Rainy day activities

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Typical April weather here. So warm and sunny yesterday. Currently torrential rain. And snow apparently coming in in a few days. Let us not get depressed by it. That's an unnecessary emotion you can control, don't let it control you.

Here are a few things you may want to do when you are not very inclined to spend your days outdoors:

- Bake bread, experiment with new varieties. Nothing better than a freshly baked loaf straight out of oven. I'll share a great recipe shortly.

- Write down all the things you've had on your mind. Work on all the lose ends and tidy up in your mental workspace.

- Read the books you've put aside for a better day.

- Educate yourself on a subject you've long been curious about. Take your time to really learn something new and meaningful.

- Spend time in silence. Say no to events, turn off the phone and the TV and go inwards for a while. Not before you know yourself in aloneness, do you know yourself fully. Ask yourself new questions. Investigate thoughts that pop up. Break old thinking habits. Analyse things from a new perspective. See what comes up. So much to discover when you give yourself a chance. The mind is an amazing tool for creation, but not nearly as fun if you never use it for anything else than the thought patterns you've always previously chosen.

- Clean out your closets, drawers, cupboards, storage rooms. The less things you have in your life, the freer and lighter will you feel. Don't let material hold you down. Living in chaos may work for you and you may even say it adds to your whimsical personality, but for most people, the tidier and cleaner your surroundings, the clearer your thoughts. My first step always when feeling uneasy, is to clean up any mess that's accumulated. Can't think close to as freely if my home and surroundings aren't in decent order. I like being able to think straight. To be able to follow a thought to the end, instead of always being distracted. Seeing things lying around that I never use or that have no purpose makes me feel dirty. The clearer my sight, the clearer my mental space and the better thinking capacity do I have.

- Sort out your real priorities. Write a list of the things most meaningful to you. Perhaps your family, a few close friends, being healthy, the new work project, maybe helping others in some way. Also write down things that you do, that don't have that much real meaning. Investigate how much time you spend on them, contra how much time you spend on the things that are most important. Is there a good balance?

- Remember to breathe. I mean, real, deep breaths. Not the shallow ones at the top of your lungs. Breathe in deep five to eight second breaths through your nose, and breathe them out steadily through your mouth. Take ten really deep ones as often as you can to rebalance yourself. Remind yourself of this practice as often as you can. It will instantly put you at ease. Learn to become conscious of your breath. It is what connects you to your soul. Which will help guide you in anything from decision making, to following your intuition better, and having an overall clearer mind.

I will soon be sharing some more of my most effective ways to make space for the good and clean out the unnecessary. I love drawing out mental life plans. Almost like business plans, but for my life and well being. I'll share it with you soon.

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30 weeks

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75% of pregnancy survived! 

Feels so magical, when I spend proper time to really dwell on the idea of it. That there's a person (or an alien) inside of my body, waiting to get out here and change my life forever. The tiniest little part of someone I love, have met a tiny egg that has been within my uterus since I was conceived inside of my mothers body 35 years ago. The composition of which is now growing inside of me, into a human being with a heart that pounds and a brain that dreams. And eventually that person is going to get out of the littlest passage in my body that expands for the occasion and tada! here I am, and you are going to love me more than your life and we are going to have a hell of a time for the rest of your days!

How can I ever take the magic of this world lightly after knowing of such miracles? How can I waste my time on things that don't matter when I can immerse in all of it fully and celebrate this magical chance to a life that we have been given? Nature could as well be filled with unicorns and magical passages that transport you from one part of the world into another in no time, if this is what we have to deal with.

Maybe it just is that we've grown so used to everything around us that we fail to see the magic? Life is just too surreal and beautiful and I am consciously making sure to not take any of it for granted. 

Besides that, I'm feeling good. Ok I'm a bit heavier than normal obvs and breathing is sometimes a bit harder. I've recently got a stuck nerve in my shoulder that makes me unable to sleep on the left side. My favourite side. Some nights I struggle to find an ok position and in the moment it feels frustrating that I can't. But it's all good anyways. Only the fact that we've come this far, feeling this good, is a miracle. 

Chatting sometimes with our midwife/doula in the U.K. who won't be able to get here before the actual due date. But that's ok, she'll guide us thru Skype if baby decides to show up earlier. We'll make it work. Things will be just as they're meant to. Feeling the meaning of all of this so deeply. On a level I can't describe in words. 

