The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Vegan (Page 1 of 3)

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Vegan Mac and Cheese is something my daughter is always asking for. To be honest, I have an issue with white coloured food (excluding cauliflower and alpro vegan cream) so I’ve never really missed it, but for her sake I have attempted to make it a couple of times with no real success.

In previous attempts with potatoes and carrots the sauce lacked creaminess, however I had seen a few recipes pop up on facebook using cashews which certainly appeared to improve the consistency so thought I would give it a try. Additionally it doesn’t take that long, although a little preparation of the cashews is required in the morning/night before.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 200g dried macaroni
  • 1 cup of white potato peeled and chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup of carrots peeled and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup of water from the boiled vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup of rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika

Method

  1. In the morning before I left for work I put my cashews in a bowl of water to soften them a little, my blender is good but not amazingly good so I hoped this would help and it did.
  2. When you are ready to start making it put the macaroni on to boil.
  3. Peel and chop the veg into small chunks, the smaller they are the quicker it cooks. Place them all together in boiling water and boil until they are all soft. For me this was around 15 minutes.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the veg and put in the blender. Drain the cashews and add all of the other ingredients.
  5. Blend until nice and smooth.
  6. Mix with the macaroni and serve. Next time I may use some vegan cheese and breadcrumbs and put in the oven.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

That’s it, nice and simple, tasty and filling. To get over my white food issues I added some sauteed mushrooms and onions and sprinkled a liberal amount of chilli flakes on but my daughter had as is and ate the lot.

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What the Health Review | Vegan Films

I recently purchased and watched What the Health, the new film out by the makers of Cowspiracy and thought I would write a review. First time round they came at a vegan lifestyle from the approach of planetary health, this time they approach from the personal health front.

I really enjoyed cowspiracy and was hyped up for What the Health months ago. My husband thinks I’ve list my mind, I’ve got to be honest, even a year or two again telling me I would be hyped for a film about health, and food choices to promote personal health, I would have laughed my head off. But being healthy has became a pretty important aspect in my life, so yes, I was legitimately excited for this film.

I had heard Kip and Keegan again on the Rich Roll podcast, and had been waiting until I got the chance to watch it properly.

My opinions? It was great, nothing I hadn’t heard before during research but it was great seeing it presented in that way. One thing that surprised me (although I’m not sure why) was the reaction of the American Health Associations, refusing to even have discussions about multiple peer-reviewed scientific papers showing clear correlations between consuming animal products and a multitude of health problems. Red and Processed meat being shown on food plans on websites relating to Diabetes/Cancer were truly shocking, as were the claims that no diet is offered by them, these are standard recipes (even though it says otherwise on the sites).

If I had any complaint it would be that it was very fast paced. There was a lot to say, and to fit it into an hour and a half required for it to be said quickly. I think my enjoyment would have been marginally improved if they had added some time onto the film and said it a little slower.

Shout out to my husband for his dad joke when Rich Roll came on screen and I started saying how much I love him…He asked if I was ever going to give him up…I found it funny!

So there you have it, my short but sweet What the Health review. If you are interested in the health aspects of a plant based diet, you can’t go wrong with this film. Their sources are found with incredible levels of research, the people on the film are legitimate respected doctors in the field (Dr Michael Greger, I love you too!). They cover most of the areas in a fast, yet understandable way. If you aren’t interested, or not vegan and you want to hear some usually unspoken information, you should check it out. If you are vegan, but not plant based, you should check it out. I guess what I am saying here is that everyone should check it out.

You can get it here on Vimeo, watch online, chromecast, download etc.

Whole Foods Plant Based

I made a number of New Years Resolutions for 2017, as laid out in my post in January found here. I set a word for the year, Simplify. At some point I will do a proper catch up but today’s post ties into this, I’m going to discuss the difference between Vegan vs Whole Foods Plant Based, and where I lie on this.

Vegan is generally for ethical reasons, this could be ethics relating to animals, or the  future of the planet. Vegan is not a diet as such, although you can follow a vegan diet. The word vegan transcends diet to cover your whole lifestyle, it is a lifestyle whereby you avoid the use of animal products as far as possible in all areas. Vegan does not equate to healthy though. I think assumptions are made that if you can’t eat animals/dairy/eggs what can you eat? Surely it’s just fruit and vegetables (and pasta grains etc). No! shout the vegans, there is a huge amount of vegan junk food, accidental or deliberate. (I’m forever grateful for the accidentally vegan co-op doughuts for example).

Whole foods plant based is a diet, however, you can be a vegan following a whole foods plant based diet. WFPB does relate to what you eat, which is mainly natural plant based foods in their whole form. They don’t need to be organic, or raw. Just whole, and plant based.

What counts as plant based?  Fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and nuts. What isn’t plant based? Animal products, meat, overly refined foods such as sugar, white flours, and some would say oil. Why do people choose a wfpb diet? Namely health, there is mounting evidence to say this is our optimal diet for short and long term health. (Much of this evidence is reviewed on the website nutritionfacts.org, check it out if you haven’t, Dr Michael Greger is a total legend in the nutrition world).

So where am I on this scale? I would say I am a vegan, who tries to follow a Whole Foods Plant Based diet around 80% of the time, with 20% being still vegan, but not whole foods. Pasta, I just can’t quit you! (although I do try to have wholegrain as much as possible)

How does this fit in with my New Years Resolution? Well, I have a number of personal reasons for moving towards wfpb. I truly believe it is the healthiest option. I also believe it is the only way I can lose weight, whole foods are nutritionally dense but calorifically low. This fits in with my propensity to eat a lot, large portions of wfpb is preferable to large portions of junk on a purely calorific level.

