Archive for September, 2010

After an unnecessary absence from blogging, I’m back with a delicious recipe to share.

The days are getting shorter and colder.

Comfort food is making a reappearance this autumn.

P9299686 Cozy up to a warm serving of Vegan Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

P9299670 Mix together the dry ingredients and stir in the sliced apple.

P9299671 Add in the wet ingredients

P9299672 Give it all a good stir and put into the prepared baking dish.

P9299676 Sprinkle the crumble on top and bake.

P9299683 Once the apples are soft and the sides are bubbly, your oatmeal is done!

P9299688 Serve as is, with warm ‘milk’ or maple syrup.

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Makes 6 servings


  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. dried fruit such as raisins or dates
  • 1 handful of chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 fresh apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp. and 2 teaspoons ground flaxseed, divided
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. wheat germ


  1. Mix 2 Tbsp. water and 2 tsp. of ground flaxseed in a bowl and set aside to thicken. Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C.) Grease a baking dish.
  2. Mix together the oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/3 cup brown sugar, baking powder,  salt, dried fruit and nuts in a large bowl. Stir in the sliced apple.
  3. Add the almond milk, vanilla and apple sauce to the flaxseed mixture and stir into the dry ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. flaxseed and wheat germ. Sprinkle the crumble over the oatmeal mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Eat as is or topped with warm almond milk or maple syrup.



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Food Makes Me Happy

Because I woke up at 6:24 am with a migraine.

Because I went to work with a migraine since it was school picture day and I didn’t want to be left out of my class photo.

Because we didn’t have our pictures taken today so I regretted going to work.

Because my head still hurts 15 hours later.

Because I want to go to sleep.

Because I have no photos of my food.

Because I’m a teacher who spends all day telling kids not to start their sentences with conjunctions like because.

Because I just started 8 sentences with ‘because.’

I’ll leave you with a photo I just received from a fellow photography-crazed couch surfer.

Bonn-001 Food makes me happy.

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Happy Tuesday!

I hope your second day of the work week is off to a good start.

I had a great day at school today. I truly believe I have the best class in the world this year. Every single child is so kind and the parents are wonderful.

I have been able to do so many awesome activities with this group due to their model behavior… activities like studying the local habitats to collect data on insects and other organisms. P9179465 How lucky am I to call this ‘home’ and ‘work?’


Needless to say, when studying the pasture habitat, flies were the most frequently spotted insects.P9179477 Yeah, I’m looking at you, Bessy!

I’ve just returned from play practice and am desperate to get to bed.

Before drifting off to reduce the bags beneath my eyes, I wanted to share what I’ve been putting into my body lately.

P9209498 Sunflower seed bread with Autumn almond butter, pear and cinnamon.

P9209501I found some new sweet crèmes for oatmeal- caramel, dark chocolate and pistachio. I’d be lying if I said they were like nut butters. Sweet is the name of the game for these guys!


Dinner last night and lunch today was roasted vegetables with quinoa. Butternut squash, carrots, eggplant, green beans and red onions tossed in fresh rosemary olive oil, salt and pepper.



Breakfast quinoa with pear, cinnamon, almond butter, caramel crème and flax.

P9219533 Fresh lettuce from my veggie lady. The colors are so vibrant!

P9219548Dinner tonight was a baked potato with tuna and baked beans served with a small salad. Yummy!

After coming home from work, I got busy right away baking my donations to Tina’s Team in Training Blogger Bake Sale.

I baked Nutella Cookies to go to Switzerland…


and Turtle Brownies (with the pecans and caramel baked for less crumbly transport) to be sent to Belgium.

P9219538 Everything is packaged, labeled with addresses and ready to be sent off tomorrow!

Tomorrow is yearbook picture day at school.

I need my beauty sleep.

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I have had a wonderful weekend with my friend Kelsey.

She arrived on my doorstep around 12 o’clock Thursday night after hitch-hiking from Frankfurt airport.

This girl is adventurous.

Kelsey and I went to the same college but have actually been in more contact since I’ve lived abroad than we were when living on the same campus.

P7126883Together in Berlin July 2010

Life is funny like that sometimes.

Walking and talking with this dear friend has been just what I’ve needed lately. She is always full of grace, love, kindness and meaningful advice.

P7126874 She’s a great listener!

Friends trump food photography, so I’ll leave you with a food collage of sorts.

P9199493 Pear, soft blue cheese and walnuts for lunch.

P9199487 P9179439 Pancakes with autumn almond butter and stewed apples.

P9169438 Pasta bake with tofu, spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella.

P9169430 Oatmeal with stewed apples, autumn almond butter, flax and cinnamon.

Before ending this weekend, do me a favor and take the time to tell a friend how much he/she means to you. If you’re close enough, go to his/ her house and give that person a hug too!

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I’m about to talk about Bakers Square.

Do Bakers Square restaurants still exist in the USA?


I’m not so sure.

I vaguely remember several branches going out of business.

Has the whole operation gone belly up?

Someone please answer me.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep tonight unless I know.


For as long as I can remember, visits to Bakers Square involved one meal and one meal only.

The Chicken Focaccia Sandwich.

Sautéed mushrooms and red onions, a grilled chicken breast, Swiss cheese and honey mustard sauce served on warm focaccia bread with a side of seasoned fries.

Once I became a vegetarian, I didn’t give up the Bakers Square Chicken Focaccia tradition.

It just became: sautéed mushrooms and red onions, Swiss cheese and honey mustard served on warm focaccia bread with a side of seasoned fries.

