Food Talk Wednesday #1

For the fraction of a second I pondered if I should try to play an April Fools’ joke on you but really? I’ll reserve those for my family. More time to talk about any healthy living blogger’s favourite Wednesday issue: food.

Given my habit of eating 3648594 snacks per day and forgetting to take pictures of all of them I sadly don’t qualify for Jenn’s WIAWs anymore. A full day of food – it might happen at some point in the future. However, I still ilke to  get a glimpse into others’ meals for inspiration and I like to talk about food [duh!]. So why not start sharing some recent happenings on my plate in my own way? Say hello to Food Talk Wednesday [or: FTW!]. Today’s edition features no dairy whatsoever so I’ll also join Vegan Wednesday. Moving onto the food already now …

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Gnocchi were on the menu once more and not just because buying a one pound-package at the store means you have to eat them days in a row to prevent spoilage. No, they’re simply delicious and super fast to prepare – win-win! The only ‘work’ that went into the making of this dish was preparing a vegetable-filled Italian-inspired sauce from scratch. You can hardly beat the simplicity of that and a pile – no measly sprinkling here – of nutritional yeast post-picture made this perfect for a quick no-fuss meal.

Gnocchi_italian tomato sauce

When meals don’t go as planned … you improvise and let the outcome surprise you. This is what happens when you intend to revisit your own recipe after a long time and discover your chickpea flour has turned … funky. I’m hoping it wasn’t due to flour bugs [why do they keep invading my pantry???] but it looked odd so I turned to whole grain spelt flour instead. Turns out the crespelle still work a charme though I prefer the nutty taste of chickpea flour in this dish.

Spelt flour crespelle_pancake

One of those dishes I’d almost forgotten about but was reminded of when a friend asked for a lunch recommendation. And when I’d already told her I thought why not have it again myself? So after a nice long walk I bust out my huge fancy skillet [that I hardly ever use because I’m too lazy to clean it …] and channeled my inner pancake queen failed at producing proper crêpes. Taste over appearance, though. Taking these pictures was a challenge as it had gotten rather late by the time I sat down to eat so the already not too stellar lighting in my appartment got worse.


A favourite recent but sadly not current anymore snack was edamame. And yes, I eat it frozen when I’m too impatient to wait for it to thaw. I’ve been buying those huge 500 g/1 lb packages at the Asian store for months and they never last long around my place. Like I said, though, it’s not a current happening anymore because I moved once more and there’s no place to find these wonderful green legumes.


… and that would close the first edition of my new little series. Partly also because I need to get back into the habit of taking pictures of my food. Yes, believe it or not but that has hardly been happening these past weeks anymore. But what once was a habit can become one again and maybe starting out here will bring it back.


Happiness-inducing today: My first ‘workout’ in four days. Is it just me or does getting sweaty again feel even better after a [somewhat] long period of [not entirely chosen] rest?

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Your turn: What has been a meal on repeat for you lately? Just one word for me: gnocchi.

Do you buy pasta sauce or prepare it from scratch? If homemade: what’s your go-to recipe?


Friday Favourites – 3/27/2015

Just a random note to start this post because it made me laugh and  realiuze that while, yes, I’m used to writing in English, the dates still confuse me every.single. time. Look at that title: To you [depending on where ypu’re from] it looks normal. To me? It’d have to be 27/3/2015. Oh well, I figure you didn’t stop by to chat about the differences between Germany and the US, no? Though it is interesting to see how much we differ in multiple areas of life but oh, well, another day. Speaking of another day: Blogging – as much as I like and have missed it – once more missed my focus during the last week. But I’m determined to bring booty blogging back next week.

Favourites it is today! Moving on to what has been happening and making me happy these days. Thanks to Heather and Clare for hosting!

… and starting on a heart-y note
Do you ever walk a route a million times and all of a sudden see a detail you hadn’t noticed before. That’s what putting down your phone while outside does. And spotting a hidden heart can only make you smile, right? I’ve been going for a lot of walks lately and the best decision I made there was to carry my phone along but don’t keep checking it all of the time. These times of mindfulness and actually taking in my surroundings more intensely are amazing.


Apples the size of my face.
Don’t let the picture fool you. The peanut butter jar is a mighty 1.1 lb not a small one. For fun and kicks I let one of these apples [that clearly made the cast of Snow White] step on the kitchen scale. More than one pound of apple goodness. I like it.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Do you think I can skip the doctor’s for a week after eating these ;)?

giant apples_Farmers Market WHV

What is it about certain foods that makes them so crave-able? I’d seen gnocchi quite often in the blog world lately yet it had been ages since I ate them myself. Clearly, I needed to pick up a package the next time I was at the store. Admittedly, storebought gnocchi are a far cry from the real deal. They will do in a pinch, though, so I’ve been eating them several consecutive  days this week. A simple tomato sauce, lots of fresh vegetables and nutritional yeast piled on top later on: a happy and satisfied me.


