Second trimester so far (Week 20)

I’ve finally made it to my pregnancy half way mark! It’s week 20 already and I can’t believe how quick time has gone. Ever since I hit week 13 I immediately felt so much better. No more nausea, food aversion drastically improved, no more constipation or breast soreness and I was way less tired. I was feeling almost too good that I didn’t know if I was still pregnant. I barely had put on much weight either. By week 16 I finally had my first appointment the birth centre, where Marco and I got to hear the baby’s heart beat for the first time. I couldn’t believe how fast it was in comparison to mine. I had only put on an extra 2.5 kg by that stage and was getting a bit concerned that my appetite hadn’t improved. However my tummy has continued to grow and by week 18 everything changed. I suddenly started to needed to snack between meals and felt the baby kicked me for the first time. I wasn’t sure at first that it was the baby but over the past couple of weeks I find that my baby has become more active in the evenings and early morning. My little one had decided that stretching out diagonally is the most comfortable position, since my stomach usually sticking out to the right. Since the baby has started kicking so much I have become an eating machine. I am constantly hungry, that my stomach growls if I don’t give into my hunger straight away. Below you can see the growth of my tummy. I was really confused why I my tummy looked so big in the photos and not in real life. Marco assured me that yes the camera wasn’t lying and then I realised a few weeks ago that I have a skinny mirror in my bathroom.

16 weeks 5 days

18 Weeks

18 Weeks

DSC02994

20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

20 weeks 2 days

Today we went for our long awaited 20 week morphology scan.  Since I opted to not get down syndrome screening, I haven’t seen the baby since it was only a little sesame seed at 7 weeks. In fact I haven’t even seen the doctor or had thorough appointment with the birth centre. So you can imagine how excited I have been for this appointment. I had trusted my body that I would produce a healthy baby and all would be well. But I found myself feeling increasingly nervous during the ultrasound that something might be wrong.  So I am delighted to say that according to the sonographer the baby appeared to be completely healthy. We also asked to find out the sex of the baby. Until now we have just been calling it Peanut, so I am happy to start referring to it as a her. That’s right I am having a girl! Well of course its not 100 percent until I see her again when she is born. But I am very happy that I should be having a little girl in 4 more months. To be honest I really did want a girl from the beginning but when I started to feel the kicking I wasn’t too fussed. Marco just wanted a healthy baby from the beginning and didn’t understand why I had such a strong preference. I guess I just really wanted a mini me.

Its a Girl

Over the past two weeks I have been trying to track everything that I eat. In the past when I was trying to loose weight or make health changes I tried to writing down everything I ate. It really did help me keep on track and to see where I was going wrong. I really wanted to make sure that I was giving the baby as much variety, as well as different flavour threads to enjoy. In the first week I managed to eat 58 different foods and 5 flavour threads (Italian, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Turkish). Last week I managed to up that to 75 different foods with 3 flavour threads (Italian, Japanese, Mexican). I am really happy with this improvement with my diet and hoping the baby is enjoying all the different flavours through her amniotic fluid. I have also been adding juices and smoothies back into my routine. I haven’t been able to get fresh organic apples for a few weeks now so I decided to make a juice with the abundance of oranges that I order every week. My favourite juice at the moment is Orange, Carrot and Ginger. Marco is also a really big fan, even though he’s not a big juice fanatic. It went down really well after the crazy heat wave we had yesturday in Brisbane. Can you believe it was 43 degrees celsius! Only 2 days before I was wearing cardigans and sleeping with a douna… DSC02989 Orange, Carrot and Ginger Juice

Ingredients:

2 oranges, skin removed and sliced in quarter

2 carrots, washed and sliced

1 knob of ginger, washed

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a cold press juice and enjoy!

*Serves 1

Another fanatic recipe that got me through first trimester nausea was Ginger Lemon Tea. My naturopath actually told me about it and it was really easy to make. It also lasts for ages as the lemon preserves that ginger.

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/delicious-drinks-support-your-immunity/rise-and-shine Morning Sickness Ginger Lemon Tea

Ingredients:

1 knob of ginger

1/2 lemon, skin removed and sliced in half

filtered water

agave, honey or other natural sweetner to taste (optional)

Method:

1. Place the ginger and lemon in a cold press juicer. This should make about 100ml, so store the rest in an airtight container.

2. Add 1-2 teaspoons of the ginger lemon juice to a cup with some boiled water. Add sweetener if you like and enjoy.

I’m back and I’ve got some news…

After a long break from Live Blissful I am back. I am feeling so much better then I was back when I last posted back in July. So much has changed since then. And I am now ready to get back in the kitchen and reignite my passion for cooking.

As most of you know my father died back in April. It has taken me a long time to get past it. It was a long hard journey to get back to feeling well again and many changes in my life had to be made. I initially had a couple of months on leave from my job as I wasn’t coping at work. This meant frequent visits to the doctor, psychologist and naturopath. Although I had a team of people trying to get me well, nothing really seemed to get me off the couch. I no longer enjoyed cooking and had no interest in eating. My doctor recommended that I start taking antidepressant, but my instincts told me that I shouldn’t. I had been previously trying to get pregnant and I didn’t want to effect my unborn child if I did get pregnant. I also didn’t think that taking a pill could stop me grieving. It is natural and synthetic drugs are not. So then my naturopath suggested I try to take a herbal remedy, which included saffron oil and st johns wart. I was sceptical and so was Marco. My doctor was horrified, thinking that this natural remedy was more risky. Well as it turned out within a couple of days I began to feel better. My brain was no longer on the same loop of denial and despair. I was still grieving of course but it didn’t seem as hard as before. Within my last few of weeks on leave I applied to go back to university to do post grad studies and got accepted. Meanwhile Marco was tried to inspire me to go back to work by getting me lots of quote for my new dream kitchen. In the end I had to decide whether to take more time from work, go back to work or leave. I realised in order to get better I needed a fresh start. I was so happy with my decision and leaving was a lot less painful then I thought it would be. Then 3 days later I found out I was pregnant!

