Babymoon Sunshine eats

Earlier this week Marco and I finally went on our Babymoon. I’m 38 weeks today so we were cutting it a bit close. We stayed at Twin Waters at the Sunshine Coast, but travelled around a bit to see a few beaches and eat out. Luckily I was able to find a few delicious of plant-based options that didn’t leave me feeling jealous of what Marco was eating.

On our drive up we first stop was Kings Beach and the Greenhouse Cafe at Caloundra. The weather was perfect but still a little cold for a dip. But it was lovely to see the beach and smell the sea air.

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I’ve had my eye on the Greenhouse Cafe for a while via facebook. So I was very excited to stop in for lunch. This cafe serves up 100% organic vegetarian food. I ordered the Naked Burrito, which had spiced refried beans, guacamole, turmeric hummus, salsa,  and bamboo infused brown rice. It was delicious and the perfect nutritious lunch for me and baby. They also had a couple of delicious looking vegan desserts but I didn’t want to overeat since we were having a late lunch. Next time!

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For dinner we went Lemon & Thyme, a restaurant at Mooloolaba on the Esplanade. I booked this restaurant in particular because I knew that they catered for food allergies and special diets. Their focus is on providing healthy eating options and using local produce and seasonal ingredients. They only really had one listed vegan main, but I didn’t feel like a thai curry, so they agreed to make the Sweet Potato Almond Gnocchi vegan. The gnocchi is paleo and gluten free and was sautéed with spinach, walnuts and fresh sage. I don’t usually eat gnocchi unless I make it so I was really excited to order it out. My dish does looks a bit messy, because the waiter forgot to write dairy free on the order, so it had to be made again in a hurry. They poor guy also though we ordered a side prawns, so the manager ended up having to eat both for dinner. Other then that it was delicious and very filling. I’d love to try and recreate this at home.

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For dessert we stopped into Gelatissimo on the Esplanade. This is my favourite gelato shop because all their sorbets are dairy free and vegan, including this Chocolate Sorbet. It’s not too dark and even Marco (the milk chocolate connoisseur) approved of the taste. It was a little messy, so I’m happy the girl advised me to take a napkin. You don’t want to see the table after I was done.

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Breakfast was also at the Mooloolaba Esplanade, at Ground Organics. They are organic, vegetarian and only use whole, local and unprocessed ingredients. They also don’t use microwaves and only use organic cold press coconut oil to cook with, so definitely my kind of place.

I orderd the Dandy Latte with the homemade Almond Coconut Combo milk, which is naturally caffeine free. It also came with a sweet little message. For breakfast I ordered the Green Smoothie Bowl. I usually prefer savoury dishes first thing in the morning, but I’ve never tried a  smoothie bowl before. I was a bit worried it was going to be really sweet but it really wasn’t, it was just delicious, refreshing, lite and filling. It consisted of greens, banana, mango, avocado, vegan pea/rice protein and coconut water topped with raw crunchy granola and some dehydrated fruit. Marco also approved but he was also happy with his Ommmmelette with long fermented sourdough. I tried a bite of his and it was probably the best omelette I’ve ever had.

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As I mentioned previously I was determined to swim in the ocean pregnant. I can’t even remember when I was fully immersed in sea water, its been years. Marco isn’t a big fan of the beach. He prefers the pool and hates getting sand in his car.  Lucky for me this day was the perfect weather for the beach. So we headed up to Noosa at Hastings Street. I’ve never been here before so I was pleasantly surprised by the shopping since Mooloolaba was such a let down. Their are also an abundance of places to eat and a gorgeous beach. We originally had plans to go to Spirit House at Yandina, but I was so impressed with this part of Noosa that I didn’t want to leave.

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After some window shopping we built up an appetite so we stopped at Bistro C, which is situated on the beach. Unfortunately the best tables were taken but it was still nice inside and the view was still spectacular. I ordered the Pappadelle, which had tuscan kale, leek, du puy lentil and slow roasted garlic, asparagus spears, roasted swiss brown mushrooms and roasted capscium relish. To be honest I didn’t check if it was vegan I just assumed in my hunger. The pasta did taste fresh though so I assume it had eggs, hopefully ethical good qualities ones. Nevertheless I loved this dish and was probably the most exciting vegetarian pasta dish I’ve ever ordered out. Marco ordered the fish and chips, which he was happy with but he felt like something was missing so I helped him with this side salad of salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, topped with crisp chickpeas and sumac vinaigrette.

