stress

All posts tagged stress

Have a Rumtastic New Year Y’all! And Bake this Pina Collada cake

Published January 2, 2014 by The Feminist

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2014 has arrived. People are expressing wishes to friends and family and are busy drawing up lists with all their New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions can be important if you need to get your life back on track and it is the perfect time to get rid of all your bad habits and acquire some good ones.

Although I believe that these resolutions are an ideal way to get inspired at the dawn of a new year, I also think it can be rather hard to keep them. Life is full of pitfalls and before you know it, your resolutions get tossed into the bin.

This, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

Because I have a better idea, dear readers.

Instead of drawing up a list with all the “have tos” and “must dos”, I suggest we make a list of something much more important. Let’s call it the “fuck it” list. A list on which nothing is obligatory. No overambitious bullshit. Just a very personal collection of everyone and everything that can from now on kiss your ass.

Such a list isn’t just much more fun, it is also much easier to keep.

My “fuck it” list goes like this:

  • F*** what everyone thinks of me. I’ll be doing whatever I want, wearing whatever I want and eating whatever I want. No more partypoopers telling me what to do and how to behave.
  • F*** conformism. I will no longer try to blend in. Me and my awesomeness deserve to stand out.
  • F*** meat eaters and global warming deniers. (No need to elaborate on this one)
  • F*** Belgian men. They have no balls. Zero. Non.
  • F*** perfection. Perfection is unattainable so why bother worrying and stressing about it?
  • F*** Stress. Let’s get into the Chill zone.

That last one is my most important “fuck it” item. I am a very stressful person and this year I will do my very best to simply let it go. Stress kills creativity. It suppresses positivity and dreams. But most of all, it’s just not really good for your sleeping pattern or mental health.

So that is why I’m saying F U to stress. And I honestly wish all my dear readers would do the same.

Skip the stress. Drink cocktails instead.

If you keep this simple non-rule in mind, 2014 will be awesome.

To honor the very first week of the new year, I decided to bake a completely stress-free cake. A pina collada cake. Because what could be better than your favourite cocktail turned into a super moist rum and coconut flavour bomb? Nothing, let me tell you that.

So here is my very own “Fuck It, I’m Having a Cocktail” cake.

Enjoy!

And have a stress-free 2014!

Pina Collada Cake

Ingredients:

  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • 40gr butter
  • 150gr fresh pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 120gr plain flour
  • 135gr caster sugar

For the rum syrup.

  • 100ml rum
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a brownie tin with baking parchment.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, butter, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and mix until you get a sandy consistency.
  3. Mix the egg and coconut milk together in a jug and gradually pour into the dry mixture. Mix on high speed until you get a smooth batter.
  4. Stir in the fresh pineapple and pour the batter into your prepared cake tin.
  5. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, make a rum syrup. Bring your ingredients to the boil and let the liquid reduce by half. Once the cake comes out of the oven, pour the rum syrup over the hot cake and let it soak up all the liquid. Let it cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting it into cute squares.

One Christmas Outfit and a Pre-Christmas Dinner

Published December 24, 2013 by The Feminist

As you may guess, I’m spending most of my time in the kitchen today. I’m in charge of creating the most ridiculously delicious but oh so easy appetizers and will bake the showstopper of all showstopping desserts: a moist chocolate raspberry and champagne cake served with champagne and raspberry jelly.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. There will be champagne in everything. (It’s Christmas so everything is allowed 😉 ) I will try and post about the crazy food I’m cooking as soon as possible, but please don’t be mad if it will take me a couple of days. (Given the celebratory mood and the amount of booze I don’t think I will be in much of a mood to write.)

But before I treat all of you readers with my Christmas culinary creations, let me first give you an account of all the things that happened yesterday.

On the 23rd of December most people go crazy. They still have to do some last-minute gift shopping, are on a mission to find the perfect turkey or are stressing over the appropriate Christmas table decorations.

Not me.

