Friday, November 13, 2009

Actual goodbye

... But not from blogging!

Okay, so you'll all recall that I was told not to food blog any more. Recently I visited her and, seeing how well I've been doing, this was revised. So, cautiously, I'm going to re-start, and if any bad comes of it, it'll be buh-bye food bloggies for good this time.

So where does the "actual goodbye" part come into this, if I'm going to start food blogging again, you ask?

Well, you may or may not recall that I wanted to move to WordPress but had no clue how to do so. With a little persistence I've finally (kinda, sorta) figured the place out, so I will be blogging from there from now on. At the moment it's set on private because I'm still setting a few things up, but keep checking back - I may have a post up later today!

www.bellpeppergirl.wordpress.com

^ Clicky clicky.

Ciao bellas, see you on the WordPress side!
- Liz

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New directions: vegan shoes

Hola, bloggies!

So assuming you've all read my last post, I won't be needing to explain why 1) I've been absent from the blogsphere for a few weeks, and 2) this post will not be food-centric.

I've been faced with quite a dilemma, in fact - what to blog about now? Surely I couldn't just ramble, I'm positive my life's not interesting enough to warrant that. What about my veggie garden aspirations, you ask? Well, those plans haven't quite unfolded as of yet. I am decidedly lacking in seeds to plant and haven't had the chance to buy any yet (I'm adamant that my seeds my organic, therefore limiting the places I can actually buy seeds from). Hopefully this situation will be remedied come Saturday, which happens to be a Super Saver Saturday at my local Mrs. Flannery's aka. Super Happy Funtimes. I don't know if I can quite express how much I love Super Saver Saturdays, but I sure don't love typing all that out. Let's call them Supahs? Kay.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand! So if I couldn't blog about my lack of veggie garden... what did that leave? I still wanted to keep this blog vegan focused, though I'm sure I could blog about a whole host of other things. Passing ideas have included books, my room makeover (currently in progress), movies... and then it hit me. Vegan fashion!

So, I bring you the first of what I am positive will be many posts about vegan clothes, accessories, and - for today specifically - shoes:

Aren't they heavenly? I have to admit, I am a complete and utter sucker for ridiculously tall heels. Especially if they're super pretty (and that goes double if they're pink). I guess I'm just a total girly-girl at heart... but how can anyone resist THIS?!

Gratuitous detail shot, anyone?

And, best part: they're vegan! Proofs:

...if you can read that. Anyway! Review time!

London Rebel Pink Heels Review
Obviously these are some seriously attractive shoes. Lovely platforms on the ball of the foot and sky-high heels that are juuuust the right thickness - not clunky, but not like a stick either - with a gorgeous vibrant colour and cute little cut-out deets plus an adorable ankle strap to hold them firmly in place. I was so smitten with these that I wore them out to the city the other day to meet up with my friend (who was actually the one who talked me into another pair of shoes I didn't need with me when I bought them). As soon as I left the house to walk to the train station, I knew I was going to regret my choice of footwear. Not only are these shoes a major challenge to walk in without falling over/rolling your ankle/plodding along looking like a total idiot (ALL of which I did), they're not exactly painless. By the end of the day my feet were covered in sores (the ankle strap actually CUT IN to my feet!) and sore as hell. I was very thankful indeed that my meeting with my friend was short - not that I don't love spending time with her, but godDAMN, as I was walking around trying desperately not to DIE I was cursing the day I spent a surprisingly low amount of cashola on The Shoes, cursing my stupidity for deciding to put fashion before comfort, and wondering why in HELL anyone EVER wore heels at all... and then we'd walk past a reflective surface and I'd catch a glimpse of The Shoes. Oh. That's why.


Aesthetics: 9/10
Comfort: 2/10
Price: 9/10
Versatility: 6/10

Aesthetics score for obvi reasons, same goes for comfort (given a 2 and not a 1 because I did manage to walk around for about an hour and a half with them on, without killing myself - god I hope they just need to be broken in!), price was very very good as they were originally $60 but they were 50%, heck yes! And versatility is a little so-so because the actual style of the shoe is pretty neutral, but the outrageous colour means they won't go with everything.

Be sure to check out shoes by London Rebel. I can't vouch for 100% veganness, but they're not especially expensive or high-brow shoes (yet are absolutely gorgeous - can you tell I LOVE this brand?!) so I wouldn't think many of their designs are leather, if any at all.

Next up; seeds for the veggie garden!

- VS

Monday, October 26, 2009

So long, farewell...

