- for widely known reasons concerning the need not overload your digestive system before going to bed, and not shocking it the moment you wake up.

This can add up quite nicely to about 14 hours of “natural ” fast. now you need to find another slot for those extra 2 hours a day of fast- so as not to compromise working out and household demands.

That, my friends, is quite a challenge in my experience. you will need to compromise here.

If- for example- you go to bed at 22:00 (I go to bed much much earlier, since my kids are grown and I get up at 3 AM, I have the privilege of saying “goodnight” at 18:00). anyway- for example- 22:00 PM- then you stop eating at 18:00 – (4 hours prior) and that means you do not eat a thing after 18:00- even if dinner time is 18:30- you just sit there- and you wake up at 06:00AM- you eat at 10:00 AM- which means you need to get breakfast for your household on an empty stomach and pack lunch and sandwiches- when all you want is to take a bite of that fresh bread.

Tough. told you.

Now try to fit in a workout first thing in the morning- say at 06:00 AM- meaning that at 08:00 you are famished, ready to devour whatever- but- no. you need to wait another 2 hours-(not to mention that 60 minutes eating window after work out that everyone is going on about).

Einstein should have worked this out instead of quantum mechanics.

In my experience- you cannot win everything- no matter how much you try. bear in mind that in order to make your body adapt to Intermittent fasting- you need to stick to a constant schedule- you can’t do 18:00-10:00 for 2 days then 16:00-08:00 for 3 days a week then 15:00-07:00 for the two days left. it confuses the system. yourself included.

So try to figure out what is the least problematic method for you- if you are a morning person and wake up hungry like me- then dinner time might be a challenge- unless you can sit there and watch others eat- not to mention prepare food for them.

I can’t- I admit-therefore the next tips:

#2: Alternative dinner time:

Again- if you need to prepare for young kids- that is difficult since they cannot take care of themselves, but as soon as they reach 12- or sometimes earlier- depending on the specific kid- teach them how to use the microwave safely, and if you regularly have family dinners together- than just make yourself a cup of herbal tea or cinnamon tea, and enjoy the company- without participating in the actual eating.

If you find that this is too much for you- why not call it an early dinner? if possible- try to get everyone eating at 17:00-17:30- so you’ll be finished by 18:00.

Some people don’t consider family dinner a must-have- me included.

Before you start exploding: “dinnertime is when everybody sits together! connection is the most important thing in a family!” and all that- wait- I agree.

Connection is super important- but who said it has to be connected to munching???

We sit together every evening and discuss the past day, and lots of other things- while drinking a cup of herbal tea- or even 2 cups of said tea. Dinner? to each his own- my partner and son eat whatever they want- whenever they want. and I skip dinner- (told you I get up really early and really hungry. )

As for other meals- I personally like to eat alone, I find it hard to concentrate on the flavors and tastes when I need to be invested in the conversation- and perhaps other people feel the same way.

Many times people are preoccupied at dinnertime, and cant bring themselves to share what’s troubling them over an omelet. (over a vegan omelet -perhaps- but not over an egg omelet).

Some people need more time to express themselves, and family dynamics at the dinner table may be too fast or too awkward a place for them to speak up about what’s really troubling them- they need a one on one with fewer family members-

What I’m trying to say is- that in my opinion– a family meal is not the only way to connect in a household, though it is nice occasionally.

If you are a true warrior and can prepare a meal and sit through it while fasting, I salute you. I can’t. Maybe once in a while, it’s possible, but definitely not on a regular basis. ( Oh come on, cut the bu@& sh#@. I can’t stand doing it even once. )

If you decide to prepare ahead for others- without actually participating yourself- try tip #3″

#3: The list:

Prepare a freezer full of family staples that can be heated in a few minutes, and don’t forget to hang a complete list of the options on the fridge door.

the food needs to be labeled and prepared in a user-friendly way- I mean not 16 veggy homemade burgers stuck together in an inseparable way, that will agitate the hungry family member, thus resulting in your interference and help in heating- thus resulting in breaking your fast- if the burgers are very appetizing.

The second part of this post will contain everyday tips to keep as calm as possible when facing a “pseudo-hunger”.

In the meantime- enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

“I wanna hold your hand”.(Lennon, Mccartney).

I already told you I live across the street from a kindergarten.

There are pros and cons to this fact- as with everything else in life.

The cons are obvious- morning rush hour in this narrow street is quite challenging, to say the least, resulting in people honking and sharing thoughts out loud.

Also- some people around here are not avid believers in the concept of the public trash bin, meaning they think that whenever they step outside of their own home to the public space, in their opinion, they reached a free space, no need to bother keeping your cigarette bud in your hand until you find a trash bin(“seriously? you want me to hold the disgusting smelly thing in my actual hand???”-(well- you just held it and inhaled it, so, yep, I do have that expectation, as a matter of fact)). The same goes for the empty chips bag, and the latest addition, compliments of the COVID-those wretched used masks.

