I defy anyone to have anything other than positive things to say about this food…

We LOVE the Lotus. Chinese food is my all time favourite food…and an entire vegan chinese restaurant is quite simply heaven!

We popped in on Friday night….

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Who would have thought vegans would have such a choice? I mean…what do we eat?

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And, for me, the best meal I’ve had in many years….

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If you’ve never been to the Lotus, I suggest you take a wee daunder there. Whether you’re a vegan…vegetarian…or an omnivore keen to further your food horizons. You WILL NOT be left disappointed!

 

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Whole foods and nothing but the whole foods.

So, the Whole Food Market is something I’m very familiar with from my US friends. But, you don’t hear a lot of people in the UK talking about this store.

Thankfully…those of us lucky enough to live in the general vicinity of Giffnock have the pleasure of being able to visit this gem of a store.

Now, before you enter you should know that you’ll need to remortgage your house if you’re planning on doing a full shop here. Also, as good as some of it is…and my gosh so much of it is so good…a lot of it is overpriced pompous pish!

The things I love about it….

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The loose aisle….

I love being able to buy my pulses, oats, grains, nuts and fruit loose. I adore using the little brown paper bags and buying only what I need. I love the absence of plastic bags and tubs. Unnecessary plastic! Plus, overall….it IS cheaper!

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Nuts…nuts….nuts….

Peanut butter on mass!!!! Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE peanut butter….and at wholefoods you can make your own, and bulk buy really good natural peanut butter!

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Salted broad beans!!!

I also love that you can refill your washing liquids and fabric conditioner….so you can reuse your bottles. Again, reducing your environmental impact. It’s not any more expensive than the mass produced supermarket brands either!

The utter pish part, for me…is their fruit and vegetables. Yeah, they’re organic but they’re no more locally sourced than any other veg. And…they’re silly expensive. So, I bypass the pretty displays of vegetables and fruit and go straight to my favourite areas.

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Behold…..2 bags of vegan goodies for a whopping £56!

I’ll continue to visit this shop to get the things I love….but will favour the good ol’ supermarket for my weekly shop! Unless I win the lottery (which considering I don’t do it, the odds aren’t in my favour!) if I win the jackpot, I’ll throw caution to the wind and do my full bi-weekly (I’m rich, it’s my duty!) shop in wholefoods. I may even splurge and buy myself 2 or 3 canvas bags for life! 🤣

On another note….we have our first house valuation next week. Exciting!

It wouldn’t take a Philadelphia lawyer to work out what I made for dinner…

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My spicy peanut tofu was, as usual, amazing. But, the tofu I used tonight was BY FAR the nicest tofu I have ever made. It was actually chewy, rather than just soft. It has the same texture as paneer (from what I can remember), for those of you who can remember what non vegan food tastes like. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

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Go out and buy all the tofu!

Enjoy! 👌

Harmonium, Edinburgh.

Last night we decided we’d drive through to the burgh to try out the new vegan bar/restaurant Harmonium.

Harmonium can be found on Henderson Street in Leith. It’s a gorgeous wee building, kitted out very naturally with lots of wood! I believe it’s been open about 4 weeks, so very much still in its infancy!

We arrived at 6.20, which was 20 minutes after the kitchen opened. The place was pretty quiet with a few people sitting at the bar and a couple of tables worth of people eating. The staff were very friendly, but if I’m totally honest a little bit vague. We were walk ins, who hadn’t booked a table (in case anyone doesn’t get the ‘walk in’ terminology). The staff informed us they had nothing until 8.30pm, as they were expecting 8 people in approximately 5 minutes. Ok…fair enough…we hadn’t booked, it’s a chance you take. But…this is when it got a bit weird for me and they lost me.

They told us we could take a seat and have a drink whilst we waited and if something became available earlier we’d be taken. Great! Totally fair! But…then they sat us at a table, and told us we could eat at this table….they gave us menus…🤔 I’m not going to lie, I’m now lost. I assumed they were fully booked until 8.30? But…she then explains…they cannot take our order as the kitchen will be busy when the 8 people arrive, in about 5 mins, so they can’t take our order until the kitchen serves the 8 people and it gets quieter! 😲

That made no sense to me, as they had a table…and kitchen staff and we were there…ready to order…and the 8 people weren’t anywhere to be seen yet!

