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4 Important Life Skills I Learned from Being a Vegan

Passionately Kere

A week ago I celebrated the four years anniversary of becoming a vegan. Four years! Four very humbling, challenging, eye-opening, thrilling, wonderful years. I’ve learned so much from this journey that I thought the best way to celebrate my anniversary might be by sharing some of the skills I’ve learnt from my four-years (and counting) vegan journey.

Passionately Keren

To be honest, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as difficult as what most people think either. I love exploring new ways of cooking and veganising old favourites, and I love feeling healthier and more fulfilled, and knowing that I’m doing something good, not just for my body, but for the animals and the environment.

My goal with this post is not to convince you to go vegan (although if you do decide to pursue that path, I’ll be jumping up in joy!). My goal simply is to share with you some of the valuable life skills I’ve learned from the last four years. Skills that you too can acquire, should you so choose.

I have to say that I feel a little uncomfortable sharing this post because deep down, I don’t feel like I’m a good enough vegan – I still own and wear a lot of my leather accessories from my pre-vegan days, I still make mistake and let egg and dairy slip into my meals sometimes, and I still have immense abhorrence towards cockroaches. I mean, I bomb them every three months and I don’t think that’s a very vegan thing to do.

But we can only do our best right? And I believe that I am doing my best at this time. I also believe that it is better to do something, however imperfect it might be, than doing nothing at all. And so here I am doing something, and it has served me well. This post itself is a testimony to all the life skills I’ve acquired, in particular Life Skill # 2, # 3 and perhaps a bit of #4.

Here they are.

Life Skill #1 – Empathy

What is Empathy? Merriam Webster defines it as “understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another … [being] without having [those] feelings … fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner”.

Empathy is at the core of a vegan lifestyle. Once we’ve learned about the cruelty involved in factory farming, or the harmful impact meat consumption has on the environment, we stop consuming animals. We now understand what these animals have to go through in order for us to enjoy our burgers and steaks. Even though we don’t know them by name, even though they can’t express their pain the way we do, we still can feel their pain.

Vegans are not only empathetic towards animals; we’re empathetic towards humans, too. And this is not just my words. One study reveals, through brain scans, that vegans and vegetarians are indeed more empathetic to human and animal suffering than omnivores.

Empathy is one of the most important life skills you can have as a social creature. It allows you to connect better with people, understand them more fully, and deal with them more effectively. Empathy facilitates greater communication and helps you understand what drives people, what motivates them, what makes them tick.

Empathy helps you become more compelling, more convincing, and more encouraging. It makes you a better leader, a better employee, a better colleague, a better friend, a better partner, a better daughter, a better son, and a better human being, overall. It’s a nice side effect to feeling great physically, don’t you say?

Life Skill #2 – Vulnerability

Being a vegan helps me become more vulnerable, which is not something that comes naturally to me. Growing up, I’ve always guarded myself against rejection, or the potential of being rejected, ridiculed or mocked.

I’ve always had a soft spot for animals. In fact, I first became a vegetarian when I was eight years old, after watching the movie Babe. It only lasted a few months as my mother convinced me that Babe was not real and that animals don’t feel the way we feel. And because I couldn’t resist her delicious spaghetti bolognaise.

Being vulnerable is about being authentic, honest and true to yourself: not just revealing the pretty and shiny part of yourself, but all of you. Putting all your feelings and hopes on the line. As a woman (and with Asian heritage) this can be extremely difficult, as we’ve always been taught that vulnerability is a weakness, not strength.

Truth is, there is nothing more vulnerable than announcing to the world – to your non-vegan friends and loved ones – that you will change the way you eat, that you will no longer eat meat, chickens, fish, cheese, eggs, dairy, the kind of foods that you used to enjoy together, that you value the lives of the animals more than you value sharing those plates with them, that some of your principles no longer align with theirs, that you are now… a vegan.

It was one of the very few times where I was vulnerable by choice, and willingly opened myself up to judgement, criticism, and rejection.

Being a vegan has been a gateway for me to practice vulnerability, at every function, at every social gathering, every time I make new friends, or when I enter a new work environment. Practice, practice, practice. It’s not always easy, but it does get easier each time. And I’m all the better for it.

Passionately Keren

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown.

Skill #3 – Courage

Courage is not the absence of fear, rather, it is the ability to do something despite of that fear.

