Thursday, 30 May 2019

Midweek Munchies

Welcome to Midweek Munchies!

There is a chain of health food stores called Market Organics, and a while ago a new one opened up near my work... actually two of their locations are near two of our clinics! I stopped by on their opening day to have a look and pick up a few goodies, and brought this little haul home. As you can see, some fun stuff. And also a giant bottle of the magnesium supplement I take.

Haul from Market Organics Newmarket

Each of these stores also had a cafe run by Evolve Cafe in it as well, a vegetarian cafe with lots of vegan stuff. It turns out that Evolve has closed down due to financial difficulties, but Market Organics continues the cafes as their own. Unfortunately they have decreased the menu, and now serve meat as well. I haven't been back since to see if the cabinets full of vegan sandwiches, salads, and sweets are still there. When I was there, I didn't eat but I did grab a super fun smoothing, that tragically they have taken off the new menu. It was called Miso Happy, and it has miso, maca, peanut butter, banana, vanilla protein, and almond milk. The miso was a subtle salty taste that I liked. Though after a few sips it all just kind of became peanut butter and banana.

Miso Happy Smoothie at Market Organics Newmarket

One of the things I got was this Primal Jerky. It is quite sweet, even the original, though I enjoy it a lot. I really like the texture. My favourite flavour is the Teriyaki one, not pictured here. But it is AU$10 for a bag, and while they look big it is a case of big bag and tiny amount inside, so only sometimes.

BBQ Noble Jerky

I bought these Tigernuts because I had never heard of them and was intrigued. I really like them. They are a little bit nutty, a little bit sweet, kind of chewy. Also filling, so they make good snack.

Bundy's Tigernuts

And now, for a tragic tale. Funky Fields mince hit Woolworths a while ago. A vegan mince that was sold in the dead animal mince section, you know the drill. I wasn't that interested, but I grabbed a packet for super cheap on sale one day and stuck it in my freezer.

Funky Fields Vegan Mince

The day came to use it. It was weird looking, very meaty, right down to chunky white fatty bits in the mince. The mince hit the pan... what was that smell? Oh no. I hadn't checked the ingredients. Sure enough, they proudly announce on their website that their fat comes from... coconuts. Those little white fatty blobs? Coconut oil. I continued making it, and made quite a nice looking bolognese, but I couldn't eat it. One mouthful and I felt sick. My omni dad ate it, and even without coconut oil issues he wasn't a fan either (he is a big fan of the Beyond Burger). I packaged it up and froze the leftovers to give to a friend.

Funky Fields Mince Bolognese

And then I had this for dinner. As well as some peanut butter toast. Oh well.

McDougall's Chicken Sesame Soup and a dill pickle

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Check out this goofy face in the sunshine! Dim Sim has been pretty good the last few days!

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Eating Out: PingAn Veggie Time

I popped by PingAn Veggie time again for lunch a while ago on my way between clinics, a 100% vegan Thai place in Brisbane. You can read about my previous visits here.

First up, a silly fun drink! They had Thai Mylk Green and Thai Mylk Pink on the menu. Flavoured, coloured, soy milk drinks. Green was creaming soda flavour and pink was bubblegum. Even though I love pink, I went for green for flavour reasons. But honestly, it was all just pretty sweet. It could have been bubblegum flavour, who could say.

Thai Mylk Green (Cream Soda) at PingAn Veggie Time

I ordered the Crispy Bean Curd Rolls for my started. Apparently this is one of their personal favourites! It was fun, not the sort of bean curd roll my heart sings for. But tasty, crispy, not too oily.

Crispy Beancurd Rolls at PingAn Veggie Time

I also ordered a side of their delicious roti bread. Because bread. They had it on the starter menu as well with peanut sauce, which is delicious, but super filling for one person who is also eating other things, so I just went with some on the side.

Roti Bread at PingAn Veggie Time

Finally, I ordered their lunch special Pad Thai. This was a great pad thai!