I spent the 23rd of December watching television, putting together my Christmas outfit while singing along with Mariah Carey’s greatest Christmas hit and cooking some insanely yummy risotto.

You see, dear readers, I am a compulsive planner and control freak. Most of the time, this results in uncomfortable situations and anxiety attacks, but when it comes to Christmas Eve, my tendency to plan everything far ahead is actually incredibly beneficial. I had long finished all of my Christmas shopping and had put together the coolest decorations  weeks ago. Hence, I could now sit back with a cup of coffee and an entire plate full of Christmas chocolate truffles and enjoy my day without having to stress about a seemingly endless to-do list.

I’m not trying to make you jealous or anything. I’m sure you had a lovely time shopping at the department store, filled to the ceiling with sweaty people all looking for that perfect Christmas gift.

Anyway, let’s get down to business.

I would like you to meet my Christmas outfit: A classy black and white jumpsuit, gold embroidered high heels and a fabulous roaring twenties headband.

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We always celebrate Christmas with the family and since our family is really small, it is completely bonkers to opt for a breathtakingly beautiful night gown worthy of the Oscars ceremony. (Much to my dismay) So in goes a classy yet casual jumpsuit.

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What do you think?

The only thing I am slightly worried about is the fact that taking it off to –let’s say- pee, takes rather a long time. (So maybe I should limit my alcohol consumption in order to avoid spending the entire evening in a tiny bathroom? Ah, who am I kiddin’. No champagne on Christmas is like a trip to Italy without flirting with a handsome Italian stranger: impossible.)

On to the pre-Christmas food. Last Christmas I was so pre-occupied with the food I would be serving on Christmas Eve, I almost forgot to eat. Not this year. I conjured up an incredible vegetarian risotto yesterday. A sweet paprika and harissa risotto with courgette and fried halloumi. Heavenly.

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Ingredients:

  • 300gr risotto rice
  • 2 round courgettes( one yellow and one green), finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 long sweet red peppers
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1  ½ tsp harissa
  • 125 ml white wine
  • Vegetable stock
  • 300gr halloumi cheese, cut into 0,5 cm slices
  • Fresh basil.

Method:

  • Put the sweet peppers, harissa, smoked and sweet paprika powder and garlic in a blender and mix until you get a smooth paste.
  • Sautee the onion in some olive oil for one minute and add the rice. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the sweet pepper mixture and add the glass of wine. Stir until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
  • Add the chopped courgettes and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the stock, one ladle at a time and continue this process until your risotto is tender but not mushy.
  • Fry (or grill) the halloumi.
  • Stir some fresh basil through the risotto.

How to prepare yourself for Christmas Eve in 5 easy steps

Published December 22, 2013 by The Feminist

It’s almost Christmas, dear readers. Which means that you are probably going crazy over all the Christmas shopping and the cooking preparations.

Jingle Stress. We’ve all been there.

So in order to get you all relaxed before the big day, here are some of my favourite relaxing things I like to do to prepare myself for the holiday frenzy:

1)      Listen to some Michael Bublé Christmas songs

I might have mentioned this once or twice ( or maybe three times? Whatever, I’ve lost count.), but Michael Bublé’s music calms me down. His crooner voice, his smooth sound,… he is like the Ben&Jerry’s  cookie dough of music: soothing, comforting and heavenly delicious topped with some chocolate sauce. 😉

Add to that some Christmas lyrics and you are good to go!

2)      Take a shower

We all know that taking a shower is a very relaxing thing to do (and it’s also beneficial for your personal hygiene, but right now that is not the point). However, to really get into the Christmas spirit, I am currently using the Limited Edition shower gel from Yves Rocher. I have cacao and orange, cacao and raspberry and cacao and pistachio, and it is practically impossible to pick my favourite, because they all smell absolutely heavenly! The cacao and orange is like washing yourself with chocolate and orange cupcakes! The cacao and raspberry is like washing yourself in chocolate raspberry brownies! The cacao and pistachio is like washing yourself with rocky road nougat!

