Thursday, January 21, 2010

On Holiday

I lay here, in Perth, Victoria Park, at my Aunties house, next to Tweenie, bleery eyed. I'm knackered from my flight here yesterday, lack of sleep and in less than 3 hours I need to be up again, organising kids, jumping in a taxi to the International Airport, off to Bali.

Nothing to complain about, really!

So very excited!


Monday, January 18, 2010

New routine

Since I posted about changing our meals around (BIG breakfast, Medium cooked lunch, very small dinner) we have been keeping up with the new routine and are enjoying it.
A typical day looks like this:
Breakfast - cooked- tofu scramble, modge (don't ask - Popeye's concoction!),pancakes (chocolate chip, berry), French toast

This is Very Vanilla French Toast from 1000 Vegan Recipes (p. 519). Delicious!
We are still coming up with large breakfast ideas, but with my new cookbook I recently purchased 'Vegan Brunch', I am sure we will have heaps of ideas.

Lunch: We have had big cooked meals such as pasta and sauce, Edamame Donburi (1000 vegan recipes, p. 263)- sorry no photo of this, it was eaten too quickly!, fried rice. It's been a sit down affair because everyone is on holidays and we can. Afterwards (and before the dishes) we've played a family card game (such as one of our million packs of Top Trumps, or Monopoly Deal - our favourite card game at the moment). On Friday I found some tiffins at the shop next door to La Panella Bakery (who are closing for a holiday in the middle of February in case you were unaware - from the 17th I think) which I was very excited about. I had tried finding tiffins in the Indian grocery stores previously with no luck. When the kids return to school, they will be able to have warm lunches instead of boring, boring sandwiches.

Dinner: No photos here either, but we have just been having smoothies! At about half five, we have all gone up to a local park to play games, relays etc for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (the adults are burning 500-700 calories!!). It has been so much fun!! Great bonding, great exercise! So far our favourite game is one we adapted from a website. We have called it 'Catch a Sneak' although Tweenie is determined to get us all to call it 'Sneaky Buggers' which is a pretty cool name too! It is a great laugh!
When we get back the kids run through the shower (more calories?? haha), and I get out my favourite kitchen appliance, the food processor, and throw in a heap of fruit, some flaxseed oil/ ground flaxseeds (depending on the flavour of the smoothie), sometimes pea protein powder, last night was fresh coconut and milk (oooo, the small chunks were delicious!). On Saturday I went to the market to grab a heap of fruit that could be frozen specifically for our smoothies. So our freezer is chock full of passionfruit, peaches, nectarines, oranges, bananas, apricots, strawberries etc.
Sometimes I have given a handful of almonds to have with the smoothie, or a raw ball. After dinner is another game, followed by dishes, teeth and bed.
Things have been working out well on our new routine. Not sure how it will go later, after a holiday in Bali and then we come back to school and work, but we are going to try. I'll keep you updated.

And now for something completely different:

There is some E.A.T World (eating around the world) action happening here, if you are interested.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Balls, Balls and More Balls

Every since Popeye gave me his food processor I haven't stopped whipping up a batch a balls every couple of days. They usually don't last out more than 2 days around here with all kids on holidays, Popeye home and me - the worst culprit!!

Some I have just thrown all sorts together to make healthy raw balls

Others have been planned a little better

Both of these are from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. On the left are Chocolate Macadamia Clusters (p. 512) and on the right are Date and Cashew Nut Truffles (p. 513). Both are good, but my favourite is the orange looking ones on the right - they are rolled in ground cashews. Yum, yum, yum!

These delicious balls are Apricot-Walnut Balls from 1000 Vegan Recipes (p. 444) also by Robin Robertson.
There have been countless other 'freehand' balls that didn't quite make it to be photographed.

And now for something different:

Our first harvest of plums! Some more are still baking on the tree and should be ready (along with a MOUNTAIN of grapes) when we return from Bali. We are all very excited! (For Bali, and the grapes). We are off to Perth on Tuesday, and leave for Bali early Thursday morning. I've never been to Bali, and it is the first time the kids have been overseas! Exciting times ahead!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Honeydew Coconut Tapioca

This is the first time we have ever tried tapioca. It's a little bit interesting! The kids took a dehydrated ball outside and said it was bouncy! It was really filling.

I served mine in my Warnbro Primary School (W.A) glass I got when I when left teaching at that school.

It's from Vegan Yum Yum (pg. 232)


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Seitan Kebabs

I had a go at making seitan the other day (well, technically I made it once before as a roast for Christmas) and turned into Kebabs (1000 Vegan recipes).
I made the marinade and left the veges and seitan in for a while to soak up the flavour. Turned out really nice, but YM was not a big fan. We used the peach chutney on the side (that chutney was soo good!)

