Posts filed under ‘Nutrition’

“And then the wheels fell off…”

This is kinda gross and I don’t really know why I’m blogging about this, but the other night at around MIDNIGHT I went to see the Doctor in E.D at the hospital who told me I have Shingles. It’s pretty much the “grown-ups” version of Chickenpox, only worse. It’s spread across my chest and down my left arm/armpit. I’ll be popping pills like it’s my job for the next week, I’m on anti-viral antibiotics which I take 5 times a day for 5 days as well as pain relief which I take every 4-5 hours or so as needed.

I’m so annoyed that this had to happen now because I’ve just started being proactive about my health and fitness, and instead of moping around at home complaining about how unfit and unhappy I am I took action to change. I bought a 10 concession card for the local outdoor swimming pool so I can start swimming since everything else hurts and I bought a soccer ball to play soccer with my friends. I also just got Annabel Langbein’s beautiful cookbook which is full to bursting with amazing healthy and delicious recipes, as well as dragging out mum’s old “deliciously natural” cookbook so I could put together a two-week meal plan for mum and I.

strawwwwwwwwberries 011 The_Free_Range_Cook_cover

However… It will take anywhere between 2-5 weeks for the Shingles to go away completely, and it’s extremely contagious. I can’t swim because, well… just, EW and I can’t cook because the movement hurts too much. So it’s like Karma just slapped this in my face, sort of reminding me that this is what I get for faffing around with my health for months. It’s as if it’s saying “Hi there! Remember me? Karma? Yeah well I’m back again! Just a friendly reminder that you should’ve maintained your health instead of falling into an emotional and physical rut. I’m just going to give you a hideous virus to deal with for a few weeks while you think about your actions. Bye now!”

Not to mention the fact that we’re in the middle of Mock exams right now 😦 I have my drama and biology exams tomorrow and it really does not look like I’ll be able to sit them. I think the reason I got this in the first place is from all the stress I’ve been dealing with lately… You only need to look at my poor, torn nail beds to see that…
The last thing I feel like doing is sitting in an exam hall for a collective 6 hours, making a noise every few hours by taking my medication and pain relief. Not to mention the contagious aspect…

Yesterday I begrudgingly and very painfully cooked a Pumpkin Pie for my dear ole’ sis. My sister, her partner and my gorgeous little nephew are staying with us for a few days. She arrived before I was diagnosed so I was feeling good (itchy though- the first sign) and promised I’d bake her a pumpkin pie since she’d never tried one. True to my word, I pump my veins full of pain killers and took to the kitchen. The result was a delicious, perfectly cooked pumpkin pie, with a slightly over-worked crust unfortunately, but hey, it still tasted good. I decided not to cook dinner last night and wound up sleeping for 2 and a half hours in the afternoon.

I’ve really lost my appetite these last couple of days and I’ve been really REALLY tired. I have grasped the opportunity of my lack of appetite to sort of correct my eating habits. I’m trying to lessen the amount of sweet foods I have.

Anyway, that’s what up these days… Who knows how I’ll feel in a few days. Since I caught the virus early with anti-biotics it might now get any worse… hopefully.

Ciao!

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October 16, 2010 at 10:09 pm 2 comments

Successful Vegetable Broth

Today I finally got around to making the Vege Broth I’ve been meaning to. It took me 35 minutes to chop the truck load of vegetables I had to use, but it was SO worth it.

I have a problem with chopping onions… And today I found a solution 😀

vege broth 002 Brilliant haha.

vege broth 009

After being hunched over the chopping board for ages I finally finished chopping everything up. Then I added 4 litres of water, salt, tamari sauce, tomato paste and dried rosemary (because I didn’t have the real thing).

I brought it to the boil and then lowered the heat and let it simmer for an hour and a half. Once it was ready to come out, I drained it in a sieve and then waited for it to cool. Once it had cooled I put a little bit into ice cube trays and the rest into freezer bags to freeze all of it.

