Dinner for Two

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What better is there than to come home and cook a lovely dinner together with the partner? Especially during these cold and dark winter days, there is nothing I appreciate more than spending some quality time together. Quality time can simply be sitting together on the couch, or cooking together. I go out for lunch almost everyday and sometimes for dinners, too. Add breakfast meetings to it, and I surely have at least one meal a day outside. This makes me appreciate home-cooked meals even more. When cooking for myself, I honestly don’t put a whole lot of effort into it. It’s quite boring and rather sad when sitting alone at the table – even though that has happened often enough, too. Yesterday, I got surprised by coming home to three giltheads (german: Dorade / a kind of fish). We added some fresh garlic, lemon slices, salt and pepper on the inside, covered it with olive oil and more lemon juice, and placed it in the oven for about 30min at 180°C. It is one of the easiest recipes – yet so yummy. We also added some potatoes and fresh vegetables as side dishes. What a lovely dinner!

Meatballs filled with Avocado

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March 9 – this coming Wednesday is officially the (US) national meatball day! What better way then to celebrate this day with a new recipes for meatballs? I’ve thought about going vegan once or twice, quite frankly, I was a vegetarian for almost 4 years of my life (note, that I simply did not like the taste – typical teenage-syndrom everyone goes through I guess). When looking back at it, and despite the reoccuring veganism trend I see ever so often, I currently cannot imagine my life without meat. It just tastes too damn good, and really, it’s just super filling. Never saying never, who knows, I might end up at that stage again one day. For now, however, I want to share this party-perfect recipe for you. This meatball recipe is super simple to make, again contains neither lactose nor gluten, can be easily served as a party-snack or combined to make a lovely meal. This recipe makes 10-12 meatballs, which might not sound like much, but beware, they really are filling (even my dad – hence, a man with good appetite – said so).

What you need
330g minced beef*
1 medium sized egg*
1 medium onion* 
2 teaspoons paprika (powder)
1 teaspoon sea-salt (I use lavender sea salt)
1 teaspoon dried basil teaspoon
½ a medium sized avocado
1 tablespoon of olive oil

*(though it won’t matter if a little more or less)

What to do
1) peel the onion and chop it into small cubes (I use a cutting-mixer)
2) place the minced beef, cut onion, egg, paprika, sea-salt and basil into a large bowl and mix it thoroughly with a fork (or using your hands) until everything is well mashed-up
3) peel the avocado and cut half in little cubes (approx. 1 x 1 cm sized)
4) depending on how fast your stove is, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan (or make this step later if you have a gas-stove or something similar fast)
5) using your hands, place about 2 tablespoons of the beef-mixture in your hand, place a piece of avocado in the middle, and roll the meat around until you’ve reached a golf-ball sized meatball (if needed, add a little more meat – simply make sure the avocado doesn’t peak out anywhere)
6) repeat step 5 until you have used up all of the minced beef mixture – I usually end up with 10-12 meatballs
7) once all meatballs are finished, carefully place them in the pre-heated pan
8) make sure to pan/fry the meatballs from each side, for about 2 minutes, which should be enough for the meatballs to be well-done yet not dry – if you’re unsure, after about 12-15 minutes, simply take one out and cut it in half

Now you can
1) have them immediately whilst warm
2) indulge them with a spicy tomato sauce
3) serve them in a bowl for your guests to snack on whilst gossiping away over which actress wore the best dress at the golden globes 

What do you think of the recipe? I’m already thinking a little further and thinking with what else I could fill these meat-balls, any ideas? For cheese lovers (and myself absolutely not being one), I could imagine that a piece of molten cheese inside doesn’t sound bad either. Either way, with or without meatballs, I wish you a fantastic continuing Sunday! xo

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Muesli Mornings

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Good morning and happy Wednesday! Work is seriously picking up in speed now and the days are passing by faster than ever. Can you believe it’s almost Christmas in 3 months? With these faster days I need my breakfast ready in an instant, so it’s either prepared for the morning or takes me less than 5 minutes to make. I’ve always been a huge muesli lover when I was a child. I’d have oatmeal-chocolate muesli daily during school days – or nutella breads on the other days. With my intolerances towards gluten and lactose this has worn off in the past years and I’ve only occassionally eaten some glutenfree mueslis that I saw in stores.

Now I finally made my very first own muesli. A bit crunchy, yet it soaks up the milk perfectly. It filled up a big jar in the kitchen for me to take out a cup in the morning, add some lactose free milk or yoghurt and fruit to it. It’s perfect for when I don’t have much time – or I take it to the office in a small mason jar, where I keep some lactose free milk too. I’ve tried it with almond milk as well, though must admit it’s too sweet even for my taste in the mornings now. So here’s to the recipe:

What you need

1 cup buckwheat flakes
1 ½ cups popped amaranth
1 cup coconut flakes
¼ cup rice flakes
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup peanut oil (or any other vegetable oil)
4 tablespoons agave syrup (or more if you want it sweeter)

What to do

1) heat up the oven to 180°C
2) mix everything thoroughly in a large bowl – make sure that the oil and agave syrup are spread well
3) spread everything in a large lasagne dish / or any other large oven form you have at hand
4) bake for 20-25 min, mixing the muesli 3-4 times to enable everything to get a nice gold/brown color
5) take it out and let it cool-off (it well get slightly crunchier when cooled off fully)

Now you can

1) add some milk to the muesli (and fruit) – serve it
2) serve it with yoghurt and fresh fruit (also amazing with berries)
3) put everything in a large jar for daily usage
4) fill small mason jars and make home-made kitchen gifts out of it – who doesn’t love themselves a nice jar of muesli?

