Friday, September 30, 2011

Strawberry Cinnamon Buckwheat

Firstly thank you so much to the people who commented on my last post. I really needed your kind words. Just huge gratitude and thanks.

I'm feeling much better after a few days of getting back into better habits. Working out and eating for physical hunger not emotional hunger is getting easier day by day. I'm hoping I can continue with this positive approach and participate in Sarah's (Welsh Girl Eats) wonderful idea of Practicing Kindness.
For the month of October I will be joining her in a mental/dietary cleanse (as well as vegan MOFO!) 

October will be focusing on self kindness. I will be treating myself with the same love and kindness I extend to others... I've become a 'do as I say not as I do' person recently and its just not on! The long hours of work, the taking on too much stress, the eating badly and hating and punishing myself for it etc etc. I need to be patient, kind, caring, loving and supportive of myself (through the good and the bad) and I'm hoping after actively pursuing this goal for a month it will become a part of my life without having to focus on it as much. 

I know now that this is going to be a HUGE task for me but I'm up for it. In the spirit of the en devour I may have to not aim for perfection but rather a positive way to deal with any negative thoughts that arise. The idea of stopping them completely seems too impossible! but stopping them in their tracks and countering them with a realistic positive thought then focusing on a kind thought sounds do-able to me :)
I will be trying my best to meditate daily too- even if its only for 5 mins! 

Diet wise I will be focusing on eating foods that don't hurt me physically or mentally. So still eating a low/no FODMAPs vegan diet full of good healthy food and still aiming to lose weight/fat. 

If anyone whats to join us please do!! Here's sarah's post on practicing kindness.
My completely gorgeous yummy breakfast
Strawberry Cinnamon Buckwheat
Makes 1 serve (if you're not a big breakfast person it can stretch to 2)
1/2 cup buckwheat cooked with 1 tsp cinnamon in 1 cup of water
4 big strawberries (2 cut up and cooked into the buckwheat and 2 sliced on top for contrasting textures)
Stevia to taste (or omit if your strawberries are nice and sweet)
  • toast buckwheat in pot (no oil) for a few mins
  • add water and cinnamon
  • boil until there is no more water and the buckwheat is tender
  • stir through 2 chopped strawberries
  • add stevia to taste (or not at all)
  • serve topped with chopped strawberries
  • Enjoy!
I love this breakfast because its sweet and special but fills you up and is ridiculously low cal and high nutrient. (we're talking about 200 cals for the whole bowl!) I prefer buckwheat to quinoa (its lower cal and I prefer the carby texture) but this recipe works just as well with quinoa.

Hope you're having a lovely day! xxx
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bamix & Foodstuff

First the fun stuff- I got spoiled rotten by my darling husband, granted we've been saving for aaages (2yrs?) and have gone through two crappy hand blenders to get here but still- I feel very lucky. I finally have  a bamix hand blender! :) Its awesome! so much more powerful than the others and has a great cord that doesn't get in the way and its own stand so you don't make a mess everywhere and you can take the blade out so you can clean it properly- what can I say, I'm so excited! I've already used it in drinks and desserts and soups- love it!
and since we were there I got a couple of bowls that match ours but are a different size and a baby cake tin to bake appropriate size desserts for us! (because our freezer is just not big enough for the left overs of a full size cake) and hand in hand with that is the cute green dotty mini cake/biscuit tin to keep them fresh- because we all know cakes shouldn't be put in the fridge right?! oh and a new speed peeler because I managed to break the old one- the blade went flying and now resides behind the fridge!

Alrighty now for the foodstuff- I've been reading up on the FODMAPs diet to manage IBS. Thanks to some wonderful bloggers sharing their experiences (Sarah from welsh girl eats and Elise from Hungry hungry hippie) it's seeming more and more like the way to go. To be honest any improvement sounds good to me! So I've begun restricting things/eliminating things and I'm feeling much better already. I'm a little annoyed that no doctors have brought it up before but I'm once again SO thankful to the blogging world for sharing this with me. 

