Take care of yourself. the rest will follow.

This morning I woke up, and it was chilly, and the mere thought of going out for a run was giving me the shivers.

I got up and made myself a cup of strong coffee, filled my hot water bottle and got back to bed to contemplate my next steps.

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Now I know you may be thinking:”this here is an old lady, sad little thing, goes around with her warm bottle, to get the old bones moving”. 

Frankly my dear(s)- I don’t give a damn. (Butler, rhett. “come on millenials- “gone with the wind”??)

Because- I can’t stand AC air, and I love sleeping with the windows open, hence my fondness of said water bottle, plus-there is a long way to go between A (warm bed, open windows, contemplating going out) and Z ( actually going out for a run when it’s cold out).

The warm water bottle gets my muscles going much faster , plus it gives me the ilussion of on going warmth, thus enabling me to go out- falsly believing the warm temperature I feel is going to last.

The mind (mine, anyway) is quite naive at times.

While on the subject of the naive mind:

I discovered many times I can fool myself with little tricks I play on my behalf.

That doesn’t give me much credit- not for fooling myself, and mostly not for managing to be fooled by myself- but- since this is the situation, might as well try to make the best of it. (when I get too many lemons, might as well make lemonade cubes and freeze them- etc).

For example-

When I still can’t get out of my lazy funk and go running, I promise myself a hot shower and a great yummy meal afterwards.

Now- since I don’t lie to myself ( nor to anyone else for that matter- well except for “white lies” ( I am making a note to myself to tell you all about the miracle of “white lies” -AKA “the Schrodinger cat of lying truthfully”

I get up and set the hot water boiler on, and make sure I have all the ingredients for that promised yummy meal when I get back.

This does work, surprisingly more than once , that is if you keep your promise to yourself, and don’t get caught in “life, kids, work, internet, whatever” stuff.

Because- as life has taught me -if I don’t make a point of taking care of me- well then- too bad , because it’s no one else’s responsibility but mine- to take care of me.

If I slack on my workouts, nutrition, sleep, work (back when I used to work)-whatever- because of the “oh so many excuses life brings on”- then that’s my choice- and it’s fine- as long as I don’t expect to enjoy the benefits of putting the effort and taking care of the above list.

The thing is-

The body is very forgiving when you are younger, and tends to take the little nasty note book out once you reach 45.

The little nasty notebook is where the body writes down all the incidents where you neglected to take top notch care of yourself.

I am not about to go into examples, you all know what I’m talking about, no need to turn me into a food hater or something, although- I really can’t see a scenario where a grown (ok, mature, mature) woman can eat a doughnut and get away with it.

Sorry.

My opinion here. (don’t get all upset- I told you I wasn’t a dietitian or anything).

Perhaps you are thinking:”come on! you only live once! I love them pastries and burgers! .

Yea, well.

Fine.

As always- do whatever you feel like.

I can tell you I haven’t eaten a doughnut in about 30 years (actually- I think more, but- who’s counting?), have been exercising seriously since I turned 30 ,and clean eating since I became vegan 7 years ago-and I still woke up one morning to find my body heavier and weaker.

Apparently- after you reach 40 , you lose 8% of muscle each year (!!!).

Just in case you were thinking -so what if I’m not Schwarzenegger-that’s not the point at all.

Muscles are super important at any age- but not only because of the obvious- but also because they build bone mass (yes, that ‘s right, not dairy Bu$% sh*%, and not store bought calcium- muscles)https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles. (click on the link- I am guessing Harvard is good enough a source for everyone).

Also- the more muscle you have- the more energy (as in calories) your body uses (as in burns).

Meaning- the stronger you get- the leaner and healthier you get, and vice versa.

Also-

The less you sleep -and the less you hydrate (on water, not alcohol) your skin will react as if you’ve declared a war on it- and it has to prepare for war by getting wrinkled up.

I am not linking anything to prove my point. this is in the lines of “goes without saying”.

So-

What I’m saying here is-

Take care of thy selves, because no one else will+

Sometimes you need to promise yourself a treat to get yourself back on track with the taking care procedure.

Now the treat need not be a sugary oily pastry- (a bit counter-productive I would say)-

It can most definitely be in the lines of a hot shower, a healthy nutritious home made meal, a good book, great music ( Beethoven’s “emperor” for example? YouTube it and thank me later- AKA piano concerto #5), doing your nails, putting on a great body lotion, whatever. (make your own list of favorites).

What I realized is- that sacrificing yourself for others may benefit you in the short run ( others will be grateful for a while, you feel mighty and gracious and oh so powerful), but not so much in the long run.

The people you sacrificed yourself for tend to feel pressured to be constantly grateful, and end resenting you for it, and you end up unhealthy and not pleased with your body- the one you got for this journey, and can’t replace-thus resenting the same people you just sacrificed yourself for.

Ah-the irony.

Instead of complicating it-

Simplify it.

Take care of yourself- the rest will follow.

The cooliflower.

The introvert’s best friends.

I live in a rural village.

Pastoral. 

Rustic.