I didn’t think getting pregnant would happen so fast. Especially after two months of tests showing that I wasn’t ovulating. Guess we were testing on the wrong day. I was so happy and made the decision from that day that I would be better. I now had something to look forward to and someone to look after. This blissful feeling didn’t last long once the morning sickness kicked in. For 6 long weeks I struggled to eat, everything I cooked tasted terrible and everything made me want to throw up. I got just about every first trimester symptom (the list is long).  Although I decided not start a new job, I did do one semester at university in post grad museum studies. It was hard to study when I felt like throwing up constantly, but I am so happy I had something else in my life to focus on. Over the last couple of weeks I entered trimester 2 so feeling so much better now. I have finished university for the semester (and possibility the next year) and enjoying my pregnancy.

I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and over the past couple of days I have just started to feel the baby in my belly. I just get these weird tiny tremors mostly the right side below my belly button. My tummy is starting to get bigger, but not enough yet that I don’t feel the need to tell everyone I didn’t have a big lunch I am actually pregnant. Another high point is that I got accepted into the only midwife led birth centre in Brisbane. They only take really low risk women and their philosophy is for their women to have no medical intervention and just deliver the baby naturally with a midwife. I also will have a lovely big suite and will be in the hospital, which makes Marco feel a lot better.

So yes a lot has happened. My focus now is to eat the most nutritious food as possible for my growing baby. I hope to start creating and cooking delicious recipes for this blog again.

IMG_0103[1]

As I mentioned in my first trimester I found it hard to eat much. The thought of beans, tofu, rice, quinoa and anything green just made my stomach turn. I had no appetite at all. Being the only cook in our house it was very difficult all our meals when even cutting a vegetable made me want to gag. So I was mainly living on bread, avocado, fruit and oats (on a good day). After talking to my vegan naturopath my terrible pregnancy diet, I decided that I may have to bring some animal products back into my rotation for a short time. I was a bit upset as I wanted to do my pregnancy completely vegan. I was scared that I would be giving my baby unnecessary toxins from meat. At the same time I was craving meat like crazy, which apparently isn’t normal for pregnant woman. Most mothers I’ve talk to couldn’t stand the smell or thought of meat. Has anyone had this happen to them? I know the cravings were more to do with my body’s need for iron rather then a need for meat. I began eating meat and eggs once or twice a week and buying out vegan meals with legumes and rice. So I haven’t had the perfect vegan pregnancy that I hoped for. I know a lot of women before me have been able to, but I’m not perfect. I don’t know if I ever will be, but I can always try. Now I am in the second trimester getting back to my plant-based diet has been much easier. Yes I still have organic eggs in my fridge but at least if I really want one I have good quality and ethically sourced eggs. My diet has become way more balanced and I have been able to include plant-based protein sources in most of my meals (grains, nuts/seeds and legumes).

Now that I have rediscovered my love of food and the weather has heated up, Marco and I took a trip to the coast for some beach time and a delicious vegan lunch last weekend. We visited Giri Kana Cafe, a vegan/vegetarian cafe at Southport. They offer a range of hot foods, salads, burgers, fresh juices, coffees and desserts.

DSC02927For mains we shared a Veggie Burger, Tangy Veggie Kofta balls, Basil Pesto Pasta Salad and Sesame Tofu Salad. It was all delicious and the variety was exactly what my baby needed.

DSC02921

DSC02922

For desserts we shared a raw vegan Passionfruit Cheesecake and vegan Tiramisu. Both were really tasty, but I had some strange reaction to my tongue from the passionfruit. Couldn’t stop eating it though, especially after Marco declared he prefer the tiramisu and wouldn’t share lol.

DSC02923

DSC02924Mangoes are finally back in season! This is an easy recipe to whip up with some probiotic coconut yoghurt. Marco says this is the best smoothie he’s had in a long time.

DSC02928Mango Lassi (vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 mango

3-4  tablespoon coconut yoghurt (Coyo)

2 cups coconut milk (Organic Coco Quench)

Method:

1. Add all the ingredients to the blender and whizz till smooth.

*Serves 2

DSC02932

Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich/Sushi and Carrot Ginger Mojito

Canned tuna is one of those things that I have struggled with giving up since trying to make the change to vegan. It just has something about it that I crave. If you are one of my non vegan friends, you are probably thinking why would anyone want to give up tuna, its delicious? Well mercury toxicity and BPA toxicity are a couple of reasons that I really try to avoid any canned fish in general. Overfishing and unsustainable fishing methods is also another couple of reasons I discovered this when I blogged on this issue a while ago (The canned tuna debate).

I admit I have actually been better in recent times to avoid canned fish entirely and other seafood.  A big thing that has stopped me craving tuna is re-educating myself on the reality of the detriment it may have to my health and trying avoid toxins while I endeavour to start preparing myself to have a baby. By the way that’s still a secret! I am still in the stages of getting all my tests done and get any deficiencies sorted before we start trying. I am about to start another detox soon with guidance of my new naturopath, which I’m really excited about! Marco thinks I am the only person in the world excited about doing a detox, especially since my first detox a few years back was so difficult. However, over the last 3 and a half years I have learned a lot and my tastes have really changed. I feel more in control and equip to be able to enjoy the ride this time.

