Tips

Advent Calendar 2015

Hi and welcome to the Journey to Real Life Advent calendar!

Until December 24th, there will be every day something new to discover here. We have prepared for you selected recipes, videos, tips, gift ideas, stories and thoughts. By 15.00 (CET) the door of the day can be opened.

Have fun opening a new door every day! 🙂

Lisa & Prosper

 

 

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Quick Wholegrain Bread

Homemade Bread has so many advantages:

  • The best thing is that you can enjoy it warm and straight from the oven.
  • You don’t even need to step out of your house for this.
  • A bag of wholegrain flour is usually cheaper than a store-bought bread and it is enough for several big breads.
  • Furthermore, you know exactly what is in it – no unnecessary weird additives.
  • Finally, you can be very creative. Form the bread the way you like and experiment with herbs, dried fruits, nuts and seeds in the dough.

And how can you bake your own bread? We normally make bread with baking powder. Like this, we don’t need to wait for the dough to rise. It just takes 5 minutes to prepare the dough before it’s placed in the oven!

Ingredients:

  • 300 g/11 oz wholegrain spelt flour (or wholegrain wheat flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Knead the flour, the baking powder, a pinch of salt and 200 ml water in a big bowl into a dough. Place the dough on a baking tray that is covered with baking paper. You can form it the way you like. Then, your bread has to be baked at 180C/356F until the outside becomes a little crispy (approx. 35 minutes without preheating).

Have fun baking and see you tomorrow for the next Advent calendar door!

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Ritual Idea: Daily Light a Candle for Someone

To the Second Advent, we give you an idea on how you can enrich your advent season:

Daily light a candle for someone until Christmas.

Think of a person who needs assistance or force or who you want to wish good along the way. You light the candle for him/her.

We began in the advent season a year ago. As we realized that it’s important and enriching to take time to think of someone every day, we have moved on with this ritual after Christmas and do this till this this very day and onwards.

Best, you do it at a certain time or with a certain activity. We light a candle together before dinner.

For whom will you light a candle today?

See you tomorrow!

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The Butterfly Circus

One Word. Beautiful.

A circus Director meets a man without limbs, in another circus’s freak show, who is mocked and laughed at by the visitors. This encounter, turns the world of the limbless man on the head and challenges his existing beliefs.

This short film combines motion picture, music and drama to an impressive, touching emotional adventure, which challenges to discover one’s potential.

The limbless man is played by Nick Vujicic. He was born without arms and legs and is an international motivational speaker today, who inspired thousands of people from around the world.

If you want to support the film-makers you can buy the DVD version here.

Get the DVD.

Gift Idea: Cookbook

You don’t know yet what to offer for Christmas? How about a cookbook? Many people like to cook or would like to learn how to cook. But it’s quite difficult to find a good cookbook regarding the big choice available in the bookstores. This is why we recommend you three books today:

Vibrant Food

Vibrant Food

This book shows us how to cook great (non-vegetarian and vegetarian) dishes that are seasonal and colorful with little effort. The author describes «vibrant» as the right combination of the appearance, the taste and the texture of the food. The photos are beautiful and the recipes are very inspiring.

Here is our detailed review
Buy book

Krautkopf Cover

Krautkopf – Vegetarisch kochen und geniessen

This is our absolutely favorite book. It is a real artwork with exquisite creations and beautiful photos. It is perfect for all the gourmets looking for inspiration to make special dishes while attaching importance to sustainability and health.

Here is our detailed review
Buy book

Vegan to Go_Cover

Vegan to Go

This books offers a great introduction to the vegan cuisine. There are plant-based recipes for many known dishes, such as lasagna or donuts, that are really convincing. You neither need to spend hours in the kitchen nor to be an experienced chef to follow the recipes.

Here is our detailed review
Buy book

We hope that you will delight somebody with an awesome cookbook! See you tomorrow!

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Chocolate Spread

Sometimes we just need some chocolate on a slice of bread. This classic combination tastes awesome again and again. To make a simple sugar-free chocolate spread, you only need 2 ingredients and 2 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 12 dates, stoned
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Put the dates, the cocoa powder and 60 ml water in a high vessel. Blend this well with a hand blender. It’s okay if the mixture doesn’t get perfectly smooth. Some small date bits can be very tasty.
By the way, the bread on the picture and in the video is homemade. You find the bread recipe in door number 1.

We wish you some happy chocolaty moments with this healthy bread spread! See you tomorrow!

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Gift Idea: Wish box

Awesome gifts don’t need to be material. With the personal gift idea that we present you today, you will probably be able to delight a lot of people more than with something store-bought. So, start working!

Cut 31 little papers.

