August 21, 2014 5

Vegan Card

Price: $49.95AUD

Where to Buy: www.myvegancard.com.au

vegancard

If you’ve not heard of Vegan Card then you’re in for a real treat. What if I told you that a single card could score you discounts in store and online from 130 vegan-friendly businesses around Australia and overseas? Yep, that’s Vegan Card and I was stoked to get my hands on one recently.

You buy the card once a year (the 14/15 card was released in July) and throughout that year you can use the card at your favourite stores to receive a discount. Some of my favourite stores are on there and I’m sure yours are too; Vegan Perfection, The Vegan Box (check out my review here), Cruelty Free Shop and Lord of The Fries are just some of the awesome businesses who accept Vegan Card, a total of 120 businesses worldwide!

I managed to get one of the founders of Vegan Card, David Rafter, to answer a couple of questions about how this awesome vegan business came to be.

How long have you been vegan and what lead you to the vegan lifestyle?

Mandy (Amanda Rootesy, co-founder) and I have been vegan for 8 years now I think. Time has flown by, we can’t actually remember how long it has been. It is funny, because once we transitioned we have never looked back. It has been like we have been vegan our whole lives.
For me, I went vegan for compassionate reasons I guess you would say. I had always been conscious about my health. When growing up I would always delve in vegetarian, but never really made the connection with animals. It wasn’t until one of my brothers sent me a YouTube link about spirituality and lifestyle did I make the connection.
I still remember to this day the overwhelming feeling I had when I watched it. I think I cried for hours on end. It was sort of like a transformation. From that moment on I went vegetarian.
I guess what made me vegan was when my father sent me out to work on his dairy farm. It was probably a month or two after going vegetarian. I took one step out there and couldn’t believe the pain and suffering that went on. I literally lasted a couple of minutes, came home and have been vegan ever since.

Mandy’s story is a little different. In 2008 Mandy was diagnosed with cancer. Mandy had just transitioned to a vegetarian diet, but hadn’t stopped eating dairy. After hearing the news we did a lot of research into health and discovered how damaging a meat and in particular dairy is on our bodies.
From that moment on, Mandy switched to a vegan diet and we both never looked back!
I remember we went out to dinner one time, and I ordered a vegan meal. She looked at me and said “are you vegetarian?” I said, “yeah…” that was probably 6 months into me being vegan…ha ha. I never like imposing my views or opinions on to others. It was a journey for me, and I feel that for people to awaken to the pain and suffering in eating meat they need to see it for themselves. Mandy and I just like to provide the information for them. If they make the change straight away that is great, but sometimes people take a little longer and that is cool too.

What inspired you to start Vegan Card?

Vegan Card came about with Mandy and I enjoying a nice little cup of tea out in the garden. We had been promoting the vegan lifestyle through our seminars around Australia for over 2 years. During that time we discovered that there was a real gap between people making the switch and where they could eat.
Mandy just sort of said what about a vegan card where people can find out where all the vegan businesses are around Australia, and get a little discount at them….and that was that – Vegan Card was born.

What are some of your favourite places to use your Vegan Card?

 I have to say Vegan Perfection, Lord of The Fries (when we are in Melbourne and Sydney) and Loving Hut in Brisbane. Mandy loves going crazy with Vegan Style shoes and James & Co. Hand bags.

What’s your favourite thing about owning a vegan business?

I would say helping to promote other vegan businesses. The whole concept of Vegan Card is to help businesses grow. We have been in businesses (not just Vegan Card) for a long time, and we know exactly how hard it can be out there. If we are able to help a small vegan business grow, then we are are so happy!

If you find yourself shopping at vegan businesses on a regular basis, Vegan Card will very quickly pay for itself and for fifty bucks a year, you’re helping support vegan business while also getting a little something in return.

Want to win a 2014/2015 Vegan Card? As part of Like a Vegan’s 4th Birthday ExtraVeganza, you have a chance to score a pack with over $200 worth of vegan products, including a Vegan Card. All you have to do is comment below with your favourite vegan business or restaurant (even if they’re not currently accepting Vegan Card).

Winners will be drawn on September 5th, 2014. Australian residents only.

