Author: whatacharacterdnd

This latest blog is about making characters for Dungeons and Dragons with a bit of everything DnD on the side. This blog originally started as a way to follow my first 365 turning vegan. In homage to it's original purpose (and because its hella fun) I will also be adding recipes to go with the characters I create. Every character deserves a favourite food :)

Banana custard is delicious recipe

After a long time of eating the same old same old I finally branched out again, into the easiest new recipe I could find: Banana custard. It requires only 7 ingredients and takes only 14 minutes to prep and make.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 4 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large, ripe, mashed bananas
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • As much cinnamon as you desire

Method:

  1. Sift corn starch, sugar and salt into a medium-large pot.
  2. Add milk and mashed banana into mixture. Whisk the mixture until there are limited to no banana chunks left.
  3. Cook mixture on a medium heat, stirring regularly. Continue this until the trail does not close in upon itself – this usually takes approximately 10 minutes. I kept cooking for another 2 minutes after this occurred for extra thickness.
  4. Remove mixture from heat and mix in vanilla essence and cinnamon.

At this point the mixture tastes good. Let it sit for 5 minutes and really absorb the vanilla and cinnamon then try it. So much more deliciousness.

As usual, carnivorous friends did the taste test. Thus far this has been graded as one of my better concoctions and worthy of being made again. And they have told me when to let a recipe go.

This quest for a new recipe began when a close friend became unwell and as a result required a much healthier, stricter diet. When I heard he couldn’t even eat cake (the horror!) I knew I had to find healthy vegan recipes to bring back the joy to his diet. This meant not only finding vegan, but finding little to no sugar, fat, carbohydrates or dangerous additions added in the form of numbers and misleading terms such as “made from natural ingredients”. It’s not the easiest task.  It may come down to creating completely new recipes.

If anyone knows of genuinely healthy recipes and would like to hear me giving them a whirl and how it went down the carni’s send me a link in the comment section. My friend and his very supportive and cake deprived girlfriend will be very delighted and grateful 🙂

Have a happy summer ya’ll!

Summer Tay.

P.S. My peace candle melted in the heat, during G20. Meanwhile Russia has its navy on the Australian (my countries) borders. That candle has been around longer than I have and it chooses now to melt?

ABC, easy as 123, simple as do re mi, pls set the animals free.

Warning: graphical description ahead. 

My first thought when I read this article was “they’ll just shape the law to make “animal abuse” an arbitrary, meaningless term. This will never work.” I feel so jadded.

When animals in cages smaller than their wing span isn’t considered abuse what is? When forced vaginal entry and permanent fornification until insemination/lactation isn’t considered abuse what is? How are they intending to measure this to determine abuse – will efficiency, profit, quality or quantity of meat/dairy/eggs/produce be factored in? Just what exactly will and will not be classified as abuse?

The entire process seems so horrifically abusive that to have any compassion at all for the animals the entire industry would be shut down. Since that isn’t likely to happen via this potential new law it can be argued that their concept of what is and isn’t abuse will be skewered.

Summer Tay.

Chocolate coated balls – a recipe

Tl/Dr: Make churroes in ball shape, make spanish hot chocolate as your drink and dipping sauce in one. Buy from op shops. 

I do not own a piping bag. To look at all the food makers of all genres this feels a bit like not having a TV, but in kitchen utencil form.  But this is ok, I have learnt to make do. For example today I decided it had been too long since the sweet yet savoury and oh so delicious taste of churros had delighted my taste buds, so I decided to give it a go.

The Ingredients 

  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tbs white sugar
  • ½ tsp pink salt
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • Oil
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tbs ground cinnamon

The method

  1. Combine water, sugar, salt and vegetable oil in a medium pot. Stir mixture until the mixture becomes a paste.
  2. Preheat oven at 180 degrees. Place sufficient vegetable oil into a baking pan.
  3. Roll paste into small-medium sized balls. Or pipe them into a long churro shape. Place on baking pan and put into oven. Cook for approx. 10 minutes or until the mixture looks slightly brown. Drain on a paper towel.
  4. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl/lidded cup. Roll churros in mixture.
  5. Create a chocolate dipping sauce, dip the churros into the dipping sauce, then eat.

