Monday, June 22, 2015

Hey guys, it's Aya. I've been a bit distant from the blog due to a bunch of life happenings, which I wanted to address in this blog post today. Even though this blog is mainly focused on food, there is an actual person behind it, writing all the words and creating content. I thought it was only fair to clue you guys in.

I initially started writing this blog as a creative outlet to post what kind of food I had been enjoying whilst living on my own in another country. The experience of settling into Berlin was daunting but this blog made it fun and it was an excuse for me to constantly cook and try new things. Unfortunately in real life, it wasn't that easy. New experiences were scary and I was avoiding them constantly. It wasn't like trying out a new dish that turned out to be a flop, because when that happens, you just chuck it out and make adjustments for the next go-round. Failing at real life things meant accepting consequences and taking a longer time to deal with them.

These past few years in Berlin have been a whirlwind experience and along the way I realized that I'm definitely not perfect, despite what wish I have to be and how hard I push myself to achieve this image. I also know that I am way too concerned with pleasing others and use up a lot of energy trying to do so. A combination of these things have hindered me (way before I even moved) from stepping out of my comfort zone to try new things that I actually wanted, not just things that I was okay with doing because I knew that I could already be good at them.

This year I decided I wanted to try my hand at attending university again. I've been talking about going back for so long, and 4 years flew by with me just telling myself I wasn't ready to do it yet. This year I applied. I applied for a spot in the Visual Communications department of the University of Art in Berlin. Yesterday I got the response.


I've been rejected.


I know I just built all this up as a "work hard, take chances, and you will be rewarded" type thing, but it's not always like that. Sometimes you take a chance, you try, and you still end up empty handed. And I'm actually okay with it.

Pretty much all my life I sat back waiting for things to happen for me and when I went for something, it was always just a few steps below the thing that I wanted. I was okay with a happy medium that I could achieve rather than a greater task I almost knew I would fail at.

If living abroad has taught me anything, it's that you should take chances anyway, no matter how hard you may fall. The pressure heightens sometimes because it seems you already took a chance by moving out of your nest, but if you don't continue to take chances and accept the outcome, good or bad, you won't ever learn. It's the same with relationships. Always stick to your guns and everything else that goes against it isn't part of the puzzle to begin with.

Finally, you might be wondering what my next step is. First of all, I haven't given up on the idea of becoming a university student. Rejection just means working on where I lacked this time so that I can improve the next time. Also don't worry, the blog will continue to be my creative outlet for cooking and eating. I guess it's a bit too soon to make drastic changes, but as time goes by, I'm sure I'll slowly find my way.

Food for Thought: Where I've Been

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm not gonna lie, I put this blog on the backburner. Let's be real for a second: how would you react if you yourself were a spectator to the slow decline of your foreign language skills not to mention your roommate is an unfinished portrait of Jesus that seems to just stare and judge you if you even think about having fun on the weekend?

Oh hi there, it's Aya, a drama queen and sometimes writer of this blog Healthy Appetite.


A lot of my mornings look like this recently. Mainly because I developed a serious[ly bad] habit of doing all my school work the morning of the day that it's due. Funnily enough, I had a conversation with a 10 year old who just stared at me and told me, verbatim "What's the problem? It's so easy. Just take 10 minutes after school, get a glass of water, and do it." I say funny because the answer is so simple that even a 10 year old could figure it out.


I also recently got incredibly sick, so I took a good amount of time slicing up fruit to make a fruit ombré, because you know, YOLO.

Do you guys know the book? Well here's the game version! I picked it up to better my German skills and to play with my friends. I actually shockingly won the first go-round because I am incredibly good at guessing and one question was about shopping (no, I'm not fulfilling a stereotype, I am merely enhancing it).

Oh, and breakfast? I'm pretty much obsessed with smoothies nowadays. I'm gearing towards less green ones and more dessert type ones because I've subconsciously cut back on baking and thus need to replace the sugar with smoothies (I'm an energizer bunny). Here's a quick recipe for a super energizing, naturally sweet, pick me up smoothie!



Vegan Vanana Smoothie
Serves 1

Ingredients
2 medium ripe bananas (the riper the sweeter)
1 in/2.5 cm piece of vanilla bean
4 medjool dates/6 deglet noor dates (you can soften them in hot water 30 minutes before if hard)
1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you desire)
ice (amount depends on the preferred thickness)

Place all ingredients into a blender (no need to scrape the pod for vanilla beans--just put the whole piece in) and run until smooth (a full minute or 2). Pour into a glass and enjoy looking at all the tiny little vanilla flecks in your smoothie.

