week 6 and test results

There’s nothing I love more than having a good, hearty breakfast.  Porridge really is my favourite breakfast to be had as the possibilities are endless.  I never do tire of it and it really keeps me going until mid morning.

But with the weather beginning to heat up, I’ve got to find a new way to enjoy my oats without having to cook them.
Enter the saviour, overnight oats!!
Essentially bircher muesli with a few tweaks :)
Here’s a quick recipe to get you started on what I’ve found, is the beginning of a serious addiction.

Basic overnight oats
serves 1
Ingredients

1/4 cup of wholegrain oats
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
2 tsp chia seeds
1/4 fruit of your choice

Method

Mix all ingredients together and leave in fridge overnight.  Oats will become soft and chia seeds will expand with the fluid giving the finished product a thick consistency.
Here’s the flavour I’m flogging at the moment.
Choc-berry overnight oats
serves 1

Ingredients

1/4 cup wholegrain oats
1/4 cup apple juice (freshly squeezed if you have the time)
1/4 cup almond milk 
2 tsp chia seeds
1 Tbs hemp seeds*
2 tsp raw cacao powder 
2 tsp raw mesquite powder* 
1/4 cup strawberries chopped
1 Tbs shredded coconut
1 Tbs of raw flaked almonds

Method

Place in screw close jar and shake it.
Place in fridge overnight and be ready to have a seriously delicious breakfast in the morning.


If I’m making a big batch for me and the kids I just throw it all in a big bowl and cover it, making sure I mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

You can really let your imagination run away with this recipe and try all types of combinations.
Here’s a few ideas:

  • Grated apple, raisins and cinnamon.
  • Carrot, ginger and nutmeg (using freshly squeezed carrot and ginger juice).
  • Pear, almond and vanilla.
  • Green monster (blend kale/spinach and spirulina with almond milk and juice and then add to other ingredients)

*raw mesquite powder can be found at health food stores, it is high in protein and has good quantities of calcium and magnesium, as well as containing lysine which is really good for people who get recurrent cold sores.  It’s also low GI and has a yummy caramel taste.

*hemp seeds are big in the U.S where I first came across them but you can still get them here.  Hempseed’s amino acid profile is close to “complete” when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. Hemp protein contains all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential ones adult bodies cannot produce. 
They also contain essential fatty acids (omega 3,6,9 & GLA)so double bonus.  

Pretty healthy and nutritious breakfast if you ask me.  
You can double the measurements if you like, but I always like to have a piece of toast with my breakfast, so this serving size is perfect to allow a bit of room for that without feeling stuffed.
Hmmm, I have been having a lot of grains lately, if I’m not careful I’m going to turn into one.  Don’t know what it is, just my body craving the extra energy I guess.
And speaking of grains, I’ve been craving risotto lately.  
For some reason, I have acquired a lot of lemons. Oh yes, that’s why. I was intending on making some preserved lemons but I need a hell of a lot more in order to do that.  That, and my pickled onions, will have to be another post.  But I digress…..

Here’s a recipe I came up with tonight to fix my risotto craving and to make use of all those lemons!

Lemon and herb risotto
serves 4 as a light meal

Ingredients

1 Tbs coconut oil
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 medium brown onion diced
1.5 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice (about two lemons)
2 Tbs of lemon rind grated (from above lemons)
500 ml vegetable stock liquid (i make it with boiled water and vegan stock seasoning)
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbs parsley chopped
1 Tbs dill chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Method

Heat coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan on medium heat.
Add garlic and onion and cook until translucent, being careful not to burn.
Add rice and stir until all rice is coated and continue cooking like that for approximately 4 more minutes.
Add wine, lemon juice, lemon rind and stir until most liquid has evaporated.
Add stock a ladle at a time, being careful not to squash the rice when you stir and waiting until most of the liquid has evaporated before you add next ladle.
Should take about 25 minutes until all stock is gone and liquid has evaporated.
If you’re rice is not cooking, turn the heat down and cover with a lid for a few minutes.
You’re rice might cook before you have finished adding all your stock.  Leave it as is, if you keep adding, you’ll end up with a mashy mess!
Once rice is cooked, turn the heat off and add seasoning to taste, as well as herbs and walnuts, reserving some for garnish.
I served this with a side of baked vegetables.  
I hate wasting so I grabbed whatever was on it’s way out.  Today was a mixture of fennel, carrot, capsicum, spanish onion, zucchini, cauliflower, sweet potato and pumpkin.
I always dry bake my veges (no oil) and toss them with white wine vinegar and evoo once they are done.  Voilá, roast vegetable salad!
I find that when I dry bake, the leftovers last a little bit longer in the fridge. I can stretch them out to fill in sandwiches or if it’s pumpkin, I can use in cakes or mash and add it to my oats for breakfast.
I really love pumpkin, it’s super versatile.  I mash it and use it as butter when I’m making sandwiches for the kids, or blend it with chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice for a quick pumpkin hummus dip for our afternoon snack of vege sticks.  Kids love it :)

