Like it? Then you should have put a spin on it.

Maybe it’s time to overthink my strategy for Wednesdays. Or more specifically my blogging strategy for What I ate Wednesdays. Some weeks I hardly have any meals worth showing or simply haven’t felt like taking pictures. Right now it’s the opposite: I have a huge backload of pictures. Sounds good? Not so much if – like me – the organized part* of you wants to present meals aligning with an overall topic. Yes, I figure that apply for anybody doing full days of food but that’s not my style. Luckily, I can be inventive and stretch my imagination so today’s topic is all about putting my own spin on other bloggers’ recipes. Happy feasting your eyes here as well as at Jenn’s and the Vegan Wednesday board!

*why yes, I have an organized and a chaotic part – blogging usually brings out the former more which I’m not complaining about.

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Starting out with a dish I had weeks ago for the first time only to prepare it over and over. Amy’s Cordoba Cauliflower ‘Rice’ caught my eyes right away especially thanks to the story she dished up with it. Just reading the ingredients brought back memories of a family holiday in Malaga years ago. Actually only about a year after I’d gone vegetarian. Yet still my parents seeked out what must have been pretty much one of the only fully vegetarian restaurants around there at that time for a dinner out. That’s [one more reason] why I love my parents. It was my dad ordering a couscous that – assuming memory serves me right here – was similar to Amy’s.

Cauliflower couscous_chili

Either way, I tried the recipe putting my own spin on it by mixing in wheatberries like in this dish, subbing mulberries for the raisins because they’re my favourites  and adding chickpeas. For the simple reason that I’m obsessed with them. Not like you had noticed that already. Both plain with extra cinnamon and alongside vegan chili with double legume action this dish was really delicious. I’m partial to my add-ins but if grains or chickpeas aren’t your thing you can still try Amy’s original version and expect a great dish.

Amy's cauliflower couscous_mulberries

I keep mentioning my savoury breakfast challenge yet didn’t give an actual update yet. Did I say blogging brought out the organized part of me?! Remind me if I happen to forget it and you’re curious. Breakfast potatoes were a true novelty to me. Probably surprising given I’m German and we like our potatoes – we really do and I’m not talking sweet potatoes. Only this dish is from that time I actually didn’t have any potatoes on hand and went with sunchokes. It was delicious but not as satisfying as it’d likely be using actual potatoes. So in case you want to try the dish yourself: go with the original. Making recipes mine with crazy subs isn’t always recipe for success. The add-in of chickpeas, however? No need for any commentary on how good that was. Obsessed, yes.

Sunchoke_breakfast 'potatoes'

One recipe I’ve been making mine forever and have yet to mess up with my random substitutions are Amanda’s Rice Krispie Energy Bites. That have actually not even once contained actual [crispy] rice for me. Instead, I’ve been subbing whichever crispy grain or cereal I had on hand. This time’s main contenders were Cini Minis/ Cinnamon Toast Crunch for the US folks and Cookie Crisp cereal.

Cereal bars_cinnamon toast crunch_2

Did you know both of them are vegan? Aaah, good good memories of eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch during my childhood. I’m pretty happy with the fact there’s still half a box leftover for snacking. Back to Amanda’s bars: they were a major hit with my boss and coworker. Where can I pick up my award for intern of the month year?

Cereal bars_cinnamon toast crunch

One thing I need to confess, though, is that my substitutions here made them lethal. Or at least not Amanda-friendly who’s now convinced I’m trying to kill her ;). If my almond butter consumption didn’t cost me an arm and a leg already I’d have followed the original recipe but for now I keep making it mine with good old peanut butter. Lethal legumes…

The takeaway: Never shy away from recipes if you don’t have all ingredients but put your own spin on them. Chances you’ll end up with an awesome result are at least 50/ 50 after all. Just don’t sub out potatoes. (:

Happy Wednesday!

 

Happiness inducing today: Spontaneously going to the theatre with a friend.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Which dishes bring back holiday memories for you?

Do you stick with recipes or make them yours by subbing and adding ingredients? My stance on this is pretty obvious.

Did you try any new blogger recipes lately?

Please tell me you got my creative 😉 title reference.

