Thursday, April 25, 2013

'Creamy' Basil and Sunflower Sauce

I love nut based sauces and dressings. They're rich and 'creamy' without being too heavy or spoiling the other flavours of the dish- just scrumptious. And this one is no exception! It's packed with basil and has that little hum of balsamic to balance it out nicely. It's just yum. 

Use it as a salad dressing, smother your veggies in it, use it on pasta- whatever takes your fancy- this sauce is scrumptious! I made it to go with my tomato salad (which was so insanely good I forgot to take a photo of because a nibble turned into a feast) 

'Creamy' Basil and Sunflower Sauce
Makes approximately 6 serves
I bunch/3 cups basil
6 tbsp unsweetened sunflower seed butter (the grey one not the brown sweet one!)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 cups water (approx)
  • Wash basil
  • Combine all ingredients (but only half the water)
  • Blend until smooth
  • Drizzle in additional water until you reach your desired consistency (it will take more than you think)
  • Enjoy!
  • Keep well in the fridge for a week
If you think you're not a veggie person I swear dressings and sauces like this are the secret. You'll forget all about it being good for you and just enjoy the fresh, creamy deliciousness.
Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays
Love and Smiles,

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Culinary Translations

I grew up in the U.K, live in Australia and have many readers from the U.S.A so I thought it might be handy to go through some names as we don't always speak the same language!
(If you have any to add please let me know and I'll pop them in!)

Paw Paw (yellow, larger) = Papaya (orange, smaller)
but people and shops don't seem to distinguish

Rock Melon = Cantaloupe

Sultanas = Golden Raisins

Coriander = Cilantro

Capsicum = Bell pepper = Pepper = Sweet pepper

Zucchini = Courgette
Eggplant = Aubergine
Spring Onions = Shallots = Green Onions = Scallion = Eschallot
Shallots = Small onions = Pickling Onions
Sweet Potato = Kumura = Yam
Corn = Sweetcorn
Beetroot = Beets
Baked Potato = Jacket Potato
Mangetout = Snow Peas
Silverbeet = Swiss Chard
Swede = Rutabaga
Broad bean = Fava bean
Chickpea = Grabanzo bean
Porridge = Cooked oatmeal
Scone = Biscuit
Cookie = Biscuit
Bi Carb = Baking Soda
Plain flour = All purpose flour
Molasses = Treacle
Cornflour = Cornstarch
Wholemeal flour = Whole wheat
Desiccated Coconut = Shredded Coconut
Jam = Jelly
Icing = Frosting
Tomato Sauce = Ketchup
Tomato paste = Tomato puree
Peanut oil = Groundnut oil
Cling film = Cling Wrap = Glad wrap = Saran wrap
Baking Paper = Grease proof Paper = Parchment Paper
Grill = Broiler
(the bit in between the oven and stove top)
BBQ = Grill

Can you think of any others?? Do you disagree with any? I know there are parts of Australia that call things different names (like spring onion/shallot/eschallot) so there can be confusion everywhere!

I just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who's taken the time to give me some feedback on the blog by completing the survey. It really means a lot to me- you've helping me make the blog better for us all.

I'm going to leave it open for a bit longer (maybe another week or so?) then when I've analysed the data I'm planning on sharing my insights and letting you guys know what sort of changes I'll be making around here. This should give you the chance to let me know what you think again (or if I'm about to make a big mistake!).

Hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Love and Smiles,

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

It's survey time!

I'm asking all my beautiful readers for a small favour today. I really believe that constructive criticism is vital to success so I'm hoping you can indulge me.

I want to make this blog a better place for you guys, while this blog is my little food journal it is also a place to share my passion for healthy vegan food with you- this means to make it successful I need to know what you want to see! 

I've put together a super quick and easy 10 question survey (they're mostly multiple choice). It won't take longer than 5 mins and I would REALLY appreciate your feedback.

If that's not your thing then I'm always more than happy to receive feedback (positive or negative) in comments or by email. I just want to make sure this place stay a positive, productive place.

Thanks so much in advance! And a big thank you to those of you who have already responded. You guys make blogging so much more rewarding- I can't tell you how much I enjoy sharing with you, it always puts a smile on my face.

