Lola’s Cupcakes – raspberry and lemon (and heaven)

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I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day but I so happened to buy these vegan lemon and raspberry cupcakes yesterday and it looked so fitting to the holiday.

Actually, I didn’t eat them all and looking at the photos is making me crave one. Let me go get a coffee and cupcake, then I’ll come back..

I’m settling down with eating vegan. I’ve decided what my diet for the future will be, but I won’t share it because it’s adapted to me and therefore not many others would understand it, naturally.

Obviously I’ll continue to post on my experiments with veganism though, it’s just food at the end of the day.

I’m a moral driven person, I have principles and yet I let them slacken. I allow them to when they don’t fit with everyone else. That’s when I have conflict in myself. (Along with other conflicts of course. We all have storms within us.)

I need to be stronger in that sense.

Also stronger on the sweet things front at the moment.

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I am getting better each day at sticking to my guns. At least I have guns, I have to give myself that. (Not literal guns, just encase you really thought my cupboard under the stairs is filled with all sorts of ammunition.)

I also don’t fire my metamorphic guns, that’s part of my principles. They’re mine to live by, others don’t need to know nor do I expect anyone to agree with me.

Funnily enough I’ve been obsessed with The Good Place on Netflix and this bit on what makes you a good person makes me laugh so much.

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I also want a pet sheep.

These are the thoughts floating in my brain as I watch Luther, drink coffee, eat cake and put up Etsy listings of my moon faces.

AND the suns out today. Yippee.

I don’t really mean that yippee. I apologise.

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Oh what a huge disappointment – Veganuary

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Two vegans go to a carvery for dinner..

Sounds like a good start to a joke, but sadly it’s a true story. You can also guess the outcome.

You’d naturally be like ‘why would vegans go to Toby Carvery, a place of meat, for dinner???’ BUT they have a new veggie and vegan section on the menu so why shouldn’t you try it?! That’s what it’s there for. Yeah, there are a load of other restaurants which you’d consider first, but the vegan flag was waved at us and we wanted to wave it ourselves.

Let’s just start with the bad impression I got from the start. I haven’t been to Toby Carvery since being a veggie, so it has been years and year, but people I know still go and often say ‘oh I could really do with a Toby’s’ and then after ‘I’ve got a Toby baby’. It’s a thing.

Well, after ordering a pink gin and tonic that was on the menu, being told they might not have it, she’ll have to check, and then us ordering our vegan meals and being told they might not have it, she’ll have to check… (they had all three but it’s a bad impression straight away)… after that, I noticed two adverts that just haven’t been taken down, clearly.

 

Summer and Christmas. Neither which is going on right now. That’s bewildering to me. We had a £5 bowl from Wasabi (that was delicious) and this meal came to £22. Wasabi didn’t have damaged menus and out of date posters.

I just think it’s really strange.

To the dinner anyway. Not worth it. It was okay, like if I made it I’d probably be proud (but I can’t cook for shit), but that small dish for £6.99?!

I had the Grilled Aubergine Stack – Grilled aubergine and Mediterranean style vegetables combined in a tomato and oregano sauce topped with a vegan white sauce and breadcrumbs. I don’t remember the white sauce now I’ve re read it.

James had the Portabello Mushroom Bullseye Tart – A hand crimpled suet pastry case, filled with an indulgent mushroom sauce, topped with a whole portobello mushroom. It wasn’t a whole portobello mushroom, it was a mini portobello mushroom.

My verdict is that it was just crap. Not worth it. Which you’d think, again, ‘can you really be surprised? It’s a carvery!’ but yeah, don’t do shit food for the sake of it. I’ve had so many delicious foods since being vegan this month, it’s blowing my mind – so why make this crap? The portion size was tiny too. You’d see people coming back from the carvery with food piled high, each person like they’re eating for two, and then we got served a child’s portion. Weird.

Also you can go to a run down place and it’s fine, adds character (most old pubs) but instead it was just the kind of place that I don’t want to waste my money on.

We left hungry and disappointed.

My advise; go to Wagamama, go to Pizza Express, even The Harvester.

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Best part of it all, the pub after.

