Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vegan Parsnip and Leek Hash Browns.





Here is a quick one. Remember, I don't really measure stuff so just chuck it in and go. I like to spray my parsnip and leek hash browns with a little lemon juice and serve with a giant green salad or put them out for a shared lunch dish.


Ingredients: 

  • 2 grated parsnips.
  • One thinly sliced leek.
  • Half a cup of flour.
  • One tablespoon of ground chia seeds with about a quarter of a cup of water.
  • Enough water to mix to make it all stick.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • Oil for frying. 
Method:

Grind your chia mix if you haven't already. I use a bullet blender to make mine. 
Throw the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) into a bowl and mix together to make a mixture that sticks together but isn't runny. 
Take your frypan and add some oil over a medium to low heat. Wait for it to heat up. Make your patties and place them in the pan. You should be able to make about 6. 
Put a lid over the pan or just place an oven tray across the top like I do mine because I don't have a fancy lid. 
Check the bottoms of the patties and when they are quite brown, turn them over and fry the other side until that is brown too. 



Hell yeah. xx

PS Don't forget that I currently have a competition running to giveaway a copy of Lindsay S. Nixon's book The Happy Herbivore's Guide to Plant-Based Living. To enter, leave a comment on the blog, Facebook page or instagram post. 

Happy days! x

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

OTKK Book Club & Giveaway: The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living by Lindsay S. Nixon.


When I originally picked up The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living I assumed that it was an hyperactive book touting the miracles of veganism as I have seen so many times before. I was so wrong. As I opened the pages, I was pleasantly greeted with information about Lindsay and her husband's road to health through the use of plant-based foods and as I turned the pages, a wealth of information poured out.

There seems to be a general consensus in the wider ommunity that becoming vegan on it's own is a healthier lifestyle that will lead to weight loss and clear skin with boundless energy to burn. It is rarely taken into account that a tonne of junk food is still vegan.

Nixon points out exactly this. That in order to be the ultimate versions of ourselves, we must focus our attention on well... ourselves, by fuelling our bodies in order that it might thrive with dense nutrients gained from a plant-based lifestyle.

Honestly, I wish I had found this book before I became pregnant. The Happy Herbivore Guide covers step-by-step everything we might need to know about a plant-based lifestyle from transitioning in the first place, to dealing with friends and family that may be uncomfortable about our new lifestyles (and we have all encountered those people), to ordering takeout, to becoming pregnant, to packing school lunches and camping. And that really is just the tip of the iceberg. I really can't explain to you just how much information is packed into this easy to read and beautifully laid out book.

Being beautifully laid out is a big thing for me at the moment. Lots of pretty colours and pictures jump out of this full colour book. Sometimes, too many pictures can make the book a little harder to read but this one flows really well, with excerpts about individuals living a plant based lifestyle in amongst the segmented chapters.

I'm loving the revised food pyramid that Lindsay has included with starchy vegetables and whole grains at the bottom and whole fats at the top. It's easy to get confused these days with so much incorrect information and quick fixes being thrown around the internet. Having a solid reminder of real food is really the kick I need right now to get my arse into gear and looking after myself again. I'd hate to say it (purely because when I read about endorsements that are really positive, I feel like someone is trying to sell me something), but reading this book really has me inspired to start looking after myself properly. It's easy to get lost in the day to day and I'm finding that I am giving up so much of myself with my baby daughter, and I find my self deliberately putting myself last. Reading The Happy Herbivore Guide has reinforced to me that doing that to myself isn't good for anyone and that being in optimal health is where I will be able to be a better mother, wife and friend to others and to myself. I have been healthy before and I remember that feeling. I liked it.

I'm going to look into buying Lindsay's other books because honestly, even though my fridge is full of vegetables, sometimes it's hard to gather inspiration on how to put them all together in a healthy and meaningful way. Lindsay has 5 other cookbooks covering subjects such as weight-loss and recipes for holidays and celebrations.

The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based living has reminded me that living well is as simple as putting down the processed food and picking up something nutritious. It really is that simple, with a bit of extra chopping and cooking- but it's so do-able. In fact, Lindsay has included a number of one -pot recipes in the back of the book as a kick start to feeling good.

And that's what I'm after. I don't care about looking good. Alright, maybe I do just a little. But for the main part, I want to feel good. I know that when I feel good, the world around me feels a lot more magical and I want that magic back.

