Tag Archives: vegan

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – week 9 – Chickpea and Spinach Curry

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This is one of my favourite recipes at the moment and we’re eating it at least once a week, either with dahl or Tracy’s Curry https://wendysteele.com/2018/05/18/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-7-tracys-curry/

Chickpea and spinach curry, affectionately known as ChiSpi (rhymes with hifi), in our house was originally a recipe by Hari Ghotra called Sholay Saag (Kale and Chickpea Curry). I enjoyed it with the kale, but I found it a strong, overpowering flavour for my taste buds. One day I had fresh spinach in the fridge and thought I’d give it a go. This is the link to Hari’s website with lots of recipes, tips and ideas for cooking authentic Indian Food https://www.harighotra.co.uk/

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

1-2 tablespoons of  rapeseed oil

½ tspn mustard seeds

1 tspn cumin seeds

1 large onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 plum tomatoes (I used a tin of tomatoes)

800g/2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tspn salt, or to tast

1 heaped tspn coriander seeds, crushed (can use powder)

1 green chilli, chopped (or red if you don’t have a green one)

200g spinach (or chopped kale)

1 green chilli, sliced for garnish

  • Heat the oil in a lidded pan over a medium heat and when it’s hot add the mustard seeds and then the cumin seeds.
  • Stir for a minute until you can smell the aroma of the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds stop sizzling, then add the diced onions.
  • Fry the onions for 15 minutes until they start to brown, then add the garlic. Fry together for 4 minutes before adding the tomatoes, stir and leave to cook for a few minutes. Add a little water if required.
  • Add the crushed coriander, green chilli, chilli powder, turmeric and salt and leave to cook on a gentle heat until the tomatoes start to break down and create a thick masala sauce (about 10 minutes).
  • Turn the heat up to thicken the sauce a little if required.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the masala. Add a splash of water and let them simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add the spinach (or chopped kale) a handful at a time, stirring in between. Leave this to cook for 5 minutes until kale is soft and tender. Top with the sliced chilli and serve.

Take time to make the masala sauce… it’s worth it. This recipe benefits from reheating so if possible, make and refrigerate overnight.

 

I’ll leave you with a lovely photo of Jibby (the feral cat who came with the house) and Odin (one of the latest pair of rescued cats to come and live us), watching the sunrise.

Stay safe, stay healthy and enjoy life. Bright blessings xx

 

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Plant based recipe of the week – Week 8 – Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

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Apologies for the delay in posting. I’ve not been trying new recipes, but instead eating food I know will be good while I focus on the latest Witchlit novel, The Flowerpot Witch, which will be published on Thursday 21st June.

But I did cook this curry again last week and remembered to take photos for you.

This curry is from my friend Lisa. It’s delicious with dahl and rice or with popadoms or naan…. in fact, it’s just delicious!

Lisa’s Vegetable Curry

2 tablespoons oil

2 onions

1 tablespoon fresh ginger

Vegetables:

My favourite – ½ butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 2 carrots (plus 1 head broccoli, 200g spinach)

2 teaspoons garam masala (I ran out and used 1 tspn madras curry powder and was good)

Salt

3 whole peppercorns

Big bunch of fresh coriander

1 tin of coconut milk

1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter

Green pepper

150g green beans

Fresh parsley (optional)

Fry chopped onion for about 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add ginger and cook for about one more minute

Add chopped vegetables – you could try parsnips, peas, potato or swede. (I chopped up a whole butternut squash and roasted in the oven for about ten minutes and used the other half for making soup)

Add garam masala, salt, peppercorns, the chopped stalks of the coriander and, if you have it, about a teaspoon of a kebab spice mix containing chilli and dried mango. (I checked out Ras Al Hanout and used that. It contains coriander, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne, salt, pimento, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and aniseed)
Continue to cook for about 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add a tin of coconut milk and a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter.
Bring to the boil while stirring then leave to simmer for about 45 minutes.

If using cauliflower or broccoli then add after about 25 minutes. (I added green pepper and green beans with the broccoli)

After about 30 minutes taste and add more spice/peanut butter if you think it is needed.

If using spinach add it about 8 minutes before the end.
At the end add a large handful of chopped fresh coriander and/or parsley. (You can leave out both but fresh coriander is fab in this dish)

If freezing don’t add spinach or fresh herbs until you reheat.

