Christmas Series: Homemade Eatable Gifts / Cadeaux comestibles fait maison

Here are cool ideas to offer as a Christmas present to someone who loves to cook or as a host-hostess gift.

They are simple but useful ideas.

Since they are simple, it is important to have beautiful containers and labels. And, the person will think of you every time he/she will use his gift!

Vanilla Extract

  • 1 Bottle of Basic Vodka
  • 5-6 Top Quality Bourbon Vanilla Beans

  1. Drink ;-)) or remove 3cm of vodka
  2. Cut the pods in half lengthwise and scrape to remove the grains.
  3. Put the grains and pods in the bottle of vodka. Close and mix well.
  4. Store in a dark place and forget about it for 8 to 12 months.
  5. Transvider in a nice container with a nice label. He is now ready to offer.
  6. If you do not want to wait for 8-12 months to offer it, you can simply indicate, on your pretty label, from when the extract can be consumed.

Garlic and Thyme flavoured Salt

  • 125ml Sea salt
  • 12 branches of fresh thyme, leaves and branches separated
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic

  1. Put all the ingredients in a chopper (food processor) to grind well in order to combine the flavours together.
  2. Spread on a cookie sheet previously covered with a silpat (non-stick cooking silicon sheet) or parchment paper.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 100 degrees C for about 2 hours.
  4. Transfer in a nice container and that’s it!

Special Christmas mix of Spices

  • 40g cinnamon powder
  • 30g coriander powder
  • 2cac. nutmeg powder
  • 1cac. ginger powder
  • 1 / 4cac. clove
  • Zeste 1 orange
  • Zeste 1 lemon
  • 2cac. sugar
  • 1cac. salt

  1. Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Transfer in a nice container.

Voici des idées sympa à offrir comme cadeau de noël à quelqu’un qui aime cuisiner ou comme cadeau d’hôte-hôtesse.

Ce sont des idées simples mais utile. Comme ils sont simples, il est important d’avoir de beaux contenants et de jolies étiquettes.

Ainsi, la personne pensera à toi chaque fois qu’elle utilisera son cadeau!

Extrait de vanille

  • 1 bouteille de vodka basique
  • 5-6 gousses de vanille bourbon de top qualité

  1. Boire ;-)) ou enlever un 3cm de vodka
  2. Couper les gousses en deux sur la longueur et gratter pour retirer les grains.
  3. Mettre les grains et les gousses dans la bouteille de vodka.
  4. Fermer et bien mélanger.
  5. Ranger dans un endroit sombre et l’oublier pendant 8 à 12 mois.
  6. Transvider dans un joli contenant avec une belle étiquette.
  7. Il est maintenant prêt à offrir.
  8. Si tu ne veux pas attendre les 8-12 mois pour l’offrir, tu peux simplement indiquer, sur ta jolie étiquette, à partir de quand l’extrait peut être consommé.

Sel aromatisé à l’ail et au thym

  • 125ml Gros sel de mer
  • 12 branches Thym frais, feuilles et branches séparées
  • 3 gousses Ail frais

  1. Mettre tous les ingrédients dans un hachoir pour bien moudre et combiner les ingrédients ensemble.
  2. Étendre sur une plaque à biscuit préalablement paré d’un silpat (toile de cuisson anti adhésive) ou d’un papier sulfurisé.
  3. Enfourner dans un four préalablement chauffé à 100 degré C. pendant environ 2h.
  4. Transvider dans un joli pot et voilà!

Mix d’épices Spéciales Noël

  • 40g cannelle en poudre
  • 30g coriandre en poudre
  • 2cac. muscade en poudre
  • 1cac. gingembre en poudre
  • 1/4cac. clou de girofle
  • Zeste 1 orange
  • Zeste 1 citron
  • 2cac. sucre
  • 1cac. sel

  1. Mettre tous les ingrédients ensemble dans un bol et bien mélanger.
  2. Transvider dans un joli contenant.

Christmas Series: Kale and Witloof Salad, warm vinaigrette / Salade de chou et Witloof, vinaigrette tiède

Let’s continue our colorful menu …

Cabbage and witloof (red endives) salad with a warm vinaigrette.