*Sigh*

Literally on the SAME day that I've just posted about how often I'll be able to post now, I had an appointment with my dietician/psychologist and this is the awful, horrid and downright depressing sentence she has passed down to me:

Don't food blog until you're much further down the recovery track. Also, limit your reading of food blogs and read cookbooks only under supervision for limited amounts of time.

Seriously? This is going to suuuuuuuck. Big time. I mean, of course I understand why - it's about taking my mind off of food 24/7. But food blogging has always been such a POSITIVE for me! It's seriously actually HELPED me so much this far. Le sigh. I guess there's nothing I can do.

The good news: I *can* continue to blog. Just not about making food. I am, however, permitted to write about GROWING food! With all this newfound time to myself i've decided to make a little project of making a veggie garden. So, I'll be blogging about that from now on, as well as any other vegan-related, or just Liz-related topics. I want this blog to reflect who I am as a whole person, if it can't be a food blog for a while. Don't worry though - I'll start posting about food at some point again! I'll let you know when it looks like the day I can resume food bloggery is nigh.

Anyway, I'm considering moving to wordpress, but this is what's stopping me: I cannot for the life of me figure the damned thing out! Anyone have any tips?

Thank you so much, everyone, for all your lovely comments and sincere compliments - on my food, photos, writing, or just plain old me! I can't tell you how much it's meant to me to be a part of such a kind, funny and supportive community! But please don't all assume me a lost cause just cos I can't blog about food anymore - I wanna be kept in the loop! Let me know about meetups, care package swaps, new recipes you think I'd like, anything to do with oatmeal/dried fruit/larabars, you know the drill. Even though I'll be reading less of your blogs, I'll still comment from time to time!

Once again, thank you all. The next time I post, it'll be about my garden! Any seedling ideas?

xx
- VS

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Freedom

Just a quick li'l heads-up, chickadees: I now only attend school part-time. To cut a very long story brutally short, I have not been coping with the energy that my school requires in order for me to survive as a student there - talkin' physically & emotionally here. Plus I've completely lost passion for the subject I am even in school at all for: Theatre, so I'm feeling pretty lost at sea where my life focus is concerned. Top it all off with an ongoing recovery period from anorexia nervosa (yikes, I've hinted at it here before but never quite been so blunt - sorry if that freaks anybody out) and you've got yourself a vegan, seventeen who really needs some honest to God off time. So instead of five days a week of school I'm doing two, without the stress of having to worry about homework & assessment - only for this last term, and then next year we'll see where my head's at.

So, moving on. What does all this mean? Copious amounts of time all to myself? Check. Parents and principal heavily encouraging me to be social and go out? Check. Is this a dream? Nope, it's all too real, and what it means is this: I can blog properly again!

Now, I can't be putting pressure on myself to replace all the pressure I've just had removed, so I'm not promising daily postage. But I'm thinking it'll at least be more frequent than it has of late :D

So! My first post as a part-time school-attender, on my second day of non-attendance. It's been pretty fantastic so far, very relaxing and such. I've been snacking on beauties such as this:

Yes, I still have Cinnamon Cashews left over from Sydney. With organic strawbz + topped with Ricemellow Creme. Loves. And speaking of Sydney, I believe I hinted at a review?


Review: Syndian Roasted Vege Lasagna
Woe betide she who gives a negative review to a vegan product, right? I feel awful in saying this, but this just did not do it for me at all. In fact, I downright disliked it. Now y'all know what a big fan I am of Syndian's bites and burgers, so you can probably take a guess at how disappointed I was by this lasagna. See the sorry-looking sheet of tofu ricotta on top of all that thinned-out tomato sauce? It was so bland! It was like eating soggy paper. No taste at all. The tomato sauce was better flavour-wise, but lacked in the texture department and did a very bad job of staying between the sheets of pasta, preferring to run all over everything like water. As for the actual vegetables, well, they were good tasting but only because vegetables are pretty much always good tasting. No interesting seasoning or anything - plus they were cut into such BIG sizes and kept tearing off all over the place, and they were all cooked to different stages - some were supah soft and fell off my fork, and others were hard and crunchy. Eating this thing was a MESS. I won't be getting this again. But don't worry, I still love you, Syndian. You've already won me over for good with your delicious falafel bites :)

With all my extra time, I decided to try out a few recipes from VWAV I've been meaning to cook up for a while now. Presenting:

Ginger Roasted Vegetables with Orange Glazed Beets, alongside garlicky spinach and pine nut couscous. So. Effing. Yummmm. I added a ton more salt to the beets than the recipe said because I didn't want to overload on sweetness for dinner (seeing as the roasted veg dish has copious amounts of maple syrup in it) and it turned out amaaazing. Salt + maple + orange + beets = yumtastic.

