Kale Salad with Roasted Beets, Dates and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

I love that feeling when something new and exciting happens in your life. I absolutely LIVE for that feeling. So in the past few months I have gotten to experience some new and exciting changes in my life – and it all has to do with food.

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I think it is really important to take a moment sometimes to stop what you are doing, just step back and assess your life at that moment. It is good to ask questions like – do you feel good about yourself every day? are you being fulfilled? are you holding yourself back in anyway? are you depriving your body and mind with the proper nutrition and tools for long-lasting health and happiness?

As much as I had been improving my way of life little by little this past year, I was still disappointed when I realized that the answers to these questions were not the right answers at all. I knew that I had to do something, something even drastic in my life to ensure that the next time I try to answer these questions the right answers will come up!

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So a big thing that I did was finally cut out sugar. I had been cutting out wheat/gluten and dairy for the past year now and I have definitely noticed the positive effects that has had on my body! No more stomach aches from drinking too much milk or eating all that yogurt. And, to my biggest surprise, no more unfortunate bowel movements now that the bread/pasta/gluten is gone! Sorry yes this just got personal but it’s important that we all talk about this stuff. I feel like by not talking about how my digestive system wasn’t working properly this whole time because I was too embarrassed to mention it, put me in a lot of misery these past few years (my whole life really) and I wish I would have remedied it sooner. But better now than later I guess!

Cutting out sugar really helped me with my mood and even more importantly my headaches! I realize that before it was almost NORMAL for me to carry around Advil in my purse and have it next to my bed at all times. I would pop one of them a few times a week because I would get headaches. Well folks it was because of all that SUGAR!
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Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil

So I am sitting here watching Wheel of Fortune while I’m waiting for my friend to come over so we can watch the best show on television right now at 8pm ET.

Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil
I am not even sure I can admit what I am about to watch in 15 minutes. It is something that 3 months ago I would have never thought I would be this invested let alone watch. If you haven’t guessed it yet, then I might as well tell you it is the season finale of The Bachelor.

I was that non-believer only a mere 3 months ago who made fun of my friends while they told me how hot the guys were on the The Bachelorette and how they were on Team Becca of Team Whitney or whatever. I told myself there is absolutely NO WAY I am going to watch this show or let my friends convince me to watch it. NO WAY.

Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil Turnip and Beet Chips with Thyme and Truffle Oil
Well as you now know, that all went down the toilet bowl. Cause here I am sitting with some cheddar popcorn and store-bought gluten-free cookies all ready, anxiously waiting for my friend to get here so we can start watching this dang thing.

Cause even though I am shamefully watching this show, my inner cynic is actually still enjoying this. Cause I mean c’mon how can a man be in love with two different women at the SAME time, AND and with whom he has only known for 2 months? I can’t help but feel that underneath it all, this is still a classic case of narcissism. Am I the only one thinking this? Maybe I still need a few more years of #bachelornation to soften me up.

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Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing

Hello noodle bowls! If anyone has come and stayed with me in the past few months, noodle bowls were most likely what they were made to eat on a daily basis. Sorry.

Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing Maple Tofu Noodle Bowls with Peanut Ginger Dressing
Never mind, totally not sorry! Noodle bowls have just become my all time favorite meal in 2016. It all started with this rice noodle salad and then from there on me and noodles bowls were fast friends.

Not only are they SUPER easy to make (once you’ve made brown rice noodles, regular pasta seems like it takes an eternity to cook) but they are so wholesome and replenishing. In the countless times I have eaten this meal, I always feel so fulfilled afterwards and more importantly my stomach (hey Gertrude) is happy. And lately that has been my top priority!

It is really awesome when you come home from a long day at work and you are actually all giddy and excited about what you are going to eat that night. We all should be looking forward to our next meals not because we are hungry but because we become better and happier people when we eat it. It is amazing how good, wholesome and nutritious food has that effect on you! Seriously whenever I have a doughnut now I become pretty grumpy for the rest of that day!

