Once upon a time… [Spill it Sunday – Flashback edition]

Before I get to share my favourite posts from around the web tomorrow I’m joining Arman‘s quest to look through the archives for a Flashback edition of Spill it Sundays. Here are some of my favourites from the past almost two (!) years in the life of my blog.

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It’s tough to pick three posts already but at least the first one is a no-brainer for me. A recent one but an opinion that matters a lot to me and many of you chimed in: You are not what you eat. There’s so much more to blogging than food and fitness – here’s to focusing on what really matters.

Now the difficult part was favourite recipe posts. Because yes, I have some up here that I like a lot [duh! why else post them??] but as I thought about it I realized that there were many recent favourites that I had yet to share. A blogging schedule… what exactly was that? I’ll look through the organized mess that is my recipe folder on the laptop some time soon and get up the Pumpkin Spinach Tortilla Lasagna [great, now I’m getting hungry just thinking about it]. Plus –  if I manage to find my notes for what I used in there – an as of yet unpictured on here vegan Macro Bowl soon. Okay but onto some already posted favourites.
It’s summer so ice cream is a necessity to keep cool. Or – if you’re ice cream maker-less like me: Faux PB & J Frozen Yogurt.Six ingredients, [less than] five minutes of active time [clean-up not included] and this delicious snack is yours.

faux_froyo

Simple, quick and no refined sugar and did I mention it’s high in protein? There’s no reason you can’t have both this and real ice cream – win-win.

And if you’re not up for something sweet : Savoury Chickpea Crêpes with Spicy Tomato Filling and Vegan Cheese Sauce. Yes, the ingredient list is a little longer but these are fun to make and really don’t take as long as you might assume. Gluten-free, vegan, stuffed with lots of vegetables and topped with a quick cheesy sauce these make for a truly satisfying dish.

crespelle_salsa

I hope you’re enjoying your weekends, had a great 4th of July if you celebrated and I’ll see you again for some good good links tomorrow!

 

Happiness-inducing today: A warm day with sunshine and warm drizzling rain [even if it’s usually annoying summer rain is special].

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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How long have you been blogging? I can’t believe how fast these [almost] two years passed by.

Do you agree summer rain is special?? If you don’t know what I’m talking about you need to experience it yourself.

 

Spilling the birthday beans

Posting twice again today in celebration of Australia’s special holiday:  The Queen’s birthday Arman Day. The host of spilling the beans – or just: Spill it Sunday – is another year older and demanding birthday facts and confessions. It’s been a while since I last joined so here we go!

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1. When is your birthday?
The reason why I can’t snark at winter: January 29th.

2. What would your ideal ‘day’ look like?

For whichever reason I find it hard to describe the ‘perfect’ day because aren’t the best birthday those were you make no huge plans and are surprised by how amazing they turn out? Okay, to answer the question: getting enough sleep, eating all of my favourite foods and being with my favourite people.

Root vegetables_2

3. When was your most memorable birthday?

That time I invited everybody from my class in school and we played SingStar all night. Does anybody even remember that? It’s been ages  – my 16th birthday if memory serves me correctly – but it was a blast.

4. When was your worst birthday?

I’ll cheat and won’t go with the worst but the strangest celebration ever. It’s been ages and I have no idea why my parents agreed but I was one of those children who had the idea celebrating their birthday at the Golden Arches had to be incredibly special. If you envied kids who celebrated there while all your parents allowed you was grabbing a Happy Meal: you didn’t miss out on anything. Unless touring a McDonald’s store and receiving an inflatable dragon that had lost pretty much all of its air by the time you went home sounds intriguing to you.

In case you’re wondering: no, the scary clown luckily didn’t make an appearance.

5. What is the best birthday present you have ever received?
Hard to pick. Generally, though, they weren’t the most expensive but those coming from heart: dresses and skirts my sister respectively mum had sewn themselve. Like this one:

Polkadots

Or the Waldorf doll my mum made herself and gave me when I was a wee little one. It’s those gifts that hold special value and a million memories. Knowing the time and effort these gifts required made them as special as they were.