Lunch Special Pad Thai at PingAn Veggie Time

Normally this is where I would give you the details for the restaurant. Except... PingAn Veggie Time has just closed down. They are moving to Adelaide. Apparently some of their friends will be re-opening it soon, still a vegan Thai place but with a different menu and a different name, so I look forward to trying that out when it happens. I hope it does!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

A sweet and sleepy bean. She's had a few good days in a row now. Here's hoping they continue.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Eats World

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero is a fantastic book full of amazing and delicious recipes from across the world. However, it sat on my shelf unused for a long time. I don't know why, considering there are so many things in there I want to make! Sure, some of the recipes call for specialised ingredients. But there are also lots that don't or you can make subs for. I have only posted about one recipe from this book before, but today I rectify this by sharing some of my tasty adventures through this book.

Golden Tandoori Tofu and Lightly Seasoned Indian Basmati Pilaf: This is lovely, fragrant combination. The tofu is slathered in a soy yoghurt-based marinade with tomato, lime, garlic, and lots of spices (I left out the cayenne). It is baked alongside some sliced onion until it is all golden and delicious. The pilaf has a beautiful, subtle flavour with carrots, cardamom, and cinnamon. Normally I cook rice dishes in the rice cooked, but I did this one on the stove top and the timing was perfect. All served with some steamed broccoli.
Rating: Tofu :), Pilaf :)

Golden Tandoori Tofu; Lightly Seasoned Indian Basmati Pilaf

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Bahn Mi: The base of this sandwich is a delicious tofu scramble, full of mushrooms (I used a mix of white and shiitake), shallots, scallions, lime juice and spices. I decreased the amount of curry powder in it and used a mild one as well. The recipe called for one pound of tofu, I used a 375g block and scaled down accordingly (approx 3/4 of the rest of the ingredients), which was still more than enough for my four rolls (the recipe does say it makes overstuffed rolls). This was served on a bun with Vegenaise, coriander, tomato, radish, and delicious Star Anise Daikon Pickles. The pickles are a separate recipe in the book, and are so easy to make. I left out the chiles in them, and also decreased the amount of salt. The bahn mi recipe says the pickles are optional but awesome, I say they are awesome and essential.
Rating: :D (pickles get an extra :D as well )

Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Banh Mi

Pumpkin Coconut Curry: This is a simple, fragrant curry. I used butternut as my 'pumpkin', which was joined by toasted shredded coconut, as well as pureed garlic and red onion. It has lots of lovely spices, the recipe says to grind whole but you can simplify and use pre-ground if you want. The recipe also calls for curry leaves and pandan leaves. I used some frozen curry leaves, but used some pandan essence instead of those leaves because I couldn't find them. Served over brown basmati rice and some baby spinach as well.
Rating: :)

Pumpkin Coconut Curry

Red Curry with Kabocha and Potatoes: With this recipe, I bravely dipped my toe back into using chile, given that you have to make the red curry paste from scratch. But of course instead of 6 to 8, I used one that had been well scraped out of seeds and pith. I also skipped the chile powder in the paste and used paprika instead. The curry is full of baked tofu (I used a pre-bought one), kabocha squash, potato, and bamboo. The recipe suggests soaking the bamboo for 20 minutes in cold water to mellow any briny flavour, but I skipped that. I had to sub regular basil for thai basil, and regular soy sauce for thin soy, because I couldn't get either of those at the time I made this. The paste is blended with coconut milk (I used a 270mL tin of light coconut milk made up to 400mL with water) and stock. I ended up adding a bit of extra lime juice and brown sugar to the end result to get it to my tastes. But overall this was lovely, with only a very slight hint of heat. The recipe says it serves 2-3 with rice, which is true to what I got.
Rating: :)

