Currently … March 2014

A post about current happening and favourites at the very end of a month? Why, yes, let’s just go with calling it a recap of the past – once again rushed by – 31 days. There have been some not so good happenings but looking back March was an overall marvelous month. Let’s celebrate another Monday with our sweet host Katie!

MiMM_new

Current book: One? More like three at once. Yes, after secrectly hoarding about 1/4 of my library’s inventory I was able to narrow it down to three. Just to showcase one I’m going with ‘The Paris Wife’ because it’s the first I started. And actually the only of the three that’s not from the library. Go figure.

The Paris Wife

Current music: Nothing new. But I’ve started listening to podcasts when walking again which I’d somehow forgotten about. Right now still mostly my [German] favourite but I could use some inspiration so if you know of any good ones: let me know.

Current guilty pleasure: Reading some blogs while at work … Productivity boosters, you know.

Current nail colour:  The same like last month. Yes, I changed it in between but I was feeling Jam ‘n’ Jelly again so that’s what it is.

Jam 'n' jelly

Current food: All the Cs! No, I did neither plan this nor do I intend to do an alphabet challenge related to food*. But I can’t say my inner grammar fiend/OCD personality doesn’t like the coincidence of it being the third month of a year and my fondness for all foods starting with the third letter of the alphabet 😉 . Really, though, there are so many good foods starting with C.

*Even though I’m somehow intrigued by the idea now…

Chocolate. It’s an ever-occuring one but the obsession’s been growing out of whack lately. I’m not sure what it is because I can’t blame the weather.  Anyway, sorry I’m not sorry but I could never give this up for Lent and I know many people do.

Lindt chocolate

Chickpeas. And I’m particular and only buy this brand because they are the best. Yes, trust me. If you’re German or even happen to be over here that’s your go-to brand. Thank me later 😉 .

chickpeas

Also: [Variations on] Cauliflower. One of these being the Chickpea Flour Dumpling Bake and another delicious recipe featuring it will be coming your way soon. Until then be sure to check the link in yesterday’s post.

Dumpl

And another ‘C’ I’ll be getting into more detail about in a future post invling current experimentation with my diet.

Current wish: Right now? Wishing that WordPress would return to its previous layout again. The picture editing. The [be honest: dumb-looking] smileys. Everthing. Is anybody up for petitioning?

Current need: Sleep. It’s a constant issue for me and I really have to work on betterment here once and for all.

Current triumph: Becoming more relaxed around food again after struggling a bit lately.

Current bane of my existence: Trouble with my hip that makes me feel like a not-so-well oiled robot when walking [or trying to do it] at times. But I’m sure it’ll all be well again [hopefully] soon.

Current outfit:  Right from the lake side: You might have seen this dress before but the fact I can now wear it outside with just a cardigan is yet another sign spring’s approaching.

outfit

Current blessing: Friends who make an effort to stay in touch even if they’ve moved far away. I met one I hadn’t seen in months today and we had a wonderful time catching up. He’s one of my closest friends and we

Current excitement:  News that I found out just today and have a hard time keeping to myself. Only it might take a few more weeks or months until everything’s figured out.

Current link: Goodreads.  I have yet to set up an account but am in dire need of some reading inspiration. Not like above-mentioned hoarding tendencies needed any more fuel…

 

 

Happiness inducing today: A repeat offender but yes: sunshine!

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Share some of your currents with me!

Good good links #32

Can you feel spring already? It’s been making an awesome appearance with lots of sunshine today and I couldn’t be happier about it. Whether or not you’ve been able to soak up an extra boost of Vitamin D, though, here’s some Sunday [or boring-Monday-at-work] reading material to brighten your day.

Good good links

Happy Sunday!

 

Good good [food for thought]

10 years from now… via Healthy Helper

Do you have the right priorities in life right now?

Let’s talk belly fat and why not #tBELLYt via Be Mom Strong

Taking a closer look at some fat facts and why cutting down your intake won’t help you loose it.

My Addiction to Exercise Permanently Damaged My Body. But It Also Taught Me How to Love Myself by Tara Fuller via Greatist

A powerful story about learning self-appreciation and prioritizing yourself the hard way. Long but worth the read.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

 If at first you don’t succeed—quit! via Carla Birnberg

Why quitting isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

Looking At These 6 Things Will Help You Love Your Body More via Huffington Post

Showing that beauty and talent really doesn’t depend on size.

