Trusting hunger cues & Berlin recap

Visiting Berlin isn’t just the obviously amazing experience of spending time in this vibrant and multicultural city. For me, it’s also a way of measuring my progress in terms of eating. There are usually months in between any two visits to the city and I can see at least a little bit of improvement every time. Maybe not visible to an outsider but noticable differences to me nonetheless. It’s What I ate Wednesday again so here’s to sharing not only meals but also some reflections on past and present times at Berlin. Don’t worry: deliciousness overweighs the heavier thoughts.


We had intended to spend the whole weekend in the city but as my mum had a busy week and still more work to do on Saturday we decided to postpone a longer trip and make the most of Sunday. Getting up far too early for my liking [7:40 AM on a weekend?!] to be at the station in time to catch our train at shortly past 9. How do you early birds do that every day??

at the station

Our first stop and priority after arriving in Berlin was warming up from the chill that lay over the city at a café. Not any, though, but Sarah Wiener’s at the Museum of Communication that we’d meant to visit in anyway. The café has a cozy and comfy feel and an inviting atmosphere.

Sarah Wiener_Kommunikationsmuseum

For any of you knowing Sarah Wiener you won’t be surprised by how pretty – though not vegan – the piece of cake my mum ordered with her coffee. I may or may not have snagged the decorative piece of white chocolate.

Sarah Wiener_Torte

Past visits to Berlin evoke memories that range from not more than an apple for breakfast to then touring the city in a grouchy beast mode and brain fog. Enjoyable days? Far from it. Not only did they clearly affect my general condition but fighting with my mum – related to food or not – was unavoidable. Eating or lack therof pushed itself in the foreground no matter what we did. It became a dominating issue whenever we visited Berlin interfering with any plans we might have made. Previously [note: years ago] trying to eat as little and move as much as possible throughout the day hadn’t made for the most amazing times. This time, however, I let go of plans and followed my intuition. A breakfast that left me satisfied along with some snacks was a first good change. The second was not ignoring my grumbling stomach after making our way through the exhibition on beauty and body image [possibly more details in a post to come]. Knowing we weren’t going to have lunch until the late afternoon we spontaneously stopped by yet another café.


I’m not a fan of being the only one eating when the people I’m with aren’t hungry yet so this was a step out of my comfort zone. A step that felt good and right, though. Not only was every spoonful of this tomato soup with a sweet and spicy kick warming and delicious. It was another little learning experience: Listening to our hunger cues – however untimely they might feel – isn’t always easy when our mind tries to convine us elsewise. But in doing so we free our minds from focussing on food instead being able to turn our full attention to more important things.

Tomato soup_youghuru

Like meeting blends as I did after eating said bowl of soup above. I’ll keep myself from gushing about how awesome meeting Lucie was again 😉 – but just because today’s about the food. And there was more of that because as good as it tasted the soup clearly didn’t comprise a full lunch. Enter lunch part two. When it came to choosing between an early train home or lunch food won. Food and good company.

Burrito bowl_January 2014

No visit to Berlin is truly complete without fulfilling my need for a burrito bowl at Dolores. Same order as usual: mild salsa, Mexican-spiced brown rice, a hearty serving of black beans. All topped off with salad and freshly prepared tortilla chips. We had a great time caching up with one of my aunts and her boyfriend who are living in Berlin. And just because it’s hard to tell from the first picture: yes, there were rice and beans below all of the chips.


Snacks on the train back home included Amanda’s oatmeal bars once more which I swear get better by the day. Back home I had – well-prepared as I am [as if] – oat bran waiting for me to reheat it on the stove making for a great breakfast for dinner on a cold cold night. Trust me you don’t want to see a picture of this let alone one taken in sleepy and ravenous state [not like I took one but you don’t need to know me slacking on blogger duties ;)]. Previously I’d have neither had a two-part lunch nor allowed myself to eat a full dinner plus more snacks after returning home on a rest day with hardly any moving around. It’s all about learning to trust my hunger cues and as hard on my mind as it can still be at times I don’t want to go backwards anymore.

