Good good links #175

With the year coming to a close in no more than a few days something else is finding its – temporary? Final? – end, too:  The Good good links. As hinted at for a while I’ve decided to lay off this blog series. Whether for a few weeks, months or for good I can’t and don’t want to predict at this point.  Originally, I was going to share a few more words on the why but things got wordy too fast – talk about some serious self-reflection – and I decided to postpone this for another day.

Before the link lovin’ goes, though, here’s another round-up of [some of the many] posts I wouldn’t want you to miss. Ironically, I found way too many for one post just the week I decided to lay this series to rest … who knows what that’s mean to say …?!

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

An Illusion of Confidence via Ally in Blunderland

Something that can’t be repeated often enough. A reminder to not judge or assume because you  never know the full story.

I am more than a food blogger via Hummusapien

As bloggers we don’t ever have to feel reduced to our niche – be it food, fashion, fitness or whatever else. Our online outlets are a reflection of our personalities and lives as a whole.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Give Yourself Time To Just…Be. Via Nubby Twiglet

Something we easily forget in a time of social media, constant comparison and the praise of being busy.

The Snowball Effect via Kath Eats

It doesn’t work just for exercising or eating – this little mind trick is effective all-around.

7 Fun Ways To Teach Kindness To Kids via Mind Body Green

Not only can you never start this early enough but in doing these things you’ll be a better and happier person yourself.

How to Stress Less via Eating Bird Food

Knowing ourselves better and keeping a few things in mind to plan ahead helps us avoid the stress trap.

2016 Year in Review – Expectations vs. Reality via In It 4 the Long Run

As so often Georgie’s reflections on her life provide some food for thought, lessons to take away and a relieving perspective on the future of blogging for all of us.

Two kinds of winning via Seth Godin

A very simple but important reminder.

 

Food/Cooking

The Secret Ingredient for Dairy-Free Ricotta via The Kitchn

A food trend/mash-up of two magic ingredients I missed this year.

How to Make Peace with Sugar via Refinery 29

This probably seems most fitting after the holidays but really is an important piece of advice all year round.

 

Blogging

The One Thing EVERYONE Needs to Know About Success via Southern in Law

Not just in regards to blogging this is something – I think – all of us tend to forget in our quest for growing our blogs, being the best wife/girlfriend/daughter/you name it.

 

Good good [fun]

German Words We Need in English via Swiss Miss

Just a handful of some of the quirkier words my mother tongue has to offer. Fremdschämen ist something I use pretty regularly – too bad, really.

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Good good [food]

Hot Chocolate Steel-cut Oats via edible perspective

The comforting [childhood] winter drink turned into a dessert-like breakfast of champions.

Vegan Skillet Brownie (with Lentils!) via Emilies Eats

If I’d seen this any earlier it would have become our Christmas dessert. Because hi, it’s a giant brownie made from whole nutritious foods.

Lasso the Moon Cookies via Cadry’s Kitchen

Simply because they’re really cute. And maybe the whole moonbeam magic works after all ;)?!

13 Best Vegan Potato Soup Recipes via The Vegan 8

Who knew potato soup had so many different faces? One sounding  better than the other. 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Spending time with my little nephew.

Stay in touch!
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Tell me: What were some of the best posts you read this week?

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Christmas week: [No] Santa [but a] Baby

First things first: I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones!

Life presented an odd sense of humor in the past week:  If thought I was feeling unwell in the previous week then, well, the worst was yet to come just in time for Christmas. Long story short: I’ve been ugly snot-sneezy sick since the previous Sunday night and still not over it. On Christmas Eve some – not going all TMI here – digestive issues came up, too. No matter what, though: Christmas is what this Week in Review with Meg and Ave is all about and somebody’s got to keep the paoer tissue industry in business, right?! Writing this post actually helped me see the plentitude of little silver linings the past week still held – it’s all about perspective.

Week in review

During Christmas week I …

Worked three days. I’m thankful my bosses decided to close the office on Thursday already because those three days alone were hard getting through with my cold.