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It may seem strange to get so excited about shower gel. But then again, it’s me we’re talking about. Overexcited is my middle name. (Nonetheless, I still believe you should all go and buy them. Christmas will never have smelled so good. )

3)      Watch Funny Girl

Funny Girl is not a Christmas movie and yet every single year I end up watching it around the Holidays. Why? Because the best time of the year should be celebrated with the best movie of all time. And besides, I find “People who need people” much more Christmasy than –let’s say- White Christmas by Bing Crosby.

4)      Paint your nails

Being the ultimate girly girl, I like to paint my nails. And since the year is almost over, you are allowed to go completely over the top in terms of glitter and gold. I’m wearing the Limited Edition Color Show Brocades by Gemey Maybelline. Needless to say I’m sparkling from here all the way to Tokyo. And I absolutely love it!

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5)      Buy a Christmas pants

It’s not even officially Christmas yet and so far I’ve already indulged myself in mulled wine, Peppermint hot chocolate, Christmas stollen, mince pies and champagne jellies. The Christmas festivities are first and foremost a time to indulge yourself in all the goodies you’ve been wanting to eat all year, but you are also a bit concerned that all this pigging out will lead to hallucinating numbers on your scales. (“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” and all that. )

Given the amount of food I’ve already eaten, I think it might be time to buy myself Christmas pants. Just like Joey had his pair for Thanksgiving.

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That way I can eat as much as I like, without having to worry about not fitting into any of my trousers.

Just out of precaution, I suggest you do the same.

Christmas will be forever stress free. 😉

Feel Good Friday: De-Stress your Weekend with these Happy Songs

Published October 4, 2013 by The Feminist

It’s almost weekend: A time usually associated with peaceful tranquility, joyful bliss and the –what I like to call- “art of doing nothing”. It is a truth so damn evident that we often seem to take it for granted. Tell me something, dear readers: when was the last time you actually had a relaxing weekend?

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Hu? Hu? Hu?

i don't know

My guess is that it was a very long time ago. Instead you probably always end up with a hectic frenzy, trying to cram as many chores as possible into those two days and sabotaging your mental health with a ridiculously long to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, organizing one or two weekend endeavors can indeed be quite beneficial for your social life, but you have to make sure that between all the social activities, you still have some time left for the most important person on the planet: yourself.

This is where the following song list comes in, because what better way to de-stress your weekend than with a soundtrack of happy music? Promise me something: when you come home from the office or school this evening, take off your shoes, open up a bottle of Pinot Noir (or something stronger, I don’t care as long as it makes you happy)and put on a couple of happy tunes. I can assure you that –all of a sudden- you will be in a spiritual state of blissful happiness!

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1) I just wanna make love to you- Etta James


No comment. This is just the BEST.SONG.EVER! Forget Coca Cola Light! With this song, you won’t need caffeine to get absurdly happy!

2) Age- Lianne La Havas


Doesn’t this song just make you giggle? The music video is super cute, the melody is superbly cheerful and the lyrics are spot on: “Is it such a problem if he’s old? As long as he does whatever he is told!” So in the very hypothetical situation that Hugh Jackman, George Clooney or Johnny Depp would stand on my doorstep, I at least have some very appropriate lyrics to fall back on 😉

3) Treasure- Bruno Mars


I really can’t see why you wouldn’t looove this song! It has all the right elements to make you smile: sweet lyrics, good funky beat, crazy-ass dance moves and a ridiculously hot singer.
“Pretty girl, you should be smiling!” Oh Bruno, I most certainly am!

4) L-O-V-E – Nat King Cole


If there ever was such a thing as “My life: the Movie” this would so be the soundtrack. This is by far the best cheer-up song on the planet!

