Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Lunchtime retreat

Sitting in an office all day can start to make me feel a little cabin-feverish after a while.. So I decided that while the weather is unseasonably warm in Sydney to make the most of it and go for a walk during my lunch break..

Something cute I made on my walk
Besides the obvious relief of pent-up office-induced stress and boredom, it is good for while my back is out and I can't be at the gym in the mornings like I usually would, and I need to be doing something!

Lucky for me, my office is quite close to a river and a path!

Unfortunately, not too far along the path you come across this:

Sydney Airport
 ...stupid city ruining my peaceful walk :-(

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Things I'd like to do this year

I thought if I write down some things that I have been meaning to do this year, then I might actually do them!

Things I want to do this year:

  • Go to Bali - I already have this one planned for September, but I thought I'd add this one to the list mainly because I'm super excited to be going, and because it is something I want to do this year! ;-P (starting the list off easy)
  • A cleanse!
  • Go to the snow - Trav and I have a mutual  love for the snow and snowboarding (even though he is much better than I am), last year we managed to go down to the Snowy Mountains (3 hours south of Canberra) twice, and had so much fun there together! But this year it is half way through the snow season already and we haven't yet been :-( We will hopefully be able to go before we go to Bali.
  • Renovate the bathroom -  this one is SO necessary! The villa we live in was built in 1980, and when Travis bought it the entire house was in nearly original condition (kitchen, carpet, paint, bathroom). So last year we renovated the kitchen ourselves, and we have painted the entire house twice (Ughhhhh! Painting is probably my most hated house-reno job so far!), but the bathroom is the one that we haven't gotten around to yet. Hopefully we can get it done by November at least! I am so excited to have a new bathroom already! 
  • Teach Radley to shake - Radley is a lovely pup, who is so cute and snuggly, but he is very easily distracted. I would love to be able to teach him a few new tricks to distract him when he sees Domino - like shake and roll over - because at the moment he is woeful! 
  • Cook a grand vegan feast! - I have wanted to try my hand at making a fabulous vegan feast for a while now, but I am still not super confident with  my cooking abilities.. So a goal for this year is to cook an amazing array of dishes to serve to friends or family and show them how delicious vegan food can be! (Unfortunately most of them still think all I eat is salad)
  • Buy a new oven - I've been oven-less for over a month now... enough said :-( 
  • Do a creative writing course - I love writing, I went to uni to become a writer, an editor, or a publisher, but became too scared of showing people my own work, and dropped out of the course. I'm not sure why, but I have always hated to show other people my own words... so I guess having a blog is a remedy of sorts. Now I think that I am finally comfortable enough to actually submit something, so I will give it a go! I will post more about the course once it starts...
  • Finish all of the books on my "to read" list! Unless you couldn't tell by the ridiculous list above, I am a procrastinator from waaaaaaayyy back! I have trouble finishing things once i start them... (hence the list) and sometimes there are books that you may not be 100% enthusiastic about from the beginning, and those are the ones I have the most trouble finishing... Although I am proud to say that this year I finally finished Wuthering Heights, which I had notoriously picked up and put back down over 30 times before I finally did finish it....... needless to say I was devastated with the result....

If I think of anything else that I really should get done this year I'll make sure to add them, and I will cross things off as I finish them! 

Check out my Instagram, Pinterest and Goodreads for more! 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Another weekend gone..

I've always scoffed at people suffering on my social media from "Monday-itis", but lately I have been sighing and shuffling and generally moaning about having to go back to work on Monday.
I'm not sure why - maybe commuting, getting up early, being bored - but it is definitely getting me out of sorts.
It is funny though, because I don't hate my job, I generally don't mind public transport (though if my train is over 5 minutes late - that's when my inner Hulk emerges), and I enjoy having a schedule that I must follow every day as it keeps me organised and accountable.

I think my issue is that after I have been home all weekend with the dogs and Travis, and getting a chance to walk around in my "comfy clothes" with no make-up on - I miss being home. I love the idea of a day spent snuggling on the lounge in my happy pants and over-large t-shirt, with a series of whichever show I am addicted to at the time on and eating as much as I want. I LOVE those days. They're my absolute favourite! But I know that if I did that every day I would become fat, and severely deficient in vitamin D :-P ..But it is nice to think about those days, and hope that your weekend can include one of those days.. sometimes it can help me to get through the week!
But this is where I think the issue lies.. I look forward to those days relaxing so much that I am disappointed if I don't get to have one of those days on the weekend, and I end up depressed on the Monday, wishing I could have had just one more day to do NOTHING! Selfish? I think so. Lazy? Definitely!
I know that all of you have had a Monday back at work and wished that you could have had that one more day to sleep in, have a scrummy breakfast, then do nothing!

