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.

WIAW_new2015

 

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.

Stay in touch!

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

 

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Pump[kin] up my lunches and cookies

Oh hey, a second What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday in a row!

Not making any promises of posting weekly meals again but I do plan on joining WIAW more regularly again. I’ve fallen into a rut, no, groove [stealing this from Amanda] and I need crave change. WIAW has proven to be a helpful tool of inspiration and positive pressure here before so fingers crossed I’ll be able to shake it off up again. Onto my recent still-in-the-groove meals, though.

WIAW_new2015

 

Let’s face it: office lunches are not glamorous. Unless you a) live in an awesome city with intriguing options [Whole Foods, Panera, Chipotle – none of which exist in Germany and certainly not where I live]. What’s a girl to do? Meal prep, right. I’ve actually gotten rather good at breaking this up over the course of the weekend in batch-cooking a different grain every week plus two stew-like dishes to go along with it. That would be casserole-y-fying for you. And yes, we’ll pretend that’s a word. Thanks.

Pumpkin cheese sauce

That above is the key to one of my favourite go-to dishes: a super simple – does anybody use the abbreviation KISS anymore??? If so: that’s the name of the game. – vegan pumpkin cheese sauce. I’ve had neither Velveeta nor Kraft mac and cheese before but rumor has it they tag along that ‘neon cheese sauce’ image so maybe I can compete here? Only this sauce contains a fraction of the ingredients of boxed kinds and healthy ones at that. It’s in fact not the first time this sauce is making an appearance on here but I somehow never shared the original recipe I used it in.  Given it’s a keeper I might just have to …

Office lunch_casserole_vegan pumpkin cheese sauce

This particular dish was a mix of sautéed carrots, cauliflower, red onions and kale with – what’s new? – chickpeas. All served up with short-grain brown rice I cooked separately and sprinkled with a generous amount of nutritional yeast. The non-glamorous way it looked after lugging it along to the office and reheating it …

20150211_office lunch

… and all non-tuppered packed up. I’m not a member of the Tupper club anymore – or at least not at the office. Granted, tuppered up has a nicer ring to it but I’m really fond of my new dishes.  They’re not actually new – but you’d have a very good memory if you remembered where they hail from – but I’ve been using them more than ever before these past months. A dish you can [but I didn’t this time] bake and store a dish in afterwards?! Plus, the vacuum is pretty amazing – that little ‘zipper’ you see peeking out at the left side top of the dish. No  accidentially lifting the dish up and spilling its contents because the lid wasn’t closed well enough …

casserole_dish

And because I like my sweet endings I’ll overlook the fact I did not like the picture and show you my latest tried-and-tested blogger recipe. Amanda’s vegan Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookies. I will admit I didn’t care so much for the actual baked cookies but a lot of dough eating quality control was necessary. In fact, I baked another batch shortly afterwards not only because one of my colleagues was really fond of them but because I was craving some dough. We can call it a win-win-situation and still consider it a selfless act on my part, agreed 😉 ?!

Amandas_banana chocolate chip cookies

And now that I’ve talked your ears off about pumpkin cheese, tupper vs. non-tupper dishes and the importance of quality control when baking I’m hungry and we can call it a day. Let’s chat about your recent meals a little below and as always: happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today:  Starting the day with a new breakfast. It’s a first step to breaking the groove!

Stay in touch!

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

 

Have you ever made a pumpkin-based cheese sauce before? Let me know of any amazing recipes worth trying.

What’s your favourite kind of cookie dough? Yes, the dough, not the baked cookie. My favourite baked cookie [shortbread-based] differs from my favourite kind of cookie dough so I dare to say others are similar.

Are you a member of the Tupper club? And can we still be friends now that I’m not fully anymore???

 

 

 

Oh, crunchy crunchety!

Oh, hi, we haven’t talked about food in a while, no? I’m a fan of keeping things  [semi-]regular  [interpret that whichever way you want to …] so here goes another What I ate Wednesday. I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep up the weekly or even bi-weekly posts but I’ll just roll with the flow and sprinkle in some food posts every now and then. Because we all need to eat and at least sometimes I actually remember/ am not too lazy to get out my camera.