6 Tips To Get Motivated When You’re Feeling Depressed via Mind Body Green

 Not just if you’re depressed but have a hard time getting out of any kind of funk and moving.

 Why Going To Sleep Early Isn’t Just For Grandmas! via The Peanut Butter Lover

Longer life expectancy, desease prevention and more energy are conving reasons to hit the pillows early on.

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Stay Positive via Health.com

Don’t let negativity take over. Used the right way Twitter, Facebook and Co. can make you feel better.

Fitness

ANYtime ANYwhere Workout via My Food & Fitness Diaries

For those days when you don’t actually have time or equipment for a workout but still want to get it in.

How to get the most out of your workout via Keeping Healthy, Getting Stylish

Keep things interesting to benefit maximally.

Blogging/ photography

A No BS Guide to Food Photography via The Healthy Maven

A great guide to taking drool-worthy food pictures. And as far as #4 goes: start stalking Davida herself!

Helpful Blogging Tips via Eat Great, Be Great

Just like the title says a great collection of advice on how to blog even better.

 

Good good [things to make you smile]

23 Useless Facts That You Totally Need to Know via BuzzFeed

Useless, yes, but you know you want to find them out in anyway…

 Mexican graphic artist creates a Barbie without makeup via World Observer

Not just for smiles but making a point that really nobody is perfect.

 

Good good [food]

No-Bake Cinnamon Roll Protein Bars via The Healthy Maven

Ditch the store-bought bars and be on a [cinnamon] roll with these homemade ones.

Twice-Baked, Oatmeal-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes via Keepin’ it kind

Amazed by oatmeal once more in this unusal but delicious-looking recipe.

Enchiladas… like you’ve never known before! via Peachy Palate

A totally different spin on enchiladas – and totally intriguing.

Easy Peasy Freezer Fudge via Nourish by Melissa

Just four ingredients and packed with nutritious power.

Raw Citrus Cream Cakes via Oh, Ladycakes

Sweet, a little tart and almost too pretty to eat.

 12 Healthy Creative Cauliflower Recipes via Daily Burn

Further proof of cauliflower’s amazingness with [vegan] Cauli Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower Bagels and more.

 

 

Happiness inducing today: Meeting a friend to cook lunch.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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How did you spend your weekend so far?

Let me know some of your favourite posts from the week!

It’s a wrap, no, a crêpe! [Savoury Chickpea Crespelle]

Thin chickpea crepes with a spicy tomato-based vegetable filling baked with a quick vegan cheese sauce.

Crespelle_inside

Do you notice a trend here? First chickpea dumplings, then snacking on these special little peas and now another recipe featuring them. It’s safe to say I wasn’t lying when talking about my favourite source of protein. As an added bonus the chickpea part in this recipe comes in the form of flour not whole peas. Meaning it’s gluten-free and [hopefully] even those of you with sensible stomaches can enjoy it.

Chickpea crepes

Like previous times this recipe was inspired by one I’ve eaten in my childhood multiple times. Pfannkuchen* were a childhood lunch classic on days we had a sweet main meal. My mum would prepare a lightly sweetened batter baking piles of either plain pancakes or adding thinly sliced apples when transferring the ladlefuls of batter to the pan. As we grew older and sweet main dishes became a less frequent happening my mum found a recipe for savoury stuffed crespelle with cheese and ham in a cooking magazine. For whichever reason I woke up a few days ago knowing exactly what I wanted for lunch: that dish. Only veganized. And using chickpea flour and… oh, well, a pinch of this and that letting it strain far from the original and become its own recipe. A recipe that doesn’t need to hide and therefore has to be shared.

* literally translated as ‘pancakes’ but the German variety is different from the American so I feel the translation is misleading

Crespelle_I

One more note: yes, the long ingredient list and preparation process might seem intimidating. But trust me that I’m just being overly detailed here and the dish actually came together in a pinch. Sooner than you know you’ll be able to say: It’s a wrap, no, crêpe!