Serene.

well-not exactly.

I am surrounded by neighbors that aren’t exactly big fans of peace and quiet.

While I seem to have an acute problem with noise.

 I am fully aware that they are the “normal people”‘ I am the problematic one +that I sound like an old nag.

Being aware is 50% of success!!

Now-just to make things even clearer- here are some tedious facts: 

The neighbors to my left– have 7 (!) kids, some of them grown up with friends, and since my neighbors had to build a pool in their back yard, almost every day during summer time, they  feel an urge to start shouting by the pool, while grilling meat (in an open barbecue- so as not to miss any of the fun of inhaling the stinky smoke) while playing music on the (loud) loudspeakers.

The neighbors in the back side of my garden- have only 3 girls, but the girls are teenagers, and very keen on karaoke .

They seem to believe they have a good voice and a good sense of rhythm, quite contrary to the actual truth.

Quite often, they start quarreling and calling each other names and stuff not appropriate for a  proper blogger such as I to repeat.

The neighbors next to the ones in the back– own 2 organic food shops.

You would expect them to appreciate the sounds of silence- but the man seems to think he can manage his shop from afar- thus having long and loud phone conversations , that are well heard due to strange acoustics in their house.

The neighbors to my right– have 2 young kids, and I really thought I hit the jackpot when she told me she is into meditation and teaches bibliotherapy.(oh- and yesterday I heard her telling a potential client on the phone that before the biblio part (or side by side to it) she assesses the feet.

But- she seems to be enjoying a unique kind of meditation technique, where you keep talking loudly and giving orders to your family members- while in deep meditation.

The neighbors across the street used to be really quiet, until a month ago they decided their 23 year old son has to open a pizza place in their garage, thus having all the kids in the village-and some grown ups too- happily (and loudly) “going out for pizza” in my neighbors garage.

Teens these days seem to be very opinionated on various subjects, and where I live they seem to believe that he who speaks the loudest- is automatically right.

I would be quite miserable if it weren’t for my best friends:

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I have no idea what brand the earplugs are, and I don’t believe I have enough knowledge to recommend a certain kind of headphones.needles (I hope its needless!) to say that I have no shares in the earplug-headphone industry, just in case you were suspicious .

I truly believe I am not meant to live in agony of any kind, and I also believe there is always a way . as long as you have the will to find it.

Since I go to sleep early (between 20:00 pm and 21:00 pm, on good days- even 19:00 is a good time to lay my head) and the pizza parlor-karaoke singing-pool shouting- store management- active meditation -is still going on, I simply shove my blue buddies into my ears and give myself the much needed peace and tranquility. ( I always sleep with my windows open, even in winter time I open a bit).

During the day, I listen to my classical music in my living room/kitchen, or in my room using my headphones’ and nothing can bother me.the corded headphones and bluetooth ones are for running+working out+working in the garden. 

If, by any chance, you seem to “enjoy” the same kind of “lively” neighborhood -get yourself a pair of earplugs, and if ‘ by any chance- you have a musical ear and the sound really does make a difference to you -do yourself  favor and get a good pair of headphones, and try listening to music on a PC -as opposed to cell phone or even Ipad.

You will thank me later- it makes a huge difference. 

No use in getting upset/angry/going over there to give them a piece of your mind.

You need to believe me on this one- since I tried all the above, to no avail.

“SERENITY NOW!” (Frank Costanza).

The cooliflower.

The perfect pea protein!

If you are vegan/avid health freak/ curious George- than you couldn’t have escaped the pea protein craze.

Evidently, a lot of vegan protein powders are made of, mainly , pea protein.

So-

I thought to myself-( I do that a lot. it’s definitely a good thing to befriend yourself, especially in times of social isolation- but not only then).

Why not go to the source?

Then I remembered I don’t particularly like pea soup.

I have no idea why.

I mean- now I do know why- and I have an urge to share this revelation with you.

Turns out I don’t like dried peas, that’s all.

I know, I know- I’m vegan, I’m supposed to love everything remotely resembling a legume.

But I don’t.

I don’t like quinoa, either. (in case you cannot go on reading without getting to the bottom of this strange dislike for the almighty quinoa- then here is a link to the explanatory post).

Sorry- dont like quinoa!

But- there is hope, so it seems.

As it happens- a few weeks ago I bought 3 packages of frozen peas, (huge sale in my online supermarket), and since I have this thing against keeping stuff for too long in the freezer, I got up and decided to make something with a large bag (OK, not that large- 800 grams )of frozen peas.

Rice and peas? ok-its tasty- but- what about some soup?

So I started the way I start every cooked dish- I diced fresh onions, garlic, peeled carrots, peeled potatoes, condiments, a dazzle of olive oil, salt&pepper.

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I pan fried the lot for about 10-15 minutes- until the carrots were tender. then added the bag of frozen peas, and stirred every minute or so- let it fry for a good 10 minutes or so- then added boiling hot water, a little bit of coconut cream , and when everything was nice and ready- used my hand mixer to blend everything to a soft consistency.

