Friday, March 30, 2012

Sour Cherry Jelly Cakes & Hearts

These sweet sour cherry bombs are wonderful. They taste almost jammy but with that sweet sour balance. I ate all 4 in 2 days they're that good. Thank goodness they're healthy (and only 60 calories) They actually taste remarkably like a less sweet version of a roll up! 

I'm thinking next time I should spread them thinner and see if I can make healthy roll ups.. ah the possibilities. But for now, these will do me just fine. Quick, easy, health and delicious. What more could you ask for? A variation? ok- if you want a black forest jelly cake just add cacao/cocoa to this recipe! yum yum yum. I'm making that next.

Sour Cherry Jelly Cakes
Makes 4 serves (60 calories per serve)
1 x  720g jar organic sour cherries in water
1 x 25g packet agar agar
Stevia- optional, I didn't add any but adjust to taste
  • blend cherries with juice
  • add agar agar and stir well
  • simmer and reduce on a low heat for 15 mins
  • pour into moulds/nice bowls
  • refrigerate for 30 mins
  • enjoy!
And for some cute little ones...

Sour Cherry Hearts

Makes 8 serves (30 calories per serve)
1 x 720g jar organic sour cherries in water
1 x 25g packet agar agar
Stevia- optional, I didn't add any but adjust to taste
  • blend cherries with juice
  • add agar agar and stir well
  • simmer and reduce on a low heat for 15 mins
  • pour into moulds/shallow pyrex dish
  • refrigerate for 30 mins
  • use cookie cutters to cut into hearts (or whatever shape you desire)
  • enjoy!
Hope you're enjoying some delicious, healthy desserts!

Also if you're yet to discover WolframAlpha go check it out. It's great fun and has so much info. I've been using it for nutritional breakdowns of recipes and predicted weight loss calculations as well as for uni work. I'm sure you'll find some interesting uses for it too.

All the best,







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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pandan 'Custard'

Have you tried pandan yet? If not you have to! It's a wonderful flavour to add to desserts and works especially well with asian dishes.. it's almost like the asian vanilla. To give you an idea of how amazing it is I've been opening the door, sticking my head in and sniffing the fridge for days because the aroma coming from the fresh pandan leaves is so delicious- and that's before it's even cooked! It's seriously cheap and delicious- go and grab some from your local asian grocer and make this... it's sweet, creamy and scrumptious (yes even while being healthy, low cal and sugar free)

Pandan 'Custard'
Makes 4 x 1 cup serves
3 cups lite soy milk (I made mine with 1.5 cups full fat bonsoy + 1.5 cups water)- but you can make it with full fat soy milk too, it will be extra rich and creamy!
1 cup water
13g agar agar + vanilla (don't ask me why there was vanilla in my agar agar, I couldn't read the writing on it, for those of you in Aus get the blue and white packet not the yellow one!)
15 mini scoops powdered stevia/30 drops liquid stevia (or natural sweetener of your choice)
2 large bruised pandan leaves
  • bruise/knot pandan leaves
  • heat with milk and water on a low heat until fragrant
  • remove pandan
  • add agar agar
  • dissolve over heat while stirring (so the agar agar doesn't clump at the bottom)
  • pour into moulds to 'set' or leave to cool (remember they will set at room temperature but even faster in the fridge)
  • enjoy!
It sets like thick custard (you know the vile stuff you get pre-made in the fridge section?) but if you want it thinner just add more liquid/less agar agar. 

This will taste lovely with any dessert you'd have cream/ice cream with or fruit but I enjoyed them alone- they've got enough creamy flavour to be a stand alone dessert if you ask me. I hope you give pandan a go, it really is delicious and so much cheaper than vanilla! 

All the best,

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Berry Banana Split with Cacao Orange Drizzle

Like banana splits? This healthy version is sweet, juicy, rich and chocolatey! it tastes delicious and has no added sugar or fat. 

Fruit makes such a wonderful breakfast, I decided I wanted a banana split the other morning but we were out of fruit 'ice cream'.. the horror! This recipe would work wonderfully with different flavours of fruit 'ice cream' replacing/accompanying the fruit... ah well, there's always next time...

