WIAW: Slow-roasted and sweet spontaneity

With it being Wednesday again that means two things: the blog world’s favourite [food] party is about to start and I’m looking for a theme in my recent meals again – actually finding one this time. But let’s begin at the beginning: Thanks for hosting and inspiring me to get creative in the kitchen, Jenn!

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As I mentioned in my last post already the past weekend included my first experience with slow-roasted tomatoes. Even though I’d deemed it a waste of (oven) energy when first reading about them I was still too curious not to give the idea a try.

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I’ll admittedly say I was tempted to turn off the oven earlier because a several-hour wait just doesn’t work well with me and my impatience. In the end, though, it was well worth the extra time because these flavourful little gems made their way into more than one meal. First up was Michelle’s slow-roasted tomato pesto.

Pesto pasta I

While I wish I could say I wasn’t it’s a simple fact: I’m a volume eater so I bulked up the dish with garlic-roasted vegetables and – not surprisingly – chickpeas. It might not look like much but this dish was a success for me in a two-fold way: first up due to the flavourful tomatoes but secondly, it was my first time having pasta in a long while. Not counting the nibbles of pasta I had somewhere in between.

With a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast …

With a generous sprinkle of nutritional yeast …

Not usually a spontaneous person I came home ravenous after an appointment and running some errands yesterday. That would have usually made me throw together a highly voluminous yet not actually satisfying lunch in a hurry. The “fill me up as quickly as possible” logic I still can’t quite shake off despite regretting it afterwards. Yet somehow I was determined not to go down that route but change things – maybe peer pressure helped?!

slow-roasted tomato pizza

Just a short time ago pizza would have been the very last meal I’d have prepared when hungry and looking for a fast meal. It makes me laugh to think about it and happy to see this as yet another step forward. If [edible] motivation for recovery comes topped with slow-roasted tomatoes,  fresh vegetables, chickpeas (yes, I know) and Daiya cheddar I’ll gladly take it more often.

tomato pizza

Spontaneity was the name of the game once more when – after finishing our very last class in university! – friends of mine suggested getting ice cream. With how carefully they asked it was apparent they weren’t sure I’d agree. And – as sad as it is – in the past I might have cancelled out with it being way too short notice. A decision that would have taken me planning ahead in terms of food in the past – now all it took me was a simple yes.

Ice cream_July

Flavours of choice: Raspberry-Peach and Lemon.

As much as I wish I had been all comfortable in this situation already it did let feelings of regret and guilt arise later. But were they worth it? Absolutely. Once again it was about the people  more than the food and my company was well worth ever twinge of regret – and there was less of it overall than previously. A sweet success in my book :).

Happy Wednesday!

 

Happiness inducing today: Taking a walk with a friend of mine who’s about to move soon. It’s all about making the most of these moments I have left with my friends right now.

 

What was your most memorable meal from the past week?

How spontaneous are you?

What are your favourite ice cream flavours?

Currently … July

Hi! What would be more fitting right in the middle of the month than a little update on what’s been going on for me? I’ve been seeing this survey on many blogs and decided to jump on the train, too.

Current Book: : Gold by Chris Cleave. Deeming Little Bee one of the best books I read last year I can’t tell why I didn’t find out about this one any earlier. Once again Cleeve delivered an absorbing read written with a great eye for the fine details that I had a hard time putting down.  I may or may not have saved the last few pages just so I could include it as my “current” one here [okay, and because I have a hard time letting a good book end]. Let me know if you’re interested in a review though I can promise you it’s a great one.

Read on my Kindle while on the train.

Read on my Kindle while on the train.

Current Music: Belle & Sebastian  – Another sunny day

… because isn’t that what everybody hopes for at the moment? A whole-hearted musical yes to Summer!

Current Guilty Pleasure: Sleeping in. Truly sleeping in. No 8.30 AM wake-ups for this girl … Hey, I have to make use of it while I can, right?!

Current Nail Color: Essie’s Cute as a button. What’s not to like about coral?

Why does my hand look that creepy?

 Current Drink: Tea. Yes, I did notice it’s actually Summer but I still won’t give up on my daily cups of Sweet Chili tea.

Current Food: Slow-roasted tomatoes. A first-timer from this past weekend and while they take way too long for my impatient personality they are SO good. Slow-roasted – fast-eaten :D.

slow-roasted

Also, all the fresh strawberries I can get my hands on. Making the most of Summer’s bounty.

Strawberries

Current Favorite Show:  None. Though the second season of “New Girl” has finally started being aired last week and I might get into that again.

Current Wish List: I’d really appreciate a built-in thought recorder for my brain. It’s infuriating to notice how easily I can draft whole letters or posts in my head while out on walks or runs. Yet when I’m sitting down at my laptop everything’s gone, gone, gone. Somebody please invent such a recorder!?

