Comfort food - Potato and leek soup

Such a great invention. Potato and leek soup. I grew up loving the subtle flavour combination of them two intermingled into a warm and finely puréed meal. The new addition of carrot, dill and thyme makes for such a good extra effect. Perfect either way, for cold winters days.

Ingredients needed:

4 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 medium sized potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 large leeks, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 litre veggie stock, liquid, or cubes + water (use a stock without msg and other unnecessary ingredients, I will show you the recipe for your own shortly)
1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1-2 teaspoons sea salt (more to taste if needed)
1/2 teaspoons black pepper (more if needed)

Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks and potatoes, and sauté for about 5 mins, stirring constantly. Add in carrots, thyme, salt, & pepper, and dill if using. Sauté for another 5-10 minutes. Add veggie stock and bring soup to a near boil. Reduce to low heat, cover pot, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

At the end of simmering, use a hand blender to purée the soup in the pot until you reach the desired level of smoothness. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Garnish with fresh parsley or pumpkin seeds and a squirt of olive oil, or whatever you may fancy, and serve along side your favourite (gluten-free if you like) toast.

Priorities and things of value

Clothes and fashion are probably some of the lowest priorities in my life, but I'm still going to dedicate a whole long post to it. My philosophy on clothing these days is basically that I need them as it's too cold to go without. Would definitely choose to go naked if I could, and I do as much as I can when I can. I throw my clothes off as soon as I am in the comfort of my home as I dislike when fabrics and seams chafe in places where I like things to flow smoothly. I like feeling flexible and free, not restricted. An old t-shirt is perfectly fine as the only thing to wear in my world.

Other than that, clothes should be functional and not cost too much (since they are a low priority thing for me). Of course good quality lasts longer, but you don't have to spend that much to get good quality since there is so much competition. Finally, it doesn't hurt if they look good.

Living in winterland now + having a belly growing way out of proportions, I definitely needed to invest in a larger warmer jacket. I borrowed one from a friend for the first few weeks. But now that it's getting colder and she needed it back, I evaluated the cost of a new jacket as not having to exceed 500 kr (55 USD). The sales after Christmas you know.

Criteria: Warm + large enough to keep growing in for the rest of winter + decent looking. I live very near the second hand stores of Möllan so I headed down there yesterday and within five minutes search I found this old treasure for 200 kr - 50% = 100 kr. After having asked the girl in the store about their sourcing methods, and was informed that they get loads from their central distribution centre in Europe, I told my bf when walking out of Humana that I imagined the jacket being previously owned by a Romanian lady that outgrew the colourful thing. Funnily when investigating it closer at home, I noted that the jacket actually was made in, Romania.

What I love about buying things second hand is:

- you can't beat the price on good quality.
- rather than adding more funds into an industry that wastes resources when we already have more than we ever can make use of in this world, you invest in a shared economy where things are being reused rather than wasted. Someone's old becomes someone's new. Such intelligent use of resources.
- you can find unique pieces that not many other people have in your community.
- due to the low price it won't hurt too bad when you return them for someone else to use when you've gotten tired of them.

Priorities have shifted. Things weren't always this easy and obvious. Ten years ago, fashion was very important to me. I used to run a clothing store online that carried lots of, at the time, hot brands such as Alexander Wang, Luella, Cacharel, James Perse, Alexis Bittar etc. I wanted to have the newest of everything and I thought I was incredibly cool wearing the latest off the catwalk.

A couple years in on working in that field, I began questioning the industry. What sense does it make changing trends every fourth month? What kind of ambivalent person would you have to be to keep up with such a continuous schizophrenic shift? How wasteful is the business selling brands at super premium price, that are constantly pushing out new collections. Constantly having to find new innovative manipulative ways to sell more. Luring in clients by superficial and destructively photoshopped commercials. Making the less conscious buyer and admirer believe that hoarding loads of new things was the meaning of life. The realization that it was just a greedy money hungry business like so many others began exhausting me. Couldn't see any purposeful meaning with it. It was a creative world yet an industry full of stress, self judgement and anxiety.

Thinking back. There were young years of my life in which I faked that some of the clothes I wore were bigger brand names that what they were. And other times when I was ashamed to say how much things cost out of fear of being judged by my low budget. So much pretence. I suffer with young girls today who feel the pressure from the industry and that which media puts on them. It's a viscous world. Have to stay awake to not get lured into wasting our precious time, money and intelligence for others to make profit. There is no power in being used for someone else's benefit.

