Happy Black Friday! I'm actually thankful I live in a country where Black Friday doesn't really mean anything and people aren't camping outside of department stores the night before because they are so desperate to get the best toy for their kid. And so begins my grateful list. It's so easy to forget the real spirit of Thanksgiving when there is so much stress and worry surrounding it (and the same goes for Christmas or any other holiday that gathers people together). It's also a good time to think back on the past year and remember how much has happened, what has come into your life and what has left, and where the next year might take you.

2011 has been an amazing, action-packed year for me. I have a lot to be thankful for...

  • My husband. Our wedding day back in April was the perfect day. It's funny the things you remember - I keep getting little flashes of that day, and the moment I appreciate the most was when the two of us were allowed 10 minutes (which felt like 10 seconds) after the ceremony to have a glass of champagne alone in this amazing parlour room and just breathe. There was a lot of giggling. I love you, Phil.
  • My bigger family. Marrying someone means an extension of your family which is so fun. Although I have to say, the people I already had are still my favorites, the new clan are some pretty spectacular folks too.
  • Getting qualified. It's so exciting to be able to call yourself a Qualified anything (although my title is pretty changeable... Nutritionist? Nutrition Educator? Nutrition Advisor? Pick your favorite!) but the important thing is that it happened and that meant....
  • Starting my own business. Blame my only child status, but I think I've always been suited to be my own boss. Particular Nutrition is still just a baby - they grow up so fast though, don't they?! Things are gathering momentum as we approach month 3. I've got lots of exciting new partnerships and projects coming in 2012, including a Detox Program that I'm designing to kickstart the new year. (By the way, if you're interested in joining, no matter where you live in the world, email me!)
  • Health. I'm feeling pretty thankful for the healthiest year yet, not just for me, but for my nearest and dearest too. Of course there have been bumps in the road (that is always the case) but by "health", I mean making changes and choices for the better, even if it's one small thing. Recognizing that something can be done, and doing it. This year, I've made lots of changes to my diet, perhaps most significantly reducing my meat consumption to almost none! I'd also like to thank the Green Angel Smoothie for being so awesome and nourishing me in the mornings. This is starting to sound like an acceptance speech...
  • Inspiration. It comes in all forms, but this year I've been most inspired by the many websites and blogs out there publishing amazing content and recipes, spreading the word about clean eating, vegan recipes, food allergies, whole foods, plant-based diets, and mindful living. There are too many to list here, but I've got a list of some of my favorites over on my links page. Thank you for continually inspiring me!
  • Travel. I'm grateful for all the places 2011 has taken me: Cornwall, Bath, Brighton, Grenada, Manchester, a roadtrip across the USA, Spain, & Windsor (pictured above). And the travels aren't over yet - I've got one more trip to the States this year for a friend's wedding and an early Christmas! I have a feeling there'll be even more miles traveled next year...
  • FOOD. Of course, as I think back to last night's epic meal, food had to make an appearance on the list of things I'm thankful for. And with that, I bring you this easy tempeh recipe (because you'll get sick of leftovers eventually...)

Sweet & Spicy Tempeh

serves 2

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The particulars:

  • 1 block of tempeh, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 red chili, finely sliced (or 1 tsp red chili flakes)
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos or tamari
  1. Whisk the sesame oil, maple syrup, ginger and liquid aminos or tamari in a small dish and set aside.
  2. Place the tempeh pieces in an ovenproof baking dish and pour over the maple syrup mixture, along with the garlic and chili. Toss to coat.
  3. Leave to marinade for at least an hour in the fridge.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  5. Place the marinated tempeh in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add a splash more oil if it goes quickly.
  6. Serve with stir-fried greens and brown rice noodles.