21

A Vegan Cruising On The Dawn Princess

We’ve just returned from a five night cruise around Tasmania aboard the Dawn Princess. We left Melbourne last Thursday and sailed to Burnie, Port Arthur, Hobart then back to Melbourne. Even though we’ve been back for a day, I still have that sensation of the floor moving. Urgh! I will confess right now that I didn’t want to go. The day before we were set to depart, we got notified about a norovirus outbreak and we were now to depart hours later because the ship was being disinfected. It didn’t help ease my mind about a cruise where I knew I would be feeling sick anyway!  I get terrible motion sickness, I can barely watch children on a swing without feeling dizzy. Husband was all “on such a large ship you can’t feel the motion as much”.

Well, he lied. I can tell you folks that you can absolutely feel the motion! Husband tried to comfort me by saying “this motion is nothing, on my cruise the drawers were falling out of the desk”. And he told me you can’t feel the motion? Lies! I had brought along some travel sickness tablets which didn’t help much.

Apart from feeling a little sick, the cruise was pretty good with great weather. Following now is my review, but it is from the perspective of a vegan traveler.

Embarkation involved joining a looong queue at Station Pier in Port Melbourne. Fortunately the queue moved relatively quickly, it took us fifteen minutes and there were lots of staff members at the desks. We were able to leave our suitcase and have it delivered outside our stateroom.

Stateroom sounds rather fancy. In reality, we had interior cabins (DeeW and I in one, Husband and Arthur next door). You know, the cheapest cabin possible with no window:

stateroom

That’s the room before we messed it up. That’s a luggage mat on the right bed. Below is the bathroom, the shower is on the left (not shown):

stateroom

We had a room steward meet us and he was our friendly contact for anything we needed. Our room was made up beautifully every time.

Arthur and DeeW had fun riding in ‘the great glass elevator’. You can see the band stand and chairs for the string quartet in this photo. There was also a pianist so we had music many times throughout the day. Lots of Christmas trees and decorations around too:

dawn princess promenade deck

There were many scheduled activities and we would receive a newsletter every day letting us know what was happening. The entertainment staff did a great job and you could see they clearly enjoyed themselves! Here’s the Vista Lounge where many activities took place:

dawn princess vista lounge

I went to trivia style games hosted by cruise staff. Husband and I won a bottle of champagne on one night, on the second night I was solo but was invited to join a team of four elderly people. Thanks to me knowing the answer to “which singer’s hips don’t lie”, we won. Everyone else answered ‘Elvis’ ;) There was line dancing, a 70s night (people REALLY get in to this stuff. You know the whole ‘dance like nobody’s watching’ thing? Lots of solo people doing just that), some musical theatre-ish shows (I really enjoyed the Moments To Remember show), a cooking demo by the executive chef and lots of activities geared towards elderly passengers, who made up most of the cruise. Gotta hand it to the senior travelers, they sure now how to dance and have a good time!

Arthur and DeeW had the Kids Club and to be honest I thought it would be some kind of watered down playgroup scenario in a small space. Boy was I wrong. It was fantastic and the staff were really good. The kids loved it:

dawn princess kids club

dawn princess kids club

The pictures above show the main room for the younger kids, where DeeW spent all her time. Not shown is the older kids room where Arthur went. Every time I had my camera, the room was full of kids so I didn’t want to take pics. That room had gaming consoles, booths and couches for activities. Arthur wanted to try every activity they had scheduled such as yoga and country western (involving Wii games and crafts like making cowboy hats and bandanas), badge making and other fun stuff. DeeW mostly did crafts, played some Wii games with other kids and they also had a pizza lunch party. There’s also another space for teens. A word of warning though, some of the activities and games put on by the staff were basically casino style betting games. I know not all parents are comfortable with this. Also, there were some arcade style games and one was a rifle game where you hunt animals– obviously being vegan this is something I was unhappy about, though some of the non-vegan parents were unhappy about a shooting game too.

