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I tend to fall into some kind of food rut quite often, which means I make the same meals again and again. Those dishes are my favorites, they are tasty and easy to make, but also a little boring after a while.

I’d really like to try some new recipes. Who knows, they might turn into new favorites.

2014-02-02_Breakfast

Sunday’s breakfast was indeed a little different from my usual fare. I tried to ‘bake’ bread in a pan, using a ciabatta mix, and it worked! I let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, and fried/baked it over low heat with a lid on. That bread turned out quite fluffy and tasty.

2014-02-02_Bibimbap

Lunch was, once again, one of those boring favorites: bibimbap! I can’t help it, this dish is just so delicious and ridiculously simple to make, especially when you have leftover rice and a few banchan (Korean side dishes, e.g. kimchi).

2014-02-02_Pasta

Another ridiculously simple dish: spaghetti with tomato sauce. I really need to stop making this every weekend or my husband will go on a strike, I’m afraid.

2014-02-02_Cookies

I decided to make some healthy-ish snacks to help me through a busy week, so I brought back an old favorite that I hadn’t made in a very long time: Mama Pea’s Anytime Cookies! Those are also a great way to use up leftover nuts and dried fruit.

2014-02-02_Shepards_Pie

And then I really tried something new: vegan lentil shepard’s pie. I made a big batch to eat as dinners or lunches during the week, and it turned out delicious!

I totally forgot how much I love mashed potatoes, I haven’t had any in ages. Now I’m thinking about different ways of serving mashed potatoes, maybe with roasted onions, mushroom gravy, roasted brussel sprouts, red cabbage (Blaukraut)? New ideas and recommendations are always welcome!

Eating in is going very well so far, but it’s only been a few days yet.

Do you fall into food ruts, too?

See you!

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I usually don’t eat out very often. Delicious, plant-based dishes are hard to find in restaurants around here, that’s why I generally prefer my own food. In the past few weeks, things were different, though. I’ve been out and about a lot and even when I was at home I often didn’t feel like cooking. So I ate out a lot, and spent a ton of money!

That’s why I decided to do the Eat In Month Challenge in February. I know that I’m very late to the game, as the actual challenge takes place in January, but the timing just didn’t work for me.

I plan to eat every single meal “in”, that means no restaurant visits and no take-out meals. I’ll make an exception for free food, as my co-workers often provide breakfast, lunch, or dessert when they celebrate their birthdays. Meals and snacks that I’m offered by others, like friends or family members, are also okay for me. And I may or may not enjoy a small bag of movie popcorn.

I’m doing this challenge mostly to save money. Eating out is expensive! And I’m also still working on clearing my pantry. That’s a never-ending process, I’m afraid.

So in the month of February, I’ll hopefully enjoy lots of great home-cooked meals and snacks, just like the examples below.

2014-01-28_Squash_soup

I call this one my triple squash (pumpkin?) soup – blended Hokkaido squash soup topped with pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds.

2014-01-28_Sweet_grits

Sweet semolina pudding with cherry compote and cinnamon – best served warm!

2014-01-28_Bibimbap

My all-time favorite: bibimbap! Just a big bowl of rice, vegetables, tofu, and pickled radish. Never fails to satisfy my appetite.

Do you spend a lot of money eating out?

See you!

Choose Happiness

Hello my dear readers!  
My holiday blogging break turned out much longer than I originally intended. Sorry for that!
I just wanted to get out a quick post to let you know that I’m still alive and well. Sort of.
To be honest, the past few weeks/months have been very hard for me. I don’t want to get into details because they are very personal and I prefer this blog to be a positive place. In short, I have been struggling with some dark, negative thoughts and feelings for quite a while. Things got worse and worse, including a serious health scare right before New Year’s Eve (not me!).
Life knocked me down, but I refuse to stay down!
So I’ve decided on a simple but powerful New Year’s Resolution: Choose happiness!
Whenever I notice negative, gloomy thoughts creeping up, I consciously choose to be happy, even if I have to pretend at that moment. I’ve put together a list of actions, that I believe will help me feel better.  
Move back to my hometown.
I’ve mentioned before that I currently live in a tiny remote village. There’s no gym, no mall, no movie theater, no public transportation. We have one restaurant, one café, and two grocery stores. That’s all! Looking back I think that moving here was not a good idea. I just can’t find any friends, there is nothing fun to do, and I often feel lonely and bored. My hometown is by no means a big city, but has way more options, and some of my friends and family members still live there.  
Be more social.
At the moment, being alone is not good for me. So I’ll try to spend as much time as possible either at the gym or with my friends. In order to do that, I’ll have to drive around a lot, which is expensive in Germany, but I’ll take it.  
Exercise several times a week.
Physical activity helps me maintain a healthy and fit body, but it also improves my mental and emotional state. Those exercise endorphines are real! My co-workers have been nagging me to start running with them again. I’m thinking about it.  
Revive old hobbies.
I used to love reading and crafting, especially knitting and crocheting. I haven’t done any of that in ages. I thought that I don’t have enough time, but I’ve realized that I just have to make time for things that are important to me. Even if it’s just 10 minutes every night before I go to bed.  
So, what about the blog? I honestly don’t know right know. I love blogging! I love writing, chatting with you guys, talking about food, exercise, and health, being part of an awesome community, etc. There are still a couple of recipes and group fitness class reviews that I’d like to share, but I have no idea how to fit it all in. I want to create quality content and not simply post for the sake of posting. That means that I will probably publish fewer and shorter posts for a while, especially now that I’m looking for a new appartment.  

