Thursday, 20 February 2020

Cruelty Free Shop February 2020 Vegan Mystery Box

February is the third box of my six month Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box subscription, which means we are half way through!

2020_02_VeganMysteryBox


  • Boulder Canyon Avocado Oil Chips: I haven't had these yet, but curious about how the avocado oil will be. Apparently it will give it a 'uniquely subtle, buttery flavour'.
  • Lamyong Rendang Mock Meat: Too spicy for me! But my mum likes this. Normally I get her the ready-made meal Rendang pouch, where as this one needs some coconut milk added to it.
  • Suma Vegan Meatballs Bolognese: I am excited to try these. Someone posted a photo of a cheesy meatball sub they made with them, and I think that is what I will do with them too!
  • Cruelty Free Pantry Savoury Yeast Flakes: I require large amounts of nooch in my house at all times. I buy my nooch in bulk. So I will never say no to more nooch.
  • JOM Organic Candy - Juicy Peach: I am not normally one for lollies, but lately I have been enjoying non-too sweet fruity gummies, so I hope these will be like that.
  • Shelby's Raspberry Dark Chocolate Almonds: These I am excited for!
  • Bite Society Milky Choc Balls - Salted Caramel: I was very sceptical of these. Their regular balls were marketed as 'vegan Maltesers', but in fact were not malty at all. Just rice crisp covered in milky chocolate. Plus I am not a caramel person. But I thought I'd try them and I was pleasantly surprised. They are smalled, so the cripsy part is less compared to the chocolate part, which is an improvement. I don't think I could taste caramel or even salt, and obviously I would have preferred something in the dark chocolate realm, but these ended up being a fun little snack treat.
  • Pur Chewing Gum - Pomegranate Milk: I don't like chewing gum, it makes me gag, so I'll be giving this away.


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Dim Sim, exhausted by birthday festivities... not really, this is just how she sleeps most of the time while she is waiting for me to finish my bedtime reading so we can snuggle under the covers.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Eating Out: The Green Edge

Circumstances keep seeing me back at The Green Edge, and I am not mad about it. Delicious food to eat and buy? Yes please. You can see posts of my previous visits here.

The Green Edge does some good comfort food, and one day I was feeling not great and their Gnocchi came through for me. A cheesy tomato sauce, served with garlic bread and salad.

Gnocchi at The Green Edge


With a turmeric latte to go with it, a perfectly warming and comforting lunch.

Turmeric Latte at The Green Edge


Back in the very early days, The Green Edge used to make an amazing satay tofu burger, but then they changed location, changed hands, and changed chefs and the satay tofu became kind of gross. But with the most recent owners and their new chefs, I thought I'd get the Satay Tofu starter to give it another try. OH MY GOD. It is so good. Tofu batons are cooked in chickpea batter and served with a delectable satay sauce. So good!

Satay Tofu at The Green Edge


You can get the satay tofu on a burger or as a salad. It has been a hot summer, so I went for the salad option the next time I got it. This was delicious. With a little serve of chips on the side because carbs are life.

Satay Tofu Salad with chips at The Green Edge


One of their specials for a while was the Philly Cheesesteak. They kindly left out the capsicum for me, and I got this delicious roll stuffed full of beefy slices and smothered in cheesesauce.

Philly Cheesesteak at The Green Edge


And of course, I almost always have to get a treat to take away. Here are some sweeties...

This red liquorice and chocolate chip giant cookie was AMAZING!

Red Licorice and Chocolate Chip Cookie from The Green Edge


I was excited to get this pumpkin pie slice back during Halloween, but unfortunately it was far too sweet for me. My dad enjoyed it!

Pumpkin Pie Slice from The Green Edge


Speaking of Halloween, this spoooooky black liquorice and marshmallow borwnie was legit.

Spooooky Black Licorice and Marshmallow Brownie from The Green Edge


I love carrot cakes, and this carrot cake blondie was a fun twist.

Carrot Cake Blondie from The Green Edge


A terrible photo because it got squished a bit in transit, but this Cherry Almond Muffin with Ganache was lovely.

