Monday, November 30, 2015

Stuffed Dates (with Morgenland and Keimling)

The Advent season is on!

The Advent season is like the most beautiful time of the year, I think! In Germany we celebrate the four Sundays before Christmas, the advent Sundays, by lighting the candles on the advent wreath, drinking tea, eating clementines and sweets. Sweets... yeah, most people like to eat gingerbread, cookies, and all kinds of unhealthy stuff but as most of you know, I am this always-trying-to-be-healthy person and I always like to look for healthy alternatives. And usually I also find some ;) 

In the coming weeks, until Christmas, I would like to show a you a few alternatives to the usual Christmas cookies; alternatives that are more healthy, less processed and vegan, of course. 
I want to start with stuffed dates! I love dates! I always did; but since I went to Iran, I am somehow obsessed... I had the best dates of my life in Iran and I came back home with some 4 or 5 kilo of dates in my luggage. Most of them are already eaten! Fortunatly, I got some Deglet Nour dates from Morgenland which are almost as good as the ones from Iran. The dates from Morgenland are from Algeria and I actually they are the best Deglet Nour dates I have ever tried; yet its very hard to compete with the fresh dates from Iran of course ;) 

Anyway, I got the idea to make stuffed dates because I got those delicious stuffed dates from Keimling and also some delicious cocoa beans, so I had everything I needed to make a whole lot of stuffed dates. But since its Christmas, I wanted to make more than only dates with cocoa beans; I ended up with three different kinds:

Dates stuffed with cocoa beans and covered in dark chocolate (low in sugar!)
Dates stuffed with marzipan and almonds and covered in dark chocolate
Dates stuffed with nougat and hazelnuts and covered in dark chocolate

Sure, they are not 100% healthy, but they are definetly healthier than all those highly processed sweets that you can find in the shops right now. But lets not discuss health but rather taste! 

My favorite ones are the one with marzipan and almonds - I took one almond, a little bit of marzipan and stuffed the date with it. For the two other kinds I did the same with respectively the cocoa beans and with the nougat. All three kinds are beyond amazing, but I am just a huge fan of almonds, so the marzipan almonds one are the ones I like beeeeeest :)

After stuffing the dates, I covered them in chocolate, I added an almond on top of those with marzipan, a hazelnut on those stuffed with nougat and some cinnamon on top of those with the cocoa bean. Like that it was easy to differntiate, even though they were all covered with chocolate :) 

In case you are looking for some healthier alternatives for Christmas, you should really try those stuffed dates! You can find your high quality organic ingredients at Keimling and at Morgenland. Its very easy to make stuffed dates and they are just incredibly good! Really, they are like the most delicious chocolate candy ever, even though they are 80% date and only like 5% chocolate. You can feast on these dates without feeling guilty and they make a great gift for your loved ones!

I made a total of 180 stuffed dates! I think I could totally eat all of them by myself in the coming weeks, up to Christmas. But actually, I will give most of them away as gifts. My husband asks me like every hour if he is allowed to steal one but I told him he should make some Christmas sweets by himself and rather eat those (such a mean wife I am). So he made coconut macaroons which are veeeery very good too!   

What is your favorite Christmas cookie? What do you always make in the advent season? What would you like to try this year for the first time? I would love to know!

I will show you a few other easy recipes that I make as an alternative to Christmas cookies in the coming weeks, and I hope I will be able inspire a few of you to eat some slightly more healthy sweets this Christmas season :) 

Sending much love!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grey and Blue

It's Outfit-Wednesday...

... so like every Wednesday, here is a new look from me :) 

Today I am posting a look that I was wearing like five times or so in the past two or three weeks. I love this combination of grey and grey with the dark blue oversized sweater. Say whatever you like, I just love this look ;) 
I found the jeans and the coat both second hand and I am so happy with them! They are both from Esprit, a brand I didn't really use to wear (by the way, that's what I love about me new shopping habits - I get to know much more brands!) with a quite good quality and I am sure they were somehow expensive when they were first bought from the store. Well, I got jeans and coat for 30 euro including the shipping, both through my online second hand shop.

Isn't grey the coolest color to combine with? I really like to wear grey with different shades of pink and I also love the combination of grey and black. Just recently I came up with wearing grey with blue (what I think goes perfectly together!) and I actually think that grey just looks awesome with whatever other color! I am thinking about this combination of my grey boyfriend jeans with a dark green blouse and my grey pencil skirt with some white knitwear... do you wear grey a lot? What are your favorite color combinations when it comes to grey? 

