WIAW: It’s the season for…

Seasons… Who exactly decided that Germany clearly has [to deal with] them and people overseas [or at least in the US] don’t? Case in point: Why in the world do people have to post awesome kale recipes right now? Making me long for winter as the season where I’ll be able to get my hands on it again. Okay, I’m not really longing for winter because as hard as staying cool during the heat is at times I’d still rather take that than chilly temperatures. Plus, let’s not forget about summer’s swoon-worthy bounty. Jenn would be proud of how much I’ve been following this [old but good] What I ate Wednesday motto. Kale or not summer is the season for many wonderful things, too …

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

It’s [probably not] the season for… stews

With a lot of produce at hand but no idea what to have for lunch – choices, oh choices – I scoured the internet. I browsed an Austrian blog I’d found via Vegan Wednesday and had long meant to cook recipes from – how not with vegan Strawberry Tiramisu being one of them?! Actually,  I had my heart set on lasagna but that’s not the best craving when your [overflowing] pantry is lacking lasagna noodles. Instead, stew it was. Petra’s Arabian bean stew was just what I wanted [lasagna aside]: quick to prepare,  including both vegetables and legumes and delicious.  I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms.I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms. Served with a side of polenta [that's in the pot in the background]. So while stews are technically autumn and winter dishes using [mostly] seasonal vegetables made up for it.

Petzig_Arabischer Bohneneintopf

It’s the season for… all the berries!

Snacks lately have been lots of berries – and how could they not? It was actually the popularity of them all over the blog world that made me give raspberries another chance. Not like I didn’t enjoy them but previously I wouldn’t have minded their absence from my plate too much. Now? Give me all the raspberries – seeds stuck between teeth? who cares, really? – while I can still find them.

July 23rd 019

Yesterday I employed a trick I just picked up from Chelsea: bring my own box. I generally shop with tote bags to avoid plastic but hadn’t thought of skipping the clamshells berries come in at the market. Luckily, the vendor didn’t give me any strange looks for this though I assume none of his other customers brought their own containers. Another bonus was that as he poured the berries into my box there were a few moldy ones at the bottom and he replaced them with a few others.  Win-win!

Raspberries_box

It’s the season for… vegetable-packed versions of classics

Not the prettiest of dishes but SO good and satisfying was this easy-peasy [lame pun fully intended] vegan Gnocchi ‘n’ cheese.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but as a German I don’t feel authorized to judge any vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese for authenticity. What I -do- know,  though, is that this vegetable-packed version was downright delicious. Peas seem like such a classic childhood add-in and I’ve grown quite fond of them lately. I’m sure my mum wished I liked them as much when I was younger. And can we take a short moment to talk about -how- good gnocchi are? I picked up a package of vegan pumpkin gnocchi [for any German readers: by Pasta Nuova] at the health food store on a whim. They are perfect.  Doughy, satisfying little dumplings. And the sauce is [not-so now that I'm telling you] secretly filled with vegetables. My mum should be really proud now. Actually, I feel I need to ask her if she played the ‘hidden veggies’ game at lunch when my siblings and I were little…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

If you’re looking for another way to up your vegetable intake [I am at times, too] or just want some uncheesy cheesiness look out for the recipe on Friday.

It’s [always] the season for Yogi wisdom

Ending not on a sweet but wise note – yes, the Yogi has been talking to me again. Interpret this in whichever way and if you feel like share in the comments what it means for you in your current situation.

Patience will pay off_Yogi wisdom

Patience pays off.

Either way: Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Sharing my sister’s excitement about a mini vacation she’s taking.

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What’s your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe – vegan or not?

Is there any dish you’ve been eating over and over again lately?

How do you avoid plastic or other packaging when shopping? Share your tricks!

Good good links #49

I don’t know about you but I believe in destiny. Plus, there are two things I know for sure: 1. I really enjoy blogging and 2. what we enjoy most becomes even better when we take a break from it from time to time. To stop speaking in riddles: With all the posts about digital detoxes lately I’ve decided it’ a sign I should take a day or two off more regularly. That being said I plan on ‘detoxing’ today that you’re reading this [thanks for scheduled posts] and probably Monday, too. For somebody who’s online at least once a day to read some blogs this will be unusual but I have a feeling my to-do list will thank me for it ;) . And I may or may not have a new recipe to share when I return…

For now, I’ll leave you with a plethora of amazing posts from the week and hope you’re having a great Sunday!

Good good links

Good good [food for thought]

Life without the Scale via Nutrition Nut on the Run

Taking away the power it has over you from the scale is as freeing like giving up a drug.  Life is happier without numbers.

