Saturday, 31 December 2016

Vegan Products - December 2016

Sorry if there are some repeat items in here - sometimes I don't remember if I've tried something or not LOL. Also this might be my last post about vegan items for a while. I'm about to start a sugar cleanse and try to eat a lot less processed food.

Found these Carla Lee's Nut Tacos & Burgers at Wholefoods. They were pretty good, you can definitely tastes the nuts, it's a bit crunchy at times. I particularity liked the tacos because of the ease. I tried them both in the oven and microwave.



I've been looking for a powder stock that doesn't contain sugar, which seems to be hard to find! I found this Organic Gourmet Vegetable Bouillon stock cubes at Wholefoods. I haven't used them yet - they are for my sugar cleanse! 


New!!! I found this Follow Your Heart Parmesan shreds at Publix but saw that they had them at Wholefoods as well. They are so good!!! Already using them on everything lol
Was great for making pesto...



Found this Vanini dark chocolate at Fresh Market, I really liked the pear and cinnamon flavor.



I love Dr. Praeger's Kale Burgers and these California Veggie Burgers are pretty good too!


I've never tried the Sophie's Kitchen Smoked Salmon so when I saw it at Wholefoods I had to try it! Along with some vegan cream cheese and chives of course! Pretty good, not perfect but decent for sure! 



Nature's Gate Hemp Lotion was on sale at Wholefoods so I thought I'd try it. 


Hubby found these Sensible Portion "Pringle" style chips at Walmart and the sea salt and BBQ are vegan and GF!! They taste just like Pringles.
The Sea Salt was a bit too salty (and I LOVE salty) but the BBQ was perfect!


Found these Enjoy Life Plentils Margarita chips at Solomon's Ventures discount store so I thought I'd try them and they were pretty good. Tasted more like Garlic and Onion than Margarita though.


Found this All Natural Peanut Wonder Chocolate Spread at Solomon's Ventures discount store and saw it was vegan! It wasn't overly sweet and I wanted it to be sweet so I didn't really love it but if you don't like the overly sweet flavour you'll love it ;)


Found these Baby Mum-Mum teething crackers at Solomon's Ventures discount store for $1 so I thought I'd try them, especially since they didn't have sugar added, only fruit juice and I've been looking for something like that for my wee one! They are pretty good and baby likes them a lot. They melt quickly in the mouth too so haven't had any chocking problems.


I've tried Good Thin's crackers before but hadn't tried the rice cracker style. They were pretty good!


Hubby found me these Vega vegan GF protein bars I think at Walmart! I can't tell you how great they are! They taste like a chocolate candy bar but with only 200 calories! 


Lastly found these lovely vegan wines at Fresh Market! Both very nice and under $10!
Montes from Chile and Mezzacorona of Italy.


Xmas Lunch 2016

I hope everyone had a great Xmas 2016! Here's how my Xmas transpired...

Before Xmas the kids and I usually make cookies. We made Cinnamon Cookies but I ran out of GF flour so I used hazelnut meal which actually turned out pretty well!


Eggless Nog on Xmas Eve - of course!!


Preparing the Christmas Roast Vegetables (I did garlic rosemary potatoes, orange agave carrots and asparagus).


Preparing the Tofu Turkey!




After frying the Tofu Turkey pieces...




Tofu Turkey, Green Bean Casserole, Christmas Roast Vegetables, Golden Gravy and some vegan mash that my BFF brought :)




Delicious vegan wine I found for the occasion!


My first attempt at GF Apple Pie - turned out great. I ate most of it myself with some vegan vanilla ice-cream!





Vegan candy canes!



Classic Apple Pie

Believe it or not this recipe cam from a children's book, "Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie" by Herman Parish. I used GF baking flour and made the whole pie up and froze it before cooking, in the interest of saving time on Xmas Day. It turned out so great, I was actually really impressed with it. It was more of the slightly crunchy/tart apple pie. If you like it all soft and mushy inside I recommend cooking the apples a bit and allowing to cool before adding filling to pie.