I can highly recommend the Kids Club, we had no hesitation leaving Arthur and DeeW there. Parents must sign the children in and out and pagers are available. You need photo ID to sign your child out. Older children can sign themselves in but not sign out. Arthur and DeeW both say they loved Kids Club. Arthur in particular surprised us by trying everything. He even had a turn at karaoke, something we would never have thought he’d try! The staff member in charge used to be a school psychologist and she told me she now has the best job in the world. I believe her, given how involved she was with the kids and how happy she was to be with them!

There is of course the pool deck, with two small-ish sized pools and jacuzzi. You can get towels in your stateroom or from a table near the pool. There was a big screen above the pool area so you could watch the movie and swim at the same time if that’s your thing. There were some scheduled pool deck games. For those of you who grew up watching the Love Boat, yes there really is such a thing as shuffleboard!

dawn princess pool deck

dawn princess pool deck

It took me four days to locate the library on deck 7. Turns out you have to go in past the Internet cafe:

dawn princess library

There was an art gallery, with a silent art auction:

dawn princess art gallery

There were bars and lounges scattered around the ship, some with live music and dancing:

dawn princess wheelhouse bar

There was an exhibition of old Hollywood photos and other memorabilia:

old hollywood exhibition

old hollywood exhibition

I used the gym facility. There are a number of cardio machines like bikes, cross trainers and treadmills. There are dumbells but no barbells or kettlebells. The dumbells were in pounds and in 5lb jumps. From memory the machines are chest press, cable machine where you can do a variety of moves like chest and triceps, straight leg press, preacher curls, leg extension and a lat pulldown machine, though the bar was up so high I couldn’t reach it! The gym had a water fountain and towels were supplied. Outside the gym is a small pool and jacuzzi. I planned to use the gym again but felt too sick, so I only got to use it once. Although it’s obviously not a fully kitted out gym, it is suitable enough if you are confident with changing your routine to match the equipment available. There were also scheduled aerobics classes but unfortunately these clashed with other things we had planned. Like sleep: some of the classes were very early morning before DeeW and I were up!

Now let’s talk about the food! Welllll in general I wasn’t really that happy but other times I appreciated the staff trying to help me. I’ll break this down in to the Horizon Court buffet and the main dining room. Please excuse some of the photos, I sometimes used my phone in low light conditions!

Horizon Court Buffet

horizon court

I was told beforehand, by a Princess cruises employee, that the servers at the buffet would not know what was in the meals. I found this to be true, though some of the servers were, I believe, sous chefs (dressed differently to the servers, though I didn’t always get to read what their badges said) and were able to tell me if something had butter in it.

Well, butter was pretty much in everything. I was very disappointed (and to be honest, damn annoyed) that the healthier options like steamed vegetables or baked pumpkin were coated in butter. Green beans? Coated in butter. Asian stir fried vegetables? Butter. Indian pulao rice? Butter. I was happy to see a label saying channa masala but knew better than to think I could get lucky and have it be vegan. Sure enough, butter and cream.

This means that vegan travelers, or those who can not have dairy (like me) had to pretty much eat plain salad and fruit with a dressing of say balsamic vinaigrette. Even the bread rolls had a shiny top which may have been a non-vegan glaze. Health conscious travelers who don’t want all the high fat dishes were also doomed to the salad bar. There was a pasta with tomato sauce which would have been great, had it not been for the parmesan mixed in to it. Husband isn’t vegan but he hates parmesan with a passion (the smell makes him sick) so this ruled him out too and other diners who hate parmesan. Even as a non-vegan it always bothered me when pasta arrived with parmesan on it. Not everyone wants that!

So here are some photos of what I ate from the buffet. Look, it’s a little depressing. But looking at the bright side, I’m still following a nutrition plan where I have to basically eat healthy wholefoods. So for that reason, I did actually feel glad there were no big temptations for me because I can tell you now that if there was a cashew alfredo available, I would have fought people for it.

dawn princess horizon court

dawn princess watermelon

Hello breakfast! And dessert:

dawn princess horizon court

horizon court buffet breakfast2

This was a special day because there were ROAST POTATOES. Can you imagine seeing roast potatoes after days of fruit?!

horizon court buffet snack

horizon court buffet breakfast

Some snacks around brunch and early afternoon. I was so excited to see chickpeas one day and beans the next. That is what boring salad and non-vegan hot food options does to you:

horizon court buffet lunch

Another happy day for there was macaroni in a plain tomato sauce!

