WIAW: Real food versus protein bars

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Is it that late already? I always forget about the time.

Are you confused? I know I would be and very much was after the theatre play I saw on Monday. That’s where the above lines come from though they probably were the easiest understandable part of the whole story. No theatre review here, though, but some much easier comprehensive food talk featuring some of Monday’s meals.  Thanks to Jenn and Laura for hosting today’s What I ate Wednesday shenanigans!

WIAW_new2015

By now you should know I’m not the person for average breakfasts. Most mornings, I don’t like breakfast at all because I hardly ever know what I want to eat. Yet skipping is no option. Luckily, Monday was rushed so I ran a few errands and then quickly packed breakfast/first lunch (?) to-go as I just got note there was a teaching assignment for me that early afternoon. Polenta had been absent from my diet for months – shockingly and not okay – so its quick preparation turned it into my breakfast savior along with Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and chickpeas, all seasoned with my favourite organic curry blend. If you haven’t tried microwaving polenta yet you’re missing out. It’s the most fuss-free/no-second-pot needed/less clean-up prep method ever.

Polenta_breakfast_tupper

 

Lunch was a two-part story as we were heading out in the afternoon shortly after I came home from teaching German. The first part was a repeat of breakfast – did I mention a slight obsession with polenta? – but as I didn’t take a picture again here’s yesterday’s candlelight lunch instead. Yes, lunch and yes, already dark. The weather hasn’t been treating us kindly this week so far. Anyway, polenta with thyme-y mushroom chickpea tomato stew was on the menu. When I like something, I really like it so polenta might very well stick around for a while.

Polenta_mushrooms

So … part two: my first ever whole Quest bar. Not my first ever Quest bar but the first I actually ate as a whole in one day. Here’s what I didn’t mention in my post a while ago. For me, Quest bars or any kind of protein bar actually aren’t safe foods hindering recovery. Eating them as opposed to real treats like chocolate that I have every day is the challenge.

I was glad to get lucky in receiving these Quest bars as it gave me two boxes of challenges. Because you might be wondering: I liked the S’mores flavor. I’ve never had an actual S’more before meaning no expectations could be met or disappointed. The con for me is that the bar overall is very sticky-sweet. Pros are the chocolate pieces [are you surprised in any way?] and what I guess are supposed to mimic graham crackers plus the cinnamony taste. More interesting for me, though, was the saturation factor. Protein is believed to be that super macro filling you up like no other after all. I was doubtful if I bar could deliver this.

Quest bar_protein_s'mores

Verdict? I was positively surprised but not overly impressed in this point. Not overly impressed because I didn’t feel full the same way I do with protein from real food sources. Positively surprised hours later when we returned home and I didn’t crave the Greek yogurt that usually acts as part of my night snack. That’s my interest in macros: I don’t prefer a certain one but will keep experimenting to see how I react to them. Neither carbs, nor fat or protein are inherently good or bad to me. In relearning to trust my intuition. I see them all as equal and try to find my happy balance. At the moment, I tend to need a little extra protein with my meals but I opt for real foods like legues, cottage cheese and above-mentioned Greek yogurt to fill the void.

As we were out and about the remainder of my meals escaped the camera or were eaten before I remembered to get it out. Life > taking pictures. Not like I wasn’t curious about everybody else’s meals, though …

Enjoy your Wednesday and eat some good food!

 

Happiness-inducing today:Editing yet another text. What can I say? It’s my element.

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I’m really curious: Do you find protein or Quest bars in specific  filling?

Have you noticed yourself gping through phases of needing more of a certain macros [even iff – like me – you don’t track them]?


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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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WIAW: Bring it back!

Oh, how I like me some good themes for What I ate Wednesday and Vegan Wednesday. This week? Well, you saw the title already so let’s bring it back! Old favourites or rediscovered food, that is. Because sometimes changing it up just means going back to former favourites or giving dishes a second chance. And for the jive Tupperware is making a return in today’s post, too.

WIAW_new2015

Starting with a recent new discovery, though. Or not completely new but finally successful. See, I’d  tried savoury oatmeal before  but it was … less palatable. I wasn’t going to give them another go but cravings are cravings. And cravings aren’t to be ignored, am I right?! So savoury oats have been on the breakfast menu almost every day for the past week. The key are enough add-ins and toppings to create a perfect bowl. My go-to combination is a base of carrot oats with nutritional yeast, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and mashed chickpeas. The bowl pictured below was my try at changing up the legume with kidney beans but it wasn’t as satisfying as my lovely garbanzos.

savoury oatmeal_breakfast

While my current job search has yet to come to fruition I’ve been giving private lessons to students at an institute in town every now and then. I won’t whine but yesterday was proof I’ll never become a teacher. Not like I had ever intended to, actually, but have you ever tried to get a bunch of seemingly hyperactive nine-year-olds to do simple math when they can’t even sit still for a minute? Let’s just say I have a newfound respect for elementary school teachers. You’re superheroes.

