A few years ago I fell in love with gardening. I grew everything from chilli peppers, courgettes and herbs; to pak choi lettuce and spaghetti squash. It was an effort and a lot of hardwork, which was made harder by the fact that I had to use plant pots to grow my crops. Nonetheless, I persevered and nurtured my plants like a new mother and received an abundance of squash and vegetables that Summer. Continue reading “Spaghetti Squash in a Mushroom,Garlic & Parsley Cashew Sauce”
I never actually buy, or eat granola. It wasn’t something that we ever had in the house growing up, so I never became accustomed to the sugary cereal. However, I have made homemade granola twice over the last year and I always wonder why I never make it more often – It’s quick, easy, and it’s great as a crunchy topper for fruit bowls, or vegan ice cream – which is exactly what I needed today for my melon bowl. It was delicious – full of flavour, healthy fats and it added that extra pizzazz to an otherwise, boring melon.
- 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1/4 Cup Pecans
- 1/4 Cup Almonds & Brazil Nuts
- 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
- 2 Tbsp Goji Berries
- 65g Apple Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2 Tsp Cinnamon
Pre-Heat oven to 185c (Fan Assisted)
Crush the nuts into smaller pieces using a pestle and mortar, or roughly chop them with a knife.
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan or microwave and stir all of the ingredients through the oil, making sure to coat everything evenly.
Spray a baking sheet or tray with low fat spray and spread the granola mixture onto the tray.
Pop the granola into the oven and bake for 20 mins. You will need to turn the granola with a spoon, every so often, so that the nuts and berries don’t burn.
Remove the granola from the oven and leave to cool completely, before storing in an airtight container. The granola will get crunchy when cool.
Tip: For an extra indulgent snack, stir melted dark chocolate through the granola and store in the fridge.
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If you’re currently in the U.K then you will know, that the heat the last few days has been unbearable. I mean, yes it’s only around 26-30c, but for us Brits, who are only ever used to the rain, it’s bloody HOT! I’ve never ever been one for heat anyway, I sweat in the winter and I’m rarely ever cold, so for me I am finding it overwhelming.
Yes. I know I shouldn’t moan, but it’s genetic! 😉
I always find that I crave hot food in the heat too, curry, spaghetti, oats; basically food that will add to my already overheated body; which is why chilled oats are perfect for the summer weather and they take barely any effort at all: if you can add things to a bowl and stir, this meal is for you.
I also added some protein to my oats too, which is optional, but it gave the meal a little extra protein boost for my day. I then topped them with cherries, dark chocolate and cereal, with some of my caramel sauce, that I’ve yet to share the recipe for.
- 1/4 Cup Cherries
- 1 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Vegan Milk
- 65ml Flavoured Vegan Yoghurt
- 3 Tbsp That Protein Raw Cacao & Brown Rice
- 2 Tbsp Sweetener
Chop the cherries or slice them in half, making sure to remove the pits/stones from the centre.
Add all of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine the ingredients together.
Pour the mixture into a jar, bowl, or Tupperware box and leave in the fridge, overnight.
It’s as simple as that.
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I rarely ever had luck with normal pancakes, let alone vegan pancakes: too thin, too flimsy, too fragile; the list of faults I’ve had with pancakes over the years is endless. Not to mention that they are also too time consuming.
Today however, all that changed. Today I made pancakes and they were none of the above.They were a success.Yes. You heard right – successful pancakes made by yours truly – the pancake assassinator.
I was shocked. I was so shocked that I may have squealed with delight and gave my back a cheerful pat, when I saw my pancake success rate keep going up – 6 whole pancakes and not a broken one in sight.
So obviously I had to share the recipe.
It all started when I watched Sophia Devita’s recent vlog on YouTube – she was making Oreo choc chip pancakes and while those pancakes looked delicious, I was focusing more on her pancake making technique and how she managed to successfully make these delicious looking pancakes with banana – she mashed it. That was it. That’s exactly where I was going wrong all these years. I wasn’t mashing the banana, I was pureeing the s*it out of it, in a food processor. Now, it all made sense.
