How to make organic coffee at home

It is hard to not like coffee! And while you can get really nice (and expensive) coffee to go in fancy coffeeshops, nothing beats a delicious cup of organic coffee at home.

How we make my favorite cup of coffee

This Organice Your Life clip shows you how we make the best organic coffee at home in New York City! This time it was a Latte macchiato, made with my favorite organic coffee by Antica Tostatura Triestina, an Italian coffee company of my friend Alessandro Hausbrandt. Antica has many kinds and flavors of coffee. My husband likes the regular beans, and I like the decaf beans.

READ MORE: Antica Tostatura Triestina

Organic coffee

Why we prefer organic coffee? Because this way the beans are produced and grown without harmful chemicals and pesticides. Also, especially for decaf coffee it is important to know how the caffeine is extracted from the beans, as many companies do it with lots of bad chemicals.

Homemade coffee

For your homemade coffee, all you need next to the delicious organic ground coffee is a little stovetop espresso maker, a milk frother and organic (vegan) milk. if you have whole beans you also need a grinder.

Just an FYI when you watch the clip: the milk that gets frothed is heated in a skillet until warm.


Love, Lonneke

Antica Tostatura Triestina coffee

Att cafe organic



Stamppot: a typical Dutch dinner with a vegetarian twist

In the Netherlands, people eat a lot of mashed potatoes and different vegetables, especially in the Fall and Winter, which we call "stamppot". It is a typical Dutch dish and it is very easy to make. I think it is delicious! I am showing you a healthy and tasty version with kale. 

Vegan or vegetarian stamppot

You can make stamppot by adding a vegetarian meat substitute. But most Dutch cook meat balls in their own gravy (jus). When they make the stamppot dish, they put it on a plate in a shape of a mountain, and dig a hole (dent) in the middle of the stamppot and add the gravy in the dent.

Check out the recipe below for stampot with a vegan/vegetarian gravy. But you can also make your own (grass fed) meatballs, sausage or another of your favorite piece of meat and use the juice of the meat to make your own meat-based gravy.

Love, Lonneke

Stamppot: a typical Dutch dinner with a vegetarian twist
A typical dutch "stamppot" but a healthier version!

Cuisine: dutch
Recipe type: dinner
Serves: 2

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 6 Handfuls of white potatoes and sweet potatoes cut and peeled.
  • 500 gr of shredded and washed kale, without the stems.
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • optional (vegetarian) cheese
  • sauce:
  • 3 large diced onions
  • 4 handfuls of mushrooms of your choice cleaned sliced.
  • 2 tbsp organic soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp organic balsamic vinegar
  • 300 ml water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • optional: (vegetarian) meat ball (pictures from De Vegetarische Slager that are made with organic soy)

  1. Cook the potatoes until they are soft, and add the kale on top to steam.
  2. Get rid of the excess water and mash the kale and potatoes together.
  3. Take pot of heat and keep lid closed to keep the mash warm.
  4. For the sauce:
  5. Stir fry the cut mushrooms and put aside on a plate.
  6. Then stir fry the onions in the pan you used for the mushrooms, with olive oil, salt, pepper until golden brown.
  7. Add the soy sauce, water, balsamic vinegar, honey and stir.
  8. Use a blender to blend it all together.
  9. Use a sieve to remove the large parts so a sauce remains (the onions you can use for something else like a soup, or stew)
  10. Taste the sauce and add any of the ingredients to make it taste more to your liking. Extra honey means sweeter, extra salt means saltier, extra balsamic vinegar means more sour, etc, more water means thinner sauce etc.
  11. Add the mushrooms.
  12. Let it simmer on lower heat for a while with your (vegetarian) meat balls in this sauce until cooked.
  13. Serve the mash on a plate, and make a dent in the middle in which you pour the sauce.
  14. Meatball on the side: Enjoy!

Use a large pot to cook your potatoes and kale.
You can use only white potatoes or only sweet potatoes for a twist. Sweet potatoes are healthier.
You can make the mash smoother by adding a bit of butter, or milk, or olive oil.
You can also make the mash smoother by adding dices of your favorite hard cheese and mix it together until they become chewy. It gives a nice surprise of flavor and texture when eating the mash. ( I added organic cheese with rosemary from a local organic farm in my hometown)
It tastes great with some nice organic mustard.

stamppot 2

OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup

You know I love leftovers! I always find a way to make something delicious with it. A Leftover minestrone soup is a great leftover dish using fresh and leftover ingredients. You can even use the (vegetarian) pasta sauce, and the pasta you made the night before! Also, any vegetables left in your kitchen, can usually be added to this soup. So clean up your fridge and make a lovely soup!

Love, Lonneke

OYL Leftover Minestrone Soup
A hearty Italian soup full of healthy vegetables.

