Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Oh boy, it's been a while since my last post. Lately, work keeps me quite busy.

Therefore, I don't always find time to create a new post. I hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving! I for sure did. I was a bit worried that Thanksgiving won't be the same, now that I am a vegan. 

But to my surprise, nothing felt different. My mom took the time to make a delicious vegan Thanksgiving dinner that tasted exactly like the non-vegan version I know from my childhood.

She even made a vegan pumpkin pie - and boy, was that ever good! Since I know many of you would like to try this delicious vegan version, I decided to share it with you in today's post. 

So let's get to work, shall we? Here's what you'll need:

15 oz organic pumpkin puree (I use LIBBY'S)

12 oz oat milk

A bit more than 1/2 cup ground oats (the soft kind)

4 Tbsp WHITE almond butter (weißes Mandelmuß)

Vegan pie shell (GER: Veganer Mürbeteig)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius ( 425 degrees Fahrenheit). In case you don't use a convection oven, add about 25 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit).

Then add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until a smooth, creamy mixture has developed. Now, pour the mixture into your unbaked pie shell and place the whole thing in the oven.

Bake for about 40 -50 minutes. Before you serve the pie, make sure it cools down to room temperature, since the pie won't be firm until it has cooled down.

The consistency improves even further if you eat it cold, straight out of the fridge. Tip: Use a fork to poke little holes into your unbaked pie shell before your pour the mixture on top. 

Love, Peppa:-)

10 Foods That Reduce Your Cancer Risk

10 Foods That Reduce Your Cancer Risk

I think most of us had a moment or two in our life where we worried about cancer. This might have been the case after watching a sad report about a young person battling this disease, or if a

recurring headache wouldn't stop bugging us.  At least I had moments like these before. In the end, things always were fine, and little Miss hypochondriac here had nothing to worry about.

These episodes of mine led me to develop a deep interest in healthy food choices, and their effect on our body. Today, I want to talk about the health benefits of flavonoids.

These compounds are mainly found in fruit and veggies, and lots of studies suggest that they have cancer-fighting and cancer-preventing properties. Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock wrote an interesting book about this topic. 

According to latest research, these strong, little helpers seem to play a big role in destroying cancer cells, and preventing cancer from spreading.

I found the following article, which discusses this in detail, quite interesting: www.thetruthaboutcancer.com/plant-compounds-video

So, eating plenty of fruit and veggies, something moms have known for ages, is something we all should do on a daily basis.

Here are 10 foods high in flavonoids:

1. Strawberries

2. Raspberries

3. Broccoli

4. Pomegranate seeds

5. Apples

6. Capers

7. Cumin

8. Blueberries

9. Grapes

10. Onions

Flavonoids are mainly found in the skin of fruit and veggies. So, you shouldn't peel these colorful guys. Buying organic fruit and vegetables is a great way to avoid the chemicals found on the skin of traditionally grown produce. 

Enough for today - now it's time to get this Friday night going. I hope these tips were helpful, and that you enjoy the weekend that lies ahead of you. 

Love, Peppa:)

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease

Today, I want to talk about the danger of using aluminum

pots, and aluminum foil in your daily kitchen adventures. One of the first things I learned in culinary school was to stay clear of aluminum pots and pans. I remember how my teacher, a mean, round, little chef from France, told us in a thick French-American accent to never cook anything acidic (for instance a tomato sauce) in a pot made from aluminum.

The reason ? The acid present in the meal reacts with the metal of the pot, which then releases aluminum straight into your meal. The same thing happens if you wrap your food into aluminum foil, or if you use silverware that isn't made from stainless steel. 

The problem with this? Aluminum is strongly linked to Alzheimer's Disease, and therefore isn't an ingredient you ever want in your food. But how can we avoid  this? The answer is simple: Use pots, silverware, and kitchen appliances made from stainless steel, and don't use aluminum foil to wrap your food.

Stainless steel does not react with acids, and therefore is a great choice for any kitchen. But be CAREFUL, not every kind of stainless steel possesses these non-reactive properties. Only stainless steel marked with the numbers 18/8 or 18/10 does not react with acids. So make sure to pay attention to the kind of stainless steel used in a product, when buying it. 

One of the things you also should consider is that high amounts of aluminum are also a problem in food deliveries. Oftentimes insanely delicious food deliveries like pasta , or Tikka Masala come in aluminum containers, turning these yummy treats into health hazards.

But food isn't the only source of aluminum. Medicine, cosmetic products, and deodorants also often contain this dangerous ingredient. Just something to keep in mind. Anyway, enough for today. Have a great weekend with lots of fabulous food, and plenty of fun.

Love, Peppa:-)

Tomato Avocado Pasta (Vegan)

Tomato Avocado Pasta

Yay, it is Friday. My favorite day of the week! After a long

week, I finally get to do fabulous weekend stuff. Like going out for Italian food! Tonight I am meeting my friend Nicky, and we’ll have pasta at my favorite restaurant. I can hardly wait. I am a pasta girl at heart. Always have been, always will be.

When I became a vegan, I was worried that I won’t be able to enjoy this fabulous Italian dish anymore, since I always added tons of parmesan on top. And at the beginning this was actually true. Pasta without parmesan simply wasn’t the same. I was in a state of grief – parmesan grief. The world was a dark, dark place without this fabulous ingredient.

But as they say, time heals. Or in this case - avocado heals. Once I started to add avocado on top of my pasta, the world looked bright and sunny again. I now walk through life with a new found spring in my step. Ok, now I am getting a bit carried away…

Anyway, where was I ? Right, pasta plus avocado equals heaven. That being said, you shouldn’t dump a whole avocado on your noodles since this green baby has a lot of fat. Ideally, you shouldn’t eat more than 20 grams of fat per day (if you are following a low fat diet).