Chickpea crêpes

Chickpea Crêpes with Spicy Tomato Filling and Vegan Cheese Sauce

Crêpes

  • • Scant ½ cup of chickpea flour [50 g]
    • Mixed with ½ cup of water
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • Salt and pepper

Filling:

  • • 1 small red onion, diced
  • • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • • 1 small carrot, sliced into half-moons
  • • ½ a medium zucchini, sliced into smaller-than-half-moon pieces
  • • 150-200 g chopped tomatoes [canned] – about half a can
  • • ½ tsp oregano
  • • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • • Salt + pepper to taste
  • • 2 tbsps of corn

vegan cheese sauce

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch or 1 tsp locust bean/ carob gum
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk [I used almond]

Start by preparing your crêpes:

  1. Mix the batter and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet on medium heat.
  3. Pour a third of the batter into the skillet and tilt it in a circular motion to spread the batter out as much as possible. You’ll want to get the largest-sized crêpes possible for best filling but no perfection needed.
  4. Cook until the the center of the crêpe is bubbling and the edges pull away from the skillet slightly.
  5. Transfer the crêpe to a plate and proceed the cooking process with the remaining batter. I got three crêpes out of it but two will be perfectly fine, too.

For the filling:

  1. Sauté the onion for about two minutes, then add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add the carrots, after a few minutes the zucchini and sauté until lightly browned.
  3. Mix in the chopped canned tomatoes and corn.
  4. Stir in spices, let simmer for a bit. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce.

 

For the cheese sauce:

  1. In a small pot combine the dry ingredients.
  2. Slowly pour in 3/4  cup of almond milk.
  3. Once you’ve prepared the crepes bring the sauce to a light boil on medium heat. Stir to prevent it from forming a skin.

To assemble place about 2 tablespoons of the filling on the outer edge of a crêpe. Roll up and transfer the crêpe to a small baking dish. Repeat the filling process with the remaining crêpes.

Put any remaining filling on top of the crêpes. Give the cheese sauce another good stir and pour it on top.
Bake at 175 °C for about 20 minutes or until the sauce has set and the crepes have started to crisp at the edges [so good!].

 

crespelle_salsa

Topped with salsa – not a bad idea if you’re asking me. Other not so bad ideas include hopping over to see what everybody else has created over for Laura’s Strange but Good link-up, Kierston’s Recipe Friday, Wellness Weekends and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Enjoy your day!

Happiness inducing today: A nice chat with the fruit vendor at the Farmers’ Market.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Have you ever had crespelle or any kind of savoury crêpes?

Does anybody ever say “it’s a wrap”?

 

 

Thinking out loud #15

It’s time for short introductions and a post full of randomness again! Say hi and thanks to Amanda for hosting our countdown-to-the-weekend party that is Thinking out loud.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Starting with what’s the most prominent and at the same time most puzzling topic on my mind: cats. Whether this was sparked by Emily and Lionel, Jan’s constant cute kitten pictures or some entirely different reason: I’ve found myself reminiscening my childhood with cats. And yes, I somehow wish I had a furry little roomate around again.

2. Don’t be surprised if one of my next What I ate Wednesday is entirely picture-less as per Jan’s suggestion on Twitter. But essentially WordPress conspire against me yesterday. When I tried to embed the pictures in my WIAW post a new tab would pop up trying to make me purchase a new Avira software. Thanks but I’m fine with my current one. I somehow managed to work a way around it but I’m not happy with the outcome. For whichever reason I can’t change the size of my pictures and add a border anymore? Technology and me weren’t made for each other, that’s for sure.

3. Channel your inner Britney Spears: Ooops, I did it again. Picking up one of my favourite topics to marvel about from last week’s post: cosmetics. I can’t help my curiosity when it comes to new [non-expensive as I might have to point out] products at times. And as apples are some of my favourites how could I not?! Add a “limited edition” tag to the equation and the money is as good as spent. Now why in the world I bought cleansing tissues when I actually clean my face with facial lotion and cotton pads is a different question.

March 26nd 017

4. For all fans of cold food [read: not me] I happend upon this gem of an article just a few minutes ago. In case anybody feels inclinded to try all of these. The peanut butter cups are an obvious one – how else to eat them but cold?! – but some of the others… No, just no.

5. Fishwell…

March 21st to 25th 035

Given the fishy smell of the ‘pasta’ pre-rinsing the brand name of the shirataki pasta I’ve shown in yesterday’s post wasn’t the most unsuspicious in terms of vegetarian-suitability. Plus, I’ve actually never liked fish anytime in my life so there goes this.

6.  Not to go all negative nancy here but there are two things I don’t look forward to about the weekend. First: the [shoe box-sized] freezer department of my fridge is frosted all throughout because its door wasn’t closed all the way. Meaning I’ll have the pleasure of unplugging my fridge, letting it defrost and thorougly clean it. Oh the joy 😉 …

7. Plus, there’s the wonder that is daylight savings stealing a precious hour of sleep from our Sunday mornings. Is it really time already again?

