The perks of being sick with a semi-full day of eats

Life can be quite ironical. Right when I’d given up the idea of ever showing a [semi-]full day of eats it threw me an unpleasant curveball.  A little cold snuck up on me and my doctor signed me off work for a few days yesterday. I’m not exactly pleased. Not just because being sick sucks but because I’d just started working in a new company and worry about this giving them a wrong impression of me. It’s always only as bad as you make it, though, and I refuse to be a Debbie Downer.

Dear Debbie Downer. life's just as awful as you're making it.

Dear Debbie Downer. life’s just as awful as you’re making it.

So I’m trying not to worry too much [easier said than done for a notorious worry-too-much person like me] but look at the upsides for now. The latter being lots of time on my hands to read the two new books I picked up and tackle some tasks that had been on my to do-list forever.   What being [mostly] stuck at home also means is having more time to prepare and eat food and take pictures of said meals and snacks. So here’s to not a full but at least fuller overview of [the first half of] Tuesday’s eats. A semi-full What I ate Wednesday, if you will.

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Thanks to our wonderful host for understanding every foodie’s excitement in sharing their their meals and getting inspired every Wednesday. Dankeschön, Jenn!

Right upon waking up with a sore throat I grabbed one of my latest favourite snacks – inspired by Amanda – from the fridge: frozen banana slices. Topped with almond butter that I sadly couldn’t taste because the brand I use has a very mild flavour.

frozen bananas

The problem was solved ever so slightly by switching to peanut butter – you might have caught that in my last post? – which I was able to taste just a little more than the almond butter. And I’m really starting to like it.

Alnatura PB

Shortly afterwards a mug brownie followed. They have yet to get old though once more I didn’t taste too much of its delightfulness. By this point I really missed my taste buds a lot. Can’t we be friends again already, please?

Mug cake

Necessary throat-soothing tea with a side of the newspaper accompanied breakfast. Celestial Seasonings’ Apple Cinnamon Spice is amazing.

Celestial Apple Cinnamon

When I felt my salty tooth – yes, there is such a thing in my world – constantly nagging I grabbed one of my new favourite snacks. These are a new supermarket find I bought out of curiosity last week. From what I’ve heard about Popchips [that are not available around here] these might be an equivalent. A delicious and addictive equivalent.

Snack

Even with missing taste buds I still knew that I was craving just one thing for lunch: pumpkin. More specifically: the beautifully plump Hokkaido squash I’d bought spontaneously the day before. While kabocha will always be my favourite I will never forget this first type of pumpkin I ever encountered. Its natural creaminess doesn’t require any added non-dairy milk or creamer. Just thinking about it makes me think it’ll be on the menu again today … Adding some more vegetables I turned it into a colourful and [hopefully] healing stew. Eat your vitamins and [at least some] colour of the rainbow? Check.

Hokkaido Stew

There you have it: Tuesday’s eats up until lunch. Note that I still didn’t catch every morsel that made it into my mouth. Many random bites and nibbles just happen with me forgetting to take out my camera.  Additionally, I tend to eat a lot more during the second half of the day but in between my doctor’s appointment, running some errands, making calls and curling up in bed with a book I didn’t feel like snapping any more pictures. Maybe one day 🙂 …

With the extra time on hand now I can also promise you I’ll share the amazing recipe I hinted at on Monday tomorrow. Can I get you interested in this?

Casserole

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: The kindest pharmacist ever [not just for this reason] not only handing me my medication but giving me several kinds of cough sweets candy for free, too. Childhood memories …

What do you eat when your tastebuds are missing in action?

How do you busy yourself when sick?

What was your favourite meal or snack from the past week? Not counting today’s Hokkaido stew [for the lack of properly working taste buds] I’ll go with the really awesome casserole I’ll share with you tomorrow.

Polkadots & ponderings #3

It’s been a long time since my last ponderings post so I thought sharing some recent randomness would be quite marvelous.