Also- many times I get to witness the helpless cries of toddlers that find it difficult to figure out who is who in the playground, and I find myself almost charging over to fight their war for them because Even at the ripe age of 53, playground politics is still a mystery for me.

The pros? well, between 16:00 PM and 07:30 AM the next morning the place is as silent as a monastery. no shouting, loud music, guests, teenagers , etc.

Any way- I get to see many parents bring their toddlers to kindergarten and I’ve noticed that the majority of parents walk by their kids into the place- maybe a few -go in holding their child’s hand.

I do hope you’re not thinking: “what is she fussing about, who cares if parents hold their children’s hands when going to kindergarten or not, there are more important things to consider now with that Covid and stuff”.

Because there aren’t. more important things than that. in my opinion.

Because you really don’t need to be a psychiatrist specializing in 4-6 year olds to understand how much strength and assurance and safety they gather from holding the hand of a trusted person prior to entering the place they will have to spend most of their waking hours in- and socialize immensely in.

Whether they like it- or not.

Sure- some kids may love going to kindergarten, they have lots of friends there and they love playing with them and eating with them and everything- but even those kids- may have days of anxiety, days they feel under the weather, don’t like the clothes they are wearing, would rather stay at home, or quarreled with the queen bee of the place.

I do see these kids walking confidently in, not even bothering to say goodbye to their parents- and I’m happy for them because they are probably going to have a nice day.

But they need a hand too- because many cars are arriving in this narrow street at the same time, and someone may be pre-occupied, and it’s always better to be safe, and even if the kid is blessed with self-confidence- a reminder of his-her safety net at home is always a good thing.

And what about the other kids? the ones that have a really hard time finding their place in kindergarten? that are born introverts and would do anything to stay at home and play quietly by themselves?

I see those kids go out of the car silently and start crying a few seconds later when they realize where they are.

I see parents struggling with this-needing to tear their child clinging to their leg, and I remember myself having to go through this agony with my kids, and I feel for them.

One day I saw a mother having a serious talk with her girl while approaching the kindergarten gate.

The girl told her mother she didn’t want to go today, and her mother said that she understands, but that the current situation requires the girl to go today, and she hopes that seeing her friends inside will make the girl feel better.

The girl hesitated, but her mother kept reassuring her that she will come and pick her up this afternoon, and she could tell her everything that happened in kindergarten today this afternoon.

Once they got in the mother held the girl’s hand, the girl relaxed and went to check what’s new and who came before her.

I wonder if that approach could help take the edge off the agony in parting: letting the kids know you do hear them, and you know that they are having trouble, it makes sense to you, but you think they can overcome it, and you would be there for them in the afternoon because you need to go to work now.

But in the meantime- you are holding the kids’ hand, physically letting them know that you’re there for them.

Now there is the other important aspect to consider here- the parent’s point of view.

trust “the school of life” to take a look into that: here is the link:

https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/holding-hands-with-a-small-child/?__cf_chl_f_tk=6xaQGQq1L.KkVrInXK2HycY0uOefR5GPTkWSNZNFiUE-1642496823-0-gaNycGzNCL0

Mind you some people enjoy holding their spouse’s hand too-so why not just hold their hand?

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Don’t throw those brown paper bags!

So, last week our online supermarket groceries arrived, and I realized I got quite the amount of fruits and veggies.

Not that there is such a thing as “too many fruits”, but – my kitchen is small, my fridge isn’t huge, and I have about 4 large bowls that can store all that produce- and sure enough- only 20% of the fruit fit in.

Now- you might think to yourselves- “what is she going on about, just stuff it all in the fridge and get on with your life!” but! that, in my experience, is the guaranteed way to forget about those beautiful fruits, let them rot away in the fridge, then throw them to the compost bin, knowing very well that neither your health nor your budget- are happy now.

It is a known fact that fruits are beautiful, taste great, and are most definitely one of the healthiest things you can eat- perhaps the heathiest-plus- and when fruits are displayed in an inviting manner- who can resist them?

I don’t keep processed snacks around the house, since I don’t believe in constantly testing my will strength because I’m going to lose. Just so you know this isn’t a fair game what with all the addicting additives in those bags, so I just get away from this stuff.

I wrote about this dilemma before- here is the link: The processed snacks dilemma: to keep or not to keep?

So?

So my partner and I were putting the groceries away when we realized there were not enough bowls for the abundance of fruits and veggies I ordered- so my partner folded the brown paper bags that the groceries arrive in – into a bowl:

Now we had enough bowls for everything, and it was -in my opinion- displayed in a matter that encouraged a daily fruit salad for everyone in the house.

