Posts tagged addictions

America’s Pumpkin Obsession

When do you really know that it’s fall here in America?

It’s not the calendar that tells you (like everywhere else in the world) we’ve entered a new season, it’s Starbucks actually. People went crazy when Starbucks put the Pumpkin Spice Latte back on the menu a couple weeks ago as they do every fall.

People went nuts on Instagram using the infamous #PSL tag, which obviously (!?) means Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Anyways, a trip to any supermarket will confirm the obsession people have here with all things pumpkin related. From invading coffee to Oreos to beer, the P.S.L. (you’re an insider now, you’re welcome) obsession has truly gotten out of control.

There are such things like pumpkin pasta Sauce, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin spice eggnog, pumpkin shower gels, pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice Hummus, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin protein, pumpkin spice flavored pringles. I think you get the idea. They’re crazy about pumpkins. It’s also a huge family tradition for lots of people to go pumpkin patches and pick their own pumpkins.

One of the things I definitely understand the obsession with are pumpkin pies. If you fancy doing some baking, there goes a recipe you might want to try (->Bon Appetit recipe). Let me know how it went!

What are your favorite fall traditions?

 

 

America’s Food Truck Obsession

Hi friends,

A phenomena that I’ve come across here in the US over and over again, no matter where I go, is that food trucks are incredibly popular. Way more than in Europe. They literally are everywhere on university campuses such as Harvard or MIT, actually on any bigger place in downtown in the midst of all the office buildings and spread around the city. Heck, the city of Boston even has an official food truck map and a schedule sorted by neighborhood on their website (check it out here if you’re a local reader and wish to know when you’re favorite food truck will stop nearby you). There are food truck festivals basically every weekend. Yes. We take our food trucks seriously around here.

The popularity of Food Trucks in the US

After the recession the popularity of food truck has gotten a huge boost as many people that got laid off decided to take the risk of running their own business. These mobile restaurants are more affordable than a “real restaurant” and as they run on volume they can reach high sales pretty quickly. What type of food would you serve up in your own food truck if you ever were to open one? (I looooved the Cookie Monstah food truck, AH-MAZING cookies).

Everthing To Go Please And Thank You

Hi friends,

For here or to go? This will be a question you’ll get asked in any café where you order a coffee. Let’s talk about that in today’s post. Fix yourself a cup of coffee (!) and get reading.

The “To-go” concept – grabbing a coffee to go

Americans seem to like things on-the-go. They eat breakfast in their cars on their way to work. They eat lunch at their desks and catch up on emails. And of course, they drink coffee on the run. Most Americans seem to always be on the go, running from one appointment to the next, going to and from work, picking up kids, running errands, and going to business meetings and social outings. Every morning I walk into town I’ll see literally EVERYONE (not exaggerating here) walking around with a coffee  in one hand and a phone in the other one.

While there are obviously Swiss people who down their cappuccino on the go, too, I still think that it is less common to consume everything on the go. I would also say that in Switzerland, people slow down when they drink coffee. They sit down. They sip leisurely. They chat. They relax.

What I found interesting (to actually bring you some sort of relevant information today) was that even though it seems that everybody is drinking coffee at all times everywhere the United States isn’t even in the top ten when you rank actual coffee consumption per person. According to this article by the Telegraph it’s the Finns that come out on top. They grind their way through an impressive 12kg per person per year, according to stats from the International Coffee Organization. Switzerland makes the Top 10, while the US is on the 26th rank. (If you wondered where Italy is, it made it on rank 13 with 5.8kg of consumed coffee per person).

  1. Finland – 12kg per capita per year
  2. Norway – 9.9
  3. Iceland – 9
  4. Denmark – 8.7
  5. Netherlands – 8.4
  6. Sweden – 8.2
  7. Switzerland – 7.9
  8. Belgium – 6.8
  9. Luxembourg – 6.5
  10. Canada – 6.2

Ricotta Toast Is The New Avocado Toast (It’s A Thing)

Hello everyone,

what have you been eating for breakfast lately? If you were to ask me there’d be only one answer: (TOO MANY) Ricotta Toasts.

