How to learn to love beans

This is the guide I wish I had when I went vegetarian. Because OH how I struggled with the legumes.

My first encounter with legumes, other than white beans in chili, was not a happy meeting.

Green lentils. No hint of a spice. As some sort of side dish? Shudders.

Don’t do that. Took me literally years to recover.

It’s actually not THAT complicated, there’s basically two things to it:

ONE. Buy canned and/or frozen.

There is one simple reason for this: if you’re unfamiliar with beans and/or lentils you’re not going to know what they’re supposed to look/taste like. If you start out buying canned/frozen beans/lentils you’ll learn, which will be immensely helpful if you want to start cooking them yourself. Which I personally think is a bit overkill, even if it’s something I do. I suppose it’s good for the environment, your personal finances and ehm, if you need something to do Saturday mornings? To make you feel you’ve accomplished something over the weekend?

And supposedly, if you struggle to digest beans, canned beans is a better option.

TWO. Start with the easy ones

final1506146215122

Some of them require less practice than others; this is a list of 4 of the easy ones, including examples of what to do with them.

Red lentils

This was probably my first love. The flavor isn’t overpowering, they more or less just add a bit of a crunch. Who doesn’t love a bit of crunch?

One of my go-to dishes for the longest time was just throwing together some rice, red lentils, scallions, red and yellow pepper and cucumber, and then dressing it with bit of olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. And when I could be bothered, sprinkle of sesame seeds on top.

Black beans

This is obvious, isn’t it? Black bean burrito bowl. Black beans, cucumber, a nice tomato, bit of corn, some avocado, add salsa and couscous. What more could you possibly need?

If you want a recipe, I would say head over to Minimalist Baker; she has some of the best ideas for food. And it’s simple too!

Edamame

Ah the edamame! Or soy bean, if you want to be less fancy. The nicest green color, bit of a crunch, goes really well with Asian inspired dishes (i.e. stuff you stick wasabi in). It’s also got an excellent protein-calorie ratio (i.e. lots of protein for few calories). I.e. makes it easy to make your meals protein-packed, if that is something you want.

Defrosts quicker than any other bean which is a bonus.

For me, this love story started out with a lazy sushi bowl. Basically, you cook brown rice, stick in the soy beans when its done to let them defrost for a minute, add some cucumber, shredded nori sheets, avocado and pickled ginger.

For spices! Mix sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce and wasabi. Top with sesame seeds.

There are lots of version of this bowl; if you haven’t a lazy vegan sushi bowl in your life, you need to get to it! My version is probably based on this recipe, which used to be available on some other site back in the day. Yes well. Not important.   

Great white beans

There’s nothing the great white doesn’t go with. Had this been by first encounter with beans, I’d gone vegan right away.

I think it’s a consistency thing. That, and they work real well with pasta and greens. This is what I usually do: great white beans, pasta, pesto, asparagus and zucchini. 

Fry asparagus and zucchini in a bit of olive oil and garlic, cook the pasta and when it’s done and drained, add pesto and beans. For some additional texture you could add fresh veggies, e.g. leafy greens, and/or aubergine puree, or tomatoes. Olives is another option. To make it look nice if nothing else.

……………………
This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

2 tips you’ve in no way asked for

ONE

If you’re interested in starting hand lettering, I’d recommend this here book:

final1502902756143.jpg

Hand Lettering: How It’s Done by Karin Luttenberg. Stumbled on it at the pen store, and it’s way better than the one I ordered after careful research.

It gives you tips on supplies, goes through the basics and provides inspiration; just what you need of you’re just getting started. It’s a great little book.

So that’s what I’ve been doing lately; filling a notebook with pieces of lyrics as a way to practice. Before using it in my bullet journal.

 

TWO

Clearly, my pen storage left something to be desired, so I tweaked my fabric basket recipe and came up with this:

Made to fit my current collection of pens, using a few scraps of fabric I had lying around, and a drawstring, one of the laces from a pair of boots I unfortunately had to part ways with, making it easy to pack up and thrown in a bag, which I have been doing.

