The greatest bread recipe ever

Do you love homemade bread, but dislike handling the dough? Or maybe you think the fermentation process is a hassle but you still don´t want bread with baking powder? Then I have the greatest recipe for you! This recipe really simplifies baking and I´m not baking any other kind of bread anymore. The recipe origins from the Swedish bread blogger Martin Johansson at Pain de Martin. This is the most basic version, but you can exchange the flour, mix different kinds of flours and add nuts, seeds or fruit as you wish. You need a good kitchen scale and a bread tin. And you need to plan ahead, the dough requires 8-10 hours of rest before baking. The exact time isn’t that important though. The bread tin isn’t actually a necessity, but it makes it much simpler, and that´s what we´re aiming for, right?

 

Ingredients

390 g (grams) flour

300 g cold water

3 g yeast (yes, that´s 3 grams)

6-9 g salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water in a big bowl. Mix flour and salt and any other dry ingredients that you may have. Pour into the water and stir quickly. Put the bowl in a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap. Leave on the counter for 8-10 hours. I usually stir everything together in the morning if it´s a weekday or in the evening if it’s the weekend. After 8-10 hours, pour the dough into a greased bread tin. If you want you can sprinkle the tin with something like oats or sesame seeds before pouring the dough inside. If you don´t have a bread tin you can sprinkle some flour on a kitchen towel (or on the table if you prefer that) and pour the dough on that. Pull the dough into a square and fold from all sides to form a bundle of dough. Leave for another hour or while you cook dinner or eat breakfast. Bake for about 30-35 minutes at 225 degrees Celsius. Enjoy!

Five quick, tasty AND healthy breakfast ideas

We all know that eating healthy is important for us, but still we keep stuffing ourselves with things that are bad for us. Eating healthy doesn’t even have to be that difficult. One small, but simple trick for eating more healthy is to only keep healthy products in your house.

You might think that I´m simplifying, but it´s a really great start. If you don’t have chips, frozen pizzas and soft drinks in your home then you won’t be consuming chips, frozen pizzas and soft drinks in your home. If your fridge and pantry is filled with healthy products that you love, then that’s what you’ll be eating. And yes, I´m sure that there are healthy products that you love.

Maybe you think that you don’t know what is healthy and what is not, but I’m pretty sure that you have a clue. My tips is to opt for organic whole foods and to avoid heavily processed foods. And it isn´t just those unhealthy snacks that we´re after, go for whole foods for every meal of the day.

 

Here are five quick, healthy and tasty breakfast ideas to give yourself a good start to your day.

 

Oats with apple sauce

I like it simple with just some homemade applesauce and milk. For an even healthier version you can grate an apple or slice up a banana, top with some nuts and raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon.

 

Greek yoghurt with berries and nuts

This makes for a really quick breakfast. Top the yogurt with chopped nuts, fresh or frozen berries and a drizzle of honey.

 

Green smoothie

A green smoothie is perfect if you´re not really a breakfast person. The only drawback with this breakfast is that it’s a little noisy to make. It´s very easy and versatile though, totally worth trying.

Use your choice of liquid such as milk, almond milk, oat milk or water

Add a large handful of greens. I mostly use baby spinach, but other greens that work well are lamb’s lettuce and swiss chard

Choose some fruits and berries. I like frozen berries for making the smoothie a bit thicker and to make it nice and cold. Bananas and avocados also thickens the smoothie. I always have some pieces of banans in the freezer. They are great for adding some natural sweetness to the smoothie. You can also add a date or two for this purpose.

If you want, you can add some of the following ingredients as well: shredded coconut, nut butter, chia seeds, cinnamon, ginger, raw vanilla powder

Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

 

Scrambled eggs with vegetables

Scrambled eggs is great if you’re looking for something warm in the evening. Cut up some vegetables in the evening and breakfast will be ready in no time.

 

Toasted whole wheat bread with avocado

You really don´t need anything else than some salt to go with this, but I like to add some tomatoes as well. Serve with a hot cup of gunpowder green tea or hot water with ginger and lemon.