Berry Banana Split with Cacao Orange Drizzle
Pre cacao orange drizzle
Post cacao orange drizzle (I thinned it out a bit from yesterday)
Makes 1 Serve
1 small banana
1/4c grapes
1/4c (frozen) raspberries
1 punnet blackberries
Cacao Orange Drizzle
  • Cut banana lengthwise
  • lay in dish
  • add fruit
  • make cacao drizzle
  • drizzle over fruit
  • enjoy!
It was such a wonderful way to start the day I was still drooling over it at dinner.. so went for round two and made this for dessert.  
Black and Green Fruit Glass with Cacao Orange Drizzle
Makes 1 serve
1/2 cup grapes
1/2 cup blackberries
Cacao Orange Drizzle
  • Make drizzle
  • Layer fruit & sauce
  • enjoy!
These are wonderful breakfasts/snacks/desserts. There's no reason to feel deprived when you're eating healthy- break out the nice plates and glasses, put a little effort into your meals (or 2 mins for these!) and enjoy every mouthful.

All the best,







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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meatout!

Today I've agreed to participate in FARM's national Meatout campaign! If I can help anyone transition into a plant based diet I will, so this seemed like a no brainer- post yummy vegan food and healthy living tips- done and done :)
FARM is the wonderful organisation that runs Meatout Mondays- have you given them a try yet? If you're not yet veg but want to help the animals, environment and your health starting with just one day a week is a nice gentle learning curve to introduce some delicious veggie meals into your diet. 


Claire's Meatout Tips

  • Don't take on too much! Try picking one new recipe a week and go for it, slowly but surely you'll create a new menu of your favourites.
  • DONT EAT THINGS YOU DONT LIKE!!! I know it may sound stupid but if you're settling then you're not going to truly enjoy your food. Eat meals you love, that make you smile and warm your heart. If you're not a salad fan then get your greens in a soup/stew or smoothie! You always have yummy options.
  • Remember to include treats/desserts so you don't feel deprived.
  • Try to think outside the box- why not use tofu/legumes as your sauce or in your desserts for instance?
  • Get some good veggie cookbooks (and USE them!)
  • Take shortcuts, make it easy for yourself- use pre prepared food, canned beans, faux mean/dairy until you can adjust and make your own healthier versions- once you get into a routine it will be easier than ever before. 
  • Pre chop veggies, pre cook or soak grains/beans. Treat your fridge like a deli, have a selection of prepared foods to choose from to make quick, easy, yummy meals.
  • Make sure you eat enough quantity wise- plant based foods are low calorie so you'll most likely have to up your portion sizes. 
  • When you're making meal choices go for a combination of carbs + protein + veggies + healthy fats + herbs/spices = you will always end up with an awesome meal that will fill and satisfy you!
  • If you having a hard time saying goodbye to meat my husband found that having faux meats like seitan chicken & duck, 'sausage' rolls, mock sausages/burgers, mock dairy like creams & cheeses can help the transition... and then there's always non dairy chocolate, ice cream, lollies etc etc.
  • Bake cakes on special occasions and enjoy every bite, never think of your food choices as deprivation- because they're not. 
  • Try pressing and freezing tofu for a 'meatier' texture.
  • Start mixing vegetables into dishes that you usually eat that are predominantly meat based and slowly change the ratios.
  • Use strong flavours (herbs, spices, stocks) when you start eliminating meat.
  • If texture is an issue try bending fruit/veg into your meals.
  • Cook in batches- make a big pot of stew/soup/hummus etc and freeze it! you wont have to cook a full meal every night- just pull it out in the morning and you'll have dinner waiting for you after a long day at work. 

I think you might find some of my posts from VeganMOFO helpful too:
If you're looking for some general tips, great vegan cookbooks, a delicious sample vegan Menu, tips for eating out as a vegan & some of my favourite options, the important things to remember with nutrition, tips for veganising recipes, portable vegan food.


If you're looking for food ideas you can always check out my diet/menu page! & If you're still stuck for options here's an example of what I like to eat:
 (click on the links for the recipes and pretty photos!)
Buckwheat/quinoa porridge with berries/fruit
Tofu Scramble/Cooked Veggies
Fruit sunday/fruit 'ice cream'/banana split/Smoothies
Fruit/Veg sticks/Dips/Nut Truffles/Cakes
Monster Salads & yummy Dressings/Soups/Stir fry/Sandwiches/Pasta or wholegrain Salads
Curries/Stir fry/Soups/Risottos/Pasta/Roasts/Lentils/Dal/Lentil loafs/Burritos 
Tofu Pudding/Jelly Cakes/Fruit 'ice cream'/Cakes/Nut Truffles/Fruit Sunday 