What else can you do with those bags? well, they can go to the recycling bin, but that’s obvious- but they can store the recycling stuff prior to actually going to the recycling center- this way- you don’t have to carry that empty bag with you back home, thinking the whole way: “why do I have to carry this empty bag of empty cardboard boxes and used shampoo bottles? haven’t I anything better to do? “- now you can recycle your carrier bag too! hurray!

They can also be used as mulch for trees in the garden, and -some use it to light the fireplace – but-tread carefully here- some bags use glue and paint and other unhealthy stuff so use only the uncolored no glue parts- and sparingly. the best thing put in a fireplace is -well- wood.

Finally- use those bags instead of nylon bags that will outlive the entire human race -and then some.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

“Stone soup” 5 ways!

“Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys, and exists as a moral regarding the value of sharing. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as ax soup, button soup, nail soup, and wood soup”.(Wikipedia. AKA- knowledge for all).

Winter =soup, right?

I mean- it’s either soup or stew, better have both.

I realized the other day, that all of my soups-stews, begin the same way:

By making vegetable soup.

But -as my mother would say- every good soup begins with a nail- and who knows where it goes from there?

(read the appendix above if you’ve never heard the tale).

I have 5 staples that keep the household fairly happy, take under 30 minutes to make, and are nutritious, yummy, and cheap, so I felt obliged to share with you.

My tip- always keep pre-cut celery and carrots in the freezer, and onions, garlic, potatoes, lentils, and beans in the pantry, and parsley in the fridge. those are the basic basics, and once you have these around- you can enjoy a great soup any time.

Here is a link to a previous post on veggie soup : Making veggie soup? double it!

Without further ado here are my “stone soup” 5 ways:

#1: well- veggie soup- with green lentils. bulgur or couscous. bulgur and couscous take 10 minutes of soaking in salty hot water to make, and no need to babysit it- only to fluff it about with a fork before serving.

#2: lentil soup: cook diced onions, garlic, and potatoes in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper, and other condiments you fancy until tender,. add red lentils, cook until tender, add veggie soup, cook together until yummy. I sometimes add a can of tomato paste and a few grains of brown sugar- tomato paste is acidic and likes to be paired with something a bit sweet. the tomato paste thickens the soup into stew.

here served with white rice- though better go brown rice…

#3: Mushroom soup!

Simply saute those shrooms and add them to the veggie sop- and voila!!!

#4:Cabbage-chickpea soup. don’t look at me like that- cabbage is very healthy, chickpeas are high in protein and yummy, and if you have in your fridge a container of soaked and cooked chickpeas- better yet- ones you threw into your slow cooker for 12 hours with some condiments than those chickpeas will add great flavor to your cabbage soup. I saute the cabbage before adding it to the veggie soup,

#5. Pea soup! Yay! throw the frozen peas in and use the hand mixer to puree everything into a soup.

Now- all you have to do is add s piece of freshly baked sour bread, and life looks good. real good. read here how:The sourdough starter monster.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

No one owes me anything!

I am a very judgmental person.

Not only towards myself- which would have made it difficult for me yet quite a relief for others- I criticize everyone and everything.

Most often- I would lay my harsh judgment on someone or other- only to realize moments later, that I am guilty of the same behavior.

So a few weeks ago, I arrived at my pool only to find out there was new management -meaning rules have changed- meaning the pool no longer opens at 04:30 AM (yes!! I know! just about the greatest thing ever for the likes of me who go to bed at 18:30 and wake up at 3Am or earlier..) .

New management decided the pool will open at 05:00 AM instead.

Now- the morning swimmers were so upset they were getting ready to tear the place down.

The morning swimmers are all pensioners over 70(besides me, I’m “the Kiddo”- only 53) , (one is 86, they swim every day for an hour!) none of them need to get to work early- or at all-or hurry back home to wake the kids before school starts.

The thing is –

They’ve been swimming in this pool for 20 years now, every day- at 04:30 AM.

Rain or shine- they were there, swimming like the warriors they are.

They tried to reason with the new management, there was a meeting, attended by the morning swimmer’s representatives, but to no avail.

But The morning swimmers wouldn’t change along established habit: whenever I got there 5 minutes early- meaning 4:55 AM -there they were standing and getting worked up and upset about the change.

It seemed to me- and they, later on, said so themselves- that it ruined the whole experience of swimming for them.

I admit that my first instinct was to -naturally- criticize them.

“What difference does it really make? it’s only half an hour! no other pool I know opens that early and for that matter-the earliest pool around opens at 06:00, so 5 is great, why would they let that ruin their swimming fun?” etc etc.

But when we finally got in and I started swimming, at about 5:45- someone joined my lane!!