I poured the cinnasugar mixture into the chip n dip then rolled it in that. It worked. This recipe made about 13 churro balls, so probably 4 normal sized churros. Making really small balls then minimising cooking time to probably 5 minutes would make for a great party treat.

The sauce was discover whilst on a search for a good, thick, Spanish hot chocolate recipe. Coincidentally this drink can double as a churro dipping sauce. How could I pass uop the opportunity to make my sauce and drink at the same time?

The ingredients  

  • 5 tbs Cocoa
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • ½ tbs corn starch (or in my case corn flour) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup organic oat milk.

The Method
1. Combine all ingredients in a deep pot and continually stir on a lowish-medium heat.  Continue this until the mixture is at your desired consistency.

2. Pour delicious hotness all over your churros / dip your churro balls into the mixture in a classy fashion and do not double dip. 

The churro recipe was sourced from all recipes whilst the Spanish hot chocolate X churro dipping sauce came from may I have that recipe. The dipping sauce is supposed to have corn starch, however I used corn flour. The grocery stores didn’t have the starch, I had to improvise. It did not come out drinkable.

The chip n dip is also my latest kitchen addition. Less than half the original price at the local second hand store, still unopened in its box. It’s on its first week and already been used twice. This thing looks impressive on the table. I thoroughly recommend op shopping.

Hope you like the recipe and churroes in their new shape. No offence to regular churroes.

With love,

Summer Tay.

People power and chocolate loans

Everywhere I look all I see are good places to start an organic vegan restaurant/cafe/drinks/ice cream bar. One is even right next to an organic grocery store in a high end food market (aka building filled with only restaurants, cafes, ice cream and a grocery store – all slightly expensive). I’d do it if I had the know-how. Instead I found a similar minded person and helped fund them instead.

Choquiero is an impressive vegan chocolate store that has popped up recently in Cali, USA. By store I mean a zealous vegan chocolatier named Ariel who has successfully sold chocolates for the past few months and has the intent to make it brick n mortar (shopfront) style. He needs a kiva-loan. Currently at 30% funded he has 5 days to go before his loan expires. Looking at the pics of his chocolates, and knowing first hand kiva lenders pay you back, I’m down with giving him some moolah. Check him out: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/4751, and if you get some of his chocolates eat one for me. I’ll try to get over there sometime myself but in the meantime let me live vicariously through you, oh taster of chocolates. 

For those who don’t know kiva is a web based loans system allowing everyday persons to lend money to each other interest free, removing the need for a banking institutions involvement. This process has been highly successful as people from all over the world can be lender and/or lendee to anyone else anywhere in the world. To me, knowing the name and face and business my money is being lent to, knowing that they know my name and face, and personally loaning a person money (with the assistance of the internet) feels good. A bank impersonally lending my money along with countless others (or creating money out of thin air) to any cause it determines profitable for itself with heavy interest charges and unpleasant tactics for money retrieval is on the way out thanks to websites like Kiva. I like that.   

I wonder if Ariel could and would mail his chocolates to Australia.  

To empowering the people and to chocolate,

Summer Tay.

Chocolate Mug Cake – a (semi-healthy) recipe

Hello taste perfectioners! Today I bring to you the easiest cake I have yet to make: the Chocolate Mug Cake.

The cake that takes only 8 ingredients to make and about 3 minutes to create this recipe is fantastic for the lazy time restricted chocolate lover. The kitchy bit is that you make it in a mug – the perfect hiding place for your yum-noms from your partner, children, flatmates, co-workers and other prying eyes and hungry mouths. Who looks for chocolate cake in a mug?

