Travel: Tübingen, Germany

lifestyle, travel, where to wander

If you have not yet heard, Ryan is away in Germany and I am holding down the fort in Edinburgh. By the time I return from our trip this week we will be halfway through Ryan’s programme in Tübingen! To celebrate the big victory, I think Ryan will treat himself to a sprinkle donut from Dunkin Donuts/a new book and I’ll be slamming some banana chips with almond butter/a new nail polish colour. Oh the little things.

A few weeks ago, I made a quick visit to Tübingen. It is a very charming, traditional German village in the southwestern part of the country. It was one of the few villages to not be destroyed during the war, meaning that its medieval old town has been preserved and a great place to see original architecture and city layout for the time period. The city is buzzing with students, something like one in three people are students. It is surrounded with dense woods, parks, trails, rivers and hills, did I mention hills?   

Once again, Airbnb provided the perfect accommodation in short notice. It was a relief to not have to spend our weekend in Ryan’s dorm and be able to sip our coffees, cook our meals, watch soccer matches and snuggle, obviously.  It was such a treat to catch up with my guy, see where he is living, hear him speak German and get a taste of his semester abroad-abroad.

[The highlights of this trip] Wandering narrow cobblestones roads. Getting our shoes muddy in the forest. Taking in hilltop views of blue sky and rolling green hills. Perusing markets and admiring the variety of produce. Being fascinated with all the different types of muesli, Haribo’s and Ritter Sport chocolate – Germans know what they are doing. Went on a mad hunt for the best sauerkraut ended up with some delicious falafel. Cravings are weird sometimes ya know?

IMG_9347

IMG_3967

IMG_9375
IMG_3981

IMG_3970

IMG_3969

IMG_3971

IMG_3973

IMG_9387

IMG_9391

IMG_3959

IMG_3955

IMG_3962

IMG_3977

IMG_3980

IMG_3966

IMG_9388

IMG_3976

 

This week, my Oma and I will go meet Ryan for our long-awaited train trip. We will be using Eurail for the first time- traveling from Germany, through Austria, Slovenia and Croatia!

 

Thank you for your prayers and kind emails to both of us during this time apart. Friends, you have been so good getting me out of the house and making plans with me, it means a lot.

Thanks for sharing life with us! x

 

R+A

Advertisements

Month in Review: April

devotionals, lifestyle

I am noticing a pattern here. I am always changing and my faith is always growing. Lately, I have been reminded of my (many) shortcomings and I am thankful for seasons to examine my heart and soul.

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I just ended 6-months of being unplugged from Instagram and it was a much needed break. But now I am back on, I like it. I like keeping up with friends. But [honesty alert!] for me, I struggle with feelings of it being self-indulgent and self-promoting. I get caught up in the likes, the follows and if it is even relevant, if I am relevant.  My life ain’t perfect, the living abroad thing ain’t perfect, my relationships nope, and the things I decide to post they aren’t either.

The purpose of having a blog is to help me be more intentional about reflecting on our life experiences and the months that pass too quickly. I like the creative platform that a blog provides, a space for me to work on recipes and show my enthusiasm for healthy living and cooking. Posting things ‘on time’, more regularly, or even interesting, can create a bit of anxiety for me. Which is silly. Like really. My anxiety levels do nothing to make me feel more productive, more organised, more relevant… nothing. It just robs me of my current joy. Alas, my April rambling.

IMG_4039

It is a delicate balance to find and difficult to let go of trying to make a good impression on other people all of the time. When I finally decided to let go a little bit, I found a bit of freedom from the self-focused life  Evelyn Underhill describes: “We mostly spend our lives conjugating three verbs: to want, to have and to do. Craving, clutching and fussing, we are kept in perpetual unrest.” Quite simply, it is part of our sinful nature. When we die to self, we are no longer obsessed with self. I am perpetually putting my hope in a God who redeems, restores, makes new and reminds me that perfection is not the standard. Oh bless my heart, we were not made for being in a perpetual state of unrest, discontent and comparing ourselves all the time.

IMG_4040

But thanks be to God, I am always learning, growing and I have come to depend on new mercies. Every. Single. Day.

Amen that our worth is not dependent on our popularity or cool factor. What lasts are the words that we speak, the way that we treat others and how well we love. We can be so harsh, so cruel to our own souls. May we be reminded that we are wonderfully capable, braver than we know and that we are enough. Even when it feels like we are not.

