Happy Healthy Wholefoods

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Happy Healthy Wholefoods

From all the research I’ve done, I believe a whole food, plant based diet is the healthiest way to eat. It should be the default diet that everyone begins with, as the way to keep healthy and I wish I’d known about it years ago!

Having turned vegetarian at the age of 22 years, from what I believed was an ethical stand point, I’ve been vegan now for almost four years after realising that I hadn’t gone far enough, but if you’re looking at diet from a health perspective, you can’t beat a whole food, plant based diet. This way of eating can cure disease. I’m going to say that again….eating a whole food, plant based diet can cure disease. It has been proven it can reverse heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and many more illnesses. Don’t take my word for it…check out the factual videos and science at http://www.nutritionfacts.org On this website, Dr Michael Gregor provides facts, gleaned from medical papers, made easy to understand by non medical professionals.

Whatever your ethical standpoint, doesn’t everyone want to be well and fit, especially at a time when having a decent immune system is a bonus? I’m often asked what I eat on my whole food plant based diet and the answer is….as much whole food plant based food as I can! I’ve shared recipes with you before, but over the next few months, I’m going to revisit a few, share some updates and share new recipes of dishes I’m eating regularly.

So, what is a whole food plant based diet? Dr Gregor has a free App you can download called the Daily Dozen, and this guide really helps focus on the parts of our diet, essential for wellbeing and health. Beans, pulses, legumes, combined with vegetables, especially cruciferous, fruit, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts and seeds, form the basis of my diet, and my lentil loaf plays a big part in that.

Mine is a High Carb Hannah recipe and you can find it here https://wendysteele.com/2019/04/12/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-11-hch-lentil-loaf/

I now add extra turmeric and black pepper to my loaf, and love chopping in dried apricots, sultanas or raisins. Drowning under a glut of runner beans from the garden one week, I added beans to the loaf and they worked well chopped small. The courgettes however, made the loaf a bit soggy!

Lentil loaf is one of our staple foods. We eat it most days for lunch with a huge salad, ticking off lots of boxes on the Daily Dozen without having to try very hard. It’s filling, really sustaining when there’s renovation work to do on the house, or wood to chop.

Consider including a lentil loaf into your cooking repertoire….easy to make, delicious, sustaining and really good for you. Check out the recipes on this site by typing ‘Plant based’ into the search box.

Visit again for more recipes and thoughts on the benefits of plant based eating. Blessings x

Meet the Author – Zoe Murphy

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It’s been a while since I chatted to an author on my blog, but Zoe has released her first novel, The Ash Rose, so I was certain you’d love to meet her. I met her at the Llandysul Book Fair two years ago, reading her poetry, and she’s an active member of our Witch Lit group on Facebook. She contributed to our Witch Lit Anthology, in aid of Books for Africa. She’s one of the cleverest (and busiest!) women I know, and her passion and love for her craft and her writing is truly inspiring. Let’s find out more about her…

First question, how do you write? Is everything plotted, planned to perfection? Do you ever change tack as you go along or always stick to a pre-made plan?

I have always been a complete Pantser and expect creative inspiration to just arrive sometimes! However I’ve discovered that writing is a graft, a hustle and a job in itself. While I’m not willing to completely relinquish my Pantser status, I have altered my writing methods significantly. For the next book in my series, I have plotted from beginning to end. It’s not a hugely detailed plot plan but it’s a definite structured guideline and I think it’ll mean less tidying up for me in the editing process.

You’ll have to let us know how planning more worked out, Zoe.

So, do you have a writing ritual? Meditation, certain cup for your tea, writing trousers?

I love to light candles and have my headphones on with my writing playlist playing through the headset. Music is a huge part of my life and my writing. It just provides a drive and an atmosphere for me.

Headphones are a great help to focus the mind, aren’t they? You’ll have to share your writing playlist sometime.

Aside from writing, what makes you tick? Tell us 5 things about yourself we probably don’t know.

I’ve worked in the community arena for over six years now and I’m very passionate about community-based work, coproduction and trying to do what I can for marginalised groups.