Cherry Almond Muffin with Chocolate Ganache from The Green Edge


The Green Edge - Shop 2b 229 Lutwyche Road, Windsor, QLD - (07) 3861 1132

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


Yesterday (Monday the 17th of February), was a very different day to Dim Sim's birthday the day before. The 17th of February is the anniversary of Sahara's death, it has been three years this year. While last month I took myself out and about for Gizmo's anniversary as I needed to be out of the house for the morning, yesterday I had a much more mellow day at home. Snuggling Dim Sim, watching some movies, making some nice food (including broccoli for dinner - Sahara's favourite)... and of course I lit my candle for Sahara and thought about her a lot. A couple of days ago at work I saw another cinnamon Abyssinian, and while she had a completely different face and body shape to Sahara, the fur was the same. That colour, the way it changes over the body, it made me feel very sad and missing my girl.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Dim Sim's 20th Birthday

A non-food post today, because we are celebrating a very important kitty event on this Sunday, the 16th of February.

Dim Sim's 20th birthday!!!

Dim Sim's 20th birthday


Yes, I made her a tiny crown!

This milestone means that this tiny precious princess is now the oldest kitty I have shared my life with. And I really hope we still have more years together.

Here is a photo I took last night, a final photo before her birthday the next day. I hadn't meant to wake her, but she woke up with my moving around and was unimpressed.

Dim Sim's last day of 19


And here is a photo I took when we woke up this morning! On her birthday!

Dim Sim's 20th birthday


And finally, please enjoy another photo of her in her tiny crown. I was really impressed how well she tolerated having it on for the photos.

Dim Sim's 20th birthday


I'm off to snuggle on the sofa with her, watch a movie, and open a fresh packet of her favourite Greenies for her to munch on.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH DIM SIM!

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Midweek Munchies

Munching, munching, munching...

First up, these fun snacks I bought on a sale day. Obviously peanut butter pretzels are always a winner. But the mushroom crisps were amazing! So savoury and tasty.

Mushroom Crisps and Peanut Butter Pretzels


I had bought this snack pack a while ago and finally tried it out at work one day. That chocolate hazelnut butter was not so much a butter as a block, as you can see in the second picture. It was well before the used by date as well. I ended up snacking on the pretzels, and the brownie-ish block separately. But the block wasn't all that nice. I did try and melt it in the microwave as well, but it just burnt!

Byron Bay Peanut Butter Pretzels with Chocolate Hazelnut 'Spread'


Byron Bay Peanut Butter Pretzels with Chocolate Hazelnut 'Spread'


San Remo came out with three varieties of vegan ravioli a while ago, available in IGA supermarkets. Of the three flavours, this was the only one that spoke to me. I served them with some Leggo's Stir-Through sauce for maximum ease. The sauce is really nice! The ravioli were OK, though the filling was a bit gritty. I served it over some baby spinach and topped with some cashew hemp parm.

San Remo Lentil Ravioli


San Remo Lentil Ravioli


A while ago my Mum went to Tasmania and brought me back these strawberry vegan chocolates. More like white chocolate with strawberry in them. She'd previously brought me back the passionfruit flavour, which were surprisingly excellent because the tanginess of the passionfruit really shone through the sweetness of the white chocolate. But these were a bit on the too sweet side.

Nutpatch Strawberry Chocolate from Hobart


More ravioli! This brand is in Woolworths but is normally super pricey, but I found some on sale. I tried them with another flavour of the Leggos stir-through sauce. I didn't like this sauce as much as the other one. But I enjoyed these ravioli a lot.

i Pasti Vegan Ravioli


i Pasti Vegan Ravioli


Here is something non-food related to end up on (before the cat photo, we always end on that, never fear). Some of you blog buddies (I'm looking at you Julie and Sarah) are incredibly talented artists. I am not one of those. But last year I started doing a bit of doodling for fun. I even did a very bad doodle version of Inktober! I thought I might share the first doodle I did last year, back in September, that started my fun doodling now. I do doodle. You too! You do doodle too! Please enjoy my poorly drawn T-Rex.

