Thursday, 30 August 2012

....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


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


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


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.

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


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


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:

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


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)


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


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


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:

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


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


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


Saturday, 18 August 2012

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, 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


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

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


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.

Quinoa Paella


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


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


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

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


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

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


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Beetroot and Silverbeet Risotto Recipe

I'm very excited to be sharing this recipe with everyone. 
It wasn't my first attempt at making risotto but it's not something I make all the time as I'm not a big fan of white rice but I bought some lovely beetroots and the weather being so cold, I just felt like something warm and inviting.
This dish is quiet rich and earthy and I just love the bright colour - so good.
So here's my recipe, I hope you like it.

Beetroot and Silverbeet Risotto


1 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup arborio rice
1 clove of garlic crushed
1/8 cup brown onion diced
500 mls of vegetable stock (i break up a vegan stock cube in boiling water)
35 mls white wine
1/4 cup beetroot (i bake mine in foil first but you could use canned i suppose)
1 cup silverbeet finely sliced into ribbons
2 Tbs continental parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs finely grated lemon rind
2 Tbs lemon juice


Heat vegetable stock if you are using liquid or if like me, boil some water, add stock and mix well and keep next to you so you can add as you go.

Heat oil is saucepan and add garlic, onion and rice.
Make sure rice is well coated and cook until onion is soft, garlic is fragrant and rice starts to make little popping sounds.  Be careful not to burn the garlic or else you'll get a bitter taste.
Add wine and stir to combine.
Once the wine has been absorbed, add a ladle of stock and stir.  Leave to be absorbed and don't add anymore until most of it has been absorbed.
Repeat the process but reserve the last ladle of stock.
Blend this with 1/2 the beetroot and add to your risotto.  
Chop up the other 1/2 of beetroot into tiny cubes whilst the liquid is absorbing and add with the silverbeet.
The rice should be cooked by now and most of the liquid absorbed.
Turn heat off and add parsley, lemon rind and lemon juice.
Stir to combine, add some cracked pepper and you're ready to serve.

Serves 2

I served this with a simple kale and orange salad, and I think it was a good match.  The richness of the risotto paired with the astringent salad really was a nice balance if I do say so myself.
For the salad, just toss chunks of kale with orange segments, some sliced spanish onion and chopped parsley and dress it with a simple lemon and evoo dressing.  A bit of sea salt and cracked pepper to taste and you are done.
Quick, easy and best of all, super delicious.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

End of Week Two

2 weeks down, 10 to go.

Something that was on my mind a lot since commencing this challenge was how I was going to go about eating out.
Most of my social interactions revolve around food, and most often than not, include going out for a lovely meal.
I don't ever want to be seen as the annoying friend who can't eat anything, and who everyone has to accommodate for.  I would hate me if that was me!
To my relief, the 3 times that I have eaten out since the start of the challenge, have been very good experiences.
And not only that, but i've also made a little gem of a discovery!

But let's start with the first place.  
Spencer Guthrie is the name of the restaurant and it's located in Newtown, Sydney.  I couldn't find their website for you but you can google the name and have a look at some pics of their food.
It's a cosy space, with friendly and helpful staff who didn't seem perturbed when I questioned them about the menu and the possibility of veganising something.  I've worked in hospitality in the far away past, and I know that chefs hate to change their menus and I can understand that, they want people to eat their food as they have interpreted it, it's part of their art. I get it, and I can definitely appreciate it.  That's why it's hard for me to have to ask but what else can one do?
Luckily, the restaurant has made allowances for plant food enthusiasts and provide a vegan special!
I guess being in Newtown, I shouldn't be that surprised :)
So, thank you to my bestie for taking me here and for having such great taste.

And here it is.  So pretty, I didn't feel like I should eat it!  
It was quiet delicious, and the little turnips that you can see were pickled and so yummy.  

The next place i went to, was my choice as I have been there before and I knew that they made vegan meals.
It's called The Nepalese Kitchen and it's located in Surry Hills, Sydney.
It's a consistently good place to eat, and they have a large cushion room upstairs if you have a big group.
I don't have any photos of the food because our party was rather large and ravenous and the dishes got attacked before I could get my camera out!
I did tell the staff I was vegan and they were able to adjust the banquet menu to contain a few vegan options.  

