Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Meet my new best food friends [BFFs]

First my blogiversary reflections on Monday, then continuing the birthday shenanigans with cake bread pudding and a gifts yesterday and now another double [foodie] party. Celebrating three days in a row?! I can’t say I ever did that before but it feels pretty good. Especially when there’s lots of good food involved. I’ll admit I’m a little bugged to notice it’s the last time we can use Jenn’s adorable Halloween-themed What I ate Wednesday logo and I completely forgot to create any spooky snacks. Sorry, Jenn, I promise I’ll try harder next time. Just like last week I’ll also join Vegan Wednesday again. Make sure to hop over to both Jenn’s and Regina’s link-ups for even more foodie inspiration.

WIAW_halloween button

Some cravings make perfect sense. It’s freezing outside, raining cats and dogs and all I want it a bowl of chili. I think all of us have that one go-to chili recipe that they know by heart and whip up whenever the temperatures drop to a chill. Mine is a Bulgur Chili coming from a cooking magazine and has been in my rotation for years. Only guess what I didn’t have on hand when last Thursday turned out to be nasty and practically scream for chili? Bulgur. And time or patience to wait for grains to cook. Luckily Michelle must have sensed this because she posted her recipe just that day. Problem solved.

Chili

You know me and my ways, though, so I obviously subbed around a bit and was pleasantly surprised by how close to my favourite recipe this got.

Some of my cravings are not only strange but completely unseasonal. Ice cream in Fall when it’s no more than 54 degree outside? Well, I told you yesterday I wasn’t a cake but an ice cream girl and as long as I can pull on a sweater while eating it I won’t give up on my favourite treat. The bowl below was a homemade healthified version of Cookie Dough ice cream.

Cookie Ice Cream

However maybe my cravings had quite a simple background … Maybe they just have to do with one of my new BFFs [best food friends]? Or better yet the urge to put one of them to the best use …

Do you remember me asking for food processor recommendations and mentioning I’d been eyeing the Vitamix for ages [and we’re really talking years here]? Well, shortly after that post I remembered I’d seen other German bloggers receiving a Vitamix on lend to test it and dared to give it a try, too. I’ll admit I didn’t hope for much figuring there might be a too high request. Maybe it was blogiversary luck 😉 but I got a reply only few hours later and the very next day a Vitamix was on its way to me.

Vitamix

I promise I will try not to gush too much about the Vitamix during the next five more weeks he’ll be my guest. But just to explain my slight, no, okay, incredible excitement about it let me tell you that I’ve never worked with anything more than more or less mediocre handheld blenders all throughout my life so far. Just a funny story here: when I first started reading blogs and recipes directions mentioned the use of ‘food processors’ for blending I had no idea what bloggers meant and kept using my handheld blender. Because what else would people use for blending, right ;)?! That is, until I saw a picture of one of those mysterious processors on a blog. Yet I had still to happen upon either a food processor let alone a Vitamix in any of my relatives or friends’ houses. They just aren’t common over here.

[Disclaimer: Perfekte Gesundheit offered to send me the Vitamix for free to review for six weeks. All opinions on the Vitamix are my own and I wasn’t compensated by the shop.]

Kabocha Curry

Looking back at the meals I remembered to take pictures of – because I’ll admit some days I just forgot – there was another best food friend around: cauliflower. Can you tell it was on offer? What can I say: I’m simply trying to budget where I can :). Luckily cauliflower is a versatile ingredient and good vehicle for many dishes like the not-so-pretty but delicious spin on the Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry. It has quickly become one of my favourites though how could anything containing kabocha disappoint? Forgive me for not peeling the squash and the dish resulting in a lovely green/grey-ish colour. Taste beats looks any day. Fact.

Coconut butter

Okay, so just a little more Vitamix excitment. I mentioned wanting to make my own nut butters so this was obviously one of the first uses of my new kitchen toy. Coconut butter had been on my grocery list for months but I just couldn’t convince myself to splurge on it. And now? Organic coconut butter for a fraction of the price at the store. That and the amazing flavour? Swoon. Now I just need to find a way to stop myself from eating it straight from the jar … dangerous.

Don’t forget to enter my blogiversary giveaway! Sorry it’s a little confusing to enter the Rafflecopter widget on another page but I hadn’t considered free WordPress pages didn’t support these kinds of plugins.

Happiness inducing today: A girl I recently met on the train [we just started chatting and she happens to be new in town] suggesting to meet up for a coffee later this week.

