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Gezellig: Making Life Cozy And Happy The Dutch Way

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Gezellig image

Have you heard of gezellig yet? Well, you better learn this word because it is about to become your new motto! While the rest of the world can be crazy and chaotic, you can build a happy balanced life and enjoy your cozy lifestyle at a relaxing pace. In this article, I will share with you the Dutch secret to happiness that may change the way you think and live in a better way.

What Is Gezellig?

The word “gazellig” can’t be translated in English, it can only be described.

Gezellig is a major part of Dutch culture and tradition which can be described as a vibe, a situation, or a location that makes you feel good and in which you are able to relax, be yourself, and have a good time.

Relaxation is not the gezellig itself but a result of gezellig. This term can be used for describing the good time of hanging out with your friends or quality time spent with your partner. Even a person can be described by the word gezellig which means that they are vibrant or easy and fun to talk to and you feel good in their presence. Your environment, a room or space around you can be described as gezellig too, even if there are no people around you.

In this article, I refer to gezellig as a Dutch lifestyle that implies a quiet and pleasant time with family and friends, as well as creating comfort, warmth, and peace in your home. This trend is perfectly suited to the winter season when we all need a little more warmth than usual. What can be more pleasant than lighting candles and getting comfortable under a warm blanket with your loved ones?

what is Gezellig image

Gezellig philosophy reminds people that you should not rush and hurry, you need to have time to enjoy life. This philosophy reminds us of how important it is to surround yourself with positive energy and pleasant company, as well as to please yourself with tasty goodies and cozy decor every day, and not just on holidays.

Gezellig includes all those little things that make a cozy and warm nest out of ordinary housing. They are very important for our daily life. And now during this global pandemic when we spend more time at home than ever, we can really benefit from gezellig.

The Dutch gezellig typical components are homemade stroopwafels, sweet tea, the warmth of the fireplace, and beloved family members close by. Gezellig is not about buying expensive things and showing off the luxury of your house, but more about what real happiness, family values, and home warmth are.

Now let me share with you a few tips on gezellig for living a happily balanced life even during uncertain times!

5 Tips On Gezellig Living

#1: Use More Soft Fabrics

cozy home Image

When it’s cold and chilly outside, what can be better than to curl up under a soft blanket on the couch with a cup of tea or cocoa? Knitted and woolen plaids are must-haves for a cozy “stay home” time, but to create a truly cozy atmosphere, take a closer look at soft decorative pillows and long-pile carpets. This set will definitely brighten your life, even when it’s snowy, rainy, or cloudy and foggy outside!

#2: Get More Plants and Flowers

plants for cozy atmosphere image

If you want to create an oasis of peace at home (which is exactly what gezellig is), then feel free to add as many different plants and flowers as you want. It can be anything: bright bouquets or simple small plants. Don’t forget to get colorful vases and pots for your flowers and plants. These simple items will help to refresh the space and make it brighter, even despite dull weather.

#3: Light More Candles

cozy candle image

To light up the dull winter days, use scented or regular candles. This is the easiest and most affordable way to create comfort, warmth, and coziness which will turn your home into a real paradise. Just imagine how calm and peaceful you will feel when you light candles in the evening, wrap yourself in a warm blanket, add logs to the burning fireplace and make yourself comfortable with your beloved family members in the living room.

#4: More Gatherings And Dinners With Family And Friends

Gatherings Image

In winter, the best way to get all your household members together is to make a tasty dinner and drink some tea or cocoa with a delicious dessert. Prepare a hot soup and stew to keep warm, and serve them in bright dishes that will cheer up the whole family. And for a typical Dutch dessert, you can prepare Stroop waffles with caramel syrup and tea!

#5: Learn to Relax

gezellig examples image

Gezellig is a state of mind. It’s a vibe. You can’t get there when your mind is mired in stress. You’ve been taught to hustle since the day you were born, and it could take some time to learn how to switch your hustle mode to relax mode.