(Technically -the lane is wide enough for 2 people to swing in, but-WTF?? one of the main reasons I get there so early is so that I can spread my arms and swim the breaststroke as fast- or slow- as I wish, without watching out for other people’s head. mind you I’m 170 Cm and wear glasses, I mean no non-sense nearsighted. that makes it 5’7 feet of charging in the dark without the desire nor the ability to see far ahead- seeing as my breaststroke takes the full width of the lane when arms spread wide. just saying. )

I felt as if the unwritten contract between the pool and I was breached.

Back at home- I realized that I was too quick to judge- as always- and that the early morning swimmers were accustomed to getting up early and swimming just as early, and for them- the “contract” was definitely breached.

But then I thought about the apparent connection between my expectations- and disappointments- followed by anxiety, stress, and disappointment.

I realized that every time I got upset- it was because there was a gap between my expectations and the actual outcome.

And that includes hidden expectations- such as the expectation that things will stay the same: a new house will always be shiny and unflawed, a relationship will never grow stale and boring, work will always be exciting, kids will always be sweet -etc.

I realized I see a lot of people getting worked up about family gatherings on holidays, getting extremely upset about their bosses being unfair to them, and working up huge stress while driving on a busy street and not finding a parking space,

As if anyone promised us that everything will always be OK.

“That’s so unfair!!!” I hear them say.

Well- that’s true. it isn’t.

Most things aren’t fair.

The workplace isn’t fun, married life has ups but many downs too, kids make you feel invisible, old, and irrelevant many times, not to mention issues some (well, me) still might have with parents-siblings- friends. oh- and isn’t it so unfair that I try to eat healthy and nutritious food but my behind seems to think it’s OK to thrive on that food too??

It’s all so unfair-

And getting upset seems just the natural way to react.

Because it is!

But with all due respect to “natural”- in this case, I beg to differ.

I don’t enjoy being anxious and worked up about things, don’t like the way rage makes me feel-and look-

In short- it gives me wrinkles,

And since I stopped having Botox- I can’t bring on unnecessary wrinkles while I try to maintain the current facial situation.

So I keep reminding myself that no one owes me anything.

Not my mother. not my partner. not my kids. not my job (easy to say now that I’m retired)not the government. not the pool, or my friends, or other drivers.

No one.

Does it help? well- sure- generally – if you expect nothing of anyone- anything good that happens is unbelievable joy.

Specifically? you should have heard me swear at the driver that cut me off at 7 AM on 1/1/22. I blessed him alright.

Still got to work on the No expectations thing.

Have a great year- and enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

My tips for stress-less mornings!

Since early retirement, I’ve perfected my morning routine to nearly 100% success.

Such a pity I didn’t have those tips when I actually needed them– meaning while I was working+ juggling 3 kids +house maintenance.

Sure- I always used the “to-do list” method- which is great, but with all due respect (and I do have a lot of respect for my to-do list!), there’s always room for improvement, especially when you can save time+unnecessary quarrels+money implementing these tips.

By the way- for me- the most important factor was minimizing quarrels with the kids. oh, the despair. my whole day at work would be tainted by the raised voices and arguments that led nowhere -knowing that this is how I sent my kids to another day at school.

I know there is that misconception that kids are trouble-free and have fun all the time, but I can tell you that as an introvert- I did not like school, camps, or other mandatory after-school activities other than going by myself to the public library.

Maybe your kids feel the same, which makes mornings tough on them too- and maybe you are stressed from work like I was for the last 2 years before retiring, which makes mornings hard on you too. now combine the anxiety waves coming from both you and your kids- that’s some anxious morning going on, and while some may say “breathe, relax, blah blah mumbo jumbo” that there’s no way you can implement in the middle of an argument with your kids about their school outfit or breakfast, I say- fu&* breathing- be prepared and 81% of the hassle will be gone.

The other 19%?

Well- we can prepare ourselves for those too mind you

I know people think you can’t prepare for everything because life has a tendency to shi& on you just when you least expect it-

I say- that’s absolutely true- but!!!- you can prepare for that too: meaning: I acknowledge in advance that the highest level of preparedness will get me to 81% of no stress. the rest is up to this randomness we call life.

So?

tip #1: prepare breakfast the afternoon before:

People- if there is one tip only you’re going to take from this post I do hope it’s going to be this one- hence its first-place rank.

Why?

Well because breakfast can start your day on a great note- if it’s healthy, and looks good, and makes you feel amazing during and afterward, or- it can give you the sugar rush for 23 minutes- then leave you feeling depleted and upset with yourself for not fueling your body as you should Have.

Also- a good breakfast can help you build muscle and aid your workouts, and since I am no dietitian- I have no place writing horror stories about what happens to your body if you continue to fuel it unhealthy stuff.

Examples? why not: oat porridge is in my opinion just about the best thing to have on a cold winter morning, oats love being prepared ahead- some people even post “overnight oats ” eaten uncooked (!!) which I cannot fathom no matter how much I try. and I don’t.

