Sunday, June 30, 2019

New Foot-Care Routines

We care about our face, about our hands and more visible part of our bodies, by using creams, masks and other massage and regular treatments. We want those part of our bodies to look fresh and shining and young. But what about those parts that we usually don't see but still are playing an important role in our everyday life, like feet? We keep them most of the time tied tight in socks or shoes and we rarely do anything for them unless there are asking for our attention. But, without feet, we rarelly can make it through the day and that deep sensation of tiredness after a very busy day affects the feet at a very big extent.
I am personally very much aware of the need to offer more care to my poor feet, especially as I am a regular fan of walking at least 10,000 steps the day and feeling over years the deep feeling of tired feet and the need to do more than simply stretch. A foot massage is such a blessing for my tired sore muscles and therefore, self-care for this part of the body is what I am looking for to improve this summer.

I started by checking some very simple, affordable products. First, a foot-mask by Rossmann. I am using every week more than 3 different masks for my face but never imagined that this could work for my feet too. Part of the Fuss Wohl line by Rossmann this product is the best recommendation to use at the end of a very exhausting day for your feet - which means it involved a lot of walking in very heavy shoes. It has sheabutter, aloe vera and macadamia oil which has an instant effect of hydration to dry tired feet. You can easily use them at house. The product is a funny yet practical idea: for each feet, you have a big plastic sock-designed mask that you have to keep it on your foot for at least 20 minutes. The pairs are designed for different shoe sizes. After using it, your feet look much smoothier and feels more relaxed.
The other product that I am using right now twice the day is a menthol cream, from the same Fuss Wohl line. Compared to the mask, it has a much stronger and instant effect. The strong concentration of menthol and mint oil ingredient is very refreshing and relaxes the muscles instantly. It gives that feeling that I often had after a very exhausting hike when I arrived to my destination and just hung out my feet on a chair and stop walking. A feeling of relief and perfect relaxation. I applied it in the morning, after shower and late in the evening, before going to sleep.
Both products are relatively affordable and for a medium-care they do very good, especially if you are healthy enough to do not need some additional treatment and medical care for your feet.

In addition to this feet-beauty care, I tried this weekend something completely new: walking barefoot in a forest for over one hour. I advocated previously on this blog about the healthy advantages of barefoot walking and this time I was able to practice it extensively in a specially designed area in the Beelitz-Heilstätten area near Berlin, Germany. The park is specially designed to walk barfoot and offers a couple of variants for each type of activities. For example, you can chose to do a lot of balancing activities - like walking on wood logs - or follow some other good-for-your-feet remedies, such as caking mood with your feet (which is certified as healthy but decided to skip this time).

Walking on pinecones, anyone?

Walking barefoot in a forest might involve a couple of risks, of cours: insects' bites or some little forest needles that can get stuck into your feet. What I've learned though was a completely different connection with nature. When I am walking wearing shoes -most of the time, obviously - I am less focused on where I put my feet and on the sensorial sensation of walking against new textures every time. It is a deep organic feeling of coping with new that I was happy to experience, that probably was a little part of what we are usually calling 'reconnect with nature feeling'. 
Hopefully, will involve even more foot-care practices into my daily self-care schedule. What I see coming up next is a throughoutly feet professional massage. Because my feet deserve even more care and attention.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

A Good Solution to Protect Your Eyes

Fact: I am spending more than 75% of my awake time with a device in the front of me. Either I read, edit photos, write, work or enjoy my time, a computer screen is an undeniable part of my everyday activity. 
Although I am trying to spend as much time as possible outdoors, when I travel, it might happen to check my phone for various personal and professional reasons,  or enjoy some quiet time while reading...on my Kindle. This is my life and I don't want to change nothing of it. Except, to offer myself a healthy environment which might involve some protection for my eyes, for instance.
I am wearing prescription glasses for over two decades and my lenses are usually suited for intensive computer use. However, I noticed lately that it is not enough and some extra protection is necessary.
Therefore, my curiosity of trying the horus X computer protection glasses.

Provided with a 40% filter and aimed to help not only to have a smoothier computer working experience, but also to improve the sleep quality, those computerglasses are delivered in a small etui that can be later easily carried in a small bag or just in a pocket. Besides the etui, a cleaning cloth is also part of the delivery. Each element of the package is delivered in a small plastic bag which might make a bit unhappy those trying hard to reduce the incidence of plastic into their life.

The order is delivered fast and did not raise any problems or red flags. The product has a 3-year money back guarantee. The design is unisex, simple, with a non-complicated frame - although find it a little bit too big for my taste. But after all, you are wearing it in the office and you remove it when outside, so a fashion statement is not necessary in this case. 

