Marvelously memory-filled weekend

Hi there and happy Monday! No matter what you did on the weekend I hope it was a great one for you.

If you read my post on Friday you’ll already know I got to spend another weekend at my parents’. Instead, this weekend was all about making the most of my time down there and enjoying the beauty of autumn. Here’s how I spent another marvelous weekend in the coutryside.

MiMM_new

Thanks to a cancelled appointment I was able to take the journey on Friday already leaving me with two full days at my parents’.  Also thankfully the journey took me just three ad a half instead of five hours this time – a good start.

While Friday was spent mostly relaxing Saturday was more active. After sleeping in – I swear it’s the too-soft mattresses’ fault! – I met an old friend for a walk around the lake in the city. Memories of us having to run around that lake in school came up along with laughing about the unsuccessful search of shortcuts back then. And mind you, we’re talking  classmates trying to shorten an already short run ;).

Walk around the lake

Afterwards we stopped by our favourite cozy little café to enjoy the sunshine and catch up some more. Seeing her for the first time in months was amazing. While I’ve noticed that with some of my friends from back then catching up after such a long while can be a bit harder it’s a breezer with her. No matter how much time has passed it never feels long with her and we don’t need to explain every detail to immediately understand each other.

Café

Back at my parents we had a friend pick us up to head out into the woods again. Not for a walk this time, however, but to hit the trails for a run. My mum just recently started running and as a family walk wasn’t possible this weekend due to my dad’s working schedule the ‘family run’ was born. Speed or distance didn’t matter – it was all about listening to the sounds of the birds, giving a new definition to the word ‘ankle biter’ [those hills!] and enjoying nature. Okay, I might have sped up a little on the way back …

Run

Truly trying make the most of the rare opportunity to see each other I spent the evening at my friend’s house for a movie and some more catching up. Not just any movie, though, but Despicable Me – yes, I got to see it earlier than expected. The evening not only introduced me to fluffy unicorns but the cutest admirer to date: meet Oskar :). He curled up on my lap and reminded me of the cats we had when I was younger. Memories coming up all weekend …

Dark picture but I couldn't not include Oskar.

Dark picture but I couldn’t not include Oskar.

While my dad had to work on Sunday my mum and I braved the gust for a bicycle tour on one of our favourite trails. Not without stopping at yet another lake to watch the swans and soaking up the sunshine. It’s a tour we’ve been taking dozens of times already and keeps bringing back a plethora of childhood memories every time.

Bike tour

Though it had again been just two days I’ll be forever amazed by the calming and soothing effect a weekend at the countryside and spent with my parents has on me.  Worries [job- and elsewise] might not disappear but I can at least put them on the backburner for a while and make them seem more managable.

At home 054

Knowing I won’t be visiting my parents again any earlier than the end of October is a bit disheartening but I’m trying not to fret too much. Time will likely fly by faster than we know it so here’s to making this week a marvelous one for now!

Happiness inducing today: Randomly getting to know some people on the train back and having a great conversation.

 

How often do you get to catch up with old friends [from school]? I wish it was more often for me but with my friends living all over Germany and us having different [class] schedules it’s been a lot harder than I imagined.

Do you have any cats or dogs? What are they called?

What were some highlights from your weekend?

 

 

Good good links #6

Happy Sunday!

With my goal of unplugging in mind I’m just quickly popping in to share some of my favourite posts of the week. I’m hopefully out and about again hiking the trails down at my parents today. See you tomorrow for a marvelous start into the week!

White flower

Good good [food for thought]

What “Clean Eating” means to me … via Khushboo’s Blog

A balanced approach to the trend of ‘clean’ eating.

Looking beyond appearance via The Big Man’s World

Looks can be deceiving and the happy-go-lucky guy next door might be struggling, too.

Dear Body … via The Healthy Maven

Great reminder not to take our bodies for granted and care for them.

Good good [advice]

How To Create A Gratitude Jar via Mind Body Green

Similar to a jar of good memories – there’s something to be thankful for in every day.

5 Natural Energy Booster via Women’s Health Mag

Much needed especially during the colder and darker seasons.

21 Cooking Tips That Will Change Your Life via Buzzfeed

#6 is one I’ve been using for ages and I swear cutting kabocha gets just that smidgen easier with it.

24 Must-Read Fitness, Health and Happiness Books for 2013 via Greatist

… and the reading list keeps getting longer. Some great picks!

A tutorial: verify your website or blog on Pinterest via Hungry Healthy Girl

Great step-by-step tutorial.

Track Fall Colour Changes Online via Mashable

Leaves changing colour are one of the most beautiful sights in nature in Autumn. These tips are just for the US but a great idea nonetheless.

Good good [laughter]

All The Weird Toys From Your Childhood via wait but why

Oh the memories … I’d have to disagree with the Legos, though. Who didn’t enjoy playing with them?

