Tuesday, 24 May 2016

EASY VEGAN 'CUPBOARD' BURGERS


Hi lovelies! Today, I'm sharing a recipe with you all and I am so excited for this one. For me, being vegan is easy, I love plant based meals, I love beans, lentils, veggies, all the carbs etc etc, however living with a meat eater boyfriend means I do like to be inventive with 'mock meat' meals. I'm very luck in that my boyfriend is super accepting of the vegan lifestyle and unless he goes out of his way to buy himself something else one night, he pretty much eats totally vegan at home which is fab - but that doesn't mean he wants to eat rice and veggies every day and God knows I don't either! So, something that I am trying so hard to perfect is a super yummy veggie burger. There are plenty on the market that you can buy that are really tasty, but I'm not into eating lots of processed vegan products too often, so I like to make my own veggie options that taste super yummy, but are much healthier for you.

So, I call today's recipe 'Cupboard Burgers' as the majority of the ingredients are things that most people (particularly vegans!) are likely to already have in their fridge or cupboards. While they are a bean burger as opposed to a vegetable burger, these are pretty healthy for you. I say pretty healthy as they're not 100% whole foods, as I do use gravy for a meaty flavour. What some of you may not know (I certainly didn't!) is that many 'meat' gravy's are vegan. So, Bisto gravy granules? Vegan! Obviously they're not a superfood, but it's not too bad for you and they add a somewhat meaty flavour to the burgers, making them perfect for non-vegan friends and family! Anyway, onto the recipe!

You will need:
1 Tin of Kidney Beans
1/2 Cup Chopped Mushrooms (any mushrooms will do)
2 Tablespoons Bisto Gravy Granules (or any vegan gravy granules)
Oats
Garlic Powder
Paprika
Salt (I use Pink Himalayan but this is optional)
Pepper
Mixed Herbs

As you can tell from the ingredients, these really are super simple, so there's not much to the preparation and cooking at all, so it's a perfect, quick, easy dinner, without having to throw something processed in the oven! So to start, you'll want to make up a thick gravy with boiling water and the gravy granules, sort of to a ketchup consistency. Then, all you need to do is throw the kidney beans and chopped mushrooms into a blender with a teaspoon (or two depending on your personal tastes!) each of garlic powder, paprika and mixed herbs, a pinch of salt and pepper and pulse until they're mostly combined, but some whole kidney beans and mushroom pieces remain. If you don't have a blender, you can mash the beans with a fork, leaving a few halves or whole beans and just chop the mushrooms finely and stir them in. Once combined, add oats to thicken. This will depend entirely on how much gravy or how thin your gravy was - you'll just want to add enough and stir in until it becomes thick enough that you can form the mixture into patties. This recipe will make 6 smaller patties or 4 large ones.

Once you've formed your patties, you'll want to grill them on a medium/ high heat for around 10 minutes on each side. The exact timing will depend on how powerful your grill is, so just keep an eye on them and flip them when they start to go crispy and slightly darkened on the outside. If you're not going to eat these right away, you can keep the formed patties in the fridge for a day or two then grill the leftovers whenever you want to use them. I haven't tried freezing these but I don't see why you couldn't so it may be worth a go!

You can serve these however you like, but I like to serve them on a toasted bun with homemade fries and a side salad. I love to have these with Sriracha and my boyfriend loves them with Ketchup but of course you can use any sauce you like.

So, that's it! A super simple, seriously cheap vegan burger recipe that even non-vegans will love! Let me know if you try this recipe, or if you have any favourite ways of making vegan burgers, I'd love to know!

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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

3 MONTHS VEGAN: UPDATE & WHY I MADE THE SWITCH


Hi lovelies! Today, I wanted to do a little update for you all because as of this month, I have now been vegan for three months. While this post is not to preach in any way or tell you you have to go vegan, it is to inform in the most effective way I can and hopefully help some of you to better understand the vegan lifestyle or if you're already vegan or interested in veganism, this may just be something interesting for you to read! So, today I'm going to be talking about when, how and why I went vegan and how I'm feeling since I made this lifestyle change.

So, I started transitioning to veganism in February of this year, I remember Darren & I had gone out for breakfast on Valentines Day and we then had a little at home 'pic n mix picnic' while we watched a movie. It was only when I was reading the back of a particular packet of sweets, unable to pronounce most of the ingredients that I thought wow, I don't have a clue what most of these things even are and yet I'm putting them into my body. Don't get me wrong, I've always been fairly healthy and concious of what I eat and I definitely don't believe in totally giving up sweets and treats, but there was just something about reading that long list of chemicals that day that made me want to look into these sorts of things a little more. So, a couple of days later on my day off, I took to the internet to look into these things, I came across documentaries like Food Matters and Food Inc, which talk about the food industries and whether or not what is marketed to us as 'healthy' really is beneficial to our bodies. From here, I started looking more into a plant based diet and what that can do for your health.


At first and for the first week or two after reading up on this, watching youtube videos on plant based diets and veganism, I made a partial switch. I ate 100% vegan at home with my boyfriend, but still ate as usual when I went to other peoples houses as I didn't want to 'be a pain'. However, while still eating animal foods, I felt guilty knowing the small amount I already knew and genuinely noticed a difference in how I felt at the end of each day when I had or hadn't eaten animal products. Not long after this, towards the end of the month, I watched a documentary called Forks over Knives, which is all about how certain foods, Meat, Dairy and Eggs in particular can be so damaging to our health and I was shocked. I was glued to the screen throughout the whole show, which is rare for me, but when it finished I knew I wanted to go plant based with my diet.

