Naïf baby care

There is a new player in town when it comes to baby care! Naïf quality baby care is a Dutch brand started by 2 fathers who were looking for a better and mild baby care products for their kids.

Why is Naif not organic?

First of all , I asked the founders why their products are not organic, because I usually only write about organic and/or Green products. They answered me with a very plausible explanation, that their philosophy is to use ingredients that will turn into the mildest baby care products for the sensitive baby skin. Organic and green products are usually the best option, but some people, and especially babies are allergic to certain natural ingredients. They therefore use a synthetic perfume which can never be organic, that will have the least chance of irritation. Also, their line of Naif quality baby care uses no mineral oils that will close off a baby's skin. Mineral oil is usually made of petroleum you fill up petroleum lamps with, and of which fuel for the car is made. You don't want that stuff on your or your baby's skin! My motto: Always check the ingredient labels on all your baby products that you use on your babies and kids!

Naif Quality Baby Care- 2

Naïf quality baby care does contain cottonseed oil, sweet almond oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and chamomile. It is hypo allergenic and PH neutral.

Sending a package of Naif baby care to my sister Marloes and my friend Doutzen

On my behalf, Naif sent 3 packages to (soon-t0-be) new moms, to try out, as I was curious how it would work. My sister Marloes, my friend Doutzen and my husband's friend Milou received one. My sister Marloes said that my nephew Milo had an allergic reaction on his skin. He is very sensitive and she put Naif on his irritated skin and his skin became less irritated. She said she wants to try if this will keep his allergic reactions away!

Naif Quality Baby Care- 3

Naif Quality Baby Care- 4

Good luck Naïf with always finding the best baby care ingredients of our children. They are the most important to us and we would never want to cut corners when it comes to their health and well-being.

And thank you for the try-out packages for my family and friends, they look so cute!

Love, Lonneke

first published on July 12th 2014, updated in 2019

 

 


Lonneke Engel is making Roasted Artichokes

Roasted Artichokes

An easy, simple and delicious recipe: try my Roasted Artichokes!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoGXoPofUCY

Love, Lonneke

Roasted Artichokes
Roasted artichokes are a great side dish or a starter of a wonderful dinner

Author:
Recipe type: side dish / starter
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 4 Big artichokes
  • Salt & pepper
  • Mild olive oil for roasting (preferably not extra virgin)
  • Lemon juice
  • garlic (unpeeled)

Instructions
  1. Cut of the ends of the artichokes
  2. Open up the artichokes
  3. Add a clove of garlic in each artichokes
  4. Drizzle garlic over the artichokes
  5. Add a bit of salt
  6. Wrap them individually in a piece of alumium foil
  7. Add them in a casserole pan
  8. Put in over on 350 F for about an hour
  9. Check if artichokes are ready and add some more salt and pepper to your liking
  10. Enjoy!

First published on Nov 19th 2012, Updated in 2019


Free Morgan

Please Help Us Free Morgan!

She is a young female Orca that was found off the coast of Netherlands in 2010, where she was captured as she swimming alone and very sick. She was brought back to the Dutch Dolphinarium where she was nursed back to health and was supposed to be released soon after.. but then she was sent to Loro Parque in Tenerife!

Now Big Marine Corporations are trying to keep her in captivity, just like the keep other killer whales in captivity. Orcas (or Killer whales) do not do well in captivity, physically or mentally, as the movie Blackfish showed us so clearly:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G93beiYiE74

READ MORE: Behind the Orca smile

There was a large court case in Amsterdam, and the ruling was a disappointment but they see chances the appeal would be successful. In the meantime Morgan is still at Loro Parque.

Please visit http://www.freemorgan.org/ to see what you can do to help the experts free Morgan.

You can find me and my dutch friends Lonneke Engel and Doutzen Kroes as "Morgan's Angels on their "supporters" list.

in September 2018 Morgan has given birth to Ula, despite the fact that getting Morgan pregnant was a violation as breeding apparently was not permitted. You can read more about her pregnancy HERE.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EV6jhbreOGg

Please help and do all you can to save the beautiful and precious Morgan and all the other orcas in kept in captivity. A killer whale does not belong in a small confined environment, they need to be free in nature.

READ MORE: How to help Morgan

Love, Anne-Marie van Dijk

First published in 2011, updated with new information in 2019


Detox your information overload

Thanks to technology, our lives have become so much easier and better organized. We can search for and find anything we want, whenever we want, on the Internet. We read and learn about everything and anything. Now there are even apps for everything you can imagine. We order fashion, food and gifts online, we read the news, we watch videos. It is pretty great!

Social Media and information overload

Some of us interact with people even more on social media than in real life. But maybe all that technology and information comes at a cost. Many of us are suffering more and more from a so-called “information overload". How can we filter what we need to know without getting obsessed? How can we detox our lives from the ever-increasing amount of apps, websites and information that is thrown at us each day? And how can we keep focusing on things that matter in our own lives and live in the moment without losing sight of what’s going on around us? How can we find balance?

When I realized I had a problem

I once received an email from YouBeauty stating:“Distressing world news can make you feel worse about your personal life.”Yes, it’s true for me as well! When I read too much of the bad things that are going on in the World, I can feel pretty down because I feel the need to help everyone, fix the situation myself, and use my voice to let everyone know what is going on. I especially feel I need to inform the clueless people who have no idea what is going on because I think that they are not aware, and maybe even ignorant.

Protecting myself from an information overload

But maybe some of those people are not ignorant; maybe they are just better at filtering all the news and information. Maybe they are better at shielding themselves from bad news and too much information, and choose only to work with what they find the most important, and in the meantime live their lives the best way they possibly can. I used to check my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram multiple times a day, like every hour or more. I would send out messages to the World so much, and be interactive with others, that it swallowed up a large part of my day. I felt it was my duty to use my voice to inform people about global disasters, about why it is important to eat organic food and not GMO foods, why fracking is a no-go and why you need to adopt a pet instead of buying one at the pet store. I was doing so much at once, and I was not focusing at all.

The strange thing is that in the end it seems I did not make much of difference. It just took up a lot of time, and after every day, my head was spinning. I only realized how much time I spent on social media when I accidentally left my phone at home. I also realized most of what I was doing in my day on social media, even though it came from a good heart, wasn’t making me feel that great emotionally. It actually made me sad. I asked myself: Does it make me any happier seeing people “like” my picture or my story? Do I really make a difference this way right now? Do I really need to read all news? Do I really need to share all that makes me sad? The answer: not really. Also, when I noticed that every picture people took of me captured me typing away on my phone, I realized it was too much. I became a bit of an addict and I need to change that so I can live more in the moment, be consciously hanging out with the people I am with at dinners, and only take in the information I need so it does not drive me crazy.

