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Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Vegan Banana Apple Bread

Hi Friends, I hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Today I am sharing my recipe for a banana apple bread which is 100% dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free and could be made gluten free by changing out the flour, so it certainly 

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Dairy Free Pesto Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Hi Friends! I’m back with another recipe for you! It is coming to the end of an exceptionally hot summer here in Australia. As much as I love the sun, the crisp edge in the air as we transition to autumn is very refreshing. One 

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

How I plan my weekly meals – eat fresh, reduce waste, save time and money!

Hi Friends!

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019, it’s going to be a good one!

Often January is the time of year where everyone is setting goals and intentions, trying to break bad habits and implement better ones. That’s why I have decided to share with you my meal planning, shopping, storage and cooking routine that helps me save money, reduce food wastage and eat healthy, nutritious meals each week.

I have included some tips that I hope you will find helpful if you are trying to improve this aspect of your life, after all doesn’t everyone want to save money, the environment and their health? I have also included a recipe for my healthy and delicious buddha bowls, a great option for work lunches!

Planning

Planning is KEY to successfully organising almost any aspect of your life. Every Friday, I make a meal plan for the following week which includes what I (and Nathan) will eat for breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks.

  1. Don’t plan to cook more than you actually need to cook.

    I only need to cook three nights out of the week, to give us six nights worth of dinners (if you don’t like leftovers I have some specific tips in the LEFTOVERS section below). Furthermore, I can prepare lunches for the first three days of my week (Monday to Wednesday) on Sunday, which saves me having to prepare lunch every night. Not having to cook every night means I get more time to spend doing things I love like walking my dogs, reading, spending time with Nathan etc.

  2. Write it down.

    I open a new note in my Google Keep app and title it ‘Plan for next week’ (I know, super original right?) in here I’ll type out the following headings: Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinner 1, Dinner 2, Dinner 3 and Snacks. Then I list what I am making for that particular meal for the following week.

If you need some meal inspiration try:

  • Pinterest
  • Blogs
  • YouTube

Alternatively it can be super helpful to maintain a list of easy healthy recipes, that you know how to make and you know you enjoy, to refer to when stuck for ideas.



So now my list looks something like this:

If you’re new to this, I would suggest creating a shopping list with the ingredients you’ll need for each meal so you don’t forget anything (because everyone knows that annoying feeling of starting to cook only to find out halfway through that you are missing a crucial ingredient!).

Structure the list so that items are grouped together according to their location in the shop, this will make your life SO MUCH easier! If you are using Google Keep it allows you to check off items as you add them to your trolley which is super helpful.

Shopping

Onto the fun part! (does anyone else love grocery shopping? Just me? Okay..).

via GIPHY

How to win at grocery shopping?

  1. Have a designated shopping day once a week.

    If you have planned your meals properly, you will save so much money and time this way rather than doing a heap of random stops at a grocery store where you are more likely to grab things on a whim (especially if you’re hungry!). My shopping day is Saturday, I get up early and have breaky, grab my re-usable bags then head to my local shopping centre. Arriving early means I beat the Saturday shopping crowd, get a great car park and can actually enjoy my time shopping without feeling suffocated!

  2. Shop for your produce at a farmers market or fruit and veg store.

    You’ll be surprised it can actually be cheaper and the produce is generally fresher having travelled less kilometres than that sold in supermarkets. Plus you will be supporting local farmers and minimising your consumption of plastic, win win. First thing when I get to the shops is order a coffee in my Pottery For The Planet reusable cup, then I head towards the fruit and veg store. Once I am done with the fruit and veg, I’m off to the supermarket (Woolworths) to get the non-produce shopping items. Finally, if I need to I’ll stop in at the health food store and stock up on anything I am running low on i.e. natural deodorant, natural skin care, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds or chocolate (you know, the essentials!).

