Tag Archives: Vegan

Surviving Winter: A Beautiful Wintertime Diary (continued)…

Sunday 17th November 2019:

It’s a bright and beautiful Sunday early afternoon. I spent some quiet time this morning listening to worship music, praying and praising God while playing worship songs on my violin. Taking time for a bit of self care and reflection, and tidying up, and hopefully by later this afternoon I’ll catch some of that winter sunshine while it is still here, God willing.

But back to my update on how I’m getting on with putting my Winter Survival Guide suggestions into practice. Friday night was a night for this one:  https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/129815114/posts/4891

It was cold, dark, and I’d had a long albeit productive week at work, and I was spending the evening alone. I’ve been feeling tired after work this week and working through some things that had been bothering me a bit, so I haven’t really had a lot of time or energy to put into practice some of the other perhaps more productive Winter Survival Guide tips this week, alongside the fact that I have been blogging a lot! 🙂

So, Friday night was definitely a good night for a cosy night in and for a bit of a treat, so I ordered in a takeaway, I was in the mood for Wagamama, so here are the obligatory pictures of what I got – all vegan too I’m pleased to say 🙂 Yasai Katsu Curry, and panko breadcrumb covered aubergines in a bun, with a side salad. Delish! 🙂

I ended up not watching a film, but enjoying my ‘go to’ cosy night in fix of Grey’s Anatomy.

Sometimes we just need an evening like that, no pressure, some good food, and the chance to unwind after a long week. Have you had any cosy nights in lately as winter approaches? What did you do, or do you have any film or TV recommendations?

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‘Lunch Bites’ – Bite-sized inspiration on your lunch break…

Which of us doesn’t get the ‘munchies’ during our work day? It’s all too easy to grab an unhealthy snack because it’s the easiest thing to find, and I know that I certainly have done this while at work. However, today’s inspiration for your lunch break is to spend a little bit of time the night before prepping some healthy snacks to keep you going throughout the day, and also to prep some healthy lunches. You’ll be amazed at how a few simple ingredients can go a long way, save money, and be better for your wellbeing, not to mention your waistline too! You can bring things into work and make up a lunchtime snack while you are there, and store your ingredients in the fridge – or you can do a little bit of cooking or putting things together at home and bring your lunch in. That way you know exactly what you’re getting, you’re not left with the only option of a calorific unhealthy meal, and you have a bit more change in your pockets.

For quick and easy vegan and vegetarian meal prep ideas, see my main page and click on the relevant ‘tab’ on the menu. Also, keep an eye out for some new recipe and snack ideas coming soon. Today I am enjoying a home made healthy pasta lunch, and for snacks I have been happily munching on cucumber sticks and vegan mayo which are surprisingly filling and much better than grabbing a chocolate bar from the vending machine or filling up on biscuits. Happy munching – if you have meal prep ideas, be sure to share them with us 🙂 x

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Photo by Nathan Cowley on Pexels.com

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 7

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This is another very easy and quick meal – perfect for dinner after a long day at work, and so delicious!

Very simply, just boil some pasta, and if you like add a little salt to the water. I added spinach and cherry tomatoes into the pan once the pasta was almost ready. Next, I simply drained the water, stirred through some green pesto, added pepper, and topped it off with a little bit of sliced red onion. This was great with pesto, however you can add any sauce you prefer, sprinkle on some pine nuts or chia seeds or other nuts or seeds of your choice, and add any other seasoning or vegetables to your own taste.

Super simple, and yet both healthy and delicious, and ready in less than 15 minutes! 🙂

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 6

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Baked potato in a bed of stir fry veg with pesto and humous.

This is another very quick, easy and tasty baked potato recipe. Slice and bake the potato (once again I cooked this in the microwave for around 6 to 7 mins, but times will vary).

Using sunflower cooking spray, I stir fried some veg and added seasoning to taste, and topped it all off with some green pesto and red pepper humous. Delicious! And the possibilities are endless – try experimenting with your veg, sauces, and seasoning, add beans or sprinkle some sunflower or chia seeds on top – quick, easy, tasty and healthy! Enjoy! 🙂

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 5

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Nothing quite beats a good ole’ baked potato for some healthy comforting food. I work a full time job, and by the time I got home this particular evening, having juggled my various ‘to dos’, I was hungry and at a bit of a loss for what to eat, and I really did just want something quick, easy and healthy.

And so this humble spud saved the day.