So.. back to the main topic! The weekend!
We had a productive Saturday: cleaning, bought a new vacuum (finally - we had needed to replace our haunted vac for ages!), washed the smelly puppies and then went out for dinner and drinks with friends.

Sunday I attempted to get washing done - and failed. Mostly because I was too busy catching up on Game of Thrones, and because I REALLY didn't want to do anything! :-P
...I finally finished season 3 of Game of Thrones at least! I think it helped to be in my comfy clothes for those final episodes.. I had a few moments of tear-induced hiccups, and I may have sobbed a few times (but it's ok because I was home alone).
I am kind of outraged that they ended the season half-way through the book! It frustrates me having to wait to see how they will create a few key moments in the book.
Have you read any of the series? You can see where I am up to on my Goodreads page. If you've watched season three, I am sure I'm not alone in my grief!

I think it is time for me to do more interesting things on the weekend. Travis mentioned my boring-ness, and doesn't know how I can stand to do what I do when I have nothing else to occupy my time (other than things that don't exactly excite me). Oh well. I think that is when the "each to their own" motto comes in handy. :-P
I am sure there are some amazing things to get up to in Sydney every weekend, and every week I plan to do something fabulous, but I lose the energy to do it as soon as Saturday rolls around, so maybe I need to set myself a weekly plan to do something fab every weekend!
Hmm.. that has me thinking! A new goal perhaps?

Don't forget to check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Vegan Cashew Cheese Recipe

So I thought I should post the recipe for the cashew cheese I used. I had seen lots of recipes for it, and thought it looked easy enough, so I tried my own :)
I used my food processor for this, but I think a good blender would work fine too, you may need to just stop and start a little more than with a food processor, just to push down the sides.
Also, I used a herb in mine to make it a little tastier.. for some reason I had seen dill at the supermarket and thought it would be nice, but as with most cheeses, any fresh herb would suffice!
I found that this cheese ended up tasting a like a ploughman's cheese. I used to love one certain brand, and this is very close to that! I was very pleasantly surprised!


Raw cashews - 1 1/2 C
Nutritional yeast - 1/4 C
Garlic Salt - 1t
Onion Powder - 1T
Juice from 1/2 lemon - be careful with not adding too much to make it overly lemon-y.
Canola oil - 1T
Dill (or other fresh herb) - diced - 2T


  • Soak the cashews - I've read a lot of people saying overnight, I only soaked mine for 4-5 hours, so if you know you want to make it that evening, soak in the morning, or if you want to the next day, then do it the night before :) easy. (I am very poor at remembering to soak things the night before, which is why I generally opt for the day soak)
  • Drain and rinse the cashews, and place in the food processor or blender with the nutritional yeast, lemon juice,  garlic salt, onion powder and oil.
  • Blend - scraping down the sides of the food processor every minute or so.
  • Keep processing until it becomes smooth.
  • Add in the fresh chopped herbs and blend until combined.
  • Serve in a cute bowl, and eat with EVERYTHING! I stored mine in the fridge overnight covered in some plastic wrap and it tasted just as good the next day.
So far we have served it on fresh bread, toasted bread, crackers, and on our yummy Vegan Burgers!
Also, stay tuned to see how this cheese turns out in my Lasagna this weekend!

Check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

The results of my cashew cheese experiment!

Creamy cashew "cheese" with dill

I am so proud of myself! :-P Not that it was truly that hard to make.. I think I had just deluded myself into thinking that it was too hard to make anything that had the words "vegan" and "cheese" in the same sentence.
It has come out creamy, tangy, and delicious! We are eating this one with Jatz biscuits and yummy crunchy bread.
I will definitely be making this one again, Travis has suggested a lasagne this weekend after he tried the cheese.. SUCH a good idea! I have tried and failed a few times at the perfect vegan lasagne, but I think with this extra added cheesiness it could turn out well! I'll keep you posted on that one! But for now, back to the cheesy goodness...

Check out my Instagram and Pinterest for more!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Vegan Burgers!

