Month: June 2017

Broke Girl on Vacation Part II

Broke Girl on Vacation Part II

Yesterday I got surprised with a birthday ticket to China:-) So hello from Shanghai’s beautiful, and famous Yu Garden. It is my first time in Asia, and I absolutely love it here! Just kidding you guys, I am not on an adventurous,

dreamy vacation in China. This picture was taken in Stuttgart’s gorgeous Chinese garden, and it is picture number two of my current Broke-Girl-On-Vacation photo project where I travel the world while staying in Germany. Since I don’t have the money all these uber fantastic Instagram travel bloggers have, I had to be a little creative in order to realize my dream of being fancy little miss travel blogger. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.  

So here’s to not letting anything stand in the way of you, and your dreams! Ok, that’s enough now Peppa. Before I get too carried away with my whole you-go-people motivational speech, I should mention that I looked really, really silly while taking this picture. Since I get super embarrassed standing in front of a camera when someone else is around, I thought it would be a fabulous idea to do this on my own with the help of my camera’s self timer.

Little did I know that this would end up in a true cardio workout.  I overestimated my physical abilities to get from the place the camera was positioned to the place I needed to do my fabulous, ultra professional model pose in the 10 generous seconds the camera gave me. So here I was running from A to B over, and over again, huffing, and puffing until I got the perfect, vain, blog worthy I-pretend-I-have-no-idea-I-am-being-photographed photo. #sillybloggerlife.

I hope you have as much fun with the outcome as I do. Oh, before I forget, something amazing happened on my birthday! I got the best gift I could imagine:  A summer vacation. Yay me! I am so happy, and couldn’t be more excited. So in a few weeks I will finally go on a real vacation! Cote d’Azur here I come!

Love, Peppa.

Vegetarian Meet Balls

Vegetarian Meet Balls

Only a few more days of being 29.  Next week

something super weird is about to happen, I turn 30. Oh, how I loved being in my twenties. They were just the right fit for me. 30 just sounds so terribly-grown-up-I-have-to-act-appropriate-and-30-like. But what if I simply want to act twenty-something-like? It’s what I have been excelling at the last 10 years, so why give something up I am such a pro at?!

I know nothing about being a woman. I know tons about being a girl. I mean I eat on the couch or in my bed, not at a dinner table. When nobody watches, I lick my plate. I like to dress like a California teen! I don’t want to talk about work stuff with my friends! I eat pasta, tomato-avocado salad, and cake for breakfast, not that whole-wheat-grown-up-almond-soy-chia-stuff! I have only three pairs of socks!

There are three stuffed animals in my bed, and I named them Willy, Marli, and Lotti! I listen to Ellie Goulding! I love my tiny, cozy, girlie, twenty-something studio-apartment. I am scared in the dark. I cut my hair myself! When I run out of clean underwear, I wear my boyfriend’s boxers. I love Fruit Loops! I don’t drink coffee, and all the buttons on my pillow cases are missing, because I am too lazy to sew them back on.

As you see, 30-land won’t be pleased with this new girl joining. But maybe I can teach 30-land how to loosen up a little. I mean if 50 is the new 40, then 30 is the new 20, right? So, how about I just continue to be the Peppa I know, and love! Let the others have dinner at the table, or picture perfect houses, Fruit Loop-free zones, and perfect pillow cases. I’ll do this 30 thing my way!

But enough about birthday stuff. Let’s talk about these amazing veggie meatballs you see in the picture. They are so good you guys. These will even appeal to real meat lovers. I ate them with an ultra creamy mushroom sauce, so this really is comfort food at its best. Here’s the recipe: 

For the veggie meatballs:

1 cauliflower, or a bit less

42 g (1,5 oz) red quinoa

2 eggs (m)

180 g (6,4 oz) fine bread crumbs

40 g (1,4 oz) hazelnuts, ground

Oregano pinch

1 onion, medium, chopped

1 big garlic clove, minzed

1 Tbsp ketchup

1 tsp mustard

1/2 tsp paprika powder

1/2 Tbsp salt

Sunflower oil for frying

For the sauce:

380 g (13,4 oz) mushrooms, sliced

400 g (14,1 oz) heavy cream

1 1/4 cup tomato puree

1 tsp paprika powder

Salt, to taste

Sunflower oil for frying 

Cook the cauliflower florets until soft, then drain them well. Meanwhile cook the quinoa in a separate pan, using twice the amount of water of its weight. The quinoa takes about 15-20 minutes until it's done. Once cauliflower, and quinoa are done, set them aside. Then chop up onions, and garlic, and add them to a pan with a little bit of sunflower oil. Turn the heat on to medium, and sweat them for a few minutes.