Current Needs: More time. To work on my to-do list(s) but also spend with friends before we all drift apart

Current Triumphs:

Finishing my last class in university. Ever. It’s a bittersweet triumph, though, seeing as this means saying goodbye to many friends soon.

Current Bane of My Existence: See current guilty pleasure. Sleeping in is great but it bring out the night owl in me even more which in turn throws my days’ structure totally off. Something to work on … One day, yes, one day, I’ll be a morning person ;).

Current Indulgence:

Current indulgence

Frozen dark chocolate dessert  ice cream with hazelnut butter. Lots of hazelnut butter. Seriously: if you never tried freezing Alpro Soya desserts – do it now!

Current Blessing: Aside from a  wonderful family always being there for me I’m feeling incredibly blessed for all the friends blends I made through blogging the past months. Without getting all sappy here I just want to say a huge thank you to all of you!

Current Slang: Call me boring but: none. Or at least none I could think of. Can I blame English not being my mother tongue?

Current Outfit: 

Current outfit July

Polkadots, actually. And yes, I swear that’s accidental and I DO wear other clothes, too. And these new shoes – in coral no less. Usually, I prefer shoes with at least a little heel to feel taller but these were great for a city trip with lots of walking.

Current Excitement(s): With my sister’s wedding at the beginning of August, me graduating from university and starting an internship there’s so much to be excited about.

Current Mood: 

Happy. Nervous. Excited. A mixed bag of feelings in this transition period. If we’re talking this very moment, though: happy and thankful.

Looking at all of the above I’d say July has overall been quite marvelous for me so far. Thanks to Katie for reminding us to focus on the marvelousness in life at all times.

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Happiness inducing today: Meeting one of my cousins and catching up over ice cream.

What are you currently reading? Recommendations on which book to pick up next are welcome.

What are current excitements in your life?

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Positive peer pressure with pizza and [kale] krunch

Peer pressure.  I’m sure you’ve felt it before, too – and likely wish you could ignore it. Especially as bloggers or blog readers we’re constantly exposed to other people’s lives and their diets offering even more opportunity for comparison and pressure in daily life. While there’s a negative side of this peer pressure or influence, too, I’ll keep this post light and look at the bright side. Which better day would there be to take a look at this than What I ate Wednesday as a day dedicated to sharing delicious eats?

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It usually takes me a long time to implement changes – especially in the food department. Being a creature of habit and still having a number of food fears I often find myself stick with the same meals and snacks over and over again. With the peer pressure or – using a less harsh term – inspiration by other bloggers I’ve been making progress in this part of life, though. Simply having a proper lunch every day is a habit I had dropped sometime during my ED and only picked up after being inspired by the blog world. No more lusting over other people’s dishes only but creating delicious midday meals myself.

Packed lunch for classes - isn't tupperware really classy ;)?

Packed lunch for classes – isn’t tupperware really classy ;)?

Some dishes are still fear foods for me, though. Pizza hadn’t been on the menu for me for a long time and I wasn’t likely to change it. Living on my own it was easy enough to come up with one excuse after the other: preparation is too elaborate for a single serving only, it won’t be saturating enough, not voluminous enough …  With many bloggers having pizza regularly, though – be it homemade or store-bought –  the [positive] peer pressure rose steadily. It still took me a while but in a burst of spontaneity I finally made it happen on Sunday. An almost empty vegetable drawer didn’t make for a voluminous or colourful choice of toppings. Nothing a little creativity couldn’t solve and must say I was pretty pleased with the final result. Unusual? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely.

Pizza

Mushrooms, chickpeas, corn and melty vegan Daiya cheese – simple pizza pleasure.

Another positive bit[e] of peer pressure? Kale chips. Not something I’d have been likely to try again after failed experiences with fat-free homemade ones. These, however? Incredibly similar to the cheesy “real” chips, flavourful and crunchy. I wish we were able to find them in Germany but right now a big thanks goes out to Sara for mailing me several bags and getting me addicted :).

Kale Krunch

However hard it is for me to imagine life without them now: nut butters didn’t make an appearance before I saw them all over the blog world. It wasn’t just fear here, though, but also unawareness about the existence of more than all-natural plain peanut butter which had been present all throughout my childhood.  Cashew butter was the first non-peanut variety I tried years ago and many followed since. Sunflower seed butter being the latest one after I picked it up at Veganz recently.

Sunflower seed butter

It might not seem like much but to me this kind of peer pressure has truly made an impact on my food choices and daringness. Blogging itself is a way to keep myself accountable of sticking to goals I set [for the most part] and keep me motivated in recovery. Peer pressure in the best way, really.