And that my friends, is how these successful pancakes were born – thank you Sophia Devita 🙏🏻
Makes 5-6 Pancakes
- 1/2 Cup (50g) – Self Rising or Oat Flour ( I used SR)
- 1 Banana
- 1/2 Cup Blueberries
- 1 Lemon
- 1/4 Cup (60ml) Dairy Free Milk
- 1/3 Cup (45g) Alpro Vanilla Soy Yoghurt
- 1 Tbsp Tapicoa Starch or Cornflour ( Tapioca = Arrowroot)
- 1 Tsp Baking Powder
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Sweetener of Choice ( I used raw cane sugar)
- Low Fat Cooking Spray
If you are using oat flour, blitz the rolled oats in a food processor until you have a powder/flour.
Add all of the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk with a fork or ballon whisk to remove any lumps.
Next, mash the banana with the back of a fork and combine it, with the dry ingredients. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the batter and combine until you have a smooth batter.
NB: If the batter is too thick, add a little more water – too thin add more starch or flour.
Lastly, fold the chocolate and blueberries gently through the pancake batter, until evenly distributed.
Now heat a frying pan, or skillet on a medium heat and when hot enough, spray with cooking spray, add three tbsps of pancake batter to the centre of the frying pan, cover with a lid or plate and leave to cook for two- three minutes. Remove lid, flip the pancake and cook for another three minutes.
Continue this method until all pancakes have been cooked.
You can serve plain with vegan butter and syrup, or add some stewed berries too.
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I’m going to start by saying that this product review will be the last review I write for my blog, for a while. While I really wanted to review the Vegusto products, I am just finding products reviews to be very time consuming at the moment and also hard to keep up with. I like to put as much detail in to a product review as I can and as I don’t benefit financially from writing these reviews, they’ve just become a bit of a pain to do.
So, I will only be mentioning products on Instagram that I like and use, and I will include a short description of what I thought of the product and whether I liked it or not. I’m sorry if this is an inconvenience for anyone! 🙂
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Continue reading “Vegusto Sample Pack”
You may have noticed that my Instagram page has changed over the last month or so: cheese and eggs have become a thing of the past and long gone are my oozy, gooey, grilled cheese sandwiches and #yolkporn. At the minute I am still eating eggs sparingly, but I have cut cheese and butter out of my diet entirely. I haven’t made a big deal or huge announcement because I feel that’s just silly: it’s nobody’s business but my own. However, if you pay attention to my posts, you’d have seen the vegan meals becoming more frequent over the last month. There is no reason for me not mentioning it, it’s no secret that I’m a vegetarian and so eating vegan meals is as natural to me, as eating vegetarian meals. Although, I’d never really contemplated veganism over my ten years of vegetarianism until very recently and I guess that was because I loved cheese so much – I came out of the womb holding a block in both hands – OK. A little over exaggeration on my part, but my mother did eat a cheese and tomato sandwich every day I was in there; washed down with a whole pint of milk too – calcium and B12 deficiency was definitely not something I suffered with – and to this day, I still haven’t broken a bone in my body (touch wood it stays that way).
I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t aware of the consequences that came with dairy because I pride myself on being honest and there’s no point in lying. I just wasn’t ready to give it up back then; it’s that simple. However, all that changed when I started watching ‘Sugar Free Farm’ the other week and I witnessed first-hand how sick and morally wrong the dairy industry actually is; but what hit me the hardest was that nobody saw anything wrong with it. Ok. So that chick from Brookside got a little upset, but she was soon tucking into a steak not long after. The deal breaker for me and my decision to omit dairy was that heart-breaking scene in the second episode where the little, sweet calf was forced away from its mother at just a day old; he was then stuck in a tiny, little pen where he refused to eat: pining for his mother. I’ve always been an animal lover, which is one of the reasons I became a vegetarian ten years ago, but I’m also one of those people who tends to dwell on things when I see or hear something sad; whether that be animal or human related. It affects me and it will niggle away at me – I just care too much – which is why this time around the decision to give up dairy was easy. It’s been five weeks now and the cheese cravings are real. So, it was fate when Vegusto contacted me about cheese samples to review.
