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Archive for July, 2012

Party Weekend & Sometimes Foods

I’ve had a very busy, but also fun-filled weekend. It started on Friday with my department’s annual summer party. They had moved all the cars out of the garage and put in tables and benches instead.

The food they served was surprisingly veggie friendly. I had asked ahead of time and learned that the side dish was potato salad. Bavarian potato salad doesn’t contain any mayo, it’s made with a light and tangy vinegar dressing.

Potato Salad

It was probably the hottest day of the year, and I was craving something cold. So I had potato salad with a side of salad.

Cakes

Thankfully I had left enough room in my stomach for dessert. Check out that epic cake table! And the tires in the background. I had contributed a vegan apple pie, which was quite tasty, but sadly very ugly. Sigh!

Poodle

That furry one enjoyed the party, too. So cute!

The fun continued on Saturday, with a spontaneous trip to my hometown for the Old Town Festival. There were lots of live bands, dance shows, and a ton of food booths.

Curry sausage and fries

There weren’t any healthy options, so I decided to call it a ‘cheat day’. Fries for me, sausage for my husband, curry ketchup for all.

Fied onion rose

This is the freakiest thing I have seen in quite a while, a fried onion rose. They cut a giant onion into a flower shape, dip it into bear batter, and fry it until it’s crispy. It was really good! I loved the sweet onion with the crunchy, savoury coating. But was very greasy and I didn’t finish it.

Boogie dance show

Later on we walked around a little and got to watch a Boogie dance group. They very really good! We had so much fun!

I usually follow a mostly clean diet, that means minimally processed foods, lots of produce, legumes, whole grains. But sometimes I indulge a little, enjoying ‘unhealthy’ things like fries and ice cream, of course in moderation. I believe that this approach keeps me healthy, mentally and physically.

How was your weekend?

See you!

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Have you heard about the #SurviveOn35 challenge that is currently stirring up the blog world? Ten Fitfluential bloggers were asked to live on a $35 food budget per person for one week, in other words $5 per day. That sounds really low!

Reading about that challenge and those bloggers’ experiences made me wonder how much money I spend on food. So I decided to pick one day, this Tuesday, to note down the prices of everything I ate. (A whole week would be a logistical nightmare for me!)

I didn’t make any adjustments, instead I prepared my meals and snacks as usual. It really opened my eyes!

(Note: All prices are in Euro! 1 Euro = 1.21 USD [Source: Google – July 24th, 2012])

Breakfast Sandwiches

I consider myself very lucky to have easy access to cheap, organic, whole grain bread. And it even tastes good! The kind of break I’m currently using is only 0.15 € per slice. For breakfast I had two slices, topped with a cashew pate, and peanut butter and jelly.

Total cost for breakfast: 1.00 €

Lunch Quinoa

On Monday night I cooked a batch of quinoa and set aside one serving to pack for lunch. I mixed the quinoa with canned kidney beans, canned sweet corn, ajvar (red bell pepper sauce), and cherry tomatoes. I added some leftover salad leaves and topped it all with a tablespoon of sunflower seeds.

Total cost for lunch: 1.10 €

Fried Rice

I had lots of leftover rice from the weekend, and a few vegetables that looked a bit aged, so stirred up a modified version of my beloved fried rice. Usually I prefer brown rice, but my husband insists on eating white rice. We tend to buy our favorite kind of rice (Arirang) at a Korean grocery store in Munich, in the form of a 20 lbs bag for about 18 €. Yes, 20 lbs of rice! Stored properly it could last years, but we usually go through it within 2-3 months.

For my fried rice I used one large carrot, one medium-sized zucchini, one red bell pepper, and some frozen edamame.

Total cost for dinner: 1.10 €

Green Tea

I’m a devoted coffee drinker. I’ve tried to live without it, but it’s just not fun. Years ago, I switched to instant coffee. It’s cheap, hygienic, and quite tasty. I usually drink about half a cup, no milk or sugar, three times a day. I also have one cup of green tea per day, and lots of tap water. (German tap water is awesome!)

Total cost for drinks: 0.40 €

Fruit Salad

Chocolate is a must-have every day! Two squares of dark chocolate are usually enough. Lucky me, I’ve found two brands of delicious dark chocolate (70-85%) for the reasonable price of 1.00 € per bar. That’s 0.20 € for two squares.

My days are long, and I don’t like going without food for too long, so I need snacks. I usually munch on homemade cookies and fruit during the day, but I didn’t have time to bake on the weekend, so I made myself a fruit salad. It contained one apple, one grapefruit, pineapple chunks, a few dried cranberries, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also had a banana on the side. The whole fruit salad, including the banana, cost about 1.90 €. Yikes!

Total cost for snacks: 2.10 €

Total cost for the day: 5.70 € = $6.90

Conclusion: The total cost was a bit higher than expected. It’s not that bad, though, considering that all my food was vegan and even partially organic (e.g. quinoa, peanut butter, pineapple, bread, carrot, green tea). I think I’m doing quite well with my meals, but I need to pay more attention to my snacks, like only buying fruit that’s on sale, taking time to bake cookies, packing granola and yogurt, etc.