Now, to some health news.
I finally got my blood results back and it was what I expected.  I’m low in iron and zinc.  My iron stores are not too bad so that’s a good thing and the best part is that I can do something about it.
So I have purchased the recommended iron + vitamin c tablets, a zinc supplement and a good multivitamin.  I now have to be religious about taking these.  I’m planning on having my bloods done again in another couple of months to see if it has improved.
And whatever the outcome of those results, well, I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I get to it.
I am positive that I will get my levels up and I’m going to be more diligent in regards to adding more iron and zinc rich foods and so on.
So many vegans do this lifestyle successfully so I will try and get some tips from all the amazing support that there is out there.

Watch this space

Peas, love and mung beans

xxb




….and another thing

In my haste of trying to get all the recipes down before they evaporated from my mind, I completely forgot to mention what’s been happening body wise.


Apart from being sick for those few days, I have noticed some positive changes.
My skin has cleared up (thank goodness) and it’s feeling rather good and looking quite bright (so i’ve been told).  Not sure if this is just down to the extra hydration, the fact that I’ve changed my beauty products or my diet.  I’d like to think that it’s a mixture of all three but at the end of the day, you are what you eat :)

I’ve also noticed that I’m not snacking any where near as much as I used to.  I really don’t know why this is.  Also, I’m not as hungry as I used to be and I really cannot explain this. 
I do however, have a couple of theories.
If you remember from the first few weeks, I was eating like a sumo wrestler.  Filling up on all the sugary vegan treats that I could, stuffing as much carbs as I could and so on.  I was ravenous.  At the time, I put it down to my lady times, but I think that maybe it was my body’s natural response to detoxing from animal products.  Maybe it was going bananas and trying to get me to replace what it was craving with anything I could get my hands on.
Now that’s out of my system, I feel like I don’t actually need to consume as much to feel full.
I am actually satisfied after every meal, and have found that in the last two weeks, my cravings have greatly reduced.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sugar head, it’s my downfall, don’t judge me. BUT, even when I bake, I can have a piece and then put it away.  This is a new concept to me.
I now only eat two squares of raw dark chocolate every now and then, not half a slab.  Yes, it is very, very bizarre.
I like to think that my body has re-calibrated or is in the process of recalibrating and this is what life is meant to be like. A day not filled with thoughts of what I can eat next!

Another thing that I’ve noticed, and this is really amazing to me, is that I feel much, much calmer.  I noticed this specially when I am having conversations with people.  
I don’t know what it is, but I just feel content.
And it’s not that I wasn’t content before, it’s just a different type of contentment, like a feeling of calm from the inside.
Oh dear, I’m really not explaining myself too well here.
I think the next step is to match my diet with a diet for my mind.  Meditation work shop anyone?  Yes, it’s been on my radar for a while, trying to break into my waking psyche for a long time and now I feel like I’m ready for this.  I’m going to do it!!

Ok, ok, but before we get there, should we just have one square of this?

  
peas, love and mung beans

xxb

half way mark

Before I go into what’s been going on, I should point something out.  Maybe I should have clarified this at the beginning, my apologies but here it is.
When I use the word vegan, I am not by any means stating that I follow a vegan way of life.  I love shoes way too much.
I use the word vegan to describe a plant based diet that I am currently following.  That is not to take away from those individuals who live the vegan lifestyle, it is just to simplify my life and so that I don’t have to write ‘plant based diet’ all the time.  Hopefully, I haven’t offended anyone and I’m sure that who ever owns the word vegan, will not mind.  I think this because I imagine that most vegans are non-judegemental, loving, peaceful humans.
Phew, ok, is anyone else getting annoyed by that word?!

