Delicious Detoxification

Last week I decided that I was tired, not eating very well and letting my holiday lull me into doing nothing…I hate the terrible cycle that happens when you do less and less with your day then realise the less you do the less energy you have to do anything at all!

So I thought a detox of sorts might be in order. I’ve never done a detox before and didn’t want to go too drastic or totalitarian, so I came up with these guidelines:

To eat:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh herbs
  • Nuts, seeds, lentils, chickpeas, brown rice
  • Loads of water and herbal tea to drink

Not to eat:

  • White rice, bread, pasta
  • Oil or margarine
  • Sugar
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Soy products
  • Processed packaged foods
  • Condiments like soy sauce, chilli sauce, spices etc

With those ideas in place in my mind I went out shopping to an awesome Asian supermarket I know and stocked up on delicious fresh food amazingly cheaply, then got stuck in :)

Day 1 Dinner

First off I made my famous vegetable soup – it has loads of veges packed in, is thick and hearty and full of goodness, and the flavour and texture are completely driven by the veges themselves (I’ve had friends express wonder that I don’t use stock or any thickening agent in my soup!).

Simple Thick and Tasty Vegetable Soup

Simple Thick and Tasty Vegetable Soup

1 onion
4-5 cloves garlic
3 potatoes
1 purple kumara (sweet potato)
1/2 butternut pumpkin
5-6 mushrooms
1 carrot
1 parsnip
10-12 florets broccoli
Water for cooking
1 bay leaf
Fresh parsley and chives (Because that’s what I had, any herbs you like!)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the onion and chop the garlic and herbs finely. In a big soup pot, saute the onion, herbs and garlic  in a little water until soft and clear

Add diced potatoes, kumara, pumpkin, mushrooms and bay leaf and just enough water to cover, and simmer until the root veges start to soften, stirring regularly.

Add sliced carrot and parsnip and more water if necessary and continue to simmer.

When the rest of the soup is nearly cooked, add florets of broccoli and continue to simmer until they are cooked.

By the end of cooking the potatoes, kumara and pumpkin should be very soft and mushy, creating the thick base of the soup – it should be thick and hearty rather than watery.

Add salt and pepper to taste if required and serve!

This soup is really flexible – you can throw in any veges you have and it’s great for using up produce that isn’t quite fresh anymore. It’s quick and easy, requires minimal attention once the veges are cut and cooking, and is great for you while tasting fantastic.

Day 2

For breakfast I had another yummy green smoothie like I pictured in my last post – Frozen banana, wheat germ, feijoas, a leaf of silverbeet from my own garden (not my new silverbeet babies! My adopted older silverbeet plant) and coconut milk mixed with water rather than soy milk. The coconut addition made it taste ultra luxurious!

For lunch I had some leftover vege soup over brown basmati rice with raw cashew cheeze which was absolutely divine and so satisfying, I’ll have to pair vege soup with rice more often.

Vege soup with brown basmati rice and raw cashew cheeze

Vege soup with brown basmati rice and raw cashew cheeze

Tastes as amazing as it looks!

Tastes as amazing as it looks!

It was so good I repeated it for dinner.

Day 3

Another wonderful green smoothie, then I got to work inventing…

Everything Orange Soup! Which excited me very much and I will share that recipe in a future post when I have a decent picture of it.

Day 3 also happened to be a Friday, and I had big plans for the weekend so after a delcious salad dinner of lettuce, cucumber, carrot, nori and avocado I decided to lay my detox to rest for the week. Sure it wasn’t very long or intense, but I had fun and feel like it was worthwhile. Along with my soups, smoothies and salads, I really enjoyed eating my way through a pile of mandarins, feijoas, tangelos and bananas, and I got back on the water bandwagon (with lemon slices for even more refreshment).

Now that I’ve given it a try, I want to incorporate more fresh and healthy food overall into my diet and try some new things.

The weekend is over, it’s Monday now, time to get to work again :)

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Day of idiocy

This is what I had for breakfast:

Silverbeet, feijoa, frozen banana, wheat germ and soy milk - YUM!

Silverbeet, feijoa, frozen banana, wheat germ and soy milk - YUM!

After that, however, the day got a bit sillier.

First off, I’ve had an unexplainably sore nose for several days now, I couldn’t work out why – it’s been feeling like I landed on my face or got punched in a bar fight or something which is completely odd because of course I’m a lovely young lady who would never dream of such a thing…

Anyway, today I took off my glasses to wash my face and saw in the mirror that they were leaving an indent in the bridge of my nose. The little nose pads that support the frames have come loose which means the frames have just been resting on my nose and have left what feels like a lovely bruise; it’s hurting me to wear them.

I love my glasses, proud four-eyes over here! They’re purple and funky and I look way more interesting (and intelligent) with them on. Quite apart from fashion or pride though, when I don’t wear them I get a massive headache, squint my eyes up and generally feel spaced out from not seeing clearly. So not being able to wear them mucked up my plans for today.

