Sometimes it take quite awhile to realise you are not happy. To ‘go through the motions,’ day after day, but not quite put two & two together that something is not right? It’s like the sadness can sneak up on you – sneakily chipping away at the happy until not enough remains. By then, it’s kind of too late.
I suppose that’s what happened to me. Being busy, over-committing myself and the likes – it’s hard not to realise that the joy has slipped away. I don’t want to get you all down in the dumps, because that’s not the motivation for my writing – I simply want to encourage you all to become more mindful. Mindful of the way you are feeling, acknowledgement of yourself, if you will. I tend to ignore myself at times – putting my roles as a Mother & wife before my own well-being, which sounds pretty darn silly as I read it back to myself.
Ignorance truly is bliss – until it’s too late and you find yourself in a deep dark hole of unhappy.
At least I have a “project,” to keep me motivated at the moment. Viper is, still indeed, eating a plant-based diet. He doesn’t want to label himself in any way, but has been eating primarily vegan, with a few seafood-occasions included. Luckily, he is pretty comfortable in the kitchen, and he has been coming up with a few new favourites for himself. (Above) Vegan “brushcetta” – home made no-knead bread with avocado, hummus and sun dried tomato.
Quinoa nori wraps with avocado, grated carrot, sweet potato and red capsicum – sprinkled with kelp.
I’m not sure about kelp granules. They are another one of those things you eat “because they are good for you,” – they don’t have that much flavour and get stuck in my teeth. Oh well.
The best thing is, Viper doesn’t need any pushing from me. His whole decision to eat a plant based diet, and subsequent lifestyle changes are his choice, in his own time. I was always asked about how hard it must be to eat vegan in a meat-eating household, and why I didn’t try and convert my family to my ways. That’s the thing – you simply can’t. If you try and force your ideals on others, it’s all going to backfire in the end – just set a good example and hope for the best!
At the end of the day, getting back on the happy-wagon is way more important.
It’s been a while since I’ve written about my health/healing experiments – so I’d thought I’d do a little update. I’m pleased to say that it’s been over 6 weeks since coming of conventional anti depressants – and I actually feel like I am in a good place. I’ve found during other past attempts at withdrawing from ADs, that I usually feel good up to this point, and then at around the 6 week mark, experience a huge mood crash (probably as the drugs would still be somewhat in my system up to this point).
Through healing with homoeopathy I have had a significantly different experience this time. I have been through a few “aggravations” or healing crisis, which have brought up a lot of past symptoms/ailments – both physical AND emotional – but that has happened for a reason…. it’s all a part of the healing process you see. I suppose the ADs have been masking a lot of symptoms, and it’s perfectly natural that they come up and are addressed head-on during this journey. I actually feel as if I am moving forward this time – not teetering in a fragile place between falling back into AD-use or emotional turmoil.
Anyway, I truly feel that I could not have done this without the support of homoeopathy – I am definitely a convert of this therapy. I KNOW I will continue to use it myself, and treat my family with remedies.
Another aspect of my healing process has been (obviously) diet – I haven’t written much about my recent diet-experiments since my little foray in an 80/10/10 style of eating. I really loved the fruitarian way of eating for a short period of time – unlimited fruit during Summer came naturally as the abundance of delicious tropical fruits made the diet very easy. For the first few weeks my energy was excellent, but this way of eating didn’t have staying power for much longer than that in my opinion. After an initial energy boost, my endurance started to wane, and I began noticing other not-so-glamorous side effects of the fruit-heavy eats. My digestion started to go a little “off” and I noticed dark circles under my eyes. I began to see WRINKLES! Oh the horror! I put this down to the low amounts of fat I was eating, and rectified the situation immediately – as soon as I had increased the amounts of fat I was eating (primarily coconut oil) my digestion became more productive, and my skin texture improved immensely.
