Monday, December 31, 2012

Kinda Black-forest Trifle

Here's an idea for a dessert using some Christmas leftovers!

You need:

Leftover okara fudge - remember my little Santa hats? I had all the cutouts from them (any chocolate cake really - even a fruit pudding would work!)

Custard - I just made some from custard powder


Use any type of long large glass that you have.

Chop pieces of the cake & put on down the bottom of the galss. 

Follow with a layer of chopped and pitted cherries, then a dollop of custard. 

Continue layering in that order until you reach the top of the glass. 

Chill before serving. Best left in the fridge for a few hours as the cherries will blend into the custard!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After Christmas come down...... 2012 - A Year in Review!

I LOVE this poem! It always gives me a little chuckle when I read it!
     ‘Twas the month after Christmas, and all through the house
     Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
     The cookies I’d nibbled, the eggnog I’d taste
     All the holiday parties had gone to my waist.
     When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
     When I walked to the store (less a walk than a lumber).

     I’d remember the marvelous meals I’d prepared;
     The gravies and sauces and beef nicely rared,
     The wine and the rum balls, the bread and the cheese
     And the way I’d never said, “No thank you, please.”
     As I dressed myself in my husband’s old shirt
     And prepared once again to do battle with dirt–
     I said to myself, as I only can
     “You can’t spend a winter disguised as a man!”

     So, away with the last of the sour cream dip,
     Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip
     Every last bit of food that I like must be banished
     ‘Till all the additional ounces have vanished.
     I won’t have a cookie, not even a lick.
     I’ll want only to chew on a long celery stick.

     I won’t have hot biscuits, or corn bread, or pie,
     I’ll munch on a carrot and quietly cry.
     I’m hungry, I’m lonesome, and life is a bore—
     But isn’t that what January is for?
     Unable to giggle, no longer a riot.
     Happy New Year to all and to all a good diet!

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

If you've been following my blog but aren't vegan - maybe you'd like to consider making a vegan resolution!
The PCRM - Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, have set up this new website to help people make the transition. It has many helpful tools including recipes, started kits, health information, programs to follow, even inspiration from others who have made a resolution! 
Check it out here -

And of course if you want any help along the way - feel free to ask me anything you want :-)

I usually don't make an official resolution - but I do often take the time to reflect on the year that's been & decided if there is anything that I want to change for the coming year.
For next year I have decided to try & not let life get me down so much. I do think that I am the kind of person who views things in a way that seems to have such a negative twist on ~everything~ and its really hard for me to stop my mind from over-thinking things. This coming year I am going to aim to be a more positive person. A more positive wife & a more positive mother in particular!

I guess that leads me to the question.....

Is it possible to re-train our way of thinking???

I'll give you an example from my kitty!!! Not really....but I just love these pictures ;-)

So if you're like me.... let's try and aim to see the positive in situations in the coming year!!!

xxx Sandy

2012 - A Year in Review -->
Here's my 12 favourite recipes from 2012:

Lentil loaf - I think I've lost count of the amount of times I've made this recipe now! 


Pina-colada doughnuts - these have become a favourite in our household (and in our neighbours too!).
Tofu bacon  - this is now one of my favourite fall backs. It has so many uses - a great salad topper, sandwich filler or heck - just eat it by itself cause its so tasty ;-)


Winter curry and couscous - I think I can still smell the amazing aroma that this dish fills the house with!!!

Asian lunch salad - because we all to have a favourite salad! 

Strawberry mousse - I didn't think I could ever love a dessert as much as this life-is-good dessert until I came up with this mousse!


Tex-mex pizza  - we all need a favourtie pizza topping!
        Spiced lentil burgers - I love a good veggie                          burger, this one is so easy & so delicious.

Fruity yum cookies  - these were sooooo tasty I couldn't not include them. 

Cheezey brown rice with green beans - something a bit different yet amazingly tasty.


Mashed sweet potato with mexican spiced black beans  - all the amazing flavours of a mexican restaurant in your own home.

 Cranberry apple joy - can't forget a drink in this collection. This one is so satisfying!

Colour-warp Roast Veggies

When my husband saw me preparing this dish, he told me it was all mixed up! Potatoes should be white & carrots should be orange! 
That's why I have called it a colour warp roast. But whatever the colours, the flavour mix here is very tasty.
I love sweet potatoes so much more than white potatoes! And purple carrots are just delicious. This roast is a little bit fancy and tastes amazing!

2 purple carrots
3 small sweet potatoes
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup sauerkraut

Chop the carrots and sweet potatoes into bite size pieces.
Spread the bottom of a roasting pan with the sesame oil. Add the vegetable pieces & sprinkle the dried heaps over the top.
Roast in a 200C oven for 40 minutes.
Top the veggies with the sauerkraut and continue to roast for another 20 minutes. 

