Saturday, 26 October 2013

Catching a Glimpse of a Weekend


It's this time of the year ... work, work and more work. On my way to the office this dandilon has caught my eyes. I went down on my knees. I like going down on my knees, even - or should I say especially - for a friendly dandilon. I would have loved to be able to spend the afternoon outside.
At least I brought this souvenir to work.

I will harvest more souvenirs, now that blogging has refreshened my love for photography. I want to make something. Creativity feels great.

xo Paula

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Zero Waste Homemade Almond milk - Part 2

Hello! Here comes the second part of my Zero Waste Homemade Almond milk. As you might remember, we've already milked the mesh bag and sipped delicious fresh almond milk. In the past I did not know what to to with ground almonds. I added them to muffins douhgs and apple pie-fillings. Both usages were ok, but lacked sophistication.

Out of the blue I found the perfect usage: ground almonds are a perfect substitute for bread crumbs.
the ground almonds, after milking
I spread them on a plate so they can dry
Heat a pan, add one Tablespoon of oil/fat and roast the almonds.

I garnish the dish with a tablespoon of almond puree. (not pictured) The almond puree has a texture very similar to tahina: runny but not liquid.

I ate a big plate of Brussels sprouts, no potatoes, no rice, no noodles, no other vegetables, no tofu or seitan or tempeh. Just the sprouts and the almonds (ground and pureed).

The dish probably reads and looks like nothing, but it does taste really nice.
Satisfying in more than just one way.

xo Paula

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Zero Waste Homemade Almond milk - Part 1

 Soak 1/2 cup of almonds overnight.
Rinse the almonds and add 1,5 to 2 cups of fresh water.
Oh! A vegan aquarium! Now blend.
Blend until you hear no more "chopping sounds"
Admire your work
Transfer the liquid (+ the almond nibs and bits) into a mesh beg. 
This one is a laundry-mesh-bag. They are practically the same as "milk-mesh-bags".
Simply buy a new mesh bag, so it will be free from any stink of socks and dirty laundry. 
Laundry mesh bags cost a fraction compared to trendy "milk-mesh-bags" sold in vegan online-stores.
Milk the mesh bag. photocredit: Mr Paula
The milking takes about 1 minute. 
You decide how hard you squeeze, the harder you squeeze the drier the pulp.
Amazing. Actual MILK!!
You see tiny dusty bits of almond on the bottle's neck. 
You could use I fine sieve to hinder those from ending up in your coffee.
 I pour the milk without a sieve. I don't mind the almond "dust" in my cup.
Since we drink frenchpress-coffee (=some parts of the grinded coffee always end up in the mug),

I prefer to make a small amount of milk (350ml) since the almond milk seperates as it sits in the bottle and I don't want to trade my freshly almond milk for old almond milk.

If you are on the sweet side, ad a date before blending. Vanilla works perfectly fine, too.
If you keep themilk over night, you willl need to stir/mix it the next morning.

Mr Paula was surprised how little effort it is.  And almond milk-hot chocolate = HEAVEN.
It blends very well with Irish breakfast tea. 

Any questions?

xo Paula

Part 2 will focus on the leftover pulp. Come back tomorrow for more information!

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Vegan? Ok. But what do you eat?

In Austrian restaurants you will find close to no vegan dishes on the menu.
Milk, eggs, meat, fish cheese, cream, butter - that's how Austrian chefs cook.

Pictured you see my grocery buys from today. There is A LOT to eat as you can tell.

I enjoy eating healthy foods. I don't mind indcluding certain products for healthy iron, calcium, and protein levels. 

Chickpeas, nuts, parsley, sesame + lemon juice provide iron (Vitamine C augments the iron intake in your body), Broccoli for calcium and probably other good things, Bananas for all kinds of healthy nutritions, Seitan (bag in front) for protein,  Dijon mustard for the best home made dressing and many more good things.
And then there are those 3 magic jars: three types of nut-purees Almond, cashew and - well - the third one isn't exactly a puree - coconut oil. Almond puree is made of white almonds (peeled) and it substitutes any cream or milk for all kinds of recipes. Pumpkin soup, a creamy tomato sugo for pasta or even carbonara sauce ... anything goes. The almond puree is rich on protein and fat and it's of course the fat that enhances the flavours in your dish. Coconut oil provides saturated fat which is also essential. And it makes the perfect duo with orange jam on my toast in the morning.

