Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good bye 2013

Like last year and the year before, I've spent the last few days out of Perth with Mr Bite's family. Six adults, three children and one dog in one house is a recipe for minor chaos, but it is chaos of a good for you, Australian, summery kind of way.

To finish off this year, here are some snaps of the calmer moments.

I think tee-pees are under-rated as outdoor accessories.

Western Australia's south-west forests

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Jamie Oliver inspired watermelon and noodle salad

Those of you who watch, or own the book of, Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals may be familiar with this salad. Combining salad vegetables with watermelon, rice noodles and an Asian-style dressing, it is pretty much perfect for Australian summer weather. Jamie paired it with a sticky kicking chicken dish, but I can attest that it also works beautifully with tofu, or just topped with some chopped nuts. It would make a wonderful contribution to a barbecue or picnic.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reflecting on 2013 - considering the year past, and looking to the year ahead

With Christmas over, it's suddenly that time of year again. You know, that time, where summary posts, "best of" recaps, and resolutions / aspirations abound. I like to save my blog-related summaries for March, where the anniversary of Bite-Sized Thoughts falls. As we've seen, though, I do like this time of year for reflecting and goal setting. 

I had 10 aspirations for 2013. Let's revisit them.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013


Our baby tree.

My parent's large tree.

Lentil, mushroom and walnut balls from Oh She Glows (before and after cooking).
These are highly recommended!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A final Christmas post - my main meal plans and a raw vegan mango cheesecake to say Happy Christmas

My Christmas food posts didn't stretch to main meal options this year. There is a reason for this, and it isn't just laziness (promise!): others have done a far better job on the topic than I could. Plus, many of the dishes I posted in round-up form last year, and the year before, still look appealing. I suspect you didn't want or need another round-up now.

This year, my own Christmas dishes will make use of Angela's brilliant Christmas-themed menu on Oh She Glows. I separately bookmarked her Best Shredded Kale Salad (with pecan parmesan and cranberries) and Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls (with a cranberry-pear sauce) as Christmas ideas, and when she included them in her Christmas menu planning post, it was reinforcement that they were meant to be. After Johanna's post on her experience with the lentil balls, I will be following the recipes exactly - I have even tracked down  the required sherry vinegar!

These vegan dishes will be complementing a traditional roast turkey dinner with roasted vegetables (for my family), and an assortment of desserts. My dessert contributions will be a layered twist on the (vegan) Christmas ice cream I shared in 2011, and some homemade chocolates.

With Christmas menu planning done and dusted, my main focus for today is saying happy Christmas to you. Happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice (yesterday!), summer solstice (also yesterday!), or just plain season.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fitness Fridays giveaway! Share your 2014 aspirations to win a Paul's Warehouse voucher

You may recall me posting aspirations at the start of 2012 and again this year. I prefer 'aspirations' to 'resolutions', as I think New Year's resolutions have developed a reputation for being unrealistic and short-lived (although obviously they don't have to be). Aspirations, on the other hand, are just goals. We can set goals any time, but I like to reflect and re-focus at the start of each year.

Today, I am hoping to inspire you to start thinking about your own aspirations for the next year. The reason? I am fortunate to bring you a giveaway for a Paul's Warehouse voucher. For those of you not familiar with Paul's Warehouse, it is a family owned Australian company that offers discount sport and exercise equipment, clothing and shoes. There are no physical stores in Western Australia, but they ship Australia wide (I apologise to my non-Australian readers; they are Australia-specific) for a flat rate of $10.

With a $30 voucher, you could buy all manner of items to support whatever you want to do in 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Vegan strawberry layer cake

My birthday celebrations have been persisting beyond what, strictly speaking, might be appropriate. There have been a few casual catch ups with friends that unexpectedly generated birthday cards and even presents. There was the phlebotomist that noted my birth date as she drew blood. And, last Saturday, there was another family birthday celebration, this time with Mr Bite's family. One of my nieces has a birthday near mine, so we tend to combine celebrations somewhere between our two birthdays.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Zucchini noodles with a tahini lemon sauce

What makes an ideal dinner on a 40'C (106'F) day? Last night, my answer was raw zucchini noodles with a tahini-based sauce, followed by soy vanilla ice cream.

I'm sure you can figure out soy vanilla ice cream by yourself (hint: visit a store) but the zucchini dish deserves sharing. There are lots of similar recipes around, but I think that speaks to how well veggie spirals pair with creamy nut and seed-based sauces.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

18 lower sugar Christmas cookies {Christmas ideas 2013}


I'm bringing you a short post today, to share this round-up of 18 Christmas cookies with a healthy twist. Each of the recipe links is below, or you can access them through the original post.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New York city #3 - Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and solo shopping

Intrepid Museum, with the space shuttle Enterprise in the centre

I have decided to divide our four New York city days into four separate posts because, well, the four days were all full. Today covers our third NYC day, which was also our second last day in America. It held exciting plans for both of us!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Edible gift ideas {Christmas ideas 2013}

I am yet to post a savoury Christmas-themed dish, but when it comes to sweet treats and snacks...I've got you covered. 

If you're looking for edible gifts suitable for family or friends, I've got them covered too. As a bonus? Most of these ideas are vegan, but your non-vegan friends won't suspect a thing.

First: Christmas cookies

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In my kitchen - December 2013 (the birthday edition)

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

Thank you so much for your birthday wishes. It seems we are all in agreement that life only gets better with age - which is fortunate because we all benefit from that conclusion ;) I had a lovely day and am pleased to use this In My Kitchen post to showcase some birthday items!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fitness Fridays - Running on my 30th birthday

Being a Thursday, yesterday was one of my running days. Being the 5th December, it was also my birthday. I know some might struggle to understand why, on my birthday morning, I left my sleeping husband at 6am to go running. I can picture my mother saying "But wouldn't you give yourself a break and sleep in, on your birthday?!".

I wrote this post because I am so glad I did go running. As I ran, rejoicing in the trees, the sparkling sunshine and the not-yet-hot air, I thought. And as I thought, I was grateful.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rawsome 'Desserts in the Raw' workshop

You may remember that, earlier this year, I raved about Rawsome products appearing at cafes around Perth. As I noted then, the Rawsome range includes raw, vegan (except raw honey in some products), gluten free, paleo, grain free, sugar free and soy free treats that are, quite frankly, amazing. Caramel slice, mint slice, and chocolate fudge brownies are just some of the choices on offer.

Last Sunday, I attended an evening workshop run by Laila Gampfer, the developer of Rawsome. Her Desserts in the Raw workshops are held regularly, and always sell out long in advance of the actual date. In fact, one of the reasons I signed up (way back in August) was the option to cancel without penalty up to 48 hours beforehand. There is always a waiting list of hopeful attendees, so if you need to back out, someone can be slotted into your place.

Raw, vegan chocolate mudcake.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hazelnut and cherry carob cookies - vegan and wheat free {Christmas ideas 2013}

At the risk of sounding patronising, I always feel a little sorry for people who don't like carob. It's one of those flavours that I find so wonderful, and so satisfying, that it's hard to believe other people don't feel the same way.

(Oh, I know. You probably think the same about me and cheese, or plain avocado, or any number of foods I inexplicably Just Don't Like.)

I attribute my carob love to my mother. When my brother and I were young, she favoured it over chocolate as a lower sugar and - crucially - caffeine-free treat that was less likely to spark over-excitement in our young selves. Having acquired the taste as a child, I've retained it through to adulthood.