Friday, 21 June 2019

Midweek Munchies

This midweek munchies is more of a late-week munchies, writing this on a Friday afternoon, but the goods are still the same!

I made these rice cakes topped with mashed sweet potato and Vegenaise, avocado, and tomato. Two of them also had a bit of the Ikea black seaweed caviar on it for a bit of saltiness. This was a very fast and easy lunch using up some things I had kicking around.

Rice cakes with Sweet potato, tahini dressing, avocado, tomato, Ikea vegan caviar


I think I mentioned this in one of my Mystery Box posts, where I got another one of these. I was super excited for peanut butter, but they just mix the peanut butter through the chocolate so you don't get that nice contrast of flavours.

Chow Cacao Peanut Butter Slab


This random lunch I call Depression Dining. I was having a bad day, I didn't know what I wanted to eat, if I wanted to eat. But I knew I should. So I just randomly put things in a pot. A little tin of baked beans, a little tin of creamed corn, some baby spinach, a lot of nutritional yeast, and topped with ketchup. Actually really comforting.

Depression Dining: Creamed corn, baked beans, spinach, nooch, ketchup


These Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Cherry and Almond Coconut Clusters were delicious! A really nice flavour combination. They were messy to eat, because they were all crushed up a bit inside the packed. Some were big, others were more like crumbles, and you ended up with chocolate all over your hands! But worth it.

AlterEco Cherry and Almond Butter Coconut Clusters


By the time I'd fished out the larger clusters, there were lots of little crumbly bits left. So I sprinkled them over some natural yoghurt (I love the Impressed Almond Milk one) and added some fresh raspberries for a fun snack.

Yoghurt, Alter Eco Coconut Cluster, Raspberries


Finally, a silly juice. I just can't say no to something ridiculous, and black juice with charcoal just amuses me so much. It mostly tasted of apple, as so many of them do. Sigh. Sadly a lot of the charcoal had compacted down in the bottom crevices of the bottle, and no amount of shaking it up would get them loose!

You Juice


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


My sweet sleepy black bean. Dim Sim continues to do well!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets June 2019

After a few months away, my friends and I decided it was time to revisit the Brisbane Vegan Markets this month. Also because it is 'winter' here, so it isn't so hot and sweaty. Don't get me wrong, it was still warm and sunny, Brisbane doesn't do a very good winter. I had just been to yoga, and I was STARVING! The markets seemed a bit sparse in terms of stalls this time. Don't get me wrong, every space was filled, but there just didn't seem to be as many options? Or maybe it was just that there were quite a few stalls we are used to being there that were missing? But then we hit a pocket of exciting stalls, some of which we hadn't tried before. So it is good!

I rehydrated with a yummy Pink Grapefruit Iced Tea, that I didn't get a photo of. And then I ate! Starting with this BBQ Porc Bun from newish stall SoyBoi Chinese. They give all their food out on reusable plates, you just have to bring it back when you are done, which is cool. This was a delicious bun, and next time I will get two!

BBQ Porc Bun from Soyboi Chinese at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I then fell face first into a Breakfast Muffin from Gatherers. Sausage patty, egg, pickles, hash brown, BBQ sauce. Delicious! You can see the hash brown at the back, they forgot to put it on and I had to go back for it. But I think I actually preferred it on the side. One of my friends also got a cheeseburger from the same stall, though he ate it before any photos were taken. But he said it is delicious.

Breakfast Muffin from Gatherers at Brisbane Vegan Markets


I was still a hungry hungry vegan, so I headed to an Italian stall I hadn't seen there before to try some of their stuff. Unfortunately I cannot remember what it was called. I had some gnocchi, which were delicious! The sauce was a bit like bolognese, with TVP in it, and it had a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan and some basil. This was steaming hot and super great. I also tried one of their vanilla custard filled cannolis. I am not sure if I have had a cannoli before? Anyway, the custard was nice. But the shell of it was just a bit meh. Very crispy and a bit dry.

Gnocchi at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Vanilla Custard Canolli at Brisbane Vegan Markets


By that point I was pretty full. Too full even for ice cream! But I got some treats to take home. First up, a couple of doughnuts from OMG Donuts, which make amazing doughnuts. They are coated in different flavours of sugar. I got a lemon one and a strawberry one. I also got a chocolate and strawberry muffin from the little coffee shop that is attached to part of the markets, and they have started offering some vegan stuff on these days. The muffin was OK, but had a bit of a funny something to it.

