Cruelty-Free Christmas – The Ultimate Vegan Christmas Feast

Keeping Christmas Alive

It’s no secret that your average non-vegan Christmas day menu is traditionally packed with animal products. From the milk chocolate selection box in your stocking, to the turkey dinner, to the eggnog you enjoy (does anyone actually enjoy eggnog??), it’s not a particularly animal-friendly affair.

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Cruelty-Free Kids: The Best Vegan Baby and Children’s Shoes

Walking (Barefoot) Across A Metaphorical Minefield

(Photo was not taken in an actual minefield)

So, who knew that shopping for kids’ shoes would be such a vegan conundrum? When our littlest baby started walking around 3 months ago, off we went to Clarks, as we had when our daughter needed shoes nearly 2 years ago. The difference? We weren’t vegan back then, so just picked a pair we liked the look off and we were done. So when we looked around Clarks we noticed that all of their Pre-Walker or First Steps shoes seemed to contain leather or suede. So where the hell could we get some cruelty-free baby shoes that still looked (and felt!) good for our little one?

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Sustainable Kids – Helping Babies and Young Children To Be More Eco-Friendly

Kids Cost The Earth

Having children is (mostly) amazing. But it’s no secret that it is a pricey business. According to the research I’ve done, the cost of raising a child to his or her 18th birthday is anywhere from £75,000 to £200,000, depending on whether you’re including childcare costs and the fact you need a larger property to accommodate a child or children. Pretty hefty sum eh?

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The Instavegan Interviews – Part 10

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Hello! It feels like AGES since I’ve brought you one of these interviews, and I’m sad to say this is the last in the series….for now at least. Thanks so much to everybody who has taken part – it’s been an absolute joy sharing your stories.

For my final instalment, I interviewed the brilliant Amy Stuckey, who runs the Instagram page @allthingsveganuk.

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Are Fireworks Vegan?

“Urgh, not another thing we can’t enjoy. Why can’t you vegans just back off and let us have our harmless fun?”

OK. About the fun police thing. I’ll start by saying, rather aptly for the subject, I’m really not trying to p*ss on anyone’s bonfire. But we’re in the age of the likes of QI telling us that avocados aren’t vegan (eyeroll emoji or do they have a point?). So there’s bound to be other debates that come up and as it’s the time of year for them, I decided to do a bit of research into how much fireworks align or conflict with choosing to live a vegan lifestyle.

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The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 8 – Danish Week

TOKSVIG, I MEAN DANISH, WEEK

Hello! It’s Danish week. After a week off for the vegan episode I’m back with another instalment of veganising Bake Off, and I’m mixing it up a bit.

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

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The Instavegan Interviews – Part 9

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Hi everyone! It’s been a while and as it’s #followfriday I thought it was about time I shared another instalment in my Instavegan Interviews series. This week’s interviewee is Hatim aka @vegan_geeza.

Hatim is 23 and his goal is to earn money to help in his search for the perfect plate of vegan scran. He tries to cook where he can, with tasty treats here and there and loves to book holidays to see what the world has to offer for vegans abroad.

How long have you been vegan and what initially motivated you to make the change?

I changed to being vegan on Christmas day 2016 – I had only been veggie a small amount of time and when my auntie brought out the veggies almost all of them were cooked in goose fat. That was the final push to get me over the line.

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What inspired you to start posting about your vegan journey on Instagram and what have been the best bits so far?

I felt like a lot of people had always asked the questions over and over again saying “What do you even eat?”, so I was like you know what? I’ll show them!

If you could only follow 5 instagram accounts for the rest of your life which ones would they be?

Can you list the 10 ESSENTIAL food items you always have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer…you know, the stuff you NEVER let run out because you use it so regularly.

Canned tomatoes, NOOOCH, Sriracha, Jus-roll puff-pastry, canned pulses, spinach, mushrooms, sourdough bread and Sainsbury’s jalapeno free from cheddar!

What’s your favourite vegan recipe to make?

Easily has to be a butternut squash mac from Bosh! 

Is there anyone you follow or admire that you’d particularly like to meet in real life?