Additionally, I like to remove some of the needless decisions from my life. So I simplified my weekly meal plans to a mostly plant based diet (and have mostly stuck to this). This has became increasingly important now I am working a full time job. I know what I’m having every week (with a little editing), it’s fresh, healthy and filling.

I feel there are so many benefits to eating plant based, recently people have been saying my skin looks great. People at my new job were shocked when I revealed I had a teenage son and was in my mid 30’s. I know, I know, they could (probably are) just being polite, but I do feel as if I am looking healthy. Skin, eyes, hair. I can really only put this down to my diet. I’m full of energy, don’t really get tired (until bed time), don’t struggle out of bed at 4:45 am, pretty much always manage my step goal, housework, time with kids. My head is in a good place, body feels it too, and again, I think this comes back to what I’m putting in my body.

Now if I could cut the impromptu takeaways/crisp sandwiches/jam doughnuts down to maybe 5% I might actually be lose more weight!

Dark Seitan | Seitan Recipe

A few months ago I saw a new dark seitan recipe on facebook and thought I would need to try it out, I’m not sure why I took so long getting around to it but I remembered it this weekend and was sure I had all the ingredients so it was time. This seitan recipe is from the Buddhist Chef, I’ve split the recipe in half so makes enough for two – three decent sized portions, I have no idea on syns for slimming world, on the app 100g of tinned seitan is 0.5 syns as an idea.

Dark Seitan Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup of gram flour
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp paprika, basil and onion powder
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 3/4 cups of warm water
  • Pot full of veg stock, around 3 – 4 cups

Method

Combine the dry ingredients well.

In a separate bowl combine ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and warm water. Add this to the dry ingredients, this will make a wettish dough. Mix well, kneading for around two minutes. I found this dough to be a little wetter than usual when I make seitan but I think this is probably what made it so nice.

Shape the seitan into an oval/log shape. Wrap in clingfilm, tying each end to make a sealed package.

Dark Seitan 1

Bring the stock to the boil and drop in the seitan. Lower to a simmer and simmer for one hour, turning the seitan occasionally.

Once the hour is up turn off the heat and allow the seitan to sit in the stock for another 15 minutes. Slice, eat and try not to eat it all at once. Dark Seitan 2

This seitan had a lovely flavour, I had it as part of a roast and it was so good, the only problem was that I couldn’t stop myself eating it! It certainly didn’t last long. This was the best seitan I have made yet, it could have been used across a variety of meals, in sandwiches, salads etc, I’ll definitely be making it again.

 

Dark Seitan 3

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Vegan Budget Shopping List

Is it just me or does it feel like this month has went on forever? Payday is around the corner, but the last few weeks I have been budgeting, and budgeting some more. Additionally, trying to eat in a slimming world friendly way, it’s not been easy!

Veganism is often stated as being an expensive diet, but having eating standard omnivore diet, high protein low carb, and vegan, vegan is the cheapest, by far! I’m not sure why it gets the reputation, if you buy all pre-processed foods I suppose it is a little more expensive, but buying pre-processed foods of any type always is, and the price of meat is sky high compared to beans/grains/legumes.

I decided to put together a vegan budget shopping list, covering a weeks worth of food, for what a buy for my current meal planning list. This may help anyone stuck on planning meals, or anyone even thinking about trying out a mostly plant based vegan diet. It’s hard to say how many people this will cover, my family are fussy so most nights this covers at least three of us, however, sometimes my husband will have something else, or daughter doesn’t like chilli for example, however it can definitely be stretched to three, four more pasta, more rice etc.

The following is a list of foods I would usually buy to cover the week of meals, breakfasts and lunches, I would buy some crisps and biscuits too for the kids, and my husband would probably want some junk food in there, but for the main meals hopefully this gives an idea of how little it can cost you. The total for this is around £35. Ridiculously cheap, I buy own brand stuff as well, I don’t see much difference, maybe I’m just used to it but when I need to save money this is what I buy.

  • Pasta x 2 – £1
  • Chopped Tomatoes x 3 – £1.50
  • Onions – £0.50
  • 2 x Mixed Beans – £1.00
  • 1 x Chilli Beans – £0.80
  • 1 Bag of Basmati Rice – £1.50
  • 1 Bag of Green Lentils – £1.20
  • 1 Large bag of White Potatoes – £2.00
  • 1 Bag of Arborio Rice (will last 2 weeks) – £1.10
  • 1 Bag of Spinach – £1.50
  • 1 Red Cabbage – £1.00
  • 1 Bag of Carrots – £1.00
  • 1 Brocolli Stalk – £0.50
  • 1 tin of Chickpeas – £0.50
  • 1 Pack of Peppers – £1.20
  • Mixed Chilli’s – £1.00
  • Frozen Berries – £2.00
  • Bananas – £1.00
  • Oatly – £1.50
  • Oats – £0.75
  • Bread – £1.00
  • Tomatoes – £1.00
  • Cucumber – £1.00
  • Tangerines – £1.00
  • Mushrooms – £0.80
  • Fruit on offer in aldi/lidl – £2.00
  • Veg on offer in aldi/lidl – £2.00
  • Baked Beans x 4 – £1.00
  • Stuffing – £1.00
  • Lettuce – £0.60
  • Cous Cous – £1.00
  • Garlic – £0.30

Store cupboard

  • Spices and Herbs
  • Gravy Granules
  • Gram Flour
  • Oil/Spray Oil
  • Vitalite
  • Chilli Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Nooch
  • Tomato Puree