So what was in the box?
When I received the package I was like an anxious little kid at Christmas: eager to open the box and discover the goodies inside; and when I finally did, I was overwhelmed with how generous they had been with the samples. I received the sample starter pack from Vegusto which is available for £14.99 on their website and while I was told that I would receive the starter pack, I wasn’t aware that it contained a vegan sausage and two vegan mushroom and cheese burgers; as well as three different types of vegan cheese. Their website has so many different packs available ranging from different prices that you are literally spoiled for choice on which one to choose. While writing this post late last night, I was browsing through the Vegusto site and I couldn’t decide which products I would purchase next, they just have such a massive selection of vegan products, that it’s overwhelming. Even so, they do try to narrow it down for their customers by pre-selecting and arranging certain products into ‘packs’ for a set amount of money.
On opening the box, my eyes naturally averted straight to the much anticipated ‘cheese’ and I was surprised at how real it looked: yellow in colour and shaped like a block; it was passable. Although, it was softer than dairy cheese, but I feel an obvious trait as the majority of cheese they offer are made from almonds. What I was excited about with the Vegusto products was the fact that they are all free from soy: something that I failed to find when I was researching other brands of vegan cheese available on the UK market. Vegusto is also free from lactose, palm oil and 100% plant based. After I had studied every cheese product in the box that I received, I then turned to the vegan ‘meat’ and I won’t lie, it didn’t all look appetising.
I think you will agree that the farmhouse style sausage does look very good and almost too real? But, that vegan roast doesn’t look the most appealing now does it? I won’t say what I thought it looked like, but it’s not pretty and part of me didn’t actually want to cook or eat it. I did notice that there wasn’t a scrap of information on the mushroom and mozzarella burger, sausage, or the vegan roast; explaining how to cook them, but I later found the information on the Vegusto website. I am looking forward to cooking and using these products next week and I can’t remember the last time I felt this way about food. I already have an Easter menu planned for my blog which includes the vegan nut roast and I will be reviewing each and every single product in depth, from flavour to texture, packaging, and whether the cheese has the melt-factor. Plus, I will be sharing my overall experience with the products and whether they are good enough for the hefty price tag.
At the minute you can purchase a twin pack of vegan roasts for £8.99 which is a saving of £4.90 or one for £5.50. The meat alternatives can also be frozen too. Click here to find out where else Vegusto deliver.
Disclaimer: This blogpost does not contain any affiliate links, I do not receive any compensation for any links clicked. However, I was sent these products by Vegusto, to review. But, I am not paid in any other way to speak positively about them. All thoughts and opinions are my own and I pride myself on delivering first class, honest reviews.
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I haven’t had as much time to cook or bake this week, which is why my Instagram posts have been quite mundane and chocolate free. Meals have been simple, although, still delicious, balanced and healthy. Today, I decided to roughly track my macros for this specific post; mainly out of curiosity as to whether I am getting enough calories now that I’m not eating any butter, dairy, or as many eggs. If I have learned one thing today, it is how much I loathe tracking macros. It’s such a tedious chore, so please don’t expect this every week or even once a month because I just don’t have the focus for it anymore.
NB: The macros are a guess as I don’t own a weighing scale, but I think the guesstimating is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself 😆
Ihad breakfast around the same time as I always do – 11am – straight after my first coffee of the day. Today I decided to try something different, something which I have never made before – a smoothie bowl. If you are a part of the social media community you will know that these smoothie bowls have become very popular over the last few years: smoothie bowls are a thicker version of a smoothie drink which you eat from a bowl and with a spoon; you can then top them with whatever you like. My smoothie bowl was my jungle protein shake recipe that I made a few weeks ago, only with the addition of two frozen bananas and alpro plain yoghurt. This smoothie bowl had all sorts of nutritious ingredients in it from; turmeric, to spinach, and vegan plant based protein powder, and so much more. I topped mine off with 1/3 cup of all natural muesli, blueberries, blackberries, choc shot, sultanas, pumpkin seeds and pecans. It was delicious. I was surprised because essentially it’s just blended fruit and vegetables with almond milk, but I throughly enjoyed it and it filled me up for over three hours which is quite rare. I will definitely be making more of these in the summer because it is just too cold to be eating these in the spring, as I learned today.
