Dienstag, 29. April 2014

Some decoration + heavenly strawberry tartlets

The Easter decoration has only been cleared away today (while “cleared away” has to be interpreted very generously: all the eggs have been placed on the ground and I am waiting until they move themselves to the basement thanks to pure willpower. Let’s see whether it’s going to work.) – replaced by simple and classy glass cases.

People who still have young children, but value living with style all the same, will love theses classics:
All finds like little sticks, pebbles and other treasures can be perfectly displayed in them!
During the summer flotsam and jetsom will find a place there, in the fall chestnuts etc.
Somehow everything, once placed inside, immediately takes on a look of higher value!

Naturally the cases are perfectly suited for keeping favorite pieces of jewelry.

We used strawberries for baking today for the first time this year – while the little tartlets require some preparation time, they taste so damn good that it feels like taking a bite out of heaven.
On the bottom paper-thin shortcrust, juicy strawberries on top and capping it all: delicate meringue.
Oh. my. God. so. yummy.

I brought some white-blossomed branches in from outside and distributed them in single vases – everything feels airy and fresh!

Heavenly Strawberry Tartlets

¾ cup flour
2 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
pinch of salt
7 Tbsp cold butter
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp cold water

1 and ½ cup strawberries
3 Tbsp cornstarch
5 Tbsp strawberry jam

3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch

Also: dry beans, lentils, rice or something similar, for blind-baking

1. Either grease 1 cake tin (9” diameter) or 6 little ones and dust them lightly with flour.
Mix flour with sugar and salt, add butter in small cubes and knead quickly until everything is crumbly.
Then add egg yolk and water and continue to quickly knead until a smooth dough forms.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator for about 1 hour.

2. Roll out the dough between two layers of plastic wrap and line the tin/s with it.
Poke a few holes into the dough, cover the dough with aluminum foil and distribute beans or rice on top of it (freshly cut apple pieces work as well – something to weigh down the bottom).
Bake for about 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 350F (conventional oven, no convection oven), then remove the foil and the beans and bake for approx. another 13 minutes, until dough is golden.
Herausnehmen, den Ofen au ???

3. Wash and dry the strawberries and cut into slices. Mix with cornstarch.

4. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and trickle in sugar spoonful by spoonful (do not reduce the amount of sugar, as meringue will not come out right) and keep beating.
After all the sugar has been incorporated keep beating for another 2-3 minutes, finally adding the cornstarch.

5. Spread jam thinly onto the pastry bottoms, distribute strawberries on top, finishing by adding the egg white mix.
Bake another 20 minutes at 350F, until meringue has a light brown tint.
Remove from oven and let cool.

If eaten when lukewarm the strawberry filling is still liquid, it will stiffen once the tartlets are completely cooled.
But I wanna see the person who manages to wait until then!

Display cases: LaMaison

With love,

p.s. It didn’t work – the teleporting.

I’ll keep at it, though, I promise.
It will serve us ALL in the end, because mind you:
a blog author isn’t just lazy for herself, purely for the fun of it – she is lazy for all readers!
Which in turn furthers world peace and all that. 

Montag, 28. April 2014

All time favorites.

What’s the first thing the kids say when they return home from school?

"What’s for dinner?!”
What’s the second thing, if the answer was “we’re having tacos”?

Our all-time favorite is prepared so quickly and easily – and it has endless variations.

Add to the table a fresh mix of colors and patterns – and everybody combines their filling as they like it.

Oh, so delicious!

All you need to do is to saute the meat with the prepackaged taco spice mix – I tend to use ground meat or finely chopped chicken and I also prepare some guacamole.
All other ingredients go straight on the table – bite-size, of course – and everyone fills their tacos just as they like it.

We use:

- flavorsome cheese (grated), e.g. Gouda
- lettuce
- tomatoes
- bell peppers
- corn
- beans
- salsa from the grocery store, sour cream

Tacos and matching spice mix are available at the grocery store.
You can fill them with any kind of vegetable or even fruit, such as mango, etc. – you can also use different kinds of sauces.

A white shirt worn with a pair of jeans is another all-time favorite of mine:
My eye-catcher today is a stylish Peru-inspired bracelet.
You probably know it already from InStyle magazine – the jewelry is made of ancient Inca fabric and is a pretty highlight for everyday.

Small bowls with patterns HERE, bracelet HERE: Manjanahome
Small bowls, mint: Geliebtes Zuhause 

Aaaaaaw… I’m so happy to be back and to be able to enjoy everyday life with you!