I was a street dance teacher and judge for seventeen years!

I absolutely love dogs- or hounds as I like to call my dog because she is a hound actually haha. She’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback. They are my favourite dog ever. We’ve always had them in the family. If I had a familiar, it would be a dog.

I have twenty-one cousins on my maternal side. Hence the reason I can talk quite loudly sometimes…

I am also a performance poet. I’m in love with spoken word.

Yay! another dancer!

Another question, if you were stranded on a desert island with shelter, food and water, what 5 items would you want with you?

Pen, paper, mascara, lipstick and a comfy chair.

Sounds perfect to me.

On said island, what 5 books would you take and why?

 Oooo, this is hard.

I know!

Memoirs of a Geisha- just the detail, the plot, the characters. It’s a beautiful book.

The Throne of Glass Series- The world building and the witches in these books are incredible.

Superb choices:-)

Off the island now, which famous person would you like to have dinner with?­

 Kathy Burke. One of my favourite actresses.

Now it’s time to tell us about your current writing projects, if you can…

The second in my Lleng Saith series is what I’m working on right now. Working title is Drum of Zorya or Dark Fire Drum. I can’t decide. I also have plans to start writing a supernatural PI series. These will be novellas.

Looking forward to following you and your work, Zoe, and thanks so much for joining me. Where can people find you and your work?

I’ve a new website http://www.thiswelshwitch.com

My books are available on Amazon, via my author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoe-Murphy/e/B086ML4HMX

and https://www.amazon.com/Zoe-Murphy/e/B086ML4HMX

The Ash Rose

Our Art Beats

No Apologie Anfologie

Ley Lines

You can find me on my writers Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ZoeMAuthor/

Or on my crafts page https://www.facebook.com/thiswelshwitch/

About to share this interview with you all, Sheena and I had a cancellation on our Witch Lit Podcast on Youtube, so I contacted Zoe and she kindly agreed to talk to us. Here’s Zoe Murphy in person. Enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjggA8TOxNo&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1Gj9j5VhiYFcA0a7100iFbPktFhxIbkWq3BMIaewv3hBoMB-H_rUqJq10

 

 

 

 

The Naked Witch is on promo this week!

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Since launching The Riverbank Witch, showcasing all my magical creating, I’ve met loads of lovely new people. We’ve chatted about knitting, growing fruit and veg, as well as their Craft and mine, so as a special ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported me, I’m offering The Naked Witch to download today for just 99p or $1.24. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

and for my friends across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV

The Naked Witch is the first book in the Lizzie Martin series, so for less than the price of a skinny latte, you can begin a magical journey with Lizzie and her friends. There are three books published in the series, books four and five, The Eloquent Witch and The Able Witch, are complete, but not yet published, and the final book, The Real Witch, is in creation. My writing is Witch Lit.

I often get asked, what is Witch Lit and why did you decide to write it?

I believe the best description is borrowed from Chick Lit. Stories with a heroine-centred narrative focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists. These women live in a modern world, coping with work and home life. The books are peppered with a smattering of light heartedness and humour. All you have to do is substitute ‘witch’ for ‘chick’.

Witch Lit is contemporary, magical realism, where the magical and the mundane co-exist. The stories are gritty and believable while magic is sprinkled through the stories, offering the reader a new perspective on reality.

In response to why I write it, why wouldn’t I want to write about a woman who can hold down a full time job, single parent a fourteen year old daughter, raise money for the local children’s hospice and knock three coconuts off a shy…on a bad day? Why not write stories about passionate, earthy women, living real lives and embarking on wild, wonderful and outrageous adventures?

Characters with an underlying sense of their own spirituality are fascinating to read about and even more compelling to write about. Stories emerge from a different perspective but are set in the familiar world the reader inhabits.

Unlike Chick Lit, Witch Lit women do away with the sweet, sickly or fluffy. Their passion, determination and creativity shine through the stories, though none are averse to a well-rounded buttock or a chiselled jaw. Witch Lit isn’t anti-men but Witch Lit women’s lives don’t revolve wholly around their presence or absence.

