Saturday, 31 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #31: Wrapping It Up With Instragram

The final day of VeganMoFo 2019 is here. I had a lot of fun putting together the posts for this year, and reading everyone's posts as well. Last year, as well as blogging I also did a daily corresponding post on my Instagram, but that was a lot of work and I decided this year to drop the Instagram stuff and just focus on the blog. A good decision indeed! But some people did MoFo entirely on Instagram, and I have enjoyed following them through the month. Today, for the final post, I though I'd share some of the IG accounts I've been enjoying this MoFo.

Caroline, of the blog Tea and Sympatico, has been sharing lovely Instagram posts themed around books this month. Thanks to her, I have added a heap of books to my to read list. She has also been posting some lovely food inspired by them, like this Lemon and Almond Vegan Cake.

Bonnie has been posting gorgeous food following the prompts this month, like this amazing Peach and Blueberry Galette.

Vegan Raptor always does a fun pun-themed guessing game for VeganMoFo. Last year they did Buffy, which I did pretty well at once I got the hang of their pun technique. This year they are doing Star Wars, and all I have done is proven how much I suck at Star Wars. Oh well, I guess a few right! Not this one though.

The final IG account I will share is Emma. You may also know Emma from her blog, but also for being one of the VeganMoFo organisers! Thank you Emma and friends for keeping this all going! This year, Emma has been posting a Past & Present theme, posting a lot of her old favourite recipes as well as a few new ones. She has a link list to all the recipes that she has posted here. I don't know about you, but these Bolognese Fries are crying out for me to make them!

And so ends VeganMoFo 2019. I'll hopefully be back into my regular-ish blogging schedule of three times a week, though I might just take a couple of days off first!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

This kitty has a whole bed, all for herself! Of course, she spends lots of time sleeping on her parents' bed as well, but if she wants to retire early, she can go to her own bed (sometimes with fairy lights to decorate the room!). If you are on Instagram and you aren't following Sassy, what are you even doing with your life? Sassy is not only a wonderful cat, she is the cat behind VeganMoFo! Her mum is Emma, and Sass has told me that she has spent a lot of time helping her mum with MoFo related activities. So thank you Sassy, for making this month possible!

I hope you have enjoyed my Cats In Beds theme for this MoFo as well. I know sometimes the bed theme had to be taken loosely!

Friday, 30 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #30: Care Packages From Around The World

Welcome to the penultimate day of MoFo 2019!

Earlier this year, Dim Sim was having a really rough time with a lot of urinary issues, as well as a seizure, and I was so stressed and really struggling more than I normally struggle. My mental health isn't the greatest - I have significant depression and anxiety - and Dim Sim is my everything. When she is unwell, I really struggle extra hard.

So when I got home one day to a beautiful care package from my lovely friend Jojo, I cried a little. Fizzy dino lollies (excellent for my renewed dinosaur and Jurassic Park love), chocolate, stickers, an awesome pin (she said it was a magic Dim Sim), and such a cute postcard. Oh, my heart. I have been lucky enough to meet Jojo and her partner Nick a few times. We spent some time hanging out at VidaVeganCon in Austin, but also they spent some time working at an animal rescue near Brisbane a couple of years ago, so we got to hang out and eat food and have fun then as well.

Package from Jojo

A little while later, I also got a surprise package from my friends Sarra and Mike, who live in Seattle. Despite visiting Seattle a number of times, we didn't connect until after my last visit there, so I have never met them in person - yet. But I know one day I'll be with them, enjoying one of their famous back movies and junk food nights, and that is definitely something to look forward to. This package had loads of savoury snacks (I was so excited about those Pizza Chips, they were amazing!), some sweets, a couple of things for Dim Sim, and some cute little fun figurines. Also another very awesome postcard.

Package from Sarra

Postcard from Sarra and Mike

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in her Chair Cave

Thankfully Dim Sim has been doing better lately. She is so precious, and I really need her to be well! Her favourite 'bed' is not really a cat bed at all, but a bed she has made for herself. We call it her Chair Cave. We have a chair in our sunroom, and she likes to sleep on it but underneath a blanked draped over the top. If anyone else sits there, she gets miffed! Here she is, snuggled in and looking a bit put out to over this intrusion to her privacy.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #29: A Tale of Two Hauls

Hmmm... I was so busy on getting through the alphabet, I kind of forgot there would still be three days once I reached the end! So what to do, what to do. I figured just a few mini posts about this and that. I did a post (R for Ready Meals) about how things were becoming more available in supermarkets (and I will have an upcoming midweek munchies post after MoFo showing you exactly how much is available in Coles these days). But there is still a place for speciality vegan shops in my heart and my wallet, and there are some products that you just can't get anywhere else. So for this post, I will share with you two shopping trips I did two two vegan shops in Brisbane... Though now we only have one.