I put all the ingredients of the oat porridge in a bowl in the fridge, and in the morning just cook it for 2 minutes- and voila! saves me around 7 minutes of gathering and pouring and stuff.

Mind you- my oat porridge lately is a construction of 0.5 cup oats, 1.5 tbsp ground flax seeds. 1.4 cups warm water, 0.6cup soy milk (I am joking about the exact measurements, just use the old trial and error method to achieve your desired consistency). 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp agave or date syrup, salt to taste (imperative! makes a huge difference!), and ground nutmeg or cinnamon. you can see that this is quite the assembly of foods and preparing ahead can save a lot of time.

#2. prepare your kids’ breakfast ahead:

don’t start asking “what do you want for breakfast” every morning unless you are a chef who works from home, and come to think of it- not then either.

Just sit down with your offspring when everybody is relaxed- weekend? -and decide ahead what breakfast should look like- write it down and get on with your lives.

Deciding ahead can also give proper time for fruitless discussions about healthy food. in my experience- want your kids to eat healthily- prepare healthy food. don’t keep sweets and fast food around the house and then be disappointed your kids gobble it down instead of the carefully cut veggie plate you prepared. I love veggies -but cannot ignore rubbish food- therefore do not buy it in advance.

Example? why not take the shortcut and make them a bowl of the same oat porridge?

#3. Pack lunch the day before.

Put the beans- chickpeas – whatever protein in a designated box, the veggies to be cut for the salad washed and tucked away in a designated box, and make sure you have all the necessary utensils to prepare your lunch at work- meaning a microwave to heat the protein, cutting board and knife to make salads, and a bowl +spoon or fork to scoop up the food you made. also important to remember- a lemon and some salt, no proper salad without those 2. put all the above in a bag- to just take out the fridge and out the door. guaranteed 13 minutes saved in the morning!

#4. Prepare your kids’ lunch boxes ahead!

Major time saver! if your kids happen to like a freezer-friendly spread- then make those sandwiches even a week ahead and freeze them. if not- make the afternoon before and don’t start the guessing game first thing in the morning:” what would you like for lunch, dear?” because “dear” is so grumpy right now- no need to call him “dear”.

Examples for freezer-friendly sandwiches? my youngest likes whole wheat with butter and honey spread. if anything- being pulled out of the freezer at 7 Am makes it better kept until eaten at 10-11 Am.

You can give yourself a head start if you gather the lunch box ingredients the weekend before- freeze the sandwiches bread in their wrap- if the spread doesn’t freeze well- at least you’ll have the basic sandwich ready in its wrap and spend 1 nanosecond spreading. put the designated fruits and energy bars (if you use any- that’s what I pack for the youngest) and homemade cookies -also prepacked and in the freezer. (Not the fruit though).now all you have to do is take 1 minute in the previous afternoon to assembly everything in the lunchbox. I don’t put veggies in the lunch box because my son eats salad every evening, and I find that pre-cut cucumbers and peppers tend to welt and look+taste- unappealing 4 hours out of the fridge. bt a whole apple or pear can keep beautifully for hours, and taste great, so those are my go-to’s.

#5: make sure you have everything you need for dinner -the afternoon before!

I know- you haven’t even had dinner and you’re preparing tomorrow’s dinner?? well, yes. because no chance you’ll do it after dinner, and no way you’ll do it in the next morning, and if you keep waiting for your nonexistent cook to prepare your family’s dinner, you’ll keep eating out or ordering in-which won’t help your budget or your health.

Just make sure that if you want to make pasta- then you have the sauce for it .if you want to make stew- that the veggies are washed and the stems cut, that if you want to make roast chickpeas- or meat if you are an omnivore- that the meat is thawing in the fridge and the chickpeas are soaked overnight.

#6: Choose your clothes for next morning:

Don’t start putting on a pair of slacks only to find out they do not flatter you or worse- they have a stain or a missing button. your blouse needs ironing? better do it the afternoon before and not in the midst of morning rush hour.

#7: The same goes for your kids.

Oh I wish I had a cent (yes. 1 cent) for each time I faced the “class photo today!””spring run today!””mom makes big cake for the class day!” situation.

Ask yourself- can you really deal with all this in the MORNING???

Yep- thought so.

Now that you accomplished all 7 tips- you have a lot of free time in the morning: go for a jog!

#8: planning on a morning jog or swim? make your playlist ahead!

Why? because this way you get to actually choose what you like instead of letting some algorithm decide for you (I don’t always see eye to eye with the ALGORITHM), but more importantly- once you choose a favorite book -songs-podcast to listen to-you actually get motivated to get out of bed and go jogging or swimming.

I am not kidding.

Try it.

Happy new year-

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

6 legit ways to read books for free!!!

Already told you I’m an introvert, right?

