Looking back [with food]

Two What I ate Wednesdays in a row? I’m surprising myself here but I really think these weekly food parties are a great way of keeping myself accountable in terms of changing up my meals and inspiring new creations. Today’s edition of looking back at how things have changed over the past years came about thanks to yesterday’s snack. You’ll see what I mean in a minute …

WIAW_new2015

Excuse the older picture of breakfast because a) I’m a repeat offender and b) while changing my go-to mixture and the toppings up lately I’m not up for taking pictures early in the day. Only you didn’t see the most important ingredient yet: nutritional yeast. It’s key. Heavy-handed is the only serving size here. What you see below is just the tame need-to-take-a-picture sprinkling …

savoury oatmeal_nutritional yeast_breakfast

Looking back: Upon first trying it I thought nutritional yeast – no, I won’t call it nooch – tasted … weird. Never in a million years would I have believed I’d become downright obsessed with it. Sometimes people ask me for my favourite uses and honestly? Cover everything in it. Or at least every savoury dish.

Because I got a last minute call asking if I could sub in for another teacher at the studying institute I had approximately 15 minutes to get ready and pack some snacks. Two of those minutes were spent trying to take a picture. #bloggerpriorities  Aside from an apple [role model for the students, obviously ;)], chocolate [nerves!] I quickly threw together a little salad to go. Salad? Me? I know. Totally untypical. My opinion on the piles of leafy greens hasn’t changed. Actually, you might not call this a salad per definition. What I did was quickly sauté some cauliflower rice with chickpeas [always!],.tomatoes and green olives. Seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Simple but delicious.

Cauliflower rice salad_snack_tupper

Looking back:  Several years ago this would have been lunch. The amount times three or four maybe. But still: carbs? Hardly any. While it satisfied me in the snack department and until I got home to have a proper lunch yesterday it’d never have been a substantial enough lunch. Eat your vegetables but don’t forget grains, potatoes or your favourite kind of starch, either.

Speaking of grains: Let’s talk rice! Short-grain brown rice, to be specific. I’m not a fan of white rice – the one my parents prefer and have on the regular – so for a long time it was couscous, bulgur, polenta, wheatberries or any other grain for me but never rice. Then I had my first taste of short-grain brown rice and it was the beginning of a love story. Or along those lines. Either way, the even more exciting part of lunch was the return of my cooking mojo. For some reason, I haven’t felt too inspired to get creative in the kitchen the past weeks. On the weekend, however, the mood was on. Say hi to my wannabe-Indian food: Cauliflower Chana Masala. This. Was. So. Amazing. So much so I figured I’d share the recipe with you. Be back on Friday if you like cauliflower, Indian food and quick meals.

Cauliflower Chana Masala_chickpeas_rice
Looking back: It’s funny to think how much things can change. Like I said ## macros are not a concern for me ## yet I can’t deny that there still is a fear holding me back from certain foods – including grains. It’s always been all about calories for me and grains are naturally denser in nutrients than, say, vegetables. See the cauliflower example above. I’m working on increasing my amounts of grains and all I can say is it’s a newfound obsession. I’ve been batch-cooking brown rice these past weeks and: can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Cauliflower Chana Masala_chickpeas_rice_2

Ending on a sweet note – that one will probably never change for me. Rather than talk about my daily chocolate, though, how about changing things up seasonally today? Ice cream. If you caught my post last Thursday you’ll know about the decision I made. And if you’re on Instagram you might have also heard of #pintpartyfriday before. Long story short: I bought my first pint of ice cream in for-ev-er. Or at least in a year and that’s essentially the same thing. After years of getting cherry 90 % of the times I’d buy ice cream at scoop stores now mango is my go-to. This organic mango sorbet didn’t disappoint.

Ice cream_mango sorbet

Looking back: It was amazing to just scoop it out of the tub rather than measuring a serving beforehand like I used to do. I’ll admit I didn’t eat the whole pint but that’s because I was satisfied before and there’s no point in forcing down food we don’t enjoy anymore merely to reach a calorie target. One day I might eat a pint. Or maybe I never will – this is what intuitive eating means to me.

And with that I’m off to grab a snack …

Happy [What I ate] Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Walking through the garden and enjoying the beauty of the flowers all around.
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How have your views on food changed in the past years/months?

Have you ever eaten a whole pint of ice cream before? I don’t remember doing it pre-ED, either, but the idea of a pint just to myself? I could get used to it.

 

Vegan Red Pepper Cream Rice [gluten-free]

Creamy and cheesy red pepper sauce covering nutritious brown rice and plenty of vegetables makes for a satisfying vegan lunch or dinner.

Remind me to expect good when creating impromptu dishes on a whim or at least keep pen and paper on the kitchen table at ll times? Because that’s when true magic can happen.  That is, if you consider super easy, fast and satisfying meals magic.  I know I do. As much as I like fancy meals sometimes [read: in 90 per cent of the cases] I’m ravenous by the time lunch rolls around and just want to eat. Like, ten minutes ago.

Red pepper cream sauce_2

The creation of this dish started with a mad craving for bell peppers. Actually, that began roaring while I was running errands already. Or else I wouldn’t have found myself with a bag of peppers at hand in the first place – you might remember my sensitivity to them? It seems to be better these days but I’m still very careful in terms of amounts.  Anyway, another characteristic of meals I was longing for – or constantly am – is creaminess. Red pepper cream sauce?  Cheesy? Yes, please.

Red pepper cream sauce_3

While there’s a time and place for actual cream and full-fat cheese-filled dishes it’s not on a regular weeknight for me. This version might not fool a die-hard cheese fan. Nevertheless, cauliflower, almond milk and nutritional yeast team up creating an addictive sauce that will make you wish you’d prepared a double batch. And why not, really? I may or may not have eaten this as a soup at some point.

