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! 😀

Getting it done!

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from yesterday:

In an effort to reproduce the events of the dream as faithfully as possible, the princess had notice of a public meeting announced as soon as she got home.  Then, as in the dream, she asked the people what she could do for them.  When they asked for cheaper food and cotton she wrote it all down in her blue book and told them she would do her best.  She then returned to the castle and summoned the duke.

fairy tale

However, unlike the dream, when the Duke of Aequitas arrived he brought with him a basket of fruit.

“Your Majesty,” he said, bowing, “please accept this gift from the people of Calidum Terram, with their compliments and best wishes for your twelve month reign.”

The princess smiled and indicated that should place the basket on the table.

“Thank you,” she smiled, “let’s talk trade.”

fairy tale

The princess argued with the duke, just as she’d dreamt, and Aequitas impressively stood his ground.  He showed her the king’s decree and she dismissed him.  Lady Beatrice, meanwhile, having resumed her miniature stature, was observing to ensure everything went to plan.  The wizard could be anywhere, watching, waiting for an opportunity.  He wasn’t stupid.  He was not stupid.

fairy tale

Suddenly the old fairy was struck by that frightening realisation – “He is not stupid.  He’ll know that that fruit is not natural – it doesn’t smell!  He’s not going to fall for it!”

By now the princess was slumped over the table complaining about her inability to give the people what they want.  And Venustus was climbing in through the window.

Lady Beatrice had to do something!

fairy tale

There was only one thing she could do.  She closed her eyes and spoke so quietly that even the mouse couldn’t hear:

“Power of the elements, I call on thee,

From air, earth and water, come forth, help me.

On fruits in the basket, I beg you bestow,

The scents they would have when in nature they grow.”

fairy tale

At the same time the princess was listening to Venustus’s claim that he could get her a better deal.

“I don’t know,” she said, reaching for an apple, “my people are used to top quality produce.  I want it cheaper but not if it’s substandard.”  She took a bite and smiled at him.  “Seriously,” she added, “your stuff can’t be as good as this.  Go ahead – try some, then you’ll know what I mean.”

fairy tale

Venustus returned her smile and, with the sweet, mouthwatering smell of fresh fruit in his nostrils, carelessly took a cherry.  As soon as it touched his tongue the princess spat out her apple and spoke swiftly:

“sutsunev sutsunev sutsunev”

The wizard’s eyes widened; his sharp intake of breath made him start choking on the cherry; then came a crash of thunder; and he was gone.

fairy tale

“We did it!”  The princess was jubilant.

“You were brilliant,” Lady Beatrice told her as the duke returned to the room, “but remember, no one else can know about this.  As far as the rest of the world knows – Venustus was never here.  There’ll be no public recognition.”

“That’s ok,” the princess smiled, “it’s enough just to know we set things right.  Thank you, both of you.”

fairy tale

The following morning, Princess Primrose told her people that she wouldn’t be able to get them cheaper food and fabrics after all.

“I have discovered,” she explained, “that we are already paying a fair price for those goods.  The only way for us to get them cheaper would be to cheat the growers out of their hard-earned money; to reduce their quality of life in order to improve ours.  And that’s just not right.”

There were some nods of agreement and some grumbles of discontent.

“I thought you would put your own people first,” someone shouted.

“As one young lady said yesterday, my people already have everything they need.  They work hard for it, and they don’t have much left over, but they are not short of any essential.  Do not the people who grow your food deserve this much?  Fair is only fair if it’s fair for everyone.”

fairy tale

The crowd began to disperse and the princess smiled as she noticed Grandfather, still alive, talking cheerfully to one of his neighbours.  There were a few disgruntled faces but the princess, understanding her father’s advice now, was not disheartened.  As she walked away she overheard a snippet of conversation:

“What is she wearing?!  I don’t like her hair.”

“That’s okay,” she said to herself, “I like it.”

fairy tale

And they all lived happily ever after.  For the most part 🙂

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Have a great weekend! 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan fairy tale, illustration, watercolour, fairy tale, children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, fair trade

The fairy’s plan

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues:

“But the owl didn’t know his name.  Or how to find him.  I searched for many years without luck and eventually settled here.  And if your mother hadn’t asked me to protect you from yourself; if I hadn’t psychically perused this kingdom’s archives; I may never have discovered his name.  Now we not only know that, we also know where he’ll be if you re-enact the beginning of the dream.”

fairy tale

The princess was excited at the prospect of defeating the wizard.  “But how will we get him to eat his magic potion?” she asked.

