Monday, May 21, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Let Them Eat Vegan

Turns out that it has been quite a while since I have done a dedicated recipe round-up from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton. It has a special place in my heart as the source of the amazing Berry Patch Brownies that I have made more times than I can count for bake sales! But it is also full of other very lovely recipes. You can see my previous round-ups (and bake sale contributions) here.

Goji Strawberry Smoothie: This sweet pink treat adds banana, cinnamon, and flaxseeds to the mix. It calls for 2 cups of liquid, but I only one and a half cups of oatmilk, with all frozen fruit, and that made one pink, thick, smoothie. The recipe is for 2 smoothies, but you know I had it all for myself!
Rating: :)

Goji Strawberry Smoothie


Creamy Carrot Miso Dip: This beautiful dip is a bit reminiscent of eating a very thick carrot soup. It is creamy from cashews, and delightfully spiced. I made it in my Froothie Optimum blender, and it was so smooth. Excellent on crackers, or for dipping vegetables or dolloping anywhere.
Rating: :)

Creamy Carrot Miso Dip


"Vegveeta" Dip: I have never had the Velveeta dip that this was inspired by, but this was very good. It is described as a cheesy dip, though in this recipe the nutritional yeast is optional. Nutritional yeast is never optional in my book! Even with that added I found that although it was tasty, it was not very cheesy. This recipe is made on a stove and I was a little bit worried that it wasn't going to get thick enough, but it thickened up quickly once it was off the heat.
Rating: :)

Vegveeta Dip


KD Dip: This fun dip was apparently inspired by squeezing ketchup onto Kraft dinners. Unlike the above recipe, this has a big whack of nutritional yeast to make it cheesy. It is made creamy with some tahini, and I found the taste of the tahini to be quite strong. I like tahini, but you may want to back off a little (or use cashew butter) if you are wanting a milder taste. The recipe calls for organic ketchup, but you know I just used trusty Heinz. As you can see, I went for some chopped hotdogs, steamed broccoli, and chunks of vegan cheese (because, why not) as my dippers.
Rating: :)

KD Dip


Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew: I love peanut butter stews! This calls for 400mL of coconut milk, and the first time I made it I hadn't quite identified my coconut issues so it was too rich. But now I know that 400mL of coconut milk means a 270mL tin plus 130mL of water for me. As well as tofu, there are vegetables including zucchini, sweet potato, spinach, and onion. I left out the capscium for more of each of those.
Rating: :)

Peanut Thai Vegetable Stew


Carribean Fusion Stew: One of the recipes I made when I chanced upon some plantains, this uses the barely ripe fruit. It also has lentils, kidney beans, zucchini, broccoli, and onion. I just left out the capsicum. Served over rice, this was a warm and filling dinner.
Rating: )

Carribean Fusion Stew


Thai Chickpea Almond Curry: I used extra vegetables in this, and also made an extra half quantity of sauce to cover them. The sauce is based on coconut milk (diluted with some water for me) and almond butter. Almond butter is super pricey here, so it is a rare occasion that I make a recipe using it. The sauce nicely coats chickpeas and zucchinis, but I added some carrots and cauliflower as well.
Rating: :)

Thai Chickpea Almond Curry


Winter Veg Chickpea Potpie: This is a messy photo, I am no good at getting potpie serves out without getting it all jumbled up. This was very nice on a cold night, full of sweet potato, potato, celery, leek, fennel, green beans, and chickpeas. I used some frozen ready made vegan puff pasty for topping. Excellent with some ketchup.
Rating: :)

Winter Veg Chickpea Potpie


Jerk Chickpeas: Simple and fast. The ingredient list looks long, but it is mostly just spices that mix together easily. The recipe called for red capsicum, I used some red onion instead. Served over brown rice and kale, with some avocado on the side as well.
Rating: :)

Jerk Chickpeas


Corn Chowder Quinoa Casserole: This was absolutely delicious, and perfect on a cold night. Cannellini beans and quinoa are baked with a corn chowder inspired mixture, to create an amazing dinner. I loved this one.
Rating: :D

Corn Chowder Quinoa Casserole


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sleepy Dim Sim


With the colder weather, Dim Sim has been sleeping... well, as much as usual, really. But she looks extra snuggly as her winter coat comes in.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Eating Out: Insane Acai Bar

West End is a cornucopia of vegan options, including the all-vegan Insane Acai Bar. While I am not in love with the name, it is a good place to stop by if you are craving a smoothie, bowl, or fresh juice. But they also have a big selection of raw and baked vegan treats as well. I don't normally go there as a primary eating destination, but I have picked up a few smoothies for afternoon snacks after eating lunch elsewhere.