Classic Apple Pie

Ingredients

Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups GF Flour (I used Red Mill's 1:1 Baking Flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks vegan margarine (225g or 1/2 lb)
1/3 cup ice cold water
1 Tbls white vinegar

Filling
8 cups granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (It was around 5-6 large apples)
1/2 cup GF flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 Tbls vegan butter cut onto cubes
1/2 lemon, juice


Method

To make the pie crust combine the flour, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
Add butter and cut through resembling breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle mixture with vinegar and water and mix until a dough forms and the sides of the bowl are clean.
Split the dough in half and shape into two round disks.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When ready combine the filling ingredients apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C.
Allow the dough to rest a room temperature for 5 minutes then put between two pieces of plastic wrap or baking paper and roll out first disk to the size of your pan (around 10" max).
Make sure you grease your pie pan.
Remove top layer of plastic wrap, place the pie pan face down on the pastry and flip from underneath the other piece of wrap to have the bottom of the pie crust in place, manually fixing the edges if needed.
Add in apple mixture, I tried to place them in a pattern to fit them all since I had a smaller pan.
Get your top layer of pastry ready and flip onto the top of the pie, fixing any mistakes.
press down the edges of the pie so both disks are touching, with fingers or a fork.
Cut 4 slits in the pie to allow air to escape.
I brushed a bit of almond milk on the top of the pie as well.
Bake for around an hour or until pie is browned at the top. I found the frozen pie needed an extra 10-20 minutes.
Allow to cool before cutting and serving (with vegan ice-cream).



Friday, 30 December 2016

Cranberry Sauce

I bought fresh cranberries meaning to dry them but then I found dried cranberries (sugarless always seems hard to find!) at the last minute so I thought I'd make a simple cranberry sauce. This recipe was from Simple Recipes but I had to change the yield as I had less cranberries than the recipe.



Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup vegan sugar
1 cup water
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (roughly 12oz)


Method

Rinse cranberries and sort.
In a saucepan place water and sugar and heat on a high heat to bring to boil.
Keep stirring and add in the cranberries, lowering the heat to a simmer for around 10 minutes or until the cranberries have burst.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
If you want a smoother sauce process once cool enough. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Refried Beans from Scratch

I wish Id known how easy and delicious making your own refried beans was and I would've started a long time ago. I make a whole batch and freeze the rest.


Refried Beans from Scratch

Ingredients

1 lb dried pinto beans
1 onion, chopped
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tbls vegetable oil or shortening


Method

Soak beans over night.
Rinse and cover with water in a saucepan.
Heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer for about an hour, or until beans are soft.
While beans are cooking fry the onion on a meduim heat until they are clear and soft.
Add cooked beans, cooked onion, oil and salt & pepper to a food processor and blitz until smooth, a few chunks are ok.
At this point I freeze half of what I have made.
The remainder is used for Mexican dishes. for nachos and tacos I mix on a low heat with taco seasoning and a jar of salsa.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

What's on the Vegan Christmas Menu?

Happy Holidays to you all!
Here's a link to my Pinterest page for more Christmas meal ideas!

This year I'm very excited to be having my BFF and her family over for Christmas lunch!
Due to budget restrictions I'm keeping it simple this year but here's what we are having...




















Monday, 12 December 2016

Australia Trip - 2016

I've been a bit AWOL lately because I was fortunate enough to spend 3 weeks in Australia during November! It was mainly a social visit but I was lucky enough so sample some vegan wares...so here goes!!


Sydney

Start with the best first! The Green Lion (previously known as The Red Lion) in Rozelle is Sydney's first vegan pub! Very exciting! There was quite a bot of GF on the menu too (including GF hamburger buns), I had the nachos. My friends had the vegan hot dog, two different vegan burgers and vegan seafood basket!









Suzy Spoon's Vegan Butcher!!!! The best vegan meat I've ever had. It's all handmade and a lot of GF options such as all the sausages, ground beef, these AMAZING beef patties and the veggie balls which I had with marinara sauce and pasta. Unfortunately there is no shop front anymore but if you're in Sydney you can go to the factory in St Peters and buy straight from the door or you can order online and have it delivered most places in Australia!





I found vegan GF Special K on the shelf in IGA in Cremorne and had to try some. It tasted pretty much like regular Special K so that was a win!