Cuisine: Italian
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Zucchini chopped
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 can of chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cups of water
  • 1.5 cup of your favorite pasta, cooked al dente
  • Olive Oil (for cooking)
  • 2 tbsp dried Italian herbs ( a herb mix, for instance with oregano, rosemary, basil, sage, marjoram, thyme)
  • 1 Bouillon cube ( or a cup of bouillon liquid, 1 tbsp of powder, or 1 tbsp of bouillon paste, adding extra for flavor is optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  1. Put a pan on the stove and lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil
  2. Add the onions and zucchini until golden brown
  3. Add the water and bouillon, turn heat low.
  4. Add the carrot, tomato paste and chopped tomato
  5. Add the herbs and chickpeas
  6. Let simmer for 20 min, occassionally stirring.
  7. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
  8. At the end, a few minutes before serving, add the pasta and parsley

Soup tastes the best when it has cooled and is reheated. To add extra flavor to this healthy soup, you can prepare it the night before (minus the pasta, you need to add that just before serving)

You can add leftover (vegetarian) pasta sauce to add flavor, or instead of bouillon. Add and taste until you like your soup!

If you use dried chickpeas, you need to wash and soak them overnight the night before, and add them in the soup a bit earlier, because they need to cook more.

Other leftover vegetables you may add are bell peppers, celery, (cooked) green beans, spinach(add at the end), mushrooms, (cooked) potatoes, green peas, and more!



red heart with hands

5 tips for a Good Heart

Everyone wants to do something Good for others once a while. You can give money to a charitable cause, or volunteer to show your "good heart". You can just give away things you don't need to others who can use it very well. There are so many things, big and small, easy or difficult, you can do for others. Doing good for others feels good!

About Organice Your Good Heart:

Good Heart definition

My 5 tips to do good for others:

  1. Take care of yourself first. If you are strong & healthy, you have the best chance to succeed to help others. (Example: when an airplane is in trouble, you first put on the oxygen mask yourself and then help other passengers.)
  2.  Choose your focus. Choose your charity. What is the most important to you right now? Even if you want to, you can't save the World and everyone on it. If everyone focuses on their own subject of passion, there will be more results possible faster and without too much waste of time and money.
  3.  Find out what you can share or give. If you have a lot of money, you can give money. If you don't have money but you have time, you can volunteer. If you don't have any of those, you can share knowledge or connections. You can maybe share products or services. Fact is that a lot is valuable. Money or things like knowledge: it is all worth a lot!
  4.  Look around your surroundings and in your group of friends/relationships to see what is needed and what people focus on. Sharing is caring. Together you are stronger.
  5. Organize. The better you are organized (or "organiced"), the more success you will have.

My focus with Organice Your Life is to share knowledge and information. Besides that I love animals so I focus on charities that care for animals. Because Gandhi said it well:

Gandhi quote animals

What I support

I support most of all the Charities in my heart, while my focus is to support to a few local NYC charities.  My unwanted clothes ,household products and groceries I bring to friends, and local people who don't have much to spend. It feels good :)

What do you focus on?

Love, Lonneke

The story behind GMO

"OMG GMO!"  There is a lot of commotion around GMO seeds & food in general. Specifically around a few Big GMO Corporations who are engineering these Genetically Modified Organisms. Let's just go into what this whole fuzz is about and if you should be worried.

Where can you find "GMO"

It is very likely you and your family ingest GMO ingredients daily by eating (processed) foods, supplements, drinks & snacks. It is basically possibly used in most foods you eat. But what is it really? And how do you know in what food GMO ingredients are used? Let's start at the beginning and I will tell you all that I know.

What is GMO exactly

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. That means that the DNA of the organism (food item/seed, fish, animals) has been altered, changed. Genes are taken out, and genes from other organisms are put in place, so that that seed is able to grow faster and withstand diseases and other negative influences from outside forces. This means the DNA is completely changed. The produce maybe looks like what you are used to, but it is nothing at all what it used to be. It can actually mean the fruit & vegetables you know, that you find now at your vegetable stand on the market in a gigantic, perfectly shaped form. (which is not natural. Normally there are many different varieties of vegetables, not one is alike) There are also Genetically Modified (GM) salmon, corn, and there are issues right now with GM wheat. Basically gen-tech companies are trying out their technology on every part of organisms alive right now. A few big players are Monsanto, Syngenta &  Bayer.

Most technology and innovation so far has brought us so much good and new information, wealth & success. It was just a matter of time people would try to change and "make better" essentials for living like water, air & food.

Why do Big GMO Corporations change DNA of our foods?

Because they say that it will "strengthen" the product and the farmers will have a better harvest with better crop and less loss due to diseases, bugs or bad weather to name a few problems every farmer deals with every year. Food products are made to withstand more hars weather condition, which the pro-GMO people say is needed to be able to feed the World and make food cheaper. And don't we all want to feed everyone in the World and pay a low price for it too?

Some of the GMO issues:

GMO Problem 1: Bee Killing

The "Frankenstein" GM seeds surprisingly enough are able to grow to a full grown food item, but there is a side note: ONLY with certain kind of pesticides, that is of course sold by the company who engineered the GM seeds. And these pesticides are a big problem because they seem to have caused the death of about 90% of wild bees and 80% of domesticated bees in the USA in only a short time period. (with the so-called neonicotinoïds) We need bees to pollinate our crop to grow. So that is big problem. Without bees: no food: no life. No matter how much money you have or money you make: without bees life is pretty much impossible.

