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Some delicious posts.

Tiramisu Raspberries Treat

I have been cooking a lot lately and this time, I was not too lazy to take my camera out and shoot the delicious process. Because what point would be to upload food articles without any pictures? I have always been curious how packed those sinful favourites of mine are. Since I have started counting calories [read more here], I have been calculating the nutrition values as well.

INGREDIENTS

200g    Raspberries [I am not a coffee fan.]

400g    Whipped cream 30%

500g    Mascarpone 40%

500g    Light cottage chees [Quark] 0.1%

125g    Amarettini [those delicious bisquits]

10ml   Amaretto 30%

25g     Brown sugar

15g     Vanilla sugar

Cinnamon

10g     Cocoa powder [pure]

HOW TO

It is pretty simple – lay out the first half of Amarettinis into a glas bowl. If I were preparing food for myself, I would divide it directly into several smaller boxes, so I can easily take it with me to the work – more on this topic in the next step of Journey to healthy habits #2 [I will link it as soon as I am done with it]. Then heat up the raspberries, fast way to defrost and let them sweat till you have little sauce. I am not a patient person, so I do not wait till they cool down, I just take it off the heat and add the Amaretto [you can skip this step if you are not into alcohol or underaged]. You can add some cinnemon for a more complex flavour as well. Then just spread the mixture on the top of the first layer. For the cream, I like the version of mixing mascarpone with whipped cream – instead of adding foamed raw eggs. I do not like the idea of eating unprocessed eggs and what is more, the end product was even fluffier! If you are a aiming for light version [whipped cream and mascarpone are quite heavy in fett], you can fresh it up with cottage cheese [DE: Quark]. It is not so Italian but it is tasty :))

So, mix sugar and mascarpone, add cottage cheese. Make sure to mix it until it is completely smooth and then  add the whipped cream. You can also pour in few drops of Amaretto, the product will have a full and united flavour. If it is X-mas time, make sure to add some cinnamon as well. If you are going for a bold version, add little bit of white pepper :)) There are no limits here.

If you are satisfied with your cream, just spread it on the first layer. After covering the raspberries, add another layer of Amarettini bisquits, you will not regret it. Then just finish off with coccoa powder and let rest for a night. You do not have to be disappointed, there are usually some leftovers in the bowl and I guarantee you, you will be highly motivated to get out of the bed the next day –  I usually am. Just take a look at those pictures.

All in all, you will get about 1.5kg of Tiramisu – that is enough to feed a little army! So, even if you split it up with your friends/colleagues, you will still have something left in the end. To avoid bad conscience, maybe stick with 15 portions a 150g :)).

Bon appetite!

GALLERY

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Journey to healthy habits #1 – Counting Calories

Since I have become a real person, I have decided to start working on becoming a healty person as well. It is a working progress thing which is still going on, yet I have decided to share few toughts on the way as I am not sure how long will it take.

 

There are two major groups of people in this world.

A) those who think counting calories is ridiculous thing to do

B) those who are acctually counting them every day

Hypothetically, there should be a third group as well. It would include those few people who rely on their guts to know how much they are supposed to eat and live in balance without making conscious and obvious efforts to do so. I think everyone dreams to join their team but it is a long and complicated journey. As my guts are driven by Nutella and my instincts on eating healthy do not exist, I have recently started an experiment. I have been logging in all consumed calories throughout the day. I know what you think – I must be desperate. However, let me share few outcomes with you first and then judge me.

 

I use to be the the person laughing at the “cliché counters” and refused to join in. Nevertheless, I have lately had several conversations with different people whose opinions matter to me reagrading the topic of healty eating habits and knowing mine sucks, I have decided to do somethign about it. For starters, I am not great at keeping notes. I would buy a beautiful notebook to document things, e.g. to write a food diary. Yet, it would get tossed into the corner withing few days. Using modern technology, e.g. a food app was not crowned with success either. My problem is, I lack consistency. So, I have decided to comit to an experiment for three weeks – two weeks seemed too short to gain any results, one month seemed just undoable for me.  The aim was, to log down food I have consumed – simple overview without doing any evaluation at first. I think it was a very crucial step to do. Just eat like you usually would and understand how it looks like from a perspective of nutritional numbers. Do not make any changes yet – it is a piece of advice I did not stick to before. It is also a reason, why all my previous attemts shipwrecked. As soon as you start writing things down, you tend to make things look better – you would either start eating healtier in overnight or cheat and give up soon. Only a super hero would manage the first one. I know, each book recommends starting a food diary/counting calories to help you make smarter choices but who says, where your mistakes lie? Am I simply eating too many calories or am I eating the wrong kinds? I was lucky enough to grow up to see an example when eating chocolate and staying fit works along. So I assumed, based on my shallow observations, I just needed to do more sport to balance things out. Yet, again ist not as simple as it looks. How much is more? Do I have to something every day or is occasional hike on wekends enough? So even if you decide to lose weight by training more (it was always my aim to do so) you still have to count calories to know your Input.. I was perfectly aware of my Output, I do have a smartphone which is tracking my daily activities and I also own a sport watch as well. It is easy to do the calcualtion after an intense workout – patting yourself on shoulder after you just burnt 2500 Cal on a long ride, you believe you are entitled to refuel this with five chocolate bars. Because thats what the math says. I have been living like this for years and it would work somehow – sometimes I was not just metaphorically speaking about those five bars of chocolate. Nevertheless, I always knew deep down, it will not be enough to reach the goals in the end and a change is inevitable.