5) Talk Dirty- Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz


Admittedly, after a couple of glasses of Pinot Noir all social restraints seem to have left my body and all I want to do is shake my booty in a very Miley Cyrus-like way. *Blush* But hey, it’s Friday night, the weekend has just begun and it is after all supposed to be “me-time”, right? So go ahead, girl! Shake what ya mamma gave ya!

Bake the stress away with these 3 crowd-pleasing, confidence-boosting dishes

Published September 19, 2013 by The Feminist

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In exactly four days, I will start my final year at university. This would be a rather joyful thought, were it not that I had the ambitious idea of enrolling in a Master program in American Studies, which is something entirely different from what I’ve been studying –and rocking!- so far: languages. Until recently I was truly convinced that after four years of having studied the English language, I would have a solid foundation for this new American adventure, but now I am totally freaking out. What if all the other students are annoying, big-mouthed and opinionated America-loving geeks and I’m just… well… me?

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You know what I mean?

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Anyway, I think you can all imagine that my stress level is through the roof at this moment. And what better way to relief stress than to bake? Everyone finds himself in a stressful situation at some point in life and we all have different ways of coping with it, but I personally find that the rhythmical stiring of cake batter and the sweet aromas filling my kitchen are way more stress relieving than the typical workout at the gym. I’ll choose the fresh-out-of-the-oven smell over sweat-dripping armpits in a heartbeat. Who’s with me?

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So under the guise of “stress reduction” and “at least I’m being productive”, I decided to wreck the whole kitchen baking up not one but three smashing dishes. These recipes are incredibly easy to make but look fantastically impressive on the dinner table. “I can’t believe you made that!”-comments are likely to follow. Like I said, these are both crowd-pleasing and confidence-boosting bakes.

So whether you’re looking for a way to deal with your rising stress-level or whether you just want to surprise your family with a brilliant bake: these are my three show-stopping dishes!

Moroccan chicken filo pie

A magnificent filo parcel filled with North-African spices and moist chicken, it’s hard to think of anything more delicious. Add to that the incredible crunch of the filo pastry, the pretty yellow gloss of the turmeric and the dainty sprinkling of za’atar on top and you are literally in baking heaven!

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Ingredients
• Approx. ½ pack of filo pastry
• 3 carrots, finely chopped
• 2 red onions, finely chopped
• 2 chicken breasts, cut into small dices
• Juice of half an orange
• 4 dried apricots, chopped
• 4 dried dates, chopped
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp nigella seeds
• ½ tsp ground coriander
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp allspice
• 1 large chilli pepper, finely chopped
• (large) Knob of butter, melted with 1 tsp of turmeric

To decorate:
• Coriander leaves
• Za’atar

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a bundt cake tin. Arrange the pastry squares in the tin, so that they overlap slightly and cover the whole ring of the tin with lots filo left hanging over the outside edges.
2. Brush the pastry with the melted turmeric butter.
3. For the filling, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken pieces. Remove from the pan and set aside. Now add the onions, chilli and carrots to that same pan and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the orange juice and dried fruits and let it simmer until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Add the chicken and all the spices back to the pan and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Pack the filling inside the bundt tin. Lift up the edges of the pastry and fold over to cover the filling. Brush with some of the turmeric butter and now flip the whole lot upside down unto a baking tray. Brush the pastry all over with more turmeric butter and sprinkle on the za’atar.
5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Just before serving sprinkle on the fresh coriander.

Sticky orange and date cupcakes

There is just something gloriously decadent about a sticky date pudding. That warmth of the spices, that palate-clinging moistness of the dates… Sigh. Can it get any better than this? Apparently it can! If you turn your date pudding into a princess-like cupcake and add orange to create an extra zingy dimension. And to top it all off, I even whacked in some cointreau! (I was – after all- trying to reduce my stress 😉 )

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Ingredients (makes 4 large or 6 smaller cupcakes)
• 1 egg
• 60gr dried dates, finely chopped
• Juice of one orange, approx. ½ dl
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• ¼ tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
• Pinch of cardamom
• 50gr muscovado sugar
• 70gr plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 60gr butter
• Cointreau, 1 tbsp per cupcake
• Orange marmalade, to glaze

