WIAW: Gone carrots

Once upon a time … I did What I at Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday posts on the regular. Yes, it seems like enough time has passed since then to justify the use of this expression. Either way, it has been a while and I’m not entirely sure I’ll get back to joining the party weekly again soon. Life is life or so they say. And who are they, by the way? [yes, important life questions to be pondered – at another time].

WIAW_new2015

Unless it’s your first time swinging by here you might remember I like finding a good theme for any such food posts. Today’s happened to come about completely unplanned. Actually, I have yet to plan any WIAW topic, come to think of … Oh well. Let’s talk about what I ate … gone carrots.

Yes, carrots. One of the first vegetables every child – or is it just us over here? – is served by their parents. A good choice indeed around these parts if the intention is to get that glow without relying on the sun that can be lacking here. Additionally, though, carrots have a lot more to offer than you might know. Allow me a little nutrition nerdiness because now that I’m on a carrot kick I want everybody to join. A little bit of positive peer pressure maybe?

Want to keep a sharp vision? Eat carrots! Just one cup already provides more than 100 % of the DV of Vitamin A.  Rich in antioxidants they also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases . While I also recommend doing crossword puzzles and sudoku to keep your brain fresh ;), eating carrots may help delay cognitive decay/loss of memory.

Okay, enough of the lessons, moving onto the food already!

Breakfast_bulgur_carrots_chickpeas_tupper

What you see above is my tupper-ed breakfast. It’s both an effort to change things up from my usual one and my undying fondness of bulgur [in addition to carrots]. My current favourite grain mixed with shredded carrots, chickpeas and soy creamer plus spices. It’s the perfect no-time-but-hungry meal. Only not as filling as I hoped. Much more filling, though, was lunch …

Chickpea Carrot Stew_bulgur_lunch

More carrots! Are you surprised? I was only half-kidding about the using their wonderful carotene boost to work on my tan while the sun is only playing the occasional peek-a-boo around here. No matter what the weather is like, though, the dish above ranks upon my favourites. Non-vegan in the original recipe found in one of my family’s favourite cookbooks I tried to turn it into a fully vegan dish. As of now, it still requires some tweaking but it’s good as is already. Red onions, carrots and chickpeas sautéed with oriential spices, added raisins and – post-picture – some soy creamer.

… and because life is all about balance I certainly will never forego dessert/snack time. I like to pretend raw chocolate was healthy so that means I can eat more of these in addition to my favourite, right?! Just agree.

Raw chocolate company_raisins_snack

Whether healthy or not, though, I’ve made the decision not to count those in my intake. Yes, that habit is still hanging around most days. It’s a little step but those add up to bigger strides on the path, right?! Eating chocolate is good no matter what so in case you haven’t had any today yet I highly recommend making up for that.

Happiness-inducing today:  The huge sigh of relief after a rather unpleasant experience. Did I mention I don’t like going to the dentist’s?!

 
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Friday Favourites – 7/24/2015

… and just like that it’s Friday again. I’ll break a record keeping this intro shorter than short and get right into some favourites – ending on a little cheeky fun to embrace our inner teenage girl selves ;).

Not saving the best for last here: My favourite happening from the past seven days was meeting Juli. Anticipation makes everything more worthwhile? Possibly. Because – correct me if I’m wrong, Juli – we’ve been planning/hoping for our meet-up for almost a year already. Yes, Germany might be comparably small but living hundreds of kilometers/miles apart still makes finding a time and place a challenge. Our lucky day came about by Juli attending a work conference in Berlin and my brother conveniently offering me his couch.

Juli and I might not have talked about 1000 [lovely] things but we chatted about this and that, walked a lot around Berlin and got along right from the first minute. It’s almost cliché to say but yes, blogging friendships are truly amazing.

Blogger meet-up_Juli

Also high on top of my list of favourite activities are still – will they ever not feature here? – walks/hikes. Once a country bumpkin, always a country bumpkin. Or lover of nature to use a more positive term. One of my recent travels took me to the Saar [Saarland]. I could never imagine living there –conquering steep hills by bike isn’t exactly my idea of fun 😉 – but whenever around I insist on setting out into the forest for a long walk.

Walk_hike_Saar_2

Which might turn into some kind of adventurous hike if your dad claims to know the route yet misses the right path and you need to make your way through the bushes. Add to this that none of us had packed hiking-compatible footwear. Swearing may or may not have happened. The views more than made up for it, though.

Walk_hike_Saar

On a food favourite note I bought these raw chocolate-covered raisins on one of my last trips to Berlin and all I can say is: oh. My. Goodness. I actually am neither too fond of raisins nor raw chocolate –  aside from exceptions – but these might just convert me. If you have any chance to get your hands on them: what are you waiting for???

