Monday, 28 December 2015

I Love New Beginnings, How About You?

Welcome back to the kitchen, albeit a quiet one, except for the occasional humming of my oven as I cook for the remaining family members that are inhabiting my home.
What a busy year it's been and the last few weeks have been exceptionally so!

The lead up to Xmas is a hectic time for any of us, and this year was doubly so for me with a Serene Cuisine Menu Xmas menu being planned for as well as my own personal menu, but I got through it without any hiccups and here we are on the other side of it all and ready to begin a new year.

I don't know about you, but I love each and every January 1st as I challenge myself to begin new projects, hone new skills and continue along the path of self-improvement and enlightenment, in the hope of creating a better version of myself than I was the previous year.

One of my personal goals for 2016 is to set up a more regular blogging schedule where I will share more of my personal journey, which includes my continued move towards a more self-sufficient lifestyle, and a minimalist approach to just about everything.

For those of you who have been regular followers of mine, you will remember the beginning of this journey at the same time last year, and this year, in 2016, I'm looking at even bigger changes.
I hope you will not only join me, but that you find some inspiration from the snippets of my journey that I will be sharing here and I would welcome any feedback or interaction with you if you so desire.

As you all know, vegan food is my thing, and from the feedback I have so generously received over the last few days, it appears a lot of you are making a move towards a more plant based lifestyle, something which 'warms the cockles of my heart' no end.
There will be a lot more about this to come in future blog posts, but today I wanted to share a delicious Chocolate Smoothie recipe with you to get you started on the road to a better nutritional plan if this is something you crave for the new year.

I will be posting a lot more recipes right here on the blog this year and I aim to help you on your plant based nutritional journey with a 'Meatless Monday' post each week. My aim is to show you the variety of ingredients available that you can use to create nutritious, scrumptious and cruelty free dishes, someting I am super excited about.

To begin with, try this smoothie and feel free to add or subtract ingredients to suit your personal taste.
I hope you enjoy it!



Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie


Easy, 5 ingredient chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie with a thick, creamy texture and tons of chocolate-peanut butter flavor! A perfectly healthy vegan breakfast, snack or dessert.

Ingredients


1 large ripe banana
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1-2 dates, pitted (if not sticky and moist, soak in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain)
1 Tbsp cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 1 1/2 cups Almond Milk Original Unsweetened, preferably organic
Optional: 1/2 cup ice

Add-Ins


1 Tbsp cacao nibs for “chocolate chip” effect (blend in or use as topping)
1 Tbsp flax or hemp seeds for added nutrition

Instructions


Add all ingredients except almond milk to the blender. Add in almond milk 1/2 cup at a time, adding only enough to allow the ingredients to blend together. Add more for a thinner shake and less for a thicker shake.
Taste and adjust flavors, adding more banana or dates for sweetness, cacao for chocolate flavor, and peanut butter for saltiness.
Optional: Add a handful of ice for extra thickness.
Serves 1 generously.

Recipe credit goes to Minimilist Baker

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Xmas Cooking @ Frank's Place #2

Happy Xmas Eve folks!!
Are you as unorganised as me? You do realise that this just makes us all human don't you?

Most of my gifts remain unwrapped as I have immersed myself over the last 24hrs in the cooking of this week's Serene Cuisine menu goodies and spent time preparing my own menu for the big day tomorrow, but for me, one of the joys of Xmas Eve is the last minute wrapping with my favourite Xmas carols playing softly in the background.

These days I can't help feeling a little melancholy as I find myself reminiscing over Xmas's past, when my girls were 'not so grown up' and Santa still slid down our chimney each December 25th to devour his carefully selected cookies and to leave gifts under an over decorated Xmas tree.

I am hosting both breakfast and dinner tomorrow, so I have to be super organised first thing in the morning in preparation for a hearty family breakfast get together.

I thought I would share a delicious festive cookie recipe with you today, which is deliciously high in fibre and perfect for either a Xmas day sweet treat or for guests in the days following Xmas day.
They are so easy to prepare, why not get the kids involved as a Xmas holiday activity!

These cookies store well and will be gone before you know it so I would certainly recommend doubling the quantity.

I hope you enjoy them!