With love,

Donnerstag, 24. April 2014

The best chocolate cake you ever had. Oh yes.

A fantastic dessert recipe from Jil today – one to enjoy and pamper yourself with – this time without any sugar.



Grey and damp weather, a long day in school, quareling with your best friend.

We all go through one of those days when we are just desperate for something sweet. 

I’m not talking about a piece of cake or half a cookie, but about something rich and juicy you

just want to roll around in and drown in with pleasure. 

The absolute top of the crop, the one and only, exactly – chocolate cake.

As I have this craving, let’s say regularly, even without higher reason, I needed an alternative

to the common pile of sugar.

Full of deliciousness – no compromises.

So today a recipe for a cake without gluten or sugar! 

But beware, it is seriously addictive!

Juicy chocolate cake without sugar

For the dough:

2 cups dates
1 cup cashews
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
¼ tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch of salt

For the icing:

1 1/2 cups dates
1/2 cup cashews
1-2 cups water
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 pinch of salt

As to the quantities: it might be necessary to add a few nuts, dates etc. here and there. 
Especially if the icing gets too stiff or too runny, feel free to add more water or dates. 
As the cake won’t be baked, you can’t go wrong anyway.

And off we go:

1. First pulse the nuts in a food processor to a coarse-grained consistency. Now add the dates bit by bit, then all other ingredients. Incorporate everything well so that the mixture is all chewy and sticky. If your food processor is too small, just divide the ingredients and prepare everything in batches.

2. After the “dough” is done divide it into three equal parts and roll them each into a ball. The first ball can be pressed into a small springform tin straight away, make it follow the tin’s shape more or less.
Place the tin as well as the two other balls into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to let the dough stiffen.

3. In the meantime prepare the icing. Again place all ingredients into the food processor, until they form a creamy, nearly smooth icing. If the 10 minutes are not up yet, put icing into the refrigerator as well.

4. Finally the springform tin and all other ingredients can be taken out and the first layer of icing is smoothed over the dough. Next layer is the first ball of dough, which I usually roll out on the work surface first and then just press the sides towards the edges of the tin. Another thick layer of icing and the last ball of dough. At last distribute the rest of the icing on top of the cake.

5. The whole cake should remain in the tin in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably over night. In the morning you can carefully remove it from the tin.

And there you have it, an incredibly yummy, juicy chocolate cake!  

Perfect for every afternoon!
Or evening.
Or like my mother does it: cake for breakfast.

Just enjoy it whenever you feel like it ;-).

I laid the table with these beautiful little cups from
Geschenketräume* - they can be perfectly stacked for storage!


Best regards,


Dienstag, 22. April 2014

Easter by the seaside + 5 tips for visiting Berlin

Despite running the risk that the pictures will look a little familiar (Easter by the seaside? Um…didn’t we do that last year? And the year before? And the baby? Didn’t we have that just last week?) – I never promised anybody a content bursting with originality!

Apart from that I managed a
total write-off last Easter – not so easy to ace, right?

This year is downright gapingly bor…oops…relaxing in comparison – nevertheless wonderful!

And who can resist an 18-month-old’s charm?
My sister had a cute monster sewn for him – just like I did when Ben and Noelle were little: a big cuddly animal/cushion in maritime colors matching the interior decoration of the summer cottage; the back is made of denim.
You can assemble such a cuddly monster in individual color ways at Monsterglück – there are different sizes and a myriad of possible combinations.

In spite of this there is nothing that fascinates Samuel more than my smartphone – as beautiful as every age-appropriate toy may be!

The days spent in Berlin, however, were quite busy and I would definitely like to pass on some personal tips to you:

1. Not new, but not yet mentioned here:
Spreegold is a wonderful place to have breakfast and brunch – stylishly urban ambiance, everything absolutely fresh and at fantastic prices. The drinks menu is a dream come true and Noelle raves about the oatmeal, which has exactly the right consistency and is prepared with coconut milk.

You will find the restaurant at Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 2, not far from Hackescher Markt in Berlin Mitte.

2. "The world’s best museum" – is the title Ben awarded this week-end.
Makes sense, we are talking about the Computerspiele-Museum (Museum of computer games) after all.
My tip: drop children off, go and have a cup of coffee with your husband, pick children up 3 weeks 3 hours later.
Everyone happy.

The museum is at Karl-Marx-Allee 93a.

3. Do you remember that I thought it was utterly negligible which sports gear you wear during your workout?
Stella Mccartney’s collection for Adidas made me change my mind very suddenly.
I. want. everything. 