Close to 1278 times. approximately.

Ever since I learned to read, my relationship with books was as close – as others would probably feel about a close friend.

Of course for me- personally- books are so much better than friends because you don’t have to make the effort to talk to them; you can never “say the wrong thing” or- “not say the right thing”, you don’t have to keep them company, listen to a lot of empty chit chat concerning things you don’t give a dang about, or question your-or their -loyalty.

Win-Win-Win situation.

Come to think of it- kind of like I felt about our late dog-unconditional love, comfort, and a feeling of closeness.

So naturally- I am always looking for good hacks when books are concerned, and here are my absolute top 6 tips on reading /listening to books for 00000000$$$$$.

#1. Stating the obvious: the library.

If you have a public library close to your house- you win.

Tips on getting a good vibe going – be nice to the librarians, ask how they are (whisper “how are you?”) and if you occasionally batch bake chocolate chip oatmeal vegan cookies –bring them a nice plate to enjoy next to their tea-coffee.

Why?

Because people like being acknowledged, as opposed to feeling transparent, and because if you like reading, then you may be spending quite some time in the library, and it’s always better to feel welcome rather than politely ignored.

In my personal experience, once you’ve established a friendly relationship, chances are that you’ll be tipped and advised more gladly about new arrivals.

#2: the local library is a driving distance from your house? The digital library comes to the rescue!

I read on Libby, this is an international reading app -free of any charges or ads, and very user-friendly.

The only thing is you may need to wait for the popular books for a while, but there are plenty of books available at any minute, audiobooks included, and the option to download the book- thus reading or listening offline- is a winner.

#3: Kindle daily book deals.

I hope you remember I have no connection whatsoever to Amazon -or affiliated links of any kind. just happen to appreciate good customer service and good deals.

If you have an Amazon account- just write “kindle book deals” and a variety of books will appear- some good- some rubbish- for 0$ to 3 or 4$. already told you I got the four Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante for about 4$. new books always cost more, but if you wait a while- you might get a good deal on them.

My tip– you found a book you’d like to read on amazon kindle charts or deals? great! now take the time to look for it on the free digital library app! why? because sooooo many times I read the same book that cost 15$ on amazon- for 0$ in the digital library.

#4: Amazon household account:

Ok- if you happen to have a family member who is a bookworm like you- then go on and establish a “household account” for the both of you- a few easy steps on the Amazon account will get you started- you only need to type “household account” in the search window and follow the instructions.

I will save you some time and tell you that once you send the invitation to the family member you are interested in sharing your books with, the invitee can accept (0r refuse?) the invitation, then automatically gets to see all your books -unless you quickly go to “manage devices” in your account and take a specific book off the ” family library”-but you- as the creator of the account- need to wait for the invitee to move each and every book manually to the family library- through “manage content and devices” (click on “your account”‘ then scroll down to “digital content and devices” and under “alexa” you’ll see the “manage content and devices”- there you will find all your books- there is a box to the left of each book- check V on the box and the description line above will give you all kinds of options- “add to library” will let the invitee allow you to read his-her book, and you -can remove a book from the same library.

This can double the number of books you and your family member own, and saves serious $$$ on future purchases.

#5. Free audiobooks?? yep! on Youtube!!!

A few weeks ago I suddenly realized there is a new button in the upper description line on my Youtube app.

Maybe it was there before and I didn’t notice it- either way- along with the other buttons that read: “what’s new”, “everything”, “music” etc, there is one button named “audiobooks”, and once you click on it, just like Alice in wonderland, an array of free audiobooks appears.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about- perhaps the button appeared after I started searching Youtube for free audiobooks- so just start searching Youtube for the book you want to hear and add “free audiobook” to your search line.

The pros- free. many times popular books that sell on Amazon for around 10$ each are out there for free. you can go running and listen to a book, cook -and listen to a book, clean the house or garden or just lay there lazy in your hammock- and listen to a book.

the cons- the ads. and the ads. plus those ads. and the fact that you cannot download and listen wifi free- unless you go premium, which I didn’t.

#6: the Gutenberg project: for the serious literature.

If you are a serious person and enjoy an occasional “Ulysses” or “between two cities” or “little Dorrit” -look no more. no need to dust the heavy books from the top of your shelf, where they’ve been sitting ever since you bought them attempting to appear smart at the book store.

Just type in “Gutenberg project ” and download classic books for free.

And merry Christmas!

read- and enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Kindle PW v. iPad air: which is better??

As it happens, I just had to buy myself a present on Black Friday this year.

Why?

Well, because once something gets stuck in my head, there’s just no other way to deal with it other than just following that whim.

Believe me-tried to avoid, to procrastinate, to be strong, to be brave- nothing works, might as well acknowledge it before all that unnecessary dilly dally.