Courtesy of Lonneke EngelNow I spend more time away from my phone, and doing fun things like walking my dog!

What did I do to change my addiction to information

  1.  First of all, I don’t sit on my phone or computer too late at night anymore. When you work on your computer or phone, or watch TV just before going to bed, it can disrupt the making of melatonin (sleep hormone), and it can make it difficult to sleep or have a good night of sleep at all. Sleep is so important for a healthy body and mind. Also, your head might still be working hard to process all that information you read, and you might still be thinking about it at night. It is good to do some meditation, or cuddling with your partner or pets just before you go to sleep, to have a better night’s rest.
  2. Check your phone at set times and only a few times a day. I do that when I am behind my computer working, for instance. I checked news and social media every hour before; now I check only one or two times a day. And not when I am in the company of people. People don’t like that because you are just not really present in the moment—your attention is somewhere else.
  3. Have a goal when you go online, and only visit websites, apps and social media with that goal in mind. Don’t just go surfing because before you know it, you are online for hours... information overload! And if you are shopping online, know what you are looking for, because you can get distracted easily and end up with three new dresses and a new handbag.
  4. Set a time limit if you want to just roam the Internet or social media, because it’s so easy to lose track of time.
  5. Leave your phone in your bag or even at home when going out to meet friends or spend time with your loved ones. When I don’t have it with me, I don’t feel the urge to check it every five minutes. Or turn all notification signals off if you want your phone with you for safety reasons.
  6. I deleted the social media apps on my phone. Not only does that save storage space, but you can’t log in easily and you are not reminded every time you get a “like,” tweet or message. It takes your attention away from your phone and social media.
  7. What also makes me feel more productive is to make a to-do list every day and just go at it point by point. With a to-do list, my work behind the computer became increasingly more productive. I was not surfing away on the Internet and wasting time and reading too many unnecessary articles.

I need to focus on my life, and I’m working on it! I need to live a life that I am proud of by focusing on things I find important, like only buying products from people and places that are either fair trade, organic or locally sourced. I also try to focus on doing something fun each day—cooking good food and spending time doing things I love with the people I love (and for which I did not have time before). Without my technology distractions, I get more out of my day and am much happier.The fact is, we can’t change the World all by ourselves, but we can change our own lives and hopefully inspire others with that. We need to use the information and technology at our disposal to our advantage, but without letting it take over our lives.

We must LIVE IN THE MOMENT, as once it has passed, that time will not return.

Love,Lonneke

Copyright text Lonneke Engel. First published on Youbeauty in 2013


10 fun things to do in the Weekend

Most people use the Weekend to recharge for the following work week. But when the Weekend comes, all they want to do is relax and do nothing. But some people actually get bored doing nothing. So what can you do on a Saturday or Sunday that is fun, but doesn't feel like work too much? Here is a list of 10, with 5 ideas following our circle of 5 by Organice Your Life®!

Lonneke- Ralph Lauren

Lonneke for Ralph Lauren.

1. Organice Your Home

 The Weekend is a perfect time to just do the chores in your home you have been putting off for so long. So your house is clean and organized for the week(s) to come.

READ MORE: Tips and articles on how to Organice Your Home

2. Be creative

Draw, paint or do home improvement in the Weekend. Also, you can be creative with boxes of memories: You know you save a lot of things as memories, but they usually end up in a box. Or more than one box. They take up a lot of space and before you know it you don't look in those boxes anymore because it is just too much stuff. Maybe it is a good time to take that box and file all your papers you want to keep as memorabilia? It is a nice thing to, to make an album with your favorite memories, pictures and papers. And it is also a great conversation subject next time friends or family come over. Not to mention just for your own history, you need to file it the way you want to be remembered!

3. Organice Your Agenda

Pay the bills you have been putting off. Make a to-do list for the following week so you feel organized in your head. Check your agenda what you need to do that week and maybe you can already prepare a few things! Because putting things to do off until the very last moment brings a lot of stress, and if you have some time to work on it, even on a free day, maybe that put your mind more at ease the rest of that free day. Are there fun events coming up? Maybe you can already look for the perfect outfit!

READ MORE: Ideas on how to Organice Your Agenda 

4. Local activities

Check your local news to see if there are fun events happening in your neighborhood this weekend. Like flea markets, street fairs or music festivals. Always fun to go to, even at the last minute!

5. Organice Yourself

Take some time to pamper yourself. Shave, massage or paint your nails. Put on a mask or do a zen meditation. Work out, or do a session of pilates. Anything that makes you feel good inside and outside, a free Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to focus on that! Plus take a nice long nap to feel great again!

READ MORE: Tips on how to take care of yourself

6. Go for a long walk around your neighborhood

Fall or Spring, Summer or Winter, every season it is a great time to go outdoors and see what your city or village has to offer. A great way is to walk the dog if you have one. Not only your dog gets his or her needed exercise, you do too! Walking every day is the best way to reduce the risk of the most common diseases like cardiovascular disease. Walking is in our list of 5 Easy tips for Healthy Living.

7. Organice Your Relationships

Spend time with the people you love! Go visit your friends or family who you maybe haven't seen in a long time. Spend time with your loved one doing something he or she really loves doing. Or if you live far away, Facetime or Skype with the ones you care about. Trust me doing that in a weekend is a perfect time to bond with each other!

READ MORE: Things you can do to connect more with your favorite people

8. Play a (board) game with friends or family.

It is super fun but also really good for relationships to spend time together. Not only that, playing games train the mind And maybe you win and your weekend is even better!

READ MORE: Some games to play for fun or for brain training

9. Organice Your Good Heart

Charity work in the Weekend! Go help out a local animal or people shelter. Or help your neighbor or friends with doing daily chores. Makes you feel great inside too!

READ MORE: Things you can help to do good for others

10. Have fun in the Kitchen

Go through the ingredienst you still have in your pantry and create a delicious meal with that. Work on your cooking skills and become a great chef. Cook for friends, or for yourself the rest of the week.

READ MORE: Browse through the delicious, healthy recipes on Organice Your Life

Circle of Five

 

I hope this gave you some inspiration to what you can do in your Weekend!

