Sunday. London. Be The Future Vegan Market. Be there!

The Be The Future market is back!

Full of stalls selling exclusively vegan products – eg toiletries, make up, clothes, chocolates, food and drink, and of course VEGAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS!

The prices of our books range from £2.50 to £10

but they’re free to book fairies! 😀

So come on, spend Sunday with lots of other lovely vegans!

Head over to Stoke Newington and treat yourself!

Abney Public Hall, 73A Church Street, Stoke Newington, LONDON, N16 0AS

Sunday 16th August 2020

10 ’til 5

Click here for more info and how to get there

and go to @bethefuture_market on Instagram to see who’s going to be there 😀

See you soon!

Plastic-Free Cake

 

You know how frustrating it is when you’re doing your best to avoid plastic but even the glass bottle of organic vegetable oil has a plastic insert, plastic lid and sometimes even a plastic neck-sleeve?  Well, after spending half an hour trying to cut off this evil neck sleeve the other day I decided, I’m putting my foot down!  I am not buying bottles like this ever again!  “But what about cake?” argued my alter ego, “how will you make cake without vegetable oil?”

This is how:

All you need is

  • four very ripe bananas,
  • a mug and a half of self-raising flour,
  • and half a mug of sugar.

 

The sugar is plastic-free too if you get it from a zero-waste filling station or buy Silver Spoon British Sugar (made from home grown sugar beet) which is always wrapped in paper.

First mash the bananas with a fork

Then preheat the oven to 160° C

Then add half a mug of sugar to the bananas and mix well.  This will magically make the bananas very runny.

When the sugar and bananas are thoroughly combined, add one and a half mugs full of self raising flour and mix well.

    

(NB there’s a lot of mixture in that bowl because I doubled the ingredients to make two cakes)

Now you should have a thick, moist cake mixture, ready to put in the tin.

(If You Care parchment paper is unbleached and totally chlorine-free (TCF) greaseproof paper which can be found at most good health food shops)

Line a loaf tin with some eco-friendly greaseproof paper and fill it with your cake mixture.

Put it in the middle of the oven and bake for one and a quarter hours (75 minutes).  Carefully remove and insert a sharp knife to test.  If the knife comes out clean, it’s done, if it has wet mixture on it, put the cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.

When it’s ready, take it out of the tin and cool it on a wire rack.

Use a serrated knife to cut it as it’ll be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Absolutely scrumptious 😀

No plastic required 😉

Source:  I got this recipe years ago from a brilliant homemade book called Grime and Nourishment, (NB this book is not suitable for children).

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vegan, vegan cake, cake recipe, plastic-free, zero waste, nutrition, health, environment,

 

Come to Brighton!

Tomorrow, 23rd November,

10 ’til 4

at Brighton Unitarian Church,

Come to the seaside to buy some vegan story books and/or lots of other books!  There’s going to be something for everyone so they say!

What fun! 😀

The Brighton and Hove Book Fayre returns on November 23rd to the Brighton Unitarian Church, New Road. Come and meet local authors and browse the huge selection of books on offer, from children’s books to self-help, crime to horror, cookery to romance.

Brighton Unitarian Church is situated at the north end of New Road, close to the Brighton Dome, Royal Pavilion and the Theatre Royal.  Exit the library and walk straight ahead until you reach Church Street.  Cross it and you will be in New Road which is a restricted access zone and a pedestrianised area.

There is a multi-storey car park nearby in Church Street, although the Churchill Square shoppers’ car park is often more cost effective during the day – the entrance is in Regency Road.

Maybe we’ll see you there?

 

Be The Future Vegan Market – This Weekend!

If you’re gonna be anywhere near London this weekend why not pop in to the Be The Future Vegan Market in Stoke Newington?

There’s going to be lots of stalls including Food, Drinks, Skincare, Crafts, Clothing, Plants, Candles, Scents, Ceramics, Soaps, Illustrations, Kids’ books, – that’s us! 😀 (Sunday only) – Kids’ Clothes, Jewellery, Herbs, Mushrooms, and all vegan, sustainable products.

The market is being held at Abney Public Hall, 73A Church Street, N16 0AS on Saturday the 2nd of November and Sunday the 3rd.  We won’t be there on the Saturday but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good! 😉

Click here to find out more, including how to get there.

We’ll be setting up our ‘Be The Future’ mobile library so you can sit and read the comics and story books and even borrow them for free.

Maybe we’ll see you there, if you go on Sunday 😉

Vegan Crossword Puzzle: Stuff With Protein In

 Click on the puzzle for a pdf you can download and print

or ‘print screen’ and paste into Paint so you don’t have to print it 😀

Stuff_with_protein_in

The answers are here 😀

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Created at wordmint.com

vegan, nutrition, plant-based, plant food, vegetables, protein, puzzle, crossword, vegetarian, things to make and do,

Bridlington Vegan Festival

Don’t forget – this Sunday is the Bridlington Vegan Festival – their first ever!

There’ll be delicious vegan food, live music, speakers, yoga, holistic therapies, cookery demonstrations, local vegan crafts, children’s entertainment and activities, and stalls full of ethical, eco-friendly, vegan products for sale, ie clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, food, household items and books – including our vegan books for children! 😀

So if you fancy a lovely day at the seaside and are able to get to East Yorkshire on Sunday, why not buy your tickets here and tell your friends for the chance to win a £20 voucher for Planetwise, Bridlington’s own vegan store 😀 Advance tickets are £3, or it’s £5 on the door. Under 16s accompanied by an adult get in for free! 😀

Bridlington’s here by the way:

For more information check out our What’s On page 🙂 and make the most of the opportunity to have some fun at the seaside.

One day only – Don’t miss it! 😉

 

A lovely time was had by all

HART’s inaugural vegan potluck event on Hornby Island was a roaring success – not surprising when you look at the feast that all the attendees put together 😀

Everybody kindly wrote a list of ingredients to put with their contribution so that food intolerances could be avoided, although it was all vegan of course 🙂

There were thirty attendees including a couple of holiday makers from off the island and, well, if you take a look over here you get the whole story from the person who put it all together: Sarat Colling, founder of Hornby Animal Rights Team.

The same event also played host to HART’s first pop-up library and we’re thrilled to see some of our books among the collection.  Some of the attendees became library members and the first books were loaned.  Anyone who is within reach of Hornby Island, BC, will be delighted to learn that more pop-ups are planned and will be publicised via the website – so subscribe if you don’t want to miss it.

If you don’t want to wait for the next pop-up to join the library, you don’t have to.  If you’re a local, you can check out the list of books for loan and then email hornbyhart@gmail.com with the title(s) you wish to borrow and your contact information.  They will arrange a time to leave the books for pick up in HART’s box at the Co-op Free Post.

