BALDUCCI CAPE TOWN VEGAN MENU

img_2472The Vegan Menu hype surrounding Balducci was too much to ignore, so myself and Michael along with two friends of ours jumped at the opportunity to have a full menu experience!

First of all, if you are in Cape Town looking for an incredible atmospheric restaurant which caters to both Vegans and non-vegans with absolutely no room for either party to feel left out, this is the place to be.

Balducci is located at the V&A Waterfront which is the perfect romantic or family friendly location. The decor is truly stunning, yet still feels laid back enough to laugh out loud and really dig into the food.

img_2474

Now, imagine not only receiving a full page of vegan items to choose from, but rather an entire book? We took ages to decide what to eat because everything sounded so delicious and our options were endless. With over 60 vegan menu options, you will have no shortage to choose from!

My top picks from the BALDUCCI VEGAN MENU:

#1: Cashew Nut Cream Pasta

This was a definite crowd pleaser which all four of us friends voted as our favourite of the evening. Super creamy, rich and so full of flavour. A definite winner for both children and adults.

#2: The Trader Joe & the Namaste Pizzas

I definitely recommend ordering both and sharing. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on either.

#3: Sushi

We ordered a Vegetable Sushi Platter which was super yummy. The sushi variety offered many different things to choose from. Definitely a one-stop sushi spot!

#4: Nachos

These were so good. Enough said.

#5: Falafels

No Vegan Menu is complete without a killer Falafel! The falafels are served with an incredible Tahini sauce. They are definitely the perfect table sharing option for starters!

#6: Thai Red Curry (spicy!)

I love spice, a lot. The Red Curry was packed full of flavour, but do not order this if you are not a fan of spice. On the other hand, if you’re like me and love a bite, go for it! Delicious!

#7: Drinks Menu

If you are a lover of wine, all you need to know is that the vegan wine list is a page long! I had a glass of the Chenin Blanc which was really lovely. Another killer drink is the Vegan Hot Chocolate, which is the perfect dessert option if there is no room left for a full dessert.

img_2476

The Balducci Vegan Menu can easily be found online if you’d like to have a look before-hand!  Overall I highly recommend Balducci for both Vegan and non-vegans. Decor, atmosphere, food, and drinks. Perfection.

img_2480

All my love,

Amber Gisele X

Advertisements

PESTO PRINCESS SUMMER PASTA SALAD

9W6A7851_1

There’s a new Pesto Princess in town – Basil & Chilli (dairy free and full of all the deliciousness). I am and have always been a serious pesto fan, and when it comes to the leaders of the pack, Pesto Princess is an obvious choice. Continue reading “PESTO PRINCESS SUMMER PASTA SALAD”

6 TIPS TO AVOID MAKING BAD FOOD CHOICES

9W6A9424_1

Now although I am a plant-based advocate, I am not always the healthiest eater. Trust me, I know I am going off the rails when I start craving deep-fried foods and end up finishing an entire bag of chips all by myself (yes, a large one I’ll admit). But luckily for us, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve which always manages to bring me back to a healthy lifestyle.

It is also important to remember that there are often moments in life that are unpredictable and result in us having to make unhealthy decisions. In my case, I often feel like a hypocrite for eating foods I am too ashamed to post a picture of on my Instagram page. What I have recently come to terms with is that moments like these will happen, and what is important is knowing where to draw the line and making the healthiest possible choice within the situations we find ourselves.

So let’s get to my tips on how to avoid making bad food choices.

  1. Stock up and clear out

I have learnt that the one space that will always be the easiest to eat healthy in, is your home. Why is this? Because in this space we have all of the control. When I first became plant-based I immediately had to stock up on plant-based foods and clear out all of the foods and condiments I no longer wanted to eat. The same applies to healthy eating! Stock up on delicious and healthy foods and snacks, and get rid of those things you shouldn’t be eating or have no self-control over! The chips, chocolates and 2-minute noodles (a secret old friend of mine).

Stock up on tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, interesting greens and legumes. Make sure to display these foods in a beautiful way to keep yourself visually stimulated by all of the beautiful fresh produce! I like to put my grains, nuts and seeds into glass jars, and display my fruit on the countertop in a bowl, ready to grab for a snack.

