There are things that bring us all happiness in our lives. It could be a quiet moment, or a few hours with a really good book. For some it could be a run in the woods, or a call from a good friend. For me, I can always use a good laugh, and luckily there is no lack of that in my life. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Less Is More
Well it’s true what they say, the time does go fast.
It’s hard to believe it is now September, with August behind us and all that it brought. Just a month ago we were putting the finishing touches on our packed luggage…
But with September comes so many good things: back to school, back to work, and back to working on this little blog and all it encompasses I hope you’ll all stick around to see what we’ve got up our sleeves!
While we get back to normal life, it’s my pleasure to share in my next three posts a few tidbits from our time in France – starting with a few things that made a big trip not only more affordable, but really, that much better.
Travel is a real luxury, and as you all know it can sure get costly. I hope you’ll enjoy this little round-up of 5 ways we traveled well with (just a little) less.
The mere sense of living is joy enough.
~ Emily Dickinson
1. Shack Up
And no, I don’t mean run away with a french man on a motorcycle!
As tempting as that might be …but really, I am referring to accommodation, as anyone knows that after flights, the place where you lay your head is likely to be your biggest expense, particularly on a longer trip.
And really, fancy hotels aside (which are sweet if you’ve got the budget) – just how much time will you be spending in said place of sleep?
I referenced the quaint french apartment we took in Paris, and it was just that: small, old, perfectly lovely, and right in the heart of where we wanted to be (for those of you interested we stayed in the Marais district).
After all, this is how the vast majority of people live in big cities like this, so it was fun, and not to mention for the four of us, (just a little) less hit on the budget & a whole lot more authentic.
Everything you can imagine is real.
~ Pablo Picasso
We did just fine cozied up in our tiny kitchen, enjoying simple foods made with basics (my next post).
This was the start of the food journey that has not only affirmed my approach to food more than ever before, but forever reminded me just how simple foods made with quality ingredients are best, and how important it is to enjoy each and every bite.
After all, that is precisely what the people do in France. And it certainly shows!
2. Eat In
Part of the fun of having a real place to shack up in is the chance to live like any other person might in that part of the world (at least for me it was and I suspect this would be the case for many of you too!). Cooking in a strange (tiny) kitchen is an adventure, one I was up for, and one we had a blast with.
It was a beautiful thing – heck – I was cooking dinner in Paris! What a sheer delight it was, and one I took with gratitude and pleasure.
I mentioned the produce market that set up literally at the steps to our door twice in the time we were there. I bought melons, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, nectarines, apples & berries. They were all pretty amazing, yes.
The block we stayed on had a store that stocked every fine oil, wine, preserve & jelly you could want, and the boulangerie on our block made just the right baguettes and chocolate croissants for the girls, who enjoyed them daily.
It was good living, as we say.
Eating in saved us tons of money, and it also meant that the three of us vegetarian girls weren’t struggling with menus (and our French) every night. It also meant we ate like royalty & had plenty of time & money left to hit the streets for some quality sight-seeing, and maybe an ice cream and a night cap (or two).
Of course, we ate dinners out too, and we enjoyed it (just a little) more when we did.
Less really was more here, and it went this way through our entire trip.
The best part? Reserving the majority of our sitting time for chilling at our favorite cafes.
Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
~ Dr. Seuss
Cafe life in France, and in Paris especially, is just about the funnest thing you’ll ever experience, as no one is ever in a rush.
The people watching is just about the best in the world, not to mention the goodies you are likely to enjoy. A few days in I gave up my afternoon coffee and switched it to white wine or beer.
And then we simply sat. And watched. And drank. And talked.
Until it was time to be on our way.
3. Set out on Foot
A big city like Paris is (obviously) more than well set up for tourists, and they are pros at handling all those visitors.
There are tour buses, stacked double-deckers, boats, bike tours, and of course, the metro is superb. But nothing is like seeing the city on foot both for your waistline and your wallet.
We walked for hours & hours each day, which many of you know is a wonderful way to get fresh air, exercise, and views that you just don’t get from a tourist bus, or underground on the metro.
