Plant based Munchies

A journey towards whole food, plant based, healthy eating….


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Layered caramel cheesecake

Layered caramel cheesecake

Layered caramel cheesecake

This cheesecake was an experiment, but one that I would happily remake. I was about to say the layers on their own are nothing that spectacular but together they make magic… but that’s not true. That caramel is MOORISH.

We tried it frozen and at something closer to room temp, and definitely like it frozen better! It is very sweet and a little bit salty. The cheesecake layer is thankfully a little plain to mix with the caramel topping. It’s just heaven. It’s one of the more labour intensive desserts I have but well worth it. And it freezes beautifully ūüôā

*For those sweet tooths out there, you might want to taste the cream cheese layer and decide for yourself if you like it sweeter. I actually decided it was better with some tartness to it to mix with the caramel but that will be up to your tastebuds.

Base:

1 cup pecans

1 cup almonds

1 cup pitted medjool dates (12 dates)

1 T coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch salt

Process the nuts finely in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and press into cheesecake tin to form a base.

Cheesecake layer:

2 x organic soy cream cheese (I used KIng Land)

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla

Blend together and pour onto base. Bake at 180 degrees C for 20 minutes, then allow to cool and freeze.

(You can add 2 T of corn flour or  tapioca flour to thicken it in the mix if you like a firmer cheesecake at room temperature)

Caramel topping:

15 medjool pitted dates, soaked (for at least 20 minutes in hot water)

1/4 cup almond spread

2 T coconut oil

pinch of salt

Process ingredients in food processor.

*If your cheesecake layer is frozen and firm, you can press the caramel topping down on top and smooth out. If it is still soft in the centre, (as mine was), roll the caramel layer out between two pieces of baking paper, using a rolling pin. The layer will then be smooth and sit evenly on the top of the cheesecake without damaging the layers.
Refrigerate or freeze (depending on how you like your cheesecake!) until ready to serve. The entire cheesecake can be made ahead of time and frozen until required. We really enjoyed this frozen!

Layered caramel cheesecake

Layered caramel cheesecake


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Crunchy broccoli salad with basil cashew cream

Crunchy broccoli salad

Crunchy broccoli salad

This is an absolute delicious mix of crunchy, fresh, zingy, creamy and filling ingredients. It packs a bunch of nutrients into one bowl as well! Wow, we were so impressed with this, it’s now on our staple list.

We used this to serve 2 but it was too much! You could easily use a whole broccoli head, double the celery and tomatoes  and serve 4. The cashew cream certainly makes enough for 4.

Salad:

1/2 broccoli head, cut into florets

1 cup cooked brown rice

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped

1 cup baby spinach leaves, roughly chopped

1/2 cup dry roasted almonds, roughly chopped

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup tamari pepitas

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 spring onion, diced

Place salad ingredients on the brown rice as a bed. Use pine nuts and pepitas as a topping. Add a large dollop of basil cashew cream dressing  (below) and top with fresh basil leaves, if desired.

Cashew cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked (at least 2 hours)

1 garlic clove

1 tsp mustard

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 T oil

1/4 cup water

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Puree the cashews and garlic. Add other ingredients and blend into a sauce.

Absolutely deliciously crunchy, fresh, and full of basil-y goodness ūüôā

Crunchy broccoli salad with cashew basil cream

Crunchy broccoli salad with cashew basil cream

 


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What do we eat in a week?

I was asked recently what do we eat in a week?

It’s actually a tough question to answer because that seriously changes relating to how much time I have and what else is going on. Before I started back at work, I had OODLES of time to shop, plan and prepare lovely, creative and fresh food. Now that work is ramping up again, I am finding I don’t have that time, energy and mental capacity to put into food. So often I am falling back on quick favourites. Which is fine. But it’s not as exciting as one might think.

And for the kids…well…their eating changes on a daily basis. But let me say, we are not 100% healthy as this blog may suggest. I put our good ideas up here but our not-so-good ideas? They are not blog worthy but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

One of the things I have come to realise is that balance is everything. We try to teach our kids about healthy eating and model it also. It does work. My 5 year old asks for salads and he eats raw broccoli yadadyayada. But he also arks up some days because he doesn’t want salad. He won’t eat it in his lunch box at school and has given up on carrot entirely now. And after declaring himself a vegetarian he asked for a ham sandwich at the shops. He’s too young to know what’s up and down sometimes so we roll with it.

What I have learnt is that in striking balance, one of the keys to a peaceful house is not to be stressed about it. Sometimes we are super healthy and other times not. Sometimes my 3yo refuses to eat anything of an evening but chips. Other days he’ll eat ¬†soup and cucumber and good stuff.

