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Sweet Potato Curry with Rice and Naan-Bread

Ingredients (For 2 hungry people)

Curry

  • 2 Cups of chickpeas
  • One cup of brown lentils
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • ½ Butternut squash
  • ½ Onion
  • 2 Carrots
  • Curry powder
  • Curcuma
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 cups of rice

Naan Bread

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of water
  • Oregano
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder

 

How to?

Curry is one of my favorite foods and I already experimented a lot with it. Recently I tried adding some sweet potatoes – which made it even more awesome and added a touch of nice sweetness to it. So, here’s the new recipe:

Curry

Soak your chickpeas overnight. This will make them softer and they won´t need as much time to cook. When you’re ready to start with your Curry, transfer the chickpeas into a big pot. Put them onto the stove and start out with cooking them as they take the longest. Then begin copping your butternut squash into small pieces and add it to the pot. Chop the onion, carrots and the sweet potato into small pieces as well and add everything to the pot. Then add some water to it until almost all the veggies are covered. Now we can add in our lentils as well. Then you can spice it up with half a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper (or more if you like it spicy), half a teaspoon of curcuma and two teaspoons of curry powder. Again, you can vary with your spices here and add them up to taste. Let the mixture cook on medium heat for a while and stir it regularly to prevent it from getting sticky at the bottom of the pot. Let it cook down until most of the water is gone and the mixture has thickened. Once that happened you know your Curry is ready. Meanwhile it is simmering on the stove you can start cooking the rice in a separate pot. Boil 2 cups of rice with 3 ½ cups of water until the water is all gone – and your rice is good to go.

Naan-Bread

Put 2 cups of flour into a bowl then add all your spices: 3 pinches of salt, 2 pinches of pepper, 1 ½ teaspoons of garlic powder and 2 tablespoons of oregano. Mix all your dry ingredients together, then add the water. The dough should not be too thick, it should be easy to pour it into a pan. If it is too thick, add a bit more water to it until the mixture becomes nice and even. Next we are going to bake it in a pan with some oil. Pour a bit of the mixture into it and let the dough harden, then flip it and cook it on the other side. Once that’s done you’re going to repeat the process with all the dough you have. Usually you should have enough for 2 – 3 breads.

And now, we’re ready to assemble! I usually use my Naan-Bread to eat a bit of my curry as you can break it into tiny pieces, spoon the curry out of your bowl and eat the rice on the side. But no matter how you eat it – this curry is super easy to make – and even more satisfying to eat.

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Too little diversity in our education system

If only schools could teach us what other cultures can. We would probably live in a much more peaceful world. If schools would teach us the respect you gain once you become friends with people from all over the world, we would live in such a nice community. Where everyone has a different background, where everyone lives together and learns from his/her neighbors. Sounds like a dream? So far, it is. But why not work on letting it become reality.

If we had the proper education, we could know so much about the whole world. Sadly, our system currently focuses on teaching us algebra and how to analyze speeches of politicians. Not even writing is free anymore! We are stuck in analyzing other people’s words rather than producing them on our own. Visions in our head are censored, are never brought to life on paper. Every attempt is brought back down to earth.

“You will not need it”, they say.

“This is real life”, they say.

Dumbing us down, not letting us think – should this be real life?

Shouldn’t we educate our children on how to think freely and how to ask questions? Shouldn’t we teach them to accept each and everyone just the way they are? That would be an education that would lead them into responsible and thoughtful human beings. They could learn all of the qualities we encounter someone with a different cultural background.

If you grew up on the opposite end of the world, you will most likely think in completely different ways. Which means you have a lot to learn from the other person. By talking, by getting to know each other, we can discover so much more than any school could ever teach us. We get a completely different inside of the world.

That´s why I decided to start a new project. Beginning next week, I am going to interview people from different countries about general prejudices against their culture and misconceptions people might have about their countries.

We all have pre-made pictures our society has put into our heads. Once we meet someone from a different country and the person mentions where he/she is from, you will react differently. I myself do so as well. We all have countries we consider “cool” and want to learn more about, we all have countries we consider “boring” and don’t even bother getting to know. It´s a natural behavior to put people into boxes, but I want to start setting an end to it.