Ever wondered why beekeepers and bees have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles on the road from one place to another? Why do they have to travel anyway? The  reason is that there aren't that many bees to pollinate our foods anymore and beekeepers need to travel their colonies to pollinate all crops around the country, which wasn't needed a few decades ago...

RELATED:  Save the Bees!

GMO Problem 2: Infertility

Another problem of these engineered seeds: They are infertile. Yes, infertile. That means they can't reproduce. We have grown foods for millions of years and never have we grown or eaten foods that were infertile. We could grow foods, and the seeds from that food, we could sow and then next year you have a new plant. Growing food was a simple basic thing in life. It is how we did agriculture for as long as humans exist on Earth, but things seem to change rapidly. Not too mention that there have been reports that eating GM foods can make people and animals infertile too. That would mean we would stop reproducing. That would be a quick way to limit the amount of people on the planet, and that sounds pretty scary.

Normally produce has seeds in it. Ever eaten seedless grapes or watermelon? That is not normal. It seems convenient having no seeds in vegetables or fruits, but remember: those seeds are there for a reason.

GMO Problem 3: farmer dependence/vendor lock.

A few Big Corporations have patents on these GM seeds and have a monopoly in this field. They sell their GM seeds to farmers, who then can use them one time only (remember these seeds can only germinate once) with buying the pesticides the same company offers and then they have one time only a great harvest (hopefully). What happens the next year? The farmer has to buy the seeds and the pesticides again from this company: making the farmer dependent only on the Big Corporation.  "Vendor Lock".

GMO Problem 4: cross breeding/contamination and patent infringement.

If a farmer does not use the seeds from these Big Corporations, and one GM seed is found on their farmland, they are forced to from that moment on to buy the GM seeds from then on. And with GMO land being everywhere it is possible that organic land gets contaminated with GM seeds due to cross-pollination through the wind blowing it onto the land or rain making it seep into the organic land to name a few possibilities. So more and more farmers are forced to buy from these Big Corporations, and you can imagine this is a growing number.

Farmers feel with these patents have no choice and are with their back against the wall. When land is contaminated with GMO, it is hard to clean it and some countries even needed to burn down entire pieces of land to try to get rid of it. But if one of these Big Corporations find out you have even 1 seed on your land, you need to pay up, or you get sued because you are "using their patented seeds" and "we can't know for sure if you don't have more than 1 seed on your land". Like farmers really want to have GMO seeds that badly... well anyway... It is said that many farmers are suffering and don't know what to do or how to take care of their family without being forced to pay the Big Corporations. Down hee you find a YouTube documentary about recent issues.

It is said that in India alone about 200.000 farmers have committed suicide because they did not know how to pay off the debts they have with these giants or how to move away from these Big Corporations. They thought suicide would be better for their families.

GMO Problem 4: Agent Orange and other pesticides causing diseases.

Large amounts of pesticides are ingested by people when they eat food that has been sprayed with pesticides. Pesticides are no good and are said to cause a big range of serious diseases. And GMOs are also said to cause diseases like big cancer tumors.

One of the main pesticides that was used in the past is called "Agent Orange", and was also used by the U.S. military as part of its chemical warfare program during the Vietnam War. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects as a result of its use. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimates that up to 1 million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange. It was manufactured for the U.S. Department of Defense primarily by Monsanto Corporation and Dow Chemical.

Monsanto is also the company that invented the DDT, "Roundup" herbicide and the growth hormone rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) that would help cows give 10 to 15% more milk. They also invented the sweeteners Saccharine, and they also were the producer of Aspartame, which is a very controversial sweetener used in everything from light sodas to "no sugar" sweet foods (Check labels!).

Other GMO issues:

GMO crop and their pesticides are very hard on the environment. it completely depletes the ground from all their essential minerals making it in the end unfit for any other crop growth in the future.

GMO decreases biodiversity of this World enormously. There are less diverse plants growing due to expansion and reducing costs of producing foods. The strong ones win. Some seeds even have built-in pesticides to make the crop resistant to bugs, animals eat it and they die because of it. Less Biodiversity = less life & fun on Earth.

GMO's aren't labeled in most places in the World. No one knows when they buy something with GMO or not. The Big Corporations are fighting to not have their GMO foods labeled, for instance in the USA. Because they say that there is no proof that "their GMO foods are any different nutritional wise than non-GMO food." But if you are so proud of your product you would expect these corporations be more than happy to label their products? Clearly not. It seems to be more than fair to label foods, just like the labels "Organic" and "fairtrade" so consumers can make a careful choice of what they want to feed themselves and their family.