August 18, 2014 0

Aloo Baingan

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4 

aloobaingan

This is my favourite dish at my favourite Indian joint in Newcastle so while I knew I was never going to achieve that kind of greatness, I thought I would give it a shot. Aloo Baingan is a wicked combo of potato and eggplant with just a few spices added, but the real zing comes from amchur, a dried mango powder which you can pick up from your local Indian grocery.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants (about 15cm-120cm in length)
  • Salt
  • 5 medium potatoes
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons chilli powder (adjust according to your tolerance)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons amchur

Method

  1. Chop the eggplants into roughly 2cmx2cm cubes before chucking into a colander and covering in salt. Set aside for 20 minutes so the salt removes the bitterness.
  2. Wash and chop the potatoes into 2cmx2cm cubes and roughly chop the onion.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pan or wok.
  4. Rinse the excess salt off the eggplant and throw into the pan with the potato and onion. Allow the oil to coat the vegetables and saute for a few minutes before adding the chilli powder and turmeric.
  5. Cover and cook for around 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  6. Once the potato has softened, stir through the garam masala, amchur and add salt to taste.
  7. Serve immediately with basmati rice and papadums.
August 14, 2014 2

Winter Bowl

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

winterbowl

Sometimes a wholesome bowl of goodness is all you need to make everything perfect. My Winter Bowl makes the perfect weeknight meal and doesn’t take long at all to whip up. You can really add whatever you want to this bowl but this is one combination I keep coming back to.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 block high protein, firm tofu
  • 4 small potatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale (I used purple but any kind will do)
  • Sriracha
  • Tahini
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2.  Cut the tofu into 2cm x 2xm cubes and cut the potatoes to roughly the same size.
  3. Pop the potato on a baking tray, spray with oil and bake in the oven until golden brown (about 20-30 minutes), turning every 10 minutes.
  4. Roughly chop the kale. Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the garlic, then the kale and cook until softened (if you want it super soft, massage in some oil and lemon juice before sauteing).
  5. Heat some oil in a pan and add the tofu and cook until golden on all sides.
  6. Add the brown rice to four bowls before adding the tofu, potato and kale. Drizzle with tahini and sriracha, sprinkle with sesame seeds and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve immediately.
August 11, 2014 47

The Vegan Box

Price: From $26.95 

Where to Buy: www.theveganbox.com

vb1

It seems like we’ve been waiting an eternity for a monthly vegan subscription box but the wait is finally over! The Vegan Box is here now, so we can all rest easy knowing that someone else is gathering all the best vegan products and sending them out for you to sample at a pretty reasonable price.

The legends at The Vegan Box sent me out the July box to try out and I must say, for $26.95 a month you get a pretty solid box of stuff plus you get a discount if you sign up for a 3 or 6 month subscription. Each month, the box contains a combination of vegan snacks, healthfoods, natural skincare and lifestyle products. The July box contained:

  • Tinkernicks Tinkerbar 
  • Kester Black Nail Polish
  • Bananinha Bars
  • Canterbury Organics Peppermint Hot Chocolate
  • Nat Ali Bioflan Organic Pudding Mix
  • Way Better Snacks Unbeatable Blues Tortilla Chips
  • Brookfarm Power Porrij

vb2

Now, you’ve gotta admit – that’s a pretty sweet haul.

Not only are the products in The Vegan Box 100% vegan but they’re always palm-oil free too. You gluten free dudes are in luck also, you can tick a box when ordering to ensure that the products you get are 100% gluten free – bonus!

If you’re a beauty-lover, try The Vegan Beauty Box and for $49.95 bi-monthly you’ll receive a box of vegan skincare, cosmetics, haircare and body care products to try.

The Vegan Box is a great idea for those new to veganism and wanting try different products without spending a fortune, for long-term vegans wanting to keep abreast of new stuff on the market and anyone wanting to add more vegan products to their life. I reckon a 3 or 6 month subscription to The Vegan Box would be the perfect gift for any vegan in your life.

The Vegan Box is definitely something I will be considering signing up for on a regular basis. If the July box is anything to go by, I’m in for a real treat!

