Monday, March 29, 2010


As a vegan it is very important to take supplements. In fact, I think it's important for everyone to take them, because most omnivores probably don't get their daily requirements of most vitamins and minerals either. This site, is excellent and I'm going to continue to use them. The goods arrived quickly, very well packaged and I wasn't even charged custom duty. The company is based in New Zealand and are so cheap compared to anywhere in Ireland or the UK. I ordered B12, Iron Complex & Chromium which I will be taking alongside my Multivitamins and Iodine.

Cookies Invade from Outer Space

I bought this book on the weekend, from Waterstones. IT. IS. AMAZING! There are so many pictures, I have no idea what to make first. I'm a sucker for peanut butter and there's so many recipes containing it in this book which will definitely have to be made soon! I'm going to substitute all sugar with xylitol, but probably won't be able to avoid adding a little molasses/agave nectar when it's called for...

Here's a sample of what's inside:

  • Peanut Butter Blondies
  • Key Lime Shortbread
  • Espresso Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Irish Whiskey Cremes
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Pillows
  • Classic Gingerbread
  • NYC Black & Whites
  • Sweet Wine Sesame Biscuits
  • Citrus Glitters
  • Various Biscotti
  • Sweet Potato Blondies
  • Fudge Brownies
  • Nutty Wedding Cookies
  • Pretzel Cookies
Here's a link to the Get Sconed! blog's review of the book... with fantastic pictures!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tahini & Peanut Butter Freezer-Fudge

This stuff is to die for and is SO simple to make! A friend gave me the recipe, but the beauty of it is that you can really play around with the ingredients to make it exactly to your taste. I have never really been a fan of tahini, so next time I might lower the amount of it and maybe add something a little more exotic like cocoa butter and some dessicated coconut. I'll definitely be making this again really soon!

Ingredients for Freezer Fudge:

+ 1/3 cup of peanut butter/any nut/any seed/cocoa butter
+ 1/4 cup of tahini
+ dash of
vanilla essence/almond essence
+ some linseed/sesame/sunflower seeds if you wish
+ 3 tbsp of xylitol/sugar
+ small piece carob/chocolate (grated)


- mix it all (apart from carob) in pan on medium heat
- smoosh the dough into a small glass baking dish
- grate chocolate/carob on top to garnish
- place into freezer for 2 hours
- cut into cubes or slices
- store in freezer

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Raw Food Bars

These raw bars are by Nakd and cost €1.15 each in Tesco. I thought they were worth a try as they contain no added sugar (I guess only the sugar from the fruit itself) and I've heard many good things about them! I picked up the chocolate, berry and nut varieties. I saw smaller Nakd bars in a different shop with either pecans, ginger or chocolate in them, but they were more expensive than the larger bars so I didn't bother buying any. Gillian McKeith's organic hemp seed bars were reduced in the health food shop so I picked up a couple as they sounded delicious and pretty healthy with the only sugar coming from organic apple juice and organic raisins. I'm not a big fan of carob but thought I'd also give it another try as it's been years since I had any - it was pretty expensive at just over €2.50 for a large bar but might prove to be an interesting alternative to chocolate. However, I'm a little worried that it won't be sweet at all and I might hate it! I'll report back...


So the carob is definitely different. I do like it, it has a real chocolatey "bite" to it and the texture of real chocolate - but it really does lack sweetness. I often eat chocolate if I want something sweet, so I don't think this is going to do the job! If I could find bars of it cheap enough I could probably use it in cooking (if it melts well?!) and mix in some xylitol to sweeten it up, but at the moment I think I will have to have a small square of it with a small spreading of peanut butter on top as a sweet treat!


I love broccoli and decided to have a go at making cream of broccoli soup. Here is the recipe, it's so simple!

- Boil a head of broccoli in some vegan stock until just about tender
- Fry up a whole sliced onion and 3 cloves of garlic
- Put everything into a blender and add a cup of soya milk
- Blend
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- If desired, add a little leftover water from boiling the broccoli


The second time I made it, I added the fried onion and garlic at the very end along with some diced fried mushrooms and blended very gently so they just mixed in but did not completely disappear. The soup was much chunkier and more flavoursome!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

More Easter Goodies!

I got some of these for Easter from Aldi and have hidden them away to avoid temptation! I love marzipan with a passion so these little eggs are going to be wolfed down in no time come Easter Sunday!! They are quite small but also come in one larger egg (about the size of two Cadbury's Creme Eggs). I thought, however, that it was a more sensible option to get the smaller eggs so that they lasted longer! From time to time Aldi has a few lovely marzipan goodies in stock. I am yet to come across the small rectangular blocks covered in dark chocolate that are listed on this site.