Definitely would have to be James Aspey as he’s made me change the way I look not just at ‘things’ but at situations and have a different rationale towards them. Also the reason I wanna take a trip to Bali but that’s another story altogether.

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Tell me about your friends and family. Are any of them vegan too? How have people close to you as a whole embraced your vegan journey?

The main reason I started the transition in my lifestyle is due to the the large amount of vegan friends I had, which meant lot of my barriers were already out of the way and made it that much easier. I’d say with family it’s been a little harder due to cultural norms and such but it’s all been a learning curve for them as well as me!

Would you rather have an avocado for a nose or slices of tofu for ears?

As long as I can have Sriracha for blood I’ll take both. (LGD comment: Best answer ever)

What’s your greatest vegan food creation?

A random giant pasty thing filled with sliced and diced mushrooms, spinach and Linda McCartney pulled chicken.  I was so proud of it I sent so many people a picture begging them to come try it…

 

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is interested in taking the leap to being vegan, what would it be?

Take your time and know the the decision your taking is yours and that you understand how it benefits not just you but all around you.

Which 5 words would you use to describe the vibe/ethos of your Instagram account?

Relaxed, colourful, mindful, random, informative (when it comes to places I’ve visited)

What is the question you’re most regularly asked by your followers? Or the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

Do I ever think me sharing food is gonna make the almonds get milked faster…at that point I just turned off my phone.

Do you have any big plans for the next few months that we should look out for?

 

The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 6 – Pastry Week

PIES! PASTIES! OTHER PASTRY THINGS!

OK, so I think this whole Bake Off thing is actually sending me a little bit insane now. I’m a day late posting this because I seriously hurt my shoulder yesterday (rolling over in bed – probably need to strengthen my shoulder muscles).

I love a bit of pastry, and it’s a very common misconception (there are loads of these aren’t there?) that pastry HAS to have butter in it. It doesn’t. Hurrah for vegan pastry!

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Let’s do this!

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake – Samosas

I LOVE a samosa, and I have never thought to put anything other than normal, traditional vegetables in them. And SWEET ONES? OH MY. Let’s have a look and see what I can find to veganise these bad boys.

 

 

Briony – Beetroot, Spinach and Walnut Samosas/Mascarpone, Golden Syrup and Peanut Butter Samosas

Savoury: Baked Beetroot Samosas from The Belly Rules The Mind. This doesn’t include a pastry recipe so if you need one, I’d suggest this one from My Food Story.

Sweet: I have a feeling I’m going to point you at this recipe quite a few times this evening! A variety of vegan dessert samosas from Love Is In My Tummy – to recreate Briony’s I suggest trying the Banana Toffee filling but perhaps adding some whipped coconut cream and peanut butter?

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Dan – Stilton, Pear and Walnut Samosas/Caramelised Hazelnut and Banana Samosas

Savoury: Pear and Blue Cheese Samosas from My Parisian Kitchen (NOTE: these are not vegan – sub the cheese for shop bought vegan blue cheese or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try this vegan blue cheese recipe from Full Of Plants)

Sweet: Love Is In My Tummy Again! Banana toffee filling again! (Just add finely chopped walnuts)

 

Jon – Chicken & Pesto Samosas/Orange & Creme Patissiere Samosas

Savoury: FFS Jon, one of only two people to use actual meat in their samosas. I wouldn’t usually suggest a meat sub in a recipe like this but I really think the Fry’s Family Foods chicken-style strips or perhaps the Vivera pulled veggie would work really well in this. Pastry wise, go for the My Food Story pastry and for vegan pesto I’d suggest this one from Minimalist Baker. Maybe add some chopped sundried tomatoes too?

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Sweet: The same pastry as above, with this vegan pastry cream from The Vegan Chef, using orange instead of lemon.

 

 

Kim-Joy – Paneer Samosas/Apple Chai Samosas

Savoury: Tofu and Mixed Veg Samosas from Bawarchi

Sweet: Apple pie samosas! This is from that Love Is In My Tummy recipe again. I can’t wait to try some of these.

