The Two Thumbs Up Edition [Thinking out loud]

If you didn’t notice with my many past Thursday posts – or posts on this blog in general, really – I like me a good theme to align even the most random of thoughts or meals. Today’s Thinking out loud with Amanda is no different which makes me happy – easily pleased?! Even happier when the above-mentioned theme are happenings from the past week that deserved two thumbs up.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. If you read yesterday’s post on how I’m channeling Beyoncé when it comes to others’ recipes you’ll probably know what I used these for:

Cini Minis_Cookie Crisp_cereal

Two thumbs up for single household-friendly boxes of cereal. I usually get bored by cereal easily so buying a family-sized box of any kind is not an option. Needless to say I didn’t hesitate a second when there was a special offer of these smaller boxes of first Cookie Crisp and then Cinnamon Toast Crunch [isn’t Cini Minis adorable, too, though??]. Enough to both include it in yesterday’s recipe and for quick childhood-reminiscent snacks now.

2. The possible downside to the small boxes is the lack of any toys – and you know which specific one I’ve been pining for. Two thumbs up for hilarious riddles on the back of the packages. Can you spot the culprit [translated hints below]?

Cereal_back of the package

Hints: 1. The mouth is wide open. – 2. He’s not cross-eyed. – 3. He’s showing his teeth. – 4. The tongue isn’t visible. – 5. He doesn’t have braces.

3. I’ll be on the road – or rather: in trains – all day tomorrow again. From what I gathered in intense studies of blogs 😉 traveling by train isn’t actually all that usual overseas. Why exactly? Ever since moving out from my parents’ trains have become an even more important means of traveling than before. While I’m not keen on boarding a train already again tomorrow there were some perks on my last endeavour.

4. Two thumbs up for local trains with phone-charging opportunities. In a spur of the moment decidion I’d thrown my charger into my bag though I knew I’d only be traveling by regional trains that aren’t known for their luxurious “Ausstattung”. Is it sad that it made me happy to see this? Further proof of how dependent on my phone I am.

5. Unfortunately, this was not available on my commute back because…  two thumbs down for the scare I got when finding the [at least intended] last train I changed to on my way back unscheduledly was ended way before my final destination. A delay in the afternoon is annoying already but one at 7.30 PM meaning you won’t get home before 10 PM is … yes. Especially if you ate almost all of your snacks already. More bars the next time.

6. It’s been a while since I went all out posting flower pictures like in the early days of my blog. Two thumbs up for flowers in my favourite colour. However, I have no green thumb at all so keep your fingers crossed for these beauties.

Flowers_by Barbara

 

What better way to end a post then on the topic of flowers?! Just agree with me here.

Happy Thursday!

 

Happiness inducing today: A positive reminder that first impressions of others can be deceiving.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Tell me whatever comes to your mind!

Who solved the cereal riddle?

 

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.

WIAWbutton_1

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.

 

 

Celebrating [blogger birthdays], cereal and contemplation

While many of you celebrated a long Memorial Day weekend we’re getting a day off over here today – minus a [hopefully] short work event smack dab in the middle of the day for me. Meaning there’s even more to celebration in addition to Thinking out loud with Amanda. Onto that for now!

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. So… We’ve talked about the birthday calendar idea several times before and again last week. Call the newspapers [and while you’re at it: ask them for a job for me (: ] because I proudly present you the first birthday calendar printable:

As you can tell, though, there’s still a lot of blank space and the other months are looking even more sad – hence why I won’t post them yet. Read: Spread the news and let me know all blogger birthdays you know so the blog world gets to celebrate somebody every day of the year!

2. Yesterday brought further proof it really doesn’t take much to make me happy at times. Like this gem that turned out to be a lifesaver and let me sigh in relief when I remembered I’d packed it into my bag for work.

Just a few_May 004

Okay, maybe I’m slightly exaggerating but have you ever been stuck in a situation with, ahem, leftovers stuck in your teeth? Awesome. Only not. Picking at my teeth with my fingers even in a bathroom isn’t my first choice:  floss to the rescue!  I vote every office stocks it in their rest rooms. But in the end I know I’d better make sure to keep some in my bag every day.

3. On the issue of stocking up: Have you ever seen those people at the supermarkets looking like they were preparing for apocalypse or at least a flood? It’s a national holiday for us today and when I was at the store to quickly pick up one (!) item yesterday I saw people buying enough food to last for days. I mean, really? We’re talking about a single day of closed stores.