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Finally the time had come to go swimming, so we step right outside the restaurant and onto the sand. I won’t terrorise you with my pregnant body in a bikini, which I’m lucky still just fits me, just. But rest assure I had the time of my life. I was a bit scared that the waves were going to hit the baby hard, but there was this nice sweet spot between the crashing waves, which we could just float in without being chucked around. After a little while I convinced Marco to take a dip. We had to take turns since we had a valuables with us. Considering he didn’t want to go in, even though I snuck his bordies in my bag, he had a blast. He was swimming for ages, while I got some much needed Vitamin D. He was having so much fun he forgot that he left the electric keys to our new car in his pocket. Thank god they still worked after that.

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After all that walking I was so exhausted. So that evening after a struggle to find a nice affordable place that our gps could actually locate I was in a bad mood and was willing to go anywhere before all the restaurants shut. So we stopped into a Thai restaurant. I wasn’t that impressed, so I won’t bother sharing that.

After a good sleep I was in a better mood the next day, so on our way home we headed to Kunara Organic Cafe at Forest Glen. This cafe is situated at one of Australia’s largest organic marketplaces. If you love food shopping, particularly for organic food you will love this place. I actually heard about this place on Queensland Weekender. I really wish I lived closer. Luckily Marco was really impressed and agreed that it was worth the drive to come back and stock up on supplies. He also really like the organic butcher which I think sold him.

The cafe is one of the nicest whole food eateries I’ve ever been to. They have a huge range of organic, gluten free and raw foods in the fridge as well as a made to order menu. Their food is 95% organic and gluten free and they also don’t believe in microwaves. I really love this mircorwave free movement. I personally hate them and won’t allow Marco to get one at home. We have a little oven in our microwave spot in the kitchen that does a better job.

For breakfast I started with the Antiox Overload Smoothie, which had blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, maca and apple green tea. It sure didn’t last long, I loved it. Not long after my Braised Beans with Pesto Soliders and Nut Parmesan came out. OMG this was the best breakfast beans I’ve ever had. It was vegan but it certainly didn’t taste like it. I’m not sure how they got all that smokey flavour in there, but it was like nothing else I’ve ever had. Even Marco prefered my breakfast to his Bacon, Eggs and Tomatoes. I think next time we will both be ordering this dish. The serve was also really big so I had to share it with Marco, which made him happy.

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I couldn’t leave the Sunshine Coast without having a vegan dessert.  Although they had a big cabinet of delicious desserts they only had a few vegan options. I wanted something rich so I opted for the Chocolate Beetroot Cake. Marco really didn’t want any, but after I forced a bite in his mouth I had to get another dessert fork. He couldn’t believe it had beetroot in it. It was so moist and dense, but also very sweet. So it was a lovely end to a delicious breakfast, even if it was a bit early to indulge.

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Hope you all enjoyed my Babymoon and get to try some of these amazing places to eat out.

If you can recommend anywhere else at the Sunshine Coast leave me a comment below. Once the baby arrives I’m sure we will be taken more frequent trips up there for lots of baby beach time.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Sad times, comforting foods

Hi all, I don’t really know how to write this but here I go… You may have noticed my absence for the past few months. The reason being is that my father died on 17th April. Prior to that I was working hard, stressing lots and going for lots of pre-baby testing. So when it happened I was completely blind sighted. I was so wrapped up in my own life that I never imagined this could happen.

Since it has happened I found it hard to return to normal life. I stopped cooking, blogging and enjoying life in general. It has been a very sad and confusing time due to the circumstances which are very complicated and painful to talk about. I have had to take some time away from work and slowly I am trying to grief and get back to some kind of normality.

My father was unique to say the least. He was charismatic, entertaining and the most determined person I know. He has left a big hole in our family which won’t ever be filled. He was also the proud creator and owner of Pasta al Naturale, the gluten free pasta factory in Melbourne.

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Over the past few months I have been collecting photos of some of the brighter moments in life. Although I haven’t had appetite for food or much motivation in general I am happy that my wonderful partner Marco has been pushing me to get out when I can.

