The Art of Commenting [to connect and communicate]

What a title, right? If you’re asking any blogger what they like most in the blog world the answer is likely going to be: the community. Connecting with alike minds. And one of the best ways to do just that is by commenting. No big deal, right? You’d think so but I’ve come across some – dare I say? – commenting faux-pas in the past that inspired me to think out loud about the art of polite commenting. Take this with a tiny spoon grain of salt and let me know your take in the comments.

[And because complients and kind comments are like flowers those make appearances in today’s post, too. Also because I may or may not be obsessed with taking pictures of them.]

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Avoid one-word comments.
Let’s face it: a quick “Delish!”, “awesome” or “gorgeous!” isn’t saying much at all. What would you expect the blogger to reply?  It feels awkward to say “thanks ” for every such comment you get – and depending on the post  [like What I ate Wednesdays] there might be many of these.
The one exception to this rule for me is when many commenters already said all you’d do, too, or if the post was expressing all your feelings towards a topic so well all that’s on your mind can summed up in an ‘Amen!’ I’ve seen others use this occasionally and for the most part was right with them there. Personally,  I still prefer to write at least one sentence because that’s the way I roll but go you if you’re the master of the  [occasional] one-word comment.

Flowers

2. Show some appreciation for the blogger. 

No, that’s not the hurt soul in me speaking – promise. We all like to get some praise or just a little virtual pat on the back  for our work and the time we put into a post. Wouldn’t you like somebody raving about how delicious your bowl of chocolate cookie crumble oatmeal topped with homemade honey vanilla almond butter looks in a What I ate Wednesday post? Or how adorable your new dress is? Or chime in on a more serious issue you addressed and tell you you’re not alone in feeling a certain way? All those are little virtual pats on the back … or flowers.

Flowers

3. Don’t scroll to the end of the post right away to solely replying any questions posed there.

Hurt soul or not: yes, I speak from experience here. At least for myself I can say that while I’m genuinely curious to hear your answers to those I’d much rather have you chime in with any thoughts that came up while reading my post.  Also, in my experience  replying to the questions only every time you visit a certain blog doesn’t help build a relationship with that blogger. It’s like exchanging pre-set questionaires: you’re only getting a very limited glimpse at the other’s personality.  Like no blog could run successfully for years if its author posted survey after survey.  It’s the in-between the lines, the quirks that are revealed in free-form conversations and daily happenings that friendships are built on.

4. Give feedback

Liked something?  Don’t just click the ‘like’ button in your Bloglovin’ feed. Or at least not every time. As I mentioned before I completely understand lacking time to comment on every single post you read. As much as I wish I could and want to it’s not realistic when there’s way too much going on in every day life already. Still, how would we as bloggers know which [parts] of our posts you enjoyed if we didn’t let each other know? It’s a win-win because if you let the author know what you like they will [likely] publish more of your favourite content. You get what you ask for.

Flower

5. Write the kind of comment you want to receive

The easiest advice is really to ask yourself what you’d like others to say about your posts. Despite making commenting look like a science of its own here I think many of these points  are very natural.  Just that it’s so easy to forget our intuitiveness when we want to be friends with everybody and spread the news about our blogs.  There’s nothing wrong with that. Simply take a moment every now and then to walk a few steps in others’ shoes. Comment the way you’d like others to comment on your own blog or [if you’re not a blogger yourself] the way you’d like to converse in real life. Simple, isn’t it?

Happiness-inducing today:  Lunch out with my mum for the first time in forever. We went to our favourite small local café and had a delicious risotto with green asparagus and cherry tomatoes. Plus a good conversation – part of every good meal experience.
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No questions today. Just your thoughts on the topic with the one rule: no one-word-comments, please ;) .

Vegetarian Tortilla Bake

Savoury, vegetarian, packed with filling protein: this Italian-inspired single-serving casserole covers all the bases of a balanced meal and leaves you feeling satisfied.