Cherry Chocolate Muesli Cookies



Dry Ingredients

1 cup muesli
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar (I use brown sugar)
1/4 cup glace cherries, chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon carb soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup dairy free mini chocolate chips

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup raw, unrefined coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.
Whisk together all dry ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) in a large bowl.
Whisk all wet ingredients in a separate bowl, then fold mixture into dry ingredients until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Scoop out a little more than a tablespoon of dough and using your hands, form small cookie discs.
The dough seems like it won't hold together but it will. Work with it (gently) and eventually it will keep together.

Makes 12-14 cookies, depending on the size.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until sides are slightly golden.

Recipe credit goes to the glowing fridge

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Xmas Cooking @ Frank's Place

Hello again from the kitchen and as promised, I would like to share with you the first of my seasonal recipes, and one which is so versatile that it can be used year round as either a hot meal served with veggies and gravy, or cold as a sandwich/roll filling with salad.

It's no secret that I love cooking, but Xmas cooking would have to be my favourite as I seize the opportunity to cook for my family as they all come together around the one table again with their partners.

My 3 daughters are vegetarian, their partners aren't, and nor is mine, something I have been very mindful of as I select dishes to include on my menu as they are all happily prepare to share in a vegan Xmas meal at my place.

Although I love all combinations of vegan goodies, some ingredients lend themselves better than others to being made into dishes that non-vegans will eat without really noticing the absence of animal products, which over time, ceases to be an issue at all.

Lentil, bean and veggie loaves and burgers are some of my favourite vegan delights and are the foods that I was first introduced to when I went vegan over 20 years ago, and continue to eat in abundance today.

This one is a favourite of mine and I hope it becomes one of yours too.


Lentil Loaf with Maple Glaze


Ingredients


½ cup dry brown (green) lentils
1⅓ cup water
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion (about 1 heaping cup), chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup rolled oats
3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (available from organic or health food stores)
2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Maple Sweetened Glaze


2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt

Instructions


Pre-heat oven to 375°.
Prepare lentils by rinsing them and adding to a pot with water and a bay leaf. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat down and simmer covered until all the liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender (about 15-20 minutes). Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and set the lentils aside to cool. This step can be done in advance.
In the meantime toast walnuts by spreading them onto a baking sheet and toasting in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Heat oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan and cook onions, garlic, carrots and celery until they've softened and become fragrant. About 5-10 minutes. Once cooked remove from stovetop to cool.
Add lentils (reserve ½ cup for later), cooked veggies, toasted walnuts, oats, tamari, tomato paste, ground flaxseed, nutritional yeast, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne pepper, ground pepper and sea salt to the food processor. Pulse until mixture is just combined and the texture is to your liking. You want the mixture to be combined enough to stick together, but you don't want it to be completely pulverized.
Stir in the reserved lentils and press mixture into parchment lined loaf pan.
In a small bowl stir together glaze ingredients and spread the glaze over top of the loaf.
Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 8 more minutes. Let the loaf rest 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!
Recipe Credit goes to Brittany Mullins.

Monday, 21 December 2015

4 Sleeps 'Til Xmas

Hello From The Xmas Kitchen


I hope you are all as excited as I am as Xmas looms large with only 4 short sleeps to go. 

For me, the greatest excitement rests on the fact that my 3 girls will be home and will be sitting together around the same table, filling our home with love and laughter.

I am currently deeply immersed in menu and table decoration planning for our shared meals, as well as preparing to cook up a storm for those of you who have orders from the Serene Cuisine Xmas menu.  

If vegan cooking interests you, adding just one or two meat, egg or dairy free dishes to your Xmas dinner table does make a difference, and I will be sharing a few vegan Xmas recipes here on the blog over the next day or so, so stay tuned for that.

As I await a couple of last minute orders, the menu will remain up on the blog until 6pm tonight to allow these to be submitted. Gift vouchers and hampers will be available until Xmas Eve but please order as soon as possible as I only have a limited number of hampers available.

The number of orders already in has been staggering, and I thank you all for your support and look forward to seeing you on Xmas Eve.


If you are like me, you will be fully immersing yourself in the Xmas spirit over the next few days as the countdown to Xmas continues.....

