Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Skinny Bitch

I had to start with these books because I myself am a Skinny Bitch convert!

For those of you who are offended by the name, they clearly explain that it was for attention seeking purposes that it was called that - and well, get my attention it sure did!
It was nearly 7 years ago that I came across the book Skinny Bitch. I may still be waiting for the "skinny" part and I don't want to be a "bitch", but it definitely changed my life!

It is an absolute crackup to read and yet it will have you go from laughing to balling your eyes out with each turn of a page.
I couldn't put this book down!

Thankfully along came some cookbooks shortly after. 
My favourites are Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook and also Skinny Bitch Bakery.

I believe that all good cookbooks need to start with a section that isn't recipes but is instead a 'guide' to what their cookbook is for.  Kim Barnouin does that part perfectly! 
I LOVED reading her sections on "A Greener Diet" and "Secrets to Being a Skinny Bitch" as much as I have enjoyed looking at the marvellous pictures, oh wait, and tasting the delicious recipes as well!!!
Above is pictured "Southwestern Griddle Cakes".
Oh my!!! What a delicious alternative to regular pancakes. They went down really well in our home, and I had high hopes of the spares ending up in my daughters lunchbox - but nope, there wasn't any left!
The next breakfast recipe that I'm hoping to try is "Breakfast Bake". I have always wanted to try some different potato recipes for breakfast so this is next on my list.

Below is "Curried Chickpea Cakes". These are honestly some of the most delicious patties that I've ever tried. So full of flavour and yet so quick & easy to make.

The book also includes sections for soups (that are far more exciting than your plain vegetable soup), salads (that are sure to please better than a bowl of lettuce), the most incredibly sounding sauces & dressing (got several of them on my to-try list now!), sides (that won't add to the size of your own 'side' ;-) ), an amazing list of dinners, and ending with desserts & drinks (always the best part right???).
Does the sound of "Blueberry Streusel Cake", or "Miso Crunch Salad", or "Spicy Mango Chutney", or how about "Vegetable Tempura with Daikon Radish Soy Dip" tempt you at all???? Then get your hands on this amazing book! You won't regret it!! 

I was delighted when my husband included Skinny Bitch Bakery in my Christmas gift box :-) 
I had not known he had gotten it for me so it was a wonderful surprise. 
Remember how I said I love cookbooks for looking at the pictures??? Well Skinny Bitch Bakery is one of those books that will have your mouth watering! 
This book is filled with tempting recipes like "Lime Pot de Creme",  "Spiced Baked Potato Samosas" and an amazing cookie list, not to mention teaching you how to make your own pastries. 
I found the helpful baking hints at the front of the book fantastic.
Feeling so much more confident I got straight to baking & made this "Orange Poppy Seed Bundt Cake".

It was seriously just ~A-MAZ-ING~.
I took it to work for my fellow work mates to enjoy & they all commented on how delicious it was too. I did sub the recommended earth balance for applesauce and it still worked out so delicious, so it's also handy to know that when I'm making lower fat alternatives the recipes still work out & still taste delicious.

I can't leave my post about Skinny Bitch without mentioning their "Skinny Bitch Fitness" workout DVD's. I'm quite a fan of home exercise DVD's. I love the privacy and convenience of working out at home. These DVD's are sooooooooo much fun, the girls make sure you laugh so much that you forget you are working out! 
If you're looking for something new to add to your fitness regime then I can't recommend these highly enough! 

You can view all things Skinny Bitch from this website - http://www.skinnybitch.net/

If I've tempted you, then you can purchase the books and DVD's shown above from the links provided.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Vegan Mofo2014

Welcome to another year of Vegan Mofo.

I am grateful that again it's being run in September as October is a very busy month for us with birthdays & our anniversary.
I have quite a few recipes lined up ready to post but they didn't seem to fit into anything that I could turn into a 'theme'. 

I was so happy with my baking theme from last year that I really did want to actually have a theme and not just a bunch of random recipes.
So as I was thinking through what I could do for a theme I decided that since I rarely cook from cookbooks this would provide an excellent opportunity to do just that!

You see, I really do have a bit of a cookbook addiction!

Mainly I love them to look at the pretty pictures, to get inspiration for meals (but not actually cook them) and let's face it, they really do make great night time reading when you can't mentally cope with a proper story!

I will be sharing some of my 'favourites' (at least to look at) and I could definitely benefit from making better use of them! 

So for Vegan Mofo 2014 I bring you.....

Cooking from Cookbooks

Stay tuned for some yummy recipes & reviews.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bit-like Coconut Curry

I was going to call this "Corn & Kale Curry" but I decided "Bit-like Coconut Curry" sounded far more appealing - especially to those who are not kale lovers in our home! It has all the flavour of a curry made with rich coconut milk, yet substantially less fat.
Thankfully it went down a real treat - even none kale-loving members went back for seconds!!! I hope you enjoy it just as much as they did.

