Isa Does It, VCIYCJ and Vegan with a Vengeance recipes

I’ve made a few more recipes by Isa Chandra M. over the past month but have been a bit slack with posting, so here they are all in one go.

Peanut Butter Criss Crosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I won’t ever eat peanut butter on bread or toast but in biscuits I love it:

The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:


After trying the roast veg soba bowl at the Corner Hotel back in March, I had to make it at home.  This time I followed the Isa Does It instructions to the letter and I was rewarded with the same delicious meal.  I used both the lentils in the actual recipe but the next day I went for marinated tofu instead.  I’ve also made this with more veggies added in:


Isa’s Vegan With a Vengeance is a great book but admittedly, not one I have used all that much.  Not because there’s something wrong with it, more because I tend to stick with the latest cookbook purchases.  You know, shiny new toys and stuff.  Last week I decided to break out VWaV and I made the Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake.  Deeeelicious!


Some weeks ago I made the Marbled Banana Bread from Isa Does It.  Clearly, my family need more practise with the marbling bit:




As I’ve cleaned up my eating (again) I won’t be doing much baking and I will be adapting recipes I use to be lower in fat, or making substitutions outright.  I like that I can still use Isa’s recipes as a base and end up with something that is still super tasty!

Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It plus some Isa+Terry PB cookies

We had some company over last week so I decided to make a cake and some biscuits.  The Lemon Blueberry Cake from Isa Does It was the logical choice because the photo looks so scrumptious. Of course, once I started mixing things together I discovered I had no applesauce.  I’m guessing this is why the cake turned out a little too dry but taste wise it was great.  Lovely and lemony!  I didn’t bother with the lemon glaze drizzle because there was enough sugar as it was:

lemon blueberry cake1

Arthur has been nagging me forever to make the Peanut Butter Crisscrosses from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I was in a peanut butter kind of baking mood so I was happy to oblige.  These certainly satisfy a peanut butter cookie craving:

pb criss crosses

As a bit of an indulgence (I consider using white flour and sugars an indulgence!) these were great.  The problem with the biscuits was stopping at one… dozen.

cake and biscuits

It’s officially autumn! Which means baked treats and decoratey things

Yay! It’s the first day of autumn here.  My favourite time of year, where our grapevine starts sporting those beautiful autumn colours.  When our grapevine gets too long I just trim it all back but, genius of all genius, I’ve realised I can make wreaths from the vines.  I feel proud that in this area I am quite literally millennia behind the times.

I’ve always wanted to decorate my house with seasonal crafts, mostly nature crafts.  The problem is I lack the creativity gene.  My sewing is as basic as you can get.  I lack patience too when I’m learning a new skill because I want to know it all NOW.  I want the autumn colours NOW but everything is still green.  And it makes me hop around all annoyed like and thinking chlorophyll is totally overrated.

DeeW was feeling a little bummed out because Arthur was off at a birthday party, so we made some gingerbread in autumn shapes.  I used the gingerbread cut-outs recipe from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. I love my leaf cutter shapes but some of them are rather small and better suited to things like dough craft or cutting out pastry shapes for a pie:

making gingerbread

I have other larger cutters so now we have acorns, apples, teddy bears and a squirrel from an Ikea set.  No icing, there’s enough sugar as it is:

gingerbread autumn shapes

So many north American blogs I read feature autumn and woodland crafts.  People decorate their homes inside and out with autumnal displays and I sit there reading the blogs all happy like.  I love it and wish things were the same here.  Because autumn ROCKS and I love acorns, though I lack patience to do something lovely like this.  I don’t know about you guys but I just wanna wear this as a sash when I walk down to the shops:

The park near us has some oak trees so DeeW and I went and looked for acorns on the ground, along with other treasures.  Argh, flash!

autumn treasures

I googled for autumn nature crafts and was all stunned at the cute stuff one can make with leaves and acorns.  Remember folks, MILLENNIA behind the times here at ziggurat Veganopoulous.  Look at this sweet little fairy tea set!  I used air drying clay for the saucers, handles and spouts, then used a hot glue gun to stick all the bits together… badly, as the coffee pot will attest:

acorn fairy tea set

I have some more autumn crafts coming up (I hope).  Check back and see how someone totally useless at crafts and sewing fares. And I foresee some apple pies in my near future with pastry leaf cutouts!  And lots of crafty disasters.



Random eat-y bits and pieces

Back on the air after some internet silliness!  Like… going over your monthly usage quota and being punished by the speed of your connection slowing to snail’s pace.  Whoops.