Since everything happened I have travelled down to Melbourne a couple of times for the funeral and the mass. In between visiting with family I did manage to get out occasionally for some vegan eats. I manage to visit Mister Nice Guys Bake Shop a few times to get my sugar fix on. I also brought some cupcakes back for my family who really enjoyed this vegan alternative.

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variety of cupcakes

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Pebbles (Raspberries + white chocolate cake w coconut frosting + raspberries)

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Peppermint Mocha – already slipped

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Curried Tofu égg’ salad Bagel {curried tofu, homemade mayo and chives}

While I was in Melbourne I drank a lot of coffee with my caffeine addicted family and went out occasionally for brunch. Here are some of the vegan eats I managed to find not far from my grandparents home in Brunswick.

Vegan Breakfast Tortilla from Small Block, Bruswick East

Vegan Breakfast Tortilla from Small Block, Bruswick East

Roasted Vegetable Panini and Soy Flat White from Brunetti's, Carlton

Roasted Vegetable Panini and Soy Flat White from Brunetti’s, Carlton

Foccaccia Roasted Tomato, Capsicum & Mushroom  from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse, Ascot Vale

Foccaccia Roasted Tomato, Capsicum & Mushroom from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse, Ascot Vale

Foccacia Roasted Tomato, Carmelised Red Onion and Black Olives  from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse, Ascot Vale

Foccaccia Roasted Tomato, Caramelised Red Onion and Black Olives from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse, Ascot Vale

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Joan’s Baked Beans with Organic Multigrain Bread, Pope Joan, Brunswick East

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Bonsoy Cappuccino, Pope Joan, Brunswick East

I also managed to visit Shakahari Vegetarian Restaurant again. This is probably my favourite Vegetarian restaurant open after dark.

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Avocado Magic – avocado wedges and red capsicums rolled in thin eggplant slices then ‘tempura’ fried in a rice batter, served with a jade green sesame coriander puree

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Special- Eggplant Tagine with Spiced Rice, Fried Onions, Peas and Toasted Almonds (can only really remember it tasted really good)

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Laksa Hebat- organic japanese udon noodles, young spinach, mushrooms and bean sprouts in a ginger flower and lemongrass flavoured, midly spiced coconut stock, topped with fried tempeh, tofu, seitan and fresh herbs.

When I got back from Brisbane Marco took me to the The Cardamom Pod at Broad Beach to cheer me up.

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Dahl, Saffron Rice, Vegan Mousakka

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Veggie Curry, Saffron Rice, Spinach and Paneer Samosa and Tomato Gravy

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Raw Peanut Butter Slice

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Raw Raspberry Lime Cheesecake

He also took me to Ironbark Superfoods Cafe at Samford with our mums for some coffee and dessert. I loved this place. The raw desserts were some of the best I’ve tasted.

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For my cousins birthday I was invited out to dinner to the Turkish restaurant Efes One. I was a bit worried there would be nothing for me there, but I managed to get Vegetarian Platter. This included Hummus, Falafel, Dolmas, Fresh beans and Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini and Potatoes.

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Then on 2nd of July it was my birthday again. I wasn’t happy to be another year older, but Marco cheered me up by taking me to my favourite vegan cafe, Green Edge Cafe for Breakfast.

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Baked Beans on Toast- sour dough topped with guacamole and homemade baked beans

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The Other Scramble -tofu scramble with kale, tomato, and capsicum served on toasted Turkish with guacamole.

After that we took a road trip to Byron Bay. I finally got to see the lighthouse. The view is absolutely amazing from up here. It really is a must see if you visit Byron.

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We stopped into OzyMex Cafe for a quick snack. I got a soft taco with beans, guacamole and salad. So delicious and very cheap! This a great place for a quick lunch and has gluten free, vegan and dairy free options.

After that we went to dinner at Kinoko Sushi Bar Restaurant. They also have a few of vegetarian and vegan options. Sorry forgot no photos of dinner. I really loved this place though. Probably my favorite Japanese restaurant I’ve been too. After that we had dessert at Bella Rosa Gelateria Espresso Bar. They have a great range of vegan flavors to choose from. My favourite is the Dark Chocolate Sorbet.

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The next day we visited Manna Haven again. I got the most amazing Gluten free golden waffles served with fresh berries, maple syrup, berry coulis, and cashew cream. Silly Marco got a sausage in bread at the Byron Bay markets before and was regretting that choice. Lucky for him this was a big enough serve to share.