Meals

  • Monday – Pasta, Tomato and Basil Sauce
  • Tuesday – Spicy Beans/Rice with chips and salad
  • Wednesday – Mixed Bean Chilli with Rice and Veg
  • Thursday – Green Lentil Sheperds pie with Veg
  • Friday – Risotto with Veg
  • Saturday – Saag Aloo with Rice, Veg
  • Sunday – Roast dinner with stuffing, potatoes and veg
  • Breakfasts – Fruit Smoothies, Toast and Tomatoes/Spinach, Vegan Fry Up, Beans on Toast
  • Lunch – Vegetable Soup, Houmous Salad Sandwich, Rice/Pasta/Cous cous and Veg, Baked Potato and Beans

 

Vegan Slimming World Diary 1 | 04/01/17 – 10/01/17

I had a good week this week, a good weight loss, didn’t feel hungry, ate plenty of fruit and veg, less processed foods, all round very smooth week. I lost 3.5 pounds which for me is a lot in a week! I also got slimmer of the week, combined with losing 1.5 pounds the week before, I’m guessing most people were still gaining at that point, either way I was over the moon.

vegan slimming world diary 1

Wednesday 4th January

  • Breakfast
    • Tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach (speed), new potatoes, baked beans (free)
  • Lunch
    • Cabbage, brocolli, onion, carrot, mushroom (free) stir fry, soy sauce (free)
  • Dinner
    • Portobello Mushroom(free) burgers in a sandwich thin (HexB), potato wedges (free), salad (speed), sauces (3 syns)
  • Snacks
  • Exercise
    • 15 minute dog walk

Thursday 5th January

  • Breakfast
    • Chickpea Omelette (5 syns), baked beans (free)
  • Lunch
    • Poha (free), veg (speed), hot chilli sauce (1 syn)
  • Dinner
    • Lentil sheperds pie(1.5 syns), cabbage(speed), mushy peas (free)
  • Snacks
  • Exercise
    • 15 minute dog walk

Friday 6th January

  • Breakfast
    • Fruit smoothie (5 syns)
  • Lunch
    • Leftover lentil sheperds pie(1.5 syns), cabbage(speed)
  • Dinner
    • Baked Rice/Tomato Risotto (free and speed), Slimming world chips (free), pepper and cabbage (speed)
  • Snacks
  • Exercise
    • 15 minute dog walk

Saturday 7th January

  • Breakfast
    • Chickpea omelette (5 syns), baked beans (free), tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach(speed)
  • Lunch
    • Homemade houmous (free), veg (speed), tomato and veg soup (speed)
  • Dinner
  • Snacks
  • Exercise
    • 65 minute dog walk

Sunday 8th January

  • Breakfast
    • Mini chickpea omelette (2.5 syns), homemade hashbrows, baked beans (free), tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach(speed)
  • Lunch
    • Homemade houmous falafels (free) salad(speed)
  • Dinner
    • Roast dinner with stuffing(4 syns), roast and new potatoes, parsnips, peas (free), carrots, cabbage and brocolli(speed) and gravy (1.5 syns)
  • Snacks
    • Banana, Tangerine
  • Exercise
    • 15 minute walk with the dog, 60 minutes at the gym

Monday 9th January

  • Breakfast
    • Sandwich thin (HexB) with 1/2 can of low salt/sugar baked beans, 5 mushrooms(speed), 1 tomato(speed)
  • Lunch
    • Teriyaki (2 syns) 1/2 pepper, 1/2 onion, 2 mushrooms, green cabbage, red chilli, 1/2 courgette(all speed), 80g dry white rice (free)
  • Dinner
    • Tomato Pasta (All speed), wholemeal pasta (free), Garlic Bread (7 syns)
  • Snacks
    • Banana, Tangerine
  • Exercise
    • 15 minute walk with the dog, 5 minutes yoga

Tuesday 10th January

  • Breakfast
    • Rye Bread (6 syns), Homemade Houmous (free), spinach and tomato (speed)
  • Lunch
    • Stirfried veg (free), wholewheat cous cous (free) chilli sauce (1)
  • Dinner
    • Mini wrap (4.5 syns), rice and beans (free), veg and salad (speed), chilli sauce (1 syns)
  • Snacks
  • Exercise
    • Gym 60 minutes, Dog walk 15 minutes, yoga 5 minutes

I’m planning on having a similar week this week, if I managed a 3 pound loss I would be at 50 pounds, also I would be over a stone and a half, and I would be over a stone since starting slimming world, so I’m really giving it my all this week!

Remember to follow me on instagram, facebook and twitter to see how I’m doing.

Baked Risotto | Dinner

I can’t remember when I found this recipe for baked risotto, I think it was shortly after I went vegan. Pre-vegan days I used to make another type of risotto, thinking back it was so overpoweringly cheesy, the thought of it turns my stomach now. I now jump between this one and a mushroom and onion risotto, but I usually make one of them at least once a fortnight.

The baked version has the advantage that it takes a lot less work, you mix the ingredients and shove it in the oven. On the down side it is never quite as creamy tasting, but it is still a tasty dinner. It also has another positive, this week I didn’t realise I had ran out of arborio rice so made it with long grain rice and it turned out just as nice. This serves around 3 people (or 2 with leftovers for us).

Baked Risotto

Ingredients

  • Spray oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of arborio rice
  • 1 box of chopped tomatoes
  • Dried Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper for the sauce
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to around 200 celsius (180 fan, 400 fahrenheit). In a large pan cook onion and garlic for around 5 minutes until soft. Stir in rice until coated.

Add tomatoes and seasoning and cook for another 5 minutes.

Lastly add stock and bring to the boil, stirring continually.

Transfer to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake in the centre of the oven until liquid is absorbed, which usually is around 30 minutes.

At the end, remove from the oven and stir in the spinach and nutritional yeast if using.

The nutritional yeast is 5 syns for the 2 tbsp, so split between the meal it’s around 1.5 syns a portion, it’s also optional and only makes a minor difference to the flavour leaving it out.

