Successful Adulting

As of last week, I feel like I have finally learned a little more about “adulting,” in small quantities at least. I didn’t write my usual weekly post last week, mostly because nothing at all happened that could have made for interesting reading. My job is *eh* fun, but I can’t write about the different compensation packages and analyses that I get to do *sigh*. So last week, I went a little out of my comfort zone in figuring out ways to spice up my life (and to get out of the SAD bubble). Note: Seasonal Affective Disorder = SAD

Bildschirmfoto 2016-03-06 um 21.51.00Cooking is actually awesome, and whenever I do it – it feels very adult. I realize that most people cook more complex dishes than I usually opt for, but last week I took baby steps out of my comfort zone of baked sweet potato + veggie combo and made the ultimate dish: Shakshuka. The recipe I slightly adapted from the NY Times Recipe to be a smaller dish for single servings. In making that dish, I also remembered that garlic is probably the best and most addictive ingredient that I have ever cooked with. Seriously, it makes every dish pop (and since I bought garlic cloves… I’ve used it in every home-cooked meal since). I also made another recipe earlier today actually for dinner with a veggie burger and assorted vegetables… you’ll see that below. And (I know it’s getting cooking crazy but bear with me) I finally accomplished a life goal of mine: I made my own salsa.

Queue cheers and applause.

Processed with VSCOcam with q7 presetBeing an American living in Germany, the first thing I realized was that Germans don’t really know how to do salsa or Mexican (or Tex-mex for that matter) flavors. But I’ve endured without it since coming because I didn’t really see salsa as an important part of my diet. That was incorrect. The second I tasted the salsa I made, I remembered how I like putting it on legitimately every savory dish that I cook. I’ve added that recipe below too. Also a slight note… My cooking style per say is not the most exact. Most of the time, I just wing it and add amounts that seem like they would work. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a nice change from just following a recipe.

18760008So otherwise from a week full of cooking and fun new recipes, I got back into reading a bit. After a recommendation from a friend, I picked up some erotic romance novels which are not usually my vibe. Maybe it was that I hadn’t read a book in a week or so, or maybe it was just that I am that deprived – but it was the most fun I’ve reading in a while. Yeah, the writing wasn’t great and the plot wasn’t fantastic – but it was just really fun. I read a whole series called The Boss by Lexy Timms, and then the first book in another series called, The Boss by Abigail Barnette. Currently, I’m reading a book called Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, and as you can imagine – it’s absolutely hilarious. Makes for a nice change from the heavy American biographies that I’ve attached myself too lately.

Processed with VSCOcam with q1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with q1 preset

Other than that? I walked my commute on Saturday to see how long a 45 minute train ride could take while walking. The answer is…. 2.5 hours. But it was an enjoyable gray as per usual day, and a good way to get some exercise in when I just did not want to visit the gym. And speaking of the gray weather. Have you heard of the SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder? Because I have, and I’m pretty sure I have it. I didn’t look it up on WebMD, but considering that the symptoms are sleeping a lot, sighing deeply and being exhausted/depressed – I think I can diagnose myself. Cooking and reading will be ways out of it, and maybe yoga and the gym (which I have been especially lazy about this week…) – but other than that sad trumpet note to end this post, my week was overall… pretty fantastic. How was yours?

Oh and here are my recipes for homemade salsa, shakshuka, and tasty veggie burgers 🙂 Enjoy!

Processed with VSCOcam with q4 presetOriginal Salsa

  • 5 (or more) Tomatillos
  • 3 (or more) tomatoes
  • 1 red onion (or not)
  • 1 (or more) chilis
  • Cilantro and Salt and Pepper

The thing about salsa is that it’s really your own. These are the ingredients that I chose to get, but ultimately I used around 7 tomatillos and only 2 tomatoes and actually no red onion at all. I also heavily seasoned with cilantro. The gist of it is just to add all the ingredients together (using a blender if you are lucky enough to have one), chopping everything very as coarse or as fine as you like. It’s always going to be tasty. Also top tip from a first-time salsa-er: if you are feeling not too confident about your seasoning – add some salsa that you like already to give it some solid flavors. I added salsa verde to mine, and I don’t know if it made it better or worse… but damn, it’s tasty.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetShakshuka 

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion and 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • cumin, paprika, fresh cilantro, and cayenne to taste
  • 1 can whole tomatoes with juices
  • feta cheese
  • 3 eggs

-Start off by chopping up the garlic, onion and bell pepper – and cook them slowly over low heat with the olive oil until tender (mine took around 15 minutes) *Also preheat your oven at 375

-Then add the spices (minus fresh cilantro) and mix that around – and THEN add the tomatoes coarsely chopped with as much

-Salt and pepper as you want. At this point, I deviated and added quite a lot of hot sauce so feel free to do that as well. Wait 10 minutes for it to thicken, and add the feta *yum*

-Crack the eggs over the tomatoes and season as you like, and then throw the skillet in the oven until the eggs are set (7-10 minutes) – sprinkle cilantro and potentially more salsa and eat it all.

Processed with VSCOcam with k1 preset
Processed with VSCOcam with k1 preset

Veggie Burgers Galore!

  • Veggie Burger of your choice
  • half a red onion
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Garlic (1 clove)
  • Topping of your choice (I went with salsa and cilantro)

-Take some olive oil and slowly cook the red onion, celery and garlic (5-7 minutes)

-Add spinach until it is cooked to your liking (3-5 minutes)

-Add the veggie burger, add whatever you want (Of course I added more salsa and hot sauce)

-Throw it onto a place with coarsely chopped tomatoes and enjoy


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Heather says:

    I agree with your sentiments completely about garlic. If a recipe says one clove, I add two. I love that stuff.

    1. Gabriella says:

      I can’t believe I didn’t cook with it until now- it’s life changing – best shift in my cooking style EVER

  2. Linda says:

    I definitely know what SAD is, and it sounds like you have it. Why do you have think we moved to the sunny Tucson area. I bought one of those SAD therapy lights, but it didn’t help. The only thing that worked was exercise. And, as you know, it’s hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re SAD. Hang in there and wish for a warm, sunny spring.

    1. Gabriella says:

      It’s so frustrating! I’ve never felt so apathetic! I just need it to be sunny sigh, it would help loads if Berlin wasn’t so gray. And agreed -.- Motivating yourself to exercise when it’s dark before I leave my apartment and when I come back is not conducive to solid life routines

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