To plan or not to plan, that is the question

Usually I love making plans and having things to look forward to but this summer we havn’t had any plans for the vacation and now that feels great! At the beginning of the summer I felt slightly hesitant about not having anything going on, but as the days have passed I’ve noticed the benefits of a vacation like this.

 

During hectic everyday life all those small decisions; what to wear, what to cook etc can be a source of stress. But during a vacation like ours, where we’re taking the day as it comes, there’s more room for not knowing.

 

I feel so relaxed and have forgotten everything when it comes to planning; my weekly dinner menus, making shopping lists and even my plan for writing here on the blog. I’m guessing that’s a good thing though, it must mean that I’m totally relaxed!

 

 

I guess the lesson to be learned from this, as with everything else in life, a healthy balance is what we should aim for. Sometimes planning ahead is the way to go, and sometimes going with the flow works just fine.

The things that really matter

My month of good eating has come to an end and I feel a little bit sad about it. I really do love thinking about, planning and preparing good food. The month of June has been about eating more whole foods and more fruits and vegetables. I’ve eaten more vegetarian meals than I usually do. I’ve tried things I havn’t tried before; I’ve made green smoothies for breakfast. I’ve made my own almond milk and cashew butter from scratch and I’ve made chocolate and peanut butter raw food balls just to mention a few.

However, even though I’m not making July a month of good eating, it doesn’t mean that I’ll stop eating food that is delicious and healthy. Not at all. I´ll keep making it a priority to eat good. Just as I´m still thinking about being mindful

This whole journey, that started with me wanting to make everyday life a little bit easier to live, has brought so many other thoughts about life and what really matters.

Simplifying life isn´t just about getting rid of your possessions and finding ways to do things faster or smarter. Simplifying life is also about spending less time and energy on things that are not important to you and about spending more time on the things that are.

With this in mind I’ve decided to devote the month of July to other people.

Sadly I’m not always the most endearing person. I have a tendency to get caught up in my own pojects, be it blogging, cooking, exercising or whatever it may be. And when I’m in the middle of one of those projects, I sometimes forget or set aside the people around me. But neverteheless, I do value relationships with other people and I’m going to make it a priority to pay attention to and socialize with family and friends this month.

Do you value the people around you as much as they deserve?

Do you value them as much as you deserve?

I’m slowly starting to pin down the  things that matter to me. What matters to you might not be the same, but I’m pretty sure that you have people in your life that matter. Maybe you are taking them for granted?

Carol Preibis at Ahh The Simple Life recently wrote about things to be grateful for and that reminded me to share a technique that I’m using.

 

Every evening before falling asleep, think about three things that you are grateful for. Then think about three things that were especially good during that particular day. Finally think about one thing that you need help with. What this last step really does is to make you think about what is important for you right now and what you need to focus your energy on.

This exercise doesn’t take very long. Try it! I think you’ll find that it helps you seeing what truly matters in your life.

Slow down!

Somtimes life can be ironic. 2 weeks after I had published the post about wanting to focus on mindfulness and slowing down , I broke my leg. I got a plaster cast and crutches, and guess what? I had to slow down!

Now it’s been almost four weeks since it happened. And sure, it’s a bit inconvenient, not least for my husband who has a lot more on his shoulders now, but it’s also been enlightening.

I thought I’d feel more stressed when everything takes much longer to do, when I can´t manage everything by myself and when I can´t do all the things that I´m used to doing, but I don’t feel stressed at all. I guess that part of it has to do with my own expectations. I know that everything takes longer and that I have to let go of some things. My expectations of what I should get done and how much time everything should take are lower than usual and therefore the slower pace doesn´t make me stressed . But I also think that by actually doing things more slowly, I slow down my mind as well.

When you’re rushing to get things done, life is rushing too. On the other hand, when the mind slows down, the feeling of life rushing by fades away. When you´re doing things more slowly, it´s easier to be present and absorbed in the moment. Life is much more enjoyable when you´re participating in it by being truly present.

 

Are you, just like me, usually in a hurry to finish? Do you also mostly focus on the goal and forget to enjoy the journey? Then this challenge is for you! And I assure you that you don´t have to break your leg in order to try a slower life. Just focus on what you´re doing and don’t worry about the time. At first you should even deliberately do things slower.