So there you go. Two tips. That you probably don’t need.

DIY; Fabric baskets for the impatient and lazy

Fabric baskets though! My fave DIY; easy peasy + highly useful!

Pros:

  1. You can make the exact size you need,
  2. It doesn’t break and leaves no marks,
  3. It takes hardly any time to make; it’s quicker than going to the store to see if maybe they have anything in the size and shape you need.

I.e., perfect solution for all your organizational needs!

Well. Most of them. V.v. handy in drawers to separate different types of tights. Or contact lens cases. Cat toys. I’m sure you get the idea.

Bonus: the feeling of accomplishment that you can actually make something yourself. Even if it is dead easy. I kid you not, let me show you just how easy it is.

First things first! Consider your fabrics. You’ll want a piece of fabric of a sturdier nature, because we want the basket to be able to stand on it own, and not collapse in on itself.

Jeans is a perfect material, thicker curtains you’re no longer using, or a thick cotton from IKEA are some of my favorites. But if you’ve got something you can upcycle, all the better! I’ll be using a pair of jeans and a skirt.

All you’ll need to assemble the basket is scissors or a fabric cutter and a mat, measurement tape and/or a ruler, and a few pins. Sewing machine is optional, but quite handy.

final1484232256024

I make these baskets a few different ways, I’m going to show you my two favorite ways. The easiest of course.

Type 1; single layer of fabric, a maximum of 2 pieces of fabric

final1484232623471

For this, I’m using an old pair of jeans. If you use the bottom of your jeans you can skip the step sewing two pieces of fabric together, making it even simpler. We’re talking a total of three seams, all of which are straight. So you could well do it by hand if you have that kind of patience.

But I don’t. So I set up my machine and decide how large I want the basket to be. I use no set measurements, which is another thing I like about these baskets. All you need to keep in mind is that you’ll fold down the edge, you’re going to need a few extra centimeters for that, and another few for the bottom, add these figures to however high you want the basket to be.

Cut off the bottom of your jeans. Turn the piece inside out and pin.

final1484232332979

Sew a straight seam, seam allowance, about this much:

final1484232806684
I.e. let the foot follow the edge.

Press your seam, and sew a straight seam across each corner. It’s entirely up to you where you place the seams, it’s a matter of how large you want the bottom of your basket to be. You can test it by pinning and turning it the right way if you want. Just make sure to measure so that you’re seams are placed the same distance from the edge.

My basket is tiny so I’m skipping the pinning, but for a larger basket pins are useful as a guideline.

Now, turn inside out, fold down the hem and you’re done!

Note: using one layer of fabric is better for small baskets, if you’re making a larger basket I recommend using double fabrics. Which is what we’re doing next!

Type 2; double layer of fabric, a total of 4 pieces of fabric

final1485096150092

This is a bit trickier, because, as mentioned, we’re using 2 fabrics, and we’re also sewing 4 pieces of fabric together (!). Dear oh dear, how will we ever manage.

Get your fabrics; I like to pair a plain fabric and a patterned fabric, as you can see. The patterned fabric goes on the inside, which you’ll then fold so that you see it on the outside. Bonus of the folding: makes your basket a little sturdier, which is ganz ganz wichtig I’d say.

However!

If you’re just going to put the basket in a drawer or similar, skip the folding. Just remember to take into account whether or not you’re planning on folding the edge of your basket when you measure your pieces.

First, decide what size basket you need. I generally make the bottom between 15 x 15 and 20 x 20 cm. Cut out two pieces that measure 20 x 20, one in each fabric. Next, cut one piece from each fabric that measures 82 x 36. 36 is usually the height of my baskets, but it can be adjusted as you like. The other figure depends on the size of the bottom of your basket; if the bottom piece is 20 x 20, you’ll need 20 x 4 + seam allowance in order for the fabric to reach all the way around the bottom piece. Probably obvious I imagine?

