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Saturday, 30 June 2012

We Come To Wonder...


Photo credit Philip Klinger

We come to wonder about our existence.
Then we take a look around and it all makes sense.
For we chose this Earth because of its incredible beauty.
Words fail to describe such splendour.
And hence such prevalent beauty is here to say:
For every harm done, there is goodness a hundred times.
Every flower, every dew drop, every gentle breeze is caressing our thoughts
Into the appreciation of our very own essence,
Waking up beyond existence.
For our essence is Grace.
And what other than nature to show us so much grace.
© 2012 Teenuja Dahari



Healthy Surprise!

Are you an anime fan? Japanese ones? I am! And I watch them every single night after dinner! Among the ones that I've watched for far, here's my list of favourite ones:

One Piece, Naruto, Berserk, Death Note, Trigun, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Bleach, Yu-Yu Hakusho...

And currenlty watching: Monster.

The list will keep increasing for sure! And who says anime-watching thinks about snacking! Although I try to limit my snacking habits to a minimum, sometimes some not-so-healthy crisps do find their way in. Yikes! This kind of snacking after dinner is surely not a great idea. But what about healthy ones?!
So, some two weeks ago, when Healthy Surprise proposed to send me a box of healthy snacks for a review, I said YES!



I didn't know this company before but after I checked their website I soon found their selection very interesting in that all snacks were vegan!

How could I refuse?!



I received a wonderful box with a selection of snacks ranging from sweet, savoury and spicy all carefully selected, vegan and some even raw. This was a really nice surprise indeed! And I did a little imaginary 'happy dance'! I couldn't do a real one because Boyfriendlovlie would have teased! Oh yes, he knows how excited I get about snacks! Well, he still teased watching me open the box and taking photos!



Both Boyfriendlovlie and I are allergic to nuts though. So, I will give the nut snacks to Sisterlovlie whom I'm sure will love them. If only there was a cure for nut allergies... because these flavoured nuts look so delicious!



There were still a lot of other snacks that I could eat from the selection though, like these cheesy Kale Krunch! Yum!



Vanilla Maple Almonds! Wow, I could have just a few of those at a time, I am less allergic to almonds.



Raw bars!



Coconut Bar Cherry! I love all things coconutty!



Fruit strips. Those remind me of the fruity logs I used to eat as a kid but they were certainly not the healthy types back then with sugar and flavourings. These ones are natural fruit concentrate with no added sugar.



Healthy Surprise will deliver to your door (or office) and they have mainly four subscription options to suit your needs and even gift options. As for international shipping they do so too (but check with them for shipping costs). For international orders, it works out cheaper to order the larger sizes every other month or so to save on shipping and airmiles.

Check them out also on Facebook; you can like them to receive their newsfeeds.



Full disclosure: Though I was mailed this box of healthy snacks free of charge for a review, I was not asked to write this post or compensated for doing so. This post is my own personal review of the snacks and the company. I was happy with what I received and thought it would be a shame not to share this with you.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Handmade Gift Project: Crochet Bag



Approximately a year ago when I started crochetting again (I did start to crochet at the age of 12 or so, learning from my mum), I got really hooked on it and found the array of projects to crochet pretty impressive but somewhat daunting too! The more I got into it though, the more confidence I gained with my crochet hooks; so much that my hooks started to move fast enough to work through even bigger projects!

Initially I started off with patterns and followed them to the letter. Gradually I started to slightly modify and tweak the patterns to create more customizable items to my liking. At this stage I am still testing waters and have yet to start writing my own patterns! That could still take a while to come; I still have a heck loads of crochet stitches to learn.

Well, today I'm sharing this bag project I made as a gift for Sisterlovlie whose birthday was about a month ago. This post is only coming up now because I never got round to finish it up sooner.

I started off with a Patons pattern which was for this Sweatpea Bag but I tweaked it to my liking and ended up with something really quite different.



The pattern calls for two rectangular pieces to be crochetted then seamed (crochetted) together around the edges.





For the bag lining, I chose to use some bright rusty red coloured lining fabric to which I added a zip fastener; I like bags to be secure. The one in the pattern was only an open tote style bag.



Then I also went along adding some inside pockets to the lining. Inner pockets are so handy for the little things that would just get lost at the very bottom!



After the lining was (machine) stitched with the bag, I attached a few wooden beads to the zip.



