Montag, 30. Juni 2014

Hello July!

In June...

- we celebrated the re-launch of the Liebesbotschaft international site: the blog for all English-speaking readers was created in collaboration with Eva from Ginnell Studio,

- and we kept right on celebrating: first it was my big birthday (yay!), then Ben turned 13 (as of now I officially have a house full of teenagers) and I created a "Hobbit" dessert table, because...

-... we brought a real sword back from Rome for Ben.
But we didn’t travel to Italy only to buy weapons:
I told you about my adventures HEREHERE and HERE, including the most beautiful drawings by the wonderful Nicole Adler.
In addition there was a lot of style and food inspiration for la dolce vita at home!

- speaking of home:
summer made its entrance – with fresh flowers, new pillows and the loveliest mugs, lots of blue (HEREHERE, and HERE), and some recipes:

- an Italian pasta dish: Pasta alla Norma con Salsiccia,
- Jil’s healthy (vegan) mousse au chocolat,
- and finger food while watching soccer: chicken kabobs, coleslaw and home-made spice mix for fries!

- there was also new input on how to be truly sexy!

I am very much looking forward to spending July with you – it’s going to be the summer of our lives!

How so?
Well, because…nothing on the outside has the right to determine how you’re feeling – if you decide to live in maximum happiness, no other person and no situation can stop you from doing so!
You also have me, what else do you need to be happy…

And I am always with you (in your heart or in writing online), and so we can celebrate the summer together, for example by…

- testing a few light summer recipes,
- doing a simple AND stylish DIY craft project,
- getting inspired once again by the women of Rome, 
- and by enjoying every day, as if it was our first on this planet!

I read a bumper sticker on a car today:”born to live.” – beside it pictures of dogs from the pound.

Dogs aside – all I thought was:
I am in this world to LIVE – and not to worry, to be upset, to eat bad food, to have bad sleepless nights, and to be in a crappy mood (and blame everyone else for it).
I am born to L I V E!
And so are YOU!

And that means in the best sense of the word: like God on earth!

It’s often easy to forget, when circumstances raise their voice so loudly, right…

So, for this reason, the monthly reminder from Liebesbotschaft:


You’re welcome, my pleasure ;).


This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Sonntag, 29. Juni 2014


Rainy Sundays are my favorites!
Cuddling up on the couch, reading, visiting a museum, making home-made chocolate – and for the evening I have a great family movie recommendation!

- The first hydrangeas are available at the market:
I buy a whole load of them and distribute them in single stems in large apothecary jars from the flea market, instead of putting them all in one vase together.
The same works also with big mason jars and glass pitchers!

- Last week Noelle grabbed her camera, her brother and a bunch of clothes and asked me to drive her out to a field – where the two of them had great fun with a shooting after sunset.
I explicitly mention this, as Ben starts fooling around, as soon as I even think of taking a picture – for Noelle, however, he would do anything!
All I managed to get were a few quick pictures, whereas his sister’s instructions were followed to a T, for hours and with the patience of a saint (and with obvious delight about the whole thing).

More on Noelle’s blog soon!

- When I saw this picture I had to rush to the kitchen immediately!

A little preliminary info:
Cocoa is generally one of the most high-grade and nutrient-rich foods: brimming with magnesium (heart + circulation and enhanced energy), iron, regulates cell growth and has 30 times as many antioxidants as green tea.
The secondary phytochemicals in cocoa inhibit the growth of bacteria responsible for tooth decay and stop the build-up of dental plaque.
Additionally the cocoa bean is a mood booster: it stimulates the production of dopamine and serotine in the body – the Aztecs chew on raw cocoa beans to prevent depression (!).
In short: cocoa is a real super food!

The cocoa bean provides all these effects only when ingested in its raw form, in other words: not heated above 107°F.
Adding milk, sugar and heat destroys most of the positive aspects – industrially produced chocolate is usually heated to 266°F.

So, if you wish to enjoy all the wonderful characteristics of cocoa you have to eat the so-called raw chocolate.