Oh, and my boobs are leaking. Woke up one night having wet the sheet. Tiny amounts but hilarious nonetheless. My partner finds the whole thing very fascinating. I try to tell him to save the colostrum for the baby! Though midwife just confirmed I will be producing more every day until birth. Can't wait to breastfeed. Really? I can't wait for a person to suck on my nipples day and night? And at least for a year if I may decide. How odd is that! But really, I can't wait...

Apple Crumble

The easiest ever vegan, sugar free, gluten free apple pie. Wanna know how to make it?

You need a few apples. 4-6 of them. If I would have had green apples of the granny smith type at home, I would have used them as their tartiness adds more character to the pie. Wash them, peel them, cut them into thin but not too thin slices.

Coat a pan in coconut oil.

In a small pan, warm up 1,5 dl coconut oil on low heat. Add 1,5 dl of any sweetener of your choice, together with 1 tsp of cinnamon and a small pinch of salt. Mix well.

For better health benefits and to get away from the processed refined sugars, I like using either raw honey, coconut sugar, or palm sugar. Raw honey always wins though, considering that it not only contains sweet flavour, but also it's a real super food in itself. Honey is packed with important amino acids and antioxidants that our bodies do so good with.

Turn the heat off and transfer the soft liquid mixture into a larger mixing bowl where the apple slices await, and toss them around for a bit so they get all soaked and juicy. Lift the apple slices out of the bowl, careful not to bring with you all the juice. Leave this at the bottom of the bowl for later. The idea here is only to lightly coat and flavour the apples with the oil and cinnamon mixture.

When the apples are put into the coconut oil coated pan, pour 2 dl oats and 1 dl grated coconut into the bowl together with 3/4 tsp baking powder and 2 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well with your hands, and then cover the apples with this sticky mixture. Sprinkle more cinnamon on top of the cake if you like.

Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for around 30 min. Serve with Oatly's vanilla sauce if you're lazy. Otherwise make your own home made vanilla sauce. Which obviously tops all vanilla sauce charts that ever existed. But it's quite a task when all you want is to eat apple cake: now.

1 dl equals approx 0,5 cups. 200 C is the same as 392 F.

Winter in Malmö

This was a beautiful day in December. 16 weeks pregnant perhaps and felt quite huge. It's good we have 9 months to gradually grow into full size, as each week seems to come with a new sort of fascination for the body and its expansion. We had lose plans on maybe renting a house near Malmö after the city stay, but couldn't find anything down there that matched our wish list. The ocean would've been nice to have near. But the quality and feeling of the house was even more important due to the wish to give birth at home.

Christmas eve with friends.

Hanging out in the flat we stayed in for three months.

Probably reading something interesting about home births. We decided very early that home birth is the way to go and that the only information we were to look for if any at all, would be related to births made at home. Best book on the subject: Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. Full with important information and lots of wonderful birth stories.

One of many veggie stir fries he made.

Marinated portobello mushroom burger and sweet potato fries, with a mango slaw, I think it was.

Making an...

Old fashioned potato gratin with marinated mushrooms.

One of many good breakfasts.

Eat, rest, sleep, repeat... And work. Beside the coaching i do from home, I worked part time in one of the super markets for a couple months, cooking and demonstrating recipes for clients. Fun to do what I love and get out and connect with the world and speak about food and health after a long time of hermit living on the island, but simultaneously exhausting to chat with people all day long when this was what my body asked of me to do.

Carb city.

Endlessly obsessed with juicy sweet and soft foods. Such as this epic combo: oat yoghurt with tropical flavour with super delicious mango. 

Watching out on the street, dreaming of nature.

Oranges, my lovely oranges... never have I eaten as many as during this pregnancy.

Then came spring.. or almost at least. So optimistic. Jumping with joy with each tiny rise on the thermometer. It's a challenging practice to remain content in the moment while awaiting something as beautiful, warm and freeing as spring. And not wish the colder season away. Everything is exactly the way it is meant to be. Nature and the universe takes its time. Things will come to you when you are meant to have it. You don't have to like it, it's just easier if you do.

Have only one more post about the city coming up.. one from a stroll in our neighbourhood Möllan.

