Thursday, March 26, 2015

A simple, clean breakfast.




I admit it. I was incredibly naive as to exactly what motherhood meant prior to having a child. Despite my experience doing childcare with kids at risk, I forgot that even though that job was exhausting, I got to go home at the end of the day and rest, not having to think about anything but eating and perhaps having a bath. 

The first few weeks with my baby, I didn't need sleep. I was on such a high that I could take on anything. I didn't eat as much as I previously did either, despite spending around 600 calories a day breast feeding. This has helped move some of the baby weight, however I have a long way to go before I can fit into my pretty dresses. But I'm not naked, so loosing weight can happen when it happens. Anyway...

What has happened though? I've hit a wall. My body is giving all my nutrients to my baby, so I come second. I also come second when it comes to sleeping and everything else. I'm not complaining- I love her more than I thought I could love anything. My heart just explodes when I look at her. I'd give her everything.

7 weeks of minimal sleep is bound to lead to exhaustion though. And so, I'm suffering flu like symptoms and some dizziness. I've also been dehydrated, despite drinking tonnes of water. I've had to take out my nape piercing as it was swollen and sore. Is this my body forcing me to conventionally 'grow up'? 

I was quite used to having a lot of 'me' time prior to mum life. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted. I can still do most of these things, but they can't be exactly spontaneous. They require some thought and pre-planning and take much longer in terms of time management. 

Now, meals often get thrown together. I've inadvertently cut my food intake down (I now eat just three meals plus a snack instead of 6 meals or so- haha!). Things that are simple, cheap and time efficient. 

This is one of my favourite breakfasts. It's easy, thoughtless, but filling and delicious. 

Cut up a banana. Throw on some sultanas and a dollop of peanut butter. Done. Obviously, variations can and do occur. I poured some maple syrup on it this morning. 

I also like to make breakfast jars when I have the time. I usually make 5 at a time and they often feature overnight oats or chia pudding. They keep for about a week. 

Keeping pre-made salad jars, plenty of fresh fruit and soup in the fridge is a life saver too. The trick is to keep these things stocked up. I've hit this wall because I forgot about my fruit and veg friends and I started eating bread like there is no tomorrow. I love bread but it doesn't contain all the vitamins and nutrients I need right now. I'm spending the day filling myself with freshness, taking naps with my baby and reminding myself that I'm doing a good job and that it's ok to be tired. 

I can now say I'm a responsible adult. I'm responsible for her. I'm responsible for making sure she's fed, clothed, clean, educated and most importantly feels safe and feels loved. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How to make: Cold Drip Coffee.



Cold drip coffee is becoming more and more popular here in Adelaide, with boutique cold drip companies beginning to blossom.

As with other fads seen of recent years in The 'Laide such as sushi, dumplings, macaroons and burgers, cold drip coffee is about to explode on to every street corner. It's a bit on the expensive side to buy and hey, it's really easy to make. I think I was paying about $7 for a 200 ml bottle. DIYing that stuff, I ended up paying about $3 a litre. It's really a set and forget kind of deal, but beware. This packs a caffeinated punch. If you're anything like me, you'll be buzzing like a little bee.

Cold Drip Coffee
Time: 10 minutes making the coffee. Overnight to soak.

Ingredients:
  • One cup of ground coffee beans.
  • Four cups of water.

Method:

Place the coffee and water into a clean bowl. Cover with a tea towel or lid. 
Leave to soak overnight.
The next day, place a coffee filter in a strainer. Pour the coffee and water mixture into the filter. This may take a little time. I often pour a little in and come back to it after doing some chores... or you know? Dancing.
Don't pour in the final coffee grounds. Discard the grounds and the filter. 
Alternatively, you can put the mix in a coffee plunger and press it the next day to filter the drink, as you would hot coffee. 
Pour the coffee mixture into a bottle that has a lid.

This should keep in your fridge for about a week. 

Enjoy your buzz. xx


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Best

This will be worth checking out today in Adelaide. $13 a ticket and all proceeds go to a good cause. My lovely friend Emily Davis is playing and another lovely friend Mandi Faerie will be offering reiki to pups and pooches. Plus, all the vegan food. x

                                    

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cookbook Review: Love Fed by Christina Ross



I love cookbooks. I know that this love is a little beyond obsessive. I just love the pictures and the ideas that people come up with and collate into glossy food porn. This love of cookbooks started in my early 20's on lazy, hungover Sunday's when I would sit on the floor in my kitchen, just wishing that the food on the pages would somehow magically appear in front of me.

Recently, I was sent a lovely little package in the mail which consisted of a book called Love Fed- Purely Decadent, Simply Raw, Plant-Based Desserts. Just the cover alone speaks volumes to me with its promise of enticing, raw, fresh food. The book is by Christina Ross and I must admit, I love her style. The photos of both her and the food are beautiful and I just love her positivity. It shines through in the way that she writes. Plus, her outfits are really cute.

Christina Ross tells of her personal story. She was working in a successful job and quit it all to follow her passion for food. I just love a story like that. It just goes to show that no matter what, if you follow your heart, dreams can come true. Oh, so gushy! The thing I also like about the fact that she sells her food? For a start, you know that these recipes have been tried and tested by not just a small group of people, but people who know what sells. And in order to for people to turn over their hard earned cash, it's gotta be good, right??