Start slowly by adopting some relaxation techniques like meditation, pranayama, mantra chanting, or yoga. Spend more time with people you love. The more you exercise your gezellig mode, the easier it will become to get there when you need it. Learning to relax may seem hard at first. But it’s 100% worth it!

The Bottom Line

Sunny days are a rarity in the Netherlands. Most of the time, it’s cloudy and gloomy there. Therefore, gezellig was invented there. It can be a vibe, a lifestyle philosophy, an interior design trend, or something else you feel especially good about. This philosophy can be adopted by anybody who needs a little cheering up during depressive, mood,y, or cold days. Make a list that makes you feel good and live you own gezellig!


recipes

Simple Vegan Christmas Appetizers Recipes

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vegan Christmas appetizers image

If you have ever been a victim of boring vegan snacks or flavorless dips, then its time to make a change this Christmas. Good cooking is like good music. They are all based on the foundation of proper technique. Vegan Christmas appetizers, tapas, finger foods, canapés, or whatever you might call them, prepare your pallet for the main feast.

It is a diverse category of foods; just like the occasions, we serve them for. And the beauty is that almost all types of food ingredients can be adapted as appetizers. This makes it hard to narrow down on specific foods especially for major Holidays like Christmas. In this article, I will share with you my all-time favorites, variations, and serving tips. Read on!

Baked Apples with Vegan Cheese

These are the simplest vegan Christmas appetizers to make. The best apples for this recipe are the green Granny Smith varieties, and the best cheese is the vegan cream cheese. You can also add fruits, nuts, and spices. I love the combination of star anise, cinnamon, and black peppercorns with dried apricots.

Baked Apples with Vegan Cheese Image

For this recipe, feel free to adjust the measurements according to the number of guests you will be serving.

Ingredients

  • 8 apples
  • 4 tablespoons vegan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon diced dried apricots
  • 1 tablespoon diced raisins
  • A pinch of ground cinnamon, star anise, and black pepper

In a bowl, mix the vegan cheese, the diced fruits, and spices well.

Remove the core of your apples and a little more flesh around it. This creates holes in the apples for stuffing.

Spoon the cheese mixture in the apples and bake them at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes or until your apples are tender.

As a tip, add a little water in your baking tray to keep the apples from drying out while baking.

Remove from the oven, garnish with some whole spices.

Serve hot!

Stuffed baked apples with vegan cheese image

Variation

Instead of apricots, you can use chopped pecans or dried cranberries. These are rich in anti-oxidants and other nutritional benefits.

You can also use other firm apple varieties such as Empire or Cortland.

Finally, you can add maple syrup if you have a sweet tooth but remember to balance the sweetness with a pinch of salt. This also depends on the apple variety you use. If your apple is naturally sweet, you don’t need to add more sugar.

Vegan Cheese Balls

Vegan cheese balls appetizer

Cheese balls are a delicious choice of vegan Christmas appetizers. You can prepare them in advance and cook them when your guests arrive. For this recipe, we shall use our favorite vegan cheese recipe.

Once you have the cheese ready, you will need the following to make the vegan Christmas appetizers.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
  • ½-teaspoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1-teaspoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • ½-teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
  • 1-tablespoon corn flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and boil your potatoes (skin on) until tender. Peel off the skin and mash them with a fork. Add salt, pepper, and all the above ingredients and mix well. You can use any spices of your choice.

mashed potato image

Now scoop the potato mixture and using your hands, flatten them into small patties. Add some more vegan cheese. Fold the patties into small balls, and set aside. The idea is to have more cheese inside your balls. So once they are done, you take a bite, and the cheese at the center melts in your mouth.

Make some batter to coat them before cooking. This batter gives a crispy layer outside. And at this point, you can get more creative.

For my batter, I use:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour

Mix well to form a light batter.

Dip your vegan cheese balls and swirl around to coat well.