If you scroll further down that site the Moser Roth chocolate that I love (dark chilli / mint / almond and orange) are mentioned and get a good review :)

Tomato & Pepper Guacamole

I am at the end of Day Two of my Detox and things are going really well! I've lost a few pounds (I didn't really need to, that's a bad thing really, but I'll put it back on when I start eating cooked food again I'm sure) and I feel really really healthy! Not to mention that I'm more... erm... regular than ever before!! I've eaten a lot of apples, bananas, tangerines, grapes, cashews, peanuts, carrots, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, rocket, spinach, avocado, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers... and have been drinking warm water with lemon and ginger added to it in the morning and evening. I'm quite proud that I have not even been tempted by the chocolate that has been sitting in my cupboard. I'm intending only to do one more day (it's the boyfriend's actual birthday tomorrow so I might have to have some cake at his parents' house at the end of the last day!) but I might actually extend it to 5 days if I'm feeling up to it (and if my supplies last). To be honest, I'm loving it and I'm going to start consuming far more fruit in future. I've not missed bread at all either, so where I used to snack on carbohydrates I am now thinking I'll probably get a lot more fruit and raw veg into my diet to snack on instead.

I thought I'd share a photo and recipe for Tomato & Pepper Guacamole as it's absolutely divine. It may not look it from the photo but it is! I tweaked an online recipe and came up with this. It serves 1-2 people:

- 1 avocado
- half a red pepper (deseeded and diced)
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
- 1 shallot

Just blend it all together and serve! Mmm mmm!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Easy Vegan Party Nibbles

I've been busying myself this afternoon making some vegan treats for my boyfriend's party. We're having a few people over tonight and as well as nuts and popcorn, I decided to make a few more healthy snacks for us. I could eat for Ireland (and Wales too, which is where I'm originally from!) when I've had a few drinks, so instead of chowing down on unhealthy carb-alicious snacks I thought it would be better for myself to have something decent to nibble on... and maybe sneaking a few bits of fruit and veg onto the table will also benefit the guys a little! ;)

Here are my mandarin, grape & mango skewers drizzled with dark chocolate (I made TWO plates full!) :

And I also managed to make some cherry tomato halves wrapped in sweet, grilled pimento peppers that have been preserved in vinegar. These will be delicious too! I totally forgot to get olives in the supermarket, these were going to be on the skewers too, but maybe in the end it was a good thing that it slipped my mind as not many people I know seem to like them anyway.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Raw Food Challenge

So I've decided that for 3 days next week all I'm going to eat is raw fresh veg, fruit, nuts & seeds. I think I've had too much sugar and bread in my diet recently so I'd like to detoxify and feel healthy again. It will probably help to kickstart me into eating more fruit as I've become quite lazy in that department apart from the odd apple and bunch of grapes here and there. I'm going to do an absolutely massive food shop on Sunday! I'm quite excited about it. I love having something to aim for and have not really had a "goal" as such for a long time. I can't wait to try some more recipes from my "Rawvolution" book (pictured below) and I have a recipe for pepper, tomato and avocado dip that I'm dying to make and have with some veggie crudités!

If I'm motivated enough I might even make my lovely raw cacao, coconut and walnut brownies (recipe below!) but then again I may steer clear of it, as it still has agave nectar and chocolate in it, and I don't want anything stimulating my sweet tooth really as I'm trying to get away from that - they are divine though...

How to make:

- 3 cups walnuts
- 2 cups dessicated coconut
- 5/8ths cup of agave nectar
- 1/2 cup carob powder or cacao powder

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until they are paste-like. Then add to the rest of the ingredients and stir until fully mixed. Spread the mixture into a baking dish and press down firmly. Chill for a while to get a more solid texture then cut into squares.

Trust me, it's heavenly! The boyfriend went crazy over it! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pretty Salads

It really annoys me when people say "Salads are really boring and take so long to prepare! I'd just rather grab something quickly and always end up eating really unhealthily!". Most salads take hardly any effort at all, this took only a couple of minutes to prepare: Rocket on the base; pickled red cabbage on top of that; then scatter sliced baby corn, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped up cucumber and mixed seeds over the cabbage; top with a whole grilled pimento pepper cut into slices and garnish with relish on the side. And hey presto! An easy and very colourful, tasty salad! This is a normal salad for me. Sometimes it has different ingredients such as shredded carrot/apple and beetroot, amongst other things - I just love fresh food, I could live off Salad!

Easter Bunnies!

Oh my gosh, I have totally seen what I want for Easter... if anybody would buy me one?! I think the boy will buy one for me, as I've been hinting. Like, big fat whopping great big hints that I think he may actually get!! They're dark chocolate bunnies in Aldi. I can't remember the make or the price, but all I know is that they were damn cheap, totally vegan, and very VERY cute! There was a reindeer amongst them... hehe. I think he's a bit late/early arriving in the shops ;)

Aren't they adorable? I'll have three please!!

