– Where traditions create an atmosphere of;
– Where traditions create an atmosphere of;
So it’s been Christmas. I think that’s a part of a song lyric actually. Never mind.
I love Christmas. My parents instilled in me a love for the traditions and the holiday and as a child: The presents!!
Once I got older, I remember their annoyance as to why I was so keen on keeping all the Christmas traditions every year… They wanted to change things. I disliked change. A lot!
Don’t mess with my Christmas mister!
But life happens… all the time. Can’t really stop it even though it sucks and cuts deeply at times.
My mom died suddenly. Then Christmas had to change.
Then I got married and Christmas really had to change.
Celebrating Christmas in Japan without the goodies I was accustomed to from Denmark. They simply couldn’t be bought… So I made the best of it.
Then I met Jesus and had the most wonderful Christmas of my life: The one where traditions mattered absolutely ZERO.
By then though, my husband had gotten a taste of my traditional Christmas and so did my daughter… all those lovely presents!
Then my dad died. I blogged a lot about the journey toward the end of his life. Goodness – that was hard!
This was my third Christmas without my dad in my life. The first year I handled really well. Keeping up appearances. “It was the best thing for him to let go of life” etc. I did good.
The second year was not that “easy”, but I thought I made it through alright. It felt harder and I thought I’d make up for it by putting more presents underneath the tree. Maybe it would help. Boy, was I wrong!
Oh dear. Total emotional breakdown in the middle of cooking Christmas dinner. I had to run out of the home… So I took out the trash. Well, in more than one way. All through December I had heard my dad’s voice in my head so often it nearly made me deaf. The pain of remembering! I wanted to scream and run away. His voice might have brought comfort, if I wasn’t so keen on running away from it.
In the parking lot area of where we live, I let the tears run… Nobody and everybody could see me. The mail guy came on his little motorcycle with letters and postcard. He looked at me with such compassion but couldn’t do anything.
I had to get myself together… and made Christmas happen.
The one thing I want to get back to, is to celebrate the Christmas where tradition matters ZERO. They’re good to have, granted. But the main thing isn’t that. It’s JESUS!
And New Year is rapidly coming my way. New Year used to be champagne at midnight. That was life pre-marriage, pre-grey hair, pre-I-need-my-sleep-at-night, pre-wrinkles… You get the idea!
In Japan, New Year is January 1st and spending the day with family. We drink a special sake, so thick with sugar it screeches in the ear canals. The Buddhist bow before their ancestors in front of the family alter… I usually need the bathroom during that time or I shrink and blend into the background. Never knew I had “chameleon traits”…
Then we eat. The food is great – “Osechi” they call it. Well, some of it is tasty… Ahem. Some of these traditional Japanese dishes aren’t my favorites! It used to be the big cooking spree for the Japanese housewives, but these days the New Year dishes (can!) come ready made and packed from the supermarkets in Japanese, Chinese or Western styles… yeah.
Then we watch (those who can keep their eyes open) the annual “Ekiden” – relay run from Hakone to Tokyo. The TV is utterly boring but the atmosphere is good.
To the whole Blogosphere: I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year 2018. May this be the year of love, joy and laughter – even through the tears. Because tradition matters ZERO ; And Jesus matters all!
Over the holidays, the – ahem – “more” trips to McDonalds or KFC than I care to admit, has kinda left my family and I in a food grip; “Carbs want more carbs”…
So to bust some “back-to-the-routine” stress and get some real nutrient back in the bloodstreams, we are now having sweet stuff for dinner!
Doesn’t make much sense I know, but hear me out.
You know those beautiful desserts with ice cream and sweet fruit (often in syrup)? Well, how about an upside down version?
A “fruit bowl”!
It takes 10 – 15 minutes to prepare and it’s so yummy!
Pick 3-4 types of fresh fruit (I use apple, pear, banana, pineapple, strawberry and tangerines f.ex. depending on season). Wash and cut into bite size pieces. Pour into a big bowl and add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can add a handful of granola or nuts if you like – or not – and voila: Fruit bowl!
As the ice cream melts, the fruit gets a creamy “dressing” and if you stick to the one scoop it doesn’t become overwhelmingly sweet.
It’s chokfull of vitamins and let’s face it – during this virus season, we really need those extra shots of freshness.
Now, what I’d love to try when I have more time, is to replace the ice cream with this Coconut sherbet “cream” because that would really add to the overall “health” of this stress busting recipe. But even with bought ice cream, this fruit bowl is still a really good alternative to (another) trip to a burger place.
I just posted the first post on my side blog “Song of Virginity”:
Hope you’ll stop by 🙂 It’s a new blog and needs some support.
The TV is like a magnet if you find one of those “soaps” that just really gets under your skin, am I right?
And once you are there before the screen, it’s kind of like being in a cinema without popcorn… So maybe you are like me and go grab something out of the snack drawer?
I’m one of those lucky ones with an Apple TV and access to tv shows on demand, so I can set my own time for watching an episode and often that time is morning. Once I have gotten myself up, my daughter packed and taken to school, I got my morning exercise down 😇 and can’t wait to get home to my own peaceful breakfast. But a tv episode often lasts 45 or 50 min and if I eat a normal breakfast it’ll take 10… And, oh the temptation of going back to that drawer!
So I have come up with this long lasting crunching snack-like breakfast that’s actually a real health booster but only takes 5 minutes to prepare and I call it crunching munching.
Slice an apple into boats (the thinner the slices, the better) and you have a healthy sugar kick to keep the doctor away…
Then a handful of almonds and a handful of walnuts, or pick your own favorite nuts of course, and then mix them with a small handful of raisins. Yes, it’s a trail mix… But preferably without any roasting or added salt etc. the raw nuts are the best.
