Friday, August 21, 2009

Yummy yummy yummy I've got oats in my tummy

Oatmeal. Call me boring, old-fashioned, or late for dinner (but never breakfast - it's my favourite meal of the day!) but I don't care: I love oatmeal more than any other food I can think of. Yup, it's the best alright.

But for a really long time, I was stuck in a bit of an oatmeal rut. Every morning it was the same: cook oats on stovetop in water. Add raisins and cinnamon. Cook it all until raisins are plump. Spoon into a bowl and eat.

Don't get me wrong. That's some tasty oats. But it gets monotonous, five - seven days a week. I was so sick of the same tired old oatmeal that I actually abandoned them for a few weeks and could barely stand the thought of eating oats again.

Then I discovered two things that have brought oatmeal back into my life: Katie's Blended Grains Melted Banana Trick. Katie: thank you!

If you haven't checked out either of those links before, I highly reco
mmend. Not to mention - Katie also has some killer oatmeal recipes. So, as a newbie to the wonderful world of diverse flavours in creamy, creamy oatmeal I decided to trial a few of them out.

The first one? Brownie Batter Oatmeal. Unfortunately, no pics - sorry! But if you're
 skeptical about a simple combination of cocoa powder, oats, banana and soymilk tasting like real brownie batter, don't be. Because it does

And now onto Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oatmeal, which I specifically went out and bought Sweet William's Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips for. I was that dedicated. And *incredibly* excited, since I'm a massive fan of cookie dough.
I was not disappointed. 

I can assure you it's the most ridiculously tasty thing on the PLANET.
Anyway, moving forward - all this new-fangled oatmeal concocting got me thinking: why not come up with a few brand spankin' new bowls of my own?
How about... Choc Chip Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse Oatmeal?
Yes, you say? Well, here's the recipe...
One serve uncooked old-fashioned oats
100g silken-firm tofu
70g roasted pumpkin (or pumpkin puree)
12g Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
Non-dairy chocolate chips
Cinnamon & nutmeg/pumpkin pie spice (optional)
Non-dairy milk (optional)

1. First, throw your oats & tofu in a saucepan and cook with water (or non-dairy milk). Stir so that the tofu distributes throughout the oatmeal - there will be little random bits of it, but don't worry about that because...
2. Blending time! Throw your cooked oats & tofu with the BTCC, pumpkin and cinnamon & nutmeg into your food processor. Blend it up till it's as creamy as you want it to be. If you want you could add soymilk during this step.
3. Scoop into a bowl and sprinkle with your chocolate chips and some more cinnamon and voila! Eat it until you're sick.

Variation: Blueberry Cheesecake Mousse Oatmeal! Just substitute the pumpkin, and the chocolate chips, for blueberries - and be sure to use Katie's good ol' Melted Banana Trick. Bowl-licking goodness.
But I was not content at finding just one amazingly delicious oatmeal combo (plus variation, that is). Oh, no.

Mocha Choc-a-Chip Oatmeal
One uncooked serving of old-fashioned oats
A banana
10g good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Green & Blacks Organic Cocoa)
10ml (or whatever a "serve" is) of your favourite coffee/chicory syrup (Mine is Bickford's)
Chocolate chips (for the Australians out there - use Sweet William's Dairy Free Choc Chips. They're my whole life)
Your favourite non-dairy milk (I actually enjoy the taste of fat free So Good :O)
Cinnamon (optional but so good)

1. Cook the serving of oats on the stovetop in water - or in n
on-dairy milk, whatever floats your oats ;)
2. While this is cooking, use Katie's genius Melted Banana Trick.
3. When the banana's done, stir it into the still-cooking oatmeal with a few chocolate chips and leave for about 30 seconds.
4. Turn off the stovetop and transfer your oatmeal to your food processor. Now add in your cocoa, coffee syrup and non-dairy milk. Cinnamon too, if you want!
5. Blend it up and try not to drool while you wait for this part to be over.
6. Scoop your delicious oatmeal out of your food processor and into your bowl. Top with remaining choc chips and if you want, a bit more non-dairy milk. 
7. Eat and die happy :D

The morning that I conceived the above delectable recipe (yesterday), I decided that as it was a Friday I would have oatmeal again for dinner, as a celebration of sorts. Breakfast for dinner - any excuse'll do ;)

But I didn't want to have the *same* oatmeal as I'd eaten for brekkie. That's just silly. So I got thinking.

