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Posts tagged ‘vegan cooking’

Homemade Vegan PB & Choc Protein Bars

Yes, I am still alive! I’m just in ultra-hermit mode, so while I still spend a lot of my time indulging my various hobbies, I just don’t bother sharing the results. Which is selfish! But these bars have proved delicious and popular, so here is the recipe; it’s too good not to share.

(These are technically gluten-free, but contain oats, so it depends on whether you can personally handle oats. Otherwise, substitute rice/quinoa flakes.)

Vegan PB & Choc Protein Bars
Original Recipe, Makes 16 large bars


– 14 medjool dates
– 1 1/4 C puffed rice (or a combination of puffed rice, buckwheat and quinoa)
– 1/2 C quick oats
– 1/2 C rolled oats
– 1/3 C raw cacao powder
– 1 C vegan protein powder
– 1/2 C peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, it’s up to you!)
– 1/2 C rice malt syrup or honey

– Optional; 1 TBSP maca powder, 1-3 TBSPs vegan calcium powder


1. Remove the pits from the dates and dice them. Place in a bowl and cover with warm water for 10-15 minutes until soft

2. Drain dates and transfer them to a blender/food processor, and pulse until it forms a thick paste

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine puffed rice, oats, cacao powder and protein powder

4. In a small saucepan combine the peanut butter and honey/rice syrup over a low heat, stirring constantly, until it goes soft and starts to bubble

5. Add the date paste and peanut butter/honey mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix until combined – it’s easiest to wet your hands and knead it through

6. Press the mixture into a 9 inch/ 23 cm square tin lined with baking paper. Press it in VERY firmly

7. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until solid. Cut into 16 squares or smaller. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Nutritional Info:
(For 16 squares, per square)
250 Kcal
15g Protein calcium powder

How-To Guide: Preparing Tofu

I’m working on expanding my blog again, as it had largely descended into collections of photographs and little else. Hence the more diverse and wordy posts!

Today I’m going to show you, step by step, how to prepare tofu for maximum flavour and texture. A lot of people have had bad experiences with watery, gross tofu, because success largely rests on preparatory steps that most people don’t know about. Here they are:

What you will need:

  • Tofu – generally, you want to use firm/extra firm tofu. Silken tofu is mostly used for baking and making desserts. Recipes will generally specify what type you need: this tutorial looks at how to prepare firm tofu.
  • Paper towels, at least 4 sheets (I always recommend 100% recycled)
  • Two plates (smaller is generally easier, but use what you have)
  • A handtowel or other rag for absorbing any excess liquid
  • Something heavy and regular shaped for pressing; the Oxford English Dictionary works a treat (I used a box of breadmix for this example)

Preparing tofu 1

1. Put down a towel on the bench to catch stray water (I used a dirty tea towel then throw it in the wash). Lay down two sheets of paper towel on the bottom plate.

Preparing tofu 2

2. Remove tofu from package, drain thoroughly, and place on the paper towel covered plate.

Preparing tofu 3

3. Place two more paper towels over the top of the tofu.

Preparing tofu 4

4. Place the second plate on top, making sure it’s centred.

Preparing tofu 5

5. Place the heavy object on top of the top plate, making sure the stack is stable.

Preparing tofu 6
(Sorry about the blurry picture!)

6. Leave the tofu to press for up to 4 hours, then slice it as desired. And don’t forget that paper towels are recyclable!

If you’re making a stir fry or something similar I highly recommend putting the drained and diced tofu in a container and covering it with the sauce you’re going to use. Leave it to marinate for up to 48 hrs, and the tofu will absorb more of the sauce, now that the water has been squeezed out!

Any comments or questions? Was this helpful or the same old same old?

Vegan Bento #53

Welcome to the latest lunch post!

Vegan Bento 53

Top Left: homemade half-raw hommus with carrot cutout.

Top Right: carrot sticks and flowers, tomato from dad’s garden.

Bottom Left: Pigs in mud! Homemade iced brownie surrounded by sultanas, dried pineapple, apple rings and blueberries (yellow cup).

Bottom Right: Seaweed rice crackers with Sheese chunks, dry roasted garlic chickpeas (yellow cup), pistachios (pink cup).

I was very pleased with my pigs in mud, pigs being one of the most beautiful species on the planet. And they’re such cuties!

Vegan Bento #52

That’s right, the vegan bento blogger is back! I’ve been working mostly full time for a few weeks, and now I’m used to it I’m more inclined to pack a proper bento.

That being said, this is more of a snack bento, as I had my lunch separately.