If your taste buds are used to store-bought candy it will take a while until raw chocolate will actually taste good.
As, however, it is so full of wonderful properties:
Give it a chance!

How about simply making your favorite kind at home?
If you make just a small amount, you can even use fresh fruit and slowly get used to the full-bodied, somewhat tart taste.
Noelle has gotten to a point where she loves raw chocolate a lot.
(I only eat small amounts, which is all I can tolerate. Ben is hopelessly Nutella-contaminated anyway.)

For this version a little maple syrup is added – so it’s a somehow tentative approach;).

Raw Chocolate:

1.6 oz cocoa butter
1.6 oz white almond butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 pinch of sea salt
a little bit of vanilla seed (freshly ground)
2 Tbsp raw cocoa

Nuts, almonds, dried fruit or fresh berries

Melt cocoa butter in a pot, take off the stovetop and mix in all other ingredients.
Pour the mixture into a dish, sprinkle with nuts and berries and place into the refrigerator.

The ingredients are enough for two of these dishes.

Thank you, dear Fräulein Kußmaul, for this fantastic recipe!

- A DVD tip for a family evening:

if you liked Little Nicholas, you will love this movie!

My children and I laughed so hard that at times we were hardly able to follow the storyline – French cinema couldn’t be any more beautiful and entertaining than that (and no boring stretches in between).
Even for adults a real pleasure, recommended for about 10 years and up, in order to understand the humor.

Sources of supply:
Tine K. home throw: geliebtes Zuhause
Small china bowl: LaMaison

You will find the ingredients for raw chocolate in well-assorted natural food stores or online:
Raw cocoa: HERE
Cocoa butter: HERE
Almond butter: HERE
(everything via Amazon)


Thank you, Ginnell Studio, for translating this post!

Freitag, 27. Juni 2014

Fingerfood + best spice mix for fries in the world

Even if I’m relatively impartial towards soccer:
These World Cup snacks are wonderful for every day, as a snack, in the evening on the patio with a glass of wine or in the company of friends – because they are easily and quickly prepared and don’t require any fancy ingredients.
You might know some of them already, but it’s worth it just for the best home-made fries spice mix alone:

You definitely have to try it!

Everything is served on environmentally-friendly, disposable wooden flatware.
It’s not only lovely to look at, but it is made of wood from controlled and sustainable forestries.
Ideal also for birthday parties, weddings and parties!

Sweet potato fries with 2 dips

sweet potatoes
sea salt
olive oil
sesame seeds
spice mix for fries

Peel potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut into long, thin strips and distribute each type on its own cookie sheet.
Dribble some olive oil onto the potato slices, add salt; mix the sweet potato fries with oil, sea salt and sesame seeds, then bake in the oven at approx. 425°F (convection oven) until golden brown (about 20 to 30 minutes).  
If you like you can also deep fat fry the fries.
Place the potatoes into a bowl after baking them and mix with plenty of spice mix, mix well.

Best spice mix for fries in the world

Makes about 3.5 oz.:
2 ½ Tbsp hot paprika, 
4 tsp iodized salt, 

2 ½ tsp dried onions, 
1 tsp sugar, 
1 tsp dried parsley, 
1 tsp potato starch, 
1 tsp garlic powder, 
½ tsp ground coriander, 
½ tsp curry powder, 
½ tsp ground pepper, black

Mix all ingredients, then grind in a mixer.


1 mango
1 tomato
1 lime
1 Tbsp sugar
apple cider vinegar

Peel the mango, purée 1/3 of the mango and dice the rest.  
Also dice the tomato and mix with the mango purée and the mango pieces.  
Add the juice of half a lime, the sugar and, if desired, a little bit of apple cider vinegar.
If you like it spicy, you may cut a jalapeno pepper into very small pieces and add it.  
Allow ingredients to come together and add a little coriander or other herbs, if desired.


hot chili sauce (e.g. Tabasco or another chili sauce of your choice)
jalapeno pepper
tomato paste
1Tbsp lime juice
sea salt

It is hard to give exact measurements for this recipe, as not everybody likes (and can handle) the same amount of spiciness. 
Just mix the mayonnaise with a bit of chili sauce, some freshly chopped jalapeno pepper, lime juice and sea salt – all the while adjusting the amounts to the desired degree of spiciness.
In order to achieve a reddish hue you can add a bit of tomato paste.  