Variations:
If you want to get creative, add 2 tbsp of carob powder for a slightly chocolatey flavor.
If you miss Christmas, add 1 tsp of cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg.
If you want to feel refreshed, add a few mint leaves to the blender and blend away!

Die deutsche Sprache and a smoothie

Monday, March 2, 2015

Yes, I did in fact hashtag my title. Actually, I used two hashtags which warrants each one of your eyes rolling into its socket. Hello, it's Aya, the writer of Healthy Appetite.

Before I begin this segment of my blog, I'd like to apologize for the lack of updates in the past few months. It's true, I've been a bit busy trying to get my life together (I'm talking like my life is in shambles--it's not). I've enrolled in German language courses to better my understanding of the language. Is it helping? I suppose. Do I understand German now? I'm going to counteract that question with, do Germans even understand their own language?

The one thing that's been getting me through this strange and hectic time of my life is breakfast. Since my classes normally start in the afternoon, I've been really into making breakfast that looks ultra fancy and instagram worthy. Let's be real--we eat with our eyes first. A breakfast full of color is a lot more appealing than just milk and cereal! So today, since I am sorely lacking a recipe post (I do have some coming!) you will have to take a peek into the kinda stuff I've been posting on Instagram.


Simplicity is best sometimes. Soy jogurt and a ripe persimmon can really hit the spot. If you haven't tried persimmons, I really recommend it. It's a pain in the butt sometimes to wait for it to ripen but then you are rewarded with orange lusciousness!


Fruit is natural energy waiting to be consumed! I always go full force with fruit in the mornings because I know I'm going to need it to fuel me until lunch rolls along. Get creative with the combination and topping. Here I added some homemade granola.


I'm pretty much a chia pudding addict. First of all, one serving (3 dry tablespoons or 28 grams) is already a third of the amount of fiber you need in a day. One serving also has 10% of your recommended daily protein and omega-3 fatty acids that promote brain health! That's pretty convincing, isn't it?
Chia seeds can soak up more than 10x their amount in liquid so it's best to consume as a pudding (recipes to come) or used sparingly and mixed in (I also use it in granolas and oatmeals).


Then when you have no time, you can spoon the pudding into a jar with your favorite fruits and nuts and you have a portable meal!


An oldie but a goodie: oatmeal. This is my apple cinnamon oatmeal that I posted in my tips and tricks about oatmeal post, just with an added grating of lemon. Guys, lemon literally takes foods to another level. I think I need to do a solo segment on lemon one day.


Just posted this the other day after taking too long organizing the fruit on my chia pudding. Decided to nix the glasses and go with a square bowl. Change is the spice of life people! Been filling my new notebook up with some casual pen work so this is how my mornings are looking like now.

Hope you guys enjoyed seeing the kinds of food I eat for breakfast. If you'd like to see more, you can follow me on instagram under the name burikkoxp! Until next time~

#instagram #breakfast

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Winter is definitely the oddball season in Berlin. I can never tell when it begins, how long it's going to last, and when it's finally over. I learned to deal with it over time, but once in a while when I am walking around in leggings and summer socks, I realize that a. I am insane, and b. I am freezing. So you understand why I still need a bit of work adjusting to this strange time that is Berlin Winter.

Well I've been a bit busy this Winter, mainly with school, partly because I'm actually a witch at Hogwarts and I have a lot of potions to catch up on, so of course I whipped this one up in a flash in my magic cauldron. Oh wait, you muggles call it a blender. Okay, well, whatever you call it, it's MAGIC. Seriously, this persimmon pudding has the consistency of a pudding without the gelatin (not even vegan gelatin-substitute agar agar). Just wholesome, good for you ingredients. Did I not say I was magical?

Persimmon Pudding
Serves 1

1 persimmon/kaki, ripe to the point of bursting (I used a medium sized Hachiya variety)
1 apple (medium size)
3 dates (I used deglet nour)
2 teaspoons flax seeds
5 walnut halves
1/3 cup water

Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth. If not thick enough, add more walnuts. If too thick (or your blender has difficulty blending), slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency is reached.

It's perfect for breakfast and super filling! Guten Appetit!