(Serves 4)
You'll need:
400g corn cobs (about 3 cobs) - kernels removed
1 bunch kale - finely chopped
500g pumpkin - about 1/4 medium sized one
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 1/2 cups soymilk
1 1/2 teaspoon coconut essense
1 Tablespoon curry powder of choice
1 teaspoon dessicated coconut (optional)

Chop all the veggies.
Saute the onion & garlic with a bit of water until lightly browned.
Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes until pumpkin is soft.
Using the back of a spoon gently press the pumpkin pieces so they begin to fall apart. Stir dish well so everything is well distributed.

Serve over rice or potatoes.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Slow-cooked Mexican Stew

Monday nights are slow-cooker night in our home.
I must admit that for the first few years of owning a slow cooker I used it for nothing other than soup.
I am discovering that there is so much more than just soup that can be done in the slow cooker. I regularly make dried beans and love that on the high function it takes only 2-3 hours to cook them from scratch, even without pre-soaking if I haven't had the chance to do that.

Here's a way I make a complete meal that isn't soup:


You'll need:
1 cup brown rice
1 can black beans
1 can red kidney beans
1 onion
1 green capsicum
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can tomatoes
2 cups vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon taco spice mix of choice

Chop all the vegetables and drain the beans.
Add all ingredients to slow cooker. 
If you have the option, saute the onion & garlic first. If not, don't worry because it will still work out and be delicious.
Cook on slow for 6-8 hours.


The rice will fluff up to be lovely & thick. It will absorb all the liquid so that this isn't the consistency of a soup.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fruit & Oat Cookies - Sugar Free

My daughter doesn't like dried apricots...

My husband doesn't like ground flax seeds...

But I can get them BOTH to eat these cookies!!!

Fruit & Oat Cookies
(Makes 20)

You'll need:
2 over-ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup each: raisins, dates, dried figs, dried apricots
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
1 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups oats

In a large bowl combine the bananas and applesauce. Mash until smooth.
Finely chop all the dried fruit.
Stir the fruit, flax, cinnamon & vanilla into the banana/apple mixture.
Gently stir through the oats until well combined.
Using wet hands, roll 2 Tablespoons of mixture into a ball shape and press firmly til the ball holds together. Place onto a lined baking tray and press down gently to form a cookie shape.
Bake in a preheated 170C oven for 25 minutes until lightly golden brown.

(You may notice the fruit in my cookies looks brown and not coloured - that is because I use non-sulphur dried fruit. I highly recommend you use it too - its available in health food stores.)

Question of the day:
What food do you dislike but enjoy when it's cooked into something else?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quick Pear Tarts

I recently did an interview for Plant Plate about being a parent who follows a plant based diet.  
My daughter whilst enjoying eating plant foods, often makes it known to me that she wishes for some "vegan junk food", as she mentioned in the interview!
So with one last sheet of pastry left in the freezer & it nearly reaching it's best before date these tarts were made! 
Yes, pastry falls into the "junk food" category for me! And now that it's all gone I won't be replacing it, instead I am enjoying experimenting more with home-made pastry options.

This is a really quick & easy treat to whiz up when visitors are due, or for a special occasion dessert!
But most importantly of all..... my daughter LOVED them and felt like she was having real 'junk food'! 

Remove a sheet of dairy-free puff pastry from the freezer & allow to soften.
Cut the sheet of puff pastry into quarters. 
Along each cut, add another cut 1cm to either side. 
Also cut 1cm around the edges of the sheet of pastry.
Spread the inner 4 quarters with fig jam but not going all the way to the edge (or other flavoured jam of choice). 

Remove the 1cm sections of pastry from the lining sheet & press them gently into the edges of the tarts as shown.
Slice pears into thin pieces and spread them over the jam.

Sprinkle some frozen whole raspberries and broken pieces over the pears.

Bake in a preheated 220C oven for 15-20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.

Serve with chocolate coconut cream for added eating pleasure!

Don't forget to check out my friends blog at Plant Plate.com
It's full of wonderfully handy hints and is an amazing resource of information and advice for following a plant-based diet!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Banana Oat Slice

I love to mix up a quick & easy slice. 
They are great for sneaking into lunchboxes, for adults and kids! 
This is a really simple one that doesn't require many ingredients, most of them are just staples in our home so they are always on hand anyway. 
And.... it's easy enough for kids to make themselves!

You'll need:
2 Tablespoons ground flax mixed with 6 Tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup motherless milk of choice
2 overripe bananas
1 teaspoon each baking powder, baking soda
1/4 cup coconut sugar  (*see below)
1 cup oats
1 cup oatbran

Whisk together the flax and water and set aside til thickened.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
In a smaller bowl mash the bananas well.
Add the milk and flax seeds and stir. 
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients in.
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Do not overmix.

Pour mixture into a 18cm square baking dish either lined or silicone.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 30 minutes.

*For a sugar free version omit the sugar and replace with 1 teaspoon vanilla.