Watercress Soup, Farfalle and Vegan Pledge Nosh

Hello, I hope you are having a marvelous start of the year! Do you have any new year’s resolutions?

One of mine was to start the year with another sustainable vegan pledge. I have already tried new simple, quick and healthy recipes and already feel the benefits.

Another couple of resolutions of mine are to carry on with my ongoing “let’s get rid of anything I don’t really want or need in the most sustainable way possible” = a lot of things are going to the charity shop or eBay 🙂 and I also want to go through all my Chinese and Spanish notes from university as I am finally using these languages with my new job 😀

Among the vegan dishes I have been enjoying there are a few I would like to share:

Watercress Soup

Watercress is actually in season in the Summer, however last week I saw a reduced bag of it at the supermarket so I bought it for cheap and saved it from the food waste bin.

Watercress is considered a superfood as it contains 15 vital nutrients and minerals including more calcium than whole milk and more iron than spinach!

When I looked up watercress soup recipes they had milk/cream in them and they were all whizzed up. I don’t like creamy and completely blended soups so mine was actually light and chunky.

I didn’t add any stock cubes and it was really tasty on its own thanks to the natural peppery taste of the watercress, but if you prefer you can add it with the water or season the soup at the end.

Ingredients for 2 portions

  • 85g Watercress
  • 1 Medium potato, chopped
  • 1 Clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegan stock cube, if desired + hot water from the kettle

-Heat the oil in a saucepan and soften the garlic;

-Add the potato and about 750ml of hot water from the kettle + vegan stock cube if desired;

-Cover and let it simmer until the potato is cooked (the smaller the chunks the quicker! ..and the less energy used);

-Add the watercress to the pan for 2 minutes to wilt, check, season and serve. Enjoy!

Watercress Soup

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Tomato, Rosemary and Garlic Farfalle

This is another quick but super tasty dish, easy to make even when you have a pretty empty cupboard. You can substitute the rosemary for other herbs, preferably fresh, and also add onions or other vegetables to the sauce. Delicious!

Ingredients for 2 generous or 3 smaller portions:

  • 200g pasta (whole wheat and organic for extra sustainability)
  • 400g can of tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spring of rosemary

-Cook the pasta as required;

-Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic and rosemary until the garlic is soft;

-Add the tomatoes and let them simmer while the pasta cook, season to taste;

-Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce has reached a lovely consistency and taste, mix the pasta into it and enjoy!

Tomato, rosemary and garlic farfalle

Tomato, rosemary and garlic farfalle

The great thing is that it’s quick and satisfying and you can add other vegetables such as gold or red onions, leeks, carrots, or even leftover vegetables and also any spices or herbs that you like to make it different every time.

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I have been having different vegan snacks such as dark rye crispbreads, which are high in fibre, topped with onion, tomato or jalapeño chutney…

Caramelised onion chutney-topped rye crispbead

Caramelised onion chutney-topped rye crispbead

And also peanuts, almonds and sunflower seeds (so tasty!)

Peanuts, almonds and pipas

Peanuts, almonds and pipas

I tried another vegan pancake recipe but I actually prefer the ones I previously posted about

Vegan pancakes

Vegan pancakes

It’s been getting colder and colder here in the UK lately so last night I easily made a vegan version of bangers and mash with Linda McCartney’s vegan sausages… potatoes can somehow be very creamy even on their own!

Vegan bangers and mash

Vegan bangers and mash

We went out to celebrate my boyfriend’s birthday and I asked if they could avoid adding cheese to my pizza and after adding some olive oil it was really nice 🙂

Vegan Pizza

Vegan Pizza

…especially with delicious organic raspberry lemonade 🙂

Organic raspberry lemonade from Devon

Organic raspberry lemonade from Devon

I’ve been drinking lots of different teas that actually taste better with no added milk, such as cherry blossom white tea which is so fragrant!

Whittard Cherry Blosson White Tea

Whittard Cherry Blosson White Tea

I have recently joined Pinterest if you’d like to have a look at my boards for some sustainable inspiration and also added pictures to my Facebook page 🙂

Have you been eating lighter or healthier food as part of a healthy new year?

Have you tried any new dishes lately?

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2013 Resolutions? A Happy and Sustainable New Year

Hello everyone,

I haven’t written in a while and this immediately leads to one of the reasons why I am writing this New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day for some – post.

I started this blog in February, at the beginning of my 1-month vegan pledge, because I felt it would be great to share different ways of being more sustainable and conscious about the environment by looking at the impact that our everyday choices have.

This is something I have been feeling very passionate about for a couple of years now, and it’s great to be able to channel all this interesting and useful information somewhere where other people would look for it and find it equally interesting and useful.

74 posts later, I hope I have somehow shown that living more sustainably can be pretty easy, fun, tasty and can even save you money.

I have not only started writing this blog but also started following many other blogs and it’s been absolutely wonderful!

Thank you so much reading my posts and for all the useful comments you have left, they have inspired me a lot and I have a so much to write about in the new year…I may not have many views and followers but you are all very precious to me.

