What I ate Wednesday: a restaurant review and rediscovering sweet lentils

Look who’s joining Jenn’s weekly food party! It feels like forever since my last What I ate Wednesday. Today’s post will also be quite interesting for Vegan Wednesday visitors as you’ll see in a minute. Thanks to our hosts!

WIAW_new2015

Going along with one of my goals and the accountability coming along with it I decided I’d [try to] document my times eating out through restaurant reviews. Especially because I like reading those myself before choosing a place to eat and I’ve never done those before. It’s a further incentive to seek out new eateries. Without further ado: my first one.

The location: Vengo in Bremen [Ostertorsteinweg 91] – an all-vegetarian, mostly vegan venue focusing on fresh vegetables and whole foods without artificial flavourings or additives. It’s a small restaurant located amidst many little clothing stores and right next to a larger health food store [a “Reformhaus” in this case].

20150207_Vengo_impression

Overall atmosphere: A hint of flower power hippie flair is surrounding the venue and I liked it a lot. You shouldn’t be afraid of making fairly close contact with strangers. Being a small and apparently popular place with only a few larger tables you’re likely to share one with others. I didn’t mind and the people-watching and getting a chance to glance at others’ plates before placing your order is always a bonus to me. We were lucky to share our table with nice strangers.

20150207_Vengo tea

The service: absolutely flawless. Fitting right in with above-mentioned hippie flair the waiters were very friendly, relaxed and happy despite the restaurant being crowded. They immediately made us feel home and like at a friend’s place.

The food: nothing short of amazing. From past restaurant mentions you might remember my disappointment in vegan dishes at ‘regular’  restaurants. However, Vengo as a vegetarian venue hit. the. spot for me. The menu consists of two soups plus three entrees and changes weekly. Additionally, there’s a selection of housemade cakes and cupcakes plus a huge salad/tapas bar.

20150207_Mum's entree

My mum ordered a large plate of mixed salad bar items – choice of either Asian or Mediterranean focus – as her main. My choice was the Morrocan stewed vegetables with couscous from the weekly menu. Aside from the vegetables being slightly too tender for my liking I enjoyed this dish a lot.

20150207_Vengo_Morrocan Vegetables_Couscous

The serving sizes were perfect, too. I often find restaurant servings either  too large or too small – and too greasy. Neither was the case here. I’ll admit I wasn’t sure I’d be satisfied when I first saw my plate. But I took my time eating and found it was just right. My mum was happy, too. She ended up feeling like dessert, too, so selected a peach upside – down cake from the dessert case. I’m noticing more and more I’m not a cake person [definitely a chocolate fiend, though] so I wasn’t too impressed but given my mum liked it I won’t let that deter my opinion of the Restaurant.

20150207_Vengo cake

Final verdict: I’d come back to Vengo any day and whole-heartedly recommend it to anybody visiting the Northern German area. Delicious fresh vegetable-centered cuisine void of vegetarian fake-meats at reasonable prices – five stars.

Because we’re on the topic of  my food-related goals already it seems like the right time to share my progress in another area: trying other bloggers’ recipes. To end on a sweet note once again first up on my list were Ambitious Kitchen’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lentil Blondies.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lentil Blondies

That’s a moutful to say – and eat. I was very skeptical of the lentil base here. Previous attempts at legume-based baked goods were a-okay for me but not what I’d have shared with colleagues. These, however? No need to worry. Monique knows what she’s doing and peanut butter

If you can’t visit Vengo – and yes, I realize a lot you of won’t unless you finally decide to pack your bags and come visit me 😉 I recommend drowning your sorrows in these peanut butter chocolate chip bars. They’re basically health food after all. You’re probably in the kitchen already or at least off to track down some food – it’s no secret reading WIAWs makes one hungry reader – so:

Talk to you soon!

Happiness-inducing today: Returning home after work to find a surprise package from my sister in the mail.

Stay in touch!

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

What are your experiences with legume-based sweet baked goods? Feel free to share a link to your favorite recipe – if you have one – in the comments.

