Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MY WEEK IN SNAPSHOTS

We did cat sitting for a week which is always fun. These two blue-eyed munchkins are Miina's and Moses' cousins named Milio and Mikey. Very vocal as well.
I was off the right days last week and got to go to our local farmer's market not once, but twice. Got to enjoy this while it lasts. When winter comes we'll have to go back to shopping at supermarkets. I've been trying different types of breakfasts and ways to change things up a little. I usually do organic steel-cut oatmeal cooked in almond milk mixed with chia seeds, cinnamon and raw almond butter. I top it off with sunflower, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and banana chips. My newly discovered favorite is the Chia Squeeze. Adds nice sweetness to my oatmeal. Love it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

MEATLESS MONDAY : SUMMER BEAUTY SMOOTHIE

Since it is the first of September and fall is creeping on us, I will do my best to stretch summer just a little longer. So here's a very summery smoothie recipe to brighten up this Monday. I always crave warm drinks in the morning (no matter what time of the year it is)and therefore adding warming spice, such as cinnamon, to smoothies makes them easier to drink. Adding Maca powder makes this smoothie even healthier since it is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, sodium, and iron. It contains trace minerals including zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, bismuth, manganese, tin, and silicon. It is also high in vitamins B1, B2, C, and E.

Summer Beauty Smoothie

1 cup coconut water 
1/2 cup blueberries 
1 cup sliced peaches 
1 Tbs. chopped mint 
1 1/2 Tbs. lime juice 
1 cup very ripe banana
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. maca powder 
This recipe was originally published in Finnish at Sylvi Online Magazine.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

FIESTA AMERICANA VILLAS CANCUN

Despite my efforts trying to stay on the Isla, we ended up taking the ferry and heading to Cancun. That did not make me happy at all, but I got over it in about 32 hours :). We found a hotel in Cancun's Hotel Zone, about 20 min drive from the airport. We had a nice, big suite overlooking the ocean. Beach was nowhere as nice and clean as on the Isla, water not as clear and the bottom of the ocean was quite rocky. 
The pool area was big with tons of activities from morning 'til late evening (games, contests, yoga etc), music loud and there was a restaurant and a swim-up bar that served all kinds of foods (including brick oven pizza) all day long. Overall the entire area was very americanized filled with pushy sales people, club promoters and a highway that went through the Hotel Zone. Not my cup of tea at all. If I choose to come back one day I'll stay in Isla Mujeres. Cozumel was also highly recommended to us so we might check that out as well.
Our suite was definitely nice. Very spacious with full kitchen, jacuzzi tub, his and hers sinks in the bathroom area and a small balcony with a view to the pool and the beach. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

WEEKEND IS FOR...

I started homeopathy with a care of a very nice MD in our town the day after we got back from Mexico and I must say that things are looking different, in a good way, since I took the remedy she prescribed. I'll miss my cafe mochas and mint ice cream (vegan), but I've noticed that I don't really need coffee to get through the day at work. Tea does just the same. If I want to sit at my favorite coffee shop and write, they also have some delicious chai made with almond milk. So I'm good. :)
It's been good to get back to the healthy, regular eating after vacation. Not to forget some indulgences every now and then. At the Bethlehem Vegfest we had quite a few vegan donuts (you may have seen them on my Instagram) and just yesterday we made the most delicious crispy thin-crust pizzas using a pizza stone (borrowed from sister-in-law) for the first time. What a difference! So worth the investment. 
I've also finally started the process of making my own water kefir. More about it later! I'll be working all weekend plus the holiday on Monday, but that's alright. I've got bills to pay! Enjoy your weekend! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

INSTAGRAM TRAVEL THURSDAY: TULUM, THE CITY OF DAWN

One of my dreams, while in Mexico, was to visit the Mayan ruins in Tulum which was about 1,5 hr drive from Cancun. Tulum flourished between the 13th and the 15th centuries, fading only 70 years after the Spanish army arrived and started conquering Mexico.  Tulum ruins are perched on 12 meter high cliffs facing the Caribbean Sea and after the scorching hot and humid tour of the ruins, it felt wonderful to walk down to the gorgeous beach to cool off.
These not so little guys were everywhere. I found them cute (unlike snakes) and they let me get quite close for shots. These iguanas are harmless and used to the crowds of tourists, unlike the Gila Monster and Mexican Beaded Lizard. 
It was so hot and humid I drank about 2 liters of water in an hour. As you can see from the picture, I was pretty well protected from the sun under my big hat, sunglasses and a light blouse. After leaving the ruins there was a little area with bars and stores. I had fresh coconut water and that might have been the best drink I ever had in my life. Boy, was I thirsty!

