Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gimme all the New Food! Vegan Cuts Snack Box.

When I get an email offering me free food, I can't say no. I'm pretty sure I have written here previously that the way to my heart is certainly through my stomach. There is nothing that I love more than discovering new foods from different parts of the globe.

So when the lovely people from the Vegan Cuts Snack Box asked me if I would like to review what they had to share, obviously I said yes.

The package arrived today all the way from Portland, Oregon. I love Portand. I dragged my husband there whilst on our honeymoon in April last year. It's a vegan mecca. That place is the shiznit.

When I received the package, it seemed incredibly small to be harbouring an array of snacks. However, when i opened that little pandora's box I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. It was like if Mary Poppins had a box of vegan goodies instead of a bag- the snacks just kept coming.

The first things I devoured were the apple chips and the NuttZo 2go spread. Oh, yum!

My husband then stole two of the Emma's Chocolate Chip Macaroons. He loved them. Looks like they passed the omni test. The one I got to eat was damn tasty. 

The 180 degree Cranberry Pomegranate Clusters were crunchy and yum. I still have yet to eat the rest but I am pretty stoked so far. It's taking some real will power to not just devour it all. 

Vegan Cuts is a 100% vegan company consisting of an online market place that not only does these snack boxes, they also do beauty boxes full of make up and beauty products. I'm pretty intrigued as I love the idea of trying new products. These boxes come as a monthly subscription and you can cancel at any time.

The boxes are only $19.95 (US) each and you know, it's only $15 (US) for international postage. Postage is free in the US and $8 to Canada. 
That's not bad. I have a pen pal in the UK and we often send each other vegan care packages. It usually costs me at least $35 just to post the damn thing, let alone buy the products. 

I heard someone say that the way they travel is through eating food. I love that idea. That's probably why I put on 5 kilos every time I go overseas. This is like travelling without even leaving your house and without the weight gain. Most of the snacks are gluten free and having a look at these, they were all low in calories. 

Thank you Vegan Cuts. I love the idea and I reckon I'll be subscribing. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lentil as Anything is coming to Adelaide!

I started dragging my friends to Lentil as Anything when I was in my early 20's. We would often find ourselves in Melbourne after a spontaneous 8 hour car drive. Those were the uni days when I truly had not much else going on and was happy as long as there was a beer in my hand and good tunes on the radio.
Lentil as Anything had opened in Saint Kilda. I had heard on the grapevine that this was a magical place where there are no set prices and instead, you pay what you feel the meal is worth. I would go to this restaurant every time I was in Melbourne. The people who worked there were always nice and the food was always tasty.

This concept places a lot of faith in the goodness of people. Next time you feel like humanity is drowning in its own self obsession, remember Lentil as Anything. They have been so successful that they have opened three more restaurants in Melbourne, one in Sydney and they are set to open one here in Adelaide. The location is yet to be announced but needless to say that this is going to be an exciting experiment for Adelaide. Here is what they had to say:

Lentil As Anything has actually been operating for close to 15 years now, ever since the opening of the very first restaurant in St Kilda in 2000. The concept behind Lentils came from founder Shanaka Fernando, who was inspired by his extensive travels to share the lives and cultures of indigenous people around the globe, as well as taking great steps in addressing social justice issues. The idea was, and always has been, to place people before profit; we believe that everyone deserves a place at the table, and financial circumstances should never have an influence on a person's right to food sovereignty. 
Since then, Lentil As Anything has expanded to four more restaurants (four in Melbourne and one in Sydney), relying on the spirit of generosity in our beloved community to keep the cause going. This same generosity is what helped St Kilda turn around in to what is now a thriving and successful operation; this was also achieved by lots of invested hard work and determination from the Lentils team, as well as focusing on boosting the restaurant's image and social media presence
We're incredibly excited about the Adelaide restaurant, and while the location is yet to be confirmed we can say that it will be in a fairly central location. We will be announcing more specifics on our new venture over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on our Facebook for exciting updates! As is the Lentils way, our new South Australian diners will be able to indulge in an array of multicultural dishes cooked with love, and accommodating vegetarians, vegans and various dietary requirements such as gluten intolerant.

So, Adelaide Veggies, get excited and get supportive. This is going to be fun! 

P.S. This post is not sponsored. x

Thursday, February 12, 2015

She's here...

It's time to share the most amazing thing that has ever happened to my little heart.
I look at her and my heart explodes and waterfalls well behind my eyes. 
She's just the most beautiful thing. 
Her name is Edith (we're calling her Edie). 
We're blessed to have her. She was born on Groundhog Day, February 2, at 9:45 pm. 
I love her madly. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

It's Fringe time!

Hey there, Chick.

I'm participating in a visual art exhibition as part of the Adelaide Fringe and I would love you to come. There will be free wine and nibbles at the opening- wink, wink.

Consider this shameless self promotion all in the name of a good time. ;) x

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DIY: Coconut Yogurt

(This is probably not the best picture. I've covered the yogurt in coconut, dates and served it with grilled pineapple. You get the idea.)