Happy Wednesday!

Do you plan your meals according to what’s on offer at the store?

What are some of your unseasonal cravings?

Tell me: what are some must-try recipes for the Vitamix? Aside from smoothies [sorry, not a fan]. I’ve been thinking of vegan ‘cheezy’ kale chips [cashew-based cheese], some kind of raw nut-based dessert, …?

A naturally sweet celebration [Blogiversary giveaway]

Thank you so much for all of your sweet comments and wishes on my first blogiversary! It’s been an amazing time getting to know all of you so here’s to more months and years to come!

So yesterday was all about the most important part of blogging: the community. You! Today is about something else that’s awesome about blogging …

Bread pudding

Food! The second best aspect of blogging was and is broadening my palate with an amazing range of new foods – and talking about them obviously. New foods to me at least. I might have walked past it at the store a million times without noticing [sorry, almond butter]. At other times I had been reading about those foods on blogs forever yet had the hardest time ever finding them. One of those ingredients would be stevia. When I first heard of it I wouldn’t believe people saying it was an all-natural alternative to sugar that tasted just like the real deal. Memories of the artifical sweetener my grandma used for her tea came up … brrrr. Let’s not even get there … thanks, I’ll take my tea unsweetened. Nothing will ever stop my sweet tooth from raging, though, so I was super excited when NuNaturals offered to send me some of their products to try. Only when I picked up the package I was surprised to be spoiled with sweetness.

Stevia

And because a birthday calls for a party that’s what we’re going to have today. Come on, use your imagination. It’s the day between two awesome blogger parties [Marvelous in my Monday and What I ate Wednesday] which I naturally can’t and don’t want to rival. But there are cake and presents nonetheless. Are you in? Great!

Bread pudding

Okay, about that cake … I’m admittedly not the hugest fan of it. Give me ice cream any day but keep the cake – unless we’re talking ice cream cake. But I digress … So no cake but with my previous savoury bread pudding in mind I created a sweet version perfect for dessert, as a snack or even breakfast because – you guesse it! –  there’s no added sugar in it.

Sweet Blueberry Apple Bread Pudding

  • Âź cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ medium apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3.5 oz silken tofu Ă  blend with three drops each NuNaturals Vanilla and Orange liquid stevia [or use more Vanilla stevia and add 1/2 tsp orange zest]
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Âź tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ seedy whole-wheat roll, stale or toasted [microwave trick]
  1. Blend the silken tofu with the stevia and spices.
  2. Mix blueberries, apples and silken tofu with about half of the toasted bread cubes.
  3. Pour mixture into a single-serving casserole dish and top with the remaining bread cubes.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 350 °F until the top looks slighty puffy.
  5. Serve as is or – recommended – with your favourite nut butter.

Sweet

I know you might be thinking “Okay, but where are the presents?!” so there you go. When I told NuNaturals about my blogiversary they offered to let me give four of you one bottle of each of the Lemon, Vanilla Stevia and Peppermint Flavored Stevia Liquids plus a 50pkt. box of their NuStevia White Stevia Powder packets. There are four ways to enter and the giveway will run until next Tuesday. It is open worldwide but NuNaturals can’t ship to PO boxes. Good luck!

Click on the link below to enter! The mandatory entry is to leave a comment telling me your favourite uses for NuNaturals stevia. You need to confirm you commented through the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But even if you don’t win you can still use the they can receive discounts on all orders placed via NuNaturals’ website by using my discount code. Just enter the DISCOUNT CODE ;  BLG1213  when you get to the checkout page and you’ll receive – 15% DISCOUNT on your entire order. This discount remains effective until  December 31, 2013. So birthday presents for everybody, right :)?!

Disclaimer: While NuNaturals sent me their products free of charge all opinions in this post are my own and I wasn’t compensated by the company in any way.

 

Happiness inducing today: Reading all of your comments on yesterday’s post. I knoow … I’ll stop gushing, promise!

Tell me: Cake or ice cream or …? Which flavour?

Have you ever had sweet bread pudding?

What made you happy today?

Thank you

Celebrating one marvelous year of blogging

… and yet another Monday. But not only that but an especially marvelous one because I’m celebrating. Celebrating what? One year [and a little over a month, admittedly] of blogging. It’s probably one of the most overused sayings but: what a difference a year makes!