One more note on the title of this post – or two, actually: a) I like themes and the amount of crunchy, crispy food made this a[n almost] no-brainer and b) I’ve been crunched for time [what’s new?]. No matter how little in general, though, there’s always time for food. Good food. Let’s get talking!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Breakfast. .. is such a classic over here I can’t wow you anymore.  How about we skip to snacks right there? Good. The first one is proof I can’t resist new products all the way even if they bite a hole into my budget before I can get a bite of them. Pretzel Thins, friends.  How good are they??! They’ve only been making appearance on store shelves around here since earlier this year. Too bad these are so. very.  good … I don’t like macro talk but: why am I even surprised they are? They’re crispy. Carbs.  Salt. A winning combination.

November - 2nd swoosh 109

While we’re at carbs,  salt and winning combinations let’s add cheese – I know Meg agrees. Gah. So good. I could easily write a whole post on this dish.  Actually,  I  will because this recipe needs to find its way into my personal recipe book. For now I’ll leave it at saying it is another autumnal dish with an addictive crunchy cheesy potato topping.  Who said healthy food was boring?  I’m a smidgen proud to say it got my mum’s seal of approval – a rare happening – when I prepared it on Saturday.  Another bonus of her stopping by – aside from the fact itself: help in shredding potatoes. And by help I obviously mean she did the whole task.

Crispy potato topping

On the sweet side another classic made an appearance again to save me. Save me  because the current intern at our office brought in storebought cake on Friday. Am I sensing a competition for employee of the month?  Watch out, friend, I’m up for it ;). Only I couldn’t be bothered to turn on the oven so no-bake it was.  Amanda’s krispie rice cereal energie squares have yet to disappoint me.  I’ve made them more times than I can recount and don’t think I’ve used the same combination of cereal twice so far. Though the best part is obviously that non-optional chocolate drizzle …

Chocolate drizzle_cereal bars

In its whole beauty below.  Preparing it Saturday night/Sunday morning was dangerous because I had to break of those imperfect bits and bites. Pre-breakfast nibbles of cereal bars? Why not. Probably mention-worthy would be that I just try to keep up the volume of cereal when making these, sub peanut for almond butter [more budget-friendly and there are no almond butter jars that haven’t undergone double-dipping action around these parts …] and omitting the protein powder. If the cereal mixture appears too sticky I’ll add some quick-cooking oats. Et violà: cereal bar perfection.

Cereal bars_whole

 

Wouldn’t you want me to be your colleague?! I hope my colleagues will appreciate the huge lot of work that went into these 😉 . [Edited: Demolished and my boss asked what kind of cake I’d bring tomorrow. They clearly hated these treats.]

And speaking of work that’s where I’ll likely be the moment you’re reading this so:

Happy Wednesday and see you again tomorrow for some Thinking out loud!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today:

Stay in touch!

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

 

Are ’employee of the month’ run-ups actually a thing? Enlighten me! And: Do you think I’d win 😉 ??

What are your favourite treats to bring to work?

Pretzels, pretzel things, chips: what’s your salty snack of choice?

Early and late [Eggplant Lasagna – gluten-free and vegan options]

Creamy, cheesy and comforting while not too heavy:  a single-serving eggplant lasagna that leaves you feeling good – and longing for a repeat. Vegan and gluten-free options.