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Before we left we visited The Source Bulk Foods. I loved this place! I bulked up on all different organic grains, legumes and flours. The sales assistant mentioned they may be opening up a store in Brisbane soon! I really hope so because they had the best range of bulk foods I’ve seen and the prices were pretty good as well.

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So since being back I have been trying to get back into cooking. Since I have found it hard to get back into the kitchen I have been trying to push myself to make some dishes from my favourite cookbooks. Hopefully I will be back on track soon to share some of my own recipes.

Tempeh Piccata from Chloe's Kitchen (Chloe Coscarelli)

Tempeh Piccata from Chloe’s Kitchen (Chloe Coscarelli)

Lentil Stew form The Kind Diet (Alicia Silverstone)

Lentil Stew form The Kind Diet (Alicia Silverstone)

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup from Oh She Glows (Angela Liddon)

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Soup from Oh She Glows (Angela Liddon)

48 Degrees Raw Cafe

A couple of Saturdays ago Marco and I visited a new cafe that I have been itching to try since I first heard about their opening. 48 Degrees is Brisbane’s first completely raw cafe on the Northside of Brisbane. They are situated inside Genesis Gym in Windsor. This cafe is run by two female health and wellness coaches, who also reguarly hold Raw Food Workshops. In the cafe they serve a variety of cold press juices, smoothies, organic coffee and different raw breakfasts and lunches options daily. Prefect for gym junkies and the health conscious. Although they aren’t completely organic they do follow the EWG Shoppers guide for the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen to limit pesticide exposure in their food and drinks.

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Since 48 Degrees is know for their smoothies we just had to try one. I ordered the Superfoods Smoothie, which had YOR Supergreens, chia seeds, cacao, goji berries, hemp seeds, dates, cinnamon, maca and banana. Marco ordered the Go Green Smoothie with had avocado, banana, kale, lemon, almond milk, baby spinach, YOR Supergreens and dates. Both were really delcious and pretty filling for the small size.

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For brunch we orderd the Raw Buckwheat Cacao Pancakes and the Raw Sushi with Parnip Rice. Even though I wanted the sweeter breakfast I found myself enjoying the sushi more and Marco prefered the pancakes. They were both beautifully presented, but I think considering the price the sushi probably needed a side.

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All in all I was please with my experience at 48 Degrees. Although Marco has really embraced his new lifestyle diet that I impose on him, raw wasn’t so much his thing. But hopefully I will be able to visit this raw cafe again with our without him.

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Other recent news is that a few weeks ago I won a large organic box from Home Fresh Organics. I was so please with the quality, quantity, variety, price and convenience that I have been ordering a box every week since. Best part is that you can customise the set box, so you are not stuck with things you don’t eat.

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Almost Raw Chocolate Cheesecake for Valentines / Pod Espresso

Happy Belated Valentines! This Valentines I got my gift early from Marco. He surprised me early in the week with some lovely lilies and some vegan cupcakes. He also put together our new desk, which I have been harping at him for the last few weeks. Considering he forgot our engagement anniversary and didn’t get me a DSC01932present for Christmas, he wanted to make sure he got in early this time.

For his gift he wanted me to make a nice dinner and following by a Chocolate cake. I spent most of the last couple of days at work looking a different recipes online. I didn’t want to make a traditional chocolate cake, I wanted to make something a bit more special. I came across The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie by Chocolate Covered Katie and thought I had to try this. I love vegan cheesecakes and pies. Whenever I get the chance to order one I always do. I never tried to make one myself so I thought this was my chance.

I adapted the original recipe a bit by making a brazil nut base and changing the amounts of ingredients a little to taste. This recipe was really easy to make and doesn’t take long to make at all. It was also really delicious and I swear you can’t taste the tofu. Marco didn’t even know that it was made of tofu and he can usually pick these things. He was a little disappointed he didn’t come home to a death by chocolate cake, but he still did like it. He also took a nice big piece to work and professed this afternoon that it was much better then he thought.

