Eight Characteristics of True Friends

Friends are one of life’s biggest blessings. Do you know how many you have? And no, I don’t mean just quickly skip to Facebook and have a glance at the number showing there. We’re talking about true friends. The topic’s been prominently on my mind lately thanks to a lot of those wonderful individuals supporting me all throughout so let’s get Thinking out loud. Before you read on I suggest you put on some good music, specifically Carole King’s ‘Where you lead’.



True friends are interested in you even when you’re not yourself.

Don’t we all feel like the least fascinating person ever occasionally? Unless your ID reads Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus and you consider yourself the centre of the universe it’s likely you’ll have those mini life crisises. But a good friends are genuinely interested in what’s going on in your life and ready to listen even if you’re having a Debbie Downer day. They’ll cheer you up and show you that you’re wonderful just the way you are.

True friends make an effort to stay in touch.

Even if you’re bad at it and forget to mail or call them regularly they won’t grieve you about it. Which would technically be another point: they’re forgiving. No resentfulness and this is another one high on top of my list with many of my friends. Sorry to everybody who continously has to wait for my mail replies forever. It’s not about you but me [duh!].

True friends accept you the way you are and stay loyal at all times.

Honestly, sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. I won’t lie: I can be a snarky, moody – in short: not the person you’d want to be around. And don’t we all have those times? Friends accept and like you with all your ‘flaws’. They overlook them or – see above – have the courage to tell you to stop the bitchy ways and realize what you’re doing.

The truest test of a friendship for me is being able to go through thick and thin. The good and bad times. On either side.  Not just listening to your worries but entrusting you theirs, too. I’ve lost contact with several people from school over the years and wondered what I’d done wrong. In the end, I realized the majority of those friendships hadn’t been deep enough. When both try to keep up a happy-go-lucky sunny attitude never admitting to doubts, insecurities and asking for help a friendship can exist – but it won’t be one to count on in rough times.

True friends are brutally honest.

They tell you what you need to hear not what you want to – because they care. It can hurt to have somebody tell you the truth but think about it: Somebody who just tries to please you won’t point out any points of improvement or tell you the colour of the dress you’re wearing makes you look pale [doozy]. I know for myself I wouldn’t have gotten where I am – not just in terms of fashion  – if people had approved of everything I did at all times never criticized me. A true friend doesn’t intend to hurt but help you.

True friends don’t always have time. They make time for you.

We know it: Life gets insanely busy for all of us. A true friend finds the time for you even in a tight schedule. Whether lending an ear on the phone, via texts or coming over when you need it*.  Time is a gift and a real friend will happily give it to you.



 True friends are trustworthy.

This one might seem obvious but I’ve sadly made experiences that proved me wrong. Hence why I appreciate secrecy among friends even more these days. If a friend shares something with you – be it about their cat, stress at work or the name of their secret crush – you keep to yourself. Easy, no?

 True friends help you without any expectations in return.

That doesn’t mean you can’t – or shouldn’t – return the favour. Life and at that friendships thrive off the good old rule of give and take.  But if you are a true friend to others yourself you already knew and did that.


True friends encourage you to follow your dreams in life.

You want to travel the world even though you’re currently still living at home and can hardly do the laundry or cook yourself? Even though you don’t know how in the world you’ll be able to fund that trip? Friends believe in and will cheer on you. And they might even offer to teach you basic cooking and life survival tips …



Say it with me once more: True friends are one of life’s biggest blessings.


This obviously isn’t an all-encompassioning list by any means. Some friends might fill all of the criteria above, some just one or none of these but others.

In the comments let me know characteristics of a true friend to you.


Happiness-inducing today: An actually funny comedy segment on the radio. They’re usually  sub-par so I was positively surprised.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Meet me in pumpkin-ville!

 Autumn is a good time for change. Or at least that’s what Jenn makes us believe with her motto of falling into good habits. And why not? Even if fall is no better for breaking old habits or developping new ones: it’s as good as any other.  And while I’m sharing [part of] Sunday’s meals for today’s What I ate Wednesday it was a day that gave me the opportunity to try some new foods or test out assumptions. So let’s not ramble on any longer but talk about actual food.

