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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 🙂

 

 

Chocolate Cafe: Huanchaco – Peru

Chocolate Cafe: Huanchaco – Peru

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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….

ENJOY !!

🙂

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P.S. The staff were also really nice and friendly – Bonus !

10 minute Vegetable Pasta

10 minute Vegetable Pasta

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This dish is perfect for when you have no fresh food in the house but still want a healthy and filling meal. It’s easy to make and is cooked start to finish in just 10 minutes. Minimal effort required and minimal washing up too.

Many people say that they don’t have time for cooking healthy meals but this simple recipe shows that you can have healthy quick food that requires no fuss at all. You can also use the base of this recipe as a pasta sauce for any future meals and just add different vegetables into it and/ or beans, lentils etc to make a variation of the dish.

Most jarred sauces contain added sugars, oils, salt and preservatives which just aren’t necessary for your body. Making sauces yourself is so much cheaper, more delicious and a lot healthier too. Get creative and step away from them jars !!

Also, did you know that frozen vegetables are frozen within hours of being picked? This means that they can contain more nutrients than when we buy our vegetables “fresh” from the supermarket. When we buy fresh vegetables from supermarkets they may have taken up to a month before they arrived on the shelf and then days before you’ve bought and eaten them! This means that in that time they’ve slowly deteriorated and lost some of the vitamins and antioxidents they had at the time of picking. The point is, frozen veg isn’t as bad as some people may think and it can be healthier too.

So let’s get into the recipe and I hope you enjoy!

(Makes 1 portion)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 150g Pasta (Any pasta you like, linguine and fettuccine is my fav!)
  • 280g Passata
  • 1/2 tsp Tahini
  • 1 tsp Dried Coriander (can substitute for favourite herb/s)
  • 1 tsp Garlic
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Tamari (can substitute for Soy Sauce)
  • 1/4 Red Onion
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 + 1/2 Cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables

Optional extras:

  • Chilli powder
  • Pine nuts and Seeds sprinkled on top
  • Nutritional Yeast – cheesy flavour and vitamin B12

METHOD:

  1. Add ALL ingredients into a pan (no oil needed) and simmer for ten minutes
  2. At the same time cook your pasta. Both will be cooked in 10 minutes.
  3. DONE ! 😀
Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Raw vegan carrot cake cupcakes? Yaaaaaay !!

So, I have made a couple of batches of these cupcakes to try and get the consistency more cakey, however I have come to the realisation that they’ll never quite be a cupcake consistency as they are raw of course, and carrot pulp is wet, therefore I’m working towards something that can not be achieved whilst keeping the taste on point.

I’m sharing this recipe with you because for me they taste awesome, they’re a healthy and delicious alternative to regular carrot cake and although not quite a “cupcake” texture, they look like a cupcake and they taste lovely regardless, ha ha!

I hope you can enjoy them too so let’s get into the recipe.

(Makes 5-6 Cupcakes)

NOTE: This recipe involves juicing carrots. If you do not have a juicer try blending the carrots first in a food processor or blender and then use a muslin cloth to strain as much juice out as you can.

INGREDIENTS:

Carrot Cake Base

  • 1 Cup Carrot Pulp (roughly 3 large carrots juiced)
  • 1/2 Cup Soft Sticky Dates
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 3 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp Ground Ginger

Cream Frosting

  • 1 Cup Cashews (soaked either overnight or 6-8 hours)
  • 3 Soft Sticky Dates
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut water

METHOD:

Carrot Cake Base

  1. Start by juicing roughly 3 large carrots, this will give you a cup of carrot pulp.
  2. Add carrot pulp into food processor with all other ingredients and combine into cakey mixture
  3. Spoon into cupcake cases (makes 5-6 large cupcakes or more if making smaller ones)

Cream Frosting

  1. Soak cashews in water overnight or for 6-8 hours and then drain off all water.
  2. Put into food processor with all other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Spoon and spread onto cupcakes (you will have more than enough frosting so you could always save the extra for more cupcakes, morning oats or anything else you may like to have it with!).

Leave to refrigerate overnight, then enjoy !!

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Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar

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Raw Chocolate and Goji Berry Bar; tastes like a chewy chocolate bar but super healthy and of course all vegan!!

Perfect for on the go snacking this bar provides you with healthy Fats, Protein and Carbs to keep you full and satisfied. Not only that but did you know that Goji Berries are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and a great source of Iron? It’s also a Complex Carb which means it is full of Fibre and won’t spoke your blood sugars!

Do you need any more convincing?

Try for yourself and enjoy with no guilt 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Cup Pecans
  • 1/2 Cup Oats
  • 1 Cup Pitted Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Cacao
  • 2 Tbsp Goji Berries

METHOD:

  1. In a Food Processor, Nutri Bullet or Vitamix, blitz the Oats and Nuts into a flour
  2. Add in Dates, Cacao and Goji Berries
  3. Pulse together until it forms a sticky ball
  4. Shape into 5  bars
  5. Refrigerate overnight
  6. Enjoy ! 🙂

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Jamie’s Italian

Jamie’s Italian

A chain that offers a variety of vegan food, say whaaat!? Dining out as a vegan is sometimes difficult and you may end up eating something really boring so that you can be catered for; and that’s no fun, especially when you’re paying probably quite a lot for it too.

This weekend I went to Jamie’s Italian, I always check menus before hand, and saw that he had more than one vegan option. I was pretty happy. It’s also great because if you’re with non-vegan friends then you don’t want to keep dragging them to vegan restaurants all the time so having variety here is fantastic!

I had the vegan bread board to start and then a baked aubergine dish, which both were so delicious I was pretty happy! It’s clearly stated on the menu what is vegan and what can be MADE vegan for you, so it’s a good shout if you’re ever out and see one. Keep it in mind that he caters for vegans and on a good level; Pasta dishes included too with a choice of regular size or large 😉

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