Currently … February 2014

Hi! I hope you’re all wearing a smile to combat the [still] grey weather outside and make somebody else join you in the happiness. Fingers crossed the sun will make an appearance soon.
Eleven days [!] into February already I figured it might be fun to update you a little on some of my currents and it’s

 

Current book: A bit of difference by Sefi Atta. I just started it a few days ago so can’t say much yet. My mum picked it as a birthday gift and I’m keeping my fingers crossed she made a good choice.

Sefi Atta_book

Current music: Aside from last month’s happiness inducing tune an old favourite has been making an appearance again: Vampire Weekend.

Current guilty pleasure: Viber! Actually, it’s not so much of a guilty pleasure to begin with but the time I spend on it and especially the fact that it’s usually pretty late for me already when everybody’s on … Not the best when trying to go to sleep earlier. That being said I still don’t see myself giving up on it and if you’re using it, too: Let’s chat :)!

Current nail colour: Essie’s Jam ‘n’ Jelly. A late birthday present by my mum and I’m already heads over heels for it. Though can I just rant a little over the fact that we can get only a fraction [98 the last time I checked] of the colours available in the US and Canada over here? Not fair, Germany.

Current drink: Almond milk while I still can. I mailed the company and for whichever odd reason it’s sold in the tiny countryside town my parents live but not in the city I’ll move back to.

Almond milk

Current food: All the food. Moving at the end of this week means making a more or less successful effort at using up as much of my staples as possible. Looking at all there is I have a hard time believing it was actually just me buying all of that. Are you sure? I’m suspecting some kitchen elves sneakily adding random odds and ends to my pantry. Amidst all of that, though, there have been some new disoveries.

Currently_food_February

Blueberries – Chocolate with pink pepper – apple chips – dumplings [recipe to come]

Current need: More time with my family. These past two and a half months  😯 [really??] went by way too fast and there’s so much we’d planned to do but didn’t manage to squeeze in.

Current triumph: Four of my articles getting published in the newspaper the week after I left – and all on the same day.

Current wish: The last parts of the puzzle magically making sense to me and showing me where they belong. If any of you have some spare time to help please feel free to come over.

Puzzle

Current bane of my existence: Still spending more money than I’d like to. Budgeting hasn’t gone too well mainly because I tend to forget writing any and every purchase down immediately and little things add up. That’s not to say I was giving up just yet, though. There’s always a way to change things for the better.

Current outfit: Lace! I’m into all things lace and my mum – obviously knowing this – sewed me a new dress for my birthday because I hardly ever find all I want in any store-bought dress [but still own quite a few of those as well …]. While there are a few things I would have changed I’m obsessed with this lace application on the arms. And the colour, obviously. She knows me so well.

Lace

Current indulgence: Sleeping in. Soon enough the nights of ten glorious hours of sleep – okay, on the weekend and it was an exception – will be over.

Current procrastination: With the upcoming move back into my apartment I’ve been postponing the packing for days already and likely won’t start until the eve before our departure. Do you think my suitcases will magically pack themselves if I just wait long enough?

Current blessing: Maybe I’ll answer this in a similar way every time but it’s just true: my family and blends. Believing that everything happens for a reason I don’t think it was a coincidence these past days have shown me the truly amazing people in my life again.

Current excitement: If you asked my dad it should be this …

9. Februar 002

  Never mind that my dad’s phone still runs under the name of the lady he bought it from.

Our new car with all its gimmicks like a stereo that [supposedly] recognizes you phone via Bluetooth allowing you to play music from it [first test: fail], is voice-operated [again: fail when he tried it ;)], … Long story short: every man’s dream. But I’m a woman and just want a car to get me around. Sorry I’m not sorry.

My actual excitement, though, is being a tester for Kristy’s first cookbook. While I’m not allowed to share pictures on the blog yet you might want to follow me on Twitter for some first impressions …

Current link: Bloglovin. Right now that I have some time off I’m playing catch-up on blogs a little. Still just a little because for whichever reason my to-do list seems to grow by the minute though I’m not starting work again until next week. I’m clueless about how that happens …

Happiness inducing today: Playing Bingo with my mum.

Keep in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Are you using Viber?

