Eat Your Greens food blogging challenge: Avocado, Kale and Matcha Smoothie

Eat Your Greens challenge logo

This month I have entered the Eat Your Greens challenge set by Shaheen over at A2K- A Seasonal Veg Table.  The challenge requires you to prepare a dish (or beverage, or some kind of food) with green veggies.  All recipes must be vegetarian (vegan recipes are accepted too).

I joined the challenge quite late and it was good timing because my avocado and kale were looking a little sad and I’d also been wondering when I would start using the small tin of matcha I was given.  I’ve been hesitant to use it because, like yacon syrup, a small container is very expensive. So I prefer to sit and look at it.

I haven’t been having smoothies, green or any other colour, much lately because when I get up in the morning I’m so cold and immediately put the kettle on.  I don’t often have smoothies during the day, for me they’re pretty much always a breakfast thing.

Avocado Matcha Banana Protein Smoothie

For the Eat Your Greens challenge, I knew it was time to break out the smoothie love again. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just threw in the following based on smoothie combinations I usually make:

– 1 cup home made almond milk

– 1 banana

– 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (maybe half a scoop if you don’t like too much protein powdery taste)

– 1/4 tsp matcha powder

– a few kale leaves, torn (if using baby spinach, I add a big handful.  With kale, I use much less)

– 1/2 avocado

For me, the sweetness was just right because my banana was spotty. If the banana wasn’t as sweet, I would have added one Medjool date.

 

I’m glad I chose this for the challenge as it made me realise how much I miss my breakfast smoothies!

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St. Patrick’s Day Colcannon Puffs and Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings

Every year I try to incorporate days of celebration in to our family life.  Although we do not celebrate based on religion, it’s still a good opportunity to explain to Arthur and DeeW why people celebrate a certain day or occasion and we learn about different cultures, countries and beliefs.  We watched some short clips about Ireland online and borrowed some library books.

Husband and I visited Ireland back in about 2001.  A relative was staying in Howth so we arranged to meet up, as Husband and I were living in Amsterdam at the time.  Unfortunately we didn’t get much time there and we only had two full days in Dublin so we opted for day long bus tours which took us to Newgrange.  Newgrange was built in about 3200BC so it’s older than Stonehenge and the pyramids.  Amazing stuff and we really enjoyed the tour.  My photos are all stored on backups somewhere but I found this old-camera-that-was-great-at-the-time picture of the view from our bed and breakfast in Howth.  It’s the St. Mary’s Church and graveyard:

St. Marys church howth

Naturally, green food was on the menu for today.  I didn’t make anything sweet and the shamrock cookie cutter will stay in the drawer for another year.  We’ve had our share of sweet things recently and really didn’t need more cake or biscuits.

Arthur’s breakfast was a banana-sweet potato-spinach smoothie.  Which is simply called ‘banana smoothie’ in our house, for reasons that will be obvious if you were or have a child who hates vegetables:

green banana smoothie


My breakfast was the Cake Batter Smoothie from Eat Raw, Eat Well made with avocado, orange and lemon.  Of course, after drinking it, I realised I forgot to add some leafy greens to really green it up.  But it was still kinda green, though the lighting in the photos is really bad:

cake batter smoothie2

For lunch I made Colcannon Puffs from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.  I thought they were great, Arthur rated them 60% but the kale was too much for Husband and DeeW taste and texture wise so next time I’ll use peas instead.  I used the baking option.  I think these would be great samosa style with nice curry-esque spices:

colcannon puffs

I wanted to make something along the lines of an Irish stew.  I used the Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings recipe from Isa Does It as it seemed a perfect fit.  To save time I chopped some of the veggies the day before and got a few things ready in advance.  Then once everything was in the pot, I went off to get a can of white beans but ended up having a total Mother Hubbard moment.  As in, no beans.  Whoops.  Still, it turned out okay and Husband is a bit iffy when it comes to beans in a stew.  I used four cups of broth instead of the stated six cups.  Six was way too much for my pot and would have overflowed with that plus the beans I thought I had.  I think the four cups was a good decision in my case because my stew didn’t thicken enough, so I made a Nutellex-flour roux and whisked it in.  Then it thickened up beautifully. I sorta made the dumplings a bit too big…

dilly stew2

Next time I’ll reduce the amount of potatoes and add more carrot as it seemed I was scooping out lots of potato:

dilly stew1

As always, I’m loving Isa Chandra M’s recipes and am looking forward to seeing her, Terry Hope Romero and Vegan Black Metal Chef at their live show in Melbourne soon.  Are any of you guys going to see them here or Sydney?

Week 3 Meal Planning: the Heat Wave + Angelina Ballerina + Lego Show version

This past week Melbourne has suffered through a heat wave with temps over 40C. I think some horrible-hot-weather records were broken, like hottest consecutive days in over one hundred years or something. Stinky stinky stinking hot. To give you an idea, the temperature here in Melbourne reached 44C twice. That’s 111.2F. I really dislike hot weather. Give me autmumn-winter any day! I was sooo happy when this heat wave ended, as you can probably imagine! It’s nice and cool as we speak, with a decent temp of 24C (75.2F) today.

