Sunday, June 24, 2018

fresh new potato salad

årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

Made this potato salad for Midsummer - recipe from Årstiderna vegan food box - and not being a fan of neither vinegar nor mustard I was a bit sceptical. But again, the flavour was amazing. And it's really a great eat in season summer dish.

new potato salad
4-6 servings

1 kg new potato
1 spring onion
3-4 tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar, I'm sure any will do)
0,5 dl rapeseed oil
1 tsp strong mustard
salt, black pepper

Boil the cleaned potato for about 10 minutes, until done. Let it cool in its water.

Chop the spring onion finely (both onion and haulms).

Whip together a dressing with vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.

Chop the cooled potatoes into 2-4 pieces, add the chopped spring onion and blend it with the dressing.

Enjoy!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

It went really well with seitan sausages and a salad of white cabbage, green beans and cherry tomatoes. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

marimekko unikko sneakers and sustainability thoughts

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018 - and zigne ❤️👅

A few months ago I stumbled over a really great article about a new book called "Vi är vad vi köper" (We are what we buy) written by a professor in PR and advertising and a cultural anthropologist. We are basically trapped in the consumerism pattern of the market economy and not at all the independent and rational beings most of us like to think we are. We buy our identities and personalities with the brands we buy.

marimekko flagship store, stockholm, sweden, may 2018

I haven't bought the book yet, but I've listen to a few of their podcasts and they are really interesting. I'm well aware I too buy things to reinforce my personality. As a LOHAS, as someone who love colours, patterns, good design but still care deeply about the environment. I could obviously do much better, stop buying anything but food and consumables. Haven't reached that point just yet though.

With the thoughts from the article fresh in my mind I visited the newly renovated Marimekko flagship store in May and saw this quote above from the founder. To sell a lifestyle, I've never really gotten that concept. Or rather, I've never understood why some people just want to fill their homes and lives with most everything (they can afford) from one or a few brands only.

Sure, I love some brands for their design, quality, durability, environmental efforts too, but I would never, even if I had the money, let myself and my home be a walking advertisement for the brand. What a sad void of personality and independent thinking.

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018

Pick some key pieces, mix'n'match with second hand and old things you love - and not everything old and loved need to reach the point of falling apart... -, that's my way of being what I buy.

Which brings me to the pod part 3 "Gisslan" (Hostage) about the clothes we consume, fast fashion vs slow fashion. Did you know that people in general buy 50 new clothes pieces every year? And that the average Swede have 160 pieces in their wardrobe?

I most certainly have a lot more than 160 pieces in my wardrobes - and I even had a massive clean-out about 15 years ago - which I suppose is rather embarrassing. On the other hand I have a lot of things I love to chose from, to mix'n'match with. I always sell or give away to charity more than I buy every year. Plus I most certainly don't buy anyway near 50 new garments annually, in fact I was even gobsmacked by that number. How is it even possible to justify, if the circumstances aren't very special?

marimekko unikko sneakers, june 2018

So how did I justify what was in this box? A snazzy cotton skirt (with pockets of course) and a pair of at least as snazzy sneakers? To be honest I probably can't, more than I have lots of old loved things to combine them with, they are of great, long lasting design and quality, design that makes me happy. Which in the big scheme of things aren't reasons enough. I know. But sometimes you just, for various reasons, have to...

marimekko flagship store, stockholm, sweden, may 2018

And yes the purchase was vegan. The pretty Unikko flower sneakers are made of rubber and recycled cotton canvas. And as you can see by my little red feline photo bomber (with her tongue out!) they have been paw approved. Looking forward to wearing them on a non-rainy day in a not too distant future.

We are what we buy, so what does your purchases say about you?
Are you proud of it or are you on the path of change?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

organic vegan food inspiration, part 4

årstiderna organic vegan food box, june 2018 -

High time for some more vegan food inspiration, don't you think?

