MUSHROOM, MANGO & CUCUMBER SUSHI

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

If you have read my previous post you will know how I started on this journey of eating plant-based, although from day one there was always one food I truly struggled giving up… SUSHI. Michael and I decided (in the early stages of transition) that we would allow ourselves a sushi date on special occasions like a birthday or anniversary, although this was a huge problem as it really made cutting that final string more difficult than it needed to be! As of January the first 2018, we have fully cut non-vegan sushi from our diets!

It was pretty clear that after learning the negative effects of animal products on the human body, each piece of salmon sushi felt more and more conflicting. We went from full-on sashimi eaters to ordering pieces with majority rice and cringing at the thought of how we used to devour salmon slabs at the ready.

Once I had made my own vegan sushi at home I realised that the small piece of fish would never be missed again. I decided to try out a combination that was a little different, although to my surprise it was absolutely perfect! Not too bad for a first attempt? I think not!

This recipe is a super simple one, although it is packed with flavour. This combination is the perfect reason to try out a sushi recipe at home, I really could not recommend it more! I used the cucumber and avocado interchangeably, cucumber in the first 5 rolls and avocado in the remaining 5! The cucumber adds an amazing freshness and crunch factor, while the avocado is, well, it’s avocado. What’s not to love?

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

The preparation of the rice is the most timely aspect of this recipe, although while the rice is cooking on the stove you can get to work slicing up those fruits and vegetables and pop the brown mushrooms into the oven to get soft and juicy.

Overview:

Serves: 2-3

Prep time: 45-60 minutes

Rolling time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Sushi rice – cooked as per package instructions (incl. rice vinegar, salt & sugar)

10 sheets Nori

6 big brown mushrooms

1 ripe mango

1 ripe avocado

1 cucumber

Sesame seeds (optional)

Sides:

Low sodium soy sauce or any dipping sauce of your choice

Pickled ginger

Wasabi

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Method:

Cook the rice as per package instructions. This should include the use of rice vinegar,  along with a small amount of salt and sugar.

Place the brown mushrooms into the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. If you would like a spicy mushroom variation, top with dried chilli flakes.

While the rice and mushrooms are cooking, begin to slice up the cucumber, mango and avocado into long and thin slices. Try to keep the sizes similar to ensure easier rolling later on.

Once the rice is cooked, place it in a colander and rinse gently with cooler water to bring the temperature down. Then add the rice vinegar, salt and sugar mix and combine well.

Remove the mushrooms from the oven once they have browned and softened and slice into long strips.

Place a sheet of nori onto a rolling mat and cover about one third to half the sheet with the sushi rice. Trick: keep a bowl of water nearby to help with sticky fingers!

Begin to add the cucumber/avocado, mango and mushroom to the roll.

Gently and slowly roll the nori, as tightly as possible.

To close the sheet, wet the end strip of nori and stick it down.

To serve:

Cut the rolls into bite sized pieces or enjoy as a sushi burrito. We did both!

Serve with pickled ginger, low sodium soy sauce and wasabi, and top with sesame seeds. You could even add a drizzle of vegan sriracha mayo if desired! The combination of a bit of spice and the mango is delicious!

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Advertisements

WHY I BECAME PLANT-BASED

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

It’s been over six months since starting on this new path and I would like to share with you exactly what started it all, the ups and downs of the journey and what I have learnt along the way.

It all began with a documentary called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which I spoke briefly about in a previous post about the Eco Cabins we stayed in while visiting the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. I came across the documentary completely by accident one day while on YouTube, and after watching it I could not wait for Michael (my boyfriend) to get home so I could share it with him. A few hours later he and I were watching it together, me now for the second time. What this documentary did for me was completely open my mind and started me on a journey towards mindfulness.

When I think about how my journey all fell into place I get goosebumps, I mean a documentary like Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things has nothing to do with food or eating? Although it led me to want to learn more and not live a life simply following the socially expected norms. This is what got me knowledge hungry and led me to watch other informative films rather than mindless series or movies.

