Thursday, 13 May 2021

Midweek Munchies

Back to some of the hardest times, when I was still needing things that involved little to no effort if I was going to eat.

Snack balls and bars are great things to have on hand for these sorts of occasions. Keep It Cleaner is a mostly vegan brand that has a lot of different options. The Acai Berry ball is nice and fruity and sweet. The protein crunch bar is also pretty good. Chocolate and cherry is one of my favourite combinations! It could have a stronger cherry flavour though.

Snacks


This Super Vegan Wellness Bowl was pretty meh. The plant-style protein was a bit flavourless, and the whole thing just lacked a strong flavour. But it had grains, veggies, and protein in it, so while I wouldn't get it again, it did what I needed it to do at the time.

Super Nature Super Vegan Wellness Bowl


A friend posted these accidentally vegan cookies on her IG stories, so I ordered them in our next Coles shop. They are really lovely, and I highly recommend.

Coles Apple Pie Cookies


As I mentioned previously, keeping hydrated was a big challenge. Even in normal times I don't tend to drink enough, but in the darkest grief times it was even more of a struggle. These coconut waters were a nice easy way to get some liquids in. The pink coconut water had a really nice almost malted flavour to it.

Coconut Waters


More snack balls! Keep It Cleaner came out with these nut butter stuffed balls. The Cinnamon Roll Cashew Butter one was nice, quite sweet though. My favourite of course was the Double Peanut Butter one, I still get these regularly. They make a great quick snack. The choc orange poppy seed balls were not my favourite. Normally I love chocolate and orange together, but these left a weird after taste on my tongue and I also found the poppy seeds annoying.

Snacks


I've posted about these before, but steamed dumplings are always a great meal when I have no energy or motivation. I always put plum sauce and black vinegar on them.

Shiitake Dumplings


Woolworths had a number of special Christmas things last year, including these Mushroom and Cauliflower Wellingtons. I got some on special after Christmas. They were... OK? The flavour was nice, but they all just stuck to the baking pan (they came in an alfoil one), the pastry didn't cook through all the way, and then they completely fell apart. It was pretty funny. The red wine sauce was nice.

Woolworths Cauliflower and Mushroom Wellingtons

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Mabon and Samhain 2021

Two more Sabbats have passed this year. For us in the southern hemisphere it was Mabon and Samhain.

Mabon aka Autumn Equinox (19th March, 2021)

Autumn Equinox is often still very warm here. Brisbane's seasons tend to run towards the majority of the year being some sort of summer. For previous Mabon's I have made salads, but it was a bit cooler this year!

Cranberry Chili from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman: I have loads of frozen cranberries that I have hoarded in my freezer. They are rarely if ever available here and when they are I tend to buy loads and then am reluctant to use them so I can 'save them'. A fine thought, except for freezer burn. So time to get using them. This is an unsual chili that is a mix of frozen cranberries and kidney beans. This recipe called for a tiny bit of tequila, which I didnpt have so a web site suggested a mix of lime and water as a potential sub. I would not use lime again, as my cranberries were very tart. Next time I'd just leave out the sub all together and add a smidge extra agave. Because I am me, I of course did notuse actual chili powder in my chili, using paprika instead. I had to rapid simmer it at the end for about five minutes to get it to thicken up enough. I served it that night with spinach and roasted sweet potato, which was a nice side. I had some leftovers which I reheated with some corn (for sweetness), celery and spinach and served over a baked potato.
Rating: :)

Cranberry Chilly


Cranberry Chilli


Pumpkin Spice Bread from Forks Over Knives The Cookbook (recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz): This recipe is full of autumn flavours, with pumpkin, apple butter (I'll be doing a future post about this), and lots of spices. You can only get tinned pumpkin puree here from online, so I used homemade butternut puree (which I prefer anyway). This recipe has the option of adding raisins and walnuts, but I left them out. The bread itself was a touch gummy, but it was really nice and smelled amazing. I ate this a number of ways. On it's own, smeared with apple butter, or one day with some leftover ice cream and blueberry sauce.
Rating: :)

Pumpkin Spice Bread


Pumpkin Spice Bread with rosemary ice cream and blueberry sauce


Samhain (April 30th - May 1st, 2021)

Samhain is on the 31st of October in the northern hemisphere, which is the same time as Halloween. Here it is at the end of April, so I don't really go for Halloween-type food. Samhain is traditionally considered the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, and is the new year on the wheel of the year. It is a time for honouring those that have passed. I ate my dinner in silence, and lit a candle for everyone who has passed... which this year included my sweet Dim Sim, as well as so many others.