Eggplant Lasagna 10

Anniversairies. Birthdays. Christmas. New Year’s Eve. Special occasions call for special food to celebrate. And Wednesday happened to be one of those special occasions – or at least for a fairly large group of people: World Vegetarian Day. In case you stopped by that day you’ll have known this already and seen some foods I ate to celebrate. One of them being a pan of cheesy deliciousness …

As an advance apology for the quality of the pictures: I celebrated World Vegetarian Day early [Saturday rather than Wednesday] but late at night. I’m not a food blogger so I don’t plan my meals according to the best photography times. Fail whale. But as I know I’ll be making this lasagna again very soon updated pictures will follow. Unless I slack at time management again – not that this might happen …

Eggplant lasagna 2

Deciding what I’d prepare to celebrate surprisingly – unlike in past years – wasn’t hard. I’d been craving lasagna -forever-. I mean it. Lasagna with all the fixings: Vegan bolognese sauce,  white sauce, cheese.  These three components are what -make- lasagna for me. Only: preparing all three of them is quite involved.  I know why my mum didn’t feature lasagna as a regular weekday lunch years back but just on those days with extra time. And preparing just a single serving of each because it’s only me eating?  No way. But I still had my heart and mind set on lasagna so there had to be a way. You get what you want after all. So I went with a few short-cuts: store-bought organic vegan bolognese and switching out the time-intense bechamel for a quick blend-and-go option. A magical vegan high-protein favourite jumped in to help out.

Eggplant lasagna 1

And preparing just a single serving of each because it’s only me eating?  No way. But I still had my heart and mind set on lasagna so there had to be a way. You get what you want after all. So I went with a few short-cuts: store-bought organic vegan bolognese and switching out the time-intense bechamel for a quick blend-and-go option. A magical vegan high-protein favourite jumped in to help out. The fact I don’t currently have any lasagna noodles at hand proved to be the smallest problem. If you’ve never had twice-baked eggplant in a casserole before you’re in for a treat.  However,  if you absolutely dislike eggplant you could easily sub it for real pasta. And mail me some lasagna noodles pretty please?! Eggplant or pasta, though: with the hearty bolognese,  creamy white sauce and packing in an abundance of nutritious vegetables this is good-for-you comfort food. And let’s not forget the cheese. Perfect for a little celebration. Or just any day you want to treat yourself with food.

Eggplant lasagna 4_plate

Cheesy Eggplant Lasagna

  • 1 small to medium eggplant,  sliced into 10-14 rounds [250 g]
  • 3/4 cup store-bought vegan bolognese sauce [180 g] – I used this organic brand OR prepare your own [see notes]
  • 3.5 oz silken tofu [100 g/ 1/3rd of a regular package]
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh spinach, chopped – vary the amount according to preference [I had a lot to use up so went with ~ 3 oz]
  • 1/2 cup vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots, chopped/ diced finely [about 100 g]
  • 1/4 cup [~ 28 g] [vegan] shredded cheese [Daiya is a great vegan meltable option]

 

  1. Grease a single-serving baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Layer the eggplant slices in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes to release some of their water content. Squeeze between kitchen paper to remove as much water as possible but don’t stress too much.
  3. Places the rounds on a sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven for twenty minutes,  flipping the eggplant once in between to brown evenly on both sides.
  4. Blend the silken tofu with a generous grating of nutmeg plus salt and pepper to taste.
    Bring the bolognese sauce to a low boil on the stove.  Add the vegetables and let simmer for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables are a little more tender. They should still have some bite, though.
  5. Assemble by speading a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish.
    Top with spinach and a few spoonfuls of white sauce.
    Layer half of the eggplant slices on top. Spread with more tomatoe sauce.
  6. Stir the cheese into the remaining white sauce,  add a splash of non-dairy milk for a more spreadable consistency. Spread on top of the lasagna.
    Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Notes:

This is gluten-free if you use a gluten-free bolognese or marinara sauce.
Make it vegan by using vegan cheese like Daiya. Mixing vegan cheese with a sauce like here helps it melt better.

I’m sharing this with Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Recipe of the Week, Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-free Wednesday and GlutenFreeFridays.

Happiness-inducing today: Having the day off of work due to a public holiday.

Stay in touch!

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

 

What is a dish that screams ‘special occasion’ to you?

Do you make lasagna completely from scratch or use a few short-cuts? I can’t be the only one there.

