Category Archives: cooking

7 Good Things Vol 31

(James and I were lucky enough to go on a walk in a wood near us and this was one of the photos I took- I love autumn!)

I haven’t done one of these post in far to long, but its not good to ignore our blessing so here we go. 7 things which have been making me happy this week…

1. The colder weather! I can’t be the only one who loves the changing of the seasons with the chance it affords to curl up in big jumpers with a large mug of tea!

2. My reading mojo is back. I’ve read more so far this month that I did the last two months combined. It feels good to be back discovering new books again!

3. James thought I was being stressed over my up coming exams this week so arranged to take me to a spa for a day on Sunday- a great way to unwind!

4. Once this week is over I will have completed 3 of the mandatory audits for my course- a fact I am very much looking forward to!

5. James is still cooking up delicious meals for us- including the amazing butternut squash pasta bake we had for tea tonight- so so good.

6. I’ve seen lots of birds migrating over the last week. I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated watching birds flock over head- its been amazing to see so many in the last week.

7. Even though I am still getting up as early as ever, I think my body may have finally adjusted to it as I am nowhere near as tired and grouchy in the mornings! Which can only be a bonus for those who have to deal with me in the early hours!

How about you my friends? What has made you happy recently?

Lindy xxx

2 Comments

Filed under 7 good things, Books, cooking, James, Life, PGCE, Photos

Lentil Stew (Vegan)

I am determined to add to my admittedly limited repertoire of things I can cook- thus witness…. Lentil Stew.

 This was…

1 chopped red onion

6 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2 carrots (chopped)

2 stalks of celery (chopped)

6 small salad potatoes (chopped)

240g of puy lentils

1 tin of mixed beans

1 tablespoon of dried thyme

1 teaspoon of ground tumeric

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 large glass of white wine

1 litre (just under) of vegetable stock

Basically I mixed everything together in a large soup pot with a little bit of olive oil (minus the lentils, beans, wine and stock). Once the onions had become translucent I added the lentils and stirred them about  for a bit before finally adding the wine, stock and beans.

I cooked it for about an hour and a half or so and served it with sun-dried tomato bread.

I think I over did it on the cayenne pepper, because this was very spicy, but it was scrummy none the less! This is  something I will be cooking again in the future, I was very pleased with how it turned out. Best part? It made loads extra so now I have enough for three meals saved up in my freezer!

What about you my friends? Do you have a favourite stew recipe?

Lindy xxx

1 Comment

Filed under cooking, lentil stew, Life, Vegan diet

7 Good Things Vol 30

1.

Finding beautiful flowers when out walking…

2.

A blue sky with fluffy clouds…

3.

Stewed apples and plums over freshly baked banana bread for lunch…

4.

Finding the county in the town…

5.

Getting the book I needed…

6.

Finally clearing my desk…

7.

A new charity shop book find enjoyed with a large mug of tea…

Enjoy the end of August my friends

Lindy xxx

Leave a comment

Filed under 7 good things, adventures, Books, cooking, flowers, house, Life, Photos, Stuff, Tea

The Vegan Challenge: Review

So last week I spent my time eating vegan. You can see how I got on for the various different days here, here, here, here, here and here.

I set myself this task as one of my 3 in 30 goals for the month as a way to challenge myself and make myself focus on eating a better diet and be more intensional when it came to what  I was consuming. Overall I think the  biggest thing for me was that I was surprised at how easy it ended up being. I thought I would be craving cheese and meat like nothing else but I honestly didn’t miss it. I know a week is a fairly short amount of time in which to experiment with something so perhaps if I went on a bit longer this would be a different tale .

So…

The Good Bits

1. I ate so many vegetables it was unreal- I had no problems reaching my 5 a day eating this way!

2. I did feel better. I had more energy and I seemed to be able to handle working crazy hours and generally running around like a lunatic more easily when I had good fuel inside of me.

3. I cooked a lot more. Not being able to rely on convenience food made me become better at planning what I was going to eat and better at cooking it when I got there.

