WIAW: Real food versus protein bars

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Is it that late already? I always forget about the time.

Are you confused? I know I would be and very much was after the theatre play I saw on Monday. That’s where the above lines come from though they probably were the easiest understandable part of the whole story. No theatre review here, though, but some much easier comprehensive food talk featuring some of Monday’s meals.  Thanks to Jenn and Laura for hosting today’s What I ate Wednesday shenanigans!

WIAW_new2015

By now you should know I’m not the person for average breakfasts. Most mornings, I don’t like breakfast at all because I hardly ever know what I want to eat. Yet skipping is no option. Luckily, Monday was rushed so I ran a few errands and then quickly packed breakfast/first lunch (?) to-go as I just got note there was a teaching assignment for me that early afternoon. Polenta had been absent from my diet for months – shockingly and not okay – so its quick preparation turned it into my breakfast savior along with Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and chickpeas, all seasoned with my favourite organic curry blend. If you haven’t tried microwaving polenta yet you’re missing out. It’s the most fuss-free/no-second-pot needed/less clean-up prep method ever.

Polenta_breakfast_tupper

 

Lunch was a two-part story as we were heading out in the afternoon shortly after I came home from teaching German. The first part was a repeat of breakfast – did I mention a slight obsession with polenta? – but as I didn’t take a picture again here’s yesterday’s candlelight lunch instead. Yes, lunch and yes, already dark. The weather hasn’t been treating us kindly this week so far. Anyway, polenta with thyme-y mushroom chickpea tomato stew was on the menu. When I like something, I really like it so polenta might very well stick around for a while.

Polenta_mushrooms

So … part two: my first ever whole Quest bar. Not my first ever Quest bar but the first I actually ate as a whole in one day. Here’s what I didn’t mention in my post a while ago. For me, Quest bars or any kind of protein bar actually aren’t safe foods hindering recovery. Eating them as opposed to real treats like chocolate that I have every day is the challenge.

I was glad to get lucky in receiving these Quest bars as it gave me two boxes of challenges. Because you might be wondering: I liked the S’mores flavor. I’ve never had an actual S’more before meaning no expectations could be met or disappointed. The con for me is that the bar overall is very sticky-sweet. Pros are the chocolate pieces [are you surprised in any way?] and what I guess are supposed to mimic graham crackers plus the cinnamony taste. More interesting for me, though, was the saturation factor. Protein is believed to be that super macro filling you up like no other after all. I was doubtful if I bar could deliver this.

Quest bar_protein_s'mores

Verdict? I was positively surprised but not overly impressed in this point. Not overly impressed because I didn’t feel full the same way I do with protein from real food sources. Positively surprised hours later when we returned home and I didn’t crave the Greek yogurt that usually acts as part of my night snack. That’s my interest in macros: I don’t prefer a certain one but will keep experimenting to see how I react to them. Neither carbs, nor fat or protein are inherently good or bad to me. In relearning to trust my intuition. I see them all as equal and try to find my happy balance. At the moment, I tend to need a little extra protein with my meals but I opt for real foods like legues, cottage cheese and above-mentioned Greek yogurt to fill the void.

As we were out and about the remainder of my meals escaped the camera or were eaten before I remembered to get it out. Life > taking pictures. Not like I wasn’t curious about everybody else’s meals, though …

Enjoy your Wednesday and eat some good food!

 

Happiness-inducing today:Editing yet another text. What can I say? It’s my element.

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I’m really curious: Do you find protein or Quest bars in specific  filling?

Have you noticed yourself gping through phases of needing more of a certain macros [even iff – like me – you don’t track them]?


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Food Talk Wednesday #3

You know you’re a blogger if you take pictures of your food with every intetion to share them on your social media outlets of choice.

You know you’re a blogger who needs to post about food if said pictures take up too much space on your phone/camera memory card.

All that being said it’s definitely time for another Food Talk Wednesday. In hopes that will reduce the backlog of pictures at least ever so slightly [who exactly am I kidding?!]. What can I say? Flowers [just wait for the bazillion of pictures I’ve been taking] and food – I can’t resist taking pictues of them.