1. Just start your day off right:

2. Despite being an all-out nut butter addict plain old peanut butter hardly ever makes an appearance in my life. Imagine my surprise when I found myself craving it for no apparent reason today. It complimented my mug brownie very well so maybe I’ll change my opinion …

PB Mug brownie

3. Hearing my new coworker voice doubt about vegan baked goods (“But … when I bake I always add eggs and butter!?”) made me actually excited. Though veganism probably isn’t as widespread around here as it is in the US it’s still rare [for me] to come across people who are still having those doubts – but a nice challenge at that. Don’t you agree it’s time for a little cookie or cake convincing here? [As if I needed another excuse to get baking  …]

4. Ever wondered which is the fastest way to dry your nails after polishing?

So schnell trocknet_SZ-MagazinBlue: When blowing on your nails. –  purple: when waving your hand – yellow(ish): when blowing on your nails and waving your hand – pink: when just waiting

5. One of the positive side effects of having to bring all my food to work with me: an excuse to buy new lunchboxes. Why, yes, I’m just a little Hello Kitty obsessed.

Hello Kitty Lunchbox

6. Speaking of eating at work [or at home at times, let’s be honest]: I need this ;). Kidding …

7. This might be a bit older already but still worth thinking about:

Have you “fallen off the wagon?”

A short but [in my opinion] important reminder of being more forgiving and making peace with yourself. Life’s too short to worry.

8.  This.is.awesome.

9.. The Minions have been making me go against my usual banana buying habits [read: organic]. Wonder why? Chiquita is having a sales promoting offering a free DVD of Despicable Me to those collecting bills accounting for a certain amount of money’s worth in Chiquita bananas. It’s probably ridiculous because the DVD itself doesn’t cost much anymore already. But who doesn’t like the feeling of getting something “for free” ;)?

And because I like bananas [almost] as much as the Minions.

10. Happy Monday! I hope all of you are having a marvelous start to the week!

MiMM_new

Happiness inducing today: Preparing one of my favourite dishes that I hadn’t had in a while  – recipe to come later this week!

What kind of lunchbox do you have?

Do you like peanut butter? If not: which nut butter is your favourite? My current one is hazelnut [still].

Any Minions fans out there?

Worry-free wedding buffet wondrousness

Time for What I ate Wednesday at Jenn’s again – and not just any for me but the one showing off all the amazingness [well, the food part only] found at my sister’s wedding. Let’s jump right in!

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If you’ve ever attended a wedding – or any family gathering if we’re talking – you’ll know there’s more food than any crowd could possibly eat. Starting with cake on board shortly after the vows. One of my cousins as a vegan herself provided a veganized version of the German classic ‘Donauwelle’. Which literally translates to “Danube waves” – we apparently took the theme serious [even unintentionally at times].

Donauwelle I

Knowing my ‘relationship’ with cake I’m sure you’re wondering whether I had some or not. Making a long story short: yes, I did. Being honest here, though, it was once more a success in the unsuccessful. Despite knowing I wouldn’t be able to exercise at all the day of the wedding – not even a walk happened due to lack of time – I’d given myself full permission to eat all the food I wanted in the amounts I felt like having – no matter which time, either . So when it came to the cake buffet I figured trying some despite not feeling hungry wouldn’t hurt. After a few bites already, though, I wasn’t keen on it anymore.

Donauwelle

After a short rest in between we headed to the location of the actual wedding party. With more than 100 guests celebrating at my parents’ would have hardly been possible. Family and friends had spared no efforts to lovingly decorate with a plethora of balloons, personalized garlands with the newlywed’s portrait on them and many other cute details. Just note the cupcakes on the table functioning as name plates for every guest. Pink for the girls, blue for the boys [pretending we weren’t all grown up already being called women and men ;)].

Table decorations

And then it was time for what many growling stomaches had been demanding : the wedding dinner. Or dare I say: the delightfully decorated and dangerously delicious wedding buffet [this one’s for you, Heather]. In case you’re wondering: the caterer my sister and her husband picked is specialized in adorning her dishes with edible flowers. It was almost too pretty to eat.

Buffet I

Another reason I’m not usually fond of buffets is the slim [if existent at all] choice of vegan dishes – let alone creative ones. Imagine my delight at my sister insisting the meatless main dish had to be not only vegetarian but vegan, too, as well as the buffet offering many other choices. Like leafy salad that was far from boring but filled with fruit, seeds, vegetables, …

Flowery salad

Sherry Bean Salad [not vegan] …

Bean salad

Hummus …

Hummus

Needless to say I took full advantage trying everything that looked good. Note the Seitan Stroganoff which was so.damn.good.

