Why (and how)I indulge myself at every meal!

I take food very seriously.

I love eating and I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes -and giving them a new and personal twist.

Since I took my vipassana course (read all about the wonderful present I gave myself here: The birthday presents I gave myself-part 1) I stopped eating dinner and I now eat only twice a day- but wow those two meals are such a mindful treat every day. packed full of vitamins and protein, home made to the core , vegan (naturally) , nutritious, flavourful and most important- yummmmmmmmmmmmy!

Preparing delicious home-made nutritios food on a daily basis is a time-consuming task. this is not something you can avoid. This is not a problem or a deal breaker pour moi, I don’t see it as a waste of time- au contraire. I  look at tome spent in the kitchen to prepare a great tasty and nutritious meal- as time well spent.

It is an alternative way for me to be creative- I don’t know how to draw or paint, and my clay “masterpieces” are best not mentioned. so you see there is a hidden artist inside me just waiting to be heard and the culinary route is a very efficient way to express your creativity.

I believe another important  aspect is involved .

Being frugal for a long time in a very consumer minded society might make you feel-at times- as if you are somewhat “deprived” of “life’s pleasures”.

This, of course, is false, but if you are on a deliberately tight budget on account of a cognitive decision to save money and thus promote your chances of early retirement, then you might , at times, miss those totally indulgent lazy coffee shop days or hotel vacations or whatever budget free life style you had before the cut backs.

Indulging yourself in good home made nutritious food is a great alternative  way to feel indulgent without spending money. I ‘ve written about this before here: Why it’s so important to keep indulging yourself and Indulging yourself #2. 

Another lesson I’ve learned (recently) is that the human mind is such a genius device, that the instant I applied for early retirement at my workplace, I found it more and more difficult to go to work .

I’ve been in public service for approximately 30 years now, and my whole life as a worker I never experienced such difficulties to get up and go to work .

I believe this to be the mind’s way to let go gradually of my “get up and go to work” habit, one that has been established after so many years at work.

The mental aspect retirement is not one to dismiss lightly, in my humble opinion. I am no psychologist but I’ve heard many people describe feelings of loss and sadnedss-and yes I am talking about people who asked to retire- not retired against their will.

We are creatures of habit, and although I know fully well that the right thing for me is early retirement- It is important in my opinion to address this gradually and mind fully .

All of this was to say that indulging myself with good food- is a great comfort and helps to make my day at work a much better day.

How do I go about this indulgence ?

It’s fall here, and taking frozen shakes to work doesn’t cut it any more.

here is the great alternative i’ve found:

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from left to right:

raw almonds-given to us by our neighbours

a frozen &cut ahead banana

cooked dried prunes in syrup (homemade )

vegan yogurt (home-made)

mixed granola&ground flax seeds

I use my hand blender shown in picture to blend the frozen bananas &vegan yogurt, add a little granola &flax seeds, add the rest of the granola to the prunes-after heating the prunes for a minute in the microwave- and eat both ever so happily, followed by munching on the almonds.

This is a nutritious , healthy and filling breakfast and it combines ingredients I love and prepared myself.

I take all this to work in my cooler bag , and enjoy my breakfast immensely, although at my work desk and not at home.

today for lunch I had home-made bean stew &self grown lentil sprouts.

healthy&protein packed &tasty.

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enjoy- the cooliflower.

The second birthday present I gave myself. (part 2)

I gave myself a second grand present- for the first time (after leaving home at 20 to go to university) , I  now have my own room. to read, to search the web, to think, whatever-this is my little corner.

One of my grown up kids has left to travel abroad, and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that the minute he left- I took over his room -and confiscated it.

the whole procedure took 2 days- repainting, cleaning (thoroughly……..), and putting up the wooden boards on the walls.

The cost of the whole “renovation” was around 50$-the cost of the wood. I used leftover paint we had in storage, the computer is my youngest’s old computer -we put it in storage when we bought him a new one (the guy is a gamer, the simple computer wasn’t cutting edge enough for him…) and the chair was bought a few years ago and was taken to my office at work, same case with the pictures and plants, and now, since I requested to retire early, I cleaned my office at work too, and took my private stuff back home.