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Green Vegetable Juice

I like to start my day with a green veggie juice, they hydrate and fill your body with goodness and as a bonus my skin always looks better when I drink these! Most people are hesitant because they're just so green but I promise this tastes delicious! 

If you're just starting off you can always dilute it or add more fruit- why not start with a milder (and sweeter) apples, cucumber, mint and spinach and then work up to just veggies? Personally I find the sweet carrots, lemon, mint and stevia is enough to help me enjoy my veggie juice but if you're into the fruit- go for it, it's still great for you. Just try to keep it to 1/3 fruit, 2/3 veggies. I usually enjoy 2-3 cups but if you're new just to veggie juice you can always start small and work up!

Green Vegetable Juice
Makes 3 serves
Small handful of Mint leaves
Small handful of wheatgrass (optional, ommit if you're just starting out)
8 cups Spinach
8 cups Lettuce
3 Cucumbers
1 bunch of Celery
3 Carrots
1 Lemon (peeled)
Stevia to taste- I use flavoured stevias like vanilla, orange, cinnamon, cacao etc
  • Wash all ingredients thoroughly
  • Peel lemon (and cucumbers if non-organic)
  • Juice (preferably with a cold press masticating juicer, but whatever you've got!)
  • Enjoy!
  • Sore in well filled air tight glass jars in the fridge, consume asap but with a cold press juicer will last 48hrs.
As I mentioned I have a cold press masticating juicer (Oscar Vital Max 900 if you're interested) but before that I had a centrifugal Breville one- can't remember the model for the life of me but you get the idea. Both have their pros and cons- centrifugal juicers are quick but you should really drink your juice immediately and they leave lots of moisture in the pulp requiring a second run through, also sometimes the pulp can taste funny if you're using it for cooking. If you're serious about juicing a good masticating juicer is well worth the money and extra time it takes for the amount and quality of juice produced- you really don't waste any of your veggies! 

I've submitted this recipe to
Check out all the other awesome recipes!

This week has been more challenging eating as Dr Fuhrman suggests. I'm really happy I'm back to eating this way and last week was great. This week I've been eating less, my appetite has decreased but this has meant my metabolism has slowed- I've been quite cold and haven't lost any weight. I really need to start eating more and get back to really enjoying my food- I seem to have had a streak of making icky food mistakes, I'm not sure if I'm distracted, stressed or blue but whatever the cause I've managed to burn things, over dress things, make meals that are wayy off balance or just plain boring. This is so not my style! The up side was I made 2 desserts for other people which turned out well (I didn't taste them but based on the responses they tasted great) I'm planning on blogging versions of them in the future. You can see my progress in numbers on my journal page. How are those of you joining me going? Any yummy recipes to suggest? I hope you're going well :)

Anyway, I hope you consider giving veggie juice a go- it's a wonderful way to get heaps of greens in quickly and your body will love you for it.

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I was introduced to the peanut butter chocolate combination later than most, a friend returned from the US with precious few reeses cups and shared one with me- it was instant love. Seriously mind altering- ok maybe that had a little to do with the sugar rush that accompanied it but I was hooked. 

Obviously when you're trying to eat a plant based diet they aren't going to be on your shopping list. These little beauties however are a completely acceptable *occasional* treat. We all know a little dark chocolate is good for you and this no added sugar version is made with organic pb that is full of protein and none of the baddies. So enjoy ok?! If you're still in doubt these mini cups are about a tablespoon in size- they're their own perfect portion control. 

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 mini cups (approx. 80 cals each)
100g dark chocolate (get the best quality you can)
1/2 cup organic unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter (or almond butter, cashew butter, tahini et.)
Tiny pinch of salt
Stevia to taste (about 20 drops)
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)
  • Chop chocolate into even pieces
  • Combine with salt in a metal or glass bowl
  • Melt over a bain marie (bowl over pot of water)
  • When melted spoon 1tsp into each casing
  • Roll around the sides
  • Refrigerate to firm for 10 mins
  • Combine peanut butter and stevia, stirring well to combine
  • Remove from fridge and add 1tsp of peanut butter to each cup
  • Cover with 1tsp melted chocolate
  • Top with sprinkles/decorations if desired
  • Refrigerate to set for 15 mins
  • Enjoy!
  • (Keep in the fridge if it's hot to avoid a meltdown)
I know you'll love this one, seriously, just go make them. 

