Germs, grocery store finds and other gems [Thinking out loud]

Thursday are for… traveling. It’s the second week in a row I’m about to spend a good chunk of the day squeezed in a [likely] overcrowded train. Keep your fingers crossed for at least no  drunks [yes, it has happened multiple times before] or crying children in my wagon today! On a nicer note Thursdays are obviously for Thinking out loud! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for some sunshine melting away the surprise [?] snow Amanda got! What’s wrong with you, April?!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. My salsa addiction is getting dangerous. I’m convinced destiny’s trying to tell me something or my salsa company of choice has conspired against me. Either way I had to use violence to access my dip of choice. Don’t worry, though. No knives or fingers were sacrificed in the process of opening multiple jars this way yet. And thanks to above-mentioned salsa consumption I had a spare lid on hand to replace the damaged one.

salsa

2. Speaking of traveling last week’s little [or big, actually] adventure had me leave the house way before my usual time. Meaning that I both had to pack breakfast on the go and got to put my new almond butter transport vehicle to the test. The almond butter jar gets a thumbs up but the baked oatmeal [times two but they didn't fit in one container] needs a little more improvement.

traveling_baked oatmeal

3. A little secret about the above oatmeal cups: My brain was all over the place the two days leading to Thursday that I didn’t bake these until somewhere around 11 PM because I’d completely forgotten I needed to pack breakfast. It happens, I guess?!

4. In honour of our host I had to snap a picture of this at the store yesterday. Does anybody else remember dress-up dolls? Childhood nostalgia. They didn’t beat Barbies but still were good fun. And no, I didn’t buy them.

Disney

5. Does anybody else like to kill time in the checkout line at the store by making guesses on other people judging from their purchases? There are obvious ones like the people buying mass amounts of cat food or those extended families with family sized packages of toilet paper and a month’s worth of mineral water. But then there are also those hard-to-see-through individuals or cute guys that I’m hoping to think are single ;).  Maybe this list will help?

6. Not to cute guys aren’t a rarity either, though. In the subway I saw a guy who blew his nose into his fist – gross enough – only to push the door opener with it right afterwards. Major eww! Ignorance is bliss?! Or maybe one more reason why I always wait/ hope for others to open the doors and carry hand sanitizer with me. Luckily I did not have to use that very door yesterday.

 

7. Only three more days until Easter so the big question is: Do you still get an Easter basket? As sweet as my mum is this is one thing she gave up immediately after the first of my siblings had left the house. It’s not like I couldn’t do without the additional chocolate because I’m well stocked at the moment. But I have to admit I really wouldn’t mind a good Easter egg hunt in my parents’ garden. These used to be a blast in my childhood. Especially when my dad was hiding the eggs. He once got so involved he actually drew a map for himself to make sure we found all candy he’d hidden. Did I mention he’s an organized person?!

8. It’s a wrap once more for this week’s randomness so: Happy Thursday!

 

Happiness inducing today: My neighbours’ two little sons. Only two and five years old but such charmers already. There’s no way not to smile when they are trying to get your attention by jumping around and waving.

Stay in touch!

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

 

What are your plans for the Easter weekend?

Do you still get you an Easter basket? If so: What are its usual contents?

Any fun travel memories to share?

 

 

 

Pinned down deliciousness

Can I get a loud and happy yay for Wednesday? No?! Okay, how about a loud and happy yay for What I ate Wednesday? If it being the middle of the week [or "Bergfest" as we like to say around here] isn’t reason enough for you to rejoice then taking a look at the epic array of good food over at Jenn‘s is? It definitely is the best place for sharing recent kitchen shenanigans.

