Everything’s sweet about [my] food…

If there’s lessons to be learned – I’d rather get my jamming eats in first so … [I’m still doing it]

It’s been a while since I gave you a whole half a day of food in my life*. Why not make today that day?! And that’s where the sweet part sets in. Granted, I actually started on a savoury pre-breakfast note with some mushrooms dipped in salsa but they didn’t make the picture. Long intros are only sidetracking from the actual posts, though, so I’ll get started with the food already. Thanks to Jenn as well as the Vegan Wednesday hosts!

*not to be confused with an actual full day because I still doubt I’d ever remember or want to snap pictures of every morsel that makes its way into my mouth. Sorry.

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If you – like me – have a slight overbuying tendency combined with a mum coming for a visit and surprising you with a huge punnet of blueberries you might suddenly find yourself with a few pounds* of berries. A few more than I could possibly eat all by themselves soon enough. For whichever reason cooked fruit seems to go down easier than raw so I decided to bake some of it. Starting your day with fresh local strawberries? Not the worst idea. I didn’t mention it yet but polenta – yes, the ingredient I used to snark at – has been making frequent appearances. Either my tastebuds changed a lot since last year or getting more relaxed around food and preparing it the right way [think: cooked in soy milk not water and with coconut butter/ oil stirred in]. While this wasn’t bad and in fact reminiscent of the semolina pudding I was fond of during my childhood I still prefer polenta the savoury way and oat bran for my first [sweet] meal of the day.

*German [500 g] not American [454 g] pounds which does make a difference when we’re talking about  not one but a few 😉

Polenta_Strawberry

In an attempt to clean out my cupboards I took care of an old favourite: frozen Alpro dark chocolate dessert. Seriously, if you haven’t tried freezing these: do yourself a favour! And here’s where things got [in] explicably #strangebutgood. Why, yes, mid-way through eating I remembered a store-bought ice cream favourite from years ago – Dark Chocolate Chili – and decided to spice up my snack. Anybody who’s been reading for a while and knows my fondness of  a certain bar of chocolate actually shouldn’t be too surprised. Chocolate and chili were meant to meet.

Chili_Alpro Pudding

[and I’m apparently five years old still making a mess when eating pudding – some things don’t change]

Lunch was a case of lacking creativity but I decided to pick up some phyllo dough at the store to see if what it’d inspire me to. Because everything tastes good wrapped in crispy buttery pastry. The result was a mix of sauteed bok choy,  mushrooms, tomatoes and – big surprise! – chickpeas covered in the cheesy pumpkin sauce I used in my  tortilla bake before. It was a good and delicious decision.  Phyllo, you can do no wrong.

Phyllo_pastry

You know my preference to end on a sweet note and oh do I have a recipe recommendation for you! Ever since Amanda posted her Banana Bread Mug Cake last week I’ve had at least one per day. Addicted?  Quite possibly. I’ve only been introduced to banana bread through the blog world because it’s not a classic over here. The first recipe I tried was Jenn’s browned butter [veganized in my case] chocolate chip version quite a while ago. So maybe I’m not the most trustworthy judge for banana bread authenticity. What I know, though,  is that this is a pretty awesome mug cake and I have no plans on ending the obsession soon.

 Banana bread mug cake

There you have it: the first half of my day in meals and sweet snacks. More chocolate in the form of several squares of Lindt followed so my salty tooth wasn’t beckoning overly in the second half of the day, either, which is unusual so I’m curious about tomorrow’s cravings…

Happiness-inducing today: the baby on its mum’s shoulder flashing me the cutest smile when I was walking behind the two for a few metres. Adorable.

Stay in touch!

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

 

Are there days where you’re predominantly going for either sweet or savoury food?

What are your favourite mug cake recipes?

Do you have a go-to no-fail recipe you turn to when not feeling creative? Wrapping whatever I need to use up in phyllo dough has yet to disappoint me.

Chocolate and chili: yay or nay?

 

 

Thinking out loud #8

You really know how to make a girl feel special on her birthday. Thank you so much for all the mails, texts and Tweets yesterday. Every single one was a little happy spark in my day and made me feel loved. Back to the regular scheduled program now … It’s Thursday after all and time for some Thinking out loud hosted by Amanda who’s currently enjoying the sunshine and Disney (!!!) in California and I don’t which of the two things I’m more jealous of …

Thinking-Out-Loud

[Note that I drafted this post pre-birthday knowing I wouldn’t have the time and internet permission on my birthday. Hence the lack of birthday detail mentions :).]

1. Were you confused by the years celebrated on a certain birthday as a child, too? I remember explaining to a friend in 7th grade that your – just taking this as an example as it fits – 23rd birthday actually meant  celebrating the end of your 23rd year and start of the 24th. Meaning that wishing somebody a happy 23rd year of life on their 23rd birthday was a little late. She was confused ;).