  3. Use produce that is in season.

    Designing your meal plan around what is in season will save you money and ensures you are eating the freshest produce available. I often make salad bowls or soups for lunches, I love doing these as I can mix up the ingredients depending on what we feel like and what produce is in season and they always taste great!

  4. Use your reusable shopping bags.

    Need I say more?

While this sounds like a lot, I can have it all done in under an hour and be back home by 9 am. This brings me to the next section, storing your produce.

Storing

After you have gone to the effort of planning and shopping for your delicious food, you need to ensure you store it appropriately to make it last the week. You can’t just chuck your veggies in the fridge willy nilly and expect them to stay fresh, nutritious and juicy.

  1. Check your fridge temperature.

    Make sure your fridge is set on the correct temperature (around 4 degrees Celsius) too cold will mean your food freezes and too warm places your food in the ‘danger zone’ where harmful bacteria will thrive.

  2. Clean your produce draws.

    Remove all existing produce from the fridge, take out the draws, rinse them and dry them, I line mine with newspaper. These draws are designed specifically to manipulate the airflow and humidity to keep produce fresh for longer. So use them correctly and they’ll do just that. The draws should be about three quarters full to allow enough airflow. If you find that you can’t fit all of your produce in the draws, it might be worth investing in an additional fruit/veg storage container to keep your remaining veggies fresh.

  3. Remove plastic and store appropriately.

    Fresh produce needs to breath, if you are leaving it in plastic bags, it will sweat and spoil very quickly. Most veggies can go into the storage draw/container as they are, however some may be partially prepared first or stored separately which will help with freshness and also your convenience. For example, with big bunches of kale, I will de-stalk, rinse and store the leaves in an airtight container lined with a damp tea towel. This keeps my kale fresh all week and because it is already prepared it is super easy to grab for smoothies or other recipes. With fresh herbs, I fill up jars with water, place the bunch of herbs in there just as you would with a bunch of flowers in a vase and I store them in my fridge door. That way they are easy to access to tear or cut leaves as required and stay fresh and green for the whole week!

  4. Use up existing produce.

    What to do with the old veggies you pulled out of the fridge? Cook them up into a meal to eat that night (or freeze for later), use them to make your own veggie stock (super easy – I do this weekly!) or add them to the compost so they can nourish your garden.

Cooking

Right, so you’ve done the planning, you’ve done the shopping and you’ve correctly stored your produce. The cooking part should therefore be quite easy!

via GIPHY

I allocate an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon to cook our Monday – Wednesday lunches. I usually do hearty soups or salad bowls, this week was a salad bowl!

On the nights that I am cooking dinner (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday) I get home from work and get straight into it. We have a rule in our household, whoever cooks does not do the dishes, given I am the cook, Nathan is usually on dishes duty which works great for us.

Once it reaches Thursday/Friday and I have run out of pre-prepared lunches, I’ll either grab something from the freezer which was leftover from the week before or I’ll throw together something easy like my no tuna chickpea sandwiches which will get us through the remainder of the week!



Lastly, I leave one night a week without a meal planned because we will often go out on a date night or have dinner with friends/family!

The schedule of cooking every second night works really well as we are only cooking for two so there are always leftovers, and it means we are eating the food while it is fresh and flavoursome.

So, you have cooked a nice big delicious meal and you have leftovers, now what? In the next section below you’ll find my top tips for storing leftovers so it doesn’t really feel like you are eating leftovers!

Leftovers

Leftovers are great! I know some people are not keen on eating food that has been cooked before, but trust me, if it is stored and prepared correctly it makes all the difference. It can also be helpful to adjust your mindset, we are so so lucky to have leftovers, because that means we have an abundance of food, we have so much that there is some left over. There are so many people (including children) living below the poverty line, not only in third world countries but even in our own country. Remember how lucky you are to have enough food to fill and nourish your body!

Got leftovers? See my top tips below for storing and preparing them!

