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Gezellig: Making Life Cozy And Happy The Dutch Way

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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!

Lifestyle

Simple Living for Beginners: Enjoying a Life of Fulfillment

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What comes to your mind when you hear the words simple living? Living in a cave, without your favorite gadgets or the Internet? Cooking with firewood? Well, relax, you got it all wrong, but maybe closer.

If living in tiny homes off the grid is not your cup of tea, today, we’ll share with you other ways you can achieve simple living within your limits. We will also discuss how this new lifestyle will be beneficial to you and our society at large.

But first;  

What Is Simple Living?

Let me start by clearing the myths. Simple living is not about having very few items or living in a home without furniture. Not at all! You start your simple living journey by identifying what adds value to your life, and what makes you happy. Then you start doing away with the clutter that distracts you from focusing on what you enjoy most.

So Why Is It Becoming Essential for Modern People to Switch to a Simple Life?

We will answer this by first asking you a simple question: Why do you wake up very early each morning and retire to bed late in the evening? You’re probably thinking, I’ve got bills to pay, I want to drive the latest jeep, my kids need to go to the best schools and the list is endless, right?

Now, this is what the modern lifestyle has preconditioned us to believe.

That’s why depression and suicide are on a high rise especially in this era of social media. We’re also experiencing high levels of environmental degradation because eventually, manufacturing companies have to keep up with all these demands.

So how do you detach yourself from the crowd?

How To Start A Simple Living Lifestyle: Beginner Friendly Tips

Simple Life Guide Image

#1: Identify Your Motive

First, it’s important that you understand your motivation or the reason you need to change your current lifestyle. Are you trying to save more money, or creating space, or reducing the clean-up burden? Hang on to that thought because change is not always easy. However, understanding your reasons makes the transition smoother. 

#2: Set Goals

You don’t just wake up one day and trash all your belongings. Or delete all your phone apps. You will get overwhelmed with emotions. But with reasonable goals, you can start say with your purse. Sort out the old receipts. Then transition to your office. Next to your closet, and eventually your kitchen pantry. Before you know it, your entire home will be fitting your new lifestyle.

#3: Create New Habits

After decluttering, the last thing you want is to start bringing in new things. Are you addicted to books? Create a habit of reading in the library or install a reading app. The latter is not really advisable because now your phone becomes the new home of clutter. However, for the lovers of books living in remote areas, it’s a better option.

Start a meditation routine to calm your anxiety instead of resulting in negative countermeasures. Changing your lifestyle can be stressful and it’s even worse when the people around you don’t understand or appreciate it. Luckily, it is most important when you’re just getting started. After you fully transition to simple living, your anxiety naturally disappears.

Similarly, join a gym instead of creating a fitness room full of gym equipment in your home. See, we all get excited at every new purchase we make. But this joy usually lasts for a few weeks because then a better gadget hits the market. So, unless you stop this vicious cycle internationally, you will never live the less is more lifestyle.

#4: The Power of Gratitude

Be grateful for what you already have. Be grateful for your kids. Be grateful for having a meal each day. Be grateful for all the small things you own. Gratitude opens you up to reality. And unless you are content and can create happiness in your current situation, you will never understand the joy of simple living.    

#5: The All Under One Roof Rule

Why do you need a toaster when you already have a pan and an oven? Why do you need a steamer when you already have a rice cooker? Why do you need a tablet when you already have a smartphone and a laptop? These are basic examples to help you understand that we don’t need to own everything.

We live in a world designed to make us want to spend more than we need or even realize. When your social media icon advertises a new gadget, you also want it. In the end, you just dump them in your garage and probably dust them up once in a year when special guests show up.

What Are the Benefits of Simple Living?

Living a simple life tips and benefits Image

#1: Real Happiness

Imagine coming home to an airy living room without all the clutter and irrelevant furniture. Or going through a well-organized closet with just enough outfits for the day. Or never having to worry about saving up to buy a bigger home because your clutter makes you think you’ve outgrown the current home.

That day when you finally get to live a truly meaningful and rewarding life. Having more time for your spouse and children as well as enough time to reconnect with your friends because you don’t have to do your laundry the whole day. What can be more rewarding than this?

#2: Financial Freedom

It goes without saying that once you break the habit of bringing in stuff into your home, you end up saving more of your income or even using it in projects that really matter to you. Again, you no longer feel the pressure to keep saving your salary in order to buy some trending designer outfits.

#3: Better Health

When you break away from doing what everyone else is doing, life stresses no longer bother you. You can simply sit by the river, listen to the birds chirping and happily wander away without feeling guilty about wasting your Saturday afternoon later.

Similarly, when you finally manage to declutter your pantry and indulge in healthy home-cooked meals, your body will reward you. And you no longer have to worry about the regular medical checkups we’ve all been conditioned to accept as a part of our life.

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recipes

Simple Vegan Christmas Appetizers Recipes

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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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