29 March 2013

Seasons in Scandinavia: March in Norway

March came to Norway as capricious as I've always known it. It snowed and rained, and blew and hissed through the naked branches. I kept seeing spring photos from around the world. But spring still hasn't come to Norway. Today I went for a walk on the beach. Oops, I meant on the ice. It is still deeply frozen and it seems like the whole town is hiking along. People with bicycles along with skiers and dog walkers, and kid walkers and fishermen. It is so lively on the ice, like it is the most natural place to hang out right now.

So, hang out with me on our March ocean (yup, ocean, not lake) ice.

The white snow seems to enhance the ensemble of colors on this house.
The fjord is so long and we are right at its end. The sea, even in winter is as calm as a frozen lake.
No boats until spring. Instead, a lot of footsteps on the sea ice.
A red boat and a red ouse in the distance. The perfect combination to warm your blue winter day.
On a sunny day you can find people sunbathing all over the ice.
Skiing on the sea ice between islands and walking your dog? Sure!

I hope the fisherman has luck, look, he has started a second whole in the ice, I am sure his boys are impatient already.
The most whimsical of post boxes. Wouldn't you gladly live in it?
Although our March is cold at least it is sunny, so our spirits are high.

How about you? How has your March been? Let us know in the comments.

28 March 2013

Dyeing Easter Eggs The Old-fashioned Green Way

Dyeing Easter eggs is a big deal in our home. It is a family business, a time to get together and take part in this annual ritual.

With the advance of time and switching countries my methods have changed but and I am seeing myself going back to the old-fashioned, green way of dyeing Easter eggs.

Through the years I have tried different commercial products, mostly disregarding their health qualities. I have gone from crystal effects to marbled dyes, only to avoid the plain powder colors.

But as I'm learning and growing I feel the urge to go back to a more natural, be it old-fashioned way of dyeing Easter eggs firstly because it is more sustainable and healthy, and secondly because it makes me feel closer to the Earth and my ancestors. It is cheap too!colorful, cheap, healthy easter egg dyes

After trying Radmegan's methods of dyeing Easter eggs last year I was ecstatic. After consulting my grandmother (who you know for her famous phrase: A house with a cold stove is not a home) here is my adjusted take on dyeing Easter eggs so that they are safe to eat.

Use room temperature eggs to prevent cracks. Place them in a pan filled with lukewarm water together with the plant that will give you color and don't forget the vinegar, it is the ingredient that will help keep the dye on the egg.

Boil for about 30 minutes and let stay for an hour or two more. The timing will differ depending on the level of saturation you want to achieve. The more saturated color you want, the longer you need to keep the eggs in the color bath after boiling. Don't forget to polish your eggs after they dry with a drop of vegetable oil and  a wool or cotton cloth.

Dye your Easter eggs red with beets


2 red beets
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar


Add a mix of red and yellow onion skins to the red beet mix after you have removed the pan from the hotplate.

Dye your Easter eggs blue with red cabbage

5-6 red cabbage leaves
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar

Use Tumeric to dye your Easter eggs yellow

3 tablespoons Tumeric
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar

Dark yellow
Add a handful of yellow onion skins to the Tumeric mix during boiling.

With onion skins you get orange on your Easter eggs

2 handfuls of red onion skins
2 cups water
1 tablespoon vinegar

These are the colors I got with what I had at the moment. For more Easter egg dyes, visit Radmegan.

Have a healthy, green and happy Easter!

How do you dye your Easter eggs? Tell me your secrets.

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

27 March 2013

Flax Seed as Part of a Healthy Diet

This post is written by contributing author Rebecca D. Dillon.

I've really tried to make improvements in my diet over the past year. By cutting way down on carbs like pasta and breads - which I rarely eat now - as well as white potatoes, I was able to go down two pant sizes. In doing this, I also started taking a look at new foods I hadn't tried before.

One of my favorite new foods I discovered during this process was flax seed. Not only does flax seed taste surprisingly good, but it's also believed to help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, inflammation, lung disease, breast, colon and prostate cancer - even hot flashes in menopausal women. The cultivation of flax seed goes as far back as 3000 BC Babylon where the King Charlamagne actually required his subjects to eat flaxseed as part of their diet.

Flax is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Lignans, and Fiber. It's now widely available in most local grocery stores as well as online and is available whole, ground, and even as an oil. The shell of whole flax seed retains and protects the fatty acids that make flax seed so nutritious, while ground flax seed and flax seed oil will start to lose these fatty acids over time. Therefore, I recommend buying flax seed whole as you will get the most benefit from grinding whole flax seed in a coffee grinder just before use. Plus, whole flax seed can be stored up to a year in a cool, dark place. Alternately, you can grind up flax seed ahead of time and store in the freezer to keep the flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.

