Archive for August, 2012

Last month I participated in the Foodie Penpals program for the first time. This food swap was started by Lindsay from The Lean Green Bean, and there’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

The Lean Green Bean

And this is how it works:

After signing up for the program – either for Europe, USA, or Canada – you are matched with a different penpal every month. You are supposed to send a small parcel to your penpal with delicious homemade or store-bought treats that match your penpal’s dietary needs. At the same time, another person was selected to send a package to you. At the end of the month, everyone blogs about what they received, or writes a guest post if they don’t have a blog. You don’t have to be a blogger to participate.

Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Foodie Penpals - Package

On Wednesday I received my very first Foodie Penpals package, sent by Dana from London. Unfortunately, one of the goodies, a jar of passion fruit jam, didn’t survive the trip. It was totally smashed. Nooooooo!! I’m sure I would have loved it, but I’m afraid of eating glass shards, so I had to toss it. Sniff!

Foodie Penpals - Goodies

Dana sent some of her favorites from a very cool London-based shop called Ottolenghi (check out their website!). I’m very excited about the Za’atar mix! I had heard about it before, but haven’t found it around here. Nada from One Arab Vegan has a few recipes using Za’atar. I can’t wait to start some crazy experiments with it!

Oh, and I loved the owl card! “Keep calm and tweet on” – oh yes!

My recipient in August was Hannah from Manchester, who doesn’t have a blog. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the box I sent her, and she couldn’t find the time to write a guest post, but she told me that everything arrived safely, and that she loved the things I selected for her. That’s great!

Have you ever received food via mail? Did it survive?

See you!

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Looks like summer is almost over already. Dang, now that I’ve finally adjusted to the heat, it’s getting colder again. German summers are way too short, in my opinion. Three hot weeks in August, and that’s it.

Anyway, I guess everyone has heard about the Oktoberfest, right? I mean the original one in Munich. While it’s the world’s largest fair, it’s not the only one of its kind. There are many smaller fairs in other Bavarian cities. Most of them take place in August and September, to celebrate the beginning of Fall. My hometown, Landshut, hosts two festivals similar to the Oktoberfest, one in spring, and one in fall. Last Saturday I went to the Fall Fair, also known as Bartlmädult, with my husband and a few friends, to enjoy the atmosphere and the traditional delicacies.

Breakfast Sandwiches

Let’s start with breakfast, though. My stomach felt a little bit off over the weekend, so I kept my meals and snacks a little simpler. Just a few slices of whole wheat bread, topped with hummus, cucumber slices, Alsan, and jam.

Salad with sweet potato

I needed to use up some produce that was on its last legs, so I mixed up a big bowl of salad for lunch. With baked sweet potato rounds on the side. A bit bland, but still tasty and filling.

Cheese and Pretzel

And then we were off to the Fair! After strolling around for a while, we sat down at an outdoor table and shared a traditional snack: Emmental slices, fresh from the loaf, and a giant pretzel. I remember eating this when I was still a tiny, skinny, blond toddler. Oh, the memories.

Chocolate covered fruit skewer

Another must-have treat at every fair: chocolate covered fruit skewers! They are sold in countless variations, my favorite one is a mix of strawberries and bananas, covered in dark chocolate. Amazing!


Once again, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I was craving a crêpe, but was way too full already, so I shared it with my husband. This one was filled with applesauce and cinnamon, my favorite combination. Nutella and sliced banana is my crêpe filling choice #2.

French Fries

Later that night, my husband and I went to watch Prometheus. It was just ok. Meanwhile, our friends had moved on to a nearby bar. We joined them after the movie. And I needed a late night snack: French fries! Shared with the husband, of course.

And that concludes my totally random Saturday. But it was so much fun!

How was your weekend?

See you!

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I just discovered this new Snapshot Sunday theme over at Peas And Thank You, and I instantly loved the idea.