Anyway, to take my mind off it, satisfy my constant sushi craving and get my spirits up all in one go I decided to try my hand at making a vegan version of Dragon Roll sushi.

It was fantastic fun! i’ve only ever made sushi once before so it wasn’t by any means perfect, but still looked pretty damn good. So of course before eating I meticulously got my camera and documented it from all angles and got some fantastic shots, then dug in. Half way through my second piece I decided to see what the photos looked like on the computer screen…and discovered the memory card hadn’t been in the camera. I know I know, very blonde of me, but shouldn’t the camera have told me that when I used it?!

So sadly I never really took the gorgeous pictures of the full roll, but did take these of the half eaten product. Next time!

Like...half a dragon's tail?

Like...half a dragon's tail?

With nummy teriyaki tofu centre!

With nummy teriyaki tofu centre!

The sauce on top is this, and oh wow does it taste good!

Silliness and broken glasses aside, my day still had some great things in it, like my baby silverbeets standing up and looking alive so far, I have hope for my babies! I have been invited to a vegan dinner and it will be lovely to be cooked for, I crossed loads of things off my list of “to dos”, I got to wear my crazy stripey cardigan, and this.

Catchya later folkses!

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The food of my holiday…

For your viewing pleaure, a pictorial update on some of the delcious vegan food I made and ate during my long absence from blogging…

Yummy pizza thrown together in a backpackers' lodge in Canberra!

Yummy pizza thrown together in a backpackers' lodge in Canberra!

I tried Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese for the first time on these. So delicious…very sad I can’t buy it here in New Zealand. This was my first attempt at vegan pizza and I loved it!

My parents were darlings and were happy with me taking over, planning and cooking an entirely vegan Christmas dinner for the three of us this year:

The full spread

The full spread

The tofurkey itself!

The tofurkey itself!

I made my first attempt at tofurkey and an orgasmically good stuffing, and served it all up with gravy, roasted root veges, steamed fresh greens, and carrots and parsnips braised in lemon and garlic. It was absolutely divine. We followed it up with vegan kahlua and boysenberry cheesecake (my adaptation of this recipe) and an egg-free take on the famous NZ pavlova.

Thai yellow curry

Thai yellow curry

Inspired by my flatmate heading to Thailand for New Year, I started throwing chillies in everything! This curry was delicious, with lime, coconut cream and a generous dose of hot.

Feel Better Miso

Feel Better Miso

With the changes of season so far this year I’ve had more than my fair share of sniffles and coughs – and I’ve been reaching for this recipe which works wonders! Full of garlic, ginger and miso it’s comforting and delicious while it cures what ails you.

Secret recipe mini pot pies

Secret recipe mini pot pies

Craving some food to remind me of home I whipped up some of these cute little mini pies from a family secret recipe – fun to eat, low in fat and amazingly tasty.

That’s all folks!

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Vege (garden) virginity!

Well haven’t I been the worst blogger in the history of time? Instead of trying to post the backlog of things I’ve been meaning to put up here, I’ll just turn over another leaf and start from now again.

The big excitement of my day was starting my first ever little vege garden! I went off to King’s plant barn and nervously (I was almost too shy) asked for advice, which I got! So after drooling and daydreaming over less practical things like blueberry trees and freesias I decided to start small and loaded up my very-kind-for-driving-me-there boyfriend’s car with a wooden planter trough, huge bag of organic vege-growing potting mix, and some seedlings: rainbow silverbeet, carrots, spring onions, chives, thyme and parsley.

I proceeded to get my hands dirty – emptied out some other pots I had, filled them and the trough up with potting mix, and nervously, with much care, transplanted the herbs into pots and silverbeet into the trough. Look!

Look at my little babies!

Look at my little babies!

I’m hoping so hard that I did it right and didn’t traumatise the little planties to much, the guy at the plant shop was very gung-ho and told me to just put them straight in, which I did, then afterwards found all this info on the net telling me how I should “harden up” the seedlings and acclimatise them for weeks and do all this other stuff… so I’m full of nervouse energy and sending all my love to my little plant babies!

I had nowhere near enough space, so I will get some more planter troughs tomorrow to transplant the carrots and spring onions into. Here’s to an awesome winter vege garden and delicious home grown organic food!

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The very beginning…

The first leg of my travels...

The first leg of my travels...

26/12/2008

I started my travels by getting out of Auckland as soon as possible! I packed up everything I owned and threw it in friends’ garages across the city, handed back the key to my now ex flat and jumped on a bus to see my parents in Tauranga – for one day.