Wedding dinner plate

My first plate – numerous followed.

Slowly savouring every dish I went back for more regardless of calories which is something I wouldn’t have done in the past. A past that isn’t too long ago, really.

With stomaches filled to the brim we hit the dancefloor after dinner. Once again relying not on outsiders but friends of the newlyweds as DJs. When midnight hit it was time for yet another highlight of the day [though I can’t think of any part that wasn’t]; the wedding cake

Wedding cake

As pretty as it might be it was ironically the icing on the cake [no pun intended] that turned me off. Just one word: fondant, lovelies. However shiny and amazing it looks there’s  a hidden not-so-awesome ingredient making it even non-vegetarian: gelatin. Why would I bother with not being able to eat it, though, if there had been such a lot of love and creativity involved in the making of this amazing cake?

… no matter if it’s vegan or not.

Despite all my singing its praises the buffet wasn’t taking up as much room – both mentally and figuratively [in terms of stomach space] –as I’d expected. Buffets and me don’t share a happy past – every of ours encounters ended with me feeling regretful and guilty. For either going totally overboard [pre-ED] or filling up on raw vegetables as the only safe and vegan option which lead to a discomforting feeling of fullness. Needless to say some pep talk by two lovely blogging ladies – thanks, Heather and Shannon – was necessary to calm my nerves. When it came to the actual run on the  buffet my mind was at ease. Like all day I got what I felt like, had seconds and thirds of my favourites and stopped when I felt comfortably full.

That Carrot Coconut Salad!!!

That Carrot Coconut Salad!!!

My only regret would be not getting more of the seitan goulash the second time because there was none left when I went for my third refill. Never mind, though, as I went back for many more helpings of the awesome Coconut Carrot Salad [still hoping to get the recipe from the caterer] – another salad to add to the list of those I actually enjoy – during the remainder of the night. Eating when nobody else did? Yet another thing I would hold myself back from in the past – how could I be hungry already again? Instead of fearing anybody’s judgement I didn’t make it a big deal for myself this time and guess what? Nobody minded. If it works for me – why worry about what others might think? Despite all my gushing about the food it were once again the people turning this wedding into the amazing event it was.

Happiness inducing today: Getting assigned some more interesting tasks at work.

What would your ideal wedding buffet or menu look like?

Buffets in general: Yay or nay?

Do you get self-conscious taking food pictures at [family] gatherings?

Marvelous in my Monday: Wedding ahoy!

Is there anything more marvelous than love? As mentioned in my last post my sister got married on the weekend.  It was a huge celebration of love, family reunion and amazing friendships that was more amazing that I could have ever imagined.

MiMM_new

Due to work I wasn’t able to travel down to my parents’ place any earlier than the actual wedding day. Upon arriving I immediately had an appointment at the hair stylist’s. Though I wasn’t quite happy with the hairdresser – my mum had made appointments for all women in the family so it wasn’t my choice – the final result got my approval.

Note that I had been wearing it for hours already when the picture was taken.

Note that I had been wearing it for hours already when the picture was taken.

Following a maritime theme the wedding ceremony itself was neither held in a town hall nor church but on a ship. Needless to say some voyaging around on the water followed which was made even more special through several little perfomances by friends and family on board. Poetry and music have been part of both my sister’s, her husband’s and their shared history so including them was such a sweet idea. It didn’t even end here but was continued all throughout the day with speeches, songs, poems and more.

Sailing into the harbour of marriage

Sailing into the harbour of marriage

Previously I hadn’t approved – or maybe just not fully grasped – the fascination with love padlocks hanging from bridges in every large city. Maybe it was their overabundance or not having a personal connection to them. Seeing my sister and her (now) husband [it still feels weird to suddenly call him like that] fix theirs amidst the other already lined up on the bridge brought a whole new sense to them. Experiencing the emotion of the moment made me see them in a different light and actually understand their symbolism.

Love padlocks

And even though I had my ‘moments’  [ED-wise and else] throughout the weekend they never lasted long enough to ruin the experience for me. Looking on the bride side of life [no typo] pushed any negative thoughts aside almost immediately. My sister’s glow, the smile that wouldn’t leave her face all weekend and all-out happiness was an endless source of positivity.

