Monday, 30 November 2015

Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge

This recipe comes from Woman In Real Life, it was amazinly delicious, I made it for Xmas gifts but I really wanted to eat the whole thing myself! ;)


Candy Cane Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients

6 Tbls vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups vegan icing/confectioners/powdered sugar
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
1/2 tsp peppermint flavor (I used 1/8-1/4 tsp peppermint essential oil - food grade)
1/4 cup soy milk (I used flax milk)
2 vegan candy canes (I used TruJoy brand)


Method

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
Place candy canes in a ziplock bag, squeeze out the air before sealing.
Crush the canes using a mallet or rolling pin.
Put butter, sugar, cocoa, peppermint and soy milk in a double broiler over simmering water and stir until smooth. I used a whisk towards the end to get rid of the bumps.
Add more milk if needed.
Once mixture is smooth quickly pour into prepared tin.
Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes and press in gently.
Chill in fridge over night.
Cut into slices or squares.


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Spinach, Ricotta & Sweet Potato Lasagne



Spinach, Ricotta & Sweet Potato Lasagne

Ingredients

1 sweet potato
1 garlic clove,crushed
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbls vegan butter or vegetable oil
300g young spinach or thawed frozen spinach
400g tub vegan ricotta (I used Tofutti)
3 tbsp vegan Parmesan
2 cups marinara sauce (I just used seasoned crushed tomatoes that I had frozen)
1/2 cup vegan grated cheese (optional)
Béchamel Sauce
Salt & Pepper to season
Lasagne slats, softened in some warm water


Method

Heat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
Cook sweet potato wrapped in paper towel in microwave for 5-10 minutes, or until soft through.
Let cool.
Cook the onion in butter with the crushed garlic on a medium heat until softened.
Chop the spinach finely.
Add the spinach to the onion and cook until wilted.
Mix the ricotta with the Parmesan, then stir the onion and spinach into the ricotta mix and season with salt and pepper.
Once sweet potatoes are cool enough to touch remove skin, mash and stir through in the ricotta mixture.

Start with a ladle of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the baking dish/tin.
Add one layer of lasagne slats.
Spoon one layer of the ricotta mix onto the pasta and smooth down.
Add a ladle of marinara sauce.

Repeat these steps until the last lasagne slats have been used.
Add any left over filling to the top.
Spoon the Béchamel sauce to the top layer and sprinkle with vegan cheese if using.


Bake in the oven for 40 mins.
If you want it to look presentable then let cool down before cutting and serving (and reheating).
If you don't care about the presentation then dig in!




Friday, 27 November 2015

Vegan Pavlova

Pavlova is a traditional Australian (or New Zealand depending on who you ask - there is a long running feud over who really invented it) involving meringue, whipped cream and fresh fruit. It is served as a dessert for any occasion but usually served on Australia Day or Christmas Day. This is my vegan version :)

I ended up using pomegranate seeds instead of passion fruit because I couldn't find any this time of year. Apparently you can get them on Amazon so I shall be doing that next year!

I had a bit of a fail with the meringue - it tasted amazing and came out exactly as you'd expect but it stuck to the baking paper so I ended up having to pull it apart and serve it crushed on the bottom layer instead of one large piece but everyone LOVED it so it was still a big hit! Kind of a combination of pavlova and Eton Mess!


Vegan Pavlova

Ingredients

Liquid from 2x 16 ounce can of chickpeas
1 1/2 cup of vegan powered/icing sugar
1/2 tsp of cream of tartar
3 tsp of pure vanilla extract
Vegan whipped cream (I used Soyatoo but you can do it yourself with coconut cream).
Fresh fruit (traditionally strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit and passion fruit)


Method

Preheat oven to 100C/200F.
In a large mixing bowl add the cream of tarter to the brine and mix with a whisk attachment on a high speed until combined. Turn off the mixer and add the sugar and vanilla and mix on a high speed for ten to fifteen minutes or until the meringue forms stiff peaks.
Seriously this takes a while so don't get discouraged if after 5 mins your mix still looks like clear yellow goo, it will happen - it just takes patience!
Spoon onto baking paper on a cookie sheet.


