Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

We enjoyed another light meal this week of chicken soup with glass noodles. We’ve had a few more smoothies, which I must mention because I forgot to put a couple photos on the last post. The smoothie and a very moving one of a glass of water with a lemon slice- don’t fret, I’ll add it too.  After pushing ‘publish’ last time, I had that sneaky little feeling I’d rushed it. I’m sure others have lingered in that moment. I re-read the post and thought, no  it’s looks complete… until this morning during our weight class at the gym. The one I actually like but still can’t wait to finish… the one that I’ve NOT done in TOO long so I’m having to pause after every sentence I type to let my arms rest…the one I tend to day dream through. This was when two photos flashed before my eyes. I was like dammit janet, you forgot those two photos yesterday. How these thoughts, memories float to the surface of the conscious, is beyond me. I have recently read some very interesting articles concerning some of the intricacies of how the brain works. Here are a couple from the NYTimes-

The Brain On Love and The Brain On Fiction

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Lost, Found & Fresh

Lost, Found & Fresh

Since we’ve been pounding the cupcakes lately, and that ‘diet’ way back when only lasted three weeks, I thought I’d throw something fresh your way. I sort of lost my way just like Chloe’s black winter coat last week. She left it on the public bus Friday afternoon, the first really warm day of the year. I couldn’t blame her…It was one of those days where you forgot how cold the morning had started and by the afternoon you were practically peeled down to your skivvies…. practically nothing that is. So of course it’s like ‘what coat’? It was fortunate she even realized where she left it. We (O) called the HVV(public Hamburg transport) yesterday and the coat was indeed located and we needed to bring in identification and some sort of proof that it was ours. Like in case someone else left a black winter coat on the 283, direction Bahrenfeld between 3.15 and 3.45pm. O found a year old photo on the computer. Can you imagine rustling through boxes of snapshots or negatives looking for a picture? My idea was to bring the detached furry hood that Chloe refuses to wear, as proof we are the rightful owners. Our particle reference number in hand, we arrived at the Fundbüro. It was like walking into an OCD dream. The quiet, organized main office had two employees and no que… and racks on six walls with hundreds of lost, stranded keychains, all tagged by location found, date and a reference number. It was amazing.

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Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

Hot Sauna & Cold Spring Rolls

We had a nice evening at the Blankenese Pool and Sauna this week. You’ll have to go to the link as I couldn’t hijack any images to show. We started with a few laps in the 25 meter pool to stretch out. Whether alone or surrounded by excited children, we always enjoy this beautiful floor to ceiling windowed, light filled  building. France too has wonderful pools throughout the city but Germans really prioritize health through hydrotherapy and wellness centers. One can even take an insurance paid ‘wellness’ trip.

Followed by a swim we head to the steam room a little before 5.30pm to get warmed up. I like to open those dirty, clogged pores that I’ve been slathering with creams and oils to fight the cold weather. We breath in humid, steamy air while we wait for the attendant to come with little bowls of salt.

Armed with salt, we scrub that layer of dead skin with little remorse .. the bodies largest organ of elimination (the skin) rewards us feeling as silky as a baby’s butt. Each of us have a go at our own bodies, and O and I finish doing each other’s backs. We sit on little face cloth sized towels in a small room and I do my best to remain silent. The salt pulls beads of sweat out of our skin and we are soon seriously dripping. If we time it right, little pots of honey are offered next. I could do this every week. Great stuff.

I’ll mention here, there are a few beauty care pieces I’ve yet to pull together in this country. For instance, I wanted to ask the lady who entered the steam room just after us, where she gets her bikini wax but a) it’s hard to get the right words out in German and b) it might leave her feeling a bit hesitant to take the last seat on the tiled bench next to me. So I didn’t. I’ve really learned to think before speaking since living here. This has been a very positive lesson for me. Normally I am a serious/funny kind of a female wise cracker and it doesn’t always work… in English. And forget it in German.  Click here if you want to read about my first and only waxing experience… Wax on wax off- an experience. This is optional reading… not just something you want to accidentally scroll to at the bottom of the page.

Let’s continue…Next is the main hot dry sauna. Each hour there is a special aroma and steam procedure. Citrus, eucalyptus, lemongrass. I was one of three women and eleven men sitting naked and close together. Large, thin, hairy backs,  all shapes and sizes but nobody cares. We had a chamomile/ elderflower mix. These guys do an ausbildung(internship/training) for this… Most German people who don’t attend University will complete an internship in something, even if you work at the grocery store. I’ve only seen men doing this job. They come in with towel skirts or shorts and scoop scented water onto the hot coals, then wave and snap a towel (not the one on their waist). The scented heat wafts across my face. I cover it with my hands, feel the heat, breath deeply and concentrate on nothing. Sometimes, ice chips are offered. I eat them and hold them against the souls of my feel and back of my neck, feeling them instantly melt.

In the fifteen minutes, that had felt like sixty, I had moved from the third step to the first.  Heart rates up, we exit with the sauna guy. We head to the showers and choose warm, ice cold or my favorite, the rain cycle. A mix of warm and cool water that varies between a pitter patter and pelting against my skin. With skin washed, we don our robes, take an apple or grape juice, sometimes a tea over to the lounge chairs and rest. I try to focus on a mantra.. om nama shivaya… instead of writing this post. But I also try not to fight my thoughts. I try to let them flow through. If I say the mantra in my head I can stop thinking for a few minutes and I feel relief.

