Fear not and sweet goodbyes

We made it! If you read yesterday’s post you know what my day looked like. While sad to have packed up the last four years of my life I’m also glad to be done. Half-way at least. The actual move to my new place isn’t until the end of next week. For now I’ll be staying with my parents and it feels good to be ‘home’ after quite a while. But today’s not about moving marvelings -though it was quite an interesting day to say the least … – but for Thinking out loud. Thanks to Amanda who also gave me inspiration for some thoughts here…

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. In the intro of her post presenting what has to be one of the best foods  food groups invented by humankind – read: cookie dough which yes, it is a food group in its own right – Amanda talked about her [irrational or not so much] fears.  I skipped answering the question about mine in the comments because I had cookie dough on my mind. Or maybe my mind had momentarily turned into cookie dough?! Either way: irrational fears. As a child I was terrified by the dark and checked for monsters under my bed. I may or may not still do to this day…

2. Another one: elevators. It’s a legit one. When in university I pretended to enjoy taking the stairs. If you knew me you’d laugh at that because I’m SO glad to live on the first floor. And taking up those seemingly endless flights up to the fourth floor every time I needed to contact a professor up there? Woof.  Friends are usually surprised by this given I like running.  But running doesn’t require me to climb stairs.  Unless we talked tower runs and those are insanity to me. But taking the elevator instead?  No way.  At least not alone. If I’m with others who want to take it I’ll pretend to be cool with it on the outside but internally send a prayer. The one time me and a group of others got stuck for just a minute or so made me closely panic and leave once the elevator reached the next floor though we weren’t at the right one yet.

3. Do you ever have those days where you feel haunted by a certain topic? Either one you’ve been trying to avoid OR one that’s been on your mind forever?  If you’ve ever been on a diet I’m pretty sure you’ll have noticed the whole world talking about the most indulgent foods or when you were unsure about buying a certain item suddenly everybody seemed to talk about it. This ‘hypersensitivity’ made me unable to decide if the universe qas trying to tell me something the other day again. I was at my gym for the last time before my move on Tuesday. Usually people aren’t super talkative – unless I take the initiative – but that day every girl leaving the locker room said goodbye. Thank you, universe, for letting me leave with a good memory of the people in this studio.

Lindor-filled cookie

4. And to leave a good impression of myself in my neighbours’ memory I baked some cookies for them before I left. Granted, part of it had to do with trying to use up ingredients I had on hand if that isn’t a sweet way of killing two birds with one stone I don’t know. I’m showing you the bottom of these so you can see just how much chocolate action is going on there. These are Lindor-filled Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The only changes I made were to halve the recipe, sub white sugar for brown since that’s what I had on hand and use one flax egg instead of a real one [I don’t eat eggs]. It worked a charm. Happy neighbours, happy me.

And: Happy Thursday to you! Which sounds a lot like Happy Birthday -> which probably means you should bake some cookies. Or cake. Just saying.

Happiness-inducing today: Joking around with my mum in between the nerve-wracking stress of moving.

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What are some of your random fears?

Have you ever gotten stuck in an elevator?

Anybody else who checked below their bads for monsters as a child? I’m convinced I wasn’t the only one.

Me, factually [Spill it, Sunday – ‘The Five Facts’ edition]

They say there’s a time and place for everything. If you’ve been reading for a while you know I agree link-ups make blogging schedules easier. But a) I have a little more serious post planned for Thursday and b) Arman isn’t settling on a specific day with the randomness of Spill it Sundays – despite the name making you assume elsewise. So spilling it on Tuesday it is. For once I’ll play along with the rules and not add a sixth fact to every category.

Spill-it-Sunday-option-2-1

 

Five facts about….your family!

1. We’re three children and three times three years apart. My brother is [28 going on] 29 later this year, my sister is 26 and I’m the 23-year-old Nesthäkchen or laat lammetjie as I now know thanks to this girl. Being the youngest had its advantages and disadvantages.

2. Which just brought me to the sponatenous conclusion that we were born in a period of nine years which is coincidentially the age difference between my parents, too. Yes, it’s little things like that making me smile.

