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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How to decorate a wall with pictures

Have you ever stared at a wall and found it looks naked? I have. In fact, I am looking at my walls right now and have the feeling I’m in desperate need to dress up my walls – brighten up the apartment, give it a sense of style, and bring in a positive vibe. One of my walls in my apartment is colored – well, it’s got a brown-greyish earth tone to it, not necessarily colored as in a bright neon color splashing into the room. I like my apartment cleaned-up (let’s ignore the mess on my home desk and bed for a moment) and as you might remember, I have ever so often complained about my “creative” (*cough* study- *cough*) room looking dreadfully boring and everything but creative. I don’t want fill it with colorful dust-keepers either. Instead, I want it clean, nothing flying around (as it’s current state is all about) and straight forward on a color palette. And, I want frames. Yep, I want those black, simple, skinny frames that we see all over when googling for interior-inspiration. I want them neatly hung up, filled with black and white (duh!) photos, inspirational quotes (still need to decide) and I want it pretty.

So I’ve collected a few inspirational photos (not my own!) I want to share with you and noticed a couple of “rules” that really should be followed if you want it somewhat “stylish” looking and not like a 3-year-olds playroom.

Rule #1 – choose a color

Of course, you can have every frame in a different color, some filled with colorful photos of yourself when you were 2 years old sucking on your very first lollipop, with a photo of your cat next to it, a framed letter you received from your BFF when you first started writing, next to some cut-outs from magazines and a quote about how much you love pancakes. It is fully up to you. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a theme that looks rather like an adult-y and less like a kindergarten get-away, I suggest going for one, maybe two colors. What color frames do you want? All black? Silver? Gold? Maybe the top three in white, mid-row in gold and bottom 3 in black? It’s all up to you, but it will look much better if one can hint a theme rather fast.

I love black frames as shown in the top, first photo.

Rule #2 – do your measurements rights 

Trust me, it will look so much better when the spaces in between each frame are consistent. If you are anything like me – and I tend to go OCD sometimes, a 5 cm space on the left and 10 cm space on the right will annoy the crap out of you in the long-term. Also – use a water venture. If you don’t own one, no problem: the iPhone and its million apps have got you covered (and I’m sure the same goes for androids). You really don’t want to end up with crooked-looking frames all over the wall.

Rule #3 – choose a wall 

This might seem obvious, or not at all. Before you start hammering holes into the wall and hanging up your beloved photos: think. Think thoroughly, look at the wall, look at the whole room. Will the hoped-for composition match the rest of your interior? Is the wall large enough or even too big (you don’t want your photos looking lost, either!)? Where is the window, how does the light shine in, will it influence the mood of the story you want to tell with the frames and photos? These are all little things that might not bother one or the other, but surely something to consider if you don’t want to find yourself in a situation of hating the wall you have chosen because the opposite wall would have looked much better in the end.

Rule #4 – the size of your frames

Obvious to some, not so much to others. It is important however, to think about the sizes of the frames. Do you want them all to be in the same size, do you want different sizes and play around with the format? Speaking of sizes (don’t believe those that say sizes aren’t important ;) ..!) don’t forget about the next rule.

Rule #5 – what do you want to frame?

Jumping back to sizes for a moment: think about the size of the photos, pictures, drawings or quotes that you want to place into your frames. Frames are frames (smart, huh?) and are meant to be filled with creativity – and replaced. If you know yourself and the exact art you want to look at for the next months or years – awesome, go you! I for instance, have changing moods. Knowing myself I will love one quote for a couple of weeks, believe it is the motto of my life and wake up one day and want to throw it out the window. If you want replace the art in your frames frequently (and cost efficiently – think printing out art yourself or taking magazine pages), you should aim for normal-sized frames. A4 or A3 and A2 sized frames can be easily filled. Anything too large might become a hassle.

What to do you think – are there any rules I didn’t catch?

I surely have a goal for the upcoming weeks (in the little free times I have sometimes) – ordering frames (most likely black, obviously), deciding on the art, printing quotes or getting photos printed in a good quality) and deciding on a wall (most likely the one I am staring at now).