Such a great idea 🙂 I hope lots of people will be inspired to do it in their area so that we’ll all be in reach of one 😀

Easy Gluten-Free Flatbread

This is so easy and absolutely delicious 😀

No fat, no yeast, no gluten and no frying.  Just oats and water.  Baked.

You’ll need:

8 oz rolled oats

400 ml of water

parchment paper to line your baking trays so that you don’t need to oil them.

** For garlic bread version see bottom of post 🙂

First pre-heat your oven to 220°C (less if it’s a fan oven).

Then weigh out about 8 oz of rolled oats and mill it into a flour in your food processor (with the S blade).

Add 200ml of water, whiz to combine with the flour and then add another 200ml and whiz again so that you’ve got a runny, pour-able mixture.

Line two baking trays with parchment paper, and pour half the mixture onto each of them.

Then spread it thinly and evenly with the back of a spoon, and put the trays in the oven.

After about 20 minutes remove trays from the oven and turn the bread over.  Turn the trays around so that they get evenly baked and return to the oven for another 6 or 7 minutes.

Remove and put on plates 😀

If you want them crispier, bake them for a little longer but keep a close eye on them because there is a very fine line between crisp and burnt.

Now do what you like with them.  Add your favourite spreads, cover them with beans, use them as pizza bases, make sandwiches with them …. whatever you like.

** To make amazing garlic bread just add a few cloves of fresh garlic to the oats when you mill it into flour (I use 4 fat ones to this amount of oats but if you like your garlic stronger, add as much as you like).  The garlic will be finely minced and combined with the oat flour.  Then, instead of using parchment paper on the trays, generously grease them with vegetable oil and preheat the greased trays before adding the runny mixture.  This will produce delicious crispy garlic bread ready to eat with no need for margarine.

The Circle of Life

Make your own compost 🙂

Save all your raw fruit and vegetable peelings, apple cores, tea bags, soapnut shells, etc etc

and take them outside to your compost bin (any container will do but make sure it’s got drainage holes in the bottom)

Toss your ‘green waste’ in there, (ie raw fruit & veg waste)

but also add some ‘brown waste’ (such as brown paper, black and white printed paper like newspapers or old paperback pages (no colour print), dead leaves) every so often otherwise you’ll end up with a wet soggy, stinky mess.  You want about 2 parts ‘green’ to 1 part ‘brown’ according to the science 🙂

Then eventually it will rot down to something moist and earthy, just teaming with baby earthworms (I don’t know where they came from) and ready to host your new plants.  Don’t ask me how long this took, I didn’t time it, but it was probably about a year.  We just eventually thought it looked composty and tipped it out of the bin and there you have it.  Click here if you want advice from experts 😀

Now you can pot it …

… sow some seeds in it, …

… and in a few days (this is less than 2 weeks later) your old vegetables will be providing you with new vegetables 🙂

I’d better thin these 😉

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vegan, vegetarian, recycling, home-grown, plant-food, plant-based, health, gardening, growing

And then there was Denzel

knitted dog

The Anderson family are not complete without Denzel so here he is 😀

I followed this free pattern of a Scottie dog by Sue Stratford

knitted dog

and made him look as much like Denzel as I could.  I knitted him in white and stitched on the orange colour after he was sewn and stuffed.  He’s a bit big when he’s standing next to the family but I think you’d be hard pushed to find a smaller pattern 🙂

Alternatively, if you’re not a knitter or you fancy doing something different, how about making an origami Denzel?

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vegan, vegetarian, homemade, crafts, origami, knitting, needlework, papercrafts, dogs, toys, handmade toys

Meet the Family

knitted model bus

Old Red is fully furnished and ready to be enjoyed by the Andersons – so where are they?  Where are the Andersons?  Oh look, here they are:

knitted model bus

Miranda knitted Aiden and Cara and Casey and Brietta, and it didn’t take her long.

She got the pattern from loveknitting.com where it is free to download.  It’s a Goldilocks finger puppet by Amanda Berry which, at 7cm tall, is just the right size but, since we didn’t want finger puppets, Miranda stuffed the skirt, and sewed up the middle of it to make trousers for the boys, adjusted their heights and gave them the appropriate hair etc (including a beard for Aiden) and there you have it – The English Family Anderson, all ready to live happily ever after in their bus 😀

knitted dolls

knitted dolls

Now, where’s Denzel? 😉

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knitting, crafts, needlework, dolls, toys, homemade, handmade, vegan, vegetarian, recycling

The Andersons’ Knitted bus: The End

You may have noticed that in the end the bus isn’t furnished exactly as shown in the story.  That is due to the fact that it has the proportions of a camper van because of the pattern I used.  This Old Red is therefore not long enough to fit in all the furniture I’d planned to include.  So I took some liberties.  Those who have read The English Family Anderson will know that Old Red’s travelling days are over so Miranda suggested that they may well have removed the steering wheel and driver’s seat to give them more space.  That makes sense doesn’t it?

I hope you enjoy the final how-to video which shows the creation of a table, two ottomans for seating (and which contain Brietta’s and Casey’s sleeping bags and bedrolls), and a wardrobe/cupboard for food, utensils, crockery, cutlery, a washing up bowl, and towels and stuff.  There’s a folded blanket on top of the wardrobe and a basket of potatoes on top of that.  Their few clothes are kept in the drawers under Mum and Dad’s bed.  They use the great outdoors for washing and they’ve built a compost toilet out there too 🙂  So they’re all set.

I hope you’ll enjoy making your own camper-bus and I look forward to seeing pictures when you’re done 😀

ps: if knitting’s not your thing, you could always make one out of cardboard 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, recycling, homemade, toys, model bus, handmade bus, crafts, knitting, needlework, handmade toys,

The Andersons’ Knitted Bus, Part 4: a bed for Mr and Mrs

 knitted model bus

First you need a large, empty matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Find some decorative paper that looks like it would make good-looking bedding …

 knitted model bus

… and wrap up the matchbox like a birthday present.  Then find another matchbox.

 knitted model bus

Measure it and mark the middle.

 knitted model bus

Take out the drawer and cut the insides and outsides in half.

 knitted model bus

Now you have two drawers.  Put them back in.  They’re going to provide the Andersons with under-bed storage space.

 knitted model bus

Cut out some more of the decorative paper and stick it to the front of the drawers.

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Tape the drawers together, side by side, ….

 knitted model bus

…. and stick the ‘mattress’ on top of them.

 knitted model bus

Now you need some pillows:

 knitted model bus

Find a scrap of pretty material.  Cut it, fold it (right sides together), sew it (leaving one side open), and …

 knitted model bus

… turn it right side out, stuff it with cut up bits of rag, or yarn or whatever soft stuff you’ve got lying around, and sew up the open side.

 knitted model bus

My bed still needed something more to make it cozy so I found this lovely beaded doily (the kind used to protect a glass of lemonade from flies at the picnic) and thought it would make a lovely bedspread.

 knitted model bus

And I knitted a little blanket for warmth.

 knitted model bus

Et voilà!