horizon court buffet lunch

The salad with sneaky ham at the bottom. Yay.

horizon court buffet lunch

The vegetable salad label said it was tossed in oil but I had one bite and couldn’t rule out butter, so I didn’t eat it:

horizon court buffet lunch

Hello raw dinners. I never want to see you again:

dawn princess horizon court

This was a special gourmet dinner. They had plain beans! Roast potatoes! Cherry tomatoes! And I took along my raw olive herb crackers from Life To You (who were at World Vegan Day Melbourne 2014):

life to you crackers

The tables in the Horizon Court Buffet were torture. They look like slabs of tofu:

tofu tables

The carpet gave me a giggle though:

horizon court carpet

 

Main Dining Room: The Venetian (with one dinner in the Florentine)

dawn princess venetian dining room

We chose the 5:45 early dinner sitting. Before the cruise, I exchanged email with a Princess employee about my dietary requirements. I was told that there has been positive feedback by vegan passengers and that I should speak to the Head Waiter or Maitre d’ to discuss my meals. Easy enough.

Unfortunately there was a bit of confusion. On the first night we had to eat much later because the ship was being disinfected and we weren’t able to board until 6pm. I spoke to our waiter and asked if there was anything that could be done for me. I explained I was vegan with a dairy intolerance (I clearly explained what vegan meant). The waiter went back to the kitchen to see if I could eat the Moroccan Vegetable stew, which was the only main meal on the menu that sounded vegan. He brought it out, after being told it was okay apparently, but it was obviously a cream dish. The waiter took it back to ask the kitchen again and this time he said yes it contains cream. I also ordered the salad with the non-Caesar dressing and was given the Caesar dressing. Not a promising start at all and I got that awful sinking feeling many a vegan has experienced. I ended up getting the only vegan option which was the chilled fruit plate. I was starving and even handled the ‘chilled’. I have sensitive teeth and don’t like chilled anything but damn, I was so hungry:

dawn princess chilled fruit plate2

The Head Waiter then came to chat to me and again, I explained the whole vegan thing. He wrote down my requirements and said he would pass it on so I was relieved. I ended up eating another fruit platter, DeeW asked for plain mango and I asked for some too.

The second night was the formal dinner. We all got dressed up, Arthur in his little Doctor Who bow tie and DeeW in a beautiful dress. Aaaand we sat down, I was given a menu and again, nothing for me but more chilled fruit. I spoke to the Head Waiter and told him the previous night I had spoken to another waiter (in the different dining room). This Head Waiter told me “I only have one request for a special meal but it contains meat”. I even saw my meat-eating Husband’s face sink on my behalf. The Head Waiter asked the name of the person I’d spoken to and I said Pete (not his real name, obviously) and went to chat to him. Apparently Pete had no idea what I was talking about. Two days later, I learned that there was another employee there called Pete and they had gone to the wrong Pete to confirm my order. Argh! I went to the buffet, got a raw salad again then at the end I saw a piece of ham on my plate. So back I went to the stateroom, turned on the TV in a big show of defeat and at least got a grin out of The Love Boat reruns. But really, I felt like this:

love boat

The third night I went back to the buffet, again feeling that kind of sinking feeling of “they just don’t get it after all the assurances when I booked”. To be honest I felt really ripped off. Husband went to the dining room for dinner and was given a copy of the next night’s menu to pass on to me, so I could decide on what I wanted. But I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with it– rock up on the night and ask “okay I’ll have this but can you make it vegan?” Husband wasn’t told what we were supposed to do so we just assumed we could go to dinner and the kitchen could modify something on the menu.

On the fourth night, we met another family for dinner as our daughters had made friends. I ordered more chilled fruit plate:

dawn princess chilled fruit plate1

I think I’m getting this out of order and mixed up with another dinner, but here’s a cauliflower and pickled onion salad I ordered off the menu, which I think was already vegan:

dawn princess appetiser salad

The other little girl ordered plain pasta so I asked for that too with some tomato pasta sauce if they had any as they had some in the buffet kitchen earlier in the day. The Head Waiter came over and asked what my specific requirements were. It went like this (and by this time, I’d explained the vegan thing to a handful of different staff and had no confidence whatsoever):

Me: I don’t eat meat so I’m like a vegetarian but I also don’t eat eggs, honey, gelatin or dairy and I have a dairy intolerance. Basically I don’t eat anything that comes from an animal.