Tortilla casserole_parsley

Do you ever create recipes that you feel everybody should try right this very second? No intro needed and never-mind-how-unspectacular-this-looks? Yes? Well, this is one of them for me. So go and make this right this very second. Okay, okay, I get it. You’re playing hard to convince today and want me to sing the praises of the dish before you even ave a glance at the actual recipe. I get it.  Luckily, offering just that for this casserole isn’t hard. Because – remember – it’s amazing.

Tortilla casserole_2

  • Easy to prepare.
  • Vegetarian.
  • Filling.
  • Packed with  protein.

If you’ve been around for a while already you might remember my excitement when I finally found tortillas without any sketchy ingredients last year. It’s funny how that’s been almost exactly a year ago to the day and I’m just now back on the tortilla kick. Which reminds me I should remake that vegan enchilada bake before I run out of tortillas again ..

Moving onto today’s dish, though. For one, this isn’t your average tortilla bake because it is not Mexican [not like any of my recipes were completely authentical but you know that]. Rather, I went the Italian route – or at least I deem any thing spiced this way Italian. Parts of this recipe were inspired by a recipe for a pasta bake I saw on another blog [but what I turned it into is completely different so I’m not making sense here …] and what my mum calls her ‘vegetable bolognese’. That is in fact nothing like meat bolognese at all but delicious in its own right so I won’t lecture her about that one.

Tortilla casserole_1.

The deliciously doughy tortilla, the creamy filling and plenty of full-bodied vegetable ragout-like sauce make this one satisfying dish. If I haven’t convinced you yet … well, you’re missing out.

Vegetarian Tortilla Bake

  • 1 flour tortilla [may use a gluten-free one]

Vegetable sauce:

  • 3/4 cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, diced finely
  • 1/2 medium zucchini [~ 100 g], diced finely
  • 1 tsp dried mixed Italian herbs**

coconut oil for frying and greasing the pan

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • optional: a handful of chopped broccoli [I’ve made this without but the time I took pictures had a package of frozen florets leftover so I added some thawed and chopped ones to the filling]

 

  1. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add about 2/3 of the chopped vegetables. Stir, cover and let cook for around five minutes or until vegetables are at your preferred level of tenderness. I like mine to still have some bite to them but it’s up to you.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce. Season with pepper and herbs. Cover the pot again and let simmer while you prepare the filling. If the sauce looks too thick, add about a 1/4 cup of water.*
  4. For the filling mash the chickpeas with a few tablespoons of water. I chose to leave some whole chickpeas in there but you could also blend all of them for a hummus-like puree. Stir in cottage cheese, cumin and nutrional yeast. Add pepper to taste.
  5. Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to your prepared casserole dish. Cover with half of the tortilla. Spread with half of the filling and the reserved chopped vegetables. Cover with the remaining tortilla and pour the vegetable sauce on top.
  6. Drop dollops of remaining cottage cheese filling.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  8. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Notes:

* You want the sauce to be on the thinner side but not soupy as the tortilla soaks up a lot of liquid while baking.

** The blend I used consists of oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme so these could be substituted.

Tortilla casserole_inside_4

… and fresh herbs straight from the garden for decorative purposes make everything better.

In hopes of spreading the tortilla trend I’m sharing this for Recipe of the weekTasty Tuesdays, Real Food Recipes, Strange but good and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Visiting a theatre play spontaneously. I enjoy going but with lack of options around it still doesn’t happen regularly.
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Where do you get the inspiration for your cooking?

Have you ever used tortillas in a non-Mexican dish?

Good good links #86

Crazy how time keeps flying by. Are we really about to start into the last full week of April tomorrow??! At least that means there will be more and more truly warm and sunny days  [that’s what one of my cousins and I decided on so it’d better happen]. Either way, it’s Sunday and I know you’re wating for some good reads not my time/weather ramblings so there we go!