When Your Diet Defines You via Bagels to Broccoli

 Whichever way you choose to eat: it doesn’t make you a different person.

What Really Matters via I heart Vegetables

A simple and beautiful reminder to stop worrying so much about external things.

 

Eene, meene, muh – wie vegan bist du? | Oder: Geht’s noch?! via ein bisschen vegan

For German readers: When did we unlearn treating others in a constructive and respectful way? Here in the context of veganism but sadly an overall trend in the age of social media.

 

Here’s What Would Happen If Celebrity Media Focused On Discussing Poverty Instead via Huffington Post

A thought-provoking campaign putting the spotlight on those living a far from glamourous life and experiencing actual problems.

 

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

How to get better quality sleep in challenging situations via Wholeheartedly Healthy

Sleep matters more than we might think so it’s important to make sure we get enough of a good quality.

13 Signs You Need To Do More Self-Work via Mind Body Green [*Let’s ignore #1 - you’ll see why]

Relying on others’ opinions or the number on the scale too much can indicate a need to tend to yourself more.

 20 Habits of Highly Authentic People via Mind Body Green

An interesting classification of inner thoughts and habits of balanced and centered people.

 

Body Image

The Impact of Style On Body Image via Kenzie Life

Clothes don’t make people but they can have a huge influence on how we feel about ourselves. Dress to feel good!

Love Your Self(ie) via Georgia’s Trying Something New

Selfies as a sign of selfishness? Rather a way of learning self-acceptance.

A Letter To My Thighs via Lisa listed

A witty response to the ever-lasting thigh gap fad.

 

One Woman Was Told She Was ‘Too Fat’ to Run—So Here’s What She Did via Women’s Health Magazine

Don’t let others’ assumptions and judgement stop you. Believe in yourself and prove them wrong.

20 Ways To Get In Touch With Your Body via Mind Body Green

Easy and fun ways to feel better in your own skin and more connected with yourself.

 

 

10 Healthy-Eating Myths That Nutritionists Want You to Stop Believing Right Now via Women’s Health Magazine

Juice cleanses? No eating after 6 PM? Not everything we read is true or works for everybody so trust your intuition more.

Blogging

You vs You: Keeping Blogging Statistics in Perspective via Semi-Healthy Blog

A different case of numbers not defining you and why you shouldn’t compare your stats to others’. Most important takeaway: “You have worth outside of your blog!!”

Technology Break: 5 Things To Do Daily via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

 Carving out unplugged time during the day to calm down and refocus.

 

Do-it-yourself

27 Insanely Easy Two-Ingredient DIYs via BuzzFeed

Homemade nail polish remover, If you’re looking to go more natural with your beauty routine this is a great place to start.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile]

The 31 Most Pleasurable Things That Have Ever Happened via BuzzFeed

It’s okay to embrace your inner OCD happiness.

 

Good good [food]

 Vegan Salted Caramel Cupcakes via Veggieful

Everybody knows adding salt makes caramel even more irresistible. Don’t tell me these didn’t make you want to rush to the store for the ingredients.

 Skillet Brownies via Milking Almonds

These individual [vegan] brownie pans make a great baked good look even better.

Creamy Cherry Pie Fruit Dip with Rainbow Fruit Kabobs via Oh She Glows

Does dessert get any simpler and better?! Cashew and fruit heaven.

Chickpea & Cauliflower ‘Rice’ Bowl via hello healthy

A huge bowl packed with vegetables, roasted chickpeas and some of my favourite spices.

 Chinese Honey Soy “Beef” Tofu on Cauliflower Rice via The Vedge

I’m not usually a fan of tofu but this looks incredible enough to convince me to give it another try.

 Vegan Buffalo Chicken Salad via Blissful Basil

I’m really intrigued by the ingredients of this processed fake meat-free chicken substitute. Can you guess the main one?

Butternut Squash Black Beans Enchiladas with Chipotle Greek Yogurt Sauce via Ambitious Kitchen

 Beans, squash, chili: I need these in my life. Once German stores start offering corn tortillas, that is.

 

Happiness-inducing today: A message from a friend.

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Which posts made you think, laugh or got you hungry this week?

Cooling down with chili [Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing]

Summer’s bounty in a hearty satisfying speltberry salad accompanied by a fruity dressing with a spicy kick.

Maybe I need to reconsider my plans of moving to California one day. Because if me adapting [or failing at it] to the current heatwave is any indicator of how I’d do over there… oh well. You can get used to a lot, right? These past days, though, were quite a change – and a challenge – for me.

