Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31: Connection, Together

Savor the connection with another being. A lake counts, as does a tree, a bird suddenly on your windowsill, a potted plant.
You know when your cat looks at you and you just know that she is thinking "oh yes, now is the time that I am going to (like every night) race around the apartment all wide-eyed and pretend that I do not understand that you're trying to make the bed. I am going to (like every night) run under the sheets and race around and cause you to squeal. This is our game!"

Play the Memory game with a kid and secretly chuckle and feel your heart swim over with love when the kid decides to "help" you when it's your turn by peeking under the boards just a leeetle.

Those times when you're plowing through a DVD box with someone, and an episode ends, and you look at each other and say, "another one?"

When such moments happen, drop your shoulders and your to-do list, melt into the moment and savor it. Time expands, or stands still. You're calm, and happy. Abundance.

Thank you so much for reading along this series! The 31 days have now come to an end, and the project is finished. To celebrate, there's going to be a little after-party tomorrow afternoon, November 1, 2014: I'll post some notes on the project, share some links, and I'd be happy to answer your questions about "31 Days to More Abundance" - please feel free to leave a question in the comments. See you tomorrow!

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30: New Beets

Today, I have some new beets for you:
Friends, you are looking at a variety of the beetroot called "Polka" in Swedish and "Candy cane" in my translation. I am happy to report that I have now tried this type of beet twice, and I love it! Who knew that you could grow beets like this!
Let's take a closer look:
this is what the candy cane beets look like unpeeled. To cook the beets, I cut off the root part and the stem part, halved and/or quartered the beets, and cooked them for about 15 minutes in salted water.

As you look at these gorgeous roots, you might be thinking, what stunning beauties, I am going to show off with them very much. Well, hold your horses, because this is as pretty as it gets. Cooked, my candy cane beets lost much of their color and most of the pattern. (I don't know if cooking the beets whole would have made a difference.) One last look at these pretty ones,
and here is the cooked version (below). Note that the beets are already peeled in this picture, and I tried to make them look as attractive as possible.
What do candy cane beets taste like, then? They taste great. Like regular beets, but a little sweeter. I used these beets in a warm potato salad with cannellini beans, feta-like cheese, and fried button mushrooms. The candy cane beets lent lovely pops of color to the salad without making everything pink like regular beets would maybe do.

More beets?
Here are some beets that my friend grew and how to cook them (in Latvian).
Here is a beet-fennel cream soup I made from Gwyneth Paltrow's book "It's All Good".
And here is a traditional Latvian soup that we only make and eat during summer, when it's unbearably hot outside, our "cold soup" prominently featuring beets.

Finally, it is thanks to this post that I have a renewed interest in beets.

I hope you feel abundance when you try a new vegetable or a new root, and like it. I do.

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 29: Why Is There Sand in My Handbag?

Today's abundance tip is this:
whenever you can, empty your handbag at the end of the day. Nine times out of ten, you'll thank yourself for doing so.

I came to this realization one day when I was pawing through my bag in search of something and suddenly I felt sand there, rough grains of sand.

Why is there sand in my handbag?, I thought. There was no sand, but I had put a couple of digestive cookies in my bag "for later", cookies that I had forgotten about and carried with me for a good week or two, during which they'd crumbled to "sand".

When you empty your bag at night, you'll often find:
- food that can be popped in the fridge and eaten later
- an important receipt that you want to save
- some brochure or other piece of paper that you want to read later, but won't get around to for a while and will probably keep on carrying with you for a while (paper weighs a lot)
- your planner that you needed to take a look at anyway
- your overstuffed wallet (edit!)
- your phone that needs charging
- shoes (need to be aired)
- random tissues or handkerchiefs
- a water bottle that needs to be rinsed out
and much, much more.

I hope you feel abundance next time you have the energy to give your bag the once over (I'm not saying empty your bag completely and shake it out every night, a once over is enough). The feeling of abundance - if not immediately as you're unpacking the bag (old plastic wrapper from some sandwiches, nice), then the morning after, when you pick up your bag on your way out the door and feel that you did something seemingly small, but important, for yourself.

Here are two things that I also often carry with me: this, and this. I read in a glossy ladies' magazine that some women carry hard-boiled eggs in their purses for the perfect power snack on the go. I have yet to try this. I am fascinated (a hard-boiled egg in your handbag, really? A quick snack between those meetings? Almost the same as whipping out an apple, yeah?), but I am not saying no.

