Friday, 31 July 2020

Granola Round-Up the 2nd

Time for another recipe round-up of granola recipes from across a number of cookbooks! I really got into granola-making during my isolation (and the way Brisbane is going at the moment, I am preparing to go into isolation again if/when needed... seriously, you have to read about it to believe it), and I have continued making a new batch of granola every couple of weeks. Even during winter, it is quick and easy and I like it. Especially since I have found some decent vegan yoghurts I can enjoy with it. So, let's get crunchy. (Oh, an enjoy almost every photo looking the same, because I apparently really like to eat my granola out of the same bowl.)

Coconut, Date and Almond Granola from Keep it Vegan by Aine Carlin: This said a full recipe made 8-10 servings, so I made a half recipe, which was three servings. This has a lovely mix of almonds (it calls for a mix of whole and flaked, I just used all slivered), pumpkin seeds, desiccated coconut, and dates. While I halved the recipe, I still used the whole amount of cinnamon because cinnamon is the best. This was a nice granola, I was worried the dates might make it too sweet, but they were well spaced out with the crunchy oats.
Rating: :)

Coconut, Date, and Almond Granola

Peanut Butter and Jam Granola from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I made a half recipe of this, which ended up being two servings a little over 1/2 cup each. I question the recipe that says a full batch would make 4 cups, the ingredients certainly don't add up to that. This is a mix of creamy peanut butter and the jap of your choice, I chose strawberry because it is the best jam. I found this granola to be a lot softer than other ones, it didn't go crunchy, and it also says it needs to be kept in the fridge.
Rating: :)

Peanut Butter and Jam Granola

'Fig' and Grapefruit Granola from The New Vegan by Aine Carlin: I really don't like figs. The fresh ones give me terrible ulcers, and I am just not that fond of the dry ones for the most part. So I used dates instead in this recipe. I also used a ruby grapefruit as that is what was at the shops (also, pretty!). Oats are toasted with ground ginger and lemon zest for a lovely warming flavour. The granola is crunchy with nuts and seeds - I didn't have enough hazelnuts so I used a mix of them and almonds, but it also had pistachio, pepitas, and sunflower seeds in it. I made a full recipe, and got three serves. It says it serves 8-10, so I guess if you are just having a spoonful as a serve? Instead of adding the dates to the oven like the figs were meant to be, I just added them at the end oonce it had cooled.
Rating: :)

Fig and Grapefruit Granola

Apple Cranberry Granola from Vegan Yack Attack On The Go by Jackie Sobon: A great mix of dried apples, cranberries, almonds, maple syrup, and almond butter. My almond butter was not pourable, so I heated it gently on the stove with the syrup so I can mix it through. The big issue I had was that the oats and nut part of the granola needed more time in the oven to go golden. However as this recipe has you mix the fruit in from the start, it started to burn a bit! You can see the dried apple is pretty dark, though it ended up having a nice caramlised flavour. But maybe add the fruit in either at the end or in the last half of baking.
Rating: :)

Apple Cranberry Granola

Baconish Granola from Baconish by Leinana Two Moons: The bacony part of this granola comes from some coconut bacon. Added to a mix of oats, almonds, and dried cranberries. The recipe calls for coconut oil, but I used canola. I made a half recipe and got three serves. I liked that this had a nice, subtle smoky flavour that went really well with the maple syrup flavour and the cranberries.
Rating: :)

Baconish Granola

Cacao Nib Granola Clusters from Cook Share Eat Vegan by Aine Carlin: These are halfway to a bliss ball, but instead are baked. They are a mix of fruit and nuts. The recipe called for figs, but I declined to use them. I used a mix of dates, dried cherries, prunes, raisins, and dried appricots. I accidentally pressed a bit too hard when I was putting the blended mix onto the baking sheet, so it ended up baking pretty solid rather than in clusters. I had to break/chop them up a bit. These were nice, but boy were they super sweet. I served them over a pretty tart natural soy yoghurt, with some fresh fruit as well, but small doses only. They do make a good snack though!
Rating: :)

Cacao Nib Granola Clusters

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim

Results are back and the good news is that everything is stable! Her kidney disease hasn't advanced, and her thyroid is being controlled with her current medications. So we just continue on as is. Hurrah!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Midweek Munchies: Pantry Meals Edition

Hello friends! One thing I have gotten very used to doing over the past few months is making sure to stock up on some pantry friendly meals. Both because sometimes you can't get things, but also now that we are only getting a weekly grocery delivery there is no guarantee that produce delivered on Thursday will still be in good shape by Wednesday... So this post is dedicated to a few of the pantry meals I have made! By pantry I mean pantry and freezer. One of the nice things about these as well is that as they don't involve a recipe, they involve very little brain power to pop together. Win win!