Love, Lonneke


5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog

Many people want to have a dog in their lives. I understand, because they are the most amazing animals, full of love, and they love to be by your side! Many people are swayed by cute puppies, and don't really understand the reality of having a puppy in their home. That's why I am sharing with you my 5 reasons to adopt a shelter dog, and why I prefer a shelter dog over a puppy at a pet shop or breeder.

1. When you buy a puppy, one shelter dog dies

It sounds harsh, but that is the reality. The most amazing dogs are killed or left behind in cold shelters because people don't choose them but instead buy puppies from breeders, or even worse, from people who just want to make money and import the dogs from far away not caring about the health and wellbeing of the mother and puppies. If you buy a puppy (because he or she is "sooo cute"!) you are contributing to the problem and you keep unhealthy practices going. Dogs are being killed everywhere - even in my hometown of NYC - EVERY DAY. I believe that if breeders truly love their breed, they would rescue dogs of their breed, and re-home them (for a fee) until all of the dogs of their breed are out of the shelter, before they breed even more puppies that will add to the problem. 

2. You know exactly what you get when you adopt a shelter dog

A dog in a shelter shows you exactly who he or she is. You can meet them more than once, walk them, play with them to see if your characters match. The character of an older shelter dog has set, and he or she has been assessed by the shelter staff. Even though dogs until very old age can learn new tricks and rules, it is nice to know what your dog prefers or not. When you adopt a shelter dog, you know if the dog is a barker, will chew on your stuff, can be home alone, likes to run or has medical issues. A lot of inbred puppies these days are born with incredible complex medical issues, which most of them don't show up in the first year of the puppy. It's something many people forget. (If you can insure your dog for health costs, that is a good option) When you adopt from a shelter, you know if the dog is housebroken or not. (most of them are in fact!) All these things give you so much more information on how your life is going to be with your dog, than when you buy a puppy whose character and behavior is still a total mystery. It could go well (which all new puppy owners hope for, but is only possible with lots of correct and daily training) or totally wrong giving you a hard time and maybe even forcing you to re-home your dog, which will give you and your dog much heartbreak. It would also result in more dumped dogs in the shelters because they end up not matching the envisioned lifestyle of the owner. Be smart: Adopt a dog that matches your life! 

3. A shelter dog is less expensive to purchase than a purebred puppy

Adopting a shelter dog is very cheap! While a puppy with a breeder will set you back anywhere between 500 and 10.000 dollars, a rescued dog will only cost you between 100 and 500 dollars (senior dogs are much cheaper, and sometimes even for free). You also know if the dog has expensive medical issues, or has had a fairly good life so far and not too expensive in upkeep. For your financial situation is good to know what you are getting yourself into!

4. A rescued shelter dog is so thankful

A shelter dog has been through a rough time, and feel so happy to be with you in a safe home! They show you their thankfulness in almost human like affection. And a rescued shelter dog is just as cute as a puppy... maybe even cuter! No wonder the hashtag #rescuedogsrock and #shelterdogsarethebest are my favorite tags!

5. You become a shelter dog rescue hero 

When you do the right thing for yourself, for your community, and especially for the shleter dog, the feeling you get from that, is much more rewarding than that cute puppy. Everybody can buy a puppy, but not everyone can rescue a dog. It's a much more special achievement.This of course counts for adopting any animal: Cats, rabbits, horses you name it! And when your rescue a shelter dog we will salute you!

So rescue your four-legged friend from a shelter near you. And if you don't want to make a longterm commitment or want to have a trial period, you can always become a Foster Parent. Fostering saves many dogs' lives.

We loved our shelter senior dog Vito so much, he was the best. He passed away after a short illness because of cancer, 3 years after we adopted him as a senior dog from a shelter. Those were the best 3 years! We saved him, but he definitely saved us too. That's what shelter dogs do, they have a certain magic to them. Our current dog Bane was also a shelter dog from Animal Haven in NYC.. he chose us! and he has been with us for more than 3 years already. We feel blessed that we could do something so easy, with such a big impact

 

 


Los Angeles Hotspots

Los Angeles (L.A.), the City of Angels, is a city on the West Coast of the United States of America.  I have visited LA many times for work, and this time I took 3 weeks to explore it in-depth on my California Road trip! Although it looks like LA is really spread out, it is in fact an area called Los Angeles County that consists of multiple cities (88!) like Beverly Hills, West-Hollywood and Los Angeles itself.

Day 1: We flew with Delta and arrived in the afternoon in LA. A nice breeze and the Sun hitting my face, I knew this trip was going to be great! We stayed at the famous Sunset Tower Hotel on the famed Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. I have stayed at The Sunset Tower hotel before for work (when it was named the Argyle hotel) and I remember loving it. A long time ago it used to be an apartment building where people like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor used to live. There is so much history in this place, especially from the 40's and 50's, and you can still feel it when you are there. Besides that, it is the first building that was built with reinforced steel, which is nice to know when you are in an area that is known for earthquakes.

We got an upgrade! A corner room with great views of the hills and downtown LA. It had a little sitting area, and a separate bedroom. The bedroom overlooked a big dogrun, which was fun, but also a bit hard as we had just lost our beloved dog Vito. One great thing about this hotel is that they are pet-friendly. So next time we will bring our new dog with us! We stayed here for 2 weeks and felt very much at home. Breakfast is in a really nice setting, but it's not the best breakfast I have every had (I must say). Roomservice is decent though! There is a mini swimming pool, and enough beds to sunbathe. but due to the small area most people decline to go for a swim. It is nice to look at though! Overall, I would definitely come back for the service, the hospitality, the nice ambiance and the good feeling this hotel gives me.

Day 2: I took time to recover from the flight, and we explored the neighborhood a bit. Even though LA is made for driving, the area where the hotel was, was nice to walk around. We could go to Melrose, and walk to Beverly Hills. Along the way we found a Le Pain Quotidien, which is always a safe place to eat when you are on a trip. They have organic bread and salads with organic ingredients. We did our shopping at Trader Joe's in West Hollywood.

Day 3: The main reason for our visit to LA was that my best friend of 23 years - Maruja Retana - got married to her longtime love Ross Palmer! She arranged a multi-day wedding which was so much fun!

