Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Filo Fillers

Confession time:
I've had this post sitting in my drafts folder since February.... waiting for me to re-do the recipes and take better pictures. However, since filo pastry is such a rare treat in our home it hasn't happened! And we have refined our diet even more in the last few months so the chances of filo making a re-appearance are now even more rare than previously!
So you'll just have to trust me when I say that even though the pictures are not the greatest, that each of these is totally delicious!!!!!

Filo Fillers - Tasty Pastry Options

There is something tremendously comforting for me about rolling up filo pastry. 
I don't really know what it is..... 
Perhaps it's having to be so tender so the pastry doesn't tear.
Perhaps it's experimenting with the many different types of fillings. 
Perhaps it's the excitement of feeling like we're having something a little bit fancy for dinner even though it's really easy to make.
Perhaps it's the fun of brushing over them knowing that their pale skin is going to come out brown and blistered when it's baked.

Perhaps it's just knowing they are a real treat....

Whatever it is, I recommend you try these fillings! 
And be sure to let me know if you find rolling filo pastry just as comforting as I do!!!

Although they reheat well, the pastry is never quite the same as when they are fresh from the oven. 

For each of these recipes I will give quantities to make 4-5 pastries depending on how generous you are with your fillings.
The instructions are the same for each filling - just different ingredients are used. 
I recommend using 2-3 sheets to roll each pastry. I find that using just one sheet will tear and/or get soggy. And no-one like a soggy bottom ;-) 

Basic Directions:

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. 

Place approximately a 1/2 cup of the filling onto 2-3 sheets of the filo pastry in the center and roll the pastry up, being sure to tuck the ends in to minimalise leakage. 

Place on a lined baking tray and brush with plant milk. 

Bake in a preheated 200C oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Tomato and Bean Filo Rolls
4 chopped fresh tomatoes
1 tin drained borlotti beans
1 teaspoon salsa spice mix

Curried Pumpkin Filo Rolls
1/4 small pumpkin - cut into cubes and cooked til tender
1 tin 4 bean mix, drained
1/2 cup corn kernels
1 zucchini, chopped and cooked
1 teaspoon curry powder

Potato and Pea Filo Triangles
2 cups mashed potato
1/2 cup frozen peas, cooked
1 teaspoon Rogan Josh spice blend

(I boil the potatoes and peas together to make life easier. I also like to wrap these ones into triangle shapes just to be different!)

(This is an example of what happens if you overlook the milk-brushing part, still delicious but the pastry ends up really dry.)

Question of the day:
Do you use filo pastry?
What are some of your favourite fillers?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Kids Lunchbox Club - Quick Mexican Quinoa Salad

My daughter has decided that she quite loves quinoa! This is thanks to her testing out a Dreena Burton recipe. So this means now she requests it for her lunchbox salad. We don't often eat quinoa, but I had a batch made up this week and with a few leftover bits and pieces from a Mexican-inspired meal we had prepared earlier in the week this delicious salad was created.
Nevermind the kids! I reckon this lunchbox meal would please any adult too!


To serve one you'll need:
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 Tablespoons of salsa
1/4 cup black beans
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/4 small capsicum - chopped
1/2 small avocado - diced

Stir a tablespoon of salsa into the quinoa and mix well. 
Add the other ingredients and stir through. Top with the remaining tablespoon of salsa.


Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays
You can add your recipe on these blogs:
Vegan Dollhouse 

Rock My Vegan Socks

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Final Few Reviews

This month seems to have escaped me much quicker than I was hoping!
So today I will give a final few reviews of a couple more books that I thought deserved a mention.

Firstly I'm going to give a big shout out for Chloe Coscarelli.
Chloe became well known for being the first vegan to win cupcake wars, and that is how my love of her started too. 
Her books are the perfect cookbooks! 

........However, I don't have any recipes to show you today!
You see, she has the most amazing recipes and the most beautiful photos. Part of me doesn't want to destroy how wonderful they are but attempting my own ;-)
These are great books to sit and read on the couch. You simply can't be miserable while you have one of these books in your hand!
These would have to be my top "therapy cookbooks"!!! You know those ones that you just sit and read and know that even if you never cook anything from them you'll be completely satisfied that you own them and they fulfill your life in a funny sort of way ;-)
That said, I have cooked a few recipes in the past from them and definitely will again in the future!

She has a new book just released a few days ago which I look forward to adding to my collection.

You can view Chloe's website here - Chef Chloe

Next in line is Isa Chandra Moskowitz.
She is very well-known in vegan-land. She has written many books - my collection is pictured below. Everyone raves about her!
The vegan cupcake/cookies/pie series are cute little handheld size books that have wonderful pictures through out and the recipes are super easy to make. These recipes are sure to impress anyone who thinks that vegans miss out on treats! 