2.  The birthday wishes made me think that a blogger birthday calendar might be a good idea. As much as I wish I did I don’t know every single blends or other blogger’s birthdays and would be glad to find out so I can return the well wishes.

… and yes, I could totally see myself use that very printable to write them down :). So cute!

3. No matter how much I love my family some of their habits get annoying after a while. Call it OCD but doesn’t everybody know how to load a dishwasher the right way? There clearly is one best and most effective way ensuring all dishes get clean and reducing the time needed for unloading. Why, yes, I do have a system.

Spülmaschine

4. Long legs, a huge chest and barely weighing a gram too much: no, that’s not the description of a model. Far from it. What is is: spiders. That’s the downside of living in a countryside house: those ‘Weberknechte’ are everywhere.. The worst is when they decide to join you in the shower cabin allured by the steamy hot water. The horror. Forget the scary movies – this is enough for me already.

5. Finally word is spread of the amazingness of phyllo dough – obviously just because I started it ;). And can I just say how perfect the title of this post is? If you’re still not convinced you need some buttery hugs in your life then I’m at a loss.

6. Judging from the looks of my poor fingers I can’t be trusted around knives anymore. Just during the last few days I’ve cut myself three times. Actually, we’re not just talking knives but sharp paper edges, too. It’s a dangerous world we live in …

Cutting bell peppers

7. Dear winter, I’d call you beautiful – okay, I do – if only you weren’t so damn cold. But yes, still beautiful with the thick snow blanket covering the surroundings.

Snow_2014

8. Speaking of the cold: Can we talk about a current blessing and downfall of mine? Built-in seat heating. A blessing because – let’s face it – some mornings nothing else will get me out of my warm bed than the promise of at least staying semi-warm during my commute to work. The downfall? Confusing the car with said bed. Does anybody else get all dozy when cranking the heat up all the way in the car? I need to really focus and let down the car windows for the freezing 5 °F wind chill to wake me up again. Woops.

9. Another blessing – and this time without any downsides: my new thermos. You’ve heard me talk about my need for warm lunches before and this one’s absolutely perfect to ensure those at the office. Best investment recently.

Thermosbehälter

10. Tomorrow’s the last day of my internship at the newspaper and I wish it never ended. Cheer me up, please?!

Happiness inducing today: Finishing the post on my birthday I’ll obviously go with the birthday wishes again <3!

Blogger birthday calendar: Good idea? Bad idea? Unless you want to keep it a secret: Tell me your birth date and expect congrats coming your way on your special day :)!

Do you agree there’s a certain way to load dishwashers? Possible answers are: yes or heck, yes!

Any favourite chick lit books?

Pre-birthday eats and treats

It’s What I ate Wednesday! But not just any old Wednesday  … it’s my birthday! So while you’re reading this I’m either sleeping, cooking my birthday lunch because I get to eat lunch with my family for once today or elsewise just relaxing. We actually don’t have a lot planned but simply plan on having an awesome day. And thinking about it: what better day for a [mid-week] birthday than the [blog] world’s biggest [food] party? Clearly not any old day of the week. Thanks for hosting my birthday party WIAW, Jenn! Seeing as my birthday’s just today this week’s What I ate Wednesday is all about what I ate pre-birthday.

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We don’t even need to talk temperatures again for me to say it: All I want to eat these days is comfort food. On Saturday when I just couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with a German classic [mashed potatoes] or Indian-style [Masala beans] I just fused the two cuisines. Though potatoes turned into parsnips topping kidney beans in a warmly spiced tomato-based sauce.  Strange but good comfort food. The brussels sprouts? They made a surprise appearance in the dish, too. Any guesses? [Recipe coming soon.]

Bean Bake

Speaking of comfort food I can’t deny the phyllo pastry obsession is still going strong. Rather than considering me stuck in a food rut which I am I’d go with taste-testing the recipe to perfection. Just to make sure that if somebody decides on trying it [which I obviously suggest :)] it’ll turn out a hit. Selfless blogger dedication, don’t you think ;)? And this time I even went with the kidney beans listed in the recipe again. I’d be curious to know if any of you noticed the mismatched pictures in my recipe post showing the chickpea variation … Clearly a lesson learned in paying attention when posting. But it’s delicious either way.