 

Manon – Chicken Tagine Samosas/Tarte Tatin Samosas

Savoury: I’d use the My Food Story pastry again with this Moroccan Vegetable Tagine from The Mediterranean Dish as the filling.

Sweet: Good old Love Is In My Tummy Apple Pie Samosas again. I’m definitely making these. Definitely.

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Rahul – Paneer Singara/Misti Singara 

Savoury: Paneer =  tofu again, how about this recipe for Baked Tofu Samosas (no apostrophe!) from My Kitchen Adventures.

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Sweet: Misti Singara from Priya Food My Way

 

 

Ruby – Traditional Samosas/Orange, Date and Almond Samosas

Savoury: Punjabi Samosas from Holy Cow Vegan.

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Sweet: Date and Frangipane Samosas from Halal Gems.

Technical challenge – Puits D’Amour

I found: Right, we’re going to have to break this one down into its component parts because apparently nobody’s ever made these in  vegan style. Here’s Prue Leith’s recipe from the Bake Off site for reference and instructions once you’ve got all your vegan components.

Puits d’amour are made up of:

Rough puff pastry – easy! Vegan puff pastry from Delicious Everyday.

Strawberry and raspberry compote – even easier, this is vegan already so just use Prue’s recipe.

Creme patissiere – also easy as I’ve mentioned it above. Thanks The Vegan Chef.

Choux pastry – thanks to Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery for the vegan choux pastry recipe from her vegan eclairs. Which I will be making by the way because I LOVE eclairs.

baked baking chef dough

That’s it. Another week done, and next week is VEGAN WEEEEEEEEEK. This means I can have a night off, sit back, enjoy the show and not worry about scouring the internet for alternatives. Whoop!

As always, Please remember to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make any of the recipes above so I can share them.

 

The Great British Bake-Off Vegan Style: Episode 5 – Spice Week

Woah, we’re halfway there…

….WOOOAH cinnamon and pear. (Or something). Yep, it’s spice week, and I’m typing along live with the episode so let’s get straight to it! Vegan versions of as many of the featured spicy recipes as I can find. As usual I’m ignoring the showstopper because it’s ridiculous.

 

Disclaimer: I have not tested any of these recipes, but if you do, please tag me in your photos on Instagram or Facebook.

Challenge 1 – Signature Bake – Ginger Cake

Terry – Caramelised Pear and Stem Ginger Cake

I found: Vegan Ginger Spiced Pear Cake with Vanilla Cream Frosting from Namely Marly.

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Briony – Honey and Apricot Ginger Cake

I found: Carrot, Apricot and Ginger Cake from Including Cake  – to add the honey flavour to this I suggest making the vegan honey buttercream frosting from Minimalist Baker. If you’re looking for a vegan honey alternative I’ve heard very good things about “Honea” from Plant Based Artisan. Finally, for the honeycomb, you can use pretty much any recipe because, hooray, honeycomb is vegan! I like this one from Veggie Desserts.

Dan – Ginger and Lemon Drip Cake

I found: Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing from The Lazy Vegan Baker

Jon – Family Christmas Ginger Cake

I found: Vegan Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake from Supergolden Bakes. And if you want to recreate his gingerbread family, try these Vegan Gingerbread Cookies from Loving It Vegan.

making gingerbread cookies

Karen – Ginger Parkin with Brandy Cream Cheese Frosting

I found: Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin from From The Larder. For the frosting, try using this Lemon Brandy Buttercream from The Blooming Platter.

 

Kim-Joy – Stem Ginger Cake with Poached Pears

I found: Another lovely looking ginger and pear cake recipe from Euphoric Vegan.

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Manon – Italian Meringue Ginger Cake (with lemon Italian meringue buttercream coating and lemon curd filling).

I found: Vegan Ginger Cake from Domestic Gothess,  Aquafaba Italian Meringue Buttercream from Gretchen’s Vegan Bakery.