A few weeks ago, my husband bought me a smart phone (a Samsung Galaxy S II, if anyone cares). I guess he was tired of my constant whining, or something like that. My new phone has a really great camera, and I’ve been having lots of fun with Instagram lately. (My username there is SueInTraining, follow me if you like!)

My snapshot of the day is one for the chocoholics:

Nutella jars

Last Saturday we went to my hometown’s Fall Fair (more on that in my next What I Ate Wednesday post), and at the crêpes booth I saw these 10 lbs jars of Nutella. Holy sugar coma, Batman!

I know that Nutella is full of refined sugar and totally unhealthy, that’s why I don’t buy it anymore, but I have to admit it’s sinfully delicious. Especially on a fresh, warm, soft crêpe. Oh my goodness!

I showed some restraint, though, and didn’t get one of those. This time.

Any Nutella lovers out there? Don’t be shy!

See you!

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This week my husband took my camera with him on a business trip, so I had to use my phone instead. But my phone actually takes pretty decent photos, in my opinion.

Anyway, it’s been really hot in Central Europe lately. Have you heard about the forest fires in Spain? They’re totally out of control! I know it’s lame to complain about the heat, but I’ll do it anyway. I just can’t handle it. The sun has totally fried my brain, along with the last few crumbs of my culinary creativity. So my meals have been rather simple and repetitive. I need to get out of this food rut!

Here’s what I ate on Monday, mostly at my office. I’m already known as the Tupperware Lady at work.

Breakfast sandwiches

Sandwiches and cucumber sticks for breakfast. Now that is a food rut that I don’t mind. Those crunchy, juicy cucumbers are amazing.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m working hard on the title ‘Wife of the year’, so I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies on Sunday. Yes, our kitchen got crazy hot. I gave most of them to my husband, who really loved them, but saved a few for myself. The recipe is from Peas and Thank You, vegan, and incredibly delicious.


And another lunch salad. I can’t stomach hot food when it’s 85°F, outside and inside. My bowl contained mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, kidney beans, and sunflower seeds, with a simple balsamic dressing.

Smoothie Popsicle

Lunch dessert was a smoothie popsicle. The concept is way too simple. Just mix up your favorite smoothie (mine contained berries, banana, and rice milk), poor it into popsicle molds, put it all in the freezer. Easy!

Fruit and yogurt

A few hours later I was a little hungry again. I don’t know what’s going on in my stomach sometimes. So I chopped up a nectarine and mixed it with soy yogurt and half a crumbled rice cake. Please excuse the brightness.

Tofu Goulash

And finally, dinner. Last week I found a pre-made dish labeled as ‘veggie goulash’ at my local grocery store. It’s a tofu based stew with a thick tomato sauce. I added some tomato paste, ajvar, bbq sauce, and a ton of spices. Then it tasted pretty decent. Maybe I’ll try to recreate that goulash from scratch when the craving hits.

Does the weather affect your appetite and cravings?

See you!

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Gone Swimming

If you’ve checked out my Dailymile page recently, you may have noticed that I added a new kind of activity to the rotation: swimming.


It’s been crazy hot here lately (well, hot for Central Europe, of course), way too hot to run, bike, or hit the gym on some days. So I stepped out of my comfort zone, put on my swimsuit, and went to the pool. As usual, things are a little different in Germany. Most gyms around here don’t have pools. Instead, there are many public pools, that are run by the local authorities. One tiny little problem is that almost all indoor pools are only open in winter, and most outdoor pools are only open during the summer months. German summers can be quite rainy and chilly, but at the moment we are ‘blessed’ with a real heat wave. After a long day in my oven-like office, I’m really looking forward to jumping (ok, slowly walking) into the cool water.


I have to admit, though, that I’m a terrible swimmer. I can only do a poor, slow breast stroke. But I do hope that I will learn how to perform a proper free style stroke one day. Until then, I’ll just paddle around, enjoying a seemingly sweat-free workout.

Who else loves swimming? Are you good at it?

See you!

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