Monday, 9 July 2018

Red-Cooked Eggplant (Hongshao Qiezi)

This Chinese dish has been adapted from one of Adrian's recipes on Good Chef Bad Chef. It's very important to the recipe that you used fresh Japanese eggplants. It was so delicious! I served with brown rice and steamed bok choy. If you want less spicy just omit the fresh chilli.

Red-Cooked Eggplant (Hongshao Qiezi)


3 oriental eggplant, quartered lengthwise
1 cup olive oil
1 long red chilli, sliced
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1" fresh ginger (I used a touch of ground because I didn't have fresh)
½ red onion chopped
2 tbsp brown sugar (I used palm sugar because I didn't have brown)
1 tbsp vegan fish sauce
2 tbsp chilli bean paste (I used Sambal Olak because I didn't have the paste)
2 star anise
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable or vegan beef stock
Bunch Garlic chives (I didn't not use this)
½ bunch coriander, chopped


Submerge eggplant in a bowl filled with ice water for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a 14″ flat-bottomed wok over medium-high heat.
Drain eggplant, dry thoroughly with paper towels, and add all to the oil. Cook until just soft and golden, about 3 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a bowl lined with paper towel and set aside.

Discard all but ¼ cup oil in wok; return to medium heat.
Add garlic, red onion, ginger and chilli.
Season with salt and pepper and fry for one to two minutes or until onion just begins to soften.
Stir through sugar.
Add fish sauce, bean paste, tomato paste, star anise, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and stock. Bring to the boil.
Transfer eggplant back to the wok. Stir through garlic chives and coriander.

Transfer to a plate and serve.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

DIY Lash Serum

I had read a few different recipes online about DIY lash serums. All the commercial ones that seem to work are not vegan. So I decided to combine a few recipes and create my own. The key seems to be the castor oil which helps with hair regrowth and strength, as does certain essential oils such as lavender and cedar wood. Vitamin E & Coconut Oil are for conditioning.   The I bought an empty mascara wand online (which took forever to ship!) but you can just as easily use an oil brush or dropper and apply with your fingers or a cotton bud. Honestly I think that';s better anyway as you only need to get your lash line,not your whole lash. It is oily so feels a bit weird the first few times you use it and I recommend using a pillow case you don't care about. I spoke to a friend who did it just with castor oil and she said it definitely works (her lashes are amazing) but that it can take 6 months of doing it every day to start seeing don't give up!! I promise to post results once I see them!

DIY Lash Serum


2 tsp Coconut Oil (melted)
2 Tbls Castor Oil
2 tsp Vitamin E
8-10 drops Lavender (and/or cedar wood) essential oil


Add all ingredients into small bowl and mix well.
Drop slowly into a glass dropper or mascara container.
Apply to base of eyelashes and eyebrows at night.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Hungarian "Sausage" and Potatoes

This is a dish my grandmother made as a side dish and I loved it so much. Thanks to Beyond Meat Sausages I can now recreate it as best as I can!

Hungarian "Sausage" and Potatoes


2 vegan Sausages
2-4 potatoes, peeled
1 tsp paprika
oil for frying (a few Tbls)


Boil the potatoes whole until they are soft enough to cut then remove, drain and allow to cool slightly.
Fry the sausages in a little oil till firm then remove from oil and allow to cool slightly.
Slice potatoes into slices or chunks and add to the pan with oil that had the sausages.
Add a little water and paprika and allow to fry slightly, letting the water evaporate.
Slice the sausages and add back to frying pan with potatoes.
Allow the sliced parts of the sausage and the potatoes to brown slightly.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Vegan Pastelón

This recipe was adapted from The Healthy Foodie.  It's like a Latin Caribbean dish which is kind of like lasagne but using the plantains as the pasta sheets. It gives a fantastic combination of sweet and savoury! I prefer frying the plantains rather than boiling because it tastes better.