The dish above is a delightful chickpeas in korma curry with tomatoes and almond cream (the cream is more like milk, but it does tastes lovely in the curry instead of coconutmilk). And since I made it on the Swedish national day the other week I also decided to play with our flag's colour. Plus there's always a snoopervisor close at hand lending a helping paw as a finishing touch.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Meze with za'tar spiced hummus, grilled aubergine and squash with a topping of red onion, tomatoes and parsley. Served in pita with fresh cucumber. Delicious!

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

årstiderna organic vegan food ambassador, march 2018 - vegetable wok misodressing and cashewnuts

Vegetable wok with noodles and miso dressing. Nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, food ambassador, march 2018 -

Chili sin carne with borlotti beans and avocado. Nice but basic.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Portobello mushroom burger with fried onion, avocado and relish. Had it not been for the fact that the mushroom turned tiny when fried it would have been great. Plus it lacked potato fries etc to be a filling and satisfying meal.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Vegetable lasagna with sunflower seeds served with a cabbage-spinach salad. Unfortunately this one was really dry since it didn't have the usual generous amount of bechamel sauce. It was a nice touch to make "cheese sauce" with boiled potatoes, carrots and sunflower seeds, but it just wasn't enough moisture.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Pakoras with sweetpotato and squash served with cabbage salad and tomato-chili salsa. Looks rubbish but tasted great. I'm just not a skilled enough pakora maker.

årstiderna organic vegan food box, 2018 -

Yoga pot with turmeric, blue peas, broccoli, carrots, tomato and sweetpotato. Enjoyed the flavour but not the hard texture of the blue peas. Would have been much nicer with chickpeas.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Corn pudding with caramelized onion and spinach-tomato topping. Delicious! The recipe said corn bread, but obviously that was not going to happen with these ingredients, the pudding was lovely though and left overs on day two were even better.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Noodle salad with green beans, spring onion, broccoli, sesame seeds and peanut dressing. Lovely! Sesame seeds is such a gorgeous, simple thing that add extra oomph to any dish.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Green pea soup with asparagus and sprouts. Lovely! As the soup is made from scratch and dry green peas it's not sweet and the fresh, grilled asparagus on top is just amazing.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, april 2018 -

Buckwheat stew with black beans, portobello mushroom and coriander. Not a favourite. I usually love coriander, but here it wasn't nice at all, neither were the tomatoes. That omitted and it would have been nice.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Seitan sausages with potato wedges, pickled cucumber-red onion and marinated red cabbage. Lovely and very satisfying. Simple to cook but with a lot of flavours and textures. And pickled vegetables, what a great thing!

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Congee pot with portobello, red onion, celery and peanuts. Much ado about not so much, the portions turned out very small and the tamari sauce made it very salt. The crispy, fried celery was a nice, new experience though.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Quinoa-amarant salad with ovenbaked beetroot, red onion and sunflower seeds. I do love beetroots but this was just too much with both raw beets in the salad and the ovenbaked ones.

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Pitabread with spicy cauliflower, caramelized onion, marinated red cabbage topped wih coriander. This, my friends, was amazing. So much flavour and textures, the cauliflower and onion was ovenbaked in a generous amount of rapeseed oil and it was so lovely to soak that up with the bread. Perfect picnic food.

You'll find the previous food posts here -

Organic vegan food inspiration 1
Organic vegan food inspiration 2
Organic vegan food inspiration 3

And the recipes (in Swedish) at Årstiderna website (or in the app). If you're keen on a translation of a specific recipe, or have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

grow more, learn just a little

haleth, bluetortie british shorthair, 14 years old, june 2018

Chanting. Job interview. Circular economy breakfast seminar. My very condensed week that was.

I've been meaning to start regular meditation routines for many many years, but somehow life went on without it. And when an old fellow cat breeder told me about her having practised chanting for many years, last year, I thought I should look into that. It took me a year of thinking, but now I've had a glimpse of it.