Autumn Stroganoff from Cafe Flora Cookbook: This is a wonderful stew that has roasted pumpkin (it called for delicata which I cannot get, so I used butternut) and roasted mushrooms (I had a mix of cremini and portobello), with caramelised onions. You start by making a mushroom essence, a slow simmered mushroom stock, which is further reduced by simmering in this recipe. This recipe is not written vegan, but is super easy to make vegan by using vegan butter for the butter (I used Nuttelex) and I used Kingland Natural Soy Yoghurt in place of the creme fraiche. It is served over noodles, and I used the Nature's Kitchen fresh spinach fettucine from Coles. Served over some baby spinach, I got three very satisfying serves.
Rating: :D

Autumn Stroganoff


Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf from Forks Over Knives The Cookbook (recipe by Isa Chandra Moskowitz): I had some leftover butternut puree in my freezer, so decided to dip back into FOK for another yummy load. This time it is butternut and chocolate (cocoa in the dry mix and chocolate chips folded through the batter), full of spices. I also added some plump apple-juice sweetened semi-dried cranberries. I needed to bake this for an extra 15 minutes to cook it through.
Rating: :)

Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf


Sunday, 9 May 2021

Eating In with Amy: Pizza and Baked Goods (and some bonus greens)

My friend Amy recently moved much closer to where I live. I mentioned her in a recent post, she was the lovely person who brought me Vietnamese food and comfort right after Dim Sim passed. Christmas was extra hard this year, being my first one without Dim Sim and also falling on the four week mark of her passing.

On Boxing Day (the day after Christmas, I don't think that is a universal thing?), I went over the Amy's place and we watched a lot of Disney movies, and I hugged her sweet kitties. We also ordered a lot of pizza from Pizza Hut, which has several vegan options. We got two pizzas (magherita and vegan deluxe), cheesy vegan garlic bread, potato gems, and some of their recently released vegan chicken wings. Their pizzas have vegan cheese, but no vegan meats, it is all veggies. The only vegan meat they have is their chicken wings. Which are actually chicken nugget type things. And they weren't so much smothered in BBQ sauce as they were lightly drizzed. But still, if was fun.

Cheezy Garlic Bread, Vegan Wings, Tater Tots from Pizza Hut


Pizzas from Pizza Hut


Pizzas from Pizza Hut


A few weeks later we had another day at her house. This time we only watched one movie on Disney Plus.... and then followed that up by watching the entire series of Fate: A Winx Saga. On my way to her place, I stopped by a doughnut shop called Dough Ma. On Saturday they have vegan doughnut flavours. Their non-vegan doughnuts are huge and are all sorts of fancy flavours. Their vegan doughnuts are much smaller, with only a few flavours. We got jam and PB&J, which got bonus points for having actual peanut butter in it instead of peanut butter icing. Sorry for the messy photo! I think we also ordered ramen to be delivered for dinner that night, but no photos.

Jam and PB&J Doughnuts from Dough Ma


Here's the greens as mentioned in the title of the post! So, this wasn't eating in. This was actually eating out. We went to Easy House yum cha for her birthday in February. No extensive photos, you can see the food we would have been eating by looking at my previous Easy House posts. But enjoy this photo of some of the greens we had there.

Greens at Easy House


On the way back from Easy House, we stopped at Flour Of Life (see previous posts here), the vegan bakery. I got some tarts to take home for my family. A strawberry flan for me, passionfruit tart for Mum, and chocolate tart for Dad.

Tarts (Passionfruit, Chocolate, Strawerry) from Flour of Life


Amy got some Iced Vovos... I think these are an Australian biscuit, not sure if they are anywhere else? But they are a biscuit with two strips of pink cream surrounding a middle strip of red jam, and sprinkled with coconut. They are an iconic Australian biscuit. And Flour of Life very sensibly made some vegan ones! Amy shared some with me after we got back to her place (shocker, we watched Disney... four movies in total... we don't mess around!), and they were not quite the same but very good.

