Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Midweek Munchies

Before we get into eats, here is a prize I won at the end of last year! This was from a competition run by the lovely Jenny-Marie to win a copy of a new book. If you don't follow Jenny-Marie, you should! You can read more about the book here. It was a very interesting read, that brought up several points that I hadn't considered. It also arrived with some cool stickers!

Prizes from Jenny-Marie

Now, onto food. Here is another snack I had one afternoon at work. It was fine. The peanut butter was good! The banana chips were a bit too fragile to really scoop much up without breaking.

Byron Bay Peanut Butter and Banana Snack

These Smoothie Pops were a lucky buy. I saw them, read the ingredients, no coconut, bought them, put them in the freezer. Then my friend messaged me to say they were amazing and even though they had some coconut oil in them, I might still want to try them. What? Coconut oil? Had I not checked the ingredients? I pulled out the box and... yes... coconut oil. How had I missed it? Because the coconut oil in this does not bother me, and these basically taste out of this world like a strawberry milkshake pop. I am so glad for my oversight! These often go on half price special, and I have enjoyed many boxes of them.

Strawberry Acai Smoothie Pops

Oh Christmas Eve (yes, we are still in last year) work bought us lunch. We got Nonos, which is an amazing and very vegan friendly Lebanese place close to the clinic. I had a yummy falafel kebab, but we also shared some of their potato salad and some of their rice, lentil, and caremlised onion salad. They make so many amazing salads, these are two of my favourites.

Falafel Kebab from Nonos

Lentil Rice Salad and Potato Salad from Nonos

Here is a silly juice I bought! I used a bit of it for a smoothie, but the rest I drank from the bottle. It was pretty good. And hey, according to the dates on my photos we are done with 2019 munchies and finally into the current year!

Silly Juice

Here is some scrambled tofu with spinach and tomatoes, topped with some ketchup and cashew cheese. And served with some toast with more cashew cheese on it.

Scrambled Tofu and Cashew Cheese

Some more overnight oats that I made with that sweet potato powder I spoke about a few munchies posts ago. This is still mostly peanut butter and the powder in terms of flavour, but I added some maple syrup to sweeten it. This was much better than without the syrup.

Sweet Potato and Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Finally, Fantastic Noodles recently came out with a range of vegan flavours. Most of them are spicy, except for this Miso, Sesame, Soy one. It was fine for what it was, quite salty. I since learned that Fantastic Noodles are owner by Nestle, so I will not be buying it again as I avoid buying Nestle products as they are evil.

Vegan Fantastic Noodles

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the sun

Dim Sim enjoying some sunshine behind the blinds in the sunroom.

Monday, 27 April 2020

Recipe Round-Up: 500 Vegan Recipes

500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman is just that, a collection of 500 Vegan Recipes. It seems like this book is out of print now, but should you happen to stumble across a second hand copy it is worth it for the baking recipes alone. You can see previous posts from recipes from this book here. You might notice if you scroll through those posts that even though I have done very few (maybe only one or two) actual recipe round-ups, it appears is so many posts. Mostly from bake sales. The baked goods in this book are legit, and there are a lot of them, so I have used it a lot to make treats to raise money for the animals. But here today is a little recipe round-up of some other recipes from this book.

Banana Morning Oat Fuel: This is a great way to start your day, with banana, oats, and peanut butter. Oh my! It also has cocoa powder in it, which you can see, but I made it again without the cocoa powder and I prefer it that way. Just because my tummy isn't the biggest fan of chocolate first thing in the morning. But if you are, go for cocoa powder gold! I also decreased the sweetener to just a drizzle of maple syrup, because I don't like things super sweet. This makes a decent sized smoothie.
Rating: :)

Banana Oat Morning Fuel

Pumpkin Youghurt Smoothie: More a treat smoothie than a breakfast smoothie, I'd say. I didn't find this very filling. It says it makes three serves, I made a half recipe and got one small serve. Again, I only used a little bit of agave rather than the full amount. This is a fun way to use up leftover pumpkin puree, as it also has spices and rum extract in it (or actual rum if you are into that).
Rating: :)