Stereotypically, courage is often represented as stoicism and a projection of invulnerability. But this is not true courage. True courage is opening yourself up to vulnerability, recognising the fear, embracing it, and saying, “this feels scary, but I’m going to do it, anyway.”

“You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brene Brown

The last four years as a vegan have strengthened my tiny courage muscles in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.

It took courage to ask the receptionist at work to fill the office fridge with dairy-free milk.

It took courage to ask for a customised meal at the restaurant for the first time.

It took courage to refuse food that my mum made for me, food that I used to love.

It took courage to announce my new lifestyle to my meat lover friends, which was pretty much everyone I knew.

It took courage to say no to cruelty, and yes to compassion and kindness.

And these tiny acts of bravery has helped me with other big decisions I’ve made in my life; like shutting down my four year food blog to start a vegan food blog from scratch; like asking for a pay rise at work; like quitting my cushy corporate job to spend time with my family overseas; and like starting my own business.

Who knew one could practice courage by simply changing what they eat?

“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Skill #4. Not giving a damn

Previously a chronic people-pleaser, being a vegan fixed me right up.

I used to buy ‘things’ to fit in, talk in a certain way, do things I didn’t like, and say things I didn’t really mean simply to try and make people like me.

I used to feel upset when way people looked at me a certain way (or if they didn’t look at me in the first place), if they didn’t ask me about my weekend, compliment my new dress, or ask me to join them for lunch. I used to care about all that stuff.

And then I became a vegan and I stopped giving a damn.

Passionately Keren

How? Why?

I believe it is because I no longer felt part of the existing social construct so I stopped feeling the need to impress people who still abided by that construct (i.e. almost everyone I knew). Instead, I started focusing on how I could be a more effective human, in my own right, and how to get the most out of this one life that I’ve been given.

And the last four years have taught me that the only thing you can control is yourself, what you do, how you think, who you choose to see. The rest is out of your hands, so why waste your energy worrying about it?

Does it really matter if people think I’m a bleeding-heart weirdo, if I don’t get invited to certain dinner parties because I’m a vegan, if people criticise me for still wearing my old leather shoes and bags after all this time, or if nobody like my photos on Instagram?

The truth is, there are so many more important things in life than all the superficial details and trivialities we all cling onto – our vain feelings, our pride, our ego.

It’s not that I don’t give a damn about everything, it’s that I’m picking my spots and only give a damn about things that truly matter, the big things, the important things. Health. Family. Friends. Loved Ones. Values. Purpose. Pancakes.

The less damn I give, the happier I become.

Passionately Keren

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post. If you’re a vegan, let me know what other life skills you have gained from this lifestyle in the comment section below. And if you’re not, what skills do you think you would gain, if you choose to experiment with this lifestyle?

Keren x

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Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu with Gino’s Gourmet Groceries

Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

I love my pasta. I love how something so simple as boiled dried dough, made out of flour and water, can bring such comfort and delight.

Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta

Before I became a vegan, one of my favourite pasta sauces to make was ‘ragu’, a meat-based Italian sauce, which is rich, thick, delicious and full of flavours. It was, in more ways than one, awesome.

Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo

When I eat food, it invokes all sorts of feelings and emotions inside of me. Not all the time, of course, because sometimes eating is just the mere act of ‘re-fuelling’ oneself. The meal can take many forms, but all share the same mundane, unremarkable purpose, to stop that feeling of hunger in its tracks.

But other times, more often than not, I eat to feel things (as opposed to stop feeling things, like the sensation of hunger). I eat to make myself feel joyful, gratified, indulged, pacified, inspired, delighted, happy, and alive.

Penne with Meaty Vegan Ragu

I wanted to re-create that feeling I used to get whenever I had a good ragu back in the old meat-eating days, only this time with a vegan ragu. And so I went to my kitchen laboratory and started experimenting I chose mushroom and tempe as my plant-based proteins of choice and, boy, did they rise up to the challenge. I also added some shredded kale leaves to give the dish another layer of texture and flavour, and to boost its nutritional content, and because I just love kale in general.

The result is a thick and rich ragu that tastes so ‘meaty’ and delicious that you’ll forget it contains no meat at all. I hope you will give it a go!

