CHEEZY PASTA BAKE

pastabake
My de-lickyalips-licious pasta bake is packed full of veggies and has that crunchy cheezy topping that all good pasta bakes should have.

Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup of cashews (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup of water
150g sundried tomatoes (in oil)
2-4 cloves of garlic
the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Veggie Pasta Ingredients:

500g pasta (note: check the ingredients to enure it’s vegan)
500g mushrooms (sliced)
150g vegan cheddar cheese (grated) (note: I used Loving Hut)
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 orange capsicum/bell pepper (sliced)
1 yellow capsicum/bell pepper (sliced)
1 leek (sliced)
1 brown/yellow onion (sliced)
1 bunch of asparagus (chopped)
2-4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Directions:

Step 1: place all of the sauce ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy (note: add more water if your sauce is too thick) then set aside

Step 2: pre heat oven to 200°C

Step 3: heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan/wok then add the garlic and heat for 15-30 seconds, until fragrant

Step 4: add the leek, the onion, the orange capsicum/bell pepper and the yellow capsicum/bell pepper, toss to combine and cook for 2-3 minutes

Step 5: add the asparagus and the mushrooms, season with Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper, toss to combine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes

Step 6: cook the pasta, as per the packet instructions, drain then transfer to a large baking dish, add the veggies and the sauce and stir until well combined

Step 7: sprinkle with the vegan cheddar cheese and the breadcrumbs then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until crispy and golden then serve simply with a side salad and/or garlic bread

 

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AN OPEN LETTER TO TILIKUM (“TILLY”)

tilly

Dear Tilikum

I know you’ll never be able to read this letter but, ever since I was a little girl, writing down my feelings has always helped me to deal with the things in life that have hurt my heart.

I was just 1 when, at the similar age of 2, you were stolen from your family and your home, the ocean, and enslaved in what, for me, would be the equivalent of a bathtub.

I’m 33 now Tilly, and the knowledge that you’ve been swimming in tiny circles for almost my entire life, weighs heavily on my heart.

The greedy and purely profit driven, mostly faceless, head honchos at Seaworld have long labelled you as aggressive, continually blaming you for the deaths of Keltie, Daniel and Dawn but, the truth is, Seaworld has learnt nothing, diddly-squat, from those “incidents” because the money has and will always mean more to them. That’s the depraved world we’ve living in.

I only have to look at your dorsal fin to know how much sadness your existence causes you. I can imagine, but hopefully never have to experience, the psychosis your cruel confinement has driven you to.

There are good people in the world Tilly but, sadly, we’re outnumbered, not just by those that want to make money from you, but also by those who think it’s educational and entertaining to witness your suffering.

Tilly, I’ve heard that you’re unwell and, I have to be honest, the hope I’ve been holding onto, of you being transferred to a sea pen, where you could at least be closer to your natural surroundings, are slowly fading.

I’m beginning to realise that my wishes for you will never be fulfilled.

I wished that someday you’d get to explore the vast oceans, swim alongside your family, hunt for food when you were hungry and mate with the females of your choosing.

Tilly, you’ll never know how wonderful your life was supposed to be.

I may not be able to change your future beautiful boy, but I can try and use my voice to bring about change for your children, for your children’s children, and I can promise you this Tilly, I will NEVER stop trying.

Love Always
Honey x

MOREISH MONTE CARLO BISCUITS

monte

I really hope you’ll love my vegan version of the classic monte carlo biscuits.

Ingredients:

235g (185g and 50g) Nutellex (or your choice of vegan spread)
2 cups of plain flour (sifted)
3/4 cup of icing sugar
1/2 cup of coconut sugar
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1/4 cup of strawberry jam
1 flax egg
2 tbsp. oat milk (or your choice of non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract

NOTE: to create a flax egg, combine 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp. warm water and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to thicken

Directions

Step 1: preheat the oven to 180°C

Step 2: place the Nuttelex (185g) and coconut sugar in a mixing bowl and use an electric whisk to combine until it’s fluffy and light

