What I Ate In A Day #10 – Vegan Edition

As part of vegan week on The Gammon Kitchen, I figured it only right that I take you along for the ride and share everything I eat in a day on a vegan diet. I’m halfway through my trial and I’m feeling tired, grumpy and in desperate need of a McDonalds. I kind of want to give up but I’m not going to. I’m just eagerly waiting for the day when I bound out of bed full of vigour with wonderful glowing skin and a new found zest for life. Please God, let it be soon.

Breakfast today was of the liquid variety. I made my chocolate and peanut butter milkshake that was featured on my blog earlier in the year, but used cashew butter rather than peanut and coconut milk rather than almond. Anything goes really. It was delicious and set me up for the day.

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The 11am slump was fixed by a few dates. Ugly little things aren’t they? Medjool dates are amazing, like soft, chewy toffees. They’re more expensive than other varieties but totally worth it.

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I’ve been making the most of leftovers for my lunches and today was a classic example. It’s great to have a fridge full of things that you can just throw together to create a pick’n’mix lunch bursting with flavour and nutrients. Today was brown rice, roasted vegetables (peppers, onions and courgettes), garlic and herb roasted sweet potatoes and some homemade spicy, smoky humous (made smoky by smoked sea salt – AH-MAY-ZING.)

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I snacked on some fruit between lunch and dinner. Doughnut peaches, or flat peaches as they’re sometimes called, are my favourite fruits ever. I had a plum too but ate it without thinking so didn’t take a photo.

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The biggest hurdle I’ve faced during this trial is having time each night to cook a healthy meal, prepare my lunch and tidy up all the mess made along the way. It’s hard. I can’t just order a pizza now and it means every night is chore night. Tonight I decided to go for the easy option. I’d bought some ready made bean burgers in my weekly food shop to have on stand by for when this day came so we had those with oven chips, homemade guacamole and a bit of salad. It’s the first night Tyler and I have had the same dinner since I started my vegan journey. The bean burgers were alright but I probably could have made better myself.

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As an evening snack I had a slice of wholemeal bread, toasted and spread with cashew, cinnamon and honey butter and topped with a sliced banana. Snack heaven.

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I ate a little more today than I have been to see if it would help my energy levels. Here’s hoping! I love having such colourful, vibrant meals and I’m not really missing meat (apart from that McDonalds craving) but I would give an arm for a bit of cheese now and then.

Recipe: Chickpea, Spinach and Potato Curry

I’m not one of those people who need to have meat in every dinner and am quite happy with a veg based meal. Vegan though, now that’s new to me. I haven’t struggled to come up with suitable recipes (yet) but it is a bit of a ball ache to have to remember what I can and can’t eat. I would normally finish my homemade curry with butter and maybe a little bit of cream if the mood took me. The results without are still incredibly delicious (actually this was one of the best curries I’ve made) but it’s just a chore to remember. I had a store-bought naan bread ready and waiting to be dunked in only to find it contained milk. Devastated is not the word.

So this curry is completely vegan and still very very yummy. The ingredients list looks long but is mostly spices which you may already have on hand. If not, feel free to use a curry powder or ready made spice mix.

Serves 2-3

What you need:

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 4 small waxy potatoes, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 150g baby spinach

What you do:

  1. Heat the coconut oil up in a large pan and add the sliced onion and diced potatoes, frying them off for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another couple of minutes before tipping in the tin of chickpeas and all the spices, stirring well.
  2. Now, add the tinned tomatoes and use the tin to transfer the same amount of water to the pan. Season well with salt and pepper and add the maple syrup. Cover and cook for around 20 minutes.
  3. Next, add the tin of coconut milk and stir well to combine. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened. When done, add the spinach, stir well and check for seasoning. Serve with rice and a dollop of mango chutney. And a vegan naan bread if you can find one.

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This is a mild, sweet, creamy curry but still has so much flavour. You can of course turn up the heat by adding more chilli if you prefer your curries this way, but I like mine to leave the taste buds dancing rather than having to down a glass of milk just to get through the pain. Non-dairy milk obvs.

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Recipe: Berry Rose Smoothie

Sometimes I struggle to fit some fruit into my daily diet. This is where smoothies come in as they are a quick and easy way to get some of the good stuff in. A Nutri Ninja isn’t just for Oreo Milkshakes you know. (Although they are, indeed, incredibly good.) The rose water in this smoothie just adds a touch of the exotic and makes the summer berries seem even more sweet and fragrant.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 5 heaped tablespoons of frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tbsp rose water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 200ml milk

What you do:

  1. Chuck all of the ingredients into a blender and whizz away until it is smooth and creamy. Drink right away when it’s wonderfully cold.

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This is a good smoothie recipe to have as we go into the summer months and makes a wonderful light breakfast.

Enjoy!

 

Help – I’m a Food Addict

So here I am, slumped on the sofa in my leggings and dinner-stained t-shirt, eating my way through yet another bargain price Easter egg when I catch a glimpse of myself in the switched off TV. At first I convince myself that the TV has turned itself on and I’m halfway through a Wayne and Waynetta sketch, before I realise that’s not Kathy Burke. That’s me. I’m Waynetta. Sitting there cocooned in a blanket, hair shoved up on top of my head in a bid to avoid washing it, dropping chocolate crumbs everywhere, I am a vision. A feast for the eyes.

