Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ALQ December Bake Sale at The Green Edge

Over the weekend I organised another bake sale for Animal Liberation QLD. Once again it was held at the wonderful The Green Edge. Buckle in, because there are a lot of photos! First up, the new things that I made for the bake sale.

Cranberry and Almond Cookies: This is actually the Soulhaus cookies I make all the time from Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer, but as my chocolate chip stash was low I swapped them out for cranberries and almonds for yummy variation.
Rating: :)

Cranberry and Almond Cookies

Chocolate Cherry Slice from Vegan Indulgence by Leigh Drew. One of my favourite recipes ever, I love the chocolate cherry combination. Plus they are topped with a cream cheese based icing, so they are basically chocolate cherry cheesecake bars. I have made this recipe before, but not for a while and not for a bake sale.
Rating: :D

Chocolate Cherry Slice

Chocolate Orange Gluten Freedom Cupcake are a variation I made from the chocolate GF cupcakes in Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. I added one and a half teaspoons of orange essence to the batter, which results in a very chocolate orange kind of taste. I glazed the top with some chocolate glaze (see below) and some leftover orange buttercream that I had hanging around in the freezer.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Orange GF Cupcakes

Chocolate Brownie Slice topped with Oh-So-Rich Chocolate Glaze from Naturally Lean by Allyson Kramer. The cake is an oil free cake, with banana and applesauce in the batter. I could taste the banana in the cake, but most other people couldn't. I liked the flavour, but I did find the cake a touch dry. But the glaze... oh, the glaze. It is so quick, so simple, firms up so nicely, and is perfectly rich and chocolatey without being too sweet. I will be using this a lot, like when I made another batch to put on the cupcakes above.
Rating: Cake :), Glaze :D

Chocolate Brownie Cake

Carrot Applesauce Muffins from Naturally Lean by Allyson Kramer. These were OK, but a little bland. They were crying out for some sultanas and nuts to make it a bit more like a carrot cake. My muffin cases were quite large, so I got nine rather that 12, and baked them for 30 minutes rather than 25.
Rating: :|

Carrot Applesauce Muffins

Nut and Fruit Granola Bars from Oatrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester. I really liked these. They are held together by tinned pumpkin and flaxseeds and are oil free, with oats and nuts and fruit mixed through. They are also sugar free, but I added a bit of maple syrup. I used a mix of cranberries, sultanas, almonds, walnuts and pepitas for my mix. They are a bit gummy right after baking, but the texture improves with a day or two in the fridge. There were some of these left over, and they have made great snacks to have on hand.
Rating: :)

Nut and Fruit Granola Bars

Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. These re very sweet and delicate cupcakes. I love rosewater, so I used the full amount. The recipe calls for chopped pistachios, and talks about chopped nuts in the cupcakes in the description, but the instructions don't seem to mention adding the nuts, so I just stirred them through at the end before putting into the liners. These cupcakes rose quite nicely. The glaze ended up being more like an icing, quite thick. I tinted it pink as well for fun. The recipe calls for pink decorating sugar crystals, which I could never find, but I did get some pink sprinkles. But I didn't end up using them as I made the glaze quite pink.
Rating: :)

Pistachio Rosewater Cupcakes

Elvis Cupcakes from The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. These are banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, coconut bacon and a caramelised banana slice. I will do a full write up of these when I get to doing my Superfun Times recipe round up. I changed the icing around so that I could leave out the coconut oil, so stay tuned for that.

Elvis Cupcakes

And of course I made some Berry Patch Brownies.

Berry Patch Brownies

And now, on to the other things that were there!

Gluten Free Lamingtons.

GF Lamingtons

Vanilla Oreo Cakes.

Vanilla Oreo Cakes

Chocolate Caramel Tarts.

Caramel Tarts with Ganache

Cookie Dough Doughnuts.

Cookie Dough Doughnuts

GF Gingerbread Cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies

GF Lemon, Macadamia and Apricot Fudge Slice.

GF Lemon Macadamia Apricot Fudge Slice

Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Cookies.

Blueberry Pecan Breakfast Cookies

Jam Drops.

Jam Drops

Shortbread and Peanut Butter Fudge.

Shortbread and PB Fudge

Lemon Curd Cupcakes. The lemon curd is based on sweet potato. I bought one of these and it was delicious!

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Stuffed Cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cupcakes

Walnut Brownies.

Walnut Brownies

GF Fluffernutters. Peanut Butter Cookies with Marshmallow filling.

