eurotrip recap part 1: oktoberfest 2014!
happy friday, guys! i hope you had a great week and have lots to look forward to this weekend. rather than doing another recipe or post about “try this to be healthier!” today, i thought i would close off the week with a recap of the first leg of my recent trip to europe, which was spent in munich, germany at oktoberfest!
oktoberfest was the entire reason this trip even happened. one sunday funday last summer, a group of friends and i somehow ended up on the topic… and a few weeks later we had hotel rooms booked. no other plans, no flights, just a hotel in munich for the first weekend of oktoberfest. hotels and hostels book up fairly early since it’s such a huge event that attracts binge drinkers from all over the world, so having this locked down early is something you need to do if you don’t want to sleep in a public park all weekend [yes, i know people who have done this].
day 1: we arrived in munich on the friday before oktoberfest began, so we had some time to explore the city before the madness started. we grabbed a few beers and walked through the city, eventually over to the oktoberfest grounds to scope everything out and then made our way to the englischer garten, a beautiful park located outside of the city center. the seehaus beirgarten sits on the park’s small lake, which is where we decided to have our first steins, brezn [pretzels!!!] and other traditional german fare.
[enjoying our first steins of the weekend at the seehaus biergarten.]
day 2: saturday, september 20th. the first day of oktoberfest 2014. the day we had all been anticipating for months was finally here! we woke up early, like… 5:00am early… and made our way to the schottenhamel tent, where the mayor of munich taps the honorary oktoberfest kegs every year. obviously, when checking something like oktoberfest off of your bucket list, it’s really necessary to go big or go home. the doors would open at 9:00am and the first steins would be served at 12:00pm, but getting there early was the only way to have a chance at getting a seat inside the tent. unfortunately, arriving at 6:00am was still not enough time to guarantee us a seat. by the time we made it into the tent, all of the tables were taken and we had no choice but to sit outside, still at schottenhamel tables, but away from all of the official keg tapping festivities. so, if you ever plan on going to the first weekend of oktoberfest and want to see the tapping of the kegs, get on line like, four or five hours early.
as always, we made the best of a not-so-ideal situation and as soon as the beer started flowing, it didn’t matter that we were outside… we were in munich at oktoberfest drinking beer by the stein. i mean, how bad could life really be at that point?
[our first official oktoberfest steins at the schottenhamel tent… prost!]
we eventually wandered out of the tent and explored the rest of the festival a little bit. oktoberfest isn’t only about drinking [although this is certainly the primary focus] and there are other things to do, like eat german style food [pretzels, bratwurst, schnitzel, apfelstrudel, etc.], play games and win tacky prizes and ride the carnival rides. it was also fun to see all of the people dressed in trachten [traditional bavarian dress] and to walk around and take in the ridiculousness of seeing drunk people just passed out all over the place… ahhhh, oktoberfest.
[girls dressed in dirndls… next time i will get one of my own!]
[do not be fooled, this ride was not scary…. at all.]
[just a couple of people that i don’t know taking a midday nap in the middle of the street!]
day 3: so, this day…. this day… was really, really something. we got ourselves to the hofbräu tent around 10:30am [sundays at oktoberfest are typically a little quieter than saturdays], waited only 15 minutes before securing a table and got down to business. we quickly made friends with our neighbors [some guys from norway, a few from canada, a very drunk german kid who loved how i met your mother], attempted to learn a german drinking song or two and before i knew it, I had lost track of how many steins i had finished. the rest of the day was all a blur if you know what i mean, but one of the highlights was riding the swing ride towards the end of the day [disclaimer: i do not recommend doing this at the end of the day, but you know, just do you]. here are a few gems from the day.
[hofbräu tent… aka heaven]
[the quality isn’t great, but you can get a feel for the inside of the hofbräu tent.]
[the gang with our new friends from norway!]
[the swing ride… try to get this out of the way before you start drinking.]
[this is what pure happiness looks like, everyone.]
i have to say, this was literally one of the best days of my entire life. there was so much beer, i was with some of my best friends, i got to see an old friend and made some new ones and just thrived off of the happy, care-free atmosphere. oktoberfest, i’m kinda obsessed with you.
needless to say, we have already booked hotel rooms for oktoberfest 2015. yea, it was that fun and i can’t wait to do it again, this time, as an old pro.
has anyone else ever been to oktoberfest? what was your favorite tent? would you go back again or was once enough? share your experiences in the comments section below!
fall favorites: healthy pumpkin spice latte
the pumpkin spice latte has gotten a lot of attention recently. it’s a fall staple and a seasonal favorite of a lot of people [myself included]. this year, starbucks made it available a few weeks earlier than usual [well before fall officially started], but along with the hype has come quite a bit of negative press, especially among the health and wellness community. why? well, it turns out that a starbucks pumpkin spice latte actually contains zero pumpkin. yep, you read that right. there is no pumpkin in a pumpkin spice latte.
sooo, what is? about 50 grams of sugar [double the recommended daily intake], caramel coloring [made with ammonia], artificial flavors [made with petroleum], g.m.o. milk, preservatives, sulfites, and pesticide residue. the diagram below from food babe breaks it all down.
so, should you cut the p.s.l. habit quick? yes. is there an alternative? who do you think i am? of course there’s an alternative. and i think you’ll be pretty satisfied with it! using ingredients that aren’t harmful to your health and real pumpkin, you can make a healthy pumpkin spice latte right at home. for one latte, you will need:
- 1/2 c. brewed coffee, hot
- 3/4 c. almond milk [or other non-dairy milk of your choice]
- 2 tsp. raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. 100% pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- a few shakes of cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- place all ingredients, except coffee, in a blender and blend until slightly frothy [about 2-3 minutes].
