Color Run and the Veggie bar

Seems like all I’ve done lately is post about food! That’s because I haven’t been running.

By the way, I ended up having a bone scan and a stress fracture has been confirmed. I’m seeing the physio again tomorrow morning to discuss a return to running plan.

Anyhow, I hadn’t run. But as you can guess from my title, I did run a bit yesterday.

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waiting for the tram

Way back in June I signed myself, Gary, and my sisters up for the Melbourne color run.

We drove to Melbourne on Saturday and picked up our race packets from the stalls in Southbank. The weather was drizzly and we had to walk from the parking spot to the stalls in the rain but I didn’t mind – sisters weren’t too happy though! Once we grabbed our gear we did a little shopping (I visited Lush and brought a few needs) and then headed to our hotel to check in and change.

We then headed out to veggie bar in Fitzroy. Oh my gosh. It was exciting to go to a restaurant that only makes vegetarian or vegan food. Having so much choice was great. Lisa took a little encouragement to try something but she was a good sport and ordered the mee goreng under the promise that we would eat her tofu if she didn’t want it.

I had a raw pad Thai and it was amazing!

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A great big plate of rice noodles, zucchini “noodles”, carrot, snow peas, a bazillion sprouts, cashews, spring onion, mint, coriander, with a bit of lime-y sauce. The sauce wasn’t quite what I expected (pretty much nothing like the cooked version that I make with tamarind paste) but it was delicious, fresh, and I felt amazing after having it.

I also had kombucha with it – I’ve never had kombucha before but I liked it. Fizzy, with a bit of tang, and definitely not what if call sweet. It was great.

Then came dessert. Oh my. Lisa and I split two desserts so we could both try them. I forgot to take photos until after we split and started eating them.

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vegan strawberry and mango cheesecake

And…

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vegan chocolate royale

They were both so amazing. I can’t even describe. The chocolate cake was so rich and moist, and the cheesecake was smooth, with a coconut flake base.

Mmmmmm…

After dinner we all conked out early due to the long day of driving and wandering about Melbourne. Then it was up early Sunday to get ready and leave the motel at 7:30. Luckily they let me leave my car there so we were taking the free public transport offer that came with our entry to the color run.

We have trams in Melbourne, and I quite enjoy them. They’re easy to navigate and I find then pleasant to ride in.

So we turn up, collecting more and more people along the route till there’s no room left in the tram. Turns out there’s 22000 people at this years colour run, and there was a strong encouragement to take public transport. All in all I think it worked out well.

So we rock up, have a wander about then join the 30 minute queue for the toilets (not even joking).

Then we join the people in the starting chute and make our way up to the start.

We all began jogging slowly when we could as it was crowded. All in all we probably ran about half of the 5km distance. I had planned to walk it anyway with my non-running sister but we managed to encourage her to run small sections, walk for rest, then run again. I was also pretty aware of my ankle so took it easy.

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looking back to the orange station

They had a few new features this year. The first station was actually blue liquid, being thrown from cups and shot out of water pistols.

There was also a bubble section.

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you can’t see the bubbles well but they are there!

My sisters and I wore white capes for the run. I stopped for a “heroic pose” moment after the blue station and a few randoms photo bombed me. I think it turned out great!

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Kate, Lisa and I linked arms and skipped over the finish line. Gary couldn’t help himself and sprinted ahead of us at about the halfway point – but hey, the Color run is all about fun and sprinting around flemington racetrack is his kind of fun.

He also took his shoes off pretty quickly and ran most of it barefoot.

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All in all it was fun, and messy. When we went into the finish festival area and got our colour packets, we made it even messier.

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The thing I love about the color run is that it’s not about competing. You can run it. You can walk it. You can dance, crawl, or wheelchair it. Elderly people and 3 year olds do it. For everyone, it’s just a fun time. And it’s a good excuse to make your sisters entire face purple.

There’s been a local run announced for next year (no date confirmed yet) and I really hope I can drum up a good few people from work to do it because it’s probably the most fun big event I’ve been to.

