Virtual Coffee Date

It’s been a while so some catching up on each other’s lives seems in order. And what better way to do so than over a cup of coffee – or tea in my case?. So if we were having  coffee, tea or any beverage you prefer, I’d tell you that …

The end of summer always brings up lots of feelings for me.  While the sunshine and warmth of mid-summer days brightens my mood and lightens my thoughts, the shorter and colder the days get, the more melancholia sweeps in. Resentment about chances passed and not taken because there always seemed to be so much left of summer – until there suddenly isn’t anymore. Longing for a move, a different job. Melancholy, thinking about summers past when this was the time of the year school or later on university were about to start again. A time of change and the excitement it brings along – something I’m craving in my own life, too.

Monday felt like the first day of autumn and I wasn’t neither a fan nor prepared when I headed for work, dresses decidedly summery. Oh summer, please come back and stay with us for at least a few more weeks. Will you, please?

Tea_Cafe Gleichklang

After taking a sip because I don’t like my tea to cool down too much, I’d also tell you …

That we celebrated my dad’s birthday with pretty much the whole family the other weekend  [i.e. 10th through 12th of August]. It was a big gathering and really nice celebration despite the weather literally raining heavily on my dad’s parade. Nothing that would have dampened our overall mood, though. The family spent the whole weekend together and friends joined for the ‘official’ celebration – concert (one of my relatives is a jazz singer), dinner, dancing – at one of my parents’ favourite restaurants. Given this isn’t the most accomodating place for vegetarians, I, I wasn’t expecting much from the buffet. involved eating the most amazing vegan lentil ratatouille that I’m set on recreating. So good. No pictures because I apparently got so lost in a conversation I didn’t even think about it.

Speaking of my dad’s birthday weekend, I’d also tell you that …

I may or may not have changed my opinion on cheesecake [I wasn’t a fan prior to this]. I think this actually was my first time ever baking cheesecake, at least the American kind [German cheesecake is made from Quark rather than cream cheese and I’ve always found it too dry this way]. Using Amy’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cheesecake Bars,  I had my first encounter with this classic. While I couldn’t try a slice of the finished cake – no eggs for me – I sampled my fair amount of the filling before adding the egg and if that alone is any indicator of the finished products taste: so good! I quadrupled  the recipe with just a few changes:

  • Using lower-fat instead of non-fat cream cheese [we don’t do the fatfree thing in this family ;)]
  • a good tablespoon less sugar
  • a whole egg because it’d have been wasteful to use just the whites [white for the crust, yolk for the filling]
  • And it turned out beautifully.

Mmh. It was a hit with my whole family and my colleagues – I brought a few leftover pieces to work – despite it being a ‘healthier’ option. We have a winner here and I’m keen on trying to find a good sub for the egg here because I want to have my [cheese]cake and eat it, too. If you have any ideas – Aquafaba? Flax eggs? More cornstarch in the filling? – let me know in the comments. Egg-free cheesecake has to happen.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you …

that I bought a new cake pan. This is an accomplishment both for the fact I spent money on myself without much contemplation and for the fact it’s my first 8 × 8 inch pan. Now this might not sound exciting or special to you but we simply do not use these size pans around here. Try finding one of them in stores – or spare yourself the frustration and order it online. Now I just need to decide on the first recipe to bake in my shiny new pan. Anybody else finding those ‘first time’ uses weirdly … exciting?

If we were having coffee, I’’d …

Tell you that I harvested the first kabocha of the season in my mum’s vegetable patch on the weekend. Yet also that it’ll also have been one of the last. For some unknown reason, my mum’s kabocha plants – she’s been sweet enough to grow them for me for years now – are dying prematurely, leaving just a handful of mature squashes. It’s particularly sad as kabocha is very hard, at times impossible to find in stores over here.

Homegrown kabocha squash

And then – or actually as the very first thing; we had this conversation in reverse order – I’d ask you how -you- are. How you really are. Because I deeply believe that a true friendship is built on sharing the good and the bad in life with each other. No need to pretend there was sunshine where you currently feel clouds hanging over your head. So: How are you?

Joining Amanda in letting the thoughts dance today.

Happiness-inducing today: Reading out in the sunshine after work – it’s colder but not yet too cold for this.

Stay in touch!

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What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

Coffee or tea? Which kind/flavour?

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Marvelous in my Monday: Wedding ahoy!

Is there anything more marvelous than love? As mentioned in my last post my sister got married on the weekend.  It was a huge celebration of love, family reunion and amazing friendships that was more amazing that I could have ever imagined.

MiMM_new

Due to work I wasn’t able to travel down to my parents’ place any earlier than the actual wedding day. Upon arriving I immediately had an appointment at the hair stylist’s. Though I wasn’t quite happy with the hairdresser – my mum had made appointments for all women in the family so it wasn’t my choice – the final result got my approval.

Note that I had been wearing it for hours already when the picture was taken.

Note that I had been wearing it for hours already when the picture was taken.

Following a maritime theme the wedding ceremony itself was neither held in a town hall nor church but on a ship. Needless to say some voyaging around on the water followed which was made even more special through several little perfomances by friends and family on board. Poetry and music have been part of both my sister’s, her husband’s and their shared history so including them was such a sweet idea. It didn’t even end here but was continued all throughout the day with speeches, songs, poems and more.

Sailing into the harbour of marriage

Sailing into the harbour of marriage

Previously I hadn’t approved – or maybe just not fully grasped – the fascination with love padlocks hanging from bridges in every large city. Maybe it was their overabundance or not having a personal connection to them. Seeing my sister and her (now) husband [it still feels weird to suddenly call him like that] fix theirs amidst the other already lined up on the bridge brought a whole new sense to them. Experiencing the emotion of the moment made me see them in a different light and actually understand their symbolism.

Love padlocks

And even though I had my ‘moments’  [ED-wise and else] throughout the weekend they never lasted long enough to ruin the experience for me. Looking on the bride side of life [no typo] pushed any negative thoughts aside almost immediately. My sister’s glow, the smile that wouldn’t leave her face all weekend and all-out happiness was an endless source of positivity.

The beautiful bride's bouquet - which was later on caught by my brother's girlfriend :).

The beautiful bride’s bouquet – which was later on caught by my brother’s girlfriend …

There’s no way I could ever stop  I could go on and on about all the wedding marvelousness I’ll end it by saying that my sister and her husband safely entered the harbor of marriage in the most marvelous way I could have ever imagined. It was perfectly planned down to smallest details adding a special touch. Including Hello Kitty soap bubbles that I’m sure Katie would have approved of :).

Hello Kitty Bubbles

Despite the maritime theme there luckily was no fish to be found at the wedding reception buffet. Instead, there was a lot of beautifully arranged deliciousness and a wedding cake extraordinaire to fit with the theme. More on that to come on Wednesday right in time to celebrate the foodie extravaganza that is What I ate Wednesday. Note that I’ll have the post up in the morning already but won’t be able to join the link-up at Jenn’s until after returning from work [read: likely as the last person adding her post].

Just to give you an idea of the table decoration already: the wedding cupcake.

Just to give you an idea of the table decoration already: the wedding cupcake.

Happiness inducing all weekend: Love, family and friendship – no need to explain.

What did you do on the weekend?

Which was the last wedding you attended? Previously to my sister’s it had been my oldest cousin’s five years ago.

What are the most interesting/curious/romantic wedding rituals to you? In between the vows, throwing the keys of the padlock into the river and the tossing of the bridal bouquet I have a hard time picking one.