Anyway back to cooking… I tried to make a Mock Tuna Salad with tempeh a while ago. If found the texture was there, but not the fishy taste. So I tried again with chickpeas, umeboshi vinegar and nori. This time I managed to get the taste, but the texture was probably a little to fine. Besides that I much prefer this recipe and found it really versatile for making sandwiches and sushi and it passed the flavour test with Marco and Mum (who said I thought you don’t eat tuna any more).

Tuna Salad 2

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tin chickpeas/ 1.25 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, leave out for thicker consistency)

3 teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

3-4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 teaspoon himalayan pink salt / sea salt

1 sheet nori (cut into 5 cm strips) or  3 tablespoons crispy seaweed

Method:

1. Place chickpeas, celery, onion and olive oil into the processor. Process until the chickpeas have broken down. You may have to keep wiping down the sides with a spatula.

2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the nori strips. Process until you are happy with the consistency

3. Add nori sheets and adjust seasoning if you need to. Then process for until the nori has been mixed through.

*Makes over 1 cup

DSC02227

Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sandwich (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

sliced bread ( I used  toasted multigrain vienna sourdough)

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Spread vegan tuna on one side of the bread. Then top with salad items and other slice of bread and enjoy.

DSC02228

 Vegan Chickpea ‘Tuna’ Salad Sushi (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 nori sheet

3 tablespoons cooked quinoa or sushi rice

2-3 tablespoons vegan tuna per sandwich (recipe above)

sliced tomato

fancy lettuce or mixed lettuce

any other salad items

Method:

1. Place quinoa in the middle of the nori sheet in a line down the middle.

2. Top quinoa with vegan tuna and salad items.

3. Roll the nori into a sushi roll. Slice in half and enjoy.

DSC02241

For a mid-afternoon beverage to enjoy while I watching FMTV I made this delicious juicy mocktail. Perfect for this muggy weather and to get into the spirit of detoxing.

DSC02251

Carrot Ginger Mojito (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

4 small carrots

2 apples

small knob ginger

3 cm wide round slice lemon (including skin)

mint leaves from 2 sprigs

cold sparkling water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients except the sparkling water in a juicer.

2. Place the juice in a tall glass or large jar and top with some sparkling water and some mint leaves to serve.

*Serves 1

DSC02249

New Beginnings

I’m back again after a little break from blogging. I finally have some time off after seeing the dentist. I have a few days off to recoup at home. Finally got out my last wisdom tooth. The one I begged the dentist to leave last time because I couldn’t have him take 2 at the same time again. This little break is also great timing for me to start packing up my things, because we signed papers to buy a house this weekend past! After two years of looking off and on and many disappointments we have finally found the one for Marco and I to start our adult life together. I say ‘adult’ because we are going to have to start doing things for ourselves. Although I love to cook I’m not a great cleaner. Marco on the other hand loves to keep his room in order, but we both can’t iron his shirts. But its time to grow up and leave the nest!

A couple of nights ago mum took us out to dinner to celebrate. We decided to try Rouj Modern Lebanese. I discovered them a few weeks ago at Rosalie. They were full with people and the reviews are great too, so they must be doing something right. After checking out the online menu I found a dish that was vegan friendly. I ordered the Vegetarian Delight, which included ftayer (pastry filled with spinach), Silver beet rice roll, pumpkin kebbi, hummus (instead of tzaziki) mjadra, tabouli, pickles, Lebanese bread. I was so full after this that I didn’t have room for anything else.

???????????????????????????????

Other vegan eats this weekend was brunch at The Green Edge. Marco was the one that suggested to go. He just loves their vegan burgers, brownies and milkshakes, but we still hadn’t tried their breakfast. We ordered a little too much but the food was fabulous! Marco and I shared the Big Breakfast, which had tofu scramble with garlic-sautéed mushrooms; smoky strips; breakfast potatoes; toasted Turkish bread with guacamole; seitan sausage patties, served with a homemade tomato relish. Mum had the special, smokey strip Turkish Sandwich with Roasted Capsicum Relish. We also all shared the Pancakes Stack with Dark chocolate chips and syrup. Can’t tell you what was my best part because I loved all of it. Lucky for me our new house is just down the road from here, so it won’t be such a big deal to travel over for a bite to eat or replenish my vegan pantry.

The Big Breakfast

The Big Breakfast

Smokey Strip Sandwich with Roasted Capscium

Smokey Strip Turkish Sandwich with Roasted Capscium Relish

???????????????????????????????

Pancakes Stack with Dark chocolate chips and syrup

Other then buying houses and eating out, the weekend before I visited the Organic Growers Fair.  Marco is obsessed with growing trees at the moment, so I picked up for him a dwarf Mango, dwarf Apple and Vanilla bean orchard. He also has a dwarf lemon, dwarf lime, dwarf mulberry, dwarf avocado, more avocado trees. At the moment they are all in pots, so hopefully we will plant some at a new home.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Here a just a few of the trees we have transported to mine house. Isn’t he a gorgeous boy! Unfortunately he hasn’t been protecting our mulberries from the birds. He only chases people.

The following are some recipes I cooked during the week. This first one was my favourite. I have never cooked soup with old bread before. The first time I tried a soup with old bread was  the soup Ribollita in Sienna, Tuscany. The bread and vegetables were really mushy, but full of flavour. Pappa al pomodoro is another summer Tuscan soup. I used old ciabatta bread (finally some leftover). The rest of the ingredients were simple, evo, onion, garlic, fresh tomatoes, vegan chicken stock and fresh basil. This had to be the most delicious soup I have ever made. Marco was a really big fan and said it tasted like real Italian food.

