Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm in love!

I am soo in love with my new cookbook 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson.

Here's what I have made while I have been ignoring you:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (soo damn good!)

Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea and Sweet Potato Stew

Sunset Fruit Pudding (oh, so good! Can you tell I have a sweet tooth!!) It's raw, too - just fruit.

The salad is Roasted Cauliflower and Rice Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette. And thanks to Brisvegan's quiche post I was inspired to try Isa's Broccoli Quiche. I actually found the recipe on the PPK website. I used a basic pie crust recipe from 1000 Vegan Recipes. And DAMN it was good! Will definitely make this for the vegan xmas potluck I'm going to next Saturday (although I will splash out and purchase a pie tin - all I had was a square one). I wanted to have a test run on it first. Amazing! I also thought I would take some sushi as a starter and some sort of dessert to the pot luck. I'd better do some test runs on some desserts! Just in case....

Friday night Tweenie asked if we could watch the sunrise on Saturday morning. So we got up bright and early the next morning and walked up the road to the park. Unfortunately it was quite cloudy out on the east side of the world(and wouldn't ya know it - clear everywhere else!!). The kids still enjoyed it and it fostered some great discussions about the earth's rotation and the role of the sun. We hope to do it again on a day not so cloudy, although it did make for cool pictures.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy

**slightly off track*** We all ate the sushi I made last night for lunch today and it was so so so good! The flavours worked so well together. And usually I am not a big fan of sushi, so that is saying something about how good it was! Just incase you forgot what it looked like...

For dinner tonight I tried the Stewed Tofu and Potatoes in Miso Gravy from Vegan with a Vengeance. Another success!

YM gave it 10 out of 10, Baby wanted to know why we weren't marking it out of 100 (and ended up giving it 100-out-of-100) and Tweenie gave it six-and-three-quarters! I rated it about 7 (which probably influenced Tweenie's scoring slightly!)

I went to work today and a few of the teachers had trouble recognising me with my hair cut short (and very curly!). I noticed the Principal kept on walking past the class where I was teaching and having a puzzled look on her face (sort of like she didn't know who I was!). Eventually she must have clicked, because she stopped in the door and asked why I was curly today. I told her that I was trying to embrace my curls after 35 years of self curl-hating.  She nodded a few times and as she turned to walk away she quietly said 'It looks nice' as an afterthought. Not convinced. I've had that most of my life. I get the feeling a lot of people find curly hair messy and unruly.
At lunch time another teacher in the staff room said 'Wow, you've cut off all your hair and permed it.' I get this all the time too!!! People ALWAYS think my hair is permed (my question - who would PAY for a bad 80's perm???).
So you can see with reactions like this, it is not hard to understand why I have hated my curls most of my life. But a few weeks ago, I decided to ignore what people say and learn to love my curls. I'm actually pretty happy with my curls - they are becoming very well defined. I now need to find a magic potion to help my hair grow faster! (BTW - for anyone interested- I have started using the product 'Jessicurls' from USA. They have been stocked in Petra shops but unfortunately they are choosing not to stock it anymore :( It is not tested on animals and it is Vegan!) I have found some amazing websites that have enlightened me about how to maintain curls. I still have a little bit left on the ends of the dead chemical straightened part of my hair, so I will need to cut it again in a few months to be totally back to all mine.

Going a little curly...


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas is just around the corner...

With christmas gaining on us all very fast, we decided to put up the tree. We had planned to put it up a couple of weeks ago when mum was here but it didn't happen. The kids completed it by themselves with a jittery excitement.

I took a photo of the ornaments that we put on the tree. All of them have been collected in the last 18 months from different locations and have significant meaning to us. All of the other 'crap' ornaments are going to the op shop so we only have ones that are important and evoke wonderful memories.

From the back - Bagpiper from Scotland, Santa from Rome, tin santa and reindeer from London, soft santa with eiffel tower from Paris, Kiwi Santa and Reindeer from NZ (Popeye bought me this when he was working through NZ)
Second row- Bagpipe santa and scottish snowman from Edinburgh, parachuting santa from Tasmania, kiwi santa and chimney from NZ (Popeye, again), gold angel from Kensington Palace, London
Front row - Eiffel tower bauble from Paris, Santa, teddy and xmas tree bauble from Rome, Sydney Opera House from Sydney, santa and Eiffel tower from Paris, pink bauble from Paris.