Download your copy today https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/

https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Witch-Wendy-Novel-Book-ebook/dp/B06W5D6GVV/

Press the link to ‘The Riverbank Witch’ on this website, and visit the FB page http://www.facebook.com/theriverbankwitch

The Riverbank Witch is new to Instagram, so do come over and say ‘hello’. New moon blessings to you all xx

 

 

The latest from The Riverbank Witch!

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It’s been a soggy July here in Wales, but it’s given me plenty of time for writing and crafting. I’m delighted to present to you the latest product from The Riverbank Witch……..

Fresh Face

1 soft, cotton midi cloth for washing

1 mini cloth, knitted in worsted cotton, perfect for exfoliating

9 face pads for cleansing

1 bag to wash them in, just secure the top and pop into the washing machine

Fresh Face is the perfect, eco way to glowing skin! No more facewipes. No more disposable face pads.

Choose the colour of your midi cloth from White, Ecru (creamy), Moondance (shades of blue and lilac), Key Lime Pie (shades of vibrant, zesty lime) and this week’s new colour, Fruit Punch ( blue, lilac, white and and a touch of green)

Mini cloth is crafted in Blackcurrant (Ecru is also available for a gentler wash)

Face pads in various colours

Buy your Fresh Face bundle for £15 with FREE postage to the UK this week. I’ve sets ready to post out immediately!

These hand crafted, beautiful cotton bundles, are perfect for you or as a gift.

Contact me today to order yours.

New moon blessings to you all xx

The Riverbank Witch is here!

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The Riverbank Witch is here! You can find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-Riverbank-Witch-107997124171331/

There are new crafted items for sale on a weekly basis including cotton cloths, jewellery and books.

You can also visit the new page on this website https://wendysteele.com/the-riverbank-witch/

This week’s new products are Everlasting Scrunchies. Postage to the UK is FREE on all orders placed this week, so why not pop over for yourself, a gift for a friend or for ideas for presents for parties and hen nights. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, message me and I’ll do my best to help.

Thank you to everyone who has supported The Riverbank Witch. Full moon blessings to you all xx

Second of TFFFM, Wrath of Angels – tea break listen!

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The Muse is staying. It’s lovely having her here, but she will keep going for wanders around the land when she’s supposed to be helping. I’ll not admonish her though….she knows what she needs, and I’m sure she’ll be back to get me to the half way point of my new novel very soon.

Enjoy the short video of The First Fabulous Five Minutes of my second novel, Wrath of Angels. I love this book! Exploring the magical pathways with Angel Parsons, the main protagonist, was enlightening, so I can’t wait to share it with you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDilcHd58w0&t=66s

Purchase your copy here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

or for my friends across the water https://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Angels-Lilith-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00KTH2E4Y

Today in the UK, you can purchase this paperback for just £2.58! https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrath-Angels-Second-Lilith-Trilogy/dp/1500136662

Join me next time for the first book in the Standing Stone Series, Home for Christmas.

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 15 – Ikarian Stew

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Apologies for my lack of recipe posting, but the writing muse has put her slippers under the bed and my new novel is taking most of my time at the moment.

I discovered the Ikarian Stew recipe on The Happy Pear Youtube page, and now it is one of our weekly staples. Packed full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, it’s a real whole food plant based super stew. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AXpf3YiuIU&t=165s

I’m thrilled to say, the last batch I made had chickpeas, lentils and black beans that I’d cooked myself from scratch,rather than using tins. You can find out how here https://wendysteele.com/2020/04/23/how-to-cook-dried-beans-and-legumes/

In the next few weeks, I’ll also be able to use my own home grown kale, which is starting to get going in one of my raised vegetable beds.

This stew is simple, hearty and delicious. As long as you keep the basic recipe, variants are fine. Our last one was abundant in carrots but lacking a leek, but still tasted scrumptious.