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

 knitted model bus

Now I must get the floor done!

😀

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Click here for part 5

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vegan, vegetarian, crafts, knitting, paper crafts, sewing, homemade, homemade toy, model bus, model furniture, children’s toys

The Andersons’ bus part three: some wheels, half a floor and a repetitive strain injury

knitted model bus

It’s perhaps not as cool as a sports injury but, when you’re too excited to pace yourself, a repetitive strain injury is just as inconvenient.  I have been knitting for several hours a day for about two weeks with no ill effects but after making the bus’s wheels I had such bad shoulder pain that I had to take a break.  It seems feeble because all I was doing was winding yarn around a cardboard circle, over and over – it’s not what you would call hard work.  But there it is.  I’ve been stopped in my tracks 🙂

knitted model bus

This is what I’ve got so far:

I decided to make the bus wheels by cutting out cardboard circles which are a little bit smaller than the required (guessed) bus wheel size, cutting a smaller circle out of the middle of them, and winding yarn around them like you would if you were making pompoms.  Unlike when you’re making pompoms, you only need one cardboard circle per wheel, and you stop winding just before you get to the centre, leaving a tiny hole in the middle for the axle.

The axles are going to be old toothbrushes which just happen to be a little bit wider than the bus.

I didn’t have any black yarn but decided that doesn’t matter – groovy people like the Andersons would probably enjoy having different coloured wheels 🙂

knitted model bus

When I’d finished the wheels I needed a floor to attach them to.  I’m no longer following the pattern so this is an experiment which I hope will work.  I’m winging it.

I drew around the bottom of the bus on cardboard and cut it out.

knitted model bus

Then I cast on enough stitches to cover about two thirds (or nearly three quarters) the width of the bus floor.  I haven’t proved this works yet, but the knitting will naturally get wider than the cast-on row and I want the finished piece to be slightly smaller than the cardboard so that it has to be stretched taut to cover it.  It remains to be seen whether I cast on the right amount of stitches to make it work.

dot dot dot 😉

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click here for Part 4

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vegan, vegetarian, crafts, knitting, paper crafts, sewing, homemade, homemade toy, model bus, model furniture, children’s toys

Andersons’ Knitted Bus – Part 2

For Part 1 click here 🙂

Ok, on Wednesday I got as far as sandwiching the stiff card between the inside and outside of the two long sides of the bus, so on Thursday I did the same with the front and back ends:

knitted model bus

As with the long sides of the bus yesterday, I drew around the knitted pieces on stiff card (tidy up the lines with a ruler) and cut out the insert.  If you find, as I did, that your inside and outside pieces are not exactly the same size (due to one being made with slightly thicker yarn), then draw round the bigger piece and stretch the smaller one to match.

knitted model bus

The green inside piece (above) came up smaller than the outside front of bus so I stretched it to cover the card as you can see.  It’s a fiddly business.  I found the best way to make sure your cardboard is the right shape and size is to sew together (wrong sides facing) two adjacent edges of the knitted pieces before inserting the card.  Then slot the card into the corner you’ve sewn and stretch the knitting to meet at the opposite sides and pin them.  If you find when you try to do this that the card’s just too big, or your window is too small, for the pieces to be sewn together around it, then you can pencil in the correct lines, unpin it, trim it and try again.  Eventually you’ll get it all sewn nice and tight.

knitted model bus

The front of the bus needed some finishing touches so …

knitted model bus

… I drew some buttons and dials onto some of that gridded material they use for cross stitch which I happened to have some of (it’s amazing the stuff people donate to charity shops – Miranda picks up loads of discarded craft items from the Raystede Charity Shop where she volunteers).

knitted model bus

Then I sewed it inside the front of the bus.

knitted model bus

I did the same for the ‘Old Red’ sign and the number plate.  After that I put together the back end of the bus.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

You will notice that the back has more height above the window than the front.  That’s because when it’s put together it folds over to make a partial roof.  You’ll see what I mean when I put it together.

knitted model bus

I thought these pretty, heart-shaped, wooden buttons would look nice under the window in Mr and Mrs Anderson’s bedroom 🙂 (If you read episode 3 of The English Family Anderson you will see what their bus interior looks like.  The back end is a little bedroom for Mr & Mrs)

knitted model bus

I had knitted the back number plate in the appropriate golden yellow colour so I didn’t want to cover it with a white or cream number plate (cross stitch material).  So this time I just wrote the registration directly onto the knitting with a black felt-tip.  You can’t read it but I think it looks like letters and numbers in the distance which are out of focus so I’m happy with it 🙂

knitted model bus

All four sides done.  Now it was time to put the bus together.

knitted model bus

I began sewing with two adjacent pieces lined up together as above (NB – Miranda found some more bright red yarn after I’d finished knitting!).  Then, when I was over half way up …

knitted model bus

… I was able to stand the pieces up in their correct position, enabling me make the front piece follow the curve of the side piece.  Again, don’t worry about neat stitching.  Imperfections have their own charm and, don’t forget, this is an old bus which has probably been patched up plenty of times so it wouldn’t be authentic if it looked pristine 🙂

knitted model bus

One at a time I sewed together all sides of Old Red.  You can see below how the back piece folds over, above the window, and is sewn to the top of the back of the sides, making a partial roof.  In the pattern from which this is adapted, the front also folds over but I wanted to keep my front upright because it has the bus name above the window.  Plus I wanted there to be a bit more light in, and easier access to, the inside.  I forgot to mention yesterday that I also slightly altered the pattern for the front of the bus to make the windows slightly bigger by making the vertical strut in the middle narrower (only 2 stitches wide instead of 4) so that it looked more like the front of Old Red in my illustrations.

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Look – you can peek inside 🙂

knitted model bus

knitted model bus

Our Old Red is approximately 30cm x 15cm x 15cm, not including the name sticking up on the front.

Still to do:

  • Make and attach floor
  • Make and attach wheels
  • Sew a ‘door’ on the left side front
  • Make and insert furniture

So I’d better get on with that then 😉

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Click here for Part 3

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needlework, knitting, sewing, homemade, crafts, vegan, vegetarian, toys, homemade toys, model bus

Knit the Andersons’ bus!