If you ever get the opportunity to do one, get onto it!

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before

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after

Vegan BBQ feast, and also Thor

I am not cooking dinner tonight (games night is on, therefore takeaway is on the cards), so I decided to have a little BBQ for lunch instead.

I had some lentil walnut loaf that I cooked in muffin tins to make single serves and froze. So they came out of the freezer and I got busy chopping potatos.

A little olive oil, salt, pepper and Cajun spices and my potatos were ready.

Onion was sliced and soaked in (vegan) Worcestershire sauce.

I also chopped a capsicum into quarters, took the stalks out of some portobello mushrooms, and then thickly sliced a tomato.

Throw it all on the BBQ – potato and onion first as they take a little longer to cook.

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I started the loaf on the plate as I wasn’t sure how well it would hold together, but I moved it to the grill when I put the mushrooms and tomato on.

At the end I added some basil pesto to the mushrooms. I also added some of this amazing jar:

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I got this to try, expecting a mild cheese. Wow. This is exactly like I remember blue cheese tasting. Blew my mind! And it’s completely raw vegan.

In other news, we watched Thor: the dark world the other night. I enjoyed it. (Come on, it’s Thor. I could watch that all day)
I’m not going to review it, suffice to say that it was enjoyable, Frigga needs her own movie, and I want Natalie Portman’s dress. The one with the armoured breastplate.

I’m also happy that twice in the movie it looked like they were setting up for a jealousy issue, but then they were like “nope! Done with that shit. Let’s get on with saving the world.” Awesome.

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I also saw this awesome ad outside our local shopping centre and loved it:

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Black bean, quinoa and sweet potato chili

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Sautée some onion and garlic. Add some chopped chili and cumin.

Throw in some celery, capsicum, carrot and sweet potato.

Add some canned tomato, and cooked black beans. Top it all up with a bit of water.

Throw some quinoa in there. (You know you want it.)

Let it simmer and thicken. Add salt and pepper as needed. Throw in some (vegan) Worcestershire sauce and maybe a dash of liquid smoke if you feel like it.

Serve over mashed potato and top with fresh herbs (I used oregano and parsley) and a bit of chili sauce.

Enjoy!

What summer means to me.

It’s only halfway into spring right now, but it’s been so hot and the air has been heavy with the threat of storms that haven’t eventuated yet that it feels more and more summery each day.

When the weather gets like this, there’s no way I want to be cooking inside over a hot stove or heating up the kitchen with the oven. So that means cold food, or move outside.

I haven’t turned the BBQ on since we started this vegan thing in March. But, in line with the weather, I’ve been craving grilled zucchini and eggplant so I dusted the cobwebs off the gas tank, hooked everything up and gave the BBQ it’s first run for the season.

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I marinated some tofu in the morning in a peanut sauce – which I am not quite happy with yet so I won’t be providing a recipe! We then skewered this with some mushrooms.

I sliced up some eggplant and salted it for a little. I generally don’t do this with homegrown ones as I find they usually aren’t bitter. Supermarket ones are a bit iffy so I usually salt those eggplants.

I sliced some zucchini, pumpkin and sweet potato. Tossed the veggies with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I added some Cajun spice to the pumpkin and sweet potato.

Throw it all on a nice hot BBQ, with a squeeze of lemon (still have no lemons so I used lime – lemon is definitely better!) over the zucchini and you’ve got a really quick delicious meal.

Lotta threw together a salad for me out of my fridge ingredients and we were good to go. So good!

To me, summer is epitomized in grilled zucchini and grilled eggplant. Both vegetables I fell in love with last year, and were it nutritionally viably I could happily eat nothing but grilled zucchini and eggplant all day every day.

Summer is definitely a salad and grilled veggies.

Interesting thing to note – Lotta commented that she found it nice to have a BBQ with us. She doesn’t eat much meat, and traditionally most BBQs are very heavy on the meat. I hadn’t really thought about that, but when she mentioned it I realized it was true. Aussies are always having BBQs, and the veg component is always a side dish – a salad, or some onions.