So, the last week and a half have been rather eventful.  I had a birthday, I worked a lot, I got really sick and I tried to squeeze as many new recipes as possible into one day so that I had something new to give you.  

I should also inform you that I finally went to see my doctor, figured I needed a blood test so they were probably the best bet.  Plus, I’ve got a really good relationship with my G.P and he’s a very open individual.  Didn’t even bat an eyelid when I told him of my challenge. I really thought he might try to talk me out of it as some non-vegans (there we go again) do.
I get my results next week so will keep you posted (unless it’s super embarrassing than I might not).

Ok, so my birthday was awesome although I did leave my party after only an hour of getting there.  No dancing with my girls as planned, no hangover the next morning, just in bed by midnight like cinderella (although I had my prince with me, bonus).
That wasn’t the bad part, the bad part was feeling like something was not-quite-right for four days before it hit me.  The worst nausea and many trips to the loo.  Had to leave work early because it was THAT bad.  Who would’ve thought a tinie tiny little bug could cause so much grief?  But it eventually got better and here I am.

Whilst sick, I hardly ate.  This is not good.  I love food and the sight of it made me sick sick sick.  Not to mention it was the prelude to many uncomfortable situations.
But, one must nourish the body in order for healing to occur so this is what I made.

Save Me Soup
serves 4

Ingredients

1 zucchini 
1 carrot 
1 brown onion diced 
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 parsnip
1 sweede
2 stalks of celery
2 cups of spinach shredded
1 handful of vermicelli noodles
1 cup of creamed corn (i use fresh corn, kernels removed and whizzed with some water)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 litre of water
1 tsp of vegetable stock

Method

Chop vegetables roughly (except those as above).
In a medium saucepan, add the water, vegetable stock, onion, garlic, carrot, swede and parsnip.
When the water starts boiling, reduce heat to simmer and add the rest of the vegetables except parsley and creamed corn.
When the carrot and swede are soft but not mushy, add vermicelli, spinach and corn.  If it’s too thick, add more water at this stage.
Cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off heat and stir in parsley.

I don’t have a photo for this and it doesn’t actually look very pretty but it tastes delicious and it was the only thing I could keep down.
I had it with a slice of organic sourdough spelt toast.
Yum.

I have also been trying new ingredients and one that’s been interesting me of late is buckwheat.  Now, I am trying to eat less gluten (very hard, I love bread) and buckwheat actually has NO wheat in it.  Sometimes they just really get the names wrong don’t they?
Anywhoo, here’s a recipe that I came up with for lunch today.

Buckwheat and Kale Salad with Ranch Dressing   
Serves 3 as a light meal

Ingredients

1/2 cup buckwheat
1 1/2 cup kale shredded
1 1/2 cup tuscan cabbage shredded
1/4 cup char-grilled capsicum* chopped
1/3 cup baked pumpkin cubed
1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
1/4 cup ranch dressing

Method

Soak the buckwheat for 20  minutes, rinse and steam for another 20 minutes.
Fluff with a fork when it’s done.
In a large bowl, add all ingredients and toss gently to coat.
Add more seasoning if required.
Easy peasy japanesy.

*To char-grill your capsicum, place whole washed red capsicum over your gas stove element and cook until black and charred on all sides.  Once done, place in a bowl of cold water and leave for a while until cool enough to handle.
The blackened skin will peel off easily.  Remove seeds and store left over in a container with olive oil and add some peppercorns for later use.

But you can’t have a salad without the dressing, and I got this beauty from here: http://www.yumuniverse.com/2012/01/11/creamy-dairy-free-soy-free-ranch-dressing/

It’s a great recipe but next time I will change a few things.  I’ll repost the updated version once my stock runs out.

I should also report that my man has decided to go on a bit of a health kick.  No, I have not been able to convince him to go meatless but it does mean that he’s happy to have more than one meat free night a week.  Good for him and good for me because I get to try out some more recipes.
As a family with two young kids, spaghetti bolognese is a favourite at our place and the lover is usually in charge of making it so I thought it might be a good time to introduce my version.