Lady B was excited too.  “We know that Venustus takes advantage of the naïve and vulnerable.  Now, two months ago King Arnot died, leaving his unworldly son, Albro, in charge.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that kingdom is already in receipt of potion-doused produce.”

fairy tale

There was no time to lose.  The princess was well known so she dressed in disguise.  Then, while she rode to young King Albro’s territory, Lady Beatrice informed the duke of their plan – he would need to be in on it.

Once over the border, Princess Primrose searched for the market place.  She needed to make sure that they were indeed selling ‘magic’ produce.

fairy tale

Before long she found the market.  Some stalls were piled high with colourful, irregular-shaped, delicious-smelling produce.  Others displayed equally enticing goods but they were all uniform in shape, colour and size.  And the smell … there was no smell.  The unnatural food was cheap and selling fast.

Princess Primrose smiled at the stall holder.  “This is just what I need,” she said.

fairy tale

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Ooh, will Lady Beatrice’s plan work?  Will they be able to defeat the wizard?

Find out on tomorrow 😀

Unless you don’t want to wait, in which case you can read it now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan fairy tale, illustration, watercolour, fairy tale, children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, fair trade

A bad dream?

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues:

At that moment Princess Primrose sat up in bed.  Lady Beatrice was sitting close by, smiling.

“Did you have a bad dream my dear?” she asked.

The princess was dazed.  “A dream?  It was just a dream?  I imagined it all?” she reached for her blue book.

“Well,” said the old lady, “yes, and no.”

fairy tale

“It’s hard to take in, I know, but as you can see from your book, this is your first morning in charge of the kingdom.  None of what you dreamt about has happened yet.”

The princess was bewildered.  She looked at her last blue book entry and realised that her mother’s friend’s explanation was the only one possible.  Relief began to wash over her.  Then she tensed.

“Yet?”  she asked nervously.

fairy tale

Lady Beatrice explained.  “The queen was very concerned about leaving you in charge, given your inexperience and eagerness to please.  So I simulated, in your dream, what would happen if you proceeded as she expected.  But the monks’ memory rhyme, the fire-damaged arrest record, and Gertrude’s book, all really do exist in the archives.  Venustus is horribly real.  He just hasn’t come here yet.”

fairy tale

The princess was confused.  “But how did you simulate my dream?  How did you know what would happen?”

Lady Beatrice hesitated before answering.  “Your mother is the only other person who knows this.  I hope I can trust your discretion.”  The princess nodded and she went on, “I am a fairy, the last of my kind here because the others were long ago poisoned by an evil wizard.”

“Fairies can take any size.  When I was a young girl, one thousand years ago, I was as small as a dragonfly.  We helped with pollination and feasted on flowers and fruit.  It was a beautiful, enchanting, wild life.  Then I fell in love with a sailor, assumed human size and travelled the world with him.  Being human, he aged much faster than I, and when he passed away I returned home.”

fairy tale

“My exquisite ancestral home had become a contaminated wasteland.  Hardly anyone was living there any more so it was difficult to find out what had happened but eventually an old owl, who had been watching me for some time, took pity on me.  He described a situation very similar to that depicted in Gertrude’s book, which led to the death of all the pollinating insects and fairies, and the exodus of many other species.”

fairy tale

“Possessed of the knowledge of all of his ancestors, the owl was able to give me some hope.  He said that when such a wizard was vanquished, all their evil was undone.  But, he said, there was only one way to do it: the wizard must be tricked into tasting his own potion and, while he is doing so, his name must be repeated to him, three times, backwards.  Then the world would be as if he had never been born.”

fairy tale

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Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan fairy tale, illustration, watercolour, fairy tale, children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, fair trade

My goodness girl!

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular continues from last week:

They pleaded with Venustus to let them have the potion on credit, promising to pay him out of the profits from the sale of their produce.  Then he tells them that he will sell their produce – as they agreed in the contract they signed – and take his cut before passing to them whatever’s left!

What contract? they said, and he shows them the paper with their signatures on it – the contract had been added above their names.

fairy tale

My goodness girl, there were many there at that moment who could have throttled him but, as the first man lunged, Venustus smiled and said, “Perhaps we can make a deal.”

