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Archive for October, 2012

As I’ve mentioned before, Halloween is not such a big deal here in Germany. While I do love spooky stuff and dressing up, I’ve decided to keep things rather low-key this year. No decorations or costume parties for me, but I will hand out some sweets. Just to be safe.

Anyway, let’s go back a few days. I took a day off from work last Friday, which gave me plenty of time to prepare some interesting and slightly spooky meals.

Tofu scramble with toast

Tofu scramble made a glorious comeback for breakfast! It’s a great way to use up leftover tofu and vegetables. I loosely followed this recipe from Peas and Thank You, and enjoyed it with two slices of toast.

Chocolate peanut butter oatmeal

I’m a firm believer in the tradition called second breakfast. So I made myself some chocolate oatmeal mid-morning. Yes, cooked oatmeal! After the first spoon I remembered why I prefer overnight oats. Let’s leave it at that.

Potato soup with toast

For lunch I simply re-heated some leftover chunky potato soup. Oh boy, I love leftovers! As it was a rather small portion, I also had … more toast. It’s a phase or something.

Stuffed bell pepper Jack

And now to the culinary highlight of the day. I saw tons of cute little bell pepper Jacks all over the internet, and wanted to try making one myself. Not bad for a first attempt, but I could work on my carving skills. The filling was a mix of TVP and spinach. It was quite tasty, but it would have been even better with a fruity tomato sauce. Maybe next time.

Apple pie

And a bonus picture! Later that night, at 10 pm to be exact, I spontaneously made an apple pie for my Mom’s birthday party on Saturday. It was a big success! Everybody loved it. They had no idea that the pie was vegan and contained whole wheat flour. But I did curse like a sailor while rolling out that dough, as it kept sticking and ripping. My pie making skills need some more training.

What are your plans for Halloween?

See you!

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The Part-Time Vegan

I’ve been a vegetarian since December 2006. Since then my attitude towards food has changed a lot. I wrote more about those changes in my five-year veggie-versary post. During those 5+ years I’ve tried to go vegan several times. Why? First of all, I love and respect animals. All of them. And I don’t want to cause them any harm. Plus, I do believe that a plant-based diet is not only healthier for humans but also better for the environment.

(Source)

While I do enjoy vegan food a lot, I’ve always found it very hard, almost impossible, to be 100% vegan for more than a few days.

Following a meat-free diet in this part of the world is challenging, in many ways. First of all, I’m surrounded by omnivores, who strongly believe that a vegetarian or even vegan diet is unhealthy, that I’m at the risk of malnutrition, and what not. Some even think that I’m suffering from an eating disorder!

I know a total of two or three people, who are also vegetarians, but we are not close friends. I don’t know any vegans in real life. I know I shouldn’t care what others think or do, but always being the odd one is not fun at all.

Aside from that, I’ve noticed that my biggest challenges are free food and eating out. I love baked goods, especially elaborate birthday or wedding cakes (be still my heart). Unfortunately, none of them are vegan, and they are full of processed sugar and white flour. But they are so freaking delicious!

Plus, I don’t want to be that annoying person at a restaurant, that bombards the waiter or waitress with tons of questions and special orders.

I used to think that if I can’t be 100% vegan, it’s not even worth trying. Recently, I’ve changed my mind about that.

(Source)

I’m not trying to be perfect anymore! Instead, I’ll eat vegan meals and snacks as often as I can, while allowing myself to follow my cravings. So I may or may not have a piece of non-vegan cake, and I may or may not have some non-vegan ice cream on a hot day, and I may or may not order a pizza with cheese when I’m going out with my friends. I might even have scrambled or hard-boiled eggs when I’m stuck at a hotel where the vegan breakfast options are more than sad.

A few weeks ago I’ve stopped using animals products when preparing my own food, as you can see in some of my WIAW posts. I won’t call this a transitioning phase, as I’m not sure where I’m going. I also won’t call myself a vegan, as I do still occasionally consume foods that contain eggs or dairy. At the moment, I’m about 80 – 90% vegan, and that’s enough for me.

Well, this is where I stand right now. Maybe I’ll be a real vegan one day, maybe I won’t. I don’t know. But I do know that I feel absolutely amazing on a plant-based diet.

How would you describe your diet? Plant-based, paleo, omnivore?

See you!

