Keeping cool with frozen snacks

With this month’s WIAW motto and it being – at least for US readers – National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable month there’s been a lot of produce action going on. Isn’t that really happening just naturally this time of the year? The season boasting with fresh fruit and vegetables makes at least me even more likely to go overboard when produce shopping  – yes for Summer! Thanks to Jenn for hosting this fabulously fresh [not that I liked alliterations a bit too much ;)] food party once again!

wiaw sensible snacking button

Seeing as the temperatures have been climbing at record speed  hitting up to 28 °C/ 82 °F as a current record for this year so far yesterday it’s been all about staying cool and refreshed for me. Rather than having it as a main meal zucchini pasta has been a favourite savoury snack of mine these days. Using salsa instead of a cooked sauce, adding chickpeas, mushrooms and fresh basil it’s a fast and fresh mini meal.

Zucchini snack

Thanks to the arrival of my new blender an old favourite’s been making an appearance in my diet again: Banana Softserve! Whether plain or Thin Mint-style with added cocoa powder and mint extract I’ve been going through bananas at record speed – I’m not sure what my roommate thinks about my banana hoarding habits ;).

Eaten straight from the food processor bowl for minimal clean-up.

Eaten straight from the food processor bowl for minimal clean-up.

Speaking of frozen treats you might know I’m not too keen on frozen yogurt. Yet I had to get myself a cup when a new one from the UK hit the shelves of a supermarket chain as a weekly offer. It’s YooMoo brand and after finding out it was suitable for vegetarians I didn’t hesitate any longer. The verdict? It tastes like … ice cream. A rather plain ice cream with – in my case – tropical fruit sauce swirled throughout. Not bad but if I want ice cream I’m going for just that not frozen yogurt. For me, it’s the slight tanginess and softserve consistency that makes frozen yogurt. While the consistency was definitely lighter than regular ice cream there was no tang to it at all. Well, you win some, you loose some.

YooMoo

In case you read my last post you’ll remember me talking about the traditional German dessert Rote Grütze.  Turns out it makes an awesome addition to my ever-expanding Greek yogurt bowls. Tangy, creamy coconut flour-thickened Greek yogurt mixed with sweet berry “pudding” – a match made in foodie heaven.

Greek with Rote Grütze

In case any of you would like to try Rote Grütze but can’t find it in stores I’ll post a recipe – let me know.

 

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A sweet encouraging mail from my dad which is quite unlikely for him not being a huge mailing/texting person so I appreciated it even more.

 

What has the weather been like for you? Germany – and especially the part I’m living in – sure can’t keep up with the temperatures elsewhere in the world.

How do you stay cool on hot Summer days?

What’s your favourite spin on banana softserve?

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Take two [desserts]

Better late than never here’s the literally sweet follow up of WIAW’s snackyness. Because that’s what desserts actually are, right?! Sweet snacks :).

Thinking about restrictions I noticed one in an area I’d convinced myself I wasn’t struggling with: desserts.  Seeing as I allowed myself a generous amount of dark chocolate daily I hadn’t considered myself to restrict in that area. That was the point, though. I did have chocolate every day without a fail but I wasn’t particularly flexible with the kind I chose and allowing other desserts the same day? Rarely and even then only by downsizing my other meals and with guilt included. Trying an intriguing premade dessert from the freezer aisle wasn’t in the cards. Not because I’d ever gotten really into clean eating or given up sugar.

Fruit – despite its high sugar content – has never been a problem for me.

Fruit – despite its high sugar content – has never been a problem for me.

It was once more my previously mentioned fear of wasting calories and the idea of picking dark chocolate as the healthier dessert choice. What if I allowed myself to have one of those tempting desserts and ended up not liking it? I wouldn’t be able to have my usual sure-to-satisfy snacks and most definitely not my usual chocolate that day anymore because I’d end up eating above my allotted amount of calories. It’s only been during these past weeks or even just days that I’ve dared including not only new lunches but also snacks. More indulgent snacks – or desserts, that is. No healthified treats but real desserts.