This did leave my office at work looking very dull and empty, but I think of this as a necessary stage on the path to retirement.

*I always wondered about those people who know they are about to retire (even know the exact date months ahead), and clear their desk and drawers on their last day at work ( I even heard of people who had to come after actually leaving to finish clearing up).

I believe letting go gradually of all the status signs and material settings is an important stage in fully  understanding the concept of the big change that is ahead of you when retiring either early or on time .taking the proper time to check each and every document -file-picture-plant- the konmary style- is imperative to your well-being and smooth departure from this world that has been a huge part of you for some/many years.

Back to my present: this is the room in its previous condition:

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and from another angle:

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and after the “makeover”-total sum 50$:

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and from another angle:

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All the pens and markers and recycled envelopes (for memos) are stacked in reused tea boxes /canned tomato cans. the calendar is hand-made (by moi). a marker and a ruler is all it took. and a big thank you to my partner who helped me achieve this long time dream of having “a room of one’s own” as virginia woolf put it so beautifully.

ciao- the cooliflower.

The birthday presents I gave myself-part 1

I am a big believer in no presents policy. I believe I have everything I need, I need no more stuff in my life, and I don’t like the idea of the stressful search people seem to get themselves into trying to find something the birthday girl/boy will like+dont already have.

This year was a bit different because I gave myself a few presents-a few needed help from other people, and I actually asked for that help (very unlike me) but also let the helpers know that help is considered as my present.

I celebrated a special birthday this year, and I believe that the number made it more emotional and significant for me.

I mean- it’s not every day a woman turns 50.

I gave myself 4 presents- and in this post I will share with you the first one:

a 10 day vipassana course . here is a link if you are interested in reading about this wonderful technique that in my opinion shifts the responsibility for a persons happiness -or sadly-sadness- back to the person itself, teaching him/her how to avoid feelings of anger, hatred, aversion- or on the other hand- how to maintain poise at life’s many cravings.

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I spent 10 days in complete silence- obviously no electronic devices such as phones& laptops-ipads-tv- were non existent, but even making eye contact or opening the door or saying “excuse me” to the other participants of the course was not allowed.

We got up every morning at 0400 ( no problem for me- this is my usual waking hour), and spent the rest of the day -untill 21:00, meditating -with a few hours of rest time, and a taped lecture of s.n. goenka in the evening.

The food was wonderful- vegan and simple-just the way I like it, I had a room only to myself- which considering the emotional turbulence I went through -was such a huge blessing. things just kept coming up and learning to deal with all the emotions without any distraction- at all- was difficult-but rewarding.

I still have a long way to go, but the tools I got at this course were very powerful –for me. I believe the experience had such a huge effect on me because I let it . I simply put my cynicism and judgment aside for these 10 days-and gave all of myself to the experience. and it was amazing.

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When leaving home I picked from the grass 3 fallen leaves from the ficus religiosa (bodhi tree) that was planted near the meditation hall, to remind me of the 3 main words that were repeated all the time- “aniche’-aniche’-aniche'”-everything is temporary- cravings-and aversions, joy and suffering. nothing stays the same, everything changes. all the time.

This was by far the most powerful birthday present I could give myself.

*by the way- the stay at the vipassana centers is based on donations given only when a student has completed his or her course, and you can give as much as you can-feel-want.

the cooliflower.

My zero food waste tips-part 2: fruit

Well  in my opinion this is definitely an easier task than not wasting any veggies. fruit is the best: at any form-shape-color-size- flavor.

20180808_155559.jpg Just look at that. no wonder there are so many stories connected to seduction by apples….

Like all fruit- of course the best possible way would be to eat them fresh, but sometimes life just gets in the way and your apples get one tiny bump-that deteriorates to that softening ugh big round spot that you bite into and regret waking up in the morning.

Don’t despair-the freezer does not discriminate the damaged from the good apples. just cut the apple roughly (I dont bother to peel before), leave off the yellow-brown spot and stick in a zipper bag in the freezer for future use.

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What future use? anything from apple pies to banana-apple shakes to crumble- come on- there is always a use for a good frozen apple.

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same here with this lovely mango.

