WIAW: On the road again

… or actually: on the -train- again. The previously mentioned weekend meet-up with my mum didn’t happen but we got a chance on Saturday. Given I left at 8 AM and didn’t return until 9.45 PM packing food and eating out was inevitable.  So for today’s What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday what a day of traveling with food looks like for me

A lack of kabocha has my deviate from  my usual favourite and back on the oatmeal train [pun not intended] for breakfast again. Rolled oats cooked with water, soy milk,  peanut flour, zucchini and – necessary – salt. Topped with popped amaranth and coconut flour ‘crumbles’. I missed the almond butter. I’m not above using empty soy yogurt containers as oatmeal carriages. In fact, I consider it perfectly reasonable recycling. Only they are big enough for my servings. Oats in a jar are no option because nut butters come in glass jars over here and I don’t feel like lugging one of those around. Hello, weight lifting.

Oats_for the train

Snacks included two cinnamon chickpea protein bars. Slightly smushed after waiting in my handbag so you’ll get the pretty picture. While my favourite way to eat these is cold straight from the fridge they are delicious even Unpictured snacks were apples, a cookie, … I always crave fruit even more than on regular days when traveling. Maybe it’s drinking less – in an effort to avoid using the toilet on the train. If you’ve ever been on a train you’ll know why …

Protein Bars 1

After some – successful (!) – shoe shopping my stomach and mind were calling for a proper sit-down meal. When in Hamburg we usually like to seek out one of our favourite smaller restaurants in the Schanzenviertel. But with a limited time window and shopping downtown we went for another go-to closer by. Cha cha is one of my favourite chain restaurants – only topped by Dolores. I ordered Thai fried rice with vegetables,  sesame soy sauce and cashews. The serving was very generous [the picture doesn’t do it justice] so I didn’t manage to finish it. Especially because my mum needed some help with her dish … Only not really but that’s what she gets for eating out with me.

Eating out_cha cha_September 2014

My Mum got their Yellow Curry Noodles with Pineapple and Seitan. The pasta wasn’t vegan but I ate around it picking out the best part: obviously the coconut milk-drenched seitan. Luckily for both of us, our dishes weren’t overly spicy like some food at Cha Cha can be. Remind me to finally prepare seitan at home because this was good.

Eating out_cha cha_September 2014_2

Dinner was an eat-all-the-food affair – I returned home ready to chew my arm off. Kabocha – found in Hamburg and yes; I buy and travel with heavy squash if I spot the elusive variety. Living in no-mans-country no-[kabocha] squash-country isn’t easy.
Steamed as usual and with the added coconut oil this was all I could have asked for after a long day of traveling. I’ve yet to come to a final result on its added satiating powers but it’s delicious either way.

Breakfast_kabocha

Happiness-inducing today: The chatterbug but very kind and helpful owner of the small health food store in the town I work.

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What do typical days on the road/ train look like for you food-wise?

How do you transport oats [to work or when traveling]?

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Peas over nuts [Cinnamon Chickpea Crunch Protein Bars]

Quick, easy, nutritious and delicious: A one-bowl vegan and protein bar reminiscent of  a slice of soft vanilla cake. Free from gluten, refined sugars or weird additives.

Protein Bars 8

Chances are that if you’ve been around the blog world for any time yet you’ll have noticed two trends: 1) a fondness of bars and 2) protein as many bloggers’ favourite macronutrient.  Me, however? That’s where I’m not like your average blogger. I’m not fond of bars in general [at this point I expect some people gasping for breath in shock]. Me and protein bars?  Much less. I’ve always considered these a) exclusive to body builders or b) anybody doing strength training. The way I see it I don’t fall in either category. Unless you’d count lugging around [way too] heavy bags every day weight-lifting. Hmmm …

Protein bar

Which didn’t bug me much because the protein bars available at stores around here are nasty. The only one I ever bought years ago – I can actually recall the time, brand and flavour of the bar – wasn’t awful in terms of taste. But it was a candy bar disguised as a healthy snack.  The ingredient list: Sugar. Sugar.  More sugar. Oh, and some protein. Processed soy-derived. Aren’t you getting hungry reading that?!

Protein Bars 1

These? Are the opposite. Granted, that other bar won the award for appearance – how hard is it with a thick chocolate?! coating – but we already know it’s the inner values that count.  Protein not only from the powder but the peanut flour and even in the chickpeas, too. A funny story or realization about those: I had my mind set on using salted peanuts here. -But-: you haven’t seen my overflowing cupboards yet. No unneccessary purchases for me.

Protein bars 3

So I went for the closest sub and – chickpeas. Before you turn up your nose or click away: Think about it. Chickpeas are legumes – as are peanuts.  There isn’t much of a difference with that in mind. Clearly a case where peas [won] over nuts. And I’m nuts about those peas – my stash is dwindling by the day. If you’re still doubtful just let me tell you about the great texture and crunch they add to these bars …

Protein bars 4_neu

A realization and my only regret about this recipe is my habit of preparing small batches. The one I prepared Saturday was meant to last me for the week. Yet there I was whipping up another pan a day later. I’m officially addicted. But it’s a good one.

