sobota, 04. maj 2013

Gifts for the New Mom


Today is the second day of my blog-detox week and I'm kinda struggling, much more than on Facebook-detox. I guess that must mean I'm addicted to other people's creativity ... and that I have no life of my own:) Since I can't read other blogs, I'm just going to write more on my own. There's a theme I wanted to write about for some time: gifts for a new mom/new family.

We visited our friends yesterday, a lovely couple with a six weeks old tiny bundle of joy. I was impressed by  tiny-ness of the little guy's feet. I just couldn't believe my Lila was ever that small:) I thought about what to bring as a present for the new family a lot, and ended up bringing them some cute little pajamas, bath-time animals and pacifiers for the little one and chocolate financiers for the parents. I wasn't completely satisfied with presents, but they seemed pleased enough.

So here's a list of presents for a new family that I thought of for future reference:


1. Food!


When you're a young parent, it isn't always easy to find the time or the energy to cook. Trust me, I know;) Bringing a home-cooked meal to a new family seems a perfect gift to me! There is a question, what foods to bring, though. I like to cook with a lot of spices and beans and cabbage, and these are all things that some breastfeeding moms prefer to avoid...

2. Jewelry


I got a tiny gold bracelet (along with a ton of cute stuff for my little girl) from my aunt when she first visited me and my little new family. Even later I learned that the family was supposed to give gold jewelry to a new mom (maybe just to the first time mom?). I liked the gesture a lot, even though the bracelet wasn't really my style. But I sooo love these!



To be honest though, I prefer earrings to bracelets. But it's almost impossible (even dangerous!) to wear dangly earrings when you are carrying a baby around. Maybe not when she's a newborn, but soon she will start grabbing those pretty little sparkly things. So stud-earrings are the obvious choice for moms.

3. Photos


Many new families decide to hire a professional photographer to take photos of their newborn. But some just forget to book the photographer (they are very busy people) or can't afford to, and you can step in here. You can of course gift them a voucher for a photo session with the local photographer, but if you have a camera yourself, you can snap a few photos of the newborn and the whole family, even if you're not a professional. Set the camera on black and white, shoot in natural light, edit photos with a free software (before Lightroom, I liked to use Picasa, but there's tons of others, just google it:)) and you'll probably end up with at least two photos you'll like. Have th best one printed on a canvas and you have a most unique present for the new mom (and dad, and grandma ...), like, ever.

What gifts do you like to bring to new moms? What would you like to receive?


četrtek, 02. maj 2013

A Facebook-free Week



My Facebook-free week is well over.

I couldn't say I was a lot more productive when I wasn't "allowed" to use Facebook, but I was at a loss what to do when I sat at the computer. I didn't really miss it though. And yes, I did cheat! And not just once ... That's probably the most interesting part of this little report:)


The cheating ... yea


The first day, I cheated unintentionally because I just couldn't get used to the idea of not using FB, so I kept refreshing it ... I think I did it four times!

Then the second time ... My sister just started a giveaway on her gorgeous blog she has with a friend, and she asked me to share it on FB ... I just couldn't say no to her, so I begged T. to post about the giveaway instead of me:) It was quite hard to persuade him, he asked me "What's the point of detox then?", but then he did it. Thank you, T.!

Sometime during this week T. found the amazingly funny Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and we just couldn't get enough of their Thrift Shop. And the next day I heard their wonderful and heartwarming song Same Love on the radio and I just had to share ... just had to. And guess what? Nobody even saw it or commented on it ... I'm just not a very feedback-y person, I guess.


Site Blocker


A friend of mine suggested I try a site blocker exstension, so I tried a Chrome Extension StayFocusd that blocked my gmail and Facebook after 10 minutes ... Well, 10 minutes of FB AND Gmail is very little. So I turned it off, since I need both for my (unpaid, for now;)) work. Oh, since my FB-free week is over, we can now connect through Facebook.


The Conclusion


The conclusion is, Facebook is not the core of my procrastination. Oh well. I didn't visit or phone my friends more, as was one of the hopes for this week. I guess one week is probably just not enough ... But! I did spend a lot of time outside and taking pictures. But this has more to do with beautiful weather than absence of Facebook, I am affraid. You can see I was experimenting with backlight photography just a little, and I found the use for the self-timer on my camera. I was inspired to "get in the picture" by this beautiful post. Not a very FB-related topic, huh.



 

Raw chocolate-vanilla parfait with berries


Raw parfait.

Parfait! It's the first time I made a parfait thinking about making a parfait. I wasn't very fond of fancy desserts, but this was actually pretty easy and the result is quite stunning. At leats for my untrained-in-fancy-ness eye.

