Food Talk Wednesday #7

Would you like me to talk about my dismay if the fact some parts of Germany are getting a first greeting of snow today? No? Me, neither [and luckily, the part of the country I live in isn’t affected yet]. Rather, let’s talk about something we all like: food. Missing last week’s link-up due to those unfortunate conditions I had no control over I’m happy to join Jenn’s weekly party.

Letting go of control is also an issue present in my food choices lately. I’m trying to keep recovery posts to a minimum as I don’t want it to be the focus of my blog. Life is so much more than just recovery or even food – What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday obviously being the exceptions. Yet: it’s something I’m working on and talking about food in an honest way to me requires admitting what I’m still working on. But let’s jump into [some of] the food I ate on Monday right away.


Food Talk Wednesay_logo

In case you were wondering: yes, kabocha is still my go-to breakfast [nd also still using my preferred method of preparation]. Though I will admit eating my way through several sub-par ones lessened my cravings and had me back on the oatmeal train for a few days. But looking at yesterday it was my first meal of the day once more. The harvest is dwindling steadily, though … Send help, please! And by help I mean kabocha!

Kabocha_homegrown_breakfast

After rushing around for the first half of the day, lunch time came all of a sudden and was where I decided to let go of control and [try to] trust my intuition again. For those who don’t know: Spätzle are a – usually homemade – German kind of pasta. I recently found a package of fresh vegan ones at an organic supermarket and knew this was my chance for a challenge. No nutrtional information on the package was what scared me.I’ve  gotten better at eating out but trying new foods at home is still more difficult.

Traditionally served with fried onions and lots of cheese [Käsespätzle], I went with my go-to vegan cheese sauce and some greenery as well as the obvious chickpeas here. The serving looks small but I had more than pictured [honesty, remember :)?]. A very real photo, too, as you’ll notice the sauce spillage – it happens.

Spätzle_lunch_vegan pumpkin cheese sauce

For some reasons, I follow pretty much every of my savoury meals wth a bite of something sweet and peanut butter. Because what is following below is of the [far] more decadent variety I will only show the more nutrious part of my snacks here. Also because I ego through apples and peanut butter at a speed others find seriously impressive. No such thing as too much of those,  am I right?!

apple_peanut butter_snack

Usually, What I ate Wednesdays show only my own meals and snacks. But I hope you’ll excuse the exception for some bragging a picture of my brother’s belated birthday* cake. Much to my dismay, he didn’t specify which kind of cake he wanted leaving me to  my own indecisiveness. Luckily, I could make up my mind as I was up for experimentation and had been wanting to try this vegan Coconut Caramel Tarte [for all Germans: from La Veganista backt and found here] for some time already. Only I wasn’t entirely pleased with the caramel’s outcome – especially given how long I had to babysit it while cooking. Because  I’m a fan of honestyI will be here, too: no, I didn’t eat a piece of this. However, this is not for fear of sugar. If you’ve seen past WIAWs you’ll know  my sweet tooth. The past years of recovery have taught me about my taste preferences and cake doesn’t entice me anymore. Which isn’t to say I didn’t try the caramel or taste-tested  the chocolate ;).

Kokoskaramell-Tarte_La Veganista_coconut caramel cake

… and that’s a wrap. Or piece of cake. Either way, this was my little chat about food – not snow! – for today and why not use the bad weather to peek at what everybody else has been eating?!

See you again tomorrow!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Going to the movies with an old acquaintance and being positively surprised by the movie itself.

Stay in touch!

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How is the kabocha situation in your part of the world? Germany really needs to give more appreciation [as in: appearance in stores] to this wonderful squash.

What was the last cake you baked?

Tell me your favourite meal from this week so far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Food Talk Wednesday #6: Out and about

Even in cold autumn you can still take a deep dive into the sea … a sea of fog, that is. This was my reality when leaving the house this morning and riding my bike to my volunteering place. Fog adds that almost unreal and mysterical touch to an ordinary [and cold] day,

From fog to food now, though. Because talking there might be a time to talk about the weather [or not] but it’s definitely not on Wednesdays in the blog world. Wednesday are for peeking at others’ food through What I ate WednesdayA slightly special What I ate Wednesday for me as you’ll find out in a second.