Do not let them turn brown, they should remain pale in color. Once that's done, set them aside. Now add the cauliflower, and quinoa to a food processor, and mix until a smooth paste has developed. Do not use a regular blender, since a lot of the mixture will get stuck at the bottom. An immersion blender however will work.

Then add all ingredients, including the cauliflower-quinoa paste to a bowl, and use your hands to mix well. Let the mixture stand for about half an hour. Then heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Use enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the oil is hot, add little balls of the mixture to it.  The mixture is quite sticky, that's normal. Fry from all sides.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are NOT using a convection oven, raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Then add the fried balls to the oven to ensure that they are coked through. Bake them about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile prepare your sauce. Clean, or peel the mushrooms, and cut them into slices.

Then heat some oil in a pan. The oil needs to be really hot once you add the mushrooms, otherwise they won’t turn brown (the brown part adds flavor). Once your mushrooms have caramelized (browned) nicely, add the remaining ingredients, and stir well. Then let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, and add as much you like to your meatballs.

Tip: The meatballs taste best the next day, or a few hours later, since yummy flavors will develop. If your mixture turns out a tiny bit too moist, you may add a bit more bread crumbs. However, don't add too much, since this makes them less flavorful. If you are too impatient to fry the balls from all sides, and bake them afterwards, you can also shape the mixture into flat burger patties, and fry them completely in the pan. That way they are done much quicker.

Love, Peppa:-)

Drama Queen Up In The Air

Drama queen up in the air

Embarrassing-I-want-to-hide-under-my-blanket moments...

We all had our fair share of them. Some people more than others. Let me clarify, I am definitely some people:-) Today, in my parents' car, I had a flashback of a little predicament I found myself in a few years ago. A moment in which I was a reaaally graceful Peppa - not!

When I was 18, I developed a huge fear of flying. It came suddenly, and without a warning. As a German-American, flying has been a big part of my life since I was a baby. I loved everything about flying, I even wanted to be a flight attendant when I was little. I was so fascinated with the whole concept of aviation, and was bursting with excitement whenever a cab took me to the airport.

But then that little sucker called fear ruined all of that for me. This guy is a real party pooper! I told him to leave me, and my free, adventurous mind alone but that pesky guy kept sticking around. He also was around on a flight to Los Angeles in 2009. Let’s go back in time to see what happened on that particular day…

I just spent the last two weeks visiting my family in Germany. It is early January, and we just celebrated Christmas together. But now it’s time to return to my adventurous Californian life, so I say my goodbyes, and a few hours later I find myself at a gate in Frankfurt with puffy, teary eyes, ready to board the airplane. I am terrified to set foot into this flying beast. I am certain that this flight will be the end of my glorious little Peppa-life.

``We now kindly invite rows 10-30 to board the aircraft``. Crap, that’s me. Great, now I have to enter this death machine as well. Fare well sweet life! After we reach flight level, and the seat belt sign turns off, I am surprised to find myself somewhat relaxed. I am not dead yet, oh goodie!!! Yay me! Okay you can do this, this is a piece of cake!

Oh no, what’s happening, why does my chest feel so tight? Uh-oh, I can’t breathe. Uh-oh, flight attendant? Where are you? Flight attendant?!! Oh there she is. Nice lady. I tell her that I feel sick. She quickly puts a blankie on the floor in one of the service areas, and tells me to lie down. What a nice lady, she even elevates my feet.

Oh no, lots of people are watching. Nooo, look away. Then I just lie there, with plenty of curious passenger eyes on me. Excellent, life couldn’t be better right now! I am not fainting as expected, and after about an hour I start to feel better. Much better actually. Oh no, does that mean what I think it means?

Then it hits me. I cringe. I realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with my body, this simply was a major panic attack. How embarrassing! I can’t admit that. No way! They’ll all think I am a drama queen. So, drama queen, embarrassed to her core, decides to fake being sick until touch down in L.A. That way nobody will notice that the nice, blond lady on the floor is coo-coo. Good idea, Peppa. I pat myself on the shoulder, and continue looking miserable.

Half an hour till touch down, oh goodie. But little did I know that the most embarrassing part was still to come. A sweet, old man pushing a wheelchair waits for me at the door of the airplane after we reach our parking position. Yup, here I am being pushed in a wheelchair all the way from the airplane, to the baggage area, and to the cab. This is so embarrassing, my walk of shame, or should I say my roll of shame. Low point, Peppa. You just reached nutty low point.