It was such a lovely night we decided to eat it outside. The tent was up in our usual eating spot so we had to set up further down the back of the yard. Unfortunately, it was just far enough back to keep getting massive wafts of car wash wax which was spoiling my dinner (I have a car wash on one side of me - can get quite annoying at 3 in the morning on a Friday/Saturday night when pissed people want to wash their cars- noisily! Who the fuck washes their car at 3 in the morning, I ask you??!!)

Anyways, the salad was a couscous salad which was actually called Golden Couscous Salad (1000 Vegan Recipes, Pg. 86) and used all things yellow-ish only I didn't have any yellow capsicum. So I put in red capsicum and we called it sunset salad - which we think is a far better name!

Today we went for a bit of a play at the park, as we do a few times a week. It was heaps of fun (it always is) but we often compromise our dinner meal. Or we have it REALLY late. But I had a brain wave tonight (and I am sure lots of other people do this - but as usual I am only just getting it now!)

Previous to this thought, I decided that I want to get up earlier and do heaps of stuff rather than stay up really late, do nothing but watch the box, and struggle in the morning. On that really hot day I was awake at 4am and up at 5am. I pottered really slowly around the house, cleaning up and generally having some time to myself - but productive time. So this is what I am slowly going to aim for when I get back from Bali. By that time, Popeye will be back at work and commuting back and forth from Cerberus every second day or so and will have to leave VERY early in the mornings to get back to work so it will work quite well I hope.

Anyway, the thought. Usually after late arvo exercise no one really wants to eat a huge meal, let alone cook one. So I am hoping to change our meals around (from the way I have been brought up - we tend to follow that example, don't we??). So, I will (hopefully) get up early, make a BIG breakfast, have a MEDIUM sized lunch (stuff we would usually have for dinner), and after the kids do some homework, we can go out for some fun and exercise and come home, shower the kids and have a LIGHT dinner such as a smoothie in summer and a thin soup in winter. I hope it works.

I get my hair-brained schemes from my mum! She is always coming up with something, reading something, or trying something. Not all things stick, though! Some things are just great thoughts!

We'll see how we go! It sounds good in theory...


Pasta and home made parmesan

Having a few eggplants sitting on my bench for a while, I wondered what I was going to make with it. I'm not a huge fan of eggplant but I do like trying to find new things to do with it. I found Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Marinara in Vegan Yum Yum (p. 267). Anything with the words 'Caramelized Onion' in the title is going to be good! And it was! And really easy to make.

I had seen a home made parmesan cheese recipe in 1000 Vegan Recipes so I quickly whipped up a batch of Parmasio (p. 193). This stuff is really good! It adds a fantastic flavour to the pasta. I doesn't overly taste like parmesan, but MUCH better IMHO.

I quickly made half a batch and it has lasted well in the fridge.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Guest Post by YM : Pancakes

I made pancakes
and they were yumy
I made them by my self.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Day of Fun and Food

We've all had such a fun day today!
This morning Popeye said to me, "What do you want to do today?' I said, "I want to play games with my kids all day.' And that's what we did.

First Baby wanted to make breakfast pancakes (and she is still learning to cook, read recipes, use the hotplates etc, so that usually means I get to cook!). Instead of doing the trusty pancake recipe that Tweenie and YM make (by themselves) I can't help myself and I have to try a different recipe.

I chose Spiced Apple Pancakes from 100 Vegan Recipes (p. 515) which turned out to be a long process (mostly because Baby was 'making' them, so it always goes slower!).

It was well worth the wait. Very, very nice. The apple topping was good!

Then we decided to have a game of Earthopoly (which is like monopoly but focuses on the earth). The whole game is earth-friendly. The board, money and cards are printed with soy inks. The game pieces are recycled bits and bobs. And you collect Carbon Credits instead of houses. Very cool.
Normally when we play we use the 1 hour game rules to make it fast, but today we played the WHOLE game from start to finish! It was well past 6pm when we actually had a winner (Popeye was declared the overall winner - he kicked our butts!).

We stopped for lunch and I made some burgers with left over bits and pieces in the fridge. After a short break we resumed play.

Just near the end, when I finally got out, I decided to make us all banana icecream with a delicious Fudgy Chocolate Sauce (From 1000 Vegan Recipes, p. 498).

Amazingly good, and so quick and easy to make! I finished making it just as Popeye and Tweenie finished battling it out for the winner's title (it was always going to be Popeye, though!).