Thankfully, they spoke to the chef who clearly seen the madness in this idea too and agreed to make the food if we ordered. So, we did so…without haste!

Liz went for the fillet-o-tofish, with added vegan cheese and chips and I opted for the tofu katsu curry with brown rice! Mini me didn’t fancy anything really, so she ordered some chips and orange juice only.

I was well impressed with the alcohol free beer and my other half really enjoyed her red wine. Sadly, she cut her lip on a chipped wine glass, but they replaced the glass and gave her a fresh serving of wine, so all well that ends well. 👍

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Let’s get to the food….

The tofish was absolutely gorgeous. Tasty AF! The batter was to absolutely die for and the bun was lovely and soft. Sadly, the chips were freezing, but again…they sorted that out without any bother!

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The katsu is what I actually drove through for, so I was extra happy it was on the menu. It did not disappoint!

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The sauce was exquisite! I loved it, not too spicy but super aromatic. The breadcrumb coating on the tofu was lovely and although not extra firm, the tofu itself was lush. I’m a tofu addict though, and would eat it in any form!

My only criticism is that the portion sizes are small. The chips are sparse on the side and even the separate portions are very small…about 1/3 the size of a Mono portion. The rice was kind of congealed and there was hardly any at all, no where near enough to soak up the sauce. And…the meal was served just warm, a long way off hot! That didn’t bother me last night, as we were starving…but I may have sent it back on another occasion.

The service is a bit sporadic, they forgot our daughter’s chips and took ages to get us mayo, etc. But…they are just open and probably getting to grips with full service on busy nights etc. I’m sure it’ll come together! Oddly enough, quirky service seems to be the norm in vegan establishments….that and short troosers! 😂 (you’ll be looking for that now).

We didn’t manage a dessert as they’d ran out of chocolate cheesecake (which is odd considering the kitchen had only been open an hour when we were ordering dessert). The sweet selection isn’t up to much, but hopefully they’ll work on this. High street chains have more impressive vegan treats, but give the place time…it’s only 4 weeks old and the main menu is extensive already!

Despite the wee niggles, we had a gorgeous meal and we would definitely go back!

I’d give harmonium a firm 7 out of 10 right now….which I’m sure will improve with time.

They need some music too. I can’t recall hearing anything!

Overall, big thumbs up to a vegan restaurant in auld reekie. They’ve got a long way to go until they’re as pro vegan as Glasgow, so this is a welcome addition to the city I’m sure we all agree!

Tofooooo and painting.

Back to the painting today, but before I start I decided I needed some sustenance.

Liz opted for vegan cream cheese on bagels with seeds, avocado and marmite….but, as usual, I had to indulge my obsession and have tofu!

For some it’s cocaine or heroin….or alcohol. For me, it’s tofu!!!

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I quickly threw together spicy peanut tofu with bulgar wheat. It’s  a really simple recipe that I’ve adapted from The Buddhist Chef.

I’m now stappit (a guid Scottish word) and ready to tackle the last few jobs in the house.

Have fun, whatever you’re doing today.

🤘

Chia give me….strength…and healthy skin…and good heart health….

Hands up if you like chia seeds!

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Chia seeds have become one of the most popular ‘super foods’ of the 21st century. The fact their popular almost puts me off them, I’m much more comfortable swimming against the tide. But…nevertheless…the wealth of benefits are too irresistible to me.

Chia literally translates to strength.  These tiny little seeds originate from Mexico, where they were used as currency (believe it or not) as they were famed for their medicinal properties. If only I could use them as currency now, I’d be a millionaire!!! 🤣

It’s reported that Aztec warriors regularly ate chia seeds to give them energy and endurance. Apparently 1tsp gave them elevated energy levels for 24 hours!! That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?

Truth is….I wasn’t around when the Aztec warriors were devouring their chia, so I cannot confirm these claims…but, I have done a shit load of reading around current claims and can say with some certainty that there is a good evidence base for the health benefits of these tiny little seeds!!

So, what do these things do….I hear you ask! Well, let me tell you….they have a whole host of health benefits.