It's recommend you eat between 1-2 Tablespoons of flax a day. This is a lot easier to do than you may think. I love flax seed in my granola cereal. It's also really good in yogurt and oatmeal. Additionally you can also swap part of the flour in your recipes for things like pancakes, muffins and breads. If your recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, simply substitute a 1/4 cup of freshly ground flax seed for 1/4 cup of the flour. You can also hide flax seed inside of dark sauces, casseroles and meat mixtures.

Have you tried flax seed yet?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Rebecca D. Dillon claims a fine arts degree from Roanoke College and has enjoyed being creative since she was a small child. She resides in the Historic Arts District of her hometown where she lives with her miniature dachshund, Jasper, and works for a small business full time. Part time Rebecca handcrafts and sells homemade soaps, lotions and lip balms for her home business, Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen. In her spare time she squeezes in time for dancing, live music and the occasional karaoke. She is also the author behind Soap Deli News blog where she shares her DIY projects, bath and beauty recipes, handmade finds and other things that suit her fancy. Connect with Rebecca on Twitter and Facebook.

25 March 2013

How to Phase Out Bad Eating Habits

This post is written by contributing author Anabel Bouza.

Now that March is well under way, I would like to look back, to January. Remember your new year resolutions? Are you still sticking to them?

How about the ones concerning health and diet?

healthy girl eating veggies
Illustration by Anabel Bouza
This month's theme coincides with my decision to phase out my own bad eating habits. I'm not referring to radical changes that will drain my willpower, or leave me feeling defeated when I fail to stick to the plan (as is the case with so many new year's resolutions) instead, I'm looking to introduce gradual changes that can be sustained on the long term.

Not only is my intention to improve my own health, but also the health of those who benefit from my cookery. Also, I have the suspicion that the progressive replacement of bad habits for good ones will be less likely to meet resistance from hesitant family members... Some may say it's sneaky, I call it the cook's prerogative!

Hearty winter foods are moving aside in favor of lighter spring-summer fare: the time is right to change things up, and the benefits are plentiful.

Banish temptation. Don't bring into your home the foods you are trying to avoid. 
This sounds obvious, but sometimes we set up traps for our future selves inadvertently: think of future you (eat-at-home you), when you're debating whether to buy that guilty snack or not.
Instead of setting up the stage for a wrestling match with yourself later ("Should I have another piece of that salted chocolate caramel?") just leave it on the market shelf.

If you're trying to eat out less, spice up your eat-at-home routine.
Some people do this by creating a choose-your-own-adventure kind of spread: customizing homemade pizzas with fun, healthy toppings, for example. The idea is to serve simply cooked dishes, in small proportions, and to relish the occasion.

Our own version of this involves tapas, those tasty Spanish appetizers. They're a break from the usual 'finish your plate' approach, and make the occasion feel celebratory. You get to sample and mix... and sampling is always fun, right?

In a perfect world, portions would be perfectly sized to fit our needs and not a spoonful more, and there would be no food left on the plate — the #1 cause of upset among grandmothers everywhere. I've been trying to balance the art of the sensibly portioned meal, with the Hara Hachi Bu approach.

Hara Hachi Bu is the practice of eating until you are 8/10 parts full, customary among the residents of Okinawa, Japan.

(Really, it is just common sense: it takes roughly 20 minutes for the brain to register that you've eaten, so when you eat up to the point of feeling full —without giving the brain time to catch up— you end up over eating, in fact.)

This knowledge has already proven handy: it keeps me for 'going for seconds', or overeating when going out, since restaurants' portions usually are one-fits-all. 

And finally, something I adopted from one of my favorite science podcasts, a reminder to tackle food-shopping mindfully. After all, what we eat informs us, and it all starts with the ingredients we choose.

'Whatever I put in the shopping cart is what my body will use to build the next version of itself.'

Now it's your turn, what can make you change your eating habits?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Anabel Bouza insists there's powerful magic in the action of creating something out of a vague vision, a chill of inspiration. She is an illustrator with a passion for nature, paper manipulation, and pointing her camera at things.

Her appreciation for simplicity dates back to a former life in Cuba - her strange homeland - where she refined the ability to see the alternative uses of common objects, and the enchanting side of things. She's often found blogging as
Weird Amiga, hard at work in her sunny studio, or staring at things as if looking at them for the first time. Her tiny family is comprised of husband & a turtle. Connect to Anabel via facebook and twitter.

22 March 2013

6 Ways to Celebrate World Water Day the Whole Year

Today we celebrate World Water Day for the 20th consecutive year. This year under the motto Cooperation. Although a lot has been discussed about freshwater in recent years people often assume that conserving water is a grand enterprise, the responsibility for which lies on the backs of organizations and governments.
While many people are worried about global warming, and the climate change, experts are predicting that the water crisis that is upon us will soon leave different cultures with no options about securing water for consumption and agricultural uses.