Because once we know how much we can benefit from the experiences of others, we might not be so tempted to put people into boxes anymore. That’s why I want to work with prejudices and misconceptions. Starting next week I´m going to present you a new culture every week to talk about the main misconceptions people have about them.

So, stay tuned! Next week there will be more.

 

 

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Falafel Bowl with Salad and Hummus

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Being your true self

Do you find it hard to be yourself sometimes? I certainly did in the past. I guess we all know situations where we had to put up a mask in order to fit in. Where we had to hide behind a made-up image and weren’t able to express ourselves. Too big was the risk of not being accepted, of not fitting into society.

It can be scary to show who you really are, especially if you’re not sure what people might think of you. There was I time when it wasn’t easy for me at all. When I was little, when I was in school I was afraid to be silly in public or to act slightly differently than I was supposed to act. I never told people what I thought or how I felt if my feelings and thoughts contradicted with theirs. I would only state agreement and never dare to criticize anyone. I was way too afraid to offend someone if I would speak up. Or sometimes I just thought people might not like me if I would state my true opinion. So I kept my mouth shut and politely nodded to arguments I knew deep down I was not agreeing with at all.

I wasn’t happy about being in this state at all. I wasn’t proud of not speaking up, but I felt like my opinion did not interest anyone, wasn’t even worth telling. Now I know better. You should never ever be tempted to feel this way. Even if your opinion differs from what others think – so what? State it, stick by it and you might even have a positive impact on others. You might help others to think differently and broaden their horizon. If you see it from this point of view it doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?

Being comfortable to relax and showing people who you are depends a lot on your environment. On the people your surrounded by, the places you find yourself at. You might find yourself acting differently with your partner or your best friends, than with colleagues or people you just met a few minutes ago. We all want to be accepted and fit into society. But as hard as you might try – you can’t please everybody. The only person you really have to please is yourself.  Once I figured that out I was staring not caring what people thought of me – and felt freer and happier than before. Just try it out step by step – I guarantee you will find people that will appreciate you exactly how you are.

I, for example, have met a lot of different people lately. Due to work, due to changing jobs. What I’ve realized from the many people I met in that short period of time is that I love having a real connection with someone. Not just a hi – how are you – bye conversation, but a talk that can range from travel stories to the questions who created this universe. Those are the connections you will remember, that will stay in your mind and you will look back years after. Conversations where you are forced to state your opinion and are your true and authentic self.

Being authentic and saying what’s on your mind will lead you to having realer connections with a lot of people. The more connections like this, the better you will feel. It can be hard at first to overcome your fear of caring about what other people think. Especially if you’re used to just being yourself at home or with friends where nobody sees you and you can be as silly as you want. But wouldn’t it be beautiful to being able to act the same way with a complete stranger? To share dreams and memories with a person you don’t even know but you feel like you’ve known them for a long time? That’s the beauty of human interaction, those are the conversations you’ll gain the most from. And if you continue to be authentic you will end up with the most valuable friendships and connections you can imagine.

 

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Smoothie Bowl Breakfast

2 full bowls for 2 hungry people

Ingredients

  • Half pineapple
  • One apple
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 2 Tablespoons of oats
  • 2 Tablespoons of chia seeds
  • Agave syrup
  • 250 ml soy milk
  • Frozen berries (2 hands full)
  • Grapes
  • Granola: Oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, raisins, flex seed, hazelnuts

 

How to?

Summer came and it’s time for smoothie bowls! I love to eat them for breakfast in summer as they are cool and I don’t need to heat up anything and spend my time sweating in the kitchen. On top of that they are nutritious and healthy – the perfect way to start your day. You can mix so many different ingredients, you have a huge variety of fruits to choose from. Here’s how to make one of my personal favorites:

First of all, peal and chop up two bananas to store them in the freezer overnight. In the morning, put all of the ingredients in a blender. Chop up the pineapple and the apple, then add in your frozen bananas, the frozen berries, oats, chia seeds, soy milk and a bit of agave syrup to taste. Blend it all up and voilà! Out comes the creamiest dreamiest smoothie bowl. I topped mine with some homemade granola (just a line down you’ll find the recipe to make your own) and some grapes.