Around the time President Obama signed the same-sex marriage act, he also signed the "Monsanto Protection Act", as some anti-GMO groups call the bill, which has been written by Monsanto itself, an which has come into place to "protect" farmers. It really means bio engineering companies like Monsanto seem to be "above the law" and they are protected from litigations, given immunity from Federal Courts, even in case their products turns out to be harmful for consumers. (check link above for more information about the Act)

Stand up against GMO's

There is a lot of discussion Worldwide to decide what to do with this whole GMO thing. So Far the USA has voted in favor. In China some shipments of GMO crop have been denied. There are also countries that have banned GMOs in Europe like France, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy & Hungary to name a few. Some have even burnt down ten thousands of acres of GMO seed infected farm land and asked the Big Corporations to leave. The European Union is deciding what to do with this "seeds" issue and wanted to put a certification in place for all seeds. But this would not be a good idea either because 60% "certified" seeds would be owned by these Big Corporations again. And if for instance you grow plants and then give seeds from it to your neighbor, well that would be illegal. So far the Netherlands have voted against a EU law like that. But there is hope. it can be different. A country like Bhutan is considered to be 100% organic, and a lot of other countries as said have banned the use or import of GMO. So it is still possible to fight it. The GMO issue is changing daily so it is worth to follow the news regularly. And speak up of course too if you want this all to become clearer.

GMO, it may sound smart and great engineering, and I even agree with that it is amazing that scientist are able to completely change nature this way, but I will say it is A VERY BAD IDEA. It seems a few Big Corporations want to "own" and control the entire food system worldwide with their patented system, with crop that can't reproduce itself, and therefor every person who has to deal with the Big Corporation in the future to be able to get the most essential thing in life: food.

One good thing: you have a movement against GMO: The Non-GMO Project that is starting to label foods that are proven to be GMO free. Check for the label on the product packaging.

The gigantic control of these Big Corporations of the entire World food system & the unknown health impacts of GMO are the reason why a lot of people Worldwide marched on May 25th in the so-called "March Against Monsanto".  In the past most people did not dare to speak up against such powerful companies, as they basically have their people in every powerful position in the country's government and government food safety institutes. People were afraid of such a powerful force. But more and more people notice this GMO issue is affecting them, that if they don't speak up, nothing changes for the better.

Over 2 million people worldwide in 400+ cities in 51 countries got on the street and spoke up about what they find important: safe food, GMO free and fighting for labeling of what is GMO. This is only the beginning. They are bound to make this a more worldwide issue as it is. Bees are dying, the environment is suffering, more and more food related diseases are rising up... it is a mess. Money and profit seem to go over people, animals and the Planet.

March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013
March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013

Lonneke at March Against Monsanto NYC 2013

Lonneke Engel at March Against Monsanto, Union Square, NYC, May 25th 2013

They were marching again in October 2013, and they say they won't stop until GMO is labeled on all products and even better: GMO use has totally ended, and only natural organic foods are in our food system. (if it is even possible to reverse the effects from growing, developing and eating GMOs)

This is what we should do to protect our food supply:

There are few studies regarding GMO, that don't show that it is that great. In France a research showed rats fed with GMO corn develop huge tumors. Maybe these studies aren't totally accurate, but there aren't any researches either that can totally state that GMO food is safe for consumption. So far all proof on every level is against the use of GMO and the monopoly of a few companies Worldwide.

People think they can trust the government of their country always making the right decisions regarding the most important things in life: air, water supply, food & safety. People think they can trust that what is for sale in the grocery stores and on the farmers market is healthy, natural and organic. But it seems along the way, money and profit have taken over that initial goal.

Thankfully more and more people are standing up for the good cause, and aim for a 100% organic agriculture. Technology is not always bad, there are also companies that are trying to get better results in agriculture but without altering the DNA of the food, but bringing more efficiency and sustainability to agriculture and less use of water, energy and sunlight even.


There is a company I am following in Den Bosch, The Netherlands called PlantLab. A representative of this company , Gertjan Meeuws, was in a tv talk show with me last year where he told about their ventures. It is in my opinion not my ideal way of growing crops, but maybe there are areas around the World where this could be a solution. What I was told is that they grew vegetables finding the most perfect environment for each vegetable they grow. It takes about a year to find the ideal situation for each vegetable. And that means it is in a room with LED light, the perfect amount of water and nutrition given to the plant,  and it is more energy efficient than any mass agriculture business out there. What you need to grow all the vegetables you like, is so small it can be placed in houses and big buildings and feed people locally. I tried a pepper, and it tasted pretty good! Is that the future? Local small farming in house? Or is it still that nothing beats organic farming outside in the Sun and rain? (even if too much Sun and or rain is maybe not that great for the plant?)

Also, Worldwide there are Organic/Eco farming movements. I went to one in Ibiza called Casita Verde for a shoot and I loved it. People do everything on the land together, the farming, the cooking and they stay on the farm and cook and eat together. There is a lot of happiness and the food tastes great! Every Sunday in the Summer you can join them for lunch for a small price.

Lonneke for Dutch Marie Claire 2012 at Casita Verde

People don't want eat something engineered in a laboratory. People don't want to be a science project. That is never a good idea. I choose and fight for organic foods with their OWN DNA.

If we all unite on these subjects, we will stop all the big corporations that are only in this thing for profit.

What can you do?

I think it is a great idea if everyone grows some vegetables and fruits that do well in the climate of their own garden, and then share it with your family, and people locally. But one powerful thing you can do: only buy food you believe in. That means you should shop consciously and read ingredient lists and educate yourself more on these ingredients.