4. The food was actually delicious; indeed I think I made some of the best pancakes I have ever had!

5. The variety of stuff I found myself making certainly surprised me. In the back of my mind I kind of expected to be eating carrots all week but this was not the case at all.

6. I lost a couple of pounds probably because I was eating by its very nature healthier food and not having the plethora of snacks I usually indulge in!

The Bad Bits 

1. Oh God I missed chocolate! Maybe this is just the woman in me talking but I really missed chocolate! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to find a comparable alternative in a shop near where I live although I am sure they do exist.

2. My main and perhaps biggest problem with the idea of eating vegan permanently is that I see food as a very social experience. It is something to share with my loved ones and restricting my diet hampers this for me. I don’t know anyone else who eats vegan and among the majority of my close family and friends no one eats vegetarian either. I felt as though I was missing out on some of the more social aspects of food, simple things like sharing a few biscuits with my colleagues at work became something which I had to decline. Social rituals like that are very important in a work environment and I missed it!

3. This isn’t the diet which James naturally gravitates towards, and its important for me to take his opinion in to account when thinking about issues like this.

4. Quorn isn’t vegan as this has become a staple of mine and James’ diet as we try to reduce our meat consumption for environmental reasons.

That said I do think there are changes which I could make stemming from this week to focus my diet towards a more plant based approach. I think I will be defiantly sticking with the soya milk, I’ve developed quite a taste for it over the last week! On the meals which I do have control over, breakfasts and lunches etc… there is no excuse for me to skimp on the health content of these. I’m going to make a conscience effort to become more focused on what I eat for these meals including more veggies and making them vegan where I can.

Thank you for coming with me on this challenge my friends and double thank yous for being so helpful kind and encouraging in the comments this last week.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

Lindy xxx

4 Comments

Filed under 3 in 30, adventures, cooking, James, Life, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Seven

So today is  the last day of my ‘Vegan Challenge’. I’ve had an awful lot of fun this week documenting what I’ve been making, learning how to cook new things and reading all of your helpful responses, comments and tips. Thanks so much for being so supportive and kind as I muddle my way through. I hope you stick about after this challenge has ended!

So on to my final day…

Because I was at work today, breakfast had to be a speedy afair. This is muesli with soya milk and a big mug of coffee to wake me up! I have over this week developed a serious love of muesli with soya milk I just find it so satisfying as a breakfast, for some reason more so than with regular milk.

As I was at work I’m back on the packed lunches agian. This was rice cooked in vegetable stock with a side of beans in a vinaigrette. I think this could have been really nice but it needed the addition of something extra such as fresh cucumber or something; iunfortunately I just didn’t have time this morning to do anything like this. I think this is an example of a good idea poorly executed!

So for dinner tonight, because it was the last one of this challenge, I wanted to put in a little extra effort and  try cooking something new. This is a ‘Moroccan’ chickpea stew with a side of couscous. (I have no idea why I served it in stripes!) I really liked this, although James wasn’t so convinced! I think next time I will try his suggestion of mixing the couscous in to the stew so it becomes a flavour carrier and soaks up all the spices in the sauce. But for a first effort at a vegan stew I was pretty pleased and thought it was quite delicious.

I also decided to make a dessert because it was the last day of the challenge and all of that! This is stewed apples and plums with soya custard. Because I was using cooking apples I added a a bit of cinnamon and sugar when I was cooking them just to nullify the sharpness a little. This was really really really good! The custard was amazing! Its Alpro soya custard and it was delicious- you really couldn’t tell the difference between this and actual custard. I think I might end up eating it neat its so good!

So there we have it. My week of eating vegan! Check back tomorrow for my thoughts on eating vegan for a week.

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend

Lindy xxx

5 Comments

Filed under 3 in 30, cooking, James, Life, Recipes, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Six

Saturday! The one day a week where I get a lay in. I love Saturdays, wholly and completely.