Oatmeal bar_II

There you go with a day of good food, meeting a blend and bonding with family in Berlin. Blissful.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Quiet me time in the morning.

Have you been to Berlin before?

Do you have an easy time listening to your hunger cues and following along no matter which situation you’re in?

Blended in Berlin [blogger meet-up]


Keeping it [rather] short and sweet but also slightly sappy here today. If that’s not for you just return tomorrow for the food. I won’t judge you [much]. For those of you who are still reading: let’s talk blends once more. It’s a well-known fact among bloggers that aside from all wonderful parts of blogging the friendships we create are the most amazing. Like I mentioned before this weekend did not only involve a simple day in Berlin but involved a meet-up with Lucie.

Atlantic Berlin_2014

Lucie had suggested a cute little restaurant in Kreuzberg, the neighborhood she used to live while in Berlin in 2008 for our meet-up.  It had the typical Berlin flair – a mix of guests from students, tourists as well as people who looked like they had been born and raised in Berlin. Unsurprisingly the place was packed and had a great atmosphere. I’ll admit I was still anxious the hours leading up to our meet-up. What if we didn’t get along? Or if I don’t know what to say? Or … I can be quite talkative but awkward when first meeting others. Clearly my constant over-worrying tendencies persist even in the face of happy events to come.


All of my worries were obviously [or not so to me, apparently] unnecessary and forgotten all at once when we met. From the moment we hugged and said hello we clicked with each other right away. It’s one of those clichés that’s true: when you’ve been following each other’s blogs, exchanging mails and letters it’s like you’d been friends forever. Lucie and I talked non-stop about … everything, really. Just like catching up with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while and where you can pick up a conversation at the point were you stopped the last time. From blogging in general to food [obviously], families,  fitness and whatever else we could have gone on forever. It’s probably a cliché saying this by now but Lucie truly is just as sweet in person as she appears to be on her blog.

Tea with Lucie
The beauty of friendships among bloggers [is blendship an existing word yet??]: We know each others’ background, thoughts, opinions, worries or just random quirks. Meaning that we’ve bonded over similarities, given advice, laughed with each other long before an actual meet-up. What we share on our blogs at times is so intimate we might not even have confided it to family or friends. No matter where we are in life, which struggles we face or questions we ask about life there’s somebody out there who has experienced the same and can offer helpful or at least calming and reassuring words. Support, advice, There’s no need to explain yourself or try to be someone else when you meet people who don’t judge you for your past or current ‘flaws’ you shared on your blog. There are topics I have an even easier time approaching with blends than with ‘real life’ friends though I’m happy to add Lucie to the latter now, too. [In case she agrees, that is :).]

If it hadn’t been for either of us needing to catch a plane respectively train back home Lucie and I agreed we could have kept talking forever. It’s safe to say plans to visit Switzerland are starting to form over here. Even more amazing would be following Lucie suit and attending one of the huge blogger meet-ups overseas to meet even more blends. Wishful thinking …

Come back tomorrow for more on what I ate  in Berlin. Happy Tuesday!

Happiness inducing today: Sharing an office with a nice colleague.

What was a highlight of your weekend or your Monday?

Will you attend one of the blogger meet-ups in the US? Which one?

Dream a little dream [of life]

Ask a child for its dream job and it will paint you a vivid image of its future life: being a model. An astronaut. An actress. A princess [okay, you caught me off guard here]. A fireman. When we’re young the world seems exciting and infinite. Most importantly: all of these dreams are considered possible – not out of reach. Children don’t set or see any limits of what they might become. They don’t dwell on whether their dreams are realistic, if they’ll make a proper income through them or the likes. The beauty lies in them trusting that life is offering them all opportunities and it’s just about following dreams. The older the get the less hopeful and more realistic we become in where we see ourselves in the future.

While my dream is still to become – or be? – a journalist I’ve gotten a glimpse into different jobs lately that offered me to see what else I might be interested in. Not even seriously considering these, however, as I’m [sadly?] too realistic to actually let my mind wander off and look into other options. However, I stopped being a dreamer early on. Whichever dream job I announced having there were people making me look at the nitty-gritty details  The same was true now: Just very briefly mentioning it others saw the need to give me a healthy [or hurtful?] dose of reality by running down the not so awesome parts of my [possible] job alternatives: requiring skills I didn’t have [yet?], not being financially stable, … Needless to say I got discouraged and have put the idea on the back burner not even researching it further.

