Four Reasons Why I Love being Vegetarian | #NationalVegetarianWeek

Hey Sweeties,

Apologies for it being a bit quiet around here and on my social channels for the past three weeks or so, I have just returned from 2.5 weeks in America on honeymoon, and before that I was working like a maniac to get everything done on time. I haven’t had a proper holiday since Trek America a couple of years ago, so a proper break was well overdue.

Anyway, there will be more on ClaireySweetie very soon about my recent trip/honeymoon so stay tuned. Right, time for today’s post-

(On a quick side note, before I get called out (which to be honest is unlikely because I don’t think anyone follows my blog so religiously that contradictions would be picked up, that being said…) -to be clear I try to keep to a 90% plant-based diet as per my post a while back now (here) explaining my reasons. I have tried going 100% vegan and to be honest, for me it’s not maintainable but it certainly is a guide to how I like to eat/live going forward. For example, a little bit of cheese is fine; cakes made with egg are fine… but I no longer consume dairy milk, and I won’t eat eggs say poached, scrambled etc. Basically, anything I can conveniently purchase and/or made free from meat and dairy, I do. Anyway, let’s crack on.)

Four Reasons Why I Love being Vegetarian

Vegetarian Week

1. Bloody Love Vegetables (& Fruit)

I really do and to be honest, if I didn’t I would have a serious problem in trying to live vegetarian. My favourite vegetables are broccoli, aubergine, courgettes, and I guess tomatoes for their versatility. I’m not the biggest fan of parsnips and I cannot deal with mashed potato.. potatoes every other way not a problem, mashed? no.

On my breakfast I love adding blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. A fresh salad bar is also like, my favourite thing, particularly for lunch.

2. I (almost*) Care more about Animals than I do People

For as long as I can remember (so let’s assume from birth), I have been incredibly sensitive to animal cruelty; seeing dead animals on the road; those horrendous scenes in nature programmes; and any film involving an animal dying. To be honest, how I haven’t always been vegetarian is a bit of a mystery to me.

*I definitely do care more about animals than people

Vegetarian Week

3. Being Vegetarian-Vegan Works for Me

They some blood types/people are very suited to a mostly vegetarian diet and this is me. Some vegetarians and vegans particularly, look incredibly malnourished and really there is no excuse, especially with so much advice and education available now. Ultimately it’s about listening to your body and finding out what works, what doesn’t, and identifying anything it needs more of.

Vegetarian Week

Lentil ragu from Prezzo’s Vegan menu

4. It’s Easy!

I reckon there is a huge difference in being vegetarian twenty years ago compared to today, now there is such a good variety of free-from ingredients, products, ready meals etc. it makes meal planning so much more easier. Also, with the likes of Deliciously Ella and co, food bloggers are helping reinvent not only the way people think about vegetables, but also how to prepare them. Maple roasted sweet potato wedges anyone?

Vegetarian Week

Vegetarian roast dinner

That all being said, considering how easy and already tasty vegetables are, it’s incredible how unimaginative many restaurants are with their vegetarian offering. The amount of times I visit a restaurant to find just ONE vegetarian option on the menu, and 9/10 it’s either tomato pasta or a risotto of some kind. Pathetic.

If you’re vegetarian/vegan, what do you love most about it?

Until next time x

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Twenty-Five Food Questions Tag | Blogmas Day 21

Hey Sweeties,

We all love a good tag post and I’ve had this one saved for ages so I figured now was the time to finally push it live! Here goes!

1. What’s your favourite breakfast?
Porridge with almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup and cinnamon or, granola with almond milk –Aldi and Asda do a lovely tropical mix which I highly recommend!

2. How do you drink your coffee?
Black with half a teaspoon of sugar. I prefer white coffee but unless I have oat or coconut milk in the fridge, I find most nut milks make coffee look horrible (even though it still tastes fine).

Valentine's Day Coffee

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Hey, it’s Okay: The Christmas Edition – 5 Un-Festive Thoughts it’s Okay to Feel | Blogmas Day 9

Hey Sweeties,

When I say, “5 un-festive thoughts to feel” to be sure, this isn’t me going against my promise of being more festive and excited for Christmas this year (see my post, why so anti), I totally am but I think there are a few assumptions about this time of year, that some people are too afraid to go against and think differently about. It’s a bit like my feelings towards autumn, it’s a very pretty season but I hate that it gets dark at like, 4pm. Christmas is the same, I love how it brings people together, but I hate the pressure to spend and be extravagant. You guys know how I like to keep things real around here and cut through the fluff so here goes –

Festive M&S Christmas jumper

To feel it unnecessary to buy gifts for the sake of it –buy spontaneously throughout the year instead-

Christmas isn’t all about gifts, but it’s easy to forget this when you’re out shopping getting stressed about what you could possibly get for your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin twice removed who you never EVER see! As you get older, time with family is the most priceless and important thing Christmas brings so concentrate on having a really enjoyable day with good food and conversation.

To opt out of the annual post lunch game of Trivial Pursuit-

Worst. Game. Ever.