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Breakfast included finally cutting into the monster squash. What can I say? It’s as sweet and crumbly as you could hope for. But I didn’t take a picture so decided you wouldn’t mind a recycled one.  There might really be sonething about frugal bloggingafter all. New additions to my squash were a stab of coconut oil and some coconut flour crumbles. Inspired by Robyn I’m trying to see if the oil will make a difference in terms of staying power and satisfaction for me.


Whether it’s contradictive saying this after showing the above picture or not: I’m not ready for fall – or autumn as I prefer – yet. The chance to eat all the pumpkin again is a slight consolation. And lunch was a case of dealing with my produce overbuying tendency once more. Honestly,  though, I just couldn’t not buy the best,  freshest-looking bag of spinach I’ve ever seen. Especially since fresh spinach is a rarity over here in general. Oh and did I mention pumpkin? Actually, I’d had my mind set on a potato spinach casserole but then I just couldn’t ignore the cut-up half of a butternut squash sitting in my fridge. While potatoes are an obvious match in this combination and preparationLuck of ingredients the butternut worked really well here, too.

Butternut Squash Spinach Casserole 2

Apparently,  I also wanted cheese.  If I’m being completely honest,  I’d been craving cheese badly for weeks until I finally picked up a bag. This is actually a point I want to work on: figuring out my cravings and listening to them better. There has been an annoying lot of days where I ended up being unsatisfied and snacking non-stop even when I just finished a meal. I’m happy to report this was not the case on this day. How could it have been with a cheese-laden casserole that aided in building up the highly aquired pumpkin glow. Come Halloween I’ll shine brighter than any squashes …

Butternut Squash_Spinach Casserole

Snack time rolled around and I felt another burst of cooking inspiration – and use-up-spiration. And here I’m wondering again: when in the world did I purchase all of the food sitting in my cupboards [and in fact taking up space I could use for actual cups and plates]. Rather than grab a bar of chocolate right away* – there would be plenty in above-mentioned food stash – I decided to venture out a little further. Making good use of the fact it was the weekend and I had a choice to go for something different than my usual packed snacks. Homemade protein bars it was. Lately, I’ve noticed I wasn’t satisfied with my usual snacks [fruit, dried fruit + nut bars, chocolate] at work and am looking to improve the situation. Doing the math in my head I know the one nutrient my meals and snacks are probably lacking in is protein.


*okay, there was some chocolate happening in between. I can’t [and don't want to] help it.

These don’t look pretty but again: taste beats appearance. With vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, coconut flour and some other bits and bobs these hit the spot. If you’re anything like me texture matters and to ensure that and my intention for a slightly sweet-and-salty bar I added chopped up dry-roasted chickpeas. Clearly strange but good to some but again: Don’t knock it till you try it. Just like with chocolate I paired this with a cup of my favourite tea.

Protein bar


Happiness-inducing today: Finding the perfect parking spot in my street. Did I mention that can be a pain in the butt here??

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Have you made protein bars before? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

 Are you on a mission to eat ALL the pumpkin, too? In that case: share your favourite recipes here as well. There are never enough for pumpkin, squash or whatever you like to all it. (:

Do you say

a) pumpkin or squash?

b) autumn or fall?



Good good links #56

I’m in denial. How in the world is it Sunday already again?? Somebody tell me where time went … Either way, many of you spent some of it writing great posts that I’m happy to share today. I feel I must have still missed a million going-ons in the blog world with my reduced blog reading opportunites so let me know of any must-reads.

Talk to you soon!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

9 Body-Shaming Behaviors We All Need To Stop via Mind Body Green

Shaming or judging others and defining beauty merely by looks are unhealthy behaviours we’re better off without.

 When being healthy is unhealty via the real life RD

Stressing out over eating healthy 24/7 is much unhealthier than going with the flow and satisfying your cravings.

Things you should consider when reading my blog via Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen

True for all of us – not just RDs: We’re all just human and don’t need to uphold a certain image for readers or anybody else.

Authenticity comes in all shapes // share your story via Delightfully tacky

Awesome campaign: many different and inspiring stories about beauty and body image worth reading.