All in all I think that the 80/10/10 diet is a great way to eat for short periods of time. If you are like me, and cannot comprehend the idea of a liquid detox (juices only) then I reckon that this is a perfect way to help “re-set” yourself after a period of indulgence. The initial stage is brilliant – increased energy, good mood/skin/digestion – but it isn’t something that (in my opinion) should be sustained for more than say 2 weeks. If you read my blog a lot, you will know that I have the attention span of a squirrel, so even though I love fruit a LOT, I did get a little bored eating in the 80/10/10 style. I missed COOKING, and all the techniques and dishes that go with the territory – plus I love to eat out, and the restrictions that this diet involves really cuts out a lot of options in social situations.
Anyway, to help me feel motivated and creatively inspired (aka happy) I need more food-scope then just slicing an apple or peeling a banana (however convenient that may be). I’ve naturally fallen back into a more varied style of eating – a balance of cooked and raw – lots of fruit & veggies, moderate beans/legumes, minimal grains and lots of fat. Works for me (until I get bored once again and go off on another eating-tangent).
The most exciting news of late (diet related) however, doesn’t concern me at all. After (finally) agreeing to watch “Forks over Knives,” with me, Viper has decided to adopt a plant-based diet. He has cut out all animal products, including cheese and milk – to say I am over the moon is the understatement of the year. I am going to keep you all updated with his transition into a vegan diet, as I think the male perspective is an interesting angle – at the moment his only complaint is that he is constantly hungry – good thing I love to cook, right?
The following recipe came about from me trying to use up scraps before we head off to New Zealand – fridge scrapings at it’s finest. It’s a take on the traditional kofta ball – although not deep fried (soaked in oil), because I can’t stand deep fried things, plus I don’t have a deep fryer. There you go.
Healthy Baked Kofta
(Vegan: gluten/wheat/soy/seed/refined sugar free)
- 1C chopped veggies (I used grated carrot and broccoli – but most vegetables should work just fine…. grate any root vegetables so they cook quickly)
- 1/4C + 2T chickpea flour
- 1/4C crushed cashew nuts (I just bashed them in a mortar & pestle until they reached a chunky bread crumb consistency)
- 1/2t ground cumin
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2t tabasco sauce
- 1t whole grain mustard
- 1/4t ground coriander seed
- 1/8t sea salt
- 1/4C water
- Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Let mix stand in the fridge for about 10 minutes to help it firm up.
- Wet hands, and pat into balls (about golf size).
- Bake in the oven at 160 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn balls over.
- Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- Serve with some of my Spiced Apricot Relish, or a nice mango chutney.
Makes 6 Kofta – they are quite spicy, so omit cayenne and tabasco if you are not fan of heat.
These are really quick and easy – plus a great way of using up leftovers – which always makes me happy.
So on all fronts, things are looking good – my emotional health is on the up, and my family’s diet is improving 10-fold. I’m so excited to be able to cook ONE meal for all of us now – plus exploring vegan food WITH Viper will be such a treat.
Fermenting is getting “hip.” And so it should be, fermented food is magical.
Traditionally, fermented food was included at every meal – you just have to look at classic ethnic cuisines to see this – think sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yoghurt. It really does make sense – fermented food helps with digestion, and absorbing the nutrients of food readily into the body. Somewhere along the line, this practice fell out of being the “norm,” – but it is well on the way back to becoming mainstream, thanks to the growing popularity of store bought fermented foods.
So what are the health benefits? To avoid me clumsily regurgitating scientific jargon – just read this.
We all know that I am cheap, plus I love to experiment – home fermentation projects are constantly on the go in my house. Don’t be intimidated – it’s an easy process – and the scope to which you can extend your fermentation craze is limited only by your creativity. For some excellent ideas, check out this site.
Anyway, today’s post is all about kombucha – my first foray into “home brew” if you will…. I started brewing about 2 years ago, and it has been a constant (and almost obsessive) practise ever since. You will need a kombucha SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) to brew your own – put your feelers out – there will be some sort of hippie (!) in your neighbourhood brewing, I’ll bet. The great thing will kombucha-brewing is that every brew creates a new SCOBY, so you end up getting overwhelmed with the things (most brwers will be happy to get rid of a few) Otherwise they are easily available to purchase online, or you can grow your own from a store bought drink.