Thank you Lindsay S. Nixon and The Happy Herbivore Guide To Plant-Based Living for reminding me of that.

I have one copy of Lindsay S. Nixon's book The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based living to giveaway thanks to BenBella Vegan. To win, all you need to do is leave a comment on either this blog post, the OTKK Facebook post or the Instagram post. Enter as many times as you like.

Have a great day! xx

Monday, July 27, 2015

And the winner is...

Congratulations Caeli aka Little Vegan Bear. You have won a copy of Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton. Email me your deets and we'll get the book shipped to you thanks to BenBella Vegan publishers. ��


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book of the week: Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton & a giveaway.



I had a nap yesterday. It was an amazing experience after, oh, about 6 months worth of broken sleep. I know that sounds hardcore but I really wouldn't change a thing. When I wake up to see the glow in my daughters eyes, a smile immediately crawls across my face, despite how completely exhausted I'm feeling. She's more than worth it.

Being that I'm new to this whole parenthood game, I am always looking at ways to get this thing done well.  I love reading books and when I came across this little gem called Plant-Powered Families- over 100 kid-tested, whole foods vegan recipes by Dreena Burton, I found that it will be a great addition to my parenting arsenal as my babe grows and starts to throw more food at me than she already does.

Dreena Burton has written this book with not only kids in mind, but the parents who are dealing with entertaining and teaching these kids through food. As I flicked through it, I noticed a lot of recipes that I recognised as "comfort food" such as home fries, sloppy joes (Shipshape Joe's) and brownies (Crazy Brownies). On closer inspection, I realised that these recipes are made form whole foods and full of all the vitamins and nutrients that a healthy little body, or any body for that matter, requires.


I love the idea of taking comfort foods and reinventing them to be something that not only tastes good, but leaves you feeling good too. For me, that's a huge plus to employing a plant based lifestyle. Each recipe has a photo to go with it and each one looks fantastic. Having good photos in a cookbook is a huge plus for me. I want to look and see something beautiful and delicious and that is exactly what Dreena Burton has offered.

Plant-Powered Families instils in its pages that which I want to instil in my child: that food is fun, delicious and most important of all, the fuel that our bodies need to grow and to essentially work. We often look for quick fixes when we are tired or down or whatever but we know that these foods will not sustain us. I feel an essential need to teach my baby this from the start, so that she will never be confused about this with all of the advertisements and shiny, plastic packaging being thrust at us from supermarket shelves. Being that I have worked both in childcare with kids at risk and in the Emergency Department as a nurse here in Adelaide, I have seen first hand what a diet full of all the wrong things can do. That's not to say don't live your life. God knows I love ice-cream. It's just fundamental to know the good from the bad right from the start so that we can all make an informed decision about how our bodies work. This book helps me to do provide that information for my family by providing tools on how to deal with picky eaters, how to stock your cupboards with staples, ideas for lunch boxes and birthday parties as well as a sample plant-powered meal plans. Burton also provides a nutrient guide so that we can rest assured that we are giving our loved ones everything they need.

To test out Plant-Powered Families, I gave The Great Pumpkin Pie recipe a go. Being Australian, I have only really known pumpkin as a savoury food. A food that you would find in soups, salads or a roast dinner, for example. Growing up, I would always see the infamous pumpkin pie make its way around the table on television and movie screens and wonder what it was all about.

Well, this example of a pumpkin pie is delicious. It's spicy and creamy and sweet. I made my own pumpkin puree by boiling up some pumpkin on the stove and pureeing in a blender because canned pumpkin puree is something that just doesn't exist here in Adelaide. I was really happy to find that I could just throw the rest of the ingredients in the blender, too.

This recipe didn't even call for one bowl, just the use of the blender and a pie tin which is fantastic because dirty dishes are the enemy right now. I really like this pie. I'm not really sure how to describe it other than to say it tastes like Christmas. If you are worried that the pumpkin flavour may be overwhelming, it's not even a factor. I can barely taste it underneath the beautiful mix of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, clove and vanilla. The Great Pumpkin Pie has such a lovely texture that it feels much more decadent than it is.

If this pie is indicative of the rest of the recipes in this book, I'll be making a shitload more.

