Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Watermelon Ice

We had a watermelon from our last vegetable garden that was a little small to eat so I turned it into Watermelon Ice which was delicious!


Watermelon Ice

Ingredients

1 whole watermelon, cubed and seeds removed.
1 Tbls agave syrup (or any sweetener to taste) - you can totally omit this ingredient too


Method

Blend in the blender and transfer to a container to freeze.
Blend again when ready to serve.


Freezing Stewed Tomatoes

If you don't have a canner and don't want botchelism this is a great way to preserve your tomatoes.


I started with sterilizing my jars;
Wash jars with dish soap and rinse well with hot water.
Preheat oven to 120C and place jars in the over for 20 mins. 
I add the lids 5 mins before the end otherwise the rubber can burn.


Next I washed the tomatoes, slice an "x" at the stem and boiled on the stove until the skin splits and is coming away from the flesh.


Once tomatoes are cool enough to touch peel the skin off.


You can also de-seed if you like but I didn't.
At this point you can freeze them whole or puree them in a blender before freezing.
I added some fresh herbs to mine and heated so that they were ready as a sauce base.


Defrost completely before using.




"Lobster" Bisque


"Lobster" Bisque
Ingredients

3 tps vegan fish paste
1 Tbls vegan fish sauce
3 1/2 cups water
1 small packet of silken tofu
2 egg replacers (as per packet instructions)
1 Tbls soy sauce (I used Tamari)
1 Tbls cooking sake (or Japanese rice wine)
1 tsp potato starch mixed with 2 tsp water
2 shallots (spring/green onions) chopped
2 Tbls vegan buttersalt to taste


Method
Bring the water and stock to boil in a medium - large saucepan.
Stir in soy sauce and sake.
Add potato starch mix and stir quickly.
In a medium bowl whisk egg replacers with silken tofu & shallots, adding more water if needed for that "beaten egg" consistency.
Pour in the tofu mixture then transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Return to pan on a low heat and melt in the butter.Once warmed through serve, adding more salt if needed or chilli flakes if you prefer it hotter.

Noodles with Peanut Sauce

This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Nigella Lawson.



Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

for the dressing
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon garlic infused olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
100 grams smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons lime juice

for the salad
125 grams sugar snap peas
150 grams beansprouts (rinsed)
1 red pepper (deseeded and cut into small strips)
2 spring onions (finely sliced)
1 floret of broccoli, separated and steamed
550 grams thick rice noodles (ready prepared)
20 grams sesame seeds
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander


Method

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or jug.
Stem broccoli, red pepper, bean sprouts and sugar snap peas.
In a large pan lightly fry spring onions with a small amount of oil.
Pour the dressing over them and let simmer for a minute.
Stir through the noodles, then the vegetables.
Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and chopped coriander and pack up as needed.

Easy Chats

Chats, or small baked potatoes are easy to make an delicious as a snack with vegan sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.



Easy Chats

Ingredients

10 small potatoes, sliced into quarters.
1 tsp steak seasoning (vegan of course!)
1 tsp salt or Red Robin seasoning (please note Red Robin Seasoning is no longer vegan as they recently started adding sugar to the ingredients :(  )
vegetable oil


Method

Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a baking dish (I like glass) with a small layer of vegetable oil.
In a zip lock bag add the potatoes and seasonings. 
Zip shut and shake until potatoes are well covered with seasonings.
Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, turning once at 20 minutes.
Serve alone of with sauce of choice!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Rejuvelac - Adventures in Vegan Cheese Making

I decided after 5 years of being vegan it really was time to make vegan cheese properly. That means using rejuvelac - a fermented liquid from grains. I've been getting my directions from Miyoko Schinner's amazing book "Artisan Vegan Cheese". If you haven't checked out Miyoko's Kitchen I suggest you try some of her cheeses - they are AMAZBALLS!

To start you have to soak the grains (in my case 1 cup buckwheat groats) over night in a large jar covered with a cheese cloth, then rinse but keep moist and keep rinsing and keeping moist twice a day for a few of days until tiny sprouts appear. You're supposed to keep them in a warm place but out of the sun...I'm not sure exactly what that means but where I live that's near impossible so I'm just keeping them on a shelve near the window.


