Note to self

I've realised that I have had my blog running for over 8 years now, in fact it might be coming up to 9 years.

It has  followed me through many journeys and also missed other important ones. This has been my personal blog. I don't expect others to read it, I don't use it for advertising, it's my space to write my thoughts.

Now that I'm a new mother I have more things to post about and hope to help other mummy's but again this is my personal space and I don't work for anyone and am giving my personal opinions and experience.

I will continue to share recipe's and write about my trips and keep this blog going even if it gets deserted for months on end. I will try and be consistent with my posts however it can be hard as my brain is pretty weak lately. Sleep deprivation being the main cause.

Hopefully in a few months I'll be slightly better in terms of sleep yet I'm sure there will be other things on my mind to cause me to forget to write.

Fingers crossed or fingers to the keyboard!!

9 months + 4 months summed up

It's so crazy to see that my last post was a year ago. I didn't know I my life was about to change in so many ways. For a while I wanted to become a mother and I had been trying and by the end of January last year I found out my wish had come true and that I was expecting.




It was a whirlwind pregnancy as there was constant changes to my life. Just before I found out I was pregnant, my partner and I moved house. We finally got out of Carmel area in Barcelona. We were there for a good few years and I was unhappy where I was. It wasn't a pleasant area. Our neighbours were not very friendly and the area in itself was uncomfortable. Hills that looked like the tips of a roller coaster which made it impossible to go for walks are do a decent shop.

So, we moved to the centre. A perfect location for a young and active couple. We moved in to an old building which had  no lift but we were in middle of the hustle and bustle, in under 10 minutes I would be in the centre or at work so the sacrifice or walking up and downstairs was worth it, until I started to get the symptoms.

Considering I was looking for this pregnancy as soon as i had any symptoms I knew I'd might be pregnant. I waited the full week and followed all instructions. I was nervous the night I bought the pregnancy and waited till the next morning to take the test as that was when results were more accurate.
I was up at 6 am peeing onto the stick, nervous and trying not to get my hopes up.
The lines showed and that was it...i was pregnant. I couldn't believe it but then my next worry was that the pregnancy goes well. So many things ran through my mind. Shall I tell my family? Should I tell my partner? What if I miscarriage? What will he or she look like? How shall I break the news?

After coming to terms to these news, I had to tell my partner. He didn't express himself much, but then again he doesn't normally. He hid himself under the covers and I left him to digest the news.

I had to go to work and that's it. I couldn't keep it a secret any longer so I called my mum straight away. The first thing I said was "What do you think of the name Jason?". This was the question she asked me when I discovered she was pregnant with my sister. She got very excited about being a grandmother. To be honest my whole family were overwhelmed. There was no child in the immediate family and this was a blessing for my aunt as well as my mum as she feels like a second mother to me.

Last year was like a baby boom with my surrounding friends or acquaintances. friends or friends of friends were either pregnant or had just become parents so it really helped with some doubts during the pregnancy, but the best thing I was recommended was the Baby centre APP. It sends you notifications on how your pregnancy is going, comparing your foetus to different sized vegetables. You could take photos and read about your progress. It was really useful for me as I need to read everything online, even when I have a cold.

My pregnancy wasn't incredibly awful but it wasn't great either. I had ALL the typical symptoms which was hard for me to go to work. It changed my way of seeing my life. I was used to waking up at 5 am to go to work and I was working up to 12 hours a day. I was living well financially but I was weighing 42 kg and for my height that is exceptionally low. That is when I decided to prioritise my life. I was no longer able to work so many hours a day without any time for eating if I wanted to give birth to a healthy baby.
I cut down my work hours and focused on living healthily. I stopped being a Vegan but continued being a vegetarian and eating fish and very occasionally I had to eat meat when  I would go to my family's home out of respect (this can be explained further in a future post). I quit smoking and drinking and ate well. I managed to gain 12 kilos and looked and felt great.





Because I was living in the centre of Barcelona my family were not too happy with the fact I lived in a block that had no lift, which would mean problems with the push chair and me walking up and down the stairs with an extra 12 kg of weight. My aunt tried to persuade me to move and we started to look for flats. I must admit I wasn't up for moving again in such a short time span and I knew it wouldn't be easy to find something so quickly and all I wanted to do was chill and enjoy my pregnancy.