I want to try it again next week, maybe I can get my food cost a little lower.

What are your favorite low-budget snacks?

See you!

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Almost exactly five years ago, my husband and I had our first date. At the so-called Africa Fest in my hometown. Since then it has become a yearly tradition. Last Saturday, we went there again.

Camels at Africa Fest

Look, camels! I really had to hold myself back, or else I would have bought a ton of stuff. Instead, I only got a few special food items. More on that later.

Garden Vegetables

As my parents live just a few blocks away from the Africa Fest, we also paid them a visit. We were sent home with a bucket full of vegetables from their garden. Yes, a bucket! They gave us four large cucumbers, two small cucumbers, lots of cherry tomatoes, two heads of salad, and a zucchini bigger than my forearm! Several days later, I’ve just about eaten half of it. Oh my!

Anyway, here’s what I ate last Sunday:

Breakfast Sandwiches

The usual breakfast sandwiches: tofurky slice, hummus, ajvar, strawberry jam, vegetables (from that bucket above). I always need to have a big, hearty breakfast, otherwise I’d be a very unhappy person.

Lunch Salad

Time to use up those garden veggies! So I made a big salad for lunch for my husband and me. I topped mine with millet, red bell pepper, sweet corn, kidney beans, and avocado. Now, that’s a filling lunch salad!

Plantain Chips and Cherries

As my afternoon snack I had plantain chips and cherries. I got the chips from the Africa Fest, and I think it was the first time I ever had those. I love them! They look like bananas, but taste like potatoes. How crazy is that!?

Potato Salad and Tofu

One of my absolute favorite foods is potato salad. But only the Bavarian version, which doesn’t contain mayo! Instead it is dressed with a mix of (vegetable) broth, onions, vinegar, and oil. Very simple, very tasty, and potentially vegan. Win-win-win! I served it with pan-fried tofu, ketchup, and a sliced tomato – you guessed it, from the bucket.

Spicy hot chocolate from Madagaskar

This is another one of my African finds, a spiced up hot chocolate mix from Madagascar. It contains cocoa, cinnamon, ginger, clove, cardamom, black pepper, and a little bit of cane sugar. I mixed it with hot rice milk, and it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. Incredible!

Apple Berry Pie

Last week, my team-mate Natalie gave me some red currants from her garden, and I decided to use them in a pie, vegan apple berry pie, to be exact. Dang, that one was tart! But we ate it anyway, with a little help from our other co-workers. No dessert left behind!


Probably the easiest workout I can think of is my beloved Lunch Break Run. At least once a week I take my gym bag to the office and spend my lunch break running at one of the nearby trails with some of my co-workers. I always feel so refreshed after our runs. It’s a great way to avoid afternoon slumps, too! And thank goodness for the ladies’ shower! So I don’t have to be all sweaty and smelly for the rest of my workday.

Do you like to exercise during your lunch break?

See you!

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We had a guest (my stepson G) over the weekend, and I felt too awkward taking pictures of my food, so this time you’ll get to see what I ate on Monday, a typical day at the office.

Breakfast Sandwiches

Typical breakfast sandwiches, one with tofurky slices, the other one with peanut butter and strawberry preserves, packed in my favorite blue sandwich box.

Side note: Every Sunday night I make some sandwiches for my husband to take to work on Monday morning (he leaves at 5am!). I use a red box for his food, so we don’t mix them up.

Lunchbox

Thank goodness we have a working microwave at work again! Last week I had to eat most of my lunches cold, which gets pretty boring after a while. Anyway, I had packed some leftovers for lunch: mixed vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, bell pepper), marinated and pan-fried tofu, white rice, black soy beans, roasted sesame seeds. You could call it bento!

Pasta & Marinara

Dinner was even more leftovers. Somehow I made way too much food over the weekend. I had spaghetti, homemade marinara with zucchini and mushrooms, and topped it with nutritional yeast and arugula.

Vegan Cranberry Brownies

Dessert of the day were a few cranberry brownie bites. They came out a little crumbly but incredibly delicious. I love cranberries! Unfortunately, I can’t give you the recipe, as I got it from a book. (You can find the recipe here, but it’s in German!)


If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, you know that I hate strength training. I know it’s important for my health and general fitness, but it’s just so boring. So I’m trying something new this month: Blogilates! Lovely Cassie has posted lots of Pilates videos, and even offers a monthly workout calendar. She recommends doing a mix of cardio and Pilates moves for 60 minutes total, six days a week. For me, that’s too much! There’s no way I can fit in six hours of exercise into my crazy-busy schedule at the moment. But, I try to do as much as I can, adjusting the plan to my own needs.

Blogilates Workout Plan

When it comes to working out, I love having a detailed plan, so I don’t need to think about what I should do next. Some of the moves in the videos are really tough, so I had to modify them, but so far I really enjoy this new plan.

You can find all of the videos, workout calendars, meal plans, and much more on Blogilates.com.

Have you ever tried Pilates or online workout videos?

See you!

