Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nut, choc chip and coconut cookies save the world

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When my husband decided to cut out the cigarettes, it was a welcomed relief.  We’ve been encouraging him to do so for as long as I can remember and finally the day arrived, out of the blue, of his own accord, with much rejoicing from me.

Despite smoking for close to 20 years, he decided to kick the habit cold turkey, no nicotine substitutes………or so I thought, until I walked into the car and counted various different chocolate  and doritos packets all rolled up and jammed into the driver side seat pocket.  So it seems that sugar was going to be the substitute!  Oh well, I guess it’s only short term and the lesser of two evils, maybe?

So I embarked on making him some healthier treats so that I didn’t feel so bad about him eating all that junk.

The problem for me is that my husband is a very harsh critic when it comes to ‘healthy’ food, and more so if it happens to be ‘vegan’.

But I was convinced that I could create something he would love so began the great cookie experiment, and I’m happy to share with you the outcome of that experiment, which I might add was a success.

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Nut, Choc Chip, Coconut Cookie

Makes 10 medium sized cookies and 2 giant ones.

Ingredients
½ cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup unsweeetened almond milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup choc chips
1/4 mixed nuts
1/4 cup coconut flakes

Method
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Mix together the coconut oil and coconut sugar, I use a stand mixer with the whipping attachment and this works really well.  Add the almond milk and vanilla and mix.  Once it’s all incorporated, remove the whipping attachment and add the beating attachment.
In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and mix together with a fork, then add to the wet ingredients and beat until it all comes together.  It will look a bit like dough and will bunch up like a ball.

Roll the mixture into 1 TBS sized balls & place them on a cookie tray lined with baking paper.   Use the palm of your hand to flatten them.
Bake for 7-10 minutes depending on whether you like them chewy or crunchy.  I like them crunchy with a little chewy centre so I did it for close to 10 minutes.

These keep well stored in an airtight container after they have cooled completely.

Enjoy

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Peas, love and mungbeans

xb

Time Savers

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I get so many questions regarding how I maintain a plant based diet.  It seems a lot of people get deterred because they think it’s too time consuming or expensive but I’m here to tell you that it’s surprisingly not, which is great news :)

All you need to do is just set out some time once or twice a week to do some basic food prep and then  you’re done.  This probably isn’t as essential in the summer months when it’s nice and warm and eating fresh salads is something most of our bodies crave anyway and you know how easy it is to whip up a delicious salad right?  It only takes a few minutes if your fridge is stocked with natural plant foods and if you have some pantry staples to whip up a great and tasty dressing.

So, here are my top 2 tips for staying on top of your food game whilst maximising your time and still pumping out delicious, healthy food.

 

Tip 1:  USUAL SUSPECTS

Keep things in your fridge and pantry that you know you like and could eat every day.  Here are the vegetables that I buy every week:

  • mixed baby greens
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • capsicum
  • zucchini
  • cauliflower
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • brown onion
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • eggplant
  • baby spinach
  • avocado
  • celery

These veggies make the bulk of my meals, and I may buy some extra ones that are in season.

My other staples are:

  • hummus
  • tahini
  • vegan cheeze
  • tofu
  • vegan sausages
  • olives
  • oats
  • wholegrain wraps
  • sourdough bread
  • nut butter
  • vegan ice cream
  • cinnamon
  • curry powder
  • olive oil
  • himalayan pink salt and celtic sea salt

TIP 2:  FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL

If anything, planning some of your meals ahead saves you time!  The best advice I was ever given by a nutritionist was to imagine my perfect day food wise and replicate that day in day out when you know you’re going to be under the pump with work/family/life.

So set out a couple of days a week and just prep your favourite things and store them in containers so that you can organise a meal in minutes.

Now I’m going to share with you what I do, this is not to say that you have to do it this way obviously, but just to give you an idea.

So because my week starts on a Sunday, I do my meal prep on the Saturday.  This meal prep usually lasts me 3-4 days.