Iced Vovos from Flour of Life


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

I know I haven't been posting kitty photos for a while... my heart just needed a little break. But I couldn't talk about Amy and not share photos of her two wonderful kitties, my nephew and my niece, Neil deCat Tyson and Kitty Curie.

Neil deCat Tyson


Kitty Curie


Friday, 7 May 2021

Eating Out: U-Tong Thai

I'm jumping all over my timeline here. My last post was about some of the food I ate in the worst times after Dim Sim. This post is from food a few months later, when I went out to lunch with my friend Diana. She played a huge roll on the day of Dim Sim's passing, that I am forever grateful for. I was just starting back at work a bit, and finished at midday on her day off, so we met half-way at U-Tong Thai, a vegan Thai place in Clayfield. I've been to U-Tong in its current state once before, but before it was U-Tong it was PingAn Veggie Time Thai, which I went to several times.

I got a Rosella Iced Tea to drink, which is such a wonderful and refreshing drink. I don't know how to really describe it if you haven't had it before, but it is sweet and sort of floral.

Rosella Iced Tea at U-Tong Thai


Diana and I shared some starters. The Hoisin Duck Bao were wonderful, with fluffy bao buns and a great filling. We also got the Roti and Peanut Sauce, which I had previously enjoyed when it was PingAn. The roti is still amazing, so flaky and savoury and warm. Unfortunately they had changed the peanut sauce, so it was thinner and more a curry-style peanut sauce.

Hoisin Duck Bao at U-Tong Thai


Roti and Peanut Sauce at U-Tong Thai


For our mains we went pretty typical. Diana got the Pad Thai, and I of course got the Pad See Ew. Pad See Ew is one of my favourite foods ever, so I have a hard time saying no to it on a menu, even though I've had it at this location a few times before!

Pad Thai at U-Tong Thai


Pad See Ew at U-Tong Thai


Thursday, 6 May 2021

Midweek Munchies

CW for this post: Depression, grief, food restriction.

I've had a lot of photos back logged, so all those mid-week munchies I have been posting over the last few weeks... they were from the before times. The times when I knew time with Dim Sim was limited, but I was trying to give us as much time as possible. The time when I still had hope. Then she was gone, so suddenly. Honestly, I didn't eat anything for three days, and then I spend the next couple of weeks barely eating. It took a long time for my appetite to come back to any semblence of normal, and my desire to cook or do anything was next to none. During these times I relied on things like microwave meals, juices, snack bars, and biscuits for when I did get to a point where my body was demanding some sort of food. So the next many midweek munchies posts will be covering some of those foods, that were there for my when I needed. Why did I keep taking photos of them? I don't know. Some sort of compulsion? Some attempt at connecting to life even though there was a long time there when I didn't want it? Anyway, if you are sad in Australia, here are some foods you could turn to.

Two of my wonderful friends sent my care packages from The Green Edge. To be honest I can't remember which package these were from. Biscuits are easy, and I could eat half a pack to get my blood glucose up and then go back to bed. I liked the Chocolate Fingers the best, they were jam sandwiched between short bread cookies and dipped in chocolate.

Cookies


Dinner as a concept was not something I was able to cope with too much. It involved having and appetite, making an effort, and also some sense of timing. So I just ate whenever, even if that meant dinner at 3pm. I ordered/bought a bunch of different microwave meals. This one was actually pretty good. The patties were fine, the gravy was nice, and it was a good mix of vegetables.

Coco & Lucas Beef Patties


This Super Pulses Vegan Bolognese was a bit meh, and I had to pick out capsicum (yes, even in my darkest moments I won't let capsicum slide). The pea protein pasta was a bit grainy. I added nooch.

Super Pulses Pasta


I randomly picked this up one day at the shops. Grocery shopping is hard during grief they say. And it was. But at sometimes I just felt like I couldn't stay in the house for another moment. I needed to get out for a little bit, and the shops were just the easiest option. This was on sale. It sat in my cupboard for quite a while before I actually ate it, because it was about to expire. It was really nice, soft bread and the flavour was good. I had it fresh with some hummus, but you can also heat it up. (Not pictured anywhere but how good are tubs of hummus when you just feel like you need to put some food in your face?)

