Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Recipe Round-Up: The No Meat Athlete Cookbook

To be honest, I really wasn't sure if The No Meat Athlete Coobook (by Matt Frazier and Stepfanie Romine) was a cookbook for me. While I had seen people making some very nice things from it, I am hardly and athlete. The only marathons I participate in are the sort where I sit on the sofa and marathon watch a TV show. I don't need all sorts of weird athlete fuel recipes, as I am hardly burning off the same amount of calories. However, a friend who also is not an athlete said that the book was great, so I took the plunge and I am glad I did. Lots of fun recipes packed full of yummy ingredients. This book definitely is a wholefood type cookbook, no mock meats or cheeses, but it is not oil or gluten free (though there are options), and there are some tasty things. This is the first round up I have done from this book, but you can see a few recipes I have posted individually in these posts.

Peanut Butter Tempeh with Korean Tahini BBQ Sauce: I love peanut butter and I love tempeh, so I was excited for this. But unfortunately I found the taste of the yummy peanut sauce kind of dried out and faded once it was baked with the tempeh. The tempeh was the main flavour. I did use tempeh from the supermarket though, so I'd like to try it again with some better tempeh, and also double to sauce so it doesn't dry out so much. However, the Korean Tahini BBQ sauce definitely perked things up. With tahini, red miso, garlic (I used powdered), ginger, vinegar, and sugar (I left out the chili), it is very tasty! It thickened up nicely after blending with the immersion blender. I served this with wilted spinach, rice, and steamed broccoli.
Rating: Tempeh :| (need to try again with better tempeh and more sauce), BBQ Sauce :)

Peanut Butter Tempeh; Korean Tahini BBQ Sauce

Savoury Oatmeal: There are couple of variations you can make with this recipe, so I've made it twice. Oats, grated carrot, spinach, nooch, and sauce (either salsa or marinara) are simmered to make a nice, savoury breakfast. I found a half recipe makes a decent serve for one. Topped with smoked paprika, pumpkin seeds, and avocado. The first time I used the option with salsa as the sauce (a bottled one), and the second I used marinara (home made). Both versions were good.
Rating: :)

Savoury Oatmeal

Savoury Oatmeal (with Marinara)

Buddha Bowl: I love any sort of bowl like this. There are a number of variations or alterations you can make to suit your preferences. Mine had brown rice, tofu baked in the B-Savoury Marinade recipe from the book, baby spinach, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, sauerkraut, avocado, hemp seeds, and some more of the Korean BBQ Sauce.
Rating: :)

Buddha Bowl

Pineapple Black Bean Bowls with Roasted Veggies: Sweet potatoes, carrot (because I didn't have quite enough sweet potato), defrosted frozen pineapple, onion, and broccoli stems (in place of capsicum) are roasted. A tin of black beans (it was meant to be 2 cups worth, I just used one tin) is simmered with lime juice and cumin. Then a bowl is made layering baby spinach (my addition), sweet potato/carrot, other vegetables, Creamy Avocado-Lime Dressing, salsa, and pepitas. Also it was meant to have plantain chips, but I didn't have any so I skipped it. The recipe says to reserve the pineapple juice from the bag of defrosted pineapple, though it didn't seem to say where to use it, so I just used it when I was simmering the black beans. I got three serves with this.
Rating: :)

Pineapple-Black Bean Bowls with Roasted Veggies

Almost Instant Ramen: This recipe was so quick and very tasty. Excellent when you want a veggie-full dinner on the table fast. You make a quick broth using wakame, onion, and ginger before simmering vegetables and tofu and then adding ramen noodles to cook and miso at the end. I left out the kimchi and chili flakes to make it nice and mild, and I used green cabbage instead of red cabbage as that was what I had on hand.
Rating: :)