Lemon Poppy Seed and Strawberry doughnuts from OMG Donuts; Chocolate Strawberry Muffin from cafe at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Bonus photo of the nachos my friend got from Vegetabelle! She took this photo, which is why it is so much better than mine!

Nachos from Vegetabelle at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Finally, I don't normally buy non-food stuff from the markets, but this t-shirt caught my eye as I walked by the Vegan Leather Co and I just fell in love. It is so cute and clever! The actual style of the t-shirt is not something I normally wear, but it is comfortable and I am all about trying to branch out away from my preconceived ideas of what I can and can't wear, so I bought it! You can get your own one here.

T-shirt from Vegan Leather Co at Brisbane Vegan Markets


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the sun


It's been a minute since a Dim Sim update. I was feeling like every time I posted one, she'd then take a turn, but hopefully that isn't the case after this! She has been good for the last couple of weeks. We got some additional results back that made it look like it might be a UTI after all, with a sneaky E. coli that didn't culture immediately, so she is now on antibiotics and is doing good. Still sometimes dribbles a bit of wee when she sleeps, so we have lots of puppy pads around, but that is no problem if it means she is happy and the sheets stay dry! Look at her enjoying the sun, she is so perfect.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Italiano

Vegan Italiano, by Donna Klein, is a book that has sat on my shelf for a long time and I have made very little from it. I just... struggle to find it inspiring. But I am trying to make stuff from my underused cookbooks, or if not to rehome them, so I dove in to make a few things. Results varied, though there are definitely some nice things. I haven't done a round up from this book before, though it looks like I have posted a photo of some recipes in this post.

Fusilli with Lentil Sauce: Lentils are one of my favourite toppings for pasta, there is something very earthy and comforting about this. The recipe only has 1/2 cup of lentils in it (I used brown, and soaked them for a few hours first for fast cooking). It also has onion, carrot, garlic, and spinach in it, but I also added some chopped celery and frozen peas. The sauce was quite watery after the cooking time, so I ended up simmering it for 5 minutes without the cover on to thicken it up. I only used 8 oz of pasta rather than 12, but that still made some very big servings. Topped with a sprinkle of FYH Parmesan.
Rating: :)

Fusilli with Lentil Sauce


Linguine with Broccoli Sauce: This recipe was super easy, but a bit bland in the end. The broccoli is blanched and chopped, before being added to a garlicky mix with the linguine. I did leave out the red pepper flakes, so perhaps the flavour is meant to come from here. But still, nothing a liberal dose of nutritional yeast couldn't fix. I also added a tin of white beans to bulk it up a bit.
Rating: :|

Linguine with Broccoli Sauce and Garlic


Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Peas: I didn't have any exciting wild mushrooms for this I'm afraid, it was made with regular white mushrooms. But they are still very yummy. I decreased the pasta from 12 oz to 8 oz, and I added a tin of white beans for protein. This made four big serves.
Rating: :)

Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Peas


Rotelle with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Made with whatever spiral pasta I had on it, this again hit on the bland side of things. It needed more flavour. I always use the semi-dried tomatoes and rehydrate them, rather than using the ones in oil. I did use rocket (arugula) here, but in the future I would use baby spinach because I am just not often a fan of rocket. I served this with salad, bread rolls, and some marinated baked tofu.
Rating: :|

Rotelle with Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Rotelle with Mushrooms and Garlic: Made with a different type of spiral pasta. I was worried this might also be a bit light in the flavour department, but actually it was great. It is very simple, with sauteed mushrooms and slices of garlic, which provided lots of flavour. I didn't use the full 1/4 of oil the recipe called for, but it wasn't dry. I used 8 oz instead of 12 oz pasta and added, you guessed it, a tin of white beans. Served over baby spinach, and with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast added as well.
Rating: :)

Rotelle with Mushrooms and Garlic


Lemon-Thyme Polenta with Roasted Vegetables: You can't quite see it in the photo, given it is piled high with roasted vegetables, but the polenta in this recipe is cooked, chilled in a pan, cut into squares, and broiled/grilled. I didn't have any lemon thyme to add to it, so I had to use regular with a smidge of lemon juice. The vegetables are mixed with some broth, oil, sundried tomatoes (I used some tomato paste) and vinegar before being marinated and baked. The recipe says to roast them for 30 minutes, but I roasted them for longer.
Rating: :)

Lemon-Thyme Polenta with Roasted Vegetables


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Basket full of kittens


Fancy a basket full of kittens? These are Sesame's brothers: Atom (grey and white), Panko (ginger and white), and Papaya (fluffy ginger and white). They are very cute!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Midweek Munchies

I missed out on a munchies post last week because life got away from me, but not this week!