Za'atar Flatbread


I mentioned juice. I drank a lot of juice and iced teas and things. Maybe I didn't feel like I could eat anything, but juice at least as a bit of energy in it and some sort of vitamins or whatever. This juice was mostly apple and orange, but as you can see with echinacea in it it is a little bit of a silly drink.

Juice


This juice is less silly, but was very nice. I was quite dehydrated during this time (more so than usual), and something about this combination really did quench that thirst.

Juice


Final one for this post is this Nature's Kitchen Cottage Pie. Nature's Kitchen is the in-house vegan brand at Coles. These meals are sold in the fridge section, but I freeze them all the time, then just thaw and heat in the microwave for when I feel ready. This was pretty nice. Kind of soupy, but I liked it.

Nature's Kitchen Cottage Pie


Also a huge shout out to my beautiful friend Amy, who came over a couple of days after Dim Sim passed just to sit with me and talk. She brought me silly juices, as well as pho and banh mi from Cafe O'Mai. The filling of that bahn mi was the first thing I ate in three days. And I managed the pho the day after.

Monday, 3 May 2021

Eating In: Sushi, Drinks, Noodles, Sweets

Though eating out has returned occasionally, there has still been lots of deliveries or takeaways!

A new sushi place called Sushi Hub opened in Garden City, so I got some to take home for lunch. I got vegetarian, avocado, terriyaki tofu, and seaweed salad. All really good! I love sushi.

Sushi from Sushi Hub


One of my favourite place to get drinks is Huey's, which is a sugar cane juice stand but they have so many more. This is their delicious rose lemonade with rainbow jelly.

Rose Lemonade with Rainbow Jelly from Huey's


I'd ordered delivery from Noodle Box before, they have a vegan section on their menu. This is their Mongolian Tofu, which is a lovely peppery sauce. I was a bit under the weather when I ordered this and the burn from the black pepper was really good. Even though this is from Noodle Box, I ordered this with rice because that is what I was feeling.

Mongolian Tofu from Noodle Box


Another lovely drink from Huey's, this is their lychee and rose drink.

Lychee Rose from Huey's


Roll'd is a Vietnamese chain that also recently opened at Garden City. These are their Tofu Soldiers (rice paper rolls) with vegan fish sauce.

Tofu Soldiers with Vegan Fish Sauce from Roll'd


Finally, some sweet treats! I was picking up some stuff from The Green Edge, and that always means a sticky beak into their sweets cabinet. I got myself a wonderful lemon meringue tart, and a very decadent marshmallow and Tim Tam brownie for my mum.

Lemon Meringue Tart and Marshmallow Tim Tam Brownie from The Green Edge


Saturday, 1 May 2021

Recipe Round-Up: 1000 Vegan Recipes

Another mini-round up for 1000 Vegan Recipes (by Robin Robertson). Doing a post with just a few recipes seems much more manageable right now, though I do have so many other books waiting for their regular-sized round-ups. But for now, let's dive back into a few more recipes from this might tome. Today's are all pasta recipes! You can see all the other posts about this book here.

Pasta Arrabiata: Oh boy, and I late posting about some of these recipes. This photo was taken 10 years ago! Good thing I take photos and keep notes in my books! Anyway, this is pretty simple mox of garlic, tomatoes, and red wine. This was back in the day when I still had some form of tolerance for chilli, however I did remark that using a whole tsp of chili flakes made it quite spicy. Question for my US friends, are red pepper flakes the same as chilli flakes? Or is this yet another thing we don't quite have here in Australia? Anyway, I only used half the amount of pasta,as per usual, and I used a fancy pasta called cesarecce rather than gemelli. Served with a Fry's Schnitzel and a green salad.
Rating: :)

Pasta Arrabbiata


Radiatore with Aurora Sauce: I've never been able to find radiatore pasta here, so I just used some spirals, and again I only used half the amount of dry pasta. I like my pasta saucy. This is a tomato based sauce, but with cream cheese mixed in (there is also the option to use blended soft tofu as well) to give it a creamy taste and a more 'blush' appearance. I also stirred in a tin of kidney beans and half a bag of baby spinach to make this a more complete meal.
Rating: :)