Almost Instant Ramen

Caribbean Coconut Collars and Sweet Potatoes: Collards don't exist where I live, so I made this with kale instead. The recipe calls for one large sweet potato, and my large one was about 800g, but I don't know if that was what they had in mind. I got four big servings of this served over brown rice, and the recipe says it makes 2-4, so perhaps it was meant to be a smaller potato. However, it was quite saucy and the end, even with the large amount of sweet potato, and I simmered it to reduce a bit with the lid off at the end.
Rating: :)

Carribean Coconut Collards & Sweet Potatoes

Vietnamese Veggie & Rice Noodle Salad: This makes a huge salad, and is so refreshing. Excellent for hot summer days. Carrots, daikon, and cucumber are quickly pickled in sugar and vinegar, before being mixed through chilled rice noodles. The salad is topped with seared tofu, blanched bean sprouts, and avocado sauce, and peanuts. So yum! So much!
Rating: :)

Vietnamese Veggie & Rice Noodle Salad

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in her carrier

A quick break from kitten spam to return to my true love, Dim Sim. Here she is in her carrier. We went to get her check up today. All good on physical exam (with allowances for being an almost 19 year old kitty), and we are waiting for blood results to come back from the lab. Fingers crossed for everything stable!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Eating Out: VegeRama West End (Winter Menu Edition)

The West End location of Vegerama has stepped up its game a bit over the last year, with seasonal menus that looks very tasty indeed. I visited a few times during the winter menu, which has now been replaced by a summer menu. You can also see other things I have eaten there before here.

I was super intrigued the the BBQ Celeriac Burger, and it didn't disappoint. BBQ pulled celeriac, zucchini pickles, apple and fennel slaw, and lettuce made for a very nice burger. I got mine with a side of fries, which unfortunately were kind of soggy. My mum was with me, and she had the same burger but with the sweet potato chips. They were much better, nice and crunch!

BBQ Celeriac Burger (with zucchini pickles and apple fennel slaw) at VegeRama

Sweet Potato Fries at VegeRama

They also have some lovely drinks. I am not the biggest fan of avocado in smoothies, but I tried two from them that were both excellent. The Green Goddess (with banana, spinich, rocket, kiwi, lemon myrtle, avocado, coconut water, lime juice) and Date My Avo (avocado, banana, coconut flesh, spirulina, pear, dates, cinnamon, coconut water, Himalyana salt). Plus they both sound ridiculous when you read the ingredients, so right up my alley!
Green Goddess Smoothie at VegeRama

Date My Avo Smoothie at VegeRama West End

They have a shorter menu available for lunch, and one day I stopped by for the Teriyaki Eggplant Noodles. As well as eggplant, there was also tofu. And lots of leaves and sprouts on top. This was good, but I wish there had been some more green in the saute itself, as the flavour was very one note.

Teriyaki Eggplant Noodles at VegeRama West End

Finally, I stopped by for dinner one night after visiting an Egyptian Mummies exhibit at the museum. I was pretty excited to try the Matcha Tempura Cauliflower, which came with a yuzu dipping sauce and some pickled daikon. This was really nice, though a big serving of fried stuff that would have been good to share with someone.

Matcha Tempura Cauliflower at VegeRama West End

I also got the Ravioli with a creamy sauce, olive tapenade, and sauteed vegetables. This was good, though the pasta dough was a bit tough. Though I believe that it was gluten free, so I imagine that contributed.

Ravioli at VegeRama West End

The Winter Menu is gone, replaced with a summer menu that has some very yummy looking things on it. In the past, VegeRama has been a bit hit and miss, but I definitely want to try some things out. In exciting news, they have FINALLY gone completely vegan! Prior to this menu, it was vegetarian with a lot of vegan stuff. But now, all vegan! About time, and hurrah!

Vegerama West End - Shop 2a 220 Melbourne St, West End, QLD - 07 3255 3388

Here is a bonus photo from the exhibition I saw, a very old statue of Sekhmet.

2018-08-24 16.02.36

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


This next slew of photos are from when the kittens were a little bit older. LOOK AT THAT FACE!

