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Archive for April, 2013

During the past few years, my eating habits have changed in more than one way. Not only have I switched to a more plant-based diet, I’ve also been eating more Asian or Asian inspired dishes than ever. I totally blame that on my Korean husband.

2013-04-21_Breakfast

The only meal that will always be typically German is breakfast. My love for bread is probably hardwired in my genetic code. You may wonder what Asians traditionally eat for breakfast. Well, the same things they’d eat for lunch and dinner, like rice, soups, stews, pickled vegetables, etc. That’s not my thing, though.

2013-04-20_Miso_Soup

Last Saturday night I was too lazy to make dinner (happens to all of us, right?), so I we decided to go to our favorite local sushi restaurant. Their miso soup is the best I have had so far! It’s filled to the brim with sea weed, mushrooms, and tofu, not too salty, and quite filling.

2013-04-20_Sushi

They also offer lots of fish-free sushi variations. I wasn’t very hungry, so I only ordered two of my favorite rolls, one with cucumber, and the other one with avocado. And one inari sushi, that’s a pocket of fried, seasoned tofu filled with rice.  So freaking delicious!

2013-04-21_Bibimbap

Of course, I frequently make Asian meals at home, too, not only because my husband asks for them. One of my favorite Korean dishes is bibimbap. This is basically just a bowl of steamed rice, topped with all kinds of different raw or cooked vegetables and proteins. What I love about this dish is that it’s so incredibly versatile. You can add anything you like, and even make it vegan by using tofu instead of meat, fish, and eggs.

There is also a variation of this dish, called dolsot bibimbap. First, you heat up a stone pot, then you add sesame oil and cooked rice, and later all of your toppings. The rice gets a little crispy on the bottom of the pot, which adds another layer of awesomeness, in my opinion.

2013-04-21_Lunchbox

Leftover bibimbap can also be eaten cold. I enjoyed this one during Monday’s lunch break.

What are your favorite rice bowl toppings?

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Actually, this is not really a recipe, and it’s not even my idea, I just can’t remember where I saw it first. But I wanted to share this delicious creation with you anyway.

I’ve been craving eggplants lately, probably due to a certain beautiful curry recipe. 😉

This cute side dish is very versatile. You can add all of your favorite toppings, and you could even use zucchini as the base instead of eggplant.

2013-04-17_Eggplant_Pizza_Minis

Eggplant Pizza Minis

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • tomato sauce or ajvar (I used the latter)
  • a few fresh basil leaves, cut into thin stripes
  • salt and pepper
  • veggie deli slices, optional
  • nutritional yeast or cheese

Cut the eggplant into slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. Pour a little oil into the pan and fry the eggplant slices on both sides for a few minutes until they are soft and slightly browned. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

Place the eggplant slices on a plate and top them with sauce, basil, and nutritional yeast. Add some extra toppings, if you like, and put the plate under a broiler, if you like your pizza minis extra hot.

Wednesday night I ate the whole batch with my dinner, so I’d say the recipe yields one serving. What can I say, I love vegetables. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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The sun has finally decided to come out to play in good old Bavaria, so I’ve been feeling the strong urge to get outside. I’m not fighting it.

Last Friday, my hometown’s annual Spring Fair started, and it still runs until next Sunday. Of course, I had to go! This fair is quite similar to the Oktoberfest, just a lot smaller. But even more fun, because it’s less crowded. Usually.

2013-04-14_Breakfast

A day at the fair has to start with the right kind of fuel. I seriously can’t understand people who skip breakfast. I get so cranky when I don’t get regular meals!

2013-04-14_Corn_cob

There’s so much delicious food at the fair! Most of those treats are far from healthy, but not all of them are that bad. This time I focused on my absolute favorites, to avoid feeling overly stuffed. Corn on the cob is definitely a must-have for me, whenever it’s available.

Special thanks go out to my handsome hand model. 😉

2013-04-14_Crepes

Must-have food item #2 is a thin crepe with apple sauce and cinnamon. It almost burned my hands! That’s why I only have an ‘almost done’ photo for you. Next time I have to ask them to use the galette batter, which is made with buckwheat flour, instead of the standard white wheat batter. Why didn’t I think of this sooner!?

2013-04-14_Spices

The spice booth is my favorite one at the entire fair, I guess. They have so many amazing teas, herbs, and spices. I want to buy everything! But I mustered up some restraint, and only bought a few fun mixes, that I’m going to share with my Foodie Penpals.

