Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Taco Cleanse Mini Cleanse

Even if you are living in a cave, surely you have heard of the hottest craze that is sweeping the globe. The newest way to feel fabulous! I am, of course, referring to The Taco Cleanse.

Now, I must confess, I tend to be more of a burrito girl. When I received my copy of the book I posted on Instagram joking that I was going to make all the recipes into burritos. Clearly, there was no one more in need of a taco cleanse than me. I'll be honest, I was scared. I don't like spicy food. Or capsicum. And how can I supplement appropriately on the cleanse when I don't drink alcohol or fizzy drinks? Was this really the right fit for me? I did the taco quiz but I kind of ended up being a mix of results. Who was I in this taco world?

I started preparing for a mini taco cleanse by working in some taco yoga to my regular yoga practice. Lying there in soft tortilla pose, I knew I was ready for the abundance of joy that a taco cleanse could bring to my life. I picked a day, stocked up on flour tortillas ('mini'-sized aka 15cm/6in size), and readied myself. Yesterday was that day.

Breakfast

Accelerated Breakfast Taco: I thought it would be good to ease myself in with something familiar, and this accelerated breakfast taco gave me all the comfort of one of my regular breakfasts (toast with PB, banana, blueberries and cinnamon) but with the bonus of being wrapped in a comforting tortilla. The recipe calls for PB and a banana, with optional cereal. I used blueberries in cinnamon instead of the cereal. Delicious! I was worried that I would still be hungry afterwards, so I had a second one, and then I was super full!
Rating: :D

Accelerated Breakfast Taco


Lunch

My two breakfast tacos kept me full all the way through until lunch!

Corn Tortillas: I don't like corn tortillas. Every time I buy them they are gross and cardboardy and just fall apart. So when a recipe called for corn tortillas I decided to be brave and make some of my own for the first time. But I only made a quarter batch (3 tortillas) thinking that I wouldn't really be a fan. WRONG. I wish I made the whole batch! These are nothing like the gross store-bought ones, but are instead amazing and delicious and magical! I don't have a tortilla press, and I tried doing the pot smooshing method but they didn't get thin enough, so I ended up rolling them out. I also used baking paper rather than plastic, which may have been an error because they stuck a little. They ended up being kind of ugly, but who cares what they look like when they taste this good.
Rating: :D

Corn Tortillas


Mexican Chopped Salad Tacos: The reason I made the corn tortillas was to make these tacos, which were delicious and fresh. I made a couple of changes to the salad, which may have upset the optimal anti-oxidant - oxidant balance that the recipe provides. I left out the capsicum and added grated carrot, left out the raw onion, and substituted celery for jicama due to availability issues. I also changed the dressing by leaving out the oil and using some water with guar gum instead. Don't be cranky, taco gods! I have nothing against oil, I just find that oil heavy salad dressings make me feel a bit icky, same with deep fried foods. Anyway, it all ended up being a delicious and fresh salad, and when wrapped in fresh corn tortillas it was all kinds of heavenly.
Rating: :D

Mexican Chopped Salad Tacos


Afternoon tea

I was a little peckish around the 4pm mark. So I made a kind of taco that had vegemite spread in a tortilla. With some celery sticks on the side. I am not sure where a spread inside a single folded taco sized tortilla falls in the technical taco spectrum.

Dinner

The most important type of taco in the taco food pyramid is the breakfast taco! So I decided a breakfast taco for dinner would be the optimal.

Wake and Shake Scramble: Tofu scramble is classic. And this is an easy and cheesy scramble where you shake up the tofu with the seasoning and then bake it. After a recommendation from a friend, I only used half the amount of nooch required, and this was the right amount of seasoning to coat the tofu, with a little bit of crumbly bits left over.
Rating: :)

Wake and Shake Scramble


Foundational Tempeh Bacon: This is bacon made for tacos! Finely chopped tempeh in a delicious sweet and smoky sauce. There is no marinade time required, so this comes together super fast. I had a 300g block of tempeh, so I increased all the sauce ingredients slightly, and I got about two cups worth of tempeh. Throw it in anything!
Rating: :)