Pumpkin Yoghurt Smoothie

Peanut Butter Pancakes: Oh yeah, pancakes! The recipe says it makes 10 medium pancakes, using a 1/3 cup as your amount of batter per pancake. I made a half recipe and got six 1/3 cup pancakes, and two slightly smaller. I just wish the peanut butter taste was a bit stronger in these, but they are definitely a nice way to start the day. Or end it. I firmly believe pancakes are an anytime food. I served these with some maple syrup and strawberry jam.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Kale Chips: I love making kale chips, but I always make them in small batches so I can just bake on a single tray. I had a single layer of kale pieces for this, and used 1/3 of the coating recipe, but next time I would use 1/2 the coating recipe as I like definite flavours. These are very simply seasoned, but are lovely.
Rating: :)

Kale Chips

Taboulleh: I made a half recipe of this for three serves. I soaked the bulgur rather than boiled it, which is a trick I picked up from another one of Celine's cookbooks. This was fresh and lovely, with cucumber, tomato, mint, and parsley (though I had a bit less than the recipe called for). I served it with some recipes from other recipes as you can see, some falafel, pita, and hummus. This recipe called for quite a bit of oil in the dressing, which can make me feel a bit yucky, so I used water thickened with a bit of guar gum instead.
Rating: :)


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Grey and White Cat

Neighbourhood cat Abby gets very comfortable in our yard.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Eating Out*: Dicki's

*Don't eat out at the moment though, STAY HOME.

At the end of last year I met up with a friend for lunch at Dicki's, a vegan cafe that I always mean to visit more. So I was glad for a chance to go again! You can see other posts I've made about Dicki's here.

We both had one of these hilarious kombuchas. According to the label it had medicinal mushroom extracts in it that would balance your chakras, clear your mind, and possibly result in world peace. It also had what appeared to be a person in a plague mask riding a tortoise on their label. This was quite a dry kombucha, but I like that. Sad to report that it did not improve my life.

Silly Kombucha at Dicki's

We shared the Make Your Own Bao plate. They rotate flavours all the time, but ours was a Peking mock duck themed one, which was very nice. Though the peanut sauce was a bit spicy, even after we pulled off those decorative chili slices.

Peking Duck Build Your Own Bao at Dicki's

I had the tofu scramble (which comes with toast, a grilled mushroom, avocado, and tomato relish), but I also had a side of hashbrowns and a side of their delicious dill cashew cream.

Tofu Scramble with Hashbrowns and Cashew Cream with Dill at Dicki's

My friend had their 'Green Eggs', which is tofu scrambled with pesto, zucchini ribbons, and spinach, and then topped with rocket, dukkah, and chili. Served on sourdough. She also got a side of their asparagus for a very green meal.

Green Eggs with Asparagus at Dicki's

Dicki's is currently open for pick up and they do deliver if you live in the close area.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Grey and White Cat

Speaking of neighbourhood kitties, this sweet little grey and white cat has been hanging around lately. My Dad thinks he saw her with her person a few houses down when he was on a walk, and discovered that her name is Abby!

Friday, 24 April 2020

Recipe Round-Up: 350 Best Vegan Recipes

Why not do a second post this week about this book, 350 Best Vegan Recipes, to share the rest of the recipes I have currently made with you. As I mentioned, this book is kind of meh. But I made some stuff! See other stuff I have made from this book here.

Pantry Muesli: This is a nice, simple muesli that you can use in a number of ways and could really customise anyway you want. It has oats, oat bran, rye flakes, nuts, dried fruit (apples, apricots, cranberries), coconut (I used dessicated rather than shredded) and pepitas. I ate this three ways - like cereal, as overnight oats, and as oatmeal. And it was good each way.
Rating: :)