Apricot chili_salad

So what do you do in the heat? Or rather: what do you eat in the heat? Salad. Only: if you’ve been around for a while you know I’m the odd vegetarian who doesn’t like salad. Well, salad salads, at least. A pile of leafy greens with – at the worst – a vinegar-y or mustard-infused dressing? Very sweet of you to offer but thanks, I’ll pass on that one. For me, a salad needs to have that special something. It has to fill me up and not just because of its stomach-widening capacities of low-calorie vegetables but nutrient-dense ingredients like grains and beans. Actually, my kind of salads need to follow the formula for a balanced vegan meal: a grain, a green, a bean.

Speltberry salad IV

Adding some of the fresh apricots I’d gotten at the Farmers’ Market – that were on their last legs already thanks to the vendor handing me a bag of very soft ones, thankyourverymuch – was only natural. Because isn’t everybody on a mission to eat their body weight in all kinds of fresh produce during the short period it’s available? From what I heard apricot season is pretty short so I didn’t want to let it pass without eating my share – fear of missing out [on food]??! Given my penchant with the combination of chili and sweetness I couldn’t not add some chili/ red pepper flakes to the dressing. There’s no logical explanation for some decisions aside from gut instinct. And a good gut instinct it was here.

 

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing2

 Speltberry Salad with Apricot Chili Dressing [vegan + gluten-free option]

  • 1/4 cup speltberries* [see below for subs and gluten-free option]
  • 1 orange mini bell pepper or 1/4 a regular bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 4-5 leaves of pointed cabbage, sliced thinly
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a piece of ginger [about 1/2 tsp minced] – this made for a very pronounced ginger taste so feel free to use less
  • a splash of coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp each cayenne pepper and smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper

 

Dressing

  • 3 ripe apricots [about 100 g], pitted
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

 

  1. Cook the speltberries according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the garlic in coconut oil. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for about two minutes, then add cabbage and ginger. Sauté until the cabbage is wilted.
  3. Add the coconut milk. Then mix in the tomatoes, speltberries and chickpeas to warm through.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. For the dressing blend the apricots and spices with about a tablespoon of water to reach a drizzly consistency.
  6. Serve the salad either warm or cold.

* alternatively, you could use wheatberries [one popular brand being 'Ebly'], farro or simply short-grain brown rice [gluten-free option]

For once I actually didn’t reheat a dish like I usually do when I’m finished taking pictures of it. Instead, I kept it chilled with the chili kick because spicy food can help you stay cool on hot days. Bring on the chili peppers!

Speltberry salad

Rumors has it they serve some pretty good salads in California – and I don’t have any doubts there. So maybe that’s the trick to staying cool over there? One day I’ll know. One day…

In hopes like some chili to chill down, too, I’m sharing this with Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Happiness inducing today: Helping my sister by proof-reading a job application she’d written. I’m the odd person who actually enjoys tasks like that – and my family and friends know.

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What’s the formula for your favourite kind of salad?

Do you dream of moving to another country? California and several other states in the US are places I’d really like to live and work at least temporarily one day.

Are you dealing well with heat in general?

 

 

Don’t let your [blog's] size define you.

How is it Thursday already?! Time for some good old Thinking out loud again I figure. Here’s to hoping Amanda won’t mind me once more not pouring a potpourri of mixed thoughts into today’s post but sharing some thoughts I had following up last week’s post.

Thinking-Out-Loud

About that last post: I will say it was one I wasn’t sure about posting. Yes,  it was a topic on my mind and one that mattered to me.  But would it for others? The comments you left and thoughts you expressed made me glad I did and I enjoyed reading every single one. The overthinking and hesitation is a remainder of my early blogging days when I hardly had any readers yet – normal, obviously – and at times considered giving up again. The reason I didn’t is probably that a) I know I should first and foremost write for myself [honestly,  though, who is fully content with that?] and  b) if a post of yours makes just one other person relate to it, think, laugh or get hungry you can consider your blogging duty fulfilled and yourself successful.

SourceTake it with a grain of salt.

It’s easy to get discouraged not only as a new blogger but even if you’ve been around for a while yet don’t have dozens of comments on every post or the most followers ever.  But here’s some perspective: Personally, I read a huge number of blogs – not daily but if I like one I will stop by regularly.  Among the many great posts I’ve come across by now there were some that not only got me thinking in the moment I read them but get stuck in my mind and will have me come back to them. If you’ve seen my good good links before you’ll know these aren’t solely ‘big’ bloggers’ posts.  Just today I came across a great post that changed the way I saw a topic on a not [yet] as well-known blog. And recipes from smaller blogs I tried have turned out just as delicious as those from more popular sources.