I have it with whatever fresh veg I have around, sometimes chips/onion rings.

baked risotto

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Vegetable Curry | Dinner

I often struggle making tasty curry’s, but this vegetable curry is a hard one to mess up. It took around 40 minutes to make, and has 1.5 syns and was enough for two biggish servings, if you doubled the quantities it would be fine for more servings.

Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

  • 2 white potatoes cubed
  • 1 large courgette sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 10 mushrooms sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp of mild curry powder
  • 2 tsp of coconut milk powder
  • 1/2 a tub of passata
  • spray oil

Method

Using spray oil and a little of the curry powder, put the potatoes, courgette and red pepper in the oven for around 20 minutes to soften.

Once they are soft, sautee the onion, mushroom and garlic in a pot for a few minutes, then add the remaining curry powder and ensure it is mixed well, cook for another couple of minutes. Add the veg from the oven and passata and mix.

At this point I boiled the kettle and added an undetermined amount of water, you have to cook it on the hob for around 20 minutes to ensure the spices get through it all, so add enough to keep it liquidy, I would guess around 400ml. (This seems to be how much of my cooking goes, just throw it in and hope for the best!).

In the last 5 minutes I mixed my coconut powder with water, around 1/4 of a cups worth, to make a thin milk. You could also use coconut milk out of a tin if you like, I just find the powder is easier to store especially when you only need a little. 1 level tsp is 1.5 syns. I added the milk last and cooked for another couple of minutes.

We had this with rice and more speed veg in the way of purple and green cabbage. It was lovely, not too spicy, I could have chucked in some cayenne pepper but my husband wouldn’t have at it then so mild was fine.

vegetable curry

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Chickpea Omelette | Breakfast

Back in my pre-vegan days I ate a lot of eggs, in fact I found eggs to be one of the things I missed the most when I first made the switch. I’ve tried the follow your heart vegan eggs and found them to be overpoweringly eggy tasting, which was a shame, I was hopeful I would love them! (Although at £7 a box, I’m kind of glad I didn’t!) This week a recipe for a chickpea omelette popped up on my facebook, the picture looked delicious and they are something I’ve wanted to try for a while and I just kept forgetting about them. The omelette itself turned out to be incredibly quick to make, and really delicious.

Chickpea Omelette

Ingredients

  • 25g Gram Flour
  • 1 tsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water

Method

Mix all of the ingredients. Whisk well to get out the lumps in the batter.

Heat a frying pan with some spray oil, pour in the batter. Cook on both sides.

As a filling I used mushrooms, onions and a tiny bit of vegan cream cheese, and I served it with baked beans.

chickpea omelette

Slimming world wise this is 5 syns, 4 for the flour and 1 for the nooch, but in my opinion it was worth every syn. Not quite like an omelette but enough to satisfy, and very tasty. Remember to give me a follow on instagram, facebook and twitter for more.

Tomato and Herb Sauce | Dinner

This tomato and herb sauce is made usually once a week in my house, it’s quick, can be frozen, nutritional and definitely slimming world friendly. I usually serve it with wholewheat spaghetti, occasionally I’ll have with rice, or even just vegetables. It can also be used in lasagne, and I use a similar base when making bean chilli.

Tomato and Herb Sauce

Ingredients

  • Spray Oil
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Chopped finely
  • 1 Onion, Chopped
  • 8-10 Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1 Carrot, Chopped
  • 1 Stalk of Celery, Chopped
  • Tomato puree
  • 1 Box of Chopped Tomatoes (or a tin)
  • Vegetable Stock, around 1/2 litre
  • Italian Mixed Herbs
  • Basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method

Sautee the garlic and onion in a pot with spray oil for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for another few minutes. Add celery and carrot and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the tomato puree and herbs. I don’t measure the herbs, just a generous sprinkle of the basil and mixed Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme and parsley). I season with salt and pepper.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stock. This will make quite a liquidy sauce. This needs reduced and will take around 30 – 40 minutes to get to a thickness that is suitable. The longer you cook the sauce the richer it gets, 30 – 40 minutes at a simmer is usually about right, but taste it often to be sure.

Finally, right at the end I may use the hand blender to blend it up a little. My daughter can be fussy about vegetables in sauce, so if I blend it up she can’t see them. If it’s just for myself though I often won’t bother.

Syn free, delicious, packed full of vegetables, it’s a great sauce. I hate jarred sauces now, they taste way too salty for me, but with this being so easy to make I really don’t mind. Plus, it costs about £1.50 for four portions. Cheap as anything.

Tomato and Herb Sauce

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Side Dishes | Christmas Menu

We are having a variety of side dishes with our Christmas meal, I had planned these with minimal fuss so I can focus on the seitan roast!

Side Dishes Recipes

Roast Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
  • Rapeseed (Vegetable) Oil
  • Garlic
  • Rosemary

Method

The key is in the method rather than the ingredients for these potatoes. I peel and chop the potatoes first, then parboil for around 10 minutes.  Once done I drain and shake them about in the drainer to scuff  up the edges. While I’m parboiling I heat the oil in a baking tray in the oven. Rapeseed is good as it reaches a high temperature. Put in the potatoes, garlic and sprinkle a little rosemary over them. Then spoon some of the hot oil over the potatoes and cook until crispy. It depends on what else I’m cooking how quickly they are done, but around 30 minutes is usually fine.

Maple Carrots and Parsnips

Ingredients

  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Maple Syrup
  • Olive Oil

Method

Peel the veg, chop into longish chunks, quartering each vegetable then chopping up. Parboil them together for around 5 – 10 minutes, the parsnips cook quicker.