We always put a few candy canes on our tree and have fun eating them in the days leading up to christmas. The kids wrote out a wish list for santa, so hopefully he has a bit more of an idea of what to get them!

Changing the subject...Last week YM was asking for sushi for lunch, but I put him off until after the wedding. So today I decided to grant his wish. I knew I didn't really need a recipe but I wanted to use my new cookbook - 1000 Vegan Recipes. The sushi I made had avocado, baked tofu, asparagus and grated carrot.

For dinner I made Snobby Joes from the PPK website. Isa's recipe asks for 3 tablespoons of chilli!!! Even a comment was posted about it possibly being a typo, but Isa said it wasn't. I'm not sure what type of chilli powder they have in the USA, but that is WAY too much chilli for my family! I only used 1 teaspoon and it gave a nice mild taste but the kids still needed a cold drink of water next to them! Occasionally one of them would fan their open mouths and pant to ease the heat! I would keep it to 1t next time as well.

I also made some oat-maple-walnut biscuits from my new book. That's lunch snacks sorted for the week - if I can keep my little mitts out of the container!

31 days til Christmas, 25 days til Popeye is home!


Monday, November 23, 2009

Leshani and Josh's Wedding

The happy couple

I had a wonderful time in Perth. The wedding was beautiful (with a little bit of quiet controversy, as all good weddings have!). Shani looked gorgeous, and Josh a little nervous!

After all the formalities had occurred, we were directed out the back of the lodge for drinks and nibblies. I asked one of the waitresses if there was anything vegan (Shani had assured me that I was going to be catered for). She didn't come back for about another hour and a half - just before dinner started. She said 'Did you ask me for vegan food? The chef doesn't know anything about it! She was told there were vegetarians, but not vegan. She has vegetarian food prepared. Will you eat it?'

Of course I said NO. She returned and told me that the chef would definitely make me something. This is the yummy entree I was given:

Everyone else had creamy pumpkin soup. For dinner I was given a vegetable stack which was delicious!

When the dessert was offered, there was nothing for me. So I asked the owner if there was anything for me. Nothing was organised, so I asked for a plate of fruit. I spoke with my Aunty (Leshani's mum) and she said that the owner had CALLED the chef when they were arranging the menu and the chef said she would cater for me with no problem. Aunty was there when they called! I think the chef totally forgot about me, or thought I would eat the vegetarian food. I was made to feel like the chef was doing me a HUGE favour making sure I had food to eat on the spur of the moment, when in all reality, she was well aware months ago! Never mind. The food WAS great!

We stayed in the hotel with other family members. I shared a room with my mum and my other aunty, Vicki (who is only about 5 years older than me) and her partner of 24 years Justin, who had both flown in from NZ for the special occasion. We had to pay $100 each (!) for the room and I got a fold out bed! Ripped off! Nice room though! Vicki, Justin and I smuggled in a carton of beer (we had been warned that no outside alcohol was allowed). Later in the night, Vicki needed to be let into the room (there was only one key between the four of us) and asked one of the managers to let her in. He found a heap of empties on the bench top and then confiscated about half a carton! Shame! (We got it back the next morning, though).
When the night ended and the party returned to the bridesmaids room, there was not much left to drink! Our beers would have been well received! Not sure what time I got to bed, but add on three hours (Perth is 3 hours behind Melbourne, in case you didn't know!) and remembering that I had to get up at 4.30am Saturday morning to get to the airport and you can begin to imagine just how tired I was!

It was a fantastic night, though and I am glad I made it (and I am really happy that there does not seem to be any weddings coming up! They are a costly, costly adventure - even for the guests!).

Congratulations Leshani and Josh. May your lives be full with love and happiness. xxx


Aunty Vicki, mum and me - I look like a giant next to my short, short family! I am not a giant, but they sure are short!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I've been a bad, bad girl!

Can I call it a belated birthday gift to me??????

Why do I find it so hard to resist???


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gingerbread men and Zucchini muffins

So hot today! Too hot for baking, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

I spent some time today looking for good recipes to make for this weekend. I am so lucky - I get to attend my cousin's wedding back home (W.A) this weekend WITHOUT children!!! The kids are going to Popeye's sister's place. G is a single mother like me, so I don't think it is fair that she has to feed 3 extra mouths out of her own pocket. So I was looking for easy food to make for dinner and lunch for Saturday and Sunday. While admiring all the food porn on the internet I came across 2 recipes I wanted to try. Gingerbread cut out cookies and Zucchini Cake are both from the ppk.

