Dad’s favourite banana bread

20130715-161038.jpg
It’s been waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. I’ve just been super busy and not cooking anything that interesting…still yummy and healthy mind you, just nothing quite ‘blogable’.

Last night I came down with some sort of flu that I picked up from a little girl I was babysitting. I accidentally drank from a glass that she had licked and breathed into, so kind of my fault, but still really annoying.

All I could stomach all day was tea and fruit and I had a mad craving for banana bread so I crawled out of bed to quickly make this. Crawled back in while it was baking, and then out again to eat it!!

My Dad has coined this ‘the best banana bread ever’. He gets pretty excited about it when I make it when I’m at home in Van, and you have to get in quick if you want a peice! It’s super rustic, hearty, and just the perfect amount of sweetness. I added walnuts and cacao nibs. Pear chunks are good too!

Gluten free/Dairyfee/eggfree/sugarfree

Recipe:

Dry:

1 1/3 cups oats, slightly ground up
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 TBS baking soda
Cinnamon
2 TBS flax meal

Wet:

1/4 cup coconut oil melted or veg oil
3 bananas mashed
Vanilla to taste
3/4 cup sweetener (brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave) I did mostly honey with some maple syrup
4 tablespoons rice milk or water

Mix the flax with the 4 tablespoons of rice milk and set aside. This will be the binding agent.

Mash the bananas and add the rest of the wet ingredients and stir.

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients.

Once the flax has formed a sort of gel,mix everything together and add extras of your choice. I added chia seeds, walnuts and cacao nibs!!

Bake for about 1 hour at 180 degrees in a greased loaf tin.

Enjoy!

20130715-162724.jpg

Vegan food staples

20121205-082247.jpg
I had been thinking of compiling a list of vegan staples for people who want to make more of the food on this blog or just more vegan food in general and the other day someone asked me to do just that, so I figured it was a good time to get compiling!

I’ve been a vegetarian for twelve years and vegan for just over four months! I made the change cold turkey, so to speak, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier and I have never felt or looked healthier in my life. You can find out what prompted my sudden switch in this post here

So here is a sample of some good things to have on hand if you want to get some kick ass vegan cooking/baking on!!

-nutritional yeast (must have for vegans! Make ‘cheese’ sauces with or for adding a cheesy flavour to pretty much anything and high in vit B, a vitamin that vegans are often low in)
-Tamari (gluten free, low salt version of soy)
-miso paste check out this link for why I love miso so much! shit load of nutritional benefits and so good in dressings and of course, miso soup!
-Tahini (I use tahini all the time in dressings, often in raw desserts, I add a scoop to porridge sometimes and even smoothies, here is a link for awesome tahini cookies
-coconut oil (I love this oil so much that I not only bake, fry and cook with it, but I also put it all over my face and body! Check out this link for info on it and an amazing raw chocolate recipe.
-sesame oil
-Dijon mustard

-tempehcheck out some fun tempeh facts here. I friggen love this stuff!!
-tofu firm and silken (firm for slicing and frying/baking and silken for desserts/yogurts)
-beans (chickpea, kidney, canelli beans, black beans)

-most of the desserts I make are ‘raw desserts’ which mostly all involve nuts, seeds and dried fruit…and no, I don’t have trail mix for dessert, don’t worry!! The desserts I make are off the fricken charts good, I’m not even going to be modest about this one so check out this link for an out of this world slice recipe; my raw cheese cake is another favourite, and who doesn’t love chocolate pudding tarts ?! Check out my dessert section for more of where those came from and make sure, as well as coconut oil, cacao and a natural sweetener, you’ve got a good supply of the following to get you started:
-nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts etc)
-seeds (pumpkin/sunflower etc)
-dried fruit (dates, figs, apricots, raisins, prunes etc)

-quinoa (complete protein. Use as you would Cous Cous or rice. Add to smoothies, porridge etc) there are even lots of recipes out there for quinoa cakes, muffins and cookies!
-lentils (really high in iron)
-brown rice/wild rice (great source of fibre)

Obviously wheat is acceptable for vegans but I have a sensitivity to it so I do all gluten free. Either way, there are SO many flours out there and a lot of people eat a crazy amount of wheat flour without thinking about it. Before I stopped eating gluten I would easily consume it for breakfast, lunch and dinner…Wheat bix, sandwich, whole wheat pasta. Our bodies crave variety and there are many flours that are not only much easier to digest but full of protein, iron and other essential nutrients that you can’t get from wheat. So try switching it up with flours such as:
-buckwheat flour (complete protein contains all the essential amino acids, great for baking, pancakes, crepes etc)
-brown rice flour (the goodness of brown rice in flour form! A very light flour ideal for anything really, I find it to be the most versatile.
-teff flour (very annoying but this flour isn’t available in Australia, at least I haven’t been able to find it and when I ask at health food stores they give me a weird look. It’s definitely available in north America though and is awesome because it is very high in iron. One serving of it is nearly your whole days iron intake :O )
-oatmeal ( have this on hand for porridge obviously, but you can also blend it up quickly into a flour to use in baking etc)
-chick pea flour (really great for pizza crust and chick pea fries !! As well as Indian pakoras and adding to home made veggies burgers to make them stick together better.