???????????????????????????????

Pappa al pomodoro (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

900g fresh tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

200g ciabatta bread/other ‘country style’ bread, remove crust

850ml hot vegan chicken stock

20 basil leaves, diced

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Boil a pot of water, then add all the whole tomatoes. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until you see the skin peel back a little bit. Then place tomatoes straight in a bowl with ice water or cool down with rinse with water in strainer. Once they have cooled down, peel the skin and then dice and set aside.???????????????????????????????

2. Heat olive oil in a large pot, then add onions and garlic. Saute for 6-8 minutes on a low heat, not letting them brown.???????????????????????????????

3. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Leave on a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes.

4. In the meantime tear the ciabatta bread into small pieces and heat the vegan chicken stock.

5. Add the bread and stir through a couple of times.

6. Gradually add hot stock and allow it to soak up all the bread.

7. Add the basil leaves and season if you need. Cook for one more minute.

8. Serve warm or wait an hour and serve at room temperature.

*Serves 4-5

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

I have finally found and eaten golden beets! I got them from the Wednesday Farmers Market in the CBD. They were only small but had the leaves attached as well. They are so delicious and sweet! I really nice change from the regular beets. I’ve never tried making coconut yogurt before, but it was really simple. I just added lemon juice to coconut cream. Just be careful to not add to much or it will be too sour. I got this idea to make chickpea nuggets from The Japanese Vegetarian Kitchen’sVegan Chicken teriyaki steak. Funniest thing was Marco took leftovers to work and some of the blokes sauce his container when he was heating the nuggets. They didn’t know whose it was but they were all trying to figure out what it was.

Sweet Sumac Tahini Chickpea Nuggets with Quick Coconut Yogurt and Quinoa Kale salad with Golden Beets and Sweet Potato (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients for Chickpea nuggets & sauce:

1 can chickpeas

1 tablespoon arrowroot flour

sea salt to taste

Ingredients for Marinate:

1 tablespoon tahini

2  tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sumac

1 teaspoon crushed ginger

sea salt to taste

1 teaspoon agave

Ingredients for Salad:

4 small golden beets, sliced

1 medium sweet potato, sliced

olive oil

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 cups tuscan kale

sea salt

pine nuts

Ingredients for Coconut Yogurt:

1/2 cup coconut cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice (more to taste)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Then toss the golden beets and sweet potato with olive oil and sea salt and place on a tray in the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked.???????????????????????????????

2. Mash the chickpeas with a fork and add arrowroot and plenty of sea salt. Then form into nuggets. I made about 9.???????????????????????????????

3. Combine all the ingredients for the marinate. Coat the nuggets in the marinate and leave in the fridge for 20- 30 minutes. Leave any extra marinate aside for later.???????????????????????????????

4. If you have’t already, cook the quinoa and prepare the kale. Chop the kale, then massage it with sea salt until the fibers have broken down. Once the quinoa has cooled down combine with the kale.???????????????????????????????

5. Heat a non stick pan with a little bit of oil (olive/coconut). Cook the nuggets for a couple of minutes on both sides until golden.

6. Prepare the coconut yogurt by combining the ingredients the put to the side.

7. Toast the pine nuts.

8. Assemble the salad, then top with Chickpea nuts, extra marinate and Coconut yogurt.

*Serves 3

This was my veganised attempt of Sichuan Noodles. I swapped pork for brown lentils and shiitake mushrooms, egg noodles for sweet potato noodles, chicken stock for vegan stock, and hot bean paste (didn’t have any) for miso paste. Not sure how Chinese, but it was a healthier version.

???????????????????????????????

Spicy Shittake, Brown Lentil and Spinach with Sweet Potato Starch Noodles (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

100g cooked brown lentils

100g sweet potato noodles

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 tablespoon ginger, diced

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon dry sherry

2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 small red chilies, diced

1/2 tablespoon white miso or hot soy bean paste

1 tablespoon peanut butter

125ml vegan chicken stock

2 cups of spinach leaves  (chopped)

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cook sweet potato noodles according to packet instructions.

2. In a bowl combine brown lentils, soy sauce, sherry, sea salt. Heat oil in a wok and saute brown lentils for 3-4 minutes. Then add shittake mushroom and cook for 2 more minutes. Take out of wok and place to the side.

3. Add garlic, ginger, onion and chili to the wok. Stir fry for 1 minute.

4. Add miso/soy bean paste, peanut butter. Heat for a few seconds.

5. Add vegan chicken stock and bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes or until it thickens.

6. Add lentils, shiitake mushrooms, spinach and noodles. Heat in the wok until spinach has wilted. Season.

*Serves 2

???????????????????????????????

Healthy Italian Hot Chocolate for 2 (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 mugs of coconut milk

1 tablespoon cacao

1 tablespoon maca

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon vegan custard powder (to make thicker, optional)

Method:

1. Combine all the ingredients in small pot. ???????????????????????????????

2. Heat on the stove on a medium-low heat and whisk while cooking. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until it thickens a little.

3. Serve immediately.

Falafel, Tabouli, Pita Pockets…

I have been a bit lazy lately with cooking. I have been eating out a lot more on the weekends. So this weekend I wanted to make something healthy and special. I’ve had this bag of Fava beans for a while now, so I wanted to try making Falafel. I have never made it before, so thought I’d give it ago. The Fava beans took nearly 24 hours to soak, as they are very hard and need time for the skin detach from the skin. It took me nearly an hour to peel the skins off 500 g of them, but the results were worth it.