Phyllo pastry_cranb

Did I ever mention how sweet my dad is at times [when I’m not getting frustrated at internet restrictions ;)]? My sister came over for a short stay at my parents’ to work on a project for university with my mum on the weekend. To fuel their hard work my dad bought some fancy chocolates. Because I was involved in the project [as a photographer], too, I figured I should get my share, too. Hard to make a choice here – but not if you know your preferences …

January_chocolates

It might not have been my birthday on the weekend yet but my favourite dessert – ice-cream [or the healthified version of it] – still had to feature.  Our dear Fairy Broccoli Mother came up with this creamy and colourful creation that is simply perfect. While I don’t count macros anymore some of you might be happy to hear that this wicked delicious ice cream packs in a protein punch, too. And either way a little bit of protein won’t hurt anybody.

Blueberry Protein Ice Cream

You might remember my recent confession of non-seasonal berry preys ? Well, I was lucky enough to find another package – okay, it may or may not have been four packages – on offer so who could have resisted? And I know at least Emily will agree when saying that one clamshell of berries is really just one serving after all. Five a day …

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Before ending it here I want to say once more how much your understanding and kind comments on my last post meant to me. It was another one of those I hesitated publishing but it’s good to know I’m not alone. Thank you!

With that I’m off to and wishing you a happy Wednesday! Eat some extra delicious food to celebrate me today ;). Kidding. Sort of.

Happiness inducing today: My progress on the puzzle.

Do you eat differently on weekday birthdays than on normal days?

What’s your favourite birthday dessert? I’m not a fan of [regular] cakes anymore but I do have plans of preparing a special belated birthday dessert on the weekend.

https://letsgetupandlive.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/getting-flaky-with-phyllo-balsamic-butternut-kale-pastry-for-one/

Getting flaky with phyllo [Balsamic Butternut & Kale Pastry for one]

Waste not, want not – that’s actually how my current obsession with phyllo dough pastries started. In an effort to use up the leftover sheets of dough from making the Kale Surprise Pastry Pie for our family dinner.  While the pie was really delicious I wasn’t fond of preparing the same dish already again and having to eat it for several days in a row. Fingers crossed I got experimenting once more despite not feeling the creative juices flowing that day – and was positively surprised.*

*That’s not to say I expected an awful result but I just wasn’t ‘feeling’ the phyllo that particular day. Okay, that and the fact I came up with some unsatisfying lunches in previous years.

Pastry_dish

Unlike recipes puff pastry which – who would I kid here – is fantastic in all its buttery, rich glory this dish will leave you satisfied not stuffed. Phyllo dough steps in as a beautiful replacement delivering the flaky, crispy and, well, doughy element while not sitting heavy on your stomach afterwards. There’s a time and place for that, too [think Christmas dinner]. But if I plan on doing anything just slightly more active than turning over book pages while lying on the sofa within the next hours after a meal puff pastry might not the best choice.

pre-baking

Phyllo is where it’s at then. The best part of this kind of dish is its versatility: sub the butternut for another kind of squash or carrots, the kale for spinach, kidney beans for chickpeas … you name it. Or go for a completely different filling using whichever leftovers you have. Let your imagination go wild 🙂 – and then come back and tell me which amazing variations you’ve created.

dished up

Treating ourselves is an important part of self-care and while I’m all about finding ways beside food it’s nice to have this easy everyday route, too. The pastry is simple and quick enough to prepare on a weekday but feels almost like eating at a fancy bistro. It’s a way to make an ordinary day feel just that smidgen more special.

 Balsamic Butternut & Kale Pastry [serves one]

  • 1 sheet phyllo dough [see note below]
  • 1 small red onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of kale, sliced into thin strips
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp of soy cream [I used Alpro Soya brand]
  • ¼ cup kidney beans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion in a small pot until translucent. Add the garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the butternut squash and a few tablespoons of water. Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium. Let the squash simmer until tender.
  3. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, thyme and cayenne pepper. Mix in the mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add the kale, letting it wilt.
  5. Stir in the 1/4 cup of soy cream, kidney beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. Readjust spices to taste, too.
  6. When the filling is assemble your phyllo dough like shown in the second picture, add the vegetable mixture and cover with the overlapping edges of the dough. Brush the top with the remaining tablespoon of non-dairy cream.
  7. Bake the pastry in the preheated oven [350 °F] for about 20 minutes.

Phyllo pastry

Note:

Keep the phyllo dough in the freezer until ready to move. I’ve found it dries out quickly when exposed to air so wait until your filling’s done to assemble it in the casserole dish.

I’m linking up with Recipe Friday and Strange but good so get even more inspiration over there.

Not a math pro at all I hope I counted out your votes on Wednesday correctly by posting the pastry recipe first. Even if you didn’t vote for it I know you will like it. Because I say you do ;).

Happiness inducing today: Leaving work tired but content after a busy day.

Tell me your favourite pastry fillings or – if you didn’t have pastries before: what would you fill them with?

Have you worked with phyllo dough before?

Random Friday question: What are your plans for the weekend?