Tofu ‘Ricotta’ and Kale Filo Pie

Something I really miss since going dairy free is ricotta or feta and spinach pastries. I often use to buy one for a quick breakfast before work. However all that dairy was not doing my hips a favor. This version has creamy texture and mild cheesy flavor of ricotta without the lactose and casein. The filling would also work well in a hand held filo pastries, which can be prepared in batches and froze before being baked fresh.

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Tofu ‘Ricotta’ and Kale Filo Pie (vegan, nut free)

Ingredients:

olive oil

3 cups tuscan kale leaves, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

375g firm tofu

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1.5 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 tablespoon white or barley miso paste

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

1/2 cup vegan mozzarella or cheddar (I used Vegusto No-Moo Melty)

7 filo pastry sheets

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Heat olive oil a fry pan on medium heat. Sauté the tuscan kale leaves in a few batches. Only cook the leaves for a few minutes until they start to wilt, then place on a dish or a tray to cool down.

3. Use the same fry pan to sauté the chopped brown onions, until they are transparent. Place the onion on a dish to cool down.

4. Place the onion, garlic, and tofu in a processor. As it blending add the sea salt, black pepper, miso paste, apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast. Blend until the onions and garlic are broken down and the mixture becomes like a moist crumbly ricotta texture.

5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir through the tuscan kale and vegan cheese. Add more salt and pepper if you need.

6. Take a 20cm-round springform pan and brush the base and sides with with some olive oil.Take 1 sheet of filo sheet and place on a flat surface. Brush the filo with olive oil, then place the oiled side on the base of the pan, letting the edges hang over the edge. Repeat this, layering 5 more sheets on top of each other in a clockwise pattern.

7. Place the tofu ricotta and kale filling in the centre of the pan, making sure its equally distributed.

8. Scrunch the sides of the filo sheets to form a border around the filling.

9. Brush another sheet of pastry with oil on both sides, then scrunch the sheet over one side of the filling, within the pastry border. Repeat with another sheet on the other side of the filling.

10. Bake for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crunchy. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the springform pan and serving.

*Serves 6

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Creamy Lemon Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Gemelli

This dish is an adaption of one of my favourite recipes, Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans, from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. This is one of my go to recipes when I’m in a hurry and need a creamy beany comfort dish. For my recipes I decided to add fresh broccoli and broccoli leaves, which full of Vitamin K and Vitamin C. Vitamin K is something I’m really focusing on increasing in my third trimester. I also added mine and Marco’s new favourite pasta, Gemelli. I just love the texture of this pasta. Its tender and chewy and catches the sauce really well. You can find it at good deli’s.

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Creamy Lemon Broccoli and Cannellini Bean Gemelli (vegan, gluten free option, soy free option, nut free option)

Ingredients:

2-3 serves of gemelli pasta or other short pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon italian herbs

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup broccoli leaves or baby spinach

1/2 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cooked cannellini beans

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (or more to taste)

Method:

1. Cook the pasta according to packet directions.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat, then add garlic and italian herbs. Saute for 1 minute.

3. Add the broccoli florets and sauté for few minutes. Add more olive oil or some pasta water if the broccoli sticks to the pan.

4. Add the broccoli leaves and saute for another minute. If your using baby spinach add in the next step.

4. Add plant milk, sea salt, cannellini beans and nutritional yeast. Simmer for 4-5 minutes.

5. Add lemon juice and add more seasoning if you need, then serve immediately.

*Serves 2-3

I have been having mad craving for sweets since halfway through my second trimester. Apparently that’s typical when your expecting a little girl. But I feel really guilty every time I indulgent in something that’s got too much sugar or not so vegan. Plus I don’t want my baby to be born a sugar fiend like her father.These Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites from The Oh She Glows Cookbook really hit the spot. They are sweet enough with only the additional of a little bit of maple syrup and some dark chocolate chips. Other then that they only contain oats, almonds, peanut butter, sea salt, vanilla and coconut oil. They are a great snack you can keep in the freezer when your sugar tooth strikes.