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… and maybe finding some pin-worthy deliciousness?! Seen. Pinned. Forgotten. Lost in the vastness of picture overload on my – and your [?!] – Pinterest boards. Isn’t it the same all of the time? We see a dish, get intrigued, pin and really mean to make it – and then it never happens. Story of my [cooking] life. That’s why I decided to get back to not just filling my Pinterest boards to the brim but actually trying some others’ culinary creations again. My new goal: not pinning that many recipes anymore* [as if]. If I see an intriguing recipe and happen to have the ingredients: make it. Soon. Let’s see how well I did so far!

gluten-free vegan_brownies_edible perspective

First off was a recipe I’d given a shoutout in one of my last Good good links. And I’m happy to say that my initial comment upon seeing these was spot on. They are incredible. Now I won’t pretend miracles had happened overnight and I’d eaten a whole one in a sitting without so much of a second thought. Fairly enough, though, I probably had the equivalent of a whole one in smaller slivers over the course of their life span. Which – just as expected for incredible* brownies – was … not long. Both my neighbours and my mum gave them a thumbs up as well and how could they not? Just look at this perfection. I might have done a little happy dance upon removing these from the oven seeing their cracked top, amazing goey centre and – okay, I’ll stop it here and hope you pinned them. And will make them soon!

*yes, so good they deserved two pictures in one post. Or maybe I just talked about them so much I needed to add another one.

edible perspective_brownies

Case in point of a seen-and-made-right-away recipe: Arman’s cookie dough. All ingredients on hand I tried it the very day I saw it pretty much after finishing my comment [okay, maybe a few hours later but you get the idea]. My changes were using a mix of peanut and coconut flour like I usually do in the cookie dough crumbles I use as an ice cream topping.  The only objection I have towards this recipe is a fault in the instructions. Rolling it into balls?? Does anybody ever roll raw cookie dough into shape before eating? No.  Cookie dough is meant to be eaten straight from the mixing bowl. Or from the package if store-bought is your way of choice.
breakfast cookie dough

But for portion control and not to gross out my roommate when offering her some I rolled with it. Whichever way, though, these are delicious. Salty and sweet with three-nut-action thanks to me using a mix of peanut and coconut flour as well as almond butter. Dried mulberries as my mix-in of choice added a nice caramelly sweet crunch. Prior to this I wasn’t into the blogger trend of balls/ bites [any dirty thoughts are yours not mine!] because I’m not too much of a fan of the dried fruit and nut mix. These, however, are right up my alley and seeing as I’m going to have the last ones as a snack today I feel a new batch will be made soon.
cookie dough balls_Arman

Despite what it looks like I’ve actually been eating some savoury fare these past days, too. Only none from my Pinterest boards but an old favourite as part of the random snack fest that was one my recent lunches. The only picture I snapped was of this need-to-clean-out-the-fridge zucchini pasta in a creamy eggplant tomato sauce. With chickpeas, obviously. And seconds and thirds. Just like you do.

zucchini noodles

The secret to this dish is stirring coconut butter into the sauce. If you’ve never used coconut butter in sauces before: try it! I hardly ever have coconut milk on hand but a nice spoonful of the white gold that is coconut butter works a charm. I did this before in my Red Lentil Kabocha Chili  and the difference it makes is amazing. From ordinary to rich and creamy in seconds. The whole bowl was made even better by a generous dusting of nutritional yeast.

zoodles_zucchini pasta

And that’s it for this week’s WIAW. Now go and tackle your Pinterest boards :)! Make sure to stop by the Vegan Wednesday board for even more pin-worthy inspiration.

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A spontaneous blogger meet-up.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Are you giving this week’s Wednesday a yay or nay? It’s a short work week only after all so what’s not to like?!

What’s the last recipe by another blogger you tried and how did it turn out?

Kick in the butt to move out of the rut

Sometimes a kick in the butt – as uncomfortable as it is initially – is the wake-up call we need to start getting active again. The reminder of appreciating what we have while we still do when faced with a possible change in life coming up. Yes, I realize I’m being vague here but until things have finalized I don’t want to spill the beans. What I can spill the beans about, though, is that the above-mentioned kick in the butt was part of the reason my weekend was pretty marvelous. Not just because of the flowers and sunshine that have started gracing the area around here with their reappearance. Can we agree that spring is pretty marvelous? [and yes, I know that you know I'm asking this rhetorically every week]