Tell me your current

  • a) book
  • b) needs
  • c) food
  • d) blessing

Smile at the grouchy gym guy

I’d originally planned a different post for today but the weekend didn’t go according to plan – don’t we all know how that happens? [Almost ]Everything in life happens for a reason, though, ahd this apparently was meant for me to consult my drafts folder again. A good hint by destiny, indeed, because I’m not sure this post I wrote a while ago [you’ll get a better idea of that while if you continue reading] would have seen the light of the world or at least this blog any other way. After some slightly heavier posts last week I figured it’d be just the right post for a marvelous Monday with our favourite healthy diva Katie.

MiMM_new

Friday night after a not-so-swell day of work all I wanted was to get in a quick workout to boost my mood. Colour me not so happy when my ‘favourite’ trainer was in charge at the gym. I’m not usually one to snark about people in public but with this guy I’d never been surprised they usually let him work closing shifts when hardly anybody was working out anymore. He’s so far from your cheery, jolly trainer but rather one of those salacious guys you’d rather avoid altogether. From his appearance alone he’s not one you’d want to be around as the only woman in the gym. Hence why I usually try to get past him as soon as possible. A quick hello, grabbing the key for the locker room from his hand praying he won’t make any remarks trying to be witty. I’ll just take my key, thankyouverymuch. Not.

At the gym_January 2014

When I hopped off the elliptical and meant to make my way up to the changing room once more just quickly getting my key back he came about with one of his annoying comments. Typical. While I’d been able to relax during my workout this simple stupid little remark reminded me yet again why I disliked him. So while changing clothes I intented to simply drop off the key and leave the gym without even saying goodbye because I hoped he’d be in the weights section in anyway.

Yet sometimes I act against my original intentions on purpose because deep down I know it’ll do some magic. It’s funny but I’ve found that in doing this I’m not only surprising myself but others who likely expected a different [negative] reaction, too. And positive surprises are always welcome. Against my hopes grouchy gym guy was hanging out in the entrance area when I left so at least a short exchange of goodbyes couldn’t be avoided.And that’s where I surprised myself: Instead of happily rushing off after he’d – in charming grouchy fashion nonetheless – wished me a nice evening and happy New Year [four days early at that time, actually] I turned around asking if he’d had a nice Christmas. Apparently totally taking him by surprise because he seemed almost insecure answering. When he gave back the question and asked me if I’d gotten any great presents I flashed him a huge smile at the thought of my gifts and responded a happy yes!  Somehow, this one moment changed our ‘relationship’ [it seems odd to talk about having any kind of relationship with a random trainer at the gym you hardly see a few times a week]. A mere few weeks later  [or now: a few days ago on my last trip to this gym in a while] we got along so well we were actually talking for 15 minutes [or more?] like good friends. While – as mentioned – I’d previously have preferred not spending any more than 15 seconds with this guy.

Why, yes, I just wrote an entire post about smiling. Because in my opinion, smiling can never be overrated. A simple smile might not change the whole world. But it can bring a little joy into somebody else’s life – and your own.

Happiness inducing today: A walk with my dad.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Are there any grouchy guys in your life that you’d rather avoid altogether? I dare you to just give them a little smile or chat them up – there’s nothing to loose.

Have you ever surprised yourself by acting against your intentions? Tell me your stories!

 

Good good links #25

Whew, it’s been a whirlwind of a day and there are a million thoughts flying around in my head so I’d better keep it short for your sake ;). It’s Sunday and it’s time for some good reading and giving a shout out to some great writers again. One thing I noticed was that – at least for me, does anybody else feel the same? – there was a particular lot of more serious posts in the blog world that really got me thinking this past week. Definitely not a bad thing in my book so if you know of any more or have thoughts on those mentioned here: Let me know your opinion or share the links! There we go!

Enjoy your Sunday!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Paleo: The Latest Diet Trend or Actually Legit? via The Little Honey Bee

With the plethora of different views out there deciding on how we’re ‘supposed’ to eat can be confusing. Go with what feels best for you right now.

How ‘The Biggest Loser’ Sends an Unhealthy Message. via Better with Sprinkles

Will there ever be an end to the insanity of glamorizing weight loss no matter to which unhealthy extends?