Cals: 706 | Carbs: 88g | Fat: 19g | Protein: 40g | Fibre: 18g|
Lunch – 1.45pm
As I haven’t had time to bake any healthy bakes this week; I have had to resort to snacks that I have in my cupboard. Today’s choice of snack was half a bakewell flapjack from Holland and Baretts own range (I promise I’m not sponsored by them) these came from the same massive order I made the other week and I will say I was very disappointed. Flapjacks are my absolute favourite thing in the world, I love them. But, this bakewell flapjack was very bland with a white chocolate topping and loaded with unnecessary calories and sugar.I definitely won’t be purchasing these again or eating them. I washed the bland flapjack down with a matcha green tea, rebel kitchen mylk drink which again I got from Holland and Barrett.
The rebel kitchen mylk was different to how I imagined it to be. I’ve never tried matcha before and this was my first time trying anything matcha flavoured too and I’m not sure what I think about it. Firstly, I was expecting a green drink, close t0 the colour green on the packaging. So, I was surprised to be faced with a chocolate colour, that was watery in texture: I’m guessing the colour was from the use of date nectar as there is nothing on the label that indicates the use of cacao. I did shake the bottle before pouring the drink and even then it still separated, so the drink was quite grainy and it left residue on the glass. As for flavour, I can’t really compare it to anything; it wasn’t bitter, but it wasn’t overly sweet either and I guess the flavour which I wasn’t familiar with, was the matcha. However, it was pleasant and I enjoyed it. I probably should have shook the bottle a bit more aggressively, but it was nice and if I see this again on offer I’ll definitely pick it up, as it was a welcome change to drinking water all day, plus it’s extremely nutritious, all natural and vegan too. The only complaint I had with it was that it did have a funny effect on my stomach and made it all gurgly; I’m not sure why either. So, I probably wouldn’t drink this out in public, from fear of embarrassment *insert gritting teeth emoji here*
Cals: 380 | Carbs: 52g| Fat: 17g | Protein: 4g| Fibre: 2.6g |
Dinner – 5pm
I had a Linda McCartney style burger for dinner; in a white roll with salad, and onions; I also made a relish sauce with cherry toms, white onion, maple syrup, cayenne and ACV to top off my burger and I ate it with roasted broccoli and asparagus, plus some baby beets and mustard on the side. I rarely have white bread because it does upset my stomach, but as the matcha drink had already made it feel slightly unsettled I threw caution to the wind and ate the damn bread anyway and I enjoyed it. This was actually one of the best meals I’ve eaten this week.
Cals: 622 | Carbs: 58g | Fat: 20g | Protein: 45g | Fibre: 17g |
I have also had 2 pieces of dark chocolate, a few M&S, a cup of tea and around four coffees, macros aren’t included for the burger ‘relish’ or beets either because I have better things to do than track vegetables 😉
And that concludes another full day of eating for this week.I would usually eat something around nine, but I don’t have any snacks left and cooking is out of the question. But, I do have some weird vegetable crisps and propercorn on order from – you guessed it – Holland and Barrett, which hopefully will be here by the weekend.
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Here I am staying true to my word with the Full Day of Eating post I promised you all last week. Although, if this had been yesterday then I’d still be writing the post today because I ate a lot of food and I enjoyed every morsel; which is the whole point I guess. I’ve noticed since I’ve been eating more carbs that I haven’t been craving sugary foods as much as I usually would and I hadn’t actually eaten any white or milk chocolate for three weeks before Pancake Day, even then I didn’t feel like it; I just ate it for the sake of eating it. These days I tend to crave natural sugars such as: stewed berries, bananas, natural syrups, sultanas, white rice and anything with oat flour. I think people think that I don’t eat very healthy because of the stuff I post to Instagram, but the majority of what I do post is made from healthier whole ingredients and when I’m not posting to Instagram, I’m chowing down on foods like I’ve posted below; which the folks of Instagram don’t really appreciate as much, as the chocolate and peanut butter. Even I go through my Instagram feed sometimes and question the food, but then I realise that I have finally found balance and a better relationship with food, so who cares!
