Culinary confessions of an overbuyer

Hi there, fellow foodies!

First off: thank you so much for all of the encouraging and supportive comments on my last post! I appreciated every single one of them. Change still isn’t easy for me but I’m trying to just let it happen and see where life leads me.

Before we head straight into the more illustrated part of this post I feel like I need to explain its background a little. all it a confession of an overbuyer if you will … Picture this: you’re visiting the Farmers’ Market knowing that you’re well stocked in the vegetable department already. Clearly, your only intention is to get some of your favourite apples only available at a certain stall and then head home again. No other purchases or even side glances at the full array of beautiful produce allowed … Can you guess the end of the story? Yes, I somehow ended up buying the most humungous head of cauliflower you’ve seen so far for a fantastic price and a bag of awesome pears as well. Typical foodie problems?! Which leads me to today’s What I ate Wednesday.

wiaw fall into good habits buttonUsing up what’s on hand and not buying new produce anymore sounds like a good habit to fall into, don’t you think so?! Once more I’m also linking up for Vegan Wednesday so to all German readers: take a look at a collection of delicious vegan food over at Julia’s.

Finding myself with an overload of produce – more specifically: cauliflower, bell pepper and carrots as well as slightly more “normal” amounts of random others – I had to modify my Pinterest challenge. It’s almost the usual for me to overbuy produce. But with my move coming closer I need to hurry up on eating my way through the produce party. Hence challenge “Make a dent” – not to be confused with any current appointments at the dentist’s …

Cream of corn

Have you ever been lured into the “season’s almost over so I have to buy it!” syndrome? With corn season being almost or even already over I noticed I hadn’t had fresh corn at all so far. Yes, shame on me. This recipe for sounded awesome and it didn’t disappoint. While I expected it to be good it turned out even better. So good, in fact, that I could have even done without any add-ins. Why didn’t I realize any earlier just how amazing fresh corn tastes?!

[Actually, I made this months back already but forgot to mention it in previous WIAW posts. Sorry!]

Next up was a freshly pinned recipe that I mentioned in my post on Sunday: Susan’s Spaghetti Squash Pesto Lasagna. Will you believe I actually followed the recipe [almost] to a T??? Okaaay, I subbed grated zucchini for the spinach – all for the sake of using it up – and used additional and also silken tofu though Susan doesn’t recommend it [with added cornstarch to thicken it up]. But other than that I didn’t make a lot of modifications. Verdict: Delicious! Once more I was skeeved by the low lighting but you can’t change the weather.

Squash Lasagna

Carrots first found their way into my Red Lentil Kabocha Chili which you’ll probably notice I modified a little and tried to measure how much water I added. How I forgot to add almond butter on top the first time I tried it is beyond me.

My original intention had been to try a Pumpkin Cauliflower Curry. However, the [red kuri] squash stored in the basement seems less perishable than carrots. And with no canned pumpkin available I had to prepare my own puree in anyway. So why not go for carrot instead of pumpkin?

oat loli

Don’t let the look deceive you. Despite its mediocre appearance I came up with a flavourful and spicy (!) curry that hit the spot once reheated. Does anybody else find that curry – just like chili – tastes better when reheated? On the side I tried another new-to-me recipe: Khusboo’s Oat Lolis. They had been on my Pinterest board/to-make list ever since she posted them and yesterday offered a great opportunity to try them.

scoop

Super easy and fast to prepare but the best part: they’re an great scooping device. In case you’re wondering: I added cumin seeds [obsessed!] and the first loli disappeared before it could even make it into a picture. Hangry blogger at work? Maybe … I’ll share the recipe for the curry later this week for any others desperately in need of using up cauliflower ;). Or just those who enjoy a good curry.

Cauliflower snack

Okay, this one is strange but good. Remember how I mentioned the cauliflower was humungous? I wasn’t kidding and I actually still had half a head sitting in the basement that I’d somehow forgotten about. Enter cauliflower not only for lunch but as a snack, too. Not any old cauliflower, though, but vegan egg-battered amaranth-coated cauliflower. More details on that in my next post :).