Restaurant reviews: yay or nay?

Tell me about your favorite meal out lately!

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Help me SMARTen up my goals!

Hello!

Are we really a full week [+ one day] into the new year already?! It’s crazy. Does anybody else hope 2015 will slow down a liiiittle compared to last year? I sure do. Anyway, hopes are a good bridge to what I actually want to think about out loud. More specifically, the goals I hope to achieve during the next twelve months. Thanks to Amanda for hosting this great link-up another year [yes, I expect her to keep up with it and not change her mind 😉 ].

Thinking-Out-Loud

Despite previously saying I wasn’t really  into setting resolutions for a new year nearing the end of 2014 I felt the strong urge to write down some goals and post them for the [blog] world to see.  Keyword accountability! Part of why I decided on this was that I know there’s change coming up for me in anyway so might as well use that drift, right? Plus, a few of the things I want to change are long overdue and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to that feeling of constant procrastination.  Not good. So hi there, 2015, you’d better be awesome. Or rather: I figure I have to make an effort to create a better year than the last. Hence the goals so let’s get …

Going for the goals

The one part of goal-setting that probably kept me from it in the past was that I couldn’t figure out how to make them SMART [Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely]. And that’s where I’d appreciate to hear your ideas! I jotted down my overall goals but would appreciate your help in making them SMART.

Food/cooking

Lately, I’ve found myself sticking to the same few dishes throughout the week and only getting a little more creative on the weekends.

1. Use up what’s in my pantry before buying more.

Hello, overbuyer. It’s pretty unbelievable just how much food I managed to pile up throughout all of my moves and in general. My excuse for not using certain ingredients so far was saving them for specific occasions [that clearly never happened …] but that has to stop now. Popular among German [vegan] bloggers Carola inspired this with her Use up along challenge.

SMART: Go through my pantry and create a list of everything in there, then meal plan around these items.

2. Try other bloggers’ recipes.

There’s a growing list of recipes I want to recreate and it’s about time I tackle these in 2015. I’ll update you on my progress because if you’re anything like me you’re more likely to try a recipe that others have prepared and recommended before.

SMART: Post a list of recipes I want to try and cross them off once I did.

3. Eat out more often.

This isn’t contradictory to my first goal as I hardly ever ate out last year. It’s generally not too common over here but for me, my ED has been playing a role in my hesitation here, too. My goal is to eat out at least 12 times this year making it – you guessed it – once a month on average. That might not happen every month but I hope to reach this number at the end of 2015.

Blogging

Blogging truly has become an integral part of my life and I hope to further grow and improve my blog in 2015. Back when I started I never imagined I’d still be posting more than two years later.

1. Figure out a posting schedule and blog more regularly.

2. Get back into the kitchen to create new recipes.

*Become self-hosted. This hugely depends on several factors that I have yet to figure out so I don’t see it happen during the first few months of the year.

2. Take at least one “blogcation”.

I stole this one from Hannah because I think it’s a great idea to take some time – a few days, a week – off from blogging to return with fresh ideas.

 

Life in general

Get up, socialize and live.

In parts due to moving but generally being an introvert I have slacked on the socializing part a lot last year – and I missed it. Actually, I’d call myself – to use an established term – an extroverted introvert because I do enjoy being around others a lot.  I can be quite bubbly once I set foot outside. It just takes a little extra pushing to conquer my anxiety.

SMART: Well, that’s where I’d be thankful for any input. I can’t quite decide how to get started on this.  Ideally, I’d

 

1. Get more sleep.

Sleepy

That’s a huge huge HUGE one for me. I can’t even recall how many times I added it to my monthly goals yet hardly saw a true change. One night of only five hours of sleep might be neglectable. But when it becomes a regular?  Red flag. My goal are around seven hours per night on weekdays.

SMART: Slowly drop from my current bed time to a more acceptable one even if just in 5 or 10 minute steps.

Turn off the laptop 30 minutes before going to bed.

Budget and save money.

Probably one of the most popular goals?! I have yet to figure out the details on this one as my attempt to simply write down every purchase in past years was … less than successful. I bookmarked some helpful articles but would appreciate input from those of you who have the whole budgeting business down!

94 Creative Ways to Save Money Today via Greatist

From Start to Finish – Making a Budget via Long Drive Journey

 

As you can see there’s a lot to do in making my goals SMART still so help a girl out!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Working with a  telephoto lens at work for the first time ever. I don’t have one for my own camera so using it on the job was a fun experience. But wow are they even heavier than they look! 

Stay in touch!

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

 

Help me make my goals SMARTer! Maybe you have or had similar goals before and can help me get started?

What are your goals for this year?

Kick in the butt to move out of the rut

Sometimes a kick in the butt – as uncomfortable as it is initially – is the wake-up call we need to start getting active again. The reminder of appreciating what we have while we still do when faced with a possible change in life coming up. Yes, I realize I’m being vague here but until things have finalized I don’t want to spill the beans. What I can spill the beans about, though, is that the above-mentioned kick in the butt was part of the reason my weekend was pretty marvelous. Not just because of the flowers and sunshine that have started gracing the area around here with their reappearance. Can we agree that spring is pretty marvelous? [and yes, I know that you know I’m asking this rhetorically every week]

MiMM_new

If you read yesterday’s good good links you might have seen Gracie’s post – and I included it not without a significant reason.  Because yes, I’d found myself in that [seemingly at first glance from the outside] all-too-comfortable rut again after moving back into my apartment. Most of my friends from university have moved to other cities which meant I didn’t get to reunite with a group of familiar faces. Luckily work has been keeping me busy throughout the week so I didn’t find myself missing anything in the evenings. Much more so come the weekends, though. Going on walks, reading or watching movies at home is only so much when on your own. And no, I neither am nor was I ever happy with this situation however much I tried to convince myself I was enjoying it. Because I’m naturally introverted. Yet even introverts need togetherness and I’ve found I do more than I and others around me assume. But at the same time I have a hard time changing things and move on. Simply because I don’t know how and where to start.

yellow_flowers_tree

This weekend offered a pleasant change and gave me a taste of socializing and enjoying life. All the while shifting the focus from food to just livingsomething I’d admittedly been neglecting. It’s amazing how little it takes to turn things around for a fresh start: A short text to a girl I met several months ago shortly before moving and we met at a vegan outdoor market. So yes, food was included. Lots of it, in fact. The kind that’s proof vegan can be far from healthy food, too ;). And I can say I guiltlessly enjoyed chocolates, dips, bites of greasy vegan gyros and my first taste of baklava. All the while chatting, laughing and not thinking about calories. So much that I didn’t even think about taking pictures. Bad blogger? Maybe. Bad time? Certainly not.  Coming home to my apartment I realized how much more I need those semi-spontaneous times out. Sweet, sweet times like those marshmallows I snagged. Vegan health comfort food at its very best ;).

Marshmallows

Like Gracie pointed out an important step is to admit this to others. Important, yes – and hard. I felt like admitting to the fact that I was stuck and didn’t know how to get moving again was embarrassing. The feeling of being a negative Nancy when I had so much to be thankful for: why? For me it were numerous of the reasons Gracie lists in her post. Whatever it was, though, the above-mentioned kick in the butt was much needed. I can’t say for sure it won’t take a few more for me to actually make a huge change but I’m starting with small ones now.

That means making the most of my current actually quite marvelous situation and trying not to worry too much about the changes the future’s going to bring. Here’s to getting those trees planted.

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Talking to a blend via Skype.

Stay in touch!

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

 

How do you get out of ruts?

What’s your favourite way of meeting new people [for the non-party types]?

 

Regret – it’s what you make from it

Another Monday, another fresh start with a clean slate after the past week. Time to evaluate what went well and what could use improvement which we might follow up by setting [smaller or bigger] goals to change things. And yes, Mondays are indeed a marvelous chance for reflection. Having just moved back into my apartment after several months at my parents make this a special occasion for some long-term evaluation.

MiMM_new

Do you ever feel like running in circles completely overwhelmed but with no way out? And then it just takes somebody asking the very right questions to make you notice you’ve already known the solution or at least the root of the problem all the time? Whether or not you can relate [anybody?] it’s been just like that for me lately. long with my move – already in the days, weeks even, leading up to it – came the return of an old acquaintance. And one I didn’t welcome back with open arms: Regret.

Looking back at the past months of living at my parents’ house I suddenly felt so much regret. Regret for opportunities I didn’t take. Questions I didn’t ask. Decisions I didn’t make. In the end, though, regret is about realizations which in itself can be positive and actually help us progress in life. Regret focuses on the past and we can’t change that anymore  – however much we want to and if we like this fact or not. What we can influence, though, is the future. By choosing not to regret [as much] anymore and preventing ourselves from regret in the first place.

Saying all that my goal is to regret less and have less reasons for regret. The latter might be even harder than the former for me, admittedly, because it means taking opportunities when offered. I’m stressing the less here knowing myself and that I don’t feel able to say yes all of the time for now. Just taking invitations and stepping out of my comfort zone every now and then would be an improvement already. Focussing on a certain number of ‘challenges’ per week will only set me up for failure in the first place – and with failure comes regret. Nevertheless, I know it’ll take some pushing from the outside, too, and I think there is a number of blends out there [you know I mean you] that are more than willing to be just that encouragement :).

It’s interesting to see how my non-resolutions [unintentionally] find their way into my life and the smaller changes I’m striving for. Even though I actually didn’t look at the post again since and hadn’t thought about which tangible everyday goals I might derive from the as the year would progress back then. Maybe destiny knew and influenced my choice? Either way I feel life has its way of giving us hints on where we should head. And for now I guess that’ll mean back to the grind for most of us – though rumor has it some of you are experiencing the joy of a long weekend? – so:

Happy Monday!

 

Happiness inducing today: Enjoying a relaxed Sunday morning.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Do you feel regret often?

How do you handle it? Let it get you down? Use it as a chance for change?

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on blogger guilt

Pinch me, please. Why did the weather gods have the brilliant [irony alert] idea of playing catch-up on winter just in time for my birthday?? If I could I’d remove all therometres around me only so I wouldn’t have to face the facts: – 11.5 °C/11 °F?! Frosty the Snowman might be the only one to rejoice …

Speaking of catch-up in terms of blogging … speaking of guilt …

Don't stress.

[Just to say it right away: What I’m about isn’t supposed to be a rant. It’s just what’s been going through my mind and maybe one or the other can relate?]

Like I’ve mentioned before my internet access or the time I get to use it has been cut down majorly since moving back in with my parents. No access at work and a restricted time at home haven’t allowed me as much time to blog as I used to have. Nonetheless, blogging has become an integral part of my life I don’t want to miss anymore. The friendships, the support, the inspiration … it’s marvelous. Just ask my mum how excited I get about meeting blends, connecting with all of you online, taking pictures and writing posts :D. By now my whole family has understood that blogging is way more than just another hobby to me.

Only there’s a fact that every blogger will agree with [and Amanda put very wisely]:  it’s a hobby that can easily take up hours every day. Fun time for the most part because that’s what blogging is. The ‘trouble’ for me right now was that I wanted to both read and comment on others blogs as well as write posts on here. However – and maybe it’s just because I’m still so bad at time management ;)? – I quickly noticed that I wasn’t able to read and comment on as many blogs as before anymore. And I also noticed I probably won’t be able to post on all days I usually do every week under the current circumstances. Though – trust me – I’d happily do! [Side note: Honestly, how can our office not have WLAN? Don’t you agree a little bit of blog reading in between working makes you more productive, too 😉 ?]

But then it deemed to me: Do I stop reading a blog just because the blogger alternates the days they blog on or doesn’t find the time to comment on my blog as regularly anymore? No. If I like the way they write I will come back no matter what just because I can relate to them, we have things in common, share an opinion on a topic, … Looking at my [non-]resolutions again helped to ease my mind, too: Just live. Life is everchanging. We can’t predict what the circumstances on any day[s] of our lives will look like.

Especially talking to some blends and excusing for my lack of commenting on their blogs lately made me realize that nobody is mad at me for taking some more time to repy to mails or not comment on their blog because I haven’t found the time. It’s just me setting those expectations [and wanting to comment and let you know I’m reading because I still do]. So what is this post all about? It’s about a realization I made to relax. Maybe some of you can relate and if not I hope you don’t mind my rambly explanation.

MiMM_new

So in case I’ve been reading and commenting on your blog regularly before and haven’t lately: please know that I’m still reading. And you’d better believe I’ll be back once I get full internet permission [yes, it feels a little weird to talk about it] again 🙂 .

Happy Monday!

Happiness inducing today: Starting my day with a great relaxing workout at the gym.

Have you ever struggled with trying to fulfill expectations that [you assumed] others had?

Bloggers: Do you feel obliged to stick to a certain schedule with your posts [i.e.: days to post on, a certain number of recipe posts, …] or did you do in the past?

How do you manage your blogging time in terms of writing posts and commenting? I’d appreciate any advice because I’m sure there’s a better way of time management.

Dream a little dream [of life]

Ask a child for its dream job and it will paint you a vivid image of its future life: being a model. An astronaut. An actress. A princess [okay, you caught me off guard here]. A fireman. When we’re young the world seems exciting and infinite. Most importantly: all of these dreams are considered possible – not out of reach. Children don’t set or see any limits of what they might become. They don’t dwell on whether their dreams are realistic, if they’ll make a proper income through them or the likes. The beauty lies in them trusting that life is offering them all opportunities and it’s just about following dreams. The older the get the less hopeful and more realistic we become in where we see ourselves in the future.

While my dream is still to become – or be? – a journalist I’ve gotten a glimpse into different jobs lately that offered me to see what else I might be interested in. Not even seriously considering these, however, as I’m [sadly?] too realistic to actually let my mind wander off and look into other options. However, I stopped being a dreamer early on. Whichever dream job I announced having there were people making me look at the nitty-gritty details  The same was true now: Just very briefly mentioning it others saw the need to give me a healthy [or hurtful?] dose of reality by running down the not so awesome parts of my [possible] job alternatives: requiring skills I didn’t have [yet?], not being financially stable, … Needless to say I got discouraged and have put the idea on the back burner not even researching it further.

Which made me think that maybe at times we’re giving up on our dreams too early.  Even if you don’t feel like turning your life upside down and take up a new job: what would be wrong about [day-]dreaming a little? Just letting your imagination go wild. Sourcing the possibilities. Letting your mind wander. What are we risking by looking  If anything we might get inspired or inspire others, connect with like-minded dream followers, change our views on certain topics, develop a better understanding of different work fields or show more appreciation in what we have.

While I’m not sure of everything I want in life and where it’ll lead me eventually there’s one thing I can say for a fact: At the end of my life I don’t want to look back and regret choices I did or didn’t make. Further encouragement came my way through a conversation with a close relative when I had already started writing this post. She’s been working in the same job for almost her entire life so far and still thoroughly enjoys it. However, now that her work environment is going to change in the not too distant future she’s been pondering to change jobs one last time. Possibly giving up a well-paid position to turn one of her hobbies into a job – even if it’s not making a lot of money but will allow her to follow her passion. Proof that – even if we don’t dare taking a risk now – it will never be too late to try something new. Letting dream become reality.

And think about it this way: Becoming a princess simply requires marrying a prince after all, too. Easy, isn’t it? Being realistic is good but getting lost in reveries every once in a while and possibly even following along with our dreams is a marvelous way of living life.

MiMM_new

 

Happiness inducing today: An amazing day in Berlin with my mum and meeting Lucie! [yes, recap to come once I’m not about to fall asleep while sitting at the laptop.]

Are you a dreamer or realist? Has this changed throughout your life so far?

Do you follow your dreams or hesitate?