13 Problems Only Tech-Savvy People Experience via Buzzfeed*

… and now I feel better about not being a tech pro.

Gorgeous Retro Disney Princesses via Buzzfeed*

For all Disney fans out there.

27 Truths of Growing Up Without Cable via Buzzfeed*

Did I ever mention we didn’t get cable until I was about nine? I can relate to some [not all] of these for sure.

*apparently I didn’t get [buzz-]fed up with this website at all this week ;).

Good good [food]

Luxurious 7-Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup via Oh She Glows

Cheesy warming soup – yes, please!

Banana bread breakfast cupcake via Including Cake

Think single-serving banana bread in minutes. Sounds good to me.

Vegan Kabocha Indian Cornmeal Pudding via The Smart Kitchen

Another need-to-make kabocha dish with a sweet and savoury twist.

Bean & Sweet Potato Stew via The Little Honeybee

A hearty stew with a spicy kick filled with legumes and vegetables – it doesn’t get any better.

Sugar-free Salted Caramel Apple Butter via Keepin it kind

Oh.my. This takes apple butter to a whole new level of deliciousness.

 

Which posts made you think/laugh/get hungry this week? Feel free to share some links!

Did you read any of the above already? What are your thoughts?

How are you enjoying your Sunday?

Pasta or noodles? [vegan ‘egg’-fried udon]

Two posts in one day?! As mentioned in this week’s What I ate Wednesday post not all of my recent recipe trials failed so without further ado here’s a really good one.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while already you’ll know I’m a planner. Not just when it comes to organizing my daily activites but also when creating recipes. Surprisingly, though, some of the best recipes I came up with so far are those that were sparked by a random craving, adding a little of this and that along the way and sitting down to a plate of deliciousness.

Udon

That’s just what happened one more this time. I’d picked up a package of precooked udon at the stores ages ago already only to let them sit in the pantry for too long. Once more it was labelling this ‘white pasta’ as unhealthy that kept me from giving it a try earlier. In the end, though, my longing for noodles [somehow ‘pasta’ doesn’t sound right for udon] won and I’m glad it did.
My inspiration for this dish was the classic egg-fried rice and once more silken tofu worked its magic creating the vegan ‘eggyness’ with chickpeas lending a unique texture and taste. Simple, quick, delicious.

Udon

Egg-fried Udon

  • 1 small head bok choy, sliced thinly
  • 150 g broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¾ package fresh Udon noodles [150 g/5.4 oz]
  • ¼ package silken tofu (3 oz), mashed with ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp nooch
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps chickpeas, divided
  1. Sauté the brokkoli and garlic in a small pot for about 3-4 minutes. Add the bok choy and let it wilt.
  2. Meanwhile, mash the silken tofu, chickpeas and turmeric. It should still remain a slightly chunkier texture. Add to the vegetables and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  3. Add the smoked paprika, nutritional yeast and remaining chickpeas.
  4. Mix in the udon noodles and let them warm through.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I’m linking up with Kierston’s Recipe Friday.

recipefridaywithcandyfit

Happiness inducing today: Sunshine despite it being a cold day.

 

Udon: pasta or noodles?

What’s your favourite way to use udon?

Do you have any plans for the weekend?

Polkadots & ponderings #4

Time for another post of random thoughts. Let’s talk confessions, coffee and cardio [a bit of a stretch but running but that wouldn’t have rhymed]!

1. Confession: I got a little snap-happy on our walk at the weekend and may or may not post a few more of those pictures on the blog. That being said I also have a lot more pictures of homemade chocolate but I won’t tease you any more.

Walk

2. In an effort to celebrate National Pancake Day I dared to step on the holy grail of blog cookery and create a recipe myself. Confession: It had been at least six months [read: actually more] since I last made pancakes. Today’s savoury Peanut Cauliflower Pancakes were … a fail [they didn’t hold together] and not [they were still tasty] . They might qualify as strange but good yet I’m not sure: to share or not to share the recipe? I’ll let you decide :).

Peanut pancakes

3. Making myself laugh #1: When I heard Starbucks was going to introduce the Pumpkin Spice Latte in Germany this year [no, we didn’t have it in past ones] I got all excited. The whole blog world has been raving about it for ages after all so it has to be awesome, right?! Yet even though they released the PSL on Monday already I haven’t hurried into a Starbucks yet. Because … I’m not a coffee drinker. Not at all. And finding out the price [about 5.50 $ for a tall one!] I’m not that sure I’ll give it a try any time soon.

4. Making myself laugh #2: Call me ridiculous after reading the above but while running some errands I was approached by a Starbucks employee giving away samples and this happened:

Have you tried it? Is it good?