The one time I did go in to West End just to eat there, I was feeling like I was getting sick, and I was desperately craving some sort of smoothie bowl. I will always pick a dragon fruit bowl over an acai bowl, because I like the colour pink a lot. Plus they are tasty! All the fresh fruit on top definitely helped me feel a little better.

Dragon Fruit Bowl at Insane Acai Bar


Speaking of dragon fruit, I also love it in smoothie form!

Dragonfruit Smoothie at Insane Acai Bar


I tried out their Red Velvet Smoothie, which apparently not many people had ordered. I don't know why! It is a lovely mix of banana, beetroot, cacao, strawberries, dates, and coconut milk (I had them switch out the coconut milk for soy). It was a really nice flavour, plus pretty! I foolishly took the option of chocolate drizzle, which I wouldn't do again because it was full of coconut oil. But it froze solid on the side of the cup as soon as the cold smoothie hit it, so I didn't have to worry about it. It would be annoying if you actually wanted to mix the drizzle through.

Red Velvet Smoothie at Insane Acai Bar


I also love the Superfoods Smoothie, which has acai, banana, goji berry, cacao, and almond milk. It isn't quite as good as the superfoods smoothie is at Charlie's, but it is still pretty good.

Superfoods Smoothie from Insane Acai Bar


I just realised that these are all shades of pink, which is very on brand for me!

One annoying thing is that even if you are eating in (and they do have some tables inside and outside), everything comes in plastic, and with a plastic straw. So much waste! I'd like to see them start using reusable cups and paper straws, though I know that would mean extra work out the back for them with the washing up.

Insane Acai Bar - 120 Boundary St, West End, Brisbane - (07) 3846 7445

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo and Sahara


I miss Gizmo and Sahara so much. It still hurts, as it always should.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cruelty Free Shop May 2018 Vegan Mystery Box

My final box from my six month Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box arrived last week. What was inside?

2018_05_VeganMysteryBox


  • Amisa Falafel Mix: Falafel is fun, though I often find mixes can be a bit dry or fragile. Hopefully these will stick together well, they will make a quick lunch.
  • Geo Organics Satay Sauce: Satay sauces is one of my favourites, but this one is apparently a fiery blend of chilli, curry, and cumin... so probably not for me!
  • Dr mcDougall's Soup - Miso Ramen: I've had these before. They are great for quick meals. I have a couple of conferences coming up, and the vegan lunch options are never good, so I always like having a couple of these on hand. Conferences always have hot water!
  • Human Bean Co - Pizza Supreme Faba Beans: I haven't had this brand before, but I really like savoury flavoured crunchy beans from other brands. So I am looking forward to snacking on them.
  • Addiction Foods Coconut & Orange Dark Chocolate Truffle: I love these!
  • The Ginger People Gin Gins Chewy Apple Candy: I love chewy ginger treats. I am looking forward to trying these, and hope that they have a good hit of apple in them.
  • Smooze Coconut and Mango Fruit Ice: These are such a great treat on a hot day. They have a guava one that I love, I am hoping that this one won't be too coconutty for me. I haven't tried this flavour before.
  • Go Vegan Rock Candy: Not the biggest fan of hard candies, though these are very cute with their little vegan messages stamped on. They are meant to be lemonade flavoured.
  • Orgran Quinoa Porridge: In winter (which we are heading towards here in Australia) I often like to have some microwave oats as an afternoon work snack, so these will be used here.
  • Coco Mylk Coconut Milk Latte: Eh. Even if the coconut milk wasn't too coconut fatty for me, I still don't do coffee.


My final box, a little underwhelming. It has still been a fun six month!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


A perfect princess!

Monday, May 7, 2018

ALQ Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale at The Green Edge

I organised a bake sale that was held yesterday, as part of the WWVBS initiative. The bake sale was to raise funds for Animal Liberation Queensland, and was held at The Green Edge. It was amazing! As well as some ALQ members helping me with the baking, The Green Edge also asked for donations of baked goods. At one point during the set up it seemed like the food would never stop coming! It was such a huge and successful day! We sold out of almost everything, and we raised over $1400 to help ALQ with their important campaigns!

So, onto the food. First up, things that I baked. I had planned on only baking a little, but then panic set in and I baked a lot. Next time I know I can relax a bit, because so many donations! Oh well, let's see what I made! Strap in, this is a long ride!