I just love them so much. And they seem to be quite popular around here (goodbye Avocado toasts), so if I ever go out for breakfast I’ll find them on the menu waiting for me to be devoured. Have you ever had a ricotta toast? If not let me introduce you to my favorite ideas on how to have a ricotta toast. Do let me know if you’ve tried it!

Ricotta Toast aka the most versatile toast EVER

Ricotta toast is one of the most versatile options in the toast world (yes, I just wrote that). My favorite option by far is having a sweet toast. What does that entail? Add fresh fruit like berries, banana slices, figs or pears on top of your ricotta toast. If you’re feeling lazy just top the toast with a bit of your favorite (high quality) preserve and maybe even sprinkle a little bit of pepper on it. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. Oh yeah. If you want to keep it even more simple, just pour a little honey or syrup on top.

If you’re thinking ‘Sandra, I do not like all that sweet stuff, give me something else’, I’ve got you covered. You can top your toast with fresh herbs or roasted veggies and it will make for a delicious combination, too.

I realize now that you can basically put ANYTHING on a ricotta toast and it will taste delicious, what do you think?

Have a great Tuesday and talk to you soon,

Sandra

My 5 Favourite YouTube Channels At The Moment

Ok, so I promised to be real around here.

And I am. If I have a guilty pleasure it has to be watching YouTube. Today’s is going to be about my top 5 favourite YouTube channels.

Yes, I know know. I watch YouTube for escapism reasons (all of my fellow media and communications friends will know what I mean). Anyways, in case you want to relax and just consume something entertaining (because the thought of actually actively doing something seems difficult or watching something too complicated and demanding). So, those are my 5 favorite YouTube channels, maybe there’s something in for you, too. (I just realized that selection might be a bit more feminine, sorry guys).

#1 The Anna Edit

Well Anna, if you’re ever reading this. I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND! While that might make you feel all cringy I think we’d really hit it off. Yes I do. For all of you who are interested in lifestyle, beauty, food and bits of fashion but all in a really cool and easy and not over the top kind of way, this is your channel. Also, can we take a moment to just listen to this beautiful English accent, so nice!

#2 Estée Lalonde

I’ve been following Estée’s channel for a few years now. She’s Canadian but moved to London for love and is now making videos about all things London lifestyle, beauty, interiors, style in general, books and the list goes on. She has also made a few videos on the topics of feminism and the stylishness and the house Estée lives in are JUST ON ANOTHER LEVEL. So beautiful.

#3 Pick up Limes

I’ve discovered Saida’s channel only a few months ago but really appreciate this nutritionist’s videos on minimalism, vegan recipes and just life tips and hacks in general. You really see the effort she puts in every video and her voice has just something so soothing to it. Don’t you think?

#4 Sarah’s Day

This Australian girl is just so nice. Her accent is, too. She also seems to be super easy going and approachable. Besides showing us the great life of living in Sydney she is all about that healthy fitness and food lifestyle. Check her out if you’re into that!

#5 SORTEDfood 

It’s all about the food. Need I say more? Cool (is it ok to still use cool?) and inspiring channel, check it out yo.

And last but not least, my all time favorite not needing to be in a top 5 because it is just the best…is…..you might have guessed it: Yoga with Adriene!

Let me know what your favorite channels are if you have any!

Cheers!

My Protein Bar Obsession: The Good And The Bad

Hi friends, how are you doing?

So. With all the bike riding and other outdoorsy activities going on, I started looking into snack options that were light to pack yet nutritious and efficient. This led me to check out what my local supermarket had to offer in that department and I quickly ended up at the huuuuuuge (really) energy and protein bar aisle. Now, hear me out. I know that they’re a bit controversial, so let’s dig a little deeper to understand better, especially if you’re into trying out energy or protein bars yourself (Disclaimer if you didn’t know already: I’m not a nutritionist that’s just what I found when doing a bit of research online. Also, some of the mentioned brand are also available in Europe, such as the Clif bars for example. And yes, I took my bars to a park for a shooting, in case you’re wondering).

