I’m back on track with another WIAW today…but for yesterday (since I can never be on time)! I was pretty demoralized last week to discover that working full days meant my time for blogging and for event taking a few snaps of food was severely snapped in half, so I decided to throw a thumb at the clock and show you what I munched yesterday.
Breakfast: A really carb-y overload of 1/2 cup all bran cereal, melba toast + 1 heaped tsp of peanut butter + 1 medium pear with coffee. So many of the WIAWs I see feature such healthy, light breakfast vibes and then a straight dive into lunch (with no second breakfast, even!), but I eat breakfast every day at 05h30 and it has to hold me over until 10h00, so some days I leave glamour aside and go for practicality.
A short while back the lovely in-laws put it into our heads that we should think about getting a bigger place with more rooms – I suspect with the idea of incentivizing for grandchildren or having an extra room for guests. My mind pretty much exploded when they said it, because I immediately started envisioning elaborate foster kitten rooms with scratch pads and wall-mounted perches everywhere, an entire space dedicated to all my baking malarkey (basically a storeroom for props, tables and photography equipment), and maybe, just maybe, a place for a fold-out couch. Man-thing of course would want his own room for displaying his Warhammer midgetries, so all in all the idea has now wormed its way into our brains.Admittedly I’m more determined than Man-thing, because I’m the type of person who sticks by decisions once they’ve been decided on and then immediately want to put stuff into action to get it over and done with. Vegan? Done. Get married? Where do I sign? Because I was a diplomatic brat, I’m rather used to moving every 4-5 years, and I get twitchy if it doesn’t happen. It’s a bad habit that I need to break, and luckily I hate moving countries, so I’m not foaming at the mouth, passport clutched in hand. Unfortunately it means I glee and glomp at the idea of a new lair to pretty up. A dangerous mindset!
Nonetheless, when we went out last Tuesday to have a look with the in-laws we stopped afterwards at a restaurant to regroup and spend some time together. I happened to order a collection of side dishes (salad, steamed veg, and pan-fried potatoes) as a main meal and was utterly happy with that (the alternative being cheeseless pizza). The manager, however, came up after a while to check in on us and exclaimed “where’s your food?” when he saw my plate. I was absolutely flabbergasted because we had just actually started so my plate was overflowing with stuff, so I was honestly perplexed as to what he meant.
It took me a moment to click, but apparently meat = food. So strange, even after all this time! It is honestly not at all food to me, just as I don’t eat lipstick or lick cows for nutrition. Anyway, this made me all the more determined to treat myself to a delightful savoury meal at home, because yum! Nothing beats natural ingredients all mixed up and ready to be gorged up! This is a really fun, filling salad that can easily be intensified into an evening meal with some beans or even quinoa and avo.
Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup canned + drained asparagus spears (or fresh, but then just steam them for 2 minutes)
- 1 cup shredded cabbage
- 5-6 mint leaves, washed and chopped roughly
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 – 3/4 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (approx 150g)
- 1/8 cup black olives, pitted
- Spices of choice (I used fennel + paprika)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 TBSP mustard
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
Curry tofu salad dressing (makes approx 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup tofu (the kind that floats in water)
- 1 tsp tabasco/hot sauce
- 1 TBSP boiling water
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup juice of choice (I used some really watered down berry juice…so you can just use water or more milk)
- 1/8 cup soy milk (almond milk would be amazing!)
- 1 small orange for squeezing out juice/1-2 TBSP orange juice
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp apricot jam (no sugar added)
- 1 dropper NuNaturals Liquid Orange (I’m sorry but this is going into all my dressings because it is amazing in savoury stuff).
- Preheat to 180C/350F
- Line your baking tray with a silplat/spray baking paper.
- Press out your tofu block – I wrap the tofu in paper towels, wrap that in a clean dish cloth, and place it between two large plates with some cookbooks on top.
- Toss your tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage in the red wine vinegar and let it soak a bit whilst the oven preheats.
- Cut your asparagus into bite-sized portions, then mix with the sweet potatoes. In a small bowl mix together your mustard, lemon juice, as well as 1 TBSP from the red wine vinegar-soaked goodies.
- Add this mixture to the potatoes + asparagus and add spices + the mint leaves- make sure everything is nicely blended. Spread out on your baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven. Flip the sweet potato slices over, as well as the asparagus spears. Splash more paprika + fennel!