Write on each paper something you wish to the person that will get the present (e.g. health, creativity, success, love, …). It can be hard to find 31 wishes. You don’t need to make it in 5 minutes. Just keep thinking on it for a few days and write down all your spontaneous ideas.

Fold the papers so that the wish is not visible anymore.

The person to which you offer the wish box can take and open a paper each day during the whole month of January.

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Of course you can also take another number of wishes. If you are particularly imaginative, 52 would be a good number as it allows the person to open a wish every Sunday for each week of 2016.

Positive wishes are a very precious gift.

We wish you a lot of imagination and good luck with creating and offering your wish box!

See you tomorrow!

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Ritual Idea: List 3 Things That Were Beautiful in Your Day Daily

In the entire history of mankind, many happiness researchers, spiritual teachers and philosophers searched for the source of happiness. One thing found in almost all the teachings, is gratitude.

Gratitude helps us to be happy with what we already have and to appreciate our experiences. Therefore happinessno longer something, we need to pursue or something someone has to give to us, but something that accompanies us in our daily lives.

So far goes the theory. But how can gratitude be implemented?

List 3 things that were beautiful in your day daily.

Who did you meet? What did you experience? What did you see? What did you miss? What did you take for granted? What was beautiful?

You can daily tell someone these three things in the evening, or you can write it down for you in a notebook. Try it for today and then for a week. If you like it, you can continue this ritual even longer.

I’m confident, you can find at least three things every day. It may be something usual like the fact that you are experiencing a new day. Thus you will always find a light in the darkest days and in the brightest days, you will experience the beauty of the world even more consciously.

What are 3 things that were beautiful in your life today?

See you tomorrow!

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Quote: « In life, what more can you ask for
than to be real? » – Bruce Lee

Aligning life according to one’s own inner compass and being truly authentic, is a way to realize our human potential. To enjoy our lives to the fullest.

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Bruce Lee (1940-1973) was an American martial artist, movie star and philosopher with Chinese orgins who was an example for this way. He pushed the borders of society and broke and extended old traditions. Thus he rolled out new ways in many fields of martial arts and pop culture. These included things such as teaching Chinese martial arts to non-Chinese regardless of origin and skin color, the introduction of action heroes of Asian origin in Western pop culture and the creation of an own formless philosophy of martial arts. His influence is still felt, and his legacy lives on in many icons of today’s society. In his short life, he has experienced a lot, inspired many, and truly lived.

We hope this quote inspires you to, in the sense of Journey to Real Life, go your way and to do what you personally stand for.

Where is your compass pointing?

See you tomorrow!

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Gift idea: Recipe and Ingredients for Homemade Nutella

The first time we encountered this idea was at a birthday party of a friend. Somebody brought her a muffin recipe and all the needed ingredients as a present. We found it brilliant!

This is why we suggest you to offer to your beloved ones our homemade Nutella recipe with its ingredients for Christmas. Whenever they feel like treating themselves with something sweet (and healthy), they can simply prepare some homemade Nutella.

Buy high quality organic ingredients, measure the exact amount and pack them nicely. If you put the hazelnuts in a jar, this can afterwards be used to keep the homemade Nutella.

You need to buy and pack: 100 g/3.5 oz hazelnuts, 20 dates, 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Here you can download the recipe with a picture as a PDF for free. It also looks nice if you write it down by hand.

In this video you see us making the homemade Nutella:

This Christmas gift is perfect for everybody who likes chocolate and especially Nutella.

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We are sure that you will delight somebody with it! See you tomorrow!

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Mulled Wine without Refined Sugar

When it is really cold outside, there is nothing better than enjoying a warming sweet drink in your cozy living room in the evening. Today we’ll show you how to make delicious mulled wine without using refined sugar and with very little effort.

Ingredients:

  • 300 ml red grape juice
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Pour the grape juice into a small pot. Break the cinnamon stick into two pieces and place them in the same pot. Now you need to heat this and let it simmer for a while. Then, mix the grape juice that has absorbed the cinnamon flavor with the red wine.

Very simple, right? And for children you just leave off the red wine.

Have fun trying it out and see you tomorrow!

Gift Idea: Documentaries

If you want to make someone a Christmas gift that leaves a lasting impression, this gift idea is exactly for you.

Give away a documentary, which has changed the way you see the world.

Documentaries can reveal a previously unknown side of the world to us and shape our thinking and acting in the long term.

Which documentary has inspired you most this year? Use Christmas as an opportunity to share the source of this inspiration with your loved ones.

Here a selection of three films, that have shaped us this year.

The True Cost

The true cost sheds light on the true cost of $5 clothing and shows the people behind the fast fashion trend. The People in the garment industry come to Word. Alternative models are shown as well, where people constructively work together to produce sustainable and organic clothing.