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Mix in the butter until you get a sandy consistency.
3. Stir in the chopped dates and whisk in the egg.
4. Add the orange juice and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into a prepared cupcake tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
6. When the cupcakes are still hot and are still in the tin, pour one tablespoon of cointreau over each cupcake. (Pierce the top of each cupcake a couple of times with a toothpick to make sure the cointreau seeps through). Leave it in the tin to cool slightly before removing.
7. Once cooled, spread a generous layer of marmalade on top of each cupcake.

Courgette galette with tomato tapenade

This recipe is so ridiculously easy, it almost seems embarrassing to write about it, were it not that is so damn delicious! Crisp puff pastry… topped with a generous amount of tomato tapenade… and grilled, juicy courgette slices…with a salty parmesan crust. Mmmm. Things like that really make me salivate!

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Ingredients
• One sheet of puff pastry
• 2 small courgettes, in 0,5 cm slices
• Parmesan cheese
• 100gr tomato tapenade

For the tomato tapenade:
• 100gr sundried tomatoes, on olive oil
• 1 clove of garlic
• 2 anchovy fillets
• ½ tbsp capers

Method:
1. Make the tapenade by blitzing all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Use some of the olive oil from the tomatoes to create a more unctuous texture.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out your sheet of puff pastry on a baking tray and prick it with a fork.
3. Spread a good layer of tapenade on top of the pastry, leaving a boarder around the edge.
4. Meanwhile, grill your courgette slices on a searing hot grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Layer the slices on top of the tapenade, so that they overlap slightly and cover the whole sheet of puff pastry.
5. Fold the outer edges of the pastry over the filling and grate parmesan over the top of the galette.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Dragon Days

Published June 22, 2013 by The Feminist

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This will be a rather short post since I’m incredibly busy this weekend. But I just couldn’t bare it not to post anything, so I thought I could share one of the items on my fashion wish list with y’all: this very classy, chic and incredibly extravagant Dragon Necklace from Zara.

Not only is it pretty darn cool, it is also very N.O.W. , because- in case you missed the latest fashion updates- Asian fashion is very big this summer. However, some people will think it risky to wear a kimono-inspired outfit (phuh, wussies!) so this necklace should be the perfect solution!

Moreover, this dragon necklace represents a very spiritual message I would like to give you: “Stress is an important dragon to slay – or at least tame – in your life”. (~Marilu Henner)  We all suffer from stress. It can even turn us into emotional wrecks. Although there are quite a lot of tools and techniques out there to help you overcome this very annoying dragon, I think the best way to deal with stress is just to accept it, look past it and believe in yourself. Self-confidence is the key to unlocking a peaceful emotional mindset. So don’t be scared of the dragon, be the dragon!

Very sappy, huh?! Jeeez, I know!

And while you’re out buying this mega necklace, these earring look pretty impressive as well!

dragon E

Just saying 😉

Make Dinner, Not War: 3 stress-free dishes

Published April 10, 2013 by The Feminist

Let’s be honest here: Now and then we all get really annoyed with other people.

• When someone is constantly talking about his or herself in a very boastful “I’m the Greatest Star this world has ever known” kinda way.
• When someone is too lazy to get his or her ass off the couch and watches TV shows all day, while you’re working your butt off.
• When you’re trying to have a conversation with a teenager who has a very big attitude. “Wha’everrr”
• Sometimes, even the slightest noise, movement or snort can get under your skin.

Yes, we’ve all been there. But instead of letting all the anger boil up inside of you – or worse – instead of yelling all nasty things at that particular person, why not maintain the peace and start cooking? I find cooking to be incredibly soothing and relaxing. Besides, it is also more convenient, because you can now actually use your dinner plates to serve your food on, instead of smashing them to the ground.