And even my Bijouxlovlie label inside!



The pattern suggests making a kind of rope strap by twisting together a fair amount of yarns. I didn't go for this style. Instead, I crochetted a long strip which I lined with some other fabric. And so here was the decision to make: which fabric would be most suitable to line the strap?



Boyfriendlovlie (he's always my savior in matters of this nature!) suggested the linen canvas fabric and I was happy with that.



I made some small straps out of the linen canvas to attach the long one to the bag. I salvaged some D-rings from the pockets of an old cargo pants that I wasn't wearing anymore.



I stitched one end of the straps through the rings but the other end I secured with a knot so that the strap could be adjustable to body height.



I bought some wood chip buttons from this Etsy shop a while ago. It's an eco-friendly shop that uses driftwood, reclaimed wood, salvaged stone and pottery. Natural surplus materials, wood in particular, that would otherwise go to waste are used in the making of these buttons and a lot more useful items. Check them out.





So for a natural organic touch, I added one of these buttons as an embellishment to the bag.





VoilĂ , crochetted with love! Sisterlovlie was pretty pleased!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Friday Feast: Turmeric Tofu Skewers, Baby Potatoes and Portobello Mushrooms



Fridays are literally my favourite evenings; the reason being obvious! While the dinner menu varies greatly on Fridays, it always calls for something nice and comforting but not time consuming. For this I have an array of tasty meals that are under 40 minutes, preparation through to being ready.

One of my Friday menus that I really enjoyed (and bound to make again) was these Turmeric Tofu Skewers accompanied by baby potatoes, oven baked portobello mushrooms and steamed green beans.

To make this meal in 40 minutes, start with the baby potatoes. Allow 4 - 5 per person (depending on their size). Steam for about 15 - 20 minutes or until soft (when pricked with a fork). Then, sprinkle with some fresh herbs (dill in this case) and transfer into the oven; bake for 10 minutes. No need to grease the potatoes but do grease the tray.



While the potatoes are steaming, prepare the tofu for the skewers.

Ingredients (for 6 skewers)
1 block (about 350g) firm tofu
1 - 2 bell peppers

Marinade:
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
1 pinch ground cumin (optional)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon water (more or less)

  • Mix all marinade ingredients together with the water to make a paste (not too thick) in a bowl.
  • Cut tofu block into 24 chunky square pieces.
  • Drop the pieces into the marinade bowl and mix well, taking care not to break the tofu.
  • Leave the tofu to marinade for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut the bell peppers into chunky pieces.
  • Assemble the tofu pieces and peppers onto bamboo skewers, alternating veggies and tofu.
  • Place on a lightly greased oven tray.
  • Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, turning the skewers over themselves occasionally to ensure even baking.



As for the mushroom, drizzle with a bit of chilli oil and some fresh dill; bake for 10 minutes. (Put this in the oven after the tofu skewers have baked for 20 minutes).



While all (skewers, potatoes and mushrooms) is baking for the final 10 minutes in the oven, steam a handful of green beans for 5 minutes (you already have the steamer out for the potatoes).




Yummy, really quite impressive yet simple, under 40 minutes also low fat and low calorie! We shouldn't even be counting calories for meals like these.


Nutrition Facts per Tofu Skewer:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (92.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories
58
Calories from Fat
22
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
2.5g
4%
Saturated Fat
0.6g
3%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
28mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates
3.0g
1%
Dietary Fiber
0.9g
4%
Sugars
1.2g
Protein
6.0g
Vitamin A 2% Vitamin C 34%
Calcium 10% Iron 2%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet


Nutrition Facts for meal suggestion with 3 skewers, 5 baby potatoes, mushroom, handful steam green beans (approximation only, will vary on the actual weight of your ingredients):

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (683.5 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories
478
Calories from Fat
114
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
12.7g
19%
Saturated Fat
2.3g
11%
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
100mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates
70.3g
23%
Dietary Fiber
11.6g
46%
Sugars
8.2g
Protein
25.3g
Vitamin A 24% Vitamin C 152%
Calcium 39% Iron 15%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Pleasantly Surprised: Veganlovlie Featured on Scope Magazine!