We made lasagna – Veganuary

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Before being cooked in the oven

I can happily say that before my lasagna dinner (and left over curry for lunch..) I ate 2 bananas and an apple. So that cancels the two huge dinners I had right? What can I say, I’m absolutely loving vegan food. I also tried a Pulsin Peanut Choc Chip Raw Choc Brownie, which I personally thought was bloody lovely! My partner seriously disagreed with me. So looks like I’ll be nabbing the pack of bars we bought.

Eating that raw brownie confirmed, for me, that vegan food can’t look nice. Other than these vegan bowls – breakfast bowls, Buddha bowls, nourish bowls, protein bowls, smoothie acai bowls – and I am yet to try any of them, because quite simply, no matter how beautiful they look I don’t think I’m going to like them.

I need to try one, I need to try one, I can’t write them off. But before that happens, let me share what mine and my partners ‘bowls’ look like.

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I call this the vegan slob bowl. Let’s be real, it looks English and authentic. The country that eats cheesy beans and chips. Yet it was delicious, the best lasagna I’ve ever had.

The title says ‘we’ but we all know my partner made it all. I just stirred the cheese when he was busy doing something else.

So he;

started by frying onion and garlic in olive oil

added frozen vegan mince (Tesco £1.75, left overs from the fajitas)

then after a bit added tinned tomatoes (asda 29p), haricot beans (tesco 55p) and baked beans

cooked on high heat till it thickened up and added mixed herbs

in a sauce pan he added the cheese powder (Holland and Barrett £1.99) to cold rice milk then heated in pan on medium heat

then you start the layers – ‘meat’, then pasta (couldn’t find vegan lasagna sheets so used extra large pasta) then cheese, and so on. Then cooked for 30 minutes.

 

I, unfortunately, am no cook, but this seems simple enough for me to do. And whilst I can say ‘and I will do it’, I don’t think that’s realistic at the moment (I struggle with cooking because I don’t have the freedom of living alone). Plus my partner was a chef.

One day though, one day.

james day 8

 

 

Veganuary – fajitas baby

First things first – let’s mention the elephant in the room.

I don’t know how to photograph food.

Yes, I may have ‘learnt’ it at college when I was 16 (ten years ago) but since then I am very rarely photographing my food. It’s not a thing I enjoy doing particularly, I prefer just to eat, but I want to document this month and so the show must go on.

So although I am not trying being vegan for the cause – I’m really not helping the cause with how bland my photography is.

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Regardless – these fajitas were delicious. So nice that my partners brother, who doesn’t like to try new things, liked it.

All this means that vegan food so far hasn’t been bad at all. It’s actually been good, really good and we are yet to have a bad meal.

So what we did;

We (my partner) started with Tesco vegan mince (£1.75) in a wok with some olive oil. 

We (him) added a bit of Tesco’s medium fajita seasoning (60p), and I’m sure a dash of some hot sauce. Cooked it for a few minutes.

Picked up a bag of veggies for 15p, added them in and then the rest of the seasoning. Cooked for only a few more minutes – I like a crunch to my veg.

Dash of water too, so it wasn’t dry.

We (me this time!) microwaved the wraps (this point doesn’t need to be mentioned, but I’m just proving I was there). 

We even added Tesco free from grated Mozzarella alternative (£2.50) to the wraps and it wasn’t bad at all! My vegan friend, after our shop at Tesco, warned us that Tesco’s cheeses are awful… but it’s not that bad. It’s not cheese, obviously, but I mean it’s like a separate thing altogether which isn’t a bad thing.

We also microwaved a tin of refried beans (£1.15), added the hot sauce again, and dipped tortilla chips in while cooking – because as you can see, I did sooo much cooking. Added it to the wraps too, just to make it taste extra good and look extra bad.

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Seriously, could anything look any worse?! This project is a learning curve for so many reasons.

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Veganuary – rice milk is a win

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By my own surprise I am typing the words I Am Doing Veganuary.

It was only decided on impulse a few days ago when I watched a YouTube video by Holly Exley talk about it, then one of my best friends shared a post on Facebook.