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Another recipe I made from The Oh She Glows Cookbook is this Raw Buckwheat Breakfast Porridge. You can see a similar recipe for the Raw Buckwheat Porridge on the author, Angela’s blog. I made this recipe ages ago and forgot how good it was. I added some fresh organic strawberries, coconut yoghurt, toasted pepitas seeds and toasted shredded coconut. The perfect easy breakfast for a hungry mama.

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Third Trimester (8 months)

Hi all, I’ve been on a little hiatus this past month. I have been busy with catching up with friends, birth classes and reading as much as I can about what to expect for the impending d day. I have also been generally exhausted since I hit the third trimester. I have been still cooking but my main focus has been trying to make sure I am eating  healthy enough  at every meal for the baby. So I haven’t had much inspiration to create anything very interesting fort his blog. To be honest I still have still been getting this intense anxiety when it comes to cooking. Something I have been struggling with since last April when my father died. I have been finding it easier to just eat more simply meal and follow recipes, than plan anything too exciting. At the moment the most important thing is that I am giving the baby the right amount of nutrients of a daily basis. So I have been keeping a log of everything I eat so I make sure I have enough variety. I try to aim for at least 80 different foods each week, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils and spices.

Nearly a month ago there was a bit of concern that my baby was too small due to the size of my tummy. My midwife even asked if I had been dieting. So I had to go for another ultrasound. I was really stress that I had been doing something wrong and not eating enough. However, after the ultrasound it turned out that my baby was actually a little bigger in her growth projection. All her measurements showed that she was extremly healthy. I also got back my bloods for Iron studies and Vitamin D which were excellent. So it was a false alarm, but it did make me feel more secure and I also got to see my baby for the very last time before she’s born.

Just before the ultrasound I couldn’t feel her moving, so I just assumed that she was sleeping. However once we saw her on the big screen we could see her little eyes opening and closing and her little tongue moving back and forward. I was amazed to see there was another little world going on in there that I wasn’t experiencing first hand with the usual kicks and punches. The sonographer wanted to take a few nice photos of the baby’s face for me as a keep sake. Unfortunately my little miss was enjoying sucking her little foot to much and did not remove it the whole time. Well actually after a bit of poking from the sonographer she did take her foot out of her mouth for a moment so she could give a huge kick with it so that we would leave her alone, she then put it back in her month and that was that. What was also a bit freaky is that I can see she already looks like Marco. So I might not be getting the mini me that I expected. I just can’t wait to see what she turns out to look like.

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Since the ultrasound my tummy has grown a lot and I have gain nearly 3 kilos. This has really made a difference to the way I look and feel. I was feeling a bit awkward a month ago getting up and down, but I would still get a shock when I looked in the mirror since I didn’t feel that big. Now I really do feel pregnant. I have noticed even the baby is getting a little squashed in there. She is still very active but is struggling to stick to my right side any more. Her little feet are usually protruding just above my belly button.

Here are some growth pictures. I still can believe I actually am this big!

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28 weeks (7 months)

29 Weeks 3 days - 20 Jan

29 weeks

31 weeks

32 Weeks – 8 months

I have been reading the most amazing baby books recently. These are some that I have read and recommend:

The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning, by Alicia Silverstone

Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five, John Medina

Feeding Baby Green: The Earth Friendly Program for Healthy, Safe Nutrition During Pregnancy, Childhood, and Beyond, Alan Greene, M.D.

Disease-Proof Your Child: Feeding Kids Right, John Fuhrman, M.D

The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D

Vegan Pregnancy Survivial Guide, Sayward Rebhal

Vaccination: It’s your informed choice, Dr Peter Baratosy

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor’s Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices, Sarah J. Buckley, M.D.

Your Non-Toxic Pregnancy, by Susannah Marriot

The Diaper-free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative, by Christine Gross-Loh

 

Are there any great books that you can recommend me?