We relaxed here for a good 30-40 minutes. Sometimes we go for a second round but that night Chloe was at home on her own and had been on a bike ride, or so I thought. I’m a bit of a paranoid and since we couldn’t be reached by phone – I was not 100% relaxed. So we called it a night and headed home for spring rolls, green salad and quinoa salad.

I used rice paper, glass noodles, napa cabbage, red cabbage, orange and purple carrots, red and yellow peppers, cilantro, mint and basil.

Here’s the process of dipping the rice paper in warm water. The trick is getting it wet and elastic but not over doing it or it cracks. These photos were taken by Chloe :-)

Swish it around in the water then carefully let the excess water drip off. Then I lay it on a stone tile or a plate would work.

I’ve got all my very thinly sliced veggies, cooked shrimp, rice noodles and herbs ready to fill the wraps. I start with the shrimp and mint leaves. Honestly though, sometimes I forget the order between the one hundred and twenty seconds it takes from one roll to the next. Like this one for instance, I put the mint on first and didn’t notice till processing my picks…

Then some cooked glass noodles…

Your veggies, cilantro and basil….Thai basil is the best here but couldn’t find any this day.

Now we begin to roll. I pull the ends up on each side…

Then fold the side closest to me up…

Tuck it in and roll…

Roll it as tight as you can without busting the wrapper. This might take one or two practice rolls…

Here’s what you’ll have on the inside… note shrimp coming out. These were my rolls shot the next day as I ran out of good light. They still tasted great but the wrapper degrades a little. They are a super lunch though. You want to wrap them tight in plastic wrap to store.

These were so much fun to take photos of and edit. Glorious color. Think of all the vitamins!

I eat them with thai chili sauce… I could drink the stuff. love it so much.

Ok last one… probably..

For the love of Kale…..

For the love of Kale…..

Ok… I’m at it again. I’m loving making these videos. I will probably continue unless I hear how boring they are to normal people. Well, honestly, then I may still continue doing them because they are self gratifying. So I’d love to get some feedback. Or not. No really I want it…. thx wt

I’m placing it here, up top, so you have the option to watch…. or you can scroll past to the recipes.

Kale is in. In season. In fashion. Just plain in. It’s a funny thing kale. It’s a great summer salad and really can be grown in the pacific Northwest at least, and I’m sure here in Germany, year round. Just at the peak of heat, it bolts, but usually there’s another patch just coming up and it’s only a short kale eating pause. (Baby  red russian kale in summer is great raw in green salads.) But we think of it being “in season” in winter. Certainly here in Hamburg, it’s out in kilo size bags.  I think because it is also often the garden Savior. The plant you can knock the snow off of and still harvest. It’s even sweeter after a frost. It has to be very very cold to kill the kale. And it only asks for a light cover such as remay (lite woven fabric) to give that bit of protection to hold out through the freezes.

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Wendy tries a diet… teehee

Wendy tries a diet… teehee

          

Being a nutritionist, I’ve never been one to condone dieting. Or diets with names… either for the person who defined the diet nor the place from which it came. It’s so simple it’s mind blowing. When one consumes more calories than the body needs, one will indeed gain weight. Now of course there are variables involved. Primarily, physical activity and from where the calories are derived, a slice of pumpernickel or an oreo. These things certainly have an effect. But it is still so basic. What stands in the way of these simple calculations are our minds and emotions. One doesn’t require a degree in nutrition to know these things and for the most part within the structure of a decent education, we learn what we need to eat to maintain a healthy weight and physical well being. So why in God’s name is it so easy to stuff our gobs till we are sick. Eat because we are sad. Eat because we are bored. Eat because it is raining. Eat because we are celebrating. Eat. Eat. Eat.

I’ve discovered my own personal trend. I tend to work hard for 4-6 months, exercising and using some form of  magic emotion portion control. I get “in shape”. Then I sort of coast off that for about 3 years until I notice the circulation starts waning around my bra straps leaving red indented tire tracks in my back and shoulders. The same starts happening around my waist and I look down a) to make sure I can see my belt and b) to see just what notch on this belt I’m actually penetrating. Continue reading

Fitness with Nordic Walking …. Me and my poles

Fitness with Nordic Walking …. Me and my poles

Here’s me and my best friend out for a walk….

I’m the blonde

Not really……. But here I am.

Tight eh?

Ok… Lying again. I will probably never have a photo of myself doing nordic walking.

Do I care what people think? Of course. Would you catch me walking around Greenlake, one of Seattle’s gorgeous, yuppified lakes who’s paths are circled by pretty faces and tight butts, 2 poles strapped to my hands with velcro? Hell to the no.  I’d have to be good and liquored up or high.

I’d like to say I could give a rat’s ass because I think this Nordic Walking is fantastic. Especially when I realized there were little buttons you could use to release the poles without undoing the velcro straps when you need to tie your shoe lace, change the song on your iPod or pick up dog poo. Although, I’m tending to go more without music because I think of  great blog posts or scenes for my book. And because people don’t seem to listen to ipods so much when they are exercising outdoors here.

Here are some facts on nordic walking:

Nordic walking originated in Finland in the early 1930’s when cross country skiers started using poles. But it was in the 1980’s when clinical studies correlated the use of trekking poles with fitness levels. Further studies in the 1990’s showed increased cardio, enhanced muscular and aerobic fitness and overall vitality. Nordic walking was not officially launched until 1997.

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