One avocado has about 40 grams of  fat. Therefore, I don’t add more than a quarter of avocado on top of my pasta. If you wanna give this marvelous combo a try, I have the perfect recipe for you. This vegan pasta bowl is super easy to make, and only requires a few ingredients. Here is what you’ll need:

630 g (22,2 oz) tomato puree (the rustic kind with seeds, and pulp)
25 g (0,9 oz) basil
5 g (0,2 oz) garlic
Salt, to taste
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Avocado chunks, to taste
Whole wheat pasta (penne)

Cook your noodles in salt water until they're al dente. The amount of salt should resemble that of a salty broth. The salt water enhances the taste of the whole wheat noodles. Once your noodles are done, drain them and set them aside.  Then it's time to prepare your sauce. Add half of the tomato puree to a blender, and throw in the basil as well.

Then mix for about 1 minute, or until the basil is chopped finely. Then add this basil tomato mix to a stainless steel pan, and set the heat to medium. Add the remaining tomato sauce, and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it came to a boil, remove the pan from the heat immediately.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the avocado. Don't cook your sauce any further. Pour the sauce on top of you noodles, and add the avocado chunks on top. You can a bit more lemon juice on top as well, if you like to add more than what the recipe calls for. That's it, enjoy your pasta.

Love, Peppa:-)

Ultra-Delicious Vegan Smoothie

Ultra-Delicious Vegan Smoothie

I hate spinach. Hate it, hate it, hate it. But unfortunately this green enemy of mine is loaded with lots of healthy nutrients. 100 g of raw spinach contains 188% of our daily need of Vitamin A, 604 % of Vitamin K, 47 % of

Vitamin C, 49 % of Folate, 20 % of Magnesium as well as other important nutrients. Quite impressive, this green, little sucker. So, the health nut in me had to find a way to include this powerful plant on my plate on a daily basis.

But the thought of chewing on these boring, earthy leafs turned me off big time. There was only one solution. I had to create a recipe that includes lots of spinach without tasting unappealing, and spinachy.

Here is the result. A super yummy green smoothie that tastes like pineapple and passion fruit. You can't taste the spinach at all. Yay! This recipe is vegan, super simple and only requires 4 ingredients. Here's what you'll need to make this healthy, colorful treat:

50 g (1,8 oz) raw spinach (remove stem)
595 g (21 oz) pineapple
3 passion fruit 
160 ml (2/3 cup) water

Cut your 3 passion fruit in half and add their wobbly content to a blender. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix 2 minutes, until a smooth mixture develops, and the passion fruit seeds are ground up into super fine particles. If you don't mix long enough the seeds will be too crunchy. So the longer you mix, the better. That's it - enjoy!

Love, Peppa.

Yummy American Pancakes (Vegan)

Yummy American Pancakes (Vegan)

Traditional American pancakes have been my weakness ever since I was a little girl. Every summer my dad packed the whole family into an airplane to spend the summer in the US. These summers were absolutely magical.  Part

of the fun was the insanely delicious food. Pancakes were my all-time favorites. So when I turned vegan, I thought I'd never be able to enjoy these delicious, fluffy guys again. Especially after taking things even further by taking on a healthy low-fat, whole foods diet.

I thought making a low-fat, whole wheat, vegan version wouldn't taste the same. Well, but you don't know until you try. So I did! And the result turned out amazing. They taste just the same as the regular ones I indulged in during my American summers.

Since I mostly cook without the addition of oil, I thought my attempt to fry these guys without oil could never work. But it totally worked. The secret lies in letting the pan (stainless steel) get super hot before you add your batter. That way they won't stick to the pan, once they turn golden brown.

But careful, they will stick if you try to flip them too early, meaning before they have browned evenly. Since the weekend is around the corner, I thought I'd share this delicious pancake recipe tonight. That way you can include these fluffy, yummy guys in your weekend breakfast bliss.

Since I do promote healthy eating, I don't recommend eating these on a daily basis:) But as I have learned, sugar in moderation doesn't seem to pose a major health risk according to several studies and the diet recommendations of renowned, pro-vegan doctors like Dr.Neil Barnard, Dr. Michal Gregger etc . That being said,  excess sugar for sure is not healthy, since lots of sugar seems to have a negative effect on your triglycerides. But back to the recipe. Here's what you'll need:

125 g (1 cup) whole wheat flour (the fine kind)
65 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
320 ml (1 1/3 cups) water
1/2 Tbsp white almond butter (GER: Weißes Mandelmuß)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground linseed
3 Tbsp warm water
Pinch cinnamon

Topping:
Maple syrup
Pinch cinnamon

Take out a small bowl, and combine the ground linseed with the 3 Tbsp warm water. Stir and set aside. This is your egg replacer (equals 1 egg). Then, take out a separate bowl and combine the remaining ingredients. Once all of them are in the bowl you can add the linseed-water mixture to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Then get a whisk and briefly mix until a nice, lump-free batter has developed. This only takes a couple of seconds. Note: Don't overmix your batter or your pancakes turn out tough. Then take out a stainless steel pan, and without the addition of oil, set the heat on high.

Once your pan is really hot, add a portion of the batter to it. If it turns too dark, reduce the heat just a little bit. If you reduce it too much, your pancakes will stick to the pan, and that's no fun. Once one side has browned nicely turn it to the other side, so that both sides brown evenly.

Repeat this procedure until you have no batter left. Then drizzle maple syrup on top of your pancakes. I always add a pinch of cinnamon to my maple syrup since this adds a super delicious twist! That's it, enjoy!

Tip: If your pancakes stick to the pan, two things will help. Raising the temperature of the pan usually does the trick. If the temperature doesn't seem to be the problem, then you didn't wait long enough before you tried to turn the pancake to the other side. Once the pancake has evenly browned, it stops sticking to the pan.

Love, Peppa

Yummy Lentil Stew (Vegan)

Yummy Lentil Stew (Vegan)

For an enthusiastic foodie like me, vegans always seemed like strange, pale people who ate weird things. That was until I became one of these guys myself after watching "What the Health", "Food Choices" and other shocking health-related

Netflix documentaries. Doctors featured in these documentaries said that switching to a plant-based low-fat diet helps you to avoid cancer, and other common diseases. So little Miss Hypochondriac here turned vegan.

