my cuties • Love life • ice cubes •
breakfast • margaritas • fajitas •
farmers market • campus • arugula + caprese •
Two weeks ago, I decided to do something completely by myself again. I don’t have a problem doing things by myself. I actually am someone who craves me-time quite a bit and I don’t need to be around people all the time. This is one thing when you’re at home just hanging out by yourself, but another thing if you go out and “do things” alone. Going to dinner, to a movie, or to a concert is still sometimes considered awkward by many people. But you know what? It also is liberating and empowering. I don’t have to rely on other people to come with me to have a good time. I can cherish an experience and know that it’s all mine.
So, two weeks ago, I just thought to myself: eff it, I am going! And THIS is where I went. NKOTB – The Package Tour.
If this looks vaguely familiar to this post, you are right. I’ve done this kind of thing before. I am so totally over explaining or justifying why I go to these concerts. I’ve been a fan since 1989. This is more than 20 years. You do the math. I remember when my parents let me go to their first concert in Germany in 1991 and because of high demand, there were additional concerts added 6 months later. I bought a ticket for the second part of the tour right away and my Dad didn’t even believe I’d still be interested in them by the time the second part of the tour came around.
Little did he know that my loyalty would last a lifetime (he still likes to shake his head in disbelief – and a little twinkle in his eye – when I tell him I went to yet another concert! Haha!)
My BiSC-peeps will appreciate this video:
This I HAD to steal from youtube, because I was nowhere close enough to capture this. (Courtesy of Jonesdawnl) But, cue the heartmelt.
I truly and sincerely had the bestest time ever! I can not describe how happy those concerts make me. This time, NKOTB toured with Boyz II Men (which I was very (!) excited about) and 98° (not that interested in, but oh well). It was amazing to see Boyz II Men and NKOTB perform on the same stage, because they go way back to the late 80’s when both bands started out. What a once in a lifetime experience!
Now, confess: were/are you a NKOTB fan? Did you see the Package Tour? If not, there are still some tour dates left!
After years in the States, I finally baked my own whole grain bread. My Mom has been baking this for years and it’s one of the things I missed the most when I moved to the US. The biggest hurdle was finding cracked rye berries… even Whole Foods and the local Co-op sell cracked wheat, but only whole rye berries. Do you know how difficult it is to crack them yourself without a “grain mill” (which are superexpensive)?
I found a way around it: I ‘misused’ a burr coffee grinder to crack the rye. Worked like a charm (maybe a little finer than I would have liked, but what the hell! I can crack my own rye berries. Hooray!).
It’s super-easy to make. There is no kneading involved and even though it has a little yeast, you don’t have to allow the dough to rise before baking. It’s as easy as mixing the ingredients and putting it in a loaf pan for 3,5 hours (!) of baking.
For one medium size loaf you need:
250g (~9 oz) cracked rye
250g (~9 oz) cracked wheat
250 g (~9 oz) wheat flour
250 g (~9 oz) sunflower seeds
1.5 envelopes (~0.4 oz) of dry active yeast
2 tbsp salt
500 ml (~17 fl oz) buttermilk
100 ml (~3.4 fl oz) maple syrup
125 ml (~4.2 fl oz) water
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until all the dry ingredients are evenly wet.
Place in a silicon loaf pan (it’s easy to use and clean – if you use a regular loaf pan, make sure to line it with parchment paper).
Bake for 3,5 hours at 300ºF. Then let it completely cool down on an oven rack (over night). Once it’s cooled down, you can store it in the fridge wrapped in aluminium foil for up to 2 weeks.
So, this is really dense bread (J doesn’t call it a “brick” for nothing), but it’s hearty, delicious and so filling! I can have two of these small slices for lunch and it will keep me satisfied for hours! My favorite way to eat it is with a slice of gouda, a little mayo, sliced tomato, onion, pepper and salt. Please try this and thank me later! You’re welcome.
I honestly never thought I’d say this, but here it is: I dig green smoothies.
The thought of having a thick milkshake-like-but-not-quite-milkshake-like tasting liquid in the morning substituting as ‘breakfast’ simply seemed absurd to me.
I, the müsli-eating, cheese and liverwurst-loving, bread-devouring breakfast-enthusiast, really had a hard time with the idea of only having a ‘drink’ instead.
I know. I know! I take it all back! I am not afraid to admit that I was wrong. So wrong!
Since the sugar detox, I’ve basically had a smoothie at least every other day. First I did it because it was ‘suggested’ through the class and hey, who am I to dismiss good, well-intended suggestions? You can’t learn anything new if you don’t try. Well, I tried and I am really starting to like green smoothies in the morning. It’s fast and easy and I am having my breakfast on the lightrail (another healthy habit I am trying to get back into) on my way to work. It really works out all around!
