Help me SMARTen up my goals!

Hello!

Are we really a full week [+ one day] into the new year already?! It’s crazy. Does anybody else hope 2015 will slow down a liiiittle compared to last year? I sure do. Anyway, hopes are a good bridge to what I actually want to think about out loud. More specifically, the goals I hope to achieve during the next twelve months. Thanks to Amanda for hosting this great link-up another year [yes, I expect her to keep up with it and not change her mind 😉 ].

Thinking-Out-Loud

Despite previously saying I wasn’t really  into setting resolutions for a new year nearing the end of 2014 I felt the strong urge to write down some goals and post them for the [blog] world to see.  Keyword accountability! Part of why I decided on this was that I know there’s change coming up for me in anyway so might as well use that drift, right? Plus, a few of the things I want to change are long overdue and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to that feeling of constant procrastination.  Not good. So hi there, 2015, you’d better be awesome. Or rather: I figure I have to make an effort to create a better year than the last. Hence the goals so let’s get …

Going for the goals

The one part of goal-setting that probably kept me from it in the past was that I couldn’t figure out how to make them SMART [Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely]. And that’s where I’d appreciate to hear your ideas! I jotted down my overall goals but would appreciate your help in making them SMART.

Food/cooking

Lately, I’ve found myself sticking to the same few dishes throughout the week and only getting a little more creative on the weekends.

1. Use up what’s in my pantry before buying more.

Hello, overbuyer. It’s pretty unbelievable just how much food I managed to pile up throughout all of my moves and in general. My excuse for not using certain ingredients so far was saving them for specific occasions [that clearly never happened …] but that has to stop now. Popular among German [vegan] bloggers Carola inspired this with her Use up along challenge.

SMART: Go through my pantry and create a list of everything in there, then meal plan around these items.

2. Try other bloggers’ recipes.

There’s a growing list of recipes I want to recreate and it’s about time I tackle these in 2015. I’ll update you on my progress because if you’re anything like me you’re more likely to try a recipe that others have prepared and recommended before.

SMART: Post a list of recipes I want to try and cross them off once I did.

3. Eat out more often.

This isn’t contradictory to my first goal as I hardly ever ate out last year. It’s generally not too common over here but for me, my ED has been playing a role in my hesitation here, too. My goal is to eat out at least 12 times this year making it – you guessed it – once a month on average. That might not happen every month but I hope to reach this number at the end of 2015.

Blogging

Blogging truly has become an integral part of my life and I hope to further grow and improve my blog in 2015. Back when I started I never imagined I’d still be posting more than two years later.

1. Figure out a posting schedule and blog more regularly.

2. Get back into the kitchen to create new recipes.

*Become self-hosted. This hugely depends on several factors that I have yet to figure out so I don’t see it happen during the first few months of the year.

2. Take at least one “blogcation”.

I stole this one from Hannah because I think it’s a great idea to take some time – a few days, a week – off from blogging to return with fresh ideas.

 

Life in general

Get up, socialize and live.

In parts due to moving but generally being an introvert I have slacked on the socializing part a lot last year – and I missed it. Actually, I’d call myself – to use an established term – an extroverted introvert because I do enjoy being around others a lot.  I can be quite bubbly once I set foot outside. It just takes a little extra pushing to conquer my anxiety.

SMART: Well, that’s where I’d be thankful for any input. I can’t quite decide how to get started on this.  Ideally, I’d

 

1. Get more sleep.

Sleepy

That’s a huge huge HUGE one for me. I can’t even recall how many times I added it to my monthly goals yet hardly saw a true change. One night of only five hours of sleep might be neglectable. But when it becomes a regular?  Red flag. My goal are around seven hours per night on weekdays.

SMART: Slowly drop from my current bed time to a more acceptable one even if just in 5 or 10 minute steps.

Turn off the laptop 30 minutes before going to bed.

Budget and save money.

