Follow your dreams

I have this calendar hanging in my living room that gives you a motivational quote each month. For June it says “Follow your dreams”.

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Currently it’s Saturday June 25th, 2016 at around noon while I’m sitting on my balcony, enjoying the sun with a cup of iced chia latte typing this post. And in this moment I couldn’t be more happy about life. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I felt so happy. And I’m pretty sure this happiness doesn’t just come from summer finally arriving here in Munich. It has more to do with the huge step I took yesterday towards reaching my dreams.

I have to admit following your dreams isn’t always easy.

First you have to figure our what your dreams are. Maybe you love cooking, but is being a chef really your dream? Maybe you love children, but do you really want to be a mom? Dreams can also change over time. Think back to when you were 10 years old. What was your dream back then? Did you want to become a fireman, a doctor, a vet or maybe even a princess? Are these still your dreams today? Are you in med school because it was your dream to become a doctor when you graduated high school but 3 years in you hate every second of it?

Then you have to figure out how you can make your dreams come true. This might very likely involve getting out of your comfort zone. Maybe you want to work in this one special company but have no idea how you can get in? Well, ask! Try to get in contact with someone who already works there, ask for an internship, ask what they are looking for in their staff, maybe this happen to be strong points. You have to step up to get where you want to be.

And then you just have to make it happen.

Now to my story:

When I graduated high school I wanted to help people living a healthy life so I went to uni and studied health promotion science. And even though I was really interested in this field (and still am today even more actually) I soon figured out that I didn’t see myself working in it. So I dropped out of uni after one year devastated because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I decided to take a gap year, moved to Boston to work there as an Au Pair and had the time of my life living there. I figured out that I love traveling, planning trips, researching flights, hotels etc.. So after I came back to Germany I started an apprenticeship as a travel agent. I loved it! I got to travel, I was able to use my language skills, plan trips, make people happy on their perfect vacation. After I graduated I stayed at this company got the job I had dreamed of getting from day one of my apprenticeship and all just fell in place. It truly fulfilled me, I loved my coworkers, I loved the destinations we worked on, I got to improve my Spanish skills, I basically loved going to work every single day.

Looking back I don’t know what or when exactly it changed but after about 1.5 years I was on vacation back in New England with a friend of mine and at some point I realized that I’m not feeling the same about my job anymore as I used to at the beginning. I pushed that feeling away though and blamed it on the routine that had set in. I went back to work and was okay with it. I still liked my job, loved my coworkers. Life went on.

A few month later I talked to a friend of mine who had just quite her job and to start her own business she had dreamed of starting for a while now. After I got home I asked myself “What are your dreams? Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I had a couple of versions of my 35 years old self, but in none of them was I still doing the job I’m doing today. I decided to give it a few weeks, I really didn’t want to rush anything. One night I found myself looking up different majors. At no point before had I considered going back to uni, but somehow this idea stuck with me. I was looking up specific majors over and over again and was already picturing myself at uni, giving it my all, graduating, finding that job that gives me the feeling I had at the beginning of my current job. And in this made up life I was happy, happier than I currently was. Don’t get me wrong I know that uni isn’t all love, peace and harmony, I am quite aware of all the work one has to put in but I want that. I want to learn new things, widen my horizon, work really hard.

So last week I have sent out applications. And yesterday I quit my job, that I still like and it makes me sad to leave my colleagues. But I really didn’t want to get to a point where I started to dislike my job, so I’m glad I took the exit before this happened.

I have no idea what exactly is going to happen next, I don’t even know yet if I will be accepted by any of the unis I applied to but at this point it doesn’t really worry me because I’m back on track of working towards my dream life.

My dreams have changed over the last years and I didn’t realize right away that I wasn’t on the right path anymore but when I did, I did something about it, I adjusted my route and it feels right again.

So if you’re not happy with what you’re doing right now I encourage you to take action. Find your passions, your dreams. Figure out how you can work towards making them happen and then simply do whatever it takes.

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

What are your dreams?

Almond Sweet Potato Blondies

If I’d have to choose between blondies and brownies I would usually always choose brownies because of their chocolaty fudgy goodness.

However this recipe might get me to change my mind.

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I came up with these just like I come up with all of my recipes. I got into my kitchen, pulled things out of my fridge and pantry and just started to throw everything together.

I was hoping for the result to turn out edible but I really wasn’t expecting it to make my taste buds THAT happy.  Well it did. My taste buds basically started to dance and I couldn’t stop coming back for seconds and thirds… let’s be real I couldn’t stop until all of the blondies were gone.

