Week in review: Back in the kitchen and many smiles.

… and here we are on the last day of February (!) with another Week in Review. First things first, though: I’m not usually the kind of person to get all sappy but thank you for all of your feedback, opinions and link shares for Thursday’s post. It was a post dear to my heart and seeing how many of you could relate was overwhelming. Due to limited internet access once again I haven’t been able to reply to comments yet but I will.

If you belong to the large part of the population who has a fierce dislike for Mondays here’s a song to get your week started with a happy dance party. Actually, today as an extra day we’re only granted every four years necessitates a little cheerful dancing as is, don’t you think so? Anyway, let’s kick the week off in proper listing style with Meg again.  Here’s a glance into my past week:

Week in review

My favourite achievement/happening first: I spent time with my nephew. [Insert goofy smile and lots of oooohs and aaawwws <- even I as the language fiend am unable to keep up my whole sentences and can’t find the right words here.] My sister, her husband and the little bundle of joy stopped by for a short visit on Sunday – my mum’s birthday – and I forgot pretty much everything else. I know I promised to keep gushing to a minimum but he started smiling this week and -proud aunt moment – I was able to make him smile a lot. Forget about boys, I found my new crush ;).

Because I felt a bit guilty for the gushing – okay, no, just because I like you – I  baked no-baked you some treats that my whole family went crazy about [and they’re my biggest food critics]. Remember what I said about this recipe being the one you need to try if you make any of mine? I may or may not have fierce competition for it. Just take a look … Recipe coming on Thursday and yes, my hands got covered in chocolate in the making. Worse things have happened before – can you say broken plates?!

Raw brownie

The usual weekly: Ran errands for myself as well as some for my parents.Did the dishes by hand as well as loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. It’s nice to have one but I still try to be aware of how many dishes I use.

I wrote and published three blog posts including one for NEDA week. What’s funny is that I remembered NEDA week was coming up all January and then it somehow slipped my mind until the past Monday. I’m glad I still published the post.

Worked five days a week and it’s a busy time at the office so I’ve been stayin longer pretty much every day.

Taught German three times again. Two of those were quite successful – students looking forward to lessons and actively asking for tasks make every teacher happy – and one sub-par.

Cleaned my apartment including the floors. Not the fridge yet, though. Just one more saved for the next week in review, right?

Had a really nice conversation with one of the clients at work. Her positive outlook on life despite suffering from a deathly illness is inspiring.

Relaxed. That one’s hard for me. Lack of sleep meant I was tired to the max when returning home after work but actually allowing myself to accept this and just lie down is so.freaking. hard. Allowing myself some trashy TV – it’s a true guilty pleasure – for the first time in who knows how long. What is it about mindlessly watching TV – or in my case a live stream online – that is so relaxing?

February_flowers

Made my own cashew butter for the first time. Or in other words: finally starting to really use my Vitamix. I’ve somehow had/still have that fear of wrecking it when making nut butters though that ironically was my main reason to want one. I make myself laugh.

Walked after work every day. With it still getting dark fairly early that usually means a quick 15-minute lap only but fresh air nonetheless.

red shoes_walk

Braved the geese again. Not intentionally. If I could avoid them for the rest of my life you better believe I would. But heading out for my walk on Friday  it wasn’t long until I saw … geese! This time they were even further away from the path I was walking on but upon seeing me one of those beasts started hissing and running towards me. No screaming on my part this time but I –ran– and my heart was beating as fast as I feel it would if I met Adam Levine. Only Adam wouldn’t scare me ;). Either way, I waited for some time, watching the geese through the trees lining the path and then ran past them as fast asI could  [wearing a heavy winter coat and no running shoes, mind you]. Ridiculous? Maybe. But I won’t let those feathery friends foes steal my opportunity to get some fresh air in.
Whatever you’re calling me for this: stupid goose is not an option!

That was a little wrap-up of my recent going-ons that I’ll also share for MIMM. because despite some ups and downs it was a good week.

Whatever comes your way today: take it and see the silver lining. Happy Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Read the first point on my list. Sorry not sorry.

 

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Good good links #131

If starting every weekly post in the same way wasn’t such a major blogging faux-pas I’d once again cry you a river – Justin Timberlake-style 😉 – over the fact the weekend is almost over already again. Kidding. Plus, my Saturday wasn’t entirely unproductive  – a possible new recipe for the blog?! – and complaining would only steal another precious minute of our already short lifetime. A much better way to spend your lifetime is either spending time with your little nephew – read: my Sunday plans – or read up on some of the latest blog world happenings. How was that for trying to bride over to today’s topic?