MiMM_new

If you read yesterday’s good good links you might have seen Gracie’s post – and I included it not without a significant reason.  Because yes, I’d found myself in that [seemingly at first glance from the outside] all-too-comfortable rut again after moving back into my apartment. Most of my friends from university have moved to other cities which meant I didn’t get to reunite with a group of familiar faces. Luckily work has been keeping me busy throughout the week so I didn’t find myself missing anything in the evenings. Much more so come the weekends, though. Going on walks, reading or watching movies at home is only so much when on your own. And no, I neither am nor was I ever happy with this situation however much I tried to convince myself I was enjoying it. Because I’m naturally introverted. Yet even introverts need togetherness and I’ve found I do more than I and others around me assume. But at the same time I have a hard time changing things and move on. Simply because I don’t know how and where to start.

yellow_flowers_tree

This weekend offered a pleasant change and gave me a taste of socializing and enjoying life. All the while shifting the focus from food to just livingsomething I’d admittedly been neglecting. It’s amazing how little it takes to turn things around for a fresh start: A short text to a girl I met several months ago shortly before moving and we met at a vegan outdoor market. So yes, food was included. Lots of it, in fact. The kind that’s proof vegan can be far from healthy food, too ;). And I can say I guiltlessly enjoyed chocolates, dips, bites of greasy vegan gyros and my first taste of baklava. All the while chatting, laughing and not thinking about calories. So much that I didn’t even think about taking pictures. Bad blogger? Maybe. Bad time? Certainly not.  Coming home to my apartment I realized how much more I need those semi-spontaneous times out. Sweet, sweet times like those marshmallows I snagged. Vegan health comfort food at its very best ;).

Marshmallows

Like Gracie pointed out an important step is to admit this to others. Important, yes – and hard. I felt like admitting to the fact that I was stuck and didn’t know how to get moving again was embarrassing. The feeling of being a negative Nancy when I had so much to be thankful for: why? For me it were numerous of the reasons Gracie lists in her post. Whatever it was, though, the above-mentioned kick in the butt was much needed. I can’t say for sure it won’t take a few more for me to actually make a huge change but I’m starting with small ones now.

That means making the most of my current actually quite marvelous situation and trying not to worry too much about the changes the future’s going to bring. Here’s to getting those trees planted.

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a blend via Skype.

Stay in touch!

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

 

How do you get out of ruts?

What’s your favourite way of meeting new people [for the non-party types]?

 

Good good links #34

Hello!

Okay, so there’s a snazzy way to describe an awesome last day of the week [Sunday funday!] – but where’s the equally as appreciative term for a really good Saturday? Looks like I’ll have to come up with my own because today [writing this Saturday night as usual] shaped up to be a really good one. That being said I hope that whichever day you’re reading this on will be awesome for you, too.

Good good links

As usual here are some great posts I happened upon this week. Let me know your favourites, too!

 

Good good [food for thought]

Gluten? Dairy? Paleo? Vegan? So Confusing! via My Food ‘n’ Fitness Diaries

Whichever diet you choose to follow: there’s no right or wrong. Just do what feels good for you.

‘Year Of No Sugar’: The Schaub Family Went Sugar Free For An Entire Year via Huffington Post

Going sugar-free for a year in a sugar-filled world: a family’s experiences and takeaway.

why 1200 is so, so wrong via the Real Life RD

 Further proof that the ‘magical’ number isn’t magical at all.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

rut the heck? 4 ways to get out of a rut. via Girl meets Life

Great advice on overcoming the dreaded rut everybody finds themselves in every now and then.

dating today via Build your Bliss

Lessons in looking for ‘the one’ – most important: love yourself.

How to embody ease via Sarah Jenks

Little changes that can help us feel happier and more content in every day.

Being social while being healthy and vice versa – 5 tips via Fit Swiss Chick

We don’t have to choose one above the other but can make both work at the same time.

6 Things Shy People Can Teach Us About Success via Huffington Post

Why being a little timid isn’t all negative and how to make good use of our natural traits.

When is the perfect time to get your sweat on? via Mrs. Murphy’s Law of Fitness

 Morning, evening or midday: Find your personal fit. There’s no one perfect time to work out but different benefits to all.