Glazed carrots

The dark-hued carrots at the market were just TOO pretty not to take them home!
They simply get rinsed and not peeled – for their preparation I was inspired by this very simple recipe from the blog “Krautkopf”, thank you so much!

1 bunch of tender carrots, 
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, 
1 Tbsp honey, 
sea salt, pepper.

Rinse carrots and distribute on a cookie sheet. For the dressing mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt and pepper and dribble over the vegetables. Then put carrots into the oven at 350°F (conventional oven) for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Chicken kabobs with bacon and prunes

These are gobbled up at our house within minutes – the chicken stays moist thanks to the bacon and doesn’t dry out.

1 chicken breast
bacon strips

Cut chicken breast into medium-sized cubes, add salt and pepper, then wrap bacon around them.  
Skewer the chicken pieces, alternating with the prunes and sauté in a frying pan, so the bacon gets nice and crisp.

We drink home-made rhubarb lemonade with the chicken kabobs – the season is nearly over, so make sure to enjoy it still, but hurry!
The recipe is HERE.

Cole slaw

This raw food salad is known as "Surówka" in Poland, and is available in many different variations: every family prepares it a little differently.
It tastes fresh, crunchy, is full of vitamins and matches all barbecue dishes perfectly or serves just as a snack – my kids love it a lot.

It will turn out particularly well made of tender cabbage with its outer leaves still green, tender and quite soft – it is in season right now, so definitely try it!
I use sweetheart (or pointed) cabbage for this.

1 sweetheart cabbage
2-3 carrots
1/2 can of corn

4 Tbsp lemon juice
5 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp sugar

Cut the cabbage into very thin ribbons – the thinner they are the better the salad will be.
Then peel the carrot and either chop it very finely or grate it.
Add the corn.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing and add to the salad, mix.

Disposable wooden flatware:
cones: HERE
small boats: HERE
Additionally available: small bowls (HERE) and very sturdy bamboo plates (HERE).

The quilted mason jars are HERE.
Everything at Blueboxtree.


p.s. thanks for your comments on the Insider Jokes Post, I even read them out loud to my children and we had a good laugh.

This morning Noelle had the Liebesbotschaft cashmere cardigan in her hand:
"May I wear this to school?”
Me: "No."
Noelle: "But WHY not?”
Me:”Because…um…because I have a temperature.”

Know what I mean. 

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2014

Unsexy skills that will change your life, part III.

Today I give you another chapter in the series on "unsexy skills" – i.e. the characteristics that at first don’t seem to be glamorous at all, but without which you won’t get far in life.
Or at least not to a place you want to be in: a successful, fulfilled life without financial hardship.
(all students who DO NOT aspire to this, please change direction now and leave the room. Thank you.)

Some of you will already have absorbed the following characteristic with the proverbial mother’s milk, and others will start feeling rather uncomfortable now.

Same thing applies this time:
Don’t take it in intellectually and then add this as another bullet point to your “I-will-have-to-improve-myself-to-do-list”, but absorb and bam! straight to your heart.
Everything will fall into place, you will see…

Because today we’re talking about:

3. Industriousness, diligence, effort.

The media shows a somewhat warped image of reality (yeah, right, something ENTIRELY new):
They will “discover” you and you can obtain fame with sometimes very limited abilities.
Sometimes just your looks will suffice, sometimes weird behavior – at any rate you’ll be a “celebrity” in no time and earn a living by doing nothing (or very little).

To mention it right at the start:
If you want to achieve anything in life forget people like that once and for all.
Just forget it.
Don’t ponder for one second why they can do this and that, don’t analyze it and don’t even wish for their path in life, not even a little bit.