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Almost Raw Chocolate Cheesecake (vegan, no bake, gluten free)

Ingredients for base:

1 cup brazil nuts

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla essence

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons cacao peanut butter

Ingredients for filling:

1 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (I used Sweet Williams)

350g organic tofu (semi firm)

1 tablespoon vanilla

3 tablespoons cacao

3 tablespoons coconut oil

3 tablespoons plant milk (coconut, rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate; more if you need)

Method:

1. First make the base by placing the brazil nuts in a process and wizz until they have broken down a little. Add the rest of the ingredients for the base into the processor. Don’t over process the brazil nuts too much, leave a little chunky.DSC01954

2. Take a springform baking pan and place baking paper on the bottom and grease the inside edges with coconut oil.

3. Place the base mixture into the pan and push down with a cake spatula, making sure that it is equally distributed.

4. Next prepare the filling. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler use a small heavy based pot and add a couple of tablespoons of milk, so that it doesn’t stick.DSC01963

5. In the processor add the tofu, melted chocolate and the remaining ingredients. Continue to process till smooth. While its processing you may have to wipe down the edges with a cake spatula so that all the ingredients combine well.

6. Pour the filling on top of the prepared base. Smooth the top with the cake spatula.

7. Place the cake into the fridge or freezer until ready to serve. The longer it sits the firmer it will get. I put mine into the freezer until it firmed up a little, then into the fridge and served about an hour later.

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Before I go I wanted to share a new vegan friendly cafe just down the road from my place. Pod Espresso is a little cafe in Stafford just of the main road. They serve great coffee, breakfast, lunch, desserts, cold press juices and smoothies. They are more then just a cafe, they are also an organic supermarket. They sell organic packaged and fresh products and were quite reasonably processed.  Marco and I went in for brunch last weekend. I wasn’t sure if they were vegan friendly, but I have seen many vegan options on their facebook page.

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On the day they only had a couple of breakfast options. I ordered the Avocado on Sour Dough with Dukkah, Rocket and Lemon juice. It was really delicious and a nice change from the usually Avo on Toast.

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Next I had to try their coffee and Vegan Mint Lamington. I haven’t had a lamington in years and I have never seen a vegan one before. This was absolutely delicious. I just wish Marco ordered his own so I didn’t have to share. The coffee was also great.

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We are very happy that we have such a nice cafe so close to home. Hope to visit Pod Espresso again soon.

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Peace Pies, Redcliffe

Over the weekend Marco and I finally got to visit Peace Pies at Redcliffe. Peace Pies is a cafe that specialise in vegan pies. They also serve all vegan lasagnes, cheesecakes, fish and chips and more. You can also buy vegan products in store, including food products, toiletries, books, etc.

This place is definetely become a favourite of mine. The staff are so friendly and the place has a really good vibe. The food was excellent and we both left very impressed and extremely satisfied.  I’m so happy that we now live close enough now to Redcliffe so that we can become regulars. If you are still a little scared of vegan food or have sceptical friends, this is the place for you. Peace Pies is not so in your face. It’s just a cool place to have a karma free meal and enjoy the bay breeze.

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DSC01819For lunch Marco ordered the homemade Lasagna with salad. I couldn’t leave without trying one of their pies. It was hard to choose, but I settled on the Creamy Cauliflower Pie. I ordered it with salad and curly fries. Marco was very happy with his lasagna. It was cheesy and saucy and tasted a lot better then it looked. My pie was really delicious. The pastry was soft and flakey and the filling was really creamy. The best part was that it wasn’t trying to be something that it wasn’t. The pie did have a little bit of faux chicken, but it wasn’t so overwhelming that you couldn’t taste the cauliflower. The curly fries were also really good. I have always loved curly fries, since the days I use to fry them in my first job at Hungry Jacks. To complement them, the waitress brought us some of their home-made tomato sauce.

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After coming all the way here, we weren’t going to leave without trying their desserts. It was very hard to choose, but we settled with the Chocolate cake and the Pear Flan. I can’t tell you what was better they were both really good. They also didn’t have that weird taste that some dairy free desserts have. I don’t think anyone would of not gone for a second bite of either of these cakes, they were just that good. They were both really sweet though and by the time I got through more then half of both I was having a sugar overload.

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Have you visited Peace Pies? Tell me what you think?

Brunch at Grub Street and Tofu Scamble with Sundried Tomatoes and Kale

What I look forward to most on the weekends is doing brunch with Marco. In the area that we recently moved to there are lots of funky little cafes that offer different unique breakfast options. This weekend we visited Grub Street, a popular suburban cafe in Gaythorne. This was our first visit, so we were curious  to see why this little cafe is always so busy and has such great reviews. I was also very excited to try their vegan option.

