Very vegan at Vengo and with Vivani

Why is it always so incredibly hard to start a post??? How about this: it’s a happy day, the sun is [hopefully as I’m writing this the night before] shining and we’re about to talk about food! What a surprise on the day of the week that combines both the What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday shenanigans. Oh well, at least I didn’t even pretend I was feeling the creative intros today. (:

* a note on that title: I was no paid by either the restaurant or the company [see further down below] but I’m a sucker for alliterations. Sue me.

 

WIAW_new2015

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact I ate out again? I wasn’t expecting to return to Vengo this soon again but Monday saw me and my mum spontaneously meeting up in Bremen again. I wish I lived there! Not just for the food but because we spent some time touring the city and it’s really beautiful. I might just need to take some time to sort through the 384756746 pictures I took and give you a little glimpse into our stroll. For now, however: food. Blogger food: hummus.

Bremen_Vengo_hummus_March 2015

Regarding the food, however, I was slightly disappointed. After my  last visit I had high expectations. Sadly, the Brussels Sprout and Beet Curry with turmeric rice was only sub-par. The taste was deliciously spicy but the vegetables were cooked to almost mushy consistency and that’s a huge minus in my books. Also, the amount of beets – not a favourite food of mine at all but I want to like them hence why I picked this dish – was lacking.

Bremen_Vengo_brussels sprout and beet curry_March 2015

My mum’s stuffed eggplant was infinitely more pleasant, though, so I can forgive that one low. I may ro may not have considered this my second plate and stolen more than one bite. My mum loves me for that ;). Clearly.

Bremen_Vengo_stuffed eggplant_March 2015

There was a reason today’s WIAW started with lunch because breakfast is about to get classy right here. Tupper-style. Going from breakfast phase to breakfast phase I can safely say the oatmeal kick is back. The past few months were decidedly savoury but these last weeks oatmeal has been the name of the game again. I can’t say I was complaining. Others would probably talk about how they craved carbs first thing in the morning but I prefer to see it this way: I crave sweet, filling and fluffy oats. With almond and peanut butter, please.

Oatmeal_tupper_blueberry sauce_almond butter

What has changed compared to my last long oatmeal-for-breakfast stint, though, is my preferred way of preparation or better yet way to enjoy it. Still cooked stovetop but  not eaten hot. Rather, I’m all about the mock overnight variety. Read: cook oatmeal with extra chia seeds, let cool down, put into the fridge overnight and have a delicious cold pudding-like concoction waiting for you in the morning. Try it! Along with nut butters I’ve been adding fruit sauces on top. Fresh berries might cost a small fortune but frozen are a decent enough sub.

Keeping up with my favourite endings I’d like to introduce you to a new discovery in my world*. Vivani is a German company making a genuine effort to broaden vegans choices on the chocolate market. Part of this are a number of snack-sized bars in enticing flavours. I’ll try to hunt down the other ones, too, but for now I can only speak about the White Nougat Crisp. Unlike you’d expect it’s not actually a white chocolate bar but has a delightful hazelnutty taste and creamy meltiness. It’s a huge difference from my usual choice of darker chocolate bars but quite good nonetheless. A bit too sweet for my taste so it might not become a regular purchase but the next time I’m craving a milk chocolate-like treat I know how to satisfy it. So if you’re vegan or lactose-intolerant longing for dairy chocolate this one’s for you!

* Disclaimer: I bought this chocolate bar with my own money and without the company’s kowledge of me mentioning it in my post. – or even knowing I purchased it altogether.  All opinions are my own.

Happiness-inducing today: My grandma being happy about me calling her after she had a rather exhausting day. It made me feel a tad guilty for not doing so more often.

Stay in touch!

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

 

How often do you eat out?

What is your favourite bar of chocolate? Details! Dark? Whole milk? White? Which add-ins or fillings?

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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
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
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.

 

Going for the goals [November]

A fresh start into the new week and a fresh start into a new month [okay, a few days late but who’d want to be such a stickler?!]. What better time to look onto my goals for November than the most marvelous day of the week? Thank as always to Katie for the wonderful reminder to appreciate the first day of the week a bit more.

Don’t forget that today’s the last day to enter my blogiversary giveaway to win some NuNaturals stevia!

MiMM_newAh, I’ll have to admit I’m not too proud on how I did with last month’s goals as October was a little wonky overall to say the least. But here’s how it went:

Do the Photo A Day challenge: Check. It was fun and I’ll try to keep up with it this month again, too.

Become more mindful of my snacking: Semi-check. I’ve noticed several trends and will continue to work on them. I -did- make some progress in reducing my chocolate intake, though, and every bit of progress counts, right?

Set up a [blogging] schedule: Check. Basically, I’ve played around with what I want to post on which day and at which time I’m best at writing posts. Still no fancy schedule or blog make-over but that wasn’t what I’d intented.

Get more sleep: Weeeell … no. While I had several good days [read: in bed before midnight – keep in mind that I’m a night owl!] I’ve found I can’t force it. Seeing how important sleep is this is another goal I’ll continue to work on but without the pressure of making it a monthly [blog] goal.

