Recipe: chopped kale and brussel sprouts w/ honey vinaigrette

Recipe: chopped kale and brussel sprouts w/ honey vinaigrette

t's been a while since I posted a healthy recipe on here. But here it is: chopped kale and brussel sprouts with a honey and apple cider vinaigrette. Use a bag of Trader Joe's cruciferous crunch collection or chop up a cup of kale, a cup of brussel sprouts, a cup of red or green cabbage and any other crunchy green.

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The Berlin Diaries: Week 5

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Fifth week of my Berlin Diaries. Enjoy! June 22nd (W5/D1): New week and a double digit run as an easy run... Definitely takes some getting used to. But got it done! #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 23rd (W4/D2): Easy 8 rounds out 52 miles in 6 days... not too shabby #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 24th (W4/D3): Rest Day :) #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 25th (W4/D4): Mile repeats at goal marathon pace of sub-3... didn't quite hit them as hoped but the effort was honest. #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 26th (W4/D5): Easy recovery run with Zola but I have to say fitting in 8 miles before work is hard. #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 27th (W4/D6): And another easy 8. Had someone told me a few months ago that I would be running 8 milers for my easy days I would have laughed... finished up with strides. Do your strides! #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

June 28th (W4/D7): 12 mile long run with a fast 9th and 10th mile at 7:09 and 6:53. Whoop! #theberlindiaries #berlinmarathon

Rice Pilaf and sauteed Kale

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For Monday dinner, we had a beautiful summer/ fall dish. It has felt like fall in New York City and so rice pilaf and sauteed kale sounded just right. You will need 2 tbs of butter or a vegetable substitute, 1/2 cup of orzo pasta and 1/2 cup of basmati rice, 2 cloves garlic, 1 small onion, 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth.

Prepare the pilaf as follows:

Melt the butter or oil in a saucepan. Cook and stir orzo pasta until golden brown. Stir in onion and cook until onion becomes translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Mix in the rice and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

In the meantime wash and trim one bunch of Tuscan kale, add 3 garlic cloves (cut in half) to 2 tbs of EVOO in a skillet on medium heat. Wait until they are browned and fragrant, then add the kale little by little. After a few minutes it will wilt and you can add up to 1/4 cup of tamari. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

ENJOY!

Cherry Pie (drool...)

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It is summer, darlings! And that means fruit pies... in particular for me: cherry pie (while I wait for the farmers market peaches to arrive). Those who have taken my classes this week may have noticed that I had an upset stomach a few times. As a girl once summer break came around I could usually be found at my best friend's house - in the cherry tree. I usually paid for the hours of eating cherries (and drinking water) with an upset stomach. And the past week was no different. Not in a cherry tree anymore but I ate as if I was and arrived at some classes with a bit of an upset tummy.

Anyhow... I hope you are all enjoying the diversity of summer fruit that is so abundant these days.

This pie was adapted from Smitten Kitchens' beautiful sour cherry recipe, made with some leftovers that I had but turned out delicious.

You will need:

One Trader Joes frozen pie shell

For the filling:

1.5-2 lbs of cherries (of the dark sweet variety) 2 tbs of corn starch 1/2 cup of coconut palm sugar

For the crust:

2/3 cup rolled oats or Trader Joes hot multigrain cereal: organic rolled whole grains(rye, barley, oats & wheat) 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup almonds 4 tbs of melted butter (cooled)

cherry pie

Let the frozen pie shell thaw and then press it into a pie form or a quiche pan - parbake in the oven for 10 mins at 300 degrees. Take out and let cool.

Mix the cherries with the other ingredients. Fill the mixture into the cooled pie shell.

In a food processor grind the oats/ grain mixture with the almonds, then add sugar and flour. Move the flour mixture to a bowl and combine with cinnamon and then fold in the melted butter.

Spread the almond/ flour mixture over the cherries. Bake in the oven for 70 minutes at 350. Once it starts smelling deliciously and is lightly browned on top, take it out. Let cool slightly and serve with fresh whipped cream or clotted cream.

ENJOY!

