Why “love” isn’t part of my daily vocabulary.

What this post is about? My thoughts out loud and running free [because it’s almost the weekend]. Probably cultural differences [tell me!].But first and foremost it’s a post about love – in a different way. One more note: this isn’t meant accusatory in any way. I’m a huge word fiend and believe that words have immense power. So maybe you think I’m a little odd for what I’m about the say. Just please don’t feel offended :).

I don’t love your new dress.
I don’t love that idea.
I don’t even love chocolate and you would really guess by how much of it I eat.

And I clearly don’t love McDonald’s. #sorrynotsorry

Why? Because I’m a conscious “lover”.  You’ll know what I mean in a minute …
We use love a lot: we love those shoes. We love mac and cheese. We love shopping. There isn’t enough love in the world and there’s too much. Wars, hatred and the likes represent a lack of love and overload of hatred. Yet – to me – saying or writing “love” too often takes away from its meaning.

Thinking-Out-Loud

The Black Eyed Peas wondered where the love was. My answer: maybe a little too present at times. What I wonder is if we love too much. Not like there was such a thing as too much love. But my love, for the most part, is shown through action. If I love somebody I will surprise them with treats, kisses or just doing them small favours [especially of the kind of household duties nobody enjoys]. It’s also a family issue: I haven’t once heard my parents tell each other or us as their children “I love you”. But anybody can tell they do love each other and I’ve felt as loved as any other child. That’s because they’ve shown us their love and still do.

The comparison is lacking but think of a favourite dress or bracelet you inherited and – if you’re anything like me – are reserving for special occasions. Just like this I personally find “love” too precious to use it daily. In fact, this might make me look weird but didn’t say the three magical words at any time during my previous relatioship. Granted, I’m also not somebody to date around a lot and I probably would have sooner or later. But as much as I’m a hopeless romantic I’m doing a Rory Gilmore* here and saving these words for when I’m absolutely sure.

Flowers_buttercup

*Gilmore Girls fans will remember Rory’s hesitation to reply to Dean’s declaration of loving her. These three words hold so much more power than the eight letters they’re consisting of would have you guess.

Words are powerful and maybe I’m overly sensitive when it comes to their meaning. But that’s the beautiful thing about blogging: we’re all different and get to share our opinion thereby opening up the conversation.Once again: these are obviously just my thoughts and I neither mean to criticize nor hurt anybody. Rather, I’m leaving this here to open up any takes you might have on the topic. The only “rule”: let’s keep the hatred out of the conversation, ‘kay?

 

Happiness inducing today: So. much. sunlight. until early in the evening. Spring is on its way!

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What are your thoughts on the topic? Does “love” have different meaning for you [i.e. sayng it to somebody vs. using it to express excitment about a thing]? Is there a cultural difference? Let’s get the conversation started!

 

Week in review: Count your lessons [and blessings]

For once, I really struggle to find accomplishments looking back on a week. Not because I was hit by extreme laziness but – if you saw yesterday’s post you already know it – a cold. Completely out of the blue. To switch things up I decided to join Meg’s weekly party of sharing our recent life happenings blessng-and-lesson style. Here we go …

Week in review

The best accomplishment first: spent a lot of time playing and cuddling with my nephew. Below: a regular sight this past weekend – cake with a side of baby. He enjoyed lying on the table – and being the center of attention turning food into only second interest. What a difference a baby makes …

I worked a mere two days – but they were long ones [<-trying to make myself feel okay about the fact I had to stay home when I was sick]. The upside of staying home from work to recover was never getting bored when I returned on Thursday.

Lesson learned: staying home when sick is fun for a few hours, then it gets boring and you wish you were at work. No, honestly.

Cake_Torte_Easter_baby

(Tradition. My mum’s popular “Eierlikörtorte” (egg liquor cake) with a liquor-free piece for my sister who never enjoyed its taste.)

Went on a walk by myself every day. Even when I was sick as for some reason these were when I felt best.

Went on several long walks with my family which I much preferred to my solo walks. Family time with all five of us [+ significant others] is a rarity these days and walks are the best way to get mobile device-free conversations going*. We put them aside during meal times but in between especially the male family members are lacking discipline.

*it’s unbelievable how many of those are in the house when we gather. My mum and I merely own a phone each but my dad, sister and her husband are loyal customers to a certain brand represented by my favourite fruit. iDon’tGetIt

Lesson learned: Fresh air does a [sick or not] person good and blessing: precious family time.

