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
Green & Blacks Thins
Ritter Sport (not their mint variety)
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
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 🙂
Greetings from Huanchaco – Peru !
I have had just two days here in Huanchaco and I have absolutely loved this place. One of its winning points (along with so many, of course!) is this absolute gem of a cafe: Chocolate Cafe.
When walking and exploring this “old fishing town”, I came across this tucked away beauty, hidden beneath the bushes. I went inside and it had cute little hideaway spaces which people were occupying reading books and sipping on their colourful fruit smoothies.
After this first visit (in which I HAD to stop and try their avocado, hummus and grilled vegetable sandwhich – incredible) I returned for both breakfast and lunch the following day.
The food was absolutely delicious. They have a variety of smoothies, juices, salads, wraps, sandwiches and pastas. All of which looked, sounded and tasted amazing!
The cafe is not a vegetarian or vegan specific, however they have a great variety of optIons and it’s a great place for everyone and anyone to eat at.
Prices are also really affordable and it’s chilled vibe on top of it all just makes it the perfect place to visit in Huanchaco and Peru in general.
Don’t miss out if visiting, and….
P.S. The staff were also really nice and friendly – Bonus !
What is Quinoa (keen-wah)?
Quinoa is often mistaken for a whole grain, however it is actually a seed but is used in the same way that you would use a grain. It’s grown in popularity over the past few years as its a complete protein source, naturally gluten free, high in iron, magnesium and fibre. It’s nutty in flavour and has light texture to it.
What do I eat it with?
I use quinoa like I would a whole grain, i.e. rice, buckwheat. So you could service it hot with some cooked veggies stirred through, or as a bed for a stew or curry. Why not try it cold as a salad with a dressing mixed through it, raw veggies, nuts and herbs. You could also get really creative and make your own pizza base, muffins, or some like to have it as a porridge.
How do I cook it?
Rinsing: Rinsing your quinoa is really important because quinoa has a natural coating called “saponin” which if you don’t wash off will leave your quinoa tasting earthy and bitter. Not nice. So before cooking it rinse it off in a sieve.
Cooking: Once you have rinsed your quinoa, put 1 Cup of quinoa with 2 Cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer with a lid on for 10 minutes, or until all the water has completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork and it’s ready !
Hope this helps 🙂
With the grey and wet weather we have been having the past few days I thought it would be appropriate to share a warming, creamy sweet potato soup recipe with you all, because lets be honest, days like these just call for a big bowl of hot soup and chunky freshly baked bread.
Soup is such a simple food but so satisfying. It is also one of the easiest foods to make out there, is perfect for getting in lots of veggies and is also great for putting into a flask and taking out with you on outdoor adventures, to work, to school, or wherever you may be going.
The recipe is a simple and satisfying but if you want to bulk it up a bit without adding bread, why not try adding in some extra cooked veggies or beans for added texture and protein. Rice in soup is also an awesome combo if you ever fancy trying that 😉
Enjoy however you like, go crazy, and let’s get into that recipe 🙂
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- 200ml can of coconut milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1tbsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp rice vinegar
- 1tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1tbsp tomato purée
- salt & pepper
- Dice celery, garlic and onion and then sauté in large pan
- After 3-5 minutes add in chopped and peeled carrots, sweet potato, smoked paprika, rice vinegar and mixed herbs, stirring all together
- Allow these all to cook for a couple of minutes before adding in tomato purée, coconut milk and boiling water (enough to cover and cook the vegetables).
- Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, until carrots and sweet potato are soft.
- Once cooked blend all together to make a soup, add in salt and pepper to taste. (if soup is too thick for you, here’s the time to top up with some boiling water, if desired).
- Enjoy 🙂
Hey Lovelies 🙂
The month of January is over and the mornings and evenings are getting a teeny bit brighter, hallelujah! It feels like it’s starting to etch into Spring now and I felt like making something bright and summery but also filling, hearty and warm as it is still Winter of course.