Time to take a look at my new goals for November.

Going for the goals

Change up my workouts

Actually, I don’t even have a workout schedule worthy calling that at the moment. I’m merely alternating walks and runs depending on how I feel and that’s about it. While I can currently neither afford [why are they that expensive?!] a gym membership nor commit to one due to possibly moving [depending on where I find a job] there are still ways to do this. My idea is to incorporate at-home strength training and possibly yoga into my routine. Any advice on DVDs – I’m a newbie at this – or free online classes is appreciated though Amy and Davida already gave me some tips.

 

Start a book club with my mum

We’d been meaning to do this last month already because she suggested it when answering to my letter – yes, I obviously wrote one to my mum, too <3. I’d ‘complained’ about there not being any book clubs around here so she came up with the idea. Since we picked a German book I guess doing a review wouldn’t be all that interesting but I’ll report back on how it went.

Find a better blog/life balance

As much as I enjoy blogging I’ll admit I’ve found myself spending too much time writing posts [anybody else having those two dozen+ drafts begging to be finished?] or reading other people’s blogs. It’s tempting to just ‘quickly catch up on a few posts’ and loose focus on what I should actually be doing. I’m by no means intending to quit the blog world but just reduce the time spent online and …

Socialize more.

Now that even more of my friends moved to different cities I’ll admit I’ve been feeling a bit lonely. Being a shy person I don’t have the easiest time getting to know new people though I actually enjoy it when I do. It’s obviously an added bonus of the blog world that it makes meeting alike minds so much easier but why do all of you have to live that far away ;)?! Anyway, I’m hoping to find ways to live up to my blog name a little more.

Not a goal but something else marvelous is Cori’s Count Your Blessings challenge that I’ll be joining. There’s such a lot to be thankful for in every day so I really like the idea. Maybe you’re in, too?

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: My sister offering me help with a nagging task.

 

What are some of your goals for November?

Have you ever been part of a book club? Also: Would anybody be interested in doing a blogger book club?

Are you good at socializing? Any advice on where/how to meet new people?

Beware of the hangry blogger

Once upon a time .. okay, a while ago – before I had even thought of starting a blog myself – I noticed several bloggers [but cannot remember which – was it you, too?] not only posting their meals for WIAW but showing the aftermath [empty plates and muffin liners], too. I’m all up for variations on What I ate Wednesday so I just had to pick up this fun [to me at least] idea that I saw at another blog quite some time ago. Not only will you see the meal as I start it but also the remainders as in: the aftermath of a hangry blogger. Let’s get from start to finish [of my meals] at this week’s party. Thanks for being a wonderful hostess once more, Jenn!

WIAW_halloween button

If you read my last WIAW you’ll know I talked about some progress I made but also noted I was still not there. One of the main struggles I have in terms of meals is breakfast. Yes, everybody’s favourite meal. Just not mine. When I wake up there have been only a few options I’ll decide between for months. Safe options that – while delicious – for the most part need to fit the criteria of holding me over for a while. Let’s just say that breakfast hasn’t been the time for changes and experimentation. Until Monday …

Breakfast October 004

Pancakes? Me? Nah, they won’t saturate or satisfy me at all ony leading to constant snacking right after breakfast: my exact thoughts before. But waking up yesterday I didn’t feel much of an appetite at all. Former [read: a year or so ago] me would have taken this as an invitation of skipping the first meal of the day altogether. Now, though, with a healthier attitude I finally decided enough was enough and to not just have breakfast like usually but try something new. Maybe it was daringness or I just couldn’t resist anymore after Heather posted another awesome looking pancake recipe. But after some veganizing and ingredient subbing action [get on board with the canned pumpkin already, Germany!] I’m glad I did. Not only did I conquer another fear meal [breakfast] and food [pancakes] but it showed me once more that many fears are needless. No, I did not suddenly turn into a fluffy pancake nor was I hungry immediately afterwards. Sorry, though, to all pancake fiends out there [as in: basically the whole blog world]: I’m still not a convert. These were nice for a change but I’ll continue my search for the perfect all-year/non-kabocha breakfast.

PancakesIn previous days such  breakfast changes [note: there were twice as many pancakes and almond butter joined the party after the camera had left the site of crime ;)] would have required cutting back at other meals and in no way trying something new for lunch, too. Sticking with this old habit, however, would have made my breakfast challenge seem incomplete. Also, I had a few cravings that I wanted to turn into a recipe. Enter twice-baked spaghetti squash with [vegan] Pepperjack cheese.

Twice-baked

Believe me I’m just doing you a favour in not showing the aftermath of lunch. The delicate squash shell was victim to some not so pretty cracking apart. Another blogger-inspired meal, by the way. Thanks to Amy for inspring me to give spaghetti squash another try. In between last week’s spaghetti squash casserole and this dish I’ve discovered a new-found appreciation of this pasta-like member of the pumpkin family.

Nothing could stop me from snacking, either. While I’ve been feeling the need for a change sometime soon, truffles have still made an appearance. Along with numerous other random nibbles, bites and – obviously – dinner. Somehow, though, I always end up losing the motivation to take pictures of every single morsel that ends up in my mouth throughout the day. Maybe sometime in the future …

Truffles

Maybe some of you feel like joining the ’empty plate’ edition next week? And does anybody happen to know who started the trend?

