Monday, November 5, 2012

The Vegan Apprentice is Pregnant!

As I sit here typing I can feel my unborn son wriggling and kicking.  It is an amazing feeling.  I am 27 weeks pregnant.  Just 13 weeks to go.  Does that at least partly excuse my absence from the blog world recently?  I thought that I would post about the my exciting news months ago but somehow the last few months have just flown by.

I don't usually post photos of myself but as this post is a special one I thought I could make an exception.  This is me at 27 weeks pregnant at my cousin's wedding on the weekend.  I am feeling good, healthy and excited and about becoming a mother.

Vegan and pregnancy go together very well I am finding.  Lots (actually most) of the foods on the banned-due-to-listeria-risk list are non-vegan and I really have not changed my diet much at all.  Well, except I ate much less in weeks 7-14 and a little bit more since then. 

So what changes have I made?  I am taking iron and vitamin D supplements more regularly.  I stopped taking Udo's oil in first trimester (flaxseed has a small association with increased rate of miscarriage).  I started taking it again in second trimester to make sure I am getting that bit extra omega.  I changed from regular Udo's Oil 3:6:9 to the one with the microalgae DHA added.  I have only been taking this about twice a week because unfortunately I have had yucky reflux and although I don't mind the taste of the Udo's oil on the way down I don't like it one bit when it tries to come back up. (TMI?)

I must confess I have not been 100% vegan during the pregnancy.  I have still eaten Vegetarian when out, particularly in situations where there is no Vegan option.  And I have had a few things with a little dairy in them at home on a couple of occasions.  But I would say I have been 99% vegan and I am not going to feel guilty about the 1%.  I think that for me this journey to veganism is about being kind to the planet, animals and myself, doing my best and not sweating the small stuff.  I think that right taking care of myself and the baby is more important than being a fundamentalist of any stripe.

Some catch up posts on what I have been cooking and some vegan pregnancy book reviews to come.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Vegan Fajitas with Mushrooms and Roasted Sweet Potato

A little Mexican spice is a great way to brighten up a Monday evening!  Last night for dinner we had delicious Vegan Fajitas, or Burritos, or whatever you like to call them.

Here is what we put in them, first in pictures and then the recipe follows.

Mushrooms in Mexican Spice Mix and Roasted Sweet Potato Strips.
A smudge of Tomato Salsa and creamy Avocado.

Baby Spinach leaves and Rocket, topped with the mushrooms and sweet potato.
Rolled and ready to eat (I had two of these and dear husband had 3).


Spice Mix:
1 teaspoon each of:
- Ground Chilli
- Smoked Paprika
- Salt (or powdered vegetable stock)
- Cornflour
- Castor Sugar
½ teaspoon each of:
- Ground Cumin
- Cayenne Pepper

Olive oil for cooking
1 large (or 2 small) sweet potatoes (That is Kumera for the Kiwis).
 4 large field mushrooms
1 small onion, sliced.
1 clove of garlic, crushed
Salad greens (baby spinach leaves and rocket works really well)
1 small avocado - mashed
Salsa (I used salsa from a jar last night to save time but if you are not as lazy as me you could make your own).
4-6 Tortillas (Wraps)

1. Preheat oven to 180oC.
2. Cut sweet potato into halves or thirds, and then into wedges.  Place in baking tray.  Drizzle generously with olive oil and toss.  Bake for 45+ minutes depending on how caramalized you like your roast veggies.
3. Combine all the spice mix ingredients in a plastic bag (eg freezer bag) and toss.  You can use more or less chilli and cayenne pepper depending on how hot you like your Mexican food.
4. Slice mushrooms into strips (not too thin).  Put in the bag with the spice mix and toss gently until all the strips are well coated.
5. When your sweet potatoes are nearly done, saute the onions in a little olive oil.  Add mushrooms and garlic and fry over a medium heat until the mushrooms are well done.
6.  Assemble the fajitas as show in the photos above and enjoy!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chickpea Piccata

This dish is soooo good.  Thank you once again dear Isa.  One of my favorite comfort foods (creamy mashed potato) all fancied up and tasting devine.  My taste buds are very happy right now.  And it is very simple and quick to prepare.  This is definitely going on regular rotation in our house.

You can find the recipe here on the Post Punk Kitchen web site: Chickpea Picatta.
(As per Isa's spelling of Picatta).

I served this with lots of rocket (the recipe called for arugula which I had never heard of but a quick google revealed that it is rocket.)  I made a half serve of Thermomix mashed potato - so creamy!  That's 500gm of potatoes.  I used Vitasoy Calciplus milk and plenty of Nutelex for the potato. 

