Monday, 2 July 2018

Meatless Monday - Vegetable and Mushroom Soup

Well, it's well and truly Winter now, so I thought I would make a nice creamy vegetable soup. The soup I made is completely vegan and the wonderful creamy texture comes from the vegetables themselves.

To me, the best part of vegetable soup is, you can put literally any vegetables in it. Even if you don't like some of them, when you blend it up, it will probably taste just fine. Generic soup taste!

To start, I like to get some onion and celery frying off in the bottom of the saucepan with a little vegetable oil. This time I used one brown onion, one red onion, and about four stems of celery. I put most of the leaves in as well, since my stems were a little thin, being home grown. Sometimes I'll pop about a teaspoon of minced garlic in at this stage as well, but honestly, I forgot...

You can leave the onion and celery (and garlic and carrot if you want to add those) to do their thing for a few minutes, and just come poke it with a wooden spoon every so often to make sure it's not sticking to the pot. When you're home, clothing, hopes and dreams start smelling of onion and it looks sort of like this:

It's time to move on to the next step. You can add either one litre of vegetable stock, or one litre of boiling water and a stock powder or vegetable soup base of your choice. I really like to add a sachet of spring vegetable simmer soup mix.

Give it a little stir through, then add literally any vegetables in the whole world. If you're going to blend it up and make it creamy, you'll need to use some pumpkin, sweet potato or potato. I used pumpkin and sweet potato in mine. When it comes back to the boil, turn the burner down to a simmer.

Gentle stirring should be enough to push all the pieces of vegetable under the water:

Now if you want to, you can add some flavour enhancements, such as herbs and spices. Since the base of my soup is pumpkin, I added some herbs from my garden that go well with pumpkin. I chose rosemary and curry plant leaf. I was going to add a little parsley as well, except I forgot.

Basically now, it's just waiting and occasionally stirring. I let mine simmer at this stage for about twenty minutes. It's ready for the next stage when the vegetables are soft.

I have a stick blender, so I stuck it in and got pulping while it was on the stove. If you have a jug blender, you may need to wait for the soup mix to cool down before you blend it.

Now, if you just want a smooth, creamy soup you can drink, you could put mushrooms in with the other vegetables. I wanted little chewy chunks, so I sliced my mushrooms up and dropped them into my warm pot of soup. 

Stick blender away, I brought the soup back to the boil then down to a simmer as I stirred the mushrooms through. I let it infuse together for another fifteen minutes before I got some for myself!

I never claimed to be a food blogger. I can't do the pictures. But here's some in a soup cup, on my lap, when I was wearing a onesie that looks like a fox.

I hope you have a wonderful, soupy adventure!

Happy Cooking!

Cassandra Louise.

I am linking up this week with Meatless Monday at Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk and Two Wands.

Confessions of a Mother Runner

Monday, 30 April 2018

I Designed my Own Keep Cup

(This is not a paid review, I'm just very easily excited. All links are meant to open in new tabs if you're on a computer. If any don't do that, let me know and I'll get cross with them).

When I first wanted a reusable take-away coffee cup, I wrote all about it on this blog. I wrote again when I found my perfect cup. You can read about that cup by following this link. I told that link to open in a new window, so it had better... Anyway, when I got that cup, I loved it. You know what? I still love that cup. and its twin. I'll tell you a little bit about those two cups, and then get on with what you came here for.

The first cup, the one featured in the linked blog post, was free with any Nescafe purchase from Coles. That's one thing that made it the perfect cup for me at the time: I had very little money indeed as I had no job. My second reusable cup, that one's twin, I got soon after I moved to Brisbane, when I found it beside the footpath when I was walking to the bus one day... or home from the bus, I forget which. Anyway, I found it, and it didn't look like it had ever been used, so I adopted it. It's not weird.

Anyway, those cups are about six years old, now. They're still perfectly usable, because I generally only use one of them once a week or so. If I used them every day, they would be getting very old and would definitely need replacing.

Recently, my mum was in hospital in Brisbane and, since I was the only person that lived close enough, I was going to visit her every day. That's when I decided I needed a third reusable take-away cup, and when I decided that should be a Keep Cup.