WIAW: Celebrating World Vegetarian Day [early]

Yay for coincidences! What better day to celebrate today being today than a gloriously food-filled What I ate Wednesday?! And obviously even more so Vegan Wednesday – shhhh … mark November 1st in your calendars already [I’ll let you know why in time]! For anybody still clueless:  Happy World Vegetarian Day! Even if you’re not an all-out veg-head the mere fact that you’re a foodie is good enough for me. Thanks to the probably not entirely veg but definitely veggie-loving Jenn for hosting!

 ]One more thing before diving into the food: I might be vegetarian, took the minute to play around with the WIAW button and gave a shout-out about World Vegetarian Day [again]. But that doesn’t change anything about what I said before. No matter which diet we’re all united in our fondness of food – and that’s more than enough.

special_wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Because Wednesday as yet another office day [read: food eaten from tupperware] I celebrated early with a special lunch and will fill you in on what I might be eating the very moment you’re reading this post. Breakfast today is/ was a bowl of the usual: oatmeal with chia seeds and lots of zucchini grated in. Don’t you like sneaking in a serving of vegetables you hardly remember eating despite the fact you added it yourself?  I kid you not. I start eating and don’t even think about it. With coconut flour, apple chunks and cocoa added it’s simply not detectable. Or at least not in semi-sleepy state …

oat bran_zucchini_peanut flour[and because I’m unable to take pictures in said sleepy state you’re getting a recycled picture. Just imagine cocoa and almond butter added]

New and happening before I even got started on breakfast: coffee!  Yes. Me, the “who cares about coffee??” tea fiend. Granted,  I still think coffee is overrated. But I decided that at 23 and working in an office of coffee drinkers I should at least give it a go. True coffee purists will shake their head at the fact I bought the granulated kind. To each their own.  So how was it? Better than I guessed. I added some of NuNaturals’ Simple Syrup and only a splash of almond milk.  However, I have to admit I felt a little … funky afterwards. Maybe it’s just getting used to it?

New in 004

Let’s talk lunch because I’m waaay excited.  A lasagna craving has stuck around for me for-ev-er. The only problem? My cupboards are still ridiculously crammed with all kinds of grains, flours, snacks and whatever else – but no lasagna sheets. I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t buy any new pantry staples until I’ve made a dent in my current ones. What’s a lasagna – longing vegetarian to do? Eggplant to the rescue. And that’s despite being torn in between liking and despising this vegetable.

Eggplant lasagna_pre-baking

Trust me: this dish is ridiculous – in a very good way. Single-serving cheesy lasagna packed with nutrients – and low-carb, too. Personally, I don’t mind that last aspect and still want some classic pasta-filled lasagna in ny life but until then this is an awesome dish to fill the spot. It can be vegetarian or vegan [Daiya cheese melts well] and gluten-free as well. Tender eggplant slices mingling with [storebought] a duo of sauces, fresh spinach and cheese. I had a hard time taking pictures as a) the scent alone was intoxicating [sorry to tout my own horn but you’d understand if this was in front of you right now]. And b) it was late both days I ate it. Nevertheless I wanted to share the recipe as soon as possible – it is too good not to and I know my forgetfulness if I don’t get to it during the next days.

Eggplant lasagna_right

Celebrating a special occasion calls for a special dessert, too. Perfect if it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon treat you picked up with the intention of saving it for a … day. This Coco Mylk OmBar fit the bill right there. I got a chance to review this flavour  before it was available in Germany. So I knew how good it was when I spotted it on special offer on my recent trip to Hamburg. Yes, I lugged home more than just that green guy. These hardly compare in terms of weight but don’t need to hide in terms of deliciousness. Given I’ll be at the office linking up from my phone by the time the WIAW link-up goes live just looking at the picture below will make me hungry/ look forward to returning home from work already. Oh the things chocolate does for me …

Ombar Coco Mylk

Happiness-inducing today: my first run in the new city and also first longer run in forever post-injury – mostly pain-free!

Stay in touch!