Do you tell people in ‘real life’ that you blog? via Sprouts ‘N’ Squats

It’s a tricky question to answer with many factors to keep in mind  [for me]. Yes? No? Some?

Vegan: Dünn, schön und nie mehr krank? via Totally Veg!

A German post among the English ones for once: Debunking the myths and exaggerated expectations surrounding veganism. No diet is the cure-it-all.

When Instagram photos deceive- Food photos via The Big Man’s World

Smaller plates to make meals look bigger?! Comparison never ends – and:  isn’t there more to worry about than how much others eat?

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Can exercise really boost your mood? via Hungry Healthy Girl

Improved well-being, feel-good hormones and reduced anxiety – scientific proof for why we’re enjoying our workouts so much.

Calorie Counting, Fat Fears & Trusting Yourself via The Little Honey Bee

Just like our lives our diets are ever-evolving and we’re doing best when letting our intuition guide us. It can be scary at first but is worth sticking with like Amy’s journey shows. Awesome post!

January Traffic and Income Report via Pinch of Yum

Not just an interesting look at the cost and income of a professional blog but great tips for the right mindset when growing a blog.

Good good [things to make you smile]

National Flags Made From Each Country’s Traditional Foods via Marvelous

Don’t play with your food – but make exception like this one.  I’ll have breakfast in Vietnam, lunch in Italy and dinner in Lebanon, stopping for a snack in the United Kingdom . What’s your travel route?

Are These Mind-Blowing Products Real? via BuzzFeed

… and I still think Spoonachos would be a genius idea. I’ll take the Vacuum Dustpan, though.

14 Things That Are Perfectly Acceptable Breakfast Foods, According To Us via HuffPost Food

Because really, how much different from biscuits and gravy are disco fries? And I know certain people agree on the cold pizza ;).

Do You Eat Your Age? via BuzzFeed

Apparently I eat like a mature adult. Is that positive or negative? It doesn’t sound … funny.

Good good [food]

23 On-The-Go Breakfasts That Are Actually Good For You via BuzzFeed

If you feel like changing up your first meal of the day here’s plenty to choose from.

Creamy Millet Porridge via edible perspective

Not your average porridge – another great option for breakfast.

Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie (No Bake!) via love & olive oil

Honey, peanut butter and banana? A triplet made in heaven.

My Favourite Vegan Chili with Homemade Sour Cream via Oh She Glows

It’s no secret there can never be enough chili recipes and this looks like an awesome one to add to my collection.

Happiness inducing today: Friends who are listening to my rambles at any given time. Thank you!

Keep in touch with me!
Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Where do you stand in terms of sharing your blog with ‘real life’ contacts?

Simply perfect [Brussels Sprout Chili with Cauliflower Couscous]

There are recipes that come together on a whim and are so simply they hardly seem worthy calling a recipe. However, when thinking about the type of recipes I prefer on other blogs and in cookbooks it’s actually just this kind that I’m most likely to try. Yes, the fancy stew that calls for roasting vegetables, at the same time multitasking the homemade vegetable broth on the stove and baking your own biscuits to go along with it is tempting.

Giant white bean chili

Taking it away right here: this recipe isn’t anything like that. Let’s be honest: who has the time and patience for a dish that takes more than twice as long to prepare as eating it does? At least on a weekday afternoon or night? If you need any more convincing of how easy and fast this is the day I first tried this I had just come home ready to chew my arm off. Granted, there may or may not have been a spoonful of peanut butter and some cereal to tide me over while the chili cooked on the stove. But it still isn’t too much work to whip up on a weekday – and even less if you’re doubling the serving size.

Chili_spoon

Don’t be surprised by the random odds and ends coming together in this dish. It’s just what happens when I’m working on another produce stash that has grown into large dimensions without me noticing. And sooner than I’d like I’m faced with the task of using them up as soon as humanly possible. Or sooner.

Chili VI

When deciding what to have for lunch I knew I wanted creaminess but also a tomato-y element. Out of soy creamer I knew tomato sauce alone wasn’t going to satisfy and when I spotted the tiny remainder of butternut squash in my fridge it seemed worth a try. And it was a good try.