Click for Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7 and Denzel the dog 🙂

dsc_0104-300x300

I found this fantastic pattern online and decided to have a go at adapting it to make The English Family Andersons’ bus 😀

english-family-anderson-and-their-bus

The beauty of this pattern is that the bus can be played with inside and out.  As I type, Miranda is making little people (the Andersons) to live in it 😀

toy bus

So, I began with red for the outside of the bus …

toy bus

… and then made another piece in multi-coloured yarn for the inside.  The Andersons have decorated their home very colourfully so I did what I could, with the colours I had, to reproduce their bus interior.

toy bus

I made the other outside and the other inside long side of bus and then made the front and back ends, inside and out:

toy bus

I ran out of bright red yarn, so I had to finish the outside of the bus in the closest colour I had which was a sort of burgundy.  I decided that it didn’t matter because the colour of old buses does fade 🙂  Of course at this point I am not following the VW camper design, I’m trying to make it look like Old Red.

toy bus

The outside piece for the front of the bus includes the colours for the headlights, number plate, radiator and the bus number above the window.

knitted toy bus

So that was eight pieces done – four insides and four outsides.  Then it was time to add some buttons 🙂

knitted toy bus

The Anderson’s bus has two headlights on either side so I sewed some white buttons in position for them.  Unfortunately I don’t have any bright orange buttons for the indicators so I had to leave that for now.  I might add those with yarn later.

knitted toy bus

I added some black stitches to the radiator.  Then it was time to start putting it together.

knitted toy bus

To make the bus rigid, the campervan pattern provides templates to cut out pieces of plastic grid to fasten between the knitted pieces, however I decided to make these out of card.  I flattened out a knitted piece as well as I could on some stiff cardboard, drew round it and cut it out.  I didn’t cut out the individual windows, just one big window to go between the knitted windows.  The knitted frames is all that’s needed to separate them.  You’ll see what I mean.  The cardboard inserts need to be sized so that the knitting needs to be stretched taut to cover them.

 knitted toy bus

I pinned together the top and one end of the inside and outside of one side of the bus with wrong sides facing together.  Then I sewed it.

 knitted toy bus

Then I put the matching cardboard cut-out between them and stretched the knitting flat across it so that I could pin it in place at the bottom and opposite end.  I finished sewing all the way round the outside and then around the window frames.  I sewed the inside and outside knitting of the window frames together, tucking all loose ends inside, out of sight.  As I’ve said before, I am not neat at needlework, but that doesn’t matter.  It seems to work out somehow.

knitted toy bus

That’s all I’ve got so far but I’m looking forward to putting the rest of it together.  Then I can get started on the furniture!  I’ll keep you posted 😉

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Click here for Part 2

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homemade, knitting, crafts, handmade, toys, knitted toys, knitted bus, model bus, handmade toys, homemade toys, vegan, vegan comics, vegan children’s stories

Chocolate chip peanut butter oat cookies

vegan gluten free cookies

Peanut butter, chocolate chip, oat cookies – vegan, gluten-free, organic and fair trade: What more could you want? 😀

I just felt peckish so I raided the cupboard for ingredients and found what I needed:

  • Organic rolled oats
  • Organic Fair Trade sugar
  • Organic Fair Trade chocolate
  • Organic Fair Trade peanut butter
  • Organic Fair Trade Sunflower Oil
  • Water (not in the cupboard)

vegan gluten free cookies

These are so quick and easy 😀

Weigh out 8 ounces of oats and put them through the food processor to turn them into flour.

Put the oat flour in your mixing bowl and add 4 ounces of sugar.  Mix well.

Then break up about 60 grams of chocolate (I used Moo Free) and put it into the food processor with about 3 heaped spoons full of peanut butter, I think (it’s up to you how much you use, I can’t actually remember exactly how much I added this time 🙂 ).

Whiz the peanut butter and chocolate around with the ‘S’ blade for a few seconds until the chocolate is in little chips and beautifully combined with the soft peanut butter.  Of course you can do all this by hand, it’ll just take a little longer 🙂

By the way, the peanut butter is unsalted with nothing added – it’s nothing but organic roasted peanuts.

Leave the peanut butter and chocolate to one side while you add about 100 ml of sunflower oil and 5 tablespoons of water to the flour and sugar in the bowl and mix well.

Then add the peanut butter and chocolate chips and mix it in until you have your moist cookie mixture.

This is an oily mixture so you shouldn’t need to grease the baking trays but I lined them with eco-friendly greaseproof paper which is optional.

Put heaped teaspoons of the mixture onto your baking trays and then flatten them with the back of a wet spoon.  This recipe makes about 24 cookies.

Bake for 20 minutes at 180°c (in a pre-heated fan oven).

Remove and put on a rack to cool.

vegan gluten-free cookies

vegan gluten-free cookies

vegan gluten-free cookies

Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Ooh, these are good!

vegan gluten-free cookies

Enjoy them with a cup of tea 😀

Make your own Reflecto Girl doll

Reflecto Girl doll

Here’s how:

First, find a pattern.  I used this one but there are plenty of others to choose from, including lots of free ones you can download.  So, I won’t give you pattern details, you can just download whichever pattern you fancy and then make her look like Reflecto Girl.  If you don’t know how to knit you can learn

Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can make a rag doll instead 🙂

Anyway, this is what I did:

2

As per the pattern, first I knitted the legs.  I used DK  (Double Knitting thickness) acrylic yarn from the bag of oddments in the attic – no need to buy anything new, and if you don’t happen to have lilac, I know Renée wouldn’t mind her outfit being a different colour.

3

Then I pinned and sewed the back of leg and top of foot seams

4

and stuffed them with cut up bits of an old cotton T-shirt (no need to buy stuffing – recycle all the way!)

5

Then I knitted the body.  I thought Renée would like a pretty cream vest with a pink decorative stripe close to the bottom edge.

6

I sewed it, stuffed it and attached it to the legs.

7

Then I made and attached her head,

8

followed by her arms.

9

Then it was time to do her hair, which I was very much looking forward to.  I started with the fringe by  just sewing some gorgeous orange yarn into her head making sort of loops between the top of her head and her face, just above where her eyebrows would be.

10

Making her gorgeous long locks was quite time consuming but worth it.  I sewed the yarn into the back of her head, alternating between a small stitch to hold the yarn in place and then a long loop which reached down her back.  Then another small stitch, then another long loop.  The stitches began at the top of  her head and gradually covered the top three quarters of it so that she wouldn’t have any bald patches.  When her scalp was covered I cut the loops so that she had thick, long hair.

11

Then I sewed on some eyes and ….

