#food

One surprising way to add happiness

An old tale:

” Two kids were wondering what their mother, generally happy and healthy lady, is doing everyday for 2 hours behind the closed door in her room? One day they entered the room and saw her sitting at the table and having a cup of tea.

-What are you doing? – they asked

-Making a happy mom for you, – was the answer”.

Tea originates from China as well as both names, tea and chai. These words now spread to different languages. Interestingly, chai in US is referred to indian way of cooking  tea with milk and spices ( like cardamon and bay leaves). For the first time, tea was mentioned as a medicine but later it became a centerpiece of a ceremony in China, Korea and Japan. Drinking tea was a process not only in those countries but also  in Turkey, India and Russia (think of samovar). Not to mention famous British 5 o`clock tea! Drinking tea was taking time, whether it was a green tea with 3 min brewing time or a long way cooked Turkish black tea. This was a social event, a ritual that cannot be done quickly. Feels like a “black hole” of your time that you can never afford? Would you prefer a cup next to your computer?

A lot of articles and career advices are focused on how to become more efficient to do more things, how to fit more to-do-lists and workouts in life to become a better, healthier version of ourselves. Multiple interviews portrait successful people as very busy perfect machines that have each minute scheduled. Yet another bulk of advices focuses on how to overcome stress, anxiety and burned-out stretched in our lives. Hmm.. Apparently, with more workouts, strict diet and tons of yoga and mediation classes. Great and healthy advices, however they often lack moderation. We tend to run from one extreme (12-14 hours work day) to another (everyday workouts and crazy detox).

Here I feel like to add an advice that helps me in my daily life to balance work, my daughter activities, workouts, household,  and some social life and events. Performing all these activities do not make me feel happy. I like doing them when I am in a good mood. But if I don’t, I don’t. So from where shall I take this good mood? I took that old story literally and now everyday I take time to have my cup of tea. It is a ritual but no rule: nice cups, something sweet or not… Even more: a cup of coffee in the morning myself, tea with friend in the afternoon, and a glass of wine after dinner with my husband. All meant to enjoy and celebrate life on daily basis. During this time I play board games with my little one, chat with my friend, or simply sit quietly and just feel good. The key is to make it a priority. I feel happier because I feel my life better. This is my pleasant meditation ( meditation is a degree of awareness). With all those troubles, sadness and fun in life, happiness is the process of realizing the moment.  The life is not about rushing through the checklist, it is about living each day.

Quick tips for chic brunch

Having party guests overnight, inviting friends or simply wishing to enjoy your weekend morning, brunch is something to consider. Having brunch is not an old tradition: it began in England in 19th century. This is one of the easiest ways to enjoy weekend meals and socialize. Here are my quick tips for how to make brunch at home.  Quick is important: for various reasons we tend to sleep longer on weekends and therefore wake up hungry.

  1. Alcohol drinks. To minimize thinking and creativity time, keep some sort of sparkling wine at home (Spanish Cava of Italian Prosecco are one of the best options). I would not go for expensive Champagne, especially if you are going to add juice.  If you have kids, most likely you already have juice or lemonade: any of these will work for mimosa cocktail. But straight sparkling wine will do too.  Just in case you do not have it. Use a tea spoon of liquor (for example, amaretto) or cognac to flavor coffee.
  2. Coffee. I love French press – quick and looks cozy on the table. Can make good coffee with no coffee machine. Occasionally, although this  is not a widely used brunch drink, I do turkish coffee (sold online and in asian stores. Brand Mehmet Kahveci works well and is used by turks as well, which is a good sign). Just in case you do not have it.   I can`t believe you do not have it. Sure black tea works too. You can also  cook it on slow heat with milk, cardamon and sugar.
  3. Pastry. Long time ago I was trying to bake my own croissants. Never worked ( not to mention that this is not the best exercise one wants to do Sunday morning), until I learned that my french friend keeps frozen croissants from Trader Joys in her freezer. Bake them for 10 min and give the dough chance to rise overnight. Delicious.  Just in case you do not have it. Crepes take a bit of time ( 20 min) but can be served with honey, syrup, smocked fish, mushrooms, sour cream, caviar – anything ( use flour, milk, egg, and olive oil to make a sour cream consistency liquid. Pour to cover preheated frying pan, flip on the other side in one minute – done. I usually do 3-4 per person). Bread and butter will do too (sliced bread with butter can be quickly baked in the oven with garlic and herbs and served as bruschetta with tomatoes and basil).
  4. Fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, mango, raspberries.. you name it. Fruits are healthy and refreshing. Add one to flute with sparkling wine too. Just in case you do not have it.  Use confiture and honey.
  5. Eggs. How to cook them depends on your guests preferences or on what else you  have at home. For example, boiled eggs go well with smocked salmon (halve them and put slices of salmon on top), while scrambled can be done with goat cheese ( add goat cheese to butter for a nice flavor). Omelettes can be paired with arugula salad. Benedict eggs are just great. Just in case you do not have it. Rare, but happens. Fry sliced in circles potatoes and beacon. Alternatively,  serve cured meats or liver pate (Trader Joys has nice one with truffles or fry chicken liver with onions and mash it – serve with fig , cranberry or raspberry confiture).
  6. Veggies. Cucumbers and avocados are great. Just slice them. Just in case you do not have it. Olives and feta cheese can do the trick.

Enjoy your weekend!

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