 

4. After reading this article I felt a serious inkling to get Google Glasses. Yes, I know they look odd. In fact, I’ve seen them ‘live’ before and made fun of them. But that was before I knew they essentially offered the thought recorder I’ve been dreaming of for ages now. Only I’m not sure I really want Google to not only track my web activities but my thoughts, too. Maybe the old-fashioned pen to paper option is still best. Some things are just too good to be true trustworthy.

5. Apparently the German weather gods are evil-spirited this year and when it rains it pours. Looks lke the weather gods made it a point to remedy every sunny day we get with an appt downpour to ‘make up for’ all the sunshine.

Recipe experimentation_May 076

It seem like we didn’t deserve a real summer over here this year – or at least according to my roommate who is convinced the fact we had a fairly mild winter means we won’t get a proper summer this year. Did I mention I don’t believe my roommate? Like, ever?!

6. Just for Amanda: Proof that aside from everything we lack – Sephora stores and proper cereal amongst others – we do toys in cereal boxes are still an occasional sight over here. And not just any but the much coveted colour-changing cereal spoons! Now who wants to buy a box so I can get my magic spoon?

Spoons_cereal

And that’s a [calendar/ weather ramble/ cereal] wrap so all that’s left to say now is: Happy Thursday and happy Ascension Day to those celebrating!

 

Happiness inducing today: Chatting with my mum on the phone.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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No questions for today just whatever comes to your mind.

Oh, and: Tell me your birth date if you haven’t as well as those of other bloggers you know!

 

Thinking out loud #12

Is it just me or are Thursdays particularly long work days? The weekend is so close already yet – another whole day to tackle. Friday afternoon can’t come early enough for me. Maybe making this in-between day just a little nicer and worth looking forward to was Amanda‘s initial idea behind Thinking out loud?! Either way I’m glad to know there’ll be lots of fun randomness to catch up on.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. In fact, I’m firmly convinced a little blog reading in between tasks at work makes me more productive. Aside from the much needed walking break which I don’t always get it’s a great way to relax my brain, get a reason to laugh or Now if only I didn’t have such a hard time to stop clicking on yet another link at times …

2. Look what I found when browsing the aisles at a department store recently …

Peanut Butter & Co.

Okay, name three excuses reasons why it’s absolutely necessary for me to splurge on one of those – and which flavour to try – and you’ll get a cookie. Alternatively just tell me that they’re completely overrated and really not worth buying at all [bonus points if you’re a convincing liar here].

3. It wasn’t until after I’d posted two weeks ago that I noticed I hadn’t shared a picture of the finished puzzle. I hope I’ll be forgiven by making up for my mistake now:

Disney puzzle

[Excuse the mess in the background: I was about to leave and tidying up clearly had last priority when everything was packed.]

4. If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while already you know I’m far from a morning person and sleeping in is my definition of a perfect weekend morning. But for whichever reason I got up at sometime around 4.45 AM 😯 on Tuesday morning.

5. Humor me when I decided taking a shower right then and there was a great idea to be able to lie in later on. In fact, though, it was my only option if I wanted to take a shower in the morning. After that my roommate takes over the bathroom in the morning there’s no way to squeeze in more than ten minutes before I leave again. Not rambling on end here, though, as I feel we’ve worked out a pretty good compromise with me usually taking showers in the evening. Everything to avoid extra rush in my morning.

6. Getting out the measuring cups – something my family didn’t even own when I was growing up – for the protein cereal bars on Sunday was odd. No matter how long I’ve been trying recipes from US cookbooks and blogs I’ll still scribble down the amounts converted into metric measurements to help me during the preparation. Yes, I totally see it’s likely for the reason I grew up with it but using a scale seems such a lot more convenient than pulling out all measuring cups, guessing amounts at the supermarket [how many clamshells of blueberries am I supposed to buy if a recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups??] or not knowing how big exactly a big sweet potato is? Any help on how you organize your shopping without buying way too much or too little would be appreciated 🙂 .

measuring cup

7. Just like I can’t explain my unusually early wake-up time and shower above I have to laugh at myself cleaning my roommate’s pots and pans without her even asking. Ask my mum: According to her I’m the best ever at leaving dishes to soak in the sink for hours. But for some reason I find it oddly relaxing to do the dishes?! And I’m sure Kaila will approve of my Healthy Help. My mum would be so proud 😀 .