The beautiful bride's bouquet - which was later on caught by my brother's girlfriend :).

The beautiful bride’s bouquet – which was later on caught by my brother’s girlfriend …

There’s no way I could ever stop  I could go on and on about all the wedding marvelousness I’ll end it by saying that my sister and her husband safely entered the harbor of marriage in the most marvelous way I could have ever imagined. It was perfectly planned down to smallest details adding a special touch. Including Hello Kitty soap bubbles that I’m sure Katie would have approved of :).

Hello Kitty Bubbles

Despite the maritime theme there luckily was no fish to be found at the wedding reception buffet. Instead, there was a lot of beautifully arranged deliciousness and a wedding cake extraordinaire to fit with the theme. More on that to come on Wednesday right in time to celebrate the foodie extravaganza that is What I ate Wednesday. Note that I’ll have the post up in the morning already but won’t be able to join the link-up at Jenn’s until after returning from work [read: likely as the last person adding her post].

Just to give you an idea of the table decoration already: the wedding cupcake.

Just to give you an idea of the table decoration already: the wedding cupcake.

Happiness inducing all weekend: Love, family and friendship – no need to explain.

What did you do on the weekend?

Which was the last wedding you attended? Previously to my sister’s it had been my oldest cousin’s five years ago.

What are the most interesting/curious/romantic wedding rituals to you? In between the vows, throwing the keys of the padlock into the river and the tossing of the bridal bouquet I have a hard time picking one.

Power to the protein [bowl]

Some kind of legume, lots of fresh vegetables, herbs and a creamy sauce – that’s my ideal formula for creating quick and satisfying meals.

Protein bowl_July

Judge me for not cooking my own legumes but nothing beats the handiness of canned ones.  Where I’d most often go for chickpeas I decided to switch it up by using lentils instead.  Consider yourself lucky I decided to spare you the longwinded story behind this fancy ingredient ;).

Green lentils

I’m not usually into the whole high-protein trend – no protein shakes or egg white scrambles for me – but still like to experiment with foods naturally higher in what seems to be everybody’s favourite macro. Mostly because I’m on a constant quest to find new filling dishes and protein is constantly promoted to do just that. What matters most abot this naturally high in protein bowl of food, though, was its deliciousness.

As mentioned above I’m a huge fan of creamy sauces – who isn’t? Silken tofu is a great ingredient to provide that creaminess yet one I don’t usually stock. With the recent purchase of my first ever jar of sunflower seed butter I decided to put it to good use here inspired by Michelle over at Peachy Palate.

Try not to eat it straight from the bowl but save some for the dish.

Try not to eat it straight from the bowl but save some for the dish.

Protein Bowls have been popping up all over the blog world but as I usually happened to miss several ingredients I made up my own. It’s a mix of various recipes I found and adapted to my liking and what I had one hand. Simple, quick and easy to pack which will make it a great workday lunch.

Protein Power

Protein Power Bowl

1 ½ cups (240 g) canned green lentils

1 small red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 ½  cups sliced mushrooms

½ medium zucchini, spiralized into pasta

a few cherry tomatoes, halved

About ½ tbsp chopped parsley

Cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper

Olive oil for sautéing

For the sauce: 1-1 ½ tbsps sunflower seed butter, about 2 tbsps water, 1 generous tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp soy sauce

Heat some oil in a small pan. Sauté the garlic and onion until slightly brown and fragrant. Add the zucchini and mushrooms, frying until the mushrooms are soft. Stir through the drained and rinsed lentils, tomatoes, parsley, cayenne pepper and salt + pepper to taste.

In a small bowl mix the sauce ingredients adding some fresh lemon juice and water to reach a smooth consistency.

It’s up to you if you prefer to eat this cold or warm – I enjoyed it both ways. Either way let it sit for a moment to let the flavours develop before eating. In fact, I might make double the amounts next time to eat half as leftovers the next day. So good, so simple, so satisfying.

Happiness inducing today: Heading home tomorrow for my sister’s wedding. Saying I was excited would be an understatement still.

What’s your basic formula for simple and satisfying meals?

Do you find higher-protein dishes to fill you up better?

What are your plans for the weekend! I hope you’ll have an amazing one!