Probably one of the most popular goals?! I have yet to figure out the details on this one as my attempt to simply write down every purchase in past years was … less than successful. I bookmarked some helpful articles but would appreciate input from those of you who have the whole budgeting business down!

94 Creative Ways to Save Money Today via Greatist

From Start to Finish – Making a Budget via Long Drive Journey

 

As you can see there’s a lot to do in making my goals SMART still so help a girl out!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Working with a  telephoto lens at work for the first time ever. I don’t have one for my own camera so using it on the job was a fun experience. But wow are they even heavier than they look! 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Help me make my goals SMARTer! Maybe you have or had similar goals before and can help me get started?

What are your goals for this year?

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Embrace the Discomfort

Happy New Year!

Living in Germany I had an early start [nine to ten hours ahead, I think?] to most of you so it feels almost late to say it just now after sending a dozen greetings into the world last night already.

By now, Christmas was probably the time of the year that had me face the biggest struggles but also helped me grow. Christmas – the season of change?  It definitely seems like that for me looking back not only at the one that just passed but previous years, too. While I don’t make my recovery a focal part of my blog I want to share those experiences that I hope some of you will be able to relate to and might find helpful on your own journey. Because I know that’s what I appreciate in other bloggers sharing their stories, too. Thanks to Amanda [who has been a great inspiration for me, too] for offering a motto to go on about my thoughts and reflections of the past holidays and what I learned from them.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Both in terms of exercise and food Christmas has been forcing me to work against the discomfort in past years. But ever since I started blogging and at that also committed to recovery more seriously – key word accountability! – I’ve seen progress.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Christmas wasn’t easy for me. Partly because of some personal issues and partly because of – you guessed it – food. In the safety of my own apartment it’s easy to avoid trigger foods and stick with my regular [and yes, on stressed days “safe”] meals. Elsewhere? Temptation all around. Starting with the immense boxes of grandma’s Christmas cookies, her Rotkohl, my mum’s stash of treats I wouldn’t buy myself, … Here’s the deal: I could have tried to resist, eaten piles of apples only, deprived myself. Been there, done that. It’s easy to say where this behaviour has gotten me during the past: nowhere. Stuck in place. Not facing my fears.

Christmas_cookies

What many of the treats around had in common and hence a reason why I was perfectly okay saying no to them is they all contained eggs. As you might kn0w these are not part of my diet. Select dairy products [no gelatin, no animal rennet] yes, eggs: no. No exceptions here. Until now.

They say ‘When in Rome’ – for me it was: ‘When at home‘. For the three days of Christmas celebrations I gave myself a free pass of eating all the treats and sugar I wanted. Did I feel I afterwards? Oh yes. Stomach aches ensued – that’s what’s to be expected when reintroducing a food we haven’t eaten in years – but they were worth it. What was best, though, is the amount of guilt I felt: hardly any. At least not while eating.  Later on I had a small bout of nausea and blaming myself for not resisting temptation.  However, this wasn’t my … voice. What I feel to be one of the main points in recovery is telling apart the healthy and disordered voice.  Blame for giving yourself permission to fully enjoy the holidays or even life in general? Without a doubt disordered. Like me, I’m convinced you’re SO fed up adhering to these thoughts.  And the only way to break the spell is embracing discomfort.

Do I see myself adding eggs back into my diet after going [rough guess] three+ years without them? Absolutely not. The idea anything with a visible egg yolk still grosses me out [sorry to any friends of #yolkporn], egg white oats don’t appeal to me and I don’t actually miss eggs. But it was the deprivation of some of my favourite treats that was so hard to endure. Any diet we follow should not make us feel constantly deprived and unsatisfied. And satisfied I was after eating my grandma’s cookies, seeing her face light up when I did and enjoying seconds of the calorie- and sugar-laden delight that is cinnamon parfait was invaluable. Christmas should not be about the food but about the ease of mind while eating. That’s what pushing myself past the guilt of straying from my diet did. I felt guilt-less, happy, simply like everybody else scooping more of the ice cream into their bowls and enjoying the sugar rush.

