If you have followed my blog a little longer, you may know that I have a habit to name things that mean a lot to me, and may have already become acquainted with my grand piano and my blender.

Now the family has grown. Say hello to Leopold, the little toast oven!

~ hello ~

Leopold is the present I gave myself for Easter this year. (In the case of doubt, I always end up with some kind of kitchen stuff, but that is another story.) Now you may wonder, “Why this? She already has an oven, no?”

You would be right with this: For the first time in years, I have the pleasure to have a kitchen with a real oven, and I have already used it a few times. However, now comes the “but” part: It takes at least 60 minutes to make something in this oven (20 minutes for preheating and then 40 minutes or longer for getting the food done). This is hard for somebody who lacks patience in the presence of hunger, and it also does not reflect what I think of as environmental friendliness. I can get a stir fry ready in my skillet within 15 minutes, so I really see no point in why I should use the oven if it needs four times as long.

On the other hand, I like roasted foods, and missed the opportunity to easily reheat something without having to use pots and pans (and wash them afterwards) every time. This is where Leopold enters the stage.

His outstanding virtue is that he is small, so he starts heating immediately. (He is big enough for making a pizza, muffins, or a pie, though – things I can imagine to make in the time to come, in compatible versions.) And roasting with him is simple and not hard on the dishes: I only have to put everything into a small oven dish and can eat it out of that when it is ready – not pans or pots to clean, no spilling over while cooking and leaving the hearth in a mess.

The first prove of Leopold’s abilities was this roasted vegetable happiness: kabocha, onions, and leek, seasoned with lots of pepper and tarragon. Leopold got this ready in less than 20 minutes.

~ topped with leftover chicken and shichimi spice, this made a lovely lunch ~

For comparison: The last time I made roasted squash in the big oven, it took almost an hour.

Admittedly, the squash did not get so crispy this time, but this was due to the fact that I covered it with a layer of onions and leek. (The onions and leek got perfectly crispy.) So, next time, it will be kabocha alone, and maybe 5 minutes more roasting. Leopold: 1, big oven: 0.

What else did I do on the Easter weekend, next to becoming friends with Leopold, continuing to recover from her (nasty ) cold, playing the piano, and moving thoughts in her head?

I started to replay Final Fantasy VI, one of my favorite role playing games, on my mom’s old PlayStation she gave to me.

I worked on my diploma thesis, currently on a method chapter about exploratory factor analysis, which means reading methodological articles and writing the whole stuff together. This is a little challenging because I am a psychologist, not a mathematician, and I could not do a mathematical proof like the one below myself, but at least I can understand what is done there because in the end it is all logic. So, no need to be afraid of methods.

~ algebra, anybody? ~

I made large amounts of throw-in-whatever-you-have vegetable stock for drinking during the day.

I dug out dandelions which have been shooting out everywhere among the cobblestones in the courtyard since it has gotten warmer. My landlady asked me to remove them until Tuesday, and I have already filled a whole bag with dandelions the other day, but they like to come back overnight. Quite the Sisyphus work.

~ here we are again! ~

I made oat bran. Yes, I did, twice! You see, every once in a while, the lovely HEAB makes a post in which she mentions her love for pure, simple oat bran. I am very much for simple eating, and the idea of oatmeal has been intriguing for me for a while now, although there have been a few obstacles so far.

Rolled oats, unfortunately, tend to upset my blood sugar levels.
I miss my veggies.
It always becomes such a tiny, tiny amount. (I could of course cook a bigger serving, but that would mean a heavy carb-load and even worse with regard to blood sugar levels.)

So, it was time to try oat bran which is often said to be more satisfying. And, friends, it is! To fix the veggie and volume problems, I added a generous amount of shredded carrots. The result was a big bowl of yumminess.

~ this picture was taken before digging out the dandelions ~

Today, I made it again, but this time I also added protein powder for more satiety. It gets even creamier then, like this.

It was satisfying, and due to the carrots, it tasted almost sweet. However, since I eat a carb-reduced diet, I used a rather small amount of oat bran. You can easily make a bigger amount with a little more water. Also, feel free to add your favorite toppings – fruit, almond or peanut butter, Greek yoghurt, or whatever you like.

Voluminous Carrot Protein Oat Bran Porridge

1 serving


250 ml (1 cup) water
2 large carrots, peeled and shredded
40 g (1 1/2 oz) oat bran
2 tbsp protein powder (I used rice protein powder)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


In a pot, bring water to boil. Add carrots, oat bran, and protein powder while stirring constantly, then cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy.

I hope all of you have enjoyed a happy Easter weekend! I am off for taking care of a few more dandelions now …

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