Vegan Food on a trip to Broadstairs

I started this blog exactly 3 years ago on 6th February, 3 years and 2 weeks ago, wow!
It’s changed a bit but the aim is the same: what can we do, what new things can we learn to enable us to live our everyday lives while considering how the consequences of our habits affect the environment and our future? A mix of light and heavy stuff 🙂

 

Despite the lack of concrete new year resolutions, I hope to be travelling more in 2015.
A monthly trip somewhere new, locally or further away, would be great… I find visiting new places makes me love this planet even more… and makes me ever more passionate about doing what I can to live in a way that is sustainable.

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Tasty, Crispy, Crunchy Home Made Granola – Vegan

Granola! I never really had it before I actually made it but it’s loooovely.

It’s super versatile too, as you can have it as a snack on its own, with milk or yogurt 🙂

I had a look online for recipe inspiration and found Nigella Lawson’s Granola recipe – which she got from Andy Fairfield – very appealing, especially because almost all of the ingredients were sort of cupboard staples.

I slightly changed the ratio of the ingredients as I simply didn’t have enough almonds and so added more mixed seeds instead, but I actually prefer it like this or it would have been too super-crunchy-almondy. You could also used sliced or crushed almonds rather than whole ones.
Also, Nigella’s recipe only uses sunflower and sesame seeds but I used pumpkin seeds too.

Her recipe uses honey so it’s not vegan, I also used some as my friend gave me some special honey from Taiwan and I was looking forward to trying it, but you could substitute it with extra brown rice or golden syrup for a 100% vegan granola.

If you are curious to know just how sustainable honey is, if you wonder if local or organic honey may be better, Friends of the Earth’s Honey Ethical Guide will have the answers you are looking for.

As usual to make it more sustainable try to use local, organic and Fairtrade ingredients whenever possible. 🙂

What I love about it is that it’s a simple assembly recipe where you just mix, bake and that is it! It would probably be great to make this as a fun activity with children as there are lots of ingredients to mix together 🙂 I also think this recipe could be halved to make less granola if you prefer, and adjust the ingredients as you wish.

I had it with soy yogurt and it’s a delicious light breakfast or dessert, a great addition to my vegan breakfasts post.

For my version I used:

Ingredients to make a massive Tupperware box full of lovely granola (2.5 litres):

  • 450g Porridge oats
  • 270g of mixed seeds (sesame, pumpkin, sunflower)
  • 120g Extra sesame seeds
  • 175g Apple sauce
  • 2 Tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp mixed spices
  • 120g golden syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 4 Tbsp runny honey or extra syrup to make it vegan
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g Almonds
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 300g Raisins to add after baking

-Mix everything except the raisins in a very big bowl (don’t be silly like me and pile everything in a medium bowl)

Bowl Overload Granola Mix

Bowl Overload Granola Mix

-Mix everything really well, especially as soft sugar can be lumpy and sticky, and spread the mix onto a large baking tray or 2 smaller ones and bake in the oven at 170C for about 45 minutes or until golden, turning it over halfway through to make sure it bakes evenly in lovely crunchy chunks.

-Allow to cool and mix the raisins with the golden chunks, store it in an airtight container and enjoy!

Golden Granola

Golden Granola

Home Made Granola with Soy Yogurt (and forgotten raisins!)

Home Made Granola with Soy Yogurt (and forgotten raisins!)

Have you made granola before?

What would you have it with?

Tasty and Sustainable Vegan Breakfasts

Breakfast: the first meal of a promising day that breaks the fast from the previous night: some skip it, I cannot function without it!

I always find it pretty hard to explain why I stopped eating meat because it’s not sustainable, but yesterday the Vegetarian Society tweeted a useful link on a few reasons to be a vegetarian and “Growing grains and pulses to feed to animals is much less efficient than eating them ourselves. The livestock industry uses huge amounts of land, water and fossil fuels, while producing 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and all sorts of other pollution.”

At the moment my favourite quick and healthy (and sustainably vegan) breakfasts are…

Porridge

It’s great now that the Autumn air is getting crisper: it’s nice to leave your home with something warm in your tummy, or know that you can having something healthy and warm at work.

I make it with hot water from the kettle and add cinnamon to it – 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower cholesterol, it has an anti-clotting effect on the blood and contains calcium and iron amongst many other health benefits;

Porridge with Cinnamon

I also like to add the Linwoods Q10 seeds and nuts, even on top of the cinnamon.

Porridge and Healthy Sprinkle

There are several other sprinkle combinations you can get from health shops or sites such as Amazon:

Linwoods sprinkles variety

Yesterday morning I tried porridge with a completely new and unexpected topping: chilli powder.

