Week in review: Out with the procrastination.

Spring, where are you??

Unlike most of you, I didn’t spring forward yet as – for a reason unbeknownst to me – we don’t experience the time change for another two weeks over here. I can’t deny I’m relieved. Though I can also tell you I’ll never be ready to cut off an hour from my day/week/life. But as you know I’m against starting – or ending – a week on a grumpy note so rather than ramble on, I’ll get my pens [look out for a new one mentioned below] ready to get get listing with Meg because we can’t forget to give ourselves a little  pat on the back, no?

Week in review

Some achievements and happenings I was able to check off my list. During the past seven days: I …

Worked the usual five days with one of those being a longer one as I met up with a colleague who’s training me to take up more responsible tasks. She’s the one going on maternity leave and I’m supposed to take on her job. I’m admittedly a tad scared about that prospect because it’s a lot  [of both work and responsiblity].

Finally cleaned my fridge. If you noticed me repeatedly mentioning this in previous weeks you might have either assumed that a) I really disliked doing this or b) that it’d never get done. Fair enough since I wasn’t so sure either. But: checked off!

March 9th 045

Published three blog posts. It’s odd to say but writing a random one is harder for me than a “deeper” one. This is difficult to explain but tied with the whole “letting go and just being random” issue. Like I said in last Monday’s post my mind has been a bit scattered lately so none of the other posts I’d had on my mind were written entirely.

Didn’t skip any meals or eat less overall. This might not sound like much but I can’t deny it’s still tempting at times. When I’m not as hungry, get home from work later than usual, wake up late on the weekend.

One word: paperwork. Another part of adulting that I could really do without. Really. Starting a new job always requires this, yes, but it’s one of those tasks bringing out my no attitude. What had to be done was done while enjoying breakfast so it wasn’t too bad after all. A nice bonus was that this kept me off my phone while eating. Bad habit prevention and getting things done at the same time? Win-win.

Treated myself again. This time I finally caved and bought one of these pens. I’d been eyeing them ever since I saw the exchange student I taught months ago use one. No, not the most expensiv “treat” but it still seemed unneccessary. Knowing it’s a useful gift  to myself – despite obviously owning multiple pens already – made the purchase easier on my mind.

Source

Kept up my habit of at least a short walk a day. I’ll admit it took some convincing myself for a few of those because – damn you, weather gods – the temperatures were definitely not spring-like. Do you ever drag yourself out despite not feeling it because you know it’ll ultimately benefit you? Returning home to a cup of tea and some chocolate feels all the more rewarding when you moved your stiff bones [we all know sitting too much is deadly] prior to it.

Went on a walk with my dad. It’s been a while and these still make me slightly anxious. Ridiculous to an outsider, I know, but spending time alone with my dad is an accomplishment for me. It’s definitely not easy to see for outsiders and would be easier if you knew the history of our relationship but I hope you’ll understand I can’t/don’t want to share it with the whole world. It’s just … difficult.

walk

Translated the menu for the newly-opened [read: as of yesterday/today as I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon] burger restaurant of a relative. When I say burger restaurant we’re not talking Mc Donald’s style. They’re specializing in unique burgers, using local ingredients where possible and also offer vegetarian and vegan options. I’d been offering to help for a while and translating from German to English was a fun opportunity to use my food vocab – thanks to all of you – I mean it! –  for broading my food vocab by eating arugula, signature sauces and cilantro. What I ate Wednesday as vocabulary lessons: who would have guessed?!  So if any of you are ever in Hamburg looking for good burgers*: let me know ;). At least I’m hoping they’re good as – confession –  I personally am not a fan of burgers.

Not including the little daily necessities this just about sums about the bigger achievements from my week. Let me know about yours!

Happy Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Getting this post written earlier than usual and also getting more done earlier in the day than is typical for Sundays around here. Read: that night owl habit …

 

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!
When was the last time you treated yourself and what did you buy/do?