I call it parfait even though this is nothing like the traditional parfait since it has zero sugar, gelatine or dairy.  Their gorgeous looks is all they have in common. These little jems are packed with fruit, the good fat and natural sweeteners such as dates and agave nectar. And they are also raw, wich means - enzymes! It's the perfect spring-to-summer dessert, light, refreshing and really pretty if I do say so myself:)

Raw chocolate-vanilla parfait with berries


Vanilla layer
3 handfuls cashews
2 tsp chia seeds
a pinch organic vanilla powder
3 tbsp agave nectar
water, as needed

Chocolate layer
a handfull dates, soaked in warm water for at least 2 hours
1 ripe avocado, peeled and stoned
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp (raw) cocoa
agave nectar, to taste

Fruit
Strawberries, around 6 nice big ones, washed and chopped
agave nectar, a few drops
raspberries, around 15 pieces (just buy a small container), washed and patted dry

Decoration
a couple of unsalted, raw pistacchios, chopped
cocoa nibs
bee pollen, a pinch or two (omit if you are vegan, of course)


To make the vanilla custard, grind the cashews in coffee grinder. Transfer the powdered cashews to a medium bowl, add chia seeds and vanilla and stir. Add agave nectar. Gradually add water until you get just the right consistency. Cover the bowl with a plate or lid (or cling film, if you must) and put in the refrigerator.

Prepare the chocolate layer: blend all ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. Taste and add some agave nectar if desired. Refrigerate.

After about two hours of chilling, assemble the parfait.

Prepare three small jars. Divide chocolate custard into (imaginary) thirds and spoon each one in one of the jars. Top it with chopped strawberries, sweetened with a few drops agave nectar. Spoon one third vanilla custard into each jar and top with five raspberries.

Make it pretty with some chopped pistacchios, cocoa nibs and bee pollen. Serve immediately or chill for a few more hours. 




četrtek, 18. april 2013

Social Media Detox: A Week Without Pinterest


My Pinterest-free week wasn't revolutionary at all, to be honest.

I didn't really miss Pinterest that much, but I did want to use it a few times. I was hosting a small brunch on Friday, just for me and my friend, and I decided to make a quiche. I would usually attempt to find a nice one with the help of Pinterest ... But this time I found a really great recipe for leek quiche anyway, using good old Google.;)

I also wanted to check a recipe I had pinned some time ago, but then I just invented one instead, and it turned out wonderfully. I will be posting the recipe shortly, and I hope somebody will pin it:)

I was expecting to be able to put more time into finishing the DIY project that I pinned earlier, but I wasn 't very productive nor succesful for that matter.

This was my DIY to-do list:

Dolman shirt out of T-shirt
A Whale
Salt Dough Footprint
Learning some Photoshop
Stamps


I started the week with salt dough footprint project, because it seemed easy enough and I tried it before as well. I made three attempts but wasn't satisfied with the result. The dough crackled a little, and also, my little one pressed into the dough to hard with her big toe:)

So I tried to make my Dolman shirt. Instructions were pretty easy, but sewing machine didn't cooperate. I'll try to do it this weekend with the help of Tadej's aunt. Hope she'll be willing to:) I did make another thingy with one of Tadej's old T-shirts, and it turned out almost wearable. This project didn't call for sewing machine, just some scissors:)

I watched two or three PS tutorials by Alex Beadon. She's fun and I think I did learn a few things about PS (and some about the About me page, you should check them out, too!). I didn't get to trying them out on my own though.

A whale. Well, I didn't even get to thinking about that:) Same goes for stamps...


The conclusion 

I guess Pinterest wasn't really sucking that big a portion of my (potentially creative) time after all. It is my newest addiction and maybe I just think a spend a lot of time there. I do however have a lot to do about the house (I'm not a very good housewife) and well, my hands are also full with the baby (that will soon become a toddler, a fact I can't wrap my mind around!).


I did a lot of cooking, though, as I mentioned above. Some very pinnable items, I dare say:)

So, now a Facebook-free week awaits me. I already suck at it: I forgot I shouldn't be using it ... four times in a day!

torek, 09. april 2013

Experiment: A Mini Social Media Detox - The Plan

Spring is a great time for detox, they say. I decided to do a special kind of detox this year: a social media detox. What do I mean, you ask? I mean abstaining from social media for a month. Before you pronounce me insane, I will tell you why there's a "mini" in the title. I will only be abstaining from one of the oh-so-addictive social media thingies at a time, changing them weekly.

Why on Earth would I want to do that, you ask? Well, I noticed I spend waaay to much time checking Facebook, Googling everything that comes to mind, admiring all the pretty Pins in the world, and reading a thousand blogs. Thankfully I don't use Twitter or Instagram. Oh, and I don't find LinkedIn addictive at all;) I think social media is eating away my creative time, and with this little experiment I'm going to prove wether that's true or not.