I was excited for this cookie because I love peanut butter, but alas this was not good. It tasted like protein powder, and just had a weirdly smooshie texture. They have other flavours, but I will not be trying this brand again.

Start Me Up Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Cookies


Syndian is a company here that does vegan stuff. In the supermarkets you can mostly find their burgers and their bites, which I generally don't get as they are pricey and they are too soft to make a satisfying burger experience for me. But they recently came out with some flavoured sausages, complete with plant-based casing. These cheesy kale ones were pretty tasty. Again, a bit too soft once you got through the casing, but fun flavour.

Syndian Cheesy Kale Sausages


The Deep Dive Bar in Seattle (something to do with Amazon), came out with a ridiculous fancy hot dog. The classic 'Seattle Dog' has cream cheese and sauteed onions (and I love it), but this bar has tried to make it very classy by using cream cheese, pickled red onion, pickled jalapenos, and pink salmon roe. They also attached an US$18 price tag as well. I recreated it a bit at home, in a not so fancy fashion. Using a Field Roast Frank, I took the more tradition route with tofutti and sauteed onions (pickled onions, though delicious, upset my tummy a bit), left off the jalapenos, and topped it with some Ikea seaweed caviar. You can get red caviar from Ikea, though I had black so that is what I used. It was a fine combination, though I wouldn't bother doing it again. Anyway, behold my terrible photo of it!

Seattle Fancy Hotdog


I got these in a Cruelty Free Shop Mystery Box, and I really enjoyed them. They are so crunchy and fun to eat. I need to get some more.

Peas Please Crunchy Snacks


I needed some cookies to make as a gift, and couldn't go past these Ginger Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies from PlantCrush. They were such a good flavour combination! I used some brown sugar and plain flour to simplify the recipe for my pantry. I used an AU TBS (20mL) as a scoop and got 20 cookies from the recipe. I baked them a few minutes longer in my oven to get them where I wanted them to be. I recommend this recipe!

Ginger Chai Chocolate Chip Cookies from Plantcrush Blog


Finally, a fun little haul I got from Nutrition, Delicious & Co on one of their 20% off days. Most excitingly, the New Wave Pizza. I haven't had it yet, but it is made by the same people who run the Red Sparrow vegan pizzeria in Melbourne and their pizzas are so good. I also got a new flavour of the Nutty Bay Cashew Cheese spread that I love, a tasty Elderflower water kefir, some trusty Tofutti cream cheese, a halva bar (that I just realised I haven't tried yet, it is somewhere in my stash of bars), and some Bamboo Babe panty liners. Unfortunately I can't recommend these, as by the end of the day they were always falling apart. I will stick with a mix of Toms and my reusable ones from Hannah Pad for the moment.

Haul from Nutritious, Delicious, & Co


I hope your week has brought you some good munchies!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sesame


We have some new kittens at work! This is Sesame, and she is tiny and cute and dainty looking but she is also so full on! She wrestles her brothers with no holds bars! I'll show you her brothers next post.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Eating Out: Grown (ATP9 edition)

Grown is a delightful vegan cafe, and my mum's favourite vegan place to visit. A couple of months ago, we had been to the Gallery of Modern Art and QLD Art Gallery to see the 9th Asia-Pacific-Triennial exhibition. It was a grey and rainy day, so when deciding where to go for lunch afterwards Grown was the obvious choice - Mum and I have been there on many a rainy morning! You can read about some of those other visits here.

All three of us had one of their excellent Dark Hot Chocolates, which is perfect in drizzly weather.

Dark Hot Chocolate at Grown


I finally tried the Hash Brown Breakfast, which had one of their amazing hash browns topped with roasted tomato, and served with sauerkraut, greens, white bean puree, and avocado. It was meant to have capsicum puree as well, but I got them to sub with smoked sesame cheese.

Hash Brown breakfast at Grown


Mum had her favourite order... in fact I don't think she's ever strayed from it. Scrambled tofu (with sesame cheese and toast), and an added hash brown. This is excellent, I can understand why she keeps going back for it.

Scrambled Tofu with Hash Brown at Grown


Dad went for their Avocado Toast, which comes with housemade vegemite and smoked sesame cheese.

