Tuesday, 11 September 2012

week 7

So i now only have 5 weeks left of the challenge.  I feel like the time has flown.  I am really entrenched in this way of eating now, and I'm wondering how I'm going to give it up, if it is that I decide to do that at the end.
Whatever the case, I feel like eating to nourish your body is not always a 'be all and end all' type of scenario.  It's more about what works for you, your body and your morals/ethics regarding food and food production.
This is not an easy idea to accept, specially for people like me who are stringent followers of the rules.  I've chosen to eat a plant based diet, and I am enjoying the ride, however, I don't want my health to suffer as a result of developing deficiencies, so my hope is that I can work through this and maintain this way of eating.

Now that we've got the serious stuff out of the way, let's look at some delicious summer treats that I've been playing around with.

I can smell summer in the air, it just keeps getting warmer in gorgeous Sydney, and there's nothing I love more on a warm sunny day, than stuffing my face full of ice cream.  

That's right, I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!

These two recipes are sugar-free but feel free to add a sweetener of choice if you like things a little extra indulgent. Personally I don't think you really need it, so give it a go without it.  I dare you!

Berry-coconut gelato
serves 2


2 bananas frozen
1/4 cup berries of your choice (i used frozen raspberries)
1.5 Tbs coconut cream
1 tsp sweetener of choice (optional)


Place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz until it reaches the desired consistency.

Banana Peanut Butter Gelato
serves 2


2 bananas frozen
1 Tbs natural peanut butter
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of sweetener of choice (optional)
1 tsp crushed peanuts for topping


Place all ingredients except crushed peanuts into food processor and whizz until you reach ice cream consistency.
Serve with a sprinkle of crushed peanuts on top.
You could add the crushed peanuts and stir it through the gelato, I think that would add a really nice texture.  Crunch Crunch Crunch :)

Do you get the picture now?  
This is the simplest, most easiest way to make delicious, healthy ice cream in minutes, so there's always a new flavour that you can whip up at a whim.
I always have bags and bags full of bananas in my freezer.  It's such a good way to store them if you have them turning brown.  
I use them to make banana bread, cakes, smoothies, and of course, ice cream.
I picked up 2 kilos of bananas the other day for $2.50!!  Just because the skin is spotted and a little brown doesn't mean the insides are dying.  As long as there's no soft bits and black bruises, they're as perfect as unspotted ones.

Now, as you can see, the banana peanut butter gelato is not alone.  Next to it is a delicious serving of vegan chocolate mousse.
This indulgent treat is delicious on it's own, and also makes a great filling for a chocolate tart.

I have tested this out on my non-vegan friends and told them the secret ingredient afterwards and they couldn't believe it.
Give it a go and see for yourself.

Chocolate Mousse

serves 6 on it's own or makes one 8 inch pie tart


2 cups of avocado flesh (about 2 1/2 avos)
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup non-dairy milk of choice (i used oat milk for this one)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs arrowroot powder
1 Tbs almond butter
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder if that's what you have)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 block of dark chocolate (i used Lindt 70% as it doesn't contain any dairy)


Place all ingredients in a food processor except for the chocolate.
Blend it until smooth, you will need to scrape the bowl a couple of times to make sure it's all incorporated.
In a double boiler, or in a bowl placed over some simmering water, melt your chocolate until smooth and there's no more lumps.
Add to avocado mixture and blend again until all mixed through.  Mixture will thicken into a delicious smooth blend.  Try not to eat it all!!

The mousse will harden somewhat when refrigerated, and if you are using as a filling for a tart, make sure you place it in the freezer for a couple of hours before you serve it.  It will make it easier to cut.
I have some recipes that work well for tart bases but I will post that up next week as I will be making some salted caramel and chocolate tarts this week.
I have made this as a tart before and it it delicious.  The best thing is that you can freeze the left overs and cut off a piece as you go.
It definitely is a rich chocolate flavour, so a small serving is really enough to satisfy your chocolate craving.

Now that we've had dessert, how about a main?

