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Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate

Vegan friendly chocolate.

There seems to be a misconception that when you turn vegan you suddenly stop eating chocolate; this is not the case. There are many brands of chocolate offering dairy free options which don’t have to come from the “free from” section. If you like dark chocolate then you will find the transition easy. If you don’t enjoy dark chocolate it could take a while to make the transition however over time you will get used to the taste and start to love it.

It is possible to get milk and white vegan chocolate however it does have to come from the “free from” section because it isn’t naturally made dairy free. As a result the cost will be a bit higher than your regular chocolate bars.

Things to note:

  • not all dark chocolate is vegan so always double check the label.
  • dairy products are mostly always in bold however “butterfat” is sometimes not highlighted; so again double check the label.

Some facts about chocolate:

Chocolate is made from the cacao plant which in its most natural state is actually a health food. Not to be confused with cocoa, cacao is naturally high in antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. Alongside a healthy diet, cacao has the ability to balance blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque and ultimately reverse heart disease.

Other health benefits:

  • Its high in magnesium which increases energy levels and protects against osteoporosis.
  • Cacao boosts serotonin levels and endorphins which improve mood and balance mood swings.
  • It contains healthy fats which create chemical reactions for growth, immune function and metabolic function.

I have accumulated a section of photos on my trip around Tesco, finding all the vegan chocolate I could. Other supermarkets and health shops have more choice so you’re never short of options. These are mainstream brands, where as health shops have great raw chocolate varieties (and more!) but at a higher cost.

Other alternatives include raw cacao powder (to create your own great vegan desserts/ treats) and cacao nibs (to add to snacks, smoothies and oats).

Find some of your mainstream varieties below.

Green & Black’s

Tesco’s Own

Lindt

Green & Blacks Thins

Tesco Finest

Bournville

Ritter Sport (not their mint variety)

BENDICK’S

 

To find out more about how chocolate is made, go view my post on how I made chocolate in the Amazon!

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

Being the only vegan at a party

I don’t know if it has happened to you before but I sometimes feel like I am the only vegan in the village. Eating a vegan diet does make you the minority, although the number of us are on the increase, so there are things you need to accept.

  • people don’t always understand you
  • people think you only eat lettuce and carrots
  • you may be weird to some people
  • some people assume you are judging them OR that they’re making you feel uncomfortable eating meat near you
  • some genuinely don’t know how to cater for you
  • don’t expect to be catered for at parties and don’t take offence!!

As a result of this you have to be confident in what you’re doing, happy with what you’re doing and always be prepared.

Here are some quick tips to help you feel comfortable in party situations:

  • eat before you go: you wont offend anyone at the party because chances are there’s not much substantial you will be able to eat there. Eating before hand ensures you wont be hungry there so you wont get “hangry” and want to leave. You want to be happy and comfortable there so make sure you’re well fed before hand.
  • take something with you:  super easy tip. Take food with you! Share you’re food with others, it will make you blend in and people will appreciate the gift 🙂
  • don’t make comments about there being no vegan food available: in a room full of numerous “normal” eating people, you can’t expect that on top of catering for all them people that they’re going to go that extra mile for you. They have spent a lot of time and effort into preparing the party so don’t mention you’re vegan and there’s nothing to eat, simply say you’re not hungry or “no thank you” to non-vegan offerings.
  • find any vegan food you can and take it before it goes: there’s a chance that there will be a cheese board with fresh or dried fruits. Take some and pop them on your plate before they all go. Bread is normally available and if you’re lucky some salads or veggie sticks. More times than none there will be vegan options but get them on your plate at the beginning of the party, just incase they run out by the time you’re hungry.
  • don’t worry about it: at the end of the day you’re not there for the food, you’re there for the party. Enjoy the party and be social. Social environments don’t always have to revolve around food and if they do just make sure you’re prepared.

I hope these few, quick tips help you for when you feel like the only vegan in the village 🙂

 

 

Sticky Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sticky Chocolate Chip Cookies

Having just returned from an absolutely gorgeous holiday in Ibiza I returned to an empty fridge and a very sweet tooth! I needed to make something quick, simple and delicious to satisfy my sweet tooth with only limited ingredients. Then I remembered the cookies I tried from an Instagram page (EverydaySimpleHealth) and thought I would change the recipe slightly to adapt to my taste. All these ingredients are part of my store cupboard essentials so in 10 minutes I was able to construct these beauts with no trip to the shops and keep me happy 🙂

These are ideal for a mid afternoon snack with a cup of tea/ coffee ! Each ingredients is full of goodness and the cookies as a whole provide the sweetness to perk you back up during that afternoon slump. Cacao has endless health benefits including being full of essential minerals, B vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, protein and monounsaturated fat. It helps improve blood circulation, lowering blood pressure, improves digestion and can promote cardiovascular health and function! See, RAW chocolate is good for you!! Check out the recipe below and try for yourselves 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1 Tbsp. Cacao nibs
  • 1 Tbsp. Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Almonds
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
  • Cinnamon

METHOD:

  1. Chop the dates and place them in some water to let soak for 10 minutes
  2. Whilst soaking dates place oats in blender and blitz the oats for a few seconds to make a powder
  3. Put all dry ingredients into the blender with the blitzed oats then draining off the water from the dates, add the dates into the blender
  4. Blend all together to form the sticky cookies
  5. Form into 6-7 cookies and refrigerate until firmed up. (Make at night then leave overnight is ideal!)