In fact, if each and every one of us tries to see a slightly bigger picture, one that cannot be seen from the mega-polices we live in, one that we don't even think about in our daily struggle with stress, chores and just trying to survive, then we will realize how connected we are to our planet, to nature, to water sources, to wildlife, to people in need living on distant continents. There are people on Earth -- about 900 million of them -- who don't even have access to safe water supplies.

According to the Stockholm International Water Institute, polluted water kills more people than wars or earthquakes, and about 3.6 million people –- including 1.5 million children –- are estimated to die each year from water-related diseases, including diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and dysentery.

Lack of action makes you and I responsible for the lives of many, even though they are either far away or we have never seen them.

Regardless of color, religious belief or place of living, we all share the same enormous home and it is high time we realize that whatever we do may affect the rest of the residents of this home. It is important that we all do our part to make the best use of the resources we have, which means finding ways to reuse water and reduce our daily consumption.

Here are 6 ways to join the celebration of World Water Day and to start conserving water every day. The best way is to keep track of the amount of water that you use in one day and find ways to reduce it:
  1. Change your toilet to a low-flow one. Toilets use about 30% of the total water used in a household. If you cannot afford replacing your old toilet with a more efficient one, it’s easy to convert your existing one to a low-flow toilet.
  2. Fix your leaking faucets and dripping shower heads, they  are some of the biggest household water wasters. It is estimated that just a small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste as much as 70 liters of water per day.
  3. Change your diet. A vegetarian diet uses 10 times less water than a carnivorous one. It takes 25 liters of water to produce one potato, but it takes 7,000 liters of water to produce a steak. The less meat you eat, the less meat will be produced and the less fresh watter supplies will be used (added bonus -- you will be healthier). See this chart for more information about the amount of water that is used to produce your favorite foods.
  4. Steam instead of boil. Steaming vegetables uses less water than boiling and is healthier. In some cases you cannot avoid boiling, but you can save the water for your garden, soup stock, or use it to clean pots.
  5. Reduce food waste. About one third of all food is wasted throughout production, storage, transportation, consumption and disposal. Learn  how long you can store food in your freezer. Other ways to reduce food waste are only buying what you plan to eat, using leftovers to create new meals or donating food you can’t use to soup kitchens.
  6. Use rain water. A staggering 40% of household water used in the U.S. is used for watering lawns and gardens, washing automobiles, maintain swimming pools, and cleaning sidewalks and driveways. This can be done with the same effect with rain water. You can install rain catchment systems on your roof or rain barrels around your home.
It is more important than ever to open our eyes and take action. By helping others we will help ourselves too. Water is one of the reasons we came into being and without we cannot survive. 

Now it's your turn. What is your opinion about conserving water?

21 March 2013

How to Choose Your Diet

It is amazing how much our lives are centered around food. It is natural, of course, since consuming food not only fuels our bodies but also our emotions. (Hello, emotional eaters!)

But how do you chose your diet? Do you base your decision upon fashion, religion or phase in life?
how to chose your diet to best suit your needs

I don't blame people who eat junk food, I think there comes a moment in life when something clicks, your eyes open wide and you are able to see what used to be invisible before. This enlightenment happens to all of us and when we look back we cannot fathom how we were able to eat such unhealthy diet for so long and get away with it.

But not all get away with a bad diet. The influence of diet upon health has been proven and a lot of research shows the benefits of eating organic, raw, vegetarian and even vegan.

But there is also a great deal of contradicting research. With the advance of the Internet age the information becomes more and more. Now picture yourself in the middle of this vast ocean of information. How do you know where to look? How do you know what to believe? Here is the latest post by Elephant Journal disclosing worrying information about eating organic: Eating Organic May be Harmful.

I take pride in imposing a healthy diet on my family. We eat a lot salads, fruits, but we also eat meat, a few times a month, mostly chicken. We eat plenty of fish, grains and seeds. We love feta cheese and yogurt, the one with Lactobacillus bulgaricus that will ensure we live to 100. We don't drink soft fizzy drinks, and when it comes to sweets, we mostly eat dark chocolate, 70% cocoa. We have replaced sugar with Stevia and drink a lot of water.

Is this enough though? Should I chose a label and put it on my diet? Maybe tweak a bit? If you are asking yourself the same questions, follow along to a pro and con review of some of the most popular diets. 
vegetarian diet
Could you easily go without meat? The vegetarian diet might be for you.

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat – red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal; it may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter, such as animal-derived rennet and gelatin.

  • Vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop heart disease, and they have a 40 percent lower cancer rate of meat-eaters.
  • Meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans (who don't eat any animal products) are.
  • Vegetarians have stronger immune systems than meat-eaters.
  • Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters.
  • According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, a vegetarian diet is far from ideal, mostly because it lacks animal fats, which some experts say are necessary for human health.
  • 2 in 3 vegetarians are vitamin B12 deficient compared to 1 in 20 meat eaters according to a peer-reviewed July 2003 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • According to Weston A. Price Foundation Vegetarianism that includes eggs and raw (unpasteurized) dairy products, organic vegetables and fruits, properly prepared whole grains, legumes, and nuts, and excludes unfermented soy products and processed foods, can be a healthy option for some people. However, some people have difficulty assimilating vitamins, minerals, protein, and other factors from plant foods. These individuals may need a higher proportion of nutrients from animal foods to achieve optimum health.
  • Vegetarians may tend to eat too many grains as they shy away from meat. Eating too much grain, especially if it is processed white flour, can lead to weight gain. Eating sweets instead of protein increases your sugar intake which is even worse.
how to chose your diet
Vegan shashlik
Don't care much about meat and animal products? How about becoming a vegan?
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals.

  • May help lower cholesterol: According to a study in Diabetes Voice in 2007 people with Type 2 diabetes who adopted a vegan diet reduced their LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol by 21 percent — significantly more than the 9 percent drop seen by another group on the American Diabetes Association diet.
  • May help lower blood pressure: According to a 2009 position paper of the American Dietetic Association, vegetarian eating is linked with decreased risk of death from ischemic heart disease. The report also concluded that people who eat a vegetarian diet tend to have lower LDL levels and less incidence of hypertension and Type 2 diabetes in comparison to non-vegetarian
  • Increases antioxidant intake: Vegan eating usually increases intake of wholesome foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and whole grains, which is a great opportunity to get plentiful antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamins and minerals.
  • Potential interference with existing medical conditions: If you have a condition such as osteoporosis or diabetes, it is critical to consult with your physician and a registered dietitian when starting and implementing a vegan eating plan, as a vegan diet may interfere with your condition.
  •  Loss of essential vitamins and minerals: There is evidence to show vegan diets do not contain vitamin B12, an essential nutrient. "Vegans can get vitamin B12 from fortified foods (some brands of soy milk, fake meats, breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast) and from supplements. Vegan diets may be low in calcium and vitamin D although there are vegan sources of these nutrients," says Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, nutrition advisor for The Vegetarian Resource Group (vrg.org).
how to choose your diet
Raw food
Do you think you could live on uncooked vegetables and stay away from meat, animal products and baked products? Consider embracing the raw food diet.
Raw foodism (or rawism) is a diet consisting of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods or wild foods. Depending on the type of lifestyle and results desired, raw food diets may include a selection of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds (including sprouted whole grains such as gaba rice), eggs, fish (such as sashimi), meat (such as carpaccio), and non-pasteurized/non-homogenized dairy products (such as raw milk, raw milk cheese, and raw milk yogurt).

  • Increases the level of energy and body health.
  • Beneficial to the skin.
  • Positively improves your digestion and helps you lose weight.
  • Decreases the chances of developing heart and cardiovascular diseases.

  • I will start by opposing one of the pros above. According to a German study that gathered data on subjects whose diets consisted of at least 70 percent raw foods -- primarily fruits and vegetables, the raw food diet had a positive effect on levels of "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, but it appeared to raise levels of homocysteine -- a type of amino acid believed to increase your risk of heart disease -- and lower levels of the "good" cholesterol that protects the heart. 
  • According to a number of studies, the raw food diet increases death rates from heart disease compared to a vegetarian diet that includes dairy and eggs.
  • Read this mind boggling article by a well-known raw food author, admitting that due to health problems she couldn't continue with her vegan/raw-food lifestyle. Kristen's confession answered a lot of questions I have been asking myself.
What if you like seafood? You might add a twist to vegetarianism by becoming a pescetarian. 
Pescetarianism is the practice of a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. A pescetarian diet shares many of its components with a vegetarian diet and includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy, but unlike a vegetarian diet also includes fish and shellfish. The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term "pescetarian" to 1993 and defines it to mean: "one whose diet includes fish but no other meat".

  • Pescetarians consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, which ensures them a healthy heart. If you have a desire to be vegetarian but are concerned about getting adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, you might want to try flaxseed oil. It can be added to many recipes during food preparation, and it's virtually undetectable in smoothies. You can take a flaxseed oil supplement as well.
  • Seafood is a good source of iron. Because of this, pescetarians are at a much lower risk of having iron deficiency, which is common amongst vegans and vegetarians. 