Grießbrei

Semolina pudding was one of those desserts I finally allowed myself buying. A former childhood favourite of mine it had vanished when my ED deemed it void of nutrition. Having kept myself from eating this for a long time I had imagined an over the moon eating experience. Needless to say I ended up being disappointed just like with other foods in recovery so far. Of the two kinds I tried – one whole-wheat variety and another regular one with added fruit sauce – none wowed me. Yet I’m not actually bugged by this because it once again was a learning experience. I’ll dare a guess and say that likely many of those intriguing desserts in the supermarkets wouldn’t be able to live up to my expectations – simply because restriction heightened them too much.

Giving different varieties and brands a try was necessary.

Giving different varieties and brands a try was necessary.

Liking the added fruit sauce a lot, though, it was only natural to go for a traditional German dessert next: Rote Grütze*. It’s basically a [more often than not vegan] pudding prepared with various kinds of red fruit like strawberries, cherries, red and black currants. Eating it brought back memories of my mum preparing Grütze with fruit from our garden in Summer. The result of allowing myself to have this despite the amount of sugar in the premade variety? Blissful. Maybe because I hadn’t actually meant to try it and therefore didn’t have any expectations.

*The name might not exactly sound appetizing but the taste more than makes up for it.

Looking back on my diet these past weeks I’ve had a lot more previously deemed “unhealthy” foods and might have gone slightly overboard on them, too. Still, nothing bad has happened yet. I didn’t miraculously gain pounds overnight or feel sluggish. Food can obviously be awesome but we shouldn’t make it play too big of a role in bringing us joy or making us unhappy. And: it’s no sin to have two desserts in one day if you feel like it. Balance is key here once more.

I can’t deny I’m not yet at a point where I feel a hundred per cent comfortable and had stopped labeling foods completely. What I do know, though, is that I’m on my way and hopeful to find a balance eventually.

Happiness inducing today: Chatting to my sister for a bit – even if it was only via Whatsapp.

 

Do you eat real desserts regularly or go for healthified versions?

What are your thoughts on having [more than one] dessert every day?

In case you’ve recovered from an ED: How long did it take you to stop going overboard on foods you’d previously restricted? Encouragement would be appreciated as this is admittedly making me anxious.

WIAW … with [thoughts on] snack evolutions

First off: Thanks for letting me know I’m by far not the only one afraid of needles! As odd as it might sound it was relieving to hear many of you share my fear of those pesky little things.

Secondly, I’ll bend the rules of WIAW once more – it’s okay, Jenn, right ;)? – and split up my food post in two posts this week as what I’ve planned to say just seemed too much for a single one. So check back on Friday * for more snacks and my recent realizations on sensible snacking. Hint: it’s going to get sweet 🙂.

* If you saw this post earlier today already you’ll notice I changed the day to Friday rather than tomorrow. I had honestly meant to blog tomorrow but with sudden tasks lining up tomorrow I know I won’t be able to. Sorry but it’ll be up on Friday!

wiaw sensible snacking button

Sensible snacks? I’ll admit right away that I wasn’t too keen when seeing the theme Jenn had picked for this month‘s What I ate Wednesday posts.While I’ve made some steps in regards of changing up my lunch almost every day snacks have remained a weak point.

To those who never struggled with an ED looking at my snacks during the past months – and we’re talking many months – would have been ridiculous. Eating the same things over and over every day without so much of a change? But for me these perfectly planned out little meals provided safety. Only safety came at a price: food boredom. If you’ve ever eaten the same foods day after day you might have noticed getting less and less satisfaction from them over time. Take my Greek yogurt bowls for example. First it provided a … for my taste buds, deviating from my regular soy yogurt which in itself had failed to please me anymore.

Greek yogurt bowl

Creamy, coconut-flour thickened Greek yogurt with maple syrup – sounds good enough, right? It was but after a while I already noticed the sensation of newness fading away. Adding banana flakes was a first try to spice things up again. Yet it once again only worked for a while. Getting a bit more daring with grains I started adding cooked grains – best to date: speltberries – which provided more substance and a nice chewy texture. Just months ago I wouldn’t have allowed myself this kind of Greek yogurt evolution as in: playing around with it, adding some of this, some of that. Daring the potential fail or added calories, though, I ended up getting more enjoyment again.

Greek yogurt

While I wasn’t too picky in terms of eating my vegetables at lunch as a child I wouldn’t have thought about snacking on them. Entering the healthy living blog world got me curious to get a little more creative with produce. Nowadays I’m actually buying raw mushrooms for the mere purpose of dipping them into salsa. Another blog-inspired creation have been snack plates. Why go for plain veggies when you can jazz them up by having a bit of everything?