This should leave you with 2 rectangular pieces and two square pieces.

final1484232683451

Place the two rectangular pieces right side to right side and pin along one of the longer sides, and then just sew them together using a straight seam.

Press the seams if you like. It’s not absolute necessity, but you could. I’m going to this time. But I don’t always.

Again, pin together right side to right side, i.e. fold and pin so that it makes a tube, like so:

final1484232863884

Straight seam again and press if you fancy, then pin the plain bottom square to the tube. Plain fabric to plain fabric. It should be the fabric you want on the outside of the basket. In my case, the jean fabric:

final1484232938624

This is just for show. If you pin it like this, turn it the other way round, the bottom should be on the inside when you sew. Tip: start next to the seam, makes your life simpler.

Another tip: let your stitch stop approx 1 cm from the edge, to make it easier when your start on the next side. See?

You could pin all sides of the bottom at the same time if you like. It’s how I did it originally, until I realized it was way easier to just do one side at a time. If you’re a proper seamstress you just skip the pinning. (Hitherdither: It’s how gradma did it. Just so you know what’s expected of you.)

When the first square is all stitched up and done, do the same with the inside bottom piece, but leave a 5 cm opening on one side. This so that you can turn it inside out.

…turn it inside out, fold down the edge.

Depending on what you’re using the basket for, and how neat you are, you might want to stitch up the opening (by hand). I stopped doing this because

A) I’ve never had anything disappear into this opening,
B) I don’t ever see the opening because the baskets are always full,
C) I’m lazy, and
D) I frigging hate sewing by hand.

Practically easier than making a pillow case.

 

What vegans eat; Blueberry pancakes

I have found the solution to my pea protein problem!

The solution is blueberry pancakes. Obviously.

Just mix

2 dl whole-wheat flour
0.5 dl pea protein powder
0.25 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar or whatever sweetener you like
2.5 dl almond milk or another milk with some flavor (b/c we’re trying to cover up the pea protein)
blueberries to taste

Gives you about 8 small & fluffy pancakes; enough for two breakfasts.

Note: the batter is quite thick, if you like you can add more milk to make it thinner and your pancakes a bit less rustic looking. However. A thick batter = easier to flip pancakes. Which is also the reason I prefer American style pancakes to Swedish style pancakes.

!important Serve with lots of PB and raspberries.

vegan-blueberry-pancakes.jpg

In case you’re wondering what the pea protein is even good for; it’s not because I think you need extra protein as a vegan. And no, I’m not under the impression I’m some sort of athlete. It’s a kindness to my hair. Irrationally trying to cancel out the maltreatment of my hair with extra protein.

..maybe I’d be better off keeping my irrationalities to myself..?

How to screen your Spotify Discover Weekly

The other day I was reading a column where the writer was v. v. upset about what Spotify suggested she’d listen to.

I know the feeling.

But even if I do at times wish there was a button that would block certain bands, like the one last.fm used to have, I stopped taking the Spotify suggestions personally aaages ago. It’s not as if I actually need suggestions. I can find new music all by myself,t hanks very much.

There’s definitely a pattern. Well obviously. But on a more personal, practical, and non-technical level, I’ve noticed that Spotify basically only gets my taste when I listen predominantly to Bring Me the Horizon. By contrast, weeks I listen mostly to Architects, I get the stupidest suggestions. No, I’m not going to be listening to Blessthefall, and have we not established that I do not like Thy Art is Murder? The repeated not listening to, it doesn’t tip you off..?

(And if I branched out and listened to OTHER MUSIC more? Who knows what brilliant suggestions I’d get??)

I mean sure, the above examples are cases of trial and error. (I’ve tried more than once too.) But there are ways to pick out the good stuff from your Discover Weekly, without torturing your ears.

This is what I usually do:

Scroll through the list reading the names of the bands/artists. My lists tend to be heavy on the bands. Current ratio: 19 out of 20 are in fact bands. May seem superficial but often the name of a band will just speak volumes about the type of music.