____________________

April brought us an incredible road trip to the Highlands with old friends, link here. We have been wanting to make it north since we moved here and I am so happy that it finally happened! Ryan has been in Tubingen, Germany for a month now. He spends most of his time doing research, going to German seminar and treating himself to the occasional treat at Dunkin Donuts. At times, I ache for him to be here but we have both experienced some very real grace moments during this time apart. Spring is in full swing in Edinburgh, cherry blossoms, full green trees and mild-blue-sky days. The warmer weather seems to be making the distance a bit more tolerable.  I can feel my Vitamin D and dopamine levels skyrocket, makes such a difference.

[April]

  1. Good friends change everything
  2. Sitting in the sun and looking for signs of Spring helps my spirit
  3. Pray even when I do not have the words, turn that anxiety into anticipation
  4. Guacamole fixes most things
  5. Sarah McMillan + Spotify [Acoustic Coffee] on repeat

 

IMG_9186IMG_9200IMG_4369IMG_4531IMG_4561

And now… May is happening. I love May. This week I attended a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, playing dress up has been a unique experience with all the amazing British hats around here! I will post more about this special event next month. We are also anticipating a special visit from my Oma!  She will visit Edinburgh for a few days and then we will meet Ryan for a train trip from Germany to Croatia. There have been many May celebrations, birthday’s and Mother’s Day fun that we have relied on Face Time for recently – heartfelt wishes to our friends and family back home, we miss you!

 

May you have a beautiful week and thanks for doing life with us.

R + A

 

warm turmeric roasted beet + sweet pea salad

mains, recipes, salads, sides

Salad is my favourite food and this time of year I am constantly tossing them together. There are so many creative and delicious ways to dress up leafy greens! They top my list because they are quick, nutrient-dense, budget-friendly and the toppings are endless. This recipe combines the anti-inflammatory spice of turmeric with warm roasted beetroot and sweet spring garden peas. Simply drizzle with a bit of balsamic and you are good to go.

Ingredients

3 red beets, roots and stems removed
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric + ginger powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh spring onion
3/4 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas, thawed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C

2. Wrap red beets loosely in foil. Place in a roasting pan; roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until just tender. Cool completely. Peel beets, and cut into quarters; sprinkle with garlic salt and tumeric powder, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil + vinegars stirring constantly with a whisk. Add beets; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with tumeric, ginger powder + garlic salt.

4. Prepare bowl(s) with lettuce mix and top with chopped celery, peas and marinated beets.

5. Share with your people, or enjoy solo. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Looking to add some protein? This salad will be fantastic with roast chicken or grilled salmon
  • If you tolerate dairy, some goat cheese would be the perfect compliment to the sweet beets and peas.
  • Add a little extra crunch with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • This recipe inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to look through. Next time I make this, I will definitely be adding heaps of avocado.

 

Have a delicious week and let me know, what are your go-to spring inspired salads?

x

 

IMG_3608

 

Travel: Highlands Road Trip

food & drink, lifestyle, travel, where to wander

The Allen’s came to town and we are still not sure how to put into words what their trip meant to us. Matt and Shannon traveled long hours from Denver, took time away from their jobs and made their first trip without their sweet son, Jude. The big and small sacrifices they made for this trip to happen were not lost on us. There were moments where I noticed our two worlds merging – excitedly showing off our new life in Scotland alongside the familiar faces of old friends from home. They blessed us with a suitcase of our favourite brand-name snacks from the States, poured blessings on us through prayer and it was extra nice of them to bring along some Colorado sunshine.

sCOtland2016-029

sCOtland2016-025

IMG_9022

sCOtland2016-024

IMG_9300Day One: Buchanan Bust Station, Glasgow. Bacon rolls. Train to Edinburgh. Water of Leith. Inverleith Park. Vinyl shops. Stockbridge. Coffee @ Cairngorm. New College.  Royal Mile. Grassmarket. Grayfriar’s Church. The Meadows. Dinner + whisky.

sCOtland2016-014sCOtland2016-013

sCOtland2016-010Day Two: We started a morning tradition with the Allen’s of having a ‘slow brekkie’ or slow breakfast. This included sipping countless cups of coffee, in our pajamas, listening to Matt’s playlists and frying up some delicious food. Our day in Edinburgh was full and mixed the best of city + hills. Holyrood Park + Arthur’s Seat. Hike up the Crags. Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop. Old College. Calton Hill. National Museum. Coffee @ Brew Lab. St.Gyles Church. Dinner @ The Scran + Scallie. Fish Pie + Sticky Toffee Pudding. Drinks @ The Last Word, Stockbridge. Circus Lane. More whisky…

IMG_4024The Scottish Highlands live up to the hype. They are what you have heard and more. Sunny skies, sideways rain, other-wordly landscapes, enchanting animals, unique colours and foliage, hills for miles, snow-capped mountains, remote villages and places you would imagine only trolls and fairies living in. The road trip was carefully planned yet adventurous,  rugged yet stylish, wild yet tame, budget-friendly yet indulgent, and at times I had to ask myself, is this really happening?

