Thursday, September 22, 2016

Vegan Life Magazine, issues 18 + 19 (September + October)

I receive complimentary digital copies of Vegan Life, which allows me to post reviews with screenshots included. My reflections on the magazine are entirely my own.

The latest edition of Vegan Life Magazine acknowledges and celebrates the arrival of autumn. Traditionally autumn was my favourite season and I still love the cozy evenings and brisk outdoor walks it provides, as well as the beauty of changing leaves. However, since moving to the UK I have also loved spring and summer for their long days and the increased outdoor options that mild sunshine permits. So, it is with mixed feelings that I welcome autumn this week - but full enthusiasm that I share some of the autumn highlights from Vegan Life. I also share some highlights from the September edition, which I haven't posted on yet.

The cover for this month features an impressive autumn and Halloween themed triple chocolate cheesecake. I love the candied nuts decorating the top and the drizzle of chocolate down the sides, even as I know I'm unlikely to manage either myself!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Peanut butter chocolate avocado pudding

I think the chocolate-avocado combination has become a well-known classic. I've enjoyed it in pudding, mousse and cheesecake-style desserts before. Today's post is a variation on the theme but adds the additional classic mix of chocolate and peanut butter. Using peanut butter powder helps to avoid a too thick dessert (peanut butter and avocado both being rather dense) but you could use traditional peanut butter and thin the mix out with additional almond milk if needed.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Creamy blackberry vanilla smoothie

If I had to compile a list of the top 10 things I love about the UK (and it would be a difficult list to compile), I suspect picking wild blackberries would make it on there. To someone raised in Australia, blackberries are a novelty in their own right. To be able to walk 20 minutes from my house and pick them freely from bushes is amazing.

This smoothie features blackberries picked in such a way, but if you're not able to gather wild berries yourself, store bought, frozen or a different type of berry could be used instead. The other ingredients are simple: kale (for nutrition), avocado (for the creaminess), and vanilla (for a delicious flavour). You can make this with water or your milk of choice. It's not a super sweet smoothie, but it is sweet for a green smoothie in disguise. If you like sweeter drinks, adding a few dates or some liquid sweetener would do the trick.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Easy chicken-style vegan burritos

This is a meal with many shortcuts. The burritos and salsa were store bought, and the chicken-style pieces come courtesy of Quorn. It is also easy to make in advance, something I have found helpful if Mini Bite naps during the day. Whereas workday dinners needed to be made from start to finish as efficiently as possible, maternity leave dinners benefit from two-stage preparation! I confess this is also a meal with photography shortcuts but the recipe was good enough that I am posting it even with the poor images.

The advance preparation here meant cooking up the vegetables and Quorn pieces in the afternoon, and compiling the burritos then, before cooking everything through in the oven in the evening. The dual cooking time means you can get away with chopping rather than grating the vegetables. A bonus if you are avoidant of manual vegetable grating and dirtying your food processor unnecessarily!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

In my kitchen - September 2016

This In My Kitchen post can't really compete with the August edition, but by focusing entirely on baby news last month, I do have two months of food-related kitchen items to share now. An advance warning: there are lots of bought items!

Before I started maternity leave I made a visit to Ms Cupcake in South London, taking advantage of its relative proximity to my workplace and figuring I wouldn't manage to visit again during the year I am off work. Ms Cupcake is a fully vegan bakery specialising in cupcakes, and I bought carrot cake and peanut butter-chocolate varieties of those. However, the store also stocks lots of vegan products and I snapped up a vegan wagon wheel and some peanut butter cups. Both were excellent.

Once I did start maternity leave I found the adjustment out of work a little challenging and some of the pre-baby days rather long. (Although, I do now have moments of wishing I appreciated those lazy, uninterrupted, empty days!) They did give me a chance to wander supermarkets I don't usually get to, with more time than I usually have for food-related browsing.

Whilst we have an Asda near us it is horribly busy on Saturdays and so we rarely visit - going mid-week was a less chaotic experience and allowed me to discover Asda Free From millionaire's shortcake squares and caramel rice squares. They are effectively an Asda take on the Lazy Days brand squares / slices, and good for a less pricey option, although I think I prefer the Lazy Days ones.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Black forest mug cake

I hit publish on this post with a certain amount of pride, as it is the first recipe I've made and posted post-baby. However, there is a poignancy in said recipe featuring 1-1/2 minutes of microwave cooking time and no washing up to speak of! Whilst I have done some more labour intensive cooking in the 3 weeks since Mini Bite was born, microwave mug cakes are definitely appropriate to this stage of life.

This is the third mug cake I've shared on Bite-Sized Thoughts and it is nicely different to the last two (which were sticky date pudding in a mug and banana peanut butter cake in a mug). I'm tempted to say this black forest version is my favourite, but really they are all good in their own ways. Certainly this version is very good, and delightfully chocolatey, with just the right mix of chocolate to cherries to cake.