3. My family is living in an old farm house in the countryside and I never wished for growing up in a city a single time. Country bumpkin and proud of it.

Walk

4. Both my mum and dad grew up in areas were certain dialects are spoken but raised us children to speak standard/ High German.

5. All of us enjoy cycling so much we usually packed our bikes wherever we traveld and even went on several cycling-only holidays.

Winter sun

Five facts about…your childhood!

1. For the first years of my life I shared a room with my brother and sister. Fun times. Only not when they had loft beds and you were the one sleeping on a ground level matress.

2. Luckily, I was the one getting that [biggest of all] children’s rooms once my siblings moved to other rooms of the house. It all evens out in the long term.

3. I was clearly a girly girl growing up: my best friend and I would spend hours playing Barbie. Usually with her Barbies because she had about three times as many as me.

4. I used to ride horses for many years. In fact, my mum had two horses of her own but nowadays she’s the only one still riding.

5. My favourite TV show was Ocean Girl – an Australian one about a girl swimming with a whale. It was the reason I drew nothing but humpback whales for a while.

 

 

Five facts about…you + school!

1. From 1st to 13th grade I went to three different schools: elementary school, middle school [only grades 5 and six] and then grammar school. This is rather unusual as it’s nowadays the norm over here to switch from elementary directly to grammar or any other kind of secondary school. My year was one of the last to still visit middle school.

2. My brother once did my maths homework for me because I thought it was too difficult – in second grade. Since then I’ve come to maybe not like numbers but be okay with handling them to an extent 😀 . I’ve always been better with words.

Letter

3. That being said you won’t be surprised my favourite subjects were languages. English was my first choice examination subject for the Abitur [final exams in grade 13].

4. While I got along with most of my teachers some had rather eccentric personalities. One I liked and who furthered my wish to travel the world was my 9th grade English teacher who had just come back from Australia where he’d worked for years. Actually, he has settled on the Gold Coast now and invited me to visit him and his wife should I ever make my way over there. Tempting.

5. My least favourite subjects: history and PE. Don’t ask.

 

 

Five facts about...you + travel! – Side note: This coincides pretty well with my recent travel ramblings, huh?

1. The most embarrassing fact first: I’ve yet to travel anywhere outside of Europe. I know. I’m not proud of it but I keep telling myself I’m still young so there’s time left to see the world – and I will.

2. So far I’ve been to England, France [multiple times], Greece, Ireland and Spain.

Leaving the safe harbour to get to know new sights and places.

3. Whenever I travel it’s most likely by public transport – or more specifically: trains. I don’t own a car so unless I’m with my parents or somebody else owning a car you’ll find me on trains – huge bags or suitcases in tow for all the books and food I need.

4. Environmental aspects aside I really enjoy flying but haven’t gotten a chance to do it too often yet. Just the thought of the plane taking up speed in the manoeuvring area makes me want to board one again soon.

5. This might be a stretch but I can’t talk about traveling without saying it: I’m really awesome at packing. That is if you consider taking half of your wardrobe and bookshelf with you on even a short trip good packing light.

 

 

Five facts about…your eating style!

1. The long known fact first: I’m a vegetarian eating mostly vegan and have been since 2013. Wait… has it really been 11 years already?! Funny to think it has when two years in my mum still thought I was just going through “a phase”. Just like the phase when you used to think tattoo chokers were trendy – only I’m still not eating meat anymore and don’t plan to while those horrid necklaces have long made their way into the trash.

2. Not a single day passes by without me eating almond butter. Unless I run out but I make an effort not to let that happen. In fact, I’m due for a stock-up today.

Almond butter 006

3. Get ready for a shocking confession: I don’t like any of the typical condiments. Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, … – I don’t like them. Yes, I was the odd child growing up who’d eat her French fries plain and get Chicken Nuggets without any kind of dip at McDonald’s. Actually, I think you were required to pick a dip so I got sweet & sour sauce but never used it.

4. I’m not one to say no to free food. As long as it’s vegetarian/ vegan and doesn’t contain any nasty ingredients I’ll take a bite or grab a handful.