Healing and a New Moon

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2014 is charging ahead. It is supposed to be ripe with opportunity and to favour the quick thinkers and decision makers. It is also full of new moons already! In less than three days, we will have a new moon again, the third one this year. This new moon will be in Pisces. I won't attempt to give you an astrological or mystical breakdown of what awaits, but I have come to appreciate new moons as mini new beginnings so I will do the same with this one. Also, the topic of healing came up (my husband compared me to Chiron... I'll write a separate post on that, ha!). As you may know, I suffered from sciatica for three years. It was excruciatingly painful and had absolutely no physical source (at least initially). I talked to a few new mothers this week and some of them told me about their experiences with lower back issues and also sciatica. Sciatica just like many other ailments and pains, usually stems from imbalance, emotional or physical. We can treat the symptoms but until we attack the root cause, the problem will keep returning. It took me another 2 years to get to the root and work on eliminating it and therefore reducing the pain and it took some pretty big changes in attitude and behavioural patterns. I was able to heal with a lot of support from others but mainly because I sought and went after more balance in my life.

Now this new moon on March 1st is in Pisces and asking for a closer look at some of our patterns, it is supposed to set a tone for pause and reflection while we consider where our energy has become totally out of balance.

There it is again: balance. The word pops up a lot. We talk about work-life balance, mind-body balance, balancing acts, balanced meals, the balance of power, standing balances and being well-balanced mentally.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

Balance is such an integrative part of our vocabulary but still, we rarely achieve it in our life. This upcoming new moon wants to remind us how to do it. It asks us to tune inward and listen. To pay attention to our dreams. To flow and be connected. To merge and take a break from mundane activities. My interpretation and what I'm intending to do (especially since it's coming on the weekend) is the following:

  • Seeing people that I don't often see and miss (!). I started today with a lovely lunch and it made me happy.
  • Engaging in activities that I love and that allow me to reflect. I will probably go for a run.
  • Taking some me time.
  • Trying to refrain from being impatient for x amount of hours per day. With others AND myself.
  • Preparing and savouring nourishing food. And ideally sharing it in lovely company.
  • Resting and taking a moment in the morning to reflect on my dreams.
  • Beginning or ending the day reminding myself of what I'm grateful for (and writing it down).
  • Writing down my dreams for the future as a way of manifesting them / announcing them to the Universe.

I can't believe we are almost in March. Three weeks and change until Spring. Could it be true?

Let me know what you will be doing for the new moon or what you have done to heal after a difficult emotional or physical setback.

I would love to hear from you!

xxR

Kale Avocado Salad

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Kale Avocado Salad is a beautiful winter dish. They are a great combination... Add challah croutons and it's downright heavenly! This salad tastes simultaneously fresh and filling (with the option of farro) and is ready in 5 minutes.

Cut the avocado into cubes and add to a bowl. Roast 2 cups of challah cubes after tossing them in olive oil and thyme - until lightly browned (.

While the croutons are baking, slice 1 large garlic bulb thinly, add 3 tablespoons of buttermilk, 1 tbs of whole grain mustard, salt and pepper as well as one egg yolk and 1/3-1/2 of olive oil. Whip the dressing until nicely combined.

Add the croutons to the avocado and add about ten stalks of kale or 3-4 cups. Toss with the dressing.

If you want some more bite to it, you can add precooked farro.

ENJOY!

Core Workout Video

Use this core workout video to exercise your obliques and abs. Place a block between your thighs, lift your legs up straight or bend knees if necessary. With both hands interlaced behind your head, lift right elbow towards your left knee, then switch. 10 repetitions on each side. Three sets.

The Best South African Buttermilk Rusks

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When Chris and I went to South Africa two years ago (and got engaged ♥ ) one of the things I learned that the Van der Walt women need to know is how to make (the best South African buttermilk) rusks. What are rusks? In the US we would probably call them dehydrated cereal bars. In Europe something like pressed Muesli bars. This following recipe makes for a big amount of these delicious and oh so rewarding and nutritional rusks AND they are gluten free. You can eat them when on Safari, being charged by an elephant bull, crossing an Australian desert, as dessert, as breakfast or with tea. And they are great for pre- and post workout fuel! You can dunk them in tea or coffee and the crunch from all the good seeds, will always have you coming back for more. Luckily you will have enough for weeks...

Thank you for the recipe, Gaynor!

