Tag: homemade

Easy vegan, gluten free chocolate chip

One of the drawbacks (or benefits, depending on my mood!) about being vegan is that when you’re craving a specific type of junk food, you might not always have easy access to something. This was how I was feeling the other day. I fancied some cookies but didn’t have anything and had no where close by to buy them from. So I had to make my own.

Easy vegan cookiesFor my birthday, I was given some oaty cookie mix, which only needs spread and water adding to it for the dry mix to become to become cookie mix. I also picked up some dairy free chocolate chips from somewhere and thought these would make great cookies that even the laziest baker could organise! Both are also gluten free and incredibly delicious, even before they’re baked.

chocolate chip vegan cookies

It is incredibly easy to make the cookies. You simply add some melted dairy free spread and water to the dry mix. Then throw as many chocolate chips into this that you think your stomach can handle. In my case, this was quite a lot. What I didn’t think about was putting melted butter into cookie mix with chocolate chips. About half of them melted, which I thought would ruin them, but was actually a happy accident. The mix states that it makes about 10 cookies, but I only managed to leave enough mix for about 7! They were incredibly moreish and great broken up and mixed in with ice cream. Well, it is the holidays!

Homemade Vegan Chilli

I’m going to let you into a little secret: This was the first meal Phil ever made for me. It was delicious then and it’s still delicious now. We’ve changed the mince we use, since I became vegan and if anything, it’s even better. It’s easy and simple to make and the batch we make feeds two of us for two meals. (Or one massive meal and a lunch for one of us, depending on how hungry we are!)

Homemade Vegan chilliIngredients:

  • A tablespoon of oil. (We used to use olive oil, but have moved over to coconut recently. Not gonna lie, it does flavour it slightly, but it’s still amazing.)
  • Two peppers (Ideally one green, one red though I struggle to remember to order green ones, so any mixture of peppers will do. Trust me!)
  • One white onion
  • A packed of Sainsbury’s vegetarian mince
  • A tin of kidney beans
  • A tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A tablespoon of tomato puree
  • A teaspoon of chilli powder (Now this depends on how hot you like it. We put in more than this, but we use a mild powder.
  1. Chop the veg. Big chunks, little chunks, it doesn’t really matter. The bigger they are, they more crispy they’ll be.
  2. Fry the onion until it’s slightly transparent, then add the peppers, followed by the mince.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the mince doesn’t stick. If it does, add a bit more oil.
  4. Add the kidney beans (drained and rinsed), the chopped toms, tomato puree and chilli powder. Stir it well.
  5. Cover and cook for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (We usually have this with brown rice and put this on then.)
  6. When it’s ready, dish up, keeping your extra portions, then stuff your face.

So. What to do with the leftovers. You could very easily bung them in the freezer for another day. Or you could…

Vegan chilli and jacket potatoesCook some jacket potatoes until the skins are crispy, then spread some vegan spread on the pots, dishing up the leftover chilli and devouring with a side of salsa and an oven baked corn on the cob (my favourite veg of all time).

You could also…

homemade vegan enchiladasFill a few tortilla wraps with the leftover chilli, roll them up and place them in an oven proof baking dish. Pour over a jar of Zest Tomato & Fiery Chilli Pasta sauce then grate some vegan cheese over the top (We used the melty Sheese). Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes (or less if you’ve got a decent oven, unlike us). Serve with some delicious wedges if you really want to carb overdose, which I did. And I don’t regret it one little bit!

To be fair, there’s probably loads more stuff you can do with leftover chilli, but these are my favourite, especially the enchiladas. I could’ve died happy after eating them. *drools*

Handmade Messenger Bag

At the end of last term, I made a promise to myself that I was going to get a proper school bag. Before then, I’d been lugging folders, books, my lunch etc around in any bag I could find at home. Not great for my back or keeping track of my stuff. I wanted a very specific style of bag – a messenger bag. It’s perfect for keeping my planner in and all my other bits that I need for school every day. But when I looked about, I couldn’t find one that I wanted or one that I liked. So, I thought, lets make my own!