Happiness inducing today: Friends who make me laugh during a boring class.

In which positive ways has blogging influenced your life – food-wise or else?

What are your favourite pizza toppings?

How many different nut or seed butters do you currently have in rotation? Just from the top of my head I can think of six open jars in my pantry: almond, cashew, coconut (not much left, though), hazelnut, peanut and sunflower seed butter. All of them are plain as there aren’t any fancy flavoured ones available.

MIMM with a reunion BBQ and a [semi-]farewell party

Happy Monday!

The past weekend was a special one in all its quiet- yet eventfulness.

Everything started out with a special family reunion on Friday – on a train :). As I’ve mentioned it on the blog only once before you might not know that my brother and his girlfriend have been spending the past 6+ months traveling Asia. Friday marked their return to Germany. Heading to my parents’ place where  I knew I’d only be able to join them for a mere day. Luckily they had to change trains in the city I’m living in so I decided to join them then and there already. With only about half of Germany taking the same train – what’s not to like about an over-crowded train? – it took me a while to find them. But once I did some of the longest hugs ever shared happened.

Please “bear” with me for the sake of cutesy.

Please “bear” with me here for the sake of cutesy.

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Wanting to celebrate the return in proper fashion my family and my brother’s girlfriends’ had a BBQ at our house. Not usually a fan of BBQs anymore since having gone vegetarian/vegan I truly enjoyed this special one. We had a great time listening to stories about adventures in Asia – lots of laughter included. Sometimes it really is all about the company not the food – though the latter was great, too. Quickly improvised vegetable packets for the win. And – in light of my last WIAW post – let’s not forget about the awesome couscous salad with stir-fried vegetables my mum and sister made. Which yes, I did eat and enjoy. Baby steps can feel so good.

BBQ fare

Despite not working out that day I didn’t stress too much about food. Seeing my brother again after such a long time was way more important.

The reason I couldn’t stay at my parents’ the whole weekend was the [almost] farewell party of my university year. Hard to believe that after studying together for six terms we’ll soon all go our own merry ways. It was a semi-farewell as we’re not finished just yet. With a single class – all-day from today through Thursday, actually – left in our shared schedule we decided to end it properly with a bang: party time in an old chapel. Despite hardly half of my year attending we had a great time reminiscing the past three years with a dia show, talking about our plans for the future and dancing the night away. Sentimental would be the best word to sum up this gathering. Food was obviously included, too, and I brought these little gems which were deemed highly addictive by my friends.

Crispy Cereal Bars

I adapted Amanda’s recipe to fit my preferences and the ingredients I had on hand. It was actually my second time playing around with the recipe and you really can’t go wrong with it. Since I’d brought some home to my parents’, too, it got seals of approval of both my family and fellow students. Thank you, Amanda!

All in all this weekend very much deserves the seal of marvelousness. Head on over to Katie’s blog to see more pictures of her cute baby boy Rocco and everybody else’s weekend shenanigans!

MiMM_new

 Happiness inducing today: Sunshine!

What did you do on the weekend? Any BBQs happening?

Tell me something that made you smile today!

If it doesn’t hit the plate …

Have any of you secretly double-checked their calendars today, too? It can’t really be July 3rd already now?!

Seeing as there’s no avail in trying to pretend it was June still: Let’s get onto the food on this first What I ate Wednesday of the month! Despite June being over I hope Jenn doesn’t mind me sticking with the topic of snacking once more – and a very specific snack attitude, that is.

wiaw sensible snacking button

During one of my recent conversations with Heather I mentioned a curious habit of mine. The “If it doesn’t hit the plate it doesn’t count” approach to eating.  Even during the deepest times of my ED I’d never given up on any foods – besides the obvious non-vegetarian ones but I’m not counting them here. Chocolate? French Fries? Baked good? Never passed up the chance for a bite. A bite only, that is. Never in the world would I have ordered a whole plate of fries or a rich dessert myself. But I happily encouraged others to do so because it meant I’d be able to sneak bits and pieces here and there.

Granola snacking at home

Granola snacking at home

Having a huge sweet tooth it shouldn’t come off as much of a surprise that baking is a hobby of mine. It’s also no surprise that I prefer the process over the final result. Sampling the batter, after all, means  that nothing hits the plate. A dip here, a few crumbs there – it’s never a full-sized snack or even meal. So I’m not even lying when telling people I ate the treats I’m offering them. Just not telling the full truth of never actually having eaten a full serving. Little lies – but lies, still.

