Friday, 18 August 2017

Sweet potato and Black bean burger


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (to yield 2 cups mashed)
  • 1 cup low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • For burger: 4 whole wheat buns, 1 avocado (mashed), lettuce, and tomato slices


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice sweet potatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until tender, about 30-40 minutes, and then set aside to cool.
  3. Add the sweet potato flesh to a large mixing bowl and mash half of it.
  4. Add black beans and mash half of them for texture as well. Add the quinoa, green onion, almond meal, cumin, paprika, sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well and then form into patties.
  5. Cook patties in olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, then carefully flip over and cook until golden brown on the other side.
  6. Place on burger bun, along with mashed avocado, lettuce, and a thick slice of tomato.

Sweet Summer's Dance

A dance upon the woodland green, 
moon spinning with delight.
Wind aglow with moonbeam's ray
spreads far into eboned night.
Twirling ~ is sweet summer's dance
beneath the yearning moon.
Smiling down upon the face
of memory's rendered tune.
Stepping quickly ~ two- step now,
a waltzing hillside breeze
across the greening meadow ~
dancing softly through the trees.
Smiling moon ~ now breathes its sigh
upon sweet summer's dance.
Alive and luring ~ summer sweet ~
attracting moon's long glance.
'Round and 'round with rhythmic beat,
afire ~ with earthly charm,
summer blossoms with each step
beneath the moonbeams warm.
Alas ~
Dark sky,
On horizon it falls.
Moon cries, as night ends much too soon.
Summer's dance now sends its sweet kiss.
~ Hypnotizing the man in the moon. ~
By Hazelmarie Elliott
Art Josephine Wall

Short Reads by Classic Authors

It seems that most bibliophiles have that one book. You know the one. It's a masterpiece, it's a classic, it's won numerous awards and has been hailed as one of the greatest novels of its century. It's also double, triple, or even quadruple the length of an average novel, so reading it would be the crowning achievement of your book-loving career. And, too often, it sits on the bookshelf, unread, because it's just so darn big.
My aspirational novel is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. As a bookworm with a Russian family background, I think few things would suit me better than to read the longest novel in Russian literature. Over the years, I've read several portions here and there, but have I read the whole thing start to finish? Nope. Not even close. In fact, I'll admit (to my shame) that I haven't even tried.
And I know I'm not the only one intimidated by the time commitment of a hefty novel. Tolstoy's wife may have copied out the manuscript of War and Peace. Longhand. Multiple times. But today? Many of us struggle to find the time to read regularly, let alone finish a book that is hundreds of pages long.
That's why we created this list of short reads by classic authors who are famous for their massive novels. Many of these authors' shorter works are just as exquisite and some are nearly as famous as their magnum opuses, with a significantly lower time commitment.
Of course, no book on this list will replace the one you've been wanting to read, nor should it. But these works will give you a taste of each author's craft, and who knows? Maybe they will inspire you to read onwards and upwards, toward that elusive prize.

Short Reads

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Between the Now and Then

Upon horizon, night to day ~
there between the now and then,
I often pause along the way, 
to tiptoe through the moonlit glen ~
or perhaps take in sun's light,
night to day ~ day to night.
Upon horizon, day to day ~
there between the then and now,
as seasons grow along the way,
to crease the face of timely brow ~
or perhaps steal time away,
day to day ~ day to day.
Upon horizon, day to night ~
there between the now and then,
I stand beneath my autumn light,
bereft as memory calls again ~
to pain the heart with bygone sight,
Night to day ~ day to night.
Upon horizon, night to night ~
there between the then and now,
I know that winter casts its sight,
on one last leaf that will not bow ~
to frost within its golden sight,
night to night ~ night to night.
Upon horizon, night to day ~
there between the now and then,
I know my spring will fade away,
and summer's soft remember when
will echo gently autumn's way ~
day to night ~ night to day....
Winter's near ~ Winter's near......
By Hazelmarie Elliott
Artist Unknown

The Art of the Stress-free Happy Hour: Olive Oil & Salt Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets. Via Eva Marie

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Life can be so hectic and harried that I cherish those quiet evenings sitting around the fireplace, gabbing with friends over a shared bottle of wine and a few goodies to nosh on.

I like to keep it delicious and simple, enjoying the process of cooking for people I care about without becoming stressed out over the details.
Olive oil, salt roasted sweet potatoes and beets served with a sharp cheese like the aged Gouda, some nice olives, nuts and dried fruit, bread or crackers, a bottle of wine, and great conversations are the perfect ingredients to an intimate and fun happy hour get together.

Olive Oil & Salt Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Beets

  • 2 medium size sweet potatoes or yams, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 3 medium red beets, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 2-3 small golden beets, washed, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 head of garlic, leave the paper on it
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus a little extra for basting
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • A handful of fresh herbs—I used sage, parsley and oregano
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brush a 6 or 8-inch cast iron pan with some olive oil.
Mix the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper with the 1/3 cup olive oil and set aside.
Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes in the pan as you see in the photo, going half way around the pan making a half circle.
Next, take the red beets and arrange them next to the sweet potatoes in an arc shape and then place the golden beets at the lower part of the pan.
Take the head of garlic and place it in the little space left at the bottom of the pan.
Using a pastry brush, coat all of the sweet potatoes first, the golden beets second and then the red beets with the seasoned olive oil.
Sprinkle with some coarse salt.
Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour. The veggies should be tender and browned along the top edges.
Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle the pan.
Sprinkle with the fresh herbs and serve.
The roasted garlic is wonderful squeezed out of the paper and spread onto some bread or eaten with the veggies.
Note: you may want to use gloves when peeling the red beets as they can stain your hands. Also be careful to cut them on a plastic board as they can easily color wood boards and counter tops.
Relax and enjoy!