12

… some lips.  I’m not a neat sew-er but that doesn’t matter, just have fun with it 🙂

13

Then I made her top (included in the pattern) and embroidered – if you can call it that 😉 – the Reflecto Girl logo on the front 🙂

14

And then of course she needed a mask!  This is not included in the pattern so you’ll just have to make it up – you can do it!  What I did, if you’re interested, is

  • cast on 70 stitches, using size 10 needles (3.25mm needles);
  • first row: back stitch;
  • second row: Purl 29 stitches, cast off 4, P2, cast off 4, P 31
  • third row: Knit 31 stitches, cast on 4, K2, cast on 4, K29
  • Cast off purlwise

 Then I sewed in the ends of yarn and tidied up the eye holes with a couple of stitches sewn with the same yarn so they’re invisible 🙂

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Yes, ok, I know it looks like a giant sleep mask, but if you look carefully you can see her little eyes through the holes.  Come on, use your imagination 😉

And that’s not all –

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she had to have her red Wonder Woman bag!  Accessories are the best!

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For this I cast on ….. oh, you know what, I can’t remember how many stitches or rows I did – basically you need it to be about this big against the doll.  Knit a simple rectangle that can be folded and sewn into a bag this size.  I attached a press stud so that it can be fastened.

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Her bag has a picture of Wonder Woman’s face in a circle on the front – remember?  Luckily I had a scrap of fabric with circles on, just the right size.

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So I drew Wonder Woman’s face in the circle, cut it out and sewed it to the front of the bag 🙂

Oh, and I knitted a long handle to make it a shoulder bag.  Three stitches, size 10 needles, stocking stitch (ie 1 row knit, 1 row purl) until it’s long enough for the doll to wear over her shoulder like so:

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Now, Reflecto Girl wouldn’t be Reflecto Girl without her …

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Dounto!  So I made one.  It needed to be just the right size to fit in her bag 🙂

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The card I used was quite thin so I cut out two to stick together and make the ‘mirror’ stronger.

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On one side I drew round a smaller circle to make the mirror glass.

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Then I added the Celtic-ish symbols and letters …

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… and coloured it in 🙂

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All done!  Reflecto Girl has everything she needs to get the job done!

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Let’s play!

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31

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Why don’t you make yourself a Reflecto Girl doll?  There’s lots of fun to be had.

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Now, I need to make a Distracto Boy, and a Venus Aqueous, and a Megan and a Flos , oh, and an English Family Anderson! – it’s a good job I’ve got a big bag of yarn oddments 😀 It’s going to be a busy weekend 😉

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crafts, home made, knitting, toys, action figures, vegan, veggie kids, vegan superhero, things to make and do

I wrote a book

vegan Christmas book

I wrote a book about some birds,

With pictures in and also words.

Brother birds who love each other,

And want to be free together.

1

The birds are turkeys, big and fat,

The farmer makes them fat like that.

He makes them fat to kill and eat,

For those who think they are just meat.

2

But they are not, they’re meant for more,

Christmas dinner’s not what they’re for.

They’re clever and they think and care,

They suffer too and that’s not fair.

3

So when I saw some library books

In which a family smiles and cooks

A big fat bird to celebrate

The Prince of Peace born on that date, …

4

I decided to put my book

On that shelf in the library nook.

A child might find it and read it and see

Turkeys deserve to be happy and free.

5

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There are so many books in libraries that perpetuate the illusion of the witch’s spell.  Whether they be fiction or non-fiction, they tell children, at the most impressionable  time of their lives, that some animals are “farm animals” and as such are there to serve our ‘needs’; that we ‘need’ meat and dairy and fish; that our health is dependent on these things; that animals are happy on farms and rearing animals to kill them is the most normal, natural thing in the world.  It’s no wonder it’s an uphill struggle for those of us trying to share the truth:

  1.  Animal farming is extremely cruel,
  2. Eating animal products is detrimental to our health
  3. Animal agriculture is by far the biggest cause of global warming, rainforest destruction and ocean deadzones.
  4. Going vegan is the only way to save the world.

Years ago I purchased a new copy of a Ruby Roth book and donated it to my local library.  It never made it to the shelves of that or any other library in the county.  They refused to include it.   They rejected it.

Adults don’t listen.  Children might 😉

NB: If you photocopy an insert from a different county library than the one you’re infiltrating, maybe with the word DISCARDED stamped on it, img199and a child finds and likes the book and wants to take it home, one of two things is likely to happen:

  1.  The child puts the book, perhaps with a pile of other books, onto the automated check out machine and doesn’t notice the illegitimate book hasn’t registered on the system.  They simply bag it and take it home.

Or

2.  The child does notice the book hasn’t registered and takes it to the librarian who looks at it and says, “oh, this has been returned here by mistake, you can keep it”.

And just keep doing it, different books, different libraries, all with a positive vegan message that tells children they are right to follow their instinctive, compassionate natures and love all animals, not eat them.  Most grown-ups are too stuck in their ways; too brainwashed.  Communicating directly with children is the only way we’re going to change anything.

Go on, be a rebel – it’s kinda fun 😉

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The End?

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

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Oh dear, it’s not looking good for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.  If you’d like to try to help the bewitched break the spell you could do as Maud suggests and share this story far and wide.  The children of non-vegan parents who are caught up in the spell could be helped to snap out of it if they found this book in their library – it’s worth a try, isn’t it?

The colour version, with Beatrice Wilberforce’s illustrations, is only £3.90

Wicked Witch

and Maud’s original Wicked Wicked Witch and the Ruinous Manipulation, being entirely black and white, is only £2.80.

cover-reduced-for-website

And, by the way, it’s surprisingly fun how easy it is to make a book look like a real bona fide library book with simple, easily edited, or not, photocopies stuck on the first page.

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and maybe even one of those removable plastic book jackets they often have, which come in different sizes and are often on discarded library books 🙂

It’s just harmless fun 😉

Have a good weekend 😀

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vegan fairy tale, vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan, vegetarian, environment, wicked witch, global warming, animals, animal rights

Then he took out the weighing scales …

Then he took out the weighing scales, measured 12 ounces of flour and put it into the mixing bowl.

vegan children's story

To the flour he added 4 slightly heaped teaspoons of baking powder.  And he mixed it in well.

vegan children's story

Next he weighed 6 ounces of sugar and mixed it in with the flour.  He stirred it a lot.

vegan children's story

After that he added the wet ingredients together:

250 ml of water,

vegan children's story

6 tablespoons of sunflower oil and

3 teaspoons of vanilla essence.

vegan children's story

He poured the wet stuff into the dry stuff and mixed it up really well until he had a thick, moist, cake mixture.

vegan children's story

Then he lined a cake tin with eco-friendly grease-proof paper and poured the mixture into it.

vegan children's story

When he’d scraped all he could out of the bowl, Cedro put on his oven gloves and very carefully put the cake tin into the hot oven.

vegan children's story

Cedro set the timer for 75 minutes (which was an hour and a quarter) and ….