Cinnamon parfait_ice cream

Not the prettiest picture at all but it was THE best dessert I’ve eaten in a long time.

I went over my ‘calorie budget’. I ate more sugar in a single day than I usually do in a week. I indulged in egg-containing treats.  Does this make me an awful person?  Some people might think so. However, I disagree. Reminding myself common advice doesn’t apply to anybody in this situation as well as – blogs are a blessing –  knowing this is normal in recovery I found ease of mind.  This is not me waiting for a pat on the back. I’m not the first breaking free from rules my ED had set for me. I want to encourage anybody to rethink if the choices they are making are genuinely in the interest of feeling good. Or a means of restriction.

What I want to stress is that I don’t in anyway think veganism was a disorder.  It’s not. Like any diet veganism can be as healthy or unhealthy as the individual follower choses. My issues with food go deeper. Neither did choosing veganism start my ED  nor was giving up on it the miraculous cure. I still eat a largely vegan diet and can see myself go fully vegan in the future.  But I want it to be for the right reasons. Namely ethics [that’s why I’m lacto-vegetarian] and taste.  Veganism has introduced me to many new foods, inspired my creativity in the kitchen and connected me with a great community of like-minded people. And really, this isn’t about the diet we choose. Just like eating disorders aren’t actually about the food but identifying the underlying reasons and working on those.

Wow, this got a lot longer than planned so I’ll finish it here. Way to start 2015 on a wordy note.

Happiness-inducing today: Excitement for what’s to come in the new year. This could be one filled with changes and I’m learning to embrace the unknown.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Roast, bake, blend and eat.

It seems like the blog world was home to quite a number of cheese connoisseurs who’d happily welcome another member to their exclusive club 😀 . In other words: Thank you for your support on my decision and yes, I’ll walk the talk again soon with delicious creations.

Another Wednesday is peeking around the corner already and I don’t have a lot of cheesyness to show yet. Peeking and not yet there because yes, I’m writing and scheduling my posts the night before. Writing them in the morning before work? Not an option. How do you organized people manage :D?? Same way it’s early afternoon already for me when Jenn opens the link-up. Whatever time it is for you as you’re reading, though, let’s talk food again.

WIAWbutton_1

Inspired by Amanda who’d taken up my suggestion – do you sense mutual inspiration? I like it! – of adding chickpeas to yogurt again I decided to try new to me recipe: sweet roasted chickpeas. I’ve had savoury versions – usually adding cumin – before but never sweet. Not just any, though, but Amanda’s very own recipe for honey-almond ones. Yes, these are good.  Despite my usual laziness I went with the suggestion of peeling the chickpeas. I’d heard about that trick for creating the smoothest homemade hummus before but will admit that’s where I’d draw the line. Peeling chickpeas for a dip that’s going to be blended in anyway? Too much effort. For the roasted variety, however, it made perfect sense. Turn on a good tune and peeling those peas will happen in no time.

Honey-almond chickpeas
Even better? Eating almond butter and honey straight up? After cleaning the mxing bowl not to waste any of the ‘marinade’ I wondered why I’d never went with this combination before. Dare I say it rivals chocolate as the sweet little bite after a savoury meal?! Almost only but close enough. Because this still happened some time after.

mint chocolate

Like after a hearty lunch like this. It still needs some tweaking but this random concoction would be a ratatouille bake topped with two kinds of cheese. Mozzarella has always been a favourite for casseroles in pre-vegan days. Feta didn’t make an appearance too often but after seeing many bloggers use it I was curious to see how I’d like it. The verdict is still open but so far I’m not hooked. Maybe because I prefer creamy and melty cheeses? Something I noticed after my first trials is that I need to take it slow with reintroducing cheese.