 

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Good good links #133

Confession: No matter how much I enjoy sharing my favourite post from aorund the web with you: these posts do nothing to better my sleeping routine. Let’s just say that finishing these on Saturdays with m da home and working pushes my blogging time way out into the night … Oops. But I’m not going to rant here because I really iike to let you know what caught my eye in the past week – and hear what you found, too, so let me know if I missed any worthwhile reads.

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Our Relationship with the Present Moment via Zen Habits

How are you treating your “loved one” this very second?

What it means to be a woman today via The Heart Mag

Similar to the post I shared a few weeks ago but adding the comparison with hardships of further generations.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

Maintaining Mental Health in a Mentally Unhealthy World via Loved and Worthy of Love

A wonderful post not just for those of us recoverng from EDs .

21 Things You Can Do To Be A Better S.O. That Don’t Cost A Thing via The Financial Diet

Great ways to not just say the three magical words but also show love through actions every day.

4 Money Making Apps For Extra Spending Money This Month via Career Girl Daily

Once again only applicable for you lucky ducks overseas but sharing is caring. #4 sounds especially intriguing.

How to stay disciplined and get a massive amount of stuff done via XO, Sarah

For anybody else who – like me – struggles with this [actually; is there anybody who doesn’t??].

 

 

Blogging

The Ultimate Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags via Latergramme

Up your Instagram game by smart hashtag use. [Just do me a favour and don’t make your posts more hashtags than caption length <- is anybody else annoyed by this, too??]

Prepare Your Blog for a Baby via Morgan Manages Mommyhood

The diffferen tkind of maternity leave: While obviously not applicable to my life there might be some ladies who find this information useful and Morgan did a great job writing this.

 

 

Good good [food]

Cauliflower White Chocolate Fruit Dip via Unconventional Baker

Audrey has the insane ideas – and by crazy I mean genius.  Eat your vegetables – the sweet way.

Cookie Dough Breakfast Cereal via Lexie’s Kitchen

While I’ve seen healthy “cookie dough” ideas before this one uses new interesting ingredients.

How to make perfect cupcakes via Handle the Heat

A little study guide for the next time you want to bring the fanciest little ‘cakes to the table.

Popcorn Mac N Cheese Casserole (vegan & gluten free) via A Whisk and Two Wards

Can you say genius?! This has to be one of the most amazing spins on the classic I’ve seen to date.

Sweet Potato, Beet, Tempeh Salad with Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette via My little tablespoon

Getting me interested in salad isn’t easy but this one definitely has me intrigued – look at all those colours!

Savory Turmeric Chickpea Oats via The Full Helping

I’m a huge fan of savoury oats and if you’re not yet the look of these alone might convince you.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Waking up to instantly mood-boosting texts from friends.

 

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Currently … March

March is that weird in-between month. It’s not yet spring, not really winter anymore [though the temperatures in the mornings around here would make you second-guess this]. And Thursdays are those in-between days – not yet the weekend, not bearing the fresh [or if you’re usually facing a heavy workload on Mondays: heavy ] feeling of a new week anymore. As my brain is apparently caught in a weird in-between state where I can’t seem to finish one post but draft three at once I decided to forgo either of those. What better way to solve the problem than go with some thinking out loud and a little glimpse into life as I currently know it?

Currently_2

 

Drinking:  This tea. Tea snobbery is a thing and thanks to BuzzFeed a verified obsession in my case so there’s no denying it. Honestly, though, if you can get your hands on this Yogi Chocolate Chili Tea: do it! I won’t drink any other [at home] right now.

Yogi tea wisdom

Eating: All the Cs once again. I seem to do that every March – actually: have been doing so for months now.Carrots, Cauliflower. Chocolate. Coconut milk. Not together, mind you.Shown here is a  sneaky b that has been making its way into my life on an almost daily basis: Brussels sprouts. A vegetable you either like or really despise. Which team are you on?

