Good good links #127

Hello there, last day of January! That happened fast. In fact, too fast for me to do any kind of January goal post or a recap of what happened. Slow down, 2016!

Since I can’t convince the year to take it a little slower I will instead offer you a few ideas for a nice afternoon reading relaxation. Know the limits of what you can do, right?! No matter which day you’re reading this: I hope it’s a good one in your life.

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

How We Train Our Brains to Hate Our Bodies by Jessie Kneeland via Greatist

Is it possible to re-train our minds to see the true beauty others can see in us and value ourselves for achievements rather than appearance?

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

Treat Yourself Like a Toddler. via Ember Grey

Giving yourself the same love and care you’d give a child is one of the best pieces of advice for everyday life.

5 Things To Remember When You’re Having A Bad Body Day via Peaceful Dumpling

These might not make the discomfort fade away in an instant but are great reminders nonetheless.

3 Beautiful Ways to Strengthen a “Thank You.” via Elephant Journal

Great ideas to give even more meaning to the two words all of us should say more often.

Always Late? 9 Tips for Overcoming Chronic Lateness. via Gretchen Rubin

Determining the ‘why’ behind this bad habit is key in finding solutions for a change.

10 Life Lessons That Can Only Be Learned Through Tough Times via Anastasia Amour

As much as we dislike struggles it’s so true these times are when we learn our biggest life lessons.

6 Simple Strategies for Being Happy Alone via Psychology Today

Even if we’re not truly alone these are some good ideas to develop a deeper relationship with ourselves.

12 Ways to Reduce Household Trash via Om Nom Herbivore

Reusable bags are a must for me and all of the other tips listed here are very clever, too.

 

Health

9 Practical Ways to Lower Your Sugar Intake via Oatmeal with a Fork

While I’m not against sugar I like to be mindful about how much I consume and these tricks will help with that.

 

 

Good good [food]

Whipped Marshmallow Cream via Floral Frosting

She had me at “fluffy clouds of melted marshmallow”. Who wouldn’t want to top everything with this?!

Almond Joy Almond Butter via Amy’s Healthy Baking

What happens when the craving for a popular candy bar turns into every blogger’s favourite spread – sugar-free, too.

Vegan Banana Creme Brulée via Feating on Fruit

… and there you already head over to Natalie’s site before I can even say more. Understandly so with a recipe title like that. 

Healthy Buddha Bowl Recipes via Fit Foodie Finds

It’s no secret food eaten from bowls is immediately more comforting and these dishes deliver all the colours and nutrients.

Broccoli Potato White Bean Soup via Healthy. Happy. Life

Creamy, packed with vegetables and beans: Simple and good good food for those [not-so?] cold winter days.

 

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Going for a short walk in the morning before a constant rain set in.

 

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Are you sure you didn’t accomplish anything at all?

Wise words spoken [or rather: written] by two wonderful ladies inspired this post reminding me to acknowledge all the little things in life. After taking part in Meg’s Week in Review these past weeks I’ve developed a new sense of seeing personal success. Not [only] in the big things – receiving the Novel price and the likes, you know  😉 – but the small, seemingly mundane happings that escape our memory all too easily. Let’s think [and talk] about that today.

Let's talk

 

But I didn’t really achieve that much compared to [insert name].

But everybody else is working out much harder. My easy three miles are nothing compared to [insert another name again].

If only I was an early riser like everybody else – I could get so much more done!

If only I’d prepped my meals like every other good blogger I wouldn’t have eaten out that often/spent so much on groceries.

 

That’s a lot of if, a lot of but and mostly a lot of not helpful. Sure, getting down on and being unhappy with ourselves is always an option. Usually the go-to option, right? Also the worst option as it feeds a vicious cycle of being stuck in the mindset of ‘never good enough’ = just give up trying in the first place because what you can’t change anything after all, no?

The truth is: yes, you – and I – probably didn’t achieve as much as the next person who’s juggling family life, marathon running, meal prepping like a pro and blogs six times a week along with working a full-time gig. But you might very well have achieved a lot for your own measures. It’s about first listing up and looking at what you did during the past week/month. What made you feel good and happy. And then scaling this list of accomplishments up with what you know is [currently or in general] possible for you. This one being my main point here but if you’re confused let me elaborate:

Maybe you’re struggling with depression. An eating disorder. Or simply are an introvert working in an extroverted business that makes you feel drained by Friday night.Or none of these but you’re just feeling overwhelmed by expectations. These obstacles are your heavy luggage in this game called life. I’d venture to guess most of us carry one or more of these around with us. That one big underlying issue or thing we need to face day by day along with any daily chores or jobs. Or even if you don’t have one specific  heavy luggage you could feel overwhelmed more easily than somebody else. And that is okay. Some of us are extroverted social butterflies who thrive going out with friends after work while others are glad to put on their PJs and Netflix [much needed me time] after work. Some of us can knock out 50+ hours at their jobs [yes, I know those people] while others are exhausted just thinking about that.