I haven’t been keeping much of a record of what I’ve been eating.  Lots of smoothies and juices which kinda seem too boring to put on the blog. Here are some of the more less-boring ones.  A beet-berry-banana smoothie.  I don’t like the taste of beetroot in smoothies but this was okay.  The perfect thing to drink on… Prince’s birthday perhaps:

beet berry smoothie

This one had fig, banana, greens, flax and other stuff I don’t remember now:

fig banana smoothie

One of the nicer green juices:

green fruit veg juice

a maple walnut banana smoothie.  I used maple extract:

maple walnut smoothie

I made the Lentil Taco Meat recipe from Isa Does It (using chipotle powder instead) though I added a can of black beans to the mix.  Then I decided to use up the cooked red quinoa I’d discovered in the freezer so I threw that in too, along with some mushrooms.  I served it up in a bowl with baby spinach, lettuce, tomato, avocado all squirted with a little lime juice.  This is one of my favourite bowls:

lentil taco meat bowl

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted a great nut roast recipe that uses buckwheat, one of my favourite ingredients to use.  Johanna’s recipe is also up on Ricki Heller’s awesome site. My attempt could have been a disaster because when I was simmering the buckwheat groats, I forgot about them.  The simmer time was 10-12 minutes.  I remembered them an hour later.  They were pretty mooshy by that time but not very burnt on the bottom of the pot which was a surprise and a relief!  Blurry photos, argh:

tomato nut roast2

tomato nut roast1

I made this fab chocolate chip cookie wedges recipe by Joann from Woman in Real Life.  In true Veganopoulos style, after I started the recipe I realised I didn’t have the full amount of sugar so I had to use less but it turned out great regardless.  This was a belated Valentine’s Day treat for the family:


Chocolate chip biscuits:

choc chip biscuits

We had dinner at Loving Hut in Northcote again.  Southern fried ‘chicken’ and the homemade curry equals yumz:

Loving Hut Northcote


aaaaaand Husband and I went to Loving Hut in Richmond.  I got my usual, which is the veg curry with tofu puffs.  Husband got the spring rolls:

Loving Hut spring rolls

Loving Hut curry

I over roasted some canned chickpeas with nooch for Arthur:


Possibly my favourite kale dish is this cheezy chickpeas and kale dish from Fannetastic Food.  I added in some leftover roasted sweet potato:

cheezy chickpeas and kale

Husband and I received these lovely cherry truffles with the added bonus of it appearing quite vegan:

cherry chocs

Now, how many of you know how to fold a fitted sheet nicely?  I’ve been watching YouTube clips on how to do it but nope, mine turn out all horrible and I end up totally frustrated.  None of those pretty smooth corners for me.

Last weekend we went to the Moonee Valley Festival.  I did a quick run past the food stalls and there didn’t appear to be anything vegan.  If there were, I wouldn’t have waited as the queues were too long:





DeeW made a seed ball and planted it at home:


I lost $10 on this…


There were lots of lost balloons in the air:


I was glad to be home again.  I like visiting these community festivals but after a while I need to get out of there:
I found this sight quite amusing:


Excellent news is that tomorrow is the last day of summer!  Summer is my least favourite season so I’m not exactly sorry to see it go.  I have some plans for autumn and this year I hope I’ll stick to them!


Christmas baking adventures

Just about every year I say I’ll make treats to give as gifts.  But every year, being summer in Australia, it’s often way too hot to turn the oven on.

But Melbourne has been true to form and given us some nice cold wintery/autumny weather.  In summer!  Melbourne is such a delight that way. I love Melbourne.  These cool changes in the weather make summer bearable for me.  I really, really dislike hot weather.  I was sweating it out in shorts last week.  Three days ago it was so cold and rainy that I had to break my winter coat out of storage and we put the room heaters on.

I recently purchased the super lovely ‘Vegan Food Gifts’ by Joni Marie Newman. Beautiful photography coupled with great gift ideas and recipes.  The book contains instructions on how to make little boxes and decorations, as well as labels, hang tags and cards you can copy. This is great for talentless hacks like me when it comes to crafts and using one’s hands to make pretty things. I have to go through it again and narrow down the stuff I’ll be making, then I will get Arthur and DeeW to help make the boxes and decorationy bits.

Aaaanyway, let’s talk food.  This year I’ll be making the Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Cookies from  Woman In Real Life.  Joann has a great blog and these cookies, which I made twice, are delicious.  I didn’t have chocolate chunks the first time so I used small white chocolate chips.  I also bought far more cranberries than I’ll probably ever use so I threw in some of those as well, along with some chopped pumpkin seeds for the whole green-and-red Christmas vibe.  They turned out great.  The second time (photo below), I think I chopped things too finely in the food processor (I was being lazy) so there aren’t that many nice chunks and I used wholemeal spelt and the cookies turned out puffier-yummy, whereas the first batch (with stuff chopped by hand) were crunchy-flat yumness:


Also on the plate there are the Norah’s Lemon Lemon Cookies from ‘Isa Does It’ by Isa Chandra M.  These are great too, though a little on the sweet side for me.  I decided not to make the icing, though when I give them out I’ll dust over some icing (confectioner’s) sugar.

Now, I made both these cookies and put them in the freezer to keep until Christmas, where I can then wrap them up when I’m about to go visiting.  I tried one of each from the freezer and they were fine.  So fine, that I had a few more of each.  I really don’t think these will last.  But that’s okay, I want to make them again and see if I can shape them properly.  I’m a bit of a glutton perfectionist like that!