I know it sounds weird, I was expecting to be annoyed with myself for making it but it was actually really nice!!  🙂 Please try it on a spoonful of porridge  and let me know what you think! 😀

The only downside with having porridge with sprinkles and cinnamon (or chilli powder!) is that I sometimes get hungry soon after I step into the office, so I have found a way of making my porridge more filling:

Porridge with Peanut Butter

I topped my porridge with the Meridian crunchy peanut butter I first tried a couple of months ago and it really filled me up for longer! I first got this peanut butter from Whole Foods but this time I got it from Holland&Barret (£5.29 for 1kg tub). It was SO nice!

Or if you fancy a change, add Almond Butter to your porridge.

Meridian Almond Butter

This almond butter is 99.5% roasted almonds and 0.5% salt, rich and slightly salty, it’s lovely and unusual.

There are many other butters you can try such as cashew, pumpkin seed, hazelnut, brazil nut…you can find them at Holland&Barrett or Amazon.

For a more indulging porridge I add dark chocolate squares to it, they melt with the warmth of the porridge and it becomes silky and chocolatey – I started doing this when I was in China and it’s simply luscious…

Porridge with Chocolate and Dragon Well Tea

I usually have it with Lonjing Tea 龙井茶 also called Dragon Well Tea, a distinctly flavoured pan-fired green tea from Hangzhou, where we were studying, and one of the most famous ones. You can buy it in good tea shops or online, it’s definitely one of my favourites.

If you love fruity porridge, as suggested by J-F from ever-interesting blog “222 Million Tons“, you can make it with a little soy milk, which makes it more satisfying, and add cinnamon and raisins, apple or banana while it’s cooking. Super healthy!

Granola

Have a look at my crispy crunchy granola recipe post, great with soy yogurt, milk or on its own.

Home Made Granola with Soy Yogurt (and forgotten raisins!)

Home Made Granola with Soy Yogurt

Bagels

I also really relish bagels and got some seeded ones lately…the New York Bakery Co. are always available in shops and come in several versatile varieties (the cinnamon and raisins ones are a must try!).

New York Bakery Seeded Bagles

So I have been having these toasted with Vitalite dairy free spread (£1.20 for 500g from Tesco)

Seeded Bagels with Vegan Spread

They are so delicious toasted and it’s so nice to hear the seeds *pop* in the toaster 🙂

Seeded Bagels with Crunchy Peanut Butter

Yogurt

I also tried Alpro soy yogurt and topped it with crunchy corn flakes and cinnamon.

Soy Yogurt with Crunchy Topping and Cinnamon

You could also add the topping that you’d add to the porridge like almond butter or jam, fresh fruit or fruit compote.

Alpro Soya Yogurt

This 500g pot of yogurt was £1.25 at Morrison’s, it can also be used for marinades and for anything you’d use cow’s milk yogurt for.

Soy Yogurt Benefits

It is naturally low in fat and cholesterol – of course you can buy many types of cow’s milk fat-free yogurts but there are often full of added sugar and other additives, including gelatine.

Hot Drinks

If you are more of a “breakfast on the go” person and love to grab a hot drink on your way to work, have you tried having soy milk in your morning latte or cappuccino instead of ordinary milk?

If you normally avoid soy milk because you don’t like its taste, do not worry, you can’t taste it with the coffee or hot chocolate.  So you can utterly enjoy a warm and light drink that doesn’t make you feel bloated by milk.

Hot Chocolate with Soy Milk

This is delicious, it’ll make you look forward to a sweet Monday morning 😀 add cinnamon to make even more warming and Autumnal.

Caramel Macchiato with Soy Milk

Caramel Macchiato with soy milk is another way to enjoy a more sustainable coffee.

Vegan Bars

If you are a fan of cereal bars, have you tried making your own at home?

My vegan bars don’t have any nasty additives that some shop-bought ones have and are very simple to make, and of course they are SUPER TASTY.

Vegan Breakfast Bars

All you need to is cut them up and pop them in a Tupperware box  or wrap them in tin foil to have a crunchy breakfast wherever and whenever you want.

Cooked Breakfasts

And if you fancy something savoury and have a bit of time to cook something for breakfast you could try scrambled tofu on toast with fried potatoes and tomatoes:

Scrambled tofu on toast with potatoes and tomatoes

Or why not have a more sustainable, healthier sausage sarnie by using vegan sausages?

Linda McCartney Vegan Sausages

2 of these sausages provide 202 calories and 8.8g fat, 3.6 saturates.

2 of my boyfriend’s Tesco Finest grilled pork sausages with caramelised red onion provide 320 calories and 23.7g fat, 8.5 saturates.

That’s such a big difference…! Of course the vegan ones aren’t as juicy as the pork but also not as fatty and artery-clogging.