GF Fluffernutters

Chocolate Covered Meringes.

Chocolate Covered Meringues

Mini Scones with Jam and Cream.

Mini Scones with Jam and Cream

Mini Pavlovas.

Mini Pavlova

Table shot.

Bake sale

Gluten Free Table Shot.

GF table

It ended up being a pretty slow day, not quite as successful as our previous bake sales. Perhaps the heat of the day or the fact that it is December meant there weren't as many people who could come along. Still, we made over $700 for ALQ, which isn't too shabby. I am so thankful to everyone who baked, helped on the stalls, came along, and of course to The Green Edge

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Shari Rose

This little girl is called Shari Rose, and she is looking for her forever home! She is one of the adoption kitties at our Clayfield clinic. She is very cheeky and very cute, so if you are in the area and thinking about adopting a special friend, why not check her out?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Gilmore Girls, Gilmore Eats

The first post-MoFo post! I needed a couple of days break from blogging, also because I organised another bake sale on the weekend and was doing a lot of prep for that. More on that in a future post. For now, time to get back to a regular blogging schedule.

I love love love Gilmore Girls. I own all the DVDs, and have seen it several times. So when they announced a Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix, a special 'year in the life' series of four 90 minute episodes, I was so excited! The entire thing was released on Netflix a couple of weeks ago. Due to work, I couldn't watch it until two days later, which meant avoiding the internet to avoid spoilers. There won't be any spoilers here. Overall, I enjoyed it. I delighted in parts, some parts were weird, some parts were infuriating. But it was nice to be back in Stars Hollow.

Of course, one of the most important parts of Gilmore Girls is the food. They eat so much of it, and of such a wide variety. I couldn't settle down to six hours of Gilmore Girls without planning some themed food. Really, so many things could be part of a Gilmore Girls-themed food spread, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the different things everyone was eating in celebration. For me, when I think of Gilmore Girls I really think of American-style diner food, I guess because much of it is set at a diner, and packaged convenience foods. Though you could have picked almost any food theme and it could have applied!

So I didn't start my day in a very Gilmore Girls' fashion. Instead of rolling out of bed for a poptart and a coffee (which I don't even drink), I went to a 90 minute bikram yoga class and then had a green smoothie. I am me, not them, after all. And it was important to get myself off to a good start to my day before the watching and eating began. Incidentally, this is how I start pretty much every Sunday.

But onto the actual food! I had so many thoughts and plans, but ultimately had to streamline things down to make a doable lunch given that I couldn't do any prep in the days leading up to it due to work. Anyway, this is what we had!

Mac and cheese was a must, because mac and cheese is always a must. I used the Daiya Cheddar Mac and Cheese. I thought it was OK, I liked that the sauce is much thicker than other boxed mac and cheeses. Of course, it doesn't life up to a homemade cashew mac and cheese sauce, and at $14 a packet here in Australia I won't be buying it much, but definitely the best boxed mac and cheese I've had.

Daiya Cheddar Mac and Cheese

A BBQ Cheeseburger Pizza. Initially I was going to have burgers and pizza, but that was getting a bit too much. And then I was going to try and find the Gardein Beefy Sliders, but the one place I went to didn't have them and I didn't feel like traipsing all over Brisbane to see if I could find them. So I ended up merging the two. A purchased pizza base with smoky BBQ sauce, a chopped Gardein beefless patty (I don't like Gardein chicken-style things, but I enjoyed the beefy patty), pickles, pineapple (because I am me), and Daiya mozzarella. It was good!

BBQ Cheeseburger Pizza

Potato Gems aka Tater Tots. This choice was almost immediately justified as they mention making tater tots in the first five minutes. And really, is it ever a choice when it comes to potato gems? It is kind of a given.

Potato Gems

I needed something fresh on the plate, so I cut up some celery and carrots. This is not very Gilmore Girls. However, I attempted to salvage it by serving with some bottled Daiya Ranch Dressing. I love the Daiya Blue Cheese dressing, the Ranch I was not such a fan of. But then I prefer blue cheese dressing to ranch dressing in general.

Veggies! And ranch.

All together now!

Plate of delicious

For after lunch dessert/afternoon tea, I made some Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes from the new Isa Super Fun Times Cookbook. I will do a bigger write up on those when I do a recipe round up for the book, but they were good. And served with some more fresh berries, maple syrup, and So Delicious Cashew Snickerdoodle Ice Cream. Oh yes.

