Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Quinoa Chilli

Original recipe from The Kitchn, this was a delicious and simple recipe. I changed it a bit to use the slow cooker but you can do it on the stove also. I would leave out the spice for the kids but hubby loved it and he's definitely my toughest critic lol!

Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Quinoa Chilli


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 pound dried black beans, rinsed well (soaked over night)
1 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt + more to taste
1 1/2 cups sweet potatoes (2-3 small), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernals (optional)
vegan sour cream, to top (optional)
green onions, chopped, to top (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped, to top (optional)


Slow Cooker Method 
Heat the oil in medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes.
Add garlic, chili powders, and coriander and stir for 1 minute.
Add onion mix to slow cooker.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beans, and oregano.
Add 5 cups of water and cook on high for around 4-6 hours.
Once beans seem cooked, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, corn and salt.
Leave slow cooker on high for another hour or so until sweet potato is cooked through but still firm and quinoa is cooked.
Add more water if the chili becomes too thick.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and green onion.

Stove Top Method
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, 6-7 minutes.
Add garlic, chili powders, and coriander and stir for 1 minute.
Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, beans, and oregano.
Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until beans are flavorful and tender, anywhere from 2 - 4 hours.
After 1 1/2 hours of cooking, add the sweet potatoes, quinoa, corn and salt.
Place the pot's lid back on slightly ajar and allow to simmer on low heat until the beans are soft and the sweet potatoes and quinoa are cooked through.
Add more water if the chili becomes too thick.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and green onion.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Chickpea "Tuna" Melt

This original recipe comes from The Kitchn. It was really good. The umeboshi vinegar really gave it a salt water sea taste, found mine in a health store. I feel like dulse flakes might work here too! I got around 4 servings (where two pieces of toast is one serving).

Chickpea "Tuna" Melt


1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked from dried)
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Veganaise)
1 Tbls whole grain or djion mustard
1 1/2 Tbls umeboshi vinegar
2 tps celery seeds (I used celery salt)
1/4 cup chopped celery, from about one rib
2 tablespoons sliced scallions, from about about two scallions
Pinch cayenne pepper, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
GF vegan bread slices
Vegan cheese slices or shreds (I used Follow Your Heart slices)
Dill pickles for serving


Place chickpeas in the food processor and pulse two or three times to roughly chop.
Add remaining ingredients and pulse two or three times more to incorporate.
Toast bread and turn on grill/broiler.
Spoon on the chickpea mixture and top with the cheese.
Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted or heated through.
Serve with dill pickle.

The Mega Burrito Bowl

This is a makeshift version of the burrito bowl I always get when I go to Moe's. It's so delicious and filling and easily interchangeable depending on your taste preferences.Servings wise you get around 4 large servings here. Or 1-2 in my greedy ass case...

The Mega Burrito Bowl


Spanish Rice (I used black rice in this version and omitted the onions as I was already frying onion)
Black or kidney beans (already prepared - I cooked my black beans in vegetable stock)
Savoury Tofu Strips
1 onion, sliced
1-2 green or red peppers, cored and sliced thinly
10 medium sized white or brown mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1 cup cooked corn kernals
Salsa of choice (I like it with pineapple, peach or mango)
Pico de gallo (mine was just chopped tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lime juice)
Cilantro (to serve)
Lime wedge (to serve)
Oil for frying


It's best to prepare the beans in advance as they can take a while unless you're using canned!
I prepared the beans, then the rice followed by the tofu and then set aside.

You can also make up your salsa, pico and guacamole in advance and refrigerate.
In a medium frying pan add 2 Tbls oil and fry the peppers and onion together on a medium heat until cooked through, onion should be clear, then set aside..
In a medium saucepan add 1 Tbls oil and fry mushrooms and garlic on a medium heat until mushrooms are soft, then set aside.

