Friday, November 30, 2012

Food on Friday: BBC's Sweet potato, spinach and lentil dahl

One cool autumn evening, I came home from work late and Peter had a big pot of this delicious Indian stew warming on the stove.  (A very luck girl I am indeed.)

One bite and the chill in my bones from waiting outside at the train station and then walking home was gone.

This dish is truly awesome.  Here's why:

- it's cheap (lentils aren't expensive and neither are sweet potatoes, even in Germany)
- it's vegetarian and, as far as I know, vegan
- it's a snap to throw together
- it makes great leftovers
- it's healthy
- it's likely you will always have all the ingredients you need
- it's warm and spicy...perfect for winter nights

Even if you have never tried Indian food and aren't very adventurous in the kitchen, you will love this.  I know, because my parents liked it and they aren't exactly big ethnic food eaters.   It's got their seal of approval already.  

The recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website (it's also an app), which Peter and I absolutely love.  I highly recommend it.  Despite the general reputation of British food, we've never been disappointed with a recipe we have tried from there.  There are all kinds of recipes, from Cajun to Moroccan to Indian and they're all delicious and adventurous!  

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a fantastic weekend!

Sweet potato, spinach and lentil dahl 
BBC Good Food

100 grams red lentils (1/2 US cup)
450 ml vegetable stock (a little less than 2 US cups)
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 red chili, finely chopped
1 large sweet potato, cut into small pieces
2 handfuls of young leaf spinach, shredded (we've used frozen spinach when we didn't have fresh on hand and it turned out great)
2 naan bread, warmed, for serving (optional)

Put all the ingredients except the sweet potato, spinach and naans in a pan, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato and cook until tender, another 10-12 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook for a minute until wilted.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I woke up this morning to pretty white flakes of snow dancing around in the wind.  The apartment was cold and I made a steaming cup of tea.  It seemed to be a perfect time to listen to Christmas music for the first time, so I turned on A Very She & Him Christmas and danced the morning away (until it was time to go to work at least).  Although the snow flakes soon turned to rain drops, I knew today was the day I would get my Christmas box out.  

Here are the pretty and festive nooks and corners making me happy and cozy today.  I love this time of year and it's even better in Germany where the pace is slower and the mood cheerier.  Here is to Glühwein and Tannenbäume.  :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


From Dust Jacket Attic via Inspired by Tamar.

It's Wednesday, so here is a little webspiration for you.  These picture have been making me smile this week!

by Little Green Notebook
Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest 
By Oh, Hello Friend, via Pinterest.

Monday, November 26, 2012

A trip to the zoo

This past weekend Peter's parents visited for a little post-Thanksgiving family celebration.  In addition to eating a LOT, we spent several hours on Saturday at the zoo.  The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and almost warm (considering it is Germany in November).  The animals were very active and were enjoying the weather, too.  We had an absolutely wonderful time.  

For those of you traveling to Nuremberg, I would highly recommend the zoo.  It's really a great one and is beautifully situated in the middle of the forest.  They also have an adorable restaurant and do theater performances there.  The restaurant was all decorated for Christmas, had several fires going and served really delicious food.  

And, of course, there are animal at the zoo.  Lots and lots of cute animals.  :-)  Happy Monday everyone. 


I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and holiday weekend.  I know that I did.  Thanksgiving at our house was absolutely perfect.  The day wasn't too stressful and the sun came out.  It was a hazy winter sun which made the few remaining leaves on the trees stand out.  I spent most of the day in the kitchen listening to music and making pie and stuffing.  

Although it was just the two of us, it felt really special and we had enough food for about 6 people to eat.  In the evening we watched Toy Story and cuddled on the couch.  It couldn't have been a better day.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving thanks in Germany

Living abroad in Germany has its upsides and downsides and can be both inspiring and discouraging.  But something that is always bittersweet is the holidays.  Thanksgiving is the worst because, while it is one of the most important holidays in the U.S. (the top three are Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving if you ask me), it means absolutely nothing over here.  It's just another Thursday, full of paperwork, phone calls, emails and problems.  Nothing makes you feel farther from home.  

That's why I have made it a point to take off every Thanksgiving that I have been here.  I make the day special and treat it like an important holiday.  I go all out and cook a turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.  I often even try to find the Macy's parade to watch.  

Doing all this helps but, of course, it doesn't make me miss my family any less.  

I am really happy to be here with Peter this Thanksgiving.  I am thankful that his parents are going to visit us this weekend and that I have my job and my friends.  I feel so blessed to have the ability to take the day off, buy delicious food and sit down and enjoy life.  I have to remind myself of all that.  (And I absolutely will.)  

But, today, I am a little homesick.  I am wishing that I was picking my sister up at the airport and cuddling with my dog in bed tonight.  I am dreaming of waking up tomorrow to my dad's tea kettle whistling at 5 a.m and to my mom talking loudly on the phone at 7.  I am thinking about home.

I hope you are home this Thanksgiving (or are somewhere that certainly feels like it).  Have a wonderful, calming day preparing and enjoy every moment that you get to spend with the people you love.  

Happy almost Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

3 beautiful Thanksgiving table settings

Placemats (used as table runner)- Karstadt (in Germany)
Napkins- Karstadt (in Germany)
Salad plate- Home Goods (in U.S.), Portobello by Inspire
White plate- hand-me-down from Peter's parents
Silverware and wine glass- Ikea
Bird bottle opener (used as a place card holder)- thrifted
Gold votive holders- Thrifted
Water glass- Thrifted


Orange napkin (used as placemat)- Pottery Barn (U.S.) 
White plate- hand-me-down from Peter's parents
Flower cake plate- Pip Studio
Silverware and wine glass- Ikea
Gold votive holders- Thrifted
Water glass- Thrifted


Orange napkin and napkin holder- Pottery Barn (U.S.) 
White plate- hand-me-down from Peter's parents
Green salad plate- Thrifted
Silverware and wine glass- Ikea
Votive holder- Gift
Water glass- Thrifted

Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!  To get the countdown to my all time favorite holiday started, I am here today with a few ideas for your Thanksgiving table.  The basics are the same for each setting: a white dinner plate, Ikea silverware (I's all we have) and some glasses.  The textiles and salad plates are switched up a bit to create three dramatically different looks, even with some of the pieces overlapping.  I think we are going to go with the Rich & Glitzy look this year.  I just can't get over the fabulous color of the napkins!  

Are you going to have a theme for your table this year?  If so, what is it?  What other ideas do you have for your Thanksgiving table?  Do you celebrate Thanksgiving or are you elsewhere in the world? I wouldn't normally have the day off, living here in Germany, but I took one of my vacation days this year because I just couldn't imagine living without it!