Anyway, tonight's very exciting because I get on a plane to Melbourne! I used to live in good ol' Melby when I was just a kidlet, but I don't remember it very much. I'm super excited to see my dad's new house plus explore around town - not to mention visit some amazing vegan restaurants and cafes! So far I've got my heart set on going to Vegie Bar and Lord of the Fries (I've heard it's gone downhill, but vegan fast food is so scarce I figure I've gotta try it once, right?). Any other recommendations?

See you in Melbourne!
- VS

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Abandonment issues

Sheesh. As soon as school starts up again, this blog gets abandoned like a xmas present puppy. Oh my gosh, that was in such bad taste. Sorry. Speaking of irresponsible pet owners, though, today I went looking for a new water dispenser for my chickens - theirs is broken :( and I was at the Pet Hypermarket resisting the urge to adopt every single mill-bred puppy in the store when I saw a couple looking at a turtle. The man obviously wanted the turtle, badly. The woman said, "But we barely clean the bloody house, how are we going to find time to clean that huge tank?" and he replied simply, "If we get sick of it, we can just set it free." She agreed and they went to find a staff member. I wanted to tell the workers NOT to sell that turtle to the couple under ANY circumstances. It was so sad to see that process of "Oh it's so cute" one day, to "Dumped on the side of the road" the next, in process. Made me want to cry. Have you ever had a similar experience?

Anyway, end rant. This week has been a mixed bag, eats-wise. Some things have been marvelous, and others have been absolutely ordinary (read: lazy dinners). I whipped up some more recipes from VWAV: Jerk Seitan and Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy!

Kay, it LOOKS pretty ordinary, but lemme assure: absolutely mouthwatering. I was a little worried that the jerk marinade wouldn't "go" with the gravy. But I was proven wrong, and I don't think I was ever happier to be wrong in my whole laaaiiife. I'm loving me some sauces over the top of my dinners lately; case in point: Cheezy Sauce from V'con over roasted sweet potato slices, mashed pumpkin, steamed haricots verts & broccoli, sauteed chard & ginger, plus two glorious slices of homebrand garlic bread (yes, as in from the fridge section of my local Woolies - somehow it's vegan! Rejoice!). Food courtesy of l-o-mum. No picture courtesy of my awful memory. I added a fair whack of pine nuts into the sauce, just to up my protein intake (because we all know how DIFFICULT it is to get vegan protein...). It was a stellar addition, adding a lovely extra texture to the sauce, but next time I think I'll toast them first? Yes indeed.

But wait! There's more! Only, not food. Instead, shiny new kitchen things!
Haul from cute little stall called Chalet:

I found a spiralizer for $50!



Somehow, noodle-fying vegetables make 'em taste even better.

And finalllyy, for my school's semi-formal last night I volunteered to bake some vegan & gluten-free cupcakes - there's a girl in my year who can't have gluten or cocoa. I know! I'd hate being without my cocoalove. So, my original plan was to make Gluten Freedom Vanilla Cupcakes with All-Natural Agave Icingfrom VCTOW to accomodate. But on the night before the semi, I discovered that our cupboards are lacking in quinoa and brown rice flours, two very key ingreds to the said cupcakes. On the verge of a mini stress attack, I suddenly spied our packet of Orgran All Purpose Gluten Free Flour... and our newly purchased packet of Organic Carob Powder. Suddenly I was fishing all over the cupboard and joyfully discovered that we already had ALL the ingredients I needed to make...

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes! Dusted with powdered sugar, carob powder, and cinnamon. At the semi, these disappeared so quick I only got to have one - but what a ONE it was! These are seriously delish. It's sort of like a cinnamon/spicy/fudgey/brownie cupcake with a delicious crunchy border around the top which tastes AMAZING with the simple topping. If you have this recipe book, make these cupcakes.

Anyway, because of my abysmal lack of postage throughout this past week (theatre rehearsals plus school hours plus homework), I've decided to draw inspiration from my fellow bloggies for my next post - and I've got a review to post plus several new foodie dabblings of mine - and an upcoming trip to Melbourne, vegan capital of Australia! Stay tuned!

- VS.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

One short day...

