Friday, November 29, 2013

can't wait

HOLY MOLY- I purchased a Vitamix yesterday! 

That's me giving you guys a high-five

For a health nut like me, the Vitamix has been a very coveted item for a while now. A very expensive coveted item. I ordered the red and black one, it will arrive in about a week, and until then I will be dreaming about properly-blended green smoothies and deliciously silky raw soups. I wonder if I should give it a name.

So I am just going to have a bit of a stream-of-consciousness rant now: lately things have been very fortuitous for me, and I feel very grateful to the universe for giving me such lovely gifts. Today Luke and I went to the market to get our produce for the week, and there was no kale left on the shelf. I stood there for a minute, slightly disappointed, and then a man walked past with a whole trolley of fresh kale!

Tonight I had plans to stay in and watch movies- okay, the Justin Bieber documentary "Never Say Never," you got me- in my pyjamas with my friend, which was all well and good, but for the last few weeks she and I have been discussing that we should get out more. Like, specifically go out dancing. And then...two tickets to a very fancy ball for tonight dropped into my lap! A lovely client couldn't make it and gave me the tickets, which include a three-course dinner and unlimited champagne, all for a charity helping kids with cancer. What are the chances?

Thanks, client-that-I-won't-name-for-confidentiality-reasons!

My blender breaks, then I can suddenly afford my dream blender. Christmas is just around the corner, then my tax refund arrives into my bank account. I am a bit dehydrated, Luke passes me a bowl of watermelon that he just cut up. I meet my perfect man, we're getting married in four months. WHAT IS GOING ON? I must have been Mother Teresa in a past life, but oh my goodness am I grateful for all this good fortune.

Thanks, universe! I love you. And your delicious men and food and friends.

Vegan curried pumpkin bites with kale

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

food prep and ideas

Well, it finally happened. My cheap blender died.

I have had it for a few years now, and it did extremely well for the price; once I even put dates and raw nuts in there before I owned a food processor! And I have used it almost every day for green smoothies- although they were a bit chewy because the blender wasn't really strong enough to liquefy kale. But this time, it had had enough! Halfway through a green smoothie (frozen fruit and kale, poor thing), it started to make a loud whirring noise, and then dark green smoothie started frothing from the base and the kitchen smelled like burned rubber.

I still drank the half-blended green smoothie

The good thing about all this is that it clears my conscience to buy my Vitamix. I would have felt too weird and guilty if the other blender was still working, like it would know that I was cheating on it with the Vitamix. I KNOW I HAVE ISSUES.

I am spending this morning browsing through my favourite cooking/health and wellness books to get re-inspired about creating meals for myself. Last night I hit up Subway for dinner after work for the second night in a row, so I feel that it's time to get cooking properly again. I spent some time last night prepping little zip-lock baggies of raw nuts and dried fruit, so I have some snacks to grab on the go. Now just dinners and lunches to tackle!

A typical raw nut, dried fruit and seed mix that I eat

Pleased with myself this morning because I have already purchased Christmas presents for my whole family. Normally I am part of the Christmas Eve aimless mall-wanderers, but not this time. Obviously I am not going to tell you what they are though, because Mum reads my blog (hi Mum!). I love Christmastime, and tinsel, and lights, and the smell of pine trees, and Christmas pudding (Luke and I found a vegan one!), and giving presents, and being with my love and my family.

P.S- Also, today marks just four months until my wedding!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

do my little turn on the catwalk

My week has been hectic. I apologise if blog entries have been a little thin on the ground; I generally have been getting home, eating and crashing- nothing in between! 

Can you tell I am a bit tired?

I spent a grand total of sixteen hours over the weekend at a modelling course, which was super fun. I met some very nice people, and learned to strut my stuff on a catwalk. Vital life skills, people! My favourite components were catwalk and drama, although the makeup section was excellent as well. 

The health and fitness guy at the course was definitely not my favourite, as he seemed to stand for everything I don't; a lot of meat, few carbohydrates, a shitload of dairy, minimal nuts, and "cheat meals." I loathe the concept of a cheat meal, and I feel  extremely sorry for all those "dieters" (another detested term) out there who restrict for a week and then eat a bucket of fried chicken and a whole cheesecake because they feel so deprived. Gross.

I admittedly haven't been creating any masterpieces in the kitchen, which is a dang shame but also understandable as I haven't exactly had oodles of spare time up my sleeve. I kind of forgot to eat yesterday, but other than that I have been mostly surviving on beans, bananas, rice, dates and green smoothies. Not totally balanced, I know. 