PJ pants_striped_bed

It’s about knowing the limits of what you can handle. While it might not be able to say no to every additional task you’re assigned or skip every social event that makes you feel anxious you being aware of your limits helps you see your achievements. Because if you did Don’t let anybody tell you taking care of yourself wasn’t an achievement in itself. I’m trying to not center this post around EDs but if you’re in recovery from one you’ll know that something as seemingly simple as eating every meal is a win. If you suffer from depression getting up is one. A friend of mine is dealing with extreme social anxiety. For her, going to a crowded mall is an achievement while it would be fun for me. We all carry our own little “packages” around and what’s an easy breezy walk for some might mean conquering Mount Everest for you. Breathe. It’s okay. Go at your own speed and if you decide walking the whole way is too much today you can still give yourself a pat on the back for trying. Making steps and staying on the move at all is enough.

Don’t measure your own days up to somebody who has a completely different character, living a different life and having a different background. Celebrate your personal wins.

If you’re struggling – with whatever it might be – at the moment the simple act of taking care of yourself is worth being acknowledged. Many times others will – intentionally or not – make you feel bad for not doing this/only doing that. The [unfortunate] truth is that if you’re burdened by any special condition [especially mental illnesses] outsiders won’t be able to see that what you do is a lot indeed when it’s not up to par with what the average Joe does. But: you are the only one knowing your personal limits. Knowing the amount of work you’re able to fit into a week. Knowing when you need to slow down and take time to recharge. Don’t get me wrong: This isn’t an encouragement for laziness. If you’re [mentally and physically] healthy yet still only lying around doing nothing and eating fries then this isn’t your excuse to keep doing this. For 99.5 % of us this isn’t the reality, though. We all achieve different things every week. And whatever it is that you’re putting your creative and physical energy into day by day: it’s worth celebrating.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An day that was probably exhausting but felt good. I’d have to write a novel to explain this so will leave it at this condensed version.

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No specific questions but just tell me whichever thoughts you have on this topic. I’m sure many can relate.

Week in review: Exciting news, blogging success and random tidbits

Just like that we’re kicking off the last week of January. While still in disbelief of that fact – and the one it’s my birthday on Friday – I couldn’t think of a better way to start it than by joining Meg once again. Her Week in Review is what inspired another post that will be going online later this week. No further hints on that now, though, as this post already ended up being on the wordier side. Here’s a little recap of the past seven days  in my life.

Week in review

 

  • The most exciting news first: I became an aunt! Eeee! As tempting as it is I’ll spare you the gushing about how adorable my little nephew is – especially as I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person yet. [insert break to look at the picture my sister sent me via Whatsapp] Fingers crossed that’ll happen next weekend. I. can’t. wait.
  • I published three posts yet again. It’s a good number despite being uneven. Not a fan of that last fact but this is a good blogging balance for me at the moment. While I can’t make any promises with the current internet and laptop situation I’ll try to stay consistent here. With this post published and another one drafted for Wednesday/Thursday plus the usual Sunday link lovin’ it looks like I’ll be able to keep it up this week.
  • Honesty time [nobody’s perfect]: Getting this post up and ready came at the expense of half a bar of chocolate and a few nerves plus swearing in the process. A fussy laptop crashing about 20+ times during editing the images and then importing them to WordPress made me want to cry. Instead, I broke out the Lindt and peanut butter. Ironically, all that fussing about with a sweet post left me craving kale like no other – so kale it was for lunch. That whole talk about finding balance intuitively is so true. Now I just need to remind myself of it in moments of doubt.

Date caramel truffles_1

 

  • The anxiety was worth it, though, as those sweet little morsels got accepted by Foodgawker. Maybe all those broken dishes were worth it in the end?
  • Because a lovely lady reminded me to include these tasks: replied to blog post comments mostly in time. Embarrassingly, this is an area I still need to work on but feel I’ve gotten better about lately. It’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate every single comment – I really do – but I’m usually at work when my posts go live so can’t reply until hours later and by the time I’m home the urge to multitask sets in and … you might guess how that ends. I’m working on it, promise.
  • I faced what must have been the most nerve-wracking/fear-of-failure-inducing moment of the week when my co-teacher for the German classes didn’t appear. She’s a trained teacher and knows all the tricks to successful lessons [and how to handle wild little boys]. Handling five children who speak your language? Possible when you give them work assignments and they actually understand what you want them to do. Five children with different degrees of German language skills all of whom would be best off in one-on-one lessons? By far not an easy feat. I managed for half an hour until my colleague appeared after all. Turns out she hadn’t heard her alarm and only woke up when I tried to call her. Keeping my fingers crossed this won’t happen again.