 

Lastly I wanted to share this delicious 8 month celebratory brunch we had at one of our favourite vegetarian restaurants. The Cardamon Pod at Broadbeach has just started doing breakfast. It was definitely the best vegan breakfast I’ve ever had. If you can get there I really recommend you check them out!

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Feisty Mexican Burrito (spinach spelt tortilla filled with black beans, guacamole, topped with grilled corn salsa & grilled corn, with cashew sour cream,, salsa, roasted potato & sweet potato)

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French Toast (sourdough fruit bread, topped with caramelised bananas, caramel walnuts, blueberries, maple syrup with strawberry jam, coconut yoghurt)

Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions

After seeing my naturapath yesterday I realised I really have to amp up my bean intake and make more of an effort to combine plant-based proteins for the baby. As much as I love eating beans I always forget to put them to soak the night. Although I don’t enjoy lentils as much, they are really handy when you have limited time and are out of bpa free canned beans (which I have been relying on). I was also craving pearl couscous after that delicious dish I had from East Elevation a few days ago in Melbourne.

This dish was inspired by Mujaddara but with a few alterations. I used pearl couscous for a different texture and some kale and pepitas seeds for an extra nutritional boost. This dish usually calls for crispy fried onions on top, but I decided to not over cook the onions, to  leave as much nutrients as possible. It was a delicious combination. I hope my little one is enjoying some new flavours.

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 Pearl Couscous with Green Lentils, Kale and Caramelized Onions (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup green lentils (you only need 1 cup of cooked lentils, so cook 1 cup dry for leftovers)

2 cups diced brown onion (about 1.5 onions)

olive oil

3 garlic cloves, diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup pearl couscous

1.5 cup liquid vegetable stock (chicken or veg flavoured)

2 cups sliced kale, tightly packed (about 2 large kale leaves, large stems removed)

3 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Place the green lentils in a pot with enough water to cover and bring the boil. Then place on a simmer and cook until tender. Once cooked leave to the side.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and then add the onion. Cook on a low to medium heat until the onions have browned and caramelized. This should take about 20 minutes. Once they are browned remove from the skillet and place to the side.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium sized pot and add the garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds, then add the ground cumin, ground cinnamon, all spice and sea salt. Cook for a future 30 seconds or until fragrant.

4. Add the couscous and vegetable stock to the pot. Bring to the boil, then place on a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the couscous is tender. Add more stock if it starts to stick to the pot.

5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet and then add the kale. Lightly saute until the kale has wilted and is a vibrant green colour.

6. Toast the pepitas seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop a little then place to the side.

7. Make sure the couscous is off the heat and then add 1 cup of cooked green lentils, 2/3 of the caramelized brown onions and kale to the pot. Stir through.

8. Serve the couscous with extra carmelized onion and toasted pepitas seeds.

*Serve as a main for 3 or as a side for 4

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Melbourne eats

I hope everyone is having a great start to the year. I spent my first week in Melbourne for my cousin’s big Italian wedding and spending time with family. I also managed to discover a few new vegan friendly places and had some amazing eats.

After Marco and I got off the plane in Melbourne we decided to head to Chapel Street, South Yarra. I really wasn’t happy with his funky pink tie that he intended wearing to the wedding. I really wanted him to find something new. But before we could find a new tie I needed to eat. It was lunch time and I was so hungry. The last place I expected to find a delicious vegan friendly place was in this shopping district. However, I came across Spudbar and was really impressed by their healthy take on the humble potato.

I ordered the Chickpea, Pumpkin and Lentil Dahl Spud. This had a legume and pumpkin curry, shredded cabbage, kasundi, carrot and hummus (instead of cucumber yoghurt) over half regular and half sweet potato. It was wholesome, delicious and made mama and baby feel really satisfied.

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Later that evening  we decided to visit the Vietnamese restaurant Quan 88 at St Kilda. We have been going to this family restaurant for years. My uncle was one of their loyal customers at their Richmond location, but when they did the big move  to St Kilda he ended up helping them with their operations. So it was nice to see him and have some good quality Vietnamese.