Step 3: add the flax egg and the vanilla extract and whisk to combine

Step 4: add the plain flour, the desiccated coconut and the baking powder and whisk to combine

Step 5: roll tablespoonful’s of the mixture and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper, use a fork to lightly flatten, then bake in the preheated oven golden brown (note: this should take around 12-15 minutes)

Step 6: remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool

Step 7: to make the filling, place the Nuttelex (50g) the icing sugar in a mixing bowl and use an electric whisk to combine until it’s fluffy and light

Step 8: spread half of the biscuits with the filling and then other half of the biscuits with the strawberry jam then sandwich together and serve

JACKFRUIT AND TOMATO CURRY

jackfruit2

I finally got my vegan hands on some jackfruit (canned not fresh unfortunately) and I’m really enjoying experimenting with it. Here’s the recipe for my super simple yet seriously scrummy jackfruit and tomato curry.

Ingredients:

2 brown/yellow onions (diced)
1 green capsicum/bell pepper (diced)
1 red capsicum/bell pepper (diced)
4 tomatoes (quartered)
2 x 400g can of jackfruit (note: in brine not syrup)
1 x 400g can of diced tomatoes
1 x 400g can of coconut milk
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2-4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 inch piece of ginger (minced)
1 green chilli (finely sliced)
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Directions:

Step 1: drain the jackfruit then place it in a medium mixing bowl and use a fork, or your fingers, to shred then set aside

Step 2: heat the coconut oil in a pan then add the ground coriander, the ground cumin, the curry powder, the smoked paprika and the turmeric and cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant

Step 3: add the garlic, the ginger and the green chilli, stir to combine and continue cooking for a further 2-3 minutes

Step 4: add the onion, the capsicum and the tomatoes, stir to combine and continue cooking for a further 2-3 minutes

Step 5: add the jackfruit, stir to combine and continue cooking for 5 minutes

Step 6: add the diced tomatoes, stir to combine and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes

Step 7: add the coconut milk, season with Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper, stir to combine then bring to a gentle boil (note: stir frequently and scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking)

Step 8: once the curry is boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes then serve

ANYTHING YOU CAN EAT I CANNELLONI EAT TOO

cannelloni

I cannot begin to tell you how delicious my cheezy cannelloni is so, you will just have to make it and see for yourself!

Ingredients:

For the Cannelloni:

20 x cannelloni tubes (note: make sure they’re vegan)
500g organic extra firm tofu (crumbled) (note: firm will also suffice)
225g Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 brown/yellow onion (finely diced)
250g mushrooms (finely diced)
500g spinach
freshly squeezed juice of half a
2-4 garlic cloves (minced)
2-4 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

For the Tomato Sauce:

2 x 400g cans of diced tomatoes
250g cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
2-4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Step 1: preheat the oven to 200°C

For the Cannelloni:

Step 2: heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan, add the onion and the garlic and cook for a few minutes

Step 3: add the mushrooms and cook for a further few minutes

Step 4: add the tofu and cook for a further few minutes

Step 5: add the spinach and cook until the spinach starts to wilt then remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl

Step 6: add the Tofutti, the nutritional yeast and the freshly squeezed lemon juice, season with Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper, stir to combine (note: the Tofutti will melt into the mixture and it will become creamy and delicious) then set aside to cool

For the Tomato Sauce:

Step 7: in a saucepan, heat the extra virgin olive oil, add the onion and the garlic and cook for a few minutes

Step 8: add the diced tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes and the sundried tomatoes, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or, until the sauce has thickened

Step 9: spoon half of the tomato sauce into a large oven dish

Step 9: spoon the cannelloni mixture into a piping bag (or, if you’re anything like me, do it by hand and enjoy licking the leftovers off your fingers), pipe into each cannelloni tube then arrange in the oven dish

Step 10: spoon the remainder of the tomato sauce over the prepared cannelloni, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and season with Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper then bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes

Step 11: remove from the oven, let stand for 5-10 minutes then serve (note: I’d recommend serving simply with a slaw or side salad)

REVIEW: TULA NATURALS – ORGANIC HERBAL FACIAL STEAM

STEAM2

Introducing the Tula Naturals luxurious organic herbal facial steam. All of the Tula Naturals products are chemical-free, cruelty-free and vegan.

