Good good links #5

Isn’t it funny how easily we develop new habits or start to associate certain things with each other? Even though it’s only my fifth time sharing some of my favourite reads from the week with you I already connect Sundays with these posts. Long story short: I hope you enjoy my picks and let me know which posts or articles you enjoyed this week.

Happy Sunday!

Purple flowers

Good good [food for thought]

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Treat, Not Cheat. via Better with Sprinkles

The difference between a treat and a cheat. Because treating yourself is an important act of self-love that shouldn’t be associated in a negative way.

What recovery is. And what it’s not. via My Neon Running Shoes

Awesome post. There is no magical cure that works for everyone.

We are lying to ourselves when … via Olive to run

So true. Lies we need to stop telling ourselves.

Good good [advice and interesting articles]

10 Inspiring Quotes for Exercise Motivation This Fall via Huffington Post

Not just for people who exercise but life inspiration for everyone.

Why Everyday Activities Count as Exercise via The Greatist

Who says you had to work up a sweat to count activity as exercise?

Why don’t YOU workout? via Itz Linz

Just like the previous article shows: there’s no excuse not to get moving [and happy!] at least in some kind of way.

12 Ways to Look Awake Without Using Make-up via Women’s Health Mag

Because who doesn’t want to look a little fresher?

Your Favourite Fall Scents Have Some Major Health Benefits via Huffington Post

Not only nice to smell but beneficial? Get me all the cinnamon!

Good good [laughter]

Top 8 Conversations Bloggers Have In Real Life via Commitness to Fitness

Every single one is SO true.

Can Ice Cream Help You Find Your Soul Mate? via iVillage

… and now we all know why we haven’t found Mr. Right yet ;).

16 Ice Cream Sandwiches That Are The Definition Of Beauty via Buzzfeed

Beautiful? Maybe. Delicious? All.the.way.

28 Surprising Things That Really Work, According To Pinterest via Buzzfeed

Admittedly not all surprisining [which blogger did not know #5?!] but still some good laughs. Fellow runners: did you try #8 yet?

Good good [food]

Butterscotch Mug Cake via Love, Sweat & Beers

Mug cakes are awesome in general but this one takes the … cake?! German readers: Let me know if you have any idea where to find butterscotch morsels over here :).

Deep Dish Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza via Pinches of Yum

As a cinnamon addict, professional Streusel picker since childhood and [recently rediscovered] pizza fan this is right up my alley.

Tex Mex Spaghetti Squash via Oh she glows

This looks amazing  – and did I mention the toddler-sized spaghetti squash I bought on a wim?!

Smoky Black Bean Tortilla Soup via Nutritionella

Fall screams comfort food to me and this looks and sounds so good.

Happiness inducing today: An annoying train delay making for a spontanous nice conversation about previous times and travelling with a sweet old lady. Seeing the good in a bad situation :).

What are you plans for today?

Which posts made you think/laugh/made you hungry this week?

Did you read any of the above already? What are your thoughts?

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From [blog] page to plate

Get out the WIAW party hats – and scarves! Fall has truly arrived and I’m no longer in denial. The upside is getting to wear one of my favourite knitted dresses again and lighting scented candles for a cozy atmosphere. And speaking of those I could totally use the onset of the season to go shopping for some more of both 🙂 … But you came here for the food so food it is.

Finally another What I ate Wednesday that follows a theme [unintentionally but I like it]: Cooking the books blogs. When I set my goal of trying at least four new recipes a week I knew what was going to happen. Despite picking up several new vegan cookbooks from the library – already disregarding those I own – I didn’t have more than a glance at the recipes. Half-heartedly pondering some I might try but then … going back to the blogs. But as this means I’m still sticking with my goal which I feel is falling into good habits. Thanks for inspring some good habits, meals and lots of foodie fun, Jenn!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Yet another aspect of the blog world I enjoy are the many creative recipes right at my hand. No hours of searching that one recipe you’d meant to try – only to find it was from a book you had to return already or left at your parents’ [and keep forgetting to take back with you …]. Granted, having a bazillion blogs and even more recipes to choose from doesn’t make things easier right away. But chosing recipes based on what I have on hand and some other criteria makes it a little easier. If it was Sarah peeking into my pantry or me intuitively intuitively knowing she’d be of help: her creamy squash casserole came right in time. Actually, I made it the very day she posted the recipe. But as it was dark outside already I had to use flash [shudder] and so I naturally needed to have it again to show you a nicer picture. Obviously ;).

Sunday's version on the left, Saturday's [overexposed] on the right.

Sunday’s version on the left, Saturday’s [overexposed] on the right.