Red Curry with Kabocha and Potatoes

Tofu and Potato Adobo Stew: Simmering in soy sauce and vinegar (I used regular white vinegar as I didn't have any of the other fancy vinegar options listed) is a trademark of Filipino adobo style dishes, which I learned from reading this recipe. The recipe calls for a full 1/2 cup of vinegar, but my dad is a bit vinegar sensitive, so I used a 50:50 blend of vinegar and water. The stew is full of firm tofu, potato chunks, eggplants, and lots of garlic, and they soaked up the flavour of the broth very well. The potato was especially nice. The stew is served over rice and topped with coriander, scallions, tomato, and banana. Look, I'm not sold on the banana and would leave it out in the future. But that is just my own personal preference. Try it once!
Rating: :)

Tofu and Potato Adobo Stew

Eggplant Shakshuka with Green Tahini Sauce: But Susan, how can you make a shakshuka sauce without the capsicum? Pffft. I just left them out. The stew is already thick with eggplants, onions, and tomatoes. I also added some white beans to bulk it out a bit and some spinach because greens. I used the turmeric option instead of saffron because I always have heaps of tumeric around. The stew is then topped with Green Tahini Sauce, from the sauces chapter of the book. It is green because it has coriander and parsley blended into it. It is a very quick and tasty sauce to make, and it turns up in a few other recipes. But back the the stew, this was fantastic. The combination of stew plus sauce plus pita... so perfect.
Rating: :D

Eggplant Shakshuka with Green Tahini Sauce

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

It has continued to be a rough week with Dim Sim. No more seizures, thank goodness. But on Friday afternoon her cystitis came back. I settled it a bit with pain relief, but woke up to a wet bed very early on Saturday morning (she sleeps under the sheets tucked in between my side and my arm) and a very distressed little cat. If you have ever had a kitty with cystitis, you know how miserable it is for them. I got her settled again, and picked up some extra medication for her from work as well. Thankfully she had a really good night last night (Saturday night), and seems back to herself this morning. Fingers crossed for no more episodes of anything bad! This photo is of her sleeping on my lap.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Midweek Munchies

Some more random munchies! A lot of ice cream in this post, plus a couple of other things.

So I know everyone has been losing their mind over the vegan Magnums. I was more cautious - they have coconut oil in the chocolate coating and the ice cream is based on pea-protein, which I am not overly fond of. But I got a packet of both the original and the almond on sale, and shared them with my parents (three in box, three people in the house, worked out well). I thought the original was a bit meh, I could taste the coconut oil (though it didn't make me sick), and the ice cream was just fine. I preferred the almond because of the crunchiness of them in the coating. I suspect I am in the only vegan in the world who won't be buying these again, though I'd eat one if I was somewhere and they were handing them out.

Vegan Classic Magnum

The vegan Cornetto's, however, are a completely different matter. I LOVE THEM! I love them so much. I always want them in my freezer. I love how the cone is so crunchy, but to crumbly, and when you get down to the bottom they have that little bit of chocolate. The ice cream is soy based, which some people don't like but I love a soy ice cream. I will happily keep buying and eating these.

Vegan Cornetto

While you are poking around in the ice cream section in the supermarket (which now includes several brands of vegan ice cream and sorbet, though most of them coconut based), don't forget about fruity ice blocks! Especially in the heat of summer, I much prefer a frozen fruity treat to a creamy one. I grabbed this box on a half price sale. Both flavours are refreshing and not too sweet, and they are the perfect size for a quick cool down treat.

Proud and Punch Mini Pops

Here is a little ice cream sundae I made one afternoon for a snack. It had So Good Almond Chocolate Ice Cream, some honeycomb crumbles from the bottom of a bag I had gotten in one of my mystery boxes, and some fresh blueberries. It was a great combination.

So Good Chocolate Almond Ice Cream, vegan honeycomb, blueberries

Moving on from ice cream, I like to make overnight oats for breakfast before work on the Saturdays I have to go to the clinic. I often make up my own combinations, but I love looking for other inspiration. I made these Vanilla Overnight Oats from Plant Crush and they were lovely. I doubled the recipe of course, because I am a hungry person, and that was a great amount to fill me up. I didn't have vanilla milk, but I did my normal trick of regular oat milk and some vanilla essence (which I also like doing because most vanilla milk available here is very sweet, and I didn't need to add any other sweetener either). I topped mine with peanu tbutter, blueberries, cinnamon, and almonds. Recommend!

