Monday, April 25, 2011

Mindful Monday: Be Playful

1. Stop being so serious all the time! It's time to lighten up people. Sure, it's not easy to stay in a lighter frame of mind when your responsibilities are heavy. But, you have to take a break from thinking about serious stuff all the time. You can lay your burden down for a bit and play like a child. Have you noticed that no matter what is going on in a child's life, you can almost always see them set things aside to run and play? Try doing the same, good things will certainly happen.

2. Remember to "whistle while you work." Have some fun! Laugh while you do the dishes. Smile through your day and watch it infect the entire office. You don't have to get downright silly and do gymnastics in the mail room. Just make that mental shift from doing things by rote and start doing them with passion. Put fun into every activity.

3. Find a hobby that lets you use your creativity. You cannot stand around bored and tense if you are up to your eyeballs in quilting squares. Did you know that when you are being creative, you are tapping right into your spiritual side? Again, the vibrations you send out will come back to you a hundred fold. It is impossible for it to be any other way. Be creative at every opportunity in whatever way brings you the most joy.

(Robin Skeen)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flickr favorites: Spring

To Spring by William Blake
O thou with dewy locks, who lookest down
Thro' the clear windows of the morning, turn

Thine angel eyes upon our western isle,

Which in full choir hails thy approach, O Spring!

The hills tell each other, and the listening

Valleys hear; all our longing eyes are turned
Up to thy bright pavilions: issue forth,
And let thy holy feet visit our clime.

Come o'er the eastern hills, and let our winds
Kiss thy perfumed garments; let us taste
Thy morn and evening breath; scatter thy pearls
Upon our love-sick land that mourns for thee.

O deck her forth with thy fair fingers; pour
Thy soft kisses on her bosom; and put
Thy golden crown upon her languished head,
Whose modest tresses were bound up for thee.

If you would like to see more flickr mosaic or wish to play the game, please visit Artmind's blog :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mindful Monday: Creativity

Julia Cameron on creativity:

Basic Principles:

1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.

2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life -- including ourselves.

3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator's creativity within us and our lives.

4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.

5. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.

6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.

7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.

8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.

9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.

10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

(Julia Cameron: The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity)













Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Garlic and parmesan bread

This little bread is perfect by a soup or just as a snack with some butter on top.

You will need for a little loaf:

300g strong bread flour (I used all purpose flour, because that's what I had at home and I added some extra gluten)
7g dried yeast
1 tsp powder sugar
2 tsp salt
some pepper (I added 1 tsp)
50g grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic puréed
220 ml tepid water
some extra flour for dusting

First mix all the ingredients and knead it with your hand or with a stand mixer. When you dough is elastic and silky. Cover the bowl and let is rest till it's doubled its size.
After it put it on a floured surface and give it a good kneading for about a minute. Shape you bread, put it on a well floured baking sheet, make a few cuts on top with a sharp knife and let it double its size again.

I scored this funny bread baking thingy at the local supermarket, it is not too easy to use (I had to be very careful no to put too much dough in it), and because the bread cannot prove as much as it will I didn't get those lovely big air holes, but I thing the little flower shaped bread slices were adorable:

So, back to the recipe, after your bread doubled the size again, put it into the preheated oven ( 225°C) and bake it for about 20 minutes. Your bread will be ready when tapping its bottom sounds hollow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dutch Easter cinnamon rolls recipe: Suikerhaantjes (Zeeuwse bolus)

On Palm Sunday the children decorate a palm stick with different objects all with a meaning and go on a parade:
- the palm stick represent Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday),
- the bread in the form of a rooster represents the bread what Jesus shared during the Last Supper (Maundy Thursday),
- the rooster form of the bread represents the rooster crowded three times after Petrus said he didn't know Jesus (Good Friday)
- the eggs represent the new life (Easter Sunday)

*Update: Kim from viltalakim posted a cute tutorial on her blog about how to make a Palm Sunday Cross.

Traditionally the bread rooster is made of plain bread dough, but every region has it's own variation, where I live in the middle of The Netherlands they use a very, very sweet sugary, cinnamon flavored "sticky" pastry to make the suikerhaantjes ("sugar roosters).

The recipe is a variation of an old Dutch (originally Jewish) pastry, the zeeuwse bolus.

It's loaded with calories, definitely not an everyday pastry, but it's really worth to try. Oh, and if you really want to enjoy it you will eat it with fresh butter.