Orchidee_flower

  • Not only kept my orchid alive over the past months but got it to bloom again. Heureka! Admittedly, I’m not the best plant mum so I doubt this is entirely due to my own doing but the fact is showing beautiful flowers again is all that counts, right?
  • Survived two appointments at the dentist’s though only the second one is worth mentioning. Anesthesia is a fine invention for the time you’re sitting in the chair of horror, yes. But walking around with half of your mouth numbed for four more hours afterwards and feeling you looked like Kermit lessens my appreciation if its power. Whew.
  • Watched a movie with my mum yesterday. Verdict: you don’t need to watch “Kiss the cook”. Trust me on this one.
  • With it being my birthday week I treated myself to this delightful Coconut Almond Spread the German vegan scene is going crazy about. It’s sweet and akin to those Raffello truffles but coming along with an ingredient list that – while not deserving of the “healthy” claim – reads a lot nicer than those of the formers’. Pictured alongside here is the sweet belated Christmas card my long-time pen pal from the US mailed me.

Coconut almond spread_Christmas card

 

  • Stopped being lazy and did a through clean-up of my apartment. Meaning I didn’t just clean it but mopped the floors, too. I know, I know. But sometimes I just do everything else and leave the floors aside if they’re not super sticky.
  • Speaking of lazy or rather not: I kept up my daily workout video routine. Compared to what everbody else in the blogging world does this is ridiculous little but better than nothing to me. If I could I’d opt for more intense and interesting workouts, too, but for now this is a nice way of keeping up a routine.

 

 

That’s a wrap week in review for me and I’d better make a  beeline for my bed after scheduling this post. The upcoming week won’t be any easier with a lack of sleep [oops].

Happiness-inducing today: The weather allowing for a nice long-ish walk. No fear of slipping or freezing my fingers off while outside.

 

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
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Good good links #126

No way! Insanity!

This would be my reaction upon realizing that we’ve almost reached the end of Janura already – despite New Year’s Eve being just yesterday. Honestly, somebody pinch me. This also means my birthday is coming up in a mere five days but – especially with recent going-ons [one of which I’ll mention in tomorrow’s post!] I haven’t made any plans for it yet. Moving on to today’s collection of great posts from all around the web. Whether you’re snowed in or just a little bored on a Sunday: there’s something for everybody.

 

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Why Your Detox Is Bullsh*t via Cosmopolitan

A-men. The only thing a detox [program] will rid you off is money from your bank account.

#Imflattered Talks Back To Fashion Bashing via Dances with Fat

Screw society’s idea of what you should and shouldn’t wear: ” […]you are the boss of your underpants and also the boss of your regular pant.”

No food is healthy, Not even kale. via Washington Post

Oh, how this speaks to my language lover’s heart.Don’t ever say words didn’t make a difference.** Also: let’s get angry at the food industry and its sneaky way of using language to confuse us.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

I Was On 116 Diets. Here’s How I Finally Lost 60 Pounds Without Trying  via Mind Body Green

[I doubt the number but the points she makes are valid either way] Obviously not included to promote weight loss these are lessons everybody trying to make peace with food learns.

How To Make More Friends This Year via Career Girl Daily

A life without friends wouldn’t be complete. These are some good tips on how and where to find “new” friends.

Hungry Planet: What The World Eats via Time Magazine

An oldie but goodie that inspires to rethink our spending habits, different “normals” around food and probably also helps us see how blessed we are.

3 Surprising Truths About Gender and Loneliness via Psychology Today

Some interesting insights into how women and men handle loneliness, gender-specific troubles we face and how to possibly turn things around next time this unpleasant feeling hits.

 

Blogging

Why It’s Okay to Be Weird Online via Helene In Between

Because it’s what makes you stand out from the crowd and authenticity rocks.

 

Fitness

The 5 Moves Everyone Should Be Able to Do—and What It Means If You Can’t via Greatist

Who else got up and tried some of these [unless they’re part of your routine already] after/while reading?

What No One Is Saying About the Body-Positivity Movement via Greatist

There’s no right or wrong for everybody but tuning in with what makes you feel good will determine your personal best path to go.