Ingredients:
2 tbs Cocoa powder
3 tbs white flour
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt
1tbs + 2tsp sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
1 mashed banana
4 tbs oat or almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract

Method:
1. Mix the first 5 ingredients thoroughly together in a large bowl. Sift as required.
2. Mash that banana!
3. Add the last 3 ingredients together mixing really well.
4. Pour the ingredients into your favourite mug.
5. Cook her up for 30seconds – 2 minutes (depending on consistency of cake) in the microwave.
6. Grab a teaspoon and eat your cake like a boss.

I tried this cake with coconut oil subbed for mashed banana. It was nice, but banana was nicer. The original recipe, sourced from avid baker-blogger Chocolate Covered Katie included an optional peanut butter icing. My version came out like peanut butter with an intense sugar content. If you have the extra few minutes give it a try though, or just smear peanut butter straight up all over your cake. It could work.

I would give you a pic of the cake but each one I made came out looking disgusting, which is the exact opposite of the taste, there-for for your viewing pleasure I have opted to not add the obligatory finished product pic.

Tip: Be careful when selecting your mug. Do not use a mug that increases in size as it goes up but rather a straight up and down one as this will affect your cakes cooking time requirements. That is, the bottom will cook faster than the top. Eating it was something like a trial in earth excavation, with each bite taking you further down into a whole new consistency and slight changes in taste. It was an interesting experience.

Bana-nana-nana-nana choc cake!

Summer Tay.

Ever wanted to tell a polly what you think? Go for it!

 Teo Zagar, Member of Vermonts House of Representatives has gone onto reddit to answer questions regarding a supposed GMO labelling bill. Questions and comments raised have been very intelligent. the house member advised that he would be back later to continue answering questions so if you have any now is a good time to get in there. 

The last I had read about GMO labelling was that at least 37 GMO foods were being granted “Organic” status under the (American) law. If I find that proof again that’s where my question will be headed.   

For agriculture,

Summer Tay

Because her cat is just that cute.

I worry about my neighbours cat. For anonymitys sake lets her honeybun, because her actual name is equally ridiculous and frankly I find honeybun a funny and befitting name for this adorable cat.

Honeybun is your standard domestic cat with her awesome level set to 1000. She wants pats like a dog seeing its owner after a long holiday. She likes to explore your house like Tomb Raider likes to explore tombs. She loves everyone to no exception and isn’t afraid to show it. Or at least she did.  A few months ago HB got into a bit of scuffle with some youths. They beat her up with their fists, feet and pushbikes (yes pushbikes, they were that young). The owner took a swift course of action: she kept Honeybuns inside for a week (no vet, no meds, just inside).

Now Honeybuns is a scared little cat, wasted away to skin and bones and much grayer, heavily matted hair. She keeps scratching herself too, which means fleas.Her beautiful teeth are almost all gone. My suspicions include not being fed, organ damage, fleas, worms and gum disease.  So Ive opted to take her to the vet. Eventually.

The issues here are, she ain’t my cat, and I ain’t rich. Since she isn’t my cat I have no right to feed her, let alone take her to the vet. Another nearby neighbour has been “caught ” feeding Honeybuns in the past and got a new one torn (which is why my feeding her has been strictly indoors, much to my mothers and my hairs chagrin).

It is possible Honeybuns owner does not realise her cat doesn’t have teeth anymore and has been trying to plump her up with cat biscuits. Which of course don’t get eaten due to an inability to chew them. Hence, her owner assumes the cat is choosing not to eat. Or so I assume…

Between a significant lack of money and a non-ownership of the dear pussycat I am stuck waiting until my funds repleat. What I’m wondering is how much money should I accumulate before taking her to the vet. I know she needs medical attention several months ago. A recap of above: check her vitals over the beating from months ago, check her teeth and gums for issues, get rid of the fleas and the tail hair clump and the possible worms, how much is all that going to cost me? The embarrassment of going in and then not having anywhere near enough money to pay for her is probably what stopped her actual owner in the first place. The fear of going to help the cat only to be rejected and the owner notified of my attempt… Once that clump of hair is gone her owner is bound to notice someone has been taking care of her cat again :S

Emotionally, HB seems to have good days and bad days. Today she cannot stand to be touched and moews louder than I have ever heard her meow before. It is a bad day. I hope to one day see her be her old self again. Until then I will keep trying to woo her over with food and an eventual scary vet trip.

