Wednesday, 31 October 2012

done and dusted! now on to the next thing......

It's been a while, way more than 12 it has.
The 12 week plant based/vegan diet challenge has come to a close.  A couple of weeks ago in fact.  But it's been a busy, busy time so I apologise for my tardiness, and I will also add that now that the challenge is over, I probably won't be posting as often.

So what have I made of this challenge?  First and foremost I have to say that it has made me more aware of what I put into my mouth.  I always thought I had a pretty good diet, and mostly I did.  But eliminating animal products and having to make most of your meals means that you become a little more knowledgeable of all the stuff that's added to our foods.  Some ingredients I can't even pronounce, yet I was eating them on a daily basis!!
If anything, this way of eating has taught me to be mindful, to be patient, to eat slowly, to eat cleanly and to be present.
All that from food, really?

It's also made me experiment with foods, try different approaches to eating and preparing them, and it has made me realise that saying you're going to do something can only go as far as you want it to go. 

Like my gluten free October challenge.  I wasn't very strict in the first two weeks, in fact, I sucked really bad at it.  Once I put my mind and made a wholehearted promise to myself that I would stick to it, I did.  However, it wasn't easy at first, and I had to disguise it in the way of making it a Raw Vegan Challenge rather than calling it what it was.  Sometimes life is just like that I guess.  But whatever gets you through and gets you to that goal is what matters, as long as you don't sacrifice yourself or others for it though!!

So Gluten-Free October, disguised as Raw Vegan has gone really well.  I've been gluten-free for 14 days now and I feel great!  No bloating, no excessive amounts of wind (*cringe), and generally feeling pretty awesome.  Maybe it coincides with the raw food, although I will admit, I find raw vegan living pretty tough.  And I'll be 100% honest with you, I have slipped at times.  There have been times, when I was feeling rather emotional, that I reached out for my frying pan and made myself some vegan chilli.  I just needed a little bit of Mexican to cheer me up.  A little fiesta never hurt anyone right?

This dish is super quick, no joke, 20 minutes tops.  This is what I make when I'm feeling tired, or time poor and I need something feeling and super tasty.  My family can it it too so that's a bonus.

Serves 2



1 400g can red kidney beans
1 400g can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoky paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 TBS coconut oil
1/2 cup zucchini diced
1/2 cup capsicum diced
1/4 cup celery diced
1/2 cup carrot diced
1 TBS fresh coriander chopped
salt and pepper to taste


In a large frying pan, heat your coconut oil and add your onion, garlic and spices.  Cook until translucent.  Add your tomatoes and vegetables, cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Putting the lid on will speed up the process and prevent it from drying out.
Once veges are cooked, add your beans and cook uncovered for 3 minutes, or until the beans are heated through.  Turn of your heat and stir in coriander and seasoning if needed.
Whilst you wait for your veges to cook, make your......



2 avocados
1/8 cup red onion diced
1/8 cup red capsicum diced
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste


Use a stick blender and process your avocado with lemon juice and seasoning.  Tasting as you go.  Alternatively, you can mash the avocado.  Whatever tickles your fancy :)
Add the rest of the ingredients to the avocado mixture and voila!



1 tomato diced
1 cup cucumber cubes
juice of half a lemon 
salt and pepper to taste


Mix all your ingredients together

Cos lettuce leaves to serve.

Now place your chilli mix into your lettuce and top with guacamole and salsa.

What I love the most about doing the raw thing, is the desserts. Now it's no secret that I'm a big sweet tooth, it's my crux.  That's why I'm doing No-sugar-Vember.  OMG, so scary!! Today is my last day of being able to eat sugar so I'm treating myself by doing the raw vegan workshop because I know that there will be some delicious raw vegan treats to try.  Although raw vegans don't use refined sugars, they do still use plenty of dried fruit which in all intents and purposes, is just sugar.  Sorry to say.
But let's not get down about it, we still have a few hours left until November hits, so with that in mind, let me introduce you to some pretty tasty little snacks that you can keep in your freezer and sneak out any time the sweet fairy pops in. 

Teenie tiny choc berry tarts

This recipe is a mixture of recipes put together to make these delicious little treats.

As you can see, they are still a little bit frozen as I just couldn't wait to dig in.

You can make as many as you like but I got about 8 using the same quantities for the chocolate mousse and coco berry gelato from a previous post.

Fruit and Nut Crust


1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw brazil nuts
6 medjool dates
6 dried apricots
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 TBS coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence


Place all ingredients in the food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.  Should be crumbly and hold together when pressed.  If you need too add more dates/apricots if too dry, or some more nuts/coconut if too wet.

Now you just have to assemble them.