Today’s theme – you didn’t think I’d pass a chance to give rhyme and reason to a post, did you? – are meals eaten out. I could pretend I was a lazy lady unwilling to cook.  Or fantasize about summertime heat [which Germany sadly isn’t blessed with at the moment] making me dread turning on the stove. But I’d rather go with telling the tale of living up to the goal I set myself. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some of the recovery lessons learned here. While I don’t want this to turn into a recovery[-only] blog I’ve been inspired, reassured and encouraged by others doing so I’m hoping I might be able to do the same in  a way.

Food Talk Wednesay_logo[Sorry for the phone camera pictures in advance. Sometimes I’m just not feeling the workout that is lugging around a DSLR at all times 😉 .]

The oldest of these pictures – no surprise my phone’s memory card is filling up fast – is of this lovely asparagus risotto I ate way back. I’d dare to say I still remember its taste, though. Risotto – another dish I hadn’t had in quite a while. Mostly for the reason I usually cook for myself only and it’s not really worth the effort for a single serving. This Asparagus Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes was just perfect. The lovely staff at the café knows me and always finds a way to accomodate my vegan preferences even if their regular menu doesn’t offer anything suitable.

Asparagus risotto

One of my favourite dishes was enjoyed at a festival [it’s not actually a festival but the concept would take too long to explain here]. Its name can’t be properly translated but it’s basically a stir-fry of brown rice, speltberries and lots of vegetables with a delicious fresh peanut sauce. Maybe it was the fact I only get the chance to eat this dish once a year but for once I actually finished the whole plate – and was still hungry. That’s something I’m still adapting to but baby steps …

FTW_June_6

Pizza! Probably sad to admit but I didn’t remember the last time I’d had pizza prior to this one. At that, recovery is a blessing because you get to rediscover the joy in eating a food others have on the regular.  The additional challenges for me: most of my family had been cycling all day while I – then still being cautious because of my injury – had joined my uncle and wife in taking the car. Aside from missing the extra fresh air lack of movement still makes me anxious. Either way, I enjoyed a few slices of this made-to-order brick oven pizza with spinach, mushrooms and vegan cheese sauce. There couldn’t have been a better way of welcoming pizza back in my life.

FTW_June_5

Pictured below is what sadly fell into the category of ‘looks better than it tastes’: Tomato and olive ragout with pan-fried polenta slices. Eaten on a day trip to meet my sister this was another reminder that sometimes a meal isn’t about the food. Did I fully enjoy the dish? No. It wasn’t awful but didn’t hit the spot or satisfy me [a little TMI: my stomach let me know it didn’t approve of this in terms of digestion later, too …]. Did I enjoy the company? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Sure. One meal isn’t worth making a fuss about and much less if it comes with a side of quality time with somebody you don’t see often enough.

FTW_June_1

Something I’ve noticed overall and hadn’t expected, though, is that eating out is actually easier than challenging myself at home. It’s one of the many surprising experiences I’ve made. First traveling as the one thing I was afraid of turning into a great way to free my mind. Then meals eaten out in general as a way to broaden my palate and delve into unknown calorie territory. At home, I’m more often than not stuck in repetition of ‘safe’ meals but handing over control to somebody else in a place different from home somehow works a little magic. Also good for anybody struggling with serving sizes: what is given to you at restaurant’s is considered the ‘right’ amount for a normal eater. As in: what we’re striving to turn into. Unless you’re faced with a pizza larger than the plate it’s served on – yes, this has happened to me before.

In short: if you can’t seem to challenge yourself food-wise at home, either, try eating out. It takes pushing past your comfort zone a lot at first but is rewarding.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Helping one of my sister’s friends editing a paper she had to write for university. Did I mention I enjoy editing a LOT?!

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Are you guilty of taking way too many pictures of food [or flowers], too?

When was your last time eating out and what did you get?