 

Blogging

Office Etiquette: Social Media Savvy via Lauren Conrad

Why we might want to think twice about when and what we’re posting.

Good good [things to make you smile]

How To Order Coffee Like A Local In 26 Countries via Business Insider

For all coffee drinkers out there.

How Badly Do You Suffer From Writer’s Block? via BuzzFeed

Answering this truthfully might be slightly embarrassing…

Good good [food]

Vegan and Flourless Almond Butter Banana Blender Muffins via the sweet {tooth} life

Easy to prepare, minimal clean-up and many delicious ingredients combined.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookies via The Almond Eater

Sneaky legumes in good-for-you cookies – win!

Vegan Taiwanese Shaved Ice via The Pancake Princess

An unusual dessert that’s both simple to make and impressive.

The First RAW Vegan Butterfinger Candy Bar via The Vegan 8

Bye, bye, Butterfinger! Dried mulberries are the secret caramel-y ingredient in this mind-blowing spin.

Nut Butter Breakfast Cookie Dough via The Big Man’s World

Have your cake cookie dough and eat it – for breakfast or any time of the day, really.

Homemade orange honey body wash via The Fitnessista

A non-food recipe that lets you feel good about what you’re washing your body with.

 

Happiness inducing today: Meeting a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

Stay in touch!

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

What have been some of your favourite posts from the week?

 

 

The full scope of randomness [Thinking out loud]

If there was any way to measure the randomness of a random post I’d say this one would score pretty high. My thoughts have been all over the place so you’ll get to enjoy an mix of ponderings about everything from music to baby animals and haircuts. Thanks, Amanda, for encouraging any kind of thinking out loud – however odd it might be.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. I’m not sure about the music at your gym but the predominant tunes at mine are – not trying to feed any clichés but just a personal impression – male-suited. Or maybe I’m just the odd one out who doesn’t enjoy listening to techno beats at full Colour me surprised when this song started playing.

Not like I felt any shame admitting it’s on my iPod in anyway. However, I can’t help but wonder if Hugh Grant’s lyrics inspired any new PRs in the guys’ lifting area ;) .

2. Soon after showing my usual work day snacks I’ve found I was missing something. Something I always reach for when snacking at home… Almond butter. Now how to take almond butter to work with me without lugging around a whole jar in my bag? Because that’s a) way too heavy and b) my bag already is the most crowded you’ve ever seen [and that's why there's no picture of it]. And I have a feeling normal people don’t deal with these snack ordeals. Dare I say #bloggerproblem?!

3. Buying a mini jar of jam, eating its laughable content and now it’s off to the dishwasher to meet its true purpose of storing almond butter afterwards.

jar

4. Random but really cute and true story my boss told in our team meeting earlier this week: A baby orang utan in a German zoo lost its mother who didn’t wake up again after a medically required anaesthesia. Poor little guy. But here’s the happy end: He was transferred to another zoo with a female orang utan that had had a stillborn baby months ago hoping she’d adopt him. Obviously always a risky endeavour when humankind decides to interfere with nature. But – yes, you guessed it – they accepted each other right away. Can I get a collective awww? The whole team did – or maybe everybody aside from the one guy among us. Talk about clichés again.

 

5. A few days ago I finally got a new haircut. Or actually not a new one.  Because despite playing with the idea of daring a change for once – and we’re not talking a different colour but just a few more inches off or something along those lines – I just can’t. I’ve had long hair for ages so always end up chickening out before the appointment.

Source

One day, one day that change is going to happen… Only not as drastic as Rapunzel’s ;).

6. Keeping in short and sweet once more for today so: Happy Thursday!

 

Happiness inducing today: My mum taking the journey to my city just to spend a few hours calming me down before an important day today.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Do you like to play around with your haircut? What was the most special one you ever tried?

Tell me the most random thought coming to your mind right now!

 

 

 

 

Roast, bake, blend and eat.

