‘Isa Does It’ again: Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies

It seemed I waited an eternity for my copy of Isa Chandra M’s new super fantastic ‘Isa Does It’ cookbook to arrive.  It finally arrived yesterday but I refused to look at it until I had the perfect opportunity to do so properly, and in peace.  No quick flipping through the pages for me, that sort of disrespect would never do.  Fortunately, Isa has published a few recipes from the book plus videos over at The Post Punk Kitchen site.

One recipe (with video, wheeee!) that made me salivate was Isa’s Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookies.  That’s right, ROSEMARY.  As in, the fresh herb.  In a cookie!  I was all agog I tell you.  And these are amaaaaazing.  I used half the amount of rosemary (make sure to chop it finely) in case the kids found it too strong.  I used spelt flour as it’s all I had (I don’t buy regular flour) I also used white choc chips as I didn’t have brown and this concerned me a little but in the end I think the white chips worked really well.

Now despite following the recipe to the letter, with the coconut oil being the correct temperature, I ended up with cookie pancake.  So I read through the comments on the blog entry at Post Punk Kitchen to see if anyone else had the same problem and one person did and said they used spelt.  Isa said to add a few more tablespoons of spelt to the recipe (if using spelt flour) so I’ll do that next time.  Because there WILL be a next time:

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Tonight I read through Isa Does It properly and oh my goodness.  Just oh my goodness.  This is one beautiful looking cookbook (the photos are fantastic) and the recipes more so.  Isa is one of my favourite vegan authors and this book does not disappoint!

Home organisation: my ‘Home’ folder

Are you obsessed with organisation?  And stationery?  And those before-and-after websites which show scary amounts of clutter that magically get transformed in to fully functional organised beauty?  I love that stuff but I often find it difficult to stay on top of things myself and eventually, my house gets cluttered, organisation systems are forgotten and then I start the whole decluttering/organisation cycle again.

I always had a bit of a problem with keeping things in a given place.  Because I have so many drawers around the house, stuff was everywhere.  I’d run around at the last minute trying to find vouchers and loyalty cards (I don’t like keeping them in my purse as they bulk it up too much), or prescriptions for medicine, or the printout of the Lego club a friend told me about.  In other words, a big fat disorganised mess.  OUCH.

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I got the idea for a ‘home folder/binder’ from different homeschool and organisation blogs around the www though I will give credit to By Sun and Candlelight as this is where I first got the idea.  Basically it’s a folder where you keep stuff related to the running of your home.  Sure, you don’t need to have this kind of stuff to ‘run’ your home but if you hate running around looking for stuff like I do, then the home folder may be your friend.  I love this folder. I want to tell all my friends!

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My home folder is a plain white binder with the clear plastic covering where you can slide paper inside, as I have done here with cutesy green scrapbooking paper and ye olde kitschy lettering.  Who goes there!

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This is how I divide up my home folder:

Health:  each member of the family has a plastic pocket that holds anything medical related like prescriptions, test results, referrals etc.

House Keeping: this is named in honour of Alice. Here I include various jobs I’ve jotted down on index cards that relate to things that have to be done around the house.  It’s handy to pull out these cards and know which jobs have to be done.  I do not use these index cards as often as I should.  I do not use these index cards at all actually.  Next year I will! *cough*

Meals: printouts of recipes I use often, with notes of any modifications.

Vouchers & Cards: any freebie/discount vouchers as well as loyalty cards.

Fun Stuff: printouts of places or events I’ve heard about or want to visit with the family.

Home & Car: I keep a running list here of things we need to buy that are not really grocery shopping list items.  Things like “new rug for the study” or “2x summer pyjamas for Arthur”.  Basically things that come to mind when I realise something like Arthur and DeeW are in need of summer sandals because their feet have grown so much.  In this section I also have a master to-do list for the house and car, like “replace broken lead lighting in front door” or… “wash car”. Oh and I keep business cards and loyalty cards for stuff related to car and home maintenance and use.