Foundational Tempeh Bacon


Supreme Bacon, Scramble, and Cheddar Tacos: These were an amazing combination, using the scramble and tempeh recipes above. I used some sharp cheddar cheese that I had made from Artisan Vegan Cheese as the cheese here. So GOOD! The recipe is very strict about not adding in any other ingredients, though I think that some chopped tomato would be nice, but who am I to question the wisdom of expert taco scientists?
Rating: :D

Supreme Bacon, Scramble, and Cheese Tacos


'Living' Chipotle Sauce: This is also a recommended topping to try with a scramble and tempeh bacon taco. Even though, as mentioned, I don't really like spicy food, I was seized by taco madness and taco enthusiasm and thought I may as well. After all, they say that a spicy dinner taco will help your dreams! I made a small batch of this, only a quarter of the recipe. It is pretty magic how it goes from dark red chiles to a creamy, orange sauce as you blend. Taco magic! And, as expected, this was spicy. Though the heat fades fast at least. Not something I will be using regularly, but fun to try for me and I am sure spice lovers will be fans.
Rating: :)

Living Chipotle Sauce


Taco with Scramble, Bacon, and Chipotle Sauce: I did add some coriander to this for cooling properties. This was fun, but one was enough because of the spiciness of the sauce. The cheddar version is definitely my preferred version!
Rating: :)

Taco with Wake and Bake Scramble; Foundational Tempeh Bacon; Living Chipotle Sauce


Dessert

There are several dessert taco recipes in the book, but I was just after a quick single serve and so I created an easy dessert taco with crunchy speculoos spread, So Delicious Almond Chocolate ice cream and fresh raspberries. In a flour tortilla. Super yum!

Dessert Taco


My final taco count came in at 11 for the day (or 10.5... I am not sure about that Vegemite one). I was not only fulfilled, I was full and happy! So many tacos. As someone who doesn't eat a lot of tacos, I think I have reversed my taco deficiency in a single day! And there are so many more delicious recipes in there left to try. I slept wonderfully. I am sure my hair is at least 9% shinier today!

In short, we should all taco cleanse!

Seriously though, this book is one of the funniest cookbooks I have ever read. If I was to quote all the lines I laughed at, I would be in copyright violation. And it has had a HUGE amount of press coverage, which makes me so happy. Some of that coverage has not quite picked up that it is a parody (the recipes are real, but the premise is taking the piss out of the cleanse obsession), but other coverage has been fully embracing what the Taco Cleanse is all about. And what a great vehicle to get people thinking about vegan food as well!

So go forth and TACO!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Taco the cat doing taco yoga


On of our nurses has a cat called Taco, so what better cat to be our cute kitty of the day? Here is Taco, demonstrating some cat taco yoga.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Eating Out: Pu Kwong

If you are starting to think that I only ever eat out at Pu Kwong and Charlie's, you are sort of right. But can I help it that they are delicious and convenient to me? Thankfully, I can't. So I can eat there a lot! You'll see, because I have more posts from both of them.

After a crappy Saturday at work one day I didn't feel much like cooking when I got home, so we went out to Pu Kwong for dinner.

We shared the Spring Rolls ($5) to start. These were your basic spring roll, but were hot and fresh and nice dipped int he sweet red sauce.

Spring Rolls at Pu Kwong


My order was the Buddha's Special Hot Pot ($16.95). This was so yummy! Lots of different mushrooms and yuba with carrot, green vegetables and baby corn (I don't care what people say, I love baby corn). The sauce was super yummy as well.

Buddha Hot Pot at Pu Kwong


Mum picked the Salt and Pepper Eggplant (sorry, I can't find the price), which she loved. I have a limited tolerance for deep fried food, but I tried quite a few pieces and it was pretty nice! I would have maybe liked a bit more salt and pepper on it.

Salt and Pepper Eggplant at Pu Kwong


Dad had the Beef in Black Bean Sauce ($13.90). The sauce and the veggies were nice (except the capsicum, of course), though I wasn't a huge fan of their 'beef'. Certainly the lamyong beefy strips that they use at Loving Hut are much better. This didn't have anything particularly beefy in the tasty or texture, it was just mock meaty.