Serve as part of a roast dinner, on top of a bed of salad leaves, over pasta, or other grain of choice.

Shown here over corn pasta & topped with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

Holiday Reading - Book Reviews

The Starch Solution - Dr John McDougall

The amazing Dr. John McDougall has done it again! Another fantastic book that leads us in the right direction regarding health & wellness. He has a great sense of humour and you see that come through in the book - yet in a totally honest way that makes us THINK. He is obviously highly educated in this area & that shows too.

One of my favourite quotes of his:
"Starch! You can't eat starch! Starch makes you fat! I mean everybody knows that if you eat rice it turns to sugar, and it'll make you obese, and that's why there are 1.73 billion obese Asians living on starch based diets!"

He does quite a bit of 'myth-busting' in this book, showing us our real need of protein & calcium and other nutrients that are often put in the spotlight when talking about a plant-based diet. 

Fantastic sections of the book include a marvellous chapter on protein, where he explores the difference between animal & plant protein and also the huge problem that excess protein is causing our society.

Another great part is the chapter on calcium. Of course the dairy industry wants us to believe that the only way we can get proper calcium is from cow's milk. Yet more and more research is showing just how bad dairy is for humans. He explains the best way of getting calcium & making sure that it is absorbed adequately.

I particularly love the section of the book in which he explains that because the ill-effects of bad food choices are not immediate, people often mistake that for meaning those foods are safe. He goes on to explain how these foods affect our body in the long term.
There is a recipe section in the back of the book (courtesy of his wife Mary McDougall) and also a "7-day sure-start plan" to get you on the right track. The recipes look easy to prepare and delicious. Also some great recipes for turning old favourites into new healthy favourites! I have tried a few of these recipes already & they have been delicious & definitely ones that I will add to my regular collection of cooking.

This book makes vegan eating sound so easy & delicious & nutritious! What more could we wish for?!?!?
Check out Dr McDougall's website here.

My verdict: IT'S A MUST READ! One of the best books I've ever read. Honestly, I would buy a copy of this book for EVERYONE I knew if money grew on trees ;-) 

The Kind Diet - Alicia Silverstone

This book is written using such easy language that it can be picked up and read quickly in no time! But I can't say it was my favourite book ever! I think it would appeal to those who are looking into a plant-based diet but not people who are already committed.

Throughout the book there are quotes that relate to health & plant-based diets. I really enjoyed reading them. Here's one: "He that takes medicine and neglects diet, waste the skill of the physician." - Chinese Proverb. 

The book has a few quick reasons listed as to why choosing plant-based is beneficial for ourselves, the planet & animals. It then goes on to list a few 'nasty foods', followed by a few 'kind foods'. The book details how you can change your diet in steps starting with 'Flirting' then continuing by 'Going vegan' and finally 'Becoming a Superhero'. She emphasises the need of regularly including vegetables and whole grains (not just grain based products) in our diet which is awesome. Personally I think that the superhero plan isn't all that great though as it still allows using oil in cooking, deep fried foods, & pastry - not foods that I would consider to be healthy. I also don't agree with the view that if you are craving fish (for example) that it's ok to not order it yourself but eat some from a friends meal! hmmmmmm......  I guess that leads me back to my point that this book is more aimed for those who haven't yet made a complete commitment to a vegan diet & lifestyle.

The book is half-filled with recipes. I was really looking forward to getting to the recipes but then as I browsed through I was quite disappointed. There were a few recipes that looked nice but nothing really grabbed my attention making me want to start cooking straight away!

All that said, I'm still glad I read it - I would definitely recommend this book to those who are 'interested ' in a vegan lifestyle but haven't yet made a definite decision. I think it would suit teenage girls much more than any other group of readers.

Alicia has a website that she often refers to in the book too - The Kind Life - and it is AMAZING! I enjoy being part of the website much more than I enjoyed the book! So why not sign up & get linked into some of the great information that is on the site.

Dear Fatty - Dawn French

I haven't laughed so much whilst reading a book in years! The comment on the front cover is actually true!!!!! lol
Dawn French is hiliarous! This is her autobiography. If you've ever watched her shows & enjoyed them then I recommend picking up this book for a laugh. But yet it is also very serious in parts as she describes some very painful times in her life. I felt wow-ed that she was so open about sharing these events.
I found it a little long, but easy to keep picking up and follow even if I'd put it down for a few weeks.
Wonderful pictures throughout - adding more to showing just what a character she is!
Fantastic read!

Other reads that I've really enjoyed recently are:


Oink - My Life with Mini Pigs - Matt Whyman

I've always wanted to get a mini pig & this book filled my void for a little while (yes I still want one!). Very funny book & very well written! I found it so hard to put this down! Very light-hearted reading.