I get into the cab, and drive off into the beautiful Californian sunset. I look into the sky, and wonder how many other ungraceful, panic stricken, little drama queens are up there right now trying to survive this crazy, wild ride in these speedy, fascinating, yet ultra intimidating, flying metal capsules.

It’s funny that of all people I developed this intense fear of being up in the air, since I have this huge passion for traveling. Welcome to my complicated mind. Wow, I just realize how long this post is. I think it’s time to turn off my computer now, and go to bed. In case you guys are waiting for a new recipe, I already have a great one prepared for my next post. It’ll be online within the next days.

Love, Peppa.

Broke Girl on Vacation

Broke Girl on Vacation

Wanderlust is calling my name but my broke girl bank account tells wanderlust to go away, and to bug another travel hungry soul. Stupid starting-out-in-bloggerlalaland-financial-restraints. But how on earth am I supposed to

become a great, uber-successful-fancy-schmancy-everybody-envy-me-travel-and-other-things-blogger if I can’t afford to travel to distant destinations that look like paradise? Hmmm, these broke girl problems call for a girlboss solution.

Staring at the annoying (yes, I am jealous) Instagram accounts of all these miraculous travel bloggers makes me feel like a very, very little Peppa with very, very little money.

Each time they post another gorgeous travel picture I start drooling a bit more. Then I get a marvelous idea. What these big shots can do, I can do too - for free. In my new photo project I am traveling the world while staying in Germany.

The idea is to take pictures in my hometown, or cities near by, that look like they were taken in a foreign, exciting country. I hope you enjoy the outcome as much as I do.

Here is picture number one, which looks like I am on a dream vacay in Costa Rica. I stumbled upon these beautiful banana trees during a stroll through Stuttgart’s Killesberg Park last Saturday. Cheers to these fabulous vacation vibes in Germany.

Love, Peppa.

Cake & Couple’s Stuff

Cake & Couple’s Stuff

Great, here we go. I am sitting outside on the street after melodramatically exiting the apartment that my boyfriend, and I share! He is really cute... But that's not the point right now. He is acting sooo stupid tonight! This fight of

course is all his fault, and I naturally am the innocent victim. Uuhhhmm... Well... No! No! I am totally rocking this you-go-guuurl-fight-for-what-is-right-thing! It is almost 1 AM...

My silly self, and I debate how much longer I need to sit out here until I can go back inside... Let's not forget, I have a veeeery important goal: Him wondering where his wonderful, uber dreamy, non-dramatic girlfriend is.

He should long for me! Yes, loooonging is good! Really good! Crap, it is getting cold...But nooo, I am not giving in. The stars are actually quite beautiful. Awww, the stars... Oh, right, cold, brrr.

I am not looking like a fool at all right now, sitting in the middle of the sidewalk on my little, grey stool that I grabbed on my way out. Glad he didn't see that by the way...Oh boy, I am cold. I am wearing that short, black summer dress that he likes.

Stupid summer dress. Stupid everything. Yeees, stupid everything! The only thing that isn't stupid is me. I am awesome! Just fabulous! And of course absolutely flawless! What is that noise? I slowly turn around.

And what do I see? My boyfriend standing behind me with his arms wide open, wanting me to come back inside. Ohhh, silly me! How can I be so stubborn?   

My heart melts, and my knees get weak. Oh, how I love this man! I take his hand, and follow him back inside. I feel loved, and I feel forgiven...

I don't know how the topic of baking fits into today's silly Peppa-you-go-guuuurl story, but oh well... I want to share this recipe of my yummy hazelnut cake with you anyway.

I made it yesterday, and (oh goodie!!!) had it for breakfast this morning:-) It truly is one of the best cakes I ever made. Here is what you'll need to prepare this delicious endorphin releaser:

For the cake:

200 g (7,1 oz) semi sweet chocolate

6 eggs (m)

200 g (7,1 oz) butter, soft

240 g (8,5 oz) sugar

Zest of ½ orange

½ tsp cinnamon

200 g (7,1 oz) hazelnuts

150 g (5,3 oz) all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

Salt, pinch

For the glaze:

200 g (7,1 oz) hazelnut nougat

200 g (7,1 oz) milk chocolate (Vollmilch)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are not using a convection oven raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit).

First whip the egg whites to stiff peak, then set them aside. Now it’s time to chop up the chocolate into super, super tiny pieces. Done? Great, then set the chocolate aside.