Just a year ago I wouldn’t have guessed I’d still be blogging and celebrating my first blogiversary by now. Why? Starting a blog was a huge leap of faith for me. Writing with the worry of having no readers or experiencing disapproval wasn’t an enticing prospect. But once more I was proven wrong in my ever-worried ways. Yes, it took me some time to get started but I couldn’t be happier I did. Thanks to Katie for hosting another Marvelous in my Monday that allows me to share my thoughts on one year in the blog world.

MiMM_new

One of the best aspect of blogging and the one that changed my life most – as sappy as it sounds – was the wonderful blogging community. Previously I’d shaken my head in disbelief at bloggers talking about their ‘blends’ assuming that it was impossible to build friendships that were any more than skin-deep. I’ve never enjoyed being proven wrong more – because I was totally wrong. Over the past year I’ve gotten in contact with so many amazing people who weren’t just interested in talking about food, fitness and lifestyle but actually offered me a lot of support. Gave great advice and never judged me for being just the way I am. There really are no words to fully express how incredibly blessed I feel to have gotten to know all of you and be part of this community. So …

Thank you

I’d originally intended to list all things that one year of blogging has shown or taught me. Giving it some more pondering, though, I came to a realization that I’m sure all bloggers would agree with: it’s impossible. That’s why now that I’ve mentioned the most important part – the people! – I’ll just share some more and some less serious realizations.

Every story has an untold part: It can be discouraging to read a blog whose author seems to have it all: be an amazing athlete, have a great job and wonderful boyfriend or husband. Whatever we read on a certain blog is what the author wants to show the world or feels comfortable sharing. Maybe even the latter more often than not. Looking back at my first posts I can see I was hiding a lot. There was still a huge fear of judgement and insecurity. It’s only been during the past months that I dared to write more personal posts.

You’re not alone. Publishing said personal posts took me a lot of courage because I didn’t know how others would react. But I was surprised in the very best way by all encouraging comments and mails I got. All of the showed me I wasn’t alone and that I had [and have] an amazing support system out there. Thank you once more!

There’s something to be happy about in every day: Even a bad day has the little bits of marvelousness and it’s up to us to find them and make them the parts we remember most. Here’s to choosing happiness.

Blogging is way more than just one hobby among many: If you consider starting a blog and want to take it serious to a certain extend you’ll have to invest time. I’d never have expected this but by now enjoy blogging so much I happily invest some time. And improve my knowledge in terms of the technology behind this … ahem, yes, still learning …

Don’t compare to anybody but yourself: Trying to measure myself with others in terms of how fast they ran, what and how much they ate or even how far they progressed in recovery was detrimental for me. But throughout the past year I’ve gotten to a point where I stay away from that kind of comparison for the most part. Instead, I’m making an effort to compare myself today to myself a year/a month/… ago. We all have different pasts so we obviously also have different presents and futures.

Flowers at home

Now onto some random fun realizations:

Kabocha squash addiction is legit and there’s no cure for it. Then again: would anybody really want to be healed?!

Essie makes the best nail polish. And I will keep buying it no matter how much I cringe at the price.

No food, recipe or craving is too strange. In fact, the stranger the better. Right, Laura?!

Nobody will ever manage to make every recipes they pinned. So no need to feel bad about not doing it yourself.

Always think twice before using the word ‘balls’. Just sayin’. [and that’s how the blog world messed with my previously innocent mind ;).]

If you want to have any friends don’t dare saying you didn’t like pancakes. Even if you honestly don’t. What?! I didn’t say I disliked them …

[I’m sure I’ve forgotten about half of what I wanted to say but that just goes to show that it’s truly impossible to list all marvelousness of blogging in one post.]

And yes: In celebration of my birthday there will obviously be gifts. Not just for me [read note about Essie above …] but also for you. Thanks to some hurdles this past weekend I didn’t set that post up in time [still learning] so be back tomorrow for a sweet giveaway and the recipe for the sweet deliciousness below.

Sweet

Happiness inducing today: Finishing another letter. It really is addictive …

 

What did you learn from blogging?

Which expectations did you have when you started blogging?

Do you feel like blogging has changed you as a person?

 

 

Good good links #10

Wow!!!

Sorry for that but I just couldn’t contain my excitement over the fact that I’ve actually kept up with this blog feature for ten weeks already. That’d be a record given my inconsistency – then again, I’ve been linking up for other blog parties for even longer but …still.

