Winter Warmers

Yes, I am still alive.

So much has happened since I have last written. I quit my job, completed a degree, started a new job and got promoted all in the last year! So I have been quite the busy bee.

We are fast approaching a very cold winter here in South Africa. Note, our winters are a high of 17°C, nothing quite like the bitingly ice cold 6 months of winter I suffered through in Boston. But hey, it’s all relative, right?

table mountain

So, just in case any of you are in search of some deliciously warming food on a chilly evening, that happens to be devoid of animal products, or if you just want to eat something delightfully comforting and equally nutritious, look no further.

In an effort to make up for lost time, I’ll be posting quite a few recipes over the course of the week, so keep your eyes peeled for something that tickles your taste buds!

So, of recent, my room mates kids have been living with us. The 2 boys are not fans of, let’s say, healthy food. They like creamy, meaty, curry-ish food. So, occasionally, I cook for the 4 of us. And of course, then, the pressure is on. Because kids can be brutally honest. They can’t hide their facial expressions and mask their disgust with a stiff smile and a “Mmm, it’s so good” and then quietly spit it out into their napkin.

I have a firm tried and tested family favourite that you simply have to try. It’s a tasty twist on a layered lasagna, but a secretly not so unhealthy version. I try to refrain from using the word healthy, or I may get the Jehovah’s witnesses of health knocking on my door.

You will need:

6 large sweet potatoes steamed and peeled
3-4 cups of liquidized tomatoes
1 pack of mushrooms, sliced
1 diced onion
4 tablespoons chickpea flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of spinach
Soy milk
Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Nutritional Yeast, Dried Chilli, Garlic

I am a pro a multi tasking in the kitchen. I can prepare 3 seperate components of a dish, and wash up by the time everything is done. This dish involves 4 different parts. I’ll just give them to you, and you can do them in which ever order suits you.

1) Steam and peel your sweet potatoes. They need to be soft enough to mash. Once they are, mash 3 of the sweet potatoes and layer them on the bottom of a baking dish.

2) Prepare your napoletana sauce, by bringing your pureed tomatoes to a boil, adding in some chopped up dried chilli, and oregano.

3) Prepare your middle layer, which is the veggie mix. All I had on hand was mushrooms and onions, so I lightly sauteed them with a touch of garlic and pepper. I tossed in the spinach as well for good measure.

4) Prepare your white sauce. I use chickpea flour and olive oil to make a rue, and then add in some boiling water, and stir. I top it off with soy milk, and of course, it contains salt, pepper, and nooch! (If you don’t know what nooch is, you are probably still a beginner vegan. It’s nutritional yeast)

So, next, you layer your napoletana sauce over the mashed sweet potato.
Then your veggie mix.
Then your white sauce.
And lastly, the last 3 sweet potatoes get mashed to hold everything together.

Serve this yummy concoction, hot, with a side salad, and high expectations!

My life in vegan ..

Are you toying with the idea of being vegan? Maybe a friend has convinced you to join her on a 22 day challenge? Want to cleanse? But, alas, the dreaded question pops into your head, echoed by the concerns of friends and family, “But what will you eat? Just fruit? Lettuce? Carrot sticks?”

Don’t let their naivety dissuade you from helping our planet, our animals and our bodies.

I want to help you aspiring vegans, budding health freaks, environmentalists, and animal activists to see how easy it is to be vegan.

Becoming vegan has drastically increased my tortoise-like metabolism, which is now like a little squirrel on caffeine. So I eat, alot. In fact, I almost always have something in my mouth (mind out the gutter please!)

I am going to give you a 5 day meal guide, according to how I eat. 3 things you need to know about me:

  • I work a semi stressful, sometimes very busy job, but I am predominantly seated at my computer.
  • I only go to gym about 3  days a week, where I do a 45 – 60 minute class involving cardio and strength training
  • I love chocolate!

This meal guide is NOT approved by a nutritionist. I have no idea how many calories it is. Or how much fat. Or protein. All I do know is its yummy food, that’s not all good, not all bad for you, and you can do what you like with it. It’s simply an idea of what vegans can and do eat. Don’t take it as gospel.

Meal Plan

I haven’t added in my coffee intake, so please, have no fear, there IS caffeine in this. I wouldn’t be writing this if there wasn’t. Also, you can always safely assume that my nuts are roasted and salted. And that I eat hummus with almost everything.

Please make sure you drink water too, and keep taking your vitamins if that’s what you normally do. And rule number 1 – always listen to your body

Oh, and make sure you take into account the fact that there are at the very least THREE bars of Aero dark chocolate included in this plan!

Please look through my website for recipes for some of the food I have referenced, and share your experiences with me.

Happy healthy eating!