Vanilla Overnight Oats

And finally, a cute package from the lovely Cadry. With my very favourite food in the world, Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Also a bag of Little Secrets - this flavour is like peanut M&Ms! It was fate, because the day before (I didn't know the package was coming) I had been talking to someone about these and how I wish we could get them here... and then I got some! Also some cute pickle toys for Dim Sim. Thank you so much Cadry!

Care Package from Cadry

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Those that follow me on Instagram and Twitter will know I had a bit of a scare with Dim Sim the last few days. I mentioned in my last post we were waiting on some culture results to confirm a UTI. They came back negative... so why the bloody urine in a senior cat? She had a bladder ultrasound yesterday, to rule out tumours or stones, and it was all clear. This is good news to rule out lurking badness. So we chalk it up to idiopathic cystitis... which is medical talk for we ruled out all the stuff we can for your bladder inflammation, and we don't know why it happened. Cats are big fans of idiopathic!

Edit: Last night Dim Sim had a seizure! I am pretty sure it was caused by the sound of my opening a foil packed right near her while she was on my lap. Feline Audiogenic Reflex Seizures are a disease that occurs in older cats. We have seen a few at work. Even though I know what was going on, I still called my feline specialist boss to cry and confirm that I didn't need to rush her down for a CT scan or blood tests today. And now she is all back to normal. I need to be careful what sort of noises we make around her from now on. This all sounds like I am talking with my vet brain, but I assure you that my mother brain was hysterical. Seeing your baby have a seizure is terrifying and awful. Thankfully they are not aware of it when it is happening. But she is acting like everything is fine now.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Eating Out: Flora by Greenhouse

A few meals from my beloved Flora. I realised as I was making this post that I hadn't been there for ages! This is shocking, and I must rectify it! Until then, enjoy this post and the previous posts I have made about eating there.

I tend to visit for lunch. On one visit, I tried the Pineapple, Grapefruit, Turmeric, Ginger, and Orange juice for a vitamin C boost. It was OK, but a bit overpowered by the orange flavour. My friend got this one one of my first visits here, and her juice looked much darker. So perhaps they have changed the proportions?

Pineapple, Grapefruit, Turmeric, Ginger Juice at Flora by Greenhouse West End

I wanted a lighter drink because for my food I had picked out their Reuben Sandwich and a side of Pesto Olive Potato Salad. This was all very yummy, but also very filling. My one gripe with the Reuben is that it does get a bit overpowered by mustard. It is strange they don't make a russian dressing to put on this, as should be the case with a Reuben. They have a lovely seitan, pickles and kraut, cheesy sauce, but then the mustard just overpowers it all.

Reuben at Flora by Greenhouse West End

Pesto and Olive Potato Salad at Flora by Greenhouse West End

Another visit I tried their Stuffed Croissant - spinach, scramble, rice paper bacon in a croissant, then toasted. These are pre-assembled and toasted on demand. This was something I wouldn't get again as the fillings stayed cold and it was weird. If they had been hot on the toasted croissant, it would be awesome.

Loaded Croissant at Flora by Greenhouse

I did hit them up early for a pre-work Saturday breakfast once, when they announced they were having a $15 all you can eat breakfast. WHAT? Yes please! It wasn't the usual buffet style. They had a staff member serving from the hotboxes behind the counter. You could go back as often as you wanted. This is my savoury plate with scramble, mushrooms, chilli beans (that had zero heat), rice paper bacon, hash brown, toast, and one of their vegan egg things. I also went back for some waffles and fruit salad, as well as an extra hash brown. I was pleasantly full after this, especially having a turmeric latte with it as well, but you could have gone back for a lot more!