ExtraVeganza Alert!

Want to try The Vegan Box for free?! Sure you do! Here is another chance to score that pack of $200+ worth of vegan goodies, including the August Vegan Box. All you need to do is comment below and tell me which vegan product would you like to see featured in The Vegan Box.

Entries close 5th September, 2014. Australian residents only.

August 7, 2014 0

Passionfruit & Lemon Tart

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 8

passionfruittart

For me it’s essential to have a few recipes in my arsenal that I can whip up with very little notice to take along to parties or dinners; this is one of those recipes. If you make a lot of my recipes, most of this stuff you should have lying around in your kitchen, plus you can get away with letting it set for only a few hours.Whip it up, pop it in the freezer and by the time you’re ready to eat it, it should be ready to serve.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 packet Digestive biscuits
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan margarine

Filling

  • 2 270mL cans coconut cream (I use Woolworths Select)
  • 1 tub vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup passionfruit pulp

Method

  1. Pop your coconut cream in the fridge, upside down for as long as you can (at least 48hours).
  2. Make your crust by combining the biscuits, sugar and margarine in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Grease a quiche or tart pan and press the crust mixture into the base and up the sides.
  4. To make the filling, first remove your coconut cream from the fridge. Open the cans and drain off the clear liquid so only the firm coconut cream remains.
  5. In an electric mixer, whip the coconut cream, cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and icing sugar until light and fluffy before adding 2/3 of the passionfruit pulp.
  6. Pour the filling mixture into the base and spread out evenly. Place in the freezer to set for at least 3 hours.
  7. Remove the tart from the freezer 30 minutes before serving and drizzle the remaining passionfruit pulp over the top of the tart.
August 4, 2014 15

Kester Black Nail Polish

Price: From $20.00AUD

Where to Buy: www.kesterblack.com

kbpolish

You guys know as well as I do that a good nail polish can be hard to find. You find a colour you like but it’s not vegan. You find a vegan brand but the colours are sucky. If you’re feeling this pain as much as I am, you’re going to bloody love Kester Black!

Not only are their products vegan but they’re Five Free. What does that mean? It means that these little polishes are  free from Toluene, DBP,  Camphor,  Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin; a bunch of nasty stuff that you don’t want to be putting on your body.

Kester Black create a world of colour with their range; pretty pastels, bold brights and mind melting metallic options to suit every taste and outfit. Plus they have some great nail basics like cuticle oil, nail art supplies, top coats, base coats and of course nail polish remover.

Something I’ve noticed with my nails is that when I wear a pale colour, my nails feel weak and brittle. This doesn’t seem to be the case with Kester Black. I’ve been rocking a pastel shade for a week now and my nails feel as strong as they do when I’m wearing a darker polish. Bonus!

My absolute favourite thing about Kester Black polish is the fanned brush. It makes application so freaking easy that a tiny little baby could do it (maybe not but you get the idea). Plus even after several days of wear, my polish hasn’t chipped and looks just as good as the day they were painted.

One of my favourite colours is Gold Digger from the Trophy Wife collaboration last year and that’s music to my ears because Kester Black and Trophy Wife are teaming up again with two new colours for Summer 2014 plus the opening of the Trophy Wife Hair & Nail Salon on August 7th from 6pm-9pm, where attendees will be able to get their hands (and nails) on the new colours before they launch next week. KB+TW4Eva!

Now that I’ve rambled on about how much I adore these polishes, it would be unfair of me not to give some away, right? As part of Like a Vegan’s 4th Birthday ExtraVeganza I have 3 shades to giveaway: Nebula, Silverbirch and Peach Melba. Not only will you score the Kester Black nail polish but you’ll receive a box of vegan goodies worth over $200. All you have to do is comment on this post with what your ultimate nail colour is and why. Don’t forget to check out @likeavegan on Instagram for another chance to win!

This competition is open to Australian residents only and winners will be drawn on September 5th, 2014.

