Currently … March

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

Currently_2

 

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

Yogi tea wisdom

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

Brussels sprouts_stir-fry

 

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

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

Currently_nails_Essie_Manhattan Ave-hue

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

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

Poor economics_book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bienenstich_Coconut slice

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

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

That was a long post. Over to you now!

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

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Tell me your current

  • a) book
  • b) needs
  • c) food
  • d) bane of existence
  • e) triumph.
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Week in review: Back in the kitchen and many smiles.

… and here we are on the last day of February (!) with another Week in Review. First things first, though: I’m not usually the kind of person to get all sappy but thank you for all of your feedback, opinions and link shares for Thursday’s post. It was a post dear to my heart and seeing how many of you could relate was overwhelming. Due to limited internet access once again I haven’t been able to reply to comments yet but I will.

If you belong to the large part of the population who has a fierce dislike for Mondays here’s a song to get your week started with a happy dance party. Actually, today as an extra day we’re only granted every four years necessitates a little cheerful dancing as is, don’t you think so? Anyway, let’s kick the week off in proper listing style with Meg again.  Here’s a glance into my past week:

Week in review

My favourite achievement/happening first: I spent time with my nephew. [Insert goofy smile and lots of oooohs and aaawwws <- even I as the language fiend am unable to keep up my whole sentences and can’t find the right words here.] My sister, her husband and the little bundle of joy stopped by for a short visit on Sunday – my mum’s birthday – and I forgot pretty much everything else. I know I promised to keep gushing to a minimum but he started smiling this week and -proud aunt moment – I was able to make him smile a lot. Forget about boys, I found my new crush ;).

Because I felt a bit guilty for the gushing – okay, no, just because I like you – I  baked no-baked you some treats that my whole family went crazy about [and they’re my biggest food critics]. Remember what I said about this recipe being the one you need to try if you make any of mine? I may or may not have fierce competition for it. Just take a look … Recipe coming on Thursday and yes, my hands got covered in chocolate in the making. Worse things have happened before – can you say broken plates?!

Raw brownie

The usual weekly: Ran errands for myself as well as some for my parents.Did the dishes by hand as well as loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. It’s nice to have one but I still try to be aware of how many dishes I use.

I wrote and published three blog posts including one for NEDA week. What’s funny is that I remembered NEDA week was coming up all January and then it somehow slipped my mind until the past Monday. I’m glad I still published the post.

Worked five days a week and it’s a busy time at the office so I’ve been stayin longer pretty much every day.

Taught German three times again. Two of those were quite successful – students looking forward to lessons and actively asking for tasks make every teacher happy – and one sub-par.

Cleaned my apartment including the floors. Not the fridge yet, though. Just one more saved for the next week in review, right?

Had a really nice conversation with one of the clients at work. Her positive outlook on life despite suffering from a deathly illness is inspiring.

Relaxed. That one’s hard for me. Lack of sleep meant I was tired to the max when returning home after work but actually allowing myself to accept this and just lie down is so.freaking. hard. Allowing myself some trashy TV – it’s a true guilty pleasure – for the first time in who knows how long. What is it about mindlessly watching TV – or in my case a live stream online – that is so relaxing?

February_flowers

Made my own cashew butter for the first time. Or in other words: finally starting to really use my Vitamix. I’ve somehow had/still have that fear of wrecking it when making nut butters though that ironically was my main reason to want one. I make myself laugh.

Walked after work every day. With it still getting dark fairly early that usually means a quick 15-minute lap only but fresh air nonetheless.

red shoes_walk

Braved the geese again. Not intentionally. If I could avoid them for the rest of my life you better believe I would. But heading out for my walk on Friday  it wasn’t long until I saw … geese! This time they were even further away from the path I was walking on but upon seeing me one of those beasts started hissing and running towards me. No screaming on my part this time but I –ran– and my heart was beating as fast as I feel it would if I met Adam Levine. Only Adam wouldn’t scare me ;). Either way, I waited for some time, watching the geese through the trees lining the path and then ran past them as fast asI could  [wearing a heavy winter coat and no running shoes, mind you]. Ridiculous? Maybe. But I won’t let those feathery friends foes steal my opportunity to get some fresh air in.
Whatever you’re calling me for this: stupid goose is not an option!