Ratatouille_two cheeses

In this particular case, though, I feel vegetables were to blame. Another one of those life lessons learned when trying to figure out what causes our stomaches to feel wonky. If I was still feeling guilty about reintroducing cheese into my diet it’d have been the easiest way to finger-point here blaming it. But like I said I’m leaving the outcome open and at the same time trying to work on recovery in general. Eating a too voluminous meal packed with vegetables will hardly make my stomach feel too comfortable. I’ll have to admit it’s one of those mistakes I repeatedly make. Work in progress. Neverthless, the overall taste of the dish was pretty good and yes, the cheese did make it better.

Ratatouille bake

Thanks to the sunny days we had before the weather decided to play winter again I craved a refreshing snack. Enter Vitamix vanilla ‘ice cream’ with ‘cookie dough’ crumbles [can we agree that cute recipe names make everything even better?!]. While it won’t fool anyone for ice cream or cookie dough I feel this might be my way of joining the blogger smoothie trend. Just don’t ask me to blend kale into my ice cream because no. Simply no.

Vitamix ice cream

Something roasted, something baked and something blended – that sums up this surprisingly cheese-less account of some recent food happenings at my apartment. If you’re in dire need of seeing some real cheese action 😉 I’m sure there’ll be plenty over at Jenn’s so head over and get inspired by everybody else’s delicious creations!

 

Happy Tuesday Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A spontaneous longer chat with one of my neighbours who suggested becoming running buddies. Fingers crossed for a speedy hip recovery!

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What’s your favourite kind of cheese? I’ve actually never liked more than a good handful of kinds. Brie was another favourite, though.

Tell me the best or most exciting flavour of ice cream you’ve ever eaten! For me, the best around here are usually fruit flavours [cherry and mango in particular]. But the creamiest and most special ones I’ve had yet were Peanut Butter Chocolate [called “Girl from Ipanema” at the store] and Coconut Carrot Cake [“Rübli Kokos”]. Actually both vegan ones, too.

 

Eating [on an] off schedule

Time for another round of playing the food show-off known as What I ate Wednesday via our lovely host Jenn. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if I’d tag along this time because I usually take pictures of my meals on the weekends only. Weekdays? Taking pictures in the morning would require extra time [that I don’t have – just imagine a headless chicken running around and yes, that’d be me]. However, yesterday was the perfect relaxed opportunity to take pictures and eat. Because for the record: I don’t enjoy eating at the office. Then again: does anybody?? Long story short: here’s [part of] what I ate yesterday with a side of some recovery chat.

WIAWbutton_1

 

One of the main points I still have to work on majorly in my recovery is straying from set meal times. Eating on different preset [by work or the likes] schedules. In short: not making time matter over hunger cues. A day off work and therefore sleeping in yesterday gave me the chance to test out the waters again on an off day. Sleeping for [too] long throws me and my appetite completely off my usual habits. Some pre-breakfast snackage happened.

Almond butter 006

Breakfast… happened a little later after waking up than usual because I could and because I wasn’t forced to eat in time before getting to work. Now here’s a little secret I never shared. The one reason why I hardly share pictures of my breakfasts or dinner is not just the lack of time and light. It’s also that – differently from other bloggers – I hardly ever transfer all of my oats to a bowl. Not that I hadn’t tried before but I’m honestly not a fan of how quickly the oats drop their warming temperature. Cold oat bran? Not for me. That’s why I serve it up in the pot and continue to eat it in smaller bowlfuls that I top with almond butter*.  Another bonus: I get to mix cocoa into just half of my oat bran so I have part banana oats/ part chocolatey oats. It’s the way I roll[ed] the oats 😉 .

oat bran_breakfast* In case you’re wondering: it’s not a die-hard habit. If I need to adapt and have breakfast at work I can just pack things up and go.

Snack #1 was a funny encounter that allowed me to tackle a fear food once again: avocado. I’d bought a package of shirataki pasta – yes, roll your eyes at me – out of curiosity when I saw they were on offer at a store. Knowing these wouldn’t satisfy me but making use of their low-calorie tag I stir-fried them with some garlic and odds and ends [read: leftover zucchini and tomatoes] and covered them in avocado sauce.