Plus, how will you see that top in the window or find that off-the-beaten-track patisserie with the best pastry you ate the whole trip? That gorgeous old cathedral you stumbled on that time you got lost?
Nothing says adventure like traipsing around a city with just your bag, a camera, good company and a good stylish pair of comfortablish shoes.
More on shoes in an upcoming post
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr
4. Pack Coffee/Carry Water
Depending on your preference for coffee, this might not apply, but I was glad to have brought along a few bags of ground coffee from home to make French Presses while I greeted the day and acclimatized.
The kids were often tired (especially at the start of the trip), and given my (fairly unreasonable) requirement for caffeine early in the day, I got amped at home before leaving the house.
I’d done quite a bit of research on some coffee places I wanted to hit – places that are doing quality coffee like we are lucky to enjoy at home. My first try yielded a closed sign (Telescope seemed to be closed for the month) and the others were just too out-of-the-way and not convenient to drag the whole brood to.
For a full list of great spots to hit, check out this post on Alice Gao’s beautiful blog here. Alas, maybe next time.
Besides, I see plenty of snazzy coffee shops here (it’s my job), and I realized that day that I didn’t need to travel to Paris to see them there too.
So the home coffee was a major lifesaver, not to mention an easy way to avoid the Oranginas and other goodies you buy every time you sit your kids at a table (cause you know they can’t sit there with nothing).
But believe me, they got plenty of Oranginas. In fact, I am pretty sure we spent more on those drinks then most anything the whole trip. But more on that in another post too
And bring water wherever you go! All that walking will make you tired, and many places might leave you high and dry (read: thirsty) and succumbing to overpriced drinks you otherwise wouldn’t need.
5. Buy a Museum Pass
Okay. So really. This one made me very, very, happy.
Mu husband deserves the credit here, and this action turned out to be genius.
And not strictly for financial reasons. In fact, all in, we figured that by the end of our week in Paris, we broke even on the cost of this. The real savings, however, turned out to be of the more precious kind.
This thing saved us precious and irreplaceable time. No line ups!
Visiting Paris in August means the height of tourist season there – in fact – there were (what felt like) more tourists than locals, and given the high rate of shop closures for ‘Vacances’, I’d say this was correct.
We bought a one week pass that got us into any museum, sans line-up. A sweet deal considering we packed a good ‘sight a day’ into the itinerary. And did I mention the time savings? Brilliant.
But this is my husband we are talking about. I married him for a reason, or two
On our ‘must-see’ cultural list was: Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, The Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, Les Invalides, Versailles, The Pompidou Centre, and of course, the Eiffel Tower (which we did not go up as one of the lifts was broken) – there are quite a few more amazing sights to see, but traveling with a young one allows only so much, and these kids were stimulated to the max.
Truthfully, they were amazing. As was my husband for buying this pass. Brilliance.
Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Commitment is a line you must cross….it is the difference between dreaming and doing.
~ Bernie Fuchs
Looking back, it seems crazy that all that is behind us now. Time really flies.
True to one of my fave Dr. Seuss quotes, I’ve got to tell you that I’m pretty darned glad we did that, and my smiles feel pretty darned wide.
I’ve since returned home to enjoy the blessings we enjoy here, such as
good great regional food, clean tasty water, and truly great friends.
Yes, this is where I give a shout out to all of you – whether you wrote me a text to read when I landed, a thoughtful & genuine blog comment, an email, FB message, or straight up picked up the phone and called (you know who you are), you all made coming home that much sweeter, and I have big love for each and every one of you!
Thank you all for being here with me!
Looking forward to all that is to come – and next I’ll get to those top foods – I promise
- Got any tips to add to this from your travels?
- If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?
I’d love to add any wisdom from all you fine readers out there – and let us know your thoughts and whatever might be on your travel wish list!
Looking forward to a fab fall with all of you!
Yours in Less,
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.
- lighter food
- lighter clothing
- lighter thinking
- lighter evenings (yay)!