It was so easy and fun to make, you can literally use everything but the kitchen sink in terms of vegetables. I did go out and buy some more veges because we didn’t have any carrots and a broth is simply not complete without carrots.

It tastes SO good!! I tried some and I was so amazed. It smelt fantastic as well.

I’m so pleased to have finally made it. I now have 4 litres of delicious vege broth to use in a ton of recipes.

vege broth 015 vege broth 014 vege broth 013

Nom nom nom 🙂

Goodnight!

October 1, 2010 at 6:30 am Leave a comment

Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Stir-fry

stir-fried tofu and vegetables 007 stir-fried tofu and vegetables 008

Tonight I made the most delicious Tofu and Vegetable stir-fry, it totally made up for the chocolate cake earlier on today. I used pre-marinated tofu (the flavour which I forget) and I chopped and marinated the veges myself.

Tofu and Vegetable stir-fry

Ingredients: (choose the proportions according to how many servings you want)
Pre-marinated tofu, firm if possible
Carrots
Capsicum
Mushrooms
Spring Onions
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
2 garlic cloves
Tuscan Seasoning (although I’m pretty sure any combination of herbs and seasoning will do the trick)

Method:

Remove the tofu from it’s packaging and drain the marinade off it through a sieve and into a small bowl. Put a pan onto a medium heat and add a little olive oil. Once the marinade has drained off, chop the tofu into slices and then into rectangles, put the pieces into the pan and cook until brown.

While the tofu is cooking, chop the vegetables however way you like and put them all into a medium sized bowl. Once all the veges are chopped, squeeze the juice of two lemons into the bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil, tuscan seasoning and two garlic cloves, crushed. Mix it all together (I used my hands) and let to sit.

Once the tofu is cooked, add the marinade into the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with rice, couscous, quinoa or by itself.

This is SO TASTY it’s my favourite stir-fry to date ^.^

September 25, 2010 at 8:36 am Leave a comment

“Food must be made with love, you can taste it if it’s not”

thai pumpkin soup   chocolate blueberry cake 010thai pumpkin soup   chocolate blueberry cake 014

That right there my friends, is Vegan Chocolate-Blueberry cake from FatFree Vegan Kitchen. I was searching for a vegan recipe to make for lunch and during my search I stumbled upon this recipe. I had planned to make Vegan Pizza for lunch but I was so compelled to make this cake that I had PB + J toast instead for lunch and got straight onto the cake.

I was very interested to give this a go because I’ve never before made a cake that doesn’t use milk, eggs or butter. Also the fact that this cake is fat free (but has A LOT of maple syrup – do not be fooled people, that still counts as major calories) was hugely enticing to me. From the moment the cake went into the oven I was excited and it wasn’t long before the delicious aroma of baking began to fill my nostrils. It baked for half an hour and I was very eager to taste it, I let it cool for 15-20 minutes and then cut a slice and drizzled maple syrup over the top. It’s supposed to be served with blueberries but we only have frozen blueberries so I opted to have the syrup alone.

Unfortunately this cake didn’t taste as great as it looks or smells, but I guess since it has no butter it came out well. In future I wouldn’t use wholemeal flour because it created an odd texture. Plain white flour would most probably be better. I’m not sure that I’d make this cake again because there are so many other delicious vegan/vegetarian dessert options. I’d be more inclined to go for fruit salad or something similar. However, for one who loves chocolate and cake and is considering veganism, this wasn’t a bad substitute.

Recipe_for_Life_TPB__final_cover_version

The title of my blog is a quote that made quite an impact on me from this book that I’m reading right now. I was in the school library the other day browsing for a book to read and since I’m horrible at picking a book I chose this one for the fact it combines two of my favourite things:

1. Food

2. Italians

🙂 That sounds so silly, but I miss my Italian brother Tommaso soooo much, I picked this book with him in mind.

tommaso
Anyway, I’ve been SO inspired by this book it’s insane!! I have so many new ideas for food and I’m so keen to experiment with new flavours and the freshest of fresh foods. I love the heart and soul in the book, it perfectly encompasses my attitude towards cooking. Tonight I’m going to try stir fried vegetables with marinated tofu and couscous. I want to cook the vegetables in olive oil, lemon juice, herbs and spices. I want to keep it as simple yet delicious as possible.