All You Can Eat Breakfast - Savoury at Flora by Greenhouse

All You Can Eat Breakfast - Sweet at Flora by Greenhouse

Turmeric Latte at Flora by Greenhouse

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

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My poor girl got a UTI on Sunday morning. She was very uncomfortable. Thanks to pain relief and antibiotics, she is much happier now. We're still waiting on culture results for her urine, but she's 100% better in herself already.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Recipe Round-Up: Vegan Diner

Vegan Diner by Julie Hasson is a wonderful book full of really delicious food. As the name implies, it focuses on 'classic comfort food'. You can see my other posts about it here.

Home-Style Loaf, (Garlic) Mashers, and Rich Brown Gravy: This homey combination made for a great cold weather dinner. The loaf is based on tofu, soy (or beefy) crumbles, oats, and walnuts. I used a bag of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles for this. It was very nicely seasoned, full of soy, ketchup, mustard, and sage. I cut this into 8 thick slices, and leftovers were good on sandwiches. The mashed potato recipe is simple and a bit cheesy from nutritional yeast. The skins are left on for a chunky mash. Although the recipe title in the book is Garlic Mashers, there is no garlic in the actual recipe, only in some of the variations. I just made them straight up. I made a half recipe of the gravy, which was plenty for serving with the loaf. This was a tasty gravy, though not brown in the Australian sense of gravy. But it tied it nicely together, along with some steamed green beans.
Rating: Loaf :), Mashers :), Gravy :)

Home-Style Loaf; Mashers; Rich Brown Gravy

Diner House Salad: The basis of this salad is the Diner House Dressing recipe from later in the book. It is a mix of balsamic, soy, and flax oil. I didn't have flax oil (or the variation of hemp oil), so I just used extra virgin olive oil. I found this to have a very strong vinegary and salty taste straight off the bat. Perhaps the flax oil would have mellowed it a bit? Perhaps due to the quality of my vinegar? The salad recipe in the book mixes greens (I used baby cos), carrot, and sunflower seeds (along with raw onion and hemp seeds, both of which I left out). I found the dressing in this mix to be a bit too overpowering. Two days later I used the leftover dressing on a suggested salad variation with baby spinach, apple, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. This combination was great! The sweetness in the salad offset the dressing, plus I think the dressing mellowed after two days in the fridge.
Rating: :| to :) depending on salad ingredients.

Diner House Salad

Diner House Salad

Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets: I've had this recipe marked to make for the last couple of years. Finally I made it and why did I wait? It involves a bit of advance work, you have to make and chill the Italian Sausage Cutlet recipe from later in the book, but once that is done it all comes together so fast. I made a half batch of the cutlets to make a half recipe of this. The cutlets say they make 9-11, I made four out of my half batch so they may have been a bit bigger. But they steam up great and firm up so well in the fridge. When it comes time, they are dipped in seasoned flour, a curdled milk mixture, and then panko before being fried, topped in a very easy to make tomato sauce, sprinkled with mozzarella (optional but really essential, I used Follow Your Heart), and then put under the grill/broiler in the oven. This was AMAZING! The cutlets turned out so well, they were so tender and juicy. I served mine over some baby spinach and a rice/quinoa mix, and had a leftover one in a sandwich. MAKE THIS!
Rating: :D (For the steamed and cooled cutlets on their own: :), though the possibilities are pretty endless.)