Sorry about the lateness of this post everyone! It's been a very big day. But not as MASSIVE as yesterday!

The day began with carby carby goodness.


Nature's Path Maple Nut Instant Oatmeal plus a hunk of corn bread, cut in half, zapped in the microwave and topped with oozey delicious AB. It was the carbiest sugariest breakfast ever and kept my tummy happy for a very long time. Which was a good thing, because...

I only had time to down this li'l fella before racing out the door, all dressed up, to Wicked! We arrived with about half an hour to spare, so on Amy's good advice I talked my dad into buying me an Ozmopolitan...

Can I just take this opportunity to say I do not condone underage drinking at any time unless delicious fruity cocktails are involved. But srsly. Soooo delish. It was pretty cold though, so I didn't feel up to drinking even half of mine. I offloaded it to my very welcoming step-mum. Then it was in the theatre doors and into our fourth-row seats!

The show was absolutely in.cred.ah.bul. I'm being completely serious in saying if you have not seen Wicked yet and you live in Australia, fork out your dough and get yourself there. I don't care WHAT city you live in. Anyway, rumor has it the show's coming to Brisbane at some point. Would I go again? You betcha. The set, the costumes, the singing, the acting, and even the American accents were all perfection! Of course, I wasn't shocked by the actual storyline, being very familiar with the songs & script - but all those other elements made a real, lasting impression. My family loved it too! So much, in fact, that we totally overstocked on the merch. I got a purple I heart Oz tee, a mug, a program, a CD and a keychain. Yay, material possessions!

But the fun *so* did not stop there. We piled into the car and drove to Newtown! On the way, I scarfed down half of this:

I loves me my LEDA. Banana flave is definitely my one and only. Apricot and Apple just ain't gon' cut it.

We parked right across the street from The Green Gourmet and realized we had about an hour and fifteen to murder salaciously. Then my step-mum spotted an incense-y jewelry shop and that was almost half an hour gone. Not that I minded - I got a pair of gorgeous earrings out of it, to go with the dress I was wearing (which also happens to be the dress I intend to wear to my semi-formal in two weeks time!). We left the shop and dad suggested getting a coffee or a drink before heading to dinner. I, however, had other plans.
Me: Dad, is it okay if I just go look in the Vegan's Choice Grocery?
Dad: Uh, sure... but we've got forty minutes before our table's available. And it looked really small.
Me: ... Yes?
Dad: Well, you're not going to spend forty minutes grocery shopping, are you?
Me: You have no idea.

So armed with some moolah I practically skipped into the grocery while dad and step-mum enjoyed some 'ccino. Upon entering I couldn't wipe the smile off my face... everywhere I looked, vegan this, vegan that, vegan pies, cakes, tarts, quiches, brownies, cheesecakes, cookies, nougat, bars, slices, cheeses, meats, pretzels, chocolate, ice cream (and waffle cones!), sauce, jam, desserts... EVERYTHING VEGAN. And there were people in the shop with me WHO WERE VEGAN. I realize that to some people this is hardly a big deal. But I've never really met another vegan before in real life! To think I was sharing a room and a philosophy with these people was enough to make me giddy with delight. I nearly ran out of time just looking at all the store had to offer. Eventually I settled on vegetarian mini-steaks, TVP chunks, Parmazano, Smoked Cheddar Sheese, Salt & Pepper Nori Tofu and a Syndian Roasted Vegetable Lasagna. That cleaned me out of cash and room in my freezer bag I planned to take home with me on the plane to Brissy. MORE than satisfied, I ran to the nearby gelato place to meet up with my dad and step-mum, where they had just finished their coffees. I felt an innate sense of excitement and unexplainable PRIDE as we stepped through the doors and took our seats in The Green Gourmet.

And now, to the FOOD!
Starters...


First, Chestnut San Choy Bow - dad specifically wanted this. To my absolute delight, he and my step-mum declared it "hearty" and "meaty" - the best two words omnis such as themselves could have used to describe vegan fare. I agreed with them, too - it was amazing. I only had a few bites, though. Then we had Steamed New Moon Spinach Dumplings - my request. I only ended up having half of my dumpling, but it was so tasteh! Recommended.

We were having a really hard time decided on our mains, so we got four, expecting quite small portion sizes. Instead we got four MONSTER SIZED plates and wound up doggy bagging a fair whack of our food! Not that I was complaining. Food = good.




