Green Smoothie and Yippee it is the Summer Holidays

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Finally it is summer here in Sweden and I am about to go on my holidays. I realised I hadn’t mentioned here on my blog that I currently have a course on Daily Bits Of called A Gluten free way of eating.  Here I was asked to share some of my key learnings and why I am so passionate about my new way of eating, hence I thought I would share it here too and give you my easy to have at home frozen ingredient smoothie recipe.


I started cutting out gluten and refined sugar nearly two years ago and albeit I still slip into eating rubbish something overall I have actually changed the way I eat. I freeze the oddest of things and therefore ensure I waste a lot less food – ripe bananas and avocados go into the freezer for a on the run (in my busy life not a run from the police I promise) smoothie; a great snack. My course is all about snacks – I realized that with various ways of eating such as LCHF and Paleo there tends to be a lot of food ideas available and in my mind eating home made meals that are healthy and tasty is fairly simple – vegetables and salads with fish, meat or more vegetables can often be easy and tasty – especially now that BBQ season is upon us. But it is on the go snacks and easy fixes when you are starved (or bored) that is difficult – I am hoping my course helps people prepare for those dips. Some key tips from my course are:

  • Be prepared! If you have good things in the fridge or freezer then it is at least possible to make a good choice.
  • Don’t buy rubbish and say it is just for the kids – I eat all my childrens leftover sweets if they are there – they don’t need them either, and if like us you give your children Saturday sweets let them buy a few and eat them straight away.
  • Be kind to yourself – changing the way you eat for the long term is a LONG process hence when you go to a friends house and eat a whole tube of Pringles, get over it and forget about it. There are worst things that could happen J.

Lastly have fun and experiment – if you want more tips about more snacks, food and general rambling about what goes on inside my head please go to www.lifeofmilne.com. Also if you want hands on advice about changing the way you eat book a one to one session (Johanna@lifeofmilne.com) and we can give the inside of your kitchen cupboards and new dusting of quinoa and buckwheat flour – unlike fairy dust this works if you want to feel better.

Albeit I am very much an 80:20 rules girl – I eat well 80% of the time and don’t worry about the other 20% I always look forward to holidays because then I can cook and eat well consistently and feel good too!

As an easy summer fix and a use of all the stuff you can freeze, here is the smoothie recipe which I had to hand writing this post.

Green Smoothie:

  • Half a frozen banana
  • Half a frozen avocado
  • 2-4 cubes of frozen spinach (depending on how green you are feeling)
  • 1-2 handfuls of frozen raspberries (again use less if you are feeling braver)
  • 2 tsp of spirulina
  • Water to get it to the right consistency

Blitz and drink – if you don’t have an industrial blender you may have to let the avocado half defrost for a few minutes… Enjoy and have a wonderful summer.

Love Johanna

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Eating well everywhere

I think one of the most difficult things in changing the way you eat is doing so in ‘odd’ places when you are away from home.  I am VERY able to eat a lot of rubbish unless I am very well prepared.  Some of my safety foods are:

  • Hardboiled eggs – comes in their own packaging… just don’t forget one at the bottom of your handbag…
  • Smoothies – again tread carefully I forgot to put the lid on mine one day in my very nice handbag which had lots of nice little dark holes where smoothie can hide…
  • Nuts, seeds and raisins – I sometimes have those kids pack of raisins around for a sweet fix.
  • Banana chips
  • For fika (coffee and cake) on the go I always have things in the freezer such as Chocolate snack bitesEnergy Bars and I always keep a Frozzypack lid in the freezer so they don’t turn into a mush before they are to be eaten.
  • Small pieces of seed bread – you always get a lot of small bits at the bottom of the tin which aren’t good for much, a handful of these are a great snack though.

Enjoy!

Artichokes – best starter, dinner ever!

Artichoke

Last night I had one of my favourite meals – we used to have it when we were kids, a little odd I think now but now sure why.  A large vegetable hence great dinner (or does it count as a flower?).

Boil the artichoke for 45 minutes with half a lemon and 1 tsp of salt.

(the leaves should come off easily).  EAT with either some vinaigrette or melted butter and some salt and pepper.  A small one as a starter a large one as a small meal!

Now off to my yoga and mindfullness course – will see if I am a new person upon my return.