After eating the icecream we had a sudden urge to go for a bike ride after being inside all day. Popeye put his bike back together (after dismantling it to get it home from Sydney) and off we went. We stopped at the Velodrome in Brunswick and ended up having fun competing against ourselves in 'time trials'. Popeye's back brakes got stuck on and he had to ride it all the way home like that!

We didn't feel like much for dinner and I wished I had made another batch of Uncheese so we could have toasties (I thought of this because I was flicking through The Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak trying to find a G/F recipe to take to the next potluck with a 'cheese' theme for Kristy who has just discovered she is coeliac). I came across Gooey Grilled Cheez (pg.141) which was a really quick recipe to make a gooey filling for toasties. Very cool.

The kids are still all sleeping in the tent (I had told them the tent pulling-down day was today, but after hearing it is going to be 43 degrees (that is, F@*K'N HOT) I left it up just in case I can't sleep in the house tomorrow night). I think they are all stuffed (as are we!!)


PS:For Johanna
 Tomato and Peach Relish (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)

1T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1T maple syrup or agave nectar
1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2-3 sweet peaches, pitted and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4C dark or golden raisins
2t grated fresh ginger
1/2t ground cinnamon
1/4t crushed red pepper

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add onion and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes and peaches should be tender but not mushy.
Taste, adjusting the seasonings if necessary, then simmer, uncovered, over very low heat for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature before serving. If not using right away, cover and refrigerate until needed. Properly stored, this relish will keep for 2-3 days.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Oh How I Love Thee, Summer Fruit:Peaches 3 Ways

Last week I bought a heap of peaches cheap at the markets and once I got them home my thoughts turned to how I was going to use them up.

I flicked through my cookbooks and found a chutney and a relish in 1000 Vegan recipes. I would never have thought about making them pre-vegan. Hot, cooked fruit? No way! (especially sultanas!). But I put my prejudices aside, gave these a go, and was very pleasantly surprised.

Firstly I made Spiced Tomato and Peach Relish. (pg. 570). It recommends Chickpea and Vegetable Loaf (on pg. 265) as a fantastic dish to have with the relish as an accompaniment. So I had to make that, too!

Then I made Ginger-Peach Chutney (pg. 564). This was the winner hands down! We had these with Kebabs (post to come later) but they just ROCKED as a spread on bread with Macadamia Cashew Patties (p. 119)!! It was like an orgasm in my mouth! Amazing!

Lastly, I stewed up the rest of the peaches and added them with some puff pastry to my pie maker with some Vegan Whipped Cream (p.501) on the side for an awesome, quick dessert.

My family are really enjoying my urge to cook!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Banana Icecream - You just gotta try this!

I have quite a few posts backed up ready to tell you about as I have been doing a lot of cooking lately. But this one just HAD to jump the queue!

Recently I posted about getting Popeye's food processor when he came home and a couple of days ago he brought it here for me to use. So FP has become my new best friend and I've been using her at least a couple of times a day since then (making the raw balls is sooo easy now!!)

Anyway, ages ago I stumbled across a post by Gena from Choosing Raw entitled 'This Post Will Change Your Life'.
It was about Banana Icecream which looked delicious but I couldn't attempt it at the time without a food processor. Well today was the day. And let me just say THIS POST CHANGED MY LIFE!!! I am serious! I have made it TWICE today (it is bloody hot here today). It shits on soy icecream! I am never buying soy icecream again (I can't, in all seriousness, actually back that up!). Here's what it looked like (the first batch was lunch for us all).

We had just gotten back from a walk to the markets and to stop the kids (well, Baby) whinging about having to carry a bag (of bread!) home (or should I say 'croutons' by the time it made it home!), I promised them I would make Banana Icecream (it worked). I had picked up a big bag of passionfruit for $1 and I knew I would top the icecream with it.

Oh man, so very, very good!

If you haven't already, you just have to try this one!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Quiche and Salad

Having loved Isa's broccoli quiche, and recently buying Vegan Brunch, I really wanted to try the cauliflower and red capsicum version of the original.

It was delicious, and can I say, possibly even better than the original (if that is at all possible!!). I really love this quiche the next day, straight out of the fridge.

The salad was also nice. I made Petite Pasta Salad (I have a mountain of cucumber to use up) from Vegan Lunch Box with cute little star pasta. Today at my local Foodworks I found some tiny alphabet pasta that I can't wait to try with something like a salad that really showcases the cuteness of the pasta shape.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

I am really loving holidays (ok, so I didn't work too much last year, but technically it is holidays for me. I'll be working my butt off this year hopefully). So much time free allows me to make and bake and I am spending a heap of time in the kitchen.