I used a muffin tray and pressed in the crust, filled it with chocolate mousse and topped it with the gelato.  Throw it in the freezer for a couple of hours.  This will make them easy to pop out of the tray.  Once frozen, I pop them all out and placed them in an airtight container back in the freezer.  I take mine out of the freezer about 30 minutes before I want to eat them.

If you have left over crust, roll them up into little balls and roll them in some dried coconut, or sesame seeds, or raw cacao powder and make some Protein Power Balls.

I store mine in the freezer also, and just take out a few to have on hand when I'm out and about.
They're also good as a pre-workout snack and the kids love them too.
You can experiment by adding some almond butter instead of coconut oil.
You may want to try adding chia seeds to them also.
The only boundary is your imagination really :)

One other dessert I'd like to share with you is a pudding I absolutely love and could eat everyday, no joke.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
Serves 1


1 banana
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1/8 cup coconut cream
1 TBS chia seeds
1 TBS raw cacao powder
1 tsp raw cacao nibs
1 tsp fruit and nut crust (optional)


Place all ingredients in a blender except for cacao nibs and crust.  Blend until thick and creamy.
Pour into a cup or bowl of your choice, and top with cacao nibs and fruit and nut crust.
Place in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes to thicken.

If I'm feeling extra crazy, I substitute the coconut water for coconut milk and 1 TBS of coconut cream.  It makes it super thick and creamy.  YUMMINESS on another level!

People who can't comprehend vegan/plant based diets always ask me what I eat.
Here's a snapshot of some of my meals whilst I've been on the raw tip.

So there you have it kids, a month in the raw.  It hasn't been easy, a few slip ups here and there but all in all, I think it was awesome.  The above and middle picture is actually a cauliflower 'rice'.  So good, just throw some raw cauliflower in your food processor with a tsp of salt and 1 tsp of garlic powder and pulse until you get the rice consistency.  So easy and  you can use it like rice.  LOVES IT!
And I just can't live without my nori rolls.  The best thing ever, and you can add whatever fillings you love the most.

And now one final thing.  Throughout the whole raw thing, I have been getting a lot of compliments on my skin.  Not sure if it's the raw thing, or the fact that I've now been vegan for over 3 months.  I always give a new thing the 3 month check so I'm thinking it could be a combo of the two.

Lesson learnt:  Keep it simple and clean, eat raw mostly, be gentle with yourself, don't sweat the small stuff. 

Peas, love and mungbeans


Thursday, 11 October 2012

week 11? I think that's right!

Yes it's true, I've lost count.  That's how quickly time flies when you're having fun :)
Last time I was super excited about my dinner at Quay restaurant.  Well that has been and gone and it was an amazing experience.  Not so much for the food (sorry to say), but for the look of delight on my boy's face when he dug into that snow egg.  It was worth it just for that.  I've never seen anyone, let alone a not so dessert orientated person, love something so much.  He actually went on to describe each layer.  VERY cute.
Not to say the food was bad, it was not.  The food was beautiful and fresh but I just found it a little bland.  I know it's because it's obviously meant to be eaten with whatever animal protein they put in and taking that away disturbs the fine balance of flavours and textures so I'm not complaining.  I knew what I was getting into........but there was still a little part of me that hoped that they would get a little creative.  A fruit salad for dessert? Not for that price!
But this is not a restaurant review, and my experience (food only) is just my opinion and nothing else.  I still think they make amazing food and everything that came to the table was impeccably presented.  And the last thing I'll say is that we had THE best seat in the place, thanks to my lovely friend Dea for organising it.

Now to what's been happening since then.  As you know, I did the liquid detox, that was good and I highly recommend it.  And then I was meant to do gluten-free October.  I must admit, I have failed that miserably!!
You see, I have this routine at work where I'll take my break, go for a long walk, and on the way back, stop at the organic bread shop, get a soy flat white and a vegan fruit bun (best going around).  Now, I love this little routine of mine and breaking that was worse than going gluten free.
So, for that reason, I have not being able to do gluten-free October.  The smell of their lovely sourdough rolls and those damn gooey, fruity buns are just way too much for this girl to bear!! Damn you organic bread bar, why are you so damn tasty and deliciously yum?  Really, if you are in the neighbourhood, get yourself there and give their bread a go, they also make a great coffee.
So, how do I break this little routine of love?  I do something radical that's what.
Yes friends, it's true, nothing simple for this crazy girl.  Is it the green smoothies going to my head?  Maybe.
I figure the only way to do something right is to just throw yourself in the deep end.