Nothing beats the excitement and thrill of such a surprise: to learn that this blog, Veganlovlie, was featured in Scope Magazine which is a Mauritian weekly mag! I had no idea they made a mention of this blog until I read it on a fellow Mauritian blogger's post, carrotmadman6. The article is about 'The Blog Phenomenon' in Mauritius and it highlights a few other Mauritian bloggers, some of which were interviewed for the article. But for my part, I didn't know about it and it so happens that a screenshot of Veganlovlie.com was also published with the article! How cool is that?
Thank you so much carrotmadman6 for giving me a mention in this article.

Here's a scan of the article (images courtesy of carrotmadman6). Click on images to see larger versions.



The article is in French though (and I am very lazy to translate the whole article for you!). In brief, it talks about how carrotmadman6 was inspired by Yashvin to start his blog and also how blogging has evolved in Mauritius over the years and the different types of topics of blog out there. Mine was featured as presenting vegetarian recipes (the difference between 'vegan' and vegetarian is probably still less known in Mauritius but that's okay. I'm happy that at least the concept might spread to a lot more Mauritians now thanks to this article). It also highlighted a few other active Mauritian blogs:

Yashvin Blogs, www.yashvinblogs.com
carrotmadman6, themediaguru.blogspot.com
Noulakaz, www.noulakaz.net/weblog
Island Crisis, www.islandcrisis.net
Mauricianismes, mauricianismes.wordpress.com
Style Mauritius, stylemauritius.blogspot.com
Geekscribes, www.geekscribes.net/blog
Ashesh R, www.asheshr.com
Inspired To Bake, inspiredtobake.wordpress.com
Aniisah, aniisah.wordpress.com
Yadhav's nest, yadhav.tumblr.com

Now, I am really quite happily walking on clouds at the moment!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Apricot Elderflower Refresher Smoothie

 

Elderflower is quite commonly found as cordials or mixed with apple juice or kombucha. I am not particularly lured by the cordial though, due to the sugar content. Recently, while I was searching for a kombucha culture online (to start my own homemade kombucha), I came across dried elderflowers. I had never seen them sold in tea shops here so I decided to get some. The fresh flowers from the tree are best though, if you can find the tree close to where you live.

As infusion, it has a nice light taste close to camomille tea. It is a very nice bedtime tea. I usually don't have any problems finding sleep but a cup of elderflower tea at bedtime has proven to provide an even better sleep experience waking up very peaceful and refreshed in the morning. And more than this, after I googled a bit I found that it has some other good health benefits:

It is very good to use as a detox to build the immune system especially before winter.

It is said to assist with relieving the symptoms of allergies to pollen etc during the spring season and reduce the effects of sinusitis.

For respiratory problems, elderflower can assist in the treatmentof asthma, cough, tonsillitis, laryngitis, sinusitis and bronchitis.

Quite to my surprise I also found that it can be used as a tonic to fade skin blemishes; many modern day tonics contain elderflowers. I will try this as a tonic very soon. It also great for the reduction of wrinkles.

Apart from the flower of the elder plant, the elderberry also has its benefits. Recent research has confirmed the efficacy of the elderberry to reduce the strength and duration of coughs and colds, possibly due to their vitamin C.




The idea of trying elderflower infusion in a smoothie didn't take long to cross my mind. And I'm glad I did as this is one great refreshing smoothie and sure is different from my most frequently green coloured ones.


Apricot Elderflower Refresher Smoothie

3 - 4 fresh apricots
1 slice watermelon
2 oranges
1 teaspoon dried elderflowers
150 ml hot water
4 fresh strawberries
2 - 4 mint leaves

  • Brew the elderflowers in the hot water for 5 minutes. Then strain and let cool.
  • Squeeze out the juice from the oranges. (You can also use carton/bottled orange juice but I like to use fresh oranges).
  • Chop the rest of the fruits into small pieces.
  • Place in a blender (or in a jug if using a hand blender like I do)
  • Add the orange juice and cooled elderflower tea.
  • Add the mint leaves.
  • Blend until smooth.


Enjoy!



Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (780.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories
252
Calories from Fat
6
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
0.7g
1%
Saturated Fat
0.1g
0%
Sodium
9mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates
60.4g
20%
Dietary Fiber
8.9g
36%
Sugars
34.6g
Protein
5.6g
Vitamin A 31% Vitamin C 324%
Calcium 14% Iron 4%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Guest Post Recipe: CRAZY LIKE A COCONUT CHIA PUDDING by Heather Gardner

During the summer of last year, we were at a friend's place for a Vegetarian Meetup party. (I am a member of a Vegetarian Meetup group here and we occasionally meet for a shared dinner and other activities. Although lately, I haven't really had time for any of the meetups).

