Thursday, July 20, 2017

Vegan Eats Guide 3

My food folder has filled up with photos so it's time to share what I've been eating in the past year (or bothered to take photos of!)


So easy and super versatile! I either purchase vegan patties from my local supermarket (and I live in non-progressive town :p) or you can easily google patty recipes :) I still make my cashew sour cream once a week and this goes on lots of things including burgers and pastas and wraps

For Christmas, I got inspiration from my Australian vegan foodies fb page and made a roast :) I simply bought a vegan roast from the supermarket and then did some fancy stuff like smoother it in stock and Rosemary, wrap it in spinach and encase it in puff pastry

How cute are the puff pastry stars! I did steal the whole idea from the group and I think (hope!) Christmas was a food success!

A pineapple tofu dish.

I've gone through some poor weeks and in that time I've gotten to know lentils and tofu and rice really well :p  Down the road they sell pineapples from their farm for $1 and tofu and rice is cheap - so it's doable to eat delicious things on the super cheap! Just need to find what produce is cheap in your own area and make it work!

Then there are the "treat yo self" moments! It's funny because not being able to buy junk food all the time and having to go out of my way to source delicious junk has definitely been beneficial for my health and when I do get something like a delicious doughnut (or two!) it's such a good treat moment!

A new discovery this year was chickpea "tuna"! It's a pretty good substitute and just takes a little fiddling around to get some good flavours :) Vegan Mayo and red onion are obviously key :p On the mayo note, I can definitely recommend veganaise! I also use, mustard, pickles (and juice), salt and pepper + lemon juice.

This year from my vegan foodie fb page I learnt that burger rings are vegan! Your health may not appreciate this but another discovery (for us Aussies) was the Coles brand dark chocolate - eep so good!

I made a black forest cake - also not great for your health but pretty!

Another tofu and rice dish, this time with capsicum and shallots and toasted sesame seeds. This year I've fallen in love with sesame oil + soy sauce + toasted sesame seeds! Super easy and filling meal

A vegan lasagna, I think this is a good dish to bring to friends/family that are meat eaters as it doesn't step too far away from comfort zones and hey it's delicious :)

More tofu! My favourite way to cook tofu is put some oil in a cast iron pan, get it really hot, have your strips of tofu cut and ready to go, pan fry each side until crispy and add some soy sauce last minute to get some flavour and more of a golden crust!  I think I actually stole that from James Aspey's FB page :P After cooking the tofu I usually sprinkle over the top some sesame oil or just let the tofu soak into the other flavours of the dish.

Some more, treat yourselves! 

For my birthday Ben and I took a road trip to a vegan bakery (the giving tree at Kingaroy) and I can only say good things about the place :) :)

The best kebabs in Brisbane, from No No's Redhill. Sometimes it only takes a simple question to see if a place can make something vegan for you!

I'm also stoked that the sunny coast got their own Moo Free Burgers!

This year I'm still loving pasta, trying out some new flavour combos, above is roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, spinach and capers :)

Above is a butter cauliflower curry, I made using this recipe. I want to try and master this dish and get the flavours 100% perfect, I don't think I've got the knack just yet!

And wraps are always an easy option for me!

Its been around two years since I became vegan and the one word that comes to mind, two years on is...EASY (the lifestyle just keeps getting easier). When I first started, it was hard. I felt like someone yanked away all my favourite food and left me with some unappealing dregs. I look back and kind of laugh about how I felt, not because it wasn't valid or a reality at the time just because now I eat such an amazing variety of foods (which I love, I just previously wasn't aware of). I often get asked “why did you go vegan?” and before answering I'll make sure to give people an out. I ask them, “are you sure you want to know?” I might even give a couple of outs, before I start talking :P It's a subject that puts people on the defensive, perhaps they feel like I'm imposing my own values upon them and they need to justify their own values to me or point out how my own values are wrong because they don't match theirs. It rarely ends in a great way.

For 30 years I ate meat and animal products which honestly didn't align with my values (I was happily in denial) but being vegan definitely does align with my values and thus it's easily one of my top, positive, life changing decisions. Not only have I noticed my health dramatically improve (diary didn't agree with my gut) I also rarely get sick any more (and I used to get sick a lot!) I also find myself being way my thoughtful and compassionate to animals which makes me feel good about myself, which makes me a happier person (my big life goal) *breathes out!* I'm sharing my story because if it wasn't for others sharing their journey I would still be eating the same food I did for those 30 years not knowing there was this other way I could live and I could be even happier for it :)

You can see more food ideas here and here

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Clay Fails

I love clay but it's also the most frustrating medium I've ever worked in, not only does it take so much time, things can easily go wrong! I'm putting together some clay fails of mine because sometimes it's fun to see things go badly :p

First up a little clay peachy whose head and foot broke/fell off! I temporary glued it back, covered it in glaze and hoped all would be well. Ben and I have since tracked down a glue that can withstand firing temperatures so that would be a wise investment. Regular glue, or super glue that I used here, simply melts always before the glaze has time to reach proper temp to be able to seal it all together. Ben was skeptical that my superglue/glaze attempt would work but...