Once more I’ll show you some of the pictures I took for the Photo a day Challenge as part of my October goals.

Me today - Change - Open - Below

clockwise: Me today – Change – Open – Below

Oh and I’d never forget about this: Happy Sunday! I hope the weather is lovely in your neck of the woods and you get to enjoy a great day no matter which plans you have.

Good good [food for thought]

Replace Skinny With Healthy via Olive to run

Great post on promoting a healthy lifestyle – not one defined by numbers.

Perception vs. Reality via Health Nut Julie

Here’s to embracing our quirks and imperfections because nobody will ever be perfect and that’s what makes us unique.

Good good [advice and articles in general]

5 To Thrive via The Lean Green Bean

Goals don’t have to be overwhelming. Change your life by setting small ones to thrive more in every day.

27 Ways To Make Your Groceries Last As Long As Possible via Buzzfeed

It might have been posted quite some time ago but the advice is obviously still spot on.

A Secret To Happiness? Cultivate Your Passions via Linked in

“Time, money, and energy spent on things I love isn’t wasted.” – Do what makes you happy and feel good about it.

How To Train Your Brain To Be Happy via Lifehack

We can [and should!] choose to be happy and these are awesome tips on how to change the way we think to follow along. Just a simpy ‘but’ can make a huge difference.

50 Little Things That Make Life Worth Living via Kenzie Life

A great reminder of appreciating the little things because finding joy in them brightens every day.

15 Inspirational Songs That Will Brighten Your Gloomy Day via Lifehack

Approved by yours truly – go and listen to them if you’re having a bad day! I promise the world will look at least a little better afterwards.

 

Good good [laughter]

22 Things That Belong in Every Bookworm’s Dream Home via Buzzfeed

Aaaah! Did anybody else think of the Cullen’s home in Twilight when seeing #19?

America’s Mood Map: Find Which State Matches Your Personality via Time

I might not be American but like me some personality tests. Which state do you belong in?

The 19 Worst Things Ever via Buzzfeed

Just looking at #5 makes me shiver.

The Super Weird Ways Women Sleep Differently Than Men via Glamour

So: Do you make your bed? [For the record: I absolutely need to. Don’t ask about the remainder of the room, though ;).]

 

Good good [food]

Raw Caramel Apple (without any apple!) via the taste space

Who doesn’t like sticky caramel [apple or not] goodness? This is such a unique spin on the concept.

The best of chocolate: ten fave vegan & gluten-free recipes via bring joy

Because can there ever be enough chocolate?!

Green Curry Spaghetti Squash with Apple Chutney via Naturally Ella

Savoury curry sauce with spicy-sweet chutney – such a unique idea.

OKtoberfest Quinoa via Girl makes Food

German Oktoberfest might be long over but this would have been an awesome addition to the traditional fare served at the Wiesn.

Happiness inducing today: Kitchen fun with my latest addition [more to come] …

As always: What were some of your favourite posts from the week [or ones that are older but you happened upon just now]?

What made you happy this weekend so far?

Stroganoff

Meaty yet not [Mushroom Stroganoff]

Sometimes it happes when I’m passing restaurants, bakeries and the likes. The scent of freshly baked goods or a certain dish turns up my appetite making me long for whatever it is in that very moment – and yes, even if I just ate. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that ;).

Sometimes, though, those cravings come out of nowhere yet still need to be satisfied. So here’s to a confession: I’m a convinced vegetarian and don’t ever feel deprived by my choice of foods.  But there are still those days when I crave the hearty flavour of meat, its texture and taste. In consequence I’m finding way to get the meatiness without the meat.

Stroganoff

So when that unshakeable longing for something ‘meaty’ hit on Tuesday I immediately knew what I wanted: Stroganoff. Which is funny because I’ve never had actual Boeuf Stroganoff. But it was the vegan option at my sister’s wedding – then featuring seitan. Only I didn’t have seitan at hand and am generally not the hugest fan of store-bought so I once more resorted to my favourite meaty vegetables again: mushrooms.

Stroganoff

That was the beauty of discovering vegetarian dishes for me: playing with the meaty taste and texture resemblance of certain natural ingredients to create dishes that satisfied without desperately trying to mimic or replace meat. Quickly looking up some Stroganoff recipes online I got to work with what I had on hand and ended up with a satisfying plate of meatless meatiness.