Come on! Would you have refused a free beverage? It’s sitting in my fridge now …

5.  Remember me talking about changing my banana buying habits to get a free copy of Despicable Me? It arrived just this week. I have yet to watch it but it will happen soon!

6. This is so.freaking.cute. And makes me want to get a dog.

7. While at my parents I was shocked 😉 to find out my mum had yet to use the Essie polish she got when visiting me a month ago. Needless to say I had to let it get some play – totally selfless sympathy, obviously ;).

Russian roulette

8. Speaking of visiting my parents: I’ll be heading down to their house again this weekend. My mini goal for the weekend is to unplug at least one day because it’s about time. Hence why my laptop won’t be traveling with me – for the first time in a while. Technology addict?! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

9. Running talk: I’m apparently not ready for fall yet or at least daylight savings still confuse me. As I mentioned recently I’m an evening workout person. Too bad that means having to run earlier in the day now … which I have yet to manage. Running in the semi-darkness? Not cool.

10. Confession: My goal of writing letters is going well – and not. Wondering why? It’s going well because I really enjoy it and can think of so many people I want to send some snail mail. The ‘not so good part’: there are too many people I want to mail. I might just turn this into an ongoing project for the months to follow – and why not, really?

Happy Friday!

Happiness inducing today: A skype chat with my brother who’s currently in Australia.

In which situations do you make yourself laugh?

To post or not to post the pancake recipe :)?

Coffee fiends: Should I try the Pumpkin Spice Latte? And did you try the Vanilla Frappuccino? Did you like it?

Just add chocolate

Just following up on the comments on my last post: Consider yourself invited for a hike through the woods over at my parents’ ;)! Who said blogger meet-ups could only be held in cities?!

Oh, also: if you need some happiness inspiration you might be interested in having a look at my guest post over at Lucie’s.

Sigh. It was sure to happen. After having a good start with my goal of trying new recipes what I’d hoped to avoid occured: I failed. Yes, I still tried new recipes last week and created one myself, too. But either my standards are too high [cue perfectionsm] or my constant subbing and playing around with others’ recipes just took overhand. Long story short: I found myself seriously lacking [pretty] pictures for today’s What I ate Wednesday post.

My original idea [or intended good habit] for this goal was to share which recipes by other bloggers I’d prepared. As explained above I can’t quite fulfill these expectations [even if they were my own only] but I found a way to make up for it  … First, though: Thanks for hosting our weekly celebration of all things delicious and fall-ish, Jenn!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Let’s start with the good part. While I might not have achieved as much as I wanted in terms of recipe creating there was one dish that turned out really well.

Udon

Pictured above is the result of a longing [for noodles] no longer ignored, being inspired by a recipe for fried rice on another blog and craving broccoli: Vegan ‘egg’-fried Udon. Definitely not seasonal but it hit the spot. I’ll post the recipe on Friday.

… and what do you do when your recipe-trying intentions fail? Make up for them with chocolate, obviously. Running to the store to pick up a bar or a box of truffles isn’t exactly highly involved so that wouldn’t do. But how about homemade chocolate?

Chocqlate

My previous trials at making chocolate from scratch were far from stellar – and that’s still expressing it in a nice way [note: never trust 7th grade chemistry textbooks telling you a mix of cocoa, powdered sugar and butter actually turned out like chocolate. Not.at.all.] This time, however, I was off to a better start. Not only because of being older [and hopefully wiser ;)] but also thanks to the kind people at Chocqlate mailing me one of their chocolate-making sets. Each set consists of five simple ingredients: unroasted cocoa beans, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, agave [instead of refined sugar] and ground vanilla. While the company doesn’t use the standard fair trade and organic labels they make it a point to buy their ingredients from small family farms and know each of their suppliers personally. That’s a point in their company statement that especially spoke to me.

Chocqlate II

And the result? Admittedly, it’s not like the chocolate you can buy in stores. The consistency isn’t as smooth but that likely has to do with both the fact that it’s impossible to mimic the traditional conche used by companies in your kitchen. The flavour is spot on, though. My first thought was Mousse au chocolate – rich, dark and just the right amount of sweetness. I liked being able to play around with toppings and add-ins. And what a bad blogger/nut butter-fiend would I have been not to try homemade almond butter cups :)?!*

*Chocqlate sent me the chocolate set free of charge but I wasn’t otherwise compensated for my review. All opinions stated in this post are my own.

One other blogger’s recipe I tried and liked a lot, though, was this Mushroom Cauliflower Risotto. Unfortunately not truffled because I was missing the key ingredient but it I’ll keep my eyes open for the much coveted oil and give this another go. Or even if I can’t track it down I will. Other than that, though, I didn’t modify Davida’s recipe much other than substituting bok choy for spinach [you wouldn’t believe how hard to find it is!] and adding mixed legumes. So good and the thyme gave this a nice fall-ish flavour.