Nussecken

On the upside this constant snacking around never gave me the feeling of fully depriving myself during my ED. On the downside, though, it never fully satisfied me. Also, what was true for sampling obviously didn’t help meal times with the family. The last time I ate a full plate of a dish cooked by my mum? I’m ashamed to admit I honestly don’t remember it. It’s not because I didn’t like what she prepares but her generous use of oil and other fear foods of mine. While it wasn’t her cooking the meal at least Christmas was an occasion I was able to relax about foods prepared by others. Only it’s truly been this long already.

Christmas dinner

However much I like snacking and sampling I’m also longing to sit down to a family lunch or dinner without worrying about amounts of certain ingredients. I want to be able to go for ice cream or lunch with friends spontaneously. Nothing will change, though, if I don’t get proactive – taking baby steps, yes, but taking them regularly. First plan of action: Eating out with friends. Next week, no last-minute chickening out. Let’s see how this goes …

 

Happiness inducing today: Seeing the orchid on my windowsill in full bloom.

 

“If it doesn’t hit the plate it doesn’t count”: do you use that approach to snacking, too?

Do you deal well with meals prepared by others? Advice on how to tackle my fears would be much appreciated.

Marvelously semi-blended at Veganz

Hi there!

Does anybody still remember me? Sorry for the huge disappearing act I played after my last post! I hadn’t even meant to step away for that long but finishing my thesis took up more time than assumed.

What better day to come back than the most marvelous Marvelous in my Monday to date? Congratulations to our beautiful host Katie for giving birth to her cute little baby boy! Head on over to say hello to Rocco Santino!

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While my current shenanigans probably can’t quite keep up with Katie’s amazing news I’d still like to think there were some marvelous happenings for me lately.

Thursday was a day for the books in terms of university. Handing in my thesis after days with little sleep and me being a nervous wreck was incredibly relieving. Thanks again to everybody who helped me get through those tough last days. Not only my family who supported me in whichever way they could but also fellow bloggers. Who – unknowingly as I hadn’t told anybody I was working on my thesis – brightened my day with kind messages and cute puppy pictures (Dixya!). Thank you! It really meant a lot to me.

Reading - printing - done!

Reading material  – printed – done!

Enough thesis talk now, though, and onto the main marvelousness. With the fourth branch of Veganz – the all-vegan supermarket I talked about before – opening not too far from where I live my Saturday plans were set already. Really, though, I didn’t take the train ride just for the food but to meet a blend. Or – as the title of this post suggests: a semi-blend. Anna and I got to know through the blog she used to write when I hadn’t started mine yet. She stopped blogging last year but we still kept in contact so I figured I might call her a semi-blend ;). Seeing as she lives in the city and is a former vegan gone vegetarian it was only natural for us to reunite at Veganz.

Veganz HH 1

Perusing the aisles at Veganz was lots of fun and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Granted, I didn’t take many because the store was packed and carrying around my DSLR wasn’t exactly practical. Also, I still feel a bit uneasy taking pictures in public. Not the best premises for a blogger, I know.

Be assured I made good use of the many samples given out, though. Who doesn’t like free food?! Naming just a few there were various kinds of raw chocolate by OmBar, different tigernut breakfast porridges, ice cream, a new German brand of vegan milk chocolate that really tastes just like the real thing, tigernut nut butter and more.  I didn’t get any pictures of those at all, though, because that area of the store was even more packed.

Veganz HH

Oh the choices at Veganz: all kinds of raw bars, chocolate heaven, the first ever (!) bulk bin display I’ve seen, American brands of cheese, ice cream, nut butters galore and more. Despite all the temptation I managed to walk away buying just three items: a 70% fair-trade chocolate bar sweetened only with banana puree, my first ever jar of sunflower seed butter and Hulala, a special kind of vegan whipped cream. Expect to see at least one fancy vegan dessert in the future …

Veganz purchasesDue to the incredibly long queue at the hot food counter Anna and I ended up cancelling our lunch plans and got ice cream instead. And not just any but the Dutch brand Prof. Grünschnabel with its creative flavours like chai-spiced Indian Winter, Brasil Basil Lime and Madagascar Matcha. After taste-testing several flavours I chose Fresos del Habanero – strawberry with hot chili peppers which definitely had quite some heat to it.  Catching up over ice cream – is there any better way? I hope to be back soon.

Not my own photo but that’s a choice of their flavours.

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Marvelousness didn’t end here yet. Upon arriving home I talked to both Heather (and the man-friend) and Shannon this weekend. It truly was a weekend to make me appreciate the friendships made through blogging once more. Now I just need to figure out a way to meet everybody in person 🙂 …

I hope your week’s off to a great start!

Happiness inducing today: My neighbour’s 6-year-old son telling his dad “I think I like that woman” after we had one of our fun conversations. He’s a cutie :).

 

Tell me about your weekend! What did you do/see/eat/read?

What are some of the most interesting ice cream flavours you’ve tried so far?