This is my hand mixer, next to the all time favorite apple sauce.

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Don’t get discouraged- this might look a bit odd- but I assure you the taste is great.

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This yummy soup is not only super healthy , but is also creamy, satiating, warming, comforting, and I think that’s about it. 

A cup of Fresh peas ( not the soup- but the peas themselves) contains 124 calories (that’s practically nothing! this is like a medium apple !) , 22 grams of carbs, 8 (!) grams of fiber (that’s a wow, mind you), and 8 (!!!) grams of protein. aside from that- they contain antioxidants, vitamin A, folate, manganese and more. 

Here is a certified link to assure you of the above data.  

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/green-peas-are-healthy

I have 3 things to say:

1.No wonder so many protein powders use peas as a main source of protein.

2. this soup is so filling and comforting, you will be grateful you made it when you’l look for your lunch on a chilly autumn day in the office.

3. I wondered whether frozen peas are as good as fresh peas, and my My online research on the subject concluded that there is no significant difference- since the freezing process keeps the freshly picked peas in good condition, whereas the time that passes between the farmer picking the peas and you actually enjoying them- is many times not a short while

But! if you are one of those dream gardeners that grow peas, or have any kind of access to one of these people-

Well then. 

You know what to do.  

Sides?

1:toasted leftover bread.

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2.home made spelt TORTILLAS. (easy recipes are available online).

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3. bulgur.

4. coriander/parsley + homemade toasted nuts.

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Who said vegans don’t enjoy great -healthy -protein packed food???

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Does changing your mind=failure??

So, I’ve had this “math fantasy” for a long time.

There you go-

Just when you thought you’ve heard every strange fantasy, comes a strange new one and opens your perspective.

The thing is, when I were in high school, I liked the cleanliness of math equations. the fact that there was a clear cut solution. (this is high school math, not higher levels where everything gets complicated).

I was fascinated by the fact that other than the necessary 3-4 sentences , there was absolutely no need to write a mini novel in exams, and that when you get the point- you can relax for a while- because the point wasn’t to cram as much information possible to your poor head, but getting the logic of it.

Mind you I wasn’t the brightest math student -far from it, but- I was on a mission to succeed, because that’s who I was (and continued to be until I became 50 and age became wisdom. well some wisdom , anyway).

So I got a good grade on my math SAT’s , but never crossed paths with the clean equations again.

Because I had never tested this ideal perspective of my math abilities in real life, I kept thinking that once I retired, I will get a university degree in Math,you know- for the sake of pure intelectual interest.

Now this- is a fantasy.

A huge one , too- for me .

For years I nurtured the thought that I am fully capable of jumping to the next mathematics level -and that the only obstacle was time .

Well, now I had (have, I have!) the time, lots and lots of it, and I decided it’s time .

So I enrolled in the open university, to get a math degree.

Now- you need to understand this was totally unnecessary in every aspect:

1.I have no intention of going back to work, even if I did have to go back to work-

2. I would go back to being a lawyer long before I would try to get a job with a math degree, and

3. the cost of this degree was quite high .

But- dreams are there to be pursued , right? believe in yourself? there’s nothing you can’t do?

Emmm……

The beginning was promising.

I was so excited when the books arrived!

I immediately started reading -though the semester hadn’t even started yet.

I was on the top of the world, I tell you.

I spread my books and notebooks all over the place, arranged magic markers in different colors, sharpened the pencils, got on line to buy refills for my uni ball pen, only to find out that buying 12 new pens costs 50% less than buying 12 refills (!!!!!! people! that is so non environmental! I made a point of buying a pen that can be re-used!) and prepared a list for future note pads and stuff.

Great time, really.

But then, I started doing the assignments, (that part was still ok)- and checking my answers,

Well.

I personally was really surprised at my grand failures.

I really thought I nailed it, until I checked the correct answers.

But that wasn’t the worst part:

The worst part was the on line classes.

There I was, sitting shameful in front of my computer, trying to follow the professor’s lecture and not really succeeding, when I realized that about 20% of the class, is made of 13 (!!!)year old kids, getting math credits even before they finished high school! even before 9th grade, for that matter!

The mere fact that those 20% existed wouldn’t have bothered me so much, if it weren’t for the fact that they understood the professor much faster than I did, and kept hurrying her (I swear this happened) with lines such as :”come on, that’s obvious, let’s move on. everybody gets it”!

“HELLO NOT E V E R Y B O D Y!

Of course I didn’t say anything.

Are you kidding me??

I just watched the online lesson again and again, until I thought I nailed it, only to check the answers and find out that, well, not really.

To say this was frustrating would be an understatement.

But even worse- it was friggin humiliating.

There I was babbling to my partner about “the beauty of pure math, that is the basis of philosophy as Plato said, and needs only the sharp mind to grasp, no need for excessive explaining and much talking, only pure logic”-etc, when in fact- clearly my skills weren’t up for the task.

I kept going on, because that’s me-

That was me for so many years- failure is only a temporary state to overcome by hard work!” “if you don’t get it the first time- you’l get it the 300th time!”, “nothing ever came easy for you (that’s true by the way), but you always hung on and kept going till mission accomplished!”(also true).