I hope that gives you an idea of just how easy and yummy transitioning to a plant based diet is. Go on- give it a go, try one day a week- meatout mondays are a great easy way to get into the swing of things!
All the best, 







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Friday, March 16, 2012

Blackberry & Apple Muffins with 'Creamy' Cacao Almond Icing

Last year I made teeny tiny chocolate baby cakes with strawberry icing, this year I went with huge blackberry + apple muffins with cacao almond icing! Yum yum yum. 
Happy Birthday!
I used Katie's single lady blueberry muffin recipe but tweaked it to make it an apple and blackberry muffin...and gluten, fat and sugar free of course. I loved it, I under-baked to make sure it wasn't dry and the intensely sweet 'creamy' icing was most definitely a winner.
Creamy Cacao + Almond Icing
 
Makes 6 serves
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp almond butter
stevia to taste (I think I used 30 drops)
1/2-1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/8 cup warm water
  • cook chickpeas (I always have some in the fridge/freezer)
  • combine ingredients in food processor
  • pulse to chop chickpeas well
  • blend while drizzling in liquids (water/stevia)
  • blend for 1 more minute even when you think it's done to get it perfectly smooth
  • ice muffins/cakes/eat with fruit
  • enjoy!
Hope you're having a lovely day too!








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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strawberry & Banana Sunday with Cacao Orange Drizzle

Dessert or breakfast? Both! This scrumptious Fruit Sunday with Cacao Orange Drizzle is sweet and juicy with an intensely chocolatey topping to make it extra special. I think everything's brighter in a day that started with a beautiful and delicious breakfast don't you? This one will put a smile on your face- I know it made me feel special. 

Strawberry and Banana Sunday with Cacao Orange Drizzle
I couldn't decide on which pretty glass to use so I made two... but they were so yummy I ate them both in one day. Breakfast AND dessert!
Naked they're a gorgeous fruit sunday...
...but with the cacao orange drizzle they're a delicious extra special treat! 
Makes 2 serves
1 x 250g punnet organic strawberries
1 medium banana

1/4 quanity of cacao orange drizzle
  • chop fruit in small bite sized chunks
  • layer alternately in glass/bowl
  • make cacao orange drizzle
  • drizzle fruit with cacao orange drizzle
  • enjoy!
Trust me this drizzle is insanely strong! you really only need a tiny bit over your fruit. I know it's low cal and no fat so you're going to want to eat the whole thing but no! It's so wonderfully strong that you only need a teeny tiny bit. 

Cacao Orange Drizzle
Makes 4 serves (you really don't need much!)
3 tbsp cacao
1/4 tsp orange blossom water
30 drops stevia
2 1/4 tbsp liquid (I suggest soy milk for a fuller flavour but water's a great low cal option)

  • combine ingredients well adding liquid slowly until you reach desired consistency
  • store covered as it will dry out- if this happens just add more liquid and stir well until it thins out
  • enjoy over fruit/desserts!
This recipe would work wonderfully as a Cacao-Vanilla drizzle, subbing out the orange blossom for some vanilla extract or even as Cacao-Strawberry with extract or blended strawberries or if you wanted a richer version using coconut oil instead of water to make a Cacao-Coconut drizzle that sets hard would be absolutely delicious. I think I'll have to make some more and test it out- If anyone has any suggestions let me know!
All the best,








p.s. How you do like the taking photos with one hand and drizzling chocolate sauce with the other? I was impressed by my multitasking without making a chocolatey mess.. not that I would have had any problems licking my fingers clean :) 
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Special Stir-fried Quinoa

I love this combination of sweet peas with the rich hearty mushrooms and juicy crunch of the beans with the salty kick and crunch of the roast edamame. Everything just works. I just chuck things together these days and hope for the best but sometimes you just know it's going to be good.
Special Stir-fried Quinoa
Makes 1 large serve
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups green beans
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped dry roast edamame
1 tbsp soy sauce
  • cook quinoa if not already done
  • rehydrate mushrooms in hot water
  • chop beans
  • combine quinoa mushrooms, mushroom stock & soy in a wok/large pan
  • cook for 3-5 mins
  • add veggies
  • cook until veggies are tender
  • chop roast edamame
  • garnish with roast edamame
  • enjoy!
I hope you're all well and having a lovely weekend (and long weekend for the Aussies not at uni!) I took some time out from the homework to have a social life yesterday and it did me the world of good- I hope you are all remembering to have some fun too!