Bake for 2-2 1/2 hours. It's ready once top and bottom are hard.
Wait till cooled completely before continuing.
Transfer the pavlova to a serving plate or keep in baking dish.
Top with the whipped cream and fresh fruit.








Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Chickpea Cutlets

This recipe is originally from the Post Punk Kitchen. I had to change it slightly to make it gluten free.
They were pretty good, a bit bready and don't really taste like meat but they are a great substitute with sides and sauce!


Chickpea Cutlets

Ingredients

1 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup gluten free gluten
1 cup plain GF breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup GF soy sauce/Tamari
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Olive oil for pan frying

Optional ingredients:
4 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Method

In a mixing bowl, mash the chickpeas together with the oil until no whole chickpeas are left using an avocado masher or a strong fork.
Alternately, you can pulse the chickpeas in a food processor, just get them mashed up.
If using a food processor, transfer to a mixing bowl when done.
Add the remaining ingredients and knead together for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed.
Preheat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over low-medium heat.
Divide the cutlet dough into 8 equal pieces.
To form cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten each one.
Add a moderately thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of the pan.
Place the cutlets in the pan and cook on each side for 6 to 7 minutes.


Add more oil, if needed, when you flip the cutlets.


They’re ready when lightly browned and firm to the touch.
I’ve found that they cook more thoroughly if I cover the pan in between flips.
I also use my spatula to press down on them while they’re cooking, that way they cook more evenly.


Szechwan Tofu & Green Beans

I made this recipe originally with TVP chunks and bok choy and the sauce was great, I just wasn't overly happy with the taste of the TVP chunks. This recipe is from InnerHarmonyNutrition on Food.com.


Szechwan Tofu & Green Beans
Serves 2

Ingredients

12 oz ounces tofu, pressed to remove liquid
12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoon sake or 2 tablespoon water
3-4 teaspoon hot chili paste
4 teaspoons raw sugar
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon ginger, minced
salt
pepper


Method

Cook green beans in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes.
Transfer beans to a colander and run cold water.
In a small bowl, mix tamari soy sauce, sake or water, chili paste, and sugar to make a sauce, set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat sesame oil and sauté garlic and ginger for a minute.
Add beans and tofu and sauté until heated.
Add the sauce and sauté until the sauce is bubbly.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over rice!

Vegetable & Pasta "Chicken" Soup

This is a combination of minestrone and chicken noodle soup that was a hit with the whole family...a rare occurrence let me tell you! As you can see I added way to much pasta the first time!


Vegetable & Pasta "Chicken" Soup
Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 TBLS olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, sliced
1 large potato, chopped into small chunks
Handful green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
salt & pepper to taste
1 14oz can chopped tomatoes (I used 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped)
1 tsp celery salt (or you can chop one celery stalk - my husband hates celery)
6 cups vegan chicken or vegetable broth (I used Better Than Bouillon Vegan Chicken)
1 15oz can kidney beans (I used chickpeas because it's what I had)
1 cup GF elbow pasta
Handful of baby spinach


Method

Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat and cook onion until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for a minute before adding carrot, potato and celery if using and cook till heated through.
Stir in green beans and herbs/seasonings and cook for 3 minutes.
Add in tomatoes and broth and bring to boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in beans and pasta, cooking for around 10 minutes or until pasta is done.
Add in baby spinach and any more salt or pepper you want to taste.Once spinach is wilted serve!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Vegan Waffles

These are super easy and are a basic recipe so you can add extra flavours if you like! Obviously you need a waffle maker (I have the basic Cuisinart model). my kids normally only get through one - one and a half waffles so one batch usually serves the 4 of us.