I grew up knowing that “you always finish a book you started

“you always finish eating from your plate” (I have a lot to say about this-promised myself I won’t do the same to my kids, even if it did mean being really creative about leftovers).(I can tell you I double checked with my kids prior to writing this- in case I was delusional about this, too. turns out they confirmed I never made them finish what’s on their plate, at least that is off my plate when my maternal sins shall be counted ).

And the last one:“you always finish a task you start”.

I can tell you I stopped reading books I don’t connect to- (but still feel a bit queasy about it), sadly- still finish everything off my plate, and up until now- I always pushed through every task.

I think I would have kept on going- if it weren’t for the fact that on the second on line lesson, the professor divided us into on line study groups, and I heard a chat between 2 of my “study mates” (only 3 in that room), chatting about the course.

They were as amazed as I was at the 13 year old’s, but then one of them told the other that “this course is considered very easy , compared to the next advanced courses”.

WHAT?????

No no no.

I can barely keep my head over the water in this course-having to watch every recorded class a few times only to find out I am not really getting it- and this is the easy course????

I immediately turned off the computer, ( it was the middle of the class, mind you), and told my partner I can’t go on.

The next day I enrolled on 2 on line classes -no assignments or exams involved -therefor no degree granted-

One on empowerment in classical music, lectured by a famous conductor, and the other about french art .

At first- I felt relieved.

I could read again, sleep well, rest like a pro, drill holes in thrown buckets, re paint them –

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drag a thrown out table , fix and re paint it- turning it into a nursery workshop-

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You know-

Enjoying myself.

But then, the old feeling crept.

“Seriously? you quit? isn’t that what a loser does? you wanted to quit so you told yourself you can’t handle it, when in reality- you were simply lazy!!

(You can tell I ‘m kind of “tough love” with myself. )

I contemplated these feelings for a few days while meditating.

I think I’m more at peace with myself now.

Mainly because I found multiple justifications, and some of them valid, too.

“I would have continued in “real life”- now I am retired, and have no need for this degree- so no need to put that massive pressure for no real reason”…”I wanted to study music too- here’s my chance, and a gread conductor is lecturing, so!”

Etc.

I love justifications.

My brain’s method of handling cognitive dissonance.

I accepted I failed, I quit, I didn’t follow through-

And that’s ok too.

I think.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Time to pair up!

I have enough (too much?) time to wonder why pears don’t enjoy the great PR apples do.

Oh wait- before I start persuading you to occasionally switch between the 2, need I remind anyone that I am under no circumstances a registered dietitian or anything of the sort?

Pears are in season now , as apples are, and although they are as nutritious, and as tasty, they somehow get shoved aside, and you never hear anyone say :”a pear a day keeps medicare away”.

All those great apple pies, apple sauces, stews, etc.

And sad little pears? ??

(I do have too much time. this childish talk was never my style. I actually detest it when people do that).

Any way- before writing this, I checked the numbers, to make sure I shall not be misleading any of you on this super important topic:

So- 100 grams of pears contain:

57 calories, 0 fat, 15 grams carbs,116 potassium, 3.1 grams fiber, 0.4 protein, 25 milligrams vitamin A, 7 mill magnesium, 10 grams of sugar and 4.2 milligrams vitamin C.

Whereas- apples- again- those 100 grams, contain:

52 calories, 0 fat, 107 potassium, 14 grams carbs, 2.4 fiber, 0.3 grams protein, 54 mil vitamin A, 4.6 mil vitamin C, 5 mil magnesium, 10 grams sugar.

As you can see-

pears are almost identical to apples in major departments- such as calories, fat, sugar, and vitamins.

Apples have less (!) fiber and a little less potassium, and still- are considered the healthiest fruit alive.

Now- don’t get me wrong- I lovvvvvvvvveeeeee apples!

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But-

I do not like injustice!

So-

Since pears are in season here- thus being nice and sweet (and cheap- makes them even sweeter), I do my best to incorporate them into my meals.

How?

Well, my friends, like so:

1.I swap the apples in my apple sauce- for pears( try it- tastes great!).

2.I add them to my smoothy instead of frozen fruit.

3.I planned on baking vegan cakes with them , but decided not to-because why would I work for an hour on a cake that has flour and oil and sugar in it, when I can take a pear and simply eat it ????

And don’t forget doing those wretched dishes too.

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This here is an “asian pear” that looks- and tastes -like a combination of apples and pears.

Amazing.

The nutritious benefits of pears are obvious-the low calorie+ high fiber +nice vitamin count+sweet taste- make them a win win win in my opinion.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

Yummy healthy post workout breakfast!!

Autumn is here, finally.

Love this short, sweet season.

I guess everybody does, I mean what’s not to like about fair weather, falling leaves, the promise of a cozy winter (things always look better when expecting them- also see- trips abroad: a dream before- many times a disaster during, a dream in retrospect. that’s the beauty of the human brain).