Which made me think that maybe at times we’re giving up on our dreams too early.  Even if you don’t feel like turning your life upside down and take up a new job: what would be wrong about [day-]dreaming a little? Just letting your imagination go wild. Sourcing the possibilities. Letting your mind wander. What are we risking by looking  If anything we might get inspired or inspire others, connect with like-minded dream followers, change our views on certain topics, develop a better understanding of different work fields or show more appreciation in what we have.

While I’m not sure of everything I want in life and where it’ll lead me eventually there’s one thing I can say for a fact: At the end of my life I don’t want to look back and regret choices I did or didn’t make. Further encouragement came my way through a conversation with a close relative when I had already started writing this post. She’s been working in the same job for almost her entire life so far and still thoroughly enjoys it. However, now that her work environment is going to change in the not too distant future she’s been pondering to change jobs one last time. Possibly giving up a well-paid position to turn one of her hobbies into a job – even if it’s not making a lot of money but will allow her to follow her passion. Proof that – even if we don’t dare taking a risk now – it will never be too late to try something new. Letting dream become reality.

And think about it this way: Becoming a princess simply requires marrying a prince after all, too. Easy, isn’t it? Being realistic is good but getting lost in reveries every once in a while and possibly even following along with our dreams is a marvelous way of living life.



Happiness inducing today: An amazing day in Berlin with my mum and meeting Lucie! [yes, recap to come once I’m not about to fall asleep while sitting at the laptop.]

Are you a dreamer or realist? Has this changed throughout your life so far?

Do you follow your dreams or hesitate?

Good good links #22

Hello there and happy Sunday!

Depending on what time you’re reading this I might just be meeting Lucie and chatting over a cup of coffee tea. Let me know what you are doing right now [or what you’re about to do after a quick blog reading session]! Once more there were so many amazing posts to get my mind churning, my heart laughing and my stomach grumbling. I hope you enjoy them, too. Talk to you soon!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

I don’t give a damn. via Olive to run

Care about what truly matters and don’t stress about what doesn’t. Life’s too short to give a damn about everything.

Why Thin Women Should Care About Fat Activism by Isabel Foxen Duke via HuffPost Healthy Living

No matter which weight all of us are affected by “fatphobia” – reason enough to fight for acceptance of all shapes because we’re all beautiful inside out.

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Trust via Picky Runner

For many of us it doesn’t come naturally but is a work in progress or “trust in training”.

My tips to recover from a binge via Fit Swiss Chick

Why it’s important not to beat yourself up after a binge but show self-love and treat yourself well. Lots of great advice.

28 People Who Revealed Their Greatest Insecurities In A Powerful Photography Project via BuzzFeed

A Powerful message of not letting our ‘flaws’ define who we are as persons in the whole.

Life Lately & Living Intuitively via The Little Honey Bee

Having a plan is good but sometimes we just need to let go and live day by day.

Life Isn’t Meant To Be A Struggle; It’s Meant To Be A Dance via Mind Body Green

Here’s to dancing our way through life – even if we [think we] don’t know the whole choreography.

From Start to Finish – Making a Budget via Long Drive Journey

Great tips on how to work out a budget to make the most of whatever you earn.

Doing These Simple Things After Waking Up Makes Your Day Better But You Don’t Realize It via Lifehack
Writing in a journal, decluttering or just thinking of somebody you love can brighten you day before it really gets started.

The Intersection Of Nutrition And Mental Health via KathEats

Food and emotions are closely intertwined so working out a good relationship of the two is important.


Artificial Lighting Tips for Food Photography via Pinch of Yum

Taking good food pictures this time of the year can be frustrating. Lindsay shares some great advice on how to use artifical light the right way. [Now just remind me to take the time and money to put them to use 🙂 .]

12 Healthy Recipes + 12 Healthy Food Bloggers to Follow via Fit Foodie Finds

Twelve amazing ladies to start following for [not just food but life] inspiration.