 

 

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Just living – fast-paced and fabulous

If I was to sum up my weekend in just one sentence it’d be: Did it really happen? Or: boy, that was fast! Unlike my last weekend when I had to work all of Friday [think: until midnight] and half of Saturday this one had come with the premise of being calm and uneventful. Not so much in hindsight but I’m not complaining. Let’s recap some of the marvelous happenings from the past two days with our host Katie.

MiMM_new

Starting early – and we know how much I like this – on Saturday morning setting out for a train journey to meet my mum in a city four hours from my current home city. Generally, I enjoy traveling by train because it’s nice to unplug and get fully absorbed in a book. Seriously, if you keep getting distracted when trying to read at home: hop on a train. It works: by the time I got home I was halfway through the book I’d packed.  Plus, you get a new scenery every time you take a break from reading:

Train

Bonus points if you can spot the sea gull in this picture.

 

Because traveling requires some good fuel I packed a lot of food and also tried a new-to-me snack: a Nākd bar. More on these to come soon once I’ve sample some more flavours. I’m not easily convinced when it comes to bars but this one was delicious.

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In between reading and enjoying the scenery time fortunately passed by fairly quickly on my way there. Once I’d arrived my mum and I headed to a café located right by the seaside. Note to self: pack both sunglasses and a light scarf next time because seaside in summer = lots of sunshine and a “steife Brise” as any Northern German would say [overall windiness for all others].

 

neu_Promenadenspaziergang

 

Some more walking around the city ensued but I didn’t take any other pictures of the scenery because when I’m with my mum my phone doesn’t get much attention. Quality time with my mum > being  a good blogger taking pictures. Rather, I’ll leave you with this random non-vegetarian 😉 bit of hilariousness that I found in a book store while waiting for my train later that day. That’s what you happen upon when your train back unscheduledly ends prior to reaching your destination and you have to wait for a new connection. Thanks for nothing, German railway system… [note that it’s basically a requirement to snark at the ‘Deutsche Bahn’ as a German because delays are a daily order of business].

Bacon

Sunday started with leisurely sleeping in – blissful! After some pottering around my apartment, a quick reading session to my second recommended reading place – aka: the gym – and a delicious lunch I headed out to the movies. Following the spontaneous invitation of a friend we went to see ‘The Fault in our Stars’.

I’d read the book way back and actually hadn’t planned on watching the movie but wasn’t going to say no when my friend suggested it. Looking back I’m glad she asked me to tag along.

Cinema ticket

Despite what the ticket might make you guess at first glance we actually watched the original movie in English not the German. I’m usually hesitant towards watching movies based on books that were absolutely amazing because these can really be hit or miss. And while I wasn’t sure about the lot of romance in the beginning the last three minutes had me bawl my eyes out like the book: win. Okay? Okay. Plus: Ansel Elgort… I think I’ll finally be able to include a celebrity crush in my next Currently post again…

In between being out and about all Saturday and not sitting down much on Sunday, either, this the weekend flew by in the blink of an eye. Leaving me thinking that this thing called ‘just living’ feels pretty good. More of that, please.

For now:Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Just all of today.

 

Stay in touch!

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

 

What are some of your [unusual]  favourite places to read?

Did you watch ‘The fault in our stars’ yet or plan to do so?

Tell me your favourite part of this past weekend.

Good good links #43

Hey hey, it’s Sunday! And you know what that means: it’s the end of the week [duh!] and there are lots of great reads to catch up on.  Posts to think about, get inspired by or make you bee-line for the kitchen right now. Whichever posts catch your eye: enjoy!

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

 

Good good [food for thought]

When healthy isn’t healthy… for you via Keeping healthy getting stylish

Even if something works for many others it doesn’t necessarily have to for you.

Is Less Really More? via upbeat uplifts

What could you use less of and what more? Contemplation for daily life.

How Does Your Body Image Impact Your Training? via Paleo Running Momma

The wish or expectation to look a certain way can have more influence on our training than we might think.

Body Shaming Series, Part 1: What Makes a Woman “Real”? via Fiterazzi

Thin, curvy, tall or small: all women are real and beautiful. Let’s stop feeling ashamed of not fitting a certain image shaped by the media.

