Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Vegan Meal Prep


 So I know it’s been a hot minute. With all the things going on, (new house, new full time job, youngest starting school) I haven’t had much time for the blogging I’d like to. Plus I have been cooking a lot of the recipes that are already on here because let’s face it, a lot of them are staples in our family! In fact I started writing this post nearly a year ago and clearly got sidetracked.


Red Cabbage and Kale Coleslaw, Millet, Wholly Veggie Cauliflower Wings, Cashew Cream

Now that time is crazy tight during the week I have been trying to get better at meal prepping on a Sunday for the week so I’m not left wondering at 5/6pm what I’m going to cook for five people who all have different tastes! I also am trying to get away from the amount of process foods we’ve been eating. A few places that have been giving me a lot of motivation are Plantiful Kiki (starch based diet, she shows you how she preps her starches for the week), Pick Up Limes and one of my new favorites Rainbow Plant Life (seriously all her recipes are winners). She’s almost sold me on getting an Instapot!

Here are some great places to start for inspiration!

The Kichn - Easy Plant Based Meal Prep Plan

Rainbow Plant Life - Vegan Meal Prep

Pick Up Limes - Meal Prep Like a Boss

The inspiration was great but I ended up just cooking from other people's recipes because I was scared to experiment and make my own combinations. What if the combinations tasted bad and I was stuck with them for a whole week? Well I haven't had a bad combination yet! I treat each meal prep like bowls (1/2 container is serve of salad/veggies, a protein, a grain, a sauce and maybe added sprinkle of nuts or beans etc). So far everything has been really good. One thing I've been trying to do is to get through all the dried grains taking up room in the pantry. If you're not into beans, tofu or tempeh I've been really impressed with some of the newer fake meats on the market which are far less process such as CHKN Not Chicken, Like Chick'n and Daring.  If you can't have soy Wholly Veggie does a lot of chickpea and cauliflower based items. They make the protein side very easy because some of them already have their own flavor/seasoning. I've only been using variations of the cashew cream as a sauce because it's so good I honestly don't get sick of it..

I love those frozen rice servings that you can microwave in 3 minutes. Obviously more packaging and cost involved but invaluable when you're on top of it and need something healthy fast. Don't be afraid of frozen veggies or pre-cut items in the supermarket. They might cost more but if that's what it takes to get you to eat it then start with that!

It's Summer now and I'm trying a few weeks of Purple Carrot, a vegan meal delivery company, to see if they can give me some inspiration for getting back into wholefood cooking and not relying so much on the convenience of processed foods. I'll definitely be reviewing that :)


Monday, 9 May 2022

Red Cabbage & Kale Coleslaw


Red Cabbage & Kale Coleslaw

Ingredients

Slaw

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

1 head kale, shredded

2 carrots, shredded


Dressing

zest of half a lime

juice of one lime

4 tablespoons vegan sour cream/greek yogurt

¾ cup vegan mayonnaise 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tbls agave

salt and pepper to taste



Method

Mix shredded vegetables well in a large bowl.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Combine dressing into the shredded vegetables well and serve.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Creamy Corn Chowder

This awesome simple recipe from Minimalist Baker is great for weeknight dinners. I love to put all the ingredients in my Ninja blender and it has a soup option - literally does the soup for you in 30 minutes with around 5-10 minutes prep work on my part!


Creamy Corn chowder 

Ingredients

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large white onion (chopped // 1/2 onion yields ~1 cup)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
4 small red potatoes* (quartered // peeling, optional)
Sea salt and ground black pepper
3 ears corn* (kernels sliced off)
2 cups low sodium veggie broth* (DIY or store-bought)
2 cups unsweetened plain almond milk* (or regular milk if not vegan)
2-3 stalks green onions (for garnish // chopped)

1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor (optional)


Method

To a large saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Add potato, season with a little salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 4-5 minutes.

Add most of the corn, reserving a little for garnish, and stir.

NOTE: If you plan to blend the soup, I recommend (as suggested above) adding half broth, half milk for a creamier texture. But if you intend to leave it unblended, forgo the milk and do all vegetable broth (4 cups | 960 ml) for best texture/flavor.