  • Depending on the quantity and type of fish you eat as a pescetarian, excess mercury consumption might be a concern. To minimize your exposure to mercury, limit your consumption of larger fish. This is particularly important if you're pregnant. If you're pregnant, ask your obstetrician what types of fish and how much fish you can safely consume. Reduce your exposure to mercury by buying wild fish rather than farm-raised whenever possible. The only downside is cost; wild fish is typically more expensive. Change the variety of fish you eat so you don't consume an abundance of any one particular fish. What you need to know about mercury in fish and shellfish.
  • The pescetarian diet severely limits your protein sources.
how to choose your diet
Pork chops
Are you allergic to milk but love meat? Would you feel fine if you left refined sugar and salt behind? Consider the paleolithic diet.
The paleolithic diet, also known as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era, which ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. Centered on commonly available modern foods, the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, eggs, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.

  • The Paleo diet is one of few diets to manage to offer a sufficient amount of potassium, which decreases bone loss, and reduces the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Eliminates reliance on white refined carbohydrates. 
  • By embracing the Paleo diet you will certainly eat lots of vegetables.
  • No more processed snack foods, which are high in calories and low in nutrients.

  • Calcium is essential not only to build and maintain bones but to make blood vessels and muscles function properly. Because you’re not allowed dairy or fortified cereals, you’ll likely only get about half of the recommended daily amount from a Paleo menu.
  • Beans and whole grains, which are not allowed in the Paleo diet, are an important source of nutrients and fiber, plus an eco-friendly source of protein.
  • Refraining from legumes and whole grains has been shown to increase the risk of disease and heighten insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels, not to mention increase BMI.
  • The Paleo diet is too hard to maintain over a long period of time, which leads to yo-yo dieting and can mean poorer health.
how to choose your diet
Gluten-free Caprese
Do you have celiac disease? This is the only reason to go on a gluten-free diet.
The gluten-free diet excludes foods containing gluten -- the protein complex found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Corn and rice also contain gluten, but are considered gluten-free, as the gluten in these species do not cause celiac disease. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease, the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis, and wheat allergy, but not gluten allergy. Although the gluten-free diet has recently become a fad, there is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population. On the contrary, there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

  • Some people have a condition “where gluten damages the little fingerlike vili in their small intestines, causing discomfort in their bowels. They may also have constipation, diarrhea or blood in their stool. The condition is diagnosed through blood test and biopsy. Depending on the results, the diagnosis will be either celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. These patients must follow a gluten-free diet throughout their lives. If you suspect you have celiac disease and would like to be tested, it’s important to eat regularly and not follow a gluten-free diet, as this may skew results.
  • Because of the restriction of gluten, a greater emphasis is put on fruits and vegetables, which are often lacking in the typical American diets.

  • If you’re following a gluten-free diet with the intent of losing weight, you’re often eliminating entire categories of food — such as whole-grain breads — and as a result you run the risk of cutting out sources of necessary vitamins, particularly the B vitamins, niacin, folic acid, iron and zinc.
  • With a gluten-free diet you might chose less healthy foods. Often people substitute high-fat items for the gluten. A label may say the product is gluten-free, but it may be high in fat or sugar.

Feeling confused? Don't worry, you are not alone. There is so much conflicting information regarding healthy eating and proper nutrition. If you want to get some questions answered (or possibly get even more confused), I would like to encourage you to attend THE HEALTHY LIFE SUMMIT, March 24-30, 2013, it's free! You will learn about metabolism and stress, the war on milk, techniques for making real food, how to recover from autism with diet, and so much more. Here is a short preview of the wealth of information that awaits you on the summit.

But while the experts continue the battle over the best diet, you can rest assured that there is no right diet for everyone. You need to eat a diet that feels right for you, gives you energy, increases your health, and strong physics. Balance is the only answer.

Now is your turn, what are your eating habits and do you plan on changing them?



This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

18 March 2013

The Most Delicious Rye Bread

I grew up on wheat bread -- warm, soft, crispy crusted and incredibly delicious. We called it "white bread" as opposed to the black one -- the rye bread that my grandfather who had diabetes used to eat.

When I started my own family and entered the world of bread baking little did I know that this was a step to simple living but by creating food as essential as bread from scratch I intuitively felt independent, grown-up and free.

7 years into the journey, my strictly wheat flour bread repertoire has been met with applause but today I want to share with you the latest baked favorite in our household -- the most delicious and rich rye bread recipe that I made up myself.

It is appropriate for those of you who have never even baked bread because it is so easy. With rye you don't have any of the difficulties you will meet in wheat baking.

Rye bread is naturally more wet and doesn't rise as much as "white bread" but with some additions you can turn it into a hearty and healthy meal!