Ikarian Stew

 2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

2 carrots 150g

2 leeks 400g

½ teaspoon salt (I left this out)

1 tin black beans -240g drained

1 tin chick peas

1 tin cooked lentils

150g dry wholewheat pasta (or brown rice)

200g broccoli (I use 1 head)

100g kale

1 tin chopped tomatoes

100g tomato paste

2 tablespoons tamari (or soya sauce)

2.5 litres vegetable stock

½ teaspoon black pepper

 

1 Chop and sweat onions and garlic in a large pan without oil – add 2 tablespoons, or more if necessary. of the veg stock to stop it sticking

 

2 Add carrots, leeks, broccoli and kale stalks and salt and 50ml stock. Put lid on and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 

3 Add rest of ingredients. Lid on, simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning and add chilli flakes if you like. I then simmered for another 15 minutes, again with the lid on, then turned off the pot and left it. It thickens up beautifully.

Depending how big your portions are, this feeds 6-8 people, and it freezes well. Enjoy!

Check out other tried and tested plant based recipes by typing ‘plant based’ into the search box on the Home page.

I’m not only a passionate eater and advocate of delicious plant based food, but a writer, healer and crafter. Check out my Youtube channel Phoenix and the Dragon for free stories and updates on my riverbank. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

 

 

The Writing Muse has unpacked her suitcase!

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The Writing Muse has moved into the spare room. She’s unpacked her case and greets me on my return from my morning walk, with ideas, thoughts and perfect words. I’m spending as much time as I can attempting to take her perfect words, and create a novel with them. ‘Lowri’s Forest’ is appearing on my screen, still in first draft, but 43k words to the good.

I’m struggling to write anything else, so I’ve started TFFFM – The First Fabulous Five Minutes. Join me on my riverbank to hear five minutes from the beginning of all my novels, in the order I wrote them.

The first one is Destiny of Angels, the first book in the Lilith Trilogy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaYuNYOG8YY

Here’s a few reviews to give you a taste of what to expect….

Engrossing – “I loved this book. I don’t want to spoil the plot but I’ll just say that it’s totally different from anything else I’ve read. The character descriptions are so good, I could totally imagine what they all looked like and I particularly liked Jenny and her family. I couldn’t put this down and read it in two days. Hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one:-)”

 

Unusual story, excellent read – “I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect but without giving too much away, it’s a revenge/ redemption story with a spiritual twist, where the mundane and the mystical intertwine. Looking forward to the sequel.”

 

Fantastic! – “Angel meets up with old friends and acquaintances at a school reunion, she’s changed since school and not only is she stunningly beautiful, her success stands out!
Wendy Steele’s characters are wonderful, her tale gripping as she takes you to a world of ritual and suspense, the best revenge is to succeed against all odds. I bought this book on Kindle and in paperback IT’S THAT GOOD!”

 

Magnificent, fantastic, enlightening – “I loved Destiny of Angels. It was a captivating read from page 1. Touches on friendship, love, struggle, power, control, achievement issues. Wonderful read for someone going through a life-changing experience. I was absorbed by the plot and the pace of the story was spot-on. Great balance of suspense and romance. Wendy Steele has a refreshing style of writing and I will be definitely reading the next instalment in the Lilith trilogy. Recommended read!”

Check out all my novels and stories on my Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

and for my friends and readers across the pond https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06

I do hope you enjoy my videos. Please like and subscribe to my channel and ding the bell to be notified of new content. Stay safe out there. Sending new moon blessings to you all

How to cook dried beans and legumes

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Where we live in Wales, we have no mains gas, so I do my cooking with calor. I experimented once with dried chickpeas. I soaked them overnight and set them boiling the next day in my Great Aunt’s marmalade making saucepan. I topped up the pan with boiling water on numerous occasions, and it bubbled away for five hours before I forgot it and boiled the pan dry. The aluminium pan cleaned up fine, but I was shocked to find that the chick peas inside were still hard. I tried a second time, even managed to boil them for more than eight hours, but they were still slightly crunchy. I gave up. What was the point of using so much time, effort, gas and electricity when the chickpeas I was aiming to produce (2 tins worth), I could purchase for 70pence?