Buy The True Cost

The War on Democracy

The war on democracy’s central theme is the influence of the United States on the political situation of various South American countries such as Chile and Venezuela. It show how unstoppable positive movements are with the example of Hugo Chávez.

Buy The War on Democracy

Human

Based on portraits of various people from different countries, walks of life and backgrounds, Human leads you on a journey of what it means to be human. The portrayed people tell their personal stories and views regarding different aspects of life.

Watch Humans

We have collected 13 documentaries that have changed our lives in an article. There you find more inspiring documentaries that you could give away this year.

See you tomorrow!

Roger Bannister

Zitat: « Everyone said: It’s impossible. Then one who didn’t know that made it happen. » – Hilbert Meyer

Vancouver, May 6, 1954. Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3:59.4 minutes. Prior to this event, it was expected that it was physically impossible, that a person could run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Shortly thereafter, 24 other people have overcome the 4-minute mark, and today this is considered standard for male middle distance runners.

everyone-said-its-impossible

The impossible is a matter of perspective. If we go our own way and allow ourselves to think and act outside the box, we have the ability to make things real that have never happened before.

The Status Quo is to be questioned and challenged.

What boundaries are you going to overcome?

See you tomorrow!

coconut-balls-vegan-sugarfree-cocoa

Gift Idea: Coconut Balls

Homemade chocolates are always a great gift. And the good thing is: It doesn’t even need to be as difficult to make as it looks like! Just try our coconut balls. The only three ingredients you’ll need are dates, cocoa powder and grated coconut. The recipe is here. The fact that these coconut balls don’t contain any refined sugar is a great plus that nobody finds out regarding the taste. We experience it again and again as a positive surprise effect.

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With transparent bags, stickers and ribbons, you can nicely wrap your coconut balls. A little tip: Sometimes it looks better when the bags are not overfull, but contain only 5 to 8 coconut balls. Like this, the indications of quantity in the recipe will be enough for several gifts.

Now we wish you a lot of fun while forming balls! See you tomorrow!

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Roasted Trail Mix

How can trail mix get delicious? It’s very simple: Roast it! By roasting different nuts and raisins, you can intensify their taste and make them wonderfully crispy.
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The recipe is easy. Place some raisins and different kinds of nuts in a frying pan. Roast them on middle heat by constantly stirring. As soon as the nuts get brownish, you can remove the pan from the stove. Let your roasted trail mix cool a little and enjoy it either warm or when it has finished cooling down.

We hope you also totally enjoy your trail mix this way.

See you tomorrow!

anekdote-zur-senkung-der-arbeitsmoral

Short Story: The Fisherman and the Businessman

The original short story, written by Heinrich Böll, first appeared on labour day, on May 1, 1963, under the name “Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral”. It playfully promotes the debate on the values of work and economic growth.

A businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied only a little while.

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish.

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time? The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos; I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats; eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.” “But what then, señor?” The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

laechle-2-leute-an-und-verteile-2-komplimente

Idea: Consciously smile at 2 people and give 2 compliments

It costs nothing and gives a lot. A smile can brighten up a gloomy day and a compliment can remind us about the light we all carry in us. Today’s idea is about deliberately passing on this gift.

Today, consciously smile to at least 2 people that you otherwise wouldn’t have smiled at, and give 2 compliments.

As human beings, we are strongly interdependent and affect each other. Sometimes it’s just good to hear how unconditionally wonderful we are. In giving of love, joy and happiness, for example in the form of a smile, we encourage one another.

Don’t expect any form of compensation and observe how you feel. It’s striking that in this form of giving nothing can be taken from you and nothing is missing afterwards. On the contrary. The more you give away, the richer you’ll be.

Have fun smiling and giving compliments.

See you tomorrow!

olive-oregano-spread

Olive Spread

There are so many great plant-based bread spreads. One of them is this olive spread that is so easy to make. It is perfect for your breakfast toast, for a simple lunch or for tasty cold appetizers.

Ingredients:

  • 12 green olives, stoned
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pepper
  • oregano

Blend the olives and the olive oil with a pinch of salt and some pepper in a high vessel. Spread this on a slice of bread and sprinkle some oregano on top.


By the way, the bread you see on the photo and in the video is homemade. You find the bread recipe in door number 1.

We wish you a lot of fun with this recipe. Tomorrow, there will be the next Advent calendar door!

the-story-of-stuff

The Story of Stuff

“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption […] We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.”
– Victor Lebow (1955)

The story of stuff is a short film, pointing to the effects of the consumer society. Especially in the Advent season, it’s good to see the impact of all these things that we purchase, replace and throw away. Although the film focuses strongly on the United States, it affects all of us.


We can all contribute to the solution of this problem, by changing our lifestyle from “always more”, no matter the costs, to “always integral” and converting the linear consumption process to a cyclical in itself closed system.