Special Occasions: this is where I keep info and printouts of things like Christmas recipes, cool looking birthday decorations and so on.  I also keep lists in here where I write down things like gift ideas or a list of handmade goodies I will give out for Christmas presents (with notes on recipes I have tested).

Having all this stuff in the one place is super helpful.  No more searching through fifty thousand drawers and cute storage tins for the one loyalty card I’m searching for!  No more losing prescriptions or making another doctors appointment to replace said lost prescription!  No more googling for my hairdresser, writing the number down on a scrap of paper, losing it, googling it again, losing it again…

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Those days are GONE!  Some may say I’ve been brainwashed by the whole home/house organisation folder thing.  And okay, that may be true. But honestly, information is now so much easier to find when it’s all in the one folder.  It’s so handy being able to reach out from where I’m sitting now and grab the folder from my desk top file rack to look something up.  In the old days I’d search through all the drawers or try and think like Husband and work out where he may have put a particular piece of paper. None of that nonsense anymore!

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Look in to my eyes.

Another whoops-I-forgot-the-What-I-Ate-posts Post

Whoops indeed.  I’ve been pretty busy lately and neglecting the blog a bit.  This is the time of year where I start mapping out next year’s schooling plans so most of my computer time has been spent doing that.

First up, many happy returns to Mister Nice Guy’s Bake Shop!  I tried their maple facon bun, yummm.  We also got a free mini cupcake to celebrate the happy birthday.  Here’s to many more birthdays!

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Mini pumpkin pies and pecan pies!

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I have a new toy!  Yay for credit card reward points. And blu tack on the walls to hold up recipe printouts:

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One of Arthur’s favourite meals is Dreena Burton’s BBQ Sunflower Tofu.  Yes, there’s a lack of vegetables.  He drinks them instead (but don’t tell him.  I just call it ‘juice’):

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I picked up this packet of mac and cheese from Bed and Broccoli’s stall at World Vegan Day.  My mac and cheeze attempts have always been a little mehhh but this was nice.  I wish the rest of the family would eat mac and cheeze:

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My mum made yemista (stuffed Greek vegetables) with roast potatoes:

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I made some chocolate sweet potato brownies:

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Late night munchies: refried beans in tortillas cooked in the frying pan.  I really don’t like canned refried beans:

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Arthur usually asks for porridge (oatmeal) with a little golden syrup:

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I went to Lord of the Fries and took this bad picture:

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I opted for some vegan mayo sauce on the fries.  Whenever I get a sauce I think nope never again (I don’t like too much sauce) but when I get plain fries, I always wish I got a sauce.  WHAT TO DO:

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Mama’s making Kantong with frozen vegetables.  I have to say it, I really dislike the taste of frozen vegetables.  Do you think they have that frozen-veggies taste?  Anyway, I used some mock duck and soy nuggets with a packet of Kantong.  It was okay but those packet sauces have a fair bit of sugar:

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Some satay buns I bought from Global Green Vegetarian Food Mart:

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A can of gigantes (large beans, Greek style).  This photo is awfully red but I don’t think there’s any red food colouring involved:

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I tried these Redwood burgers and decided that if I go to a bbq and want a burger, these will be it.  Much nicer than the Fry’s burger in my greedy opinion:
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I made a Thai style curry using some soy slices.  The slices come dried and you have to rehydrate them.  These were awful and had a really strong soy milk taste.  I mean, obviously, they’d taste like soy, being soy.  But I don’t like the taste of soy milk in anything other than my cornflakes.  I don’t want my Thai curries tasting like soy milk.  The soy nuggets I use (in the picture above somewhere) don’t have the soy milk taste:

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Honest, we eat fruit and vegetables and healthy stuff.  I just forget to take photos of those!