Vegan Pastelón


4 yellow plantains
900g (2lb) vegan ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
20 large pitted green olives, pitted and halved
8 pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup organic raisins
1 small can tomato paste (170g)
3 cups water
50g (2.5oz) vegan Parmesan cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)


Preheat the oven to 375°F
Trim the ends of the plantains and slice horizontally until you have 1/4" slices.
In a large frying pan use a little oil to fry plantains on both sides until browned.
Put to the side to cool.
While the plantains are cooling, cook the vegan ground beef in a large skillet set over medium heat, until it becomes nicely brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring from time to time, until the onions are slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Throw in the apple cider vinegar, spices, Bay leaves, olives, dates, raisins, tomato paste and water. Stir until well combined and cook until the water is almost completely evaporated and the mixture is thick and creamy. Kill the heat.
Delicately peel the plantains; good thing is once they are cooked, their peel is extremely easy to remove, especially if your plantains have swollen and cracked open in the cooking process.
Slice the plantains into thin slices; the use of a mandoline is strongly recommended, but if you don’t have one, slice the plantains as thinly as you can using a sharp chef knife.
To assemble the pastelón: place a layer of plantains at the bottom of a lightly greased square baking dish, then top with about half the beef mixture. Repeat with a layer of plantain, then meat, followed with another few slices of plantain, just to cover the meat but not completely.

Sprinkle the grated Parmesan cheese all over the top and place the pastelón in the oven.

Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the plantains on top as well as the cheese get beautifully golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Inika Organic Cosmetics Australia

I'd like to take a minute to talk about Inika Organic Cosmetics Australia. I LOVED this 100% vegan, cruelty free and organic brand when I lived in Australia but since moving to the States found it difficult to source. But not any longer!! It's is now available in the States, link here!! I just got my order which came with a free mascara (worth $33 and winner of the 2018 Glamour Beauty Awards)!!
One of my favorite of their products is the Primer but I just finished it and had already bought at Arbonne one, which is my second favourite. Seriously this line of cosmetics is such great quality, you can really feel the difference and it lasts for ages.

Here are my newly acquired products plus my old; Bronzer (Sunloving 03) which I love for contouring my cheekbones & lovely matte Mineral Eyeshadow (Coco Motion 16).

My recently USA purchase! Concealer (Light), Liquid Eyeliner (Brown) and free Long Lash Mascara (Black)

Some information about the company...

I'm notoriously bad at applying liquid eyeliner but this is the brown and I like that the applicator was hard and not like a brush so easier to get accurate lines. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Whole Food Cleanse 2

So I did a whole food cleanse about a year ago and had some pretty decent results. Due to a combination of no times, medications and over indulging I feel the need to cleanse once more. Also still trying to lose the extra pregnancy pounds that won't shift. You can read about my  post pregnancy journey here. This time I'm starting from scratch. A salt water cleanse to get rid of all the toxins, then a whole food cleanse for 4 weeks. I'd love to juice cleanse in between the two but unfortunately cost prevents me once more. Please read up on salt water cleanses before you partake in case you have ailments that are incompatible with that level of salt and dehydration. You will poop, a lot, soon after drinking the salt water so make sure you have an empty stomach, no plans for at least a few hours and drink plenty of filtered water after the initial salt water.

The Cleanse

Salt Water Cleanse
I fasted on this day before the salt water cleanse and just drank lemon water until I did the cleanse in the afternoon.
Dissolve two teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt (such as Pink Himalayan sea salt) in one quart (four cups) of warm water.
Add lemon juice to improve the taste, if desired.
Drink the mixture as quickly as possible on an empty stomach.
Drink plenty of filtered water and wait for the BOOM. Seriously...don't go far from your toilet for a few hours.
Drinking a litre of salt water is kind of nasty so you can do it in juice such as this Dr. Axe one, if you like.

3 Day Juice Cleanse
Any juices you like. I'm partial to apple, orange and carrot as a base and then adding greens and I love adding ginger and mint. As long as there is a bit of fruit in it you can't go wrong and add whatever you like and it should taste good but ideally you want mainly green vegetables.
Also drinking plenty of water.

Whole Food Cleanse
Pretty much exactly what it says, only whole foods for 28 days. Canned or frozen is acceptable if you cannot find the fresh article but fresh is always preferred. Nothing at all processed or that you couldn't make yourself from SCRATCH scratch. More information on my first blog on the subject here.

This is what actually happened...

Goal weight being 132lbs (my optimal weight). I'm not expecting to get there just with one cleanse but I am hoping to lose up to 5 lbs and give me some momentum to keep going with a predominantly whole food diet. My main forms of exercise are walking, running, yoga and pilates. While fasting from food entirely (salt water and juice portion) it's important to drink plenty of water and not do too much physical activity so yoga is perfect for those first four days. You can in theory juice cleanse for quite some time if you're game, I'm not very good at the long term ones but there is great information at Joe Cross' website.

First Week...