After I’ve seen others share their recent favourite pins or quotes I decided to incorporate two recent ones, too.

… and isn’t that a possibly intimidating but also wonderful thought?

Apparently, books where on my mind while I was browsing for inspiring quotes but you can’t deny life would be less amazing without them so why not?

Why not make today the day of your next one?

On that note, I’m off to face a Friday of the go-go-go kind and will see you again on Sunday for some good reads.

Happy Friday!

Happiness-inducing today: Walking past a parish hall in my neighbourhood where a choir was practicing a beautiful version of Echosmith’ ‘Cool Kids’. 

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?

What are some inspiring quotes you’ve seen on Pinterest [or elsewhere] lately?

Have you ever happened upon some kind of giant fruit?

Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A creamy vegetable-packed vegan ‘cheese’ sauce with just a handful of ingredients but eat-by-the-spoonful-delicious flavour.

Sometimes going about something with no or low expectations is the best you can do. Or at least that’s what I can say about this recipe. It’s one of those dishes you prepare without much thinking. Just adding some of this, some of that, and, oh, hey, that tastes really good.  Do you like to surprise yourself while cooking? I do. Unfortunately, some of these dishes aren’t a real eye candy, either, though, as is the case here. But I’ve said it before and will say it again: taste beats appearance.

There are one million recipes for mac and cheese out there and probably at least half as many vegan variations. Don’t make me guess the number of either using pumpkin, too. The combination of cheesy taste and pumpkin was clearly meant to be.

Pumpkin gnocchi

So I didn’t reinvent the wheel here – and you wouldn’t want me to because … is not my forte.  but since it was seriously delicious and we agreed that blogging is mostly for y ourself I’ll be completely honest with you: When I post recipes it’s not selflessly. No. Rather, I’ve come to realize I’m the one benefitting most. In other words: my blog has become my personalized cookbook
Way back I used to print out recipes I enjoyed or jot down measurements of dishes I created on loose sheets. All stuffed into a practical not pretty blue folder. Do I really need to tell you what happened?  Well, first it got completely overstuffed and I lost overview. And then I lost the whole folder when moving years ago. Awesome.

Pumpkin Gnocchi_2

That’s where blogging comes in handy. My WIAWs are often a collection of others’ recipes and how I liked them so I’ve made one or the other dish more than once already. And when I can’t quite remember all ingredients in a meal I created I can look through my recipes. Which actually happens on the regular but who am I to complain? You could probably call my blog my external hard disk. That’s actually what I jokingly referred my notebooks to be years ago. How times changes. And tastes of humor…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

Mine were in fact double-pumpkin because I bought a package of organic pumpkin gnocchi at the store. If you have some extra time on hand and feel fancy you could obviously make your own gnocchi but I was happy to find these sketchy-ingredient-free storebought ones.

Cheesy Vegan Pumpkin Gnocchi

A serving of storebought gnocchi [I used 125 g/ 4.5 oz ]*
1 cup of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3/4 cup of butternut squash, chopped**
about 1/4 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk
3/4 to 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp onion powder***
a pinch of garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1/4 cup green peas
Cherry tomatoes

Prepare the gnocchi according to package directions but when you drain it, reserve the cooking liquid.

Put the cauliflower and butternut squash into a small saucepan and add water until they’re just covered. Boil until soft. I usually just bring the water to a boil, then turn off the stove and let it cook for a few minutes.

Blend the vegetables with the remaining sauce ingredients. Put the sauce back onto the stove and let thicken a little.

Add the gnocchi, peas and cherry tomatoes to the sauce and heat through. Serve with a generous amount of parsley sprinkled on top or mixed in.


* This dish is gluten-free if using a gluten-free variety of gnocchi. A quick search brought up brands like DeLallo and Aurora for those of you living overseas.

* *You could sub another type of winter squash like kabocha.

**If you’re German you might be skeptical of the onion powder in the ingredient list. Or at least if – like me – you grew up clueless of its existence. But trust me it’s what makes this dish. Without it the sauce doesn’t have that ‘authentic’ [and in this case: delicious] boxed mix taste.

Maybe you already know I’m not one to claim authenticity on my recipes. Growing up in Germany I’ve never had either the infamous blue box nor the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese variety [unless ‘Nudeln mit Käsesauce’ is the same but just a less snazzy way of saying it]. But what I know for a fact is that it’s seriously good in its own right – and that’s all that matters to me.