Poorly Drawn T Rex


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Jed


Clinic boy Jed having sweet dreams in his new suitcase bed.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Lammas 2020

My only real food goal for this year is to still make food to celebrate each of the sabbats as they occur. It is a nice way that I can mark them, and the progress of the year (I'd say seasons... but where I live barely has seasons any more... sigh). You can see my previous sabbat posts here. This post brings my calendar year around full circle, as I started this goal with Lammas last year.

Lammas (2nd February, 2020):

Corn, grains, bread, seasonal fruits and berries... these are some of the foods associated with Lammas. Lammas is a harvest festival, celebrating the wheat harvest. It is also the time of the height of summer, and the knowledge that things are changing, and the days are getting shorter. Of course, here in Brisbane, the height of summer tends to be about 6 months of the year... so, you know. At least the days are getting shorter!

Roasted Corn and Sorghum Salad with Chipotle Dressing from The Great Vegan Grains Book by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes: While sorghum isn't typically a grain you think of, I had some to use up and it seemed like this summery corn-filled salad was perfect to mark this time of year. I cooked my sorghum in some stock (rather than water) and used my rice cooker to do so (less fuss and out stove is half broken at the moment). I also increased the amount of sorghum a little, and added a tin of white beans to bulk this up into a proper dinner. Frozen corn (I can't get white corn so I used yellow) is roasted in the overn to give a lovely sweetness. Of course I didn't use chipotle in my dressing, but rather used smoked paprika and it was delightful! I left out the scallions from the salad, and used garlic powder rather than raw garlic in the dressing to keep it Susan tummy friendly.
Rating: :)

Roasted Corn and Sorghum Salad with Chipotle Dressing


As you can see, I served it with some slices of sourdough bread spread with smoked sesame cheese. (Yes, the smoked sesame cheese is back and in supermarkets! Fenn has sold or rebranded it as Made From Plants. Unfortunately, while good, it is not as good as the original Fenn version. They have switched from smoking the sesame seeds to using liquid smoke, and it is a bit runnier as well. I guess something had to give in the change from small batch to mass production.) While baking bread is a traditional Lammas activity, I just didn't have time or energy. So this lovely sourdough on the side was my nod to that.

Blackberry-Sunflower Crisp from Blissful Basil by Ashley Melillo: Blackberries are a traditional Lammas fruit, and this blackberry crumble was a wonderful way to finish up a symbolic meal. I made a half recipe in and 8x8 inch pan. I used frozen blackberries rather than fresh, because although fresh blackberries are around and on sale and delicious at the moment, it would still cost a lot to buy enough fresh blackberries for this. But my frozen blackberries were deliciously sweet. As I was using frozen fruit, I increased the amount of arrowroot starch a bit in the filling. The topping is a blend of ground sunflower seeds and oats, with more oats, cardamom, maple syrup, and oil. It called for melted coconut oil (gross), I used canola. This was wonderful served with some vanilla raspberry ice cream.
Rating: :)

Spring & Summer Blackberry-Sunflower Crisp


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


Speaking of blackberries, I think we all know who my favourite blackberry is. And she is so sweet as well!

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Viva Vegan

Still hanging out with Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero for this week's cookbook post. Last week I shared a menu, this week it is a few of the smaller meal suggestions plus a couple of other random things I have made. See my previous posts from Viva Vegan here.

Soy Free Latin Baked Mushrooms: This isn't an actual recipe in the book, but a variation of the Latin Baked Tofu. Back ages ago when I used to do fund raising picnics, someone RSVPed who said they were gluten free and soy free. I was taking some baked tamari tofu for everyone else, but for this person I made a big mushroom, and tried one myself. I used two large portobello mushrooms (instead of the tofu), used water instead of tamari and added some salt. It was pretty good and I felt pretty proud. The person are the mushroom happily, but then said that they weren't too strict about things and proceded to eat all the gluten and soy, which was rude. But not the mushroom's fault.
Rating: :)

Latin Baked Mushrooms (SF)


Columbian Grilled Arepas with Corn and Vegan Cheese: These are really simple to make. Make the basic arepa dough,and then knead in corn and vegan cheese. I made a half recipe, which was a very filling lunch! Sliced into quarters and served with some mashed avocado. They weren't super cheesy though, so next time I'd add more cheese (and maybe a but of nutritional yeast).
Rating: :)