Penne with ‘Meaty’ Vegan Ragu

A deliciously rich, protein-packed vegan ragu that's nourishing, satisfying and oh so comforting.
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 250 g tempeh diced to about 1cm cubes
  • Leaves from three stalks of kale chopped or shredded (optional)
  • 1/3 cup basil leaves
  • 3 large brown mushrooms chopped
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 700 g jar of pasta sauce*
  • 250 g gluten free penne pasta*

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook red onion for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until softened slightly.
  2. Add the minced garlic and diced tempeh and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until browned.
  3. Add the chopped mushroom, cook, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the pasta sauce, bring to boil, then add the chopped kale into the pot and stir until kale is cooked, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in fresh basil. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of salted boiling water according to the packet instruction until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  7. Mix sauce with pasta, adding the reserved cooking liquid to coat pasta with sauce. Serve with Vegan Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

*I use Spiral Foods: Organic Garlic & Basil Sugo; and Casalare: Gluten Free Vegie Penne Pasta, both from Gino’s Groceries.

This recipe is sponsored by Gino’s Gourmet Groceries, an online store that partners with the best independent producers who share their values of doing things the right way. They supply real, honest food, with no artificial ingredients and no nasties, at a fair price. I must say that the pasta sauce and the gluten-free vegan penne I got from them were some of the best I’ve ever tasted.

And because the team at Gino’s Gourmet Groceries are awesome, they’re giving you, my lovely readers, a 25% discount on our next purchase with them. Just use the code “PASSIONATELY25” during checkout.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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How to Make Vegan Haloumi with Mad Millie Cheese Kit + Giveaway

Vegan Haloumi Cheese

Gosh, I’m excited about this post! It’s been four years since I last had haloumi cheese. And although I’ve experimented with making dairy-free cheeses for a while, I’ve never made haloumi cheese, at least until now. And it’s the best thing ever. And thanks to Mad Millie’s Vegan Cheese Kit, you too can learn how to make vegan haloumi at home.

Talk to any vegan or aspiring vegan, and they will tell you one of the hardest transitions to make is quitting dairy. It’s getting a little bit easier now to source good vegan cheeses, but they’re still like finding purple MnMs, still quite hard to find, and can be pretty pricey. The best (and the most affordable) way to get your cheese fix, therefore, is to make your own.

But making your own nut cheese is not without its challenges. I own three vegan cheese cookbooks and I can probably count the number of recipes I’ve tried from these cookbooks using just one hand (in other words, not a lot). Some of the ingredients can be hard to source, some of the recipes can be quite complicated and intimidating for first-timers, and sometimes it can be a long wait before you can eat your cheese, ranging between three days to 3 weeks.

What I love about Mad Millie’s Vegan Cheese Kit is that it provides you with all the ingredients you need to make your own vegan cheese. The recipe is also very simple and easy to follow. No specialised equipment or experience is required. Just add your choice of nuts and kitchen spices. The best thing is that all the cheeses can be made in less than a day!

The kit contains a thermometer, cheesecloth, citric acid, agar, tapioca flour, yeast flakes, cheese salt, instructions and recipe booklet. The kit makes approximately 3.6 kg of cheese before you need to replenish some of the ingredients. That’s a pretty decent amount of cheese I think, enough to feed a family with two hungry teens… or ten.

I have to say that the vegan haloumi I made using the kit was unexpectedly divine! Even Nat (my pescetarian/vegan hubby) says it tastes as close as 80% to the real thing… and I think that is excellent as far as dairy-free cheese goes. And Nat is a severe critic as he loves his haloumi!

I love adding this haloumi to salad or simply serving it with some fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. Nom!

How to make a vegan haloumi

Seriously, you won’t believe how easy it is. You don’t even need to do any culturing! Click on the video below to see how to make vegan haloumi using the cheese kit.

You can see all the ingredients required to make the cheese, all provided in the kit (except the nuts and some pantry items of course). It’s a simple blend, cook, and chill process so you can spend more time eating them :D

Vegan Cheese kit Giveaway

Because the Mad Millie team are so awesome, they’ve agreed to give away one Vegan Cheese Kit to a lucky reader of Passionately Keren. To enter the giveaway, simply do any one of the following action to gain entry points.

Winners will be drawn on the 8th of December 2017. I think it would make a lovely Christmas gift, don’t you agree?

Mad Millie Vegan Cheese Kit

Do you like Haloumi cheese? If not, what’s your favourite cheese?