I hope you are having a wonderful week so far. It's getting so cold, isn't it? Well at least here in Germany... ;) 
On Sunday the advent season begins and I am somehow so happy about it. Yet our apartment is far from done and I just hope I will be able to make advent cookies and gingerbread on Sunday (cause that's what we are supposed to do on the first Sunday in advent). Until then I have to paint and clean the old apartment... aaarrgggs. 

Anyway, have a wonderful rest of week dear readers! Thanks for being here with me!
Sending much love!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Favorite Smoothies for Fall and Winter

Its getting cold...

... very coold acutally! We had the first snow of the season yesterday and I am layering bunches of sweaters and cardigans on top of each other these days. In this weather, I like to treat myself with yummy smoothies (okay, to be honest, I like to treat myself with yummy smoothies in every weather and in every season ;)). 

Here are my favorite smoothies for Fall and Winter.

One reason for why I love the cold season is - KALE IS BACK! I looooove kale in my smoothies and now its so easy (and cheap) to get organic kale everywhere. I add kale to almost every smoothie I make. One that I love is made with the ingredients above: kale, apples, pumpkin (yes, you can eat pumpkin raw and it is really good actually!), cinnamon and dates... loads of dates to make it very sweet and yummy :)

Two other fruits that are back now that it is getting cold are khaki and oranges. And they make the PERFECT match! I like to add kale and some superfood powder from Greenic (this one here is with goji, rosehip, barley grass, grape seed and hibiscus - how does this sound to you?) to this smoothie, but its also absolutely great and delicicous to just blend up khaki and orange with some water. You can also add cinnamon to the smoothie. I actually add cinnamon to almost every smoothie in the colder time of the year :) 
By the way, Greenic makes those really great superfood blends 100% organic, vegan of course and all natural. They produce in Germany and so far their website is in German only, but those of you who know German, you should totally check them out here.

Another delicious one is a blend of cinnamon, physalis, dates and banana. Okay, banana is not at all anything typical for Fall or Winter, but since they are easily available all year round, and they are imported anyway, no matter if Summer or Winter, I like to add them here too. Bananas are great in any smoothie, they are sweet, they make the smoothie more creamy and they are super healthy. I also like to add some superfood powder from Greenic here. This one here is maca, cocoa, guarana, lucuma, hemp and wheat grass and it goes very well with this smoothie (and most other smoothies ;)).

My current favorite is a very simple one - apples, dates, cinnamon and almonds... hmmm! I have it for breakfast every day these days and I love it! You need a good blender when you use cinnamon sticks instead of the grinded one, but its totally worth buying your cinnamon in sticks rather than in powder, since the taste is much better. To get a nice date and almond milk you also need a really powerful high speed blender, since both dates and almonds are hard to blend up to a very very fine consistency. But you will get an equally good result by just using ready made almond milk and date syrup instead. 

Now thats about it for my favorite smoothies for Fall and Winter. I make a few others too, here and there, depending on what I have in the house. Like today I had a banana-apple-kale one. But I guess these four here are my favorites and I can totally recommend trying them :)  

What are your favorite smoothies for the cold season? I would love to know!

Sending much love! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Iran - the mosque

This is my last post from and about Iran...

... even though its been a month now since I am back from my vacation there, not even a single day passes without me thinking of this country! I miss Iran and I miss the people there. I miss the friendly faces in the streets, I miss the sunshine and the heat, I miss the food, I miss my friends there, I miss how people made fun with my little one and so many other things. 

Anyway, today I want to show you Kermanshah's oldest mosque. Its such a beautiful building that I decided to make a whole post about it :) 

When we visited the mosque it was closed, but a very kind man opened it for us and showed us around the building. We were even allowed to look at the kitchen and the rooms behind the kitchen, where they collected old pictures of the imans who prayed in the mosque in the last 200 years or so. It was very interesting and impressive. 

I was impressed by the praying bracelets and praying stones and we even got some as a gift. We also got a praying carpet as a gift and I find it incredibly beautiful. Its hanging on our wall now and I love it :) 
We got one praying stone made from soil from Iraq and one made from soil from Iran. They are both very beautiful and I am very grateful that we got those two souvenirs from the mosque.

