Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World!

Cold Cold Cold! When you have a cold, and it is cold, it’s all about oatmeal!DSC04529

My throat was really sore, and I wasn’t at all hungry this morning, but I knew I should eat, and would feel better after doing so. And this pumpkin oatmeal really did help! Smile

Another throat-soothing remedy I had later was my favourite instant soup…DSC03183

…which was enjoyed in my favourite mug:DSC04544

Recognise that dog anyone? Smile with tongue out I was given that mug for my 7th birthday- and I still love it! Open-mouthed smile

Oh, and today was Secret Santa day! Which meant…I got to open more presents! My Secret Santa got me two recipe books (she knows me so well!).

‘Everyday Vegetarian’ cookbook, which has tons of great recipes and pictures for every one (v. important in cookbooks for me!).DSC04535

And….DSC04536

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World’!! Open-mouthed smile 75 recipes for vegan cupcakes! Can’t argue with that! Winking smile First to catch my eye was the gingerbread cupcakes (because it’s Xmas, and I love gingerbread!) and peanut butter cupcakes!!

One of my friends received this homemade gingerbread house as part of her present, because she had said she’d always wanted one. Isn’t it amazing?DSC04532

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Of course, in lieu of my cupcake book, I had to go out and buy some necessary ingredients from the book!DSC04539

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So stay tuned over the next couple of days for a vegan cupcake post! Open-mouthed smile

What are your favourite cold-remedies? And have you ever tried making a vegan cupcake? I haven’t…yet! Winking smile

Have a great week!

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Food Blogger let loose in a farm shop…

Howdy! I was all excited the afterno0n for my trip to our local farm shop! And note that by local, I mean half an hours drive. I live in L0ndon-not many farm shops nearby! So this was a very exciting prospect for me! My first ever real farm shop trip! Open-mouthed smile

Gasp! Fruit and Veggies galore!

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All local, organic produce. Seriously, why do Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s not have a beautiful range like this?DSC03174

Aah look at all the cute squashes in baskets! SmileDSC03173

So what else did I like in the farm shop? :

The one billion different varieties of nuts:DSC03170

This weird looking vegetable called a ‘Mooli’, that I’d never seen or heard of before!DSC03171

STRIPY PASTA!DSC03165DSC03175

All natural colours! The red/pink stripe colour is beetroot, and the black stripe colour is squid ink! They were a great novelty, but at £5 for a tiny pack, not something you would get often!

I ended up buying a ton of fruit and vegetables (squash, aubergine, pears, etc.), but not the Mooli! My current favourite soup flavour:DSC03183

I rarely buy this sort of thing, but figured it would make a great (and warm!) quick snack, and didn’t have any artificial rubbish in it.

They were also handing out chocolate tasters, and I am so not one to turn down a freebie, especially if its chocolate! And it was DELICIOUS! Which really surprised me, because it had no added sugar! I always assumed no added sugar chocolate wouldn’t taste half as good, but this one certainly did! So I bought it!DSC03181

I also bought this on an impulse, because it looked interesting:DSC03192

That’s a milk chocolate bar, with banana and cocoa nibs! Seen that before? I certainly haven’t! Can’t wait to try it later! Open-mouthed smile 

The farm shop had a beautiful flower section too, and I fell in love with these- I’m a sucker for orchids!

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Oh, and this really weirded me out! See what you make of it:DSC03166

Yes, that is dog beer.DSC03168

Bizarre, huh? Don’t know about you guys but I’d never give this to my dog!

Anyway, dinner was a great mix of stuff:DSC03190

A whole-wheat tortilla wrap, filled with red pepper hummus, and a side of crispy marinated tofu and some roasted veggies (from the farm shop!)-squash, aubergine and courgette. I actually had about double the amount of tofu pictured whilst waiting for my veggies to roast! I’m very impatient! Smile with tongue out

A delicious meal! And for dessert, I had about half a tub of soya yogurt (it goes out of date today, but couldn’t quite finish it all! I’m sure it’ll still be fine tomorrow…) and, of course, some chocolate. Guess which kind?

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Of course, the banana and cocoa nib milk chocolate. It. Was. Delicious. SO good! The banana flavour was lovely and sweet, but not too overpowering, and the cocoa nibs gave it a slight crunch. And you would never guess this had no added sugar!

What ‘weird’ flavours of chocolate have you ever tried? Did it live up to expectations?

Spicy tomato, chickpea and vegetable stew

A quick post today, as I’m actually going out to a fancy dress party tonight! I’m very excited, as I haven’t been to a fancy dress in years.

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This was me at a party, dressed as a fairy, aged 6. See the embarrassing thing here was that this wasn’t a fancy dress party! I just liked my fairy outfit a lot! Smile with tongue out But this year I’m not going as a fairy (the birthday girl has dibs on that one!) but as a Soldier Girl. I’m borrowing my brother’s Army uniform, (he’s in the Cadets) and will just go as that. I haven’t tried it on yet though…lets hope it fits! Not very exciting I know, but it was all a bit late notice to come up with anything more creative! Photos possibly to come tomorrow!

Anyway, for breakfast, I had my current favourite (it changes- a lot!): a huge bowlful of pumpkin oatmeal!DSC02877

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Oatmeal really does fill you up and hold you over like no other breakfast, in my opinion! Although I did have some raisins and a rice cake to munch on while I worked before lunch, and then figured out what to have. I was thinking some kind of soup/stew because it’s so cold where I am today (10C!), and I had a major craving for chickpeas, because I love them, and spiciness to warm me up! That’s when the brainwave hit me: Spicy tomato, chickpea and vegetable stew Smile

Spicy tomato, chickpea and vegetable stew

Assemble your veggies of choice. I had a courgette (zucchini, if you’re from across the pond!) and an onion to use up. I would have added a diced carrot and/or some celery to add to the texture, but we were out, and it tasted great nonetheless.

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Dice them up and sauté them in 1 tbsp olive oil (or olive oil spray) for a few minutes until softened.DSC02889

Then add 2-3 tbsp of this amazing stuff, depending on how spicy you like it…DSC02891

…and a tsp of ground cumin to the veggies and stir happily away. I like it spicy, so 3 tbsp gave it quite a kick Winking smileDSC02892

Then make up 500 ml of vegetable stock…

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…and add to the pan, along with a can of chopped tomatoes, a drained can of chickpeas (400g) and 2 tbsp tomato puree. Then stir, and admire the beauty of it all:

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Oh yes. Then cover and leave to simmer for half an hour. And make sure your brother doesn’t take your camera and take a super-unflattering photo of you glaring at him:

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After 30 minutes, you can stir in 2 tbsp of couscous, to add some more fibre and deliciousness to your stew, and leave for a further 5 mins. And then serve and enjoy!DSC02910

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I served mine with a whole-wheat tortilla and some vine-ripened tomatoes. Delicious, and so filling! I could barely finish it!

The stew packs quite the nutritional punch too: approx. 186 calories, protein 7.9g, fat 6.6 g, fibre 6g per serving Smile

Serves 4 people

  • 1 tbsp olive oil/cooking spray
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • vegetables of choice (I used 1 medium/large courgette), diced
  • 2-3 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 (drained) can chickpeas  (400g)
  • 2 tbsp couscous (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan, then add the vegetables. After a few minutes, they should have softened. Stir in the harissa paste and cumin. Then add all the other ingredients except the couscous, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the couscous and leave for a further 5 minutes, then stir and serve.

For me, soups and stews are one of the ultimate cold-weather foods, so this warmed me up nicely Smile

Question: What are your favourite foods to have when the cold weather hits?

Have a great evening! Open-mouthed smile