Actually, Thursday never got boring/restful. I had to picked up a few gifts and deliver them to one of my parents’ acquaintances which involved driving quite a distance – and I found driving = being in a closed space with a stuffy nose is no good.

Blessing: Friendly people all around [like those I asked for directons once].

Easter_Lindt-Hühner

[Tradition: Us not buying any Easter candy and using gifted ones for decoraton.]

Didn’t eat any less on the days of sickness. This was tough mentally as it’s easy to justify with a lack of appetite, not moving as much. I figured, though, that a) I didn’t want to risk losing weight and b) recovering from a cold takes energy.

Lesson learned: Self pep talks help.

Prepared another batch of the No-bake Fudge Brownies for my siblings, mostly my sister’s husband. This was such a sweet compliment as he’s a picky eater [and did not like my mum’s cake].

Lesson learned: Having a family who declares favourites and doesn’t want you to try new recipes is slightly unfortunate for a blogger.

Not only cleaned my apartment but cleared it off my belongings as some of our neighbours had visitors over who wanted to stay there. This isn’t unusual – we’ve hosted neighbours’ guests many times –  but I’m not a fan of strangers staying in my rooms. And having to clean up after them, too  …

Flowers_white

Wrote a blog post that never went online because I decided my brain wasn’t working at its best and you deserve good posts, not half-hearted bacteria-sprinkled ones ;).

Was online less often. I’m still not good at unplugging completely – it’s a family thing – but reducing it to the evenings when everybody else had gone to bed already [night owl, remember?] felt good. I’m sorry for not commenting much on your blogs, though.

I’m off to enjoy the remaining few hours with my siblings and hope you’re having a wonderful Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Family time.

 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
How far does your family’s mobile device [that term makes me giggle] obsession go?
What did you do for Easter?

 

 

Good good links #135

Knock, knock …

H from the blogger who was MIA ever since Monday. Right in time for the start of spring I caught some virus on Tuesday and was a hot mess [in the worst way] for a few days. Not the best condition to blog through so to keep you any fiever-induced ramblings I kept my distance from the keyboard. But I’m back in time to bring you some Easter gifts. Sorry, no fine chocolate but I figure you’ve probably had your fair share already so food for the mind it is. Sounds good? Great.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

 


Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Hating yourself doesn’t make you thin, just like loving yourself doesn’t make you fat. via  Yeah … Imma Eat That

“the physical parts of my body isn’t what needed to change, it was the mental part.”. So damn hard, so worth it.

A Few Simple Words via My lttle tablespoon

The power of words is amazing and sometimes it really doesn’t take many to get to the point of what you want to express or need to change.

You’ll never be done. via Alexandra Franzen

Do you make the time for the things that matter to you or see too many obstacles/duties in your way?

 

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

How to Be You via Oh Joy

Some really good points on figuring out who you are and want to be [and what’s not for you].

8 Productive Ways To Use The Time You’re Normally Wasting On Waiting va Darius Foroux

Nobody likes to wait and rather than loose precious lifetime – those minutes add up! – here are better ideas.

Why My Hectic Morning Routine Rules (and I’m Not Changing It) via Greatist

A refreshingly different perspective for anybody who feels a bt annoyed/overwhelmed by many articles on how to “hack” our routines for a 180° overhaul.

 

 

 

Blogging

How My Blogging Break Saved My Blog via Young and Rungry

Taking a step away can be the best thing to actually help your blog grow and yourself get into the flow again.

You Can Use a Picture If: Guidelines for Image Copyrights via The Visual Communication Guy

Pictures make a blog go round! An easily understandable graphic explaining the basics on which images from around the web you can use legally.

How to be a respectful blogger via Chase the Red Grape

Blogging can open many doors and allow you to build deep friendships when keeping a few simple “rules” in mind.

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs]

Ceci N’Est Pas Ice Cream (Actually It’s Lard And Food Coloring) via the salt

Never trust a photo you didn’t take fake yourself … or: the not so delicious tricks of the food industry.

Good good [food]

The Ultimate Vegan Date-Sweetened Roundup (65 recipes!) via Feasting on Fruit

If it hasn’t been obvious in the past weeks I think dates are pretty amazing and this collection will make you want to pick up a bag [or two … or three], too.

Chocolate Coconut “Mounds” Candy Bars via The Lazy Vegan Baker

Ditch the storebought candy! Aquafaba playing its magic once again here.