I have to admit, when I made the switch, I thought I'd have to chew on boring, weird food for the rest of my life. I mean let's be honest the word vegan sounds like a huge turn off. The same is true for the word low-fat.

The minute you hear these two words, especially when they are used in the same sentence, you're appetite flies out the window. The word plant-based doesn't seem to make things better, since you think of plain, boiled, boring vegetables that taste like nothing.

But I quickly learned, that I was wrong. Food doesn't have to include lots of fat and animal products to taste delicious. Spices, onions, and garlic are great ways to make your plant-based, low-fat food taste amazing.

Incorporating veggies into yummy stews, casseroles or satisfying  potato salads instead of eating them plain, and overboiled will also do the trick. I always combine my veggies with plenty of satisfying carbs like potatoes, whole wheat bread, noodles, or brown rice.

I know what you are thinking: "But carbs are so bad and unhealthy". No they're not. Combined with veggies they are super healthy, and most of all they satisfy your hungry bellies. Veggies or fruit alone will never satisfy you, since they don't provide enough calories. Top notch doctors, like Neil Barnard, John A. McDougall, Michael Gregger and Garth Davis say so as well.

So with the help of these tricks, your healthy low-fat, plant-based dishes will taste delicious. Also adding a little sugar, and salt to your dishes will yummyfy your food big time. These two ingredients of course shouldn't be used in excess, but adding these mindfully will help you enjoy your plant-based healthy food.

That being said, there are a few people who will develop serious problems after eating salt, like swollen feet etc, and therefore should stay away from salt. But according to Dr. McDougall the general population may enjoy this ingredient.

He, and Dr. Neil Barnard also say sugar doesn't cause diabetes, and that the real root of the problem is fat. Sounds hard to believe? Then watch "What the Health" or read Dr. McDougall's book "The Starch Solution". 

Now it's time for today's recipe: A delicious, Swabian lentil stew with potatoes. Here's what you'll need:

6 Tbsp onion, chopped finely
200 g (7 oz) raw lentils, rinsed & drained
1 tsp garlic, chopped finely
1500 ml (50,7 fl. oz) water
5 big bay leafs
1 carrot, sliced
3 Tbsp apple vinegar
Salt to taste
Potatoes (as your side dish)

Add the chopped onions, and garlic to a pan without the addition of oil. Then set the heat to medium. Once they slightly changed their color, add the lentils, water, carrot and bay leafs. Let the mixture simmer for about 40-45 minutes or until your lentils are slightly overcooked.  Yup, that's correct - this stew requires ultra-soft,  slightly overcooked lentils.

Meanwhile cook your potatoes ( in a separate pan).  Once your lentils are done cooking, add the vinegar and salt. Drain your potatoes and voila - your yummy stew and potatoes are ready to be served. Enjoy!

Love, Peppa:-)

Dreams & Pomegranate Potato Salad (Vegan)

Dreams & Pomegranate Potato Salad (Vegan)

I am a very happy girl these days! Success has finally found its way into my life, after months of financial uncertainty, and self-doubt. As a German-American, I

always dreamed of working from home, since that would allow me to travel to the States two months out of the year, and take my work with me. So, six months ago, I decided to quit my side job to finally make my dream of working from anywhere come true. I always loved to write, so I took my chances as a writer. 

But as with most things in life, immediate success did not knock on my door. Starting out in self-employed-writer-la-la-land actually sucked big time! I wrote to countless magazines and companies, and asked if they need any new freelance writers like me. I heard nothing back!

Nobody needed me and my uber-world-renowned-pulitzer-worthy writing skills. Great! I pitied my silly, little self quite a bit. Yay, being self-employed rocked! Not! But all of this changed about two months ago. All of the sudden people wanted to work with me, and I received one offer after another.

After months of self-doubt and financial struggles, being successful feels awesome! Now I am my own boss, and I work in the best office ever: My cozy, little studio apartment! I can travel wherever, and whenever I want - I don’t have to ask for anyone’s permission. Hello freedom! So, cheers to dreams coming true.

But now it’s time to focus on food. I love potato salad. Sadly, it often is loaded with huge amounts of oil or mayonnaise. So, I decided to create a healthy version, that is low in fat, and full of friendly, colorful veggies. If you’re worried potatoes might make you fat, and unhealthy, I have great news for you. They don’t! Fat does.

Potatoes also contain all the essential amino acids your body needs. Hard to believe? Then read Dr. John A. McDougall's book called “The Starch Solution”. He recommends a plant-based whole foods diet rich in starches, fruits and veggies and low in fat to help avoid cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other common illnesses. Weight loss is also guaranteed.

I started to follow his recommendations, and noticed changes quite fast. I have lost weight, and feel great! I still have the occasional sweet treat, but only about twice a week. And I avoid processed food as much as I can. In case you’re wondering, I have not been paid to write any of this, I am simply sharing my experiences. So, here’s the recipe for this low-fat, nutrient-rich vegan potato pomegranate salad:

380 g (13,4 oz) potatoes, sliced thinly

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 Tbsp parsley, chopped finely

1 Tbsp onions, chopped finely

1/2 tsp garlic, chopped finely

1/4 pomegranate (use only the seeds)

Less than 1/2 avocado, diced

1 Tbsp apple vinegar

2 Tbsp water

Salt to taste

Peel, and cook your potatoes. Once their done cooking, drain them and let them cool down until they reach room temperature. Meanwhile prepare, and chop the other ingredients. Once your potatoes have cooled down slice them thinly, and add them to a bowl. Then add all the remaining ingredients, and mix briefly with a spoon. All done! Enjoy this yummy, healthy treat!

Love, Peppa.