Baked another batch of Zimtsterne on Thursday night because I was set on publishing the recipe before Christmas still. My stubbornness is a great motivator. That being said …

Published the ecipe for said  flourless vegan Zimtsterne that I highly recommend for any cinnamon fiend as well as a Week in Review. There were no good good links as I didn’t feel like spending that much time on my laptop with family around. These will be coming up either tomorrow or on Thursday, though.

flourless vegan Zimtsterne

Sent off a cookie care package to some relatives who are going through a hard time. This incentive was probably what really got my mum and me baking up a storm in our kitchens. Luckily, the package still arrived in time for Christmas Eve.

Celebrated Christmas with my parents, brother, my sister, her husband and P. More specifically, we celebrated on Christmas Eve as is the norm in Germany.  Being the first with a baby on board it was different from previous years. Some traditions were abandoned in adapting to this. Good thing we haven’t had a real tree – see here for what I’m talking about – or candles in years in anyway.

until-december-26th-032

We had a nice dinner of roulades [only for the meat eaters, obviously], Rotkohl, potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Followed by the best dessert I’ve had in a long while: homegrown baked apples with vanilla sauce. Also known as heaven on a plate. We’ve had more elaborate desserts in past years but this honestly was my favourite.

Gave gifts that made my loved ones happy. I’m most likely not the only one who worries at least a few of their gifts won’t be well received. So it was relieving to see my concerns evaporating as everybody opened their presents. A mini electric kettle for my dad – handy when he’s traveling – was my proudest gift. I might have lied when he asked if it had been my idea [thank you, mum!].

Was plentifully gifted. I was surprised, maybe even overwhelmed, by the gifts I received. Some store bought, some handmade/sewn with love. The biggest surprise was a new teapot because, well, let’s just say my old one is a little [or rather a little more] malfunctioning. Ahem. My family just knows me too well.

Christmas tree and gifts

Spent way more time reading than in the average week. It was time that I might have spent browsing the internet elsewise but picking up books more often instead felt a lot better. In fact, the blogger was probably the one using her phone the least often of all family members ;). Now if only that didn’t mean I’m almost out of reading material again …

Met a good friend I hadn’t seen in way too long and caught up on each others’ lives. She’s one of those friends who – no matter how long it’s been since you previously saw each other – just gets you and vice versa. A huge blessing.

Went on several walks with the family. These are happening more often with a baby around and conveniently scheduled around P.’s sleeping schedule.

little-hands

All in all, Christmas was amazing yet not as good as it could have been. Not because of my family but because I was feeling … off. I wasn’t as good a daughter, sister or aunt as I could have been and it’s currently weighing on my mind heavily [hence the not quite as cheerful lines above]. Time really is fleeting and I’m sad I wasn’t there with all of my mind and heart all the time. It was partially because I was feeling physically unwell and partially for some of the same reasons Cora so eloquently wrote about in a recent post [that I unfortunately only read today].
However, just like many people see the beginning of a new week, month or year as a blank slate to start afresh I know I have the chance to try again, too.

Enough of me: Tell me about your Christmas week in the comments! Fun or special traditions, what was for dinner, what did you do …?


Happiness-inducing today:  A conversation with my mum. A little peek-a-boo play with P.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21

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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

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Flourless Vegan Zimtsterne

A cinnamon fiend’s dream: Flourless vegan Zimtsterne are a traditional German Christmas cookie gone vegan with the help of aquafaba. Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, with no butter, oil or flour these cookies fit many diets.

First off: …

Merry Christmas! – Fröhliche Weihnachten! – Joyeux Noël! – Geseënde Kersfees! – God Jul! – Feliz Navidad!

Instead of my usual Christmas post I’m bringing you a recipe as a little gift today.

Do you know what’s funny? It’s only through blogging that I realize foods or dishes I’ve eaten for ages fit certain criteria. Like these Zimtsterne that to me were just, well , Zimtsterne but actually happen to be naturally gluten-free. No tinkering needed. However, they still needed a makeover because the traditional recipes relies heavily on whipped egg whites so isn’t vegan. In comes the magic that is aquafaba! If you haven’t heard of this superstar ingredient yet: it’s the liquid you dran from cans of chickpeas and white beans. Or rather: the liquid you won’t be discarding anymore once you see its amazingness play out.

