Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vegan Banana and Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

I have lost count of how many hot chocolate recipes I had made, but tonight I add another one to that list of goodness knows how many. 

This hot chocolate was definitely needed. I've had a busy week and today was my unwind day. Nothing better to wind down with on a winters night than a nice hot cup of cocoa. 

There were two separate recipes on the website Knitted Bliss for Banana Hot Chocolate and Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate, but I decided to combine the two flavours into one.

I really love the banana-peanut butter flavour combination so this was great. I've made a chocolate banana and peanut butter smoothie before, but I've never tried it as a hot drink. Tastes good both hot or cold if you ask me.

On a side note, my brother and I were watching some episodes of the TV show Friends today, and we watched the episode "The One With All The Resolutions". In this episode, Ross made a New Year's resolution to do something new each day. For the first time ever, I felt like my life was like a tv show because I'm doing something new just like Ross. 

One of Ross' new things was to wear a pair of leather pants. He got too hot wearing them and took them off in the bathroom of the girl he was on a date with. When he tried to get them back on, they wouldn't go up because either they shrunk or his "legs expanded" from the heat. It's a funny episode, as is every other episode of Friends.

Maybe my something new one day can be to wear a pair of leather pants. At least because it's winter, I won't get too sweaty in them :)

Vegan Banana and Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

Serves 1

  • 1 cup soy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon dutch processed cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (crunch or smooth, and add more if you prefer)
Note: if you're using unsweetened soy (or other non-dairy) milk, then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and 2 teaspoons of any sweetener. 

  1. Blend the peanut butter and banana together with about 1/4 of the milk in a food processor. 
  2. Heat the remaining milk and the cocoa in a saucepan until hot.
  3. Add the peanut butter and banana mixture and stir well to combine. 
  4. Pour into mug. 
  5. I suggest using a big mug just in case the hot chocolate is too thick for you. That way you can just add extra milk and not get any over flow. We must not waste any of the hot chocolate!!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Perth Roller Derby

Have you seen the movie Whip It starring Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore? It's about a girl named Bliss Cavendar (played by Ellen Page) who joins a roller derby team, defying the 'beauty pagent' image that her mother has imposed on her. 

Before seeing this movie, I had never really known what a roller derby was. Basically, it's contact sport where each team has a designated player that scores by overtaking players of the opposite team as they lap around the track. The rules are pretty straight forward and you can read up on it on Wikipedia...or watch the movie. 

My friend had mentioned to me last year that Perth had it's own roller derby league and I was so interested in going to watch one of the games because it looked like a lot of fun.

I never got around to going to watch a game because I didn't really think anyone would want to go with me. Hence, time passed and I forgot about wanting to go until just a few weeks ago when I was thinking of things to add to my list of new things to do this year. 

I hopped onto the Perth Roller Derby website and saw that the grand final was tonight. Since starting my blog, my friends have been so supportive and are always willing to do new things with me and so it was no trouble finding people to go with me. 

There was a great turn out at the derby tonight. The grand final was between the teams Mistresses of Mayhem and The Apocalipsticks. Each player also had their own quirky name. A few of my favourites were Cinderkilla, Weapon of Ass Destruction, Edward Slaughterhands, Stevie Thunder and Parasite Hilton. 

We really got into the game. It was just really good seeing all these talented women pushing and shoving while of skates. There was heaps of vicious play, but it was all in good fun...and it made for great entertainment. In the end, The Apocalipsticks won. Congratulations to them!

Even though the season has ended for this year, add it to your list of things to do for next year. Bring your loudest cheering voice because it's so much fun cheering the players on, and I'm sure they appreciate the crowd's support too. 

It was called the 'Suicide Zone' because it was the area where the girls could fall over and so if you happen to be sitting there, then you'd get hit. And yes, it actually happened. There was one big collision where two girls and a ref collided into the people sitting in one of the suicide zones.

The player with the star on their helmet is the one who can score the points. They are the "jammers".

Even the refs all had a cool name.

This kid was awesome. He skated around the track with one of the score boards. We liked his metallic leggings :P

Friday, June 28, 2013

Man of Steel

Man of Steel hit cinemas on the 27th of June over here in Australia. As an avid comic book fan, I was super pumped to go see it but had to wait until today because of such a busy week I was having. 