Cauliflower Fish Pie – Day after midsummer

Yesterday was midsummer celebrations here in Sweden, the basics as I see them are:

  • Dress the midsummer pole (like a maypole)
  • Dans round it – pretend to be a frog and highlight the fact that frogs do not have ears or tails… logical I know.
  • The rocket – clap hands pretending to be a fire work, another classic and there is no risk of blowing off a finger so EXTREMELY health and safety friendly.
  • Eat herring, drink snaps and beer.
  • Have strawberries and cream as a cake or on their own.

I did all of the above and then I lured into helping my mum clear out her wardrobe… she did have some real design classics.

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I think I look rather wonderful!

Hence today I figured we needed something tasty today to be build our strength before we carry – the large bags of clothing that had to go to the charity shop.  Fish pie has always been one of my favourites. You can substitute for dairy free cream and milk alternatives and skip the cheese, but it is now quite as good…

Cauliflower Fish pie (serves 4-6) Oven 180 degrees C – takes 45 min

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  • 500 grams of white fish of your choice
  • 200 grams peeled prawns
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 75 grams butter (approximately)
  • 1 tsp of buillion
  • one small onion (finely chopped)
  • spinach and or peas
  • 1 carrot (finely chopped)
  • 5 hard boiled eggs
  • 250 ml of cream
  • 100 ml full fat milk
  • 2-4 tbsp of grated horseradish depending on taste
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 50 grams butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 grams grated cheddar
  1. Boil/Steam the cauliflower until soft – put aside
  2. Hard boil 5 eggs
  3. Put the oven on
  4. Use the same pan as you cooked the cauliflower and add the fish (no prawns at this stage) – cover in some boiling water and a good knob of butter and the buillion powder.  Simmer for 3-5 min – the fish will go in the oven later so just needs to be started off in this way. Drain and set aside.
  5. Soften the onion and carrot in a little butter – add the cream, and the milk and thicken for a few minutes on a low simmer. Add the mustard, the horseradish and the salt and pepper (I think it needs a tsp of each but be careful with the alt better to have some sea salt to add later)
  6. With a hand blender mix the cauliflower into a mash.  Add about 25-50 grams of butter, as well as salt and pepper.
  7. Butter an oven proof dish (about 30cm x 20 cm) then add the fish in chunks, prawns, quartered eggs, 2 dl of frozen peas scattered across, 2 handfuls of spinach, the creamy/milky mixture.
  8. Put the mash on top.
  9. Place the grated cheddar on top.
  10. Place in the oven for around 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Serve it with cooked greens of your choice.

This is very satisfying food and great if you have overindulged yesterday whilst pretending to be a fire work…

More Soup – Channel Chanterelle (Trattkantarell)

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In Sweden we pick a lot of mushrooms and as I am a forager I am a keen mushroom picker.   Channel Chanterelle (Trattkantareller) are seen as a real delicacy and I tend to dry them (in the sauna which I then always manage to forget about so next time we use the sauna it is a very fragrant affair!

In my case we picked so many last year I still have a big jar full of the dried one but also a large amount of fresh ones that I had just cooked gently to get rid of the excess water and then frozen.  The amount of mushrooms I had in this recipe was maybe 4 dl worth and that gives 3-4 bowls depending on how thick you like it.

  • Channel Chanterelle Mushrooms – these are very musty and forrest tasting (if others I would consider skipping the blue cheese)
  • 2 charlottes or one small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • knob of butter (about 1 tbsp)
  • 2 dl of cream
  • 1 tsp of buillion powder
  • knob of stilton cheese  – about 2 tbsp worth
  • squeeze of lemon
  • water to get to right consistency
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions and garlic in the knob of butter – add the mushrooms.  Cook through, add the cream, bouillion,  stilton, lemon, water and S&P.  Make it quite thick and then blitz it when bubbling.  Then add a little more water to get to the consistency you want.  The stilton adds something… I am not so keen on hot blue cheese but here you would now know its there.

Enjoy!

Is Lagom killing Sweden?

Sorry no food today – I had a weekend of millions of kids parties, a GREAT birthday party of my wonderful neighbours and last night I was soooo tired I ate all the kids goodie bags.  It does annoy me I eat them when they are not even sweets I like, but hey such is life.  I am currently pondering Swedish society….