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To be continued on Monday 🙂

but if you want to know how the cake turns out, you can read the whole story now 😀

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#veganpicturebook, #veganchildrensstory, #vegankidsstory, #veganchildrensbook, #vegancake, #vegancakerecipe

Amelia Meyer’s Take Care of the World Day

Prepare to be inspired.  Prepare to be in awe.  Prepare to have your heart lifted and your eyes moistened 🙂

Amelias wish

Eight year old Amelia Meyer, who was granted a wish by The Make-a-Wish Foundation because she suffers from brain cancer, wished that she could clean up all the litter in her local park.

She chose to clean her local Swope Park in Kansas City, Missouri because she wanted it to look nicer for her friends and neighbors. “Another reason is because [litter] can stay dirty and it can get animals sick,” she added.

Fortunately, Make-A-Wish didn’t just hand Amelia a trash bag and wish her well on her endeavors. Instead, the foundation organized hundreds of people to participate in the cleanup, with everyone from local business employees, the Kansas City Fire and Police departments and schoolchildren getting in on the action. Amelia said she was surprised at just how many people showed up to help.

Watch video here

Sly James, the mayor of Kansas City, attended the event at Swope Park to congratulate Amelia on being selfless and an all-around “really neat kid.” He then proclaimed February 27 “Amelia Meyer’s Take Care of the World Day” throughout the city.

Amelia’s story didn’t just motivate people in her own community, but people in other parts of the state and even the world. As word of her wish spread on social media, other people organized cleanups in their own areas, tagging photographs of their efforts with #AmeliasWish.

Though Amelia’s wish is unconventional, it seemed to bring her no less joy than another child’s trip to Disneyland might. Throughout the day, she ran around collecting trash with a big smile on her face. Jill Meyer, Amelia’s mother, said that the night before the cleanup, Amelia expressed she was “so excited” for the litter patrol. When Jill asked her why, she responded, “Because I get to pick up trash!”

It’s hard not to feel inspired by Amelia’s caring attitude. She clearly hasn’t let her age or life-threatening illness stop her from doing her part to make the world a better place. May her selfless wish serve as an inspiration to people who come from more fortunate circumstances.

Meanwhile, my wish is that Amelia overcome her battle with cancer because we absolutely need more people like her in this world.”

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/this-amazing-girls-make-a-wish-dream-was-to-clean-up-litter.html#ixzz41rivfDYj

Food Wordsearch

food wordsearch

Search for the following food items and draw a line through them – they might be forwards, backwards, vertical, upside down or diagonal.  And you don’t have to print it out if you don’t want to – just click on the pic, then right click and save it to your computer, then open it in ‘paint’, or whatever picture editing program you’ve got, and you can draw the lines on there 🙂

APPLE    POMEGRANATE    DATES    FIGS    LENTILS    TOFU    BEANS

POTATOES    SPINACH    KALE    SQUASH    PORRIDGE    PEAR    OATS

CABBAGE    LETTUCE    TOMATO    PEAS    APRICOT    PLUM    LEEK

BROCCOLI    CUCUMBER    CAVOLO NERO    CHERRY    ORANGE    RAISINS

PARSNIP    TURNIP    WALNUTS    BANANA    CARROT    ONION    GARLIC

PEPPERS    CASHEWS    GRAPES

Keeping warm with odds and ends

handknit  hoodie

You may remember I have already knitted a hoodie like this out of leftover  and unravelled yarn but I gave that to Miranda so I needed another one.  And this one only took me 2 months to make, which is a record for me!

handknit hoodie

Whilst this one is not made of unravelled yarn, I didn’t buy any new stuff because it’s made completely of other people’s leftovers.  Quite a few balls had been given to us of various colours and thicknesses, and I spent a couple of pounds at charity shops buying a mixture of odd balls, so it has cost me next to nothing and I’ve made something useful out of stuff that was being thrown out.  Win-win 😀

handknit hoodie

Ooh, it’s so lovely and warm 😀

Here is the pattern if you’re interested, although it’s rather messed up so I don’t know if you’ll be able to make sense of it.

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

I made mine really chunky by using 3 strands of DK (or whatever I had) so it came out bigger than the one on the pattern.  Plus I made mine longer.  So, with a pack-a-mac over the top on rainy days, I’ve got a homemade winter coat 🙂

The pattern came from this book  Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer

Fruit Sudoku

fruit sudoku

I think sudokus are fun but someone I know hates maths so numbers make him panic and he just won’t try them.  I told him they have nothing to do with maths but he is adamant!

So I’ve made a fruit sudoku for those who, like him, are panicked by numbers.

For the uninitiated: the idea is to fill each box with one of each fruit while making sure that there is also one, and only one, of each in every vertical and horizontal line.

You don’t need to print this out.  Just copy/save the picture and open it on your computer in ‘Paint’ or similar picture editing program.  Then zoom so that you can see the whole thing on your screen and copy and paste fruits into the empty squares as you solve the puzzle.

Have some fruity fun 😀

Being Resourceful

It got to that time of week again – the day before food shopping.  The cupboards were looking quite bare and Miranda and I were feeling very peckish.  We’d finished off the last flapjack the day before and there were no munchies left in the house.  There must be something I could make, I said to myself, but what?  I had no flour left.

But I was determined.

What I did have was some rolled oats, some sugar, some olive oil, some cocoa and some sultanas.

*And this is what I did:

Weighed out 8 ounces of rolled oats and put them through the food processor to make a rough oat flour.  Put the flour in a bowl, added 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 ounce of cocoa, a generous load of sultanas and 4 ounces of sugar, and mixed it all together thoroughly.  Then I added 4 fluid ounces (120 ml) of olive oil and 5 tablespoons of water to the dry mixture and combined to form a very moist cookie mixture.  I put heaped teaspoons of this onto lined baking sheets and baked at 180°c for 20 minutes.

vegan chocolate cookies

Oh wow!

These are amazing!

Even better than when I make them with spelt.

vegan chocolate cookies

So quick.  So easy.

So beautifully crisp on the outside, moist on the inside, chocolatey, delicious, fair trade, organic,

vegan,

and gluten free 😀

Oh wow!  These are amazing!

* Adapted from the chocolate chip cookie recipe in the brilliant Unqualified Education

Pendennis Castle

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I never got around to telling you about our visit to Pendennis Castle when we went to Cornwall last year.  I have mixed feelings about castles.  On the one hand I love the feeling of history, picturing how people used to live at the time the castle was built.  I feel amazed at the architecture and how such big, strong, heavy, impressively crafted structures got built in the days before motor vehicles and cranes.

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Pendennis Castle

On the other hand I recoil at the violence they remind me of – the dungeons, the canons, the holes in walls for shooting arrows through and holes above the gates for pouring boiling oil through.

