Fresh Raspberry Lemonade

My drink of choice is usually either water or juice with water. I  carry it with me everywhere, all the time. But once in a while, I crave something a little more fancy, especially now with the temperature going up. Still, I prefer my drinks as un-sweet as possible.

I mixed one part raspberry juice with three parts lemonade (I used this recipe but cut the sugar, so I only used about 3/4 cups of brown sugar. I also used carbonated water) added some frozen raspberries and mint leaves and it resulted in this heavenly, fresh, delicious drink. The longer the raspberries sit in the lemonade, the better it'll taste.

One day in: Baden-Baden (southern Germany)

Yesterday M. and me spent the afternoon in beautiful Baden-Baden. We haven't had much time for each other lately, so this was rather special.
We have two bigger trips planned for the next two weekends so this picturesque town not even an hour away from us was just the right destination.
Baden-Baden is mostly known for... well rich people live there.

on travelling

I still recall that feeling when I printed my ticket to India and held it in my hands for the very first time: fear. panic. I was petrified.
What had I done?
I have made some city trips before, on my own or with friends, I was on holidays before, sure, but just me at the other side of the world with nobody I knew...
What was I thinking?

And to be honest, I really hadn't thought much about it.
Those months before were a really tough time in my life. My mother was diagnosed with a rare form of leucaemia and received a bone-marrow transplantation, my father's cancer relapsed in the year before and I was struggeling with too many feelings.
I wanted to run away so badly.
And when both my parents were stable enough for me not to worry about their safety while I was gone, that is what I did.

I booked this ticket without knowing what I would find there. I hardly knew anything about India (I didn't even know what written Hindi looked like). I remember reading my Lonely Planet at the airport for the first time (and calling Mumbai from there to book a hotel for the following night).
I didn't care. One thing I knew for sure: it would be different. And that was all I needed.

I had no idea of where I was going, what I wanted to see or even how long I was going to stay.
Those months I spent there, were the best I have ever had in my life.
I started out being afraid of everything and then I fell in love with a country that is so complex, so different, so absolutely not what I expected. The first time in my life, I felt absolutely alive and whole.
It has taught me that sometimes we need to act in spite of fear. 

But I didn't just fall in love with India, I fell in love with travelling. I fell in love with the entire world at once. I wanted to see everything. Meet everyone. Taste everything.
The following year, I went to Cambodia.
It was three months after my father has died but this time I didn't want to run away. I wanted to travel because I knew it would make me feel alive again. It would remind me that there is still some beauty left, that there is meaning and life. It was what I needed. I felt so much closer to my father seeing as he too, was an adventurer, he taught me to be in awe of nature's miracles.

Even living in Switzerland turned out to be one of these amazing adventures even though I didn't plan it to be. The way I look at things and the way I experience things is so different from how it felt before.
Not one day goes by where I don't dream about packing my things and just start walking. I am always planning the next big trip. It's like an instinct I have to constantly fight against. If it weren't for M. and my studies, I'd be long gone. We made a deal though, we'll finish our studies and then we're off to wherever for as long as we want to.
I can't wait.

Next time I'll share my top ten destinations I plan on visiting over the next couple of years.

Let's cook: chocolate crêpes

And so the strawberry madness continues.
This time we'll have them on crêpes. But not just any crêpes, no these are whole wheat, sugar-free chocolate crêpe. Go on an try to beat that, I dare you.
They are also fast and easy to make.
I think crêpes were the first things I could cook and I remember making them a lot when I finally figured out how to make them. I have tried them in many different varieties, but I have never had chocolate crêpe, so when I saw a picture of them, I simply had to try.

What I love most about these delicious better-than-pancakes is that you can stuff them with everything. Fruit, chocolate, candybars, nutella, peanut butter, jelly, just some sugar, cream cheese, honey... the list goes on and on. Personally, I love them with just some powdered sugar, fresh fruit and a sprinkle of honey.
In winter I'm a big fan of putting some liquor in my crêpes (creamy ones work best).

To make 8 crêpes, here's what you'll need:

2 eggs
1.5 cup of whole wheat flower
1 cup milk (or split it into milk & water)
4 tablespoons cocoa powder (non-sweetened)
2 tablespoons stevia (give and take depending on your preference)

mix until well combined, the mix should be runny.

Now the universal truth about crêpe-making is this: you will always mess up the first one.
And not only the first one ever, but the first crêpe of each batch will either be too thick or too thin, it will burn or won't be cooked through, you will rip it or drop it. Whatever it will be, the first one won't ever turn out good.
Truth be told, if it's your first attempt, there's a good chance more than one crêpe will have some misfortunate accident. It's a fine art this crêpe-thing.
But practice makes perfect.

1. Now what you have to do is heat some butter in a pan (use a large, non-sticky one).
2. When the butter has melted, add the crêpe-mixture: add JUST ENOUGH to cover the bottom of the pan. Really, less is more in this case!
3. Move your pan around until the dough is spread out very thin and covers the bottom completely.
You'll notice it's time to flip them when the edges begin to curl up or you can see the top starting to get dry.
4. Flip and let cook for another few seconds (but not more than 30).