A facial steam is something we should all include in our skincare regime as, over the course of our day to day lives, our pores fill up with dirt, toxins and debris and a weekly steam will remedy that. In the past, I have steamed with just water but, steaming with herbs is so much more effective as the herbs allow for a more thorough penetration.

A facial steam will also increase blood flow, boost circulation and hydrate the skin.

I was really excited to try this luxurious organic herbal facial steam and, it didn’t disappoint.

There’s two facial steams to choose from, normal/combination and mature/dry. I opted for the normal/combination which comprises a beautiful infusion of chamomile, lemon balm, rose, lavender and linden flowers. Personally, I’m usually not a fan of the fragrance of lavender but, it’s not overpowering and all of the ingredients work well together to create a subtle, celestial scent.

This product is really simple to use, in a bowl cover 10g of the product with 1 litre of boiled water, allow to cool slightly then drape a towel over your head to create a steam tent. This is a 5-7 minute treatment and you should spend those minutes relaxing and, concentrating on deep and relaxed breathing, allowing the steam to work it’s magic. Once finished, simply wipe your face with a cool washcloth to remove any and all loosened impurities and close your pores.

This is a non-time consuming at home treatment with the indulgence of a spa treatment.

This product is priced at $21.00 for 50g, 50g equates to 5 treatments so, that’s only $4.20 per treatment.

Finally, I’d like share some info about the creator and founder of Tula Naturals, Lucy Cloonan. Lucy, and her family, have built a life for themselves in Eumundi in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland, removing all chemicals and toxins from their beautiful, natural surroundings. Lucy’s vision was to create a range of skincare products using only organic, chemical-free and preservative-free ingredients and she has achieved that with the Tula Naturals range.

Lucy believes in giving back and, as such, Tula Naturals donate $1.00 from every product sold to the registered Australian charity Free to Shine. Free to Shine equips children in Cambodia with an education in order to prevent sex trafficking. Every donation of $300.00 enables Free to Shine to enrol an at risk child into their program.

Finally, please be encouraged to visit their Facebook page and/or their website (see links below).

https://www.facebook.com/TulaNaturals

http://www.tulanaturals.com.au/

MY CAT CHANGED MY LIFE IN THE MOST WONDERFUL OF WAYS

Rubes1

My cat changed my life in the most wonderful of ways.

I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I was born a crazy cat girl and, I’ve grown into an even crazier cat lady. I love everything about cats.

In my adolescent years, when other teenagers wallpapered their walls with posters of boy bands, I wallpapered my walls with posters of cats.

I grew up with the love of 3 beautiful cats in my life and, of course, I have to mention them in this post, Barney (RIP), Cilla (RIP) and Simba.

It was in July 2011 that hubs and I adopted our beautiful cat, Ruby, from the Animal Protection Society of WA.

I contacted APSWA in the week leading up to Ruby’s adoption weekend to enquire about a torti cat I’d seen on their website. I was advised that she’d already been rehomed, however, her sister Mira, also a torti, was still in their care, patiently awaiting her forever home. I didn’t need to know anymore, I just said “we’ll be there first thing Saturday to meet Mira”. It was a date.

It goes without saying that we arrived at ASPWA at 10am, when it opened, on the dot and, I will admit, I hotfooted it out of hubs’ ute to make sure I was in front of another couple who looked like they were there to adopt also.

We were led to the cat adoption section and greeted by an army of beautiful felines, purring and rubbing around our ankles, some even scrambling up us, it was overwhelming but, I was focused on meeting Mira and it didn’t take long to spot her, snuggled up on a chair, mostly oblivious to our presence and looking resigned, as if she’d accepted that she would live out her days there.

I remember her looking quite surprised when we approached her, it was as if she were used to being overlooked, not anymore my beautiful little girl, our lives are about to change in the most wonderful of ways.