If you’re looking for a good read and you love food, I highly recommend this book.

Anyway, the other night I cooked Pumpkin Thai Soup but I didn’t get any good photos of it so I won’t post it. I was missing a few ingredients so it lacked that little something-something. I might try it again with the proper ingredients.

Hope all is well and that everyone’s been enjoying their first day of the school holidays.

Ciao!

September 25, 2010 at 2:08 am Leave a comment

Red Velvet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcakes 055

red velvet cupcakes 061

This afternoon I made some tasty (almost vegan) red velvet cupcakes!! I have wanted to try this recipe for so so long and I finally decided to just go ahead and do it. I say “almost vegan” because I actually used a vegan recipe, but the icing has real cream cheese that’s not vegan 😦 So, apart from the icing the muffins are vegan! 😀 Are there any Vegan Kiwi readers out there who know of a good vegan Cream Cheese substitute? We don’t have fancy things like Tofu Cream Cheese substitute… It’s pretty lame the small range we have actually.

I went to the supermarket to buy the extra ingredients I needed and also buy some other ingredients (like rice milk, pumpkin, nuts, garlic and tofu) for other recipes I have planned. Tomorrow I’m going to try Pumpkin Scones again with actual pumpkin this time! Haha. I also want to bake more Vegan Oatmeal biscuits. They were a real hit with my family and totally delicious! Although they turned green after two days and I’m not entirely sure why… :/

Anyway, after spending 40 minutes at the supermarket for like, TEN things I finally got most of what I needed (but no cream cheese substitute unfortunately) and it all came to a total of $40 exactly. After the supermarket I popped around to my friends house briefly to pick up a Pilates/Yoga book she’s lending me. Until I can find the time to attend a yoga class I’ll just have to work from the book. Once I got home I charged my camera batteries up and set to work!

Recipe for Red Velvet Vegan Cupcakes
(based on recipe off Mac & Cheese)

Ingredients:

Cakes

2 cups soy milk
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
2.5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp apple sauce
Red food colouring
4 tsp vanilla essence

Frosting

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 Cream cheese (this was what killed the vegan buzz)
2 tsp vanilla essence
4 cups icing sugar

NOTE: don’t forget to buy cupcake liners at the supermarket!

red velvet cupcakes 002

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C on fan-forced. Add the vinegar to the soy milk and set aside to curdle

red velvet cupcakes 008
2. Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix

red velvet cupcakes 010
3. Add olive oil, food colouring and vanilla extract to the soy milk and vinegar. Add food colouring as you wish until the mixture reaches a dark red colour

red velvet cupcakes 012
4. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix (don’t worry if you have lumps, it’s fine like that)

5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full

red velvet cupcakes 014
6. Bake at 180C for 20 minutes or until you can poke a skewer down the middle and it comes out clean. (I suggest putting your oven to fan-forced because this mixture made 32 cupcakes for me which meant I had two trays in at the same time and then another batch once those were finished)

red velvet cupcakes 016
7. Remove the cupcakes when they’re finished and allow to cool for 10-20 minutes

 red velvet cupcakes 022

red velvet cupcakes 030

8. Once they have cooled, start making the icing by creaming the margarine, cream cheese and vanilla essence with beaters. Slowly mix in the icing sugar (because otherwise it goes everywhere) and beat until the icing is smooth and fluffy.

red velvet cupcakes 047 red velvet cupcakes 049

9. Use a spatula to swirl the icing around the top of the cupcakes and put a raspberry lolly in the centre. Then best of all… Eat and enjoy!!! 😀

red velvet cupcakes 065

I had so much fun making these and they were so almost entirely vegan!! Argh, stupid lack of dairy substitutes 😡
Anyway, now I have 30 cupcakes and I certainly do not intend to eat them all myself. Tomorrow I’m going on “cupcake run” of sorts to deliver cupcakes to my friends haha, in the pouring rain… Yes, a storm the size of Australia has hit little ole’ New Zealand.

