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Easter Break

Our bags are packed, the cat sitter is organized and we’re off to Berlin today .

I’ve decided not to take my computer with us so don’t be surprised to find things extra quiet around here the next few days.

To everyone back home, have a fun and safe Easter! I love you and miss you!

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Traveling Food

Before heading out yesterday, I made a final attempt to use up the remaining fresh food in my refrigerator.

In doing so, I may have found the most portable food.

Believe it or not, spring rolls are perfect for traveling.

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They are compact, combine a healthy mix of protein, carbohydrates and plenty of veggies, they are a tidy food to eat, creating no mess, and best of all, they taste great!

I included the peanut sauce inside the rolls so it was even more portable.

Once I had enough rolls, I used up the extra sauce, rice noodles, basil, cucumber and carrots to make my lunch yesterday.

Sprinkled with peanuts, the spring roll in a bowl was created!

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Oh so good!

I can’t wait to tell you all about London… but first I need to get out there see something!

Have a great day, all!

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When I was a kid, my parents struck the fear of fields into me.

Not just any field, mind you, cornfields.

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Once you go in, you may never come out.

It’s never taken much to scare me.

My own imagination creates scenarios which are far more frightening than anything my older brother or anyone else could say.

Unlike my best friend, Shana, these fears weren’t even exacerbated by watching Children of the Corn.

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My fear of cornfields was all about getting lost.

Stepping into a field to realize that I didn’t know how to get out again.

Rows of corn going on and on forever, no end in sight.

To this day, cornfields scare me.

Luckily, not all fields make me whimper with fear.

Whenever I go to the Farmer’s Market, I imagine running through their fields.

Up and down rows of beets, broccoli, collard greens, and other vegetables that grow no higher than 2 feet in the air.

While at the market today, I bought a fresh salad mix that I would be happy to get lost in.

I’m not talking iceberg, romaine, and a few arugula leaves.

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When I say mix, I mean mix.

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The variety of different leaves, flowers, herbs and greens in the mix was truly inspiring.

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I don’t even know what everything is!

But one thing I do know, is that this mix was the perfect base for a sweet potato falafel salad.

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Mmm, flowers and other colorful living greens!

Now I’m off for some bedtime reading, How to Get Out of a Corn Field.

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Looking for a cool summer treat that’s low on calories but high on decadent flavor?

How about an extra protein punch to go with this decadence?

There’s no need to head to your corner coffee shop and spend an arm and a let, you can make this one right at home.

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Vegan Protein Mocha Frozen Cappuccino

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

– 1 cup chocolate soy milk

– 1 cup silken tofu

– 3-4 Tbsp coco powder

– 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

– 1 Tbsp. agave nectar

– 1/2 scoop protein powder such as Vanilla Sun Warrior

– 10 ice cubes

– 1/2 cup coffee or espresso, frozen in an ice cube tray

Method

Blend all ingredients together until smooth and incorporated. You may need to scrape down the powders from the sides of the blender.

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You want rich and creamy? You’ve got it!

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Berlin Recap

Before the adventures in Sweden and Denmark were underway, Sebastian and I spent 5 days together in Berlin.

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Berlin is Sebastian’s home town and any time we go back, he in in his element.

Of all the cities in Germany, Berlin is my favorite too. It is young, fun, multicultural, artistic, and unusual. I just love the Berlin buzz.

Although I’ve been to Berlin 6 times in the past 3 years, I had never been to the top of the TV tower.

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Well, not until this time at least!

I’ve seen many a city from the top of tall buildings, and although the view was great, I wouldn’t put this top at the top of my list because the shape of the glass made it hard to take good pictures. Nevertheless, here are a few shots of the great city of Berlin!

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In addition to playing tourist in his home town, Sebastian also showed me a good time at his friend’s birthday BBQ.

In order to save him from embarrassment, I did my best to make the most “normal” food choices.

How to Not Look Like a Weirdo Vegetarian at a BBQ

Step 1: Buy meat look alike products

P7096721Make sure you have enough to share!

Step 2: Buy grillable veggies P7096722 Mmmm…good looking guy modeling sweet corn. Be still my heart!

Step 3: Eat some junk food too!

P7096720 Orange-stained finger tips just scream BBQ fun!

Step 4: Remember that Halloumi is always a hit.

P7096724 Not just for vegetarians, everyone loves halloumi!

Step 5: Bring your goods in a container with beer and other BBQ necessities.

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Step 6: Be nice to the griller and lick your lips with the rest of them!

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Step 7: Enjoy some East German chocolates for dessert.

P7096726 Ok, maybe this did happen as step 1… but I encourage you to wait.

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On the way to the BBQ, we visited the downtown area of the borough in Berlin where Sebastian grew up.

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Yesterday was a day spent sleeping and cooking.

Not too bad in my books.

The morning started off quite late but with another tropical fruit smoothie.

P7247785 For this batch, I added about a teaspoon of coconut butter. Extra tropical!

After some light housework and grocery shopping, it was time for lunch.

Yesterday lunch was a 3-course affair.

It all started with steamed beet greens and a quinoa cracker with cheese.

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The greens were topped with homemade herb butter, lemon juice and garlic powder, salt and pepper.

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Followed by boiled corn with more herb butter, salt and pepper.

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Then finally, the beats were finished. Squeezed lemon juice, S & P on top.

It was a beautiful, farm fresh, summer lunch!

Saturday morning, I was ripped from my sleep with an incredible pain in my leg.

