Roasted Capsicum Hommus Wrap

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Don’t fall over sideways! Yes, I’m posting for the second time within two days. It would probably help you understand if I explain two things. Firstly, I’ve sprained my foot so have been couch ridden for a week and likely to continue to be so for at least another week. I don’t think there is a cooking blog I haven’t read this week, so naturally my thoughts turned to my little blog! Secondly, my husband has got himself a new toy – a motorbike. So weekends that were previously filled with entertaining him now find me alone on the computer while he goes for a ride with his mates. I can’t complain, really. It’s actually nice to get a little ‘me’ time on the weekend.

So as you can see from the image above, I’ve been getting heavily into watermelon lately! Weather here definitely heated up and it got up to 43 degrees Celsius here on Wednesday! Was a good day to be inside with the air conditioning of full blast! So it’ been the perfect weather to be eating summer fruits. I’m pretty much eating a quarter of a watermelon and a mango everyday. That is my idea of heaven!

Also, because I’m currently couch bound, I’m trying to be ultra careful about what I eat since I’m limited to a Pilates DVD for exercise. It’s been hard because I’ve really been getting into my running and now I’ve been recommended not to run for a month by the doctor! 😦 On the upside, it’s given me a new appreciation for things like yoga and Pilates. I always felt to uncoordinated to go to classes and the few times I did go, I found it a little boring. I’m now seriously considering signing up with the local yoga studio and continuing to practice it at least once a week, even when I’m back up and running (forgive the pun!).

Anyway, enough about me. I wanted to share a little recipe that I have been pretty much eating everyday for lunch this week. My husband loves the hommus I make in the Vitamix, so this week I thought I might mix it up a little bit and add roasted capsicums. Nothing new or particularly ground breaking, I know, but WOW! I will definitely be rotating this regularly through my repertoire now!

Roasted Capsicum Hommus (makes a LOT! About 20 serves)
adapted from the Vitamix recipe

2 cans chickpeas, 1 drained & 1 with liquid
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
2 large red capsicums

Pre-set grill to high. Core the capsicums, remove all seeds and membrane and cut into quarters. Lay on a large baking tray and press down with you hand so they lay flat. Once grill is hot enough, play tray directly under the element but not touching. Let char until skins are blistered and blackened (You may want to have your overhead fan on!). Once ready, place capsicum in a bowl and cover with cling-wrap. This will help ‘steam’ the capsicum skins and make them easier to remove. Once cool enough to touch, remove skins.

Place capsicum flesh, along with all other ingredients in a high-speed blender.* Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides when required.

To serve, try dusting it with a little smoked paprika.

* I recommend a high-speed blender, like Vitamix. If you don’t have one, a food processor should work fine.

While this hommus is beautiful just as a dip, I love it in wraps! It makes a great, creamy and satisfying filling.

Roasted Capsicum Hommus Wrap (serves 1)

1 gluten-free wrap or tortilla
1/4 cup of Roasted Capsicum Hommus
2 small falafel, crumbled (I used the Yumi’s brand)
1/4 a red capsicum, sliced
1/2 an avocado, sliced (I usually weigh it, about 50 grams)
Shredded basil (optional)
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
Vegan mayonnaise (also optional)

Spread the hommus down the centre of the wrap, stopping about a good inch from the bottom. Top with crumbled falafel, red capsicum, avocado and basil.

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Top with as much baby spinach as you can cram into the wrap (I like lots!).

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Fold up the bottom, then bring the two sides together to enclose the wrap. I got a bit carried away with my fillings and had great difficulty wrapping the sides together! So I had to take a picture of me holding the wrap as if I’d let go, it would have fallen apart!

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VoilΓ ! You have a healthy, tasty and satisfying lunch. Try not to be like me and make a total mess of yourself whilst eating! To balance out the meal, finish it off with a piece of fruit, like a mango, because mangos are awesome!

So what vegan/vegetarian fillings do you like in your wraps? I’m always looking for ideas!

Stay awesome x

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Back from the abyss

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I know, it’s been forever since I posted. The new role that I spoke about last time I posted has totally taken over my life! In a good way, though πŸ™‚ Now I get my weekends off and I work more regular hours. Only problem is I leave as the sun comes up in the morning and I get home maybe an hour before sunset (thank the heavens for daylight savings!). Once home, I cook dinner, maybe have an hour to do study and/or read and then it’s bedtime again. I’ve really just been to distracted and exhausted to post. Plus the longer I don’t post, the more I wondered if I should just chuck this blog in and not post ever again?