Vegan burrito

This morning's breakfast

I think that I need to get inspired with food again. Maybe that (and studying for my imminent exams) can be a focus for this week. My Dad and I finally did my tax return for this year (yes, my Dad still helps me with my tax return- I just hate doing it, alright?) and it looks like I should be getting some back so I think I will invest in a Vitamix. I just want one so bad, and getting more greens into my diet really couldn't hurt at the moment.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

sorting through things

I have been busy the past few days trying to get some life stuff sorted out which I wish not to discuss on here. This is a blog about my journey as a new vegan, not about my personal misadventures! Plus, food is way more interesting than almost anything else.

I'm allowed to eat mangoes in bed

So, this stuff will be dealt with, and then...the festive season! I can't believe that it is the end of November already...I have my final exams soon for this semester! 

As a treat to myself, I purchased the most beautiful Maurie & Eve dress and some sexy white strappy heels, as after a year of being a boring glandular fever-induced housebound hermit I am ready to emerge as a pretty butterfly. I am not going to get wasted and fall into a pot plant or anything, but I do plan to indulge in a glass or two of champagne and dab on some cruelty-free make-up at least once.

Now onto the food for the past few days! I had an uncomfortable realization that I have shoveled down far too much "junky" food lately- my body tends to let me know when I haven't been on top of my nutrition and I feel lethargic, heavy and uninspired. Confession time: I have been eating vegan burritos, cupcakes, brownies, toast, vegan chocolate, and a lot of dates and nuts. A lot of sugar and not a lot of fresh leafy greens.

I mentioned before that I want to do another detox soon, and I decided to delay it for this week due to several disruptions during the week. When I do them, I like to do them right and really put the focus on eating the best I can, exercising and nurturing my body. I think I will begin on Monday, which gives me time to get through the modelling course on the weekend, recover a little from the past (hectic) few days and properly plan my cooking and food to be detox-friendly. 

Sorry I talk so much about detoxing! It is just something that genuinely does make my body feel a whole lot better when I haven't treated it like the amazing complex system that it is.

Oats with blueberries, coconut nectar and Loving Earth Caramelised Buckinis

Vegan mango lassi which was amazing

My little adopted baby (a rescue dog!)

Also, to the people that checked this blog out after it was mentioned on the Facebook page of Little Oak Sanctuary: thank you so much for dropping in! I hope that my experience of the sanctuary (and seeing the little cuties who live there) will encourage others to support animals in need, and maybe visit a sanctuary in the future. I know a lot of you already do heaps for animal welfare, much more than I do, and it makes me happy to know that you're out there. Luke and I became sponsors for Little Oak after attending the Open Day- it's one thing to read about the consequences of factory farming, but quite another to meet the gorgeous little faces behind the awfulness.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

little oak animal sanctuary

I had the best day yesterday: Luke and I were fortunate enough to attend the Little Oak Animal Sanctuary Open Day, and it was one of the loveliest ways to spend a Sunday afternoon that I can think of.

I can't wait to marry this man

The sanctuary is about an hour out of Canberra, and plays home to a variety of rescued farm animals including sheep (and lambs!), chickens, roosters, turkeys, horses, ducks, and pigs. It was the first time ever that the farm was open to members of the public, and Luke and I were the first ones to arrive- very cool. 

Luke (foreground), Percy and Clancy

Clancy kept playing hard to get

After everyone had arrived and mingled, a tour around the farm commenced. Kate (our guide, and human resident at Little Oak) explained the animals' stories, and a bit of information about the consequences of the factory farming industry for the animals. It was heartbreaking, especially when you think about how many animals don't end up with a happy ending like the ones at Little Oak. The farm was amazing and the animals seemed very happy and confident- the hens decided that they were part of the tour group, and followed us everywhere.

A mama sheep and her little lamb

Thanks for carrying my bag Luke

The saddest stories I think were those of the ex-battery hens; the sanctuary housed thirty hens, most of which were in an extremely sad and sorry state. They were missing most of their feathers due to the cramped conditions that they endured in their past lives, and many had severe respiratory issues also as a result of their confinement. Amazingly, they were cheeky, curious, and had no qualms about approaching us (very closely!) to peck at our buttons/shoes/legs, or just generally be close to us. 

Extremely inquisitive

After the tour, we headed up near the house to enjoy a lunch of vegan schnitzel burgers and sausages with salad, followed by vegan cupcakes for dessert. I was particularly excited about the food as I knew it was from Veganarchy, an amazing vegan caterer who creates the best vegan baked goods you've ever had. She could convert the most devout carnivore, I'm sure. I wolfed down two cupcakes on the day (a Snickers and a Lemon Cream Cheese), Luke also enjoyed two (a Banana Chocolate and an Apple), and we took three home with us as there were leftovers. Sadly, one got dropped and rolled several times in the gravel. Luke was devastated.

