Virtual Coffee Date

It’s been a while so some catching up on each other’s lives seems in order. And what better way to do so than over a cup of coffee – or tea in my case?. So if we were having  coffee, tea or any beverage you prefer, I’d tell you that …

The end of summer always brings up lots of feelings for me.  While the sunshine and warmth of mid-summer days brightens my mood and lightens my thoughts, the shorter and colder the days get, the more melancholia sweeps in. Resentment about chances passed and not taken because there always seemed to be so much left of summer – until there suddenly isn’t anymore. Longing for a move, a different job. Melancholy, thinking about summers past when this was the time of the year school or later on university were about to start again. A time of change and the excitement it brings along – something I’m craving in my own life, too.

Monday felt like the first day of autumn and I wasn’t neither a fan nor prepared when I headed for work, dresses decidedly summery. Oh summer, please come back and stay with us for at least a few more weeks. Will you, please?

Tea_Cafe Gleichklang

After taking a sip because I don’t like my tea to cool down too much, I’d also tell you …

That we celebrated my dad’s birthday with pretty much the whole family the other weekend  [i.e. 10th through 12th of August]. It was a big gathering and really nice celebration despite the weather literally raining heavily on my dad’s parade. Nothing that would have dampened our overall mood, though. The family spent the whole weekend together and friends joined for the ‘official’ celebration – concert (one of my relatives is a jazz singer), dinner, dancing – at one of my parents’ favourite restaurants. Given this isn’t the most accomodating place for vegetarians, I, I wasn’t expecting much from the buffet. involved eating the most amazing vegan lentil ratatouille that I’m set on recreating. So good. No pictures because I apparently got so lost in a conversation I didn’t even think about it.

Speaking of my dad’s birthday weekend, I’d also tell you that …

I may or may not have changed my opinion on cheesecake [I wasn’t a fan prior to this]. I think this actually was my first time ever baking cheesecake, at least the American kind [German cheesecake is made from Quark rather than cream cheese and I’ve always found it too dry this way]. Using Amy’s recipe for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cheesecake Bars,  I had my first encounter with this classic. While I couldn’t try a slice of the finished cake – no eggs for me – I sampled my fair amount of the filling before adding the egg and if that alone is any indicator of the finished products taste: so good! I quadrupled  the recipe with just a few changes:

  • Using lower-fat instead of non-fat cream cheese [we don’t do the fatfree thing in this family ;)]
  • a good tablespoon less sugar
  • a whole egg because it’d have been wasteful to use just the whites [white for the crust, yolk for the filling]
  • And it turned out beautifully.

Mmh. It was a hit with my whole family and my colleagues – I brought a few leftover pieces to work – despite it being a ‘healthier’ option. We have a winner here and I’m keen on trying to find a good sub for the egg here because I want to have my [cheese]cake and eat it, too. If you have any ideas – Aquafaba? Flax eggs? More cornstarch in the filling? – let me know in the comments. Egg-free cheesecake has to happen.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you …

that I bought a new cake pan. This is an accomplishment both for the fact I spent money on myself without much contemplation and for the fact it’s my first 8 × 8 inch pan. Now this might not sound exciting or special to you but we simply do not use these size pans around here. Try finding one of them in stores – or spare yourself the frustration and order it online. Now I just need to decide on the first recipe to bake in my shiny new pan. Anybody else finding those ‘first time’ uses weirdly … exciting?

If we were having coffee, I’’d …

Tell you that I harvested the first kabocha of the season in my mum’s vegetable patch on the weekend. Yet also that it’ll also have been one of the last. For some unknown reason, my mum’s kabocha plants – she’s been sweet enough to grow them for me for years now – are dying prematurely, leaving just a handful of mature squashes. It’s particularly sad as kabocha is very hard, at times impossible to find in stores over here.

Homegrown kabocha squash

And then – or actually as the very first thing; we had this conversation in reverse order – I’d ask you how -you- are. How you really are. Because I deeply believe that a true friendship is built on sharing the good and the bad in life with each other. No need to pretend there was sunshine where you currently feel clouds hanging over your head. So: How are you?

Joining Amanda in letting the thoughts dance today.

Happiness-inducing today: Reading out in the sunshine after work – it’s colder but not yet too cold for this.