Salt Water Cleanse
Started off pretty well. Went the full day with out food, just water. Then I did the salt water cleanse in the afternoon and pooped for about 2 hours on and off of course! Then I was feeling very lethargic and struggling a bit so by about 8pm I caved and had a fresh juice (kale, apple, carrot & lemon), an orange and handful of blueberries.

Juice Cleanse
The first day of the juice cleanse I had 1/2 litre of juice at about 7am (kale, pineapple, mint,orange, cantaloupe & cucumber). At 9am about 1/2 litre of juice (carrot, apple, orange & kale).
At 12pm I had about a litre of juice (beets, celery, radishes, kale, apples, pineapple, ginger, mint & cucumber). I'm fast running out of ingredients without the means to purchase more right now so I think it will just be a two day juice fast.

Isn't it gorgeous when your fridge has this much color!

Well third day in and I totally caved, last night actually. After juicing all day I had a quick afternoon snack of avocado with carrots and radishes and then I had the taste for food and made roast vegetables for dinner (potatoes, asparagus, radishes, garlic, butternut squash & onions with Tarder Joe's Everyday Seasoning, Himalayan salt and pepper). On a good note, I was 144lbs when I weighed myself this morning so I may not have stuck to what I wanted to do but at least it's working! Haven't done any exercise yet either.

So in the first week I've lost 5lbs and went for a 5km walk/jog once. I'm not a breakfast person if I can't have avocado on toast so I've been having left over meals, smoothies, juices and I made a porridge out of super grains (millet, buckwheat & quinoa), banana, cocoa nibs (which actually I'm not sure are allowed because of caffeine??) and nut milk.
I've been eating foods such as;
Simple Lentil Soup
Baked Vegetables with seasoning, like Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning (all vegetables at 375-400F for root vegetables 60-90 minutes & for others 30-45 minutes.
Smoky Baked Cauliflower

Emily's Chickpea Salad
Healthy bowl - Tempeh, Kale & Super grains (quinoa, buckwheat & millet) with a tahini sauce

Baba Ghanoush with vegetable sticks has been seeing me through the snacking well.
Raw Nori Wraps
I used the nori wrap fillings for romaine wraps the next day...

Second Week...

Monday Went for a 45 minute walk on the first morning and had lentil soup for breakfast.

Had smoothie for breakfast one morning of 1/2 block silken tofu, 1 banana, 1/2 cup pineaple, fresh mint, hemp seed hearts & chia seeds.
Mad healthy tacos with Romaine lettuce leaves as the taco, homemade mango salsa, black beans, corn, guacamole & shredded fried king oyster mushrooms.

Had smoothie for breakfast one morning of 1/2 block silken tofu, 1 banana, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, fresh mint & hemp seed hearts.
Lentil Soup for lunch
Left over healthy tacos for dinner.

Had lentil soup for breakfast, snacked on baba ghanoush & carrots for lunch, mixed bean chilli for dinner. Strawberries for dessert.

Went for an hour walk, had a smoothie for breakfast (banana, 1/2 non-dairy milk, 1/2 water, mango, spirilina & hemp seed hearts), for lunch had chilli and for dinner had Raw Stuff Avocados. I think I need to incorporate a lot more exercise since I'm still hovering at 143lbs.

Finally at 142lbs! But starting my period so could go up before I go down again.
Today I had a smoothie for breakfast, Raw Stuffed Avocados into a salad for lunch and guacamole with carrots & cucumbers for dinner. Been finding no calorie soda water like La Croix or Bubbly great for sweet cravings and to keep the appetite at bay.

Had a smoothie for breakfast, Simple Lentil Soup for lunch, juice for snack (beets, romaine, carrots, oranges, apples) and for early dinner yellow squash noodles cooked in a little coconut oil with nutritional yeast (was actually for toddler but he rejected it and I didn't want to waste it - so delicious!)  Later I made Plantain burgers buns and used a Dr Praegers Kale burger.

Third Week...

Smoothie for breakfast, chilli for lunch, baba ghanoush with carrots for snack and stuffed acorn squash for dinner (I stuffed it with potatoes, red peppers, mushrooms & onions).

Smoothie for breakfast, stuffed acorn squash for lunch, stir fry for dinner (tofu, lotus root, bok choy, basil, green onions, Thai chilli, ginger, garlic & coconut aminos). Strawberries for dessert.