That was a little wrap-up of my recent going-ons that I’ll also share for MIMM. because despite some ups and downs it was a good week.

Whatever comes your way today: take it and see the silver lining. Happy Monday!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Read the first point on my list. Sorry not sorry.

 

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Tell me some achievements from your past week!
How well are you able to relax? What’s your favourite way to do it?
 

 

Week in review: Up. And down. And … up?

If I wasn’t against playing favourites I’d say that the past week was up on top there looking back at, say, a six-month period. High praises for a week. The truth is it started well, leaving me feel good on Friday and then all of a sudden took a turn for the worse on Saturday. In other words: It’s an up and down that’s hopefully Not to digress too much but I guess this is another test of destiny to see if I can maintain a newfound positive outlook when suddenly faced with struggles again. It’s difficult to say the least but we’ve got Monday for a fresh start so here’s to keeping the ball in the game and rolling. At least the metaphorical because I’m actually not good at any kind of game involving balls … Unless we’re talking chocolate balls/bites – then I’m all game. Sheesh. I shouldn’t write my intros late at night.

Before I get lost in metaphorical mind wanderings I’ll get to the point of this post and follow Meg’s invitation to look back and what was rather than what might be.

 

Week in review

Without further ado here are some of my accomplishments/happenings: In the past week I …

Worked five days in my regular job. It’s getting better in terms of feeling more “at home” or part of the team. Learning your way around things, not having to ask a many questions, feeling appreciated by the other staff members.

Taught German two times. Truth be told this isn’t going as well as it started out anymore and I’m glad not to depend on it though that never was my initial reason to start this job. I was hoping to help the kids but not seeing any real progress is a little chastening.

Had a nice conversation with my grandma – the other one this time – who stopped by our house very shortly on Friday.

Grandma_knitting

  • Went on another walk with my dad. Yes, I’m aware it’s probably odd for somebody my age to stress these things so much. Not wanting to spread family issues for the whole world to see I will only say in Facebook-esque manner that: Relationship status: it’s very complicated.
  • Once again I published three posts on the blog again and unfortunately didn’t get to reply to all comments yet. My laptop has decided to act up again and it’s frustrating to say the least when it collapses in the middle of replying or putting together a certain post. I somehow suspect my laptop doesn’t like this kind of post because it has been crashing during the compilation of the latter a million times in past weeks.
  • Relaxed at night listening to the Harry Potter audio books again. My sister and I used to listen to them all the time when we were younger – so many childhood memories. The German speaker, Rufus Beck, is a magician himself in the way he lends every of the many characters a unique voice.

Harry Potter_audiobook

  • Got rid of other memories by deleting old pictures from my laptop. You know you’re a blogger when … you have about ten times as many pictures as the average Joe. Granted, that’s a guess but I honestly think photos are what slows my little handy blogging device down. Oops.
  • Lend an ear to several friends. We’re all facing our struggles but sometimes it’s merely somebody else looking at the situation from an outsider’s view to put us back into perspective.
  • Sent off mail replies long overdue. This is something I have to continually work on because I really enjoy getting and yes, also writing mails. Only I need to remember that a mail drafted in my head still has to be typed. Is there anybody who can relate??
  • Picked my mum up from the station in a town a bit further away after her well-deserved short albeit stay in Berlin. Am I the only one who finds longer drives oddly distressing? Just what I needed after Saturday morning’s kerfuffle.*

** oh, you just have to like the British for their lovely expressions.

  • Successfully tried a new recipe for the blog. Followed by an equally as successful photo shoot. Fast forward to uploading the pictures and … finding that my camera ate all of them. If it wasn’t for my age I’d have thrown a fit. Okay, maybe I did after all.

