Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In My Kitchen - April

For those of you who follow my blog, you may have noticed I have taken a bit of a break lately.
We have lots going on for us so I just needed some down time, and that meant time away from the computer.
I have plenty of recipes lined up to share in the coming weeks, but to get back into things I thought it would be a good idea to share what has been happening In My Kitchen so far this year. 

When life gets busy we find that we fall back onto easy meals. Well, to be perfectly honest the large majority of what we eat is easy, basic meals. But in busy times that means relying on some family favourites.
From Top left:
Red Lentil and Spinach Sauce with roasted potatoes and green beans, Veggie Pizza, mashed potatoes with steamed veggies and thick Mushroom Gravy with spinach added, Salad with Potato Waffles and Lentil Burgers, Red Lentil and Spinach Loaf with corn and potatoes, Rice & Veggie Bake, Eggplant Bean Sauce over roasted potatoes with corn, Lentil Meatballs with potatoes in tomato sauce and steamed veggies. 

Easy doesn't mean that dessert is forgotten! 
We often have banana ice-cream, or mini "puddings" that are made with just fruit, dates, applesauce and oats. I often throw together things like this without following a recipe. However when I made these raisin sweetened brownies my family gave me strict instructions to write down exactly what I had done and make them again and again! Recipe coming soon so stay tuned!

Below is a new family favourite that we are working out how to tweak it to be just right. The problem is, I have been slack with writing down exactly what I do, so no 2 batches ever end up the same!
But this is so good that my husband has made up a little song to go with it!
I love seeing all the colours as we are cooking our meals :-)
They are just so inviting!

I have been putting our pressure cooker to good use and making large batches of legumes. 
Sometimes though...... it all goes horribly wrong! 
I find that I am still getting used to the exact number of 'minutes' that I should set the cooker to, in order to get perfect legumes. This batch of fava beans that I put on were clearly overdone and they had completely crumbled into a big blob! So instead of being able to use them in a ratatouille like I had planned, I ended up doing some experimenting! I must admit that it brings me much joy to just experiment in my kitchen and not have to bother with precise measurements!
I made several dips and a batch of mini pita breads to go with them. I took this into work for a meeting and everyone really loved both the dip and the pita bread.
These stuffed foldovers were loved by my family too. They were filled with the gone-wrong fava beans, spinach, carrots, peas and corn. Of course, baked til golden brown (not shown).

Talking about baking, there is rarely a week that goes past without our oven producing wonderful aromas.
We made these animal cookies for a "vegan teddy bears picnic" we went to. They had a wonderful texture, quite true to 'cookies' even without the use of vegan butter replacements. I intend to master this creation and blog the recipe soon. However, since they do contain nuts, it is a rare occasion that we eat nuts at home so it may be a while before a final recipe eventuates! 
The "kale" cake shown is the recipe from the new Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, which I finally caved in and purchased! 
Also shown below is a pile of super yummy oat pancakes which we devoured for breakfast one morning. And one of my daughter's favourite after school snacks recently - apple nachos. Sliced apples, piled with goji berries, homemade chocolate sauce, coconut and a sprinkling of walnuts. 

Here's a glimpse of a few of her lunches lately:
More colourful items. She is really enjoying hommus and salad wraps/rolls at the moment. Pictured is also pita bread, banana loaf, fruit wrap and strawberries.  

I bought a new gadget recently - an air-fryer! I am in love with it! Not only does it NOT totally heat the whole house up (like the oven does) but it cooks my potato chips in less than half the time. It is also great for warming up leftovers for school lunchboxes and also makes wonderful crumbed mushrooms (even if the photo looks wrong, I promise you they were delicious! I used oyster mushrooms on this occasion).

Other new items in our kitchen:
PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)- Yes, yes I know - processed food! But alas, I just HAD to try this when I saw it in our health food store recently. And with much less fat than peanut butter it ticks the box for an occasional treat.
I bought these curry paste's to try and they are the only oil-free ones I could find. I have only opened the red one so far and it was HOT HOT HOT! So the other three-quarters of the container is still in the fridge!
These relatively new "flats" - available in Woolies and other stores, are made from veggies or fruit with the addition of seeds and/or nuts. They are dehydrated to become crispy. They are quite tasty. Again, not something I would purchase regularly but none the less a great product for when those occasions happen that we need something to snack on and are caught out unprepared (I'm thinking those days when you end up caught back at work for 2 hours!).

Also shown are these White Corn Tortillas. I pictured these because I have been asked about wraps that are oil-free. These are the only ones that I have had any luck being able to find regularly. To be honest, they don't fold real well and are best used in cooked items such as Mexican Pie.

And to finish off this post - here a few items "out" of my kitchen.
Enjoying a delicious Bean & Potato Salad under the Harbour Bridge just before day-light saving ended.

And an amazing oil-free vegan pizza that was made especially for me at a friends birthday party! I felt so blessed! :-)
It's nice to stop and enjoy the little blessings when life gets busy and the weight of everyday things are getting us down!

Question of the day:
What is something that you can stop and be thankful for lately?

Tell us what's been going on in your kitchen this month! And don't forget to add your link at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial. Thanks for hosting Celia! :-)


  1. I LOVE PB2 (and the Vitacost knockoff). I'm so glad that you are blogging again; I have missed your posts. Everything looks so yummy.

  2. Wow there is lots of good food there - I am curious about the new family favourite. The PB2 powder sounds interesting - what do you do with it? baking? sprinkling on breakfasts? Your daughters salad rolls look really healthy. Nice to hear from you again.

  3. Lots of yummy good stuff in your kitchen that I am inspired.

  4. WOW What a busy kitchen indeed and I can feel the loving baking and cooking energy today!
    Thank you for this month's kitchen view too!

  5. Blimey, what a busy IMK, thanks for sharing with us all.

  6. apple nachos. sounds fab. isn't that funny? - i had never of an air fryer till a few weeks ago and now they are popping up on all the blogs. wow that pizza:)

  7. For some reason blogger doesn’t like wordpress as my comments on anyone with a blogspot address completely vanished! So, for the second time, I think I said Sandy that you might have taken a break in the blogging sense, but you’ve certainly been busy! And sometimes it is quite nice to have it all recorded as a reminder of what we achieve :) Also I’m quite intrigued by that PB2, and I think Celia also uses those curry pastes so I might have to give them a try...thanks for the tour :)

  8. Wow you have been busy in the kitchen! I love reading about your latest discoveries and kitchen experiments. I've never heard of an air dryer before. It looks very handy indeed. The oil free vegan pizza looks incredible! What a fab, talented friend you have there ♥

  9. So many wonderful things in your kitchen! Thank you for the review on the air fryer - I looked at one the other day but wasn't sure whether it was worth the investment. Good to know it works so well! :)

  10. An Air Fryer? Way Cool! I gotta get my hands on one of those! All of the EATS look WONDERFUL, btw :)