Sunday, October 30, 2011

VeganMOFO-20& Chocolate Pies

Who doesn't like dessert? I felt like something more than my usual choc avo mousse or tofu pudding, so I put my tofu pudding recipe in a crust and called it a pie. Yummy, easy, healthy chocolate pie. The crust is dense and moist not like a traditional dry crunchy pastry but if you desire it that way feel free to bake it before adding the filling. I made three sizes- personally I think the cupcake version is the cutest and perfect serving size! Next time I shall make them all cute little mini cupcake pies like this one:
Although the mini cake tin works wonderfully too
And the heart one is cute if you're making it for someone special.
Makes enough for 1 small cake tin, 1 small heart shaped cake & 1 cupcake...or probably a normal pie tin? If I had one I would have tried that.
Crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
4 tbsp ground flax seeds
approximately 1/4 cup water- drizzle in to the right consistency
8 mejool dates (big juicy ones- if you're using normal tried ones soak them first)
OR
you can replace the dates with 1/4 cup of chopped apricots soaked overnight so they double in size
Filling:
1 x 300g packet of silken tofu
5 tbsp raw cacao powder
4 tsp Vanilla extract
4 packets stevia- but you can adjust it to taste
  • Blend the almonds and walnuts
  • Grind flaxseeds & add to the blender
  • Pit dates and add to the blender
  • Drizzle in water until the mixture sticks together easily- it won't take much!
  • Form into a 1cm crust in your desired tin & refrigerate/freeze to firm up (not 100% needed but it makes it easier & you'll be making the filling anyway)
  • Combine filling ingredients and blend with immersion blender- adjust to taste
  • Add filling to crust and refrigerate for 1 hr min to firm up the filling
  • Enjoy in small slices- it may be healthy but it's still wonderfully rich and the crust is fairly high fat/sugar/cal.

This is not an overly sweet recipe, you adjust it to taste but I like the crust sweeter and the filling less sweet and more chocolately. It's one of the best desserts I've had in a while, I strongly recommend you give it a go- it's seriously hard to stuff up and keeps well in the fridge. I'll be making this one again for sure! Perhaps some new flavour variations too, the classic chocolate orange or choc berry or choc mint would be great. Any other ideas? I'm up for trying anything that sounds good.. perhaps coconut or lemon? We'll see what works, I'll keep you posted! 

Hope you're all enjoying your weekend xxx
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

VeganMOFO-19 & Sugar!

Converting/helping others on their journey to vegetarianism is seen as a responsibility by some veggies and is generally the fear of omnivores. Whilst I feel the pressure to make the facts known and help others become conscious eaters, I don't think it's ever necessary to be rude or hostile (even if others are rude to you about being veg!) I believe if you are honest and open about your beliefs people will know where to come when they are ready. When they have questions or concerns they'll know you're friendly and happy to help but won't feel any negative pressure. This is what has been working for me, I'm sure being pushy gets the point across too but I fear it may alienate more than it encourages. If you can simply inform others about things (preferably not as they're eating) and be helpful but not pushy their journey to vegetarianism or even more conscious eating will progress. If we can understand that everyone will progress at different speeds and that what is right for one person may not be right for others the mutual respect can ignite conversation and education. If at times you become frustrated while helping others understand your views think back to a time when you were not vegetarian/vegan, you were once in their shoes. Respect their right to have a differing opinion, even if it may not seem right to you they will always be entitled to their opinion and deserve the same respect as anyone else (this should go without saying but from past experiences I feel it must be written). If you expect people to respect your decisions, you must respect theirs. Accept that they have a different view (at this point in time?) and continue the discussion. If your communication breaks down and it is no longer a positive situation for either of you- walk away. People can get very defensive and angry if they're not ready to take in the information you can offer so taking small steps is often the best way to go. All in all I believe if you offer small amounts of information and then let people come to you the best respectful discussions can occur. Don't be the crazy vegan who tells people horror stories as their eating their burgers and don't be the person who asks the vegan if they'd eat human flesh. Stay civil people!

Now- onto the sweet stuff! :) I think sugar is a peril to our health but despite that I value my metal health over the perceived perfection of eating habits. Plus if you can eat well 95% of the time why not enjoy yourself the other 5%? When you're trying to convince someone to go veg I'd say don't limit the fat, salt of sugar as they transition!