Some of The Things You Want to Look For In A Bar:

  • At least 5 grams of protein
  • Organic
  • Dairy-free
  • <10 grams of sugar

What Not to Look For:

  • Ingredients you don’t understand
  • High in sugar, non-natural sugars
  • Artificial flavors or preservatives

The good and the bad

Rxbars has a “No B.S.” claim on the front packaging that pretty much says it all in regards to the ingredients. What I also like about it is the different product packaging (I’m such a sucker for nice packaging, I know). But let me tell you, they’re delicious, too. Only downside, they come with 14 grams of sugar, I assume, however that this is mostly due to the dates. So we’re good?

I discovered the Bearded Brothers bars when I was on the hunt for vegan snacks. While they keep things simple and understandable on the ingredients front, they don’t do too well in regards of sugar count (17g) and protein (3g). And this is something I quickly realized: The majority of protein bars share one thing in common: extra sugar. Lots of it. Considering protein bars are frequently seen as a health-friendly snack or post-workout bite, this came a bit as a shock.

Let’s move on to the famous Clif bars. I first got to know Clif bars at volunteering on the Rose Kennedy Greenway as they are a sponsor there. So far so good. What I’ve also found out quickly is that as they have SO SO many different bars and types of bars, they are quite different when it comes to nutrients etc. Take the Nuts & Seeds bar for example that does kind of good with 11g of protein. However, it is quite high in sugar (17g) and calories overall. As another example: The Clif Bar, Chocolate Hazelnut Butter only has 10g of sugar.

Hugely famous are the Lärabars. They vary according to the flavour you’ll pick, good ingredients though.

Larabar

Lastly, the Thunderbird Bars seems to be a reasonable choice on light activity days, when you’re looking for a snack. They do pretty well with 9g sugars, 5g protein, 148 calories overall.

Thunderbird Bar

Ok, so quick excursus here: We know now to try and avoid high-sugar protein bars but what about the protein? Most bars range from 3 to 20 grams of protein. Generally, the amount of protein you need depends on what you’re looking for and your activity levels. If you’re sitting at home all day, you don’t need 20g of protein in a bar, but if you don’t have time to eat lunch that might be a good choice. Likewise, if you’re into an afternoon snack on a walk with your dog, a bar with 6g of protein could be perfect. It is up to you, so use common sense based on your goal for the bar itself.

If you’re not into bars, eat real food instead

Instead of eating lots of protein or energy bars all the time, most experts will say “eat real food” instead. High-protein foods are quinoa, hummus, cottage cheese, lentils, brown rice, natural nut butter, oatmeal, turkey or edamame for example. Or dates as an all natural energy booster.

Are you into energy or protein bars yourself? What are your favorites? I’d love to know!

Have a great Thursday!

My NYC Food Guide

Friends!

I went to New York last week and was BLOWN AWAY. Yet again. Like everytime actually. This city is just so powerful in every possible way.

Overwhelming, huge, intense, never boring, exciting, multifaceted, a little intimidating, and the list goes on. How would you describe your experience in New York if you’ve ever visited before? I’d love to know in the comments below.

All of the adjectives listed above actually also apply to a specific field I want to cover today: The food. I once read that you could have dinner every day of your life at a restaurant in NYC and never nearly have seen everything. There are just SO many restaurants and places to get food. Crazy.

In order to help you out a little here (and for my own memory keeping) I thought I’d collect my favorite food spots in NYC, especially the ones I got to try during my last visit around.

Breakfast of dreams

I am a breakfast person. That’s what I am.

It’s a good thing actually. Except when I want to eat everything on a menu. It’s definitely the meal I feel I can eat the most. So.

If you’re into breakfast as much as me and find yourself in the Midtown area, definitely check out Penelope. It’s a beautiful place with a neighboorhoody feel to it and the most MOST delicious French Toast and pancakes ever. The omelettes and eggs were great, too, I was told. I wasn’t too interested in them though, my main focus clearly being on the French Toast and pancakes. Normal. 

If you’re into the whole French bistro ambiance thing gone NYC style, you have to go for brunch at Balthazar.

Is it bad that I got to know about this place because of an actress (hey Mindy Kaling) that once posted a delicious photo of when she visited? The good thing is that it brought me there, right?

