Spring is here! And with the end of winter and its cold and sluggishness I’m trying to rejuvenate myself into a normal, active human being. This includes things like drinking lots of lemon water, going for walks in nearby park or cycling. And as in each spring I feel that craving for fresh, raw food which we don’t have in winter… I’m really looking forward to first fresh spring greens for smoothies and possibility to go wild foraging, but there’s nothing yet in local forests and meadows. So for the time being I just make more salads from what’s available and today’s recipe is one of those simple, light salads suitable for breakfast or dinner.
Light spring salads
(for 2 persons)
1 ripe avocado
1 big yellow bell pepper
1 medium sized Romaine lettuce (around 15cm in length)
1/2 of medium sized iceberg salad
125 g classical Italian mozzarella (for vegan version use silk tofu instead)
5 Tbsp sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp curcuma/turmeric powder
2 Tbsp cold-pressed sunflower seed oil
Himalayan/sea salt to taste
a squeeze of lemon juice
Cilantro leaves for garnish (you can use more inside the salads as well)
1 can of sweet corns (optional, but gives nice sweetness to the salads. Try to use organic as most corns are genetically modified)
In a dry pan roast sunflower and flax seeds until slightly brown (add first the sunflower seeds, then flax seeds, because flax seeds are smaller and burn quicker). Chop the vegetables and cheese into small pieces, add curcuma/turmeric powder, salt, oil and (if using) corns and mix well. Garnish with cilantro leaves and enjoy! Can’t be easier :)
And here are some pictures of my walks in nearby park:
With love & inspiration,
I remember those days when I used to come back from parties at 5 am, take my dog and go with her for a walk, meeting my neighbors who have already woke up to walk their dogs… Even when partying became less and less the reason why I went to sleep late (or should I say early? If that’s 5am :) ), but still for years I considered myself a night owl. As a creative person I loved staying up late, taking some green tea and dark chocolate, turning on music and drawing for hours into the night. What I loved about that time is that it is not distractive compared to day hours. It’s you and your ideas alone, and to be inspired and in flow you need to fully focus on your task.
When I was studying in Denmark I had a small side job- during weekend morning I delivered newspapers in our district. The job had to be started at anything from 4-6 am and finished at the latest at 8 am and for the first time in my life I found out that actually I can wake up early and even enjoy it. I got used to singing birds, wonderful sunrises and being awake and outdoor at that early time made me strangely happy. So when after few years I got interested in personal development I started to think that I need to wake up early ALL THE TIME. At some point my husband and I decided to make an experiment (as we often do)- we agreed to spend one month according to Vedic day regime and see what will happen. So we used to woke up at 4 am, take a shower, meditate, read spiritual literature, do some yoga asanas. And though it was of course too radical change to be sustainable (and at 9 am we often wanted to sleep again…), but after that month we were left with taste for that specific, sattvic early morning energy. We were changed, and we got hooked. Of course we went back to more “normal” routine after that month, because to wake up at 4 you need to go to bed at 9-10 and this leaves you with NO social life, but since then I broke my “night owl identity”. I found that I can have the same, just more calm and satisfying energy not late at night, but early in the morning.
Since then I have changed my morning routine all the time, but I always aim to wake up early (5 am-6 am) and go to bed earlier, like 10:30-11 pm. Depending on my plans for that day- whether I have meetings or photo shoots or I can stay at home- the things I do in the morning changes, but here are some of my favorite things to do in those early hours (in no particular order and I don’t do all of them in one morning):
* yoga asanas / exercise/ stretching
* going outside to take images
* reading good books
* manifesting- visualization, writing my goal’s list
* writing my blog posts/learning/working on special projects- if I know I need to do something that requires focus and immersion- morning is the best time for that
*doing hair and face masks from natural oils, cosmetic muds and essential oils
I really appreciate this time- it allows me to do things that I need to do, but “don’t have time” to do during the day. Anything requiring more willpower should go there, too :) And having burning candles, some aromatherapy or incense sticks, a cup of tasty tea or lemon water and inspiring music makes into a pleasant ritual, time where you show yourself that you value your dreams, goals and wellbeing and not just say that you will do those things “some day”.