Peach Cobbler Cupcakes from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater: Natalie has such fun recipes, and I'd had my eye on this one for a while. Peaches were recently in season, so it seemed like the perfect chance! The recipe says to coarsely chop the peaches, but next time I'd cut them a bit smaller because the cupcakes baked a bit lumpy and uneven. It doesn't matter too much though, because they taste great and you cover them in frosting anyway. The book gives too options - wither whipped coconut cream (no thank you), or maple buttercream frosting. I obviously chose the latter, which I had made before for her banana bread french toast cupcakes, and it was a great combination.
Rating: :)

Peach Cobbler Cupcakes


Swirly Berry Brownies from Sinfully Vegan by Lois Dieterly: I am currently trying to make recipes from some of my older cookbooks, rather than just being new ones all the time, and this was one of those. I haven't used this book much, she has a reliance on so much maple syrup that most recipes would just be too expensive to make! This one is sweetened with sugar and applesauce. It is a cakey brownie, though nice and chocolately, and the raspberry jam swirled into the top makes a nice flavour contrast.
Rating: :)

Swirly Berry Brownies


Dulce Sin Leche Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero: I had made these once before, a long time ago, but neglected to take a photo. So I tried them again! This time I decided to make them GF, by using the Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF flour blend and some xantham gum. I ended up with enough batter for 13 cases, but even then they rose a lot and were kind of messy! They are swirled and topped with Dulce Sin Leche glaze, which is based on the Brown Rice Glaze (also from the book) but with extra brown sugar added. When baking, the caramel swirled into them bubbled up a lot, also making them a bit messy. I had to cook for an extra 10 minutes as well. They are topped with more glaze, and toasted coconut. The flavour was nice, a good caramel. The texture was OK for GF, but was obviously better when I first made them with gluten. The glaze is very sticky, which was a big attraction for people.
Rating: :)

Dulce Sin Leche Cupcakes


Perfect Berry Muffins from Eat Like You Give A Damn by Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten: These are simple muffins to make, and are sweet and pleasant. You can use either raspberries, blueberries, or a mix, I went for straight raspberries. They were fairly soft, and the raspberries made them a little smooshy. But I liked the slight tartness of the raspberries with the sweetness of the batter.
Rating: :)

Perfect Berry Muffins


Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eat Like You Give A Damn by Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten: These actually have Cappuccino in the title, but coffee doesn't agree with me so I left it out. Even if you like coffee, pretty sure leaving it out is the best option anyway. These were AMAZING! The orange flavour comes from zest, but it packed such a great orange punch. With the chocolate chips, it was like eating a chocolate orange... but in an oat cookie. So fabulous!
Rating: :D

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies


Chocolate Goji Macadamia Cripsy Squares from Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton: Another one of my gluten free offerings. These are so fast to make - melt chocolate, mix in goji, macadamia, rice cripsies, orange zest, let set! I took the option of using more rice cripsies and less goji berries,and I also subbed the coconut oil used when melting the chocolate for canola oil. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup (or 7-8 oz) of chocolate, though when I measured out the volume I only had about 6 oz. You can see they are fairly thin slices, but they pack lots of flavour and crunch. The subtle orange is a particularly nice touch. The recipe makes 12-16 squares for normal snacks, but for the bake sale I cut it into 8 big bars.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Goji Macadamia Crispy Squares


Gingerbread from Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman: Another dip into an older cookbook, I had made this recipe before and loved it. But I hadn't photographed it, so it seemed like a good one to make. I still loved it, all these years later. It is dense, syrupy goodness, and the batter itself is so yummy! The recipe calls for molasses, black treacle, golden syrup, or a mixture. I used treacle, because I have some and hardly anything calls for it. This gave it a perfect sweetness.
Rating: :D

Gingerbread


Blondies from The New Vegan by Janet Hudson: Another older cookbook, not to be confused by Aine Carlin's cookbook of the same name. I made a half batch of these to fit into an 8x8 pan, and got 8 bars. They have macadamias and butterscotch chips in them, and are sweet and pleasant, and very moist. They liquid used in them is water, and I wonder if using a non-dairy milk would have a better flavoury, they just needed a bit more something for me. But other people really liked them!
Rating: :)

Blondies


White Chocolate Lime Cookies from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I had some white chocolate baking buttons to use up from a mystery box, so a bake sale seemed like a good place for them. I don't like white chocolate myself. These were more like a vanilla cookie to me, the lime flavour was very subtle. The recipe makes 20 cookies regularly, but I used my ice cream scoop and got 11 big bake sale cookies, which I baked for 25 minutes.
Rating: :| (for me, other people liked them a lot with the white chocolate)

White Chocolate Lime Cookies


Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I made these to use up some canned pumpkin I had kicking around, but oh my gosh they are amazing! The cupcakes themselves are like eating a little slice of pumpkin heaven, they are packed full of amazing spices. I could eat the batter, or the cupcakes, forever. The cream cheese frosting was very nice tasting, but was really more of a glaze. It was way to runny to do anything else with. So I ended up with a bunch left over, which is in my freezer. But I wouldn't mind making these again to help use it up. ;)
Rating: :D

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Glaze


I also made a batch of my regulars, the gluten free soulhaus cookies from Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats. This time they had chocolate chips and crushed peanuts in them. And now, for the food that was donated!

