On Saturday I spent a morning helping clean out flood damaged homes in the Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket. It was a sobering experience, and also very hard physical work. I'm afraid to say that my apparently weak little body took several days to recover. But there are many ways to help out with the flood relief efforts if you are not able to provide physical strength.
Baked Relief is an incredible phenomenon that started with one woman baking to send out to feed volunteers, and with the simple #bakedrelief hashtag on Twitter, it has snowballed into a massive organised front of people across the area baking and providing food that is then sent out to feed the volunteers out on the ground.
Baking is definitely something I am well suited to, and I had a day off to spend baking. But I was working the next day, so would not be able to get the food out there. A tweet for help later and I was in contact with someone who lives close to me who was able to pick up the food the following morning. And then I was off baking some vegan love.
I definitely found my baking mojo, and not even an emergency trip to the shop to replace a bag of flour that had bugs and having to restart my muffins could break the rhythm. Here are the goodies I made:
First up was Cowboy Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. These cookies are serious stuff - pecans, coconut and chocolate chips. I guess cowboys like that sort of thing? I only had half the amount of pecans required, but it was still lots. Also, I used the whole cup of chocolate chip cookies the recipe called for, but it seemed a bit too much because there were about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips left at the bottom of the bowl. I found I got two and a half dozen cookies instead of two dozen, I must think golf balls are smaller than they are!
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, also from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar are a classic cookie and so easy to make, there isn't really any excuse not to! The recipe was meant to make two dozen, but I found it made a bit under that. I must think tablespoons are bigger than they are!
Savoury items were also being requested. I guess people cannot live on sugar alone! I made these Spicy Chick-Wheat Savoury Muffins from 500 Vegan Recipes. They are a combination of wheat and chickpea flour, and are spiced with garam masala and red chili flakes. I really enjoyed this, plus the chickpea flour added some extra protein and that makes for full bellies. The look a bit small, because for some reason instead of filling out the 20 muffin tins required I filled up 22. Oh well, more to share.
I had those left over chocolate chips from the Cowboy Cookies, and they were damp so I couldn't exactly put them back in the bag. So I made Coffee Chip Muffins from Vegan Brunch. I am disturbed how much I liked my sample muffin (I sampled a small one of all before sending them out). I don't like coffee. It makes me sick. It is gross. This did not. The coffee flavour was just very subtle, and I didn't have any caffeine side effects. I still don't think I'll be drinking coffee any time soon though.
The final thing I made was Mediterranean Olive Bread from The Joy Of Vegan Baking for some more savoury action. As well as olives, it also has sun-dried tomatoes and rosemary (I used some fresh from our garden). It was good, but I couldn't make it go golden on top, which was a bit sad. The picture in the book looks way better!
Here it is all packaged and ready to go. I know that it is a lot of plastic wrap, but if you were out covered in mud you would want your food to be wrapped and be able to eat it without actually having to touch it! It was also all labeled as Vegan (no eggs or dairy), so that any vegans or lactose intolerant people out there could be confident in what they were eating. I've been told that these goodies were taken out to Jindalee and Oxley, and I am glad to hear they were enjoyed.
Cute Kitty Photo of the Post
As my mum helped wrap up all the goodies, Sahara supervises. Don't worry, she was looking with her eyes, not touching with her paws. Just making sure that mum did a good job of wrapping. What would we do without kitty helpers in our lives?
Queensland Flood Aid
Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal
RSPCA's Flood Appeal
Flood Aid - Coordinating help wanted with help offered.
Adopt-A-Family - Provide weekly meals to families displaced by the floods.
Adopt-A-Wash - Help families who have lost their washing machines by doing a load for them.