Enjoy the deliciousness and goodness 🙂

Chocolate Cashew Bars

Chocolate Cashew Bars

My. Oh. My. I am in LOVE with these Chocolate Cashew Bars; I can not tell you how many times I have made them. They are so easy to make and have hardly any ingredients in them at all. The one problem is, my Mum loves them even more than I do and always pinches them off me. Cheeky Cheeky. Although it does keep her from munching all the biscuits!!

I found a recipe from Unprocessyourfood on Instagram which I adapted slightly for my own preference. I change it every now and then, depending on what I am fancying that week. I have done it with a few more dates, with and without cinnamon, blended it for less time so its more of a crumbly/ dry bar. It is all preference and that’s why I love simple recipes; so easy to adapt to what you like.

These bars are perfect for afternoon snacks to keep you going during the energy slump most of us endure around 3-4pm. They have slow release carbohydrates and protein to keep you full until dinner time but also a healthy hit of sugar to give you some energy and put a smile on your face, and your belly ( Hello? Chocolate!!).

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I hope you enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 Cup Cashews
  • 1/4 Cup Rolled Oats
  • 6 Dates (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
  • Dark Chocolate Chips (vegan or non-vegan)
  • Flaked Almonds
  • Pinch Sea Salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend oats, cashews and sea salt in food processor
  2. Add dates, cinnamon and honey and blend until a cookie dough texture
  3. Press onto a lined baking tray and top with dark chocolate chips and flaked almonds (you can use chopped nuts of any kind, they would also be good).
  4. Leave to set overnight in the fridge and then enjoy (alternatively, keep in freezer for an hour and then remove to enjoy).
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Ok so I got a little carried away with these babies, and what started off as a simple cinnamon and oat cookie turned into chocolate and peanut butter cookies with some other added bits! Avoid all the chia seeds and extra coconut on top unless you want to but to keep it more simple, just follow the recipe 🙂 Sometimes simple is best, right?

I never liked cinnamon until living in America for a year. During Fall and Christmas time it was everywhere and soon enough I came to love the superfood! The smell of it gives good memories and I cant get enough of it. This is the first time I’ve used it in baking and its a beautiful little addition isn’t it?! It’s also great in oats and who doesn’t like a cinnamon latte?

Cinnamon has many health benefits, best of all it helps reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. So when you can add a dash to your bakes or oats!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • 5 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbsp Raw Cacao
  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Desiccated coconut
  • Dash of Cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

  1. On low heat, mix almond milk, PB, maple syrup, cinnamon and cacao.
  2. Turn of heat and add in coconut and oats.
  3. Form into 8 cookies and place on a lined baking tray.

TIPS:

Leave to set and cool in the fridge before eating. You do not have to keep them in the fridge once they have set, it is entirely personal preference. I chop and change between the two, it doesn’t make much difference I don’t think.

Protein Cookies

Protein Cookies

Peanut butter and Chocolate, the perfect combo and high in protein too! If you are a peanut butter addict like myself you will love these Protein Cookies.

Not your normal protein cookie snack but these you can easily make yourself and save yourself some money!! No added sugars or oils like standard protein snacks, all ingredients are whole and natural so you can enjoy them without consuming the rubbish of an overpriced store brought version.

I recommend using 100% natural peanut butter because most store bought butters contain added oil and sugar which isn’t necessary, especially when most of the time it’s eaten with some thing sweet anyway.

Almond butter is a healthier alternative to Peanut butter as it contains high levels of Vitamin E, an antioxidant which rid the body of toxins! Almond butter is however more expensive so for using in large quantities either shop around or stick to peanut.

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Originally a Tone It Up – Karina and Katrina recipe but I’ve adapted it slightly.

Enjoy 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

(Makes 15)

  • 2.5 Cups Oats
  • 1/2 Cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Maple Syrup (honey if not vegan)
  • 4 tbsp Raw Cacao (or unsweetened cocoa)
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein

DIRECTIONS:

  1. On a low heat, combine almond milk, peanut butter, honey and cacao.
  2. Turn of heat and immediately add in oats, coconut and protein, stirring and combining all together.
  3. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Using your hands take small pieces of the mixture, form into little balls and then flatten into cookie shapes on the tray (be careful it might be a bit hot!).
  5. Refrigerate and enjoy whenever you like!