Stay in touch!

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

 

What would you tell me if we were having [insert beverage of choice] today?

Coffee or tea? Which kind/flavour?

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Fulfilling blogger duties – with food

Some coincidences make me laugh. I never eat anything merely for the blog but looking at my meals from the past days I did pretty well at fullfilling blog world [food] duties with my meals. Good to know because I wouldn’t have rejoiced about being kicked out of this circle of awesome people soon. And while we’re on the topic of blog world duties I’m not missing out on everybody’s favourite mid-week party over at Jenn’s, either. Here’s to What I ate Wednesday featuring typical blogger fare.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

First up let me introduce our special guest – or: get all giddy about what I found just yesterday. If anybody would understand my excitement upon spotting this little guy and his friends* at the store it’d be you – fellow bloggers and blog readers. So let’s raise our glasses to welcome kabocha back in season! Or at least over here because I know some of you lucky ones are able to find it all year round.

*and if anybody could understand me talking about vegetables like this – and yes, I know pumpkin is techincally a berry.

kabocha!

Oops, I did it again – and will over and over as long as I can find my favourite ! If you remember I confessed to my unusual breakfast of kabocha last year already. In fact,  I guess with that other habit in mind I’m probably an overall slightly unusual breakfast eater. Who’d be worried, though? All I care about is taste and satisfaction. And steamed kabocha with both hazelnut and almond butter –is my definition of satisfaction. If I ever was to write a [food] dictionary you’d find this combination right there.

kabocha_pot

The not-so-awesome part was that I only found kabocha two days before my move – which happens to be today. So no more stocking up. Crossed fingers for me surviving this nerve-wracking madness are appreciated.

Onto more good food for now. I’ve been trying new foods – or old rediscovered ones  – and quinoa of all choices made an appearance again. It must have been at least (!) a year since my last encounter. And would probably have been a lot longer because I didn’t enjoy it much before. Blogger fail?! Had it not been for everybody posting even more quinoa meals lately [or maybe that was just my subjective perception] I’m not sure I’d have picked up a bag. Okay, you won. It was good. My first try was unspectacular but then I decided to work the – for whichever reason – magical [pseudo-]grain + cheese trick. What followed was so SO good. Caprese baked Quinoa.

Quinoa caprese_II

Oh my. I’m still not sure what exactly my stomach thinks of cheese so I’m trying to be mindful of the amounts but I was tempted to add more here. Creamy, tomato-y quinoa with plenty of fresh basil, chickpeas,  tomatoes and two kinds of cheese. Drizzled with balsamic vinegar: Perfection on a plate. The recipe is simple but so good I need to add it to my personal online cookbook. Or in other words:  share with you if you prefer that version 😉 .

Quinoa caprese

Lately I’ve been finishing almost every lunch with this:

Watermelon

Not like I hadn’t eaten it pre-blogging but I honestly can’t remember buying any myself in past years. Amanda and Kat fuelled the longing with their pictures and samples at the organic grocery  had their impact, too. I’m not complaining and can now fully comprehend any mention of watermelon as cryptonite. It’s addictive. So much that actually taking a picture instead of mindlessly munching pieces once I’ve cut them up is hard. Hard enough so I didn’t have one to include in my currently post. #Bloggerfail??

Mini PB cheesecakes

Not a fail but not yet a recipe were these individual refined sugar-free peanut butter cheesecakes. I’m posting this first picture mostly to keep myself accountable or as a reminder to stick with testing. I just need to tweak them a bit more before I’m ready to share the details with you.

And to finally answer my question why so stereotypical: Because every blogger keen on quinoa, kissing kabocha, considering watermelon kryptonite or writing odes to a oatmeal/ whichever kind of nut butter/ you name it is so right.* For more typical and not-so-typical blogger fare head over to Jenn’s.

*[That does not ring true for green smoothies, though. Sorry.]

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: A chat about animal-shaped clouds, childhood and flying with three older ladies on a train – another wonderful case of talking to strangers .


Stay in touch!

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

 

Quinoa: yay or nay? Tell me your favourite recipes!

What is your [fruit] cryptonite?

Can you find kabocha all-year round or is it a seasonal vegetable for you, too? Tell me I’m not the only one who has to spend almost six months without it.