Dinner at Philhellene, Moonee Ponds

My mum’s birthday was this week and she decided she wanted to have her birthday dinner at Philhellene.  When she initially phoned them up, she asked about vegan options for me and was assured there were vegan dishes.  Of course, this didn’t stop me from going straight to the menu online and confirming that for myself 🙂

It was a busy night but our entrees arrived quickly.  My sister and I shared the ‘rodi dip’, which was made from roasted red capsicum, walnut and pomegranate:

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I stuffed myself on bread before even thinking to ask if it was vegan, seeing as all the Greek women in my family only ever made bread with vegan ingredients.  I just assumed it was then later smacked myself in the head for not asking (I don’t want to know now!):

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Arthur and DeeW got some chips and I had… quite a few of those:

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I ordered the cauliflower salad with cous cous, parsley, pomegranate, onion, almond and dressed with a pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.  This was delicious and not a huge serve, though I was already a little full with the bread, dip, and pinching the chips.  I want to try and replicate this at home as it was a winner for me:

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My sister ordered the vegetarian platter.  I’m really proud of my sister.  She no longer eats meat and although she’s more vegetarian now, most of what she eats or cooks is vegan.  Anyway, I’ve decided to include a photo (I only show vegan foods here on the blog but in this case all you see is pastry!).  I think the only non-vegan item on the veg platter are the pastries which contained feta and spinach.  This was a really big meal and my sister couldn’t finish it without help (she didn’t eat the pastries 😉 :

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We all enjoyed our meals and service was very efficient and friendly.  The restaurant was quite busy and although our entrees arrived quickly, our mains took a really long time which is kinda a little difficult when you have young children getting impatient!  I’d brought along stuff to keep them occupied so fortunately there was no “where’s Charlie Chan with that food?” moment:

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I didn’t have a chance to take a photo of the inside of Philhellene, plus there were people everywhere, so here’s the indoor view from my seat:

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Although not a vegan establishment of course, I was very happy with my food and if my family wanted to go back there I would gladly order the rodi dip again (though I’d check if the pita bread is vegan but ohhh it was good bread) and some of the other vegan options.

Philhellene is located at 551-553 Mt. Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds. http://www.philhellene.com.au/

Nirvana Enchilada Casserole by Isa Chandra M

There’s much excitement in vegan homes around the world because Isa Chandra Moskowitz has a new cookbook out called Isa Does It. I’m hanging out impatiently for my copy to arrive and I’ve moved my other Isa books around to make room for the new arrival.

Isa has put some of the recipes up on The Post Punk Kitchen blog, along with videos.  Because I was drooling the whole way through the video for Nirvana Enchilada Casserole, I figured I better make it FAST.

This meant a trip to La Tortilleria in Kensington to pick up some handmade corn tortillas:

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Of course, whenever I set out to make such a grand recipe, there’s always a hiccup.  This time I thought I had two cans of black beans (the recipe says pinto but I like black beans).  Turns out I only had one can.  The only other can of beans I had were cannellini so I used those along with my one can of black beans.

This recipe does take a fair bit of prep work and I had to make sure Arthur and DeeW were properly occupied for at least an hour while I chopped and roasted the potatoes, cut up onions, garlic and mushrooms and kept an eye on the enchilada sauce, the other eye on the roasting spuds and the other eye (?!) on the filling.  All the while doing my ‘clean as you go’ kitchen dance.  Which is where I have to clean up while I prepare and cook because my kitchen is so teeny tiny that I literally run out of room. I’d prepared the cashew cream earlier and you can also prepare the enchilada sauce in advance.

Let me tell you now that a sizeable amount of the filling did not make it to the casserole.  I couldn’t help it, the crispy potato mixed with the beans, mushroom, onion, garlic and lime juice was just too divine:

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Isa isn’t kidding when she says the smothering-tortillas-in-sauce bit is messy.  It’s messy but I wonder how much of that has to do with my being a complete klutz?

All baked-y:

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This is a big casserole so share the love!  And thank you to my hometown of Melbourne for having cold casseroley autumn weather even though summer is less than three weeks away.