Heat olive oil in the tray first, then when veg is parboiled add to tray and squeeze a generous amount of maple syrup over. Season with salt and pepper too. Mix the veg and roast until done. I may add more maple syrup during cooking if required.

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Ingredients

  • 300 g Brussels Sprouts
  • 200 g Chestnuts (Vacuum Packed)
  • 8 Shallots
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 40 g vegan margerine

Method

Peel Brussels sprouts and score at the bottom in a cross (this takes ages!)

Boil a pan of water and blanch sprouts for a minute. Chop shallots finely. Melt vitalite in a frying pan and add shallots, cooking till golden. Add brussels sprouts, reduce and heat and cook for 8 minutes (or until they are all cooked through), stirring occasionally. Add chestnuts last, and cook for around another 4 minutes. Serve.

Yorkshire Puddings

Ingredients

  • 115 g Plain Flour
  • 1 heaped tsp Gram Flour
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 pint of soy milk
  • Rapeseed Oil

Method

Whisk the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk the milk in. Heat the tray with oil in every well until hot. Split the mix over a 12 well tray. Cook at 230 Celsius (210 Fan, 450 Fahrenheit) for 20 minutes without opening the oven. I’ve never made these before, I also have a backup recipe that uses soda water but will give this a try first.

Bread Sauce

I make this in memory of my dad, he loved bread sauce, I was never a fan but decided to make it last year when I went vegan and actually really liked it, so now it’s a permanent addition to the menu.

Ingredients

  • 600 ml Oatly
  • 1 onion, halved and studded with around 12 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 150g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 50g vegan margarine

Method

Put onion, bay leaf and peppercorns in saucepan and pour in Oatly. Bring to just about boiling and remove from heat. Allow to rest for 2 hours.

Remove onion, bay leaf and pepper and keep to one side. Add breadcrumbs and put back on heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season with salt, pepper and margarine. It can be chilled and reheated and you can add in the onion/bay leaf/peppercorns for more flavour if required.

There you have it, all of our other side dishes are either out of a packet or bought pre-made. I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, enjoy the time with your family, the food, the relaxing.

Vegan Christmas

Spiced Parsnip Soup | Christmas Menu

This wintery spiced parsnip soup is from the festive feasts slimming world book and sounds deliciously warming. In the book this is served with garlic yoghurt, I won’t be replacing this for the vegan version although you can use a little vegan cream instead (if you remember!)

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 large parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 tomatoes, skinned and cut into wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves sliced
  • 5 cm root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • fresh coriander

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius (180 fan, 400 Fahrenheit). Spray a roasting tin with oil and add parsnips, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, spices and seasoning. Toss well, add more spray oil. Roast veg for around 40 minutes, or until vegetables are just beginning to brown.

Spiced Parsnip Soup

Transfer roasted vegetables to saucepan, add stock and simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Blend with a hand blender (or food processor/blender). Reheat gently, stir in lemon juice and fresh herbs, add more seasoning if required.

Spiced Parsnip Soup

That’s it, straight forward tasty soup. I made this on Christmas Eve and stock at the lemon juice/herbs stage. You can see my full Christmas Menu here and remember you can follow me on facebook, twitter or instagram!

Mushroom and Thyme Tartlets | Christmas Menu

These little Mushroom and Thyme tartlets are being made as a snack in my Christmas Menu. Thyme is my favourite herb, the flavour of it is delicious, and I often sneak it into anything I can get away with. These were a lovely little snack on Christmas day.

Mushroom and Thyme Tartlets

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 175g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Lemon Juice
  • 6 large slices of white bread
  • 1 tsbp vegan margarine
  • 75g vegan cheese (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 200 Celsius (400 Fahrenheit, 190 fan). Heat olive oil in frying pan, fry onions until soft.

Season  with salt, pepper and sugar, then add mushrooms and thyme. Fry until mushrooms have released water. When reduced stir in a squeeze of lemon juice.

Using a glass, cut out 6cm circles of bread, if not big enough roll out bread a little.

Brush one side with melted vegan margerine and place margarine side down in shallow cake tray (mince pie tray). Press in so bread is fully in contact with tray.

mushroom and thyme tartlets

Spoon mushroom mixture in, around 1 – 2 teaspoons per tart. Top with a little vegan cheese if you choose to.

Bake for around 10 – 15 minutes, or until bread is crispy and mixture is cooked.

mushroom and thyme tartlets

Remove from tin and serve.

Here you can view my overall Christmas Menu, and don’t forget to follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram!

 

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles | Christmas Menu

These dark chocolate avocado truffles are tasty, but have the added benefit of actually being pretty good for you, considering what a delicious sweet treat they are! I’m making these as a snack, and may take some more to a new years party we are attending if they go down well.

Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles

Ingredients

  • 280g 70% Dark Chocolate (at least 70%)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup (or just plain old caster sugar)
  • Toppings – cocoa powder, dessicated coconut, chopped nuts

Method

Break chocolate into chunks and place in a glass mixing bowl above a pot of water. Just simmer the water and stir the chocolate as it’s melting. Once fully melted stir in the agave syrup (or sugar). Set aside to cool.

Scoop out the avocado flesh, add the salt and using a fork mash to a pulp.

Gently fold the avocado into the melted chocolate. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it firms up. When nearly ready put your chosen coatings in small bowls.

Roll the chocolate mixture into balls, dip the balls into the coatings and cover. Continue until all the chocolate mixture is used up.

Put truffles in an airtight container and chill for another 30 minutes. Use within two days.

I will update with pictures once I’ve made them, but I have made similar truffles previously and they were delicious! Here you can see my full christmas menu and feel free to follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram.