6. What is the worst birthday present you have ever received?

Let’s just say one of my grandmas didn’t really have the best idea of age-appropriate gifts. The bright pink plastic make-up set and [intensely smelling] soap in shape of a sun I got when I was about 15? Well, very considerate but it was… Unusual. And never in use.

7. What is a health related gift on your wish list?

Not wanting to sound too cheesy but one I can only give myself: full recovery. Working on that one. In terms of gifts that money can buy: a treadmill. Not because I enjoyed running on them so much but – winter birthday, remember? – running outside isn’t always that well possible.

8. What is a food related gift on your wish list?
A spiralizer. The [blog] world is giving me constant nudges to get one. These pear noodle parfaits? All kinds of vegetables noodles in this book? Actually, I might ask for one for Christmas.

9. What is your birthday cake of choice?
Ice cream cake. Which I’ve actually never had but – again inspired by the blog world – need on my next birthday. Because ice cream is the better cake.

Childhood throwback, however: Kalter Hund. It’s a no-bake cake made from shortbread sandwiched with a thick chocolate frosting. If this one had ever been missed on any of my birthdays I’d have throw a fit so my mum knew better. Thinking about it Kalter Hund is totally deserving of a healthy makeover…

 

Happiness inducing today: Good news from a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while.

Stay in touch!

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

 

When was your most memorable birthday?

Did you ever celebrate at McDonald’s or were invited at a friends’s birthday there? It’s safe to say that my own future children will not be allowed to celebrate there. Ever.

 

Dishing up breakfast [Spill it Sunday]

It’s unusual for me to post twice in a day but I’m [breakfast-]rolling with it for Spill it Sunday. If it’s not too much to ask I wouldn’t mind our host Arman to send some sun over to Germany – please and thank you. Rain is the reason I got inspired to join in this week again. Okay, that and enjoying some breakfast talk.

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1. What is your classic go to breakfast of choice?

Oats! Better yet: oat bran. Or to get even more specific: the oat bran/ wheat bran/ steel-cut oats/ chia seed mix I’ve been tweaking to my liking over months [can we say dedication?!] and now using for years. Wow, has it really been that long already?! I still remember my first time trying oat bran – and being hooked immediately. I like to change up the add-ins every once in a while but caramelized banana for sweetness is a must. As is topping with almond butter.

oat bran_breakfast

2. Favourite sweet style breakfast?
A classic bowl pot [because that’s how I roll] is cocoa banana oat bran topped with both coconut and almond butter. Comfort at its best.

3. Favourite savoury style breakfast?
This is tough because I hardly eat savoury breakfasts these days. But every once in a blue moon I plate up a mixed vegetable stir-fry for breakfast with some coconut butter for staying power. It’s more likely to happen on mornings when I don’t feel really hungry. Or my spin on the vegan classic scrambled tofu: vegan eggy casserole. Thinking about it I might actually need to have it for breakfast again soon.

Assembly - don't forget to make sure you get every drop of sauce ;).

4. Share a breakfast recipe you are a fan of – it can be your own or another bloggers!

The multitude of blogs dedicated to oatmeal makes it hard to pick. But remembering a similar baked rice pudding I want to try this one in the future. As well as Amanda’s baked apple cinnamon raisin oats. Because anything with oats and apples sounds good to me. I actually tried it a while back but forgot to take a picture.

5. Strangest breakfast you’ve ever eaten?
Maybe not strangest but most unusual: Have you ever visited the breakfast buffet at IKEA?? It’s infamous to say the least. So much so, in fact, that I’ve read an article about groups of people regularly attending it – and I found it again in case any German readers are curious. We’ve only ever been there aaages ago because my sister’s and my begging my mum long enough was successful. It was a serious feast. Meatballs, croissants, mini omelettes, pancakes, fruit salad, … Granted, I don’t remember if it actually tasted that awesome or if it was just the once-in-a-lifetime feeling that made it special.

 

6. Do you have a typical breakfast routine?

Soothing tea to settle a wonky stomach.
Absolutely. On a weekday morning it’s craziness but on the weekends I leisurely bring my oats to a boil, make a cup of my favourite tea and grab a newspaper or magazine. Lovingly arranging oat bran toppings, sitting down and reading the newspaper or a magazine while eating. Saving the sudoku or crossword for the last bites and ending your meal sith an extra spoonful of almond butter straight from the jar. Bliss.