I brought along none other than my comic book partner in crime and brother, Peter. We were running late and so we ended up with seats five rows from the screen and all the way on the side. At first we were pretty disappointed, but once the movie started, it didn't really matter. 

I really enjoyed Man of Steel. With all the Marvel movies that have come out recently, I've become used to these superhero movies being funny, but comparing Man of Steel to the Marvel movies is like comparing apples and oranges...or in this case, it's comparing two different comic universes. 

At the end of the movie, one guy in my row cheered and clapped super loud. Not sure if he really liked it or was just doing that for kicks, but I don't disapprove. I thought it was a great movie too. I give it a solid 7/10.

In the car ride home, Peter and I were discussing the movie, and he goes to me "I like that Superman didn't wear his undies on the outside". Haha I was too engrossed in the movie to even notice. But yeah, I totally agree.

I love seeing all the different types of movie posters. Here are a few I found :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Perth Museum, CNR Kitchen and A$AP Rocky

I have had a super busy day filled with a lot of new things :)

I'll start with my trip to the Perth Museum. My friend Kate, who I recently went to Melbourne with decided that she is going to spend the next 6 months doing something new each week. This week she planned to check out the State Library and Museum and was so kind as to invite me along. 

I can't remember the last time I've been in the Perth Museum to view an exhibition. I'm not even sure if I've ever been to be honest. 

The exhibition was called Secrets of the Afterlife: Magic, Mummies and Immortality in Ancient Egypt, and it was a collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. There were mummy tombs, jewellery, spells and illustrations of papyrus, hand-made tools and everything else related to how the ancient Egyptians prepared for the afterlife. 

The exhibition was great and I loved how enthusiastic the staff were. They all seemed to be so happy to be there and that good feeling rubbed off on me. 

The next new thing Kate and I did was eat lunch at a cafe called CNR Kitchen in Northbridge. I saw this cafe come up on Urbanspoon while I was searching vegan friendly restaurants in Perth and it's been on my list of places to go for a while now. 

We thoroughly enjoyed the food here. Everything was so fresh! I finished the meal feeling very full, but not that horrible kind of feeling after eating an unhealthy or heavy meal. I ordered a Cupid's Arrow drink which is strawberry, cacao, agave, almond milk milkshake. It was very different, but surprisingly refreshing for a milkshake. The fresh strawberry juice is what gives it that fresh taste. 

I also ordered vegan sliders. Instead of using those cute mini burger buns, they used think tomato slices. This was a raw meal. Normally I'm not a huge fan of raw meals because sometimes I don't find them very filling, but this was great. I highly recommend it; but you have to be a tomato lover if you want this dish. 

Left: watermelon, apple, pear and lemon juice. Right: strawberry, cacoa and agave almond milk milkshake

House fries with vegan mint aoli and tomato sauce. Vegan sliders.

Vegan lasagne.

My night ended going to see one of my favourite rappers, A$AP Rocky. To be honest, I've only just discovered him this year through a friend, but I am hooked. The show was great and I just loved being around people who were into the same kind of music that I like. 

The night was everything you'd expect from a guy like A$AP Rocky. It was wild. Or as my friend would say, it was hectic!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lectio Devina

I am quite a private person. I don't like sharing too many personal things with people that I don't know very well, purely because I want to keep things about myself, to myself. Unless of course you are my family or close friend, then I won't mind. I think maybe it's a trust thing. I'll only open up if I trust you.

Anyways, as you can imagine then, starting up this blog was not as easy as you might think. My blog can be quite personal some days.I could have easily just chosen to write about new things that don't require me to divulge too much about myself, but there are just some things I don't think I really need to hide. For example, I am a practicing Catholic and so my blog post is more spiritually centred today. 

My faith is a huge part of my life and who I am. Since this blog is going to be a huge part of who I am for this year, it just doesn't feel right if I don't share with you the wonderful new things I do to try and improve my faith. 