As I've said before, I HATE waste, so I made the following recipe with the left over risotto I put up in my previous post.  
I made a big batch of the sauce from my spaghetti veganese recipe, and used the left over to make a pasta for the family that included chorizo (they are NOT doing the challenge).

All you have to do is stuff your capsicum with the risotto, spread the pasta sauce on top and a little on the bottom of the baking  pan, and stick it in the oven at 180 degrees celcius and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle some chopped herbs and some nutritional yeast flakes for some added vitamin B.
Add a side salad and there you have it!  

Now for another savoury dish. 
I was playing around with making some vegan pesto and this is what I came up with.

Tomato Pesto
makes approx. 2 cups


1 cup basil leaves
1 1/2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup semi dried tomatoes
1/4 cup evoo
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in your food processor and process until nearly smooth.  Now, it will be a little bit thick so I added about 1 Tbsp of water at a time until I got the desired consistency.  I ended up adding 3 Tbsp but it's personal preference.

This is good to have on hand when you are stuck and need to jazz up a meal.  Here's two I used it with.

Quinoa Topped Mushrooms
serves 6 as a light meal


1 cup of quinoa rinsed and drained
1 tsp of vegan stock powder
1 1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 garlic clove minced
1/3 cup brown onion diced
1/3 cup squash diced
6 sundried tomatoes cut into strips
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh basil
3-4 Tbsp water
6 large field mushrooms
pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Clean mushrooms by wiping with a paper towel to remove dirt.  Place clean mushrooms, caps down on lined baking tray and place in oven for about 30 - 40 minutes.
Whilst your mushrooms are in the oven, place the rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan with water and stock powder and bring to the boil over medium heat.  Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until all liquid has evaporated and quinoa is translucent and cooked.  Turn heat off.
In a frying pan, add your coconut oil, garlic, onion and squash. Cook until squash is a little soft but still has some crunch in it.  Add to quinoa.
Process your herbs and water with a hand held blender if you have it and add this mixture to you quinoa, along with the sun dried tomato strips.  Stir gently to combine.
Return the quinoa to a low heat and cook uncovered until there's no more liquid, this should only take about 3-5 minutes as there's not really that much water added.
By now, your mushrooms should be ready.
Take them out of the oven and place them on a plate, top with herbed quinoa and your tomato pesto.
Bon appétit!

Mediterranean Pasta
serves 1 


Wholemeal pasta or pasta of choice (enough for one person)
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup of eggplant strips
1/4 cup brown onion diced
1 garlic clove minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
4 sundried tomatoes cut into strips
6 kalamata olives chopped
3 Tbsp tomato pesto (or more if you like)
1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped
2 tsp nutritional yeast 
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Cook pasta to packet instructions
Heat coconut oil in frying pan and add garlic, onion and eggplant, cook on medium heat until eggplant turns golden.
Add oregano, chilli flakes, sundried tomatoes and olives.  Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and add to hot drained pasta.  Stir in pesto and parsley and mix until well incorporated and covering every inch of pasta.  Add your seasoning at this stage if you feel it needs it.
Plate it up and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
Serve with some crusty bread and a basic salad.

I also use the pesto as a spread on my sandwiches, and stuff them with salad and baked pumpkin. Yummo!

On the body front, I am still losing hair :( but I have started taking the supplements and it's early days so I'm hoping it will stop soon.  I guess I have to give it some time.  I think about 4 weeks should be long enough to start to see some difference.  Fingers crossed!

Otherwise, energy levels are good, my sleep is still great, give or take a few nights when work has been really hectic, or my girls have a bad night.  But these are normal everyday things that would happen regardless of eating habits.

I've started doing some meditating, just small 5 minute intervals at this stage.  Trying to find a regular time to do it is the only problem as you can imagine.  At this stage, I can only do it at night after the family are all tucked in and asleep.
I know it's best to practice first thing in the morning but alas, it's a rare occasion when I wake up before everyone else.  I'm usually woken up by my youngest poppet calling out 'maaamiiiiii!' from her cot!!
But never fear, I will persevere.

Peas, love and mung beans


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