Happiness inducing today: Creating a new recipe.

Stay in touch!

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

 

What is your go-to breakfast?

If you like oatmeal: Tell me your favourite add-ins and toppings! I need some inspiration.

What is the most unusual breakfast you’ve ever eaten? Maybe it was a buffet at IKEA, too?

 

 

Spill it Sunday [The Carb Edition]

The second post of the day and the long-awaited [or so he said] installment of Arman’s macronutrient-focused Spill it Sundays is here. Okay, I’ll probably have to agree with him here. Because carbs are likely the most ‘controversial’ of the three macros. And because – while I generally don’t like any claims of being a fats/ protein/ carb person – I feel the latter benefit me the most.

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1. What is your all time favourite carbohydrate based food/dish?

Given the frequency I have it with I’d have to oat bran. Always prepared stove-top, always with added nut butter. But if we’re talking about dishes that hold a special place in my heart yet don’t make an everyday appearance: Semmelknödel. You’ve heard me talk about these delicious little balls more than once before – and for a good reason.

What they can’t offer in looks they make up in their satisfying doughy taste … and now I’m getting seriously hungry so we’d better go on with the survey.

2. What is your favourite fruit?

All the fruit! Limiting myself to one favourite would be unfair. It’s easier to say which fruit I don’t like [as much]: papaya [maybe I’ve just had bad luck every time I picked one up or how can they taste like nothing?], figs and pomegranates.

Fruit – despite its high sugar content – has never been a problem for me.

3. What is your favourite grain?

If the first question didn’t answer if sufficiently: Oats. They’re incredibly versatile taking on both sweet and savoury variations like no other grain. Plus, they cook super fast which is a bonus if you’re like me and not versed enough at meal planning to think and cook your grains in advance.

Topped with popped amaranth and almond butter sauce these are reason enough to get up.

It’s hard to go a day without them for me and looking at the many blogs out there dedicated to oatmeal alone I know I’m in good company.

4. What is your favourite starchy vegetable?

For once a ‘favourite’ question that’s easy to answer: kabocha. At best from my mum’s garden and just steamed. Plain perfection with a side of almond butter.

Breakfast_kabocha

5. Which carb receives unfair flack? Which carb is most overrated?

If this wasn’t just about them already I’d say carbs overall [still] get a bad reputation. The number of magazine articles, blogs and the likes promoting low-carb diets is immense. But to limit the length of my reply here: White everything receives unfair flack. Sure, white grains aren’t as nutritious as whole grains. But making them the devil and badmouthing anybody eating them isn’t fair. I personally prefer the taste of whole grains, too, but my parents don’t [unless we’re talking bread] so if I’m with them it’s likely we’re having white rice or pasta – and that’s okay. Regarding my visits at Vapiano I didn’t mention it yet but their white pasta – back then a challenge – was actually more delicious than the whole grain one [which was unpleasantly gritty unlike the brands I’d buy if cooking pasta at home].

Vapiano Arrabiata

And sorry I’m not sorry for committing a blogger sin here but: sweet potatoes are the most overrated carb in my opinion. I tried them time and time again – only to discover I really don’t enjoy them. Not even when almond butter is involved and that says a lot. No more paying high prices and turning on the oven for these, sorry. Just give white potatoes a little more appreciation. These are the ones I grew up eating and they will forever have a special place in my heart. And I know Arman shares the fondness – he just passed the food part of the German immigration test 😉 .

6. Link up a favourite carb embracing recipe (it can be your own or another bloggers!).

Ideally, I should have a recipe for Semmelknödel up on the blog by now – note to self: post one! – but given that I haven’t we’ll go with some of my favourite legume dishes. Because they have carbs, too, right?

Chickpeas in Blueberry Chocolate Mole

Chickpeas in mole

I can’t go without featuring a recipe involving my favourite starchy vegetable so: Red Lentil Kabocha Chili.

Kabocha Lentil

7. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

A picture says more than a thousand words [and unless I stop writing soon I may or may not reach that mark with this post].