Yummy Hazelnut Chocolate Balls (Vegan)

Yummy Hazelnut Chocolate Balls (vegan)

Oh goodie, it is getting dark outside and I am ready for a massive amount of post-workday-coziness. It is beginning to look like fall outside, so I decided to light some candles. But what is a

cozy, girlie, fall evening without music? So, I am going all the way and am turning one of my favorite old school songs on: Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn. Yeeees, now were talking. I am very pleased with my girlie, little self.

This is the perfect setting for writing my next blog post. So here we go. Even though I am committed to a healthy, plant based lifestyle that is mostly low in fat and refined sugar, I still eat a little sweet treat every now and then.

So today I want to share my satisfying, nutty recipe for chocolate hazelnut balls.These little guys are super easy to make, and only require 4 ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make this yummy vegan treat:

120 g (4,2 oz) finely ground hazelnuts

3 tsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder

11 g (0,4 oz) white almond butter

2,5 Tbsp maple sirup (or a bit more)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix with your hands until a nice mass has developed. Then form little balls, and voila – all done!  Eat right away, or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Love, Peppa:-)

Delicious Lentil Avocado Burgers (Vegan)

Delicious Lentil Avocado Burgers (Vegan)

Last Friday was a very special day. I attended my cousin’s wedding. The setting couldn’t have been cuter. It was a charming countryside wedding that took place in a beautiful, rustic barn that

felt super cozy. There was a little river flowing alongside the barn, and a crowd of happy, little geese cheerfully waddled in the midst of us guests. She wore flowers in her shiny, brown hair, and looked absolutely lovely. What a beautiful day.

But there was another memorable thing that happened that day. It was quite funny actually. I met my first “fan” that day. Yay, how exciting! I always wonder who my readers are (yes, I mean you guys). Y’all know so much about me but I know so little about you. So it was really cool to meet one of you in person.

What a coincident that this lovely girl, and I attended the same wedding. We ran into each other in the bathroom, and started chatting. She then told me that she loves to read my blog, and follows me on Instagram. Meeting you was really fun Katie:-)

I hope you enjoy today’s recipe. It is a delicious vegan lentil avocado burger. Back in California I learned that the best way to eat a burger is to add avocado to it. Here’s what you’ll need to make this delicious healthy, plant-based, low fat delight:

For the lentil patties

1 large onion, chopped finely
1 big clove garlic, chopped finely
400 g (14,1 oz) lentils
1600 ml (54,1 fl oz) water
6 big bay leafs
1 Tbsp apple vinegar
115 g (4 oz) fine bread crumbs (usually bread crumbs are vegan)

For the avocado sauce:
20 g (0,7 oz) onion
2 avocados
4 sprigs cilantro (remove stem)
2 Tbsp water
Salt to taste

Topping:
Raw onions, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Tomatoes, sliced
Lettuce

Burger buns (homemade or from your local bakery-check the ingredients)

First rinse your lentils, and drain them well. Then set them aside. Meanwhile add your chopped onions, and garlic to a pan, and set the heat to medium.  Yes, without the addition of oil. Now sweat your onions, and garlic a few minutes. Once they start to get a little color, add the lentils, water, and bay leafs. Stir well, and cover the pan with a lid. Leave a little gap, so that a tiny amount of steam can escape.

The heat should be set to medium. Let the mixture cook gently for about 45 minutes, or until only a little bit of fluid is left. If it is still very watery after 45 minutes, cook your lentils a bit further until only a little bit of water is left. Once that is achieved, remove the pan from the heat and add the vinegar and salt. Afterwards add the bread crumbs and salt.

Let the mixture stand for about 10-15 minutes, so the moisture can be absorbed properly by the bread crumbs. Then roll the mixture into little balls, and flatten them into burger patties. Use a separate pan, add a teeny tiny bit of oil, and set the heat to medium. Add the patties to the pan, and cook them a few minutes on each side, until they browned evenly on both sides.

It is important to use very little oil for frying, since free oils (oils that have been separated from their seeds, fruits e.g. olive oil, sunflower oil) are linked to causing certain types of cancer, as well as heart disease. Dr John A McDougall has some interesting facts about this, if you would like to know more about this topic. Once your patties are done, set them aside.

Now prepare your avocado sauce. Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until a nice, and creamy texture is achieved. All done. Now it’s time to create your burger. Add your veggies, lentil patties, and avocado sauce to your burger bun. Don’t add the top of your burger bun to your burger, otherwise the taste will be too bready. That way you also eat more veggies, and lentil patties. Enjoy!

Love, Peppa:-)

Edamame-Noodle Bliss Bowl (Vegan)

I am in a bit of a rush this morning because I am invited to a cozy, little barn wedding today and need to get ready.

Just like most girls, I looove everything that has to do with weddings. So cliché I know, but the girlie girl in me just can’t help it… But before I head out, I wanted to share this wonderful recipe with you.

At first this was intended to be a noodle-edamame salad with a ginger soy dressing. But after I took the picture I was more in the mood for something hearty.

Good that I didn’t put the dressing on top before taking the picture. That allowed me to make a few changes here and there. At the end the whole thing turned into a yummy, creamy bliss bowl.

I also decided to leave the zucchini out, and replace them with mushrooms. Yuuummm. So here’s what you’ll need to make this satisfying plant-based dish:

130 g (4,6 oz) whole wheat noodles

1 hand full fresh chives, chopped finely (or more)

1 small raw carrot, roughly grated

5 hands full of blanched edamame

For the sauce:

12 mushrooms, sliced

45 g (1,6 oz) onion, chopped finely

1 very small clove garlic, chopped finely

400 ml (13,5 fl.oz) water

2 Tbsp white almond butter

1/2 Tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp salt or more

First cook you noodles. Then rinse them with cold water, and drain them well. Afterwards add them to a fresh bowl. Now add the roughly grated carrot, and the edamame.

Then set the bowl aside. Now it’s time to prepare the sauce. First add half of the mushrooms to a very hot pan, without any oil. Heat should be set on high.

