Week 2 of the Seasonal Cookery Spring Reboot programme was full of ups and downs. During this week we focused on really getting down to the basics – eliminating all our snag foods and getting settled into eating as ‘naturally’ as possible. And although it was a challenging time, with some pretty intense food cravings, I threw myself head-first in creating ethical, gentle-on-the-body delicious and satisfactory foods – and a whole new world of food and flavours started opening up!
Some things I learnt in week 2:
- Getting to know where to buy products: In one week I have managed to track down all my grocery needs, and most of them conveniently situated 500 meters from my work in Randburg at the Carreria Centre. Seasonal (and cheap!) fruit and veg, all my health products, the best priced coconut milk (at the Dairy shop) and a Asian supermarket for items such as sesame oil, rice noodles, Thai curry pastes.
- Planning meals is key: Planning and cooking ahead in this week was key. Getting vegan meals on the go isn’t always the easiest thing – and therefore its best to be prepared with home-maid meals and fruit to avoid crazy hunger pangs
- Eat your FATS: One of the reasons that I started to crave fatty oily foods was that I was restricting fats too much in my day-to-day meals. This wasn’t intentional, but can happen quite easily when cooking vegan foods. Be sure to get generous with olive oils and coconut oil to help satisfy these cravings.
- Make your food BEAUTIFUL! This week I got VERY excited with food presentation – I made sure that each meal was vibrant with colour, and presented as if I was in a restaurant – making each meal an event! 🙂
- Listen to your body: Sometimes supplements need to be adjusted as well. At the beginning of the week I was feeling massively tired, and realised I needed to take iron tablets and some vitamin B…from the next day I felt 100% and ready to go back to gym. I also felt way more full of energy after having a smoothie for breakfast as opposed to oats – and think perhaps oats doesn’t work as well for my body.
- Dairy is over-rated: I never thought I would be able to give up dairy. But this was actually very simple. Substituting milk with hemp and almond milk makes for a simple change and has a lot less of the toxins and hormones that cow dairy does. Using coconut cream helps cream up dishes and deserts. Cheese is a bit trickier, but you get over this eventually too!
- If you slip off the bandwagon get right back on: I may or may not have had a binge on potato crisps on night during this week. Instead of beating myself up on it – I just carried on going!
Having always wanted to be a chef when I was growing up, this week was really exciting for me and gave me the permission and the drive to put my chef hat on and start experimenting in the kitchen. A definite re-awakening of something in me!
Here are some of my own variations of the recipes supplied in the Spring Reboot programme including breakfast smoothies, lunch and dinner foods, snack items and even a dinner party meal! Enjoy 🙂
Breakfast Smoothie Galore!
I have began to love my breakfast smoothies! I try to shift these up each day to ensure I don’t get bored but basically the process is as follows:
- chop up and freeze any seasonal fruits (strawberries are in season so I have been having a LOT of these + banana + raspberries + pineapple)
- chuck different combinations in the blender in the morning with half a cup of hemp/almond milk
- a tsp of organic peanut butter or seeds (optional)
- Garnish and enjoy!
Fry up some red onions, tomatoes, spinach and dried herbs
Throw in some spiraled courgette pasta and toasted raw cashew nuts
Add a pinch of salt, pepper and cayenne pepper
Chocolate Date Balls
Soak a cup of dried pitted dates in water for at least an hour
Throw into blender with 30 ml melted coconut oil, half a cup of desiccated coconut and a heaped tsp of cocoa powder
Blend and then roll into little balls and dust with cocoa powder
(Although a healthy treat – dates have a lot of sugar – so don’t eat the whole batch :P)
Moroccan Veg Curry
Fry up some onions, garlic and Moroccan spice (from Woolies), add chopped chunky veg potato, carrots, butternut, and chopped tomato. Add the courgettes and marrows later on as well as a squeeze of lemon and some chopped mint.
Serve with quinoa and garnish with some chopped mint and a dusting of some grated lemon rind.
Thai Coconut Soup
Water sou-tee some onions until soft, add Thai curry paste (make this yourself if you have the time) and chopped carrots, spinach and shiitake mushrooms. Add a whole tin of coconut soup and season accordingly. Serve when veggies have gone slightly hard (but try not to overcook as a little crunch is delicious )
Saturday Night Thai Spring Rolls
Instead of going out to a restaurant where there might not be as many vegan food options – why not invite friends over for a delicious Thai/Vietnamese spring roll feast!
Rice spring roll paper can be bought in many supermarkets or Asian food stores and last forever (and are SO handy).
For the filling grate some carrots, chop some cabbage (although I only had white cabbage purple makes these look even more beautiful), bean sprouts, sweet peas and chopped up spinach and coriander.
Dipping sauce – use soy sauce and/or blend up a simple peanut sauce with some freshly grated ginger, garlic, peanuts, almond milk, salt, tsp of soy sauce, half a tsp of honey.
Arrange everything in bowls on a table. Have a big bowl full of water at room temperature to soak the rice papers until they soft (about 30-45 seconds each), fill with delicious ingredients, fold and dip in sauce.
Be careful not to ‘over-fill’ rice papers otherwise you will struggle to close them.
Most importantly, be prepared to eat way more than you thought was humanly possible 😉
Follow the Seasonal Cookery Facebook Page to get a host of exciting recipe ideas as well as find upcoming programmes and cooking classes!