Roll the coated ball in breadcrumbs and set aside.

Repeat with the rest of the potato balls and roll in different coatings such as pistachio, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, and cranberries to make several colorful vegan Christmas appetizers.

Freeze these coated balls for at least 1 hour before cooking. This ensures your cheese is firm enough to withstand the heat when cooking.

To cook, you can deep fry them in hot oil, or pan fry with just a little vegetable oil, or bake them at 250 Celsius for 15 minutes. However, deep-frying produces the best results.

Serve hot with a sweet and sour chili dip or this delicious vegan sour cream.

Baked Avocado Fries

Avocado Fries Image

Avocado is a key ingredient if you are on a Ketogenic diet. They are rich in monosaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. For these fries, you need to preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 F).

Ingredients

  • 3 avocadoes – Slice them evenly (like French fries but not too thin)

For the flour mixture

  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot flour, or cassava flour, or coconut flour (you can also use all-purpose wheat flour)
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Chili flakes
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper to taste

Mix all the dry ingredients and set aside.

For the wet mixture

  • 1½ tablespoon ground chia seeds (or you can use flax seeds)
  • 4 tablespoons of water
  • 1 lime juiced

Mix well and set aside.

For the final coating

You can use breadcrumbs, coconut flakes, cornflakes, or any similar ingredient that can create a crunchy effect.

Bread Crumbs image

To assemble

Dredge the avocados in the flour mixture to coat well. Dip in the wet mixture and finally in the coconut flakes or breadcrumbs. Lay the slices on a lined baking tray and spray with olive oil (optional).

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

These avocado fries need a tangy dipping sauce. The vegan sour cream works well, but you can also use our vegan ranch.

Vegan Christmas Appetizers for the kids

vegan christmas snacks for kids image

For the kids, this vegan snacks recipe has several treats that you can easily serve as appetizers. These include the energy balls, Tofu fingers, and of course the cashew cheese balls.

Cashew Cheese balls image

Cashew cheese balls

You can also make deep fried vegan chicken nuggets from our easy vegan chicken recipe.

vegan chicken nuggets image

So now you don’t have an excuse to serve sloppy vegan appetizers. The options are endless. You only need to be creative and think outside the box. Happy holidays!


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recipes

Delicious Vegan Christmas Cookies Done in 2 Ways

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vegan christmas cookies recipes 2020 Image

What makes vegan Christmas cookies delicious? The list of ingredients and the procedure followed. Cookies are a versatile delicacy, especially when serving many people. You only need to make one batch of cookie dough and get creative with the shapes and cookie decoration designs.

In this article, I will share with you easy recipes for the two most common Christmas cookies: Christmas sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies.

Let’s get started!

For both recipes, you need to pre-heat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees F).

Christmas Sugar Cookies

vegan sugar cookies recipe image

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups vegan butter
  • 1-cup white sugar (this is the best option to achieve pale sugar cookies)
  • 3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (my secret ingredient)
  • 3 cups of almond flour (or any gluten-free version you have. You can also use all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds – pre-soaked for 4 hours (these act as an egg substitute)
  • ½-teaspoon baking powder
  • Spices
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½-teaspoon almond extract
  • A pinch of salt

Cream the sugar, butter, and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Use your fingers to know the right consistency. If you can still feel large sugar granules, continue whipping.

Add the wet ingredients and mix well.

Sift in your dry ingredients and combine to form flaky dough. Avoid over-mixing at this point.

Let the dough chill for 1 hour.

Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut out different shapes using a cookie cutter.

christmas cookies cutters image

Transfer the cutouts on to a lined baking tray. You can also lightly spray the baking tray with coconut oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you love your cookies.

Let them cool completely before decorating.

vegan sugar cookies image

Gingerbread Cookies

Vegan Gingerbread man image

Ingredients

  • ¼-cup coconut cream
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (you can use 2 tablespoons of maple syrup)
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses (optional)
  • 1-teaspoon bicarbonate
  • Spices
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt

Mix all the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, mix the cream and sugar with all the wet ingredients. Combine with the dry ingredient and mix well to form soft dough. You can add a little almond milk if the dough is too dry.