Love and light,
Leah.


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Serene Cuisine Xmas Menu 2015

The Countdown Begins

With just over a week to go before the big day, the cooks among us now begin to actively put the final touches to our menus, which for me, consists of 100% vegan fare. 
With an equal mix of vegetarians and omnivores attending the meals at 'Frank's' place this Xmas, I am super excited to be able to cater for them in my own unique and super delicious way. 

I am also very excited to be able to offer some vegan treats to you to cater for any vegetarian/vegan guests you may have gracing you with their presence this Xmas day, or in the days following, or if you've been a customer of mine throughout the year, and have enjoyed the experience, these offerings will definately tempt your tastebuds and be yet another example of the variety of cruelty free cuisine that can be served up at any occasion. 

I personally don't find vegan catering challenging, but I certainly understand the situation for those of you who may not be accustomed to creating such deliciousness without the use of meat, eggs and dairy. 


I hope by including some of these goodies in your Xmas celebrations, you also feel the love and peacefulness with which they were created, which for me, is what Xmas is all about.

For the vegetarians or vegans among you, there's no explanation needed and I have nothing more to say except 'bon appetit.' 

The menu is on the right-hand side of this page with pick-up and payment options to select from also.

**Please note that due to forecasted high temperatures and to the busyness of the season, collection of orders is preferable.
If delivery is required, please contact me to discuss your needs. Thank you in advance.**

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me either via email or on 0418801887.

I look forward to seeing you soon......

Love and light,
Leah.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

'Serene Cuisine' Menu 18/12/15

Hello From The Kitchen


Just a short blog today to let you know that this week's menu is now up for viewing and ordering.
With only 10 days till Xmas, and with Xmas falling on a Friday, this will be the last menu for the year.

Later this week I will have a menu up of a few Xmas goodies that I will have available for you which will be fabulous additions to your Xmas table including individual Raw Chocolate Cheesecakes, veggie burgers and a few other goodies, as well as Frank's Xmas Hampers.



On The Menu This Week


Two main meals appear on the menu this week with a Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes being the first, and a Veggie and Chickpea Soup as a second option.


With the temperatures in the 30's later in the week, I thought the salad option was the perfect addition to this week's selections.

Apple Cake and cookies feature as sweet options with Crumbed Tofu, hommus and granola on the menu as well.

How To Order


To order your Friday Meal, please fill in the order form on the right-hand side of this blog page, selecting whatever takes your fancy, as well as delivery and payment preferences and any special instructions, and then click submit.


Please contact me if you have any special requests re: items that perhaps aren't currently on the menu or menu items in larger quantities.

I welcome any suggestions, comments or feedback, any of which may be submitted via email @ serenityleah13@gmail.com.



Subscribe



If you wish to receive notification of any new blog entries, including new menus or news from the 'serene cuisine' kitchen, enter your email address in the 'Follow By Email' box on the right hand side of this page below the order form, and click submit. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription, and once confirmed, you will receive notification emails of any new blog posts.

Your email address will not be shared and will only be used for the express purpose of sharing news from 'just frank.'

Well, that's all from me for now.
I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing those of you who will be on my delivery list this week.

Love and light,

Leah <3

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Sunday Market Pre-Orders

The Mount Gambier Library Market Xmas Edition!!!!!!


As another month rolls around, the Mount Gambier Library market gets under way again this Sunday the 13th of December.

The few days leading up to each market has me working 18 hr days in the kitchen preparing food and packaging products in readiness for the big day.

This market, being the last one prior to Xmas requires quantities of goodies enough to cater for the huge crowd expected on the day as well as enough to fill orders from my regular clients.

To assist me in quantity estimations, and to spare you the disappointment of missing out on your favourite just frank goodies, I have created a pre-ordering system which is to the right-hand side of this page and from which you can select products that will be available for collection at the market.

As with the regular order forms, please fill in your details, make your selections and choose your payment method, and then click submit. You should then receive an email confirming your order.

Direct deposit info is available on the order form, but please note that if do you choose to pay on collection, you will need to collect your goodies from me at the market prior to 1pm. 

Products on the order form are only some of what I will have available. I will also have hampers available and will be taking orders for hampers if you are looking for them a little closer to Xmas day.