Add broth and almond milk (if using), cover, and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Cook until the potatoes are soft and slide off of a knife when pierced – about 5-10 minutes.

If blending, add 3/4 of the soup to a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. If using nutritional yeast, add now.

Transfer soup back to the saucepan and bring back to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Cook for at least 10 minutes to let thicken. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be.

To serve, top with chopped green onion, remaining fresh (or lightly sauteed) corn, and black pepper. Add a sprinkle of paprika for color.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Cashew Cream Sauce

 From Rainbow Plant Life. This is my new favourite sauce, it literally goes with everything! If you want some variations here is a link to the original recipe. I recommend Rainbow Plant Life YouTube channel as well - so many great recipes!


Cashew Cream Sauce 

Ingredients
1 cup (135g) raw cashews, soaked in cool water overnight (or boil with water in a saucepan for 15 minutes)
½ – ¾ cup (120 – 180 mL) water (see the cashew : liquid ratios in the blog post)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder


Method
Drain the cashews and rinse with fresh water.
Add the cashews to a high-powered blender or food processor along with the water, garlic, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and onion powder. 
Blend on high speed until smooth, thick and creamy, scraping down the sides with a silicone spatula as you go. 
This will take about 2 minutes in a high-powered blender like a Vitamix (works great in my Ninja), or about 4 minutes in a food processor.
Taste and adjust for seasonings, adding more salt for saltiness, more nutritional yeast for cheesy/umami flavors, or more lemon juice for acidity.





Friday, 11 February 2022

Simple Vegan Cornbread

This cornbread recipe from Nora Cooks was probably one of the best I've ever had - it went amazingly with the chilli we made!

Simple Vegan Cornbread 

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil


Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 8 x 8 pan, or a 9 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder and stir.

Now pour in the almond milk and canola oil. 

Stir until well combined. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

The Best Vegan Chili

This is probably one of the best chili recipes I've ever tried - we did not use the jalapenos because the kids don't do well with spice. Original recipe is from Kelli Foster on The Kitchn. Goes really well with this cornbread recipe!



The Best Vegan Chili

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium jalapeño, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon light or dark molasses
1 cup dried red lentils
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
For serving (optional):
2 medium avocados, diced
4 medium scallions, thinly sliced

1 medium jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced


Method

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. 

Add the onion, celery, jalapeño, and garlic, and cook until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. 

Add the cocoa powder, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. 

Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the spices don’t burn. 

Stir in the molasses and lentils and cook for a minute more.

Add the tomatoes, broth, and beans, and stir to combine. 

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Serve topped with avocado, scallions, and jalapeño, if desired.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Oyster Mushroom Fried "Chicken"

This is something I have been wanting to attempt for a while because I had something similar at a food truck and it was soooo good! I just used fresh oyster mushrooms but I think they get a more chewy texture if you baked them before dredging and frying. Turned out very well though - every last one was eaten and the whole family loved them (my family is very fussy, just for reference LOL). I used a combination of spices that are known as the "KFC 11 Herbs & Spices" and added my own secret ingredient!

Oyster Mushroom Fried "Chicken"

Ingredients

Oyster Mushrooms (around 15 large), washed and dried and hard ends cut off.

2 Tbls Spice mix

4 Tsp Chicken salt* (my secret ingredient - great on fries too!)

2-3 cups chickpea flour

2 cups egg replacer mix (I used Ener-G brand)

Oil for frying (I like vegetable or sunflower)

Spice Mix

2 tsp dried thyme

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp celery salt

1 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp dry mustard powder

4 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tbsp white pepper


Method

Pre mix the spice mix and store extra in an air tight container.


Add frying oil to your deep pan (I used cast iron), you want around 2" deep in oil.
Heat on medium high until oil reaches a temperature that sizzle when something is thrown in. I use a sprinkle of flour to test.
While oil is heating add 2 Tbls spice mix and 2 tsp chicken salt to the flour and whisk tthrough.


Create your egg replacer according to packet instructions and set aside.
Once oil is ready fry in batches (I did mine in three batches) by dredging in egg replacer and then coating in the flour mixture.
Let brown on each side, this only takes a minute to happen, you may need to turn your heat down to medium.
Remove and lay on some paper towel while you finish the other batches.
Taste and if you think it needs it sprinkle with some more chicken salt.
I'd like to recommend a sauce but we didn't get that far - they were eaten up with no sauce required ;)


*This is the brand of chicken salt I buy from Amazon - it is vegan, don't let the name fool you. Great on potatoes/fries as well!