Avocado Toast at Grown


As for the APT9 exhibit, it was a bit lacklustre compared to previous occasions. Normally I find several pieces that I love, but this year I was a bit meh. But there were a couple that were cool. These are photographs of nori art on rice. All the black is painstakingly cut out nori sheets. The annoying thing was that it was women who did the actual cutting out and assembling of the art (they had a videos showing them doing it), and then a man took the photos and it was credited as his exhibit and work. Pfft.

APT9 at GOMA


I loved this amazing bee photograph! (Though unfortunately they also had a hive of live bees as part of the exhibit, and I don't think any animals should be used as entertainment. The bees were free to come and go, but they were from a bee farmer and were going to be taken back there after the exhibit and have their honey sold.)

APT9 at GOMA


Finally, this was awesome. Like a big apartment building facade, with each window giving a glimpse into a tiny room. Apparently they changed some of the rooms every day as well, so there would always be something new.

APT9 at GOMA


A further note on Grown, they have just changed up their menu to reflect the cooler weather! The avocado and scrambled tofu are still there, and the hash brown breakfast is as well but with some changes. It now has baked beans on it, which I am looking forward to trying!

Grown - 21 Buchanan Street, West End - 07 3036 7213

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Winnie


For those who remember Winnie and Doris, I am happy to report that they finally got their forever home! They were adopted together by a wonderful client. This is Winnie, making herself very comfortable in my handbag.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan For Her

Vegan For Her isn't a cookbook as such. It is a guide to healthy vegan eating for women by vegan nutritionist Ginny Messina, but also has a recipe section created by JL Fields. The recipes are all fairly straight forward, and include breakfasts, salads and sides, dressings and sauces, pizzas, sandwiches, mains, dessert, and more. I've been working through a few recipes in the book that have caught my eye, with some still tagged to make. Results have been variable, as you will see, but there is some good stuff in it. And the main part, the nutrition part, is an interesting read as well.

Cinnamon Tofu with Garlic Almond 'Collards': I love cinnamon, so I was pretty excited to make this. Unfortunately, it wasn't what I hoped for. I could barely taste any cinnamon, and it had a very strong vinegar taste. Meh. I drizzled it with some tahini and BBQ sauce for serving, as it was also quite dry. I baked this, rather than grilling, and served it over one of the recipes for greens from the book. Of course, I can't get collars here, I ended up just using baby spinach. This recipe is so quick and easy, sauteed with garlic and seasonings and then mixed with slivered almonds. It didn't specify in the recipe, but I toasted my almonds for extra flavour. My dad, who eats his spinach under protest, loved this enough to ask for more!
Rating: Tofu :|, Greens :)

Cinnamon Tofu; Garlic Almond Collards


Quinoa Millet Veggie Bowl with Cheesy Dressing with Cashews and Capers: The quinoa also fell a bit flat in the flavour department, so I was glad I also made a sauce recipe to go with it. Even cooking the quinoa with stock rather than water didn't do too much. I halved the amount of quinoa, but used all the vegetables (zucchini, celery, onion) and still could have done with loads more vegetables. I served it over spinach, and with the cheesy sauce. This is a cashew based sauce that is lovely and tangy from a good hit of lemon juice as well as the capers. It also has some chopped tomatoes in it, and was meant to have a chopped yellow capsicum but I used some celery instead. I also used onion powder rather than raw onion, and I didn't need to add any salt. I made a half recipe of this, which was great for topping these bowls with. I also sprinkled some toasted almonds on top.
Rating: Quinoa: :|, Cheesy Dressing: :)

Quinoa Millet Veggie Bowl; Cheesy Dressing with Cashews and Capers


Coconut-Mango-Avocado Smoothie: The coconut from this comes from coconut water, so I made it one morning after a sweaty hot yoga class. The ingredients are pretty much as advertised, with some hemp seeds and dates added. It also called for some ice, but I just increased the amount of frozen mango instead. Flavour wise, this was just a bit meh, though OK.
Rating : :|

Coconut Mango Avocado Smoothie


Silky Strawberry Smoothie: This is based on silken tofu for a protein boost! Instead of using fresh strawberries, banana, and ice, I used frozen strawberries and bananas and left out the ice, it just dilutes the flavour. I did need to add a little oatmilk to blend, as it was very thick, but it was lovely. I didn't need to add the optional agave, as it was sweet enough as it was with the fruit. Topped with some fresh raspberries, because why not!
Rating: :)