Beef and Black Bean at Pu Kwong


All around, another yum dinner! You can see my other Pu Kwong adventures here.

Pu Kwong Vegetarian Restaurant - 2796 Logan Road, Underwood, Queensland - 07 3841 8999

I am also pretty excited because tomorrow I am going to do the first cleanse of my entire life. Do you know what it is? Stay tuned for more!

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Lily and Zac


Lily and Zac love each other, and we love them.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Recipe Round-Up: Quick-Fix Vegan

I do my Recipe Round-Ups in alphabetical order by title, and we are currently in the Robin Robertson section of the alphabet. This time with Quick-Fix Vegan. You can see my previous posts from this book here.

White Bean and Basil Soup: Apparently I was feeling a bit arty with this photo. This soup was OK, but I found it a bit bland. I ended up adding some nooch and ketchup to it (I am classy like that). I made a half batch, and added some cooked brown rice as well.
Rating: :|

White Bean and Basil Soup


Cream of Mushroom Soup: My dad requested this soup, and it is lovely. As advertised, it is both mushroomy and creamy. It uses plain white mushrooms, which makes it very grocery friendly. I blended it up a little more than half of the soup I think, so it was quite smooth, but still had lovely mushroom chunks.
Rating: :)

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Barbecue Pinto-Portobello Sandwiches: These were yummy, combining beans and mushrooms in an easy to make BBQ sauce. I did end up simmering it for a bit longer than stated to get the sauce to thicken enough, otherwise it would have been pretty runny on the buns. I got three rolls out of this, rather than four, I guess I like to jam my sandwiches full!
Rating: :)

Barbecue Pinto-Portobello Sandwiches


Avocado, Dulse, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches: This recipe uses dulse seaweed as the bacon, lightly pan-frying it until a bit crispy, and it is fantastic! A very clever twist on the BLT.
Rating: :)

Avocado, Dulse, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwiches


Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad: I really loved this salad, it was delicious. The recipe calls for yellow capsicum, but I used corn kernels instead. It also had celery and toasted pecans.
Rating: :D

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Salad


Moroccan-Spiced Couscous Tabbouleh: I must confess I am not the biggest fan of bulgur, so I do enjoy tabbouleh that uses alternative grains. The couscous stands in wonderfully here.
Rating: :)

Moroccan-Spiced Couscous Tabbouleh


Rainbow Rotini: This is pretty colourful! As well as well as using tricolour pasta, there is also red, green, orange, red and black in the vegetable list. It kees well for lunches as well.
Rating: :)

Rainbow Rotini


Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad: This salad was very refreshing! I served this as a dinner with some baby spinach, baby cucumber and vegan sausage, and then had leftovers for lunch with just the spinach and some cucumber. I used carrots rather than capsicum, and a mix of peanuts and cashews for the nuts (because I didn't have enough peanuts).
Rating: :)

Curried Rice and Chickpea Salad


Sicilian-Style Orzo Salad with Walnuts and Raisins: I only got two serves out of this, and they weren't very filling, but then I realised that I forgot to add the chickpeas. Oops! With chickpeas it would have been much more substantial. I changed the dressing a little by decreasing the amount of shallot and also using water with a a little guar gum rather than olive oil. I also am not a huge walnut fan, so you will see here that these are actually almonds.
Rating: :)

Sicilian-Style Orzo Salad with Walnuts and Raisins


Farmer's Market Pasta Salad: Lots of veggies (minus the capsicum) in a light vinegar dressing makes this a fresh salad that is also great for lunches.
Rating: :)

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Otis


Otis. CUTIE!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Eating Out: Charlie's Raw Squeeze at Everton Park

I've had a few more chances to visit Charlie's lately. This visit was a lunch run from work one day, after seeing that they had a $5 wrap special posted on Instagram.

Of course I had to get a smoothie, and this was the large Charlie's Chocbananarama ($10), which has bananas, cocoa, dates and maca powder. It was chocolately banana goodness.