The next documentary I came across was What the Health, which then led me to similar documentaries such as Forks over Knives and Food Choices. What can I say? I was hooked. What these documentaries focus on is the innacurate information we are told about meat and dairy with regards to our health. For years I believed that a healthy diet consisted of animal products, only to find out that it was all a lie. Plant-based eating is shown to be the most healthy way to eat to both prevent and reverse disease, a diet we can not only survive on but thrive on!

I know there is a stigma behind documentaries, as they are shot with a goal in mind, a one-sided debate some would say. This is exactly why after watching these I was inspired to find out the truth for myself and do my own in-depth research into food and the effects food has on our bodies.

As a result, what I found was completely mind-blowing and it reaffirmed all I had realised while watching the films. We as a society are so easily manipulated by the industries which rule over us with their money and power. This applies to materialism, food, medicine and so many other industries, it really was a frightening realisation. What was difficult for me after making such a discovery and feeling insanely enlightened was the fact that now I had become some sort of conspiracy theorist living in a world of people who thought I was utterly bonkers. I struggled to relate to those around me as I found myself bubbling over wanting to share my newly found knowledge. I must have sounded like a crazy person!

What I would like you all to understand after reading this post is that after my research, six months thereof, I decided to take my life and health into my own hands and not simply believe what billion dollar industries tell me through the media and other money-propelled mediums. I was now on a mission to create my own truths, after all, no one cares more about my personal health than I do.

What I discovered along the way

  1. Consumerism is a real thing. We have been brought up from young children with the nature of wanting more and more material possessions. This has been instilled in us every birthday and Christmas celebration. Not to mention the media which fully supports this idea of “I will be happy when I have that…”.  I can honestly say that now having found meaning in something so much more real than materialism, the constantly unfulfilled hunger for STUFF is gone, and I have the time and energy to focus on who I am as a person, what I would like to contribute to the life of others, and my new found passion, what I put into my body through what I eat.
  2. The meat and dairy industries are amongst the richest industries in the world. That brings me to the question, with so much money in selling meat and dairy products to the public, would these industries ever communicate the dangers in the consumption of these products? The answer is, unfortunately, no – as has been proven 1000 times over. If we stop eating animal products, these billion dollar industries will stand to lose A LOT of money.
  3. Animal products are killing us and causing disease.
  4. Plant-based eating is the only way forward, for our personal health and well-being, the health and well-being of animals and most importantly at this point, the survival of our planet.
  5. The consumption of meat is the biggest cause of global warming by far. Us eating meat is killing our planet and the industries do not want us to know about this.
  6. It may seem like changing your diet is a small aspect of your life, but what I want everyone reading this to know is it changed my entire life. I will never be able to go back to living life the way I was because I see life so differently now. This journey has not only stopped me from eating animal products, it has made me more compassionate towards myself, others, animals and our planet and has given me meaning the way nothing ever has before. These discoveries even inspired my new career path as now I aim to teach others what I have learnt and to help those who need it step by step along their own journey towards being a plant-based eater.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

We are all completely different, but at the same time so similar. We would all like to feel happy with who we are and live a life full of happiness which in turn will allow us to feel fulfilled. What I can suggest is watching the following documentaries and doing your own research in order to take control of your life the way I have chosen to. Below are the documentary films which opened my eyes and put me on this positive journey.

Watch these documentary films in the following order:

  1. Minimalism – A Documentary About the Important Things (It’s all in the title)
  2. Food Choices (Exposing the correlation between animal foods and disease)
  3. What the Health (Exposing industry lies at the expense of our health)
  4. Forks Over Knives (A good look into the China Study)

Most of these you can find on YouTube, and all of them can definitely be found on Netflix!

Give it a go, what do you have to lose? I would love to hear from any of you who have been on a similar journey or watched any of the above films!