Zimtsterne - vegan and gluten-free Christmas cookies using just six ingredients!

The flourless vegan Zimtsterne aren’t the healthiest cookie out there, I know. All that powdered sugar – whoa, huh? Here’s the deal [and it’s no revelation]: life’s all about balance. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know I like to experiment with more nutritious alternatives to traditional baking ingredients. Gluten-free oat flour instead of the refined version. Maple syrup standing in for sugar. Dates to create a luscious caramel topping. Yet – there are recipes that aren’t meant to be healthified. The memories evoked by these naturally gluten-free cinnamon cookies weren’t made eating a sugar-free #cleaneating-approved version of them.  Now if I absolutely cannot convince you to let a little sugar into your life: there’s help.  Here’s a tutorial on how to make sugar-free powdered sugar at home or a storebought alternative. Because nobody should miss out on Zimtsterne.

zimtsterne-gluten-free-and-vegan-made-with-aquafaba

Now I haven’t eaten my grandma’s Zimtsterne in years as I’m not eating eggs anymore. So I obviously had to ‘force’ 😉 my family to rate the authenticity of my vegan Zimtsterne. Verdict? Big thumbs up. Even my dad who – unlike my mum and sister – didn’t know about the fact these were vegan, much less the secret ingredient, noticed no difference. If you’re not convinced to try these yet I’m at a loss. Too bad because you’d be missing out on these delightfully soft-yet-slightly-chewy cinnamon-spiked cookies topped with a crisp sweet icing. If you’re a cinnamon fiend you will fall heads over heels for these naturally gluten-free Zimtsterne.

One more thing: Don’t let the length of the instructions intimidate you! This recipe for vegan Zimtsterne – while more time-involved – is actually very simple and fun to prepare. I just tried to make the directions as clear as possible so you, too, could have  Zimtsterne in your life. Not just for Christmas but all year round!

Flourless vegan Zimtsterne

  • 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar, sifted [180 g]
  • ¼ cup of aquafaba [60 ml]
  • 3 cups of almond meal [300 g], divided [2 ½ + ½ cup] OR 2 ½ cups of almond meal + ½ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp of amaretto*
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Add the aquafaba to a tall mixing bowl and beat at high speed for 4-5 minutes.
  2. In intervals, add in the powdered sugar, beating it in well on high speed for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Transfer about ¾ of the mixture  into a larger bowl. The remaining ¼ will be your frosting later on.
  4. Mix 2 1/2 cups of the ground almonds and cinnamon. Pour on top of the whipped aquafaba in the large bowl and mix to combine everything well with a spatula.
  5. Knead in the amaretto and a squeeze of lemon juice by hand. If your dough is too sticky, add some of your reserved almond meal/[gluten-free] flour.
  6. At this point preheat your oven to 120 °C/235 °F.
  7. Sprinkle some of the reserved ground almonds or the gluten-free flour on your work surface, place your dough ball on top, sprinkle with some more ground almonds and roll out about ¼ inch/1/2 cm thick.
  8. Cut out cookies and transfer to your lined baking sheet(s).
  9. Using a knife or baking brush, spread the reserved aquafaba on the cookies.
  10.  Bake for around 16-20 minutes or until your able to lift a cookie from the tray without bits of dough sticking to the parchment paper.

Barely adapted from Daily Vegan.

Notes

Make sure the bowl you’re whipping the aquafaba in  is completely dry and free from any fat residue as aquafaba – just like  egg whites – reacts negatively to fat [i.e. won’t whip properly].

Cover your mixing bowl with a towel for the first minute of whipping up to avoid Aquafaba splashing all around your kitchen and getting covered in it yourself.

*For an alcohol-free version sub 1 tbsp of water + ½ tsp of almond extract.

Zimtsterne - vegan and gluten-free Christmas cookies using just six ingredients!

