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)