Man, was this hit and miss. I've tried a lot of ways to make coconut yogurt, adding this and that and trying to make a tart tasting, somewhat solid cream but it took a lot of time and testing. I mean, I still ate the runny coconut cream but it certainly wasn't yogurt. All the recipes I have read make it sound so bloody easy. Lies. 

So here is what I figured out. 
To make something that will become yogurt-y, I needed a cream that will solidify in the fridge and doesn't contain additives. A lovely person on the Adelaide Vegans Facebook page (which I have since stopped following but that is another story) suggested that I try Premium Ayam coconut milk. It has no additives, has a slight grey colour to it and sets when in the fridge. The can even says so. So far, this is the only cream I've had luck with. 

I don't bother heating it because firstly, the can it came from is already sterile and secondly, when I've tried that the yogurt has come out runny and lumpy. Not sexy. 

As part of the process, the cream goes into a sterile container. It must be sterile. I will reiterate this. It's not hard, though.

Then, I add one or two capsules of Dairy Free probiotics. Of course, I empty the contents of the capsules into the cream and give it a good stir. 

Finally, I add about a dessert spoon of icing sugar and stir well. I've tried making the yogurt without it, but unfortunately for the probiotics to multiply, it needs sugar to feast on. It helps improve the flavour of the yogurt substantially and actually converts from sugar to probiotic in the container, so rest assured your yogurt will not be sweet. 

I have an electric yogurt heater, so I place the bowl in that and set the timer for ten hours. After that, the yogurt goes in the fridge for the time being- at least 2 hours to cool. 

There it is! Some kind of magic. It works out to be about $5 for a litre so it's not ├╝ber cheap, but is at least half the cost of buying coconut yogurt in store. It is tart and yogurty- more like a plain yogurt so it can be used for either sweet or savoury foods. 

One thing is essential. Make sure all of your bits and pieces are clean and sterile. Bacteria thrive in this environment, and the only bacteria we want to see is the cute little probiotics.

Have fun. Xx 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

You like Banh Mi? I like Sit Lo.

My husband took me to Sit Lo today. It was amazing! I ordered the tofu and mushroom Banh mi, coconut slushee and lotus root chips. The girl serving was super friendly and even asked if I was vegan when we ordered. The food was well priced and serving sizes were perfect. The decor is pretty cute, too. Kinda dark, industrial but warm and cozy at the same time. 

They also do noodle salads and cold rolls- things I am very much a fan of. 

I would highly recommend for anyone wanting a tasty meal with omnivore options. Sit Lo can be found on Bank Street, Adelaide, just between Hindley St and North Tce. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet- A Cookbook Review.

Heya lovely people of the mysterious Internet.

This week sees me preparing for an art exhibition featuring me and some lovely ladies that I happened upon in art school, oh so long ago. I'm really enjoying this no-work baloney, however every time the baby in my guts kicks out a jam, I'm left wondering if this is in fact the moment that my life will change forever. Not so far. Still waiting, waiting.

In the meantime, I've been cooking, cleaning and painting. My midwife wants me to get all my art out the way before Le bebe arrives. She's worried about my stress levels. I know that her heart is in the right place, however she does not know that I get stressed  when I have nothing to do. This whole "resting" thing is great, but seriously. I could die from boredom. My attention span is short. I need to keep busy.

A wonderful little book arrived in the mail late last week to keep me entertained. I love that. Mailbox presents. It's called The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet and as the title suggests, contains the recipes of 150 green smoothies.

I have another book on green smoothies and I wondered exactly how much can be written about the smoothie that is incredibly vibrant and happens to come in one of my favourite colours.

I was pleasantly surprised as I started to read through The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet by Tracy Russell. I mean, obviously, I initially thought that the title really had it's big girl pants on and had a lot to live up to, but I feel like this book is quite different to a lot of  the other fad cookbooks out there at the moment. I've read so many that focus on  the spiritual side of well being, taking "me" time and all that jazz, and that's all very well and good, but I want to know how these ingredients will effect me and my body and my blood.

As someone that has naturally low iron levels (they've actually increased since going vegan BTW), and obviously, as someone that works as a registered nurse, I like to find reasons as to why things happen and then go on to find the solutions. In this cookbook, Russell gives me the information I crave. Sure, she's been on a big "journey" (don't you just love that buzz word?), loosing weight and decreasing her cholesterol levels all with the help of turning salads into delicious drinks. What makes this book different, however is that not only does she tell you how to make your own concoctions with hints and tips, but the recipes are divided into sections such as "Calcium-Rich Green Smoothies", "Iron-Rich Green Smoothies", "Immune- Boosting Green Smoothies" amongst many other chapters.

I really like that. Sometimes I just need a boost and baby, I'm going to skip straight to that chapter.

