Dienstag, 15. September 2015

Not quite VeganMoFo #15

Today's vegan MoFo Theme is: Barack Obama is coming for dinner, what are you going to make?

I must admit that these days, I'd find it rather difficult to sit down and chat with Barack Obama over some delicious vegan food. (I would find it difficult anyway, because I would be really shy and nervous).
Fact is that I find it hard to chat over food these days, looking at the situation at the European borders.
Watching the news these days is heartbreaking, people standing at the borders of Hungary, not knowing where to turn to next. They have left their homes in hope for a better life, and they do not get more than sleeping on a field, sometimes not even with a blanket for their kids.

When my mom was at the age of two, she had to flee her home as well, and if the family had not received help and food from other people on their way, my mom definitely would not have survived.

My country has been criticized for accepting thousands of refugees to come over here, but how could we not help those people to find a better life? A save life?

These days, I am out of words, be it in English or German. I do not know what to say, except:
Refugees welcome!

Donnerstag, 10. September 2015

Vegan MoFo #10: Something blue

Good Morning! This is Day10 on Vegan MoFo and the prompt for today is: Something BLUE.
Blue food? This one was driving me crazy. I was thinking "blueberries, cabbage, figs???" for days.
My son wanted blue french fries. I wanted something really, really blue. Muffns? Booring.
In some kind of despair I thought "blue dishes", then it was "sushi?"... but, honestly, can you imagine blue sushi rice, wrapped in dark-green nori? No way.

But the blue rice stuck in my head and so I went for blue onigiri. This is a dish everyone in our house likes and I have no leftovers like with yesterday's pumpernickel. It turned out that no one likes pumpernickel. What a pity!
So, here you are: Something blue!

Prepare the rice like you would do with plain sushi rice, but add a healthy dose of food colouring to the cooking water. Then fill with any stuffing you would like, for the onigiri in the picture I have used avocado with a bit of vegan mayo. There are also two "bluenigiri" made with umeboshi filling, they turned out very tasty. So, why not give blue food a try?

Mittwoch, 9. September 2015

Vegan MoFo #9: Most Retro Food

Time for anther Vegan MoFo Post... Today's prompt is: The most retro food.
May I introduce you to a classic 70's party food? The Pumpernickeltaler! When I was a kid, no party would be complete without this food. Basically, it is three or four slices of dark pumpernickel bread with a cheesy spread in between. Instead of cheese, I have used some vegan butter mixed with spices and herbs.
Would be perfect with a glass of Bowle, I guess...

Donnerstag, 3. September 2015

Vegan MoFo #2: Quick, easy and delicious

Welcome to Vegan MoFo Day 3 and my second post for this month.
Today's theme is "Quick, easy and delicious!"

If I need something quick and easy for dinner, it will definitely be pasta. Everybody likes pasta, except my husband. He prefers couscous over pasta, but he will always be polite and eat it...

For years, my favourite quick and easy pasta dish would have been Spaghetti aglio olio. I love it! Boil water, add spaghetti, sautee some garlic in olive oil, crumble in some chili and voilà, dinner is ready.
But sometimes, you need something a bit more... creamy. Cashew butter to the rescue!
Adding cashew butter to the oil right before mixing in with the pasta gives this dish another dimension. Rich, creamy and somewhat cheeezy. If you have never had this before, you must give it a try.

Here is the recipe:
Boil the spaghetti as usual. Reserve 1-2 cups  of the cooking liquid.
Heat about 1/3 cup of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat.
Add about 5 garlic cloves, finely diced. Crumble two Thai chilies between your fingers and add to the oil.
(Wash your hands after doing that!!!!)
Carefully sautee the garlic in the oil until it gets translucent. Add about 1/2 teaspoon salt, a dash of black pepper and a tablespoon capers

Add in 2 Tablespoons of cashew butter and mix untill it is well incorporated. Thin out with the cooking liquid until you have a creamy consistency.

 Pour over pasta and enjoy!

Dienstag, 1. September 2015

Vegan MoFo #1: Rise and Shine

Hello and Good Morning, Vegan MoFoers!

Vegan MoFo is back and we will happily be chatting about vegan food the whole month of September. It will be fun to see what others vegans have on their plate and what everyone will do with the daily promts.
Prompt of the day: "Rise and shine! Tell us about your breakfast."

Oh, breakfast, how much I love you! Fresh tea with milk, German rolls and plates with cheese and smoked salmon and... wait! This was pre-vegan breakfast!
I have long struggled to find a vegan breakfast that I like. For a long time, breakfast was two slices of toast, with cheese or turkey sausage and tea with milk. I have switched from black to green tea, after realizing that I needed 4 teaspoons of sugar to equal out the taste of the soy milk.
I have tried vegan cheeses and deli slices, but they all disappointed my taste buds. Granola wasn't  for me, either, it just doesn't keep me full until lunch.
At the moment, I am quite pleased with a combination of one slice of toast with vegan cream cheese and chia pudding with fruit. It looks so colourful and healthy, this makes me happy in the morning.