Having said that I am a little uncertain as to how this will fit in with my other attempted restrictions. Its looking like I'm ending up with a combination of restrictions... (low not no because I'm not perfect) low carb, low fat, low sugar, low gluten, low processed foods, fodmaps, vegan, seasonal- where possible, organic- where possible, raw as much as I can... so I try my best, but when I inevitably stray from my ideal eating plan I can't help but let it affect me. I was thinking of possibly giving myself permission to have one day off a month, or one treat meal a week or something because I can't work out how to let go just a little bit all the time. I need to find a way to be ok with messing up without losing all control and binging or allowing it to turn into an excuse to mess up again. I've made it 119 days without binging today but I must confess I'm still not 100% in tune with my hunger cues and I'm still working on not overeating...if you don't know the difference trust me, you don't want to. One is insane and the other is a bad habit. If you have anything that you've found works please let me know?!

Ok that's quite enough of that. I hope you're all having wonderful days full of things that make you smile :) xxx

p.s. I've signed up for VEGAN MO FO!!!(vegan month of food) You can look forward to some healthy, yummy vegan weight loss recipes- general cooking/lifestyle tips & product/book reviews. I know you're jumping in your seats- can it be true? Claire's finally committing to blogging more?! a minimum of 20 posts in October! shock horror! :P
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Slim Me Noodle Tomato Spaghetti

After a longggggg choir rehearsal (we're talking almost 5 hours with a sore throat) the last thing I wanted to do was shop.. but when you have more than yourself to look after and your hubby is dying for junk food after a shocker of a week how can you say no to a shopping trip? This was my haul (his looked rather different as you can imagine)
A nice cheap pineapple ($2 and big!), ripe discounted tomatoes, strawberries, stuffed olives, coconut aloe water, buckwheat crisps, slim pasta (in spaghetti and angel hair)
I was amazed to see these- I've never seen the before and they look like a dieters dream
Slim Noodles! :)
they're more like noodles if you ask me but for the calories how can you complain?!?! Its made from a vegetable flour called Konjac, its a veggie like a yam apparently and some soy in the spaghetti one. They don't have much flavour of their own so you need to put it with a good sauce but neither does pasta/noodles really. I'm totally buying more! They're more akin to noodles so if you dive in with that expectation they won't disappoint. Just don't overcook them! they only take 1 min or they get this weird harder texture (the opposite of pasta)

Slim Me Noodle Tomato Spaghetti
1 packet (technically 2 serves but who's counting? not me!) of slim me noodles
1/2 can chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
lots of ground paw paw seeds or pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
10 olives (pimento stuffed and drained)
small handful of oregano
little bit of sage
  • cook sauce frist but put a pot of water on to boil
  • combine tomatoes, tom paste, nutritional yeast, vinegar, olives and paw paw seeds
  • simmer for 5 mins
  • add herbs
  • rinse noodles well (its in water like tofu)
  • heat noodles for 2 mins, drain and put in sauce
  • Mix through and enjoy with some veggie hopefully!
This was satisfying and filling in a way that rice noodles can't do, you know what I mean? It was just what I needed after a long day. I can see this with added protein (tofu/beans/lentils?) being a great post workout meal... or a great anytime meal, just with more veggies!

And for the second find of the night- Coconut and Aloe water. Let me just say, the lid did not lie. It was delish! 
Sweet, refreshing, creamy with some fibre for fun! Its strong though- I could only manage half of it. Works for me, 2 serves in one bottle :) and the bottle is so cute, glass, cute shape so I decided to remove the label and keep in in the fridge. It has berry ice tea in it at the mo and is a nice addition to my pretty glass jar collection (it may be an addiction but more on that another day)

Have any of you tried slim noodles? have you heard of the konjac flour? are there any other versions of this product? I'm interested... any opinions on it? good/bad?

Hope you're all well xxx
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spoiling loved ones & Green Vegetable Pesto

It was Dads bday last weekend, we got him a massage for his pressie which he loved but had problems accepting. He's sick and deserves a nice treat. Do you have people in your life like that? they're hard to buy for but when you get it right they love it but feel guilty or whatever and have issues accepting it? It confuses me... I spent ages trying to think of a gift, finally thought of something good, saved up and then instead of saying thanks and getting excited he spends 5 minutes trying to convince us we shouldn't have spent money on him? 