I made both of them while the kids were at school, but left it until they got home to cut out the shapes of the cookies (Popeye bought me some cookie cutters a while back and this is the first time we have been able to use them!). I waited until later still to turn on the oven. Once the biscuits were cooled, the kids set about having some fun icing them.

They are delicious!
It's funny because a few days ago I told the kids that we weren't going to be baking like this anymore because there are so many raw healthy options we can choose and YM made a point of reminding me of this! I needed to explain to my nearly 9 year old (going on 29) that I had made them to take to G's house - which, it turns out, is fine by him!

The zucchini cake I turned into muffins. I thought these would be handy on the plane for my trip to Perth early Saturday morning. The rest can go in the freezer for lunches. The are not really sweet, but good for a breakfast muffin. I slightly changed the recipe and used a couple of heaped teaspoons of organic cacao powder instead of the chocolate bits. Also, in hindsight, I would not ground up the walnuts into a powder but rather leave the pieces chunky as I like that in my muffins.

I may not post for a couple of days and I will be enjoying the company of my small family (some rellies have even flown from NZ - most of my rellies still live there). Maybe I'll just take some photos and post them tomorrow of what I make for G and her 2 boys and my 3 ferals! I hope she survives the weekend in one piece :)

48 hours of freedom here I come...


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My day in food

Breakfast! I discovered this Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Green and Crunchy (loving this site - still got so much to find!). Actually, it was more like brunch (about 10.30am) by the time I got to eat it.

Lunch. Tweenie and I found these section plates at the cheap shop next to La Panella (so sorry, world, for the plastic but I have found it tricky to locate stainless steel ones and the price was just right for me - about $2 each). Lunch consisted of left over pineapple, a spoonful of nut butter (ya know, I actually HATE peanut butter - even the smell - and refuse to make PB sandwiches for YM because of it, but this is soo very delicious), a mix of seeds, goji berries and dates and a sandwich of eggless egg salad from The Vegan Table which was yummy.

After school snack. Green smoothie. This one consisted of a few beetroot leaves and stems, water, ice, a couple of peaches, a couple of pears, cacao powder, freshly ground LSA(home made), 1 blood orange &  2 navals, and coconut. Thick, gluggly and delicious.

Dinner. Tonight's dinner actually consisted of left overs - choice of yesterday's lunch of cauliflower soup (sooo good!), or an Ethiopian Stew both from Vegan Lunchbox (last night's dinner of Ethiopian Stew also had Injera Bread - although I had no teff flour, so used plain- but none left today as it was awesome and eaten all up!). Before we all helped ourselves I was flicking through the internet (Planet VegMel) and copied the Tofu Balls from It Will Taste Better Tomorrow's post today (I'm going to try your couscous one day too, Amanda!). They looked delicious on her post and I thought- I have everything to make that, I'll give it a try. They WERE delicious! I actually just dipped a few balls into some sweet chilli sauce...mmmmmm. Next time I will try it with spaghetti and sauce (my  kids love this!) and may put the rest into sandwiches tomorrow. Just a hint though, squish them into balls rather than trying to roll them. The original post is from PPK.

Dessert. We made these last night. We blended some fruit up and poured it in and froze it. Now a confession on how foolish I am! I have never eaten cherries before but yesterday I found a nice looking batch at Aldi (all their fruit and veges are so cheap but they are FULL of packaging!) and decided to try them to put into our smoothies. Little did I know that they required de-pipping and I just blended them up straight! Needless to say, we were picking out small chopped up cherry pips from both yesterday's smoothie and today's fruit icipole.

Lesson learned!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heellllloooo, remember me?

It's been a while! A week, in fact. I feel like I have been avoiding you. Maybe I have...

Let me wrap up the week.

Last Friday, we went out to Shakahari for my birthday. Now, I booked this over a month ago. When I first rang, they told me that they could have no more than 20 on a Friday night, but nothing about having to split us up. Then on the Tuesday before I rung up and whoever I spoke to asked if I would like us all outside, that they would have to split up the tables a little, but we would have the whole outside to ourselves. I thought this would be a fabulous idea, especially having a few kids coming.