Did you ever had a wish to wake up early? Have you tried and failed? I have some suggestions that I found helpful and which can help you to make this into a habit you love:
a) Know your why. We humans are quite lazy beings and without strong motivation we tend to choose things that give us immediate satisfaction instead of long term improvement. I know well that it is cozy in warm bed when it’s still dark outside and it can be so tempting to hit the snooze button again and again, but if you have a strong reason why you want to wake up early it can help you to behave accordingly. Maybe you always wanted to meditate, but never had time? Or exercise, but your day schedule is just too full? Anyway, have a reason, know and clearly imagine your outcome- how would you feel after you finally did that meditation or went to the gym or started working on your project that you wanted for so long?
b) Know yourself and your body. We sleep in repeating different sleep cycles and it is very difficult to wake up at deep sleep stage and REM phase (where you dream) can be a difficult one, too. If you’re curious to “design” your perfect sleep regime, check this out. Personally I noticed that I can wake up easily until around 5:40 am (depending when I fell asleep), if I wake up later I feel quite groggy or then I must sleep much more and can easily wake up at about 7:20, but this is too late for me to prepare for the day.
c) You can’t expect to go to sleep late and wake up early, at least not for long time and not without risking your health, so plan your day accordingly. Go to bed before midnight and plan your regime according to your life- when do you want to wake up and what is the latest time for you to go to sleep to still get enough hours of sleep. Keep in mind, that we rest much better when sleeping before midnight, so you might need less actual hours of sleep.
d) If you want to wake up early and get better quality of sleep have keep in mind that activities you do the evening before affect your ability to wake up early a lot. Don’t go to sleep just after heavy dinner, arguments or any other activities that increase negative emotions. Give yourself some time to relax, turn off computer, TV and social media.
c) I was in one personal development seminar and found this system which for me works quite well, and they mentioned that statistically goal setting works much better when you have planned in details what you will do when you will find yourself distracted from your goal (and you will :) ) Use not the app, but the pdf in the link, as it explains everything in much more details. I also think that writing by hand works better for goal setting.
d) If you are not sure what to do so early in the morning and never had any practices/rituals, I recommend listening to this book by well known personal development lecturer Robin S. Sharma. Really inspirational and sums up many theories from many different sources in one place. My flower images in this post where inspired by this book :)
e) And in the end- don’t be too hard for yourself. Know what and why you want to do and do incremental steps daily. It’s better if it will take you few months to start waking up early, but you will stick with it, then radically changing things from tomorrow for next three days. And if you ruin your schedule (which you will- we all travel, have varying schedules and busy times) don’t be hard on yourself, just re-adjust to your regime when you get back to your normal conditions.
I really hope I inspired you to do some experimentation and if you have any questions please let me know in the comments bellow. And to finish my morning rituals post I want to share a quick healthy breakfast recipe– blackcurrant smoothie:
Blackcurrant smoothie (for 1 person)
1 cup of blackcurrant (you can use frozen when fresh are not available)
2 ripe bananas
1/2 bunch of cilantro/coriander leaves (use according to your taste, I LOVE them, but use less if you’re not used to greens)
1 cup water
a pinch of spirulina powder
a bit of of bee polen
Mix everything in a blender (preferably high speed, for really smooth texture) and enjoy!
Actually this post is about this year’s Valentines date, but don’t expect any heart shaped chocolates or other sweet & romantic stuff from me, I’m just not the type of person who would celebrate Valentines date. But I’m all for celebrating tasty home made food, snowy adventures and days filled with laughter and child-like silliness and this years Valentine’s day had plenty of all these.
When we figured out that hiking in winter is possible and the are some more or less cleaned roads we of course wanted to try it. And what hiking trip goes well without healthy and tasty snacks that you can devour when you finally reach the mountain top? We always prepare some snacks for such trips and this time (for the sweet part) I made these vegan, gluten free banana muffins (+ridiculously easy to make!). To say that I like them would be a bit of underestimate…
Vegan gluten free banana muffins
Ingredients (makes 12 muffins)
2 big or 4 small very ripe bananas
1/5 cup brown sugar (60g)
1/2 cup oil (unrefined coconut/sunflower/olive oil. If not vegan you can use the same amount of melted organic butter)
1 1/2 cup flour- for gluten free version I use 1 cup oat flour (130g) and 1/2 cup raw buckwheat flour (100g). I make these flour at home by grinding ingredients in high speed blender, but you can also buy oat and buckwheat flour in food/health stores. If you don’t have buckwheat flour it is possible to change that 1/2 cup to spelt flour (though it will be not gluten free anymore)
7 Tbsp dried coconut flakes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (optional, but gives beautiful yellow color and is incredibly useful for your body!)