I ordered the Carrot pancakes with roasted corn puree, rocket, corn relish and avocodo. Besides being dairy free and vegan, this dish was also gluten free. From what I could tell these pancakes were made of carrot, red onion, capscium, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and chickpea flour. They were so dense, but not really heavy. The corn relish was also amazing and sweet, so it perfectly complemented the savoury pancakes. It was absolutely delicious and definitely made Grub Street one of my of new favourite cafes.

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When we don’t brunch out on the weekend, there is one special dish that Marco always likes me to make. This recipe is Tofu Country Scramble from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipe book. In fact last weekend I made it for some visiting meat-loving tofu-fearing family members. They actually preferred my tofu scramble over my mum’s scrambled eggs. So you guess which one was left over and which was gobbed up quick.

This morning we decided to do brunch again. But by the time we drove over and realised that the cafe we wanted to go to was closed because they hadn’t reopened for the new year, Marco was about to murder me. So  I suggested another cafe, however they had already swapped to the lunch menu. I was willing to stay but Marco really wanted eggs. Instead he suggested we go back home and he would ‘help’ me make tofu scramble. So thats what we did. It was so satisfying and the money we saved in eating out paid for 4 bags of groceries.

I slightly adapted the original recipe and added kale, red onion and shallots. I love the flavour combination of the nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes and tofu. I think this recipe taste better than regular scrambled eggs, which can be rubbery and tasteless and other tofu scrambles that can be watery and not really convincing. It is a great way to include some green vegetables first thing in the morning. I usually enjoy this dish with grilled turkish bread (like Marco did this morning), but today I just enjoyed it with some creamy avocado and it was just as good.

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Tofu Scramble with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kale (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

2-3 shallots, diced

10-12 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

500 g medium-firm organic tofu (pressed and crumbled)

1 large handful of red or curly kale, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons gluten free organic soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat a pan with olive oil  on a medium heat. Then sauté the red onion and shallots for a couple of minutes before adding sun-dried tomatoes. Continue to sauté till the onions start to soften.

2. Add the crumbled tofu and sauté for another couple of minutes until the tofu starts to brown a little.

3. Add the kale, soy sauce, turmeric and nutritional yeast, sea salt & black pepper and cook until the kale has wilted.  Serve immediate.

*Serves 4

Coco Bliss Superfood Bar

Hi all, hope you had a lovely week. Guess what only 5 more sleeps till we get the keys to our new home! We spent most of the weekend window shopping for different furniture, accessories and kitchen equipment. We have had to refrain from spending till we know what actually going to go. I’ve only seen the house twice so its a bit hard to remember most of the ins and outs. However, I couldn’t help myself today, when I saw these Anna Gare Retro Juice Tumblers.

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Since I didn’t see Marco all week and then found out he look another shift on his day off, he agreed to take me anywhere of my choosing. So I choose a new place that just opened less then a month ago. Coco Bliss Superfood Bar is located on Oxford Street, Bulimba. They cater for the health conscious and health junkies alike.  They offer smoothies, frappes, protein shakes, pressed juices, organic coffees, acai bowls, pink pitaya bowls, muesli fruit salad bowls, raw/baked desserts and salads and rice paper rolls. They have plenty of vegan, gluten-free and raw-food options and are 80% organic and refined sugar free. Besides using fresh ingredients, they also infuse their fares with superfoods such as Acai, Coconut water Lucuma and Goji Berries, for an extra nutritional kick to your smoothie or breakfast bowl.

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We arrived at about 2pm for some afternoon tea. We were both really tired and needed an afternoon pick-me-up. I couldn’t believe how busy they were. It was just as constant flow of people stopping by for juices and smoothies.  Luckily most weren’t staying, so we managed to get a seat at the bar. Apparently we spotted someone famous too. See the guy with his girl ordering at the counter. Marco thinks it may be the Australian, Jesse Williams, who now plays NRL in the US. I didn’t notice, I was too busy trying to choose something to order. I was only going to have a drink, but refined sugar free desserts, who can walk past that?

