Finding Happiness

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Everyone wants it, and we constantly seek it, yet it can be illusive to many. It makes us smile, feel joy, and stay positive about everyday life. But is it possible to be happy all the time? Or is it enough to be satisfied or content? Is your Happiness dependent on others?

Some say happiness is not the fulfillment of what we wish for, but an appreciation of what we do already have around us!  Happiness will come when we quit complaining about troubles and are simply grateful for all the troubles we don’t have.Appreciate Life

“Mr or Ms. Dreary moans about everything, he or she thinks people are horrible, and the world is going downhill and nothing is worth the effort. Well guess what? There is some who consider that He or She has choice and is acting out that choice.

Such a person looks at their options and decides that to be happy is much too difficult at that moment and declines to make any effort to think otherwise. He or she decides it is easier to be miserable and inadvertently drags others around him down, as well.

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If someone wants to be miserable, or depressed it is their absolute right to be so. Misery is but one part of learning to manage our own independent lives.  If a person chooses to feel permanently depressed, let them also be so. Some folks will find every reason to be unable, as they feel that is more real.

If you say, ” Snap out of it. Life is great” or even, “just think positive.” They might feel or think that they just aren’t ready to agree or decide life is great.

Only with a change in their attitude, is it possible for them to see things differently and then they might be ready to snap out of it.

 

A change in attitude allows us to view life in a different way.

 

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Say What?

“Consciously or unconsciously we choose our thoughts and actions, or reactions; we assign meaning to others’ words or actions.  Our own thoughts about those words or actions, impact the way we feel.  Thus accepting what is, and maintaining focus on the present moment as opposed to mentally re-hashing what has happened in the past, may cause a shift in our thoughts and therefore also in our feelings.” www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/

 

jaws

 

Stay present in the moment

Only the present moment is real, the past and the future are at this point, only illusions. Focus and be mindful on the present moment. It is here that that you live your life. Past mistakes are gone. You do not and can not live in the past, as much as you might try to think that. What is done, is done, and can’t be revisited, so why dwell on it? Look forward to what you can do and just soften in to looking to thoughts of things you are grateful for!

 

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Chart your Gratitude

As cliched as it sounds, every morning, get up as soon as you wake and write down or think of three things, you can be thankful for. Slowly you will build the neurological pathway to positivity in your brain. For instance:

The sunshine caressing your face, the rain invigorating the plants, looking on a garden of flowers, a caring text, a smile from a co-worker, a treasured possession, the freedom of movement and of thought.

It becomes a beautiful record of all the positives in your life, for when you are feeling down.

 

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” –Alphonse Karr

 

Look hard and you can find much to be grateful for.

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Something light for Tea

You may have heard me espousing the benefits of almonds and walnuts in recipes such as salads, or the Almond and Walnut Muffin recipe, I have previously posted, but what about  the benefits of incorporating cinnamon in our diet?

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I have to confess to being quite a fan of the cinnamon, especially in the crumble toppings you might find on a apple rhubarb dessert or a gourmet muffin. Combining cinnamon with almonds and walnuts, which are a fantastic source of Vitamin E and Magnesium, was a way of creating a light, and more importantly, HEALTHY cake recipe that if cut into bite-sized servings, is only a teeny bit decadent. Altogether a Perfect combination for a healthy morning or afternoon tea. Find the Recipe below.

cinnamon walnut streusel cake
Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

What are the Health Benefits of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is astonishingly good for you. Would you believe that a mere teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 mg of calcium, almost one mg of iron, over a gram of fiber, and quite a lot of vitamins C, K, and manganese?

[Source:cinnamonnutrition.com/index

In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used for its mild anti-inflammatory effects, and to treat digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, and diarrhea. As little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control.  Improving insulin tolerance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.  Read More here.

Streuselkuchen

Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

Ingredients

Base:

  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (55grams) soft Butter
  • 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1egg
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Top Layer:

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoon Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons (or more), of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons soft Butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts – I used a combination of walnuts and flaked almonds

Method

Base:

  1. Preheat Oven 175 ° C and Grease or line a 9″ x 12″  or 20 x 30 cm slice tray
  2. Cream butter and sugar in mixer
  3. Add remaining base ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread out evenly in the tray.