Veggie snacks

Trying to venture a bit further in the snack department and tackle my still lingering fear of “wasting calories” I got inspired to turn some overripe apricots into “ice cream”.

Not the prettiest to look at but taking pictures quickly at the danger of melting ...

Note to self: taking pictures of ice cream at the danger of melting is NOT easy.

In case you’re wondering: no, it’s not ice cream but I didn’t expect it to be. All I wanted was a frozen treat to cool me down on a hot day – yes for Summer’s arrival! – and this worked in a pinch. Yet, there still was a desire for real treats … which I’ll get into in Friday’s post. Look forward to dessert daringness and why I consider it essential for [my] recovery.

Happiness inducing today: Getting myself out of bed earlier for a lovely morning walk in the sun.

Have you ever had a snack “evolution” similar to my playing around with Greek yogurt?

Do you have any must-try snack favourites?

What’s been happiness inducing for you so far this week?

Polkadots & Ponderings #2

As promised I’m making these posts a little series on here, too, and because I feel like posting today … Some more recent ponderings.

1. Getting my blood drawn at my doctor’s early in the morning – just the best way to start the day. Not only am I the exact opposite of an early bird but also super scared of needles. Anybody else?

2. Call me biased but I just think my sister and her fiancé had the most adorable and creative idea for their wedding invitation.It’s an organic cotton tote with their faces and the wedding date printed onto it.

 

Wedding invitation bag

3. Has anybody ever tried to follow along this list as well as possible? Would be a fun challenge for sure . Thanks to Sara for mentioning it – I’d only seen mentions of certain holidays before but never known there was a list covering every day of the year. Happy National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, everyone 🙂 – go and get yourself a scoop!

4. This …broken blender

… is what I happened upon when I picked up my immersion blender to prep yesterday’s lunch. Eeep! Confession: I still used it. In case you’re wondering, though: yes, I did order a new one. Last Friday already, actually. But apparently Amazon decided to ignore my order – they had yet to change the status to anything but “ordered”. Getting impatient I contacted their customer service via chat yesterday. I’d been weighing the option of simply ordering again but kept myself from doing so because the price had since been raised significantly. Just to let you know: Amazon has great customer service and the clerk – herself not able to find out where the error was – told me to place the order again and then changed the price back to the one I’d ordered it for at first. Nice!

5. Which one are you?

which-dreamworks-character-are-you_5029109b45b23

6. Sigh …

Cable spaghetti

This is the sight I’m greeted by pretty much every time I retrieve my iPod from whichever pocket or bag I last left it in – sometimes far worse than shown above. Sure, spaghetti are nice but cable spaghetti? Not so much. I wish there was a surefire way to avoid them but I have yet to find one.

7. Walking past a kindergarten earlier today I heard one of the kindergarten teachers call out to a little girl to get inside to have a wee-wee. I guess it’s a good thing children aren’t yet that self-conscious or who else would like to be called out to go to the toilet for the whole street to hear ;)?

8. Trying to budget or not: Some purchases simply can’t be avoided.

Hello Kitty

9. The secret life of my iPod: Good mood guaranteed and the title fits perfectly with the current weather around here.

10. … and if there’s nothing else to believe in …

I believe in fortune cookies_klein

Happiness inducing today: Knowing it’ll still be bright and warm outside when I’m heading on my walk in the evening.

Whatever you have planned for the weekend I hope you’ll have a great one with lots of sunshine!

How do you deal with having your blood drawn? My favourite part is being done and over with it :).

Which Dreamworks character are you?

What’s the last impulse purchase you made?

Making every lunch count

Let’s talk lunch today – and what better time to do so than What I ate Wednesday!

Not too long ago, still, lunch was hardly ever happening for me in proper fashion. I didn’t skip it per se but was constantly finding excuses to either make it consist of many small snacks or a huge pile of steamed vegetables. Lately, I’ve even been getting more daring with changing up my lunch pretty much every day and even creating my own recipes.

WIAWbutton_1

This might not sound huge for some but the possibility of a meal failure and – the horror – “wasted” calories kept me from experimenting in the kitchen. That meant I was eating the same few staple meals over and over again. All for the sake of “feeling safe”. Granted, I do still need to work on some of my other meals and snacks but for now I’ll make every different lunch count as a step forward in recovery.

