It’s quite funny the whole “New Year, New YOU,” sentiment that is a constant theme during January – the resolutions, the detoxing, the “cleansing.” As I’ve said, I’m all for goal setting and healthy aspirations, but why is there such a big movement towards “bettering ourselves” at the beginning of the year? Why not March? Or October? It amuses me.
Anyway, I’m quite happy to say that I didn’t over-indulge in much during the silly season. Although I probably drank far too much cider, vodka and caffeine – but nothing to warrant a detox. I have, however stopped drinking coffee (the Shock! the Horror! My Head!) which has been quite a nasty experience. Man oh Man have I got a headache. The last week I have been SO tired (while still consuming at least 2 cups of Joe per day) – to the extent to multiple naps (oh the luxury of having Viper home to Misty-wrangle) and still feeling like a zombie.
So I decided to cut it out cold turkey. Ouch. I’m on day 3 now, and the headache has faded, but it is still there in the background, just hanging on, trying to tempt me into cranking up the coffee machine. Although, it wasn’t just the coffee contributing to my caffeine intake….I’ve been eating a LOT of cacao and cocoa. Delicious, yes – but they still contain caffeine. Also, when I say a LOT, I mean up to 1/2C of the stuff a day. Way way WAY to much of a good thing, no?
I’m all for intuitive eating – and lately all I have wanted is FRUIT (and I mean lots of it). I may be tempting fate, but my candida issues haven’t been a problem, and tis the season for tropical fruit aplenty, is it not? (Southern Hemisphere).
I have been enjoying many a “fruit soup” such as the one above – 1 frozen banana, 1 mango, 5 fresh apricots. Just delicious. I’ve also cracked out my trusty juicer and having been having a LOT of vegetable juice – it’s just too hot here to feel like much else. I suppose it’s a positive thing, all this fruit & veg – I’m not using salt on EVERYTHING as I usually do…. just enjoying nature’s fare unadulterated.
Viper, on the other hand, is not so enthused by the idea of being a plant-muncher – he does partake in the odd juice though (more fruit than veg) and when asked if he would like a fresh veggie juice for breakfast, he replied, “Coffee?” Ah well. I have been getting much use out of my sour dough starter for the Man of the house – pizza bases.
Sourdough Pizza Base:
Makes 2 Bases
- 1 & 1/2C sourdough starter
- 1& 1/2C organic plain flour (high grade (strong) flour works really well here)
- 1t sea salt
- 1t dried mixed herbs (optional)
- 6T olive oil
- Mix all ingredients together and leave to sit for about 30 minutes.
- Carefully scoop out dough onto a floured surface and knead gently until dough comes together.
- Split dough in half.
- Sandwich the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to desired thickness – repeat with other half.
- Pre-bake pizza bases quickly – 200 degrees C for 8 minutes.
- Top with your favourite pizza toppings, and then back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
This creation for Viper was made up of a home made sweet tomato and red capsicum sauce, sliced red onions, black olives, zucchini ribbons, shredded chicken and cheddar cheese.
I suppose, even after my snorting at the significance of New Year’s resolutions/cleanses/detoxing – I am cleansing myself in a way aren’t I? Cutting the caffeine - will it be worth the headache? Only time will tell.
Hit me will YOUR intentions for yourself – New Year or not, it’s nice to have goals, right?
Misty loves to “eat” with his fork and spoon these days. He’s very clever. Clever at making a mess. He wants to use utensils to feed himself, so I’m changing the way I’m feeding him to accommodate his preferred style of eating. I find ‘stodgy,’ foods are great; he can scoop them up, wave them around on the fork/spoon, and they stay on (somewhat) until finally finding his mouth (sometimes).
Veggie dips, custard, thick yoghurt, and chia ‘puddings,’ are all great foods with the ‘stodge,’ factor. Chewing is also a good skill to hone though, so the following recipe is in between a salad and a noodle dish… with ample stodge.