Basic Kombucha Brew
- 6C boiled water
- 6 black or green tea bags (organic) – or a mix of both*
- 2/3C raw, organic sugar**
- 1 kombucha SCOBY
- 1/2C kombucha tea
- Wide neck glass jar/container – sterilised.
- Cheesecloth/muslin/clean tea towel and a rubber band
- Place water, sugar and tea in a saucepan and bring to the boil – make sure the sugar has dissolved.
- Take off heat and wait until is has cooled completely (too hot and you will kill your SCOBY – think blood temperature)
- Remove tea bags, and gently pour mix into your prepared jar.
- Add the already-brewed kombucha tea and handling the SCOBY with clean hands, pop it on top (doesn’t matter if it sinks)
- Cover with cloth and secure with rubber band.
- Store in a warm, dark place – the time it takes to brew will depend on the temperature – in the midst of Summer, a brew can be as quick as 3 days, but up to 2 weeks in Winter. Using a straw (plastic/glass please) taste your brew every few days – it depends on your tastebuds too. I like my brew on the TANGY side rather than sweet, so I generally let it brew for longer, so that the bacteria eats away more of the sugar. It should be slightly fizzy too.
- Once satisfied with the taste, remove SCOBY and place in a “Scoby Hotel” (a clean jar – you can put multiple SCOBYs in the same jar) and cover with some of the kombucha tea – this keeps the SCOBY happy & alive. Place in the fridge, ready to use for the next brew.
- Store your kombucha in a glass bottle with a tight fitting lid (to keep in the fizz).
*Always use caffeinated tea – after you get used to the process, you can start to play around with adding herbal tea bags, but this is truly trial and error depending on the type of tea. My rule of thumb is 3 fruity tea bags to 3 caffeinated tea bags – even then I have had some failures.
** This is the type of “food” the SCOBY likes best – I have had moderate success with alternatives like rice syrup/honey, but raw organic sugar produces the fizziest and nicest tasting brews – and makes sure that your SCOBY remains healthy.
Other pointers: Exercise extreme hygiene practises – you don’t want to go adding in any nasties to your brew. Always handle the SCOBY with very clean hands and DO NOT touch the SCOBY with any metal utensil – use bamboo/ceramic/glass etc. Don’t be freaked out by the “bits” that tend to swim around in the brew – drink ‘em down, they are good for you (or don’t, whatever).
To fridge or not to fridge? For extra fizz, allow the sealed bottles to sit at room temperature for 24 hours until refrigerating.
Don’t stress about the amount of sugar used in the recipe – this is the FOOD for the bacteria – the longer you leave it to ferment, the less sugar there will be in the end product…. if you try and cut down the sugar, the end result will not be optimal.
Kombucha DOES have a very low alcohol content due to the fermentation process.
Now you have your brew sorted, you can start to play around with flavours. Adding flavouring during the first brew will increase the likelihood of mould or contamination of your SCOBY…. so don’t go trying to get funky before this point. Store your kombucha in glass bottles with tight fitting lids – try adding 1/8C fresh juice to 750ml kombucha brew – orange/apple/lemon/cranberry – whatever takes your fancy – or try my Ginger Tonic which is my favourite “medicine” when I’m under the weather.
Fermented Ginger Tonic
- 4C boiled water
- Fresh ginger (around a 3 inch piece, roughly chopped)
- 1/2C raw organic sugar OR rice syrup OR honey
- Optional: 1/4C fresh lemon/orange or lime juice – just for a little citrus kick.
- 2C brewed kombucha tea
- Mix all ingredients EXCEPT kombucha tea together, making sure the sugar is dissolved.
- Let the mix infuse (I place it all in a sterilised jar) for at least a few hours.
- Strain out ginger pieces and combine with the kombucha tea.
- Pour into a glass bottle (I find the large V8 veggie juice bottles/ are great for this) and leave in a warm, dark place for about 2 days (again, depending on your climate/temperature) – again the process is to let the bacteria eat away the sugar – it will become nice and fizzy.
- Store in the fridge.
Something that I have taken from all my fermentation experiments: trust your NOSE - always give things the “sniff test,” and if it smells WRONG, then it is probably not fit for consumption – sour/tangy/vinegary are all OK – if the smell makes you gag, then don’t run the risk – chuck it and start again. You will hone your nose skills as you continue to experiment.