Trust me, you’ll be grabbing for an apple and nut butter instead of that bag of chips in no time!

  1. Keep it simple with easy go-to recipes

As I have mentioned before in various posts, Pinterest is your absolute best friend when it comes to planning what to eat and being inspired by plant-based meals. There are so many delicious and insanely simple recipes to choose from that will make your life so much easier, and healthier too! It is as simple as typing in “Plant-based dinner ideas” into the search bar and you have won half the battle. Be sure to create a page like “Healthy Plant-Based Meals” and pin away! You’ll have your shopping list planned in no time!

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 08.31.17

  1. Plan ahead of time

This tip goes hand in hand with tip number two! I highly recommend being inspired by delicious and simple meals you have found in a recipe book or through Pinterest before deciding what to eat in the week. Have a piece of paper with you or use the notes on your phone to jot down meal ideas for your week. Use these ideas and online recipes to make a grocery list and hit the shops with a clear vision as to what you’ll be buying for the week (stick to it)!

  1. Meal-Prep

Another way to plan ahead of time is to meal-prep. So once you have returned home with your delicious ingredients, be sure to prep them to ensure cooking is a breeze. Wash your greens and fruits to have them ready to grab when reaching for a snack or preparing a salad. Or my personal favourite is to prep breakfast and lunch the night before! This is so easy when you have a few great jars on hand to make some overnight oatmeal in or to throw a salad jar together for work.

  1. Snacks

Make sure you are stocked up on tons of healthy snacks. I love having rice cakes on hand, healthy quinoa or other vegetable crisps, bliss balls (which are so easy to make), fruit, nuts and seeds, dates, peanut butter, bars, whatever you like really. The point is to have easy to grab, guilt-free snacks which will help tie you over until lunch or dinner.

6.  Allow yourself outings to naughty food spots

Instead of being resentful towards your healthy diet, make sure you allow yourself those naughty meals every now and again. My biggest advice to do this well is to make sure you make a real outing or planned evening around this meal so that it becomes more about sharing in the fun with others than giving in to a craving. If you are just sitting on your butt at home craving naughty foods, you’ll create a negative association with these foods – and we don’t need that kind of guilt in our lives!

9W6A9447_1

As I mentioned before, I often go off the rails when it comes to eating a healthy diet, but through these derailed moments I have learnt to use the above six tips to my advantage and stay on top of the chaos that is life! It is so important to remember that life is meant to fun and shouldn’t cause feelings of anxiety or disappointment on a daily basis. Have fun with your food and turn your fear of food into excitement!

It is so important for me to emphasise that eating healthily has absolutely nothing to do with being hungry or feeling unsatisfied. Rather, it is the opposite. Eating whole plant foods means eating incredible portion sizes and feeling more fulfilled than you have ever felt before. When you are hungry, you eat!

I hope my top tips inspire you to take hold of the reigns and get started on a new and healthy food journey, as there is nothing more empowering than being in control of your own health and happiness.

All my love,

Amber Gisele X

KAUAI STRAWBERRY PROTEIN SMOOTHIE BOWL

IMG_8156

Last week an extremely exciting package arrived at my door! Kauai sent me a box full of vegan goodies, including my favourite raw bars and the Kauai Strawberry Protein Powder!

I have never really been one for protein powders, but I decided to give this one a go because I know the Kauai brand well and I seriously love their food. And goodness I am glad I gave their Protein Powder a try, I am loving it. Since receiving the package I have used the Strawberry Protein Powder in smoothies, pancakes, and beautiful smoothie bowls like the one you see here.

In all honesty, I have been using this product purely for the yumminess it adds to my sweet breakfasts, and very little for the extra protein – which I feel I am already getting from my diet. So for that reason, you know it must taste good!

If you are not one for strawberry flavours, Kauai has a vanilla and chocolate protein powder too, and I am sure they are both delicious as well.

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.55.23

Let me describe the product to you a bit more so you can decide whether or not you’d like to give it a go! Unlike many other protein powders, this one doesn’t have that distinct earthy taste, rather it tastes very much like strawberries and is super sweet! What I like about the sweetness is you can leave out any other sweetness you would usually add to a pancake mix, smoothie or smoothie bowl!