Authentic or not I’m convinced a good recipe pleases everyone so I’m joining the celebrations of deliciousness via Laura, Kierston, Tasty Tuesdays#FoodieFridayReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-free Wednesday, the Real Food Recipe Roundup, Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Healthy Vegan Fridays.

Happiness inducing today: Turning around a corner and squinting because of the sudden intensity of the sunlight. Followed by a huge smile on my face.

Stay in touch!

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



Did you grow up eating the blue box? A homemade variety? Or mac ‘n’ cheese-less?

Were peas a typical childhood food for you? In which combinations? Clearly carrots, peas and the occasional kohlrabi [still not a fan], sometimes in a bechamel-type sauce were my mum’s favourite way of getting us to eat them. Usually alongside homemade ‘Frikadellen’ [think burgers but without the bun] and potatoes.

WIAW: It’s the season for…

Seasons… Who exactly decided that Germany clearly has [to deal with] them and people overseas [or at least in the US] don’t? Case in point: Why in the world do people have to post awesome kale recipes right now? Making me long for winter as the season where I’ll be able to get my hands on it again. Okay, I’m not really longing for winter because as hard as staying cool during the heat is at times I’d still rather take that than chilly temperatures. Plus, let’s not forget about summer’s swoon-worthy bounty. Jenn would be proud of how much I’ve been following this [old but good] What I ate Wednesday motto. Kale or not summer is the season for many wonderful things, too …


It’s [probably not] the season for… stews

With a lot of produce at hand but no idea what to have for lunch – choices, oh choices – I scoured the internet. I browsed an Austrian blog I’d found via Vegan Wednesday and had long meant to cook recipes from – how not with vegan Strawberry Tiramisu being one of them?! Actually,  I had my heart set on lasagna but that’s not the best craving when your [overflowing] pantry is lacking lasagna noodles. Instead, stew it was. Petra’s Arabian bean stew was just what I wanted [lasagna aside]: quick to prepare,  including both vegetables and legumes and delicious.  I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms.I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms. Served with a side of polenta [that’s in the pot in the background]. So while stews are technically autumn and winter dishes using [mostly] seasonal vegetables made up for it.

Petzig_Arabischer Bohneneintopf

It’s the season for… all the berries!

Snacks lately have been lots of berries – and how could they not? It was actually the popularity of them all over the blog world that made me give raspberries another chance. Not like I didn’t enjoy them but previously I wouldn’t have minded their absence from my plate too much. Now? Give me all the raspberries – seeds stuck between teeth? who cares, really? – while I can still find them.

July 23rd 019

Yesterday I employed a trick I just picked up from Chelsea: bring my own box. I generally shop with tote bags to avoid plastic but hadn’t thought of skipping the clamshells berries come in at the market. Luckily, the vendor didn’t give me any strange looks for this though I assume none of his other customers brought their own containers. Another bonus was that as he poured the berries into my box there were a few moldy ones at the bottom and he replaced them with a few others.  Win-win!


It’s the season for… vegetable-packed versions of classics

Not the prettiest of dishes but SO good and satisfying was this easy-peasy [lame pun fully intended] vegan Gnocchi ‘n’ cheese.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but as a German I don’t feel authorized to judge any vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese for authenticity. What I -do- know,  though, is that this vegetable-packed version was downright delicious. Peas seem like such a classic childhood add-in and I’ve grown quite fond of them lately. I’m sure my mum wished I liked them as much when I was younger. And can we take a short moment to talk about -how- good gnocchi are? I picked up a package of vegan pumpkin gnocchi [for any German readers: by Pasta Nuova] at the health food store on a whim. They are perfect.  Doughy, satisfying little dumplings. And the sauce is [not-so now that I’m telling you] secretly filled with vegetables. My mum should be really proud now. Actually, I feel I need to ask her if she played the ‘hidden veggies’ game at lunch when my siblings and I were little…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

If you’re looking for another way to up your vegetable intake [I am at times, too] or just want some uncheesy cheesiness look out for the recipe on Friday.

It’s [always] the season for Yogi wisdom

Ending not on a sweet but wise note – yes, the Yogi has been talking to me again. Interpret this in whichever way and if you feel like share in the comments what it means for you in your current situation.

Patience will pay off_Yogi wisdom

Patience pays off.

Either way: Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Sharing my sister’s excitement about a mini vacation she’s taking.

Stay in touch!

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


What’s your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe – vegan or not?

Is there any dish you’ve been eating over and over again lately?

How do you avoid plastic or other packaging when shopping? Share your tricks!