-rice/almond/hemp/soy milk
-coconut milk

-cacao (like cocoa but raw which means it hasn’t been stripped of any nutrients. The flavour is much better then cocoa and it’s considered a super food!! I use it all the time for desserts and often add a scoop to porridge or smoothies for added nutrients and because it’s chocolate…and adding chocolate to things is generally a good plan.)
-honey (technically not vegan but I still use it) agave syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia
-spices (essential for taking your cooking from good to f&$@ing good. I stock tons of spices, my favs are paprika, tumeric, cinnamon and cumin though. Closely followed by ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, curry powder and dill.)

-nori sheets/dulce flakes (seaweed is really good for you, particularly the iodine in it is great for vegans)
-flax meal (full of omegas and mixed with water creates a binding mixture that you can use in baking instead of eggs)
-chia seeds (omegas/protein/fibre. Add it to smoothies, porridge, cereal or make chia seed pudding by adding about 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk to 1/4 cup of chia seeds, let it sit for about ten minutes, add some fruit, cinnamon, cacao etc and ta-da, chia pudding!
-corn starch (thickening agent, great for vegan gravies and making vegan mac n cheese which you can find a recipe for here

-last but not least, your going to want to have some fruit and vegetables on hand!! Lots of them! Every colour of the rainbow!!

20121205-082954.jpg
Happy healthy cooking!!

Cacao peanut butter hot chocolate aka happiness and warmth in a mug

20120809-194318.jpg
I’ve had a pounding head ache all friggen day today. I should probably just go to sleep but I want to get some work done so instead of sleep i’m hoping this hot cacao will sort me out. This is my newest favourite warm drink; nice to warm up or to satisfy a craving if you feel like something a bit sweet in the evening…or morning. It tastes like your drinking a peanut butter cup. Yeah.
Grab the your fav mug and measure out milk of choice (I did mostly rice milk and some water)
Pour it into a pot with a generous tablespoon of smooth natural peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of cacao and a dash of stevia (or whatever sweetener you want to use. If you’re not up to speed with stevia, it’s made from a herb and doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels at all and one teeny tiny pinch is equal to one teaspoon of regular sugar.)
Whisk until smooth and desired temp. (not too hot or you won’t get all the health benefits of the cacao!) pour back into your mug.
Be happy. Be warm. Tell headache to eff off.

Got my juicer!!!!! :D

20120619-192502.jpg

So excited!! I ordered this bad boy brand new off eBay last week and it was waiting for me when I got home from work today. Now the term bad boy is often over and mis-used but in this instance it is right on the money! Boasting a 1200 watt motor this thang Knows how to juice! After a quick read through of the instructions and a rinse down of the equipment we were juicing away!

We used:
-leafy heads of three beets
-3 celery sticks and their leafy bits
-2 cucumbers
-2 apples
-1 orange

This made three cups of delicious juice and not being one for wasting I threw together 12 tasty fibre filled little veg nuggets…

20120619-200425.jpg

I wasn’t keeping track of measurements of ingredients as I wasn’t sure if they were going to work out but they ended up being really good and I will certainly be making them again. It was basically just the leftover pulp, some left over quinoa, spices, sunflower seeds, flax meal and rice milk.

I think I reached my veg quota for the evening!!!

Lunch at sadhana kitchen in Newtown

Newtown is a good place to chow down if you’re a vegetarian. We found a gem of a place down a little alley way off Enmore road. Sadhana kitchen; vegan, living whole foods; complete with a wicked veg patch and a yoga studio upstairs.

I went with my mum and dad and we shared three meals.

I started with a green juice of mixed greens, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and turmeric

20120617-123427.jpg

I actually just ordered a juicer and am anxiously awaiting its arrival so I can start making my own juice!!!