Once sprouted, divide the grains between two jars and pour 3 cups of filtered water in each. Cover with fresh cheesecloth and put back in the same warm spot. after a few days the water will turn white and have a tart lemony smell. Drain the liquid into clean jars,cover and can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 weeks. 

After around 3-4 days I had some sprouts so I rinsed and added the water and 3 days later I had the cloudy water. I should have read the instructions more clearly - apparently quinoa seeds only take a day to sprout - doh! 
This made about 1 litre of rejuvelac and most recipes call for 1/2 - 1 cup.


Smelled like egg farts but hopefully will do the job!
Use the first basic cashew cheese recipe in Miyoko Schinner's book, left it over night. Then used the basic cashew cheese for a Brie recipe.

Cashew Nut Brie

Used the rejuvelac to make a batch of sharp cheddar - this was so delicious!!

Sharp Cashew Cheddar





Saturday, 25 April 2015

Easy Homemade Nut Milk

For this you will need a nut bag or cheese cloth and a container large enough for 3-4 cups of liquid to drains. I find this recipe make the milk quite light - like skim milk. For a thicker milk edit the ratio of nuts to water or leave nut pulp in. To sweeten or flavor you can add agave, cinnamon etc.


Easy Homemade Nut Milk

Ingredients

1 cup nuts (almond or cashew work well)
4 cups filtered water


Method

Soak nuts over night, then drain and rinse.
In a high powdered blender, mix the filtered water and nuts until completely liquid.
Place nut bag or cheese cloth over your glass jar and secure with an elastic band or two!
I had to use a funnel as my spout was small :)
Pour nut mixture into nut bag/over cheesecloth and allow to naturally drain - can a few hours.
Replace jar lid and store in fridge for a week or two.

Almond Milk

Cashew Milk






Sunday, 19 April 2015

Montezuma's Raw Salad

This house salad was always one of my favourites at a Mexican restaurant called Montezuma's. I love that it's all raw vegetables but still tastes amazeballs!


Montezuma's Raw Salad

Ingredients

Broccoli, broken into small florets
Cauliflower, broken into small florets
Carrot, diced or shredded
Green apple pple, diced
Cabbage, shredded
Vegan cheddar shreds (omit if being healthy)
Vegan French dressing (the clear kind, not American kind)
Red radishes, sliced (optional)


Method

Mix all salad ingredients together in a bowl and toss through dressing.
Top with cilantro if desired.
So easy!

Two Week Raw Food Cleanse

My weight and fitness has spiraled out of control of what I am comfortable with so I'm taking control and owning it!
First up was an overall cleanse. I though being vegan and gluten free that I was eating relatively healthy but apparently not! I've always wanted to be buff - really toned and strong looking so this is the start of my journey.

Starting in at 144lbs I hope to get down to at 125-128lbs which is what I was a year ago.

I'm starting with a three day fast cleanse, just drinking water with lemon and herbal tea.
After that I will switch to eating only raw for two weeks. At least that's what I'm going to try to do.

Fasting is really great for your body because it gives it time to fix everything that's wrong and get rid of toxins - digesting takes a lot out of your body and doesn't leave it much time for anything else.
Fasting is perfectly healthy - just remember to stay hydrated!

I found this Full Body Cleanse page on Dr. Ben Kim's website very helpful.

It's no secret I love food - I love finding recipes, making it, eating it and finally blogging it so to start thinking of food as just a healthy fuel supply for my body and little more is very difficult for me but I feel like that's the mind set change that has to happen right now. Just like people have to ween themselves of cigarettes, I have to ween myself off food - the unhealthy kind anyway!

I know the first couple of days will be hard because I'm used to eating all the time (seriously my husband says he's never seen someone eat so much food LOL) but I think for me eating raw will be harder - I love hot food! At least I own (never used) a spiralizer so that's a start right?
Food processor and blender are also very handy tools for raw eating. Dehydrators are super expensive and you can get a similar result in the oven on the lowest setting.

Once my two week cleanse is over my plan is to start eating right, using an app to be accountable every day for what I put into my mouth and how much exercise I do. Also for me, portion control and eating slowly are two huge things that can radically reduce the amount of calories I'm putting into my mouth.

