Sometimes, I’m a nerd.

I bought a new travel mug, because let’s be honest, having my coffee / tea be lukewarm after only 1,5 hours is no fun, and that’s what happened with my old one. It was a cheap one, so I guess I can’t really complain about that. But you see, I take the mug along when I have a 1 hour commute, and I like to enjoy my hot beverage during at the very least the whole first class of the day, and preferably longer than that.

So as I said, I bought a new travel mug. I purchased a Contigo Aria AutoSeal 470 ml. A tad bigger than my old one, but hey, coffee addicts rejoice. Notice how I also did not get the 600 ml one? I know my limits. I bought it from Cool Blue (more precisely, their theepotstore) for a mere 30€ including free next day shipping. And today around 11am it was delivered to my door.

This is the travel mug in question:

Contigo Aria 470 ml (Purple)

Contigo Aria 470 ml (Purple)

Yep, it’s purple. While Contigo does make it in other colors, it seems like most stores only carry the purple one. Not my most favourite color, but I don’t hate it.

So what’s a future engineer to do upon getting a new thermos mug? Test it out. I took out my candy thermometer, boiled some water, and took some measurements. Boiling water just poured measured at 96°C (which means I should calibrate the thermometer, but was too lazy to do it today and will take the 4 degree error as systematic and completely ignore it. Because I can). So I then measured after 5 minutes without the lid (about how long it takes for tea to brew) and put the lid on. I measured again at 30 minutes intervals and got to 7 measurements before I got bored. Results are that after 3,5 hours, the water is at 54°C, which is still nicely drinkable.

Temperature in function of time

Temperature in function of time

Of course, I did not pre-warm the travel mug before making this totally unscientific experiment. Should I pre-warm it, I expect the drink would stay warm(er) long(er), and probably up to the 5 hours Contigo states this mug keeps warm.

As for the 100% leak free? I simply upturned the mug (over the kitchen sink, I’m not that crazy), and yep, absolutely no leak. The lock mechanism works nicely, and you can indeed use it with one hand. Really handy when you’re busy taking notes. The real test comes next week, when I’ll be taking it to school.

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with either Contigo nor Cool Blue. No one has paid me to run this test and write the review.  I don’t get any cash if you click those links.

Warming soup with kohlrabi, sweet potato & tofu

Yes, another veggie recipe!

Today the weather is crummy. Grey, dark, gloomy, hail-snow-melting snow-rain kind of day. So I decided on a soup for dinner.

Warming soup

Warming soup


  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled & chopped (~ 100 gr)
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  • 2 small carrots, peeled & sliced (~ 100 gr)
  • 1 kohlrabi, peeled & cubed (~ 500 gr)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed (~ 350 gr)
  • veggie broth (I use instant)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 block tofu (~ 250 gr)
  • pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp spicy smoked paprika


  1. In a soup pot, heat up oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden. Then add carrots and cook for a couple minutes. Add kohlrabi and cook a couple more minutes. Add sweet potatoes and toss together.
  2. Cover veggies with broth, bring to a simmer and let cook for 15 minutes. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt & pepper. Add cayenne and paprika.
  3. Meanwhile, cube the tofu and dry fry until golden.
  4. Add tofu to soup just before serving.

Servings: 2 servings as a main, 4 as a starter.

Nutritional info: (all values are approximate!)

Calories: 453
Protein: 26 gr
Fat: 12 gr
Carbs: 65 gr

Mushroom Seitan Stew

Yes, another recipe!

Mushroom Seitan Stew with Mashed Potatoes

Mushroom Seitan Stew with Mashed Potatoes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 500 gr white mushrooms (or other, to taste), clean & sliced
  • 1 tbsp whisky (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp marmite (or other yeast extract)
  • 1/2 tsp broth powder / granules
  • 1/2 tsp dry sage (adjust accordingly if using fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp dry rosemary (adjust if fresh)
  • 1 dl water
  • 200 gr seitan
  • salt & pepper
  • cornstarch to thicken
  • potato mash to serve
  • parsley for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until golden. Add mushrooms, and toss to cover in oil. Add a pinch of salt to get the juice of the mushrooms going. Cook until mushrooms have more than halved in volume (do not reduce liquid).
  2. Add whisky if using and cook for a couple of minutes. Add sage, rosemary, pepper, marmite and broth powder. Stir to melt the marmite & combine. Add the seitan and cook for a couple of minutes. (Ideally here, let it rest for half an hour, but you can go on without waiting).
  3. Bring to a boil, use a cornstarch slurry (1 tsp starch, 1 tbsp water) to thicken stew.
  4. Serve piping hot with mashed potatoes. Garnish with parsley.

Servings: 2 servings, can be easily doubled.

Nutritional info (*):

Calories: 453
Protein: 41 gr
Fat: 13 gr
Carbs: 48 gr

(*) Info calculated with approximately 150 gr mashed potatoes (with a tiny bit of butter and some milk) per serving.