Less heavy meals means easy work for your body and mind, not to mention a light energetic feeling to boot. Easy to digest fruit sugars give the body a nice buzz that doesn’t crash and leave you down in the dumps. Less pasteurized fruit juices and over the counter smoothies means more fresh enzymes and less additives, sugar, or other things you don’t want or need.
More fresh fruits means more vital energy pulsing through your veins. More blended live enzymes means the body gets a hand digesting (imagine digestion that wasn’t taxing!) More greens, fiber, and good fat from this combo will result in all round feel good vibes. Everyday.
Everyday Green Smoothie:
- (1) avocado (feel free to use a half or a whole)
- (1) cup chopped fresh or frozen fruit (berries, summer fruit, apple, mango)
- (1) banana (you can sub this out too)
- (1) cup liquid – apple juice, water, almond milk*
- (1-2) leaves kale or a handful of fresh spinach leaves
- (1-2) dates (optional)
Add your ingredients to the blender, blend on high for a minute or two, and enjoy!
* Start with one cup of liquid and add more if needed.
One the topic of liquid, I am a little old-school and have a thing about mixing fruit with other foods – years ago (like almost 20 years or so) I read a number of books on proper food combining and have never really dropped the idea that fruits should be eaten alone or not at all.
With that said, almond milk in smoothies is utterly delicious. My own personal experience tells me almond milk can combine with longer digesting fruits like banana, but it is up to the individual to find what works for them on this one.
For more current info on this topic by someone I really admire, check out the beautiful New York based raw food cleanse guru Natalia Rose here.
This is one of my go to post-fast meals, especially for the morning after a fast day. Or, if I feel that I can’t go without food entirely on a fast day (it happens), it’s common for me to whip up a fairly generous portion of this to take with me to consume when I need it (but never before).
Because fasting isn’t always about not eating, and consuming smoothie for a portion of a day would be a great way to ‘go without’ for many who typically eat heavier, more taxing foods as habit or preference.
The way you think, the way you behave, the way you eat, can influence your life by 30 to 50 years.
~ Deepak Chopra
- What is your fave smoothie fruit?
- Are you enjoying the extra daylight too?
I love receiving your feedback and know many of you will have a lot to add here – I’d love to know your favorites!
On another note, my feet really look great – though who are we kidding, I think I only go for the massage!
I looked for some of the suggested shades (thank you!), was unsuccessful, and ended up choosing something called “Clubbing all Night” by OPI. Don’t quote me exactly on the name, but it’s a delightfully sparkly orange that is making me very happy – not to mention making me imagine myself as (just a little) bad ass with that name…
Next up: a little something with quinoa!
I hope you are all having an amazingly wonderful week – and here’s to lighter living in honor of the arrival of spring!
Yours in Less,
To me, there is something very satisfying about using up every last morsel of something.
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
Charles M. Schulz
I’ve always struggled with tossing the pulp produced from juicing perfectly good whole vegetables and fruits. The same goes for bread crusts, wilted greens, and wrinkly old apples and oranges.
My last post about almond milk provided a nourishing, high quality way to satisfy a craving for richness. Straining the almonds makes a beverage that is ultra smooth and silky – but what to do with the leftover pulp?
Here is what I did.
My bet is you’ll be making almond milk from now on just so you can get to the leftovers.
A good friend once told me about her two rules to a happy marriage:
1. Never go to bed mad
2. Always have chocolate in the house
Over the years, I have learned that sometimes ignoring rule no.1 is the only way out of a silly late night bickering match.
(Trust me, go to sleep and it won’t seem like such a big deal in the light of day).
But I do stand by rule no. 2 religiously.
You might want to have a little of this tucked away after you try it too.
Here is the recipe for a 4-ingredient ice cream that will satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth, and hopefully have you (and your significant other) sleeping soundly at night!
Less real ice cream means less additives, fat, and calories from not eating dairy, not to mention dollars spent on processed packaged goodies. Less waste in the kitchen means better karma for your whole life, not to mention more satisfaction from using every penny’s worth of your precious ingredients.