July 31, 2014 3

Bean Ball Subs with Cheesy Sauce

Difficulty: Medium

Makes 4 Big Ass Subs

beanballsub

Bet you thought your meatball sub days were behind you when you went vegan, huh? Well I hope you’re sitting down because these bean ball subs are going to change your life. Plus we’re kicking it up  a notch with a super creamy, cheesy sauce – yeah, that’s right! The bean balls and sauces themselves are all soy and gluten free so pop these on some GF bread and there’s another gluten free meal to add to your repertoire.

Ingredients

Cheesy Sauce

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (not soy for soy free dudes, obvs)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn flour

Method

  1. Prepare your bean balls and marinara sauce as per the recipe.
  2. Cut the baguettes so you have 4 small subs, cut a opening in the top of each and stuff with baby spinach leaves.
  3. Make the cheesy sauce by blending the soaked cashews, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric, salt and pepper until smooth.
  4. Blend in corn flour before pouring into a saucepan.
  5. Bring to the boil, constantly stirring until thick. If the mixture becomes too thick, whisk through some more non-dairy milk until you get the consistency you want.
  6. Spoon the bean balls onto the subs with a little extra marinara and finish off with a generous serve of cheesy sauce.
July 28, 2014 0

Mini Vegetable & Tofu Skewers

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 12

skewers

I recently got a cast iron grill pan and couldn’t wait to cook with it. I decided to kick things off with these simple skewers in a tangy lemon, garlic and parsley marinade. If you don’t have grill pan, that’s ok, you can cook them in a regular pan or chuck them on the barbie.

Ingredients

  • 12 mini wooden skewers
  • 1 small block of firm tofu
  • 12 button mushrooms
  • 12 mini heirloom tomatoes
  • 3 button squash
  • 1 small red onion

Marinade

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Soak the skewers in warm water.
  2. Cut the tofu into 12 2cmx2cm cubes.
  3. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, cut each button squash into 4 pieces and cut the onion into chunks.
  4. Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar and parsley. Set aside.
  5. Remove the skewers from the water and slide a mushroom, tomato, tofu cube, chunk of onion and piece of squash onto each skewer.
  6. Add a little oil to your pan and heat on low-medium.
  7. Brush the marinade over the skewers and place in the pan.
  8. Turn them every minute or so, brushing on more marinade when needed.
  9. Once cooked, remove from the heat and serve immediately.
July 24, 2014 2

Oat, Chia & Almond Cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Makes 20

oatcookies

Let’s face it – a cookie is never going to be guilt free but as far as cookies go, these guys aren’t so bad. They have a macaroon-y vibe going on which makes them super light plus they’re packed full of chia goodness so you know they’re pretty special. They’re gluten and soy free too, making them a great lunchbox snack for big and little kids alike.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup or coconut syrup

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C  and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, gluten free oats, chia seeds, coconut, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Pour in the melted coconut oil and agave syrup and mix until well combined.
  4. Roll heaped tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place 2cm apart on a baking tray.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. They will be super wobbly at this stage, don’t worry!
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the tray before serving.
July 21, 2014 13

Bean Balls in Marinara Sauce

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 24

beanballs

Cold winter nights call for hot, tasty meals and these bean balls certainly fit the bill. Especially great for fussy ones, you can fill these guys with a bunch of secret veggies to pack some extra punch. Smother them in my fragrant marinara sauce and serve ‘em up on top of spaghetti, with salad or vegetables. They’re also soy and gluten free so they’re the perfect meal for just about anybody!

Ingredients

Bean Balls

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (make sure it’s vegan and gluten/soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Drain and rince the beans, set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the carrot, onion and garlic until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans, herbs, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Process until smooth (some chunks are ok).
  5. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and stir through the almond meal, quinoa flakes, salt and pepper until combined.
  6. Using heaped tablespoons, measure out the mixture and roll into neat little balls, placing them on the oven tray.
  7. Bake until golden brown (about 25-30 minutes), turning half way through.
  8. While the balls are baking, make your marinara sauce by heating some oil in a saucepan.
  9. Add the garlic and onion to sauté before adding the diced tomatoes and brown sugar.
  10. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes before adding the herbs, salt and pepper.
  11. Allow to simmer until the bean balls are ready.
  12. Add the cooked bean balls to the marinara sauce and serve immediately.