Nut clusters

  • Re-shot said recipe so here’s a preview though I’m still not sure how I like the pictures from that shoot. Nevertheless, it will be up on the blog on hopefully – fingers crossed for no more laptop troubles – Thursday.
  • De-stressed by taking walks – no dangerous geese this week. I’ve been feeling anxious a lot lately and as my preferred “treatment” (running) isn’t in the cards walks have been my saving grace. That and my daily pilates/yoga/what-have-you practice. The latter pairs very well with Harry Potter, too. What can I say? I’m an odd one.
  • Put my phone aside for the most part during dinner times and opted for the new book I mentioned last week. It’s one I will definitely talk about in more detail once I’m finished – as of now it’s a lot of information to progress. If you enjoy non-fiction this one might be one for you. I’m happy I’ve been able to focus on reading more again as I – embarrassing to admit for somebody known as a book worm – had abandoned it a bit [too much] in past months.

Finishing this post on Sunday night it’s getting late again so I’ll bid you farewell and hope you’re having a great start to the new week.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Having lots of time to read.

Stay in touch!

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Tell me three [or more] achievements from your past week!

Are you a Harry Potter fan? Alternatively: what are some audio books you enjoyed?

 

 

Rotkohl [Traditional German Red Cabbage]

With a ridiculously simple preparation and only eight ingredients this flavourful side dish is a German winter favourite. Naturally vegan, gluten-free and paleo Rotkohl comes packed with vitamins and minerals for a healthy low-calorie dish to accompany any main.

Having talked about this classic German winter dish for many times before I figured it was high time to share the recipe. And I had every intention of doing so on Monday, right in time with the meteorological start of winter. But …

Rotkohl_vegan_German

What to avoid when you’re a blogger and intend on posting during Christmas week:

Not get sick.

Plan ahead [all those posts saying you need an editorial calendar have a purpose …].

Not.get.sick.

Any guesses as to my situation up until today? Right. Teary-eyed sick with a recipe made but yet to be photographed and no post written. Luckily, I’m feeling slightly better today. Okay, now that we finished the long-winded intro/blogger no-do’s/why I should write blog posts way in advance [like every other blogger?!]  let’s talk traditions.

Mother’s Day? Just another Sunday for my family.

Easter? Not a single [chocolate or candy] egg to be found in our house.

Christmas? No tree for the second time, hardly any decorations up and we’re not sending Christmas cards [but do gift homemade cookies to friends].

 

It’s safe to say my family errs on the untraditional side when it comes to the holidays. The food part of Christmas dinner, though? That’s where we have our traditions.

A little story time: Unlike traditional American Thanksgiving where pretty much the whole country agrees what has to appear on the table – turkey/Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing – hardly two German families in a neighbourhood will eat the same Christmas dinner. For some families “Weihnachtsgans” [Christmas duck], others need their fish and then again there are people considering – believe it or not – potato salad and sausages THE dish. Usually, my family is in the Christmas duck camp [aside from me and any other vegetarians in the family obviously]. Not this year but it will be an unusual one to begin with. The sides? Up for discussion. Aside from the one can’t-miss dish that’s the secret star on the menu: Rotkohl.

Rotkohl_6

No matter what’s your main – meat, vegetarian or vegan roasts – this easy cabbage dish makes a great side for everything. Serve it with your main of choice, mashed potatoes and optional gravy and have yourself a merry little Christmas. Or just a wonderful winter day because there’s still the whole season to enjoy this.

Rotkohl_1

For the nutrition nuts among us or those skeptically eyeing the ¼ cup of sugar in this recipe: it’s still healthy to boost. One cup of chopped red cabbage packs in 85% of the daily value of vitamin C, 20 % of the vitamin A recommendation and it’s also high in potassium. And I don’t need to tell you that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?! See: healthy.