Thanks to the lovely people at BenBella books, I have a copy of Plant-Powered Families to give away. To win a copy of this book, leave a comment below, or go to instagram or Facebook for other options.  The winner will be drawn on Monday the 27th of July, Adelaide time. 


The Great Pumpkin Pie!

Makes 1 pie

This pumpkin pie is indeed GREAT! The crust is buttery and nutty, and the filling is irresistibly creamy. A must for your holiday menu!

Crust:
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 packed cup pitted dates
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (see note)
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Filling:
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
11/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 rounded teaspoon sea salt
2–3 pinches ground cloves
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/3 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk (see note)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a pie plate with a dab of oil.

To make the crust: In a food processor, add the oats, dates, and sea salt. Puree until crumbly. Add the almond butter and puree for about a minute. Add the milk and pulse until the mixture becomes sticky (that is, can hold together when pressed). Transfer to the prepared pie plate, pressing in evenly around the base and up the sides of the plate.

To make the filling:In a blender (high speed works best; if using a regular blender you will need to blend longer and scrape down the blender several times), combine the pumpkin puree, cashews, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, sea salt, cloves, maple syrup, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble:Pour the mixture into the pie crust. Gently tip the pan back and forth to evenly distribute the filling. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to bake for 25 minutes, until golden and set (the center may be soft, but it will set further as it cools). Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

Salt Note: If your almond butter is already salted, you can omit the sea salt added to the crust.

Milk Note: I prefer almond or soy milk in this recipe.


Serving Suggestion:This pie is positively irresistible with vanilla nondairy ice cream or whipped cream.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

This week in pictures.


I don't have a great deal of photos to share this week; just this one of some mummy - baby love time. 
This evolution of life has been the best one for me so far. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vegan Brunch at Cafe Komodo, Prospect.




I ate a delicious brunch at Cafe Komodo on Prospect Road, Prospect on Tuesday. The mushrooms were so, so good. I forgot to take a photo of the actual food as I was busy being mum, chatting to an old friend and stuffing my face. Rest assured, it was sexy. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The People's Market at Tennyson.



After baby yoga, baby was cranky. 

In these times, I will often go for a long drive around Adelaide so she can sleep, regularly surprised at how it really doesn't take long to drive down the coast, which is where I invariably end up. 

This drive takes us passed a shop called The People's Market, which with it's community arts and crafts vibe is very appealing to an urban hippy like myself.

Today, I was able to leave the baby in the car to sleep as my husband was along for the ride.  

Walking in I was greeted with 60's pop songs, playing on vinyl from an old record player. While I resisted the urge to bop along, I was visually in awe of all of the fresh, local produce, a mountain of fresh bread and the scattering of vegan fare. 

As I get Juice Quest deliveries every Thursday, I didn't really need much in the way of fruit and veg so I purchased a huge fruit loaf, a large focaccia, a bunch of fesh basil, a jar of hot pickled onions and this vegan Treacle Tart. 

I've never had a Treacle Tart before but was assured by the shop owner that it's a bit of an institution. 

I really liked the vibe of The People's Market. I'll be going back to check it out, for sure. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

This week in pictures.

                            


                        

                             

                              

                              






This week my Aunty Julie and cousin Stacee flew down from the Q.L.D to meet my cheeky daughter and wish a happy 80th birthday to my politics arguing yet tai chi teaching grandad, Edward Macintyre. We all went out to Maggie Beer's scenic Pheasant Farm in Nuriootpa. There isn't a great range of vegan food on hand but they can make a meal out of the delicious dukkah, olive oil, fresh bread, salads and other condiments on hand.

On the way home we stopped by the Whispering Wall, a large dam made over 100 years ago. One person stands on either end of the wall. You can talk to them as clearly as if they were standing right next to you. It's quite a marvel. 

My little Edith has started to learn about food. It's amazing how she has taught herself exactly what to do with it. She picks up pieces of very soft food and chomps on them, knowing when to stop and knowing to take it slowly. She's a big fan of pumpkin and an even bigger fan of avocado. She's not too keen on banana. I love banana but her dad hates it, so it will be interesting to see how she feels about it as she grows. 

This week in Adelaide has been beautiful. 



Friday, July 3, 2015

A round-a-bout vegan Mushroom & Leek Pie.


Thursday is like Christmas.