All my love, Amber X

SaveSave

SUN-DRIED TOMATO HUMMUS

9W6A0378

I have been so excited to share this recipe with you all! It is such a simple side dish which needs only half a dozen ingredients – as you may have realised by now, I love quick, easy and affordable recipes.

I decided to try out a new type of hummus as my boyfriend isn’t much of a garlic fan, and therefore my plain hummus isn’t his favourite (to my disgust). Although, this one allows for the flavour of sun-dried tomato to shine, and may I add that he loved this one! Sun-dried tomato fans, this one is for you! In addition to tasting delicious the nutritional value in a bowl of hummus like this is great, as the chickpeas are acting as the source of protein and are full of nutrients.

9W6A0377

Overview:

Total time: 2 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup rinsed chickpeas

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup water

1 tbs tahini

1-2 cloves garlic (to taste)

Salt & pepper (to taste)

9W6A0397

Method:

Throw all the ingredients into a blender of some sort and have at it! Yes, that’s it!

To serve:

I love having hummus with veggie crisps, or even over a salad! It is a perfect addition to most plant-based meals just dolloped on the plate. I topped my hummus with black sesame and pumpkin seeds, with a few sun-dried tomatoes too (completely optional).

Please let me know if you have tried and like this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Also be sure to tag me in any of your photos!

GOLDEN TURMERIC OATMEAL

_W6A0474

I am so insanely excited about this recipe and I cannot wait for you all to try it! After receiving some amazing Red Espresso products I decided to create a unique recipe for each Latte Mix. Today’s recipe is the first of three which will be incorporating a Red Espresso Latte Mix, and this one just happens to be one I am currently obsessed with… Turmeric!

The Turmeric Latte Mix is made from simple plant based ingredients, namely turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and organic coconut blossom sugar. This applies to the other Latte Mixes as well – clean, plant based ingredients which feed our bodies with the nutrients we need!

It goes without saying that these latte mixes are delicious as the warm beverages they were created to be, I just felt inspired to change things up a bit and have a little fun with recipe developing.

From my previous post it is clear that oatmeal for breakfast is a definite favourite of mine, this is due to the health benefits, as well as how diverse it can be as a breakfast dish. Now combine the health benefits of oatmeal with the health benefits of turmeric and BAM, we’ve got ourselves a golden start to the day!

_W6A0460

As I have experimented with a type of turmeric oatmeal before, I thought I’d give a similar recipe a bash by replacing the previously added normal turmeric spice with the Turmeric Latte Mix. The results were to die for.

As the Latte Mix contains only natural plant based ingredients, you can be assured that you are doing your healthy conscious self a favour by making this for breakfast. The sweet coconut blossom sugar adds the perfect balance to the savoury turmeric flavour that most of us would want to avoid in a breakfast dish. Trust me, it just works!

Overview:

Serves: 1

Prep time: 0 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp Turmeric Latte Mix

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup almond milk (or any other plant mylk)

3 dates

_W6A0450

Method:

Cut the dates into smaller pieces and place all of your ingredients into a pot.

Bring your pot to a boil and then turn down to a medium heat.

Be sure to stir often to ensure a smooth and creamy consistency.

To serve:

I enjoyed keeping the toppings simple by adding coconut shavings, chia seeds and a splash of almond milk. The coconut shavings bring out the coconut blossom sugar flavour found in the Latte Mix, making the coconut a perfect complimentary topping!

Serve warm.

_W6A0451

CREAMY TAHINI & DATE OATMEAL

_W6A0298

As the weather begins to warm up you’d think it might be time to start moving away from oatmeal – I however, strongly disagree! Although the term ‘fiber’ is not one which is high up on many of our health checklists, a lack of dietary fiber, among other things in our diets can be detrimental to health. According to the findings presented on nutritionfacts.org, a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast every morning can reduce risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. All the more reason to keep creating more and more delicious oatmeal recipes? Yes please!

_W6A0289

A new favourite oatmeal recipe of mine is definitely the winning combination of creamy tahini and sweet dates, and as I like to keep my breakfasts quick and simple, this breakfast bowl will only take 10 minutes to create (and even fewer to devour).