Why did I decide I needed a third cup? Well, one day, both of my reusable cups were dirty and so I needed to get a paper take-away cup. Since it only happens rarely, this is fine. It is an unfortunate truth that sitting at the hospital requires coffee. The problem occurred when I heard "cappuccino" and just grabbed it and left. I had grabbed the wrong cappuccino, a simple mistake, since all the paper cups look the same. It would usually have been insignificant, but this cappuccino had vanilla syrup in it. I don't mind flavoured coffee, but flavours are for lattes, not cappuccinos, so obviously my day at the hospital was ruined!

And why did I decide my new cup had to be a Keep Cup? Well, that is an excellent question, which calls for photos!

The lids of my two old cups are like this:

It has two little holes in it: one for drinking through (the most important one), and one tiny little chimney one, which, to be fair, you probably don't actually need since the steam can probably get out the other one. These holes are both open all the time, which is great when you're drinking out of it, as it allows this to happen. When you're finished your drink and want to stick the cup back in your bag, however, it is not good. You either need to rinse your cup in a public bathroom, or wipe the inside of the cup and lid with a paper napkin, which creates waste.

In contrast, this is a Keep Cup lid:



It safely hides away under a little plug, so that you can put it in your bag and carry it home to wash, even if you don't have a spare plastic bag, or a stockpile of napkins.

I ordered my Keep Cup from the company's own website. One reason I did this was so I could come up with my own colour combination. Obviously, I chose a different colour for every piece of my cup.

The package arrived today (Monday the 30th of April). I was impressed that there was no excess packaging, the box was just the right size for my cup.

I opened it up, and stared at my beautiful little cup for a while.

Honestly, I already want to order another one, just so I can put four new colours together...

All the standard colour combinations on the Keep Cup website have cool names, like "Kinetic" or "Zephyr", so I have named my colour combination "Gladys", which I feel is as good a name for a colour combination as any.

If you want to design a Keep Cup in Gladys, choose "Punk Pink" for the cup, "Acid Plum" for the lid, "Sunflower" for the plug, and "Satsuma" for the band. YOU'RE WELCOME!

Anyway, obviously the first thing I did was compare this Keep Cup to the  reusable take-away cups I already had.

Initially, I thought the Keep Cup was slightly larger and was a little upset that I'd obviously been marginally overcharged for my hot drinks for six years, but to check, I performed the very scientific experiment of filling the old one up with cold water, and pouring it into the new one.

I did spill a bit, because I am slack and clumsy, so taking that into account, they're actually the same volume, just different dimensions. SCIENCE!

I haven't used it out yet, since I just got it today, but here I am using it at home:


I promise I'll brush my hair before I use it in public. Probably.

You can buy your own Keep Cup here. If you design one in Gladys, let me know and we can be twinsies! If you design one in a different colour scheme, let me know what you call your creation!

If you don't want to design your own, I recommend this one that is modelled on the dog man from the Star War, or if you want everyone to know you're a good person without having to tell them, you can go for this Sea Shepherd one over here or that 1 Million Women one over there. No, but seriously, Sea Shepherd and 1 Million Women are both organisations close to my heart, which I will talk more about some time when I'm not talking about cups and myself instead.

Lots of love,

Cassandra Louise.

This post has been shared on the May "Snapped Up" Linky Party

Home and Horizon Snapped Up Linky

And on Deep Fried Fruit's Lovin' Life Linky Party

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Biome Haul

(not a paid review. I just like my new stuff) 

Ok so I say "haul". It's a slight exaggeration. I only got three things, but in my defence, I am not particularly wealthy and "some stuff I got" is not as good a title.

My order arrived quickly (probably at least partly due to the company and me both being in Brisbane) and came in a lovely little brown post satchel with an exciting little sticker on it to let me know what was inside.

So what did I get!?

I'm getting to that. Do calm down. I got these things:

And this lovely little personalised note:

But I didn't test the note, I only tested the things.

The first item was this environmental toothbrush:

This isn't the first time I've used one of these toothbrushes, so I won't include a review here, but you can read all about how excited I was my first time by following this link, which will open up in a new window so you can go read it later.