In the end all I got were shorts – yet all the same it is highly rewarding to visit AM+ in Berlin’s newly opened bikini mall.
The atmosphere reminded me a bit of a trade show’s, such as Bread&Butter, and the huge windows looking out onto the zoo were compensating for some still empty stores.

You can find all this in Berlin Charlottenburg, Budapester Straße 42-50.

4. … and once you are in the area you should definitely go and see a movie at Zoo Palast – the movie theater is just a few steps down the street.
Be certain to pay for a box and enjoy every service imaginable: first of all order a plate of small snacks and a Hugo cocktail (prosecco and elderberry syrup) – and literally put your feet up in your luxury seats!
The service is available for a mere 2,50€ extra.)

All this at Hardenbergerstr. 29 a

5. The exhibition "Before they pass away" with Jimmy Nelson’s impressive photographs shows the cultural diversity and beauty of various tribes from around the globe.
Absolutely worth seeing!

The exhibition is on show until June 21 in the CWC gallery , Auguststraße 11–13.

Cuddly monster: Monsterglück*
Star cushion: MyCircus*

With love,



Speaking of total write-offs:
on the outward journey I accidentally sat on the bag containing chocolate Easter bunnies, with the result that they were not…well…three-dimensional anymore.
Yet I didn’t buy new ones, but put them in the kids’ Easter baskets anyway – which prompted Noelle to emphatically declare this the “dumbest Easter ever!”.

She ate her rabbit all the same.

With an accusatory look, of course.

Donnerstag, 17. April 2014

Jil’s Wishlist for Easter (and its relevance to your life)

When I asked what the eldest child wished for Easter, I received a little wishlist containing household articles.

Fact is that Jil moved out WITHOUT a complete kitchen equipment: her luggage did not contain a 12-piece stainless steel casserole set, just imagine.
Not even a garlic press.

Theoretically she could have picked anything from my discarded things – there are dishes galore, in particular.

But she actually prefers to buy things gradually – and to bear the makeshift status quo.
Yes, even for weeks or months.
Because after that a garlic press can suddenly be the best thing ever!
The difference is that it is exactly the garlic press you chose yourself – and not Mama’s old stuff she doesn’t need anymore.

Therefore listen to my advice of the day:
If you want to start something new – be it moving into a new appartement, starting a project, go travelling or writing a blog, don’t wait until everything is complete and the circumstances perfect.
Just begin!

Then everything around you will grow in a healthy way and you will find the greatest joy in every little new addition – be it a new layout or a garlic press.

I am genuinely happy for anybody who has the necessary means (financial or otherwise) to start big/professionally right away.
But honestly: how often does that happen?

The rest of mankind often secrectly wishes for a sponsor who hands them 10.000 Euro, because then “I could finally do what I always wanted to do, live how I always wanted to live!”.

Wake up!
That sponsor is not going to show up.
At least not the way you imagine it.
Just forget it.

But maybe I will win the lottery! And God might send somebody who has the money!”

Yeah, sure.
God can also make it rain pink lollipops, no problem.

One thing for life:
In most cases (I would even say: in all of them!) a seed will be given to you, not the harvest.
Such a seed usually does not look spectacular at all.

Most seeds are small, gray and tiny, have you noticed that?
A seed is so inconspicuous, that most people do not even notice it: a talent, a passion, an idea, an ability, a viewpoint that others do not have.

And guess who is responsible for the seed from now on?

So do not carry it in your pocket.
Don’t hold it between your fingers and daydream about “everything that could be, if I only had more money…”.
Place the seed in the soil and water it, look after it and care for it, don’t get upset, if others ridicule you (because: “you can’t even see anything.”) and look forward to harvest time.
And water it.
And care for it.
And be happy, if it grows.

And don’t dig everything up after three days, because nothing’s happening.
Oh yes, a lot is happening–give your seed the time it needs.
Because this is exactly the time that YOU need: in the meantime you receive training and refinement of your personality, and you learn things that are very important for the steps to come.

One advice I gave to bloggers during the workshop on Saturday was:
Enjoy the time when you are just starting your blogs.
Enjoy it, if you get few or nearly no comments – this is the time when you learn to be independent of other’s opinions.
And this is the best way to write a really good, inspiring blog –to be immune against criticism and praise.
I love healthy growth.
I love it when you start with very little and everything grows bit by bit.
It is like an epic adventure that sometimes really challenges you, but at the same time propels your personality forward in a big way.

And your personality is ALWAYS the key to success, no matter in which area.