  1. Store leftovers in airtight GLASS containers.

    Not only is plastic bad for the environment, it is also bad for our health, it is made of harmful chemicals that can leach into our food. You’ve probably noticed a lot more glass storage containers on the market these days, there is a reason for that. Invest in some good ones and it will change the game of food storage (and they’ll literally last forever!).

  2. Store meal components separately.

    For example, when storing a potato and chickpea curry with rice, store all of the curry in one container and all of the rice in the other. This stops things from going mushy and watery. It means when you reheat the leftovers, they don’t blend together into a mess resembling chunky baby food. By reheating the different components of the meal separately, when you serve them nicely on a plate topped with some fresh herbs it feels much more like you are eating a freshly cooked meal rather than leftovers.

  3. AVOID THE MICROWAVE.

    As convenient as it may be, its not great for your food and tends to make things look a little sad (not surprising as they have literally been zapped). How do you reheat your food without the microwave? Take my example of the curry above, if you have stored the curry and the rice separately, you can simply put the curry into a pot on the stove with a teeny tiny bit of water and heat it on a low heat stirring occasionally, this doesn’t take long at all and tastes way better! You could either put the rice in the microwave to reheat or in a different pot. Not keen on the stove? Use your oven! putting the curry into a casserole dish with a bit of water and covering it will allow it to heat through nicely on about 180 degrees Celsius. This will take longer than the stove, but hey, you may want to use your time while you are waiting to take a shower, read a book or do some washing etc.

Leftovers make your life easier, prevent food wastage and save you money, be grateful for leftovers!

Preventing Waste

Did you know, the average Australian wastes up to 20% of the food they buy? This equates to $8 billion worth of perfectly edible food being discarded by Australian households every year, of which 33% is fresh food and 27% is leftovers! Not only is this bad for our finances, it’s really bad for our planet! Food discarded in landfill produces methane as it rots which is 25 times more potent and damaging to our environment than the carbon produced from you car! (Facts from foodwise.com.au).

If you are guilty of wasting food (you’re not alone), I encourage you to look at the reasons why. Do you have a meal plan? Are you simply buying too much or impulse buying? Are you cooking too much? Are you not making use of leftovers? Are you not storing food appropriately? Whatever it may be, put some steps in place to help you change your behaviours and minimise your food wastage. You’ll be benefiting your bank account and the environment!

For more information check out these resources:

  • www.foodwise.com.au
  • Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy
  • World Wide Fund for Nature Reducing Food Waste

Now that you have all of my top tips for planning, buying, storing and preparing your food, here is a recipe to get you going. This buddha bowl recipe makes about six servings, I prepare it on a Sunday afternoon and Nathan and I take it for lunches for the first three days of the week!

Have you got some top tips for preventing food waste or streamlining your shopping/cooking routine to save time and money? Share them below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping by, until next time,

Kiah x

Easy Buddha Bowl

Course Lunch, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine Buddha Bowl, Macro Bowl, Nourish Bowl, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

Salad Bowls

  • 1.5 cups tricolour quinoa
  • 1 400g can chickpeas
  • 5-6 medium white potatoes
  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 1 whole carrot
  • 200 grams green beans
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch alfalfa sprouts
  • 6 whole radishes
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius

  2. Cut the cauliflower into small florets, drizzle with olive oil and coat in turmeric and curry powder, toss to coat well

  3. Place the prepared cauliflower on an oven tray and place in the pre-heated oven, set timer for 20 minutes

  4. Rinse the quinoa, add to rice cooker with the stock and water, set to cook (or alternatively cook according to packet instructions on the stove)

  5. Cut the potatoes into 2-3cm chunks and place in vegetable steamer on the stove, steam until soft to pierce with a fork, remove from heat and set aside

  6. Top and tail the green beans, cut in half and set aside

  7. Thinly slice the radishes, set aside

  8. Peel and grate the carrot, set aside

  9. Drain and rinse chickpeas well, set aside

  10. Rinse, de-stalk and slice the kale

  11. Finely chop or mince the garlic

  12. Heat a large frypan over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil, add garlic and green beans, saute for 2-3 