7 drops of this stevia extract (I really enjoy this product and use few drops whenever I need vanilla in baking, plus it helps me to reduce the amount of sugar needed) OR seeds of half of vanilla pod + increase the amount of sugar until almost 1/2 cup)
a pinch of sea/Himalayan salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 Tbsp of walnuts, chopped into smaller pieces (optional, but fits really nicely)
In a big bowl mix the flour, turmeric, cinnamon, salt, coconut flakes, soda, baking powder and walnuts. In blender mix bananas with oil, stevia extract and sugar and add them to dry ingredients. Mix gently folding until everything is incorporated. I usually use silicone spatula for that- it’s one of the best tools in kitchen in general :) Fill muffin forms (I don’t use any additional fat for the forms, it doesn’t stick) with the batter, decorate with nuts if you want and bake for 30 minutes in 180 degree Celsius heat.
If you will try them I would love to hear your opinion in the comments bellow!
And here is a long visual story of our sunny hiking trip:
We don’t drink, so those beer-like glasses of apfelschorle really made us laugh- we looked like real bavarian hikers
And on the way back we just ran :)))
This post will be long, but don’t worry- it’s mainly images (and images from BEAUTIFUL places) ;)
Mung bean & red rice salads with feta
Real, snowy, cold winter is finally in Munich and doesn’t show any signs of leaving, so I’m craving more warm, satiating foods and these salads fits these needs very well. I like all kinds of legumes and small green mung beans are no exception. Mostly common to Indian cuisine these small beans are high in protein, quicker to boil than most other legumes and work well in soups, curries and as salads ingredients (both boiled and sprouted as they sprout quickly). If you’re afraid of consuming legumes I suggest watching this short and funny video about the effects of legumes to your health :)
Ingredients (for 2-3 persons):
1 medium sized Romaine lettuce (around 15 cm in length)
2 handfuls of rucola
200g of dried mung beans
60 g of feta cheese (for vegan option- substitute it with smoked tofu)
1/3 of English/long cucumber or 2 small garden cucumbers
4 sun dried tomatoes in oil
3 Tbsp of radish sprouts (they work best because of their intensive taste, but you can switch to other sprouts if you don’t have radish sprouts)
Tbsp of fresh flax seed oil (I wrote where to get best one in this post)
a squeeze of lemon juice
a pinch Himalayan salt & black pepper
a tsp of coriander seeds powder
Fresh oregano (optional)
Red rice for 2 or 3 persons (these are my favorite, but you can use brown or basmati instead if you can’t find red ones. I buy them in Asian shop)
If you know you will do this dish in advance- soak the rice and beans in separate bowls overnight or few hours before cooking. In separate pots put the rice and mung beans to boil. Rice boils 20-30 minutes depending on the type of rice you use and whether they were soaked before or no and mung beans take about 40 minutes to boil. For mung beans put 3 times more water than you use beans and check occasionally when cooking- if you lack water add a bit more. When ready they should be soft but keep their shape. When boiled drain and set aside.
While rice and beans are boiling wash and cut the Romaine lettuce, rucola and cucumbers. Wash the radish sprouts. Cut the sun dried tomatoes into smaller pieces. When rice and mung beans are ready let them cool a bit (or totally, these salads can be eaten cold as well) and then in a big bowl add the beans, rice, lettuce and rucola, cucumbers, sun dried tomatoes and radish sprouts. Squeeze in the lemon juice, add black pepper, flax seed oil and salt, mix everything. Put to plates and top with feta cheese and fresh oregano.
