A Sunday Hike in Einsiedeln

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I love all season – really. I love winter and the Christmas season – when all is covered in white (at least in the mountains here in Switzerland) and there is nothing better than putting on the fireplace and drinking a glass of red wine whilst sitting on the fur. Then comes spring, when finally everything awakens again and the birds start coming back to slowly build their nests. The greatest flower fields are usually found in spring and near summer. Summer is just fabulous because of the weather – there is nothing better than being able to wear a t-shirt and shorts and not freezing our asses off. Yet autumn,.. it something special to me. Perhaps because so many of my beloved people are born in autumn, or maybe because we are getting ready for the festive season. Surely, I love the magic of nature – when all leaves turn turn their colors and everything becomes yellow, orange and red. When the sun turns gold in the evening and every look at nature takes my breath away – that is when I enjoy being outside the most.

One of my closer friends and I decided to use this time of the year and start exploring Switzerland just a little more. I can’t believe I have been living in Zurich for nearly 4 years (in spring) and I still don’t really know the country. There is so much beauty – and we decided we want to explore as much as possible of it. Because Zaphira (my puppy) is only 4.5 months old now, we decided not to do a huge trip (she does not have the energy, yet). We wanted something nearby but still go outside the city – outside of Zurich. Quickly, we decided on Einsiedeln. It is a super tiny town just about 1 hour away from Zurich city. There is a huge monastery one can visit, see the Black Madonna inside the church and go for an amazing short hike (or longer, if one has time and feels like it).

Stepping out of the train already made us realise we are definitely out on the countryside. The air was brisk clear – and that is almost surprising as I always believed Zurich already has such clean air. No, Einsiedeln topped it off immediately. The second smell that we immediately welcomed was the smell of horses. Oh, how I love those graceful animals. It reminded me of my childhood, when I used to horseback ride once in a while and loved every minute of it. It now is back up on my to-do list for the future. First, however, I need to get Zaphira used to those “long-legged dogs” which she saw for her first time last Sunday.

After a plentiful lunch that we jumped into right when leaving the train station, we went up the hill and enjoyed nature to it’s fullest. Of course, being “big city girls”, we had to stop about every 5 minutes to either take picture of the surrounding, my puppy, or ourselves (selfie-time for the win!). To not bore you in trying to explain the beauty, I wanted to share some of the photos with you.

I cannot say it often enough – people, go out into nature! There is so much to explore. Sometimes just around the corner – perhaps a few streets aways, but there is always something beautiful if we only just try to see it. It seemed like all the pressure, all my worries, all open tasks – everything just went away for those few hours we were outside. I really recommend it to everyone; for your heart and health!

Cloud Bread Breakfast

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Breakfast. Who doesn’t love breakfast’ Now, I am not talking about needing it. I totally have my phases – swinging from not being able to live without my breakfast to not wanting to eat at all before lunch (and living on coffee and hot lemon water before). Since a few weeks now, though, I literally need breakfast again to function. It seems that every time the summer ends and the colder, darker days near, I need my vitamins and protein right after waking up. I usually have a chia-pudding during the week. It’s easy, its prepared and done for me to indulge in when waking up and the preparation the night before takes no more than 5 minutes. I usually add some frozen raspberries into it and flavor it either with cinnamon, vanilla or some cacao. I then quickly cut up another fresh fruit in the morning and am ready to eat – or take my breakfast to the office.

Then come the days where I really want to sit down – enjoy every bite, and probably, just enjoy life. These days usually come around on the weekend; Sundays to be precise. I have now made it my little Sunday ritual to sit down and enjoy every bite or spoon of whatever my breakfast is made up of. Lately I have been making cloud breads and eating them with a mix of fresh avocado spreading, home-made jam (such as this pumpkin-apple-cinnamon one), or simple cream cheese (lactose free) topped with some berries. Seriously, there is probably no combination that does not work with these fluffy little pieces. I might try Nutella next! I haven’t had Nutella in f o r e v e r – and now that I am writing about it, I really am craving it. Damnit!

What I was getting at: the cloud bread. It’s so simple. I know I say the same thing every time, but it really is. It needs 5 ingredients, 10 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to bake and a split-second to love them.