About four weeks ago, The Cruelty Free Shop closed its Brisbane store, which was sad. But I think a combination of having a pre-existing vegan shop in Brisbane, the availability of so many vegan products in regular stores, and the fact that the location was just terrible for parking (and probably had very high rents) contributed. They had a massive sale across the store, with the goal to sell off as much product as they could. I swung by on the second last day, and there was hardly anything left. But I still managed to pick up a few gems. So Delicious cashew ice cream is the best, so I was happy to snaffle a cheap pint. I also got some Dark Chocolate spread I'd been curious about, some of the very bacony vegan frozen bacon that is one of the only ready made vegan bacon slices that I like, some turmeric tea, the rendang for my mum (too spicy for me), and a tin of baked beans with vegan sausages. Oh, also some Vitamin D, because I am a pale redhead living in a place with extremely high UV and mean sun, so the next person who tells me I don't need to supplement and just need to get some sun can just keep their mouth shut! Anyway, discount vitamins are awesome, because they tend to be expensive. A sweet little final haul, with some products I may not have gotten around to trying otherwise.

Last ever CFS Brisbane Haul

The other vegan shop in Brisbane is The Green Edge, the original vegan grocery store in Brisbane. This Brisbane vegan landmark has been around for years, gone through two locations, and a few changes of ownership, but is now an awesome thriving local business. As well as a great grocery section, they also have a cafe with some delicious food (see some of the times I've eaten there, as well as some of the bake sales I've hosted there, here). They always have a great rotating selection of sale items each week, but earlier this year they had a stocktake sale. I'd had a rough day at work, and all I wanted was to go and buy some fun stuff. They didn't disappoint. A bunch of Daiya, some Fenn smoked sesame cheese, more So Delicious, some chocolate (the white Vego and chocolate honeycomb was to send to my friend Amanda, who sent me that amazing box a few posts ago, as a bonus round), some weird mushroom teas (sold in individual bags rather than having to buy the whole box, so I can see if they are gross without committing too much), and some breakfast patties. And freeze dried strawberries to make some brownies with, eventually. It was a good time!

The Green Edge Haul

I'm grateful that we do have such a range of options here in Brisbane. From supermarkets to health food stores to vegan stores, there is so much available! Though I am aware that I have the privilege of being able to both get to these places and afford to shop at these places, which is not the case for everyone. It is important not to lose sight of trying to make veganism affordable and accessible for everyone!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Just because you are in a bed (that belongs to your sister), doesn't mean you can't keep alert and aware! Sahara keeping her eye on something while also staying comfy.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #28: Z is for Zsu Dever

The final letter of the alphabet! But not the final day of MoFo. For z (which I pronounce zed, being Australian), I had to go with cookbook author and blogger Zsu Dever. Zsu has authored three cookbooks, of which I have two. The one I don't have is Aquafaba, because I think I am the only vegan left who hasn't done stuff with aquafaba. I mean to, but it just isn't high on my priority list. One day! Zsu also has a lovely blog (though it hasn't been update for a while), with lots of recipes available there as well. I'm posting one recipe from each of the two books I have, as well as from her blog!

Mushroom Strogranoff from Everyday Vegan Eats: I made this to use up some sour cream kicking around, so stroganoff always sounds like a good idea! I just used regular white mushrooms for this, though it would be fun to use some more exciting varieties. I did find that the sauce needed a bit more flavour, perhaps some extra tomato paste and a bit of broth or mushroom powder would have been good. I made this with 8 oz (rather than 12 oz) of linguine, and added some peas as well, and I got three serves over baby spinach. I've only posted one other recipe from this book so far, which you can see here.
Rating: :)

Mushroom Stroganoff

Lentil Picadillo Bowl from Vegan Bowls: Vegan Bowls is one of my favourite cookbooks, I've used it a lot. You can see other recipes I have posted from this book here. This bowl has a few steps. I didn't read it through thoroughly enough, so learn from my mistake and even though it is the third step, make the spice mix first! You need to add it to the lentils while they are cooking. I had made my lentils earlier in the day, for quicker dinner time prep, so I missed this (but I just added it to the final mix). The recipe calls for a mix of brown and green lentils, but I just used all green. I also left out the capsicum, and I had to use kalamata olives because I realised that I didn't have any green or black regular ones. I like the salty sweet combination of picadillo, and this certainly hit that brief. I also did not have any farro, the cooked grain of choice, and while you can sub barley, I just used some white rice I had leftover from something else.
Rating: :)