And then we went into lockdown in the UK, and chickpeas were no longer abundant on the supermarket shelves. Our health food shop had plenty of dried ones though, so I bought some, having come across a photo I’d kept that I’d seen on Facebook last year.

I apologise that I can’t credit whoever posted it, as I didn’t keep a note, but I’ve been using this list and my slow cooker, and finding the best way to cook my beans and legumes, here in the UK.

Firstly, I soak everything, even the lentils, and I soak for 24 hours. Start at midday, say, and use twice the water to the dried bean. (I’m going to say bean from now on, but you know I mean legume too!) Before you go to bed, tip out the water and add fresh. The beans will already have begun to swell, so make sure they are covered in plenty of water.

This sheet tells you to cook the beans on the low setting on your slow cooker. I have a Crockpot and it doesn’t cook on the low setting. On the high setting, it works brilliantly! So far I’ve cooked chick peas, black beans (turtle beans when buying dry in UK) and brown lentils.

Without anywhere to go while we’re on lockdown, it’s been fun developing a routine of soaking and then slow cooking beans, ready for the dishes I want to cook. Check out all my plant based recipes by typing ‘plant based’ into the search bar on the home page.

Day 2 of lockdown on our little Welsh hillside, my cooker broke. My partner dismantled it. We managed with a couple of camping stoves for three days. My partner put it back together, giving us four cooking rings, but disconnecting the oven as it needed a part. It’s been over four weeks since we had an oven. Most lunchtimes we have lentil loaf https://wendysteele.com/2019/04/12/life-begins-at-fifty-healthy-life-11-hch-lentil-loaf/

We ran out of supplies of lentil loaf in the freezer in a week, so I began experimenting with burgers….I love burgers for lunch or dinner! Burgers have been my saviour without an oven. Because they freeze so well, when we come in after digging and pulling brambles on the riverbank, all I have to do is grab a bag of burgers and a box of special rice (I’ll post this recipe soon!) from the freezer and with a handful of salad leaves, a few walnuts and sunflower seeds, dinner can be assembled in minutes on the top of the stove.

Keep popping in for more recipes, health and fitness and musings from the riverbank. Stay home and stay safe xx

Plant based recipe of the week – week 14- Bean Burgers

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I enjoy discovering new channels on Youtube with recipes, thoughts and ideas on plant based eating. At the end of last year I discovered Brian Turner. Yes, he is handsome and ripped, and his approach to eating is to complement his fitness regime, but his recipes are simple and nutritious, and definitely worth a look.  He’s been incredibly honest about his battle with acne too, which has helped a lot of people. This is his channel https://www.youtube.com/user/HumerusFitness/featured

Today, I’m sharing his recipe for bean burgers.

Brian Turner’s Bean Burgers

Sauté in a pan:

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

6-10 oz (170-280g) mushrooms

(You could soften these without oil if you wish, add a tiny drop of water if it begins to stick)

In food processor, blend 1½ cups of oats.

Add mixture from the pan.

Rinse 30 oz of beans from a tin (½ black, ½ pinto) and add.

(If you’re struggling to get pinto beans, buy a cheap tin of baked beans, tip into a seive and rinse off all the sauce. If you’re struggling to get black beans, use any beans!)

Add ½ cup of barbeque sauce

Blend all.

Dollop scoops onto two lined baking sheets and bake in hot oven for 40 minutes.

(We have no working oven at the moment, so these can be cooked in a frying pan if necessary)

I make my own barbeque sauce, but you could buy it ready made if you like:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons tomato purée

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons of tamari (or if you can manage wheat, you can use ordinary soy sauce)

These freeze really well, so they’re perfect for lunch or dinner.

I know you’ll enjoy this recipe, so pop back for more, and some tips about cooking beans and legumes from dried, at this time when we’re relying on staples from our pantries. Have a wonderful weekend…stay home, stay safe xx