 

 

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 7 – Tracy’s Curry

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This week I’m sharing a favourite recipe from my friend Tracy. She’s a dancer and one of the most inspiring women I know, remodelling her own home and designing and building her own garden.

Tracy’s Curry

5 tblspoons vegetable oil (I use 3)

2 tspns mustard seeds

1 tspn fenugreek (I used punchpooran – cumin, mustard, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds)

2 fresh green chillis (Original recipe was 3 but too hot for me!), finely chopped

 

1 handful curry leaves

3 large onions, peeled and chopped

 

Veg

 

1 tspn chilli powder

1 tspn turmeric

6 large tomatoes (or 1 tin/carton of tomatoes)

 

1 or 2 glasses of water

1 tin coconut milk

Salt

 

 

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek (or punchpooran) and chillis and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add curry leaves and onions and cook until they are light brown.

Add your vegetables, depending what you have in the fridge. You could try one large white potato, one large sweet potato, two large carrots, 150g green/french beans and a head of broccoli. Mushrooms work well with parsnips and butternut squash. You can use frozen veg too but be sure to adjust the additional water.  (if I’m using frozen veg, I don’t add any water until it has all broken down with the tomatoes and I’ve added the coconut milk.)

Add spices and tomatoes and coat all the veg.

Add water (or not!). Add coconut milk and salt…I start with half a teaspoon and add more if I need it.

 

This curry is good the day you make it but even better the next day!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with a picture of our elderly cat, Tiggy, sixteen years young but loving having new family to snuggle with.  He and Odin get on really well.

 

For short stories and extracts from my books, subscribe to my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, where I read to you from Pan’s Grotto on my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

 

 

Plant based recipe of the week – Week 6 – Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

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Eating plant based is about getting the balance right. I find eating enough veg a challenge, especially in the winter when a salad just doesn’t hit the spot, but chillis and curries are perfect for this. I try and include as many colours as possible too, as variety is also important.

But there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a sweet treat, as long as it’s part of the balance. This is my flapjack recipe, a merger of three old recipes plus a Wendy Woo twist! I learned this recipe by heart in ounces. I’ve used 1oz = 25g for the conversion.

 

Wendy Woo’s Flapjack

9oz (225g) butter/dairy free margarine

2oz (50g) brown sugar

1oz (25g) Demerara sugar

1 large tablespoon syrup

 

12oz (300g) oats

2oz (50g) sunflower seeds

1oz (25g) pumpkin seeds

2 teaspoons chia seeds

1oz (25g) dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, chopped cranberries, dates or apricots)

Line a baking tray ( 25cm X 35cm) with baking parchment and set oven to Gas Mark 6/200 C/400 F.

In a large saucepan melt margarine, sugars and syrup.

Off the heat, add all the dry ingredients and stir well.

Press into baking tray and bake for 12 minutes (May need two more minutes – test by lifting edge of sheet and if bottom of flapjack is light brown, it is done)

Once flapjack has stopped bubbling, divide into 16 (4X4) for big pieces or 20 (4X5) for smaller ones with a large knife. Leave to set.

 

The original recipes I merged had more than twice the sugar of this recipe. You may be able to cut down even more but your flapjack may be more crumbly and not hold together whereas this recipe travels in a tin to writing group and dance class to share!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll leave you with Jibby being cute, the feral cat who came with our house, who has adopted us as the humans who feed her.

If you’ve found me for the first time, you are most welcome. Do check out my books on my author pages https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Steele/e/B007VZ1P06/ref 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 5 – Friend’s recipes – Hara’s Curry

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Some days there just isn’t time (or money) for a dud recipe so I’ve asked my friends for their favourites, knowing they are tried, tested and loved.

This week is Hara’s Vegan Curry

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 red or green chilli (2 if you like it hot)

Thumb size piece of ginger

1 heaped tspn fenugreek (I used punchpooran, a mix of cumin, fennel, nigella, black mustard and fenugreek seeds)

1 heaped tspn turmeric

1 heaped tspn black mustard seeds

1 heaped tspn cinnamon

1 heaped tspn garam masala

1 heaped tspn coriander seeds, crushed (if you’re short of time, coriander powder is fine)

250 ml water (approx.)