It was love at first sight, we spent a little time with her, hubs and I exchanged “yep, she’s the one” nods, we proceeded to complete the adoption paperwork and we were on our way with a fur baby who would inspire beautiful changes in us, and in the way we chose to live our lives.

Hubs and I spent much of the drive home debating Mira’s name change, Dolly, Milo and Vegemite were all in the mix but, the only name that felt right was Ruby and, Ruby seemed to give it the paws up, relaxing in her carrier and giving me some approving head butts as I gently stroked her. Nowadays, as our family and friends well know, Ruby has a lot of nicknames, including but not limited to, Rubes, Ruby Booby, Booby Girl, Rubemeister and Rubix.

Ruby was 10 months old when we adopted her and, unfortunately, we don’t know a great deal about her life before she was rescued by APSWA. The only thing we know for sure is that she was rescued from a hoarding situation. Ruby was a timid little soul when she first joined our family but, I feel like she had love in her little heart for us from the moment we met her.

Ruby inspired me to want to do more for animals so, shortly after adopting her, I began volunteering for a well-known animal rescue organisation (note: they’ll remain nameless for the purposes of this post as, due to their stance of euthanising the animals in their care, I no longer support them). I spent almost every Saturday, for the next 3 years, volunteering in their cattery and I made many fur friends. I especially enjoyed spending time with unsocialised cats, the hours I’d spend sitting quietly, letting them choose if/when to approach me, were so worthwhile when I finally gained their trust and they’d start purring and sit with me and show me their “happy feet”.

I can’t pinpoint the exact date but, it was during one of my Saturday’s volunteering in the cattery, that I began to pick apart my love for animals. I thought “I love animals”, then I thought “hmm, can I really say I love animals when I eat animals”, then I thought “why am I eating animals”, then I thought “why did I ever think it was okay to eat animals” and so, my internal debate began.

It was that “light bulb moment” that led me to veganism and so, I credit my connection to Ruby. I know a lot of people would probably ridicule me and say “she’s just a cat” but, she’s not just a cat, far from it in fact, she’s my best friend and, she ignited something in my heart that led to me, and hubs, making massive changes in our lives and, for that, I will always be so thankful.

I love my little sausage bum (oops, there’s another of her nicknames) more than I can ever put into words and I will always thank Rubes for the happiness she fills my heart with every single day.

That’s how my cat changed my life in the most wonderful of ways.

FAN-FLIPPING-TASTIC CHINESE BBQ TEMPEH STEAMED BUNS

DumplingsMy lovely mammy bought me a bamboo steamer so, naturally, I’ve been experimenting with it and, Chinese steamed buns were at the top of my to-do list. I’m not going to lie, this recipe involves some effort but, it’s totally worthwhile.

Ingredients (Makes 12):

For the Dough:

2 tsp. dried yeast
3/4 cup warm water
300g plain flour
2 tbsp. coconut sugar

For the BBQ Tempeh Filling:

300g organic tempeh (diced)
250ml tomato sauce
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. molasses
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground chilli powder
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (NOTE: this is for the cooking process and does not form part of the marinade)

For the Dipping Sauce

2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 red chilli (finely chopped)
1-2 cloves of garlic (minced)

Directions:

Step 1: in a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the “filling” ingredients then place in the refrigerator to marinade for a minimum of 1 hour but, preferably, 2-3 hours

Step 2: combine the yeast and the warm water, stir and set aside for 5 minutes

Step 3: sieve the flour into a medium mixing bowl, add the coconut sugar and the yeast mixture, stir to combine then knead on a lightly floured surface until it forms a smooth dough ball, cover with a damp cloth and rest for 1 hour (note: it needs to double in size)

NOTE: whilst the dough is resting, make the BBQ tempeh filling.

Step 4: heat the extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan/wok over a medium heat, add the marinated tempeh and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning/sticking (OPTIONAL/RECOMMENDED: at the end of this step, add 1/4 cup water to moisten the tempeh and create a sauce).

Step 5: prepare your bamboo steamer by bringing the water to a boil and, pre-cut 12 (4 inch) baking paper discs.