He ummed and ahhed for a few moments before adding, “Give me your children in return for as much potion as you need,” and while they still reeled from shock he said, “If you starve, they starve.  With me they’ll live.”

fairy tale

I swear on my life Gertrude, that’s what he said!  Well, according to Elsie, there was no holding people back after that.  Many of them flew at the wizard in their desperation at the thought of losing their children, and their anger at having been so cruelly tricked.  But Venustus didn’t flinch.  He smiled smugly as a glow of light surrounded his body and every strike just bounced off it.  He was untouchable.

fairy tale

What could they do?  It was too late in the season to sow the seeds from last year which, by next year, would be too old.  They had to do as the wizard told them.  All children over ten years old were taken to a cocoa farm where they worked from sun up to sun down; slept in windowless sheds; and ate a very poor diet.  They were beaten if they didn’t work fast enough.

And Venustus just got richer.

fairy tale

And as if that wasn’t enough for these poor people to cope with, they started to get sick.  After eating produce grown from the magic seeds, fed with the magic potions, this normally healthy community began to develop illnesses they’d never seen before.  Contamination by magic potions killed the fish in the rivers and the insects of the air and soil.  Birds and animals died or moved away.  Everything stank.

fairy tale

“Oh stop!  Stop!”  The princess snatched the book from the duke’s hand and slammed it down.  “I can’t listen to any more!  It’s horrible!  This is the price of our cheap food!  This is why my people are sick!”  She dropped to the floor, full of remorse, and just sobbed.

“It’s all my fault.  I wish I’d listened to you.  I wish I’d listened to my father.”

fairy tale

The story continues tomorrow.

Or you can read it here now 🙂

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vegan, vegan children, vegan children’s story, vegan fairy tale, illustration, watercolour, fairy tale, children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, fair trade

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

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 😀

 

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

Plastic Avoidance: Part One

We have for many years tried to keep our plastic consumption to a minimum but have found it very difficult when also trying to incorporate other ethics into our shopping habits.  For example – it’s pretty easy to buy loose, unpackaged fruit and vegetables if you take your own bags to the market with you, but if you want organic produce, it’s usually wrapped in plastic.

We always recycled it of course but we know that a plastic food container, because of its low melting point, cannot be recycled into another plastic food container.  It can really only be downcycled into things like plastic lumber which cannot be recycled again.  Glass, paper and tin cans on the other hand, can be recycled ad infinitum.  Bottles will become bottles again and again; drinks cans and baked beans tins will become cans and tins again and again; paper can be recycled again and again, and eventually composted.

 

So, even though we were recycling, we felt very bad about the plastic in our bins.  Add to that the worry that maybe the plastic being collected by the council recycling lorry wasn’t even being recycled and … well, let me explain:

I had an email a couple of weeks ago from Avaaz campaigning group saying that studies had shown that most (about 80%) of the plastic in the ocean gyres was coming from rivers in Asia and Africa.  Finding it very hard to believe that people in Asia and Africa consume more plastic than people in Europe and America, I was reminded of an email conversation I’d had with someone at Waitrose supermarket.  They told me that there was no facility to recycle their plastic bags in this country so they sent them to Asia for recycling.

Well – if Waitrose does it, you can bet a lot of other companies do it too, maybe even councils?  And if the UK sends plastic to Asia for recycling, you can bet other countries do too.  If the same is happening in Africa that would explain why 80% of the plastic in the oceans arrives there from those continents.  The plastic that I diligently put out for recycling might be ending up in the ocean!

It’s all speculation but it makes a lot of sense and the only way I can be sure that I’m not part of the problem is to take control of it myself.

We now realise that the good done for the Earth in growing organic, is compromised if they wrap the organic produce in plastic.  Plastic not only litters and pollutes when it’s disposed of, the very production of it is toxic since it is (usually) made from oil.

So we’re not going to pay in to that any more.

We have to prioritise plastic avoidance and hopefully these ethical companies will respond with ethical packaging.  In the meantime, we’ll show you our plastic avoidance tactics.

Starting tomorrow 😀

See all our Plastic Avoidance Tactics here

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 😀

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 😀

And the Princess Who Liked To Be Popular winner is …

Princess draw

princess winner

Congratulations Vegan Mammy 😀

a copy of The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular will be on its way to you as soon as I have your address (tell me privately using contact form on About page).

vegan book for children

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular is available on Amazon, and you can read it here on the Fairy Tales page 😀

This Week’s Giveaway: The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular

vegan book for children

This week we are giving away a copy of The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular which is a fairy tale about a princess who, when her parents go on holiday and she is left in charge of the kingdom, makes the mistake of trying to increase her popularity by giving the people whatever they ask for.

You can find the story on our Fairy Tales page, and the paperback is available on Amazon, but if you’d like to win a free copy just comment on this post to be entered into the draw.

