My little helpers

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Links: 1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6.

Lately I have gotten so many questions about what blender, food processor and juicer I use, so I thought it was about time that I did a proper post on my indispensable little helpers in the kitchen.

Since I am a student with a limited budget I do not have some expensive and fancy equipment, but I am actually really happy with my kitchen appliances and I think they are great if you – like myself – are still quite new to cooking and have a limited budget. Oh and let me just start out by saying that number 5 and 6 are unfortunately not in my possession, but these are two of the appliances that I would like to invest in when I am able to afford it.

Whether these appliances are the ones you should invest in really depends on your needs and budget, but I hope you will find it useful and that it may help guide you a little in the jungle of blenders, food processors and juicers. When buying something new the best thing you can do is to search online to find a model that matches your needs and then read reviews to make sure it works as well as promised and finally when you have found the one you want, then I would recommend you to use one of those price runner websites, to make sure that you get your appliance of choice at the cheapest price possible.

Before we start I would like to make it completely clear that I am not being paid to write about any of these, nor have I gotten any of these as gifts from the companies. I am simply sharing my experiences with my own kitchen appliances that I have either paid for myself or that are gifted by family members for birthdays or christmas.
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Superfood Sunday // Goji berries

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Hello lovelies, it is sunday once again which means that it is time for `Superfood Sunday´ and yet another post on one of my favorite superfoods – this week it will be all about goji berries! If the term superfood is new to you I would recommend reading my first post in the series, which focuses on superfoods in general – find it right here. Also make sure to check out my previous posts on chia seedsmacablueberries and broccoli.

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Pancake breakfast pizzas topped with goji berries – recipe here!

Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are red berries that origin from the Himalayan Mountains and even though the berry is quite new to the western countries, it has been known and consumed for its nutritional and medicinal benefits in China and Tibet for thousands of years.

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Smoothie bowl with goji berries – recipe here!

Nutrional and health benefits:
Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system. It’s no wonder then, that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity.” Source: The Healthy Eating site

Other health benefits:

  • Supports the immune system (source)
  • May decrease the risk of cancer and help cancer patients fight the disease (source)
  • Contains anti-aging properties due to the high amounts of antioxidants
  • Helps stabilize blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Eyesight – may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (source)
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Support the liver (source)
  • May aid weight loss (source)
  • Improve skin and hair health (source)


Warning:

Please note that if you are taking medication for diabetes or blood pressure or if you take anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners) there can be adverse interactions if you consume goji berries. If you take medication for any of the above, then please make sure to consult with your doctor before adding goji berries to your diet.

 photo IMG_2177.jpgRaspberry/goji berry smoothie – recipe here!

How to eat them
Goji berries are usually sold in dried form and they are chevy with a mild tangy taste that is slightly sweet and sour and taste a bit like cranberries. When it comes down to how to consume goji berries the possibilities are pretty much endless, they can simply be eaten raw as a snack or the berries can be made into juice, tea or extract or they can be added to soups, trail mix, muesli bars, smoothies, salads, baked goods, muesli, oatmeal etc.

You can click the links underneath the pictures to see some of my recipes containing goji berries, enjoy!

 photo foto1-8-1.jpgTrailmix with goji berries – details here!

Where to find goji berries
Goji berries are becoming more and more popular, which also makes the little red berries a lot easier to get a hold of. Goji berries are starting to become available in many supermarkets and grocery stores, but they usually only sell them in small and very overpriced bags so I would recommend buying them in health stores or online, where you can usually buy larger bags at a much better price. Make sure to buy goji berries that are licensed organic, the non-organic berries originating from China are often very heavily sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers.

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Raw chocolate with goji berries – recipe here!

Tips and tricks to staying healthy while living a busy life

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If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!
– Benjamin Franklin

This time last year was one of the most busy periods of my life and while I am fortunately not in that super stressful and time-strapped situation anymore, I would like to share some of the things that made it possible for me to keep up with my healthy lifestyle in a situation where I only had very limited time, energy and money to spend on my meals.

If you keep nutritious and healthy food in the house then that is what you will eat.
It is super important to take the time to go grocery shopping and fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy, nourishing food. When I am busy I prefer to have one big grocery haul a week, which will not only help you save time and money, but might also help you stay healthier as well since you do not need to do your grocery shopping last minute when you are hungry and tired – I know that is when I am personally most prone to fall for temptations and choose the less healthy options aka. the not in any way healthy options ;) Another tip is to make sure you are full when you go grocery shopping, when I am hungry I just want to buy EVERYTHING and I kind of loose track of my shopping list and end up buying so many random and often not very healthy snacks.

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Preparation is key!
One of the most important things if you want to stay healthy while living a busy life is food prepping! With food prepping you can in little time prepare meals and snacks for the entire week, it might cost you an hour or two on a Sunday evening, but you will save hours and hours the following week and a lot of money too since you do not have to buy meals or snacks at work, uni etc.

Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you need a nourishing and filling meal to give you the energy to get through the day. If you do not have the time to make proper breakfast in the morning then there are many healthy types of breakfast that you can prepare the night before, like for example chia pudding (recipe here and here) or overnight oats (recipe here) – you can even bring them with you to eat on your way to work/school!

Lunch/dinner
On Sunday and Wednesday evenings I used to make some huge mixed salads that I could use for lunch and dinner the following days. This obviously did not mean that I would just have salad, but it was a good way for me to ensure that I would get lots of greens and veggies everyday – even on the days where I would normally be too busy or tired to make a salad. The trick is to add kale or cabbage because unlike most greens it keeps its crunch for days and days + if you place a couple of paper towels on top of the salad before you cover it and place it in the fridge it should keep the salad from getting soggy.