Lentil Picadillo Bowl

Japanese Caramelised Noodles: Finally, a recipe from the blog. There are a lot of great recipes on there (some are from her books as well), but this one spoke to me. Udon noodles are cooked, then pan-fried to get golden (I did have trouble with this step, they just caught on the bottom of my pan a lot, use lots of oil!), then have vegetables and tofu (my addition) and sauce added to them. The vegetables are stir-fried initially while the noodles are boiling, then returned once the noodles have been pan fried. I added some snow peas to the vegetable mix. The sauce is easy to make, I used the vegetarian stir-fry sauce and water option. It is obviously on the sweet side, with all that brown sugar, but it is not overpoweringly sweet. Highly recommend.
Rating: :)

Caramelised Japanese Noodles

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Gizmo in Sahara's basket

One of the nice things about a kitty of the post photo is that it lets me trawl through old photos of my girls, and sometimes I find absolute delights that I had forgotten about. Like this photo of Gizmo, trying out Sahara's basket! She looks a little awkward, but the important thing is that she is trying. She was comfortable no matter what, a champion snoozer.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #27: Y is for Yavanna (Eating Out)

I've been to Yavanna a few times before, but they released a new menu a while ago and I was keen to get back to try some stuff. Yavanna is the place to go it you want decadent vegan comfort food. Think lots of mock meats, lots of carbs, lots of delicious. I heard from someone who went there recently and complained that there weren't enough vegetables. Because they assumed a vegan restaurant would be all vegetables. Oh sweet naive soul, no. Vegans like all sorts of food! I guess they didn't check the menu before they went!

A quick little comfort food lunch of some of their Mac & Cheese with a side of their Creamy Slaw. The mac and cheese was cheesy and saucy, and I loved the bacon bits and crunchy bread crumbs on top. The slaw was a lovely, fresh side to it. Creamy without being too heavy, and lots of crunch.

Mac & Cheese; Creamy Slaw at Yavanna

A burger and chips is a classic lunch choice. But instead of a side of chips, I tried their Poutine. The gravy was wonderfully savoury, and the cheese sauce was nice as well. I had it with their Classic Cheeseburger: beef patty, onions (I forgot to ask them to leave them off), pickles, ketchup, mustard, two types of cheese, and a brioche bun. This was just OK. It wasn't bad, but I've definitely had much better cheeseburgers.

Poutine at Yavanna

Cheeseburger at Yavanna

I was happy to see their Chicken Parmigiana, previously only on the dinner menu, join the lunch menu. It is a hefty lunch, to be sure, but delicious. A nice crispy coated schnitzel topped with napoli sauce, bacon, and cheese. It is served with chips, and some of that creamy slaw.

Chicken Parmigiana at Yavanna

Yavanna - 9/2 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington, QLD

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Our sweet family boy Possum was never one for cat beds in the tradition sense. But he did love a good cushion. The day he found a deck chair cushion in the sun out on the deck was a good day for him. Comfy sleeps, fresh air, sunshine, but still nice and close to home.

Monday, 26 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #26: X is for Xocolatl

X was always going to be a bit tricky. But thanks to Google, there is this handy list of foods that start with X. I decided to take the easiest option, and go with Xocolatl. From that webpage 'the English word chocolate is derived from the Spanish word for it, which was derived from the Aztec language Nahuatl. In Mexican pre-Hispanic traditions, the Aztecs prized cacao beans and used them as currency as well as food for the upper classmen. They transformed cacao into a beverage called Xocolatl, which later came to be known as "chocolate.'

Earlier this year, I did a package swap with a friend who lives in Philadelphia. I put together a fun package, the regular size for package swaps, to send to her. But then... oh my gosh... I got sent the biggest box of goodies I have ever received. I was amazed! And inside, it was full of chocolate! Also some other cute stuff like pins, stickers, lip balm, and more... oh my! Anyway, if you don't believe me how much chocolate was inside this box, behold!

Care Package from Amanda

Yeah, it is bounty of chocolate. And strangely, I haven't eaten that much of it. Almost like I was too overwhelmed by the sheer amount... where to begin? You will be proud to know that I have overcome this, and have started sampling my way through. Let's take a closer look!

A big theme of the package was Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, which are my dessert island food. I love these so much! She sent a few bags of the minis, and also included a bag of these Unreal mini cripsy PB cups. I'd seen Food For Dissertating post about them, and I was curious to see how they measured up. I am super picky about my peanut butter cups. Verdict: I really like them! The chocolate is good and dark, I like the salty crispy peanut butter filling. Justin's is still my number one, but these are not far off.