(except for the baking part- never tried baking mango-if you succeeded at that please share.)

mango- what a fruit. definitely made in heaven. shakes, ice creams, anything sweet and frozen will benefit from a mango that went too soft for plain raw eating.

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Berries: such freezer friendly creatures! just ziplock them and use straight from the freezer on top of muesli or in ice cream or shakes. do not thaw them before use-getts messy.

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Now the ultimate bananas.

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Just peel them and freeze them on parchment paper- and then divide-and conquer-ziplock them cut to 3 or 4 parts (each banana) so you can use in shakes, nice creams, what not. but please beware- do not thaw them before use and you can eat them frozen as a snack- but i do hope you can finish it off before it thaws-it is not a pretty sight. believe moi.

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Here is a link to my previous post on them banans.

they’re as cold as ice

Also great freezer friendly fruits are grapes , nectarines, pears, peaches, I am sure manty more. if you are not a fan of sugar you do not always have to make jam when a fruit is too ripe . just keep cool and stick it in the freezer.

enjoy- the cooliflower.

My zero food waste tips: part 1: vegetables.

Here are my favorite time+money+ waste saving frugal tips. these work so well -I almost never throw food away . (“away” meaning to the composter of course so as you can see this is a full proof 0 waste plan!)

#1: parsley.

I order a weekly local organic basket of vegetables- the basic ones: tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, onions, green peppers and garlic.

When the basket arrives- and on the following 2-3 days, the veggies are in top condition. they look-smell and taste wonderful.

on the 4th day -the tomatoes-green peppers- and needless to say the tough onions and garlic- are fine, but the cucumbers and parsley are beginning to “age beautifully” (….)

the parsley is a major component in my lunch salad at work, so I was thrilled when I found out that dipping parsley in water a few hours prior to chopping it for my salad, revives it to almost juvenile condition. so as soon as I get to work in the morning I fill a mason jar I have on my desk with water and the parsley spends the hours untill chopping at lunch time- dipping in the water.

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#2:Tomatoes:

 almost obvious but still worth mentioning ripe tomatoes make the greatest tomato sauce– as long as you don’t over do it with the ripening part. if you accidentally forgot a bag of tomatoes in your fridge and they are too ripe for their own good- just let it go and throw to the composter- and as a general rule of thumb (learned the hard and very smelly way believe me) is please remember to check all your produce every other day- whether in or out of the fridge. especially these potatoes down under and the cucumbers hiding in the corner…think about it from the frugal perspective: one bad vegetable can ruin a complicated dish you put a lot of time-energy-effort-money in

#3: green peppers: 

great eaten fresh- and very tasty when toasted in a pan or roasted in the oven. some times i stuff them with rice or bulgur and cook them in the mentioned above tomato sauce. I haven’t tried freezing them fresh but after cooking- they freeze great.

#4:onions:

If your onions start going soft- quickly peel&dice them all- and freeze in small bags -to be used in cooking. onions defrost quickly and taste fine after freezing- but in my opinion they cannot be used fresh after freezing- such as in salads etc-only in cooking.

#5: cucumbers:

these are tough ones. I used to just throw them to the composter once they went soft but now I put them in my smoothies!

#6: potatoes and sweet potatoes:

potatoes do not freeze well- fresh or cooked, and when I feel that they are starting to get soft- I fry them in the oven with rosemary -olive oil-and salt:

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or cook them and make veggy burgers with them.

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my veggy burgers are very simple:

I mash the potatoes-sweet potatoes with a hand blender, add raw tahini, lentil flour (I blend red lentils and here comes the lentil flour), mustard, leftover grains or leaves (rice, bulgur-spinach-parsley-what is in the fridge for a day or two and hasn’t been eaten by now- remember -food gone bad goes to the composter not into a dish!) , flax seeds, chia seeds and there you go- let cool in the fridge and make patties- into the oven on parchment paper drizzled with some olive oil and voila. now the quantities of each component of the listed above varies according to the quantity of the main ingredient. play with the consistency untill you feel you have a nice patty firm enough to hold on but not too firm to be choked on.

enjoy-the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons I’ve learned spending a week at the hospital

for the past two weeks a close relative of mine has been in the hospital after surgery.

