Monday, 24 September 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Brownies



























I had originally thought that I dreamt up the idea of sweet potato brownies... but apparently not. Never-the-less, I still managed to put my own spin on the recipe I found on eHow.com.


1/4 cup of water
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of non-dairy butter or coconut oil, melted.
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 3/4 cup of flour
1 3/4 cup of mashed/pureed sweet potato (I roasted mine, and needed less sugar!)
1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (I would recommend less than a cup)
9 tablespoons of cocoa powder (feel free to add more!)

Step One
Pre-heat over to 160 degrees celcius

Step Two
Combine all the dry ingredients.

Step Three
Combine all the wet ingredients - except the sweet potato

Step Four
Add the sweet potato and mix well - the mixture is very thick so use your muscles to work it together.

Step Five
Press into a tray making sure that it's pressed into all the corners, it won't rise or change so make it look pretty. Throw it in the oven for 20 - 35 minutes and your done!

What is your favourite indulgent dessert?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentils & Quinoa Warm Salad

I survived entering the world of cooked food again - however I'm not sure my body likes it as much, I feel very run down and just blah, maybe one day raw food and I will become life long partners but for now I will enjoy my perfectly caramalised roast sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot.

Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentils & Quinoa Warm Salad

1 cup each of chopped pumpkin, carrot, white and orange sweet potato.
1 cup of quinoa
1 medium onion (red or brown, your choice)
1 - 3 cloves of garlic
1 can of brown lentils (washed and drained)
1 - 2 tablespoons each of pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Large handful of baby spinach
Small handful of mint
Dried Italian Herbs
Handful of asparagus (optional - but so yummy)
Half a carrot finely sliced, or grated. (optional)

Dressing

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil (give or take - I love sesame oil, so that might be an overdose for some)
1 - 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar (again, depends on your taste)
Half a teaspoon of honey or agave syrup.



Step One
Your root vegetables should be cut into pretty small chunks - place your chunky cut veggies on a baking tray, and coat with a little bit of olive oil, a light sprinkle of italian herbs and salt - roast in a medium to high oven until caramelised and golden. If you wan't asparagus - add it in half way through as those babies burn oh so easily.

Step Two
Grab your mint and spinach and roughly chop - set aside for later.

Step Three
Combine the olive oil, sesame oil and balsamic in a small jar or bowl and set aside. (Ps. Best dressing ever)

Step Four
Cook your quinoa as per packet instructions - set aside for later.


Step Five
Finely slice the onion and garlic and fry, over a medium to high heat, in a little olive (or coconut) oil until golden, then add your drained lentils and continue to fry until they develop golden edges - moisture is the enemy of achieving this - add your pine nuts and sesame seeds to the pan until everything is golden then empty on to a plate for later.

Step Six
Lower the heat and add the quinoa to the pan and make sure it is all thoroughly warmed, then add the lentils, the chopped greens, the sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds and finally the roasted vegetables - drizzle with the dressing & a little honey or agave and combine!

Serves around 2

Seriously, you HAVE to make this - the best quinoa meal I have ever eaten!

What do you eat your quinoa with?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Post-Juice and Raw Cleanse

Today is my first day back on foods other than vegetables, fruit, raw nuts and seeds, and I have to say I'm nervous!

I have been sitting here looking at my protein shake for 10 minutes and I just can't bring myself to drink it - yes I know my body most definitely needs it right now, but it's not green and doesn't have the zingy fresh delicious smell I have become to accustom to! I also have my raw muesli soaking in almond and rice milk, which is also giving me goosebumps, I am not a fan of processed food anymore, almost to the point that I am terrified! I guess it doesn't help that I watched 'Forks Over Knives' last night... my brain is in super-duper-healthy mode! Hopefully the sight of my favourite brunch, Balinese Black Rice Pudding with Salted Coconut Milk and Mango, from 'Twenty and Six Espresso' in North Melbourne will change my mind. (Even writing that made my mouth water a little.)

I'm sure a lot of you have watched 'Forks Over Knives' before, and if you haven't, do it. It's a refreshing look into the health benefits of veganism (or plant-based diet as those who don't want to sound like crazy hippies call it).


Overall the juice/raw cleanse was enjoyable - I really wish I didn't have to stop! As my first experience with juice fasting I did go easy on myself, by including raw fruits, vegetables and nuts and next time I do it, I will commit to just juice all the way! (Which will hopefully be soon!) No, I didn't lose any weight but I feel lighter, skinny and just better overall! I will be continuing a daily juice, with lots of green vegetables, as I feel more nourished and really enjoy the sense that my body has adequate nutrients. If you are thinking about trying a juice cleanse, I fully recommend it, not only will you feel healthier, but look healthier! My skin is glowing and is so soft and smooth I can't stop touching it!

Hopefully I can bring myself to dig into my breakfast soon!