So I starting counting. I have installed the MyFitnessPal (read  more here) app on my phone, as I liked the idea of Input – Output equasion for each day. What is more, it is compatible with Strava.com I use to track my sport activities (which works with my Suunto watch 🙂 ) it was super easy for me to join in, and even if you do not understand a word from previous sentence, you can always add the activities manually. It is simple and I would highly recommend doing so. You can log in the walked distance after running errands in the city, etc. Adding food is also quite easy, you either scan the barcode or add it manually, again. If you prepare your meal yourself, you can just scan the ingredients while cooking or you put in some more effort and calculate the final numbers for the meal as well. That is, what I tried to do as I have my problems cooking meals by following recipes and the main point of the experiment was to find out what I usually eat – not to introduce new meals to my plan. So, following recipes from the forum was not an option for me. It would have been a huge change plus I like my cousine.. There was no point to cook strange meals for threee weeks just to return to the old habits in the end. Of course, I keep my mind open for new suggestions but I usually alter them in the end to put my own note on it.. It was my only rule I set up, I am not eating anything because someone says is healthy. So, I ended up creating a spreadsheet to calculate the final nutrition values of meals I have cooked. (I will upload them to the food section over time).

 

OUTCOMES

  • I have to say, it was fun. For the first time I enjoyed writing a food diary. It was very time consuming, so be prepared to invest some long hours if you decide to conduct a similiar experiment of your own.
  • You can be hungry even if you have eaten a lot (speaking in language of Calories).
  • I have realised how uneducated I am about nutrition, I have no idea what acctually those numbers on the packaging mean. It is far more complicated than just simple calories counting.
  • Within three weeks, I have had my ups and downs. Of course, I have indulged in chocolate – I am only human. However, I now understand why it happend and how to get it under control.
  • I did not take the fun out of eating and cooking, yet I will be rethinking my choices in the future – especially when it comes to the chocolate granola (I am not eating those 1200 Cal for breakfast anymore when spending a day in office chair!)
  • Those three weekes were just a beginning and I might not have become smarter but I know, what knowledge am I lacking.
  • It was a very good experience, seeing my “intuitive” choices in a different light. Some important discoveries have been made regarding what I have considered to be healthy but it acctuallly is just a nasty food packed with empty calories.
  • I am ready to start optimising.

Horryfied by some choices I have made and discovering new friends in the fridge, I have collected some good quality data. Now, the next step will be evaluating and introducing few changes. Occasional slip-ups are allowed and to make the process sustainable, it is important, to make it fun as well – so including a lot of experimenting in the kitchen and learning a great deal about nutrition are in order. In the mean time, stay tuned for updates and some delicious recipes – starting with soups, my new dinner BFFs.

Homemade Granola 2.0

After finishing the last bite of my chocolate granola, I have to stock up. I have decided to go for a white version this time, something more colourful and lighter. Basically, it is the same as the chocolate version – check out the last post here. However, we will throw in something new.

INGEDIENTS

  • 500g oat flakes
  • 200g dried cranberry
  • 100g coconut rasper
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 100ml water
  • ca. 35ml oil (sunflower)
  • 1package of vanilla sugar
  • cinnamon
  • black pepper
  • salt

One more time in a visual form:

granola recipe white

HOW TO

We will start the same way as last time. First, you want to boil the water and mix in the chopped chocolate and oil. Keep steering, add all spices – cinnamon, black pepper, vanilla sugar, and salt as well. Put the rest of the ingredients into another bowl and mix them together, pour over the prepared sauce. If you think the mass is too dry, try knead it with your hands. It is a weird initial feeling, I agree, but it is very effective and at last fun as well. When you finish playing with the raw granola, spread it on a baking tray and put into oven for 45min at 110-130°C. I have not mentioned it last time but I have split the mass into two halves and baked them seperately to make sure my granola will be crispy at the end. Maybe it would work even all at once, I just do not want to take any chances :-).

