The Sweet Meadow

how to

The secret to a good smoothie bowl

recipes, foodAishe Besim

I'm not even sure when or how I first discovered smoothie bowls, but ever since I started making them for breakfast, it's been love at first bite (see what I did there).

Before then, I was generally drinking a green juice or fruit-based smoothie for breakfast. While I'm still very much a fan of a liquid-based breakfast, I didn't like the feeling of constantly consuming my food on the go, either as I was driving to work or while I was sitting at my desk. 

I'm a big believer in eating (and living, for that matter) mindfully. Mindful eating is a concept deeply rooted in Buddhist teachings, with the aim to reconnect us with the experience of eating and enjoying our food.  This means eating slower, chewing our food properly, refraining from using technology while we're eating, and connecting with the story behind our food - who grew this? How far did it travel to get here? 

Studies have shown that mindful eaters tend to have a lower body weight, a greater sense of wellbeing, and fewer symptoms of eating disorders. All strong reasons for me to start committing to appreciating and respecting the food I'm eating. I found that making smoothie bowls for breakfast meant that I physically had to sit down and take the time to eat properly, rather than gulp it down on the go. 

How do you make a good smoothie bowl? Keep reading for my tips. 

  • Use dense fruit. To ensure the smoothie bowl 'base' is thick enough to support a variety of toppings, it's best to use fruit that has a lower water content, such as bananas, mangoes, dates, persimmons, or blueberries. Fruit like watermelon, apples and oranges are best suited to juices.
  • Frozen fruit is your friend. Mixing fresh fruit with frozen for the base of the smoothie bowl will help give the base extra thickness too. I like combining frozen bananas with fresh dates, or fresh bananas with frozen berries.
  • Add some crunch. To avoid the feeling of eating 'baby food' as my dad says, I like adding a gluten-free 'cereal' to the smoothie bowl. I love the taste of Loving Earth's Buckini range, although Table of Plenty and Honest to Goodness also have good vegan options. 
  • Fruit is king. Adding bite-sized fruits like strawberries, raspberries, figs or passionfruit to the top of the smoothie bowl provides some extra (natural) sweetness and colour (if you're in the business of photographing your food. Weird, but I know a few people who do...;)). Another tip - strawberries look better in photos if you leave the green top leaves on! 
  • Experiment with flavours. I've gotten into the habit of adding natural peanut butter to my smoothie bowls (probably half a tablespoon). I love the saltiness it adds, although other flavours like vanilla powder, cinnamon, cacao  or maca powder are also on high rotation. Play around and see what flavours you like. 

You'll soon realise the possibilities are endless. Get on the smoothie bowl train!

Drying flowers

flowersAishe Besim

I cannot do without flowers. Their ability to convey emotions, evoke memories, change our mood and transform a bare room into a place of great beauty never ceases to amaze me. They are my muse, my passion and my world.
— Saskia Havekes, Grandiflora

I was never a huge fan of flowers. Why spend money on a bouquet of flowers that were just going to shrivel up and die in a week or so?

Since going plant-based I've done a complete 180 - I love flowers! They appear in our most significant rituals and traditions all around the globe, from ancient civilisation to the present day. We give different flowers for different moments in time, but all for the same purpose - to say that which cannot be said, and to say it with beauty and grace.

I soon discovered I could prolong the life of freshly cut flowers by drying them. They could then happy sit in a vase for months on end. Keep reading for a super easy method of drying flowers.

1. When picking flowers for drying, they should be in full bloom but not full blown or they will drop their petals. They are also best gathered in the morning of a dry day.

2. Hang them upside down in bunches in a warm, preferably not too light position and leave them there until they are dry to the touch. This could take up to a couple of weeks. 

3. Once you are confident that your flowers are fully dry, pack them into boxes and store in a dry place until you wish to use them. It is important to store dried flowers in boxes in order to keep them free of dust and preserve their colour. 

4. How to use dried flowers? Display them in a vase, leave them hanging, press them into your favourite books, or frame them!