8. Granted, now that I think about it maybe it’s an [un]conscious way of making up for the fact I’ve been going for her granola box every so often? It’s the kind I’d never buy for myself because I either get bored before the package is empty or I go overboard resulting in a sugar rush. Oh the blessings of having a roommate who happily shares her food. No, she really does.

Granola

9. Because I apparently can’t end a random post without including a quiz here’s a recent favourite. Because you really need to know which cereal you are, right?! Oh, and yes: I got Raisin Bran.

10. I hope you’re having a happy Thursday! We’re so close to the weekend!!

Happiness inducing today: Birds chirping outside. Spring is going to be here so soon [hopefully].

Stay in touch!

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

What’s your take on the peanut butter ponderings? Three good reasons?!

Do you have any fun roommate experiences to share?

Are you an early bird or night owl?

Measuring cups or scales when cooking and baking? Aside from the guesswork mentioned to me scales have the added bonus of less cups to wash afterwards.

Happy dancing with cobbler, chili and cereal

Hey, hey. How about we do a little happy dance on Wednesday? Come on now, we should all get dancing more often for those sweet little endorphins jumping right at us when we do [clearly too much caffeine in my blood right now ;)]. Really though: Wednesday is a good day for everybody. If you don’t like your job/school: Rejoice – only two more days until the weekend. If you do like your job: well, awesome, two more days of fun! And for both groups: Wednesday means it’s What I ate Wednesday time again and if that’s not a reason to celebrate and do a happy dance I don’t know what it. Dancing or not let’s thank our host Jenn [thanks!] and jump quickstep into the food.

wiaw fall into good habits buttonTo all German readers: don’t forget to look at everybody’s delicious creations for Vegan Wednesday, either. Meal time inspiration to the max with two foodie parties in one – it doesn’t get any better.

One more dish to use up a clamshell of cherry tomatoes I’d forgotten in my eagerness to eat my way through my produce stash before moving. And what a fabulous dish if I dare say so myself. Blogging apparently isn’t doing me well in terms of modesty ;). Believe me, I’m honestly not one to toot my own horn in real life. Not to digress too much but does anybody else notice they’re “different” from their real life personality at times when writing their posts. Don’t worry: I’m not secretly a b*tch but just wouldn’t tell you I was proud of something I created instead having a hard time accepting compliments. Okay, okay, I am digressing so back to where I was: this recipe is delicious.

Tomato cob.

While browsing the internet for recipe inspiration I happened upon the idea of Tomato Cobbler. I got curious because I’d only heard of dessert cobblers so far and not even had any of those before. A quick search brought up many non-vegan recipes but I like a good challenge so started cooking. What can I say? I’m quite pleased with the outcome and because I’m sure many of you find themselves with an extra load of cherry tomatoes this time of the year 😉 I’ll share the recipe soon. It might not look like that but this is strange but good. Any guesses on its secret?

Tomato

Promise: I won’t turn this blog into the weather show but it’s still freakishly cold so … chili weather! I got my copy of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean [more on that to come next week!] and the chili and stew section was the one I kept looking back at most. With my first bunch of kale in ages – what a bad blogger am I?!  – I prepared the Chipotle Harvest Chili. Naturally subbing around a lot but with a delicious result. It’s a bit unusual to work in a different kitchen and even running a lot of errands the day after my arrival I’m still out of many staple [to me, that is, not my parents] ingredients. How can there be no oatmeal or smoked paprika powder :)?! Funny to think how much my staples have changed since getting in contact with the blog world.

HH Light & Lean Chili

Above-mentioned errands – did I ever mention I’m a pro-buyer meaning I’ll plan to buy x number of things and come home with even more?! – might not hae yielded all of my staples. But I happened upon several new finds that I’m quite pleased with. One of them makes me feel a little more like a blogger …

Cereal

Yes, cereal. Okay, it doesn’t look like much but a) we can hardly find any variety in terms of healthier non-sugar-laden cereals over here and b) it was just a snack. Almond milk joined the party post-shoot because I didn’t want the crunchy rings to get soggy. While I still don’t think I’ll break out the cereal for a meal any time soon [it’s just not filling enough] it’s nice to have a new easily portable snack. And talking about snacks depening on when you read this I’ll be at work and ready for a snack. So grab one yourself and check out what everybody else is eating!

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Reading a good book.

Do you have a favourite chili recipe? Which one?

Cereal fiends: what are your favourite kinds/brands?

Random non-food question(s): Did you ever take ballroom dancing classes? Do you still know the steps?

Merken