Pasta Bolognese

Love a good bolognese. Loved it ever since childhood. In any of its forms, even if my taste for it has progressed from the first memories of it. From the standard home style spagetti och köttfärssås made with sticky spaghetti and lots of ketchup that my stepmother often served during the eight years I lived with her. The glass jar version from Barilla, or the Findus frozen all-in-one bag that both were active visitors in my first own kitchen from the age of 16 when I moved from home. One version that later stuck with me was a friends friends bolognese that was made with elk meat and lots of onion and cream. I was amazed by how something that I always liked in its most simple form, could be made so much better. I still can recall the creamy delectableness of it, even 15 years later.

I remember the "real" Italian versions later eaten in Venice or Milan, which were great, but they never quite included all the flavours that I had soon discovered I could concoct in my own kitchen.

The reason for it being the more simple nature of the original recipe. It is firstly not called Spaghetti Bolognese in neither Bologna nor Italy as a whole, even if the source of the inspiration hails from Bologna. The real name is Tagliatelle al Ragu, always made with tagliatelle, not spaghetti. The recipe is so important to Italy that Bologna's Chamber of Commerce asked the Italian Academy of Cooking to come up with an official recipe in 1982. The result was a simple sauce which only contained beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, white wine and milk. The herbs and garlic that often are added is nothing in the style of a real Italian ragu, the Italians say. But food is open for anyone to interpret and adjust to their liking.

One of the most beautiful things with travelling and learning about other people and their cultures, is the possibility of bringing home with you whatever inspiration that struck your heart, and infuse your own life with it, in your own personal way. No need to be right, only what is right to you is, right, for you.

As with most other things I cook, I never follow a recipe when I make a bolognese. Just add to it whatever is available for the day. And I still call it Bolognese, even if I nowadays don't even add meat to it.

I prefer to choose organic textured soy protein as meat substitute, a lentil and mushroom mix would work good too. I don't like to use quorn, as it is made from a human invented protein fabricated in laboratories and therefore very far from natural, clean food. And yes, the soy should always be organic due to the fact that almost all non-organic soy products are made with genetically engineered soy beans.

Basic ingredients for a bolognese for me would be:

Organic textured soy protein
Grated carrots, same amount as soy, makes things filling and juicy
Celery, sometimes
Yellow onion
Garlic, lots of it, 2-4 cloves per batch
A good tomato sauce, or fresh chopped tomatoes
Chopped mushrooms
Sweet pepper
Olive oil
Bay leaf
Thyme
Oregano
Rosemary sometimes
Cumin
Salt and Pepper

Spoonful of honey, to balance flavours

A few chili flakes, or sometimes sambal

Water, if needed
Red wine, occasionally
Served with grated parmesan cheese, sometimes
Later blended with whichever pasta I may have in the cupboard

The penne style pasta above reminds so much of the frozen Findus bags I bought as a very young adult. A fond flashback memory of who you have been, always adds another dimension to any food, or life experience.

For the bolognese in the pictures above, I've also added half a teaspoon turmeric, and half a teaspoon moringa leaf powder. Just to make it extra full of superfood nutrients and anti-inflammatory power.

Always start with sweating the onion, then add one ingredient after another and let it all simmer for as long as possible. Anything from two to four hours is great if you can. This will allow the flavours to develop fully and the sauce to become as rich as you want it to. That's why this meal is sometimes even better the day after. And also why I always like making a big batch that lasts for at least another meal for another day.

Crane birds

We had parts of my bf's big family visiting from Bristol the other week. One morning we decided to leave the toys and drawings behind and go watch the crane birds by the lake Hornborgasjön.

So many birds. And interesting watching the human invasion, all looking for the best shots of this beautiful creature. A bird that does what it's always done. But which has become a sort of entertainment and tourist destination for far flung visitors. The area has around 150.000 people yearly coming from all over the world to watch the birds returning home from their winter vacation in Southern Spain and Northern Africa.

After that we went home for lunch, and grandfather did his practice. Our -2 months old child's grandfather that is. Interesting man, you'll meet him soon again. The mossy grass that our lawn consists of got good reviews in terms of grip and texture. 👌🏼

Weekend peace and reflection

This weekend has been all about relaxation. Not that it has differed much from other days. But an added form of relaxation in what it means to not be connected with the outside world whatsoever, and only turn inwards to enjoy the life that is before and around me.