Brussels Sprout Chili with Cauliflower Couscous

  • ½ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ½ cup cubed butternut squash
  • 1 heaped tbsp of salsa
  • 1/2 cup [100 g] kidney beans
  • 1/4 cup [50 g] giant white beans
  • A handful of Brussels sprouts, washed, outer layers removed and sliced thinly into disks
  • 1 cup [100 g] cauliflower
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dark cocoa powder

1. Heat the passata in a pot over medium heat with the cayenne pepper and oregano.

2. Add the butternut squash and let simmer until it is tender.

3. Blend the butternut squash and passata to create a thick sauce. Add about 1/4 cup of water if it’s too thick. You’ll want it to be more saucy than like a stew before you add the beans and Brussels sprouts. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in the salsa.

4. Meanwhile, process the cauliflower in a food processor until it reaches couscous/rice consistency.

5. Add the cauliflower couscous to the chili. You might need to add some more water at this point as the ‘couscous’ absorbs some of it. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes so the cauliflower softens slightly.

6. Stir in the cocoa powder, add salt and pepper and adjust seasonings to taste. It tastes best when left to sit for a while before serving to let the flavours mingle a little.

Serve whichever way you like to eat your chili. I enjoy adding a dollop of plain soy yogurt on top and a spoonful of peanut butter mixed in.

Chili_

Because I hope others agree there can never be enough easy and quick recipes in my opinion I’m linking up with Laura, Kierston, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekends. Head over to all of them for even more meal inspiration.

Have a delicious and happy Friday!

Happiness inducing today: One of my articles for the newspaper being accepted right away – and it was even for the Sports department which really isn’t my specialty.

Keep in touch:
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What’s your favourite way to eat chili? With some crusty bread for dipping? Yogurt? Hot sauce?

Are you more intrigued to try simple or more involved recipes?

Thinking out loud #9

Short and sweet [you’ll notice my trouble here in #1] all I’ll say right now is: Let’s get celebrating the randomness with some Thinking out loud. Thanks to Amanda for hosting!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Thinking about myself sitting here and coming up with this post the first thing I can think of is that I have an unusual way of writing. Not only when it comes to blog posts but it’s something that surprised my colleagues at the newspaper, too: I start by writing whatever I’m working on at some random point, just letting my thoughts flow and write the introduction last. Coming up with a headline or post title is usually the very last step for me.

2. Can we just agree that frozen blueberries are a fantastic snack? When I was mentioning them yesterday I wasn’t talking about store-bought frozen blueberries [meh!] but those you buy fresh and freeze yourself. Granted, not a cheap option in winter and requiring that bit more of effort and patience. But so worth it.

Birthday and more 078

3. It’s the 10th birthday of Facebook this week. I’m not sure if that’s reason to celebrate or the time to join in with certain people’s mourning of a rising loss of privacy. Seeing how pretty handy it is, however [or would you remember everybody else’s birthdays without it?], I think I’d go with neither but just keep up my account. Sue me.

4. Slowly but surely I’m starting to get worried by my current klutz status. First the dangers of vegetable chopping, now hurting my toes while cutting my toe nails. Not so happy feet.

5. Oh, and did I mention dropping a glass two days ago? Luckily not one of my favourites but I still wasn’t too happy about the . Keeping my fingers crossed the old saying’s true and luck is headed my way. Definitely not found on the way to the bathroom, though, because I’ve still seen bits and pieces of broken glass ever since.

6. While I was driving back home “Walking on Sunshine” came on the radio and of all things the first thought that popped up in my head was: SingStar! Was anybody else crazy about this game back in the day? I [unsuccessfully] tried to find a throwback picture of one of my birthdays circa 2007 when all we did was sing more or less successful the whole night. For some reason we didn’t have school the next day but my parents had to get up for work and weren’t that enthusiastic about our lovely little concert. Oh, the good old times …

7. Sometimes I feel like the time I save by not cooking legumes from scratch is lost again when fighting with the can opener. Okay, I’m obviously exaggerating but am I the only one who has a hard time opening those lids? Or am I just missing the secret to using the can opener right??