Lindt_Chili

5. Looking at that Lindt picture: I have a slight obsession with that company’s chocolate. I blame my grandma for instilling this because she’d mail me a bar of Lindor – the red one to be specific – for every single birthday during my childhood. Way to raise a picky chocolate eater.

 

Happiness inducing today: Wise and confirming words from a Blend.

 

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It’s your turn: Tell me at least one fact about you from every category!

Spilling the birthday beans

Posting twice again today in celebration of Australia’s special holiday:  The Queen’s birthday Arman Day. The host of spilling the beans – or just: Spill it Sunday – is another year older and demanding birthday facts and confessions. It’s been a while since I last joined so here we go!

Spill-it-Sunday-option-2-1
1. When is your birthday?
The reason why I can’t snark at winter: January 29th.

2. What would your ideal ‘day’ look like?

For whichever reason I find it hard to describe the ‘perfect’ day because aren’t the best birthday those were you make no huge plans and are surprised by how amazing they turn out? Okay, to answer the question: getting enough sleep, eating all of my favourite foods and being with my favourite people.

Root vegetables_2

3. When was your most memorable birthday?

That time I invited everybody from my class in school and we played SingStar all night. Does anybody even remember that? It’s been ages  – my 16th birthday if memory serves me correctly – but it was a blast.

4. When was your worst birthday?

I’ll cheat and won’t go with the worst but the strangest celebration ever. It’s been ages and I have no idea why my parents agreed but I was one of those children who had the idea celebrating their birthday at the Golden Arches had to be incredibly special. If you envied kids who celebrated there while all your parents allowed you was grabbing a Happy Meal: you didn’t miss out on anything. Unless touring a McDonald’s store and receiving an inflatable dragon that had lost pretty much all of its air by the time you went home sounds intriguing to you.

In case you’re wondering: no, the scary clown luckily didn’t make an appearance.

5. What is the best birthday present you have ever received?
Hard to pick. Generally, though, they weren’t the most expensive but those coming from heart: dresses and skirts my sister respectively mum had sewn themselve. Like this one:

Polkadots

Or the Waldorf doll my mum made herself and gave me when I was a wee little one. It’s those gifts that hold special value and a million memories. Knowing the time and effort these gifts required made them as special as they were.

6. What is the worst birthday present you have ever received?

Let’s just say one of my grandmas didn’t really have the best idea of age-appropriate gifts. The bright pink plastic make-up set and [intensely smelling] soap in shape of a sun I got when I was about 15? Well, very considerate but it was… Unusual. And never in use.

7. What is a health related gift on your wish list?

Not wanting to sound too cheesy but one I can only give myself: full recovery. Working on that one. In terms of gifts that money can buy: a treadmill. Not because I enjoyed running on them so much but – winter birthday, remember? – running outside isn’t always that well possible.

8. What is a food related gift on your wish list?
A spiralizer. The [blog] world is giving me constant nudges to get one. These pear noodle parfaits? All kinds of vegetables noodles in this book? Actually, I might ask for one for Christmas.

9. What is your birthday cake of choice?
Ice cream cake. Which I’ve actually never had but – again inspired by the blog world – need on my next birthday. Because ice cream is the better cake.

Childhood throwback, however: Kalter Hund. It’s a no-bake cake made from shortbread sandwiched with a thick chocolate frosting. If this one had ever been missed on any of my birthdays I’d have throw a fit so my mum knew better. Thinking about it Kalter Hund is totally deserving of a healthy makeover…

 

Happiness inducing today: Good news from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while.

Stay in touch!

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

 

When was your most memorable birthday?

Did you ever celebrate at McDonald’s or were invited at a friends’s birthday there? It’s safe to say that my own future children will not be allowed to celebrate there. Ever.