2 tspn veg bouillon

Veg

Half block of coconut

100 gms ground almonds

1 tspn salt

 

Fry onions, garlic, chillis and ginger until soft.
Add one heaped tspn each of fenugreek, turmeric, black mustard seeds, cinnamon, Garam masala and coriander seeds and fry for one minute.
Pour in 250 ml water and two tsps bouillon, stir and add veg. You can use any veg you like. Hara says cauliflower works well but, unfortunately, it’s a veg my tummy can’t handle. Here are two combinations I’ve tried and enjoyed.

(Option 1: One white potato, one sweet potato, 150g green beans, head of broccoli, 300g mushrooms

Option 2: One sweet potato, head of broccoli, two large carrots, 1 red pepper, 150g frozen peas, 150g mushrooms)
Simmer until tender with the lid on.

When almost ready add half a block of coconut and 100gms ground almonds, and a tspn of salt, stir, simmer for a few minutes and serve.

TIP: If you dice the veg really small, you don’t need to parcook it and I prefer to add it before the water, helping me judge how much water I really need. This recipe works well with frozen veg but again, you’ll need to gauge the water.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It goes well with Aditi’s dahl recipe from Week 4 https://wendysteele.com/2018/02/16/plant-based-recipe-of-the-week-week-4-aditis-lentil-daal-and-bonus-vegetable-pakora/

I’ll leave you with a photo of one of my kittens enjoying snow for the first time a few weeks ago and be sure to check out my stories and book extracts read to you from Pan’s Grotto on my Welsh riverbank

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 4 – Aditi’s lentil daal and BONUS Vegetable Pakora!

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I hope you enjoyed your December festivities, have dodged the January germs and are ready for more new, fresh food ideas now Imbolc, the first day of Spring is here. Today’s recipe, Aditi’s lentil daal is one I use often, is easy to double up and freezes well.

When my youngest daughter was approaching her seventeenth birthday, I contacted Aditi. She advertised Indian cookery lessons in her home and we arranged a vegetarian morning with her as a birthday present. I learned to make this daal that day and have been cooking it ever since, more than seven years. Aditi and I have remained friends. She’s a beautiful lady inside and out and is always happy to share her natural beauty tips too. You can find her on Facebook here

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HealthyNaturalLiving/

 

Aditi’s Yellow Daal Tadka

Serves 4

1 cup yellow daal – split peas (I often use red lentils to save time)

3 cups of water to cook daal

 

4 tablespoons ghee (I use 3 tablespoons of oil)

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¾ tspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

1 tspoon cumin seeds

Whole red or green chilli

Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

 

Boil the daal in a pan/pressure cooker with 3 cups of water and open the lid carefully. Stir well to check consistency. (I simmer red lentils in a saucepan for about 10 minutes while making the seasoning. If using yellow split peas, soak overnight, discard the water, rinse, bring to boil and simmer for about 35-40 minutes. Stir often. NB: the first time I made this recipe I didn’t own anything to measure ‘a cup’ so I always used the same mug and it was always perfect. I’ve measured it since and it’s just under half a pint)

Heat the ghee/oil. Add cumin seeds and split chilli and let splutter in oil to bring out the flavour. When they change colour, add chopped onion and garlic and sauté until golden. Add turmeric and salt to taste.

Add this seasoning to the daal or the daal to the seasoning and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to serving dish and garnish.

 

Daal is great on its own with bread or popadoms but we often have it with a dish packed with vegetables and something to dip in it like…

Vegetable Pakora

This is a Hari Ghotra recipe which you can find here

https://www.harighotra.co.uk/indian-recipes/courses/starters/vegetable-pakora

My tweeks are in brackets…

100g gram flour, sieved

1 medium onion (I used large)

3 medium potatoes

1 tspn of salt

2 tspn of garam masala

1 tspn of turmeric

2 chillies, finely chopped

1 tbspn ginger, grated, optional

Handful of coriander, chopped

2 tspn of dried fenugreek leaves (I didn’t have these so used 2 tspn Panch Puran that I discovered in a World supermarket in Swansea: cumin, fennel, nigella, black mustard and fenugreek seeds, delicious!)

1 tspn of cumin seeds (I still added this)

½ tspn of red chilli powder

Water

Oil for deep frying

 

Heat up the oil in a karahi or wok to a medium heat. (We use a large, ancient, thick bottomed aluminium  saucepan)

Slice the onion lengthways very thinly and place in a bowl.

Peel and grate (or very finely chop) the potatoes into the same bowl. (The first time, I grated and had to add extra flour. Second time, I did half and half and it was perfect) You can also use aubergines and cauliflower – chop into very small pieces.