Brussels sprouts_stir-fry

 

[Non-] Guilty Pleasure:  Ich habe heute leider kein Foto für dich. <- Guess that show. Okay, only Germans will know. .Do you remember my mention of trash TV for relaxation? I didn’t spill the beans on what exactly so the cat’s piut of the bag now: Germany’s Next Topmodel. I actually have what I’d call a very low tolerance to trash TV and I’m not saying this judging others. It’s simply that I find a lot of what’s on German TV to be unbearable to watch [and I know I’m not alone on this one – American shows have a much better reputation]. But watching this show somehow lured me in again afters years of lot watching it anymore. I’ll even overlook Heidi Klum’s bad grammar :D. The show is on tonight so

Nail colour and outfit: Forever not taking the classic nail polish show-off picture. Also forever being into all shades coral/pink/red. This is Essie’s Manhattan Ave-hue which I really recommend not only for its colour – the obvious one – but as it’s one of the few I’ve found to truly last on my nails. Almost every other polish has started chipping by the second or third day so far.

Currently_nails_Essie_Manhattan Ave-hue

Obsession: The pictures of my nephew my sister sends me. I’ll keep it at that to spare you my gushing once again.

Reading: More like:  the last book I finished: Poor Economics. It’s the one I mentioned in my Week in Review a while ago and while I think a full-on review is impossible – there’s too much information – I could give summing it up a try if any of you are interested. A lot of thought-provoking, enlightening insight and many a-ha moments.

Poor economics_book

Listening To: My current playlist  is an all over the place mix-up but fitting my current mood. Including this gem right here – judge all you want but if your key criteria for songs is getting you in a good mood: this delivers.

Need:  After reading the book mentioned above it feels very first worldly [not a word, I know] to see any of the things coming to mind as actual needs. A new laptop – mine’s been failing on me for months, if not a year already  – would be quite helpful with blogging and … everything, though.

Bane of Existence: Late nights resulting  in lack of sleep. There’s no denying the fact I’m a night owl but also none in this not meshing well with regular working hours.

Listening to: My current playlist is a wild mix of songs – some new, some old, some slow, some fast. Main criteria: cheering me up. This one delivers:

Excitement:   It might get old for you but … my sister coming to visit on Easter weekend. Obviously with the little boy who stole my heart. Needless to say Easter can’t come fast enough.

Procrastination: All kinds of blog work to be done. It’s not that I don’t want to get started – the problem is deciding on where to do so.

Triumph:  Sharing recipes on here again – and ones that are approved by others.  For actual food bloggers this isn’t a major feat. But me? I’m neither a chef nor baker by nature – too much of an overthinker  [creativity in the kitchen for a part is about letting go, no?!] – so recipes actually turning out and being a huge success with others feels very rewarding. A little preview of what’s to come your way next week …

Bienenstich_Coconut slice

Link: This website. Fun and helpful at the same time? Yes, please.

Mood: Am I the only one who finds this hard to answer and odd for a post summing up a month of currents? <- that would be me trying to slip away from answering it. Honestly, though, this changes quickly for me at the moment.

That was a long post. Over to you now!

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

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Tell me your current

  • a) book
  • b) needs
  • c) food
  • d) bane of existence
  • e) triumph.

Week in review: Living that adult life

Some weeks I – maybe you, too? – just feel like no. No to that whole adulting, responsibilities, paying bills. Can I please take a trip back to childhood where the biggest problems were broken toys or not getting our will?  Then again, there are many silver linings to that grown-up life, too, so I won’t go on whining. Rather, let’s get listing with Meg for another Week in Review.

Week in review

Worked the usual five days. Stlll not my dream job but the past week provided me with diversified tasks so that’s good. Always looking for the silver linings.

Published three posts again and read many great ones by others – in case you haven’t seen yesterday’s post: I really like the food for thought I happened upon in the past week.