So this time it was getting a Kindle Paperwhite.

Mind you- I have no knowledge of the Bezos family nor do I have any affiliated links, as usual- do whatever you want- or don’t do whatever you like- that’s entirely up to you. I am writing about my own experience with those 2 devices, from a frugal point of view, by the way reminding everyone that the most frugal thing you can buy- is nothing at all.

I have an iPad air- the 1st generation- from 2013-I bought it as a present for my son -to take to school instead of carrying all those heavy books, and when he graduated it moved along the family food chain- to my youngest son- then to me.

I love the device– and -again- I know nobody in the Apple business, I just happen to appreciate a device that can withstand the hardships of my insensitive hands -as well as my son’s.

It’s been 8 years since we bought it, and until lately- it worked perfectly.

And when I say worked -I mean worked it’s arse off-on a daily basis.

So- lately- it’s been getting heated and eating up its battery quickly -up to the point of 4-5 hours of offline book reading only.

We had a power cut a week ago and I nonchalantly took out my iPad (all my books are already downloaded- (I always read offline– why risk the unnecessary wifi exposure?) the only thing was the iPad lasted for only half of the power cut, I had to squint my eyes and read from my phone from 12 to 17:00 when at last the electricity came back.

That was “the sign” (yeah right. isn’t everything a sign when you want to buy something?) that I had to use the 33% discount +free shipping sale they had on Amazon for Black Friday (99$ instead of 149$ for the kindle PW 2018 version 8GB international version).

So now I can compare both devices and be of help to any of you considering buying one of the 2-or both.

#1: Price: Kindle is much cheaper than the iPad, (99$ for a new Kindle Paperwhite 2018, 255$ for a renewed 2018 iPad).

#2-functions: The iPad wins big time here: !!! the Ipad is a totally different device in the sense that it is almost a mini laptop- colors and features the same as in every phone -including a great camera +zoom and facetime options-only bigger than the phone-thus easier to read for mature people such as moi. The Kindle is a great device intended for reading and listening to audiobooks, not really for other fun stuff like web searching, blogging and mail responding.

#3: the reading experience: in my opinion, there isn’t any difference in the reading quality- meaning –both devices allow clear cut visuals and light changes – you can change the light mode on the iPad to “night shift” which gives you a much softer light, and of course the Kindle has a special light for any time of the day- or night. both are easy on the eyes and let you enlarge the font to approximate elephant size if you wish so.

#4: Weight and size– well- this is where the Kindle shines. it is half the size of the IPad air and weighs 182 grams (!!!) as opposed to the iPad’s 990 grams. if you read for long periods of time, and-or- want to take the device with you to work, this is a significant difference. the Kindle can easily hide in any rucksack /bag and practically weighs nothing. the iPad, on the other hand- is noticeable-both in size and in weight.

So???

So- it depends on what you need at the moment:

If you happen to own a fully functioning iPad, in my opinion- there is no real need to buy a kindle too, unless your commute to work is substantial and you like to read on the way. (audiobooks can be downloaded to your phone too- no need to get a kindle especially for them. )

If you don’t own an iPad, you love reading, and are frugal- the Kindle is the device for you.

If you already own a kindle- in my opinion, there is no need to replace it with an iPad- only for reading purposes- assuming you get everything else done on your phone or PC.

Whatever you choose-in my opinion – reading is the best escape there is- better than any 5-star hotel in any exotic place in the world. and somewhat cheaper too.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

The sourdough starter monster.

Yes. I am well aware that “carbs are the enemy!” and all that.

(Not my enemies- I learned to pick my battles- I have 3 kids, and if there’s one thing you learn in life with children- at all ages – is to preserve your energy for the right war. And don’t you worry- it shall come. even the “loveliest kids” have issues with their parents- at least that’s what I tell myself. )

In my opinion, (yes, my opinion, you are entitled to your own opinion, you always are-here on this blog and generally in life. go for it, you have the power, you own it. ) There is NO Other valid way to get through winter than to eat soups and stews. all. the time.

The options are limitless, and always, always, always- start with making vegetable soup.

Naturally- said stew cannot be eaten alone, or it will feel unwhole- you and the stew both know that something is missing- and that something is a slice of warm wholewheat bread, with some (vegan!) butter melting on it.

So?

So the thing is- if you really want to nail this “home-made style”- you need to conquer the sourdough monster.

If you are thinking: “come on! what are you talking about! ” -then clearly you’ve never tried to make sourdough bread before.

Either that- Or you are an artisanal baker -in which case I BOW IN RESPECT.

Because baking sourdough bread starts with taming the sourdough starter monster. this is a beast that sits in your kitchen and eats a mixture of flour and water, all. night. long-

For about 10 days in a row. then keeps on eating and eating- yet sometimes (yours truly happened to fall prey to this monster)- the starter doesn’t live up to its name, and does not start anything. rather it ends. the story you made up in your head of baking your own sourdough loaf.