I like them. I really like them. In my family we grew up eating carbs/ grains for every meal: breakfast were bowls of whole grain granola or müesli, lunches always had a side of pasta/ rice/ couscous/ potatoes/ you name it and dinner was bread. Hence why going low-carb will never work for me. The days when I’d try to limit my carb intake and counted the amount of grains in my meals and snacks were sad and exhausting to say the least. As hinted to in my introduction I’d most likely be a ‘carb person’ if I used those labels. A diet made up of mostly carbs, a good amount of fats and some protein feels just right for me.

8. What benefits do CARBS play in YOUR personal eating habits?

Similar to fats they give me satisfaction, energy and make me an all around happy camper. So let’s not hate on carbs anymore, okay? Good. Go and have a …

Happy Sunday!

Happiness inducing today: Sunshine outside again after days of rain.

Stay in touch!

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

What’s your favourite carb-based dish or food?

Have you ever tried a low-carb diet and what were your experiences?

Spill It Sunday [The Protein Edition]

Whereas last week’s Spill It Sunday featuring fats was right up my alley I’ll have to say protein might not rank quite as high. But I just had to ‘meinen Senf dazugeben’* which I’m sure Arman will approve of – or better yet: add my two cents for all non-German readers – in anyway. Following up my discovery of how much blogging has changed my ability to write longer texts this post has actually gotting wordier than I’d previously assumed. Not adding any more words I’ll keep the intro short and jump right in.

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*literally translates as ‘add my mustard’  – a condiment I actually neither like nor have at hand so I’m glad we can agree on the two cents 😉

1. What is your favourite protein source?

All the beans. It’s funny because I never noticed it until I started blogging and consequently taking pictures of my food. Apparently I automatically shifted my diet to include more legumes since going vegetarian and then mostly vegan. Right now I’m vegan with benefits meaning I include dairy in my diet when I feel like it but I hardly ever truly long for it. If we’re talking chickpeas, on the other hand, craving is the very best term to describe it. Luckily, my stomach agrees for the most part not letting me experience any major musical effects 😉 [TWSS]. Obviously I’m no expert here but I think this might have to do with my digestion getting used to the amounts of legumes after changing my diet to mostly plant-based.

2. What is your favourite meat (If you eat it)

Any kind of meat that’s still able to run around 😉 . Especially chicken, Arman.

3. Which protein receives unfair flack? Which protein is most overrated?

Not exactly one that receives flack but with the recent popularity of Whole30 I feel legumes have gotten a little less loving than before. And if you’ve read my answer to #1 than you can see why that makes me shed a tear or two. Then again: more chickpeas and peanut butter for me, right!?

chickpeas

Most overrated – from a vegetarian standpoint – would be meat. But I’m not intolerant like that and think it’s everybody’s choice to eat meat or not. So my actual answer for most overrated is protein powder. Yes, I do use it in my recipes every now and then for a little nutritional boost but I don’t rely on it. Seeing some people chug multiple protein shakes a day instead of proper meals seems a little excessive for me. In my opinion, normal protein needs can easily be met by just eating real food. Keep in mind, however, that I’m neither an expert nor a professional athlete the latter of which might have higher protein needs that they find easier to meet by supplementing – not replacing – their meals with protein powders 

4. Link up a favourite protein rich recipe (it can be your own or another bloggers!)

Going with my answer to the first question I could easily link to dozens of great chickpea or other legume recipes. Making use of protein’s good reputation I like sneaking it into elsewise not-so-nutritious recipes so I’ll go with sweet treats in disguise :): my crispy protein peanut bars.

bars_crisp

5. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

I like protein, yes, but I feel it’s overrated and I was glad to see Robyn as a nutritionist agrees because yes, I like to have the expert ‘okay’. We need a balance of all macronutrients so when I see others counting their protein intake trying to reach 100+ grams a day and swapping protein shakes for ‘real’ meals – that’s taking it too far in my opinion.  Egg white scrambles for breakfast, cottage cheese as a snack, protein powder pudding as a ‘treat’ – not for me, thanks. If we were talking about Quest bars, however, that’s one protein snack I feel I could get on board with 😉 …

6. What benefits does PROTEIN play in YOUR personal eating habits?

The idea that protein was the best and most important nutrient as well most saturating hasn’t proven to be true for me yet. Just because it doesn’t do much for me, though, is not to say I didn’t believe others when they put their focus on protein. We’re all different and it’s great to learn from each other’s experiences. I know that to keep me truly satisfied my meals have to contain fat and carbs with protein playing a minor role. However, there are times when I can tell a little more protein might do me well and I’ll likely never tire of yogurt bowls [Greek or soy yogurt mixed with coconut flour – try it!].