I carried on to a tiny little place called Turakina to stay with a friend before she moved overseas. Turakina doesn’t consist of all that much really, it’s about six buildings in a bunch on the main road to Wanganui, but it was beautiful there. In the big old coach house with quirks and angles that Emily and her father lived in, on the beach littered with strange driftwood, in the garden in gumboots among the grass. More than anything it was fantastic to see her again – in my making of memories I find myself missing older times and versions of myself. My journal entry for the first night there reads:

“The conversations! We can discuss art, writing, photography, films, fashion, society. It’s what I miss. And just being around ideas again makes my mind tick over. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. So much still to learn.”

Emily is a photographer I admire greatly, especially her talent for portraits, and I asked her to take my picture while I was there…

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And was thrilled with the results! Check out her work here and here.

She was also kind enough to let me take her picture as well…

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I could have stayed so much longer than a week, but back on the bus I went to Tauranga – this time for two whole days – before packing my gears for the next great adventure and heading back to Auckland…

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Memory Lane in the Making

This is my last real holiday before I enter the working world, and to make the most of it I made a list of the things I would like to do to make it memorable, fuel for lots of those “I remember, back in the summer I finished uni, I did this crazy thing! Man I miss those days” moments in the future. I’m young, I’m between occupations, I’m freer than I’ve been in years, so why not?

As I wrote in my journal on deviantART:

“I’m going to spend the summer roaming and listening to music, reading poetry every day, photographing everything, throwing out all my clothes, finding new pre-loved ones and making my own, swimming, lying in meadows, running as fast and as far as I can, saying yes to everything, celebrating, cooking new things, discovering new places, being totally in love, hugging and kissing, laughing, pulling silly faces, getting tattooed, visiting people, refusing to work, being a nomad, doing and being and seeing whatever I want, wherever I want, whenever I want, with whoever I want.

Sounds like fun to me.”

I’ve been making a good go of that list, and hell yes it’s fun! Unfortunately for my poor little blog, all of those adventures in the summer sunshine don’t leave much time for writing about them, so I’ve been rather completely absent. BUT now I’m back, from over a month of truly nomadic life, and I have so much to tell – experiences, ideas, photographs, stories, opinions, recipes – so don’t go away, stay tuned…

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Marmite on Toast

Marmite on toast with Avocado and Tomato - Bliss!

Marmite on toast with Avocado and Tomato - Bliss!

 

Marmite – it seems people either love it or hate it. Maybe it’s because I grew up a Kiwi kid (that’s “New Zealander” to the uninitiated), but I love it – especially on toast. I was raised on it, it was a staple food of my childhood, just like Weetbix and Golden Crumpets and (vegetarian) barbeques at Christmas.

I think I eat it more than I eat any other food. I’ll grab it for breakfast, maybe as a snack when I’m rushing out the door, or don’t have much time, or am just being lazy. It’s a comfort food. I’m cool with it plain, but when summer comes around I start loading it up with fresh avocado and tomato slices with black pepper and it becomes a gourmet meal. I’ll eat it for breakfast, then often lunch as well. It never gets old, or boring. I may stray to cereal for a day or two, but I always come back to it, glad to be home.

The reason for this nostalgic rambling about yeast spread is that I was pondering the other day what I would choose if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life. Nutritional problems like scurvy aside, I think it would have to be Marmite on toast.

Now, you may read this and go, “What?! Marmite?! But Vegemite is better!” If this is the case, it’s possible you’re Australian.
The Marmite/Vegemite debate has been going on since the beginning of time, as the dinosaurs fought over what to spread on their prey, the apes battled about the best one to dip their bananas in, and NZ and Australia now challenge each other on the rugby field year in year out with no hope of the conflict ever being resolved. It divides lovers, turns children against their parents, gives people something to talk about at lunch time with people they work with despite having nothing in common.

As a kid, I was a strong Marmite advocate. I wore it’s slightly darker, richer and more flavoursome colours like a banner around my mouth after breakfast. My Dad, however, is a Vegemite man. Debates ensued, my mother suggesting there really wasn’t much difference was shot down in flames, and so both jars took up residence side by side in the family cupboard and a shaky truce was established. Time, maturity and apathy steadied the shaky truce, and now I’ll happily eat Vegemite with my Dad when I visit home, though I still buy Marmite for myself. Of course I’m still aware they taste different, but I don’t have a problem with a change once in a while.

Reading the labels, both are meat free and suitable for vegetarians. Both boast an array of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B9), though Marmite ups the game and also has B12 and Iron in there. Both have a very low fat content, though Vegemite’s looks slightly lower.

In the end, really, I think it just comes down to a matter of taste. But whichever you prefer, if you’re in the southern hemisphere and coming into summer like me, celebrate! Eat your spread of choice with fresh tomato/avocado/whatever tastes great on toast. If you’re in the northern hemisphere you probably have no clue what I’m on about, and if you do you probably think I’m insane (I know it’s not a popular food choice outside of Australasia). But on the slight chance you’re on my wavelength , you can celebrate too! Marmite and Vegemite make a great stock substitute in gravies and stews, perfect for cold winter evenings.

Enjoy!

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