Can opener

8. If you need some distraction of just want to heart to melt right now: These!

9. And speaking of cuteness I probably wasn’t quite altruistic when choosing to write two articles [with different foci] on midwives that included some work shadowing. Just today I got the chance to meet one the most adorable little men – awwwr. I didn’t even dare touching his tiny hands at first because he looked so tiny and fragile in his crib. Only nine days old …

10. Ending this super random post with a recent random purchase. Aren’t you jealous of my fancy ink erasers?!

ink erasers

… which will hopefully inspire me to get some more letters on their way again after I’ve been slacking a little lately.

Happiness inducing today: Some successful sweet and savoury recipe testing.

Happy Thursday!

 

Tell me something random!

Do you remember playing Singstar? What were your favourite songs?

How do you usually write posts? Does anybody else start randomly and finish with the introduction?

 

 

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WIAW: Why so fluffy?

Would anybody like to let me know what exactly my stomach has been trying to tell me lately? An appetite that’s off the charts? Not exactly my favourite but fine, I can live with that knowing it’ll [usually] ebb off soon. Feeling a bit ‘fluffy’– it happens. But both at the same time with no change in sight? Not cool. Way not cool. However, such is life and instead of sitting around waiting for miracles to happen I pondered any possible recent changes in my life. All I could think of were miniscule amounts of new foods or those I hadn’t eaten before or  at least not in a while. So changing it up again it was and today’s What I ate Wednesday will give a glimpse in some of what I tried. Thanks to Jenn for hosting!

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Breakfast has always been the hardest meal to change up for me. I’m neither exactly creative nor patient in the morning. As a result I end up eating the same thing on end until I get so fed up with it I really feel an urge to change. Under these current circumstances, however, I knew changing this meal up, too, was my only chance to possibly find out what has been [yes, has not had as I’m still not sure] upsetting my stomach.

Baked blueberry pancake_Feb2014

And being the good blogger I decided to go with a common favourite that’s far from my usual breakfast[s]. Okay, another factor playing into my decision was seeing Robyn’s idea of baking any pancake recipe the night before making for a quick breakfast the next morning. The additional bonus: no flipping skills required and one dish less to clean up. Does anybody of you pancake fiends really enjoy cleaning the skillet? I’m okay with pots but skillets – especially those of the non-stick variety that require extra pampering – aren’t my favourites. But back to the pancake: a gluten-free protein oat & coconut flour pancake with fresh blueberries. It was okay. Not life-changing but nothing a bit of both almond and peanut butter [post-photo because I reheated it after snapping the pictures – no cold pancakes for me] couldn’t hide.

Pancake_II

Something I can’t forget to mention is my birthday lunch of choice. By far not the prettiest pictures [ugly, even] but it’s all you can get with impatient parents sitting at the table :(. Delicious nonetheless. Semmelknödel  – bread dumplings – here prepared using whole wheat buns which should excuse the even uglier than usual look – with orientally spiced sauerkraut. Trust me you actually really want to eat these.

Semmelknödel_Geburtstag

Even though I know the fibre in vegetables and legumes causes stomach woes for many people I couldn’t give them up just yet. Going with my cravings again after the not-so-satisfying breakfast I actually thought I was going to end up with a non-mention- or picture-worthy dish.

Giant white bean chiliTaking one bite, however, I knew I had to share it. While it started out as ‘just a chili’ I kept adding a little of this and a little of that ending up with a dish that’s good enough to deserve a mention. Brussels sprouts and giant white beans hadn’t made an appearance in far too long and their comeback had a tasty result. A perfect recipe for a cold day. But for now I’ll add it with my favourite snack [or second after apples and chocolate which share the first place ;)]: blueberries. The awesome deals at the stores continued so I couldn’t say no.

Blueberries

Writing this post Tuesday night I can’t tell if my changes made any difference yet but keeping my fingers crossed for a relaxing night of sleep after two rather uncomfortable ones. If not I’ll keep experimenting and possibly cutting out some other foods to see what works. What better day to get some inspiration in how to change it up than Wednesday?!  And with that I hope it’s a happy one for you!

Happiness inducing today: The many offers on my last post for listening to my rambles next time I need somebody to talk to. Just don’t start complaining once I get back to you ;).

Keep in touch:
Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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If you’ve ever experienced any discomfort or bloating despite not changing your diet:  how did you identify the triggers?

What is your go-to breakfast? I usually mix it up between a sweet and savoury option depending on what I feel like.