Avocado-Törtchen

Ending on a sweet and [semi-]raw note once more: [frozen] Chocolate Avocado Cupcake made by my sister. She’s been asking me for healthy food ideas and started experimenting on her own for quite some time already coming up with some awesome creations. Though they haven’t been eating weird food before it’s funny to see family members jump on the health foodie bandwagon every now and then lately, too. Who knows, maybe I’ll turn them into nut butter addicts and oat bran fiends one day after all?! Wishful thinking – but then again: Sharing my nut butters? I don’t think so ;).

Happy [healthy] Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Mailing another surprise letter.

Help me out: What are your favourite uses/recipes for cauliflower and bell peppers? Aside from roasting [still not a fan – totally untypical foodie here, sorry!] I appreciate any suggestions.

Are you good at resisting produce offers when you know you’re well stocked already?

Did you interest in [healthy] food rub off on family members yet?

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Cheating deliciously [Spaghetti Squash Bake]

First things first: Happy World Vegan Day!

Do you ever notice trends in the way you cook or the recipes you create? When it comes to the latter or at least those I’ve posted on the blog there’s an obvious one: just about every recipe contains legumes of some kind. Be it beans in their natural – wait, are canned beans still ‘natural’? – form or more processed as silken tofu: I can’t deny I’m a legume fiend. This hasn’t always been the case but becoming vegetarian somehow naturally lead me to incorporating more of these fine little guys into my diet and I’m not complaining. It’s not even intentionally for the reason of trying to get in my protein and nutrients but an intuitive choice for taste reasons. Just goes to show how smart our bodies are making us choose what we need.

Spaghetti Squash

Okay, first trend: beans. Another one I found myself laughing at just today was my constant ‘faking it’ attitude. Think of my Mushroom Stroganoff or Chickpeas in Blueberry Mole: I’ve never had the ‘real deal’ of either of those dishes so I just winged it keeping only the name. Authenticity? No. Deliciousness? Yes!

Spaghetti

The same goes for the [unfried] ‘refried beans’ in this dish: I’ve never actually had them but came upon numerous recipes and as the spices were right up my alley decided to turn it into a new meal. The ones in this recipe are adapted from Appetite for Reduction but changing up amounts and subbing kidney beans for the unavailable [authentic] pinto beans. With spaghetti squash being a newfound second favourite – right behind kabocha which can’t be beaten – I just got working in the kitchen. The result was a probably highly inauthentic but totally satisfying meal.

Cheater ‘Refried Bean’ Spaghetti Squash Bake

  • 200 g spaghetti squash strands
  • 1 ½ tbsps white almond butter mixed with 2-3 tbsps water
  • 150 g kidney beans
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ cups fresh spinach [45 g]
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • nutritional yeast
  1. Sauté half of the onion with the garlic until slightly browned. Add in the spices and stir-fry until fragrant being careful not to burn them.
  2. Add the kidney beans and mash with a fork leaving some beans whole. Stir in the tomato sauce and let simmer for a few more minutes to let the flavours mingle.
  3. Pour the ‘unfried’ beans into a casserole dish.
  4. In the same pot add the remaining onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add the spinach and let wilt. Season lightly with salt and a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.
  5. Layer the spinach on top of the beans.
  6. Arrange the spaghetti squash on top. Spread the almond butter ‘sauce’ onto the squash and sprinkle generously with nutritional yeast.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

About those pictures? They’re the result of a current weather trend I’m not fond of combined with the fact that mashed beans just never look delicious [don’t prove me wrong, please!]. However, when a recipe’s worth sharing I’ll bite the bullet and go with whichever pictures I managed to snap.

Spaghetti squashAnd about the white almond butter? Sorry for using it once more – it adds a lot of creaminess. If you have a food processor: go and make your own by using blanched almonds. If you don’t … well, then I’d better convince my favourite almond butter company to team up with me for a giveaway 😉 [if only!]. Really, though, I’d suggest subbing any creamy mildly flavoured nut butter like white cashew if you feel like eating a nice plate of creamy [fake] spaghetti with [cheater] refried beans. Not a bad cheat if I dare say so myself ;). Strange? Maybe. Good? Totally.

I’m also linking up with Kierston for Recipe Friday so make sure to head over and get inspired by some of the other creations, too – maybe even some more vegan ones to celebrate today?!

Happiness inducing today: Meeting a friend at a [vegan] café and spending several hours chatting about anything and everything.

