International Thanksgiving- Take 2!

Hi everyone!

I’m flying to the US in about 34 hours, so while I prepare myself for some reverse culture shock and people who can’t understand my Denglish, I thought I’d also throw in a post about my Thanksgiving :)

A lot has changed in the past year or so since my last international Thanksgiving. The most obvious being that I moved and was able to prep everything in my own kitchen- a huge improvement from my toaster oven days!

Last year, 5 other people joined me, but this year, there were 17 of us total (a bunch from ICEUS and some AFSers)! And no, my apartment isn’t really that big… Some day I hope to be able to actually sit that many people at a table, but since we’re still students, we just sat in a circle, we’re classy like that ;)

This year I was a bit better about taking pictures (and making others take them- thanks Lili and Sandy!), so here’s a glimpse into our evening (oh and apparently AFSers are good at hiding from the camera):

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Brownies

Hi Everyone,

There are some things in life that are just bad ideas. One of them is baking brownies when you don’t have anyone to share with. Trust me. It’s just not wise. Sure there are ways to make brownies healthier, but truth be told, sometimes you just need to indulge in the real thing. As long as you have people to share with, why not, right? So last week when I was in the mood to bake something and my colleagues requested brownies, I was more than happy to oblige :)

 

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(Bad)Sportsmanship- Race Recap: Main-Kinzig-Challenge

Hi Everyone,

so today I discovered something I didn’t even realize I was passionate about: good sportsmanship. I’ve never really thought too much about it, actually. In High School, it was engrained into our little cheering hearts that we’d either cheer positively or not at all. At team events, this meant positively reinforcing our own team and not putting the other team down. And in sports where there was more of an individual aspect (like cross country, skiing, track), we’d obviously cheer on our friends and school the loudest, but if I were standing at the finish line, I’d cheer for everyone who passed. It didn’t matter if they were from an opposing team, look what they just did!

Today, this was not the case. After having a mediocre start to my race (hello asthma and an early race start!), I dominated the last two kilometers and made up 45 seconds to beat my previous 10k time by about 30 seconds. After a sprint over the finish line, I was beyond proud. I quickly turned around because I knew my friend Katie was right behind me, and I wanted to cheer her on as she finished. There were about 20-30 runners standing right at the finish line, so I was like hey can you guys cheer with me, my friend is about to finish. One guy blatantly told me no, what’s the point. I obviously cheered anyway and was like ‘ya come on, Katie, you’re almost there!’ (In German) and the man was like, ‘ya, she’s coming, what’s the big deal?’

To say I was shocked doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. Yes, I know that running is an individual sport, but what happened to supporting your fellow runners? This was a small race, so I would have expected it even more there, but this clearly wasn’t the case. At other small races we’ve done, there aren’t always many people around towards the end, but the people who are there are always cheering everyone on, right to the finish, as it should be.

So anyway, I’m not sure what made this man feel so arrogant and unsupportive today, but it’s not ok. It kind of crushed Katie’s spirit, so I thought I’d take the negative energy away and focus on the positives.

You already know a little about my race. You should also know that this was the third race in a series (Race 1 and Race 2). I ended up coming in 2nd for my age group, so I got a medal and a t-shirt. This was my first racing medal ever :)

(Please be so kind as to ignore the freshly showered-rained on-blurry-iPhone-self-portrait)


Ok, and now Katie!

She dominated the race today! She ended up having an upset stomach, got a little sick and still set a new PR by 3 minutes! That’s huge for such a short race! Where many people would have quit, she just kept on going, which makes me extremely proud friend. I should also mention that she just started running in January/February and could barely run 10 minutes straight at the time.  She’s also lets me drag her all around Hessen and was my number 1 fan during my first half marathon (basically she saved the day, like always). So Katie, today the mood was a bit unfortunate, but I hope you know how much you rocked. I’m pretty sure you can count on the fact that I’ll find another race to drag you to soon enough :)

First Impressions

Hi Everyone,

it’s been forever since I last posted, but I’m back, and I’ll try to update sooner next time :)

Life has been pretty crazy around here, so I figured I’d take a second to update everyone. My next post will be a recipe, promise :)

So after my finals were over, I had a few weeks off and went to Berlin for a few days to visit a few friends and also hang out with these awesome people- yep, the cute little guy’s grandparents live in Berlin, so they were there visiting! Two other friends from DC were also in Germany, so I got to see them, as well :) Also, it should be noted that I’ll be home (ie in Maine) for Christmas!!! I haven’t been home since last September and am seriously beyond excited!

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Weekly Reads

Hi Everyone,

I like to read a lot of sites and blogs and thought I’d share some of my most recent finds and will do this from time to time. Enjoy!

With the recent(ish) e. coli outbreak in Northern Germany, there’s been a lot of talk about farming methods and our food industry in general, here are some of the best related articles I stumbled upon:

When Food Kills
Humane Meat is the Solution to What, Again?
Organic Pesticides: Not an Oxymoron

Scared of Soy? Might be worth rethinking:
Finally, The Truth About Soy

A Fun Exercise Motivation Chart

When Running Up Mileage, 10 Percent Isn’t the Cap

Speedy Running Strategies

and just for fun (worth listening to):
A Curious Case of Foreign Accent Syndrome

Financiers

Hi Everyone,

Today, I finally have a recipe to share with you guys :) A delicious, nutty, light and fluffy French recipe at that. So a few weekends ago, I visited a friend in Paris (post coming soon, still working on that one) and one morning, we had financiers with breakfast. Despite having sampled a vast array of French desserts when I lived there 4 years ago, these simple cakes somehow managed to remain under my radar.

So when I got home, I searched for the perfect recipe, so I could recreate them here in Germany. Of course, each recipe used slightly different ingredients and techniques, so I just sort of combined them and luckily, it worked :)

And I should add that you should use real butter, white flour and sugar, don’t bother substituting them out.  Because sometimes you just need a break from everyday life, to forget that this is going on outside your window (and yes, removing iron plates is just as loud and shakes your apartment just as much as inserting them into the ground, who knew?)

Sometimes you just need to put on your headphones with the Amelie Soundtrack, try your best to ignore the vibrating floor, forget that you have an exam in European Law coming up, and eat some French cakes for breakfast. It’s almost like Paris. And for today, almost will just have to do :)

Financiers
original recipe adapted and translated from here
1/2c (50 g) almond flour*
1/4c + 3T (50 g) pastry or cake flour (or all-purpose) (405 in Germany)
1/2c (100 g) sugar
pinch of salt
1/3c (75 g) butter
4 egg whites
1/2t vanilla extract
1-2t almond extract, depending on how strong you want it
slivered almonds for decoration
muffin cups, financier molds, madeleine molds (whatever you have on hand)
butter for the molds, unless they’re non-stick

*if you can’t find this in the store, you can make your own by grinding peeled, blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). While it’s heating, place the almond flour on a sheet pan and put in the oven for 5-10 minutes until lightly roasted. Allow to cool. Butter molds unless using non-stick molds.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, brown your butter. Click here for a how-to guide. And don’t be scared- it’s much easier than it looks! Allow to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the roasted almond flour, flour sugar and salt. Add egg whites, vanilla extract and almond extract. Stir in cooled, browned butter until combined.

Fill your molds with a thin layer (I filled my muffin cups about 1/3 full). Decorate with a few sliced almonds if desired.

Bake for 7-12 minutes until firm to the touch and slightly brown on the edges.

Enjoy!