Silky Strawberry Smoothie


Chopped Salad with Creamy 'Chipotle' Dressing: Yeah, no chipotle in my dressing. I used smoke paprika instead and it was lovely. The dressing is made creamy with cashews, and I also decreased the amount of red wine vinegar a bit because my dad is sensitive to vinegar. I doubled the dressing recipe so I could make a really big salad. As well as the required cos, kidney beans (I used a whole tin rather than just one cup), corn, and cucumber, I also added some celery for crunch. A great dinner for a hot day.
Rating: :)

Chopped Salad with Creamy Dressing


Apple Slaw with Goji Berry Dressing: I made this one night to serve alongside some burgers. The slaw has apple, carrots, celery, and kale - all to be shredded. I used baby spinach instead of kale, and just chopped it before mixing it through everything. The dressing is a mustardy dressing with goji berries (or you can use other dried fruit). I soaked my gojis overnight to make them nice and plump for easier blending, and I also decreased the amount of ACV a bit for my dad.
Rating: :)

Apple Slaw with Goji Dressing


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


We got some more results back, which looks like maybe there is a urine infection now. My odd little results girl! She's going to be on antibiotics for the next few weeks, which will hopefully kick it well and truly in the butt and let us be done with it. She continues to be her happy little self.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Eating Out: New Chinese Garden Seafood Restaurant

You wouldn't think that a place called New Chinese Garden Seafood Restaurant would be a place that vegans would run to, but here we are. With more and more restaurants in Brisbane catering to vegans, this restaurant launched a separate vegan menu earlier this year. I headed there with my best friend one lunchtime to try it out, and boy did we try things!

Chicken Corn Soup is one of my favourite soups, something I have always loved ordering. This one had lovely flavour, with chunks of 'chikn' and corn. Be careful not to burn your tongue!

Chikn Corn Soup at New Garden Chinese


The Steamed Dim Sims (uh, my baby!) were more like dumplings than dim sims, with a much more delicate wrapping. Not being the biggest fan of the food dim sim (but the biggest fan of the cat Dim Sim), I preferred this.

Steamed Dim Sims at New Garden Chinese


I love Char Kway Teow, and this Beef version did not disappoint. It was my favourite dish of the day. They use those Lamyong beef strips that I absolutely love! Not too oily, and full of flavour.

Beef Chay Kway Teow at New Garden Chinese


The Vegan Fried Rice was a bit of a letdown. I feel like so many places just serve steamed rice and vegetables mixed together, and it lacks any of that really great fried rice flavour.

Small Vegan Fried Rice at New Garden Chinese


The Duk In Plum Sauce took us a bit by surprise, being deep fried. We had skipped over some of the a=obviously deep fried chicken dishes, but other restaurants I have eaten at have not usually served the vegan duck deep fried. I just have a low tolerance for too much fried. But even this was really good, not too much batter, nice and crispy, in a tangy plum sauce.

Duk in Plum Sauce at New Garden Chinese


Our final dish was the Eggplant and Fried Tofu, which says subject to availability but thankfully was available that day. Again, a surprise in that it was almost like a stew, rather than a stir-fry. But a delicious, super garlicky stew!

Eggplant and Fried Tofu at New Garden Chinese


So that is what we ordered (and also took home, we didn't finish it all but we sure wanted to try a lot). There are heaps more things on the menu, including a fun feature where you can build your own stir-fry by choosing your base (a range of mock meats, tofu, or all veggie) and your sauce (eight to choose from!), and then adding extra vegetables or mushrooms or noodles depending on what you feel like, so the options are endless! Oh, there is also dessert, with my beloved So Good soy ice cream on it.

I am keen to get back to here! If you go, be sure to ask for the vegan menu. Another note, when we were there they had several large tanks, the sort you would normally see live aquatic animals in to be chosen for death and eating. But the tanks were all empty, and this was on a Saturday, so I hope that this is the norm.

New Chinese Garden Seafood Restaurant - 385 Gympie Rd, Kedron, Queensland - (07) 3359 2111

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim


It's a sparse week of blogging this week, there won't be any midweek munchies as the week got away from me a bit. Partly because this baby girl has had more bladder issues. Urine results still show no infection, and yet she seems to respond well to antibiotics. So who knows. She's OK now, but Monday afternoon she was very distressed for a while until I got some drugs into her. Oh, my love.