Marvelous in my Monday: Be a happiness hoover!

Hi there! I hope you’re all having a lovely Monday!

Having hinted to it several times in the past it is more than about time I publish my post on practicing positivity. The reason why it took me so long? Well, rather than not knowing what to write I had the problem of feeling I had too much to say. After some pondering I decided to break the – now pretty long already – draft post down into smaller ones and make it a series. Let’s say there will be a few more posts on positivity on your way – not a bad thing in my book because can there ever be too much happiness?!

MiMM_new

What better time to share a post about positivity than Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday? There really isn’t – especially as it was in fact Katie inspiring my little happiness project. So special thanks not only for hosting but being a huge source of positivity, Katie!

Orchid

Seeing as I plan on making these kind of posts a [more or less] regular installment on my blog today’s some kind of introduction. The how and why behind me starting my Positivity Project if you will.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never been an all-out negative Nancy all day every day. But I did have these moments or even days when I find myself in an overall grumpy mood. Nothing seems to work, nobody has time for me, I’m bored.

Especially during the worst times of my ED I felt unhappy a lot of the time, never content with myself. While I was never diagnosed with depression my parents did voice their concern quite a lot of times. Not wanting to get up in the morning because that’d mean I’d have to eat, get going about my day and feel like I was never achieving enough. Looking back I can clearly see the signs of depression I was showing.

Dandelion

Though these times are long over I was still not as happy as I could have been back at the beginning of this year. When I first took part in Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday link-up party I thought my weekend had been boring and just not mention-worthy. But giving it some second thought I realized the little happy moments, the tiny things that had put a smile on my face …

Yogi tea wisdom

… like Yogi tea wisdom.

Ever since then I’ve made it a habit to reflect the happenings of every day and focus on the positives. Pursuing happiness is part of recovery for me. As often as you might have heard it already I’ll say it again: Happiness is a choice. Sure, we can choose to see the negative things happening in life and in effect be unhappy. But where’s the sense in that? Not every day is a happy day but there’s at least a spark of happiness in every day. Catch the spark and make it the one thing you remember most of that day.

Diverse_März 056

Just to give you some examples I’ll share one HIT [happiness inducer today] at the bottom of every post from now on. Yes, maybe you’ll laugh at just how ridiculously small and negligible these might be at times. From waking up to sunshine outside, seeing a beautiful flower on one of my walks to a hug it can really be everything.  Actually, it might even not necessarily have been the hugest happiness inducer of that day when it was one filled to the brim with them. My reason for sharing these, however, is to show that even the simplest things can brighten our days. Call me a happiness hoover soaking up every tiny spark of happiness if you will :D. Addicted to collecting happy moments? Why, yes, I might be.

[To be continued]

Happiness inducer today: Meeting a friend for a walk and conversation on a study break.

 

Tell me: What made you happy today?

Any other happiness hoovers out there ;)?

On the edge of [strange but good] eggy-ness

[Sorry to all fans of yolk porn ;): There’s none of it in this post but something much better … Oh, and sorry for letting you wait that long, Sarah.]

Let’s talk comfort food! To me, that’s what casseroles are: Even when they are as quickly assembled as this one serving one up always has a special feeling attached to it. Memories of family lunches with huge casserole dishes being served to the crowd.

As eggy as it gets the vegan way.

As eggy as it gets the vegan way.

Growing up my mum sometimes prepared casseroles covered with a mix of eggs and milk or cream. The eggs would turn the into a frittata-style fluffy-puffy mass which I actually didn’t enjoy a lot. Even though I still ate eggs back then these dishes never really appealed to me – that’s not to say I didn’t eat them. After all, there were lots of good things hiding underneath :).

Lots of green goodness.

Why yes, I do like to eat my greens.

Weirdly enough, it’s been just these kinds of dishes I found myself craving a lot lately – I’d call it a strange but good craving. Luckily, there’s no need to crack the [egg] shells to recreate this goodness. With a little help from every vegan’s favourite ingredient: Silken tofu.

Blended with a pinch of this and pinch of that … egg-like vegan cheese sauce.

Blended with a pinch of this and pinch of that … egg-like vegan cheese sauce.

The magic is just a minute – okay, maybe a bit longer – away. But really, aside from a bit of vegetable chopping and blending the sauce ingredients the clean-up is the most laborious task in this process. I kept the vegetable mixture very simple in terms of seasonings but if you can obviously jazz it up any way you like.