I like changing up the carbohydrate base of Misty’s meals … whole wheat pasta, quinoa, rye bread, rice, millet, oats – he digs them all. I find sneaking in small amounts of spice is great for expanding his experiences with flavours too – I’m trying to get in all sorts of crazy food before he starts to get fussy.
This dish combines sweet/savoury/salty – Misty is like his Mama in his appreciation of such flavours… it’s also a great way to get in some good non-animal source fats in the form of coconut and peanuts – Yummo.
Misty’s Soba Salad
(Vegan, refined sugar, wheat, soy, seed, corn free… gluten free if you use the appropriate noodles – some “buckwheat” noodles will contain wheat flour as well, so read the ingredient list)
- 180g buckwheat soba noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
- 1/3C fined diced fresh pineapple (canned is also fine)
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 2T crunchy peanut butter (or almond butter if there are sensitivities involved)
- 2T coconut milk (the creamy part, not the watery bit… scoop the stuff from the top of the can)
- 1/2t sesame oil
- 1/16t chilli powder (optional)
- 1/8t ground ginger powder
- 1/8t sweet paprika
- 1/4t sea salt
- 1t apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
- 1t chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) … optional
- Combine all ingredients from peanut butter down to apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. This is the “dressing”. It will seem kind of thick, but once you add cooked noodles, zucchini and pineapple, the water content in these will thin out the sauce.
- Add all other ingredients and toss to coat. If the sauce seems a little runny at this point, you can add 1T coconut flour to thicken and ‘stodge,’ it all up, but this may not be necessary.
- Garnish with some extra fresh coriander if desired. You can serve this chilled as a salad or warm as a main dish.
Success! A bath follows a Misty meal, for sure.
Dried fruit is seriously awesome. I’m a dried fruit fiend. Natures candy. My Mum used to always warn me not to eat too much ‘…. or you’ll get a stomach ache.’ Yeah yeah yeah, but I can’t stop eating it, so dang tasty. There was also some warning about ‘shitting through the eye of a needle,’ but we won’t go into that. Luckily after years of consuming ridiculous amounts of fruit (both fresh, and dry) I can eat away to my hearts content with no adverse effects. My greatest moment was the day I ate 12 apples. Serious. Maybe that’s going a bit far, but I don’t care. Don’t judge me.
Anyway, the point I would like to make in a very tangent-confused way is that dried fruit can relieve cravings when certain produce isn’t available or in season. Actually, good quality canned fruit is excellent too, you just have to be a bit label-savvy and choose the varieties that steer clear of evil preservatives and sulphur dioxide.
We are enjoying the height of Summer here in scorching Queensland, so delicious tropical fruit is abundant, cheap and oh so good. I thought I would show you readers out yonder that you can create a tropical-style treat wherever you are, whatever season it may be. It definitely isn’t fair to keep shoving photos of deliciously fresh tropical fruits, sunshine, and beach lounging at your heads while you shiver in your knitted booties now, is it?
You could do what we do and have a nice tropicana delight on our wall all year round. Just makes me want a Pina Colada.
Visiting sister from Kiwi-land enjoying the spoils of the Gold Coast Summer time.
Tropicana ‘Tea’ Cake
(Vegan, soy and cane sugar free)
- 1T ground flax
- 1C oats ground into flour (left a little chunky is nice for texture)
- 3T raspberry no sugar fruit spread + extra for a ‘filling’.
- 1t lemon juice
- 2T water
- 1/8t sea salt
- Pulse all ingredients until they clump together in a ball of dough.
- Press tablespoons full into moulds or whatever you would like to use. Alternatively, you can just roll tablespoons of mix into a nice smooth ball, and then flatten into a round. Get creative… it’s a very workable mix.
- At this point, a thin layer of the raspberry spread can be added… totally optional, but well worth it for the added berry zing.
- Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- 1/2C raw cashews, soaked overnight*
- 1/2C dried mango*
- 1/3C fruit juice (mango/orange/apple will all work well)*
- 1/4C dates*
- 2T coconut oil
- 1/4t sea salt
- 1t lemon juice
*Prepare you ‘soakers’ a day ahead or at the very least 4 hours… overnight will make things easier for you.