Tonight I found baking so incredibly therapeutic… It’s been pouring with rain coupled with gail-force winds, the T.V signal was lost so all there was was me, my spatula, frosting the cupcakes and it was so nice.. Tomorrow I plan to spend the day in the kitchen making the scones as promised and biscuits if I get the time 🙂 Oh, hopefully I’ll fit in some yoga here and there haha. Who knew I’d become such a foodie? I’ve always hated cooking and baking because I’ve never been a natural. I’m a real klutz, I spill stuff, fog up my glasses, drop stuff, break stuff, forget stuff (usually vital ingredients like BAKING POWDER) and more… But I’ve been persisting and it would appear my persistence is beginning to pay off.

I hope you have as much fun with this recipe as I did, and seriously don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients and make substitutions. It adds to the excitement!

Goodnight 🙂

September 17, 2010 at 9:28 am 2 comments

Vegan Tomato and Lentil soup

vegansoup 017

vegansoup 018

This afternoon I took it upon myself to make Vegan soup basing it on a recipe I found in Australian Women’s Health:

vegansoup 003 vegansoup 004
I loved the sound of the Winter Tomato and after reading through the super simple and super short ingredient list, I knew it would be a piece of cake to add whatever I wanted and make swaps to make it a little more filling and make it Vegan. I started in the afternoon because I wasn’t sure that it would turn out right and I wanted to give myself the chance to organise something else for dinner if it totally failed.

The basic changes I made to the recipe were these:

  • I used Soy Milk instead of Cow’s Milk
  • Lite Coconut Cream instead of Greek Yoghurt
  • I added half a cup of washed red lentils
  • I didn’t have any garlic so I added garlic seasoning and Moroccan seasoning instead
  • We didn’t have any bay leaves so I just left that out all together

I was really happy with the result! I must say though I think I’m quite possibly the most unnatural, klutzy cook of anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life, it definitely does NOT come naturally to me. However, being the persistent little devil that I am I cook anyway and just deal with the mess and fails at the end ^.^ This soup definitely needed salt but I detest adding salt to anything so I just put up with it the way it was. Maybe the garlic would’ve added some flavour.

After cooking the soup I went in to my work to drop off my uniform and staff card to finalise my resignation and bought this drop-dead awesome top that I’ve been hanging out for since it hit the racks a couple of weeks ago:

vegansoup 025 
It’s a top from the Sub brand and the moment I laid eyes on it I knew it was perfect for me. If you can’t see it properly it has little tick boxes under each picture with the car crossed out and the bike and the walker with a tick 🙂 Simple, yet effective. The colour had me too.

I’ll try a new recipe tomorrow, I’m going to make some Hummus (I’ve never ever made it myself before) because I just plough through the stuff we buy from the supermarket. I loved the feedback on the last post by the way! Keep it coming 😀

Goodnight!

September 16, 2010 at 5:33 am Leave a comment

To be or not to be… Vegan

Lately I’ve taken a huge interest in Vegan food websites, I spend a great deal of time looking up recipes and planning when I’ll test them out. Some of you might not know this but I was a vegetarian for a year during 2008/2009 and only began eating meat again because it was “easier”, although it did take about 4 months to shift the mental block I’d developed about meat. I’ve never been much of a meat eater in general and I very very rarely eat red meat purely because I don’t like it. I get sick of it after 1 or 2 bites so now I don’t even bother. However, I do love some good chicken or some good fish.