Anyway, I hope you’ll have a great Sunday!

 

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

You Are Destined For Something Far Greater Than A Smaller Pair Of Jeans via The PB Lover

A beautifully written reminder of your significance with a logic nobody could defy.

The Stigma Of Doing Things Alone via Huffington Post

Depending on the why behind it spending time by your lonesome might actually be a very positive thing.

Validation. I Love it. And That’s a Problem. via Lord Still Loves Me

An issue I think many of us are struggling with every now and then and becomes a problem when it keeps us from doing what we actually want to just to please others.

 

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

Five Questions to Ask About Your Relationship with Food via The Full Helping

These are spot on helping us delve deeper into the reasoning behind eating a certain way and detecting any falsely “healthy” behaviours that call for a change.

How to Overcome Worry and Be a Friendlier Person via J.K. Glei

Many simple little tips to implement in your life to make a difference.

5 small ways to make a meaningful difference in the world. via Modern Mrs. Darcy

Interesting, interesting. Like many commenters I’m not sure about #3 but all the more agree with #4 [obviously].

Why I’m okay with Losing my Phone via The Mindful Maritimer

While nobody would want to have their phone stolen the mental benefits described here might inspire us to “steal” back some of the time our phones are taking from us.

Don’t Have Time For a Daily Workout Every Freakin’ Day? That’s OK! via happy food, healthy life

Some great ideas proving that you neither need to work up a sweat nor even change into workout clothes to stay fit.

Homemade Face Scrubs For Every Skin via hello healthy

Why buy something when you can easily make it at home – and with much more natural ingredients?!

 

Blogging

Feeling Jealous on the Internet… and 12 Ways to Make it Stop via Pinch of Yum

A post every blogger or really anybody active on social media should read because – let’s be honest- we all get jealous from time to time, right? Some more so, some less.

 

Good good [food]

Mermaid Macaroons via Floral Frosting

One of those recipes that makes you ooh, aaah and then promise you’ll really save the chickpea liquid the next time.

Chocolate-covered Cheesecake Bites via Apple of My Eye

I don’t even like regular cheesecake but these sound like a fun, easy and delicious treat.

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cashew Frosting via The Conscientious Eater

A healthier and oil-free version of the popular cake. And would you look at that frosting?! Mmmh.

Mexicali Green Bowl with Chipotle Sweet Potatoes via The Mostly Vegan

Burrito Bowl-style meals never get old and this one is so colourful and extra special with its crispy tortilla strips.

Vegan Beef Bourguignon via Ceara’s Kitchen

The flavours! Whoever thinks vegans can’t eat hearty and “meaty” dishes might be convinced otherwise here.

17 Recipes to Make with a Can of Chickpeas via The Kitchn

I’ll let you take three guesses as to which legume has a special place in my heart.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Kitchen fun and my sister sending me a picture of my nephew smiling for the first time.

 

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Stop working out to earn [or burn] your food.

February happens to be National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) month and as somebody in recovery myself I have taken part in it several times before. This time touching on a topic not only those diagnosed with an eating disorder deal with.

 

Eating a bagel for breakfast  = run for 45minutes.*

An ice cream sundae =  a 75-minute spinning class.*

A few handfuls of chips = lifting weights for more than an hour. *

No, I didn’t make up the numbers above. Chances are you’ve seen these kind of equations on a magazine or somewhere online*. And if you’ve spent just a few weeks or months around the blog world or on Instagram – and most of us have been around for much longer, right? – you’ll have seen it there, too. “I know this day seems carb-heavy but: leg day!” or “deserved this treat after a hard session at the gym”. I’m not shaming any of the people making these statements because I’ve been there and occasionally still find my mind drifting off. In the past months, though, I’ve made progress here and being forced to lay off any exercise aside from walking helped change my thoughts.

You don’t need to work out like a mad [wo]man to “deserve food – or rest.

You don’t need to justify your food choices through the exercise you’ve done.

Would you deny a toddler, a doctor [somebody working mostly sedentary] or your frail grandma food? Restrict their intakes because they hardly move throughout the day? Actually,  you wouldn’t deny your rabbit/cat/dog food or hush it around the block for another lap making sure it truly deserved its food, either, no? Deny your child a snack on a long car ride because it didn’t [get a chance to] move?  Granted, there might be mums who do but I’d like to think they’re the exceptions.

