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! 😀

Marcus Gad – Purify

Purify your body head to toe
Your thoughts inna your mind and slowly make Jah rhythm flow
Nature is the keeper of your body and your soul
Even all of that you’ll never truly own

Brothers sisters watch out what you put in your body
If you are what you eat then think about what you must be
If you still feed yourself upon their industry
They sell the whole world illusion of fertility
Robbing humans, animals and plants of their dignity
To feed the masses but to feed their greed specially
They breed the hybrid and manipulate Jah very seeds
Agro-chemistry is like a war technology
They destroyed all over the Earth the soil microbiology
To bring about a new kind of captivity
Control the food and you control the whole of humanity

Look into infinity, humble before a Tree
And Purify…

Bring a healing to a nation
Give them the seed for plantation
Sovereignty resides in the heart of the land
And what you a go do with the strength inna your hands

The seeds they took away and wiped away all diversity
Testing their madness in the soils of so-called third world countries
To force the people in labor and poverty
Dis a what ya call a modern day slavery
Referenced mostly hybrids in them legal catalog

Made all ancient seeds illegal like any drug
So you must buy their machines and their chemicals
And produce all the food according to their laws.

vegan music, nature, natural, organic, agriculture, food, vegan, health,

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,

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 😀

 

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 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 😀

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!

 

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.

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

Back down to earth

Click here for the story so far 😉

1 allotment

2 allotment

3 allotment

4 allotment

5 allotment

6 allotment

7 allotment

8 allotment

If you fancy growing your own delicious organic fruits and vegetables but you don’t have a garden, why not apply for an allotment?  Click here to find out how.

It’s true that there are sometimes long waiting lists but not always. We were very lucky that our village was just setting up new allotments and we were able to get one within a few months of moving there. And there are still a few plots available now.

So go on, find out what’s available in your area – the National Allotment Society will give you all the info you need – and do something that’ll get you out in the fresh air and sunshine for a good dose of vitamin D and some healthy exercise, while at the same time providing you with quality, organic vegetables that are good for you and the earth 😀

Apple Trees Revisited

Remember we decided to grow our own apple trees from seed?

Travel back in time to February 2014 to see how our apple trees began 🙂

They dropped all their leaves in the winter (we actually thought one of them had died and were going to plant something else in the pot) but then spring came and they came back with gusto!  They’ve got beautiful new leaves and strong woody stems.  Look at them now:

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And here’s some new babies we’ve just got started (there are so many apples in our future 😀 ):

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And look at them in May 2016!

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 🙂

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

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

7 oz organic spelt

1 oz organic fair trade cocoa

3 tsp of organic baking powder

1 tsp of organic fair trade vanilla essence

150 ml – ish of organic Agave nectar

4 tablespoons of organic olive oil

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

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

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

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

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

3

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

4

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

5

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

6

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

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

The Hungry Compost Bin

compost bin

The compost bin was hungry

And it wanted something new.

It’d reduced old fruit and lettuce leaves

To gloopy, slimy goo.

“Enough with all the green waste,

For now I’ve had enough.

I need something dry and brown

Like paper and card and stuff!”

So strips of card were fed to it

And more and more and more,

‘Til finally an old paperback

Was swallowed whole and raw.

paperback swallowed whole

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.

Live Right, Shine Bright

We are not fully raw; we still enjoy cooked potatoes, and lentils; we have rolled oats for breakfast; we eat tofu.  But we do include as much raw as we can in our diet and it makes us feel great.  Energised. I love juicing fruits and greens and making them into ice pops.  I love frozen bananas instead of shop-bought ice cream.  I love raw, and semi-raw cakes and treats which contain no sugar or added sweetener, and no gluten, are actually good for me, and yet make me feel indulgent as they are superior in taste and feel-good factor to traditional sugar-laden sweets.  I am excited about all the new things I have learned this year about raw foods and how good they make me feel and I am grateful to so many people who have shared their experiences so that I can learn more.