For this recipe I also used a little bit of barley and wheat flours. We don't have any gluten problems at home and I believe that moderation is key to health, so they shouldn't be a problem in the proportions used. But if you follow a gluten-free diet you can substitute them with any other gluten-free flours.

Confession: I tend to use recipes for general ideas and usually change half of them in the process of cooking. I encourage you to do the same and not stick 100% to any recipe but personalize it according to your taste and needs.

The Most Delicious Rye Bread
Produces two middle sized loaves

  • 3 cups rye flour (coarsely ground)
  • 1 cup barley flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup flax seed (crushed)
  • 2/3 sunflower seeds
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cacao
  • yeast for 2 kg (4,50lb) flour, this is roughly double the actual weight of the ingredients.
Here is a list of organic flours and non-GMO seeds I recommend for use.

Start by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over the rolled oats, add 3 tablespoons honey and leave to soak for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Dilute the yeast together with the sugar in 1 2/3 cups water. Let rise for 15 minutes. I always do this regardless of what kind of yeast I use, just to check whether it is active.

In a large bowl combine the flours, salt, cacao, the flax seed and the sunflower seeds. Mix well. Make a well in the center and transfer the rolled oats. Pour the risen yeast.

It's time to get your hands dirty. First try to break the oats (they should look like a stiff paste) and then start working the flour into the liquid center. Continue until you have a sticky but manageable dough.

In the adventurous baking spirit I would advise you to decide for yourself whether the dough is hard enough for your taste. It shouldn't be rock hard and it shouldn't be runny either. You might need to add some more flour or water.

Place the dough in lightly oiled clean bowl, grease on top, cover and let rise for about an hour in a warm place. Knead a little bit more and form into a loaf.

Transfer to a greased form (or two in my case). Make a decorative cut and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
This is how my loaves looked before rising.
Brush top with water and bake in a preheated oven at 180 °C (356 °F) for 1 hour or until the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.

You should wait for 24 hours before you eat this incredibly delicious bread. In fact, the longer it stays the tastier it becomes.

I love eating it for breakfast with a swipe of butter, a slice of cheese and a cucumber, salad or spinach leaves for freshness.

Mmm, my mouth is watering as I write, I'd better start baking my next batch!

Now it's your turn. What is your favorite rye bread recipe? If you haven't baked so far what could make you try?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

15 March 2013

Make A Plan To Eat Healthy

This post is written by contributing author Shelly Kerry. 

I am a lady that needs a plan! I love schedules, notebooks and calendars and when it comes to eating healthy, I need a well laid out plan more than ever. With such a busy schedule it is easy for me to just eat whatever is quickest even if that is another peanut butter sandwich for dinner. Not really the well rounded diet I want for myself. So I have found that I do best by filling my fridge and cupboards with healthy, easy to make foods and to lay out a shopping plan for the week. For both my diet and my workouts, I make a weekly plan in advance and keep the menu and exercises simple. 

My experience has been that in order to eat healthier foods and to get well rounded nutritious meals, I need to accept that I will be shopping more often. Organic vegetables and fruits only last a few days on my counter before they start to go bad. Just a note - I do live alone so I buy less at a time. The best way I have tackled this is to first make a list of my weekly “to buys”including avocados, eggs, bread, 4 to 5 seasonal fruits and greens, lean meats and a seafood. I have accepted that the fruits and veggies will have to be purchased two or three times a week. This can feel like a lot but there are several ways to prevent getting overwhelmed by so much shopping.

Plan your shopping trips around other tasks
There is a farmers market near my gym on Thursdays and another one not too far from my home on Saturdays. I plan my workout schedule with my shopping. After the gym on Thursday, I stock up on healthy snacks of whatever is in season from the local farms. Saturday I take a longer walk and do other errands on my way to the larger weekend farmers market. Here I can pick up more things that will last an entire week - meat, seafood, dairy and bread. My walk home is a little more challenging with the weight of the bags but it gives me an excuse to indulge in a small, yummy maybe not so healthy treat. With all this healthy living, we deserve a small cookie or ice coffee beverage on the weekends.

Cook in batches
This is something I hope to get better at this year - I want one of my weekends nights to be spent preparing food for the week. I keep things pretty simple so meals are easy to prepare. This way I can enjoy the once a week dinner out with friends. Cook up chicken or turkey and portion it out for the week. Cook up a couple different grains to use as a side dish or in a salad. Cut up veggies for easy stir fries or snacks. I often have to take my dinner to my night job so I like to keep food ready to just throw in my bag. Soups are also a great easy thing to make in advance and freeze for later

Make it last
I am not a big fan of leftovers unless I can use them to create a whole new dish. If there are extra green beans or red potatoes, I will add them to a big salad for dinner. Chicken can be used both as a good protein for dinner and as a healthy after workout sandwich. Extra tomatoes can be added to an easy, homemade pasta sauce. Living alone I have to be really good about catching fruits and veggies before they go bad. As soon a fruit starts to look a little overripe, I either dice or puree and then freeze them so they are ready for smoothies. Same for veggies. Use extra ice cube trays to fill with purees and put them in the freezer.