Anyway- we took him out for lunch to his favourite little Italian cafe and I improvised a nice vegan meal. I should have taken photos! oops, next time. Dad got the roast, Hubby got pumpkin gnocchi and we all shared the antipasto platter, I got a green salad nicked dads asparagus and some eggplant dip, the roast marinated eggplant, capsicum and some olives off the antipasto platter and added them to my salad. Yum. Pretty good seeing as I was preparing myself to just have a cup of tea. 

The men got dessert, chocolate gelato and we snuck a mini baked cheesecake into the order for his birthday cake :) He tries to eat so healthy 100% of the time.. but what's a birthday without a cake?! I offered to bake one but then he said he wouldn't eat it so the single serve was a nice compromise. I hope you all enjoy a birthday treat too! if not- drop me a line and I'll talk you into it! 

I decided to enjoy myself with a nice sweet treat too- I made a:
Pear and Chia drink
1/4 pear
1tsp chia seeds soaked to make chia gel
1/2 cup mineral water
1/2 glass of ice
stevia to taste
  • soak chia seeds in water
  • skin pear
  • combine and blend
  • half fill a glass with ice cubes
  • half fill with mixture
  • top up with mineral water and enjoy!
I had 2 and felt great. Sugar + bubbles = happy :)

As promised here's my pesto-ish recipe, its addictive- you have been warned! I forgot to take a photo of it straight but I used it in the two pics below. Ah who am I kidding, you all know what pesto looks like! 

Green Vegetable Pesto
Makes 16 serves (under 100 cals per heaped tbsp serve)
2 cups peas (frozen)
2 cups edamame (frozen)
1 cup water
1 cup pine nuts (not toasted)
4 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup oregano (whole leaves) 
1/4 cup mint 
1/4 cup sage
paw paw seeds or pepper to taste
  • cook peas and edamame in boiling water- drain
  • blend peas, edamame, herbs and water
  • add pine nuts and blend well
  • slowly add the baby spinach and blend well
  • season to taste with ground dried paw paw seeds or pepper
It's very thick like a dip so you can use it for whatever dish you wish by just adding the appropriate amount of liquid. Its a much lower calorie and healthier version of the original and to be honest an improvement! (sorry nonna) mmmm pesto, yep now I want some for dinner.

So far I've made this:
Vegetable and Millet Pesto Stew
(or as the husband named it green mush)
1 cup cooked millet
1 zucchini
2 tbsp pesto
1 cup vegetable stock
Handful of oregano and mint
  • cook millet
  • chop zucchini
  • combine all ingredients and cook until the vegetables are tender/to your liking
I know it doesn't look like much but when it tastes this good who cares? Its fresh but hearty and full of flavour. I'll be enjoying it again.

Good thing I made a nice big batch so I have some in the freezer for later and some more in the fridge to play with! It will taste awesome with some raw veg as a dip or as a spread in a sandwich or in a stirfry or on a spoon or.. well you get the picture!

Hope you give this a go- you can always switch up the veggies and herbs and make your own veggie pesto. Its amazingly versatile- like hummus. So now there's pesto and hummus on my list to make some more healthy versions, if you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them :)

All the best xxx
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soup, Pesto & Porridge

I've been plodding along, working hard and enjoying the beautiful weather- spring is upon us and I'm loving the sun! my legs however, are so white you can see my vains (argh english skin!) so I need to get my dresses, skirts and short out and get out in the fun!...however this does also mean that the hayfever is back :(

Corn and Chickpea Soup (with floaties)
After my canned soup experiences I decided homemade was the way to go and went back to an old favourite, this was very similar to this Chickpea, Corn & Sage soup but I changed the ratios slightly (more chickpeas = thicker and less sweet) and added some gorgeous broccoli floaties! I love my broccoli so this was a winner for me- of course if you do not share my love for broccoli add whatever veggie you like!