It might sound contradictory, but when you slow down and let everything take its time, you’ll feel less stressed. At least that’s what I’ve experienced. Give it a try, it might work for you too.

Back to basics – Good eating

Going back to the basics is helpful when trying to simplify life. Think about it, you really don’t need that much in life. A roof over your head, clothes and something to eat takes you pretty far.
Sure, life will get even better if you have someone to love, preferably someone who loves you back, if you get to do something meaningful and if you have something to look forward to. But even when adding those things, you still don’t really need much. Don’t complicate things; focus on your basic needs and make them enjoyable.
One of the basic needs that I find very central is eating. You have to eat, you do it several times a day and it can be a good or a bad experience depending on what you do with it.
Everytime I eat a really delicious meal, it makes me wonder why on earth I eat food that is not tasty when there is so much great food to be made. This is why I’m devoting the month of June to good eating.
There are so many delicious recepies and so much food that is good for you. So why persist in eating food that is not tasty or things that are not good for you? I would guess that lack of knowledge is the biggest reason for doing it. I can totally understand if you might think that time is an issue. But I would argue that it’s still a matter of knowledge. If you don’t know how to make tasty and healthy food and feel that you don’t really have the time to learn, then finding out about those things will be yet another thing on the to-do list. It’s just easier to cook a frozen hamburger or throw somthing in the microwave oven.
But I challenge you not to! Make the coming month a month of good eating! Prepare a delicious meal for your friends or family and you will fulfill several of the basic needs above. Not only will you eat good, but you’ll also have something to look forward to and you’ll get to do something meaningful; you’ll get to spend time with someone you love.

Stop multitasking and start focusing

Do you send text messages while watching TV? Are you browsing the Internet when you’re chatting with a friend? Do you wash laundry, cook and help the kids all at once? In other words; do you find yourself constantly multitasking?

I do, all the time as a matter of fact. This month, however, I´m trying not to. It´s not easy and I have to keep reminding myself to stay focused on one thing at the time.

Maybe you´ve heard the expression “to juggle many balls”. It’s part of any job description these days. We are more or less expected to be good at multitasking. It´s considered a good trait. There are however good reasons to slow down and focus. Multitasking might feel productive but studies have shown that not only is it less productive than focusing on one thing at a time, but it can actually cause long-term harmful effects on the brain. In studies, chronic multitaskers used their brain less efficiently than nonmultitaskers. And this could be seen when they were multitasking as well as when they were focusing on a single activity.

The brain isn’t really made for multitasking. What it actually does, is that it constantly switches between activities. This is both unefficient and stressful for the brain.

Sure, some things might feel obvious to do simultaneously; like reading a magazine when you’re waiting for the doctor’s appointment or listening to an audio book while commuting. In the long run however, this constant quest to save time and our reluctance of just letting the time pass, only adds to the stress in our minds. Next time, try to only wait or to only drive. Focus on what you’re doing and be present.

Make this experiment: At any chosen time, just stop what you’re doing and pause. Take a few deep breaths and notice if you were in fact doing, or trying to do many things at the same time. When you pause, you can pay attention to your thoughts. Was your mind focused on whatever it was that you were doing or was it somewhere else? Take a micro break and then return to your activity, hopfully you’ll get back to it with more focus and presence.

Can mindful living be the way to a simpler life?

I have now gotten an important reminder through Twitter from two different people at two separate occations. The tweets were written by some remarkable women that are blogging on the subject of simplifying life; Courtney Carver from Be More With Less and Liz Smith from The Connected Life. Be sure to check them out if you haven´t yet. They both tweeted about the value of slowing down and letting things take its time. Courtney emphasized that slow and steady is the way to go and Liz wrote about focusing on quality over quantity. Both times I was thankful for the reminder and now I’ve decided to actually take action in this matter. I´ve decided to slow down my journey towards a simpler life.