Sprinkle all the dry spices and freshly chopped coriander, chillies and ginger into the bowl and then sieve in the gram flour – mix together using your hands.

Add a small amount of water a little at a time to create a thick batter that coats all the vegetables. Squeeze the mixture through your fingers to ensure all the spices mix through. Do not leave the batter and vegetable mixture for too long before cooking.

Test your oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter into the oil. If it browns and rises immediately then it is ready. Very carefully drop in spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon move the pakora around, be careful not to overcrowd the karahi.

Once golden brown and crisp remove from the oil and set on some kitchen paper.

 

I hope you enjoy making these recipes and will visit again for more.

You can also join me on my YouTube channel, Phoenix and the Dragon, reading short stories and extracts from my novels, from my Welsh riverbank  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw3ee9CuNdek9ZC1Im8I_iA?view_as=subscriber

I’ll leave you with one of my new kittens discovering snowdrops for the first time…Bright Spring Blessings

 

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 3 – Sweet Potato Chilli

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Welcome to plant based recipes, tried and tested by Wendy Woo!

Today’s recipe is Sweet Potato Chilli, adapted from Holly Wakeham’s chilli on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ffeXbFIZBs

It’s versatile and delicious with jacket potatoes, rice or pitta bread.

Sweet Potato Chilli

 Ingredients

1 tablespoon of oil

1 pepper – chopped (I used red but you can use green or orange)

1 large onion – chopped

4 cloves of garlic – crushed

1 large red chilli – split and deseeded to remove – can use chilli flakes/dried chillis to taste

1 teaspoon mild chilli powder

1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon

1 heaped teaspoon cumin

4 sweet potatoes – peeled and cubed

500ml stock – I used vegetable bouillon but cubes are good

Mixed herbs – I used 1 heaped teaspoon of oregano and basil and ½ teaspoon of rosemary

2 tins of tomatoes

2 tins of kidney beans – washed

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

300g mushrooms – halved (more or less is fine)

Black pepper

Salt

Sweetener – I used agave nectar, can use coconut sugar or other

 

Instructions

Use a large pan with a lid.

 

You can sweat onions, pepper and garlic on a medium heat with no oil and a little water if you wish, but I don’t mind a little oil so I added split chilli and chilli powder, cinnamon and cumin at this point, preferring to cook my spices.

 

Add rest of the ingredients, stirring them in, except salt, pepper and sweetener.

 

Simmer for ten minutes with lid on. Second time I made this, potatoes weren’t quite soft so I left with lid on for five more minutes.

 

Simmer for ten more minutes with lid off to thicken. If using fresh chillis, remove at this point.

 

Add salt (I used ½ teaspoon), black pepper and sweetener (I used one tablespoon of agave nectar) to taste.

 

I hope you enjoy this winter warmer and will visit again for more Wendy Woo recipes from my little house in Wales. Do check out other features on my site including pages on my books, pixie coats, dance and magic.

 

 

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 2 – Happy Birthday to me!

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Since becoming plant based, I’ve not tried many cake recipes (though I’m aiming to try my son’s recipe for brownies very soon!) so, instead of a birthday cake to celebrate my birthday, I went for my favourite dessert.

A few months ago, I was gifted the Ms Cupcake book ‘The Naughtiest Vegan Cakes in Town’ and went straight to the lemon curd slice recipe. I love a lemon dessert! Usually when cooking or baking something new, I stick to the exact recipe for the first time but this one said 550g sugar and I just couldn’t do it. I’m listing her recipe here with my changes in brackets so you can taste for yourself as to how sharp or sweet you want your lemon curd slice to be.

Lemon curd slice

For base:

200g plain flour (can be gluten free blend)

80g icing sugar

100g margarine/butter (can be dairy free)

80g shortening (I used 80g of dairy free spread, 180g dairy free spread in total)

Half teaspoon salt

Zest of one lemon

For topping:

500ml lemon juice (I used lemon from base + 3 lemons=50ml and topped up with water)

250ml water (I added this water too)

550g caster sugar (I used 150g and it was sharp but delicious)

130g cornflour

Zest of three lemons (juice as above) (adding another lemon will make it more tart but works- when our greengrocer has 10p lemons, I use 5)

130ml soya cream (approx. half the carton)

40g margarine/butter

 