Enjoyed a Calippo (Raspberry & Pineapple) - even though I wanted Orange :(


Missed Sheese and found it in the local IGA! Love it with some quince paste!



Was excited to see a vegan rally being advertised while I was there :)


I met a friend for brunch at Girdlers Cafe, Dee Why
Got this delicious juice and avocado on toast. They had some good vegan options there, not all were GF though. Right on the beach, can't beat the location!



If I'm ever in Sydney's CBD (downtown area) I always try to stop into Josophan's Chocolatiers. They have a vegan praline chocolate and a lot of their dark chocolate is vegan, such as the golf fish below. I always like to get some Chilli Hot Chocolate for hubby (which is also vegan) ;) 
I was surprised to see they now have a new cafe section as well!




My lovely brother and sister-in-law bought me some yummy treats from the Little Raw Co. in Cremorne which also has a large range of their own teas. Everything in the store is vegan and desserty but quite pricey so don't forget your wallet :)





Went to yum cha (dim sum) at Greenwood Chinese Restaurant, North Sydney. I always get Asian greens with soy sauce and sesame oil and they were kind enough to make me some plain flat rice noodles with green onion.


I met a friend for brunch at Pablo & Rusty's cafe in Lane Cove plaza. It was a cute place but it was very busy and very overpriced. I liked that they had options for my toast besides avocado, like spinach and mushrooms but they only gave me enough avocado for one piece of toast and the GF toast was a lot extra.


The Australian Hotel, at The Rocks, always a winner with GF vegan pizza options and almost every Australian beer on tap. I find it a great place to meet friends who are coming from work and there is a "ladies parlour" which is great to book if you're coming with kids.


Went to a friends house for tea and she had lavished me with a beautiful fruit platter and my favourite GF vegan cookies. Leda Minton and Choc Chip! Needless to say I stayed longer than I had intended ;)


Went to my brother's house for dinner one night and they had these Smooze GF & vegan frozen coconut desserts! They were SO good!!! Best part is you can get them on Amazon! God bless the internet!


Khao Hom Thai restaurant in Cremorne had a pretty decent selection veg options, I always ask them to make sure not to use fish or oyster sauce and not egg for dishes like Pad Thai. Needless to say I always try to eat my body weight in Thai every time I go home ;)
Plus this Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Riesling went down quite nicely with Thai food! I love getting Riesling and verdelho wines when I go home because I can never find good ones in the States. Plus in Australia the wine is labelled so you know if it's vegan (by labeling any added milk, fish, egg).





Coolum Beach, Queensland

I was lucky enough to get up to the Sunshine Coast to visit family while I was back and my cousin always knows where to take me.
Right on the beach is Raw Energy with smoothies, cakes, lunches and juices.
If you're ever in Brisbane make sure you stop in at the Brisbane Brewing Co. where my cousins Tim & Dan Searle are the head chefs and know all about vegan specialties!







Found these Fry's vegan GF chicken nuggets at Woolworths and they were SO GOOD! I wish I could get them in the USA!



Also at Woolworths I found this vegan My Life Bio Cheese!


...and this Vegan Kale, Rocket & White Ban dip!





My cousin and I took a little day trip to quaint Montville and found...
Castle Glen Liqueurs where almost everything was vegan! I got myself a Whiskey & Coffee Liqueur!




 Chocolate Country where they had vegan rum truffles, vegan coconut truffles and a few vegan dark chocolate slab options like jaffa, mint and macadamia :)




We had lunch at The Edge Restaurant which had amazing views. I had a vegan GF salad on the menu which I normally never choose but it was delicious and strangely filling!




Back in Sydney before I left I stocked up on a few essentials for the suitcase...

I got this Dick Smith's OzEMite because I'm still looking for a GF Vegemite alternative and this one was made in Australia so winning! It tasted more like Marmite which is fine but not what I was looking for :(


Always essential to stock up on vegan chicken salt for my fries!


I LOVE this Trident Hot & Spicy Thai Noodle Soup and I tried to fit as many as I could in my suitcase!


All Massel Stock powders are GF and vegan so I stocked up on those as well :)