I also made a pesto out of edamame, peas, spinach, pine nuts, mint, oregano and sage- recipe to come but I used it to make this millet dish.

Green Pesto Millet
1 cup cooked millet
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup cooked spinach
1 heaped tbsp of homemade pesto (edamame, peas, spinach, pine nuts, mint, oregano, sage)
1 Carrot (attacked with the curly cutter)
1/4 cup water
  • cook millet if not already done (I like to keep cooked grains in the fridge/freezer)
  • combine all ingredients except the carrot
  • combine and heat
  • cut carrot and serve- it may not look like much but it tasted great!
and to round it off here's some of my yummy breakfasts...porridge-steel cut oats and water with berries- simple but effective, yummy and filling. 
I don't think you need a recipe for this one... 1 cup cooked porridge and 1/2 cup frozen berries- heat and eat- easy peasy :)

Thank goodness there's another day to this weekend- this one has just flown by! 
Hope you're all enjoying yourselves xxx
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Potato Salad

Do you ever have those days when you just want time to speed up? I do. I just want a job already! I seem to have lost my passion for uni... after working so much at placement I realise how much I love teaching, now I just want to work... but I have another year before I'm qualified and another 1/2 yr after that before I complete my masters. So I'll be done by mid 2013.. gosh that seems a long way away.  At least I'll have another school to work at next year and I know I'm doing the right thing. I went into this course 75% sure I wanted to be an art teacher, now I'm 200% sure!

And for some yummy food...
Potato Salad
Makes 5 serves
5 medium Potatoes
6 tbsp Vegan Mayo (silken tofu recipe)
5 spring onions
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Tomato Sauce (Homemade- tomato paste, vinegar, stevia)
  • wash and clean potatoes
  • cut into bit sized chunks
  • cook in salted water until tender
  • drain and leave to one side whilst you make the dressing
  • chop spring onions and combine with mayo, mustard and tomato sauce
  • mix through the warm dry potatoes and enjoy (in small portions as a side dish!)
I weighed myself. It wasn't pretty. I've got some work to do... I feel the urge to plan things and count calories and weigh my food and restrict. I know its a slippery slope... but now I'm standing on the edge trying to work out how to lead a healthy, balanced happy life whilst shrinking to a healthy weight. I'll let you know how it goes...

All the best xxx
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oops! & Soups

Guess who managed to flood the bathroom?

Yeh, thats right, I'm that smart. I forgot to put the pipe for the washing machine in the bathtub and it went allll over the floor. And since we live on the first floor not only did it effect us but the neighbours that live below us too! It went all down their bathroom and study wall. I'm just praying we don't get in trouble with the estate agent. And it drys ok and their ceiling isn't ruined... fingers crossed. I can't believe I was so silly. I should have taken a photo! It would have been great, shame I was too busy freaking out and mopping it up with towels. I have an exam today I was studying for- I was so tuned into my work I didn't even hear the water. Deary me.

Food-wise I tried Amys soups for the first time yesterday.... 
I had a no chicken noodle soup for lunch 
and pasta and 3 bean for dinner... and some extra veggies because they're only approx 250 cals per can- which is meant to be 2 serves? I missed that bit -it was one medium bowl to me and I still needed more. Maybe it serves 2 children?
So the verdict- I can make better or at least the same quality for a good deal cheaper. Lucky I got these on sale or I'd be quite annoyed. I mean seriously they usually go for $6(au) for a can of soup!? I was expecting them to taste amazing the way people talk about them. The flavour was good but the onion content was a really bad idea for my tummy. I don't understand why people love these so much. The only time I can ever see me buying them again is if I'm going camping or away somewhere where I require food that stores and travels well. 

Having said that if you're comparing these to something like cup-a-soup I can say these win hands down. All in all I'm defrosting my sweetcorn soup for dinner tonight- I think making batches and freezing them is a much better way to go.