So I arrived and there we were, separated, inside, near the door. Hmmmm. I was not impressed to put it politely. I complained, but obviously, there was nothing they could do about it. So not a good start. I also found the place to be very noisy, from the first moment we walked in and it was like that for the whole time. I found it difficult to hear my guests speak. Because we were in the doorway, we had many people walking between the two tables (one had kids on it, the other, adults). Before our mains arrived, we were told that we could go outside but there was only enough room for 10 people. I'm not sure what they wanted us to do with the 7 kids ranging from 1 to 11. They didn't offer to babysit, that's for sure! So we declined the offer.
Our waiter was run off his feet. We got there for 7.30pm and didn't even get a drink order in until near 8pm. We ordered our food at half eight.
On the positives, the waiter was really good, especially with the kids (if you have kids you will understand this comment - it is important they treat the kids with respect, I think). The food was DELICIOUS!!!!!! Check out the food porn below.

My dinner choice - Lentil Parcels

Quinoa Croquettes

This was 'Something Medina' - I think it was ordered in honour of one of our home town suburbs!


Mushroom Pot Pie

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Avocado Rolls

My Dessert! Tofu Caramel with caramelised pistachio nuts )and something else - help me out Heidi!)
This was sooooooooooooo good!

So, all in all a pretty average night. I'd go back again for the food, although I wouldn't be rushing.

The next day the girls and I (YM stayed at my sister's house for the weekend) went to the city and watched the Myer Christmas Parade. It's our first. It was good - the girls got up nice and close to the action, and we didn't have to wait as long as I thought before the parade headed our way. It was pretty hot though and I'm glad we all decided to wear hats - many people didn't. Then we went to Crossways - we ALWAYS go here when we are in the city. You have to remember we are poor at the moment, so this place is perfect for us! I think it cost me $11 for myself and the 2 girls. The main is always vegan, the desert vegetarian and cordial, water or milk to drink. AND it is all you can eat. Can't beat that for value!

And finally, I found these shampoos/conditioners at Priceline in Chadstone.

They promise no sls, als, parabens or petrolchemical cleasers. They claim they are vegan, and cruelty free. They also use packaging that is plant based. WOW. Now, before you ask, no I haven't tried them yet. But when I do I will let you know. I really wanted to share my find. I didn't buy myself any shampoo. I am trying to embrace my curls and have started no-poo (ing). I'm also trying to get Tweenie to love her curls now, like my parents should have done with me, so she doesn't have to get to 35 before realising that one needs to work with what one has been given!

Oh, one more thing. You may have notice that I have DELETED my facebook account (one of my goals on the side of this blog). I know! Amazing, right? I decided that it was REALLY wasting my time and most of the people on there really couldn't give a flying f@*k about me anyways so why was I spending so much time on there? It is like a drug and I've already had to deal with giving up that before (nicotine).

Facebook gone, no nicorette patches required.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mushroom pies and tofu spinach salad

Baby decided yesterday that she would like to make mushroom pies. I asked her how she was planning on doing it and her idea was to just chop up the mushies, chuck them in some pastry and wack them in the pie maker. Err, mmm, no. Good try, Baby!

So I was on a mission last night, as a good **cough, cough** mother, to find a mushroom pie recipe that Baby would like.
I found this recipe (scroll down to heatherq's recipe)and this morning I made the mix and left it to cool. Because I made the pieces of pumpkin and potato quite small, I didn't need to cook it in the oven for 30 minutes tonight. Instead I put them in the pie maker and made little individual pies.

I thought we would need some protein with this meal, and in my quest to try (and love) salads I made a tofu spinach salad. It was quite nice, although I would use baby spinach or mixed salad leaves next time as the spinach (all that I had in my fridge) had a slight bitter taste.

On Tuesday, my mum went down to Seaford to stay with my sister for the night. We met them at Mordialloc Beach which was nice. Here is a photo of my nephew, R. Tweenie, Baby and YM buried him and Tweenie drew a pair of boobs and a g-string on him!

When we wanted to come home we got to the train station at 9.05pm and had just missed the train by 5 minutes. It was a 25 minute wait for the next one. When it finally arrived, a few stops later we had to wait for some dickhead to stop forcing the doors for 10 minutes! The Epping line at Flinders Street Station was then 10 minutes late and we had to go by way of the city loop adding ten minutes to the trip. We finally opened the door of our house at 11.15pm! My poor babies feel asleep on the train! Gotta love public transport at night!