You may say "Oh, you have to take care are lot and this seems to be complicated".

First, I don't mind.

Second, I would not bet on your (=the non-vegan) blood count to be healthier per se.
Did you know that milk decreases the intake of iron?  Which means you can eat a lot of red meat for your iron intake. But as soon as you follow the meat-dish by a cafe latte or even worse - serve the meat in a sauce made of dairy products, my lentil soup, served with lemon juice plus the chickpea-parsley salad offers a higher iron intake than your meat dish does.

I don't say that the vegan diet is the healthiest diet on this world. I guess the vegetarian diet is healthier. But the place where I live -  a city with 1,7 inhabitants - leaves me with no other choice since there are no cows, hens and fishponds around the corner and I depend on the products on the shelves in supermarkets. Supermarkets equal food industry and industry equals animal harm. Simple as that.

Oh yes, and you might want to know that there are products/ingredients I will not buy for environmental reasons: palm oil and vegetables/fruits that where shipped by air cargo.

How can you tell if someone is vegan?
Don't worry. He/she will tell you. 


xo Paula

PS: In the subject I wrote "But what do you eat?" Usually I get asked "But what can you eat?". I can eat everything. But I choose not to. I make other choices.

My Father Makes me Laugh

Ever since my dad has retired, he loves to send us - friends and family - emails with selected New Yorker-cartoons. He comments every single cartoon in German, adding his sense of humour in a way, since not everyone in the mailing list 'gets' the subtle english humour as native Austrians.

Today, while browsing for new blogs that might inspire me,  I stumbled opon this blog entry by Michael Maslin. The article offers a glimpse behind the scenes of the ever so famous New Yorker cartoons.

Have a nice laugh, or like I did - giggle. What a nice way to start a weekend: with a big smile on your face. 


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Back with a Capital V


What has been going on?
I was unfaithful and spent the last 6 months on ... facebook!
At first I registered for the cause of a competition. It felt weird, becoming a part of the probably most untrustworthy application in the whole internet. (read my URL, it says all).

Later I visited the Ukraine and kept using facebook - so I could stay in contact with friends at home. And ever since then, facebook turned out to be exactly what it is: a silly fun thing, consuming lots of time and turning this constant chatty-mode "on". Whenever you see something awkward, you immediatly form a sentence in your mind, you want to you write a comment and post a photo in a facebook posting. At least I do.

Well, last week I stumbled upon facebook Rule #9 that says that facebook may receive money from companies who use my content for promoting their stuff. This was it. I deleted the account and now I am back.

After the confession comes the fun part :-)
About the photo. What can you see? You see 10pounds*. That's the weight I've lost ever since going vegan about 11 months ago.

*the empty bottles weigh a lot, too!

Weightloss never was the aim but a side effect that suprised me.

0,2% of the Austrian population is vegan. That's about 14.000 people. Not a lot. As a consequence, supermarkets don't provide Vegans with snacks. Leaving out the snacks (mainly sweet stuff) caused the weight loss. No matter how much Banana Bread I baked and ate. :-)

I love to cook and bake (long-term-readers might remember various postings on food). This has not changed. As a vegan you need to be creative in your kitchen, it isn't as simple as frying meat in the pan. I enjoy the alchemy that takes place around the stove and the fun I have, trying combinations and things I never thought of in the past. I got to know vegetables and fruits I had been neglecting ever since. Right now, for the first time after having read the recipe 3 years ago I am cooking Quince. I get to try so many new flavours, textures and scents. Living vegan is not about abstaining, but gaining. At least for me.

There are more than a dozen other great sideeffects. It starts with throwing away close to no foods. In the past we threw away so many dairy products, sausages and meat. Now we buy vegetables, seeds and grains and cook it and eat it. The fridge is half empty, because most of the vegan grocery goods don't have to be stored in the fridge. I might add that I am not fond of texturised soy and fake meat.

Summer was great. It was the hottest summer ever - above 40°C and I cooled myself with delicious smoothies, made with oats, blueberries, icecubes, mango, soy-yoghurt, maple syrup, raspberries etc.

Autumn is great, too. Pumpkin soup, Apple pies, cooked millet seed for breakfast (a dish I got to know and love in the Ukraine) just to mention a few.

I thought I'd let you know.