For entree I ordered the Beancurd & Vegetable Soup which was really flavoursome. For main I order the Vegetarian Curry Hotpot, which had fried soft tofu, eggplant, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli bok choy and onions in a light curry sauce, with a side of jasmine rice. I don’t order hotpot  usually because I find it quite disappointing, but this one was really good and so filling that even in my pregnant hungry state I couldn’t finish it.

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A couple of days later we were taken to a part of Melbourne that I’ve never been to before. Another uncle took us to East St Kilda, where many trendy cafes have popped up in recent times. He took us to one of his favourites Las Chicas. This place prides it’s self on serving local, fresh and sustainable wholesome foods, which is exactly what we found when we stepped in. I really loved their menu which had helpful symbols showing which dishes were vegan, vegetarian, dairy free and gluten free.

I ordered Vik’s Vegan Wrap, which had broccoli, organic silken tofu, mixed mushrooms, lettuce, red onions, vegan mayo, sundried tomato hummus, avocado and tomato & coriander salsa, wrapped in a toasted tortilla, with a decaf bonsoy flat white. This wrap was packed full of flavour and lots of healthy goodies. I usually don’t like silken tofu but it was cooked perfectly and the condiments in the wrap also complemented the other ingredients.

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Marco had to go back go Brisbane, so the next day my cousins took me out to lunch in Brunswick East. They wanted to take me somewhere with vegan options and organic food for me and gluten free and dairy free options for them. One of my cousins has a few intolerances due to IBS, so she is always on the look out for cafes and restaurants that cater for her needs, which is why I love eating out with her while I’m in Melbourne.  East Elevation have a range of creative vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes on their menu. They use seasonal and local produce, as well as organic vegetables. They decor is also beautiful, making you feel like your in a garden courtyard (with aircon).

I ordered the Roasted Eggplant with Tahini, which was served over a pumpkin puree and topped with green beans, moghrabish (Lebanese couscous dish), watercress and toasted pumpkin seeds. This was probably one of the most creative and delicious vegan mains I’ve ever had. I’m now wishing I didn’t live two states away to go back for more.

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I had a free day after that so I decided to have a shopping day in the city. My Nonna was very worried about me walking around by myself incase I could fall, so she accompanied me. Funnily enough, she is the one with the walking stick that nearly fell on me in the tram on the way there. When it came time to eat we looked around the lane ways for something I could eat and that didn’t serve pasta. Nonna doesn’t like ordering pasta out, since she can make it better. After no luck of finding a place in the couple of lanes we went down we ended up at Chinatown. I am not a big fan of chinese food, but I do love noodles and dumplings. So when we past Shanghai Street Dumplings, Wontons and Noodle  and I saw homemade dumplings and vegetarian dishes so I thought it was a good idea.

I ordered the Vegetable Stir fry Noodles, which had shiitake mushrooms, fungus and boy choy. I really missed noodles so I really enjoyed this dish. My Nonna considers noodles as pasta so she preferred to have a meat dumplings. I ordered her the Panfried Beef Dumplings. I didn’t realise until I saw her struggling to cut her dumpling in half that she was really out of her element. So although I felt at home in an authentic dumpling house, perhaps it wasn’t the best place to bring my 75 year old Nonna.
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On my last day I decided to take myself out for an early breakfast before hitting the Melbourne Museum. I searched the net for some vegan friendly cafes in the area and came across Cafe Lua at Carlton. I wasn’t able to access the menu, but the website said they offered vegan and vegetarian options and where gluten free specialists. I was expecting to see a menu with heaps of vegan options but unfortunately I couldn’t see any when I was given the menu at the cafe. However the waitress was really helpful and told me about a couple of dishes that could be altered to be vegan.

I ordered the Smashed Avocado, which was served on sourdough. It was meant to be served with cherry tomatoes and basil but mine came out with chickpeas, which I didn’t mind since I need the extra protein. I also ordered a serve of Roasted Field Mushrooms and the House Smoothie, which had mango, strawberry, almond milk & basil. Everything tasted great, but I was probably expecting too much from this little cafe.