It’s not about how many followers you have and not even about the number of comments you – or I as a smaller blogger myself,  really – get. In fact, what matters more to me is reading other people’s stories or hear their thoughts on a topic. Quality over quantity. All that said: yes, I need to remind myself of this,  too, at times.  But I feel when I’m passionate about a topic just writing it out feels great.   The moral of the story: Don’t make yourself smaller than you are. There’s always somebody who will get more comments on their posts 

Your post might just find somebody in need of the advice you’re offering. The random fun story that happened to you could possibly cheer somebody in a funk up. And that ‘almost too simple to call it a recipe’ no-bake cookie you posted?  Somebody else probably just had a craving for something sweet but didn’t feel like turning on the oven or buying a dozen special ingredients.  If you enjoy yourself blogging others will be interested in reading.

On a last note if you do plan on becoming a big and popular blogger: they all started small, too, so never loose hope. And many more experienced/ big bloggers will happily give you advice on how to grow your own little space in the wide web. Don’t give up your plans of blog world domination just yet ;) .

Happiness inducing today: The two most adorable chihuahuas a man walked alongside my apartment. Too sad that for once it wasn’t me scared of big dogs but the little ones too afraid of me.

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No questions today. Just whichever thoughts you have regarding the topic.

[Un]typically me

Today’s not your average Wednesday. Not because it’s What I ate Wednesday [not a surprise anymore] but because it’s the 100th Vegan Wednesday. For any of you who haven’t noticed me linking up with this weekly foodie event yet: think of it as the German little sister [brother?] of Jenn’s link-up. Even if you’re neither vegan – because we areed it doesn’t matter - nor German the pictures on the boards alone are a great source of meal inspiration. Either way: Happy birthday, Vegan Wednesday! And now onto the food:

WIAWbutton_1

You might already know it but I really like spotting patterns in the meals I’m showing you on What I ate Wednesday.  The last days with their ongoing heat had me strain from my usual fare quite a bit. Starting at breakfast already. I’m usually not a cold oatmeal person – unless having to pack breakfast –  or in fact not even usually an oatmeal person. Bran is my favourite form of oats but sticking with Arman’s recipe for Tiramisu Oatmeal Pudding I went with rolled. Or -rolled-  with rolled?! If you know me the mention of Tiramisu should catch ýou by surprise if you’ve been reading for a while already. Coffee?! Yes, coffee.

Breakfast and more 009

Much to my own surprise I actually found I needed to add the whole amount of instant coffee listed after I’d started with 1/2 a teaspoon. The recipe turned out delicious though I think since the cocoa powder I use is a ‘darker’ kind – the best! – mine ooks a lot darker than Arman’s. Also, I modified the recipe using chia seeds instead of the egg and thickened soy yogurt instead of cream cheese for the frosting.  For whichever reason I felt extra productive the morning I ate this … Could it possibly have been the coffee?? So yes, I liked it but if you’re like me you’ll want to double the topping  [or simply not eat half of it before actually using it on the oatmeal]. I might have actually been pondering the purchase of a tin of instant coffee – for oats and baking purposes only. Who am I???

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing II

Another untypical meal was salad for lunch. Not the salad salad kind, though. A huge bowl based on leafy greens doesn’t attract me even in the current heat. What does are substantial salads like this packed with chewy speltberries,  chickpeas, sauteed cabbage and covered in a fruity dressing with a little kick … chili. Maybe it was running out of one of my favourite chocolates and longing for the spiciness? We know that makes me do strange things.  As if eating salad for lunch wasn’t untypical enough for me already for once I actually didn’t mind eating a dish cold after I finished shooting the pictures. The recipe will be up on Friday.

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing

Now onto the sweet part of today’s post: No celebratory cake for the 100th Vegan Wednesday on my part but how about something that’s much more typically me to celebrate? Ice cream. More specifically: the new vegan Choco Cookie Dough flavour by DasEis.

June 009

Finding vegan ice cream flavours aside from vanilla, strawberry and chocolate is hard enough already in Germany [can I get some sympathy from you lucky guys overseas please?!]. The more special – and challenging – part about this particular ice cream for me: a stellar ingredient list [only real and organic ingredients like oats, agave and almond butter plus it's soy-free] and no nutrition label. Meaning no chance to worry about eating a certain number of calories simply because I didn’t know them. And because I didn’t have to share with anybody I ate it straight from the tub. The benefits of being single.

June 011

For any German readers: To be honest I found this a nice change from the usual sorbets but a little too sweet and the chocolate taste not intense enough for my liking. While this ice cream isn’t bad I likely won’t buy it again looking at the hefty price tag. If you’re curious, though, it’s currently on offer at denns. Just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it.