If it were your neighbours cat, what would you do? Leave her be because she isn’t yours, let the owner know your thoughts/suggestions and be done with the matter, or break societal norms and anonymously help out in an obvious manner?

Yours,

Summer Tay.

“Meat is healthy” says meat industry.

TLDR: Meat industry tells governments to change scientific research paper findings from meat is unfit for human consumption to eat meat regularly – because the industry would die otherwise.

Good morning! How have you been? I have been splendid! Well, in truth I’ve been wondering where on earth the juicing part of my juicer went, wondering how the waitress cross cook got vegan mixed up with please put beef mince and cheese on my pizza, indefinitely borrowing a spare juicer part from some friends (oh how I love my friends right now *drinks fresh orange juice for the first time in over a month*),  and wondering why God is so cruel as to give watermelon an off season.

These thoughts were put aside as a full scale hunt (google search) was made for intelligent nutrition youtube channels. It took a minute to find a list that wasn’t purely about celebrities and how to lose weight – mostly lose weight. Then I found nutrition.org.

Hosted by Dr. Michael Gregor, the channel takes on scientific research and journal entries relating or relevant to health, nutrition and the food industry. The video that got my attention was titled The Funding Effect. The video makes use of several published research papers that discuss the correlation of scientific paper results and the desired result of the person or corporation funding said paper.

What the video found was that a research paper into the meat industry found animal to be unsuitable for human consumption. This did not go down well with the animal consumption (meat, dairy, eggs) industry. If people were advised by their government not to eat any meat, eggs or dairy, then they would do so. The industry pressured the government to change the wording. The government met them half way: eat less meat, eggs and dairy. This was still not good enough. If people are advised to eat less, they will want to know why. The meat/animal consumption industry believes so strongly that if you knew what meat and egg and dairy is really doing to your health you would not eat that. Their industry would go out of business you would be that adverse to it. Therefor the wording must advise the population to eat meat, eggs and dairy on a regular basis for a healthy diet. Otherwise the economy, the animal industry argues, will suffer.

Of course in reality the agriculture and other industries would absorb the economic effect and employees of the animal industry would have found jobs quickly in agriculture and other positively affected industries.

Some would still say that human health should not be placed before corporate profit and the industry should still survive because the economy, and to them I say ok, then go brush your teeth with radium in an asbestos house with lead pipes. No?

Suggestion@Google: If you’re really not going to stop posting ridiculous lose weight adverts everywhere at least have the decency to link us some sexy flowery muumuus as well.

Suggestion@science: If you’re going to allow corporations to fund scientific research then insist all contributing corporations be identified on the paper in an easily accessible, easy to read fashion.
Ultimately, research papers such as this will always have money involved, because even if an industry doesn’t pay for the research, they can pay or lobby the government to keep research from the public. Never-the-less, I’d still like to know if my research was brought to me by a person or company with a vested interest in the research findings.

Stay profitable compadres,

Summer Tay.

*If you’re interested in learning more on the funding effect then here is a link to a free paper of Sheldon Krimskys work similar to that mentioned in the video linked above. The one mentioned would cost $30 and as much as I like you, I don’t spend $30 and break a (albeit terrible) law for you like you.

*fun fact: according to scientific studies, soft drink coca cola is good for you and has 0 negative health affects, yay! …

Day 151: 3.14 For Brunch (Because I’m Aussie)

So it’s been a while. I promised I would be back the moment I had something intelligent to say, and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening, so here I am, babbling. I’m still going to write a post though, so if you’re down for some mind numbingly unintelligent chatter to get you through another work day then here goes:

Do you remember the first time you bought a blender, or that first kitchen appliance you bought and people said “pah, you’ll use it once or twice, then it’ll sit there collecting dust”? But you knew better. Such excitement and dedication as yours never dwindles or dies. Cut to present day and dang if they were not at least half right.