This is how I made my four ingredient Kauai Strawberry Protein Smoothie Bowl…

Ingredients
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 10 frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop Kauai Strawberry Protein Powder
  • 1 cup almond mylk

Toppings: Strawberries, desiccated coconut & buckinis.

Method
  1. Place the almond mylk or plant mylk of choice along with the scoop of protein into a high-speed blender (I use my NutriBullet) and blend well to combine. Blending these together first helps to remove any grainy texture from the protein powder.
  2. Add the frozen bananas and strawberries and blend again until at an ice-cream consistency. Add more mylk if needed.

Serving suggestion: Top with your favourite nut butter for a creamy addition to this deliciously sweet bowl.

This bowl is…

  • Delicious
  • Sweet
  • Healthy
  • High-protein
  • Plant-based
  • Vegan

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.55.07

This product is now stocked by all Checkers branches which makes sourcing it so easy. It is much more affordable than other plant-based and vegan protein powders, which I am definitely happy about! Who says being healthy needs to be expensive when you know what to shop for. I for one am all about an inexpensive road to health and wellness.

So that is it! This four ingredient bowl of goodness fits perfectly into a busy lifestyle and is full of plant goodness! I am so excited for the weather to start warming up so that this can become my go to breakfast in the mornings – I’ll definitely give oats a skip for this one.

If you are a fan of Plant Protein Powders and love using them in recipes, I would love to hear from you! Please share below in the comments and I’ll give it a try!

Stay warm Cape Town!

Amber Gisele X

GREEN SUMMER ROLLS W/ QUINOA

9W6A8609_1

Last week I had a killer craving for rice paper rolls. If you are not a fan or have not yet given them a try, trust me, they are a treat! As someone who absolutely loves veggie sushi, these green summer rolls provide an extremely similar taste – which is full on yumminess! I pair mine with pickled ginger and light soy sauce to really get into that sushi realm, but you can pair it with any dipping sauce of your choice!

Continue reading “GREEN SUMMER ROLLS W/ QUINOA”

HOW I GET MYSELF OUT OF A SLUMP

9w6a80641-e1531990472784.jpg

We are all so different; some of us are naturally positive and excited about life all the time, and the rest of us have a pull towards negativity and anxiety.  Once leaving school I realised that now my life was mine to create and set structures were no longer in place. This realisation was scary for me, as I’d always done extremely well within set boundaries.

With this new sense of freedom, feelings of existentialism set in. Why am I here? What is the point of it all? These are questions so many of us face on a day to day basis, all of us ask these questions at least at one point in our lives. These questions got me into a serious slump. I started falling out of routine and not doing much throughout the day. My morning Instagram post was the main priority and after that, I would just lay around waiting for my afternoon au pair job to come around.

Why am I sharing this dark side of my life with you all? Because I am overcoming it every minute with this new mindset, and if you are experiencing anything slightly similar, then you can too!

Let me also add that I am an extremely positive person. Even when I am in these slumps I am able to always identify the positives in my life and be thankful for them. But that isn’t enough. I want to LIVE and celebrate the positives and not simply be able to identify them.

So here is what I have implemented (it has changed EVERYTHING)…

Have a good morning routine

Everything I do in a day has a purpose and a bigger intention behind it. When I wake up in the morning I drink a tall glass of water with the intention of hydrating my body and celebrating my health. I then sit down for a 5-10 minute meditation session (some quiet time to zen out). This allows me to feel that by showing myself some self-love I am honouring my mind and body. After my meditation I make a delicious and nutritious breakfast and a cup of warm tea with the intention of thanking my body for its health. When I sit down to eat my breakfast I bring along my journal and write according to the prompts I have set out for myself. Not only does this slow down my eating and allow me to appreciate my food, but it also sets my day up for success. Then it’s into the shower and onto the rest of my day!

Starting your day off well is the best way to combat feelings of depression and anxiety, as you have started your day off by reminding yourself that you are in control of your routine and thoughts. This way your day has so much more potential than it would have if you just dragged yourself through it.