Homemade Granola

Mix all the dry ingredients from above. The mixture can vary, you can add however much you like. If you don’t like a particular seed, just leave it out and replace it with something else! My granola is usually never the same, I add some different seeds every single time.

This granola though consists of about two cups of oats and half a cup of the rest of your seeds. Mix all of them until they are well combined, then add some agave syrup until your ingredients stick together. Then line them out on the baking tray and pop them into the oven at 180°C. Bake your granola for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it, sometimes it likes to burn quickly! Depending on your oven that’s going to happen sooner or later. Once the granola is nice and golden brown, you can let it cool down for a bit and then store it in a glass or container to eat it whenever you like. I like to put it on top of smoothie bowls but you can also eat as muesli in the morning with adding a bit of your favorite plant-based milk.

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My mind – my greatest enemy?

Did you ever think about that every negative thought, every “unfair” thing that ever happened to you might just be a matter of interpretation? It’s the way we interpret a situation that determines how we will feel about it. We do have two options here: getting upset because life is just unfair or trying to see it from the bright side.

I recently discovered that it would make a lot of difference in my daily life if I choose to interpret “upsetting” situations in a positive way. You always have the choice to lift your head up, straighten your shoulders and move on. Or you can carry whatever might upset you with you and let it destroy your mood and the rest of your day. It’s up to you.

So, let me tell you a little story that happened to me recently. I just had a super “bad day”. I woke up and didn’t feel good as I had been working the whole night before. I didn’t sleep nearly enough, I had a lot of stuff to do, a lot of stuff in my mind. I was stressed out, couldn’t calm down and was just mad at the world in general. Everyone can relate so far? I guess we all know these days. Nothing major happing, but you wake up with a bad feeling telling you this day is going to be awful as hell. In my case I had to get up in the morning as I wanted to take some Spanish classes. I ended up getting home at four, waking up at seven and going out to look for the school. On the way I already felt like this was a bad idea, I didn’t know the area I was walking through that well, I was sure I would get lost somehow. I ended up in the wrong building asking for the class, but no one could help me. Nobody even knew about the class I was talking about. After an hour of running around in the building, searching and asking without receiving any satisfying answer I went home. Tired and already frustrated I made myself a cup of coffee to wake up. There was no point in going back to sleep again, I was already too upset too being able to fall asleep again. When I accidently burned myself by spilling hot coffee all over me, I was close to being annoyed out of my mind.

However, something in my mind shifted then and I suddenly thought: Wouldn’t it be better to just accept what happened instead of being upset about it? It’s such a beautiful day and you’re going to waste it just because you decide to let yourself being impacted by your negativity. So, I pushed my negative thoughts away and started to shift my mind towards something more positive. I just repeated positive phrases like a mantra. It’s a beautiful day, you’re in Barcelona, you enjoy life. You can be grateful to be alive and to wake up this morning. I was just trying to develop a little more gratitude, a little more gratefulness to be alive and to fully enjoy the moment I am living in. First I felt silly talking to myself like that, but after a while I was starting to get that I was actually right. What was I doing being all upset about things I couldn’t change anyways? Why would I let myself being impacted by as little problems as that?

Once you start to think negatively you get caught up and consumed by your thoughts and it gets hard to escape. It’s easier to just be grumpy and hate the whole world. If you’re already caught up in it, it gets worse and worse. A negative spiral that only goes downhill from that. So, most of the times we risk being moody and miserable for the rest of the day. But why wasting a whole day by staying in a bad mood? What do we get from it except not feeling good and not being happy?

Just imagine you’re 80 years old, sitting on your porch and looking back on your life. Wouldn’t you be a little bit upset about all the time you spend angrily when you could have spent your day much more positive and satisfied? A day full of joy is a day you really live. A day you’re grumpy and angry at everyone and everything is a day you’re just existing. Who wouldn’t like to live every day to his full potential instead of just existing and letting life happen to you?

So, whenever you have the choice to get upset over a tiny little thing that annoys you, start thinking beforehand: Is it really worth being angry about that? Isn’t there something good in my life I can focus on? You’ll see, there’s a lot to be grateful for.