On our way to the rehearsal dinner from Sunset Tower Hotel:

Maruja and Ross got married on Santa Monica beach (oh yeah!). A super clean beach with white sand just like you remember from Baywatch. Definitely worth a visit. Afterwards they had rented a nice house in the Hollywood hills with a beautiful view, and the hottest pool I have ever been in. Maruja and Ross hired a pizza chef and he made amazing pizzas fresh for all the guests, and the best gluten- free pizza I have ever had! Of course the dessert was Krispy Creme donuts, as those 2 are obsessed with donuts! (of course my wedding gift included some donut inspired gifts as well)

Day 4: We had brunch at the pool house. All the guests enjoyed the Sun, the pool and we made good food. It was such a nice experience as many of our mutual friends flew over from the Netherlands. It was great to catch up with them!

 

Day 5: Dirk and I met up with Maruja, Ross and the guests who were still left and went on a hike in Griffith Park. We walked all the way up to the Griffith Park Observatory and we bought tickets to see a show in the building. It is part museum and part a Planetarium. First of all, the walk gave us gorgeous views of LA, you can even see the Hollywood Sign (that means it could be crossed of the to-do list), but the show itself was unexpected but very nice! We watched the show that told us more about the Universe.

Day 6: after Dirk and I went to stroll around the neighborhood, with of course a stop at Urth Caffé on Melrose. They have good organic food options, I especially like the tea selections. This time I ordered their huge (decaf) cappuccino!  My advice: All of LA goes here so go there early before it gets busy. Afterwards we visited Beverly Hills, the City Hall and the Hermes store.

Dirk has a membership with a gym with a location in LA, so he went to train there every day. I enjoyed writing and walking around the areas with Dirk. We tried to find places to eat, and asked everybody in LA their favorite restaurant, but everyone we asked had a difficult time answering that question. (If you ask someone in NYC, they come up with a list of restaurants that you can't even try all in 3 weeks time!) We found a few nice places, by googling on "organic and vegan".

Day 7: Of course we walked to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Besides that I thought it was very unimpressive, I considered it a Place of Hell with all the tourist traps and homeless people that we passed along the way.  That is also Los Angeles: You can walk from one nice , clean super rich area, and one block further you see homelessness everywhere.

Day 8: we ordered an Uber and he brought us to Downtown LA. I told Dirk: "I want to go everywhere but not Skid Row!" (an area with many homeless people living on the streets) We were dropped off in a seemingly normal business area of LA, walked by the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry.

Dirk is a photographer in his spare time, and loves to take pictures. He was on the hunt for cool looking buildings like that building. But this seemed more difficult in LA. (I guess we are a bit spoiled living in NYC.) We did see an awesome art instalation at the Museum of Contempory Art, made out of old airplanes:

Downtown LA looks a bit more poor and unclean, with a few hidden gems, like the Grand Central Market,  which is nice to visit when your are downtown LA. One of the food vendors in the Market is named Eggslut, they have all egglicious dishes for sale. (They just opened a location in NYC in the Chefs Club Counter.)

When we looked on a map we noticed that the Art District was not far. We are used to walking as we are from NYC, so we went to walk over there. When we walked one block, we noticed it started smelling like pee. The second block we saw many homeless people, looking at us like we are 2 tourists who are lost. We asked a Police Officer how to get from there to the Art District, and he urged us to wait there at the Police station and order an Uber. Supposedly we had landed on the beginning of Skid Row. The Uber driver took us around Skid Row. Definitely not an area where the 2 of us should walk around. It seems many people have lived like that for a long, long time. I wonder why no one is doing anything about it? It is so sad!

Tip: Even though LA is a place you need a car to get around, getting around in LA without owning a car is easy! On top of that we discovered that Uber/Lyft in LA were very cheap compared to NYC!

The moment we got out of Skid Row we immediately arrived in a super nice area called Downtown Art District. Here apartments are millions of dollars, and again there is an Urth Caffé in a super nice art deco building, and a valet parking for the Urth Cafe visitors. It doesn't seem many people walk over here. They all arrive by car. This area has many nice old industrial buildings that are converted into lofts, just like in NYC. You can also find a few young designer shops around here. This place is definitely upcoming.

We had decided we had seen enough of Downtown LA, and went back to the Sunset Tower Hotel.

Day 9: We decided to move from the Sunset Tower Hotel to the Ritz Carlton in Marina Del Rey. This is where all the boats are, and close to Venice Beach and Santa Monica. This way we can explore this area more.

The Ritz Carlton was nice because it had a lovely swimming pool I used every day. But the rooms were noisy, and it was definitely more of a fancy/luxury tourist hotel. I did like the restaurant a lot, for breakfast and dinner. The best part was that it was a nice walk from the hotel, along the Marina, to Venice Beach. Venice Beach is very much hippie and happening.

The vibe there is one of surf dudes and beach babes, most things are around Abbot Kinney Road and on the beach. Like the well-known outdoor Gym "Muscle Beach" . It's famous because of Arnold Schwarzenegger training there back in the day. There are enough vegan restaurants in this area, Like Cafe Gratitude. You can go to the toilet at any of the restrooms on the beach, but plan ahead as on busy days it is busy, and restaurants don't let you use the restroom if you are not eating there.

Day 10: I started the day with a swim, breakfast and off we went! Walking around the area. Maruja and Ross and some other guests who were still in LA joined us for lunch at Seed Kitchen in Venice Beach. it was a really cute vegan, macrobiotic restaurant but unfortunately they closed recently.

From Venice beach we walked to Santa Monica beach over the beach walk way. We walked on to the Santa Monica Pier with the fair, and watched the most beautiful Sunset. We walked into Santa Monica and had dinner at a small Sushi place which was pretty ok. It was such a nice end to our LA trip and say goodbye to the people we spent so much time with the past 2 weeks!

 

Day 11: I enjoyed a last day at the Ritz Carlton. Dirk worked a bit, and I packed our bags. We walked around Venice Beach at night, which was absolutely lovely. Especially the beach, and in alleys located between the cute houses, and the little canals.

The next day was going to be the start of our road trip!

Bye bye LA: It was good to finally really get to know you!

My tip for LA:

  • don't go for the tourist things (unless you go to Disneyland!)
  • It's nice to walk around West Hollywood towards Melrose and Beverly Hills.
  • Stay in Marina Del Rey as it is quiet, and you are close to Venice beach and Santa Monica.
  • Rent a car for a day to drive around, but mostly use Uber or Lyft.
  • There are a few good restaurants, but do some research yourself before you go.