Spaghetti Veganese (he he he) 
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 large eggplant
2 zucchini
1 carrot
1 brown onion
2 cloves garlic
3 stalks celery
1 Tbs coconut oil
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 tsp vegetable stock
2 Tbs fresh basil
Savoury yeast flakes
Cracked pepper to taste
1 handful of dried spaghetti (about half a pack)

Method

Make pasta to packet instructions and whilst that is cooking, make the rest.
Place all vegetables into your food processor until finely chopped (or looks like mince).
In a large frying pan, heat your oil and add minced vegetables.  Once soft, about 3-5 minutes, add your oregano, paste and vegetable stock.
After 2 minutes, add your canned tomatoes.  If too dry, use a little water to rinse your tomato can and add that to the mixture.
Cook until it starts to boil, then turn heat down and simmer for 10 minutes.
Once cooked, turn off heat and add fresh basil and cracked pepper.
Once your pasta is cooked, rinse and add to sauce.  Mix well until all pasta is covered.
Serve with a sprinkling of yeast flakes and season if desired.
I added some raw fresh spinach also but that’s just because I love it so much.
What was the verdict?  Empty plates! And that’s good enough for me :)
And here’s another meal that I cooked for them.  You can make it meat friendly by serving it with a side of free range grilled chicken.  I marinated the chicken in mexican spices.

Black Bean Chilli   
Serves 4
Ingredients

1 Tbs coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup brown onion diced
1/2 cup carrots diced
1/2 cup red capsicum
1/2 cup zucchini
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 tsp chilli flakes*
1 tsp vegetable stock
1 can organic black beans rinsed
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 Tbs fresh coriander chopped
Freshly cracked pepper

Method

In a large fry pan, add your coconut oil, garlic, brown onion and carrots.
When onion is translucent, add the rest of your vegetables, stock powder and spices and cook until fragrant.
Add canned tomatoes and add a little water if too dry. 
Turn down heat once it reaches a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add your beans and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Turn heat off and add fresh coriander and cracked pepper.

I served it top of some left over rice that I had and topped it with a basic avocado, red onion and tomato salsa with a lemon and evoo dressing.
*Omit the chilli flakes if your children don’t like it.  Mine don’t so we just add some once on our plates.  I don’t think it compromises the taste.
  

After my terrible hiatus from food, albeit brief but terrible none the less, I was craving the baked goods I missed out on those few days.
So what’s a girl to do?  
Well bake of course!
I revisited a fond friend in the pumpkin cake and this time I used a recipe I found here:http://joythebaker.com/2010/11/vegan-pumpkin-cranberry-apple-pecan-everythinbread/
This recipe is to-die-for delicious and results in the moistest, crumbliest, most delicious bread you’ll ever sink your teeth into.  If you love pumpkin, you will love this.  The only change I made was that I used 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of dried cranberries as I didn’t have any fresh ones.  I also added 1 tsp of ground ginger.  Still delicious in my opinion.
My girls loved this as an afternoon treat which always makes me happy.
This bread is still high in sugar so as a random treat it’s ok. 
I’m mindful not to feed my girls too much sugar (and I’m trying to cut down also) so I’ve had to play around with recipes to come up with something they like.  There has been plenty a time when my nearly 4 year old has told me “mum, it’s a little bit yum but not very yum”.  She’s so sweet, always trying to let me down gently.

Here’s a recipe that they both loved, phew!

Bananut Cake Bars

Ingredients

2 medium bananas mashed
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup almond milk
1/3 cup unhulled tahini and sunflower oil mixture (half and half)
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
Pinch of sea salt
Handful of flaked almonds
1 tsp chia seeds

Method
Line a brownie pan with baking paper and set aside.  Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees celcius.
Carefully mix bananas, dried fruit, tahini/oil mixture, syrup and cinnamon.
Fold through flour and salt but don’t over mix, this will result in a tough cake.
Spoon into prepared tin and spread out evenly.  Mixture will be thick, that’s cool, it’s meant to be.
Sprinkle with almonds and chia seeds and gently press into the batter.
Bake for about 35 minutes but start checkin at around 25 minutes as all ovens are different.
It’s ready when your skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack (if you can wait until then).
Store in an airtight container.
Can be warmed up and served with freshly made coconut custard.



And I’m spent!

Peas, love and mung beans

xxb









week 4 comes to a close

I’m nearing the end of week 4, 1/3 of the way through the challenge, and I’m a bit up and down.  
Not so much with the food, but maybe my hormones. I don’t think that has anything to do with having a plant based diet, or does it?
I’ve been reading a lot about the effect of hormones in your body and I know for sure that dairy and soy products can play havoc on your system in this regard.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have these things, after all, we’re all different and what works for some, doesn’t work for others.  I’m not sure where I lie, but I do know that hormones suck and I personally wish I wasn’t so susceptible to their effects.
The lability in mood at your lady times, the impact they can have on your skin and even what you crave to eat!!! It’s fair to say, they are important little buggers who are not going away.