I did my monthly food shop on the weekend and It always shocks me when I get around to it because even though I keep certain foods stocked up throughout the weeks, you can bet when it’s time to do my monthly shop I need more than I thought I did. Although this food shop was different to all of my previous food shopping lists because this time I didn’t buy any of my usual staples: eggs, butter, cheese and milk. It was a first for me, as I’ve never gone a day without dairy or eggs before, so not buying them is a first. While I haven’t cut them out completely from my diet, I haven’t been eating them as much either, so I felt it wasn’t necessary to buy them. I’d like to think that saved me a pretty penny, but I doubt it. I did however, buy some items that I swore I would never buy: soy yoghurt and tofu. I think I have started to fear these foods more than anything else because soy does have a lot of stigma surrounding the effects it has on the thyroid gland, which is why I have always tried to stay away from it. However, I decided that I already have a messed up thyroid anyway and as the soy content in the products isn’t very high, I would eat these in moderation. Plus, they were on offer so that swung it for me too.
Breakfast – 11pm
I never really ate muesli until recently. I’ve always been a savoury breakfast kind of girl and eggs, cheese and Quorn sausages have always played a huge part in that. So when I wake up fancying something sweet, it’s always a surprise to me. This muesli concoction, while delicious is more of a summer-time breakfast, which it most certainly isn’t. But, as the muesli had plenty of different elements to it, it wasn’t boring and I enjoyed it. I topped the muesli with stewed berries, sultanas, pumpkin seeds, coconut syrup and Alpro, vanilla dairy free yoghurt.
I did also make a vegan mocha protein shake from the gardenia plantbased protein too and I also added Sukrin brown sugar alternative to it with half a cup of Almond Breeze, reduced sugar almond milk as well; but the protein powder ruined it for me. So I didn’t end up adding it to my breakfast because it was VILE!
As for the Alpro vanilla yoghurt, it was so good. Although, I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe tofu blended into a yoghurt. But it tasted like the real deal: nicely sweetened, creamy and I noticed it had loads of tiny flecks of vanilla through it too. I also bought the plain Alpro to use as ‘mayonnaise’ in sandwiches.
Lunch – 1pm
Did you see those huge protein oat pancakes that I posted to my Instagram yesterday? They were delcious and topped with about 10 different toppings. I’m sure of it. I loved them and I came so close to making them again today for lunch. But as I ate sweet for breakfast I needed something savoury for lunch. I decided to try and make a protein spinach wrap out of oat flour; which I wasn’t sure was going to work and it didn’t – they sucked! Although, my dog ate them and seemed to enjoy them. Instead I made a quick minestrone soup with whatever root vegetables I could find in my fridge and tossed in some Rizopia pasta shapes for a touch of nostalgia. It reminded me of the kid soup that I used to eat when I was younger, but with chunky veg, a little kick and a lot of nutrition. Obviously there was a slice of buttered crusty white bread on the side too, which I spread with vegan spread – don’t say the M word please *eye roll* 😉 I will be posting the recipe for the minestrone soup next week and you can check out the Rizopia Fantasia pasta shapes here.
Afternoon Snack – 3pm
I’ve been craving nutri-grain bars for months, but from experience I know that high sugar foods never taste as good as I remember and they always leave me dissatisfied. So I made my own cereal bars this morning. They are vegan and the batter/dough was so bloody good. I guess I rolled them out too much before I baked them though, because the filling was sparse in the finished product. I still enjoyed far too many: they weren’t overly sweet and had a nice grainy texture to them. I also fed one to my sister and she enjoyed them; even went as far, as to say that they tasted like the real thing. I’m not so sure about that, but I did enjoy them. I filled my ‘nutri-grain bars with the date jam that I made a few weeks ago and coated the bars in extra oats too – they were good: packed with nutrition and naturally sweetened. My dog definitely didn’t get to eat these.