P.S. my images doesn’t reflect the proportions well this time- there should be much more rucola ;)
And then as I promised in the beginning of this post- I want to share some images from beautiful places we visited last weekend. Lovely Egle from Lithuania visited Munich for modeling and as she didn’t knew anything in the city we ended up tasting teas and vegetarian/vegan cakes in town (and I found my new favorite place in Munich), spent hours speaking about spirituality, travels and just life in general and on weekend we went to see the nature in Bavaria- spending time outdoors is always a good idea and when mountains are just 40km from your home you just have to go there :) We visited a small town of Oberammergau with traditional Bavarian paintings on the walls on each house, Ettal monastery and took a lift to the mountain top- the views there are breathtaking! Although I guess I love the hiking part even more than just seeing the view from the top, but it was about 1 meter of snow there and we didn’t have proper clothes to take such a hike… After the trip we came to our home and my husband made SUCH a tasty and (a strange combination) healthy pizza with cauliflower crust that we instantly knew it has to be on the blog, so now I have a serious reason to eat few more pizzas to refine the recipe ;)
So the images + music:
Above the clouds
Sunbathing like cats
I wish you lovely weekend, I guess I’ll spend mine in the mountains again as it’s the last weekend that Eglė is here. And baking banana muffins which I want to put on the blog for some time now.
If you found this post useful I would be very happy if you could share it with your friends- this blog is new and I would love to find new readers for it :)
Today I want to share with you a few ideas how to make a healthy, tasty breakfast using amaranth seeds. Did I mentioned it can be vegan and gluten free too? Amaranth seeds are very tiny, but don’t be misled by their looks- they’re incredibly nutritious! This plant was cultivated for as long as 8,000 years in South America but now it’s also becoming more and more popular in many countries for its similarity to grains but much better nutritional value. Amaranth is full of dietary fiber, is a very good source of protein and is rich of minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium and it is exceptionally good source of manganese. Amaranth is also gluten-free. What I also like is how beautiful and easy to grow in your garden amaranth plants are. Although I don’t know how many of them I should grow to have enough for my use :))…
Sweet amaranth porridge (for two persons)
This (as many of my recipes) is easily changeable recipe, I’ll just provide few ways how I like to make it but feel free to experiment with other ingredients that you have in your kitchen.
Around 1,5 cups of amaranth seeds
1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil or 4 Tbsp of coconut cream/milk from the can
Sweetener of your choice- raw honey, agave/maple syrup according to your taste
2 Tbsp dried coconut
1 tsp of grounded cinnamon
Vanilla seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod (optional)
Toppings of your choice: 2 Tbsp chopped cashew nuts/walnuts/dried cranberries/ pomegranate seeds/ fresh or frozen berries of your choice
To a small pot add 1,5 cups of amaranth and 2 cups of water, bring to boil and stir- it tends to boil over. If you see that the seeds are not done yet but there is too less water- add a bit more. It’s better to add later then to add too much in the first place- the seeds are very small and it’s difficult if you have too much water in the end and need to sift them. Boil for around 20 minutes. It’s also possible to soak them the night before- they boil quicker and taste better I would say, but I understand that it’s not always possible to plan such things in advance. When amaranth is ready (you will see how seeds became bigger and soft) take it of the heat and add coconut oil/cream, spices and coconut flakes and sweetener to the pot, mix well. If you’re using raw honey it’s better to wait a bit as it’s not good to heat it. Put your porridge to bowls and add toppings, that’s it!
And then I want to share one other fun thing you can do with amaranth seeds- make kind of popcorns, but from amaranth! First I used to buy them already popped (for those of you based in Germany- Alnatura sells them), but then I found it is possible to make them at home. It’s a very tasty and still very healthy snack- you can eat them on their own or add to your morning cereal, I like eating them with organic unsweetened apple sauce as a snack. In Mexico they make candies from popped amaranth seeds and sugar/honey :)
Popped amaranth seeds
So to make popped amaranth you will need a pan with lid (preferably glass lid to be able to see if they all have popped) and some amaranth seeds. Put your pan on medium/high heat, wait until it’s hot. Add 1 Tbsp of amaranth seeds and cover with the lid, if the pan is hot enough they will start popping immediately. Be careful not to burn them. Sometimes I take the pan off the heat for few seconds and shake them to pop evenly. 1 portion takes around 1-2 minutes. When all seeds are popped remove them from the heat immediately as they tend to burn quickly. Repeat until you have enough “popcorns” :)
Do you know amaranth? How do you use it? Let’s share ideas in the comments below and if you know somebody who could benefit from this post- please share it :)
With love and inspiration,
This will be a very long and personal post, I’m just telling you in advance.