Head Waiter: Oh, you mean vegan?

love boat

I promise you I could have jumped up and kissed this guy. I looked at Husband, he had a big look of relief on his face too. I know vegans reading this can imagine the feeling of wanting to run around the room with your undies on your head, you’re that happy that someone in a restaurant GETS IT. Even the people we were eating with were relieved for me (one ate a gluten free diet so she understood where I was coming from!)

The Head Waiter went through the menu telling me what I could have had, saying things like “you can’t have the risotto because it has chicken stock but if you were here for lunch yesterday you could have had the vegetable risotto because it was made with vegetable stock”. All I could think was I WANT TO KISS YOUR WIDDLE CHEEKS. Anyway, my pasta dish was essentially a little plain but after living off (mostly) boring salad and fruit for the cruise, this was heaven sent:

dawn princess vegan spaghetti

They even had a green apple sorbet! This was delicious, you could really taste green apple:

green apple sorbet

Now this is where the miscommunication and confusion happened. Apparently I was supposed to have put in an order and by that I mean someone had to write everything down for my dinner the next day (there was no writing down of anything in the dining rooms, the staff just remember everything). That’s what I had done on the first night, but there was the confusion because of two employees with the same name and I had given up trying. But at no point was I (or Husband) told “you must make sure a waiter writes it down to place your order”– when the Head Waiter was discussing the menu with me I was saying “that sounds great, yes I’ll have that”. Husband and I (and the other diners) all thought this was me making the order, as I was saying what I wanted! I didn’t know they had to formally write it down and so on (and I had been given two lots of different information by two different people, so it was all a bit confusing, with one telling me “just tell the Head Waiter what you want and they’ll tell the kitchen”. This is what I did in our conversation, which obviously wasn’t enough).

To be fair to the Head Waiters and other staff, they really did try to accommodate me and make me happy. But I felt like a big fat vegan pain in the arse and didn’t want to trouble them. Vegans, you know that feeling right? The Head Waiter then told me “there’s a linguine on the menu tomorrow that could have been made vegan but the linguine is an egg pasta. But you can have the spaghetti because that’s all wheat and we can throw in some broccoli, whatever vegetables you like, a pasta primavera”. WIDDLE-CHEEKS MAN I WANT TO HUG YOOOOOO. So this time the order was taken (but I don’t recall seeing it be written down!) and so the final night I was able to have a really nice, simple but tasty pasta dish. Look, they even cut up the zucchini and carrot nicely. *CRY*

dawn princess veg spaghetti pasta

This was the appetiser I’d ordered, the orange grapefruit cocktail. I don’t like grapefruit but if there was something vegan on the dining room menu I WAS GOING TO GET IT:

dawn princess grapefruit orange cocktail

I got to have dessert again! Pine orange sorbet:

dawn princess pine orange sorbet

love boat

We did get to see some dolphins from our table:

dolphins

DINING SUMMARY

DeeW also had her seventh birthday while we were on the cruise. The staff bring out a mini chocolate layer cake (with the Princess logo on the side) with a candle and the waiters gather to sing happy birthday. DeeW didn’t want the singing but she was very pleased with her special cake. These little cakes are for birthdays only, you can’t order them off the menu.

It was unfortunate that I only found the ‘rules’ for ordering special meals at the end of the cruise. I think Princess should provide more specific instructions in email correspondence as well as in person. Also, all staff should know what vegan means (some didn’t). I think these days, there’s no excuse for not knowing this especially on a cruise ship that claims to cater to vegans.

My advice would be that if you need special diet meals that require 24 hours notice, be very specific and ask “what do I need to do to make sure I get my meal”. Ensure an order is taken down on paper and take note of the person you have spoken to and their job title.

If I ever go on a cruise again, I will follow my own advice here. I could have had a greater variety of vegan meals in the main dining room and I had really been looking forward to seeing what the chef would come up with. So it was a bit disappointing but the Head Waiters and the Maitre D’ were great.