Here’s a typical menu:

Breakfast:  Apple and cinnamon oats with pumpkin butter

Morning snack:  Decaf almond flat white or matcha soy latte (I buy these and only on work days)

Lunch:  Wholegrain wrap with hummus, baby spinach, grilled tofu slices, vegan cheeze, tomato.  I normally put this under the sandwich press because it’s cold at the moment and I’m craving warm foods.

Afternoon snack: 2 TBS nut butter, 1 cup of celery sticks, 10 strawberries.

Dinner:  1 cup of grilled vegetables, 100 g of grilled tofu cubes, 1 1/2 cups of mixed baby greens with cucumber, capsicum and red onion, 2 tbs of hummus as a dressing, 1/2 cup of grains (I go between quinoa and brown rice)

Snack:  2 scoops of vegan ice cream (sometimes it’s home made, sometimes I buy the So Good brand, what can I say, I have a sweet tooth!)

This is how the prep for this goes down:

First I cook 5 days worth of oats in the slow cooker.  Each serving is 1/3 cup of oats, 2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 grated apple, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.  So I add all of this into the slow cooker, enough for 5 servings.  Once it’s cooked to my liking (not too runny, not super thick), I portion out 5 days worth of oats, put 2 in the freezer, and keep the other 3 in the fridge.  The pumpkin butter I make once a week so I just scoop that into the oats just before I eat it.

Whilst that’s cooking, I turn on the oven, chop up all of my veggies (mushrooms, capsicum, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, eggplant), drizzle them with some olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried oregano, mix it all up and then bake them for about 40-45 or until the root veggies are done.

Now that the veggies and breakfast are cooking, I get the grains on.  I like to use the boil method because when I cook grains for myself I don’t like to season them so the boil method is fine for this.  Once they’re cooked, I just drain them in a colander and rinse under cold water to get rid of the starch.  I leave in the colander to drain again until every part of the prep is done and then I store.  I only make enough for 3 days because grains tend to go off pretty quickly.

Then I prepare the tofu.  I cut 60g serves lengthways and pan fry those on a non-stick pan without any oil until they are nice and golden.  These get stored when done and will be used in the wraps.  I normally make enough for 5 days.

I chop the rest of the tofu into cubes and repeat the above process.  These will be used to accompany dinner and normally last for 3-4 days, at 100 g serves for each meal.

That is all and it probably takes about 1 hour, including chopping and cooking time, but you’re probably in the kitchen for about 1 1/2-2 hours if you factor in washing and cleaning up afterwards.  I clean as I go so this cuts down the time too.

The night before work, I just have to put everything for dinner in containers, 1 for the hot food to be reheated, and 1 tub for the salad.  I make the wrap, and I pop the strawberries, celery and nut butter into a little container and off I go.

Here’s what lunch normally looks like:

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I only ever food prep for my working days or if I know my days off are going to be busy.  If I have nothing pressing to do on my off days, I don’t prep anything as I do love catching up with friends over a meal, or visiting our favourite cafe with my daughters.

I do like to change things up to prevent getting bored so for breakfast I like to alternate between cooked oats and overnight oats which can also be made ahead of time, I normally make up to 4 and just keep them in the fridge.  My daughter loves them too so they don’t last long.

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For dinner instead of tofu, sometimes I’ll have a vegan sausage instead or legumes, and a peanut butter and banana smoothie instead of the veggie sticks, nut butter and fruit for snack.  Here’s what my work meals usually look like (lunch, afternoon snack and dinner):

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The great thing with making the veggies in bulk is that you can use them for anything, you just need a little bit of imagination.  Here are some other ways I use them:

  • stirred through tomato sauce and on top of pasta
  • stuffed into a wholemeal roll with avocado and pesto
  • made into a vegan quiche using tofu as a binder
  • on top of pizzas
  • with chickpeas, cous cous and pine nuts
  • mixed with brown rice and black beans and stuffed into a burrito

There you have it, hope you got some ideas out of this post and that it makes your life easier and gives you more time to do the fun stuff!

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

Carrot Cake Oats with Caramelised Bananas

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It’s been raining, or I should say, pouring, in Sydney for the past 3 days.  I’m not hating on it, goodness knows we need some rain, but it does call for something that gives the illusion of comfort and warmth in terms of food.