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I accompanied my relative for a week- and more is yet to come- and during that intense week- I spent my days- and nights- at the hospital.

Beside giving birth to my children and accompanying friends and relatives to short procedures I’ve never spent such a long time at the hospital, and this experience has taught me some valuable lessons I thought I should share with you.

I am well aware that this was my own experience and that may not be the case in other places- but should my own experience help any of you when accompanying someone sick to a few days at the hospital be more prepared for the experience and make the necessary arrangements ahead to avoid the points I raise here- then at least I’ve helped someone.

I wish for all of you and your loved ones to never go through this experience.

# being in the hospital seems to the patient like imprisonment. 

you become one of many patients, you are basically confined to your bed-room-ward, you receive restricted hospital food and basically lose your independence. you are at the hands and mercy- of the doctors and nurses. I’ve met wonderful and attentive doctors and nurses at the hospital, but I’ve also met some that were not so empathic -due to massive work load perhaps or personal issues -we are all human and I definitely understand that, but being on the helpless- anxious -frightened side of the equation makes you inevitably dependant on whoever is across you at that moment, and for independent people like my relative- this was traumatic.

This is an issue to be addressed by hospital managers- because a stressed and frightened patient -takes more time to heal. he-she can’t sleep well , and can’t focus on their side of the operation- getting better. do not ignore the mental side of being hospitalized- this takes a big toll both on the patient and on his or her company.

#I am not sure people fully understand the direct connection between their own health behaviour -and their situation.

my relative has smoked for almost 60 years, and lately has been enjoying a jolly diet including mainly haagen-dazs ice cream and chardonnay. yet she couldn’t understand why she can’t just get better after her (lung cancer) surgery and just go back home.

I have no intention of judging anyone for their food-health any other choices.

I am a firm believer in live and let live. should anyone want to hear my input on those subjects well I’d be more than happy to give it, and this blog is an example , but I have no desire to impose my own beliefs on other people be they close family or work mates when they never wanted to hear it to begin with.

So I didn’t say anything about those “full of protein and vitamin” food choices and to my relatives surprise I didn’t even imply she should stop smoking. I fully understand when she says that for her this is an addiction she cannot get rid of . but at the same time I wished this connection was more clear. thoughts have crossed my mind about clean eating fun projects at schools, mandatory college classes concerning healthy habits, and maybe other innovative ways to promote public education on health subjects.

# I wonder if hospital managers put enough effort into making sure hospital food is based mainlyon fresh and healthy ingredients? Are they doing the best they can to ensure the patients sleep as much as they can and get moving as fast as they can in order to get well? is the direct connection between the patient’s nutrition-good sleep and exercise and quick healing prioritized?  I’ve seen a lot of carbs, dairy products and jams on my relative’s plate,  and an  occasional small plate of tired salad- not very appetizing.I saw patients woken up very early in the morning to have their blood pressure checked- and I am no doctor nor a nurse. maybe it is crucial to check blood pressure or give one pill at 5 am, but if that is not the case- and those check ups can wait untill 7 -I wish the importance of rest and healthy nutrition would call the shots- so to speak.

Trying to rest during the day was almost impossible mission at the hospital I was in, and when the patient is tired- he is weak- cannot start walking around and working his-her body- and the healing process is slowed.

*As soon as I came back home I treated myself to a quick pan grilled tofu marinated in a quick soy-mustard -rice vinegar-olive oil-agave  sauce. great with any grain- rice-bulgur- whatever. healthy clean eating is easy to arrange. just put your mind to it.

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have a great and healthy week- the cooliflower.

How I reduced 25% of my electricity and gas bills ( 5 tips and another V for enVironmentalism)

Now that I’ve set my mind on keeping my savings rate over 75% ( I know there are unexpected spendings- those are not taken into account per-se but I do try to leave a margin of error every month for these surprises…), I have tackled my gas and electricity bills.

These two are a major item in my monthly budget, mainly because of :

1.We live in  a very hot in summer – very cold in winter place- and the electricity bill during the extreme hot&cold months hit the 300$ a month rates.