Keeping up the blogging – a recipe: Sweet potato curry

Sweet potato curry

Sweet potato curry


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 fat cloves garlic (or to taste), minced
  • 1 1/2 – 2 tsp curry powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 small tin mushrooms (115 gr drained)
  • 50-60 gr frozen peas
  • 1/2 courgette, cut in fourths lengthwise and then in thick slices
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in big pieces
  • 200 gr tempeh
  • 1 brick / tin tomato pieces (500 gr)
  • as needed: sugar, cornstarch
  • fresh or dried coriander, for garnish

Make it:

  1. Cut the tempeh in cubes approx. 2cm big. Bring a couple cm of water to the boil, and steam the tempeh for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Why do you steam the tempeh? Tempeh tends to have a bitter taste that some people find unpleasant. By steaming it, this bitter taste is reduced to nearly none.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, peas, courgette, sweet potatoes and steamed tempeh. Add the tomato pieces and add some water as needed to barely cover the contents.
  3. Bring pot to a simmer, and let cook for 45 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced.
  4. Taste, correct acidity if needed with a pinch of sugar. Thicken if needed with cornstarch.
  5. Serve warm with coriander leaves for garnish.

Servings: 2 servings as a main meal as is, you could also serve it with rice and make it 4 servings.

And for those interested, the way I made it it turned to be (per serving, counting 2 servings without rice):

Calories: 411
Carbs: 60 g
Fat: 8 g
Protein: 26 g

Values will vary depending on the size of your tablespoon of oil, onion, courgette, sweet potatoes… 

Random Organization Idea

We have upgraded our freezer, and since it now is more than twice the size of the older, we thought it’d be a good idea to try and keep it organized. At first we thought we could buy adhesive blackboard and stick it on the front, but then we found out that there is such thing as electrostatic blackboard film! That won’t damage the surface like glue might do, so we went for that option. Then you just need a chalkboard marker or two, and this is the result:

Organized freezer

Organized freezer

What you need:

  • one shiny new (or old) freezer (or fridge) that you want to get organized,
  • one roll electrostatic film (ours is black Legamaster Blackboard, comes in a roll of 25 sheets 60cm wide by 80cm tall)
  • scissors to cut the film to fit your freezer
  • chalkboard markers (either dry erase or not)

What you do:

  1. Measure the surface you want to cover, and cut as much electrostatic film as needed.
  2. Place the film on the freezer door. Use a dry cloth to smooth it. Easy to move around and you can reattach it as needed.
  3. Write the contents of your freezer for the world to see. Ours are organized by drawers. It’s handy to write the date of the leftovers so you know when you put them in there.
  4. And you’re done!

Hey, look! Something happened to the blog!

A little bit of free time, and boredom while waiting for a delivery (I didn’t want to work on my sewing project, in case they rang the door at the wrong time) and we have a refreshing new look on the blog!

For those interested but that don’t want to go all the way down to the footer, it’s the Mantra theme, a bit tweaked by yours truly. Besides that, not much else. I did have fun working with the theme and finding fonts I liked on Google’s webfonts (cool thing, you can download the ttf files as well and use them on your computer). Oh yeah, some work has to happen with the sidebar, but that will be for another day, unless it bothers me to no end.

And as I said above, yes I am working on a sewing project. You’ll have to wait a bit to see it. Right now everything is cut and ready to be assembled.

The best way to turn 30

Is as follows:

Come home to a bunch of balloons:

And two dozens of roses:

And a chocolate cake:

And then follow it with a luxury dinner at Restaurant Lof:

Amuse Bouche:

Jerusalem artichoke cream with kale and truffle as starter for me:

and Jan’s Cabbage and curry with poached quail eggs,black olives and peppers:

Red beet with inlayed pumpkin, gherkins, airy cashew nuts, polenta and red beet sauce as main dish for me:

And Baked pear with parsnip, red onion compote, roasted shallots, crispy salsify & creamy porcini sauce for Jan:

Dessert was Pear cake with mascarpone, coffee and dark chocolate for me:

And ‘Our’ tarte tatin with apple, vanilla ice cream, caramel and sugared pastry for Jan:

Followed by tea for me:

chosen from a fancy tea menu:

And coffee for Jan:

It was a lovely day!

Orange cranberry cake

Yes, another recipe!


  • 225 gr (salted) butter, softened
  • 180 gr sugar
  • 225 gr flour
  • 8 g baking powder (1/2 baggie)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp orange essence
  • 125 gr cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and flour a loaf cake tin.
  2. In a big bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in essence.
  3. Shift flour and baking powder together. Fold into butter-sugar-egg mixture. Fold in cranberries.
  4. Pour into prepared loaf tin and bake in preheated oven until done (a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean), 45-60 mins.
  5. Cool slightly before turning onto a rack to cool completely.

Servings: 12 hearty slices (315 calories, 37 g carbs, 17 g fat, 4 g protein)


It’s a fishy affair

After a month of working in safety boots, my feet needed some TLC. And Groupon came to the rescue with an offer for a fish spa & pedicure not to far from me. So I bought it, and booked it. And then one Monday it was time to go to my first ever fishy pedicure. And where was this? At Beauty Studio Fauvelle, (also on facebook), in Eeklo.

I was received with a smile by Chloe, the owner, and directed to a nice private room, with low light, a comfy  chair, and my personal tank full of hungry fishies. After cleaning my feet with a nice warm moist towel, I got to immerse them and say hello to the fishes, that then went happily about their business of nomming my toes, I mean, sucking the dry skin from my feet. They did a great job of it! I also got a free coffee to enjoy while those little friends did their work.


After 15 minutes of relaxing that passed rather fast, I slowly pulled my legs from the tank, and got them dry. We then went to another room, where the rest of my pedicure took place: filing whatever was left of dry skin, trimming & filing nails, nail polish and a nice foot massage with cream.

You can also can enjoy this, for the reasonable price of 40€ (35€ for fish spa and pedicure, 5€ for the nail polish). And she also has a fish spa for two, so you can go with your best friend!