Shirataki

Not something that’d ever keep me satisfied as a real meal but that’s what lunch was meant for: savoury baked oats. Initially, I was feeling like having polenta but noticed I didn’t have any left so I simply cooked rolled oats and wheat bran in water, seasoned it. Stirred in a spoonful of nutritional yeast and added a mix of sauteed vegetables on top. Blame the grey skies at that point for the less-than-stellar picture but it didn’t lessen the meal’s quality. Or let’s say it was interesting and still needs some tinkering to get a full sign of approval.

baked oatmeal_polenta

In terms of recovery this was a good day because I tried new dishes, tried to strain from my usual meal times and not focus on the fact of how hungry I was compared to other days. It’s all a work in progress but I feel I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.

Happy Wednesday! Now go and get inspired over at Jenn’s or the [past and future] Vegan Wednesday board(s)!

 

Happiness inducing today: A conversation with a friend overseas. Time difference be damned but still.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Shirataki pasta: Have you ever tried it? What’s your take on the non-noodles?

Do you have any odd eating habits? My oat bran one might rank among those but I don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon.

 

Regret – it’s what you make from it

Another Monday, another fresh start with a clean slate after the past week. Time to evaluate what went well and what could use improvement which we might follow up by setting [smaller or bigger] goals to change things. And yes, Mondays are indeed a marvelous chance for reflection. Having just moved back into my apartment after several months at my parents make this a special occasion for some long-term evaluation.

MiMM_new

Do you ever feel like running in circles completely overwhelmed but with no way out? And then it just takes somebody asking the very right questions to make you notice you’ve already known the solution or at least the root of the problem all the time? Whether or not you can relate [anybody?] it’s been just like that for me lately. long with my move – already in the days, weeks even, leading up to it – came the return of an old acquaintance. And one I didn’t welcome back with open arms: Regret.

Looking back at the past months of living at my parents’ house I suddenly felt so much regret. Regret for opportunities I didn’t take. Questions I didn’t ask. Decisions I didn’t make. In the end, though, regret is about realizations which in itself can be positive and actually help us progress in life. Regret focuses on the past and we can’t change that anymore  – however much we want to and if we like this fact or not. What we can influence, though, is the future. By choosing not to regret [as much] anymore and preventing ourselves from regret in the first place.

Saying all that my goal is to regret less and have less reasons for regret. The latter might be even harder than the former for me, admittedly, because it means taking opportunities when offered. I’m stressing the less here knowing myself and that I don’t feel able to say yes all of the time for now. Just taking invitations and stepping out of my comfort zone every now and then would be an improvement already. Focussing on a certain number of ‘challenges’ per week will only set me up for failure in the first place – and with failure comes regret. Nevertheless, I know it’ll take some pushing from the outside, too, and I think there is a number of blends out there [you know I mean you] that are more than willing to be just that encouragement :).

It’s interesting to see how my non-resolutions [unintentionally] find their way into my life and the smaller changes I’m striving for. Even though I actually didn’t look at the post again since and hadn’t thought about which tangible everyday goals I might derive from the as the year would progress back then. Maybe destiny knew and influenced my choice? Either way I feel life has its way of giving us hints on where we should head. And for now I guess that’ll mean back to the grind for most of us – though rumor has it some of you are experiencing the joy of a long weekend? – so:

Happy Monday!

 

Happiness inducing today: Enjoying a relaxed Sunday morning.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Do you feel regret often?

How do you handle it? Let it get you down? Use it as a chance for change?