If you add your mushrooms to early before the pan is sizzling hot, your mushrooms won’t turn brown and will become soggy, and watery. That would lead to a disappointing lack in taste.

Once your mushrooms are in the pan watch them carefully. The moment they have browned nicely on the lower side flip them to the other side, so that that one browns nicely too.

You may need to reduce the heat a little if the color gets too dark. Once both sides are brown in color, add the water. Stir well, so that the brown “stuff” in the pan dissolves in your water.

Then add the onions, garlic, and the remaining mushrooms, and let the mixture simmer gently with a lid on top. After a few minutes add the white almond butter, and stir well.

Then wait a few minutes for the sauce to thicken. Once it has thickened add the tomato paste, and salt. Stir again.

Now remove your sauce from the heat, and pour as little or as much as you want on top of your noodle-edamame bowl. As your final step add the chopped chives on top.

Love, Peppa 

Rice Pudding With Nectarine Compote (Vegan)

Rice Pudding With Nectarine Compote (Vegan)

I am laying in bed, covered in lots of tissues, and am feeling quite sorry for my sick, sniffly self. This morning I woke up with a cold. So I snuggled up under my blankie, and am sipping on some hot

cocoa (hot water, dark unsweetened cocoa powder & maple sirup) and am binging my favorite feel good show - Friends. A sense of comfort sets in and I begin to feel at ease. Speaking of comfort, today I am going to show you that comfort food doesn't have to contain tons of fat, and other unhealthy ingredients. There is such a thing as healthy comfort food.

My cinnamony rice pudding with nectarine compote is proof. This dessert is super delicious, and a great, healthy alternative if you crave a little, sweet treat. It is super satisfying, completely vegan and requires only 5 simple ingredients. Here's what you'll need to prepare this yummy plant-based dessert:

125 g rice (the kind used for rice pudding)

500 ml water

3 Tbsp maple sirup

1/4 tsp cinnamon

4 ripe nectarines, peeled

Add water, and rice to a pan, and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring. Then reduce the heat, and let the mixture simmer gently for about 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning.

Once your rice pudding is done cooking, add the maple sirup, and cinnamon. Stir until everything is evenly incorporated, and pour the mixture into a bowl. Let it cool down to room temperature.

Meanwhile peel your nectarines, and remove the pits. Then add your nectarines to a blender, and puree them until smooth and lump-free. You don’t need to add sugar to your nectarine puree if you buy ripe ones. 

Once your rice pudding has reached room temperature it' s time to fill your rice pudding, and nectarine compote (puree) into the glasses. Et voila, done. Enjoy this yummy treat!

Love, Peppa:-)

Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls (Vegan)

Whole Wheat Pretzel Rolls (Vegan)

It's been four years since I lived in the world's most

famous glitz and glamour city.  I went to New York City right after finishing culinary school in California to do my internship at one of New York City's up and coming restaurants.

This was one of the most adventurous chapters of my life, and I considered myself very lucky that I had an opportunity like this. I always dreamed about a glamorous life in an adventurous city.  

So here I was, making my dream my reality. I felt brave and courageous, and if I am completely honest, I felt pretty darn cool. I went to the Big Apple all by myself, without knowing a single soul.

This gave me a sense of freedom and independence. For years I religiously watched Friends, and envied the lives of Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe, and Joey. So when I arrived,  I was so excited to get to live the fabulous life of a real New Yorker.

The first weeks were super exciting, but then something unexpected happened, Something only New York Newbies would understand: I started to feel lonely.

Making friends in this big city was hard. Usually you make friends at your workplace, but since most of the people I worked with at the restaurant kitchen were of the rough, chefish kind, I found it hard to find people to connect with.

I was a bubbly, girly girl with a very friendly disposition that felt completely out of place in this masculine, often rude and physically demanding kitchen atmosphere. So my New York dream turned into a New York disappointment.

This fabulous city offered so many exciting bars, restaurants, and entertainment options, but I had nobody to experience these places with. After several weeks I finally made my first friend. Livia. An aspiring broadway actress, who was trying to make it in this big, exciting city.

But a few weeks after I met her, she moved to Brazil. Yay, great! So here I was spending my evenings alone, while everyone else seemed to live it up in the city where dreams came true.

I remember sitting in my room, thinking:" If I'd drop dead right now, not a single soul in this city would care". Excellent! I felt lousy, and started to miss my family and friends a lot.

So I decided it's time to unmis them, and follow my dad's advice which was "home is were your loved ones are".  So I got on a plane, and went home to a city full of people who cared about me. Man, that felt great.

So dreams don't always turn out the way you expect them to once you make them a reality. However, I still love New York, and I still might go back to live there again for a few months. I just wouldn't have such big expectations the next time, and I would take someone I love along.

Sharing this experience with someone you love is so much more fun than doing it all by yourself. Anyway, enough of the Manhattan-chapter of my life, now it's time to talk food.

Lately I have been paying attention to the ingredients of store bought bread, and I didn't like what I was seeing. Most bread available at the bakery or supermarket is made with baking mix, which is full of artificial ingredients. Therefore bread actually qualifies as processed food.

So I thought it's time to nibble on a healthier option: My own, homemade whole wheat pretzel rolls. It only takes 6 ingredients, and a few simple steps to make these healthy treats, and here is what you'll need:

500 g (17,6 oz) whole wheat flour

15 g (0,5 oz) fresh yeast

1 tsp sugar

1,5 tsp salt

360 ml (12,2 oz) lukewarm water

3 Tbsp baking soda (Natron)

1 L (33,8 oz)  water

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 degrees Fahrenheit) If you aren’t using a convection oven, raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit). Add yeast, and sugar to the 360 ml lukewarm water, and using a spoon, stir until everything has dissolved.

Make sure your water isn’t hotter than 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) to avoid the deactivation of your yeast. Then take out a fresh bowl, and add the flour to it. Afterwards pour your yeast-sugar-water mixture into the flour, and mix until a nice dough has developed.