All the best,







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Friday, March 9, 2012

Orange & Ginger Stirfry with Chana Dal & Buckwheat Cutlet

This stirfry is zingy, fresh, salty, sweet and delicious while being heavy and satisfying enough to keep you going for hours. Plus it's healthy! but I think you get the point everything I post is going to be healthy by now... well except maybe the old decadent desserts!
Orange and Ginger Stirfry with Dal and Buckwheat Cutlet
Makes 1 serve
1/4 tsp aesofatida
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp braggs seasoning/soy/tamari
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 cup green beans
1 cup broccoli (or any vegetables you desire!)
1 x Chana dal and Buckwheat cutlet
  • cook cutlet and brown rice (if not already done)
  • chop veggies and cutlet
  • dry fry rice and cutlet, stirring regularly, until they begin to brown
  • zest orange
  • grate ginger
  • combine with braggs/soy/tamari
  • add to pan and combine well
  • add veggies
  • stirfry until veggies are tender
  • enjoy!
I know it doesn't look as pretty having everything in the one bowl but it's how I like to eat. Even when I plate it up separately they end up mixed in together. Does anyone else do that? Would you prefer me to plate up my meals better?

Next up was an experiment that turned out pretty well if I do say so myself. It was inspired by veganomicon's chickpea cutlet recipe but we all know I can't stick to a recipe so I had a bit of a play and it was wonderful! They're hardy little things, you could use them easily in a curry or soup and they won't fall apart. If you're after a more 'meaty' texture than tofu then these are for you.

Chana Dal and Buckwheat Cutlet
(you can see it in the dish above)
Makes 8 serves
2 cups buckwheat flour
2 cups cooked chana dal
1 egg replacer (I use no egg)
1/2 cup stock
2 tsp paprika
4 tsp thyme
2 tbsp sage
1 tsp aesofatida
1 tbsp guar gum
  • soak the dal for 3 hours-overnight
  • cook dal (the pressure cooker is handy here)
  • mash into a paste
  • in a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients
  • mix well
  • add mashed dal and stock
  • combine well
  • kneed for approximately 5 mins? until it comes together nicely (it will be a wet/sticky mixture but should hold together)
  • shape into cutlets (or mini burgers if you prefer)
  • 1/2 inch thick about palm size
  • dry fry for approximately 5 mins on each side or until golden (they take longer than you think)
  • enjoy as part of a meal, in a sandwich with sauce or as they are in a salad!
I'm not sure if they freeze, I'd say so, I'm just yet to try because they were so yummy! but they kept well in the fridge for 3 days. We were both very happy with these, they're definitely a great meat replacement and wonderful for those who don't like tofu/soy.

Hope you're all well and smiling,




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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Eggplant Stacks with hot & cool Sauces

To continue with the yumminess from yesterday I made dry fried eggplant stacks with two delicious sauces. Both wonderful but very different... which one do you like best?

Eggplant Stacks with Hot and Cool Sauces
Makes 2 large serves
1 medium eggplant
  • Slice eggplants in 0.5-1 cm rounds
  • dry fry on a good non stick pan (or griddle if you want the nice lines) until tender and golden
  • be patient, undercooked eggplant isn't so yummy
  • when done keep covered to retain heat & cook another batch
  • whilst frying in batches make sauces
Hot Sauce
Makes 2 serves
aesofatida 1/8tsp
1/2 tsp chili
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp tumeric
8 cloves
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp cardamon
2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp tabasco
1/2 cup stock
1/2 cup warter
pepper to taste
  • toast spices (dry fry until fragrant)
  • add tomato paste and cook for 2 mins
  • add liquid ingredients- vinegar, stock, water, tabasco
  • simmer until sauce thickens (approximately 3 mins?)
Pea, Coriander, Lime + Mint Sauce
Makes 4 serves
2 cups peas (frozen)
1 cup stock
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
  • defrost peas (leave out or pour boiling water over them)
  • chop herbs
  • zest + juice lime
  • combine all ingredients
  • blend to a smooth consistency
Back to the Eggplant Stacks
  • Assemble cooked eggplant
  • layering with sauces
  • chop + sprinkle with fresh coriander
  • enjoy!
Today is one of those days that you wish would just end. I have an assignment to finish while the plumber is playing the drums on the shower pipes/tiles/wall because they're leaking into the apartment downstairs. Fun? Yeah no...

