little things

This week

11:23

In an conscious effort to slow down and appreciate the little happy moments, here are a few things that brightened up my week.



This collection of sugar cubes, daring us to be different

These flowers, somewhat faded but still sweet

This bunny, ready for a new generation and a new adventure (spotted at a friends house)

These carrots, that look different and taste the same

This bag, packed for new adventures

This necklace, for adding some luxury to a quick travel outfit

This water bottle, for keeping me hydrated wherever I go

Other favourites this week:

  • An overdose of whimsy at the Miniaturwunderland, Hamburg
  • The joy of clean clothes after a week of living out of a suitcase
  • Three layers of clouds lit up a by a sunset on the landing approach

dear big sister

What Would You Do?

07:04


Dear big sister,

What would you do if nobody expected anything from you?
What would you like?
What would you aspire to be?

I am in the middle of trying to find out what I want to do with my life. Who I want to be. This quest to find a goal has been my main endeavour for quite some time. And it scares me. A lot. In this sea of opportunities it is hard to figure out what I like. It's even harder to figure out what I like, instead of what I think I like because someone told me it's great. What I am considering to work towards, just because I think people around me would be disappointed if I didn't. Which opinions I have, only because I think someone will like me less if I change my mind. I got to a point where everything felt external. Everything I like, everything I do, felt like a product of what I think people around me expected of me. I kept missing the part that was just me. So I started a little experiment: I just stopped. I let that stuff go, for one whole day. No goals, no plans and only one rule: Do whatever I feel like doing. No "should"-s or "shouldn't"-s. Nobody's expectations would get in the way of this one day. 

And it felt revolutionary. As it turns out, the activities I chose were not all that different: Reading a magazine, doing laundry, going for a swim. From the outside, the most exciting things were a brownie for breakfast and soup dumplings for dinner. The changes on the inside where huge though. I genuinly laughed out loud at the amount of laundry and felt completely content when I was done and looked at the lovely clean space I created. I actually wanted to study, and I was fully immersed in a text about the theories of international relations. That is where the shift in my mind happend. Doing what I want to do does not mean I have to completely turn my life upside down. It's all about why I do things, much less about what it is I actually do. Also, letting go scared me, but the world did not implode. Nobody suddenly hates me. Nobody quit their friendship with me because I didn't fulfil their expectation. 

So today is day five of not acting according to projected expectations. I am going to finally stop being a social chameleon. I will stop saying yes to things I don't want to do, but feel obligated to. I will not listen to the music everyone else is listening to, just because I feel like I should like it too. There will be no more going to the gym because that is what one does. Instead, I will figure out what I actually like to do. I will learn to be truly, unapologetically me. And I could not be more excited.

- Henrike

dear little sister

Wishing for tomorrow

10:02


Dear little sister,

Looking out of yet another train window at the sun setting over green hills and harvested fields, I realise that haven’t slept more than three consecutive nights in my own bed since August first. It’s been an endless sequence of waiting rooms, spare beds at friends houses, hours on the motorway, hotel doors, tent pitches, train seats and airport check-ins. It’s been work and holiday and family visits. It’s been time in coffee shops and at the beach, on mountain sides, in presentations and in the kitchens of friends. It’s been goodbyes and hellos and “see you soon". When I joked to a friend that I’d be “vagabonding” for the next few months, I didn’t quite realise how right I was but here I am, on the move again. It is the kind of life that people dream of, footloose and fancy free.

Sometimes, while I am on the road, I find myself wishing for all the things that are difficult to fit into my life at the minute: a garden to grow things, a regular Friday evening with friends, a set morning routine. What is it with the human mind always looking forward to tomorrow, and never pausing on today? If I had all the things I am currently dreaming off, I’d be thinking of far flung places and carefree travel instead. I’d be picturing the coffee shops and beaches and mountain sides while longingly sticking my little backpack back into the cupboard, before heading off to Friday with friends. What is it with always wanting more, wanting different?