I remember myself blogging about new clothes of big brands and the pride I felt by finally after years of yearning being able to say something was from Chanel or Balenciaga (gifted to me or bought on sale or at outlet stores). Today I would seriously hesitate mentioning brands out loud, unless they were brands that were owned by friends of mine or brands that stand for something important. So many big labels are being promoted each second without the consumer getting paid for it. Only in the form of self gratification and the superficial attention they get from their peers. The greatest form of (free) marketing there is for a brand.

I remember once speaking to a customer at a restaurant outside of Boston that I worked at. An older lady that appeared much younger than the 80 she told me she was. I told her she looked beautiful. "Would you like to know my secret?", she whispered, "it's all thanks to Estée Lauder", she said with a proud smile. What a successful woman she was, Estée Lauder, I thought. Having women credit her for their looks even after her death. And what sadness simultaneously, I thought. A human being crediting her naturally beautiful looks to a beauty brand as money driven as others. A beauty brand full of destructive chemicals, and full of manipulative strategies to attract consumers to consume unnecessary products they never needed in the first place.

Imagining spending 5.000-10.000 kr on a pair of shoes or a bag today is seriously bananas to my mind. The same 550-1.100 USD would take you literally anywhere in the world. Could have you living like a king for a month in the most beautiful and remote of places. Think of the difference in lasting value. And the difference in psychological impact that has.

I believe that the values and ideals you grow up around will shape much of your future. Which is why it's important to me that my child grows up without the idea of material or a myriad of things, toys or clothes being important. But rather strive for an abundance of genuine connection, travel and exploration, conversations with depth, cooking and eating good food with healthy ingredients, the freedom of expression, love, and all those real things of real value. I would like my child to value and appreciate the real world, the natural world, the magical world that still exists, beyond the commerce and all that a twisted society excepts from him or her. I feel fortunate to have been given the greatest challenge in life.

We've said that we will try to not buy any clothes for our newborn at all, as we will be able to get used ones from family and friends. They grow out their clothes so quickly anyways. And that way we can save all the money for the baby's first big journey. Sun, surf, jungle and good food awaits.

My poor child will have to travel the world in inherited and gifted clothes and play with animals and jungle sticks instead of iPads. Hope she or he will love the sea as much as we do.

Setting your intentions

I'm sure many of you have made new year resolutions now. The first day of a new year is such a symbolic time for goal setting and starting fresh anew. I think it is great, although it's good to practice becoming good at starting over, any day of the year. We have that privilege as human beings. Every new morning gives you the same chance to learn from the mistakes of yesterday and make things better, moving forward. There is so much progress to be done and so much to gain by being quick on correcting errors - trivial ones or grand - rather than waiting until the end of the year.

Some ideas I follow in life and which may be useful to you as well:

Set an overall intention (for the new year or your life in general) - How do you want to feel, mentally and physically? I think most people would agree that happiness is the most preferred emotion and what we would like to feel most of in our lifetimes. But how and with which ideals are you achieving your personal happiness, on a daily basis? The everyday guiding principals that I live by:

Peace + harmony + consciousness + slow and steady progress = happiness

The desire for and incorporation of these are the foundation of everything I do and take on in life. And they are ultimately what provides me with the sense of happiness in the various aspects of life.

- Live in peace and harmony with myself and my surroundings with minimum distractions.
- Take time to use my brain properly and be conscious about everything I do, say, think, believe, eat.
- Continuously refine and improve my mind, my work, my relationships, my understanding and knowledge, my life. No need to rush anything. Everything falls naturally in place when we let them grow organically, with conscious open hearted, open minded guidance.

I live by these principles so naturally now that I don't need to remind myself any longer. They are my priorities before anything and living by them as they were my own written law, I can easier make the short term and long term decisions that will make me feel balanced and happy. While easily avoiding and removing the things that don't collaborate well with my beliefs and principals. Interestingly my beliefs become very apparent when I am exposed to other human beings who are not as attuned to the same sort of mindset. Being in a city environment now, it is clear that people generally don't prioritise mindfulness and peace to the same extent to which I have practised them for the past few years. It is both interesting and challenging.