More real chocolate and richness means you can enjoy less to be satisfied more. More nutritious treats means you can indulge without worry. More chocolate in life is just good. Just like more time in the kitchen celebrating goodness for yourself and your loved ones.
Almond Chocolate Ice Cream:
You will need:
- Almond pulp from making one recipe of Mindful Almond Milk (this will yield about 3/4 cup of pulp)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/3 cup cold water for soaking chia
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 200 grams good dark chocolate (I use Callebaut from Belgium)
In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds and 1/3 cup of cold water. Mix well and set aside. Next, using a double boiler or stainless bowl atop a pot of boiling water (I outline an easy method for this here), begin to melt the chocolate. Stir the chocolate as it melts to avoid it getting stuck or burnt. Check the soaking chia seeds after a few minutes and stir with a fork to make sure it gels with the water consistently.
After 10 minutes or so, the chia will have formed a nice gelatinous mixture. Stir one last time. In a blender, combine the almond pulp, chia, and remaining 1/3 cup of water and blend on high until smooth and well mixed.
Transfer chia/almond mixture to a small mixing bowl. Once your chocolate is melted, stir the warm chocolate directly into the chia/almond mixture and stir (be sure to spatula out every last drop of melted chocolate!).
Stir your gloriously warm concoction together and look to the stars, chances are angels are singing, birds are dancing and the clouds are parting…you are stirring pure heavenly goodness!
From here you can go one of a few ways, but for ice cream, (after all that is the title of this post, right?) transfer the mixture to individual containers (I just happened to have an empty dessert container from a frozen probiotic yogurt I tried)….then freeze!
If you eat this on the same day you make it – allowing 4-5 hours to set in the freezer – the texture will be perfection. However, if you want to save it for a later day I recommend removing it from the freezer 20-30 minutes before you want to eat it, the texture will be just right….
And here you have it, the finished product. By-products from other delicious recipes never looked (or tasted) so good!
I’ll admit my almond milk was gone (partially from the results of my next post) pretty much the same day I made it….this ice cream disappeared about 5 minutes after I showed up to the office today.
Want to see what else I made with this?
Stay tuned. Other major highlights this week included a photoshoot for Not So Fast with the talented photographer, soon to be world traveler, Mark Feenstra (we seriously nailed it thanks to an amazing group of sexy volunteers!).
- How do you stay steeped in chocolate?
- Do you have any rules to a successful marriage/partnership?
I’d love to hear how you are making out!
Update: as this has been one of the more popular posts on this blog, this has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays, a super cool new initiative from a group of great bloggers! Check out their event and enjoy!
Yours in Less,
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”
Want to know what I am inspired about today? Well let me tell you.
A fellow blogger has featured me today on her blog – my first guest post is up over at Life More Lived - it’s an article I wrote a little while back, when I was first starting to admit I had to scale back my shopping obsession….for all of you who love to dress well and live well – you can find the article here. Life More Lived is Sara’s blog all about simple living – it’s not food based but looks at all aspects of a more minimal life – check her out – and have a read, maybe drop her a line even..I’d love to know what you think of the writing if you are so inclined!
Here are a few shots of our recent trip to Tofino..where less meets more in a most surreal and powerful way. I am so happy to have these great shots!
Tofino is the kind of place that has it all.
It is raw, majestic, stark, and a pure, wild example of a ‘less’ landscape (water, trees, and endless beaches anyone?)..while providing a highly charged ‘more‘ atmosphere – more rain, more wind, more intensity, more calm, more reminders of the intense power present in us and in nature…
Here are a few of my favorite shots from our few days there recently – these were taken by a good friend Niko Pavlo who takes fabulous photos (obviously) over at Follow The Olive Rabbit – memories like this are worth slowing down and cherishing Thanks Nik for the beautiful work!
I hope you all get a little hit of inspiration too…..thanks for stopping by…
What are you doing to make yourself proud today?
I’ll be posting about almonds and almond milk next, for all of you looking to make your own…stay tuned!
Yours in Less,