I used them for a couple of days in a row and there was no problem: no headache, no visual discomfort. My eyes feel more relaxed and less sore - an experience I had in the last months, especially after changing the prescription glasses. My sleep patterns didn't change though but this is not something which change overnight anyway. 
In general, a good experience with this product and it looks like a good solution to protect your eyes after intensive computer use.

Disclaimer: Product offered by the company but the opinions are, as usual, my own

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Happy Couples Need Therapy Too

I was recently chatting with a good friend of mine, and we reached the conclusion that nowadays people expect to meet someone, and automatically be happy as in those beautiful and colourful story boards many couples are sharing on Instagram. You meet him or her, there is a spark in the eyes, your hearts are beating heart at the same time, you feel in love and you stay in love ever after. It seems that's the only definition of love and relationships easily accepted and it is not working, it is not love.
A very simplistic way to see relationships, but which also explains why so many people nowadays prefer to stay single, keep browsing dating apps over and over again, years after years, hoping to see that spark in the eyes of someone whose picture was heavily photoshopped. After all, it is so easy to refuse the chance of a new start when you assume there will always be enough people hanging around online. Plus, when you have a heavy luggage of past relationships, staying around as much as you can because afraid of starting anew and eventually being hurt again is a more comfortable safe option.
I think everyone has his or her own way to react to heartbreak and heartache. Often, it is better to get better and clear with the past stories before starting a new one. Some can easily start again, some need time. Some will maybe never be the same after a serious break.
However, regardless of your choice, a relationship is not gonna work by itself, from the day 1 or not even from the day 1,000. If two people really want to be together, there is a lot of effort on both sides to overcome adversities, difficulties, different histories and cultural backgrounds. And even if things are really easy and there is not a complicated past between the two, assuming that things will come along well without too much effort is a lie.
Probably, for people in their early 20s, things are smoothly. You can trust easier, you have an open heart to share and you can really find love easier. But once you are going straight to your late 30s, things are becoming complicated because your life experience is different and it is good to be so. All you need, is to build the realistic expectations based on communication and the common interest of being together.
Personally, I think that regardless how much you are into a person and want to be together, every single step towards being fully part of a relationshio is terribly hard. Very hard, particularly if you are a very analytical person, always careful to details and observations and simple facts. Feelings are confusing, the mind is always prone to make projections and overthink, ending up being scared by the next step. 
Of course, easy is to say 'good bye' and give up because, who knows, maybe this relationship too will leave you heartbroken or it is just a new version of your old failed relationships. After all, isn't it easy to be alone, enjoy your own comfort and swipe right or left your dating apps. Or not thinking at all about relationships.
However, how rewarding it is - at least for some - the experience of getting to know another person. The beauty of sharing and caring about someone else. The goosebumps of seeing an answer for spending time together. 
It should not work out with everyone, but give a chance when it is worth it, while trying to understand that all the good things in life need work, a lot of work, and so are the relationships. 
When things are going hard and both of you are going through hard times, asking the help of a couple therapist might give both of you a new chance. Giving up is the easiest thing, but when you feel and know that this relationship is worth, don't leave it until all chances were played. A family therapist can help tremendously to build up trust and find the right ways to communicate, especially when people do have different cultural backgrounds and personal and emotional experiences. It will not gonna work out instantly, but when there is a will and you want to be together with the other person, stop fighting and shouting to each other and rather go together to an expert that can help you find peace. Relationships are a long and complicated journey, but how beautiful is to share your journey with someone you love and you know there is no one better than him or her. 
Love with someone is much more rewarding than being on your own. But be sure that you think and evaluate and fight for your relationship as much as you can. Couple therapy can save your future.  

Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Do you know that feeling, when you are really craving for something at an hour and a day of the week when the chances to find a shop open are minimal, especially when you want something a little bit different than the generous offer of your gas station next door? The one and only solution is to put your head at work, check the available foods in the kitchen and move on to the next level, which is: preparing the missing food you were dreaming for (maybe if you have been dreamt less it was still a slight chance to find that shop open, who knows?)
A couple of days ago, I wanted badly to have some pasta with red (tomato) sauce and although my house is never short of pasta options - at least 3 different sortiments at once - and so is the cheese, the only ingredient missing was the tomato sauce. Hunger can make you creative too, therefore, I had to move fast and smart to get the sauce of my life. Which, in the end, was a much better option than the Pomodoro sauce in the can - except the vivid red colour that I could not recreate myself.

