Raw Coconut Cacao Date Bites

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Monday seems to become the day to post dessert recipes. Coincidence? I think not. These raw bites are the go-to in our house when there is no real dessert to be found (i.e. chocolate or cookies). They are super easy and quick to make and only require a few ingredients.

I adapted the recipe from one of Ashlae's genius creations and really, there is no messing this up. Basically, as long as you get a sticky dough that tastes nice, you're good.
 

Raw Coconut Cacao Date Bites
1 cup raw almonds (cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts etc. all work, too)
3/4 cup shredded coconut 
3-4 tbsp cacao powder
6-8 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 15 minutes 
2 tbsp raw nut milk (or any other milk)
1 pinch sea salt


In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, blend the almonds, shredded coconut and cacao powder into a fine meal. Add the dates, milk, and salt; blend until a dough starts to form. Form into bite sized balls and optionally roll in more shredded coconut, cacao nibs or any other seeds you have on hand. Transfer to an air tight container and store in the fridge or freezer, depending on how long you want to keep them. In this house, they don't last longer than 2-3 days...

Enjoy!

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Life Lately 03

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Wow, I feel like I have so much to tell you guys and I am still behind on posting pictures from our trip to India & SriLanka in November! I can't believe it's already March, seriously where does the time go? So how about a little general life catch-up? 

Excited:: about a full-time work engagement starting the end of the month. It's going to be very different, not working from home anymore, leaving the house in the early morning and working for someone else, but it's also giving me the opportunity to continue learning, expand my portfolio and meet new people. And it's only temporary, so there's that. I will continue working with a few select freelance clients, so if you have any design needs, let me know and we'll get you sorted :)

Visiting:: a chiropractor for my shoulder pain. My shoulder hasn't been working properly since I finished my Yoga teacher training (yes...) and I've been given it some time to heal itself, but that didn't happen. So now I am seeing a chiropractor every few weeks and seriously, this guy works magic. I was flabbergasted at what he achieved after only one session, no cracking of any bones involved.

Reading:: a lot of great books lately! Despite (or rather because of?) the hype, I succumbed and read The Goldfinch and absolutely LOVED it. It was one of those books were I was sad for it to end. Also reading and loving Zero Waste Home after getting lost in their blog for hours. And I just got Americanah which I can't wait to start reading. Heard so many good things about it.

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Inspired:: by the family behind the blog and book Zero Waste Home and the incredibly young and beautiful Lauren Singer from the blog Trash is for Tossers. I grew up in a pretty alternative household, where recycling was standard operating procedure and food was grown, foraged and canned at the regular. But these guys are taking it up a notch by trying to reduce their waste footprint to zero, by refusing all packaged goods and switching from plastic to sustainable wares such as glass and stainless steel. Have a browse through their blogs, and if you take away and implement even one of their tips, it's gonna make a difference. I want to reduce and slowly but surely eliminate most packaged items from entering our house, but it sure is a process and takes commitment. Baby steps, right?!

Eating:: lots of veggies again, finally! I've had a pretty icky phase of eating mostly french toast, pasta and cheese and not much else, but finally my veggie mojo is back. And just in time too, because my skin and energy levels were definitely reflecting my poor eating habits. I now kickstart my day with freshly squeezed lemon& orange juice with a heaping tablespoon of, what I like to call, magic powder; a mix of spirulina, wheat grass, maca and clay. Makes me feel like a witch brewing her potion every morning :)

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Happy:: about the little things. Friendships made through this space. A surprise gift from a neighbour for feeding her cat. A bouquet of the most beautiful flowers in all the blush&pink hues I never knew I loved. And spending quality time with my main man, always.

What have you guys been up to lately?

Israel part 1: Jerusalem

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Last week, M and I flew to Israel for a family wedding. Since we only went for a couple of days, we tried to manage our time wisely. So on the day of the wedding, which only started that evening, we ventured out early in the morning to explore the Old City of Jerusalem.
Not being a religious person, it is near impossible for me to understand the conflict that has been going on over the centuries, fighting over this Holy Land. But seeing three world religions clash, trying to live side by side on such close quarters, as a passerby, is at the very least fascinating to see.