Hope you all have a wonderful day! xxx
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Strawberry Lime Mocktail

I was feeling like a little something special so I decided to make my version of a drink I had with a friend the other night. I don't drink alcohol but i'm sure it would taste just as good with a splash of spirits.
Strawberry Lime Mocktail
1/2 glass Ice cubes
4 big strawberries
squeeze of lime
stevia to taste (depends on the strawberries!)
1/2 glass mineral water
  • fill the glass half full of ice cubes
  • combine strawberries, lime, stevia and 1/4 cup mineral water
  • mash until there are no more strawberry chunks (I just used a fork)
  • add the remainder of the mineral water and enjoy!!!
If I was making it for more than just me I'd break out the blender and obliterate the strawberries but if it's just for me I really don't mind some chunks, its actually quite nice and the flavour escapes into the drink as you can see by the beautiful colour.

*rant warning! feel free to skip* 
I appear to have a selective memory when it comes to eating out. I don't know if its my way of dealing with negative experiences- I can't really remember a lot of the bad things that have happened in the past, so perhaps? the point is whenever I go out to eat I regret it. I don't know how, but they manage to turn vegetables into junk food. I never learn my lesson. It tastes good in the moment but then you realise how much salt it had in it when you begin guzzling water and when you can't stop your leg from twitching you realise it must have had msg in it, then the headache and nausea kicks in to seal the deal. Sugar, Salt, Fat, msg, just bad bad bad. 

Why do I forget? Why do I think, no this time it will be ok? I'm sure the chef/server won't lie to me. I wish people wouldn't give you a hard time for ordering a salad or steamed veggies. Least then I wouldn't feel so rotten afterwards.  I guess people are still scared of my 'crazy vegan cooking' so we have to eat out. 

So I'm left with a dilemma- If I want a social life then I have to find a way to deal with this... I wonder if it's acceptable to drink green tea for dinner out then have proper food when I get home? Probably not...still, it would be safer. Either that or I must convince my friends I can actually cook yummy food. But when they're accustomed to eating macdonalds and I only add a tiny bit of salt and rarely sugar to my food I can see why we have differing opinions. I made a friend try my broccoli the other night because I thought it tasted unusually sweet and she couldn't taste it... hmmm

Having said all that, It was my fathers birthday today and we took him out to lunch as a treat and it was just lovely! granted I had to do some food stealing to make a decent meal (tomatoes and asparagus from dads roast and the roast veggies from the antipasto platter on top of my green salad) but it was a lot better than past experiences!

If anyone has any tips for eating out as a vegan I would love to hear them (I know there are veg places I can find but convincing other people to come with me seems to be the issue) I hope you're all well, enjoying your weekend and full of smiles xxx

p.s. THANK YOU so much to the people who gave me some feedback on the blog- I'll be working on improving it for you & me :)
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

What do you want to read?

I'm asking for your help... How can I improve this blog? I would like some honest feedback please. Believe me, I can take constructive criticism, I'm an artist!

What do you want to read on my blog? 
Do you prefer recipes alone?
Do you prefer recipes + getting to know me/my life?
Would it be helpful to be more open about my struggles with food?
Do you like photos? are there too many photos?
Do you want more of anything? less of anything? 
Is there anything I can do better? 
Is there anything that would make you smile to see?
Do you prefer me posting multiple recipes in one post less regularly or one recipe per post more often?
Do you like seeing what I eat daily, more of an account or food diary or do you prefer just seeing more interesting meals? 
If you like the whole list do you think joining what I ate Wednesdays would be a good idea or would you prefer it more often?

I have no idea where I'm going with this, I just feel like I could be blogging better and would like to make my blog a positive place for you all to enjoy. So please let me know what you want! 

Love and Smiles xxx

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Dessert Weekend!