I’ve begun to reconsider my decision about eating meat, but not just meat, animal food products in general. Surprisingly enough this decision is not related to my enormous love of animals (I signed the Peta2 “Veg Pledge” in April 2008 and so began my year long stint of vegetarianism), but it is in fact because I want to experiment with food more. I see being Vegan as a real challenge and I thrive on a challenge. A really good suggestion I read on Oh She Glows (Angela is a Vegan) is when you’re transitioning into veganism, focus less on what you can’t have and more on what you can have. This got me thinking about all the foods that I have in my pantry right now that are staples in a vegan diet and I was amazed at just how much I already have.

These are the things I came up with:

1. Lentils

lentils These are Iron and Protein POWERHOUSES!! They also contain loads of essential vitamins and minerals and are very commonly acknowledged as a vegetarian/vegan diet staple.

2. Beans

beans

Fortunately we have a very vast range of beans in our pantry and the ones pictured above a red kidney beans. Beans are packed with protein and fibre.

3. Nuts

AA026294

Do I even need to explain how great these are?? You should all be eating these regularly anyway, they have a low glycaemic-index, are protein packed and contain essential minerals like Omega-3.

4. Leafy Greens

leafy greens

Things like spinach and silver beet are brilliant sources of Iron and Vitamins and they work WONDERS for your skin complexion.

5. Fruit

fruit

There simply aren’t enough words to express the benefits that fruit have! They’re high in fibre, vitamin C, water and healthy sugars, all of which are crucial to your overall health and wellbeing.

7. Vegetables

vegetables

These are even more important and beneficial than fruit, they contain vitamins, provitamins, carbohydrates, fibre, protein and dietary minerals. Eating plenty of these can help lower your risk of things like heart disease and diabetes.

8. Milk-substitute

soy milk

almond milk

rice_milk

Aaaaaannnddd finally…

9. Herbs and spices

herbs

For added flavour and antioxidants 🙂

I already use every single one of these foods anyway, just not as regularly as you would in a vegan diet and not as creatively. I’m so super excited to dabble in vegan recipes, find my footing and make a very very slow and gradual transition firstly to vegetarianism and then to veganism. I’m not going cold-turkey because I need time to gain knowledge about foods for a vegan diet and the best way to get the most benefits and nutrients out of my food. If I do it right it could mean we save a penny or two as well. I want to do my best to avoid processed dairy substitutes that you buy in packets, I want to keep my diet as organic, non-processed and fresh as possible while remaining healthy and well-sustained.

This new endeavour means more blog posts for you to read as this blog will becoming a lot more food-focused. I’ll post a blog every time I experiment with a new recipe and when I find recipes that I need advice from other like-minded foodies out there.

Stay tuned for more!!

Tonight I’m going to create Vegan tomato and red lentil soup, using a tomato soup recipe I saw in the August issue of Australian Women’s Health, but personalising it and beefing it up by adding red lentils and some extra vegetables. I’m missing one or two ingredients but I’m taking it in my stride and using that as an opportunity to experiment with other things to use instead and still achieve a good result.

I’ll post a blog about it later tonight with the results 😀

If you’d like to post any comments or suggestions you have about this post, I’d love to hear them. Also if you have your own story about transitioning to Veganism please feel free to share! 🙂

September 16, 2010 at 2:01 am 1 comment

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Introducing…

Hey there, my name's Jenny. I have a huge passion for cooking/baking, writing, yoga and photography. I love nature and my favourite thing to do is spend an entire day outside, breathing in crisp, fresh air. Even better if I have a pen and paper with me. I started out running in March 2009 but sustained an injury in October 2009 which has unfortunately prevented me from running. I've been experimenting with other kinds of exercise to find another one that clicks. Follow me on my journey to maintaining good health + surviving high school and pursuing a career in Journalism. I Hope you enjoy reading my blog!

Questions? Comments? Email me at jennyeatliverun@hotmail.com

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