Pantry Muesli

Pantry Muesli - Bircher Style

Pantry Muesli - Oatmeal Style

Korean BBQ: Thsi recipe is for seitan, but I had some vegan duck (from the fridge section of the supermarket, I will share more about that in an upcoming midweek munchies post) so I used that. As the duck had quite a bit of flavour already, I diluted out the soy sauce and oil with some water in the marinade so it wouldn't be too much. I leftout the hot sauce. This was very nice, though also helped by the fact that the duck had good flavour on its own, but the leftover marinade used as a sauce was tasty. Served with some Korean recipes from another book.
Rating: :)

Korean BBQ

Rice Noodle Bowl with Lime-Spinach Pesto: This was meant to be made with rocket, but I used baby spinach instead. As you can see, it is beautifully green. I added some tofu and peas as well, and got three serves out of this over some more baby spinach. I left out the zest in the pesto, and just used lime juice, as I often find zest a bit over powering, and I also used a mix of water and oil as the liquid in the pesto rather than all oil, as I often find oily pestos make me feel a bit icky.
Rating: :)

Rice Noodle Bowl with Lime-Spinach Pesto

Daikon Dipping Sauce: I ahd some daikon to use up, so thought I'd try this. The recipe says to allow at least two hours for the flavours to meld, and you definitely cannot miss this step. I tried a bit right after making and it was not good. But after sitting for some time (the next day is even better), the flavours meld really nicely. It's a refreshing mix of grated daikon, soy sauce, citrus, and vinegar. I used it here as a dipping sauce for some gyoza and broccoli, and then used the rest (it made quite a bit, closer to two cups rather than the recipes suggested 1 1/2 cups) the next day over some stir-fried greens.
Rating: :)

Daikon Dipping Sauce

George of the Jungle: This is meant to be an alcoholic drink, but I don't drink. I enjoy converting things to tasty mocktails when I can though. The alcohol in this is rum, it also has coconut milk (which I can use a little bit in cooking, but don't want to drink). Instead I used oat milk and added some coconut and rum extracts. The fruit is pineapple, mango, and banana. It calls for crushed ice as well, but I left that out and used frozen fruit instead. It was like a thick, icy, tropical slushy.
Rating: :)

George of the Jungle

Sweet Tart Smoothie: Frozen cherries and bananas, with the tartness coming from lime juice. This also calls for quite a bit of vanilla soy yoghurt, though I used a natural one, and I cut down on the agave as well. It was very thick, so I did add a smidge of oat milk to really get it blended and drinkable, otherwise I'd suggest this as a smoothie bowl.
Rating: :)

Sweet Tart Smoothie

Vermont Maple Morning Smoothie: This is a really yummy smoothie. It uses yoghurt, milk, apple, maple syrup and granola. It calls for a maple almond granola, and there isn't actually a recipe for this in the book. But I had just happened to make a maple almond granola from another book that week, so I used some of that. The yoghurt and milk were meant to be vanilla, but I didn't have that and just added a smidge more vanilla extract.
Rating: :)

Vermont Maple Morning Smoothie

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim and Neighbourhood Cat

The final chapter of our visitor story. Dim Sim saw them off, out of the pool area. Can you see where they settled just outside the pool fence? Lots of greenery between them! But Dim Sim was still on alert, behold her puffy tail.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Midweek Munchies

Moooore munchies.... that I ate.... in the past... when things were happier.

But first, this sweet blue tongue lizard who kept coming into the catmax, and had to keep being relocated. Dim Sim is still interested in the occasional lizard hunt, though normally the much smaller little garden skinks rather than a chonky friend like this. But I'd hate for her to accidentally injure them through her curiosity.

Blue Tongue Friend

I had this super-ginger-turmeric-powered afternoon snack at work one day. Oh work, I remember you. The nuts are really tasty and quite filling, though you do end up with bright orange dust all over your fingers! But still, worth it. This is also my favourite kefir, which is super hard to find, so I always get one when I see it.

Ginger and Turmeric munchies

Here is some cheese tofu scramble with spinach, sauerkraut, and bacon bits.

Tofu Scramble with spinach, sauerkraut, bacon bits

And yet more scrambled tofu, this time with fried shallots, spinach, and bacon. I tend to use a whole 300g block of silken tofu in these scrambles, and I eat the whole thing.

