Happy 21st Birthday Little Bro!

On Sunday we celebrated the birthday of my younger brother Daniel who has grown from this:

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L-R Daniel (little bro), David (big bro) and Me

To this:

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Watching the Foo Fighters at Reading 2012

We had a small party at home with my mum’s famous buffet. Unfortunately for me there’s usually not much variety on buffet tables for somebody who is gluten free, vegan and on a wholefoods diet. I decided to put some effort in this time and had a bit of a feast like everybody else!

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For some reason I had a craving for a beany/tomato dish and this is what I came up with. I followed no recipe for this and didn’t note down what I did either (sorry!). It consisted of a tin of red kidney beans, one of chickpeas, one of butter beans and two of chopped tomatoes. I also added babycorn, onion and green beans. For a bit of spice I added chilli and coriander. This was nice cold (good for dipping nachos in!) but also good heated up the next day over a jacket potato.

ImageA savoury meaty tasting dish came next. I roasted a whole packet of button mushrooms with a chopped aubergine and some walnuts. This was perfection. I used tamari to give it a deeper flavour and then sprinkled with chives before serving.

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Standard vegan fare… a platter of chopped carrots, green and red peppers, courgettes and cherry tomatoes with two types of hummus for dipping (Pea and Mint / Plain).

 

 

ImageMore standard vegan fare… salad. However I added roasted vegetables (courgette, pepper, red onion) and sweetcorn to this to make it a little bit different.

ImageMy feast plate!

A good time was had by all. I’ll leave you with a photo of a chocoholic (but not in any way vegan) birthday cake.

ImageHappy Birthday Daniel!

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A new year, a new diet and our family dinner

Happy new year everyone! I hope 2013 brings you everything you hope for and that you’re still sticking to your new years resolutions 18 hours in!

For those of you that don’t know, I’m beginning a new wholefoods diet/lifestyle from today. You can find out more in my previous post (https://writingbeckles.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/a-new-year-a-new-me/). I thought I’d celebrate this by cooking a family meal for New Years Day.

Well it was a success with my meat eating family! My brother actually went back for seconds which impressed me! I’ll show you some photos and then tell you what we had.

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Beans and Mushrooms, Sweetcorn and Peppers

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Carrots and Cauliflower, Sesame Sprouted Broccoli, Asparagus and Baby Courgette, Roasted Potatoes and Squash

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My plate with a bit of everything!

For the main dish I used a recipe out of Veganomicon but ended up not following the instructions (like always!). The recipe is called Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms and calls for dried beans which always replace with canned (because I’m lazy!). By replacing the  beans I changed the entire texture of the dish as not as much water was needed. I also chopped the vegetables and left them in rather than just using them for stock like the recipe suggests. I therefore ended up with an entirely different dish! I used cannelini and haricot beans, onion, celery, carrot, leek and two types of mushrooms. It was a yummy earthy tasting dish.

The side dishes were:

  • Roasted Potatoes with rosemary and thyme
  • Roasted Sweet Potato and Squash with cumin seeds
  • Sweetcorn with Peppers (red and green)
  • Sesame Green Veg – sprouted broccoli, baby courgette and asparagus tips stir fried in sesame oil with sesame seeds and tamari
  • Boiled Cauliflower and Carrot

The gravy was impressive. I used a recipe from Spark Recipes (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=1280339). It was the best gluten free vegan gravy I’ve tried and was vaguely reminiscent of roasted chicken as I used rosemary and thyme instead of sage.

I’ve got some great leftovers for lunch tomorrow and I had a really nice plate of comfort food that didn’t make me ill! It was great passing the dishes around the table as well instead of just putting a plate of food in front of everyone.

I hope you’ve all had as good a day as me and have a wonderful new year.

A New Year… A New Me!

If you don’t already know, I am a vegan. This means I don’t eat meat, fish, dairy products or honey. I am also gluten intolerant which means I can’t have any food that has flour in (i.e. bread, cakes, biscuits, pastry and a whole host of other things that just happen to have wheat in for a bizarre reason). This makes it quite difficult to eat processed food and yet I still manage it! I eat a lot of gluten free bread which is my guilty food really as some of it contains egg. I also eat cheezely (a vegan cheese made from soya) and drink a lot of soya milk. At the moment I’m eating boxes and boxes of vegan, gluten free mince pies and I love gluten free biscuits too.

I’ve had a few accidents when it comes to eating gluten free and vegan. Many gluten free products have honey or eggs inside and I’ve also slipped up and eaten things I’ve thought were gluten free which weren’t. It hasn’t escaped my attention that if I stopped eating processed food I wouldn’t slip up as much. I also find that eating fresh fruit and vegetables and less processed food just makes me feel healthier. I’ve therefore decided to try a whole foods, plant based diet.

Basically this means I will cut out all processed food and everything is going to be handmade from scratch. Hopefully it shouldn’t be too much of a transition for me as I’m already vegan. I’m hoping that with this new diet I’ll feel healthier and have read a lot of accounts by people who are on this diet who say they feel full of energy, much healthier in themselves and feel like they are being much more environmentally friendly.

So here goes… the rules I have decided to follow from the 1st of January 2013.

1) Base all of my meals on fruit and vegetables (organic if possible). 

This is something that I already do to a point. However I have often based food around bread (such as at breakfast time) or processed food such as gluten free pies, vegan sausages and burgers etc. Breakfast is a big one because I often have sugary cereals or just toast. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks looking at other foods I can have.

2) No soft drinks

Only drink water, dairy free milks (hazelnut/almond – try to cut back on soya milk), natural fruit juices, tea (without sugar). I want to try drinking more fruit/herbal tea than normal tea.

3) Healthy snacks

I like to eat small meals and end up snacking quite a lot throughout the day. At the moment I eat a lot of crisps and although I’m not going to give them up completely I want to focus more on healthy snacks. I’ve signed up to start receiving Graze boxes which are natural snacks of fruit, nuts and seeds. I’d also like to eat more fruit and vegetables as snacks.

4) No refined sugar

Only natural sweeteners from fruit and maple syrup.

5) No deep fried or fast foods

I already do this as I can’t usually eat them!

6) Spend one day a week prepping food

I’m only going to eat homemade bread and other baked goods. I’m going to do some research and find bread recipes that I can use. I’m therefore going to do cooking/baking on a Sunday to make sure that I have enough healthy food to get me through the week (especially the days when I come home from work late!).

7) Eat more raw food

I love the raw recipes I find on raw vegan blogs and they have a lot of health benefits. However I wouldn’t want to commit to a raw diet. These foods would be a brilliant way of sticking to my whole foods challenge.

8) No more than 5 ingredients

I won’t be eating anything bought from a shop that has more than five ingredients in the list. Especially if they are ingredients that aren’t natural!

9) Try more new recipes

This is always the key to not getting stuck in a food rut and keeping eating exciting!

And that’s it! I’m going to start this now so that I can get my head around all the different bits. Wish me luck…