Vietnamese Shrimp Roll Salad

My favorite restaurant in the world is this little Vietnamese place called Lang Van in Charlotte, North Carolina. My family goes there to celebrate every graduation, birthday, anniversary, going-away or return home – basically any excuse we can think of to eat there. Every houseguest of ours will be brought there for at least one meal of their stay. The manager and head waitress, who has the mind of a steel trap, always warmly welcomes us before spouting off our usual order without blinking an eye.
The food there is incredible. Their tofu so good that my Grandpa Henry, a self-proclaimed tofu-hater, asked use to pass him seconds of “that chicken dish.” We didn't let him hear the end of that for a while. But I digress: Two of our favorites on the menu are fresh shrimp spring rolls and a spring roll salad. Both of them are just so ridiculously refreshing and delicious. The best part is that no matter how much of them you eat, you never get that disgusting greasy, bloated feeling of immediately regret that we know so well from Chinese food. This recipe is my best attempt to bring those dishes into my home and hopefully yours. 


6 Summer Salads

I still don't have summer weather in Germany, but back home in Charlotte, North Carolina, it's already in full swing. So I thought I'd make a compilation of my favorite summer salads! Light, crunchy and fresh simply translates to the perfect summer meal. The great thing about all these salads is that they will leave you full. While low on calories, they all are packed with protein, fiber and tons of vitamins and minerals so you can feel great about what you eat. When recipes are fast, delicious and healthy, you know you've won!


Banana-Walnut Breakfast Muffins

I’m fairly boring when it comes to breakfast. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s all about maximizing sleeping time. This typically leaves me grabbing the same thing day in and day out before I run out the door in the morning. My go-to fuel is usually cottage cheese with granola or oats and berries. But I decided to venue out and bake some muffins.

I’m not sure why I haven’t come around to this idea sooner. No sleep is lost, because the baking can happen the night before. Then BAM you’re set for a few days. OK maybe two to three days, because let’s be honest, it’s impossible not to eat like two immediately. My generally rule: One taste test per batch… I mean it’s quality control. Not to do so would just be irresponsible. Plus, it’s always fun to bringing treats into work and brighten someone’s days.

And these muffins are sure to get you off to a good start. I used applesauce instead of butter or oil, but I don’t miss it in the least. The walnuts and egg yolk add a bit of healthy fat and protein. By mixing wheat and all-purpose flour, you get a bit of roughage without it being like a bran muffin.

My favorite way to eat them is with cream cheese and honey or just a slab of butter. Next time, I think I’m going to add some blueberries and see what happens.


Swedish Oatmeal Cookies

These delicate cookies are like delightful little snowflakes.

They just melt in your mouth. Crispy edges. Chewy, sweet, buttery oatmeal. A hint of salt. Heaven. They are the perfect something to have alongside a hot cup of tea or coffee.
I only discovered them this last Christmas when my beloved Gramy baked them for us. Somehow, enough among the dozens of other cookies covering out kitchen counters, these managed to stand out. What set them apart was their delicate texture and size. They are so petite, so light that you don’t feel guilty for indulging, nor do you need to. No really, there are less than 2,000 calories in the whole batch. With just a ½ tsp. of batter going into each cookie, they are only around 30 calories pre pop. One chocolate chip cookie has about triple that! 


Asparagus Soup with Parmesan & Ham

Now that spring is here, the Germans are going crazy about two things: ice cream and asparagus. And who can blame them. The lines at the ice dealers (“Eisdealers” aka ice cream shops) literally wrap around the corner any given afternoon. As for asparagus, not only are the shelves of any respectable supermarket always stocked with both the white and green variety, other food items are adorned with pictures of asparagus to remind you that this wine and that ham pair ever so perfectly with the healthy stalks.
So after seeing asparagus in some form or another on the cover of just about every magazines at the grocery checkout lane, I decided it was time. Asparagus soup was in order. I was beyond pleased with the results. Not to mention it was a snap to make.
The other great thing about asparagus is that despite how low it is in calories (only 40 per cup), it’s packed with nutrition and a decent dose of fiber. It’s high in vitamin A (vision and skin and cellular health) and K (strong bones), potassium, folate and B vitamins. The rutin in it helps protect blood vessels and  the flavonoid quercetin has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.


Lemon Shrimp Pasta with Artichokes & Capers

So it's been a while. I promise I've been eating, but getting around to posting everything has been a struggle. Allergy season hit in full force when winter abruptly ended and gave way to beautiful summery temperatures. You'd think after the eternal winter, I could shut up and be grateful, but everything that can bloom did. All at once. Oo the pollen. The pain. And since life likes to hit you when you're down, I promptly got a cold that has left me emptying boxes upon boxes of tissue for the last week. Today, I have finally gathered the strength to catch up on the blog.
This recipe is one I made to celebrate our first meal on the balcony. My mom used to make it, but I tweaked a few things. It's fresh, summery and fast. You only need about 25 minutes. Rachel Ray would be proud.