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

 Being Uncommon is Normal via Sharing Healthiness

Just because it’s what millions of people do doesn’t  mean something is right and normal for you.

Why I Won’t Call You Skinny by Martha Kate via Blonde Freedom
Because a certain body type isn’t worth  the struggles and price  or what we should be striving for in life.
Good good [advice and inspiration]
Another great post by Kaila that in fact couldn’t have come at a better time for me [more on that soon].
How to Silence Your Inner Critic via Marcia’s Healthy Slice
Starting a little dialogue with your worries within might prove them wrong and help you move on.
I’m all for listening to your inner cues and eating when you’re hungry but these are great for when you know you’re not and need distraction.
Blogging

Easy to understand tutorial on how to set up your blog and follow-ups in how to take further steps.

 

Health and Fitness
The ‘Perfect’ Body via Blogilates

While I find the video somewhat exaggerated it’s a good reminder that shaming others’ bodies is not cool. At all.

 

Good good [posts to make you smile]

5 Superfoods That Do Gross Things to Your Body

I wouldn’t consider the carrot tan unwanted but some of the others are really not quite attractive side effects of getting your greens in.
 
Good good [food]
Cake Batter Cashew Butter via Fit Foodie Finds
All the sprinkles! Perfect for your birthday. Or your cat’s birthday [but with you eating]. Or any made-up celebration, really.
This makes me wish strawberry season would hurry up starting, like, tomorrow [and not in two months].

Rocky Road Coconut Milk Ice Cream via Treats with A Twist

Homemade ice cream in a crazy good flavour combination that doesn’t require an ice cream maker?! Yes, please.

Spinach and Red Lentil Bake (vegan) via The Porridge Pot

Minimal ingredients and simple preparation make this a nutritious dish for meal prep.

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Getting to help somebody just doing what I enjoy in anyway (writing). It’d take a little longer to explain so I’ll keep it short here. (:
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It’s always tomorrow somewhere.

Oh, hey, it’s Thursday again. Lucky you [or me, really] I’ve been hit by a random thought to share after spending some time in the dreaded blogging funk bubble. It’s not a happy place to be but  so far there’s always been an escape at some point so let’s get thinking out loud with Amanda.

Thinking-Out-Loud
Raise your hand if you’re a fellow tomorrow sayer. And please tell me I’m not the only one. I can’t be.
Isn’t tomorrow an awfully amazing word? It’s a promise to take things into action yet not. Allowing for that last minute change of mind or simply postponing it to another tomorrow.

Traveling somewhere that requires me to leave my comfort zone? Tomorrow. Definitely checking train tickets tomorrow.
Finally sorting through the growing piles of unworn clothes that you can’t seem to let go off? Oh, tomorrow for sure. The weather’s just too nice outside today.

Trying that yoga class in town being the completely unflexible person I am [and risk making a fool of myself]? Tomorrow sounds like a great time …

Tackling another goal on my [recovery] list. Today’s really not the day because [insert whichever reason] but I’m sure I’ll feel ready tomorrow.

 
And yes, tomorrows have happened. Sometimes more semi-tomorrows in terms of checking items off my lists. Tomorrow have proven to be good times trying new food and discovering that my fears were arbitrary to begin with.

Vapiano

Tomorrows have been times to travel and see new places [or old ones again] …

Yet even if we enjoy ourselves at that time it’s easy [for me at least] to see those memories fade faster than anything once we settle back into a safe routine.

Berlin

No matter how long my to-do list for a given day is: tomorrow’s will be even longer and I won’t even need to tell you why …
I am and have always been a worrier. Maybe it’s ingrained in us humans [only some were better at loosening up in evolution]. It sure made sense when you needed to be aware of hungry beasts lurking outside your cave.Cautiousness pays off when you’re a little red-capped girl crossing a dark forest to visit your grandma [wolves and all that, remember?]. Even in today’s world it’s smart to wear a security helmet when heading out onto the road. Staying inside and avoiding the dangers of traffic or the woords altogether isn’t, though. Yes, there can be dangers. Yes, there’s the possibilty of risking some looks in that gym class. But there might also be fun and adventures waiting to be discovered by us. Who knows? Certainly not those staying within their comfort zone.