One of these people is Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram, better known as FullyRawKristina

This lady is a positive inspiration, and though many of us may not be in a position to live as she does – such large quantities organic fresh produce are very expensive – we can each do as much as we can within our own means and feel better for it.  For example, I have found that when I tried to be fully raw I got too skinny and simply wasn’t eating enough.  Now that I compromise by adding cooked potatoes and lentils, for example, to my raw fruit and veggies, I feel great, am back to my normal weight and still getting a very nutritious diet.  I love this video because Kristina encourages us to look at her example, and take from it what works for us.  It’s all about experimenting until we get it right and being our own best, our own happiest, in our own way.

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!

Dear Giovanni

img082

“Dear Giovanni wouldn’t eat a bird.”

“He wouldn’t eat a bird?”

“No, haven’t you heard?

Lovely Giovanni wouldn’t eat a bird,

Because he loves them dearly.”

****

“Dear Giovanni wouldn’t cook a bird.

He wouldn’t cook a bird

In his restaurant, take my word!

Kind-hearted Giovanni, beloved restauranteur,

Wouldn’t cook a bird, no sir!”

****

“Giovanni has a motto,

I don’t know if you’ve heard it,

He says ‘Don’t hurt friends,

Or friends of friends,

Because none of them deserve it.'”

****

I had fun painting this cityscape and the name for the restaurant, Giovanni’s, just popped into my head.  Then, because I wanted to make a post in keeping with this week’s theme – birds – I wrote a quirky poem to go with it.  Then I thought – wouldn’t it be great if there really was a vegan restaurant called Giovanni’s?  So I googled and, guess what – there is!  What are the chances???

Giovanni's Pizza Grill, Rock City Rd and Tinker St Woodstock, NY 12498 United States

Giovanni’s Pizza Grill, 100% Vegan Organic Restaurant, Rock City Rd and Tinker St, Woodstock, NY 12498, United States

The Margherita

The Margherita

The Benedetta

The Benedetta

Poppy’s Potato Croquettes

Poppy’s Potato Croquettes

"meatballs" (made with whole grains and seeds) covered in a flavourful tomato sauce with onions

“meatballs” (made with whole grains and seeds) covered in a flavourful tomato sauce with onions

Sausage with peppers and onions

Sausage with peppers and onions

Fantastic tantalising pictures pinched from The V Word.

Click here to read the full restaurant review.  Ooh, I wish I lived near Woodstock right now 😉

Thanks Rhea 🙂

STOP PRESS:

Since posting this, Rhea has been in touch (see comments below) and she, in turn, told Giovanni who also dropped us a line (see comments again).  Anyway, I thought you might be interested in Giovanni’s fascinating story about how he became a vegan chef  which is revealed in his interview with Green Door Magazine, so click here

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!

😉

 

Raw Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Indulge yourself

raw chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Believe it or not – this is a health food!  Here’s how:

You’ll need 1 cup of organic raw Brazil nuts, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed:brazil nuts

200g or so of pitted organic fresh dates:fresh dates

3 tablespoons of organic raw cacao nibs:cacao nibs

1 tablespoon of organic raw carob powder (or cacao):raw carob powder

2 teaspoons of organic vanilla extract:organic vanilla extract

And 50g of organic fair trade raw chocolate:raw chocolate

1.  Bung the dates into the food processor and chop/mix into a gooey, pastey consistency. Transfer to mixing bowl.

2.  Now put the nuts into the food processor and finely chop into tiny bits.  Add to the dates in the bowl.

3.  Add cacao nibs, carob powder and vanilla to the bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork.

4.  Plonk the whole mixture back into the food processor and process again so that your thick, sticky, soft, heavy mixture is thoroughly and smoothly combined.  (My food processor – which is just an attachment of my hand blender – is very small so I did my mixture in two halves).