Looking very content

This pig (Dr Seuss) is only eighteen months old and as big as me!

He splashed me with mud when he rolled over

The day was wonderful. I got to spend it with my love, it was sunny, the animals were gorgeous and funny, I got to give my summer denim overalls their virgin outing, there were cupcakes, and it made me feel very proud to be vegan. Everyone should go vegan! Then all the animals would be safe and free to live long, happy lives.

Resting after a big day of strange visitors

This little sheep was found wandering the streets after a storm

A big thank you to the animal residents at Little Oak for allowing us to check them out, and of course to the human residents for having us, showing us around, feeding us such an amazing vegan lunch, and creating such a great environment for these lost or abused animals that wouldn't have anywhere safe to go otherwise. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

vegan toasted sandwich

I have eaten this every day for the past three days, it is that good.

Get. In. Me

Luke and I got a deluxe sandwich press/contact grill for an engagement party gift back in June, and I have only just busted it out! I wish I had done it earlier...although the amount of bread I am eating has doubled, which isn't great for my body.

I'm sure it's just a phase...a delicious, crispy, salty, creamy phase...

How to make (Mum! Make this!): obtain two slices of good-quality bread. Slather on some hummus (I made my own with white beans and garlic), place some marinated vegetables on (I used semi-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and eggplant), grate some vegan cheese on top if desired and place under sandwich press. When it comes out all crisp and delicious, delicately peel it open and stuff with mung bean sprouts and baby spinach. Close the sandwich and EAT THE SANDWICH.

Now I have to go to work. I may or may not get vegan takeaway tonight for dinner and eat it while Luke and I watch the makeover episode of "Beauty and the Geek." Also, planning on starting another detox either tomorrow or on Monday- will keep you updated, this one will probably have a few adjustments on the last one.

Monday, November 11, 2013

vegan dinner party, hospital and gardening

It has been a mixed few days since I last posted! 

Poppy, the beautiful family dog

The vegan dinner party I hosted on Saturday night was great; everyone looked absolutely stunning (dresses and heels were a requirement of entry), the food was fabulous (everyone brought a plate, which was so impressive as nobody except me is actually vegan!), everyone had a few glasses of wine, and it was a lovely night overall. I have a great group of girlfriends at the moment and I felt pretty blessed to have them all over eating vegan food with me. Cheynee curled my hair while I massaged the kale for my salad.

On the menu for the night:

  • Massaged kale salad with blueberries and a cashew orange dressing
  • Creamy pumpkin soup
  • Macaroni and cheese with pumpkin
  • Fruit salad
  • Rich chocolate cake with berries and cream cheese frosting
We were all very full by the end of it! I have been happily munching my way through the leftovers for a few days now- thanks guys!

Gorgeous girls

Only managed to get photos of dessert

Bathroom selfie: look at my beautiful hair! Thanks Cheynee x

Luke and I spent Sunday night at the hospital as I had quite severe abdominal pains, but they were unable to find the cause and I was given strong painkillers and sent home. How frustrating! This has happened three times in as many years and is still a medical mystery. Oh well. My doctor was lovely and Luke got to check out my exposed bottom in my hospital gown, so it wasn't all bad. Needless to say, no photographs were taken of this event. My apologies.

I am off work today, so have just been sleeping, reading, and pottering around my tiny garden. I bought some new plants when Mum and I hit up the markets on Sunday, and the soil was perfect for them as it has been raining nonstop for two days. Lucky I seized the first sunny morning of the week to plant them! It should rain later, too, so that will be a nice little initiation for them. I planted basil, sage, coriander and an unidentified plant of the non-herbal variety. It has a very nice pink flower.

Fresh herbs!
Coriander (front), basil (back)

That's about it! Phew. I think I will spend the rest of the day alternating between resting, cooking, and daydreaming about Luke. That last part is sad but true- he is a dreamboat. I am not embarrassed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

dinner date

I had today off, which I appreciated a lot. It has been a very difficult week for me, and I desperately needed a sleep-in and some time to myself. 

I slept until midday (and had a long, disturbing dream where I kept collapsing!), ate delicious pumpkin oats for breakfast, did some study (YAY! I have broken the ice!), ate a four-course lunch (kale salad, miso soup with soba noodles, hummus and crackers, raw chocolate) drove to my family home and hung out there (giggled a lot with my sister), and headed out for dinner.