We have to go back to growing our own pure, natural unprocessed foods without any additives, and definitely with their own DNA. Making money over health is not what people want. People want happiness, time spent together with family, nature, organic food, clean water and clean air. Let's not forget that that is the most important to keep you alive, healthy & happy!

Love, Lonneke


This way the toxic name Monsanto will be erased from people's daily lives, but the toxic substances will stay. We now have to just be more careful and keep a good eye out for Bayer's endeavors with this acquisition.

Monsanto was sold to Bayer for $66 billion , and the sale was finalized on June 8th 2018.

Bayer adds Monsanto's toxic legacy to it's own


More Information regarding my story

First published on June 2nd 2013, updated in 2019

Making of Model Chocolate

Carolina, Fabio, Dirk and I spent some time in my Organice Your Life® kitchen in NYC making delicious chocolate treats! We first went through the Model Chocolate book by top model & OYL contributor Abigail O'Neill, and picked our 2 favorite recipes.

Lonneke & Carolina making chocolateLonneke & Carolina 

Model chocolate book

Australian model Abigail just released her first chocolate & super foods book full of yummy desserts & treats called "Model Chocolate". And send us a copy too to try some desserts! So we spent the whole night preparing the recipes and we had a lot of fun!

From the many, many recipes, I chose the pie Love Me Bittersweet Jaffa Pie and Carolina chose the cookies.

model chocolate book

Love Me Bitttersweet Jaffa Pie

The pie is a mix of pure, organic ingredients like shredded coconut, pure chocolate nibs & powder, orange oil, orange juice, macadamia nuts and dates.  It is probably the most expensive pie I ever made, as most of the ingredients are not cheap, but it is one of the best pies I ever tasted! The amount of each ingredient was really perfect, you could really taste the orange oil & juice in the "aftertaste". And all the ingredients are uncooked, organic and actually healthy for you! Of course you don't eat the whole pie at once, so after the pie was made, and we all had a piece with a nice cup of tea, we split the remaining pie and Carolina & Fabio took their half home. We later found out we all ate a little piece each night after dinner as a treat until it was finished! So the whole week we all enjoyed it. So in the end it was something we could enjoy for so long it wasn't an expensive pie at all.

macadamia dates coconut flakes 1The ingredients for the crust of the pie are mixed together in a blender.

making crust of raw pieFabio is making the crust of the pie by pressing the pie mixture really well to get a solid and strong bottom of the pie

pouring of chocolateFabio ads the chocolate mixture onto the crust

Carolina pouring chocolateCarolina sprinkles raw cacao nibs on top.

Model chocolate book 1Model Chocolate book with the chocolate pie after coming out of the fridge.

Model Chocolate pie 2We love a piece of this chocolate pie!

The whole recipe for this delicious pie you can find in the Model Chocolate book .

Chocolate cookies

The cookies were a mix of ingredients like chocolate powder, spelt meal, maca, macadamia oil, coconut oil. These pictures are going to be posted in an article by Carolina so stay tuned!

What are you making next from the Model Chocolate recipe book?

Love, Lonneke

All pictures copyrighted by Organice Your life® 

First published in 2013, updated in 2019

Lonneke Engel BMW I

My story of working for the BMW i3 & i8

One of my first steps into promoting a Greener lifestyle, was to tell my agent IMG I wanted to only work with companies that are trying to do their share to make today's life & energy demand more sustainable. I am not interested in modeling just for money, I only want to try to connect my face and image with a brand that is doing good. When BMW said they were coming out with electrical cars,  the BMW i3 and i8, and needed to make promotional videos, of course I wanted to do this!

BMW going green

BMW, although they always were on the forefront with their cars already, started thinking how they can make their business more sustainable. They believe in hydrogen, and tried to use this technology in a BMW 7, but now it was time to make an all electrical car.

The BMW i3 is made more for everyday city life, while the i8 is a true sports car. Since I have always had a love for design, I get excited when I see totally new concepts like these ones! Although at the time of the shoot I did not see the actual cars, as they were not present, I know I will soon.

Shooting for BMW

I shot the campaign shots in a studio in NYC, and for the video I travelled all the way to Munich. The shoots were really well arranged and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was my first time to Munich also. I did 2 campaign images and 5 shots for the video:

modeling for green and good brands

When I decided for myself I did not want to model anymore for brands that are known to be not so healthy or good (think junk food like cheap chocolate, alcohol or cheap clothing brands that are known to produce their clothing not in a good way) of course this shrunk all the possible collaborations for me and possible ways to make a living. But I was adamant I wanted to only work with companies that were trying to make a difference.

I always loved BMW's and wanted to promote Green initiatives, I wanted to do this campaign! So I asked my agent Peter from IMG models NYC to push for me, and I got the job! As I was very picky the past years with jobs, I was happy I would also make some money doing something good, so I could support myself. I just want to try to make it the right way.

Learning about BMW

At the shoot, I also learned a lot about BMW's new way of thinking. They told me that besides producing the BMW i3 and i8, they were also looking at ways to make all their factories carbon neutral, and they said even small and simple changes that are sometimes overlooked, saved so much energy (and money) that now they claim their factory is indeed the World's most Sustainable factory.