Happily, it’s summer in Australia and almost Christmas. What better time of year to slowly start posting again, especially with all the wonderful and inspirational posting going on by other bloggers!? If you’re an Aussie, like me, you probably phased out a little during the weeks of Thanksgiving posts from our American and Canadian counterparts! Maybe not as interested in the hearty winter meals they are posting when all you want is for it to be cool? But now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Some of you might be in the same boat as me where you’re the only vegetarian/vegan so you pretty much have to bring your own food! Not only that, but you want people to try it and realise how awesome vegetarian and vegan meals can be!

I’ve left it a little late to create any wonderful or creative recipes myself, but here are a few that I am planning to whip up on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Quinoa and Mushroom Stuffed Bell Peppers from Eat To The Beet. I’m thinking I might make a cheezy, bean-based sauce to stir through the rice before stuffing the capsicums. This will be my main which I will share, of course!

Creamy Kale and Mushrooms from Road Warrior Vegan. I think this will make a beautiful side dish!

After that, it has to be about salads, as Christmas in Australia is usually HOT!! I will be throwing together a curried kale coleslaw inspired by Dreena Burton’s which you can see here and it looks something like this:

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I’m pretty sure my Mum’s putting together a yummy tomato salad and some other bits and bobs that I can eat. Maybe a big fruit salad for dessert, if I’m lucky! πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with it for now. Merry Christmas and have a very happy holiday. I promise to be back soon with a new wrap recipe that I’ve been eating stacks of lately!

Stay awesome x

Packed lunch Taco Type Salad & other thoughts

Beans in a Cup

Greeting all! How is everyone’s New Year goals holding up so far? I was a good girl and did my juice fast for 4 days in the end and had great fun creating juices! Some were lovely and some barely drinkable! 😦 My own fault for experimenting a little too much with the blends!

However, I’ve not kept up one of my resolutions, which was to run 5 days a week again. I used to a few years back but a number of factors got in the way and it all became a little too hard in the end. The reason I’ve not managed to so far this year is a combination of shift work and getting sick! Yes, gang, I commenced annual leave last week and have pretty much had a fever or virus ever since. It sucks. However I’m coming out of it now and am trying to focus on eating healthily and getting my strength back so I can train again!

I’ve been living off tinned tomato soup since I’ve been ill, which is my comfort food. Rosella’s to be precise, and yes that’s a plug because soon the brand won’t be around anymore! They’ve announced they’re closing it down and I’ll do my little bit to keep my favourite soup on the market!

Sorry, slightly side tracked there! Anyway, last night my body started to tell me it needed more than salty, tinned tomato soup and I started craving veggies. So I whipped out my spare veggies (carrot, capsicum, celery and mushrooms) and water sautΓ©ed them with some onion and garlic. Towards the end I added some drained and rinsed chickpeas and some spinach to wilt. To serve, I served it over brown rice and mixed through some of Carrie on Vegan’s Saffron Cheese Sauce and topped it with a little diced red onion and avocado. It was so beautiful and wholesome to eat, just delicious!

Saffron Cheese Veggies

As you guys may have guessed, I’m a HUGE fan of Carrie on Vegan. She really opened my eyes to easy vegan cooking without making up for lost flavour with loads of oil or salt or 50 different spices. I love how simple her meals sometimes are and it is my go-to site when I need a new salad dressing! I added a gushing little comment about her Saffron Cheese Sauce on the link above and was thrilled that she commented back! Follow the link above and you can see my comment (I use my real name there – Kath).

After feeling so revitalised by eating some plant-based, whole foods, I decided to plan my lunch for the following day. Unfortunately the fridge has been running a little low since I’ve been too sick to get out and go shopping. However, using my ingenuity (hmm…) I threw together a Mexican inspired salad. Like a taco without the tortilla. It looked fab!

Taco Salad

I left it in the fridge overnight and when I felt hungry for lunch, just mixed it all up and it made a yummy salad. I know taco salads aren’t anything new but I loved this and will definitely make it again!

Taco Type Salad (serves 1)

1/2 cup of cooked brown rice
1/2 cup of cooked red kidney beans
1/4 of a large bag of spinach or two large handfuls, chopped
2-3 small tomatoes (I used Black Russian tomatoes – an heirloom variety)
1/2 a medium avocado
1-2 tbs coriander
1/4 a lime, juiced
2-3 tbs of salt free salsa
Chopped red onion to garnish

Add all the ingredients to your bowl or container and stir until well combined. Perfect for packed lunches and store well overnight!