In a separate bowl, combine butter, egg yolks, and sugar, and mix a few minutes, until creamy. Now add salt, cinnamon, orange zest, and hazelnuts to the mixture, and mix further until well combined.

Then add flour, and baking powder as well, and mix briefly until everything is incorporated completely. However, don’t overmix your batter, otherwise your cake will turn out tough, and chewy.  

Now it is time to fold in the fluffy egg whites. Make sure everything is incorporated completely. As your last step fold in the chocolate pieces. Combine everything evenly. Voila, the batter is done.

To prevent sticking, line the bottom of a round cake pan with parchment paper. Don’t butter the sides of your pan, otherwise your cake won’t rise. Now add the batter to your cake pan.

Place it in the oven, and bake it about 55 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean (in the middle). Remove it from the oven, and let it cool down.

Once the cake reached room temperature, prepare the glaze. Simply microwave the chocolate, and the nougat on separate plates until they turn liquid.

Be careful, you can easily burn your chocolate if you don’t check the consistency regularly. Mine took about 30 seconds. Don’t be fooled, chocolate keeps ist shape, when microwaved. 

So check ist consistency with a toothpick. Once the nougat, and the chocolate have both melted, combine them well, and cover your cake with this yummy glaze.

Place the cake in your fridge until the glaze hardens a bit. That’s it, enjoy this delicious treat! You earned it:-) 

Love, Peppa.

Vegan Indian Food & Travel Lust

Vegan Indian Food & Travel Lust

Do me a favor, go to Youtube, and turn on

the song Rocked man by Elton John. This is the song I listen to right now, and it captures the mood of this post perfectly. It’s Friday night, and I am enjoying my second glass of red wine.

This time I chose a Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa. When I look at the label, I can see it was bottled in a street called Old Bottelary Road in Koelenhof.

I want to know where that is, so I go online. Google Maps shows me that this winery is just outside of Cape Town. Knowing that, I start picturing how life feels there right now.

What does it look like? How does the sun feel on my naked skin? How does it smell?  What do people do there right now? I have this thing with wines… I choose them according to the country they are from.

This helps me to feel connected to all these beautiful places I want to see, but can’t afford to go to yet… One country I really want to travel to is South Africa.

Even though I have never been there, I know in my heart that I will love this place. I even wrote an article about all the amazing spots that I would see in, and around Cape Town.

This is how passionate I am about seeing this place. One day baby… One day, this broke chapter of my life is history. One day I will be able to afford seeing these magical places far away. Until then I'll enjoy these wines. And man, they are good.

 

While wine takes me to South Africa tonight, today’s meal took me to another exciting place. India. I was tired of cooking the same food over, and over again. A busy schedule, and a good amount of laziness led me to this boring, easy, and most of all

 

fast routine. But enough is enough. Therefore, I decided to switch things up a little. I ate Indian food many times in my life, but I never cooked it myself. So, I was a bit hesitant, because I was scared I wouldn’t succeed at it, and mess it up.

But you don’t know, until you try. So I did. And boy, am I glad I did. This vegetarian tikka masala you see in the picture turned out delicious. If you want a taste of India, here’s the recipe.

Oh, and if you think this looks super time intense, it isn’t, since your food processor will do the chopping for you:-) 

For the masala paste:

90 g (3,2 oz) white onions

3 ½ garlic cloves

10 g (0,35 oz) fresh ginger

1 tsp peanut butter

5 g (0,17 oz) almonds

1/3 cup cilantro

Fresh juice of 1 small lime

Fresh lemon juice, a few drops

3 Tbsp garam masala

1 Tbsp paprika powder

1 Tbsp Turmeric (Kurkuma)

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

For the sauce

270 g (9,5 oz) tomato puree

90 g (3,2 oz) masala paste

120 ml (4,1 fl oz) water

380 ml (12,85 fl oz) coconut milk, about

A little oil for the pan

Salt, to taste

Remaining ingedients:

½ cauliflower (or more)

10-12 baby potatoes (or more)

Cook your potatoes and cauliflower. Make sure not to overcook the cauliflower. It should stay fresh, and crisp. Now prepare the masala paste. Roughly chop up onions, garlic, and ginger, and add them to a food processor.

You can be sloppy since the food processor will do most of the work for you. Add the remaining ingredients for the masala paste, and blend until a smooth. thick paste has developed.

Tip: Make sure you do a good job juicing that lime, otherwise your paste will be too dry. Your paste is done now. Set it aside. Now it’s finally time to prepare the sauce.

