Favourites of May: Recipes, Reads, Yoga & Inspo

May.

It's been an absolutely beautiful month spent beaching it and teaching yoga, on the stunning island of Mykonos, Greece.

While I've been here, I've had the time to do many of my favourite things, including getting creative, cooking delicious food, reading inspiring books and practicing yoga. All of which, my favourites from this month, I am going to share with you in this blog (so you too can draw a little inspiration in what healthy meals to cook, natural remedies to make, books to read and yoga poses to work on).  

 Blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga, at a Luxury Yoga Retreat in Mykonos for just short of six weeks. 

Blessed to have the opportunity to teach yoga, at a Luxury Yoga Retreat in Mykonos for just short of six weeks. 

Favourite Recipe of May: Coconut Cauliflower Dal

So this recipe is a combination of two different recipes (from my own experiences of learning to make Dal in India, and another recipe from another yoga teacher, Clemence, who I have been living with in Greece for the past four weeks). We combined both of our recipes, each time testing out a new method, with slightly different ingredients. I can now say with full confidence, that we have sculpted this recipe down to absolute perfection. It just tastes SO damn dal-icious and nutritious (which explains why we've been making it weekly minimum). 

 If you want it as a lighter meal, you can serve the dal without rice and with a salad instead. 

If you want it as a lighter meal, you can serve the dal without rice and with a salad instead. 

 Love the bright colours from the turmeric which contains many health benefits and is a natural anti inflammatory.  

Love the bright colours from the turmeric which contains many health benefits and is a natural anti inflammatory.  

Cooking time: 25-35 mins

Ingredients (serves 6 hungry humans)-

  • 500g red lentils
  • 1/2 can coconut cream
  • 1 whole cauliflower (chopped into very small pieces or blended in food processor)
  • 1 large gourmet tomato (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1/2 white onion (chopped)
  • 2 large garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 1 splash of olive oil
  • 1tsp tumeric
  • 1tsp garam masala
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 pinches of Himilyan salt
 The main bulk of ingredients which as you can see, do not cost a lot!

The main bulk of ingredients which as you can see, do not cost a lot!

 Our staple meal whilst teaching in Mykonos (mainly because it’s cheap, healthy and delicious and also so hard to find vegan gluten free Greek food).

Our staple meal whilst teaching in Mykonos (mainly because it’s cheap, healthy and delicious and also so hard to find vegan gluten free Greek food).

Method:

1. Fry the onion and garlic in olive oil and garam masala, until the onions are well cooked and brown

2. Measure out how many cups of lentils you have from the 500g (to use the ratio of 1:2 for lentils to water).

For example, pour the lentils into a mug and measure out how many times you can fill the mug with all of the lentils. If you fill 2 and a half cups/mugs with the lentils, then you will need to add double that amount of water for it to cook. So with 2 and a half cups, you will need to add 5 cups of (cold) water. (However, on the 4th mug, fill this with coconut cream instead of water, to give the dal an lovely creamy coconut flavour). 

3. Add the fried onions, garlic, dry lentils, water and coconut cream into a pot, and begin to boil on a medium-high heat. Add in the vegetable stock and stir in well.

4. Continue to stir as the lentils will absorb the water and then reduce to a lower heat. Once the water consistency has slightly decreased, add in the chopped cauliflower, turmeric, cumin and salt.

5. Once the dal continues to absorb the water and thicken up, add the fresh tomato chunks in and continue to stir.

6. The dal is ready once all of the water has been absorbed into the lentils. You may need to add more water/coconut cream if it becomes too thick or begins to stick at the bottom of the pot. Give it a taste test and see if it needs anymore salt or spices, if not then serve up and enjoy!

 If you have a food processor then blend up the cauliflower until it has a rice like texture.

If you have a food processor then blend up the cauliflower until it has a rice like texture.

Dal can be eaten as a light meal, or if you would prefer to have something heavier than you can add rice to be served with it. To cook the rice use the same ratio principle as the letils 1:2 (rice to cold water). Once the water has began boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot (this allows the rice to soak up the water and cook properly).

 Clemence and I cooking our delicious dal for Katina when she came to visit.  

Clemence and I cooking our delicious dal for Katina when she came to visit.  

What is also great about this recipe, as with very little, it makes a lot which means you can freeze the rest to enjoy numerous times without having to cook it many times.
 

Favourite Read/s of May: Way of the Peaceful Warrior (Dan Millman)

If there is one material item that I could absolutely not give up, it would have to be my kindle paper white (which allows me to read multiple books at a time, even in the dark). Even since I was a very young child, I have always loved to read and always have my head in a few books at least (I like to read depending on my mood, so what is great about my kindle is that I can pick and choose which book I'd like to read and when, without losing my place in each one). 

This month my favourite read HAS to be: Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. The book is part autobiographical and part fiction, to emphasis the great lessons and wonders of living life as your best, warrior, self. I read the whole book in less than 2 days, and loved it so much that I downloaded the following 2 books in the saga (the second one, I read again in 2 days and I have almost finished the third in a similar space of time). 

 This book really does change lives. Prepare for your whole life perspective to be flipped!

This book really does change lives. Prepare for your whole life perspective to be flipped!