 

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Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Gosh, I love cheese. How can you not? I especially like the soft and creamy kind… like Brie, my favourite cheese ever. And so it makes sense to veganise it, doesn’t it? I honestly believe this Vegan Triple Cream Brie is the closest thing to Brie I’ve made in a long time.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

For a couple of years now I’ve been experimenting with nut cheeses. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. When they work, I get so excited that the whole thing is gone before I have the chance to photograph it (hence the lack of vegan cheese blogposts). But when they’ve failed, however, it knocks me down for months…. such as that time I tried to make hazelnut cheese. It was a massive fail. The problem with nut cheese is that the ingredients are expensive. Hazelnut is close to $30 a kilo and raw cashew is about $35 a kilo.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

But lately I’ve been having more luck in the cheese department. And this vegan double cream Brie was a success in one go. I’ve since made it a few times and have been able to consistently reproduce it.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

This recipe was inspired by Julie Piatt’s ‘’ cookbook. I’ve modified the ingredients to simplify the process a little. I definitely recommend you check out the book if you want to explore the world of nut cheeses. Unlike the other non-dairy cheese books I own, it has the least amount of ingredients, so you won’t have too much trouble sourcing most of them.

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Vegan Triple Cream Brie

Creamy and delicious vegan brie
Course Sides, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword cashew, cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 rounds
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • 2 cups raw cashews
  • 1 probiotic acidophilus capsule
  • 400 ml 13.5 ounce can coconut of milk
  • ¼ cup unrefined coconut oil plus extra for greasing the mould
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • You will also need 2 mini spring-form round pans 11cm diameter

Instructions

The night before:

  1. Place cashews in 3 cups of filtered water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Place the can of coconut cream in the refrigerator overnight.

On the day:

  1. Oil the pans with coconut oil (you can also use coconut oil spray).
  2. Rinse and drain the cashews. Transfer to your power blender (I use my beloved Vitamix). Add coconut oil, lemon juice, sea salt and the contents of the probiotic.
  3. Open the can of coconut cream and scoop out the solid cream at the top of the coconut milk. Take ¼ cup of the remaining coconut milk in the can. Transfer the coconut cream and coconut milk into the Vitamix.
  4. Blend on medium speed, using the plunger to distribute the mixture evenly until smooth.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the spring-form round pans. Cover with baking paper cut to fit the pans.
  6. Dehydrate for 24 hours at 35C. You can do this in the oven if your oven can be set to lower temperature, otherwise leave in the oven with the headlight on for 24 hours.
  7. Carefully remove the cheese from the mold using a sharp knife to release the edges. Place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a day before serving. You can also age the cheese by placing them in a wine fridge for 1 to 3 weeks. Rub fine sea salt over your cheese every few days or so to prevent mold growth.

I recommend eating the brie on crackers or sliced cucumbers. It’s so good that sometimes I just eat it on its own.

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x


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Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

If I have to pick my favourite grain, it’ll be rice every time. It’s delicious, nutritious and most importantly, it’s filling. This is especially important when making a plantbased salad, especially when you want something substantial that can keep you going for a few hours. This Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad is one of my favourites salads to make because, not only is it easy to make, it’s also a great make-ahead dish for dinner party, lunch boxes or picnic. Unlike most salads, this salad stays fresh for about three days in the fridge. In fact, it tastes better the day after you make it.

The sturdiness and toughness of kale leaves makes kale perfect for this salad. They hold their shape and keep their crunchiness and freshness in the salad mix even after three days in the fridge. You don’t even need to shred them finely, just chop the leaves and then ‘massage’ the leaves in olive oil for about 2 minutes. If you don’t know what that means, you’re essentially scrunching the leaves with your hands to break down the cell walls which, in turn, softens the leaves to make them more enjoyable and easier to eat. It also helps release the sugars within the leaves to make them less bitter. You know you’ve done enough when the kale feels softer and tastes somewhat sweeter than before.

This salad is also a great way to use up cooked brown rice. I cook rice regularly and so I always have leftover rice. This salad is a perfect way to transform a day or a two day old rice into a delicious lunch or dinner meal. I hope you give this salad a try!