But!

Turns out there’s a way to go behind this monster’s back, and here is the method:

***I baked mine in a dutch oven -I had one sitting on a shelf for many years (15? ) and never used it to cook because it’s not non-stick -meaning everything sticks to the bottom of the pot, not exactly the best way to spend an afternoon- trying to scrape remnants of bean stew off a pot.

The benefits of the dutch oven are the even heating and humidity that are kept within the pot since the lid is on the whole time. (oven proof- check yours out before baking, otherwise-well).

For 1 loaf of bread- you mix in a bowl- 1 cup of all-purpose flour -or half all purpose half spelt- or- just spelt flour like I did- and 1 cup of warm but not boiling water, with——-0.5 (half) a tsp of yeast!

The yeast makes all the difference and after mixing the batter for 2 minutes- no sugar or salt or oil or anything- just wrap the bowl with a bag and leave it to ferment overnight. (at least 8 hours).

In the morning- put the bubbly flour mixture in the K mixer- whichever K you have- the Kenwood or the Kitchen-aid, I have the Kenwood but online reviews are 50-50 between the 2-

Add 2+2/3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of warm water, 1 tbsp of salt, and 1 tbsp of yeast. yes- yeast again. mix for 7-8 minutes, then coat with a little olive oil -on parchment paper- and let it rise in the dutch oven or bowl, for about an hour. covered with the lid.

After an hour- heat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (428 Fahrenheit), put an oven tray or something with 2 cups of boiling water in the oven- to make sure the atmosphere is humid at first-and bake for 10 minutes with the boiling water next to your bread, after 10 minutes take the boiling water out of the oven, and keep baking the bread for 30 more minutes.

That’s it- take it out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes, then cut and freeze! don’t wait for too long or the bread will dry out.

When you freeze your bread- put each slice separately in the container with the previous parchment paper acting as a buffer zone.

The reason for this is that apparently, baked goods like to stick together in hard times, which is commendable but also a nuisance when all you want is a slice of bread next to your stew.

Now- go eat your stew +fresh sourdough bread with vegan butter.

Sometimes life just smiles at you.

Enjoy-the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.

Making veggie soup? double it!

Everybody knows the best trick for getting something done, is, well, to simply get it done.

Works 99.9% of the time.

The thing is- many times getting off the couch -and starting to cook from scratch-is a 99.9% no-go.

I mean- that’s how I felt before -now I’m retired+an introvert+I love eating + planning my meals carefully. I also love cooking -especially from scratch- because it’s tastier, healthier- and costs much less. you’d think I was some celebrity’s coach or something the way I fuss over every meal I eat.

But I realize not everyone is retired, and meal planning is the best tool there is for maintaining a reasonable enough healthy eating habit- otherwise- life gets in the way.

Now- today’s insight is this- you go about washing veggies for a family heirloom vegetable soup? great idea- research shows that people who eat vegetable soup in wintertime are 98.4% happier than the ones that don’t.

Can you batch cook vegetable soup?

Yes, and no-veggie soup can keep in your fridge for up to 3 days in my opinion- after that the veggies go all soggy and tired.

So?

So- I present to you 3 options to get double on your veggie soup- which saves you time, effort, environmental issues concerning the waste, and, naturally- $$$$.

#1: freeze the broth alone. why? because the broth holds great nutritional value, can be used in multiple ways in the near future, keeps great in the freezer, and can be used to quiet hunger if you practice intermittent fasting.

#2. Make lentil soup right now using the leftover veggie soup as a legit base for the lentils to cook, that is while you are still in the first 3 days after veggie soup making.

#3. freeze half of your peeled veggies -before cooking. I mean- don’t make a double batch- prepare the carrots, celery, pumpkin- wash and pre-cut- then freeze it.

No- potatoes react poorly to freezing- they can’t join in- and onions can freeze but do have a strong smell- and take really nothing to peel, so leave those 2 for the actual cooking next time.

What’s the point of all this?

Well. it’s mainly psychological I think.

I think the mere knowledge that you have a container in your freezer that enables you to make veggie soup in 3 minutes is relaxing (not including cooking time, naturally- but you can read a book while the soup is cooking on the stove unless you feel like babysitting soup is your mission in life).

Plus it might encourage you to go on and make more soups in wintertime.

Plus it uses all the celery sticks and carrots right away and keeps them from wilting in your fridge.

Oh- and please add parsley to your soup- a lot of it. makes a big difference.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

I am not a medical/health/emotional/financial /nutrition or any other kind of expert as far as it concerns the contents of this blog,  therefore anything written on the blog is not to be taken as any kind of advice, and should you choose to rely on anything  I write on this blog- you are doing it at your own risk and at your own responsibility.