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My last meal before I left was at Milkwood in Brunswick East. I have been here before with my cousins and being tight on time we decided to come back again. My cousin with the allergies loves this place as they really do cater well for those with allergies as well as vegans.

This time I ordered the daily special which was Soba Noodles with Panfried Tofu, Eggplant, Mango and a Chilli Vinaigrette and Lemon Ice Tea. On such a hot day this dish was so refreshing and exactly what I needed.

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As happy as I am to be back in my own bed, I am a little sad that this is my last trip for a while. I’m not sure when I will travel with the baby but looking forward to sharing with her all my favourite eats when I return to Melbourne.

Happy New Year!!!!

I wish you all a Happy New Year and belated Merry Christmas!

Time has just flew since we had a our party on the 20th. After that I had Christmas to organise and family spend time with in the days following. I’m now over six and half months pregnant and exhausted from the busy season and the heat. It’s any wonder that I fell asleep by 11pm last night. The holidays are not over yet though. I fly tomorrow to Melbourne for my cousins wedding and won’t be back till mid next week. Hopefully going to get some good eats in Melbourne, especially now my appetite has become monstrous.

Over the past few of days my little one must have grown a lot. I got a shock when I saw my tummy and how much it had grown all of a sudden and I am eating like a bottomless pit. Here’s a snap we took last night.

26 weeks and 5 days

26 weeks and 5 days

For new years Marco and I decided to have a quiet one. It was our last new years as a couple before we become a triple. But the last thing I wanted to do was be around more people or crowd at Southbank for fireworks. We ended up being spontaneous thought and booking dinner at an exciting new restaurant that just opened up in Westend.

Vegerama West End Restaurant has finally opened their doors recently. They offer 100% Vegetarian Breakfast, lunch and Dinner, as well as many vegan options and gluten free. I have been a long time customer of Vegerama since I discovered their vegetarian store in the Myer Centre and then their vegan store on Adelaide Street (Brisbane CBD). I also ordered their food for our big party recently. Everyone who came to my party loved their food. I was so happy to showcase some of the best vegan food in Brisbane for my carnivorous friends.

So last night we booked in for their New Years Dinner, which was a set menu of sharing dishes, pizzas and desserts. Sorry didn’t get some nice shots of the restaurant, but even Marco intends coming back again very soon.

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I was really hungry. Marco not so much. So we just ordered Veggie Burger Sliders with Rustic Mixed Fries & Chilli Mayo and Satay Pizza (satay sauce, roasted pineapple, crumbled tofu and hawaiian herb salad). They managed to make them both vegan for me as well.

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We were both really impressed by the flavours. The little patties in the veggie sliders tasted really good and almost meaty. The fries were also really well cooked and not oily at all. The pizza was also really nice and a great tropical take for such a hot night.

I managed to finish most of the food on my own. Marco did suggest something about taking some of the pizza to work, since he had an 8 hour shift at 1am. But I didn’t seem to hear that. I told you my appetite has become monstrous!

I know I have been really slack lately with posting recipes. I have been cooking, but I have just become overwhelmed with getting everything onto the table and haven’t had chance to take many photos.

For Christmas I was more relaxed this year. Since we had twenty family members I decided I could not cook all that food myself again this year. So I let them bring their own meat and dairy desserts.

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I still wanted to do a vegan main so I made this Lentil, Mushroom, Spinach Spicy Nut Roulade from Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes. Mine does not look anything like Miriam’s one. I ran out of baking trays so I had to try and fold it in a round dish, then it would roll so I had to add another piece of pastry. Despite all the issues everyone really liked it surprisingly. Well everyone except Marco. He really isn’t a fan of the silverbeet spinach that I used.

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I also made this delicious vegan Caesar salad which is a mash up between Alicia Silverstone’s and Angela Liddon’s (Oh She Glows) Caesar salads. I did forget the croutons but everyone really liked it and didn’t realise it was vegan. I will post this recipe soon when I get a chance to make it again. I also made a hell lot of roasted vegetables to complement the mains.