I will write more about:

  • Sustainable easy and tasty recipes (the post that got the most views this year was the one on halloumi pasta and I am starting the year with another vegan month pledge)
  • Upcycling and DIY ideas
  • How to buy more sustainable versions of everyday products
  • …and anything else that you may suggest!

I hope you have a wonderful, exciting and unforgettable 2013!

Sophie

Fireworks

 

“I don’t have anything to eat” meal – Vegan Day 30

Day 30 and last day of my vegan challenge, I even got an e-mail from Peta thanking me for my pledge!

Do you sometime have an “empty wardrobe” moment in your kitchen?

Just like when you look at your wardrobe and think “I don’t have ANYthing to wear…!” but you’re actually in the kitchen thinking “I don’t have ANYthing to eat…!”?

Well, I had that moment earlier on and do you know what saved me for my last vegan day dinner? Pasta of course!

Ingredients: whatever suitable ingredients you have + pasta!

For a vegan dish, have a look at what veggies you have: anything from carrots, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, to frozen peas, broccoli or tinned sweetcorn will do!

-Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions;

-In the meantime, heat a little olive oil in a pan, add some garlic and the vegetables you have;

-Mix and serve (add herbs and chilli to add any desired flavour)

I made mine with 1 red onion, 1 carrot, leftover garlic and rosemary fried potatoes, spring onions and cherry tomatoes (plus parsley at the end).

Veggies Selection

A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a few minutes on a medium heat…

Quick Pasta

…quick and easy pasta is served!

My vegan pledge is nearly over and it has been a lot easier than I thought.

I feel healthy and someone said my skin looks better!

I tried new recipes, tried new drinks and I can’t wait to have another soy milk hot chocolate (it makes me feel like it’s a lot healthier with soy milk).

Would you try to go vegetarian or vegan for a week or a month?

Green Trails and Teapot Tales and My 30-Day Vegan Pledge

Hello everyone and welcome to my blog!
After spending my 3rd University year in China studying Chinese, I became more aware of the effects our everyday actions and habits have on the environment and what we can do to prevent Venice becoming the new Atlantis (because of global warming and rising sea levels) by the time my little nephew graduates from school.

While I was in China I began reading more about environmental issues, downloading podcasts about the environment, nature and eco-friendly buildings, products and transport.

I also found out that what we choose to eat has a great effect on how the Earth’s resources are used and I have gradually stopped eating meat (even though I occasionally eat sustainable fish such as line caught mackerel).
My next step is to try something new: I have pledged to be a vegan for a month starting from tomorrow.
For 30 days I am not going to eat anything that has anything to do with any sort of animal, to understand and see for myself if it really is a lot healthier as some say or if it really is over the top as others say.

 

Why Vegan?

Vegans may seem like awkward dinner guests who really love animals, but the reason why many people choose a vegan diet are several:

  • Meat is murder: of course, if you happen to have meat on your plate it means that an animal was killed. However silly and obvious this may sound, in the UK we are so used to seeing meat neatly packed in ready to cook /serve glamorous packaging that is very easy to forget that what you are about to eat used be part of a living creature.

 

Mum and baby cow

 

  • Milk production can be cruel: dairy cows are bred to produce 10 times more milk than a calf would naturally drink and once they don’t produce enough they are sent to the slaughterhouse.
  • Egg production can be cruel: most hens used to be kept in tiny cages and an EU ban on battery cages has started only very recently, but their conditions are still appalling in many countries. In addition to that, male chicks that are born to replace laying hens are killed at just one day old as they are useless for egg production, even in factories that produce free range or organic eggs.

 

Chicks

 

  • Honey production isn’t so sweet: Queen bees are artificially inseminated and killed when their fertility decreases and whole colonies may be killed to save on feeding them over the winter.

Bee

  • Meat production causes environmental devastation: in today’s factory farms animals are crammed together and raised for the sole purpose of being killed for meat, in slaughterhouses that don’t follow best practice rules many animals are neglected and in a terrible state even before they reach the abattoir (what an awful, macabre name!).
  • A vegan diet provides all the nutrients our body needs without animals’ saturated fats and toxic elements that can be found in meat and eggs.
  • Vegetarians and vegans live longer: plant-based diets are healthier and non-meat eaters are less likely to have heart disease problems, diabetes, strokes, cancer and obesity.

Why is being Vegan the best thing you could do protect the environment?

To explain this efficiently I will quote part of a really interesting Peta article: “[…] for every kilo of food that animals eat, only a fraction of the calories are returned in the form of edible flesh.If we stopped intensively breeding farmed animals and grew crops to feed humans instead, we would easily be able to feed every humans on the planet with healthy and affordable vegan foods.

Growing feed for animals instead of food for people also means a constant appetite for land, leading to the destruction of rainforests while livestock farming itself is a major contributor to greenhouse emissions, soil erosion, water pollution and a host of other environmental problems.” A vegan diet uses half the amount of land used to produce a typical vegetarian diet and one fifth of that used for a typical European omnivorous diet.

I will end this post with a song by the Smiths called “Meat is Murder” and click on the highlighted words if you would like to know more.

Thank you 🙂