German Rotkohl/Red Cabbage

  • 1 medium head red cabbage, sliced [ours weighed about 2.9 lbs/1.3 kg pre-cleaning]
  • 2 medium tart apples [I used Boskoop; about 330 g, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 100 ml/ [about ½ cup minus 1 tbsp] white vinegar
  • 100 ml unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar [paleo: use a sweetener you find with your diet]
  • ¾ tsp ground caraway seed
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 scant tsp salt
  1. Chop the red cabbage finely or shred it in a food processor.
  2. Alternating cabbage, onions and apples, layer in a pressure cooker.
  3. Mix vinegar, apple juice, sugar and spices and poor on top. Using your hands, mix all ingredients. No need to be super
  4. Cook according to your pressure cooker’s manual. Once maximum pressure is reached, turn off the heat, don’t open the lid and let the cooker sit until

 

Notes:

  1. This freezes very well which is great seeing as it makes a large batch [unless you’re a hungry German family …].
  2. While I prepared my Rotkohl in  a pressure cooker you can also use a Dutch oven or regular pot. You’ll need to let it simmer for longer but will get the same delicious result.
  3. One of my grandma’s ‘secrets’ for making this already delicious dish over-the-top amazing is adding some of her homemade currant jelly. Store-bought should work just fine as well.
  4. Just like there are many different Christmas traditions, there are dozens if not hundreds of different recipes for Rotkohl, also called Blaukraut in certain regions of the country. In fact, I think every family might have their own which is – obviously – the best and only.

I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good,  Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

While I talk a lot about Christmas here  this dish isn’t just for the holidays  a perfect fit for the whole season. So if you’re looking for a new way to eat your vegetables and vitamins this winter – give it a try!

 

Happiness-inducing today: My sister and her husband arriving at our house. They’ll leave on 25th again already but any time spent with family is better than none.

 

Have you ever had Rotkohl?

Does you family follow through with traditions or make up their own?

What’s on your menu for Christmas this year?

Friday Favourites – 12/4/2015

Less than three weeks until Christmas? Ready, set: panic! In all honesty, I don’t feel ready yet. Gifts bought or made so far? ½ of one [PJ pants I’m sewing for my brother … ssh]. Because it’s a well know secret procrastination helps distract from the panic arising that’s what I’ll do today in sharing another round of favourites with you. I’m linking up with Heather and Katie to ring in the weekend on a good note.

Music

Starting with a favourite-in-the-make and jam for the ears Coldplay’s new song.

Though I heard it for the first time this week I already have an inkling I might enjoy Coldplay’s new album – out today! – a little more than they last one. At least if Adventure of a Lifetime is any indicator for that. What I’m not so stoked about is the fact this might be their last album. Can we please collectively wish for this not happening?

Work

While still no full-time employment I got the opportunity to start helping out as a DAF teacher [DAF = German as a Second Language] twice a week. It’s been so much fun as the children in the group I’m teaching with two other women are really motivated and eager to learn. Having taught many students so far this makes such a huge difference and I might get paid a little but would honestly do it even if I wasn’t. Being able to help others in any which way is a rewarding feeling worth more than money.

Food

Christmas baking has officially started …

Cookie baking

… and I’m not seeing an end yet. Starting with the classics, my mum and I baked Vanillekipferl [vanilla crescents] yesterday. Or should I say: I prepared the dough, did the clean up and my mum helped me shape what felt like at least six dozen of cookies. And she kept me motivated kneading that dough for-ev-er. Consider my arm workout of the day done.