8. However, just like last week I’m choosing to see the good in the bad which isn’t too hard:
1. Daylight savings mean it’s light outside for longer – never mind that it’s some kind of a human-made cheat – every day afterwards. If that’s not reason to rejoice I don’t know what would be.
2. A clean and functionable freezer – even if just shoe box-sized – means the opportunity to -finally- have frozen bananas, banana softserve and else again. Yay!

9. We can’t end without a little more random fun: what your favourite pizza topping says about you. I’m apparently super chill and easy to be around. Okay, who wants to be friends 🙂 ?

10. Happy Thursday!

Happiness inducing today: Chatting with a friendly stranger at the gym.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Do you have any advice on my WordPress picture troubles? All of a sudden it’s not possible to add a frames or resize them anymore.

Aside from that: Share some random thoughts with me!

 

Eating [on an] off schedule

Time for another round of playing the food show-off known as What I ate Wednesday via our lovely host Jenn. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure if I’d tag along this time because I usually take pictures of my meals on the weekends only. Weekdays? Taking pictures in the morning would require extra time [that I don’t have – just imagine a headless chicken running around and yes, that’d be me]. However, yesterday was the perfect relaxed opportunity to take pictures and eat. Because for the record: I don’t enjoy eating at the office. Then again: does anybody?? Long story short: here’s [part of] what I ate yesterday with a side of some recovery chat.

WIAWbutton_1

 

One of the main points I still have to work on majorly in my recovery is straying from set meal times. Eating on different preset [by work or the likes] schedules. In short: not making time matter over hunger cues. A day off work and therefore sleeping in yesterday gave me the chance to test out the waters again on an off day. Sleeping for [too] long throws me and my appetite completely off my usual habits. Some pre-breakfast snackage happened.

Almond butter 006

Breakfast… happened a little later after waking up than usual because I could and because I wasn’t forced to eat in time before getting to work. Now here’s a little secret I never shared. The one reason why I hardly share pictures of my breakfasts or dinner is not just the lack of time and light. It’s also that – differently from other bloggers – I hardly ever transfer all of my oats to a bowl. Not that I hadn’t tried before but I’m honestly not a fan of how quickly the oats drop their warming temperature. Cold oat bran? Not for me. That’s why I serve it up in the pot and continue to eat it in smaller bowlfuls that I top with almond butter*.  Another bonus: I get to mix cocoa into just half of my oat bran so I have part banana oats/ part chocolatey oats. It’s the way I roll[ed] the oats 😉 .

oat bran_breakfast* In case you’re wondering: it’s not a die-hard habit. If I need to adapt and have breakfast at work I can just pack things up and go.

Snack #1 was a funny encounter that allowed me to tackle a fear food once again: avocado. I’d bought a package of shirataki pasta – yes, roll your eyes at me – out of curiosity when I saw they were on offer at a store. Knowing these wouldn’t satisfy me but making use of their low-calorie tag I stir-fried them with some garlic and odds and ends [read: leftover zucchini and tomatoes] and covered them in avocado sauce.

Shirataki

Not something that’d ever keep me satisfied as a real meal but that’s what lunch was meant for: savoury baked oats. Initially, I was feeling like having polenta but noticed I didn’t have any left so I simply cooked rolled oats and wheat bran in water, seasoned it. Stirred in a spoonful of nutritional yeast and added a mix of sauteed vegetables on top. Blame the grey skies at that point for the less-than-stellar picture but it didn’t lessen the meal’s quality. Or let’s say it was interesting and still needs some tinkering to get a full sign of approval.

baked oatmeal_polenta

In terms of recovery this was a good day because I tried new dishes, tried to strain from my usual meal times and not focus on the fact of how hungry I was compared to other days. It’s all a work in progress but I feel I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.

Happy Wednesday! Now go and get inspired over at Jenn’s or the [past and future] Vegan Wednesday board(s)!

 

Happiness inducing today: A conversation with a friend overseas. Time difference be damned but still.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Shirataki pasta: Have you ever tried it? What’s your take on the non-noodles?

Do you have any odd eating habits? My oat bran one might rank among those but I don’t see myself giving it up anytime soon.