Eating and living healthy takes effort but the benefits do outweigh the extra work. Make it a little easier on yourself by trying out some of the above tricks and creating a weekly healthy shopping list. Subscriptions to CSA boxes from local farmers can be fun especially if you like surprises and want to try new things. I haven’t tried it yet but Instacart, a local grocery shopping and delivery app is now delivering from Whole Foods. The charges are not too crazy and with such a busy schedule grocery delivery in big cities can be worth the extra change.

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Shelly is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on Facebook or contact shelly@creatingspacemindfulliving.com

13 March 2013

The Healthy Life Summit: Learn from the Best Experts on Healthy Food and Living

One of the main prerequisites for a simple and healthy life is eating healthy and that is why all throughout March we are discussing healthier diets and trying to dig deeper into the modern way of eating.

As part of our Eat Healthier month I am excited to invite you to THE HEALTHY LIFE SUMMIT - a FREE online virtual conference that is happening March 24-30, 2013.

For a week you will be able to listen to 35 of your favorite health experts, authors, doctors, bloggers, farmers and activists from the comfort of your own couch! They will be covering the following topics:
  • Healthy Eating
  • Healthy Body
  • Healthy Babies & Kids
  • Healthy Living,
  • Healthy World.
Click here to sign up now -- it's FREE!

When you sign up, you'll get an email with log in information. Then go back on Sunday, March 24th and listen all week for free.

On each day during the summit, 5 presentations will be posted on the Healthy Life Summit website. They will be available for FREE, streaming for 24 hours.

To register for the summit, all you have to do is sign up on the Healthy Life Summit website. Upon registering, you will receive an email with all the information that they need in order to participate in the summit.

Throughout the summit, you will receive daily emails with instructions on how to listen to the interviews.

Here is a list of the expert participants in the Healthy Eating category:

Diane Sanfilippo, author of New York Times bestseller Practical Paleo - The 21-Day Sugar Detox

Bill Staley and Hayley Mason, authors of Make It Paleo - Make It Paleo

Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure - Healing the Mind and Body with Food

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of the Whole Soy Story - Practice Safe Soy

Kelly the Kitchen Kop
- Transitioning Your Family from Junk Food to Real Food

Mark McAfee, Organic Pastures Raw Dairy - The War on Milk

Jenny McGruther, Nourished Kitchen - Techniques for Making Real Food Easy & Affordable

If you cannot attend during the live sessions, don't worry, you can download the package with the recordings of the entire conference (35 interviews).

The price for the whole package is $199.

Preorder today for only $49 and save 75% through March 23rd!

The downloadable package includes recordings of the entire 7 day online conference (35 interviews) and will be available in two formats:
  • 35 Audio Recordings
  • 35 Video Slideshows
So, what do you say, are you coming to the Healthy Life Summit with me?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

10 March 2013

Simple and Healthy: Salmon with Leeks and Carrots

As part of our healthy diet we try to eat fish at least twice a week. Living in Norway, our fish of choice is salmon. The following recipe became our favorite last winter and to be honest we find it hard not to eat it every day. The ease of preparation makes it the perfect dinner, especially combined  with mashed potatoes, pasta or quinoa. The rich texture of the salmon, the freshness of the leeks and carrots produce a simple, light and very tasty dish. Also, it is a fast and easy way to include omega-3 fatty acids into your diet especially during the long and dark winter.

Simple and Healthy Recipe: Salmon with Leeks and Carrots

  • 4 salmon steaks
  • 1 leek
  • 4 large carrots
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons oil/butter of your choice (oils I recommend to use)
Feel free to add or remove quantities and herbs. I personally prefer to have at least 2 more carrots.
    1. Season one side of the salmon steaks with salt and the pepper mixture.

    2. Trim away the root end, tough outer leaves and 2 inches (5 cm) of the dark green tops of the leeks. Cut the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove any grit and drain in a colander. Now cut into half-circles.

    3. Wash and peel the carrots. Cut in circles.

    4. Melt the butter or heat half of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook 2 of the salmon steaks, seasoned side down until golden brown and no longer translucent in the center, about 4 minutes.

    5. Turn the salmon steaks and add half of the leeks and carrots. Pour 100 ml of the vegetable stock and cook under a lid for about 5 minutes or until the stock has been reduced.
Repeat steps 4-5 for the rest of the steaks and vegetables.

By crisping one side of the salmon for a few minutes, and finishing it in the vegetable stock with the vegetables, it allows for the salmon to be done to perfection... every time!