First up, a classic. Spaghetti and Meatballs! I am not a big fan of Gardein chicken products, but I really enjoy their meatballs. Even better is now they are available from the major supermarkets, so I can get them sent in our weekly delivery! At the beginning of everything, pasta was very hard to come by, so this packet of spaghetti was very special. Also, a random vegan jar of pasta sauce I picked up. Normally I make pasta sauce from scratch when I am making recipes, but nothing beats a jar from the cupboard for convenience. Not included in the 'before' photo, but seen in the 'after', is some frozen spinach that I added to the sauce and also some FYH vegan parmesan from my fridge.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

These Vegie Delight Garlic and Herb Sausages are some of my favourite sausages, and they are easy to order from the supermarket and live in your freezer until you are ready. I always have a packet of them on hand. When veggies were scare, I grabbed a tin of mushy peas for fun. I like mushy peas! Also some potatoes that I just cubed and roasted, and all drenched in some Just Add... vegan gravy (easily made up with the powder and some 'beef' stock).

Sausage and Gravy

Sausage and Gravy

I saved a bit of the gravy to make a roast beef, gravy, and cheese toasted sandwich. The beef was the last of a packet of Redwoods Beef-Style Slices that had been languishing in my freezer, and the cheese was Miyoko's smoked farmhouse from my ridiculous stash of it that I bought when I found it on super clearance sale.

Roast Beef, Gravy, and Miyoko's Smoked grilled sandwich

The final meal is meatloaf! I got this Made With Plants Meatloaf on sale (short-dated) and threw it into my freezer until the time was right. It doesn't technically say you can freeze it, but you can. I mashed some potatoes, cooked up some frozen green beans, and topped it in yet more Just Add... gravy. I don't know what I will do when that stash of gravy powder runs out! These frozen baby green beans have quickly become one of my favourite veggies to keep on hand. I just boil them for a couple of minutes, then drain. They are so sweet and juicy. Previously I haven't been one for frozen veggies (besides peas and corn), but I now consider these an essential in my freezer, and I use them to add a green side to all sorts of things! But back to the meatloaf, you can microwave it or bake it. I was tired, so I just zapped it in the microwave. It has a glaze on it too. It was actually pretty good, but very small. The three of us demolished it for dinner, no leftover meatloaf sandwiches here!

Pantry Dinner

Made With Plants Meatloaf

Made With Plants Meatloaf, green beans, mashed potatoes, Just Add Gravy

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sleepy Dim Sim

One very sleepy kitty. We went to the clinic yesterday morning for her six monthly senior check up. Everything on her exam seemed stable, given that she is a 20 year old kitty with several issues, but still waiting for her blood results to get back later on today!

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Eating In: The V Word

One of the best finds during isolation was finding out through Instagram that The V Word was doing home deliveries of baked goods and freezer-friendly meals. I had initially found them at their stall at the Brisbane Vegan Expo last year, where I discovered the joys of their Chinois. So I was stoked to be able to get a bunch of stuff delivered. As well as tarts, brioche, and chinois they also had some sandwiches, quiches, and ready meals. You could order the meals for two people or four people, so the first time I ordered for four... but they are so big I ended up just ordering for two from them on because that was more than enough to feed three people! Sadly, they are no longer operating in Brisbane, as they have moved to Toowoomba. Woe! I hope that one day when things are safer, I might make the drive there to pick up some more of their amazing food if they start working at markets again.

Strawberry Custard Tarts are a favourite of mine... as in, one of my favourite foods ever, so I of course had to get some. The minimum order was four, and these were not freezer friendly, so I just had to eat them all over a couple of days. Such a tragedy! So good.

Strawberry Tarts from The V Word

The Quiche Lorraine was freezer friendly, with a minimum order of four, so I was able to enjoy these delicious savoury treats for lunches spread out over a couple of weeks. You could eat them cold, zap them in the microwave, or heat them in the oven depending on what you had time for/were feeling like.

Quiche Lorraine from The V Word

Their lasagne was amazing. You could choose from TVP or lentils, and of course I chose TVP. Amazing tomato TVP sauce, bechamel, and cheesy topping. I ended up ordering three of these.

The V Word Lasagne with Pesto salad

Ahhh... the chinois! Sometimes it was still warm from the oven when it arrived. A chinois is like a pull-apart with scrolls of brioche filled with custard and chocolate chips. It is very special.