In order of appearance: Salt & Pepper Calamari that tasted scarily like the real thing, some kind of potato-tofu curry that was deliciously creamy (with yummy Five-Grain Rice in the background), Five-Spice Mushroom Tempura I could have eaten all day long, and then, the piece de resistance, Sweet & Sour Taro Fritters.
Never having been a meathead myself, Sweet & Sour Pork was my one meaty downfall. My Achilles' heel, if you will. My Pandora's Box. My... okay, you get it. I frickin' loved the stuff. So I had HIGH expectations and was praying like crazy that they'd be met.
And oh. My. God. Were they EVER! I could eat that stuff for breakfast lunch & dinner every single day for the rest of my life. It's that good, trust. To prove, here is the AFTER shot of that particular dish keeping in mind we had FOUR mains we couldn't finish:

See?

We were all incredibly full after dinner but I was adamant that we try dessert. Not wanting to get something I could have just anywhere, we decided on two desserts to share: Black Sticky Rice with Coconut Milk & Steamed Banana, and Vegan Crispy Custard Crepe with Purple Taro Ice Cream.


I loved it ALL kidlets, though I only really had a taste of each component of both desserts. Apart from the ice cream. That, I practically devoured all by my lonesome. Though it was described on the menu as "tofu" ice cream, I could not detect even the tiniest hint of soy. It tasted exactly, EXACTLY like creamy delicious full-fat dairy ice cream. Plus it was a funky color. What more could a girl want?

The ride home was full of exclamations from my dad and step-mum about how great the food was, how if I'd blindfolded them they'd never have known it was vegan, how they MUCH prefer Green Gourmet to their usual Chinese haunt (which is BIG coming from them, they go there at least twice a week!). Needless to say, I fell asleep that night a deliriously happy vegan, with visions of taro fritters dancing in my head. Ever taken an omni out to a vegan place? What was their reaction?

Until next time, lovelies!
VS.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Relax

Happy weekend bloggies! Yesterday began with proof that my sprouted bread cutting skills are DEFINITELY improving:

Outta sight, right? Spread with almond butter plus bluebizzles. Gotta have it. AB & bloobz were made for each other, period. Plus peppermint tea, naturlich.

My BP continues to mess with my ability to stand up straight, apparently! I downed SEVERAL glasses buckets full of H2O before making good on my promise to walk Billy again while my step-mum was at work. Upon feeling like I may be able to walk fifteen minutes without dying, the Billster and I were outtie.

My day got better during our walk because of two things. Thing one:

Now, generally I'm strictly a caffeine-free girl. But put me smack in the middle of a household that runs on coffee and I'll welcome my old caffeinated ways back with open arms. Before yesterday I had been running on empty for three days straight. My liquid gold, aka Large Takeaway Long Black No Sugar, fixed me right up :) Now for thing two:

MULBERRIES! As a kid around Brisbane, my friends and I would play in the park by the river and pick and eat these berries until we practically puked everywhere. Kay, no puking was involved, but you get the picture. Finding this tree on my way back from the beach made me jump up and down with glee as memories flooded me with nostalgia for purple-stained fingers and those delicious berries. So I ate every ripe one I could see. Obvi. But that wasn't very many.

After dropping Bill back home I dashed right back out to my beloved Harbord Growers. I realised with quite an upset that this would probably be my very last visit until I returned to Sydney once more, seeing as I had Wicked scheduled for Saturday and was flying to Brisbane around 10.30 on Sunday. So I resolved to buy the essentials as well as grab a few things I'd had my eye on for a while.

L-R: Nannerz (must have!), Mango Tapioca (how could I not, after how amazing the Apple-Cinnamon was), dried pineapple rings, and a strange, un-juiced POM Wonderful ;)

My tummy immediately demanded dried pineapple. Who am I to say no?

Why do my hands always look weird in food photos?

I was super excited to try my pomegranate, having never had one (apart from the juice) before! I still had leftover pasta from last night's salad, there were neglected portobellos in the veggie crisper, and my lunch go-to green: baby spinach. An idea began to form...

And so, here's another almost-recipe! Another pasta salad... sorry!
Bitter Balsamic Triple P Salad (Pom, Pasta, Portobello... get it?): Serves one; 270 calories
20g pomegranate
30g baby spinach leaves
One serve Orgran Rice & Corn Spirals, cooked & cooled (or any pasta you prefer)
1 portobello mushroom
15ml balsamic vinegar

1. Put the mushroom in a bowl upside-down and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over it. Use your hands or a brush to distribute the vinegar all over the mushroom and place in the fridge to marinate for ten minutes.
2. Toss the spinach, pasta and pomegranate.
3. Retrieve the mushroom from the fridge and cook on a hot non-stick skillet until blackened. Make sure to pour any balsamic vinegar in the bottom of the bowl over the mushroom while it cooks.
4. Top your salad with the cooked mushroom. Toss the salad around a bit so the spinach and pasta get a coating of vinegar. Enjoy!