Because it was so hot, I chose meals that wouldn’t involve the oven. However because it was so hot, I fell in to full on Can’t Be Bothered Because It’s Too Hot mode.

– I made the Thai Style Yellow Curry from Veganissimo! for myself. This made about four or five meal size serves for me, with rice:

Thai style yellow curry from Veganissimo!

– 43 degress, urgh. Arthur and DeeW asked for rye toast for breakfast. I had a smoothie with frozen banana, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp protein and lucuma:

Banana lucuma smoothie

– one of my favourite smoothies is quite simple: frozen banana, almonds, cinnamon, soy milk, hemp protein:

Almond banana hemp smoothie

– another favourite smoothie has frozen banana, raw cacao, soy milk and tahini. I loooove chocolate and tahini:

Chocolate Tahini Smoothie

– I love chocolate with tahini so much that I mix with with raw cacao powder and maple syrup to make a spread:

chocolate tahini spread

– I made the Ancho Lentil meat from Isa Does It, though I used chipotle powder instead of ancho as I didn’t have ancho. I had this in a burrito with lettuce, corn and home made guacamole. I had quite a few of these during the week:

Burrito with lentil 'meat' from Isa Does It

– I made some strawberry and banana soft serve in my blender. Not the Yonanas, because when I’d frozen my strawberries I had forgotten to take the leaves off and I think you have to have all the stem and leaves off if you use the Yonanas:

strawberry banana softserve

– I used the leftovers to make these icy poles (popsicles, in other parts of the world):

strawberry banana softserve icy poles

– I made the Ranch Salad with Potatoes and Chickpeas from Isa Does It.  More yummmz and I used kale for my leafy greens (which is not in the recipe):

Ranch Salad from Isa Does It

– I consider myself lucky to have found firm, cheap mangoes.  They’re usually so expensive:

mango

Some time ago, I purchased tickets for DeeW and I to see the Angelina Ballerina stage musical.  Or as they say, Mousical.  Har har. Of all days, the temp was 44C.  I had booked tickets for the 10:30am show and Husband kindly offered to drive us in, hang around the city with Arthur for an hour (eating) and then picking us up right outside the Gallery and driving home.  It was such a relief not to have to catch public transport there and back in the heat. I loved this little plaque on the seat in front of me:

gorgeous seat plaque

The curtain:
angelinaballerinastage1

DeeW loved the performance.  Me?  Welllll the dancing bits were all out of unison, legs not being extended properly, the lifts not executed cleanly.  Does that make me sound like I know what I’m talking about?  It’s what they used to say on season one of So You Think You Can Dance Australia.  I’d like to say one of the dancers committed the greatest sin of touching the floor DURING AN ARABESQUE.  But there were no arabesques that I recall.  Still, the kids loved it all though I never understand why there has to be parts where the main character is really upset and crying.  Because around me, DeeW and other kids were really upset.  And some may argue kids have to learn blah blah blah lessons in life blah blah.  But ya know, they’re going to learn those lessons from family and life.  Not really from their favourite character, in a live show with all those distractions, having a meltdown (by the way, I really can’t stand the tv show.  But DeeW loves ballet):

angelinaballerinastage2

Currently in Melbourne we have the Play Me I’m Yours ‘exhibition’ going on.  Twenty four pianos are on the street around the city and you can go and play them:

Play Me I'm Yours at National Gallery

streetpiano1

On Saturday, we went to the Brickvention Lego show.  I blogged about last year’s visit.  The amount of work people put in to their creations is staggering. There were a few people in costume walking around:

Lego Brickvention Melbourne Exhibition Building 2014

legoshow11

legoshow10

legoshow1

legoshow2

I loved this.  It’s referencing the 007 exhibition on at the Museum:

James Bond 007 Lego mosaics

Vintage Lego from when I was young:

Vintage Lego

Star Wars is always popular:

legoshow4

Star Wars Lego

Star Wars Lego

There were longer tables set up with trains that ran around the edges:

lego Brickvention Melbourne

legoshow6

legoshow7

legoshow8

Sydney Op… you know what this is!

legoshow13

And that’s it!  It’s been quiet here on the blog front because in the hot weather, the last thing I want to do is be on my computer in the hot study.  This week, I think I’ll just chill out and enjoy the better weather 🙂

What We Ate – Meal Planning Week 1: The New Years Day version

Okay so I’m determined to get back in to weekly meal planning.  For this past week, things went pretty much according to meal plan.  I definitely stress less about meals when there’s a plan in place so I hope this continues for a long time yet!

A cornucopia of terrible food photography follows.