You will need for the dough (makes 14 rolls)

500 g + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp dried yeast
75 g butter (room temperature)
1 egg
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
juice of a half lemon
320 ml milk

and for rolling:
about 200 g sugar (I used cane sugar, but if you want to get it very authentic, so really, really sticky use muscovado sugar or the Dutch "basterd suiker")
2 tbsp cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients and kneed it with your hands or with a stand mixer, till you get a smooth dough. Cover the bowl and let it rise for about 45 minutes. Put it on a well floured surface and divide it in 14 equal pieces. Put the sugar and the cinnamon on a large plat or if you don't mind the mess on your work surface, form a little ball from each with you hands and roll the balls in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Let it rest again for about 10 minutes.

Now comes the fun part, make from each ball an about 20 cm long and 1 finger thick rope, roll the ropes in the sugar mixture and give them a shape you want.
I was aiming for a rooster, but I ended up with an S form, it seemed much easier :) If you want you can also make the classic cinnamon roll shape.
Put the on a baking tray covered with baking sheets, bare in mind that they will grow, so don't put them to close to each other and let them rest for another 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220°C and bake them for 10 minutes. Let them cool off on a tray.

You can keep them for two days in an airtight container, the second day they will be even stickier and so more authentic :)

Enjoy! :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mindful Monday: Laundry

"Monday wash day" they said before all that shiny automatic washing machines and dryers came along and women didn't have the luxury not to spend a whole day washing the clothes. I know plenty of people who carry on this tradition, what actually makes a lot of sense, starting a new week with fresh, clean smells around is a very attractive though. Like this prayer says what I found somewhere on the net:

" Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead."

Well, this is definitely something to think about for a moment, before you load your washing machine :)

But if you find this a little too strict, let me show you
Karen Maezen Miller's 4 reasons why laundry leads to happiness:

These are my top four reasons why doing the laundry can make you happy, healthy and wise:

1. Someone has to do it. And you're the only one you have to work with. Facing this truth could be the biggest aha moment in your life. Instead of expecting someone or something else to change your situation, only you can do it. A full hamper reminds us that running away from the things we would rather avoid makes our lives feel like an endless chore. Face it. Taking responsibility for your own well-being is the first step in transformation. Doing even half a load makes a difference, because big changes occur little by little.

2. You can stop looking elsewhere. We spend most of our time looking fruitlessly for more meaning, more money, and greater purpose. What we already have doesn't seem good enough. When we expect ordinary things to be more rewarding than they are, or when we devalue them as less than they are, that keeps us at arm's length from our own lives. Sort the whites from the colors and the heavy duty from the delicates. Your active attention to the matter at hand washes away the sense of inadequacy and confusion.

What's to look for anyway? The instructions are always right in front of you. The tag inside a garment tells you exactly how to care for what you hold in your hands. Not just clothing, but very bit of life comes with instructions when we are mindful enough to notice. Doing it well may take more work than we'd like, but the effort is always worth it in the long run.

3. It's cheaper than therapy. You can learn a lot about yourself by how you do the laundry. Notice the difference in the way you might tenderly handle your own or your children's clothing versus the resentment you feel about the piles your spouse leaves on the floor. Watch the way you sentimentalize a baby bootie and take offense at a pair of boxer shorts. We cling to things we like and reject what we don't like when in the end it's all the same: a blend of cotton and polyester. Laundry gives us an honest encounter with ourselves and our troublesome judgments, frustrations and fury. Seeing clearly is how we become wise.

So let's be straightforward about it. Everything shrinks, fades and falls apart. Nothing stays brand-new. The most precious things we have are fashioned of flimsy fabric. Be mindful with each moment you have and you will experience your life in a different way.

4. No one turns their nose up at a clean pair of socks. Doing the laundry is practical, and that's what makes it so gratifying. No one turns their nose up at a clean pair of socks, a fresh-smelling t-shirt, or laundered sheets. When you have them, it's called the good life. You enrobe your life in dignity when you give yourself clean laundry.

Like the wad of bills left in a pants pocket, or the spare change that turns up in the bottom of the dryer, there's a treasure to be found where you'd least expect it: the laundry. You might just find that what you think you're missing - happiness - is no farther than the bottom of the basket. What's more, you'll never run out. Every day brings the chance to slow down, pay attention, take care and engage intimately with the fabric of your own life. You'll be happy you did, and so will everyone around you.

So girls and boys, let's do some laundry with a smile :)

'Laundry' by ZsBcreations













Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.


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