Actually, we visited the mosque on our very last day in Iran and til that day we did not have a single souvenir. Then we got the stones, a bracelet and the carpet at the mosque and we were so happy. After visiting the mosque we went to my friend's mother and she gave us another carpet and some safron as a gift and later that day we got another carpet from our friends as a goodbye-gift. So we ended up with loads of souvenirs anyway ;)

Isn't the architecture overwhelming - all those small pieces of tiles put together to the most beautiful mosaic. Its beautiful when looking at it from afar like on these pictures here, but its even more impressive when going very close and looking at all those very small pieces. How much work it must have been to put all of these pictures together...

How do you like these pictures? Have you ever visited a mosque? If so - where? I would love to know!

Sending much love and wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Summer Colors and Rubber Boots

I am just not into the typical Fall colors...

... now its finally said! 
I dont like to wear brown, burgundy, dark green and loads of plaid just because its Fall. I sometimes feel like wearing these colors - sometimes in Summer, sometimes in Winter. And my favorite colors to wear always stay my favorite colors to wear; between others white and blue. I love white and blue in Summer, when like everyone is wearing it... but I also love to wear it in Fall. Like today :) 

What about you? Do you think this outfit is way too Summer-colored for the season or do you not care about what colors to wear in which season either?
By the way, the outfit is still somehow a typical Fall outfit since I am wearing rubber boots! I love my rubber boots and I love to be able to walk in the puddles on the sidewalk with them :) 

I hope you are all having a great week so far! We are still very busy with the new place (and the old one too...) but I think after tomorrow things will calm down a little. Tomorrow we will go and get the final things that we left in the old place and I am planning to stay inside for three days after that and to do nothing but decorating the new place, eating, lighting some candles, drinking hot chocolate and relaxing!

Sending you all much love!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Renovating and Moving (plus getting energy from Voelkel)

Happy Monday!

For me it is the first day in my new apartment. The last two weeks were crazy - so busy with renovating and moving. We are not completly done yet but as I am writing this, I am sitting on the sofa in my new living room and I am so so happy about this! But let me take you back a few days when we first got the keys for the new apartment and we began renovating it. This apartment is somehow special for us since it is our first "family apartment". We are moving in here as a family, we will soon celebrate our first Christmas here as a family, our little one will learn talking, walking and dancing in here, and we will (hopefully) open our own business in our office here. Its a big change for us and we are excited. This is why we take some time to make this place really pretty. We began by painting the wall in the bedroom in light blue. How do you like this color?

During the days of renovating, we were very happy to have some delicious Vegan To Go Drinks with us. These drinks are made with quiona and, depending on which one, loads and loads of other super healthy ingredients. They are more like a soup than like a juice or smoothie - very creamy and filling. Just perfect to get some energy when painting a bedroom :)

There are six super tasty blends available:

Quinoa + Baobab
Quinoa + Matcha
Quinoa + Cocoa
Quinoa + Almond
Quinoa + Kurkuma
Quinoa + Chili    

Difficult to say which one is best. I love the Quiona and Baobab one, which is somehow sweet and fruity but the Quiona and Kurkuma one is also soooo good. Its like this sweetest, nicest Asian curry soup. However, the one with Matcha is also insane! Well, they are all really good!  

Some of the Vegan To Go Drinks we actually had while painting, but we saved two for our break on the balcony. One of the reasons why we moved is that we want to have a balcony. A sunny balcony! We want to spend as much time outside as possible with our little one and since we are living in the city, its not easy (and not cheap) to find a place with a garden. In our new house we have a very pretty and green backyard where the little one can play when she gets older, plus we have big balcony where we can spend loads of time together. Even now that its getting colder, its so beautiful to sit outside, wrapped in a blanket and enjyo some Fall sun together with my husband and my baby :) 
By the way, I cannot wait for Spring and Summer and for all the flowers and plants we will have on the balcony :) 

When we were enjoying the sun on the balcony, we had the Almond and the Cocoa drink from the Vegan To Go series and thoese two are definetly also favorites (as I said above its difficult to tell which one is best since they are all very different... but these two are sweet and nutrients and creamy and I just love almond and I just love cocoa and I just love these drinks :)!) 

These small energizers have really been the perfect company for our few days of renovation works and we were very happy to have them! They really gave us the energy we needed and it was great to have these healthy options when we got hungry and tired from painting the whole day. 

I shared something about the brand Voelkel almost a month ago (namely here) and I am happy to be able to share more about this brand which is so worth to support. Not only do they produce all those incredibly yummy and healthy juices, smoothies, kind-of soups, lemonades, and syrups but also are they very into sustainability, environmental protection and fair trade, plus they put a lot of effort in helping refugees here in Germany. You can read more about their commitments here and those of you coming from Germany, please feel free to read more about Voelkels commitments towards refugees in Germany here.