Bought my mum chocolate. Not for any specific reason  – we’ve never celebrated Mother’s Day and I actually wouldn’t have known it was yesterday had it not been for Instagram – but just because. It’s the kind of chocolate I don’t really fancy but the favourite of her and my dad so when I saw it on offer I bought four bars. These are triple the regular size so technically should last for a while. Technically = not with my dad around.

Milka chocolate bars

Met/dealt with my non-friends, the spiders, again. Read: I cleaned my apartment including the ceilings that  said non-friends have chosen to be their territory. I’d like to disagree.

Learned new skills at work. It’s nice to grow into a more responsible position rather than just watch others do the important tasks.

Fuelled my brain by reading. I got a new issue of my favourite magazine and it’s just as good as any of theirs.

Experimented with another recipe that I’m not sure will come to fruition yet. While not difficult it took some more time – preparing my own non-dairy and refined sugar-free condensed milk – which was intimidating but fun. The verdict on its taste and success versus fail is still out as it needs to chill in the fridge overnight before cutting into it. Let’s hope the combination of multiple ingredients that taste fabulous on their own will result in a delicious outcome.

Recipe testing

Finally took a trip to the glass containers to discard my empties. Am I the only one who keeps procrastinating on this? I’m not even sure why because it literally takes less than two minutes once I’m there but I still drag it out every time.

Did some laundry. Another one of those adult tasks I dislike with a passion. Fresh clothes and sheets? Yes. But hanging the laundry up, taking it down and folding? I’d rather clean the bathroom and that’s to say something.
.
Went to the cinema semi-spontaneously on Saturday night . The movie was a-okay but the fact I didn’t stress over fitting it into my schedule short notice was good. It probably sounds odd as I enjoy these kind of activities but I can become pretty unflexible in my routine if I haven’t gone out in some time.

Flowers

Relaxed on Saturday. It stressed me out knowing I hadn’t accomplished anything by the end of the day but I also knew I  somehow needed this kind of day.

Went on several walks again, one with my mum that allowed for a really good [= deep] conversation.

Treated myself to an order of Yogi Chocolate Chili Tea. Like I mentioned it’s not available where I live so ordering online is my only chance to get it. I find spending a lot of money at once hard. Buying twelve boxes of tea over the course of several momths? Fine. The same sum at once? Whew.

Yogi Tea

Prepared another batch of these No-bake fudge brownies – and managed to almost kill my Vitamix in the process. Ooops.

Worked on drafts for several blog posts. The only problem is that none of them is finished yet because apparently my mind is either on strike or flooded with ideas for four different posts at once. A little slower, please.

Tried to keep calm when one of the German classes I teach didn’t go well at all. It’s a constant up and down – some days the kids actually want to learn and others they’re driving me crazy. I’m trying not to get too mad at myself for feeling somewhat clueless in those moments.

That’s it from me for now. Make this Monday a good one!

 

Happiness-inducing today:  A very sweet e-mail by a blogger friend.

 

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Good good links #132

As somebody who likes predictability and structure I couldn’t have gone more wrong than starting a blog, no? Ideas for posts are an ebb and flow [current state: too many ideas, hard to follow through with just one]. The outcome of recipes you test? Major hits followed by major fails [hoping to turn my current experiment into a good one, though ;)]. And these link posts? Some weeks I’ll sit down to finish the post either Friday or Saturday night with hardly anything I find worthy sharing – which doesn’t mean nothing good has appeared on other blogs; I simply missed it – and others I find so many I already save a few for the upcoming week. Just so I’m not cramming these posts too much and you find yourself with 15 open tabs at once [learn from my mistakes: you laptop might crash …].

Long story short: no matter how unpredictable and messy blogging can get – it’s awesome. Just like these links that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I did. If you have a spare minute I’d be curious to hear which ones you especially enjoyed and/or your opinion.

Have a great Sunday!

