Tag Archives: kitchen magic

Carnival sheenanigans

25 Feb

Where I grew up, there never was such a thing as a proper carnival celebration. Imagine the culture clash when I moved to the rhineland area, where between Fat Thursday and Ash Wednesday basically everybody is dressed up and drunk. All. The. Time.

To be honest, even after 15 years I have not gotten the hang of it. Instead I have started my own carnival tradition – I hide at my own place, eat lots of unhealthy food and watch horror movies. It started in my dorm room, which I would only leave to heat food stuff in the communal kitchen, and continued at my first own tiny one-room flat, where I invited a friend or two and we made a lounge landscape under my bunk bed, eating The Sandwich Of Doom and scaring each other with weird movies we had found online.

Living in a real flat, with a real kitchen, it has become easier, but also less adventurous. We have a kitchen we can use any way we want, and our movie collection is well-stocked. In addition we live at the very edge of town, just a stone’sthrow from the woods, and no “Jeck” is going to come this way. Last night I did a huge grocery haul, and once I have finished writing this I will start looking for a cinnamon roll recipe – yes, our ideas of “unhealthy food” have changed as well. The only thing I make every years is a giant batch of “Laura Moon’s Chili” from The Geeky Chef, which tastes terrific and has its roots in my favorite novel, “American Gods”. Apart from that we have a tiny collection of ice cream, chocolates, crisps – and fresh fruit, which I am having for breakfast right now (watermelon, pineapple and mango). The older I get, the more I crave that stuff. It’s weird, I tell you. Maybe I’ll make waffles or pancakes to counteract all the vitamins.

As for movies, the only thing we have decided on so far is “It follows” from 2015, which we saw advertised somewhere a while ago. I want to make Richard watch “The crazies” and “The caller”, but he is hesitant, as he knows my taste in movies. And the cats just hope to eat, cuddle and sleep a lot. I guess they got it figured out!

Do you have any alternative traditions for public holidays you would like to share?


Let food be thy medicine

1 Jan

-who said that again? Some old Greek, I reckon. Anyway, It’s the first day of the new calendar year, and I am sitting here stuffed to the brim after last night’s (albeit small) festivities. Not the best way to start the new year. Anyway, that thing about food and medicine still stands, maybe more now that I am growing older than it did before.

Things I learned about my body and food during the last year:

  • My gut does not agree with lactose anymore. Which is not too bad these days, almost everything I like is available in lactose-free or plant-based version as well.
  • I do not agree with too many carbs – they support my nasty migraine habit. I’ve been tracking my macronutrient intake for a while, and with less than 120 g carbs per day my head is doing much better.
  • There is no such thing as too much caffeine for me, but there definitely is “too much alcohol”, and the limit is creeping closer every year. Well, it’s not a bad thing per se – only when I go out some part of me still believes that my liver is not a day older than twenty-one, which simply isn’t true, as I am reminded the next day. Stay tuned to see whether I ever learn. ^^
  • My gall bladder (especially the biliary concrement named Hans) does not agree with too much fat.
  • My skin does not agree with too little fat. Neither do my joints.
  • Unless I pay really close attention, my iron levels tend to be a little low. This is most evident when returning from a run with blue lips and fingertips. Supplements help.
  • Excess calcium causes almost-instant migraines.
  • My immune system starts hibernation unless it gets a reasonable amount of protein.
  • Grape juice offers quick migraine relief, I just have to remember to pack some when travelling.

I think that list is not complete yet. Does it sound as if eating was starting to be a hassle? Let me assure you, it is not. At least in everyday life when I am in charge of making most of my meals. Honestly, I do not feel any kind of deprivation because I have had plenty of time to learn a variety of recipes I like that are easily thrown together and agree with my various needs. Last month, however, when I was visiting with family for a few days and was not in charge of the kitchen, I was reminded of all the peculiarities that have crept up on me over time, and I finished the trip home alone in my car with a roaring migraine (at night, with the lights of the other cars cutting through my optic nerve) – too bad I had not remembered to bring some grape juice, which offers quick relief. See? Another thing I learned. Let’s put it on the list. Done. ^^

I like varying my food intake, and often have a host of precooked meals at home to bring to the office. Some of my favorite cookbooks include “Appetite for reduction”, which has a great number of low-fat vegan recipes (the low-fat thing can be a problem for me, see above) “Five ingredients, ten minutes” and the Skinnytaste cookbooks and blog. Once I have a source with recipes I like, I stick with it no matter what. Especially Skinnytaste is my go-to for quick weekday fixes because fo the variety of food stuff it offers. The baked goods are always a success with family and friends, and I have not yet found a single recipe that didn’t work out as planned. Plus the recipes have all the carb, protein and fat stats included. What more could a fuzzy-for-health-reasons girl ask for?