Hurrah! except for some reason the gold glaze didn't quite go off, it turned out very dark and not its normal shiny beautiful colour, so the perfectionist in me put it through another round of firing

And glaze went off and so did her head and foot, so dramatically in fact that her head ended up sticking to her side :p Lesson learnt, super glue is not a good idea!

Can you even work out what this was meant to be be? 

Poor little swan planter's head fell off

And then there are the times the glaze just looks terrible!

Despite these clay fails I still love clay and I'm currently working on trying to make enough pieces to fill another firing :) :) So hopefully some successes and probably more fails to show you guys in the future

Friday, July 7, 2017

Film Camera a Month - June

Although a little late, I'm still excited to get to share June's film camera!

This month I used my gold toy film camera, which doesn't have an exact name but I call it Superheadz Ultra Wide and Slim :) It already had film loaded which I could date back to 2014 when I processed the photos *gasp* so grateful for this project and encouraging myself to use my cameras :) 

Also this month's film was lomography's lady grey 400 black and white film.

I was wondering how black and white film would go in this camera knowing it does really well with colour (although you do need to use it on super sunny days or have high ISO film). Turns out black and white film in the camera is great and dare I say even forgiving on those less than bright situations! If you check out my film camera guide there's more of a write up about the camera for those interested.

Above is the 2014 shot, featuring a rose which would make a comeback in 2017, turns out I still dig roses :)

 On top of our water tank has the prettiest setting sun light! The cats are drawn to that area to - although I don't think Peachy here was too keen to be a model :P

Sword fight kitties!
I may have set that one up :P

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

bought/gift/made /10

I'm doing some big leaps and bounds with my way of thinking and I'm definitely trying to aim for quality over quantity, so with that said, I finally replaced my $2 shower cap (along with its tiny bits of flaking plastic) with this super beautiful shower cap below. I made sure I spent at least a month considering the purchase, saved up and now hopefully I can continue to appreciate/get value from :)

In the made category (a little cheating!) a freshly painted side table that holds my kombucha. You all know, I'm not a fan of painting furniture so I feel like the effort put in (cleaning/sanding/painting) requires credit here :)

And lucky last some flowers gifted from Ben :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Minimamilism: The Minimalists

Last time I talked about Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying and today I'm going to talk about Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn who together form The Minimalists. I first heard of them through their doco Minimalism, which became a really big wake up call for me and had me thinking “yes this all makes sense”.

photo via their facebook page 

The film introduces us to Ryan and Josh and talks about their steps into minimalism, interspersed with footage from their book tour. In between their story they have interviews with people from all walks of life, covering a bunch of different topics, from tiny homes to fashion, meditation, advertising and family life. A big takeaway for me was the act of consumption and how often we do it merely as a compulsion because that's what we're been told will bring us fulfillment.

I remember after watching the film, I hunted them down online, followed their facebook page and glanced (briefly) at their website but honestly, I didn't gain too much value doing so. Value is word the pair repeat often and it was only through discovering their podcast that I started to engage more with their message. I'm currently up to episode 12 of their podcast with many more hours to adsorb but I wanted to do this blog entry in case it's helpful to others. It's also interesting to hear how Ryan and Josh differ but as they say there is no one perfect template or one set of rules to follow instead they encourage you to find different recipes, tweeze out the ingredients that work for you and then create your own recipe for living a minimalist/intentional/deliberate/simple/essential life!

The podcast not only has great insights, it also has a lot of practical advice of things you can do and questions to ask yourself. Like the question above or, "Can I afford this?".  They go on to remind you not to just simply consider the financial costs but time costs (just as important) attention + space in home and mind. I personally have seen great changes in my day-to-day productivity by implementing some of their more simple advice, such as turning off the notifications on your phone or unsubscribing from mailing lists to spend less time at your inbox.

Throughout their podcast they refer to essays they have on their website (which I totally overlooked the first time) and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and have gained lots of value from.  One of my favourites was Josh's alone time essay, refreshing to see someone being happy and content and spending 90% of their time alone :)  On another podcast episode they mentioned to check out George Carlin's stand-up routine about 'stuff' which I'll post below because it gave me a good smile.

I jotted down some other notes whilst listening to the podcast, such as 'we overvalue things', 'you are what you focus on' and  how "just in case" are the 3 most dangerous words. I could expand on these but honestly Josh and Ryan do a much better job and I encourage you to give their podcast a listen to, you won't be disappointed :)