Radiatore with Aurora Sauce


Fettucinni with Puttanesca Pesto: I love puttanesca, so I was excited to try it in pesto form. The pesto has pinenuts, basil, tomatoes, olives, and capers in it. However, that bold punchy puttanesca flavour didn't quite translate as well into pesto form. It was still good, just not as much flavour as I was expecting. I used half the amount of pasta and added a tin of kidney beans to this. I also did not need to add any extra pasta water to thin the sauce out, which would have diluted the flavour further.
Rating: :)

Fettuccine with Puttanesca Pesto


Gemelli with Green Beans, Potatoes, and Basil Pesto: Pasta and potato together is just such a lovely combination of carbs and carbs, and the green beans and a bit of crunch and sweetness. This has a pretty traditional basil pesto on it. I decreased the oil and used some water to make up the rest of the liquid for the pesto. Because I also halved the amount of pasta, I didn't need to use any extra pasta water to thin out the pesto when I mixed them.
Rating: :)

Gemelli with Green Beans, Potatoes, and Basil Pesto


(% 1000 Vegan Recipes blogged: 30.3%) - over 30% now blogged, whoo hoo!

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Midweek Munchies

Munch munch munch...

I had some jarred horseradish leftover from some recipes I had made, and I discovered mashing it with avocado made for a delicious sandwich spread! Or in this case, Ryvita spread. Does Ryvita exist outside Australia? I don't know, but they are rectangular crackers made entirely out of rye (or sometimes mutli grains). I added some fresh tomato and some dill and garlic seasoning salt for a lovely summer snack.

Ryvita with Avocado Horseradish Mash, tomatoes, and garlic and dill salt


Vegan frozen meals are becoming more available in the supermarkets, which is handy if you need a quick dinner and don't have any leftovers. This Ruffie one has schnitzel and pasta in a tomato-y sauce. The downside is it does have little bits of capsicum in the sauce that I needed to pick out. But served with some microwaved baby spinach and peas, and topped with some FYH parmesan, it made for a nice dinner.

Ruffie's Vegan Schnitzel and Pasta


I love these little mochi ice creams, even though they are made with coconut milk. It is not high enough in coconut fat to make me sick, and they are such fun little bites. I picked up the chocolate flavour, which was nice. Not the deepest chocolate flavour in an ice cream you can get, but it definitely hit that little chocoalte spot.

Chocolate Mochi Ice Cream


A quick dinner I made. Coles was about to discontinue these Beef Style Ravioli and replace them with lentil ravioli, and I was thankfully able to get a box to try before they were all gone. They were fine, I don't know if they were particularly beefy. The filling was maybe a little bit grainy. I just boiled them as directed, drained, and then put back over low heat with this pasta sauce, some baby spinach, and peas.

Nature's Kitchen Beef-Style Ravioli and Leggos Sauce


Nature's Kitchen Beef-Style Ravioli and Leggos Sauce


Behold these silly superfood powders I bought! I got them from Balanced Pantry, which has a deal where you can order a pack of three samples (your choice) with free shipping for $12.95. And I got two so I could get six different powders. They also have a tumermic powder that I didn't get, a 'beauty' one with pearl powder in it, and some detox weight-loss bullshit that I was never going to buy, as well as a selection of some that are just single superfood ingredients rather than a blend. Shockingly, even though these came last year, I have only used one to make one thing. Well, maybe not that shocking given that they came only a week before Dim Sim passed. I will have to remember where I stashed them, so that I can start amusing myself with making silly drinks.

Silly Superfood Powders


When does a snackball become a dessert? These three are pushing those boundaries. Starting with the Beetroot Raspberry Brownie, this one is still your classic blend of seeds and dates, with some cocoa added as well as the titula beetroot and raspberry. The strawberry chocolate balls go one step further, adding some actual dark chocolate into the blend. Both are good, though the strawberry flavour is pretty subtle and could be stronger. I consider these more for morning tea or after lunch snacks, rather than something I'd start my day with. But that is my own personal preference. As for that Health Lab ball?? I didn't realise until I had opened it early one morning to have it as a pre-walk pre-breakfast snack that in fact it actually is a dessert. Peanut butter, surrounded by a a date/seed/etc ball, completely covered in a layer of chocolate! It was really nice, but something in the future I will definitely be saving for afternoon tea or an after dinner sweets. Again, just my personal preferences. If chocolate in the morning is your thing, go for it! Get some of these!

New Snackballs