Vegan Apple Pie Bars via Emilie Eats

Juicy fruit topping, crumbles and date caramel drizzle -these bars have everything you could want [in a bar in anyway].

No Bake Caramel Chocolate Cereal Bars via My little tablespoon

Looking at them you’d never these tantalizing treats are packed with good-for-you ingredients. Mmmh.

Slow cooker burrito bowls via Amuse Your Bouche

For all those lucky one of you owning one of those magic pots.

The Eureka! Bowl. Peanutty Kale, Smoky-Maple Chickpeas, Sweet Potato, Avocado.  via Healthy.Happy.Life

The name pretty much says it already: all kinds of delicousness mingling in one bowl and bringing you great joy.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Sorry not sorry for this but: having my nephew [and sister, brother and the in-laws obviously] around for the weekend..

 

 

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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

 

 

Week in review: The one with THE mental trick

It’s all about the mind[set]. And. The mind is a powerful thing. That’s what they say. What I say: They*are right. If I wanted to sum up my accomplishments from the past week in one two words: mind tricks. Or rather: One mind trick. THE mind trick if I dare say so. Read on to find out how I manipulated myself  the positive way. As usual through a new Week in Review following the lead of  our lovely host Meg.

**whoever they are

Week in review

We’re looking back at a week where I …

Posted three times. One of these times sharing the recipe for these Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars that involves making your own non-dairy condensed milk. I wouldn’t blame anybody preparing just that part …

Taught German twice. The holidays started for students here on Thursday hence missing that day’s lesson. It was also my last time teaching on Mondays. We’re visiting different schools on Monday vs. Wednesday/Thursday and we’re resigning from the former after the holidays. Part of me is happy as things in that school just didn’t work well. But part of me is also sad for the children not getting the support anymore.

Worked four days in my regular job.Same old, same old aside from the fact I …

Took Friday off to …

Semi-spontaneously hop on the train and visit my sister – and that special someone 😉 – in Hamburg. When it’s been a while since previous travels I can find it harder to get out again – despite knowing I’ll enjoy it in the end. We had a lovely day: Walking, talking and – news alert! – eating sweet potato fries from a vegan food truck that just so happened to be on our route ;). If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know I’m not exactly declaring my fondness of sweet potatoes on the daily  [read: along the lines of the opposite]. These fries however? Wow, wow, wow. The sweetness made these such a great alternative to regular fries. And the vegan curry mayonnaise wasn’t half bad, either, which is even more suprising because mayo is one of those foods I’ve never liked. Never.

It was awesome visiting her that day, too, as my grandparents stopped by shortly so I got warm grandpa and grandma hugs, too. And I hugged them tightly. Call me dramatic but I think all hugs we give loved ones should be extra long since we never know when or if we’ll meet again. #notmorbid

No-bake fudge brownies_close-up

Also semi-spontaneously prepared a batch of these No-bake Fudge Brownies for my sister upon her request. This is when the mind tricking started. Thursday was rather stressful and the last thing I wanted to do was prepare anything that required several bowls and cleaning the Vitamix. So I told my sister I was sorry but it wasn’t going to happen. Yet I dislike disappointing and really like gifting others. This – on top of everything else on my Friday night to-do list – stressed me out. I’m not saying this to complain but describe a mental fight I feel I’m not alone in: needing relaxation, wanting to do others a favour. What’s a girl to do? Trick herself. I told myself I’d just go along the brownie making process step by step. If at any point I didn’t feel it anymore I could stop. You know it: once you pop, you can’t stop finish the task at hand because finishing feels so darn good. It’s the mental trick that works a charm in many situations: studying, exercising, baking, …

And the mental manipulation into productivity didn’t stop there. Rather, once I noticed what I’d done I tricked myself constantly. That sounds weird but fine, fine. I cleaned my kitchen sink plus bathroom (sink, toilet) – at 9 PM on Saturday night. Because that’s when my Saturday-wasn’t-productive-enough panic set in. As usual, I wasn’t feeling it but told myself that I had to do just the kitchen sink. Almost a favourite task because it’s nice to see it all sparkly again [even if that effect lasts a mere minute only]. Obviously, I was hit by motivation and finished the bathroom, too.

Took a million and one pictures of the flowers on our yard but since my laptop isn’t cooperative tonight a little throwback will have to make do.

Flower

Finally replied to a mail I’d been meaning to for weeks months. Again using said trick by a) telling myself I had to only write as much as I felt like and b) that it’s not normal to proof-read your mails more than once. Here’s to hoping I didn’t make too many mistakes.

