Making dairy farming a thing of the past, one farm at a time.

It’s easy to feel hopeless with the state of the world as it is.  Every year it gets hotter, animal suffering increases, and the powers that be do nothing to address it.  In fact they continue to subsidise it.

But then something comes along to really lift your spirits.

Refarm’d is a new plant-based drink subscription service, sourced lovingly from ex-dairy farmers.

They say:

WE HAVE THIS CRAZY IDEA

We want to turn all dairy farms into animal sanctuaries and we need you to convince these farmers to join the movement. 

We work with farmers to transition from milk production to focus on producing plant based drinks and convert their farmland into an animal sanctuary.

We believe that by uniting together with farmers and providing them with the tools they need to move away from the dairy trade, we’re offering a viable new opportunity for their businesses to be part of the growing plant based movement.

We will assist the ex-dairy farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land will be converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used for dairy farming.

Show your interest (no payment, no commitment) in buying fresh plant-based drinks from them and let us do the rest!

As much as the animal agriculture is terrible on multiple aspects, – [the animal suffering, the environmental destruction, the damage to human health] –  we cannot forget the farmers in these industries as well.

We believe the big majority of farmers are good people, that do care for their animals, but have just grown in an environment that normalizes animal exploitation so it has become a part of their identity, making it hard to take a step back and make changes.

The industry is in danger and most big companies have noticed it and adapt to the new market in order to survive. Small companies, family businesses however are the ones suffering the most. Lack of money, lack of time and lack of information make it hard on them to go in the right direction. The pressure, the insecurity as well as the very low buying prices (often selling for less than production costs) make for very uncomfortable living conditions.

We want to include helping the farmers in our mission to create the future of farming.

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ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Farms are actually ideal places to become an animal sanctuary. They already have the land, the animals and the people that care for them [they wouldn’t be short of volunteers – I’d love to help look after the cows!]. No need to move animals, they can stay as a herd, nor to use more resources like land to create a new sanctuary.

Farmers joining our program have to give up any form of animal exploitation totally and to fully transition to an animal sanctuary.

Animals are put under legal protection and farmers under contract.  Regular inspections and veterinary checks are performed to make sure of the animals’ well being.

The sanctuary is not working with donations.  Instead, a part of the plant-based drinks price is dedicated to sustain these animals.

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So what Refarm’d need is enough people to tell them they’re interested so that they can go to the farmers and say – look, if you convert to plant-milk production, we’ve got the market ready and waiting for you.  It’s scary for farmers to take the plunge, they need to know they can make a living from plant milk.

They need us to tell them “If you make it, we will buy.”

So go on, get over to Refarm’d and tell them you’re interested (there’s a button to click if you scroll down the homepage).  Then you fill in a short questionnaire.  It asks you what country and town you live in, and how much milk you would want to buy per week, and whether you would want it delivered, or whether you’d pick it up from the farm.  Added bonus: it comes in refillable glass bottles!  NB VERY IMPORTANT:  when filling in the questionnaire you have to click NEXT and it takes you to what looks like a blank page, but it isn’t blank.  You have to scroll up to find a couple more questions including name and email address and you can leave a comment or ask a question.  Make sure you finish it otherwise they won’t be able to get back to you 😀

This is truly awesome!  Please share far and wide!

Save the cows,

the gentle, beautiful cows.

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vegan for the animals

vegan for the planet

vegan for the humans

vegan for the farmers

It’s too hot! God help the animals!

EU must help animal farmers transition to plant-crop farming to benefit from plant-based boom, experts tell MEPs

(An article from the Humane Society International/Europe, 6 March 2019)

Brussels – European Union policy makers are being urged to help farmers transition away from animal agriculture and towards plant-crop farming in order to capitalise on the growing trend in plant-based eating.  Speaking at an event this week at the European Parliament organised by Humane Society International/Europe, farmers, ecologists and academics agreed there is an urgent need for the EU to support transition farming to help farmers adapt and seize the economic opportunity of consumer diets shifting away from meat, dairy and eggs.

A major report from the Rise Foundation recently warned that Europe’s meat and dairy production must be halved by 2050 in recognition of its significant contribution to environmental degradation such as greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. The EU currently raises 9 billion farm animals for food each year – with more than 360 million of these animals spending all or part of their lives in intensive cage systems – and globally the figure is an estimated 82 billion animals.

Oxford University’s Dr Marco Springmann, and Harvard University’s Dr Helen Harwatt were joined at the Brussels symposium event by ecologist and rewilding expert Alan Watson Featherstone, and Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson who is transitioning his pig farm to grow oats for a plant-milk company.  Policy makers were also treated to Europe’s first public screening of BAFTA 2019 award winning short film 73 Cows about British cattle farmers Jay and Katja Wilde who sent their herd to a sanctuary and switched to crop cultivation instead.

Alexandra Clark, HSI/Europe’s food policy consultant, said

“European consumers are more aware than ever of the animal welfare and environmental impacts of meat, dairy and egg production.  The current level of animal production is simply unsustainable, and the continued growth of plant-based alternatives is inevitable.  This presents Europe’s farmers with an exciting opportunity to meet this changing demand by transitioning away from industrial animal agriculture to plant-crop production.  With the current reform of the EU’s agricultural policy, MEPs have a clear chance to assist farmers in those transition efforts by shifting subsidies away from propping up industrial animal production, and instead supporting farmers switch to fruit, vegetables, fungi, grains and leguminous crops that are growing in demand from an increasingly plant-based public.”

The EU is currently reforming its Common Agricultural Policy, with a crucial vote planned in the Agriculture Committee in early April. Dr Helen Harwatt from Harvard University believes this is a major opportunity for EU policymakers to take leadership in animal to plant protein agricultural shifts.

Dr Harwatt said:

“Repurposing portions of agricultural land to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be crucial for limiting warming to 1.5°C.  In turn, restoring this land to its natural habitat opens the door for reintroducing animal species, which would help toward tackling the wildlife crisis.  Animal to plant protein shifts are essential and policy makers must ensure that policies and support are put in place to help farmers make this transition”

Swedish farmer Adam Arnesson has shifted his farm production from solely animal-based to the cultivation of multiple crops for human consumption including oats for oat milk production.  In doing so he has doubled the number of people his output feeds annually and halved the climate impact per calorie.

Farmers Jay and Katja Wilde, who star in Alex Lockwood’s 73 Cows short film, were keen for MEPs to understand that the pressure and fear for the future that many animal farmers feel, could be alleviated if support existed to help them ‘plant for the planet’.

Speaking at the EU Parliament screening of 73 Cows, Jay Wilde said:

“We are thrilled that our film has come to the European Parliament where we hope it inspires politicians to vote for a better future for both farmers and animals. Giving our cows to a sanctuary to live out their years in a safe haven was the best decision of our lives, it became the only decision when sending them to the abattoir was no longer something I could live with.  But it’s been a very scary journey too because you’re stepping into the unknown.  This shift in farming isn’t just a personal choice, its necessary to protect the environment, so if there was financial and practical support to help farmers like me plant for the planet, it would make life so much easier.”

Spanish MEP Florent Marcellesi said

“We need to leave behind our unsustainable farming model and animal-based diets. Instead, we should turn as soon as possible to ecologic plant-based ones and build a farming model which is sustainable, healthy and respectful to animal welfare.”