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Eating Out: Greenhouse South Brisbane

Following on from my last post, I though I'd do a post about a dinner I had awhile ago at Greenhouse in South Brisbane. As well as being 100% vegan, Greenhouse is also 100% gluten free. But even for gluten-full gluten lovers like myself, the food is amazing. The menu had changed a bit since my last epic visit, and I forgot to take a photo of the new menu (which I cannot find online at present), so I will try to remember things the best I can! The photos are a little weird as something about the lighting makes everything look murky green! And, as always, they love their pea sprout garnishes!

I went with my parents, and we all ordered some drinks. Ginger Kombucha for me, Blueberry Kombucha for my dad, and a hot chocolate for my mum. We also started with some deep fried fondue. This was so tasty! It wasn't as runny in the middle as you'd expect, but the flavour was awesome. Three pieces shared between three people was perfect, a it was quite a rich little entree.

Blueberry Kombucha, Ginger Kombucha, Hot Chocolate at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

Deep-Fried Fondue at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

My mum had the Grazing Board, which was a huge platter covered in dips, cheeses, fritters, salad, fruit, corn chips, crackers, and a pumpkin wedge. Delicious, but huge.

Grazing Board at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

I had the Miso Maple Pumpkin, which was a big wedge of roasted pumpkin and broccoli, topped with rice noodles and a delicious miso maple sauce.

Miso Maple Pumpkin at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

My dad ordered the Beetroot Burger. This had mushroom 'buns', beetroot and quinoa patty, avocado, brie, sweet potato, and crispy kale. He said it was one of the best meals he's ever had, vegan or otherwise!

Beetroot Burger at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

We finished off with some pavlovas. Aquafaba magic pavlova shells, cashew cream (which did have a little bit of coconut cream in it, I asked, but it was not overpowering), and fruit. Such a lovely end to a wonderful meal!

Pavlova at Greenhouse Canteen South Brisbane

Greenhouse Canteen and Bar Brisbane - 68 Manning Street, Brisbane - 3724 2761

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Snuggle Mum

Meet mumma kitty, who is raising her own two ginger kids and the other six grey kids!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Eating Out: Flora by Greenhouse West End

Newish to the Brisbane vegan scene is Flora by Greenhouse, a 100% vegan cafe in West End. Flora has existed down at the Gold Coast for almost a year, which I had visited once before when I went to the opening of the LC Miami complex down there. But now they have come to Brisbane! If you are wondering about the 'by Greenhouse', Greenhouse is a great vegan dinner place open at the Gold Coast and in South Brisbane that I have visited a few times, and Flora is their day time offering.

I met up with some friends for brunch there a couple of weeks ago, and we were all very impressed! The atmosphere is cute, and the food is great! Oh, they are big fan of pea shoot garnishes, as you will see.

In my effort to eat all the vegan benedicts, I had the Mushroom Benefict. It has creamy mushrooms, sauteed kale, avocado, and cauliflower hollandaise with avocado on an English muffin. I also added some rice paper bacon and a hash brown. This was lovely! The tangy sauce went really well with the creamy avocado. It was my first time having rice paper bacon, and it was a bit weird. I had to kind of just eat it separate because it was in big long shards.

Mushroom Benefict with Rice Paper Bacon and Hashbrown at Flora

I also had an iced turmeric latte on soy milk (coconut milk is their normal base).

Iced Turmeric on Soy at Flora

My friend had their Scrambed Tofu, described as turmeric tofu with sauteed greens served on organic rye with avocado and dressed greens. The verdict was good! A nice flavour and good texture.

Tofu Scramble at Flora

My other friend ordered the Spinach Pandan Hotcake, which looked spectacular! It was topped with fruit, ice cream, seeds, and nuts, and came with a pot of maple syrup, plus some rice paper bacon on the side. And pea shoots, of course! There is a green pancake underneath all that. Also was good!