Vegan Smoked Salmon | Christmas Dinner

Although I used to like smoked salmon back in my pre-vegan days, but to be honest it always gave me the shivers a little, was it raw? I’m not even sure! However, it was a classic at Christmas for me, and in the spirit of my fairly traditional menu I decided to attempt to recreate a recipe for vegan smoked salmon in it’s original form here.

Vegan Smoked Salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 Carrots
  • 2 Tbsp Miso Paste
  • 1 Tsp Liquid Smoke
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 sheet of Nori

Method

Use a vegetable/potato peeler to cut carrots into thin long strips. Place in a small baking dish.

vegan smoked salmon

Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender into a paste. Pour over the carrots.

Cover the dish with a tight cover of aluminium foil.

Bake at 200 Celsius (190 fan, 400 Fahrenheit) for around 10 minutes.

Reduce temperature to 100 Celsius (90 fan, 200 Fahrenheit) and bake for about 45 minutes.

vegan smoked salmon

Remove from oven, take carrot out of broth and refrigerate in an airtight container for at least an hour, or overnight.

vegan smoked salmon

I served this with crackers and vegan cream cheese for one of my starters in my Christmas meal. Although not quite like the traditional smoked salmon, it was a great stand in which I will definitely be making again. 

Stuffed Seitan Roast | Christmas Dinner

This stuffed seitan roast is probably the hardest thing I made this Christmas. It could quite possibly be one of the hardest things I’ve ever made. Following is the recipe, it’s worth the effort, this seitan roast was the centrepiece of the whole meal.

Stuffed Seitan Roast

Ingredients

Stuffing:

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 180g thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 thinly sliced medium leeks (only white and light green parts)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 60g thinly slices pre-cooked chestnuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 250g homemade breadcrumbs (or 125g pre-made breadcrumbs)
  • 70ml vegetable stock
  • Juice of half a lemon

Seitan:

  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 350ml vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g vital wheat gluten
  • 1tsbp fennel seeds
  • 1tsp sweet paprika
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1tsp dried sage
  • Black pepper

Method

Filling:

Sautee mushrooms and leeks in sunflower oil until soft. Add salt, pepper, chestnut slices, garlic and thyme. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often so nothing burns or sticks to the pan.

Sprinkle in breadcrumbs. The mixture will thicken and begin to look dough like. Drizzle in stock and lemon juice, stir so mixture soaks up moisture, then set aside, ready to use.

stuffed seitan roast

Seitan:

Pre-heat oven to 170 Celsius, (325 Fahrenheit, 160 fan). In a food processor mix garlic, beans, stock, soy sauce and oil until it looks like a sauce.

In a large bowl mix wheat gluten, herbs and spices. Make a well in the middle and mix in the bean sauce. Use a spoon, it will eventually resemble dough.

stuffed seitan roast

Get 2 sheets of foil, both similar in size to a broadsheet newspaper.  Lay them down horizontally, and overlap them by about 10 cm (4 inches). They will wrap the roast.

On a large board or surface, roll out seitan to a 25cm x 30cm rectangle shape. It may be stretched out in areas, taken seitan from the edges to patch up if needed.

stuffed seitan roast

Place stuffing filling in the lower third of the dough, leaving around 4 cm (2 inches) of space at the bottom.

stuffed seitan roast

Roll the seitan up from the filling end, keep rolling until you reach the end and it makes a log shape. When finished rolling, pinch the ends and sides to keep the stuffing in.

Move the roll over to the tin foil, so the seam is in the middle of the roll. Roll it up in the tin foil and ensure the ends are tightly wrapped.

Move it to a large baking tray and cook in the oven for around 90 minutes, possibly 2 hours. Turn it every 20 minutes so it cooks evenly.

stuffed seitan roast

Test the roll 90 minutes in. It should be firm and withstand poking, bouncing back like a loaf of cooked bread. If still soft cook for another 20 minutes then test again. When ready, peel back the foil and allow for it to rest for 5 minutes.

christmas dinner

The seitan is in the centre of this picture, I served with gravy and bread sauce, the recipe this is reproduced from also has an apricot glaze and pinenuts, but I think I’ll just stick with the gravy. This stuffed seitan roast is the main course for my meal. Although this dish is a little time consuming I definitely recommend it if you are into seitan. The stuffing was also delicious. 10/10, would make again.  Here you can view my entire Christmas menu for further ideas.

Refrigerator Porridge | Overnight Oats | Breakfast

This refrigerator porridge recipe is very straightforward, but is a quick breakfast that is prepared the night before, ready for you to eat in the morning. I often have this after going to the gym, I’m usually in a rush to get ready so don’t have time to prepare something in the morning.

Refrigerator Porridge Ingredients

  • 30g Rolled Oats
  • 5g Chia Seeds
  • Squeeze of Agave Nectar
  • 3 tbsp plain vegan yoghurt
  • Rice Milk/Almond Milk/Any Plant Milk
  • Frozen Berries
  • Banana/Plum
  • Optional: Maple syrup, peanut/any nut butter

Method

Mix up all of the ingredients except the banana/plum. It should be fairly thick, if it isn’t you can add more oats to thicken it. Cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. Next morning it should have thickened up quite a bit, give it a mix, add a little more agave nectar if you want to sweeten it more, then add either a chopped banana, plus, apple, pear etc. That’s it! Really straight forward, quick, and tasty.

refrigerator porridge

If you happen to be following Slimming World, this is 1 syn roughly if you use your Healthy Extra A on the milk (or some of it) and your Healthy Extra B on the oats and chia seeds. 0.5 for agave and 0.5 for the yoghurt if using alpro.