Although dairy isn’t an issue for me at the moment, I am having soy on a nearly daily basis every time I have my coffee.  If there was a coffee shop that used nut milk instead I would be there in a flash, but alas, soy is the only alternative at this stage, and I’m not yet ready to give up my coffee.

I’ve also been thinking more about the products I’m using on my body.  It makes sense to be on this path I guess, after all, you can’t be so aware of what goes into your body to feed your organs and not worry about what you put ON your major organ.
What I found out is this:
–  there are toxic substances in just about everything, and just walking out the front door exposes you to a lot of it….and you haven’t even started eating yet!
–  some things found in everyday items, including personal products, mimic the action of natural hormones found in your body, thus altering your body’s performance.
–  although you can’t avoid everything, there are definitely things you can do to minimise your exposure.

For this reason, I have begun purchasing products which are based on natural ingredients and where possible, organic.

Now I must say, I’m a product junkie.  I love it all, creams, serums, sun care, make up, facials, e.t.c., and after having terrible skin post babies, I really became obsessed with it.  
So, this hasn’t been an easy thing for me to do. I’m terrified that my new routine will result in break-out hell and ruin all the time I’ve spent getting my skin back to normal.
But, for the sake of research, and on the quest of a cleaner, healthier, more aware way of living, I’ve done it.
So, my new routine is an Australian organic cleanser, hydrogen peroxide 3% at night to keep breakouts at bay and coconut oil to moisturise.  I use a tiny amount of coconut oil on my face and then use it all over my body.

Here’s something I found scary but useful and led me to change my routine:

Obviously, it’s still early days to know whether this will work for me or not but I’m hoping it will, besides, paying $10 for 500 mls of organic coconut oil really makes my wallet happy :)

Now, let’s talk food!

So, I’ve been dying to try out a cheesecake recipe I found whilst trawling the net during my snack attack phase, and, having friends over for lunch today, proved the perfect time to try it out.

I adapted this recipe from one I found at http://mynewroots.blogspot.com.au, an amazing blog you should check out if you haven’t already.  Thanks to my lovely friend Angelica for putting me onto it.
Raw Raspberry ‘Cheese’ Cake


Ingredients:

Base:
1/2 cup raw almonds 
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

Filling:
3 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 5 hours but overnight is best)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
2/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)
1/2 cup strawberries

Method:

Line a deep pie dish or small round springform pan with glad wrap or baking paper.
Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). 
Scoop out crust mixture in prepared pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.

Warm coconut oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
In the food processor/blender, place all filling ingredients (except berries) and blend on high until very smooth.  About 3 minutes.
Pour about 2/3 of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the berries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. 
Place in freezer until solid.
Remove from freezer and allow to thaw for about 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. You can have it on it’s own or serve it with whatever accompaniments you desire.


The best thing about this recipe, apart from the taste obviously, is that you can keep whatever is left over in the freezer.  WIN!

But, it was not just cake that we fed our lovely guests, we also made a seafood paella and of course, being on a vegan journey, I just had to make a vegan version.

Here’s one I adapted from this recipe: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=738168

Quinoa Paella

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups quinoa
1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
400g can organic diced tomatoes
1/3 cup red capsicum chopped
400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
750ml vegetable stock
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 lemon


Directions

Rinse quinoa thoroughly and set aside to drain in a colander.

Sauté onion and garlic in a heavy based saucepan with a little water until soft. 
Add quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, capsicum and 500 mls vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, check to see if more stock is needed (If it looks dry, add the remaining vegetable stock, if it looks too wet, take off cover until some of the fluid evaporates). 
Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done. 
Stir in peas and beans and cook uncovered until peas and beans are warm and all liquid is absorbed. 
Pour into a serving plate and arrange the artichoke hearts on the top.
Sprinkle with parsley and squeeze lemon juice over the top.