So anyways, something else that you might not know about me is that I try to read the Bible everyday. My wonderful friend gave me a One Year Bible. Each day there is some scripture from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs. I will normally highlight anything that stands out to me, but to be honest there are some days where I'll read the scripture and then forget what I've just read within an hour. 

At work the other day, the father or the clients that I work with asked me what I had learnt from a particular passage that we were talking about. I paused, and realised that I hadn't learnt anything because I couldn't remember anything. He later told me about the Lectio Divina, which is Latin for "Divine reading". It is a step by step instruction on how to efficiently read the Bible. It is about reading it, meditating on the word, praying to God and then contemplation which is more like a silent prayer where you listen to God's response. 

I was given a step by step instruction and used it today as I read the Bible. I found it so enlightening practicing the lectio divina. I found that the passages I read had so much more meaning. Using the lectio divina method allowed me to think deeply about what I was reading and because of this, conversation was prompted in my mind and everything that I had taken away from what the scripture was saying were teachings that would bring me closer to God. 

Reading the Bible used to just be a  quick15 minute habit, but I realise now that in order to get the most out of it, meditation and prayer also need to follow. I have found that in general, nothing worth having ever comes easy and the same applies here. I want more than anything to have God's teachings permanently in my heart so that I can go about living the way Jesus taught, but I'm not going to get there overnight. Just like everything else in life, time, effort, passion and commitment have to be put in in order to reap the rewards. 

If you also want to get more out of the Bible, I highly recommend starting with practising the lectio devina :)

The same step by step instructions that I used can be found here

More info here, here, here and here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Heavenly Plate Cafe, Applecross

Unlike in America where there are restaurants such as Native Foods, it's pretty rare to find a restaurant in little Perth that is 100% vegan; or at least that's what I thought. 

My good friend (the same one who made the Reez's Gap Year title picture) was ever so willing to try out a place called Heavenly Plate Cafe which I had stumbled across on Urbanspoon. A lot of the dishes on their menu seem very unusual. There is a dish called Triple C with Salads which is deep fried "chicken" with coke and butter sauce. Coke?!? What? We didn't try this dish but I think I'll have to try it one day. 

This cafe is one of the cutest little places I have ever stepped foot in. Everything about the decor just screams high-tea and girlie. The restaurant is divided into two sections. One side is where there are most of the tables for dining, and the other side looked more like a shop, but there were also tables on this side too. It was quiet tonight so we grabbed a table on the shop side. There were so many lovely ornaments and other cute knick knacks for sale which were displayed on shelves. 

My friend and I were so impressed with the food. We decided that because everything on the menu was vegan, we'd go all out and order entrees, mains and dessert. All the meat was mock meat, made from soy and vegetarian products. 

We started with wedges and wasabi mayonnaise. We were intrigued by the wasabi mayo, and to our surprise it was super delicious. There was only a hint of wasabi flavour, but it still complimented the wedges beautifully. There was a bit of nori (sea weed) sprinkled over the wedges which was a nice accompaniment to the wasabi. 

I had read a few reviews on Urbanspoon, and the Spaghetti Green Curry dish seemed to be a common favourite. I ordered this and my friend ordered the Japanese steak burger. The curry was definitely a good choice. We both liked this one. The steak burger was also pretty good. Instead of a bun, the "steak" was placed between rice which had been moulded into the shape of hamburger buns. Quite creative.

My favourite part of dinner was the hazelnut hot chocolate we ordered for dessert. The hazelnut flavour was rich and there were bits of nougat in the drink which was yummy. This one is definitely for any sweet tooth out there. I loved this drink so much. I would go back here again and again just for this liquid goodness.

There was also a selection of vegan desserts on display as well. We ordered the vegan black forest cake and somehow managed to fit that into our stomachs. The cake was light and fluffy and not too sweet, so it went down well with the rich hot chocolate. Before they brought out the cake, my friend and I thought that they were just going to cut a slice and put it on a plate, but they actually went to the effort and did such a fantastic job plating up. The plate had chocolate sauce around the edge and cocoa powder around the cake. Absolutely lovely. 

I had a really great experience eating here. I will be back for sure. 