Source

Here’s a recent favourite to make you smile. Or giggle. Yes, at times I’m all of 15 years old giggling/swooning over pictures like this – as were all of my friends I forwarded this … Really, though, who wouldn’t have approved of a teacher like that? Aside from the fact that concentration would have flown right out the window …

Thanks to Heather and Clare for remindingus to focus on the happy parts of life and talk about favourites on Fridays!

Happiness-inducing today: Having my sister visit for the weekend. We don’t see each other often enough anymore these days.

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What are your plans for the weekend?

Have you met any other bloggers before?

Do you have any not-gone-as-planned hiking stories to tell? Aside from the lost-in-the-woods one above I have another from a hike through the Dartmoor years ago …

 

 

 

 

 

WIAW: Ditch the itch!

Can we please pretend it wasn’t today yet WIAW-wise? What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday came early for me this week. Not like I didn’t rejoice im the fact we’re halfway through the work week already. But thanks to an inflammated throat that’s been bugging me for more than a week my meals have felt very basic and uninspired. Luckily, nothing will ever stop me from eating completely so while I might not have been able to fully enjoy food with all sense I still had some good eats. All the while trying to ditch the itch with smooth and creamy food – not the worst choices.

wiaw fall into good habits button

Today that I’m writing this is the first day of being able to actually enjoy all kinds of food again. One I wasn’t able to eat well – its upside of containing lots of little fruit and nut bits and pieces was a downside for an itchy throat: Nakd bars.  I received samples way back and had meant to post a proper review by now but have yet to. Maybe because I keep saving them for emergency snacks?? Good emergency snacks.  Pictured below is the Cocoa Delight bar which I didn’t enjoy as much as you’d prbably expect from a chocolate fiend. But that exactly is the point: I’m super picky when it comes to chocolate-y foods. And while not bad the cocoa taste in here wasn’t intense enough for me with the dried fruit being overpowering.

Another one I’ve tried recently was the Cocoa Mint flavour and one of my chocolatey favourites.  I was skeptical of how well the mint would go with the taste of dried fruit – don’t ask me why exactly – but it works well and was just the right amount of refreshing minty-ness. Though yes, this one could use a deeper chocolate flavour [= higher cocoa content], too. But that’s just me being picky.

Nakd bar_cocoa delight

Am I even surprising you with my breakfast anymore? Kabocha is just so good I don’t see myself changing it anymore – until I run out, that is. What I didn’t reveal yet was my perfect way of preparing it that’s probably slightly OCD. My method of choice is to boil it until it’s tender, them mash some pieces to create a creamy sauce and add coconut oil for taste and saturation. Rather than just throw all chunks into the pot,  though, I’ve found I got the best results by organizing them neatly. Think of it as a little puzzle action in the morning.  Only with an acceptable amount of pieces – I wouldn’t be capable of the other kind  this early in the AM. And then I add just an inch or so of water, close the pot with a tightly-fitting lid and bring it to the boil.  Then I turn off the heat but do -not- open the lid. After about 10 minutes – insert morning routine – I come back to perfectly tender kabocha. Creamy-smooth enough to lower the amount of throat itching.

kabocha_pot

While you’re reading this I might be eating the dish below. It’s an old favourite that I decided to bring back: kidney bean pot-pie with mashed parsnip topping. One can only eat so much soups or stews until it gets boring and lunch time at work becomes a matter of ‘oh well, I’ll eat it because I’m hungry’. This was my effort to bring excitement back by preparing a dish that required a little more effort on Sunday. Really just a little more, though. The kidney bean filling comes together like 1-2-3 and the topping? Cleaning the blender is the most labor-intense part. Only I didn’t have enough parsnips on hand so I used the remainder of those, russet potatoes and cauliflower.

kidney bean filling

Parpoflower? Caulitatosnips? Either way,  it was delicious when prepping this already. This was one of the times where I was glad to have a blog.  Okay, I always am. But I’d completely forgotten what went into the dish and this way it took me a few clicks and I had a print-out of the recipe at hand.  Don’t you like when that happens? I wouldn’t have been patient enough to look through my previous ‘recipe organization’ – read: piles of loose papers with notes scribbled down.

pot pie_mashed

One of my recent sweet breaks included tea, chocolate and a magazine.  More specifically: tea from a newly purchased mug because I couldn’t resist the owls in different colours.  Chocolate was the far-travelled OmBar though my itchy throat took over my tastebuds, too, so I’ll save most of it for once they’re fully back at work again. And the magazine in the picture? The latest issue of Women’s Health.  It’s the only women’s magazine I buy and while I don’t agree with everything they write either, it’s better than most others in my opinion.