So, that was the first step, I still wasn't 100% connected to veganism through the ethical or environmental factors so I still hadn't really thought about my clothes or beauty products. However, one day I had a particularly large pile of washing up to do and to get me through it, I decided to find a Youtube Video to watch. I came across '101 - Reasons to go Vegan', which explains not only more about the health aspects of the vegan lifestyle, but the ethical reasons too. If you're at all considering veganism, this video is a great one to start with, as there's not too much of the graphic cruelty shown (though I do believe everyone should see this at some point), it makes it a fairly easy place to start. It's very informative, but also very entertaining and engaging, so you'll actually want to keep watching. After watching this, I wanted to know more, so I later watched 'Farm to Fridge', which is only just over 10 minutes long and so important, as I think we should all know where our 'food' is coming from. I also watched 'Earthlings' as well as covering the meat, dairy and egg industry, also fully opened my eyes to the cruelty in the cosmetic and fashion industry, which is why I will no longer be buying leather products or using brands that test on animals or use animal products. I do still have some products like this and leather products, which I am not going to throw away as I don't want to be wasteful, but I will not be contributing any more.

As for the environmental aspect, this wasn't really something I'd though too much about, but after watching 'Cowspiracy' on Netflix, I was appalled at how much of an impact animal agriculture has on our planet. People think of the whole 'save the planet' thing as a hippy thing, but this is our planet that our children and grandchildren have to live on for years to come. We're making small steps with our plastic bag charges and every house having a recycling bin, but if everyone halved their meat, dairy and egg intake or even went fully vegan, the planet could improve dramatically in such a short amount of time.



So, those were my reasons for going vegan. At first, for my health, as plant based nutrition has been proven to prevent disease and be the best for the human body (say what you will about this, I have done my research and 100% believe this to be true!) and then for the animals and environment. While I know one person may not change the whole world, I like knowing I'm doing my bit and not contributing to these industries. That's probably the best thing for me since going vegan is feeling like I'm doing something good and making small changes in my own way. A few of my friends and family members have also been very interested and have been taking my fully vegan recipes to try at home, or vowing to go animal product free at least one day a week, or cut down their intake and it's great knowing you're inspiring people to do something so good for their health.

As for how I actually feel in a literal aspect, I've been so much more energised and alert as I'm finally getting the proper nutrients that my body needs. While I did make an effort to be healthy before, I see now that a lot of the foods I was eating that I didn't realise were bad for me were definitely having an effect. I wake up with much more energy every morning, my skin is better, I feel more toned than ever without very much vigorous exercise at all (I walk for at least 1 hour total most days, have a moderately active job as a beautician and do a little light exercise at home, but no gyms or intense running!) and my skin and hair have never been better!

I'm going to leave this post here as I could honestly go on for days about this topic, but if there's anything else you'd like to know or any other posts like this you'd like to see, please leave me a comment below as I'd love to know your thoughts!

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Monday, 16 May 2016

SUKIN MOISTURE RESTORING CONDITIONER REVIEW



Hi lovelies! Today, I've got another fab Vegan beauty product for you all! This time, it's in the form of this 'Moisture Restoring Conditoner' from Australian owned and made brand 'Sukin'. I got this on MyPure.co.uk recently as I was in desperate need of a new conditioner and wanted to try something a bit different to what I've been using. As some of you will know, I've been making an effort to buy only products that are cruelty free and vegan, which often goes hand in hand with more natural, safer products. This certainly applies to this brand, you'll see in the picture above that it is free from all of the usual nasties that should be avoided for your hair, so no sulphates, sythentic fragrance, parabens and a whole host of other things you don't want to be putting onto your precious strands!

As someone with highlighted hair, I need to take special care to use products that are not only safe for dry and damaged hair, but also free from harsh ingredients that are going to alter or mess with the colour of my hair. This is why I went for Sukin, as I loved the ethics behind the brand as they're totally vegan and completely against animal testing. Their products are also created with high quality botanical extracts to provide quality products for your skin and hair, while remaining very affordable. This conditioner in particular retails at just £13.22 for 500ml. As it is very moisturising, you don't need to use too much either, so it will last you a good amount of time before you'll need to replace it.

Containing aloe vera, Shea butter and wheat germ, as well as avocado, rose hip and jojoba oils, this conditioner has an impressive ingredients list that combines to make your hair look and feel soft, nourished and much more manageable. Since using this, I've notified a significant difference in the amount of breakage I get - or don't get should I say! My hair is prone to breakage, but after using this, my hair brushes through much easier without snapping off, which is definitely down to the improved texture of my hair since using this. My hair also smells lovely after using this, the scent isn't strong at all, which is great as you can be sure there are no unnecessary perfumes in the product, but it just smells so fresh and clean with a very slight lasting scent, nothing too overpowering.

Overall, I'd absolutely recommend this if you have dry, damaged hair. I have quite fine hair and this doesn't weigh it down at all, however Sukin do have other products for different hair types, so I'd definitely recommend checking those out for your own hair type. They also do smaller sizes if you wanted to try before you go for the 500ml bottle, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be disappointed, I absolutely love it!

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