2.I drive to work 5 days a week in my  3 year mazda -which I totally admit was not the most frugal and environmental decision to make – but the car itself is good and reliable, and I think I will hold on to it for at least two more years before I get a more efficient car.

3. gas and electricity have a direct link to pollution and reducing them has an environmental benefit too.

So how did I conquer these two contant budget hole diggers?

I’ve been experimenting in the past year with some changes I made , and realized I managed to save around 25% -30% of both of those bills.

Here is how:

#1: heating in the winter with a (clean burn-minimal pollution!) wood stove.

this is the sensational wood and kindle inside storage my partner built all by himself. got to love the man. 20180707_124853.jpg

we buy the basic load of fire wood off-season so it’s cheaper.( august is definitely off season here-over 105 degrees. in the shade).

the rest of the wood and fire kindle including those beautiful pine cones- I collect outside.

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Yes I do go around where I live carrying this “trolley” made of reused stuff and collect fire kindle under pine trees.

I add that I do it in the beginning of the summer and throughout summer – early in the morning, usually after my morning run when I’m still in my jogging out fit. definitely a feast for the eyes. but-I don’t care.

I actually love those quiet hours of wandering with my dog under the scented pine trees looking for dried branches and cones.

No use collecting kindle in spring when every thing is still wet. and no use trying to hurry and find forgotten leftovers in fall . (no wonder I have such an appreciation for ants).

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the fire-place is a family get together place in winter, which is great. the ac is seldom on,  and the residues are great for the composter so win-win-win.

#2: cooling down in the summer mainly with ceiling fansunless it is dead hot. and sometimes it is. but most of the times we manage with these :

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when we bought our house  14 years ago , one of these was installed in almost  every room and we added a few to make sure no one goes without. a very smart decision we made then, that only needed the fine tuning of using mainly these in the summer.  please remember to clean the fans wings- specifically on their upper side- the one you can’t see. naturally what we can’t see and is hard to reach- is the dirtiest…

#3: Use the oven to its maximum capacity when turning it on. saves on elctricity and time!

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Every time I make my homemade buns ( almost every week…) I first stick an oven tray full of potatoes-sweet potatoes to roast while the buns are baking. If not potatoes then eggplants . or spicy chickpeas.

here is as example of my weekly buns.

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and these are the toasted spicy divine chickpeas. an upgrade to every salad at work,20180508_124014.jpg

#4: freeze your levi’s. I ain’t joking. this is a real hack, check it online. if you freeze your jeans in a zipper bag you can wear them at least once more without washing, apparently it’s even better for the jeans… I wish I were sponsered by levi’s but sadly i’m not.

(levi’s if by any chance you are reading this contact me I lovvvvvvvvve your jeans!)

#5: for the gas saving- you might lough but as I told you before It’s totally fine by moi:

I simply drive slower. I mean way slower. 

When nearing a traffic light, I never speed but purposely slow down, and 90% of the times when the red light is on I find all the hasty and anxious drivers that passed me a minute ago when trying to catch the green light standing right next to me-or I see them passing in red light-which is not only extremely dangerous + illegal but also carries a substantial fine .

I discovered that by driving slowly my gas bills have dropped by at least 25% and I am not joking . try it. it is also more cautious , allows you to prolong your reaction time, listen peacefully to your favorite music (yes deep purple -led zeppelin-camel-marianne faithfull ) and slims to 0% the chances of you getting a speeding ticket….

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so how do I get to work on time you ask? read my post:  why I get up at 04:00

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

Why I’m not a grade A minimalist

So I’ve been reading a lot about minimalism, and naturally (for me anyway) I started thinking about myself.

I asked myself am I fully and whole heartedly invested in decluttering everything I don’t use , and the frank answer I gave to myself was- definitely not.

Don’t get me wrong- I did a big konmary style grand decluttering in my house , and many items were donated -recycled-given to beloved family.

*my close family and I- including my mother-sister -daughter , have a clothes swapping policy, meaning that whenever one of us gets tired of a clothing item and it is in good condition- the other family members have the first right of refusal on the item. if the poor item is  unwanted by all family members -then it shall go to the clothes donating bin .