Stress isn't something I live with. Neither physical nor psychological. For me that means:

- Create a comfortable home in which you want to spend much of your time. For a nomad like me who tends to change living situation ever so often, I am looking for a few key elements when I rent accommodation. There should be a big kitchen in which cooking, eating, working and spending much time is comfortable, spacious and relaxing. Airy living area with lots of light and not cluttered with things. Good sized comfortable bed, which is a place I spend much time in. Sleeping, dreaming, reflecting, meditating, reading, writing, stretching, relaxing, enjoying myself. Nature is the escape many people take to to find a slice of peace and calm in a hectic everyday life. But your home environment is even more important. It is where you spend most of your time (outside of your work if you work outside of your home). For benefiting most from the peace and calm of your home, the place where you recharge your energy, it should be as free from clutter and noise as it can be. For me especially who spends so much of my time at home, it is of paramount importance that I feel relaxed and calm where I stay. The surrounding is almost equally important. The neighbouring area should be near nature and a beautiful environment, not feel rushed, noisy and not too much traffic around.

- Have lots of alone time, and much time with my partner who values peace, calm, reflection and conscious progressive thinking and being, just as much as I do.

- Work on a limited number of projects at once in order to stay truly connected to each one and to not get distracted. Making lots of money isn't a huge drive for me so I don't easily take on more work than I feel comfortable with. In fact, I often say no to offers as my priority is being at peace and stay connected to what I do, in order to be able to offer what I love doing, even better. It also allows me more time for the important things that aren't connected to work.

- Energy is precious, so I spend it very carefully. Besides above mentioned, I choose consciously what and who to spend my energy on. I no longer socialise for the sake of socialising, I do it only with the ones I feel enriches my life and with whom I feel I have a meaningful connection. I am so happy with my own company that it is hard to find people who offer me similar sense of peace and harmony. When I was younger it was important to have lots of friends and know many people. I still know many, but to actually take time to hang out, it requires a real meaning for me to make an effort these days. Just because you've always done something in one way or always hung out with certain people in the past, it is of no must you should continue doing so for the rest of your life. For each time you grow and change, and for each page you turn in the story of your own life, new or fewer characters can be involved. You are the director of your movie, so you are free to choose who should be part of the cast.

- No addictions or needs to meet every day. I don't need coffee to wake up in the morning. I have chosen a job that doesn't require me to go some place uncomfortable. I don't need to socialise with people nor go to events that don't suit my peace and well-being. I don't need to purchase or keep up with anything in particular to feel fulfilled or happy. There is not much desire in me any longer to be seen in a certain way, am content in my own ways. I don't need to live with someone or to even have a relationship, it is just an added bonus to my life if it happens that I meet someone who meet my standards. My only need and addiction - besides the fundamental warmth, food and water - is feeling at peace and to create as loving and harmonious life I can for myself and the ones closest to me.

So speaking about intention for the new year. Is less stress and more peace of mind a desire of yours? Then create a clear view of what is important to you and what is not. What could be removed and what is worth spending more time on? Then set an intention to follow those guidelines that will generate more peace and less stress in the future. This principle goes for anything you desire. With conscious understanding of yourself you can begin to build on the new life you want to create. Writing down your values is a good first step. And make sure to take a quiet moment each day to think back on the intention you have set, to help maintain focus and to help rewire your subconscious.
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Feel free to subscribe below for my news updates and other fun things I will share this year. And I'm here to help if you need it. Take part of my New Year promotion of 15% off any of my coaching programs. Email me for details: taru at tarutuomi.com

New Year, New Life

Finally settled back in Sweden. The photos tell you the reason for coming back here for some time. If you've followed me on my instagram: instagram.com/tarutuomi you might have gotten my baby news a while ago. Am in week 16 now in this unexpected, non planned, weird but beautiful adventure.

I live in Malmö now and I love the change of scenery and this new small town to get to know. At least when knowing that we can leave at any time when we've done with what we are here to do hehe.. you know I'm not too fond of living in the cold for too long. But we're making the best of it for the short time we are here. And it seems to be an unusually warm winter as you can tell by the photos. 

Figured it could be a good time in life to be near family and friends. And make use of our excellent healthcare system, I thought. But have realized during our research that Sweden actually is quite bigot and narrowminded when it comes to delivering babies in your own home, outside of the hospital. Which is what I intend doing if everything goes as wished for and nature collaborates with me in the way I have visualised.