Do you remember when I said kabocha stew was my go to when being unable to decide on a new recipe? In my defense I needed to use up some ingredients like edamame that had been sitting in my freezer for … a long time. And it was good.

Kabocha Edamame Stew

With cauliflower on offer and craving for comfort food I finally tried Davida’s Cauliflower Gratin. I’d been eyeing it for a while but roasting the cauliflower required planning ahead – something I’m not that good at … As you’ll notice in the pictures I was once again not able to stick with the recipe as written. Not only did I add some bok choy on its last legs but I also subbed crunchy amaranth for the chip/breadcrumb topping as I had neither on hand. And you really can’t go wrong with some amaranth crunch.

Cauliflower gratin

Potato gratin was a classic at our house when I grew up and eating this cauliflower version brought back childhood memories. Especially since I had it with some green beans from my mum’s garden. From its short ingredient list and simple preparation you might not expect it but this dish was so rich, cheesy and just … amazing.

The reason I enjoy using other bloggers’ recipes is the chance to get in contact with the recipe creator, give feedback and let others know when I enjoyed a dish. Not something you’d be easily able to do when trying a cookbook recipe – unless it’s one written by a blogger. Because I know that – at least for myself – I’m likelier to try a dish many others are recommending. Is it just me feeling that way?

Gratin

Not trying to use this as a shameless plugin but as part of the goal was to create some recipes myself and because I like a sweet ending to WIAW posts here’s my Fig & Kabocha Casserole once more. Can you say even more puffed amaranth?! I apparently like it :).

Spoonful

Happiness inducing today: Some silver linings on the horizon of job search. Not putting too much hope into it yet but still.

What is your preferred source of recipes: cookbooks or blogs? Why?

Which is the last blog recipe you tried?

Are there any fall favourites you’re especially looking forward to? For me it’s not just the dress and candles but walks/hikes through the woods, too. Hopefully happening soon when at my parents’ again.

Marvelous and meatless [Oriental-spiced Fig & Kabocha Casserole]

Hi there! Did you start the week well refreshed from your mini vacation [aka weekend]?

Being with friends, taking walks and enjoying nature are some of my favourite pastimes. All of these were part of my weekend so it’s safe to say it truly was a marvelous one.

MiMM_new

When a good friend of mine texted me suggesting a coffee date on Saturday I was all in. He just moved to another city so meeting up this soon again was a wonderful surprise. Despite the finicky weather we’ve had over here the past days we ignored the premise of rain and headed out for a nice long walk prior to having coffee. As we share the ‘addiction’ to being outside and moving we didn’t mind – and as my mum would say: we’re not made from sugar ;). Just as a random aside: has anybody else ever noticed that most of the time when you’re packing an umbrella you don’t end up needing it? It’s like a reverse magic spell.

Saturday walk

We had a great time catching up on the happenings since we last met and talking about almost everything. Even blogging – yes. He has a blog himself though isn’t posting regularly. Still, it was fun to have somebody understand the excitement.

As you noticed in the title I’m dancing on two partys at once today. Not only Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday but Meatless Mondays from A-Z, too. Technically, every Monday is meatless in this vegan household but this one is especially so because it’s my first time joining Heather’s link-up. How could I not with the next two weeks being dedicated to kabocha?!

Meatless Mondays

It’s not secret I’ve already gone kabocha-crazy these past weeks. Only now I was meant to come up with a new recipe to share. Even though my go-to kabocha dish would be a hearty stew I opted against this as my submission for MMAZ. It just seemed too … easy … uninspired … boring. However much I enjoy these savory bowls it’s good to break from the routine and go for a totally different idea once in a while. Letting myself be inspired by the ingredients on hand …

Fresh figs

Fresh figs

That’s what I really appreciate about blogging and these link-ups: they force me to get creative. Try something new. Maybe even tackle a fear [food] …

adding coconut oil

Coconut oil. So good.

Brainstorming ideas I quickly decided I wanted to go for something seasonal. Thinking of Fall. Thinking of my mum’s apple crumble …  But why let the apples have all the fun? Why not put a different spin on it? How about some oriental flavours? [Granted, though, this is totally inauthentic. I just associate different spices with certain cuisines .]Once I started I quickly added a pinch of this, pinch of that and: chickpeas.

Casserole

Pre-topping.

Yes, it might seem just a little strange [but good]. Trust me, though: the chickpeas add a great creamy texture, slight saltiness and complement the dish well overall. And hey, there’s dessert hummus so sweet chickpeas aren’t all that weird. If you’re still not convinced subbing some flaked or chopped almonds would be awesome, too.

pre-baking

I think I’m a little obsessed with my new baking dish.