Sugar with a side of sugar and some extra sugar
Drops- Pomegranate, cherry, blueberry, strawberry (pictured on the right)
I think they're all awesome but my preferences go strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate, cherry. They're not too fake. I like the strength of flavour without the artificial kick.
Lollypops- strawberry, raspberry & blueberry
I like them in the order of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry
Drops- watermelon, mango, pomegranate, lime
The lime is amazing! Definitely my favourite but then I like sour things. So for these i'd choose lime, mango, watermelon, pomegranate.

What are the things you guys indulge in? Do you agree with the 95%/5% mentality?

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend! xxx
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Friday, October 28, 2011

VeganMOFO-18- Warm Millet Salad with Spiced Soy Cashews & Spiced Mandarin & Mint Millet

Continuing on from yesterday's Sweet Chili Lime Tofu from Vegan Yum Yum pg. 76 this is how I used the left over millet.


Warm Millet Salad with Spiced Cashews

The millet was made using the quinoa recipe. It's full of flavour- cooked in water with lime zest, cardamon, cinnamon and then uses a sweet soy, lime, chili, mint sauce after cooking. Like I said yesterday I reduced the sweetness of the sauce but aside from that its perfect. I combined it with some mixed lettuce and sprouts and topped it with some homemade spiced nuts. After the disappointment of these nuts I decided to make my own. I made a chili soy version the other day.

Spiced Soy Cashews
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/3 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup cashews

  • Toast spices in dry frying pan
  • Add cashews
  • When colouring begins add soy and reduce
  • Cool in pan and store in an air tight container in the fridge (or eat warm on your dinner!)
If you'd prefer a reduced salt version swap the soy for an oil like rice bran that won't impart too much flavour. I like spicy food, my tummy however doesn't- but I've found having some of these chopped makes a little spice go a long way :)

Round two of millet leftovers:

Spiced Mandarin and Mint Millet
Zest of 1 mandarin or 1/2 orange
1 clove (ground)
Seeds of 2 cardamon pods (ground)
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Handful fresh mint
Yesterdays millet cooked in water with lime zest, cardamon, cinnamon with some sweet soy, lime, chili, mint sauce.
1.5 cups water

  • Cook millet as per the recipe or reheat leftovers
  • Add spices, zest, soy and water
  • Add vegetable of choice (I went for zucchini)
  • Stir though fresh mint and serve
  • Enjoy :)
I really really like this. I felt like something bouncing with flavour and the citrus in this really topped it off. I can't take credit because it was just adding to someone else's recipe but I shall definitely be experimenting with this flavour profile. Its just lovely.

Bootcamp was painful today.
We did the usual warm up- I tried to run but I just couldn't. The pain is really getting annoying now. I didn't do the beep test, I'll do it another time, I couldn't justify hurting myself more- I already got an earful from the chiro yesterday for going to bootcamp and making it worse. So we did a circuit with the huge tires and relays with powerbags (20kg,10kg,5kg sand bags with handles) and body weight exercises. I can't remember it all, I was trying so hard to push through the pain I seem to have limited my cognitive function. Oh well- thank goodness it's over! I can rest and heal and get stuck into my new gym routine at whatever time suits me not pre-dawn.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

VeganMOFO-17& Vegan Yum Yum Tofu

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday- the road work men decided it would be a good idea to cut off my power. Right in the middle of my morning shower! What else can you do but laugh? I should be happy, I got through bootcamp- it was another deep water running session but we didn't have the floatie waistbands- It nearly killed me. I will never look at the nannas doing water aerobics the same way again. Granted its not quite the same thing but still- its got to be harder than it looks.

I thought today I'd just give an overview of advice for new vegans.
I want you all to be happy healthy vegans so:

  • Make sure you eat enough volume wise- it will look like more but be less calories.
  • Make sure you get enough omega 3's have some ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, chia seeds or a supplement every day
  • Make sure you get enough B12 through fortified milk/tofu/meat replacer/Nutritional Yeast or a multivitamin (Deva is a good vegan brand)
  • Make sure you get enough healthy fresh food- there's millions of them- eating a range of fruit and veggies daily.
  • Have a combination of wholegrain carbs, protein and veg at each meal to stay full and healthy.
Alrighty thats about all the important stuff. Now for some useful stuff:
For Aussies- Vegetarian network Victoria is a great resource- www.vnv.org.au They have so much awesome info- read the nutrition info and pantry list and the safe food lists and the suggested restaurants and the list of things to look for (heaps of additives aren't vegan). There will be resources like this specific to your area- just have a good search, they'll be there.