Tupper lunch_wheatberries_stir-fry

What that all had to do with my lunch? Well, since I was helping the kiddos from 12.45 to 4.45 PM I needed to bring some food with me or else I’d have risked eating somebody. I kid, I kid. Either way, I precooked some wheatberries on Monday night and topped a serving with a simple vegetable and chickpea stir-fry. Fun fact and one of those old favourites leading to today’s post title: Prior to eating this I hadn’t [consciously] eaten soy sauce in months. Why? Not for any other reason but the fact I’d bought a one litre bottle of the one and only brand [Kikkoman] but didn’t want to break into it knowing I’d move again rather soon. Why yes, I’m cautious enough – or anxious enough? – to worry about soy sauce spilling in the condiment box packed for the move. I make myself laugh. Anyway, now that we’ve been reunited I see myself eating simple stir-fries on end. Sometimes the simple dishes are really the best.

apple_peanut butter_snack

I’d actually packed an apple as a snack, too, but given it was a struggle to squeeze in eating my lunch I ended up eating it at home. Which was probably better in anyway since that’s where I was able to pair it with the best dip ever: Peanut butter. No, I haven’t abandoned my declared favourite but crunchy salted peanut butter has made its comeback in past weeks. Good for my wallet, too, because dang is my obsession expensive.

Because I came home ravenous after work – I told you it was strenuous 😉 – I snacked pretty much all afternoon while writing a letter. Before we talk about one of those snacks remember what Jenn stresses: WIAW is not about judgement. Okay? Good. Meet my favourites: chickpeas. Yes, you knew that already but did I ever mention I’ve been eating them straight from the can? What can I say: Roasting takes too long if I want food fast and they’re just so satisfying. Go judge – or try it yourself the next time you crave a savoury snack in an instant.

chickpeas_snack

Dinner … once more escaped the camera [as well as about 394948596 more snacks]. I’d tried to remind myself to take a picture for blogging’s sake but in my defense: I got a call shortly before, was distracted and then remembered when I was almost done eating. It was cocoa banana oat bran with almond butter if you were wondering, though. Actually, that’s my go-to  dinner and I’ll probably keep eating it until I’m getting really bored.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Smelling the flowers while being cyling into town. There’s one field that

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Have you recently eaten any foods you had unconsciously neglected for a longer while?

Are you a Tupper fan? If not: how do you transport your food to work?

Savoury oats: yes or no? Share your favourite add-ins!

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.

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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!

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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???

 

 

 

The little things that make life better.

I’m a firm believer that waiting for the big and bold happenings to make us happy is an almost surefire guarantee to keep us unhappy. Oh, the irony. If we only ever hang around wondering why we didn’t win the lottery or why that guy has yet to notice us we miss out on many occasions to smile. How this all relates to What I ate Wednesday? Well, the way I see it food shouldn’t be the only thing making us happy but if it’s one of them that’s pretty good in my book.

wiaw fall into good habits button

The little thing at breakfast: perfect setting and food. Kabocha that has that irresistible flaky-dry texture, the right balance of sweet- and starchiness. My favourite tea from one of my new favourite mugs. A side of brain food [to any Germans: Das Kreuz mit den Worten in Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin is my love-hate brain food of choice. So difficult. So addictive.]

Kabocha_breakfast

If you’re less quirky than me/haven’t jumped on the squash-for-breakfast train yet [why not???] this could be the perfect bowl of oatmeal. And maybe a side of sudoku or a cross-word puzzle. Yes, I’m a granny there but I can’t go without these.

I might be the very last one to figure out how to break the soup-for-lunch-at-work spell but I bought my first set of microwave dishes on a whim the other day. There’s no looking back. This is my personal lunch revolution. Even with my self-proclaimed soup lady status I can’t pretend I was too happy slurping them anymore after a few weeks. These wonderful dishes have allowed me to bring casseroles of all kinds to work and actually make me look forward to lunch time. Okay, I did before, too, but the perspective of hearty polenta-topped chili is much more alluring than a less chew-able stew. The dish below is an adapted version of my Polenta Chili Bake.

polenta chili_microwave bowl

This week’s snack number one: Crack. Pure, high-quality crack. The kind that you can only keep in your apartment at the most immense safety measures. We’re talking hidden in the back of your pantry, consumed only with closed blinds so the neighbours won’t see you. Okay, to lift the fog and back up a little: I won Meghan’s giveaway for some homemade granola straight from her kitchen recently a while ago forever ago. The reason I only received it right now is not the fault of everybody’s favourite Cleveland blogger [trying to remember if I know any other Cleveland bloggers who might get angry reading this …]. I asked Meghan to hold off shipping the granola until I had moved into my new apartment. Because first I had to try eat up some of the cereal, granola, what-not-all I’d been hoarding pre-move and then settle into the new place.

Granola_1

After a few bites I can safely tell you I will definitely not enter another granola giveaway at Meghan’s. Because I clearly hated this one. Kidding. The reason I [pretend] I won’t is because somebody else deserves to be treated to this deliciousness. It is SO ridiculously good – crack, remember? – that I refused to let my mum who was visiting the day I picked it up pack some as a snack for the road trip back home.