Each Thursday a man from Juice Quest delivers to me a box of locally grown organic/pesticide free/conventional fruit and vegetables. It's always a nice surprise to open the box and find inspiration for this weeks meals. It's $35 delivered or $30 pick up from Magill (Adelaide only- sorry!) and it's more than enough to feed this little family of 2 adults and a baby for a week. Actually, I have a backlog of fruit at the moment so I asked for a 'veg only' box this week. It kicks arse. I love veggies. (This is not a sponsored post, by the way. I actually love this service. I'm not a supermarket shopper and I like surprises.)

The reason I bring that up is that yesterday I opened the box to find a shitload of sexy looking mushrooms. They were small but fat. The kind that you could imagine being brined and canned to make champignons. 

My go-to for mushrooms is normally soup. Cream of mushroom and Cream of Pumpkin being my favourites. 

I wanted to make something different this week. I've been playing with dough a lot lately. It's much easier to play with than I imagined. Last week was all about pizza. Yesterday, it was all about pie. With my trusty rolling pin, picked up from the local Salvo's for like, a dollar, it's all go. I'm one of those people that like to cook from scratch for so many reasons. 
It's cheaper. It tastes better. It doesn't use as much packaging. It's really not as time consuming as you would imagine. 
Plus, it gives me a feeling of what it would be like to have my own cooking show as I dance, sing and explain what I'm doing to keep my 5 month old daughter entertained.

I didn't take a list of ingredients as I didn't measure them but after posting photos of the pie on Instagram I was asked to do a write up about it, so here goes. 


Vegan Mushroom & Leek Pie
Serves 4-6.

Ingredients: 
All measurements are approximate. Use you're judgement and adjust accordingly (I know that sounds obvious, but it takes all types to spin this world.)
For the dough. 
•2 cups of plain flour. 
•Half a cup of vegan margarine. 
•2 Tablespoons of cold water. 

For the filling:
•A tablespoon of vegan margarine. 
•3 cups of sliced mushrooms. 
•One sliced leek. 
•2 cloves of crushed garlic. 
•One star anise (optional, but Jamie Oliver taught me that frying one of these babies with mushrooms makes the flavour more 'meaty'. Always remove before serving, though).
•A small handful of fresh parsley leaves.
•Half a cup of coconut milk. 
•One teaspoon of powdered vegetable stock.
•A splash of white wine. 
•A tablespoon of flour. 

Method: 
The dough. 
Place the flour into a bowl. Add in the margarine and mix it together with your hands. Add a little water in and keep keeding to form a nice dough. One it's formed, roll it into a ball, put it into a small container and put it in the fridge while you make the filling. 

The filling:
Melt the margarine in a frypan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Fry until they're golden and cooked. Not too cooked, though. Just nicely browned. Have a taste. Would you eat that as is? If yes, then you're good.

Add the rest of the ingredients, sprinkling the flour over the mushrooms so that you don't end up with clumps. Cook the mixture down until it's a little saucy. Add salt & pepper to taste. Taste it. Add whatever make you the happiest.

Take a pie dish, a rolling pin and grab your dough from the fridge. Roll about 3/4 of the the pastry out so that it fits into your pie dish. You want a thin crust, maybe half a centimetre thick, or as thin as you can get it. Put that in your pie dish to make the base. You may need to grease your pan if it's not non-stick. 
Next, add the filling, remembering to remove the star anise. 
Roll out some more pastry to make the top of the pie and put it on the top, pressing down the sides. Cut a couple of holes in the top to allow air to escape. 

Cook for about 30 minutes in an oven set to 180C- or at least until it's browned. My oven is temperamental with temperatures  but I think this is a good starting point. You may need more time.  

And that's it! I served mine with a jacket potato, gravy, kale coleslaw & boiled beetroot. 


Winner! Winner! Mushroom Dinner! Or something. Haha! 




Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thursday Slide Night.


                                    







I'm looking at the small things this week. Trying not to get too caught up in my crazy imagination and remembering to breath in the beauty that surrounds me.
Paying it forward. Truth is beauty. 

One thing I have learned recently is how to ask for help and also how to accept help. I don't know why, but I rarely ever do ask. I just get on with it. Learning how to ask for help (without feeling like a burden) has bought me closer to my friends and family and I like that. It's also made everything so much easier. I don't know why I always thought it was so hard.