I decided to bake my Falafel so that they would be a bit more healthier. I also filled the mixture with heaps of fresh herbs from my local Asian market. To go with it I made Wholemeal Flax Seed Pita Pockets,  Lemon Cashew Yoghurt and Kale & Quinoa Tabouli. By the time I got our late lunch on the table it was dinner time, so the whole family got to eat with us. Everyone really liked and had seconds or thirds.

DSC06671

.

DSC06664

Wholemeal Flax Seed Pita Bread (vegan, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1.5 cup warm water

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon raw sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

3.5 cups wholemeal flour (more for board)

2 teaspoons ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon olive oil

canola spray oil

DSC06657

Method:

1. Take 1/4 of warm water and add yeast and sugar. Leave it for 10 mins.DSC06658

2. In a large mixing bowl add 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, ground flax seeds and sea salt.???????????????????????????????

3. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture.???????????????????????????????

4. Gradually add more the rest of the flour and warm water until you have a dough.

5. Knead the dough for 10-15 mins, until it is nice and elastic.

6. Brush a bowl with olive oil and leave the dough to rise for an hour or more (the longer the better).

7. Divide the dough into 10 balls. Then roll each ball out into a flat circle shape.

8. Heat a pan on high and spray with canola. Place the flat dough onto the pan and cook it till it puffs up. Make sure you turn it regularly so it doesn’t burn. It should only take 1-2 mins per pita.

9. While the pita is still hot, slice it in half.

*Makes 10 Pita Pockets

DSC06661

Baked Fava bean Falafel (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

500g fava beans (soaked 24 hrs, then peeled)

6 garlic cloves

1 brown onion

3 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/2 bunch coriander

1/2 bunch dill

1/2 bunch parsley

sea salt & black pepper

Method:???????????????????????????????

1. After soaking the fava beans, peel off the skin and boil for 30 mins or until softened.

2. Finely chop the garlic, onion and all the herbs.

3. Place the fava beans in a process and make into a paste. Then add all the spices, onion, garlic, herbs and sea salt & pepper to taste.

4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

5. Make the mixture into balls and place on a nonstick tray. Bake for 20 mins.

*Makes 25-30

DSC06662

Lemon Cashew ‘Yoghurt’ (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 cup cashews (pre-soaked/raw)

1 cup water

2 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons lemon juice (more to taste)

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. If you haven’t soaked the cashews then boil them for 10 mins.

2. In a Vitamix or high speed blender the cashews. Break them down, then slowly add 1/2 a cup of water. Blend till it becomes creamy.

3. Add garlic, lemon juice and olive oil and blend. If you need add more water to break down into a cream, but not too much, it should be thick.

*Makes 1 cup

DSC06663

Kale & Quinoa Tabouli (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1.5-2 cups kale, chopped

4 shallots or green onions, chopped

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped

3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup cooked quinoa

sea salt to taste

Method:

1. Cook quinoa according to packet instructions. Then strain and allow to cool.

2. Massage the chopped kale with sea salt to break down the fibers.

3. Combine the kale quinoa and all the remaining ingredients and serve.

*Serves 4 as side salad

DSC06667

Over the weekend we ended up visiting The Green Edge on our way to visit hopefully our future house. I decided to try something different so I ordered the Noodle Bowl. It had soba noodles with twice-cooked pumpkin, served in a soy sauce-miso-shiitake broth. I doesn’t look like much but it was really nice. There was pumpkin all under the noodles as well. The rest of the family had their amazing vegan burgers, chips and salad. This was the first time my mums partner had been there. Of course his response was ‘I can believe its vegan’.

DSC06644

My new favourite drink at the moment is this Frozen Peach Smoothie. I forgot about all the peaches that I froze a while ago. With the kiwi, banana and milk it tastes just like a peach ice cream.

DSC06654

Frozen Peach Smoothie (vegan, raw, gluten free, nut free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup frozen peaches

1 golden kiwi

1/2 banana

1/2 cup plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

Method:

1. Blend in a High speed blender and serve

???????????????????????????????

Over the weekend I finally tried something else that’s been in my cupboard for a while. Celebrate Health is a new brand that started appearing on supermarket shelves. Their range includes flavoured lentils, quinoa, recipe bases and stock. All their products are Gluten free, Wheat free, Dairy free, Tree nut free, Peanut free, 100% natural and Preservative free. Most are also vegan and Soy free. I had the Indian Marsala Lentil Packet. So I made this with some brown rice and Indian spiced greens. I just followed the packet directions, which were easy to understand. I ended up having to add alot more water, as it dried out quickly. They had more of a bite then I thought they would. Usually when I made red lentils they dissolve a little, but these ones didn’t.

So the verdict? Well they were quite salty and the spices weren’t that strong. They were definitely not as tasty as if I made them from scratch. However, they were quick, convenient and healthy side dish. I think I will definitely try some more of their products for those nights when I am too tired to cook anything fancy.

DSC06646

Early birthday gift…

Hi all, hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been nice and relaxing. I got my early birthday present this week from Mum and Marco. They both put in to get me a Vitamix! So I finally got to try it out last night and have been blending ever since.

Last night I made some cashew cream, which was so lovely and silky. It was much nicer then what my Kenwood blender usually produces, plus it didn’t leak, which was a bonus. I showed my mum, who is also dairy free, but not as strict as me that cashew cream can be used just like cream for pasta. She was amazed. Sorry no photos of the actually pasta, we were so hungry by the time it was ready.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

I’ve only had a week of early mornings but my body clock has already changed which is great. This morning we got up early and went to the Northey Street Organic Markets at Windsor. We haven’t been here since before I went to Europe, which is over a year ago. I was really big on organics back then and am trying to get back into buying organic.