These beautiful cupcakes were donated by local bakery Baked by K. They also donated some super cute little sugar cookies with Friends Not Food icing, that I didn't get a chance to take a photo of.

Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes


Someone donated these gorgeous vanilla cupcakes - look at the details on those roses!

Vanilla Cupcakes


My friend Mandy donated some gorgeous Mandarin Cupcakes, as well as some delicious Mini Baked New York Cheesecakes. Mandy also makes full sized cheesecakes, which you can get by the slice at The Green Edge!

Mandarin Cupcakes


Mini Baked New York Cheesecakes


Mandy's friends also donated some Lemon Cupcakes, Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes, and Chocolate Jam Drop Freckle Cookies.

Lemon Cupcakes


Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes


Chocolate Jam Drop Freckle Cookies


Fellow ALQ volunteer Cameron made some Ginger Pear Muffins, and some Pizza Muffins.

Ginger Pear Muffins


Pizza Muffins


Speaking of savouries, check out these amazing Mini Creamy Potato Pies that someone donated!

Potato Pies


Bec, ALQ member and graduate of vegan culinary school, brought some of her famous Cinnamon Rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls


Katie, who used to run Cloverly Cupcakes, donated some amazing looking muffins - Blueberry, and Orange Poppyseed!

Blueberry Muffins


Orange and Poppyseed Muffins


I didn't even get a chance to take photos of everything! Also donated were:
  • Chocolate Chip Cupcakes that were so beautiful and I am sorry I didn't get the name of their baker!
  • Anzac Cookies donated by Samantha, The Green Edge's event organiser and general amazing employee
  • Salmon Bechamel Filo Pastries, Spankopita, and Cherry Tomato Pesto Tarts donated by Lisa and Paul, ALQ members, amazing cooks, and vegan advocates extraordinaire
  • Raw Peanut Butter Cups and Raw Walnut Brownies donated by Bliss & Co., whose peanut butter cups don't make me sick from coconut oil and are the best raw treats ever!
  • Savoury Gluten Free Chickpea Muffins, from the lovely baker of the potato pies, and I am sorry I didn't get her name either!
  • Snickerdoodle cookies donated by ALQ volunteer Michelle
  • Some super cute doughnuts for doggies, which were enjoyed by the many glorious puppers who visited throughout the day

Table


As you can see, the sheer amount of food donated was staggering! And we sold almost all of it in 4 hours!!! Huge thanks as always to The Green Edge, and to everyone who donated, and came and bought food, to support ALQ!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim sleeping


I was exhausted after I got home yesterday, and was very glad to go to sleep nice and early with this sleepy little girl.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Recipe Round-Up: Keep It Vegan

Keep It Vegan by Aine Carline continues to be one of my favourite vegan cookbooks ever. I have made a lot of recipes from it, and it never lets me down. I just got my hands on a copy of her newest cookbook, Cook Share Eat Vegan, which is a thing of beauty! But her original will never lose its special place in my heart. You can see the other recipes I have blogged from Keep It Vegan here.

Simple Scrambled Tofu and Vegetable Rosti with Smoky Roasted Salsa: A good, basic scrambled tofu recipe is a must for any vegan cook. Aine's version uses curry powder and lemon juice to give it flavour, as well as including some spinach to pack in some greens. While recommended to be served with hot toast, I served it along side her rosti and salsa recipe. The rosti are a mix of zucchini, carrot, and potato, and are delicate but hold together well. Be sure to be generous with their seasoning. I got 5 smallish rosti's fro this recipe. The smoky roasted salsa is meant to be a mix of tomato and capsicum, but you can bet that I left out the capsicum. It was lovely with just the tomato (which are roasted with balsamic vinegar).
Rating: Scramble :), Rosti and Salsa :)