A charley horse.

Now, I’ve only had 3 charley horses in my lifetime, all of which occurred during the night and in my calf muscles.

I woke up to feel every fiber of my left calf muscle, bulging from my leg. It’s so strange to see and feel the ridges of the muscles. Something I couldn’t make the muscles do if I wanted to.

The muscles spasm lasted about a minute, but the pain was excruciating.

It literally took my breath away.

Once the muscle relaxed to normal again, my entire leg was throbbing so badly that I couldn’t fall back asleep. So, I got up, drank a ton of water, then laid back in bed to toss and turn.

I guess I need to eat more bananas and be sure to stretch more thoroughly after spin class.

Lesson learned.

Needless to say, I was tired all day so took an afternoon nap. Bliss.

Before I knew it, I was hungry again. Luckily, Sebastian and I had big plans for dinner.

Pfifferlinge

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Right now, these golden wild mushrooms are in season in Germany.

I’ll admit, when we bought these, we didn’t know how to cook them or what they were called in English.

I now now that German pfifferlinge are chanterelle mushrooms in English.

After a quick internet search, we learned to clean the mushrooms under running water then cook them in butter, crushed garlic and herbs.

Simple enough!

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– fresh chanterelle mushrooms

– 2 cloves garlic, smashed with a knife, skins removed

– 1 Tbsp. butter

– fresh dill (next time I will use rosemary instead)

– salt and pepper

The mushrooms are really “meaty,” thick and chewy. They have a very subtle flavor that can’t really be described. Lovely though.

We also enjoyed boiled potatoes, red cabbage with apples and a protein of choice with our meal. Oh, and a pfifferlinge back-up sauce, just in case.

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It was rich. It was filling. It was divine.

I opted for marinated tofu while Sebastian made a turkey burger for himself.

After making his plate, he said “I have a dead bird on my plate, what have you got on yours?”

“I’ve got dead veggies.”

Strange things are happening around here lately, it appears that the meat-eater is becoming more vegetarian that the vegetarian.

After 2 bites, Sebastian said he couldn’t eat the dead bird any more so I shared my tofu with him.

The night before, while eating the Swedish Lasagna I slaved over, he said, “this tastes great, but I’m just not in the mood for eating seafood lately.”

Hmm… interesting.

Upon further investigation, it came out that my beloved has been eating at McDonalds lately (Gasp!) Now to gasp again, he admitted that the last few times he’s eaten there, he’s ordered only their veggie burgers! (Gasp!)

Yes, strange indeed.

Can it be that after 4 years, he’s converted to my ways?

We may never know, but with a meal like this, can you blame the guy?

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Helsingborg, Sweden

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If you thought the Sweden re-cap was over, you’re wrong!

But I promise, this is the last one!

One day, I was feeling adventurous and took off for a day of independent sight seeing in Helsingborg.

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Helsingborg has an interesting history, for decades, it was fought over between Sweden and Denmark. Helsingborg has belonged to both countries but now rests in the hands of Sweden.

Map picture

As you can see, there isn’t much dividing the two countries.

Helsingborg is known for shopping.

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But my first stop was to see the remaining tower of the fortress Karnan.

P7167172The tower is from the 14th century and is the only remaining building from the old castle.

In front of the tower is the old city gate. An impressive combination.

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After climbing 146 spiral steps, I reached the level with the view.

P7167196 The tower was built so well that it was impenetrable.

Enemies would rather hold the city in until the residents starved rather than try to siege the fortress.

While at the top, I spotted a bird of prey. He was as interested in me as I was in him. He had quite a view from the top of the tower, just like the defending soldiers 700 years ago.

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If you are ever in Helsingborg, do not skip the tower of Karnan!

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After the tower, I walked over to a church I spotted from above, St. Mary’s.

P7167252 Also began in the 14th century, St. Mary’s church was completed around 1450.

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This stained glass window tells the history of Helsingborg and the struggle for ownership. My favorite part are the trees on the bottom, they remind me of the quilt my mom made for me.

Although the entire church was incredibly ornate, I was most interested in the three ships pointed to the alter.

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In my home church, we also have a ship pointed to the cross. The church I grew up in was founded by Danish Lutherans.

I couldn’t help but marvel at the connection between a strange church in Sweden and my home town.

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After taking in the serenity of the church, I opened my handy city guide in search of a restaurant. In the restaurant section, they even had listings for vegetarian restaurants. I easily found my way to Vegeriet.

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Clean, comfortable and friendly… my kind of place!

I ordered their “famous veggie burger” and an apple, pear and ginger juice.

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To my surprise, I was served with a mixed greens salad, coleslaw and a delicious, chewy bread with whole nuts and dried fruit inside.

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The meal was fantastic. When the burger arrived, it came with another small salad with sprouts and a creamy curry fruit salad.

Well nourished and ready to carry on, I walked to the harbor.

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Such a stunning welcome, wouldn’t you agree?

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Flags of the Nordic Countries.

Unsurprisingly, there was also a beach.

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I attribute the many beaches in Sweden to the fact that the winters are so long and dark.

Once the sun is out and the temperatures are up, every Swede is out swimming.

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Now, are you ready for the best find of Helsingborg?

Are you sure?

Wait for it…

this will change your life!

I discovered where Batman lives!

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Come on, Batman, when choosing an alias, you’ve got to be a little more creative!

Culture, history, shopping and swimming. Helsingborg.

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