Italian MEP Eleonora Evi said

“Climate change is here, it’s already happening.  For our sake but also for the sake of every other species on this planet, we need to take action to mitigate its effects by adopting an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.  This means opening up the dialogue to different stakeholders.  The agriculture sector has one of the highest levels of emissions, and therefore must become part of the solution.  The transition to sustainable production methods and re-naturalization of agricultural areas must inevitably be considered.”

Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen said

“If everyone would shift their diets towards plant-based, it would be beneficial for public health, animal welfare, biodiversity and climate.”

Facts:

  • Up to 20 percent (€ 32.6 billion) of the EU’s entire annual budget is spent on animal agriculture (including feed)
  • Around 71 percent of EU farmland is used to grow animal feed
  • According to Euromonitor, in 2017 plant-based milks represented 12 percent of the global fluid milk market, and dairy alternatives are predicted to grow to a market value of €19bn by 2022
  • Europe is currently the largest market for meat substitutes, having a 39 percent global market share and, with an eight percent annual growth rate, they are predicted to reach a global net worth of €4.2bn by 2020
  • A 2017 report by Rabobank suggests that alternative proteins could represent a third of total EU protein demand growth in the next five years
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission found that a transformation to healthy diets from sustainable food systems is necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement
  • The EAT-Lancet Commission also found that transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts, including a greater than 50 percent reduction in global consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar, and a greater than 100 percent increase in consumption of healthy foods, such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, and legumes
  • Humane Society International’s Forward Food program is one of the largest plant-based culinary training programs globally.  Aimed at encouraging universities, caterers, and other institutions to provide more vegan options, Forward Food helps to facilitate diet shifts at scale.  HSI believes that by making animal-free food options tastier, more satisfying and widely available, more and more people will opt for meat-free meals which is good news for animals, people and the planet.

Reflecto Girl loves Vego!

If you haven’t tried Vego you are missing out!

It is chocolatey deliciousness at its most exquisite.  It’s vegan, organic and fair trade: pure guilt-free indulgence.

You should be able to find them at a health food store near you but if you can’t, pop over to the VeganKind Supermarket to mail-order them 😀

As well as the whole hazelnut vegan mylk chocolate bar (pictured), Vego make a dark chocolate nuts and berries bar, a white chocolate bar, a chocolate spread, and chocolate nougat pralines.  It’s all absolutely heavenly and, the best part – the company is totally vegan owned and vegan run.  So you know when you spend money on Vego, it’ll only be used for good things 😀

So go on – do as Reflecto Girl does: have a Vego! 😀

We interrupt this story to bring you …. frozen greens!

I’m thrilled to tell you that you can now get quality, organic, frozen veg packaged in nothing but a cardboard box!

It’s really hard to get enough greens when you’re trying to avoid plastic – unless you can grow your own.

But now that I’ve found these we can have our organic greens every day!

And they’re so easy to add to any meal.  No washing or chopping.  Just put some of these in a saucepan to gently warm – I put them in with my baked beans.

I bought them from the brilliant Sunny Foods Health Food shop in South Street, Eastbourne, but I’ve seen them in the Health Food Shop in Rye and the one in Hastings so hopefully you’ll be able to find them near you.

One thing’s for sure – I’m going to make sure my freezer is always stocked up with healthy, organic, plastic-free veg from the Natural Cool rangecheck it out! 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, healthy, plastic-free, plastic pollution, plastic packaging, zero waste, organic, organic vegetables,

Vegan Cafe Library!

library post

Oh My Goodness vegan cafe at the Enterprise Centre behind the station in Eastbourne is now providing a free library of gorgeous vegan comics and story books 😀  You can help yourself to any book, or as many books as you like, take them home and bring them back when you’re finished with them.  It’s a simple as that!

Plus there’s also free fairy tales to keep, and puzzle pages, jigsaw puzzles and colouring books to enjoy while you’re waiting for your food!  What a brilliant cafe!  The food is also awesome 😀

Delicious food.  Free library.  Free fairy tales.  Wordsearches.  Crosswords.  Colouring Books.  Jigsaw puzzles.

Now that’s what I call a great venue!

Go on, treat yourself!  Get on down to Oh My Goodness vegan cafe, Enterprise Shopping Centre, Station Parade, Eastbourne, E. Sussex, BN21 1BD – and borrow some comics! 😀

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vegan, vegan books, vegan cafe, vegan food, vegan jigsaws, vegan colouring books, vegan venues

Oh My Goodness Vegan Store!

This place is wonderful! 😀

It’s at the Enterprise Centre, a lovely little shopping centre behind the station, in Eastbourne.

There are two small cosy seating areas, and a scrumptious selection of delicious food to choose from.

The food there is not only delicious, it’s healthy!  There are plenty of fresh fruit and salad options as well as scrummy baked goods, sweet and savoury.  They do this amazing sausage roll with tomato relish in!  My goodness!

I’ve never been an adventurous eater so eating at Oh My Goodness has introduced me to all sorts of delectable foods I’d never tried before, prepared in a way that makes them irresistible.

I am not at all surprised that these tomato-relished sausage rolls did not remain on the plate long enough to be photographed.

So, the food is amazing – that much we’ve established – but what sets this vegan cafe apart from the rest is that they are now selling vegan books for children! 😀

Just inside the door is a bookcase, and on the top shelf of that book case is a small selection of our comics and story books for sale.

We are so excited! 😀

So if you want a good feed, and a good read, you know where to go! 😀

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Food and cafe photos found at Google reviews.

vegan, vegetarian, Eastbourne, vegan food, vegan cafe, vegan books, vegan holidays, vegan tourists, animal rights,

One of many possibilities

Sherman and Geynes episode 3 continues:

S&G3 p16 reducedS&G3 p17 reduced

The end 🙂

Want more? Click here for more Sherman and Geynes stories or click here to go to the main menu, and choose a story from our entire selection, for ages one to one hundred and one.

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veggie kids, vegetarian children, vegan children, animal-friendly stories for children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegetarian children’s books, detective stories for children, mystery, imagination, pretend detectives, fantasy, Django’s vegan cafe, search the town, Pretend detectives, is that on after Doctor Who? Clarinet lessons, cake.

Wait a minute

Sherman and Geynes episode 3 continues:

S&G3 p13 reducedS&G3 p14 reducedS&G3 p15 reduced

Come back tomorrow for the end of the story!

Can’t wait? Click here to read the whole story now.

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veggie kids, vegetarian children, vegan children, animal-friendly stories for children, vegan children’s stories, vegan children’s books, vegetarian children’s books, detective stories for children, mystery, imagination, pretend detectives, fantasy, Django’s vegan cafe, search the town, is that on after Doctor Who? Clarinet lessons, cake.

Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Little Miss Greylag

Little Miss Greylag

Sat on a beanbag

Eating her mint Moo Free.

Along came a rabbit

Who tried hard to grab it

So Miss Greylag went straight home for tea.

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nursery rhymes, vegan nursery rhymes, vegan chocolate, vegan, organic, fair trade, Moo Free Chocolate

Macka B – Cucumber

I’ve always loved cucumbers but if it’s possible, now I love them even more 😀

I even grew some of my own this year – I got a bumper crop from just 2 plants and they are absolutely scrumptious 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

For more vegan music, pop over to the music page 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, home grown, music, vegan music, health, healthy food,

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 😀

More Plastic-Free Easter Eggs!

This time it’s from good ole Plamil – and they’re shouting from the rooftops about its plastic-freeness 😀

Of course we wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t also vegan, organic and fair trade, but it is, so we are 😀

We also wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t absolutely scrummy.  And it is 🙂 so we are!

