A well spent day off from work.

The past Thursday, 10th of May, was Ascension Day in Holland and this national holiday could not have come at a more perfect time, right after the financial quarter end at work and right before my boyfriend came to stay for just over a week.

Generally speaking, I am very happy how my day off went. All the little things that I end up by doing turned out to be exactly what I needed to recharge and feel at my best again! It was not a “to-do-all-the-things-that-I-need-to-do-but-can’t-do-whilst-I-am-at-work” kind of day but a day that allowed me to reset my perspective and left me better off.

First off, I had a very restful night and slept for 8 hours, something so often underestimated these days. As I went to bed early-ish, I did not need to sleep in to get a good and long night of sleep and, as a result, I woke up feeling very refreshed and ready to seize the day!

I got up and drank a full glass of plain celery juice first thing in the morning. I then put on my workout clothes and got all ready to leave the house. For breakfast I had a bowl of quinoa porridge topped with cinnamon and a tiny bit of white tahini. I ate it all whilst catching up on some youtube videos. Once I finished eating breakfast, I headed out to the gym for a strength training and cardio classes, one of my favourite group workout sessions. Plus, I just love when I have the chance to work out in the morning. It gives me that extra energy boost to efficiently tackle my day.

On my way home I stopped by the supermarket to get some groceries and ended up by buying this gorgeous bunch of colourful tulips. I just could not resist it! I love how they brighten up my indoor space and make my house feel like “home”, especially in this beautiful season of blossoming love. ♥

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After a revitalising shower and some house chores such as doing laundry, I was quite hungry and made myself some oven baked sweet potato chips with smashed avocado and a large squeeze of lemon juice. The perfect combo! Plus, these chips don’t require any type of oil to get crispy or tasty…trust me, they are simply delicious and so easy to wolf down! haha I have also eaten a bowl of a homemade mushroom and veggies stew! It is so important to get all the essential nutrients in and feed our bodies right! 🙂  

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Because skincare is also self-care, I decided to take some time after lunch to devote my full attention to properly take care of my skin. I don’t think I need to endorse the amazing benefits of having a self care routine as I am sure you are pretty aware of them. On my face, I used a foaming cleanser, a hydrating mask with organic argan oil and to finish off, a natural toner mist spray. On my body, I simply used a hydrating lotion. All the products I used are vegan, cruelty free and with natural ingredients and I love how they leave my skin soft, gloomy and soothed. As you can see, I like to keep my skincare routine quick and simple as I am of the opinion that less really is more. When it comes to cosmetics, I prefer to go for quality over quantity.

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Even though the weather was quite gloomy outside, I decided to go to one of my favourite cafes in town, which is like 5 mins from my house, and do some writing for the blog. By doing this I am using my time productively whilst doing something that I really enjoy doing. I ordered my usual cup cappuccino with organic oat milk. It never disappoints!

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When I got home, I decided to do some cleaning around the house and organise one of my kitchen pantry drawers. Bringing order to this drawer was something that I needed to do for a while and I knew that I would feel better after getting it done. It always gives me a sense of accomplishment to do something that has a tangible result and cleaning up my external environment feels like cleaning up my own psyche. As it is often said, “tidy home, tidy mind”!

Afterwards, I prepared some celery juice for my next 2-3 mornings. After reading the benefits for gut health that plain celery juice has in an empty stomach, I decided to give it a try and see how I feel. I have been doing this for just over a week now. I can’t lie that digging the straight up celery juice requires an acquired taste but if my gut benefits from it, then it is definitely worthy!

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For dinner, I made a hearty and creamy soup only with veggies and healing spices such as ginger and turmeric. I will have to post this recipe at some point because it is definitely one of my go-to soups whenever I feel like eating some homemade comfort food.

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I watched an episode of Greys Anatomy whilst having dinner. It is one of my favourite series of all time!

After a quick catch up with my boyfriend, mum and one of my besties, I decided to disconnect from technology and do some bedtime reading. Churning through some pages before I go to sleep is something that I have been trying to turn into a winding-down daily ritual. I feel like it clears my mind from my day-to-day worries and unwanted thoughts and prepare my body for sleep. Besides that, ditching technology just before bed is a healthy habit that I want to bring into my life since it is known to trick our brains to think that they need to stay awake and alert.