Any way-

I decided it’s time to switch from my banana smoothy/ice cream , to a more heartwarming comforting satiating filling dish.

Before boasting on the super recipe I am about to distribute here (my own invention people!) might I remind you for the 20,000 time that I am no registered dietitian or health anything, just your simple retired lawyer+health enthusiast+vegan looking for better ways to implement plant based protein to my diet.

Back to my wonder recipe:

oatmeal (more) protein porridge, complete with lots of protein (goes without saying), vitamins, minerals and a super satiating feeling.

The best thing is that it is a hassle free meal, that you can make at work too, and requires a minimal amount of dishes to wash!

*I really cannot understand those cooking shows where you see the cooks using a separate bowl for every ingredient, and stirring different pans -that end in the same dish anyway.

I bet they don’t get near the sink, that’s why .

But we do.

So no extravagant bowls and pans and cooking utensils for me , thank you very much.

Minimalism at its best.

Ingredients:for 1 serving :

2 Tbsp ground oats -as in oatmeal.(I grind them with my hand mixer /Vitamix)

2 Tbsp ground /thin bulgur ( if you don’t have bulgur , don’t like bulgur, are allergic to it or if it costs more than 2$ a kilo (this is a great value for money food staple at our house hold ), then swap it for 2 more tbsp of ground oats. perfectly fine.

The reason I added the bulgur, was I was looking for a change, and wanted something filling. the bulgur is super satiating, believe me. and nutritious too: in 100 grams of dry bulgur, there are 357 calories, 76 carbs, 10.4 grams of protein, iron, manganese, and folate.

I admit bulgur contains less fiber than oatmeal (actually- considerably less- 100 grams of oatmeal holds 9 grams of fiber, where bulgur contains only 0.6 grams), but I really love the combination of the 2 , and I feel it is more satiating for me this way.

As usual- do whatever you want.

Here is a proper article on the benefits of bulgur, should you wish to broaden your horizons.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bulgur-wheat

*3:  1 tbsp ground flax seeds: ( I grind the flax seeds with my Vitamix, and freeze in a mason jar). 

*4: 1 tsp chia seeds. no need to explain why. super food etc. 

*5: 1 Tbsp vegan protein powder

*6: a dash of salt. yes, salt. salt . adds taste, believe me. porridge is an all time English breakfast favorite, and Jamie Oliver says a proper porridge is never complete without a dash of salt, so there you go. or as I used to say- “I rest my case”. 

*7: 1 Tbsp of home made date spread. 

What??

Yep. 

Should you need reminding of this 8th wonder , then here is a link to a previous post where I disclosed the well kept secret of making home made date spread. easy, healthy, yummy, nutritious. do it. 

Cheap thrills: 3 easy money-saving hacks for free!!

*8: 0.5 cup vegan protein yogurt. I am not going to recommend brands, since I have no idea what your stores keep. buy a brand you trust and like, and doesn’t cost too much. 

***The yogurt is a necessary side to the oat bowl, it doesn’t mix in with the rest of the ingredients!

As shown in picture: ( the small container to the left). a mix of yogurt and apple sauce. yummmmmm!)

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*9: speaking of apple sauce: 0.5 cup home made apple sauce!

Should you need a reminder -here is a link to my previous post babbling on the subject of home made apple sauce:   

Apple-sauce instead of what??

*10: a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.

Don’t give me that look!

You know very well I am far from being one of those fancy show offs that require strange ingredients for the sake of showing off.

The thing is, I am telling you– it does make a huuuuuuge difference.

I know it’s easier to buy ground nutmeg, but the smell and taste (ok, its aroma!) of the freshly ground one- wow.

If you have pumpkin spice- I would try it. we don’t have it here, so no pumpkin spice for me.

C’est tout!

Oh sorry- 1 cup of boiling water. perhaps a drizzle of soy milk, for good measure.

How to:

In the bowl you intend to eat in, put all ingredients aside from the yogurt and the apple sauce, mix well, microwave for another minute if you feel like it (though not necessary), and eat -alternating one spoon of porridge, with one spoon of yogurt+applesauce.

This is so good, I just know you will love it.

now to macros:( thank you Myfitness pal app! (no affiliated nothing here, just a simple thank you.)

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As you can see, the numbers are quite nice, the taste is great (sure, I know, to each his own, but some things are just, you know, a joy for every taste pallet ), easy to make, carry as dry goods in a jar to work (separate container for yogurt +apple sauce), just add boiling water , wait a minute, stir and be the center of attention cubicles around the world. 

Oh- and plant based too- did I mention that?

Enjoy- the cooliflower.  

Apple-sauce instead of what??

Apples are a favorite of mine.

I absolutely think fruit are nature’s fancy cakes, and I am risking being labeled as a douch/purist/hippie/all 3 together-and I don’t give a f%^&.

Because-

I am a true skeptic, and almost everything in life-in my opinion , is to be seriously doubted and double, if not triple-checked before implementing or believing.

Everything- except fruit.