I love food that is quick, with little mess, and can be eaten with your hands. It is my favourite kind of food.
I had seen a few vegan burger recipes floating around the web, and decided to make my own a few months after going vegan, just to see if I could.. and surprisingly enough they turned out delicious!
We have eaten these quite a few times now, and it has turned into a weekend treat for us. 
I always use my signature bean for the patties - Kidney beans -  only because I always seem to have a can of them floating around somewhere. Lentils also make an appearance for this recipe, not sure why I used them, but I think they help with the texture of the patty.
This is one of Travis' favourite meals of mine, and I hope you like it just as much! It is simple, and rather painless, so I'm sure you will do fine :-P

Vegan Burgers

Kidney beans - 1/2 can
Lentils - 1/4 can
Mushrooms - 4-5
Worcestershire Sauce - 2T
Cumin - 2t
Paprika - 2t
Onion powder - 1t
Oil - 2T
2t chia seeds + 2T water - mixed to a paste
Burger buns - Turkish seem the best so far

  • Combine the lentils and kidney beans and mash them in a bowl with a fork until there aren't very many lumps.
  • Add the worcestershire sauce, the cumin, paprika, chia paste and the onion powder (or fresh onion can be used), and mix through the patty mixture.
  • Chop up mushrooms, and cook in 1T of the oil until brown, then set aside. 
  • Make 2 patties out of the beans and lentil mixture, and place in 1T of the oil in a fry pan - they will not hold together very well, so you will need a good metal spatula to scrape and mould them.
  • Flip the patties once they start to crisp on the bottom
  • Cut up the avocado and tomato, and anything else you like to put on burgers.
  • Halve the buns and place under the grill until crisp

Serve as you like! (I also added a little of the cashew cheese i made yesterday..mmm)

Check out my Pinterest and Instagram for more food!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sick Days

Home today! I hurt my back over the weekend - I think it's from too much washing, therefore I have told Travis that's the universe telling me I'm not supposed to do it anymore... Damn :-P
So I have decided to try my hand at cashew cheese! I have seen the recipes, and been jealous of lots of friends for making it, and I have had some raw cashews just sitting in the cupboard for weeks now, so I think today is the perfect day for it! 
I am pre-soaking the cashews now, and will be gathering a few extra ingredients after the chiropractor this afternoon then I will definitely be posting some pictures of my attempt (and a recipe if it is successful)!
There have been so many yummy "cheese" recipes that I have seen lately, and I have meant to try them all, but with limited time, and SO many house-chores to do on weekends, I barely get time to cook us anything exciting! 

Today also gives me an excuse to keep an eye on Radley, who was a very naughty dog on Sunday morning and broke into the cupboard where his biscuits are kept. He was nearly a quarter of the way through the (quite large) bag when I caught him! 
He was a very miserable dog all day yesterday, and with a belly as big as his was I can see why! 

Radley and his oversized belly!

Most unfortunate for me has been his unbearable gas (and that he is very attached to me when I am home)! 
Thankfully his tummy seems to have gone down overnight, but I was very worried about him last night, and am happy to be able to keep an eye on him and make sure he is a little more lively today - he is. 

Radley and Suzie 

Today also means that I finally have a chance to catch up on Game of Thrones season 3! Travis isn't a fan of the show, so I am lucky enough to be able to watch without having to worry about ruining the show for him when I tell him all about it later tonight :-P 

Why I love weekends! (And my Scrambled Tofu recipe)

My weekends are precious to me. Not only because I get to spend some time with my lovely boyfriend (Trav works every second weekend), and adorable pets, but because I get some time to spend to myself - cooking, reading and relaxing!
My favourite time on the weekends is when I get to make us a big vegan breakfast. YUM!
It's great, because it's the time when breakfast can become lunch, and you actually have the time to savour your food, you're not rushing to eat it because you're at work (check out my "desk breakfasts" here), and you have a chance to sit and decide what to do for the day over a cup of yummy tea or coffee.

My usual weekday breakfasts 

I came up with my own version of scrambled tofu - as everyone does - and I think what I like about it best is that it incorporates most of the foods I love into one meal!

Scrambled Tofu

My Scrambled Tofu! 