Kombucha – tried it? Love it? Do you brew?
The sparkling lights, the gambling, the shows, the parties. I admit it, if you asked me where I would go in the world RIGHT NOW (expense being no worry) I would have to go with Las Vegas. Viper and I are obsessed with all-things-American, and even if I should be saying Europe (for the culture!) or India (for the spiritual enlightenment!) I would be off drinking cocktails and putting it ALL on 26 red before an Elvisn impersonator could pronounce myself and Viper, “hound dog and Lisa Marie.” Seriously, although my wedding last year was lovely – there is still a teeny tiny part of me that wished we had gone with our original “Vegas Elvis Elopement” plan. One day.
At the moment though, I have to live vicariously through the tales of other bloggers. Hannah recapped her Vegas adventure here and here, and the very brave Bethaney did it with her toddler in tow (not sure I’m game enough for that!) We all know, however, that I am slightly obsessed with vegan food – so while on my insomnia-spurred-Vegas-trawl I began researching into the foodie options available. Paul Graham from Eating Vegan in Vegas really covers all the bases when it comes to compassionate cuisine.
While Viper would be (oh so predictably) tempted by the promise of celebrity chefs cooking up all sorts of meaty-glory…. Vegas is actually turning into a bit of a hub for vegan dining, which gives the place even more appeal. During the witching hours of insomnia (oh the joy) I have been perusing different restaurants/menus for inspiration…. although I love reading food blogs, I never really try out recipes – just reading the title of a dish can really get the creative cogs in my brain turning – I find recipes way too restrictive. I saw the Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Almonds on the menu at Mesa Grill, and then that little inspirational tidbit turned into my “Ode to Vegas.” I know America has a real fondness for mayonnaise, and while I can’t stand the traditional stuff in any way, shape or form, this vegan/root veggie version is quite the delicious variation. I couldn’t have possibly dedicated a recipe to Las Vegas and NOT include some sort of Elvis-ingredient either – hence the “Bacon” almonds, which are given a sweet/salty/smoky marinade which is a pretty stellar addition to this salad.
The whole orange/spinach combination reminds me of my Mum, who always made me make sure I was eating a little vitamin C (orange) whenever I ate an iron-rich vegetable (spinach) – thanks Mum – and it just so happens they go great with sweet potato and fake bacon – who would have thought?
Spinach & Orange Salad with Sweet Potato Mayo and Smoky Baked Almonds (aka “Bacon” bits)
(Vegan: Gluten/wheat/refined sugar/grain/soy/corn free)
Makes 4 large serves
“Bacon” Bits (Sweet Smoky Almonds)
- 1C almonds
- 4t tamari
- 3T maple syrup
- 2t smoked paprika
- Combine all ingredients except almonds in a small mixing bowl and whisk well.
- Throw almonds in and toss to coat.
- Roast at 180 degrees C for 8-10 minutes…. careful they will catch and burn quickly.
- When dry (they will almost be like a cluster of toffee) roughly chop.
Sweet Potato “Mayonnaise”
- 2C cooked sweet potato (roasting will get the best flavour)
- 3T nutritional yeast
- 3T tahini
- 3T olive oil
- 2t wholegrain mustard
- 2t apple cider vinegar
- 1C water (up to 1 & 1/2C to achieve desired consistency)
- 2t lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor, adding water bit by bit until you reach your preferred “mayo” consistency.
- Season (S&P) to taste.
(Ingredients for each person – you are making 4 serves)
- 1 navel orange, cut into segments, free of pith.
- 1 good handful (2C) baby spinach leaves
- 1/4C “Bacon” almonds
- 1/4C Sweet Potato Mayonnaise
- Place spinach leaves on plate, arrange orange segments.
- Sprinkle over chopped almonds, and drizzle with the mayo – putting the mix in a squirty bottle is the best idea (an old ketchup/mustard bottle is perfect for this).