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

IMG_9308

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetDay Three: Slow brekkie on repeat. Rental car. Drive to Aviemore. Cairngorm National Park. Loch Morlich. Reindeer Centre. 10K Circuit to Ryvoan Bothy. Prayer on the summit. Views at An Lochan Uaine– Emerald Lake. Lunch @ The Winking Owl, Aviemore. Loch Ness + Urquart Castle. Dinner at Oakwood Restaurant, Dochgarroch. Smoked Scottish Salmon + Venison Goulash. Raspberry Cranachan. Drive to Drumnadrochit. Loch Ness Glamping B+B. More whisky…

IMG_8864

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

An Lochan Uaine

IMG_9307Day Four: Waking up to Highland cows + sheep out our front doors. Drive to Torridon on the most dangerous/beautiful/narrowest road I have ever been on, The Bealach na Ba. Stopping the car to see baby cows (I know they are called calves, but I prefer baby cows). Gauking unashamedly at baby lambs (again… I know…) Traditional Scottish lunch at the well-known  Applecross Inn. Hake and prawns. Fish + chips. Langoustines (not what Shannon expected but she was a trooper).  Drive to Skye. Shepherd Huts B+B. Fairy Pools. Prayer. Stargazing.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

IMG_9314

IMG_9036

IMG_9034

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

IMG_9033

IMG_9038The Bealach na Ba : Torridon to Applecross

Day Five: Blue Herron out our window. Birds chirping instead of a phone alarm. Morning greetings from rescue donkey’s, George + Gilbert. Slow brekkie delivered in picnic baskets by our lovely host, Janet. Whisky Porridge. Grapefruit. Fresh coffee. Drive to The Old Man of Storr. Magical black, white and emerald landscape. Lunch in Portree. Fishcakes. Cullen Skink. Drive to Ft. William. Ben Nevis, 1345m. Glencoe. Charming cottage, Tigh-na-Gare, located in Arrochar on the bank of Loch Long. You guessed it, more whisky.

sCOtland2016-082

IMG_9311

sCOtland2016-081

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

IMG_9312

IMG_9046

Portree, Isle of Skye

IMG_9054Day Six: Slow brekkie. More coffee. Drive back to Glasgow. Car game of ‘Lost at Sea’, wow still laughing about this ‘team-building and communication’ game. Bittersweet parking lot goodbye’s. Gathered around the Allen’s suitcases at the airport. Prayer for traveling mercies and that God would seal this trip on our hearts always.

Processed with VSCO with c3 presetOur friendship with the Allen’s, this visit, this experience came at the time we needed it most. It was only a week before Ryan would leave for his semester in Germany and we were more than encouraged by it. This trip reminded us of God’s provision, his goodness and an appreciation for the natural beauty in our world- what a privilege it was to share with such dear friends!

 

With love from Scotland,

x

 

NOTES

-Thanks Matt for being our friend AND for being an incredible photographer. You documented this trip like a boss. – If you are interested in the places we stayed, I have linked to websites for our choice of accommodation.  – Curious about Scottish cuisine? Click on the links to find out more about some of the traditional Scottish food we tried along the way! – If you are in Edinburgh, links also included for a few of the best places to sip in the city.

green coconut smoothie

breakfast, dessert, food, recipes, snacks

I think we can agree fruits and vegetables are good for you. But do you struggle to get all of your greens in for the day?

Maybe you are ready to mix up your morning routine. Want to feel like Superwoman (or man…) from all the greens you consume before your 9am start at work? Raise your hand if you want brighter skin, happy bowels and a slimmer waist?! Give green smoothies a go- they are super healthy, easy to make, and they just might turn you into a morning person.

This smoothie recipe uses fresh fruits and dark, leafy greens. Green smoothies are defined by their use of leafy greens like spinach, kale (most nutrition value per calorie out of any plant!), chard, collards, and even dandelion greens (so good for detoxing) to get tons of vitamins and minerals and give your body the plant-based nutrients it craves.