Questions with which we can reflect on our consumption:

  • Is a replacement necessary?
  • Can I repair what broke?
  • Can I borrow what I need only sporadically, instead of buying it?
  • Can I recycle the waste?
  • Are there alternative uses for the waste?

You will find more interesting films from the series onThe Story of Stuff Website and the accompanying YouTube channel.

www.storyofstuff.org
The Story of Stuff YouTube Channel

In the Advent calendar door #23, we have a concrete action tip for recycling the waste in your household.

See you tomorrow!

slavery-footprint

Slavery Footprint

How many slaves work for you?

Every day, humans are bought and sold. In this day and age human trafficking is still a reality.

According to estimates of the Global Slavery Index of the Walk Free Foundation there are currently 35.8 million slaves in the world. Most of these slaves work in the raw material extraction for many products that are part our everyday lives. The brands that produce, trade and sell these products, often have too little knowledge about the origin of the raw materials. As consumers, we are not powerless. We can go to the brands and stores that we like, ask for the origin of the raw materials and undermine our willingness to pay more (in some cases the same) for conflict-free and fair trade products.

The Slavery Footprint calculator shows you the connection between your own consumption and modern slavery in just a few clicks.

Calculate your Slavery Footprint here.

Slavery Footprint

On which of your favorite products will you ask for background information about the production?

See you tomorrow!

apfelmus-zimt-1

Homemade Apple Sauce with Cinnamon

Apple sauce is one of the things that just taste a lot better when homemade and fresh! You can make and enjoy this apple sauce as an afternoon snack, as part of you breakfast, as a healthy dessert or as a side for suitable savory dishes. It really takes little effort.

Ingredients:

  • 2 apples
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Cut the apples into slices and place them into a gratin dish. Bake them at 180C/356F until they become soft and slightly caramelized. Then, put them in a high vessel, add a pinch of salt such as a little water and blend it well.

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Enjoy your apple sauce! See you tomorrow!

Der Prophet

On Love and on Friendship

Khalil Gibran was an artist, poet and philosopher that lived between 1883 and 1931. He originally came from Libanon, but then emigrated to the US. There he tried to build a bridge of reconciliation between the Western and the Arab world.

His main work is called «The Prophet». This book deals with various issues of life in a very deep and philosophical way. We have read it last year and found it very inspiring. Today we want to share with you two passages that we particularly liked:

On love:

« Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed
For love is sufficient unto love. »

On friendship:

« And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught. »

In this sense, we wish you unconditional love and real, precious friendships.

See you tomorrow!

jar-and-the-golf-balls-is-this-jar-full-1

The Story of the Jar and the Golf Balls

In times in which it seems impossible to do all the things we want to do, when we are under the impression that 24 hours per day are not enough, it is important to focus on the fundamentals of life. The story of the Jar and the Golf Balls is a reminder.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He asked the students if the jar was full and they agreed that it was.

So the professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full and they agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes”.

The professor then produced two cups of tea from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions–things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Enjoy time with your spouse or sweetheart. Take time to get medical check-ups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Go visit friends and family or volunteer within your community. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.” “Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the tea represented.

The professor smiled. “I am glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there is always room for a couple of cups of tea with a friend.”

Eine erste Variante der Geschichte erschien 1996 in Stephen R. Coveys Buch First Things First. Seitdem wurde sie von vielen umgeschrieben und weitererzählt.

What are the golf balls in your life?

See you tomorrow!

reuse-packagings

Tip: Reuse Packaging

Today we share an awesome tip with you.

We find it important to realize sustainability in our daily life. A part of it is that we try to distance ourselves a little from the nowadays widespread throwaway mentality. It is particularly challenging to reduce waste when it comes to packaging. Nearly everything we buy is packed with plastic and other materials.

We try to make use of it by keeping the packaging.

Earlier, we used to buy new plastic bags to pack snacks like sandwiches or fruits. Today, we don’t have such bags in our household anymore. Instead, we reuse the packaging from grains, legumes, nuts, dried fruits, etc. They only end up in the garbage after one or several reutilizations.

Try it out! Keep the packaging that you’re about to throw away. As soon as you pack food for on the go the next time, you can use it.

We wish you a nice day and hope you will visit us again tomorrow! 🙂

Hello everybody!

For many people Christmas is an opportunity to meet family and friends. This is why we chose to write an article on how to use relationships for a fullfilling life. And that’s not all! We also share with you a super delicious recipe that is particularly good for guests, so that you can implement the recommendation “Never Eat Alone”.

Here are the two articles:

Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Vegetables
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« Never Eat Alone » – The Power of Relationships for a Fulfilling Life
never-eat-alone

Thank you so much for following our Advent calendar until today. This really means a lot to us!

Kind regards

Lisa and Prosper

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