My aunt insisted on finding us a place and she succeeded. She is a determined person and gets what she wants and she did it again for us. She found us an amazing place in El Prat, close to her and other family and it was a place we could buy. Again, I wasn't up for moving out of Barcelona  but I realised it would be the best thing for us to go as a family. It met all the requirements too. I wanted minimum 3 rooms and a terrace and we got the 4 rooms, a large balcony and a large living room space and it had a lot of light. It was perfect for what we wanted.  Everything was falling into place. All the paperwork and move was very swift.


We moved when I was 6 months pregnant and we managed to do a lot before baby was born. We decorated the flat and managed to refurbish our bathroom. It was all a very exciting yet stressful move as my hormones were all over the place, i had a room to decorate and a flat to organise before my baby was born and I didn't think it would be possible.






Fortunately it was and not even a week before my baby was born I was sanding down my pallets trying to finish my terrace for the baby shower.
So, it was literally all done in time. My in-laws even managed to arrive on time as I went into labour the night after collecting them from the airport.
It was as if everything was smoothly timed.
I then gave birth to my son, Nakoa. He is the most amazing thing that could happen to me and I know it's so cliché saying you don't know what it is till you give birth to your child but my goodness.
I knew I had a lot of love in me, but I didn't think it was bigger than that, and all for this little person.

We have now arrived to my son being almost 5 months old and my life has changed so much.
This time last year I had just found out i was pregnant, I moved twice. I got Engaged!!! I had a son and now i'm living the next chapter of my life called motherhood. I want to share how this experience is going for me and want to share places I go to incase there are any mothers out there looking for ideas.

My blog is going to change in terms of topics but I tend to continue posting recipe's I've learnt and trips I have taken.
I will shortly do a post of my engagement trip last year and other exciting things.

I must say it is so good to be back writing. It is the best way to let it all out. Doesn't matter if it is read ever or not. So, I urge you to write as well,



Pastel Colours for Hair

When the clock struck 12 on December 31st I wasn't feeling as optimistic as I had liked to but one thing I knew was that I wanted to make 2016 a more positive and focused year.
2015 was a year of learning and jumping many hurdles.
This only means one thing in my world, after a mental detox with meditation and time to myself I knew I need a change of look
as it had been a long time since I had one so I woke up one day with that itch to do something crazy and as I had a morning of errands I knew I would find at least one decent hairdresser open. I say decent because it's sometimes difficult to find a hairdresser in Barcelona that shows professionalism, good styles, are not too expensive and that are open all day! I found one that ticked all the boxes. The salon was right next to my dentist so what way to reward myself after a painful session at the dentist. I found Centros mimas on Calle Diputación and it had a very professional feel to it. The staff are young and very polite and they gave me a nice talk before letting me decide.
I had the idea of what I wanted and the hairdresser helped with the decision. Usually I go for cutting my hair really short but it has taken me a good few years to grow these locks so I thought why not dye it and destroy it till I need to cut it (I will take good care of my hairi) I decided to go Pink, but not the type i'd usually go fo like fucsia, this time I opted for a more subtle and pastel pink.  The result was fantastic. I was really happy with the result knowing it wouldn't last. 





The hairdresser told me before dying my hair that the colour would go straight away but I didnt know how little it would last. After a week it's gone a more blonde colour. It doesn't look bad but I like the pink!

Getting my hair done wasn't expensive but it would turn out to be if I had to go every week to the hairdresser, so aside from getting my hair bleached in an actual hairdresser, (I think it's preferable to get it done at a salon as they will know how to look after your hair and know the timings according to your hair). However, I've decided to colour my hair myself. I'm going to go for pink again and hope it lasts longer than a week. If not I may go for another pastel colour like Smokey or Ocean Storm. This dye is from   Wella Professionals Instamatic by Color Touch and the colour i'll be trying is Pink Dream. This is the most similar colour I got done last week.
Let's hope it lasts a little longer than the original colour put in. I'll give an update next week. 



Pink Hummus - Sandwich Filler

Hummus or houmous has got to be one of my favourite dips. It's yummy, simple to make and has lots of benefits from eating it. It has protein and a number of essential vitamins and minerals needed.


Today I'm going to share with you the traditional recipe with an added ingredient to make your Hummus pink. 



Pink hummus? 
Yes, this is a new tasty recipe and very easy to make.
Making pink hummus is the same as making hummus, but what is the secret added ingredient?
Beetroot! I have added beetroot to give it a different colour and slight different taste. 
So here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Jar of  540g cooked Chick  Peas
  • Tahini - Sesame paste
  • 2 tbsp Tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Paprika (optional
  • 1 cooked beetroot



Rinse the chick peas and put into food blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz with blender.
When nice and smooth place in serving dish and voila!