Here are some really yummy stress-relieving dishes:

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Indonesian chicken wraps

Ingredients:

• Good quality shop-bought wraps
• 4 chicken breasts, diced
• 300gr of bean sprouts
• Fresh coriander
• 3 spring onions, chopped
• 1 mango, finely chopped
• 1 apple, in fine slices
• 1lime
• Chopped cashew nuts

For the marinade:
• 2tbsp ketchup
• 1tbsp fish sauce
• 1tbsp soy sauce
• 2tbsp honey
• 1tbsp mirin
• 1tbsp sesame oil

For the satay sauce:
• 200ml coconut oil
• 40gr of peanut butter
• 1 small red chilli
• 1 tbsp garam massala
• 2cm piece of ginger
• 1tsp brown sugar

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Method:

1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and stir through the diced chicken breasts. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
2. For the satay sauce, mix all the ingredients together – et voila! – done! 😉
3. Mix the bean sprouts together with the coriander and spring onion and sprinkle over some lime juice.
4. Fry the chicken until brown and tender.
5. Make your own awesome wrap with the beansprout salad, mango, apple, chicken and of course the scrumptious satay sauce and finish with some chopped cashew nuts.

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Tutti Frutti prawn curry

Ingredients (serves two):

For the curry paste:
• Two small red chillies
• 3cm piece of fresh ginger
• Coriander stalks
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1 onion
• 1 tsp garam massala
• 1tsp brown sugar

For the fruity prawn curry:
• 16 prawns
• Half a pineapple, diced
• Half of mango, diced
• 1 banana
• 400ml coconut milk
• 1tbsp peanut butter
• 1tbsp fish sauce
• Fresh coriander to decorate

Method:
1. Make the curry paste by mixing all the ingredients together in a blender.
2. Fry the curry paste in a large wok in some vegetable oil until fragrant.
3. Add the coconut milk, the peanut butter and fish sauce. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the prawns, pineapple and mango and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Finally add the banana and heat through.
6. Sprinkle some chopped coriander on top.

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Italian meatloaf with homemade pasta and basil-sundried tomato pesto

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the meatloaf:
• 750gr minced beef
• 1 courgette
• Cherry tomatoes, on the vine
• 1 onion
• 1 clove of garlic
• 15gr grated pecorino cheese
• 1 egg
• 1tsp dried oregano
• 1tsp paprika
• ½ tsp cumin
• ½ tsp garam massala (You’re now probably shouting: “Garam massala?? In an Italian dish??? Well, it actually works 😉 )

For the pasta:

• 350gr plain flour
• 4 eggs
• Salt

For the pesto:
• 200gr semi dried tomatoes, in oil
• 30gr pecorino cheese
• 2 cloves of garlic
• Handful of cashew nuts
• Bunch of fresh basil leaves (lots and lots of them!)

Method:

1. For the meatloaf, line a baking tin with baking parchment. Using a vegetable peeler, peel strips off the courgette and line them in your tin. (This will create a lovely courgette blanket for your meat)
2. In a bowl, mix together the meat with the chopped garlic and onion and grate in some of the remaining courgette (the white part). Add the cheese, the egg and the spices and mix through.
3. Put the mince in the courgette baking tin and put in a preheated oven at 200°C for 35 minutes. Take the loaf out of the oven and put the vine cherry tomatoes on top. Put back into the oven for 10 minutes.
4. For the pasta, pour the flour into a mound onto a flat surface and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the well and gradually mix with either a blunt knife or your hands. Knead until well blended and the dough is soft and flexible. Leave the pasta to rest for about 15-30 minutes. Cut it into your favourite pasta shape.
5. Cook the fresh pasta in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and immediately drain the pasta and coat it with the fresh pesto.
6. For the pesto, mix all the ingredients together in a blender and season with salt and pepper.
7. Serve the meatloaf and pasta with a rocket salad with balsamic dressing.

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