Butternut squash is under rated in my opinion and always gets wasted in soups. This recipe, cooking it slowly releases the flavours of the squash and it becomes soft and sweet, combined with the coconut milk and gentle spices it’s a real warming winner.
This Creamy Coconut, Lentil and Squash Curry recipe was inspired by Deliciously Ella’s simple style; throwing it all into a pan and waiting. This is perfect for lazy days as it means less chopping, stirring and standing over the pan. It’s also garlic and onion free for anyone with intolerances.
Enjoy and Devour.
Makes 3 servings.
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 Can of Lentils Vert (drained and rinsed)
- 1 Can of Coconut Milk
- 1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Large handful of Kale
- Handful of Fresh Coriander
- 1/2 Tbsp Turmeric
- 1/2 Tbsp Cumin
- 1/2 Tbsp Ground Ginger
- 1/2 Lemon
- Peel and chop butternut squash into cubes, set aside.
- Add coconut milk, chopped tomatoes (rinse can afterwards with a little water and add that in too), lentils, turmeric, cumin and ginger into pan and bring to boil.
- Once at boil, turn down to simmer and add in butternut squash and coriander, cook for 35 minutes.
- After 35 minutes, add in chopped kale and cook for further 10 minutes (now would be a good time to put on the rice to cook).
- After 10 minutes stir in the juice of half a lemon, serve and enjoy. (When ready squash should be soft, if it’s not ready continue to cook until soft).
This is a basic kale salad recipe which as a basic can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be an accompaniment to a main meal, a light lunch or bulk it up with potatoes, rice or quinoa.
Here are a few little facts about the marvellous green warrior:
- Rich in Calcium: 1 portion (80g) of cooked kale contains 120mg!!
- Great source of folate, the naturally occurring form of folic acid in food. (Folic acid: rich in Vitamin B, supports a healthy functioning immune system)
- Super high in fibre (keeps you regular!)
- Rich in the Lutein: for optimal eye health (you’ll have vision like a hawk!)
- Rich in Vitamin A: good skin and vision
- More Vitamin C than carrots! (17 times more, gram for gram in fact)
- Excellent source of Vitamin K: normal blood clotting and maintaining normal bones
This recipe contains lots of healthy plant-based protein, good carbs and healthy fats; it’s absolutely delicious and I hope you enjoy it 🙂
- 200g Uncooked Kale
- 1 Lime
- 1 Tbsp Tahini
- 1 Tbsp Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
- roasted and cubed sweet potato, cooked rice or cooked quinoa
- linseeds, sunflower seeds and/ or pine nuts
- In a bowl mix together the juice of the lime, the tahini and tamari. Stir until it makes a paste.
- Pour mix over the kale and with hands massage the dressing into the kale until it wilts and is fully covered.
- Mix in your extras such as sweet potato, rice or quinoa and top with some seeds and rasins.
Don’t have much time but want something full of flavour, hearty and delicious? You need this Butter Bean and Kale Stew in your life!! I make this amount and save half for the next day but if you’re super hungry then eat it all. There’s no one stopping you, Lol! It’s low fat, high protein and faultless. As for measurements, I sort of make it up as I go depending on what I’m fancying, i.e. add more passatta, more kale etc. So take this as a base line and play with it how you like. Hope you enjoy, and Happy World Vegan Day ☺️
- 1 Can Butter Beans (rinsed)
- 1 Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 1Tbsp Tahini
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 3 Cloves Garlic (crushed)
- Handful or 2 of Kale
- 5 Sundried Tomatoes (chopped)
- 1/4 Cup Passatta
- Pepper (as in ground pepper, not the vegetable…)
- Put on to cook wholewheat pasta or spaghetti (amount you desire).
- Whilst that cooks, add ALL stew ingredients into a pan and cook for about 10 minutes, until hot. bubbly, thickened and cooked through!
- Both should be ready at the same time, serve and enjoy!