Monday, 20 January 2014

Cheer Yourself Up on Blue Monday

Today is officially the 'most depressing day of the year'.  A combination of post Christmas blues, winter weather, low motivation, failing New Year Resolutions and financial troubles conspire against us, resulting in a media based rhetoric of doom and gloom. But it doesn't have to be that way!

Positive thinking can go a long way to improve our mental state and banish the negative energy that threatens to ruin our outlook on life.  Simply by smiling, we can lighten our mood and relieve stress.  Focusing on the good and making plans to overcome challenges one step at a time can help to turn around problems.

Another way to make Blue Monday more bearable is to treat yourself to something you'll enjoy. How about preparing a special dinner to lift the spirits?  A healthy and heartwarming root vegetable and lentil stew is full of goodness and is comforting and delicious.  Perfect if you are giving Veganuary a go, or doing Meat-Free Mondays.

healthy, stew, casserole

A nice glass of something fruity and fun can be a perfect antidote, inviting in a taste of the summer and of tropical climes to counteract the wet British winter.  Barefoot Pink Moscato is a sweet, tongue tickling, bubbly tipple which brings the taste of peach, cherry and raspberry to your palate.  Serve with a handful of strawberries and blueberries in a pitcher with a little ice for a fruity sensation.

barefoot wines, bubbly

Home baking always lifts my soul.  I love making some delicious muffins, cookies or cupcakes to treat the family.  I have made some sweet and indulgent Golden Syrup Cupcakes to cheer ourselves up on Blue Monday.  I've made them dairy-free, but you don't have to.  I used Tate and Lyle's British Inspired Golden Syrup sugar which has a rich, bold and distinctive flavour and gives a syrupy richnesss and a luscious, moist texture to sponge cakes.

Golden Syrup Cupcake Recipe

baking, cupcakes

4oz dairy free margarine
4oz Tate and Lyle Golden Syrup sugar
2 free range eggs
4oz self-raising flour

3oz dairy free margarine
8oz icing sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
(add a little almond milk to get desired consistency)

syrup, cake baking


Cream fat and sugar.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Fold in sieved flour.

Put spoonfuls into 12 cupcake cases in a tray.
Cook for about 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees or until the top springs back when pressed.


Beat the icing ingredients together to desired consistency and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.
Decorate with a squeeze of golden syrup and a some fudge pieces.

cakes, syrup

Whatever you do to cheer yourself up today, make sure you remember these words from the Dalai Lama:

“See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” 

mood lifting food, baking, wine

I was sent a bottle of Barefoot Pink Moscato wine from the Barefoot Wine and Bubbly range RRP £6.99. Available at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and Co-Op. Find them on Facebook at Barefoot Wine and Bubbly for fun recipes and serving suggestions.

Tate and Lyle's new Taste Experience range of golden and brown sugars are available in stores. I received some to try out for this recipe (which is my own).  Find Tate and Lyle on Facebook on their We Love Baking page.


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