In a day, it’s not going to make any difference. Over a week, or a month, balance is what his body needs. So I have given up worrying about any particular meal. Some days, if chips is it, well at least he has food in his stomach and we ate a peaceful meal together without any nagging. THAT is of benefit too.

Other days, I thank my lucky stars for the nutrition that does enter their little bodies.

Having said all that – here’s a round -a -bout meal plan for a week if you are looking for ideas.

Pumpkin soup with hot chips.

Shredded rainbow salad¬†with added scrolls¬†for kids (or, it’s not blogged, but I put the bean sauce in pastry and bake as scrolls that they love)

Stir fry veg with rice ¬† or pad see eew (Thai noodles, oops have just realised this also isn’t blogged yet!)

Peanut noodle salad with baked spring rolls  for kids on the side

Curry with rice (and wraps so the kids can wrap up their rice and curry as they like to do)

Mexican – tacos/bean bowls/nachos using the Frijole Refritos and salad and guacamole (or, 2 nights ago we had this but used baked sweet potatoes as a base rather than tacos or wraps. We baked sweet potato chips for the kids and they used those to dip into the sauce and guacamole). The chickpea wraps are a favourite for Dave and I.

Indian baked veggies is a hit. My 5 yo especially likes baked cauliflower for some reason.

Tomato soup with bread rolls for the kids to dip.

Cobb salad where they can pick out their favourites.

Often we will serve a salad (which Dave and I will eat) and have homemade pasties on the side because the kids WILL eat the pasties and are learning about salad. Which is fine. We can serve it all up while they are learning and if they learn in little bits, I’m totally fine with that.

We have seen such a shift in my 5 yo this year that I am confident they will be established veggie eaters as they get older. But with young kids?
Don’t stress. Do what works and encourage and model what you can.

As Sid Garza Hilman says, you can’t change everything over night so if all you do is eat a piece of celery in a day that you didn’t eat yesterday, well celebrate that. It’s the beginning of something.

x


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Mexican bean soup

Mexican bean soup

Mexican bean soup

For those of you followers who are entering cooler weather I thought it would be good to include this hearty soup to suit your mood, despite the fact that Australia is entering the land of sun and salads ūüôā

I stumbled upon this idea whilst we were away on holidays and wow, is it yummy.

Ingredients:
1 fresh organic corn cob (cut the corn off)

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery sticks, peeled and diced

1 leek, diced

1/2 brown onion, diced

1 zucchini, diced

1 tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (and/or other beans)

1 tin crushed tomatoes, rinsed and drained

3-4 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp cumin seeds (or sub cumin powder if that is what you have)

1 garlic clove

1 T tamari sauce

salt, pepper

sprinkle of oregano flakes

Saute leek, garlic and cumin seeds, then add fresh veggies and saute until starting to soften. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are cooked.

It’s that easy! And delicious ūüôā


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Cobb salad with creamy cilantro lime dressing

Plant-based Cobb salad

Plant-based Cobb salad

We are BACK from holidays and my, what an effort it is eating clean and plant based whilst travelling around the country. We basically had a huge tub of cut up veggies and hummus for lunch the majority of days. I am happy to be home and cooking our favourites again, and back into working up new fresh ideas.

It is supposed to be spring (you wouldn’t know it with the cooler weather at the moment) but the forecast is looking good so here’s a bright, fresh salad. Cobb salads are those ones usually filled with chicken and bacon and egg and cheese. It does seem odd but I guess it is all in the concept of lining up tasty little ingredients in pretty coloured lines – or layers – depending on how you make it ūüôā Work with whatever you have…colours, textures, taste. I had some beetroot ready to go and some black beans but they didn’t fit in the end and I decided the flavours didn’t blend with my dressing either so the above ingredients are the winners ;). Apple would work well, as would cucumber, spanish onion, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes etc. You could line up some rinsed and drained chickpeas or beans as well.

Ingredients:

Red butter lettuce

yellow and red capsicum

celery

broccoli

bean sprouts

sun dried tomatoes

avocado

Crispy tofu (see below)

Chop all salad ingredients and line up in rows.

For the tofu, I bought organic firm tofu and pressed it to squeeze the water out. Toss in buckwheat flour with salt, pepper and onion powder. Lightly fry until golden and crispy and toss in some tamari before removing from the pan. De-licious!

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes

1/4 cup coriander (cilantro)

2 T extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 avocado

2 T  water

1 garlic clove

1-2 tsp rice malt syrup

pinch salt & pepper

Blend together in a mini food processor and serve over salad.