Mmmmmm, this won’t last long 😉

Get some from your local health food shop now 😀

Plastic Free Easter Eggs

Here is a scrummy Easter Egg which ticks all the right boxes:

VEGAN

ORGANIC

FAIR TRADE

And it’s not wrapped in plastic!!! 😀

Just a cardboard box with a delicious, foil-wrapped, chocolate egg inside.  Remember when they were all like that?  Not so long ago.

It just goes to show, there’s no need to contaminate the planet, milk a cow or enslave a child to enjoy a yummy Easter egg 😀

Get over to Holland & Barrett for yours! 😀

Yum 😀

 

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.

Plastic Free Crisps!!!

For anyone determined to avoid plastic, non-essentials like crisps are the first to go.  But now thanks to Walkers, they don’t have to be!

Walkers have brought out cardboard tubes of crisps without even a plastic lid!  The top is cardboard which is easy to peel off, so absolutely no plastic required.

So, when you’re feeling snackish and want something crunchy and savoury, grab yourself a tube of Walkers Stax 😀

[ DISCLAIMER: These are not a health food 😉 ]

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Click here for the rest of our PLASTIC AVOIDANCE TACTICS 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 3

Real Food

Once you’ve accepted that you can’t always get organic, it’s not difficult to avoid plastic.  If you can’t find enough loose produce at your usual supermarket, find out if there’s a good old fashioned market in your town.  We’ve found one which is just a big fruit and veg stall in the town centre, once or twice a week.  The guys who run it are really friendly, they sell quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, provide small (compostable) paper bags to fill, and it’s very good value for money – much better even than the supermarkets.  Just take your own shopping bags and get them to weigh as much as you need.  We bought a big 12.5 kg sack of Desiree potatoes from them for just £5!

We also have a health food shop not too far away which sells a small selection of loose organic produce which is great although we can’t get there every week.

Or you might be able to find a local organic produce grower who operates a veg box scheme whereby you order a weekly veg box from them and they deliver it to your door.  They will be happy to leave the box in a designated safe place if you’re going to be out and you’ll get a great selection of whatever is in season. The soil Association will help you find a scheme near you 🙂

As for other necessary staples – you can probably get most of them in glass jars or tins.  We used to buy lentils, sultanas, pasta, tofu, cereal etc etc in plastic packets because we thought we couldn’t avoid it, but now we’re getting our lentils in tins and we’ll manage without cereal, pasta and dried fruit.  We buy organic oats in paper bags and I’ll mix them with fresh fruit for my breakfast instead of sultanas.

*Since writing this I have discovered the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful mail order company in London from whom you can order organic dried fruit, nuts, grains, pasta, sugar, pulses, seeds, cocoa, popcorn, herbs and spices and more! You order it by weight and they mail it to you wrapped in paper bags.  See Plastic Avoidance: Part 7.

Things like vinegar, ketchup and oil are easy to get in glass bottles, although sadly I don’t think there’s any way of avoiding the plastic pouring spout they put in the oil bottles.  But I always think, even if everything is not as perfect as you’d like it to be, the world would be a better place if everyone at least did this.  Same goes for things like cocoa powder and gravy granules – they come in cardboard tubs with metal bottoms and a plastic lid.  Sometimes mostly plastic-free is the best you can do.

Lots of other staples that have always been wrapped in paper, still are.  You can get bread in paper bags from a bakery, or you can make your own.  I haven’t been able to buy salt without plastic wrapping but if you buy things with salt already added – like the stock cubes above (paper-wrapped in a cardboard box) – then you can manage without it.Something else to be aware of is that tea bags (which are supposed to be compostable) are actually made of 20% plastic.  See here for a great post with more details about that and sign this petition aimed at getting Unilever to remove all plastic from their tea bags.  Be aware though, it’s not just Unilever that does it, this is common practice.  The only way to be sure you’re not getting plastic is to buy loose tea leaves 🙂 And if you check this out you’ll see that there are a lot more uses for tea leaves than just a relaxing drink.

Need a meal in a hurry?  Well, you can’t buy hash browns or oven chips anymore, but look what you can buy!  There are all sorts of delicious and convenient ready-prepared vegan goodies in cardboard containers in the freezer section of your supermarket.

So whadaya need plastic for?

Not much!

ps I’ve just found out you can even buy plastic-free crisps 😀

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twofourfive,  six and seven

PS:

Now you can get frozen ORGANIC veg that’s just packaged in a cardboard box – no plastic bag inside! 😀

veg group reduced

Look for it at your local health food shop and if they don’t have it, ask them to stock it 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part Two

Sweet Treats

Doing without plastic doesn’t have to mean doing without.

Let’s get our priorities straight and start with chocolate 😀

The chocolates pictured above tick all the right boxes:

1.  They’re vegan

2.   They’re fair trade (included on the ethical chocolate list)

3.  They’re organic

and

4.  They’re wrapped the old-fashioned way: in foil and paper 😀

  • Since I wrote this, Vivani have replaced the aluminium foil in their chocolate wrappers with a new clear film called natureflex foil.  It is a completely sustainable film made on the basis of wood fibre which is fully compostable (in good composting conditions approximately within 40 days).

In fact, as far as we can tell, there is only one downside to these particular chocolates – they don’t last long! 😉

Vivani is new to us and we’re so glad we found them.  Their chocolate is absolutely gorgeous – I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate over the years and I think I can confidently say that this is the best ever!  My favourite is the White Nougat Crisp, no, the Mandel Orange Rice Choc, no no, it’s the Crispy Corn Flakes Rice Choc …. no, I can’t choose between them, their entire vegan range is completely amazing (be aware that sadly not all their products are vegan, but a lot of them are).  Check out their whole range here 🙂

The Ombars are gorgeous too – especially for those who like their chocolate rich and dark and nutritious, coz it’s raw 🙂 Everything is wonderfully vegan and look what they say about their packaging:

“Like you, we believe in recycling.  So we wrap our bars in recyclable aluminium foil and paper, and ship them in fully-recyclable cardboard. Did you know our button bags are fully compostable? Just throw them in your compost bin with vegetable peelings – within a few weeks the bag will have completely broken down and returned to nature.” (see their FAQs)

We got all these treats from our local Health Food Shop, and we’ve seen Ombars in Waitrose, but if you can’t find them near you, you can buy Ombars online here and Vivani lists their worldwide stockists here 🙂 And of course you can probably find them on Amazon 😉

Fingers crossed whoever mails them to you doesn’t use plastic 😮

But, if you’re having trouble getting hold of those, why not pick up a big bar of vegan, organic, fair trade cooking chocolate from the supermarket?  Good ole Green & Black’s Dark Cooking chocolate is also only wrapped in foil and paper and it’s absolutely delicious in home baked chocolate chip cookies 😀

Speaking of baking, if you want more than just chocolate in your plastic-free sweet treat artillery you can make cakes and biscuits yourself.  Vegan recipes use oil instead of margarine, which can be bought organic in glass bottles; flour comes in paper bags and sugar … well, I have in recent years felt compelled to buy sugar in plastic bags because I wanted organic fair trade.  However, in prioritising plastic avoidance, I have discovered that I can buy paper-wrapped sugar that is pretty ethical 🙂  I had mistakenly believed that all white sugar had been whitened with bone-char.  However, it seems that’s just cane sugar, not sugar beet.  Sugar from sugar beet is vegan!