OmBar cocomylk_chocolate_raw

How was that for a random tangent?  Touching the issue of health and fitness magazines when I was talking about food only just a second ago. I won’t go into the issue in any more detail today but I do have a decided opinion on the influence on the media’s influence on our individual live. Clearly a topic for a future episode of Thinking out loud. Not tomorrow’s, though, but there’s another subject on my mind that I hope you’ll chime in on tomorrow. Until then:

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: One of my colleagues asking me to proof-read her page when just shortly ago she doubted I was even able to do that yet.

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Bloggers: do you ever forget any of your own recipes and have to go back to look them up?

 Which magazines do you read [not just food and health, any you read on the regular]? Aside from Women’s Health I’m a huge fan of brand eins. And to all German readers: yes, I do realize these couldn’t be more different from each other.

WIAW: Celebrating World Vegetarian Day [early]

Yay for coincidences! What better day to celebrate today being today than a gloriously food-filled What I ate Wednesday?! And obviously even more so Vegan Wednesday – shhhh … mark November 1st in your calendars already [I’ll let you know why in time]! For anybody still clueless:  Happy World Vegetarian Day! Even if you’re not an all-out veg-head the mere fact that you’re a foodie is good enough for me. Thanks to the probably not entirely veg but definitely veggie-loving Jenn for hosting!

 ]One more thing before diving into the food: I might be vegetarian, took the minute to play around with the WIAW button and gave a shout-out about World Vegetarian Day [again]. But that doesn’t change anything about what I said before. No matter which diet we’re all united in our fondness of food – and that’s more than enough.

special_wiawloveyourveggiesmonthbutton2

Because Wednesday as yet another office day [read: food eaten from tupperware] I celebrated early with a special lunch and will fill you in on what I might be eating the very moment you’re reading this post. Breakfast today is/ was a bowl of the usual: oatmeal with chia seeds and lots of zucchini grated in. Don’t you like sneaking in a serving of vegetables you hardly remember eating despite the fact you added it yourself?  I kid you not. I start eating and don’t even think about it. With coconut flour, apple chunks and cocoa added it’s simply not detectable. Or at least not in semi-sleepy state …

oat bran_zucchini_peanut flour[and because I’m unable to take pictures in said sleepy state you’re getting a recycled picture. Just imagine cocoa and almond butter added]

New and happening before I even got started on breakfast: coffee!  Yes. Me, the “who cares about coffee??” tea fiend. Granted,  I still think coffee is overrated. But I decided that at 23 and working in an office of coffee drinkers I should at least give it a go. True coffee purists will shake their head at the fact I bought the granulated kind. To each their own.  So how was it? Better than I guessed. I added some of NuNaturals’ Simple Syrup and only a splash of almond milk.  However, I have to admit I felt a little … funky afterwards. Maybe it’s just getting used to it?

New in 004

Let’s talk lunch because I’m waaay excited.  A lasagna craving has stuck around for me for-ev-er. The only problem? My cupboards are still ridiculously crammed with all kinds of grains, flours, snacks and whatever else – but no lasagna sheets. I’ve promised myself I wouldn’t buy any new pantry staples until I’ve made a dent in my current ones. What’s a lasagna – longing vegetarian to do? Eggplant to the rescue. And that’s despite being torn in between liking and despising this vegetable.

Eggplant lasagna_pre-baking

Trust me: this dish is ridiculous – in a very good way. Single-serving cheesy lasagna packed with nutrients – and low-carb, too. Personally, I don’t mind that last aspect and still want some classic pasta-filled lasagna in ny life but until then this is an awesome dish to fill the spot. It can be vegetarian or vegan [Daiya cheese melts well] and gluten-free as well. Tender eggplant slices mingling with [storebought] a duo of sauces, fresh spinach and cheese. I had a hard time taking pictures as a) the scent alone was intoxicating [sorry to tout my own horn but you’d understand if this was in front of you right now]. And b) it was late both days I ate it. Nevertheless I wanted to share the recipe as soon as possible – it is too good not to and I know my forgetfulness if I don’t get to it during the next days.

