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Archive for the ‘Homemade meals’ Category

I love breakfast. Actually, you will notice most of my posts here are about breakfast. And here is yet another revelation for your mornings – overnight oats.  They taste refreshing almost like a smoothie or pudding, but they are so easy and healthy. The idea is simple: combine oatmeal, milk, half a banana-mashed, and vanilla; set in the fridge overnight — wake up to breakfast. The oats are eaten cold, which might sound strange, but is truly delicious.

There are a bunch of recipes out there. I based my recipe off of the Oh She Glows recipe.  Non-vegan overnight oatmeal varieties can be found here.

Overnight Oats

1/2 cup oats
3/4 soy milk
1/2 large banana or 1 small
dash of vanilla extract

Directions:

Mash the banana. Combine ingredients. Leave overnight in the refrigerator. Enjoy.

A few notes about my ingredients. I only had “tenderly” cut oats, which are rolled oats, I think, but this works with regular oats. It just won’t have the pudding consistency. I also would love to try using almond milk, but I just can’t find it here.

Unrelated, I just finished another knitting project. It was another dishcloth from Wools Happenin. She had a pattern for a monogrammed K dishcloth and I couldn’t resist. Unfortunately, I only had pink yarn in my stash (leftover from the bunny project). Still, it makes a nice dishcloth or hot pad. I am going to make one more dishcloth, but then I am going to move onto something bigger and better.

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Wanna know what I am eating this week? Umm… If you have any interest, you can keep reading.

I used to have a really hard time planning meals. It was hard to use the same ingredients in different ways. This week I bought cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, celery, canned peas, and canned corn. I had green beans, potatoes, rice, pesto, and zucchini. I’ll eat most of the produce this week, but I might have some leftover.

Monday: Vegetarian stuffed bell pepper (inspired by smitten kitchen)
Tuesday: Pesto green beans and potatoes
Wednesday: fried rice
Thursday: upside down Shepard’s Pie (like this one by vegan menu)
Packed lunches: carrots sticks, apple, green salad/cucumber balsamic salad

Well, that was the plan. I actually haven’t packed my lunch yet this week. And Monday’s dinner, stuffed peppers, was so good that I made it again on Tuesday night. I’ll share my adaption of smitten kitchen’s recipe below. The recipe is enough to make one stuffed bell pepper (with a little extra stuffing to nibble on). I might start making the stuffing in bulk and then cooking the bell peppers on demand for a quick, easy dinner. This recipe is the perfect way to use up a little leftover rice and maybe some garden fresh zucchini.

Vegetarian (and Vegan and Gluten Free) Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 green bell pepper
1 small pearl onion
1 clove garlic minced
1/3  a red bell pepper
1/3  a medium size zucchini
1 small tomato with juice roughly chopped
2 tbsp corn
3 tbsp cooked leftover risotto (which happened to have a lot of black pepper in it)
Italian herbs to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste

1. Dice all other veggies (except green bell pepper). They should be about a centimeter square pieces. Cut the top off of the green bell pepper and clean out the inside.

2. Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Saute garlic in olive oil. Add onion. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Add diced zucchini and bell pepper. Saute for a few minutes until tender. Add the tomato with its juice. Then, add the corn and risotto. Cook until the risotto absorbs tomato liquid.

3. Scoop the filling into the bell pepper, wrap in tin foil and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 or until the bell pepper is tender. (remember: I’m working out of a toaster oven here, so the timing is just my best guess.)

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I love pesto. My only complaint is that it doesn’t always cover pasta very well. That is not the case with avocado pesto. I saw the recipe somewhere (sorry) and decided to try it.

Since I don’t have a food processor, I skipped the time consuming prospect of chopping basil into tiny bits. I used jarred pesto and add avocado in equal amounts with a few tablespoons of sunflower seeds. It was creamy and delicious. I topped it off with some sautéed garlic, onions, and mushrooms.

My friend would call it “reform food.” Germans and their silly sayings.  But he’ll have to try it next time. It turned out to be a very filling meal. The avocado and the sunflower seeds really satisfy.

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I had big food plans for this weekend – more granola bars, and delicious lunches for work. But my usually Saturday grocery shopping trip was interrupted by a holiday, May 1st, which closed all the stores. Needless to say, I had to order pizza one day and be creative to make it through the weekend with the groceries I had in the house.