Spinach Pandan Hotcake at Flora

She also had one of the juices, with Pineapple, Grapefruit, Ginger, and Turmeric. She said it was great.

Pineapple, Grapefruit, Ginger, and Turmeric Juice at Flora

They have all day breakfast, but some items are not served until after 11am. We'd been having a good chat, and 11am had passed, so why not have a little snack before we leave? We got the Mexican Mince Nachos to share. Corn chips topped with a very non-spicy Mexican mince, pickled cabbage, cashew cheese, and kraut. It was also meant to have avocado, but we couldn't find any after we took of the pea shoots. Never mind though, these were so delicious! The highlight of the day. The cashew cheese sauce was amazing.

Mexican Mince Nachos at Flora

They also have some danishes there, and I got a blueberry one to take away. Pretty sure these (and the vanilla slices they also have) are made by Flour of Life.

Blueberry Danish at Flora

I super duper 100% recommend a trip or several to Flora! This first visit was just under two weeks ago, and I have already been back twice since then! So I will have a lot more to share.

Flora by Greenhouse West End - 239 Boundary Street, West End

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Tiny Babies

Who wants to see some kittens? These teeny cuties were surrendered to one of our clinics a while ago. A ginger mumma with two ginger babies, and then six slightly older grey babies. Being the excellent mumma that she was, she decided to take on the six as well as her two! Here is a teeny pile of teeny kitties. Stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

2018 Parental Birthdays

I love cooking for people, so every year I make a special feast for my parents on their birthdays (as well as Mother's and Father's Day, which you can see here).

Dad's Birthday (Mini Viva Vegan Recipe Round-Up by Terry Hope Romero):

My Dad is a big fan of Indian food, which is normally the theme of his special dinners. But this year he felt like a change. Chinese for Father's Day, and Latin Food for his birthday. I turned to Viva Vegan for all the recipes, which is a great cookbook that I don't use nearly enough.

Steamed Red Seitan: The first step was to make some lovely, flavoured seitan. This recipe was so easy, and turned out very well. The dough itself was quite wet, which worried be a little, but it firmed up beautifully when steamed. I used garlic powder in the dry mix, rather than fresh garlic in the wet mix, just for ease. The recipe I was making only needed half a recipe of the seitan, so I have frozen the other half for future use.
Rating: :)

Steamed Red Seitan

Seitan Saltado (Peruvian Seitan and Potato Stir-Fry): My dad loves seitan, which is why I picked a seitan-based recipe. This recipe involves mixing a stir-fry of seitan and veggies with baked french fries, and is a great combination of flavours and textures. I only used half the amount of potato to make the fries, which was the right amount for us. The seitan is marinated briefly, and once again I used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. You mix the fries in at the end, and want to serve this ASAP so things don't get too soggy.
Rating: :)

Seitan Saltado (Peruvian Seitan and Potato Stir-Fry)

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer: This is super easy to make. A marinade of Mexican beer, lime, garlic, and paprika (which I used in place of chile powder, so they aren't really in chile-lime beer). I used a mix of green zucchini and asparagus for my vegetables.
Rating: :)

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer

These two recipes were suggested to be served together in the menu section of the book, and it was a nice combination. Along with some white rice as well.

Pan-Grilled Vegetables in Chile-Lime Beer; Seitan Saltado; White Rice

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce De Batata: In the full recipe, this cake is four layers - two baked cakes cut in half. I decided to halve the recipe, but the single cake that came out was so thin and moist I knew it would be problematic to cut. So I made another cake, essentially the full cake recipe, but only served it as two layers. I had a half recipe of the dulce de batata, which is a delicious sweet potato sweet mash, to fill the cake. The cake has orange juice, orange extract, and a mix of spices. I couldn't taste the orange flavour very strongly, but the spices came through well.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Orange Spice Cake with Dulce de Batata

Mum's Birthday

Mum's birthday recipes came from a mix of different books.