Cauliflower Risotto

With all the chocolate in this post there isn’t a real need for ending the post on a sweet note, right? So how about a snack I hadn’t has in years and just rediscovered?

Popcorn!

Popcorn!

Sure, I had it in movie theatres sneaking handfuls from friends but homemade? I can’t even remember the last time but it must have been more than … seven [?!] years. Taking a clue from Amanda I prepared it with coconut oil and just added some salt. Good idea, good snack and good way to end a post :).

Happy Wednesday!

 Happiness inducing today: Getting some advice on the job search front by a former prof. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Which spices and herbs do you associate with which season? Fall – or should I say autumn? – is anything ‘earthy’ like thyme or rosemary for me, cinnamon, mace, …

What would your ideal bar of chocolate look like: add-ins, toppings, fillings, …?

Popcorn: When was the last time you had it? Sweet or savoury?

Blissfully falling into autumn

See what I did there? With a slight preference for the term ‘autumn’ when it comes to naming the season and the latter having started on Saturday I couldn’t help but choose this title. And a blissful start it was indeed.

But first things first: Happy Monday! The first Monday of the season so how much cleaner than clean could our slates be ;)?! Let’s take a look at all things marvelous from the weekend. Thank for hosting once again, Katie!

MiMM_new

Most marvelous about the past weekend was my spontaneous decision to head down to my parents’ for the first time since my sister’s wedding. Swapping the hustle-bustling grey city for the gorgeous nature and calmth of the countryside – bliss.

Fall

Sparing you the story of my less-than-pleasant train/bus journey [five instead of two and a half hours? Not cool.] the time that followed more than made up for it. First stop after my arrival: my mum’s raspberry bushes. As in: must eat all the [golden] berries. Not like I didn’t eat my fair share of red ones, either, though ;).

Raspberries

My parents were out and about dancing the day away [read: they’re avid dancers and attended a workshop]. While waiting for them I read, pottered about the house and went for a walk. As much as I enjoy my runs in the city already they can’t compare to hitting the trail in the countryside. The weather was perfect – mild temperatures, no rain – and breating in fresh country air again was truly marvelous. Once back my parents had arrived and we sat together chatting, drinking tea and planning the next day.

Candles

Taking full advantage of the fact that my siblings weren’t around and for once not sharing my parents’ attention I’d made a wish: going for a long walk/hike through the autumnal forest. If there’s one activity that I need to partake in every year around this time it’s a walk in the woods. Even though I haven’t written a fall bucket list [yet?] this would have been far on top.

walk

Being in nature lets me forget all current worries, reminiscene my childhood and simply enjoy time with my parents. Not waste a thought on what I’m wearing, what others are thinking of me or my to-do list for the next day – just be in the moment.

Autumn walk

Maybe taking inspiration from this little guy who was clearly enjoying the simply life …

beetle

Back from our walk I visited a friend of my family. Originally just meaning to deliver a present from my parents but then accepting a spontaneous invitation for a cup of tea. Skipping my planned run for it? Totally worth the great conversation and catching up. It’s these little things that made me feel anxious a while ago still and that I’m getting better at accepting. Feels so good to worry less and enjoy more.

teapot

And again one party just isn’t enough to start Monday off right. Just looking at the sheer amount of kabocha I’ve been eating the past weeks and months I simply couldn’t not join Heather’s MMAZ this week.

Meatless Mondays

While last week was about getting creative in the kitchen ourselves this week we’re supposed to show off what we’ve cooked using somebody else’s recipe. Even though I usually have a hard time choosing it was a matter of second this time. The very day after Laura had posted her Thai Peanut Kabocha and Cauliflower I had some roasting in the oven.

Sprint2the table PB vegetables

There’s a lot to say here [I’m not usually a fan of roasted vegetables; peanut flour over here isn’t even nearly as amazing as the one in the US; …] but here’s the short version: go and make this recipe! It’s strangely addictive. Just the right amount of spicyness with the cinnamon adding a subtle sweet touch rounding out the flavour. I couldn’t stop snacking until the whole batch was gone so if that isn’t an indication of how good it was … Thank you for the awesome recipe, Laura! Now if only the stores around here hadn’t conspired against me not offering kabocha anymore. Please keep your fingers crossed for me :).

 

Happiness inducing today: The whole weekend spent at my parents’. Refilling my happiness reserves all the way.

 

How did you spend the weekend?

Fall or autumn: which term do you prefer – no matter if it’s the one you use more often or not? Maybe it’s because I grew up using “autumn” but I just like the sound of it better. Either way, here’s to embracing the season of [scented!] candles, comfy wool socks handknitted by grandma [guess what I’m wearing right now?!] and curling up in bed with a good book.

If you don’t live at your parents’ anymore: how often do you see them?