Vegan Butcher?!

Last week I took a day trip to Dublin and after a long day of shopping we were in need of a feast!

I had heard great things about Sova Vegan Butcher over the past year but had never been myself. As someone who doesn’t eat much mock meat I was a bit sceptical, however, we were very impressed!

One thing I was particularly happy about was the wide range of GF choices; very often vegan mock meats contain gluten, which as a coeliac is extremely annoying.

As you can see below, the menu consisted of extensive GF options….

menu

We order the Chia Cheeseburger and the Soy Schnitzels, both of which I would highly recommend.

dinner

For dessert, I went for the mixed berry cheesecake which again was GF. I was very impressed to see that both dessert options were GF.

The flavour of both meals was fantastic and overall came to around 40 Euro which we thought was reasonable considering the quality and size of the meals.

Will definitely be back…

Emma xx

 

 

 

 

 

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March Favourites

Another month has pasted and I am coming to you with all my favourite things from the last month…

Fav Foods

 

Movie of the month

  • The Greatest Showman – What a movie! I do love a good musical but this really was a fantastic show.

Favourite Read

I have been spending a lot of time reading this month so I have picked two of my favourites…

  • The Four Agreements – I had high expectations for this book as I had heard nothing but good reviews. It’s safe to say it did not disappoint. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

books

  • A New Earth – this one is similar to the power of now, however it takes many of the points raised and furthers them. A great read whether you have read the power of now or not.

Some of my favourite things 

  • Standing desk – I purchased this from IKEA earlier this month and it made a nice change. I like to use it when writing blogs, studying or just browsing the web.
  • Natural Bamboo Toothbrush – (https://www.gondolabamboo.com) . Another small step to helping the planet.

That’s my favourites of this month, I hope you enjoyed and can take some inspiration from this blog.

Emma xx

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chilli (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I’ve made a lot of chilli recipes in my time but never a SLOW COOKER chilli! I couldn’t believe how cooking this dish slower and longer could intensify the flavours. If you are a chilli fan…a slow cooker is a must!

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Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  • 250g dry black beans
  • 150g frozen sweetcorn
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 3 small peppers (I used 2 red and 1 green)
  • 1 small red onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red chilli (no seeds!!)
  • 1/2 litre veggie stock
  • Stalks of 1 bunch of coriander, chopped finely
  • 1/2c fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp cumin

pot

Method:

  • Simply put everything into a slow cooker and set for 4 hours…check regularly to make sure there is enough liquid and there you have it! 1 step chilli!

Enjoy,

Emma xx

Melty Chocolate Pudding (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I spent about 30 mins debating what to call this recipe…gooey chocolate cake…melt in the middle pudding… fudgy chocolate pudding…who knows what it’s actual name is but I do know that it is absolutely delicious!!

This chocolatey goodness is defiantly a crowd pleaser and one that will win over the greatest dairy-free/gluten-free sceptics.

It is 100% a MUST try dessert for any occasion!

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Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 2/3c coconut sugar
  • 1c gluten free plain white flour
  • 1c ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g dairy free milk chocolate, melted (I used moofree)
  • 2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seed mixed with 6 tbsp water – leave for 15 mins)
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp almond milk

 

  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2/3c coconut sugar
  • 150ml boiling water

mix

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200c and grease a medium (approx. 25 x 17cm) baking dish
  • Prepare the chia eggs and set aside for 15 minutes. Combine the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in separate bowls and add to the dry mix along with the milk and chia egg.
  • Stir until well incorporated and transfer to the baking dish.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients together and pour 1/2 over the cake mixture.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the remaining sauce and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  • The pudding will be done when it is still gooey but doesn’t giggle when you move the dish.

I served with fresh raspberries and Swedish glace vanilla ice cream!

finish

Enjoy

Emma xx

White Bean Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan)

A few weeks back I posted a black bean soup recipe which went down a treat, so I thought why not try a white bean soup!

I decided to go for a completely different kind of soup this time…in fact, it’s almost like a stew. Nevertheless, it is absolutely delicious and another fantastic meal prep idea.

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If you’d rather watch the recipe than read it, head on over the my youtube channel… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrEwPwo3yI9u_31APu4AejQ

Serves: 5, or 3 large portions

Ingredients:

  • 150g carrots
  • 400g potato
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 250g dried white beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1.25l veggie stock
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • Chop all of your vegetables into bitesized pieces and add to your cooker or saucepan.
  • Drain and wash your soaked beans and add them to the vegetables.
  • Add the herbs and spices listed above, along with the vegetable stock.
  • Set the timer, hit start and wait…

Timing:

  • Multi-cooker – 1hr 30
  • Slow cooker – 3 hrs
  • Stove top – 1 hr 30

Don’t forget to stir occasionally and check to make sure there is enough liquid for your cooker.