1-5: Church of the Holy Sepulchre
6: The Western Wall

7-10: Dome of the Rock

Your Story Illustrated | Giveaway

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Last fall I had the pleasure of meeting Marlous and Marieke, the creative duo behind Plan M. They had a stall at Strawberry Earth Fair offering one of their specialities, a concept called "Your Story Illustrated". Basically, while Marlous asks you a couple of questions to get the conversation going, Marieke is busy illustrating using i.a. beetroot & spinach ink and growing paper. They then combine the two components and voilà, ready is your custom illustration. 

M and I had so much fun during the process and loved the result so much (see above), we asked them if they could draw a "long distance" illustrated story of our friend (whose birthday was coming up), based on some pictures and stories we had from him. That too was such a hit, that after some more chatting, we came up with the idea for a giveaway.

We are giving away one "long distance" custom illustration for you and/or your favourite person, which might be the perfect gift for Valentine's Day!
Plan M and the winner will arrange a Skype/Facetime chat and b
ased on that conversation and some photos the winner sent, they will make the illustration and send it out as a gift for you to give or receive :)

To enter, just leave a comment and let me know, who would you have them illustrate? The giveaway closes Friday, the 6th February at 23.59 pm. Have fun and good luck!

* The giveaway is now closed and the winner has been contacted! xx

Matters of the heart

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Relationships are hard work. Rewarding, important, probably the most important of all the work you'll ever have, but in constant want of attention. And there are the days, weeks, even months when your attention is elsewhere. Jobs, projects, clients, money, health, that one botched haircut, the untidy house. Your mind is frazzled by things that, once set in perspective, shouldn't get the biggest and best piece of your attention cake, the only piece with the tip still intact, the frosting un-smushed and all the chocolate sprinkles in their place. What is left for your favourite, your best people, who deserve all the first class cake in the world, is the sad leftover piece sitting inside an old tupperware container in the back of the fridge. 

This year, for Valentine's Day (and beyond), instead of gifts or chocolate or flowers, I will give attention. The most dazzling, shiny and caring attention my favourite people can bear, because there can never be enough of that loving goodness.

 

Graphic by Maja Molière / Heart illustration 

Chocolate dipped (dried) fruit

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Today was such a Monday! Even the weather was in on it, so gloomy and foggy you couldn't even see the other side of the street. I am trying to console myself with the typical "these days happen" and "tomorrow will be better", but all I can think is "chocolate, muffins, popcorn". Please tell me you know what I am talking about.

So I figured another great remedy against a mean case of the Mondays is "stuff dipped in chocolate", which in my case happens to be bananas and dried figs & dates with sea salt sprinkled on top. This is much less a recipe, because you can all google how to best melt copious amounts of chocolate (although I do suggest, you only use the dark, rich and preferably organic kind), than a party trick on how to turn this day around and make it one to remember.

Pick your favourite feel-good movie (It's Complicated would be my pick ;), settle in the cosiest spot in the house and dip stuff in chocolate to your heart's content. It is bound to cheer you up! If you are patient (or full) enough, you can even let some pieces cool, to enjoy some other time. 

Feeling better already, what about you? :)

My Morning: Ashley Neese

I am super happy to introduce you to today's My Morning lady. Ashley Neese is a certified yoga instructor, a natural foods chef and overall bright, shining person. Best of all, she shares all her wisdom, delicious recipes and inspirations on her blog, so make sure you check it out. Ashley, thanks so much for your inspiring answers. You're my personal wellness guru :)
 

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1) Are you a morning person?

I love mornings, especially when have a couple of hours before I have to start working. I like to wake up slow and really take my time. In the autumn and winter seasons I tend to need more sleep in the mornings and it can be a bit more challenging to get myself out of bed. 

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2) What is the sound of your alarm and what time does it go off?

I set an alarm two days a week, when I have to be up early to teach yoga. Those classes start at 7am and the alarm goes off at 6am. All other mornings I let myself wake up naturally and that usually happens around 7 or 7:30am.

3) What is the first thing you do when you get up?

I drink a glass of room temperature water with a little fresh lemon juice then I make a cup of herbal tea. Water with lemon helps to jump start the detoxification process and is very hydrating. Herbal tea is very grounding and nourishing in the morning. It's a really nice ritual!

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4) What do you have for breakfast?

This really depends on the season. These days breakfasts is heartier and warmer. I enjoy superfood porridges and the occasional sprouted pancake. I also like to have a bowl of miso soup or simple sautéed greens and poached eggs. 