The Amazing Life of Cats - Candida Baker

Any cat lover will enjoy this book. Its a collection of stories and if you're a cat owner then you're bound to sit there nodding at all the cat mannerisms! Still reading this book and thoroughly enjoying it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Drink #12 - Santa Choc-Cherry Milk

Drink #12 - Santa Choc-Cherry Milk

Are you going to leave milk out for Santa tonight?
How about leaving a real treat for Santa instead of just plain milk ;-)


In a blender combine:

1/2 cup frozen cherries
1 Tablespoon cocoa         powder
250ml ricemilk

Blend until well combined.

If you live where it's cold - you can always warm this milk treat over the stove & also melt 4 cubes of dark chocolate into the milk.

Serve..... with cookies of course - or other Santa treat!

Christmas Drink # 11 - Christmas Cocktail

Drink #11 - Christmas Cocktail

A cocktail had to come into the drinks somewhere!! I was debating if I should wait til after Christmas and post this as a New Year Cocktail but, then again, no one thinks of green & red as new year colours! So here you have it - the Christmas Cocktail.....

In a cocktail glass combine:
- 1 shot of Midori Melon Liqueur
- 1 shot of rum
- 1 teaspoon coconut essense

Fill the glass to the top with lemonade.
Top with frozen cranberries & coconut shreds.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Drink #10 - Strawberries & Cream Smoothie

Drink #10 - Strawberries & Cream Smoothie

I decided to include a smoothie in my collection of Christmas drinks. Here's the reason why..... often the morning after a big Christmas meal we don't really feel like having too much, but then I find that skipping breakfast only sets us up for eating more later in the day! Here's a great way to start the day with a festive feel to it! Or, a great afternoon snack!

Combine in a blender:

250ml orange juice (that's the juice from 2 oranges, give or take - depending on how juicey the oranges are!)
1 cup frozen strawberry pieces
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup coconut cream

Blend until all the pieces are broken down & well combined.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Drink #9 - Christmas Time Tea Punch

Drink #9 - Christmas Time Tea Punch

I love punch - and recently I've discovered the amazing taste that adding cold tea can create. Here's a great festive punch that everyone can enjoy.

I suggest brewing the tea the night before & then storing it in the fridge overnight to chill.

In a punch bowl combine equal quantities of:

Chilled white tea (any flavour - I used peach -                 1 bag per 250ml water, brew as normal)
Orange juice

Top with ice, torn mint leaves & frozen raspberries.

The red & green on top looks very festive & the raspberries will melt into the punch & make a lovely red colour.

 I know I said that last time would possibly be the last of my Christmas creation pictures but I couldn't resist showing this one either:
They are my fudgey slice (minus the nuts) topped with icing & rapsberries. So easy and yet they look amazing on the Christmas table (even if I must say so myself!!!).

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Drink #8 - Cranberry Apple Joy

Drink #8 - Cranberry Apple Joy

I couldn't resist the urge to use the word 'joy' in the name of this drink! Honesty I took a sip and just felt like all the worries of the world disappeared!

Sparkling apple juice reminds me of Christmas so much! I think its because the only time of year that we would drink it was Christmas time & it was a real treat to go to our grandparents place & have it! So of course, I just had to use it in another of my Christmas drink recipes!

In a glass (or jug) combine equal quantities of sparkling apple juice, cranberry juice & champagne together. You can use lemonade in place of the champagne for a non-alcoholic version. 
Serve with your choice of either frozen raspberries or cherries.

For great information about vegan alcohol check out

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WIAW - Collection

Over at the Peas and crayons blog Jenn is celebrating 100 editions of What-i-ate-wednesday! Awesome job Jenn & congratulations on getting so many people involved!

I forgot to take pictures of both lunch & dinner! eekkkkk I'm getting worse each week - I guess it just comes with this time of year!
So, instead, I decided I would do a collection of some of the WIAW's that I've posted about! At this time of year I think its common for us to look back over the past year & think about it!!!!

The first week I did a post was September 12th and I was in the middle of participating in the PCRM 21 day kickstart. I really enjoy joining in the kickstart each time it comes around.
Here's the dinner that I enjoyed of Israeli Couscous with Carrots, Peas, and Red Wine Vinegar.

I enjoyed posted my WIAW's during my unprocessed challenge. Here's what I ate for Week 2. This post makes me chuckle thinking about how 'easy' it seemed to make tortillas but in reality it was quite messy!

One of my favourite post's would have to be our anniversary of course!
I had such an awesome day celebrating with my husband.

Sometimes I write post's that have more details than just What-I-Ate!
Here's a week when I shared a lot of my feelings that were going on behind the food that I consumed!!!

The last WIAW post that I'm going to share with you today is just to prove that some weeks I can be organised & have things planned out quite well! Definitely not feeling like that lately!

With Christmas just a few days away now - are you feeling organised?
Do you have much left to do?