What have you learned about your body in the past year? Any recipes, links or suggestions you would like to share?

No, you don’t have dented vaginal chakras

22 Jan

I swear.

I also do know that those coming here are rather smart and would not fall for something like this. Still it was a hilarious read at the office this morning. We’re medical translators, remember, so this counts as research. ^^

Somehow many people fall for the idea that, in order to achieve physical, emotional and spiritual health, you constantly have to “fix” something – add stuff to your day, deny yourself something, do more, tweak your routines, be better. And by doing this, they stress themselves out, always looking for the next supplement or superfood or secret regimen that will give them what they think they cannot achieve otherwise – perfect health.

Don’t get me wrong – I love alternative cures and trying out new weird stuff, and I am very passionate about all things “health”. But somehow I don’t think that adding to already stressful days will help anyone except the guys peddling those “cures”. With most topics such as yoga or pilates or green smoothies I would say, go ahead, try it and see whether your body likes it – and whether it is sustainable in everyday life. But some things, such as stuffing your orifices with obscure tiny teabags or doing coffee enemas (I am not making that stuff up) or timing your eating and drinking periods throughout the day so your stomach won’t turn into a “swamp” and somehow mysteriously leech all health from your body (still not making it up), are downright ridiculous, or worse.

Our bodies have been finetuned by millenia of evolution. Our ancestors survived droughts, hard winters and periods without any food or shelter. They ate bugs, drank mud and chewed on bark. They probably did not get their nine hours of sleep each night, did not have special sleep-inducing lights and, in most cases, had never seen sweet potatoes or quinoa or pineapple – or whatever else is pushed on you as part of the caveman diet, “clean eating” or “mystify your diet chakra” (yes, that one is mine).

Detoxing as it is sold at hilarious prices is unnecessary. Your body knows how to do that. Drinking your weight in water (or anything above maybe two liters per day) does not help your body flush toxins – in fact if your blood is too diluted, your kidneys will do a less stellar job of catching the grub floating through your body. High levels of vitamins will, in most cases, not improve your health – water-soluble vitamins and nutrients will just be flushed out by your kidneys, and fat-soluble vitamins may even be stored in your body and build up to levels of toxicity. Unless you are indeed ill, your body is an expert at getting rid of the stuff it cannot use, without regular enemas or flushes or detox cures.

Instead, why not try taking things slowly? Don’t add to your day, but detract from it. Make life more simple. This morning I read how one could “eat clean” on three bucks a day by making everything yourself, from mayonnaise to stocks to rolls, and honestly – do you have the time for that? I don’t. Compromise. Find out which things are important to you and which are not. Take reasonable shortcuts. And don’t forget to have some cake.

Finally, something to knusper!

21 Dec

Is it even imagineable that I had never made a real Knusperhaus in my life? What an imposter!

Well, no true gingerbread architectonics yet, but at least I made something house-shaped to knusper on. See?


Apart from that, winter is here, I am a bit furious – bet you did not even know that was an option – and trying to make it through the day without killing people. At least I brought cookies to the office!

And now, to everyone involved, have yourself a blessed Yule! This is a postcard I made myself (i.e. wrote the story and had it printed – I am not good at all at crafting!), feel free to enjoy and share!


And of course don’t forget … if you need a slightly spooky Yule read, there is always time to order Mirror Lake, if you haven’t already. ^^

It’s not even my final form!

14 Dec


In a spit of madness I reorganized our kitchen. Which left me with some space to add a shelf for my cookbooks. And since I had a spare big shelf, I ended up with some space for a kitchen altar.