I love bowls, so I think I'll be making a lot of those...just have to limit my dressing on them!

This website was helpful in determining raw from not so raw foods.

Day 1
I normally wake up starving so I think for me morning was the hardest part. I drank a lot of lemon water and herbal teas. My daughter was sick and requested vegetable soup which I made but wanted to eat so badly!
I did eat a couple kernels of corn buy accident - just habit nibbling as I cook!
I started feeling head-achy and nauseous so I totally caved by the afternoon and had a spoonful of the soup and then later that night - oven fries with homemade ketchup - SO DISAPPOINTED!

Day 2
I felt very cranky today and still wanted to eat. Drinking a ton of water and herbal tea, the lemon helps the hunger cravings.
I know I ate something on this day around the afternoon because I caved again but I can't remember what :(

Day 3
Generally feeling fine. I felt great all day and not at all hungry.
I was motivated so I went shopping for raw veggies and seeds etc for when I start eating raw.
Made myself a green juice when I got home (red lettuce, baby spinach, mint, celery, carrot and orange). Could have definitely have gone all day without eating anything.
I went for an hour walk as it's normally my workout day but I didn't want to do anything to strenuous while fasting.
Ended up making some almond milk and using the left over almonds to make a vegan pate which wasn't good but when I mixed a bit of it with some broken up homemade crackers.
I feel like Day 3 was the turning point for me.

Day 4
I weighed myself on the scales this morning and I was already down to 138lb which is way better that I was hoping for.
Today I felt fine and not hungry but as it was my first day of technically eating raw (even though I totally failed the fast) I had a Garden of Life raw meal shake using my homemade almond milk (which was pretty watery honestly).
For lunch I made a salad with the old vegetables in the fridge that were needing to be eating - red lettuce, asparagus, mushrooms, cilantro and 1/2 lemon for dressing.
For a snack I had 1/2 avocado and some of the almond pate mixed together.
For dinner I had 1/2 avocado on two large homemade seed crackers.

Day 5
Felt really good today.
Started the day with a Garden of Life Raw Meal smoothie using almond milk and a banana.
For snack I had 4 celery sticks topped with the almond pate I made.
For lunch I finished off the raw salad that I couldn't finish yesterday but I wasn't even hungry!
For dinner I made raw nori rolls with nori paper, avocado, carrot, cucumber, basil, cilantro, red pepper and kale. I had a homemade peanut sauce to dip.
Finding raw food sites and YouTube very helpful. Loving This Rawsome Vegan Life (not fully raw though) and Fully Raw Kristina for recipe inspiration.


Day 6
Having PMS so fighting the urge for bad food - plus it snowed all night so really want hot food. I'm having a lot of herbal tea to keep me warm :)
Had the Raw Meal smoothie for breakfast, raw nori rolls for lunch and had a zucchini pasta for dinner. Sauce pureed tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, kale, mushrooms, zucchini and basil.
I did my first epic workout (my Crossfit-ing friend put together a strength and toning set of workouts for me)
I had some seed crackers with sun dried tomatoes and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for snack.


Day 7
Woke up with a sore throat and feeling like I was coming down with something which is not good! I have not been sick since going vegan 5 years ago and I don't intend to start now! The weather has been changing rapidly and my diet has changed dramatically in the last week so really it could just be those shocks to my body - not to mention the shock of an intense workout!
My legs hurt from my workout but other than that I feel pretty good. Raw smoothie for breakfast, zucchini pasta for lunch and collard green wraps (with walnut based filling) for dinner.

Day 8
Felt fine today except got my period so all I wanted was bad food...but abstained. Yay!
Don't feel like I'm getting sick anymore which is great! I was worried about that.
I had the raw meal shake for breakfast, collard wraps filled with the carrot filling and avocado and for dinner I had celery filled with the walnut pate.
I did have a late night snack of avocado on seed crackers....oops ;)

Day 9
Started the day with avocado on seed crackers and a green tea.
For lunch I had a portobello mushroom sandwich (the mushroom as the bread and a raw nut "curried egg salad", carrot spread and avocado).
For dinner, Montezuma's Raw Salad without dressing.
Made this delicious raw chocolate mousse for dessert too...