Scrubbed that one nasty spot behind my sink that’s been overdue for some cleaning. That was some stress-cleaning that I’m glad to hear others do, too.

Gave myself a little pep talk after a very uncomfortable conversation. Which – now that I’m thinking about it – reminds me of this fabulous little site. Coincidentially, it brought up this one for me right now:

You are smart. You are a force. You can ask for what you want, jump-start your car battery, eat at the bar by yourself, and open a Roth IRA like an alpha-fem supreme queen. You’re not a Dime—you’re one of those rare steel pennies the U.S. Mint circulated during WWII to preserve copper that are now worth $100k+. Sometimes your twenties feel like playing a video game on the ‘Difficult’ level, but you are unstoppable. You are insatiable. You are a warrior. Take your sledgehammer and smash that glass ceiling to smithereens. Keep doing EXACTLY what you’re doing, babygirl. Chin up, shoulders back.

Caught up with a good friend.Unfortunately just via phone but nonetheless. Why is it so hard to stay in touch with everybody we want to?

Called my grandma on Thursday night when I was feeling it the least – Thursday was oneof those no days . I do believe in destiny and this conversation was well worth it brightening both her and my mood. Funny how that works.

Proof-read one of my sister’s papers for university. Somebody give me more of those tasks. Is it very weird that I get honestly excited about editing? It feels neirdy to say but I truly like it. We all have our quirks, no?

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Productivity! And a very nice evening walk.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
Let me know any other mental tricks or productivity hacks you’ve found to work for you!
 

Good good links #134

Consider yourself lucky if a) you’re not a night owl [guilty], b)don’t have a tendency to write blog posts last minute [oops … guilty again] and c) have free access to internet any time you please [not guilty but in an unfortunate situation regarding this one]. Where I’m getting with this? It’s not to complain but explain why I had more posts “bookmarked” in my head than I’m sharing today – notes all over the place don’t help. I still hope there’s something for everybody in here and I’ll be sharing those other posts in another week. No big deal.

By the way: Did you catch these delicious Triple Coconut Chocolate Bars going live? They taste delicious but I’m obviously a little biased ;).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

 


Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Trials and errors of blogging (and life) via My little tablespoon

There’s too much to say about this beautifully written post on blogger identity and handling the struggles that blogging brings so: read it!

Self-promotion via The Domestikated Life

A post I could have written myself because I can relate so. very. well. Not just regarding blogging but many other situations in life, too.

 

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

What Happened When I Stopped Exercising For A Month via The Healthy Maven

Like Davida, I have a hard time exercising intuitively and not becoming obsessed with it. This is a good post for anybody feeling the same.

 Why (And How) I Treat Myself Often via Bucket List Tummy

” because when we deny ourselves the people, the food, things and experiences that make us feel the most alive, we’re sending ourselves negative vibes.” <- a great reminder.

Surviving Unemployment (aka How I Stayed Sane) via SuzLyfe

“Surviving” is the right term here and Suz has some very good tips on managing this hard time.

 

Health

4 Reasons You Should Be Taking Magnesium via Simple Medicine

While I’m not currently taking magnesium I’ve considered it and this provides some good information on why this mineral is so important.

 

 

Blogging

20 Working From Home Tips to Boost Your Productivity via HubSpot

Technically not intended for bloggers this one does apply here in many points, too.

Balancing Blogging + Working via Gretch Runs

Yes! Finding this balance is so hard {at least for me] and these tips are very relatable. I’m sure you’ll especially like #5  and 7.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs]

39 Questions I Have for Bloggers via Hugs & Lattes

This is brilliant. A must-read for every blogger, blog readers, Instagram fiend – everybody.

14 Overwhelming Feelings Experienced While Indulging in a Cheat Meal via FitSugar

Neither the term and much less the action of cheat meals exist in my life hence why I find this all the more funny.

Good good [food]

Healthy Homemade Cadburry Creme Eggs via Veggie Quest

Hello, amazing. I’ve seen remakes of these before but never using some of the sneaky ingredients used here.

5-Ingredient Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Skillet via Ambitious Kitchen

Maple syrup, chocolate chips, peanut butter – do I need to say any more?

Nut-free Paleo Carrot Cake via A Saucy Kitchen

With Easter around the corner carrot cake is a must in this list and this one is low in sugar, too.

