Friday, May 31, 2013

Fitness Fridays - Run for a Reason 12km race and thoughts on 'failure'


As you might have noted, last Sunday I ran a 12km fun run before setting into pikelet eating. I ran the same race, known as Run for a Reasonlast year, but the course was changed in 2013 to reduce it from 14km to  12km. It's only the fourth year the event has been run, and last year was quite poorly organised. This year the start and finish locations were moved, and the organisation was much better.

It's a bit difficult for me to sum this race up. For a start, it is only the fourth organised running event I've participated in. I have inserted a table below that shows the events I've run over the years. The more important issue, though, is that this is the first race where I haven't reached the goal I set for myself. I wanted to finish in under 1 hour 5 minutes. My race time was 1 hour 5 minutes and 50 seconds.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Raspberry-topped, vegan, no-bake chocolate tart

I might have made some recipe repeats recently, but today we have something entirely new. I know it looks like vegan chocolate tarts I've made before, isn't.

Amazing as it may seem (and amazing it does seem), this is the first dessert I have made that features tofu.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Pikelets with all the things (quinoa flakes, hemp seeds, apple and strawberry)

I'm starting to see that blogging for multiple years can, over time, result in the posting of recipes that are similar to recipes one has posted before. In other words, I'm getting repetitive.

On the weekend, we had no-bake banana bread bites that were a twist on my no-bake chocolate brownie bites. Today, we have pikelets that are really very similar to the strawberry, oat and quinoa pikelets that I posted just over a year ago.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

No bake, high raw banana bread bites - vegan and gluten free

These banana bread bites are a blatant rip off of my vegan brownie bites. Fortunately, I think it's acceptable to rip off your own recipes. Plus, when you're on to a good thing, why stop at one variation?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Angel hair spaghetti with roast peppers, basil, and tofu bacon

After more than two years of blogging, this is the first spaghetti recipe to grace my pages. Prior to this, my pasta efforts have been limited to one (very dated, very early!) ginger noodle recipe, one chocolate pasta recipe, and one Thai and rice noodle salad recipe. There has also been a zucchini noodle dish, but that's not really the same.

What triggered this sudden welcoming of pasta? To be truthful, I don't even know. The idea of the dish just wafted to me. I followed the line of thought, and so it was made.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cardamom and date pumpkin scones - vegan, fat free, and swoon-worthy

I'm no longer obsessed with peanut butter and carob.

(Or at least, the obsession is back to its usual levels, which means I'm content to eat them a few times a week instead of a few times a day.)

Instead, I have fallen in love with these scones.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Creamy smoothies: Peanut butter and carob (with broccoli!) and strawberry-mint-avocado (with cauliflower!)

I have given away the twist to these smoothies in the post's title. However, I figure that most of you are used to seeing odd things turn up in smoothies. It's not a big leap from spinach or kale to broccoli or cauliflower. So - I'm sharing the twist with you from the start and plan to use the rest of the post to convince you that these particular smoothie additions are worthwhile (and edible)!

I have a bit of an obsession with peanut butter and carob at the moment. To clarify: I have a bit of an obsession with peanut butter and carob together at the moment. I am obsessed with them on their own pretty much constantly. Now, I want them together in everything.

In smoothie form, this desire played out very well, in all ways except the photography aspect. To my shame, I snapped images on my phone only, and taking photos of a browny liquid in questionable lighting on my phone...well, the result wasn't great. I apologise. I was going to make another version before sharing this post, but I was so enamored with the drink that I thought you deserved to hear about it promptly.

The broccoli in this smoothie is limited to the broccoli stems. It's something I've been meaning to try it for some time, having seen the idea mentioned in various places over the years. The idea is that you have a container in your freezer that you add broccoli stems and/or other 'waste' vegetable or fruit components to, and then add them to your smoothies as desired. Once the broccoli stems are processed - and I use my food processor, not a high powered blender - they aren't noticeable at all. You end up with a creamy drink that is more like a thickshake than a smoothie, tasting as decadent as can be, but which incorporates broccoli that would otherwise be wasted. It's really quite brilliant.

Having used broccoli stems with success, the obvious next step was to try cauliflower stems. I added them to a variation of the strawberry, avocado and spearmint smoothie that Gena posted on Choosing Raw last week. 

As with the broccoli stems, the cauliflower wasn't noticeable once processed. This was also the first time I'd used avocado in a smoothie, and that wasn't noticeable either. It makes a nice change from bananas, in terms of thickening the texture and creating a creamy drink, and you could probably use water rather than milk for all of the liquid additions (I used half of each). Whilst I froze my avocado before blending, I'm not sure that's strictly necessary either.

Whether you make these particular drinks or just tuck the idea of broccoli and cauliflower stems away, I hope you end up with a smoothie that makes you as happy as these two made me!

Peanut butter and carob shake with broccoli
Serves one

1 medium banana, frozen
2 tsp carob powder (or cocoa powder; adjust to taste)
1 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped broccoli stems, frozen
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used sweetened almond; or use coconut water or milk for a raw alternative)

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.

Strawberry-mint-avocado smoothie with cauliflower
Serves one

1/2 medium hass avocado, frozen
1 cup strawberries
1 small bunch mint leaves, removed from their stem
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower stems, frozen
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used sweetened almond; or use coconut water or milk for a raw alternative)

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.