Mushroom Stroganoff

  • olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6-7 mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 100 g/3.5 oz silken tofu
  • 1 heaped tsp [white] cashew butter
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper [optional]
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1-2 medium-sized pickles, chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley [I used frozen]
  • 1 tsp of mustard [optional for a more authentic Stroganoff but I don’t like mustard so I omitted it]

1. Heat the olive oil and sautĂŠ the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic and let cook for another two minutes.

2. Meanwhile blend the silken tofu, cashew butter, soy sauce and worcestershire sauce.

3. Add the mushrooms to the onions and cook until softended. Mix in the pickles and chickpeas.

4. Pour in the tofu sauce and season with the spices. Stir in the parsley.

5. Serve over either your grains of choice or cauliflower rice.

Stroganoff

Mushrooms instead of meat, added chickpeas, … Once more this is by no means authentic but since we’re already at the topic of strange but good: why bother with traditions? It’s delicious on its own right and that’s what counts.

Happiness inducing today: As it’s still rather early I’ll go with a great Farmers’ Market haul including kabocha [finally again!] and apples – obviously knowing their names.

Do you ever crave foods you’ve never had before?

What are your favourite vegan/vegetarian ‘meaty’ recipes? Feel free to link me up in the comments for when the cravings hit the next time :).

Almond Caramel Bar

Just like your average blogger

Hi there and happy … wait, which day was it again????

Even if you’re a blogger you might occasionally forget which day it is [admit it has happened to you before during long holidays!]. Unless we’re talking about [What I ate] Wednesday. Because as a blogger you’ve already been anticipating the best midweek party ever.

[For all German readers: I’m also participating in Vegan Wednesday for the first time so if you want to see even more deliciousness head over there, too.]

WIAW_halloween button

Thanks to Jenn for letting us foodies wallow in memories of good meals, get excited about new finds and declare our obsession with nut butter once more. in the end we’re all just bloggers, right? Here’s to some observations that make me laugh at how much of your average blogger I’ve become.

Just like your average blogger …

… adding almond butter to everything. Or maybe rather adding everything to almond butter?! Either way I have yet to find anything that doesn’t go well with almond butter. I dare you to prove me wrong ;).

Almond butter

Just like your average blogger …

… having breakfast for dinner. Because who wouldn’t enjoy a huge bowl of comforting warm oats at night?! And when others tell you they liked oatmeal, too, you get excited at the opportunity of exchanging your favourite recipes. Only to be let down a little when they go on about their go-to pre-mixed store-bought brand. So you just keep smiling yet wondering where’s the fun in buying oatmeal mixes when you like to get crazy with your own add-ins and toppings. And be honest: in typical blogger-fashion you naturally swear by including chia seeds which you have yet [if you’re living in Germany at least] to see on the ingredient list of bags in the store.

oat bran

Just like your average blogger …

… excessively pinning new recipes you want to try. But when it gets around to actually preparing them you trip over either of two hurdles: a) there’s simply no way you can decide which recipe to try first. Or – if you actually make a decision: b) starting with the best habits of following the instructions. only to sub one or two ingredients, add a pinch of this, pinch of that – and end up with a completely different [yet delicious nonetheless] recipe. Yes, I’ve said it before and have to repeat it once more: I have the hardest time following recipes. Will you forgive me if I promise to improve share this recipe for vegan Mushroom Stronganoff with you?

Stroganoff

Just like your average blogger …

… considering snack time your favourite time [at least food-wise] of the day. Because what’s not to like about touring your pantry, making good use of sampling tables at the store or breaking into your snack drawyer. And that snack appetite is the perfect reason to break into one the last of your homemade bars … which then again gives you another reason to procrastinate some more in the kitchen. A win-win situation, don’t you think?

Almond Caramel Bar

Just like your average blogger …

… you never just buy apples but know them by name and are picky about which to buy. And you might actually feel a little hurt when people don’t account the amazingness of your favourites. Don’t disappoint me by saying you didn’t recognize this beauty …

Guess

Any guesses?

… and you get just a smidgen giddy over the fact that your food matches manicure [or at least closely], right, Heather?!

Matching

Being just like your average blogger might seem a little quirky to outsiders. But who really wants to be normal when quirkiness relates to good food and lots of fun?

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: The warmest [70°F in October!] day in a while making for an instant mood boost.

Your turn: Tell me at least one thing that makes you feel just like your average blogger !

[How] Do you tackle your Pinterest recipe board(s)?

Favourite combination: Almond butter and …?