So basically, focus on the great new things you get to make and try, don't think of all the things you cant. Stay away from processed crap, most of its not vegan anyway but it will make you feel lousy. There is HEAPS of vegan junk food out there but most of it is not good for you and should only be eaten very occasionally, when you're really craving it. Cook for yourself, enjoy the process of finding new foods to eat and you'll feel better for it.

Plus you get to enjoy yummy meals like this one!

Sweet Chili Lime Tofu (from Vegan Yum Yum pg 76)


I decreased the sweetness because I was using stevia and didn't want it to be too strong and used millet instead of quinoa and switched up the veggies but this recipe is designed to be flexible like that- everything works and tastes delish! This was the first time we tried this recipe (only just got the book)- it was my husband's choice an anything that will get him eating veggies is good with me! 

Things I liked about this recipe:
The cinnamon cardamon lemon millet
How versatile it is- mix and match grains and veggies are a lifesaver for us!
How quick & easy it is
The mint! it really lightens this dish and cuts through the soy
It has no added fat :)

Things I wasn't so keen on:
The original is a bit sweet for me so I reduced it.
Serving size- it says it serves 2-3 but we got 4 big meals out of it. Perhaps the tofu quantity is for 2 but the grain portion is big. Next time I think I'll reduce the quantity of grain and increase the veg.

All together its a great recipe that is definitely going to be a regular at our place.
All the best xxx
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

VeganMOFO-16-Tofu Salad & 'Cheesy' Mustard Dressing

I vegan-ise a lot of recipes. I know it may sound hard at first but it just takes a little time and effort. It may be that I'm too cheap to buy all new cookbooks or that I love watching cooking shows but I am definitely still inspired by others work. The most important thing to consider is what are you trying to achieve- yeah I know it sounds blindingly obvious but you really do. So for example if you're trying to make a vegan chocolate cake are you going for a light fluffy cake or a dense mud cake- going from there it will alter your choice of vegan egg (say no egg for light and flax egg for mud cake) and the amount of oil or mashed banana you would use as a moistener. Using that idea you can take any recipe, break it down and substitute the non vegan items. So for example a recipe that calls for butter, cream and cheese could use tofu, soy milk, vegan margarine, oil, nutritional yeast, ground nuts/seeds etc. Basically if you work out the salty, sweet, sour, hot, carby, crunchy, soft etc component that it's used for in the original recipe and then find a veggie alternative to replace it with. Using presentation ideas from chefs is another easy way to up the enjoyment factor of your meal or make guests feel special. 

Who wouldn't smile sitting down to eat a fruit trifle or yummy sunday?

and If you're ever in a bind just google it! A few of my favourite chefs to use as inspiration are Nigella Lawson, Luke Nguyen, Jamie Oliver and Donna hay.

Tofu Salad with 'Cheesy' Mustard Dressing
1/2 packet of Tofu (go for organic non-gm)
Mixed Salad leaves
Dressing (1 serve)
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp flax seeds
1/4 cup water
  • Combine well (I put mine in a jar and shake well)
  • leave to thicken in fridge for about an hour
  • Enjoy over salad or with veggies
I love the tang the dijon gives it but if you want it a bit milder just reduce the quantity. I came up with this dressing because I've been trying to find ways to get more flax into my diet- I know its full of good omega 3's but I just don't like the taste. I much prefer chia seeds! however as I still have a jar of flax seeds in the fridge I must find more ways to include them. This dressing is strong enough to overpower their flavour and tastes great :) I'm open to any suggestions!

Hope you've all had a lovely day- the highlight of mine was playing soccer with a fit ball/swiss ball in the uni gallery. Growing up is overrated :P
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Monday, October 24, 2011