Note: I forgot my SD card for my camera at home today and so I couldn't take photos on my Olympus. The photos I took do not do the place justice. The cafe is a million times cuter in person. Please check it out some time :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Vegan chai white hot chocolate

I decided to try another of the hot chocolate recipes from the Knitted Bliss: The Seven Days of Hot Chocolate series

Tonight I made white chocolate chai hot chocolate. I love anything chai!

I did things a tiny bit different from the original recipe and I added extra chai spices. When ever I make homemade chai lattes I'll use cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, ground ginger, white pepper, star anise and sometimes nutmeg. To simplify things, you can just use cinnamon, cloves and cardamon and you'll still get that wonderful chai flavour.

I must say, with all these hot chocolate recipes, I'm running out of pretty mugs to use for the photos! I think I'll start needing to ask my friends to lend me whatever fancy mugs they have in their cupboards.

Vegan Chai White Hot Chocolate

Serves 1

  • 1 cup soy milk (I used 1/2 unsweetened and 1/2 vanilla soy milk)
  • 30-50g vegan white chocolate (depending on how sweet you want the drink)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/8 ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/8 ground star anise (optional)
  • 1/8 nutmeg
  • 1/8 allspice
  1. Heat soy milk and stir in spices. Whisk until combined.
  2. Lower heat and add white chocolate. Stir until combined.
  3. Pour into mug and sip down that chocolatey chai goodness. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bibbulmun Track

I am going to start by saying that I'm really exhausted right now. I was up at 5am this morning and I had a physically tiring day so if my words are not coherent, you'll have to forgive me. 
My friend Nhi told me a few weeks ago that some of her work colleagues were going to do a 15km (9.3 mile) trek along the Bibbulmun Track from Kalamunda to Mundaring Weir. This was a fundraising event to sponsor one of the ladies who would be doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer

Nhi thought this would be a great 'something new' to do; we'd also be doing it for a good cause and since we've been so into our fitness this year, how could we say no? 

Nhi, her boyfriend Adam and I had a very eventful morning which consisted of a whole bunch of setbacks, making us a little bit late meeting the rest of the group. Despite all of this however, we managed to have a good laugh at it all. While we were driving in the car we were saying that it's the crazy hectic moments that sometimes make something even more memorable. 

The group broke off into groups and the three of us stuck together the whole way. It felt like we were going uphill for most of the trek. It is definitely not a simple walk across a flat terrain. No sir. 

The uphill was tiring and the downhill was a bit scary at times because of loose gravel and rocks. But the scenery was always amazing. 

It was so lovely to get into the outback and really embrace Australian nature. There was one amazing moment where three kangaroos hopped right past us. It blows my mind that we were there at that very moment to witness something so lovely up close. I've never seen kangaroos so close out in nature before. 

The weather was also kind to us today. Storms were forecast, but the rain held out until the very end of the trek. It was all just so perfect. 

At the end of the walk, there was a lovely cafe/bar called Mundaring Weri Hotel waiting for us with hot food and cold water. It was such a beautiful place. It had that very antique feel about it. There was a lamb on the spit cooking outside and they even had their own woodfired oven. The service was great and the pricing was pretty good too. 

After our bellies were filled and we were on our jolly way home down Kalamunda Road, we saw the most beautiful scene of Perth city on the horizon. I was too slow and didn't get a photo in time so Nhi turned the car around so that I could hop out and capture it. 

It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The photo is lovely, but it just doesn't do it justice compared to what my eyes saw. 

I really love Perth, and so to see the tall buildings which represent the city, just standing to tall and looking so tiny from the view on the hill, it just took my breath away. It was the best way to end such a wonderful day. It left me speechless, and even now as I think about that beautiful moment all words have left me. 

The last thing I'll say though, is that my muscles are going to be sore tomorrow. 

We liked this because the tree was pretty much embedded into the rock.

We were getting pretty high up at this point.

This path lead all the way down. We were getting even higher up!

Mundaring Weir from a distance. The first time I had ever seen it.

Mundaring Weir close up. The dam wall was huge! Bigger than I expected.

Mundaring Weir Hotel.

This picture was hand drawn onto the wall.
So beautiful.