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For dessert I made Chef Chloe’s Lemon Squares from her cookbook Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. They were a big hit with everyone. Can’t wait to make them again or another flavour variant. Mum made this little fruit platter, similar to one a friend made for my party. I also made this Double Tiered Coconut Cake with Coconut Frosting. This recipe is adapted from Chef Chloe’s Classic Coconut Layer Cake also from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts. Sorry I don’t have a better photo. My mum already started hacking at the other side of  the cake before I got a chance to take a photo. I did include the recipe below since I don’t think I will be making this one for a while. My freezer is still full of desserts from the party. Poor Marco is going to get diabetes just trying to finish them.

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 Double Tier Coconut Cake with Vanilla Coconut Frosting (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached plain flour

2 cups pastry flour (or another cup of plain flour)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1.5 cups evaporated cane sugar (panela) or raw sugar

2 cups plant milk (soy, almond or coconut works best)

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2/3 cup coconut oil or grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1.5 cups shredded coconut

Vanilla Frosting to garnish (recipe below)

2 cups shredded coconut to garnish

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take two 9 inch round cake pans and grease with some vegan butter and then line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Take a medium bowl and combine the milk and apple cider vinegar to make a buttermilk. Leave for a couple of minutes so that it thickens.

3. Then add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Whisk or use a hand beater.

4. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda and sea salt.

5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a hand beater to blend the batter till smooth.

6. Stir through the shredded coconut.

7. Place the batter in the cake pans. Make sure they are evenly distributed and smooth on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes. While baking rotate the pans half way through.

8. Once the cakes are cooked, leave the pans to cool on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Then carefully take them out and leave to cool for 30-45 minutes.

9. Place one of the cakes on the cake stand and top with about 2/3 cup of the frosting. Then add the second cake and frost the cake from the outside in, until it is completely covered.

10. Sprinkle the frosted cake with shredded coconut and serve when ready.

*Serves 14-20

Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients:

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup vegan butter (I used nutlex)

pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4-5 tablespoons of plant milk

Method:

1. Use a hand beater to blend all the ingredients until smooth and fluffy.

*Enough for 1 double layered cake.

Again I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!

Week 20 to 25

The last few weeks have flown by. I can’t believe I’m already over 6 months pregnant. Most people can’t believe that I am already this far along.  But even with an extra 6kgs I’m starting to feel like a baby elephant.

Here’s some pictures from week 22 to 25. Since I last posted I have grown a lot.

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22 weeks

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23 weeks & 4 days

24 weeks and 5 days

I did expected to be more uncomfortable and tired at this point. However I have had so much more energy recently. I barely sleep some nights. The baby usually wakes me up anywhere between 4-7 am. This kind of early rising has really amazing Marco, who has never know me as a morning person or someone who doesn’t need 8-10 hours of sleep a day. I also feel less tense and more bendy after the last few week of prenatal pilates and yoga. I can’t believe that one class a week can really make such a difference. I usually feel like I’ve had a massage afterwards, which is really nice since my personal masseuse rarely does his job. The baby is also more active. She still likes to hang out on the right of my tummy, which causes me to be a bit unbalanced on that side. She also has started kicking at both ends of my stomach at once, which sometimes gives me a bit of a fright when I think that she’s sleeping.

The only issues I have had so far in my pregnancy is a couple leg cramps and my breast are a little red. They usually look a bit sunburnt and are quite warm. I ended up doing an ultrasound but they were all was clear. Apparently this must be normal for me during pregnancy, even though no one else I know has had the same symptom. It doesn’t hurt so it doesn’t bother me. I guess going from a 12B to a 14DD is going to cause some discomfort. I have just recently bought my 3rd lot of maternity bra’s so I am hoping this is it now. Fingers crossed!