 

 

 

 

Trusting hunger cues & Berlin recap

Visiting Berlin isn’t just the obviously amazing experience of spending time in this vibrant and multicultural city. For me, it’s also a way of measuring my progress in terms of eating. There are usually months in between any two visits to the city and I can see at least a little bit of improvement every time. Maybe not visible to an outsider but noticable differences to me nonetheless. It’s What I ate Wednesday again so here’s to sharing not only meals but also some reflections on past and present times at Berlin. Don’t worry: deliciousness overweighs the heavier thoughts.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

We had intended to spend the whole weekend in the city but as my mum had a busy week and still more work to do on Saturday we decided to postpone a longer trip and make the most of Sunday. Getting up far too early for my liking [7:40 AM on a weekend?!] to be at the station in time to catch our train at shortly past 9. How do you early birds do that every day??

at the station

Our first stop and priority after arriving in Berlin was warming up from the chill that lay over the city at a café. Not any, though, but Sarah Wiener’s at the Museum of Communication that we’d meant to visit in anyway. The café has a cozy and comfy feel and an inviting atmosphere.

Sarah Wiener_Kommunikationsmuseum

For any of you knowing Sarah Wiener you won’t be surprised by how pretty – though not vegan – the piece of cake my mum ordered with her coffee. I may or may not have snagged the decorative piece of white chocolate.

Sarah Wiener_Torte

Past visits to Berlin evoke memories that range from not more than an apple for breakfast to then touring the city in a grouchy beast mode and brain fog. Enjoyable days? Far from it. Not only did they clearly affect my general condition but fighting with my mum – related to food or not – was unavoidable. Eating or lack therof pushed itself in the foreground no matter what we did. It became a dominating issue whenever we visited Berlin interfering with any plans we might have made. Previously [note: years ago] trying to eat as little and move as much as possible throughout the day hadn’t made for the most amazing times. This time, however, I let go of plans and followed my intuition. A breakfast that left me satisfied along with some snacks was a first good change. The second was not ignoring my grumbling stomach after making our way through the exhibition on beauty and body image [possibly more details in a post to come]. Knowing we weren’t going to have lunch until the late afternoon we spontaneously stopped by yet another café.

Berlin_youghurt

I’m not a fan of being the only one eating when the people I’m with aren’t hungry yet so this was a step out of my comfort zone. A step that felt good and right, though. Not only was every spoonful of this tomato soup with a sweet and spicy kick warming and delicious. It was another little learning experience: Listening to our hunger cues – however untimely they might feel – isn’t always easy when our mind tries to convine us elsewise. But in doing so we free our minds from focussing on food instead being able to turn our full attention to more important things.

Tomato soup_youghuru

Like meeting blends as I did after eating said bowl of soup above. I’ll keep myself from gushing about how awesome meeting Lucie was again 😉 – but just because today’s about the food. And there was more of that because as good as it tasted the soup clearly didn’t comprise a full lunch. Enter lunch part two. When it came to choosing between an early train home or lunch food won. Food and good company.

Burrito bowl_January 2014

No visit to Berlin is truly complete without fulfilling my need for a burrito bowl at Dolores. Same order as usual: mild salsa, Mexican-spiced brown rice, a hearty serving of black beans. All topped off with salad and freshly prepared tortilla chips. We had a great time caching up with one of my aunts and her boyfriend who are living in Berlin. And just because it’s hard to tell from the first picture: yes, there were rice and beans below all of the chips.

Dolores

Snacks on the train back home included Amanda’s oatmeal bars once more which I swear get better by the day. Back home I had – well-prepared as I am [as if] – oat bran waiting for me to reheat it on the stove making for a great breakfast for dinner on a cold cold night. Trust me you don’t want to see a picture of this let alone one taken in sleepy and ravenous state [not like I took one but you don’t need to know me slacking on blogger duties ;)]. Previously I’d have neither had a two-part lunch nor allowed myself to eat a full dinner plus more snacks after returning home on a rest day with hardly any moving around. It’s all about learning to trust my hunger cues and as hard on my mind as it can still be at times I don’t want to go backwards anymore.

Oatmeal bar_II

There you go with a day of good food, meeting a blend and bonding with family in Berlin. Blissful.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Quiet me time in the morning.

Have you been to Berlin before?

Do you have an easy time listening to your hunger cues and following along no matter which situation you’re in?