(NB: Since writing this I have discovered I can buy organic fair trade sugar without plastic wrapping from the Zero Waste Club 🙂 )

Silver Spoon proudly state their commitment to eco-friendliness on their packets:

“Sustainability is nothing new to us – we’ve been working on it for 30 years.  Our sugar beet is homegrown and our bags are recyclable, made with paper from certified forests.  We send nothing to landfill and our excess production energy helps to power British homes.”

 They work directly with 1200 British farmers in East Anglia who grow the beets which are then transported just a short distance to the factory in Bury St Edmunds (also in East Anglia 😀 )

Not bad eh?

So far so plastic-free good.

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts three, four, five , six and seven

Good instincts

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 🙂

Chapter 16 continues from yesterday:

Mum opened the bedroom door.

“Luke, don’t you want to help decorate the tree?”

“erm, no thanks,” he said without looking at her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you sure?  You haven’t been yourself since we went to the Maybury Centre.”

Luke didn’t say anything.  Mum tried again.

“What happened to upset you?  I thought you’d like it there.”

Luke let go of his trains, sat back and looked at her.

“I’m fed up.”

“Why?”

“Coz I’m fed up of grown ups not doin’ what they say.”

Mrs Walker waited for more.

“Maybury is a animal sanctry wot says it teaches people to be kind to animals.  A man from Maybury even came to give a talk at school to tell us not to keep animals in small cages, or let them have puppies.”

“Okay,”

“So why do people whose whole job is lookin’ after animals and teachin’ other people to look after ’em prop’ly, still let animals be killed for food?  Why don’t they care about them animals?  Why do they on’y care about some animals?”

“What makes you think …”

“They sell dead animals in their cafe.”

“Really?  That does surprise me.”

“If I can’t trust people whose job is lookin’ after animals then I can’t trust nobody.  ‘cept myself!”

“Ooh, that’s hard.  No wonder you’re fed up,” said Mum sympathetically.

“And Joe,” he admitted.

“Well, that’s something.  But you know Luke, you shouldn’t give up.  You should tell them how you feel.  You should tell them you are offended by their decision to sell meat in their cafe.”

“I did tell ’em.”

“Good.  And what did they say?”

“Nothin’ sensible.  Jus’ said it was okay coz it was rangin’ and stainable.  Rubbish!”

“Tell them again.  Write them a letter.”

“What’s the point?  They won’t take no notice o’ me.”

Mrs Walker was sorry her son felt so discouraged.  It was a terrible thing to lose your faith in humanity at such a young age.

“The thing is,” she told him, “you never know when someone might listen.  The only thing you can be sure of is that if you don’t say anything, they definitely won’t get the message.”

Luke looked at her and didn’t say anything.

“Come with me, come and help decorate the tree,” she said.

When they got to the living room Jared and Dad already had things well underway.  The tree was gleaming with glittery gold and silver tinsel and different coloured shiny baubles.

“Mm, pretty good,” said Mum, “but it’s missing something.”

“The star for the top,” said Jared, “I’m just about to do it.”

“Something else,” said Mum and she left the room.

A moment later she was back with a small box from the kitchen.  She handed it to Luke.

“No Christmas tree is complete without a few sweet treats,” she said, smiling.

Luke looked in the box.  It was full of chocolate Santas.  On the wrappers were the words:

Moo Free Organic Chocolate,

DAIRY FREE, GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN

Luke’s jaw dropped and his eyes lit up.

“Are these for me?”  he asked.

“No, greedy boy, they’re for all of us!  Why don’t you hang them on the tree?”

“But, … how come …?”

“I found your leaflets,” Mum explained.

“What leaflets?”

“The ones stuffed in the back pocket of your black cords; the black cords you shoved under the bed and forgot about I don’t know how long ago.”

“Oh, I wondered where they were.”

“Well I found them and I checked the pockets before putting them in the wash, and there were these leaflets.  One with a picture of a cow on the front entitled ‘The Dark Side of Dairy’ and one with a cute little brown and white piglet on the front entitled ‘Think Before You Eat’.”

“And you read them?”

“And I read them.”

“And that’s why …?”

“Yes it is,” she paused for a moment, searching for the right words.  “Luke,” she went on, “you have good instincts.  When you started this crusade for animals you did it on instinct.  You hadn’t been told any of the shocking facts and figures that are in those leaflets, you just knew it wasn’t right.  And you did something about it.  You spoke out bravely and you acted.  You broke the rules when you felt you had to and you endured punishments, but you never wavered; you never stopped fighting.”

Luke nodded.  He wasn’t sure why his mum was explaining something that she must have known he already knew, but he waited.  It would become clear eventually.  She continued.

“So I don’t want you to give up hope now.  I want you to know that if you keep trying, you will make a difference.  You have already made a difference for Curly and Little Squirt and the rabb.., er, the damsons, but even more than that, you’re a good influence on other people.”

Now, those were words Luke never thought he’d hear from his mother.

“You have been a good influence on us.”

At this point she took his hand, led him into the kitchen and opened the freezer.

“What d’you fancy for Christmas dinner?” she asked.

Luke looked in the freezer.  It was full – Mum always did a big shop for the Christmas holidays – and there were quite a few unfamiliar boxes and cartons.  He lifted them out one at a time to read the descriptions:

Cauldron Wholefood Burgers

Made with Chickpeas, Cauliflower, Aduki Beans, Broad Beans, Spinach, Onions, Garlic & Potatoes

Cauldron Wholefood Sausages

Made with Grilled Vegetables (Peppers, Courgette, Onion), Beans & Wheat

Cauldron Aduki Bean Melt

“The combination of aduki beans, spinach and mushrooms deliciously filled with mango chutney and carefully coated in breadcrumbs gives a satisfyingly moreish taste.”

Biona Red Lentil Sun Seed Burger

A flavoursome vegan burger made with red lentils, pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a subtle hint of spice. Made using all natural, organic ingredients and free from artificial colours or flavours. Perfect loaded with your favourite burger toppings, added to salads or dipped in sweet chilli sauce as a tasty and nutritious snack.

Can be eaten hot or cold.

Dee’s 6 Leek & Onion Vegan Sausages

The perfect partner to velvety mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, our Leek and Onion Sausages will become an instant family favourite on your weekly menu.

Dragonfly Organic Bubble & Squeak Tatty

Our Tatty is a vegetarian burger that has a real bubble & squeak feel about it, made using locally sourced cabbage and onions

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Country Pies

Vegetarian pie made from a shortcrust pastry base, filled with rehydrated textured soya protein in a rich onion and beef-style gravy, topped with a puff pastry lid.

Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage Rolls

Vegetarian Cumberland sausage-style filling wrapped in puff pastry.

And there were three flavours of luxury organic vegan ice cream:

Booja Booja Hazelnut Chocolate Truffle, Booja Booja Raspberry Ripple and Booja Booja Caramel Pecan Praline.

Luke was no longer fed up.  He smiled broadly at his mum.

“Are these for all of us?”

“Yes they are.  For all of us,” she said happily, “and I got them from Besco’s.  They sell them in mainstream supermarkets Luke and that just shows how much progress you’re making.  That’s what happens when you speak out and you keep speaking out.”

Mrs Walker was treated to a rare hug which lasted a good half minute, and then Luke ran from the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” she called after him.

“I’ve got some letters to write!” he said.

Happy Christmas everybody!

We hope you have a good one!