  13. Add the kale to the fry pan with the green beans and garlic and saute for a further 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside

  14. Once the various components have finished cooking, it is time to assemble the bowls: divide the cooked quinoa, cooked potato, kale/bean mixture, chickpeas, grated carrot, sliced radish, roasted cauliflower and alfalfa sprouts evenly between six containers (if meal prepping) 

  15. To make the dressing, mix tahini, sesame oil, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar together, add water to achieve desired consistency. Store dressing separate to salad bowls and add when ready to eat.

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

The best of Reese Witherspoon’s book picks for 2018!

Hi Friends! Welcome to 2019, another year, another opportunity to fill your life with good books. Today I am sharing my top three favourite book picks from Reese Witherspoon’s book club for 2018! As you may already know (and if not, you’re about to learn) 

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Sweet Potato, Chickpea & Green Bean Curry

Hi Friends! Today I’m sharing my super yummy, super healthy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Green Bean Curry recipe! Now for my fellow Australians, I am very aware it is November and we are heading into summer, however, curry is an all season staple for me, 

Creamy Vegan One-Pot Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Vegan One-Pot Mushroom Pasta

Welcome to manic Monday! Well, I hope your Monday isn’t too manic. I personally love Mondays, a new week, a fresh start, time to tick things off your to-do list!

Today I am sharing one of my favourite easy one-pot dinner recipes, so if your Monday is a little hectic, this might be the recipe for you!

This one-pot creamy vegan pasta is so delicious, easy and fuss-free, it’s husband approved and my younger sister also gave her tick of approval when I first made this for her back in July!



I cook this in a large enamel coated cast iron dutch oven, if you have one, I definitely recommend using that, otherwise a large non-stick pot would work fine. This recipe serves two to four people (two large serves or four smaller serves) you can adjust it by adding extra pasta and stock/milk.

If you make this recipe, please let me know what you thought of it in the comments below, if you share a snap on insta, tag me @kiahs.kitchen or #KiahsKitchen so I can see your re-creation!

If you want to check out my YouTube video detailing how I make this delicious vegan meal then please click the link, otherwise the full recipe is detailed for you below!

Creamy Vegan One-Pot Mushroom Pasta!

Super easy, super delicious one-pot vegan creamy mushroom pasta. Perfect for a quick dinner with minimal dishes!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Easy Vegan Dinner, One-Pot Pasta, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 whole brown onion
  • 300 grams swiss brown mushrooms
  • 1 tsp smokey paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast plus extra for serving
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayonaise
  • 100 grams fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 cups dry spiral pasta
  • 0.5 cups dry white wine
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups plant based milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and mince the garlic cloves

  2. Peel and finely chop the brown onion

  3. Clean and slice the swiss brown mushrooms

  4. In a large dutch oven or non-stick pot, heat the olive oil on a medium-high heat

  5. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes until golden and translucent

  6. Add the garlic and sauté for a further minute

  7. Add the oregano, garlic powder, paprika and nutritional yeast to the pot and stir well

  8. Add the mushrooms and the white wine to the pot, sauté for a further five minutes until the mushrooms are sweating

  9. Add the non-dairy milk and vegetable stock and stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste

  10. Bring the sauce to a near boil then reduce to a simmer, try not to actually let it boil

  11. Add the dry pasta to the pot and stir well, making sure all of the pasta is submerged in the liquid

  12. Continue to cook at a simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally 

  13. After the 20 minutes is up, the sauce should have thickened quite a bit and the liquid will have been absorbed by the pasta, if you would like it thicker, cook for a little longer

  14. Once cooked to your liking, add the vegan mayonnaise (this makes it extra creamy) and stir in the fresh spinach leaves until they are wilted

  15. Serve pasta in bowls topped with nutritional yeast and fresh parsley leaves, enjoy!

Recipe Notes

I use a large enamelled cast iron dutch oven which works really well, however if you don't have one of these, a large non-stick pot would suffice.