- transfer mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, whisking, until hot. do not boil.
- combine with coffee and serve hot or over ice. enjoy!
there are also some health benefits that come along with consuming real pumpkin, including weight loss and immune support, a boost in your mood and a reduction of cholesterol levels. with this healthy pumpkin spice latte you can still indulge and enjoy your favorite fall pick-me-up, but you won’t need to worry about what you’re actually putting into your body and the impact it may have on your health. you’ll probably also save some money if you’re not running to starbucks one, two, maybe three times a day to get your fix.
it’s okay, you can thank me later.
motivation mondays: week 5
hey, everyone! i hope you all had an amazing weekend… i certainly did! saturday i did my last long run before my half-marathon [11 miles… not sure how i feel about having to add on two on sunday!] and had dinner and drinks with some friends i haven’t seen in a while… isn’t that always the best? yesterday i spent the day in long island at several wineries with a group of my coworkers. it was the perfect fall day and we all had a lot of fun… maybe too much fun, if you know what i mean! Check out my instagram profile for a few weekend snaps.
it’s monday again, which means another post in the motivation mondays series. this month, i’ve made a commitment to thinking more positively. sometimes [especially recently] i can get into negative thought patterns that consume me and have an effect on everything that i do. i spend a lot of time stressing about things that aren’t worth stressing about, and sometimes having so much anxiety can be really exhausting. and being exhausted all of the time isn’t good for your mental or physical health… it just ends up being a vicious cycle. for this week’s edition of motivation mondays, the weekly mantra is something i like to go back to when i need to remove myself from a stressful situation or stop negative thoughts and and take a deep breath:
the biggest problem with thinking negatively is that your thoughts can manifest themselves into reality. so, if you keep telling yourself, “i’m so fat, i’ll never be able to lose weight,” or “my life sucks, i’ll never have the job/boyfriend/girlfriend/income/apartment/house/car that i want,” that’s exactly what will happen. you have to find whatever you want within yourself first. you have to believe, i mean really believe, that you can have it, otherwise, your life will never be what you want it to be. so, whatever it is that you want, tell yourself you can get it. imagine what every aspect of your life will be like once you have it. manifest the sh*t out of it. you’ll honestly surprise yourself when you realize how far just a little bit of good energy can take you and how much better you will feel overall.
making a major shift in your thought patterns can be hard at first, but even just one small shift a day could be the start you need. today, start by re-phrasing every negative thought that you have into a positive thought. for example:
negative thought: ugh, i can’t believe i just ate that cookie and screwed my diet up again. i’ll never lose these last five pounds.
positive reframe: it’s okay that i just had that cookie because losing weight is about balance and building a healthy lifestyle. i’m allowed to treat myself and indulge here and there.
i’ve also been using this guided meditation from cassandra bodzak of go sweet + skinny and it’s been super helpful in picturing the life i want and focusing positive energy on manifesting that for myself. it’s a quick 10-minute meditation that you can do each morning when you wake up or right before bed.
be sure to let me know how it goes!
i will leave you with just a few things i’m into right now:
this article that made me feel like the author somehow infiltrated my brain used my thoughts for inspiration.
this clip of b.j. novak reading to a room full of little kids… i mean…. it’s just too perfect.
this sweater from madewell. i’m obsessed with the side zippers and just want to throw this on with a pair of skinny jeans and ankle booties and call it a day.
i have a couple of posts planned for this week that I think you will enjoy. wednesday i’ll be sharing another fun fall recipe and at the end of the week i’m going to post a recap of the first part of my eurotrip, munich, and most importantly, oktoberfest!
have an amazing week! see you back here again soon!
image courtesy of RealSimple
crispy apple walnut muffins
well, there’s no way around it. fall is here and i’m finally coming to terms with it. surprisingly, i’m finding that i’m actually kinda sorta mayyyybeeee a little bit excited. i’m sure that being in europe during the transition from summer to fall helped make it a little less depressing for me, but now that i’m home, one thing i’m really looking forward to is all of the fall baking and cooking i can start experimenting with and sharing with you… apple crisp and pumpkin pie, anyone?!
muffins have always been one of my favorite fall foods. there is something about them that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside, but i find myself avoiding them like the plague because of the high amounts of sugar they contain [often the sugar content exceeds the daily recommended intake of 25 grams… yes, in just one muffin]. i decided it was time to find a way to be able to enjoy eating a muffin for breakfast without having to consume all of the unhealthy stuff you typically find in store-bought and bakery-made versions [refined sugars, vegetable oils, white flour]. the result? these babies right here. these apple walnut muffins are gluten- and dairy-free, use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, contain zero refined sugars and literally taste like a crisp fall day…. you’re gonna love them!
for about 12-15 apple walnut muffins, you will need:
- 1 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. gluten-free flour of your choice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 c. apples, peeled, cored + diced [i used 2 medium sized gala apples]
- enough walnuts to sprinkle on top
- pre-heat the oven to 350° and line a muffin/cupcake tray with liners.