You can read about the roadtrip and visit to San Francisco in my articles:

My California road trip, and My Best of San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke

 

 

 


The best of San Francisco

San Francisco is a lovely city on the West Coast in California. A lot of people around the World know it as the place where Full House was filmed. But San Francisco has more to offer than the typical tourist hotspots, especially for those eco-conscious people. Luckily we went to visit our friends Jen Ferland and Daniel Zmak just before they were getting married, and Jen is like me a health-freak. They gave us great tips, and we also discovered a few ourselves! In total we stayed 10 days in the SF area.

Common touristic things to do

Going to the island of Alcatraz and learn about this once high security prison. In high season tickets are hard to get, reserve months ahead of going is advised.

Ride a cable car. Pretty cute way to see the city!

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, you probably have seen that famous orange bridge on TV before! We drove over it, but we also went to get a gorgeous view from the Presidio National Park in SF. On the other side of the bridge is a cute town you should go visit, named Sausalito.

Walk around Fisherman's Warf, one of the most touristic and busy areas of SF, but you have to see it so you can cross it off your list.

Visit the Painted Ladies. A row of Victorian houses, overlooking a park (known from the last shot of Full House intro). By the way, we saw much better looking Victorian Houses on our many walks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EL65KLdEHE&t=5s

Climb the Twin Peaks, and overlook SF. We thought it was nice to see, but very windy, as I had fear of heights I was worried we were going to get blown off!

2016-08 San Francisco Twin Peaks

Lombard Street: The famous street with 8 hairpin turns in Russian Hill. It is fun to drive down to show your manoeuvre skills, or just take a picture in front of it. A cable cart stops right in front of it on the top, so that's easy.

Coit Tower observatory. A little climb up the stairs and you get a beautiful look of San Francisco. (pictures below: #1 you see me after the hike up to the Coit Tower, #2 Coit Tower on the right on the hill, and Alcatraz Island in the middle)

Go to a Game of the San Francisco Giants, in their AT & T Park stadium which is located literally right on the water. You can also canoe like some people do, and catch a ball.

Well that's all great, but I think there are better reasons to visit San Francisco than only for the famous tourist attractions!

My reasons to visit San Francisco

San Francisco( SF) has a lot of hills. It is actually said to be built on seven hills. It is easy to explore the many different neighborhoods by walking. Yes, you can take the typical cable cars, but climbing those hills are a great workout for your behind! SF is definitely a place to be active. And being active is good for your health. Great! You can really get a good view of the cute victorian houses, not to mention get great pictures of those crooked houses on the steep hills. I know I had a lot of fun with it as you can see:

Every neighborhood in SF has its charm, and there are many neighborhoods all together! Great to explore on foot. Our favorites are:

Family oriented: Noe Valley. A nice flat area with a Whole Foods (we love that) cute houses and cafes, and a nice view of all the hills surrounding it. Oh, and the rumor goes that Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook guy, lives here when he is in SF. There is also a very fun store called Green 11 (UPDATE 2019: this store is permanently closed unfortunately), where they have all your household and personal items for you to refill your bottle or jars. Very eco-friendly I must say!

2016-08 Green 11 Noe Valley2016-08 Noe Valley inspiration

Gay: Castro. For the colorful amongst us, the gay-oriented Castro is a nice area to see and hang out.

Young and hip: Hayes Valley. Maybe my favorite area. A relative new neighborhood in SF, I love that they have sustainable fashion stores like Alternative Apparel, which is one of my favorites stores in NYC. Also seen are many juice bars and healthy coffee stores. The houses are cute, the stores are cute, no wonder many young and hip people gather around here.

2016-08 San Francisco Alternative Apparel Hayes Valley

People and Character: North Beach. This area is like little Italy with cute Italian cafés to get your morning coffee or a good pasta at night. It even has a Washington Square Park like NYC has. Great to walk around. You can walk to the Coit Tower from here.

Lights and fun: China Town. Of course no city is complete without a China Town. Many lights, and many restaurants: it's even considered the largest China Town outside of Asia, and the oldest in the USA!

Hippie Chic: Haight-Ashbury, The district in SF which is considered the birthplace of Hippie Culture. Great shopping! I especially loved the vintage stores, Wootbear/(like KidRobot, which sadly closed its store in SOHO, NYC) and the specialized socks shop, I found a nice pair of socks made of bamboo by Goodhew.

2016-08 Sockshop on Haight San Francisco

Beautiful homes: Walk around Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow and Nob Hill. The latter one is also a great place to stay in a hotel. We also liked driving around Sea Cliff, where many rich people have their mansions overlooking the ocean.

Historic ambiance: Stay at the Fairmont Hotel in Nob Hill (like we did) or have a lovely breakfast or tea here.

2016-08 Fairmont hotel 12016-08 San Francisco Fairmont Hotel roomservice

The vibe is great in this beautiful historic building, and in the hall ways towards the tower rooms you find many historic photographs explaining its long history of Presidents and other important people visiting. We had a room with a fantastic view of the whole city, with Alcatraz lying right in front of us. And did you know this hotel has like the largest Penthouse Suite totalling 6000sq feet spread over the entire 8th floor? Famous NYC Vlogger Casey Neistat was lucky to spend a night here:

[youtube id="8sqY6QXtTsI" align="center"]

3. Parks: We loved Mission Dolores Park! We were lucky to visit it on a Sunday, and locals were enjoying themselves in this parc, even having little picnics, like I am used to in Central Park in NYC and Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Alamo Square Park (the park across from the Painted Ladies) was under construction at the time, but that seems to be a nice park too. But Golden Gate Park is a must-visit, which is close to Haight Ashbury on one side, and the residential Richmond district, with the nice Botanical Garden which we visited, and the Japanes Tea Garden, the oldest in the USA.

2016-08 San Francisco Botanical Garden Bamboo

4. Drinks: There are other nice places close to the Fairmont to visit. The Fairmont has a famous Tonga room & Hurricane Bar in its basement. A place that serves tropical cocktails and food, and has a thunderstorm show every 30 minutes. Also across the street you can find the Scarlet Huntington Hotel with it's restaurant The Big 4 (named after the Four men who were for a long time reigning supreme in San Francisco). This restaurant is very chic, and the inside give you a feeling of going back in time. Usually a Pianist is playing. The "Top of the Mark" bar in the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins (Mark Hopkins was one of the big 4) is also a place with a great view. I loved reading about the history of how San Francisco started, with Nob Hill and these residences in the center of it. I am sure our favorite areas I mentioned before have more nice bars, so check it out! (We just preferred drinking Kombucha and going to bed early to get a good rest)

5. Food: We were lucky enough that our friends cooked for us one night. Daniel and Jennifer made the best deviled eggs, sautéed scallops and 2 salads. We brought baked treats for dessert that we gathered on our walks through SF. I love their cute Miniature Bullterrier Tusker Bear who was best friends with my late Bullterrier Vito.