Streusel Topping:

  1. Mix Streusel topping ingredients together
  2. Spread about 1/4 of the Streusel topping onto the base layer and lightly swirl through with a skewer or knife.
  3. Spread the rest of the Streusel topping thinly over the top of the base.
  4. Bake for 20 – 35 minutes or till cooked through, when pierced with a skewer
  5. Allow Cake to cool and cut into small squares to serve.

 

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something healthy and delicious to savour about

~ Amanda

 

Pumpkin – Eat Yourself to Good Health

Showing signs of fatigue, dark circles or puffiness, allergies, nasal congestion?

Then pumpkin is for you.  It’s contains 245 % of  the average person’s daily needs of Vitamin A, as well as antioxidants, alpha and beta-carotenes, and it’s a fantastic source of vitamins C, K, and E. Furthermore, it has magnesium, potassium, and iron, and fibre.

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Being such a fantastic source of good nutrition, one has to wonder why the humble Pumpkin is so maligned?  Children often turn up their noses at the thought of it and the Irish once considered it only good for pig food! Perhaps it is a little boring: after all, there is only so much roast Pumpkin one can eat. 

Here are a few creative ways for incorporating Pumpkin into your diet.

Ways to Eat Pumpkin

  • Once you roast it,  leftover Roast Pumpkin goes well in a Spinach and Rocket Salad sprinkled with a bit of Feta and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!
  • Incorporate it into a Roast Vegetable Frittata – Find that recipe here
  • Add some diced Ham, Mushroom and Caramelised onion pieces to a Roast vegetable pie.
  • Replace Pumpkin in any recipe that needs squash.
  • Dice into small 1 inch pieces and roast with Rosemary and Thyme til crisp. Sprinkle with Sea salt and eat as a healthy alternative to  Hot Chips.
  • Pumpkin seeds called Pepitas can be used to make Crispbread, Salads, Muffins or as a healthy afternoon snack.
  • Being a sweet vegetable it is great to use in Cakes, Scones or Pumpkin Pie.

When talking sweet Pumpkin recipes, my absolute favourite is Pumpkin Scones. Here is how I make them: –

Pumpkin Scones Recipe

scones

Ingredients:

  • I cup of mashed Pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • pinch of Salt
  • 2 cups Self-raising Flour

Method

  • Beat first three ingredients together.
  • Add Egg, Salt and Flour and mix gently.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of Milk*, enough to make a wet Scone Dough that you can easily roll out to a floured board. * Often it is already of a good consistency and no milk is needed.
  • Roll out to 3/4 inch or 3 cm thickness on a floured board and cut into circles.
  • Place on a greased tray and brush tops of Scones with a little dab of Milk.
  • Bake in Hot Oven 250 degrees for 10 minutes

Hint:

To make Pumpkin puree to use in Scones:

Prepare to roast a whole Pumpkin by stabbing it with a knife once or twice to vent the steam, put the whole Pumpkin on a baking sheet, cook in a moderate oven at 175 C for an hour or so, until you can easily stick a knife into it.  Cool, then scoop out the seeds and string middle or pull out with tongs.

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Pumpkin Seeds

(Pepitas)
Pumpkin seeds, called Pepitas, are loaded with minerals, and it’s claimed they have an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as help to protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup of seeds has about 1.5 grams of fibre.

Hint: To prepare the seeds:

Let them dry on paper towels, then oil and salt them (add any other seasonings you want) and slow roast them in a 150 C oven until they smell good – about 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir them every 15 minutes or so. Cool and Store in an airtight jar.