The second thing I ordered were these wooden disposable teaspoons.

My plan is to always have a couple in my handbag, so if I get a coffee or a cake when I'm out, I can use them rather than the plastic ones that are usually provided. I do know from experience these spoons can be washed by hand and used a few times before they wear out, when I will pop them into my compost bin. If you try to wash them in the dishwasher, it's too hot and the spoons lose their shape. NEVER MIND HOW I KNOW!

The third item I got was these reusable produce bags, to use in place of the single-use ones provided in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket:

Each bag is fairly large, but only weighs 10 grams:

and eight bags fit into the handy carry pouch:

This one is holding just under one kilogram of bananas, and could easily hold another kilo:

The bags are made from recycled plastic bottles.

I will definitely be placing another order in the future!

If you would like to check out the range, you can visit Biome here (opens in a new window) or check out their Twitter and Facebook profiles (those do too).

Let me know what you think!

Cassandra Louise.

This post was shared in the April "Snapped Up" Linky Party.

Home and Horizon Snapped Up Linky

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Mocha Smoothie

This smoothie is an experiment. I'm making it for the first time as I write this post. I got myself a drink bottle blender from Kmart to try to trick myself into eating more healthy things. It's worked so far. I'm starting to get cocky... I mean creative. Let's get down to business!
One Weet-Bix... Weet-Bik?? What's the singular of Weet-Bix? Anyway, pop one of those bad boys on in there.
Add about 200mL of unsweetened almond milk.
The idea is to make the Weet... thingy all soft.
Add five tablespoons of caramel yoghurt OR use natural yoghurt and half a teaspoon of brown sugar. I have caramel yoghurt because I made it, I'm not even sure if it's something you can get made-up already. Someone confirm/deny.
One slightly heaped teaspoon of cocoa powder (obviously any brand is fine, I have this one because the week I bought it I was pretending to be posh).
Roughly 100mL (half an adorable froggy cup) of coffee and all that's left is blending. I see no good reason why you can't use instant, filter, whatever. Even decaf if you can find one with a taste that doesn't make you cry.

Blend all that together in whatever blendage device you have handy and drink that sucker.

Well, I just had my first sip and basically what's happened is, I'm a genius. You're welcome.


Cassandra Louise.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Making Good Blog Train: Repairing my upcycled dress

This post is part of a blog train hosted by Agatha from Green Issues by Agy on "Making Good". What is repair, and why do we even bother to repair the things we have?  Some see repair as a way of reconnecting with our possessions as we extend their lives. Others see it as a form of creative potential and an avenue to express their craft.  The rewards for mending varies from feeling immense satisfaction to prolonging the life of the product. Follow the “Making Good” blog train this month and see what we have repaired and reconnected with. Have you mended anything today?

You can catch the train here!

On Saturday we saw Kathy over at Smile For No Reason show us how to reupholster a chair. I've bookmarked that one!
I was supposed to be Sunday's post, but I got confused about dates and didn't have my post prepared until this morning.
I've gone with something simple but important to me.
If you've followed me for a long time, or you're a blog binge-reader, you may remember my first ever refashion project in which I upcycled a favourite but too small shirt and a lovely skirt into a dress so I could continue wearing them both.

You may also recall I sewed this project by hand as I didn't have access to a sewing machine and I'd had bad experiences with sewing machines anyhow.
Well, I've learned sewing machines have their virtues! I only wore my new dress a handful of times and one of my seams came apart in the wash.

It's really very tatty. BUT LOOK! :-D
I've had this sewing machine a while now and I really haven't given it many jobs, but I have one for it today! This should be an easy repair as the seam is only torn half way and so it shouldn't need to be pinned, it will hold itself.

I turned the dress inside out:
And tucked the top of the dress into the skirt, so I could just sew around the outside:
Now I can wear my lovely dress again!
For our next stop on the Blog Train, we're heading over to Maegan at Mae & K, who'll be adding her post to the train tomorrow, the 19th. I hope you've found this post useful or interesting! :-)

Happy Mending!
Cassandra Louise.