Colombian Grilled Arepas with Corn and Vegan Cheese


Peruvian Potatoes with Spicy 'Cheezy' Sauce and salad with Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing: The recipe suggests purple potatoes for a fun colour contrast, but I just had your regular white potatoes. But nothing wrong with those!The sauce gets the cheesiness from nutritional yeast, and has a bit of spice from aji amirillo paste. I just used a small tsp instead of a whole TBS for a gentle warmth. I did find the sauce a bit thin, but I did use oat milk instead of a cream subsitute so that would explain it. Meanwhile, that dressing for the salad... AMAZING! I changed it up a bit, using celery instead of capsicum, onion and garlic powders instead of the raw vegetables, and leaving out the chili. But it was delicious! I served it with some chopped cos, cucumber, and chickpeas for a great salad.
Rating: Potatoes :), Dressing :D

Peruvian Potatoes with Spicy 'Cheezy' Sauce; salad with Fresh Gazpacho Salsa Dressing


Costa Rican Refried Rice and Beans and Fruity Chile Slaw: This was a delightful meal! First up, the rice and beans. So simple but SO GOOD! Also so quick and easy, as it uses precooked rice and I used tinned beans (I used borlotti). I left out the chile and the capsicum. This says it serves 4 generously or 6 as a side, but I got three serves from it served with the slaw. My slaw was not chile. The dressing is a creamy ancho chile dressing, but I left out the chile and used some paprika because I am quirky like that. I used 1/2 TBS of regular paprika in a 1/2 batch of the recipe. This is then mixed into shredded purple cabbage, toasted almonds, and oranges for a great version of a slaw. I left out the raw onions. I topped everything off with some sliced avocado.
Rating: Rice and Beans :D, Slaw :)

Costa Rican Refried Rice and Beans; Fruity Chile Slaw


Yellow Chile Grilled Tempeh and Calabacitas: Why do I insist on using up my aji amarillo paste? I know it is chili, which I abhor, but I spent a lot of money on a jar some time ago and I feel like I should use it up. Plus in small smidges it does add just a very simple warmth if I am careful. In this case, I just used a scant tsp. The tempeh is marinated lime, soy, aji, and spices before being grilled (or in my case pan-fried). It is served with a sweet and juicy squash saute, with zucchini, tomatoes, butternut, and corn. I also tossed through some coriander because I had some.
Rating: Tempeh :), Calbacitas :)

Yellow Chile Grilled Tempeh; Calabacitas


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


My sweet girl has had another UTI and had a rought couple of days. Thankfully she seems to be on the mend thanks to antibiotics.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Midweek Munchies

Still munching my way through life...

Silken tofu scrambles continue to be a trusted mainstay of my lunches at home. This one had spinach added, was topped with lots of avocado, and was served with some sourdough toast with Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese. The last Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese ever, as they stopped making it. I was bereft. But it has come back in a way, which you'll see in later posts. But this was the last of the original and the best. RIP Fenn Smoked Sesame Cheese.

Scrambled tofu, sesame cheese and toast, avocado


The vegan yoghurt options keep expanding. I loved this Mango & Passionfruit Cashew So Delicious Yoghurt, it is one of my favourite flavours, nice and tangy. But the Vanilla & Chai Dairy Free Yo Pro? I had to throw most of it out, it was so gross. I am not one for protein added to things, I am not the target audience for it, but I thought I'd try it once as I do like trying new things for science. The taste was gross (also found out later it had stevia in it, foul), and it was just sludgy and gritty and PSA DO NOT BUY THIS! It comes in other flavours, but I can't imagine they would be better given that it was a texture issue. Ewwww.

Yoghurts from Woolworths


The final flavour of the Well & Good Cheesy Mac I tried was the Mushroom, which was my favourite of the three. It was still very soupy (you cook the pasta in the milk that then has the sauce powder stirred into it). I added some peas to mine, and served it over some baby spinach. And there was another addition as well..