It seems like the blog world was home to quite a number of cheese connoisseurs who’d happily welcome another member to their exclusive club :D . In other words: Thank you for your support on my decision and yes, I’ll walk the talk again soon with delicious creations.

Another Wednesday is peeking around the corner already and I don’t have a lot of cheesyness to show yet. Peeking and not yet there because yes, I’m writing and scheduling my posts the night before. Writing them in the morning before work? Not an option. How do you organized people manage :D?? Same way it’s early afternoon already for me when Jenn opens the link-up. Whatever time it is for you as you’re reading, though, let’s talk food again.

WIAWbutton_1

Inspired by Amanda who’d taken up my suggestion – do you sense mutual inspiration? I like it! – of adding chickpeas to yogurt again I decided to try new to me recipe: sweet roasted chickpeas. I’ve had savoury versions – usually adding cumin – before but never sweet. Not just any, though, but Amanda’s very own recipe for honey-almond ones. Yes, these are good.  Despite my usual laziness I went with the suggestion of peeling the chickpeas. I’d heard about that trick for creating the smoothest homemade hummus before but will admit that’s where I’d draw the line. Peeling chickpeas for a dip that’s going to be blended in anyway? Too much effort. For the roasted variety, however, it made perfect sense. Turn on a good tune and peeling those peas will happen in no time.

Honey-almond chickpeas
Even better? Eating almond butter and honey straight up? After cleaning the mxing bowl not to waste any of the ‘marinade’ I wondered why I’d never went with this combination before. Dare I say it rivals chocolate as the sweet little bite after a savoury meal?! Almost only but close enough. Because this still happened some time after.

mint chocolate

Like after a hearty lunch like this. It still needs some tweaking but this random concoction would be a ratatouille bake topped with two kinds of cheese. Mozzarella has always been a favourite for casseroles in pre-vegan days. Feta didn’t make an appearance too often but after seeing many bloggers use it I was curious to see how I’d like it. The verdict is still open but so far I’m not hooked. Maybe because I prefer creamy and melty cheeses? Something I noticed after my first trials is that I need to take it slow with reintroducing cheese.

Ratatouille_two cheeses

In this particular case, though, I feel vegetables were to blame. Another one of those life lessons learned when trying to figure out what causes our stomaches to feel wonky. If I was still feeling guilty about reintroducing cheese into my diet it’d have been the easiest way to finger-point here blaming it. But like I said I’m leaving the outcome open and at the same time trying to work on recovery in general. Eating a too voluminous meal packed with vegetables will hardly make my stomach feel too comfortable. I’ll have to admit it’s one of those mistakes I repeatedly make. Work in progress. Neverthless, the overall taste of the dish was pretty good and yes, the cheese did make it better.

Ratatouille bake

Thanks to the sunny days we had before the weather decided to play winter again I craved a refreshing snack. Enter Vitamix vanilla ‘ice cream’ with ‘cookie dough’ crumbles [can we agree that cute recipe names make everything even better?!]. While it won’t fool anyone for ice cream or cookie dough I feel this might be my way of joining the blogger smoothie trend. Just don’t ask me to blend kale into my ice cream because no. Simply no.

Vitamix ice cream

Something roasted, something baked and something blended – that sums up this surprisingly cheese-less account of some recent food happenings at my apartment. If you’re in dire need of seeing some real cheese action ;) I’m sure there’ll be plenty over at Jenn’s so head over and get inspired by everybody else’s delicious creations!

 

Happy Tuesday Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A spontaneous longer chat with one of my neighbours who suggested becoming running buddies. Fingers crossed for a speedy hip recovery!

Stay in touch!

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

 

What’s your favourite kind of cheese? I’ve actually never liked more than a good handful of kinds. Brie was another favourite, though.

Tell me the best or most exciting flavour of ice cream you’ve ever eaten! For me, the best around here are usually fruit flavours [cherry and mango in particular]. But the creamiest and most special ones I’ve had yet were Peanut Butter Chocolate [called "Girl from Ipanema" at the store] and Coconut Carrot Cake ["Rübli Kokos"]. Actually both vegan ones, too.