Vegan Bento 52

Top tier L-R: “Freedom Foods” muesli bar, sultanas, golden sultanas, pistachios and dry-roasted garlic chickpeas (in pink cup).

Bottom tier L-R: seaweed rice crackers, spicy Indian potato snacks, raw cashews (in yellow cup), raw sunflower seedss (in blue cup).

The little cupcake container hold a mixture of nutritional yeast, veggie salt and cracker pepper, for seasoning the 5 bean mix that was my lunch. And a Clif bar because I am freaking addicted to them!

Stay tuned for the next post, which will probably include photos of my cat. Heheheeh. 😀

Raw Food Roundup; Snacks and Desserts

I’ve been experimenting a lot with raw foodism of late, though I’ve been rather slack in regards to taking photographs. Blame the consistently poor lighting in my kitchen/flat! So here’s a brief overview of some of my experiments.

1. Raw Cacao Crunch Cookies

Raw cacao crunch cookies

These were an original recipe; I basically mixed puffed buckwheat (soak raw buckwheat then dehydrate until crispy), hazelnut and almond meals, cacao powder, and agave nectar. Then shaped into balls and dehydrated for about 12-24 hours, depending on how dry you want your cookies.

2. Dehydrator load ready to go

Dehydrator load

Back two mats; raw cacao crunch cookies. Middle row; cacao crunch cookies on left, and lemon/almond/coconut cookies (just mix almond meal, shredded coconut, and fresh squeezed lemon juice and zest) on the right. Front row; kale chips (basically capsicum, cashews, nutritional/savoury yeast).

3. Cashew ice-cream bars

Cashew ice cream bars

The easy and delicious way to make ice cream! These bars are cashew/date/banana on the left, and cashew/date/banana on the bottom with chocolate banana on top. Chop dates and soak overnight. Put cashews in the blender and reduce to a meal; add a very ripe banana (chopped), the drained dates, vanilla essence/bean, a little agave nectar, and blend. Use the date soaking water as needed to make a thick cream. Pour into moulds or a freezer-safe container and freeze. For chocolate, just add cacao powder; mint chocolate and orange chocolate are also excellent flavours.

Blenders, Dehydrators and Raw Foodism – Oh My!

While I will never be 100% raw vegan, I often look for ways to incorporate more whole plant foods into my diet, and in interesting forms; enter raw food. However, my lack of equipment prevented me from ever delving into the world of “gourmet” raw food (i.e. not just plain whole fruits and veggies).

Buuuuut… I got my tax back, and am now the very proud owner of a dehydrator, courtesy of eBay (and yes, I am always this awkward in photographs);

And, because I am apparently several years slow on the uptake, I worked out that the bottom of my blender IS removable, it’s just difficult to do so. So now I know how to easily access and clean it, I’ve been using it far more often. By the combined powers of blender + dehydrator, I’ve been having a great time experimenting in raw foods;

1. Kale chips (recipe from Ani Phyo’s ‘Raw Food Basics’), which are now my favourite food;

2. Flax crackers, from the same book;

3. Raw chocolate mousse (from an Internet recipe);

I’ve also created my own recipe for some AMAZING raw cookies, so stay tuned for pictures and the recipe!

Super-Easy Vegan Pasta Bolognaise

Two-Pot Super-Easy Pasta Bolognaise (with extra veggies)

This is a continuation of my praise of the mighty rice cooker. Once again proving its versatility, it can be used to make a delicious TVP-bolognaise with a few extra servings of vegetables in there. Don’t be fooled by the seemingly long ingredients list; it’s mostly touches of common seasonings.


  • Rice cooker
  • Medium sized saucepan
  • Strainer


  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP; available in the health food section at Woolworths or Coles, or at any decent health food shop)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 jar vegan tomato pasta sauce
  • 2 cups pasta of your choice (gluten free is fine)
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 1 head broccoli, diced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil or vegan ‘butter’ (I use Nuttlex)
  • 5 tsps ‘beef’ stock (Massell’s do a good one)
  • 2-3 tsps mixed herbs (or to taste)
  • 1-2 tsps minced garlic
  • 2-3 drops liquid smoke (optional)
  • Bragg’s liquid aminos to taste (optional)
  • 2-3 tsps porcini powder (optional)


  1. Add the diced mushroom and broccoli, oil and Bragg’s to the rice cooker. Mix well and set rice cooker to “cook”.
  2. In the saucepan, add the TVP, water and 3-4 tsps of ‘beef’ stock, and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it’s absorbed most/all of the water.
  3. Once the TVP is cooked, strain it and press out the majority of the moisture (reserve the stock for later use if you wish).
  4. Add the TVP, jar of tomato sauce, 1-2 tsps ‘beef’ stock, mixed herbs, minced garlic, porcini powder and liquid smoke to the vegetables in the rice cooker. Mix thoroughly and leave on “cook”.
  5. Rinse the saucepan, and fill ¾ full with water. Add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil on high. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then strain.
  6. Pour pasta into a bowl, add a few heaping tablespoons of the sauce on it, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Enjoy!