It will keep you crunching for a good bit and nuts makes your stomach feel really full for a really long time (I actually forgot lunch one day!) and the sugar is natural and will get you off the sofa when the soap is over. Those two bowls amounts to somewhere around 700 cal. No’b, I never said it was low calorie – just that it’s healthy for your body and very enjoyable when watching some favorite tv.
Now, the real challenge is to stop after 1 episode!
It’s impossible for me to keep this one to myself…!
Ever since my husband gave me a Jawbone for Christmas – that’s a type of electronic bracelet which tracks my steps, exercise and sleep and I can log what I eat and drink in the “UP” app that comes with it – I have been logging, stepping, counting and working out how to change some habits of mine. Some of which I’m not particularly proud of… like munching on bread in front of the tv… but it’s been a great incentive to get some health habits in.
Anyways, the stonesoup.com website is an inspiration to me food wise and this coconut sherbet she makes on this youtube clip is really cool: Coconut sherbet
I tried it the other day with frozen banana slices in the magic bullet and… well, that didn’t work. The magic bullet simply isn’t powerful enough to chop up those frozen chunks of coconut milk.
But last night I tried it in the food processor and it was DELICIOUS!
I used about 300 ml of frozen coconut milk, 6 slices of frozen banana and gave them a good whirl. Since honey is a great help to eliminate anxious thoughts I added a tablespoon of that and then threw in a few pieces of chocolate (note: dark chocolate is great as stress relief. No really – I’m not just saying that!) – and an oreo. My family were so surprised that this wasn’t ice-cream. I would use more frozen fruits next time, but that was what I had in the freezer.
It makes a lot of sense to me to freeze coconut milk and some sweet fruits and then mash them all up in a food processor – adding whatever sweetener you feel like (Stevia, maple syrup etc.). I am loving this recipe so I’m sharing it here and hope others might want some “healthy ice cream”. My daughter can’t wait for next time!
Photo is taken from http://www.stonesoup.com.
425 grams of flour (use and mix any kind of flour you have. Personally I prefer rye, buckwheat and graham since I’m trying to cut out wheat. If you suffer from migraines, trying to avoid wheat may be a good try).
app. 12 grams of dry yeast.
1 tea sp. of sugar
2 tea sp. salt
Mix it and add 400 ml of lukewarm water.
You mix it by hand using a spatula. The dough needs to be thicker than cake dough, but too wet to knead.
I then add seeds to my liking… pumpkin, sunflower, pine.
Pour it into tins (- and if you like, pour seeds on top and press them down with the spatula).
Place in cold oven. Bake at 250 degrees Celsius for 45 min. Cool off…
This bread has been a 100% success in my home. My daughter doesn’t like seeds, so I pour half the dough into one tin and then add seeds to the other half before pouring that into the tin. But they are baked together. Mixing the dough and popping them into the oven takes about 15 min. It’s a lot healthier than the bread you can buy (and cheaper).
You do not need the stress of baking good breads with lots of kneading, rising, heating up oven etc. Nor do you need a bread baker machine. This is truly the bread anyone can make and it only takes an hour from start to finish.
I recently got a little bit hooked on healthy food again. After a while of not really doing much stress-busting meals but going back to doing those quick easy processed microwave foods, I am turning my eyes back on the healthy meals. After this trying spring and summer period, I am still on the road to recovery and I thoroughly believe/know that what goes into my body, matters!
A really tasty stress busting recipe on warm veggie salad comes here:
* Wash and chop 3 – 5 different kinds of veggies. Choose the ones you like… I chose zucchini, cauliflower, carrot, celery and baby corn.
* Boil the veggies in one go for about 3 minutes.
– Some veggies don’t need that much (like celery) so they go in last.
* Pour it all into a big bowl and sprinkle a spoonful of coconut oil on it.
* Add some favorite (dried) spices like paprika, garlic and basil.
* Then add a handful of dried fruits (cranberries and dates for me) and some nuts (walnuts in this case) and toss it all together.
* Want to add a final touch? Add some celery leaves on top and… dig in.
It may not be low in calories, but it’s very healthy for your body and it takes about 10 – 15 minutes to make. Bon Appetit!
I just posted this on the “stress busting recipes” page:
Stress busting Couscous in any way your tastebuds like
Couscous is about as easy to make as 1-2-3. Seriously, it surprised me just how simple it is and also how healthy it is. I use couscous to replace spaghetti/pasta (sorry, haven’t made lasagne work though… yet) and rice. Living in Japan rice is a basic food and easy to make, but it takes 45 min to 1 hour in the rice cooker and well, that doesn’t always work well when homework needs to be done and down time with my daughter also needs to be fitted in.
Couscous takes 4 min to make. 4 min!!! and then it’s done and ready to eat.
How to make it is described on the package, but here is my way:
Pour couscous into a measuring cup (for 1 pers. I use 50 ml.) then pour that into a small bowl. Then you pour same amount (1 per. 50 ml) of boiling water into the measuring cup and add a pinch of salt (not too much). Then pour the mixed water and salt into the bowl and leave it for 4 min. Then gently stir it to loosen it and bang – you’re done.
This mix is basic and can be used instead of rice for your curry or fried meat and veggie or even pasta sauce. Or you can let it cool off and mix it into a salad. Or what I personally enjoy is mixing it into a tropical salad with nuts, seeds and dried fruits and use it to top off the lettuce and then a nice dressing to go with it.
If you want it to taste of something in particular you just use a broth instead of salted water. If you want to fry it on a pan with vegetables and/or meat where you have added fruits like mango as well, you can let it soak in orange juice. It can’t say it’s my favorite but I know others who crave it.
See the link for health benefits and more recipes: http://www.livestrong.com/article/440051-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-couscous/