I worked out this meal to be approximately 405 calories with 55 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat (mostly the avocado so add less if you’re restricting fat) and 17 grams of protein. I worked this out using http://www.myfitnesspal.com/, which is an iPhone app plus website. Very useful! It was a lovely satisfying meal for me and so easy. Definitely one for me to pack for my lunches now I’m going to be working 9-5 soon!

Yes, that is my big news for 2013. I’ve been accepted into a temporary 9-5 position for the next six months, which hopefully will be extended to a permanent position after that time is up! After working shifts for the last four years, I am very much looking forward to having a routine again. It also means I can focus on my health and fitness properly without trying to have to fit everything in around my shifts! I will be required to undertake a pretty heavy study load while in the position but hopefully it will pay off in the end!

How is everyone else going with their 2013 goals? Any successes so far?

Stay awesome x

Holiday Challenge

I haven’t really designed any new recipes in the last week because I’ve been following the Eat to Live menu plan. I’m loving it still. I’ve lost about a kilo and I’m back at the gym three times a week minimum. I’m feeling fantastic! I can’t actually describe how clean and vibrant and awesome I’m feeling. It really shows me how much food influences your health and life.

I made an awesome Thai Vegetable Curry for dinner the other night and even husband loved it! It didn’t have much heat which suited us perfectly. I had mine as per recipe while Tom substituted his tofu for chicken. No matter what I try, I don’t think I’ll even quite bring him around to tofu! I served mine with a side of quinoa and some steamed broccoli. Recipe for it is here.

So how many of you are undertaking Dr Fuhrman’s 2012 Holiday Challenge? I’m doing it and I’ve even got my Mum partially following it! We’ve made a deal to try cut back on the wine too because I’m sure we’ll all get to indulge a stack over Christmas! The challenge has already started but if you feel like cleaning up your act in the lead up to Christmas, you can get the info here.

How are your Christmas plans coming? Only a month now! I’m hosting the event this year, which is just for 5 of us, but I’m already planning menus. Tom’s sorting out the meat for everyone because we’ll have a barbeque (Christmas Day barbies are an Aussie institution!) so I’ve been thinking about salads and sides. I think I’ll definitely be making Carrie on Vegan’s Lemony Brown Rice and Lentil Salad. It looks like a great hearty salad that won’t make me feel like I’m missing out at all. I’ll probably chuck together a green salad of sorts and I know Tom will ask for a potato salad. My old standby had a mayonnaise and sour cream base, so I’m going to have to re-think this one this year. I’d love to hear some suggestions!

Hopefully I’ll be able to share some of the recipes I’m eating soon!

Stay awesome x

First week of Eat to Live


So this week I’ve been sort of following Dr Fuhrman’s Eat to Live program. I say sort of because I can never strictly follow any diet, especially one that requires a different dressing for every salad and a three course dinner! That said, I drafted up my own guidelines, roughly following the daily menu suggestions made by Dr Fuhrman.

So for breakfast I’ll either have a large serve of fruit or I’ll make up one of my smoothies. I’m pretty boring with my smoothies and generally they contain a banana, a stick of celery plus it’s leaves, few handfuls of spinach, cinnamon, vanilla paste, a Medjool date and a cup or more of water. This satisfies me quite nicely and I notice when I have these green smoothies regularly, I feel better and have more energy!

For lunch I’ll generally have a massive salad with beans and a dressing. However, I had a few leftover gluten-free wraps I wanted to get rid of, so I created a bastardised version of Dr Fuhrman’s Portobello & Red Pepper Pita. I didn’t want to make up a large tahini dressing to go with it, so I made a bean paste of sorts and it turned out really nice. I’ll add my version below for you to try.

Portobello Mushroom & Bean Wrap (serves 1)

1 large Portobello mushroom, stalk removed
40g drained Always Fresh Fire Roasted Pepper Strips or 1 large marinated red capsicum
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1/4 cup of drained chickpeas
1-2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp reduced sodium tamari
Juice from half a lemon
1 gluten-free wrap

Pre=heat your oven to about 180Β°C. Place mushroom on tray with baking paper, face down. Pop in the oven and let roast for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. Take out, cool and slice thickly.

While the mushroom cooks, mash your chickpeas in a bowl with a fork. Add nutritional yeast, tamari and lemon juice until you get a nice consistency.

Microwave your wrap for about 20 seconds. This will make it more flexible and gluten-free wraps break and tear very easily. Spread all of the bean mix over the lower portion of the wrap. Add the mushrooms, the capsicum strips and the spinach. Roll up tightly and enjoy!

