Rotkohl [Traditional German Red Cabbage]

With a ridiculously simple preparation and only eight ingredients this flavourful side dish is a German winter favourite. Naturally vegan, gluten-free and paleo Rotkohl comes packed with vitamins and minerals for a healthy low-calorie dish to accompany any main.

Having talked about this classic German winter dish for many times before I figured it was high time to share the recipe. And I had every intention of doing so on Monday, right in time with the meteorological start of winter. But …

Rotkohl_vegan_German

What to avoid when you’re a blogger and intend on posting during Christmas week:

Not get sick.

Plan ahead [all those posts saying you need an editorial calendar have a purpose …].

Not.get.sick.

Any guesses as to my situation up until today? Right. Teary-eyed sick with a recipe made but yet to be photographed and no post written. Luckily, I’m feeling slightly better today. Okay, now that we finished the long-winded intro/blogger no-do’s/why I should write blog posts way in advance [like every other blogger?!]  let’s talk traditions.

Mother’s Day? Just another Sunday for my family.

Easter? Not a single [chocolate or candy] egg to be found in our house.

Christmas? No tree for the second time, hardly any decorations up and we’re not sending Christmas cards [but do gift homemade cookies to friends].

 

It’s safe to say my family errs on the untraditional side when it comes to the holidays. The food part of Christmas dinner, though? That’s where we have our traditions.

A little story time: Unlike traditional American Thanksgiving where pretty much the whole country agrees what has to appear on the table – turkey/Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing – hardly two German families in a neighbourhood will eat the same Christmas dinner. For some families “Weihnachtsgans” [Christmas duck], others need their fish and then again there are people considering – believe it or not – potato salad and sausages THE dish. Usually, my family is in the Christmas duck camp [aside from me and any other vegetarians in the family obviously]. Not this year but it will be an unusual one to begin with. The sides? Up for discussion. Aside from the one can’t-miss dish that’s the secret star on the menu: Rotkohl.

Rotkohl_6

No matter what’s your main – meat, vegetarian or vegan roasts – this easy cabbage dish makes a great side for everything. Serve it with your main of choice, mashed potatoes and optional gravy and have yourself a merry little Christmas. Or just a wonderful winter day because there’s still the whole season to enjoy this.

Rotkohl_1

For the nutrition nuts among us or those skeptically eyeing the ¼ cup of sugar in this recipe: it’s still healthy to boost. One cup of chopped red cabbage packs in 85% of the daily value of vitamin C, 20 % of the vitamin A recommendation and it’s also high in potassium. And I don’t need to tell you that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?! See: healthy.

German Rotkohl/Red Cabbage

  • 1 medium head red cabbage, sliced [ours weighed about 2.9 lbs/1.3 kg pre-cleaning]
  • 2 medium tart apples [I used Boskoop; about 330 g, peeled and chopped roughly
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 100 ml/ [about ½ cup minus 1 tbsp] white vinegar
  • 100 ml unsweetened apple juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar [paleo: use a sweetener you find with your diet]
  • ¾ tsp ground caraway seed
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 scant tsp salt
  1. Chop the red cabbage finely or shred it in a food processor.
  2. Alternating cabbage, onions and apples, layer in a pressure cooker.
  3. Mix vinegar, apple juice, sugar and spices and poor on top. Using your hands, mix all ingredients. No need to be super
  4. Cook according to your pressure cooker’s manual. Once maximum pressure is reached, turn off the heat, don’t open the lid and let the cooker sit until

 

Notes:

  1. This freezes very well which is great seeing as it makes a large batch [unless you’re a hungry German family …].
  2. While I prepared my Rotkohl in  a pressure cooker you can also use a Dutch oven or regular pot. You’ll need to let it simmer for longer but will get the same delicious result.
  3. One of my grandma’s ‘secrets’ for making this already delicious dish over-the-top amazing is adding some of her homemade currant jelly. Store-bought should work just fine as well.
  4. Just like there are many different Christmas traditions, there are dozens if not hundreds of different recipes for Rotkohl, also called Blaukraut in certain regions of the country. In fact, I think every family might have their own which is – obviously – the best and only.

I’m sharing this recipe with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good,  Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Tasty Tuesdays.

While I talk a lot about Christmas here  this dish isn’t just for the holidays  a perfect fit for the whole season. So if you’re looking for a new way to eat your vegetables and vitamins this winter – give it a try!

 

Happiness-inducing today: My sister and her husband arriving at our house. They’ll leave on 25th again already but any time spent with family is better than none.

 

Have you ever had Rotkohl?

Does you family follow through with traditions or make up their own?

What’s on your menu for Christmas this year?

Date your diet

If you’ve been reading healthy living blogs for a while you’ll have noticed something. Not actually what I’d call a ‘trend’ but a phenomenon: vegan or vegetarian bloggers quitting their diets and reintroducing dairy, eggs and/or meat. Usually voicing their decision very carefully with an air of expected accusations about to rain down on them. I won’t point out any bloggers in particular here because I wouldn’t want to increase the pressure on them. What I can say, though, is that I could easily name more than half a dozen – both in the German blog world and overseas – who have made this decision in the past year.

To say it caused some attention would be a mild understatement.

Uproar. Rage. Bullies.

Why?? Why do people feel compelled to shun somebody, leave hurtful comments or even more serious threats? What is the crime those bloggers committed? They changed their diets. Neither did they:

Imply everybody had to follow their lead and stop eating a certain way.

Intend to hurt anybody’s feelings [or at least I don’t assume they did].