For the buffet I was really disappointed that most things that could have been vegan were loaded with butter and/or cream. I asked a sous chef why they did this and he said it enhances the flavour. Sorry guys, but throwing butter and cream in to dishes that don’t really need it is not ‘enhancing’ in my eyes. It’s just making it unavailable to people who can’t eat dairy and there are loads of options already there for people who can eat dairy! Give vegans (and dairy intolerant) people a fair go. Please don’t relegate us to the raw salad ingredients– it seems like people wanting to eat a low fat or plant based diet are not considered at all. Given all the high fat high calorie stuff on offer (and I get that buffets are places to go all out), I really don’t think it is too much to ask that there be a vegan curry or lentil dish (the curried lentils in the buffet had cream). We all know these days that vegan dining can indeed be ‘fancy’. We’re not all rabbit-food eaters and the lack of one proper 100% plant based hot meal is something that I think needs to be rectified. My meat eating friends and family say they don’t want meat all the time and they like to throw in vegan meals when they can. In this age of information about the benefits of a plant based diet and the dangers of the animal-based foods like those in the buffet, surely there could be one flavourful plant based option. Hell, if I could get that kind of meal from a mom-and-pop cafe down the road that has people queuing up, I would hope to see such a dish on a cruise ship that claims to cater to all special diets. As for desserts, all they need to do is a quick Google search to find the most amazing vegan desserts. There are blenders on the ship: there’s your vegan cheesecake right there.

So in summary, the buffet was a let down for vegans/plant based eaters in my opinion.

 

Other ‘free’ food options on the Dawn Princess include the Sundaes ice cream bar. Think cheaper ice cream served up in cones or cups from a dispenser. A small selection of toppings were available for either chocolate, vanilla or mixed choc-vanilla ice creams. Non-vegan of course:

dawn princess sundaes bar

There was the La Scala Pizzeria with your standard pizza toppings. I asked about the ingredients in the bases and was told “I don’t know sorry, we don’t make the bases ourselves, they’re packaged”. Come on guys, tear off the ingredients panel, stick it up in the kitchen so that at least kids with egg and dairy allergies can know if they can order pizza! It bugs me when people put egg and/or dairy in pizza bases (WHY???) and I really think the pizzeria employees should know what’s in the bases so they can advise customers:

dawn princess la scala pizzeria

There was a bar and grill by the pool and a patisserie on another deck which I never saw with pastries, though Husband went a few times.

 

The staff were all incredibly helpful and friendly. We chose to go on this cruise when school kids are still in school, so although there were children on board it wasn’t crowded. We learned that the staff can be on the ship working for up to nine months (some still get sea sickness after all that time). The decor of the ship is a little dated here and there but that doesn’t bother me and it certainly didn’t bother the kids and after all, this was really a family trip. Having a windowless room wasn’t a problem either as we only went there to sleep. There are many things that were exceptional such as the dining staff in both the main dining rooms and the buffet being quick with your orders and refilling drinks. And yes, I did get up and give a big cheer for all the dining staff when they did the baked Alaska parade. Had I not been holding a camera I would have joined in with the enthusiastic waving of napkins. There was even the chicken dance but I was too busy taking photos ;)

dawn princess baked alaska parade

 

Disembarkation for the ports was quick and efficient. You have to present your cruise card at all times (best to wear it on a lanyard) and in some cases photo ID. In Burnie we had buses to take us in to the town, in Port Arthur we had to take the ship’s tenders. In Hobart we were able to walk straight in to the Salamanca area whenever we wanted. In Melbourne the final disembarkation was easy and we had a short wait for a taxi home. We didn’t go on any pre-arranged shore excursions but everything seemed very efficient.

If you don’t mind a smaller (by cruise ship standards!) ship, or decor that’s a little dated, then I’d happily recommend the Dawn Princess. If you’re a vegan traveler, please take note of my suggestions about the main dining room!