❤ ❤ We’ll see you in the New Year! 😀 ❤ ❤

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, veggie kids, animals, animal sanctuary, Christmas, children’s story, vegan children’s story, children’s book, vegan children’s book, juvenile fiction, hope

Changing the subject

To read the rest of the Luke Walker stories, click here 😀

Chapter 14 continues from yesterday:

Luke decided to change the subject.

“Where shall we put these then?” he asked.

“Not here,” said Mr Beardsley, “or they might get eaten.  Put them on my desk behind the screen.”

The boys did as they were told and made their way through small huddles of various royalty, warriors and poets, a couple of Shakespeares and a Jesus.  No sooner had they placed the food on the desk than Mr Beardsley asked Joe to give him the treacle scones and string so that he could set up the game.  They would be starting in about ten minutes he told them.  Music was already playing and a few people danced self-consciously in the middle of the room.

“This one’s for you Joe,” came a familiar voice through the speaker when the record changed.

Luke and Joe looked around to see Simon Butler behind a turntable across the room, dressed in a short blonde beard; a gold fitted jacket zipped up to his neck; short gold trousers fastened below the knee; long socks and large-buckled shoes.  He thought he was so cool because Mr Beardsley had let him be the DJ.  The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum by Fun Boy Three filled the room and Butler laughed excessively at his own joke.  Luke and Joe paid him a visit.

“So glad you took my advice Joe,” he said privately, “you look even more like a loon than usual!”

“I’m Pythagoras,” said Joe, holding up the right-angled triangle he’d made out of three rulers.

“Oh, yeah, I know you think so, lunatics often think they’re somebody famous,” he chuckled smugly.

“I’m not a lunatic! I am Pythag…”

“What are you s’posed to be anyway?” Luke interrupted their pointless argument to draw attention to Butler’s ridiculous ensemble.

“Sir Walter Raleigh,” Butler confessed without shame.

Luke cast his best contemptuous glance at his arch enemy and said nothing.

“Okay, switch the music off now Simon, it’s time for the games to begin,” Mr Beardsley called across the room.

Mr Beardsley and Thomas had put out four small tables at intervals around the room.  They were set up with different traditional Halloween games.

“Take it in turns to play the games at each table,” Blackbeard instructed, “have fun!”  He was the kind of teacher who didn’t believe in too much control.  He liked to give the children enough room to find their own way and, since he’d already explained the games in class, he chose not to recap.  “You can put the music back on now Simon,” he added.

“This table is for apple bobbing,” said Thomas who, unlike his colleague, preferred to make sure things were being done properly.  “One at a time.  Katia – you go first.”

Luke and Joe decided to come back later for apples and wandered over to see what was on the next table.  Joe’s treacle-covered scones, with long lengths of string tied to them, were suspended above the table and dangled at different heights.  Queen Elizabeth I and Boudicca were already tucking in.  With hands held behind their backs, Tania and Isabel tried to bite the scones and every time they got a nibble, the sticky pendulums swung away and then back, bumping their noses, their chins, their cheeks and their hair.  Boudicca, being less concerned about her appearance than the Queen, finished her scone first and bowed her grinning, sticky head in gratitude for the applause of her peers.  Queen Liz, dignified in defeat, shook her opponent’s hand and went to the sink to wash her face.

“Us next!” said Luke, standing beside the table and leaning forward.  “Go!” he shouted before Joe was ready, and tried to grab an untouched scone in his teeth.

Joe hurried to join in but found himself at a disadvantage when one scone stuck to his thick beard, just below his bottom lip, and prevented him from getting close to any other.  Thomas laughed and reminded Joe that he couldn’t use his hands but he needn’t have said anything because Joe was not a cheater.  Luke was the clear victor, finishing his scone in just four bites, and afterwards Joe was allowed to manually detach his scone from his beard and eat it normally.  There were less hairs on it than one might expect.

At the next table were small plates with chunks of barm brack on them, cut from the fruit breads that Luke and a couple of other people had made.

“I’ve got a coin!” said Isabel as she broke up her piece with a fork, “that means I’m going to be rich!”

“I think you’re s’posed to just bite it,” said Joe, “it might not work if you pull it apart like that.”

“I don’t wanna risk choking!” Isabel explained sensibly.

“Plus it’s dirty,” added Tania, “money’s really dirty you know.  Just think how many people have touched it without washing their hands.”

Joe had already bitten into his chunk of barmbrack and discovered that he too had a coin.  He spat it quickly into his hand.

“It’s not dirty,” Luke assured him, “don’t ya think I washed ’em before I put ’em in?”

“Is this the one that you made?” Joe asked, a little relieved.

“Yeah,” said Luke confidently, “well, it looks …, yeah, definitely.”

Luke bit into his piece of bread and found only currants and orange peel.

At the next table were three large dishes of colcannon, accompanied by a stack of small bowls and spoons.  The game was the same.  If you found a coin it meant you would be rich; if you found a ring it meant you would find true love.  Luke hadn’t had any rings to put into his baking, and he’d put all his spare coins into his barm brack, so he loaded his bowl from the colcannon he’d made himself, knowing that the only thing he was in danger of finding was a pile of delicious grub.  Thoughtful as always, he didn’t spoil the game for the others by telling them that.

A few minutes later, Luke, Joe, Tania and Isabel, all happy in spite of finding nothing but cabbage in their mash, found their newly stimulated appetites craved more and made their way to the long table.  It was a good job they hadn’t left it any longer as many of the other children were already digging in and the good stuff was going fast.  Luke took a large paper plate from the pile and filled it with roasted sweetcorn, monkey nuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, bonfire toffee and … oh no, Joe got the last toffee apple.

“Oh, do you want it?”  Joe offered when his hand reached it just before Luke’s.

“Nah,” said Luke, trying to sound casual, “it’s yours.”

“We’ll share it,”  Joe decided.

Luke smiled.

“Okay.”  This was a good party.

Then he noticed something bad on the table.  Something not in keeping with the celebration.  Something odious.  Something which was in shockingly bad taste: Scotch eggs.

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story continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you can’t wait you can read the whole of Chapter 14 now 😉

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vegan children’s story, children’s book, children’s stories, juvenile fiction, vegan children, veggie kids, vegan, vegetarian, Halloween, humor, humour, comedy, funny, vegan children’s books

Feigning self-sacrifice

Chapter ten continues 🙂

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Dinner was almost over and Jared was helping Mum clear the table.

“Hurry up Luke,” Jared was impatient to get to Youth Club and wasn’t allowed to go until he’d done the washing up.

“You want me to get indigestion I suppose!” said Luke, not really surprised that his brother would be so blasé about the dangers of rushing one’s food. He’d learned about them from the Rennie advert. “You want me to get acid an’ a burnin’ heart from eatin’ too fast do you?”

Truth be told, Luke was just full up. He really wanted that last roast potato but knew he couldn’t swallow another mouthful. He pushed his plate away.

“Go on then – take it,” he said, feigning self-sacrifice.

Mum ignored them both and went upstairs to run a bath. Luke followed her.

“Do you want your lavender bubble bath Mum?” he asked helpfully, “the one I got you for your birthday?”

Mrs Walker smiled.

“Yes please, it’s on my dressing table.”

Luke brought it to her.

“D’you want me to get your KT Tunstall CD? The one I gave you for Mother’s Day?”

“Wasn’t that from both of you?”