Oriental-spiced Fig & Kabocha Casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups kabocha, cubed [140 g] – steamed to cut down the overall baking time
  • 1 medium to large fig [75 g], chopped but reserving some slices for the top
  • 2 tsps maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp [a pinch] each cardamom and ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsps chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp [or more, really] puffed amaranth
  • banana flakes [as much as you like]
  • 1-2 tsps coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a single-serving baking dish with coconut oil.

In a bowl combine the kabocha, chopped figs, chickpeas, coconut and spices. Add the maple syrup and stir well to coat every piece.

Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle with puffed amaranth and banana flakes. Top with flakes of coconut oil and arrange the reserved slices of fig. Dust with some more cinnamon and bake for about 20 minutes.

Serve and don’t forget the obligatory almond butter.

Kabocha drizzled

Sweet, creamy, crunchy … a little Fall treat, snack, dessert – whenever you feel like eating it.

I hope you’re all having an awesome start to the week and don’t forget to hop over to both Katie’s and Heather’s link-ups for more marvelous- and deliciousness. Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Being outside a lot enjoying a lovely Fall day.

What was your favourite part of the weekend?

Do you talk about blogging with your ‘real life’ friends?

Which dishes make you think of Fall?

Good good links #4

Once more I found some good reads that I hope will make you think, laugh or get hungry just like they did for me. And if you read any of these I’d be curious to hear what you think.

Enjoy your – hopefully sunny – Sunday!  I’ll be back tomorrow with a new recipe for Meatless Monday!

Sunday flowers

Good good [food for thought]

The Problem with Size Zero via Commitness to Fitness

Awesome and refreshing post – a must-read for all girls everyone. Oh, and just so you know: don’t you dare buying all the size Cookies ‘n Cream dresses before I get to the store ;).

If Must Think About Your Weight, Think These 10 Things via Beauty redefined

Yes, yes, yes – a necessary mindshift! Makes some of the same points as Charlotte in her post so definitely read both.

Fad Diets Will Seem Even Crazier After You See This via The Salt

To laugh or cry? We are a ridiculous society.

Good good [advice]

Are You Listening To Your Feelings Or Your Thoughts? via Mind Body Green

Guilty of being a rational thought-not-feeling listener – but there’s still hope for improvement.

6 Ways to Beat the “Comparison Trap” and Own Your Unique Awesomeness via Livewell360

Amen. Chasing the ‘perfect’ body truly is a game we’ll never win – so why even start playing it?

29 ways to stay creative via Lifehack

… and all of them are just so true.

73 Kitchen Hacks to Save Time, Get Organized, and Stay Sane via The Greatist

All kinds of ‘if only I’d known earlier’ advice. Simply amazing.

5 Big Things You Forgot to Be Grateful For Today via Mind Body Green

It’s so easy to forget about even the big blessings in daiy life. Especially #3 is something I need to work on.

Who Knew? Lucky Charms Actually Work via The Happiness Project

It works if you believe in it – something I’m convinced of.

Good good [laughter and cuteness]

Pasta Spa by Evan Thomas via They draw & cook

You might have known Evan’s blog [The Wannabe Chef] before – but did you know about his mad graphic skills?

15 Things Worth Knowing about Coffee via The Oatmeal

For all the coffee addicts among you.

10 Words You Need To Stop Misspelling via The Oatmeal

Because I’m a grammar nerd and can’t help it :).

Good good [food]

Ridiculously Easy Banana Creme Brulee via the taste space

Yet more proof of how amazing and versatile bananas are.

No Bake Elvis Bars via Oh she glows

Indulgent yet healthy at the same time plus incude many of my favourite foods – I’m sold.

Thai Peanut Kabocha & Cauliflower via Sprint 2 The Table

Did I ever mention I really like kabocha?

Top 10 Vegan Ice Creams You Should Try Out via The Vegan Woman

Who says ice cream had to be a seasonal food only? Marble Fudge? Caramel Crunch? I’ll take a scoop of each, please.

Happiness inducing today: A long walk plus coffee date with a friend.

What were some of your favourite posts this week?

If you read any of the above: Thoughts? I’d be especially interested in hearing your opinion on the [food for thought].

What made you smile this weekend so far?

Sunshine [award] with a chance of strangeness

Unless it’s any different in your neck of the woods I’m sure you’ve had enough rain to last you for a while these past days. So how about some sunshine times two?

Sunshine award

Not ony did Arman nominate me for the Sunshine award a while ago but Brittany did, too. Thanks to both of you! I’ll play by my own rules – when do I not ;)? – and just answer seven of each of their questions. Also, I feel like everybody has received the award yet so I won’t nominate anybody. Please feel nominated if you haven’t been yet :).