What you need

3 eggs
3 tablespoons of cream cheese (lactose free, if needed)
1 tablespoon of agave syrup (or honey, if you like)
a hint of cinnamon (around ½ – 1 teaspoon)
½ teaspoon baking powder (gluten free, if needed)

What to do

1) Pre-heat the oven to 150°C
2) Separate the egg whites from the yellow and place them in two different bowls
3) Add the cream cheese, cinnamon, baking powder, and agave syrup to the egg yellow and mix it well
4) Now whip up the egg-white until stiff
5)Once the egg-white is ready, add it to the egg-yellow mixture and carefully mix everything together
6) Using the mixed dough, you want to make around fist-sized circles on the baking sheet (usually 3 tablespoons). Make sure to leave some space between the different “circles” as they will spread a little bit in the oven. The mixture should allow you to make 6-7 cloud-breads – but depending on the size, you might up with more or less.
7) Place the dough into the oven and bake for around 15 minutes – keep an eye on them; they should become fluffy and turn into a golden, slightly brown color.
8) Once done, you can take them out and let them cool off for a couple of minutes

The best part, and one that I really can’t get over yet, is that it is really quite healthy – compared to real “bread”. Not being able to eat gluten I try to stay away from all breads. I know there are several gluten-free breads out there, and there are super many recipes (which I actually want to try out). But because I do need to watch my figure a little bit – to not explode – I do try to keep the empty carb-intake low. I admit it. So this “cloud” bread is perfect. It simply has no carbs and, instead fuels the body with tons of proteins already in the morning. Alright, the Nutella probably won’t be the healthiest option if I try – yet, it could be worse! I am also thinking on making my own chocolate-spread. I always prefer having home-made options. They are usually healthier, surely have no additives that are unknown and often test so much better than the supermarket product. Now, I wish you all a yummy-cloud-breakfast and let me know what you think of it!

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Sweet Potatoe & Hokkaido Chips

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Finally October! As much as I enjoy the summer, the heat, the long summer nights, the fresh whites in my closet and home – I absolutely love autumn, too. When the sunsets become golden, leaves change their colors, my decorations change to warmer, golden and bronze colors – and pumpkins can be found on every little table. I love pumpkins in every color, every size and shape – and especially cooking and baking with them. The receipe choices are endless and you can enjoy them in every meal.

This past weekend I had my besties over, cooked a lovely dinner at home and prepared some snacks – right before we had a girls-night-out! Now that it is finally October, I of course had to make autumn-inspired meals and snacks. Because duh. I started with serving some hokkaido (pumpkin) and sweet potatoe chips with a home-made guacamole dip.

May I say?
It was d e l i c i o u s ! And super simple in the making. I was always ‘afraid’ of making my own vegetable-chips. Don’t ask why, but they always seemed more complicated then they are. I didn’t want to put any work in and end up with soggy chips afterwards. Well, that thankfully wasn’t the case.

For these two little bowls I used about 300g Hokkaido, and 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes. Yet, there is no restriction in the amounts you use – the more, the merrier in this case (or the more to snack on). First, pre-heat the oven to around 200°C. Now simply cut the vegetables in thin slices (mine were about 3mm), throw them in a bowl, add around 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or any other vegetable oil) and throw on some salt and herbs of choice (I added some chili and paprika). Mix everything well in the bowl so that all slices are more or less covered a bit – but you do not want to use too much oil, either. Next lay them out on the baking paper, making sure they don’t overlap (otherwise they will become partially soggy!). Once all are spread out, place the sheets into the pre-heated oven. Leave them in for around 6-8 minutes, then lower the heat to 150°C and place a wooden stock between the oven door and oven itself. You want the heat to be able to escape slightly, so that the chips become crunchy (it’s the key to not having soggy ones!). Keep an eye on the chips, though after about 20 minutes, when they start turning slightly golden-brown on the edges, they are done! Let them cool off so that they become crunchy and you are ready to serve (or enjoy) them in no time.

The guacamole dip was super simple, as well. I merely pureed a ripe avocado (peel and take out the stone before), added a hint of fresh lemon juice, some salt and pepper!

Et voila – within less than an hour you have your own homemade vegetables chips. How cool? I am in love with these so I will make sure to making some more when returning from my travels. I will also try them out with beetroot – doesn’t that sound fancy? Speaking of travels, I will now need to rush to the office and later to the airport. London is calling from today until Thursday!