Tofu - around half a block depending on how hungry you are!
2 T Oil - I used olive this time because I ran out of coconut
Cumin 1tsp
2 cloves Garlic
Vegan Worcestershire Sauce - 1T
Soy sauce - 2 tsp
Mushrooms - 4 medium
Savoury Yeast flakes - 1tsp
Sunflower seeds - 2 tsp
Crusty bread
Soy Margerine
Baby Spinach


Roughly chop or break up the tofu and place in a medium sized bowl.
Sprinkle with Cumin, and pour in Worcestershire sauce - stir through the tofu. 
Add in the sunflower seeds and soy sauce.
Chop up the garlic, and heat the oil in a fry pan on medium heat.
Add the garlic to the fry pan, cook for a minute - stirring constantly - then add mushrooms and fry until browned around the edges.
Add the tofu mixture to the mushrooms, and cook until the tofu is cooked through and brown on most sides, then set aside.
Cut your bread into thick slices and toast (I like mine extra thick and cooked under the grill - mmm)
Butter your toast, place baby spinach on each piece then finish with the tofu and mushrooms on top - Et voilĂ !

(Best served with a delicious cup of coffee, or if you're me and constantly forget to buy coffee every time you're at the shops you will have a Chocolate So Good. )

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Foods I'm Craving This Winter - and other things I generally can't live without

So Sydney does not get that cold.. But Sydney-siders like to complain about the cold as if it were Siberia anyway, and I am one of them. I can whinge with the best of them, and with feet that are permanent icicles in winter (it's true, ask my boyfriend), I like to keep myself nice and toasty with yummy comforts.... and bed-socks.

Some things I cannot live without in winter:
  • Toast - with lots of soy butter and vegemite/peanut butter - mmm
  • Chocolate - I am loving Sweet Williams individual mini chocolates at the moment
  • Porridge - I soak my oats overnight in a jar with some soy/almond milk and add other yummies like dates, cinnamon, maple syrup, chia, blueberries and always banana
  • Coffee - it keeps my hands warm!
  • A huge printed scarf
  • Vegan shepherds pie -there is nothing better than this dish when it's miserable outside! (I'll post my recipe soon)
  • A good umbrella - one that's small enough to fit in a handbag!
  • Waterproof pleather boots
  • Individual chocolate mug cakes
  • Lip Balm! The current favourite is Bonne Bell Baby Lips - Pink Lolita 

Don't forget to check out my instagram and pinterest!

What I'm reading at the moment

There hasn't been a time since childhood when I haven't been reading a book (or three). I have a stack of at least 5 books next to my bed (even though I generally don't read in bed I just realised.. hmm), and I have around 200 books on my digital reader I am attempting to work my way through (mostly the free classics that are complementary with the device).
I find it comforting to know that I have something to read when I am on the train, or relaxing at home. Which obviously leads to panic and depression when I have finished all of the books I was reading, and am left desolate and bookless until I can find something new (or old) to fill the void.

At the moment I am in the middle of the George R.R. Martin series A Song of Ice and Fire (who isn't?) and I am currently up to book four A Feast for Crows.

My slightly worn out copy of A Game of Thrones

For those that have never heard of A Song of Ice and Fire, or watched the HBO series Game of Thrones (where have you been?), it is a fantasy series set in the fictional land of Westeros, which focuses primarily on the fight for the coveted Iron Throne of Westeros, and indirectly on the lives of the Starks of Winterfell.
So it is basically told in lots of different voices of characters throughout the series, and each book changes narrators as George R.R. Martin picks and chooses who he will unceremoniously slaughter, much to your joy or dismay.

I won't give out any spoilers, because I have no interest in making enemies at this stage, but I will say that everyone I know that has read, or watched this series has become captivated, no matter if they are fans of the fantasy genre or not (generally I am not), so I encourage everyone to give it a read/watch.
...even though I can't get my very open minded boyfriend to watch it..(though I have a feeling that may be because I have already ruined it for him by gasping in horror and shock at every turn of the page.. and by telling him everything that has happened).

Generally as I read something modern, I will be tackling a classic at the same time so that I can give my brain a little respite. At the moment that classic is the Shakespearean "comedy" All's Well That Ends Well. It isn't much of an epic, and it is relatively light, though I still like to read Shakespeare in small doses, otherwise I find that I start thinking in iambic pentameter.

If you'd like to see more of what I'm reading right now, and what I've read recently, take a look at my Goodreads page!