Fruits are, well, you already know that, don’t you? the most nutritious, healthy, tasty, nurturing, sustainable, cheap(in season, in the long run and compared to other manufactured sweetened stuff, especially if you consider the significant cut in health care cost).

So?

So- this time I am celebrating the apple season (fall) , and urging you to consider the benefits of apples even during colder weather, when all you want  is something hot +savory. and sweet. 

Since, sadly, I don’t have an apple tree, I buy my apples, along with all my other groceries, on line. 

Now buying on line has many many benefits, especially these days, but it has its downfalls, and since I don’t hand pick my fruits, sometimes the apples come with a bump , that progresses as time progresses. plus- sometimes an apple that looks great from its exterior, is, alas, rotten on the interior. (don’t judge an apple by its cover etc). 

And sometimes people just don’t crave apples as much as they did a week ago-

Any way- there can be a number of reasons why you would have  a bunch of (very) ripe apples that need tending to- asap. 

I buy green apples in my supermarket, specifically for making apple sauce, since I simply love that thing. 

Apparently in my supermarket they cost 30% less than red apples, so win-win there. 

Of course- needless to say- if you have any access to an apple tree- or an apple tree owner, or family member- get going. 

Oh almost forgot the headline:

Apple sauce, among other great benefits -is a great substitute for oil in baking recipes!!

Check me out in case -for some strange reason- you need to check everything anyone tells you (in which case-good job! guess we have something in common).

Here is a link- https://www.asweetpeachef.com/substituting-applesauce-for-oil/

(just picked a site that agrees with me- pick another one just to make sure).

But that’s not all! (oh the excitement. )

Apple sauce is also considered a decent replacement for eggs

in vegan baking.

I have to admit, I usually replace eggs with the traditional “flax egg” thing: (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water, after 10-15 minutes it becomes quite smooth and does the job of incorporating and uniting dry goods, but-always up for more interesting options, especially if they add a nice apple’y taste.

If you don’t mind splashing oil around and bathing in eggs, you can still enjoy a good apple sauce, mind you. 

Because fall is around the corner, and, just for instance-  my preferred breakfast  changed from ice cream smoothies, to oat power bowls, with a side of  apple sauce and some vegan yogurt. 

But this seems to have been going on too long -so I’ll just tell you quickly how to get yourself a yummy frugal homemade healthy  apple sauce, and how to keep it on hand for baking purposes:

Simply peel a few apples, cut them, put in a pan, add a little bit of water- just until the apples get settled, a bit of cinnamon, (maybe nut meg?), a little bit of salt, and a few grains of sugar (if you went for the green apple-it’s a bit more sour) or- if you prefer -a pear instead of sugar (yes I mean that- try it!), or some home made date spread, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes on low. then mash it with a fork or don’t mash at all, and store in fridge -keeps a few days. 

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Now- should you want to use it for future baking- 

Then simply mash it up nicely with a hand mixer , and freeze in a silicone mold, then when it’s all frozen- move to bag. 

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For those who can’t see the justification for peeling a good apple out of its perfectly great nutritious skin (I really can’t understand that peeling thing. and it takes time too! what??) simply skip that part, let simmer and everything-but- there is a small catch here– if you want to use the apple sauce for baking, then use the almighty hand mixer ( mine is a Braun one, does a great job, I get nothing for saying that, which is sad, yet true. if you have any other king- use it, if you don’t have one- what??? it is a basic super frugal useful utensil, I use it every day and I mean every friggin day- at least twice daily!) and the result will be a smooth healthy great tasting apple sauce- peel included!

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Enjoy- the cooliflower. 

Why I keep asking myself “why?”

When I was “somewhat of a boss” at work. I attended a management course at the university.

They taught us all kinds of methods to engage workers in the work they are meant to do.

The work they get paid to do.

I know I sound old , but all the while I thought “why do we keep courting our workers and pulling amazing enthusiasm tricks on them and group counselling and stuff when at the end of the day, this is their job, they get paid for doing it, end of story?

Of course I was wrong.

I am well aware of that now.

I get it that people cannot do the same thing every day , even if they do get paid for it, without , at some point, getting super bored and un-happy.

I’m just not sure the instant you get promoted to be a (junior) manager, you automatically get magic powers of a well-being guru, leading your team to joyful happy content working days.

I know I was no guru- that’s for sure.

Any way- that’s completely off point, as usual.

The point was supposed to be, that one management class, while trying not to dose off (told you I wasn’t cut to be a junior boss) the lecturer was telling us about the benefits of repeatedly asking “why”.

It didn’t really sink in at the time, for various reasons , most of them having to do with the fact I was trying to climb the career ladder, while keeping up appearance at home too. (not sure which was more of a disaster, long story short it’s a good idea I retired a few years later).

When I retired, I suddenly had ( have, I still have) a lot of time to contemplate things.

Not that I like contemplating things.

On the contrary.

I’d much rather read a book, cook, (eat- naturally), or work out. I’d rather clean than contemplate.

But, things started coming up and dragging me to think about them.

Freedom is dangerous, no wonder people fear freedom, and hesitate whether to retire early or not.

