My first Vegan Christmas

One of the reasons I loved Christmas in the past was the food. The variation, the amount and the excuse to eat whatever you wanted, whatever the time. As I’ve got older, I’ve wanted to stuff my face less, as I only spend the next few months trying to work it off! As we were spending Christmas here, just the two of us, we knew we didn’t want to spend loads of extra money on crap food that we would only regret later. Therefore, we wanted our first ever vegan Christmas dinner to be amazing. Here’s what we ate:

Breakfast: Pancakes with Tofurkey bacon, fruit & maple syrup. *drools*

Vegan PancakesNow, you know about my pancake addiction so when Phil saw Kirsten Henry tweet this recipe  for 5 minute vegan pancakes, we knew what we would be having Christmas morning. We got up near enough usual time, went out for a lovely long dog walk with Poppy, then came home to get our pancake on. The recipe is very easy, as was the Tofurkey bacon. We devoured them in minutes! Delicious!

Christmas Dinner: Roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots and shallots with sprouts, homemade stuffing and Tofurkey roast.

Vegan Christmas dinnerI’d seen people tweeting about the Tofurkey roast for a while and we weren’t sure if we should have it, go with something else we’d tried before, or just go big on the veggies. When we saw it for sale in Simply V in Cardiff, we knew we had to get it. We decided not to try it before hand and just wing it. If it wasn’t good, we had plenty of veggies to eat. Well, we didn’t need them! We both really liked the Tofurkey roast. It had a good texture and flavour and I loved the stuffing in the middle. Now, it’s not like turkey. It’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be a substitute and it’s a pretty decent one in my opinion. So much so that I’ve bought another one, for the freezer, from my local Holland and Barrett. On sale too! As there were only two of us, we had plenty of leftovers, which I put to good use!

Boxing Day: Tofurkey Sandwich

Tofurkey sandwichI had this Boxing Day evening after having an epic lunch at Phil’s parents house. Thick cut bread, Pure Sunflower spread, a generous helping of cranberry sauce, thick slices of Tofurkey and layer of stuffing. All washed down with a brew and a portion of hummus crisps. It was epic!

Christmas leftovers (day 2): Tofurkey salad

Vegan Christmas leftoversI hate food waste so was keen to eat up anything I could before it could go off. Hello epic veggie salad. I had the final few slices of Tofurkey, left over roasted veg and stuffing and as much salad as I could fit on my plate. Lush.

Christmas treats: Homemade mince pies and stuffing

Vegan mince piesAs we were having Christmas at home, Phil wanted to make our own mince pies. I can see why, as they as much tastier than shop bought. These were really easy to make too. We bought some Jus Roll shortcrust pastry (Don’t judge! Delia Smith uses it!) and Waitrose own mincemeat. The stuffing is a really easy recipe that I got from my mum, consisting of breadcrumbs, sage, onion and egg. I replace the egg with yoghurt and it did an okay job. I think I should have used more though, as it was a bit crumbly. Still good though!

Christmas Treats: Vegan snacks and hamper

Vegan Christmas presentsIf you’re ever wondering what to buy a vegan for Christmas, food is always a winner in my opinion! This is a collection of all the food I got for Christmas. I have Nakd bars at school every day at break, so they are always welcome. I also like to keep a treat box for when I can’t get any vegan cakes or snacks out and about. Phil got me a vegan hamper from Archie Browns, which is pretty much the stuff on the right hand side. If you’re having a go at Veganuary, then it might be worth as it’s got bits and pieces that will come in handy.

So there you have it. I think we did pretty well for our first vegan Christmas. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything at all and think I ate less as a result, meaning I don’t have to feel quite as guilty as I usually do, post-Christmas. Think I even deserve an extra Round Up!

Go #vegan for January with Veganuary

Back in September, I decided that, after twelve years of living a vegetarian lifestyle, that it was time to become vegan. I could no longer deny the cruelty that exists within the egg and dairy industry, nor the damage that the animal industry does to the environment. Plus, my diet needed a kick up the backside! I could not imagine how becoming vegan would make me feel or how easy it would be. Since making the change, we cook from scratch pretty much every night. As vegan chocolate isn’t available everywhere, I’ve had to stock up and ration my treats (hello incidental weight loss!) and my love for vegetables has increased like I never thought possible. While it has been quite a learning experience (learning to scan labels like my life depends on it!), discovering that supermarkets feel the need to put milk in nearly everything (WHY?!) and the different e numbers that hide animal products, it has been an incredibly valuable experience. I have never felt better!