First of all, I shy away from anything with a whiff of religion - as far as I'm concerned, the root of so much evil in this world - I may be spiritual and philosophical but I also concider myself an atheist.  I also believe everything is connected, in serendipity, magic and that there are more powers at work in this universe and world than the human brain and intelligence can ever fully understand. However I firmly don't believe such thoughts have anything to do with worshipping bearded or bald men existing above the clouds.

My only religion is kindness. Which obviously embrace every (kind and innocent) living being and fellow earthling.

When I attended the chanting and meeting I had no preconceptions, only an open mind. And five days later I'm still not sure what I felt about the experience. It was interesting to hear that so many of the things I believe and live by, the above mentioned but also the concept of Karma, Law of Attraction, to be responsible for the energy you put out in the world, happiness and that you grow into a better person by hardships, difficulties, sorrows are things firmly rooted in Buddhism. And it's not often you find yourself in a group of nine strangers being urged to share your experience of philosophical questions (that you had no idea was on the agenda).

haleth, bluetortie british shorthair, 14 years old, june 2018

But I also know I'm an intro/ambivert and I prefer one on one interactions before group activities. I do prefer to have a solitary think before I speak on new topics. And overall it was a bit... too much for me. Dare I say slightly suffocating? I will however read up on the concepts and chanting, because doing it as means to find inner peace and growth is something that appeals to me. Simply a part of me being braver this year. Without group activities.

The bonus of the meeting was I got to meet another British Shorthair than my own ones. She was such a sweet and social little soul, 14 years old but didn't look it.

vegan food at home, may - june 2018 -

The job interview went well. It seems like a really exciting position, with a lot of pieces of the puzzle being in perfect match with my particular background. As the interview was with a recruitment company I can now only have my fingers very firmly crossed that the organisation also want to meet next week. And yes, it would be darling if you could hold your fingers kindly crossed too, dear internetz.

vegan food stockholm, june 2018 -

The breakfast seminar on circular economy was interesting and enlightening. I had some good talks with people. However I was admittedly deeply disappointed about the fact that a company that works with sustainability issues and sustainable businesses only served sandwiches with both meat and dairy. That's just crazy, and neither credible, sustainable nor inclusive in communication. It's not the first time this has happened at seminars, despite mentioning "vegan" when I sign up. But it's *a bit* more remarkable when it's that kind of company and that kind of talks.

And no, "you can remove the meat, cheese and butter from the sandwich" is simply not an acceptable suggestion in 2018.

Most everyone gets happy and satisfied with a vegan sandwich for breakfast, plus it's healthy, sustainable and cheaper. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

I had a glass of orange juice and a pear. And then I had to go to a favourite cafe for a lovely vegan sandwich and oat latte in order not to faint from a lack of bodily nourishment, before I went home. Imagine if this gorgeous, simple hummus on rye had been the seminar breakfast instead...

At the end of another week, collecting my thoughts and hopes for a new one, it's difficult to grasp that it's Midsummer by the end of next week, and then only one left of June. Time continues to fly and the only thing we can do with that knowledge is to grow and learn a little more each day, each week, each life. Be kind and stay true to ourselves.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

mind games

årstiderna vegan organic food box, may 2018 -

Hello, blog, it's been a while.

My days lately, well these past few months really, have been overshadowed by my (these days) constant companions of stress, worry and sadness. One would be enough, two is a crowd, the third one is bound to follow. This situation has also meant I've struggled with what to blog about. To write about bright and beautiful things, which there are too, and inspiration, felt false.

To, on the other hand, write about how partly Weltschmerz really has become a firm fixture in my life, and partly how the battle I've been fighting back and forth for two plus years now still feels uphill, well that's depressing. Sometimes, many times, writing down your struggles help you figure out solutions though. So here goes. Some worries and stress are for very tangible, personal reasons, others are for the state of the world, how we treat animals, the environment, eachother.