Hope you're all having wonderful days,







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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pea, Coriander, Lime & Mint Sauce

This sauce tastes great hot or cold. It's fresh, clean, sweet, with a hint of lime and strong flavour of herbs- the perfect balance. It makes a wonderful salad dressing or sauce with veggies, stirred through grains or over tofu/lentils. Actually it tastes so good you could just call it a cold soup and eat it with a spoon. However you use it it's fresh, sweet and delicious.
Pea, Coriander, Lime and Mint Sauce
Makes 4 serves
2 cups peas (frozen)
1 cup stock
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
  • defrost peas (leave out or pour boiling water over them)
  • chop herbs
  • zest + juice lime
  • combine all ingredients
  • blend
  • enjoy! 
  • (keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge)
If you wanted to make this sauce more creamy why not sub in some soy milk for the stock, or if you want it thick and creamy use silken tofu! You'll love it's fresh, clean, sweet, zing and herby balance and it's full of great goodness. 

This tasted great with choy sum (asian greens) grains and broccoli and over salad and with celery and with grated pumpkin.

There's no reason to skip the sauce or salad dressings- just make them healthy.

All the best,







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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Beautiful Breakfast Glass

Firstly I wrote a guest post for Sarah while she's away- you should check it out! & secondly I have a yummy fruit 'ice cream sunday' to share.

To explain the name allow me to put in in context- It was a hot morning, I was wearing a vintage blue dress, mid calf length, v neck, gathered under the bust with a bow at the the back with little cap sleeves and an amazing amount of material in the skirt so it fans out like you would not believe when you twirl. I felt pretty. So of course I needed a beautiful breakfast to match how I was feeling! (and cool me down)...

Beautiful Breakfast Glass
1/8 serve kiwi 'ice cream'
1/8 serve red grape 'ice cream'
1/8 serve green grape 'ice cream'
1/8 serve pomegranate 'ice cream'
(or any flavours you have pre-made/feel like!)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • make fruit 'ice cream'/pull it out of the freezer
  • allow to thaw for 5-10 mins to soften
  • melon ball fruit 'ice cream'
  • layer alternating flavours and fruit
  • enjoy!
Don't you love this glass? I do. Don't get me wrong I love my tacky pink glass, it makes me smile every time I use it but this one is a whole other level. It's pure beauty, I love the bottom detailing. Plus it was $1 at the op shop! I grabbed a couple of other cute plates and creme brulee dishes too- they'll be making an appearance very soon. I think I've found a new addiction... good thing the money goes to charity!

All the best,




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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wild Rice & Edamame Wasabi Lime Stir-fry

This was one of those 'argh we have nothing left!' day before shopping day dishes. This was a lovely freezer dish really, I would happily eat it even if it wasn't made using the last green/fresh things in the house. It's filling, high in protein and packed with flavour.

Wild Rice and Edamame Wasabi Lime Stir-fry
Makes 1 large or 2 small serves
1 cup carrot
1/2 cup chives
2 cup edamame
1/2 cup water chestnuts
1/2 cup carrots
1.5 cups cooked wild rice
2 tbsp wasabi
2 tbsp lime
1/2 cup braggs/soy
  • cook wild rice (if not already done)
  • chop carrots and water chestnuts
  • combine wasabi, braggs/soy, lime, chives to make a smooth sauce
  • stir fry water chestnuts and edamame in sauce
  • add wild rice when above thawed
  • add carrots
  • stirfry until tender (not long!)
  • enjoy!
Hope you're all well and happy. I'm a busy bee- working hard to get the huge (22,000 word) assignment done (thus the quick freezer meal) but I have some great recipes coming up- and lots of yummy desserts! I know you'll like them and can't wait to share them- bring on tuesday!!! (when it's due and over).

All the best,




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Friday, March 2, 2012

and the winner is....

Congratulations! 
Your copy of Everyday Happy Herbivore will be on it's way to you as soon as you send your details to me at skinny.vegan.food@gmail.com. Please get back to me asap- if you don't I'll have to pick another winner in 1 week.
Sorry for the lack of posts guys- co-ordinating a group of 11 people on a 22,000 word masters assignment is taking up all of my time! 
All the best,







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