Hope some of you give the bean mix a go. I’ve added it to all my wraps this week!

For dinner I’m trying to stick to the main courses suggested and adding extra vegetables. I tend to eat two courses now, a soup or salad for started and then the main dish or salad (if I had soup for starters). There’s a great recipe for Golden Austrian Cauliflower Soup. It served 4 so I halved the quantities. It still made 3 massive serves! Here I had it with some butternut pumpkin that I rubbed with cumin and roasted.

I’m trying to stick to the four portions of fruit minimum so I will often snack on a mango or peaches later.

So that’s it. I’m losing weight and exercising. I was running up to 20km on my long runs last year, so I’d like to get back to that. Currently 5km is my limit so I need to start upping the stakes!

Hope this inspires you to give Eat to Live a try! I’m loving it so far!

Stay awesome x

Back with a vengence!

Hi all. I’ve been very AWOL for a few years, as you see! I actually thought I’d lost this blog or it had been deleted so was thrilled to find it still set up.

So…what have I been up to?

Well, I’ve veered in between vegetarian eating and omnivore eating in the last few years but am now firmly back in veggie land. I am a borderline vegan and eventually I hope to make the total crossover. I’ve been experimenting in raw food and running. I planned for a half marathon this year but due to injury a few months ago, I’ve had to shelve that plan til next week!

What are you all having for dinner tonight? I’m having my old standby which is a baked sweet potato with a bean and vegetable mix over the top. I seriously live off this stuff when I don’t have to cook for the hubby. The sweet potato gives me healthy, nutritious carbs for my running and the beans give me good protein. Tonight I mixed it up by adding some sliced beet leaves, since I used a bunch of beets in a recipe a few days ago (and I hate waste!).

I’ll add them to the mix at the end so they don’t stew down too much. The current mix looks like this:

Forgive me for not being much of a photographer! This mix makesΒ 3 generous serves. You could probably split it four ways if you wanted! When the mix has reduced down, I’ll spoon it over a baked sweet potato, like so:

If you were curious to try this yourself, here is the recipe!

    Bean Based Potato Topping (Serves 2-3 – generously!)

    1 onion, sliced
    2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    1 zucchini, diced
    2 stalks of celery, diced
    1/2 red capsicum, diced
    1 carrot, grated
    A few generous handfuls of greens (beet leaves, spinach or rocket)
    1/2 can of chickpeas or any other beans (for a heartier meal, add the whole can!)
    1 can of salt-free diced tomatoes
    1 can of salt-free tomato puree
    2-3 tsp of dried oregano

    * Heat a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add onion and saute with a little water until soft. Add garlic and saute for about 1 more minute. Add zucchini, celery, capsicum, carrot, tomatoes, puree and a little water. Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes, adding a little water if the mix becomes too dry.

    * Add oregano and simmer for a further 5 – 10 minutes until sauce is thickened. Serve over a baked sweet potato and top with some nutritional yeast, if you like!

 

This can be changed up anyway you like, depending on your mood. Sometimes I add less veggies and add olives, capers and marinated artichoke hearts, which adds a lovely anti pasto flavour to it! If you don’t have tomato puree, just use passata or even a basic pasta sauce.

Stay awesome x

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

I had this for dinner last night. Makes up a large batch, about 6 serves.Β I usually have it over wholegrain fettucini with a little parmesan over the top and total it as 4 points.

Serves 6 | Points per serve – 0.5

Ingredients

1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or minced)
4-5 mushrooms, halved and sliced
1/2 red capsicum, diced
1/2 large eggplant, small diced
1 zucchini, small diced
1 carrot, small diced
100g fine diced pumpkin
2 cans chopped tomatoes
1/2 bottle of passata (tomato puree)
Generous sprinkle of Italian Herbs
Good shake of dried basil
2 tsp vegetable stock powder

Method

Spray large non stick frying pan with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add onion and cook till it has a little colour. Add garlic and cook for about a minute.

Add mushrooms and capsicum and cook for a few minutes, then add remaining vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add both cans of chopped tomatoes and combine thoroughly with vegetables. Add passata, herbs & vegetable stock powder.

Cook on a low heat for approximately 45 minutes until sauce has reduced right down and is no longer ‘watery’.

Serve over pasta and top with parmesan.

Variation: When I have about 2 serves left over, I’ll add 1 can of drained and rinsed kidney beans and serve it like a casserole, with 100g of rice! Yum! Including the rice, it them works out to be about 4 points per serve.