Chinois from The V Word

Their moussaka was another excellent ready meal, they all just need heating in the oven. I only ordered this on the last order I made, so I am sad that I cannot have it again.

Moussaka from The V Word

The Croque Monsieur was another freezer-friendly lunch option. It was a minimum order of two, so I ate one the next day and froze the other for a future treat. Once thawed, you just pop it in the oven to heat up. It has smokey tofu and cheese inside, and is topped with bechamel and more cheese.

Croque Monsieur from The V Word

Finally, their loaded mac and cheese. It had smoky tofu bacon and sundried tomatoes in it. I'd probably prefer it without the sundried tomatoes, as I have a complex relationship with them. But it was good, thick, creamy, and cheesy mac and cheese.

Loaded Mac and Cheese from The V Word

Sigh, so hungry and so sad looking at all this food I may never eat again! But it was wonderful while I had it, and what a great service to have delicious vegan meals delivered to your door that you could stash in your freezer for the future. Plus the benefit of supporting a local business. I hope our paths cross again one day!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Speaking of adoption kitties, our newest little friend looking for a home is Halloumi. Can you even with that white fluffy face?

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Recipe Round-Up: Bed & Broccoli

Back in 2014, I had the chance to stay at Australia's first vegan B&B, Bed & Broccoli with my friend Leigh, you can read more about that visit here. It was a wonderful couple of days, with delicious food, wonderful animals, and some very bad movies. I should note that Bed & Broccoli has moved to a new property since we have visited. A few days after our visit, we met up with the owners again at World Vegan Day markets in Melbourne, and we each bought a copy of their book. It is a combination of recipes, photos, and stories of the animals and their rescue. To be honest, after that day the book just sort of sat on my shelf for six years. But its turn was coming up in the recipe round-up blogging alphabetical list (you will notice that I am just working through my recipe books in alphabetical order), so it was time to Make Some Stuff!

Butter Bean Dip: This was very quick to make and a good little snack with veggie sticks or spread onto sandwiches. Basil and parsley give the green flavour. As this was in the depth of my isolating, I had some fresh parsley but no basil. So I used a combination of frozen basil cubes and some lightly dried basil flakes to make the most of what I could. I also left out the spring onion and the cayenne. It had quite a strong lemony flavour, so I'd maybe ease off on that to let the herbs shine through a bit more, I assume it would have been better balanced with the onions and the cayenne. I needed to add a bit of water to help this blend up and smooth out.
Rating: :)

Butter Bean Dip

Spiced Dhal Soup: This dhal wasn't so much spiced. It had some ginger and cumin and turmeric. I had to leave out the cayenne, so maybe that was where the spice was? The night we ate it, it was bland... but not in that comforting bland dhal way. Just meh. But it definitely improved when reheated the next day. This is a very soupy soup! I decreased the stock to 1.5L (from 2L) and it was still very runny. Served with some yoghurt, coriander, mango chutney, and also some garlic naan.
Rating: :|

Spiced Dhal Soup

A Mushroom Must: Their take on osso buco, using brown mushrooms as the base. I used a mix of halved cremini and large chunks of portobello. I also used carrot instead of capsicum. This simmers for a while, smells lovely, and the mushrooms stayed nice and chunky. Served over spinach and mashed potatoes.
Rating: :)

A Mushroom Must

Mushroom Stroganoff: The problem with this recipe was that it was just far too soupy, I wanted it to really thicken up and it did not. For this one, I couldn't get cremini mushrooms so I just used regular white ones, and I added peas instead of green capsicum. I used a bit of natural yoghurt that I needed to use up instead of some of the soymilk to give it an extra oomph. It was meant to get thick and creamy using flour to thicken, but it just never did. It needs a lot less liquid! Because it was so liquidy, it was just bland, sadly. Served over polenta and spinach.
Rating: :|

Mushroom Stroganoff

Creamy Penne with Veggies: I made a half recipe of this (using 250g of penne) and it made about 3-4 serves. This pasta is cooked in a creamy, curried sauce. I used a heaped tsp of mild curry powder, and I used a mix of light coconut milk and water rather than full fat coconut milk so I didn't die. You can add any vegetables you want, so I chose broccoli and peas (cooked with the pasta), sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, and baby spinach. It wasn't required in the recipe, but I also mixed through some nutritional yeast. I had some leftovers, which I turned into a pasta salad (Food for Dissertating-style) by adding some mayo, celery, olives, and cucumber the next day.
Rating: :)