How often do you eat fish and what is your favorite way to prepare it?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

08 March 2013

My Photo Selected by Smithsonian

My Burning Clouds photo got selected as one of the TOP TEN Altered Images in the 10th Annual Photo Contest of Smithsonian Magazine. It was chosen among more than 37,600 submissions from extremely talented photographers in 112 countries. As the Smithsonian Magazine representative says "We feel these images excel in technical quality, clarity and composition and provide fascinating lenses into our world." I feel honored and humbled. 

Smithsonian is an institution I have deep respect for. Established in 1846 it is considered the world's largest museum and research complex with 19 museums, 9 research centers and more than 100 affiliate museums around the world.

Smithsonian Magazine is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution, with articles on history, science, arts and nature.

But I am sure you all know that. Now, on to the main topic:

While the jury is busy deliberating the winner of every category - The Natural World, Travel, People, Americana and Altered Images, as well as the Grand Prize winner, there is also voting going on for the Readers Choice Winner.

So, please, if you like my image, vote for it and help me get the highest percentage of votes! Voting is open until March 29th, 2013 and you can vote once every 24 hours. 

Just in case the link doesn't take you to the page above, my photo is Number 47. I only have a feeble chance to win if you vote just once, so if you want to make sure you are really helping me out you can set a reminder and go back there to vote every day.

You can buy the same image right now in my etsy shop. Use coupon code KAN15 to get 15% discount.

If I win, I promise to send each of you a postcard with the same image. Just drop me a comment every time you vote, so I can keep track and make sure I have a way to contact you later for your mailing address!

Thank you!

06 March 2013

Garlic Honey and Coleslaw Dressing Recipe

This post is written by contributing author Cory Trusty.

Garlic is a common kitchen herb with many medicinal uses. It can help resolve colds, coughs, sore throat, and sinus infections. Externally it can be used for skin infections.
Garlic Honey and Coleslaw Dressing Recipe
Photo: Dreamstime
For chronic concerns, garlic helps reduce blood sugar and high blood pressure. It is also helpful to treat Malaria and boost immunity for AIDS. It is famous as a de-wormer. I remember my grandpa taking it powdered on everything.

The fresh garlic is the most potent to use medicinally, but I am just not one of those people who can handle a raw clove. The first time I tried raw whole garlic was in Belize. One of the locals was taking it raw and suggested I try it. Too strong for me! I prefer mine chopped fine in small amounts, cooked, or made up into garlic honey.
Photo: Cory Trusty
It's very simple to make garlic honey for medicinal or culinary use. Just chop up a whole garlic bulb: peel and chop the cloves. Chopping helps release Allicin -- the most potent chemical ingredient in garlic. Allicin is created when Allin reacts with the enzyme Allinase, which is activated when garlic is chopped or crushed. After your cloves are ready, put them in a clean pint jar. Cover with honey. I used raw wild flower honey. It takes a long time for the honey to seep through all the chopped cloves, so pour slowly.
You can use a knife or a chop stick to get the air bubbles out from among the chopped cloves. Photo: Cory Trusty
The next step is to cover and label and date your jar and put it up in a cupboard for 2-4 weeks. You can use the honey with or without the garlic at the end of this time. The shelf life of garlic honey is 3 months. You can take this honey by the spoonful or add it to tea if you have a cough, cold or sore throat.

I love making coleslaw dressing with garlic honey. You too can give it a try. Here's what you need:
  • 3 tablespoons of herbal vinegar of your choice
  • 3 tablespoons of Virgin Olive or Coconut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of garlic honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Mix the above together and cover with 4 cups of shredded cabbage and 1 cup of shredded carrot. Toss and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Have you tried garlic honey for medicinal use or as a salad dressing?

This post is part of Eat Healthier month on Kanelstrand. Read the rest of the posts here and join in the discussions, we'd love to know what you think!

Cory's Kanelstrand blog posts are licensed under Creative Commons. You are free to copy, distribute and adapt Cory's Kanelstrand content provided you attribute it to her by linking back to the original post as well as Cory's AquarianBath.com website.

Cory Trusty is a soap maker, community herbalist, organic gardener, and homeschooling mom to two girls. Cory and her family live in Daytona Beach, Florida. Cory's background is in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Biology.  She is sharing tried and true natural home remedies and mini lessons from herbal classes that she teaches. Cory works full time making soaps, shampoo bars, herbal salves, flaxseed heat packs and more for her website AquarianBath. Read more from Cory at the Aquarian Bath blog. Cory is also a Food and Gardening writer for EcoEtsy and has published in The Essential Herbal Magazine and on the Herb Companion Blog. Connect with Cory on TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus and Pinterest.