Oats do that for me, so as a way of recreating a warm blanket for my belly, I made some carrot cake oats.

Carrot Cake Oats

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/3 cup gluten free oats (use normal oats if GF is not your thing)

2/3 cup fresh carrot juice

1/3 cup water

1 medjool date chopped

1/2 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 banana

1 tsp coconut oil

Method

Place all ingredients, except banana and oil, in a small saucepan and cook stirring on low-medium heat, until oats are soft and the consistency is creamy.  You may need to add a dash more of water if it gets to thick.  Once cooked to your liking, turn off heat and put aside.

For the bananas, melt oil in frying pan on medium heat, cut banana in half lengthways.  You may need to cut them into three if it’s a big and thick banana.  Place bananas in frying pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden.

Place oats in bowl and top with bananas and other toppings of choice.

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Enjoy!

 

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

 

Vanilla Cake with Princess Pink Frosting

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Today, our youngest daughter turned five.  She is very specific when it comes to her requests, and it almost always involves the colour pink.  When I asked her what type of cake she wanted for her birthday, the reply was “I want a vanilla cake with princess pink frosting and those flowers you can eat”.  She was referring to the edible flowers which I used to decorate her sister’s birthday cake only two weeks ago.  Hers was also a vanilla cake, but it had blueberry frosting.

So, off I went to deliver this request.  Vanilla cake, easy peasy.  Princess pink frosting?  That was easy too.

This cake is vegan, but not gluten free.  And whilst the icing is refined sugar free, the cake is not.  You can use coconut sugar but sugar is sugar so if you’re avoiding sugar, then maybe skip to the previous recipe.  But if however, you like to indulge in a bit of cake every now and then, read on.

The vanilla cake is easy and you can find the recipe for mine here.

This recipe makes a beautifully moist vanilla cake and it’s really nice with any type of frosting, or just on it’s own.  You can make it gluten free by replacing the flour with gluten free flour.  I haven’t yet tried it with the vanilla cake but I have done so with the chocolate version and it turned out ok, only not as moist.

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Princess Pink Frosting

Ingredients

makes approximately 1 cup of frosting.

1 cup of raw cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour and rinsed well

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 TBS vanilla extract

1/4 cup of maple syrup (This is a guesstimate as I actually didn’t measure this out so you might want to taste test and adjust accordingly)

2 TBS freshly squeezed beetroot juice

Method

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until super smooth.

Wait until the cake is completely cooled before attempting to frost.

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Mission accomplished :)

Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb

Smoothie Bowl Basics

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Smoothie bowls.  Everyone is doing them, and now that the weather is getting warmer, if you haven’t yet given them a go, then I urge you too get blending.

Tips for the perfect  smoothie bowl:

Start with flavours you like

It’s all well and good if everyone is loving kale, but you won’t drink it if you’re not a fan of the curly green.  So stick to flavours you know you enjoy and when you’re feeling adventurous, try adding something new, a little bit at a time.  Never add rocket.  It’s not nice.  TRUST ME!

Freeze your fruit

This will give it a creamy consistency, similar to a thickshake.  Obviously some fruits you can’t freeze but fruits like berries, mango, pineapple, banana, avocado, custard apple, are all good.

Get your herb on 

Adding fresh herbs to a smoothie can add a new layer of flavour that’s fresh and tasty so don’t be shy.  Mint, parsley, and basil are herbs that I use all the time.

Pump up the value

By adding superfoods like raw cacao, maca, spirulina, protein powder, e.t.c., you will not only add flavour, but will also increase the nutritional value.

Be a dare devil

Sticking to what you know is definitely A-OK if you’re starting out, but once you’ve got the hang of it, try making different combinations, or playing around with the type of liquid you use to bring it all together.

Here’s one for you to try that you wouldn’t normally think of but tastes divine.

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Berry Beet Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup of frozen raspberries

1/2 cup of frozen strawberries

1/4 small beetroot

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)

1/2 frozen banana

1/4 avocado

Method

Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and whiz away.  If you need to, add more milk until you reach your desired consistency.

Pour into a bowl and decorate with your fave toppings.

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Peas, love and mungbeans

xxb