If you are considerably richer than I am at the moment then Tesco have three vegan Easter eggs on offer, as far as I can make out. "Celtic" have a dark chocolate egg with accompanying smaller dairy free chocolates. The Kinnerton egg is pretty much free from anything anyone could possibly be allergic to and looks gorgeous and comes with a large bar of dark chocolate. Tesco also stock Elizabeth Shaw's dark mint chocolate egg, which should be lovely because their individual little mint chocolates are divine - but it's pretty expensive at around €11.99! The Kinnerton egg is around €6.99 and the Celtic is approximately €8.99 if I remember correctly. I'd be happy with a bunny though :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quick Warm Lunch Food

If I don't have time to make my lunch before I go to work, it's really convenient to be able to grab a can of something out of the cupboard before I leave the house, so I can just heat it up in work and have some bread to go with it. I'd normally take a nice salad or some leftovers from the previous evening's meal, but when it's cold outside and I've not planned ahead I'll go with one of these lovely soups from Aldi (the tomato and pepper one is totally gorgeous!) or a can of vegetable ravioli from Branston (no egg in the pasta and no cheese in the filling!) which I recently discovered in Tesco. It makes me happy to see that a lot of supermarkets nowadays (especially Aldi) have separate sections on their labels to list ingredients which consumers may be allergic to or be avoiding in their diets (i.e. "Contains: wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, soya"). It does make shopping a little easier if you can see immediately that an item contains something obviously non-vegan instead of having to trawl through the whole list of ingredients.

The Ravioli is ok, nothing brilliant, but when you've been a vegan for a while sometimes you do crave stodgy, hot, instant food from a can and wish you could have it... well, now you can (no pun intended!):

... and you have NO IDEA how long and hard I searched to find a vegan cuppa soup. Lidl have these babies with croutons in, they are only 37 calories a packet as well! I was very glad of these throughout the winter if I was feeling a little peckish and cold at work:

You would be surprised at how many things nowadays contain milk proteins, it really doesn't make any sense and even the boyfriend (who never really paid much attention to ingredients before he met me) is often in shock at some of the unnecessary things that go into certain foods. It makes me chuckle now when he goes off into little rants such as "I can't believe it said 'Chicken from EU and Brazil' on it!!!" and "Why the hell does it have milk powder in it when you have to use milk to make it anyway??!", hehe. Just goes to show how you should always cook from scratch and use organic foods wherever possible. I'm impressed by Aldi in Ireland to be honest, sourcing all its foods for its "Specially Selected" range from within Ireland. I think we are lucky to be living in this country in that respect, as farming here seems to be a lot more ethical than the rest of Europe, even the U.K. We are growing our own vegetables this year. Our garden is only small - the same size as any other Dublin suburbian estate garden - but we figured it would be a lot nicer (and cheaper) to grow our own basic fruit and veg than try and make it look pretty with a lot of useless flowers.

I know that this is a vegan blog, but whenever I can, I will promote compassionate farming. I think that instead of trying to encourage people to stop eating meat and dairy altogether, people could make more of a difference to the world by campaigning for the ethical treatment of animals and to veer more in the direction of organic farming. My boyfriend is an omnivore so I've also been encouraging him to buy all his meat products and eggs from the local butchers. He gets an amazing (and varied) deal for €20, all the meat is fully traceable and organic, and it's much better quality and value than getting it at any supermarket. People tend to think that local butchers are more expensive than a supermarket, but that is actually not the case. If only more people thought about where their meat and dairy products came from!

Salads Are Not Boring!

In the past I had to practically force myself to eat a salad, until I discovered lovely ingredients to put in it. I'm not a huge fan of lettuce and neither is the boyfriend, but we both love rocket. Cherry tomatoes, baby corn cobs, pickled beetroot, grated apple & carrot, and cucumber are always staples in my salads, as well as mixed seeds, beans or nuts to add a bit of protein. Sometimes I add a bit of marinaded tofu, fried polenta or seitan to the mix. I've never seen the point in eating anything drenched in dressing either, so it's great when I discover some nice vegan chutney to go on the side or ingredients which have been preserved in vinegar that add great flavour without the fat of a high-calorie dressing (and great colour too, if you use beetroot!). Here are some good ideas for ingredients to add to salads, which are healthy and flavoursome, to make your meal a little more interesting than the conventional garden salad:

Grilled pickled sweet pimento peppers and picked shredded cabbage, from Lidl:

Mixed bean salad from Aldi and a three bean salad from Tesco:

Mixed sunflower and pumpkin seeds from Aldi:

Aldi chutneys are lovely, especially the tomato, mint and lime one (the one on the left is not vegan as it has honey in it, but belongs to my boyfriend!):

The main thing is to be creative with salads. The first thing that comes to most people's minds are that salads are "boring" and "tasteless" and only for people who are "on diets". This may very well be true for most salads out there, but that doesn't mean you have to make your own salads boring! Salads are, I'd have to say, one of my favourite foods now. There's nothing nicer than a a salad dish where the ingredients combine to give a wonderful, fresh experience leaving you wanting more!