  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar. I use 1 cup dark soft brown sugar and 1 cup usual brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 cups of self raising flour, I use gluten free more friendly on the stomach
  • 4 cups of oat bran
  • 1 cup bread flour, such as King Arthur
  • 1tbs baking powder
  • 2.5 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup of sesame seeds
  • ½ cup of linseeds

 

 

best south african buttermilk rusks

1. Melt butter, oil and sugar on low heat. Stir well and remove from heat as soon as melted. The sugar does not melt completely and remains quite thick but the grains melt. 2. Beat eggs in buttermilk and stir into above. 3. Mix all dry ingredients together and make a deep well. 4. Slowly pour in wet ingredients and mix well with a short handled wooden spoon is best. 5. With hands pull off pieces of dough mix, the size of mandarins. I don’t work the dough in my hands as this makes them heavier but the choice is yours if you want them lighter. A real child-play treat as the dough sticks like crazy but you’ll find a way to get it off your hands and onto the baking tray. 6. Place on 2 baking trays an inch apart. While cooking they will touch which is fine! 7. Cook 180 °C/ 350 F ‘till golden, about 30/45 mins. 8. Remove and allow to cool so you’re able to break them without burning your fingers! 9. Break up into whatever size you fancy while still warm. They break easily on cracks formed while baking. Leave them in a jumble on their baking trays close together as the drying out process is at least 8 hours when you go to bed. I arrange them upside down to allow more airflow while drying. 10. Before going to bed set oven at 100 °C/ 200 F and leave overnight.

ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!

Healthy Pancake Recipe

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You'll say: "why would I want a healthy pancake recipe? Pancakes are supposed to be wonderfully decadent and indulgent. Not necessarily healthy." Well, these are; both.

They are wonderfully healthy by including rolled oats and potentially gluten-free, but their texture is soft and fluffy and delectable because of the buttermilk and other standard ingredients. They will warm your tummy and your soul on one of these dreadful, grey winter mornings (or evenings, who knows?).

Make this batch for 4 hungry souls.

Soak 2 cups of rolled oats in 2 cups of buttermilk, preferably over night but at least several hours.

Then add, 2 eggs (lightly beaten) and 1/4 cup melted grass-fed organic butter. In a separate bowl mix 1/2 cup of all purpose flour (or for gluten-free and some nutty crunch, buckwheat flour), 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of each baking soda and baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. If you like Sweden as much as I do, you will have encountered their love for everything cardamom. It's a nice replacement for the cinnamon or you can add both.

Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients. The result will be a very thick, sticky dough. Pan fry the pancakes and keep the ones that are ready warm in the oven.

Enjoy them with maple syrup, or honey, frozen fruit heated up (as seen in the picture).

Tell me what you think in the comments.

xxR

Body Image and Health

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Regarding the title, Body Image and Health, you'll probably wonder what I'm doing in the picture above? I'm pulling up my pants. They are low-rise and therefore sitting in them without a belt, means that I have to adjust them before I sit down for a photo opp. Body image is a topic that everybody can relate to, everybody in a different way though. For me personally it came as a big surprise when my 15 year old lanky frame suddenly started developing curves. There were areas that took a little while longer, but not my hips and bottom. Suddenly what felt like overnight, I had a butt. And I didn't like it.

In today's society we are fed pictures of Victoria's Secret models strutting their stuff down the runway looking curvy to us, however they are really only curvy in relation to their otherwise very slim frame. Fashion models are preferably androgynous with narrow shoulders and no hips. So it is now wonder that we women strive to maintain a slim frame from the moment our body changes in adolescence. We own skinny jeans and keep them "in case we will fit into them again", we are joyous at the thought of wearing a size 4 (which is manufactured to make us feel smaller), we compare, we follow trends, we play with colours and shapes and we work out to get slimmer.

As a professional athlete I was huge by society's standards, I had broad shoulders, strong legs (one leg was so much bigger from fencing than the other, that I had to buy jeans one size up), I had big guns and I had a runner's butt. My body was my job, I was eternally grateful for all it could take, it was my tool, and I was incredibly proud of what it stood for: strength in swimming, steadfastness in shooting, a deep seat on horseback, explosiveness in the fencing and a graceful stride in the running. When I quit competing, my body placed fat on top of my muscles, courtesy of me continuing to eat like I was training 25 hours a week. And somehow at the time I didn't notice.

I look back at those photos now (no, I won't share them) I cringe slightly at how unaware I was, not just of how I looked but how unhealthy I was. I had left a very controlled lifestyle for the first time and I was consuming a lot more than was necessary or good for me.

And then a beautiful thing happened: because I was so unaware of my heavier frame I didn't do anything about it. I started eating less as my body recognized my lower output, I incorporated some exercise into my life again and my body naturally "shrunk" back to my healthy size (mind you, over the course of almost 2 years!). I have been at my size and weight for 8 years now and as people who know me will attest, I eat a lot and then some.

Working with people now, my priority is not teaching them how to lose weight quickly and I personally don't measure success by watching people shrink. What makes me happiest is seeing both men and women embrace strength, develop skills, grace in situations in which they were convinced they would never be, change their perception of food and gratification and most importantly make movement an integral part of their lives. If there is an obsession that I support then it's feeling the urge to move to experience health in body and mind.