Even though San Francisco does not have a Le Pain Quotidien which is my favorite easy-going organic place to go to in NYC, there are other healthy food places to try out. Jane on Larkin or Jane on Fillmore for instance, is a hip place to get your avocado on toast, and glutenfree treats. The Plant Cafe is totally organic, and has many locations. Our favorite was in the Dogpatch Neighborhood (an upcoming artist oriented neighborhood), as the kitchen was extremely clean and organized, and we ate the best food here. I found that the other locations needed a bit of improvement on certain things after visiting it twice.

2016-08 The Plant Cafe Dogpatch lunch

We also found a French bakery with organic baked goods and delicious treats. So many, we couldn't choose which ones to take! The first time we came in, the owner was very rude. We hoped the owner (French?) had a bad day, and because her treats were so good, we decided to go back and give her another chance. Well... she was rude again! I guess she doesn't want customers coming in and buying her food. Anyway, if you don't care about how you are treated and just want nice organic and glutenfree food, BIO Cafe is the place to go. (picture is us trying out all the goodies at our friends house in SF!) UPDATE 2019: I heard this place went out of business,and the link is now a health page?

2016-08 SF baked goods Jen Ferland

We also went grocery shopping at Trader Joe's in Pacific Heights, and went to Gracias Madre restaurant in The Mission area, which we didn't think was as good as the one in LA, but still o.k. to go to. Their kitchen was very organized and clean as well. We also had a lovely dinner at neighborhood restaurant Olea in Nob Hill.

6. Shopping: Union Square has all the high-end shops, and is usually very crowded. There are many artists in the square showcasing their art. I prefer to shop along Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights in one of the many little boutiques, as well as Haight-Ashbury area for vintage and Hayes Valley for modern and sustainable options like Alternative Apparel and Amour Vert.

7. Nice unknown places to visit:

  • Sutro Baths. This historic landmark is nice to walk around, and learn about its history, built in the 1800's by Adolph Sutro, a selfmade millionaire. It used to be a magnificent glass public indoor saltwater pool, once the largest indoor swimming pool facility in the World. but a fire destroyed this beautiful glass and steel structure decades ago. Now you can see the remains, and enjoy a tranquil walk around, get a tea at the cafe, shop at the shop, or have lunch or dinner in the restaurant Cliff House. If you drive a little further, you find a beautiful beach as well, called Ocean Beach.
  • KitTea. San Francisco's first cat Adoption Café. If you want to hang out with the cats in the cat lounge it is recommended to make a reservation in advance, as space is limited for walk-ins.

8. Weather: SF is colder than for instance LA, and the weather even changes in what neighborhood you are. If you don't like the heat, or the cold, SF is the place to be. It is almost always pleasant. San Francisco does get foggy frequently, which sometimes clears up during the day. The valleys are usually more grey, foggy and dark, and the hills experience more wind and sunshine. it is always smart to bring a light sweater even if it seems hot out. You don't know if you end up somewhere more windy or cold. High season is not the best time to visit San Francisco. The best time to visit San Francisco is September to November. Tip: bring a bodywarmer like Dirk did. I borrowed it most of the time!

Best overall tip for San Francisco: Rent a car for a day. Drive all around San Francisco neighborhoods, and take a drive to Palo Alto, THE place where the tech World comes together. Facebook, HP, Tesla and other tech companies are based here. But don't dream of buying a house here; the prices for even a small house are ridiculous, everyone wants to live here it seems. But it is nice to see it all for sure! Also visit Stanford University with its beautiful buildings, which was founded by Leland Stanford, who started this little town.

 

2016-08 Palo Alto Stanford University

You can also drive by the little garage in which Hewlett Packard started many years ago. It is just in a suburban neighborhood, but it shows you that you can make it with a good idea, even if you start small. We did not have a lot of time here, but we had a great gluten free and health lunch at LYFE Kitchen before driving back to San Francisco. UPDATE 2019: too bad this place is also out of business, otherwise you could have tried the chia ginger cooler.

2016-08 LYFE kitchen chia ginger cooler

And when we were early for our car return, we did something fun: we went up and down the high hills of Nob Hill, which was scary and fun. All together we had the best day!

I hope you enjoy San Francisco just like we did, let me know what you think, or  love about San Francisco?

Also check out my articles about My Los Angeles Hotspots and My California Road Trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke

Photos Copyright Dirk Verest, Lonneke Engel & Organice Your Life ©

First published in 2017, updated in 2019


My top 10 charities to give to this year

If you don't know to which charities you should give money, here is my top 10 charities to give to this year. Charities that, some big and some small, give focused help. Therefore you get more "use" out of the money you spend on these charities. While there are many organizations that do good, I have listed charities I have experience with/donated to in the past/or have been to their charity events.  Either I have seen it with my own eyes or I just really trust these organizations, these are my favorite 10 charities of 2013/2014:

My top 10 charities to give to this year

1. Animal Haven

Category dogs and cats in NYC, USA. This is a boutique no-kill shelter for dogs and cats. They don't have a big budget, but seem to really be efficient with their funds, and they help a lot of dogs! Many come from the NYCACC kill shelter, but they also take dogs in need from all over the World. My dog BANE came from Animal Haven and we adopted him from there a few years ago! They took care of him for 10 months before he came into our lives. The dogs are extremely happy and well-behaved who come from this shelter. Volunteers and employees really do everything to make their short-term stay (hopefully) as comfortable as possible. Their new location even has airconditioning in the rooms that are spacious for the dogs and cats! My dog Bane loves to visit them. I think that says a lot if a dog likes to return to a shelter!