Including;

  • Promotion of healthy skin.
  • Reducing signs of aging.
  • Supporting heart health.
  • Regulated digestive system.
  • Helps build strong bones & muscles.
  • Halt/reverse diabetes!

Considering chia seeds are almost microscopic, they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. They’re rich in fibre, with a whopping 42% of your recommended daily intake in every ounce!

They’re also crazy full of omega-3, you know the good stuff that reduces inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon!!! Can you believe that? So, you can get omega-3 from a seed and nobody has to die for it?? Wowza! Surely that’s all you need to hear….shift to chia….your heart will literally thank you! 💞

The humble chia seed is rich in protein, with 4.4g (9% of your daily allowance) from one portion.

They’re also full of vitamins (A, B, E & D) and minerals also. And…get this…they have 77mg of calcium per portion, 18% of your daily allowance. Which btw….isn’t much different from the amazing and necessary (sarcasm) dairy milk. 100mls of whole milk has 113mg…and considering chia seeds are TINY and cruelty free, whereas milk is literally the work of Satan (too severe?)….I don’t even think milk stands a chance here.

Let’s explore specific claims a wee bit more. Let’s start with one all of us will find beneficial; effect on skin and aging.

So, a recent study in Mexico showed that the levels of antioxidant in chia can stop up to 70% of free radicals. (The easiest way to think of free radicals is to image they’re the evil villain and Antioxidants are the body’s super hero of choice to deal with them!) Antioxidants are responsible for skin repair and play an essential role in preventing further skin damage. So….double bonus….loads of antioxidants = less free radicals and reduction in skin damage with speedy repairs! Win win!

These little beuts are also very fibre rich. We know fibre is essential for good gut health. Fibre assists the body to balance insulin levels. They also have a unique little trick – when ingested they begin to produce a gelatin like substance which works to promote the growth of probotics in the guy = healthy gut and healthy jobbies! (Yup, the world stool would have been more grown up there, but I’d have let the side down if, when presented with an opportunity to crowbar the word jobbie in, I didn’t!)

I could go on and on about these seeds. But….I’ll end on the great diabetes topic. Diabetes is a huge public health issue at present. The levels of diabetes in our population is incredible. Yes, lots of it is type 2 and related to poor diet, lifestyle, etc. However, the disease itself is prevalent at present and we should all be doing out bit to reduce the incidence of developing the disease. There are lots of ways of doing this, of course, but I’m particularly fascinated by the impact the chia seed can have on this disease.

A recent study in Argentina found some interested data when they researched this a little more deeply. To cut a very long story short, they fed a group of test rats a diet rich in sucrose with the addition of Chia seeds as fat. The results for these subjects was rather astounding….their blood didn’t alter. These animals didn’t show any signs of morbidity despite their diet consisting of 65% sugar! 😲

The second group of rats were fed a diet high in sucrose to create insulin resistance. These rats were then fed chia seeds for a further 8 weeks…and….yup, you guessed it…they recovered!!! They actually recovered.

So, from this can we go as far as saying chia can halt diabetes and perhaps even reverse it?? I don’t honestly know if we can claim that, as of yet, but what we can say is that they are having some impact. And…quite possibly…they are beneficial in the fight against diabetes.

Btw, use of rats for this study is in no way vegan, but I am simply discussing the study in its entirety. This does not mean I agree with it.

There is a ton more information out there on the chia seed. I could literally write all night! Do some research, see what you think.

They recommend you begin your chia journey with 15g per day of the seed. I have mine on my toast, in sandwiches, smoothies and even sprinkled on my dinner. But you can soak them, have them in tea or make puddings from them. The possibilities are endless.

In Chia I most definitely  trust!

🥄

 

 

 

Friday! My second favourite F word. 😉

TGI Friday, right?

That shit doesn’t fly with me. I don’t work Monday – Friday 9-5. So, your Friday feeling today is my Tuesday feeling. I have another 6 days at work to go before I get a single day off. 🙈

Anyway, enough about my off duty.

Today has been a pretty good day. I haven’t had a chance to take a lot of photos of food, mainly because I’ve been working.

I started the day off with a slice of rye bread, with some peanut butter and chia seeds. Absolutely gorgeous, highly recommend it.