VeganMOFO-15-Cookbooks

Cook books can be life-savers..(and a money and time suck but whatever) They're great fun when you need to get excited about cooking or need some meal ideas. Some of my faves are:
Veganomicon- seriously amazing- I love the relaxed comfortable tone of this book and that it explains everything to you- a great one for starting off or if you need a little help. I'm not ashamed to admit I use it regularly to double check things. It has great variety too so you can use lots of recipes as a  jumping point to experiment with your own ideas. I love the Mediterranean baked lima beans and many many more.
Ani's raw food essentials- my first experiences in raw food- they're all so pretty and yummy. I haven't made as many as I would have liked yet due to time/money constraints but everything I have has been delish and energy giving. I also love that this book is full of healthy living tips. Completely looking forward to diving into this on again once uni is over.
Thrive- the vegan nutrition guide- This is a great book with heaps of info about eating well, its a really great read. Its more than a cook book- the end half of the book is recipes and a menu but its still one of my favourites. The direct fuel bites, smoothies and pizzas are great- Oh and the salad dressing! I love his salad dressings.
Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian- This book as wonderful variety- and its HUGE. I know its vegetarian not vegan but you can veganise things so easily. I've veganised many of her other recipes from her omni books (not hard, give it a go) and love them so I thought this book would be great. Surprisingly its even better than I was hoping for- it has not only indian veg recipes but a range from all over the world! In general I greatly reduce the fat content of all her recipes but they always still work. 
1000 vegan recipes- Another huge book, I find this one great for cooking for others- not sure why, perhaps the range and decadence? I've made loads of these recipes and they've always gone down well. Whenever I have no idea what I want I dig into this one and always end up with something that sounds good.
Vegan Yum Yum- Seriously, every vegan should own this. It's my husbands fave and he's the fussiest eater (& omnivore) I've ever met. Every recipe we've tried is great. If we're having the 'I want take-out' discussion we turn to this book and can always compromise on something yummy and healthy. Plus its cheap!
The Happy Herbivore- This one too. This is my new fave, I've only just got it but boy am I impressed. Its chock-a-block full of healthy, yummy, easy, vegan food. I love that these recipes are low fat but high flavour and satisfying. And that nothing's too hard to 'save for a weekend meal' I can whip these up up after a long day happily. Just my kind of cook book.
And now for some of my equally quick and easy food: 

Simple Zucchini Millet

1 Zucchini- chopped
1.5 cups Stock
1/2 cup Millet (cooked 1:3)
handful of fresh parsley
1 tsp braggs seasoning
  • cook millet in stock
  • chop and add zuc when millet is nearly done
  • season and enjoy.
Not the most inspired meal but it really did taste great. I can see myself having it again and rotating the veggies- speaking of which, if you don't like the veggies (or are trying to get kids/fussy husbands to eat theirs) try grating them and adding them to things like this or pasta sauces, risottos, baked goods etc. Never give up :)

I rested my leg this weekend but its getting worse not better! Before it was just really tight and sore, now the pain goes down the outside of my glute into my hamstring and behind my knee, and because I'm a stubborn fool who had to continue to do bootcamp I now have pain in my ankle from using poor running form. 

We walked (I limped) to the shops yesterday and I couldn't walk back- I was so glad to bump into my father in the supermarket and get a lift home! So after some loving pressure from my dear husband and father I skipped bootcamp this morning. I feel guilty but I wouldn't have been able to do much and the last 2 sessions I've pushed myself through have made it worse. Fingers crossed I'll be ok for wednesday's session. I hate feeling broken, its just plain frustrating.

All the best xxx
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Friday, October 21, 2011

VeganMOFO-14 & Zucchini Slim Me Noodles

The Label. VEGAN. It means different things to different people. Some are scared of it, some don't understand it, some use it as a badge of honour, some use it to attack others (I still don't get that one) but in my opinion it is a personal label- you have to decide what it means to YOU. There are dietary vegans, strict vegans, vegans 99.9% of the time, vegans expect in the case of medical care etc etc. If you're committed to living a kind, plant based lifestyle that avoids harming others I would consider you vegan. I know there are others out there who will disagree with me but guess what? its my blog :P So I get to tell you what I think. I believe your intent is key to this point- if you are trying your hardest to eat a vegan diet but you find out after you ate something you previously thought was safe that it had traces of milk in it does that make you not vegan? um no. It means you need to become a label reading, wary of others cooking for you vegan. 

The Line- you need to work out what being vegan means to you and where your line is. You can not be perfect. There will always be something you can not avoid (contributing to companies that own businesses that use animal products, animals possibly hurt in grain production, animals affected by the growing of vegetables, eating in omni restaurants etc) you just have to do your best. Personally I draw the line at medical care- things I can not reasonably avoid. I will not buy painkillers with lactose in them but I will accept vaccines that have used eggs to produce them. Call me a horrible vegan if you want but I have the desire to stay healthy and happy. So there you have it, the thing that will drive you crazy is working out where you stand on all the little things you don't immediately think of when becoming vegan.