Monday, August 25, 2014

MEATLESS MONDAY TIP FOR CANCUN: LE NATURA RESTAURANTE

We did not experience abundance of great food during our trip to Mexico, but this one restaurant is worth the mention: Le Natura. It is in Cancun Hotel Zone where we stayed after leaving Isla Mujeres behind, just about 15 min walk from our hotel Fiesta Americana Villas Cancun (hotel review coming soon). Le Natura is vegetarian and vegan friendly and best of all, have delicious fresh pressed juices! We tried three different green juices, all delicious. This gigantic glass of green goodness was just $4!
For appetizer: guacamole, of course. After all, we were in Mexico. And aren't Mexico and guacamole almost synonymous? I must admit that I probably are more guacamole in a week than I've eaten my entire life. Just love it! Avocado contains healthy fats, most of it is monounsaturated fat which reduces levels of bad cholesterol in blood and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. It also contains around 4 grams of protein which is much more than most other fruits and is much lower in sugar.
I ordered simple mushroom, spinach and onion quesadillas that were truly the tastiest thing I had the entire trip. I squeezed some extra lime juice on them and wow, super delicious. So if you ever find yourself hungry in Cancun, do yourself a favor and try Le Natura!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

NA BALAM, ISLA MUJERES


The way we ended up going to Mexico was totally random. I was looking for hair straighteners on Groupon(found a good one!) and somehow got curious on Groupon Travel so started browsing around. Once the word yoga was mentioned on one of the resorts in Mexico I was immediately interested. I convinced my husband that we should go to Mexico for vacation and booked Na Balam the next day. 
What sold me to this particular resort was the fact that it was on an island away from the party people of Cancun, surrounded by some of the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen and the fact that it was right on the beach. Although, the biggest reason for choosing this place were the daily yoga classes. Na Balam offers four classes a day, the first one as early as 7am and the latest at 6pm. 
All rooms came with either a spacious balcony or a little patio with sun loungers. This is the view from our second floor balcony. In front of us was the restaurant where they served complimentary continental breakfast (fresh fruits, home-made bread with jam, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee/tea).  Right in front of the restaurant was the beach. Loved those breakfast moments.
This was the access to the poolside rooms and Vastu yoga school. Our room was on the beachside so we had to walk across the reception to get there. Just about a 3 min walk. This is a small resort.
The room itself was quite ascetic. This was actually a suite, but there was no couch, just a little lounge chair and a table on the corner next to the balcony. Bathroom was tiny, had a stand-in shower and water-pressure almost non-existent. I was completely fine with it since I'm used to low-budget traveling staying in local homes, but hubs was not very happy. So we ended up staying here just 4 nights.
The beach was quiet, very clean and simply stunning. Na Balam only has 35 rooms so there was always beach bed and umbrella available. It was too hot in the sun so we spent lots of time hanging in the water or under the umbrella.
This is the restaurant where we had breakfast, dinner and snacks. They also made fresh juices (including "detox juice"). Food was nothing to write home about and there were very few vegetarian options although the kitchen was very accommodating with my requests for meatless meals.
The yoga studio was bigger than I expected, floors were clean and the ceiling fans kept us comfortable. I loved doing yoga here! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ISLA MUJERES, MEXICO

We split our vacation between Isla Mujeres and Cancun. Needless to say Isla Mujeres won my heart... Cancun, not so much. Isla Mujeres has the most gorgeous, tranquil beaches and is located just eight miles from mainland Cancun. There's a ferry that will take you across the bay. We took a private cab from Cancun airport to the ferry terminal (25 minutes, 740 pesos + tip) and then hopped on to the ferry that whisked us to Isla in 20 minutes. Isla Mujeres is only 5 miles long and half a mile wide at its widest point. The downtown area (Centro) of Isla is just four by six blocks. So you can pretty much walk everywhere. We rented a golf cart to get around (about 650 pesos for 24 hrs) because it was just so hot to walk, and driving around the entire island in a light breeze was fun. The hottest months here are June through September which equals to low season.
We drove our golf cart to the southernmost tip of Isla Mujeres (our hotel was in the north) where the remnants of a Mayan temple stand. It is thought to once have possibly been a lighthouse for Mayan sailors. 
Villa La Bella that has the best made-from-scratch cold drinks such as Pina Colada. And beer so cold it'll make your teeth hurt.