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients (2 people)

  • 150 g Chia seeds
  • Cocoa powder
  • Soy milk
  • Agave syrup
  • Cinnamon

Toppings

  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Dates

 

How to?

This chocolate chia pudding is perfect as an overnight, make-ahead breakfast. Ideal to grab and take out in the morning if you’re in a hurry but want something quick and tasty to eat as well. Easy to prepare the night before, not many ingredients – but delicious nevertheless.

So, let’s get to it! We’ll start out with soaking the chia seeds overnight. That way they have enough time to absorb the liquid and the pudding gets a nice and thick consistency. Put your chia seeds into a bowl and add in the soymilk. Don’t worry if the mixture looks rather soupy than pudding like for now – the seeds are going to absorb a lot of soy milk overnight. Add three tablespoons of cocoa powder – or even more depending on how chocolaty you’d like your pudding to be. Be careful that you don’t add too much though, because that’s only going to leave the pudding with a bitter taste. Then add in two teaspoons of agave syrup to sweeten it up and last but not least, a pinch of cinnamon. Mix everything until all ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture starts to thicken a bit. What we want at this point is already a jelly-like consistency. Then pop it into the fridge to leave it to rest until the next morning.

Before you take it out to go you can add your toppings. You can add whatever your heart desires, bananas, berries, nuts, dried fruits – the list goes on and on. This time I went for a sliced banana, some dates and some walnuts which fit perfectly into the chocolate mix.

The great thing about this pudding is that you can literally take it anywhere. If you eat it on the go you can put it into a jar the night before and you’re good to go! It’s so easy and delicious and once in a while it’s a nice variety from your usual breakfast. You don’t only have to stick to breakfast though. It’s a perfect desert on a hot summer day as well!

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Back into the heart of a child

Do you sometimes wish to be a child again? To go back to this time without worries, without sorrows? That time you didn’t know a lot about the world and the tiniest things made you happy and brought you the greatest amount of joy? I can already see you sitting there with great memories of the past floating your mind. So how come we forget all about this simple joy once we grow up, once we turn into an adult? Then life is suddenly not fun anymore. Everything is supposed to be serious and don’t you dare laughing or being happy, seriousness is all that matters.

When we are young, we are dreaming of becoming an actor, a singer or a painter. Once we grow up we put all these dreams aside and start peeking into the direction of money. Money becomes the most important thing, we are getting caught up in it. We follow it into jobs we don’t like, we do things we don’t like to earn a little more here, a little more there. We grow up and put our childish dreams aside. Because they are just stupid and childish, right? Adults don’t focus on dreams anymore, they are facing reality. Now, we want to become successful sellers, bankers, managers. Jobs with great responsibility and reputation. But what do we actually need this reputation for? For our families, for impressing strangers, for society? Just to being admired for a minute and then going back to our homes feeling burned out and asking ourselves what we’re actually trying to accomplish? That can’t be the only purpose of adulthood.

Put the reputation aside for a bit, let’s focus on time. Taking your time if a much more valuable thing. Not money, not success. Time. Taking time for the things you enjoy, making time for the right people in your life. You’ll see, you will be rewarded. I recently started taking my time to focus on things I really love doing. I love writing, for example. Writing gives me the greatest joy, it makes me happy, it leaves me in a flow where I’m completely free, lost in my thoughts, typing into my PC like a maniac. These are times I’m just caught up in the moment and feel truly happy. Every morning I am waking up with new ideas in my head thinking about exploring them and writing about them. That way I always start my day with a smile on my lips, with a great motivation to keep on going throughout the day. After I wake up I have a great amount of energy I am not willing to waste on something I don’t like doing. Take time for what you love first, even if it’s just a few minutes. It will make your day a little brighter.

We all have a creative side, but sometimes it gets lost way too easily. It’s our creative sides that make us happy, it’s these childhood dreams we should bring back to life. Not the working in an office 9-to-5 job. The job you dreamed about when you were a little kid. You all have things you’re good at, things you like doing. Follow them, explore them. I am exploring new possibilities every single day and can honestly say I’ve never felt happier doing so. Every day I’m thinking about something I could write – or even cook.