Are you nodding now and saying yes, sure, point made but these examples are different from you? They’re not.

You, a toddler, your grandma: all human beings. All deserving of nourishment – in large enough quantities – to exist. Breathe. Get sh*t done [if that’s the way you want to express it]. Actually, yes, you do need to work for your food: by earning the money to pay grocery bills but that’s about the only connection between earning and food. Speaking off earning and assuming most of us either work in desk jobs or study: never forget mental work counts, too. Our brains run on glucose = your carb cravings explained. Or just don’t seek for any explanations.

I’m not suggesting for everybody to stop exercising completely and sit around all day long stuffing their face with all. the. food. Extremes again, huh? Rather, tuning into our intuition will lead us to make the right choices food-wise. And by right I mean right to keep us fuelled and happy throughout daily life – carbs and protein, pasta  and cookies just like nut butter and Greek yogurt.

Almond butter jar_Mandelmus

If we were to take this concept further the same is true for resting. There’s no need to explain why you “deserve” binge-watching your favourite show on Netflix at night. Unless that’s all you do all day every day while bossing others around to work for you. In that case please move your butt off the sofa and get work done.

The problem with shifting the mindset of earning food is its ever-presence in our society that makes it impossible to ignore*. Blogs, magazines, TV shows constantly praise the mentality of “burning off your food” and in also glorify the idea of under-eating [hello, 1200-calorie meal plans].

Exercising just for the sake of it: A gift we – myself included – often take for granted. A luxury exclusive to us living in a society where we don’t need to worry about the availability of food to refuel. An activity that some of us even turn around to be punishment for eating “too much”.

* unless you lived under rock which you shouldn’t feel bad to admit as it’d honestly be an admirable state of blissful ignorance here!

You deserve food. You deserve rest. As much of both as you need to feel energized and ready to tackle your days. Eat. Exercise. Don’t make the former depend on the latter but only the other way around in eating enough to fuel your workouts.

 

No questions. Just your thoughts on the topic.

Happiness inducing today: Many many small things all throughout my day. The sun shining. A short chat with my colleagues in between wokring.

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Week in review: Doing it for the family

Yes, I admit there was a slight temptation in naming this post “We are family”. But I wanted to spare all of us the resulting ear worm and also – the true reason, let’s face it – that’s entirely too cheesy and overused for my sensitive 😉 word fiend liking.

This week – like its predecessors – flew by in the blink of an eye. So much too do, so little time. And somehow it still feels like not a lot got done. Oh well. This [perception] will probably never change. Looking back at the past week it was a lot about helping/bonding with family. In food- and non-food-related ways but here’s what it looked like via Meg’s Week in Review.

Week in review

Probably my favourite work achievement of the week was a teaching success. One of the boys not only did what I told him to but got really excited and not even once fiddled around. Apparently, learning the Umlaute – explanation: we have not only a, o and u but ä, ö and ü in German – is a lot of fun. I was so delighted that I sneakily rewarded him with a little chocolate. I’m not entirely for food rewards but he really made me happy with his progress and change of attitude compared to previous weeks of playing the clown.

Worked in my regular job. Seeing as it’s a family business I guess this would count into the title.

Three blogs posts went up once again. And sorry not sorry but I have to mention this Nut and Seed Brittle once again for those who haven’t seen it yet – or those yet to be convinced to try it. Sue me. I need another batch soon. Honey-stly though: Who runs out of the bee’s nectar ever?

Nut cluster_5_ä

I researched, drafted and pulled my hair out for the blog – the latter mostly because my laptop keeps fussing around. Can you tell where my savings from work will go? I’m once again sorry I haven’t been doing a great job on the comment reply front but a constantly crashing laptop just is a serious curveball in getting anything done. Like editing pictures so I hope you’ll forgive me for the ones in this post.

Upon her request I prepared a big batch of these Snickers Truffles for my sister. In exchange for more baby photos, that is. It’s insane how fast that once tiny baby boy is growing.  Are there any aunts who can relate to wanting to keep their nieces/nephews small for a little longer? Not to sound too wistful early on but seeing a baby grow reminds me of how fleeting time is and how we age ourselves – almost impalpable in the moment but so apparent when looking back – every day. Look at me digressing …

Dance

[Just like I degressed above this picture has nothing to do with my writing but I thought it was funny so there we go.]