 

 

Good good [food]

Healthy 4 Ingredient 1 Minute Chocolate Raspberry Cake via The Big Man’s World

How to know a cake must be really good? When it tickles even my [non-cake fiend] fancy. This one surely does.

5 Ingredient Frozen Turtle Bars via The Lean Green Bean

It’s all about the date caramel this week and merging it with the classic rice crispy treat is genius.

16 Delicious Recipes Featuring Beans & Lentils via Cookie and Kate

Do I really even have to say again that I have a thing for legumes? Some may call it an addiction but there’s worse …

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Soup via Pancake Warriors

Cheese fiends take no offense: this is for everybody who can’t get enough vegetables and legumes in [read: me].

Big Time Vegan Mexican Bowl via The Vegan 8

Just a fair warning ahead: if you click the link you’ll get insane cravings for this delicious-looking dish.

African Curry with Cauliflower via Naturally Ella

If you – like me – are a fan of cauliflower, curry and chickpeas this is your recipe.

 

 

** I’ve actually had a post abut my beef with the word “healthy” sitting in my drafts folder for at least half a year. Now  publish it still or not …?

 

Happiness-inducing today: Getting done more than I expected upon waking up. Productivity always feels good.

 

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Date caramel truffles_3

Healthy 5-Ingredient Snickers Truffles [vegan, paleo, refined sugar-free]

Lusciously sweet and creamy caramel studded with salted peanuts and covered in chocolate: all the flavours of the traditional candy bar combined in one healthy truffle. Easy to prepare, vegan, gluten-free and with a paleo option these are a treat everybody can enjoy.

Raise your hands if you like caramel? Okay. Salted peanuts/ cashews[aka crack]? Okay. Chocolate? Great. Lots of refined sugar? No hands?? Okay, me, neither. But if you do like all the flavours in Snickers bars I do have a treat for you today.

Date caramel truffles_3

See, I’m not necessarily opposed to refined sugar and it’s part of my diet every day. However, I don’t fancy eating too much of it and the additional ingredients in store-bought candy bars are far from tasty-sounding, too. Into the kitchen we go then. These truffles are

Sweet.

Salty.

Creamy.

Crunchy.

Refined sugar-free. Vegan. Paleo.

Covered in chocolate. We can never forget about the chocolate.

 

Date caramel_spoon

If you’ve been around the blog world for any amount of time you will be familiar with the many different kinds of balls bites made from nuts and dates with various add-ins. Confession: I’m not a fan of those. Granted, I obviously haven’t tried every kind out there and some sound pretty good. It must be mix of childhood “trauma”/lasting rebellion [growing up eating bars made from dried fruit and nut while others had chocolate bars isn’t fun] and the fact they don’t saturate but only make me hungrier. Not a good choice for a snack. However, I recently started playing around with dates caramel and that is something I could get used to. After using it in this recipe that – while delicious – was rather time-intensive I wanted to see if I could come up with a quicker way to bring together all of the amazing flavours used here. Much to my pleasure: yes, I can. As can you so next time you’re craving salty-sweet crunchy and creamy Snickers just make these and feel good eating as many as you want.

Date caramel truffles_1

I’m also very happy to announce these are mum- and coworker-approved which is a rarity around here. For one as I don’t usually venture into sweet territory with my recipes and I’m not exactly going to bring Cauliflower Curry to share at the office. And then as I trust my own tastebuds enough when it comes to savoury fare not inviting any other judges. These healthy Snickers truffles, however, got a major sign of approval and I already have a request for another batch. Nothing to complain about here. Make these for your family or coworkers and not have them guess the treats they’re eating actually aren’t all that sinful.

Date caramel truffles_2

 

Healthy 5-Ingredient Snickers Truffles

  • 250 g [a scant 9 oz]* soft dates* [don’t need to be Medjool]
  • 2-4 tbsps coconut butter [the more the creamier the taste ]
  • Optional: warm water*
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 oz roasted salted peanuts/cashews for paleo version, chopped
  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate [use unsweetened if you want to keep these refined sugar-free; I used an 80 % bar]

 

  1. In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine dates, salt and coconut butter. Blend until relatively smooth. A few smaller pieces of dates are no big issue. If your caramel doesn’t become as smooth as you like add in warm water 1 tsp at a time.*
  2. Put the date caramel into a bowl and mix in salted peanuts.
  3. Using 1 tsp [more for bigger truffles] at a time roll caramel into balls.
  4. Melt chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler.
  5. Dip the caramel balls into the melted chocolate and set onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate. Using a fork works best for this
  6. Transfer truffles to the fridge for the chocolate to set.