Anways, it’s a beautiful place in Soho where I’ve had the best Eggs Florentine of my life (ok, haven’t had that many so far but it was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S). My mouth is watering right now. Did I even tell you that I am trying out to go vegan for this and next week as a little experiment. Already missing those eggs. Not a good sign I guess. Anyways, I’m regressing. If you still want to get your sweet fix but the place is full (reservations highly recommended), fear not, I have a solution for you. They have a little tucked-away bakery (LOVELY) next to the restaurant where you can get the best orangy brioche and pain of chocolat. HEAVENLY.

Coffee Stop

We were lucky enough to stay at the Ace Hotel in Midtown (beautiful hotel) but were even luckier to find out that there was a Stumptown Coffeebar inside the lobby. We obviously had coffee there EVERY DAY as it just was the perfect cup of coffee. I know I know by now you think, woman, relax, don’t get excited as much as that. But it was just so perfect. Please, do me a favor and go to one of the Stumptown places if you’re ever in New York. Ok? Thanks.

Light Lunch Fusion Style

We were walking lots everyday (we were visiting with my parents btw) and after having had good breakfast/brunches we’d rather keep lunches light or skip them after all only to have a little snack in the afternoon so that we could fully enjoy our dinners in the evenings.

A good place to have a light lunch however and that we all loved was Momofuku Nishi. It’s the one Momofuku restaurant that offers Asian cuisine with an Italian twist. Yup. Sounds interesting. Tastes delicious. Try it!

It’s Dinner Time

Oh Oh Oh. The dinners we had. Let me start with the first one.

It’s not a glamorous place, quite the contrary actually. But it’s such a good experience and such an iconic one, too. I’m talking about Katz’s Delicatessen. If you’ve ever been in New York but haven’t visited Katz’s, please do it next time you go and find yourself in the amazing LES. The atmosphere is just so much fun and the food is…well..nourishing! Not suited for vegans though might I add.

Jack’s Wife Freda: Beautiful little spot in West Village with small but delicious menu. GO!

Tacombi: I mean. Who doesn’t love Mexican food? No one, right? Tacombi is an oldie but goodie. I’ve almost always had at least one meal at Tacombi while being in New York. We went to the spot in Nolita and if you try to come a bit earlier than the big crowd (around 6.30 pm) you’ll easily get a table. Oh the food. Pure bliss.

Two other great places worth visiting are Egg Shop and The Butcher’s Daughter! Let me know if you have any other ‘must’ places in NYC, I’d love to hear!

My Current Netflix Favorites (When the Bad Weather Strikes)

Hello everyone

Well, the weather around here hasn’t been the best, let’s put it this way (it has actually been really depressing and shitty to say the truth), so Netflix as well as lots of tea and planning ahead for visits of friends and family was in order to lighten up the mood.

I thought I’d share my current Netflix favorites with you in case you’re in need of some entertainment as well. But as far as I have heard, you (Europeans you) have been treated to the most beautiful weather lately, so maybe this one goes out more to my fellow friends here in Boston.

#1 The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone

I got really sucked into this series on American history and had to watch all of the episodes within a few days, it’s really well done. Also, it’s really interesting to look into the American history and learn and discover more about its past presidents and important historical events (and about forgotten figures such as Henry Wallace, OMG, what a legend. Do you know him? If not, the movie will introduce him to you. Unfortunately though, he didn’t make the presidency and lost against Truman).

In short: If you’re into history this is definitely a good one for you. 

#2 Call the Midwife

I don’t know what it is but this series just makes me HAPPY. It’s an oldie but still going strong as they have started their 6th season last week in the UK. And it does go strong for a reason, it’s just an uplifting and thoughtful series that will leave you feeling nostalgic and content. Promise!

#3 Sour Grapes

This one is definitely on the lighter side, if you’re looking for an intriguing story about a man in the crazy wine world.

#4 In Extremis

This is not a movie for when you’re feeling depressed or sad yet it so important for everyone to watch (at least that’s how I feel about it).

#5 Janis: Little Girl Blue

Such A COOL woman. If you’re into music and want to learn more about this icon, then this is your documentary!

What are things that you are currently enjoying on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below! Also, are there any specific series or movies you are looking forward to? I am surely looking forward to the release of “Fruitvale Station” on Netflix, coming up in May 12th as well as the second season of “Master of None” in May as well.

