So we're comfortably into December and I'm pleased to say I've pretty much stayed vegan. However with half price cheese boards and a trip to my favourite restaurant this weekend, I don't see it surviving until Monday. On the bright side I'm seriously weighing up a vegan 2015 so let's see what the post Xmas feast inspires!
As I make up my mind I wanted to share three recipes which became staple favourites in my diet over November and show you the blogs which made being vegan a joy rather than a chore. Don your aprons and soak your chickpeas, we're going into the kitchen!
I'll never forget my first trip to a Whole Foods Market, which is a pretty staple supermarket in the US but mainly London based in the UK. When I first entered the huge WF in Kensington my heart lifted as my purse sank. It is a supermarket utopia filled with bright colours, fresh produce and an escalator just for your trolley. This final point sums up WF nicely in my opinion: it is filled with items which are slightly superfluous and a little impractical (why not just have a conveyor for both you and your trolley like all the other supermarkets?). That being said, I love it and if you fancy treating yourself to some ethical, nutritional and super healthy specialist produce it is well worth a visit.
As well as super helpful staff and custom signage across the store, Whole Foods have lots of free literature on plant based diets and healthy eating. I found this recipe on a leaflet and it has become a quick, filling staple in my monthly meal plans. Teamed with home-made spelt rolls or wild rice this dish stands up to its meaty counterpart with ease.
There are hundreds of plant powered blogs out there and sometimes it is very easy to get carried away. Many bloggers are based in warmer climes and are toned, tanned and glowing inside and out. I try to keep cynicism at bay but let's face it, it is easier to eat well when the sun comes up before 8am and the temperature makes it higher than eight degrees.
Enter Deliciously Ella. One of my favourite aspects about this blog is that she is London based. If she can stick to plant power even when no one has seen the sun in a month then there must be a way!
As well as summer salads and super smoothies, Deliciously Ella provides perfect London winter pick me ups. Apple and Beetroot juice? Yes please! Warmed up? Oh heaven.
This blog has a lot more to for me to explore but her Sweet Potato Brownies are simply incredible. Soft, gooey and perfect with a dollop of cashew nut cream. I'd make a big batch on a Sunday and have them when I got home from work throughout the week. I even gave some away without telling anyone the secret ingredient was steamed sweet potato! These are staying in my life and I'm looking forward to adding some warming chilli or seasonal orange twists in future!
Another blog which often has at least one tab open on my browser is The Simple Veganista. The Kitchen Essentials page was particularly useful as I really sat down to tackle my vegan challenge. This blog is super slick and well organised, so you can find a meal in minutes whatever the course!
I used this blog as a inspiration for my lunches during the challenge. Office lunch times can be so much more than soggy sandwiches and cold salads. This is a good thing because simply grabbing a bite to eat becomes fairly difficult when excluding animals from the ingredients.
This Curried Chickpea Salad would sit in my fridge from Monday-Friday, waiting for me to add it to my salads, sandwiches or even a bed of rice throughout the week. The best days were Wednesday onwards as the flavours really imbued whilst the raisins soaked up extra juice. I've made a healthy dent into the recipe list on this blog, but there is still much more to be discovered!
What's on your menu? I'm very open to (vegan!) suggestions!