Assembly - don't forget to make sure you get every drop of sauce ;).

Assembly – don’t forget to make sure you get every drop of sauce ;).

The magic is just a minute – okay, maybe a bit longer – away. But really, aside from a bit of vegetable chopping and blending the sauce ingredients the clean-up is the most laborious task in this process.

Vegan Cheesy Eggy Casserole

6 oz of broccoli, chopped

About 3.5 oz (one small/medium) bok choy, stalks and leaves sliced thinly

3.5 oz carrots, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

Cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tsps soy sauce

1 tsp rice vinegar

Salt and pepper

Cayenne pepper to taste

Oil for sautéing

For the “egg” mixture

7 oz. of silken tofu

3-4 tbsps of unsweetened soy milk [other non-dairy milks might work, too]

½ tsp of granulated onion

½ tsp turmeric

¼ to ½ tsp cayenne – depending on how spicy you like your food

½ tsp smoked paprika

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (this one is key for me!)

About 3 tbsps nutritional yeast

Preheat oven to 350 °F.

Clean and chop your vegetables. Sauté garlic in oil until fragrant. Add carrots and broccoli and stir-fry for about five minutes. Then add bok choy and let it wilt. Add soy sauce and rice vinegar. Season to taste.

While the vegetables are cooking, add silken tofu and non-dairy milk to a bowl. Blend until creamy. Stir in spices and nutritional yeast. Add salt to taste.

Layer cherry tomatoes (cut side down though it might not matter) in a small casserole dish. Add fried vegetables and spoon silken tofu mixture on top. Smoothen out and bake for about 20 minutes or until the tofu mixture has firmed up. Serve and enjoy!

Maybe vegan eggy cheesy casseroles are strange … but they certainly are good, too.

Strange but good

Which kind of casseroles do you like?

What are your favourite recipes using silken tofu?

Turning flops into successes with a side of flips

Weee, the week has passed too quickly once again and it’s already time for our weekly What I ate Wednesday party. Thanks to Jenn for hosting everbody’s foodie shenanigans!

wiawphotobutton

Ever since starting my challenge to be more positive right at the beginning of this year, I’ve made myself think twice before putting something off as a fail. Add to that the kind reminder of someone [thanks, Heather!] to make even the smallest steps count.

Baked potato I

However delicious it might look this one was a flop. A huge fail – not taste-wise but let me explain … Potatoes were a fear food of mine due to several reasons and no, this one being a white potato didn’t matter to me. Growing up these were the only ones we ate and I have yet to understand all the hype about sweet potatoes ;). Eating potatoes scared me as I was afraid they wouldn’t fill me up and take up a lot of calories at that. Wasted calories.

Baked II

Unfortunately, I was neither amazed by the taste nor did the potato fill me up. Needless to say I regretted having eaten it and kept snacking around all afternoon to get satisfied. Looking back, though, I realized my mistake. Not having had baked potatoes in a long time I had heightened my expectations to be insurmountable. Not even Mr. Potato Head could have lived up to them ;).

Mr potato head1

My success was deciding not to see it as a fail. It’s a learning experience on my way to discovering which foods I do enjoy and therefore one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. Whether or not you see something as a fail is up to the perspective you choose.

So what about those flips in the title you ask? Well, those are a mighty tasty long-time favourite snack of mine. Curly peanutty chips that are called “Erdnussflips” around here. I’m not much of a “chip” as in cut potato chips person but these win me over every time. While I’ve eaten these all throughout my ED, too, the amounts were far smaller and – most important difference – I’d weigh them and feel guilty after eating. Now? Grab bag, open it and snack on an unmeasured amount. Granted, I’m not yet at the point where I’ll mindlessly eat until fully satisfied but as I said above: Small steps count, too.

Flips

Speaking of successful failures … Remember the frozen yogurt I’ve shown you way back?

Frozen yogurt

I’m sorry to admit this and break every food blogger’s heart out there but: Yes, it was a fail. For once I had too huge expectations again and I didn’t feel like having Froyo in the slightest when that friend of mine asked me to get some. Still, I enjoyed meeting up with her and made the decision not to grieve the food. I guess I really am just an ice cream girl after all. Melts my foodie heart every time :).

That being said it’s back to the books and studying for me … and maybe the one or the other peak at everybody else’s WIAWs :D.