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

5 Tips to Boost Your Body Image during Bikini Season via Sensual Appeal

 Great ideas on how to feel more comfortable when wearing less. It’s not all about the way we look.

How to buy new running shoes via eat spin run repeat

Because if the shoe doesn’t fit running’s not even half as fun.

41 Life-Saving Beauty Hacks Every Girl Should Have In Her Arsenal via BuzzFeed

The hack to make perfume last all day [finally!].  And now I need to get pale frosted eyeshadow.

 

16 Ways Travel Affects Your Well-Being via BuzzFeed

Here’s why I need to get serious about my summer travel plans.

Exercise Break [What’s Working & What’s Not] via Healthy Helper

Giving yourself a break from exercise can be tough. Some great ideas and reminders to make it work.

how to find satisfaction via healthy seasonal recipes

We’re happiest when we listen to and satisfy our true cravings instead of trying to replace them: “Being dissatisfied is unsustainable.”

How French women stay slim via Khushboo’s Blog

Taking a leaf from another culture’s book: living the French lifestyle with good food and less worry.

 

Good good [things to make you smile]

23 Soul-Crushing Problems Only Left-Handed People Understand via BuzzFeed

It’s not a fair world and spiral notebooks are the worst invention ever when it comes to stationary.

 

Good good [food]

 Rice Krispie Stuffed Dates via Running with Spoons

Crispy, chocolatey, sweet, date caramelly goodness. I dare you to try and find any argument against these.

Roasted Peach Crumble Bars via Yeah… Imma eat that

Anything crumble-topped is a win in my book and with peaches this one gets two thumbs up.

Flourless Almond Butter and Jelly Muffins via Running with Spoons

When you can’t pick just one go with both: another awesome quick and mouth-watering recipe by Amanda.

Grilled Smoky Cococnut Cauliflower via iFoodReal

A simple but ridiculously delicious looking side.

Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie via Runnin Sri Lankan

No need for beef when you’ve got mushrooms in this vegetable-packed version of the classic.

Blue Cheese Polenta with Rosemary Blistered Tomatoes via Coffee & Quinoa

A short ingredient list but a lot of flavor promise – bring on the polenta!

20 No-Cook Vegetarian Meals for Hot Summer Days via oh my veggies

Raw Carrot Pasta with Ginger-Lime Sauce, Green Zebra Gazpacho and Mango Black Bean Salad – delicious recipes for when it’s just too hot to turn on the stove.

 

Happiness inducing today: Talking a walk seaside.

Stay in touch!

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

 

What were some of your favourite posts from the week?

Tell me one thing that made you happy today!

Neapolitan Oatmeal Parfait [vegan]

Crunchy and creamy, sweet and tart, fruity and chocolatey – a perfect mix of textures and flavours creating a refreshing summer breakfast or snack.

Neapolitan parfait_2

Parfait says it already: it’s perfect. In this breakfast it’s the combination of complementing flavours [refreshing fruit, tangy yogurt, deep dark cocoa] and textures [crunchy amaranth – creamy oatmeal] that makes it an all-around taste experience.

Neapolitan parfait_spoon

Let me start out by stating this: you don’t want to be my roommate. No, not because I left all my dirty dishes in the sink out of pure laziness of transferring them to the dishwasher [why??]. Or because I was that person who decides to re-schedule their household tasks from today to whenever [which means I’ll end up doing them]. And no, stealing some granola doesn’t count as one of my vices.

What I’m actually getting at: if you’d lived with me [at least after I started blogging and started taking dozens of pictures of food] you’d have experienced me blurring the lines between mine and yours.  Rummaging through the cupboards – filled mostly with my dishes – yet occasionally deciding yours were better for my pictures. Case in point again here: why in the world don’t I own a parfait-perfect glass? Answer: Simply because I’d never intended to have a parfait before.

Neapolitan parfait_5

Now that I know how easy they are [plus fancy to look at and we’re eating with our eyes, too, after all] I’ll have to look into getting some of my own. Yes, you could always just mix everything in a bowl but let’s face it: arranging the ingredients beautifully is one of the best parts of the parfait experience. Actually, the best part is eating it.