Questions upon questions but for now:

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Once more the wonderfully sunny autumn weather.

*One more note: Sorry for not keeping up with replying to your comments on my last posts. I’m currently not at my place and promise I’ll get back to them once I’m back!

Inspire me: what are your favourite chocolatey snacks? I’m not a fan of dried fruit/nut balls but any ideas aside from those would be awesome.

What is your favourite meal of the day and the best dish you had for that meal recently?

And the random question of the day [because Sunday clearly wasn’t the right time to ask]: Do you make your own nut butters? Which food processor do you use? I’ve been pondering the purchase of a Vitamix for ages and feel like it’s time for a decision.

Living up to my origins [Savoury Sauerkraut Bread Pudding]

Will you believe that sauerkraut has not been part of my diet for ages already? Yes, I’m German and here I am confessing that what you’d believe to basically be a staple food for me is not. Maybe my parents didn’t like it themselves or my mum simply didn’t serve it up because she knew me and my siblings wouldn’t eat it. Either way it never made an appearance on our table. Granted, my family is far from typically German – in the way we eat at least. Unless we’re talking winter and specifially Christmas, that is. When my grandma’s Rotkohl [spiced red cabbage] is a must – or somebody is going to throw a fit -, Grünkohl [kale prepared in a special way and stewed with smoked pork chops and a certain type of sausages] and other traditional dishes make an appearance.

Why, yes, I'm totally throwing in a picture of Christmas candles here.

Why, yes, I’m totally throwing in a picture of Christmas candles here.

But I digress. Sauerkraut. With me going vegetarian years ago a plethora of meat-less cookbooks have been finding their way into my parents’ house. One of these had a recipe for an oriental spin on the German classic Semmelknödel served with a side of sauerkraut. It’s one of these dishes that I’ve been preparing numerous times for me and my parents after veganizing it and I can’t get enough.

Semmelknödel

Unfortunately, though, Semmelknödel are a bit too involved to make just a single serving. Yet I’ve found myself longing for this comfort food during the recent colder days. Then I saw Amanda’s post for bread pudding and my mind got spinning … Vegan bread pudding – not that hard to do. Actually, I came up with a sweet recipe for it, too, which I’ll share soon. Back to the savoury, though.

Savoury bread puddingWhen I spotted fresh sauerkraut on a recent trip to the health food supermarket I couldn’t help but buy a bucket on a whim. Thinking about how to use it I remembered above-mentioned Semmelknödel and knew I had to satisfy my craving. Obviously that meant getting some bread – or in my case: a whole grain roll – which was a random way of overcoming a fear food. Feel free to laugh but yes: bread, rolls and the likes are still scary to me. The exact ingredients or nutritional stats? Not shown. And it’s still ingrained somewhere in my mind that they won’t fill me up. Well, I’m digressing again. All I can say is that this did most likely not just fill me up but satisfied my cravings for perfect comfort food. Bonus points for eating it with a side of candlelight. Who says it takes two for a candlelight dinner?

Savoury

Yes, this was taken at another day than the first picture.

Savoury vegan Sauerkraut Bread Pudding

  • 150 g fresh sauerkraut
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • olive or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp smoked red paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 whole wheat roll [several days old/stale and preferably with lots of seeds], cubed*
  • 100 g/3.5 oz silken tofu
  • 1/2 tbsp cashew butter or white (!) almond butter [roasted might work but won’t add the same mild and creamy taste]
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 75 g chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Sauté the onion in the oil until translucent.

2. Add sauerkraut, passata, 1/4 cup of water and spices. Let simmer at medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile blend the silken tofu, cashew butter, nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp of water. Set aside.

4. When the sauerkraut is almost done cooking, add the mushrooms and let cook for another few minutes.

5. Add the chickpeas.

6. Transfer the sauerkraut to a baking dish, top with the breadcubes. Mix them in just slightly. You still want most of them on top so they’ll stay crisp.

7. Pour the silken tofu mixture on top spreading it over the whole dish.

8. Bake in the preheated oven [175 °C/350 °F] for 20 minutes.

* if you don’t have day-old bread sitting around you can imitate the needed crispyness by microwaving the cubed roll for about a minute

If you want to feel virtuous while eating this you could do so while reading up about the health benefits of sauerkraut ;). Comfort food and good for you? It doesn’t get any better in my opinion. [And no, I didn’t lecture myself on all its benefits and it still was amazing.]

I’m linking up with both Kierston’s Recipe Friday and – because I know some might think of this dish as strange but [more than just] good – Laura’s celebration of all things unsual, too.

 

Happiness inducing today: A chat with a sweet old lady at the Farmers’ Market. She was 80 years old, not at best health anymore but had a great attitude. A happiness inspiration.

Enjoy your weekend!

 

Are there any traditional foods or recipes from your country you didn’t eat as a child but grew to like when you got older?

Do you like sauerkraut? Any favourite recipes?

 

 

 

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.