Winter walk by river Isar +this song
It’s very early morning, it’s still dark and quiet outside and I’m laying on my bed with a cup of mint tea near me and writing, surrounded by the strange silence that’s common to this magical time of the day. Now January slowly goes to an end but I still catch myself contemplating about previous year and what do I want for the next year. I don’t really like New Year’s resolution for the same reason I don’t like Valentine’s day- it’s not enough to set your goals once a year as it is not enough to celebrate love once a year. But if you do it often, then these days become only another good opportunity to do what you’re doing anyway. And as I’m doing lots of self-reflection, journalling and goal setting anyway so I tend to use the New Year, too. But this year I didn’t set any real, normal goals. Last year for me was a year of deep change and intensive learning or in some cases unlearning what’s no longer serving me. I moved from Lithuania to Germany, started and finished Marie’s Forleo B-school which changed my worldview profoundly (and understood that it’s actually never finished- the possibilities to implement the knowledge I got from the course and its inspiring community and possibilities to go deeper in each subject are literally endless). I got married, I started to work in new country and culture, travelled, started applying EFT and some other more spiritual tools to remove various blocks I have… 2014 were incredibly useful for my personal and professional growth, but what I notice when I think about it is that it was also a year full of everything- learning, doing, rushing. And I know that now I want some other, more feminine energy in my life to balance this.
So what do I want from this year? Some ideas are continuos or ever-present to me, like craving creativity in everything I do, but this time I want it to be more spontaneous- I notice that when I made photography into my work I started to miss creativity just for the sake of it, in a form of playful, unrestricted experimentation. So I want to experiment with new recipes, get back to occasional painting, decorate my home, write, take images for personal projects… Simply do more things not because I need, but because I feel that I want this particular thing now. What I always notice is that the more you allow yourself this unrestricted self-expression without any specific goal in mind, the more creative you become.
Some ideas are new, like my main core desired feeling now- to be flowing. I know I can do, achieve things I want in masculine way, but I also know it’s quite tiring and not the best way to use my energy, though I use it this way a lot. What I want instead is to focus on my intuition more, feel what’s important now and do things with ease, with harmony and following my inspiration instead of fighting for my goals and pushing through. I want to be like water- soft, flowing, constantly changing, but always finding my way. Flexible, but determined.
I guess if I started with my core desired feelings I should make a short introduction for those who don’t know the concept. There is a book I love by the brilliant Danielle LaPorte called “The desire map” which suggests entirely different option to so popular New Year’s resolutions and other goals (by the way, yesterday I was in self-improvement Meetup in Munich and they said that in Germany according to statistics 92% of people give up on their resolutions in a first month. So maybe we should change something in the way we try to achieve them?). As Danielle says this book is “a guide for creating goals with soul” and I think this description is pretty apt. The whole idea of it is that so often we make our goals having in mind what we’re already doing and what we should logically do next and in this way we are often left not with inspiring goals that move us forward, but with to-do-list that merely creates tension for us. And Danielle (actually Tony Robbins says the same, just in his masculine style) suggest us that what we really desire and crave is to FEEL certain way and that we should create our goals backwards- first understanding how we want to feel each day and just then making our goals that allows us to feel that way. It’s a subtle but profound change in perspective. I’m a huge fan of Danielle’s style and recommend this book if you want to figure out your core desired feelings. Trust me, it helps you live your life in different way.
So, besides creativity and flowing, what are my other current core desired feelings?
Inspiration– I want to feel inspiration everyday, in everything I do. Do things with passion, enthusiasm, love. Be in flow. Feel guided by God and notice and follow the inspiration I get. And be inspiring, helpful to others.
Beauty– be & feel beautiful, create beauty and harmony around me by things I do, words I say and thoughts I think. One idea I knew for long time in theory and I finally want to implement practically is to consciously say/think only positive words about my body. I know we all create our reality with our thoughts, but still I often catch myself saying things about my body that I don’t want to be true. So that’s it, I’m starting an experiment of consciously being kind to my body. That’s where I live and you know what, it’s kind of important.