I embrace my body and my butt now. I'm a woman so I have fat days, bloated days, feeling ugly days, sad days and envious days. But overall whenever I do, I try to think back to the pride I used to feel over a healthy body that allowed me to do so much. I dare you to think of a night out in which all you did was have fun and thought of nothing else. Not your outfit, not who you wanted to impress, or what anyone else was wearing... Right there, that's the feeling that exudes a quiet confidence that is so irresistible...

Stay tuned for the letter C tomorrow! And make sure to hop on over to my Facebook page for the rest of the alphabet.

xxR

Super Easy Recipe for Dinner: Rice with Pomegranate

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This is a super easy recipe for dinner, especially during hectic weeks: rice with pomegranate. I know it sounds odd but it is such a flavourful dish, you will want to eat it every day! Boil 2 cups of rice that you like (I like Jasmine rice, wild rice or pilaf) according to instructions on the box and let it cool slightly. In the meantime, de-seed the pomegranate. It's nice to use them fresh and you find them everywhere right now (at least here in New York). There's a tutorial on the Huffington Post on how to de-seed a pomegranate like a pervert. Or you can buy the seeds :)

I like to use the whole pomegranate and mix the seeds into the rice. Season with 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, juice of 1/2 lemon and if you enjoy dairy, 2 tablespoons of Lebanese Labneh (strained yogurt). It's my new obsession, my friends call it the Lebanese ketchup and it's very healthy. I have used it previously in my Quark Dessert. Season the rice with salt and pepper.

This dish can be enjoyed by itself or as a salad by adding greens like kale. You can also use it as a side dish for roast chicken.

PS: I took this beautiful photo from Pinterest because my result didn't look quite so pretty...

I hope you enjoy it!

xxR

Pumpkin Seed Cookies!

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I love it when people send me recipes. This recipe is for pumpkin seed cookies. You must have some left over from Halloween, no? In this adaptation of another recipe, my friend Anahi, added coconut and she will be experimenting with caramelized ginger soon, too! I'll make sure to post an update when she does. 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup coconut flakes 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted 1 egg 1/3 cup cane sugar + 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until it starts to foam, then watch until you smell a nice light nutty scent. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about a minute, before stirring in the rolled oats.

While the butter is browning, combine the buckwheat flour, baking powder, spices, salt and pumpkin seeds. Set aside

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and egg together until the mixture becomes creamy and batter-like. Add the vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture, then stir in the butter and oat mixture, stirring just until combined. The dough will be quite loose and runny.

Drop tablespoons of the dough onto your prepared cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 8-10 minutes, turning the pan half way through cooking time. Let sit on baking sheet several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

(I love the Milk Beer glasses in the picture! Thank you, Anahi!)

Pre and Postnatal Fitness

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Pre and Postnatal Fitness is a topic that - when googled - shows varying results of very gentle movement with a lot of breath work. On the other hand there are professional athletes such as Kerri Walsh (who I am a HUGE fan of) who competed in and won the Olympics during her early stages of pregnancy and her open way of discussing it, earned her quite a bit of criticism. One of the first people that I started working with earlier this year was 4 months pregnant when we started and she stopped 2 weeks before her due date. Over the course of 4-5 months, we worked out up to 3 times a week, always according to how she felt, early in her pregnancy we did some running and later on we kept her heart rate up with fast walks with weights in hand. Each session included yoga and that portion increased over time. Every so often she would join my group workout in which the exercises often involved working with other expectant moms. Because I saw her so much, I got a really good glimpse into how the body changes, the mood changes and the muscoskeletal disposition can be affected by pregnancy. It was fascinating.

Mood wise, there were days when the feeling of heaviness and sciatic pain made her consider not working out but after a few times during which we saw the positive effects of gentle exercise on her mood, it usually took only the first minutes and a fun anecdote of my work week to get her spirits up and by the end of the session she would feel much better than before. Regarding the changes of her body, because she carried a girl, she said the felt different than carrying a boy the first time around: heavier around the hips (I'm looking forward to reading some comments from mothers whether they agree or disagree) and an earlier onset of more weight. Towards the end of her pregnancy we were presented with a different problem. Her pelvis had shifted to one side so now it was pressing on the veins that ran down her leg, causing it to swell to almost an inch more in diameter than the other. Her doctor ran tests to see if it was dangerous and it wasn't but we did an increased number of exercises to stabilize the pelvis (like in this video) and luckily the imbalance subsided immediately after the birth.