“Yeah, but it was me what chose it. Jared wanted to get you a set of tea towels but I said that wasn’t a relaxin’ present. I told ‘im Mother’s Day is for mothers to relax so it had to be a relaxin’ present.”

Mum nodded slowly.

“Is there something you want Luke?” she asked.

“No, you just have a nice bath. I’ll get the CD for you,” he volunteered.

“Wait,” said Mum, quiet but firm. “What do you want?”

“Oh nothin’ really,”

“Luke.”

“Well it’s nothin’ much, jus’ thought I’d better mention that I’ve bin feelin’ hungrier at lunch times and I could really do with a bigger lunch.”

“Really?” She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head, “since when?”

“Well, jus’ this week really, but I think I’ll be hungrier from now on coz I’m growin’ fast.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

“So, just how much extra food do you think you’ll need?”

“Prob’ly about twice as much I should think,” he said nonchalantly.

“Twice as much?” she exclaimed with exaggerated surprise, “So that would be two sandwiches, two bags of crisps, four pieces of fruit and two cakes?”

Luke nodded.

Mum shook her head.

“I’m sorry Luke, we just don’t have enough money in the budget to give you two lunches every day. I’m sorry if that means you’ll stop growing but we should be thankful that you’ve had a good spurt recently.”

Luke had a sneaking suspicion she was being facetious.  He frowned.  As he turned to leave she called him back.

“Don’t forget my CD,” she reminded him, smiling, “and tell Jared not to give the potato you didn’t have room for to Dudley or he’ll get the runs.”

****

The following morning Joe called for Luke and they walked to school together.  When they reached the bins outside the Memorial Hall, Joe stopped and took out his sandwich.  Egg mayonnaise.  Before Luke could stop him he tossed the whole thing into the bin.

“So, what have we got for lunch today?” Joe smiled, enjoying the quiet rebellion.  Luke felt awkward.

“Well, erm, …”

Joe’s smile faded.

“Couldn’t you get it?” he asked, disappointed.

“Well, it’s not that I couldn’t get it,” Luke didn’t want to admit defeat, “it’s just that I was thinkin’ a lot about it and I decided that actchally it’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?” said Joe, feeling hungry already.

“Well, if your mum still gives you meat and eggs and cheese and stuff, even though you don’t eat it, then it’s still bein’ bought for you, which means animals are still bein’ killed for you.”

“Oh. Yeah,” Joe agreed. He didn’t want that.

“So we’ve got to find a way to make your mum listen,” said Luke decisively.

Joe was not hopeful.

“She won’t listen.”

“She hasn’t listened yet,” Luke corrected him.  He liked a challenge. “We’ve just got to tell ‘er in a way she can’t ignore.”

Joe sighed.  He preferred to do things quietly.  Secretly.

******

Chapter ten continues tomorrow 🙂

For chapters 1 to 9 click here 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, books, children’s books, juvenile fiction

Mountains and Christmas and toy cars with doors that open

For the story so far click here 🙂

Wednesday 18 December

Jude has started drawing a cartoon strip.  It’s really good, she’s great at cartoons.  I really like the way she does people’s fingers and curly hair.  So far she’s drawn seven pictures.  I wonder what she’ll name her characters.  Naming characters is one of my favourite parts of writing stories.  I like to have a lot of characters when I write a story, just so I can name them all.

I sewed buttons onto my dress today.  It buttons down the back, and I sewed press studs to button it up, and blue buttons to decorate it.  And now my dress is finished!  I tried it on and it fits perfectly.  I love it!  And it’s ready in time for me to wear it for Christmas.

I also made some mermaids to live on the rocks next to my lighthouse.  I’m really pleased with them.  I made them out of some slinky shiny fabric I had in my sewing box.  I drew faces on them in felt tip and sewed long pink hair onto their heads. They look beautiful and they love playing in the water next to the lighthouse.

Thursday 19 December

Jude found the lip balm this morning and she’s really cross about it.  She won’t stop going on about it, as if I did it on purpose, which I didn’t!  I just wanted to see how far it would unwind to.  How could I have known that once it had unwound it wouldn’t wind back in? And I didn’t mean for it to break off either.  It was an accident.  She’s very angry.  She says I shouldn’t touch her stuff.

We have been making Christmas decorations out of paper and cardboard tubes and beads and glitter!  I also knitted a lot of my pig, but he’s still not finished.  He may have to be a belated Christmas present.

We read some more of These Happy Golden Years which is perfect to read in December because it is winter in the story.Tomorrow is the Christmas holidays!!!

Sunday 22 December

We are on holiday in Wales!  It’s brilliant here.  We came on the train and then we caught a bus which drove us through these winding roads over huge hills and valleys to this town and then we had to find the key to the cottage!  I really expected the bus to fall off the winding roads and slide down the side of the hills, but it didn’t.

It’s great here.  Jude and me have a room and Mum and Dad have a room, and downstairs there is an electric fire and a kitchen and a sofa.

We brought our stockings with us.  I’m a bit worried that Father Christmas won’t be able to find us because we’re in the wrong house, but Mum says he knows where we are.

Monday 23 December

There are some lovely shops in town, Mum has bought some books for us to learn Welsh when we get home.  There’s a Welsh-English dictionary, a book of phrases and a book of Welsh fairy tales.  We also went in the second hand shops and the junk shops, and I have started a collection of toy cars.  I have bought fourteen little cars, my favourite one is a little red Mini with doors that open and close.Tuesday 24 December

It’s Christmas Eve!  I’m so excited!  Today we went for a walk up the mountain, it was raining a bit so we wore our raincoats.  It was a long way up, so we didn’t go all the way. I think we got to the bottom of the mountain and then it was time to go home.  But the views were magical and we even saw a natural spring!

Tomorrow is Christmas!  We have never been away from home on Christmas before, it’s really fun!  We’ve left mince pies out for Father Christmas and carrots for his reindeer, because they will all be hungry.

Thursday 26 December

Yesterday was brilliant!  Father Christmas did find us, and he brought us lots of lovely presents! He brought me a T shirt with a green motorbike on it, and some veggie bears which are fruity sweet jellies!  He ate one of the mince pies we left out for him, and took the carrots we left out for all the reindeer.

We had roast potatoes and carrots and beans and sosmix toad-in-the-hole.  For a long time I thought toad-in-the-hole had something to do with Toad of Toad Hall from The Wind In The Willows, but it doesn’t.  I don’t know why they call it toad in the hole though.

We had crackers and party hats and mince pies too.  I had apple pie because I don’t like mince pie.  I try to like it every year, because it’s so Christmassy, but I never do.  I won a little rubber dinosaur in my cracker!

We had a great day playing games and watching Snow White which was on television. We also went for a walk on the mountain, which was beautiful.  When we got back we had missed the beginning of The Great Escape, but we watched the rest of it, it’s such an exciting film.

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And that brings us to the end of December and therefore the end of Chapter 3  but don’t go far, Jude and the other one will be back soon to start a happy new home-schooling year in Chapter 4: January 😀

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Wales, holiday, Christmas, vegan, vegetarian, veggie kids, home school, home education, Cader Idris, mountains, vegan Christmas dinner, children, family

The biggest jar I have ever seen

For the story so far click here 🙂

Friday 13 December

Today we did more digging in the garden, which is a lot of hard work, but it is fun to be outside for science.

For lunch we had peanut butter and yeast extract on toast.  We’d got a giant jar of yeast extract from Daily Bread which is the biggest jar I have ever seen.