Since I can't solve the state of the world on my own - but continue to make healthy, kind choices every day. Peace begins on your plate and in your daily choices. - , or today, I need to focus on how to solve my own personal situation in the parts they need solving. I'm rather (understatement of the year) tired of short term solutions, I'm looking for longterm ones now. To stress and worry less.

Everything is figureoutable, as someone wise said. So in order to figure things out, as best I can, I've written every little (or not so little) worry and problem down. And possible solutions.

Came to the conclusion there were eight main things and areas of worry. Some of them have been solved already, others I can't do anything about but wait, while others I'm still in the process of figuring out.

ztina 💙, june 2018

I'm happy to report that Ztina, poor little kitty, is doing fine on her medication. We had a check-up at the veterinarian the other day and he said her heart looked almost normal. Possibly, for unknown reasons, it was a serious infection that caused the heart condition and fluids. I will continue with the heart medication for some weeks and then return for another check-up and hopefully talk about phasing the medication out. Fingers crossed.

On the not so happy side is the realisation that both my ex-team mates knew fully well that the client hadn't paid the December invoice. Yet they decided to not disclose that information with me, instead let me work hard all January too not knowing there was a real danger we wouldn't get paid. That they chose to be so negligent with their own money and time is one thing. That they decided for me too is not in any single way decent behaviour. Had I known, which I should have, I would not have continue to work in January until that invoice was paid. Since I had lost my trust in the client well before Christmas already.

That deception from an ex-team I treasured and trusted is really rough to move on from in itself.

Very short story - the January invoice never got paid. The client decided to declare bankruptcy. And start another company the next week. Plus take the employees for a recreational trip to Italy. True story. I'm really not sure this is even legal. Ethical and fair it most certainly isn't. And their business reputation is obviously below zero.

Still figuring my next move here. I'm sure Karma will do her bit too.

vegan food at home, may - june 2018 -

The non stop sunshine and heat for six weeks with no rain whatsoever was really rough too. Climate change is so obviously real. Yet most people seem to live their lives like there's no tomorrow, well obviously there won't be. But still, all the car driving, meat eating, shopping, flying, the overall egotistical behaviour from people who refuse to see they too are part of the problem the whole planet is facing. It's exhausting. Once you see the patterns and connect the dots there's no going back.

The refreshing rain for a couple of hours the other week just wasn't enough to drench the thirst of nature. Neither was last night's.

The search for my kind of people continues.

This week I have three things booked on the path of that quest. First a job interview for a position that sounds amazing within a really interesting sustainability organisation that works both nationally and internationally within Europe. Needless to say Ms Sustainability 2018 is very excited about this opportunity.

Second I've been thinking a lot about meditation but never gotten around to practising it with focus. Now I've rekindled with a fellow British Shorthair breeder, via LinkedIn of all places, whose practising chanting and meditation. And she's hosting a drop-in tomorrow. I'm going with an open and curious mind.

Thirdly I'm going to a breakfast seminar on circular economy. Which is bound to be interesting and inspirational.

One might call it a miniature cosmo geek week.



Currently listening to Haevn's Hold on. This is only an excerpt, but it's a lovely taste of the song with the orchestra and strings. And hold on, move on and open mind are now my focus areas. Much better than stress, worry and sadness. Some days I'm better at it than others. Work in progress still. As life is.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

poor little kitty

poor baby ztina, 💙, may 30, 2018

So glad May is over. It really hasn't been a good month. From the unseasonal heatwave of global warming, to infuriating work related disappointment (that forever have chipped my trust in people and collaborations), worry, stress, lack of sleep and to top it off - this.

poor baby ztina, 💙, may 30, 2018

Poor little bunny Ztina. One of the irreplacable Prosit sisters. A few days ago I noticed her heavy breathing. I had hoped it was only the heat, it's taking its toll on us all, especially the furballs. But I knew it wasn't, she just wasn't her annoyingly, delightful self. Took her to the vet. Where it was discovered she apparently has a serious heart condition.