 

Germs, grocery store finds and other gems [Thinking out loud]

Thursday are for… traveling. It’s the second week in a row I’m about to spend a good chunk of the day squeezed in a [likely] overcrowded train. Keep your fingers crossed for at least no  drunks [yes, it has happened multiple times before] or crying children in my wagon today! On a nicer note Thursdays are obviously for Thinking out loud! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for some sunshine melting away the surprise [?] snow Amanda got! What’s wrong with you, April?!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. My salsa addiction is getting dangerous. I’m convinced destiny’s trying to tell me something or my salsa company of choice has conspired against me. Either way I had to use violence to access my dip of choice. Don’t worry, though. No knives or fingers were sacrificed in the process of opening multiple jars this way yet. And thanks to above-mentioned salsa consumption I had a spare lid on hand to replace the damaged one.

salsa

2. Speaking of traveling last week’s little [or big, actually] adventure had me leave the house way before my usual time. Meaning that I both had to pack breakfast on the go and got to put my new almond butter transport vehicle to the test. The almond butter jar gets a thumbs up but the baked oatmeal [times two but they didn’t fit in one container] needs a little more improvement.

traveling_baked oatmeal

3. A little secret about the above oatmeal cups: My brain was all over the place the two days leading to Thursday that I didn’t bake these until somewhere around 11 PM because I’d completely forgotten I needed to pack breakfast. It happens, I guess?!

4. In honour of our host I had to snap a picture of this at the store yesterday. Does anybody else remember dress-up dolls? Childhood nostalgia. They didn’t beat Barbies but still were good fun. And no, I didn’t buy them.

Disney

5. Does anybody else like to kill time in the checkout line at the store by making guesses on other people judging from their purchases? There are obvious ones like the people buying mass amounts of cat food or those extended families with family sized packages of toilet paper and a month’s worth of mineral water. But then there are also those hard-to-see-through individuals or cute guys that I’m hoping to think are single ;).  Maybe this list will help?

6. Not to cute guys aren’t a rarity either, though. In the subway I saw a guy who blew his nose into his fist – gross enough – only to push the door opener with it right afterwards. Major eww! Ignorance is bliss?! Or maybe one more reason why I always wait/ hope for others to open the doors and carry hand sanitizer with me. Luckily I did not have to use that very door yesterday.

 

7. Only three more days until Easter so the big question is: Do you still get an Easter basket? As sweet as my mum is this is one thing she gave up immediately after the first of my siblings had left the house. It’s not like I couldn’t do without the additional chocolate because I’m well stocked at the moment. But I have to admit I really wouldn’t mind a good Easter egg hunt in my parents’ garden. These used to be a blast in my childhood. Especially when my dad was hiding the eggs. He once got so involved he actually drew a map for himself to make sure we found all candy he’d hidden. Did I mention he’s an organized person?!

8. It’s a wrap once more for this week’s randomness so: Happy Thursday!

 

Happiness inducing today: My neighbours’ two little sons. Only two and five years old but such charmers already. There’s no way not to smile when they are trying to get your attention by jumping around and waving.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What are your plans for the Easter weekend?

Do you still get you an Easter basket? If so: What are its usual contents?

Any fun travel memories to share?

 

 

 

Weighing in on a heavy topic

Today’s going to be a little different from my regular posts because I just finished a book touching a weighty subject worth discussing.  ‘The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet’: Chances are you’ve heard of this book when it was first published in January 2013. The memoir by Dara-Lynn Weiss – published after she’d written an article about her daughter’s weight management plan for Vogue – sparked a lot of controversy on the topic of childhood obesity. But especially the way the author decided to tackle her daughter’s weight problem and health issues related to it.

Why did I pick it up? Not because I was the first to jump on books that caused public uproar or read every bestseller out there but because I can personally relate to the topic. While I haven’t shared my own ED story it started with weight and health struggles in early childhood, too. I actually hadn’t read more than a single article in the newspaper I’d subscribed to back then. After reading the article I was shocked and convinced Dara-Lynn Weiss wasn’t in her right mind for putting a seven-year-old on a diet. However, when I recently spotted it on the display of recent purchases at my library I decided to give it a go wanting to know the whole story.

What does the title stand for? Other than probably assumed ‘The Heavy’ isn’t referring to the weight of her daughter but Weiss herself: “Having love for your child sometimes mean being the heavy and doing unpopular things that you know are right.”