- mix together all of the wet ingredients [applesauce, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla].
- in a separate bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients [flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg].
- combine the wet and dry ingredients, mix well and then add the apples, mixing until they are evenly distributed in the batter. the batter will be thick!
- scoop the batter into the lined muffin/cupcake tray, filling each about 3/4 full.
- sprinkle each muffin with as many walnuts as your heart desires.
- bake for 20-25 minutes.
- let cool and enjoy!
give these muffins a try this weekend and serve for breakfast with a hot cup of chai tea and a small side of plain yogurt. you’ll be feelin’ the fall spirit in no time!
do you have any favorite fall recipes?
what i ate wednesday: eurotrip edition
if you follow me on instagram [and if you don’t, what are you actually doing?], you probably already have a little bit of insight into what my diet looked like while i was in europe. basically, for 10 days straight, my diet consisted primarily of beer, some type of carbohydrates, heavy cream, and cakes or pastries. i was able to sneak in a few salads here and there and yogurt with muesli is pretty much everywhere for breakfast, but fresh fruits and veggies are few and far between. i wasn’t even in countries that really understand the concept of vegetarianism, but thankfully, most restaurants had at least one vegetarian option on the menu. i want to recap all of my european adventures here on the blog, so i thought i would start off with some of the most epic things i ate while in germany, hungary and austria and do a what i ate wednesday post. and please don’t judge me based on what you are about to see! it’s all about balance and enjoying life, not perfection, remember?!
münich: bier, brezn, repeat
i’m not sure if any of you have ever been to oktoberfest before, but woah. what a crazy couple of days. i don’t think i have ever consumed as much beer in one weekend as i did at oktoberfest. the picture below pretty much sums up what i ate/drank all day, e’ry day while we were in münich celebrating oktoberfest. the beer [served only by the liter] is so good, and a little stronger than American beer, which can definitely be a recipe for disaster, and the pretzels or “brezn” are just out of this world. crispy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside with just the right amount of salt. they really put those sh*tty new york city street pretzels to shame.
there is one traditional german dish, spätzl, that is not only vegetarian friendly, but just so happens to be smothered in cheese, so this clearly has “kelsey” written all over it. spätzl is basically a small dumpling-like egg noodle that is extremely hard to describe, but so, so good. if you’re ever in a country where this is a specialty, you absolutely have to try it.
budapest: desserts, desserts, + sugar soaked cucumbers
budapest is easily one of the most beautiful cities i have ever been to. the views, the architecture, the river… everything is so picture perfect. throw in some seriously epic desserts and i’ve found one of my favorite european cities yet. below is a plum pie served with a side of vanilla ice cream and yes! a fruit garnish! the crust of this pie was unlike anything i have ever had and the plum filling… just, wow.
another highlight of my dessert tour of budapest was this hungarian specialty, a nut pastry with sabayon, a very light, whipped custard.
on the non-dessert side of the spectrum, nearly every restaurant we ate at served some variation of a traditional hungarian cucumber salad… cucumbers soaked in vinegar and sugar, and then covered in sour cream and paprika… and i ordered this at almost every meal. i plan on playing around with this and giving it a healthy spin, so keep an eye out for a recipe soon!
vienna: carbs + cakes
we were only in vienna for a day and a half, so we just had time for one truly traditional viennese meal. for our last meal of vacation, we went to café central based on a recommendation from a friend and really just went h.a.m. café central is famous for their desserts [with very good reason], but their dinner menu was fantastic, as well. we had a few bottles of wine with dinner [note the wine stained tablecloth below… oops!] and i had a salad [small victory!] with traditional square viennese noodles.
for dessert, we all had something different so that we could all try a little bit of each other’s selection for the full experience. i ordered a raspberry-yogurt-poppy seed cake which was very unique… i don’t think i’ve see a cake like this anywhere else… and it was awesome. i also sampled two different chocolate cakes and a mousse-filled chocolate dome. let’s just say that café central lived up to their reputation.
as fun as it is to try new foods and indulge in the local cuisine in new places, by the end of the trip i was dying to just eat a salad and drink a green juice. you better believe that i have done both of these things every day since i’ve been home. i’m definitely feeling the side effects of all of the alcohol, sugar, and white carbohydrates, but it was so worth it and i’m confident that i’ll be back to feeling normal within the next day or so… it’s only wednesday and i already notice a difference!
what are some of your favorite food-centric cities? have you found an international dish that you just can’t get enough of? i would love any recommendations… i never know when my travels will be taking me next!
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