As for children’s clothes and toys- I have neighbors with two young kids who enjoy my kid’s toys and clothes.

But I am certainly not a grade A minimalist. I have quite a few clothing items that survived the grand decluttering and I simply can’t let go of- although some I only wear just a few times a year.

this skirt is one of them.

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yesterday I decided it is perfectly ok to wear this heavy fabric skirt in the middle of summer, provided I pair it with this very light top  (I got from my mother in the above mentioned procedure) and light and open shoes I bought a few years ago.

I spend my day at the office sitting at my desk , (sedentary is an understatement), but at least there is air condition .so I decided this  (untill now classified as) winter skirt can have a glimpse at how things look outside in summer time.

This exciting idea came to me as “necessity is the mother of invention”, and  because after nearly 2 years of pursuing a  clothes and shoes spending ban- my wardrobe kind of bored me.

If I were to use the minimalist ” 90 day rule “-here is the link- minimalist 90 day rule,then I probably would have donated this skirt a long time ago- and wouldn’t have enjoyed the multiple compliments I got when wearing the outfit above.

The thing is- this example is one of many.

being a grown person with a reasonable salary, like many people I accumulated a lot of stuff.

After contemplating this for quite a while I decided to trust my instincts and for the time being  keep the items I already have -even if I don’t currently use them. I don’t mean torn or damaged items- only those that are in good condition.

The same goes to my big collection of books.

Being an introvert I love to read and over the years  I have accumulated 3 book shelves loaded with books.

I stopped buying new ones about a year ago, I get some at the library and some on amazon kindle, but to tell you the truth- it’s just not the same somehow.

So I decided I am not buying any more books untill I reread every book I have in my book shelves, and so far this has brought me back to books I haven’t read in a long time and simply forgot how much I loved them, and on the other side it made me rethink about other ones-I am now contemplating donating them to the public library like I did with many books in my konmary declutter days.

where d you draw the line as to decluttering ? 90 days? 120? 1 year? maybe not at all?

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

Vegan snacks- liked by omnivore kids too!

One of my big dilemma’s is can I  feed my kids healthy nutritious food without them declaring war on me.

Sadly we are not one of those families where all family members are happy environmentalistic vegans who recycle all day long and play outside with their organic rabbit.

I wish we were.

My family is an omnivore family. sometimes I think they are plain carnivores. meat , chicken , dairy and eggs are definitely in the menu. all .the .time.

There is no way I can change their minds, and declaring war on my family is not my thing, so I learned to accept them- and since I am the house cook – I prepare all meals including the beef stews, chicken breasts , omelets and dairy ice cream and cakes.

I am dreaming of the day they will come to their senses and see the light, but until then- I cook everything.

I don’t taste the food as cooking- so I rely on my instincts and hope for the best.

But all this tolerance and love&peace method doesn’t mean I don’t sneak tasty vegan food all the time -without declaring the fact out loud for fear of it suddenly loosing its appeal. (yes this is how sad they are).

one very effective way to get them to eat vegan+healthy food was to introduce vegan food as snacks.

here are the sweet snacks-

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medjhool dates with/without raw tahini drizzled on it, almonds, apple slices with cinnamon sprinkled on it, banana “nice cream” with chia seeds sprinkled on it and walnuts.

and here are the savory snacks-20180623_090346.jpg

green peppers, cucumber slices, toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, baked chickpeas and air-popped popcorn.

*I bought one of those designated air pop popcorn machines back in my non frugal -not a minimalist at all days, and I’m glad I let it survive the grand declutter 2 years ago-popcorn is a simple and healthy snack as long as it’s air popped and not drizzled with any kind of oily substance or sprinkled with heaps of salt.

I can report that so far so good- though they do like the dairy homemade ice cream i make them but i figure it is the lesser of two evils since it is homemade-speaking from the healthy point of view of course.

another trick of mine are these-

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they love them and when paired with a salad- win for vegan .

I’d love to hear what the situation is in your house hold.

ciao- the cooliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean green / V for vinegar

I became frugal once I understood that saving most of my income is the most effective way to accomplish early retirement and financial strength that will allow me to help my kids start their grown lives from a reasonable starting point.