Good good [advice and inspiration]

ED Recovery Is Really Hard. And Totally Worth It. via Absured, She Wrote

It’s a daily struggle but we can silence the negative voice by reminding ourselves “there is a difference between merely enduring your life and LIVING”.

Create a Customized Self-Care Ritual via True Femme

Self-case is vital for our overall health and this is an awesome guide to find little ways to add more of it to your daily life.

How To Live Your Calling If You’re Worried About Money via Mind Body Green

It’s easy to stick with a not-quite-awesome situation because thinking about finances makes you anxious.


 Health & fitness

Feeling Weak from Working Out by Skylar @ Blonde Freedom via Jessie loves 2 run

Giving ourselves a much-needed break is worth taking some time to get back to the fitness level we were at before.



5 Investments Worth Making For Your Blog via The Healthy Maven

Great explanations on what to spend on to take your blog up a notch – even if you’re not blogging professionally. Remind me …

 Good good [posts to make you smile]

The ‘Real’ Reason Starbucks Baristas Spell Your Name Wrong via Huffington Post

Finally shedding light on one of the coffeehouse’s world’s biggest mysteries.

If We Talked About Meat Eaters The Way We Talk About Vegetarians via BuzzFeed

This! “I wish I was strong enough to be a meat eater. I just couldn’t give up tofu.”


Good good [food]

Mandel-Joghurt, Cashew-Joghurt, Macadamia-Joghurt – vegane Alternativen zu Sojajoghurt via Kochtrotz [German]

It’s possible! Detailed instructions on homemade soy-free vegan yogurt using different nuts as a base.

Caramelized Banana Chia Seed Chocolate Creme Brulee via Yeah … Imma eat that

Sneaky chia seed action in a classic dessert: Unlike any Brulee you’ll have seen before.

5 Back-to-School Oat-tastic Solutions for Students & Teachers via The Oatmeal Artist

How to have your oatmeal even on busy weekday mornings. Now if only I was better at meal prep [timing] in general …

Protein Froyo via Katalyst Health

Friends Froyo with benefits?!  My Vitamix I can’t wait to try this the vegan way.

Almond-Oat Flatbread with Tomatoes & Basil Cream (GF, Vegan) via Coconut & Berries

Move over, pizza. A faster but no less delicious-looking alternative.

Kale & Cashew Ricotta Pasta Bake via it doesn’t taste like chicken

Cashew magic once more. A dairy-free pasta bake I’m sure not only vegans would go crazy about.

Morrocan Quinoa and Chickpea Salad via The Healty Maven

Chickpeas and quinoa were meant to be – and often appear in my lunches together. Making this a must-try dish and it looks so good.

5 Low-Carb Comfort Food Alternatives via hello healthy

I’m all for carbs but these are fun ways to switch up classics like pasta and pizza nonetheless.

Popped Amaranth Cereal via edible perspective

One of my staple ingredients and easy to prepare at home if you can’t find readily puffed amaranth at the store – plus cheaper.


Happiness-inducing today:  A walk in the sun wearing my new boots and feeling good.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living



Tell me which posts got you thinking this week!

Birnen, Bohnen und ‘Speck’ – a classic gone vegan

A hearty sweet and savoury vegan green bean & pear sauté topped with creamy potatoes: reinterpreting a German classic.

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck I

Whenever my mum brings along some of her garden’s bounty it comes with a condition and I’m not kidding you here. The kind of condition where she makes me vow I’ll use said  produce right away. Rather than safe it [she knows me too well] for a ‘special’ dish [she doesn't understand this part] . Not taking into accountance my self-imposed pressure of not only using it up in due time but in a way worthy of it because it’s such a rare treat. I know.  Store-bought vegetables? Just use them. Homegrown? Come up with the best possible or exciting way of preparation.

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck 4
It’s definitely a struggle at times when I’m lacking creativity or can’t make the decision for one specific dish. Not this time.  For once I knew what I wanted as soon as I saw the gorgeous beans. With slightly crisper weather all that’s been on my mind lately is comfort food. And German classics often are just that. However,  if you’re familiar with traditional German cuisine you’ll know it isn’t exactly the most vegan-friendly to begin with. If a dish doesn’t contain meat you’ll find butter, milk or eggs in the ingredient list.