Before we left I made a special morning smoothie, with my garden Tuscan Kale. This is a Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie. I was delicious! Mum and Marco weren’t keen on the kale for breakfast, but they agreed it was a good way to get the kale in firs thing.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Chocolate Peanut butter Kale Smoothie (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch tuscan kale

3 cups almond milk

2-3 tablespoon peanut butter

2 tablespoons cacao

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons agave or honey

Method:

1. Whiz all the ingredients in your blender until all the kale has broken down and the smoothie is nice and smooth. Then serve.

At the market I didn’t buy too much. Just two bunches of Red Russian Kale ($6 plus free bok choy), daikon, cherry tomatoes and sunflower sprouts. Unfortunately there was no more organic vegan brownies left, so we better be a bit earlier next time. I love these markets there are always so many interesting people and great food.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

I did get to see this in action and it looks like hard work to earn your smoothie.

???????????????????????????????

I have seen purple carrots but never these golden ones before. Regretting now that I didn’t get any.

???????????????????????????????

There are also a communal veggie patch here and the grounds are quite nice too.  This is mum and Marco as we are leaving.

For dinner I thought I would try out a few more meals with my new Vitamix. These patties are similar to my Red Lentil Patties with Kale Pesto, but I used cannellini beans and sweet potato puree. I also tried to make my delicious Kale Pesto. As beautiful as it looks, it came out really bitter. I think next time I won’t use the stems. On the side I made this a delicious mash to make use of my green cauliflower and a sunflower sprout salad. So in love with my new Vitamax! So expect to see it around a lot more.

Do any of you guys have one?

???????????????????????????????

Cannellini Bean & Sweet Potato Patties (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tin cannellini beans

1 tablespoons grapeseed/olive oil

1 medium red onion

1 tablespoon cajun spices/other spices you prefer

sea salt to taste

1/2 cup quinoa crumbs (or other gluten free breadcrumbs)

1/2 cup sesame seeds

Method:

1. First cut and steam the sweet potato, until soft. Transfer into a bowl and place to the side.

2. Meanwhile,  preheat oven to 180 degrees  and heat a pan with olive oil. Saute the red onion and garlic for 5 mins or until the onion has softened.

3. All the  sweet potato, cannellini beans, red onion, garlic, cajun spices (or other spices)  and sea salt into the processor. Blend until smooth.

4. Place the mixture into a bowl then add quinoa crumbs and stir through the mixture.

5. Form the mixture into 10 patties. Place the sesame seeds in a small bowl and dust the patties in the sesame seeds.

6. Place patties on a nonstick cookie tray, then bake for 20-25 mins. Turn once while they are cooking so that the seasame seeds on both sides get a little browned.

*Makes 10 patties

???????????????????????????????

Green Cauliflower, Potato & Leek Mash (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 small green cauliflower

3 potatoes

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 leek

Method:

1. Cut the cauliflower and potato into small pieces, then place them in a steamer until tender.

2. Dice the garlic and chop the leek.

3. Heat a pan with oil, then saute the garlic and leek for 5 mins or until lightly browned.

4. Place cauliflower, potato, leek and garlic in the processor and blend until smooth.

5. Transfer into a pot and add sea salt to taste (and water if too thick). Heat through then serve.

*Serves 5-6

???????????????????????????????

Sunflower Sprout Orange Salad (vegan, raw, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of sunflower sprouts

1 handful snow pea sprouts

segments of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon agave

sea salt to taste

1-2 tablespoons pepitas seeds

Method:

1. Wash all sprouts and roughly chop the snow pea sprouts. Place all in a bowl.

2. Juice orange for the orange juice and cut the segments from 1 orange.

3. Add the orange segments to the spouts.

4. In a small bowl, add the orange juice, sesame oil, agave and sea salt.

5. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad.

6. Dry toast the pepitas seeds in a pan. Then top onto the salad and serve.

David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe

Hi all, I haven’t got a chance to post this past week. I have been busy with assignments, went to David ‘Avocado’ Wolfe Conferences over the weekend and now I have a cold. This is the worse time to get sicks and it happens every year around exam times. Perhaps I don’t take as good care of myself as I usually do. I haven’t been sick since I got back from Europe last July. So since starting this blog and going vegan last September I have been cold free, despite others around me getting sick.

As promised I will share some of the insights I learned from raw food, super food expert David Wolfe. I first saw him on the documentary Hungry for Change and then again on Food Matters. I was probably draw in to what he had to say the most, especially by his comments on low nutritional value of conventional food once we buy it and raw foods being the best way to preserve that nutrients. So when I saw him on the Morning Show and found out he was coming here I quickly bought my tickets and counted down the days. I got the complete package to his Friday night Lecture and Saturday Conference.  Yes I went alone to both. Both my mother and Marco had plans and were not interested, since it was quite expensive. However, I feel like the money was well spent and I really learned a lot. ???????????????????????????????

At the Friday night Lecture he first about how pioneer plants are the most powerful, as they have survived the longest and they impart their longevity to us. Some examples of these plants include olives, grapes, coconut and some mushrooms. He also spoke of the Chinese Daoists teaching that black foods impart longevity and extend our life span, because they contain more yin. Some of these foods include black radish, black rice, black chia seeds. He also mentioned that our bodies need the right about of salt and potassium and that warm salty water has often been an old remedy for ailments (e.i. chicken soup). He recommends a glass of water with 10 pinches of sea salt.