Dear husband was a bit dubious about the flavor of the capers diffusing through the whole dish so I left them out and then used them to garnish.  This worked really well.  I sprinkled a little of the brine from the capers over mine along with a drizzle of truffle oil.  Heaven!

According to the recipe this should serve 4 but actually dear husband and I managed to polish it off for one meal.  This amount would make a great entree for 4 people, but I can't see it stretching to 4 adult sized mains.  I can't wait to make this next time we have an omnivore over for dinner. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adventures with a Thermomix

My cheap little food processor died earlier this year.  After a lot of internet research I became a Thermomix convert and bought the most expensive kitchen gadget I have ever bought (by a long shot).  It really did feel a bit like joining a cult.  But I am not going to get all evangelistic on you and tell you it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I mean I do love having a Thermomix and I have been using it almost every day.  But I am not ready to tell you that it is worth the $2000 (AUD) price tag. Ask me in 2 or 3 years.  If it is still going strong and I am still using it most days of the week then I might be ready to become an advocate of this expensive gadget.

So what have I made in it so far.  I have tried a few recipes out of the book that comes with it and I have made a few recipes that I have found on blogs on forums.  And of course I have done a lot of experimenting - because I love experimenting with food.

I have been pretty lazy with taking photos so I don't have a lot to share with you.  And as for my experiments - some I am still perfecting, and some I just didn't even bother to keep notes on the ingredients.

Here is a few examples of food from my Thermomix.

Red Lentil Curry from Thermomix "Everyday Cooking for the Family" book.
Served with veggies rather than rice (I kind of think of rice as empty calories).
This is a delicious dish and I have made it a few times already.  The only change I have made is to double the cummin and mustard seeds and I did not mill them.  Suger has kindly typed out the recipe for the "Red Lentil and Tomato Dahl" which appears in the Thermomix Vegetarian recipe book.  It is almost identical to the Red Lentil Curry in the original and you can find it here.

After it finishes cooking it pays to let it rest for 15 minutes before serving as the flavours really come together better.  The recipe makes a lot of dahl and so we had plenty left for the next day when it was even more delicious!

A few examples of the sweet vegan balls I have been making.

And a close up of the Hot Cocoa Fudge Babies from Chocolate Covered Katie

Tex Mex mix made in the Thermomix, and the creamiest whipped Avocado.
Chia seeds milled in the TMx, added to Soy Linseed Bread made in Bread Maker.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism" by Dr. Melanie Joy

I just listened to this amazing talk on YouTube: "Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism." by Dr Melanie Joy. It is a little longer than the usual YouTube clip (it's a whole hour) but it is well worth taking the time to watch. 
It is so good I found myself furiously taking notes.  Then I thought "Why don't I just buy myself a copy of Joy's book?" and save myself the trouble of trying to get it all down.

I highly recommend that you make some time to watch this fantastic lecture.

It left me feeling glad that I have already made a big move towards being vegan and fueled my determination to reach my 100% vegan goal.  I particularly related to Joy's description of the denial that it takes to continue consuming animal products. 

A few weeks ago I was chatting with some friends over dinner (most of who are vegetarian/vegan) about our reasons for making the change in our approach to eating.  My initial state reason for becoming a vegetarian was for environmental reasons.  However, once I had made that decision I paid more attention to the animal welfare issues.  I can see that previously I was suppressing any awareness of the animal welfare issues because I did not want to be confronted with the violence inherent in my diet.  Once teh switch was made the flood gates opened and could see very clearly the horrendous implications of meat eating. 

So why did it take me so long to take that first step towards veganism?  Again - more denial and suppression of any thoughts contrary to my desire to consume dairy and eggs.   It has been very interesting to see this veil lifted. 

And now I am wondering what other areas of my life have I built a wall of blindness around?  Peter Singer's "The Life You Can Save" is still sitting unread on my shelf.  The last time I read a book by him was "The Ethics of What We Eat" and that sure had a life changing impact.  I think it is time to quit stalling and read the next book and perhaps embark on the next chapter of my life.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living Graves by George Bernard Shaw

Living Graves
- By George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

We are the living graves of murdered beasts,
Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.
We never pause to wonder at our feasts,
If animals, like men, can possibly have rights.
We pray on Sundays that we may have light,
To guide our footsteps on the path we tread.
We're sick of war, we do not want to fight -
The thought of it now fills our hearts with dread,
And yet - we gorge ourselves upon the dead.
Like carrion crows we live and feed on meat,
Regardless of the suffering and the pain
we cause by doing so, if thus we treat
defenceless animals for sport or gain,
how can we hope in this world to attain,
the PEACE we say we are so anxious for.
We pray for it o'er hecatombs of slain,
to God, while outraging the moral law,
thus cruelty begets its offspring - WAR. 

I don't think I need to add anything further to this post.