Day 10
Breakfast - raw smoothie, lunch -  Montezuma's Raw Salad with  vegan vinaigrette dressing, dinner - raw spicy mushroom burritos. Did my workout today and felt fine.


Day 11
Breakfast - raw smoothie, lunch - Montezuma's Raw Salad with  vegan vinaigrette dressing, dinner - raw spicy mushroom burritos (YUM!!!)

Day 12
Actually noticed a huge difference in the mirror this morning which was very encouraging - tummy definitely had gone down and my hips had slimmed down too - yay! Breakfast - raw smoothie, lunch - Montezuma's Raw Salad with  vegan vinaigrette dressing, dinner - Raw Rainbow Goji Salad - love this! Late night snack - avocado on raw carrot crisp bread.
May have had a couple of spoonfuls of Justin's Choc Hazelnut butter - whoops!



Day 13
Breakfast - raw smoothie, lunch - Raw Rainbow Goji Salad, dinner - raw tacos in lettuce leaves filled with avocado and a turnip, red pepper and tomato blend. Spoonful of Justin's Choc Hazelnut butter again - it's just so hard to resist! Made some No Bake Energy Bites which were great - had one for dessert.


Day 14
Breakfast - raw smoothie, lunch - last nights raw tacos and total cheat tonight - I'm having a homemade tomato & basil pizza with no cheese. The base is not raw because I don't have the 8 hours to dehydrate one and I'm throwing a mini pizza/ice-cream party for the kids tonight and didn't want to be totally left out! I was loving those raw balls as a snack though!

More raw recipes under the "raw" label to the right.

I lost a total of 6lbs and definitely noticed a difference to my skin and tummy although I have yet to measure.

So after two weeks I can definitely say that I would try to keep up with having a raw vegan diet as at least 50-80% of my normal diet. Not sure I could go 100% just yet but I'm certainly more motivated to have it be a part of my vegan lifestyle than I was before. The prep work takes a while but because you don't have to wait for anything to cook you can eat it straight away - so it really evens out time wise. Yay for raw!

Carrot Cumin Spread

When I juice I am left with so much pulp - this is a great way to use up all the carrot pulp.
This is a great snack on raw crackers or on lettuce leaves.


Carrot Cumin Spread

Ingredients

1/2 cup carrot pulp (or grated carrot with liquid squeezed out)
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbls nutritional yeast
2 tsp Braggs Amino Acids/Coconut Aminos
1 tsp Italian herbs


Method

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and mixed.
Add more nutritional yeast or amino acids to taste.





Saturday, 18 April 2015

Spirulina for Life!!!

I know I've mentioned Spirulina before but I feel like it bares repeating. Spirulina is awesome!

Many people find the idea of Spirulina daunting or gross.
It comes in dark green powdered form and doesn't taste particularly great on it's own but the health benefits from this Superfood are undeniable...but who would eat it on it's own? That would be like eating protein powder...eww!

I got interested in Spirulina about 10 years ago from a women I worked with who raved about it and basically lived off the stuff and she was a very fit, healthy 50 something.

The easiest way I've found to use it is in my morning smoothie because with the protein powder, banana, almond milk and any other added extras I don't taste the Spirulina at all...only reap the benefits...YAY! Sometimes I add it to the kid's spaghetti or soups and they don't even notice...mwah ha ha! (that was my evil laugh, just FYI)



What is is???
Spirulina is a natural “algae” powder that is incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. It is largely made up of protein and essential amino acids, and is typically recommended to vegetarians for its high natural iron content. It's not called a superfood for nothing!

Here's a great vegan and gluten free spirulina mint ice-cream based on a Nuts.com recipe! I  added mint leaves to mine - yum! I love how it turns the ice-cream a great bright green color.





Monday, 13 April 2015

Some New Vegan Items - April 2015

...again, not necessarily new vegan products but that I have newly discovered!

I'm pretty sure this first is new because I had never seen it before!
It actually does taste like honey but has the consistency of agave. Sweeet!


I found these Aroy-D brand curry pastes at my local Asian grocer. 
Most of them seemed vegan by the ingredients. Was very excited to try Massamam again - it had definitely been a while!