I had a look about on Pinterest for a suitable pattern and came across this tutorial. It was straightforward to follow and broke down the different stages really well. When I’d bought my fabric, a lovely blue corduroy for the outside and a gorgeous spotty pattern for the inside, I set about cutting out the shapes I needed from baking parchment.

Beautiful fabric Handmade messenger bag

Once I’d cut the shapes out in fabric, it was surprisingly quick and easy to put the pieces together. Instead of having the bottom and sides as one whole piece, like the strap, I cut them into three and joined them individually. For me, that was easier to manage. I decided not to put any pockets or embellishments on, as I won’t use them.

While the bag isn’t perfect, I found sewing the strap in a bit tricky, it’s not bad for a first go. I did buy enough fabric to make a second one if I needed to, but I’m happy with it enough to stick with this one. If I could shorten the strap, I would and I might try to find a way to do that, as it is a bit long, meaning the bag hangs lower than I would’ve liked so I might change that when I get some time. But overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. Using something that I made everyday is pretty cool too!

Homemade Candles

Candle

Handmade Candles kitOne of my crafty resolutions was to make candles. This is mainly because one of the craft presents that I received from my OH’s Mum for my birthday was a House of Crafts candle making kit. I’ve never made candles before but am always eager to try out new crafts. With a few special birthdays coming up, I thought that it might be a nice time to use the kit & make some presents.

When I opened the kit a few Sunday afternoon’s ago, this is what I saw. On initial inspection I did wonder if they’d packed the wrong things & this was a rocket making kit! Then I realised that they blue things were moulds for the candles. You get two bags of wax, three different dye’s to mix & match for almost any colour possible & a small bottle of an orange scent to add to the melted wax. You also get a page of instructions, some stickers to decorate the candles, wick & sticks to hold the wicks in place.

The start of the instructions were pretty sensible. Put paper down over the worktop & wear an apron. Done & done…tho this didn’t stop wax getting on the worktop or the dye but that’s just because I’m clumsy!

The instructions don’t tell you how much water to put in the saucepan or how much wax Homemade candlesyou’ll need for one candle. So I just guessed. It kind of worked, though I did need to top up the wax as I was filling the moulds. I couldn’t get the wick to go through the taper candle so opted to use the other two. I also had two moulds that I wanted to use for the gifts so worked out how to get the wick in place. One of them was quite wide so I had to use a chopstick!

Then you wait for everything to set. This doesn’t take too long, but when I checked on them a little while later I was having a massive problem with the speherical mould. It seemed to be leaking from the center! I hadn’t overfilled it & it was kind of going everywhere! I didn’t know what to do & I couldn’t see any problem solving on the instructions so I just left it. I thought that it would have to stop leaking eventually when it set, which it did. As there wasn’t any advice on how much scent to put in, I really hope that the candles don’t smell too much when they’re lit. As they stand, the smell is quite strong! Oops!

I left them stand where they were for about 24 hours. They had a massive dip in the middle of all of them. This wasn’t a problem with the blue moulds as they would eventually sit the other way around but with the green containers, the dip was in the top. So I decided to melt the wax that had leaked out of the spherical mould & top them up. This worked out pretty Candles as presentswell & it means that as the candles burn the wax will eventually change colour.

My hope is that these containers will be reused by the recipients for something else. The containers were bought in a charity shop in town & I think that they are very cute!

The yellow candle is for me to use in my study. It was a nightmare getting the candles out of the moulds. The instructions recommend putting them in the freezer & using a blunt knife. Even then I couldn’t get the yellow candle out & needed my OH’s much superior candlesstrength (though I’m sure I loosened it for him!) The spherical one was a bit of a disaster. I scratched the candle with a knife when trying to get it out. Plus, by the time it had finished leaking there was only half left. It looks really sad!

All in all I’m glad to have had the chance to make candles. I’ve got some of the wax left so I won’t be stopping there but it won’t become a regular craft of mine due to the fact that there’s washing up involved & potential for my ruining things!

On the whole the kit was pretty good, though I felt that I could’ve done with some guidance on how much wax to use & a few more candle making tips.

I’d certainly recommend the kit to anyone who wanted to have a go. A lovely present to receive!

Candle