Dinner tonight was a new and improved version of my favorite sandwich from the restaurant chain which might not exist anymore.


Tofu Mushroom Focaccia Sandwich


  • 2 servings of focaccia bread, toasted
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 block smoked tofu, drained and sliced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 small red onions, sliced
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • Seasoned salt to taste
  • 2 slices Swiss cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. honey mustard


  1. Warm the olive oil in a non-stick pan. Sautee the onions, mushrooms and tofu with the spices until golden brown.
  2. Toast the focaccia bread. Place the cheese on the hot bread, top with the sautéed mixture. You can either spread the honey mustard on the sandwich or use it as a dipping sauce.


This sandwich is so tasty and easy.

When you can make this in 15 minutes, who needs Bakers Square anyways?

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It really is official now.

The leaves are falling from the trees.

Today I smelled the first fire of the leaf-burning season.

I even made a fresh batch of pumpkin pie spice.


Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

    2 Tbsp. cinnamon, ground

    2 tsp. ginger, ground

    1 tsp.cloves, ground

    1 tsp. allspice, ground

    1 tsp. nutmeg, ground

    2 pinches cardamom, ground

    Sift all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.


      Autumn has always been my favorite season.

      I love the cool weather and warm sun.

      Vibrant autumn leaves against a blue sky.

      Cuddling up in a blanket with a cup of hot tea.

      In the Midwest at any rate, autumn is the most beautiful time of year.

      When I first moved to Germany and said how much I was looking forward to autumn, the Germans laughed at me.

      I now know why.

      For as bright and cheerful the Midwest autumns are, they are dark and gloomy here.

      There are beautiful days, like today, but the majority of autumn is wet, cold, grey and depressing.

      Luckily, I now have a fresh batch of homemade Autumn Almond Butter to cheer me up on the dreary days.

      P9159411 Sweetened with maple syrup and flavored by pumpkin pie spice, this almond butter has got to be the best I’ve ever made.

      God help me not to eat the entire jar tonight.

      P9159409 But in case I do, I made another jar of Vanilla Bean Almond Butter.

      Just in case.

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      This sandwich is a dream come true.

      If I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, I would.

      Although I haven’t made my favorite sandwich for many months, I’ve thought about it often.

      Roasted seasonal vegetables.

      Freshly baked Black Olive and Rosemary Focaccia.

      Garlic mayonnaise.

      Gooey Swiss cheese.

      What could be better?

      I know, having enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch tomorrow!


      Let me walk your through the bread baking.

      It could not be easier.

      If you are afraid of yeast breads, start here.

      Focaccia is almost fool proof.

      P9149373 Proof the yeast

      P9149371 Mix together the flours, salt, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powders and olives.

      P9149374 Make a well and pour in the proofed yeast.

      P9149375Kneed dough until smooth then form into mini loaves.

      P9149379  After rising, poke dents, drizzle with olive oil (less than I did here,) and sprinkle with the rosemary and Italian seasoning.

      P9149381Bakes until golden, slice and enjoy!

      Now for a few veggie shots!

       P9149377 Charred peppers just chillin’ out.

      P9149397 Veggie assortment

      P9149401 P9149403 The Herb Salt I use, seasoned salt is the most similar in the US.

      P9149389 There really is something magical about enjoying a delicious meal completely made from scratch.

      It helps to create so much more appreciation for the food I eat.

      Beware though, this is a messy sandwich!

      P9149398 Beautiful even as it falls apart on my plate.



      Black Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

      Makes 8 servings


      • 1 packet active dry yeast
      • 1/2 tsp. sugar
      • 1 1/2 cups warm water
      • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
      • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
      • sprinkle onion powder
      • sprinkle garlic powder
      • 10 black olives, pitted and chopped
      • 1/2 Tbsp. rosemary
      • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning


      1. Proof the yeast in a small warm bowl by mixing the yeast, sugar and water then allowing to sit 10 minutes, or until bubbly.
      2. Mix together the flours, salt, olives, onion powder and garlic powder. Create a well in the center and pour in the proofed yeast.
      3. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined then turn out onto a floured surface and kneed for a few minutes, until smooth and elastic.
      4. Form dough as desired and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes.
      5. Poke dents into the surface with your finger and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle crushed Italian seasonings and rosemary onto the dough.
      6. Bake at 375 F (190c) for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.


      Roasted Vegetables Sandwich

      Makes 4 sandwiches


      • 1 eggplant, sliced lengthwise
      • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
      • 1 red onion, sliced into rings
      • 1 red pepper
      • 1 green pepper
      • 1 yellow pepper
      • drizzle of olive oil
      • seasoned salt
      • Italian seasoning
      • 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
      • 1 clove garlic, pressed
      • 4 slices Swiss cheese


      1. Char the whole peppers over an open flame or grill until completely black. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until cooled. Using a paper towel, rub the charred skin off of the peppers. Core and deseed.
      2. Toss all cut vegetables in the olive oil, salt and seasoning. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at a high temperature until tender.
      3. For the spread, mix the mayo and garlic and set aside.
      4. To assemble the sandwiches, spread the mayonnaise on the fresh bread and layer the prepared vegetables. Top with cheese and enjoy either hot or cold.

      Color is all around me right now. Autumn, here you come!



      If you haven’t already, please pop over to Tina’s blog to participate in her Blogger Bake Sale and help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

      If you live in Europe, please bid on the two items I’m donating, Nutella Cookies and Turtle Brownies.

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