And that’s if there is a side dish. One of the typical Aussie responses to an informal event – whether it be Election Day or a school fete, or a fundraiser – is a sausage sizzle, which is a sausages and bread with sauce. Hell, the weekly sausage sizzle at Bunnings for various charities used to be our Saturday brunch tradition!

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So now we are eating plant based, and it’s heading into summer, I’m actually pretty excited to be exploring the world of vegan BBQs. I have a few ideas, but I do know that once our zucchini and eggplants start producing fruit I’ll be out there on a very regular basis. Mmmmm…

Cabbages and lentils!

So we had half a cabbage left from the one we picked last week. We also have a few more in the garden that will need to be used soon. Much as I’m a fan of the super basic steamed cabbage with salt and pepper, I also wanted to experiment a little with it and find some new dishes.

I also felt like lentils, so tonight took on a bit of an Indian flair.

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I delved into my spice rack and pulled out some of my favorites – cumin is my most used spice of all, I think. I also found the ground coriander seed, as I wanted a shortcut because it was getting late.

While I boiled about a cup of green lentils in some stock, I made the naan dough.

For this I used 2 cups plain flour with 4tsp baking powder – you can use 2 cups self raising as it’s the same thing. I then added a sprinkle (or two) of cumin seeds and then mixed some coconut milk and water in – a little at a time – till a nice dough formed. I kneaded it a little then covered it with plastic wrap and let it sit while I prepared everything else.

Finely chopped garlic and chili went into a small bowl with a generous sprinkle of each spice – heavy on the ginger and cumin, light on the coriander. I ended up throwing in some fennel seeds too. I didn’t measure anything so I can’t tell you how much of what went it.

I then thinly sliced some onion, and threw it into my pan with some coconut oil.

Once it had cooked a little, I added the bowl of garlic, chili, and spices. I let them all sizzle away till fragrant, then added some tomato. Next was the sliced cabbage, then when that had cooked down I threw in the lentils and some of their cooking stock.

After a bit of simmering, I had this to serve over some basmati rice:

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As for the naan, I just chopped off a small bit of the dough, rolled it out flat, and fried in a hot pan with some more coconut oil before serving.

Delicious, healthy, and filling!

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Strawberry cheesecake

Apparently yesterday (nov 1) was world vegan day. I didn’t know. So please consider today’s post as a nod to yesterday.

I had a very mini family gathering tonight. I invited my brother and his wife over for dinner and then my sister Kate asked to stay for the night too. Gary was heading off to a school reunion so his dinner is still sitting in the microwave waiting for him as I write this post.

I made my lentil walnut loaf with mash potato (mashed with tofutti sour cream and chives), chard/mushroom sauté and vegan gravy.

Unfortunately neither Lotta or I remembered to take a photo of the main dish. But we did get a photo of dessert!

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Strawberry cheesecake! I used this recipe, with the slight change of using limes instead of lemons as I had no lemons left. I doubled the recipe as I only had a large tin to make it in.

What did I learn? The cashews probably need to be soaked a bit longer than just half an hour. It was still pretty grainy. Also the base needs to be thinner than what is in my photo – straight out of the freezer it was hard to get through. But it was pretty delicious!

On another note, I saw an echidna today!

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He was heading across the road so I slowed to let him pass then pulled over. These guys can be pretty quick to hide when they want to so by the time I grabbed my phone and got out of the car he had climbed into the grass and squished himself down. One of their defenses is to basically burrow down into the ground so that all that shows is their spines.

This one was pretty big – the biggest one I’ve seen. Hope he had a nice rest of the day!

We’ve also been keeping an eye on our Silvanberries. They are starting to get some red in them. Apparently they will be ripe about December – not too far off though by the looks of these guys.

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We’ve also got apples on the way!

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So spending the day cooking with Kate, catching up with Scott and Lotta, having a lovely meal and watching some Community – it’s been a good day!