In Sweden Lagom is seen as good – not too much and not too little; it is a word that most other languages do not have. You are not allowed to be too rich or too poor, or too flamboyant or too boring – you should be like everyone else and not stand out. The article below got published in The Local today which is rather exciting!

Is Swedens equality culture killing careers and growth

Why are the Swedes so stressed?

For the last 5 years, the number of people taking time off due to stress increased in Sweden, according to the Swedish work environment authority (Arbetsmiljöverket). With over 40% of work related illness being due to stress it is time to take a long hard look at ourselves. I love many aspects of working life here such as generous holiday allowances, maternity and paternity packages as well as a supportive government when it comes to child care, elderly care, health care etc in addition we work less than our European counterparts in most cases.  So what is making the Swedish workforce so stressed?

Is lagom and equality killing them off? I think it might be.

Having worked at a large Swedish company and numerous large American and British firms I think I see at least part of the problem.  In Sweden everyone should get the chance and time to give their opinion and be involved.  But are companies not actually there to ’do’ not just think and debate?

Maslows hierarchy of needs states that basic security is key – I think it is hard to dispute this.  People want to (I want to) feel like my life is secure and in today’s society that means having a regular income that covers basic needs such as food, housing, basic living etc. I think Swedish corporates cover this. But, then you also want to feel valued, to make a difference, do work that has a purpose and fulfill your own potential.

This, is my opinion (and experience) is where the Swedish work culture falls down.  Giving everyone a chance to voice their concern and give a view means decisions are never really made, sometimes they just happen but that doesn’t give people a sense of satisfaction.

Also all the things in a working day, week, month, year that employees should give feedback and views on is overwhelming. This makes it hard to prioritize and which in turn makes people feel uncomfortable; the fact that they discussed the toilet paper brand instead of the sales that needs to be made is not motivating.  Lacking in achievement, the guilt of never being enough is in my mind a negative stress – and it is this stress that makes people as it is expressed in Sweden – ’Hit the Wall’.

In English speaking countries they call it a nervous breakdown. Albeit not statistically checked it feels like hitting the wall in Sweden is a fairly common occurrence. I never met one person in my 12 years on the London job market who had a nervous breakdown.  Am I just lucky, ignorant or is there actually a stress epidemic in Sweden?

I am sitting here in the sunshine typing this because I realised I had enough. The negative stress sucked life out of me and I too realized I could have hit the wall if I didn’t make a change in my life. I am one of the lucky ones as I felt I had a choice but many don’t as covering basic needs means many people keep going. After hitting the wall it can then take months or even years to be able to handle even minimum stress again.

So why do I think lagom and equality is killing the Swedes?

Who wants to be a lagom good mother/father or employee I for one want to be GREAT. I know of one successful business woman who was consistently overachieving her sales budgets. When she was called in to her managers office for a meeting she expected a pat on the back or at least a “well done”. Instead, she was asked to take her foot off the accelerator and to slow down as she was showing up the others who were struggling to make their targets. Is this a culture of lagom?

Business leaders should be encouraging employees to fulfill their potential!

I’m not advocating that we all start to adopt a superiority complex by the way, far from it. I believe that everyone is equal and should be treated as such.

If managers and leaders created a culture where everyone could succeed and develop, I for one, believe that we could radically reduce these stresses.

We do not become more equal by letting everyone discuss everything – we become tired and overwhelmed.

My advice to companies out there is to support leadership – and when I say leadership I mean leaders i.e. people who make decisions and inform their employees. Of course listen to the key people for input but not everyone every time.

Create a vision and purpose for the organisation and create motivating, understandable goals that stretch and challenge your employees.

What else can we do to redress the balance?

  1. Set SMART motivating goals that people understand and that matter to the company.
  1. Allow people to do – brave leadership inspires brave employees. It means you are allowed to fail and learn and grow both as an individual and a business.
  1. Talk about what is important and what you can change and make better.
  1. Create a coaching culture based on two way feedback.

Cake and last day of school

thumb_IMG_0873_1024I used to make a lot of sponge cakes pre my quest for a gluten free existence. I do like at the weekend to drink my coffee or tea in the sunshine with a piece of cake.  Today is last day of school so cake is a requirement.  It is funny in Sweden we call sponge cake Sugar cake (socker kaka), hence I felt adding the translation was  not the thing to do it being sugar free!