Cinnamon Chickpea Crunch Protein Bars [about four generously-sized bars or more smaller ones]

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (20 g) [I used SunWarrior]
  • 1/8 cup peanut flour [15 g]
  • 1/8 cup coconut flour [15 g]
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon + additional for sprinkling on top
  • 1/8 cup NuNaturals oat fibre OR psyllium husks* [15 g] OR oat bran*
  • a pinch of salt [generous for me and any other fans of sweet-and-salty combinations]
  • 1 tbsp NuNaturals Simple Syrup (could sub agave or honey)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dry-roasted salted chickpeas [20 g]
  • about 1/2 cup non-dairy milk [I used coconut]
  • 1/4 cup dried mulberries
  • Optional [but actually mandatory] raw or 99% dark chocolate, chopped**

 

  1. Combine all dry ingredients.
  2. Stir in milk and syrup to combine.  You’ll want to reach a slightly drier cookie dough texture.
  3. Put the mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking dish and press down firmly.
  4. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until the top feels firm but not dried out.
  5. Take out of the oven and dust the top with additional cinnamon inmediately.
  6. Let cool before slicing into bars. These keep best in the fridge.

Notes:

* These are gluten-free if using either psyllium husk or gluten-free oat bran. The texture is most cake-like with the oat fibre but still fine elsewise.

** This will add some sugar so omit if opting to stay all sugar-free.

Protein bars 2

One more note on the Simply Syrup in this recipe: it’s a new product by NuNaturals and this was my first time trying it. There may or may not be a giveaway coming up soon …

Because everybody – now even me – likes protein, bars and protein bars I’m sharing these with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food RecipesTasty Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Friday and #glutenfreefridays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: An e-mail from a friend I hadn’t heard of in a while.

Stay in touch!

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What’s your favourite kind of protein bar?

Chickpeas instead of nuts: Strange or awesome?

Have you made your own protein bars before?

Meet me in pumpkin-ville!

 Autumn is a good time for change. Or at least that’s what Jenn makes us believe with her motto of falling into good habits. And why not? Even if fall is no better for breaking old habits or developping new ones: it’s as good as any other.  And while I’m sharing [part of] Sunday’s meals for today’s What I ate Wednesday it was a day that gave me the opportunity to try some new foods or test out assumptions. So let’s not ramble on any longer but talk about actual food.

wiaw fall_Kabocha

Breakfast included finally cutting into the monster squash. What can I say? It’s as sweet and crumbly as you could hope for. But I didn’t take a picture so decided you wouldn’t mind a recycled one.  There might really be sonething about frugal bloggingafter all. New additions to my squash were a stab of coconut oil and some coconut flour crumbles. Inspired by Robyn I’m trying to see if the oil will make a difference in terms of staying power and satisfaction for me.

kabocha_pot

Whether it’s contradictive saying this after showing the above picture or not: I’m not ready for fall – or autumn as I prefer – yet. The chance to eat all the pumpkin again is a slight consolation. And lunch was a case of dealing with my produce overbuying tendency once more. Honestly,  though, I just couldn’t not buy the best,  freshest-looking bag of spinach I’ve ever seen. Especially since fresh spinach is a rarity over here in general. Oh and did I mention pumpkin? Actually, I’d had my mind set on a potato spinach casserole but then I just couldn’t ignore the cut-up half of a butternut squash sitting in my fridge. While potatoes are an obvious match in this combination and preparationLuck of ingredients the butternut worked really well here, too.

Butternut Squash Spinach Casserole 2

Apparently,  I also wanted cheese.  If I’m being completely honest,  I’d been craving cheese badly for weeks until I finally picked up a bag. This is actually a point I want to work on: figuring out my cravings and listening to them better. There has been an annoying lot of days where I ended up being unsatisfied and snacking non-stop even when I just finished a meal. I’m happy to report this was not the case on this day. How could it have been with a cheese-laden casserole that aided in building up the highly aquired pumpkin glow. Come Halloween I’ll shine brighter than any squashes …

Butternut Squash_Spinach Casserole

Snack time rolled around and I felt another burst of cooking inspiration – and use-up-spiration. And here I’m wondering again: when in the world did I purchase all of the food sitting in my cupboards [and in fact taking up space I could use for actual cups and plates]. Rather than grab a bar of chocolate right away* – there would be plenty in above-mentioned food stash – I decided to venture out a little further. Making good use of the fact it was the weekend and I had a choice to go for something different than my usual packed snacks. Homemade protein bars it was. Lately, I’ve noticed I wasn’t satisfied with my usual snacks [fruit, dried fruit + nut bars, chocolate] at work and am looking to improve the situation. Doing the math in my head I know the one nutrient my meals and snacks are probably lacking in is protein.

tea

*okay, there was some chocolate happening in between. I can’t [and don’t want to] help it.