It can very well be used as 2nd appetizer or as accompaniment.

White and red endive is not very common. If you can not find it at the market, you can frankly replace it with radicchio. They are from the same family; chicory!

Also called Witloof, Belgium is a big producer of endives but the white and red is still not as popular as the white and yellow.

Its crunchiness and bitterness go well with kale.

The chicory is rich in vitamin B9. Kale in fiber, iron, vitamin K, etc. Both combined with almonds, cranberries, garlic gives this salad has a big nutritional Value !

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch of Kale
  • 2-3 white and red endives or 1 small radicchio, cut or torn in small pieces.

For the warm vinaigrette

  • 150g 1cup dried cranberries
  • 20-30g minced almonds
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 small onion or shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp wine or cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Honey
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper

For the vinaigrette

  1. Recover the onion or onion shallot in oil 5 min or until tender.
  2. Add the garlic, stir well for 1 min.
  3. Add cranberries, vinegar, honey and lemon (juice and zest). Stir to mix well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

For the salad and the assembly

  1. Remove the stalk of the cabbage and keep the leaves.
  2. Cut or tear in small bites and put in a bowl with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Massage the cabbage with salt and oil with your hands for a few minutes until the cabbage becomes tender.
  4. Add the chicory.
  5. To assemble, add the lukewarm vinaigrette and the sliver almonds. Mix well.
  6. Serve immediately.

Merry Christmas!

Chantal

Poursuivons notre menu haut en couleur…

Salade de chou et de witloof avec sa vinaigrette tiède.

Elle peut très bien convenir comme 2e entrée ou comme accompagnement.

L’endive blanche et rouge n’est pas très courante. Si tu en trouve pas au marché, tu peux franchement la remplacée par la radicchio. Elles sont de la même famille ; la chicorée!

Aussi appelé chicon, la Belgique est un gros producteur d’endives mais la blanche et rouge n’est tout de même pas aussi populaire que la blanche et jaune.

Son croquant et son amertume se marie bien avec le chou kale (frisé). La valeur nutritive de cette salade est incroyable!

Le chicon est riche en vitamine B9. Le chou Kale, lui, est riche en fibre, fer, vitamine K, etc. Les deux combinés avec des amandes, des canneberges, de l’ail… vous avez là un plat d’une richesse nutritive incroyable.

Pour la salade

  • 1 botte de chou frisé Kale
  • 2-3 chicon blanc et rouge ou 1 radicchio, coupé ou déchiré en petits morceaux
  • Pour la vinaigrette tiède

  • 150g canneberges séchées
  • 20-30g amandes émincées, effilées.
  • 3 gousses d’ail, écrasées
  • 1 petit oignon ou échalote, émincé
  • 2 tbsp vinaigre de vin ou de cidre
  • 2 tsp Miel
  • 1 citron, jus et zeste
  • Huile d’olive
  • Sel, poivre

Pour la vinaigrette

  1. Faire revenir l’oignon ou l’échalote dans l’huile 5 min ou jusqu’à ce qu’il soit tendre.
  2. Ajouter l’ail, bien remuer 1 min.
  3. Ajouter les canneberges, le vinaigre, le miel et le citron (jus et zeste).
  4. Remuer pour bien mélanger. Assaisonner avec le sel et le poivre.
  5. Pour la salade et l’assemblage

  6. Enlever la tige du chou et conserver que les feuilles. Les couper ou déchirer en petites bouchées et mettre dans un saladier avec de l’huile d’olive et une pincée de sel.
  7. Masser le chou avec le sel et l’huile avec les mains quelques minutes où jusqu’à ce que le chou devienne tendre.
  8. Ajouter le chicon.
  9. Pour assembler, ajouter la vinaigrette tiédie et les amandes effilées. Bien mélanger.
  10. Servir immédiatement.

Joyeux réveillon!