This pregnant woman and others have shown me a wide range of fitness levels and motivation. Regardless of what they are they are usually accompanied by a high level of insecurity of what to do and what to avoid. The safest bet is to take advantage of the many prenatal yoga classes that exist now. But there are many other exercise forms that are safe for women to do during and after pregnancy. So in my approach I have focused the first part of the class on getting the women's heart rate up, through walking, slow running, cardio exercises with resistance bands and in some instances light boxing work (it is intensely gratifying to punch those boxing mitts and it is stationary so there is no jumping or running involved). The second part of my workout includes strength. Usually it's focused on the main weight bearing areas such as the hips and legs. But a pregnant woman also wants to maintain a beautiful appearance which is why toning the legs, glutes and arms and shoulders is an essential component too. I do some core work but often the yoga with which I end the session, involves some of that as well.

Postpartum exercise is often similar especially in the early stages post baby, i.e. 6 weeks and later. Women who have given birth are usually very eager to return to a regular exercise routine quickly. But the body needs time. And during that time I have found variety to be the most important component. Just as for people who want to lose excess weight, keeping the exercises fun and diverse is key to making the workout routine a habit and therefore sustainable.

It makes me really happy to see women leave the class glowing. Not only are they doing something healthy for themselves and their baby by maintaining a good cardio-vascular level during pregnancy but after delivery they also take an hour for themselves, they laugh and talk and get things off their chest. Having mixed classes has been beneficial for both groups.

If you are currently pregnant and want my five tips on how to make exercise fun, please read this MindBodyGreen article. Or even better, come and join me for one of my classes.

I hope whether you are a new mom or currently pregnant, that you find a way for yourself to maintain or get back to exercising. And if you have any questions, concerns, comments or just want to say hello, please do so in the comments box below!

xxR

Tasty Tuesday: Fried Green Tomatoes & Summer Salad/ Grüne Tomaten & Sommer Salat

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I love tomatoes! And right now in NY, there is an abundance of fantastic heirloom tomatoes in different colours ranging from pink to green to yellow and orange. They are big ripe and they just ask to be used for all kinds of dishes. So I decided to make an appetizer of 'fried green tomatoes' and follow it up with a very fresh summery salad. Very simple and super refreshing: Cut 3 large green tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and salt them. Let them stand for a few minutes while you lightly beat one egg with a tbsp of water. Soak the tomato slices in the egg before tossing them in breadcrumbs. Fry in olive oil, add a dollop of garlic aioli. ENJOY!

While you fry the tomatoes, chop cucumber into small cubes and the same with the other tomatoes (mine were yellow!), open a can of chickpeas and drain them. I like to rinse the chickpeas to get rid of that slimy film that coats them. Toss in a salad bowl with LOTS of coriander (from the spice rack - NOT cilantro). And for extra fun take two large ripe peaches, peel them, slice them and roast them in the oven for approximately 15 min at 350 degrees. Throw them into the mix. Squeeze out a whole lemon over the salad and ENJOY!

Ich liebe Tomaten! Und moment gibt es sie in NY in wahnsinnig vielen verschiedenen Farben, von pink über grün und gelb und orange. Sie sind riesengross, reif, saftig und koennen für eine menge toller Rezepte verwendet werden. Also habe ich mich für eine Vorspeise von frittierten grünen Tomaten entschieden gefolgt von einem bunten Sommer Salat. Sehr einfach und wahnsinnig erfrischend:

Schneide 3 grosse grüne Tomaten in 1cm dicke Scheiben und salze sie leicht. Lass sie für ein paar Minuten stehen während du ein Ei mit etwas Wasser leicht aufschlägst. Lege die Tomatenscheiben in die Eimischung und wende sie danach in Paniermehl. Frittiere sie in Olivenöl, ein Klecks Knoblauch Aioli. Und: LECKER!

Während du die Tomaten frittierst, schneide die Gurke und die Tomaten (ich habe gelbe verwendet) in Würfel, öffne eine Dose Kichererbsen und lass sie abtropfen. Ich wasche sie zusätzlich ab, weil ich den schleimigen Film an den Kicherbsen nicht mag. Vermische alles in einer Salatschüssel und füge eine MENGE Koriander hinzu. Und um dem ganzen noch einen extra Kick zu geben, wasche, schäle und schneide zwei grosse reife Pfirsiche und röste sie im Ofen bei ca. 150 Grad. Gib sie hinzu. Presse eine ganze Zitrone aus und: LECKER!