I like the cooked items to be warm when I eat this burrito bowl so I prepare each bowl with a serving of spanish rice (around 1/4 cup), beans (around 1/4 cup), mushrooms, onions, peppers, corn and olives and then microwave for 1 minute.
Then I top with the refrigerated items, pico (around 1/4 cup), salsa (around 1/4 cup), guacamole (pretty much as much as I feel like) and then serve with a sprinkle of cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

Savoury Tofu Strips

This is a great recipe for tofu that gives it more flavour to add to anything you like. Especially works well in Mexican style dishes such as tacos and burrito bowls!

Savoury Tofu Strips


1x 16oz tub of extra firm tofu
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sambal olak or chili paste (opinional for spice)
1 Tbls rice vinegar or sake
2 Tbls oil for frying


Drain and press your tofu for at least 10 minutes.
Meawhile mix together the dry spices.
When tofu is ready cut into thin strips, shreds, small cubes or crumble.
Heat oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat.
Add tofu and let brown for 3 minutes.
Add in dry spices coating well and fry for another few minutes.
Add in the ginger, garlic, rice vinegar and sambal olak.
Once tofu is nicely browned on all sides and covered in seasonings then remove from heat and enjoy.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Vegan Products - March 2017

Welcome to another vegan product review!

I'm particularly excited about Tofurky's new gluten free vegan pizzas. I tried them all! They were all pretty good but I have to say the BBQ "Chicken" flavour won me over hook, line and sinker! I found some at Earth Fare and some at Native Sun.

I found these Millet & Flax Lavish breads by Sami's Bakery at Grass Roots. It's so good! They never returned my email on more information about the product but all the ingredients were gluten free and vegan!

Found Smoked Gouda cheese slices by Follow Your Heart and I love them!! They melt so easily for grilled cheese sandwiches!

I'm starting to become quite the Hurst's Ham Beens fan. All of their bean mix flavouring packets are gluten free and vegan. This chilli one was particularly good, the whole house loved it!

One of favourite places in Jacksonville is Solomon's Ventures which is a discount store that quite often stocks many a vegan item, here are some I found recently that I had never tried before...

Celestial Gen Mai Cha tea kit! I call it Japanese rice sencha tea and it's delicious!

Got these Rhythm Superfoods Roasted Kales Chips - "bacon flavor". They were WAY too salty.

These Bobo's Oat Bars Peanut Butter and Jelly bites are gluten free and vegan. I really liked them.

Got this Lilly's hummus for $1, it was very tasty!

I bought this Belvoir's Elderflower cordial from World Market and its vegan and gluten free. We served it for our son's 1st birthday, it was so refreshing, everyone loved it!

Got these vegan Sprinkelz by Let's Do at Native Sun for my son's birthday food.

BFF bought me this Soul Sprout bar and it was delicious!

My in-laws gave me these True North Almond Peanut Cashew Clusters - so sweet and crunchy. The scraps in the bottom of the bag made an amazing ice-cream topper!

Got these veggie fries at Native sun. This particular flavor wasn't very good, very cardboard tasting but I'd like to giev some of the others a try.

Destress with a Vegan Lifestyle

I have another lovely contribution from freelance writer Jessica Walter....

Destress with a Vegan Lifestyle

Worries. We all have them and life can throw up many stumbling blocks to cause us stress and anxiety. With all that we have to cope with, it can sometimes be all too easy to fall back on eating and drinking the wrong things to assuage any feelings of upset we are suffering from. A vegan diet can help get you on the right track, and there are lots of plant based foods that can decrease anxiety levels and help you feel more at peace. It helps to take an all-round holistic approach, so firstly, look at what is causing your feelings.

Top Causes of Stress

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious it can first of all be a great help to take a look at what’s going on in your life and see if there are any trigger points that might be causing undue worries.

Top causes of stress include money problems at home, worries about your job or career, family dramas or concerns over your relationship. If any of these have cropped up lately and you’re feeling a little frazzled, then think about making some changes to your diet and lifestyle to help reduce your blood pressure and ease your mind.