This is the commercial:

Love, Lonneke

video & pictures by BMW

First published in 2012, updated in 2019

Food by Lonneke: Gazpacho

Gazpacho is easy to make, it is a great raw dish for when you need to cool off a bit.

Check out this video filmed in my kitchen in NYC where I show how I make an easy and delicious gazpacho!


Love, Lonneke

First Published in 2012, updated in 2019

5 tips for Smart Grocery Shopping

Shopping for groceries is one of your most occurring activities in life. Some go every day, while others go once a week. Here are my 5 tips to keep in mind next time you go shopping in a supermarket, so you know what is going on, and how you can make healthier purchase choices and maybe even save some money! This way you only bring good food choices to your home.

1. Never go shopping when you are hungry

You will buy much more, and probably more bad things too!

2. Usually not the best food choices are stored on eye level in the grocery store

The products that are on eye level, and on the corners of aisles, are usually the ones the company pay the most to be put there, as they generally generate more sales when the products are in sight. It doesn't always mean it is the best, or the cheapest. No, usually they are the junk food. search the whole aisle for better choices. Keep this in mind when you go shopping and search the whole aisle for the better (organic) option.

3. The store floor plan is so planned out for you to have to walk past many aisles

Milk is always put in the back of the store, this because most people need milk, yoghurt butter or eggs. So you have to walk through all the long aisles, and hopefully you get persuaded to put some more products in your basket along the way. The same counts for the area around the cashier. A supermarket puts products there that they know can also get you to buy it. Think sale items, and lots of candy. Usually those are things you don't need but since you are waiting there to pay for your groceries, you might get tricked into adding some to your purchases. Because you think to yourself:" hey, they are cheap" or "I might need them at some point". Be strong and don't do it! If you really need those products, you can always return later to the store.

4. Read food labels

When you can't pronounce what is in it, It is probably not so good for you. You can go online and search what the ingredient is, or buy a book which explains what all the ingredients in the products you buy are. Any ingredient that  includes "genetically ", "modified", "High Fructose syrup" is likely to be not good for you and usually the same counts for ingredients with names that sound like they could be components to make a bomb. (you never know!)

5. Buy mostly fresh produce

Don't buy too much canned or prepackaged. Frozen is ok. Don't buy for a whole week. come back a few times in a week, and just buy what you need for those 2 or 3 days. Otherwise by the end of the week you have to throw away a lot of things that have gone bad, and this way you save money!

Book tips:

(click on the pictures for more information or to purchase)

1. What to Eat by Marion Nestle:

2. What's really in your basket? By Bill Statham:

3. Wat zit er in uw eten? By Courinne Gouget (in dutch)

Love Lonneke

First published in 2013, updated in 2019


9/11 Memorial Museum

That one day in September 2001. Everybody remembers where they were at that exact time. Where were you? 

My experience of Nine Eleven

The Netherlands, September 11th 2001. I just had helped by cleaning the stables and feeding the horses and went inside my family's home. It was about 3.15 pm and I turn on the TV, just to unwind for a bit after some hard work. Then I see the news coming on, there is an extra news broadcast. I see the Twin towers of the World Trade Center, and one is burning. What has happened? At that moment the second tower got hit by a plane and there was chaos everywhere in the World. What the h*ll was going on? I called up my father who was terminally ill with cancer, and who was in bed upstairs. I told him: "Rob, look at the news! What's this?". He couldn't believe it either. We had just visite the top of the tower only a few months ago, even before my father got sick. We went because my father wanted to do something "touristy" this time  in New York City. I got many great pictures from that visit, including one of my father on top of the World Trade Center.  So that September 11th, we watched the news together all day. It was beyond anything that we could wrap our head around. The towers collapsed and the Pentagon got hit too. There even was a plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Air traffic in the USA was shut down and everyone was in shock. "You probably would have never thought you would live longer than the Twin Towers, right" I told my dad that day. 4 weeks later he passed away. That's why to my that moment of 9/11 has extra meaning, as it was one of the last things I did with my father when he was still able to participate in a conversation with me. I miss him more the more time has passed. And I do miss the Twin Towers too.

911 Quilt

Nine Eleven in today's World

Nowadays people still talk about 9/11. Where they were at that moment, and what the true story is, because many stories are still going around. We all know that many people were killed, and many people have been emotionally suffering ever since. The rules have changed. Some wounds have not even healed yet. And maybe they will never. There had to be a place created for people to come together and remember it all. And after years of work, it is here.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum

Exactly in the location where the towers stood, there are now 2 square black pools with on each side waterfalls that end up in a hole in the middle in the shape of a square. You don't see where the water is going. It is very impressive. On the sides you can read all the names of the people who lost their lives. These pools can be visited daily from 7.30pm to 9pm and is free of charge.