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I’ve read a few day-in-my-life posts lately, and I always enjoy them, so I’m showing you today what a typical Monday looks like for me these days.

5:45 am

My alarm goes off and I slowly roll out of bed. Husband is already gone and on his way to work. It’s dark and cold and foggy. Yuck! I take a few sips of black coffee while getting ready. Still too dark for photos.

Breakfast Sandwich Box

7:15 am

I arrive at my office, make myself a cup of green tea and inhale my breakfast. Check out my pink sandwich box! I’m slowly starting to feel awake. The sun is also rising, which helps a little. Let’s start this workday!

9:00 am

Coffee break! I mean ‘morning team meeting’, of course. I have a cup of strong black coffee and a banana. I love that combo.

Bento Box Lunch

12:00 pm

After a short outdoor walk I get to enjoy my lunch, which is just some leftovers from the night before: brown rice, tofu, vegetables. Not very pretty, but tasty and filling. Followed by another cup of black coffee and a small piece of dark chocolate.

Pink Cherry Yogurt

3:00 pm

Time for another snacking break. It’s a long afternoon, so I have some soy yogurt with cherries and granola, which I added after the shot. And an apple and a rice cake a little later.

5:00 pm

Finally home! But my workday isn’t over yet. I take a deep breath, grab some pasta sauce from the freezer, and fresh up my face. Then I grab my things and get my butt to job number two, teaching computer basics to the elderly.

Pasta with marinara sauce

8:00 pm

Back home again, this time for real. I cook some whole wheat pasta, re-heat the sauce, put it all together, and top it with pesto and pine nuts. I eat my dinner while sitting on the couch, watching mindless TV. I may or may not enjoy some cherry chocolates for dessert. No, I’m not addicted. (Yes, I am!)

9:30 pm

After eating and relaxing a little, I get up again to clean the kitchen, prepare breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the next day, pack my gym bag, chat with my husband on the phone, and finally get ready to go to bed.

11:00 pm

Finally lying in bed, closing my eyes. Good night!

Note: I didn’t write this post to complain and whine about my oh-so-busy life! This is what I’ve choosen, and even though I’m sometimes tired and exhausted, I’m fine with it. Some people work even harder!

What does your typical Monday look like?

See you!

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Last weekend I really wanted to do this month’s theme justice, so I got myself something pink and something scary. Sort of.

Pink Breakfast Sandwiches

My breakfast toast on the right was topped with a beet and horseradish spread, and some fresh garden cress. I love that color! And it also tastes good. The classic pb&j is on the left.

Lunch salad - part one

Lunch was a very random salad of leftovers. It was actually a rather small one and not very filling. Big mistake!

Lunch salad - part two

After lunch we met some friends for coffee, and at around 4 pm I became hangry! So I spontaneously ordered a sandwich, which was labeled as a small plate. That thing was huge! The side salad was good, but the sandwich itself was pretty bad. Eating out has been hit-or-miss lately. Very often I think, “meh, my own food tastes much better”. I guess I need to find better restaurants. Or just make my own food. All the time.

Vegan Borscht Soup

Dinner was a little weird and scary, borscht soup. The soup base was from a jar and surprisingly vegan. I added some smoked tofu and soy yogurt, and it ended up being quite tasty. Beetroot twice a day? Why not!?

Cherry chocolates

I ended the day with a few cherry chocolates. They are finally back! Those tasty little things always take a long summer break, which fortunately ended a few weeks ago. I shared them with my husband, as usual.

Do you like beetroot? What’s your favorite way of eating it?

See you!

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Blog Anniversary #2

It’s true, time really flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for two years!

So, what has happened in the past 12 months?

Munich Airport 10k

After finishing my third race, which was also a personal distance record for me with a whooping 11.6 k or 7.2 miles, I’ve put running on the back burner. I’m just not enjoying it as much as I used to, probably because I’m not making any progress, unlike my early days. But I’m still working out! During the winter, I discovered my love for the stationary bikes at my gym. I love that I can watch TV (with sound!), read a book, or my favorite blogs on the bike. It makes the miles fly by so fast!

I’ve also had the chance to try a few new activities, like Zumba (totally in love!) and squash/racquetball (still don’t know the difference), and also discovered free workouts on YouTube. My favorite fitness channel is Blogilates. Don’t be deceived by Cassey’s smile, her workouts are killers!