How a Vegan Diet Can Help with Reducing Stress

If you’re someone who maybe comfort eats in times of stress, what are the main foods you want to eat? Is it chocolate, pizza, crisps or other sugar and salt laden snacks that give you a quick hit so you can carry on? All these are great to eat in the moment, but are not sustaining or nutrient-dense enough to keep you going for long periods of time.

When we’re stressed we need minerals like zinc and magnesium to help us get our fight or flight response under control. A vegan diet, rich in leafy green vegetables, soy milk and foods like oats are superb for helping tackle feelings of anxiety and unease.

Be sure to include lots of fresh veg like kale, broccoli and cabbage into your daily eating plan. Starting the day with a bowl of porridge made with soy milk will get you well on your way.

Other superb sources of plant based zinc are tofu, lentils, beans, sunflower seeds and nuts such as almonds and walnuts. A wonderful, stress busting snack is a crisp, sweet apple paired with a handful of almonds.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Vegan GF S'mores

I've never had s'mores before but they look pretty tasty so I thought I'd try making them. I couldn't find graham crackers that were both gluten free AND vegan so I made my own. They turned out pretty well!

Vegan GF S'mores

Vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies but you can make your own)
Vegan chocolate squares (I used Enjoy Life bcause they came in perfectly sized squares)


If you have a fire place or candle you can roast your marshmallow but I didn't so I nuked them in the microwave for 10 seconds. 30 seconds makes them explode which I found out the hard way.
On each graham cracker place your toasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate.
Add another graham cracker on top and enjoy your s'more sandwich!

GF Vegan Graham Crackers

I originally used this recipe from Oh She Glows but I didn't have a lot of the ingredients so I ended up changing it quite a bit. Still worked out really well though! Perfect for graham cracker crusts or s'mores! I think in larger sizes these would make great ice-cream sandwiches as well.

GF Vegan Graham Crackers


3 tablespoons coconut oil (melt before using)
3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 tablespoon ground flax
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1/8 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup raw hemp seed hearts or buckwheat, processed into a flour (I used a coffee grinder)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, processed into a flour
5 tablespoons arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons vegan granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients plus flax.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well with a spoon until it comes together and there are no dry patches of flour left.
Form the dough into 2-3 balls and place one at a time between two pieces of baking paper and roll out the dough until you have a rectangle that is about 1/8 inch thick.
Cut the crackers into the shapes of your choice using  cookie cutters, a pizza slicer/pastry slicer, or a knife to cut the shapes you want.

Place baking sheet on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from oven and place other baking sheet on top and carefully flip crackers over placing back on the pan and return to the oven for 6-7 minutes longer, until golden. Carefully, transfer crackers to a cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Store crackers in a glass jar or container on the counter or wrap up and freeze for later.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Baby's 1st Birthday!

I just celebrated my lovely son's first birthday. It was a small family affair offering some games for the older children but of course all vegan fare ;)

Homemade sign was an easy sewing project with a printed fabric for either end, burlap, a ribbon and some white paint...

Got this cute whale print wrapping paper at Target.

I made this Treasure Map following instructions on YouTube and I made it look old by soaking it in tea before I started with the water colors, then I burned the edges. 

I had two drink dispensers - one with plain sparkling mineral water with lemon slices and the other with Elderflower Cordial from the UK which I bought from World Market. It was so delicious!

I made vegan crispy rice treats and shaped them with a cookie cutter.

  I made "fairy Bread" which is a fairly standard Australian birthday party staple...white bread with margarine and sprinkles. I used a cookie cutter to get the whale shape before I applied the sprinkles. I used Publix brand white bread as the ingredients were all vegan.

Vegan sprinkles!

I had cups of salted popcorn (homemade), plain potato chips and vegetable sticks (celery, cucumber, carrot and sugar snap pea).

(baby approved)