I also love Saturdays because of weekend breakfast food; the best kind of food (in my humble opinion)! This morning I experimented with making vegan pancakes. I have been making pancakes pretty much since my parent trusted me to use the cooker as a child- I have an ever abiding love for them and for ages they were about the only thing I could cook well and consistently! These I made with the first recipe I found on google. They are simply flour, baking powder and sugar. I used a little oil as the binder and then soya milk for the batter. Because I am predictable in my breakfast ways I added in cinnamon and sultanas as the flavouring. They were very very scrummy, dare I say it even a little better than the recipe I usually make! The only thing that could have improved then would have been a sauce of some kind but I didn’t have anything in the house which was vegan. I think these would also be amazing with vanilla essence and blueberries… just sayin’! Maybe next weekend.

As I had such a big breakfast I didn’t really fancy a big lunch. but because I was going to work I knew I had to eat something… hence this soup was born. This is very simple pea soup from a recipe that I made up as I went along. I sautéed some onion and garlic in the bottom of my pan before adding vegetable stock and chopped tomatoes. I then threw in some frozen peas and some more spinach because I have so much left (why do supermarkets only sell in in ridiculously large bags I ask you?!) I then cooked it until the peas were done and blitzed it up with my stick blender. This was really tasty and oh so green! Good qualities for a soup I feel!

I was at work this evening so supper was another packed lunch. I used left over falafel with some more of my (never ending!) spinach with cucumber and carrot sticks and an apple. The falafel were not as good cold as I had hoped unfortunately, but you live and you learn. They became very dry and crumbly and not at all yummy. But one uninspiring meal can be forgiven I feel!

So tomorrow my little experiment comes to an end and I think I’ll be a little sad. Its been quite a lot of fun documenting what I’ve been cooking for the last week and has definitely made me more conscious of what I’ve been eating. Check back tomorrow for the penultimate instalment in this particular series!

I would like to take this chance to thank you for all your fantastic suggestions and encouragement over the last week my friends.

Lindy xxx

4 Comments

Filed under 3 in 30, childhood, cooking, Life, Recipes, Stuff, Vegan diet

The Vegan Challenge: Day Five

Well breakfast today… it was good but the serving was just a little interesting…

I thought I had been so clever in loading the dishwasher and sorting out my kitchen before making breakfast but unfortunately I managed to put all my bowls in the dish washer… doh! So this breakfast came al a plate! I added a dash of cinnamon to my porridge this time because I’m pretty much convinced that cinnamon makes everything better and hey, it this case it most defiantly does! This is soya milk porridge with banana, sultanas and cinamon. Yum, yum, yum!

Lunch was a little bit disappointing after breakfast and considering my successes earlier in the week. Possibly this is because I have been eating along a similar theme for my lunches all week and perhaps I was just a little bored with it. But anyway, I had couscous salad with spinach, allotment tomatoes and cucumber. I also forgot to make any dressing to go with this  which was, I think, this meals main issue!

I had such a chocolate craving today it was unreal. I’ve been so good all week avoiding junk food and my usual dose of chocolate but today this was an itch I just had to scratch. I found these raw date bars at Holland and Barratt which proclaimed themselves to be vegan so I thought hey lets give it a go! I’ve already snaffled the chocolate flavoured one hence no photo but these are good. (Especially because Holland and Barratt were having a penny sale!)

Dinner had to be quick tonight because I was going out to work (I have two jobs, I know crazy) so used used a boxed falafel mix instead of  making them from scratch. This is falafel, roasted beetroot (courtesy of my Dad’s allotment) and broccoli. I chopped up a small red onion and added this to the falafel mix to give it a bit of extra flavour and texture as the mixture looked a little smooth. They were really really good and something I will definitely be having again. But the highlight of this meal for me was the beetroot. I roasted it with a little oil, salt and black pepper, for me this is a much better way then having it drenching in vinegar as I usually buy it.

So my question for today is this- what is your favourite vegan chocolate my friends?

Lindy xxx

1 Comment

Filed under 3 in 30, Allotment, cooking, Life, Stuff, Vegan diet