 

Rahul – Caramel Ginger Cake

I found: OK, so a slightly different shape but I reckon you can make this into a cake rather than cupcakes. These look so good – Vegan Gingerbread Cupcakes with salted caramel frosting from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken.

ginger on gray surface

 

Ruby – Jamaica Ginger Cake (rum) with orange mascarpone cream, ginger snaps and toffee drizzle.

Sticky Vegan Ginger Cake from Carly’s Vegan Kitchen with the frosting from this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen and these Ginger Snaps from Broke Foodies.

Technical challenge – Maamoul

I found:  Yay! Vegan Maamoul from May I Have That Recipe? However,I cannot find a photo of Maamoul anywhere.

Please remember to tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make any of the recipes above so I can share them.

 

The Instavegan Interviews – Part 8

Getting to know my favourite vegan Instagram accounts.

Part 8 is here! My latest interviewee is someone I’ve followed from the very beginning of my blogging journey so I’m particularly excited about sharing her answers. Hello Sophie Bullimore!

Sophie (or Soph) is a 26-year-old from Hertfordshire. She is a vegan food blogger, loves creating new recipes especially cakes/desserts, enjoys long runs, is a passionate kindness advocate and loves autumn walks with her two little dogs.
You can find her on Instagram – @sophie.bullimore 
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How long have you been vegan and what initially motivated you to make the change?

I have been vegan for just over 3 and a half years after watching the documentary Earthlings. I transitioned into veggie living first and became fully vegan 18 months later after researching the egg/dairy industry

What inspired you to start posting about your vegan journey on Instagram and what have been the best bits so far?

With instagram, it all started out when I decided to find some vegan food ideas after I had made the switch. I had many recipes and after veganising most of them I decided to start sharing my food creations and it has grown from there. The best bits I have found with instagram are connecting with like minded people, seeing others try out and enjoy my recipes and with sharing mental health awareness, the messages I receive from people letting me know I have helped them.
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If you could only follow 5 instagram accounts for the rest of your life which ones would they be?

The 5 insta accounts I would follow are – @louiselebrasse, @whatluceeats, @thevegankindsupermarket, @nattathenut and @laurentxlford.

 

Can you list the 10 ESSENTIAL food items you always have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer…you know, the stuff you NEVER let run out because you use it so regularly.

10 food items I always have in without fail are –
Oats, peanut butter, almond milk, trail mix, LM sausages, chickpeas, avocado, rice, fresh green juice and cauliflower.

 

What’s your favourite vegan recipe to make?

My favourite vegan recipe I make is my no bake biscoff bars.

 

Is there anyone you follow or admire that you’d particularly like to meet in real life?

I have to say it’s Louise who I referred to above that is an inspiration to me. Where I focus on the lighter side of veganism, Louise is actively out there at protests, demos and is always advocating for animal rights. She inspires me to become more involved with activism and is just a beautiful soul.

 

Tell me about your friends and family. Are any of them vegan too? How have people close to you as a whole embraced your vegan journey?

I am the only vegan in my family but they have always embraced my vegan vibes. Slowly they are becoming more accepting to try my food recipes but are always keen to eat my cakes.

 

Would you rather have an avocado for a nose or slices of tofu for ears?

I’d much rather have tofu for ears than an avocado nose.

 

What’s your greatest vegan food creation?

My greatest food creation is the Oreo brownies I made recently:

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If you could give one piece of advice to someone who is interested in taking the leap to being vegan, what would it be?

One piece of advice I would give is to go at your own pace. Do what works for you and if that’s cutting out animal products slowly that’s great and if it’s going straight in that is amazing too. for me it’s about doing the best you can.

 

Which 5 words would you use to describe the vibe/ethos of your Instagram account?

Foodie, kindness, life, positive vibes and real.

 

What is the question you’re most regularly asked by your followers? Or the weirdest question you’ve ever been asked?

The question I’m most often asked is how am I so positive or how do I come up with my bakes.

Do you have any big plans for the next few months that we should look out for?

I am heading back to Jacob’s Ridge in November and I have another solo travel trip planned to Paris in October. Also I’ll be at London Veg fest.
If you want to see more from Sophie head to her Instagram account  – in her words, she’s a beautiful soul :).
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