What is it about?  When her children’s pediatrician declares Dara-Lynn Weiss’ daughter Bea to be obese with a weight of 93 pounds at 4’4 the author decides to put the girl on a diet then and there. At first starting out with the advice of dietitian Dr. Johanna Dolgoff and her “Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right” program to help her daughter drop some pounds but quickly putting her own more severe spin on it. Not allowing for a simple ‘eat less, move more’ diet but a strict plan cutting down Bea’s intake profoundly and not allowing for leeway. Soon enough a lot of her time – or so it appears – evolves around planning Bea’s meals to a T. Instructing other parents/ relatives/ teachers in what her daughter can and can’t eat freaking out if these people decide to forego the rules just by the slightest.

Giving her that much: yes, I understood Weiss’ worries about her daughter and believe she acted not solely to make the girl fit into society’s idea of beauty but motherly love. And yes, in general I think it’s good she took initiative for the better health of her child and whole family. But I whole-heartedly disagree with the way she went about it. As a woman with a history of dieting herself Weiss at times appears not informed enough about what exactly a healthy diet looks like.

There are numerous of them but one incident that stuck out to me most. When Bea got home from school after a day celebrating French Heritage Day telling her mum about the food served. Usually giving her daughter strict instructions on how to handle these kind of situations to fit into her low-calorie daily meal schedule Weiss had forgotten that day. What happened was that the girl mindlessly ate according to her appetite. The author has a hard time keeping calm when she hears about it and feverishly tries to add up calories. Ultimately deciding to cut down on her daugher’s dinner. Mind you: the girl is seven at that point. Can she really be blamed for wanting to eat like all the other children on a special occasion?

Browsing Dr. Dolgoff’s book online I found she actually recommended parents not to be the food police. Forgivance is necessary. Applying this to my own experiences I remember my mum and dad encouraging me to replace some – not all – of the sweets I ate with fruit. My dad went running with me and they gave me subtle hints to forego the second or third piece of cake at family gatherings. Did I loose weight fast? No – it was a slow but steady process. Did I feel deprived or embarrassed in public? Neither. It was the best way for me to understand I had control over my health and weight by opting out of chocolate bars at the school cafeteria or a second helping at lunch. Though I might be biased as we’re talking about my parents I generally think it’s best if parents actively involve their children in their journey to a healthier – not necessarily thin – self. By giving them the tools and showing them that being active and eating healthy can be fun and isn’t a black-and-white situation. Mistakes are normal and a learning experience.

Not to be all ‘healthy living blogger clichée here. However, one simple change I feel the author missed was opting to educate herself not only about calories in vs. calories out but the importance of real food. As opposed to the 100-calorie-packs of highly processed foods like or using Cool Whip Free to make fruit more appealing to her daughter. To be fair: Dara-Lynn Weiss does state her previous aversion towards handing these kinds of food to her children. She made it a point her daughter gained on healthy foods already – yet it remains a fact she decides to go for it in the end. In my opinion, the better way of not making Bea feel deprived and left out of typical childhood happenings would have been allowing her the ‘real deal’ every once in a while. Either way, this is by far not my main criticism as I mentioned above already. In my opinion Weiss set the foundation for her daughter possibly developping an eating disorder and took away the freedom and light-heartedness of childhood.

The takeaway? Especially with my eating disorder in mind it’s hard to say which route I’d choose for my own future children. Having read of certain tendencies of the children of people who once had an ED developping one themselves it’s a sensitive field to navigate. Time will tell. What I can say for a fact, though, is that I wouldn’t go as far as Weiss did. Childhood obesity is a serious topic and I could go on and on here. Yet most important to me is to allow children to be children. Enjoy a happy childhood not centered around worries about weight and calories.

Would I recommend the book? I was only able to touch a fraction of what ‘The Heavy’ entails and like I mentioned I feel to truly have a more distinguished opinion on the topic reading it was necessary for me. So if your library happens to own a copy: why not give it a go?

Have you read or heard of ‘The Heavy’ before?

What are your thoughts on diets during childhood? Maybe you even have own experiences to share?

