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:

pbcrisscrosses
The Curried Peanut Sauce Bowl.  Yummm:

peanutkaletofubowl

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:

misotahinisobacauli

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!

gingermaccococarrotcake

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

marbledcake

marbledcake2

 

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!

Vegan Goodness for a Family Lunch

My parents came over today to help us out with some work on the house and my sister had the day off work and came over to help too.  Despite them saying I shouldn’t worry about cooking, I decided to put on a bit of a last minute light lunch.  Why last minute?  Because my sister and I had originally planned to go to Smith & Daughters for lunch, as I’d seen the opening time listed somewhere as midday but when I went to confirm later, Smith & Daughters were only open for dinner.  Which, as you can imagine was a mega disappointment.  I’ve been hanging out to go and that was to be the big adventure today. SOB CRY WAIL.

My mum and dad also offered to come over pretty much last minute, when I’d just realised Smith & Daughters was not going to happen.  I hadn’t done the shopping and there was no chance of going out to get stuff.  Fortunately, I’d made a big pot of the Soul Soothing African Peanut Stew from The Oh She Glows Cookbook the day before and served that up. Husband went out and picked up some zaatar breads from Zaatar in Coburg. For another side dish, I made some roast cauliflower.  I usually sprinkle nutritional yeast on it but I’ve run out (and I’m finding it hard to survive without it) so I just used a little garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  I would have sprinkled on some almond meal, but I over processed almonds the other day and they went past the almond meal stage and in to the halfway-to-butter stage…

veganlunch4
I’d also previously frozen a dip I made from toasted walnuts, roasted red capsicum and garlic.  I love this dip.  Soooo simple to make, I just toast some walnuts, roast a heap of red capsicum (bell peppers) then peel off the blackened skins and whiz it all up in the blender with some garlic and olive oil.

I decided to make some hummus too, to have another dip on offer.  I don’t follow a recipe, I just throw a can of chickpeas in the blender along with some tahini, lemon juice, cumin and salt.  I leave the olive oil for serving, along with a sprinkle of paprika:

veganlunch2

I also made a simple salad with mixed lettuce, tomato and some leftover red quinoa I’d cooked a few days ago.  The salad was dressed with the Effortless Anytime Balsamic Vinaigrette from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  I forgot to sprinkle my toasted walnuts on top.  That’s how I roll!  Like sitting down to eat, finishing our meals then realising I forgot to fill the water jug for everyone.

For dessert I wanted to make a cake.  Arthur and DeeW have been asking me to bake a chocolate cake for ages, so I made the Double Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, along with the suggested chocolate buttercream icing.  This was a last minute bake the night before as I really didn’t want to be baking on the day.  Everyone enjoyed the cake and it looked great on the cake plate, though I made a bit of a mess with the icing on the cake plate.  It’s amazing how children think a double layer cake on a platter is super special:

veganlunch3

For more info on the Oh She Glows recipes mentioned here, stay tuned as I am writing up another recipe review post!

I really enjoy cooking vegan food for my parents and as mum is observing Lent and eating mostly vegan (otherwise vegetarian, she gives up meat/fish for Lent), this is where I showcase some simple but very tasty dishes that are easy for her to prepare at home.  When I went vegan and mum was asking me what kind of stuff I’d be cooking, I laughed and said “you know all those meals you make during Lent but that you also make when it’s not Lent?  Like your lentil soup, and green beans-potatoes-carrot dish and your fasolatha (bean soup)? Those!” And she was all “oh!  Fair enough!”  It’s great though as my mum now makes her regular foods vegan for me but she and my dad also enjoy it. She’s not sceptical when it comes to a vegan diet because a lot of what she eats is vegan anyway, without ever having deliberately made it vegan, if you know what I mean!  So for her there has been no problem eating a vegan diet– she was eating this way a lot, long before she ever heard the word vegan.  That’s true of just about everyone I’ve spoken to.  Too often, people seem to think vegan food is all ‘rabbit food’ plus tofu and nothing could be further from the truth!

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

Random What-I-Ates and the Never Ending De-cluttering

I’ve been feeling so very lazy when it comes to cooking lately.  I’ve been relying on the old faithfuls which are too boring to list on the blog.  A lot of my time has been spent cleaning and de-cluttering the house even more, in preparation for a good deep spring clean.  We’ve been in this house for seven years and every year I say the massive spring clean will happen inside and out.  Except it never does and I stick to the same old daily chores.  But there are those big jobs that need to be done once and for all, especially outside.  On the plus side, we did finally get our roof replaced, so we no longer have to put up with the leaking kitchen ceiling:

Even though it was a short term job, I found myself slightly annoyed with the skip bins and broken bits of tile and concrete littering our front yard:

skipbin

The crazy discarding-of-stuff continues.  I think I’ve donated about eight garbage bags worth of clothes, toys, books and general stuff.  I’ve sold a filing cabinet and storage shelf on eBay as well as some other things that were taking up space.  I’ve packed up a box of Dora the Explorer (SSSSHHHH) and if they don’t get asked about for a few months, well Dora is gonna go exploring eBay.  With de-cluttering, I’m always gobsmacked at how much stuff we accumulate.  Our recyling bin gets emptied once a week, but when I de-clutter I refill it the day it has been emptied.  Which means for the rest of the week I’m playing a kind of rubbish bin reverse Jenga, trying to slot cans and cartons inside the bin.