Linda’s sausages are delicious with ketchup and just thinking about them is actually making my mouth water!

Pancakes

I made these satisfying fluffy vegan pancakes a while ago and they were really nice, no need for milk or eggs.

Fluffy Vegan Pancakes

There are many more sustainable breakfasts I haven’t included here such as French toast made with silken tofu, soy/almond milk and fruit smoothies, apples with peanut butter…There is something for everyone!

What sort of breakfast do you enjoy?

Would you try a vegan breakfast to start your day?

Carnival Sunday Brunch and Thoughts for Mum

I think Sunday isn’t just a day to dedicate to Sunday lunches, sleeping until 2pm and feeling Monday coming dreadfully, it’s also great to spend a little extra time  preparing a lovely hearty breakfast or brunch.

The “500 Vegan Dishes” book I borrowed from the local library had superb ideas for this, so I choose what I would call a Carnival Sunday Brunch as it’s so colourful (and it’s vegan).

What You Need

  • Ingredients for 2:

-For the scrambled tofu:

  • 200g of firm tofu;
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil;
  • 1 Clove of garlic, crushed;
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce;
  • Black pepper

-For the fried tomatoes:

  • A big handful of sliced cherry tomatoes or 2 big tomatoes, chopped;
  • Spring onion, sliced;
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil;
  • Salt

-For the fried potatoes:

  • 2 medium-big potatoes
  • 2 Cloves of garlic, crushed;
  • Rosemary (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Sunflower oil
  • Salt

-Toasted wholemeal bread to serve.

-The potatoes will take the longest to cook so chop them in small pieces (the smaller they are the quicker they’ll cook and the less energy you’ll need to use) and put them in a frying pan with some hot sunflower oil, add the garlic (and rosemary if using)  and cover with a lid (that’ll save even more energy and gently steam the spuds);

-After about 10 minutes the potatoes should be more than half-cooked so heat up the oil in another pan and gently fry the tomatoes and spring onions;

-Get the tofu and squeeze it! I did this using a bowl, and that helped me crumble it too, to be like scrambled eggs;

-Add the turmeric to the tofu and mix, add it to the pan of tomatoes (to save washing up too many pans), add the garlic and soy sauce and gently stir, cook for another 5 minutes;

-Make sure the potatoes are cooked, make the toast, add lots of black pepper to the scrambled tofu and season the spuds and tomatoes and serve everything together!

Vegan Carnival Sunday Brunch

Enjoy!

The scambled tofu can also be prepared adding half a courgette and a sliced pepper for a Mediterranean version, or you can serve inside a wholemeal pitta bread with sliced tomatoes.

~

Next week, Sunday 18th March, is Mother’s day!

If you’d like to give her an original gift, not the usual nice but a bit boring flowers and chocolates, why not get some ideas from the Friends Of the Earth shop?

There’s a very cute British Garden Tea Towel,an organic cotton plastic bag recycler, really lovely lanterns

Have you thought about what to get for you Mum on Mum’s day yet?

30-Day Vegan Pledge: Day 1

Today was my first day of my 30-day vegan pledge. I am very excited to see how it will go!

For breakfast I had porridge made with hot water and sprinkled with Linwoods flaxseed, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts and Q10 sprinkles! (apparently you can have Q10 on your porridge, not just in your face cream!) I had Chinese black lychee tea with it, no milk in sight!

Q10 Breakfast

Q10 Breakfast

I take vitamins and more importantly iron supplements as I often feel tired and I was anaemic even when I ate meat…let’s see if eating vegan food makes any difference!

I prepared everything to make a jacket potato with beans to have at work, so easy and warming during this harsh weather!

Lunch at work

Lunch at work

Jacket potatoes and beans don’t have to be boring, spice them up!

I added ground coriander, cumin, chili flakes and thyme to my baked beans and it all tasted lovely. I also took some lychee tea to work so I can have it with no milk. Plus nuts and rice cakes as snacks (but I got home reaaally hungry).

What do you think? Does trying a vegan diet mean sacrificing too many types of food you can’t do without?

~

Having “sustainable living” ways doesn’t just relate to what we eat, what about what we wear?

Even now that I have a job, I buy less than when I was a teenager. I try to look for things that are a bit different, unique, or that really channel my personality. I usually end up looking different… like a boy stuck in the 90s considering what I wore today (Miss Sixty flared corduroys anyone?) ….but I know I will get there someday haha!

My cool mum shared a really interesting link and about vintage clothing, after all buying second hand clothes is better for the environment as you are reusing something rather than create further demand for new goods… have a look!

I feel like I’d love to wear lots of vintage stuff but I find most vintage clothes hard to match with what I have or just so different that I’m not sure where to start…have you found any good vintage shops that you’d recommend?