If it wasn’t for me feeling sick, especially for most of the final day which was an at-sea day, I would go on another cruise. Five nights was more than enough for me though as I don’t like being confined to small spaces. Husband is now talking about a longer cruise that goes up to Fiji and thereabouts but they’re too long for me. The kids had a good time, though they overloaded a bit on junk food and didn’t really have many options in the main dining room.

Thank you to all the crew on the Dawn Princess!

Have you been on a cruise? What can you recommend?

cruise sunset

8

Evolved Generation: Chatting With Luke Tan

Evolved Generation

[Image above from http://www.evolvedgeneration.com/about/]

When you’re vegan, you will get the “where do you get your protein” question at least once. You may also have to deal with comments along the lines of “vegans are all weaklings who can’t gain muscle mass”. Unfortunately the latter (and untrue!) statement is quite common in fitness circles and I have certainly been exposed to it myself. You can imagine how frustrating this can be, seeing as the statement is completely false!

Since becoming vegan around April 2012, I have been very interested in vegan body building and vegan athletes in general. These individuals are proving again and again that vegans are indeed a force to be reckoned with. They certainly have no problem packing on muscle and performing incredibly well and taking home numerous trophies!

When I attended World Vegan Day earlier this month, I was very much looking forward to seeing Evolved Generation’s presentation. Founded by Luke Tan, Evolved Generation is “a brand that aims to inspire a culture of fit, driven and conscious individuals”. The Evolved Generation team members presented their top three tips for health, wellness and fitness.

Luke Tan Evolved Generation

[Image above from http://www.evolvedgeneration.com/trainers/luke-tan/]

It is clear when talking to the Evolved Generation team members that they are indeed driven and conscious individuals (and fit of course!). I have been following some of them on social media, keeping up with their achievements and through those achievements I was inspired to get back in to training and make some manageable changes to my life.

Luke Tan is an internationally certified plant-based nutrition and strength coach. He has competed and placed in state body building tournaments and he also coaches plant-based athletes and fitness models for competition.I contacted Luke to chat to him for my blog, but also to discuss my own situation with him. I needed advice on getting back in to training (encompassing the actual training but nutrition as well). Over the years (since about 2001 when I first began weight training) I’ve read so many conflicting articles and pieces of advice that I felt overwhelmed and just blergh! I had knowledge but wasn’t really doing anything about it, or I’d end up confused when trying to map out a program for myself.

One thing that struck me instantly about Luke is his passion for helping people, more specifically, to help people be the very best version of themselves. A person’s emotional wellbeing is a big part of Luke’s approach. There’s none of this “here do these one-size-fits-all exercises three times a week and get back to me in a week NEXT PLEASE”, which is what I’ve dealt with in the past in various trainers here and overseas. When I look for someone for my own medical or non-medical purposes, or some kind of therapist for my children, I will go with those who I feel have personal, firsthand experience with the issues their clients need help with. Someone who has basically experienced a situation and therefore brings empathy and compassion in to their dealings with other people.

Through the A.W.A.K.E. method (please click on the link to read more about it) Luke helps clients with making healthier changes to their lifestyle, all the while making mental health a priority. Luke spoke to me about training and retraining ourselves and undoing a lot of prior learning, especially where negativity about ourselves is concerned. This rang true for me, both with personal life stuff and training!

Luke and I chatted about training and I asked his advice on what I should do with my own goals. He gave me some great training and nutrition tips but most of all, Luke gave me some valuable tips on beginning on the path of being the best version of yourself. I’ve taken his advice and have started on a health and fitness journey that’s leading me towards the goals I have set for myself. I’m pumped, feeling good and loving that I am doing this as a vegan.

Luke Tan Evolved Generation

[Image above from http://www.evolvedgeneration.com/trainers/luke-tan/]

I would very happily work with Luke in the future for my own health and fitness goals and as such I have no hesitation in recommending you contact him for your own training needs!

I was very happy to learn that Luke is releasing a book in 2015. As well as writing about his background, Luke also educates and empowers people, particularly against the misinformation that is out there about plant based fitness and lifestyles, and he encourages people to begin making global positive change by rethinking what is on their plate.