Elo  x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Day Four of Juice and Raw Cleanse

So today is day 4, which I had originally said would be the day I ate cooked food, however I feel like my body needs one more day. I would love to continue on for a week or more, but I made breakfast plans with a friend weeks ago for tomorrow morning. Who knows, maybe I'll eat my breakfast and go back to juicing.

Today my body is sore and I have a bit of a headache, it is also my first day at university since beginning this juice cleanse so hopefully it won't be too tough.

I started the day with the usual, warm water with lemon and a green tea with organic honey and lemon. My first juice of the day was dandelion greens, kale, beetroot, parsley, mint, ginger, celery, cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, carrot, orange, apple, pineapple with a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar - really yummy with a slight bitterness that doesn't really phase me (but could easily be overcome with another fruit or some honey).

My second and third juice of the day (double batch) was kale, dandelion greens, broccoli, apple, orange, pineapple, beetroot, strawberries, celery, mint, parsley, cucumber and cabbage. I threw that in 2 glass jars and headed off for university.

I arrived home feeling pretty shit, which as surprising. I had a nap, a green tea with organic honey and a salad of red cabbage, red onion, carrot and mixed lettuce with chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and linseeds with a dressing of soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, organic honey and balsamic vinegar.

My fourth juice of the day was orange, green apple, pineapple, cabbage, dandelion greens, beetroot, broccoli, celery, cucumber, ginger, parsley & mint - after which I had to help my partner cook his dinner... painful seeming that I will be eating tomorrow and really, what difference will a few hours make... but I am staying strong and planning tomorrows meals.

Goodnight!

Elo x

Monday, 17 September 2012

Day Three of Juice and Raw Cleanse

Day 3 has begun! I started off with a glass of warm water with lemon and apple cider vinegar, followed by a cup of green tea with honey, then my first juice of the day! Broccoli, kale, orange, green apple, celery, cabbage, mint, ginger, carrot and cucumber with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

Had another cup of green tea with a squeeze of orange juice, ginger and honey then on to my second juice of the day, which was a crazy green juice of dandelion greens, collard greens, parsley, mint, ginger, kale, green apple, cabbage, half a grapefruit, mandarin and orange with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a touch of organic  honey - so yummy.

























I know what you might be thinking.. dandelion greens? I read about them in my research into detoxifying plants and well I have to say, they must be magical! These are 9 reasons why you should include them in your juice (or green smoothie!)

1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale!
2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.
3 – Low Calories: Like all leafy greens, dandelions are low in calories. One cup of chopped dandelion greens has only 25 calories.
4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.
5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.
6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).
7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.
8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).
9 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.
 (Source: http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/10-reasons-you-should-use-dandelion-greens-in-your-green-smoothie/
They may not taste totally fantastic alone, but add anything you like to the juice or smoothie and it's fine! If picking them yourself, try to pick them before the flower buds have a chance to bloom - they are said to be less bitter at that stage.

A milestone happened today - my body gave me the blessing of diarrhoea like bowel movements (I know - too much information!), which I have read is supposedly your body's way of saying 'fuck off no more solid food I'm busy cleaning!' However I am really enjoying my lunch time salad, which today was the usual carrot, red cabbage, red onion and mixed lettuce with a dressing of crushed raw sunflower seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds and sesame seeds with sesame oil, soy sauce, olive oil and a squeeze of grapefruit juice. God so good! And such a good reward (and tiny protein hit) after lugging 7 kilos of groceries in each hand plus 3 kilo Evie from the supermarket to the tram to home - which was incredibly awkward as I am extremely weak!

Fourth juice of the day was dandelion greens, mint, ginger, kale, green apple, cabbage, celery, cucumber, half a grapefruit and pineapple - I thought it was pleasantly refreshing, my better half thought otherwise.

Come 5.30pm I needed a little sweet hit - I had a chai tea with honey and soy milk followed by my fifth juice of the day was dandelion greens, parsley, mint, ginger, kale, green apple, pineapple, cucumber, strawberries, beetroot, broccoli and orange - so good!

7.30pm brings the dreaded dinner time stand-off. To sit with my partner and chat whilst he eats, or do I sulk off to our bedroom until he is done and the smell of chickpea curry clears from the air?
I stayed. With a giant bowl of my lovely salad in front of me.  I have a feeling I would be the worlds biggest bitch if it wasn't for actually being able to have something that feels like a meal!

I am still torn about whether or not to go back to cooked food tomorrow, I will be staying (mostly) sugar free regardless, but I just don't know! I think maybe 1 more day will do me good and then I can enjoy cooked foods!

It is currently 8.30pm and I feel a chai tea with honey and soy milk coming on, followed shortly by bed.

Goodnight!