This past month has been a really positive turnaround after the hard year I’ve had. In the first week of December I received a High Distinction on my post grad course, a few of my recipes were published in The Goodness Magazine and I won Therese Kerr’s competition and will soon receive one of her organic certified gift packs.

Another big event for Marco and I this month was our All in One Party Extravaganza to celebrate our Baby Shower, Marco’s 30th, our Engagement and our Housewarming. So last Saturday night we held a big party at our place, catering for about 55 family and friends.

The menu was vegan/vegetarian and surprisingly received positive reviews from all the guests. I don’t think I invited one vegetarian, but everyone loved the food. I had Vegerama cater the vegan main meals, which included Satay Vegetable Curry, Massaman Curry, Basmati Rice Lasagne, Mousakka, Chickpea Pesto Salad and Kofta balls (frebee). The food was excellent and I would definitely recommend them. I also catered the appetizers, most of the buffet, and some desserts.

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For appetizers I made my Cheesy Brown Lentil Hummus, and Chef Chloe’s Mushroom Turnovers (recipe) and Sweet and Sour Party Meatballs (recipe). Unfortunately I was so busy cooking and answering the door I didn’t get a chance to take any photos. Probably the most popular of the three was the Mushroom Turnovers. Those took me an entire evening to prep a few days before but they were so worth it.

For the buffet I made a Cheesy Pasta bake, Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing (recipe - I prefer to fry it), Chef Chloe’s Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins (recipe) ; and Foccaccia made from scratch topped with cherry tomatoes and black olives.I got the most complements for the Pasta bake, which no one could believe was dairy free and also for the Eggplant Salad, which always goes down well. Maria’s sister made Prebranac (Serbian baked beans) and Kifli filled with feta. This bread was probably more popular then my foccaccia on the night.

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Eggplant salad with Tahini Sumac Dressing

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Minted Couscous with Rocket, Butternut Squash and Raisins

DSC03261DSC03255For desserts I made two of Angela Liddon (Oh she glows) Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes. I previously made a trial run the week before and everyone loved it so much that I knew my guests would love it too. Marco’s sister made this no bake vegan cake filled with layers of walnuts, coconut. She also designed this beautiful outer casing with a sugar baby on top. My mother bought a Torta Romana for Marco 30th, my friend Robyn made this adorable fruit platter, my friend Hanh made these beautiful macaroons and velvet cupcakes, another friend Azra made baklava and my neighbor Matilda brought these homemade Italian biscotti. So we had a pretty impressive dessert table as well. To be honest I did want to keep the desserts dairy free, but in the end it was nice for friends and family to bring something and everyone enjoyed trying a bit of everything.

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Double Layered Chocolate Fudge Cakes

DSC03292DSC03291DSC03278DSC03277DSC03281DSC03283DSC03282All in all the party was a huge success. Everyone had a great time and mingled well. They all certainly ate well! We were also fortunately to receive many green baby gifts from a gift registry I set up with Biome Eco Store as well as many generous donations to our baby fund.

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P1060913 DSC03315DSC03357DSC03379DSC03375Now I have to get ready for Christmas…

 

 

 

Early Christmas present for you!

Hi guys, the Goodness Magazine has been very generous by passing on a gift to all of my followers. They giving you a free mini copy of the current December issue, that a few of my recipes appeared in.

The Goodness Mag FREE - Instagram & Facebook

In this mini issue you will find some delicious Christmas recipe ideas, including the Vegan Christmas Plate, Banana Hemp Nice Cream and Christmas Special Carrot Cake!

The Goodness Mag FREE - Instagram & Facebook2 (2)Just press this link below and view your free copy of my new favorite magazine for healthy mamas.

http://thegoodnessmag.com/FREE

 

 

Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sundried Tomatoes and Peas

A couple of days ago I finally received my copy of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I didn’t even know Chloe Coscarelli had written another book, but as soon as I found out I added it to my Amazon order. I have a been a long time fan of Chloe and have previously bought and cooked recipes from her other books, Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.