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes, Snickerdoodle Ice Cream, blueberries

If you are looking for a more in-depth breakdown of what happened in Gilmore Girls (after watching it yourself of course, because it is full of spoilers), I highly recommend checking out Laughfrodesiac, for Randi's hilarious take on everything. She has done Winter and Spring so far, with the other two seasons to come!

Did you watch Gilmore Girls?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

2014-04-04 16.18.44

This is an older photo, but still a favourite of mine. I introduced you to all the cats of my life over the days of MoFo. Of course Dim Sim and Sahara are still the current cats in my life... which they must be forever (we've struck a deal).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

VeganMoFo 2016 #30: Package Swap with Cadry from Cadry's Kitchen

30th: Food Gifts – Do you like to give food as a gift? Or receive? Show/tell us!

Why yes, I love giving and receiving food as a gift! Sometimes it can just be something little, or something from somewhere exciting. Other times it can be a big box of goodies! I love participating in package swaps, where you get to experience the joy of both giving and receiving a fun food box! Back in July (so long ago, I have been remiss in taking so long to post it, but it works well with the prompt), I did a package swap with the wonderful Cadry from Cadry's Kitchen.

I was so excited to actually meet Cadry at VidaVeganCon last year. Here we are!

Me and Cadry (Cadry's Kitchen)

But you all want to know what was in the box, right? Well, so many good things! For starters, when I opened the box everything was actually tucked snug inside this fantastic Fruity Oaty Bars lunchbox. My old lunch box is falling apart, so this was timely!

Fruity Oaty Bars

Within the box, there was a letter, a package, and a cute Iowa postcard. Iowa is were Riley Finn comes from in Buffy, but most importantly it is where Cadry lives!

Cadry Box

Behold the insides of the box! Photo credit here goes to Cadry. And yes, that is an adorable pack of vegetable-shaped erasers in a little grocery bag up in the top right corner.

Cadry's Package

Lots of chocolate, which I approve of. Including my most favourite and beloved Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. I am obsessed with these, they are the only peanut butter cups worth eating in my opinion. There was also some delicious Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Almond and Cranberries, which passed my very specific dark chocolate requirements (nice and rich, not too sweet). Some Peanut Butter Nonos, which were great (I had some earlier in the year that I brought in Australia and they were weirdly bitter, but these ones had none of that). And some Dark Chocolate Little Secrets. If you haven't heard, Little Secrets are blowing minds as the best vegan M&Ms around. They also have some fun flavoured ones (though not all of them are vegan, so check before you much). These lived up to the hype, they were great!

Little Secrets

Sitting just under the erasers in the photo is a little bubble-wrapped jar of locally made strawberry and rhubarb jam. I love that Cadry sent such a local product, though I am sad that I can't get it here because it was great. The perfect blend of sweet and tart. Strawberry jam is my favourite jam, but the added rhubarb component made it even better. I enjoyed it over crumpets.

Jam on Crumpets

Also included was some locally made pasta. I was really excited to try this, because it was definitely a cut above the normal dried pasta I got from the supermarket. For maximum deliciousness, I had to make Cadry's own Garlic Butter Noodles with Red Wine Mushrooms, which she also enjoys with this pasta. Mine does not look as pretty as the photo on her blog, but I bet it was just as delicious! This was so simple and so tasty, a perfect way to enjoy this pasta.

Oyster Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce

This was a wonderful package, full of sweet treats and local goodies that I enjoyed very much. Plus those erasers, almost too cute to use! And my nifty new lunch box. Thank you so much Cadry for such a fun box! You can see what I sent Cadry on her blog, here.

For more package swap fun, check out the one I did earlier in the year with Kimmy from Rock My Vegan Socks, which you can read all about here. Due to exorbitant prices charged by Australia Post for shipping, package swaps are something to be done sparingly. However, if you are an overseas buddy and would like to package swap, I am definitely open to it. :D

What's the best food package you've received?

And that is a wrap on VeganMoFo 2016! I hope you have enjoyed my posts, I have certainly enjoyed reading all of yours! Can we nap now?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Susan and Possu,

This photo is from several years ago, of me giving Possum a hug. You can tell he is totally into it. Possum was almost 20 years old when he passed away. We had a very close relationship when he was growing up, though when I went away to uni for 9 years, he switched his allegiance to my parents. He lived with my three girls for his final years after I moved home, and dealt with going from an only cat to having three cousins with exceptional grace. He was the most handsome boy that was ever handsome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

VeganMoFo 2016 #29: Roasts through the ages

29th: Holiday Test Run – It’s always good to practice – show off your hits and misses.