So the next day I kept them home. Tweenie already had an orthodontist appointment to get her plate fitted anyway. We did some learning about Remembrance Day and the kids wrote a poem. Here's YM's (he used my computer so that is why I have access to put it on here!):

Remembering The Dead
Poppies covering the grave
The dead under the crosses
People screaming, getting shot 
Sadness for the dead     
The blood of the wounded people
There should be no wars.

Anyway, so on the way to the orthodontist, Baby found a REAL poppy which they thought was great.

After we went to the Art Gallery again and completed the water trail before stopping off at the AC/DC exhibition at the Arts Centre. The kids rocked out with the guitar!

It's my birthday tomorrow! We are heading out to Shakahari so expect a heap of photos on my next post with my friends and family celebrating with me. I am so looking forward to tomorrow night's dinner!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Tabouli and bean chilli

Today is the day that Tweenie had her braces removed! She was so happy!
Check out my gorgeous daughter

She can't stop running her tongue over her top teeth! And SMILING!

Once we finally got home (we also did a bit of xmas shopping today) it was still stinking hot. I made the tabouli my mum wanted for dinner as well as a 'Three Bean Chilli' from The Vegan Table. I fried up some mushrooms and we each had a piece of mountain bread that we folded all of these wonderful ingredients into. (The tabouli recipe is from Now Vegan! by Linda Stoner)

I've never actually tried tabouli, and I quite liked it! I'm not much of a salad eater so I am making a conscience effort to try some new and exciting salads this summer.

Cheers to enjoying the heat! Clink Clink.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Took a break, now I need to catch up!

Wow, has a week gone past already?? I seriously needed the 'break' after posting for all 31 days of Veganmofo!
But now I am back!

This tummy-rumbling picture is a mixture of a couple of recipes I found. The tofu is sesame seed encrusted and it's resting on a bed of capsicum, broccoli, spinach and tomato. DELISH!

Most of our meals in my week off have been very boring.

My mum arrived from W.A today and we went to the South Melbourne Markets. I found Chia seeds and organic cacao powder. After we got home we walked to Woolies to get a few things. We specifically wanted some ingredients for tabouli and oaty burgers. By the time we got home we were stuffed so I ended up using my new toy from the World Vegan day to make some raw zucchini and carrot curls.

I then probably broke the rules of raw and added some heated pasta sauce over the top. Everyone thought it was delicious and I thought of some other wonderful ingredients I would add next time (including making my own pasta sauce!). It was scoffed down before I could remember to take a photo! I think this was a good introduction to partially raw for all of us. The kids were comparing the lengths of the curls to see who had gotten the most and longest!
After we cleaned up I made the kids a green smoothie. I used green grapes, spinach, flax seed oil, cacao powder, banana, chia seeds and ice.

The result was happy kids!

Stay tuned for the tabouli and oaty burgers. Tweenie gets her braces off tomorrow and is very excited. I wonder if I will feel like cooking...not if it is as hot as it was today!


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Melbourne Uncup Day Before

Last night the kids and I headed to Fran-ghanistan for our first annual 'Melbourne Uncup Day Before' dinner party. What an awesome evening - the weather was perfect! C and I dressed up.

So did my kids.

Baby and YM

Tweenie and C & A's beautiful vegan bubba, O.

We all cooked some food and we had a really nice spread - with enough to feed us brunch the next day!

Onion Bhaji's from this recipe - baked not fried

Chai-spiced biscuits from The Vegan Table

C's couscous roasted vegetable medley

C's potatoes
I also provided pumpkin coconut curry and aloo gobi both from The Vegan Table.

A & C -Thanks for a GREAT night!

The next day R returned as our breakfast chef as she was having NO luck trying to cook some potato fritters for dinner. But it was perfect the next day!

R is new to vegetarianism - after A showed her "Earthlings" (I actually have never seen this!)

Baby had a ball with Eddie the dog (sitting on C's dad's knee). Poor thing was 'played' with all night and the next day! I'm guessing she wants a dog!

Had a fantastic day, but woke up this morning with massive sinus pain on the left side of my face. It was years ago since I had this pain and it sucks! Hopefully it goes away soon as I really don't want to visit the Doctor.