Cleaned my parents’ fridge. Not the worst task as it never looks awful to begin with and luckily was relatively low on the meat content. At least I’m making sure they’ll miss me when I move out again, I guess.

Cleaned my apartment – minus the fridge, though*.Once again discovering new nooks and crannies to wipe and pretty up. I don’t know about you but I find it impossible to actually clean the apartment spotlessly every week. How long would that take??

* Because one fridge is enough for a week and I need to keep some tasks for the next week, right? Completely talking myself into believing this …

February_until 21st 017

Upon another request – this time by my mum – I swept the stairs down to my parents’ basement. Just two words: dust balls and – spiders. No pictures of said spiders – doing all of us a favour, right?! – but those lovely flowers instead. They’re a gift from my mum that could be either a) for taking care of those nasty spiders and sticky fridge enterior, b) for being the best daughter in the world 😉 or c) none of those but simply because. I like the latter as those favours and gifts you don’t expect are the most appreciated.

Walked, walked, walked every day. More anxiety leads to more walking. I very much welcome the days getting longer again therefore allowing to at least take a short walk outside after work. One of those after-work walks happened with my mum – none with my dad this week.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Starting my day with a walk – umbrella necessary but no geese.

 

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Good good links #130

Tell me it’s not Sunday yet! Somebody needs to pinch me or better yet stop the clock or [best option] gift me an extra two days a week because how fast is the year speeding by?? Maybe we need to start talking gifts again already? Granted, not Christmas gifts because that would probably be a little early. But I should have started brainstorming a birthday gift for my mum because a week from now is her special day. Ooops. Let me know if you have any ideas because many brains are better than just one. [I should really win a prize for my maths skills, no?].

All that rambling aside it’s time for another round of good good links. You might have noticed these lists becoming a little shorter in recent weeks which is due to the fact I haven’t been able to read blogs as much as before. I’d rather give you fewer links I really enjoyed than hastily add a million posts I only skimmed and assume you’d agree.

Happy Sunday and if you need a snack while reading you shouldn’t miss out on this Healthy Nut and Seed Brittle. Shameless plug-in …


Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

What I mean by ‘I had a relapse’ via Fit Swiss Chick

A raw and honest post that gives a detailed insight into the mechanisms of eating disorders. Those affected will relate, those who have friends/siblings with EDs will get a better idea of what is really happening.

Having it all kinda sucks via Huffington Post

While not my current phase of life I know from several people in my life that this is the [unfortunate] truth.

 

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

Sometimes it’s the little things via The Pool

It somehow always is about the little things but here specifically as an ode to blogging/online friendships. Agreed!

3 Practical Self-Improvement Tips via The Private Life of a Girl

Once again it’s all about little changes that you can implement without a hassle but can have huge impact.

How Cleaning Up Pigeon Sh*t Helped Me Get Over Myself via Refinery 29

While I’m not a fan of the lurid title this post is worth reading for the author’s revelations on what matters and what doesn’t through her volunteer job.

26 Feelings You Should Experience at Some Point in Your Life via Huffington Post

The good, the bad. Life without its emotional ups and downs would be empty.

How Diets are Like Parenting (And Why You Should STFU About Both) via Foodiecology

Everybody is entitled their own ways in both areas. Accept others’ decisions and stay open-minded.

 

Health

Keine Diät: Eine Frau hat sich halbiert via Stern.de

Body image, misconceptions about heavy people and how our society deals with and treats people based on their weight. Unfortunately in German only but an interesting interview nonetheless.

Heart Month: 3 Reasons Millenials Should Give a F*ck via Mind Body Green

While it might not be apparent oin daily life our lifestyle today has a huge impact on long-term health.

 

 

Blogging

How to blog legally via DIY Budget Girl

A must-read for any blogger. Legal issues are a huge and importanh part of blogging that can be confusing at times

 

Good good [food]

Vegan Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars via The Almond Eater

Can a recipe combining two kinds of  legal crack – pretzels and peanut butter – be any bad? I doubt it.

Lemon Coconut Cake via Peachy Palate

A fluffy refined sugar-free cake that looks heavenly – and contains a sneaky nutritious ingredient. Take a guess before you click??

Healthy Flourless Blueberry Breakfast Cake via The Big Man’s World

Not usually a fan of cakes this one makes me want to sing and dance.

Sweet and Salty Trail Mix Granola  via Clean Eats, Fast Feets

Another granola recipe extraordinaire from the granola expert. Self-proclaimed or not Meg knows her business.