Have a nice day!

50 Things That Make Me Happy

Hi everyone

I’ve inspired myself (haha) with yesterday’s post and suddenly felt the urge to write down 50 things that make me happy (sometimes such things do happen). I found that just the simple act of thinking about things that make you happy, writing them down and reading through the list once you’re done will make you smile. FORREAL! (Or maybe I am weird?! No, it’s really nice).  Try it for yourself, you’ll see how it will make you feel happy realizing how many things, be they little or small, make you feel good in life.

my family

philipp (he’s a funny one, makes me laugh ALL THE TIME)

all of my talented, beautiful, funny, smart and thoughtful friends

sleeping in a bed with freshly washed sheets for the first time

the taste of real (and) good food and eating it

 eating unhealthily (heyo you donuts, cakes, cookies, waffles and chocolate, i’m talking about you)

spending a rainy day inside all cuddled up on the sofa and being lazy AF (i’m talking when getting up to the bathroom ends up being a major accomplishment)

looking at and admiring the shapes and colors of all flowers and plants (there might be no plant I don’t find pretty)

doing yoga

listening to the stories of my grandparents

enjoying a good glass of wine and watching netflix (in this exact combination)

reading a really really good book (the ‘you don’t want to put aside’ kind of book, they’re a rare breed)

watching a really really good movie that makes me laugh/cry/think really hard

riding a bike when it’s nice outside

watching live performances (be it musicians, artists, actors etc.). it always makes me so happy seeing other people perform their arts with passion

doing a picnic in a park (on a picnic blanket, that is an essential. without that less happy points)

learning a new language and getting excited about the fact that you can start reading (and mostly understanding) the articles of a cool Dutch online magazine (cool)

genuine people that never expect anything in return (they’re the ones that deserve everything though)

the smell of things that come out of an oven (pizza, bread, cakes, cookies… a lot of good things come out of an oven i realize now)

exercising

buying delicious bread at a bakery (going into a bakery generally makes me very content, it’s a good place)

going for a hike on a sunny day and feeling connected with nature (yes that’s a thing)

(strongly connected to the above and equally as important) sitting on the ground and eating a lunch (that you’ve been carrying around in your backpack for the last couple hours) outdoors. It’s an accomplishment!

the smell of freshly cut grass

listening to music that gets you in a really good and productive mood

drinking cider (O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D)

doing skype sessions with my friends and seeing their faces on the screen

the sound of waves crashing at a beach (being at the beach is generally a good thing)

all baby animals (of course they’re nice and fantastic as grown-ups too but you know what I mean, right?)

good quality ice cream

Horchata

trying out new restaurants and bars

winter (a little less than the others, especially the boston edition of winter)

cleaning the apartment (maybe less the cleaning itself but the result afterwards. remember i’m an old lady at heart)

visiting a farmer’s market and seeing the people behind the produce you buy

intelligently funny people

people who laugh loudly (especially when they laugh at their own jokes)

catching up on youtube (don’t judge, it’s called escapism people, it’s something i’ve learned at uni)

sleeping in

travelling the world and discovering new places (extra fun challenge: going to a country where you don’t speak the language, makes it all the more interesting and great an experience)

planning travels (equally as great)

summer and the sun in general

autumn

spring

waking up early if I have to and feeling good about it

looking at old photos

going to Austria and Spain and feeling like it’s a bit like home

seeing all my friends together, getting along well

drinking tea out of a nice mug

getting voice messages on whats app (even though I am really bad at them, I LOVE hearing messages that people send me!)

awww I just read the list again (hope there are no typos) and it makes me happy. i might have (surely) written this post more for myself than for you, sorry about that. i hope it will inspire you to write your own little list.

American Icons: The Marshmellow

Hello people

It’s Friday! It’s the weekend soon! S-W-E-E-T!

What’s also sweet are marshmellows.

Smoothest transition ever.

Even though most of you don’t seem as enthusiastic about my American Icons series as I am (it’s ok though you can’t please everyone) I wanted to look into this food-related icon that the marshmellow really is. It isn’t something Swiss kids grow up with as they do here. Let’s get started!

It all started in Egypt (!) and it originally was used as medicine (!!)