Selection and Storage

  • Choose a Pumpkin that has firm skin, (no wrinkles), and feels heavy for its size. Knock on it with your knuckles.  If it sounds woody, it is ready to eat.  Stay away from the larger pumpkin, as a smaller and denser is better, in this case.
  • Whole Pumpkins should keep for up to 6 months, if kept in a cool, dry place.
  • A sheet or two of newspaper underneath the Pumpkin will absorb any dampness.
  • Once cut, Pumpkin will only keep for a few days, unless you remove the seeds and stringy centre and leave unwrapped in the lower part of your fridge.
  • Cooked Pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

To read nutritional information about Pumpkin, click here.

Grow Your Own Pumpkin plants

The plant is a fast-growing vine, in my yard; it self-sows from my compost bin, creeping along the ground surface.  But throw a few Pumpkin seeds in the garden and nature will do the rest for you. You may have to water them as the vines do get thirsty.

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Pumpkin’s health benefits are Something we should all Ponder About

 

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Healthy Afternoon tea:-Almond and Walnut Muffins

If you could find a way to incorporate  a food that provided you with magnesium and Vitamin E, could lower your blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol you would eat it, wouldn’t you? And what if that food could also reduce hunger and assist with weight loss? It would be a miracle!

But it is not. This ‘miracle’ food is almonds and unless you are allergic to nuts, this is a great way to incorporate almonds into your diet, even if you don’t like eating whole almonds themselves.

Almond and Walnut Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 150g Anchor Lighthouse Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 55 g chopped nuts – I use a mix of walnuts and pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (125mL) milk
  • Pinch salt
Method:
  1. Sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine butter, eggs and milk.
  3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Line muffin tray with paper muffin cases.
  5. Fill cases to 2/3 full
  6. Bake at 170ºC  for 20-25 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean

Sprinkle with cinnamon for an additional health benefit!

Something delicious and healthy to Ponder About

 


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Acidosis? Examining our Modern Diet

Scallops and waldorf salad
Scallops and Waldorf salad

Recently I have been wondering about how the modern Western diet can be extremely acidic and what implications this has for our bodies?

Our bodies try to maintain a natural acid and alkaline balance. If it doesn’t, our body would not function. This is true, as I once was called on to resuscitate an elderly citizen who had suffered a heart attack, due to prolonged acidosis.

However, our incredibly complex bodies have a variety of back up plans in order to maintain our pH balance.

Lemons, while acidic can be alkalinising once ingested

In the presence of a lot of acidic foods, the body will:

  1. Use up all the available alkaline reserves in the body.
  2. he body will attempt to eliminate excess acids from your blood.
  3. Acid will be stored in your body’s fat cells.  This then has implications for anyone attempting weight loss. Why? Because the body reacts to avoid the influx of acid that might be released during sudden weight loss. An acidic body holds onto excess weight, making dieting extremely difficult. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
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    Sweet cakes in a Patisserie in Switzerland

    Your body finds an alkalinising agent, such as calcium. It will try to redress the pH imbalance by leaching calcium from your bones, which can be a contributing factor to osteoporosis.

Common symptoms of Acidosis or high levels of Acid*

NB these symptoms can also indicate another medical condition so always see your Doctor or health professional for further investigation

  • fatigue, and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fatigue or weakness after eating meals
  • frequent colds, low immunity
  • poor circulation (cold hands/feet)
  • low blood pressure
  • burning sensation during urination
  • kidney stones
  • headaches
  • pallor
  • Gastro intestinal issues such as stomach cramps, reflux, diarrhoea, ulcers
  • agitation, nervousness anxiety, depression
  • lack of joy
  • lack of ambition
  • dental problems, bleeding or inflamed gums, cavities,cracked lips, loose teeth,
  • muscle cramps and spasm,
  • tension in neck and shoulders
  • joint pain, (arthritis like)
  • nail and hair problems
  • vaginal discharge (candida)
  • tendency to insomnia, restless sleep
  • tendency to itchy skin, acne
  • tendency to allergies, runny nose, chronic bronchitis
  • Minestrone soup – Tomatoes  and mushrooms are higher in acid compared to other similar foods

How Acidic is your diet? Find more info here

This post is not meant as a health guide, just sharing information, and giving us Something to Ponder About