To be fair, though, I offered her some before which she enjoyed.  But a whole container as a snack? No way. Another fun bit I should add is my mum had a handful from the jar – by the way: how pretty did Meghan pack this up?? – and thought it was trail mix. That’s what Meghan meant when she called her nut: oat ratio high. And she was sweet enough to customize it for me nixing the walnuts and using a mix of cashews, almonds and peanuts. So so good. Oh, I mentioned that before?!

Granola_Meghan_2

For anybody who doesn’t live in Meghan’s immediate neighbourhood, is too impatient to wait for another giveaway or simply needs this granola in their lives – trust me you all do! – here’s the recipe. It’s vegan, too, for anybody stopping by from Vegan Wednesday. I hope sharing recipes for crack isn’t criminal.  If you don’t hear from me again I might have gottten arrested and in that case I hope you’ll send me granola care packages.

That’s it from me for today’s food inspiration but you might not even read this anymore as you’re already in your kitchen baking granola …

Happy Wednesday!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: Finding that some essentials I needed to pick up at the store were on offer. Nothing like a good deal, right?!

 

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What are some little things that make your life better?

Are you a crack granola addict, too? What’s your favourite recipe?

WIAW: It’s the season for…

Seasons… Who exactly decided that Germany clearly has [to deal with] them and people overseas [or at least in the US] don’t? Case in point: Why in the world do people have to post awesome kale recipes right now? Making me long for winter as the season where I’ll be able to get my hands on it again. Okay, I’m not really longing for winter because as hard as staying cool during the heat is at times I’d still rather take that than chilly temperatures. Plus, let’s not forget about summer’s swoon-worthy bounty. Jenn would be proud of how much I’ve been following this [old but good] What I ate Wednesday motto. Kale or not summer is the season for many wonderful things, too …

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It’s [probably not] the season for… stews

With a lot of produce at hand but no idea what to have for lunch – choices, oh choices – I scoured the internet. I browsed an Austrian blog I’d found via Vegan Wednesday and had long meant to cook recipes from – how not with vegan Strawberry Tiramisu being one of them?! Actually,  I had my heart set on lasagna but that’s not the best craving when your [overflowing] pantry is lacking lasagna noodles. Instead, stew it was. Petra’s Arabian bean stew was just what I wanted [lasagna aside]: quick to prepare,  including both vegetables and legumes and delicious.  I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms.I used some butternut squash, cabbage, cauliflower and mushrooms. Served with a side of polenta [that’s in the pot in the background]. So while stews are technically autumn and winter dishes using [mostly] seasonal vegetables made up for it.

Petzig_Arabischer Bohneneintopf

It’s the season for… all the berries!

Snacks lately have been lots of berries – and how could they not? It was actually the popularity of them all over the blog world that made me give raspberries another chance. Not like I didn’t enjoy them but previously I wouldn’t have minded their absence from my plate too much. Now? Give me all the raspberries – seeds stuck between teeth? who cares, really? – while I can still find them.

July 23rd 019

Yesterday I employed a trick I just picked up from Chelsea: bring my own box. I generally shop with tote bags to avoid plastic but hadn’t thought of skipping the clamshells berries come in at the market. Luckily, the vendor didn’t give me any strange looks for this though I assume none of his other customers brought their own containers. Another bonus was that as he poured the berries into my box there were a few moldy ones at the bottom and he replaced them with a few others.  Win-win!

Raspberries_box

It’s the season for… vegetable-packed versions of classics

Not the prettiest of dishes but SO good and satisfying was this easy-peasy [lame pun fully intended] vegan Gnocchi ‘n’ cheese.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but as a German I don’t feel authorized to judge any vegan Mac ‘n’ cheese for authenticity. What I -do- know,  though, is that this vegetable-packed version was downright delicious. Peas seem like such a classic childhood add-in and I’ve grown quite fond of them lately. I’m sure my mum wished I liked them as much when I was younger. And can we take a short moment to talk about -how- good gnocchi are? I picked up a package of vegan pumpkin gnocchi [for any German readers: by Pasta Nuova] at the health food store on a whim. They are perfect.  Doughy, satisfying little dumplings. And the sauce is [not-so now that I’m telling you] secretly filled with vegetables. My mum should be really proud now. Actually, I feel I need to ask her if she played the ‘hidden veggies’ game at lunch when my siblings and I were little…

Pumpkin-cheesy gnocchi

If you’re looking for another way to up your vegetable intake [I am at times, too] or just want some uncheesy cheesiness look out for the recipe on Friday.

It’s [always] the season for Yogi wisdom

Ending not on a sweet but wise note – yes, the Yogi has been talking to me again. Interpret this in whichever way and if you feel like share in the comments what it means for you in your current situation.

Patience will pay off_Yogi wisdom

Patience pays off.

Either way: Happy Wednesday!

Happiness-inducing today: Sharing my sister’s excitement about a mini vacation she’s taking.

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What’s your favourite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe – vegan or not?

Is there any dish you’ve been eating over and over again lately?

How do you avoid plastic or other packaging when shopping? Share your tricks!