I have not used the blender in weeks, not counting yesterday’s milkshake. The blender I confess, it makes a lot of mess. Especially when I make my beloved avo pesto. There is a lot of sticky stuck avo pesto on the blender base and blades every time. The amount of wastage brings tears to the eyes, figuratively speaking. I honestly thought people who complained about cleaning the appliances where just lazy, non-enthusiastic people who like to whinge about doing anything. To all of those people, I still think that way, however I acknowledge that I am also right there with you. Anything that takes more than 2 seconds to clean well is indeed slightly annoying.

I have yet to unpack the juicer since the move 3 months ago. This is because at first it took a while to find my official juicer cleaner, the cleaner thingy dedicated purely to cleaning my juicer immediately after each use and nothing else. Once that was found, I had to find the juicer. Once that was found, I had to go out. When I came home, poof! juicer had disappeared again. Apparently the spot I had put it in was a mess, it was in the way and it had to be moved to a non-memorised location. Ah, the joys of housemates. Probably easily findable, but I’m not sure where my official juicer cleaner has gotten to now. Not sure I want to know…

I love vegan pies. The only vegan pie to my knowledge is this:

becauseimaussie

Buying them from Coles costs about the same as a regular pie from a moderately priced bakery, but you get to cook it yourself. Knowing my cooking prowess, many are probably chuckling “burn it yourself you mean”. But no, I have cooked 2 of them thus far and can honestly say that burning them seems almost as impossible as a Tom Cruise movie being good. Massive props to the company for this please pass your pie making knowledge to the rest of the world.
The inside is mushroom and weird gravy stuffs. Now with 10% more mushy gravy stuffs! Considering how much they have now, they really didn’t make much of a 3.14 before. Huzzah for perfectly timed new product trying!

My best friend, who I visit often, is now eating the exact same cereal I was eating. Key word: was. The whole point of a best friend is to have different foods when you get sick of your own kitchen without the hassle of busy restaurants and expensive menus. Does he not know his purpose in (my) life? He is ruining my brunch!

Now back to the juice. The saddest part in all this is that packaged juice now tastes like coke did after not drinking it for ages. It tasted like why the hell would anyone drink this? I had spoiled myself with my fresh juices of yester-days. So be warned, once you try fresh juice, it will be very difficult to go back. And I’m not just talking the cheap, on the warm shelf juice either, I’m talking the supposed 100% fresh juice on the cold shelf with the pulp still in it and the $5+/2L price tag.. So if the fancy branded fresh grocery store juice is supposed to be good for you, why does it taste so bleh in comparison? Hmmmm…

Well I hope you enjoyed my random rant for today. Hopefully I’ll be back soon with something more substantial to say but for now, hooray! Rejoice for I am back (again and hopefully for good).

Summer Tay.

Day 115: The Day I Officially Stop Doing This Daily

For the second time in a row I have been AWOL from my beloved blog and from you. The reason why is the last blog I wrote was long, and it was factual, it was funny, it was good, it was deleted and replaced with a draft for a different piece when I pressed publish. I was not amused, and I did not have the time to re-write. Several days later (aka now) I have officially decided that I don’t want to this every day anymore.

Well I do, but, I have found one personal issue with doing so – the blog feels rushed. Not enough time in the day to properly research a subject, make sure it’s funny and informative and proofread before posting. It is mainly for this reason but also those above that I am only going to post when I have something truly worthy of your gorgeous, intelligent eyes to read. I will also be doing posts of just pictures on occasion. This may lead to more than one post a day. It’ll be so worth it, if I may say so myself.

Brace yourself, awesome posts are coming.

Summer Tay.

In other news, I just found out there are recipes for making tofu taste like real bacon. Trying really hard not to get my hopes up but oh dear holy angels who art on heaven let it be true. (Damn I miss bacon. And cheese. Vegan Cheesy Bacon I will find a way and I will make you and you shall be delicious.)