As I love cooking I decided to add this section in my blog as well. Just had to throw that in there. But well, that’s me, trying to do everything possible at the same time and more.  At home I am cooking a lot and my flat mates always come by asking me what I’m making and being curious about the fact that it’s all completely vegan. Most of the times, people are surprised that vegan food is actually delicious. And I love to prove that it really tastes amazing.

The most important thing is to start what you love and to keep doing it. Consistency is the key to feeling good about what you’re doing. When I first started my blog I was afraid that I wouldn’t come up with anything to write about after a while. So, I stopped it for a bit, I wasn’t motivated to go on as I wasn’t sure it would lead me anywhere. However, when I started again I promised myself to be more consistent. To take the time to post every week. So far I feel happy doing it. It’s just the start that might be difficult, but once you develop a certain habit, you’ll see you’ll stick to it – and be surprised to see you’ll feel actually bad breaking it.

Express yourself in whatever way possible – I guarantee you it will make you happier. If you think about that one thing you love to do most every morning as soon as you wake up a lot is going to change. Apart from the challenges and tasks you have to master today – you will have something that gives you great joy and that’s just beautiful.

So, in a way children have it all figured out. It’s funny that we still can learn a lot from the little ones. They don’t waste time on things they don’t like or that bore them. They simply move on and pursue what they like and what interests them. Of course, life can pose some more difficulties to that, but if you really want to you will find a little bit of time for something you love every day. It can only be five minutes, but five minutes is something everyone can spare. Five minutes are a start to make a difference as well. Just test it! It will give you greater joy than you might imagine.

 

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Vegan English Breakfast

Scrambled Eggs, Baked Beans and Baked Potatoes

Ingredients (2 hungry people)

Scrambled eggs:

  • One block of natural tofu (250 g)
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Curry
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Onion
  • 100 g Spinach
  • 2 Tomatoes

Baked beans:

  • 200 g of beans
  • One can of tomato sauce
  • Salsa
  • Salt and Pepper

Baked potatoes:

  • 5 large potatoes
  • BBQ spice
  • Salt

Sauce:

  • Soy yoghurt (natural, unsweetened)
  • Salsa
  • Paprika spice
  • Salt

 

How to?

Baked beans

Let’s start off with soaking the beans in water the night before you want to make your English breakfast. That way the beans have time to get a bit softer and don’t take as long to cook. Put the pot on the stove in the morning, heat them up and cook them for about 30 min. Try to poke into them with a fork once in a while to check if the beans are already soft enough. If you soaked them for a lot of hours before, they will take up less time to soften. As soon as the beans are soft, add in the tomato sauce and the spices. Then add in a bit of the salsa to taste as well.

Baked potatoes

While the beans are cooking you can start preparing the baked potatoes as they will take a while in the oven as well. Cut them in wedges first, then cut every wedge into 3 pieces again. That way, the potatoes are smaller and get nice and soft but crispy at the same time. Line them out on the baking tray you either sprinkle with oil or lay out with parchment paper to prevent your potatoes from sticking to it. Then add your spices and pop them into the oven. Bake them at 200°C for 30 min.

Scrambled eggs

Slice up your onion and add it to a pan, then cook it until it starts to brown a bit. Crumble a block of tofu into the pan, add 4 table spoons of nutritional yeast and a bit of curry. These two spices will give your scrambled egg the nice and yellow color. Add the spinach leaves and two sliced up tomatoes. Last but not leas add t some salt and pepper to taste and let your scrambled egg cook until the spinach leaves have shrunk and cooked down. Once they do, your scrambled egg is ready.

Potato sauce

Mix a cup of natural soy yoghurt with salsa, paprika powder, salt and pepper – very simple, but very tasty at the same time!

Now you’re ready to assemble and enjoy!

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What I’ve learned from living abroad

Let me tell you, quite a lot. As I have been living in foreign countries for half a year now, I have been away from home for a while. My first city to live in was Bordeaux, France. During an exchange semester. Once there and away from my routine at home I soon started posing questions like:

What do I want to do in the future? A question a lot of us pose to ourselves right now, but most of us don’t know the answer. A giant question mark in our heads, a ton of possibilities in front of us. Too many, so we get lost, too many offers to choose from, too many things that interest us. A lot of them sound cool and exciting, a lot of them are yet to be experienced. The paradox of choice.