Connection– to feel connected to higher spirit, to my heart & intuition. To feel connected to nature, spend time there. To feel connected to my love, my family and friends. To build new meaningful relationships and grow them (and current ones) with love, care and helpfulness.
Thriving– the word “successful” doesn’t resonate with me so much, but I do want to succeed in all my efforts, projects and life in general and thriving for me says growing in all areas of life.
Of course you need not only come up with some nice words (though this is already clarity and is therefore good), but you also still need to set goals and now you know what to aim for. I’ll share just few of mine which I feel could help others, too:
1) Be in tune with my body and intuition. Slow down and listen, feel what would be the best for me now (to stretch? To go for a walk? To answer urgent emails?). Nourish my body, not destroy it through my food & lifestyle choices or thoughts & words. Meditate and do yoga each morning. Read a chapter of good book during the day. Spend time outside. Drink plenty of water.
2) Build something of meaning. Make time for things I crave doing, that makes me grow. Limit time on social media or unplanned internet surfing. Dream big and achieve a lot.
3) Try new things, learn, be inspired, grateful. Not only gather knowledge, but implement it.
4) Continue with mastering the art of manifestation :) I guess some day I will write a separate post on this.
This has been incredibly long post, but if you’re still with me I would love to hear your thoughts- how do YOU want to feel this year? What are your goals, big or small? Let’s share and support each other :)
I know what you think- Brussels sprouts? Eh? Does anybody eat them? Somehow they (together with broccoli) are not on most people’s favorite list… But I think they are very nutritious, super easy to cook and I just think that these miniature-cabbages are incredibly cute! And there is “a trick” to making them taste good- the same goes to broccoli- simply never overcook them, that’s it :) When cooking them make sure they are still green and not brownish in color and still a bit crunchy instead of mushy…
Now let’s go to the recipe:
Roasted Brussels sprouts + sweet potato with brown rice
Brussels sprouts, around 500g
1 big sweet potato
~5 Brazil nuts
~2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
a pinch of Himalayan salt
a pinch of chili powder (optional)
a pinch of cumin seed powder
1 tsp of spices for Uzbek Palov/Pilaf (those of you based in Lithuania- my friend Ieva from here can bring wonderful Uzbek spices from Ukraine, write her if interested :) I use those, but any other Pilaf spices without artificial flavors would be fine)
Some clarified butter ghee or coconut oil for roasting
Brown rice for 2-3 persons
a pinch of Himalayan salt
a tsp of flax seed or olive oil (again, those of you based in Lithuania- in Vilnius in “Kalvarijų” market next to potatoes they sell the freshest and tastiest flax seed ever! We even bring few bottles of it to Germany when we visit Lithuania… Keep in mind that flax seed oil is good for only about 1,5 months so use it quickly. Although I’m sure you won’t have problems with that oil :))) And if you have tried only the ones that are sold in shops- they usually are already too old, it shouldn’t have any bitter taste at all)
Wash the brown rice, put them in a pot with water and a pinch of salt and let them boil until ready, about 20-25 minutes. Wash the Brussels sprouts, remove the damaged leaves from them and cut in halves. Add to a separate pot with enough water to cover them and boil up to 5 minutes, see my comments above, the essence is to not overcook them. Take them out when ready and set aside. Peel the sweet potato and cut it and Brazilian nuts into thin slices, put in separate bowls. In a heated dry pan roast sunflower seeds and Brazil nuts until they turn golden. Set aside. Heat a pan with ghee or coconut oil and put the spices to roast for a few seconds, just be careful not to burn them. Add the sweet potato slices and after few minutes also the boiled Brussels sprouts and salt. Roast for few minutes, but they should stay a bit crunchy. When the rice is done mix them with flax seed or olive oil and serve with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle the nuts and sunflower seeds on top.
These days it’s snowy and beautiful in Munich (I guess I will have to wait more for my spring weather) and I want to share few shots of lovely Munich old town (and a song I love these days) :
If you found this post useful I would be very grateful if you could share it with your friends- this blog is new and I would love to reach new readers interested in healthy living
And have a lovely snowy week :)
With love and inspiration,