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Pendennis castle

But at Pendennis Castle at least there is one thing I’m not in two minds about – the cake!

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Here there was not just one, but two different types of vegan cake!  The lemon cake you see above and the flapjack pictured below.  I eat a lot of flapjacks and I can honestly tell you that this was the best I’ve ever eaten!

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Of course we told the cook how much we loved it and how pleased we were that there were vegan options on the menu and the lovely lady said that they always make sure there is something for every dietary requirement and she invited us to return to the cafe for lunch as she was making a delicious vegan soup.

Hurrah for English Heritage!  Very well done 😀

Oh, and the views are pretty nice too 😉

Pendennis Castle

Pendennis Castle

Pendennis Castle

Babs on a bike

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 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

The Sustrans website will tell you all about the National Cycle Network in the UK which “is a series of traffic-free paths and quiet, on-road cycling and walking routes, that connect to every major town and city.  The Network passes within a mile of half of all UK homes and stretches over 14,000 miles across the UK.”

They also have a shop where you can buy maps, books, clothes and accessories etc, although you might have a good cycle shop in your own neighbourhood where you can get everything you need; or, even better, check out the second hand shops and the shops of animal-friendly charities and re-use something someone else doesn’t need any more (for a fraction of the price).

bike riding

C is for Cake

C is for cake

I’m working on the Cs now and was delighted to find that the first word which needed redefining was Cake:

Oxford Dictionary definition:  Mixture of flour, butter, eggs, sugar etc. baked in the oven.

Our definition:  There is absolutely no need of eggs and butter when making a cake.  There are so many delicious vegan, and even raw vegan, cake recipes – some very sophisticated and complicated and some, my favourites, needing nothing more than flour, sugar (or other natural sweetener such as agave), vegetable oil and water.  And I do not exaggerate when I say that they taste better than any cake I tasted in my pre-vegan days.  But you don’t need to take my word for it, look at oatielover’s chocolate cake and Lisa’s vanilla layer cake or any of the thousands of vegan cake recipes out there – there’s something for everyone.  All this typing’s making me peckish, please excuse me a moment while I grab one of the blueberry muffins I made earlier 😉

And talking of Blueberry Muffins – this is how I made them:

I mixed together 8 ounces of organic spelt, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 4 ounces of organic sugar, 4 tablespoons of organic vegetable oil, and about 150 ml of water.  Then, when that was all combined into a smooth mixture I added a load of rinsed organic blueberries and mixed those in well.  I then generously filled 6 large paper cake cases with the mixture and baked them in a muffin pan at 180°c (fan oven) for half an hour.  Easy as pie! Or rather, cake!

blueberry muffin

Icing is optional but highly recommended 🙂

Don’t fancy blueberries?  What about a butterfly cake?

vegan butterfly cake

Same recipe, minus the blueberries.  When they’re cold, scoop out the top of the cake, fill the hole with icing, cut the cut-out bit in half and stick it in the icing to look like wings.

Anything omnivores can do, vegans can do better!  Stick that in your cake-hole Oxford Dictionary!

Knit A Jumper For A Chilly Chicken

chilly chickensAt least twice a year Raystede (where Miranda volunteers) rescues ex-egg laying chickens who would otherwise be sent to slaughter at the tender age of 72 weeks.  Unfortunately, these girls have had it rough and some of them arrive with very few feathers intact.  So, at this time of year, they are very chilly and need a little help keeping warm until their feathers grow back.

So, if you feel like doing something lovely with your spare time and spare yarn, why not make some chicken-knits?

STOP PRESS:  Thankfully Raystede received so many chicken knits after they put out an appeal on local television that they’ve got all they need at the moment and they’ve taken the downloadable pattern down, so before you put yarn to needle, contact them to ask if they need any more, or find out if any other sanctuaries need them 🙂

And if you’d really like to do this but don’t know how to knit, there’s a couple of brilliant videos below to get you started:

For right handed knitters:

And for the left handed:

Knit your own Father Christmas

A bonus of Miranda working at Raystede animal sanctuary‘s charity shop is that she comes across lots of useful things like old knitting patterns and left over yarn that people have donated, which she can then buy and make use of.  And now you can make use of this one too 🙂

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And I know you might be thinking it’s a bit late in the day to start making this – the day before Christmas! – but it’s only a couple of hours’ work Miranda says, so, if you want to do something with your hands while relaxing in front of that Christmas movie, this is it! 🙂

Now, bear in mind that Miranda is very much her own person, who isn’t one for following patterns too closely, so it’s no surprise that her Father Christmas doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern.  But he is very cute just the same:

right turn

smile

there he is look

Oh, and just in case you don’t know how to knit yet – these videos (for left and right handed) will solve that problem 😉

Yule Log mark 1

I want to make a yule log for Christmas day so I thought I’d better practise.  I found a vegan recipe and really helpful instructions at Vegan Good Things but, being both lazy and impatient, I decided to try to make a simpler version.  I am very grateful to Leinana at Vegan Good Things for the how to part of the recipe and you should check out her post as she explains it much better than I will 🙂

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So, I adapted the raspberry buns recipe from Well Fed … like so:

(Oh, first I preheated the electric fan oven to 190°c)

7 oz organic spelt

1 oz organic fair trade cocoa

3 tsp of organic baking powder

1 tsp of organic fair trade vanilla essence

150 ml – ish of organic Agave nectar

4 tablespoons of organic olive oil

enough organic oat milk (you can use any plant milk or even water) to make the mixture quite wet

Can anyone spot my mistake?  Look at the photo above.  Well, I didn’t realise what I’d done until I looked at the photo when I came to write this post.  Have you spotted it? …….

Yes, I used corn flour instead of baking powder!  Well the packaging is exactly the same, apart from the big black letters that spell CORN FLOUR!!!!

Ok, so I mixed all those ingredients together and poured the mixture onto the tin.  Oh, I forgot to tell you – first prepare a flat tin by covering it with parchment paper smeared with margarine.  See, I told you Leinana explains it better than me.

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Then I smoothed it over with the back of a spoon so that it filled the tin.

3

Like so.  And bunged it in the oven for 10 minutes.  While it was cooking, I laid a clean tea towel on the work surface and covered that with another sheet of parchment paper.

4

Dusted the paper with organic icing sugar.  When the ten minutes was up, I took the cake out of the oven.

5

And tipped it over onto the dusted paper.  You have to do it real quick.  I was a bit too cautious and it cracked at one end.

6

Nevermind.  Then I quickly peeled the parchment paper off the top and, using the tea towel, rolled up the cake.  Again, Leinana explains it better, pop over to her place.

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Then I put it to one side to cool.  Next the icing, and again I kept it simple.  Just vegan margarine, icing sugar, cocoa, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a little drop of hot water from the kettle.