Chocolate from Amanda

I love Little Secrets, they are so crunchy and fun! I have tried the regular ones, and the salted peanut ones. So far the salted peanut ones are my favourite! But I still have the almond ones to try.

Chocolate from Amanda

I also got a hefty stash of original sized Justin's PB cups, as well as some of their cashew and almond butter ones to try. I haven't tried any of the non PB ones yet, but I am looking forward to trying them!

Chocolate from Amanda

I don't know how I haven't tried any of the Little Secrets Crispy Wafers yet, I was so excited to get them! I imagine they will be like Kit Kats? Who knows. I need to get onto eating some, for research! I love the Peanut Chews, they are salty and peanutty and chewy and chocolatey. The eggs are some peanut butter filled easter eggs. The chocolate was a bit thick in these, I like a good peanut butter to chocolate ratio.

Chocolate from Amanda

I haven't tried any of these yet. These are all new to me brands! I am especially looking forward to that 95% Wicked Dark one. I hope it is really dark. Blog friends know I like my chocolate dark, angry, and bitter with the world.

Chocolate from Amanda

Chocolate from Amanda

Chocolate from Amanda

Theo is one of my favourite brands, plus it is from Seattle! I have had the cherry almond chocolate before and it is one of my favourite flavours of theirs. The peanut butter cups are OK, they are definitely third behind Justin's and Unreal. The peanut butter just isn't strong enough in the chocolate for my preferences.

Chocolate from Amanda

And finally, I told Amanda that I was amused by ridiculous things. And boy did she deliver with this block! As often with ridiculous things, the flavour isn't quite as ridiculous as the description. This tastes like a caramelised banana chocolate, with some crunchy bits in it (which seem to be the charcoal coconut, but they don't add much flavour). Anyway, it is really nice, as well as funny.

Chocolate from Amanda

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Jed in Bed

In happier clinic cat news, sweet Jed continues to be happy, healthy, and adorable. Here he is in one of his many beds.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #25: W is for Whole Grain Vegan Baking (Recipe Round-Up)

Whole Grain Vegan Baking by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes is a fun book full of lovely recipes using, you guessed it, whole grains. Some of the recipes obviously do require some fancy flours, but as a collector of fancy flours this at least gives me a chance to use some of them up. I haven't made a great deal from this book, and this is the first recipe round-up to appear on the blog. However, I have posted about a couple of individual recipes in other posts, and you can see them here. Although everything I have posted so far is sweet, it is worth mentioning that there are some cool savoury recipes in here as well.

Baked Speculoos Doughnuts: I made a half batch of these, and got six overstuffed doughnuts in my doughnut pan. It probably would have been better to split it into eight to get some smoother results. But regardless of how they look, they are very yummy. The batter has speculoos spread in it, and then they are topped with a chocolate ganache and crushed speculoos cookies. I made these for a bake sale, and they went fast!
Rating: :)

Baked Speculoos Doughnuts

Blackberry Allspice Muffins: I also made these sweet treats for a bake sale. This recipe book offers both weight and volumes to work with, for this recipe I used weights. It seemed to be less than the volumes, but everything worked OK. I had to make a few changes, I only had sweetened applesauce, and I used brown sugar instead of sucanat. I used frozen berries in the mix, and added an extra one of top of each muffins.
Rating: :)

Blackberry Allspice Muffins

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies: The surprise in these cookies is that they have sriracha in them. Spicy surprise! I was making these as a present for a spicy-loving friend, but I still halved the amount of sriracha in the recipe. Even so, they were a bit spicy for me, but my friend loved them and wanted the recipe. These also have peanut butter, chocolate chips, and my beloved five spice. This recipe uses a blend of whole wheat pastry, oat, and amaranth flours. It only uses 1 TBS of amaranth though, so I did some googling and subbed it with barley flour. I did need to bake these for a bit extra, which is not uncommon in my oven.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


A bit of a sad kitty post today. This sweetie is Eve, one of our clinic cats. She is sleeping here in a bed we made for her in a sink in an unused bathroom. She loved sitting there because it got really nice sunshine during the day, and was a bit quieter than her bed on the kitchen bench. We had to say goodbye to this sweet girl on Tuesday. She had some nasty tumours, and wasn't feeling very well. Unlike our other clinic cat Jed, Eve didn't like people and spent her time upstairs out the back, keeping her own company. She will be missed.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #24: V is for Vale... Ginger & Rose (Eating Out)

I was originally thinking of another prompt for this letter, but hadn't organised myself well enough to get it together. But then, something sad happened. And maybe it is a bit of a stretch to use this for the letter V, but it is my MoFo so I make my own rules.