Creamy Penne With Veggies

Creamy Penne With Veggies turned into pasta salad

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding: I made this for afternoon tea one chilly, rainy afternoon. I baked it in a square, rather than round, casserole dish. It is very quick and easy to put together. After the 30 minutes baking time, it was maybe not quite cooked through? But it didn't taste raw and it is all meant to be pudding anyway, it was just a bit gloopier than I was used to. But the taste was excellent, especially with some vanilla ice cream.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

Carrot & Coconut Slice: I actually made this twice. The first time I was eating it thinking 'this is great, if only it had some sultanas', and then I realised that I had forgotten to put sultanas in it. So I made it again, including the sultanas. This recipe is so easy to make. It uses self raising flour (as does the pudding above... US friends... I don't think you have self-raising flour over there?). Everything is mixed together in a bowl, and the only liquid used is non-dairy milk. As well as grated carrot and sultanas, it also has shredded coconut and chopped walnuts in it. This was so easy to make, and so delicious to eat, I can definitely see this going into a regular rotation.
Rating: :D

Carrot & Coconut Slice

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post


Remember Marigold the adoption kitten from a few weeks ago? She got a home. But this is her beautiful mum, Mali. Mali is such a beautiful sassy sweetheart, and we are hoping to find the best home ever for her.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Art Post!

Hello friends, and welcome to the 1000th post on my blog! It started in 2008, so that is 12 years of posting to get to 1000. There have been long periods of absence in there. But I am glad I always have my blog and my lovely blogging community to return to.

Perhaps weirdly, this milestone post is not going to be about food! I shared a post about art previously, as one of the things that is making me happy these days is buying lots of lovely art and supporting independent artists. Deliveries of delightful art have been one of the things keeping my spirits up during this weird time. So here are some of the things! As well as prints, I am including things like patches, pins, stickers, and doodles.

From my favourite artist, BunnyDee , two fabulous packages! One is a bunch of prints I bought, including a beautiful The Last Unicorn inspired print and a print of the Rosy Maple Moth as a cat, my favourite moth! I also got another amazing package from backing her Kickstarter for the Luna Moth Cat Enamel Pin. As well as the pin, it came with bonuses and stretch goals including prints, another pin, patches, and stickers. I have some more prints from her on the way, so look for them in a future post!

Bunnydee order

Bunnydee Kickstarter

These are some BunnyDee luna moth cat prints that I have framed. It is taking me some time to actually get the frames at the moment, but when things go up on the wall at last it makes me so happy!

Bunny Dee Luna Moth Cat Prints

I got a beautiful letter from my friend Sarra who lives in Seattle, and it included some wonderful stickers and a beautiful photo of daffodils she had taken on one of her walks.

Letter from Sarra

My friend Elyce Phillips, amazing artist and also commedian, was raising funds by offering to draw a witch for any donation to a group supporting trans rights after a certain author made some horrible TERF statements. For my donation, I got this graphic sent of a delightful purple haired witch with a kitty. Of course, always cats.

Witch by Elyce

Heidiroo is another artist I found on Instagram who I love. As well as doing awesome art, with a lot of cats, she also is a vegan and has a delightful kitty called Peanut who I am low-key obsessed with. I made my first order from here earlier this year, and was thrilled when it arrived.

Heidiroo Art

Another project I backed was the Pridosaur Pins on Indiegogo, but now available here. The premise was dinosaurs to represent different identities in the LGBTQIA+ community, with the dino names turned into cute puns. I got the Arosaurus (aromantic) and Archaeopterace (asexual) pins. Also some cute stickers I will have to take a photo of some time. As both ace and aro, I love being included in queer indentity collections! Ace has been getting prominence for a couple of years, but I feel like aro is only just starting to show up. It is nice to see.

Pridosaur Pins

I also love the art of Stasia Burrington, who I found on Instagram. My first order from her just came a few days ago! Including this rainbow cat print that I just am besotted with, a few stickers, and a bunch of lovely 5 x 7 inch prints.

Stasia Burrington Art

Also recently arrived is this selection from Candy Doll Club. I bought the MLP pin and sticker, and the What Would Buffy Do pencil (that is art so I will never use), and the other stickers were bonuses included.

Candy Doll Club Order

Speaking of stickers, I finally stuck some of my awesome sticker collection on my laptop! Kind of. I actually used BlueTac so I can remove them as desired. I suffer from sticker commitment phobia. I really don't want to lose stickers when I eventually have to get a new laptop. So this was my midway solution.