I’ve been using Nicole‘s ultimate green smoothie formula. It’s printed out, laminated and pinned to my kitchen wall, so I always have it handy when I need it even though my current favorite I can already make without glancing at the list! I have been playing around with different ingredients (many more combinations to try though!) and this here my current favorite:
1 cup strawberries
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 handful spinach
1 tbsp almond butter
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
I added a half banana the other day, but I decided to not do this again. Bananas are smell and taste suckers, you guys! All I could taste was banana (and I am not really that big of a fan of bananas!). Maybe I’ll try it in combination with some other ingredients again in the future, but with this one, I want to taste the strawberries!
So, here is where you come in now (fellow detoxers or not): are you into smoothies? What ingredients do you like? What combination is your current favorite? I’d love to exchange different recipes with you guys so I can find smoothies that have been pre-approved, so to speak.
PS. I am not commenting on the smug faces and inappropriate yummy noises that Nicole mentioned in her blog post. You see for yourself.
PPS. I still like a solid-food based breakfast on the weekends though. Don’t take that away from me!
So, that was my view for Independence Day. Can you think of a nicer view than a fog-free, sun-drowned Golden Gate Bridge with the sparkling bay below? I didn’t think so!
After a 3-hour early dismissal on Wednesday (thank you, work!), J and I got the hell out of Sacramento on the 4th. After a whole week (or longer?) of temperatures scratching the 110ºF mark (that is about 43ºC, for us metric folks!), I just couldn’t stand the heat anymore and suggested an escape to the coast. Basically the best idea in the history of ideas.
It was warm and sunny there as well, but the ocean breeze kept the air cool and temperatures at a bearable level. We enjoyed the view for a while and then made our way to Sausalito.
There was a lot going on for the 4th of July festivities and a lot of people were out. We walked around, got some coffee at a little coffeeshop and found a place right on the water with a beautiful and clear view of the City.
For dinner, we decided to celebrate the holiday American style with burgers at the “Napa Valley Burger Co.“. It’s fairly new restaurant, because I remembered having brunch in the same location with my parents two years ago and it was under a completely different name. I had a ‘Vintage Burger’ with caramelized onions, which was delicious, and fries.
We walked around some more, enjoyed the view and then decided to head back around 7 p.m. to make it home for the fireworks in Downtown Sacramento at 9:30 p.m.
We found a nice spot right near the famous Tower Bridge, which was beautifully lit and made for great pictures when the fireworks started.
The rest of our weekend was low-key. It was nice to not have much planned and just have a few days to relax and hang out. Fortunately, the temperatures started dropping to reasonable levels on Friday and we were able to hang out on our balcony and go for walks without completely melting away.
Other good things this weekend:
more baking ♥ stitching ♥ clean sheets ♥ sleeping in ♥ gym time ♥ phone date with my sister ♥ cool showers ♥ re-watching season 1 of “The Newsroom” ♥ starting a new book ♥ iced coffee ♥ milkshake ♥
How was your weekend?
I am …
…. hot, so hot! Like temperature hot! We’re getting baked here on the West Coast. It’s been 100+ºF here for I don’t know how many consecutive days now (at least 6) and I know, I know, my friends in Germany are still waiting (more or less) patiently for summer to kick in, but seriously, I am already over summer. I like it warm, but this is too hot. Also, just as a reminder, we have wildfires around these parts and those scorching temperatures are not helping. Just sayin’.
… really happy how my Mom’s Schwarzbrot (whole grain bread) that I baked last weekend turned out. I seriously don’t know why I didn’t try to bake it sooner. Actually I do know why, because you can’t buy cracked rye in any of the supermarkets around here. I checked every single one, but I found a way around it. Anyway, it’s been pretty much my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the last few days. (Recipe to come.)
… completely in love with my mason jar drinking glass. Could drinking iced water be any more exciting than out of a mason jar glass? I didn’t think so.
… currently reading “How to eat a cupcake” by Meg Donohue. It’s an easy read, but I really like the book so far.
… re-watching season 1 of ‘The Newsroom” because season 2 starts in T-minus 11 days. If you haven’t watched the first season, I highly recommend it. It’s only 10 episodes – you can totally catch up before season 2 starts. Also, if you want to live-tweet the show with me, I am so in!
… really delighted about a sweet email from a secret reader of my blog. I always love to find out who is reading and I love it even more when they reach out. It makes me totally giddy to know that people care about the ramblings on my little blog. This reader even called me “inspiring” and that is one of the sweetest compliment one could ever get. So I want to say ‘thank you’. This means so much to me.
… working on a little craft project for a friend and really excited about it. I hope I can share it when it’s finished.
… pretty sad that Google Reader is no more. I really liked it and have not completely adapted to any of the other reader options out there. The verdict is still out, but I’ll be going with Feedly for now. Which reader do you like best? Any recommendations?
… completely surprised by my newly found love for Almond Butter. You need to know that I don’t like Peanut Butter (I didn’t grow up with it, so the taste has always been a bit strong for me) and while I am kinda-but-not-really warming up to Peanut Butter, Almond Butter has been an instant favorite! I couldn’t believe how much I like it.