Use your electric mixer's dough hooks, instead of the regular ones. If you don’t have dough hooks, you can also knead the dough by hand. Now add the salt, and continue mixing/kneading a few more minutes.

Then form the dough into little balls (100 g / 3,5 oz each) and place them onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Cover the whole thing with a kitchen towel, and let the raw pretzel rolls rest for about ½ hour in a warm place.

In the meantime, add 1 Liter of water to a pot, and add 3 Tbsp of natron/baking soda. Stir briefly, then bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, place the dough balls into the mixture. They should remain in there for 1 minute. Make sure to flip them to the other side after 30 seconds.

Then place them back on the sheet pan (that’s lined with parchment paper), and using a serrated knife, carve a cross on top. Now place them into the oven, and bake them for about 18 minutes. Once they’re done, remove them from the hot sheet pan, and let them cool down. 

Love, Peppa:-)

Travel the World While Staying in Stuttgart

Travel the World While Staying in Stuttgart

As some of you may remember, a few months ago I had a cool idea for a photo project. I am talking about my ‘’Broke Girl on Vacation" project. As the name suggests, I was pretty, darn

broke at the time, and had zero money to go on vacation. I pitied my silly, dramatic self quite a bit! That’s what you get for quitting your side job, because you want to make it big in blogger-la-la-land. What made things worse, was seeing all these annoying (ultra-dreamy!) travel pictures that some of these successful travel bloggers were sharing on stupid (fabulous) Instagram. I couldn’t help but to be jealous.

THEY were living MY dream, while I was sitting at home –super broke- unable to live it up at some fabulous beach. But in order to become fancy, little Miss food-slash-travel-blogger, living it up at the beach was a necessity. It seemed like broke, normal girls like me could never make it in the world of fancy-schmancy travel bloggers. This cool job was only cut out for the rich, and “famous”. I felt sad.

But then it hit me… I had a brilliant idea! I simply would have to get creative, and work with what I have. So, I grabbed my camera, and searched for spots in my hometown that looked like they could be in a foreign, exciting country. I wouldn’t let the lack of money get in the way of me and my dreams. No way! My plan worked. Soon, I had some cool Instagram-worthy photos.

I then teamed up with Stuttgart’s super hip online magazine “Stadtkind” to expand the project. Tanja Simoncev - the awesome journalist behind Stadtkind - and I, managed to create an awesome collection of travel pictures that were all shot in Stuttgart. Working with Tanja really paid-off! If you’d like to see this cool photo collection that includes over 40 pictures, head over to Stadtkind and check out the article.

http://www.stuttgarter-zeitung.de/inhalt.auf-weltreise-im-kessel-orte-die-nicht-nach-stuttgart-aussehen.3ad47849-2a75-4ae1-95d4-fa892aee9beb.html

Love, Peppa:-)

Spicy Guacamole Bites (Vegan)

Spicy Guacamole Bites (Vegan)

I am back from my happy, little vacation at the North Sea. I had a wonderful time there, and can't wait to go back next year. Germany's northern parts are so cozy, and charming with their idyllic horse ranches, and corn

 fields. And don't get me started on the cute, little islands. It almost feels like you're in the Netherlands, or in Denmark when you're visiting Germany's northern countryside. That makes sense since these two countries are just around the corner.

For a long time I thought Germany is boring, and doesn't have much to offer in terms of beauty, and vacation vibes. But that's just not true. This country has a lot of beauty to offer, you just have to look for the right spots. So cheers to that you guys:-)

Right now, I am laying in bed, and am enjoying this lazy Sunday while watching Friends. Doing nothing feels great since I have a super intense work week ahead of me. I am sure most of you also have a busy week at work ahead.

Stressful, busy schedules often leave little time for cooking. So because of that today's delicious recipe is a fast , and simple one that only requires a few minutes: Whole wheat pretzel rolls with spicy guacamole. My brother came up with this fabulous guacamole recipe, so I can't take the credit for this one:-)

This guacamole is so good, and highly addictive. Usually this traditional Mexican spread is made with cilantro, but since my brother ran out of cilantro he used spring onions. It turned out delicious. What makes this recipe so fabulous, is the big amount of red, hot chili peppers. Here's what you'll need:

2 normally sized avocados, mashed

4 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 large spring onion, sliced

5 small, red hot chili peppers, sliced

Salt to taste

1 tsp fresh lime juice (or a bit more)

Peel your avocado, and remove the pit. Then add it to a bowl, and mash it using a fork. Then add the sliced chili peppers (make sure you buy the tiny, red kind, since a lot of the other ones are not very spicy), chopped cherry tomatoes, sliced spring onions, the fresh lime juice, and the salt.

Mix with a spoon until everything is evenly incorporated. Once that's done,  spread your guacamole on a whole wheat pretzel roll. You can buy these at the bakery or make them yourself. If you'd like to bake them yourself, you can use my recipe. I'll post it sometime next week.

Love, Peppa.

Dreamy Vacation at the North Sea

Dreamy Vacation at the North Sea

Yay! I am on vacation! Again! How did that happen? I just got home from the South of France a few weeks ago, and my broke girl bank account wasn't equipped to sponsor another summer vacay. But

to my surprise, I spontaneously got invited to go to Wangerooge, a lovely, little German island in the middle of the North Sea. It's such a gorgeous place, and I am so thankful I get to be here. Traveling to exciting places far away is awesome, but exploring the beauty of your home country is just as important. I arrived here last week, and I have to say I couldn't feel more relaxed.

This little, lively northern island is so charming with it's cozy brick houses, cobblestone streets, and its wide, beautiful beaches. You see happy families everywhere, and life feels wonderfully simple, and laid back here.The best part about this northern beauty is that there are no cars here. These noisy little stinkers are not allowed on the island.

This makes a huge difference in the quality of the air. Breathing in feels amazing. There are not many places in Europe where you get to enjoy a car-free atmosphere. Honestly, what better place to recharge, and let go of the stress of your daily, busy life. I feel completely at peace here.