Monday

– a special breakfast of pancakes (followed by a green juice), using the Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes recipe from Vegan Brunch.  I kept them warm in a low oven but forgot to cover them so by the time I served them, some were crunchy on the edges.  Whoops:

gf pancakes

– for lunch I made pasta for Arthur and DeeW.  Arthur refuses any kind of pasta sauce and DeeW prefers plain.  After the pasta is cooked, I toss it with a little vegan margarine and a good amount of nutritional/savoury yeast (no, not the stuff you make bread with!).  If my children will be eating blergh pasta then mark my words they’re gonna get some B12 in there:

plain B12 pasta

– for dinner I made sausage rolls from Where’s the Beef? though I change the recipe to use oats instead of breadcrumbs and I plop in some very fine food-processor’d raw cauliflower or broccoli (or both):

sausagerolls with veg

– whenever I use puff pastry, as I did with the sausage rolls here, I get strange ideas.  So I put some nooch-roasted cauliflower in half a square of puff pastry, drowned it in zaatar spice and served it with the last of some eggplant dip.  It was okay taste wise for a ridiculous experiment but maybe it’s because I was hungry:

cauli zaatar parcel

Tuesday

– My breakfast was a cherry coconut cacao smoothie with hemp protein:

cherry cacao smoothie

– the kids had leftover sausage rolls for lunch.  I had some No-Fu Love Loaf from Let Them Eat Vegan! plus one of my favourite quick kale dishes, Fannetastic’s Cheesy Coconut Chickpeas and Kale:

cheesy kale chickpeas

– Scallion Pancakes from Veganissimo!:

scallion pancakes

– I made the Lancashire Hotpot from Veganissimo! for dinner:

hotpot

– special NYE dessert was the Lemon Self Saucing Pudding also from Veganissimo!:

lemon pudding

Wednesday

Happy New Year!

– breakfast was a smoothie for me and I think the rest of the fam had toast, because we were to have a late lunch with my parents.  Here’s the lunch spread:

nyd lunch spread

nydlunchspread2

– my plate:

nyd lunch plate

– we didn’t really eat dinner as lunch was so late and we were hanging around picking at stuff.

Thursday

– a non sweet green juice for me.  I could have made it bearable with a date or two but I’m trying to move away from sweetening my green juices.  Truthfully, when I have the unsweetened green juices they taste blergh and by the bottom of the glass I feel a slight urge to barf:

green juice

– for lunch I had some spelt pasta with tomato and walnut mince:

walnut mince pasta

– for dinner I made the Mini ‘Beef’ Wellingtons from Vegan Lunch Box:

wellingtons with veg

Friday

– we skipped breakfast because we all had a bit of a sleep in and were heading out.  Though I ended up not getting anything and waited to eat at home.

– lunch for me was toasted ‘cheese and bacon’-ish sandwiches for lunch, using Tofutti slices and some tempeh, using the Tempeh Tickle recipe from Let Them Eat Vegan! with a little (vegan of course) mayo inside:

toasted cheeze facon sandwich

– a nice big juice made with leafy greens, watermelon, orange, carrot, apple, tomato, grapes cucumber, nectarine.  In other words, I had lots of fruit and veg that really needed to be eaten fast:

green juice

– dinner was leftover over Mini Wellingtons plus the Potato Scones and Tempeh Sausage Patties from Veganissimo! Husband really likes mashed potatoes turned in to patties and pan fried so he liked these.  I thought the kids would like the patties but unfortunately they didn’t (they have food sensitivities based more on textures and smells). Luckily I only made half the recipe and it’s a good recipe at that:

wellies

tempeh sausage patties

Saturday

– for breakfast I made Arthur and DeeW plain oat porridge with some golden syrup on top (I had the last of my cherries in a choc-cherry-banana-spinach smoothie):

oat porridge

– for lunch I decided to try the Sunflower Mac recipe from Isa Does It, in the hopes the kids would like it.  My hopes were dashed as neither made it past the first spoonful and both requested I stick to ‘regular plain pasta’.  I explained that I like to get them to try new things in case they discover something new that they like.  Arthur diplomatically argued that it would be far faaaaar less work for me if I just stuck to regular plain pasta.  Sometimes it sucks when teaching your children thoughtfulness backfires:

sunflower mac

– for dinner Husband and the kids ate out, I wasn’t hungry and didn’t have anything.

Sunday

This was a special day because it is the birthday of the Brothers Grimm.  In our house, something like that is considered a special occassion and so we had a German themed menu for dinner, as well as hanging out reading the original fairy tales (some were edited as I read!) from a tattered old 1967 Readers Digest book of fairy tales my aunt gave me when I was little.

– we had a light not-very-German breakfast of smoothies (for Arthur and I) and fruit (for Deew):

fruit salad

green smoothie

– we made the German Apple Cake from The Joy Of Vegan Baking, yet another great vegan cookbook I have hardly used.  I think this may actually have been my first time using it.  Anyway, the cake was easy to make but unfortunately it hardly rose.  Did that stop us from eating it?  Ha!:

German apple cake

– for lunch I made some vegan sausages:

sausage in roll

– for dinner we had some Fry’s shnitzel and some Kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancakes) using the recipe over at Seitan Is My Motor.  All to the tunes of German folk music:

German themed meal


People of Germany probably hate me now.

So, that’s week 1 of meal planning out the way.  I have to say things ran so smoothly with a plan in place, though trying new recipes can get tiring.  It’s all in the pursuit of finding things the kids will like, and the upside is that there is often one thing I can make again.

I’ve got week 2 planned, this time taking it easy and making meals for myself that can last a few days.

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.