So today is day 1, and I chose today because it will mean that day 21 will culminate in doing the raw food workshop at Sadhana Kitchen.  A little treat for all my hard work.
I don't think I've really thought this adventure through, otherwise I probably wouldn't have done it.  It dawned on me today that for the next 21 days, well 20 now, I won't eat anything warm or enjoy a hot soup, e.t.c.
ARGH! How will I cope?
Oh well, decision has been made so here I am.
Breakfast and lunch are easy, but what about dinner?  I normally love baking veges, I love eating quinoa with everything, and nothing beats a warm pudding with almond custard when you want some comfort food.
I don't have a dehydrator which is used a bit I imagine, but I do have this cool little tool called a spirooli.  If you are thinking of trying a raw diet, even for just a little while like me, I highly recommend getting one.  And it's not like you won't ever use it again.  For under $40, it's not a bad little gadget to have.  But to that later.

Here's how my day went today.


Green Overnight Oats
Serves 1


1/3 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1 banana
1 cup spinach/kale
200 ml almond milk
200 ml coconut water
1 TBS chia seeds
1 TBS hemp seeds
1 tsp raw mesquite powder
1 tsp spirulina
Handful of berries


Blend all ingredients together except for oats.  Place your oats in a bowl or whatever container you're going to be eating it from tomorrow, and pour in your green smoothie.  Stir to combine and refrigerate overnight.  Top with fresh berries the next day and enjoy.

Morning Tea

I normally have a coffee (and a fruit bun!) but I can't have that now, so instead I made myself a juice.

Purple Haze


1 green apple
1 pear
1/2 lemon
4 spinach stalks
2 cos lettuce leaves
1 cucumber
1 knob of ginger
1 beetroot
2 carrots
3 stalks of celery, tops included


Place it in your juicer and drink that baby ASAP!!


Sushi and Salad with Tahini & Tamari Dressing
serves 1

Raw vegetable sushi
1 nori sheet                    
alfalfa sprouts                  
red capsicum strips              
yellow capsicum strips           
cucumber strips
avocado slices


red capsicum


2 TBS unhulled tahini
1 TBS tamari
2 TBS water
1 TBS lemon juice
sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Pickled ginger


You will need a bamboo mat for rolling.
Place the nori sheet on top of bamboo mat, spread the top with sprouts, making sure you leave about 1 cm at the edge so that it can stick and make a perfect roll.
Arrange your vegetables close to one edge, and with the bamboo, roll towards the other edge, holding tight as you roll in order to make a neat roll.
Add a little bit of water to the exposed edge so that the roll seals and you don't get any explosions.

Chop up the vegetables for your salad and arrange on the plate.

For the dressing, mix all ingredients together until you get a runny but thick consistency.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.  You will have enough dressing left over to use on another salad if you don't eat it all as you go :)

Obviously you can use any vegetables you desire and try different types of sauces for dipping.  This is just what I had at hand.
It was yummy, fresh, and surprisingly filling.  I just love the crunchiness of the vegetables, especially the raw broccoli.

Now to the Spirooli.  For something that is advertised as a meat grinder, it definitely gets a lot of work moonlighting as a raw food kitchen MUST.

Zucchini Pasta with Basil and Spinach Pesto
Serves 2


4 zucchini
2 cups basil leaves
2 cups spinach chopped 
1/3 cup avocado
1/4 cup raw pine nuts + a few for garnish
1 clove of garlic
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt 
2 TBS lemon juice
zest of above lemon
6 sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
10 kalamata olives, sliced


Use the spirooli to create your zucchini pasta, put aside.
Alternatively if you don't have one, just julienne your zucchini.
In a food processor or blender, place all your ingredients except tomatoes and olives.
Blend until you get a creamy consistency.
Mix with your pasta, tomatoes and olives.
Serve and sprinkle with some whole pine nuts.

I had to finish it all off with something sweet, so I whipped up a tropical fruit smoothie.

Tropical Smoothie
Serves 1

1 banana frozen
1 mango cheek
1 cup papaya chopped
1/2 cup pineapple chopped
1 cup coconut water
2/3 cup full fat coconut milk
Shredded coconut for garnish


Just blend it already!

Throughout the day I also munched on fruit and had a few of dates and raw nuts (i know, i know, my sweet tooth)!!

Surprisingly, I didn't miss my coffee, though I will miss my barista and the whole routine of it :(
But it won't be forever, coffee and fruit buns, we have not broken up, we're just having a little break from each other, and think of the make-up munch? Ooh, I'm swooning as I type.

So, here I go again, into the unknown, attempting to gather as much information as possible about this way of eating.  I have to say, so far so good, but then again, it's always easy to be enthusiastic at the beginning.  
With a little bit of luck, a lot of positivity and hopefully some help from my friends, I'm sure this will be another adventure/challenge I can get through.  
Gluten-free October, you have not completely defeated me, I've just found a new way to get through you.  Wish me luck!