So now I shall eat this salad and pine for the parties, lights and loose times that Las Vegas seems to promise. One day I will get there. How about you? Where in the world would you LOVE to visit? Your dream escape? Your ultimate adventure?
I thought I would re-post this today (OLD post) to celebrate 1 & 1/2 years of being vegan – plus it gives a little more insight into my food philosophy and journey towards health (a continuing work in progress!) I would love you to share your own experiences/thoughts/trials and tribulations in the comments.
When I started this blog, I wasn’t a vegan. I’ve been a work in progress ever since I was about 9 and obsessed with pigs. Anything and everything to do with them, I loved. My bedroom was full of them… ‘Babe’ was my favourite movie…. I knew I didn’t want to eat them. As an angst-ridden teenager I decided steak was gross and stopped eating red meat, maybe for more attention, who knows? Chicken left the diet when I was a poor student, because it was expensive. Fish grossed me out anyway. For a long time, I didn’t eat a lot of anything at all.
The years of my late teens and early twenties were horrible, battling depression, toxic habits and poor self esteem. Over the years I have worked out that a pure, plant based diet and keeping food as close to it’s natural form as possible works for me. Avoiding refined sugar helps keep my mood stable, and yoga is essential for my mental focus and clarity. Anything I write about is what works for me…. it may not work for you, but this is not your blog now, is it? Let’s be friends.
I suffered from extreme anemia while pregnant, so reverted back to eating meat while I carried Misty. After he was born, and the hormones had settled down, eating meat didn’t feel right. It felt heavy, unnatural, didn’t sit well with me.
Seafood had become one of my favourite things… especially living in Australia where it is abundant, fresh and available everywhere. I loved yoghurt more than anything, and would rip through tubs of honey a week.
I started thinking more… about where my food comes from, what it does for my body… how it gets to my plate. I felt like I was being pulled in two directions, I needed some kind of focus… in my mind, in my diet, my conscience was conflicted. Reading and researching helped me gain clarity, I just needed to let go of those final ‘tasty,’ foods that were holding me back. Where they really so ‘tasty’ to me any more though? When I examined my diet, eating any animal product didn’t seem relevant to me… I had enough nutrition knowledge by this point to go vegan responsibly.
Surprisingly, I don’t miss any of those supposed ‘can’t possibly live without,’ foods… I’ve discovered and created delicious alternatives that, dare I say it, I prefer. I feel as though becoming vegan has opened up a whole new world of cooking creativity and inspiration for me.
I seem to always cook vegan by default. Kitchen experimenting is my favourite thing to do… usually the challenge of vegan cooking inspires me to the extent of producing superior results. I love to try new things… RAW foods, sprouting, dehydrating, fermenting – cooking is such an evolving art form for me – it’s become how I best express myself.
Since food consumption in my household doesn’t just involve me these days, I have to think about 2 others and their nutritional needs. Viper wants to eat meat, and he thinks Misty should eat meat, so I do include organic free range meat, chicken, eggs and dairy in our weekly groceries. We go by the ideals of buy less, buy better and make veggies and grains the main focus of omni meals, with small amounts of animal protein. This works well for Viper, and Misty actually rejects meat at the moment…. so we make do.
This blog has become about me expressing myself creatively, through wholesome, nutritional, predominately vegan food. I do include meat/dairy recipes as I cook these for my family, and I know most of my readers aren’t vegan. I also am passionate about cooking allergen friendly fare – everyone, no matter what kind of intolerance, deserves to eat amazing, vibrant, healthfully fun food. It can be done.
I have also come to appreciate the fact, that it’s not just what goes into your body, it’s what you put on it, wash it with, and so on. Keeping things as close to nature as possible is my goal… that goes for skin, hair and house.
Being vegan is not just about what you eat, of course. It encompasses lifestyle and the respect of all other living things. My journey is one that is constantly evolving and changing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m always playing around with the way I eat and WHAT I eat. It interests me – that’s not a crime is it? Viper thinks I’m completely nuts – ‘Lou, you’re going off on another one of your weird eating tangents.’ I suppose coming from the man that gets sick less than once in a blue moon, has no food sensitivities, and can pretty much eat burgers and chocolate constantly without putting on weight – maybe what I test out on myself could seem slightly towards the extreme?