For a while I didn’t sit to meditate, falsely thinking I am in no need to sit since I am mainly alone and have tons of free time to “be” any way.

That proved to be wrong too-

The mere fact that I retired early didn’t necessarily mean I figured it all out.

I didn’t find “NIBANA” (AKA “nirvana”).

Nevermind.

There you go- work isn’t to blame for everything that went wrong on your path to tranquility. (or- more properly -equanimity).

At least for me .

So I started sitting (as in meditation) again, but the swirl of thoughts wouldn’t stop.

So I decided I am going to defy all ruled of meditation, and instead of only observing the thoughts that seem to hurry and invade my quiet peaceful mind as soon as I sit to meditate-

just go on-

And face them.

Confront those thoughts directly , and ask “why?”

It goes something like this-

“me: sitting”

“thought #1: “I keep feeling uneasy every time I talk to my mother on the phone.”

“me:”why?”

“thought: because I keep saying the wrong thing, or thinking I said- or am going to say- the wrong thing”.

“me:why?”

“thought:because our relationship is complicated”.

“me:why?”

“thought: oh, its been like that forever. nothing new”

“me: why?”

” thought: ….”

(I’m still on it, still have a long way to go).

As you can see, the distance between a seemingly innocent question and matters of hardcore being and childhood Freudian messes- is merely a matter of asking 4 times “why”.

The difference , and it’s a huge difference mind you- is that you ask the “why” in a quiet (hopefully relaxed) state of mind, as you are in a meditating position, (though not properly meditating).

This has helped me tackle some of the most frightening “why’s” -though, I seem to have no shortage of overwhelming disturbing disturbances to keep me going for a long time.

Any way- I seem to have a lot to work on.

The only thing I can say is-be gentle with yourselves.

Kind may be a better word.

The cooliflower.

Perfectionist? sorry- absolutely not.

Last week we were watching some cooking show, and this lady couldn’t finish her dish because she was so meticulous. she couldn’t let anything go. she had to understand every little detail, check and double check all the ingredients, the dish had to come out perfect -or it was a disaster , all in all- the stress was pouring out of her all through the hour.

I personally thought it was hard to watch.

My partner -on the other hand- was very sympathetic.

The reason being- as opposed to yours truly- he is definitely a perferctionist.

He never leaves the house unless he checks, double checks, and checks for the third time- the oven, the keys, the destination, for at least 10-15 minutes.

He sits down in his car-ready to go -and then starts checking if his seat is in the exact same place it was yesterday afternoon when he parked the car.

mind you that change is highly unlikely-since he is the only one using this car- unless an alien decided to visit us earthlings, open his car- of all cars in this universe- and -of all things that alien could do with his time- fool around with my partner’s car seat.

I’m not saying this scenario is totally impossible. things happen.

Then he checks if he put his water bottle in the exact same place he put it yesterday- and the day before, if the mirrors decided to take initiative and move around when everybody is sleeping, etc.

When he decides to do a wood project- he is tremendously talented and almost everything at our house was handmade by him- it takes at least a day of pre-designing, a day of measuring, another day of adjusting the previous design to the accurate measurements, another day to get the exact supplies needed, another day of rest before starting the job- and half a day of actually doing it- since-as I said before- he really is talented.

These are just examples- there are more.

On the other side of the tiny house- there’s me.

I start a project- gardening, cleaning, cooking- at the exact moment the idea pops into my head.

I get up and get going- not checking if I have the exact ingredients ( I am not talking basic stuff- but exact condiments and garnishes. well maybe some basic stuff substitution will happen too- you never know..)

I love cooking, and gardening, and most of the time I like cleaning too- and I refuse to turn any of them into a tedious meticulous chore.

For years the debate at our house was which method is more efficient:

The steady- detail respecting -perfection fan -will last forever version-

or the quick fix -let’s tackle problems as we go along -the important thing is to be done and enjoy the result even if it’s not perfect version. 

turns out there was no real reason to climb so high up that argument tree.

(can you spot our white cat up there? I gave him a big applause for this trick. he was oblivious).

When my partner and I paused the cooking show to discuss my reaction to the cook’s inability to complete the task because of her need to be perfect, he asked me outfront what exactly was bothering me.

“I can’t stand it when people act as if perfectionism is a good thing” I replied. “It got to the point where your’e supposed to list it as your one and only “flaw” in work interviews, knowing darn well that not only is it not a flaw, but actually a virtue in the eyes of interviewers”.

“so?”

“so what is the point of that obsessiveness anyway? everything is temporary, nothing lasts forever, and the attempt to make anything perfect troubles me from the philosophical point of view”.

“really?wow”.

“Yes, wow”

silence. each contemplating his/her actions”.

“you know” he said, “I am a perfectionist too, and I can tell you that for me personally, it’s no virtue, but a real burden”.

“?”(me- still have’t found a ladder to climb down that high tree of righteous “philosophical” anger I developed).