Dirk, Lonneke and Bane
Dirk, Lonneke and Bane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyQtRSaiNOo

 

2. ASPCA (USA)

Category: dogs, cats, horses USA - The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I have been supporting, donating and going to their charity events for years now. Why? I think the way you treat your animals says a lot about you. In most cases when people find animal abuse, there are other problems in place. Finding animal abuse ism besides helping animals, sometimes also the first step to help the people who own them. I have seen with my own eyes how they take in dogs & cats that are abused, neglected or malnourished, or are on the list to be euthanized in other shelters. They will bring them back to health, and find new forever homes for them. People who can't afford it, can get free veterinary care for their pets. Also, the ASPCA has been doing the same for horses all across the United States. In 1866, this charity was founded by Henry Bergh to primarily help sick, injured or abused horses. in 1902 they were the first to have an ambulance in NYC to take carriage horses of the streets that were injured. (Read more ASPCA history HERE)

lonneke aspcaAttending an ASPCA charity event in NYC

3. NYCLASS (USA)

nyclass logoCategory: workhorses NYC - New Yorkers for Clean, Livable And Safe Streets. Although some people think the horse drawn carriages in NYC are so very romantic, the fact is that this is true case of horse abuse. There are many reasons why the 220 carriage horses of NYC should be taken of the streets. First of all: horses don't belong in heavy and loud traffic of one of the busiest metropoles of the World. Horses get into accidents, and every year it seems to be more and more. The horses work too long hours, in extreme cold and extreme heat, 7 days a week. Sometimes doing double shifts if the owner wants to make an extra buck (that's over 16 hour days then) They are never turned out or walked without a carriage so they can just stretch and be a horse. Their living conditions? Appalling. Some horses are stabled even on the second floor of buildings that were obviously not meant to have horses reside there. Ever seen a horse walk up the stairs? Well, some do it every day. Not to mention the small spaces they stay in. Some horses can't even turn around. During Sandy in November 2012, These horses were not allowed to be on the streets. Where were they? Suddenly, after working every day, they stayed INSIDE their stables for the full week! If that is not bad for a horse, I don't know what is! To make a long story short: NYCLASS already has a loving and forever place for each of the 220 NY Carriage horses once the bill is in place to take the horses of the streets of NYC.  There is even a great alternative I wrote about earlier:  the horseless electric carriage. How Smart! These days they focus also on more animal-related issues.

nyclass galaAttending a NYCLASS charity event in NYC

4. Pencils of Promise. (USA)

Pencils of Promise logoCategory: children/education/worldwide - Founded by the manager of Justin Bieber, Adam Braun, this charity builds schools worldwide in places where kids otherwise would not go to school. It is that simple. Every penny goes to the schools. They have projects in countries like Laos, Guatamala & Ghana They have a goal of 100 schools by the end of 2012. They already finished about 75 of them. This year I attended the PoP gala where Usher was being honored, and also bid 12000 dollars on a cute labradoodle puppy he called "Poppy". This way more and more is raised for education for kids! So join the movement!

lonneke Pencils of PromiseAttending at a  Pencils of Promise event in NYC in 2012

5. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Fund.

Category breast cancer/cancer /research/women's health - A charitable organization originated by Ralph Lauren, which supports breast cancer research and prevention all around the World. You can donate directly, or buy one of their Pink Pony products to show your support and that way donate to this good cause. I also posed for Ralph Lauren Pink Pony once.

Lonneke Pink Pony

6. Washington Square Park Conservancy

Category: parks & recreation

This is my favorite park in NYC, and a favorite of many New Yorkers and tourists alike.  Creative and musical people find this place inspiring. Every day I walk here I feel like I am on vacation. A Mix of all kinds of people are enjoying themselves. My father figure George Vellonakis redesigned the park a few years ago and is now working for the Washington Square Park Conservancy to upkeep the park and it's beautiful plants, trees, history, famous arch and famous fountain. The Conservancy hires many homeless people to do the landscaping of the park. That way they help them get work experience and get them back on their feet.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

7. WSPA International.

Category factory animal welfare/food safety

Helping factory farm animals around the World who are raised for consumption. The WSPA protects and helps all animals around the World where help is needed. They bought agree that animals should not be raised in a factory as this is a situation of prolonged suffering for the animals. The practices used to raise these animals are upsetting and make you not want to eat meat again if you see it. Unfortunately a lot of people are closing their eyes for these practices, and keep buying these products, to which the industry continues to use these practices. As the consumer is King, if they would refuse to buy these animal products, the industry would have to change their practice. it is that simple. So you can help these organizations by buying animal friendly products consciously to show your support. Only consumers can truly change the system by asking for better living quality for the food they eat, and not let a few cents make the decision of what animal products you eat or not. The money you save this way short-term will get back to you in health problems the long way, as these animals are treated with hormones, cruel feeding methods, lots of medication, and are just unhappy. You eat that energy and bad energy is never good for you. Think about helping these organizations and think when you buy your food next time in the grocery store. You are what you eat.

wspa logo

8. The Non-GMO project.

non gmoCategory food safety. While most people are becoming more aware of the reasons to choose and eat organic food, just buying products that say "Organic" on it, is not good enough anymore to assure what you eat is truly as nature intended. Big corporations are making "organic" a business and are trying to sit on the fine lines of what is organic and not. A product can get an "organic" seal even if the product is not 100% organic. You can't be totally sure anymore unless you investigate yourself some more of what you and your family eat. It is important to investigate even further what you eat, on a molecular level. Since a few decades some big corporations have invented "GMO" , and they are selling it and you are buying it. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism, and means that the food that you consume, is genetically altered. (You should read my article on GMO to understand what it is.) There are many reasons why one should not consume GMO, and this non profit organization is showing you all the facts. But it is a personal choice if you want to know or not. Now the Non-GMO project is labeling food that is without GMO, it has become much easier to know what is in the food products you buy. I appreciate their work so much! Now I know what to buy or not in the store. As food, together with clean water and clean air are the essentials to live, I think this is something that is important for all people. Your support will help them bring more awareness and better food to you. Keep an eye out for this label!

9. Food & Water Watch, Category air/water/food safety

This organization covers many issues we have these days. Issues that come from water pollution to fracking, from factory fish farming to bottled water and many more that affect everyone. this website is a great resource already to get your info on what's going on in the World these days, so you can make the right decisions on what to support when it comes to the knowning what food you eat and protecting the water you drink.

food water watch

10. Justgiving

Category charity website.  And to conclude my 10 favorite charities to give to this year, I added a website to which you can browse yourself to find your preferred charity to give to. You can search on Just Giving for or a charity you like and donate online. Over 10.000 charities, big and small, are waiting for your donation!

just giving logo

I hope these 10 great organizations have helped you to find out whom you are going to support this year!

Other charities that were brought to my attention on Twitter when I asked my followers which charities should add, but did not make my top 10 are: Net4KidsLendahandGive Directly, Reporters without Borders,  Stichting Vluchteling Artsen zonder grenzen; Warchild; Human Rights Watch; Amnesty International; Greenpeace; Bits of Freedom; Wikileaks; Tess Unlimited, Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij KNMR,  World Wildlife Fund WWF. Plan Nederland, Terre des HommesStichting Hulphond Nederland, ,Inloophuis de Eik ,De Snoezelbus in Rotterdam ,Even a charity to make cannabis legal named VOC  .Thank you followers for sharing these with us!