Bright and unpersonal hospitals, white and sterile looking doctors, rushed environment and the cutting down on midwives in the health care sector doesn't quite give me the sense of peace and harmony as I envision for the best day of my life. Giving natural un-medicated birth in my own home surrounded by only people I love and trust is the way I will want to do it. Letting the labour take its time and move naturally and as peacefully as possible through it, is my intention.

Childbirth in Sweden, I realised, is very centralised around the control of hospitals and the common healthcare system, and a woman's choice of delivering her baby the way she want isn't as respected as I thought a developed country as Sweden would show proof of. I'm not talking about the choice to have or not have pain relief, but the choice of experiencing the most beautiful day of your life where and with who you want to. 

In only two regions (landsting) of the country will you get care provided for if you choose to do a home birth, in all other parts of the country you have to pay for it yourself. Unfortunately we've chosen to live in a region in which you won't receive support from the government. It's quite absurd that it is even illegal for a midwife to participate in home births here in Skåne landsting. Not that it changes our decison a bit, rather it enforces the desire to have it done exactly the way we want it to be done. It just makes the research and search for the right educated midwife or doula a tad more complicated, albeit fascinating. 

In 1920, 90% of women in Sweden gave birth at home. In 1940, that number was down to only 25%. And today only 0,1% opts for home births. This number is much higher in other countries such as Holland, where 30% of women choose to give birth in the comfort of their homes. And in Denmark just a few miles from here, it is law and common practice for doctors and nurses to suggest the alternative of home delivery to pregnant women. The number of home births is increasing in Denmark each year (currently at 2%) and they are generally not as exposed to the same fearmongering and propaganda of childbirth being so complicated and dangerous, as women are here in Sweden.

 Lots of interesting details of this to share with you.

Other than that, I feel good! I will keep sharing much more of all of this in the blog. As one of my goals for the new year is to write blog posts at least once a week starting today.

In the meanwhile, here are some pics from my inspiration board for this year:

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And here's a photo of our mini creature, a few weeks ago during the kub-test as it is called in Sweden. He or She is moving a lot, feeling it tumbling around quite often in the last few days. Can't wait to begin life anew with this little being in five months. Very happy it will happen during summer months as will perhaps give us the choice of maybe even delivering outdoors a lot easier. Super conscious that nature has its ways and anything can happen to prevent us from getting it done the way we would ideally like it to happen. If there's anything that sailing and living on water taught me, it is that you just have to go and flow with what nature throws at you. But visualisation is still mad important in order to keep your mind calm and focused. As is setting a profound intention. I'm trusting my body and the wisdom of our ancient human creation so deeply. I know I will get exactly what I need.

As it is a New Year and everything, and as my desire to help women and men to live life exactly the way they want and reach all their goals and potentials is deeper than ever - I am offering all of you my old time readers and followers a New Year promotion on my Health Coach Program. Our first 15 min call is free of charge and if you thereafter sign up to work with me, you'll get 15% discount on any program you choose. Normally we would work together for 3 or 6 months. That gives us sufficient time to set up and structure your goals and desires, and actively work towards achieving them.

I have had women and men contacting me for everything from wanting to improve their physical conditions such as losing weight, fighting skin conditions and eczema or healing thyroid problems. Getting more fertile or wishing to quit smoking. People who look to better focus in terms of setting goals for career and private life. And others who just wishes to eat healthier and get easy good recipes and guidance for overall better health.

I can't claim to know everything and I learn so much by each client I work with. But with the life experience I have from always following my gut instincts and going for what I want in life combined with my education and passion in health, nutrition and wellness, I can be of good support and guidance in various areas. My approach is always natural and holistic. I see everything in our lives as connected. Mind body and soul. More info can be found if you click up there in the main bars. Just send me an email if you want to take part of the new year promotion.

Until next time, have a great beginning to the new year and talk to me about home births if you have personal experiences in such. Is it common where you live?

Onto a new adventure

Morning 👄 I'm gonna admit something. Something I fully realised only this morning, waking up in winter land, in my sisters warm and cosy home in Gotheburg. I fully realised that I definitely have had enough of quiet solo time. I mean, I will always need space to think and be. Being alone recharges my batteries when they've been sucked out of energy. I much prefer the peaceful and calm before hectic and stressful. Nature before concrete. Deep connection before superficial relations. But I’m talking about the extreme alone time I've had living by myself in the countryside on a small island. It was great for what I came there for, but I don’t really need that much of it anymore.