5 REASONS TO LOVE GREEN SMOOTHIES

  1. Easy way to get 5 servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet every single day. If you struggle with salads and eating green, you might find this doable.
  2. Natural weight loss can be an additional side effect of enjoying these in place of a typical breakfast. Be sure to include healthy fats and protein to make it a more complete and balanced meal.
  3. The immune-boosting benefits of green smoothies are a good preventative measure to keep the flu bugs away. And a simple way to boost your immune system when you are feeling under the weather.
  4. Green smoothies provide natural energy. I have cut back on my caffeine intake as a result because I feel a pep in my step and they help to keep the morning slump at bay.
  5. Quick, easy to make, and portable (if it even lasts long enough to make it out the door) and delicious! It is the best ‘fast food’ for the morning especially if you prep ahead.

IMG_3825

IMG_4005

This book peaked my interest in a morning smoothie ritual. Eat. Nourish. Glow by Amelia Freer- the Queen of all things delicious and healthy. Check out her entire archive of juice and smoothie recipes and how we can use food as medicine. Full of practical advice, I find myself empowered to make healthy decisions about the food I buy and kick unhealthy habits that can make me feel sluggish and exhausted. Amelia makes it easy.

This green coconut smoothie recipe is full of fresh greens and fruit; avocado +coconut that provide healthy fats; banana that creates a creamy, sweet base; coconut milk adds creaminess and complements the flavours from fresh produce.

IMG_3827

Ingredients

  • 8oz/230ml coconut milk (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 8oz water
  • 1 kiwi fruit or granny smith apple
  • ½ banana (preferably ripe and frozen pieces)
  • 3 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 2 celery sticks
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ avocado
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ground ginger
  • shredded unsweetened coconut

IMG_2727

IMG_2631

 

Method

  1. Start with dairy-free milk and water, pour into blender.
  2. Add leafy greens, blend until smooth and leafy chunks are gone.
  3. Add remaining, diced fruit + veg, blend again until smooth.
  4. Pour into a large glass (or a mason jar, you hipster, you).
  5. Gulp, sip or pour into a bowl and add some delicious toppings (see below).

Notes

  • If your smoothie is too thick, add some extra liquid (water or dairy alternative) and blend for a few seconds to thin.
  • If your blender is struggling to make things smooth, try blending your greens and liquid together first, then add the fruit and blend a second time.
  • Enjoy getting creative with some nutritious toppings: a quality protein powder, dried coconut, fresh berries, cacao powder, cinnamon, maca powder, nuts, seeds or a spoonful of nut butter.

Use this helpful guide from simplegreensmoothies.com to get your creative juices flowing and try your own variation

SGS_makeasmoothie4

 

What are you favourite smoothie recipes? Looking for some additional smoothie or juicing inspiration? Here are my all time favourites:

  • Green Kitchen Stories  – an entire cookbook dedicated to smoothies. Yes, dreams do come true and the photography (if you’re into it) is top notch.
  • Minimalist Baker – lots of delicious smoothie bowl recipes. For those of us that prefer to shovel it in with a spoon and can’t be bothered with a straw.
  • Deliciously Ella  –  known for her nutritious and healing recipes, Ella has loads of quick smoothie and smoothie bowl recipes available for free on her website.

 

Enjoy! x

 

IMG_3826

 

Travel: Bruges, Belgium

lifestyle, travel, where to wander

IMG_8647IMG_9117

IMG_9116

IMG_9122
IMG_9113

IMG_9102

IMG_9112

IMG_9063

IMG_8705

 

One of the many highlights of doing a PhD abroad is that it allows us easy and affordable access to Europe. We have a ‘bucket-list’ of places that we would like to visit, but we wait for last minute deals on budget airlines and always find the best accommodation through AirBnb. We avoid baggage fees by bringing one backpack each and away we go!

When it comes to Bruges, Belgium what could be more romantic and inspiring than a place that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale? The medieval charm of it’s cobblestone streets led us to countless UNESCO world heritage wonders and picturesque scenes.

We walked Bruges for hours and hours everyday, stopping at cafe’s here and there, wandering down rows of ornate houses and in awe of the unseasonable and mild weather we were getting for early March. Similar to Amsterdam, Bruges is distinguished by its meandering canals throughout old town. This is a pedestrian’s dream because cars are unable to navigate the narrow streets in city centre. This means that I could safely cross the street, while my attention was held captive by the architecture and not be struck by a car (Ryan always points out this ‘flaw’ of mine).