On a last note big thanks to my sweet friend Charlotte who helped me decide on the pictures here. I obviously sent her home with a cookie bag as a little gift.

I’m sharing this with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek, Gluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

Happiness-inducing today: Despite being full-on sick now the day held so many wonderful little moments. Meeting my friend mentioned above. Finding out that her on-off boyfriend finally commited to a relationship [ I asked her if I could share this because it made me truly happy].

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?
 

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Seeing the glass half full

Only five more days until Christmas?! Pinch me, please. Not just because the number of presents bought is rather … unsatisfying but also because I feel Christmas time/Advent rushed passed without me fully experiencing it. Or maybe we just won’t ever get to as much as when we were children anymore because of those ‘perks’ of being a grown-up [work, household tasks … you know it]. A little bubbly Bublé helps, though.
Forgive me if parts of this post aren’t cohesive or grammatically flawed – I’ve been sick the whole past week and my brain feels a little … off, too. Can I maybe get another day of weekend just this once? That’d be great.

Feeling weak and blah aside this really wasn’t the worst week to have. It had some better days and some worse ones but none of the kind where nothing works out or you can’t cross at least a few things off your to-do list. Speaking of lists it’s obviously time to link up with Meg and her little night owl Ave again.

Week in review

Some of the previous week’s happenings. I …

Worked. It definitely wasn’t the best week to be sick – not like there ever was but you know what I mean: long days where work wouldn’t stop coming in [not to make this sound whiney: I actually like days like this; it was just being sick that made them harder]. I’m happy I made it through and didn’t take a day off so my colleagues didn’t have to take up any of my work.

Gave a spontaneous pep talk to a colleague. I’m not mentioning the pep talk to make myself look any wiser but because I was so happy she noticably lightened up as we walked out. Respecting her privacy I won’t go into all the details but it was interesting for me to see that somebody far older than me – twenties vs. Forties – can still struggle with some of the same insecurities and self-doubt. Interesting for me as I – naively? Overly optimistically? – had assumed that at a certain age we were “automatically” feeling steady and self-confident in who we are as characters.  It might not have given me reassurance about the natural development of self-confidence at a certain age. But it showed me it’s okay to struggle with these things still even ten or twenty years from now. We all go at our own pace and – hopefully – will always have people in our lives who listen and put our minds at ease.

Candles_December

Did some research for my dad which unfortunately yielded no positive findings. Just as an FYI: Never loose your spare car key because getting a replacement – unless you’re up for some not quite legal action – is hella expensive.

Published two blog posts: glimpses into a night owl’s life and the good good links. I’ve been pondering to stop doing the latter for some time and might talk about the reason a little more soon.

Prepared meals to take to work Monday to Friday and another batch of healthy Nutella on Monday. Some of this became a little gift to the client who gave me the almond butter a few weeks ago.

Dropped a retoure package off at the post office for my mum after work, luckily not running into long queues as can happen these days leading up to Christmas. Which reminds me I do still need to take another trip there this week …

Baked another kind of [vegan] Christmas cookies that had the benefit of filling my kitchen with a heavenly Lebkuchen [= gingerbread] scent.

Lebkuchen-Traumstücke

Cleaned the apartment. For some reason wiping the floors wasn’t quite as bad this time. I probably won’t ever be one of these people who really enjoy cleaning but don’t absolutely despise it anymore.

Found a Christmas gift for my brother. For some reason the usually hardest-to-buy-for people [read: the men of the family] are the easiest this year. Now what to get my mum and sister?? I’m at a loss.

Went on a walk with my mum. She called to ask if I was up for it spontaneously and since that doesn’t happen too often I was all game.

Went to a kind-of Christmas concert. It wasn’t actually that Christmas-y but rather a show by a local ensemble. My mum’s friends with one of the two singers and he’s a really fun guy so while I wish they’d played more Christmas songs it was nice being there either way.

Food prepped today while listening the Nutrition Matters Podcast featuring Kate! It was interesting to learn more about Kate and her story as well as a topic we surely all have an opinion on: diet culture.