This past year I have filled myself from the inside and out with self love and conscious appreciation of my own precious time. Done whatever I have wanted, explored myself and beyond in all the ways that mattered in any given moment (thank you universe for the year of 2016!). I’ve gone to bed and woken up by myself, hundreds of times, to properly investigate how it feels to be me. Who is me, today, what does she love, what are her desires. Moment to moment. Where does it all come from? What is my origin? What do I truly feel? What’s important to me…

Life on Paros gave me exactly what I needed after leaving my 2,5 year long stint in America and a long relationship behind. It offered me the solitude and peace to completely empty my mind and sort of re-establish, re-shape myself. I got to truly connect with who I am. Who I had become after those years at sea before we arrived in the states. After all the experiences that had happened before and after. Combined with a curious and attentive search inwards and backwards in time, to connect with who I was born into this world as. The experiences and challenges I had gone through growing up. From birth and childhood to today.

The quietness allowed me to break down my self piece by piece, and then build that self up again from the bottom and inside to the outer layers. I continued cleaning out what was unnecessary. Giving space to what was good and hidden. It’s been about allowing love and acceptance to come forth. About refining my needs and values. That work is never finished. There’s always more to be done. More to discover, accept and develop. But 100% island time is definitely over for this time. I didn’t really connect the dots before this morning. It’s been slightly confusing for a moment. But now I can’t wait for next chapter to unfold.

What I want to say with this is, that I’m moving back “home” - well partly at least. And temporarily, of course. Because who knows what may come in my way 6 months or a year from now 🦄  And even if I love Gothenburg that I kinda grew up in and where I have family and many of my friends, I am going to try another great city in Sweden that I love and which I’ve never lived in before. Exciting adventure time ahead… Can’t wait to tell you more. Cause of course there’s more. There always is. Even if I don’t always share that much these days.

Looking back, that quietness from my side was also a part of that almost year long date I have had with myself. I've been open with myself but not so much with others. At least not with the ones that didn’t stand me close. But for better or for worse, I feel that is about to change. Lots of things rumbling. Like a volcano that is about to explode. I’ve got my whole mind, body and soul cram packed with things I want to say. Things I need to say. So much to build and create in this magical dream life that we have been given. And it isn’t quite the same without others.

Thanks for following me, and hope you want to continue doing so in my new life (aaah how I love saying those words)…. it’s all new, it’s always changing. Always moving. Even when not obviously so.

Vegetable tagine with couscous

Ah! A second blog post in one and the same day! I have been missing my old blog motivation, you know the one I had back in the days when I pushed out 10-15 posts a week. I doubt it will get to those extremes, but I am definitely feeling the desire to get back to sharing things with you again. If there are any left of you after this long pause.

Been eating this delicious warm, soothing vegetable dish for two days now. There is something so comforting with chunky pieces of hearty vegetables like carrot, eggplant and zucchini. Combined with super-foods like garlic, cinnamon and turmeric. Plus a bit of sweetness mixed in with golden raisins. Not to mention the additional sweet North African vibe you get by cooking the couscous with nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavors blend so well together. And makes me long to get back to Morocco asap.

This meal is gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and contains several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (turmeric, garlic, cinnamon). Which means it goes straight into my recipe collection of the best meals to heal and nurture your body with. Your gut will love this stuff.

I highly recommend you give it a go. It's super easy! I’m a firm believer in making cooking easy and accessible so that we have more time for other important things in life.

4 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips
2 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
1 small cinnamon stick
1 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper

Serve with couscous

In a large, high-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, bell pepper, water, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini, eggplant, raisins and continue cooking until tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

The couscous I like preparing this way (also 4 servings):

2 cups couscous
3 cups water
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a pot, add water, oil, salt and spices. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and mix in the couscous. Stir for five seconds and cover thereafter with lid, placing a tea towel in between which will soak up the moist. This will make your couscous fluffier.

Serve and eat!

A few photos from my month long stay in Morocco, six years ago:

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The secret to living a life of peace  - You’ve always got more options than you realise

What surprised me most about the outcomes of the election wasn’t the winner. But from a distance observing how surprised and shocked so many people seem to be. The level of entertainment it has reached in the last few years, wouldn’t it be sensible to expect exactly anything as a result?

Humanity fascinates me. I could care less about showbiz politics. Agreeing to follow and in any way be part of such a toxic spectacle, even by vaguely choosing sides, would for me be the same as accepting a relationship or friendship with someone who only wants to cause drama....

Read the rest of my article over at Medium - here