Chantal

Christmas Series: Green Soup and it’s cashew cream / Potage Vert et sa crème de cajous

Christmas has well defined colors … green, red and white.

To start your Christmas’s Eve meal, why not serve a green soup filled with antioxidants and vitamins with a white touch to highlight the event?

Here is the Green soup and its cashew cream.

This recipe is simple, fast, economical and succulent!

Make a double batch so you have fast and light meal options on hand during the holiday season!

For soup

  • 600g Frozen broccoli
  • 400g frozen spinach
  • 200g frozen green peas
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper to taste
  • 1L 1/2 water or broth (vegetables, chicken)

  1. Cut onion and sauté in a little vegetable oil a few minutes.
  2. Add the frozen vegetables. Mix well.
  3. Add water or broth, garlic, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 30min or more.
  5. Remove the bay leaf and blend with the immersible mixer (or wait until it cools to add to a blender).
  6. Correct the seasoning as needed.
  7. Serve with the cashew cream. (See below)

For the creamy decor with cashews

  • 150g cashew nuts, soaked (overnight or 30min in hot water) or 3tbsp. of cashews butter.
  • 250ml of water

  1. Once the cashews have been soaked, drain and rince them.
  2. Put the soaked cashews OR the cashew butter in a food processor and mix with 250ml of water until smooth.
  3. Put all the cream in the soup and mix OR pour one to two tablespoons in each bowl and make a drawing of a tree!

Merry Christmas!

Chantal


Noël a des couleurs bien définies… vert, rouge et blanc.

Pour bien commencer le repas de réveillon, pourquoi ne pas servir un potage vert remplis d’antioxydants et de vitamines avec une touche blanche pour souligner l’événement?

Voici le potage Vert et sa crème de noix de cajous.

Cette recette est simple, rapide, économique et succulente!

Fais-en plus, question d’avoir sous la main des options de repas rapides et légers durant toute la périodes des fêtes!

Pour la soupe

  • 600g Brocolis surgelés
  • 400g épinards surgelés
  • 200g pois verts surgelés
  • 1 oignon
  • 2 gousses d’ail
  • 1 feuille de laurier
  • Sel, poivre au goût
  • 1L1/2 d’eau ou de bouillon (legumes, poulet)

  1. Découper l’oignon et le faire revenir dans un peu d’huile végétale quelques minutes.
  1. Ajouter les légumes congelés. Bien mélanger.
  1. Ajouter l’eau ou le bouillon, l’ail, le laurier puis saler et poivrer.
  1. Porter à ébullition, puis laisser mijoter environ 30min ou plus.
  1. Enlever la feuille de laurier puis passer au mixeur immersible (ou attendre que ça refroidisse pour le passer au blender).
  1. Rectifier l’assaisonnement au besoin.
  1. Servir avec la crème de cajous. (Voir ici-bas)

Pour la décoration crémeuse aux noix de cajous

  • 150g noix de cajous, trempés (toute une nuit ou 30min en eau chaude) ou 3c à s. de purée de noix de cajous.
  • 250ml d’eau

  1. Une fois les noix de cajous trempées, égoutter et rincer-les.
  1. Mettre les cajous OU la purée dans un blender ou un robot mélangeur avec 250ml d’eau. Mixer jusqu’à consistance lisse.
  1. Mettre toute la crème dans la soupe et mélanger OU verser une à deux cuillères à soupe dans chaque bol puis faire un dessin de sapin!

Bon réveillon!

Chantal

Christmas Series: Giving To The Homeless / Donner aux sans-abris

This year, my children’s school has a wonderful project for Christmas; give a gift box to the homeless people of Liège.

This box must contain non-perishable mixed products, easy to open and ready to eat without cooking or warming up.

It’s a project that makes children aware that some people do not have a house, no kitchen, no food, no bed, no clothes, etc. They only have what they find and what they are given.

In addition to preparing a box, children need to think about what they would be willing to give, from what they own, for someone in need.

“I would give my house”

“I would give my 5€ bill”

“I would give my …”

It feels good to be in a position of empathy, sympathy, generosity.