... And came up with delicious, creamy Banana Coconut Cream Pie Oatmeal.
I can't even begin to describe how good this was. I really can't. Just... try it, okay?

One serve uncooked old-fashioned oats
One small banana, chopped up
45ml lite coconut milk - separated into 30ml and 15ml
5g dessicated coconut

1. Cook your oats in a combination of water and the 30ml coconut milk.
2. Meanwhile, use that amazing Melted Banana Trick, courtesy of Katie.
3. When your banana's melted, stir it into your still cooking oats and allow to cook through for about 40 seconds.
4. Dump your oatmeal into your trusty food processor and add the 15ml coconut milk. BLEND!
5. Scoop out into a bowl, sprinkle with the dessicated coconut, and enjoy. When I say "enjoy" I mean "pass out in ecstasy". Really.

Phew - that was a whole lotta oats! I definitely cannot say I'm sick of oatmeal, though, even after a hard week's dedication to it. Guess what's for breakfast tomorrow?

What's your favourite way to have oatmeal?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Even vegans can find food, here on Avenueeee Q...

Sorry. The songs from that show are stuck in my head. It was really good fun!

My sister and I travelled to Sydney, NSW to visit our dad - who took us to see Avenue Q. And who also happens to be a little bit of a meat head. Open minded, sure! But sis and I were both a little apprehensive at the prospect of finding good eats. 

We really, really needn't have been.

That, my friends, is a delectable soy cappuccino I had on my very first morning in Sydney, at the Freshwater Surf Cafe. I also enjoyed some yummy mushrooms cooked in olive oil with a side of white sourdough toast, which mysteriously vanished off my plate before the camera came out to play...

And then, a quick lunch of roast veggie and rocket (arugula to you American folks) salad, from a deli in the CBD David Jones

At the end of the day, we went out to a lovely sit-down dinner at Manly's Yok Thai Foods. I got to catch up with my grandparents, which was nice :) and the food. Wow. My family knew the owner, Jay, personally, so she came over to chat with me and my sis about what we would/wouldn't eat. In the end, we had some VERY tasty vegan Thai, including spring rolls, Pad Thai, and a really REALLY delicious impromptu veggie-tofu-basil-chilli dish.
Way too good for words.

Now I'm back in Brisbane, and looking forward to trying out some vegan baking in the next week - keep checking back!

Vinegar, my new best friend

Oh vinegar. You're the only one I can count on these days. Your sweet sour-ness is the pinnacle of my stirfry. Well, not *my* stirfry. CCV's My Cousin Vinnygar Veggie Stirfry, to be exact.
Gettin' cooked. I made it with some organic broccoli, yellow bell peppers, and zucchini (gotta love the versatility of the good ol' zucch... ini) and then decided I needed to make more of a meal of it, and chopped up a Sanitarium Thai Chilli Vegie Burger and tossed it in. I don't know how/why/where/when that amazing CCV - Katie - came up with the idea of putting vinegar in a stirfry, but I love her for it. Truly I do. Because now I'm thinking of a million ways I can use my big bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar!
So simple, so genius.
Served up with a side of leftover polenta, that I cut into "fries" and baked for about 15 minutes. Crispy yet creamy deliciousness.

... Did I mention I love vinegar veggie stirfries? This one's going on HIGH rotation from now on :)

I think I'm turning veg-a-nese

I feel like how parents must feel when their kid does something really commendable, like earning the first gold star of the year from their teacher.Why, I hear you ask? Well, today (okay - actually last Thursday just gone, but bear with me here - yes, this is a back-log post) I went out to The Forest Cafe with my mum and sister, for lunch. We each ordered a burger: my mum got tempeh, my sister Rebecca opted for the veggie patty, and I got tofu. It was pretty darn delicious!
Me: Hey sis. Want a bite of my tofu burger?
Sis: You know I don't like tofu.
Me: Aw, c'mon. You've never had really well-done tofu before, just the watery unflavoured kind!
Sis: Ahh. Fine...