Happiness-inducing today: Unplugging for a few hours.

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Name one food-related thing/ habit that’s typically or untypically you!

Oatmeal, oat bran, steel-cut, … – tell me your favourite form of oats!

Because the question of favourite ice cream flavour is impossible to answer: What is the most unique ice cream flavour you’ve eaten so far?

Good good links #48

 Long Short time no talk! While you might have seen me highlighting some of my favourite older posts from other bloggers Spill it Sunday-style yesterday today is all about the more recent ones.  I had the hardest time picking only three and even on Sundays I could add more and more posts. But it’s summer and I know both you and me would rather enjoy as much time outdoors as we can so that’s that. Enjoy the links and enjoy the sunshine!

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

 

 Good good [food for thought]

 Do You Need A Digital Detox? via Cotter Crunch

My honest answer: yes. How about you?

My Smartphone, My B*tch: A Letter of Hate, Love and Balance via Huffington Post

Would your letter to your phone read similarly?

 

 

The Scale via Snack Therapy

“We’re the ones who give the scale power” – and we’re the ones who can take it back replacing pounds with unmeasurable happiness and memories.

The Story “Before & Afters” Don’t Tell via In it for the Long Run

Two pictures don’t tell you the story in between their dates of origin.

Yes, You Should Eat 1,200 Calories… via Peace, Love & Oats

That is, if you lie around and don’t actually live your life.

Why ‘Fitspo’ Should Come With A Warning Label via Huffington Post

What starts out as health inspiration can soon become on obsession – it’s a very thin line.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Stop Obsessing About A Bikini Body & Start Loving Life. Here’s How via Mind Body Green

Good old-fashioned ‘fake it till you make it’, complimenting others and detoxing from media can help.

7 Things That Make A Woman Beautiful That Makeup Can’t Do via Lifehack

The kind of post you want to print out as a reminder for ‘those’ days.

Why you don’t have to quit sugar to be healthy via Mindful Meals

 Some [possibly] surprising facts about sugar and why it’s not the devil the media makes us believe.

 

 Exercise

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: How to Find the Best Health and Fitness Routine for You via Greatist

What works for you might not be what others are promoting.

A 6-Minute High-Intensity Workout You Can Do Anywhere via Mind Body Green

For those days when you either don’t feel like going to the gym or can’t make it happen.

 

Food-related

Whole Food Baking Tips via My Whole Food Life

Great ideas and conversion charts to help you make your favourite recipes a little healthier.

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile]

This Story Of A Dog’s Last Day On Earth Is Beautiful And Utterly Heartbreaking via BuzzFeed

If this doesn’t touch you might want to check your ID for the name Scrooge…

23 Things Every Late-Night Person Will Know To Be True via BuzzFeed

…and I can relate to almost every single one. At least I’m not alone?!

22 Ingenious Products That Will Make Your Workday So Much Better via BuzzFeed

Where exactly do I get that under-desk elliptical and washable keyboard again??

 

Good good [food]

Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Cups via Coffee & Quinoa

The only way to make a classic even better: If you thought PB Cups were great these are brilliant.

7 Genius Ways to Use Quinoa You Never Would’ve Thought Of via Women’s Health Mag

Some you might know already but others you might have yet to add to your repertoire.

Fudgy Mocha Mint Brownies via nosh & nourish

She had me at ‘fudgy’ plus mint + chocolate are one of the best combinations. Did I mention they’re flourless, vegan and refined sugar-free, too?!

Flourless PB & Chocolate Cookies by Robyn [the real life RD] via Hummusapien

No beans or chickpeas: just lots of peanut butter, banana and chocolate action in these nutritious little treats.

Black Pepper Stir-Fried Noodles via Pinch of Yum

Easy to prepare and irresistible – that’s what the look of this recipe promises.

Pesto Farro Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables via Blissful Basil

Fierce competition for the classic pasta or potato salads out there. I wouldn’t mind a bowl right now.

53 Brilliant Ways to Spice Up Boring Tofu via Greatist

It’s no secret tofu on its own is as exciting as rubber gum so these recipes will come in handy.

23 Deliciously Cold Summer Soups via BuzzFeed

Because Gazpacho is  not the only soup to cool you down on a summer day – or after a heated debate if it’s cold where you are.

Cauliflower Cheddar, Pesto Zucchini Grilled Cheese Sandwich. via Vegan Richa

Cauliflower, what can’t you do?! If dairy cheese isn’t your beef* then you might like this vegan version of the classic.

 

*I’m vegetarian and allowed to make that kind of bad jokes.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finally getting back into letter-writing and sending one off to a good friend.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Which posts made you think, smile or got you hungry this week?