 

 

 

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #2

Are you in for another episode of Food Talk Wednesday? Good because that’s on the menu today. If I was one of those bloggers who can make even soup [don’t tell me you haven’t had the soup phenomenon happen to you yet if you’re a (food) blogger!] look awesome. However, I’m not. Actually, I might have the potential to improve but my impatience once food appears in my focus – at least when my stomach agrees it’d be nice to get its fill – is incredible. Spending more than five minutes to get a shot of whatever it is we’re talking about? Well, I don’t think so. That’s why for now – and when I say for now it means I’m not giving up hope of my patience increasing one day – you’ll have to make do with more talk than food. But there is some of that after all so let’s get started.

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Confession: Post- and occasionally also pre-breakfast snackage these past days has always included a handful of these. So writing this post on Wednesday morning I can confirm that yes, I’ve already had some today.

Erdnusslocken_flips_peanut
Erdnussflips, friends. Also known as: ridiculously addictive peanut curls. While plain old potato chips don’t exctite me much at all these are my kryptonite. They’ve been since I grew up – when my dad still thought it was funny to call them worms. Mmmh, appetizing. Looking back, it’s only natural I developed a nut butter addiction. Hm … now I wonder how dipping these into peanut butter would taste … <- Read: it will happen today. But first, breakfast.

oatmeal_breakfast_swirl
Remember my Tupperware oatmeal? I’ve reverted back to the slightly classier style of serving them in a pot again. In case you’re new here: that’s the way I roll and no, I don’t grab a huge spoon and eat them straight from the pot. It just keeps the remainder nice and warm while I’m scooping out smaller servings into a bowl. Also, that swirl would be soy creamer and only for decorative purposes – I still add almond butter post-picture but by now you should know my ways.

It’s essentially the same concept for lunch. I wouldn’t absolutely need to assemble this impromptu Polenta Chili Casserole into a casserole dish. But it looks so much fancier all nicely layered pre-serving. Don’t ask about the mess when scooping out individual servings, though [yes, I eat the whole dish].

Polenta chili bake

Okay, for those who asked and also because you can’t tell what’s in there exactly. This is the messy just-plated version. Yes, I’m aware it looks like [insert unappetizing noun] but oh my does it taste amazing. In fact so much so that I’ll post the recipe once I get some at least a little better pictures. It’s quickly become one of my go-to dishes and I only repeat those I really like. It’s vegetarian comfort food at its best. Maybe I’m using that phrase a little more often but it really is.

Polenta bake_cottage cheese

Dinner escaped the camera [read: I forgot a out a picture until I was about halfway through and then didn’t bother anymore because it was dark in anyway] but given I snacked a lot throughout the day and none ends without something sweet …

Lindt Chili chocolate

Chocolate. Four squares of one of these bars because nobody’s truly satisfied after one.  Also, I should add that this is by no means everything I ate all day. I’m a serious snacker and if I wanted to picture every nibble and bite I’d end up with 384758 pictures in one What I ate Wednesday. I hope this will still be considered playing by the rules by Jenn and Arman.

Enough banter now, go and enjoy your Wednesday that’s hopefully sunnier than around these parts [read: the sun’s hiding].

 

Happiness-inducing today: Calling one of my best friends who lives too far away for a spontanous visit but it makes us all the more thankful for the invention of telephones.

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What’s your favourite kind of vegetarian chili?

Are you satisfied by eating a single square of chocolate? I feel I might be taking after my dad who can inhale a whole bar. It might not have gotten that far for me since I tend to actually savour it but half a bar can happen. Chocolate comes from a bean so it’s technically a vegetable, right 😉 ?

 

 

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.

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Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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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.

 

 

Lucky Scatterbrain [Best of Fall Vegetable Polenta Bake]

Cheesy creamy polenta topping a mix of flavourful fall vegetables. Vegan comfort food boasting with vitamins.

Two secrets to getting out of a cooking rut: getting yourself into troubles and being scatterbrained.