As you know, altars don’t tend to live long at our place. Either the cats or the guy or my inability to keep things organized help to organically destroy every altar I have tried to maintain in the past two years. So far this one is looking better – too high for the cats to climb, in a room Richard has little interest in occupying. Two tiny tillandsia plants have been added which are not in this picture, and I so wish I had a more colorful teapot! Maybe I’ll paint it. Or go looking until I find the perfect replacement for my slightly worn white one.

One funny side effect is that, obviously, witches tend to flock to their altars, for my writing space has miraculously moved from the comfy sofa to the less comfy, but witchier kitchen table.

Apart from that I am trying to spread some witchiness around our place: A deity statue on the coffee table, a few candles on the cupboard, tarot sets on about every even surface – and me trying not to make a mess, which is maybe the witchiest ingredient of all. ^^

Every other kind of holiday decoration will have to wait until I have finished my next writing project, which I so hope to have ready (in German, alas, you’ll have to wait a few months, sorry!) by next weekend.

And what have you been up to?

More (improvised) gifts

19 Dec

Good morning! And sorry, sorry, sorry… I know you are biting your nails (hopefully not, there’s cookies!) waiting for more of the homemade gift posts I promised. But the knife of my food processor disintegrated, spraying almond milk all over the kitchen, and the new blades won’t be delivered until January, I fear. But this morning, between decorating, making breakfast and trying to find a kitchen under the dirty dishes and stuff, I improvised.


Fortunately those last few gifts can be made on the spot, and for what I am bringing you today you don’t even need any equipment except for an electric coffee grinder (unless you have a food processor with grinding equipment with blades that have not disintegrated on you).

Remember that orange peel I told you to put aside to dry? Throw it in the coffee grinder and add sugar. Pulse. Smell. Smile. You have your very own orange sugar. If you want, you can add some (dry!!!) food coloring pigments to give it a nice sunny color, but I was in a hurry this morning and didn’t get around to that, plus the food coloring is buried somewhere…

The picture is not too impressive, I guess, but the jar on the left contains orange sugar, and the one on the right vanilla sugar, which was made the same way, except with half a vanilla bean (I used one I had previously cooked with, dried very will – they still contain a pretty amount of taste. And it really gets on my nervfe that I didn’t put the orange sugar in the jar with the yellow lid. I’ll have to change that tonight. I can’t work like this!

You’ll have to wait a little longer for the last few recipes I promised you, for tonight I’ll be whipping up a storm in the kitchen. My favorite guy in the world is growing – no, not older, but better!!! We have planned a three-course meal and later cocktails with a few of his friends, and I got up an hour early to decorate…

IMG_0489 IMG_0490 IMG_0491 IMG_0492 IMG_0493IMG_0496

Anyway, what have we got so far?

Last thing on my list is roasted nuts drenched in honey, which looks pretty, is healthy and made in under half an hour. Not just great for the holidays!

When the gods close a door, they open a cookie jar

3 Dec


You all know I am kind of a health nut, right?

For two weeks, I did some sort of random detox regime that was supposed to somewhat relieve the stress on my gall bladder (I have a big gallstone called Hans). Basically it said to avoid all sugars and grains and red meats and corn and most dairy. I did it, and my gall bladder felt better.

Something I did not expect was that, once I started reintroducing grains and sugars, my joints started hurting. Or rather, they started hurting again. I had not even noticed the pain being gone – most of the time it is just a minor nuisance kept in check with fish oil capsules. But after a Sunday spent baking (and eating) cookies and going through our holiday snack bag, I sat in the office on Monday and noticed that my fingers were hurting. Again. And when I went up and down the stairs for the umpteenth time, my knees acted up.

Seems like I have some kind of inflammation going on in my body. I am a 32-year-old halfway busy female. Guess that number is the calculated average of my mental age (4) and my miraculously older body. ^^

Anyway, now I probably have to stay away from grains and sugars for longer. Which does not bother me too much, except for the fact that it is marchpane-and-cookies-and-chocolate season. Couldn’t that have waited until after the holidays? But I prefer not hurting while I sit at the computer typing for sometimes more than ten hours per day. Just have to find a balance between mental satisfaction and physical well-being, and maybe dive into more household remedies for aging bodies.

The physical stuff is the only thing so far that sucks about growing older.

And I still have baking orgies planned for the coming weekends. If I can’t eat everything myself, I’ll just have to share.