My sister and Maid of Honour for my wedding, Fernburger
A homemade chai latte from Mum

Dinner was a fun "date." As I am on my full driver's license now (off my P's!), I ordered a Corona...I haven't had a Corona for about two years! The beer was lovely, the lemon wedge in the beer was lovely, dinner was lovely (the waitress happily ducked off to talk to the chef and came back with a million vegan options for me, which was very much appreciated- I ended up ordering a quinoa salad with sweet potato, caramelised onion, green peas and sweet sesame dressing), and the company was lovely. 

Hi Benji! Thanks for dinner!

I am buzzing from the singular alcoholic unit I consumed, which is pretty weird considering I used to have about fifteen strong drinks per night out and still be able to hold a conversation. My party-girl self has definitely taken a back seat, which is fine by me. That said, I do have another beer chilling in the fridge just in case I want to continue the buzz...but I don't know how well it will agree with me. My belly is more delicate than it used to be (or maybe I just listen to it more now).

Overall, a pretty good day. Now I just have to get through work tomorrow, then I have markets with Luke and a (vegan) dinner party with the girls, then Lazy Sunday (or maybe some-activity-but-mostly-rest Sunday) with my love. I would be content with whatever we do as long as we can hold hands.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

good morning

I got woken up too early this morning by a text message from my boss reminding me to come to work half an hour earlier today. I feel quite grumpy that I was snatched from my slumber, but hey, woman knows me- I had indeed forgotten that I had to be early today. Can't complain!

The past few days have consisted of working (seeing lots of clients at the moment), sleeping, being overly emotional (crying when a "Save The Orangutans" advertisement played on TV, crying because I couldn't open a jar, crying because I have seasonal allergies, you name it), cooking a little- well, raw brownies, so not really "cooking" - and eating. 

I feel so worn out.

I desperately want a holiday where I can swim in the ocean, wear beach clothes, spend all day holding Luke's hand, and then go out to a nice restaurant for dinner (no dishes!). Wait...that sounds what my honeymoon is going to be like! Getting married in under five months (what?!) and I cannot wait. I have the very opposite of cold feet- I have burning-hot feet to marry the love of my life. Luke is my soulmate and my love, my best friend, and my greatest support (even when I am being super stupid or unreasonable). I love that man so much.

Food-wise, things are pretty good. I have enjoyed the aforementioned raw brownies, homemade hummus with mung bean sprouts, expensive chocolate and ice-cream from the health food store, vegetable chilli (a favourite staple for me), lots of massaged kale with nutritional yeast, fresh summer fruits (hello watermelon, papaya and mango!), and cooling green smoothies with cucumber. 

This morning's breakfast (no milk to make oats)
My hummus rocks
I think Tuesday night's dinner (?)

I have an exciting weekend in store: on Friday night I have a dinner date with Skye at a yummy vegan restaurant, on Saturday I am having the beautiful girls from work (they also  happen to be my besties) over for a vegan dinner party (heels and dresses NOT optional, and I will have one glass of wine), and Sunday will hopefully be Lazy Sunday with Luke. Unfortunately, the Open Day at Little Oak Sanctuary has been postponed until next week due to weather conditions. Fair enough, but still- I am itching to pat a pig! Positively ITCHING! Another week to wait...oh well. Something to look forward to for next weekend!

Monday, November 4, 2013

the crow

I haven't posted in a few days so I was planning to do a big post today with a photograph of every meal I ate. What a good blogger! Well, I did it for my breakfast oats, and some fruit, but then I kind of...forgot. Taking a picture of my food apparently comes secondary to my roaring hunger.

For the record, I had pumpkin oats and a dandelion "coffee" for breakfast, a big bowl of massaged kale with nutritional yeast plus half a large watermelon for lunch, a few pieces of dark chocolate here and there, and a crazy-good vegie burger for dinner. I haven't quite mastered the art of making my own vegie patties yet so I rely on the refrigerated section of the health food store, but this one tasted like magic. I am getting better at cooking for sure, but I don't think I could recreate it even in my dreams.

Other un-photographed events of the day include a deep-tissue massage, an Epsom salt bath with some raw apple cider vinegar in there, more episodes of "Girls" season two than I'd like to admit, and the purchase of two magazines. I belong on "Hoarders: Magazine Edition."

Breakfast of champions
The Crow (or The Crane?? Someone clarify this for me!)
My love doing it (A+!)
Serves one
Backbending around

Also, I have a shameful admission: I have not sat my hiney upon my cute little meditation stool yet. I am having a bit of a difficult time upstairs lately, and I guess that I don't want to be left alone with my thoughts yet. I know that that is the point, but there is a menagerie of crazy zoo animals in my head and I don't know how to confront them. I do want to heal though, and I will do it. And when I do, I think I will throw myself a little dinner party to celebrate, because I will have earned a delicious vegan dinner.