That evening, an exuberant toddler was playing around and was quite literally the centre of attraction; he was so full of life! I instantly became very fond of him. Later, I came to meet his mum who is Heather. I remember being quite literally mesmerized both by her radiating natural look and bubbliness. That night we didn't actually had any conversation, Heather and I, but I did had a great time playing with her super adorable toddler. He is just the most healthy looking kid I had ever seen, quite pleasantly enjoying his own company. To be honest, I first mistook him for a girl with his long curly hair!

Boyfriendlovlie was quicker to become friends with Heather's partner who was also there. So that is how we eventually kept in touch and later I came to know that Heather is actually mostly a raw vegan. Apart from thriving mostly on a raw diet, Heather is actually a Kundali Yoga Teacher qualified in many healing modalities and has over 10 years experience as a Natural Remedies, Health and Beauty Manager while working in the UK for the Natural Products industry. She now lives in Ireland teaching raw recipes, homemade beauty potions, kundalini yoga, also writing and running her online shop www.consciousearthcompany.com. She also has a Facebook page where she shares her amazing raw concoctions and much more.

Heather's natural health and beauty writings are really as much informative as they are enjoyable. I really look forward to them as I am always learning something new and interesting. Here's a list of my favourite articles from her:

Do The Beet Test: How to Tell if You Have Low Stomach Acid & Weak Digestion


Natural Health & Beauty: 6 Stinging Nettle Recipes for Healthy Hair, Skin & Nails

How to Use Nettle Seeds to Make Your Own Wild, Green Superfoods

The Powerful Properties of Pine Trees (and other Extraordinary Evergreens)

Beat Cellulite and Tone your Skin with Hot and Cold Shower Hydrotherapy

and much more here.

I am really honored to be featuring Heather on this blog. Today, she is sharing with us one of her yummy raw recipes, Crazy Like A Coconut Chia Pudding. You can subscribe to her Facebook page for more amazing recipes and natural beauty concoctions.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



*CRAZY LIKE A COCONUT CHIA PUDDING*

*Basic Recipe Ingredients*


1 large Mango
1 Brown Coconut (green if u have it)
1 large Banana (or 2 small)
1 tsp Cinnamon
dash of Vanilla
1/2 cup Chia seeds

Put the flesh of the mango, coconut & banana in the blender, add cinnamon & vanilla and enough coconut water or nut milk to blend, but keep it thick.

Pour into a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup of chia seeds. Stir it really well and allow to stand for a minimum of 10 mins, stir it every so often to avoid clumping. When its ready either eat as it is or chill and serve in little bowls garnished with fruit, goji berries or cacao nibs :)

*UPGRADE VERSION*

Add to the basic batter mix, the following:

1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/4 cup coconut oil or cacao butter
1/4 cup lacuma powder

Then follow the above recipe.

*CHIABOKER GLORY*


While the above recipe sets

- prepare a cashew cream (or hemp cream) blend cashew/shelled hemp seeds, vanilla, lemon juice & sweetener with enough liquid to make a thick cream.

- cut up some fruit attractively, such as more mango, papaya, banana, red grapes, strawberries, blueberries....

- get out some pretty glasses or even wine glasses

- then create layers of the different ingredients in the glasses, however you like, you can try

a layer of fruit
a layer of cream
a layer of chia pudding
.....and so on, ending with fruit &/or cream on top......perfect for impressing your RAW Skeptical friends this summer!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Quinoa Salad with Miso Orange Dressing

My allergy to nuts and seeds sometimes limit the different kinds of foods I could have. Beans and pulses are my main protein source although a good amount of raw fresh living foods do provide for amino acids which is essentially what the body needs. In that respect, if anything but for their great taste, nuts are not actually missed in my diet! Sure thing that they could be a handy snack but I tend to snack more on fruits which is much lighter and refreshing.