5.  Now pile up your cookie mixture onto a smooth worktop and spoon out enough to make one cookie, press it flat on top with a knife and cut out your cookie.  Slide a knife under the cookie and put it on a plate.  Cut out all your cookies like this.  I made 10 thick cookies out of this mixture, with a bit left over for tasting.cutting cookies

6.  Then cover them in melted chocolate:melted chocolate

7.  Then chill:chill

8.  Indulge in your health food chocolate chocolate chip cookies

Don’t forget, the Brazil nuts in these are packed with selenium, an essential trace mineral which is a powerful antioxidant that combats the damage that free radicals cause in the body, and it can improve cardiovascular health and fight cancer as well. It also plays a role in thyroid health, assisting with the metabolism of iodine and the production of critical thyroid hormones.

Just google it or see here for more info 🙂

So go on – get this health food down you!

 

Chocolate Intermission

Raw vegan chocolate

We found some more! Delicious and healthy organic raw vegan chocolate by Raw Living

I chose the Hi Crunch with scrummy goji berries and hemp seeds in, and Miranda chose the White Magic fudge bar.  We were both happy with our selections.

And the thing that made me especially happy to find these guys is that there was NO PLASTIC WRAPPING! NONE!!! Just like they used to be in the olden days, these treats were harmlessly wrapped in foil and paper.  Well done Raw Living, we are very impressed.

So why not check out Raw Living website and see what you fancy 🙂

raw vegan chocolate

Can it get any better than this????

raw vegan chocolate

 Raw.  Vegan.  Organic.  Ethically traded.  Conscious Chocolate.

This is heavenly.  So virtuous, yet so indulgent.  So delicious, yet so satisfying – ie you don’t need to eat the whole bar at once, you can savour it and make it last.

raw vegan chocolate

And so many flavours to choose from (this isn’t all they’ve got by the way – look here) – I had to order a few to see what my favourite is …. and I’ve decided that it’s ….

raw vegan chocolate

… the orange!  Definitely!  Gorgeous!  The plain is perfect for melting onto my flapjacks, but for eating on its own, the orange is definitely me favourite … although –

raw vegan chocolate

the mint is fantastic.  Just one piece of this after a meal makes the perfect after dinner mint.  Oh yes, it’s the mint, the mint is my favourite, I’m certain … but then, the goji and coconut, mm mmm, that’s gorgeous too, I love the berries mixed with the chocolate and the coconut, the different textures and flavours that go so well together.  And what about the cheeky cherry?  Cherries and chocolate, how could that not be a winner?  Oh, I don’t know …

raw vegan chocolate

No, it has to be this one! The Nutty One – how could anything rival chocolate nuts?  I’ve always loved nutty chocolate, it’s an old favourite, since forever.  But then, the other flavours are new to me, and equally delicious so I shouldn’t give priority to ‘old favourites’ ….

There’s only one thing for it – I have to declare that I cannot choose a favourite!  Where Conscious Chocolate is concerned, variety is definitely the spice of life and I will continue to indulge in them all.

I highly recommend you do the same! 🙂

Raw Chocolate Nut Truffles

raw vegan choc nut truffles

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of organic raw almonds (soaked over night; thoroughly rinsed, then spread on a clean tea towel to dry for a couple of hours)
  • 200g pitted fresh dates (soaked for 2 to 3 hours)
  • 1 tablespoon of raw cacao or carob powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Some sultanas
  • 60g of raw melted chocolate

1.  In a food processor/chopper/mixer process the dates and then transfer them to a mixing bowl.

2.  Then process the almonds until finely chopped and add to the dates in your bowl.

3.  Add the cacao/carob, vanilla, as many sultanas as you fancy, and the melted chocolate and mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined.

4.  Then return the mixture (a bit at a time if necessary) to your food processor and process together briefly until you have the right truffle consistency.

5.  Finally, with a teaspoon spoon little truffles onto a plate and decorate with walnuts (if you like)

Will keep in the fridge for a few days.

It’s as simple as that!

Absolutely scrummy! 🙂  

raw vegan chocolate nut truffles

No-Bake Blueberry Chocolate Flapjacks

blueberry chocolate flapjacks

These are absolutely as good as they look!  I think they’re my best invention yet!