Zucchini Slim Me Noodles
1 tsp chardonnay vinegar (or whatever vinegar you like)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup passata
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
paw paw seeds or pepper to taste
Zucchini curls (1 medium or 2 small)
1 packet slim me noodles
2 tsp nuttelex (lite)
  • combine, tomato paste, passata, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, vinegar on a low heat
  • boil water
  • cut zucchini
  • heat noodles for 2 mins
  • add to sauce
  • combine with zucchini and top with nutritional yeast- enjoy :)
I really enjoyed the combination of textures of the raw zucchini 'pasta' and slim pasta. This sauce is thick and rich to compensate for the lack of sauce on the zucchini. Its one of my faves, I just love the vinegar tang with the rich tomato flavour.. I know its not a complex recipe but its what I eat. Yeah, I'm not ashamed to be a lazy cook- I like things quick and easy but really, who doesn't? 


Bootcamp 21/10/11
Spin Class. Hills. Horrible Hills.
15 minute horrible hill- level 7-8-9-10-9-8-7-6-5
Free wheeling recovery 3 mins
Level 7-9- 30 seconds on each x 10? I don't really remember, it was just painful.
Free wheeling recovery 4 mins
Sprints- all doing level 7 then 2 at a time sprint at level 12 x 3 all
Free wheeling recovery 5 mins
Tabata sprint intervals- 20 secs on 10 off x 8
Only 3 more sessions to go! Thank goodness. I'm sitting on an ice pack at the moment to try and help my leg... yeah I'm silly, I had to do spin. I'm taking the weekend off though. Fingers crossed its better by Monday..

Hope you're all well and happy :) xxx
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Liebster Blog Award


To quote the wonderful Michelle at lovinlivinvegan who was kind enough to give me this award- "Liebster" is German for 'dearest' or 'beloved' but it can also mean 'favorite'. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers and show some support.
Thank you michelle! Everyone should go check out her blog too!
Here are the rules for winning this award.
1.  Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2.  Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3.  Post the award on your blog.
4.  Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!


So here are my picks! I love reading them so I hope you do too :) Go check them out.
1. Food Feud at FoodFeud
3. Rachel at Grim Confetti
5. Geanna at Green Vegan Living

Ok that was far too hard because you're all amazing..enjoy some great new reading! xxx
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

VeganMOFO-13

Cooking vegan food for non vegans can be a little tricky when you first transition to a vegan diet. Obviously this is very dependent of the person but in general (assuming they've agreed to come over) people will go one of two ways- 

#1 Happy to try things with lots of questions 
#2 Skeptical and will have plans to go out for second dinner afterwards because they think they won't like it. 

Getting people to try new things is all about variety. Don't just make one huge dish they might not love- go for lots of smaller things. For example, have pre-dinner nibbles, entree, main, dessert so you have 4 opportunities to win them over rather than just one! The other thing to be mindful of is when you're cooking for people used to processed food is do NOT go for low fat and sugar and salt options! They need to be eased into it so no giving them a naked salad- go for a salad with a yummy higher fat high flavour dressing. Make sure you give them flavour packed food that will leave them satisfied and full of energy :) Personally I'd go for something like spicy almonds to nibble on with a fruit mocktail, veggie soup, Dal, rice/popadoms, veggie curry and dressing, cacao coconut nut balls, Tea. Easy, yummy, filling- win win win... and last but not least- don't tell them whats in things! I know some of you may have issue with this, but as long as you know your guests aren't allergic to anything you really don't have to let them know that the chocolatey tasting dessert is actually full of chia and flax and really healthy :P

I have very few foods I buy in packets but these are one of the best:
These are great for when you're on the run. They're a bit pricey but as a treat they're perfect! and all for 160 calories. Healthy, yummy, just plain awesome. I tried the cacao and orange, cherry and goji, banana and lemon and fig and lemon ones. Personally I think the cacao orange is by far the best but fig and lemon comes a close second! I like the other ones too and would be more than happy to eat them again, its just personal preference. I have to say I got the other half to try them (yes, the man who hates dried fruit) and even he loved them! They really are that yummy. If I had money I would have these in the cupboard always...I must try and make my own. 
We were tempted by another packaged item the other day...
These however were not what I was expecting. They were sweet. I don't know what they did to them but they weren't right... I'll try making my own sometimes soon because these really did not satisfy my chili lime hankering. 
I made a chili soy version the other day they were good though... they had:
1/2 tsp tumeric,
1 tsp cumin,
1/3 tsp chili powder
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup cashews
I forgot to take a photo- sorry! Next time :) There will be a next time... yum yum yum
Another thing I found recently and love is Zevia.
Zevia has no sugar and is a great alternative to soda. Personally I've never really been one for getting bubbles up my nose (I never drank soda as a kid) but I've been trying to help the hubs develop healthier alternatives to soda and cordial. So we tried these and boy are they good. I find them really strong so I dilute them with mineral water (1:1) but he has them straight. I like flat soda so I like to leave mine out for a bit but all in all these are great.
Source

