We can all be a kindness activist for animals, people, planet and self. Every small step can make a difference and these MVG Snippets are just that. Small steps of kindness activism to inspire and inform your vegan food, home and lifestyle choices.
Woon Heng’s Black Pepper Cauliflower is one of my current favourite dishes. Before we went vegan Hubster hated cauliflower. And when I first started serving up cauliflower dishes I could see the disappointment in his face. He’s far too polite and appreciative to outwardly complain but inside, I knew he wasn’t thrilled. Like the time when just after we went vegan and I served up Popcorn Cauliflower for the footy grand final. It’s dishes like Popcorn Cauliflower and Woon Heng’s Black Pepper Cauliflower that now make cauliflower dishes Hubster’s most requested meals each week.
Woon’s cauliflower dish is spicy, so if you’re not a fan of spice perhaps user a milder chilli in smaller quantities and reduce the pepper somewhat. This dish is far too delicious to miss out on entirely but do follow the original recipe if you can.
Converting classic recipes has been a regular occurrence in the kitchen and I’ve been whipping up at least two a week. New on the blog is this ugly-delicious No Bake Apricot Slice. It might not been the prettiest thing to look at but with a base made from Biscoff biscuits and plenty of condensed milk, it delivers equally in ugly and flavour. A simple (no) bake that makes a lovely snack because you deserve it.
Speaking of sweet snacks, you might also like to try this Peanut Brittle recipe. A hint of cayenne pepper gives the brittle mild spicy aftertaste. It is very mild, even my spice-avoiding in-laws, who I originally made this for, love it. It also makes a perfect food gift or treat to share with others.
When we returned to Melbourne the last week of May, one of the very first things I did was re-establish my worm farm. New worms were bedded in and left to work their magic. There’s something therapeutic about taking care of the worms, as they take care of turning waste into good things. I check on my worms daily, for no reason other than I like to see them hard at work.
As the worms have been thriving it was time to get them ready to relocate to a new tier in the worm farm and get ready to harvest the castings for the garden.
With an abundance of Autumn leaves still in the organic compost heap, I laid down a new bedding base. Popped in some worm-attracting food and the blanket back on. As soon as we have a rain-free day I’ll manually relocate any worms that haven’t made their own way to the top tier after which I’ll have a whole tray of worm castings for the garden.
Worm farming is for every household and an excellent way to reduce food waste. There’s so many worm farm options available, even ones suitable for some homes, such as flats, that don’t have outdoor space. Get the kids involved or simply do it for yourself. Either way it’s a win for you and for the planet.
If you’d like to set up a worm farm take a look in your community (Facebook, Buy Swap Sell, Gumtree, etc) for a used worm farm as there’s often many listings that are much cheaper and eco-friendly than buying new. Similarly, look for worms in your community. I picked up around a thousand extra worms this week in my neighbourhood swap group. Take a look at my previous post for setting up a worm farm and if you have a questions – holler!
International Dog Day last week prompted that many people aren’t aware that dogs can enjoy a huge range of fruit and vegetables in their diet. Our dogs have been lucky to eat human-grade food their entire lives. Our dogs go nuts for a piece of apple, blueberries, carrots – most fruit and veg in fact. Their day is segmented with various treats that signal activities – bananas and blueberries added to breakfast meal, a carrot before ‘nap time’ (mid-day nap) on the human bed, pieces of apple at ‘bed time’ (end of day in their crates). Remember, sometimes frozen fruit can be a far more affordable option. Frozen blueberries are only $4 for a 500g bag at my supermarket and this lasts the dogs two weeks.
Take a look at some dog-friendly fruits on the blog here.
Spring is almost in the air. With the new season comes a whole new variety of seasonal fruit and veg to add to your weekly shop. I’m making a conscious effort to plan our meals around seasonal, local food because it tastes better and it’s better for the planet (less production, shipping and storage means less economic and ecological costs).
Eat the season: Spring is on the blog. It does offer a slightly different viewing experience from desktop and mobile (desktop, list is alphabetical, mobile it is not). I highly recommend enjoying some Imperial Mandarins soon, they are simply divine. The two of us ate this whole tray in a day!
Two ripper podcasts made my highlight reel this week. First up, is the Futuresteading episode with Damon Gameau.