With that, I wish you some great morning breakfasts (or snacks) to come. xo

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Bean salad with pears

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Happy Wednesday loves! I finally have a new post with you that isn’t filled with iPhone photos. Last night I made a bean salad with pears – a family recipe that we’ve been doing for years. I love, love, love salads of all kinds in summer and when I saw the beans the other day at the supermarket I couldn’t resist but buy them to make a different kind of salad for the evening.

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Here is what you need for the salad

500g of fresh beans
1 onion
a handful of cherry tomatoes
2 pears

and this is what you need for the salad dressing

¼ of the previously mentioned onion
1 teaspoon vegetable broth
hot mustard
lemon juice
agave syrup
balsamico

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Preparing the salad

1) cut the ends off the beans, wash them and place them in the pot to steam them (for about 20 minutes)
2) quarter the tomatoes, cut the pears and onion

Making the salad dressing

1) boil some water
2) place a teaspoon of vegetable broth in a shot glass (or similar size) and fill it with boiling water
3) place about ¼ of the onion into a small bowl and top it with the hot vegetable broth
4) add about 1 tablespoon hot mustard (or less if you do not like it spicy), as well as 1 teaspoon of agave syrup
5) mix up everything and add in about 1 tablespoon of balsamico – now taste the dressing, and add some fresh lemon juice until you find your perfect taste of it

Once the beans are ready and cooked

1) pour off the water
2) rinse the beans with ice-cold water and let them cool off for a while (let’s give them 15 minutes)
3) place them in a large bowl and add the ¾ left onion, the cut pears and tomatoes
4) now it’s time to add the dressing – and mix it well

I would let it sit for another 15 minutes, then stir the whole salad once more and give it another short sit. The lonoger you wait (1-2 hours), the better it will taste.

Voila – now it’s time to serve the salad with whatever pleases you most. The salad was made for two this evening, though we have another portion which can be eaten tomorrow. The salad will last you a couple of days if placed in the fridge, though I personally only eat things for (max.) 2 days in a row.

As you can see in my last post (sorry – it got a little dark then), I’ve added some meat to the dinner. It always gives me this extra bit of satisfaction when it comes to food.

Now it’s your time! Have you made bean salad before, or do you have different ingredients to it? Wishing you all a lovely continuing day. xo

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Sweet Potato Fries

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Good morning! It’s been ages and I apologize – as you know I’ve been in Hamburg the past weekend and now in Düsseldorf until Sunday. My days have been super busy and I got a taste of what it feels like being a housewife, mother and working simultaneously haha :-). I would have never thought its so much work to keep the apartment clean, take the dog out for regular walks, go grocery shopping, bring the child to school and pick her up (ok fine, my sister could have gone by herself but I was trying to be nice), have the dinner ready in time and work at the same time – damn, who knew! The first few days were fine as it seemed quite calm with work but yesterday was especially busy. Wednesday I had to hand in my last assignment for my uni-course, though now thankfully have 3 weeks off from that.

Finally, today we have officially the day off: hallelujah to May 1! And of course, I wish you all a great start into this month – it’s the month were I personally always see it as Spring – from now on there shouldn’t be any more cold days, and my winter jackets will be officially stored away until October again. Unfortunately I have the feeling I’m getting a little sick, so I will make this a very cozy day and stay in bed mostly if not out with the dog. How has your week been?

I also wanted to take this chance to share of my current favorite, simple meals with you: sweet potato fries. I seem to have this craving for fries at the moment, so before running over to some fast food restaurant, why not make a healthy version yourself?

All you need is, of course: a large sweet potato. Make sure to cut it into slices that are more or less the same size, to avoid burning most of them. I always through the slices into a plastic bag, add one tablespoon of peanut-oil (or any other), a hint of sea salt and (if you like) a bit of cinnamon. Now shake that closed plastic bag like no other – I find it’s the easiest way of getting all fries equally oiled and salted.

Before throwing the fries into the pre-heated 200°C oven, make sure that all fries are separately placed out – you don’t want them lying over each other (and not have them nice and crispy). Leave the fries in for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the thickness you have cut them, until the ends have become a little brown. Voila – here are your perfectly crisp fries.

I absolutely love having something fresh with the rather sweet fries, so I often go for the easy ranch dressing I can make within a few minutes. The recipe to this avocado-mint dressing is here.

Now it’s time for me to jump into the shower and take out my dog – have a great Friday! xo

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