Polenta casserole 3

The Farmers’ Market is a dangerous place to go for me so that’s where the trouble part comes from. Even if I meant to pick up just one ingredient with a recipe using it in mind it never happens. Never. I don’t even know why I’m still trying to fool myself into believing it. The second I set foot onto the market I’m lost. Or should I say: my salary? In my defense, walking past a dozen stalls brimming with the freshest produce, most delightfully scenting breads and local honey [ even of the very rare kind!] until you get to the one you’d originally settled on is torture.

Long story short I didn’t just finally (!!) pick up the first kale of the season – can you believe it had been unavailable since the end of January? – but also lots of other autumnal produce.

Polenta casserole

About that scatterbrained part: Do you ever swear you had an ingredient at hand not even needing to check because you definitely know it’s there? Until you actually need it. Turns out you’d better have checked earlier than Saturday night with stores closed already. And when your heart’s set on a balsamic kale and butternut squash phyllo pastry it hurts just a little to notice you’re out of balsamic vinegar.

Polenta casserole 2

But lack of ingredients has the potential to boost creativity and variety is the spice of life after all. Old but true.  In hindsight I’m -very- glad I strained from my original plan because this might just be my new favourite.  The sweeteness of the soft parsnips, slightly bitter taste of the kale covered and meaty mushrooms once more mingling in a silky sauce and topped with creamy cheesy polenta? And did I mention chickpeas? Sign me up. Okay,  I guess I need to sign myself up or better yet get cooking but I recommend you do, too, for full fall flavour enjoyment. You’re welcome.

Polenta casserole 4

Also note that this is super fast and just right for lazier days because we’re preparing the polenta in the microwave.  Yes! Trust me it’s the surefire way to perfect polenta. It also saves you another dish to clean because you can eat right from the bowl you used for the polenta. I’m not going back to stovetop corn meal any time soon.

Name-wise I was torn with this dish. It’s autumn to me but I know the majority of you are used to the term fall so that’s what I ended up choosing.

Best of Fall Vegetable Polenta Bake

  • one medium Parsnip,  cut into half moons
  • one medium red onion, sliced into rings
  • Brussels sprouts (90 g) – 1/2 cup
  • Kale (50 g cleaned) – about 1 cup
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 clove of garlic,  minced
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • 100 g chickpeas [1/2 cup + 1 tbsp]
  • A generous 1/4 cup passata/tomato sauce (70 g)
  • 3 tbsps soy creamer, divided
  • Salt + pepper
  • 1/2 tsp each smoked paprika and thyme
  • 1/4 cup polenta
  • 2 tbsps nutritional yeast

As involved as it might look or sound this comes together really fast.

  1. Start by sautéing the onion rings until caramelized at mediun heat. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
  2. Sprinkle in the spices.
  3. Deglaze the pot with some water and add the Parsnip.  Cover the pot and let cook for about three to four minutes or until the parsnip is tender.
  4. Add the mushrooms,  sauté until the release some water. Then stir in the kale and let it wilt.
  5. Pour in the tomato sauce and two tablespoons of soy creamer. Stir to combine.
  6. Mix in the chickpeas.
  7. Turn off the heat and transfer the vegetable mixture to a greased baking dish.
  8. Top with the polenta and bake at 300 °F for about 20 minutes or until set.

 

  1. For the polenta: Place the polenta and 3/4 cup of water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt. Stir and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes.  Microwaves vary so stay close by to avoid boiling over.
    Remove, stir in the remaining tablespoon of soy creamer and pepper to taste. Microwave for another 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the microwave,  stir in nutritional yeast, salt to taste and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil.

I’m sharing this lucky byproduct of scatterbrainedness with Laura, Kierston, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, The Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck, Tasty Tuesday and Gluten-Free Fridays.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: My main work assignment for the day. It involved visiting a daycare facility and the little ones were too adorable.

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Scatterbrain, going produce-buying crazy at the Farmers’ Market, …: What are your best ways out of food ruts?

What are your top three seasonal vegetables in autumn?

