Pump[kin] up my lunches and cookies

Oh hey, a second What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday in a row!

Not making any promises of posting weekly meals again but I do plan on joining WIAW more regularly again. I’ve fallen into a rut, no, groove [stealing this from Amanda] and I need crave change. WIAW has proven to be a helpful tool of inspiration and positive pressure here before so fingers crossed I’ll be able to shake it off up again. Onto my recent still-in-the-groove meals, though.

WIAW_new2015

 

Let’s face it: office lunches are not glamorous. Unless you a) live in an awesome city with intriguing options [Whole Foods, Panera, Chipotle – none of which exist in Germany and certainly not where I live]. What’s a girl to do? Meal prep, right. I’ve actually gotten rather good at breaking this up over the course of the weekend in batch-cooking a different grain every week plus two stew-like dishes to go along with it. That would be casserole-y-fying for you. And yes, we’ll pretend that’s a word. Thanks.

Pumpkin cheese sauce

That above is the key to one of my favourite go-to dishes: a super simple – does anybody use the abbreviation KISS anymore??? If so: that’s the name of the game. – vegan pumpkin cheese sauce. I’ve had neither Velveeta nor Kraft mac and cheese before but rumor has it they tag along that ‘neon cheese sauce’ image so maybe I can compete here? Only this sauce contains a fraction of the ingredients of boxed kinds and healthy ones at that. It’s in fact not the first time this sauce is making an appearance on here but I somehow never shared the original recipe I used it in.  Given it’s a keeper I might just have to …

Office lunch_casserole_vegan pumpkin cheese sauce

This particular dish was a mix of sautéed carrots, cauliflower, red onions and kale with – what’s new? – chickpeas. All served up with short-grain brown rice I cooked separately and sprinkled with a generous amount of nutritional yeast. The non-glamorous way it looked after lugging it along to the office and reheating it …

20150211_office lunch

… and all non-tuppered packed up. I’m not a member of the Tupper club anymore – or at least not at the office. Granted, tuppered up has a nicer ring to it but I’m really fond of my new dishes.  They’re not actually new – but you’d have a very good memory if you remembered where they hail from – but I’ve been using them more than ever before these past months. A dish you can [but I didn’t this time] bake and store a dish in afterwards?! Plus, the vacuum is pretty amazing – that little ‘zipper’ you see peeking out at the left side top of the dish. No  accidentially lifting the dish up and spilling its contents because the lid wasn’t closed well enough …

casserole_dish

And because I like my sweet endings I’ll overlook the fact I did not like the picture and show you my latest tried-and-tested blogger recipe. Amanda’s vegan Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookies. I will admit I didn’t care so much for the actual baked cookies but a lot of dough eating quality control was necessary. In fact, I baked another batch shortly afterwards not only because one of my colleagues was really fond of them but because I was craving some dough. We can call it a win-win-situation and still consider it a selfless act on my part, agreed 😉 ?!

Amandas_banana chocolate chip cookies

And now that I’ve talked your ears off about pumpkin cheese, tupper vs. non-tupper dishes and the importance of quality control when baking I’m hungry and we can call it a day. Let’s chat about your recent meals a little below and as always: happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today:  Starting the day with a new breakfast. It’s a first step to breaking the groove!

Stay in touch!

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

 

Have you ever made a pumpkin-based cheese sauce before? Let me know of any amazing recipes worth trying.

What’s your favourite kind of cookie dough? Yes, the dough, not the baked cookie. My favourite baked cookie [shortbread-based] differs from my favourite kind of cookie dough so I dare to say others are similar.

Are you a member of the Tupper club? And can we still be friends now that I’m not fully anymore???

 

 

 

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
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

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?

 

 

Breaking breakfast habits and sun[chokes]

The unimaginable happened. Guess what? I ate savoury breakfasts. Yes, not just once but twice. Seasonally awoken again, I think. Maybe my savoury appetite awoke from.its hibernstion. Sweet rich breakfasts do an awesome job at luring me out of bed and offering warming comfort during the colder months. But when it gets warmer I occasionally need the morning savouriness. Just wait for it: next week I’ll be eating banana softserve topped with salty roasted chickpeas for breakfast [yes, I totally made that up but hey, why not 😉 ] to beat the heatwave supposedly approaching us during the next days. Yes, 28°C are considered a heatwave around these parts. Hot or not: let’s talk about food! It’s What I ate Wednesday after all.

wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Because I’m pretty sure I’ve had a mention-worthy amount of veggies during the last week I felt it was only appropriate to use the fitting WIAW logoo. Plus Jenn did an awesome job at designing it so why not let it shine once more?! The first of my unusual breakfast featured the vegan pumpkin cheese sauce I mentioned last week – and was probably induced by a constant craving for it. Didn’t I say it was ridiculously addivctive? Proof is in the pudding breakfast. Broccoli finally found its way back into my life after an at least month-long absense and chickpeas? Do they really need any explanatation on this blog??

Pumpkin cheese

What do you do when you’re out of potatoes with no oppportunity to buy some but they’re a reoccuring ingredient in just about every meal you want to try? Sub. Chances for a great result are 50:50 after all. (: First up where nachos. After seeing Amanda’s delicious-looking dinner last week I couldn’t get it off my mind. And sorry, no, that didn’t have to do with any sweet potato cravings. They don’t happen for me. White potatoes win. Only I didn’t have those, either. But I did have sunchokes. Far from potatoes but why not?

sunchoke

Topped with quickly made cheater refried beans, tomatoes, shredded zucchini* and way too little cheese which would likely have taken it up a notch or two. Because that’s what happens when you forget about the cheese in the back of your fridge and are too afraid to still use [much of] it. These wannabe-nachos were still nice but next time I’d probably go with the vegan queso mentioned here. Because yes, I haven’t forgotten about my challenge and definitely intend on trying it.

Sunchoke nachos

 

*About the zucchini: it was a very last minute add-in because the lack of green in a meal makes it …unsatisfying?! Or maybe I’ve just ingrained that I’m supposed to eat the colours of the rainbow deeply. Either way a colourful meal is much more satisfactory for the eyes, too. Speaking of satisfaction and non-sweet breakfasts: Coincidentially, I came across this post by Irina which gave some hints on the possible whereabouts of my savoury cravings early in the day. Some more breakfast experimentation is in order and if it there’s pictured evidence you’ll find out in future WIAWs.

 

Sunchoke nachos 2

About the sweet part of today’s post. Or better yet the sweet fail. But to begin on the beginning: I still don’t get the hype about avocados. But somehow I can’t resist them when they’re on offer and looking way too tempting. After adding some to the nachos I was left with more than half an avocado begging for good uses. The idea of a finally trying the famous avocado cookies was tempting. But if you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know I simply can’t follow recipes.

Avocado protein cookie

Kitchen experimentation got the best of me again. A little of this, a little of that and… cookies! Chocolate Chunk Protein Cookies to be exact. Vegan, just a little bit of sugar in the [not] optional chocolate and gluten-free, too. Probably I just expected too much but while not bad these aren’t worth writing home about. Maybe second time’s a charm?! Or I should probably follow recipes after all… We’ll see next time avocados are on offer again 😉 .

After all of that sunchoke talk I hope all of you – wherever in the world you are – get to enjoy lots of sunshine today. Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: A lot! A surprise text from a good friend being one of them – because he’s one of the few people still writing long texts instead of using instant messengers.

 

Stay in touch!

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

Have you ever tried sunchokes? If so: please share your favourite uses!

Do you feel a tendency towards sweet or savoury foods depending on the season?