The recipes contained within the colourful cover are easy to follow and most of them contain ingredients that I have in my refrigerator. For the ingredients that I don't have, Ross gives suggestions for substitutions. She's also created "Make it your own" boxes under each recipe so that you can expand on your favourite recipe and make it your own. I really like that idea as I rarely ever follow a recipe to a tea and rather work with what I have on hand.

Looking through this book, the maple banana tiramisu trifle jumped out at me, mostly because the ingredients called for cold drip coffee which is all the rage here in Adelaide at the moment. Being a DIY kinda girl, I already had some that I had made earlier in the fridge. It's so easy. I'll have to tell you about that later.

The ingredients for the trifle were all in my cupboard. I really like a recipe that I don't have to go shopping for. That makes my life so much easier, especially with my little 5 week old finally asleep.

The whole thing was a synch to make. Seriously. I can't tell you how often I look at raw recipes and put them straight back down because they just look too complicated. This one took me maybe 5 minutes to put together and then it was just chill time.

The flavour combinations work together so well. The creaminess of the cashew cream with the hit of the coffee and the freshness of  the banana. I kinda don't want to tell my husband about it. He'll eat it all.

This is my go at the recipe. My husband just walked in, saw this photo and asked if there was any left. I knew it! Good thing it's easy to make. He can DIY that.


The book is having a blog tour and today is my day to tell you all about it. Have a look at the other blogs to see other recipes from the book. Have a look at the Love Fed website to get more of a feel of what I'm talking about. You can even buy the book there.



This is what I am going to make next. The Banana-Toffee Pie. I can't tell you how much I've been craving this beauty since going vegan. Ross has kindly supplied the recipe so that I can share it with you. If its as good as the trifle, I'll cement this in as a new dessert favourite. Share the love! 

Banana-Toffee Pie

Yield: One 8" pie
Prep time: 30 minutes
Alex and I are in love with Costa Rica. He took me there when we first met (it was my very first trip outside of the United States), so it’s a place near and dear to my heart. In Costa Rica, the locals are very warm-hearted and the land is verdant and abundant. As soon as you leave the airport in San José, you begin seeing all kinds of fruit trees, especially bananas. There are banana trees everywhere, including right outside our door in Alajuela, the first place we stayed. I quickly learned that there’s nothing like the taste of a fresh-picked banana. It has an almost pineapple undertone. This Banana-Toffee Pie is my homage to Costa Rica and its lovely banana trees. It contains a variety of natural sweeteners, including lucuma powder, a low-glycemic extract from the Peruvian fruit lucuma.

CRUST
½ c. Brazil nut flour
½ c. coconut flour
¼ c. coconut palm sugar
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. maple extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. coconut nectar

CARAMEL
¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. melted cacao butter (see page 27)
¼ c. lucuma powder
¾ c. coconut nectar
1 tsp. butterscotch extract

FILLING
1 large firm but ripe banana

CREAM
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract
1 ¾ c. coconut cream

Basic raw chocolate (page 32), for garnish

Line an 8" pie pan with wax paper.

To make the crust: Place the Brazil nut flour, coconut flour, palm sugar, sea salt, maple extract, and vanilla extract in a food processor. Turn on the machine and, as it’s running, add the coconut nectar. Process until well combined but still very crumbly. Pour the crumbs into the pie pan. Working your way from the center out, press the crumbs down and out toward the edges, then up the sides with your thumb to form an even crust. Set aside and make the caramel.

To make the caramel: Place the melted cacao butter in a small bowl, then add the lucuma powder, coconut nectar, and butterscotch extract. Whisk with a fork until all clumps are gone and the mixture turns a caramel color. Pour three-fourths of the caramel into the piecrust and reserve the remainder for later use. Make the filling and the cream. 

To make the filling: Slice the banana into 1⁄4" rounds. Place the
slices on top of the caramel layer, working your way from the center out.

To make the cream: Place the vanilla bean powder and coconut cream in a medium bowl. Mix lightly with an electric or hand mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes.







Friday, March 6, 2015

It's the teachings of peaches.


                  

My lovely art school girl friend, Anna, came over to visit me and little Edie yesterday. She was lovely enough to bring a bag of home grown grapes and a bag of neighbour grown peaches. It is perfect timing because I'm concentrating right now on eating as much fruit and veg as I can muster. It's taken me until 2pm today to finally get to eating, and I've been daydreaming about this meal all morning whilst tending to the baby and getting myself organised.

It's pretty simple. 

I've never pan fried peaches before and it seemed like a good little daydream. Damn, they smell good. 

So, I took 3 peaches and halved them, removing the stone. I placed them skin side down on my griddle pan which had been warmed over a low heat. 

I grabbed some almonds, sultanas and a couple of dates and chopped them. 

By that stage, the peaches had cooked through on that side, so I turned them over to cook the flesh. 

In a bowl they went, with the fruit and nut mix added on top. 

Now, I have a sleeping baby, a cup of tea and a delicious meal to nourish me. 

It's a good day. 

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 über 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