I guess, we often get lost in it. Getting away from home for a bit is a good way to clear your mind and to get some distance between you and the overwhelming amount of possibilities. A little bit of choice is necessary, but too much of it leaves us clueless. While you are staying away from home for a bit you have time to discover if what you thought you wanted to do really is what you want to do. That may sound weird, but I, for example, thought I had my career path completely mapped out. Everything planned, everything structured. Just to discover that it actually was what two-year-ago me wanted, but present me didn’t do so anymore. The distance between my routine at home and a completely new world in France really helped me to ask myself some crucial questions. It gave me time to rethink all my decisions and slowly getting to know what I wanted. Knowing what you want is the most important thing when it comes to your future. Then, you can always take it from there.

Staying abroad you will discover what is really important to you. You will learn to value your family and your friends way more as they are not there with you all the time. So you have to call them, you have to make an effort to stay in their lives. You have to ask them what is going on. And if the same amount you give into these relationships comes back you can consider yourself really lucky. That’s when you realize which relationships are the most important ones to you. I for example feel like I took my family for way too granted before. Now I don’t anymore. Family is so important, staying in touch with the people who have been with you since you were a little child, since the day you were born and who know you best is a very crucial thing. Those will be the people you can rely on, you can go to if you have a problem. The same thing is true for friends. If you have friends you can always call no matter how far away you are and who will listen to you – you got great friends you got to hold onto. People who genuinely care about you are the most valuable thing you can have living on your own and away from home.

You also learn to value new relationships, the new friends you make in the country you’re staying in. I got to know even more cultures than I did before and came across a lot of misassumptions we have about a lot of different places in this world. France and especially Bordeaux has a great cultural diversity and you can make friends from all over the globe. Making new friends always opens  new doors for you. With new friends your surroundings will be different from the ones back home, you will make a lot of new experiences, you will meet a lot of people that influence you – maybe without even noticing it. You’ll only realize it when your friends back home tell you how much you’ve changed.

You also learn not to take everything for granted. We are fortunate enough to get paid for doing an exchange semester, but, of course you won’t be floated with money. Living standards might be a bit different, you might find yourself in a tiny apartment where you’ll have to improvise a bit. You learn how to deal with different situations, how to make the best out of everything.

It’s amazing how fast you adapt to a new environment, how fast a place grows on you. After a while I already called Bordeaux my second home. If you feel settled, if you have a good environment and great people surrounding you, you can feel at home anywhere in the world.

As I am doing right now as well. I am currently living with my boyfriend in Barcelona – and couldn’t feel more at home than here. Being in the city for only a month I already feel like I belong to it. If you stay with the person you love you will feel comfortable and settled anywhere. Granted, Barcelona is a great city, but I am sure we would make a home out of any place in this world. That’s the beauty of love. It might sound cliché, but in the end it’s everything you need. You need it to be happy, to feel settled, to feel comfortable. No matter which kind of love – from your partner, your family, your friends – or ideally all three of them – if you have people who love you in your life you are way richer than you might think.

 

 

 

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Cashew – French Toast with Cinnamon Sauce

Ingredients (2 People)

  • 6 slices of toast (vegan)
  • 200g cashew nuts
  • Cinnamon
  • Agave syrup
  • Soy milk
  • Vegan margarine for the pan
  • Bananas, Grapes, Raisins
  • Soy yoghurt

How to?

French Toast

Soak the cashews over night in a bowl of water.

Take them out of the water in the morning and blend them with approximately one cup of soy milk until the mixture is smooth.

Add agave syrup and cinnamon to taste.

If the mixture is still too thick, add a bit more soy milk to it.

Pour it out of the blender and dip the bread into it on both sides.

Repeat with all slices until there’s no cashew mixture left.

Then put the slices into a pan to toast them on each side until the slices turn brown.