Our children are rich in shelter, family, 3 meals a day, health care, toys, love, etc.

In any case, mine are. I am therefore very happy to be able to participate with them in this project.

Thanks to this shoebox, we have rich conversation of meaning, love and sharing.

This year, we give to the homeless!

Want to do the same but don’t know what to give? Here’s what we gave: two boxes, each containing 2 canned vegetables, 1 can of legumes, tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, chocolate-flavored soy milk drink, chocolate candies, Christmas chocolates.

It would also have been nice to add gloves, a scarf, warm socks, bandages, etc.

And you, how do you give back? To whom?

I’m Grateful and Thankful

Chantal


Cette année, l’école de mes enfants a un magnifique projet pour Noël ; donner une boite cadeau aux sans-abris de Liège.

Cette boite doit contenir des produit mixtes non périssables, facile à ouvrir et prêt à être consommés sans cuisiner, réchauffer.

Projet qui sensibilise les enfants au fait que des gens n’ont pas de maison, pas de cuisine, pas de quoi manger, pas de lit, pas de vêtements, etc. Ils ont seulement ce qu’ils trouvent et ce qu’on leur donne.

En plus de préparer une boîte, les enfants doivent réfléchir à ce qu’ils seraient prêts à donner, parmi ce qu’ils possèdent, pour une personne dans le besoin.

“Je donnerais ma maison”

“Je donnerais mon billet de 5€”

“Je donnerais mon…”

Ça fait du bien de pouvoir se mettre dans une position d’empathie, de sympathie, de générosité.

Nos enfants sont riches d’un toit, d’une famille, de 3 repas par jour, de soins de santé, de jouets, d’amour, etc.

En tout cas, les miens le sont. Je suis donc très heureuse de pouvoir, avec eux, participer à ce projet. Grâce à cette boite à soulier, nous avons de conversation riches de sens, d’amour et de partage.

Cette année, on donne aux sans-abri!

Tu veux faire la même chose mais ne sais pas quoi donner? Voici ce que nous avons donné: deux boîtes contenant chacune 2 conserves de légumes, 1 conserve de légumineuses, des mouchoirs, une brosse à dents et un dentifrice, un savon, une boisson de lait de soja aromatisé au chocolat, des bonbons au chocolat, des chocolats de Noël.

Il aurait aussi été possible d’y ajouter des gants, une écharpe, des chaussettes chaudes, des pansements, etc.

Et toi, tu redonnes comment? À qui?

Je suis reconnaissante et appréciative.

Chantal

Sea, Sand and Sun / Mer, Sable et Soleil

Nothing is better than a sunbath at the sea with both feet in the sand!

It feels good to be connected to the earth. To receive so many electrons. This calms the nervous system and improves the mood. Being on vacation is a big help, of course! But being barefoot in the sand is beneficial for many other reasons.

Why are we attracted to the sea and its golden sand? Why do we come back from the sea relaxed, rejuvenated and with a feeling of general well-being?

The effects of the sea, sand and sun are physical as well as psychological.

Such as :

  • reducing stress ; the sound of the waves and the view of the sea.
  • improving sleep quality ; the air and the wind
  • increasing daily vitamin D quotas ; just 30 minutes of exposure is enough.
  • fighting infections ; salt from the sea.
  • multiple opportunities for exercise ; walking, swimming and so much more!
  • beauty treatment for the skin ; sand exfoliate
  • increasing level of iodine in the body ; just by swimming or being in the sea.
  • improvement of the respiratory system ; breathing sea air
  • the connection with oneself ; enjoying, relaxing…
  • If you have the opportunity, the occasion, the possibility to put your feet in the sand, GO! It can only do you good!
  • If you do not have the sea nor the sand, do not hesitate to put your feet in the ground, it will do you almost as much good!

    In health,

    Chantal

    Poeto Beach, Cagliari, Sardinia

    Rien de mieux qu’un bain de soleil à la mer les deux pieds dans le sable!