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I wasn't the biggest fan of these, but my mum really liked them. The bacon recipe in the book is a blend of pureed TVP and gluten flour, and I found it a very springy dough almost impossible to roll out the way the recipe implied it should. I ended up just kind of wrapping it around the water chestnuts the best I could. I also found the seitan bacon a bit smooshy. They are quite smoky in flavour, so the suggestion of dipping in maple syrup was very good.
Rating: :|

Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Deconstructed Bahn Mi Salad from Quick-Fix Vegan by Robin Robertson: I had made this salad a few weeks before my mum's birthday, and she loved it so much she requested it again. As written, it is a mix of sauteed seitan or tofu on a salad of cabbage, carrot, cucumber, and coriander. I skipped the first step by using a packet of Soyco Japanese Flavoured Tofu, and I also subbed out the cabbage for baby cos. Too much raw cabbage is not great for my tummy. I also skipped the scallions, as raw onion is also not the best. The salad is dressed with a hoisin-based dressing (I left out the sritacha and instead let people drizzle that on top as well if they wanted some heat), and surrounded by toasted baguette slices spread with mayo. It is so refreshing and delicious.
Rating: :D

Deconstructed Bahn Mi Salad

Brooklyn Blackout Cake: This cake isn't the prettiest, but it was fun to make. Two chocolate cakes are baked, then cut in half (unlike the cake I made for my dad, they were high enough to do this with). Three layers become the layers of the cake, the fourth is crumbled in the food processor. The three layers and then filled, and then everything is covered, in a chocolate pudding before the reserved cake crumbs and pressed all over the outside. For the pudding, I used a mix of light coconut milk and soy cream, rather than all coconut milk. I also baked the cakes in two 8 inch pans, rather than 9 inch pans, which needed an extra 10 minutes to bake through. I took the option for using cold water in the cake mix, rather than cold coffee, as I don't do caffeine. As you can see, my end appearance was a bit on the lumpy side, but it tasted good!

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Cave Dwelling Dim Sim

A rare photo of the chair cave dwelling Dim Sim.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Cruelty Free Shop January 2019 Vegan Mystery Box

Month two of my six month Cruelty Free Shop Vegan Mystery Box arrived earlier this month, so let's see what's inside.


  • Good Health Peanut Butter Pretzels: Super excited about these, as peanut butter pretzels are one of the best foods!
  • Uptons Real Meal Kit Pad See Ew: I've had this once before. I like the taste, not at all spicy, but I wouldn't call it a meal kit. More like a snack kit. I am not sure who Upton's think would eat a small pile of noodles and a few pieces of tofu and vegetables in sauce and call it a meal.
  • Wildcrafted Mandala Chocolate Natural: Apparently this will change my world, with unroasted cacao beans and coconut sugar. Shall I eat it as a snack? Shall I mix it into hot chocolate? Shall I do both? Time will tell.
  • The Red Balloon Musk Candy Pebbles: These are cured for a day (?) to give them the distinctive crumbly texture that goes with musk sticks. I ate them and they were just like I remembered musk sticks tasting, which reminded me that I don't like musk sticks. Thankfully my friend came over to watch some Buffy and she was happy to take them off my hands.
  • Nature's Charm Coconut Apple Pudding: The coconut apple is the healthiest part of the coconut, apparently, there is no actual apple in this. I am concerned this will be too coconutty for me, but my dad will be standing by to finish it off if it is.
  • Nature's Charmed Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk: This is being given away as I really don't like condensed milk.
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Toppers - Chipotle, Onion, & Garlic: I have tried their maple cinnamon sweet version, which I liked. But I will probably be giving this away as likely too spicy for me.
  • Euclove Floor Cleaner: I am always interested in more natural ways for cleaning

So, a mixed bag. Three of the eight things I will be giving away, and one I am not sure about. But Peanut Butter Pretzels make everything better!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim with her Yeowwww Catnip Rainbow

Dim Sim with her new catnip toy, rubbing her face all over this. She did this for about 10 minutes when I first gave it to her, I was so happy. But she has largely ignored it since. Cats!