We live in a time where many people are turning to natural remedies when it comes to treating ailments – and everything from anxiety to allergies can be alleviated without a prescription. And while there are many ways to relieve a variety of illnesses – from eating well to exercise – recent studies have highlighted the huge and often therapeutic value of pets.
As a nation of dog-lovers – from the loud and large to the demure and dainty – it’s little wonder that more and more people are opting for pet ownership as a way to improve vigour and vitality. And whether you already have a pet, or are toying with the idea of getting one, we’ve curated seven reasons why a four legged friend may be the very best thing you can do for your health and wellbeing.
The power of pets is nothing new, and a number of studies further prove the wealth of benefits they’re known to bring. The growing number of pet friendly workplaces is a testament to this, with many employers adopting a ‘pets welcome’ policy in a bid to lower stress levels and improve the wellbeing of staff.  
Another powerful factor about pet ownership when it comes to remedying depression and anxiety is the unconditional love that dogs offer their owners. Unlike our fellow humans, four-legged friends are without judgments, opinions or critiques, and their loving – and loveable – nature is known to aid symptoms of depression.
The benefits of exercise are endless, and as owner of a pet pooch in need of regular and frequent walks, it’s safe to say you’ll be upping your activity levels. Whether long and leisurely walks or a quick game of catch, you’ll be adding bursts of activity into your day for both you and your four-legged friend.
Often people suffering with anxiety or depression can lack a sense of purpose in their lives, and becoming a pet owner can add an element of responsibility, which, experts say, can help with depression. Having a pet adds a new and positive focus to its owners’ life and can remind them of their own value and importance.
 Much is known about the healing power of touch, and what better way of introducing this into your daily life than through regular sessions of nuzzling your pet?
Not too dissimilar to yoga – a practice which is well known for its healing properties – pets can encourage their owners to be present by taking them out of their heads and into the present moment. Offering a loveable and furry distraction can be invaluable to anyone suffering from anxiety.
Did you know that early exposure to dogs can protect against allergies and asthma in later life? Studies suggest that contact with dogs and, to a lesser degree, cats can help strengthen the immune system and prevent respiratory related viruses, allergies and asthma in later life.


When it comes to pet pooches, there are an abundance to choose from. Whatever size, temperament and colour you like – from little to large, from tame to playful, from fair-haired to dark, and everything in between – there’s a different dog for everyone, regardless of taste. But while we all know someone with one of the more popular types of dog; from loveable Labradors to boisterous Boxers, have you ever stopped to consider the rare breeds that we know less about? While these types of dogs aren’t frequently found in your local park, or seen in the nearby dog-friendly cafĂ©, that doesn’t make them any less endearing.
Defined by The Kennel Club as a breed that is registered less than 300 times a year, have a read of our guide to five of the world’s rarest dog breeds; one of which may just be the perfect match for you.
Originating in Azawakh Valley in East Africa, this rare breed has long been used as a guardian and companion to tribes in the Sahara Desert. Loyal to those that they know, yet often standoffish to those that they don’t, Azawakhs are protective and faithful pets. Tall and elegant, these beautiful hounds are protective and gentle and can be an excellent companion to active owners, who enjoy taking their pooch with them on outdoor excursions. 
Chinese Crested Rarest Dog Breeds
A dependable and devoted dog, while the Chinese Crested breed are sociable types, they have a tendency to laze around and can often be needy when it comes to love and affection from their owner. Wonderful family dogs, Chinese Cresteds are loving and playful. Due to their small frame, these dogs are ideal for homes that aren’t large in size, and offer stable companionship to both children and adults alike. Don’t, however, let their small build fool you; while they may be little their bark can be fierce.
With a lamb-like coat and a mild manner, the Bedlington Terrier is gregarious and graceful with a springy gait. Loveable around their own family, this type of dog can be reserved around strangers and needs early socialisation to avoid timidity when in a social setting. Calmer than other types of terrier and conveniently sized, Bedlington Terriers are distinctive looking pooches that make brilliant pets.
Otterhound Rarest Dog Breeds
A traditional British dog breed, the Otterhound was – unsurprisingly – originally used for hunting otter. A large and fun-loving pet, this shaggy breed is a large dog that loves nothing more than being in the great outdoors, and requires regular and lengthy walks. With a distinctive coat and a musical bark, this friendly breed can be soft and sensitive, despite its domineering size.
A Scottish breed often referred to as the gentleman of the Terrier family, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a relaxed and reticent pet, while staying true to the doggedness of its Terrier heritage. The breed’s small build and relative exercise requirements make it the perfect pet pooch for both city life and country dwellings. Affectionate and lively, these pets get along well with other dogs and children alike, making it a low-maintenance breed, ideal for anyone looking for the true meaning of a man’s best friend.