But- my turning to green cleaning was motivated from a different angle: the environmentalist angle.

Once I fully understood the difference between green and non green products, I immediately began looking for powerful green substitutes for my regular arsenal of bleach- windex-all purpose cleaners.

The more I researched the more I  understood that green cleaning has a direct link to minimizing health hazards (and home accidents involving accidentally swallowing/inhaling harsh chemicals), it most definitely simplifies the whole cleaning process as you shall see in a moment, and- it is by far more frugal- so what’s not to like?

actually there is an answer to that- if we dare be honest.

Most people were brought up believing that a good clean ain’t done untill the house smells like the floor washing brand used at your house, and the sinks and bathrooms smell like a gallon of bleach just went there- which was actually the truth.

This is why many people find it hard to trust green products- let alone DIY green products that dont have that powerful scent that reminds them of their childhood.

Understanding the environmental , health , minimalist and frugal advantages of the green products might help give those products a fair chance.

I clean my whole house using 5 products:

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#1: vinegar. I use the cheap synthetic one- not the fancy acv (with “mother”) -that is a staple in my cupboard for different reasons- (will reveal in a different post).

 #2: baking soda. I discovered that this product can be bought either in small 50 gram packets (I guess meant for baking), and in bulk- a large 1 kilo pack that costs a fraction of the first one per 100 grams. I buy the bulky version and store it in my own jars-labeled of course-to prevent some one accidentally mistaking this stuff for white sugar or any other powdery substance.

#3:dish soap.

#4: hot water . in my experience- 99% of dirt will disappear  once using hot water mixed with a few drops of  dish soap and some  vinegar, in my kitchen this is an all-purpose cleaner. to soften the vinegar’s strong smell I sometimes infuse leftover  lemon peels with vinegar in a mason jar for a few weeks.

#5: hydrogen peroxide 3%. a green substitute for bleach. it’s not cheap but it’s a very potent liquid that I use to finish cleaning  my bathroom and kitchen surfaces.please do not mix the hydrogen peroxide with any other product!!!

*of course you will need a good pair of gloves and dish sponges that can hold up to the tasks , good music and the will power to conquer all evil- and there you go.

#To clean the toilets– I pour 1/4 cup baking soda -then vinegar, let it bubble and scrub frantically with the toilet cleaning brush-which by the way- needs to be cleaned itself from time to time.please be carefull not to lean too close to the mixture-and wash your hands carefully after using the products-even though using gloves of course.

(*no cleaning without gloves! )

 *before I begin please check that the kitchen utensils needing cleaning  you have at home agree with the listed above products- some may not. 

#my all-purpose cleaner– after using the baking soda- vinegar method listed above- there is still the rest of the toilet to clean.  I  spray the toilet sides, walls (yes-walls) and the floor with my glass spray bottle filled  with my all-purpose cleaner: 1/2 water -1/2 vinegar and a few drops of dish soap- and wipe it with disposable  paper towels.

#to clean the floors: I have  hard wood floors- I use water mixed with  vinegar and a few drops of essential oils.

#before mopping the floors I always let my iRobot clean the surface thoroughly. this is not a cheap device- but for me- working full-time –  it was a game changer. (no-I am not sponsored by anyone). I  simply believe that a clean tidy home is  inviting and comfortable -no matter how small it is, and I also believe that especially for people with young kids-  having no time to spare is an understatement.here is a link to a post where i explain why this indulgence is sensible if you can afford it.

Indulging yourself #2

#windows and mirrors– I spray with my all-purpose cleaner and wipe with disposable paper towels or old newspapers if I can get some.

#to clean the kitchen sink- (I have a regular porcelain sink- haven’t tried this with other types of sinks- please make sure these products are suitable for whatever sink you have.) I sprinkle the sink with  baking soda, scrub, then spray vinegar on the baking soda , let it bubble then pour 2 cups of boiling water.  not only is the sink clean now- this also helps to  unclog the sink if necessary.

no need to keep many cleaning supplies around. no more a using different cleaner for every chore . simple, minimalistic, efficient, frugal. and minimizes pollution too.

ciao- the cooliflower.