Brown Rice, Kale and Bean Salad

A deliciously simple salad that's full of protein and fibre. It is satisfying, easy to make and can be made a day ahead. Perfect for parties, potlucks, picnics and to fill up lunch boxes.
Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 -3
Author Keren Natalia

Ingredients

  • Kale bean salad
  • 2 stalks of kale
  • 1 cup of black beans
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1 to mato diced
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse kale, tear the leaves off the centre leaves and the stem and then tear or chop to bite size pieces. Place into a bowl, add oil and a pinch of salt. Massage for about 2 minutes until kale softens and turns to a bright colour.
  2. Combine the massaged kale, red onion, brown rice, and beans. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin and garlic powder until thick, about 45 seconds.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Gently toss, taste, adjust seasoning if needed and then top with diced avocado (I usually add the avocado last so it doesn’t get mushed when I mix the salad dressing). Let it sit to marinate for at least an hour if you can or leave overnight in the fridge for the flavours to develop.

Recipe Notes

I always have cooked rice in the fridge I didn't have to cook the rice. However, you can also buy instant brown rice at the shop that takes minutes to cook in the microwave.

What’s your favourite way to use up leftover rice? 

P.S. If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x


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Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (with Rose Petals)

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

I don’t normally bake cookies, but when I do, I go all out, calories and everything. No skimping on the fat or sugar (okay, maybe a bit less sugar than your traditional cookies, but only because I don’t like my cookies way too sweet). I especially love making shortbread cookies because they remind me of my childhood. My parents used to buy us a huge tin of butter cookies for Christmas, and I fondly remember those crispy, tender, melt-in-your-mouth buttery biscuits of goodness. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with putting spices in baked goods, so when I saw a packet of ground cardamom at the shops, I knew exactly what I had to do. And that’s how these Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Cookies were born.

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

For these cookies I used ground coconut sugar, but you can use normal powdered sugar if you prefer. I pulsed coconut sugar in a power blender for a minute or so until it turned into powder form. I also did the same thing with the rose petals (just not for as long) – I removed the petals from the stem, and then pulsed a couple of times using my NutriNinja until crumbs form.

Cardamom pistachio cookies with rose petals

These cookies have that enchantingly sweet and aromatic smell of cardamom. They’re nutty and spicy, with a hint of aniseed and perfumed rose flavour. They will keep for about two weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, but I must say they didn’t last that long in our household before they were all gone.

Vegan Cardamom and Pistachio Shortbread Cookies (with Rose Petals_

Deliciously nutty, spicy, and aromatic buttery cookies that just happened to be vegan :)
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Servings 4 dozen
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan butter or Nuttelex 220g, room temp
  • 1/3 cup powdered coconut sugar see note
  • ½ cup pistachio nuts
  • 2 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoon dried rose petals plus extras for sprinkling (see above)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Sift all dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, and salt).
  3. In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix butter and almond extract together.
  4. Pulse pistachio nuts in a blender a few times until fine crumbs form.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and the pistachio nuts into the butter mixture and mix everything together. Use your hands if necessary to incorporate the butter and get the dough to come together. Stop when it has just come together. Careful not to over mix.
  6. Shape 1 tablespoon of the mixture into even sized balls and press into flat discs. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until set and the edges are golden brown.
  8. Leave to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

To make powdered coconut sugar, pulse coconut sugar in a power blender for a minute or so until powdery.

If you’re a cardamom fan, I hope you will try this recipe. And if you do, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

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Halloween post – my new routine and the cold-pressed blood juice

Cold Pressed Beetroot Juice

I have a new routine. For about three weeks now, I’ve been doing half-day juice fasts for two or three days each week, and it’s been great. I will talk about this more in the next blogpost, but today, I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of my routine, what I use to juice, and share a Halloween-themed juice recipe – Cold Pressed Blood Juice, seeing that the big trick-or-treating day is just around the corner.

Cold Pressed Blood Juice

My half-day juice fast routine

Essentially I’m drinking just juice from the morning until the afternoon. When possible I’m trying to have my first juice as late as possible so I can maximise my ‘fasting’ period. I normally undertake this routine on Monday, Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday as well.

I find it easier to do the juice fast during the first half of the week as I have more time to prepare on the Sunday prior, and I like to make my juices in advance so I needn’t waste time in the morning juicing. Cold-press juicing does take quite a bit of time, and since I personally hate cleaning up, I always like to do everything in bulk so I won’t have to clean the juicer every day.