Remove them from the pan and now you’re ready to assemble – you can top them with a variety of fruits you desire. In this recipe I used two bananas, a bunch of grapes and a few raisins.

Cinnamon Sauce

Take a cup of natural soy yoghurt (or more if you feel like having a lot of sauce).

Add cinnamon and agave syrup to taste and voilà – it’s as easy as that.

 

And now the most important step – enjoy!

 

 

 

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A lonely traveller?

Travelling alone. What did I learn from it? Quite a lot. If somebody asks me if they should dare to travel alone I’ll always say yes. My first solo trip was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and you’ll soon see why.

In September 2017 I decided to travel to South America all on my own. To Chile to be precise. I wanted to go farther away and South America was a good option to realize my plans. I also wanted to experience another culture, a completely different way of living. Something I wouldn’t be able to experience if I just went around in Europe.

So, the decision was made and I prepared myself for a 24 hours flight across the ocean. First, I landed in Atlanta, USA, where I had to wait 8 hours for my connecting flight to Santiago, the capital of Chile. I’ve never flown that far away from home before, it was my first time crossing the Atlantic Ocean. And I’m so glad I did it. If I had listened to my parents or my grandparents who told me it would be “too dangerous” and I should at least travel with someone else. I didn’t listen. In fact, it even secured my decision to go by myself more. It’s so crucial to listen to yourself sometimes.

Once I landed in Chile, everything was new, I had to adapt to other habits, to another language. And you have to be more careful then back at home as well. I, for example, got ripped off a lot of money when I took my first taxi from the airport to my hostel. That was my first lesson right away – don’t trust everybody right away, even if they seem super nice. I tend to always believe the best of people which didn’t change at all, but I learned to be more careful on my way. So, except for having a little less money than before, this event effect my stay.

During my travels I mainly stayed in hostels and the first one I went to was quite big, which might not be the best option if you want to meet new people. It turned out fine for me though. In the afternoon, I was just sitting down on the couch in the common area and there would always be someone to talk to. So, even if you are travelling on your own – you will never be alone – unless you want to. I certainly didn’t.

Most of the times I made friends with the workers of the hostel, as they were there permanently and had the best tips where to go and how to get around the city. They were always around to talk for a bit as well as some other guests. The common area was rarely empty. So, even if you are not the most talkative, outgoing person you’ll be fine on your own. In the beginning I wasn’t that outgoing as well – but I slowly learned it. At first, I waited for people to come to me – and it worked most of the time. If not, I was forced to sit down at another group and introduce myself to participate at the conversation. While just joining a group of strangers randomly might seem weird in everyday life, it’s completely normal once you’re travelling.

Another perk of travelling alone is that you have complete freedom of deciding what to do and what not to do. You can choose where you want to go, what you want to see and you can take your time doing so. That’s something I really enjoyed when I went to the Atacama Desert where I did a lot of tours that really interested me and on each tour I got to know some other travelers.

If meeting new people everyday gets to much you can always take a break. That’s what I did as well. I was meeting a lot of people every day for 3 weeks, then I went to the Easter island. An island in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by nothing but the sea which is calm and beautifully silent. Even though it is popular among tourists, the island itself is still quiet if you move away from the most popular tourist spots. There I just rented a bike and explored the island on my own for a while. That’s when I noticed that, no matter how much I like socializing, I eventually need some time on my own as well. Like really on my own. All alone. Just for a day or two, but still. It’s always good to take time for yourself when you feel like you need it. And after three weeks of being on the road constantly, I definitely did.

So, if you’re coming up with a travel plan, I would strongly recommend scheduling alone time as well. Interacting every day and every night can be fatiguing after a long period of time. If you take some time off afterwards, you’ll make the most amazing discoveries about yourself, because you will be able to focus on yourself a lot better. You’ll also have time to process everything that was going on during the weeks before – which should be a lot as travelling always leads you into some new adventures.

Be open for everything. That’s a crucial thing as well. Don’t plan too much in advance, plans always change. Maybe you meet a nice group and want to join them for a bit – travelling spontaneously is the most fun thing ever – you’ll never know where you will end up the next day.

So, if you love travelling, don’t be afraid to do it on your own! I guarantee you won’t regret it.

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