Vegan Haggis | Homemade Haggis

I’m Scottish, therefore I love haggis. However, I’m following slimming world, and the readily available pre-made vegetarian haggis’ (that are vegan), are 9 syns per 100g. That is 9 syns per quarter. I usually have half in one go, 18 syns is not something I’m prepared to eat, nor am I prepared to only have one quarter, so when it was St. Andrews Day recently, I went searching on the internet for a vegan haggis recipe that was fairly straight forward, and I found this one. I have tweaked the recipe a little to make it slimming world friendly (syn free, it uses a Healthy Extra B in the form of rolled oats), while it was not exactly like one of the shop bought haggis’, it was pretty damn tasty. I’ll definitely be having it again.

Vegan Haggis (Slimming World Friendly)

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stalk of celerly, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 75g Mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 125g tinned kidney beans
  • 125g red lentils
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 40g rolled oats
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 175 celsius, 160 for a fan. Use spray oil to sautee onion and garlic.

After 5 minutes add the bay leaf, celery, carrot and some salt. After another 5 minutes add the mushrooms. Cool for a further 5 minutes.

In a separate bowl roughly mash the kidney beans with a fork, Add lentils, spices and vegetable stock. Lastly add the oats and mix well. Add to the vegetable mix and cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

When you’re getting it out it does tend to fall apart, so spoon it out of the dish when it’s done. I had it with mashed carrots and turnip, then some cabbage and brocolli on the side and of course gravy (2 syns worth) on top making it syn free and SP. If you’re looking for a no syn alternative this is it! Enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Haggis

Raising a Vegan Child

Raising a Vegan Child

Really, having a vegan child shouldn’t be a major talking point in my life, but it definitely is. The shock of “Oh, she is vegan too?”, “Did you make her vegan?”, “What does she eat?”, “Does she really stick to it?”. I hear these questions frequently. Yes, No, Lots, Yes.

If I had just listened to my daughter I would have been vegan around 6 months before I made the switch. One day, while waiting for my husband to get out of work, my daughter said mum, I don’t want to eat animals anymore. This was a familiar comment, I had made the same myself, although granted I was a few years older than her young 7 years. I felt excited, and worried at the thought. Having been a vegetarian myself in my younger years, this almost reopened that closed off bit of my mind. “Well, we can definitely cut out processed meat and red meat, but we can still eat chicken to begin with, and fish, and you can have cheese, that will keep you healthy”. I don’t mean to sound over dramatic, but thinking back to my reaction makes me feel a little sick. Here my daughter was, coming the conclusion that eating, and using animals was wrong, my reaction? Well some animal use is okay, and you know, we need animal products to be healthy! *SLAP* Please don’t blame me, I was still ignorant, I’m glad I can see and admit that now.

We cut out all red and processed meat, for a while anyway, until I was in a rush one night and gave her sausages. It’s funny how the thought of eating something like cheap pork sausages now is horrifying on so many fronts, for both of us. It was a failure, but that little comment, and that opening of my mind, even just a little chink, probably helped, so that by the time I saw 101 Reasons to go Vegan, I was ready to make the switch, mid-day, and to not even consider going back.

One of the first things I did when I went vegan was educate myself on the health aspects. I’m very overweight, but even with that I worry about my health, and making it worse than it already is. I think the process of my parents dying also directed me more towards caring, when you see death so close up, your own mortality becomes a more solid thought in your mind. I was surprised to find out, rather than the unhealthy image I had of a vegan in my mind, veganism was actually an incredibly healthy diet, not just healthy, it could in fact be the healthiest diet there was when the right foods were eaten! I was shocked! Again, this solidified my commitment to veganism, ethics, they started the ball rolling, but health is a fairly close second.

I kept my new found veganism quiet for a few days, the first person I told was my daughter. She took it in her stride, asking about the things I couldn’t eat, when I said I couldn’t eat cheese (her favourite meal ever being macaroni cheese) she looked shocked. I didn’t ask her if she wanted to join in, I wanted it to be her choice. I became vegan on the 4th November, and her meat intake drastically tailed off from then right up to Christmas. Right after Christmas she said she was ready, she wanted to go vegan. “What about the macaroni cheese?” I asked, “It always made me feel sick anyway” she said, and thinking about it, it did. I assumed it was because she ate too much, but she more than likely had a lactose intolerance, my son also does so it would make sense.

My son wasn’t quite ready to make the switch, but he eats mostly (90%) vegetarian, and I hope eventually he will go the full way. He is a teenager and I’m proud of the changes he has made, and will continue to support him to go fully vegan.

Our family were doubtful, first of all that she would be able to do it, and secondly that it was healthy. I’m glad to say that on both fronts they underestimated my strong little girl. She has never wavered, not once. She got healthier, she lost a little chub, her hair and skin are glowing, she really is an awesome example of a vegan. She is a little activist too, as far as she knows she is the only vegan child in the school, she says sometimes conversations come up where she points out people are eating dead animals, they don’t really like that but she said she just can’t help it. She also wants to come along to the Earthlings Experience.

So, what steps do I take to ensure she is healthy? Well, first of all I know that she is eating a significantly healthier diet that she was previously, macaroni cheese, sausages, barely a vegetable in sight did not a healthy diet make. Her vegetable and fruit intake has at least tripled. She loves fruit and veg, she says she wants to be a fruitarian when she grows up. She also takes a vegan multivitamin daily, that has B12, D, Omega 3, many others. We also use fortified foods, rice milk, cereal, and she eats dark vegetables a lot. I’m currently trying to get her into tofu, it’s such a great source of nutrients.

I try not to worry too much, I know she is eating a lot healthier than many children, her plate is full of vegetables at night most of the time, she snacks freely on carrots, cucumber, apples, plums, bananas, anything fresh. Sometimes I even make her vegan macaroni cheese.