Do you prefer saying autumn or fall? I’ll admit ‘feeling fall-ish‘ has more of a ring to it but still, in my heart it’s all about autumn [and alliterations].

The little things that make life better.

I’m a firm believer that waiting for the big and bold happenings to make us happy is an almost surefire guarantee to keep us unhappy. Oh, the irony. If we only ever hang around wondering why we didn’t win the lottery or why that guy has yet to notice us we miss out on many occasions to smile. How this all relates to What I ate Wednesday? Well, the way I see it food shouldn’t be the only thing making us happy but if it’s one of them that’s pretty good in my book.

wiaw fall into good habits button

The little thing at breakfast: perfect setting and food. Kabocha that has that irresistible flaky-dry texture, the right balance of sweet- and starchiness. My favourite tea from one of my new favourite mugs. A side of brain food [to any Germans: Das Kreuz mit den Worten in Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin is my love-hate brain food of choice. So difficult. So addictive.]

Kabocha_breakfast

If you’re less quirky than me/haven’t jumped on the squash-for-breakfast train yet [why not???] this could be the perfect bowl of oatmeal. And maybe a side of sudoku or a cross-word puzzle. Yes, I’m a granny there but I can’t go without these.

I might be the very last one to figure out how to break the soup-for-lunch-at-work spell but I bought my first set of microwave dishes on a whim the other day. There’s no looking back. This is my personal lunch revolution. Even with my self-proclaimed soup lady status I can’t pretend I was too happy slurping them anymore after a few weeks. These wonderful dishes have allowed me to bring casseroles of all kinds to work and actually make me look forward to lunch time. Okay, I did before, too, but the perspective of hearty polenta-topped chili is much more alluring than a less chew-able stew. The dish below is an adapted version of my Polenta Chili Bake.

polenta chili_microwave bowl

This week’s snack number one: Crack. Pure, high-quality crack. The kind that you can only keep in your apartment at the most immense safety measures. We’re talking hidden in the back of your pantry, consumed only with closed blinds so the neighbours won’t see you. Okay, to lift the fog and back up a little: I won Meghan’s giveaway for some homemade granola straight from her kitchen recently a while ago forever ago. The reason I only received it right now is not the fault of everybody’s favourite Cleveland blogger [trying to remember if I know any other Cleveland bloggers who might get angry reading this …]. I asked Meghan to hold off shipping the granola until I had moved into my new apartment. Because first I had to try eat up some of the cereal, granola, what-not-all I’d been hoarding pre-move and then settle into the new place.

Granola_1

After a few bites I can safely tell you I will definitely not enter another granola giveaway at Meghan’s. Because I clearly hated this one. Kidding. The reason I [pretend] I won’t is because somebody else deserves to be treated to this deliciousness. It is SO ridiculously good – crack, remember? – that I refused to let my mum who was visiting the day I picked it up pack some as a snack for the road trip back home.

To be fair, though, I offered her some before which she enjoyed.  But a whole container as a snack? No way. Another fun bit I should add is my mum had a handful from the jar – by the way: how pretty did Meghan pack this up?? – and thought it was trail mix. That’s what Meghan meant when she called her nut: oat ratio high. And she was sweet enough to customize it for me nixing the walnuts and using a mix of cashews, almonds and peanuts. So so good. Oh, I mentioned that before?!

Granola_Meghan_2

For anybody who doesn’t live in Meghan’s immediate neighbourhood, is too impatient to wait for another giveaway or simply needs this granola in their lives – trust me you all do! – here’s the recipe. It’s vegan, too, for anybody stopping by from Vegan Wednesday. I hope sharing recipes for crack isn’t criminal.  If you don’t hear from me again I might have gottten arrested and in that case I hope you’ll send me granola care packages.

That’s it from me for today’s food inspiration but you might not even read this anymore as you’re already in your kitchen baking granola …

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding that some essentials I needed to pick up at the store were on offer. Nothing like a good deal, right?!

 

Stay in touch!

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

 

What are some little things that make your life better?

Are you a crack granola addict, too? What’s your favourite recipe?