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Without further ado here’s the recipe for you:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 14 dates
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 50g almond butter
  • 100g apple sauce
  • 70g coconut flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of vanilla
  • Chocolate chips to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop up your sweet potato and bake at 180°C for approx. 15 min. until soft.
  2. While your sweet potato is baking, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In a food processor blend the baked sweet potato, dates, maple syrup, almond butter and apple sauce.
  4. Incorporate the sweet potato blend with your dry ingredients. The batter should be quite thick but if it seems too thick you can add more apple sauce.
  5. Fold in as many chocolate chips as you like.
  6. Put the batter into a brownie mold and bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Being alone vs being lonely

Lately I have been talking to a few people about spending time alone. It’s been pretty interesting hearing different opinions varying from “I enjoy being alone more than being around people.” to “I get really depressed when I have to spend a Friday night alone.”

Since I’m currently sick with a cold and therefore forced to stay at home by myself I’m also alone 24/7. Hence I have thought about it a little more.

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I have actually always been more of an introverted person. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the company of others. I just also can enjoy my own company a lot and at times I even crave some time alone and in these moments being around people drives me crazy. Therefore I know that during times when my schedule is really busy I have to block some Sunday mornings for example just for “me-time”. Which means no brunch dates, no phone calls, no texting, not even social media. Just my thoughts and I accompanied by a cup of tea and a notepad and I just start writing down what’s on my mind. I also don’t mind going to the movies by myself or travel on my own, it doesn’t make me feel lonely because I feel like I’m in good company with just myself.

Then there were times in my life where it wasn’t just a Sunday morning that I had to spend on my own but rather a few weeks. For example when I first moved to the US as an Au Pair or when I went to Cambodia for a month for an internship. Of course I met people and interacted with people there but a lot of the time I was just by myself and not one second have I felt lonely.

Then again there have been moments in my life when I was in the middle of a group of people and felt as lonely as one can be. I had these moments especially during my time at high school when I was struggling to fit in and tried to be someone I just was not. I didn’t like myself back then and I hated that I had to be a certain type of person to not end up being the one who’s getting bullied.

So I think the line between being alone and being lonely is nothing that’s happening outside. It doesn’t have anything to do with how many people you are surrounded by. It’s something that’s happening inside of you. You have to be in good terms with yourself to be able to actually enjoy spending time on your own.

What are your thoughts about this topic? Do you like being alone or does it make you feel lonely?

Fluffy Banana Bread

Banana bread

Who else is obsessed with banana bread?

Oh you, too? Yeah, I thought so.

Let’s just face it banana bread is pretty dang delicious and also super versatile.

There’s all kinds of banana bread. Dry, moist, dense, fluffy, you can add cocoa, cinnamon, nuts, seed, dried fruit. The options are endless. Type ‘banana bread’ into a google search and you get 3.770.000 results and that’s just from the German search version.

I tried endless different recipes and loved them all. I mean it’s hard not to love the outcome when bananas are involved, right?

However I was in the mood for just a plain fluffy version of it because I’m really into eating my banana bread with different types of spreads lately. I’m not saying you can’t eat a super moist chocolatey banana beard with even more chocolate spread on it, I wouldn’t judge you if you did because I do that myself all the time. But – and I never thought I would say that – sometimes a little less chocolate can be nice as well.

Banana bread spread ideas

Back to what I was saying, so I wanted a basic recipe and I decided to not follow any specific recipe but just work out my own.

The outcome is quite a winner I must say.

Super fluffy, sweet but not too sweet so you can still add a ton of chocolate spread without falling into that sugar coma. Moist but not sticky and with a subtle coconut flavor, which if you don’t like coconut I’m going to give you another option.

The good thing about this basic recipe is that you can also go ahead and get creative. Add whatever you want. Chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, you name it.

Alright here’s the magic recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds + 3tbsp water
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (sub for almond flour if you don’t like coconut)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 5 ripe bananas (the spottier the better)
  • 6-8 dates
  • 1 tbsp soy yoghurt
  • approx. 1/3 cup soy milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (360°F).
  2. Mix ground flaxseeds with the water and let it sit while you prepare the rest.
  3. Combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl and stir.
  4. Add the bananas, dates and soy yoghurt to a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour your banana mixture into the bowl and add the soaked flax seeds.
  6. Combine and add in just as much soy milk as needed to make it a sticky dough. Think more like a cookie dough.
  7. Spread the dough in a loaf pan and put in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!