6 medium-sized tomatoes
5 garlic cloves, medium-sized, chopped
50 gr. salty pistachio
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon za'atar (I will write in another post about my Syrian za'atar which is a wonder of a spice)

Bring to boil 1 liter of water with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the tomatoes and let them boil for around 20 minutes. Their peel will go out automatically, but anyway, after boiling be sure you remove it slowly.
Add in a blender the tomatoes, the garlic, the brown sugar, the olive oil, the pistachio and the za'atar. Blend it for 2-3 minutes at medium size.
Add it to the pasta when it is still warm. 
It tastes heavenly and I tried to control myself to not eat it before any pasta added. The pistachio mixes perfectly with the spices and the olive oil, and the sweetness of the tomatoes is amplified by the brown sugar. 
The conclusion is that from now on, I would rely as much as possible on my own red sauce and maybe will even improve and add new ingredients and spices.

Serves: 2

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Bon Appétit!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Delicious Eggplant Sandwich with French Cheese (and a Secret Spicy Ingredient)

I've said it once, will say it again and again: eggplants are such a challenging veggie to work and cook with. From the preparation until the matching, everything that has to do with it looks for me as a very challenging task. However, as in many challenges I have to deal with in my life, the answer is not to give up and to keep trying, experimenting and learning how to be a better cook, one recipe at a time.
I was not sure what exactly I want from this eggplant, therefore, I began in the classical way, by frying it on the open stove. It goes relatively fast, you only need to pay attention to turn the eggplant every couple of minutes, to burn equally on all sides.


1 medium-sized eggplant
4 cloves garlic, finelly chopped
3 tablespoon olive oil for the frying pan, plus 1 teaspoon for the finishing
50 gr. butter melted
1 tablespoon za'atar (I got from a Middle Eastern friend a big quantity of za'atar from Syria, which is like no other za'atar I ever had before and I am glad I can keep testing its qualities in different recipes)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
50 gr. Parmesan, as garnish


When the eggplant is cooked on all sides, peel it and mash it slowly.
Meanwhile, in a frying pan at 250C, add the olive oil, the garlic, melt the butter, add the za'atar. Mix it well for a couple of minutes. Add the eggplant and the lemon juice and keep mixing it for another couple of minutes.
Pour the content in a bowl, add some extra olive oil and mix slowly. Add
Prepare the toast and spread one layer of French cheese - actually any kind of soft cheese works, including Gorgonzola which is a bit spicy and hard but might interact perfectly with the eggplant - and a generous spread of eggplant.
The final result is a rich, fulfilling and also healthy meal which can be savoured as a part of the dinner. Recommended to be served warm, as it melts deliciously with the cheese.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 3

Monday, June 3, 2019

Papardelle with Dairy Chilli Sauce

With the holiday of Shavuos a couple of days ago, I decided to set up a couple of simple yet tasty ideas for the family table. After all, I graciously missed all the previous holidays in terms of sharing recipes at least one single time - before the High Holidays in autumn - to be on point. 
I am starting with an easy and fast - within 30 minutes - recipe, which combines healthy, simple and dairy ingredients. Plus, it has my beloved pasta in it, therefore I couldn't wait to test, taste it and live to write another tasty foodie story.

The type of pasta used are papardelle, a large, very broad flat, cut into a ribbon shaped pasta (in Italian, pappare means to gobble up). They require around 6-7 minutes of boiling. I prepared a one liter water with one teaspoon of salt. When the water starts to boil, I added the pasta and let it boil. For a portion of two persons, I used the equivalent of 100 gr. of papardelle.

The ingredient that gives the full spicy taste to the meal is chilli. I used 1/2 teaspoon of homemade, brought to me by my Turkish friend from her hometown in Trabzon. They are so strong, that even the smallest amount put your mouth on fire.

The sauce is the most important part of the meal, as its success - or failure - is crucial for setting the gourmet standards for your meal. It is very important that each ingredient is added one by one, mixing well and allowing the different tastes and flavours to melt.

For the sauce, I used the following ingredients
100 gr. butter
6 medium-sized garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon chilli
125 gr. sour cream - buttermilk can also be used alternativelly


Melt the butter in a pan at 250C. In a separate bowl, add the olive oil, the garlic, the chilli, the sour cream, the melted butter. Mix them until you have a homogenous creamy paste. 

Now, it is about time to put all the ingredient together and prepare your pasta plate.
Once the papardelle are ready and drained, add the sauce on a pan at 250C, and mix well, until all the sides of the pasta are covered. Put on the top 50gr. Peccorino hard cheese and mix for another couple of minutes.
Your delicious bowl of pasta is ready. Serve it warm, in the company of a lemonade or a glass of cold white wine.

Preparation time: 10 min.
Cooking time: 10 min.

Serves: 2

Bon Appétit!