Vegan Waffles
Makes around 5-6 waffles

Ingredients

2 cups GF flour (I used Red Mill's GF Baking Mix)
2 Tbls vegan sugar
1 Tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used Flax)
6 Tbls vegetable oil
2 egg replacers


Method

Whisk together dry ingredients and then combine with wet.
Use an electric mixer to create a smooth consistency.
Spoon about 1/2 cup onto the prepared waffle maker, spread slightly
with a spatula and then cook as per waffle maker instructions.
Serve however you like! We just use vegan butter and maple syrup.






Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Naked Nutrition

The lovely people at Naked Nutrition sent me a free sample of some of their vegan protein powders to try! I used Naked Rice Protein Powder & Naked Pea Protein Powder but they also have a Naked Peanut Butter and Naked Choc Peanut Butter which also sound good!



Here is a recipe they sent me using the Naked Pea Protein Powder, I changed it a bit because it was a bit thick for me.


Secret Greens Pea Protein Shake

Ingredients

2 cups baby spinach (or other greens)
1 mango (if using frozen, thaw out first)
1 banana
2 cups non-dairy milk (I used flax)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Ice as needed


Method

Blitz everything in a blender until smooth and enjoy!


And this is a recipe I made up using the Naked Rice Protein Powder!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Ingredients

1 banana
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used flax)
1 tbls agave syrup
2 tbls Peanut Butter
1 Tble cocoa powder


Method

Blitz everything in a blender until smooth and enjoy!



Thursday, 12 November 2015

Holiday Ideas 2015

Here are the limited edition Xmas soap scents I have available this year on my Etsy page! Plus some inspiration from my Pinerest page for Thanksgiving and Christmas....

all available right now on my Etsy page.










Wednesday, 11 November 2015

What's in My Cosmetic Bag - Nov 2015

I haven't posted much about vegan cosmetics in a while and realised that the products I use have changed quite a bit since I did my Vegan Make Up Tutorial back in February 2014.
Saw this article too on vegan cosmetic brands with a great range for every budget!
Just if you're interested, here are some of the vegan items I'm using and enjoying now...


BASE

Primer - I love Adorn Primer and honestly I haven't found one I like better yet so it's still my fave. A bit pricey but worth it!
Concealer - I haven't found a concealer I like more than the Paula's Choice Concealer in Soft Neutral. I also have e.l.f. Maximum Coverage Concealer  in Porcelain if I want to cover a larger space
Liquid Foundation - I have Tarte Amazonian Clay Maracuja Miracle Foundation in Medium but I think I mixed it with a lighter one because it was too dark. For everyday use/lighter coverage or a cheaper option I have e.l.f. Tinted Moisturizer in Porcelain.
Powder/Foundation - I have two powders depending on how thick I want my make up, I love Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation powder in Fair Honey for heavier coverage and the Smooth Operator Finishing Powder for if I want a light coverage.


EYES

Eyeshadow - Paula's Choice carries a lot of vegan items, I especially love the "Nude Mattes Eyeshadow Palette" which has the perfect colours for this brown eyed girl! The little Tarte Amazonian Clay palette was a gift and it is "Brewed Awakening" - I use a couple of the browns sometimes as they are shimmery rather than matte. I also love Inika mineral eyeshadow in Coco Motion. I also love Etherealle Handmade Mineral Makeup on Etsy, a great selection of eyeshadow colours - some of my favourites are Silhouette, Mink and Ashelia.
Eyeliner - For liquid Eyeliner I use Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner, it's a tub so you need a brush and for pencil I use Tarte Amazonian Clay or e.l.f. Manic Panic has a great range of liquid eyeliner colours also.
Mascara - I used to use Manic Panic mascara until they changes to "Spider Eyes" which I don't like as much. My favourite vegan mascara is Tarte Amazonian Clay Gifted Mascara in black. The only issue I have with this mascara is that it is semi-waterproof so can be difficult to get off. Post about it here.
Brow - Most of the time I use a darker brown eyeshadow for my brows from the Paula's Choice "Nude Mattes Eyeshadow Palette".

