I'm back - actually I haven't been away. I did plan to take a little time off in August but I didn't plan on getting the flu. Anyway I'm back in the land of the living now and the two weeks of enforced rest has at least given me some time to reflect ( and not just on how quickly the washing basket fills up when you don't do any chores for a few days)
I do write a lot about enjoying the simple things in life and a short spell of not being able to enjoy them certainly make you appreciate them even more. Having a very minor illness made me realise just how precious good health is and reinforced the necessity of self-care routines.
The two things I missed most were dog walking and coffee. My lungs still feel like they're about to burst but it is so good to be outdoors and enjoying the fresh air again. I got soaked to the skin on my first long walk - it felt great!
I know something is wrong with me if I can't face a cup of coffee and for the best part of a week, even the thought of it made me nauseous. Thankfully that wore off and the reunion was sweet. I don't think I've ever drunk coffee so mindfully as that first cup - the feel of my favourite mug in my hands, the warmth, the smell and then the taste!
Well - I'm off to put the kettle on now! Anyone want to join me for a coffee?
If you're a coffee lover, or you know someone who is, then why not do a spot of coffee break shopping. All these coffee related treats are from independent artists and makers - and they are all under £10. Just click on the photographs to visit their shops.
Apologies if you're suffering in this heatwave and it's just too hot to be in the kitchen. Maybe you should just skip this one or buy a cake and just sit somewhere cool and enjoy it.
For those of you who can stand the heat of the kitchen - literally - baking is a great way to unwind. The methodical preparation is somewhat soothing and kneading and whisking can help get rid of some tension. It's an absorbing activity that helps push worries out of your mind for a while. There's also the excitement and anticipation and, of course. the pleasure of a homemade treat at the end.
Enjoy the process and enjoy the result!
If you want to read more, here's a couple of interesting articles on baking and mental health.
Can Baking Improve Mental Health?
Piece of Cake - Baking for Mental Health
And if you need some recipe inspiration, far too many of my Pinterest boards are about food!
I've been experimenting today and, given that I am never likely to win "Star Baker", I'm pretty pleased with the results. I am especially pleased with this cake because it's a healthy cake and it's very simple to make, it only takes a few minutes to mix up.
It's low fat and flour-free and if you're doing Weight Watchers it comes in at only 1 Smart Point* per slice (one-eighth of the cake) - so don't let the weird sounding ingredients put you off.
I'm sure that mug is telling me to eat more cake!
Healthy Chickpea and Ginger Cake
Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee or use as the base of a dessert, maybe adding some fruit and natural yoghurt.
* please note this is my calculation not an official WW one - to the best of my knowledge the only ingredient to be counted is the stem ginger which is 8SP for 50g.
If ever there was anything worth celebrating it must be World Chocolate Day! It requires little or no imagination to work out how to celebrate it - with all things chocolate of course!
This gives me a great excuse (not that I need one) to feature this fabulous Etsy shop The Slabb. Sometimes a shop just jumps out at you - this one certainly did - it sells chocolate - funny that! I'm sure i don't need to say anymore. Just feast on these...
And once you've eaten your own body weight in chocolate you can still get an extra cocoa fix by treating yourself to some non-edible chocolatey gifts. Just click on the photographs to see full details.