Green Juice

Here’s a breakdown of my juice fast day

  • 8 pm (the night before): Finish dinner
  • 9 am: Breakfast – 450ml green juice (kale, spinach, celery, parsley, green apple and lemon)
  • 11am/12 pm: Lunch – 450ml carrot and beetroot juice (carrot, beetroot and ginger)
  • 3pm: Afternoon Snack – 450ml orange and carrot juice (or other fruit juice)
  • 5pm: Light snack (can either be fruits, nuts, rice cakes or other light snacks)
  • 6:30-7pm: Normal dinner

My Cold Press juicer

I use the Hurom H25 Alpha. It’s a bit pricey but it’s a great little machine. It’s much smaller than my old Breville Fountain juicer that I used way back in the day.

I must say that assembling the machine for the first time was quite daunting. I’ve never used a cold-pressed juicer and there were so many more parts than what I’ve used to. I had to actually read the user guide (as you should!) to make sure that I was assembling it correctly.

It has a pretty small chute, which means that you have to chop your larger fruits and veggies so they fit through. I had known about this requirement from reading reviews of the juicer and I honestly don’t mind the process. I mean, as a vegan, I already spend 80% of my time in the kitchen chopping fruits and vegetables so a bit more chopping won’t hurt. And, furthermore, I find chopping to be rather… therapeutic.

Cleaning the machine has been a breeze, especially now that I’ve gotten used to it. It took me 10 minutes to clean at the beginning but now, I’m down to about five minutes flat.

Overall I’m very happy with my Hurom H25. It does its job, it’s quiet and compact, and it looks pretty slick on the kitchen bench.

Hurom H25 Alpha

Here’s the video to see me (and the juicer) in action, making my favourite carrot juice and the Cold Pressed Blood Juice.

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar!

Cold-Pressed Blood Juice

This recipe is so simple that I almost didn’t want to share it. But it really is one of my favourite juices to make. And it does look impressive, especially when served in a skull jar! Cold-Pressed Blood Juice (makes 500ml)
Course Drinks
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 jar
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 8 large carrots
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • Coconut water optional
  • Skull jar optional

Instructions

  1. Wash and rinse your vegetables. Chop them if required.
  2. Add the carrots, beetroot and ginger into your cold press juicer and run as per manufacturer’s instruction.
  3. Transfer to a jar and top with coconut water if required.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to three days.

What’s your favourite cold-pressed juice? I’d love to hear from you!

Keren x

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Easy Strawberry Jam

Easy Strawberry Jam

I love strawberries! Especially when they’re in season. Sometimes I like adding strawberries to my smoothies and oats, but mostly I like eating them fresh out of the punnet. However, the other week, I made some vegan waffles and I felt like slathering them with some peanut butter and strawberry jam. But the problem is, I don’t have any jam. I’ve stopped buying jams two to three years ago as I find them too sweet for me. Did you know that traditional jam uses 1 cup of sugar per 250g strawberries? That’s insane! So I’ve decided to make my own quick and easy strawberry jam.

YUM! This easy strawberry jam is not only simple to make (you only need four ingredients), but it also tastes soooo fresh. I use raw sugar in this recipe, but you can replace it with your favourite natural sweetener such as Stevia, Norbu or even Xylitol. Nowadays, I don’t mind a bit of sugar here and there, and plus, it’s nowhere near the amount of sugar in storebought jams. Only three (3) tablespoons instead of one cup of sugar used in the traditional jam recipe!

Easy Strawberry Jam

If you ever wanted to make a small volume of jam, without all the fuss of finding jam sugar, pectin, or having to sterilise jars, then this recipe is for you.

Easy Strawberry Jam

Make your own homemade low sugar strawberries using only a handful of ingredients.
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 150 ml
Author Keren

Ingredients

  • 1 punnet 250g fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons of raw sugar*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of half lemon

Instructions

  1. Wash, drain and hull strawberries.
  2. Add to a small pan on medium heat and start mashing the strawberries (use potato masher or fork).
  3. Add sugar and lemon juice into the pan.
  4. Bring to boil and then lower the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer into a clean, airtight jar (I got mine from IKEA), let it cool, and store in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

*You can replace sugar with your favourite sweetener such as Stevia, Norbu or Xylitol

If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x



 

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Vegan Lemon Curd and yum. Glutenfree book giveaway

Vegan Lemon Curd

Well hello!

Sorry for being a bit quiet this week. I’ve just started a new part-time consulting role and so things have been a bit hectic the last few days. But now I’m here and I’ve got a little surprise for you.

I’m giving away two (2) yum. Glutenfree 2017 Mini Cookbook, thanks to Olivia from yum. Glutenfree.