You’ll probably see FutureSteading references as commonplace in future blogs. I have to say the FutureSteading book is oneof, if not my favourite book, ever. There’s only a few books ranked in this top spot and I’ll dedicate a separate blog to my home library favourites soon. I have listened to the recent Futuresteading podcast with Damon Gameau two and a half times now (need to get to re-listening that last half!).
Damon Gameau might be familiar to you as the documentary maker of 2040 and That Sugar Film. The episode is ‘A call to arm for storytellers’ is a conversation about defying the attention economy, ways to avoid being ‘numbed by the system’ and rebuilding our culture. This podcast guides thought on how to step away from the information torrent to allow for conscious thought and decision making.
I loved this podcast and hope you will too. Listen here or search for it on all the usual podcast places.
The second podcast in the highlight reel for this week is from Plant Based News with Roxy Furman. Roxy is Zoologist, filmmaker, presenter and environmental activist and her considered thought and articulation of concepts impressed me. There’s lots of themes explored in the podcast, all of which I enjoyed listening to. It might even get a second play from me as Roxy impressed me so much. Her comments on the power of individual action and impact are inspiring. You’ll find the episode on Spotify here.
Learning to cook with Australian native foods is a new interest of mine. As I delve into classic recipes from the early 1900s, I’ve also developed a keen interest in learning about native foods. Cooking with the oldest foods on Earth by John Newton is a short, easy to read book. It covers how to cook with Australian ingredients, where to find them and how to grow them. Organised by ingredient, each chapter includes a brief history, a practical guide, and recipes.
The Moosewood Cookbook has inspired generations to cook simple, healthy, and seasonal food. A classic, listed as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all time by the New York Times, the New Moosewood Cookbook 40th anniversary edition of Mollie Katzen’s seminal book is filled with Mollie’s original, whimsical drawings and entirely presented in hand script. The book is mostly (possibly all) vegetarian recipes and Mollie is credited with moving vegetarian cuisine from the fringes into mainstream.
How Bad Are Bananas? The carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee is an entertaining and insightful book that literally looks at the carbon footprint of not-quite everything. From bananas, sending an email or text message, owning animal to plastic bags. It considers the relevancy of the term ‘carbon footprint’ and calculates the impact of our consumer and lifestyle decisions in easy to understand language.
Each of these books were readily available from my local library, so consider rethinking ownership and discovering interesting reads from your library,
Over the past 10 years I’ve eradicated all store-bought cleaning products and any product is carefully considered before it earns a place in our home. Sometimes though, life gets a little chaotic and I can’t rely on home-made alternatives or something new comes along that I’d like to try.
Many products are offered to me as gifts, which I almost always decline. All products have to earn their place in our home and to earn this place means they need to align with our values. I made an exception for Saba Organics, who sent me some products a couple of months ago. I’ve now had the opportunity to use these in my home and I have to say, I love them!
I am constantly washing my hands. There’s all the usual hygiene reasons but each day I’ll have my hands in the garden, I’ll be dealing with animals, cooking and doing community work. My hands are weathered and pay the price of staying clean. I’ve been the using the Saba Organics bergamot and olive leaf hand wash and the hydrating moisturiser constantly and have seen a noticeable improvement in my hand skin condition. I’ll be buying more of this product once my current supplies run out, I really love having it in my bathroom.
I’m saving the multi-purpose cleaner to use on the #MVGPantry I’ll be opening in the next couple of weeks. I’ll report back on that then.
In late August I completed my Wildlife Victoria Transporter accreditation. My first transport was a 506gram female ringtail possum found on a construction site. No doubt the weekend will see many more critters in the back of our car. Next, I’ll be completing my Rescuer accreditation which will enable me to be involved in the direct rescue of animals in need. Hubster is somewhat (by somewhat, I mean massively) pleased that transportation and rescue does NOT involve snakes.
Sunday will see the completion of my first week in the Circular Economy Challenge being hosted by my local council. I’ve really enjoyed building on my existing skills and will share some of these learning through a dedicated blog post soon. If you can find a similar challenge through your local council, I do recommend participating as there so many things you can easily introduce that make a huge and positive impact on the planet. Victorians can sign up for future challenges via the Circular Economy Victoria website here.