Shame their previous diets as disordered or out of the norm. They simply found those very diets weren’t their match anymore and that’s where we’re getting to the thoughts my mind spurred out …

The parallel between dating and diets

What I’m applauding them for is not for giving up on veganism or vegetarianism. Clearly not because it’s still the diet I follow myself and – in my dreams – the majority of people all over the world should adopt [you know I’m exaggerating]. Rather, I think anybody who can rationally see when it’s time to make changes in their lives even if they’re uncomfortable and against their beliefs deserves respect. Not public shaming in the blog world and on Instagram. Wouldn’t we even encourage our best friends to leave a guy that hurts more than he benfits them? And just like with dating  some of the points can be translated to diets.

Date Your Diet

We get blind-sided really wanting to love that one guy/diet – at the worst overlooking the fact he’s not benefitting us at all anymore.

I can see how this was true for me personally. Veganism and its principles seemed [actually still seem] so right for me and made a lot of sense. It was hard to admit – even to myself – that it wasn’t the right diet for me at this point in life.

People compliment us for what a great match we make.

On the diet side this could be praise for our vegan/raw/paleo recipes or the ‘glow’ we perspire while eating a certain way. The tons of energy we have.

We make plans for the future.

Probably more so with dating on first glance [“We’ll buy a house, then get two children, spend all holidays in our beach house …”] but in a way it’s true for diets, too. We might think about how this will influence our families, write cookbooks or build a brand around our diet. Until a potential break-up throws us into a medium life crisis.

That’s why I suggest you to consider your diet a date. No commitment, no promises to anybody. And isn’t the beauty of dating that you don’t have to settle just yet – or anytime? You can flirt with a hot guy for an evening, a month, a few years – and in the end tie the knot with a wholly different one or never commit for eternity.

Diet dating can and should be like that: accepted – normal. So go out there, date around and never feel bad for cheating on your current diet –  be it for health or any other reasons. How you eat does not define you as a person. Life’s too short to fully commit in this part of it.

Your turn: Tell me your ‘dating history’ or whichever thoughts you have on the topic.

Happiness-inducing today: Harvesting the first kabocha of the season in our garden. All mine!

No questions today but whatever comes to your mind on the topic.

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Love is in the truffles [Healthy Vegan Marzipan Truffles]

Melt-in-your-mouth marzipan-like truffles made from just six simple ingredients. No refined sugar, vegan and adaptable for multiple dietary needs.

Can we talk about the weather for a second? Just yesterday it was still somewhat warm – at least given it’s winter – and now? Snow. Fridgid cold. My heating stopped working temporarily. And I could really do without having to scrape a thick layer of ice off my car in the morning. Not fun at all. So much so I wouldn’t mind paying someone to do it for me. Go and call me lazy – I know you don’t like it, either. And how about I offer pay in cookies or marzipan truffles?

Marzipan dough balls_4

These were a result of spontaneous experimentation with ingredients I had at hand. Don’t you dislike buying food just for a recipe idea you have in mind and it not working out? Luckily, this one worked like a charm. Unfortunately not at a time that allowed for decent daylight pictures. But with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching I couldn’t wait to share the recipe no matter what. It’s the inside that counts after all.

Marzipan dough balls_2

And what an inside! We’re talking truffles that are vegan, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, refined sugar-free* and – though I haven’t tried this version yet – could even be made raw. How’s that for a truffle uniting folks from just about  every diet? I’m admittedly not a fan of Valentine’s Day – at least not the comercialisation of it – but a truffle bringing people of different dietary preferences together just screams love to me. I’ll admit I was tempted to call these or at least this post love balls – which I’m sure Laura would have approved of – because these truffles show love for everyone. But I’m obviously aware of the touchy nature of such wordings.

Marzipan dough balls_1

Marzipan Truffles

  • 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsps almond meal  [~ 40 g]
  • 2 tbsps coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 heaping tbsp brown rice syrup* [see notes for substitutions]
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsps coconut oil, melted  [28 g]
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract [I used a small dropper bottle, adding about four drops]

Chocolate glaze:

  • 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped or sugar-free/stevia-sweetened chocolate [for fully refined sugar-free version] **
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix the coconut oil, syrups and almond extract. Stir well until fully combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients into wet and mix to reach a smooth consistency. Put into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the dough and roll into balls.
  5. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil whichever way you prefer: stove-top, microwave, …
  6. Dip truffles in melted chocolate using a fork. Set on a plate leaving enough space in between truffles to set.

 

Notes:

* for a paleo version, sub another tbsp of maple syrup or honey

** To make these raw use raw versions of all ingredients for the truffles, melt the coconut butter accordingly and sub a chocolate glaze like this one for the coating.

Okay, so yes, my finished truffles did contain refined sugar in the optional chocolate coating. But these are delicious even without this – and this is coming from a huge chocolate fiend. Actually, I dare you to try the recipe and not feel tempted to eat the dough with a spoon instead of rolling it into shape. I warned you, duty done.

Marzipan dough balls_3

Spreading the marzipan truffle love with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Lean Lena’s Tasty Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Real Food RecipesTasty Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Friday and #glutenfreefridays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: The latest issue of my favourite magazine. My parents got me a subscription for Christmas [actually the only gift I’d asked for] and it’s filled with amazing content again.

 

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Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Who wants to come take care of my car in exchange for cookies 😉 ?

Valentine’s Day: Just a holiday to raise sales of flower vendors and chocolate companies or the definition of romance?

How are you spending it if you celebrate? As you guessed I don’t plan on celebrating it but if I can get away with spending a small fortune on chocolate for myself – I’m in!