Another tip is to make big portions of whatever you are making for dinner, so you can bring the leftovers for lunch. I would usually make extra potatoes, whole wheat pasta, falafels, chicken etc. to mix with some of the salad from my big pre-prepped bowl and then all of a sudden I had an easy and healthy lunch to bring with me to uni the next day along with some fresh fruit and homemade snacks (see below).

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Snacks
I am a huge snacker and even though I eat 4-5 meals a day I am pretty much always hungry, which is also why I find it super important to always have some healthy snacks on hand or else I just know that I will end up buying something not so healthy at the nearest 7/11 – haha I am seriously spineless when I am hungry!

One of the things I like to snack on throughout the day are veggie sticks (escpecially if I have some hummus to dip them in, yum!) and they are also great to add to your lunchbox.

My favourite snacks are homemade muesli bars and bliss balls, they are healthy and so easy to make + the best part is that you can make a huge batch and then just store them in the freezer for healthy homemade snacks for weeks – it does not get much easier than that!
You can find the recipe for my homemade mueslibars here, date bars here, pink maca bliss balls here, healthy “nutella” balls here and I will post the recipe for the pistachio covered protein balls pictured below asap.

I also love to make my own trail mix to snack on throughout the day – I often mix them in little bags that I can quickly throw in my bag for some snacking on the go. You can pretty much add whatever you like, I love to add all sorts of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. The combination pictured above is a mix of almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, walnuts, goji berries, dried apricots, dried mango, raisins, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. You can of course just buy the premixed trail mix, but if you make your own it is usually much cheaper and you get exactly the combo you want + you are sure that there is not added any hidden salt, sugar or processed stuff.

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Instagram tips and advice pt. 2 // How to get noticed and gain more followers

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It is time for the second and final post in my miniseries of ‘Instagram tips and advice’ where I this week will share my best tips and tricks on how to get noticed on instagram and gain more followers.

In my opinion the most important thing will always be good content, so if you haven’t yet read pt. 1 dedicated to photography and content I will recommend you to read that post first – you can find it right here!

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#hashtags
One of the easiest ways to get more people to notice your pictures is by using hashtags. I would recommend that you use hashtags that are relevant to your pictures in order to connect with people who are actually interested in the content you post. I know that there are some very popular hashtags out there that will get you content viewed by a lot of people, but I think it is more important to use relevant hashtags that will allow you to connect with likeminded people and that way your pictures are also more likely to get viewed by people who will actually want to follow you.

I personally always place the hastags in a separate comment under the picture because that way your caption is not annoyingly long and the (lets be honest) kinda ugly hashtags are quickly hidden when other people comment on your pictures.

Features
Another way to get noticed on instagram and subsequently gain more followers is to get featured by some of the big accounts, for example if your instagram is dedicated to food there are a lot of big accounts that share other peoples food pictures and link to their accounts – most of these accounts have their own hashtag (find them in their bio) you can use to get them to notice your pictures. The same goes for makeup accounts, fashion accounts etc.

Brands and companies likes to share their customers pictures as well so if you are using specific brands and you know they are on instagram then tag them in the picture – they might like your picture and choose to feature you on their account! E.g. my little sister has an instagram dedicated to makeup (@thelipstickjungle_) and she always tags the makeup brands that she uses, which has resulted in the companies featuring her pictures multiple times giving her a lot of exposure and new followers.

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Comment on peoples pictures
Another way to get people to notice you on instagram is by commenting on pictures, but be genuine and leave a comment that is actually relevant for the picture – I personally hate when people spam my pictures with “self’ advertising” for their account and I often just end up deleting those comments. If you instead leave a nice, genuine comment you might not only get the person whose picture you are commenting on to check out your instagram, but other people who sees your comment might check it out as well. When I first started on instagram I only followed a couple of health and food accounts and I really wanted to find more so I would always check out the accounts of the people who commented on my favourite accounts pictures and that way I found a lot more similar accounts to follow.

You can also be more direct and ask similar accounts if they would like to check out your instagram, but again, remember to leave a personalized and genuine comment– some might find these types of comments annoying, but personally I always check out the accounts that ask and I have often found some inspirational new accounts to follow.

Shoutouts
Another highly effective way to get more people to notice your instagram is by doing shoutouts aka. sfs with similar accounts – this means that two similar accounts agrees to feature one another on their accounts typically by sharing one of the other accounts pictures with a comment on why people would find this account interesting and why they should check it out and then of course link to the account. If you do this with similar accounts and make sure to make the shoutout as personal and genuine as possible then this can definitely be a good way to gain more followers, but do not overdo it! I have unfollowed so many account because they were spamming my feed with up to ten shoutouts a day.

I personally never do shoutouts anymore, but I did a couple when I first starting my instagram and they definitely helped me to get noticed by likeminded people, so I think they are a great way to get exposure if you do it right and most importantly don’t do it too often!

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Iconosquare
Iconosquare is a website that allows you to view all the statictics of your instagram, e.g. your amounts of likes and comments, ranking your content by popularity, followers gained and lost – pretty much everything related to follower engagement and so much more. I love using the rolling month analysis to keep track of what content my followers like the most, what kind of pictures that really gets them involved by commenting and how much of the interaction on my pictures are actually by non-followers. Iconosquare is definitely a fun way to keep track of what is happening on your instagram account and it also helps you with a better understanding of your followers and gives you some useful tools for optimization.
The best part is that it is free unlike so many of the other similar webistes, I think it is really fun to use, but I would definitely never pay for statitics like this – it is just instagram after all!

Last and most important – just have fun with it!!
Instagram is an amazing social media and it should be fun to use it! Not everything is about followers and likes, so feel free to completely ignore these tips and just use instagram the way it was intended – as a fun photosharing social media :)