The book is based on a real life story of a young college athlete, Dan, who thinks he has it all, until he meets a mysterious mentor figure one late night in a gas station. He learns mind blowing yet simplistic lessons, of how to live life fully in the present moment, whilst learning to control and manage the chaotic demands of the mind. This book will take you on one hell of an adventure journey, and will change the perspective in which you look at life. I seriously could not recommend it enough!

If you enjoy the first book as much as I did, then I would highly recommend his continuing books in the Peaceful Warrior saga: 'The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior' and 'The Hidden School: Return of the Peaceful Warrior' (Dan has also written other self-help style books ,but I haven't gotten round to those books.. just yet).

 Embracing my peaceful warrior spirit with the Warrior 2 asana and Tiger the cat

Embracing my peaceful warrior spirit with the Warrior 2 asana and Tiger the cat

Favourite Homemade Remedy: Coconut Facial Cleanser

So this recipe comes from my wonderful friend Katina, who came to visit me whilst I’m in Mykonos. It's actually a funny story how we met, as its not so often a 22 year old is good friends with a 56 year old (even though she looks super young for her age). We met whilst I was living in Australia on a Reiki Level 2 course. We connected instantly as she was also originally from the UK with Cyprian roots (and I with Greek roots). Anyway, we got on like a house on fire and have since travelled to Bali together (to a yoga spirit festival) and she has been to visit my mum and I in the UK on two separate occasions. 

 My lovely friend (soul sista) Katina and I visiting the island of Tinos in Greece. 

My lovely friend (soul sista) Katina and I visiting the island of Tinos in Greece. 

Katina has her own holistic well being center in Geelong, Australia and is therefore filled to the brim with natural remedy and beauty ideas. She introduced Clemence and I do this amazing natural facial cleanse to help get rid of our spots (by removing dead skin cells and impurities). 

Ingredients:

  • Raw pressed coconut oil
  • Tea tree essential oil (1 drop)
  • Lavender essential oil (1 stop)
  • 2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

Method:

For the method (and some laughs) watch the video below (leave on for 10-15 mins and rinse off)

Favourite Yoga Pose of May: Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)

So my favourite asana (the Sanskrit name for posture), of this month definitely has to be Wild Thing (Camatkarasana). Maybe it's due to me unleashing my wild womanly nature of being free (from typical constraints of daily life), in contact with nature, animals and beautiful beaches. I currently feel I'm at a place where I'm truly living out my dream reality, manifested by the workings of my miracle anticipating mind.

In this asana,  I feel liberated, my heart is open and pointing towards the heavens (due to the wide expansion of the chest), ready and waiting to receive more of life's blessings.

 Wild Thing: Opening up the heart, allowing you to give and receive love, be emphatic and feel more connected to those around you. 

Wild Thing: Opening up the heart, allowing you to give and receive love, be emphatic and feel more connected to those around you. 

This is a great posture as it works on strengthening and opening a number of different areas, including the chest, shoulders, back, hip-flexors, triceps and core. The therapeutic aspects of this posture includes helping to fight fatigue and mild depression. 

Precautions: (avoid if you have)

  • High blood pressure
  • Recovering from a hernia or heart attack
  • Weak shoulders or wrists

Steps:

1. Begin in downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), focusing on pressing your hands firmly into the ground and broadening your collar bones.

2. Transfer your weight to your right hand, and roll your right foot to the outer edge as if in a side plank pose (Varsisthasana).

3. Take an inhale to lift your hips towards the sky and step the left foot back behind you with your knee slightly bent, placing your toes onto the ground for stability.

4. With a sweeping motion, extend the left arm over the head, pointing in the direction of the ground.

5. Use the strength of the right arm to push against the ground, lift the hips even higher to create a deeper back bend motion (keeping the right foot either planted onto the floor or onto the toes).

6. Hold this pose for 5 deep breaths and float back down to downward dog to repeat on the opposite side.

 For beginners, I would recommend trying out this pose on the ground with a solid surface.  

For beginners, I would recommend trying out this pose on the ground with a solid surface.  

Favourite quote of May:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes"
 -Marcel Proust

The reason that I love this quote, is that it suggests that no matter how many places you travel to, countries you visit or adventures you seek, the real journey that matters is introspective in nature.

What worth is it to travel to all of these beautiful places, if you are not able to experience them with "new eyes" (a renewed level of awareness, compassion, appreciation and awe).

 A beautiful stray cat who I found taking shade under an aloe vera plant at the retreat. I was captivated by those beautiful, green eyes.

A beautiful stray cat who I found taking shade under an aloe vera plant at the retreat. I was captivated by those beautiful, green eyes.

I hope you've enjoyed my favourites of this month, and hopefully they will inspire you to try out some new ideas and creations.

I look forward to hearing your feedback if you manage to try out any of the things I've mentioned, so be sure to leave a comment to let me know how you get on!

Lots of love,

Maddie aka 'The Vegan Yogi Traveller'

 The beautiful streets of Mykonos.  

The beautiful streets of Mykonos.  

To keep up with my journey, check out my Instagram:

Bio:

Maddie holds a strong place in her heart for holistic health and well-being. She is a psychology graduate, yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, nutrition adviser and world traveller. Maddie loves reading, writing and exploring new places, meeting new and interesting people and enjoying the wonders of everyday life.

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