It has 30 home-cooked 100% gluten-free recipes from a variety of food bloggers, health coaches, nutritionists, and foodies. It is also in a super cute A5 size.

It is not a vegan cookbook but there are many vegan and easily veganised recipes. They also have “allergen buttons” at the bottom of each recipe, so you can see all the allergens that each recipe is free from. This makes it super easy to select a recipe for people with allergies.

The recipe book is about one-third sweet, savoury and snacks, so there’s something for everyone.

I haven’t had a chance to make any of the recipes from the cookbook yet, but Olivia was kind enough to let me share one of my favourite recipe from the cookbook, the Vegan Lemon Curd by Monica Topliss from Gluten Free Food Co – this is probably one of my favourite recipes from the cookbook.

Hope you will give it a go!

Yum. GlutenFree
5 from 2 votes
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Vegan Lemon Curd

Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 650 ml
Author Monical Topliss

Ingredients

  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 400 g coconut milk
  • 50 g raw sugar
  • 80 g coconut butter
  • 15 g maize starch

Instructions

  1. Place coconut milk, sugar, coconut butter and zest into a small pot and bring to the boil. Mix the lemon juice with the maize starch and mix well.
  2. When the mixture in the pot has reached the boil, turn down the heat and whish in the lemon juice mix paste. The mixture should thicken almost instantly
  3. Continue to cook over a gentle heat, whisking continuously for one minute
  4. Remove from the heat and spoon into a sterilised jar

How to enter the giveaway

To enter the giveaway, simply do any one of the following to gain entry points. Winners will be drawn in on the 4th November 2017.

yum. Glutenfree Mini Cookbook Giveaway

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Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Today I will share with you one of my favourite things to make (next to these tasty things). *Drumroll*….. please be upstanding for the Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice!

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Everyone has a favourite recipe. It’s that dish that you love, that everybody else loves, that always works, no matter how crazy you get with the ingredients or how lazy you may get with the steps. It’s the recipe that you can almost make blindfolded.

For me, that go-to recipe is fried rice!

Boy, do I love making fried rice. It’s such a simple and delicious dish with endless possibilities! I love loading mine with veggies and tofu and, lately, turmeric. The turmeric adds such a nice spicy and earthy flavour to the rice. At home, back in Indonesia, my mum used to make me a similar dish so it always reminds me of her whenever I prepare this dish. And I make this almost every week.

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Here’s the recipe video followed by the full recipe. Some professional chefs and seasoned cooks might express scorn for adding my aromatics (onions and garlic) after the tofu and not before, and how I haven’t set aside the tofu pieces after browning them. Sorry. I’m occasionally lazy, and in my opinion, there isn’t a significant difference in taste. Furthermore, it saves me an extra few minutes and a dish which, at 6 pm after a long day at work, makes all the difference in the world.

You can get really creative with this dish. I use brown rice with broccoli and carrots but you can use different veggie combinations or a different type of rice. One time I even used cooked barley and it worked well, too. You can also use tempeh instead of tofu, seitan, mushroom, chickpeas, or all the above. Trust me, I’ve tried almost every possibility under the sun.

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

4 from 2 votes
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Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 Red Onion diced
  • 5 garlic Cloves sliced
  • 200 g Firm Bean Curd sliced
  • 2 cups of cooked Brown Rice
  • 2 Carrots sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1-2 teaspoon of Light soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • A sprinkle of Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup chopped fresh Coriander
  • 1-2 cups of chopped mushroom optional
  • A sprinkle Kala Namak  optional

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in wok (preferably non-stick) over high heat, add sliced tofu, swirling to coat surfaces; add sliced bean curd.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to bean curd and then add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until brown.
  3. Add chopped red onion, stir, add garlic and then stir-fry until onions are soft and slightly brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add brown rice, broccoli and carrots, stir. Then add soysauce and stir for about 3 minutes to mix.
  5. Add chopped mushroom (optional) and, stir-fry for another 2 minutes more, taste.
  6. Adjust the flavour by adding more sauce or season to taste.
  7. Fold in chopped coriander to finish.
  8. Serve

Recipe Notes

Serve with slices of fresh chilli for spicy boost.

If you make this, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or find me on Instagram and share your creation. Don’t forget to tag me @passionatelykeren so I won’t miss your post.

Keren x

 

Healthy Turmeric Stir Fried Brown Rice