Bootcamp on the oval 19/10/11... not so great for the hay-fever & asthma 
Warm up jog round oval (big footy oval- AFL for the non-aussies)
(Jog length of oval x 2 , then 1 sprint ) x 4
Pulling the Sledge + 15kgs jog with it to mid oval and back whilst everyone else does (squats, lunges, medicine ball overhead throws, chest passes, burpees)
Partners doing turtles and jogging to edge of oval and back
Boxing 10 x 3
50 x 3 with jogs to mid oval in between
I may have forgotten something- that doesn't look like enough. Oh well, you get the idea.

*feel free to skip this vent*
I hurt my leg last Wednesday- a whole week ago doing that insane weights session and didn't stop to let it heal. I pushed through and thought I'd be ok. Silly. Silly girl. It came back and bit me in the bum (quite literally) today in bootcamp. Running became quite a challenge- I ended up running with one leg, the other just kind of stayed straight... not good. So now I'm taking tomorrow as a rest day and fingers crossed it will be ok for spin on friday! I'm thinking stretching, walking and heat pack- any other ideas?
Recipes- I've been thinking about the etiquette of posting recipes... when I cook from a book I tend not to post it because I don't want to step on the toes of the author. However it seems a shame to not photograph and share some wonderful meals... so I've been thinking about posting them but just omitting the recipe- say telling you the main ingredients, recipe title and book- how does that sound? How do you guys feel about it? Would it be a nice addition to the blog or just an annoying tease? Personally I love seeing photos of other peoples interpretations of recipes, makes me want to try them more!
ok, that is quite long enough

Have a great day everyone! xxx

p.s. I'm exhausted. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I can not wait for uni holidays... 25 days and 3 assignments to go!
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Monday, October 17, 2011

VeganMOFO-12-Cravings & Sundays


Cravings- the thing that I get asked the most about being vegan by non-vegans is don't you crave the food you can't have? Easy answer- NO! I don't crave meat or dairy or eggs. The only time they look edible is when I'm either STARVING (as in have skipped 4 meals) or not eating properly weather its variety or quantity (malnourished...not often). I know when I start looking at meat that something's wrong. So the best advice I can give any vegans that are struggling is take a good look at your diet and make sure you're getting everything you need to be strong and healthy. Make sure you're having healthy, wholegrain carbs, good fats (seeds, nuts), enough protein (pulses, legumes, beans, soy, nuts) and an array of fresh fruit and vegetables!

Having said that, sometimes there are dishes that you want for emotional/taste reasons rather than actually 'craving' them and you can always veganise them! For example I made a vegan banoffee pie recently. There are lots of alternatives to butters/creams/eggs and substitutes you can use- anything's possible if you just give it a go :)

Bootcamp was especially tough today. I wasn't feeling well, threw up during the warm up but kept at it... felt better after that. I think dinner was bad- hubby isn't feeling great either :S good thing I didn't cook. Be warned- even take out vegetables can hurt you!

BOOTCAMP - 17/10/11 (6 degrees c!)
Warm up
Running the length of the bball court and walking back
2 x easy
2 x harder
2 x 75%
2 x 90%
2 x 100%


Sprint drills over 1/2 court & walk back to start
3 x kick bum
3 x high knees
3 x straight legs
3 x high skips with arms

Circuits- 1 min stations- as many as possible of the exercise with 1 min rest.
Corner 1- Medicine Ball 4kg- Squat and throw into fence as high as possible
Mid (Sprints)- Forward to the net, backwards to the base line, forwards to the service line, backwards to the base line etc.
Corner 2- Burpees
Corner 3- Push ups
Mid -Ladder- 2 feet in each section as fast as possible & walk back
Corner 4- Star Jumps