Is there that one meal that you absolutely love and always look forward to eating? Is it junk food or to your surprise, is the meal healthy with whole ingredients?

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Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes

I am totally on board with this whole savory pancake thing. The idea that I can still feel like I’m having pancakes at any time of the day is just an awesome feeling!

Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes
And when they are piled up high like that it really does feel like you are eating pancakes when in all seriousness these are more likely termed fritters or latkes to most people. But I’d rather call them pancakes!

Cumin is another ingredient that I wasn’t very familiar with. I took the opportunity to explore this spice with the inception of my New Year’s resolution of going out of my comfort zone picking out ingredients I have never tried out before. And hey, my resolution is still going strong! I might have found the one that actually sticks.

Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes Cumin Sweet Potato Cornmeal Pancakes
Turns out I love this Indian spice. It still gives the same taste profiles and color of the food from the East, yet I don’t find my mouth burning and needing a gallon of water nearby to chug after every bite. I know it sucks I am a total wimp when it comes to spicy food, I must have inherited a ‘recessive taste bud’ gene or something.

But once again I am so happy I sought to incorporate cumin into my food and perhaps keep it in a permanent place on my spice rack instead of hidden somewhere deep in my cupboard not knowing what in the hell to do with it.

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Balsamic and Honey Roasted Root Vegetables

One of my new years resolutions this year is to go out of my comfort zone and use ingredients I had never cooked with before. Just walk into the supermarket and grab something you don’t recognize, no questions asked.

This is especially important for seasonal vegetables that only make an appearance in my store for a month or so and then just disappear. And I am always hesitant and I don’t know why!

The other day I was at the supermarket, I saw a vegetable that was the almost looked like John C. Reilly’s head. It was even the size of John C. Reilly’s head. I was like what in the world is this and how the hell did it even come out of the ground?

I ended up asking the people who worked there and it even took them a while to give me an answer. Sadly I don’t remember what it was called and of course I haven’t seen it sense because I bet other people were just as curious as me and snatched one up before they were gone.

I have yet to see John C. Reilly’s vegetable like head anywhere else. Disclaimer: IF YOU have seen this at your store (or have any idea what I could be talking about, I know my description is pretty meager) let me know.

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Rice Noodle Salad with Lime Tahini Dressing

Sadly the holidays are already over. At least for me, cause I’m already back at work! But then I have to deal with the holiday-travel-craziness AGAIN because I’m going out of town for New Years. Girl can’t catch a break.

But seriously DON’T get me started on how seriously angry my tummy is (yep Gertrude has a bit of a temper). Well it’s too late cause I’m gonna tell you.

I totally gave in and ate so many sweets for Christmas. There was this chocolate rugelach that was just indescribably good and we always have to have baumkuchen which is just a German family tradition, so I was munching on that for days. I had to retire early a few nights with my trusty heating pad set to ‘ultra high’ while it was wrapped around my abdomen. Clearly during the holidays you don’t think straight.

So I seriously have to do a little detoxing. And I know everyone says that after the holidays mostly because of fear of weight gain and also to just clear your conscious, but what about giving your stomach a break before you wreck havoc on it again for New Years? Stomachs do a lot of work and sometimes I don’t appreciate mine as much

So ladies and gentlemen let me present to you this fine and delectable dish! This is literally my soul food. It is quite simple yet utterly delicious that it will make you smile, well at least it does for me so that’s proof enough, right? It is one of the dishes on here that I make allllll the time and it’s just so darn easy to make.

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French Onion Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread) Sliders

Sometimes you have to take your favorite thing to eat and bring it to the next level. And I’m talking the let’s put all the things we love into a cheesy gooey and delicious bun sort of level.

Let’s first talk about pão de queijo. I absolutely adore those golden brown cheesy and chewy bites. I was fortunate enough to live in Brazil for a few years as a kid and I would always spend my allowance money at the padaria and get myself a pão de queijo. I was always so happy to bite into that soft and gooey center! We all have our own wonderful childhood memories of gustatory bliss.