Bake: oven: Gas 4/180ºC/350ºF

Grease or line with baking parchment a 13’ X 9’ tin

 

Makes 16-24 slices

 

Instructions

Preheat oven and line or grease tin.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, icing sugar, fat and lemon zest. (Like making pastry crumbs) Press into prepared tin and bake for about 10 minutes until lightly brown. (If using dairy free marg, it won’t go very brown but 10 mins should do the job) Remove and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. (Recipe says use a food processor or blender to blend lemon juice, water and caster sugar but I just stirred it in my large pan and it was fine) Put the cornflour into a separate, small bowl and add the lemon mixture to the cornflour a few tablespoons at a time, mixing together until you have a smooth thick paste with no lumps. Pour this paste back into the pan and stir to combine. Add salt and lemon zest.

On a medium heat, bring the lemon and cornflour mixture to the boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, takes about 5 minutes. As the mixture begins to boil, you’ll see it tuning a darker shade of yellow and become thick and glossy. Allow the curd to boil for about a minute, remove from heat. Add the soya cream and marg and mix together. Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes and then pour over the curd evenly on top of the cake in the tin.

Allow to sit at room temperatue for at least 30 minutes before placing in the fridge in its tin for at least 2 hours or until the curd has firmed up to a cut-able consistency.

Cut into squares and serve sprinkled with icing sugar if you wish. Store  covered in fridge for up to a week.

I’m sharing more of the birthday love so you can download my first Witchlit novel ‘The Naked Witch’, until 5th December for just 99p/99c and if you enjoy it, you can pay back the birthday love with a few lines of review to help others find my books.

and for my friends across the pond

Thank you for sharing my birthday with me and I hope you come again for more recipes, dance, magic and books. Bright blessings xx

 

Plant Based Recipe of the Week – Week 1

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Changing your diet to a plant based one isn’t about the foods you have to take out – it’s about the new flavours, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices you add in.

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twenty one years old and from a vegetarian start, my twenty six year old son was the first of my children to explore a plant based diet to help with his arthritis symptoms. He shares recipes, as does my eldest son and my daughter has been exploring gluten free baking, following my diagnosis of IBS, since her teens. I’m lucky to have had my children to guide me on the first steps to my partner and I enjoying a plant based diet.

Each week I’ll be sharing a plant based recipe, easily made gluten free, that I’ve tried and adapted to suit our palate. Where possible, I’ll share a link to the original source recipe.

Today’s recipe is ‘5 minute vegan burgers’, adapted from a recipe by Cheap Lazy Vegan, featuring The Happy Pear, on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLh_golyZm0&t=391s

Making them in five minutes isn’t compulsory!

Five minute vegan burgers

Burger

Oil – rapeseed or sunflower – 1½ tablespoons

½ red onion – I use a whole one – roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic – crushed or finely chopped (you can use garlic granules)

Mushrooms – any kind you like and lots of them! About 300g – roughly chop button, tear other

2½ tablespoons tamari – if you’re fine with wheat, you can use soya sauce

 

100 gms breadcrumbs

2½ tablespoons nutritional yeast*

1 tin kidney beans, rinsed well – a friend used mixed beans and said they worked just as well

 

*Nutritional yeast or Nooch adds a cheesy nutty flavour to many plant based recipes and is one source of complete protein and vitamins, in particular B-complex vitamins. It contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc.

To serve

Great in buns or pitta breads with sun dried tomato paste, hummus, mixed salad leaves, avocado, tomato….my partner enjoys his with mustard on bottom bun and hummus on the top. My favourite so far is with ketchup on the bottom and sweet pickle in the top with shredded romaine and grated beetroot. Also delicious with salad and sweet potato wedges.

 

 

Instructions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat. Cook red onion until soft. Turn up heat. Add garlic.  Add mushrooms, coat well with onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes on high heat. Add tamari and stir.

 

Add above wet ingredients to breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and mashed up kidney beans in a bowl. Combine all ingredients. (If using home made gluten free breadcrumbs, you may need another 20g if mixture is very wet) Make into burgers and coat with rice flour.

 

Fry in remaining oil.

 

You could probably brush them in oil and bake in the oven if you wanted to, as they’re so tasty.

 

Five minutes is a bit of a push, as you’ll see from the video but I can get these on the table in 15!