Please check out Evolved Generation’s website at
http://www.evolvedgeneration.com/

In more exciting news (and more of “Melbourne is awesome for vegans!”) Evolved Generation have just announced a partnership with Supercharger Wholefood! I know I have quite a few readers who are fans of Supercharger! Luke gave me some details and I think it’s fantastic and nothing I’ve seen before– this merging of plant-based nutrition and menu offerings for your fitness needs.

Evolved Generation and Supercharger are holding an event on January 22nd, 2015 at Supercharger (third floor Myer Emporium building in the city). There will be presentations by the Evolved Generation team, drink demo and tastings, details of the menu specials and more. Hope to see you there! Keep an eye on Evolved Generation’s Facebook page for more info: http://www.facebook.com/evolvedgeneration

13

What I Ate

black bean noodles and veg

This past week or so has seen me embark on a new health and fitness plan. I’m back at the gym, I’ve signed up with a vegan coach and I’m feeling very positive about it. Part of my plan is of course the nutrition, so here’s what I’ve been eating. I prep my lunches and dinners in advance, to last me the next four days. I love being able to take something out of the fridge and know my meal will be ready after a quick reheat. Suits my impatient self just fine!

I haven’t pictured my breakfast which is usually porridge with banana, or the numerous smoothies I make. Lately I’m loving a banana smoothie with maca, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom.

Here’s the Nacho Bowl recipe from Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. I love the sauce, which is made with nutritional yeast and tomato paste (plus other stuff of course):. Those tortillas are 100% corn tortillas by La Tortilleria in Kensington:

quick nacho bowl

Ah yes, kitty photo. I found these black bean noodles in Terra Madre and tossed them with some garlic, tamari and sweet chilli sauce. Tofu, broccoli, mushroom and baby spinach round it out:

black bean noodles veg

Some spelt noodles with mushroom and veg tossed in a little coconut cream:

coconut veg spelt pasta

Some spaghetti tossed with pesto (I didn’t toss it enough because you can’t see it!), sweet potato, capsicum and tomato. After the photo was taken I most likely drowned this in nutritional yeast:

pesto pasta and veg

 

When I’ve followed meal plans in the past I pretty much starved. Not this time! The plan I’m on is high carb low fat and it’s an interesting experiment to me because I’ve never eaten this way when trying to lose weight and get fit. But I trust my coach who coaches others with the same plan and gets great results. I’m always full after my meals and have been astounded by the amount of food I’m eating– there’s no hunger going on here! I don’t feel deprived in any way, I’m enjoying riding my bike to the gym though I stick to the back streets because I’m a wuss. It’s good to get out on the bike, though I live in a hilly area and have to get off and push here and there…

16

Cookbook Review: Greenilicious 101 Ways To Love Your Greens

Greenilicious at cruelty free west expo

I was over the moon when I heard that Leigh Drew, author of Veganissimo!, was releasing a new cookbook heavily focused on greens. I love my greens and I love Veganissimo! so with that combination you can see why I was hopping around impatiently until I was able to buy my copy from the Cruelty Free West Expo recently (photo above), where Leigh held a cooking demo.

Greenilicious: 101 Ways To Love Your Greens is co-authored by Leigh Drew and Amanda Benham. Amanda is an Australia-based vegan nutritionist and dietician who has been helping people with plant based nutrition for over twenty years. Her articles have appeared in both scientific journals and popular magazines. Amanda can be found at http://humanherbivore.com/

Okay, the recipes! I read the book about three times from cover to cover, like a favourite novel. As always, I bookmark the recipes I want to try but found myself bookmarking every page. So I took out my markers and went through Greenilicious again, this time exercising more discipline and only bookmarking recipes where I already had most of the ingredients.

The first recipe I made was the Tofu Salad with Shredded Cabbage, Peanuts, Chilli, Mint and Miso Dressing. This was my first choice, thanks to having shredded some cabbage the day before. The cabbage was shredded along with zucchini for a dumplings experiment that displeased the family, so I had a heap leftover and no idea what to do with it. This salad featured that shredded cabbage, zucchini and a little kale. The recipe calls for Chinese cabbage but you can use the regular sort, as I did. The dressing is a simple miso-tahini with freshly squeezed orange juice and I pan fried the tofu (I used firm tofu as I didn’t have tofu puffs).. I sprinkled hemp seeds for serving (because I look for any excuse to use hemp seeds). I love this salad and will definitely make it again:

greenilicious_tofu salad cabbage

I made half the recipe of the Ethopian Greens with Spiced Chickpeas. I say half, because I only made the greens. That’s what happens when you think you have chickpeas but you’ve run out. What good vegan runs out of chickpeas?! Anyway, I’m making this again with the chickpeas, which are stirred through before serving. Look at all this green goodness!