Smoothie for breakfast, for lunch fried plantains with guacamole & raw chiptole mayo and a side of kale with balsamic vinegar and for dinner left over stir fry.

Down to 141lbs so pretty happy with that result so far. Considering I've done barely any exercise. I did 20mins of yoga today. Smoothie for breakfast, sorry I forgot what I ate the rest of the day!!

Smoothie for breakfast, carrots & cucumbers with hummus & baba ghanoush for both lunch and dinner with nuts as snacks. Did 30 minutes of a new yoga routine today and was definitely a lot more challenging which is great! The app was called "Pocket Yoga".

Smoothie for breakfast, bowl for lunch (super grains, tofu & kale with tahini sauce), chili for dinner, strawberries for dessert.

Down to 139lbs!!! So excited! Smoothie for breakfast, roast vegetables (beets, potatoes, garlic, asparagus & radishes with a sprinkle of Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning) for lunch & chili for dinner).
I did 30 minutes of yoga again.

Fourth Week...

Smoothie for breakfast (banana, mango, mint, spirilina, hemp seed hearts, chia seeds, 1/2 cup macadamia milk, 1/2 cup water), for lunch left over bowl from Saturday, dinner left over roast vegetables. a 45 minute walk for exercise.

Smoothie for breakfast, lunch was chilli, dinner just snacked on fresh fennel & baba ghanoush. Did 30 mins of yoga.

Smoothie for breakfast, for lunch I had sauteed garlic mushrooms, blanched kale, tempeh (marinated in coconut aminos. smoked paprika and liquid smoke), avocado and boiled corn, dinner I had left over chilli. Did 30 mins yoga.

Smoothie,  for lunch baked acorn squash stuffed with mashed potatoes (olive oil, salt, pepper & macadamia milk), fried zucchini noodles  & chilli, for dinner left over tempeh dish from Wednesday. Did 30 mins yoga.

Smoothie for breakfast, lunch was left over acorn squash, dinner was cauliflower soup. Went for a 45-60min walk.

Smoothie for breakfast, cauliflower soup for lunch, home made crackers & "cheese" ball for dinner and for dessert strawberries & blueberries with orange blossom water. Did 30 mins of yoga.

Smoothie for breakfast, Cauliflower soup for lunch & dinner. Home made crackers & "cheese" ball for snack. So I've stagnated at 140lbs but I'm pretty happy about that considering how little exercise I've been doing.

Starting measurements;
Weight 148lbs
Chest 37"
Waist 35.5"
Hips 40.5"
Thighs 23"

Ending measurements;
Weight 140lbs
Chest 36.5"
Waist 34 "
Hips 39"
Thighs 22.5"

I ended the cleanse with a Chia Seed Cleanse;
1 apple
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (ground is easier to digest than whole)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Blend everything together except the chia seeds.
Pour into glass and stir in chia seeds.
Wait 5 minutes for chiaa seeds to expand and drink.
Again, don't go anywhere for a couple of hours ;)

Monday, 25 June 2018

Trader Joe's Vegan Wine

Every go to Trader Joe's and wish you knew which wines were vegan (since a lot of them aren't on Barnivore)? Well I have the complete list for you!

Menstrual Cups and Cloth Menstrual Pads

So I thought I had mad a post about this but aparently I hadn't!
I had been using cloth menstrual oads for a few years and was hestitant to jump on the menstrual cup bandwagon but I'm glad I did! I love it, but I still use my pads.

So why use menstrual cups and/or cloth pads?

Well for one thing it is WAY cheaper in the long run. A set of pads will last you years if you care for them correctly and a menstrual cup is recommended to be changed every 10 years but it's hospital grade silicon so again, take care of it and it should last you a lifetime!

What brands do I use?

So I think like anything it's important for you to find something that works for you. My first menstrual pads were BubuBibi which are bamboo cloth pads. I really like these for days when I'm wearing my cup because they are thin and not too long. Around $15 for 4 pads. I soaked them in bleach too long one day and some of the fibers wore down so I bought a pack of Love My menstrual pads (around $17 for 6) which I love because they are long and thicker which is great for night time. You can wear your cup overnight but it's nice to have back up, and on lighter days I don't feel like wearing the cup to bed.
To clean simply rinse out and wash like you would cloth diapers. Fluff Love University is a great place to start if this is all new to you! Find "Cloth Pad Love" group on FB!

Menstrual cups are a great idea. In theory they will last you a lifetime for only $30. 