The problem is that I want it all. The near and the far, the settled and the free. My dreams are conflicting and overabundant, and while I can have anything, I cannot have everything. So here is to slowing down and enjoying today, whatever it might bring. To realising that life comes in phases. I cannot have everything right now, but a time will come when priorities shift and a different phase of life takes over. Here is to patience, and appreciation. Here is to counting my blessings and appreciating the beauty of today, because nothing lasts forever and at some point I am going to think back to this time with fondness, and maybe even with longing. 

Today, it’s good to be free.


Ricarda 

little things

This week

14:41

Five little things that brightened up my week:

This little basket, for keeping all the important things tidy


This cast iron beauty, for providing warmth on chilly autumn evenings

This bunch of roses, for being a surprise gift during a surprise visit

This picture finally back on a hook, for making a temporary home feel less temporary

This shared wardrobe, for being a visual reminder that long-distance has turned to loving together


Other favourites this week:

  • the smell of wet leaves and wood fire
  • veggie wellington
  • signs around the village about apple days and harvest festivals

- Ricarda

dear big sister

Coffee and a Mini Butternut Squash

16:50


Dear big sister,

I wish I could share this season with you.
Having a quick cup of coffee with you in the middle of a busy day...
Showing you this mini butternut squash I found at a directly-off-the-farm sale. I know you would be just as excited.
Reminiscing with you about the times we made animals out of toothpicks and chestnuts, whenever I go just a little out of my way to pick them off the ground.
So I guess all I want to say is: I miss you a little. But for now this postcard will have to do.

Lots of hugs

Henrike

lowFODMAP

Pho Love

13:58

Once upon a time there was a little girl in a far away kingdom and a giant bowl of soup. That is the beginning of a beautiful love story. The girl was me, and the far away kingdom was Vietnam. To this day, my favourite soup is Pho. It is warm and fresh, it's light and filling; in short it is a dream. The rich broth, the fresh meat, the crisp spring onions and mungo bean sprouts... 

Sometimes I take the time to make a proper Pho, including making the broth from scratch and simmering it on the stove for hours. Most times though, I fake the broth by adding some spices to a ready made broth. There simply isn't always time for an eight hour cooking session. It is not the same, of course, but it is still delicious.
This is also one of my safe foods for when my tummy is feeling a bit off. A part of that is that it is my favourite food and makes me feel better just because it is so good. But the second best part is, that this is super FODMAP-safe. All the ingredients are in the "eat freely and according to appetite" category. Isn't that just the best thing ever? No worries of portion sizes clouding my Pho experience, while I gobble up this soup. 

I am not Vietnamese and over the years I have probably butchered the true traditional recipe. To anyone who is Vietnamese: I am sorry, I do not mean to offend, I just LOVE this soup so much, and tried to adapt it so it is easy for me to cook. Any tips will be greatly appreciated. So here is my version of a quick, weeknight Beef "Pho". 

LowFODMAP Beef "Pho" 
Serves 2
Takes about 30 Minutes to make

Ingredients: 
200 g fresh beef filet
80-100 g mungo bean sprouts 
2-3 spring onions, green parts only
2 stalks thai basil
2 stalks fresh koriander
125g wide rice noodles
fresh chilli to taste (optional, I definitely skip it on a bad tummy day)

1-2l lowFODMAP beef broth (I like the knorr stock pots)
1/2 Stick cinnamon
1 untreated/organic limes
1-2 star anise 
black pepper

Method:
1. First start with the broth. Heat the water and desolve the ready made broth, or take your home made broth from the freezer/ the jar/ wherever you keep it.

2. Add the cinnamon and star anise while the soup is heating up.

3. Rinse the lime under hot water, cut it in half, squeeze the juice of  one half into the pot and also add the squeezed empty lime half. Save the other half for later. Let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. 

4. Prepare the noodles as directed on the packet. 

5. Chop the green part of the spring onions, pluck the herbs off the stems, wash the mungo bean sprouts and cut the meat into small, thin strips. While cutting, remember the meat will not be cooked but only steep in the hot broth, so take care to slice it nice and thin. 

6. To assemble the soup  divide the noodles into two bowls. Add the raw meat on top, spread out so each piece will cook individually. Over that, add about a handful of beansprouts, half the green onions, herbs and possibly some slices of chilli to each bowl. Crack some fresh black pepper over your mountains of goodness.