Overview:

Serves 2

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: approximately 5 min (or less)

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup water

1 cup almond milk (or other plant mylk)

1 tbsp tahini

8 dates (preferably medjool)

1/4 tsp pink salt

_W6A0292_W6A0291

Method:

Begin on the date paste.

Boil a kettle and cover 6 dates in boiling water. Let the dates absorb the water for about 6 minutes.

While you wait, place the oats, water, almond milk, salt and 2 chopped dates in a small pot over a medium heat.

Stir and bring to a light boil, continue stirring until the oats are at the desired consistency. Add more liquid if necessary.

Drain the water from the dates and with a fork begin to mash the dates into a paste. I like to add a small amount of the drained liquid to help with the mashing process.

To serve:

Top your oats with a drizzle of tahini, a sprinkle of seeds and the date paste. Serve hot with an extra splash of almond milk.

SPICY THAI GREEN CURRY

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

If your tastebuds are anything like mine, you’ll love anything with a bit of spice. We had friends over for dinner a few evenings ago and I decided it would be the perfect time to make my Thai green curry with fluffy basmati rice. We do usually opt for brown rice, however this time around the basmati rice was a crowd pleaser. What I love about curries is how simple they are to make, and the flavours always seem to be a winner. I’ll share my quick and easy curry hack with you in the recipe below, it’s a little something called ‘curry paste’.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Overview:

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

2 medium onions

2 cloves of garlic

2 Eggplants

2 green peppers

2 cups sliced courgettes

3-4 tbsp Thai green curry paste (Suree brand, mild or medium hot)

2 tins lentils

2 cans coconut milk (full fat)

Basmati rice

Method:

Cut up your eggplant into bite size cubes and cover with pink himalayan salt (or sea salt). Set aside for 45 minutes.

Slice your onions, green peppers and courgettes into similar sizes allowing for similar cooking time.

Time to start on your basmati rice. I do mine in a pot on the stove. Place the desired amount of rice into a pot. Bring the water to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer for 30 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Don’t forget to add a pinch of salt!

Fry the onions with a tbsp of coconut oil in a medium sized pot on a medium heat. Add the garlic once the onions begin to look slightly translucent.

Rinse the salt from your eggplants and add them into your pot with the onion and garlic. Allow the eggplants to begin to soften slightly.

Add the green peppers and courgettes and sprinkle with a bit of salt, then cover the pot with a lid, allowing the vegetables to steam for a few minutes.

We can now add in the 3-4 tbsp of the Thai green curry paste and stir into the vegetables, allowing the paste to coat evenly. Let the vegetables absorb the paste flavours for a few minutes.

The 2 tins of  lentils and coconut milk can now be added to the pot. Stir gently and cover with a lid.

Let the pot simmer on a medium heat until all the vegetables are at the desired consistency.

To serve:

Dish the basmati rice into a deep bowl and add the curry. Top with peanuts and coriander (cilantro). Serve hot.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

CACAO & PEANUT BUTTER SMOOTHIE BOWL

_W6A9374

This is my absolute favourite new breakfast for a busy day! When I wake up in the morning my first thought will always include breakfast, and this cacao and peanut butter smoothie bowl gets me out of bed in no time! The rich chocolaty flavour and silky texture is simply the best way to start the day; topped with tons of texture which can be folded through or nibbled straight from the top! Here is the quick and simple recipe.

Overview:

Serves: 2

Prep time: 2 mins

Total time: 2 mins

Ingredients:

3 frozen bananas

2 tbsp cacao powder

1 tbsp natural peanut butter

1/4 – 1/2 cup of water

1/4 – 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Method:

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and yup, you guessed it, blend.

To serve:

Pour your smoothie into a bowl and top with fruit, oats, muesli, coconut flakes, nuts or seeds (or all of the above). An added drizzle of nut butter will take this bowl to another level!