The plan is as follows:

Week 1: Pinterest detox

No Pinterest. I choose it as the first one since it is my most recent addiction, and quite sever, too:) No pinning, no salivating over other peoples pins ... Instead of just looking at pretty suff I will try to make some. Finally the time to put those pinned DIY in action!

Week 2: Facebook detox

No Facebook. I choose that randomly. That will probably be the hardest thing to do, since I check Facebook several times a day, even though I ask myself each time: "What am I even looking for here?" I think it will be particulary hard since I'm living quite far from my family and friends and I do get lonely. Well, I guess my phone bill is going to be a bit bigger this month ...

Week 3: Google detox

No Googling things! I have a strange obsesion (or maybe it isn't so strange nowadays?). I'm an info-maniac. I  will google just about anything, from recipes, to baby ailments to plain old weird stuff (such as Can a baby kill you, just to see if a similar thought passed anyone elses head as well... You would be surprised;)). The hardest part will be not googling adresses and useful info (such as temperature conversions from Fahrenheit to Celsius and vice versa).

Week 4: Blog detox

No Bloglovin. I will also ignore blog posts from my favourite blogs shared on Facebook. Sorry guys! I don't think this is going to be particulary hard, though. I will of course continue to write my two dear blogs. :)

Week 5: Total Social Media Detox

Well, almost. To sum it all up and tie it with a bow, I will abstain from ALL of the above. I will only read my e-mails and that's it. So please write me an e-mail during this time;) Or better yet, send me a handwritten letter.

I don't know if anyone will be interested in my journey, if you are, please comment or send me a word of encouragement. Anyone wanna join me? ;)

ponedeljek, 01. april 2013

A wholesome energy drink: Ginger-lemon tea with coconut oil

Ginger-lemon tea with coconut oil.

Sounds crazy, right? The idea of putting coconut oil in my tea seemed pretty wild, but then I remembered about Tibetan tea with yak butter that I always wanted to try (though it sounds somewhat gruesome and I hear people often puke after tasting it), but you know, I'm quite adventurous when it comes to tasting things (as long as it's not a dead animal, of course).

So I went on and tried this wholesome energy drink. I must say it did fill me with energy, and the taste wasn't half bad. Also, it's supposed to keep germs at bay wich  does kome in handy since winter isn't showing any since of leaving this year (we had snow in the morning. Now even I am fed up with it!).

So here's the recipe.

Wholesome, homemade energy drink: Ginger-lemon tea with cocnut oil

4 cups water
a piece of ginger root, about the size of a walnut
1 lemon, juice
cinnamon, to taste
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp organic, unrefined coconut oil per cup of tea, beside the teacup at serving

Peel the ginger root, cut it in small pieces, put in pot with cold water and boil for 5 minutes. Add some cinnamon (about half a teaspoon) then let steep for another 5 minutes.

Add lemon juice and honey and stir.

Serve with a small teaspoon of coconut oil aside.

torek, 26. marec 2013

Raw orange-chocolate tartlets




I'd rather blog about a dandelion salad with strawberries but it looks like spring has forgotten to visit this year. We have about 30 centimeters of snow outside! So I'm posting a wintry recipe. I don't know about you, but orange-chocolate combo sounds like winter to me. This is actually more of a formula than a recipe but I think it is very much worth posting:) I love this chocolate syrup, I can't wait to pour it on some raw mint ice cream! Spring, please come soon, I'll make you ice cream.


Raw orange-chocolate tartlets formula


Raw tartlets shell
almonds, enough to cover the bottom of your tartlet pan
dates, enough to cover the bottom of your tartlet pan
organic powdered vanilla (or vanilla essence)
a little bit of warm water

Raw tartlets filling
cashews, enough to cover the bottom of your tartlet pan
juice of half an orange per tartlet pan
1 tbsp agave nectar per tartlet pan
1 tsp chia seeds per tartlet pan
grated zest of organic orange

Raw chocolate syrup
1 tbsp agave nectar 
1 tbsp raw cocoa powder
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil

Decoration
grated zest of organic orange

Soak dates in warm water for at least two hours. In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until well incorporated. If you have a weak food processor, I suggest you process almonds first, then add dates and a little water from soaking the dates. Press the dough into the molds/pans to create a pretty shell.



Grind the cashews in a coffee grinder into fine meal, transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and pour the creamy mixture into prepared shells. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Melt the coconut oil, mix in the cocoa and agave nectar. Keep in a warm place. Right before serving, pour the chocolate on your tartlets. Since they will be cold, the syrup will be hardening quickly because of the coconut oil. You can try and create interesting patterns with it or you may just do something simple, like I did. 

Decorate with some grated orange zest and serve!

Raw orange tartlet with chocolate syrup.