Sunday, October 21, 2012

DIY Lifestyle

Ah! Total success! Part of my “living out loud” philosophy of life also includes living simple. For the last few years I have been remembering the old times, when we were able to get our daily meals literally from our backyard. Anything that moved or grew was right there, fresh, and healthy. I started by growing my own herbs, then making my own salsas. Today, I moved a step forward by making my first ever homemade Italian herbs bread!  It was delicious and I am totally satisfied.

I have been ripping off the benefits of self-sufficiency. Not only it gives me personal satisfaction, since cooking has always been one of my passions, but it’s also healthier, without all the artificial ingredients added to most of the food we consume these days, and a lot less expensive than the commercial already made brands. I wonder why I didn't think about this when I was raising four children on a limited salary! But then again, it is never too late to begin a new lifestyle.

This recipe was sent to me by a friend. She got it from a wonderful blog I found later. You can take a look at it here: Here is the recipe. As it is my habit, I made some slight changes based on my taste. I used fresh Italian herbs and omitted gluten, which was optional.  I hope you enjoy and share your thoughts. Cheers to self-sufficient DIY!

¾ cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
¾ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fresh Italian herbs
2 ¼ cups wheat or organic flour
2 ¼ tsp. yeast

Put all the ingredients in a bread machine if you have one; if not just mix well in a bowl. Remember to always start with your liquids and end with the flour and yeast. If you have a machine, put it on dough cycle and let the bread maker do all the kneading. Once it if finished, press down the dough and put it in a greased bread pan. Cover with clear wrap and allow doubling in size; around 40 to 50 minutes.  Bake at 375 for 16-20 minutes.  Once cooked, pull out of oven and rub with a stick of butter. Be generous here

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ditch the Frown. Bring Smiley!

Bookstore weekend, shelve after shelve we counted hundreds of self-help books promising a happy life, 360 transformation from the ugly to the good in three steps. I am a writer. The written words have been my passion since my early years. Still, for the first time, I was thinking in how many times I had fallen for these crowded “change your life” shelves as well, especially after moving from my country. Knock, knock and I also remembered how during my toughest years as a single mom, buried under my job, college, and household shores, there was neither time nor money for me to buy fancy happiness books. In fact, time was so extremely limited, that it was almost impossible to even notice a frown or a smile. How did that happen then? What was so different? How did I survive?

It’s been so long! My route to happiness was self-carved, a big bag of trials and errors, ups and downs. But, isn’t it the same for all of us? Don’t we all have the capability to weather the storm? Don’t we do it every day without the need for a happy face manual?

I had no book but I did have four children to serve as engines cranking up my daily motivation to get out and make it happen. I had discovered a strong self-resilience feeling that would always put a stop to any quitting attempt; that “watch me “attitude. Most important I had learned early in life to surround myself with positive, nurturing people and that’s how I had created a friendly circle of family and friends who supported me and trusted in what I was able to achieve. No need for books but faith, self-trust, self-love, and a loving support system. For me, that is the magic spell in a nutshell.

Probably that’s why in countries like India, Costa Rica, the happiest country in the world according to Forbes, Vietnam or Colombia, all considered third world countries at some point, happy people seem to be hanging from the trees regardless of the circumstances. They are content, they keep it going, and most important they pass it on! They haven’t built all the brick walls we have built around us keeping us away from what would really boost our dancing spirits. In the end, like Aristotle said centuries ago, “happiness depends upon ourselves.”

What about you out there? What is your smiley attitude magic spell?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wisdom in the Mundane

“To grow and learn, don’t seclude yourself in a cave, live!”

Many of us think that real learning comes from the books, taking place in the classroom or in a stricter way, occurring only when we alienate from the outside world. “It is only in solitude where I can hear the words of wisdom”, used to say a friend of mine. I say, throw yourself into the world. That’s where the real lessons are found. Truth is that every person, regardless of age or race, every moment, every creature, and every season represents a teaching moment if we are only willing to be attentive and open minded. I see it every day in the smiles, words, and gestures of my students; the conversations with my colleagues, the friendly expressions of my new neighbors, or the stranger who lets me pay first at the grocery store and then starts a jovial conversation for no reason. 

It has been said that your world would be the way you perceive and react to it. I believe it! I am a living proof. I am out there being part of the mundane, the simple, the unexpected, and the amazing. We all have to play in the dirt to experience its texture, its moisture in the morning with a watery smell, and its transformation into a hard formation after the sun has been hitting it all day long. That only happens out there! Where have you been lately?

Picture by: Keith McKay


Airfares Around The World

Adultery by Paulo Coelho

AdulteryAdultery by Paulo Coelho
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another great story by Paulo Coehlo. Real life down to earth characters struggling to find the meaning of life; a mirror of what we all go through day by day. The amazing story of Linda makes us ponder and question. What's life's ultimate purpose? What force moves us? What is it that we should all strive for?

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