You know how it works: slice the potato, I put mine in the microwave for around 7 to 8 minutes, however you can vary the times according to your make and model, or bake it in the oven, or wrap it in tin foil and bake it over an open fire! 🙂 Afterwards, I popped it under the grill to crisp it up a bit, and then ate it with some salad with dressing, red pepper humous and guacamole. I would recommend having something additional such as pinto / kidney / baked beans, etc for protein, but I was far too hungry and tired that particular day, yet this quick and easy meal did just the trick!

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 4

For anyone joining this series, I am an amateur home cook, and for most of my life I have been vegetarian, however, more lately, I have been moving towards more of a vegan / plant-based diet. Therefore, this has taken me on a journey of experimentation, to create my own quick, easy, healthy vegan recipes from the healthy ingredients I have been incorporating into my lifestyle. Of course, I’m sure many others who know more about cooking can do it better, however, I hope that some of you find these ideas helpful, healthy, creative and nutritious ~ all that to say, if I can do it, I’m sure you can too! 🙂 Happy cooking! xx

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For this dish, I boiled white rice with green beans and added in some spinach leaves that I needed to use up. I think the process took around 15 to 20 minutes.

I oven roasted frozen sweet potato cubes for around 20 minutes with some seasoning.

You can add your preferred seasoning to taste, however, at various points in the cooking process, I used salt, pepper, lemon juice, mixed herbs, a sprinkle of red chilli flakes and some sunflower oil spray when oven cooking the sweet potatoes, but you can be as inventive as you like according to your own taste buds and for whoever you are cooking for.

The sauce is from a ‘free from’ range of supermarket sauces, and is vegan. It is a ‘korma’ sauce that I mixed in towards the end.

Freshened up with a side of cucumber sticks and red pepper humous, this made a tasty yet simple meal, with both fresh and slightly spicy flavours, balanced by the lemon juice and light seasoning.

I am very new to seasoning, as you may be able to tell, and I tend to just experiment with what I have, however, any advice from more ‘seasoned’ cooks 😉 will be heartily welcomed!

As a side note, I made quite a lot of rice, and therefore I only mixed in the sauce with the portion that I ate as shown in the picture. This means that I can use the rice for my next meal, or even eat it the next day, and change it up a bit, perhaps by adding some spring onions, or other sauces or flavouring to keep it interesting. With the sweet potatoes, as well as having them as a side, you can also add them into your dish if you prefer.

Hope you enjoy, & happy cooking. 🙂 xx

 

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 3

 

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Potatoes – 4 ways.

This is also an experimental recipe that worked out quite well. 

Ingredients:

Baby potatoes.

Spinach leaves.

Cherry tomatoes.

Vegan BBQ Sauce.

Seasoning to taste (I used cracked black pepper, herb ‘salt’, sunflower spray, chilli flakes, lemon juice and reduced-fat red pepper humous).

Method:

This is very simple, and yet is also an elegant and tasty dish. I washed the baby potatoes and cut them, cooked them on full power in the microwave for around 8 minutes (settings will vary depending on the make and model of your m/w). After which I stir fried a portion of the potatoes with some spinach leaves using sunflower spray, lemon juice, black pepper, & herb ‘salt’, and added in cherry tomato halves towards the end.

I used another small portion of potatoes to make potato ‘stacks’, layered with the vegan Memphis BBQ sauce. I mashed the rest of the potatoes, and from the mash I made a potato round, which was seasoned through with pepper and a few chilli flakes. The last bit of potato I served as mash mixed with seasoning, and with a little of the BBQ sauce through it.

Garnished with the baby spinach leaves, and some sauce, with a side of humous. Not bad for an amateur cook, and very tasty – why don’t you try it, you might like it if you’re in the mood for potatoes 🙂 !

 

 

QUICK & EASY HEALTHY VEGAN RECIPE # 2

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If you work in a 9 to 5 (or 10 to 6 in my case) job, do you ever get home and feel too tired to cook or eat properly? I know that many times I have felt that way, and have just needed some instant energy. Unfortunately, living in a world of ‘convenience’ and heavily processed foods, this often means that reaching for something quick and easy to eat can too often take the form of grabbing that bag of crisps (or ‘chips’ ), snacking on chocolate or biscuits / bars before dinner, ordering in takeaway or having a quick microwave meal. 

While that’s ok from time to time, in the longer term we need to make sure our bodies are fuelled with food that is beneficial to us. So for another quick, easy and healthy solution, here is another experimental recipe that once again I pulled together after work with the ingredients I had at home. Stocking up on healthy staples means that it is a lot easier to feed our bodies well when we’re too hungry or tired to spend much time in the kitchen. 