    Cela fait du bien d’être connecté à la terre. De recevoir autant d’électrons. Cela calme le système nerveux et améliore l’humeur. Le fait d’être en vacances y contribue grandement, bien sûr! Mais être pieds nu dans le sable c’est bénéfique pour plein d’autres raisons.

    Pourquoi sommes-nous attirés vers la mer et son sable doré? Pourquoi nous revenons de la mer relaxé, ressourcé et avec un sentiment de bien être général?

    Les effets de la mer, du sable et du soleil sont autant physiques que psychologiques. Tels que :

    • la réduction du stress ; par la vue de la mer et le son des vagues
    • l’amélioration de la qualité du sommeil ; l’air et le vent.
    • l’augmentation du quotas journalier de vitamine D ; exposition de 30 minutes suffit.
    • le fait de combattre les infections ; par le sel de la mer.
    • les multiples opportunités d’exercices physique ; marche, baignade et bien d’autres activités.
    • le traitement de beauté pour la peau ; le sable exfolie.
    • l’augmentation du niveau d’iode dans le corps ; juste en étant dans le mer.
    • l’amélioration du système respiratoire ; respirer l’air salin
    • la connexion avec soi ; apprécier, relaxer…

    Si tu as l’opportunité, l’occasion, la possibilité de poser tes pieds dans le sable, vas y! Ça ne peut que te faire du bien!

    Si tu n’as pas de mer et de sable, n’hésite pas de mettre tes pieds dans la terre, ça te fera presque autant de bien!

    Santé,

    Chantal

    Christmas Recap (menu and stuff)

    If you missed my posts, here is a recap of my suggestions for your holiday menu

    Ideas for…

    Merry Christmas, happy holidays and I’ll be back in January!

    Take care

    In health,

    Chantal

    Homemade Christmas Decorations Ideas

    Create decorations with what you have in the kitchen or in your backyard.

    Here are the ones I made this year…

    Scented decoration : oranges with cloves. Looks vibrant and smells fantastic. Cut zest of the orange and make a pattern. Pin in cloves. Display as you like. The smaller the room, the more the smell is present.

    Decorated candles : decorate with cinnamon sticks and tread. Make or buy a candle, display cinnamon sticks around it and make hold with a tread/rope. If you have ribbons, you can use them instead of the rope.

    Center piece : water stems (rosemary, pine, holly). Pick stems from my backyard and add them to water and fresh cranberries. It makes a clean and trendy decoration!

    Atmosphere Lighting : mason jar tealight covered fabric. Use an old bed sheet cut out the size I need to cover the jar. I use a rope to finish it and to make the fabric hold. I glue pieces of tree bark pre cut in christmassy shapes. The second one is covered with an old see through shiny fabric I found in my scrap box.

    Wish cards holder : rope and small clothespins. I made braided rope with a coton rope that was left from last year. Made it stick on the wall with gum and added small Christmas clothespins bought many year ago.

    Have fun!

    In health,

    Chantal

    Give a Gift of an experience and create memories

    For Christmas, the commercial tradition commands to offer gifts. Fortunately, there is no obligation!

    Adults and children have too many things. We become disillusioned and we do not appreciate any of it anymore.

    But, if you still want to give, why not offer something to live and experiment rather than an object? How about offering your time?

    I know it’s trendy to offer an experience rather than a thing. It is very “zero waste” and I appreciate that aspect but, what drives me more towards this type of gift is that it creates memories. It contributes to well being

    Doing an activity with someone you love, creates unforgettable memories. When I live such a moment, I am growing as a person. Personal growth, gratitude and giving, all contributes to my health.

    These memories are inked in us for ever, they become part of oneself.

    On the contrary, things are just things. I can live or experience something special with it for a while. It can even be useful and help me do things and experiment in life, but I need at least one person to share it with, for it to become a memorable experience. Things and stuff, I have. At one point, it will create waste and I will forget about it. But, the time spent with that friend/brother/kid will last all my life.

    I find it personally rewarding to offer an experience that I can live with someone. Of course, that same person can choose to do that activity with someone else.