Tell me, what makes you happy right now?

See you! Sue  

I’ve been craving Indian food for quite a while. I just love all those spicy, hearty, belly warming dishes. And the abundance of plant-based options! Finally, last Saturday my husband and I went to our favorite local Indian restaurant. It’s been too long!

2013-12-15_Papadums

We shared papadums as an appetizer. They’re so crunchy! That red sweet and sour sauce was very tasty, too.

2013-12-15_Tomato_Soup

There’s a tomato soup on the menu that we’ve never tried before. Indian tomato soup? I was curious. And it was delicious! Very sweet, and full of mysterious spices. I have no idea what they put in there, but it was really good.

2013-12-15_Baigan_Bharta

This restaurant offers several different vegetarian main dishes, this time I chose baingan bharta, a creamy eggplant dish. It was just as awesome as I remembered. It’s not spicy, but full of flavor, and topped with crunchy fresh ginger. This dish is also very filling. It is served in a separate pot, accompanied by a huge pile of rice and some naan bread. I had seconds, and thirds, but I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

2013-12-15_Stollen

Last week I received a big loaf of Stollen, traditional German fruit cake, from a friend. It was good, but very sweet.

Considering all the sweet treats I was gifted in the past few weeks, I probably won’t bake any cookies this year. That’s just too much sugar altogether.

What’s your favorite Indian dish?

See you!

Recipe: Spiced Apple Fruit Cake

Since discovering this fruit cake recipe in a German cookbook about ten years ago, I’ve made this cake every winter at least once. I just love its heartiness and rich spicy, fruity flavor.

I’ve modified the original recipe a little, to match my own preferences, and now it is free of several common allergens.

This fruit cake is:

  • dairy-free
  • vegan
  • low-fat
  • free of refined sugar
  • potentially nut free, if you omit the almond flour

2013-12-15_Spiced_Apple_Fruit_Cake

Spiced Apple Fruit Cake

This recipe yields a very dense, hearty loaf, filled to the brim with juicy fruits and seasonal spices. While this cake doesn’t contain any refined sugar, it’s still sweet enough for my taste buds, thanks to all the dried fruit and grated apples. If you prefer your baked goods to be on the sweeter side, feel free to add honey, maple syrup, or your favorite wholesome sweetener.

Prep time: 20 minutes + a few hours of soaking time

Baking time: 45-50 minutes

Yield: One big loaf

*Vegetarian*Vegan*Sugar-free*

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mixed dried fruit, chopped (e.g. raisins, figs, apricots)
  • 1 cup water or apple juice
  • 1 Tbsp rum (optional)
  • 3 medium-sized sweet apples (e.g. gala, fuji, pink lady)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or ground vanilla bean

Directions:

Chop up the dried fruit into 1-inch pieces, put into a bowl and add water or juice and optional rum. Mix and let soak in the fridge for a few hours or over night.

Combine flours, baking powder, cocoa powder, and all dry spices in a separate bowl. Grate the apples (note: I like to leave on the skin, but feel free to peel them) and add them to the dried fruit. Mix wet and dry ingredients, including soaking liquid, and stir until just combined. The dough will be very dense and heavy.

Pour the cake batter into a greased loaf pan, and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 45 to 50 minutes. The cake is done when the top starts to brown and the edges come away from the pan. The inside of the cake will still be very wet and appear undercooked, but that’s okay.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Then flip the pan and remove the cake, and wrap it in tin foil while it’s still warm. Let it rest for a few hours.

This cake is best kept in the fridge, tightly wrapped in tin foil.

Note: I recommend using unsulfured, unsweetened dried fruits. A mix of raisins, apricots, and figs is what I normally use in this cake, but you could also add cranberries, dates, mangoes or any other kind of dried fruit.

Enjoy!

December really is the busiest month of the year, so I’m posting from my phone once again. What would I do without this thing?

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Last Sunday we went to ou village’s tiny Christmas market and I enjoyed my favorites, mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

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On Monday I made the best tofu curry ever. It was so good! Special ingredient: apple juice. Served over brown rice.

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Also on Monday I raided our local Aldi. Those dates are stuffed with almonds and walnuts. Whole food, two ingredients each. Just amazing!

Are you a fan of roasted chestnuts, too?

See you!

Hi foodie friends! I’m trying to post from my phone today. Let’s hope this works.

Currently, I’m at a workshop. Again. We are provided breakfast lunch, and snacks. Here are some of the things I ate yesterday and today.

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Tuesday’s breakfast: buttered soft pretzel, a Bavarian classic.

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Tuesday’s lunch: salad, mixed veggies, fruit juice.

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Tuesday’s snack: cappuchino and chocolate.

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Wednesday’s breakfast: brie on multi-grain bread.

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Wednesday’s snack: cappuchino and banana.

What tasty meals and snacks have you eaten lately?

See you!