Shown below is "Blueberry Spice Crumb Bars" from the Vegan Cookies book. My batter didn't spread as well as I was hoping so I didn't layer the top with crumbs as the recipe calls for. They were so so delicious. A really nice dessert to finish our meal with. My husband really enjoyed these and yet "claims" he doesn't like blueberries, then again I don't particularly like them fresh either but frozen ones seem to be quite different ;-)

I was so excited when Appetite for Reduction was released and I got it straight away. I have cooked several recipes from this book. It doesn't have the beautiful photography that the mini books have, rather a few photos in the centre of the book. So some of the recipes require a good understanding of how you hope they will turn out. All the recipes in the book are low-fat, although for our purposes they still require the complete elimination of oil and some other ingredients. Everything we have tried so far is delicious.
As I hear all things from Isa are!
Below is pictured "Smoky Split Pea Soup".

And shown here is "Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach".
Both of these recipes were amazingly delicious and I'll definitely be making them again.
I loved the roasted cauliflower. I have often used cauliflower in white sauce, but roasting it first gave it a wonderful taste.

You can view Isa's website here at the Post Punk Kitchen. She has a wonderful range of recipes on her website.

And last but not least is Leah Leneman.
I can't say that she is an overly popular vegan writer, possibly because she passed away in 1999 and I don't think that the vegan boom had taken off then. None the less, her books have a special place in her heart because her book "Vegan Cooking for One" helped me in those very early stages of changing my diet. I could not of done it without that book.

They are not fancy or flash cookbooks, just basic books with no pictures but they are a great starting point. They have many wonderful recipes, all using basic ingredients and most things I've tried I've really enjoyed. 
They are packed FULL of recipes that require little time or effort to prepare.  

Pictured below is Mushroom and Tomato Pie.

Well that's it from me for Vegan Mofo this year!
I hope you have enjoyed my reviews.
Is there any vegan cookbooks that have stolen your heart?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Happy Herbivore

Next in line for review is the collection of cookbooks from The Happy Herbivore.
Lindsay Nixon is a follower of the low-fat plant based lifestyle. I love all her cookbooks, however it did take a bit of encouragement for me to purchase them. 
A friend was 'upgrading' to ebooks and I was fortunate enough to be offered to buy the paperbacks from her. I have not regretted the purchase at all!
These are some of our most used cookbooks, mainly because my daughter has an aim to cook EVERY recipe from the original Happy Herbivore book. Now if that isn't sign enough how tasty & easy these recipes are, then I don't know what is!

The range of recipes in these books is amazing. And everything we have tried so far is just delicious. 
The recipes are easy to make and require basic ingredients, nothing too flash or fancy & they are all free of added oils. My kind of cookbooks :-)
The recipes are also ones that are sure to please all taste buds, including those who are not used to eating vegan, or low free vegan. 
The books have wonderful pictures through out and have great guides to the recipes, including symbols for quick (less than 30 mins), gluten free, soy free and kid friendly recipes. The appendix at the back is one of the best ones I've ever seen in a cookbook making it really easy to find the recipes you are looking for.
Lindsay also encourages a "minimalist" lifestyle that means not creating clutter in our homes & only purchasing what we truly need.

I recently added her newest cookbook "Light and Lean" to my collection. I must admit that I am yet to actually cook any recipes from it, but I think it's another book that I'll add to my list of 'must cook every recipe' books!!! It all looks so amazing delicious. 

Now onto some recipes!
These chocolate chip cookies are delicious. They were one of the first things my daughter ticked off her list and she has been making them regularly ever since!
Another of my daughters favourites that she regularly makes is this "tofu yogurt". It's quite and easy to blend up and taste delicious.
Below is "miso gravy". I haven't experimented hugely with gravies since going vegan & have only really ever made either a store bought packet mix or my mushroom gravy. This gravy was so so delicious, it was full of flavour and we all really enjoyed it. It perfectly completed this meal of bean patties and waffle potatoes.


You can check out all things Happy Herbivore on her website here.
She also does plant-based meal plans for those who are interested.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Esselstyn

Today's book reviews are from Rip Esselstyn.

Rip Esselstyn is the son of the well known Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, also known as Mr "Heart Attack Proof". Dr. Esselstyn featured in the documentary Forks Over Knives. He has had wonderful success with not only stopping the progression of heart disease, but also reversing the damage already done to arteries. Perhaps most well-known for helping the former American president Bill Clinton. 

Rip was a professional athlete and is now a firefighter - both careers fueled by plants. 
He tells part of his story at the start of his Engine 2 Diet book.

Rip follows in his father's footsteps recommending a whole food plant based diet that eliminates all oils. Data shows that any oils, including olive oil, increase our risk of heart disease just like butter does. Oil is a highly processed food and is in no way a "WHOLE" food. You can watch this short clip on youtube here if you're interested.  

I waited several years after their release date before purchasing these books. I am honestly yet to read "My Beef with Meat". If you've read it be sure to let me know what you think! 

The reason I'm delayed in reading the second book is because, to be honest, "The Engine 2 Diet" didn't really grab me. Don't get me wrong, it's a great book, but it is another one that is aimed at those who need convincing to switch their diet, and not particularly relevant for those already well and truly on the plant-based and oil free) way of life. I also think that it would be a great read for men. I think they would enjoy the fire-fighting stories a lot more than I did!!!