    It’s your choice to make when you offer it.

    You can also choose to offer some of your time. This way, you can help that person in different ways. I think it’s a great thing to be able to spend time with people you love, it’s priceless.

    Here are some ideas:

    A written promise to babysit for your friend, your brother or your sister

    Tickets or a gift certificate/voucher for a cultural activity (cinema, theater, opera, music concert)

    Tickets or a gift certificate/voucher for a sports activity (match, ski day, skydiving, hebertism, climbing)

    A subscription at a sports center, a health club

    Whatever experience/activity you choose to offer, it can also be accompanied by a meal, a snack, a drink, a coffee, a tea in your company.

    For example,

    • This card is a voucher. It is exchangeable for 3 hour of babysitting the week night of your choice so you can enjoy these two movie tickets with the person of your choice. I will come to your house and babysit name.
    • I offer you a night out. First, I invite you to this (name) fine dining restaurant followed by a comedy show. Ticket included!
    • I offer you a special day including a lunch, a movie and a snack afterwards.

    If you find it difficult to present such a gift, you can put the voucher in an original recycled box. In fact, you can be very original in your written presentation and in its packaging. You can make an Origami box, you can wrap your box with the furoshiki method using a scarf, fabric, a towel, an old world map and even old newspapers. You can even put it in a basket.

    In short, be creative! Have fun, enjoy and be grateful!

    In health,

    Chantal

    Christmas Milk

    After the golden milk, here is the Christmas milk!

    This milk is a real treat. It can be added to your morning latte, spiked with rhum or bourbon. It can make delicious French toast and even cakes. Truly, it can be added in almost everything! It is sort of a vegan eggnog.

    The creaminess, oh my! Its richness, its body… and the flavour of those spices, just truly decadent.

    Easy to make and lasts a week in the fridge. It is a great staple to have on hand during holiday season.

    Here is how to make this Christmas versatile milk.

    250ml of hazelnut (or any other nuts)

    500ml of water

    1 can of full fat coconut milk (400ml)

    3 dates or coconut sugar

    10ml of vanilla extract

    5ml of ground cinnamon

    3ml of ground nutmeg

    1ml of ground cloves

    Soak the hazel nuts overnight. Next day, discard the soaking water and rinse thoroughly.

    In a blender, add 250ml of fresh water, the coconut milk and the nuts. Blend a few minutes or until well combined.

    Strain through a fine mesh sieve, then return to blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

    Pour into a storage jar and refrigerate until cold and thick. Keeps up to 1 week.

    Serve cold and top each glass with a pinch of nutmeg. Cheers!

    In health,

    Chantal

    Walk into Health

    This simple habit can trigger anti-aging process. Just 20 minutes or 10 000 steps a day is a great way to maintain a “healthy lifestyle”.

    Every time you can walk instead of using your car, do it for yourself and for the environment!

    Every time you can use the stairs instead of the escalators or the elevators, go for it!

    With or without snow.

    With a purpose or not. Walk!

    Mostly because we have sedentary lifestyles working indoors and sitting all day, walking is a smart choice for a healthy lifestyle. That is why you should choose to go to work walking. Go to your grocery store and drop your kids to school, all by foot. If you really can’t because of distances, within your office, take the stairs, on your break, go outside, walk, and get some “vitamin” sun. Every opportunity of walking should be invested in!

    We chose to live downtown so we are able to do everything by foot. Groceries, school, kids activities, restaurants. We walk to every destination we have. Even with the kids. They are now used to it and walk a great pace and reasonable distances without difficulties.

    Walking has additional benefit to your mood. Walking triggers your endorphins. The more steps I take during a day, the better my mood tends to be! Try it and tell me if you felt it too!

    For beginners, walk at a comfortable pace and work gradually on increasing your pace and distance. To help you count your daily steps and kilometres, there are even a few apps you can upload on your phone.

    Surely, it should be added to you daily exercise routine. Personally, I don’t even consider walking an exercise.

    It’s a way of life, a healthy life!

    In health,

    Chantal