Walking through the forest
But being the word and grammar nerd that I am and complaining about time differences [they really annoy me to no avail when it comes to communicating with friends overseas] it hit me: it’s always tomorrow somewhere. When I’m about to go to sleep millions of Australians are welcoming my tomorrow already. So where’s the point in delaying?

I’m not writing this post because I developed the magical ability to turn my mindset around with a simple snap of my fingers. But I do believe it’s possible. Every day is a new chance. And today might just be the tomorrow to make things happen. Right?
Just like today is the day to hit publish on this post. Sure, I might let it sit another day and find an insanely unique and different way to write a sentence here and there. But chances also are I’ll never post it then.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Discovering that while I might not have a green thumb [at all] getting your hands covered in dirt and planting kabocha seeds [fingers crossed!!] is quite relaxing and distracting.

 

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No questions today but any random thoughts that come to your mind.

Good good links #85

Talk about the latest ever good good links in the history of my blog … To make a long story short: I apparently jinxed myself on Thursday and what I explained there became true now: two full days without internet. Meaning no catching up on blogs during that time and no way to publish this post in time. What it results in is a shorter but not worse edition of my link-up. Even with fewer posts I’m convinced there’s something for everybody! Enjoy and feel free to share your own favourites from the week in the comments!

Happy Monday!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

The Before and After Obsession via Bagels to Broccoli

Don’t let pictures that might not even show 100% reality get you down. There’s nothing wrong with you just the way you are.

The Thing About “Healthy Living Blogs” via My Food ‘n’ Fitness Diaries

We all differ by so many means: Don’t let anybody else define what’s ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ for you and at the same tome don’t shun others’ lifestyles.
Are you really making all choices in life based on wanting to feel good or are guilt and avoidance playing into them on occasion? Good points to make you reconsider.
There’s More to Life Than … viA Daily Moves and Grooves
A great reminder that food and fitness are only parts of what a truly happy and healthy life looks like.
 
Good good [advice and inspiration]
Preaching What We Can’t Practice via Paleo Running Momma
It’s a lot easier to talk about something than have it down to pat in our own lives. Opening up about it can actually be helpful for both sides.
 This!: “Your happy weight isn’t a number, but an equilibrium.” So. much. truth.
Why The Scale Is An Asshole via Brittany Lesser
Because it says basically nothing about you.
What to look for instead of nutrition labels the next time you’re at the store.
 

 

 

Health and Fitness

 

Good good [posts to make you smile and DIYs]

You Might Be A Healthy Living Blogger If … via Clean Eats, Fast Feets

Have you had your green smoothie topped with bee pollen while wearing yoga pants and taking gym selfies yet today?

10 Questions Not to Ask a Food Blogger via Hummusapien

Just in case you were wondering if you really can’t replace the peanut butter for applesauce in somebody’s PB cookies gettiing the same results … Don’t ask,

 FROZEN Lunch Box Jokes via Kristen Duke Photography
For those of you who have children – or those young at heart and fond of Disney.
 
Good good [food]

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lollies (vegan) via Floral Frosting

Because who doesn’t like cookie dough or ice lollies?! These don’t even require you to prepare a dough!

Oil-Free Eggplant ‘Parmesan’ with Chunky Marinara via Plant Plate

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Friends. No further lengthy explanation needed, right?!
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Truthful Thursday

It feels like forever since I last joined Amanda for Thinking out loud – and I missed it. In fact, I have a slew of posts lined up that I just need to make the final edits on. But for today, I chose to go the random thought route for a reason …

Thinking-Out-Loud

Truth: I haven’t told you everything.