I really don't think this is new but I recently tried it and I loved it!
It has WAY less sodium than soy sauce and Tamari and has the added bonus of amino acids!
I found the taste easy to substitute for soy - it has a slightly sweeter flavor and is not as thick or salty.


I love Paula's Choice, I just wish ALL their products were vegan!
Luckily for me all the SPF facial moisturizers are vegan except the Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex SPF 30.
I'm currently using the Skin Balancing - Ultra Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 and I love it, it's light, non-greasy and doesn't smell like sunscreen.


I found this randomly in the reduced section of the supermarket.
It was so good I went back and bought all they had on sale.
Gluten free, organic and vegan YAY!



This was recommended to me at the health food store. 
I wanted a vegan protein powder and I was going to by Spirulina as well but this gem has BOTH, plus it's all raw, non-GMO and organic. The girl at the health store said she loved the Chai Vanilla so I bought a sample pack of that as weel :)


Hubby brought these home for me. Previously I'd only ever seen the vegan milk chocolate and the chunks but never the dark chocolate and these are GOOD!







Sunday, 12 April 2015

Quick Thai Red Curry


Quick Thai Red Curry

Ingredients

1 400g can coconut milk/cream
2 Tbls red curry paste
1/2 cup water
1 Tbls brown sugar
3 tsp soy sauce or 2 Tbls vegan fish sauce
1 tsp coconut amino (or omit)
1 cup soy beans
1 cup frozen corn
2 red or yellow peppers, sliced


Method

In a large pan pour half the coconut milk/cream and heat on medium.
When bubbles start to appear add in the red curry paste and whisk until well combined.
Pour in water and rest of coconut milk and heat on medium-high until bubbling.
Add in brown sugar, soy sauce, coconut aminos and frozen vegetables and bring to boil.
Reduce to simmer and add in peppers and cook until soft.
Serve with rice and top with cilantro if desired.


Saturday, 11 April 2015

Vegetable Soup

I'm kind of bewildered as to why I have never blogged a vegetable soup before but anyway, here it is!
This recipe courtesy of Alton Brown on the Food Network.


Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks, white part only (from approximately 3 medium leeks)
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
Kosher salt
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds (approximately 2 medium)
2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
2 cups fresh green beans, broken or cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup packed, chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Method

Heat the olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium-low heat.
Once hot, add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt and sweat until they begin to soften, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
Add the carrots, potatoes, and green beans and continue to cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, add the tomatoes, corn kernels, and pepper.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the vegetables are fork tender, approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the parsley and lemon juice.
Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.


The kids like it with pasta...





Monday, 6 April 2015

Date & Nut Balls

This is an easy and healthy snack, especially for kids! Adapted from a Catherine McCord recipe seen in Parents Magazine.


Date & Nut Balls

Ingredients

1/2 cup GF oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup pitted dates, chopped
2 Tbls agave syrup
1 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbls shredded unsweetened coconut


Method

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
On a baking sheet place nuts and oats and bake for 10mins and let cool.
In a food processor add nuts and oats and blitz until all blended and chopped finely.
Add in all other ingredients except for the shredded coconut and process until all mixed well.
Take small amounts of the mixture and roll into a ball in your hand.
Dredge in coconut shreds and leave to cool.
How many balls you make depends on how big they are.
Keep in sealed container for a few days.




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Vegan Fondue

This recipe was adapted from Vegetarian Times.


Vegan Fondue

Ingredients

10 small fingerling or other boiling potatoes, peeled (1 lb.)
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 cup dry white wine, such as Chardonnay, divided
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/2 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1/2 cup vegan cheddar shreds
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste


Method

Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water 5 to 8 minutes, or until soft. Drain, and set aside.
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add onions, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft and translucent.
Add garlic, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in 2 cups cold water in small cup.
Add cornstarch mixture to onion mixture, increase heat to medium, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add nutritional yeast and salt, and simmer 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, and add potatoes and 1/2 cup wine.
Blend with immersion blender until smooth and silky.


Return to heat, and simmer gently 5 minutes.
Add remaining 1/2 cup wine, and cook 1 minute, stirring once or twice, or until Fondue is thickened.
Add in vegan cheeses and stir until melted.
Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste before serving with bread pieces or apple slices.