CHEEKS

Contour - For contouring, mainly along the cheekbones I love Inika Mineral Bronzer - Sunloving 03
Blush - I have the Paula's Choice "Blush It On Contour Palette" which has some great blush colours.
Finishing - I love a shimmer or lightening powder for the upper part of my cheekbones, brow ridge just below the brow and along the nose bridge. A light eyeshadow from one of the palettes or e.l.f. High Definition Undereye Setting Powder or their shimmering cream.

LIPS

Lipstick - My favourite vegan lipsticks have to be Manic Panic Collection** - out of the ones that are vegan Tainted Love is my favourite! Their lipstick is just so creamy and long lasting! I also like Etherealle Handmade Mineral Makeup on Etsy. I especially love the lipsticks Hibiscus and Empress which can be seen in my post about vegan lipstick here.


**Manic Panic used to be a vegan brand and the Tainted Love Lipstick definitely is but the other products I'm not sure about anymore as their "Lethal Lipstick" range now says "not vegan", I'm waiting to hear back from the company on this!





Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Easy Spanish Rice

I was kind of winging this based on a few different recipes I found online and then put it in the rice maker and it was super easy.


Easy Spanish Rice

Ingredients

1 cup rice of choice (I used Jasmine cause it was what we had)
vegetable stock - the amount you would normally use to cook rice which may vary if you are doing it on the stove, around 1 1/2 cups for jasmine rice, more for brown.
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion, chopped


Method

Fry up the onions first on a medium heat for around 5 minutes, until clear.
If using a rice cooker then transfer the onions to it, if cooking on the stove keep them in the pot.
Add all ingredients to the onions and stir to mix.
Cook in rice cooker or if doing on the stove top, bring to boil then simmer on a low heat until rice is cooked, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
Test rice and once done, serve. So easy!

Shown here with bean burritos :)


Thursday, 5 November 2015

New Vegan Items - November 2015

Here's some vegan items I've discovered recently and a brief review...

I saw this Heidi Ho Smoky Chia Cheeze and thought it would be good for crackers. I didn't really like the straight flavor of it so I emailed them for any recipes using this product. They sent me back this recipe for Smoky Au Gratin Potatoes and it was pretty good! Love how it really melts down into a cheese sauce - maybe a good base for vegan fondue as well!



Soyatoo! Rice Whip - Soyatoo has been around for a long time but I hadn't used it in years and thought I'd buy it again. It's pretty good, a great alternative to whipped cream. You have to follow the instructions on the can or use and storage though or you end up running all the gas and are left not being able to get any of the cream out...
I think I feel a pavlova coming on!


I bot this Earth Balance popcorn at my local health store because it was on sale. it was pretty good. Similar to what you get in the cinema but slightly less flavor.


I'm totally in love with So Delicious Cashew Milk range...it is just so creamy and similar to regular ice-cream. The snickerdoodle one was like donut ice-cream, so good!


I love Elianni vegan pâté  so I thought I'd give their faux meats a try. I really didn't like the lunch meats, they were very bland but worked well minced up and used in other dishes. The Cutlets were basically large TVP curls. Great for mimicking the texture and look of stewed meat but still tasted like TVP which can be a bit overpowering. I'll definitely still be buying the pâté though, it's amazing!


Just discovered these Mary's Gone Crackers crackers in the health store and then went online and found they do a bunch of items - all vegan and gluten free. I particularly liked the Italian Herb Thins and the Ginger Snaps. Looking forward to using the mini graham crackers as a pie base!

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I got this Sol Cuisine vegan/gluten free chicken with high hopes because I love their breakfast sausage patties and as all gluten free vegans know, it's hard to find good vegan mock meat that is also gluten free! These were kind of chewy and bland so I don't think I'd get them ok but they might be good in a homemade sauce.


I am loving Daiya's pizza range - all vegan and gluten free. They are seriously the best GF vegan pizza I've had so far. The Supreme is my favourite so far!