We watched the antiques programme where they have to look around a market and buy things and then hope they are worth a lot of money to win.  I don’t like it as much as the one where they look inside your house and sell your old things, but it is still very interesting.

After lunch we worked on our projects.  I finished a piece of my pig, which is one side, from the nose to the bottom, with two legs on it.There was something odd about it, and so I showed it to Mum and we worked out that I had accidentally knitted one of the legs on the wrong side of the knitting, so that one leg is in the right place, and the other leg is sticking out of his back. So I will have to start again from the beginning. But at least now I understand what it is meant to look like.

Monday 16 December

We had a needlework day today, because this is our last week before Christmas so we are going to spend the week doing arts and crafts.  I have been knitting my pig because I’d like to give him to Nan for Christmas.  I would have possibly finished him by now if only I hadn’t gotten mixed up with the pattern and knitted one of the legs on the wrong side.

Jude was sewing a cross-stitch for Grandad which has a Christmas tree with yellow baubles and red tinsel, and it will be in a frame.

For dinner we made home-made oven chips with beans, and Linda McCartney sausages!  I cleaned the muddy potatoes, Jude sliced them and cut off the bruises, and Mum showed us how to drizzle a tiny bit of oil all over the chips in the mixing bowl and turn them over to make them evenly covered, and then we put them in the oven.  We cooked the sausages under the grill with some sliced in half tomatoes.

Jude hasn’t found the lip balm, so that’s lucky.

Tuesday 17 December

We made rocky islands out of paper and card!  It’s brilliant!  We took a piece of cardboard, and then we made rocks out of screwed up pieces of newspaper, and a lighthouse out of a cardboard kitchen roll tube!  Once it was all glued down we painted blue and white waves around the rocks and painted the rocks grey.  The lighthouses we painted red and white striped.  I would love to live in a lighthouse.

In the afternoon I sewed my dress and Jude made scones.  Mum says my dress is nearly finished.  All we have to do next is put the buttons on and then it’s done.  I can’t believe it.  I can’t wait to wear it!

We finished reading Wuthering Heights! It’s one of the best books I ever read.  It’s so tragic dramatic, all the characters are interesting and I care about them all, even the ones I don’t like.

We have to write essays about the book and hand them in after Christmas.  My essay is about comparing the different houses in the story, and who lives in them, and what they are like.  Jude is writing an essay about how much the characters hate each other, and why.

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Chapter 3 continues next Monday!  Have a good week 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, home-school, home-schooling, education, veggie kids, arts & crafts, creative writing, home-school diary, vegan family, raising vegan kids

Commercial Break: Gluten Free, Organic, Fair Trade, Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We interrupt this story to bring you a commercial for something very yummy:

Doves Farm organic, gluten free, fair trade, vegan, very crunchy chocolate chocolate chip cookies!!!!!

Find them at your local health food shop, or if you’re lucky they might have them in the Free From section of your supermarket 🙂 Of course there’s always Amazon, or any number of alternative online shops you can find them in 😀

They’re absolutely delicious and very crunchy, but if you prefer your cookies moist, just dunk them in your tea 😀

Mmm, I think it’s time for a little smackerel of something 😉

Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies: ORGANIC, FAIR TRADE, VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NO ADDED SUGAR, NO ADDED FAT

Now, these cookies look very healthy, but they don’t taste it 😉

Of course there is fat and sugar in the chocolate, but the truth is there’s only a couple of specks of chocolate in each cookie, so how can that hurt really?  If you’re being ever so strict you could leave the chocolate out and I’m sure the cookies would still be lovely, but since Miranda found a bar of Moo Free in the cupboard that we didn’t know we had, we decided we wouldn’t be 😉

To make these nutritious treats, this is what you’ll need:

  • 4 very ripe medium to large fair trade organic bananas
  • about 80g of fair trade organic vegan chocolate (optional)
  • 3 ounces of organic sultanas (or other dried fruit)
  • 8 ounces of organic rolled oats
  • a little water to make the mixture the right consistency

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Mash the bananas with a fork in a mixing bowl and then add the sultanas (or raisins or other dried fruit) and the chocolate cut into little chips.  Mix it all together well.

Put the oats into a food processor and mill them into a rough flour, then add it to the mixing bowl (or you can add the oats without making them into flour) and thoroughly combine with the other ingredients.  Add a little water, if needed, a tablespoon at a time, and mix it in to make a nice, moist cookie mixture.

Then put heaped teaspoons of mixture onto a lined baking tray and flatten them with the back of a wet spoon.

Bake them for about 20 minutes or until they are as golden as you like them,

keep an eye on them and rotate the tray if necessary 🙂

And there you have it: delicious and nutritious – they tick all the right boxes!

They’re a lot yummier than they look I promise you 😀

A Little Sprite – again

Last night I saw a little sprite

Who told me what to do:

“Eat only plant food,

It’s much better for you.”

****

She fluttered and she floated

And she smiled down on me,

“Plant food is meant for you,

Just try it and you’ll see.”

****

I woke up and I sat up

And I looked from floor to beam.

I saw no sprite, there was no sprite,

She must have been a dream.

****

But still I could not shake her

Which was because, I knew,

She was real inside my head

And what she said was true.

Cakes worth waiting for

For the whole story click here 🙂

Until next time 😉

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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 😀

Time for tea!

By then it was time to get ready for Grandpa Wollemi’s Birthday tea.

Everyone was very excited.

vegan children's story

There were crisps and cookies and mini pizzas;

vegan children's story

there were crackers and pasta salad and pineapple on sticks;

vegan children's story

and the big birthday cake, made entirely by Cedro, was the centrepiece.

vegan children's story

*************

continues tomorrow 😀

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story here now 🙂

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vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan cake, vegan party, vegan party tea, vegan birthday party

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 ….

********

To be continued on Monday 🙂

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

****************

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

Buckwheat Brown and White Cookies

Buckwheat flour

I’ve recently discovered buckwheat which is naturally gluten free as it is not actually a grain – it’s a fruit seed.  Buckwheat is related to rhubarb and the flour has a subtle sweet fruity taste to it which means you don’t need so much sugar.  This organic Doves Farm pack is not certified gluten free because it wasn’t bagged in a totally gluten-free environment, but I have been told they do do a certified gluten-free version for those who are highly sensitive.  My recipe is very simple:

8 ounces  organic buckwheat flour

3 ounces organic fair trade sugar

100 ml organic sunflower oil

4 tablespoons of water

organic fair trade cocoa

***

First pre-heat the oven to 180°c.  Weigh out half of your dry ingredients (ie 4 oz flour and 1.5 oz sugar) and place in a mixing bowl with a dessert spoon or two of sieved cocoa.  Mix well and then add half the wet ingredients (50 ml oil and 2 tablespoons of water).  You might need a dribble or two more of water to compensate for the cocoa and make a soft, moist cookie mixture.

buckwheat cookies

  (Bear in mind that I had doubled the recipe the day I photographed it so you won’t have this much mixture unless you do the same).  Put the chocolatey mixture to one side and mix up the other half of ingredients (minus the cocoa) in another bowl.

buckwheat cookies

Then spoon teaspoons full of ‘white’ mixture onto ungreased baking trays.  Flatten with the back of a spoon.  (These look quite big because I had doubled the recipe that day)

buckwheat cookies

Then add another teaspoon of chocolate brown mixture to each cookie and press it on like so:

buckwheat cookies

buckwheat cookies

Bake for 20 minutes and then remove to a cooling tray.  There is no need to double the mixture, the 8 oz mixture makes 20 to 24 cute little cookies, but if you want big fat ones like these you know what to do!  Oh, and if you do double it they’ll need cooking a bit longer – say 30 mins at 170° in a fan oven.