** this was one bag of dates for me. I only used half the caramel for a small batch of truffles as my blender (Vitamix) doesn’t work for blending smaller amounts at a time. The remaining ingredients listed are for using half the caramel so either double them or  keep the same if your blender allows for making smaller batches of caramel.

***add water 1 tsp at a time if the blending process takes too long or doesn’t yield the desired smooth consistency. However, adding too much water will make the caramel hard to handle later on so use sparingly.

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

Happiness-inducing today: Seeing the first pictures of my newborn nephew. I’m officially an aunt now!

 

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How do you feel about refined sugar? As mentioned I follow the balanced approach. If I can avoid it – looking at you, storebought sauces or bread! – I do but nobody will ever separate me from my chocolate.

Date caramel: what are your favourite uses for it?

 

 

Week in review: Challenges, clumsiness and lessons

It’s time for another Week in Review. Although I’m yet more hesitant to post it as – can I get an extra day for accomplishment, please? – time seems to have passed by with little to cross off the to-do list. Knowing Meg, though, I know she’d encourage me to get listing in anyway. Some weeks are busier, some weeks less. It just means there’s room for improvement in weeks to come.

Week in review

During these past seven days I …

  • Finished the Bloggers Gonna Blog challenge without missing a single day. That alone is an accomplishment as I’mnot usually good at following through with these week-long challenges. The hardest part – as is common in any kind of challenge – was not letting comparison get the best of me and discourage the continuation of the prompts. Photography isn’t my strongest suit – I’m a writer through and through – so seeing everybody else’s pictures made me feel lacking in creativity and talent at times. Refocusing on the community-building effect and realising I still had fun eased my mind. Sometimes it’s really all about shifting our thoughts. [And the pictures in this post will be random ones from the challenge.]

BGB_Instachallenge_all the toppings

  • Slipped into my role as a German teacher three times. It has proven to be a challenge for my patience as I want to accomplish too many things at once, not be too repetitive in my lessons and basically have fluent-speaking students like yesterday. Slow. Down. Not the easiest feat for me but there are rewarding moments that make it worth trying.
  • Tried to learn how to pronounce and write my name in Arabic. I failed though in my defense I need to say I found my ten-year-old judge to be quite critical. I’m letting his guessing on the German articles – der, die , das – count for its effort alone, too, after all. Lesson learned: German might be hard to learn for some but Arabic is a really tough language, too. A pretty one, though.
  • Experimented with a new not-so-sinful truffle recipe that I’m hoping to share with you soon. Once it passes the taste control panel at the job, that is. Lots of store-bought chocolates and homemade baked goods around at all times – the traditional butter, sugar, white flour kind – make for some fierce competition. Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

BGB_chocolate

 

  • Prepped a little for another recipe [hopefully]  coming your way soon, too.Tha one upon special request from an as-of-yet still pregnant friend [not much longer, though!]. Don’t worry, though, I’ll do my best to make it a delcious one for myself everybody to enjoy. All I will say for now: balls. Bites.
  • Wrote and published three blog posts. One of them with hesitation about potentially stepping on somebody’s feet again which it turns out I luckily didn’t. Thanks for all of your feedback on the topic!
  • Managed to break both a small bowl and a spice jar [unfortunately containing one of my favourite spices]. I wouldn’t have brought this up if it wasn’t for that old saying of  “Break a thing, mend your luck.” [Geman: Scherben bringen Glück]. Somebody tell me it’s true, please? I need to justify my clumsiness in some way after all.

I may or may not be jealous of my mum’s collection of dishware - which I actually inspired ;).

  • Although recovery means a workout ban I did follow through with a little “exercising” most days. I miss running like crazy and doing some short Blogilates and another channel’s 20-minute routine for fun doesn’t feel like going overboard. It’s hardly intense but I can’t deny I didn’t enjoy to feel my butt burning a bit afterwards. TWSS.
  • Not listed but obviously still in the books was work at my new job and the usual household tasks not worthy mentioning.

Although not looking like much I think some times are more about mental adaption to new situations or the underlying lessons learned. At that, this week probably wasn’t as bad and keeping this in mind is what matters. I refuse to let any day or week pass by as a bad one. Mindset. It’s all about mindset.That being said: Don’t hate on Monday! It deserves a little lovin’, too.

Happiness-inducing today: Lots of time for reading the newspaper – that’s what weekends are for.

 

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Tell me some achievements from your past week!
When was the last time you broke something? Did it work as a lucky charm [bonus points for saying yes even if it didn’ just to make me feel better 😉 ]?