Yes, I’m being dramatic here. Aside from an irregular posting schedule I haven’t done any kind of life update post in quite a while. Granted, I’m probably not the most open book in general but given I like knowing what other bloggers are up to it’s only fair to spill the beans.

So … where was I or why the silence? It’s actually more: where am I. The answer: at my parents’ again. For now. I was working on a temporary contract only in my last job with no chances for extending it because they had no open positions for long-term employment. The reason I kept this to myself for so long was … shame. Insecurity. Sadness. But then I remembered I can’t be the only one struggling with this. Job offerings in my field and for my current level of experience are fair and few in between. Actually, I had a job interview at a magazine I was very interested in scheduled but they had to cancel it short notice due to changes in law requiring them to pay higher minimum wages and they said they couldn’t afford it. So I’m back in the waiting game again and searching for job opportunities. Fingers crossed!

On a walk

Truth: I can’t make any promises on my posting schedule as of now.

Remember my comment of feeling like a fish without water recently? I’ve mentioned it before but it probably bears repeating as it affects my blogging activity so much. When my dad is home nobody else can access the internet. It’s hard to explain why – I told you I had no idea of technology – but basically the connection isn’t strong enough when he needs to access his office computer from home.  Meaning that most days I get a few hours of WLAN in the morning and afternoon until he arrives but a) it’s spring and I’m sure most of you would rather be out and about during the day, too, and b) I’m a night owl and most productive in the evening. Plus, it’s when most of your posts [unless you’re German, too] that I want to read get published [dratted time difference]. In short: If I make a disappearing act despite promising a post on a certain day [really hoping this won’t happen for my Good good links] or you notice me commenting on your blog less it’s not because I don’t want to. Like I wish I could visit just about every blog in today’s link-up and comment on your posts  – I can’t. Internet access limitations suck. Fact.

Enough of the Debbie Downer news, though. Life might not be at its happiest for me right now but that doesn’t mean I was in a constant funky mood.

Truth: These are my new shoes and not.

March_April 025

Call me terrible but I had these shoes sitting around for … a while [not to say maybe two years?] prior to wearing them now. Let me explain, though. I’m not a sneaker girl at all. Give me all the boots or booties and I’ll be happy as a clam. My feet, however, wouldn’t be in for it. My hip pain has been back so I’ve been taking a break from any kind of shoes with even a hint of heel and testing the waters with those sneakers. And I’m sorry to say I still don’t like them but they’re apparently doing my feet well. Sometimes health benefits outweight looks, right?

 

Truth: Chocolate needs more enthusiasm.

Lindt

Apparently, I wasn’t selling the chocolate in my last post well enough  – honestly, Lindt should have invited me to become an embassador already but sadly no luck so far ;) –  because there were quite a few questions doubting its tastiness. Really?!. Also, when I talked about eating four squares of chocolate yesterday I should have clarified it was only four because we’re talking about a Lindt bar.  For any of you who are unfamiliar with Lindt bars [though I’m not sure we can be friends anymore in that case ;) ]: Four squares of that = almost half the bar. And yesterday wasn’t an usual day in terms of chocolate consumption so looking at the fact I ate nearly half a bar of this chocolate means that either a) I lack self-control or b) that this bar is so. freaking. good. Smooth, not bitter at all and with that plesant hint of spicyness keeping the bar from tasting too sweet [because I’m actually a huge fan of darker bars (80 % and upwards), too]. By now I’ve hopefully convinced you to go and buy this bar ASAP. You can thank me later. (:

That’s it: my thoughts for today. Like I said I have a few drafts waiting to be finished and – fingers crossed  I’m hoping to publish these soon. For now all that’s left for me to say is: Happy Thursday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Marveling at the fact how much longer the days already are thanks to daylight savings.

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No questions today but any random thoughts that come to your mind. And please tell me I’m not the only one who doesn’t like sneakers.