Elo x

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Day Two of Juice and Raw Cleanse

Woke up 2 kilos lighter (water weight) and still feeling pretty good. I had a cup of homemade chai with a splash of soy and organic honey then I had my first juice of the day: Kale, Broccoli, Mint, Celery, Cabbage, Green Apples, Ginger, Lemon & Mandarin - I was actually really palatable, despite being made up of mostly vegetables, celery and cabbage do have quite a strong taste, but the mint marries with them nicely.

I headed for the city with my dog, Evie, for an Oscar's Law Rally - so many dogs! There was a vegan cupcake and sausage stand, which killed me. I was glad I bought a mandarin to chew on (and share with Evie) or else I may have gone insane!

I came home and (quickly!) made my second juice: Kale, broccoli, celery, cabbage, green apple, orange, mandarin, beetroot, carrot and lemon. Really nice and refreshing, wish I put some mint in, or even less fruit next time!

As a late lunch I made myself a salad of mixed lettuce, red cabbage, carrot, raw sunflower seeds and raw pumpkin seeds with a dressing of olive oil, sesame oil and balsamic vinegar (which could be replaced with any citrus juice) - super yummy!  I also had my last cup of homemade chai with soy milk and honey.

For dinner I had the same salad, except lemon instead of balsamic, plus a little organic honey and red onion. Then I had my third juice of the day, green apple, orange, celery, mint, carrot, broccoli, kale, cabbage, ginger and cucumber - really good! I made it quite minty so it was really refreshing plus a great mix seeming it had only 1 orange and 1 apple in it!

Fourth juice of the day was kale, green apples. orange, mint, ginger, cabbage, cucumber and strawberries!

Fifth and final juice of the day was kale, green apple, orange, mandarin, broccoli, cucumber, mint and ginger - plus I ate a handful of mixed raw seeds and almonds.

I have no headache or any other withdrawal/detox symptoms which I can't decide is a good thing or a bad thing.. I mean the whole idea of detox symptoms is that your body is expelling toxins and therefore you feel like shit.. however if I don't feel like shit then does that mean my body isn't detoxifying?

I'm thinking of extending my 3 day juice and raw food cleanse into a 5 day juice and raw food cleanse followed by a 5 day juice fast and then back onto a 5 day juice and raw food cleanse. Which is apparently a better system to use. However, I would really like to get back to cooked foods and not feeling restricted - which for me is the most hated feeling!

Off to bed for me!

Elo x

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Day One of Juice and Raw Cleanse


Day three of sugar free and day one of my juice & raw detox.

Last night I made myself a 'goodbye solid foods' sugar free date and coconut pudding, which even after cutting out half the dates was still just a bit too sweet, however totally delicious!

So far it has been a good experience, spent the morning walking our dog with friends, and then off to the organic market to purchase lots of kale and fruit. I had a soy chai with honey, an organic orange juice and stole some salad of mixed lettuce, cabbage, carrot and onion with seeds, off my boys plate. Whilst my dining partners enjoyed more delicious food, including vegan donuts that they claimed were amazing - I told myself they were lying.

Had a few organic strawberries on the way home to the juicer. When I arrive I made myself a 'welcome to 3 days of hell' juice. Organic kale, strawberries, orange, broccoli, green apples, celery and ginger.

Second juice of the day was beetroot, kale, celery, apple, strawberries, carrot and broccoli, yum! Nothing but a very dull barely noticeable headache and a constantly full bladder.

Third juice of the day was beetroot, apple, ginger, strawberries, broccoli and kale and I made a 'soup' juice, which had sweet potato, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, oregano and basil plus some salt and pepper, which I heated slightly before eating with a spoon - it wasn't the most delicious thing I've ever 'eaten' but it gave me the feeling of sitting down for a meal.

Tonight was pretty bearable, I made fresh chai tea, with a splash of soy milk and honey, which was so good, even my chai-hating partner had a cup!

Wish me luck!

Elo x

Friday, 14 September 2012

And welcome..



I am a vegan junk-food/sugar/caffeine addict and today was my first sugar free day in 20 years!

I want to improve my health, both mentally and physically, and become fitter - less like the couch potato that I currently am!

A basic auto-biography of my life can be explain like so...

I am 20 years old, vegan for the past year, vegetarian since 15 years old. I come from a family of 4, Mother, Father and my younger sister, 18 years old, who is slowly but surely on her way to joining me on team vegan. I was active in athletics, netball and basketball until I was 17, at that point I became too cool for physical activity - however my weight and body have pretty much stayed the same since then.
However now, I couldn't not sprint 100m to save my life, where as before I was playing hour long games of netball or basketball without being overly tired.
As for the sugar, caffeine and junk-food addiction.. that came on mostly during my final years of high school, where a morning coffee and afternoon coca cola was an everyday habit and I had to have sugar to make it through the day!

Wish me luck!

Elo x