Example: Falling in Reverse and Shredding Brazzers; there’s just no way they’re going to be my taste. Their album artwork confirms this suspicion. Half naked ladies: BORING. In addition to politically incorrect and I kind want to say…retarded..?

Bands with names such as Birds in a Row, Dependence, and Foxblood; now this, I will give a go. Nine times out of ten they’re categorized as post-hardcore or metalcore, or both. Even if it’s not my new favorite band, chances are they’ll keep me interested for a week at the very least.

Names that tell you nothing what so ever; obviously something you need to give a listen!

Well maybe. First:

Check out the album artwork. I will listen to any band with interesting artwork. Will I listen Empty Handed because their artwork is a balloon flying over a snowy landscape? Yes I will! It is clearly an Andrée expedition reference.

Spend a minute reading through song titles. Songs no one needs to listen to ever: songs titled Intro. That’s just not going to be your introduction to any band ever. Songs I will skip in my current list: Hump, Speak Softly, And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope, Genesis. I know already know all I need to know about you lot.

What I’m left listening to? Maybe a handful of songs. Quite enough really.

What vegans eat; Cabbage 3 ways

Cabbage – it doesn’t really get more boring than cabbage does it?

Still, sometimes, I’m just really in the mood for cabbage.

I’d like to think it’s the C vitamins. Supposedly, it’s an excellent source of C vitamin. And C vitamin is great for your iron uptake – and as you may know, I am v. v. concerned with my iron uptake.

…even if I’m not quite as concerned as one of my coworkers, who spoke to me about her iron deficiency at some length the other day. She argued that she could never be vegan because her iron uptake was just terrible. Despite being omnivore.

She also made it quite clear this was due to a medical condition; it had nothing to do with her diet per se. She was already taking iron supplements.

 

I see. So the omnivore diet is doing absolutely nothing for you in terms of iron uptake. Best stick to it then.

Anyway.

Here’s another contribution to project vegan cooking; dead easy using a head of cabbage.

ONE. CABBAGE + BEETS

green-lentils-beets-garlic
cabbage // lentils // salt // pepper // pickled beets // garlic granules // rosemary // olive oil

This is a rendition of an amazing vegan salad I had this summer. I’ve been thinking of it ever since, and it’s probably the main reason I was in the mood for cabbage.

This is, however, a much simpler version of the salad. The original also included kale, and the beets were roasted.

Roasted beets are amazing, but I can’t be bothered with that. It takes just about forever. Pickled it is! Besides, it’s still beets, still pretty amazing, and figured they’s be a nice contrast to the other ingredients.

Another cheat is I’ve got lentils in my freezer; I like to cook a big batch while I’m at in and put in the freezer to make my life a little easier. So they’re all cooked and ready to use. All that’s left to do is:

Cook the wheat berry according to instructions on the package. It doesn’t necessarily have to be wheat berry tho; pearl barley would work equally well, if not better.

Start chopping your cabbage, I’m chopping it into squares.

Heat up olive oil + garlic in a pan, get your cabbage in. For this dish, the cabbage should just soften up some, get a nice sheen going. It doesn’t need color. Sprinkle on some rosemary + salt and lemon pepper. There was probably no rosemary in the original, I just like having rosemary with my cabbage. Tip: get whatever spice/herb you like!

When the wheat berry is nearly done, get your lentils in just to heat them up some.

Now all you have to do is assemble on a plate, get some beets out of the jar, maybe a few nuts or seeds, I’ve got a few hazel nuts, and ! very important ! pour some agave on top.

Easy peasy!

beets-green-lentils-cabbage

TWO. CABBAGE + CAULIFLOWER CURRY

final1474800919316
pasta // pepper // meat sub // salt // curry // cabbage // cauliflower

A few years back this was my go-to meal, I’d make it on a weekly basis. Back then, I was inclined to subscribe to the whole carbs are bad for you idea; there was no pasta in this dish originally. I’ve long since concluded that is madness; pasta works really well with this dish, but it’d work equally nice with a slice of bread. Naan would be an obvious choice.