We will draw a winner from the hat on Friday.

Good Luck 😀

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!

 

V is for Vegan

V v

Vegan    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  person who does not eat animals or animal products.

Our definition:  To be vegan means to try to do no harm to all animals, including humans, and the planet on which everyone depends.  This means a vegan will do their best to avoid all animal products in their food, clothes and possessions.  They will choose only fair trade and organic whenever possible, and will reduce, reuse and recycle to protect the world and its inhabitants from plastic pollution.  They will also avoid any activity or practice which exploits or abuses animals, such as visiting a zoo or buying animal-tested toiletries.

Just try to do no harm.  Easy 😀

Click here for the V page and here for the rest of the dictionary.

Have a lovely weekend 😀

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

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!

The Princess Who Liked To Be in paperback

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular

We are delighted to add The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular to our collection of printed books available on Amazon

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

It’s big and colourful – we’re really pleased with how it’s turned out – and everyone we’ve shown it to really likes it 😉

vegan fairy tale

Though some are not quite as enthusiastic as others:

sharing Princess Primrose

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 🙂

1

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.

2

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.

7

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.

8

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 😀

10

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

12

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.

14

Then I dragged a fork over it to make bark grooves

14a

Then sieved some ‘snow’ over it

15

et voilà

16

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 😀

DSCN2781

12 Days of [vegan] Christmas

pears-perry-pears0_0Onward1

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me

A little organic pear tree

organic cotton and bamboo gloves

On the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

corn starch pen

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree 

eco friendly board games

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

twin compost bins

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

eco friendly Christmas crackers

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

vegan organic fair trade chocolate

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

earth friendly crayons

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Eight packs of crayons

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

organic walnuts

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Nine unshelled walnuts

Eight packs of crayons

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

organic gluten free vegan mince pies

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Ten mince pies warming

Nine unshelled walnuts

Eight packs of crayons

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

organic cotton thread

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Eleven reels of cotton

Ten mince pies warming

Nine unshelled walnuts

Eight packs of crayons

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

organic cotton bear

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Twelve toys for cuddling

Eleven reels of cotton

Ten mince pies warming

Nine unshelled walnuts

Eight packs of crayons

Seven chocolate buttons

Six Christmas crackers

Five compost bins

Four gaming boards

Three corn pens

Two purple gloves

And a little organic pear tree

****

Click on the pics for links to websites selling ethical, fair trade, organic, vegan Christmas gifts.

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!

Fancy a choc-ice?

I used to love these

I used to love these

Many years ago I used to love these – choc-ices and Wall’s Feasts – but I hadn’t given them a thought for ages until my friend passed on a brilliant idea she got from The Raw Chocolate Company.  I realise now that this is not a new idea, but it’s a good one so here it is:

get a couple of ripe bananas

Get a couple of ripe bananas,

some cashews, or whatever nuts you fancy,

some cashews, or whatever nuts you fancy,

and some raw chocolate

and some raw chocolate.

Plus you’ll need some lolly sticks or chop sticks or similar.

Soak the nuts overnight or at least for a few hours, then rinse them and spread them out to dry on a clean tea towel for an hour or so.  When they’re a bit dryer you can put them through a food processor so that they’re finely chopped.

Melt the chocolate.

Carefully peel the bananas and chop them in half.  Then lay them on a sheet of eco-friendly parchment paper and stick your lolly stick in them like so.

Carefully peel the bananas and chop them in half. Then lay them on a sheet of eco-friendly parchment paper and stick  lolly sticks into them like so.

By the way, if you don’t have any chocolate or nuts you can just freeze the bananas at this stage and you’ll have a delicious ‘ice-cream’ lolly as it is.

However, if do you want the choc-ice, continue as follows:

Put the melted chocolate and the chopped nuts on separate plates;

Put the melted chocolate and the chopped nuts on separate plates;

First roll a banana in the melted chocolate,

then roll a banana in the melted chocolate,

and then in the nuts

and then in the nuts.

And pretty soon you should have a plate of nutty choc-ices to be.  Put them in the freezer for a couple of hours or more.

And pretty soon you should have a plate of nutty choc-ices to be. Put them in the freezer for a couple of hours or more.

Et voila! Simply scrumptious nutty banana choc-ices! Perfectly healthy - have as many as you like - and absolutely delicious!

Et voila! Simply scrumptious nutty banana choc-ices! Perfectly healthy – have as many as you like – and absolutely delicious!

You may be vegan, you may be raw, but you’ll never miss out on choc-ices again!

😉