A Day of Vegucation

Last weekend was the third weekend of the 30 Day Veg Challenge. So far we have enjoyed a few different events. Firstly we had a supermarket tour followed by a cooking class where we learnt a few very healthy meals that could be enjoyed packed up at lunch the next day as well quick dinners that can be done after school or prepared ahead of time. We also did a class on demystifying tempeh and tofu. After missing a weekend, I decided to ask those interested to come over to my house for a day of vegucation.

We started the day with a brunch that I’d prepared. We had it all.  Tempeh bacon, cinnamon rolls, lemon yogurt, pancakes, ice cream and sausages. We followed that with a viewing of Get Vegucated and finally a cooking lesson where we focussed on baking in a vegan way.

I had a few motivations for doing today. I really wanted to make a delicious brunch for the challengers because they really deserved it. They have worked so hard in the past few weeks and have made a massive effort in not just cutting out the animal products, but have taken the time to find replacements and learn to cook in a different way. I also wanted to show them that it was possible to replicate all those wonderfully decadent brunch favourites with healthier ones. Well, I think I did an OK job as everyone seemed to enjoy them, either that or they were very polite. As a side note, I made Julie Hasson’s Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream for The Vegan Diner and it is by far, the BEST vegan ice cream I have tasted. So rich and creamy.

I also wanted to thank those that came for being open to seeing Get Vegucated. Get Vegucated is a documentary showing the journey of 3 people from different backgrounds who answered an ad on Craig’s list about going vegan. Marisa Miller Wolfson (vegan turned film-maker) wanted to see if these people would react in the same was as she did when presented with the information that helped her become vegan. I was hesitant to show this film to our little group, as I had stated from the get go that this challenge was about health, not ethics. However, as time went on, I realised that some people did have ethics as a motivator and people who started out thinking about health were starting to think about ethics too. I decided to show the movie with the trailer so people could make up their own mind about whether this was in their remit or not. There were 9 people all together and we watched the film. I’m not sure if this was the first time these wonderfully open people had seen footage of the standard agricultral practice before, but it was clear when we stopped half way through for a break that it had been shocking for at least some . I was actually a little bit surprised because in my eyes, this footage was not the worst I have seen. While the images were shocking and saddening, the context of the film gave us reason to have hope and the idea that we as a group KNOW that there is an alternative way to live and eat. I guess, when you have seen Earthlings and receive information on the latest undercover investigations that go on, perhaps one forgets how powerful seeing those images for the first time can be.

Luckily the film ended on a good note and we moved over to the kitchen where we prepared some chocolate desserts. I wanted to introduce a few different ways to cook desserts. We prepared a chocolate mousse  dates and avocado, some raw cookies made with nuts and dried fruit, some no added refined oil brownies using applesauce as the binder and also a coffee cake with spices.

We stuffed our face for the second time that day. Life was good.

Here’s Jane preparing the chocolate, avocado, vanilla and date mousse.

Here’s Lucius, Daniela’s son. Daniela has been vegan for a few months now. Lucius has recently become vegetarian because he doesn’t want to harm animals. Go Lucius!

Moi with our desserts

Daniela with the mousse

Shruti and Briony making brownies

Ildi and Shruti making cinnamon coffee cake.

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Sunday Cook-Off

Today, a few people from work who had expressed interest in eating more plant-based foods came around my house to cook. The focus was to cook food that could be cooked in bulk and used over a period of a few days (good for after work),was extremely high in nutrients but also low in calories. It also needed to be food that was readily available in Jakarta (no vegan mayonaise for example) and inexpensive and without needing fancy equipment.

With all that in mind I decided on the following dishes, ones that I have tried and tested many times and I knew were fabulous.

Carrot and ginger soup
Scrambled tofu with wilted arugula
Thai style coleslaw
Banana ice cream.

I decided to do the cooking lesson a little bit differently because it was the first time doing it in this space and also it was a bigger group. We just broke off in to pairs, I gave them the recipes and I just sort of drifted giving some advice, but these ladies were awesome! They already had loads of cooking skills. We spent lots of time just chatting especially over a long and lovely lunch and chopping onions! It was so wonderful to share nourishing healthy foods and also introduce a few gadgets and new ingredients to such a wonderfully open-minded group. Marion has kindly posted a lovely entry on her blog about our time together and so did Sam.

This was really the run up to an idea that I have had on my mind over the last few weeks. The idea is to get those people from SWA and JWA who are interested (and anyone else from my network for that matter) to see if they would like to complete a ‘get healthy and  / or lose weight 30 day challenge’ in the new year. It could also be a really good intro for those people who would like to give a vegan diet a try.

I know there are lots of people like me out there who look at the start of the year as a time for making great plans and getting excited about awesome possibilities, and for many, a healthier lifestyle is part of that. My idea is to publicize this through my blog and to see if we can get a group of people who might be interested in sharing their journey through perhaps a FB group and a couple of face 2 face meetups over the course of the month; like a cooking class, shopping trip or a dinner out (with healthy options of course). There would be some pre-requsites reading and watching to do before the ‘course’ would start, which would hopefully serve to inspire them further. Having a group of people doing it together is much easier than doing it by themselves. By sharing my idea with my friends that came by today and listening to what they said about the food made me just think that I should DO IT!

Anyway, I am hoping to put this together in the next week or so. There will be a blog post about it soon!

So, here are some pictures of our little cooking session! Pictures courtesy of Marion and Sam!

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Raddachio & Fennel Salad with an Olive Caper Dressing

Recently, I have been obsessed with eating rainbow plates. I first heard about the importance of eating lots of different colours listening to Colleen’s podcast on the subject and then reconfirmed when I received Colleen’s cookbook as a gift for being a member of her club.Since then, I have been trying to incorporate as much colour as I can in to my diet.

This recipe is from Colleen’s cookbook. I put too much Raddachio, so it was a little bitter, but I still enjoyed it. I ate it with lentil salad for lunch this afternoon.

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Bok Choy, Miso and Sesame Seeds

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This is from The Vegan Table. You steam the bok choy, dunk it in iced water and then make a delicious sauce with miso and mirin. I can just eat a massive plate of it. For example, I ate this whole lot myself.

Bok Choy, Miso and Sesame Seeds

P1030420

This is from The Vegan Table. You steam the bok choy, dunk it in iced water and then make a delicious sauce with miso and mirin. I can just eat a massive plate of it. For example, I ate this whole lot myself.