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Loods 5

Happy Sunday! Apologies for being so absent the past few days – it’s been busy as usual, if not even more. I drove down to Düsseldorf Friday morning to spend the weekend and my birthday (Tuesday) here with the family. Saturday we went to the city and did a little interior shopping, spent the evening on the couch and today we drove down to Holland. Seriously, I love the fact that they are open for shopping on Sundays. My mom and I have been looking at one shop that we’ve seen on several blogs already – one that has been described as breath-taking by many lifestyle and interior bloggers, one that we had to see in real life to judge ourselves. So today we drove down to Zaandam in the Netherlands to visit Loods 5. I am not kidding you when saying that it is an absolute must for interior and deco-lovers. Seriously. The shop was huge – I mean, gigantic! It’s the size of one of those large Ikeas, though the style completely different. Mostly interior decorations are there, though you can find everything from Scandinavian furniture to copper baskets over to the most stylish lamps, candles or wooden tablets.

I tried taking some pictures to give you an idea of what the store offers though I was more concentrated on the actual items than on my camera. I promise you, it will really be worth your trip if you go. We spent around 3,5 hours in the store, though probably could’ve spent even more time there. I did buy a few things here and there (decoration, obviously), which I will share with you soon. I could’ve taken a whole transporter with me and re-furnish my whole apartment. Three things stopped me: the boarder to Switzerland, the size of my car and my wallet. Speaking of wallet – I am in love with the chair on the second picture (below) – what do you think? Oh, I can’t wait to have my own first-bought place to style everything!

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Paphos – Cyprus

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Happy Sunday! I can finally relax – finally forget about work, uni and all the other stress that has kept me up at night the past weeks. Today we (mom, dad & sis) finally arrived in Cyprus – Paphos (city) – at the Elysium hotel. It’s breathtaking, let me tell you that. We arrived in the afternoon and immediately got served with lovely welcome drinks at the hotel’s terrace. After slowly unpacking and changing into summer clothes, we went out to the beach to discover some of the surrounding area. I must say that the beach really isn’t the highlight so far – it’s a public beach more or less and not the prettiest I’ve seen. Yet, we haven’t seen it all and there might be more on the other side (only walked one direction today). The hotel itself, and the large pools however, are amazing. It’s got everything you need, from a pool bar – even in the water – to whirlpools, amazing restaurants, a great gym, spa area, beauty salon and lots more. Tomorrow morning I’ll test out the gym first thing, then have a great breakfast (love my breakfasts!), and then start my tanning session. This week is all about relaxing, sleeping lots, getting back my energy that has been lacking lately, detoxing myself from the rather ‘polluted’ city air and obviously getting that tan on. Those of you that know me, know that I always give 100 percent in regards to anything I touch. I don’t like my projects left unfinished and I don’t accept a satisfactory outcome either. The same goes with vacation now. In the past years I’ve learned to totally let go. As much as I love those city tours, love my activities such as diving or cruising around to discover the area – I’ve also learned to completely let go. To listen to good music, to lie at the pool or beach for hours, to simply switch off my mind. Quite frankly, I think it’s life changing and super important to also be able to let go off things fully – let your thoughts wander and see where it takes you – seriously, just day-dream. And treat yourself! I’ll surely check out the spa area these days, I’ve promised myself at least one massage and most importantly – indulging on good food.

Tonight the dinner theme was traditional Cyprus food – and let me tell you, the seafood-salad was to die for. I had to get a second serving, no chance of passing it. We have breakfast and dinner included the whole week so we basically don’t have to leave the hotel if we wanted to. Lunch is normally not needed in these hot areas (or so we think), however there are lots of bars and restaurants at the hotel to get snacks in between if needed. The great thing is that they have a different dinner theme everyday. Tomorrow they will have an Asian theme – so I am looking forward to that! We might also skip a dinner or more in the next days and go down to the harbor for fresh seafood right from the ocean – and surely for a small lunch snack here and there.

I’ll make sure to take some more pictures in the upcoming days and update you accordingly – though you can always get fast and live updates via my snapchat: LauraNanette. Till then, I wish you a great Monday tomorrow morning and hope you enjoyed your weekend! xo

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