I am utterly convinced:
No sweet without sweat.

By this I don’t mean that you have to earn everything in life.
No – I just believe that making an effort as such is something very beautiful and fulfilling and you won’t get very far without it.

Yes, there are people who are privileged to (or forced to) work just a little or even not at all.
In most cases these people had previously been very diligent, so that they can have others work for them now.
Or their parents were very industrious.
Or their parents’ parents – no matter: real success has its seed from which the tree grew, the fruit of which still feed the grandchildren.
A wonderful thing!

Industriousness has a really unsexy image – if your friend whispers in your ear that “this guy is a really hard worker” you probably won’t tear off your clothes the next time you happen to run into him.
Although this man will probably get far in life ;).
To make an effort means to set yourself a goal and to reach it – independent of the current mood and independent of whether you ”feel like it”.

Our society holds hanging out, relaxing, resting in high regard.

Sure, they are all important and definitely have their place – but some people do NOTHING but relax.
And then they are surprised that nothing’s progressing.

Some are convinced that one day success will just fall into their lap – that their time will come.
With this attitude they completely forget to plant what was given to them NOW (their seed), and to care for it and nourish it every day.
And then to their great astonishment there is no tree to be seen.

Believe me:
There are only few trees that can walk.
I haven’t met any until this day, if I really think about it.
There will be no tree walking up to your doorstep or even fall from the sky – if you have not planted one and have diligently cared for it.

And now I’ll tell you something:
It is NICE to be busy.
And it is NOT nice to always just hang out – somehow a human being isn’t made for that!

I read a beautiful sentence on Instagram yesterday:
"created to create".

That’s exactly how it is!
You have so many abilities, gifts and talents that it is a disgrace to squander them and, instead of putting them to good use, to lounge around on the couch, to meet people for coffee all the time, to hang out for days on end in bed/with friends/whatever, and time is ticking.

I know that in Germany we save water, and other resources are not being squandered either – the real scandal, though, is that many people squander their lives away with cheap television series or meaningless telephone calls.
Why aren’t there any campaigns against that?
Why doesn’t anyone ever say that working hard is sexy: 
Instead there are innumerable funds spent on wellness/relaxation/time-out techniques, week-ends etc.

To be diligent also means to sometimes overcome reluctance – and just get something done.
To tackle things instead of just constantly talking and dreaming about them.
To be industrious means to see something through and to deliver a presentable result – and all that within a reasonable time span.
To make an effort means: here is my goal – I will pull this off – and I won’t stop, because a great song happens to be playing on the radio/my TV soap is about to start/I’d rather talk on the phone to a friend and generally…don’t feel like it anymore.
We all know it all too well.

Being diligent means to exhibit constancy, and not to give up due to all sorts of sensitivities in order to take a time out.
A cigarette here, a coffee there, a little break, just checking in on 5 more blogs and isn’t it time for lunch yet?
You are busy, but not with anything productive – and then you wonder that nothing really progresses?
Oh, come on!

I’ll say it more bluntly:
The opposite of industriousness is laziness.
(and not being relaxed, as some might falsely assume.)

And honestly: who wants to be with a man who is simply lazy all the time?
THAT is totally unsexy!

I believe that most of us could do more* - for that, though, they might possibly have to leave their comfort zone, move their butts, overcome their reluctance and sweep aside the distractions.

Unfortunately we associate such negative things with being “industrious”:
So many unpleasant, tiring things that one rather doesn’t want to do.
Yet it is such a beautiful characteristic!

I enjoy it very much, if my day was successful, and the lovely fulfilled feeling after work is done.
Sometimes I have a choice whether I want to work some more in the evening, or not:  
I am completely free, I don’t have to justify anything to anyone and can decide any which way I want.
And then I sometimes think to myself: “Oh, come on, put in one more effort now.”
Believe me, I haven't regretted it once!
Quite on the contrary!