Chill for 1 hour. Chilling makes the cookie dough firm hence easier to roll.

gingerbread dough image

Roll the dough to 1/4″ thick. Cut out different shapes using cookie cutters.

gingerbread cookies cutters image

Transfer the cutouts on to a lined baking tray. You can also lightly spray the baking tray with coconut oil.

Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how crunchy you love your cookies.

Let them cool completely before decorating.

Gingerbread Cookies Image

For the Frosting

  • 1-cup coconut cream
  • ½ cup sifted sugar
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (for a slightly firm-runny consistency)
  • Natural food coloring (Green and red for Christmas themed vegan cookies)

Whisk the ingredients together.

Chill the frosting until you’re ready to decorate.

vegan cookies decorating image

In Conclusion

These vegan Christmas cookies taste terrific, and they are all gluten-free and of course dairy-free. They make an excellent breakfast addition or an accompaniment for your 10 o’clock tea. My kids usually poke holes right before baking. And when the cookies are baked, they loop a string around them and hung them in the Christmas tree as decoration. As you enjoy the cookies, create memories for your family this festive season. Merry Christmas!

Christmas bauble cookies image


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recipes

5-Minute Vegan Eggnog Recipes: Tastes Better Than Traditional One

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Traditional Eggnog is high in fat because it is made with whole milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks. A significant amount of alcohol is also added. In this article, I will share with you how to make Vegan Eggnog without alcohol for the festive season. I will also include a few healthy additions and variations. This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk – you can use any thick non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds – presoak them in a little water for 4 hours
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Banana
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
  • Ice cubes – you can also use frozen bananas instead of ice cubes.
  • A pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth consistency.

Serve immediately.

If you don’t plan on consuming the vegan eggnog immediately, blend everything in advance except the bananas. Once peeled, bananas start to oxidize. So right before serving, add the bananas and blend again.

Why Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds image

For this vegan eggnog recipe, I use soaked chia seeds because of their “eggy” like consistency. Eggnog is all about eggs and milk (with cream of course). Secondly, Chia seeds are the healthiest natural supplements we have. Research proves that chia seeds contain twice more calcium than milk, more omega 3 than fish, more antioxidants, and the list goes on. In fact, for those of us following the Ketogenic diet, chia seeds play a significant role in boosting your health.

If you manage to get chia seeds from a farmers market, they retail very cheap. But if you can’t, buy the commercially packed ones from online stores. You can use the seeds in any recipe but don’t cook them. Add them raw just before serving.

An Alternative Vegan Eggnog Recipe

Vegan Eggnog Image

If you have more people to serve, this recipe works better. You can prepare in advance and chill in the refrigerator. We will use homemade almond milk and homemade coconut cream. If you don’t have the time, just buy some from your favorite vegan store.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2-cups almond milk
  • 2-cups coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (whatever sweetener you like
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth consistency.

Serving

To serve like a barista, grind some vegan cookies or biscuits. Coat the glass with biscuit crumble and pour in the vegan eggnog. Sprinkle some of that powder and attach a cookie on the glass. Throw in two cinnamon sticks per glass and a hint of the spices you used on the serving plate. This is very important, especially when serving strangers. The hints help them identify the drink with its ingredients.

Vegan Eggnog recipe Image

The Bottom Line

For the best vegan eggnog, make your almond milk fresh at home. It is more creamy and frothy compared to store bought milk. It is easy to extract milk from fresh almonds, but you need to be patient as the nuts soak in water. If this is not your forte, buy high-quality milk. A mark of good quality vegan products is in the list of ingredients. The shorter the list, the better the quality!

Use any vegan eggnog leftovers to make cinnamon rolls or eggnog French toast.


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