Add oil to a pan, followed by 90 g of the masala paste. Yes, this is not the whole amount you prepared earlier. You can store the remaining paste in your fridge for a few days, or freeze it to make this dish again.

Set the heat to medium, and stir for about two minutes. Then add the tomato puree, coconut milk, water, and salt, and stir until a smooth sauce has developed.

Let the whole thing simmer for about ten minutes. Stir occasionally. That’s it, you're done. Add the sauce to the cauliflower, and potatoes, and enjoy your meal!

Love, Peppa.

Grilled Asparagus with Feta

Grilled Asparagus with Feta

We all know these delicious bad boys called carbs. Picturing a life without these guys is impossible. I could binge on strawberry cake, gooey cinnamon rolls, pasta all’arrabbiata, and garlic fries all day long. My biggest weakness

are petit fours. These sugary things from France are my guilty pleasure. It is really hard to stop after just one. One leaves me craving more, and since I am not good at denying myself the yummy things in life (and why should I ?), I give in.

This resulted in a nasty, little surprise, when that bitchy friend of mine called mirror, revealed a wobbly, dimply backside that looks a good 12 pounds heavier than last year. I turn thirty in a few weeks (which feels super weird) and I notice I just can’t eat the same way that I could as a teenager.

My mom told me many years ago that this day would come, and my skinny self back then wouldn’t believe her. Moms are always right, and in this case this really sucks. So I had to come up with a plan to get back in shape. Since I believe in enjoying this brief gift called life, dieting is not an option.

Never, ever will I stop eating the things I love. Therefore, I decided to try the path of moderation, and exercise. I still am eating the things I am crazy about, but I try to add a couple of healthy, carb-free side dishes to fill me up. That way I still get to enjoy my cherished carbs, but I don’t indulge on them.

I now also try to take an hour out of my day to go for a walk. On good days this walk even turns into a run. So if you guys are also looking for a healthy yet delicious side dish, here’s a good one. Grilled asparagus with “marinated“ feta cheese. It's super easy, and here’s what you’ll need:

Green asparagus

Vegetable oil, for grilling

200 g feta, diced

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1 small clove garlic, minced

Dried oregano, pinch

To prepare the ''marinated'' feta, cut it into dice. Then mince the garlic. Now add all the ingredients except the Asparagus to a bowl, and stir briefly. Set the bowl aside. Now remove the dry ends of the asparagus. Then cut the asparagus in half. Set aside. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan, and wait till it's hot.

Then add the asparagus, and grill/fry them until they caramelize a little. This takes about 3 - 4 minutes. Remove them from the pan, and add the feta oil mixture on top. Leave some oil in the bowl though. I was really surprised how yummy this simple dish was! Enjoy this healthy bliss bowl:-)

Love, Peppa.

Peppa in Wonderland…

Peppa in Wonderland…

In my last post, I mentioned the financial struggles that

come with starting out in the world of freelance writers, and bloggers. Two months ago, I decided to quit my side job, to focus completely on my passion for writing, and photography.

Blogging combines these two things, and gives me such great satisfaction. The reason why I chose this life is because I wanted to work from anywhere. Four years ago, I came back from California in order to be with my loved ones.

I never regretted this decision. I really wasn’t happy without them. However, the last place I ever wanted to live was Germany. It was too cold, too calculated, too strict.

It also was never visually pleasing to me. It is weird, I should feel at home here, since I was raised here, but I don’t. The only place that feels familiar in this country, is the neighborhood I grew up in.

So this is why the idea of working from home was so important to me. Working from home means I can travel, and work from anywhere. Traveling seems like a great compromise between living in Germany, and deeply craving foreign scenery, architecture, and landscape.

But I haven’t reached my goal yet. I still need to earn decently to be able to afford the urge to travel. So this is what I am trying to achieve in the upcoming months. I know I can do it. But getting there is tough.

I need to find the key to a lot of closed doors. But I am a determined young lady, and I will annoy plenty of people if I have to:-) Apart from the money stuff, this being my own boss thing is great.

One of  the fabulous aspects is that I get to make my own hours. So today I took full advantage of  that, and went on a little stroll through Stuttgart’s Killesberg Park in the middle of this sunny, hot day.

I found a beautiful green path, that reminded me a lot of the enchanted garden from Alice in Wonderland. It felt wonderful being in the midst of all this lush, green nature.

I then returned to my cute, white, little desk, refreshed and ready to write away. Here’s to crazy, wonderful dreams. It’s good to have them, but it’s better to live them!

Love, Peppa.

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