I've posted a number of times about Ginger & Rose, a lovely cafe with lots of vegan options and delightful service. Last week, they suddenly announced that they would be closing the following day. I am very sad about it. Thankfully, I had managed to visit a couple of times in the weeks leading up to this, so I at least had got to experience some of their new menu. But wow, sadness.

I will miss their amazing waffles so much. They were so good, and I loved that they used soy ice cream instead of gross coconut ice cream. I did get to try the new waffle on their final menu, a Vanilla Chocolate Waffle. Grilled bananas, berries, cinnamon sugar, ganache, and ice cream. Oh, and the waffles had chocolate chips in them as well. A beautiful send off to the best waffles in Brisbane.

Choc Chip Berry Waffles at Ginger & Rose

Normally I have a strawberry milkshake there as my drink of choice, but this day I branched out to try the Banana Chai smoothie. Banana, chai spices, soy milk, and soy ice cream. So basically a milkshake. It was really lovely.

Banana Smoothie at Ginger & Rose

I also took a few treats away. A raspberry chocolate muffin, and a stuffed ANZAC cookie.

Chocolate Raspberry Muffin and ANZAC Sandwich Cookie at Ginger & Rose

On my final (unbeknown to me) visit, I took the savoury route and tried their Vegan Loaded Croissant. It had sauteed mushrooms, lemony bok choy, roasted pumpkin, baby spinach, and caramelised onion. It was normally served with a capsicum-based puree, but I got them to swap it for beetroot puree. I also had a side of tempeh with it. A lovely combination of flavours, I loved that this was full of veggies as well.

Loaded Vegan Croissant with Tempeh at Ginger & Rose

Thankfully, I ordered one final strawberry milkshake. I will miss these. More places need to use soy ice cream.

Strawberry Milkshake at Ginger & Rose

I also took home a slice of banana cake, but it got all mushed on the drive home. And I innocently thought 'I'll take a photo of it in the cabinet the next time I am there', but now I never will be able to. Oh so sad. But seriously, thank you Ginger & Rose for everything.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Kittens in a bed

Well, how about some kittens to cheer us up! If you remember Lil' Bob for a few posts ago? We were able to get his sister, Lil' Jane. She came around very fast with some handling. Look at these too cuties together!

Friday, 23 August 2019

VeganMoFo 2019 #23: U is for Unicorn Latte (Eating Out: Gather and Feast)

A couple of days ago I posted about going up north a bit to see some dinosaurs. I went with a friend, and before hand we decided to check out Gather and Feast, which they had heard people say was quite vegan friendly. When we got there, we were not that fussed on the few vegan offerings on the menu. From my perspective, the vegan options seemed to all either by spicy of full of coconut fat. They did have a very pretty sounding vegan waffle though, if coconut ice cream and coconut foam is not an issue for you. In the end, we decided to just get some drinks. They had some fun ones of those.

My friend ordered a Vegan Iced Strawberry, which looked very pretty. It was topped with coconut ice cream (they don't have an issue with it, so that was OK), but they said overall the flavour was very weak.

Vegan Iced Strawberry at Gather & Feast

They had a lot of fun lattes, so you know what I had to do. While I was very tempted to get the Taro Latte, which I know is delicious, ultimately I chose beauty over taste and went with the Unicorn Latte. What is this beauty? It is beetroot latte and blue pea powder latte artistically mixed together. And yes, it was so pretty. I mean look at it. No regrets. Taste wise it didn't taste like much, which I was expecting. Except they sprinkle some blue pea latte powder over the top of it, which meant that I got a few mouthfuls of powdery bitter chunks... not ideal. BUT PRETTY!

Unicorn Latte at Gather & Feast

So, in summary, our drinks were pretty. I mean, I knew mine wasn't going to be a flavour sensation when I made my choice. But a shame about the Iced Strawberry.

Vegan Iced Strawberry and Unicorn Latte at Gather & Feast

The place was super cute as well. Look, if you find yourself in the area and need something, at least you know there are some things you can eat here. And if you aren't coconut fat and spicy adverse like myself, I am sure you will enjoy some of the things on the menu. Plus look at the cute decor.

Decor at Gather & Feast

Cather and Feast - 7 James St, Caboolture, Queensland

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


With the exception of Her Bed, that she got for her 15th birthday (and which I have posted a number of times this month), Gizmo wasn't that big on cat beds. She was, however, very big on regular beds. Check out this relaxed and silly post as she reclines against a pillow on our bed.