5) Do you swear by a particular beauty routine or product?

Yes! Eating loads of seasonal produce, getting plenty of sleep, daily yoga and meditation, water, and herbal teas. Fermented foods like sauerkraut are great for the skin. A few products I love are this herbal body oil, clay face masque, and daily face oil. I swear by all of this!

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6) Do you have a secret/silly/weird morning habit no one knows about? Do tell!

This question made me laugh and actually I do! It’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about but haven’t done so just yet. These days I am focused on preparing my body for future pregnancy so I take my temperature every morning before I drink water :)

Photos by Sera Lindsey

Kale Chips

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I've been wanting to make kale chips ever since I saw them floating around the internet forever ago. For some strange reason though, kale is not that easily found in Amsterdam. I've kept my eyes open for months, but it always eluded me. Until a few weeks back, when I finally saw it at our little neighbourhood shop. 

Turns out finding it was the hardest part, the rest is a simple affair: wash it, rip it into bite sized pieces, dress it with your favourite oil and spices and put into the oven for ca. 15 minutes at 140 C. Just keep an eye on them. When the kale pieces are crunchy and dry, they're done. I gave mine a simple olive oil and salt and pepper treatment and really loved it.

Just to be real here, of course they don't taste like real chips/crisps, and if you want the real thing these guys probably won't cut it. But as a healthy crunchy alternative kale chips are amazing. Happy baking!

New Year

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Happy New Year friends! I hope you all had safe and fun parties to ring in 2015. I am sitting here with the remnants of a two-day hangover, which just goes to show that, I can't party like I used to. Recovering from one night for two full days, is just not efficient, is the thing. Oh well, what can you do, eh?

Usually I am not much a resolution person, although I am a sucker for a fresh start. Especially after last year. 
2014 was not a bad year at all. AT ALL! It was great really, but boy did the last week of December pack it all in: internet fraud (aka, I am a bloody idiot), losing the only piece of jewellery that is actually valuable to me (again, super idiot) and having to pay money to be allowed to rummage through the trash trying to find it (we didn't) and actually tragic, losing a much beloved family member. So by the end of it all, I was pretty done with good old 2014.

So on a much more positive note,  let's see what wonderful things&plans are in the works for 2015:

  1. A trip to London to hang out with some of the loveliest ladies (hi Freya, Siobhan & Tania!), and to go to the ballet (Alice in Wonderland choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon!!!)
  2. A wedding in Israel!
  3. A trip to Iceland with my oldest friends!
  4. A gym membership and actually trying to go regularly (ha, walking cliché!), and starting a fitness challenge on Monday the 5th (check kaylaitsines.com.au if your curious. We could do it together!)
  5. Healing my shoulder injury by finally going to a chiropractor on a regular basis.
  6. Cooking through Jamie Oliver's book '30 minute meals' with my man, and inviting two different guest to join us each week.
  7. A possible (don't want to jinx it) project with a children's book publisher!
  8. A mini bathroom makeover.

Most importantly, I want to find out how to slow down time. Seriously. To learn how to draw out the days and weeks, making them feel as long as they used to as a child, instead of racing from Monday to Friday without even thinking. I got very close once, spending a week in Normandie (see here), and I want to capture that essence and apply it to everyday life. I will keep you posted on this.

Here's to the new year ahead, filled with magic and dreams and craziness, filled with good books, many kisses, creativity and laughter. Make it your adventure!

*photograph by Jeff Sheldon, text added by moi.

'Tis the season

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We're back! And just in time for the most wonderful time of the year, too! 

I'll have a proper India & Sri Lanka post for you soon, but right now I am so cozied up at my Mom's, ordering & wrapping presents and listening to Christmas music, that posting anything remotely tropical seems just wrong. It was amazing, but one takeaway I already have from this trip is this: I love Advent, the Holidays and everything leading up to it so much, that I want to be there when it starts, December 1st sharp. 

How is everyone spending their Holidays? Anything exciting happened while I was gone? Fill me in, fill me in!

More soon, but for now, merry Christmas everyone!

xx

1) Making/burning Honiglebkuchen (gingerbread) with my Mama.
2) My beautiful hometown Regensburg at night. View from the old Stonebridge with the just as old Cathedral in the background.