Corner 1- Medicine Ball 4kg- Throw into ground as hard as possible
Mid (Sprints)- Forward to the net, backwards to the base line, sideways to the net and back the other way sideways.
Corner 2- I forget- sorry... one out of 18 isn't bad!
Corner 3- Plank
Mid -Ladder- 1 foot in and 1 foot out as fast as possible & walk back
Corner 4- Alternate leg lunges

Corner 1- Medicine Ball 4kg- Shoulder press
Mid (Sprints)- On the spot as fast as possible
Corner 2- Mountain Climbers
Corner 3- Sitting with legs at 90 degrees against fence
Mid -Ladder- 1 foot out 2 feet in 1 foot out traveling across as fast as possible & walk back
Corner 4- Bounds- 2 foot jump as far as possible (using arms)


Boxing- with partner (do each set and switch)
(10 normal punches) x 3
(10 normal, 10 high, 10 uppercuts) x 3
HARD- (2 normal, 2 upper, 2 hooks) x 6


Since I've decided desserts should be a part of my life I've been enjoying my cute new dish and making sundays! 
Strawberry Sunday
Using this blueberry and banana 'ice-cream' recipe + coconut milk and chopped strawberries- too easy!

and the slightly more decadent:

Corn-flake and Choc Avo and Berry Sunday

Using the same ice cream as above with the addition of chocolate avocado mousse (which was this recipe + sunflower seed butter & cornflakes for crunch! 

These are perfect for me- no fuss, just pull things out of the fridge and freezer and assemble.

Hope you're all well and happy :) xxx

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Friday, October 14, 2011

VeganMOFO-11 & Veggie Pesto Slim Me Noodles

Restaurant reviews- I would give you specific reviews of my fave places but that's not really going to help those that don't live in Melbourne, so instead I'll give you an all round review of what I like to eat when I go out. 

Some good options (obviously dependent of the place) are:
Edamame- healthy and somehow they always taste better out...
Eggplant Sushi- sesame seeds, eggplant, marinated veggies, rice, seaweed mmmm
Green Gyoza- veggie dumplings :) always a good choice
Tofu Steak- marinated, usually grilled or fried with salad/veg
Vegetable Noodle Soup- Veggies, tofu, noodles, more filling than the above and usually big enough to share!
Japanese Salads- Seaweed, pickled radish, carrot, vinegar, sesame seeds
Eggplant Chips- Heaven. Lightly crumbed and deep fried heaven. 
Flat bread and Dukka- Spices and nuts in oil to dip the fresh wood fired bread in.. mmm
Chickpea, Orange and Nut Salad- Sweet salad. Perfect in warm weather, eaten on the balcony over the river in the CBD.
Char-grilled Vegetable Pizza- Thin crust, wood fired.
Tomato based sauce pasta and veg- always good at Italian places
Veggie Burgers- They vary- the ones at lord of the fries or the butchers at the beach are the best. You'd be surprised how helpful the butchers are, I love finding nice open minded people.
Lord of the fries Chips- Skins on beautiful- the only chips I trust and eat occasionally. For those of you in Melbourne do yourself a favour and get the sample size- its the smallest but big enough! Good things taste better in small doses.
Asian mock meats- Avoid the 'seafood', go for mock 'beef'/'pork'/'lamb'- or if you like smoky flavours duck. Most sauces will have stacks of sugar and salt so go easy and avoid anything that isn't a natural colour.
Stir fried rice noodles, veg and tofu in soy sauce- Thai, just make sure you ask for no egg and no fish sauce. 
Monkey Head Mushrooms and Mixed Vegetables- Best mushrooms ever! I can't find them anywhere- if anyone knows where to find them in Melbourne please let me know!!
Melbourne has a Veg good food guide which is a wonderful help with choosing places to eat- I suggest you look for one similar for your city.

Bootcamp today was deep water running. I was still in agony from Wednesday so i'm sure I could have done better under different circumstances. But all in all its a great workout. We did sprints and apnea drills and lots of running, I was pleasantly surprised by the intensity of the workout. My arms, core and legs are all dead and my lungs are aching. Here's hoping it helps my cardio fitness!


Veggie Pesto Slim Me Noodles
Using this vegetable pesto recipe and some extra nutritional yeast and oregano this dish is super easy and yummy. Slim me noodles + broccoli + Veg Pesto + nutritional yeast = Delish ( only 300 calories!) 

This is a really light pasta but its satisfying and yummy- I tend to have things like this when the other half is having huge bowls of gluten filled oily pasta and it keeps me happy and full. I love broccoli, if you have another fave veg just sub it in and enjoy!.. it works well with zucchini strips too come to think of it.