Charlie's Choc Bananarama Smoothie at Charlie's Raw Squeeze Everton Park


The wraps on special were their new 'rainbow wraps' ($5 for special, $8.50 normally), which had kale, red and green cabbage, carrots, cucumber, beetroot hummus and beetroot cream cheese as well as your choice of either smoked tofu or avocado. I don't know why they didn't just put the avocado and tofu both on the wrap together, which would have been awesome! When I got there, they only had the tofu one left. It was really nice, lots of fresh and crunchy veggies, but I do wish there was some avocado in there as well!

Tofu Rainbow Wrap at Charlie's Raw Squeeze Everton Park


Of course I had to finish up with a plain cinnamon bun from Cinnayum. I love these!

Plain Cinnayum at Charlie's Raw Squeeze Everton Park


Here is also a slightly shiny photo of their cabinet, which is where all the salads, wraps and sweets live and is entirely vegan!

Charlie's cabinet at Charlie's Raw Squeeze Everton Park


On this visit I also noticed that they do have some tables and chairs outside and to the side of the entrance, as well as a little bar inside, so you can eat there if you wish!

I have been eating a Charlie's several times lately, so I hope you won't get sick of all my posts about it!

Charlie's Raw Squeeze at Charlie's Fruit Market - 473 South Pine Road, Everton Park, Brisbane - 3855 3966

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Grace


This little cutie is called Grace. She is very dramatic and adorable.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Recipe Round-Up: One Dish Vegan

Another of Robin Robertson's great cookbooks. Although not 'quick-fix', One-Dish Vegan is another book I recommend a lot because most of the recipes are simple and it uses a lot of whole foods as well. You can see my previous posts about this book here.

You will notice several chili recipes towards the end of the post. Over winter, I had a fortnightly chili and baked potato night on the Saturdays I had to work. It was a lot of fun working through all sorts of chili recipes, and given that this book has an entire chili chapter, it contributed to many of these nights. I have stopped chili night for the warmer months, but look forward to it again when the weather cools down!

Chunky Vegetable Soup: I always gravitate towards tomato-based veggie soups. This has lots of veggies - onion, carrot, celery, potato, edamame (I used these instead of lima beans) and chickpeas, plus I added peas because I can't stop adding peas. And served over baby spinach with some bread and avocado on the side. Very satisfying!
Rating: :)

Chunky Vegetable Soup


Spicy Soba Salad with Edamame and Cucumber: Of course I made this less spicy by using a little but of sriracha. This was really nice, and reminiscent of the cold Japanese noodles my mum used to make when I was younger. I served this with some baby spinach, as well as some Japanese marinated tofu. Great for summer!
Rating: :)

Spicy Soba Salad with Edamame and Cucumber


Succotash Pilaf with Grape Tomatoes: I used frozen edamame instead of lima beans, because I can't find those here. This was a nice dinner, with corn, edamame and tomatoes mixed up with brown rice. I skipped the capsicum it called for. Because I often find that my brown rice doesn't cook in time for these sorts of one pot dishes, I soaked it in hot water for an hour first, and then it cooked super quickly! It was done within the first 20 minutes. This says it serves 4, but I got 3 serves.
Rating: :)

Succotash Pilaf with Grape Tomatoes


Jamaican Jerk Tempeh and Vegetables: I had a 300g block of tempeh (rather than 250g), which used up all the spices (the recipe says to add leftover spice mix later on in the dish). The vegetables here are red onion, sweet potato, zucchini and tomatoes, and the combined with the spiced tempeh to have a pleasant flavour. I didn't use the optional rum.
Rating: :)

Jamaican Jerk Tempeh and Vegetables


Vegetable Tagine: Served with rice and baby spinach, this gave four big servigs/ I skipped the capsicum and added peas instead, to go along with the carrots, onions, potato, tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas and olives. I do suggest dicing the potato quite small, because mine didn't cook all the way through in the suggested cooking time.
Rating: :)