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Eating Out: Brisbane CBD 2018

I continue to go into the CBD about once a month for appointments, so have also continued to get lunch while I am there. You can see 2017's visits here, I have continued to frequent some old favourites as well. I also ate a number of times at Grill'd, which got its own post here.

VegeRama Myer City and Post Office Square: VegeRama has two locations in the city, which are good for quick take away lunches (unlike their fancy sit down restaurant in West End). This tends to be the old standby for city lunch, and if I am meeting up with my friend Amy for lunch this is where we tend to go. My favourite continues to be their vegan lasagna with a side of dill and mustard salad (with extra dressing). I've also enjoyed their vegan frittata (also with a side of the same salad and a juice), and once I got a takeaway of two salads (Dill and Mustard, or course, and also the BBQ tofu) with a Soy Nugget Wrap.

Vegan Lasagna and Dill Mustard Salad from Vegerama in Myer Centre

Pumpkin, Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata; Dill and Mustard Salad; CABALA juice from VegeRama Myer Centre

BBQ Tofu Salad, Dill Salad, Soy Nugget Wrap, from Vegerama Adelaide St

Guzman y Gomez: This Mexican chain has a number of vegan options. While I enjoy their fresh burrito bowls, I of course had to gravitate towards things with potato in them this year. Namely the Nacho Fries (which ended up being a tad spicy for me), and the Cali Burrito (which has fries in the burrito). A lot of other Mexican chains have started offering vegan cheese (one even vegan sour cream). Guzman does not currently have this, day do have a vegan chimi mayo that is delicious and was great in my Cali Burrito. Apologies for the terrible photo of the burrito innards.

Nacho Fries from Guzman y Gomez

Vegan Cali Burrito from Gomez

Roll'd: This Vietnamese chain has a couple of locations in the city, one in a food court and also a small restaurant. I've had their rice paper rolls and their pho before, but on a hot day I decided to try their bun. I love these salads! The vegetarian one comes topped with fried tofu and spring rolls, the people working said the spring rolls were vegan, though I couldn't find anything to confirm this on their website afterwards. I'd just stick with extra tofu in the future anyway, as I preferred the tofu. They have vegan fish sauce there, so no need to worry about that!

Tofu Bun from Roll'd

I Heart Brownies: I'd walked past this cute little brownie kiosk in the Wintergarden a number of times, so I was thrilled when they finally started having vegan brownies. They are a perfect, cute little treat. As well as vegan, they are also gluten free, but they are not dry or crumbly and are delicious. A win for everyone! They started with just the plain flavour, but will sometimes have one or two others. So far I have tried the plain, cherry coconut, and jaffa. They also have vegan milkshakes, made with almond milk and their housemade coconut ice cream. I tried one (strawberry of course), but the ice cream was sadly a little too coconut fatty for my tolerance levels.

Vegan Flavours at I Heart Brownies

Coco Bliss: Smoothies, bowls, nice cream, and also some toast options and assorted lattes. My favourite thing there is the Fruit Tingle smoothie, which has acai, watermelon, and mango, and is excellent on a hot Brisbane day.

Fruit Tingle Acai Smoothie at Coco Bliss

I've already been back to the city in 2019, and have explored some new places. I'm hoping to try a few more new to me places this year, but I am pretty sure the old favourites will be there as well.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim with her Yeowwww Catnip Rainbow

It is hard finding something that excites Dim Sim. At nearly 19, she mostly just sleeps, eats, and snuggles. But I have some very old Yeowwww Catnip Toys that the girls all used to love back in the day. They are hard to find now, but I found the rainbow on line and bought it for her. She very much enjoyed smooching all over it, so it was nice to find something to give her that made her so happy.