Third place is Nourishing Quarter.  It is also located in Surry Hills and it really is a little gem of a place.  It's cutely decorated with old and nostalgic items, and you somehow feel like you're going to dinner at your eccentric and nurturing grandmother's house, who used to be a wild and carefree young woman that once ran away with a gipsy and lived a life of adventure all over the world.

The food was AMAZINGLY good, and our little group, who were all non-vegan, loved it as much as I.
All dishes are based on whole grains and are so flavoursome and textural, it really was a pleasure to eat, as all meals should be.  I will most definitely be going back there, the sooner the better.  We had 'cheese' cake for dessert and no one could believe that it didn't have any animal products in it.  But, don't take my word for it, go there and try it out for yourself. 

And now I'll share a little gem I've found, it happens to be in Newtown, Sydney.  I'm having visions of sunny days, pushing my girls there in the pram, whilst we work up an appetite for one of their delicious desserts like the one I got to take away on Saturday - Neopolitan Ice Cream Cake.  Enough said.


It's called Sadhana Kitchen and you can check them out here:
It's the first cafe of it's kind in Sydney and everything they make is raw and vegan!!! I'm so totally excited about this place I can hardly contain my excitement. yay!
The ice cream cake was so delicious and although I know I should have shared it, it was really too good to spare even a teenie tiny little spoon full.
So to the owner, I salute you!
Really am grateful that you are sharing an obvious love for good, healthy and nourishing food.  

Before I go, I want to share a couple of recipes with you.
The first one is a breakfast recipe that I came up with when I craved a savoury breakfast.  I could eat porridge until the cows come home but sometimes you just need something savoury.
This was my first attempt at making it but really, how hard can blending be?  I think it turned out pretty good :)

Scrambled Tofu

1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup firm tofu
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp tumeric
2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
Pinch of sea salt
Cracked pepper to taste

Process tofu, milk,spices, salt and yeast until blended but not completely smooth.

Heat up coconut oil in frying pan and add tofu mixture, cook on medium heat until slightly more golden in colour and warmed through.

Easy Peasy.

I served it with some lightly sautéed silverbeet and wholegrain spelt toast with avocado and chilli flakes.
I would have added some sautéed mushrooms but I didn't have any on hand and I think next time I'll add some parsley to the scramble for an iron boost.

The next recipe is what I had for dinner tonight.  It's more of a dressing recipe as it is what makes the dish really delicious.

Quinoa and Kale salad with Dukkha Dressing

For the salad

2 cups kale
1/4 cup red capsicum
1/2 small tomato chopped in large chunks
!/4 small red onion sliced thinly
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup avocado cubes

For the dressing

2 Tbs dukkha
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbs raw unfiltered acv
1 Tbs chilli infused evoo 
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Mix dressing ingredients together (i use an old mustard jar to shake it to death)
In a large bowl, place all salad ingredients together and pour on the dressing.  Using a large flat spoon, gently fold the ingredients together to incorporate the dressing until it's all covered in it's yummy goodness.

I served it with a baked sweet potato. YUM.

For those who are wondering what the hell dukkha is, you can find a really simple recipe here:

I feel like I've been trying to do and eat as much plant based foods as possible to prove to myself that it's just as normal as a diet incorporating animal products.
I realise now I really don't have to do that.  Normal is very subjective.  It is what it is and what makes you feel the best is what should be normal to you.
My concerns re: eating out, amazing treats, delcious 'creamy' things, getting enough protein/iron are being eased the more I read and the more I see and experience.
So now I will take a deep breath, wind down the momentum, and start fresh.
I will try to get back to the normal routine of eating, which doesn't always include cake and ice cream! 
My goal for this coming week, is to try and cut down on the sweet little treats by finding alternatives.
I've got some pesto recipes that I want to try out and make some dips and 'cheese' too.
Wish me luck lovers!

Peas, love and mung beans