Vegetable Tagine


Garden Vegetable Bean Stew: Remember what I said about tomato based vegetable soup? It applies to stew as well. Onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, edamame, zucchini and corn are bobbing around in a fire-roasted tomato broth (though I used some regular tomatoes with a dash of liquid smoke). I skipped the capsicum and jalapeno in the ingredients.
Rating: :)

Garden Vegetable Bean Stew


Garlic Lover's Chili: I made a half a batch of this (as I tended to do with most of the chilis on chili night), which was two good serves with a baked potato and baby spinach. The half serve had four cloves of garlic, which did come through in the flavour but it is not going to ward off any vampires. I left out the capsicum and chiles, and only added a sprinkle of chili powder. I like my chili mild!
Rating: :)

Garlic Lover's Chili


Sweet and Spicy Chili: I made another half batch here, and got two and a bit servings. This is an interesting chili, with sweetness coming from apple juice and raisins. I added a scraping of frozen chipotle and a sprinkle of chili powder to get a mild heat. This dish is garnished with toasted almonds, which add a great taste and texture.
Rating: :)

Sweet and Spicy Chili


Louisiana Bayou Chili: I accidentally made this a bit too hot for myself, I guess I was a little heavy handed with my sprinkle of chili powder and dash of Frank's Hot Sauce. But it was still good, even if my nose did run. I made a half batch here and got three small serves with a baked potato, baby spinach, avocado and nooch to serve with. I left out the capsicum and chili. I liked that as well as the red kidney beans this also had TVP in it.
Rating: :)

Louisiana Bayou Chili


Beer Chaser Chili: I only ever use beer in baking or cooking, I am not a beer drinker at all. I found the beer taste to be a bit too strong here for me, but obviously that is my issue and not the recipe's. I used Cooper's Pale Ale, which is my usual cooking/baking beer. I should remember to decrease the amount of beer in this sort of dish. This also has TVP in it, along with pinto beans, which is nice. I made a half batch and served with baked potato, spinach and avocado.
Rating: :| (my own fault for not decreasing the beer a bit for my preferences)

Beer Chaser Chili


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Sahara in the sun


Sahara catching some early morning sunlight in the sunroom.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Eating Out: NoNo's

I caught up with a friend for dinner on Christmas Eve after I finished work. Finding somewhere that is open for dinner on Christmas Eve was actually a bit of task, but thankfully NoNo's, a Lebanese place just up the road from work, said that they would be open.

I have been to NoNo's a number of times to grab lunch sometimes at work. My favourite thing is their salads, all of which are vegan! They also have some other vegan items - falafel, eggplant slices and vine leaves - as well as falafel kebabs, but I just can't go past their salads. Delicious, garlicky salads. They are not afraid of the garlic!

I got a medium salad plate ($8.50). I had their lentil and rice salad (ask for extra crispy onions!), green bean salad, potato salad, tabbouleh, baba ganouj and hummus. It was so yummy. I also had a fresh juice (carrot, apple and a delightfully spicy amount of ginger).

Medium Salad Plate and Carrot Apple Ginger Juice from Nonos


I recommend NoNo's if you are in the area and after some delicious, garlicky food. It isn't at all fancy inside, but the food is good. They also have a small deli there with some Lebanese groceries.

NoNo's - 158 Musgrave Road, Red Hill, Queensland - (07) 3369 5691

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Dim Sim in the sun


Sun loving Dim Sim.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Recipe Round-Up: Oh She Glows

I have been really enjoying Oh She Glows since I bought it, and I have made quite a lot out of it. It is a great book. I have blogged about individual dishes a couple of times, but this is the first full recipe round-up I have done from it. With many more to come!

Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burrito and Chakra Caesar Salad with Nutty Herb Croutons: I loved these burritos, the cheese sauce is amazing! In fact, I think they could have been saucier! I got 6 using large tortillas, rather than 4. They were so nice! The salad was OK, I wasn't a huge fan of the dressing (though my mum liked it), I found it a bit bitter. The nutty herb croutons were fun. A blended up mix of of nuts, onion, herbs and flaxseed that is then broken into little bits and baked. They didn't really go crunchy, but they tasted good. Though I needed to add extra salt.
Rating: Burritos :D, Salad :|, Croutons :)

Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burrito; Chakra Caesar Salad with Nutty Herb Croutons


Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole and Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip: I made this combination for a movie watching day when I had a friend over. The guacamole is very sweet and refreshing. I originally forgot to add lime, though it was still good, then I added it and it was even better. I used sliced green shallots (scallions) rather than raw onion. The nacho dip lives up to its name, the cheese sauce is AWESOME! I left out the chili and cayenne to make it mild, and I used a mild chunky salsa instead of marinara based on a tip from Cadry. I used panko crumbs for the crunchy topping.
Rating: Guacamole :), Nacho Dip :D

Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole; Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip


Grilled Portobello Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Kale-Hemp Pesto, Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries and Perfect Kale Chips: This was a fun dinner. The burgers are made up of marinated and grilled mushrooms topped with pesto and other toppings. The pesto was a bit bitter at first, but mellowed after an hour or two. This recipe makes for two burgers with leftover pesto, so would be easy to increase. These aren't filling burgers, so I was happy for the sides. The fries are amazing, I did need to bake for a bit longer than recommended (45 minutes rather than 35), but they were worth the wait. The kale chips were also fun. I made a small batch using about 3 leaves of kale, which covered two baking trays. There are optional seasonings to add, but I kept it just plain salt and pepper.
Rating: Burgers :), Fries :D, Kale Chips :)

Grilled Portobello Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Kale-Hemp Pesto; Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries; Perfect Kale Chips


Spa-Day Bircher Muesli: I made this to use up some leftover yoghurt, which was sweetened vanilla flavour, so this was sweeter for me than it would be otherwise. It is a nice blend of oats, seeds and fruit. Though I really need to not grate my knuckles every time I try and grate and apple! This was a good breakfast.
Rating: :)

Spa Day Bircher Muesli


Loaded Savoury Oatmeal: This quick and easy recipe combines overnight oats with a savoury blend. According to the recipe it serves two, but truthfully I only got one serving and even that was a little light on for the big day I had. I topped mine with hummus, avocado, tomato, parsley and tortilla chips.
Rating: :)

Loaded Savoury Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl


Classic Green Monster Smoothie: I always enjoy trying new smoothie recipes. This was good, though I prefer my own regular green smoothie recipe and it wasn't very filling. I used baby spinach leaves for the green, and took the options of peanut butter (instead of almond butter) and LSA (instead of chia or flaxseed).
Rating: :)

Classic Green Monster


Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie: I made this when I was starting to feel sickly one day. The next day I was super sick. I don't blame the smoothie though, I am sure it did its best but sometimes lurgies are just going to happen. Still, it was a refreshing citrus blend of orange and lemon, with some ginger and cayenne to spice it up. Nice even if you aren't trying to fend off a bug.
Rating: :)

Flu-Fighter Sunshine Smoothie


Creamy Avocado-Potato Salad: This salad is the bomb. It is so tasty! It has roasted potatoes and asparagus! In a dilly avocado dressing! I must confess that I snacked on the yummy roasted potato cubes quite a bit before putting the salad together. I also added lots more dill because 2 tablespoons is a nothing about. So good.
Rating: :D

Creamy Avocado-Potato Salad


Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew: This is a combination I can never get enough of - sweet potato, tomatoes and peanut butter in a definitely soothing soup/ I left out the capsicum and the jalapeno, and added in 2 scantcups of cooked brown rice, frozen peas and extra spinach.
Rating: :)

Soul-Soothing African Peanut Stew


On The Mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup: I found this to be quite a bland broth, though I had decreased the chili powder by a bunch so probably a lot of the flavour comes from that. I only needed to use the original 5 cups of broth. I also added a 150g bag of baby kale leaves at the end instead of torn regular kale.
Rating: :|

On The Med Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup


Cute Kitty Photo of the Post

Caesar


This handsome fellow is Caesar, and this photo was taken while he was in boarding. Caesar is a kitty from my PhD study, and he is super handsome.