- Cover cashews in water.
- Combine the dried mango, dates, and juice in a sperate bowl. Cover and leave to soak.
- Drain cashews and place in a food processor. Combine with your mango-mix including the soaking water.
- Add salt, lemon and coconut oil.
- Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Top your chilled bases with the cream and chill again for at least an hour before serving.
- Garnish with an extra blob of jam, or some fresh fruit.
This could be made with any dried fruit really… pineapple, papaya, banana, or even a combination. I dehydrated my own mango, as they are everywhere at the moment, and I will sorely miss them when the season concludes. These little cakes have a subtle, sweet flavour and the colours are just a little bit cute. Creamy cheesecake-esque topping and a chewy oaty base.
Anyway, I am drowning my internet frustrations in cute cake-making and eating. It’s not so bad really. The whole ‘tea’ cake thing is a little confusing. I think the whole concept of afternoon ‘tea’ is very English… I call my dinner my ‘tea.’ But then I also would describe these cakes as perfect for a morning or afternoon tea party. Not that I have frequent tea parties (maybe in my head) but let’s just pretend I have many colourful characters at my disposal to invite to a smashingly delightful afternoon garden tea party.
It’s Summer, it’s the Christmas holidays -cool creamy tropical treats are on the brain… first though, I better show you a slice of our Christmas festivities:
Christmas morn. Gday.
First ice cream. Pandan flavoured. Yummo.
It was my first vegan festive season… yes it was a challenge to resist the buckwheat blinis with smoked salmon, prawn and mango salad, coconut fish and the likes, but I did pretty darn well with rice paper rolls, tofu skewers, mango and avacado salad plus my vegan truffles and fresh berries. Oh and of course, champagne. Not too shabby.
I think I’m going to turn into a block of tofu… I suppose it is the automatic assumption of most meat eaters – that tofu is the main source of protein for vegans. I love the stuff, yes, but too much is not that great for my tum. My digestive system needs a break from soy protein… I was tempted to make a tofu pudding, but coconut butter came to my delicious rescue.
Toasty Coconut Butter:
(vegan, nut and soy free)
- 2C fine dessicated coconut
- 1/4t sea salt
- 1/2 – 1t vanilla bean paste, depending on how ‘vanillary’ you want it
- Dry toast the coconut in 1/2C increments in a fry pan until golden brown – watch closely as it will brown very quickly. This step is not vital – you could make this raw, but I think the flavour of toasted coconut is too good to miss.
- Once cool, process in a food processor… this takes ages, depending on your machine. As the oils release the mix will start to clump up. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go. Eventually it will turn to a runny (ish) “butter” – be patient and give the motor of your machine a break every few minutes as you don’t want to blow it up (particularly if it’s your Mother in Law’s).
- Add in salt and vanilla bean paste. Taste and adjust salt and vanilla to your liking.
Vegan Mango Coconut Mousse:
- 2 mangoes
- 4T of the Toasty Coconut Butter
- 1/4t grated lime zest
- 2t lime juice
- 1/8t sea salt
- Blend all ingredients, pour into cups/glasses and chill in the fridge until ready to serve (the coconut butter makes it ‘set’ a little when cold).
Vegan. Delicious. Decadent even. Missing out? Nope, not me.
- 2/3C coconut flakes
- 2/3C buckwheat groats
- 1/2C hulled millet
- 1/3C sunflower seeds
- 3/4C whole oats
- 1/4C oatmeal
- 1/2t sea salt
- 1/3C sesame seeds
- 1/4C dark agave syrup (or honey, rice syrup etc)
- 1T coconut oil
- 1/3C orange juice
- 1 mango
- 1/2C chopped dried pineapple and mango
- Mix dry ingredients together, except dried fruit.
- Blend together mango and orange juice.
- Melt coconut oil, combine with agave and mango mix.
- Mix everything together and place on lined baking trays.
- Bake at 140 degrees C for 50 minutes, rotating trays and stirring every 10.
- Turn oven off and leave trays in there to cool down completely.
- Mix in dried fruit.