I need something quick and easy in the morning, so the chia seeds get soaked in coconut milk the night before, fruit is waiting in the fridge, already cut up, and everything goes together really quick.

From time to time we do enjoy vegan pancakes in the morning, with maple sirup and fruit, this would be my son's favourite breakfast:

This is one breakfast I really enjoyed: Fresh rye rolls from the baker  and the vegan version of a german spread called "Fleischsalat", usually stripes of deli with gherkins and mayonnaise.. This vegan spread was sooo good!

And of course there is scrambled tofu! Whenever there is a hectic day ahead, I turn to scrambled tofu. With mushrooms and salsa and avocado on the side. Yum!

What is your favourite breakfast? I am looking forward to other posts on VeganMoFo!

Donnerstag, 27. August 2015

My love for cookbooks

I have a confession to make: I love cookbooks. After eating mostly vegan, the number of books that catch my eye has reduced a little bit, the ordinary Family-Cooking-thing is not the kind of cookbook that I really want to flip through.
But have you noticed the growing number of VEGAN cookbooks? I could visit the bookstore every week and still find a new book! How many recipes can someone write about kale and green smoothies?
Sometimes, I think I need a new book because I like the cover or I just love the author. (I absolutely adore Isa Chandra Moskowitz for her funny writing and -well- because she is about my age).

My latest finds from the bookstore
But sometimes, my expectations go beyond that. Sometimes I see a book and think "Yes, this is just what I need, this will change the way I cook and will make life waayyy easier!"
Yes, I believe that books can change your live, even cookbooks. *blush*

This is the reason why I bought: "Das vegane Familienkochbuch" ("Vegan Family Cookbook") by author Jasmin Hekmati.I was fed up a little bit by vegan books like those written by German Vegan "Guru" Attila Hiltmann. There are lots of books on the market for Singles with high income and lots of time for sports, books with unsual ingredients andrecipes that you better not serve to a teenager.

"Das vegane Fai´milienkochbuch" provides recipes that are basic, easy to recreate in my kitchen and they are kid-friendly. It contains a chapter about eating healthy as a vegan, with an easy-to-follow guideline on how much protein, carbs and fruits and veggies you should eat in one day. My son has decided to go vegan three weeks ago and as a mom I am concerned that maybe he could get a deficit in calcium or protein, so I need some guideline. No, he does not like veggies. He is fourteen.
I am looking forward to try some recipes from this new kitchen helper, especially those little almond-tartes and some of the spreads the author is offering. Do you have a favourite family-friendly cookbook? I am thankful for every suggestion...

Freitag, 24. Juli 2015

Some thoughts on being organised...

This is what it looks like when I try to get organised... I desperately need to find a better system!
Don't get me wrong, I love planning, making lists, routines, that drew me to the Flylady system, her concept responds with me so much.
But my biggest mistake might be: I do not take the time to plan.
I do my menu planning half an hour before I want to go shopping. I have a strong tendency to write birthday cards and forget to put them in the mail (!), I have birthday cards but no stamps. I pay bills in the last moment because I am the biggest procrastinator ever. A colleague once commented on my great just-in-time-management skills. Yeah, maybe I have them, but this is so exhausting! I am always trying to catch up on things.

And I really want to be organised, I always wanted to be. I have read so many books about decluttering, time management and cleaning:

Yes, I have read them all... I especially love the book on the right side, its name is "Praktisches Rezeptbuch" or "Handy Recipebook" and it is from the 1930... Of course it has recipes, but there is also a large chapter about general organisation in a household, how to do the washing (without machine...), how to mend clothes, how to do a spring cleaning. This book alerady has some Flylady rules in it, believe me. Things like evening routine, planning out your day, take care of yourself, they are given as rules for the "modern" housewive.
My favourite chapter is maybe the one about the "Tag der kleinen Dinge", the Day for The Little Things. 
You set aside a special day, maybe once in a month and do things like: Replace buttons on laundry. Hang up a picture. Change the covers of the sofa cushions. Simply do some things that get neglected during the everyday rush.

So, one of my resolutions for August and the summer holidays will be: Make a date with myself, sit down and take the time to plan. Keep and USE my calendar (actually, I have two...) and do menu planning in time.
I hope this will help. I definitely need to feel on top of things, everything else is driving me crazy.

How do you stay on top of things? Any useful tips or ideas are welcome...