Contents of the fridge on sunday morning

Surprisingly, I made it through just fine. (Maybe that’s not so surprising.) I had just enough oatmeal left for two wholesome breakfasts. And I order pizza on Saturday for “linner.” But by Sunday afternoon, I wasn’t sure what I could make. At closer inspection, I had everything for a delicious scramble – a few veggies, two small potatoes, soymilk, bacon, and eggs. I had bought the bacon and potatoes for a scramble, but it had slipped my mind (luckily, I remembered before I ate all the eggs).

The trick to a good potato scramble is patience. The potatoes need time to crisp up before you add the eggs and other veggies. And if you have cheese, it needs to be added it while the eggs are still a little soft so it has time to melt before the eggs get overcooked.

Scramble Yummies- potatoes, bacon, onions, and mushrooms

The scramble was delicious. And it reminded me of home, of long breakfasts at Cup and Saucer with friends. It made me smile. Yes, the scramble made me happy. Well, maybe just the memories.

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Photo by Timo

The river that winds through town here is surrounded by little parks and gorgeous old buildings. Since coming here, I have been inspired to pack a picnic and meet friends on its shores.  Before today, I had only managed to enjoy the picturesque views with take-out pizza and beer.  It was great, but I wanted more.

Today, a friend and I gathered our things and went to the park. She made a delicious salad with chicken and avocados and her signature homemade salad dressing. I brought along strawberry hand pies from Martha. The recipe worked well, but I was worried about them being too juicy (a common problem with hand pies and berry pies especially). So I added a little step to her directions. I followed someone’s advice and let the strawberries sit in the sugar for a while. Then, I poured the sugar/juice mixture into a pan and let it simmer on the stove until it had reduced to half. I added this condensed syrupy liquid back in with the strawberries. And continued to follow martha’s orignal recipe. Bake them on a silpat, if you have one, because these do stick to the pan. Otherwise, these hand pies were easy and delicious. Perfect picnic food.

Next time, I plan to make one or all of the following for our picnic:

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I love granola bars or more specially protein bars. It boils down to this: I’m a girl of habit and I’m not a morning person. So granola bars are perfect. They are my morning staple. Through the years, I have gone through some phases. I loved the crunchy granola bars, cliff bars, homemade granola, but here in Germany there really aren’t many options. There are tons of muesli options, which I do like, but requires doing dishes afterwards. There just aren’t a lot of option for breakfast bars. The only widely available option is called “corny”– with no granola in it at all.  So this week’s challenge was to make something delicious, filling and easy — that wouldn’t need to be supplemented by scrambled eggs like last weeks ginger scones.

I started with this granola bar recipe from smitten kitchen (found via domestifluff and originally adapted from King Arthur). I made some changes, partially because of what was available here in Germany and partially cause, well, I made some mistakes that actually ended well.

Rather than copy the recipe here with my simple changes, just follow the links above, but keep my substitution in mind. I didn’t have a food processor so I substituted “oat flour,” which is just processed oats, with finely ground coconut (readily available here) and two tablespoons of wheat flour.  For dried fruits, I used 1 cup chopped prunes. For nuts, I used a package of “salad seeds” which included pumpkin seeds *highly recommended,*  sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. After baking, I realized these are too sweet and a little too thick, so make your own call, but maybe less than a 1/2 cup of sugar and thinner. With a wax paper or tin foil lined pan, these come out really easily. Just cut them up when cooled and enjoy.  I know, I will.

Hopefully, they will make it so I can enjoy more sleep and have a hearty breakfast. These bars could have saved me on Friday, when I woke up a 5am for work/breakfast and stayed out until 4am. Ug.

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Picture by Joyosity.

Image by Joyosity.

Ok. It seems a little funny to post my third food processor recipe here. But you know what, I love my food processor. If you don’t have one, go to Goodwill immediately and buy one. It is worthy the five bucks. Actually it might be worth it to buy one new, but I don’t know. Mine is purple and green from the 1980’s.

So here it is mango sorbet made in a food processor…

3 ripe mangos
1 cup sugar (a little less would be lovely too)
1 1/2 cup sugar orange juice

Mix it together in the food processor. (try not to eat the blended goodness) Freeze for about 2 hours. Blend in food processor again. Return to freezer or place sorbet immediately in bowls to devour. (Recipe based on this one)

Ohh and I am defending my thesis this week, so I have been doing many craft projects. A lot of little projects to blow off steam. I’ll try to post tomorrow on a little clothing remake project.

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