Today, I took a long walk on the beach, and found these adorable, happy butterflies sitting on these pretty beach flowers. That was the cutest thing ever! I mean come on, butterflies at the beach - it doesn't get much

better than this... I am so sad that this dreamy vacation is almost over. I would  have loved to stay longer! In case you'd like to visit this happy, little island as well, make sure to book your trip well in advance, since Wangerooge is a popular travel destination, and vacation rentals are packed fast. 

Anyway, enough for today, it's time for me to go to bed now:-)

Love, Peppa

 

Delicious Zucchini Noodles (Vegan)

Delicious Zucchini Noodles (Vegan)

It feels like fall these days... It's grey and rainy outside, and summer is nowhere to be found. August has barely started, and summer vibes seem to have vanished completely. On days like these, I really miss the States.

American summers are just magical. Never a cloudy day between the months of June, and September. Perfekt pool and ocean weather!

When I was little, and I was sitting on the airplane approaching Portland, I was always impressed by the huge amount of pools I saw in American backyards.

My grandma, and grandpa also had one. Its beautiful turquoise water got me excited every single time. I loved the idea of having a pool in my backyard.

German properties never came with a pool. When I asked my parents if they could build one in their backyard, they turned my fabulous idea down and said it would be way too expensive.

I couldn't take no for an answer so I decided to dig the required hole myself. After about an hour I was  pooped and gave up. That was the end of all pool discussions. But enough about my kiddo poolmania, let's talk food.

When I started this whole vegan journey, I was worried that I would have to eat boring, weird  food for the rest of my life. I also thought cooking this way involves yucky, fake ingredients.

Honestly, I had such a bad impression of the whole going-vegan thing. Turns out I was really wrong. Cooking this way is super easy, delicious, and doesn't require strange, artificial ingredients.

These ultra yummy zucchini noodles are proof. They're not just super tasty, they're also extremely healthy since these pretty noodle-look-a-likes are made from raw zucchini.

And don't get me started on the sauce...It is rich and creamy, and bursts with flavor despite the fact that it doesn't contain any dairy products.

I got the idea for this delightful dish from one of Attila Hildmann's amazing vegan cookbooks. Since I am not a big fan of tofu, I made a few adjustments here and there.

The result turned out great. You'll absolutely love it. Here's what you'll need:

65 g (2,3 oz) onions, chopped finely (about 3/4 onion)
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
40 g (1,4 oz) fresh chives, chopped finely
4 Tbsp olive oil
20 g (0,7 oz) sundried tomatoes, chopped finely (if possible not canned)
100 g (3,5 oz) white almond butter (weißes Mandelmuß)
250 ml (8,5 fl. oz) water
A few splashes fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
4-5 zucchini (raw)

To make these long, spaghetti-look-a-likes, called zucchetti, you need a little tool called spiralizer. This tool can be bought online, or in well organized kitchen supply stores.

Place the raw, unpeeled zucchini in the spiralizer, and spiral away. Once you’re done with making your zucchetti, set them aside. Please note: These won't be cooked, eating them raw provides the spaghetti-like texture you’re looking for.

Now it's time to prepare the sauce. To do so, add the oil, onions, garlic, and sundried tomatoes to a pan, and set the heat to medium. Let them sweat for a few minutes. Make sure they don’t turn brown.

In case you used canned, oily, sundried tomatoes instead of the fresh non-oily kind, reduce the amount of olive oil used in the recipe.

Then add the water, and the white almond butter, and stir until the almond butter is incorporated evenly. Let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes until it has thickened.

The mixture is very watery at first, but don't worry after a few minutes it starts to thicken beautifully. Don’t forget to stir occasionally. Afterwards add the lemon juice, and salt.

Sir again, and voila your sauce is done. Attention: Place the sauce on top of your noodles right before it's time to serve them.

Why? The salt in your sauce will extract the water out of your zucchini noodles, and adding it to early results in watery noodles. Don't forget the chopped chives on top. Enjoy!

Love, Peppa

Banana Walnut Muffins (Vegan)

Banana Walnut Muffins (Vegan)

I am totally enjoying this quiet, cozy Sunday today. I am fully committed to being a very lazy girl today. I made great food, and spent lots of time in bed watching my favorite TV shows. The week was quite busy, and I

needed an uneventful, lazy day like this. Since my last post, a lot has happened. I don’t even know where to begin… As most of you know, I am a classically trained cook. This means, I have always been a big fan of using eggs, dairy, and other animal products in my kitchen.

One of my favorite ingredients has been cheese. Like so many others, I have been a cheeseaholic my entire life.  Despite becoming a vegetarian two years ago, I never understood people, who were turning vegan.To me these guys were nothing but a bunch of weirdos, who are missing out on life.

I just couldn’t understand why anybody would give up heavenly delights such as cheese, eggs and other mouthwatering dairy products. I also considered it quite snobbish to be so picky about the things you eat, if so many people on this planet don’t have anything to eat at all.

But all of this changed last week… One evening, after I got done with work, I decided to give this documentary called “What the health” a try. It was recommended to me by one of my relatives, who is a doctor. I was not prepared for what I was about to see.

In this documentary, American doctors were saying that eating meat, fish, eggs, and dairy is directly responsible for causing cancer, as well as other illnesses like heart disease, and that eating a low carb diet might help you lose weight but can result in strokes, heart attacks, and vascular dementia due to clogged arteries.

They also say that it’s not sugar that is causing diabetes, but meat, dairy, and eggs. They had a large amount of studies backing them up on these statements, Harvard studies being part of them. What struck me the most, was that they say only 10 percent of cancers are related to genes, and 90 percent are related to what we eat.

They even say that if you were dealt a bad genetic deck, you can turn things around by eating a plant based diet. I heard enough. I decided, then and there, to eliminate animal products from my diet. Me, a classically trained, dairy-egg-addicted cook. Not in a million years would I have thought this day would come.