DeeW has been very accident prone lately.  She found out the hard way that you shouldn’t walk in the path of an oncoming bicycle.  Luckily the rider was a little girl, all wobby on her bike and not going fast but DeeW still ended up with lots of bruises and scrapes.  Out came the ‘hurt box’, which is an old retro plastic sewing box I bought cheap with all the contents.  I took everything out and made it our first aid kit:

sewingbasket1

sewingbasket2

Speaking of DeeW, do you think she likes to wear a tutu to ballet class?  Ho ho. Fortunately a ballet uniform is not compulsory at the classes she goes to.  More fortunately, she does remove the ski boots (which are big for her, they were her brother’s):

balletoutfit

Arthur and I went to see ‘James and the Giant Peach’ at ACMI.  To kill time before the movie started, we did some Mad Libs.  This is the Adventure Time (a funny tv show) Mad Libs book:

madlibs1

Mad Libs has been around forever.  If you’re not familiar with it, it involves one player asking the others for some words like a noun, adjective etc. These then get plugged in to the story where the blanks appear, then you read it back aloud (nobody knows the story to begin with):

madlibs3

Food adventure time! During the week my mum cut up a bunch of red and green peppers and fried them with a little garlic and onion in olive oil.  Simply but tasty on pasta:

pastapeppers

Mum also made some stuffed vine leaves:

dolmades

Now for some vegan food products.  I tried the Lamyong vegan hot dogs.  I don’t know how else to word this apart from “it’s not to my liking”.  I ate two in a hot dog bun but binned the rest:

lamyonghotdog

I was given a packet of Linda McCartney sausages.  These were nice, the kids said they were okay.  I ate mine like a hotdog, with tomato sauce and American mustard:

lmsausages

In search of a good vegan hotdog, I bought the Redwood version and really liked them.  I didn’t have hot dog rolls (buns) so I used a tortilla heated in a frying pan and threw in some red onion and a Tofutti cheeze slice:

redwoodhotdog

I made some zucchini carrot fritters with chickpea flour but the kids didn’t like them, arghghghhhh:

chickpeafritters

The mega bag of sweet potatoes I asked my parents to buy me from Costco.  Don’t you think the super dude looks like an orange Mr Hankey?

bagpotatoes

sweetpots

the colostomy version:

potpuree

I made a gluten free chocolate cake using a recipe I found online that called for some vegan yoghurt.  I didn’t like it at all, it had that ‘this is a gluten free cake’ taste about.  Know what I mean?  The sort of cake that makes people think GF cakes are yuck, when of course that is far from the truth!

gfcake

Arthur and I had a dvd movie night.  We watched the original ‘Clash of the Titans’ and ate home made pizza:

pizza2

pizza1

A smoothie made with strawberries, spinach, hazelnut, banana and cacao:

chocberry

I made roasted cauliflower with almond meal and nooch and kinda forgot about it:

roastcauli

And I made another batch of Sweet Potato Spiced Blondies, with less sugar.  Muuuch better with the reduced sugar in my opinion:

teablondies

Today I read that Lou Reed passed away, so I’ll leave you with Perfect Day.

Best Bean Brownies from Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free

So lately I’m on a baking roll with Ricki Heller’s ‘Naturally Sweet & Gluten Free’.  I’m really enjoying these recipes and seeing how Arthur and DeeW react.  Their reactions, and this book, are proof enough that you don’t need to bake with refined flours and sugars.

A recipe I marked was the Best Bean Brownies.  I’ve made brownies with beans before from different websites and cookbooks and they’ve all been blah.  You can either taste beans, or the final result was just moosh inside, or you were left feeling like “I may as well have poured a heap of sugar on a bowl of beans and eaten that”.  If I’m going to be baking something like bean brownies, they better be damn good!

And so it came to pass that I, not a lover of brownies, now consider these one of my favourite treats to bake.  First of all, things are thrown in the blender.  BRILLIANT.  Secondly, the recipe contains tahini and I loooove tahini and chocolate (I used my raw cacao powder).  Thirdly, I finally got to use the packet of teff flour I bought a while ago and it has been sitting in the freezer doing nothing.    I used canned cannellini beans so it really was so very easy.  Mix your wet ingredients with your sifted dry ingredients (which include psyllium husks), bake for about an hour, walk around the house Hoovering up the amazing baking-brownie smell and then sit down to stuff your face with THIS (yeah, I cut a big piece as soon as they were out of the oven, stuck it in the freezer and hopped around impatiently for it to cool down enough):

bestbeanbrownies

I love this recipe (the white choc chips made an appearance again) and Arthur loved it too.  I did use slightly less coconut sugar and they were great.  You absolutely can not pick up the flavour of beans.  I could taste the sunflower oil so if you don’t like that taste, perhaps another neutral flavoured oil would suit you.  I didn’t mind it at all, which is why I polished off most of the finished product.

I will definitely make this again and perhaps add some pecans or walnuts.  I’m planning on baking for Christmas gifts this year so if it’s not too hot to use the oven, these brownies will be a main feature  😀