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The things that I have done may seem quite mundane for many but what I wanted to show with this blog post is that we should not feel forced to do something super special – like “going on new adventures” – just because it is a public holiday where we don’t have to go to work. We can equally enjoy it by doing seemingly “trivial” things that we actually like doing. In short, focusing our energy and time on some but key activities might end up by having a significant impact on our mood and energy level the next days; it might end up by being exactly what we needed to be at the top of our game.

I feel like we are likely to do better in all parts of our lives if we take the time for ourselves and do whatever we feel like doing, big things or small. ♥ At the end of the day, the way how we choose to spend our days is, of course, the way how we spend our lives. 

Please let me know in the comments if you share these same thoughts or not. Also, what are some of the things that you like to do when you have a day off work? 🙂

By the way, I am currently reading the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Has any of you read it already? Would love to know!

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Pumpkin microwave cake (VGN & GF)

As a breakfast lover, I oftentimes find myself searching for new breakfast ideas in blog posts, Instagram and Pinterest. These platforms always make me feel inspired to try new recipes. Having a yummy and nutritious breakfast is definitely my best morning hack to jumps start the day!

I came up with this microwave cake recipe as an attempt of keeping things simple and easy for myself in busy mornings.

As this cake is meant to be baked in the microwave, it takes literally less than 5 minutes. So easy and quick!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp of coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp of oat flour
  • 2 Tbsp of pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbsp of unsweetned soya milk (or any other plant-based milk)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl or mug that is microwave-safe. Use a spoon to stir together until combined. The batter might seem lumpy at first but keep stirring until it is totally smooth and lump-free.
  2. Microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds
  3. Once the cake is out of the microwave you can add just your favourite toppings! I used peanut butter and goji seeds but you can add anything you want. ENJOY! 🙂

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If you fancy the idea of having a moist, healthy and tasty cake for breakfast that takes no time to bake, then you should give this recipe a try! If you do, please let me know how you liked it 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

My easy Chickpea Coconut Curry recipe (VGN & GF)

I frequently crave hearty and comfort foods such as a good coconut curry. This coconut chickpea curry recipe always manages to satisfy my cravings and, therefore, I just though I’d share it with you guys. It is tasty, effortless to makeand nutrient-dense. Plus, believe me, you can’t really get it wrong.

 

Now off to what matters: what are the ingredients and directions of cooking it?

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 300-400 chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 100gr button white mushrooms, sliced
  • 150gr carrot, cut in half and then sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (you can also used the equivalent in canned tomatoes)
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snaps
  • 5 cobs of baby corn, cut into short lenghts
  • 3 handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  • 100gr of red capsicum, sliced
  • 100gr of yellow capsicum, sliced
  • 400ml of canned coconut milk
  • 100gr of firm organic Tofu (optional)
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small handfull of fresh cilantro
  • Lemon/lime

 

Cooking directions:

  1. Heat some water in a large pan and add the onion finely sliced. Cook until softened, it should take about 10 mins. Add all spices and stir to combine them properly. Cook for 3 mins, then pour in the chopped tomatoes, using a wooden sppon to break them up, and simmer for 10 mins.
  2. Pour in the coconut milk and add some salt to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further 15 mins until the sauce becomes thick.
  3. Tip in the chickpeas, the carrot, fresh spinach leaves, yellow and red capsicum, baby corn and green beans (all previously boiled until tender-crisp), and warm through. Cook, stirring frequently, for a further 7-10 minutes.
  4. The tofu is totally optional in this recipe. When I use it, I like to cut it in small cubes and bake it in the oven with some mustard. However, in case you prefer, you can also tip the tofu cubes in when you add the chickpeas and the veggies to the pan.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed and as per your preference.
  6. Serve over some rice (white or brown) or quinoa and garnish with fresh lemon or lime juice and fresh coriander leaves.

 

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For an incredibly flavourful curry is important to have the right blend of flavours and textures. This is quite a versatile recipe but I find that using these veggies, herbs and spices, makes it very rich in flavour, wholesome and satisfying.

If you try this recipe please let me know in the comment section below. Also, do you have a different coconut curry recipe that is also vegan? As a curry lover, I am always open to need recipe ideas! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful