WIAW: Gone carrots

Once upon a time … I did What I at Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday posts on the regular. Yes, it seems like enough time has passed since then to justify the use of this expression. Either way, it has been a while and I’m not entirely sure I’ll get back to joining the party weekly again soon. Life is life or so they say. And who are they, by the way? [yes, important life questions to be pondered – at another time].

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Unless it’s your first time swinging by here you might remember I like finding a good theme for any such food posts. Today’s happened to come about completely unplanned. Actually, I have yet to plan any WIAW topic, come to think of … Oh well. Let’s talk about what I ate … gone carrots.

Yes, carrots. One of the first vegetables every child – or is it just us over here? – is served by their parents. A good choice indeed around these parts if the intention is to get that glow without relying on the sun that can be lacking here. Additionally, though, carrots have a lot more to offer than you might know. Allow me a little nutrition nerdiness because now that I’m on a carrot kick I want everybody to join. A little bit of positive peer pressure maybe?

Want to keep a sharp vision? Eat carrots! Just one cup already provides more than 100 % of the DV of Vitamin A.  Rich in antioxidants they also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases . While I also recommend doing crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep your brain fresh ;), eating carrots may help delay cognitive decay/loss of memory.

Okay, enough of the lessons, moving onto the food already!

Breakfast_bulgur_carrots_chickpeas_tupper

What you see above is my tupper-ed breakfast. It’s both an effort to change things up from my usual one and my undying fondness of bulgur [in addition to carrots]. My current favourite grain mixed with shredded carrots, chickpeas and soy creamer plus spices. It’s the perfect no-time-but-hungry meal. Only not as filling as I hoped. Much more filling, though, was lunch …

Chickpea Carrot Stew_bulgur_lunch

More carrots! Are you surprised? I was only half-kidding about the using their wonderful carotene boost to work on my tan while the sun is only playing the occasional peek-a-boo around here. No matter what the weather is like, though, the dish above ranks upon my favourites. Non-vegan in the original recipe found in one of my family’s favourite cookbooks I tried to turn it into a fully vegan dish. As of now, it still requires some tweaking but it’s good as is already. Red onions, carrots and chickpeas sautéed with oriential spices, added raisins and – post-picture – some soy creamer.

… and because life is all about balance I certainly will never forego dessert/snack time. I like to pretend raw chocolate was healthy so that means I can eat more of these in addition to my favourite, right?! Just agree.

Raw chocolate company_raisins_snack

Whether healthy or not, though, I’ve made the decision not to count those in my intake. Yes, that habit is still hanging around most days. It’s a little step but those add up to bigger strides on the path, right?! Eating chocolate is good no matter what so in case you haven’t had any today yet I highly recommend making up for that.

Happiness-inducing today:  The huge sigh of relief after a rather unpleasant experience. Did I mention I don’t like going to the dentist’s?!

 
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WIAW: Bring it back!

Oh, how I like me some good themes for What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday. This week? Well, you saw the title already so let’s bring it back! Old favourites or rediscovered food, that is. Because sometimes changing it up just means going back to former favourites or giving dishes a second chance. And for the jive Tupperware is making a return in today’s post, too.

WIAW_new2015

Starting with a recent new discovery, though. Or not completely new but finally successful. See, I’d  tried savoury oatmeal before  but it was … less palatable. I wasn’t going to give them another go but cravings are cravings. And cravings aren’t to be ignored, am I right?! So savoury oats have been on the breakfast menu almost every day for the past week. The key are enough add-ins and toppings to create a perfect bowl. My go-to combination is a base of carrot oats with nutritional yeast, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and mashed chickpeas. The bowl pictured below was my try at changing up the legume with kidney beans but it wasn’t as satisfying as my lovely garbanzos.

savoury oatmeal_breakfast

While my current job search has yet to come to fruition I’ve been giving private lessons to students at an institute in town every now and then. I won’t whine but yesterday was proof I’ll never become a teacher. Not like I had ever intended to, actually, but have you ever tried to get a bunch of seemingly hyperactive nine-year-olds to do simple math when they can’t even sit still for a minute? Let’s just say I have a newfound respect for elementary school teachers. You’re superheroes.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry

What that all had to do with my lunch? Well, since I was helping the kiddos from 12.45 to 4.45 PM I needed to bring some food with me or else I’d have risked eating somebody. I kid, I kid. Either way, I precooked some wheatberries on Monday night and topped a serving with a simple vegetable and chickpea stir-fry. Fun fact and one of those old favourites leading to today’s post title: Prior to eating this I hadn’t [consciously] eaten soy sauce in months. Why? Not for any other reason but the fact I’d bought a one litre bottle of the one and only brand [Kikkoman] but didn’t want to break into it knowing I’d move again rather soon. Why yes, I’m cautious enough – or anxious enough? – to worry about soy sauce spilling in the condiment box packed for the move. I make myself laugh. Anyway, now that we’ve been reunited I see myself eating simple stir-fries on end. Sometimes the simple dishes are really the best.

apple_peanut butter_snack

I’d actually packed an apple as a snack, too, but given it was a struggle to squeeze in eating my lunch I ended up eating it at home. Which was probably better in anyway since that’s where I was able to pair it with the best dip ever: Peanut butter. No, I haven’t abandoned my declared favourite but crunchy salted peanut butter has made its comeback in past weeks. Good for my wallet, too, because dang is my obsession expensive.

Because I came home ravenous after work – I told you it was strenuous 😉 – I snacked pretty much all afternoon while writing a letter. Before we talk about one of those snacks remember what Jenn stresses: WIAW is not about judgement. Okay? Good. Meet my favourites: chickpeas. Yes, you knew that already but did I ever mention I’ve been eating them straight from the can? What can I say: Roasting takes too long if I want food fast and they’re just so satisfying. Go judge – or try it yourself the next time you crave a savoury snack in an instant.

chickpeas_snack

Dinner … once more escaped the camera [as well as about 394948596 more snacks]. I’d tried to remind myself to take a picture for blogging’s sake but in my defense: I got a call shortly before, was distracted and then remembered when I was almost done eating. It was cocoa banana oat bran with almond butter if you were wondering, though. Actually, that’s my go-to  dinner and I’ll probably keep eating it until I’m getting really bored.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Smelling the flowers while being cyling into town. There’s one field that

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Have you recently eaten any foods you had unconsciously neglected for a longer while?

Are you a Tupper fan? If not: how do you transport your food to work?

Savoury oats: yes or no? Share your favourite add-ins!

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.

 

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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.

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How often do you eat out?

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

Why I’m no professional food blogger

Hello there,

Are you all curious about the title? Allow me just one more second to thank Jenn – and potentially a whole new bunch of loyal What I ate Wednesday participants acting as additional hosts – for bringing back the weekly food party. I already find it somewhat hard to join – as in: remember to take pictures of my meals – regularly but dedicating hours upon hours of work on moderating the link-up deserves a round of applause for our hosts. Or just a hunk of cheese.

About that title now? Well, do you ever eat something that’s OMG so delicious I need to share it with everybody? Good, me, too. But more often than not, I either a) lack any pictural proof of said food because I ate it too fast, b)I was too lazy to break out the camera or c) see below.

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Breakfast doesn’t show any exhibits of the absence of any and all food blogger requirements. Okay, some [my perfection side included] might argue with that sentence but in general? Not too bad. Stove-top vegan vanilla oatmeal with a pear, chocolate drizzle – oh, and almond butter added post-picture. Always almond butter. Why post-picture? Because I don’t like to add it all right away, then take my first spoonful of oatmeal and break apart the almond butter swirl, essentially loosing it as it mingles with the oats. Call me weird, it’s okay.I also need to work on my chocolate syrup drizzling skills but that would be delving into nitty-gritty details already.

Pear vanilla oatmeal

Lunch is by far my most non-food blogger-esque [do you like my neologism?] meal of the day. It’s the perfect example of disregarding all rules – proper lighting, setting out props, using clean, fresh dishes*. Nevertheless, this chili polenta bake with cheese was too delicious not to show it. Once I manage to actually follow a few food blogger rules and get proper pictures there might be a recipe post coming up.

*no, I don’t eat from dirty dishes, don’t worry. What I mean to say is I always have to take a first scoop of any dish hence the plate I’m about to use isn’t spotless anymore.

[Worst food blogger rule broken below: shooting with flash. I cringe.]Chili polenta bake_2

And apparently I needed to document my own little #cheeseporn. I can’t hold a candle to Meghan and Heather but was quite content all that melty goodness. Everything’s a little better when you add cheese. Especially polenta which way back I used to look down at but now? Give me all the polenta. It’s seriously funny how our palates change with time and – when it comes to food – proper preparation.

Chili Polenta Bake_cheese

And apparently I needed to document my own little #cheeseporn. I can’t hold a candle to Meghan and Heather but was quite content all that melty goodness. Oh yes, I like cheese and I cannot lie. On a slightly more serious note I will admit I still feel pinges of slight guilt in admitting this [to myself only because nobody around cares]. If vegan cheese was readily available around where I live I’d probably opt for it. But given it’s not and my cheese cravings have been through the roof real cheese it is.

Chili polenta bake_plate

Back to the pictures: the one above is proof that impatience is my worst trait when it comes to taking them. In my defense the light in my apartment is any [food or else] photographers nightmare so getting proper shots of anything is a pain. But it doesn’t help when I’m basically starting off hungry and once the food is plated can’t eat it fast enough. Planning is everything.

Maybe I should have also planned on how to end this post because you know I like those sweet endings. How about going with Throwback Thursday a day early [because Throwback Wednesday doesn’t have that ring to it] and showing you an old picture of when I was testing for Kristy’s cookbook? Her Chocolate Truffles were perfection. Thanks to my mum for hand-modeling in the picture below.

Truffles_keepin' it kind recipe tester

And that’s a wrap. Cheese and chocolate – what’s not to like?! I hope your Wednesday is going well so far and fuelled by some delicious food.

 

Happiness-inducing today: A hot shower on a dreary day. It’s the simple things in life.

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How much time do you usually set aside to take pictures of your meals for WIAW posts?

Stovetop or overnight oatmeal? I used to be a huge stovetop-only person but lately the cold oats have been more appealing ín the morning. If we’re talking oat bran for dinner, though, it absolutely has to be hot. No way around this here.

 

 

The little things that make life better.

I’m a firm believer that waiting for the big and bold happenings to make us happy is an almost surefire guarantee to keep us unhappy. Oh, the irony. If we only ever hang around wondering why we didn’t win the lottery or why that guy has yet to notice us we miss out on many occasions to smile. How this all relates to What I ate Wednesday? Well, the way I see it food shouldn’t be the only thing making us happy but if it’s one of them that’s pretty good in my book.

wiaw fall into good habits button

The little thing at breakfast: perfect setting and food. Kabocha that has that irresistible flaky-dry texture, the right balance of sweet- and starchiness. My favourite tea from one of my new favourite mugs. A side of brain food [to any Germans: Das Kreuz mit den Worten in Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin is my love-hate brain food of choice. So difficult. So addictive.]

Kabocha_breakfast

If you’re less quirky than me/haven’t jumped on the squash-for-breakfast train yet [why not???] this could be the perfect bowl of oatmeal. And maybe a side of sudoku or a cross-word puzzle. Yes, I’m a granny there but I can’t go without these.

I might be the very last one to figure out how to break the soup-for-lunch-at-work spell but I bought my first set of microwave dishes on a whim the other day. There’s no looking back. This is my personal lunch revolution. Even with my self-proclaimed soup lady status I can’t pretend I was too happy slurping them anymore after a few weeks. These wonderful dishes have allowed me to bring casseroles of all kinds to work and actually make me look forward to lunch time. Okay, I did before, too, but the perspective of hearty polenta-topped chili is much more alluring than a less chew-able stew. The dish below is an adapted version of my Polenta Chili Bake.

polenta chili_microwave bowl

This week’s snack number one: Crack. Pure, high-quality crack. The kind that you can only keep in your apartment at the most immense safety measures. We’re talking hidden in the back of your pantry, consumed only with closed blinds so the neighbours won’t see you. Okay, to lift the fog and back up a little: I won Meghan’s giveaway for some homemade granola straight from her kitchen recently a while ago forever ago. The reason I only received it right now is not the fault of everybody’s favourite Cleveland blogger [trying to remember if I know any other Cleveland bloggers who might get angry reading this …]. I asked Meghan to hold off shipping the granola until I had moved into my new apartment. Because first I had to try eat up some of the cereal, granola, what-not-all I’d been hoarding pre-move and then settle into the new place.

Granola_1

After a few bites I can safely tell you I will definitely not enter another granola giveaway at Meghan’s. Because I clearly hated this one. Kidding. The reason I [pretend] I won’t is because somebody else deserves to be treated to this deliciousness. It is SO ridiculously good – crack, remember? – that I refused to let my mum who was visiting the day I picked it up pack some as a snack for the road trip back home.

To be fair, though, I offered her some before which she enjoyed.  But a whole container as a snack? No way. Another fun bit I should add is my mum had a handful from the jar – by the way: how pretty did Meghan pack this up?? – and thought it was trail mix. That’s what Meghan meant when she called her nut: oat ratio high. And she was sweet enough to customize it for me nixing the walnuts and using a mix of cashews, almonds and peanuts. So so good. Oh, I mentioned that before?!

Granola_Meghan_2

For anybody who doesn’t live in Meghan’s immediate neighbourhood, is too impatient to wait for another giveaway or simply needs this granola in their lives – trust me you all do! – here’s the recipe. It’s vegan, too, for anybody stopping by from Vegan Wednesday. I hope sharing recipes for crack isn’t criminal.  If you don’t hear from me again I might have gottten arrested and in that case I hope you’ll send me granola care packages.

That’s it from me for today’s food inspiration but you might not even read this anymore as you’re already in your kitchen baking granola …

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding that some essentials I needed to pick up at the store were on offer. Nothing like a good deal, right?!

 

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What are some little things that make your life better?

Are you a crack granola addict, too? What’s your favourite recipe?

[Un]typically me

Today’s not your average Wednesday. Not because it’s What I ate Wednesday [not a surprise anymore] but because it’s the 100th Vegan Wednesday. For any of you who haven’t noticed me linking up with this weekly foodie event yet: think of it as the German little sister [brother?] of Jenn’s link-up. Even if you’re neither vegan – because we areed it doesn’t matter – nor German the pictures on the boards alone are a great source of meal inspiration. Either way: Happy birthday, Vegan Wednesday! And now onto the food:

WIAWbutton_1

You might already know it but I really like spotting patterns in the meals I’m showing you on What I ate Wednesday.  The last days with their ongoing heat had me strain from my usual fare quite a bit. Starting at breakfast already. I’m usually not a cold oatmeal person – unless having to pack breakfast –  or in fact not even usually an oatmeal person. Bran is my favourite form of oats but sticking with Arman’s recipe for Tiramisu Oatmeal Pudding I went with rolled. Or -rolled-  with rolled?! If you know me the mention of Tiramisu should catch ýou by surprise if you’ve been reading for a while already. Coffee?! Yes, coffee.

Breakfast and more 009

Much to my own surprise I actually found I needed to add the whole amount of instant coffee listed after I’d started with 1/2 a teaspoon. The recipe turned out delicious though I think since the cocoa powder I use is a ‘darker’ kind – the best! – mine ooks a lot darker than Arman’s. Also, I modified the recipe using chia seeds instead of the egg and thickened soy yogurt instead of cream cheese for the frosting.  For whichever reason I felt extra productive the morning I ate this … Could it possibly have been the coffee?? So yes, I liked it but if you’re like me you’ll want to double the topping  [or simply not eat half of it before actually using it on the oatmeal]. I might have actually been pondering the purchase of a tin of instant coffee – for oats and baking purposes only. Who am I???

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing II

Another untypical meal was salad for lunch. Not the salad salad kind, though. A huge bowl based on leafy greens doesn’t attract me even in the current heat. What does are substantial salads like this packed with chewy speltberries,  chickpeas, sauteed cabbage and covered in a fruity dressing with a little kick … chili. Maybe it was running out of one of my favourite chocolates and longing for the spiciness? We know that makes me do strange things.  As if eating salad for lunch wasn’t untypical enough for me already for once I actually didn’t mind eating a dish cold after I finished shooting the pictures. The recipe will be up on Friday.

Speltberry salad_apricot chili dressing

Now onto the sweet part of today’s post: No celebratory cake for the 100th Vegan Wednesday on my part but how about something that’s much more typically me to celebrate? Ice cream. More specifically: the new vegan Choco Cookie Dough flavour by DasEis.

June 009

Finding vegan ice cream flavours aside from vanilla, strawberry and chocolate is hard enough already in Germany [can I get some sympathy from you lucky guys overseas please?!]. The more special – and challenging – part about this particular ice cream for me: a stellar ingredient list [only real and organic ingredients like oats, agave and almond butter plus it’s soy-free] and no nutrition label. Meaning no chance to worry about eating a certain number of calories simply because I didn’t know them. And because I didn’t have to share with anybody I ate it straight from the tub. The benefits of being single.

June 011

For any German readers: To be honest I found this a nice change from the usual sorbets but a little too sweet and the chocolate taste not intense enough for my liking. While this ice cream isn’t bad I likely won’t buy it again looking at the hefty price tag. If you’re curious, though, it’s currently on offer at denns. Just because it wasn’t for me doesn’t mean others won’t enjoy it.

Happiness-inducing today: Unplugging for a few hours.

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Name one food-related thing/ habit that’s typically or untypically you!

Oatmeal, oat bran, steel-cut, … – tell me your favourite form of oats!

Because the question of favourite ice cream flavour is impossible to answer: What is the most unique ice cream flavour you’ve eaten so far?