7. Finally, fish out the cinnamon, star anise and lime out of the broth (or pour through a strainer) and pour the soup over the noodle-meat-veggie-herb-mountain. Squirt some fresh lime juice over the top and voilĂ ! You just made Vietnamese-inspired soup!

FODMAP Serving Size
All the ingredients are in the "eat freely"-category, so: dig in! 
(The only exception is the thai basil, which is moderate in oligos at 2kg. But since one stem only weighs about 2-5g that would be between 400 and 1000 bowls of soup.)


- Henrike

happiness

Summer in a Jar

12:21

Last week I visited the farmers market and was amazed by the full, ripe summer vegetables. Especially the bright red, plump summer tomatoes caught my eye. I bought some, took them home and made a lovely tomato sauce. That sunny taste is one of the things that make summer so great.

I try to eat mostly seasonal vegetables and in summer it's so easy. So for the coming winter I want to conserve some of this summer in jars, to open on cold grey winter days. 

This recipe is my tried and tested pizza sauce, which I have made more times than I can remember. I call it Pizza sauce, because that is when I eat it "naked", but really it works as a base for any type of tomato sauce dish. Fry up some zucchini and aubergine, add this sauce and call it a ratatouille. Brown some minced beef, add this sauce and you got an easy bolognese sauce. Slather it onto some dough, add mozzarella and you have a Pizza Margherita! 

If I am feeling fancy I will add different herbs when I cook the dishes. If I am not, the oregano is enough. This sauce could be made even more versatile without the fresh oregano, but I really enjoy it! In my mind, it also turns this "tomato preserve" into a pasta sauce, for a quick lunch in winter.
I wrote down the recipe for one kilogram of tomatoes, but it can of course be adapted to any amount. Let's find all of the summer tomatoes!

Summer in a Jar or lowFODMAP Pizza Sauce
makes about three jars of 250ml per kilogram

You will need: 
1kg nice ripe summer tomatoes
5 stalks fresh oregano
3+ Tbsp of garlic infused olive oil 
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
2 bay leafs
1 lowFODMAP stock pot or cube (I used the knorr vegetable stock pot)
salt + black pepper to taste

Making the sauce:
1. First, dice the tomatoes into medium sized pieces. If you want the sauce to be extra smooth and more like the store bought kind, peel them first. I usually don't bother, however, and just keep the skins in.

2. Then heat the garlic infused oil in a frying pan on medium heat until it is nice and hot. 

3. Add the tomatoes. Stir a little and then let them simmer, stirring occasionally.

4. Meanwhile pluck the oregano from the stems and chop roughly.

5. Add the Oregano, the bay leaves the tomatopaste and the stock pot or cube and let the whole thing simmer for at least 20 minutes. I like to have the sauce very thick for pizza, so the dough will get less soggy. Cook it uncovered until the sauce gets the desired thickness and cook covered for the remaining time, stirring occasionally.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt, mine didn't end up needing any, since there was already so much salt in the stock pot I used.

7. Turn the heat down to low and keep this sauce simmering for really as long as you ave time. (This step is optional, but it does make the sauce quite a bit nicer.) 

Canning the sauce:
1. Now that you have your summer sauce, we need to make it last all through winter. The best way I know to do that is to can it in jars. That way they will keep for up to 9 month.

2. Full disclosure, I do not have much experience with canning, but I did my research and this seems to be the easiest and safest way: Preheat the oven to 150°C. 

3. Wash out the glasses you want to use with really hot water to sterilize them.

4. Fill them up with the freshly cooked, hot sauce. Put the glasses in a baking tray which is filled with 1-2cm of water.Put it in the oven. The timing is when the instructions differ a lot, between 40 and 90 minutes. I decided to go for 90 minutes and then keep it in the oven for another 30 without opening the door and then let them cool down slowly. 

5. Store them in a cool, dark place for winter!

FODMAP Serving Size:
Tomato puree is safe up to 2 Tablespoons, so you could technically eat this all at once, FODMAP-wise. 


-Henrike

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