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

On the road … again. While I actually had only one appointment [that turned out to take less than an hour. ..] I spent the majority of Monday out and about again. On one hand, I actually like it as it means seing other places and taking a short break from the daily grind. On the other hand, it was cold-ish, I was sleepy and anxious about aforementioned appointment. What else this meant was I had to take all my food to go again. Hello, Tupper life! here’s what I tupperedmunched on.

Kabocha_breakfast_Tupper

No surprises for breakfast aside from the different background and fancy dish. Oh and possibly the …. that cooked, then cooled kabocha is quite delicious. As a fond warm food eater I was pleasantly surprised by this and will have it this way again.

Just like our mums taught us [and every blogger knows] road- or better yet train-tripping requires snacks. I’d actually bought these a while ago already but they haven’t made an appearance on here yet. Chili peas. The ingredient list could be better but they fed my cravings for salty-spicy nicely and sometimes that’s all that matters.

Veggie Crunch chili peas_snack

Okay, this is not what my lunch looked like yesterday. But when opening my Tupper after carrying this around for hours one look was enough to know I would definitely not take a picture. Unless I’d wanted to run ina contest for ugliest food picture of the year.Trust me you’d thank me for choosing to post this older picture of the dish rather than the actual state it was in when I ate it  … It was this red pepper cream sauce, only this time covering wheatberries, chickpeas and mushrooms.

Red pepper cream sauce_5

There were times when I used traveling as a chance to restrict but no longer. It’s one of those moments that show me how far I’ve come from my past. It’s a long road to travel down still but I’m on my way. Taking my own food – even full meals rather than just snacks – with me might seem like I was scared. Yet when traveling alone I use it as a means of saving money and I actually don’t enjoy eating out by myself. If I’m with others I will happily explore the local restaurants .

Lindt Chili_bars

If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know my fondness of a certain brand of chocolate. Shockingly, I was disloyal after discovering a new favourite and neglected the old. I was going weeks without even a longing for Lindt but it’s back in action now. There’s even a slight chance I’ll be able to get my hands on thiselusive flavour not available in Germany. For now, chili and I are reunited. I ended up eating half a bar – I’d clearly missed it more than I thought.
What you shouldn’t miss is the opportunity to peek into others’ days of food so

Happiness-inducing today: Volunteering and lending an ear to somebody. Being able to help others in simple ways is one of the best ways of fostering our own happiness.

 

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Tell me …
a) what kinds of food do you pack when you’re out and about all day?
b) your current favourite bar of chocolate?
c) Something that made you happy today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #5

It’s the season! Shorter days, colder [but luckily not yet much darker] mornings – Autumn/Fall is fading in faster than we know it. In fact, you’ll all be aware today marks the meteorological start of the season. What I do know for sure is that I appreciate the gifts its bearing: – especially all. the.winter squash/pumkin.[ <- is there any difference?? Enlighten me!] Something that will be there during all the seasons, making us [bloggers] feel at home? What I ate Wednesday. Upon finishing this post, I actually noticed I’m coming full circle here as I wrote a similar post  last year. Would you have noticed? Thanks to Jenn for hosting the first What I ate Wednesday of the season!

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Colour me orange – because that’s what my skin will look like in a few weeks. Self-tanning breakfast? Absolutely. I just can’t get enough … Kabocha. And … peanut butter. While our harvest – my mum’s been growing kabocha for me for the past ~ six years – isn’t overly huge it tastes all the better. Luckily, a certain grocery store has started carrying kabocha [though apparently just for a few weeks], too, so I’m stocking up while I can. Now onto a highly debated topic: the best way to prepare kabocha. It breaks my little squash-adoring heart to see people roast [and at worst: peel!] this wonderful vegetable. Trust me: simply steaming kabocha – no salt, no spices – creates the most amazing taste experience. If your squash happens to be perfectly ripe, that is. I’ve had some mediocre ones that I unwillingly had to use up until moving on to better ones. But no kabocha shall be wasted.