 

For my surprise, the outcome was very different comparing to the last time. Going light on chocolate made the granola more crispy and definitely lighter. What is more, I have been very impressed by how big the cranberries grew in the oven. Yeah, the baking makes such a difference. The granola is much better than some dried fruits mixed into your muesli. I think, I am adicted and I am already looking forward the third version, I might go with something nutty next time!

Yumm.

Homemade Chocolate Granola

I have been in love with the chocolate muesli from Emco [1] for quite some time. I like muesli in general but I like it better when it has a more complex taste and mixing some dried cranberies into oatmeal just doesnt work for me. Unfortunatelly, Emco does not export to Germany, or at least I have not find their products here yet, so I had to import them on my own. You can imagine, travelling home twice a year, you have plenty other stuff you want to put into your suitcase. So after prioritising my list, I would end up with one, sometimes two 750g package(s) for several months. Nevertheless, those dark days are over now! I have recently mastered a recipe for my own homemade chocolate granola.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g oat flakes
  • 200g sultana (dried grapes)
  • 100g dark chocolate, at least
  • 100g coconut rasper
  • 100g almonds (crunched)
  • 100ml water
  • 50g honey
  • cocoa powder
  • cinnamon
  • black pepper
  • salt

…and if you dont like lists, here comes a picture:

ingredients chocolate granola

HOW TO
It is quite simple. Basically, you need a delicious sauce made of whatever you like. As it is called a chocolate granola, I will go with chocolate flavour, obviously. First you want to boil the water and add the cocoa powder, stir till the clumps dissolve. If you want to go easy on the calories, you can replace chocolate by adding more powder. In the next step, mix in the chopped chocolate. Also, take it off the fire, there is no need to cook it. It will melt eventually – just keep stirring. I admit, I was also sceptical at the begining about this but it works very well – even with 250g chocolate (hold your judgement). The best part, you avoid the danger of burning your chocolate what would be a crime :). As soon as its molten, add the rest of the spices – honey, cinnamon, black pepper and pich of salt. It sounds a bit crazy, especially adding salt. However, it will create a more complex flavour, so go with it. If you have run off the honey, add some brown sugar. Also, I have recently read that black pepper boost up burning fat, so you can be generous with it. [2]

Put the rest of the ingredients – oat flakes, coconut rasper, almontds, suntana, and whatever else you like in your granola, e.g. hazelnuts or cranberies etc., pour over the finished sauce and mix it up all together. Then, scatter the mass on a baking tray lined with backing parchment or alluminium foil. Now, set the oven for 160°C and wait for ca. 45 min. Do not worry about preheating the oven in advance, at least will the the ingredients get a chance to soak in the sauce! When it is finished, just open the oven, leave the tray inside and let it cool off in that dry air. Afterwards, store your the crunchy granola in a glass to prevent the air humidity getting into it before you do.

Have a delicious breakfast!

 

[1] Emco Mysli na zdravi – link.

[2] The article about black pepper – link.

Random veggies.

I rarely plan what to cook. I sometimes find an inspirational picture on pinterest and recreate my own version of it. On other days, when my fridge is empty, I walk into a store and passing by shelves, my cart begins to fill and walking out of store, I have a precise vision in my head what is going to happen next. So it happend last week, and here goes the result.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 aubergine (eggplant)
  • 1 leek
  • some pure peanuts (not salted, preferably those in shell)
  • few dried tomatos in oil
  • 1 – 2 mozzarella(s)
  • olive oil (or you can use the oil from the tomatoes if its tasty)
  • fresh cherry tomatoes
  • salt, black (or white) peper

If you do not find aubergine in your fridge, you can replace it with broccoli as well. Also, the fresh tomatoes can be replaced with carrots – or if you like, you can put as tomatoes as carrots in. Your choice.

RECIPE (20-30min)

I would start with peeling off the peanuts and crushing (breaking) them into smaler bits but do not make a powder out of it! It is also not advisable to try to chop them – they tend to fly across the whole kitchen. Very messy. As next, chop the leek into slices 1-2mm thick (it does not have to be so precise, just so you get an idea) and crumble few of them up into pan. I do not like onion because I usually cry when chopping it so I preffer to use leek instead. However, ir you are an onion-lover, go ahead. Also, cut the dried tomatoes in oil into smaller bits, throw into pan and pour oil in as well. Then start the fire – I usually cook on gas cooker, so do not be shocked by the expression. 🙂

Then, you can chop the aubergine (eggplant) into stripes or brocolli (if you are doing the other version). You want to recognise these pieces later, so do not make them to small, otherwise they shrink and cook into paste. If you are going for carrots instead of tomatoes, they should get into pan along with the aubergine/brocolli. Then let it cook for a while – let the veggies burn a bit, do not cook them on water or in steam. Finally, add some salt, pepper, and the brave ones can go with garlic as well. If you want more complex taste, add paesto rosso instead of oil at the beginning.