Scrambled tofu with fried shallots, bacon bits, spinach

Back when berries were on special, and I could go to the shops to get them (I am very picky about berry quality, please I need to always make sure that they are not Driscoll because I have boycotted that brand), I enjoyed many raspberries and blackberries. It was a particularly excellent summer for blackberries.

Raspberries and Black Berries

I bought this Sweet Potato Powder on sale from Woolworths for funsies. I mostly used it in overnight oats. My first attempt, also pictured here, had peanut butter and sweet potato powder. I don't normally add sweetener to my overnight oats, but I learned from this that the powder does give it a certain taste that would like something a bit sweet. In future posts you will see my other experiments, I nailed it by the end of the packet.

Sweet Potato Powder

Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Oats

I am forever letdown by chip flavours not being as intense as I want them to be. Of course I had to get these miso mushroom chips, and of course they were not as strong as I wanted. The flavour was good when you first put it in your mouth, but very quickly vanished and then you were just eating corn chips.

Miso Mushroom Corn Chips

Finally, a sundae I made with So Delicious chocolate fudge ice cream, peanut butter, berries, and coconut flakes. This reminds me that I have at least six flavours of So Delicious ice cream in my freezer, so at least I can enjoy that in these times.

Sundae with So Delicious Chocolate Fudge ice cream, PB, berries, coconut flakes

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Neighbourhood cat

Back to the present. Our white and grey friend, after seeing Dim Sim sitting by the pool, wanted to get a closer look. So came around to the pool (and let me have a tiny head scritch as they walked by me, I've never been able to be close to them before!). Dim Sim is just out of frame at the bottom of the photo. When Dim Sim noticed her admirer, she was not impressed, and did a MROW and her tailw ent puffy and she stalked them away. NO OTHER CATS BUT ME, she says.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Eating Out*: Grown

*Not at the moment. STAY HOME!

Last year a friend visited Brisbane from interstate, and we went out for brunch at Grown, one of my favourite vegan cafes. You can see some previous visits here.

I had their amazing Dark Hot Chocolate on soy milk, and my friend had an Almond Latte.

Dark Hot Chocolate and Almond Latte at Grown

My friend tried the avocado on toast, which came with homemade vegetmite and smoked sesame cheese.

Avocado Toast at Grown

I had my favourite, their silken tofu and mushroom scramble with a side of hash brown.The scramble also comes with a perfect piece of sourdough toast topped with smoked sesame cheese. This is so good, probably the best scramble I've ever had.

Scrambled Tofu with Hashbrown at Grown

During COVID, Grown is currently still open for takeaway only, and is offering both brunch and dinner hours.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Neighbourhood cat

Say hello to one of our neighbourhood kitties! This kitty enjoys hanging out in our yard, but normally takes off as soon as they see me. But the other day I was outside near the pool with Dim Sim on her harness, and they were very intrigued in my precious girl!

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Recipe Round-Up: 350 Best Vegan Recipes

Hello and welcome to THE START OF THE ALPHABET AGAIN! You might not notice, but I generally do my recipe round-ups by working through my books in alphabetical order, based on how their folders are saved on my computer. So here we are, a fresh go around! Do you know that I have almost 150 damn cookbooks? So working at once post a week, it would take almost three years to get through it, and that is not even sharing all the photos I have taken for some of them. So I am good for blog material forever, basically.

Anyway, 350 Best Vegan Recipes by Deb Roussou. This is a misnomer, as they are definitely not the best recipes. I don't remember when I bought this book, but it took me a while to be inspired to make anything from it. But I have been trying to make stuff from it, and some of it has been good. Some of it has been meh. Honestly, this isn't a book I'd recommend. But as I have it, I am making the best use of it. I have only posted about a couple of recipes from it before, which you can see here, but this is the first round-up from it.