2013-04-14_LaHo

The preparations for the Landshut Wedding are already in full force. This is a really big deal, people! This royal wedding from the year 1475 is re-enacted every four years. It’s on again this summer, from June 28th to July 21st. Come over if you like! It’s fun!

2013-04-14_Dinner

Dinner was a quick one. I was busy preparing some food for the work week, so I wasn’t in the mood to cook an elaborate dinner. I had udon noodles in black been sauce, with a side of roasted broccoli and carrots. Not very pretty, but quite tasty, and incredibly filling! I shared some with my husband because I couldn’t finish that plate.

What is your hometown famous for?

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Life Lately

Usually, I only write about food, health, and maybe fitness, but today I want to get a little more personal. Here is a look at what has been going on in my life lately.

Class dismissed

Last fall I started teaching an evening class. Computer basics for elderly people, to be exact. A teacher, me!? I never thought I’d see the day. Last Monday was our last class, and while I’m thrilled to have some more free time, I’m a little bit sad, too. I loved my class! But seriously, this was way more time-consuming than I had expected! Kudos to all the full-time teachers out there!

Shake it out

My current workout routine is … heck, I don’t really have a workout routine. I’m doing Zumba every Thursday night, we go horseback riding every other weekend or so, the rest is totally random. I’d love to get back into running regularly, now that spring is finally here, and I’d love to do some strength training, too. Could someone please come over and kick my butt?

Sherlock

When it comes to discovering TV series I’m always unfashionably late. I blame it on the fact that I live in Germany, where the free TV programming sucks. There’s no other way to say it. Thankfully, I’ve finally had the chance to experience the awesomeness that is Sherlock, “a British television crime drama that presents a contemporary update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes detective stories” (source: Wikipedia). Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are the best on-screen duo I’ve seen in a while! And I can’t wait to see Mr. Cumberbatch again in the upcoming Star Trek movie. So excited!

Be safe!

Last Saturday I went to a moral courage and self-defense seminar, held by a group of police officers. While some of the info was already familiar to me, I did learn lots of new stuff, too. I think it’s very important to know how to deal with emergency situations in a way that goes beyond first aid or martial arts techniques. The best part was when I got to shout at one of the officers. At the top of my voice! Only a few people know that I do have a rather loud voice, I just hardly ever use it. It’s a gift. Thanks, mom!

And the popcorn goes to …

I’m actually quite a movie freak. I have about half of the IMDB memorized already. That’s a pretty neat party trick. I’ve been a science fiction fan since early childhood, and lately I’ve been so excited about all the Marvel movies, especially The Avengers. That was my favorite movie of 2012, and it was nominated for several MTV Movie Awards. Sadly, I didn’t get to watch any life coverage, but I did my best to follow what was going on via Twitter. At 4 am local time. Damn you, CET! So, I’m running on very little sleep today, but it was absolutely worth it. The Avengers won Best Movie, Best Fight, and Best Villain! It’s just sad that I don’t have anyone to share my excitement with, because the people around me don’t care about those things at all. Thank the heavens for Twitter, Tumblr, and co!

What’s been going on in your life lately?

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Most people I know think of salads, vegetables, and fruit as rabbit food, believing that plant-based meals can’t be filling and satisfying. I disagree, of course. 😉

As I’ve mentioned here before, my favorite breakfast is a sandwich, and my favorite lunch option is a giant salad. How can those plant-based meals keep me full until the next snack or meal, and how come I’m not bored to death by eating the same things every day? Today I’m going to share some of my tricks below.

2013-04-06_Breakfast

Recent breakfast: Whole grain bread with sunflower seed spread and cucumber for me on the right, cheese sandwich for the husband on the left.

Tip #1: Choose complex carbs. E.g. in the form of whole grains. They digest slowly, so they don’t send your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride, but keep you full for quite a while. I love whole spelt bread, oats, brown rice, among others.

Tip #2: Include {good} fats, in reasonable amounts. Whole nuts and seeds, avocados, nut butters, and cold-pressed oils are generally the best options. How much fat someone needs varies greatly. Some people thrive on low-fat diets, while others need more fat for optimal health. I personally feel best somewhere in the middle.

2013-04-06_Salad

Recent lunch: Big, colorful salad with lamb’s lettuce, quinoa, tomatoes, mushrooms, sunflower seeds.