She was so brave and sweet all through the extensive examination, the ultrasound, the blood tests, the scary drainage of the fluid in her pericardium and pleura. The condition should be treatable and she's currently on three different meds, of which at least one, the heart medicine, will be for the rest of her (long!) life. Oh the joy.

Back for a check-up next week. She's almost her old self again, so fingers crossed the meds are working and that it'll be a viable long term solution.

Just when I really really really didn't need any more extra costs this happened, like when this emergency happened to her sister back in 2016. Luckily she has insurance, but still, the deductable is costly in itself.

For now I'm just so relieved she seems to be doing well. And I'm so blessed to have a oxytocin lifting personality like her in my life. Alongside her little furry family, who normally aren't this friendly with eachother but they seemed to get that circumstances where special after the vet visit yesterday.

poor baby ztina, 💙, may 30, 2018

Bye May, your may have been beautiful on the surface but I'm so sad you were such a generally disappointing, dispiriting, deplorable month in truth. Though I loved your lilacs. (And I will elaborate on your other adversities at a later date.)

Hello June, can you please, please, please be generously kind and uplifting?
And do offer some gorgeous, much needed rain?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

thorn in my side, lilacs in my heart

lilacs, may 2018

Amidst sorrow blogging was tremendously therapeutical. In a chaotic project - with a client obviously many vegan sausages short of a full English breakfast and ill-equipped to lead a company - blogging was a must to sort out the bizarre, erratic behaviours.

This past couple of weeks with even more unsavoury behaviours, irrelevant ideas, a complete lack of acknowledging responsability, offering plausible explanations and solutions et al have been an exhausting source of even more blog topics of various kinds.

I don't even know where to start.

With the final proof that my team was a chimera? That their endless story of blatant lack of communication has cost me a lot of money, sleepless nights and caused so much anger, worry and disappointment. Our respective work ethics, business behaviours and moral compasses are clearly very different. Worlds apart.

flowers, may 2018

Or that the immense beauty in nature all May also is a very obvious reminder that global warming is real? Everything, and I mean everything, is in bloom now. Flowers and trees that should bloom one after the other between May and August, if nature wasn't having a breakdown caused my human behaviour, is now simultaneously blossoming.

Dandelions, lilacs, lilies of the valley, honeysuckle, rhododendron, peony, fritillaria, roses, apple blossoms... The beginning of the end? High summer temperatures and no rain. Weltschmerz is also real.

flowers, may 2018

What I think about the fact that some companies still use personality tests in their recruitment processes that are completely irrelevant for the job in question? It's simply outdated, bizarre and not least unprofessional. And would I really want to work for an organization that use obsolete methods like that?

this is not my cat, 2017-2018

That this is not my cat-cats that have been sweet and friendly for years suddenly act crazy and can cause a lot of pain with an unprovoked big bite? I should probably be grateful that I'm still alive. And I admit to for the first time ever having encountered a cat whom I'm actually afraid of, from here on.

oatly vegan nicecream free sampling, stockholm, may 2018

Or that when nicecream is free every kid in Stockholm claim they are vegan hipsters (and are a bit full of themselves)? Especially the salted caramel hazelnut was nice, but not nearly as fantastic as Ben & Jerry's vegan icecream.

lilacs, may 2018

That you can actually get pretty decent results when you cut your own hair with guidance from YouTube tutorials? I cut over 20 cm. And funny enough I don't really miss the lost wisps, this time.