911 Water Wall

Underneath the pools is where the 9/11 Memorial Museum sits. You have to pay for admission and I recommend buying the tickets online, and choose the time you want to go. When you enter, you go down the stairs and end up in a large space with very nice modern architecture, and with walls as much as 30 feet high or so. It is very impressive. Walking through the different rooms, you see remains of the towers. A fire truck that got smashed. One window of a tower that was the only one of all the tens of thousands of windows that survived the impact.  The last standing concrete pole of 9/11 full of personal notes from fire fighters and other people who worked on the 9/11 disaster. (see picture above) The wall that keeps the Hudson river from flowing into downtown NYC. (also in picture above) A wall with the unrecognizable remains of the people who vanished behind it. (picture below) A room where you can ask to have an In Memoriam of someone who has died on 9/11 to be displayed. You see many, many things that were found on 9/11. And you are able to see, and hear different videos and audio of news broadcasts, and personal stories in the different spaces of the museum. The collection is ever growing. There is even a box of tissues, because I am sure many people won't keep it dry hearing a flight attendant call home who was on one of the hijacked flights, or someone in one of the towers who describes what she saw...

911 Memorial Wall

My visit to the 9/11 Museum

My new family and I went the second week of opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. They work with hours of entrance, and there is a lot of security of course. There is a lot to see, and what stood out was that everyone was quiet. The museum was quiet. People were in awe and shock of everything they saw. Everyone remembers 9/11. Everyone has a story to tell, of their recollection of 9/11. And if you think your story adds to the story of 9/11 you can even tape your story and it is put into the collection of the museum. This way the collection is ever growing.

When visiting New York City, I definitely recommend visiting this Museum, it will make you remember it all, and will make you not forget.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Love, Lonneke

First published on June 27th 2014, updated in 2019

My California Road trip

One Summer, my husband Dirk and I went on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. I do think you need to do a California Road trip once in your life! And if you do, you have to do it the right way.

For a road trip along the pacific coastline of California you have to use highway 1, official name California State Route 1. This route stretches from just below Los Angeles in Orange County, all way up to Mendocino County, just above San Francisco. A road trip from North to South along this highway 1, will give you the best view of the ocean, but at some parts you are very close on the ridge of the beautiful cliffs. If you are not afraid of that, it's nice to start your road trip here. From LA to SF is also very beautiful (but you see the cars in the lane between yourself and the beach), Highway 1 has no alternative routes around Big Sur unfortunately.  So when a big forest fire was threatening the nature around Big Sur when we were there, we had to drive a long detour around Big Sur through the vineyards. So we haven't seen Big Sur, the place everyone wants to visit on a road trip. Although we did not see it, we don't feel like we missed anything because the whole trip was really beautiful.

2016-08 Roadtrip California 1

You can do the whole trip within a day, with 6 hours drive covering about 380+ miles, but I don't recommend it. We did it in 3 days, but I wish I did it in 4 or 5 days, there was so much to do and see!

Renting a car in California is not as expensive, even in high season, as in some other places like New York City. If you reserve in time, you get an even better rate. You can only rent from LA at the airport LAX, but you can drop it off in the middle of San Francisco city center. We rented a standard car, but got upgraded to a small SUV. Some people like to drive this route in a typical American Ford Mustang. A convertible is a nice option too!

During our trip, we stopped many times to take pictures of cliffs, mountains, beach and the sea. So make sure you have enough time in your travel plans to take it easy along the way, and enjoy the beautiful views!

We stayed a few nights in LA with our friends Maruja and Ross who were getting married. This was a nice way to connect again with my best friend of 20+ years, her family and our mutual friends. We enjoyed LA and we feel like we explored every neighborhood really well. We loved walking around West-Hollywood, towards Melrose and Beverly Hills believe it or not. Some neighborhoods are really cute to explore, and are easy to walk, even though LA is known as being a city to drive.

wedding Maruja & Ross

This was our itinerary of our California road trip:

Day 1:

  • 11am LAX Avis car rental: We rented a car at LAX. This is the only place in LA where you can rent a car to drive up north and leave it at another location. First of, we drove all around LA, the nice neighborhoods, Mulholland drive with the amazing view from the mountains looking down to LA, Beverly Hills, Bell Air, Hollywood.
  •  2 pm: We parked our car, and stopped at Gracias Madre for a delicious vegan brunch.
  • 4pm: We drove up North towards Santa Monica, Malibu. We stopped at a few lookouts for pictures. Onwards on Highway 1 we enjoyed looking at people on the beach having fun, the beach waves rolling onto the beach, and the beautiful mountains on our right.2016-08 Roadtrip California 3
  • 6.30pm: Within 2.5 hours we arrived in Santa Barbara, a little town with many cute restaurants and shops, I loved it here so much! We went to eat dinner at The Savoy Cafe, a cute family owned restaurant with a lot of organic, healthy and gluten-free options.  It was so good!
  • 7.30pm: We stayed at the La Quinta inn, which was 1 minute drive from the restaurant. It was cheap clean and fine, and we could park the car at the hotel. ( I had noticed a comment on Trip Advisor saying that the sound of the fridge in the room turning on and off was keeping a woman awake. Well, I was kept awake by it too, despite the comfortable bed, and nice large room.) We checked in and dropped our luggage in our room.
  • 8.30 pm: we walked from the hotel straight onto the Main Street in Santa Barbara. This is a really fun and alive street in the middle of Santa Barbara, that ends up at the beach and the pier. We walked all the way to the pier I loved how the homeless were creative to get money from people. They built games in the sand, so people could try to throw their coin on a certain target, which would activate something like music playing. This gave the people passing by a challenge too, and many were eager to try it out. The street had many fun little bars and restaurants. The vibe was really good!
  • 10pm bedtime!