Repeat until you're out of mixture.
Eat your crêpes right away or make enough to eat over the next days, I usually make about 12 - 16 and have them for breakfast.

new layout

It was about time.
I spend the better part of last night working on it and it was time well spent. I was going for a little much more simplicity, and I really like how it turned out.
For my header, I used this beautiful watercolor feather I found on persialou.com.
Finding myself daydreaming about travelling again a lot lately, I came to the conclusion it might be a good idea to share my experiences in India and Cambodia here, so I already included a 'travel' tag in the menu bar, hoping to fill it over the coming months.
Other than that not much has changed.
I hope you like it :)


Spring makes me a believer.
I know religion isn't a topic one should talk about in their blog, but I don't think I am offending anybody when I say I am not a religious person. I consider myself very spiritual though, but it isn't always easy. I'm a doubter. A question asker. A proof needer.
But then I see nature resurrect out of greyness, flowers bloom where ice has been.
And I feel so connected to all of it.
(It also seems with every year that passes I become more and more of a hippie.)

Currently, I am...

thinking about: travelling. Always, all the time. It's been far too long and I feel the Wanderlust in my bones. My heart longs to explore the world again.

listening to: let's not talk about my quirk of not falling asleep without listening to The Three Investigators audiobooks. Let's talk about music. While going through all my old music and mourning the loss of my iPod, I rediscovered an old favourite and can't stop listening to the Mountain Goats ever since. Genius.

reading: I'm re-reading one of my favourite books: "Drop City" by T.C.Boyle. It's a novel about a hippie commune filled with free spirits, free love and free drugs. They live together in California until they decide to move the entire commune to Alaska in the naive expectation of pure nature and  acceptance, however nature is not so peaceful up there, and winter tears the community slowly apart. It's a social study really and he's an amazing storyteller.

working on: running. I set myself some goals that I am trying to achieve and I am so excited to finally get close (run everyday for at least 30 minutes, run my first 10 km in the next 4 weeks, get faster, etc...)

disappointed in: our ever-growing wastefulness. A German cellphone service provider is now advertising with "get a new smart phone every year". Why would anyone in their right mind need a new phone every year? Where do people think their old phones go? We are living in an age of pollution of oceans and littering all over the planet. How can you even think about promoting such a thing?
We are throwing away stuff all of the time, because nothing has any value anymore, everything is disposable. I am disgusted by myself when I see the amount of plastic I have to throw away every week.
And don't even get me started on the coltan issue. Or Primark.

excited about: just while I was here complaining about our wastefulness, an article popped up on my facebook-feed about a shop in Berlin that is using NO PACKAGING. Everything comes as it i and when you buy it you have to bring your own containers etc. No redundant plastic packaging. I love this. Read more about it here!

just a bit related:

diy: easy peasy felt brooches for spring

This spring, to demonstrate my love for flowers, berries and everything 'spring', I came up with this really easy DIY to brighten up clothes and rainy days alike.
If you have a really evolved, grown-up style this is probably not really interesting for you. I love heartshaped sunglasses and wear chucks with dresses all the time, so yeah, daisy brooches are right up my alley.
Even if you wouldn't want to be caught dead with a daisy brooch, this project would be very fun for kids! You could do the cutting & sewing part but I bet they'd love to wear their self-designed, self-glued brooches.

You'll need:
- felt
- glue
- scissors
- needle & thread (or a sewing machine)
- safety pins

decide on an object, obviously. You could try and not be as predictable as I was and chose something like a tulip or a sunflower, however, I went with a daisy and a strawberry. Oh Lisa.
Now if you are a very good at simplistic drawing, just draw on your outlines and cut them out. I did so with the strawberry.
I'm not good at drawing flowers though, so I printed out a really simple daisy vector, cut it out and used it as a model.

Now here's an advice that I figured out AFTER I finished this little project: sew on the pin now. Use a scrap piece of felt to secure the pin on the very last piece of felt, this way, after you have glued it all together, there won't be any visible seams (I glued first and sewd then, that's why you can see seams in mine).
Also, now is a good time to stitch on any extras to your felt (like the kernels on the strawberry).

Now that you have all your tiny felt pieces, you should glue them together, you could also stitch them together I suppose but glue works for me.
However be careful to not use a super liquid / runny glue since it will seep thorugh the felt and damage it. I used regular crafting glue (the white stuff) but make sure it mentions on the label that it's gonna work on fabric.
Use a peg to hold it all together while the glue is drying. Leave them over night and carefully remove the peg.

Wear it with pride!

Let's cook: strawberry tartelettes

Ah, strawberry season. The best time of the year.
This post was inspired by my friend Marei who is not only the biggest strawberry tartelette enthusiast, but also the most wonderful person you'll ever meet. I remember her bringing tartelettes to work all the time last year and when I saw these beautiful strawberries* at the supermarket today, I couldn't help but desperatly crave a good strawberry tartelette.
(*I only ever buy regional strawberries, they cost about twice as much but it's worth it!)

I haven't mentioned this before, but this new apartment came with really bad news: there is no oven. NO. OVEN. GUYS. It's a nightmare. No cake, no lasagna, no cheese crust on everything, no baked cheese, no spinach rolls. No quiche!
This is not acceptable. So we spent all the money we had saved up on a new kitchen which should arrive in 2-3 weeks, until then I satisfied my craving for homemade cake with a compromise:
store bought tartelette crusts.
They are surprisingly good, I will admit that. Basically, they taste like cookies, but that's not a bad thing at all.

Now prepare for a very complicated recipe:
mix together non-fat curd & stevia, spread on your tartelettes and add whichever fruit you like best (although there is nothing better than strawberries, let's be real here). That's it.
It's so easy, so delicious and it takes about 10 minutes.

For those of you with not enough time to bake (or those who have no oven, my heart goes out to you!) this is a perfect alternative and it still feels 'homemade'.
Btw: this is also a great alternative for the vegetarians of you, who have a hard time finding fruity cakes without gelatine!
I know I'll be eating a lot of these until my oven arrives and I can make actual cakes and tartes again.