The first cup I bought was the Glad Rags XO Flo cup because I had read good things about it. Now I didn't find it to be the best fit for me personally. It kept shifting down and was uncomfortable. I felt a bit defeated because I was so excited about the idea of using a cup. So I bought a Lena (large). I loved the Lena (people rave about Lunette too). I had a very successful heavy period using it. Was able to wear it all night with no leakage (I wore a pad for insurance) but on the heavy first couple of days I did need a pad as well because of slight leakage. 

Everyone's uterus is shaped differently so you may not be happy with the first one you buy. I was pretty happy with the Lena one I bought, it fit way batter than the Glad Rags and it didn't come out. 

The size you buy really depends on age, sexual activity and flow. I'm a 39 year old woman who has been through child birth and has a heavy flow for the first few days, then light for the rest so for me the large was the obvious choice but if you're a virgin or have't had ahead through your vagina then a small might be a good one to start with. Honestly the "large" Lena cup was still a lot smaller than the "large" Glad Rags.

In terms of insertion it's valuable to watch the videos/instructions that are available on some of their websites. I think I was just inserting up like I would a tampon but with these cups it's important to find and aim for the entrance to your uterus as you want the cup to go around that. You just fold it into a C-shape and insert and it pops open inside sealing the flow inside the cup. To remove just press the side of the cup to release the pressure and pull the stem.

What's the process?

In terms of insertion it's valuable to watch the videos/instructions that are available on some of their websites. I think I was just inserting up like I would a tampon but with these cups it's important to find and aim for the entrance to your uterus as you want the cup to go around that. You just fold it into a C-shape and insert and it pops open inside sealing the flow inside the cup. To remove just press the side of the cup to release the pressure and pull the stem.

You can wear them for 12 hours and you just empty them straight into the toilet and wash with warm soapy water between uses and at the end of your period let the cup simmer in boiling water for 5 minutes so it's sanitized for the next time. 

Onion & Herb Crackers

I got this recipe from One Green Planet - originally posted by Julie Van der Kerchove.  They are so delicious on their own!

Almond Cashew Cheese


1 cup of white almonds*
1 cup of cashews
1/2 cup of water
6 tablespoons of lemon juice (around two lemons)
5 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt
1 small red onion, minced
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
2 teaspoon of dried thyme


Combine white almonds, cashews, water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt in the blender. Blend until smooth.
Use a spatula to spread the almond cashew cheese mixture onto a dehydrator tray lined with a Teflex sheet or a fire-resistant tray if you are working with a regular oven. I just used a baking sheet over the tray.
Top the mixture with minced red onion, oregano, basil, rosemary and thyme. I made cuts in mine because the first time I did them I made them too thin and didn't put the cuts and they just crumbled.

Dehydrate the crackers at 115°F (or the lowest temperature of your oven & hot air circulation) for 12 hours or longer, until the top of the crackers is completely dry and crunchy.
I didn't do this next step and they still turned out perfect.
When the crackers are dry enough, flip them over by placing a second dehydrator tray (without a Teflex sheet) on top of the crackers and turning both around. Now you can easily remove the Teflex sheet that is still covering the moist side of the crackers. This will allow them to dry more quickly and efficiently.
Dehydrate the crackers for another 10 hours or more until they are completely dry on both sides. They will still be slightly soft on the inside

* To make your own white almonds, just soak your raw almonds in warm water for a couple of hours then the skins will peel right off!

Monday, 11 June 2018

Plantain Burger Buns

This is a delicious recipe to replace bread buns or just on it's own as a dessert. So good!! The sweetness of the plantain offsets the saltiness of the burger pattie. I served with Dr. Praeger's kale burger, romaine & vegan chipotle mayo or aioli (raw version, regular version).

Plantain Burger Buns


1 large very ripe plantain 
1-2 Tbls Coconut oil for frying


Cut the plantain into four equal parts.
Fry on a medium heat, turning frequently until the plantains are browned/blackened on all sides and looking soft.

Remove from heat and place on a paper towel to cool slightly.
Take one piece and stand it upright on a plate (I found using paper towels on either side helped it from slipping.
Place another plate on top and push down slowly, holding the plantain straight with your fingers if necessary.

You should end up with flat plantain patties like this.

Put back into the pan and brown well on both sides.
Allow to cool on some paper towels before eating.
Mine weren't really firm enough to eat hamburger style so I used a knife and fork but was amazing!