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck 3

The dish I decided to tackle is called Birnen,  Bohnen und Speck [Pears, Beans and Bacon]. Essentially, it’s a sweet and savoury hash of green beans,  bacon and onions. I can’t remember the last time I ate the real deal. Given we hardly ate traditonal German fare during my childhood and I’ve been vegetarian for 11 years by now it must have been a long time.  If you’ve seen my other recipes you’re aware I’m not taking authenticity or classics too serious rather putting my own spin on them. No matter how close or not to the original my version of this dish is: all that matter is that it’s seriously good in its own way. Who needs bacon again?

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck 6

Birnen, Bohnen und ‘Speck’-Auflauf / Vegan Pear, Green Bean and Ham Bake

  • 2 small red onions, chopped
  • Coconut oil
  • 150 g green beans,  washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 small not too ripe pear
  • 2 medium-sized starchy potatoes [150 g], peeled
  • Scant 1/2 cup almond milk [100 ml]
  • 1/2 vegan sausage [I used a chorizo by Wheaty], chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • nutritional yeast


  1. Boil green beans until not quite tender [because you'll bake them later on, too]. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onions and sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add in the sausage and fry until it gets crispy in places.
  4. Prepare potato topping by cooking the potatoes until tender. Blend with almond milk, salt and pepper.
  5. Top with the potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven [175 °C/ 350 °F] for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and serve.



Fake meats aren’t for everyone and I rarely buy them myself but this dish wouldn‘t come as close to the original without.

On the pictures: I ran out of beans when making this hence the impromtu add-in of random bits of frozen broccoli shortly before it went into the oven.

I’m linking up with Laura, Kierston, the Tasty Tuesday Link-up Party, Recipe of the Week, Tasty Tuesdays, The Real Food Recipe Roundup, The Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck and Healthy Vegan Fridays.


Happiness-inducing today: Good songs on the radio on my commute back home from work.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living


If you have an own garden or family giving you produce from theirs: Do you try to use any of it in the ‘best’ way possible, too?

Have you ever had ‘Birnen, Bohnen und Speck’?

What is your favourite recipe using green beans?



So many thoughts, so little time.

What a week! I can’t believe we already made it to Thursday but I’m happy about it. Only two more days until I’ll [hopefully] hop on a train to Hamburg for a mum-and-daughter day. It’s a well-known fact traveling – and working – is easier without too much freight so I’m following Amanda’s invitation to unload my brain by Thinking out loud.


1. There are certain topics that keep reappearing in my Thinking out loud posts. One being tea. I’m not a coffee drinker and a very picky tea connoisseur. The only kind of tea I truly enjoy is chai made from spices. No roibush, no fruity flavours, no green tea, … Essentially,  I’m pretty much settled on one tea: Sweet Chili. After my previous favourite was discontinued  I switched to Yogi’s version. April 021

Until now I regularly bought it at a number at different stores. But about two weeks ago I noticed stores didn’t restock. Not cool. In my desperation I looked for other ways to get my hands on it and ordered it online.  Amazon to the rescue.

2. When my mum was around on the weekend we needed to look something up online and I happened to have several tabs open on my laptop [as usual]. One of them was this post that made my mum asking what exactly that was in the first picture.  It hadn’t actually deemed to me on first looks but on a second … I trust in your dirty minds  you to tell what she thought ;).

3. On the note of my mum’s visit: she got the dishwasher set up and running! Even if this makes me look spoiled or lazy I feel relief knowing I won’t have to clean every dish by hand. Kudos to all of you who said they did even owning a dishwasher and preferred it that way. In my defense: I still make an effort to use as few dishes as possible and clean a pot or plate by hand or re-use a cup a second time the next time. Frugal habits I know I’m not alone with.

4. Every time I’ve been uploading another image for the blog lately I’ve become painfully aware just how many there already are and how little space is left. Meaning: I’ll need to clean up a little, no? So does that mean I have to delete old images from way back and then I’m good to go again? And would that mean there will suddenly be blank frames where once pictures were showing up after that? Questions upon questions from non-tech-savvy me.

5. Still, I couldn’t not share a picture of the monster kabocha I mentioned yesterday.  Because in true blog world fashion: pictures or it didn’t happen, right?!