Light Savoury Baked Tofu with Parsley, Lemon, and Potato Risotto: I love a baked tofu, but this one needed more salt. The tofu is marinated in a mix of water, white wine, stock powder, and a home-made sage seasoning blend. The blend is a nice little mix, but has no salt in it, so didn't add much more than a hint to the marinade. I also had to bake the tofu for higher and longer to get it nice and firm. I served it with a Parsley, Lemon, and Potato Risotto, which also was a fairly bland flavour. This risotto is not really a risotto, made with jasmine rice, and ended up being very soupy, I had to simmer it for a bit uncovered at the end of thicken it up a bit. So both were fine, but just a bit bland.
Rating: Tofu :|, Risotto :|

Light Savoury Baked Tofu; Parsley, Lemon, and Potato Risotto

Moroccan-Spiced Oatmeal: This had some good flavours, thanks to a mix of different spices and dried fruit. I made a half recipe, which made a decent breakfast, and I used a small drizzle of dark agave in place of a larger amount of brown rice syrup. This made it just sweet enough for me.
Rating: :)

Moroccan-Spiced Oatmeal

New Mexican Home-Fried Potatoes: Sadly, I don't have a cast-iron skillet, but I can still make a decent hash in my non-stick. No doubt it doesn't get quite as brown, but it is still tasty. This is a mix of potatoes (that have been pre-steamed and chopped), onions, some gross capsicum and chilles, and some seasoning. I left out the capsicum and chiles and added some peas instead. I chopped and then steamed my potatoes, which I think was a mistake as it was quite soft and smooshy, I think steaming and then chopping as said in the recipe would have firmer texture. I also didn't peel my potatoes, because who has time for that.
Rating: :)

New Mexican Home-Fried Potatoes

Chestnut and Cranberry Holiday Non-Stuffed Stuffing: I made a half batch of this to use up some chestnuts I had picked up from Daiso, and it also used some more of that Sage Seasoning Blend. This has a nice blend of onion, mushrooms, celery (it calls for stalks and root, I only had stalks so I added more of those), and cranberries. I didn't have quite enough bread, so it ended up a bit soggy. But it was still a fun mean, served with some sausages and gravy.
Rating: :)

Chestnut and Cranberry Holiday Non-Stuffed Stuffing

Baked Ginger-Lime Tofu with Caramelised Onions: I am sad to say that this was not good. The marinade itself was OK on the tofu, but as it reduces down to a sauce it became far to salty, sour, and just unpleasant. Also the ginger didn't really come through. The onions are caramelised in the oven, which was nice at least!
Rating: :( (behold, a rare sad face rating)

Baked Ginger-Lime Tofu with Caramelised Onions

Tofu Tikka Masala: I made a half recipe of this, which gave me a dinner and a lunch serving. It had a nice flavour, but is a recipe that takes a bit of time as tofu needs to be marinated. I left out the chile powder and thinned out the coconut milk with water, and had a very nice sauce, and I also added some peas. Served over a mix of brown basmati and quinoa.
Rating: :)

Tofu Tikka Masala

Roasted Potatoes and Tofu: This is a simple meal, but very tasty. Tofu and potatoes are literally roasted, I roasted a bit longer to get things really nice and toasty. But the magic comes from mixing them up with Caper and Pine Nut Vinaigrette. I only made a third of the recipe of the vinaigrette for the amount of potatoes and tofu, but it is wonderfully nice and tangy and went perfectly. I served it all over some baby spinach.
Rating: Potatoes and Tofu :), Vinaigrette :)

Roasted Potatoes and Tofu

Pad Thai with Crispy Tofu: This recipe calls for tamarind pulp to be soaked and strained, but I just used tamarind paste mixed with water for ease. It is blended up with cooked and cooled shallots, sugar, and lime into a paste (though it was more a sauce). This mix also called for soaked chiles, but obviously I left them out. Tofu is pressed and then fried until crispy, and then added into the noodles and sauce at the end. This had a nice flavour, but was a bit oily. I also used coriander instead of green onions for the garnish.
Rating: :)

Pad Thai with Crispy Tofu

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

I went to take a photo of Dim Sim sleeping, but caught her mid sleepy stretch instead. Biiiiiiiiig streeeeeeeech.