 

Enjoy your mushroom burgers, share this post and help spread the word about plant based eating for a healthier planet and a happier, healthier you

 

 

Magic Matters

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People say to me ‘Magic isn’t real though, is it?’ My last blog post https://wendysteele.com/2017/06/06/a-magical-life/  was about being ‘present’ to experience the magic. ‘Magic Matters’ takes this idea one step further.

One of the definitions of magic, according to my trusty, yet rather battered Oxford Concise, is ‘an inexplicable or remarkable influence producing surprising results’. In order to experience this, however, we need to be connected to ourselves, the planet and the living beings upon it. Why? Because so much of our lives take us away from this state. We live in a dream supported by those who want to control us and who want to sell to us.

In so many ways, we don’t live our own lives. We perform the stories dictated to us by others. Taking back control is the magic. Here are a few ways to rewrite your own story and live a life full of magic and love.

1 Connect with the planet and the universe

We live on an amazing planet within an awesome universe. I’ve recently been inspired by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, helping me to understand the cosmos from both a scientific, as well as personal perspective. Human knowledge at this time gives us a tiny hint at the enormity of the universe, a glimpse of where we came from and the planet on which we reside.

We can play our own part to stop global warming and the rape and destruction of the world’s resources. Recycling and being choosy who and where we buy from keeps us connected with a world community who love their planet too.

The media wants us to buy more of everything, even if we don’t need it.

I’m lucky to be able to stand barefoot on grass or in the river circling my home. I can light a fire on my pebbly beach and feel the breeze chilling my skin while red kites perform their circle dance above me. I used to live in a town but on day’s off, I sought woodland walks or trips to the sea and spent holidays camping beneath the stars. Those moments of connectivity helped sustain me and I invested regular time revisting those happy moments in the natural world and thanking the planet for its sustenance.

2 Family and friends

One good quality of social media is the ease in which it enables us to keep in touch. The huge downside is how it drags us in, wasting our time looking at a screen. Communication has changed but, speaking to our loved ones or preferably hugging them, is far more rewarding. During the second year of our move to Wales, we spent months trying to get a new roof, rebuilding, knocking concrete off walls and remortaring with lime, clearing rubbish and brambles as well as working at our ‘day jobs’. Everything seemed to go wrong, take forever or land us with costs we hadn’t expected. Short of time and funds, we hardly saw our family. It wasn’t a healthy time for myself or my partner. I was a functioning but empty shell. I recognised what was lacking, started a ‘weekend away’ fund and have booked time to see family and friends on a regular basis ever since.

3 Animals, birds and other wildlife

Caring for the planet means caring for all living creatures. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twenty two and moved onto a plant based diet last year. When my children started school, talk between parents often moved to ‘what are you having for dinner?’ By sharing tasty, nutritional but meat free recipes, friends started adding one or two meat free meals to their repertoire each week. The production of meat, especially beef, is unsustainable. Vast areas of land and millions of gallons of water are used, resources that if sustainable crops were planted, could feed the world.

Other friends only buy their meat from local, organic farms and have switched to free range eggs. It’s definitely a step in the right direction but if you fancy trying some new recipes, have a browse on YouTube for inspiration. Cheap Lazy Vegan is funny and her recipes are easy to follow and delicious. Veganlovlie is adorable and her recipes are scrummy.

4 Caring for the world family

I love leading Tribal Unity Wales out to dance for our local community but in the past year I’ve arranged impromptu haflas (belly dance parties) to raise money for people who need help around the world. We’ve helped Wales Air Ambulance, Smalls for All and Hafla for Humanity and are supporting SHARP, Swansea Humanitarian Aid Response Project at the moment, raising money with a hafla and collecting donations of clothes from friends and family and adding one item of toiletries to our weekly shop to put together a box to be delivered to SHARP at the end of this month.

It isn’t about the amount you donate. When I shop, I add one item for the local food bank and one for SHARP and I think of those mother’s desperately trying to feed their children and keep them clean and well.

I’ve been criticized for my views on helping others but I refuse to judge or exclude. We are one family, the family of humanity. ‘Do as you would be done by’ is a good creed to live by in my humble opinion.

 

So where’s the magic?

Living in tune with the planet, loving friends and family, caring for all animals and wildlife and supporting the human family is the first step to magic and these lifestyle choices will change you. Why not give them a try? How bad can it be living the life you choose?

The next step is all about you so I hope you’ll join me and discover more about magical influence the surprising, exciting results???.

Keep sharing the love.

Bright blessings xx