I’m definitely more concerned about health and well being than Viper – and perhaps my over active mind is to blame for my tests and experiments on myself…. it’s all in the search for vibrant good health though.
Anyway, like I mentioned in my last post I’ve been experimenting with a new way of eating – mainly carbohydrates (from fruit and veggies), a smaller amount of protein (from leafy greens) and a small amount of healthy fat (tahini, nuts, avocado). In “trendy” terms, this would be classed as High Carb, Raw Vegan (or Low Fat Raw Vegan) Now this may seem like a huge contradiction to my Anti-Candida Crusade where I banned ALL fruit. After doing a lot of reading, there is an argument to contest the idea that sugar is the culprit for causing candida – and FAT is the true nasty. Who knows for sure, but I am willing to test this out (mainly because it involves eating ridiculous amounts of fruit – heaven). Raechel has just done a little recap on her own experiment into this way of eating.
I’m 10 days in to this new fruity regime, and honestly I feel really good. The caffeine-withdrawal headache has gone, and I feel like my energy is better during the day (no huge slumps). If I start to feel tired, or unmotivated, I eat some fruit = instant energy. Viper (again) thought I was nuts when I came home with a box of bananas, bags of mango, bunches and bunches of silver beet and trays of dates. You have to eat a LOT of produce to get enough calories each day – and actually, I think I am eating more calories than I ever had before – and it’s delicious. My digestion has improved considerably, and my skin seems softer for some reason.
You might think that it’s some crack-pot new fad diet, but it’s actually quite the opposite. My motivation is not to lose weight – I actually think I’ve put on a few kilos since starting this, but I feel really good – and that’s the idea right? Feeling healthy and full of energy is always the clincher for me – and I really believe that the way we eat dictates this. I think the reason that I am really liking this way of eating is that it is simple. No crazy ingredients, no dropping heaps of cash on fancy super foods, very minimal preparation – maybe I’m just lazy but I’m really enjoying not cooking (although I am still cooking for Viper & Misty, but at least my meals are easy). Plus, it’s working out a lot cheaper to eat this way – less than $10 a day for all the fruit and veggies I can handle.
Anyway, I’m not sure how long I will maintain this, but for now, I am loving it (plus it’s way too hot here to be eating cooked food) – I will keep you updated (I plan to get some blood work done to track my progress - of course I am still supplementing with B12 and iron). For now, though – here’s my answer to coffee at the moment: (inspired by Raechel’s idea for a warm cocoa)
Creamy Date Dandelion “Latte”
(Vegan, High Raw, gluten/wheat/soy/nut/refined sugar free)
- 1C brewed dandelion “coffee” (roast dandelion root) – not strictly “raw” but it’s delicious and great for the liver.
- 1 medium ripe banana
- 2 medjool dates
- 1/8t cinnamon
- Blend all ingredients together until very smooth.
- Serve warm, or chuck in a few ice cubes for an iced refresher.
Are you willing to try any form of craziness for your health?
Home. Back to the Gold Coast and all it’s WARM, humid, sunshine-y glory.
This may be the weirdest most hideous thing I have ever made/eaten. Sometimes you just gotta have fuel, no matter how ugly. This was about 1/2 the size of a sheet of A4 paper, and weighed about 10 kgs. Gluten free density in all it’s glory. Made from buckwheat flakes, red lentils, coconut…. filled with a strange spirilina-spiked coconut oil filling… which turned out looking like a cross between squid ink and solid boogers. Or perhaps a snot sandwich? No, not attractive. It wasn’t bad tasting though – AND got me through 6 hours of wrangling the Misty in and around planes and airports…. because the likelihood of me finding something both vegan AND Anti Candida friendly in the vicinity would have been pretty much zero. A win for the ugly baked good, for sure.