Authenticity: Do you pay attention to it when cooking or can’t help but put your own spin on recipes? For me it’s most often about ingredient non-availability and the fact that I’ve likely never had the real deal. If I ever happen upon the chance, though, I’d be more than happy to try dishes from many different cuisines prepared the authentic way.

What are some of the most used ingredients in your kitchen?

Beware of the hangry blogger

Once upon a time .. okay, a while ago – before I had even thought of starting a blog myself – I noticed several bloggers [but cannot remember which – was it you, too?] not only posting their meals for WIAW but showing the aftermath [empty plates and muffin liners], too. I’m all up for variations on What I ate Wednesday so I just had to pick up this fun [to me at least] idea that I saw at another blog quite some time ago. Not only will you see the meal as I start it but also the remainders as in: the aftermath of a hangry blogger. Let’s get from start to finish [of my meals] at this week’s party. Thanks for being a wonderful hostess once more, Jenn!

WIAW_halloween button

If you read my last WIAW you’ll know I talked about some progress I made but also noted I was still not there. One of the main struggles I have in terms of meals is breakfast. Yes, everybody’s favourite meal. Just not mine. When I wake up there have been only a few options I’ll decide between for months. Safe options that – while delicious – for the most part need to fit the criteria of holding me over for a while. Let’s just say that breakfast hasn’t been the time for changes and experimentation. Until Monday …

Breakfast October 004

Pancakes? Me? Nah, they won’t saturate or satisfy me at all ony leading to constant snacking right after breakfast: my exact thoughts before. But waking up yesterday I didn’t feel much of an appetite at all. Former [read: a year or so ago] me would have taken this as an invitation of skipping the first meal of the day altogether. Now, though, with a healthier attitude I finally decided enough was enough and to not just have breakfast like usually but try something new. Maybe it was daringness or I just couldn’t resist anymore after Heather posted another awesome looking pancake recipe. But after some veganizing and ingredient subbing action [get on board with the canned pumpkin already, Germany!] I’m glad I did. Not only did I conquer another fear meal [breakfast] and food [pancakes] but it showed me once more that many fears are needless. No, I did not suddenly turn into a fluffy pancake nor was I hungry immediately afterwards. Sorry, though, to all pancake fiends out there [as in: basically the whole blog world]: I’m still not a convert. These were nice for a change but I’ll continue my search for the perfect all-year/non-kabocha breakfast.

PancakesIn previous days such  breakfast changes [note: there were twice as many pancakes and almond butter joined the party after the camera had left the site of crime ;)] would have required cutting back at other meals and in no way trying something new for lunch, too. Sticking with this old habit, however, would have made my breakfast challenge seem incomplete. Also, I had a few cravings that I wanted to turn into a recipe. Enter twice-baked spaghetti squash with [vegan] Pepperjack cheese.

Twice-baked

Believe me I’m just doing you a favour in not showing the aftermath of lunch. The delicate squash shell was victim to some not so pretty cracking apart. Another blogger-inspired meal, by the way. Thanks to Amy for inspring me to give spaghetti squash another try. In between last week’s spaghetti squash casserole and this dish I’ve discovered a new-found appreciation of this pasta-like member of the pumpkin family.

Nothing could stop me from snacking, either. While I’ve been feeling the need for a change sometime soon, truffles have still made an appearance. Along with numerous other random nibbles, bites and – obviously – dinner. Somehow, though, I always end up losing the motivation to take pictures of every single morsel that ends up in my mouth throughout the day. Maybe sometime in the future …

Truffles

Maybe some of you feel like joining the ’empty plate’ edition next week? And does anybody happen to know who started the trend?

Questions upon questions but for now:

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: Once more the wonderfully sunny autumn weather.

*One more note: Sorry for not keeping up with replying to your comments on my last posts. I’m currently not at my place and promise I’ll get back to them once I’m back!

Inspire me: what are your favourite chocolatey snacks? I’m not a fan of dried fruit/nut balls but any ideas aside from those would be awesome.

What is your favourite meal of the day and the best dish you had for that meal recently?

And the random question of the day [because Sunday clearly wasn’t the right time to ask]: Do you make your own nut butters? Which food processor do you use? I’ve been pondering the purchase of a Vitamix for ages and feel like it’s time for a decision.