And really whatever else you have to say on the book or the topics related to it.

 

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a very good friend.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Time-crunched crispiness [Healthier Crispy Peanut Protein Cereal Bars]

Chewy and crispy cereal bars reminiscent of Rice Krispie treats but in a healthier and less indulgent way. A low-fat, higher-protein take on a classic.

crispy_snack

Double-checking my calendar was necessary today to realize that yes, it’s actually March already. How in the world …? I wasn’t kidding when I said February was keeping up with January’s fleetingness. Something I am currently keeping up with the second week already is a changed schedule of posting a recipe on Monday instead of reserving it for my usual Friday food talk. The title suggests it already: I’ve been a little crunched for time lately – yes, I’m unorganized … – but it also fits for the recipe I have for you today.

crispy_II

Weekends have become my recipe creating time frame. Lately not just on the savoury side of baking in the form of casseroles but some sweet baked goods, too. Or actually un-baked in this case. An especially good idea when needing to use up impulse purchases. Semi-impulsive. In my defense: when I spotted brown rice syrup on offer at the health food store I knew I’d find a way to use it in a healthier baked good or other treat. And even before buying this new kind of cereal I’d envisioned to combine the two for a Rice Krispie treat-alike sweet.

crispy

I’ll admit right away that I can’t get nostalgic at all or reminiscene my childhood regarding Rice Krispie treats. They were non-existent back then and even fast forward to today I can’t remember I’ve ever had a real Rice Krispie treat. Which, however, is not to say I couldn’t keep talking about the sweet deliciousness I experienced during my years as a wee little one. Kalter Hund, Schoko-Crossies, Grießbrei and other treats certainly are worth remembering. but these slightly less indulgent crispy cereal bars don’t have to shy away, either.

crispy_stacked

Sticky, peanutty and sweet but not too much so with a generous dash of salt turning these into a delicious sweet-and-salty creation. The cereal I briefly mentioned above is a recently introduced high-protein blend of soy flakes, plain and cocoa soy nuggets, chocolate chunks and dried fruit. When I noticed it was both [accidentially, I assume] vegan and low in sugar I just ‘had’ to try it. Even if you can’t find a similar cereal, though, these bars will keep their appeal – just try the sub I noted in the recipe. The brown rice syrup acts as a binding agent and peanut flour adds another protein punch to these little bites of not-so-indulgent indulgence foregoing the protein powder.

crispy_hand

Healthier Crispy Peanut Protein Cereal Bars

  • 1 cup crispy [high-protein]* granola [for any German readers: I used this cereal by Layenberger] [70 g]
  • 1/2 cup of puffed brown rice
  • 1/4 + 1/16th cup [70 g] brown rice syrup
  • 3 tbsps peanut flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • salt to taste
  1. Combine the different cereals in a bowl.
  2. Stir together brown rice syrup, peanut flour, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add in the cereal and mix well to combine.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a 8 x 8 inch baking pan and press it down firmly.
  5. Refridgerate for several hours or overnight before cutting into squares.

*If you can’t find any high-protein granola you can sub any mix of puffed cereals like amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. The granola I used is very dense/heavy in weight so you’ll likely need to increase the amount if using puffed grains only or mix with your favourite crunchy granola.

To keep up the higher protein content adding a scoop of protein powder might work.

MiMM_new

A marvelous snack or slightly less indulgent treat for whenever you want a sweet little something but don’t want to go all out. Happy snacky Monday to all of you and thanks to our sweet host Katie!

Hoping they’re fans of Rice Krispie Treats, too, I’ll be linking up with Laura, Kierston and Healthy Vegan Fridays here. Even if you’re crunched for time it’s well worth visiting their link-ups.

Happiness inducing today: Catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in months.

Stay in touch!

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

What were some of your favourite childhood treats?

Are you good at time management or find yourself crunched for time more often than not? Talk about a serious need for improvement on my part here.

http://www.layenberger.com/Low-Carb/LowCarb-one-Protein-Muesli/LowCarb-one-Protein-Muesli_sorten.php