 


Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

I’m a Vegan Who Dislikes the Dogs I Live With. And That’s Okay. via Elephant Journal

Love and respect – two different issues and why lacking the former for some animals doesn’t make  you inconsequent in your lifestyle choice. See me and the geese, too: no love but respect for their existence.

The Problem with Skinny Teas via Blogilates

Finally somebody [with an influence] is adressing the ridiculousness of this Instagram phenomenon. [the fact she’s throwing in an ad for her own products aside].

For the Record, It’s Not Easy (nor should it be) via In It 4 The Long Run

An issue I hadn’t given much thought to before but Georgie’s making really good points here. Don’t [unintentionally] belittle your own or other’s effort.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other insightful reads]

11 Things I Cut Out Of My Budget (And Don’t Miss At All) via The Financial Diet

Saving doesn’t have to be quite that hard when we really think about what adds value to our lives and what doesn’t.

How Do You Know If It’s an Eating Disorder Behavior? via Breathe and Nourish

Anybody recovering will be able to relate to how hard telling apart normal and disordered behaviours is.

 

Health

What Your Face Is Telling You About Your Health via Food Matters TV

I’m not entirely sure whether to believe all of this or not but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Fitness Lies It’s Insane People Still Believe via Thrillist

There are a lot of tenacious myths around fitness, health and dieting.

Why You Can’t Fail at Intuitive Eating via Avocado a Day

With no rules or set markers of success or rules there’s no failure – it’s an ongoing learning process. Or re-learning if you remember my take on this one.

 

Blogging

Why I don’t miss the ‘good old days’ via Forever Amber

Not giving away my take on this [just yet] I’d be curious to hear yours in the comments.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile + DIYs]

Husband’s Illustrations For Wife Capture Love At Its Simplest via Huffington Post// also: HJ Story

17 Signs You’re Actually An Elderly Person Hiding In A Young Body via Thought Catalog

Can you find yourself in some of these? Guess what I’m wearing as I type this post? [#12].

Good good [food]

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Brownies via Amy’s Healthy Baking

Fudgy chocolate chip-spiked banana goodness? Sign me up. Bonus points for not using eggs and offering a vegan version!

Chocolate Avocado Cake via Produce on Parade

What a stunning cake. And that chocolate chili icing? I want to eat it by the spoonful.

Peanut Butter Graham Crunch Tart via Yeah … Imma Eat That

Okay, you already clicked over before reading any further. I can’t blame you because: oh. my.

Cashew Ricotta and Spinach Cannelloni via Planticize

These remind me of a dish by Jamie Oliver I used to cook all the time years ago – only these are completely vegan.

Best Ever Vegan Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup via Blissful Basil

By now you might have noticed I have a penchant for vegan cheesy dishes. Honestly, though, wouldn’t you want a bowl of this soup in front of you right now?

 

Happiness-inducing today: Watching a good movie. Getting a walk in before the world ended [read: it started raining non-stop].

 

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No-bake Vegan Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Naughty and nice: A healthy raw brownie base is taken to the next level with a luscious dairy-free chocolate fudge topping. Vegan, paleo, gluten-free and easily made sugar-free won’t be able to stop at just one.

No-bake fudge brownie close-up2

Hot stuff*.

That’s what my mum called these brownies. If there’s one surefire way to know I created a winning recipe it’s my mum shouting her approval to the rooftops. My mum? More like: my hardest critic. The woman who has never in her life counted calories, openly shows her fondness of full-fat products and daily dessert [that one’s quite refreshing for somebody struggling with food], – and has no hesitation to tell me something I prepared sucks doesn’t get her approval. Yet on her birthday this past Sunday she insisted on offering everybody a slice of these brownies even though she’d baked a stunning cream cake herself. For once, though, I was hesitant to share them until I’d taken good enough pictures. I’ve been wary of that since the unfortunate incident recently. Better safe than sorry.

* She literally said “heiße Teilchen” but for those of you not speaking German hot stuff is the closest translation.