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I ended up ordering the Acai Berry Iced Coffee. I had never heard of it before, which made me all the more curious. It had organic acai berry coffee and coconut water. Marco also wanted a something cool and caffeine infused, so he ordered the Mocha Frappe, which contained banana, medjool dates, cacao, espresso and cinnamon. They were both really nice and light and really gave us that jolt we needed. I quite liked the taste of the acai berry coffee, its not bitter at all. Its quite mild and similar to coffee. Marco’s smoothie was a little bitter, but luckily on the bar there was some natural sweeteners for customers to utilise. I think one was honey and the other maple syrup. So he added a couple of swigs and for the perfect sweet balance.

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On the side I ordered this Vegan Chocolate Muffin. Normally I would order a raw vegan cheesecake or bliss ball, but I was really craving a chocolate muffin with sweet icing. This really hit the spot. It was moist and sweet and the icing was really delicious. Of course the one that didn’t want anything else had to eat half of my muffin. Next time we order two!

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Marco and I really liked this place and would definitely return. Looking forward to dropping in for an Acai or Muesli bowl or to try another one of there super smoothies and healthy desserts.

Have you been here? What did you think?

Other recent vegan eat include:

Choc Strawberry Chia Pudding with Coconut Yoghurt from Raw ‘n Juicy, Brisbane CBD.

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Veganised Morning Bruschetta with beans from Bare Bones Society, Jindalee, Brisbane.

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Lunch at Orawgi

It was so nice to wake up today and not have to go to work. Wish I had more wisdom teeth to remove so I could take more week days off. I don’t get sick very often, unlike most of the people in my office. I really believe it’s because my plant strong diet that keeps me well.

So to take advantage of this lovely sunny day with Marco, who was also off, we visited a raw cafe that I have been wanting to visit for ages. Orawgi is a raw, organic, healthy conscious cafe in Woolloongabba, Brisbane. It was created by Jamie Louise of Turf Studios and Jamie Louise Living Raw.  Jamie is a young entrepreneur who is passionate about raw foods and yoga. What she has created is really special and is really worth the trip. I think I discovered this cafe just after I started working full time. Unfortunately Orawgi is currently only open Monday-Friday. However, I heard from the lovely staff member that they are going to start trading on weekends soon!

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Before we arrived we didn’t know what to expect. I knew they were within the building of BioSolar and the photos on the website looked really nice. Marco isn’t a big fan of anything raw. He’s kind of over salads and sprouts that I try to make him eat on a regular bases. But once we walked in he was pleasantly surprised.

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Since they change their menu daily I didn’t have my order already picked out. They had on offer today Living lasagne, Mexican pizza with a walnut meat, Raw burger, Coleslaw and a Kale Salad. They also had a range of delicious smoothies and sweets. Everything looked so fresh and delicious that we wanted to try a bit of everything. We ended up ordering 2 Lunch specials that also included a smoothie or a dessert.

I ordered the Living Lasagne with Coleslaw the Ubud Smoothie and Marco ordered the Mexican pizza with a walnut meat, Kale Salad and dessert. First thing that came out was our smoothie. The girl serving us was nice enough to give us half each in these cute little jars. The smoothie was amazing. It had passion fruit, cinnamon, cashew milk and a few other ingredients that I can’t remember. I never knew passion fruit would taste so good in a smoothie.

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Next the meals came out.  They were both fantastic. We shared both. We couldn’t get enough of the creamy raw lasagna or the mexican pizza. I have never had a raw lasenga or pizza before so I was worried that the vegetables would be hard and and dehydrated pizza dry. But in fact the lasagna was perfectly soft and creamy and so full of flavor. The pizza was just as tasty and morish. I could live on both of these. The salads were also quite nice, especially the kale salad which had avocado and pepitas seeds. The only down side is that I had to share with Marco. I’m sure he felt the same way.

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For dessert we decided to go for the most stunning dessert, the Mixed berry Cheesecake. This was also fantastic. It was soft, creamy and had the wow factor. We both couldn’t get enough. I think this has to be the best raw vegan cheesecake I’ve had in Brisbane. It was also a great big serve. So we left extremely full and satisfied.

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Marco and I were really pleased that we visited Orawgi. The food is amazing, the staff a really lovely and the decor is really refreshing and quirky. I will be looking forward to visiting them again when they begin trading on weekends so I can bring my nearest and dearest.