From weird foods to Weezer. Nice transition, huh? Back to some Vegan MoFo Musicians. Brian Bell, the guitarist from Weezer is a dedicated vegan ….when you combine the love of animals, with an ability to create “user-friendly-easily-digestible-grunge-pop-tunes,” it’s got to be a good thing, right? We like Weezer a lot in our household, especially Viper, as the early 90s were his “hey-day” of youth, freedom and skating to the sounds of grunge/pop rock. Nirvana, Green Day, Sound Garden, The Pixies, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, the Beastie Boys, Jane’s Addiction, Rage Against the Machine, Cyprus Hill and Weezer made up his “thrash-list” as he navigated the streets on 4 tiny wheels, always attached by the head to a Sony Sports (walkman) or, as the decade progressed, a Discman.
Anyway, reminiscing in the musical sense aside, Weezer’s debut album – self titled, but known as the “Blue Album” due to the hue of it’s cover – is a fun listen. It appeals to the masses due to the abundance of catchy hooks and simply-structured pop rock tunes. ”Say it Ain’t so” is one of my favourite tracks, as it takes me right back to learning to play the guitar, and feeling so COOL that I could (sort of) play a popular song. I was cool by association of the song…. and the guitar….. and pretending to be in a rock band. Ah, sweet dumb teenagers. Viper likes the less “poppy” “The World has turned and Left me Here” – it’s a longer track, with a nice groove – and isn’t so predictable as the other tunes on the album. It’s a good song to check out in the vegan-celebratory sense, as the guitar hook and solos by Brian Bell are shredding.
I think I must have a thing for enjoying baked goods that resemble small window-less buildings. Home for less than a few hours, and I am already making more monstrosities. They ARE born out of necessity though, these ugly-eats… using up what’s on hand as there is not much food in the house. This was a kind of-sort of “brownie” made from black beans, buckwheat, brown rice protein, chia seeds and peanut butter. Only appropriate for my own taste buds/belly (actually, Misty LOVED this, and kept sneaking big bites from me – strange child). This one came complete with Boosty-hair garnish (can you spot it?) Good thing she’s cute – beastly hair shedding dog of mine.
Grey, horrible, wet, windy day.
Take out Mama Fridge for a birthday lunch at The Herb Centre. I used to come here years ago…. they always did a mean veggie soup which hit the spot on a bone-chilling cold Christchurch day. The scene looks a bit different these days, the Earthquakes sealed the fate of my old favourite foodie Hippie-store Pikos that used to reside next door.
Lunch outing are always a challenge with the crazy Misty wanting to run about and destroy anything within reach.
Thanks Goodness for Aunty Sez’s glorious (and distracting) tropical smoothie joy.
A pile ‘o Salads for me (and Misty) from the daily digs – really great selection and variety. Marinated radish… beetroot/carrot slaw…. quinoa, herbs & beans….steamed broccoli with sesame seeds…mixed greens. Delicious herby-olive-oily dressing for a bit of zing. Misty ate the brown rice, pomegranate seed, apple, raisin and ginger salad (a Sad Lou can’t have the fruit) and I hoovered the rest.
Mama Fridge enjoyed her Indian Spiced Lentil Patty with Raita and salads like mine…. the pattie was thick, hearty and sweet from the roast pumpkin it contained. A little zing from the strained yoghurt/lemon raita was relished.
Lovely, friendly staff who didn’t think I was a crazy woman for wanting to take photos. Although we did NOT sample the desserts, they definitely looked GOOD. Daily soups, pies, frittatas, wraps and the likes adorned the cabinet – all looking vibrant, healthy and appealing (which always helps, no?) Good portion sizes, filling meals, good value for money – approve? Yes, yes I do.
Stoked with my new utensil for dry-skin-brushing… purchased from the attached herbal dispensary that was loaded with all sorts of natural health type goodies. This brush was about half the price of what I have seen them advertised for anywhere else (in Australia). Win.
It’s nice when a farmer’s market is actually on a FARM, right?
Spot the Misty.
Big woolly arm chairs…. also known as Alpacas. I want one.
Misty finds some horses.
And some pine cones, before making a beeline under a barbed wire fence and far off into another paddock. He’s quick.
Colourful cauli….. and Kale for me.