This morning routine is a seriously amazing one, but feel free to change up the order and add in some exercise time directly after meditation (I find yoga to be incredible).

Have a plan for your day

This step is set into motion by your journaling. You can see my journaling prompts here.

My last journaling prompt is to set myself three goals for the day, my top three priorities. Although, as I love organisation I often jot down ALL of the things I would like to get through on that day, which I list in the order of most to least important. If you can plan out your day and tick off your goals as you go, there is absolutely no time to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, and by the time you start completing all of your tasks an overwhelming sense of achievement takes over.

Make a mind map of who you are and what you want to achieve

This may sound ridiculous, but it is key to getting yourself out of a slump, big or small. Who are you? What makes you tick? What do you have to offer the world and what brings you joy? Once you know these things about yourself those questions of “Who am I?” and “What is the point?” are answered. The point of life is different for everyone, and you will only be able to figure out what you would like to add to the world and do for yourself once you have a good understanding of who you are and what makes you tick.

Once your mind map is complete, it’s time to start setting long-term and short-term goals.  I revise my goals on a weekly basis, slightly tweaking them as I go. Mine include things in the line of living a healthful life and having a career in food. I’d like to do yoga every day, and I’d like to grow my brand into a full-time career, as a few examples. These goals are EVERYTHING. They are the reason we wake up in the morning! Trust me, write them down.

Don’t keep your thoughts bottled up

This again refers to the power of journaling and mind mapping. Get the clutter out of your head and down on paper. That way you can make sense of it all and reorganise it into understandable and manageable pieces.

Get outside and move

Sunshine and fresh air do absolute wonders for pretty much everything. Getting outside often helps us gain perspective and allows us to breathe deeply and feel one with the world. Exercise is another major aid for feelings of depression and anxiety as it immediately takes us out of our dark headspace and shakes us up. By doing a bit of exercise you are reminding yourself that you are worth the effort, and the endorphins released will combat the ‘poor me’ attitude in no time (I get like this too, not pointing any fingers, I promise). A simple 15 minute walk is enough to remind your body that you care!

Surround yourself with positive people

Recently I have made more of an effort to get out of the house and meet up with like-minded, positive people. This has been an absolute turning point in getting myself out of my slump! Surrounding myself with positive people is not only infectious, but also allows me to visualise a similar way of living. We cannot exist in isolation, we are only who we are because of how we relate to and contribute towards the lives of others.

Eat well

Now, this does not mean eat salads all day and deprive yourself of the foods you love, trust me, that would be more depressing than most things in life. I simply mean be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Every food you decide to put in will have some kind of impact on both your physical and mental health. Foods that make us feel tired and groggy will mentally drain us, whereas foods that help us to feel light, satisfied, and energetic will in turn allow our minds to feel light and open to feelings of positivity. In my case, I love eating Whole Foods, real foods that can be prepared quickly and easily, and that need very little done to them to make them taste amazing.

xxx

I am sharing these above tips with you all because I myself have recently pulled myself up out of a seemingly deep and dark hole. It is so easy to fall into a negative headspace, and everything seems to spiral downhill from there. It is important to me that you know that we are all human and much more similar than we may think. There is a lot more going on in people’s lives than what we decide to share online. Also, remember that each day is a new opportunity to turn the next 12 hours into something great. It is not an overnight change, but a daily decision to do and be better. Life can be tough sometimes and I think that creates the perfect opportunity for us to share in our experiences and lend a helping hand to those who may need it.

The perfect additional read to this post is a post by my new friend Jenna Rosmarin, on “How to Stay Real in an Unreal World” –  let me know what you think of her insights as well!

Please feel free to reach out to me for a chat if you ever want a friend. I would love to hear from you!

All my love,

Amber Gisele X

BEET, BUTTERNUT & GREENS PIZZA

9w6a6725.jpg

I absolutely love healthy food, and this love for healthy food paired with a degree in English made for an easy transition into food blogging. I’ll admit that I have not been spending enough time on this platform due to being ridiculously busy with the writing of my new eBook, but I would like to change that. Even if that means writing a blog post for you all at 05.30 like I am this morning! Continue reading “BEET, BUTTERNUT & GREENS PIZZA”