I had my salad alongside this yummy ramekin:

Sydnian lentil bites + baba ghanoush. So. Freakin'. Good. I am gonna miss these babies in Brisbane.

Given my recent troubles with my blood pressure, and how much I've been stressing over school, myself, and a whole bunch of crazy stuff I won't bore you with here, my step-mum (who has a massage/healing business) offered to do a massage and energy healing session for me. I'd never had either, mainly because I didn't know there was any such thing as an energy healing session and the idea of a stranger rubbing me down just always freaked me out. But knowing just how much tension I carried - in my shoulder AND emotionally - I said yes. But not before afternoon tea.

The Mango Tapioca was soooo yumlicious. Specially when scooped up with a date. Perfection I say.

My massage was very relaxing, although my arm did go all floppy at one point which was kind of disturbing. However, it was the energy healing that really left an impact on me. I held a crystal in each hand, and there was one at my head & feet, and my step-mum did a "guided meditation" for me where I communicated with three angels I'd chosen from a deck of tarot-like cards. Now, I don't know how much belief I actually have in this sort of thing but what I do know is how amazing the entire thing felt. I felt very safe, supported and like I definitely wasn't alone - besides my step-mum being there, that is. After the session I felt more energised than I had in months. So, something worked! Have you had any experiences with this type of thing? If not, what do you think of it all?

Full of energy, I got cookin' dinner. My step-mum specifically requested Isa's V'con Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa stir fry. I decided to change things up a bit and invert the recipe to make...

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers! So naturally I didn't put any bell pepper in the actual stir fry, I just made it up without that and then stuffed two de-seeded peppers with some quinoa mix and popped it in the oven for about ten minutes to soften. It was fantastic! I'd always wanted to have stuffed peppers. Dream come true? Yes.

Although I felt a lot less like sleeping than usual, the energy boost from the healing session was starting to wear off at around ten. So, I grabbed me some eats and snuggled into bed with Almost French again. I'm not sure whether it's bc my mind was skittering all over the place but I just didn't enjoy reading it as much yesterday. Ah well.

Dayum. I was lovin' my bloobz and pineapple, wasn't I?

Next post: a review of The Green Gourmet and Vegans Choice Grocery! Plus I'll tell you all about Wicked. So excited!

- VS.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Life's a beach

So, remember how I was making some whiney noises about the cold, windy weather here in dear old Sydney?
That weather was HISTORY yesterday! I didn't realise until I stepped outside since the house is so well-insulated (read: freakin' freezing), but it was hot hot hot! Cloudless blue sky, cancer-causing UV rays beating down mercilessly, gusty hot breeze... perfect beach weather ;)

The day's eats started off very well indeed! I had the remainder of my homemade berry-tofu-yoghurt, which had set nicely in its container and had a consistency reminiscent of greek yoghurt. I was delighted to say the very least: I loved me some greek yoghurt, as a pre-gan. Alongside this I decided I needed some carby goodness, so I heated up a bowl o' leftover brown basmati with a sh!t tin of cinnamon & drizzled with some AB. Bliss.


Blurred cinnamon rice anyone?

Before heading to the beach, I knew I needed some anti-dizzy-spell magic. Luckily for me, there was some lemon-lime electrolyte powder in the kitchen cupboard. Perfecto - I could have picked up a bottle of Gatorade, but all that sugar for a little hydration? No thanks.

It tasted pretty good, surprisingly. Just like the supah-sweet cordial I downed by the gallon as a kid. Except for a weird, gross bitter part at the very bottom of the cup. Ah well, I didn't really care. The icky remaining drink went down the sinkhole and I went down to the beach with my step-mum.

I was so hot by the time we got there I wanted to jump straight into the water. Lucky I didn't, because when I waded in the water was FREEEEEZING! Seriously, icicle-worthy stuff. Apparently hot sunny day does not equal perfect water temp. Dang. I opted to be sensible and apply lots of sunscreen before lying around in the sun tan instead.