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

 

 

Do [or will] you celebrate World Vegetarian Day or any other not-quite-as-wellknown holidays? There’s a huge number of food holidays out there to choose from if you haven’t done this yet. I highly recommend National Chocolate Day and I know for a fact I’ll celebrate October 29th in style.

What’s your favourite kind of [vegetarian please!] lasagna? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

Meet me in pumpkin-ville!

 Autumn is a good time for change. Or at least that’s what Jenn makes us believe with her motto of falling into good habits. And why not? Even if fall is no better for breaking old habits or developping new ones: it’s as good as any other.  And while I’m sharing [part of] Sunday’s meals for today’s What I ate Wednesday it was a day that gave me the opportunity to try some new foods or test out assumptions. So let’s not ramble on any longer but talk about actual food.

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Breakfast included finally cutting into the monster squash. What can I say? It’s as sweet and crumbly as you could hope for. But I didn’t take a picture so decided you wouldn’t mind a recycled one.  There might really be sonething about frugal bloggingafter all. New additions to my squash were a stab of coconut oil and some coconut flour crumbles. Inspired by Robyn I’m trying to see if the oil will make a difference in terms of staying power and satisfaction for me.

kabocha_pot

Whether it’s contradictive saying this after showing the above picture or not: I’m not ready for fall – or autumn as I prefer – yet. The chance to eat all the pumpkin again is a slight consolation. And lunch was a case of dealing with my produce overbuying tendency once more. Honestly,  though, I just couldn’t not buy the best,  freshest-looking bag of spinach I’ve ever seen. Especially since fresh spinach is a rarity over here in general. Oh and did I mention pumpkin? Actually, I’d had my mind set on a potato spinach casserole but then I just couldn’t ignore the cut-up half of a butternut squash sitting in my fridge. While potatoes are an obvious match in this combination and preparationLuck of ingredients the butternut worked really well here, too.

Butternut Squash Spinach Casserole 2

Apparently,  I also wanted cheese.  If I’m being completely honest,  I’d been craving cheese badly for weeks until I finally picked up a bag. This is actually a point I want to work on: figuring out my cravings and listening to them better. There has been an annoying lot of days where I ended up being unsatisfied and snacking non-stop even when I just finished a meal. I’m happy to report this was not the case on this day. How could it have been with a cheese-laden casserole that aided in building up the highly aquired pumpkin glow. Come Halloween I’ll shine brighter than any squashes …

Butternut Squash_Spinach Casserole

Snack time rolled around and I felt another burst of cooking inspiration – and use-up-spiration. And here I’m wondering again: when in the world did I purchase all of the food sitting in my cupboards [and in fact taking up space I could use for actual cups and plates]. Rather than grab a bar of chocolate right away* – there would be plenty in above-mentioned food stash – I decided to venture out a little further. Making good use of the fact it was the weekend and I had a choice to go for something different than my usual packed snacks. Homemade protein bars it was. Lately, I’ve noticed I wasn’t satisfied with my usual snacks [fruit, dried fruit + nut bars, chocolate] at work and am looking to improve the situation. Doing the math in my head I know the one nutrient my meals and snacks are probably lacking in is protein.

tea

*okay, there was some chocolate happening in between. I can’t [and don’t want to] help it.

These don’t look pretty but again: taste beats appearance. With vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, coconut flour and some other bits and bobs these hit the spot. If you’re anything like me texture matters and to ensure that and my intention for a slightly sweet-and-salty bar I added chopped up dry-roasted chickpeas. Clearly strange but good to some but again: Don’t knock it till you try it. Just like with chocolate I paired this with a cup of my favourite tea.

Protein bar

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding the perfect parking spot in my street. Did I mention that can be a pain in the butt here??

Stay in touch!

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

 

Have you made protein bars before? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

 Are you on a mission to eat ALL the pumpkin, too? In that case: share your favourite recipes here as well. There are never enough for pumpkin, squash or whatever you like to all it. (:

Do you say

a) pumpkin or squash?

b) autumn or fall?