I am really excited about this new book because it combines my two favorite things, italian food and guilt free delicious vegan recipes. You probably noticed on my blog that I have many Italian inspired recipes that are recreations of the food I grew up with and other traditional dishes that I have eaten in Italy or always wanted to try. So I am so excited to get some ideas on how to better veganise my favourite recipes.

You can see a sneak peak of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen on Amazon and Google Books.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: My Vegan MoFo Cookbook of the Week

This recipe below was adapted from Chloe’s White Wine Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I used dried shiitake mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in mine. Both have really strong flavours that really shone through. Marco was a bit scared when he saw the shiitake mushrooms, but he ended up being really happy with the taste of this risotto and wanted to have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

DSC03179Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable liquid stock

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (soak for 10 minutes and slice in strips if large pieces)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Take medium pot and heat the liquid stock.  Leave it on a simmer while you start cooking the rest of the recipe.

2. Take a large skillet and heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Then add the onion and shiitake mushrooms. Saute until the onions have softened and are translucent.

3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for 1 minute so that the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the rice and the white wine. Stir through and cook until the white wine has been absorb.

5. Begin to ladle about one cup at a time of liquid stock into the skillet. Stir frequently. Add another ladle of liquid stock once the first has been absorbed and continue until the rice is cooked and there is no more stock. This should take about 20-25 minutes.

6. Add the peas, italian parsley, sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir through until the peas are warmed through. Adjust seasoning if you need and then serve.

*Serves 4

DSC03183So far I have made a couple more dishes from my new favorite cook book. Last night I made Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans (Cannellini all erbe e limone) with Spinach and Mash Potatoes with Garlic and Sea Salt (Purè di patate con aglio e sale marino).  This was the most delicious creamy, cheezy bean dish I have ever had and was really simple and quick to make. The main ingredients are cannellini beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, plant milk and lemon juice. The Mash Potatoes were also really creamy and delicious thanks to the fresh garlic and plant milk.

For dessert I made Olive Oil Pancakes (Frittelle all’olio di oliva). I’ve never cooked pancakes with olive oil and I usually don’t use that much baking soda, but they came out so fluffy and delicious. For a recipe with only 5 ingredients I was really happy with the results and so was Marco. Usually he lathers his pancakes with nutella, but was content with natural maple syrup. Can’t wait to serve this the next time the mini-Marco’s come to visit.

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The Goodness Magazine

Live Blissful has been featured in the December issue of The Goodness Magazine, #1 magazine for Healthy Mamas! Recipes from my blog have been shared by many other websites and blogs, but this is the first time I have been featured in a magazine. To say that I am happy is an understatement. I am so excited to be recognised by such a gorgeous upcoming online magazine, alongside other healthy foodies and nutritionists from around the world.

The Goodness Magazine was started by two creative individuals, Bamik and Nathan. This magazine is a testament to their journey, in which they learned about nutrition and the power of food,  overcame their struggle start a family, and connected with many inspirational people who shared their passion for healthy living. Their magazine won’t only entice you with delicious wholesome food, but also shares home ideas and connects the readers with like-minded families from around the world.

The Goodness Mag Issue 6 - Dec - Cover

The December issue features an interview with the beautiful Laurentine ten Bosch, director and producer of Food Matters and a recipe from the passionate paleo chef Pete Evans. As well as many more great Christmas recipe ideas and how to eat well over the holiday season.

I am also featured on two pages in the goodness bites and goodness treats sections. There is a small bio about me and few of my recipes including my Carrot Ginger Mojito, Raw Chocolate Banana Pudding and Mixed Berry Pudding with Ginger Snap Base.

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I would like to thank The Goodness Magazine so much for the opportunity to appear in their stunning magazine. After a hard year it was nice surprise, which has re-inspired me to get back to doing what I love and end the year an even better note.

If you would like to subscribe to this magazine you can do so at  the App Store or Google Play Store. You can also have a 7 day free trial via both of these stores. The magazine is available from any device including iPad, iPhone, computer, laptop or Andriod device.

Hope you like this magazine as much as I do!