Forbes also made a list of the top 50 largest USA charities, which can help you make a decision on what charity to support this year too!

What is your top 10 of favorite charities to give to?

Love, Lonneke


How to make organic coffee at home

It is hard to not like coffee! And while you can get really nice (and expensive) coffee to go in fancy coffeeshops, nothing beats a delicious cup of organic coffee at home.

How we make my favorite cup of coffee

This Organice Your Life clip shows you how we make the best organic coffee at home in New York City! This time it was a Latte macchiato, made with my favorite organic coffee by Antica Tostatura Triestina, an Italian coffee company of my friend Alessandro Hausbrandt. Antica has many kinds and flavors of coffee. My husband likes the regular beans, and I like the decaf beans.

READ MORE: Antica Tostatura Triestina

Organic coffee

Why we prefer organic coffee? Because this way the beans are produced and grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides. Also, especially for decaf coffee it is important to know how the caffeine is extracted from the beans, as many companies do it with lots of bad chemicals.

Homemade coffee

For your homemade coffee, all you need next to the delicious organic ground coffee is a little stovetop espresso maker, a milk frother and organic (vegan) milk. if you have whole beans you also need a grinder.

Just an FYI when you watch the clip: the milk that gets frothed is heated in a skillet until warm.

Enjoy!

Love, Lonneke

Antica Tostatura Triestina coffee

Att cafe organic

 

 


Stamppot: a typical Dutch dinner with a vegetarian twist

In the Netherlands, people eat a lot of mashed potatoes and different vegetables, especially in the Fall and Winter, which we call "stamppot". It is a typical Dutch dish and it is very easy to make. I think it is delicious! I am showing you a healthy and tasty version with kale. 

Vegan or vegetarian stamppot

You can make stamppot by adding a vegetarian meat substitute. But most Dutch cook meat balls in their own gravy (jus). When they make the stamppot dish, they put it on a plate in a shape of a mountain, and dig a hole (dent) in the middle of the stamppot and add the gravy in the dent.

Check out the recipe below for stampot with a vegan/vegetarian gravy. But you can also make your own (grass fed) meatballs, sausage or another of your favorite piece of meat and use the juice of the meat to make your own meat-based gravy.

Love, Lonneke

Stamppot: a typical Dutch dinner with a vegetarian twist
A typical dutch "stamppot" but a healthier version!

Author:
Cuisine: dutch
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 2

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 6 Handfuls of white potatoes and sweet potatoes cut and peeled.
  • 500 gr of shredded and washed kale, without the stems.
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • optional (vegetarian) cheese
  • sauce:
  • 3 large diced onions
  • 4 handfuls of mushrooms of your choice cleaned sliced.
  • 2 tbsp organic soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp organic balsamic vinegar
  • 300 ml water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • optional: (vegetarian) meat ball (pictures from De Vegetarische Slager that are made with organic soy)

Instructions
  1. Cook the potatoes until they are soft, and add the kale on top to steam.
  2. Get rid of the excess water and mash the kale and potatoes together.
  3. Take pot of heat and keep lid closed to keep the mash warm.
  4. For the sauce:
  5. Stir fry the cut mushrooms and put aside on a plate.
  6. Then stir fry the onions in the pan you used for the mushrooms, with olive oil, salt, pepper until golden brown.
  7. Add the soy sauce, water, balsamic vinegar, honey and stir.
  8. Use a blender to blend it all together.
  9. Use a sieve to remove the large parts so a sauce remains (the onions you can use for something else like a soup, or stew)
  10. Taste the sauce and add any of the ingredients to make it taste more to your liking. Extra honey means sweeter, extra salt means saltier, extra balsamic vinegar means more sour, etc, more water means thinner sauce etc.
  11. Add the mushrooms.
  12. Let it simmer on lower heat for a while with your (vegetarian) meat balls in this sauce until cooked.
  13. Serve the mash on a plate, and make a dent in the middle in which you pour the sauce.
  14. Meatball on the side: Enjoy!

Notes
Use a large pot to cook your potatoes and kale.
You can use only white potatoes or only sweet potatoes for a twist. Sweet potatoes are healthier.
You can make the mash smoother by adding a bit of butter, or milk, or olive oil.
You can also make the mash smoother by adding dices of your favorite hard cheese and mix it together until they become chewy. It gives a nice surprise of flavor and texture when eating the mash. ( I added organic cheese with rosemary from a local organic farm in my hometown)
It tastes great with some nice organic mustard.

stamppot 2


OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup

You know I love leftovers! I always find a way to make something delicious with it. A Leftover minestrone soup is a great leftover dish using fresh and leftover ingredients. You can even use the (vegetarian) pasta sauce, and the pasta you made the night before! Also, any vegetables left in your kitchen, can usually be added to this soup. So clean up your fridge and make a lovely soup!

Love, Lonneke

OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup
A hearty Italian soup full of healthy vegetables.

Author:
Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Ingredients
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Zucchini chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cups of water
  • 1.5 cup of your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
  • Olive Oil (for cooking)
  • 2 tbsp dried Italian herbs ( a herb mix, for instance with oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, marjoram, thyme)
  • 1 Bouillon cube ( or a cup of bouillon liquid, 1 tbsp of powder, or 1 tbsp of bouillon paste, adding extra for flavor is optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions
  1. Put a pan on the stove and lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil
  2. Add the onions and zucchini until golden brown
  3. Add the water and bouillon, turn heat low.
  4. Add the carrot, tomato paste and chopped tomato
  5. Add the herbs and chickpeas
  6. Let simmer for 20 min, occassionally stirring.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  8. At the end, a few minutes before serving, add the pasta and parsley

Notes
Soup tastes the best when it has cooled and is reheated. To add extra flavor to this healthy soup, you can prepare it the night before (minus the pasta, you need to add that just before serving)

You can add leftover (vegetarian) pasta sauce to add flavor, or instead of bouillon. Add and taste until you like your soup!

If you use dried chickpeas, you need to wash and soak them overnight the night before, and add them in the soup a bit earlier, because they need to cook more.

Other leftover vegetables you may add are bell peppers, celery, (cooked) green beans, spinach(add at the end), mushrooms, (cooked) potatoes, green peas, and more!