Make your pasta according to instructions on package. 

Cut your cabbage, you could well use chopsticks when serving this dish, if so, you may want to cut it into strips.

Heat up some coconut oil + curry in a pan, start frying the cabbage.

This is where you get your kettle, boil some water for your meat sub, if you’re using a dried soy product like me. You could use any meat sub tho. Or chickpeas. Soak meat sub for a few minutes.

Add cauliflower, salt, pepper and meat sub to the pan. It’s done when it has whatever color your prefer. If you like, you could add some shredded coconut as a final step.

Plate it all; and if you’re me you add a tomato because Mm. Tomato.

final1474801009435

THREE. MUSTARD ROASTED CABBAGE

This is intuitive eating taken to its extreme. This is a meal I developed as I started cooking, sort of explained in this entry. In addition to the main ingredient, cabbage, I used the following:

final1475942608675.jpg
pasta // mustard // nutritional yeast // chili flakes // garlic granules // agave // peas // avocado // asparagus

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Or whatever your standard setting for roasting veggies is.

Cut up your cabbage, place in bowl and cover with mustard, oil, rosemary, agave, garlic granules, salt, pepper. Place on baking tray and give it approximately 15 minutes in the oven.

Cook pasta according to instructions on package. When there’s about 2 minutes remaining, add pieces of asparagus and peas.

Plate cabbage, pasta, peas, asparagus, half an avocado, sprinkle chili flakes and nutritional yeast on top. And if you’re like me you’ll also need some herbal salt.

final1475869209444

Requires no skill and hardly any time at all.

xo,

signatur 1

Food for lazy people (aka vegans)

Sometimes I’m less than sure that my recent veganism is not just an effect of being extremely lazy.

Point in case: my lunch today.

Not only do I not want to spend hours in the kitchen, I also don’t want to do a lot of cleaning up. This goes extremely well with being vegan, because you mainly eat that which does not need to be cooked. Unless you want to. Cutting is usually enough. Fewer pans = less washing up. And a less dirty kitchen. How could you not want that?

If cooking is required, it usually requires no skill. You just need to know what you like. E.g., who knows what the proper preparation of an eggplant is? OK, so maybe someone does, but who cares? All I need to know is I like it black so I’ll do whatever is required to get it as black as possible. There are numerous ways to go about this. I prefer to cut up + put in bowl with oil, stir + pour out on tray + stuff in oven on highest heat. Should be done in about 10 min. And if not, just leave until it turns whatever color you favor. Easy peasy.

For lunch, I used this method but a different produce; lots of potatoes roasted in rosemary and stock. I like to use stock sometimes, makes washing up easier than using oil. I don’t recommend using stock for eggplant tho. While the potatoes are getting ready, I poured boiling water over a bunch of asparagus (kettle + glass bowl + cut into pieces + leave for 5 min = nice and crispy), cut up half a cucumber and a few radishes and that’s my lunch. At least I’m a minimalist in one area of my life. This could be a reason why vegan food makes me happy.

Another reason to love vegan: the pretty colors.

So basically, vegan food is perfect for lazy people easily distracted by pretty colors.

 

signatur 1

Hair rescue plan

My hair is in dire need of some TLC. It’s so brittle I’m at the risk of getting an unintentional haircut. As if intentional haircuts weren’t bad enough.

I’ve been hoping that coming off Cerazette would magically heal my hair. Cerazette managed to turn my once combination skin into proper dry skin, maybe it was messing with my hair too? Of course, my gynecologist doubted any dryness, anywhere, as a result of the hormones. I’m not sure I trust my gynecologist anymore. This idea, I got it from the woman who did my smear test, it wasn’t my own invention. Also. My skin is back to its normal combination self, so that would suggest she was right, unfortunately, my hair remains unaffected.