After not being hungry for the best part of 2 weeks I finally found my appetite last weekend.. and that meant I finally felt like cooking! (Although I didn't get around to posting it until this weekend- oops! busy life) All in all it was an indulgent affair- I couldn't decide what I wanted so I just kept cooking! most of it is hiding in the freezer now as I am completely over it. I think it had more than a little to do with the fact it was that time of the month and I hadn't had chocolate in months. Here's a peak at the yumminess 
Proper food first! Veggie before pudding :)
I forget what this one was... its been too long, I'm going to guess at a broccoli, spinach and millet stirfry.. most likely had some soy, ginger, chili in it.
Millet and Broccoli in Turmeric Seed Sauce
1 small head of Broccoli
1 cup cooked millet
handful of Cashew nuts
1tbsp chia seeds
1tbsp flax seeds
paw paw seeds (or black pepper) to taste
1 tsp turmeric
3 cups stock
  • Grind seeds
  • add all sauce ingredients
  • let sit for an hour or so to thicken
  • cook millet
  • chop broccoli
  • add everything and cook until the broccoli is tender
  • enjoy!
This was so satisfying, tasted wonderful and was packed full of flavour- I must make it again! If you're new to millet give it a go- its more starchy that quinoa but not as heavy as rice and it doesn't hurt my tummy like pasta. Good all round! and you can make it sweet or savory, hot or cold, aldente or mushy, in baking or as a side. 

Chocolate nut 'Fudge' Strawberries
... and some normal ones to balance it out!

(this makes enough to coat 2 big punnets of strawberries but I only did one so I could make fudge hearts)
1 big punnet of strawberries
5 tbsp cacao powder
8 tbsp sunflower seed butter
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp chocolate essence
Stevia if needed- I didn't but just taste it and see
  • melt sunflower seed butter over a bain marie
  • add cacao powder, lemon, choc essence
  • stir well
  • when combined dip strawberries in and leave to set in the fridge
  • *remember to use baking paper/non stick mat* I forgot and there was some mess getting them of the plate... not that that mattered, it was fun to clean up!
  • Leave to set in fridge for 1 hr
  • Serve with coconut cream and vanilla paste
  • Enjoy with a bubbly drink for complete indulgence :)

I used my intentional left overs to make..

'Fudge' Hearts
Just using a little heart shaped ice cube maker in the fridge I made the left overs into cacao, coconut, sunflower seed 'fudge' pieces. Yum Yum Yum. Rich, indulgent and satisfying.
Another recent addition to my fridge is 

Beetroot Hummus
1 tbsp vinegar
Warm water to drizzle in (1 cup ish?)
4 tbsp tahini 
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 lemon juice and rind
2 cups cooked baby beetroots and some of their liquid (I used tinned, bad I know)
  • cook the chickpeas 
  • blend all ingredients while drizzling in the warm water to combine
I used it in my lunches of buckwheat crackers, sprouts, 2 kinds of hummus, baby spinach and rocket. Fresh, filling and lovely with all the fun of construction!

Next on the agenda was cake!

Choc-Spiced Oat and Almond Cake
Choc-Spiced Oat and Almond Cup-cakes
Makes 6 cup cakes and 1 mini cake
3 cups Rolled Oats
10 mejool dates (remove stones)
5 tbsp cacao powder
5 handfuls almonds
1/2 cup ground chia seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
5 tsp chocolate essence
water to desired consistency (approx 2 cups?)
1/2 cup coconut + extra for sprinkles
6 tbsp mixed spices
  • Preheat oven to 180
  • grind flax and chia seeds
  • process rolled oats
  • add cacao powder, coconut, choc essence and mixed spices
  • remove stones from dates and add to food processor
  • add almonds now for more texture or grind with the seeds for a smoother texture
  • drizzle in water (keep fairly dry)
  • spoon into tins
  • sprinkle with coconut
  • bake at 180 for 45 minutes or until the coconut is browning
  • Serve with coconut cream and vanilla paste

Add an extra 1/2 cup coconut to the left overs to make a dryer consistency that will hold together then roll into balls and refrigerate...
Ok that is quite enough recipes for one post, sorry its taken so long. Hopefully I'll be able to post more regularly now I'm back at uni more. 

I hope you're all well and smiley- I'm getting there, life's been a challenge lately.. I just need to remind myself that I am a wonderful person capable of making my own luck. Let the challenges wash over me without taking any of me with them... well that's the plan anyway.

All the best with whatever your day brings you, lots of love xxx
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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Body weight simulator

This body weight simulator is amazing fun to play around with! and more detailed than any others I've seen on the internet.

Enjoy but don't obsess!
All the best xxx
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