Spicy Butternut Soup

This is a recipe by Jamie Oliver that I have veganized. I skipped the rice because I wanted to puree the soup afterwards (my family won't eat chunky soup lol). Honestly I found it delicious either way. Almost like a curry pumpkin soup.


Spicy Butternut Soup

Ingredients

litres vegetable stock
6-7 lime leaves
3 fresh red chillies , deseeded (I used chilli paste because I didn't have fresh chillies)
2 cloves garlic , peeled
1 large thumb-sized piece fresh ginger , peeled
3 sticks lemongrass , trimmed and squashed with the back of a knife (I skipped this step because I didn't have any)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch fresh coriander
olive oil
1 heaped teaspoon five-spice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion , peeled and finely sliced
1 large butternut or acorn squash , halved, deseeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
200 g basmati rice , washed
2 x 400 ml tinned light coconut milk (I used coconut cream because it's what I had)
3-4 limes, juiced
1 fresh red chilli , finely sliced, optional for serving


Method

Pour your stock into a saucepan on a medium-high heat to get nice and hot and then turn down to a low heat to keep warm.
To make your fragrant soup base, add the lime leaves, chillies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and a pinch of salt to a food processor.
Chop the top few leaves off your bunch of coriander and pop to one side, then add the rest to the processor and blitz for 30 seconds or so until fairly fine.
With the processor still running, add a few good lugs of olive oil, the five-spice and ground cumin.
In a large sauce pan on a medium-high heat add this mixture, you can add a splash of stock to loosen it if you want, and fry and stir for a couple of minutes so it starts smelling fantastic.
Add your sliced onion, then cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the squash to the pan and stir well, then pour in the stock.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until the squash is lovely and soft.
At this point, add the rice and give it a really good stir.
If it looks a bit dry, you can add a splash of water here.
Continue to simmer for about 8 minutes until the rice is almost cooked, then add the coconut milk and bring back to the boil.
Simmer for a couple of minutes until hot through and thickened a little.
I like to squash up some of the squash at this point too.
Take the pan off the heat, give it a good stir, then taste and season carefully with salt and pepper.
To give it a bit of twang add the lime juice – the amount you need will depend on how juicy your limes are, so keep tasting it as you go.
Scatter with more sliced fresh chilli and your reserved coriander leaves before serving.

The pureed version;




Sunday, 1 November 2015

Vegan Halloween 2015

This is really just about my zombie-mom make up.



The shirt was really easy. I bought a tight maternity shirt and a doll from the thrift store that had hard arms/hands that I could detach from the soft part of the body. I painted my arms grey to get that zombie look.
I ironed on some patches to the inside of the shirt for extra strength and then cut holes, smaller that the arms and then push through.
I poured some fake blood (you can make it yourself with food coloring and corn syrup) over the edges of the arms and then quickly held the shirt up and left it on a hanger so the blood ran downwards.


For the zombie face I used craft glue in some spots by itself and some parts with one layer of tissue stuck to it. Once the tissue is on there you can make holes, scars, cuts etc but using your fingers or a tool. The parts that are just glue, let them dry slightly, then run your finger beck over them so there's kind of a hole in the middle, it looks like rotting flesh.


Once everything is dry - around 30 mins or so you can apply make up. I just used eye shadows (black, grey, purple, maroon and green) to get the dead skin look and then black under the eyes, around the edges of the face and along the lines in my face. The purple, maroon and green work well over the fake scars to give the look of bruised, rotting flesh. The middle of the sores I used black food coloring on a Q-tip to show depth, then the final touch was red food coloring on a Q-tip for the blood on the sores, and fake blood for inside the mouth, tears and nose bleed. I just colored my hands with the grey eye-shadow, using the black to contour around the bones. I used black food dye for my finger tips which I regretted later because it does NOT come out from under your nails LOL

I think it turned out pretty well since I had no clue what I was doing. Apparently I was so scary that our neighbor's kid wouldn't come to the door ;)