Well & Good Mushroom Cheesy Mac (with peas)


Next! Is a vegan meat brand that is in Coles. They have bacon, chicken pieces, and some other stuff but I don't remember what. I got these chicken pieces on sale, no coconut oil in them (which a lot of the vegan meats seem to have), so I thought it would be fun to try.

Next! Chick'n Chunks


I sauteed them up and served some of them on top of my mac and cheese. They were fine, reasonable flavour, OK texture. Definitely not too realistic, which I appreciate. I also had some in a salad and made a sandwich with the leftovers that I didn't use on the mac and cheese, which were both fun ways to use them up. Obviously they would be fine in a curry or stew or something like that as well. I'd get them again if they were on sale.

Well & Good Mushroom Cheesy Mac (with peas) topped with Next! Chick'n Chunks


I screenshotted the recipe for these overnight oats from Odile's Instagram account. It has chocolate soy milk, tahini, goji berries, cacao nibs, maple syrup, and maca powder added to the oats. A nice fun breakfast. I topped with with fresh blueberries and pepitas.

Odile's Overnight Oats


Finally for today, a savoury treat. Baker's Delight is a bakery chain that has long had many vegan options, especially in the regular bread and the sweet snacks line. I love their apple scrolls and jam scrolls. However they recently added a vegan savoury option, called the Vegan Bite. It is a savoury dough wrapped around a piece vegan hot dog (I believe Vegie Delights) and topped with shredded BioCheese. BioCheese has a lot of coconut oil in it, so I can only have a very small amount. But these are just a little bite sized snack, so it is OK. It was fine, I think it would be better if you warmed it up slightly and then put some ketchup on it as well. But a handy thing to have available.

Vegan Bite from Baker's Delight


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara


Sahara. I miss her. I needed to make sure no one forgets her beautiful face, so here is a photo of her beautiful face.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Eating Out: Izakaya Midori

Last year a friend from Sydney was visiting Brisbane, and we planned on a little trip down to Izakaya Midori for a delicious Japanese lunch. I'd been down there once before, and was super eager to get back. Delicious vegan Japanese food? Yes please!

They have a selection of sushi rolls available for lunch, and we got the Veef Coriander (which is spicy, so my friend ate most of that) and Teriyaki Tofu.

Teriyaki Tofu and Veef Coriander Sushi Rolls at Izakaya Midori


I also enjoyed a Lychee Iced Tea, which was happily decaf as even tea caffeine makes me jittery. This was very yummy.

Lychee Iced Tea at Izakaya Midori


We shared everything, so we could maximise out eating experience. The DIY potato salad is fantastic. It comes as a cooked potato with mayo, sweet corn, onion, tomato, and curry powder. You smash it all up and mix it together with the wooden spoon. It is fun and tasty!

DIY Potato Salad at Izakaya Midori


DIY Potato Salad at Izakaya Midori


Nasu Miso Den (Eggplant Dengaku) seems to be a permanent addition to the specials board, and is always worth getting. It is SO GOOD! It came as always with the little yuzu spray to spritz on, which changes the flavour.

Eggplant Dengaku at Izakaya Midori


We also shared to of the lunch mains. The Japanese Curry Rice (with Karaage) was a delicious, mild Japanese curry sauce that I love. The Terichiki Don had some of the most delicious veganteriyaki chicken I've ever tried, and was served with rice and salad.

Japanese Curry Rice with Karaage at Izakaya Midori


Terichiki Don at Izakaya Midori


We finished by sharing some sweet Doriyaki, dense Japanese pancakes stuffed with a sweet red bean filling. These were very substantial, so I was glad we were sharing. But they were so good.

Doriyaki at Izakaya Midori


On the way home, we popped into Flour of Life, the vegan bakery, to pick up some treats. I got my favourite strawberry tart, and also a huge chocolate custard log. Unfortunately there was not much int he way of custard in the log, just air, so I won't be getting that again.

Strawberry Tart and Chocolate Custard Log from Flour of Life


Izakaya Midori - Shop 7/ 50 Woodland Drive, Reedy Creek, QLD

Flour of Life - 22-32 Siganto Drive, Helensvale, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Kittens


I was working one afternoon at one of our other clinics, and had these two cuties keeping my company.