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 28: Stress Busters

What often gets in the way of feeling abundance? Thoughts that stress us out. Today, I'll tell you about two things that help me stress less, smile more:

1. "Un-dramatize!" This is something I learned from a very wise teacher. ("Avdramatisera" in Swedish.) Un-dramatize means don't give whatever is stressing you out so much power. Un-dramatize is the fastest way to help yourself feel calmer almost right that instant.
I usually say to myself (can't remember which book I got this from, M.J.Ryan, probably) - "millions of people in the world right now are experiencing this/going through this. You'll be fine."
Example: you're late for something for some reason, and you start to spin around and stress out. Un-dramatize! So, you're a little late. Millions of people in the world are late, we're human, that's life. You'll be just fine. And just like that, you can act more calmly, have your wits about you, and maybe even make it on time.
2. Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I'll remember to think of some funny, talented people when I'm stressed out. I cannot simultaneously think of Will Ferrell and be stressed out. I just start to smile. The same goes for Owen Wilson (I love his work in "You, Me and Dupree").

I'll end with one of my favorite quotes from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy:

"I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal. (...) I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." 

Don't you feel better already?

Photo sources: 1, 2, 3. ´

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 27: Some Very Neat Feelings

Welcome to Day 27 of 31 Days to More Abundance! To read all the posts in this series, head here. Today's post was first published on September 28, 2013. For this post, I'm adding one new neat feeling at the end of this list, a feeling that makes me feel abundance in that way when you almost feel relief and well-being course through you whole body. Enjoy!
1. Settling in for a long drive
2. When you pick up your face cream and the jar feels heavy (=won't need to get a new one for a while)
3. Seeing that one of your favorite bloggers has posted again
4. Finding one more of something you thought you were out of
5. Putting on brand new dish-washing gloves
6. When you need to wrap a present in a hurry and you find you have everything you need on hand, and it's pretty
7. Seeing a bee gather honey from something you've planted
8. Being on time, a little early even
9. When your favorite magazine comes in the mail, and you discover that it's really thick this time
10. Slipping into clean sheets
11. When you recognize a moment that calls for kindness, and you choose to be kind
12. When you're in for the night

Happy Autumn!

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 26: Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship and the feeling of abundance go hand in hand for me. Earlier this fall, I had the pleasure of experiencing not one, but two types of craftsmanship in one day.
I did not know that there is a Latvian company that builds such luxurious beds and headboards (see below) right there in Latvia. I'm glad I happened to visit the store and showroom of Nakts Mēbeles, and even happier about the fact that I got to learn a bit more about the materials and how the beds are made, and that there is an actual old factory restored that's in use today. I loved the hot cocoa color of this headboard:
and the texture of the fabric was so cozy.
Very neat details, and I also loved 
this gallery wall (below) with the company history in photographs. I love the browns and the creams, and the gold here.
I am fascinated by people who are experts at something, people who are passionate about their thing, people who put in the time. It was therefore a pleasure to meet Žanis Raivo Behmanis, the sous-chef of the restaurant Kuk Buk, the creator of this:
My friend and I were presented with this "compliments from the chef" dessert tasting menu. I was very excited and so happy that someone would take the time to create something so beautiful. My friend said that a tasting menu like this would be an excellent ice-breaker for first dates, and I agree - there's nothing like bonding over a new experience, nothing like exploring all these tastes on one plate. I loved that the overall dessert theme was so Nordic early autumn:
we were treated to beetroot mousse made with cottage cheese and served with lingonberry chutney (above), pumpkin cream, a truffle brownie, meringue and a smoked apple jam.  And why not decorate with baby salads? Pretty and delicious. There were also raspberries and blueberries, the whole plate was a wonderful surprise, but the best part was getting to meet the chef and talking to him briefly about what's cooking now and in the future.

For another lovely combination, take a look at this chocolate-basil cake.

New here? Happy to see you! You can read all the posts in this 31 day series here.

Note: This is not a sponsored post.

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 25: Culture Codes

One of my favorite things to read is culture codes. There's almost nothing like being on the other side of the world and suddenly you see something that reminds you of home (like a Norwegian salmon sandwich for breakfast in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or seeing a long hauler from your country when you're far away from home). The more places you get to know, the more codes you learn. Today, a very Swedish phenomenon for you. Who can tell me what this is?
I first encountered this in a print ad, and I thought it was broccoli cream soup or similar. Well, kids, you're actually looking at a Princess Cake, a classic Swedish cake.
Let's take a closer look:
A Swedish classic - Princess Cake
as you can see, the cake consists of a simple "sugar cake" sponge layered with seedless raspberry jam, vanilla cream, and whipped cream. All of this is topped with green marzipan. One important thing to know here is that in Sweden, whipped cream is always made without sugar (which was a shock for this Latvian to discover).

So while the Princess cake might look very heavy and sugary, the unsweetened whipped cream in combination with the raspberry jam actually makes for a very "fresh" tasting cake (if you remove the marzipan cover, which is meant to be eaten, but it also makes this cake too sweet for me).
A slice of Princess Cake - a Swedish classic!
To get neat slices, run your knife under hot water, quickly shake the knife off and cut (no need to dry the knife with a towel). Run the knife under hot water after each cut.

The Princess cake comes in different marzipan colors (pink, yellow, white, and even blue), but this lime green is the classic version.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this classic Swedish treat. 

Thank you for stopping by Pieliekamais!