Here we go:

Which celebrity do you think epitomises a healthy body? For me, Adele is an inspiration in terms of being okay with the way you are. I’ve read several interview with her showing a healthy and relaxed approach to not fitting society’s idea of the ‘ideal’ body. As a fun fact: It wasn’t until quite a while of listening to her music that I actually saw a picture of her for the first time. She has an amazing voice so who in their right mind would care about whether she’s a size 4 or 16? And let’s face it: she looks beautiful, too.

Crunchy nut butter or smooth nut butter? Growing up crunchy [salted all-natural] peanut butter was the way to go for me. Nowadays, I’m not about stirring up trouble pieces of nuts anymore and always go with smooth. Not just by choice, though, as you won’t find any crunchy varieties aside from peanut butter around here. Welcome to Germany, nut butter-deprived country.

Note that this is not (!) these aren't the choices found at a regular store.

Note that  these are NOT the choices found at a regular but very well sorted store.

Which family member are you closest to? It might be cliché but is so true for me: my mum. I’m not sure there’s any topic I haven’t talked about to her before. She’s the first I’m calling whichever troubles I’m going through and even when she can’t help she still manages to calm me down.

What is the strangest food you have ever eaten? Ever since getting into blogging my idea of which foods to consider strange has changed a a lot. So much, in fact, that I wouldn’t consider anything I’ve eaten so far actually strange. Says the girl who – years ago – thought my mum was weird for eating cheese sandwiches with jam. Years ago, really. Now it’s likely vice versa with her shaking her head at my creations.

Do you think Blue Ivy and North West are absolutely stupid names? Oh, no, you see, they’re perfectly fine – right up there with Petal Blossom Rainbow and Fifi Trixibelle. Seriously, though: What do they think???

What was your favourite childhood TV program? Let’s see … Siebenstein (!), Löwenzahn, Die Sendung mit der Maus and all movie adaptions of Astrid Lindgren’s books. Sorry for all of these being German – aside from the last one – but for the longest time we only had four TV channels and not much of an international choice. Oh, but hey, Ocean Girl, obviously. If you have Netflix you just have to watch an episode – and let me know what you think :).

Rudi … [Source]

What is your ideal breakfast? Whatever I’m craving – as long as almond butter is included I’ll be satisfied. Okay, more specifially: Peanut mug brownies or – a current favourite – kabocha. With a side of almond butter. I wasn’t kidding

PB Mug brownie

When is your favorite time of day to work out?
If we’re talking running or other more intense workouts then the evening all the way. There was a time last year when I had to go for my runs in the middle of the day and, ouch, that didn’t sit well with me.

Do you have a go-to splurge item (specific food, clothing store, electronics, anything!)? What is it and when do you have it? My most regular splurges would have to be food. More specifically: nut butters. Going through a huge jar a week isn’t exactly the best way of sticking to a budget. However, I feel like spending money on high-quality healthy food is a way of treating yourself which I consider a way of showing self-love and important to well-being,

Almond butter

Where would you live if money were no object?
In the US. If you asked for a specific city, though, I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down. There are so many exciting places I’d like to go. Gorgeous surroundings for long walks and running would be a necessity, though,

walk

6. Who is your go-to person for advice when you’re trying to make a tough decision?
Sorry for sounding like a broken record but it’s true: my mum. I can’t think of any topic I haven’t talked about with her endlessly before. Whether big decisions or small: I can count on her supporting me with advice as good as she can.

7. What is the strangest food or fitness trend you’ve tried?


Maybe not strange but trying to cut down on grains made my stomach unhapped and turned me into a snappy bitch. Not funny. If you ever find yourself longing to be constantly tired, easily irritated and a hungry beast: go for it.

9. What is your favorite childhood memory or family tradition?
Even though I was by far not as enthusiastic about working out as a child I truly enjoyed non-formal exercise with my family. Hiking, countless bycycle tours or just going for walks. My parents have never been fans of long-distance travels so many holidays were spent within Germany. That’s why many of our vacations often consisted of activities like a three-day bike tour to Berlin. Needless to say going for a bike tour is a must almost every time I visit my family.

10. Do you follow a strict food and fitness plan or wing it?
While I sometimes think it’d be good to follow a plan in terms of fitness/running to achieve certain goals I’m finally letting go of my too strict meal plan. Life doesn’t always work out as planned, no day is like the other and following a plan does only lead me to feel restricted. As I said, though, fitness-wise I might be looking into it in the future. For now, though, I’m happy without a plan.