Neapolitan parfait_sprinkle

Proof that I can’t even stick with my own recipe ideas is the donut peach in this one though it’s nowhere to be found in classic Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches. They’re one of my favourite summer fruit – all kinds of berries aside – and with a case of perfectly ripe ones sitting on my counter I simply had to add some. If you can get your hands on them I higly recommend you include it here because its juicy fresh taste brought yet another texture and flavour to the whole dish.

Neapolitan parfait_8

And to share another secret about the behind the scenes of these pictures: I ‘borrowed’ some of my roommates strawberries for the pictures. At least I didn’t eat them. Now who wants to move in with me??? I might even share some of the fruit of my kitchen experimentation…

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Neapolitan Oatmeal Parfait [vegan and gluten-free*]

  • 1/3  cup of quick oats*
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of water, non-dairy milk [I used soy] or a mix
  • sweetener to taste [I used about four to five drops of vanilla stevia]
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla [if not using vanilla stevia]
  •  1/3 cup of strawberries
  • 1 tsp of dark cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of soy yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of puffed/ crispy amaranth
  • fresh donut peach, chopped

 

  1. Start by preparing your oatmeal by cooking it in milk or water with a pinch of salt. Stir in stevia or sweetener of choice as well as some of the amaranth and set aside to let cool slightly.
  2. Pour the yogurt into a tall jar.
  3. Mash half of the strawberries and stir into half of the oatmeal portion. Fold in the remaining chopped strawberries.
  4. Mix cocoa into the remaining oatmeal.
  5. Start assembly by pouring the yogurt into your jar. Add the strawberry oatmeal.
  6. Sprinkle some amaranth on top before adding the cocoa oatmeal.
  7. Top with chunks of peach. Sprinkle the remaining amaranth on top and serve!

Note:

*use certified gluten-free oats if needed.

Linking up with Laura, Kierston, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Naturally Sweet Tuesday, Gluten-free WednesdaysGluten-Free & DIY Tuesdays and The Weekend re-Treat Link Party.

Neapolitan parfait 9

Happiness inducing today: Picking up a good new book from the library.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Any roommate applications ;)?

Are/ were you a good roommate?

If you’ve had breakfast parfaits before: what did you add?

What are some of your favourite non-berry summer fruits? I didn’t discover donut peaches until about two years ago and now don’t want to miss out on them anymore.

 

 

Weekday-confused soccer ramblings with a side of Yogi wisdom

Whether it’s the heat, the rain in between or just for no apparent reason: my brain is all over the place so I won’t go into lengthy introductions but just start the Thinking out loud right away. Thanks to Amanda for hosting – I’ll forgive you making me jealous with all of your pictures from Blend.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. If I didn’t know it better I’d have sworn today was Friday already. Not that wishful thinking wouldn’t be able to convince me of that every week. This week is especially puzzling, though, because Monday was off due to a holiday. So Monday felt like Sunday and Tuesday like Wednesday. But yesterday my mind decided to go forwards instead of back so I thought wished it was Thursday the whole day. Don’t ask me why. At least that means I’ve basically finished the post for the parfait recipe from yesterday’s WIAW because I’d meant to publish it on Friday. Which … is not today.

2. Speaking of work:  I got a work phone. The prospect was exciting because I’ve never had one and liked the idea of playing around working with a new phone. Cue disappointment when it turned out to be this. Which is a little outdated …

Random_June 023

Now I might have only had my Android for about two years but I was already a little puzzled working with an old-fashioned phone again. It still has… keys. Is anybody else surprised/ shocked how soon that has become a rarity for phones?

4. The second disappoinment when getting the phone was that not only did I miss out on a chance to carry around a Blackberry or the likes – which I’ll admit I never even guessed – but it even lacked games. Given it’s an old one I’d hoped to find Snake among the pre-installed games. It was the first game I ever played on my mum’s phone way before I got my own and I wouldn’t have minded a little repeat.

5. With my now abundant supply how about sharing some wisdom?

Yogi wisdom

We can always start anew.

6. On a last note: the soccer World Championship starts today – and I couldn’t be more surprised or less interested. I’m likely the least informed person ever when it comes to soccer [or any other sports]. If the weather is playing along my roommate and I might actually venture out for some public viewing. Not rooting for any team, though, but gushing about the best-looking players and soaking up the cheerful atmosphere. Despite what I just said I wouldn’t object if the German team won a few games because seeing happy people’s mood – no matter for which reason – is infectious.  And who’d object to that?!