These don’t look pretty but again: taste beats appearance. With vanilla protein powder, cinnamon, coconut flour and some other bits and bobs these hit the spot. If you’re anything like me texture matters and to ensure that and my intention for a slightly sweet-and-salty bar I added chopped up dry-roasted chickpeas. Clearly strange but good to some but again: Don’t knock it till you try it. Just like with chocolate I paired this with a cup of my favourite tea.

Protein bar

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding the perfect parking spot in my street. Did I mention that can be a pain in the butt here??

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Have you made protein bars before? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

 Are you on a mission to eat ALL the pumpkin, too? In that case: share your favourite recipes here as well. There are never enough for pumpkin, squash or whatever you like to all it. (:

Do you say

a) pumpkin or squash?

b) autumn or fall?

 

 

Call me the soup lady!

Hello there!

It’s been back to the grind for me these past weeks which means most of my day’s spent in an office. Which in turn means just one thing food-wise: soup for lunch! Luckily, soup isn’t soup so there’s still been some variety on this end. Be prepared for a lot of soup pictures in today’s What I ate Wednesday and in weeks to come. Just to spice things up a little – and because I’m nosey to see others’ office day meals and snacks, too – I’m giving you a peek into my usual packed eats. I hope Jenn‘s a soup lady fan, too. [Edited to add: I know she is – at least if balls are included.]

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2_soup

What I do know, though, is that Jenn’s a fan of well-stocked freezers. Unlike other people I don’t have a freezer [or anything worth mentioning unless shoebox-sized counts] stocked with all kinds of amazing leftovers to resort to for quick workday lunches. However, soup comes together almost as quickly – okay, that’s a lie and I’m jealous, Sarah and everybody else 😉 – and is easy to prepare in larger batches. Because as much as I like cooking and bringing my own lunch I’d rather not spend hours on it after work. Call me the lazy soup lady.

Chickpea dumpling stew_office version

Above is a modified version of my Chickpea Dumpling Stew/Casserole

which turned out to be not exactly office lunch/thermos-friendly. The dumplings obviously sank to the bottom and I didn’t have a spoon long enough to get them out until the end when hardly any broth was left. Easier to eat was this Chickpea Noodle Soup below that was yet another little recovery win. White pasta was a huge no-go for me and I didn’t have it again after my first meal at Vapiano. But for whichever reason I felt like having udon so I bought a package – end of story. Granted, I was a little disappointed at their taste because the nutty taste is the real reason I prefer whole-wheat pasta. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to prepare this recipe I’d been eyeing for ages for a larger crowd because store-bought whole-wheat udon isn’t available over here.

Chickpea Udon Noodle Soup

A typical office lunch bag consists of – you guessed it – soup and a variety of snacks to [hopefully] satisfy whichever cravings will hit me throughout the day. For me it’s key to mix different flavours and textures to feel content with my eats. Always something fresh and crisp, something creamy/starchy, something savoury and a litte somethin’ somethin’ sweet. Today that was an apple [fresh & crunchy]

apple

Call me odd but: chickpeas [starchy + savoury/salty] because I’ve been craving them like crazy lately. And they hardly ever fail to satisfy. If you think it’s weird: it’s the lazy version of roasted chickpeas and those aren’t an odd snack to bring to work, right?

chickpeas

… and one of my Peanut Protein Cereal Bars [salty and sweet] plus some unpictured chocolate [sweet]. It’s either something I didn’t notice before I started working or didn’t experience before but I get the need for something sweet in the afternoon slump [read: 3 or 4 PM] just about every.single.day. Previously I wasn’t comfortable with eating chocolate that early in the day – don’t ask me why, ED logic isn’t logical at all – but the little sugar kick is a savior for my nerves some days.

snack bar

Not to say I hadn’t thought the bars were good right after preparing them but I may or may not actually like them even better after a day [or two] in the fridge. An added bonus is that they got the sign of approval from my roommate, too. She’s a bit fussy about carbs at times but they key here is to stress they’re healthy and rich in protein ;). Which is funny because I tend to shy away from mentioning the ‘healthy’ aspect of whatever I’ve prepared unless people ask. Why make a big deal about it only to hear the ‘tastes good for being healthy’ when a dish just tastes good as is? Healthy or not: for more pictures of delicious food hop over to join the Vegan Wednesday link-up, too.

Happiness inducing today: Getting to take a short walk during my lunch break which sadly isn’t possible every day anymore.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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Tell me: what does your lunch and snack bag for work look like?

And help a girl out: What are your favourite filling vegan or vegetarian* soup recipes [preferably ones that don’t require a full restock of my pantry/lots of special ingredients 🙂]?

Do you feel the afternoon slump, too? How do you combat it?

* Sorry for anybody making non-vegetarian suggestions before I edited this. I still appreciate you taking the time to brainstorm ideas for me.