Even though I do get things done when giving myself a mission every week, getting things done wasn’t really the goal of this journey. I’m not sure that the weekly missions are taking me to the state  that I was originally looking for; the state of simpler living. I think I’ve been rushing ahead because I’ve been so excited about this project, but now I´m going for another approach; the-slow-and-steady-road.

I don´t have it all figured out, not by far. I don’t even have a plan for how to do this. However I do know what my next step will be. I´ve decided to focus on one thing at a time and I will be devoting a month to each area.

 

I´m a huge fan of Leo Babauta of Zenhabits, another amazing blogger you don´t want to miss. He writes, among many other things, about being mindful. About being more conscious of life as it happens. In today’s society we value productivity, efficiency and effectiveness highly. These concepts are rooted deeply into our minds. Now I want to challenge that mindset and devote the month of May to practicing mindfulness.

To me being mindful means:

 

  • To focus on one task at the time as opposed to constantly multi-tasking
  • To do things more slowly and deliberately
  • To be present and to be absorbed in the moment
  • Instead of constantly doing and planning, to let go of control and try to go with the flow
  • Instead on focusing on achievement, to enjoy the small things
  • To expect less and accept more

Eleventh mission update

For the second time, I, last Saturday, gave myself the mission to go through some boxes in the basement that were filled with the kids drawings. Now, since I had already failed this mission once, I couldn’t really fail again, so, in order to follow through I scheduled Monday evening for doing this. I think that by doing that, I got myself to actually do what I had set myself up to. When Monday evening came, I did not feel like carrying up those boxes. I was tired and felt really bad after having argued with my son; all I wanted to do was to have a cup of tea and watch a movie. However, I didn’t. I fetched the boxes and went through them, and once I had started it wasn´t so hard after all. I keep saying it, and I should really know it by now; getting started is half the battle.

While going through the drawings I noticed that I didn´t have a very hard time deciding what to keep and what not to. I actually threw most of the art work away. Having the drawings in a box for a while distanced me from them, and I found it easier to choose what I wanted to keep and what I didn´t. I kept a few drawings and paintings from each semester and I inserted them in a binder.

I´ve designated a wall in our house for temporary display of the best drawings and paintings, and from there I´ll put them straight into the binder or throw them away.

In the future I think I´ll find it easier to throw away drawings that I don´t want to keep. But if I don’t, I’ve seen that filing them for a while isn’t such a big problem. I know it doesn´t take that long to go through them and I know it´ll be easier to decide after getting some distance to them.

 

Conclusion

Sometimes you make a problem out of something that doesn´t have to be one. The boxes in the basement, with my children’s art work, had been bothering me for quite a while. But once I dealt with them, I noticed that it wasn´t such a big thing after all.

If there´s something you want to get done, but have a hard time getting started, schedule time for your first step. Getting started is usually half the battle.

When you can´t make up your mind about whether to keep something or not, file it away for a couple of months and then have another look at it. It might get easier to decide when you’ve distanced yourself from it.

Making the wrong decisions

Last week I wrote about the small decisions and about how they can become much bigger than they need to be. This week I want to focus on another issue that I’ve been thinking about when it comes to making decisions.

I want to address the decisions we make on the bigger matters in life. The reality of today is that the world is a lot smaller than just, say 50 years ago. More people have access to more knowledge and most of us are presented with a countless number of opportunities and options during our lives. 

Many of us have the possibility to get a good education.We have the possibility to choose exactly which education we want. We can choose where we want to live, what we want to do for a living and how we want to spend our free time, just to mention a few.

We have plenty of opportunities to make the best out of our lives. All we have to do, is to make the right decisions. No pressure, huh?

I´m not saying that having many options is a bad thing, and I´m all for taking responsibilty for creating a good life. But I want to aknowledge the fact that it can be stressful to know that you are responsible for your own happiness and that, at least theoretically, you have every possibility to find it. What if you make the wrong decision?

 

Well, I´ll tell you something; you will make the wrong decisions. You will walk on the wrong path occationally. We all do. What´s important is to not beat yourself up about it. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes, on lost time or on missed opportunities be thankful for what you do have. Take a few minutes and look at what one small step you can take now to move closer to your dream, and then take that step.