NOTE: once your dough has rested it’s time to assemble your buns.

Step 6: to assemble your buns, roll the dough into a long rope and divide it into 12 equal pieces, roll each piece of dough into a 4 inch disc (note: keep it slightly thicker in the middle), add 1-2 tbsp. of the BBQ tempeh filling and pleat the buns until they’re closed on top.

Step 7: to steam your buns, place each bun on its own baking paper disc in the steamer and steam for 12-15 minutes (note: ensure the boiling water does not touch the buns during this process).

Step 8: finally, combine all of the dipping sauce ingredients and serve with your de-lickyalips-licious Chinese BBQ tempeh steamed buns.

MMMMOREISH NO BAKE SNICKERS SLICE

SnickersYou’re going to love my mmmmoreish no bake snickers slice.

Ingredients:

Base:

1 cup cashews
1 cup almonds
12 dates (soaked)
1-2 tbsp. date soak water (optional)
1 tbsp. cacao powder
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Date Caramel:

1 cup of peanut butter
24 dates (soaked)
1/4 cup date soak water
1 handful organic unsalted peanuts
2 tbsp. rice malt syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

Topping:

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup rice malt syrup

Directions:

BASE: place the cashews and the almonds in a food processor and blitz until finely crumbed, add the dates, the cacao powder, the maple syrup and the vanilla extract and pulse until the mixtures comes together (note: add 1-2 tbsp. of the date soak water if you feel the mixtures needs it) then press the mixture into the base of a 32cm x 18cm baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until set

DATE CARAMEL: place the peanut butter, the dates, half of the date soak water, the rice malt syrup, the vanilla extract and the Himalayan pink salt in a food processor and blitz until smooth (note: add the remaining date soak water if you feel the mixture needs it) then spread over the prepared base, sprinkle with and lightly press in organic unsalted peanuts and return to the refrigerator

TOPPING: place the coconut oil, the cacao powder and the rice malt syrup in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir for a few minutes or, until smooth then pour over the caramel and refrigerate for a further 2 hours or, until set (note: I recommend freezing for at least 30 minutes before slicing)

SCRUM-DIDDLY-UMPTIOUS CHICKPEA FILET-NO-FISH BURGERS WITH CASHEW TARTARE SAUCE

VYY7Mmm, my chickpea filet-no-fish burgers with cashew tartare sauce are scrum-diddly-umptious. I will definitely be introducing these tasty little beauties to my family and friends at summer BBQ’s.

Ingredients (Makes 4):

Chickpea Filet-No-Fish Burgers

2 x 400g can of chickpeas
1 red capsicum/bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 yellow capsicum/ bell pepper (finely chopped)
1 bunch spring onions (finely chopped)
5 gherkins (finely chopped)
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 a lemon
2-4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. fresh dill (finely chopped)
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Cashew Tartare Sauce

1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 1-2 hours)
1/4 cup water
2- 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. fresh dill (finely chopped)
1 tbsp. rosemary leaves
Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Directions:

Step 1: in a mixing bowl, roughly mash the chickpeas (note: there’s no need for perfectly mashed chickpeas as a few half mashed chickpeas will give the patties a nice texture)

Step 2: add the red capsicum, the yellow capsicum, the spring onions, the gherkins, the garlic, the Dijon mustard and the dill to the mashed chickpeas, stir to combine then add the flour and, again, stir to combine, season with Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper then divide the mixture and shape into four patties

Step 3: here’s where it gets a bit messy, sprinkle each of the patties with breadcrumbs, patting gently as you go, until each of the patties is crumbed then place in the refrigerator and chill for at least 10 minutes

Step 4: preheat oven to 200°C

Step 5: heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, add the patties and cook for a few minutes on each side or, until the patties start to turn golden brown then, remove and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in the over for a further 10 minutes

Step 6: place all of the cashew tartare sauce ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth and creamy (note: if necessary, add a little more water to achieve a smoother/creamier consistency)

Step 7: remove the patties from the oven and serve with the cashew tartare sauce