Hope you're all enjoying the little things in life- I did, I had a wonderful time meditating floating in the water today and stretching out my sore tight muscles in the spa. Who doesn't love bubbles? 

All the best xxxx
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

VeganMOFO-10 & New Gym Routine

Today I shall give you a run down of things I find useful in my kitchen. Having the right appliances and utensils is far from necessary but they do make my life easier. Aside from the obvious pots, pans, cutlery and crockery here's a short list of things I'm very grateful to have in my kitchen:

Basic hand whisk- great for desserts, sauces, making egg substitutes etc
Salad spinner- obviously its for fun!...and getting nasties off your veggies
Silicone mat- great for baking/un-baking, roasting etc
Baking cake tins that un-clip- I don't know about you but not being able to get cakes out of tins annoys the hell out of me...even if the cake crumbs do still taste good.
Liquidizer/blender- I use this more in summer than winter but its great for soups and smoothies. Now I have the bamix I think I could live without this one- so its your call. But I really like its ability to crush ice on those hot summer days.
Juicer- If I lived alone I wouldn't have one of these but it was a wedding gift and its one of the few ways I can get veggies into my fussy hubby. So if you're getting enough veg and don't have family that you are encouraging to eat more you can pass on this one and enjoy the benefits of the fiber but for me, this is a great way to encourage my other half to up his fruit and veg intake.
Food processor- My wedding present from my husband :) Perfect gift. It has made my kitchen much more productive. I think having both the small and large bowl and cutter attachments is such a great time saver. My un-baking has been so much easier since getting this. I really think every kitchen can benefit from one.
Hand blender/bamix- Makes soups, sauces, dips, smoothies fun and easy! To be honest you could do with either this or the blender but I'm spoiled and have both.
Speed peeler/ spiral cutter- Essential for me but maybe not you- I'm a big kid, I like variety in my veggies and switching up how you cut them changes the texture and makes them more fun!  
Pressure cooker- Essential for cooking beans, lentils, grains, soups, stocks etc. I use this regularly and it cuts the cooking times down significantly. As an added bonus its electric so I don't have to watch it. 
Bamboo steamer- Cheap and easy, much better than boiling your veg- keeps the goodness in them not in the water.
Pestle and mortar/spice grinder- something to grind whole spices, seeds and nuts- freshly grinding your spices, seeds and nuts is definitely the way to go.
Tupperware/pyrex- having a variety makes it easy to take food with you and store things in the fridge/freezer.
Measuring cups- Something I use a lot for portion control- to each their own. 
Tea pot!- to make the best tasting tea ever...

I can't walk properly today. Today is officially a rest day. Stretching and walking is all that shall be happening. Do you want to know why I can't walk? of course you do.. its because after my crazy bootcamp session yesterday I went back for round 2! 
I really do have a love hate relationship with my trainer. He's the same one that takes bootcamp. After doing one hell of a bootcamp session, I then had to run through this, not all of it because I physically couldn't but just enough to get me to failure and learn it. 

So here you have my new gym routine, its a good one- I'm trying to shed fat and decrease my muscle size but keep the tone. You  should give it a go some time.
Gym Routine 12/10/11
Warm up- 10 min Jog/Cross trainer/Bike
Crossfit Triple x 3 -as fast as possible!
a.k.a (Run 400 m, 50 Squats, Dumbbell Shoulder Press x 20 @ 3-4kg) x 3
Assisted Chin ups 2-3 x 15-20 @ 15
Dumbbell Double Arm Swing 2-3 x 15-20 @ 8kg
Theraband External Rotation (for my dodgy shoulders) 2-3 x 10-12
Superset (no rest) of:
Dumbbell Sit ups (weight straight outstretched above head) 2 x 10-20 @ 10kg
Dumbbell Leg Raises 2 x 10-20 @ 10kg
Seated Posture Trainer on the swiss ball- lift one leg at a time without moving anything else!! 2 x 5-10 @ 3 second lift & hold.
Stretch it out and enjoy the rest :)

and something pretty I've been eating lately...

Tomato Salad
Baby spinach, Rocket, mixed tomatoes, roasted capsicum, spray of braggs liquid aminos.
Doesn't it just make you happy seeing the gorgeous colours of the tomatoes? Makes me smile.

Hope you're all well and enjoying your lives xxx
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