Ingredients:

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • Sunflower cooking spray
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Herb ‘salt’
  • Lemon juice
  • Baby potatoes washed and sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Vegan ‘sour cream’
  • Vegan / ‘free from’ range of ‘Memphis BBQ sauce’.

This is pretty easy to make, and involves a few simple steps.

Lightly stir fry fresh and washed spinach leaves (I used half a packet), adding seasoning to taste.

Arrange the spinach in circular fashion around your dish.

Having boiled the potatoes, I then stir fried them in the vegan BBQ sauce which is delicious having a sweet, smoky, slightly spicy and tangy flavour – highly recommended for happy taste-buds! As I am not a cook as such, but simply someone who experiments in the kitchen, I then put the potatoes in an oven safe dish and put them in a pre-heated oven for a few minutes – for those cooks among us, feel free to share or advise on cooking techniques, as my technique is quite simply to experiment and make it up as I go along! 🙂

Arrange a portion of the potatoes in the centre of the bowl or plate, once again adding seasoning to taste.

Drizzle with vegan ‘sour cream’, and finish off with some cherry tomatoes.

And the verdict….?

This may seem like a very light salad like meal, however I made more potatoes than can be seen in the picture and had to put some away for the next day, as this dish is surprisingly filling. Taste wise the BBQ flavour offset with the fresh taste of lemon drizzled spinach and seasoning was a lovely and tasty balance – just make sure you get the right balance for your taste and don’t over do it with the lemon juice and / or BBQ sauce. The cherry tomatoes perfectly complemented the other flavours and textures. Sometimes keeping things simple and classic is the best way to go, and this is a quick and healthy alternative to ‘fast’ or convenience food and really doesn’t take long to make. 

The vegan Memphis sauce was so delicious, and as I stir fried the potatoes lightly in the sauce, it was just right and had me going for seconds! However, after eating a bowl full of potato slices I did feel quite sleepy, and had a quite restful (and hopefully restorative, with the nutrients that I fuelled my body with) sleep. x

 

Quick & Easy Healthy Vegan Recipe # 1

Firstly, my apologies for not blogging for a while ~ I have been keeping very busy and productive with my ‘Big Spring Clean’, decluttering and house renovation (not to mention a full time job!) ~ I am pleased to say that I have accomplished a lot of my household goals for February and March, which was no easy feat, and I will shortly continue writing my series that I began at the start of this year on home & lifestyle and will update you all with some lovely before & after pictures!

However, now that the cosy season of hibernation has passed, and the task of preparing my home for the year ahead is about 80% accomplished, I suppose it is a natural progression to turn the focus towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 

So now that hopefully we are back in the swing of things, and keeping motivated to make the best of the year ahead, here is a simple, healthy, cost effective and very tasty vegan or plant-based recipe for you to enjoy! 🙂 x

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Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Burgen soya & linseed seeded vegan bread (lightly toasted & cut into cute triangles 😉 ).
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes.
  • Sliced cucumber.
  • Reduced fat red pepper humous.
  • Mexican beans (canned) lightly cooked / stir fried in sunflower cooking spray, with lemon juice, cracked black pepper, herb ‘salt’, and red chilli flakes (add to taste depending on preferred hotness – after finishing making this dish I accidentally spilled *a lot* of flakes into my bowl – I don’t usually like very spicy food, but mixed this in, ate it all, enjoyed it, and actually felt good afterwards, despite a few more glasses of juice than intended 😉 . Remember to check out the health benefits of chilli and add a little to your diet every now and then).
  • Topping of green pitted olives.
  • Drizzled with vegan ‘sour cream’.
  • Pressed apple juice (not from concentrate).

I made this as an experiment using a few of the ingredients I had at home. It was quick to make, very filling, tasty, and surprisingly I noticed that I felt very good afterwards – I’m not sure why, as I had been struggling with my mood that day – perhaps the addition of chilli flakes (even for someone who usually tends to avoid spicy food as I do) perked me up a little, who knows  – but one thing is sure, healthy can be comforting, tasty and a real boost to your sense of wellbeing. xx

 

 

Lush Product Review – ‘Charity Pot’ Hand & Body Lotion

Last week I wrote an overview of some new ‘Lush’ products I had purchased. You can read my overview, and more about the company and its ‘cruelty free’ and natural ethos, here.

I mentioned that I would follow up with reviews of the individual products. I have now sampled all of them, so I will begin with a review of the ‘Charity Pot’, as pictured below, on the right (the tub of cream with the hedgehog lid).