Dinner – 6pm
The weather this morning was lovely, but extremely cold. Although, I do I enjoy the cold, Spring, icy mornings. But come the afternoon it changed: the heavens opened and down came the rain. I would sell my right arm to go somewhere warm right now and FYI that is my most dominant arm, so you can see how desperate I am 😉 Comfort food was definitely on tonight’s agenda and a hot steak and gravy pie by Quorn was exactly what I needed. I served it with some roasted baby parsnips, carrots and hassleback potatoes with a homemade gravy that could have a killed a man. I’m just so glad I didn’t add it all to my food because I would have probably been in A&E from dehydration and liver failure – so salty! I ended up making a small amount of Bisto vegetable gravy and thoroughly enjoying this whole meal, plus those baby parsnips were to die for. Quorn have always done very nice vegetarian pies and they are packed with flavour, in my humble opinion. I just hope they get a move on with their vegan range and start adding more products to it.
Evening Snack – 9pm
I picked up these bags of chips the same time I made my Holland and Barrett order the other week. The propercorn has all gone now, but I did get a few bags of these weird chips that seem to be all the rage at the moment; over social media. I did plan to save them for nine, but around a certain time of the month I become uncontrollably ravenous, so I opened them not long after I ate my dinner and boy are they good. They remind me of the Square crisps, but with a lot more flavour and a huge kick from the chilli; plus a nice crunch. I couldn’t taste the lemon as the chilli was very overpowering. The best thing is that there is approximately 130cals in a 28g serving – just over half of the bag – and they are much lower in fat than potato crisps: healthier and tastier too. I would definitely recommend these. I can’t wait to try the Quinoa chips and also the Hummus chips I bought too.
And that’s it. Another full day of eating which was mostly vegan. I did have three or four cups of coffee too and I had a rare can of diet pepsi, which I never have, but I fancied and it tasted awesome.
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The more popular dates become within the vegan and plantbased community, the more I wonder why date jam isn’t a condiment that we can easily buy in stores yet. After quitting the whole macro counting thing in October, I have finally found that relationship with food that I’ve so desperately been trying to achieve for years and with that, my relationship with carbs has developed ten-fold. I love them. Probably a bit more than they love me, but I’m hoping with time, my body will adapt and the bloated feeling will disappear. That said, I haven’t been able to workout since October either, due to things going on in my body that are out of my control and I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be able to workout again. But, I’m enjoying my food at the moment, eating all the carbs, and for the first time in my life, I’m also sleeping like a baby and as always, making sure I am looking after myself through proper nutrition too. So that’s what matters to me.
However, I’ve never had so many cravings for carbs, until lately – it’s like I’ve created a monster: rice, pasta, potatoes, bread; I don’t know what’s going on, but I can’t stop eating and I don’t think I want to. I’ve never been more in love with toast than I am right now either: spread with coconut oil and jam it’s just heaven; which is why I’ve made some vanilla date jam today, just to add something different to my toast, but also to prevent meal boredom setting in. Although, don’t be fooled into thinking that this jam is only for toast. No. This vanilla date jam can be added into a smoothie, used to spread on cupcakes, used as a cupcake filling. You could even make sticky toffee pudding or dip apple slices into it, for an afternoon snack. It’s just so versatile, healthy and delicious.
- 200g Pitted Dates or Medjools
- 1 tbsp Sukrin Brown Sugar Alternative
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
Make sure the dates have been pitted and toss them into a saucepan along with the water and boil them until they are soft.
When the dates have started to breakdown and the water has evaporated somewhat, add in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
Remove the dates from the heat and blend into a purée. Stir in the cinnamon and Sukrin sugar alternative.
Store the date jam in an airtight container and keep in the fridge.
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