It’s only now I’m actively reflecting on the week as a whole that I remember one happening that threw me off in that moment. The fact I forgot about it until now is proof that – to a certain degree – we have the power of letting something influence us or let it go. And being sick? It sucks but hey, my week still wasn’t terrible. Before I go on forever I’ll just end this saying it’s nice to see the glass half full rather than empty. It’s not a mindset I’ve always had but I’m glad I got there.

Happy Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Getting quite a lot done despite being sick and the concert.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me some achievements from your past week!

How are you going to spend Christmas this year?

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Good good links #174

Hello there!

Once again, I’m struggling to find a proper intro for one of these posts and will pretend you’re just skipping past it in anyway ;). If you don’t: how has your weekend been going? Tell me about any cookie baking or Christmas preparations going on! For us, there has been quite a bit of the former and hardly anything of the latter. We actually haven’t even decided on our Christmas dinner yet. Well, as far as I’m concerned I’ll be fine as long as there’s a -lot- of Rotkohl on the table. Preferably some potatoes, too.  Easy to please for once.

Speaking of pleased I hope that’s what you will be by the selection of great links down here. Happy reading and …

 

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

What matters via Life in Limbo

A simple question that can serve as way to deeply reflect on what did and didn’t work for us in the past, what we need more of and how to get it.

Our Challenges Are Our Greatest Gifts via Healthy Hits the Spot

Something I’m sure many of us can see to be true in their lives, too. Hard in the moment of our struggles can not only make us grow but allow us to help others facing the same hardships.

 

Good good [advice, inspiration and other worthwhile reads]

Making Merry (When Not Making a Lot of Money)

Proof and reminders that the holiday season doesn’t have to be one of spending many many dollar bills.

The Best Body Positive Books to Build a Better Body Image via Avocado a Day Nutrition

I’ll definitely put at least one of these on next year’s reading list.

Christmas with an eating disorder … tips and advice for family and friends via Peachy Palate

An amazingly thoughtful post from the perspective of someone who has gone through the hell of an ED and can understand both sides.

Actionable ways to accept, then love your body via The Real Life RD

Body love doesn’t happen overnight but is an evolution that these little steps help reach.

10 Rules of Being a Grown-Up, Holiday Edition via The Kitchn

Funny but also true. Though #3 should be a year-round thing and #9? Well …

 

Food and health

Are you eating too much protein? via Popsugar

One of the rare posts giving more realistic suggestions of how much we really need.

How Do I Eat Healthy If I Hate Veggies? via hello healthy

I’m going to assume none of you reading actually loathes them in general but these tips might also help you incorporate those vegetables you don’t quite like just yet into your diet.

46 Life-Changing Baking Hacks Everyone Needs To Know via BuzzFeed

From baking troubleshooting, DIYs and time-savers: Really smart and super handy ideas in here.

 

Good good [food]

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies via Minimalist Baker

Because these are a vegan + gluten-free version of the pretty much best cookie concept ever.

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds via The Healthy Maven

Hi, addictive deliciousness. These would probably make a really good last minute Christmas gift, too.

Whipped Rutabaga Mash with Quick Tomato Confit via Heart Beet Kitchen

Watch out, mashed potatoes! You might just get some fierce competition by the unsuspecting and often neglected rutagaba here.

Crustless Bacon Brussels Quiche via Vegan Yack Attack

While I don’t remember ever having bacon pre-vegetarian days the decidedly savoury cheesy goodness in this speaks to me.

 

Happiness-inducing today:  I’m sick  and today has been a litte rough there but … being able to lend an ear to a friend and encouraging her.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me: What were some of the best posts you read this week?

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Scenes from a night owl’s life.

It’s just true: I’m a night owl through and through. Trust me I sometimes wish I wasn’t or even try to convince myself I’m not. Life proves time and time again I am. Just like that most of my accomplishments happen in the later hours of the day. Baking Christmas cookies at 10 PM? I’m that kind of girl. And apparently the exception in the blog world that seems inhabitated by early birds [jealous!].With the many differences between Germany and the US in mind I’m wondering if this is another one to add to the list. >Let me know what you think in the comments, I’m genuinely curious about this as one of my bosses just attended a workk conference in the US and told me the daily programs tended to start at 7 AM  – definitely not the norm over here.
The week felt full and passed by [too ] fast so here’s a recap through another Week in Review hosted by the fabulous Meg and sweet Ave.