Breakfast_kabocha

Lunch contributed to my pumpkin tanning as it featured an all-time favourite: vegan pumpkin cheese sauce. This plate of sautéed cauliflower and wheat berries turned into a crave-worthy dish when adding the sauce. It’s so good I wanted to eat it by the spoonful [and I may or may not have …]. Despite its appearance I assure you I didn’t have Shrek in mind while preparing this.

kabocha_vegan cheese sauce_wheatberries_chickpeas

None of my days is complete without snacks. Actually, rumor has it they make up the largest part of my intake. Oops? What can I say: I’m a snacker, no, grazer. Yet it’s impossible to capture every morsel that enters my mouth so I just captured a seasonal one for you: raspberries. Yellow raspberries at that because they are even better than regular ones. I’m trying to claim dibs on these but some days I have to share.Which I guess is only fair since my mum grows them 😉 … Yellow raspberries_fruit

On another snack note I was successful in scoring a few reduced cups of Fage – and even my favourite flavour. Now I’m just a little worried the store is about to discontinue selling them but: live in the moment. Meaning I’m enjoying the ones I have and then see what will happen. Plus: it’s just food. Delicious but in the end just food.

Fage_Greek yoghurt_jam_blueberry

Once more no dinner picture … A few years ago, I had a full-blown obsession with pumpkin oat bran – more self-tanning power 😉 – but have been too lazy to prepare my own pumpkin puree in a long while. No canned pumpkin available in stores over here means I’m stuck with my usual oat creation for dinner – and I can’t say I was complaining. Cocoa banana oat bran with almond butter and a sprinkle of sea salt perfectly fits the bill for autumnal [or any season, really] comfort food. No picture because hi, carbs after dark [read: no, I don’t mind what time I eat which macronutrient. But pictures taken after sunset don’ turn out pretty anymore this time of the year. We can’t have everything [read: squash, colourful leaves and good lighting] at once. If you’re curious to see how everybody else has been ringing in fall, hop over to the What I ate Wednesday shenagigans!

Happy first Wednesday of Fall!

Happiness-inducing today: Noticing my mental arithmetic skills aren’t as bad as I’d assumed. Tutoring helps!

 

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What is your favourite way to prepare kabocha? Please do me a favour and don’t insist on roasting it but give a gentle steaming a try just once. Like I said: if you picked a perfectly ripe/starchy one you won’t regret it!

Tell me your current go-to breakfast! How often do you change it up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #4

A little birdy told me it had been a while since I last talked about food on here. It also told me that I risked losing my label as a foodie. So what’s a girl to do? Better safe than sorry so how about we talk about … .food today?  It’s common knowledge among bloggers that writing an intro is the hardest part of a post so how about we get started right away? Thanks again to Jenn for hosting What I ate Wednesday!

Food Talk Wednesay_logo

Usually I’d keep the best for last but because breakfast yesterday was [one of] my favourite food[s] in the world I’ll spill the beans right away: it’s kabocha season! Granted, not actually. But our garden has allowed me to have a first taste of autumn’s best produce while stores aren’t carrying squash regularly yet. I know some of you are lucky to have kabocha available all year round but for me it’s a few months only. A few long-awaited months. Or this year sadly just weeks because stores around here won’t carry this very kind of squash at all so I’m limited to the ~ seven kabocha babies in the yard.

Anyway, I figure I’d go best by living in the moment and enjoying kabocha to the fullest while I can. No problem because it tates so.incredibly.amazing.

kabocha_pot

Sometimes, the best dishes grace your plate when you improvise [or can’t follow your own recipes]. Case in point: the zucchini overload in our garden and lack of cauliflower combined led to me turning my Cauliflower Chickpea Curry into a, well, Zucchini Curry.  With kidney beans because I had an open can of those. So yes, totally overthrowing my recipe but keeping the spices. The result? Delicious. And obviously more afforable using our own produce. Just wait for it: by the end of summer I’ll either be fed up with squash or sadly resert back to those at the store.

Zucchini Kidney Bean Curry

No day is complete without some …? Chocolate, right. I’ve been surprising myself with a changed taste preference here. After my recent purchase I haven’t been fancying my old favourite at all anymore. Dare I say it tastes … odd to me? Well, I guess they say tastes change as we grow up. As of yet I’d asumed this was only true in terms of more nutritious foods [can you believe I wouldn’t touch a tomato as a child and now can’t get enough of our homegrown ones?] but why not include chocolate? It’s from a bean so basically a vegetable/legume after all 😉 .

Mint chocolate

Because we’ve reached the sweet ending of this post I bid you goodbye and see you again tomorrow!