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Wait, what’s that, a recipe? From me? It’s been months since I posted one on my blog!

To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed to even call it a recipe because it’s so simple. But I thought I’d share it anyways.

We European nut butter lovers really have it hard. Fancy flavored nut or seed butters are almost impossible to find. All we have easily accessible is plain peanut butter and tahini. Some local health food stores also sell plain almond butter, but it’s insanely expensive. And quite bland, in my opinion.

I got the idea for this cheater’s nutella from a vegan cookbook that I bought a few weeks ago. The original recipe uses hazelnut butter, but I was too lazy and too cheap to hunt it down, so I used peanut butter instead. The resulting spread was incredibly delicious! I wanted to eat the entire bowl in one sitting. But I didn’t. It was hard, though, very hard.

This spread is awesome on toast, fresh fruit, or a spoon. I won’t tell anyone.

Banana & Nutella

Easy Vegan (Peanut Butter) Nutella

Note: I used peanut butter for this recipe, but I’m sure any kind of nut or seed butter would work just fine.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Yield: About 3/4 cup

*Vegan*

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (75 g) peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) non-dairy butter (e.g. Earth Balance or Alsan), softened at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • vanilla extract (to taste)
  • salt (optional, omit if your nut butter is already salted)

Directions:

Let the non-dairy butter sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it’s slightly softened. Put all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

Store in the fridge for several days.
***

Enjoy!

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Happy What-I-Ate-Wednesday everyone! In my case, this is what I ate on Saturday, as my weekend eats are usually a bit more interesting.  Today I have lots of random meals and snacks to share with you.

Breakfast

The usual breakfast. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s finally tomato season! Big or small, they’re all delicious and relatively cheap at the moment. Yay!

Kohlrabi and Lentil Hummus

It was extremely hot last weekend, and I wasn’t really hungry when lunchtime came around, so I just had a little snack. Kohlrabi sticks (yes, I love raw kohlrabi!) with red lentil hummus, inspired by OhSheGlows.com. It was good, but a little bland. Needs more seasoning!

Chocolate Smoothie

A little late I needed something to cool me down. Did I mention that it was HOT? So I whipped up a quick chocolate banana peanut butter smoothie. With a cherry drowning in it. In-cre-di-ble!

Vegan Bibimbap

After all those light snacks I wanted a really filling dinner. I literally cooked up a storm in my kitchen and made a delicious bowl of (vegan) bibimbap. This is probably my favorite Korean dish of all. My bowl contained brown rice, marinated tofu, black soy beans, shredded cucumber, mung bean sprouts, carrots, sautéed spinach, and roasted nori (we call it ‘gim’). I could eat that every day!

Apples and Dip

My most stubborn bad habit is probably having a late snack every night. Oh well, at least I’m trying to make those snacks somewhat healthy. On Saturday night I enjoyed a sliced apple with chocolate peanut butter, while watching a trashy horror movie. I know how to party!


This month’s theme is food and fitness, that means we are asked to share some exercise inspiration. My favorite workout at the moment is reading on a stationary bike. I love that this activity is easy on my joints, while still giving me a great cardio workout. And my book offers me additional distraction, so the workout is over in a flash, and I feel refreshed and relaxed afterwards.

Stephen King Book

I’m currently reading Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub, in case anyone cares.

What’s your favorite workout at the moment?

See you!

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Goals Update 2012

I’m really happy that it’s already July. The first half of the year was quite tough, and it looks like the second half will be a lot better. Finally!

Being halfway through the year also means that it’s time for an update on how I’m doing with the goals I set for 2012. Here we go:

  • Run more: Semi-success. I did finish my longest race/run ever, the Munich Airport 10k (which was actually an 11.5k), proud and strong. But since then I’ve somehow lost my motivation. So I’ve decided to take a break from racing and run just for fun for the rest of the year. I do want to keep moving, but I’ll focus on other forms of cardio, like biking and Zumba. It’s all about having fun!
  • Make strength training fun: Fail. I still hate strength training and haven’t found a way to motivate myself to do it anyway. I wish someone would just kick my butt. Oh well, I’ll keep trying. A little strength training is better than none at all, right? Time to dust off my workout DVDs, I guess.
  • Reduce sweets and treats: Semi-success. While I do sometimes eat several pieces of birthday cake (holy marzipan, it was incredible!), I’ve significantly reduced my intake of processed junk food in the past few weeks. I still eat way too much peanut butter and chocolate, but hey, I’m only human. And I’m making progress.
  • Reach and maintain my happy weight: Semi-success. I think I’ve lost about three or four pounds since December. It’s not much, but my clothes do fit a little better. I’m still a few pounds above my ‘happy weight’, but it’s not much, so I’m not stressing about it.
  • Save some money: Fail! Unfortunately, our financial situation took a turn for the worse, and I even had to use some of our savings. Times were tough, but at least I learned how to live with less and stick to a very tight budget. Things are looking a lot better now. I might even get the chance to make some extra money. I do hope that I’ll be able to save a little in the second half of the year.

Did you set some goals or resolutions for the year? If yes, how have you been doing?

See you!

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