I love the "easy weekly planner" that is included in the book. I think it's a fantastic way of showing how easy a plant-based diet can be. It provides a guide to having variety and incorporating old favourites now turned into new healthy ways of eating. Also it is a great way of planning meals out for the week - both for old and new herbivores!

There are a few stand out recipes in the book, but the rest are real basic and great for new-comers who are looking for easy, no fuss meals that are nothing too exotic! 

Below is pictured "Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna" (minus the ground cashews). 
This is so so delicious and honestly one of my favourite plant lasagna's.

You can find the recipe for this delicious meal on his website here.

I love that the recipes in the book are foods that are familiar to people who consume a standard diet, yet now made in a way that supports a plant-based diet. 
This "Green Pizza" is an example of that. 
I was surprised at how delicious it was. I have never tried broccoli on pizza before and I usually don't use plain nutritional yeast, but instead turn it into a 'sauce'. For this recipe I just sprinkled it over the top, and it worked quite well. 
You can view the recipe on the website here

Now how's that for a vegan pizza! 

I have heard glowing review about the new "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook" - though I am yet to get it.
Anybody got it and want to share your thoughts on it?

I get excited anytime a new vegan cookbook comes out and especially ones that are oil-free and not heavily focused on nuts!

You can find more information about Rip on his website here - Engine 2 Diet.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Dreena Burton

Today I am bringing to light Dreena Burton.

Now I must admit that I only own one of her cookbooks!

That is because I'm grateful that both our local library's have her other books, and I have borrowed them quite a few times.
My all time favourite home-made veggie pattie to date is her "Too-Good-to-Be-Tofu Burgers" from her latest book - Let Them Eat Vegan.

They are so incredibly tasty and easy to make. They honestly don't have any 'tofu/soy' taste to them but are just so full of flavour. We make them regularly in our home. 
And nevermind using tofu all the time, her "No-fu Love Loaf" is also incredibly tasty and is often spoken about in the plant based world. It's a fantastic alternative to using tofu or ground faux meat in non-meat loaves.
You can find the recipe for it here. I think it's super tasty! If you give it a try be sure to let me know what you think of it. 

One of the main reasons that I'm keen on Dreena's recipes and books are because she doesn't use vegan substitutions, like tvp, fake cheese etc, but instead focuses on using whole 'real' ingredients. 

Also she is a parent of 3 young girls, so it's encouraging for me to read from other parents who are bringing their children up vegan. Her recipes are definitely child friendly.

Below is pictured "Cinnamon Lime Quinoa with Apricots & Almonds.
This is quick and easy to mix up, and adds a wonderful taste to otherwise plain cooked quinoa. This made its way into my daughters lunchbox and she was delighted!
Also pictured is "Sesame Lime Soba Noodles with Shittake Mushrooms & Snow Peas".
Again another really easy dish was that so tasty.

For more information and recipes from Dreena Burton check out her webpage and blog at Plant Powered Kitchen.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Vegan Mofo - Joel Fuhrman

Joel Fuhrman calls his diet plan a "nutritarian" lifestyle.
His focus is on getting the maximum amounts of nutrients from the foods we eat. 
And whilst he recommends largely avoiding animal foods, his books are not completely "vegan".

If you're interested in his 6 week Eat-To-Live plan you can find details about it here.

For a great summary chart that is easy to understand and refer to I recommend checking out Amy's Nutritarian Kitchen.

I have personally found it a little difficult to completely stick to the Eat to Live plan and sure do favour having some added starch to my meals. Snacks are also forbidden on his plan, and not that I'm a big snacker, but I don't mind having one occasionally. I hear many many success stories of people who have lost a lot of weight following his plan. Perhaps I haven't enjoyed his plan as much because I have never needed to lose a large amount of weight.
Even with me not completely following his recommended plan, I find that his books are filled with some wonderful recipes, and lots of information too.
I have enjoyed reading his concept of 'true hunger' and found that particularly helpful.

I am lucky enough to have the privilege of borrowing several other books of his from our local library too, all of which I have enjoyed reading.  

I also enjoy following his Disease Proof blog for things that are not only about diet but other areas of lifestyle/health too, such as sunscreens

Now for some recipe trials:
This chocolate "green" smoothie in the Book Eat to Live is my all time favourite smoothie. I have even run this by a few others who are not "green smoothie" fans and it gets their tick of approval too!

Below is "Eggplant Cannelloni" from the Eat to Live Cookbook.

Sorry for the terribly messy picture! It truly was amazingly delicious. 
It's a little fiddly to prepare but well worth the effort.
I think it could be made to look quite presentable when each roll is served on a plate and would look like quite a fancy dish.

You can find more information about Joel Fuhrman and his recommendations on his website here
I have previously joined the member centre and found it to be most helpful. There are a ton of recipes with reveiws from other members, as well as playbacks of many talks given by Dr Fuhrman. 
I also recommend visiting his daughters website - Talia Fuhrman. She has wonderful recipes, interesting interviews, hints & tips about chemical free makeup, and is just all round encouraging. She also has a book due out very soon.