 

Happiness inducing today: A much-needed phone conversation with my mum.

 

Stay in touch!

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

 

 Tell me whatever comes to your mind!

Baby, it’s hot outside!

Say it with me: heatwave. Unusual [for our hemisphere at least] and sudden heatwave. In other words: Summer has arrived in full force in Germany. We’re not just talking a few more hours of sunshine but sweat-buckets-and- temperatures for days not even cooling down at night. Now that I’m finishing up this post it’s actually about 30°C outside and I’m not-so-secretly wishing for a fan or air conditioning. Can’t always get what you want, right? What we can all get, though, is some inspiration for new hot weather eats from all around the world thanks to Jenn and Vegan Wednesday! Let’s talk about how I’ve been [more or less successfully] beating the heat with food these days.

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Needless to say with these temperatures even my go-to hot oat bran had to step aside for new breakfasts. I’m still in the trial of deciding if savoury or sweet works better for me. Or maybe it’s a tie after all? Who knows?! Either way, the purchase of 3.3 lbs of potatoes – lunatic? No. Simply a necessity if you want to get starchy ones over here. Thanks for nothing, German grocery stores – had me ponder new ways to use them. Breakfast potatoes? Why not. And because I’d long wanted to use a certain casserole dish again and had been meaning to try veganizing frittata that’s what I went for.

Breakfast potato frittata

After I spotted black beans [a rare find over here] it was pretty much a signed deal a to include them along with the potatoes, onion, bell pepper and corn. It turned out to be a surprisingly quick and delicious meal both hot and – fellow bloggers know the downside of taking pictures of your food – cold. And honestly: in 99 % of the cases I’ll reheat a dish after I’ve taken pictures? This time? Thanks, but no thanks. Thinking about it now I should have probably made another frittata for the next morning in advance right then and there.

June 041

But little did I know the following morning would be even hotter so turning on the oven once more for a repeat was no option. Instead, I chose to try a blog world favourite: the breakfast parfait. With no granola on hand I went for a base of cooked and slightly cooled oatmeal – and then got creative.

Breakfast parfait 012

If you’re indecisive like me the oats will have cooled down by the time you finally settle on a flavour combination 😉 : Vegan Neapolitan Oatmeal Parfait. Admittedly, I was skeptical of the whole cold oatmeal aspect but this turned out to be a nice break from my usual stand-by and refreshing on a hot day. Crunchy, sweet, chocolatey and fruity plus how pretty is the layered effect?! The recipe will be up on Friday – just in time for the weekend. Because unless you’re better organized than me the whole act of preparing the individual layers is a little too much work for a weekday.

Breakfast parfait 051

Speaking of cold oats it might have been a gal used to the heat convincing me here. After I saw Arman’s recipe for White Chocolate Macadamia Oatmeal Pudding I had to try it immediately. And by immediately I mean ignoring both the fact that a) leaving it in the fridge for a few others only was cheating on the overnight part and b) subbing pistachios for the macadamias I didn’t have at hand and vegan white chocolate meant drifting from the original inspiration even further. I can safely say pistachios and white chocolate made a winning combination in this snack, too, though.

Pistachio white chocolate oatmeal pudding

Given I worked at Subway for a while it’s still a requirement to try Arman’s version some day [soon?] though it’s no secret I can’t follow recipes to a T. Actually, too bad I don’t work at Subway anymore. Because every time I had the best task ever of ‘baking’ cookies [read: dropping frozen cookie dough on sheets] I made sure none the chocolate and nuts at the bottom of the bag got to waste. Qualitly control. Obviously.

Speaking of quality testing I think I need to practice some with a certain something in my freezer… Enjoy your Wednesday and stay cool!

 

Happiness inducing today: Finding the mango I’d bought a while ago to be perfectly ripe and juicy – the best.

Stay in touch!

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

 

 

Do your regular meals change once it gets warmer?

What have you been eating to beat the heat?

Cold oatmeal: yes or no? And what are your favourite versions of it: Parfait, overnight oats, oats in a jar, others??