Asparagus quinoa II

Breakfast, however , is something I usually settle with and change up only once every blue moon. Don’t fix what isn’t broke, right? Seeing Michelle’s recipe for Apricot Baked Oatmeal, though, I decided it was time to test a new breakfast. Being a little rebel in the kitchen I didn’t follow along her recipe exactly but used it as a guideline mixing it up with other ideas found online.  While my blueberry baked oats were a long-time favourite these didn’t win me over completely. Not that they were bad but I prefer my oats a bit creamier  – some might say almost soupy 😉 – and that’s obviously not what these are meant to be. Still, adding apricots to oatmeal is a great idea worth giving a try.

Once again topped with nut butter and drowned in soy milk post-picture.

Once again topped with nut butter and drowned in soy milk post-picture.

In case you wondered after my last post: yes, polenta did indeed make another appearance. If you’re following me on Twitter you might have already seen me declaring my polenta success on Friday. Success? Yes, absolutely. The secret? Cheese.  I’d been hesitant to add it before – calories, sigh – even though I remembered my former favourite polenta dish having been a cheesy one. On a mission to challenge myself I did add cheese and  … delicious. I might have even gone so far to declare it one of the best lunches in a while. Well, had it not been for the stellar ones to follow come the weekend.

Cheesy polenta

Third time’s a charm.

As mentioned above I’ve actually gotten more adventurous creating recipes myself. One of those that I’d dreamed up in my head and finally put into practice were Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce Speltberries. Just as good as I’d imagined them – yet more proof it’s worth daring a little kitchen experimentation.

Red Pepper Cream Speltberries

No, I haven’t forgotten about my tease regarding last weekend’s baking shenanigans. There you go: Oreo-stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies – and yes, they’re vegan.

Oreo brownies

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today:  Seeing pictures of a friend’s first ever own apartment – so excited for her.

Which new recipes have you tried lately?

Do you enjoy creating your own recipes?

Simple Sunday Serenity

It’s amazing how much things can change within a week. Just seven days ago I experienced a serious case of the Mondays Sundays  – I blame the weather! – and now? Perfectly blissful enjoyment that’s well worthy of the label marvelous.

MiMM_new

Sleeping in until … a time that I’d be ashamed to admit in the blog world where 8 AM is considered a late wake-up call :). And then I even spent a bit more time in bed reading. It’s Sunday after all and a good book is the perfect start to this day of the week in my opinion.

Reading in bed

Moving on in my day in a productive fashion I got out the cleaning agents, mop and remaining fun gadgets. Call me weird but I actually enjoy cleaning or rather the way it changes my mood. Nothing like a good cleaning session to make me feel a bit more accomplished for the day already. That’s not to say I’d mind my roommate taking over part of these duties. We usually do bathroom and kitchen interchangeably but since she’s been on holiday for the past week and a half it was all up to me.

Cleaning

Having a longer day of classes on Monday the weekend and Sunday in particular also happens to be the best day to bake. It’s no secret some sweet goodness can make the most boring of all seminars that wee bit more endurable. Enter a mixing bowl, a little bit lot of chocolate and some Oreos and the party is about to start. Any guesses on what it might have turned into? It’s also no secret that calories consumed while baking don’t count. If you’d asked me a while ago my answer might have been different but now? Not missing out on the best part of baking anymore.

Oreo Brownies in the make

Aside from my baking session – the finished product of which you’ll see in this week’s WIAW  – and delicious new lunch creations I also occupied myself with some non-food activities. Some research and writing for university happened. To get a little more creative, though, I did also pick up stationary and paper and got started on a letter to a friend. Got started because I hardly ever write a whole letter in a single piece. Instead, I like to compile it over the course of a few days randomly adding thoughts and happenings as I go along. It’s no surprise these end up being rather lengthy letter at times but who’d complain, right?

Letter and studying

Last but not least I finished my serene Sunday with a walk around the lake. Admittedly braving a pretty strong breeze but it was nice to get out nonetheless.

Happiness inducing today: Seeing a dog get all excited about running around at the lake. So cute!

What does your ideal Sunday look like?

Do you tend to write letters in one go or over the course of a few days?