Like I said back on day 2 of VeganMoFo, I don't do practice runs of food before food related events. I just dive on it. So I thought I would present a history of Christmas Day roasts through the years.

Holidays Past: When I first went vegan back in 2000, my beautiful mum found a delicious vegan potato and mushroom galette recipe. We made this recipe every year for years. Though it is quite time consuming, so we haven't made it the last several years because we are streamlining Christmas. I do love this, though.

Potato and Mushroom Galette

2007: I don't actually have any photos, but according to my 2008 blog post I made the Pot Roast from Vegan Vittles for Christmas in 2007. So here is a photo of that pot roast, though not taken at Christmas time. It is really delicious

Pot Roast

2008: I remember this Christmas well. I was on call the night before, so didn't leave the clinic until 8am on Christmas morning. I was super sick, and so tired. And went home and made a stuffed and glazed seitan roast before lunch. It was the Roast Seitan with Ginger Peach Stuffing and Glaze from Vegan Dad. I note in the original blog post that I didn't mention that I was sick, I guess I was sparing you the details. As for the roast, it was nice though the glaze was too sweet. But I was pretty impressed with myself.


2009: As time has gone on we have been big fans of simplifying Christmas. So this year I made marinated tofu. I don't know which recipe I used.

Christmas Tofu

2010: 2010 continued the simple and easy route, with the delicious Soy-Glazed Tofu from 1000 Vegan Recipes. This recipe is so quick and simple and tasty, and goes with almost any meal you can think of.

Soy-Glazed Tofu

2011 We are now entering the three lost years of blogging, where I didn't blog anything about Christmas. But I still have lots of photos. This was Gizmo's last Christmas at home, after a week in hospital, and shortly after she would go back to hospital for her final two weeks. So I was just in no blogging mood. 2011 saw more Soy-Glazed Tofu, I definitely didn't have a lot of time for fussy meals that year. Apparently I really like using this serving dish for tofu.

Christmas Tofu

2012: My first Christmas without Gizmo, and my holiday spirit and cheer was non-existent. I decided to go even simpler and just buy a roast. 2012 was the first year that Tofurky hit Australia, and I made a roast with lots of veggies for Christmas. Not bad.


2013: This was the year of the Suzy Spoon Roast, which was actually delicious! It is wrapped in yuba, giving it a delicious crispy skin. Definitely my favourite Christmas roast so far. I had to mail order this, and because the courier was an idiot they didn't deliver it until the following day. It was OK, we didn't get sick, but not ideal. So I didn't order one again. However Suzy Spoon's is now rolling out their products into vegan shops around Australia, so I may be able to get one again one day without worrying about courier times.

Suzy Spoon's Christmas Roast

2014: Christmas blogging is back! This year I went back to my vegan roots, with a Sanitarium Vegie Delight Roast. This is available in supermarkets, and was probably the first vegan roast that came out in Australia. It is very simple, not filled at all. It comes with a lurid orange powder to make a glaze, which I now avoid and just use a bit of soy and olive oil. It isn't fancy, but it hits a nostalgic spot with me. Plus, easy availability to all and not as expensive as the other ones (though very small). In 2015 we also had a second Christmas, because my brother came home from the UK a week afterwards. This was a very simple and fresh meal, and the centerpiece was beautiful seared mushrooms glazed in HP sauce.

Sanitarium Roast and cranberry sauce

HP Glazed Mushrooms and Cranberry Sauce

2015: Last year I ordered a Vegan Meals Delivered roast. I am sorry to say that this was not the best. It was so bready and heavy. There is actually some stuffing in there, but it is just very small. I actually gave it a better review in the original blog post that I would in retrospect today.

Vegan Meals Delivered Roast; Potato Squashers from Eat Drink and Be Vegan

As for 2016, I am excited to say that I have a Field Roast fancy roast currently waiting in my freezer for the big day. Field Roast is my favourite plant based meat company, so I can't wait!

What is your favourite sort of 'roast'?

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo and Susan


A bit out of order from the routine of going through my kitties, but I spoke so much about Gizmo in this post that I couldn't not make this about her. Gizmo passed away in January 2012, and I had her home for a glorious Christmas week in 2011 (which I thankfully had almost entirely off work). The first photo is one of my favourite photos of the two of us. I know the second one is a bit blurry, but I actually think it worked out kind of pretty. I love Gizmo so much, and I miss her everyday.