Day 2:

  • 8.30 am: breakfast. The hotel had very simple breakfast. People could make their own waffles which looked cute, but we wanted something healthier. We went back to The Savoy Cafe for breakfast, and I ordered the Gluten-free Lemon french Toast, yum!2016-08 Savoy Cafe Glutenfree Toast 1
  • 9.30 am: Shopping! I had seen this cute vintage shop on Main Street, called Renaissance, and I wanted to check it out. There was a couch for Dirk to sit while he waited (sorry Dirk!) But we ended up having a great conversation with the sales person, and another customer.  They had so many amazing pieces. I bought a few (fake) pearl necklaces. Overall a great success! 
  • 12 noon: We stayed a bit too long at the vintage place so we had to rush to check out. And again, we went to Savoy for lunch, before we went on with our trip. I wish this place was close to where I live in NYC!
  • 3pm: Drive to Monterey. We first drove all around Santa Barbara to really get a good idea what this town is all about. Cute Spanish inspired houses with many red roofs, I really liked it! Unfortunately there were many forest fires in the time we were in California, so the highway 1 was closed off for days around Big Sur. We couldn't go there, so we took the detour route through the vineyards.2016-08 Roadtrip California 2
  • Sunset: We arrive at the Intercontinental hotel, which was on the water. our room was nice. Out of our room we could see the small swimming pool. We called it a night and ordered roomservice. We wanted to get a good night sleep.

Day 3:

  • 6.30 am. We were on the 4th floor, but we were woken up by loud noise and shaking of the ground. I thought we were experiencing an earthquake. I did not know what was going on, and it kept going for at least 1.5 hours. We called downstairs what was going on, and they would check. Later on it turned out some guests used the fitness area, which turned out to be on the 2nd floor. They were throwing weights around. The people below us must have heard and felt it much harder than we did. Also, the walls were paper thin, and I could hear the neighbor cough like she was in our room. When at breakfast we saw a seal in the water next to the hotel. The staff heard about our rough night and offered a free fruit plate. The town of Monterey is very much a fishermen's town, and I wish we could explore it more, but we did not have much time. We drove around though. (which is my favorite thing to do anyway).
  • 12.30pm: We had lunch at organic Tillie Gort's cafe, which was o.k. (UPDATE: after 49 years this place has now closed) The menu is very American, with a few organic and healthier options included. I wish we went to the Studio Cafe at Wave Street Studio, which have an organic salad bar. Oh well, next time!
  • 1.30pm: Driving to San Francisco. We could drive part of the highway 1 again, and enjoyed the views. We stopped at a cute coffee place that looked not great from the outside, but had the best gluten-free home-baked brownies! It was a gem, and I can't find the name anywhere on internet, but it was a little place stating "coffee house" on a sign that I believe was yellow.
  • 5.30pm: We arrived in San Francisco! Getting fuel and dropping of the car at Avis, and via Uber brought to our hotel.2016-08 San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Lonneke Engel 2

We loved this little 3 day trip! We stayed a week in San Francisco and explored it like locals. Please check out my article on my Los Angeles Hotspots, and my Best of San Francisco!

Love, Lonneke





Organize your shoe closet

Shoes. Shoes Shoes. I have too many of them!

I LOVE SHOES. Just like most girls in the world. The problem is: I used to never get rid of a pair. So my collection was getting to an Imelda Marcos’ size until I really downsized. (Imelda , First lady of Philippines from 1956 on for twenty years, was known for her huge collection of about 2500 pairs. But also for her lavish lifestyle which she paid for reportedly with public funds. That’s bad, but us girls, we work hard for our shoes!) Now I have a few pairs I am going to sell.

Seven tips to "organice" your shoe closet

  • Really, the shoes you haven't worn the past 5 years, have to go. Unless they have some emotional value to you. Then they go to your box with memorabilia, and are put away.
  • Shoe boxes are genius. You can put them on top of each other ( have u tried that with shoes themselves? Quite hard!) And the shoes are protected.
  • If you use shoe boxes, you can write down on the box, what shoes are in there. For example: “ Black Christian Louboutin platform High Heels” or “ Favorite Zara golden sandals”
  • You can even put a picture of the shoes on the outside. So you don’t have to open the shoe box.
  • Put shoes with the same use/ color together: High heels with High Heels, sneakers with sneakers, running shoes with running shoes.
  • Another suggestion: Write down exactly how much you wear a pair of shoes, That clears up whether the shoes are a hit or miss. If you were expensive shoes every day, they have been a great buy. If you never wear them, it was a bad decision.
  • Best of all is a closet specially made for shoes, just like mine!

If you want to get rid of a pair of shoes, sell them to a vintage store close to you, like Beacon's Closet in New York City, or bring them to one of the collection points for clothing collection. Selling shoes can be done online on websites like Ebay, The Real Real, Poshmark, or an app like Letgo.

And last tip: First check your closet before you go shopping, you might find something you did not know you had!

Love, Lonneke