Good good [things to make you smile]

19 Signs You’re In A Relationship With Hummus via BuzzFeed

… and you’ll live happily ever after. That is, until you remember hummus is cheating on your with others, too.

What City Should You Actually Live In? via BuzzFeed

Do you live where you belong or is it time for a move?

Good good [food]

White Chickpea Chili via Once Upon a Cutting Board

Another great spin on the classic chili.

21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat via BuzzFeed

Delicious answers to the ‘where do you get your protein?’ question vegetarians are faced with regularly.

Easy Peanut-Kale Black Rice Bowlvia Healthy.Happy.Life

Simple, nutrious – and did I mention it has kale?!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Banana Wrap via Kiss my Broccoli

The best of the best rolled up into one – it’s a wrap!

7-Minute Warm Apple Crumb Minis via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Apple crumble is the perfect dessert for the cold months – and in just seven minutes?! Did I mention they’re mini, too? I’m sold.

Vegan Salted Caramel Monkey Bread via Yup, it’s vegan

Just in case the name isn’t convincing enough already: it’s oil-free, refined sugar-free and whole grain, too.

Happiness inducing today: Turning on the radio to one of my current favourite songs playing.

What were some favourite reads you found this week? Feel free to share the links!

Are you a planner of just let life happen?

Getting flaky with phyllo [Balsamic Butternut & Kale Pastry for one]

Waste not, want not – that’s actually how my current obsession with phyllo dough pastries started. In an effort to use up the leftover sheets of dough from making the Kale Surprise Pastry Pie for our family dinner.  While the pie was really delicious I wasn’t fond of preparing the same dish already again and having to eat it for several days in a row. Fingers crossed I got experimenting once more despite not feeling the creative juices flowing that day – and was positively surprised.*

*That’s not to say I expected an awful result but I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the phyllo that particular day. Okay, that and the fact I came up with some unsatisfying lunches in previous years.


Unlike recipes puff pastry which – who would I kid here – is fantastic in all its buttery, rich glory this dish will leave you satisfied not stuffed. Phyllo dough steps in as a beautiful replacement delivering the flaky, crispy and, well, doughy element while not sitting heavy on your stomach afterwards. There’s a time and place for that, too [think Christmas dinner]. But if I plan on doing anything just slightly more active than turning over book pages while lying on the sofa within the next hours after a meal puff pastry might not the best choice.


Phyllo is where it’s at then. The best part of this kind of dish is its versatility: sub the butternut for another kind of squash or carrots, the kale for spinach, kidney beans for chickpeas … you name it. Or go for a completely different filling using whichever leftovers you have. Let your imagination go wild 🙂 – and then come back and tell me which amazing variations you’ve created.

dished up

Treating ourselves is an important part of self-care and while I’m all about finding ways beside food it’s nice to have this easy everyday route, too. The pastry is simple and quick enough to prepare on a weekday but feels almost like eating at a fancy bistro. It’s a way to make an ordinary day feel just that smidgen more special.

 Balsamic Butternut & Kale Pastry [serves one]

  • 1 sheet phyllo dough [see note below]
  • 1 small red onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of kale, sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp of soy cream [I used Alpro Soya brand]
  • ¼ cup kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion in a small pot until translucent. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the butternut squash and a few tablespoons of water. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Let the squash simmer until tender.
  3. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, thyme and cayenne pepper. Mix in the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the kale, letting it wilt.
  5. Stir in the 1/4 cup of soy cream, kidney beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Readjust spices to taste, too.
  6. When the filling is assemble your phyllo dough like shown in the second picture, add the vegetable mixture and cover with the overlapping edges of the dough. Brush the top with the remaining tablespoon of non-dairy cream.
  7. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven [350 °F] for about 20 minutes.

Phyllo pastry


Keep the phyllo dough in the freezer until ready to move. I’ve found it dries out quickly when exposed to air so wait until your filling’s done to assemble it in the casserole dish.

I’m linking up with Recipe Friday and Strange but good so get even more inspiration over there.

