Month: August 2017

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.

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 . 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.

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