These are so yummy that I forgot to take any pictures of them after they came out of the oven.  When they’ve cooled they’re kind of hard, like a ginger nut, but a little bit chewy on the inside.

buckwheat cookies

Home Grown Apple Trees – Look at them now!

apple trees from seed

Remember a couple of years ago we started growing apple trees from seed?

FLASH BACK: this is how they looked in February 2014

Well, we’ve kept on with it, sprouting seed after seed, growing seedling after seedling, and we have quite a few in different sized pots around the garden.  Some of them didn’t make it, sadly, but that’s the way it goes, and we just keep on going.  (I say ‘we’ but really it’s Miranda who does all the work.  I help with watering 😉 )

apple trees from seed

If you look over here you will see what our oldest ones looked like a year ago – nice strong, woody stems, but still tiny.

But now the tallest one is about four feet tall!  I’ve photographed it next to a garden chair to give you some idea of scale:

apple trees grown from seed

How fantastic is that?!!!

It seems like no time since we sprouted those first seeds.

We have planted a few in the wild and intend to keep doing that, inconspicuously near public footpaths, in the hope of providing free food for the future, but most of them are still in pots for now.

apple trees from seed

We love our little trees 😀

If you want to do this yourself, go to the original post to see how 🙂

No Milk Please!

Being diabetic myself, I was very interested many years ago when I read that, through clinical observation at a children’s hospital in Canada (in the 1980s I think it was), they had discovered that type 1 diabetes is actually caused by an immune reaction to dairy milk protein because the immune system mistakes cells of the pancreas for milk protein and attacks them.  I was surprised, since this had been discovered some years before my diagnosis, that I had never been told about it by any of my diabetic specialist doctors and nurses.  In fact, in the 1990s, my GP pleaded with me to give my baby dairy foods after I became vegan because he said “babies need dairy for at least their first five years”!  And even today the UK charity that gives advice for diabetics, Diabetes UK, does not advise avoiding dairy – it’s included in their suggested meal plans!  I actually wrote to them about that and they said, “oh, thank you for telling us,” but of course nothing changed.

Anyway, the following is a brilliant short video by a doctor who really knows what he’s talking about, and he explains really well how dairy causes diabetes.  Well worth a watch if you’ve got a spare 8 minutes 🙂

Children have good instincts

Ilana Kadonoff

Ilana Kadonoff

Meet Ilana Kadonoff, owner of the Canadian vegan company Sweets From The Earth.

She says:

“It all began with a rabbit.

Yes, the cute fluffy little animal is in a way responsible for Sweets From The Earth. It was the mid-70s, and my dad went out hunting with a neighbor. The next day, the neighbor came over with rabbit stew, and as a 7 year-old animal lover, I was horrified. It was then I declared myself a vegetarian. I began fending for myself in the kitchen amongst my meat-eating family, and learned to love cooking and then…baking.

My passion for food meant that years later when I adopted a vegan lifestyle, I didn’t think for an instant of giving up my love of luscious, decadent desserts. Instead, I decided to learn the craft and science of baking in pastry school, and soon enough discovered that no animals or animal by-products need be used in the making of sweet delicious things. I began whipping up the kind of scrumptious cookies, cakes and treats that dessert lovers everywhere dream about, and in 2002, Sweets From The Earth was born.

Today, Sweets From The Earth makes a full line of original recipe, egg and dairy-free baked goods, which are made all the more delectable by using only the best all natural, 100% plant-based, GMO-free ingredients.
Bonus: You don’t have to be vegan or have dietary restrictions to love these desserts – any old sweet tooth will do. They’re a healthier alternative to your run-of-the-mill baked goods, and you’ll never miss what’s missing from them!

And where is all this yumminess created? In two separate facilities: One dedicated dairy, egg, peanut and nut-free, the other dairy, egg wheat and gluten-free.” 

This is a great story of a child trusting their natural good instincts and not being swayed by grown-ups – she reminds me a little of Luke Walker for whom it also began with a rabbit 😀

And look at these for a happy ending:

gluten-free, fair trade, espresso cheese cake

gluten-free, fair trade, espresso cheese cake

gf flourless cashew cookies

gluten free flourless cashew cookies

nut-free vanilla cupcake

nut-free vanilla cupcake

And those are just a little taster.  Get over to Sweets From The Earth and see what else they’ve got!

 

Purezza pizza!

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Yesterday I went with a friend to visit Purezza, the UK’s only plant-based pizzeria!  All their food is vegan, organic and environmentally friendly.  I had a brilliant time there!  The food was delicious!  I was blown away by the fantastic selection to choose from – I can’t wait to go back and try all the pizzas.  I had the Marinara pizza, which is tomato sauce, with garlic, oregano and basil, while my friend had the Margherita pizza, which is tomato sauce with cheese and basil.  They were absolutely gorgeous!!  Phenomenal flavours.

 

Purezza vegan plant based pizza delicious and wonderful for everyone!

Here you can see the starters and specials – I was very tempted by the garlic bread, I definitely want to get some of that next time!  I’d also like to try the Hoisin pizza, and the Nacho pizza!

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Here they are!  I was so excited by the arrival of my pizza that I forgot to take a picture of it before I started eating!  This is the Marinara:

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And this is the Margherita:

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Here is a slice of mine – it’s really perfect pizza, so thin and soft and crunchy all at the same time.

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Once we had finished our pizzas we could not resist the dessert menu!  I was just so thrilled by the selection!  I was very tempted by the Apple Pie Calzone, the Chocolate Brownie and the Cheesecake, especially as they all come with a scoop of ice cream!  But when we came to order, the waiter recommended the Chocolate Calzone, so I had that!

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And I was very glad that I did!  The Chocolate Calzone is heavenly!  It’s a folded pizza with Italian chocolate spread, walnuts and pistachios!!!  And I chose to have it with chocolate ice cream.  Isn’t it beautiful?  It’s a work of art!  And it tastes so good too!

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It was delicious!  I recommend it to you all.

 

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As soon as I got home I wanted to go back.  I can’t wait to go back and try everything else on the menu!  I hope you can visit them too, and see how wonderful it all is!  The staff were really friendly and helpful, checking on us a few times to see that everything was great.  The music was lovely too.

Edmund’s Lunch was a peculiar lunch, so everybody said

Edmund’s Lunch is available as a little paperback which includes the recipe for his delicious vegan, gluten-free lunch.

It is also one of the stories in the collection  Why are you a vegan? and other wacky verse for kids (not including the recipe)

Recommended Colouring Book

Look what I’ve found! 😀

vegan food colouring book

What a brilliant way for children to learn about plant-based nutrition!

You can get one here

Colour By Nutrients by August Bassett and Amy Fibbits is a colouring book full of  hand-drawn pictures of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Divided into 13 chapters of vitamins and minerals, the book illustrates which foods contain significant amounts of each.  Children (and adults) can relax with the colouring while simultaneously (and subconsciously) learning about nutrition.  The author also gives permission for teachers and parents to photocopy the colouring pages for use in the classroom.  A great idea, beautifully laid out, which, once the colouring is finished, can stay on the shelf as a very useful kitchen reference book.

Tell your friends – this should be in all schools and libraries!

Highly recommended 😀

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

DSCN2351

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