We walked sun up to sun down, picnicking and snacking on benches as we went. We do not tend to eat our meals out on our budget trips but we always look forward to small treats that are unique to the destination. Our Airbnb host recommended treats from The Chocolate Line, we experimented with flavours like Earl Grey, lemongrass and even saffron curry. It would also not be a Tafilowski weekend without sipping on some local coffee- Blackbird, Verro Coffee and Books+Brunch were all at the top of our list. One of my favourite things about Airbnb (there are loads) is that you might get the chance to chat with your host. Our host, Leon, was beaming with pride with what Bruges has to offer (more than beer and waffles, he reminded us) and that we were enthusiastic to experience it.

For some great sightseeing in town we started at the Gentpoort gate and made our way through alleyways and cottages to the center at Burg Square. We could not resist a canal tour and at €7 each it didn’t break the budget. Nearby is the Begijnhof, a peaceful garden with romance written all over it. We were sure to include stops to Church of Our Lady, the Belfry and Market Halls. We grabbed some fruit and pastries from the supermarket and enjoyed the view of Markt. On Wednesdays there is an open market here well-equipped with locally made jams and dozens of chocolate stands. We were tempted to do a carriage ride but we decided that Bruges is extremely walkable and best by foot.

We can fit a lot into a long weekend. We had ample time to fully experience Bruges and like all of our trips it could be done on a budget. Bruges has a hassle-free vibe, wrapping visitors with a warm blanket of comfy cafes and romantic wanders. Our weekend passed slowly and was oh-so-satisfying. We fell in love with this sleepy Flemish town and will remember it always.

Traveling mercies, friends!

 

With love from Scotland,

R + A

lemon + coconut cake

dessert, recipes, treats

[This recipe has been edited since it was originally posted. I appreciate your feedback about my initial recommendation of coconut flour. I have reworked a few ingredients and hope this variation proves to be more successful for you as it requires less coconut flour! Keep the feedback coming y’all]

Grain-free and sugar-free baking can be intimidating, crumbly and expensive. But it can also be easy, delicious, affordable and make a restrictive diet fun again. Yep, I love fun that you can eat.

When it comes to basic GF/DF/SF/Paleo baking, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Thanks to all the wonderful blogs, cookbook authors, Pinterest and friends with Celiac and Hashimoto’s, or individuals following the auto-immune protocol, it is easier than ever to modify and experiment with any recipe imaginable.

I first made a version of this cake at the beginning of the year and what a difference a few months make in learning how to make vegan, grain-free, naturally-sweetened baked goods all that you want them to be. Patience wins again!

I started my ‘cake experiment’ with a very basic vanilla pound cake recipe from Elana’s Pantry.  I have used this recipe as a base to experiment with banana bread, blueberry morning loaf, cinnamon raisin pumpkin loaf and chunky zucchini bread. I am really excited about this batch of lemon cake because it is super moist, dense yet light, not too sweet, and this case, deliciously lemony! I have to omit eggs from baking and find that banana, applesauce and arrowroot flour bind nicely. This cake is good naked and can also be topped a layer of coconut creme.

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour (can sub tapioca or almond flour)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 coconut milk (or dairy alternative of your choice)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon juice from 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons

Heartbeet Kitchen’s | Ingredients for whipped coconut cream 

1/2 can very cold full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (omit for AIP)

½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C
  2. Coat a 9″ loaf pan with light layer of coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flours, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a mixer or a small processor, combine the bananas, milk, applesauce, vanilla + lemon juice
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. Add lemon zest.  Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
  6. Top with sliced almonds, omit for AIP. 
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown, then tent with foil and bake for another 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before topping with coconut cream and serving your people!

image

image

Coconut cream:

  1. Open the refrigerated coconut milk, being careful to keep it level. Scoop out all the hard cream that has come to the surface, until you hit the liquid. Leave the liquid in the can, do not add.
  2. Put the coconut cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a mixer or handheld mixer on high speed – whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks.
  3. Stir in the honey and frost cake. Best stored in refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature before serving.

 

 Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • I recommend Meyer lemons if you can find them
  • I recommend using a food processor to blend the batter nice and smooth, like an eggy consistency
  • Try letting the cake sit for a bit before eating – the texture improves a bit and the middle should firm up

Enjoy! x

IMG_2936