Sorry, I could help the minion plugin but I needed a bridge to the second part of my post – and I know for a fact Arman approves of some  #strangebutgood action, too. Sooo … Lentil Stew was on the menu [sorry about the legumes, Arman]. In fact, it was a while ago already but I didn’t manage to post it in time for last week’s link-up. Sh, don’t tell.

SBG Lentil

But not just any lentil stew …

 Banana Lentil Stew

  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ can brown lentils
  • 1/4 cup cooked wheatberries [all I had leftover]
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced
  • ½ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ banana, sliced into half-moons
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Salt + pepper to taste
Banana Lentil Stew

Banana Lentil Stew

Sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the zucchini and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened. Pour in the passata and add the remainder of the ingredients. Let simmer until the banana has melted into the stew. Season to taste.

It actually tastes better when reheated or at least left to sit on the stove for a while to let the flavours develop.

Now that was a long post, huh? Happy Friday!

Happiness inducing today: Receiving a very special package in the mail that I will tell you more about soon. Hint: it’s getting sweet over here on the weekend – and we’re not talking about bananas for once ;).

Feel free to answer any of the above award questions!

How large is your current and average banana stash? I’m at about seven with maybe five being the average.

Would you like some kabocha with your kabocha?

Alternative title: Trying to eat all the kabocha around while it’s in season and working on that pumpkin glow.

Okay, okay, I can’t deny that Fall’s offically taking over with leaves changing, the need to wear scarves again … and – to see the upsides as usual – the most amazing of Fall produce. Let’s celebrate What I ate Wednesday with the best vegetable of the season [and some really good sidekicks]. Thanks for hosting despite having your little one to care for, Jenn!

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Not to bug you too much with them but haven’t been able to get enough of my truffles lately. So if I’m supposed to show you what I’ve been eating the past week I have to include them. Sorry. Pre-breakfast chocolate? Can’t say I didn’t like it.

Truffle

Truffles aside, though, I’ve been having a lot of fun finally not only saving recipes to Pinterest  countless documents on my laptop but actually making them. And as you might guess from the post title there has been a lot of kabocha.

It's all about finding the perfect one  - and this one didn't disappoint.

It’s all about finding the perfect one – and this one didn’t disappoint.

First off was the Banana Kabocha Stew from my link post on Sunday.  Playing around with the recipe as usual I subbed my favourite legume for the black beans. Because I had a can to use up and to make up for last week’s chickpea-less WIAW – sorry I forgot to celebrate the birth of your little chickpea in style, Jenn! The pictures don’t do Carolyn’s delicious recipe any justice. If you had a look at the recipe you’ll notice that, yes, there’s something missing. I decided to do you a favour and take the picture before adding the cocoa – don’t leave it out. So back to the pot it was after the quick photoshoot because if the dish was great before the cocoa powder took it to the next level. Rich, flavourful and satisfying.

Kabocha Banana Stew

Keeping up with my goal of trying new recipes I opted against a repeat the next day [which actually happened to be yesterday] and spontaneously decided to have these Kabocha Squash Rancheros I’d been eyeing for a while. Or better yet: a modified version suiting the ingredients I had on hand and fulfilling my “I’m ready to chew my arm off” need. That’s why I steamed the kabocha [I know – roasting would have been ten times more flavourful and I’ll keep it in mind for non-hangry days] and used kidney beans instead of black ones once again. To be fair, though, black beans aren’t as readily available around here so I didn’t have any more on hand after my truffle-making.

Kabocha Rancheros

Inspired by this girl I also bought the first figs in a long time. Previously I couldn’t warm up to this fruit considering it – sorry! – watery, tasteless and a waste of money. However, while there might be some bad ones it’s really about how you prepare them. And Amy’s idea of using them as a pizza topping was absolutely amazing. Neither eating eggs nor having almond flour on hand I used my go-to pizza recipe changing up the toppings.

Fig Pizza

To end on a sweet note here’s my second batch of Jenn’s Banana Bread. Once more my pictures can’t hold a candle to hers but I’ll just repeat my mantra: it’s the taste that counts in then end – and that got a thumbs up once again.

Banana Bread

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: The best run in a while after listening to my intuition and taking several rest days in a row.

Which were some of the last blogger-inspired recipes or foods you tried?

Are you good at sticking with recipe or put your own spin on them? However good my intentions might be: I can’t help but play around with just about every recipe I try.

Fellow kabocha fans: How do you pick the best kabocha at the store?  Any advice on what to look for? I’ve found there to be immense differences in taste and consistency – it’s a bummer whenever I get a ‘bad’ one.