Serves 6

I was really impressed with this recipe, and even though there was no chorizo to give it that extra hit of flavour, it was still super tasty.
I served this with a kale, watercress and orange salad that I dressed with orange juice, olive oil, maple syrup, cumin and red wine vinegar.  It was a good accompaniment as the citrus and astringent quality of the salad really set off the richness of the paella.
This is another recipe that keeps on giving and I’m planning on using the left overs to put into wraps with some wedges of avocado and some red cabbage slaw. Mmmmm, makes me hungry just thinking about it…….
Oh, and not to forget, I found some vegan friendly wine at my local wine shop.  Happy days :)

peas, love and mungbeans

xxb




end of week 3 and start of week 4

Wow, it’s nearly a month into my challenge. I don’t know about you but to me, the older I get, the faster time seems to pass.  Must have something to do with wanting to try more things, having more responsibility and never, ever, enough time!


This last week I’ve really been thinking about nutrients.  Am I getting enough? Am I eating the right balance of foods, am I not eating enough of the right stuff, should I combine some foods and leave out others?
It can feel a little overwhelming at times, and the plethora of information out there, although great, can also compound this.
I have found some amazing blogs in the process of my research though, and HOLY KALE and THE WELLNESS WARRIOR are among my favourites.  They are packed with good, practical information and some super duper delicious recipes.  

But back to me :) I guess the only way I’m going to be able to know if I’m on the right track, nutrients wise, is in how my body feels.
At the end of week 3, this is what I’ve noticed:

1. I’m really hungry after lunch and this leads to snacking non-stop until dinner.  At which time I’m bloated but eat anyway.

2. I’ve developed some dry patches on my face and have some minor breakouts on my forehead. NOT good.  This could also be due to my lady time approaching.

3.  My hair is falling out and it reminds me of the hair loss I had just after babies, except a little less intense.  But hair loss is hair loss and it points to something not being right.

All is not bad news though.  I still have the same energy levels and am still able to exercise as normal.

I’m sleeping better and I feel more calm in general.  

So, I’m thinking I’m maybe developing some kind of deficiency.  I’m going to make an appointment with a naturopath to sort out what’s going on and to get some guidance around what I can do to rectify the situation.  After all, it would be completely silly that in the pursue of health I end up unhealthy!!
There are so many vegans out there who are healthy and great so there must be something I can do to fix this I’m sure.

In the meantime, I have purchased some liquid iron and I’m trying to squeeze in as much protein as I can at each meal.

It’s been a super busy last couple of weeks for me so not enough time to play around with recipes, but here’s one that I made for dinner tonight.

Mexican Quinoa Wraps

1 Tbs coconut oil
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup brown onion chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smokey paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 vegan stock cube
1 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup red kidney beans
1 cup of water

Method

Fry the garlic until soft and translucent.
Add spices and chilli and fry until fragrant.
Dissolve stock cube in water and add to onion mixture.
Add tomato paste and stir until all combined.
Add quinoa and cook with lid on for about 20 minutes or until quinoa grains are cooked (will look translucent).
Turn the heat off and stir in the beans.
Put lid on to keep warm whilst you make your salsa.

Avocado Salsa
1 cup avocado cubed
1/2 cup tomato deseeded and chopped
1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup coriander chopped
1 Tbs evoo (I used chilli infused)
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, being careful not to mash avocado.

You will also need some wraps and what ever other topping you will like to add.
I added some purple sweet potato that I had previously baked.

Assemble and enjoy.
Serves 2

I also have a couple of dressing recipes for you to try.  
As you know, I eat a lot of salads and to be honest, the same ol’ dressing gets a little bit boring.  So here are a few that have been on high rotation over my veges of late.
Try them out and you’ll have fun adding them to yours based on flavour combinations.

Green Machine Dressing

1 avocado
1/2 clove of garlic
Lemon juice
sea salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
water

Place all ingredients in a bowl and whizz it up with your hand blender until smooth.
Adjust the seasoning to taste and either add more lemon or water depending on how zingy you like it.

I love this dressing on my kale salads and I get my hands into it so that every little bit of leaf is covered.
Today I had this with some crispy wholegrain flat bread which i spread with unhulled tahini and warmed in the oven.




Tahini Dressing
2 Tbs unhulled tahini
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp horseradish
sea salt and pepper to taste

Place ingredients in a screw jar lid and shake til combined.
Good on basic garden salads.


Balsamic & Curry Dressing 
Sounds weird I know but you will love it!

3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs evoo
1 tsp curry powder
Method as above

I use this dressing when I make a baked vegetable salad.  I will make some soon and post a picture because it really is delish.

Peas, love and mung beans

xxb