- Return the tray to the oven and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until the sweet potatoes are crispy.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- Blend your tofu dressing til creamy and smooth – scrape down the sides if necessary!
- Drain your cabbage, strawberries and tomatoes and then add the rest of the ingredients with the dressing. Squeeze over a naartjie or small tart clementine at the end. You can add the orange/naartjie segments if you like, but I kept them aside for later snacking, since I’m not a squished food snob! :p
Nom! So there :p I got linked a few days ago or so to a vegan restaurant in South Africa, but it’s a city and a half away, so I’m plotting to get a field-trip out of Man-thing when pal Diaan is in town, because he’s more adventurous than both of us combined, and that way we’ll get good food and good company. Still, it’s always so strange when waiters or restaurant management get all sad faced on my behalf, even when I send emails and stuff beforehand, because it’s not my fault restaurants don’t have protein options for vegans/vegetarians (other than cheese for the veggers). I honestly don’t mind pre-eating beforehand (see my delish pear and baby marrow smoothie, yum!), but I plan and email and call beforehand in order not to make a scene and be the centre of attention! I just want to eat in peace! Hence why this salad rocked my socks off.
Sweet, spicy…oh yes! What really pows this salad up to the next level is the dressing. I’ve said before that I never use dressing in restaurants (or buy pre-made) but now and again I’ll consider making some. I was very much inspired by Kathy’s 15 vegan salad dressing recipes, because I was rather stumped. In the end I impressed myself immensely with the simplicity but nomness of the dressing after cataloguing what I had in the house and whipping together something to sauce-ify my salad.
Lunch: I both remembered and forgot that it was Wednesday today, so luckily Sian reminded me it was our lunch get-together day with whoever’s in the area. I’d packed an emergency apple (veganism = preparation!), so there was munch to be had.
When I got home I made a mish mash of soup-y stew, steamed cauliflower + steamed broccoli + more of the tofu dressing (seriously!). Nothing gets me more excited than huge batches of steamed veggies, which is why frozen-food fiends baffle me entirely. I’m trying to minimize our spending at the moment, but it seems like we’ll have to cut corners around food, because fresh food itself is simply indispensable in our home. My fridge feels utterly empty if it isn’t at least half full of veggies at all times. I suspect I inherited my family’s hoarding genes, but it applies more to food than it does to clothes or trinkets. Consolation pro: we’re apocalypse ready at any time!
I also figured I was very well behaved so I munched on a little fudgy apricot chocolate (seriously, this stuff is SO delicious!) along with some sun-dried tomatoes and coffee.
16h00 tea: 1/2 a Turkish delight block. YUM YUM YUM! My colleague was in Greece for a week to present a paper at a conference (hence the full days), and when he got back on Tuesday I was handed this amazing package! I love Turkish delight with a passion (I even made it once, my first real chef-style attempt at something complicated, although you can see from the photos that this is pretty dated :p), and these were just so succulent and gorgeous. Half are apparently nutty, which is the delightful one I bit into below, and the others…are a surprise! So awesome 🙂
For some reason the munchies hit HARD yesterday – I just couldn’t stop snacking and nibbling, so I tried to quell the beast with a smoothie and a nori wrap with more broccoli and tofu sauce (it’s all done now, by the way ;)) And because I’m a monster there was some pistachio business on the side too!
Dinner: The plan was to round off the day with some light soup and call it quits, but my FIL is going for surgery today so I decided last minute to prod Man-thing into getting to see the in-laws. We met up at a local pizza place,and I thought about getting a salad and some steamed veggies (can it be so difficult?). Because it was spur of the moment I didn’t call ahead, and when I asked whether they can do steamed veggies the waiter was so perplexed I decided to just get a cheeseless veggie pizza and be done with it. If I’d known there would be pizza in my day I would’ve planned my noms differently, but sometimes food is also an excuse for socializing and getting together with people that matter, and in that case I’ll sit and eat all the pizza in the world (but maybe just not all in one day).
If there’s a piece of paper lying around Gatsby will make a point of sitting on it or rubbing his paws all over the surface. It’s ok though because he’s cute and I love my little monster. I’m getting kitten withdrawal from not having fostered in a while, but I can see Gatsby loves all the personal attention, and he’s not sulking anymore, so it’s ok. ❤
What do you usually order when you’re out at a restaurant?