 

Spill it Sunday [The Carb Edition]

The second post of the day and the long-awaited [or so he said] installment of Arman’s macronutrient-focused Spill it Sundays is here. Okay, I’ll probably have to agree with him here. Because carbs are likely the most ‘controversial’ of the three macros. And because – while I generally don’t like any claims of being a fats/ protein/ carb person – I feel the latter benefit me the most.

Spill-it-Sunday-option-2-1

1. What is your all time favourite carbohydrate based food/dish?

Given the frequency I have it with I’d have to oat bran. Always prepared stove-top, always with added nut butter. But if we’re talking about dishes that hold a special place in my heart yet don’t make an everyday appearance: Semmelknödel. You’ve heard me talk about these delicious little balls more than once before – and for a good reason.

What they can’t offer in looks they make up in their satisfying doughy taste … and now I’m getting seriously hungry so we’d better go on with the survey.

2. What is your favourite fruit?

All the fruit! Limiting myself to one favourite would be unfair. It’s easier to say which fruit I don’t like [as much]: papaya [maybe I’ve just had bad luck every time I picked one up or how can they taste like nothing?], figs and pomegranates.

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

3. What is your favourite grain?

If the first question didn’t answer if sufficiently: Oats. They’re incredibly versatile taking on both sweet and savoury variations like no other grain. Plus, they cook super fast which is a bonus if you’re like me and not versed enough at meal planning to think and cook your grains in advance.

Topped with popped amaranth and almond butter sauce these are reason enough to get up.

It’s hard to go a day without them for me and looking at the many blogs out there dedicated to oatmeal alone I know I’m in good company.

4. What is your favourite starchy vegetable?

For once a ‘favourite’ question that’s easy to answer: kabocha. At best from my mum’s garden and just steamed. Plain perfection with a side of almond butter.

Breakfast_kabocha

5. Which carb receives unfair flack? Which carb is most overrated?

If this wasn’t just about them already I’d say carbs overall [still] get a bad reputation. The number of magazine articles, blogs and the likes promoting low-carb diets is immense. But to limit the length of my reply here: White everything receives unfair flack. Sure, white grains aren’t as nutritious as whole grains. But making them the devil and badmouthing anybody eating them isn’t fair. I personally prefer the taste of whole grains, too, but my parents don’t [unless we’re talking bread] so if I’m with them it’s likely we’re having white rice or pasta – and that’s okay. Regarding my visits at Vapiano I didn’t mention it yet but their white pasta – back then a challenge – was actually more delicious than the whole grain one [which was unpleasantly gritty unlike the brands I’d buy if cooking pasta at home].

Vapiano Arrabiata

And sorry I’m not sorry for committing a blogger sin here but: sweet potatoes are the most overrated carb in my opinion. I tried them time and time again – only to discover I really don’t enjoy them. Not even when almond butter is involved and that says a lot. No more paying high prices and turning on the oven for these, sorry. Just give white potatoes a little more appreciation. These are the ones I grew up eating and they will forever have a special place in my heart. And I know Arman shares the fondness – he just passed the food part of the German immigration test 😉 .

6. Link up a favourite carb embracing recipe (it can be your own or another bloggers!).

Ideally, I should have a recipe for Semmelknödel up on the blog by now – note to self: post one! – but given that I haven’t we’ll go with some of my favourite legume dishes. Because they have carbs, too, right?

Chickpeas in Blueberry Chocolate Mole

Chickpeas in mole

I can’t go without featuring a recipe involving my favourite starchy vegetable so: Red Lentil Kabocha Chili.

Kabocha Lentil

7. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

A picture says more than a thousand words [and unless I stop writing soon I may or may not reach that mark with this post].

I like them. I really like them. In my family we grew up eating carbs/ grains for every meal: breakfast were bowls of whole grain granola or müesli, lunches always had a side of pasta/ rice/ couscous/ potatoes/ you name it and dinner was bread. Hence why going low-carb will never work for me. The days when I’d try to limit my carb intake and counted the amount of grains in my meals and snacks were sad and exhausting to say the least. As hinted to in my introduction I’d most likely be a ‘carb person’ if I used those labels. A diet made up of mostly carbs, a good amount of fats and some protein feels just right for me.

8. What benefits do CARBS play in YOUR personal eating habits?

Similar to fats they give me satisfaction, energy and make me an all around happy camper. So let’s not hate on carbs anymore, okay? Good. Go and have a …

Happy Sunday!

Happiness inducing today: Sunshine outside again after days of rain.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What’s your favourite carb-based dish or food?

Have you ever tried a low-carb diet and what were your experiences?