Loaded Vegan Baked Potatoes via The Mostly Vegan

Where do I even begin with these? Lots of vegetables, beans, cashew sour cream … just mmmmh.

Healthy Split Pea Soup via The Healthy Maven

Hand me a bowl of this and a  spoon, please. Nothing says comfort just like this.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An overall nice relaxing day after a week that left me feeling a little drained.

 

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Healthy Nut and Seed Brittle [vegan + paleo]

A sweet and irresistibly crunchy treat packed with healthy fats and prepared in less than 20 minutes this Nut and Seed Brittle is the perfect snack or topping any time of the day. Paleo, gluten- and refined sugar-free plus with a vegan option it’s a treat [almost] everybody can enjoy.

A sweet, sweet reward. That’s what today’s recipe was for me several times over. Not only a sweet reward after my camera ate the pictures of my first photoshoot here and I had to reshoot in a hurry on Monday. But also a reward to calm down my anxious mind. While emotional eating is a serious and not so funny issue sometimes it’s nice to grab certain foods knowing they”ll make you feel better. Chocolate and peanut butter are go-tos for me and I was pleasantly surprised to see this Nut and Seed Brittle could rank right up there with them. Watch out, chocolate.

Nut cluster_3

A little story behind the making of this recipe: Like I mentioned a while ago my new job comes right along with a bunch of willing – unknowingly in some cases, I should say – test eaters for my creations. Or at least I was hoping so. After the huge success of these healthy Snickers Truffles at the office I wanted to let them in on their “luck” of being taste testers. One of my colleagues’ response? “Sure – if all of them are as good as these.” Awesome. Not at all setting me under pressure or being high maintenance, no? As much as I wish I could have just brushed this off and thrown together the wildest creations in my kitchen this did slow me down for a while.  This is in line with blogging for myself as it’s me putting myself under almost unbearable pressure to create only the best recipes and content – which is a recipe for desaster. I’ll never only write the most amazing posts or have no more kitchen fails but the constant stress has been persistent. Which actually is part of the anxiety I mentioned recently but that’s a topic for another post. You came here for good food after all ,right? And good food I can deliver. Over the top delicious food if I may say so myself.

Nut cluster_6

Sweet.
Crunchy.
Addictive.
Nutty.
Vegan and refined sugar-free options.
Paleo.
Addictive. Oh, did I mention this before?

This is your new favourite snack, oatmeal/smoothie/yogurt topping or actually just favourite food. If I declare something in one league with chocolate it has to be over the moon good. No, awesome. It also disappeared in seconds at the office where there’s no shortage of candy at any time so that’s to say something if you don’t believe my judgement  [not blaming you; I occasionally create some strange but good combinations. Mostly good I’d like to think, though 😉 ].

Nut cluster_8

The fun fact is that my mind was spinning with ideas for more elaborate treats but in the end I remembered what I eat every day in anyway – flaxseeds, nuts – and took it up a notch. Honestly, I have to stop talking now because I’m getting hungry just thinking about it and you’re sitting at the edge of your seat to get the recipe, too, right?  At least you will after trying this. Mmmh.  End of story.

Healthy Caramel Nut and Seed Brittle

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds [30 g]
  • 1/4 cup unsalted cashews [30 g]
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds [30 g]
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1-2 tbsps dried cranberries, chopped*
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown rice syrup for a vegan version  [26 g]
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Pinch of ground vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 320 °F/160 °C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop both the almonds and cashews.
    In a wide bowl, stir together honey and maple. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Add in the nuts, seeds and cranberries. Stir to coat everything in syrup.
  4. Spread the nut mixture evenly on your prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning it. Baking times might vary depending on your oven.
  6. Once done – the syrup should have bubbled up and set around the nuts in an only golden brown colour – remove the sheet from the oven and transfer the parchment paper to a plate to cool down. This step is important as the brittle would cook further on the still hot baking sheet.

*the cranberries I used where sweetened but you can sub them for any dried fruit you like.

Additional step: repeat above process over and over again. Because a) you won’t be able to stop munching on the brittle and b) everybody else will ask for more, too.

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

Nut and Seed Brittle

 

Happiness-inducing today: One of my German students working very well in today’s lesson and even getting excited about learning [we did “Umlaute” today]. It’s almost crazy how happy this made me after he was very inattentive the past weeks.

 

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What’s your favourite snack containing nuts?

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