Not a math pro at all I hope I counted out your votes on Wednesday correctly by posting the pastry recipe first. Even if you didn’t vote for it I know you will like it. Because I say you do ;).

Happiness inducing today: Leaving work tired but content after a busy day.

Tell me your favourite pastry fillings or – if you didn’t have pastries before: what would you fill them with?

Have you worked with phyllo dough before?

Random Friday question: What are your plans for the weekend?

Thinking out loud #6

Looking at the word count of this post I figure it’s best to keep the intro short. It’s Thursday which means only one wonderful thing: It’s time to think out loud again!


1. With only crumbs left in my current tin it was high time to get new rouge. A situation I simultaneously like and don’t. Like because who doesn’t enjoy the experience of something new [?!] but don’t because I dislike breaking the little flower imprint into dust. First world problems.

2. High time indeed because I’d never voluntarily leave the house without applying at least some rouge. The simple reason being that I’m as pale as can be. ‘Milk foam’ as Arman might remember me describing it. We’re not just talking winter months here but no real sight of tan during summer, either. Maybe I was born in the wrong century? I’d have been quite fashionable around 1800 if I remember correctly :D.


3. Does anybody still have lucky numbers?  Six used to be mine for many years throughtout my childhood so that’s why today’s sixth time of Thinking out loud got me thinking [ha!] of it. I can’t even remember which impact – if any – having one had for me but I know it was the six. For no particular reason or none I can’t think of right now but it was.

4. Random question:  Do you ever turn off your phone?  Until a mere few months ago I hadn’t regularly switched it off. I’ve been making a conscious effort to turn it off for at least a short time every few days since a major scare. Just imagine your phone turning itself off all of the sudden on a day out and about, not accepting your PIN and not working again until a call to the service center the next morning. Nerve-wrecking – and further proof how dependent I’m on technology.

5.  Further proof of taste function beating appearance:


Do you remember me mentioning the special hair treatment on Monday? That’s the lovely greenish-brown paste right there. Organic deep conditioner might not be the prettiest but smooth and shiny hair for days?  I’ll take the ugliness for that any time.

6. Promise me not to laugh, okay? Good. So … The puzzle  isn’t finished yet. [Didn’t you promise not to laugh??] Granted, I didn’t expect it to me given that a) I haven’t been working consistently on it and b) it had really been ages since my last time. I know it doesn’t look like much [or any] progress at all but there is.  Maybe 1,000 pieces are a little too much to get started again after years without puzzles? Either way, I’ve been trying to think about strategies [that would be my inner planner shining through again] to tackle it. One of those was setting aside all pieces that are part of the sky right away. Because it’ll take a while until I get there when starting at the bottom, right?


7.  One of those strategies was getting my mum to join the puzzle fun, too. Actually, she got curious and suggested helping me herself. I’d say we’re a good team – however, we don’t agree on the strategy I explained above. Don’t mess with my organization!

8. If you’ve seen my post yesterday you’ll know I baked Amanda’s oatmeal bars. One advantage of living on my own is not having to fight for the best piece. So yes, I obviously had one of the middle pieces first. Wouldn’t everybody do that?

Oatmeal bars_glass pan

9. What I didn’t mention, either, was that by baking the bars I put one of my grandma’s Christmas gifts to good use for the first time. These are glass storage containers that double as baking pans. Awesome, right? I’m probably the last person in the world to discover these and I guess you might be thinking: Why didn’t she use them any earlier? Technically I could have used them for storage purposes multiple times already. But same as with my special produce anxiety I always want to wait for just the right occasion to break into new dishes/boxes/you name it.   Just call me special around special items :D.

10. Now that all is said and done for this week – and I should get back to work: Happy Thursday!

Happiness inducing today: Catching up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years.

Puzzle fiends: Do you follow any strategies when doing a puzzle? Where do you start: left, right, top, bottom?

Random and inspired by Laura after last week’s Thinking out loud post: What time and temperature is it for you right now and where in the world are you? Shed some light on my time and temperature confusion :).

How dependent are you on your phone? Mine’s pretty much attached to me [but not to the degree that I’ll leave it one the table at meal times or during conversations] and I know that level of dependency might not be that good …