Eggplant lasagna_right

Celebrating a special occasion calls for a special dessert, too. Perfect if it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon treat you picked up with the intention of saving it for a … day. This Coco Mylk OmBar fit the bill right there. I got a chance to review this flavour  before it was available in Germany. So I knew how good it was when I spotted it on special offer on my recent trip to Hamburg. Yes, I lugged home more than just that green guy. These hardly compare in terms of weight but don’t need to hide in terms of deliciousness. Given I’ll be at the office linking up from my phone by the time the WIAW link-up goes live just looking at the picture below will make me hungry/ look forward to returning home from work already. Oh the things chocolate does for me …

Ombar Coco Mylk

Happiness-inducing today: my first run in the new city and also first longer run in forever post-injury – mostly pain-free!

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Do [or will] you celebrate World Vegetarian Day or any other not-quite-as-wellknown holidays? There’s a huge number of food holidays out there to choose from if you haven’t done this yet. I highly recommend National Chocolate Day and I know for a fact I’ll celebrate October 29th in style.

What’s your favourite kind of [vegetarian please!] lasagna? Let me know of any recipes worth trying.

Raw-king my [chocolate] socks

If you’ve read my blog for any time you’ll know I’m an all-out chocolate fiend. Not a single day passes by without me getting my hands and face covered in chocolate – or, to keep it clean here: chocolate is part of my daily diet. A marvelous part indeed.

MiMM_new

While I enjoy trying new brands and flavours something I had yet to be convinced by was raw chocolate. Even though I’d tried a few bites of raw chocolate in the past none could live up to my high demands J. The flavours were good for the most part but the texture didn’t please me too much. Granted, I’m seriously picky when it comes to chocolate: No filled bars, not too cloyingly sweet, dark but not too bitter or acidic in taste and – most importantly – they need to be smooth, melt-in-my-mouth goodness.

All together_Om

Back to the raw facts chocolate. During my visit a Veganz a while back I had the chance to sample some OmBar flavours which were totally different from any other raw chocolate bars I’d had to date. Not only were the flavours interesting but the texture wasn’t nearly as gritty as the one of those bars I’d tried before. Needless to say I was super happy when Ombar offered to send me a few of their chocolates to review.

Ombar Coco Mylk

 

The first one I tried was Coco Mylk which – as the name gives away –is the one resembling milk chocolate the closest. It is very smooth, has a creamy and what I’d describe as a slighty fruity and very pleasant sweetness from the coconut sugar Ombar uses in all of their bars. Unlike real dairy milk chocolate which leaves me craving for more this one was satisfying and didn’t leave me wanting to eat the whole bar in one sitting. [Okay, maybe I wanted to but I was able to practice moderation more easily than with dairy milk chocolate ;).] Coco Mylk is the flavor I’d be likeliest to buy again [soon] but unfortunately the only of these not available in Germany.

Ombar Strawberry

Strawberries & Cream: Not usually a huge fan of fruit-infused chocolate I was positively surprised by this one. According to the ingredient list and information on the inside of the wrapping paper the strawberry flavor comes from 100% natural dried fruit powder. It therefore doesn’t have the artificial taste I’ve found in other (non-raw) fruit-flavoured chocolates and blends in very well.

Ombar dark

Dark 72%: As opposed to the other two flavours which both had a cocoa percentage of 60 % this one’s decidedly richer in cocoa taste. It’s the least smoothest of the flavours but still nowhere near as gritty as some of the other brands of raw chocolate I’d tried previously. If you enjoy dark chocolate in general I’d recommend trying this bar which also isn’t as sweet as the other bars and therefore yet more satisfying.

What really enjoyed about Ombar chocolates was their short ingredient list containing nothing artificial or overly processed. Raw cacao, coconut sugar and cacao butter as well as added probiotics are the main ingredients found in all of the above-mentioned bars. The “milkier” flavours contain some other – yet still natural – ingredients like coconut butter. Ombar provides extensive information about all ingredients used as well as the benefits of raw chocolate on their website if you’d like to find out more.

Ombar CocoMylk II

Another aspect I like about Ombar is that they’re a small company founded by three health-interested friends on their pursuit to find the perfect raw chocolate bar. Not being willing to give up on chocolate while living a healthy [and in their case raw] life is something I can fully sympathize with – who would want that? Supporting smaller businesses is something I really like doing even if their products are a bit pricier than those by larger ones. Good quality is worth paying a little extra in my opinion.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the Ombar chocolates and would definitely buy them again. Especially as there are several other interesting flavours – Coconut! Blueberry Acai! – I definitely want to try. Why not satisfy my chocolate cravings in a healthier way and more natural way every now and then?  As given away in the title Ombars definitely rocked raw-ked my chocolate socks :). That being said I’m off to om on another piece [or two] while having a look at everybody else’s marvelous happenings over at Katie’s.

 

Happiness inducing today: Waking up to a kind text by my sister.

 

Do you like raw chocolate?

Which are your favourite brands and flavours?