Has anyone told you that Hummus is a great Sandwich Filler?

If you are vegan and don't know what you can put in your sandwiches for work or school, how about making a hummus sandwich?

Here is a simple and tasty sandwich which you will love.

1. First spread the hummus onto the bread,  be generous!



2. Add some green baby spinach


 3. Add dried tomatoes for extra taste and texture.



4. Eat and enjoy.

Benefits of Beetroot:

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium (essential for healthy nerve and muscle function) and manganese (which is good for your bones, liver, kidneys, and pancreas). Beetroot also contain the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects.

It is also a stamina booster for all those gym enthusiasts who want to train that little longer. 

My Bro and I Snowboarding


For the past 8 years I have been very lucky enough to be able to go snowboarding. Living in Barcelona means I only have to go 2 hours up the moutains to the pyrenees to enjoy this fantastic sport.
Since my brother is also a big fan and is very into his sport he has bought himself a GoPro and managed to get some footage of me boarding!! I want to forever cherish these video's because when I started this sport for the first time I was always frustrated and never thought I'd get to where I am today.
I am grateful for being given this opportunity and if you have the same one I was given, all I can say is to go for it, don't think twice.


video



Alex is a PT and is currently working in Barcelona.

Visit his site for more info on what he has to offer and for any pictures and videos: http://www.vidalfitness.com/


You can also subsribe to his youtube channel for exercise routines and tips: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiZLPyyVxui-YvJlnCy2S5w


Lentils, Cauliflower & Kale rice - Vegan Dish of the day







Hello there,
Working from home has got some good and bad side's to it but one great one is being able to eat properly. When I'm out and about I don't get to sit down and enjoy a good meal. Unfortunately this lifestyle won't last much longer as classes begin next week.

I'm starting to really enjoy trying out new dishes and here is another fun one I tried and it was really yummy.
I saw this recipe on one of my friends accounts on Instagram and I decided to copy it and adapt it slightly.


Ingredients:

Lentil dish:
1 Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
1 Carrot
4 Tomatoes
1 Jar of cooked lentils.


Cauliflower and Kale rice:

Garlic
Ginger
Coconut Oil
1/2 a cauliflower
2 large Kale leaves
Mushrooms

Preparing the  Lentils:
First I used my hand blender's chopper attachment for even greater versatility.  
I chopped everything with it.
First I chopped one onion and two cloves of Garlic, and fried in olive oil and Veggie Protein and Super Boost from Biotona, These are great products to include in smoothies, desserts and meals.
I also added pink himalayan salt.
I chopped the carrots and tomatoes the same way and added. I let it cook for 10 mins and added 1/4 of a cup of water.
Later I drained the lentils and added to the saucepan. I left to cook for another 20 mins.


Cauliflower and  Kale rice.

I chopped in my hand blender some cauliflower and kale leaves so it leaves it looking a bit like rice, hence the name.

I put coconut oil in the wok with garlic and ginger. Once it was hot I added some mushrooms and fried, after about 5 mins add the colliflour and khale at the same time and let it fry for a further 5 mins.

There you go. Two healthy dishes in one.






Benefits:


Cauliflower has an impressive array of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals. It is classed as a Superfood and here are some of its health benefits:

Fights Cancer
Boosts brain and heart health.
Acts as an anti-flammatory.
Rich in vitamins and nutrients and there are many more other benefits included.

As you all know Kale is also known as a superfood and has so many benefits.
Antioxidants,
Rich in Vitamins including Vit C (A single cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than an orange.)
It can also help cholesterol. 
Fights Cancer and the list continues.


Benefits of Lentils:
Lentils are very high in iron and is one I need as I am prone to suffering anemia. 
Although lentils include  beneficial nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals and vitamins, they are still low in calories and contain virtually no fat.

Quinoa / Rice Vegan Stir Fry



Make sure your pan is very very hot with ground nut oil.
Add the chopped ingredients first. 
Try to avoid putting too much, if not it will boil instead of fry.

Ingredients:
Chopped: 
Onion
Garlic
Asparagus
Mushrooms
Chard
Pumkin Seeds

After 5 / 8 minutes

Add at the end:
Quinoa
Peas

Add some soy sauce to give it more taste.


Leave to cook 8 more minutes and VOILA!









Here is another version with rice.

Avocado Pasta


Today I wasn't in the mood for cooking and had no inspiration but eventually my stomach won and I went straight to the fridge to see what I could do.