Then he talked about the most important raw food categories: berries, roots & leaves, nuts & seeds, seaweeds, sprouts and herbalism. He explained that the reason that these are the most important for us is because although our bodies are like primates, so we need leaves and berries. However our nervous system is more similar to a dolphin, whale or porpoise, so we need seaweeds and marine foods. He said that although vegan diets are healthy, we need sea minerals,  for our brains and nervous system. He said that vegans may feel great for 10-20 years, but once they reserves run out for these minerals and fats, that they would of got from conventional foods, as bad as they were, they will eventually have problems with their neurological and nervous systems This really concerned me, as I have pyroluria and which effects my brain function if my levels of certain minerals are depleted. He believes that we can’t get these essential omega fats from foods anymore because there isn’t enough nutrients foods of today. What do you think about this? This is the first time I have heard this.

Other things he mentioned: we should aim for 80% raw diet, organic is barely good enough, biodynamic is better, Vit D3 turns on healing genes, 100 yr old roots and mushrooms are the more powerful, such as medicinal mushrooms, turmeric, galangal, ginger; kale and sprout juices are very healthy; fermented beetroot and beetroot juice gets rid of toxins; goji berries have very good for methylation properties; soy isn’t good for our estrogen levels; spiralina & chorella are very good and lastly sea salt is much better then pink himalayan salt since it is still alive. There was more but  I couldn’t right this stuff down fast enough.

The Conference the next day was all day. He first began by talking about Tautology and that there are three forces of nature: Habit, Anti-Habit and the X Factor. He gave some examples of some strange phenomena in nature, such as toad in a hole or rather a stone. He also talked about one of my favorite topics, ancient aliens. I was really excited to hear someone speak about it in real life, other then watching the documentary series. Are any of you guys believers in this????????????????????????????????

Then he went into great detail about certain superfoods. He first recommended getting your diet sorted by going 80% raw, to get rid of toxins and get more energy. This can be done  easily by having smoothie/juice for breakfast, salad for lunch and salad with something else for dinner. Then gradually work super foods into you diet, as an insurance policy Some include maca, cacao, spiralina. Lastly, adding herbalism to your diet, by using tinctures, medical mushrooms (reishi, chaga), he shou wu, etc. He later went into great detail about hormones and progesterone  He recommends progesterone cream for older woman, men and pregnant mothers and that it can balance out the rest of the hormones, including thyroid. After that he discuss a variety of other topic such as joints, longevity zappers, grounding pads etc.

After such a big day I was already feeling like I was getting a cold, but I was determined to meet him and ask about being vegan and needing sea minerals. After gushing like a star stuck school girl I asked him about my concern about being vegan, having pyroluria and getting enough sea minerals and healthy fats. He recommended for me to take a powdered phytoplankton, rather then eating seafood. I found a vendor who was selling it, but I want to do my own research first and speak to my nutritionist, who hasn’t seen me since last year, but does not agree with veganism. What do you guys think of phytoplankton? Do any of you take it?

???????????????????????????????

I did buy a few products from the vendors there. I got a big packet of organic cacao powder, organic goji berries and the tincture of Goji & Schizandra. I also got a few samples of Maca, chia seeds, whole cacoa seeds and I am getting sent a free copy of the book Earthling: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?. I didn’t buy any of his books, I waited till I got home and ordered them online. I love the goji berries, the cacao powder is amazing and the tincture is quite alcoholic tasting, which for some strange reason I wasn’t expecting.

This morning I made smoothie inspired my one of David’s videos on Youtube. It was so delicious! I really like the maca powder and will have to buy some on discount day at my local health food store.

???????????????????????????????

Healthy Superfood Chocolate Smoothie (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon cashews

1 tablespoon cacao powder

1 tablespoon maca powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon honey/agave

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 pinch cayenne

1 pinch sea salt

1.5 cups plant milk

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender, leaving the liquid till last. Then whiz until all is liquefied.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Last thing I wanted to share is my new Tala glass juice bottles. They look quite large but 500ml is only 2 cups, so it is prefect breakfast juice size. I got one 1L for nut milks too. You can get them from kitchen shops in Brisbane, but I bought them online for cheaper. I also made up a travel juice to take to the Conference. After first hitting myself in the face with the top I learned I needed to hold it back or bring a straw lol. I will post again soon when I am feeling better and finished this assignment.

Summer Protein Smoothies

These are some of the smoothies that I have been making to cool me down and fill me up first thing in the morning in this summer heat. I don’t even feel like I need the coffee after I have one of these. Because of my pyroluria, protein is very important for me to have in the morning to kick start my brain. Since I don’t eat eggs anymore, I try to find other foods that are rich in protein, such as nut, nut butters, nut milks, grains, legumes and avocado. A really quick and easy way to get the protein I need to to put it all in a smoothie, with other fruits and vegetables.

The Protein that I have been using in my smoothies is Vanilla Vital Protein Pea Protein Isolate. It is vegan, 82% Vegetable Protein and is world’s highest source of vegetable protein. It is downloadgluten free, lactose free, GM free. It is also 88% Bio-available Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Level 0.1%, , Low Allergenic, Low in Anti-Nutritional Factors, High Tolerance, 100% Vegetable Origin, Balanced Amino Acid Profile, Not deposited in the body as fat, Rich in valuable Amino Acids for weight control, sports or medicinal purposes; High-digestability (98%), Amino Acid Score 0.9 (norm FAO 1991), High Alkalinity level (ph 7.5).