To finish it off, chop the cherry tomatoes into circles (or just into a half – depend on the size of your cherry tomatoes) and add mozzarella cut into smaller cubes. It is important not to cook it after you add mozzarella – cooled off melted mozzarella is like a chewing gum, so do not overheat it by cooking.

You can eat it with rice or cook some pasta (maybe?). I would recommend overbaked bread with olive oil and some salt. You do not need an oven for it – just throw it onto a pan!  Whatever works for you.

Bon appetite.

Food and Architects

I have been running this page for almost two months now and I think it is time to get to some delicious posts as well. If there is anything I enjoy more than running and architecture, it would be food. First thing to say, I am not vegetarian, neither am I vegan. However, I barely cook meat – I occasionally would prepare chicken but as my friends in Egypt would put it, that does not count into ‘meat’ 🙂 !

I have never been eating much pasta or pizza as child either. I have been in 5th or 6th grade – I guess, when I have tasted the pizza for a first time and I still remember it! You should not feel sorry for me because slovak kitchen is very rich and very unique, plus my mom is the best cook ever (sorry grandma). We used to have plenty of pot-food as my brother calls it, e.g. cabbage pot. Although, I have always been more keen on the sweet dishes. My favourite would be rice soufflé with cherries. Unfortunatelly, any attempts to recreate it on my own have failed so far..

When I started college five years ago, I have been forced to learn how to cook as the food in our cafeteria is not vey delicious. On their behalf, some of my friends would eat there and not say a single bad word about their food, so I guess it is personal. Nevertheless, I could not survive five years on pancakes – even though, I have tried at least for the first semester. So you could say, I have took up cooking out of misery. Yet, I have discovered that it is very popular among architecture students and I have grown fond of it as well very soon. Cooking a dinner with my dearest friends would be my ideal evening. What is more, I have never been on a date in a restaurant – the guys would usually cook for me – three or four courses for a dinner, phew! If you are ladies interested in a man who cooks, just date an architect. They are very foody! They usually read recepies as a sort of input (what is possible) instead of getting instructions, so the flavours are quite unique and your chances of recreating them are rather low. All in all, it never gets boring in architect’s kitchen :).

Only 33.5% of water

It has become a ritual for me to step on the scale each morning. I have been worried about that number for a long time (and I still do). I was quite naive, thinking it is not such a big deal. I saw myself in mirror and I knew, I am not going to work as laundrette model anyway. However, it is not a single number anymore. Since I have got the electronic scale (yes, I used the analog one before!) with few more functions, I use it in a full range of its possibilities now. I will not try to explain how it works but the bottom line is, it can tell you the percentage of fat, muscles and water in your body. I would normally by interested only in the first number. However, the most alarming one is the percentage of water in my body!

I have remembered reading a number about 70% in my biology coursebook! So, I went to do some research and damage control. An article at Wikipedia [Body water] presents an average for women at 48 +/-6%. So, my 33% would still be only 3/4 of the lowest value and despite the fact that I am not a doctor, I can still see how alarmingly low this number is! I have also read that the fat (or they call it adipose) tissue is built only out of 10%, while muscles consist up to 75% of water. So, the more fat you have compared to muscles, the lower number of water would comes out in the end. The fastest way to increase water amount would be dropping the fat percentage and I would, if it were so easy. Believe me, I would be happy to do so right away!

Nevertheless, looking at the poor result, I have evaluated my daily water consumption. I used to drink only about 1-2 Liter water a day back then. So, I have forced myself to drink more. I have been struggling a lot to drink 5 × 0.6 Liter of water to get in at least 3 Lit daily. It would be easier in the summer time, on very hot days I was able to drink up to 5 Lit! However, as soon as the weather cooled down in autumn, I went down to 3 Lit again. I have noticed a slight increase over the past months and I am now constantly at 33,5% – compared to 31 – 32% I used to be last winter. 1.5% is not a victory in any way. However, I can tell when I feel thirsty and when I am being really hungry, which is a great outcome! Furthermore, water has become my new snack and as a result, the fat percentage has dropped. 🙂

All in all, if you are chubby and have an isolating layer of EnEV 2015, there is no way you are doing it right and your whole body suffers. It is not at all about fitting into 36 in your favourite store, neither is it about carrying the extra baggage with you all the time. It it about my health and I have realised how serious the situation has become – even though, I have only few extra kilos.

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