For some reason, my camera ate the pictures of the finished cookies so you’ll get to see these in another post. Yet the process alone was promising only good for the outcome …

Baking_chocolate

Another favourite? This soap. It’s a limited winter edition so let’s just call it Christmas soap to fit in with the central topic of this post. It scents like a creamy vanilla caramel shake with a hint of marzipan and I like it [obviously. Which says a lot as I’m really picky about scents. Most are too sweet, cloying or heavy for me. Plus, it’s liquid soap and that’s the only kind I like. Anybody else? Hard soap doesn’t appeal to me – especially if you’re sharing it with others but that might just be one of my odd pet peeves.

soap

 That’s it for me today. I’ll see you on Sunday with some good good links and hope you’re having a fabulous Friday!
Happiness-inducing today: Engaging conversations that got me thinking. A little abstract of a description but it’s hard to summarize in few words.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What is your opinion on Coldplay’s new song?

Liquid or hard soap? Which scents do you like?

Have you started Christmas baking yet? Tell me about your favourite cookies!

Friday Favourites – 10/30/2015

Well, hello there, Friday! And hello there, [almost-]Halloween! How in the world did this month – or better yet: this year – fly by that fast [again]??! And Halloween being around the corner means Christmas isn’t far away anymore, either.  My plan to be prepped better and have a few presents by the end of this month already? We won’t get into that here …

While I can’t churn out any Halloween memories for lack thereof – yes, it’s true – I decided to link up with Heather and Katie to talk about some current favourites again.

  1. At the risk of being cheesy I just have to say that a definite favourite of mine this week were all your comments on yesterday’s post. Letting my thoughts flow and hearing other people’s opinion is one of my favourite parts of blogging. Sorry not sorry for cheesiness.

2. One firm favourite that boosts my mood on those gray, cold and at times boring days: kitchen dance parties! Kitchen because mine doubles as a living room – not always a blessing. Either way: feel free to laugh but this oldie but goodie made a return this week:

3. Talking about jam there’s a firm food favourite to mention, too. If you’ve been reading for some time you might remember my fondness of a certain brand of Greek yogurt split cups and especially the jam part? Well, the only store carrying those decided to discontinue selling them. I’m a-okay going with my Greek yogurt cheat but I do miss the fruity spread so I’ve been on a mission to find a replacement. While not entirely the same this one is pretty close. Lots of blueberries and 75 % fruit percentage – I can roll with that.

favourite jam_blueberry

Walks. Always good but even better now I’m not excerising anymore. This is actually really tough on my mind but I keep repeating to myself that all of this hardship is serving a better future. And while running isn’t in the books – I’m even trying to avoid blogs mentioning it because I miss it so much – walks are an awesome alternative to clear my mind. And – TMI 😉 – they help keeping you regular, too.

autum walk

Another favourite? Surprise packages in the mail. Granted, this one wasn’t entirely surprising but the fact how soon it shipped [five days and not stuck at customs!] was. So: Quest bars. Why? How? My last post might have left the impression I was anti-protein anything. Which isn’t entirely true. I’m not emphasizing protein in my diet much and  going with my gut rather than trying to figure out any macronutrient needs. And as you know if you read yesterday’s post you will know I think no foods should be shunned from our diets completely. Just make real foods the largest part of your diet and you’re good to go.

Quest bars_protein

Long story short: I’m generally curious of trying new foods and seeing all the rage around Quest bars wanted to know what the hype was about. However, my curiosity wasn’t large enough to actually shell out money to order them online. Are you aware a bar of ## this amazing chocolate ## is cheaper than a ‘Questie’? I know my priorities ;). Nonetheless, I was lucky to win a giveaway on Instagram and got two boxes of the bars – one of the S’mores flavor and a mixed bestseller box – and I’m excited to see if they live up to their reputation. I’ll keep you updated.

For now, I hope you’ll have a great Friday and a good start into the weekend!

Happiness-inducing today: Many little things like talking to my sister on the phone, finding out one of her former classmates that I happen to know a bit better, too, is pregnant and other things.
 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What’s your favourite jam – both the edible and audible kind?

If you’re a Quest bar fan: what is your favourite here? And: raw or baked? Because apparently certain flavours are best enjoyed warmed up?!

Do you have any plans for Halloween?