Does this image make me want to want to change? To ditch the chocolate and start drinking green tea? Hell no. It makes me want to snatch the next Easter egg from the fridge and crawl even further under the duvet. I’m in denial you see and do my best to conceal my inner fattie, a task becoming increasingly more difficult the fatter I get on the outside. I’m in a constant state of despair about my ever increasing waist line whilst fighting a losing battle with my food addictions. Unfortunately, though, I’m not addicted to celery. Or carrots. Or cabbage. I like coleslaw though and that’s kinda the same thing right? No, you’re right, it’s not. I have issues with junk food. Pizza, McDonalds (screw you Ronald), chocolate, crisps, they’re always there to guide me down the dark path of temptation, away from the light of the chia seed brigade and towards the never ending tunnel of doom. Once I’m on that path I find it very hard to turn back, as I think is the case for most of us.

I eat well some of the time, in some cases more often than not, but I quite simply can’t say no to the bad stuff. There’s balance – porridge and fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, chicken and veg for dinner then a small bar of chocolate as an evening snack, for example. Then there’s me – porridge and fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, a large Domino’s pizza with chicken strippers for dinner then a share size bar of chocolate to finish it off. That’s not balance, that’s being a greedy fat pig. Oink Oink.

At the beginning of the year I vowed to not go on a diet and I’m sticking by that. Diets don’t work, at least not for me. I’m an intelligent person and I know what’s good for my body and what’s not. Domino’s, I love you, always have, always will. But you are not my friend and my feelings for you are unrequited. For you do not love me. Instead you treat me badly, making my clothes tighter and my chins multiply with every slice of you I consume. You are bad. But oh so good. Who can resist a glistening pizza, cheese oozing into the sauce with slices of pepperoni winking naughtily at you? STOP IT PIZZA!

I’m not saying goodbye to pizza, for I can’t quite summon the strength for such a commitment, but I’m really not feeling the Waynetta look right now and need to try to eat better. At least until Friday. And once this last Easter egg is finished.

 

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Help

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous

I don’t know about you but I always have a cupboard full of grains. Rice, quinoa, pasta, cous cous, you name it, I have at least three half used packs of it where I forget I have a bag open before using a new one. I’m a bit of a sucker for offers too and despite having a plentiful supply of the raw stuff, I always find myself well stocked with packets of microwavable rice and the pouches of cous cous that just need re-activating in some boiling water. The good thing about these is that they have flavourings already added so it saves you a bit of a job. If, like me, you have some packets of cous cous knocking about, try this easy peasy dish that you can have either as lunch on its own or alongside some grilled chicken or lamb for a tasty dinner.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • A 100g packet of flavoured cous cous. I used Ainsley Harriet’s sun-dried tomato and garlic for this particular picture, but use any brand or flavour you like. Or, don’t be a dumbass that buys packets of stuff like I do and just use plain old cous cous which is a lot cheaper and add some extra seasonings to suit your taste
  • 1 courgette
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 roasted peppers from a jar
  • 2 spring onions, chopped

What you do:

  1. Get your oven ready at 180°c. Halve your courgette lengthways then cut each half in half again so that you have four lengths of courgette. Slice them up about half a cm thick and then toss them in a roasting dish with the garlic powder, chilli, some salt and pepper and the olive oil. Roast the courgettes for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet and chop the two peppers into pieces about the same size as the courgette.
  3. When your courgette is nicely roasted, add the diced peppers into the same roasting tray and give it all a good mix to combine the flavours. Now, mix this into the cous cous and stir with a fork to keep the grains separate. Top with your chopped spring onions and serve, either hot, room temperature or cold. Great for a picnic or buffet spread too.

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Recipe: Sweet Potato Bowl

When you’re eating for one it can be tempting to reach for a loaf of bread and head straight to the toaster, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but Marmite on toast isn’t the most exciting dinner now is it? I quite like just cooking for me, it means I can eat what ever I want and don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else. This recipe is perfect for solitary eating. It doesn’t take long to make, tastes great and begs to be eaten from the sofa whilst watching trashy TV.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • a large handful of greens (I used shredded Spring greens but you can use any kind of cabbage, kale or spinach)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

What you do:

  1. Boil the sweet potato cubes in salted water until they are very soft. This will take about 15 minutes if you cut the potatoes small enough, just check them.
  2. If your greens are a little tough, blanch them in boiling water for a minute to soften, then drain. This is what I did with my Spring greens but you wouldn’t need to if you used a softer leaf such as spinach.
  3. Slice your bacon into thin strips. Heat the oil in a pan and add the bacon strips along with the garlic and cook until the bacon is gloriously crispy. Add your greens and stir fry them with the bacon to combine.
  4. Once your sweet potatoes are soft and cooked through, drain them then add the teaspoon of butter and most of the parmesan and mash until you have a smooth mixture free from lumps.
  5. Transfer your mash into a nice serving bowl and top with the bacon and greens mix. Add the last little sprinkling of parmesan and dive in.

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This is warming and comforting but still a bit healthy. You can change it up to suit your mood too so is a great recipe to play with. A fried or poached egg on top would be wonderful.