Persimmon Pudding (raw, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hello readers, sorry for the long absence! I've basically been busy being a really lame routine person, dedicating most of my time to working out, studying, and my cat. She's actually sleeping next to me right now and I keep pausing every few seconds to stare and pet her (can you understand how typing out one sentence can take forever here?)

So recently I had a craving for some sweet rolled buns. Of course, I love my classic cinnamon bun, but I was just too excited to use the walnuts we cracked for this year and well, chocolate. So say hello to these delicious babies! I also swapped out sugar with maple syrup, which not only gives a nice robust flavor but you get the added benefit of zinc and manganese. Enjoy!



Chocolate Date Walnut Rolls
Makes 16-18 rolls

Dough:
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup non-dairy milk
42 g cube fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons of dry yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut, sunflower, rapeseed)
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:
100 g chopped dairy-free bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
6 finely chopped dried deglet nour dates
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons maple syrup

Heat the non-dairy milk until warm to the touch. Add the yeast, warm water, and a touch of maple syrup. Stir until well combined and set aside.

Mix the flours and salt together. Add the oil and maple syrup and stir. Slowly mix in the yeast mixture, stirring in the meanwhile until everything is well combined and it forms a ball. Cover the bowl with a towel and either let sit in the fridge over night or in a warm place for 1.5 hours

Flour your surface and roll out the dough into a
1/2 cm thick 3:4 rectangle, the longer side facing you. Mix the maple syrup and oil and spread evenly on the dough, using the back of a spoon. Distribute the chocolate, walnuts, and dates over the surface, leaving about a 2 cm edge all around. Roll the dough upwards and pinch and tuck the ends in to complete your roll.

Divide the roll into 16-18 pieces, wetting the knife inbetween to get clean cuts. Distribute the rolls between two baking trays covered in baking paper. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 360ºF/180ºC for about 6 minutes. Bake the rolls for 25 minutes (if it gets darker faster, cover with a sheet of aluminum foil until the baking time is up). Take out and let it cool before taking off the tray. Guten Appetit!


Chocolate Date Walnut Rolls

Sunday, January 4, 2015



It is officially the first week of 2015 and mainly I've been lounging around the house. I've been sleeping in a lot lately and I feel like it's all due to the winter season: cold weather + warm bed = never want to get out. Same with the shower. You can imagine it takes centuries for me to get ready in the morning.

We've recently been blessed with some snow. I say blessed because last year we had none and I don't really consider it a proper winter without it! Decided to celebrate by making an igloo in the backyard!


Starting off with a good breakfast! Going for the oats with a fruit salad of kiwis, mangoes, and grapes. Also trying to cram in some German grammar.




While I was boiling water for tea to bring outside, Oli already started making the walls.




Oli making the walls stronger while I collect snow and take pictures.


Finished! Looks kind of like an egg on top but at least it allows for more head space!


We called Miku over to the house by bribing her with food . . .


It was pretty warm inside!


Cheers!

There's also something about chili on a chilly day (do you like my wordplay?) that puts me in a good mood. I mean, who doesn't like a bowl of warm, beany goodness? Here's my fool-proof recipe for chili that's super easy to make and satisfying.

A few notes:
  • I use black beans because they are a great source of protein and antioxidants. They also contain a higher amount of indigestible fraction which allows bacteria in the colon to produce butyric acid to keep it working properly. However if you don't have black beans, feel free to use another bean (kidney and azuki are good options)
  •  The vegetables used here are what I had. Feel free to use what you'd like though I do recommend keeping the onions and celery for a more familiar chili flavor.
  • The amount of cayenne here is not listed because it's all based on preference. I have a cayenne that is [to me] much stronger than others I've used so I only use a pinch of it for a whole pot. Always add less first and taste before adding any more!


Classic Vegan Chili
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 large stalk of celery, diced
1 x 15 oz. drained and rinsed can of black beans
1 x 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp ground cumin
cayenne (I use about 1/4 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium high heat. Add the garlic and onions and stir until the onions are tender and translucent. Add the celery and zucchini and stir for another 6-8 minutes.

Add the drained beans and diced tomatoes (including the juice) and bring everything to a boil before reducing the heat to medium low heat. Cover and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and add the cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir and let it stand for another 10 minutes so the liquid can further evaporate. Turn off the heat and serve as is or over rice. Garnish with fresh parsley or coriander/cilantro.

This dish tastes even better the next day and it's also great frozen. Make a double batch if you want to have a great meal waiting for you whenever you want.



Vegan Chilli and Building Igloos