But really when I do think of my time in Brazil I always think of pão de queijo. I was definitely bummed out when I returned to Germany and I had no idea how to fulfill my pão de queijo fix. Whenever I went to a new city, I had to inspect the designated ‘Brazilian’ part of town and search for that unknown Brazilian baker who had pão de queijo on their menu.

It was tricky and it became so rare to eat them that they were a luxury to me. Until I finally grew up into the independent and responsible adult I am today and suddenly realized why suffer when I can just make them myself!

How is it that I adored these delightful cheesy bread buns for all these years without even having a clue how they are made and what they are made of? Oh, Linda.

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Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

I am very much in love with gratins. When I first realized gratins exist and that I could actually make them at home instead of going to some fancy French restaurant, I was a very happy little lass.

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
So now it’s one of those dishes I make a lot now and have a lot of fun cooking as well. Certain recipes are very therapeutic as they take a little longer to make but not too long where you are breaking your back in the kitchen. And also putting together all the beautiful ingredients to make something even more wonderful is really rewarding and bittersweet in the end.

Usually when I make gratins, I jam pack them with a decadent cheesy sauce (like my beloved gruyere potatoes au gratin, you are so delicious my friend). But lately I have realized that dairy is doing nasty things to my stomach and I thought it was time to give my gratin a makeover.

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Brussel Sprouts and Bacon Gratin with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce
And thank the universe for cauliflower! You wonderfully white cruciferous vegetable. Oh how you have made my life so much easier! I can still enjoy my creamy vegetables and not feel the pains of my stomach playing a symphony of embarrassing gurgles and growls!

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Turmeric Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Smoky Tahini Dip

Well it’s about time that I discovered what tahini was. I was always so confused. Is it salty? Is it sweet? Is it nutty, creamy or bitter? It seems that tahini is literally ALL of these things.

Turmeric Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Smoky Tahini Dip | The Baker Who Kerns Turmeric Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Smoky Tahini Dip | The Baker Who Kerns
But when I tasted a drop of tahini from the jar I felt it lived up to the reputation. I knew I had to find a way to incorporate tahini in my life. Especially since I was getting a little tired of mayonnaise and ketchup for dip (which really made my stomach turn eventually).

I have been eating sweet potatoes like way too much lately. I look a little silly sitting in front of the sweet potatoes at the supermarket ardently engaged in my quest to find the perfect sweet potato.

Turmeric Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Smoky Tahini Dip | The Baker Who Kerns Turmeric Baked Sweet Potato Wedges with Smoky Tahini Dip | The Baker Who Kerns
Sometimes I buy them when I already have a handful at home. Sometimes I just throw a sweet potato in the oven even if I don’t want one, just for the sake that I might be hungry for it hours later.

And I usually am ALWAYS hungry for one at some point. I am quite addicted. But sometimes I’m surprised I haven’t had a terrible accident after cutting up so many unusually large sweet potatoes. Those are tricky (kisses my un-maimed fingers).

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Zucchini Noodles with Beet Pesto and Sausage


My stomach has been really cranky lately. I don’t know what is going on with Gertrude (my stomach’s name?). She has been really fussy and sometimes I feel like she’s an old aunt nagging me.

Basically I just simply can’t handle certain foods anymore. I don’t want to get into the complicated (and rather unpleasant) subject on digestion but I just have to accept that my stomach is not the same as it used to be (and eating a bag of starbursts at a sleepover in middle school are days long gone).

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So I have given up and started listening to Gertrude (I know it’s weird naming my stomach but I feel our recent involvement has now resulted in a first-name basis). I am learning to eat food that my body really wants rather than what my mind wants. And I am really trying to bridge that gap between mind and body so that they can live harmoniously.

Somedays of course you want your spaghetti in a box from the supermarket or you pass by the frozen section and there is your favorite mushroom pizza all perfectly and sneakily prepared for your convenience. But I’m now learning that somedays you want food that nourishes you, food that is fresh and food that gives your body energy and doesn’t leave you bloated and binge watching How To Get Away With Murder on a Friday night.

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