Quinoa is one tasty grain I resort to when I get tired of pulses and other beans. Much lighter on the stomach, yet very filling, it can replace rice while providing a higher amount of protein and amino acids. Quinoa is literally one of my regular packed lunches as it does not necessarily need to be consumed warm. Its preparation does not require much effort; it only takes about 20 minutes to boil, no pre-soaking required. Salad is quite handily my favourite dish from it and miso dressing marries it very well to my taste.

On another note, did you know that miso can actually help protect against radiation sickness? So does Wikipedia tell me:
"Some, especially proponents of healthful eating, suggest that miso can help treat radiation sickness, citing cases in Japan and Russia where people have been fed miso after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Notably, Japanese doctor Shinichiro Akizuki, director of Saint Francis Hospital in Nagasaki during World War II, theorized that miso helps protect against radiation sickness."



Quinoa Salad with Miso Orange Dressing
Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 cup quinoa
4-5 cherry tomatoes
Handful beansprouts
Bunch parsley (a few stems), finely chopped

Dressing:
1 heaped teaspoon miso paste (I used dark hatcho miso)
1/4 or 1/2 of an orange
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Cracked dried chilies (optional)
Salt to taste

Iceberg lettuce leaves for serving

  • Boil quinoa according to package instructions. (All water should be absorbed). Let cool completely.
  • Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters.
  • Squeeze the juice out of the orange wedge. Mix all ingredients of the dressing into a smooth paste.
  • Add dressing to quinoa along with all the other ingredients.
  • Leave to macerate for about 10 minutes before serving.
This salad stores well overnight in the fridge for your next day's packed lunch.



You can serve this just tossed into a lettuce leaf.



Or wrapped in an iceberg lettuce leaf. Secure with a toothpick.



The recipe yields 2 servings and the nutrition facts below are based on 1 serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
1 serving (186.8 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories
218
Calories from Fat
33
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
3.7g
6%
Saturated Fat
0.3g
2%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
45mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates
38.5g
13%
Dietary Fiber
4.4g
18%
Sugars
8.3g
Protein
8.0g
Vitamin A 14% Vitamin C 37%
Calcium 7% Iron 15%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

*Nutrition values are an approximation based on ingredients that I have used in this recipe. It will vary with the ingredients (different brands) that you use and portion size.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

How Do You Pronounce Scone?



I have always pronounced 'scone' as in 'stone' and thought that was the only official pronunciation for it. However, during the years I spent in England, I've come across a good number of people who would pronounce it as in 'gone'. Apparently in Scotland and the northern part of England, it is pronounced to rhyme with 'gone' while in the south of England, the 'stone' pronounciation can more often be observed.

Well, scones originated from both Scotland and South West England where at that time, it was made with oats and baked on a griddle with no leavening agents added.

So, how do you pronounce scone?
- to rhyme with 'gone', or
- to rhyme with 'stone'


I got inspired to write a little poem:

Pitter-patter on the window,
Raindrops calling for a dough
Flour on the counter
Half an hour later
Golden scones, pipping hot
Share them, I think not!
Brew a cup of tea,
And all grim cease to be
An enchantment of fragrance
Like a new-found romance
With strawberry jam and cream
This must be a dream!


I have tried many scones recipes and adapted the non-vegan ones too. But my favourite remains this plain scone recipe which I have made many times. This is a light and fluffy version which you can enjoy with your favourite spread or topping.

Ingredients (approximately 8 scones)
300g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
75ml vegetable oil
100ml oatmilk (coconut milk also works well)

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together.
  • Add vegetable oil. Work the mixture in between the fingers until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the oatmilk and work the mixture to make a dough.
  • The dough should not be sticky.
  • Roll out dough on a floured surface to 1-inch (2.5cm) thickness.
  • Cut out circles using a cookie cutter (2.5 - 3 inch diameter).
  • Place on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.

Serve with jam and margarine.




Nutrition value per portion (1 scone) served plain (without jam / margarine).

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size:
1 scone (60.4 g)

Amount Per Serving
Calories
227
Calories from Fat
90
% Daily Value *
Total Fat
10.0g
15%
Saturated Fat
1.1g
5%
Trans Fat
0.0g
Cholesterol
0mg
0%
Sodium
100mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates
29.9g
10%
Dietary Fiber
1.1g
4%
Sugars
1.0g
Protein
4.0g

Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 1% Iron 2%
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

*Nutrition values are an approximation based on ingredients that I have used in this recipe. It will vary with the ingredients (different brands) and portion size.

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