If you're a fan of Game of Thrones, or just looking for a giggle, don't forget to check out my Pinterest  page.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie

 As soon as I saw the clouds this afternoon i knew this was going to be our dinner for tonight. 
For some reason every time it gets cold I crave this meal. It's easy, relatively quick (depending on how many distractions you have at the time), and totally hits the spot!
There is something completely retro about this meal, it is something my mum or dad would have cooked for us when we were really little, and it always reminds me of the 80's and 90's.. It might just be me, but I love that it makes me think of that time.

(Sorry about the poor quality of the photographs, I am not a photographer, and only have a point-and-shoot at the moment, and not much time for editing. I am hoping to improve with practice, so please be patient with me!)

 I like to cut my vegetables fairly rough, because I like to be able to see all of them when I cut into my pie, but you can do it how you like... That's the best thing about this recipe, it can be adapted to suit your own personal tastes. 


Ingredients List

  • 4 Potatoes - washed, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small Sweet Potato (prep as above)
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Cup Vegetable stock
  • 1 Carrot - Peeled then diced or grated (as you prefer)
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans
  • 1 Can/Container texturized vegetable protein (I use Sanitarium brand)
  • 5 Mushrooms - sliced
  • Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • Frozen Peas and Corn
  • Cumin & Paprika
  • Savoury Yeast flakes
  • Garlic Salt


  1. Boil water in a medium pot and place in potatoes and sweet potatoes until soft enough to mash.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot and add chopped onions and garlic. 
  3. Once the onion is clear add in the spices. 
  4. Add the tvp and stir to mix through the garlic and onion. Leave to cook through for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add the rinsed kidney beans and tinned tomatoes, then let the sauce simmer on medium until most of the liquid has evaporated. 
  6. Add the chopped vegetables and frozen vegetables, then the vegetable stock, and leave on a low heat until the vegetables are cooked. 
  7. After the vegetables are cooked, add the worcestershire sauce and taste to make sure no added seasonings are needed at this point. If so, add more paprika and cumin to taste. 
  8. Drain and mash the potatoes while the sauce simmers, adding the vegan butter and soy milk until it is just fluffy enough. 
  9. Ladle the mixture into bowls, spoon the mashed potato on top and sprinkle with the savoury yeast flakes and garlic salt.
  10. Place the bowls in the oven, and cook on high for 5 minutes, or until the potato is golden and crispy on top.

Erin xo

Dont forget to check out my Instagram for more photos of my food..

Sunday, 14 July 2013

My Little Family


Suzie is a 6 year old English Staffy that we adopted from the RSPCA in May 2012.


She had kennel cough, fleas, was severely malnourished/underweight and had recently given birth to a litter of puppies.
After months of healthy meals and walks she gained weight and energy, and is now completely content to sleep on the lounge or bed all day until we come home from work. She receives lots of kisses, cuddles and food every day and is spoilt rotten by Travis.

Suzie likes

Lower back scratches

Suzie dislikes: 

When we leave for work
Being outside
Raw carrots


Radley is a 2yo Kelpie x Staffy that we adopted from the pound the day he was to be euthanised in April 2013.
Radley - being cuddly

Radley was a stray who had been in the pound for months before we saw him on their "kill list" and decided to adopt him. 
He, like Suzie, had kennel cough and fleas, and his tail had been cut off at some point in his poor life.
Radley shadows everyone through the house - begging for attention and love. He is such a softie, we can't imagine what life would be like without him anymore!

Radley Likes

Ear scratches
Getting into cupboards
Chewing.....everything (my glasses, lounge cushions, books...) 
Chocolate - much to our displeasure

Radley dislikes:

The vacuum cleaner


I adopted Domino from the RSPCA as a kitten 4 years ago.

Domino - reading

She can be quite temperamental, but loves to snuggle with Travis in the mornings after I get up to go to work. 
She is very protective of her food, and if she can get to it, she will! 
Domino is like a perpetual kitten, she is slight, and very playful! As soon as the lights go out at night, she seems to think that means it's time to play! 

Domino Likes:

Sharing Pillows
Sitting on any computer/paper/book you are using
Staring at me until I wake up
Attacking feet from hidden places

Domino Dislikes:

Being ignored


Travis is the best boyfriend anyone could ask for, he is considerate, kind, and compassionate.
Of course we have our moments - someone forgot to do the washing up, or whose turn it is to turn the light off before bed - but neither of us would be happy if there weren't little things to argue about every now and then ;-) 

Travis likes: 

Triple chocolate chip anything
Vintage watches
Superhero movies

Travis dislikes:

Public transport
Working on weekends