The school finale was great the kids sang in the wind… half of it blew away but they looked happy and so did us parents.  The funny thing is that Fritids or after school club is on so afterwards they can go straight back in to normal routine.  But I think it is just the adults who care about that.

Apple and Cinnamon Sponge Cake 180 degrees Cthumb_IMG_0872_1024

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp birch sugar
  • 75 grams of butter – melted and cooled
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 dl oat flour
  • 1 tbsp po fibre
  • 1 tbsp psyllium husk (fiber husk)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch vanilla powder
  • around 1 dl of water – pour this in at the end to make it a nice thick batter.

Whisk the eggs and the two sugars, then add the banana (mashed up – I do this by just squeezing it a lot and then taking it out of its skin).  Add all the dry ingredients and mix then the butter and lastly the water to get the mixture to a thick batter.

Then peel, core and chop an apple, then cut into slices.  Mix 1 tbsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of coconut sugar and then cover the apples in the mixture.

Cook in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes at 180 degrees C.

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I think they liked it as the person I only got a small piece!

Ground Elder (Kirskål) Patties with Carrot Tzatziki

Obviously I am now a little obsessed after having tried Ground Elder for the first time this weekend.  I figured a meat free Monday wouldn’t be a bad thing hence I made these patties.  I have a tendency to get a little obsessed. For example when I started making my SeedBread (Frökex) I had it at least once a day with a hard boiled egg and some Swedish Caviar (this is not as fancy as it sounds but cod roe in a tube and salty and tasty… contains quite a lot of sugar but hey I felt it was worth it!) for about 3 months.  The last one I had I nearly threw back up… I think I had overdosed on hardboiled eggs and caviar, now 5 months later I can eat them again.  So as the ground elder is getting tougher I will ensure I don’t go too crazy.

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Ground Elder (Kirskål) Patties with Carrot Tzatziki (fed 2 adults and 2 small children) 15 min

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  • Handful of Ground elder
  • 10-20 straws of chives
  • 1 pack of chickpeas (Drained)
  • 1 tsp of cumin (spiskummin)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tahini
  • 1 egg

Put all the ingredients in a pot and blitz – to a smoothish consistency.

Put table spoon fulls in a frying pan with some hot oil.  Cook until golden turn over and then put in oven to keep warm and heat through fully for 10 min @ 150 degrees C.

Karin’s Carrot Tzatziki…. thank you Mrs F

  • Grate a large carrot
  • Grate one clove of garlic

Fry garlic and carrots in a table spoon or so of neutral oil.  Fry for about 5 min. Let it cool. Then put the mixture into:

  • 2 dl of greek yogurt or dairy free equivalent
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • juice of half a lemon

Mix it up and serve with the patties and some sallad of your choice.

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Ground Elder (Kirskål) – Leftover lunch

I have a lot of Ground Elder or Kirskål as it is called in Swedish in my garden. A LOT!  I kthumb_IMG_0849_1024thumb_IMG_0846_1024now you can eat it but haven’t done so until today.  As it is now June I figured the ground elder is not at its most tender (I havenot idea if its true I just know it has now been there for many weeks!) so I cooked it before eating.

Leftovers with Ground Elder

I had in my fridge some leftovers:

Leftover taco mince

Leftover chopped up tomatoes

Left over Walnut Pesto

  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • One spring onion (or other little bit of thumb_IMG_0851_1024normal/red/garlic onion like thing you have in the back of the fridge)
  • Handful of ground elder/kirskål
  • 2 cm chunk of courgette/zucchini
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 2 eggs

Fry the chopped spring onion, tomatoes, ground elder in the olive oil. After a few minutes add the mince, salt and pepper to taste as well as the chilli flakes.  When the mince is warmed through add two beaten eggs.  When the egg is cooked serve with a dollop of Walnut Pesto.

Serve with a dollop of leftover pesto!

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Walnut Pesto

Walnut Pesto

  • thumb_IMG_0836_10242 cloves of garlic
  • 1 dl of walnuts
  • Basil (a big fluffy pile cupped in your two hands)
  • 1/2 dl olive oil

Blitz it all together with a mixer. The add the below to get a good consistency:

  • 1/2 dl grated parmesan
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste!

Serve with Spiralized Courgette/Zucchini.

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