Week in review

During the past week I …

Worked as usual.  Aside from Thursday that required pushing on despite a sudden spell of sick- and dizziness that led my colleagues to recommend going home. But despite not being overly fond of my job leaving the others hanging wouldn’t have felt right.

Posted twice: a Week in Review and those good good links.

Cleaned my apartment, including mopping the floors – on Thursday night already. That’s a first and made a huge difference in how my weekend went along. Having those annoying tasks crossed off already allowed for more time with the family – and baking.

Spent time with my favourite little human,  i.e. my sister and P. visited us for the weekend. Unfortunately, P. has been fighting a sticky cold on and off for weeks so he was very mum-focused but also enjoyed me carrying him around for longer than usual, too.

Baby nephew

[old picture because I didn’t take many this weekend]

Took another trip to town for my dad on Friday night even though I was just tired, hungry and not feeling it. But when your dad asks you to get him batteries for his headlights  [he’s been out late these days building a fancy new shed in my parents’ garden]. Granted, he didn’t ask but demand. Anyway, I took the chance to blast the music in the car and get my dance on. When life hands you lemons …

Baked! This deserves all the exclamation marks as I’ve been getting my Christmas baking game on late this year. Making up for time I chose two of the most involved recipes to bake this weekend. Each of them a classic from my maternal respectively paternal grandma’s repertoire.

omas-kekse_christmas-cookies

[Cocoa cookies sandwiched with coffee-spiked almond crème and topped with coffee-scented buttery frosting – a mouthful to say but pretty much gone after two days my parents’ house]

Fun fact: I dislike cut-out cookies – the process, not the results – yet both recipes required it. For the first one I shared duties with my mum – I prepared the dough, filled and frosted, she cut out and baked – but the second]? Done all by myself and I now have newfound appreciation for my grandma’s baking efforts. Zimtsterne [cinnamon stars], a gluten-free almond/nut-based shortbread base topped with crispy-crackly meringue frosting were the name of the game. Rather than use egg whites I ventured into Aquafaba territory and they turned out amazing. My family was so impressed  – and you might remember my mum’s not hiding her true opinion on my baked goods – that my mum a) said the person who discovered Aquafaba should be awared the Nobel price and b) told me she was going to prepare a chickpea dish this week so I could bake more Zimtsterne. If that doesn’t state how good these are I don’t know . They’re vegan and gluten-free but still pack a good amount of refined sugar so I’m not sure whether to share the recipe with you or not … Thoughts?

zimtsterne-vegan_aquafaba

[Not my best picture – trying to get one in the late afternoon on a rainy day isn’t the smartest move …]

Spent Saturday evening chatting with my mum and sister. While the seamatresses of the family went about their business I baked the abovementioned Zimtsterne. Words of encouragement were exchanged and pushed us through the finicky work. Win-win.

Went for a solo walk after my sister and P. had left on Sunday and I could feel a little Sunday blues arising. Being in nature and looking at cows helps. A little at least.

Meal-prepped as usual. Most of this happened while listening to Davida’s new podcast. Give it a listen if you’re into podcasts!

Ate intuitively on the weekend. More or less successfully but I tried. This meant swinging from non-stop appetite – hunger? – on Saturday to a lack thereof on Sunday. No pretences here: Intuitive eating -still- doesn’t come easily to me. The reason for which lies in my history of eating which I know I haven’t shared with you yet but I’ll leave it at this. Yet days like these show me that it works. Somehow. And we can all get there.

As I know this is already turning into half a novel in length again I’ll leave it at this and won’t add the other bits and bobs. I hope you had a great week and are starting well into the new one. Only so much longer until Christmas!

Happy Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Family time.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
Tell me some achievements from your past week!

When do you usually write your Weeks in Review?

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