If you want to follow my workouts, check out my dailymile page!

Caribbean Salad

Over the past few months, my diet has changed quite a bit. After the Vegan Challenge back in June I realized that I don’t need eggs and dairy as much as I used to think. Since then I’ve been eating about 90% vegan. More on that in a separate post soon.

I also posted a few new recipes! Not as many as I had hoped, though. I usually just wing it when I cook, and measuring ingredients, taking decent photos, and writing it all down is quite a hassle. But I’ll still try to share a few more of my favorite dishes.

Carrot fries with tomato salad

And I’ve joined some fun blogging events, like the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, which I plan to do again this year, the weekly What I Ate Wednesday action, and most recently the European version of Foodie Penpals.

All in all, it was a great year of blogging, and I’m looking forward to the next year and what it will bring.

That said, blogging would be pretty boring without an audience, so thank you all so much for reading and commenting!

See you!

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Can you believe that I agreed to go on another long road trip last weekend!? This time we went to see my husband’s family in Cologne. It was fun, but also exhausting. I ate some great food there, but that deserves its own post.

Almost empty fridge

We got home on Sunday night, to an almost empty fridge. Just a few condiments, ancient cucumber kimchi, some tofu, and sad-looking green onions. On Monday I was ridiculously busy working from home, which meant no time for grocery shopping. Yikes! But don’t worry, I didn’t starve. I raided our well stocked pantry, and here’s what I came up with.

Breakfast

Almost my usual breakfast sandwiches, just without cucumbers or tomatoes. How sad! Thank goodness my veggie spreads have a pretty long shelf-life. As I was very hungry, I also had a small bowl of muesli with soy milk and the last half of a very ripe banana.

Pasta with tomato sauce

For lunch, I quickly whipped up a tomato sauce, using canned tomatoes, onions, garlic, and frozen carrots. I served it over whole wheat penne, my favorite kind of pasta, and topped it all with nutritional yeast and roasted pine nuts.

Snacks

Just some random snacks, to hold me over until dinner. Chocolate covered rice cake, apple with peanut butter, and coffee, a total necessity!

Potato soup

And finally, dinner! I made a slightly modified version of my creamy potato soup, with green onions instead of leek, and no beans. I just love thick, creamy blended vegetable soups, especially during fall.

Swiss muesli

Nothing pink or scary in sight, so I guess I’m kind of failing on this month’s theme? Sorry! Halloween is still not a big deal here in Germany!

Instead I want to show you my current favorite, sort of seasonal snack: swiss muesli! I found the box above at Aldi a few weeks ago, but it was part of an Alpine special, so it’s not in stock all the time. It contains whole oats, chopped nuts, and lots of dried fruit. It’s like a cereal, but without all the added sugar and fat. It was part of Monday’s breakfast, and I really enjoyed it.

By the way, did you know that Germans rarely eat cooked oatmeal? We usually prefer cold cereal or muesli, like the one above.

Which one do you prefer, cooked oatmeal or cold cereal/muesli?

See you!

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Foodie Penpals

Yesterday I got my next Foodie Penpals package, sent to me by Stephanie from London. She did a great job selecting mostly things for me I can’t buy here in Germany.

Foodie Penpals package September

The package contained panang curry paste, green tea with brown rice (genmai cha), Mexican hot sauce, Caribbean salad dressing mix, rosemary sea salt, and wasabi-coated green peas. And a lovely card!

I immediately devoured a pack of wasabi peas. I love those spicy little buggers, even if they make my nose tingle. And I used the Caribbean mix in the dressing for my dinner salad.

Caribbean Salad

The dressing mix contains dill, which I like, but always forget to buy. It was delicious! This morning I tried the green tea. It has a very strong grassy, nutty, slightly bitter flavor, and is not for green tea newbies, but I really liked it. And I bet it’s incredibly healthy!

I can’t wait to try the curry paste and the Mexican sauce, as I haven’t had them before. But that will have to wait until Sunday, as I’m leaving my little village tomorrow, to visit my husband’s family in Cologne! I will surely post some delicious food photos on Instagram, so follow me there if you like.

Want to join the fun? If you are from the U.S. or Canada check out The Lean Green Bean for more info. There’s also a European version organized by Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt.

Any ideas how I could use the curry paste or the Mexican sauce?

See you!

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