Love,peas and mung beans


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

liquid detox

Apart from being the 10th week into the challenge, it's also the beginning of gluten-free October.  As you are all well aware of my baking addiction, gluten-free October means that I get to try different things in the baking department.  Or maybe I'll lay off the baked goods for a while, I mean, the single reason for doing a gluten-free month is so that I can survive No-sugar-vember!!
Yes, I think laying of the baking is a good idea.  But before I go into a baking hiatus, here's a little healthy treat I baked for my girls.  I got the thumbs up from both.
I will say that this cake is better eaten the next day.  For some unknown reason, it's more moist if left overnight.

Zucchini and Carrot Cake
Serves 12 squares


2 cups wholemeal plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup dates chopped
1 cup sultanas
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/tsp ground cloves
1/tsp ground nutmeg
1/cup grated carrot
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/cup orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
1/3 cup almond milk


Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
In a small sauce pan, add water, dates, sultanas and spices.  Heat over medium heat until boiling, cook stirring for another 3 minutes and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, place grated carrots and grated zucchini, make sure you squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini.  Pour date mixture over the vegetables, stir until mixed through and leave until it has cooled down.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Line a square cake tin and set aside.
Once your mixture is cooled, mix in the orange juice.  
Add your flour mixture to the liquid mixture and mix until well combined.  Add your almond milk and stir through.
Pour into your lined container and bake for about 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

This is a good way to sneak in some vegetables into your snacks and though sweet, it doesn't contain any refined sugar.  Double bonus.
I've also made this in a loaf tin and served it toasted with almond butter.  OMG, DELISH!!

Now to my juice cleanse.  Well, it's not exactly a juice cleanse, more of a 72 hour liquid detox.
I'm currently on the last day and I know I'm jumping the gun by posting before it's over but I have noticed a few things already.

1.  It's not that hard to do.  
2.  I didn't get as hungry as I thought I would.
3.  It's a mind thing.
4.  Less digestion means better sleep.

I'll start with the first point, a liquid detox means different things to different people.  If you look through cyberspace, you'll find numerous liquid detox guides, the important thing is to choose one that suits you.
I decided to do a gentle detox as I've never done one before and I wasn't sure how I'd go having no solid food.
So here's what I did:

On awaking:

Morning liver tonic
500 mls of water

Green Smoothie
Green smoothie 

300 ml coconut water
1 Tbs chia seeds
1 banana
1 english spinach handful
3 stalks of kale
1/2 avocado
1 tsp spirulina
1 tsp hempseeds

The rest of the day consisted of 6 juices.  I chopped and changed to keep it interesting but these are the ones I had.  I got the idea from urban remedy.
The juices I made were the green apple alkalizer, supercharged greens, metabolism booster and the calming smoothie.
Green Apple Alkalizer

The calming smoothie was so delicious, and you can get the ingredients from the above site or check out my previous post.

Although I wasn't hungry as in my stomach-is-hurting-from-hunger, I did have a desire to chew!!  Especially when everyone was eating around me and I could smell the aromas.  But I could distract myself and be ok.
The first day was the hardest and I did give in to the chew and had a couple of corn thins :( 
But what can I say, you can only try and do the best you can, no point beating yourself up over it :)
And as you know, I can't not have dessert so I made a little chia seed pudding on day two to replace the calming smoothie.

Chocolate chia pudding
Serves 1


2 TBS chia seeds
1 TBS raw cacao powder
1 tsp mesquite powder
1 cup coconut water
1/2 banana


Blend all ingredients together and leave to thicken, about 30 minutes.  YUM!

I also made sure I drank water throughout the day, and had a couple of cups of herbal tea.

Although I didn't feel tired, I did make sure my exercise routine was gentle.  I did a 30 minute circuit on day 1 and 2 and I'm planning on doing a long walk tonight.
I have noticed that I've been able to get to sleep with no issues for the past two nights, and I've stayed asleep the whole night.  I think the stars have also aligned as my girls have both slept without issues for the past two night.  YAY!
I can only imagine that because the body is not working hard to digest a full meal, that it actually is able to rest and hence, great shuteye for moi.
Because of the restful sleep, I've been waking up at around 5 in the morning!  This has given me the chance to get my exercise out of the way, and even squeeze in some meditation.  
I can't say I'll be doing this on a regular basis but I do think it's a good way to kick start your digestion if you have digestion issues.
I expected to get headaches, but I didn't experience any which is  good.  I take this to mean that my body is not toxic and I have my new way of eating to thank for that.  If I wasn't a believer in the benefits of a plant based diet, I am now.
If anything, doing the cleanse has strengthen my desire to keep to a vegan way of eating.

Which leads me to my dinner at Quay tomorrow, I am so excited! I'm sure I've already told you that but just in case I didn't, there it is.
I will post photos of the food they prepare for me at the end of the week, as well as some gluten-free recipes.
If you are doing gluten-free October, or you have any gluten-free recipes, please send me details or post in comments.  I would LOVE to see the amazing food everyone else is making.
Sharing is caring!!

Love, peas and mungbeans