Red pepper cream sauce

There are two key ingredients to the sauce: coconut oil for just the right amount of richness [don’t omit this!] and nutritional yeast. I’ve been going nuts about nutritional yeast lately.  Oddly enough,  I wasn’t a huge fan when I first tried it years ago but as of late have found I actually prefer its taste to that of real cheese. Strange but really good for me, however, was the impromptu add-in of actual [vegan if desired ] melty cheese. Crazy when there’s the nutritional yeast already?  Trust me on this one. The yeast for flavour, the cheese for that stretchy [is that even a word outside of the world of yoga pants?] cheesiness. More of that, please.

Vegan Red Pepper Cream Rice

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped finely*
  • 3/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • Pinch of paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp frozen or fresh chopped parsley
  • 1-2 tbsps nutritional yeast  [I will be honest and let you know I didn’t measure but just kept adding it to taste – at least 1 1/2 tbsps, though]
  • Salt + pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil, about 1/2 tsp

 

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 2 small red onions, sliced into rings
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup kale, sliced thinly
  • 5 brown button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice  [I used short-grain]
  • [vegan or regular] shredded cheese** – I used a small handful but the more the merrier
  1. Add the bell peppers and cauliflower to a small sauce pot and add just so much  water so they’re not fully covered.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Let simmer until the vegetables are tender.  There shouldn’t be a lot of water left.
  3. Pour in almond milk and add the seasonings. Blend until smooth.
  4. Sauté the onions until caramelized.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  6. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have realeased most of their liquid. Stir in kale and let it wilt.
  7. Stir in the rice, chickpeas and sauce. Just before serving sprinkle in the cheese, stir and let it melt into the sauce.

Notes:

  • * This tastes even better if you roast the pepper in advance. I just went the very lazy route adding everything to a pot and letting it simmer until tender.
  • ** If using vegan make sure to use a kind that melts well. I like Daiya brand.

Red pepper cream sauce_5

I’m linking up with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Lean Lena’s Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food RecipesTasty Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Friday and #glutenfreefridays.

Happiness-inducing today: Today [January 6th] is the birthday of this fabulous lady and long-time blend right here. Happy Birthday, Emily!

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Do you like nutritional yeast? If so: what are your favourite uses for it?

How do you create recipes: plan them in advance or go with the flow and trust in brilliant results?

Cozy comfort food and Christmas cookies

Look who’s back with the second What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday in a row? That’s not usual for me anymore these days and I won’t make any promises of keeping up the [good] habit every week.  This time, however,  I was rolling with it for the fact I was rolling dough that turned into a share-worthy outcome on the weekend and have been eating some delicious lunches as well. Actually, we’re not just talking about the second consecutive WIAW but also the second time I tried a few new recipes from other bloggers.

wiaw fall into good habits button

 

I might like my apartment but the lighting situation is breaking my blogger heart. It’s not like I was sitting in darkness – even if the food pictures make it seem like that – but somehow there’s no space to apptly position my food -and- get a good picture. Either way, this Cauliflower Potato Kale Casserole is too good not to mention it. By now it’s pretty much unneccessary to say I tinkered the recipe to my liking.  Out went the leeks I didn’t have on hand, in went mushrooms and – surprise! – chickpeas.  I also subbed the vegan butter for coconut oil and oooh my. I never want to eat mashed potatoes without this again. Best ever vegan mash I’ve eaten so far. Try it – you can thank me later ! And we also cannot forget about the crispy fried shallots. I’m pretty sure I made some inappropriate noises while eating this.

Cauliflower Potato Kale Casserole_vegan_theveganpact

Following up one casserolw with another? Boring. How about a little guessing game? After finally ringing in the Christmas bakery fun for this season last week I went with another relaxing – yes, I find it to be oddly relaxing – little baking action this weekend. Any guess on what these delicious plump little dough balls became?? Scrolling down doesn’t count but you might want to take a look into a certain recent post

Cookie dough ball_Christmas

Participating in Elf for Health this year it was our challenge to meal prep for the week.  I’ve already been doing that to some extent since moving here but made the extra effort to try some new meals.  And cook a different grain to last me for the week. I’m pretty obsessed with it after its first appearance in my life in months so fingers crossed I’ll actually have some left later in the week. .. Wondering about that mysterious grain?  Short grain brown rice! Probably not exciting to you but it clearly was for me after it took a considerable amount of searching. Believe it or not but unlike where I lived before it’s super hard to find here. I layered it casserole-style with my rendition of Hannah’s vegan hash .

Brown rice_casserole_vegan hash

Marmorkipferl. Like every country Germany has its specific Christmas cookie classics and Vanillekipferl are high on top of that list. While my grandma and mum have been making these every year I’d never tried my hand at them before.  If you saw my recent good good links you’ll probably  [or not if you don’t speak German] remember the recipe for vegan Marmorkipferl on the list. As much as I like classics I’m a fan of new adaptions. Especially if it includes getting to eat chocolatey dough they’re looking even prettier than the original.

Kipferl_Marmorkipferl_Christmas cookies

If you haven’t been baking any cookies this season yet I highly recommend starting. Kneading the dough [it’s called baking therapy for a reason], singing along the Christmas music playing [a neccessity] and spreading the love/cookies are part of what really makes this season. What are you waiting for?!

Happiness-inducing today: Getting a compliment for my outfit at work – new boots included – and feeling good. Despite the cold. I.can’t. stand.it.

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Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Christmas cookies: Do you stick with the classics or look for new ideas every year?

Share the link of  your favourite seasonal cookie recipe in the comments – vegan preferred but no must!