Lunch was the sandwich I posted about last night…with the addition of an apple, banana and a TREK bar.

But dinner….dinner was a new one for me. Tonight I made scrambled tofu!!

Now…tofu is never going to be scrambled egg, let’s get that clear from the onset. But…it’s got similar features. The texture is the same and if you pop it on a bit of toast or bread with a wee dollop (that’s a great word….dollop!) of ketchup it’s a bit of a mind twister. My brain was VERY confused!

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Scrambled tofu, rosemary & red onion sausages, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. 

We served it all with a slice of carrot and pumpkin seed bread. It was absolutely gorgeous.

I’d definitely say that scrambled tofu will not be everyone’s idea of heaven, but I enjoyed it.

If you’re brave….and feel ready….have a go!

Let me know how you get on and if you enjoyed it.

Some people are so poor all they have is money…

Nobody said it was cheap being a vegan. We don’t eat processed food (as a general rule), we use fresh plant based ingredients for every meal. Our shopping usually consists of 80% fruit and vegetables, 10% grains/pasta etc and 10% other items (coffee, sauces, etc). Today….we went equipped with a VERY detailed list and we came home with £105 worth of delicious vegan goodies.

In fairness, this haul will last us for 10-12 days. So it’s not a huge amount per day, but I did watch people go through the checkout with trolleys packed with frozen, processed rubbish; loads of animal proteins/products; alcohol and their trolley came to less than ours!

There is something fundamentally wrong with this! It should not be cheaper to buy rubbish and flesh of a being, than it is to buy plant based fresh food.

I’m forever impressed with Aldi. As well as having fab veg at fab prices, it has now started doing some powders and supplements to add into your diet. I normally buy all of these things from Holland and Barrett, but decided I’d give these a go. They were super cheap, so I’ll use them in my smoothies and let you all know how the fair with their extortionate counterparts.

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Dinner tonight was a new dish for me. I decided to try a West African Peanut ‘soup’.

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Very few ingredients required.

This recipe was super easy to follow. You literally just throw everything into the stock and let it cook down. (I’ll post a separate recipe later, for those interested).

The end result was DELICIOUS!

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West African Peanut ‘soup’ with kale and sweet potatoes. Served with bulgar wheat and roasted cauliflower.

I’d say this has shot to the top of my favourite meals list. It’s actually heaven in a bowl!!! And to think people actually believe vegans have a boring diet and struggle to eat ‘anything’. Pffftttt!! 🤣

Before we left today we had a real lunch of champions. I skipped breakfast, which is rare, but made up for it with an extra half of bagel.

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Bagel with houmous, avocado, tomato and seeds. 💗

Liz is in to marmite in a HUGE way right now, so she swapped the houmous for vegan cream cheese and the seeds for marmite.

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Marmite, do you love it or hate it?

Plan for tonight is to relax (perhaps enjoy a wee coconut cappuccino and some alpro chocolate over fruit later) and watch a movie.

We have been trying to watch more movies recently. If you haven’t seen ‘I, Daniel Blake…’ I urge you all to watch it before you go down to cast your vote. It really is an emotive and informative movie, about the reality of our benefits system. Referring to state assistance as ‘benefits’ is absurd. They make it sound like a luxury, like you’re really hitting the big-time if you’re lucky enough to be in receipt of it. 🤣

Hope you’ve had a good day, whatever you’ve been up to. ✌

Comfort food & chocolate ! 😊

Working nights….haven’t had an actual day off since last Thursday. So, this will be brief.

The palm oil in our hazelnut spread bothered me, so I’ve been searching for an alternative.

Finally, I found something.

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Sweet Freedom chocolate spread. 

This particular brand is all natural, uses fruit sugars for sweetness and best of all…doesn’t contain any palm oil.

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Ticks a lot of boxes that matter to me!

Truth is….jury is out on the taste. It has a bitterness that isn’t there with the other spread. It has an almost coffee taste at the end. It’s nice….but not comparible with the hazelnut spread.

I’ve slept all day and feel like I’m maybe getting the cold. So, it had to be comfort food for us tonight . What’s the best comfort food??