I had a miserable looking fridge as I hadn't been shopping since I came back from my little getaway.
A very lonely, almost dried up Avocado, what can I make?
I don't want to make more paste or guacamole out of it. Like I said, I was feeling very lazy.
How about an Avocado Pasta? That could work and it did.

If you are feeling peckish and want to do something extra quick then boil some pasta and grab an avocado.

Cut the avocado and remove the avocado with a tablespoon and put in a bowl and crush it, adding a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of himalayan salt and depending whether you are vegan or a veggie add some parmesan to give it extra taste. (I will be sharing in the near future the vegan parmesan recipe.)

This is a very tasty recipe, it isn't extravagant but it's quick to do and has some essential fatty acids that you need.

Benefits of Avocado.
 Numerous studies show that  Avocado has powerful beneficial affects on health.
Avocado is Loaded With Heart-Healthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids. In fact, 77% of the calories in it are from fat, making it one of the fattiest plant foods in existence.
Avocados are also loaded with fibre and have more potassium that Bananas.



Hangover Juice




In juicer:

  • A small piece of ginger (finger tip)
  • A bag of organic carrots (6-10)
  • 1 beetroot
  • 3 green Apples
  • I had leftover Pomegranite and added some.


Squeezed:

  • 7 Oranges
  • 1 Grapefruit
  • 1/2 a lemon
Mix together and voila.

Benefits of the hangover juice:

The vitamin C is meant to be great for hangovers and Carrot, green apples and green veg help cleanse the digestive system. 
Beetroot not only cleanses the liver but also helps detox your body from the alcohol.
If you have celery at a home add it as it is also a great source of calcim and magnesium and helps calm the central nervous system and relieve that terrible headache.


Easy Veggie Recipe's - Lighten the weekly load

Lately I have been feeling exhausted and during the week and I have no time for myself let alone house chores including cooking. To make sure I'm eating properly I try to cook as much as I can on Sundays and I prepare Tupperware's of food for the rest of the week.

This morning I luckily woke up in a vibrant mood and got myself into cooking mode straight away. It was a fun morning; preparing different dishes and I didn't cause myself to  stress out too much.
The dishes I decided to make were easy and this eased the strain for a supposed relaxed Sunday.



First I made some breakfast to give myself energy. I prepared a Peanut butter and Banana Smoothie. This is my latest craving and it is really yummy.

Ingredients:
Two Bananas
Almond Milk
A tablespoon of Peanut butter
A teaspoon of chia seeds.


You can also add a tablespoon of cocoa powder.




 Blend until you have your smoothie.


After I had some breakfast. A coffee and toast. I decided to make a vegetable puree:

Ingredients:

Courgette
Pumpkin
Leek
Carrots

Boil for 30 - 40 mins

Blend with water and if you dont have enough add some unsweetened almond milk.
I didn't need to and added himalayan salt and pepper. You can also serve with pumpkin seeds.


We had this with some Baked Artichokes, baby onions and roasted potatoes.


Meanwhile  I also boiled more potatoes and brown rice for the Tupperware's, this is the base of each one and next I need to add something to it like tofu sausages or chick pea burgers.

Baked Artichokes:

Artichoke: Wash, Cut the stems and open up the leaves.
Put in a bowl of water and lemon juice and soak for over 30mins. (Longer the better).

Prepare baking dish with olive oil and himalayan salt. Add Artichokes and bake at 145º for 50 - 60mins.


Serve with roast potatoes, onions and rice.



I have managed to have a good lunch and prepare a weeks supply of food. This is one way to cope with less work during the week.

Enjoy!

Quinoa and Oat burgers


One of the first things I wanted to learn for the sake of keeping the Vegan diet strict at home was a simple burger recipe.
Although  I haven't mastered each part to making these yummy burgers they still came out great and  it can take about 20mins to make,


Ingredients:
Patties:   
Quinoa after boiling 20 mins
3cups Quinoa - rinse before you boil them to remove any bitterness. Boil for 20 mins in water double the amount of quinoa.
50g Oats - preferably ground oats.

Flax egg
1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds and 3 tablepoons of water,
This is a quick and easy substitute for egg. 
You should use ground flax whereas I only had the seeds and had to grind them with a pestle and a mortar and although it took longer it still worked. :)

Mix with water and whisk together until they are well combined. It's best to leave in the fridge for 15 mins, however unknowingly I prepared with it straight away,

Mix the egg with the quinoa and oats so you can begin to make your patties. I also added sesame seeds but that is optional.
Make them thick so they don't break easily and leave them in the fridge for 15 mins, or go straight to business like I did....