Simple Scrambled Tofu; Vegetable Rosti with a Smoky Roasted Salsa


Savoury Pudla Pancake and Avocado Sauce: I love pudla, those chickpea flour pancakes. They are simple, fast, filling, and can be flavoured anyway you like. This one had peas, corn, and spring onion in the batter. I am terrible at making large pancakes of any description, they always break apart when I try and flip then, and this was no exception. But you could make smaller ones if you wanted. I was just making one all for myself,so it really didn't matter. The taste was still great! I served this with some Avocado Sauce, a quick blend of avocado, soy yoghurt, lime, and seasoning. It was a lovely match.
Rating: Pudla :), Avocado Sauce :)

Savoury Pudla Pancake; Avocado Sauce


Cocoa and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats: This was meant to be made with almond butter, but I am a peanut butter girl at heart. Plus, almond butter is so expensive here that I look for ways to replace with peanut butter where possible. The recipe says it serves one, but I know my appetite is pretty hearty. I tripled it for a decent sized start to me day. I didn't add any sweetener, which lead to a lovely, rich breakfast. I added some blueberries to lighten it up a bit.
Rating: :)

Cocoa and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats


Snickerdoodle Quinoa Bowl with Apple Slices: I foolishly quartered this recipe to make a single serve, which ended up being a very small serve indeed. Which is sad, because this tasted really good. My big issue was that the quinoa took forever to cook, and I had to add lots of extra oat milk, and even then it never went fully fluffy. But that may have been an issue with my grains. The caremelised apples are such a nice addition.
Rating: :)

Snickerdoodle Quinoa Bowl with Apple Slices


Breakfast Brownie with a Strawberry Bottom: I made a half recipe of this for one serve (a full recipe makes two). It isn't really very brownie like at all, rather a chocolate oat layer baked on top of fresh strawberries. I did find that the oat layer was really thick, there was a lot of oats, and even when I used extra strawberries the ratio still wasn't quite my ideal. I might halve the oat recipe and double the amount of strawberries for next time. Depending on the sweetness of your strawberries, you may want to add a touch of maple syrup to them before baking.
Rating: :)

Breakfast Brownie with a Strawberry Bottom


Summer Berry 'Buttermilk' Pancakes: I love pancakes, and these are sweet and easy. They are bulked up a little with some mashed bananas added to the batter (if you are reading this Amy, I know you are horrified right now). My banana was a little firm, so I blitzed it up with the soy milk to make sure if was properly dispersed through the batter, rather than just mashing and mixing. I used my ice cream scoop to add 1 1/2 scoops per pancake, and ended up with 8 12cm pancakes, and one slightly smaller one. They are topped with candied walnuts, though I used pecans as I prefer them. I only made 1/4 recipe of the nuts, which was just right for three people.
Rating; :)

Summer Berry 'Buttermilk' Pancakes


Toasted Breakfast Burrito: Savoury breakfasts are my main preference, though I must admit that I made these for dinner. These have the classic mix of scrambled tofu, beans, and guacamole. I really liked the scrambled tofu recipe here, it is nicely seasoned with garlic and mustard. The guac recipe calls for 50g of fresh coriander, but that is a huge amount! I had a 15g bunch, which was more than enough. The only downside is that in toasting the burritos, the guac heated up, and I have some issues with warm avocado. I used my sandwich press to toast them, but she toasts them in a pan in the instructions.
Rating: :)

Toasted Breakfast Burrito


Super Green Smoothie: I love a green smoothie! Normally I switch out kale for baby spinach, but I had some kale kicking around and decided to brave it. Normally I find kale to bitter in smoothies. I did use a bit less than required, as I only had 85g rather than 100g. I was also very lazy, and did not peel and seed my cucumber, or peel my apple. The more the merrier. This was sweet and citrusy (thanks to dates, lemon and lime juice), and nicely masked the flavour of the kale. I should note I only used two dates, rather than three. It also has cinnamon in it, which I love a lot, so that gave a great taste.
Rating: :)

Super Green Smoothie


Super-Fast Broccoli Soup: From green smoothies to green soup. This is indeed a very fast recipe, which is great for a quick lunch. It says it serves two, though these would be two big bowls worth. It has a nice creamy broccoli flavour, and is great with a grilled cheese sandwich.
Rating: :)

Super-Fast Broccoli Soup


Broad Bean Fritters with a Tangy Cucumber Salad: I made this for dinner for two people, but really it would be a light lunch for two or a dinner for one. The patties are really tasty, a lovely mix of beautiful green broad beans and lots of spices. The pickled cucumber is very quick to make as well, and adds a nice brightness to the dish. Served with salad, pita, and hummus.
Rating: :)

Broad Bean Fritters with a Tangy Cucumber Salad


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Bowie


Bowie, Jimi's brother, is also waiting for his forever home!