Note: if you want to get a really thick sauce, leave the rice cooker on “cook” for longer, or while you eat, with the lid off.

An Ode to Rice Cookers (Including 3 Easy, Delicious Recipes)

Have you ever bought a new kitchen tool or appliance that completely changes the way you cook/your life? I’ve had a few (such as my miniature masher), but none that so impacted my life as the rice cooker.

(My interpretation of my relationship with the rice cooker).

The great thing about them is you can cook pretty much any grain in them, and you can also prepare a whole meal in the one pot, with minimal effort. The following aren’t so much recipes as “instructions” on how to make delicious and nutritious meals that don’t require a lot of work.

(Note: I use the formula of 2 cups water : 1 cup grain in all of the following recipes, and generally use around 2 cups of dry grain per recipe).



  • vegetables (I usually use a few field mushrooms, and a leek, or sweet potato) diced into roughly 1cm cubes
  • arborio/short-grain rice
  • non-dairy “butter”/margarine (I use Nuttlex)
  • seasonings (to taste): Braggs liquid aminos, vegetable stock, nutritional yeast (LOTS), porcini powder (optional but delicious), smoked paprika

Instructions: add non-dairy butter, diced vegetables, Braggs to taste, and a small amount of water (~2tbsp), and set rice cooker to “cook”. When vegetables have reduced and are tender (usually around 10-15mins, depending on veggies), turn cooker to warm and add rice, appropriate amount of water and seasonings, mixing thoroughly. Set to “cook”, and stir occasionally.



  • instant curry paste (I often use Tasty Bite’s eggplant curry – they have a good range of vegan sauces, etc.)
  • brown rice
  • can of legumes – I prefer chickpeas, kidney or black beans, or 5 bean mix
  • finely diced vegetables – onions, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, potato, sweet potato all work well
  • small amount vegetable oil (~1tbsp)
  • seasonings (to taste): “beef” stock (I use Massell’s), liquid smoke (optional but highly recommended), paprika, Bragg’s liquid aminos, porcini powder (optional), onion flakes (optional)

Instructions: add oil, vegetables, legumes and Braggs’ to rice cooker and set to “cook”. When reduced, set to “warm” and add rice, water and seasonings. Set to “cook” and take a break! (Note: brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice, approximately 40-50mins.)



  • pearled barley (in the health food section of the supermarket)
  • can of Sanitarium “Country Hot Pot”
  • TVP
  • ~ 1 tbsp dairy-free “butter”/margarine
  • diced vegetables: mushrooms, potato, broccoli/broccolini, carrot all work well
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • seasonings: “beef” stock, mixed herbs, dried rosemary (depending on how much is in your herb mix), Braggs’ liquid aminos, nutritional yeast (optional, gives it a cheesy flavour), porcini powder (optional), onion flakes (optional), liquid smoke (optional)

Instructions: add “butter”, diced vegetables, peas and approx 2tbsps water to rice cooker and set to “cook”. When reduced, set to “warm” and add the “Country Hot Pot” mix, pearled barley and water, seasonings, and tvp (remember to add an extra cup of water per cup of TVP). Set to “cook” and you’re done! (Note: pearled barley takes about the same time to cook as white rice, 30mins or so.)

So there you have it, three delicious meals made with minimal effort, maximum nutrition, and frankly delicious outcomes. Let me know if you’ve any rice cooker recipes of your own!

Vegan Bento #51

Top tier L-R: sultanas, snowpea snaps, dry-roasted chickpeas, homemade sugar cookies (in green cup).

Bottom tier: baked potatoes and carrots, with a mixture of nutritional yeast, vegetable salt and Cajun seasoning (in the rabbit box). Amaaaaazing.

Vegan Bento #50

Top tier L-R: baby carrots, dry-roasted garlic chickpeas, homemade mini-sugar cookies, snowpea pods (with a panda!).

Bottom tier: leftover maze gohan (Japanese pilaf) with soy sauce in the elephant bottle.

Woo! Vegan bento post number 50, can you believe it? Unfortunately it’s a bit blurry, so here’s a bonus*:

*Bizarre picture courtesy of a graphics tablet and a bottle of gin.

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