Friday, 28 January 2022

28 Day Whole Food Cleanse

During this "Dry January" not only am I off the booze but also trying a whole food cleanse from Plantiful Kiki (if you’ve never heard of her I suggest following on IG- she lost 70lbs on the Starch Solution diet and has been an advocate ever since). The ebook called “Plant Lean - 28 Weight Loss Meal Plan” is based on the principles of The Starch Solution by Dr McDougall but the recipes are far from boring. I enjoyed them so much more than the Starch Solution website meals. I had had a lot of success in the past with The Starch Solution but I struggled to make recipes that weren't boring because I was so stuck on the 50/50 rule. This cleanse takes the headache out and leaves you with delicious, satisfying meals.

The ebook cost $10.50 (for me including tax) and I can view it on my phone, tablet etc. I also like that she has everything hyperlinked so you can jump back to where you need to go, plus she also gives you not just the full menu but the full shopping list for each week. The calorie amount listed under each meal but she has formulated it so they all are of roughly an equal amount making it very easy to switch them around based on your needs.

One week in and I'm enjoying it and not dreading another 3 weeks which is awesome.

I've been walking 5-6 times a week for 45-60mins.

This is what some of the meals in Week 1 looked like...


Week 1

Chickpea Curry with steamed asparagus and brown rice


Egg Salad Sammy with house salad and homemade ranch



Vacation Vibes Smoothie


Sunrise Smoothie


Green Goodness Smoothie


Macaroni & Cheese with Smokey Apple Green Salad


Broccoli Cheddar Soup with House Salad





Week 2
Easy Enchilada Bake and Southwestern salad (I was missing some salad ingredients)




Berry Smoothie





Sushi 


Omelet


Buffalo Cauliflower Salad


Thai Red Curry


Apple Carmel Treats
There are some dessert options for the sweet cravings which I felt like I was getting at the end of week two.

 
Breakfast Burrito
This is probably one of the ones I was most excited about because I love a savory breakfast!


BBQ Salad


Thai Noodle Bowl


Week 3
Smokey Tomato Hummus Wrap


Smokehouse Steak Fries with House Salad



Persian Chickpea and Rice Bowl with House Salad, 
this one was tastier than I was expecting considering how few ingredients are in it.



Blueberry Pancakes



OK I got a few days into Week 4 and caved. My own fault entirely - I hadn't prepped (seriously meal prepping is key to success), I didn't have all the ingredients I needed, I really wanted chocolate and wine. I have not plausible excuse but I will say I did learn some things.
I realized how much processed vegan food I actually eat and want to cut that back a lot. 
I realized how important it is to at least have a few meals accounted for or prepped so I don't fall into the habit of grabbing something quick and processed from the freezer.
I actually enjoyed quite a few of the meals and would definitely cook them again.

Generally on this meal plan I felt very satisfied but clean and light. I enjoyed this cleanse much more than the recipes from the Starch Solution website and definitely liked how it was all planned out for me in terms of menu and shopping list. There's no reason you should fail, even though I did.
The fact the you could switch around dishes because they were all of similar calorie content and that I could make more of a dish I enjoyed for another meal definitely made it easy to stick to. I can see this being a go to reboot whenever I need one. Next time around I will know which ones I like! If I didn't mention it before the smoothies were really good!!!

There is quite a bit of prep work with some of the dishes which makes sense when your eating whole foods and making everything from scratch (main meal, plus a salad, plus sauces and dressings) but as a full time work mum of three kids and then still having to cook the kids something different I did feel a bit burnt out in the cooking fresh after the 4 weeks. No one was happy with the amount of room in the fridge I was taking up either lol!
I’d like to maybe incorporate just doing every second night or prepping more on the weekends when I know in advance what I’m going to make. 

In the 28 days I lost 5lbs which was at least something but I think the fact that I hadn't lost more by the start of Week 4 was also killed my momentum a bit. I really was following to the letter, not drinking alcohol and exercising around an hour a day. I had a black coffee in the morning but other than that only drank water and sparkling mineral water.