Fry the patties for 1-2 mins  Then put in the oven for 10 mins at 350F,

Take out and serve these beauties :)
Serve with amazing fillings;
Tomato
Mung beans
Khale
Onion
Fig

Vegan Focaccia's

One of the hardest things my partner has had to give up during this transition to a vegan diet is his love, obsession or whatever you want to call it for Tony Pepperoni pizza from Domino's. 

Today he has had the craving all day (or all week) so we decided to try make our own.
Andy jumped ahead of himself and by the time I got a word in Edgways, the dough was made.
He used wheat flour.
Water and yeast. 

He literally threw it all in a bowl and mixed it and let it sit for ten minutes which is not how it should be done, and we should both know, we both ran a B&B and our speciality was our pizzas.

Now I can't give you the proper recipe but the toppings we added were lush and in the end the pizza's...or better said, our focaccia' s didn't  come out bad at all.


TOPPINGS:
Chopped tomatoes
Chilli olive oil
Chard 
Chia seeds
Pumpkin and sesame seeds
Next time we will do it a bit less improvised and share the real recipe. But the idea is to enjoy what you're doing and not see it as an obligation and we had fun.

Homemade Spicy vegetable quinoa soup.


I had leftover quinoa in my fridge after last night's tasty burger feast so I made a nice veggie soup and to make it extra tasty, added a bit of spice to give it a good kick.
Ingredients:
1/2 onion
1 cup of quinoa
Curry powder
Maca
3 Asparagus
1 Tomatoe
2 Carrots
2 Shitake mushrooms
Coriander
1l of almond milk
First fry chopped onion in a bit of olive oil.
Add A tablespoon of curry powder, a teaspoon of maca and  a splash of water to make a paste.
After making the paste chuck in the vegetables and cooked quinoa (yesterday's leftovers).
Fry for a little bit and add 1 litre of almond milk, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
The whole process should take between 20 - 30 mins and tastes lush.
Very good for anyone feeling weak due to the change of weather, (or who likes a bit of spice) winter is coming and this will heat you up and your taste buds.

Changing my eating habits


I know it has been a very long time since I have updated my blog, a lot has happened and I've been distracted. I will go more into detail another time although sometimes I doubt anyone even reads this  but this is a hobby I don't want to let go of and even though all I have done over the past two years is I log in several times, hovered over the dashboard and asked myself whether to shut down this page or keep it going I finally decided to continue.

Recently I have been able to find some inspiration again.

For a while now I have been wanting to change my diet and become a vegetarian. Once I started informing myself about the world we live in I felt like  I had been lied to all my life (not that I was that surprised we are lied to) and only now was the blindfold removed for me to see what a horrid way of life most of us live without even realising.
You may think that's a harsh way of putting it, but it is no surprise to many of you that we are being omitted a lot of important information, more than one could imagine.
After watching many of these films I started to ask myself so many questions.
How much do we all know? Have you sat down to really think about how much we don't know or not informed about?
As you can tell to understand a bit I have watched so many documentaries and continue to watch them and read loads of articles. Here are some I strongly recommend you watch.


My recommendations:

- That Sugar Film


- Cowspiracy


- Earthlings. This to me was really difficult to watch but it has to be done.


I'm not going to try and start a revolution here but I do believe we all need to be informed about what we eat and what many food companies don't tell us.
Here are just a few informative well documented films that will open your eyes in a way that will make you change something in the way you live.

My partner and I have decided to go one step further and we are trying to live our life as vegans.
For now its our challenge and hopefully this will become part of the way we live.
I' m not going to lie, there are days that are more difficult that others, especially living in a city where pork and cheese is everywhere.
To become a vegan you must make sure you are getting a balanced diet and nowadays it is easier than you think to buy the essentials to live healthy.

We need to get:
Vitamin B12 from spirulina which is an algae and other supplements and is highly recommended.
Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight and vitamin supplements.
Omega 3 fatty acids from Ground flax seeds and walnuts.

Spirulina mixed
 in water, and Avatar in the background.
Protein Rich foods
2-3 servings
Burgers, nuts and seeds






Calcium rich foods
4-6 servings
spinach, collard greens, sesame seeds, tahini, soy products.



Fruit and Vegetables
3-5 servings
Have a range of different fruit and vegetable.








Whole Grains
6-11 servings
Brown rice, quiona, wholewheat bread, pasta, oatmeal.











We are in the transitional stage; experimenting, learning and eventually sharing with you.