Macaroni cheese ✌

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The ‘cheese’ sauce blitzed and ready to be added to the pasta!

Tonight we had it with frozen chips and peas . I’m so full now I could burst!!

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Creamy, gooey gorgeousness.

Heading to work now. Would rather stay home and snuggle on the sofa, but such is life.

The F*cking Friday Feeling (TFFF).

Back to work today. 😨

It’s always sore going back to work after annual leave. Today was busy…manic busy…and despite my holiday, I’d say I was more tired than usual. 😩

Nevertheless, I made it through the day…! 👍

I’m a bit perplexed. I started on this vegan journey on the 10th April. Initially I was eating a fair deal of soya and substitutes, but for the last 3 weeks I’ve eaten plant based….! I’ve been vegetarian for years, so have always eaten lots of fruit, veg and wholegrains. That part of my diet is not new. However, I’d say the quantity of the fruit/veg has increased 5 fold.

The first 10 days of veganism I lost 9lbs. I was eating a lot of food and eating well, but I lost weight quickly. It felt fabulous. I really felt the difference in my clothes as well as on the scales.

However, I feel I’m now putting weight on again. I feel bloated, like my jeans are getting tighter etc. I dont understand why, truly. I eat 2-3 meals a day, the bulk of my meal is vegetables with some carbs on the side.

Is this weight fluctuation something other people have experienced?

I also had a REALLY bad break out of hayfever and the skin on my face was ridiculousmy sore and dry. I put it all down to the hayfever, however I’m now beginning to think it was my body detoxing from the hormones and antibiotics in dairy?? Is that a common thing?

Anyway, some places I’ve read about it say that your body takes time to adjust to the change. I just didn’t realise my body would be quite as shocked given the fact it’s been veggie for so long.

Today I had my smoothie for breakfast, because I never have enough time to make food. I love a breakfast smoothie and although I know they can/are calorific, I find without them I’m super hungry and feel sluggish . Today I was powered by kale, protein powder (it’s all natural and full of essential nutrients, with only 130kcals), mango, raspberries, blueberries and 100mls of koko milk.

Lunch was a rushed afair. Literally crammed it into my mouth between two stops. I didn’t really taste it, but know i consumed a hummus and avocado sandwich, with a NAKD bar, because my lunch bag was empty! 😭

Liz made a gorgeous spicy chilli for tea. We had a tiny portion of wholegrain rice, loads of the chilli and an avocado blended with lemon juice and salt. Yummmmmmmarraaammmaaa!

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I have also been a super good lassie and  drank lots of water today, which is something I’ve neglected whilst on holiday, if I’m being honest.

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After dinner I had some fruit with a soya chocolate pot thing. (Gorgeous!!) A green tea and an extra glass of water.

I’m working nights as of tomorrow. Blog posts might get a bit screwed up, but you’ll get something!

Peace out! 👌✌

Be still my beating heart – vegan mac & cheese! 💗

How is it even possible to create a mac & cheese without ANY cheese…any cheese replacement…and it taste better than ‘real’ macaroni cheese??

I don’t know how it’s possible . It’s some weird vegan magic. Some voodoo! But, what I do know is that it’s fandabbydozy.

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I served it with roasted brocolli, kale and sweetcorn. I also had a couple of wee bits of left over sweet tattie from last night.

I can honestly say this tasted better than regular macaroni cheese. There is NO NEED to use cheese, milk or butter when you can make a dish like this without any cruelty or exploitation.

In case any of you want this recipe (there are loads of vegan mac & cheese recipes).

You’ll need…

  • 200g raw cashew nuts.
  • 3 Tbs of lemon juice.
  • 300 mls water.
  • 5 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • Pinch of Tumeric
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbs Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1/2 Tbs Garlic Powder.
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste.

I literally just blitzed it all in the blender. Added some pasta water and then added the sauce to the cooked pasta.

It could not be easier!

Moving away from the food, for a second, we went to see Beauty & the Beast today. Finally my little B wanted to see It and she LOVED it.

After the cinema we went for some household stuff. I had no idea astonish was vegan and cruelty free. So, now I do…I bought a few bits of peices for the noise.

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It’s back to work tomorrow for me. 😭 I hate going back after annual leave…but I know I need to.