If you are thinking about raising your own vegan child, don’t be scared. There are many stories about there scaremongering veganism as an option, but groups like the NHS and the British Dietetic Association all agree veganism is healthy for all stages of life. You need to consider what your child eats, but to the same level everyone should be. B12, Calcium, Vitamin D, Iron and Omega 3, these seem to be the vitamins that I see most discussion about online. These are the only vitamins I think about when considering her diet. The rest are covered. So far my daughter is the picture of health, she rarely gets ill even when it seems the whole school is falling around her. She is full of energy, more so that she used to be. Veganism is an option for children, and don’t let the scaremongers convince you otherwise!

My daughters favourite convenience vegan foods (not including fruit, vegetables and homemade!):

  • Fry’s Nuggets
  • Asda’s Curry Noodles
  • Tesco tomato and Onion pasta
  • Fry’s Chicken Style Burgers
  • Dairy Free Ice cream
  • Sweet Cinnamon Porridge made with Rice Milk
  • Asda’s own brand cheap garlic bread
  • Quorn’s newish vegan nuggets
  • Tesco’s bacon rasher crisps

That is just some of the unhealthy stuff to show that it still exists even in the vegan world. She mostly eats a homemade meal every night, that I make and photograph on Instagram, but when she does eat the above foods we try to have a large portion of the plate filled with vegetables.

If you would like more information on raising a vegan child, or anything else relating to veganism or weight loss, feel free to contact me on facebook, twitter or instagram.

Vegan Slimming World – Week 5

I reached the end of my mostly SP week, with two days spent at vegfest eating rather a lot I still managed to lose a pound! I did stick to it religiously around those two days, and I didn’t go completely off the rails either, although I ate way more than I generally do I guess. So losing a pound is pretty good.

I need to get my weight losses higher though, this one pound a week is very frustrating. I know that people say 1 – 2 pounds is all that can be expected, but man I just wish I could lose a little faster. When you have so far to go, 1 – 2 pounds a week seems like forever. If I lost at that rate it would take me to nearly this time next year to get to my goal target weight of 10 stone, I currently have 87 left to lose.

SP was good! But it felt restrictive as a vegan, while there is a fair choice of beans, lentils etc, I struggled to make things using these and tended to stick to either baked beans or quorn over the week. I only had pasta, rice and potatoes once though on my non SP days, and I think this must have helped my weight loss. I do think my suspicion about eating too big portion sizes of these foods was probably correct. Last night I weighed my pasta to a 85g dry portion, still large, 70g is the recommended, but instead of worrying about how big it was I knew, I checked the calories and saw it was well within normal ranges.

I’ll share my SP food diary for the 5 days of last week that I followed it, and maybe it will help any other vegans who are thinking about some SP time.

Wednesday

Breakfast – HexB for bread, 1 syn for maple rashers, spinach and tomato speed, 10g vegan cheese HexA

Lunch – Stir fry veg speed, quorn fillet protein, melon speed, soy sauce free

Dinner – carrots, turnip, brocolli and cabbage speed, gravy 1.5 syns, homemade haggis (recipe coming up) – protein and speed, porridge second HexB

Body Magic – None

Syns used – 2.5

Thursday

Breakfast – Bread – HexB, Maple Rashers – 1 syn, tomatoes, spinach, tangerine and melon speed, 10g Vegan cheese – HexA

Lunch – Bread – HexB, Fry’s Sausages – 0,5 syns, tomato, spinach, onion and mushrooms – speed, baked beans – protein

Dinner – lettuce, courgette, jalapenos, tomatoes, cucumber – speed,  chilli beans and quorn – protein, hot sauce – 1 syn

Apro yoghurt – 2 syns, fruit – speed

Body Magic – 45 minutes gym, 15 minute dog walk

Syns used – 3.5

Friday

Breakfast – Porridge and Chia – HexB, Rice milk – HexA, Alpro – 0,5 syns, Agave Nectar – 0.5 syns, Berries and plum – Speed

Lunch – Bread – HexB, beans leftover – protein, salad – speed, hot sauce – 1 syn

Dinner – Veg casserole – speed, cabbage, brocolli, turnips and carrots – speed, chickpeas – protein, dumplings – 8 syns

Body Magic – 15 minute dog walk

Syns used – 12

Monday

Breakfast – Porridge and Chia – HexB, Rice milk – HexA, Alpro – 0,5 syns, Agave Nectar – 0.5 syns, Berries and plum – Speed

Lunch – Pre-made shop sandwich – 10 syns (removing 6 for HexB), tangerine – speed

Dinner – Fry’s sausages – 1 syn, Baked Beans – Protein, Pepper, Carrots, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, celery – speed

Body magic – 15 minute dog walk

Syns used – 12

Tuesday

Breakfast – Bread – HexB, Baked Beans – Protein, Mushrooms, Onion, Jalapeno- Speed, Hot sauce – 0.5 syns

Lunch – Stir fry pack – mostly speed, quorn fillet – protein, hot sauce – 1 syn

Dinner – Baked Beans – protein, Wrap – HexB, pepper, onion, mushrooms, tomato, jalapeno – speed, linda mccartney pulled chicken – 2 syns, bbq sauce – 2 syns

Body magic – 15 minute dog walk

Syns used – 5.5

I’m not going to use SP this week, but I am going to start weighing my portion sizes of rice, pasta, potatoes, poha, cous cous etc, just to keep an eye on these and make sure that they aren’t affecting my weight loss.

Also,  I thought I would share my most liked nine pictures from Instagram last year, the amount of beans in these is hilarious!

Vegan Slimming World - Week 5

Lastly, next week at our Slimming World Group is the Christmas party and we are to bring food. Any ideas on what to take that is vegan and slimming world friendly to a taster would be appreciated! I have no clue at the moment.

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