For my first recipe out of my new book, Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson, I made Chocolate Pudding Parfaits. So rich and so good. A decadent dessert!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Oh How I Love Thee, Summer Fruit:Blueberries

Blueberries. I absolutely LOVE blueberries. As does Popeye. Come to think of it, YM has a 'thing' for them too, as he is constantly in and out of the fridge snacking on them.

So recently, when the blueberries were at a reasonable price, we grabbed quite a few punnets. Sunday morning rolled around and I knew EXACTLY what to make!

Banana and Blueberry Pancakes with a Blueberry Sauce.

Both recipes are from 1000 Vegan Recipes. The pancakes had 2 punnets of blueberries in them (I doubled the recipe) while I halved the sauce recipe and I used 1 punnet of blueberries in that. I was concerned that there wasn't going to be enough sauce for 2 lots of pancakes shared between the 5 of us, but we totally had it covered (sorry, I've got 'White Chicks' on the TV in the background and every second word is 'Totally'!).

So, I am technically home alone tonight. Popeye spent the day down in Hastings organising his flat, and didn't get finished so he is staying there tonight. The kids and I put up the tent in the back yard this afternoon, so unless the ghost stories scare the shit out of them, I'm going it alone.

Oh and I cleaned up my back room and lounge room today, so I'm enjoying the minimalist look (I guarantee you it will not last!!).


Monday, January 4, 2010

Yum Yum Fun

I decided to test out one of my new cookbooks on New Year's Day and I made a couple of dishes from Vegan Yum Yum. I made Corn Fritters as well as Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes. I also made Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Dillweed from 1000 Vegan Recipes (although minus the dill as I didn't have any and Popeye suggested that I use some lemon pepper seasoning).

The meal was really nice. The corn fritters were a little dry (the last few I have made have been a little dry also) but the excess syrup from the sweet potatoes added moisture and flavour. Ulm (the author) suggests 2 sweet potatoes for the candied lime recipe although I only used one large-ish one (I'm not sure what size sweet potatoes are in the US, but 2 was definitely WAY too much).

My memories of brussels sprouts are as a kid, with a boiled or steamed mess of mini cabbage-like green balls on my plate, being forced to eat them, sitting at the table for hours until I had, blocking my nose with one hand while nibbling and gagging on the sprout in the other, and eating cold, disgusting mush (we weren't allowed to reheat them). Two things have ultimately come out from those bad childhood experiences:
1.  I never make my kids eat anything they don't like (although we have a 'two bites without a fight' policy. This means that they must take at least 2 decent bites of anything before they decide they actually don't like it - more often than not they actually do like it - they tend to be put off by the look of food. Having said that, my 2 fussy eaters - Baby and YM - are really no longer fussy since becoming vegan. YM was just telling me the other day that he loves anything I cook!) Opps, sorry, I digressed!
2. I have NEVER eaten brussels sprouts as an adult...

until now! They were really delicious! The best thing about becoming a vegan is all the new, exciting and wonderful food that I am eating. It's food I would never have considered as an omni. We really are lucky with the amazing food choices we have available to us, without the harm of a single animal.

Proud to be vegan


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just a pretty pic

I finally found the picture of the Macadamia-Cheezecake Truffles I made on christmas day (I included a photo with only one truffle left - this one looks far prettier). Sorry in advance - it's from a phone camera. The recipe can be found here.

Isn't that pretty??


Saturday, January 2, 2010


We've been finishing off the rest of the Colby and Mostarella uncheese around here the last couple of days. Today I made some basic cheese toasties in the sandwich maker. I had the left over Colby and Vegemite, Popeye had Mostarella and tomato and Baby had Vegemite and Mostarella. I actually liked the taste of the Mostarella in the toasties. I used it like a thick spread. Very delish.

I know Miss T was interested in the recipe, so I thought I would share. These are from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

Colby Cheez

1 1/2C water
5T agar flakes OR 1 1/2T agar powder
1/2C roasted red capsicum (seeds & skin removed) OR 1/2C cooked carrots OR 2-3t paprika OR 2T unsalted tomato paste (I used the paprika option)
1/2C chopped raw cashews
1/4C Nutritional Yeast
3T fresh lemon juice
2T tahini
2t onion powder
1t salt
1/4t garlic powder
1/4t dry mustard

Lightly oil a 5-cup plastic container and set aside. Combine water and agar in a small saucepan and let sit for about 10-15 minutes to soften the agar (I left it for a couple of hours while at the shop and it worked a treat). Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring often until agar is dissolved (about 5 - 10 minutes). Transfer to a blender and add remaining ingredients. Process for several minutes until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour into plastic storage container and cool uncovered in the fridge. When completely cooled cover and chill several hours or overnight. To serve, turn out of container and slice. Store leftovers covered in the fridge. Will keep 5-7 days.