Submitted to 5 ingredient Mondays
Raw Foods Thursdays, and
Ricki's Wellness Weekend

What do you like to add to your smoothies?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fitness Fridays - New clothing purchases and discovering

Just to confirm, this is not a sponsored post and the clothes I am discussing are ones I bought myself.

When I was doing my PhD, I didn't have much income but I lived at home and also didn't do much besides study and work. On a Saturday, it was highly likely you'd find me in my PhD office for some of the day, but that I would then head out shopping afterwards. The shopping tended to be of the clothes variety, as distinct from the necessities and essentials variety. 

I find it ironic that now, with a greater income (but also greater expenses, it must be said) and theoretically more time, I very rarely go shopping. The flip side is that when I do go shopping, I seem to make the most of it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Failed yoghurt, thank yous, and 11 questions

You may remember that I recently found coconut yoghurt (that reads a bit like I found religion), and that I had high hopes for using the yoghurt as a starter for making non-dairy yoghurt myself.

People, my hopes are dashed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day picnicking with salads galore, apple cider cake, jaffa brownies, and sunshine

Having Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May is a tradition that Australia shares with America but not with Britain. As my mother's mother lives in England but has children in Australia, England, Canada and the US (Hawaii), I have often wondered whether she gets multiple mother's days or misses out altogether.

These cross-country musings aside, we celebrated Mother's Day with a picnic that included myself and Mr Bite, my parents and two siblings, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law and her husband and three children, plus one Labrador dog.

King's Park, Perth, Western Australia

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Roast vegetables and chickpeas, with apple

You provided me with some excellent pumpkin ideas when I requested inspiration in my pumpkin cookies post. Over winter, I now hope to work through pumpkin in scone, curry, bread, and cake form. I also foresee lots of roast vegetable mixes.

This easy meal is of the roast vegetable variety. To complement the pumpkin and cauliflower, I threw some apple in too. It might not be conventional, but I highly recommend it. The soft sweet apple pieces paired wonderfully with the vegetables, and made eating chickpeas even more enjoyable than usual.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

In my kitchen - May 2013 (featuring coconut yoghurt and novel chocolate)

I am linking this post in to Celia's monthly In My Kitchen event at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

In my kitchen, there is black quinoa. Last month, you may remember, there was red quinoa. Thus, in my kitchen, there is also a slight surplus of quinoa.

I should do a blind taste test with white, red and black to see if I can pick the difference. With my eyes open, I found this to be denser and slightly crunchier than white or red. It is also less sweet than red, but a bit nuttier than white.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bickley Harvest Festival - metal art, a garden lunch, baby kangaroos, and carob

Last Christmas, Mr Bite and I gave several "experience" presents to family as a way of complementing "thing" presents. One was a  movie voucher and babysitting offer for his sister and brother-in-law, who have three exuberant children aged between 4 and 9. Another was an outing to the Perth Hills for his mother, specifics left somewhat open to allow for adjustments to weather and seasonal events.

Last week, we reached May and neither of these experience presents had been put in to place. On the babysitting front, we had tried once but needed to reschedule when one child was sick. On the Perth Hills outing? There we were just disorganised.

Prompted in to action, we identified the Bickley Harvest Festival as a possible outing to aim for. The festival is held annually on a weekend in early May, and aims to showcase the Bickley Valley region of the Perth hills, about 40 minutes east of Perth. The region is home to forests and walk trails, wineries and restaurants, various small businesses, and local produce stalls. It seems that the festival event has run for the past sixteen years, so it was a little perplexing to discover it for the first time this year!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Energy-packed pumpkin cookies - vegan and gluten free

Left to my own devices, I rarely buy pumpkin. This isn't really deliberate, as I like pumpkin and enjoy it plain and mixed into dishes. Rather, it reflects a certain amount of laziness on my part at the time of purchasing (pumpkin is heavy) and when thinking about preparing it (because, you know, it takes a good minute or two to peel and cut up).

Luckily for me, I'm not left to my own devices with vegetable buying these days. Aussie Farmer's Direct have provided me with two pumpkins over my previous three deliveries (six weeks), pulling me out of my pumpkin avoidance and highlighting that, actually, pumpkin is really very easy to prepare and very versatile to use.

Protein-packed pumpkin cookies

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vegetable soup with split peas and caraway seeds

This soup is, on the one hand, just another vegetable soup. You'll have seen, made, and eaten similar dishes before.

On the other hand, it wondrous and joyful and worth taking the time to get to know. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Blueberry coconut ice cream (and some firemen)

After the ANZAC day public holiday last Thursday, I've been thinking that it would be really nice if a public holiday could be repeated tomorrow. Or every Thursday, I'd take that too.

As it is, I'm a wee bit overwhelmed. I seem to have a panic-inducing amount of work. I have spent a panic-inducing amount of money on orthotics (more on that another time). My workplace had a (minor) fire this afternoon, interfering with my ability to deal with all that panic-inducing work.

On the plus side, I value my work, the orthotics should help my running, and the fire was minor. I got to watch firemen do their stuff. I made blueberry coconut ice cream this week. It could be worse.