Greek yogurt bowl

If you’re daring or just feeling like a little strange but good action: add mashed chickpeas to the above mix. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried this sweet and savoury combination.

Now I’m curious to hear your stance on protein!

Happiness inducing today: Starting a new book and flying through almost half of it in one go.

Stay in touch!

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

Which role does protein play in your diet?

What is your favourite source of it?

Legumes: yes or no?

Embracing the fats [Spill it Sunday]

When Arman announced the topic for this week’s Spill It Sunday I knew I wanted to chime in again. From enemy during my deepest ED days to multiple nut butters in the same meal these days I’m a fan of this little macronutrient. And you should be, too, because else Arman might have to come over all the way from Australia to bring you to senses.

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1. What is your favourite fat source? Okay, I might not like playing favourites but when we’re facing the facts here:

Almond butter

Well, that and just about every other nut or almond butter. And that would basically answer the second question[s] already …

2. What is your favourite nut? What is your favourite nut butter?  … but to be more creative here I’ll say that my favourite nuts to eat as is are cashews. My mum used to buy those little cans of salted cashews and I’d hide them from my dad to make sure I’d get my fair share. Why, yes, it was necessary.

3. What fat is receives unfair flack? What fat is most overrated? Most overrated? By now I think just about every fat that was once bashed has been reestablished. Maybe the paleo lifestyle with its focus on fats is to thank for this one. Butter had a negative image for years but during the past months I’ve noticed more and more health magazines and ‘experts’ promote its benefits again. In case it seems weird for me as a vegan with benefits to say this: I might not use butter one the regular when cooking – actually don’t even stock any – but when we have potatoes at my parents’ just a smidgen of butter can make them taste so much better. If you haven’t tried it yet: white [yes, that’s how we roll over here] potatoes + butter + salt = perfection.

As for the most overrated I’m sorry to say it but for me that’s still …

Avocado

avocado. Yes, I know. Others are eating half of one just as is as part of a meal but I just can’t get quite that excited about it. In my defense, though, I don’t plan on giving up here just yet. Does anybody want to come over and prepare authentic guacamole for me 🙂 ? If anything the tortilla chips involved for dipping action might be enough to convince me already.

4. Link up a favourite recipe embracing fats (it can be your own or another bloggers!)

Again, it’s way too hard to choose so I’m going with one that has been on many blogs and is a simple everyday staple food for me: coconut butter. It matches with everything but tastes just as good on its own. Throw some shredded coconut in a food processor or blender, turn it on and watch it process into amazing drippy deliciousness – can this even be called a recipe?

Coconut butter

5. What is YOUR perception of this macronutrient?

Embrace it! I turn my eyes up at any article in health and fitness magazines claiming x grams of fat as a daily maximum for best health. Best health is not stressing about fat grams but enjoying the foods we like. And as Robyn said there’s no such  thing as too much fat. Go and dip your spoon into the nut butter jar – unless you’re not living on your own. Then please pour a generous amount into a bowl before scooping it up 😉 . Not that anybody knew, though …

6. What benefits do FATS play in YOUR personal eating habits?

Actual satisfaction after eating. Rich taste. Being able to focus. Fooling myself for years by eating low-fat foods in huge quantities only to never feel satisfied I’ve noticed a profound difference since being less strict when it comes to adding fat. From those first awkward teaspoons of nut butter for “dipping” next to a giant apple to going through the 1 lb+ jars of almond butter in a little over a week these days. It’s safe to say fat has been playing – and still does – a decided role in my recovery.

Thanks to Arman for hosting this fat event today – maybe Lurpak can honour this by finally making you their poster boy 😉 ?!

Happiness inducing today: Just to match the theme: a new nut butter in my collection. Any guesses?!

Stay in touch!

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

 

What’s your ‘history’ with fats? Did you ever fear them?

Which one’s your favourite nut butter [if you’re able to pick one]?