If you’d like to watch the documentary as well, you can find it on Netflix or on whatthehealthfilm.com . By the way, I was not paid to write any of this. I simply felt the personal need to share this information with you. You probably are wondering “how the heck is she planning to cook delicious, non-complicated, heavenly food if she is a vegan?“

Well I have good news! Cooking vegan does not mean that your food has to taste lame, or that you have to use weird, fake ingredients. Just trust me on this one, and let me prove to you that it is just as simple, and just as delicious to cook this way. Wanna bet? Then try my new delicious banana-walnut muffins.

They don’t taste any different from the ones people went nuts about at my adorable, little café that I owned in the past. Here’s what you’ll need:

163 g (5,8 oz) whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

70 g (2,5 oz) white sugar

28 g (1 oz) sunflower oil

3 medium sized, overly ripe bananas

35 g (1,2 oz) walnuts, chopped

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius (345 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are not using a convection oven raise the temperature about 20 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit.) Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Then cut your very ripe bananas in small chunks, and add them to your dry ingredients. At the same time, add the oil.

Please note: It is important that you use overly ripe bananas, otherwise your muffins won’t be sweet enough, and will be lacking the wonderful banana flavor. Now mix the dough using your hands. Do so until a nice batter has formed, and the bananas are mashed, and well incorporated. Don’t overmix your batter, since this results in tough muffins.

Now fold in the chopped nuts. Fill your batter into the muffin molds, which you lined with muffin papers earlier. Make sure to fill them almost to the top (but leave a little room at the top). Then bake them for about 10 minutes, or until the toothpick comes out clean. Make sure not to overbake them, otherwise they’ll be dry. Once done, remove them from their pan, and let them cool down. They taste best at room temperature. Enjoy:-)

Love, Peppa.

Adventure in Europe Part III

Adventure in Europe Part III

I just got back from my trip to the South of France. I was on a mission to find an adventure in Europe, and I can happily say: Mission accomplished. When people think of France they think of

romantic cobbled stone streets, great cheese, and wonderful wine. But they don’t necessarily think of wild, adventurous nature. Well, they’d be surprised.

On this trip, I learned that France is the complete package.It has both the rustic, old, romantic elements one is typically looking for when traveling to France, as well as breathtaking, adventurous nature.

In my previous two posts, I already revealed a few of these magical, adventurous sites. And today the fun continues. So, let’s get stared, shall we?

The picturesque, little street you see in the picture is called Rue de Derrière l’Église, and it is located in the most beautiful mountain village I have ever seen: Saint-Paul-du-Vence.

This fairytale-like village consist of romantic, little alleys, and is full of beautiful flowers, various small art galleries, and enchanting old architecture.

It really is one of the must-see’s in the South of France.

Speaking of must-see’s, let’s talk about another marvelous spot I visited while exploring the South of France. This picture was not taken in North America’s famous Centennial State Colorado, it was taken in Europe’s smaller

version called Colorado Provencal, which is located near a little village known as Rustrel. Massive red rocks, and red soil leave you in awe while hiking these adventurous French trails.

But this is not the only spot in France where you get to see vivid colors like this. There's another mini Colorado, called Le Sentier des Ocres. It is located near the city of Roussillon, which is only half an hour away from Rustrel.

I visited both places, and thought they were both absolutely stunning. In case you want to see these hot, red beauties too, make sure to bring some cash along, since the entrance fee is 3 Euros per Person.

Another dreamy stop on our road trip through the South of France was St. Tropez. Keeping our budget in mind, we decided to stay at a tiny Airbnb-apartment instead of living it up in one of these high-end hotels in this glitz-and-glamour city.

We spent most of our time exploring the city anyway, so it didn’t really matter that we couldn’t afford one of these dreamy, upscale hotels.

While discovering this gorgeous, picture perfect city we stumbled upon a romantic, and incredibly cozy, little seafood restaurant called Les Graniers

located on a remote, peaceful beach. We sat down at a rustic, wooden table which was standing in the sand, and enjoyed dinner while watching the sunset, and hearing the peaceful sound of the waves coming in next to our bare feet. What a dream.

That’s it for today you guys. I hope you enjoyed reading about my European travel adventure. I think it's time for a recipe again, so next time I’ll provide you with some yummy food inspo:-)

Love, Peppa.

Adventure in Europe Part II

Adventure in Europe Part II

I am sitting on a little houseboat on the picturesque French Island of Porquerolles,

and am nibbling on my avocado-baguette. It is 8.30 in the morning, and I did something I never did before: I slept on a cozy, little sailing boat, which I found on Airbnb. Yay, I am experiencing one little adventure after another on this trip through the South of France.

I arrived on this small island yesterday, and went swimming right away. I've never been to a beach with crystal clear water before. So when I heard that Porquerolles is famous for its beach with crystal clear, turquoise water I had to see it!

I never thought that you can find something like that in France. I thought I'd have to travel to a distant place far away in order to see beach-magic like this. But as it turns out, paradise is closer than I thought.

If you are ever visiting the South of France make sure you don't miss out on some serious beach fun on this island's dreamy beach. Getting to the island was super easy, the ferry ride only took 15 minutes.

Another great thing about this island: Cars are not permitted here, so people are getting from A to B the old fashioned way - they simply use their bikes. You can rent one at almost every corner, and the 3 km bike ride to the beach is beautiful!

I am eating so many delicious French pastries here, so a bike ride can't hurt. I have to admit, my bikini body was nowhere to be found this summer, ooops. But thanks to Bridget Jones, little chubby bellies like mine work as cute accessories these days. So say hello to Bridget's little sister Peppa Jones:)

Enough for today though, I have some serious vacationing to do:) In my next post I'll reveal some more unique, ultra dreamy travel spots in the South of France.

Tip: The water only reveals its magic colors in the bright sunlight. So make sure you choose a non-cloudy day for your trip to Porquerolle's plage Notre Dame.

Love, Peppa.

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