A little browner than when we arrived, step-mum and I made off for the Harbord Growers to get a red bell pepper, some pineapple, bloobz, and a mango. Oh happy day. Upon reaching home I was staaaaarving so I made me some lunch.

Wrap = Syndian Aussie Fusion burger patty mushed up with some pineapple pieces & baby spinach in a wholemeal tortilla. Plus 'bouleh. I'm gonna miss the convenience of having a salad deli right near my house when I go back to Briz. The patty was pretty great! Aptly named, too - there was definitely beetroot in there, and we all know beetroot + pineapple = aussie burger, right? Well, sort of anyway.

The afternoon was upon me when I realised I had absolutely nothing to do. No Gossip Girl to watch, no more taped shows... nada zip zero. Okay, I could have learned my lines for the play we're doing in Theatre Arts this coming term... but I'm on 24/7 work-avoidance detail and that just wouldn't do. I resigned myself to finishing off Twilight for the millionth time (I'm aware of how awful the books are but it doesn't stop me loving them to pieces), accompanied by a fruity snickety-snack.

This is the reason I love it when the weather gets warmer: all the best fruit comes into season! Fresh mango, bloobz, and a dried paw paw spear. Nature's candy: who needs the manufactured stuff? What's your fave fruit? I have no IDEA how to pick just one. I love them all! Lychees, plums, peaches, apricots, apples, pears, bananas, watermelon, rockmelon, honeydew melon, pineapple, papaya, coconut, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries, grapes, goji berries, cranberries... oh man. I could so easily be a fruitarian, but I love my veg too!

Given my utter neglect of dinner cooking I figured it was high time I do something that half-resembled a recipe. It was still hot enough, in the noontime yesterday, for me to shun all ideas of a hot dinner. So pasta salad it was! In the spirit of the first day of MoFo, I've even posted a (pretty shoddy) recipe! Proud o' me?

Super Simple Pasta Salad: Serves 4; 300 calories per serve
One four-serving package pasta spirals (or any shape you like, I used Orgran Rice & Corn Spirals)
1 medium avocado (about 140g without the seed or skin)
180g red bell pepper, chopped into cubes
100g sugar snap/snow peas, chopped into small pieces
Optional: Any other veggies you want - or you could add tofu, tempeh, seitan etc to make a more substantial meal :)

1. Cook pasta according to packet directions. Drain and place in a bowl. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
2. Mash the flesh of the avocado in a medium-sized ramekin. Transfer the mash to your cold bowl of pasta and stir vigorously for about ninety seconds to combine.
3. Place your chopped veggies/other optional ingredients in the bowl and stir well to combine.
4. Hey presto! You've got ridiculously easy pasta salad.

Okay, I know that wasn't much of a recipe. But give a girl some cred. I'm trying here. And for the record, I ate my helping of pasta salad with a LOT of vegetable salt. Gotta love hypotension.

And finally, to finish off the day, I decided to be more than a little bit unhealthy. What I TRULY craved, banana soft serve, was not an option as we were (gasp!) out of nannerz. So I grabbed the next-best thing: a vegan chocolate coconut cookie, cinnamon cashews, and more bloobz.

I munched on dessert while reading the book underneath the ramekin that my step-mum leant me: Almost French by Sarah Turnbull. It's apparently a true story, almost an autobiography of sorts. I'm an avid reader and recently have been stuck in a Harry Potter-Twilight-Harry Potter again cycle. I love my comfort reads but I do like branching out. While this book isn't challenging as such, the story of the cultural transition of an Australian girl who goes to live in Paris on a whim motivated by a handsome stranger is pretty engaging and I'm liking it more than I'd anticipated. But I do need to go book shopping asap for the sake f my sanity - I need good books to keep me happy and I can't technically claim this book as mine, it belongs here in Sydney. Any recommendations for me?

Tomorrow, I promise another recipe - although not one much more involved than today's!
Love,
- VS

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unadventures...

Inadventures? Nonadventures? Whatever, it's a word now.

On the very last day of OzMoFo, I was pretty excited to get out of the house yesterday and into the city, finally! After a quick breakfast of the following (and by quick I mean slightly faster than my usual tortoise-like pace but still fairly lethargic), I chucked on a pair of jeans, singlet, keds and hoodie and threw my bag over my shoulder, waiting to be picked up by my grandparents. It was art gallery time!
Blur it up. Bowl o' fruit (nanner, kiwi, pineapple) plus a slice of plain sprouted toast. I swear that bread does not NEED any condiments, I prefer it straight-up. Granted, it was the size of one-and-a-half servings of bread, but don't my cutting skills look like they may have moved up a notch? 