The Dr Fuhrman style of eating is going really well- even the night my husband got a veg burger and fries- I just made some yummy baked sweet potato fries :) There have been some days I've eaten too little and some times I have thought about other foods or binge eating but I've managed to acknowledge the thought and quickly move away from it, keeping it out of my precious brain real estate and focusing on something else. I'll update my stats weekly in my progress journal for those who want to see but all in all the first week (or 3 days) is usually the hardest and I'm swimming on by day 5 now. Feeling better by the day! I hope you all are too,

Love and Smiles,

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Saturday, April 6, 2013

'Creamy' Orange Cashew Dressing & Super Green Pomegranate Salad

So after my decision to follow Dr Fuhrman's style of eating closer. I decided to re-watch some of his lectures. This recipe was inspired by a dressing he mentioned (cashew/sesame/orange/blood orange vinegar) in a lecture (yes, I do watch nutrition lectures for fun, leave your judgement at the door please) and I thought that sounded too good not to try. One problem- I couldn't find blood orange vinegar! (anyone know where to find it in Melbourne?) so I decided to make up my own version with the orange balsamic vinegar I did have.

This dressing tastes absolutely divine and looks like sunshine, yep- I'm an addict and need to share the love! Seriously, if you've never tried any of my recipes, you HAVE to try this one! It will make you love your salads and convert veggie haters, it's that good. 

This dressing has the potential to be quite sweet depending on your oranges so you really need to taste as you go- simply adjust to taste, if you're a vinegar lover like me, just add more, if you really like sweet dressings limit the lemon juice etc. You're all smart individuals, I know you can work it out, just listen to your tongue. 

'Creamy' Orange Cashew Dressing
Makes 6 serves
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
3 oranges
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp orange balsamic vinegar (I'm sure regular would work too)

  • Soak cashew nuts
  • Drain and add to blender
  • Juice lemon and add with balsamic vinegar to blender
  • Peel oranges and add to blender
  • Blend well until completely smooth (it took my low power blender a couple of mins)
  • Taste- adjust if you need to (more lemon/orange/vinegar)
  • Enjoy! (this tastes fab with salad, veggies, over beans or grains)
  • Keeps well in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week- or as long as you can make it last...
Submitted for Healthy Vegan Fridays!

Now for the salad I enjoyed this on... it would taste divine over anything (steamed veggies, salad, tofu, grains, beans, an old sock) but it was especially pleasing with this super salad. 

If you're yet to be introduced to my super-salads the general idea is if it's edible and on hand- use it! Got leftovers? raw veg? cooked veg? fruit? nuts? seeds? etc, then you've got a salad. These make up the majority of my lunches, they're super easy and quick and stop things from going off in the fridge. Use what you have, these were the ingredients I had but if you've got other things- use them! My recipes aren't carved in stone, I can't follow a recipe to save myself- they're more like sources of culinary inspiration so I certainly don't expect you to follow them to a T. 

I like a little fruit in my salads, if you're new to this I know it sounds odd but just trust me and give it a go, it's not too overpowering but gives it a juicy sweet kick. This one has pomegranate but apples, grapes, oranges, berries are some of my faves. If you think you don't like salad you just haven't had a super salad with a delicious dressing!

Super Green Pomegranate Salad 
with 'Creamy' Orange Cashew Dressing
Makes 1 large or 2 small Serves (but it's me- of course I ate it all!)
2 cups lettuce
1 cup baby spinach
1 tomato
1/2 large cucumber
1 celery stalk
1/2 cup pomegranate
2 asparagus spears
2 small radishes
  • Wash veggies
  • Chop everything into small pieces
  • Combine well
  • Make dressing (recipe above)
  • Dress salad lightly! Don't overdress, the leaves should be touched not smothered by dressing.
  • Enjoy!

Doesn't it look so pretty with the beautiful sunshine yellow dressing? You know you want to dive in- it's delicious!

Love and Smiles,

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