Laptop Stickers

Finally, some doodle art. I sporadically feel like I want to do some doodling. Danielle (of BunnyDee), gave me some advice to just start by drawing things I can see around me. As I have mostly been in my house, here are a few not very good doodles plus the item that inspired them.



Thanks for looking at some art, I hope it made you smile a bit! I will be back tomorrow with post 1001, and back to regular food scheduling.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

MPA Art in Ikea Frame with Shannon Meow embellishment

Framed cat portraits on the wall

These are all commissioned artworks I have shown before of my girls, but I thought for this art post I'd share how they are now framed! These are pink A4 frames from Ikea, that have tragically now been replaced by a salmon colour rather than the pale pink of my dreams. I am glad I have a bunch of them still! The top one I am particularly proud of, as it was an 8 x 10 inch print. I used some pink cardboard to put behind it, and a cute sticker I had to embellish it. So even though the print doesn't fit the frame, I love how it looks. The bottom photo is the framed and hung individual portraits of my girls. They are up on the wall opposite my bed, and I love looking at them!

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Midweek Munchies

Hello friends. What a time. Thank you for your kind comments, I know this is a time where so many of us are struggling. Let's get into some food, shall we?

It is frustratingly hard to find Salt and Vinegar flavoured chips that are vegan, as a lot of them have dairy in them. Why they can make a chicken flavoured chip that is accidentally vegan but cannot manage a salt and vinegar flavour, I know not. But there are a few brands. And I am not a big regular chip eater, but I do love a good salt and vinegar. Emphasis on the good. Some of them just don't have enough of the flavour. Thankfully these Natural Chip Co Salt and Vinegar Chips are both vegan and also have a really good strong flavour. They are the best chips of this sort.

Best Chips

Love these Tom & Luke Snackaballs. The chocolate and orange chocolate ones are a like little snack balls but they also have actual chocolate in them. They are a lovely little treat! The Peanut Butter and Cacao ones are your more classic snack ball, with an excellent flavour. I keep them at work for any time a snack need strikes.

Tom & Luke

Back to adventures in yoghurt, this So Delicious Cashew Vanilla Yoghurt is one of my favourites. A bit sweeter than the So Delicious natural yoghurt, it isn't overly sweet and has a lovely rich vanilla flavour. It is great on its own or with fruit and granola, and I think it would also make a great vanilla topping for desserts. It is really thick.

So Delicious Cashew Vanilla Yoghurt

A while ago Flora & Fauna was having a 15% off everything sale, plus free delivery if you ordered a certain amount. So who was I to say no? This was still when I was in isolation (as in, before going back to work, I'm not exactly doing much outside the house other than that and the occasional quick shop trip), so getting a box of fun treats was very much wanted. Anyway else like to try and spend their way out of depression? I figure at least I am not going beyond my means, and I am generally supporting local businesses or independent artists, so its a good thing! Right?

Flora & Fauna Delivery

Not food, but in that same order I also bought a bunch of very silly face sheet mask things, with silly ingredients like gold foil and lime caviar in them. My love of silly drinks spilling over into skin care. I haven't tried any yet, but I should get onto that so I can post selfies on my IG stories of me looking ridiculous.

Flora & Fauna Delivery

This was a comfort food kind of lunch using up things. A tin of baked beans (what Food For Dissertating would call Heinz Vegetarian Beans in Tomato Sauce) mixed through some leftover white rice, a bunch of nutritional yeast mixed in, some baby spinach, and some bacon bits. This was just what I needed that day.

Cheesy Rice and Baked Beans

These were some vegan GF custard pastries I bought randomly at Woolworths and then left languishing in my freezer for ages. They were... eh. The pastry was kind of tough. The custard was OK but there was a slightly strange after taste to the whole thing. Also why would you put something into a packet of 5? Prime numbers do not work for sharing!

Simply Wize Custard Pastries

Finally these Mango Mochi Ice Creams. I'd had the Black Sesame ones before, which I loved. These were also amazing, the mango was so tangy and fresh. I know these have coconut ice cream in them, but thankfully it isn't a heavy coconut, and doesn't make me sick. These are such fun little bites, a really great way to finish up dinner or if you just neen a little something.

Mango Mochi Ice

Oh, I have had to turn on comment approval temporarily, because over the past couple of days old posts on the blog were getting spammed by comments of an inappropriate sexual nature plus some sort of spammy link. I've removed them all. But I will be approving comments before the show up on the blog for a while.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim on my lap

This little girl spent so much time on my lap this morning, I am only getting to this post much later than I planned and even then it was because I finally had to move her to go and get her some food, and after she ate she wandered off for a bit.