If you are feeding more people or want bigger serves, add a bit of extra pasta and adjust the stock to accordingly.

For ultimate freshness, store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume within 2-3 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing this due to the creamy sauce. 

 

This recipe was inspired by Yup It’s Vegan’s One Pot Creamy Garlic Pasta

Five easy ways to minimise waste and become more eco friendly!

Five easy ways to minimise waste and become more eco friendly!

Hey Friends! Today I’m here to talk about waste. Nope, this is not a blog post about poop, the waste I am referring to is the avoidable and unnecessary kind. Right now I don’t think the planet is feeling too crash hot, the air is 

Roast Potato Chunks and Creamy Avo Dipping Sauce Recipe!

Roast Potato Chunks and Creamy Avo Dipping Sauce Recipe!

Today was a very productive Sunday, I had brunch with a few of my favourite ladies, stopped at the in-laws for a quick chat and a cuddle with Nathan’s second cousin’s new baby girl, I dug up the ground in my veggie patch in preparation 

Time to stop being a scaredy-cat!

Time to stop being a scaredy-cat!

So I recently returned from a month travelling the U.K. and Europe.

“That’s great!” you might say, or “good for you!”.

Yes it is great, and it is good for me, but not just for the reasons you may think.

Sure a holiday is lovely, everyone loves to travel and experience the wonders of the world…or do they?

Not me, or at least I thought I didn’t. I have to confess, I am not a good traveller. In fact, it terrifies me. For twenty six years of my life I have managed to stay relatively close to home, within my comfort zone, nice and safe and happy. Or was I happy? I mean sure I would see my friends go off on some amazing adventures and perhaps feel slightly envious, but then I would think about having to face an aeroplane, big crowds, unfamiliar languages, being far from my home, from my dogs, from my safety and my comfort. That envy would quickly disappear.

In time I came to accept that travelling was just not for me, I would have my comfortable life in my comfortable home and explore the world through books alone.

That is until someone I went to primary school with tragically died in a car accident at the age of twenty five. I was not close to him and I did not know him as an adult. But the fact that this young man had travelled the globe, seen and experienced some of the amazing things the world has to offer, lived his life to the fullest and survived everything that I am terrified of, only to have his life taken from him driving on a road that I have driven many times before, just shocked me out of my delusion.

I had fooled myself into thinking that I am safe if I stick to my routines, if I stay within borders and follow these rules. When really, life is fleeting and fragile and when your time is up your time is up. Do I really want to let fear get in the way of experiencing life outside of the bubble in which I exist? What is the purpose of life if not to enjoy it? Why else are we here? I don’t think it is to work, eat, sleep and repeat. 

So, with this realisation, I started to think about booking a trip. Just thinking about it at this stage, it was a pretty ingrained fear since childhood so the mental shift was first step enough. Nathan and I started discussing places we wanted to travel to. My pick was Scotland (hello, Outlander!). Nathan chose Italy. So we settled on two weeks in the U.K. and two weeks in Europe. This way we would both get to see the places we wanted, plus some others.

First order of business, booking the flights. Cue anxiety and panic. Actual panic. If you know me well, you know I have a phobia of flying. I literally had an anxiety attack and got off a flight from Sydney to Melbourne whilst the plane was waiting on the tarmac (a tiny one hour flight) and instead chose a 12 hour train journey home because I couldn’t face trying to fly again. My dad and my sister live in Sydney, so holidays aside, you can see why the inability to fly is problematic for me.