Waking up with the sun around 7, and watching the sun disappear behind the forest around 19.30. My sleeping routine doesn't change much during weekdays and weekends. I always wake up with the sun and find it hard and unnecessary to get back to sleep when the day has greeted me so beautifully. On cloudy or rainy days I tend to linger in bed a bit longer. Love hearing birds first thing in the morning. Beginning each day visualizing the birth.

In the city apartment in Malmö we had to sleep with window blinds as not to have the bright light from the courtyard shining right into our eyes. The apartment we rented was also only a half level up, so people walking into the entrance next door could see right into the bedroom. That was part of why I never really slept good there. The energy of other people living in boxes above and around you. Not being able to flow with the natural circadian rhythm that I am used to. The artificial lights and noises. Even the few birds that you heard in the courtyard felt artificial as their echoes bounced off brick and concrete walls. Such a difference now.

Morning oats looking out on the fields. The deer are coming even closer to our house now. And the other day we could count up to ten of them at once. They really feel safe around here. And we feel fortunate to have had them choose our home to circulate so often.

Watched the Marina Abramović documentary one morning. I'm not normally particularly interested in contemporary art as of the similarity it has with fashion in the way that trends and which art critic or famous person buys (wears) or promotes what, and there's a desperate desire to be placed in the right galleries and in the right hands. Or to own or know about the right pieces, if you are the consumer. The effects of a confused modern society.

But I definitely enjoy being inspired by people who share their unique life story in any which art form they choose. People who somehow express their pains and tribulations. Or their existential inner monologues. People who are brave enough to be rawfully real. Art that inspires the viewer to stop, and take a deeper look into themselves. That's what Marina's art does. She shares her fragility and human vulnerability, but not because it is fashionable to do so. But because her life has demanded that of her. She is her own living artwork.

Her 2010 performance art show "the artist is present" where she sat on a chair for 700 hours in front of her ever shifting audience, suggest free interpretation. But what I love about it is how, in the hectic life that most people seem to be living in the industrialized parts of the world, she offers a real moment of stillness and thought. By being open and vulnerable, she encourages the viewer to be the same.

Society as a whole needs more reminders to chill down and reflect inwards. Everybody carries some form of pain. No one is free from sometimes feeling lost in this world of madness. Anyone can pretend and build on their outward persona. But there is plenty of sadness and confusion that often isn't addressed. I love Marina's work for reminding us of that. There is hope. Time and stillness is from where we can begin to heal.

One day we moved one of the armchairs from the living room to the kitchen so my big belly and I could hang out in front of the window watching the deer pass by. All the while having food and cooking possibilities an armslength away.

Made a delicious vegan, gluten free, sugar free apple cake for example. Will share the recipe with you soon.

We keep the house warm here with wood burning stoves. Lots of wood chopping due to that obviously. And we get fresh water from the well in the garden. Quite some physical work that modern homes in the city don't have to deal with. But we love being connected with the needs of survival that we have. Helps keep you centered and in the moment. Not taking anything for granted. Being connected with nature is the greatest form of richness that I'd never want to live without.

I can't watch regular Hollywood movies any longer. Most of them repeat the same narratives. Stories about love perhaps, but most often infused with betrayal, infidelity, corruption, superficiality, greed, violence and war. Parts of life you may say. But I refuse to continue normalizing behaviours that I don't believe in. By accepting destructive habits and the world being as fucked up as it is, you help maintain it in exactly that way. It's sickening to me that we can watch a movie of war and shed a tear for a brief second. But then go out of the movie saloon and pretend that those wars don't exist.

Watching all of the Lord of the Rings in one go this weekend reminded me of values and inner strength. How it is very rare to find people who truthfully stand for something, who have character and live their lives to do right and good. But there are still some. And those are the ones I will ever want to share my life with. There's great lack of dignity and integrity in this world.

J R R Tolkien who wrote the LOTR books seemed to have been an honourable man from what I've read about him. He opposed the brutal effects of war and the industrialization, as well as the sad destruction of the natural world. His love and devotion to his high school lover that he stayed with until their death is inspiring and also so rare these days. I haven't read his books, only seen the Hollywood interpretation of them. Which are good, but I can imagine the books to be even better.

Hope you all had a great weekend and spent good quality time with yourself or your loved ones.