Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas bits & pieces

My apologies for lack of posts lately!

I'm actually enjoying some off-line time!

And thoroughly enjoying being crafty ;-)

Here's what I've been up to:

Making Christmas cards

Sewing bits and pieces:
 I adore this little ribbon tree set! Debating making it in adult size for myself!

Now I must admit that this stocking advent calendar was just a pre-made cut out kit that I bought. None the less, I think it is just SO cute! :-)

And of course,
I felt it necessary to show you my 'going out hair-do'....

Because there's always one crazy person at every party..... and that person is usually ME!

I am hoping to share a few more recipes in the next week that are quick & easy, but also nutritious. Much needed at this time of year!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Potato Chop and Bake

I love a meal that is easy to prepare. 
This requires a bit of chopping but no 'cooking' other than putting it in the oven.
This can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge til its time to bake.
So tasty for something so easy :-)
Serves 4
5 medium potatoes
1 can chickpeas
1 leek
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/3 cup nutritional yeast 
2 garlic cloves
2 cups plant milk

Chop the potatoes into 2cm cubes. Spread over the base of a large baking dish.
Drain the chickpeas and pour them over the potato cubes, followed by the chopped leek, chopped mushrooms and frozen peas.
Sprinkle the nutritional yeast evenly over the vegetables.
Combine the cloves (crushed) in a jar with the milk and pepper (as much as desired). Mix together.
Pour the milk mixture over the vegetables and nutritional yeast.
Cover with foil and place in a preheated 200C oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until potatoes are soft and milk is absorbed.

Question of the day:
Do you prefer meals that require lots of chopping, or lots of hands-on type cooking?

Monday, December 9, 2013

In My Kitchen - Red & Green

December is often a time when the kitchen, and the whole house really, gets filled with bits and pieces lying everywhere, and the colours red and green seem to be everywhere! My kitchen is just that! 

Let's start with some lovely red and green produce picked from our garden! :-)
Such a delight to finally get to pick a few pieces. 

Our lovely tomato plant is growing strong. Lots of green tomatoes, and a few red ones. I don't actually like fresh tomato, but I'm looking forward to making lots of sauces.

In my kitchen is this packet of red chips! They are a new product available at Woolies. What a great alternative to regular corn chips. We don't regularly buy corn chips and I won't regularly buy these either, however there were a nice treat. Extremely tasty, but a bit salty for my personal taste.

When we were doing some Christmas shopping I simply couldn't go past this DIY gingerbread house kit. I love to do Christmas time baking and a gingerbread house is no exception. Often the ready-made kits have dairy &/or egg in them, or if there are vegan options that are full of junk. Will be great to create a gingerbread house that has fresh wholesome ingredients and without the hassle of making a paper template to cute out pieces.

Our kitchen is slowly getting filled with napkins, tissues and various other Christmas supplies.
I've also been going through our storage area and retriving all the Christmas platters!

Also in my kitchen is some new milks. 
I prefer to make my own soymilk for use in sauces, on cereal, in smoothies etc however for my morning coffee I have always favoured store-bought milk.
I have been trying various forms of milk to see if I can find a substitute for my favourite coffee milk that has changed. 
This Pure Harvest brand pictured below is one that I tried. The big red letters grabbed my attention in the store and also for my red & green post!

Very sad that my favourite 'green milk' is no longer available in the same form it was before. Although very similar, the new 'green milk' has no added fibre. Not that I'm worried about getting enough fibre in my diet, but it does mean that this new milk is not as thick. It still taste quite nice. This was my go-to milk for my morning coffee.
The only difference in the ingredients list between the old and new is that dietary fibre.
And of all the milks I've tried I must say that I'll still be sticking with Vitasoy for my regular coffee and fall back milk when I haven't had time to make my own!

What's happening in your kitchen at this time of year? Is it filled with red & green too?

Link your kitchen up on the Fig Jam & Lime Cordial blog.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pasta with Greens

If you've followed my blog for some time it will probably come as no surprise to you that I'm a pasta lover! In fact our whole family is! I am very pleased that I have finally got my husband to be a pasta eater too now!
I love to serve pasta in ways that aren't always just a standard red sauce and this is one of those alternative ways :-)
The little kick of sweet chili sauce adds a lovely touch without too much heat - don't skip it! 

You'll need:
250g pasta of choice
1/2 bunch kale, chopped into little pieces
8 large broccoli florets, chopped into little pieces
1 can chickpeas, drained

1 cup soymilk
1 Tablespoon cornflour
1 Tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for recommended time. With 3 minutes spare, add the kale, broccoli and chickpeas.

Drain the pasta and vegetables.

While the pasta is draining, use the pot to make the cheesey sauce. 
*Remove the pot from the stove*
Combine all the sauce ingredients (soymilk, cornflour, sweet chili, nutritional yeast, garlic) in the pan and whisk together til cornflour and nutritional yeast has dissolved and the sauce in smooth. *This won't work properly if the pot is on the heat still as you need to dissolved cornflour in COLD fluid.

Return to the heat and continue to whisk until slightly thickened. Approx 3-4 minutes. 
Pour the drained pasta and vegetables back into the pot and stir well until all pasta has sauce over it.

Serves 3

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Mixed Bean Burgers

I am a BIG fan of bean burgers! I'm yet to find a type that I don't like. But these ones were particularly tasty. Even my hubby who is not a bean burger fan thought these ones were ok.
Mixed Bean Burgers

You'll need:
2 cans lentils
1 can butter beans
1 batch okara -or other plant milk pulp (approx 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 Tablespoon garlic
1 Tablespoon Italian herbs

Drain all the canned beans & combine in a large mixing bowl.
Mash the beans together and then add the remaining ingredients.
With wet hands shape the mixture into patties and place on a lined baking tray.
Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 40 mins until golden brown and firm.
These burgers need to cook for longer than other burgers as the okara adds quite a bit of moisture to them. Don't worry they won't dry out being in the oven that long - they will just brown nicely and be cooked through and won't fall apart.


Alternatively you can fry them in a frying pan. Approx 7 minutes each side. Be gentle when flipping.

Makes 12 burgers