You can guess what it means if you’ve never heard of it – going vegan for January.

And what’s the point in it?

Well, I’m not sure because for my partner and I it’s just a challenge. I’m not going to indulge in facts and preach it to others, I’m not sharing the message of being a vegan – it’s simply a project, and I do love a project.

Plus I have been a vegetarian for 4 years – and being a veggie is a moral thing for me – so I don’t feel the need to watch any more documentaries etc. Nah mate, I’m a veggie and I’m cool with that at the moment.

I feel like it’s going to be pretty easy for myself. If I were to go from eating meat to this (like my partner) I can imagine it’s a struggle. 4 years a veggie has been my training I think. I’ve been through the stages of feeling empowered, then feeling disgusted by meat, then indifferent etc. (But you never stop missing bacon). So it’s going to be pretty normal I assume.

Where as for my partner this is HUGE, and I think it’s pretty cool he is trying it. I sit here on my laptop imaging that today, on day 2, he is day dreaming about McDonald’s. I’ve been there.

I’m not hoping for anything other than to do it – I feel like there’s generally a goal with these things…

I suppose I’d like to try new foods and try alternatives for animals byproducts that I currently use – and keep to it.

First day discovery – rice milk is actually nice and very similar to cows milk.

I am not a very good cook, there’s not a lot of cooking knowledge in me other than a nice pasta sauce so it’ll be interesting to say the least. I’ll like to share what I’ve been trying though, regardless of how gross it may turn out (only because of my inabilities, not the recipe).

 

And here is my partners input that he is sharing with his friends. You can follow him in Instagram if you’d like to see more of his trolling.

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Anyway, that’s my January so far. 

Looking good, Billy Ray! Feeling good, Louis!

(Other than this flu/chest infection that won’t go away)

What you been up to? Self care, getting crafty and a whole load of photos in my ‘November’ album

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– Fetch a cup of tea before reading –

Week one and I can say my mind is calmer.

I suppose my ‘whybut’ idea is like a bullet journal, except it’s more random and messy – which suits me to a T. As soon as there are rules or too much structure I just walk away. I don’t want an empty space screaming ‘YOU DIDN’T FILL OUT MONDAY!’

I wrote down a list of things I want to do that week – under work, lifestyle and personal. Then each day I’d pick what I want to do (and added more) and wrote a separate to do list.

I didn’t do it every day this week, so by accident I have evidence how doing this cleared my mind and not only helped me be more productive – but made me feel satisfied. Which is all I want from this.

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It stayed on my desk, so it is technically unnecessary when it comes to lifestyle lists. Plus most of my lifestyle – socialising, going out – is impulsive. So this book will only be handy with lifestyle when it interlinks with one of the other categories. For example, pumpkin picking was lifestyle, but I wanted to do a blog post about it.

Enough about the book – lets sum up what I achieved for the first week.

Got most of my main lists ticked off.

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Made my bleached pine cone table name card holders – but more about that another time.

Finished up this Halloween idea which I can’t share till a years time. Which sounds so bloody awful but it’ll all make sense in January.

Less blog posts as usual, but I had a few bad mental health days – which comes under lifestyle and looking after myself.

Cleared my desk a little, but other than that I’m currently surrounded by mess. I can’t see it when I face the wall. Saturday isn’t over yet anyway.

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It is the 4th of November and I can proudly say my ‘work November 2017’ folder on my computer already has 210 photos in.

Made a tiny start on my rewrite of Chapter two of my book.

And, of course, James and I started Stranger Things season two.


 

In therapy I was taught to write out all my anxious thoughts when I have them. I’ve also heard the technique of talking to yourself, saying your problems out loud – just so it’s out of your head. Then you can start feeling a little better.

This is similar. I constantly think, mainly about things I want to be doing. Like I said in the original post, I often feel guilty when doing one thing and not another. Mindfulness and meditating would probably be handy for this, maybe that should be on my list this week.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that the days I wrote down what I want to do and could achieve, something lifted off my shoulders. It was out of my brain.

No one can do everything at once. I’m guilty of looking at the whole picture. I need to focus in, because nothing seems as such of a big task then.

It’s all alright really.