Marshmallow candy originated in ancient Egypt. It was a honey candy that was flavored and thickened with Marsh-Mallow plant sap.

Nineteenth century doctors extracted juice from the marsh mallow plant’s roots and cooked it with egg whites and sugar, then whipped the mixture into a foamy meringue that hardened a bit later, creating a medicinal candy used to soothe children’s sore throats.

Until the mid 1800’s, marshmallow candy was made using the sap of the Marsh-Mallow plant. Gelatin replaces the sap in the modern recipes. It gives the marshmallow its “stable” form. Today’s marshmallows are a mixture of corn syrup or sugar, gelatin, gum arabic and flavoring.

The most iconic American campside fire snack

If there is an equivalent to the famous campside fire snack in Switzerland that are the Cervelat or the Stockbrot it is something sweet here (of course). It’s S’mores! Do you know them? I definitely love them. Check out the recipe here if you want to try and make it on your next excursion (because that is something you do, right?)!

Homemade S’mores with Marshmallows Chocolate and Graham Crackers

Fluff

Another weird thing is Fluff. Funny name. It’s basically a Marshmellow spread. The things people invent. I am not eating it, Philipp is weirdly fascinated by it though. Every time he puts it on toast I give him a disgusted look, which he finds funny.

Fluff

Do you like marshmellows? I’d love to know! Have a fantastic weekend!

Trying American Candy And Instantly Regretting It

Hello lovely people

After all the no sugar talk I decided to totally say YES to sugar today. I would generally consider myself a person that values fresh, nutritious and whole foods a great deal.

But.

Sometimes you need to eat that candy, am I right?

So what did I do? I went to a regular supermarket, stood in front of the candies aisle for quite some time (there are a LOT of things to choose from) and got five items that I didn’t know*.

Starburst

Starburst

What the brand says: Starburst candies are packed with a variety of great tasting fruit flavors and a deliciously chewy texture, to be enjoyed anytime and anywhere.

What I say: It’s basically the American version of Sugus. Every European reader will know what I mean. Nothing spectacular.

Starburst

Ingredients Check: As terrifying as you’d expect ingredients in colored candy pretending to be fruit to be. No further comment. Still, I ate SO many, can’t explain why. Just did.

Junior Mints

Junior Mints

What the brand says: When your sweet tooth demands both the rich taste of dark chocolate and the cool, fresh flavor of peppermint, there’s no need to choose: reach for Junior Mints.

What I say: I had to try it as it is a candy that has been produced in a plant here in Cambridge since 1993. Other than that, it’s not THE worst. I hope Philipp will eat it though.

Junior Mints

Ingredients Check: Nothing unexpected. What surprises me though (not in a funny way) is that it has been produced with Genetic Engineering. I suppose it’s the corn of the corn syrup. Ahhhhh.

Whoppers

Whopper

What the brand says: Malted milk balls covered in chocolate.

What I say: It’s basically the American version of Maltesers. Just less good. I really don’t know what it is but it all tastes so much sweeter or put in other words: The chocolate here is disgusting.

Whoppers

Ingredients Check: SO MUCH SUGAR.

Sour Patch

Sour Patch

What the brand says: “Sour. Sweet. Gone.”

What I say: That slogan is totally true. For some weird reason I love them. Don’t judge. 

Sourpatch

Ingredients Check: YELLOW 6, RED 40, YELLOW 5, BLUE 1. Just to name a few.

Milk Duds

Milk Duds

What the brand says: A delicious blend of smooth milk chocolate and chewy caramel.

What I say: It’s so sugary. I know, why does that suprise me, it’s candy. Yet I feel like the caramel doesn’t taste like caramel it’s just cheap cheap SUGAR.

Milk Duds

Ingredients Check: Let’s not go into that.

Dear American readers or anyone else knowing American candy better than I do, let me know if you have any recommendations! I’d also love to know what your favorite candy is?

Have a sweet day (haha)!

*Note to self: I should just have gone for the good and VERY VERY delicious classics such s M&Ms (I am seriously addicted) or for Reese’s Peanut thingys and should NOT have tried weird new things. Oh well, I’ll book it under supermarket fails.