I'd love to hear if you have success with this or if you found something else that worked for you!


Turmeric Cauliflower Steaks

This recipe of Antoni Porowski's was from an episode of Queer Eye and although he wasn't specific about the measurements and I had to wing it I have to admit it was pretty delicious!

Turmeric Cauliflower Steaks

Ingredients

1 Cauliflower head

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

2 Tbls olive oil

2 cups vegetable stock (I used Better than Bouillon Vegetable)


Dressing

Juice of a lime

1/2 Tbls maple or agave syrup

1 Tbls chopped cilantro

1 tsp chili paste/sambal olak/chili flakes


Method

Preheat oven to 325F.

Remove outer leaves of the cauliflower but leave the stalk and baby leaves.

Slice down the centre and then slice each piece again. 

You're left with 2 large steaks, but I through the smaller ones in too.

In a large oven safe skillet or pan  cover the bottom with olive oil salt and turmeric and rub the steaks on both sides in the mixture.

Over a medium heat sear on both sides for a few minutes until browned.

Once seared on both sides pour in broth and place in oven for 15-20 minutes.

While the cauliflower steaks cooking whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Incorporate as much or little chili as you like depending on your spice level.

Once cooked remove steaks from the stock, add to serving plate and drizzle dressing over the top before serving.




Wednesday, 12 January 2022

ELEMIS Skin Care

ELEMIS is a gorgeous brand of natural skincare created in the UK. Their products are such high quality, I'll share a few of my favorite items. Luckily they have quite a lot of vegan products.

At the bottom I have a list of ELEMIS products that contain animal products and therefore are not considered vegan.

EMAIL direct from ELEMIS...

Thank you for your query with regards to ELEMIS products in relation to ingredients effecting Vegans.

ELEMIS specializes in natural caring ingredients of the highest quality and many ELEMIS products are considered Vegan. ELEMIS does not use animal derived ingredients however, some products do contain ingredients produced by animals such as Beeswax, Honey, Milk Protein and Milk Lipids. Please always consult the product ingredient list before purchase or contact Customer Care for more information.

ELEMIS products that contain Honey, Milk Protein, Milk Lipids, and Beeswax:

Honey:
• Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Peel off Mask (Professional Only)
• Daily Redness Solution
• Exotic Cream Moisturising Mask

Milk Protein & Milk Lipids:
• Amino Active Mask (Professional Only)
• British Botanical Body Cream
• British Botanical Hand & Nail Butter
• Deep Cleanse Facial Wash
• Papaya Enzyme Peel
 Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust
• Pro-Radiance Hand & Nail Cream
• Sea Lavender & Samphire Hand Cream
• Sensitive Cleansing Wash
• Sharp Shower Body Wash
• Skin Nourishing Body Cream
• Skin Nourishing Body Scrub
• Skin Nourishing Milk Bath
• Skin Nourishing Shower Cream
• Total Glow Self Tanning Cream

Egg Yolk Protein:
• Absolute Oxygen Skin Calm Booster Serum (Professional Only)
• Absolute Vita C Harmony Booster Serum (Professional Only)
• Soothing Chamomile Cleanser

Beeswax:
• Aching Muscle Body Balm (Professional Only)
• Amber Intense Body Balm (Professional Only)
• BIOTEC Skin Energising Day Cream
• British Botanical Hand & Nail Butter
• Daily Redness Solution
• Frangipani Monoi Body Balm (QVC)
• Golden Azahar Body Balm (QVC)
• Green Tea Body Balm (Professional Only)
• Lip Revive
• Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
• Pro-Collagen Lifting Treatment Neck and Bust
• Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser
• Rose Restore Body Balm (Professional Only)
• Sea Lavender & Samphire Hand Cream
• Skin Buff
• Men Energising Skin Scrub
• Treat Your Feet Foot Cream
• White Lotus Body Balm

If you do have any further questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Many Thanks,

Kindest Regards
Rachel Kidner

ELEMIS
United Kingdom T: +44 (0) 117 316 1888
E-Mail: customercare@elemis.com

United States T: 1-855-235-3647
E-Mail: customercare.usa@elemis.com