Some people are too lazy to prepare themselves a fresh meal in the evening that would be beneficial for their bodies – out of sheer laziness they stuff their precious bodies with any old processed stuff.
Some are too lazy to exercise – their reluctance keeps them from staying fit and healthy even into their old age.
Some are too lazy to tidy - and burden themselves and their family with a chaotic environment.

When, with a little bit of an effort, everything could quickly change!

"Yes, Joanna... I do want this ... but then there’s my weaker self and I don’t manage ..."

Baby, honestly:

The “weaker self” is an inferior, utterly weak energy of reluctance and laziness that stops you from living your full potential.
And just because they gave it a name, wrote tons of books about how to overcome it, and invented tons of techniques how to handle it – it still stays weak, little and copies everything you do!

It’s NOTHING, miserable, ridiculous and is NO threat to you at all.
You’ll get over it so bloody easily!
You won’t allow an ant to bring you to your knees either, do you?
Even if they called it “the weaker self ant” and wrote books about it – it would still remain an ant that you remove with a flick of your thumb!

That’s how the cookie crumbles!
The weaker self is just an excuse for the weak who don’t want to anyway.
But you want to and that’s why it’s not even worth mentioning.
You can save on those books.
(You better give the money to me, it’s gonna be in good hands. A joke! A jo-o-o-ke!)

"But Joanna..."
Not worth mentioning!!!
No obstacle for you, never again!
If you really want to, pfffft!
(if, on the other hand, you don’t want to, then nothing can be done.)

If I write about diligence I do NOT mean “slaving away”, “plugging away” all day long, struggling out of fear of not succeeding in life otherwise.
This is not what I’m talking about!

I believe in a balanced relation between work and leisure – and in a disciplined everyday life which is not used to hang out and about without zest and motivation.

But this is a FAR CRY from stress, pressure, burnout – workaholics have the same problems as lazy bums, they just hide it differently ;).

I don’t place work ethic as a value in and of itself on a pedestal, neither do I say “business before pleasure”.

Instead, how about enjoying business and having the pleasure at the same time?
Somehow this also is your life time – I will never understand that people look forward to the week-end or their vacation more than to the rest of the time.
Of course everyday life is different – but no less beautiful!
Just different.
Usually busier ;).

"Well, Joanna – you can say that, because you have your dream job. I. however, don’t like what I do.”

Yes, I have a dream job.
Nevertheless there are things that I find unpleasant.
Do you want me to let you in on how I handle them?
If I absolutely don’t feel like doing something, I DECIDE to feel like it.
"Come on, Joanna, you are a diligent girl!” – and then I don’t wait until I feel like it (because I might as well wait until the year 2057…), but I get going.
And all is well, EVERY TIME!
Tadaaaa, trick #17!

Whatever I have to do – at least I have somebody near me that I really like.
I am always with somebody who I honestly love, enjoy and value:
And things are great anywhere, together with me – I make them great by my presence, don’t I ;)? That’s why it’s so easy for me.
I’m always there ;).

And third:
If you truly and honestly hate what you have to do, do something else.
But DO something!
And don’t wait until “the right moment” or until “God does something”.
How is God supposed to do something unless through you?

My husband tells me repeatedly that he admires my industriousness.
I wonder every time what he actually means by it – as what he perceives as industriousness doesn’t feel like it to me.
At least not in this “I have to bring myself to do it” sense.
I just love to achieve something, I have fun pulling something off – and when I’m busy I finish much more than other people in the same time, and subsequently myself and my family benefit from it ;).
A win-win situation in other words!

A funny story to wrap up:

Once a Liebesbotschaft reader won the main prize at a give-away.

She wrote me an enthusiastic mail which read:
"I won! Thank you, God, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

I basically answered her:
"God is such a bad blog author.
He doesn’t take pictures, he doesn’t write posts, not once has he started a give-away!
It’s me who does all this, honestly!”

On this note:
Diligence is sexy!
And definitely gets you further!


*I don’t mean mothers with 3 toddlers that are already hovering at the edge of their sanity! 
Just so it’s clear. They should catch some sleep.

Thank you so much, Eva from Ginnell Studio for this great translation!