The weather looks perfect with a glorious 27 degrees forecast, so I'm looking forward to a huge crowd on Sunday and to seeing you all there.

Love and light,
Leah. <3

Monday, 7 December 2015

'Serene Cuisine' Menu 11/12/15


Welcome Back To My Kitchen (otherwise known as the place that I dwell in for 23 hrs of the day.)


Hello again from the 'just frank' kitchen and if you are one of the many visitors to my page, you will possibly be wondering where all the blog posts on a myriad of interesting topics are that I have been promising you all. 

They aren't here, (yet) which I am sure isn't news to you if you've been waiting for them.

I'm going to come clean right now and let you know that there is nothing that could have prepared me for the way my vegan menus have been received and supported by the community, and my oven literally never has enough time to cool down between each order for me to find the time to sit down and put my thoughts out into cyberspace, as much as I crave it. I'm trying....really I am.

I have so much I want to share with you all including recipes, gardening and minimalist living tips as well as my de-cluttering journey which is under way and will continue well into the new year. (Yep, I've beat the New Years Resolution rush!)

Just to clarify my definition of de-cluttering for a moment.... I define anything that distracts me from living the life I desire as clutter including an overflowing 'inbox,' unimportant and pointless activities that drain me of my valuable time, unprocessed bookwork, a less than organised personal diary and an inability to use the word 'no' more often. I know many of you can relate to one or all of these and I am really looking forward to candidly sharing this journey with you as I regain control of my life.

Please don't get me wrong, I couldn't be more open and willing to embrace the ever growing demand for my food, and I feel incredibly blessed to have met so many of you in this past year who have joined me on the Serene Cuisine journey. It confirms what I already knew when this all began, and that is that there is a call for good, healthy, clean and most of all, cruelty-free food out there.

I'm very aware that there is a resistance to hearing the hardcore truth about where your animal based food products come from and the cruelty behind their journey to you, but it's the truth nonetheless.

Rather than 'going in hard' with the message, my mission is to show you through my Serene Cuisine menu selections that there is another way....a better way, a kinder way for all of us.

Xmas Is Coming......And So Is Another Market


With the Mount Gambier Library Market (Xmas Edition) on this Sunday, December 13th, the menu for this Friday is condensed as I spend the week prepping goodies for Xmas hampers, market offerings and some small private catering commitments.

If you are looking to stock up on any of your favourite goodies such as hommus, granola or either chocolate or orange muffins, I will be putting up a pre-paid order form later in the week to ensure you don't miss out come market day.
Last month's market was so busy that these products sold out super early, leaving many of my regular customers disappointed.

I will have Xmas Hampers and gift vouchers available at the market for immediate purchase and will also be taking orders for hampers or for any Xmas goodies you require in the lead up to Xmas day.

This Week On The Menu


This week on the 'Serene Cuisine' menu, I have created a delicious, nutritious and visually delightful couscous dish, with some of my favourite ingredients, roast pumpkin, chickpeas and fresh kale from my garden. 
Served with a sweet mustard and garlic dressing, and with my Tomato and Rosemary Scones and Orange and Poppyseed Muffins on the menu to complete the meal, lunch on Friday is an all round winner. 


Check out the menu on the right-hand side of this page and fill in the order form for your Friday delivery. 


How To Order



To order your Friday Meal, please fill in the order form on the right-hand side of this blog page, selecting whatever takes your fancy, as well as delivery and payment preferences and any special instructions, and then click submit.


Please contact me if you have any special requests re: items that perhaps aren't currently on the menu or menu items in larger quantities.

I welcome any suggestions, comments or feedback, any of which may be submitted via email @ serenityleah13@gmail.com.


Subscribe



If you wish to receive notification of any new blog entries, including new menus or news from the 'serene cuisine' kitchen, enter your email address in the 'Follow By Email' box on the right hand side of this page below the order form, and click submit. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription, and once confirmed, you will receive notification emails of any new blog posts.

Your email address will not be shared and will only be used for the express purpose of sharing news from 'just frank.'

Well, that's all from me for now.
I look forward to hearing from you and to seeing those of you who will be on my delivery list this week.

Love and light,

Leah <3