Greenilicious Ethiopian greens

A green curry is always going to be one of the first recipes I make from any book, so here we have the Thai Style Snake Bean Green Curry. I used regular green beans and firm tofu instead of tofu puffs. I served mine on baby spinach (keeping with the Green theme!). Easy to make, easy to devour:

greenilicious_thai style snake bean curry

I admitted defeat with polenta a little while ago but I had a jar of polenta staring sadly at me when I opened the pantry. I had some broccolini and some pesto which meant there was no excuse for not making the great sounding Pesto Broccolini Pizza. Yet again I thought I had some home made pesto but only had one small portion which covered one corner of the polenta pizza. I had also made the recipe for Celery Stuffed With Walnut Cheese (minus the celery and the stuffing), so I used the walnut cheese in place of the remaining pesto. It turned out great and the polenta base was a nice change from a bread base:

greenilicious_pesto broccolini pizza

There are a bunch of awesome sounding smoothie recipes. Sesame Halva! BAKLAVA!!!  L A M I N G T O N ! ! !  Genius! I went for the superbly named Cooper’s Cherry Pie smoothie (I had to get the weird cherries in the photo). I love the smoothie recipes and I admit I sometimes get a bit bored with my usual green smoothie so I’m loving Greenilicious:

greenilicious_coopers cherry pie smoothie

Honestly, I feel like I am doing this fantastic cookbook a disservice by not having more recipes. Truthfully, I did plan on having loads more but things have been a little hectic around here and I wanted to get this blog post up asap.

As well as super recipes, one thing I love about Greenilicious is the information given about greens. The chapters each showcase a select group of greens that have features in common and there’s info at the start of each chapter. I like the nutrition content table at the back of the book (very handy!) and I got a laugh out of the foreword written by Pam Ahern, founder of Edgar’s Mission.

Greenilicious is a beautiful, useful, informative cookbook and one I am only too happy to have on my shelf. It makes a great gift too! Some of the recipes I want to try next are the raw Tex-Mex Tacos (shown on the cover), Rocket Frittata, Shaved Asparagus Hazelnut and Ruby Grapefruit Salad, Cauliflower and Fennel Pate and the Hint of Mint Cheesecake.

Ally from Made Of Stars wrote a great review of Greenilicious, so please head over to see more recipes!

 

Have you got Greenilicious? What have you made?

 

15

What I Ate This Week: The Greedy Cat Attack Version

fruit dates protein bowl

I’ve really been enjoying removing certain food items from my eating recently and I’m feeling and seeing benefits. So much so, that I had lunch out today, ordered a fried entree and promptly felt sick to the point of throwing up. That’ll teach me to go for deep fried after a fortnight of no oil!

Breakfast is still mostly smoothies or smoothie based. Up in the top pic is a protein smoothie, topped with dates and fruit. Truthfully, the smoothie part was blergh (some protein powders have that very obvious chalky taste) but with the fruit and dates it was bearable. Below is a hemp, strawberry, mango and banana smoothie. Maybe a bit of kale, who knows:

strawberry banana smoothie

I roasted some pumpkin with slabs of cauliflower. I’ll blog about the tofu salad separately as part of a cookbook review:cauli steaks pumpkin tofu salad

Oh dear.

greedy cat

here comes malty

Sigh.

greedy cat

greedy cat

Fortunately the smoothie-with-Pura Veda on top was spared from greedy cat attack:

green smoothsli

Here’s the smoky Incan stew from Isa Does It. I made this a while ago and froze a batch:

smoky incan stew

I’ve got a cookbook review coming up soon and hopefully more weekly What I Ates, with a focus on lower fat/no oil meals. I’m finding that’s working for me lately so I’d like to keep it up!