Or that Haevn's first album is released tomorrow May 25? That every song they've slowly released all through April and May have been lovely. But my favourites so far are "Back in the water" and this one "Love is a game". The phrase "I will be on my weakest when you hold on" is beautiful. And I like that it's dance music. Ie perfect for star dancing.

shoe per diem, may 2018 -

That the discovery that new TV-show "The good fight" is a spin-off from one of my favourite series "The good wife" makes me very happy. Always love a great story, a clever dialogue. In legal setting.

norrtälje, roslagen, sweden, may 11, 2018

That there is a special, very warm place for recruiters and HR-people that don't realise the only decent way to behave (and not least an important part of their job!) towards every interviewee that don't get the job is to call or send a personal email, tell them why and thank them for their precious time and interest?

flowers, may 2018

Or that I'm so incredibly tired of stupid, ignorant people (that don't live in a cave or are illiterate) that A) Don't acknowledge that it's their behaviour that causes global warming. That everything is connected, what you chose to do on this side of the planet, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the transport, the holidays affect what happens on the other side of the planet?

That B) always blame other animals than humans for the environmental issues. And per usual think killing animals is the solution to sort problems caused by humans. Own your responsability, idiots. The butterfly effect is real. And a huge reason for the world being what it is, is people refusing to take responsability for their actions or non-actions.

Well, where to start? Let's see this post as a foretaste, and I'll elaborate another day.

When I'm not in swoon over the bliss and beauty of lilacs.

lilacs, may 2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

bright lights to guide me

tulips shoe per diem, may 11, 2018

I had a dreaded meeting with my accountant the other day. It was cathartic to tell the story, in short, to someone who has a very pragmatic, yet understanding, view of the situation. There might have been some tears of relief and gratitude. And a fighting spirit awakening again. She said what I needed to hear. What I must do next.

My flaws in this nasty project case were I was passionate, hardworking and trusting. And since those features of mine also are some I'm really proud to possess I will just own it. I don't trust easily in general, but after working through the grief recovery process last summer I felt so relieved, restored, empowered and psyched to get going with new things.

And the first meeting was so good. And when our first project started I was just thrown in head first with gusto. Since it was our first time working together as a team, remote team, it was bound to be a few kinks. I was open and willing to learn, share, without losing my own voice of reason. And when the client begun acting more and more weird, I was still so happy about my kind team. Of course they were on top of things, the background and matters I didn't know about. Simply trust.

I ended up being betrayed. And partly unpaid.

A bitter pill to swallow. A costly life lesson, on various levels. Another fight to fight. Even if things happen for a reason, as always. Though amidst it and its serious ramifications it is difficult to see the silverlining of new, yet unknown doors that open instead.

When you then are forced to struggle to sort things out, both short and long term, when you also blame yourself for being a trusting fool - then it's sweet to get some pragmatic advice and help from someone not involved. Little bright lights to guide me. And in this case, a practical lesson from my accountant.

There are times to be kind, caring, waiting, trusting the process and so forth. There are other times when you just have to look after yourself and your own needs, when noone else does or obviously even care. For anyone but themselves.

I felt lighter after the meeting, more focused. And hadn't it been for the coffee in shape of my beloved soy latte I would even have slept great. It was a long long time since I slept great. I do miss having invigorating sleeps.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

What is most always invigorating is to vegan cook as well as eat though. And this weekend I made falafel from scratch again. Practice makes perfect, because this time I tweaked it a bit and cooked it another way. 33 delightful little falafel balls came out of that. Served with fried aubergine, onion, ruccola (which I'm not a fan of but it was included in the food box recipe), diced tomatoes and a simple sauce of Oatly iFraiche with lemon. It was delicious and very satisfying.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

Cooking and thinking about how to present a meal in pictures is really therapeutic too. You empty the brain, dance in the kitchen - even if under the stars is an option again too - and focus. I'm so happy about my little gig. A really sweet thing that also happened for a reason. And sharing is caring, especially on a Caturday.

årstiderna vegan food box, may 2018 - falafel

hello global warming 2018

So pretty month of May,
half of your time is almost up,
can we make a deal, how about
being really really awesome
these last couple of weeks?
I would be ever so very very grateful.

norrtälje, roslagen, sweden, may 11, 2018
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