Skillet-Baked Panko Cutlets

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pie: Another recipe that I had marked to make for ages, I finally made it last year for my parents' wedding anniversary. A chocolate sandwich cookie crust filled with a chocolate cream, covered in strawberries, and drizzled with a chocolate drizzle. I didn't have vanilla milk, so used a combination of plain oat milk and some vanilla extract in the filling, which was quite soft even after setting. The filling and the drizzle both call for strawberry or raspberry liqueur. Being a non-drinker, I didn't feel like getting a big bottle for a few tablespoons, so I used some strawberry extract instead. This pie had lovely flavours, and looked quite pretty to boot.
Rating: :)

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Basil Spinach Spread: I made a half recipe of this. It is really a pesto, with all the expected pesto ingredients as well as some basil. I made sandwiches with mine, it is lovely with tomato and some chicken style slices.
Rating: :)

Basil and Spinach Spread

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara taste testing

Every Vegan Diner post I make has to end with the same photo of Sahara, trying to taste test the Biscuits and Gravy recipe from the book. I miss her trying to stick her face into my dinner.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Eating Out: Buddha's Birthday Festival (with bonus NASA at Night)

Every year there is the Buddha's Birthday Festival at Southbank, which includes a vegetarian food stall fair. Not everything is vegan, but there are a lot of vegan goodies to be found there. The majority of the food there is Asian, not surprisingly, but there are burgers and chips and what not if you are after something else. I go there for the Asian food, though I struggle every year with choosing what to eat! So much food, so little stomach space! Last year I didn't get to go, it was just on a bad weekend for me, but you can see some of my visits from previous years here and here.

It was a rainy day, but thankfully had stopped raining by the late afternoon when I met up with my friend Amy. It was perfect, overcast, cool, and not very crowded thanks to the earlier rain. Of course we started by doing a walk through and trying to pick out what we wanted. We started by sharing a classic, the Steamed BBQ Pork Bun. This stall at the festival does the biggest, fluffiest ones ever, and I have been thinking about them ever since I was there two years ago. They didn't disappoint.

BBQ Steamed Buns at Buddha's Birthday Festival

We hydrated with some fun drinks. Amy got a Watermelon Lemon Juice, and I had a Black Plum Juice. According to the sign, black plums are boiled and filtered to get the juice, then liquorice, osmanthus, and sugar are added. What is osmanthus? I just looked it up and sore it is a herb used in Chinese medicine. I don't think it detoxified my body (thanks liver and kidneys for doing that), but it was delicious.

Watermelon Lemon Juice and Black Plum Juice at Buddha's Birthday Festival

I was feeling under the weather, so some soup seemed the way to go. Especially given the actual weather! I saw a Japanese stall that had some Kitsune Udon, and that was all I could think about. And it was delicious! I also found out that stall belonged to a restaurant that is super close to my house (and is also on UberEats to my house) and has some vegan options on their regular menu. GThis is very exciting, because I love Japanese food most of all!

Kitsune Udon from Mazri at Buddha's Birthday Festival

Amy was also feeling like soup, and picked up a laksa from another stall.

Laksa from Su Life at Buddha's Birthday Festival

I was still a bit peckish, and could eat a bit more. I happened to bump into a friend there who recommended I try some sticky rice. Wrapped in a bamboo leaf and stuffed with tofu, peanuts, and mushrooms I thought this was delicious. Unfortunately, the one that Amy got seemed to be stuffed with mostly peanuts, which wasn't so much fun. Please excuse the terrible photo, the light was fading at this point.

Sticky Rice at Buddha's Birthday Festival

We weren't only there for food. It happened that this day, the fourth of May, May the fourth, coincided with a Museum At Night event for the NASA Exhibit at the QLD Museum. So after eating we headed in for an over-18 (read, no kids, hurrah_ trundle through the museum. It was a fascinating exhibit, with lots of cool stuff about space. Also a lot of photos and stories of white men, which was a bit disappointing. One small plaque with some white women. WHITE MEN ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO CONTRIBUTED TO SPACE TRAVEL. Below I share a few photos, including one of me being a serious space scientist, a teeny tiny capsule that makes me claustrophobic to think about, and Jabba the Hutt. It was Star Wars day after all!

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

And no trip to the museum is complete without saying hello to our friend the Muttaburrasaurus.

NASA at Night at QLD Museum

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

My best friend gifted me this wonderful soft, warm, heavy jumper. It is wonderful to wear. And Dim Sim thought she'd try it out as a blankie as well.