So don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity, but very consciously enjoy the makeshift state in which you are right now and be happy for every little change.

Don’t despise your seed, because it might look inconspicuous and “doesn’t look like much”.
Don’t deprive yourself while waiting for something spectacular to happen to be able to start–everything you need right now is here right now.
That which isn’t here you don’t need yet.

And you will see how your seed grows bit by bit, blossoms and carries fruit.
And A LOT OF fruit.
You will be so delighted about every little leaf!

About every new order, about every new reader, about every little change!
About every new garlic press or mixing bowl!
I have no idea how I ended up writing about inspiration while writing a post about dishes.
Honestly I don’t.
Once it flows…

Easter Wishlist:
  1. IB Laursen casserole dish
  2. Mixing bowl
  3. Tafelgut teas
  4. Dish towels
  5. Small bowls from Bloomingville

Casserole dish, mixing bowl, dish towel: IBLaursen
Tea: Tafelgut
Everything by Bertine*
* advertisement

With love from Berlin and from the Baltic Sea!

If you want to read more about this: THIS WAY.

Dienstag, 15. April 2014

5 simple tips for more everyday fitness.

The blogger workshop has to wait:
Today I feel the sudden urge to write something about exercise!

All workout fanatics and pros can skip reading this, as there will be neither groundbreaking news (“the perfect bikini body in just three weeks!”) nor any extensive instructions.

My post is more likely directed at all those who…

- have so far not really taken to exercise, but would like to be fit all the same,

- have a densely filled work day,

- instead of “my life will be completely different from now on, I am going to change absolutely EVERYTHING” prefer to integrate a short unit into their daily life, which shows a maximum of results with a minimum of effort.

In other words, people like me ;).

For, yes, I am slim (which is 90% due to my eating habits and 10% due to my genes) – but I am not completely fit.
And there is a big difference!
For joints and muscles as well as endurance.

I have actually meant to change this for quite a while.
Yet I wasn’t ready to invest a lot of effort and big changes, nor to put in a lot of time.

I have been running for several weeks now, and afterwards I add a few simple and effective exercises:
all in all it does not take me much more than half an hour.

How did this happen?
Here are my tips and personal experiences – I am sure one thing or another will help you, too!

1. Motivation.

What triggered me was one single sentence:
"When you get up in the morning, drink a glass of water, put on your running shoes and run! And only return after 20 minutes.”

I have talked about this here before.

The simplicity of this statement nearly shocked me, as I instantly knew:
"Even I should be able to achieve THAT?!”

Very easy.
Put on shoes.
Start running.
Return after 20 minutes.


All that’s keeping you are lame excuses, that’s literally ALL. So every time I didn’t feel like going (and it was obvious that that was going to happen) I asked myself straight off: "Do I not value my body enough to just go and invest 20 minutes? Or am I just too lazy?”
I just didn’t tolerate any excuses, that was all.
And, surprise: everything’s running smoothly.

I am excited for anybody who wakes up one morning basking in the deep revelation: "I will change my life – EVERYTHING. NOW.” And who then goes on to become a superjock and fitness guru – but honestly: how often does that happen?
How long do you want to wait?

In the meantime you better drink a glass of water, put on your shoes and run.

Nope. Easy.

2. Preparation.

As simple as I had set out, as simple do I intend to keep it.

Which means:
I already had a pair of running shoes, I added 3 sports bras from H&M.
That’s all.
No stylish functional clothing, no apps, no heart rate monitor technical thingamabobs.
I don’t even own an iPod.

Should you still need running shoes, please go to a specialist store and get some advice – it is a science in itself and you will truly get your individually perfect shoe there. But it is also quite funny.
In the morning I put on my sweatpants (oh yeah, the ones that I used to wear for lounging around), a T-shirt or a long-sleeved shirt and off I go.
I bet 90% of all readers own sweatpants and a T-shirt!

If it is a little chilly a hoodie serves me well, as my ears easily hurt in the cold wind.
I pull the cuffs over my hands as a substitute for gloves, the hood warms my head and if it gets warmer, I unzip the sweater jacket.
If it gets really warm, I take off the T-shirt too, tie it around my waist and only wear the sports bra (2 on top of each other, which was a tip from Jil who runs regularly).

I run entirely without make-up, my hair in a bun on top of my head – if it’s warm my hairdo usually morphs into a visual disaster.

Nope. Easy.

3. Speed and mileage.

Like anything else I do, I didn’t want to allow any pressure in this area either.