With that, I wish you all a cozy evening and an amazing wall to look at. xo

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New York, New York

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Happy Sunday loves! Although it’s way past midnight Zurich time, in which I usually find time to write, it’s only 8.30pm here in New York. Yes, you might have guessed from the title that I am talking about the Big Apple; the city that never sleeps. It’s been an utmost amazing, yet exhausting week for me. Monday morning I took the flight to NYC, arriving in the late afternoon and finding myself a little lost when getting out of the express bus from the airport. This was my first trip to the Big Apple, surely, though, not my last. The city has amazed me, has taken my breath away and I am still dazzled whilst writing this here in the Lufthansa Lounge at the airport (thanks daddy, for having the status). The trip wasn’t all fun, though. Yes, it surely was fun, but not fun as in city sight-seeing and shopping-till-you-drop kind of fun. I came for a business trip, one that surely has opened my eyes a little further. I surely love my work, the opportunities it offers and how it constantly challenges me to further deepen my knowledge.

But enough of the business talk. I am most utterly sure that everyone immediately knew I was a tourist. Although I can (proudly) say that I have quite an american accent – with no german accent coming through – I was most lively noticed with either my camera or iphone camera being out at all times, trying to capture all important buildings and moments. Having rather lived in smaller cities, I am not used to all these skyscrapers – which was, quite frankly, a problem. How do you fit so much scenery into one photo by itself? You don’t. It’s a simple as that. Instead, I tried using the architectural giants as guidelines to creating some images with different perspectives, trying to capture the heights, sizes, widths, the depths, the reflecting windows, even the dark alleys. My phone storage is bursting full due to the photos I took, and I don’t want to load them all onto you at once – at least, not just yet. Instead, I will try and fit in some NYC memories I took with me from time to time.

I’ll now concentrate on some more emails, which I want to catch up on before the new week begins. Oh, and enjoy that glass white wine, which was just served to me with the most welcoming smile here yet. As I’ll be in the plane over night, not landing until Monday noon (Zurich time), I wish you already the most wonderful start to the new week! xo

ps. apologize for the quality of the photos – I’ve only had the time to upload some of my iPhone photos

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas loves! I hope that everyone had a lovely start into the holidays so far and is enjoying the time with loved ones, family and friends. This time of the year is one of my absolute favorites – it’s all about spending the time together with the family, spendng cozy nights in and having good food. Growing up in European countries, I am used to celebrating especially on Christmas Eve, the night of the 24th. It was all about enjoying the family yesterday for us, unpacking presents and filling out stomachs with lots of food.

It is first year that the family (mom, dad, sis and dog) are spending Christmas at my place in Zurich – and I love it. Seriously, we might need to repeat that next year. The years before were amazing too, of course – with lots of family around (aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents). However, this year we decided to make it small and cuddly. It was amazing. For dinner I made potatoe-maroni puree, added beef filets on top (meat done by dad), topped with glazed apples, differently colored carots and lots of onions made in a red wine sauce. The dessert, hours later – cause we were all too full from the main dish – was berry crumble with vanilla ice cream for the rest. The recipe was amazing, so I shall surely make that again, photograph it and blog about it. Right now though, I cannot see any more food heavy food. Tonight will thankfully be more or less back normal with a lovely mushroom risotto my mom will be making. Tomorrow is Thai evening with chicken and yellow curry – one of my favorite dishes currently.

I will also show you some of the presents in the next few posts coming up. I love them all! What did you get – how did you spend your holiday? Wishing you all a continuing lovely holiday, lots of love, health and happiness! xo

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Cyprus; Paphos

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Happy Humpday! Already mid-week and I can’t believe how fast the week has gone by so far. I only arrived Sunday home so I’ve been doing washings from vacation and the visitors we had before all week so far. Well, the days that I’ve actually had time. I’ve had meetings and conferences this week, was at a networking event last night and see friends afterwards (the joy of having no studies!). Tonight I’m actually out again for dinner with my bestie here in Zurich before she leaves to a few days of vacation – though the next days I’ve planned to stay in and actually cook once again. I actually have not cooked since 3 weeks now – horrible!

The biggest challenge this week however, was the weather. It is unbelievably cold – or so it feels. I’ve had to take out my winter jacket already and I’m frustrated just knowing I’ll be freezing when the actual winter and snow comes along. So I’ve been looking through a few photos of Cyprus again last night in bed and decided to share some more with you. Here is a lovely small beach we found, and a wreck we saw from further away we had to take a closer look at. It’s pretty cool to actually know it’s only been there since around 2011 (I think it was) – which means its quite new! There are quite a few wrecks around and near Cyprus, so this isn’t the only one we saw.

The weather there was amazing – I am still dwelling in bikini-thoughts and looking forward to my next journey into a warmer country. Let’s see when and where that will be! Now I’ve got to get ready soon for dinner – sushi; so good. Wishing you a great continuing week! xo

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