Happiness-inducing today: Meeting an old acquaintance and his cute dog and having a nice chat.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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How have your taste preferences changed in the past?

What’s your current go-to breakfast? How often do you change it up?

Tell me your favourite flavour combination: Chocolate and _______________?

 

 

 

 

 

Food Talk Wednesday #3

You know you’re a blogger if you take pictures of your food with every intetion to share them on your social media outlets of choice.

You know you’re a blogger who needs to post about food if said pictures take up too much space on your phone/camera memory card.

All that being said it’s definitely time for another Food Talk Wednesday. In hopes that will reduce the backlog of pictures at least ever so slightly [who exactly am I kidding?!]. What can I say? Flowers [just wait for the bazillion of pictures I’ve been taking] and food – I can’t resist taking pictues of them.

Today’s theme – you didn’t think I’d pass a chance to give rhyme and reason to a post, did you? – are meals eaten out. I could pretend I was a lazy lady unwilling to cook.  Or fantasize about summertime heat [which Germany sadly isn’t blessed with at the moment] making me dread turning on the stove. But I’d rather go with telling the tale of living up to the goal I set myself. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add some of the recovery lessons learned here. While I don’t want this to turn into a recovery[-only] blog I’ve been inspired, reassured and encouraged by others doing so I’m hoping I might be able to do the same in  a way.

Food Talk Wednesay_logo[Sorry for the phone camera pictures in advance. Sometimes I’m just not feeling the workout that is lugging around a DSLR at all times 😉 .]

The oldest of these pictures – no surprise my phone’s memory card is filling up fast – is of this lovely asparagus risotto I ate way back. I’d dare to say I still remember its taste, though. Risotto – another dish I hadn’t had in quite a while. Mostly for the reason I usually cook for myself only and it’s not really worth the effort for a single serving. This Asparagus Risotto with Cherry Tomatoes was just perfect. The lovely staff at the café knows me and always finds a way to accomodate my vegan preferences even if their regular menu doesn’t offer anything suitable.

Asparagus risotto

One of my favourite dishes was enjoyed at a festival [it’s not actually a festival but the concept would take too long to explain here]. Its name can’t be properly translated but it’s basically a stir-fry of brown rice, speltberries and lots of vegetables with a delicious fresh peanut sauce. Maybe it was the fact I only get the chance to eat this dish once a year but for once I actually finished the whole plate – and was still hungry. That’s something I’m still adapting to but baby steps …

FTW_June_6

Pizza! Probably sad to admit but I didn’t remember the last time I’d had pizza prior to this one. At that, recovery is a blessing because you get to rediscover the joy in eating a food others have on the regular.  The additional challenges for me: most of my family had been cycling all day while I – then still being cautious because of my injury – had joined my uncle and wife in taking the car. Aside from missing the extra fresh air lack of movement still makes me anxious. Either way, I enjoyed a few slices of this made-to-order brick oven pizza with spinach, mushrooms and vegan cheese sauce. There couldn’t have been a better way of welcoming pizza back in my life.

FTW_June_5

Pictured below is what sadly fell into the category of ‘looks better than it tastes’: Tomato and olive ragout with pan-fried polenta slices. Eaten on a day trip to meet my sister this was another reminder that sometimes a meal isn’t about the food. Did I fully enjoy the dish? No. It wasn’t awful but didn’t hit the spot or satisfy me [a little TMI: my stomach let me know it didn’t approve of this in terms of digestion later, too …]. Did I enjoy the company? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Sure. One meal isn’t worth making a fuss about and much less if it comes with a side of quality time with somebody you don’t see often enough.

FTW_June_1

Something I’ve noticed overall and hadn’t expected, though, is that eating out is actually easier than challenging myself at home. It’s one of the many surprising experiences I’ve made. First traveling as the one thing I was afraid of turning into a great way to free my mind. Then meals eaten out in general as a way to broaden my palate and delve into unknown calorie territory. At home, I’m more often than not stuck in repetition of ‘safe’ meals but handing over control to somebody else in a place different from home somehow works a little magic. Also good for anybody struggling with serving sizes: what is given to you at restaurant’s is considered the ‘right’ amount for a normal eater. As in: what we’re striving to turn into. Unless you’re faced with a pizza larger than the plate it’s served on – yes, this has happened to me before.