 

No-bake fudge brownies_close-up

Onto the food because I’m way too excited about this recipe: Do you like raw brownies? The mere fact you’re reading this isn’t necessarily saying anything. Because – shocking as it might seem [unless you read this post] – I actually don’t care about them much. Say what?! Yes. Don’t get me wrong: the base is delicious and I ate my share of “dough” plus my taste testers gave it their thumbs up. To meet my brownie standards, though, they required some more sophisticated chocolate action. Hence why I added the fudgy ganache layer here. Don’t you dare skipping it! Think about these as the brownie epitome of the 80/20 rule*: a nutritious base of nuts, dates and cocoa with an indulgent creamy and rich chocolate topping that’s still healthier than your average frosting.

*though you’ll notice my first batch – spread in a small tin – makes them look more like the 50/50 rule 😉

Whereas many raw brownies recipe call for walnuts, pecans or almonds when I think of this particular baked good hazelnuts come to my mind. Walnuts and pecans? My least favourite nuts unless candied and part of this particular ice cream my grandma often buys for family gatherings. Almonds? Fair enough but not quite there yet. Hazelnuts? Cocoa’s best friend. I’d call it the Nutella logic [the fact this spread contains a hilariously small amount of nuts aside]. Their deep, ever so slightly bitter and dark taste complements any chocolatey baked good perfectly. I adapted the brownie base from the truly genius Dana.

No-bake brownie_fudge 2

Usually, recipes like this packed with energy-dense ingredients come with the disclaimer that – don’
t worry – you’ll feel satisfied after just one. I’m afraid I can’t make any such claims because not a single person I served these wanted to stop after only one. They are satisfying – but also addictive. But yes, lots of nutritious ingredients you can feel good about eating.

No-bake Chocolate Fudge Brownies

  • ½ cup [60 g] whole hazelnuts
  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • 1 ¼ cups dates* [~ 210 g]
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp extra dark cocoa
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Optional: salted peanuts [cashews for paleo version]

For the ganache

  • 1 3.5-oz bar of dark chocolate**
  • ¼ cup of full-fat coconut milk [shake your can well!]

 

  1. Place hazelnuts and almonds in a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until finely ground, resembling flour. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl, stir in cocoa and sea salt.
  2. Process dates in the food processor until finely chopped/close to paste-like. Remove from food processor.
  3. Add nut meal back to the food processor, turn it on and slowly add the date mixture bit by bit, processing until a thick dough forms. You might want to stop in between, pushing the dates sticking to the sides of the blender/food processor into the blades and to prevent overheating.
  4. Press the nut and date mixture into an 8 x 8-inch pan and put into the fridge to harden [it will be very sticky and soft]. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts if using.
  5. While the base is chilling in the fridge, prepare your ganache layer. Finely chop the chocolate bar and set aside.
  6. Bring the coconut milk to a boil either on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the chopped chocolate and (!!!) let sit for three minutes. Do NOT stir. No matter how impatient you are it’s crucial you don’t stir it earlier – or you’ll regret it, trust me.
  7. Stir to fully combine all fudge ingredients. Top the chilled brownie base with ganache and refridgerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting into it.

Notes:

* These don’t have to be Medjool – just buy those labeled soft dates [I gather Trader Joe’s should carry them]

** Use unsweetened if you want to keep this refined sugar-free. I’d recommend adding some stevia to taste to the coconut milk before heating to ensure the ganache isn’t too bitter or use a stevia-sweetened bar/chocolate chips.

 

No-bake brownies_3

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

There’s so much more I could say about these but I’ll just go with: you need these in your life. A big statement? Well, they’re hot stuff after all ;).

Happiness-inducing today: Walking home from work as the weather finally decided to give us a break from rain and cold temperatures.

 

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Random question: what is the price for a 7-oz bag of hazelnuts respectively almonds where you live? I was admittedly a little shocked when I saw how much they cost these days. Totally worth it obviously.