CHEDDA Cheez - add 2T light or chickpea miso prior to blending
OLIVE Cheez - replace dry mustard with 1T Dijon mustard. After blending stir in 3/4C chopped black olives.

Buffalo Mostarella

2C water or plain soy milk (I used water)
1/2C Nutritional Yeast
1/3C quick cooking oats
1/4C tahini
1/4C kuzu, arrowroot or cornstarch (I used cornflour)
3-4T fresh lemon juice
1T onion powder
1t salt

Lightly oil a 5-cup pan or container (depending on what shape you want your slices).
Combine all ingredients in a blender until completely smooth ( few minutes). Pour into a saucepan and cook and stir over medium heat until very thick and smooth. Pack into prepared container. Cool uncovered in fridge. When completely cool cover and chill overnight. To serve turn out of the mould and carefully slice with an oiled or water moistened knife (the cheese will be very soft and a bit sticky). Store leftovers covered in fridge. Will keep 5-7 days.

Give them a go. Happy cheese making


Friday, January 1, 2010

A new year

Happy new year, peeps!

What did you all get up to last night? Popeye, the kids and I travelled on a rather packed train (after having to dodge an overly drunk dude throwing up on the path outside the station doors - it was only 8pm!) to the MCG and the family friendly event held at Yarra Park. It was WAY too hot to go any earlier but we knew we would be in time for the kids fireworks. There was thousands of people there! Everyone was having a good time, as it was an alcohol-free event. There was a band rocking out for us to enjoy and we did! Tweenie stayed at a friend's house so there was only 4 of us. We all jumped about 'dancing' to the music. Heaps of fun (and rather silly looking!). Then it started to piss down! But still we kept dancing (there is something special about playing in the summer rain). Lots of people took cover under trees, but not us! The time for the fireworks rolled around and they had to be postponed and we weren't even sure they would happen because the sky was so black and the lightning so amazing. Popeye and I decided we should head back to the train station and go home, as we thought the fireworks would be much later. As Murphy's Law has it, JUST as the train rolled into the station the loudspeaker announced the fireworks was about to start. Shame. We jumped on the train with a million other families and we were able to see most of the fireworks on the train (with ooo-ing and arrrr-ing from all of the kids on the train - funny!). I know it is not the same as being there, but there is always next year. Once we got home we raced up to LotF as we hadn't eaten dinner.
We got there just as they were closing and I convinced them to make me more than just chips. Unfortunately they stuffed up the order and this keeps up the 'I've never been to Northland LotF and they have gotten my order correct' fact! Nonetheless, it filled our empty stomachs.
Baby and YM managed to stay awake until midnight and we lit a couple of sparklers and hid under the eaves out the front of my house to watch the fireworks from the city (lucky me, I have a direct view of the city scape from the front of my house - nice!). The next door neighbours we out too and we chatted with them. After sending the kids off to bed, I curled up in bed to play on my computer and watch Monty Python on ABC.

A few days ago we all started discussing our NY resolutions. Mine were the same old, same old. You know, lose weight, eat better, use my gym membership. But every year these go by the wayside. Then I stumbled upon 6 changes. They talk about choosing only 6 things to work on in any one year and working on one at a time, each for a two month period. The aim is to start of REALLY low key and increasing each week in a small way so by the time 8 weeks has rolled around, you are at the point you would like to be with that particular thing, you have been doing it regularly for eight weeks, and you can maintain it while you start on a new area to work on for the next 2 months.
I think I am going to try this. I don't think I have 6 things yet. This is really the first time I have thought much about it, so I can add on to it as time goes by.
I have already started the first of my changes. I want to work back up to a high fitness level and since I am not moving now, when I feel a lot better about my own body I want to start PT-ing again - this time for money!

So the changes look something like this:
1. Exercise daily/high fitness level/weight train/use gym membership etc.
Week one :I am starting off by walking every day this week (to the shop)
Week two:Continue daily walk, add another block
Week three:Add a daily body part to train

You get the picture. Mine are still a work in progress!

I'd like to work on (in no particular order)
1. exercise
2. getting up earlier
3. cut out sugar
4. keeping up with housework
5. drink more water
6. playing more with the kids/turning the bloody tv off!

Now I need to break each thing into 8 doable weeks and hope that they become habits and part of my daily life. I'll let you know how I go!