Around ten in the a.m, my grandma swung by and we drove around to collect my grandpa before walking to the ferry and taking it across to Circular Quay. The boat was supah-rocky! Iused to have good sea legs... apparently not any more.

Upon arriving we started walking on up to the gallery. We passed an Iku Cafe that I desperately wanted to stop at, but my subtle hint (read: "Hey, I've heard so much about that place! Everything they sell is vegan!") didn't gel and we kept on moving. I started to feel very dizzy and just generally out of it, but told myself it was the heat and kept on truckin'.

After checking out the art at the gallery for a solid ten minutes and feeling worse by the second I decided to speak up, and the grandparents decided it was time for lunch. The cafe only had pre-made wraps so there was no cheese-free option for me, plus the upstairs restaurant didn't look promising either. So we headed across to the restaurant in the park directly opposite the gallery and were assured the chef could do something for me. Et voila, my something:
C'est tres jolie, non? I almost didn't wanna wreck it with my destructo-fork. Almost but not quite. I was sure that the impending lunch would solve my lightheadedness. I dug right in and revelled in the simple tastes of roasted eggplant, bell pepper, spanish onion, tomato and zucchini. I'm pretty sure that's all it was, with some olive oil. But I was so not complaining. I'd missed my plain roasted veg mucho since arriving in Sydney and this really quenched my thirst. Whetted my appetite. You know, whichever. But it didn't entirely substantiate a meal since it was just a few glorified veggies so I downed the last of my Larabar supply:
Sad to see it go. Time for another stock-up, methinks? Any fave flavas you wanna clue me in on? I've tried everything except Tropical Fruit Tart, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Peanut Butter Cookie, Lemon Bar, Pistachio, and Coconut Cream Pie. Oh and I've tried all the Jocalats apart from Hazelnut, German Chocolate Cake, Orange and Cherry.

Anyway. After lunching we got up to leave... and hey presto, my head spun right round baby right round like a record baby right round round round. Sorry. But it did. I did try to suck it up and enjoy the gallery for about another hour, and we saw some amazing prints from their "Prints in the time of Romanticism" exhibit, but after that I had to draw the line and we got a cab home. Only on the way back did I suddenly realise what this dizziness probably meant.

THE RETURN OF THE LOW BLOOD PRESSURE!
When I thought of it, I hadn't had much sodium at all and probably have almost reversed all the good work I did on jacking up the old BP. Nice one, Liz. I was bedridden with utter exhaustion the whole rest of the day, abruptly ending my city escapades and thus producing an unadventure. So obviously, to accompany my Gossip Girl-ing (what ELSE would I do stuck in bed all afternoon?) I needed a salty salty snack.
Pretz + hummdog = loves. During the time in which this snack was consumed I finished season two of my beloved GG. Sorry to spoil for anyone who hasn't seen, but in the last ep (if you're not up to this restrain yourself from reading!) I literally JUMPED OUTTA MY CHAIR when Chuck told Blair he loved her. I said "Yay" times a million and got so excited that it's probably sad, considering this is over a tv show and all. Can't wait to start season three now!

After two consecutive nights of almost-recipes for dinner I decided I was allowed to be even lazier and just have savory lentils from a can plus greens and corn bread. Yes, I suck, I'm aware of it. I should be cooking up fantabulous feasts for you all to marvel at! But thing is, my step-mum and my dad have spent mucho moolah on convenience foods for the vegan and I feel pretty obliged to use it all. So I'm a girl on a mission. 
There ARE lentils under my garlicky spinach, that's not just a massive hunka corn bread! But I totally could eat a slice that big. Corn bread is way too good. Probably all that delicious raw sugar. I've been having a very unbalanced diet of late. Gotta get that sorted out... hmm. I'll be back on track 100% come Monday at least, since I'll be back in Brissy. Dessert was semi-healthy bc of the guilt that comes from essentially eating glorified cake for dinner:
Hehe, see what I did there? I'm *so* funny. Apple slices, with cinnamon and AB. And salt. I ain't going to no hospital. The salt added a surprising pleasantness, actually. I recommend trying cinn + salt on fruit. With the nut butter of your choice. Speaking of which, I need to try and make some nut butters of my own when I get home to my darling food processor!

Until tomorrow, my loves! The REAL MoFo begins - maybe I'll actually post more this time, sans exam block!
- VS