I enlisted the help of a professional Psychologist who specialises in fear of flying and also anxiety in general. Through months of psychology sessions and one practise flight I learnt about the various components of the brain, when they developed and what their role is in a fear response. To manage my fear, we looked at four main components; Goal Setting, Mental Rehearsal, Self Talk and Arousal Control. Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy I challenged my negative thought patterns and was able to de-construct my unhelpful and often unfounded beliefs around flying and travel in general. I learn’t how to breathe, how to calm my heart rate and trick the fear response in my brain. Through Exposure Therapy I brought on the panic time and again so I could practice managing it.

Now I’m not going to lie, this was not a walk in the park, it was more like a terrifying roller-coaster where one moment I thought I was doing fine and had everything under control, to completely panicking the next moment and wanting to cancel my trip altogether because I felt like I was going to die and I thought I couldn’t do it.

However, through consistency (and lot’s of cuddles from my Psychologist’s German Shepherd who also joined in our sessions) I reached a point where the roller-coaster levelled out into a much more manageable plateau, with an occasional bump. The skills I learn’t have helped not just with my fear of flying but with anxiety in general.

On the 10th of August, I flew from Melbourne, Australia to London Heathrow (with a stop in Singapore) with no drugs, no panic attacks and no tears (apart from the four times I cried before leaving the house and saying goodbye to my dogs). This is something I never thought I would be able to do.

This kind of sounds stupid to say how proud I am of myself, because most people are probably thinking “what is this girl on about? So what you got on a plane, you went on a holiday, big deal”. Honestly it’s not so much the getting on the plane (I mean it is) but its more the fact that I set my mind to conquering something that absolutely terrifies me, I put in the hard work, and I did it.

I can’t explain the sense of freedom I felt going from just accepting that I will never ever see the world, to having endless possibilities open to me.

A healthy dose of fear is obviously important for self preservation, however too much fear (and unfounded fear) can be limiting, it can prevent us from experiencing all of the wonders that life can offer us and stop us from reaching our own potential.

If I hadn’t spent the time, the money and the energy challenging my fear, I never would have experienced the London Underground, drank Scotch Whisky in the Highlands of Scotland, cruised the canals in Amsterdam, met the German side of my family in Munich, had lemon gelato in Italy or walked along the Seine River in Paris with my husband.


The London Underground, London, UK


Greyfriars Bobby, Edinburgh, Scotland


Amsterdam, Netherlands


Marienplatz, Munich, Germany


Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy


Seine River at night, Paris, France

A message to anyone letting fear or anxiety stop you from following your dreams: don’t settle, challenge your thoughts and beliefs, enlist the help of a professional if you need to, whether that is a psychologist, a counsellor, a hypnotherapist, a life coach, a career advisor, a naturopath, a spiritual advisor or a reiki master. Whether your fear is travelling, getting a new job, buying a house, moving interstate, becoming a parent, public speaking, social situations or even fear or failure. Whatever it is, don’t just accept it, overcome your fear, put in the hard work, it’s not easy but it’s definitely worth it!

As Shia LaBeouf said in his encouraging, slightly aggressive and terrifying motivational video ‘what are you waiting for, just do it!’

I’ll do a few more blog posts about my trip on here, mainly about all the vegan food I devoured, but if there is anything specific you would like to know about my travels, please do reach out!

Also, a special shout out to Singapore Airlines, I had a great experience flying on their Airbus A380’s they have put so much effort into providing a calming and peaceful atmosphere from the relaxing music played while boarding to the creative safety video, and their staff are absolutely fantastic.

Now just a quick disclaimer here, if you don’t have an interest in travel, that’s fine, I’m definitely not suggesting you should, you do you! This post is more to share my experience with challenging one of my biggest fears, and encourage you to do the same, whatever your fear may be!

Until next time,

Kiah x

Pear, Raspberry and Walnut Oats – the perfect winter breakfast!

Pear, Raspberry and Walnut Oats – the perfect winter breakfast!

Earlier in the year I shared my go-to summer breakfast, vegan bircher muesli which is a staple for me in the warmer months (find the recipe here). However now that the leaves have fallen, the days have become incredibly short and I can literally see