Want some?  This is what you’ll need:

 

200g of fresh dates (pits removed and soaked for 2 to 3 hours)

200g of organic fresh dates (pits removed and soaked for 2 to 3 hours)

125g of organic fresh blueberries

125g of organic fresh blueberries

organic raw cacao nibs

organic raw cacao nibs (optional)

organic jumbo oats

organic jumbo oats

dark chocolate

vegan organic fair trade chocolate – raw if you’ve got it

1.  Drain and rinse your soaked dates and chop them in your food processor, or by hand, until they’re well mushed up and combined.  Transfer them into a large mixing bowl.

2.  Add your fresh blueberries and mix well.

3.  Add as many cacao nibs as you want and mix well.

4.  Put the whole lot back into the food processor and chop/mix it into a smooth, wet, really quite runny, mixture.

5.  Return it to the mixing bowl and add oats.  Keep adding oats and mixing until you have a stiff flapjack mixture.  Then put the lot into a flat tin, lined with non-toxic parchment paper, and press it with the back of a spoon so that it fills the tin and is uniformly flat and smooth.

6.  Put your flapjacks in the fridge while you melt your chocolate.  Put some very hot water into a large bowl; break your chocolate into small pieces and put them in a small bowl; put the small bowl to float in the hot water; don’t get water in the chocolate.  Your chocolate will melt quite quickly – keep an eye on it 🙂

7.  Then remove your tin of flapjack mixture from the fridge and cover in melted chocolate.  Chill and cut into squares when set.

8.  Enjoy your gorgeous flapjacks 🙂

blueberry chocolate flapjacks close up

I know you will 😉

Vegan Organic Fair-Trade

vegan organic fair trade

Today I ate a bar of chocolate,

Vegan organic fair trade.

For taste, enjoyment and ethics it

Put other bars in the shade.

***

My chocolate went down so smoothly with

A piping hot cup of tea,

Vegan organic and fair trade too,

Happy indulgence for me.

***

Bananas we eat

And oranges sweet,

Are vegan organic fair trade.

***

On porridge we add

Sugar, just a tad,

That’s vegan organic fair trade.

***

The coffee and cocoa

And fruit that we can’t grow,

All vegan organic fair trade.

***

Vegan organic fair trade.

Vegan organic fair trade.

Just make up your mind

To keep purchases kind,

Buy vegan organic fair trade.

Make some sugar-free jam – you know you want to!

sugar free jam

If you want jam but not sugar (nor other added sweetener either) then this is the recipe for you!

In the inventor’s own words “This recipe for strawberry jam does take some time to make in the absence of sugar or a natural sweetener, but the end result is pure strawberry goodness. It is definitely sweet enough and has an amazing buttery smooth and creamy consistency. I guarantee that if you like fresh strawberries, you will love this recipe.”

So go on, pop over to this website – Living Healthy with Chocolate dot com – and give it a go!

I know I’m going to! 🙂

Old MacDonald had a farm …

vegan nursery rhyme

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

And on that farm he had no animals,

E-I-E-I-O

With a crop field here and a crop field there,

Here a crop, there a crop,

Everywhere a lot of crops.

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

****

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

And on that farm he grew some peas,

E-I-E-I-O

With snow peas here and chick peas there,

Yellow peas, maple peas,

Lovely green organic peas.

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

****

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

And on that farm he grew some beans,

E-I-E-I-O

With mung beans here and navy beans there,

Black beans, pinto beans,

Kidney beans and runner beans.

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

****

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

And on that farm he grew some greens,

E-I-E-I-O

With lettuces here and cabbages there,

Collard greens, spinach leaves,

Kale and chard and mustard greens.

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

****

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O

And on that farm he grew good food,

E-I-E-I-O

With no animal slaves and no chemicals sprayed,

Healthy veg in healthy soil,

Bees and hedgerows thrived withal.

Old MacDonald had a farm,

E-I-E-I-O