Totally unrelated to farmer’s market adventures…. but I am addicted to my Mum’s chickpea dip. I wouldn’t call it “hummus” as it doesn’t involve tahini/olive oil and the trick is to keep it thick and a little chunky. Just the way I like it. If you’re a fan of zesty lemon, garlic and sundried tomatoes, you will like this.
Chunky Chickpea Dip with Lemon & Garlic
***Recipe contributed by Mama Fridge***
(Vegan – Anti Candida Diet – gluten/wheat/nut/seed/soy/grain/refined sugar free)
- 1 can chickpeas, drained.
- Zest AND juice of 2 lemons
- 1 large, juicy clove of garlic, crushed
- 6 semi sun dried tomatoes (we used a jar variety which was the vinagrette style – marinated in in vinegar/mustard as opposed to oil – crucial for the “zingy-ness”)
- 1/4t sea salt…. or to taste.
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- *** (Also great with a handful of fresh herbs… think basil, parsley, coriander, thyme etc)
- Pulse everything together in a food processor – scrape down sides of bowl as necessary… the dip is pretty thick and chunky.
- Store in the fridge.
Perfect way to refuel after chasing a certain Misty around a farm(er’s market).
Well, this is exciting. I’ve been wanting to eat out at the Lotus Heart Cafe‘s new location for quite some time. The old cafe was pretty much right in the guts of the destruction left by the February Quakes… so I was delighted to find a new place to enjoy the delicious morsels offered by Sri Chinmoy’s dedicated followers.
Way back when I was a “vegetarian” (mainly for purposes of being “cool” as one tends to do at 15 years of age) I used to enjoy their “sausage” rolls made with home made oat flour pastry. Delicious. I also remember attending a few of the (free) meditation workshops that the students of Sri still run today. Pretty cool really.
Now I can bring my little one to the new house of Sri and his students. Life is just full of a lot of tiny circles, inter-twining and melding together, huh? Misty was impressed there was a toy box – books, crayons, a digger, and a good old Barrel of Monkeys that a few of the little-lunch-attendees passed amongst each other. Bonus entertainment, plus the fact me and my lunch date (none other than Aunty Sez) could actually sit down for 2 seconds and try and eat something, rather than chasing Misty around the place.
Very very poor photography, I know. Anyway, I went with the vegan/raw nori wrap that contained house-made SPICY kimchi, activated sunflower/pumpkin seeds, vegan mayonnaise (which I asked for them to hold, as I hate all things mayo) and various salad ingredients. Plus a little side salad with a delicious herby dressing, and soy dipping sauce. The only fault of this dish would be the serving size… a little small for my appetite, but then again, it takes a truckload to satisfy me.
Aunty Sez had a “dirty old burger + fries” – which translated in Lotus Heart language as a veggie pattie, vegan mayo, a (delicious, apparently) salad trimmings, gherkins, cheese on a turkish bun.
Fries are fried in most languages…. Misty liked the fries and pieces of cucumber from my plate. What he REALLY loved though, was Aunty Sez’s superfood smoothie:
This was called a “Cookies and Cream” and I reallyreallyreally wanted some, but as it contained dates, I resisted as to not feed the yeasty beast (aka Candida). I was so very strong. Misty sculled about half of this back, which I would regard as a pretty big hit by (almost) 2 year old standards. This smoothie was made of: almond milk, dates, lucuma, cacao nibs, cashews, maca and vanilla extract.
I must say, the health food store that is a part of the Lotus Heart Cafe is quite simply, outstanding. They have everything you could think of – kombucha, sauerkraut, stevia, maca, lucuma, cacao, kefir starter kits, a huge selection of amazing herbal teas, nutritional supplements – basically all of my favourite things in one place. Best range I have ever seen anywhere in Christchurch.
Even though I’m not the hugest fan of the flavour (plain) I am getting a bit of coconut water in…. I have embarked on a 14 day mission to go to “Hot Yoga” every day. I haven’t been a huge fan of hot yoga in the past; where I live, any time you do yoga it’s “Hot.” Anyway, I decided to try a little stint at a local studi0 (Power, Vinyasa and Yin) just to mix things up a bit. I consider it my “study.” That and perusing local vegan eateries. Oh it’s a tough life.