Festive M&S Christmas jumper

Christmas Jumper from Marks & Spencer

To buy all of your gifts in January – 

Seriously, do. If you are going to splurge (& it’s okay to do so if it’s important to you), write out some IOU’s in a card to your loved ones so they still have something to open on the day, and purchase presents in the sales after Christmas; it’s cheaper and allows for that festive feeling to last a little longer. My husband and I have already agreed that we are not allowed to buy each other anything before Christmas; we’ll dedicate a day to spend together hitting the shops after Christmas Day. It’s totally not about being a cheapskate, I for one can no longer stomach buying things that get slashed in price a few days or weeks later and it often means you get more for your money.

Festive M&S Christmas jumper

Eat!

I know in the past, in my efforts to not put on weight or give in to treats, I have missed out on enjoying Christmas for what it’s really all about –food! That tin of Quality Street doing the rounds in the office? Take two! More than one chocolate filled advent calendar? Do it! Mince pies? YES! … I mean, don’t go mad but life is far too short to deny yourself treats when it counts; January is all about hitting the gym hard and you’ll see better results if you actually have something to work off!

And finally…

Festive M&S Christmas jumper

Therapy handbag Purse

Handbag purse from Therapy @ House of Fraser

To ask yourself if all this festivity is a lot of effort for something that goes by so quickly –

It is, but if being festive, decorating your home, making that extra effort to see friends and family, buying gifts and treating yourself to a treat or two makes you happy… then it’s 100% worth it and 100% okay!

Merry Christmas everybody!

What are some of the things about Christmas that you’re too afraid to say out loud? Come on people, it’s a safe space here 😉

Remember to enter my giveaway! To see what’s included and to enter, click here.

Until tomorrow x

 

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Recipe: Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad

Hey Sweeties,

As many of you will know, when I am home alone for an evening I always try to seize the opportunity and make something a bit different for my dinner –something Ian would either not eat or would simply not meet ‘man food requirements’. Last night was no exception. In thinking about what I had that needed using up, my eyes fell upon the fruit bowl containing a few pears –a fruit that to be honest I hardly ever think to buy which is crazy as they are so delicious when you catch them at their ripest. I also noticed my jar of walnuts that I usually save for baking and BINGO! I would make a pear salad with walnuts and blue cheese –something I have always known goes together but never had or made it myself. But it is so simple, I urge you guys to give it a go!

What you will need:
• 1-2 pears depending on size. Peel and chop into chunks.
• A handful/2oz of walnuts roughly chopped
• 2oz blue cheese (Stilton goes well but in this case I got Asda’s own blue cheese). Break/crumble into small chunks.
• Salad leaves

For the dressing:
• 2 tsp Olive oil
• 1tsp Balsamic vinegar
• Salt and pepper

Pear salad

How to make:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and roughly mix together.
In a separate bowl (I often use a shot glass -try it!) mix together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a pinch of salt and pepper, you can also add a squeeze of lemon juice but this isn’t essential.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss together before plating up and getting stuck in.

Pear salad

 

This dish is perfect for summer and the combination of sweet and savoury flavours dance together on the tongue –it really is a very delicious and oh so simple supper!
Until next time x

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Sweet Potato with Mushroom and Cherry Tomato Pesto Topping

Hey Sweeties,

I love nights in on my own –not so much at the weekend but during the week where I make the most of having free reign of the kitchen and can cook more of the food and ingredients I enjoy that I have to often abandon owing to having a slightly vegetable fussy Boyfriend! But in fairness, vegetables aside, the sort of food I love doing for myself don’t really cater for the stomach of a man. I do eat meat but where possible I go without it and Ian bless him wants something a bit more substantial for his dinner understandably.

I have done a couple of recipes on here before and my favourite kind of cooking is the experimental kind whereby I go to the fridge, see what I have leftover to eat, and working out some combinations –some tried and tested, others a bit more risky (but if you have a relatively good palate and understanding of flavours, you rarely create a monstrosity). Tonight I fancied some sweet potato jackets but no idea what to have with them. Usually I have a batch of ratatouille in the fridge but the last was used up a few nights ago and I didn’t want Baked Beans so I reached for the mushrooms… then I noticed some cherry tomatoes… and then most excitedly I noticed a jar of opened pesto, yeah baby!

Here’s what I did:

  1. Depending on the size of the sweet potato(s) cook in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on each side.
  2. Once softened, put in the (pre-heated) oven until crispy on the outside –time varies as do ovens but on the whole this can take 20 minutes or more depending on how you like your potato.
  3. While the potato(s) are cooking, chop a handful of mushrooms and some cherry tomatoes –I like to keep them quite chunky for this.
  4. Put a little oil in a pan and turn on the heat. Add the chopped mushrooms and tomatoes and cook.
  5. Once they have softened add a couple of teaspoons of pesto and stir together.
  6. Take the sweet potato(s) out of the oven and open as you would a normal jacket potato. You can add a bit of butter if you want to (I don’t personally as I find the potato soft & sweet enough). Add the pesto topping and season accordingly. Finish with a light grating of cheese.
2014-07-14 19.14.42

Voila!

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