Dienstag, 21. Juli 2015

A vegan Monday

So...Monday started way to early, on sunday, we had a late eid celebration over here with couscous and family, so everyone was quite sleepy the next morning.
I was ready to start again with my "Be a good Vegan"-Project, here is my breakfast:

 Some tomatoe and avocado, green tea, orange juice, sugar beet molasses, a roll with herbed vegan spread.This was quite satisfying, so at noon I simply had an apple. A very lovely apple, crisp and fresh:

Of course, I was hungry an hour later. I was not quite prepared for starting all over with that vegan thing, so I stared into the fridge for about five minutes, wondering what to eat...
This is what I came up with:

Bread with avocado, tomatoe and some salad, fresh from the balcony. Some black olives and turkish pickles on the side. Delish.
Dinner was easy: Pasta! During Ramadan, we do not eat any pasta, imagine that! So today it was the time to cook up a big pot of Fusilli. I made a creamy bechamel-style sauce with garlic and some broccoli. Yummy!!

What are you planning to cook this week?

Samstag, 18. Juli 2015

Eid Mubarak 2015 / 1436

Our iftar table, featuring the pot of shorba, a soup that is eaten everyday during Ramadan. Yes, every day...

Selection of sides for the iftar dinner. Salad, avocado, hot pepper salad and beet salad.

Breakfast today. Beghrir, North African pancakes with honey butter and oj. In the background inspiration for the vegan start-over on Monday

Today, everone in the Muslim world is celebrating the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. We started celebrating yesterday, like most countries, today Morocco and some other joined us, so:
Happy Eid, everybody!

To be honest, i am not the biggest fan of staying away from food and water during the long, hot summer months. It is so exhausting not to eat and drink (and sleep during the night) while you try to maintain your usual lifestyle of going to work or school and -well- simply getting things done. Impossible in Ramadan!
What I love about this month, though, is this feeling of starting all over, once the celebrations of Eid begin. It is like the beginning of a new year.Today, I am full of new ideas, dreams and motivation to tackle some problem areas in my life.

I have jotted down some ideas:
  •  Go strictly vegan from Monday on
  •  Lay out several healthy sides with our dinners like I did during Ramadan. This was well appreciated by everyone in the family. ( Example in the second picture)
  • Drink more water. Will give infused water a try...
  • Develop a new skincare routine. One morning I looked in the mirror and looked really old. I am now in my forties and need to takebetter care of my skin.
  • Eat a big salad everyday. Should be no problem during the summer months.
  • Find a cleaning routinge that works for me. This one has been driving me nuts since the day I got married!

I am looking forward to a shopping trip on Monday, need to stock up on some vegan basics.
Have a lovely weekend, folks!

Montag, 16. März 2015


So many things have changed during the last few months, I am still trying to cope with everything.
The maybe most important thing is that I will be unemployed, come April. I have worked with the same company for roughly 24 years, that is more than half of my life, so this will be a BIG change.
At the moment I am already at home, which is sometimes fun and sometimes a real challenge.
I always wanted to be a stay-at-home-Mom, waving my son and hubby goodbye in the morning as they leave for work and school, and wait with milk and cookies when they return in the afternoon.
In between, there would be enough time to do the washing, clean the house, cook healthy food and sometimes sit down with a cup of tea and a good book. Oh, how I envyed those women who were able to live like his.
So, now I am one of those women. During the first three weeks at home, I felt like I lived in a vacuum, there was so much time, but still, I had no energy to move at all. I realized I had to create a new routine, a stay-at-home-routine. Gosh!
During the last two weeks, I found a new routine that works quite well, still it has to be tweeked here and there. I found the time to do a bit of the much neglected housework everyday, declutter one room at a time and there is also time to look for a new job. For financial reasons I have to get back to work, hopefully I will be able to find a new job soon.
Another change in my life is that I finally decided to go vegan. Again. But this time, I think it works much better. I still cook "normal" food for the rest of the family, with a vegan twist. I have exchanged their butter with vegan butter and cream with soy or oat cream. No one noticed. (They do not touch the vegan cheese, though...)They still think they would be starving without eting meat, but it's okay with me, I just have some tofu instead. Of course there are days when cooking two different meals is driving me crazy, but I am getting better and better with it. Having a menu is a great help!
I found that planing is soo important, even -or even more- when you are staying at home. It gives my day some much needed structure, and, so important, I can enjoy the afternoon with my family. This is so new to me. Maybe this year I will be able to enjoy spring a bit more!
Next point on my To-Do-List: Create a capsule wardrobe. I have been wearing jeans and sweaters for work for ages, I desperately need some new clothes. Still trying to find out which style would suite me best... Any tips on this subject??