 

When was the last time you turned a failure into a success [doesn’t need to be food-related]?

Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

 What are your favourite baked potato toppings? Maybe I need to give them another chance?!

Marvelous in my Monday: It’s the simple things

Happy Monday everyone! How was your weekend? I hope Spring has graced wherever you live with lots of sunshine and nature awakening from its [too long] winter slumber, too.

MiMM_new

After two weeks in the city there was nothing I longed for more than seeing my parents again. Despite no real plans on hand we never fail to share some good times whenever I visit. And who am I to deny it?  I’m a country bumpkin and proud of it so being in the countryside immediately brightens my mood, too.

Pretty in pink.

Pretty in pink.

Nothing beats waking up to birds chirping outside my window. Leisurely walking around the house marveling at the flowers my parents planted and tended to. Here’s to hoping their green thumb is going to rub off on me one day, too ;).

April showers bring ... April flowers?!

April showers bring … April flowers?!

My evening walks in the city? Sure, I do enjoy them. But when given the choice I’ll always pick strolls through the woods or fields. There’s something special about not only being outside in nature but nature in the countryside. Even on my run on Sunday I could tell the difference. Does anybody else get the best ideas ever while running outside? While it also happens for me on my city runs I noticed how much more creative my thoughts were while passing cows, horses and small villages. A more natural, spacious environment also allows my thoughts to flow much better. Now if only I had a thought recorder in my brain to keep all the ideas until after my run :D.

On a walk

Grammar nerd alert: I’ll trade a „k“ for a „g“ , please ;). Dashing to the supermarket to stock up on my fake Greek yogurt – the German “Quark” – I had to find they were sold out. Bummer. However, I happened upon these …

Can you say score?

Can you say score?

Fage on clearance? Only fellow foodie friends [alliterations make me happy] will understand my delight at the sight of these. Especially now that they were discontinued around where I live – after such a short time already, mind you! Naturally, I grabbed four of the six containers still available and walked away an even happier girl.

Even more smile- and happiness-inducing, however, honestly was the time spent lying in the sun, discussing politics and chatting with my parents. I love them more than any other people and feel blessed to have them in my life.

Adoring my mum's beautiful table decorations.

Adoring my mum’s beautiful table decorations.

One thing that made today marvelous already was our beautiful host Katie’s post about her amazing baby shower. I’m so happy for her!

Did you grow up in the countryside or the city? What’s one thing you especially liked about where you grew up?

When do you have your most creative phases? Running and generally moving around outside gives me such a lot of great ideas.

What was the last surprise you happened upon in the clearance section? I’m pretty sure the Fage cups had been waiting there just for me to pick them up ;).

Still hungry?

It’s here, it’s here! Spring has finally arrived and it’s making me so happy! Sunshine does miracles in brightening my mood and lifting the funk I’ve admittedly been in. Add in some good meals eaten and I’m a [mostly] happy camper. Speaking of food it’s actually What I ate Wednesday already again. Does anybody else feel like the week in between flew by in record speed? Anyway, thanks to our awesome host and mom-to-be, Jenn!

WIAW

If you read my last WIAW you’ll know I’m trying to eat more intuitively. So how has it been working the past week? I won’t lie and pretend I had changed a lot of what I’ve been eating. It’s definitely not a walk in the park but I didn’t expect it to be, either. What I did, though, was listening to my inner voice more inspired by the ten principles of Intuitive Eating described by Evelyn Tribole.

Healthy “chocolate” I’ve been starting pretty much every day with recently.

Healthy “chocolate” I’ve been starting pretty much every day with recently.

Rather than trying to implement all of the ten principles of Intuitive Eating found in the book  at once I have a different plan of action. My strategy is to find out how much each of them fits into the stage of recovery I am in and see which ones I currently need to work on most.

Wheatberry “Pizza” Casserole modified from Sarah’s recipe. Certainly one I'll repeat.

Wheatberry “Pizza” Casserole modified from Sarah’s recipe. Certainly one I’ll repeat.

Being a volume eater the two principles I’ve been focusing on lately are “Feel your fullness” and “Discover the satisfaction factor”. In the past I would usually clean my plate – or designated serving of a dish if I hadn’t just prepared a [huge] single serving at all in anyway. More often than not I ate past my point of fullness. Do I even need to tell you how uncomfortable it felt? Even knowing I hadn’t eaten more than xyz calories I still felt bad and like I’d overeaten.