Clearly, other measures need to be taken.

I have been overusing the hot tools, I know that, but lately, as in the last year or so, I’ve used them less than half as often as I used to. And I’ve been using heat protection from the start. In addition, I don’t blow-dry, barely use a hairbrush, I don’t even towel dry, I don’t over-wash (anymore), and I always use conditioner, hair mask, and shampoo for dry and/or damaged hair. The extreme dryness that is my hair just doesn’t make sense to me.

WAS TUN!?!  as Blixa would say.  

Obviously, you devise a rescue plan.

Rescue plan for dry and brittle hair

  1. Get your hair cut by professional. With any luck, you’ll get a lecture and won’t have to make up your own plan. I was not that lucky. In fact I’m never that lucky. I’m guessing because the hairdresser just takes a look at my hair and thinks Dear oh dear what a sorry state we’re in, there’s just no saving this? Anyway. Good news is: despite not having cut my hair for 6 months, no split ends; my hair is just exceptionally dry and brittle. Swell.
  2. Update your shampoo + conditioner. Clearly, what I was using was not working. The hairdresser recommended Disp hydrating shampoo + conditioner. Bought and tried – it does seem better than my previous combination. And as a bonus, it’s cruelty-free.disp hydrating
  3. Stock up on treatments. I’ve got a leave-in treatment from Urtekram, a different leave-in treatment for hair growth from Lee Stafford (can’t see any ingredient list on the bottle so I’m not actually sure this will do me any good, but I’ll give it a go), and I need to get a new hair mask because I’m nearly out of the Maria Nila. Might just get the Disp argan oil. And surely, the Lush R n B is basically a treatment?hair treatment
  4. Get a wooden brush/comb. I’ve been suspecting that the tangle teezer is doing my hair no good at all. Why? Because of the plastic. Which produces static – which I’m thinking is not good for hair that is already dry.wooden brush
  5. Get hair elastics that do as little damage to the hair as possible. If I’m not going to use hot tools I need to at least be able to put my hair up, so I got some Blax hair elastics.Blax
  6. Review diet. I’m on a vegan diet and I’ve been excluding most fats. I’ve never liked fats much, with the exception of PB – which I love. It’s an unhealthy kind of love so I don’t keep PB in the house. Mostly. Conclusion: I need to reintroduce fats. 50 grams of nuts/seeds a day should do the trick.nuts and seeds
  7. Use styling products in moderation. The woman who cut my hair said it was fine to use products, just avoid the hot tools. But I’m not entirely convinced. A lot of the products have alcohol in them, don’t they? Can’t possibly be good for dry hair?

If this doesn’t work, I’ll blame the hard water and move. To a different city.

And once I’ve moved I’ll come to realize it’s a result of my PCO. I assume.

Reasonably yours,

signatur 1

Life is too short for less than perfect tea

So much tea, so little life. Here’s how make sure you’re always having the best cup of tea possible:

Your hot water should not come from:

the tap,
the coffee machine, or
the microwave.

If those are your options, just say no.

Tea bags are clearly made to be kept in your bag for emergency use; choose loose leaf whenever possible. And you might want to branch out from Lipton.

Make sure you have an assortment of tea pots and tea cups, for different occasions and different moods. It’ll make you happy. Trust me.

When faced with a nearly empty tea tin, or if your teas feel uninspiring, make your own blends. Some of my favorite blends:

green bergamot + black rhubarb
mint + green strawberry tea
green lemon + black peach
back ginger from the Willow Tea Rooms + pretty much any tea you can think of

Don’t restrict yourself, mixing green and black tea is an excellent idea.

And remember, when making a big cup of tea, just adding more water will not give you any more tea, it’ll give you a weak cup of tea. This makes no one happy. Make the effort to get your proportions right, it will be worth it. You may have to use two tea strainers to get a strong enough cup of tea.

How to fix weak tea: just sprinkle some tea straight into the cup and leave it.

Viel Glück!

signatur 1