Cowspiracy
Image via @cowspiracy

 

But feeling better is only part of it. Animal cruelty and the environment are the driving force behind my veganism. You can read about them here if you’d like. If you’re interested in trying our veganism, why not take the Veganuary pledge? Being vegan isn’t always easy and it can be frustrating, but it’s certainly going to be one of the best things you do. If you try it for a month and think it’s not for you, then there you go, but it might just make you think about the different things you consume, maybe make you cut down on your animal products or think twice about your purchases. Who knows, you might even decide to stay vegan!

veganuary
Image via @weareveganuary

Still thinking about it? Take a look at this little clip from Cowspiracy. It stops me in my tracks every time I watch it. If you want to know more, you can find Cowspiracy on Netflix. It’s well worth a watch. It explains the environmental damage animal agriculture is doing to our planet.  It’s probably the scariest film I’ve ever seen and made me realize I’d made the right choice in going vegan.

The Cosmonaut Exhibition at the Space Museum

One of the perks of being part time, especially with a day off in the middle of the week, means that little jaunts into London don’t have to wait until busy weekends. The last Wednesday before school broke up, Phil took a few extra days off and we popped into London for the day.  We took the train from Oxford Parkway and headed to Kin for breakfast. We’d been before so knew that there would be lots of healthy veggie and vegan food available. I opted for a juice and the millet porridge. I also got some muffins to take away for later. It would have been rude not to, right?!

Kin millet porridge Kin vegan muffinsNot only were we planning on indulging in some delicious food, but we’d also bought tickets to go the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Space Museum. We’d seen Kim from Finest Imaginary tweet about it a while ago and Phil has quite a keen interest in the space race, having read a number of books about it. Off we went (Via Planet Organic, which, in case you didn’t know, label all their food so any dietary choices are really clear! Yay!), stashing our bag in the cloakroom in the basement of the museum and headed to the exhibition. It was fascinating. There were models of space ships, as well as real ones that had been up in space. There were space suits, worn by the astronauts and different items used by them while they were orbiting earth.  It was really interesting, though it was much shorter than I thought it was going to be.

Russian space race Russian space travel Space suitsWe then headed over to Neal’s Yard as we’d planned to have lunch at the Wild Food Cafe. Phil had discovered it while doing a search of places that wouldn’t be too far away from where we were. I had never been to Neal’s Yard before. It was amazing, such a lovely place. The cafe was full when we arrived, but they took my number and said they’d text when a table became available. We didn’t have to wait long at all. We both decided on the Wild Burger and we weren’t disappointed. It was such a delicious healthy meal in a funky environment. We both had pudding. I opted for the banoffee pie while Phil had the chocolate torte. Both were amazing. Who knew vegan food could be so delicious?!

Wild Food cafeCoconut milkWild burgerBanoffee pieWe made one final stop on the way back to the train station – Whole Foods and managed to buy a few bits. I’d never been before and wanted to see if there were any vegan goodies I could buy. It was good, but I think I prefer Planet Organic, if for no other reason than the clear labelling that Planet Organic puts on everything. It’s not until you can’t eat something that you really appreciate clear labelling!

Tuesday Treat – The Gardener’s Arms, Oxford

There’s nothing quite like a decent burger and chips, all washed down with a delicious glass of wine, amiright? That’s what Phil and I had at The Gardener’s Arms in Oxford a few weeks ago. We’d been to the Gardener’s Arms a few times before, but not since I became vegan. That is likely to change is it was freakin’ awesome!

vegan burger vegan wine

All the food is vegetarian with a huge number of vegan options available, but to be honest, I’m always going to have the vegan burger with all the vegan toppings (everything except the mayo) and a nice large glass of wine. (All the wines are vegan! Almost did a little dance when they told me that!) The Gardener’s Arms is not a gastropub. It’s a pub that serves food. You might have to share your table, it can get cramped, it will get busy. But this doesn’t matter as the atmosphere is lovely and the food is delicious. Definitely worth a visit if you’re taking part in Veganuary, looking for a decent vegan meal or if you just like good food.