Soothing tea to settle a wonky stomach.

Soothing tea to settle a wonky stomach.

Honoring these principles I made a conscious effort to pause during meals and ask myself questions suggested by the authors like: Am I still hungry? Does the food taste as good as when I started eating? Will eating more make me feel better?

Dare I say I’m a little proud coming up with this gem of a recipe? Vegan cheesy “egg” covered casserole.

Dare I say I’m a little proud coming up with this gem of a recipe? Vegan cheesy “egg” covered casserole.

Surprisingly, reminding myself that I could go back later and eat more if I wanted to, I discovered that most of the time I was actually satisfied with less. Yes, I did finish the remainder of my serving later in the day but I didn’t feel hungry right after my meals. It might seem like a small success to some but to me it was a good feeling.

Not bad but not enough. Good fortune the friend of mine needed some “help” with her caramel sundae ;).

Not bad but not enough. Good fortune the friend of mine needed some “help” with her caramel sundae ;).

One food that will never fill me up is ice cream. Maybe that’s one of the reason I’ve been avoiding it despite being a huge fan but I’ll work on that. Because how sad would a life without ice cream be? Enjoying the first – and definitely not last – scoops of the year on a gorgeously sunny day was pure bliss. Add in that I went with one of my best friends and it was the perfect experience. Great food eaten with great people is simply amazing.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Do you feel your fullness when eating?

Have you read “Intuitive Eating”? If not: Would you be interested in me sharing more about the single principles as I approach them?

What was your favourite meal  from the past week?

Trying to switch it up intuitively

First off: Thank you so much for all of your kind and supportive comments on my last post! While resting felt good reassurance was definitely needed still. It feels good to know many of you are advocating taking as many rest days as needed – not following a strict schedule.

Wait, did you come here for a specific reason today ;)? Okay, okay … let’s get onto the food! Not before thanking Jenn, though. Thanks for hosting What I ate Wednesday once again!

WIAW

Trying to exercise more intuitively was – as you might have guessed already – linked to my recent trials in Intuitive Eating. Inspired by many lovely blogging ladies like Heather and Meg I finally picked up my copy of Intuitive Eating again. I’ve admittedly had this book sitting on my nightstand for several months a while already but hadn’t really committed myself to the challenge yet. As of now I can’t pride myself with any huge successes yet but I want to keep trying.

Greek yogurt with peanut  and coconut flour, banana flakes and maple syrup that got even more decadent …

Greek yogurt with peanut and coconut flour, banana flakes and maple syrup that got even more decadent …

Eating intuitively also means questioning my go-to dishes to me. So while Blueberry baked Oats had been on the menu for breakfast for quite a while I wasn’t feeling them anymore lately. What’s a girl to do? Experiment obviously! The first time I had above Greek yogurt combo it tasted good but my stomach was undecided. The second day it hit the spot and the third …

… by adding chocolate sauce – because a girl needs her chocolate fix in the morning already.

… by adding almond butter and chocolate sauce – because there’s never too much chocolate.

Well, not even plenty of Heather’s healthy chocolate sauce which, by the way, is totally addictive was able to satisfy me that day. I’m not sure about the reason yet but I guess we just don’t crave the same every day.

When in doubt go with old favourites after all. Trying to stick with changing it up, though, I prepared a dish I had found way back and not eaten in quite a while. Yet another one not winning prices for appearance but making up in taste all the more.

One of the richest, most decadent casseroles I’ve had to date and completely vegan.

One of the richest, most decadent casseroles I’ve had to date and completely vegan.

If you haven’t tried this Creamy Eggplant Creole yet you seriously have to. Believe me: It’s totally worth the extra work of roasting the eggplant. Seeing as eggplant’s on offer this week I won’t keep myself from having it again – sorry but rules like changing it up can be broken bended for exceptional dishes like this ;).

As I semi-promised ending every WIAW post on a sweet note here’s this week’s. With Spring bringing slightly warmer temperatures a friend of mine spontaneously suggested getting frozen yogurt. Which is still quite the novelty around here so don’t even ask for fancy flavours: plain tart is all we can get. There’s a bit more to say about this frozen yogurt date but I’ll leave that for another post :).

Frozen yogurt

Do you consider yourself an Intuitive Eater?

Have you tried any new food combinations or recipes lately?

Overall: How have you been feeling lately?