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I chose this product after speaking with a shop assistant. After searching their website, I had initially thought of buying the Lush ‘Lemony Flutter’ cuticle butter. I had thought that it may be able to double up as a hand / body lotion, and was keen to try it especially because of the lemony, citrusy scent which I personally like. However, when I asked about this in the shop, the lady told me that because of the texture and consistency (it was quite thick and a bit coarser than a body cream or lotion would be), it probably wouldn’t be suitable to be used in that way. She did allow me to try it and showed me how to rub it into the cuticles, but thankfully I had asked about it before just buying it as it wasn’t really suitable for what I was looking for.

I asked about hand and body lotions or creams and in particular something that would be helpful for eczema. She said that the most suitable product was the ‘Dream Cream’, particular beneficial in treating eczema due to the oatmeal content. Another cream was the ‘Charity Pot’. I tried both of the creams, and chose the Charity Pot over the Dream Cream for a couple of reasons. Firstly it really appealed to me because of its scent, which is quite light, bright, sweet and soothing, and it felt a bit softer when applied. The Dream Cream, although lovely on the skin, did not have much of a scent or at least not one that particularly appealed to my personal tastes. The other motivating factor was the price. The Dream Cream was sold in a medium and large size at the price of £6.95 (100g) and £13.50 (240g) respectively. This seemed a little on the pricey side for me, so I opted for the Charity Pot.

Here’s what Lush says on its website about its rather appealing charity pot:

“Charity Pot is a hand and body lotion with a difference. 100% of the proceeds (minus sales tax, which goes to the government) are donated to independent, grassroots charities that support human rights, animal welfare and environmental protection. At the same time, you enjoy softer, hydrated skin (it’s a win win!)”.

Being a Charity Pot there is the additional option of buying a smaller sized tub of 45g, selling at £3.50, so this is what I decided to go for. There is also an even smaller 10g trial size tub which sells at just £1.00.

So, what did I think?

I must say, I’m a big fan of this little Charity Pot for the reasons explored above. However, I did find a couple of downsides. I’ll start first by sharing what I liked about the Charity Pot, and then explain what I didn’t like so much.

First of all, for a Lush product, I think the price is great and I like the additional option of a smaller tub size, especially if you are trying something out for the first time and want to test whether you like it or your whether it agrees with your skin or not (however, Lush also offers smaller free samples if you ask), or if you are buying it for a friend to try.

The cream is lovely, light, gentle with a nice fragrance and is easily absorbed by the skin. It smells lovely, and is soothing and I felt that it was helping my skin to settle, heal and repair itself as well as relieving itchiness and dryness.

In terms of ingredients, the Charity Pot contains 22 ingredients, including Fairtrade shea butter to nourish and hydrate the skin, rosewood oil which has antiseptic properties, moringa oil and ylang ylang oil. I will include a full list of ingredients at the end of this post.

Overall it felt lovely to apply this cream to my skin, and I did notice a significant improvement in the skin on my hands which had been quite aggravated previously. However, the skin on one of my fingers later became a bit ‘flared’ up but I can’t necessarily conclude that this was because of the product. I did use it on my face as well, and it has been gentle and soothing and hasn’t caused me any problems there.

Another positive thing is the little tubs that this cream comes in are very sturdy, in a nice mat black with a screw top lid. I can already see a use for mine for storing jewellery in.

Which leads me to the main downside….I don’t have to wait long to be able to use it for another purpose. Although I need to hydrate my skin very regularly due to having eczema, this is not the main reason that it hasn’t lasted long – the cream tends to evaporate quite quickly even in a tub with a screw top lid. I don’t think there’s any real way of getting around this, and I would say for me this was the biggest downside. I bought the Charity Pot last Friday, and it is Thursday now. I have literally the tiniest drop left which won’t last me beyond tonight or tomorrow morning, which is a real shame. However, I am glad that I bought a smaller size tub, and for £3.50 I can’t really complain as these days this is the average price for a sandwich or a coffee in some places, so all in all I am quite pleased.

Would I buy the Charity Pot again?

Yes! Definitely. I love it, it smells lovely and is soft and kind on the skin and feels great when applied. I would probably still go for the small size and remind myself that although it doesn’t last that long, it is a happy experience for my skin, I have a cute little recyclable tub at the end of it that I can use for storing small craft items or jewellery, and most of all, the money from the sale of Charity Pots goes to a good cause.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share on Lush or other cruelty free products, please comment below. And as promised, here’s a list of the ingredients, and a link to the website

https://uk.lush.com/products/charity-pot-0:

List of ingredients