Being pregnant as I am, vitamins and minerals are a major focus for me at the moment. So is making sure that my body is going to handle this whole birth thing. I know it won't kill me and I'm not going to say that I'm looking forward to it, but I do want to make sure I am in the best possible condition with as much energy as possible when it happens.

One of the first recipes in The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet to take my eye was the Apple-Mango Green Smoothie, mainly because I had all of the ingredients in my refrigerator.  Each recipe gives a brief overview of the benefits of the smoothie involved. The blurb here states that apples are incredibly high in fibre and that the lemon and cucumber have wonderful hydrating properties. Next to the recipe is the nutrition info detailing things like calorie intake, fat, protein, carbs, calcium and vitamins and minerals. This is what is lacking in a great deal of recipe books.

So, overall, I quite like this book. It's helpful, handy and most importantly gets to the point without all the fluff.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Parsnip Puttanesca and two weeks to go.

You'll have to excuse the photo... 

It's week 37, day 4. Christmas Day was the last day I could touch my toes without bending my knees, so I'm not doing too badly. The weather has warmed up substantially, but I don't mind. I'm a hot weather girl. It is a bit shit though, as there have been some serious bush fires to the north east of Adelaide. It's incredibly scary knowing that so many people are currently displaced and worried about their homes and pets. Having said that makes me feel a little guilty that I can just go on with my life. My door is open for anyone who needs help but I'm afraid I'd be useless to help in any other way right now. 

With two weeks more or less to go I'll remember this time of the year, what I was doing, what was going on, and I'll tell my child when it's old enough to understand. 

On a personal level, I am trying to move some of this fluid that had just decided to house itself in my feet. I'm drinking dandelion tea (dirty, burned coffee anyone?), drinking lots of water and mobilising as much as I can. I feel like I'm preparing for an exam, or more appropriately, a marathon. 

I haven't eaten amazingly well throughout my pregnancy, just going with my cravings and energy levels. I've not eaten terribly, but there have been nights including tubs of So Good and a small spoon amongst other things. Bread has always been my downfall. 

I always had this idea of being this perfect yoga practising, clean eating goddess during pregnancy, but the first 6 weeks of committing and nausea left me thankful that I could just get a simple meal in my mouth in the first place. As I've stated before, I couldn't even think of food without vomiting. That kind of changed my game plan. 

Today, I've been looking at going back to super clean eating, with an emphasis on improving my vitamin and mineral levels before the big day. 

For breakfast, we had waffles made from oats, banana, vanilla and baking powder, thrown in a blender until smooth and then used as batter. With that, we had frozen banana blended into ice cream, with strawberries and maple syrup. The meal felt so decadent. 

For lunch, I made something like yuki udon, substituting noodles for thinly sliced cabbage and spirilised carrot. 

Just now, I've made a pasta puttanesca using spiralised parsnip, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, capers, olives, flakes chilli, garlic and some veggie stock all cooked in a pan with a little water until cooked. I served it with blanched asparagus and sheese smoked cheddar. 
It was all delicious and surprisingly quick. I'll be going back there, for sure. 

If you're looking to bump up your intake of vitamins and minerals, I'd suggest substituting pasta, noodles and bread for veggies. It's just too easy. 

Have a great day everyone, and let's hope these fires stop buring soon. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Who gives a crap? A little bit about loo paper.

Get your bum onto something good.

I discovered Who Gives A Crap toilet paper a little while ago. The design is sexy, the name is funny and the work they do is amazing. I have subscribed to their service, which means they send me a box of their fancy product every 4 months to keep me in fresh supply.

This blog post is not sponsored, by the way. I just wanted to give this company a plug for good karma.

Here is some info from their website:

Flush Poverty Down the LooAt present, 40% of the world’s population don’t have access to a toilet. This is a leading contributor to endemic poverty and is a major drag on economic growth in some of the world's poorest countries. Diarrhoea related illnesses fill over half sub-Saharan African hospital beds and kill over 2,000 children under 5 every day. We think that’s pretty crap. That’s why we give 50% of our profits to WaterAid to build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

Make Every Wipe CountWe believe that the need to wipe shouldn’t mean we wipe out the planet. That’s why we only use 100% post consumer waste recycled fibres in our toilet paper. It saves on trees, water and landfill which means you’re doing your bit while doing your bit to help keep our planet great. This is particularly great for a couple of reasons:
Firstly, recycled paper uses 64 percent less energy and 50 percent less water to produce; creates 74 percent less air pollution; saves 17 trees (per ton of paper produced); and creates five times more jobs than one ton of paper products made from virgin wood pulp.
Secondly, the equivalent of about 270,000 trees is either landfilled or flushed every day and 10% of this global total is from toilet paper!

Be Good for Your BumWe don’t use any chlorine, inks, dyes or weird perfumes in our toilet paper. We just pulp the clean fibres at super high temperatures to make WGAC biodegradable, safe in septic tanks and as strong as it is silky soft. And since it’s only tested on the finest human bottoms, our toilet paper is as good for your bum as it is for the planet
Sounds good, huh? You can find out more at xx