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I don’t measure, just wing it and then adjust to taste.  I did of course sieve the icing sugar and cocoa to get rid of all the lumps so I’m not irredeemably lazy 😉

9

When I was happy with it I put it in the fridge.  The next challenge was to distract myself so that I wouldn’t try to ice the cake before it was fully cool.  And it was taking a long time to cool.  Too long.  I gave in in the end – well, it was cold on top 😀

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And when I unrolled it, it broke into strips.  I continued undeterred.  Each strip was still curvy so I hoped it would work.

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I pasted generous amounts of icing over top of all the bits and then, using the parchment paper, rolled it back up.

13

Not bad considering.  It did slide a bit – it was too warm and the icing was melting a bit but, nevermind.  I put it on a plate and covered it in more icing which helped hold it together.

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Then I dragged a fork over it to make bark grooves

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Then sieved some ‘snow’ over it

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et voilà

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Then chill.

And the verdict?  Despite being made with corn flour instead of baking powder, the cake itself is very nice.  The icing makes the log a bit too sweet and sickly for me, although husband and daughter didn’t think so 🙂 , so I think for my next attempt I will use a raw recipe for the icing – that way the whole thing will be sugar free!

I’ll let you know how that turns out on Christmas Eve 😀

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A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.

contents

We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!

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Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)

first

first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.

second

second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out

third

fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel Miranda bought at the Raystede Christmas fayre a couple of weeks ago (she said I could!)  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!

finished

finished apron

Babs goes nuts!

001 Babs goes nuts

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Here’s some we did yesterday:

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First preheat your oven to 200°C if it’s a fan oven (higher if not), or 400°F or gas mark 6.

Then rinse the chestnuts, trim off the stem, and cut a cross in the outer skin.  If you don’t slit the skin they will explode in the oven.

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Get a grown-up to help you with this because it’s quite fiddly and needs a sharp knife.  We don’t want any fingers getting sliced!

When you’ve done that you can put your nuts on a baking tray or dish …

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We only collected a few yesterday because we’d never tried them before and didn’t want to waste too many if we didn’t like them.  Of course you may deduce now that we did like them!

Bung them in the oven and roast them until the skin peels open which should take around half an hour.

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While they are warm, peel off the outer brown skin and the inner paler skin …

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And you’ll be left with a beautiful, soft, creamy-coloured nut which is absolutely delicious:

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Yum!

Happy foraging love Babs

Yummy Scrummy Crispy Cakes

I used to make crispy cakes which were absolutely scrumptious but really not good for my health because of all the syrup in the recipe.  So I thought, I wonder if I can make these gorgeous treats healthier by leaving out the syrup and substituting dates.  Turns out – you can!  I am therefore very excited to share with you my recipe for yummy, scrummy, chocolatey, nutritious crispy cakes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

what you will need

Gluten-free, sugar-free, organic corn flakes; nothing-added organic peanut butter; pitted dates, soaked over-night; and chocolate (this one does have sugar in it admittedly, but you could use organic raw sugar-free chocolate instead if you prefer, I just didn’t have any today)

First get your chocolate melting in a little pot over some hot water.

Drain the water off your soggy dates and bung them in the food processor.  Process them to a smooth, moist consistency and place them in a mixing bowl like so:

date mush

Then add a couple of generous tablespoons of peanut butter:

add peanut butter

Combine thoroughly with a fork and then add your melted chocolate and mix that in too:

add melted chocolate

When that’s all well combined, it’s time to mix in the corn flakes.  Add a few at a time and keep adding them until you can’t mix any more in (ie until the mixture is too dry to add more):

add corn flakes

When I’d added all the cornflakes my mixture could take, I tasted it and felt it could do with a little more sweetness.  So I added sultanas.  You suit yourself:

optional add sultanas

When you’re satisfied with your mixture, spoon it into some paper cake cases :

fill paper cases

And chill until ….. you want to eat them:

Done!

Done!

Yum!

Yum!

Wild and Fruity

Remember the No Bake Blueberry Flapjacks?  Well, I didn’t have any blueberries so I decided to improvise with something wild – the blackberries are ready!

blackberries

so many blackberries

So many blackberries and we only needed a few so we left plenty for others 🙂

butterfly

And we saw plenty of others enjoying them.

ouch

I did sustain a nasty bramble injury – ouch!

picked

But we got what we needed 😉

*****

No-Bake Sugar-Free Apple and Blackberry Flapjacks

You’ll need:

chopped apple

4 small apples, peeled and chopped.

washed blackberries

Washed, freshly-picked blackberries

soaked pitted dates

Fresh dates, pitted and soaked for 1 hour.

I didn’t measure how many blackberries I had but you can tell from how they look on the plate (it’s a small sandwich plate).  The dates weighed 200g before they were pitted and soaked.

all the fruit

blackberries and apples in first

Put the apples and blackberries into your food processor together and whiz for a few seconds until well blended.

then add dates

Then add the dates and thoroughly blend it all together.

transfer to bowl

Transfer the delicious jammy mixture into a bowl – then lick the spoon – mm mmm 😉

add oats

Mix in enough rolled oats to make a stiff mixture

put mixture in tin

and then transfer to a square tin.  Flatten down so that it’s smooth and even.  Put in fridge.

melt chocolate

Get some lovely vegan organic fair trade chocolate.

Melt it.

Cover your flapjacks.

Put them back into the fridge to set.  Done!

finished 1

finished 2

finished 3

finished 4

These are good!  And just so you know what that means coming from me I’ll be honest and say that I don’t normally like blackberries.  I so want to like all berries – I love the look and smell of all of them, I love picking them, but blueberries are the only berries I like the taste of.  I have previously not even been able to enjoy apple and blackberry pie or crumble with sugar on.  Just don’t like ’em.

Until now.  These flapjacks are yum.  Wholesome, beautiful, wild fruit and I love ’em.

This is quite a momentous occasion for me.  I hope you like them too 🙂

Free and Easy

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

mobile library

Going to the library is fun.  Browsing the books, choosing something you like and taking it home for weeks at a time.  For nothing.  This is something to be truly appreciated and not taken for granted.

If we don’t use it, we might lose it 😮

If you live in the sticks like us, miles from the nearest library building, there might be a mobile library that visits your area.  They usually come by every couple of weeks.  Contact your local county council to find out where and when your mobile library is coming next 🙂

A Walk With Alfred

DSCN1605

walk for health

walk for fun

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

walk for health and enjoyment

20

****

If you’d like to go for walks in your area, the following are some sites that could point you in the right direction:

Walk Unlimited

The Ramblers Association

and here you’ll find more information about why walking is good for your health:

The Benefits of Walking pdf

and here is detailed information about getting enough vitamin D

The Vitamin D Council