Tip #3: Don’t forget about protein! While I’ve stopped worrying about getting enough protein quite a while ago, it’s still important to not totally ignore this macro nutrient. Plants generally contain less protein per gram than let’s say meat, fish, or eggs, but plant foods like beans, lentils, soy products (TVP, tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy yogurt), nuts, seeds, whole grains (especially quinoa), and green vegetables do contain a significant amount of protein. In the end, it all adds up.

Tip #4: Eat a rainbow! In other words, try to eat a large variety of different foods, don’t eat the same things over and over again. With that approach you avoid getting bored and can increase your chances to get it all the nutrients that your body needs.

2013-04-06_Pizza

Recent dinner: Mexican-style pizza with homemade spelt flour crust.

Tip #5: Find delicious replacements! I love to use whole spelt flour instead of white wheat flour, soy yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, nutritional yeast instead of parmesan, rice milk instead of cow’s milk, Alsan instead of butter, TVP instead of ground meat, etc. The options are nearly endless! Experiment as much as you like, and find things that you enjoy.

Tip #6: Think outside the box! Who puts kidney beans and nutritional yeast on a pizza? Well, I do. And I will do it again, because it’s delicious. Embrace #StrangeButGood meal ideas and combinations!

2013-04-06_Cookies

Recent dessert: Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Yes!

Tip #7: Have a treat! There’s room for chocolate in every diet, or at least there should be, in my opinion. 😉

What would you like to add to that list?

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Last weekend I had a random craving for a green smoothie. I raided my kitchen and found a few promising ingredients, but nothing green. And it was Easter, which means that all grocery stores were closed. Dang!

But then I remembered the sturdy basil plant on my window sill, that simply refuses to die, despite my brown thumb. Lightbulb moment!

I’ve read and heard about using basil in desserts, but I’ve never been brave enough to try it myself. Until now, that is.

I don’t really measure my smoothie ingredients, I simply toss and taste as I go. Here’s what went into the blender, all amounts are guesstimated.

2013-03-31_Smoothie

Green Colada Smoothie

  • 2 small bananas, sliced and frozen
  • A small can of pineapple rings, plus a dash of pineapple juice
  • Half a can of full-fat coconut milk
  • Half a scoop of vanilla-flavored protein powder
  • Three large basil leaves

This makes one large serving or two smaller ones. The protein powder is optional, of course, I’m just trying to use up the giant bag I bought last year. I only used very little basil, as I didn’t want the flavor to be too strong. It was enough to turn the smoothie lightly green, just as I had hoped.

So, how was the taste? Unusual, but delicious! I was pleasantly surprised. If my basil plant keeps up the good fight, I’ll try adding its leaves to other smoothie creations. I’ve heard it goes quite well with strawberries.

Have you ever tried basil in a dessert?

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Easter has come and gone and it’s April already. It’s still way too cold for this time of year, which makes me a little grumpy. Also, I had to go back to work yesterday, and have a lot of catching up to do, so let’s make this a quick one, okay?

Here are some recent meals and snacks that I whipped up in my kitchen over the Easter weekend:

2013-03-31_Breakfast

Recent breakfast: This is what happens when I can’t decide which kind of jam I want with my peanut butter toast.

2013-03-30_Pasta

Recent dinner: Whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, topped with nutritional yeast and pine nuts. That one happens at least once a week.

2013-04-01_SaladRecent lunch: Chopped romaine lettuce with quinoa, mixed vegetables, ajvar, and vegan cucumber raita, which was inspired by a recent post on Sprint 2 the table. I used soy yogurt instead of Greek, and it was amazing. Gave me really bad garlic breath, though. Not save for work, folks!

2013-03-31_Tofu_Stew

Recent dinner: Not-so-traditional Korean tofu stew (jjigae), spicy and meaty for the husband, mild and vegan for me. With a side of rice, of course.

2013-03-31_Easter

Easter basket: What do vegans eat on Easter? Chocolate eggs! And chocolate bunnies! I didn’t even miss our traditional hard-boiled eggs. Yeah, that surprised me, too.

2013-04-01_Carot_Cake

And finally, the carrot cake mentioned in the title of this post. I loosely followed a recipe that I had found online, but something went wrong. That cake turned out mushy and dense, not fluffy and cakey as I had hoped. Not sure what it was, maybe too much shredded carrots, not enough baking powder, oven temperature too low. Whatever. I’m eating it anyway. No baked goods will go to waste in my house!

What was your last cooking or baking fail?

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