20120617-123640.jpg

Raw lasagne with walnut base, zucchini ‘pasta’ with cashew ‘ricotta’

20120617-130539.jpg

Pasta with zucchini noodles and vegan Alfredo sauce

20120617-130717.jpg

Unfortunately I got so excited about the taco that I forgot to take a photo before getting stuck into it. It was so amazing, fav out of all three for sure! Walnut ‘ground round’, guacamole, salsa and cashew cream.

20120617-130951.jpg

Yum.

Bean and pesto pizza

20120609-112250.jpg

We made this for our parents first night visiting us 🙂
I’ve made a couple vegan pizzas before and this one is by far the best. Obviously if you are a cheese enthusiast by all means add cheese. Would be really good with some feta. I love it just like this tho and much lower fat than a traditional cheesy pizza.

The dough is from kblog.lunchboxbunch.com and is a nice hearty base that can be either crispy or bready depending on how thick or thin you roll it out.

Flax walnut crust:

2 cups spelt flour ( or whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 packet of yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tsp flax (all blended into a flour like consistency)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

Combine yeast, water and honey and set aside.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients.
Add in the olive oil and mix.
Fold the yeast mixture into the dry and knead a few minutes.
Cover with a towel and let it rise for 30 minutes (or as long as you can wait!)
Roll out onto greased sheet into desired thickness. It does rise quite a bit because of the baking powder so if you like it thin don’t be afraid to roll it very very thin.

Toppings:

White bean “cheese” base:
– in a blender combine 1 can of white beans, 1/2 lemon squeezed, 2 garlic cloves minced, 1/8 cup nutritional yeast, 1 tomato, a tablespoon or so of olive oil.

Pesto
– I don’t have a recipe as i always just wing my pesto adding more of this or that till it tastes good so just use your fav recipe or look one up!

Tomatoes sliced

Purple onion Sliced

Pre-bake the base for about ten minutes (just because the toppings are pretty thick and you want to get the base nice a crisp all the way through)
Spread the bean spread over the entire base. Drop the basil in spoonfools and spread around into big circles, cover with tomato slices and then onion.
Bake until its cooked! Sorry, didn’t time this bad boy! sprinkle with nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.

20120609-115754.jpg

We served it with a rocket, beet root and cabbage salad.

20120609-120209.jpg

Served four people with leftovers! 🙂

Warm raw pumpkin veg soup because I’m seriously diggin this raw food thing

1/2 a pumpkin
1 small sweet potato
1 carrot
1-2 zucchinis
Handful spinach
2 green onions
1 garlic minced
Fresh coriander
1 can coconut milk
3-4 Tbs olive oil (don’t omit, need the fat for the texture)
Handful sunflower seeds
1/8 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Water to thin
Cayenne pepper, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper

Chop all ingredients coarsely, blend until smooth. Season to taste. Warm on the stove on low heat testing frequently as to not let it get too hot thus killin’ the enzymes that make you 🙂 and give you lots of energy!!!

20120605-160459.jpg

Raw asian stir fry with brown rice and tofu

20120601-183952.jpg

salt and pepper tofu crisping up

20120601-184210.jpg

Perfectly plated…

20120601-184225.jpg

…Ended up mixing it all together after serving it in neat little sections, was super delish like this 🙂

Salad:

1 carrot cut into matchstick size
1 red capsicum thinly sliced and halved
1 green capsicum sliced and halved
1 cup purple cabbage thinly sliced
2 green onions chopped
1/8 cup bean sprouts
Handful baby rocket
Tamari toasted sunflower seeds

Creamy Peanut Salad Dressing:

2 Tbs natural peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs tahini
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs ginger
2 garlic minced
3 tsp natural soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp honey or agave
Cayenne pepper

Blend until creamy, add more water if you want it runnier

Brown rice:

1 cup brown rice, add a tsp of concentrated veggie stalk in when cooking
Once cooked stir through 2 Tbs tamari sauce, 1 Tbs sesame oil, 1/8 cup nutritional yeast, big sprinkle of dried sea vegetables if you have

Tofu:

Firm tofu cut into squares

Heat oil in fry pan and add tofu. Cover with pepper and don’t flip until completely golden on the one side. Continue to cook all sides. Add a bit of sea salt and honey or agave before its done.

20120601-184023.jpg

Breakfast smoothie

20120601-141724.jpg

Yummy green breaky smoothie to get the day started off right:

2 large handfuls spinach
1/8 cup bean sprouts (optional, just happened to have them)
1 small bok Chou ( same with the sprouts)
1 large banana
1/2 cup berries
3 large dates
Ten almonds
1/8 cup chia seeds
Agave and cinnamon to taste
Few ice cubes

Blend and serve in a giant martini glass!