So, here we are, in a new week, in a new apartment - but on the old sofa with the same red woolen blanket wrapped around my legs ;) Now I will go a get a cup of tea and maybe some filled dates (oh, did I write filled dates? Hmm... maybe I will share more about this soon ... :)) and enjoy this first Monday night in my new home while the baby is sleeping and my husband is still working in the kitchen, trying to install the sink and the dishwasher :) 

How is your Monday? I hope you are all doing good - and in case you need some fast, yummy, and healthy energy, you now know where to find it :) 

Sending much love!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Iran - Kurdistan

Today I will take you to Kurdistan...

...Kurdistan in Iran is an area in the West of Iran, close to the border to Turkey and Iraq. We did not go as far up as Turkey but rather stayed close to the border of Iraq. Kurdistan is absolutely overwhelmingly beautiful! Since I took so many pictures, and since I find them all very beautiful, I could not stop myself from putting a loooot of pictures here :) 

The first few pictures are from Lake Zarivar in Marivan - we went there for sunset and had this most delicious fig juice (basically just figs left in water over night - I tried it at home too and its sooooo good (when you have good figs as the ones from Iran ;))!) while walking on the promenade. This was the first place we saw when we arrived in Kurdistan and of course we immediatly fel in love with this area.

The next day we took the car through the mountains... the landscape is just breathtaking (especially for someone who is living far away from any mountains and is not used to this sight). We were very close to the border to Iraq the whole time but we felt very safe. Even when we were that close that we could see some Iraquian villges we felt safe. Kurdistan is also different from the southern part of Iraq and its not too dangerous around there at the moment. 

We also went to visit the Howraman villages. The villages are build in the mountains and the houses are made from the stones of the mountains. The streets in the villages are basically the rooftops of the houses underneath. These villages were the most peaceful places I ever went to. It seems like the march of time stopped there. People were wearing traditional clothes, they made everything in handwork, there was no cellphone connection. It was magical and really really beautiful! 

The entire roadtrip through Kurdistan was definetly a highlight of our vacation (which was a highlight on its one already) and we are so very grateful that we got the chance to visit this impressive, intersting and beautiful part of the world. We never, anywhere, met as friendly people as we did on this trip! I travelled a lot (Africa, America, Asia, Europe...) but I promise I never ever met as friendly and hospitable people as I did in Iran and from the people I met in Iran the once I met on our trip through Kurdistan were the most hospitable. Just to make you understand what I mean; I did not spend a single dollar on our trip! I simply was not allowed to! This is a kind of hospitality I really did not know before. 

By the way, on these last two pictures we are looking into Iraq so the villages that you can see on the last picture are actually not in Iran anymore.   

How did you like these pictures and stories? I have to say that I was surprised and very happy when I read several comments from friends and followers who also want to visit Iran and who find Iran as interesting as I do. I can really recommend anyone to visit this wonderful country. You wont regret! And feel free to ask me any questions in case you are planning to go there and need any advice about general behaviour, clothing, visa etc. 

Have a most wonderful weekend everyone! Enjoy it to the fullest :)
Sending much love!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Lilac for Fall

Today I was wearing my lilac sweater...

... I got it two years ago for my birthday and its from Hess Natur. I wore it on the blog as a dress back here. I am also wearing my poncho from Hess Natur, some second hand skinny jeans and a handmade scarf that I got for my birthday last year (such a nice gift!!!). I am wearing a floral blouse underneath the sweater to get some fun into this look :) 
How do you like it?

How is your week going so far? Those of you living in countries where its getting darker and colder by now - is it not so weird that the sun sets at like 4pm? I somehow cannot yet adjust to that. I also have a hard time believing that its Christmas in just a little more than a month. Since we are in the middle of moving, I do not really have energy for anything Christmas related yet. But I am sure that as soon as everything is set in the new apartment, I will start decorating and planning our first Christmas as a family :)  
Are you getting ready for Christmas yet? Or is also still very far away from you?

Are you in the middle of a change in your life right now? I totally am and there are so many great projects coming up in the next few months and there are so many things in my life that are going to change. As every time of change and its somehow very exciting and wonderful -  but its also sad because when things are changing it means also that somehting will be left behind. Its okay like that because new wonderful things will come. But its still somehow also sad. So I am totally in between these feelings right now :) Can anyone relate? 

Sending you all much love!