20 minutes later, all our burgers were finished and our bellies were full. But the tofu remained on my little sister's mind.

Sis: I think I want to go vegetarian.
Me & Mum: Srsly?!

This was a big shock. My sister is a bacon LOVER. Chicken's probably her favourite food ever. And when I asked why she said...

Sis: Well, that's the second time I've had tofu here and liked it. And what about those animals in the petting zoo at the Ekka this morning?

She was referring to the petting zoo that was situated riiiight in between a pie stand and the Beef Cattle Exhibit. Nasty.

Anyway - I was one super-happy vegan to say the least! She's a cheese FREAK though, so for now no chance of veganism for her... though I guess I would have said the same thing about her being ovo-lacto. Hey, one thing at a time. 

So after our super-delicious burgers that obviously had magical veg-turning properties, we stopped by The Cupcake Parlour in order to purchase the vegan cupcakes that the BIG sign outside their store promised.

Alas, no vegan cupcakes to speak of. It made me wanna cry, but then newly-veg little sis decided she'd just have one of their vegan Cherry Ripe slices. The clumsy, clumsy girl behind the counter dropped my sister's slice onto the bench! Gasp! She quickly put a new one in the box for us and indicated the slightly-broken one she'd dropped. Did we want it anyway? 
Free vegan slice? Heck yes!

Several delicious minutes later, we were in the car on our way home - chatting about the hot topic of sis's new vegetarianism. Mum bit her lip and turned to me.

Mum: I'm vegetarian too.
Me: What, like already?
Mum: You know I'm borderline anyway! I may as well be one.
Me: XD

Conclusion reached - take your omni friends and family to The Forest. Emerge surrounded by vegetarians who may just become vegans someday.

By the way. Throwing out all non-vegetarian things in your fridge and cupboard makes for super happy fun times.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Vague-n eats & URL fallacies

Alright, so in light of recent events (aka my 17th birthday) - I cannot claim to be vegan, sixteen any longer. However, my blog is stuck at sixteen and much like a cruelty-free, veg-loving, cyberspace Peter Pan, it will never grow up.

That said! Boy do I have a lot, and I mean a LOT to blog about.

The aforementioned 17th birthday encompassed a humble sleepover party during which there was a half-hour trip to the local cemetery (a desperate and actually effective bid to rid me of my absolutely paralyzing fear of cemeteries/tombstones) and not a cake, so much as a stack of Oreos stuck together with organic natural peanut butter and sprinkled with candy stars. Which I gleefully dunked in soymilk.
Unfortunately, no pictures :(

Then today! My mother, sister and I went out to West End's The Forest Cafe to celebrate some pretty stellar grades. I'd googled "vegan cafes brisbane" frantically last night and was really enthusiastic about trying this one. We planned to go for morning tea and obviously it's very difficult to get vegan morning tea unless you're in a specifically vegan cafe (unless you really love fruit salad - which I do! - but this was a spesh occasion, yanno?). As soon as we arrived, I wished we were staying for lunch.
The menu abounded with tofu, tempeh and veggie burgers. There was pasta bake with a pastry crust, ratatouille, "beefless" pies, coconut chickpea curry, tofu potato dahl, beet salad and more - and all of it vegan.

Oh, not to mention the selection of vegan cakes. Blueberry swirl, beetroot chai, they all looked incredible to me. But then, hidden right behind the drinks fridge, one lonely cake caught my eye...
Peanut Butter Cheesecake. It was like someone had asked me my two most favourite things in the world and made the dessert of my dreams.
So, we ordered two slices. My sister had one, and mum and I split a piece. We also shared a really fantastic soy vanilla milkshake.

Again, I am apologetically pictureless. However, we've vowed to visit The Forest again on Thursday - yay for the Ekka holiday! And we're also keen to take a look at the nearby Cupcake Parlour, who happen to do vegan cupcakes :D

So once more, dreadfully sorry for the lack of visual food porn. Next post, this changes!
I have exciting things to show you, things like candy, homemade ice cream, ekka eats, and oh so much more.

And for those of you who live in Brisbane...