I decided to really ENJOY this time.
The fresh cool air, nature, my body and how it moves.
Amazing or what?
I have two legs that carry me, sometimes fast, sometimes slowly wherever I want to go!
If that’s no reason to be incredibly grateful!
When I slow down I feel a pleasant tingling all over – caused by the fresh air and the exertion.  
Like sparkly lemonade tickling me all over.

I have no intention whatsoever to “cover” a certain distance or successfully accomplish anything, I make no demands on myself – I don’t compete with anybody.
Why should I?

I am relaxed while running at a slow speed that allows me to breathe regularly.
The whole thing in intervals: 5 minutes running, 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes running, short sprint (after which I am half-dead!), and then walking.
The first few times I ran for about 13 minutes, upping it to approx. 25 to 30 minutes due to the route.

I can integrate this well into my morning.
I usually leave the house after the kids have gone to school and I have tidied the kitchen.
And I run only every other day.
No “I made 5km today!”
No “I want to improve.”
And above all (!) never ever a guilty conscience, if time restraints don’t allow me to go for 2 or 3 days.
I personally abhor things like a guilty conscience – for whatever reason - , and I certainly don’t want to add that to exercising, too.
If I exercise: great.
If I don’t: whatever.

By the way, you can seriously run almost everywhere, and you can even pack the shoes when travelling.

Come on.
So easy.

4. Muscle growth.

When I return from my run I am abviously already in my sports gear – so why not immediately add 2 to 3 simple and effective exercises to stimulate muscle growth? It doesn’t even take 10 minutes, I don’t have to drive to a gym, everything I need for it, I have at home. (One pillow, two one-quart bottles of water for weight lifting).

One of the exercises for example is relaxed sitting, back to the wall.
WITHOUT a chair, mind you.

(see HERE).
Now do that for a minute….

For as we know running is more of a cardio & endurance thing (please correct me, if I’m wrong, I am not so knowledgable with these things!) – for a great physique you have to put in a little bit more effort.

I carry out everything slowly and in a controlled manner, and just as often as I manage to do it – and that is usually not that often. Nevertheless my muscles are always sore the following day.

This makes for a flat stomach, strong support for the spine (a tense neck often results in headaches) and: muscles burn fat even when you’re at rest.

By the way, Jil’s trainer Alex showed me the exercises – a competent and unbelievably likeable man, who even writes a blog ;).
So if you are further interested in fitness and nutrition, visit him HERE!

3- 4 exercises that take not even 15 minutes?
Even I can achieve THAT – now that I am already standing here in my living room, sweating ;).

5. Attitude.

As in a lot of other areas there is a risk you run also in the area of exercise and fitness, a risk called: religion.

In other words:
You declare your own way of living as the Only One and from now on look down on anybody who is too weak/fat/lazy/ignorant/unable to live just like you.
Maybe only behind closed doors, maybe just in your head – still, from now on you look condescendingly at anybody who lives a different life.

So, if you already exercise regularly and notice the following or similar thoughts running through your head:
"Well, SHE could really use some exercise, look at how unathletic she looks!”
"5K?! Ridiculous, I can do 4 times as much!”
"Oh man, I am so much BETTER, because I am athletic!”
 - you are well on your way straight to hell.

Well, congrats!
By chance I overheard a conversation at the grocery store, where two women condescendingly talked about the contents of the shopping cart on the conveyor band at the check-out – mind you, not about their own, but about the person’s in front of them.
"When I look at what I just bought, only fruits and vegetables and healthy things, and compare it to this one up front, just processed food – I fell so much better. How on earth can you buy all that!”
This is a shining example of derogatory religious behavior – it exists, of course, also in other areas of life:
Be it fashion ("how dare you wear something like that?”, “I am dressed with SO much more style”) , parenting ("I am just totally the better mom, I would NEVER allow my child to do that!”), interior decoration ("OMG, a tiled living room?! My house is decorated so much more tastefully…”), vaccination of young children, vegan diet, etc., etc. etc.
In some areas outright religious wars are fought ;).

Every time you look down on others, compare yourself with others and feel better afterwards - just forget it.
If you feel worse afterwards, on the other hand, it’s simply inferiority – just forget it, too, is what I think ;).

Just be happy about your own change, don’t judge others – live and let live.
Not so difficult, right?
You see: everything’s easy ;).
That’s how I like it!

With love,

p.s. We had some girls sleeping over today.
When I took the pictures for this post, the ladies had just gotten up (11:30am!); in passing Noelle’s friend said to her, laughing: “Your mother! She rather takes a picture of her running shoes than run in them!”
It's a tough job.