“yep. the time I spend checking and re-checking every move I made, every plan I make- you really think I don’t understand that 80% of it is fruitless? I simply can’t help it. If I don’t double check and triple prepare- I can’t go on with a project. for me it’s kind of an OCD thing almost. not a leisurely pamper of a spoiled “I have the right to be perfect and I will exercise my right here and now at everyone’s expense”, but more “I have a problem and I am trying my best to learn how to cope with it”.

“oh”

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Photo by Khimish Sharma on Pexels.com

“actually”, I said- once safely on solid ground, “maybe this is simple envy I am experiencing…maybe the thought of people actually having the ability , patience and skills to make something absolutely perfect, simply makes me feel inferior, with my “oh I finished that chore 2 weeks ago, procrastination?? you kidding me??done is my middle name!” and so on” .

“maybe”, he said. “you can be happy with what you are, and not get upset with other people’s traits?”

“………..”

“But what will I do with all the free time I will have, if I stop judging and criticizing other people?????

“………..”

Enjoy- the cooliflower.

The day we had a power cut.

So a few weeks ago, all of a sudden, in the middle of the day, a super hot and humid day might I add, everything stopped.

No lights, AC, computers, and the internet -shut down.

Apparently, there was a fire close by, which caused our life to rewind to the ’50s in a split second.

At first, I just sat there, dumbfounded by reality.

When just sitting there became a hazard, since it was so hot I almost got stuck to my chair, I got up- and started pacing back and forth around my (small) house.

That didn’t get me very far (literally), so I sat down again.

I started feeling sorry for myself 3 minutes into the situation, that got me through another 6 minutes of good solid self pitying.

“why now? why not in the middle of the night? who cares if there’s a power cut in the middle of the night? or in wintertime- I would be slouched in front of the fire anyway, but in August??? its probably over 100 degrees, I need to check this out-oh right. no internet. feels like 200 degrees anyway. maybe the ceiling fan. no. they need electricity too- although they had them in the 50s..its so hot inside, maybe it will be cooler outside? hell no, its over 300 outside in the sun. how long is this going to last? is all my food going to defrost? maybe I should eat it all right away so it doesn’t go to waste? but how will I heat it? this is crazy”

This internal ramble could go on for hours if it weren’t for something amazing happening at that moment.

I froze.

A door opened -and from that door- my youngest son appeared. 

He is almost 16, and I haven’t seen him since summer vacation began at the middle of June.

He was home all the time, and so was I- I just haven’t seen him.

He wakes up almost at noon, eats something, and goes back to his cave.

If you are one of those educational lecturers on the topic of “too much internet is hazardous to the brain of teenagers” , I have 3 things to say:

#1: I am not absolutely positive they even have a brain.

#2: he is my third child- I tried this BS of limiting tv time and computer time and all that.

Come on.

Who are we kidding?

#3: I have no idea how this happened, but this kid turned out even more of an  introvert than me , and that’s saying a lot.

Maybe its because his dad’s an introvert too- so 100/100, whereas my mother is a total extrovert, and COVID 19  is giving her the creeps since she misses seeing people. (!)

So if anyone feels like lecturing – go find someone else to lecture to. and good luck with that.

So this son of mine emerges from his room, looking bewildered, and suddenly opens his mouth and says something.

I don’t think I heard his voice since the middle of June, so I was startled.

He looked taller too.

And skinnier, while we’re on the subject.

He said:” there’s no internet”.

Wow.

So profound.

You can clearly see no damage was done to any of his faculties.

I contemplated my response, then just nodded .

At that point he was still optimistic that the power will return shortly, so he just said “what’s for lunch?”

But after I called the electricity company, and heard that they estimated no power until 1 am- he became grim.

He had no idea what to do with himself.

I suggested he read a book- he just looked at me with a look that could mean so many things- none of them good- so I just pretended  I was joking.

Meanwhile, it was so hot inside, things were really becoming unbearable.

If we only had those ceiling fans.

We got through lunch lighting the stove with matches (!) , and found out (the hard way) that in hot and humid temperatures, it’s a good idea to take multiple quick cold showers to cool you off a bit.

When evening finally came, I marveled at books I downloaded to my iPad (yay free digital library!) and was quite content with the peace and quiet that suddenly surrounded us.

My son, on the other hand, was still upset, and even the fact that power was back by dinnertime didn’t help- because the internet wasn’t due to be back until the next day.

My partner took a chance and suggested he watch a classic movie with him- one he had recorded ages ago.

The teenager reluctantly agreed, having no other means of entertainment available.

They ended up having a great time watching that mentioned “classic”: “Rocky 3”- if anyone is interested. I have no idea whether this is really a classic like my partner claims, I thought all those bloodshot eyes and raw egg drinking was quite enough for me so stopped after Rocky 1. I still think shouting “Adrian we did it ” is a classic so if I get a chance- I will definitely do that, and I don’t care what people think of me.

Alas- bonding was nice but didn’t last for long- the next day the internet was back, and since then I haven’t seen my son except for those “what’s for lunch” exits.

Still- it was nice while it lasted.

Enjoy- the cooliflower.