Raw Carrot Cake with Pistachios and Lime Coconut Frosting via Nirvana Cakery

… and another one for the vegans. Just how beautiful is this cake?

Vegan Burrito Bowl & Pineapple Salsa via Apollo & Luna

There’s SO much goodness in this bowl: grains, vegetables, a creamy sauce and that salsa … mmh.

Dreamy Creamy Rosemary White Beans (Zoes Kitchen copycat) via The Vegan 8

Mention beans, creamy and vegan – and I’m all in.  Remind me to buy white beans again so these can happen …

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Many little things including the beautiful flowers in on our lawn.

 

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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

Rich dark chocolate and tropical coconut flakes sitting atop a soft oatmeal crust and covered in homemade dairy- and refined sugar-free condensed milk make these Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars irresistible. They require only eight simple ingredients, are gluten-free as well as easily turned vegan and can be refined sugar-free.

Bienenstich_Coconut Caramel slice

How about we play a little association game for a moment? I’ll give you – or actually, myself – a keyword, you follow up with the first thing tagt comes to your mind. Ready?

Cooking? Fun. Hard to fail.

Baking? Unpredictable.

With cooking I’ve found that you can hardly mess things up really bad. Sure, you can burn food, accidentally go too heavy-handed on the spices or … But in most cases, some tinkering around will still help you turn a fail into an edible dish.

Baking, however? You’re not the main player anymore. Handing control over to the oven that – if not on good terms with you – can merge ingredients that taste amazing on their own and in unbaked state into … oddly shaped puddles of goo that might still taste good but nobody wants to eat. Can you tell I’m not too fond of baking? What can I say: I like predictability. Prior to recent experimentation I’d have never guessed no-baking could be that much fun and as evidenced in the past weeks have enjoyed sharing some recipes from this category, too.

Coconut Caramel Bars_4

Yet I also remembered how much I’d liked baking from childhood on – following recipes obviously – and didn’t want to let the oven win that easily. And – heureka!  – these bars were born. Let’s talk about them: triple coconut. Meaning three times the creamy/tropical/natural sweetness/give me more factor. Plus – as odd as I find saying it with the nut in there – these are therefore nut-free, too!

While these bars are truly catering to the sweet tooth, most o their sweetness comes from unrefined sugar and only a small amount of refined in the chocolate. Dare I say these little treats are the bee’s knees ;)?

Coconut Caramel Bars_3

Long story short: this recipe sounds more difficult than it is. Yes, we’ll be making our own non-dairy and refined sugar-free condensed milk. No, this is not hard. Can you stir a few ingredients together and keep an eye on them every now and then for half an hour? It’s the perfect thing on a Saturday afternoon while you do a few sudokus, catch up on your Bloglovin’ feed or just have a little kitchen dance party.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

For the non-dairy condensed milk:

  • 1 can [400 ml] coconut milk [light might work; I used ¾ light, ¼ full-fat]
  • ¼ cup [80 g] honey or maple syrup for a vegan version
  • a pinch of salt

For the crust

  • ¾ cup old-fashioned or quick oats (60 g)*
  • 2 tbsps coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsps unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown rice syrup [40 g]
  • ½ bar [1.75 oz] dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsps dried cranberries**
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  1. For the condensed milk, combine coconut milk, honey and saltin a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should reduce to ~1 cup of liquid,. To determine this, keep a heat-proof measuring cup by the stove to check.
  3. When the milk has reduced, let it cool down and then transfer it to the fridge. For the best result chill the condensed milk in the fridge overnight or at least six hours.
  4. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan and set aside.
  5. Prepare your crust by pulsing the oats ina blender to yield a coarse flour. Mix with shredded coconut, honey, coconut butter and honey.
  6. Press crust mixture into the prepared pan. Top with chopped chocolate, cranberries and flaked coconut. Pour the non-dairy condensed milk on top, spreading it to cover the whole crust.
  7. Bake at 320 F/160 Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Check in between to make sure it doesn’t burn [oven temperatures vary!]. The condensed milk should be bubbling and thickening .
    Let cool completely before slicing.

* use certified gluten-free if necessary

** use another kind of dried fruit like mulberries or raisins for a sugar-free version

Coconut Caramel Bars_2

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

 

Happiness-inducing today: It’s Spring! Okay, not meteorologically yet but the temperatures hit 13 °C today! Sunshine = endless smiles, even on a long day of work.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
 

What’s your favourite form of coconut?

Cooking or baking?