In short: if you can’t seem to challenge yourself food-wise at home, either, try eating out. It takes pushing past your comfort zone a lot at first but is rewarding.

 

Happiness-inducing today: Helping one of my sister’s friends editing a paper she had to write for university. Did I mention I enjoy editing a LOT?!

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Are you guilty of taking way too many pictures of food [or flowers], too?

When was your last time eating out and what did you get?

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetarian Tortilla Bake

Savoury, vegetarian, packed with filling protein: this Italian-inspired single-serving casserole covers all the bases of a balanced meal and leaves you feeling satisfied.

Tortilla casserole_parsley

Do you ever create recipes that you feel everybody should try right this very second? No intro needed and never-mind-how-unspectacular-this-looks? Yes? Well, this is one of them for me. So go and make this right this very second. Okay, okay, I get it. You’re playing hard to convince today and want me to sing the praises of the dish before you even ave a glance at the actual recipe. I get it.  Luckily, offering just that for this casserole isn’t hard. Because – remember – it’s amazing.

Tortilla casserole_2

  • Easy to prepare.
  • Vegetarian.
  • Filling.
  • Packed with  protein.

If you’ve been around for a while already you might remember my excitement when I finally found tortillas without any sketchy ingredients last year. It’s funny how that’s been almost exactly a year ago to the day and I’m just now back on the tortilla kick. Which reminds me I should remake that vegan enchilada bake before I run out of tortillas again ..

Moving onto today’s dish, though. For one, this isn’t your average tortilla bake because it is not Mexican [not like any of my recipes were completely authentical but you know that]. Rather, I went the Italian route – or at least I deem any thing spiced this way Italian. Parts of this recipe were inspired by a recipe for a pasta bake I saw on another blog [but what I turned it into is completely different so I’m not making sense here …] and what my mum calls her ‘vegetable bolognese’. That is in fact nothing like meat bolognese at all but delicious in its own right so I won’t lecture her about that one.

Tortilla casserole_1.

The deliciously doughy tortilla, the creamy filling and plenty of full-bodied vegetable ragout-like sauce make this one satisfying dish. If I haven’t convinced you yet … well, you’re missing out.

Vegetarian Tortilla Bake

  • 1 flour tortilla [may use a gluten-free one]

Vegetable sauce:

  • 3/4 cup passata/tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, diced finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, diced finely
  • 1/2 medium zucchini [~ 100 g], diced finely
  • 1 tsp dried mixed Italian herbs**

coconut oil for frying and greasing the pan

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • optional: a handful of chopped broccoli [I’ve made this without but the time I took pictures had a package of frozen florets leftover so I added some thawed and chopped ones to the filling]

 

  1. Sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add about 2/3 of the chopped vegetables. Stir, cover and let cook for around five minutes or until vegetables are at your preferred level of tenderness. I like mine to still have some bite to them but it’s up to you.
  3. Pour in the tomato sauce. Season with pepper and herbs. Cover the pot again and let simmer while you prepare the filling. If the sauce looks too thick, add about a 1/4 cup of water.*
  4. For the filling mash the chickpeas with a few tablespoons of water. I chose to leave some whole chickpeas in there but you could also blend all of them for a hummus-like puree. Stir in cottage cheese, cumin and nutrional yeast. Add pepper to taste.
  5. Add a few spoonfuls of sauce to your prepared casserole dish. Cover with half of the tortilla. Spread with half of the filling and the reserved chopped vegetables. Cover with the remaining tortilla and pour the vegetable sauce on top.
  6. Drop dollops of remaining cottage cheese filling.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  8. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Notes:

* You want the sauce to be on the thinner side but not soupy as the tortilla soaks up a lot of liquid while baking.

** The blend I used consists of oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme so these could be substituted.

Tortilla casserole_inside_4

… and fresh herbs straight from the garden for decorative purposes make everything better.

In hopes of spreading the tortilla trend I’m sharing this for Recipe of the weekTasty Tuesdays, Real Food Recipes, Strange but good and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

 

Happiness-inducing today:  Visiting a theatre play spontaneously. I enjoy going but with lack of options around it still doesn’t happen regularly.
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Where do you get the inspiration for your cooking?

Have you ever used tortillas in a non-Mexican dish?