I have only found a couple of protein products available in Brisbane that are vegan. Such as  Tony Sfeir’s Pea Protein Isolate, Lotus Australia Organic Brown Rice ProteinHemp Foods Australia Hemp Protein.

What protein do you use?

How do you use it (smoothies, baking, etc)?

Do you have any good recipes?

Here are some of the smoothies I have been making over the past weeks. If you are a bit hesitant like I was to add some vegetables to your smoothies, I promise you won’t notice them in these recipes. These are what I call “Marco friendly” smoothies. He always gets nervous when he sees what I am putting in, but he ends up loving them.

Dragon Cherry Protein Smoothie- 1 small Dragon fruit, 1/2 cup cherries 3 dessert spoons vanilla protein, 1 cup almond milk, agave to taste (1-2 serves)

Spinach & Summer Fruit Protein Smoothie– 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen nectarine, 1/2 cup frozen grapes, 1/2 cup baby spinach, 2 1/2 cups almond milk, 9 dessert spoons vanilla protein, agave to taste (3 serves)

Green Minty Cooldown Protein Smoothie– 8 grapes, 1/2 lebanese cucumber (peeled), small handful of baby spinach, leaves from 2 sprigs of mint, 1 cups almond milk, 3 dessert spoons vanilla protein, agave to taste (1 serves)

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie– 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup grated carrot, 1 teaspoon diced fresh ginger, 2 tablespoon ground pecans/walnuts, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 3/4 cup almond milk, 6 dessert spoons vanilla protein, agave to taste (2 serves)

Dragon Cherry Protein Smoothie

Dragon Cherry Protein Smoothie

Spinach & Summer Fruit Protein Smoothie

Spinach & Summer Fruit Protein Smoothie

Green Minty Cooldown Protiein Smoothie

Green Minty Cooldown Smoothie

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie

.

Dragon Fruit, Blueberry, Banana Smoothie and a Healthy Salad

It’s been so hot here in Brisbane. Well not as hot as NSW. I heard today they had temperatures up to 46 degrees. Today, silly me made another hot noodle dish for lunch, so tonight I wanted to have something to cool me down. So I made a salad with mix lettuce leaves, tomato, cucumber, red onion, chickpeas, mango chilli dressing and toasted sunflower seeds. We all felt a lot cooler after that.

DSC02569

On the side I made this delicious smoothie with the Dragon Fruit, which I bought from the Farmers Market at Murwillumbah. I also used and the fruit that I froze before I went to Melbourne. I was a bit worried that the dragon fruit wouldn’t be sweet enough, but it went really well in the smoothie and gave it a great color.

dragon-fruit-31I don’t often eat Dragon Fruit. I first saw it at a breakfast buffet in Jakarta, but I didn’t know where it came from as they served the white flesh in triangular shapes. I later discovered the pink fleshed fruit at a Independent grocer. Do you have them where you live?

They are originally from Central and South American and were brought from the ‘New World’ to Asia by the Europeans. They are now cultivated else where, such as Australia, Israel and throughout Asia. Only about 60% of the dragon fruit is edible and the edible flesh can be found inside and is similar to a kiwi fruit. They are a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2 and B3. Thus, they have a range of health benefits, such as strengthening your immune system, warding off chronic respiratory disorders, bettering your carbohydrate metabolism, recovering and improving of appetite, reducing bad cholesterol and improving skin condition.

I definitely want to eat more dragon fruit from now on! Do you have any good recipes that use Dragon fruit?

Dragon Fruit, Blueberry, Banana Smoothie (gf, sf)

Ingredients:

1 large dragon fruit

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 frozen banana

4 cups almond milk

2 tablespoons agave or more to taste

Method:

1. Add all the ingredients in the processor and whiz until all the ingredients are combined.

Serves 4

DSC02573

The Nutritional Value of Dragonfruit <http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/the-nutritional-value-of-dragonfruit.html#b&gt;

Sunflower Seed Cinnamon Nut butter

I was really craving a thick nutty smoothie but I didn’t have any banana, soy yogurt or nut butters. So I decided to make my own nut butter with sunflower seeds. This was experimental so I didn’t make a large quality. I was quite happy with the result, but next time I will toast the sunflower first. I used it in my blueberry smoothie and it thickened it up nicely.

Sunflower seeds are really high in vitamin E, which neutralizing free radicals and is significantly anti-inflammatory. This is great for people with asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. They area also a great source of vitamin B1, manganese, copper, tryptophan, magnesium, selenium, vitamin B6, phosphorus and folate [1].

Sunflower seeds can be eaten raw and also toasted. I prefer them toasted as it gives them a really different flavor and doesn’t taste so woody. You can add them to salads, cereals and porridge, make spreads and even grind them to use in place of flour when dusting meat/meat substitutes.

This is my first time making nut butter. What ones have you made? Any tips for flavors and techniques?

DSC01086

Sunflower Seed Cinnamon Nut butter (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (toasted or untoasted)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

pinch sea salt

1 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1/4 cup water

Method:

1. First grind all the sunflower seeds in the processor.

2. Then rest of the ingredients while processor is one. First start with spices, salt, then agave & oil and lastly the water.

*About 1/2 cup

Blueberry Sunflower Smoothie (vegan gluten free, nut free, soy free)DSC01092

Ingredients:

1/2 cup blueberries

3/4 plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 big tablespoon Sunflower Seed Cinnamon Nut butter

Method:

1. Blend all the ingredients and serve.

*Serves 1

[1] Sunflower seeds, <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57#preptips>