Giant kabocha_Hokkaido

6. If I end up filling all remaining storage space before I find answers to those questions you’ll notice by me recycling pictures in every post. What I ate Wednesday portraiting meals I ate a year ago? It might happen and then I’ll be the one establishing frugal blogging. Or I’ll make good use of others’ images …

7. Like here: Do you remember the powdered greens from a while back?  Brands keep making me speechless time and time anew. Apparently smoothie drinkers are a new particularly interesting target group for German companies.

Smoothie cubes? Dried and pressed smoothie ingredients you apparently dissolve in water? I’m really not sure what to think so I’ll leave the judgement of whether these are genius or garbage up to actual smoothie drinkers. Personally, I’ll stick with tea for now and am off to get a cup of my Sweet Chili amazingness now. Better enjoy it while it still lasts. Plus, blog reading is just that much better when accompanied by tea and chocolate.

8. You know I had to add it: Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: The kindness of a stranger. Also her not laughing at me in a somewhat embarrassing situation.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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No questions for you. Just chime in with whatever random musings you feel like sharing.


WIAW: Going back to classics

Raise your hand if you feel writing a witty intro on Wednesdays is particularly hard. Okay, maybe it isn’t usually but I’ve been feeling under the weather today so I just decided you’d agree if we got the food talk started right away. It’s What I ate Wednesday and the theme emerging this time became clear as I sorted through the pictures: we’re talking classics today. Some typically German classics, some old favourites/ personal classics. That’s what happens when you move with a lot of food still on hand …


It’s back! My cooking motivation returned this past weekend. Oh did I miss it. Its return was likely fuelled by my mum visiting me and helping me continue at least partly with the mumables. She brought along the most immense kabocha I’ve had this year so far [more than 8 lbs - and at that making my kitchen scale go into error state]. Not just that but some of her freshly harvested snap beans, too. Green ones are obviously a classic but how about some purple ones in the mix?

September seaside 099

Pretty, no? I’ll let you in on a secret, though: they loose their beautiful colour almost immediately when cooked so the effect vanishes quickly. While brainstorming the ‘best’ way to use the rare home-grown beans I snacked on an old favourite. That’s the marvelous part of moving with a lot of food: you’re forced to use up what you have and end up rediscovering some goodies you bought way back. Like these double-roasted salted chickpeas.

Roasted chickpeas

In an effort to savour the precious produce I set out to veganize a German classic that I’m sure those stopping by from Vegan Wednesday will know: Birnen,  Bohnen und Speck.  Only it was far from the original not just in the fact it was devoid of any animal products. I also turned what’s traditionally a sauté with a side of boiled potatoes into a casserole. Never mind that I don’t remember the last time I had the real version: this was absolutely delicious.  Hearty, salty and comforting. If you’re curious about the details: there you go.

Birnen, Bohnen und Speck

Work has me back in my old soup lady patterns. Plans of more involved workday meals will have to wait until I figure out a good meal planning schedule that works for me. Rather than panicking at the lack of produce and ideas on Sunday.  All that in mind I think I did well on Sunday with this Parsnip Pumpkin Stew I prepped ahead of time for Monday and Tuesday lunches. A stick-to-your ribs vegan dish filled with vitamins and fibre. I ate it with a slice of seedy bread that met my criteria.

Parsnip Pumpkin Soup

A sweet ending was brought into existence by my sister. Or more specifically the fact that she lives close to an IKEA store and took a trip there solely to pick up the cutest popsicle molds ever for me. Too late for popsicles? Never. Even if a whole bowl of ice cream can seem a little too much [in terms of freeze-inducing properties] a little popsicle never hurt anybody.

September seaside 095

These are the simplest ever in that all I did was freeze the contents of an Alpro Soya dark chocolate dessert pot. Trust me: you want to try this! The pudding freezes to a not-at-all hard but velvety texture. If you don’t have popsicle molds: just shake the pudding cup and pop it into the freezer for a few hours. And then come back to thank me for the genius idea ;) . Until then: enjoy your Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Starting a promising new b0ok

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What’s your favourite dish using green beans?

Do you prefer ice cream or popsicles?  What are your favourite flavours?