Enjoy,

Emma xx

 

 

 

Back in the Gym: Leg Workout

Yes! I am back in the gym and loving it more than ever. Since coming home from Australia, I seem to have found my grove and have been getting to the gym regularly. I have rekindled my love for weight lifting and along with a little cardio, that is what I have been doing in the gym.

workout

After many workout requests I thought I would share with you all a typical workout, ergo yesterdays leg workout…

10 minutes warm up – stair stepper

15 x 5 wide stance leg press

12 x 3 DB curtsey lunges

12 x 4 DB deadlifts (slow) + 40 seconds of pulses at the bottom 

10 x 4 lying leg curl

10 x 3 single leg step up (slow)

20 x 4 hip abductor machine, + 30 seconds of pulses

burnout single leg press x 2 

And, as always, don’t forget to stretch!!

Throughout the workout, I must emphasis the important of engaging and focusing on the muscle you are working. For example, when doing the lying leg curls, focus on engaging your hamstring. Keep it slow and controlled!

I hope you enjoy this workout and I would love to hear if you give it a go…

Emma xx

 

 

 

 

 

February Favourites 2018

What a quick month this has been…not only because there is only 28 days but probably also due to the fact I spent the first half travelling and the second half adjusting to life back home in Northern Ireland.

This months favourites are a collection of things from both Australia and Northern Ireland; stay tuned for March Favs to see more of what the UK has to offer.

Foodie Favs 

  • Chai Tea – moving from Australian summer to UK winter meant a 30c drop in temperature which means LOTS of tea!! I have always been a big tea drinker but I have recently fallen in love with chai tea. It is so warming and perfect for these cold winter nights.
  • Persimmons – out with the mangos and in with the persimmons. They are 100% my favourite winter fruit and make a perfect porridge or smoothie bowl topping.fruit
  • Choc Ice Creams – never say no to ice cream right? since landing back in the UK I have been impressed by all the new vegan products on the market and these ice cream sticks are on of my favs.

ice cream

Read of the Month

  • You’re a badass – I mentioned this book in my 5 must read books blog (posted in Jan 2018) but I have recently reread it and fallen in love with it all over again. It is a very motivating read and helps to put life into perspective.

 

Monthly Movies 

  • The other woman – I watched this hilarious film on (one of) the flights home from AUS and it certainly helped to pass the time. It’s such a feel good movie and definitely one for a girls night in.
  • Bounty Hunter – an oldie but a goodie! Okay, it’s not super old (2010) but it’s a good mix between romance and action…aka a real people pleaser. It’s one that we watched as a family and that says something for a movie 😉

 

Some of my Favourite Things 

  • Lush Bath Bombs – moving back home has allowed me to revive some of my old favourites and lush bath bombs are one of them. I never liked baths but it’s funny how when you don’t have something, you suddenly want it….especially now that it is -2c!!
  • Apple Airpods – these earphones are a lifesaver in the gym!! One of the big benefits of them is they are wireless which is essential when weight training. They are also very light and have a hassle free bluetooth connection.
  • Forge Workout Gear – I have been wearing Forge leggings for a month of two now and it is 100% my favourite thing to workout in. They are by far the comfiest, best quality leggings I have tried and I love their simple design.

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That’s all my favourites for this month…It has been a strange mix of a month but I am looking forward to spring here in the UK and everything that brings.

Emma xx

 

 

 

East Coast Highlights

During the month of February, I spent a few weeks travelling down the east coast of Australia. For those of you unfamiliar with Australia, this includes places such as Cairns, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Byron Bay. The east coast is also home to the famous Great Barrier Reef.

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Through planning and doing the trip, I have learnt what worked and what didn’t work along the way and so, in this blog I am hoping to share with you all the highlights (and possible low lights) of my trip!

Let’s rewind to February 3rd 2018…

My trip started with meeting my dad in Melbourne airport (he had flown from Northern Ireland to travel with me) before flying up to Cairns in Queensland. This was a great starting point as it is far enough up the east coast for an achievable 2 week trip.

We spent 5 nights in Cairns, giving us 4 full days plus a few hours on the travelling days. Initially, we thought this might not have been enough time, however, by the final day we were ready to move on from this tiny town. Cairns is a wonderful spot to take trips from…we choose to do a full day trip to Green Island (inner great barrier reef) and another to Daintree Rainforest. Both trips were fantastic, however, we later discovered that in order to see the real beauty of the reef you need to take a trip out the outer reef (I will talk more about this later in the blog). As for the Rainforest…well, they aren’t joking when they call it a rainforest! It lashed the whole day and although it did had to the atmosphere, some dryness would have been nice. If you are planning a trip to Cairns, it is worth being aware of their dry and wet seasons and if rain is something that really bothers you, you may be better off going during the dry season (AUS winter months).

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Top Foodie Finds in Cairns

  • Marinades Indian – we enjoyed this meal so much that we actually went back twice! Indian is a great choice for vegan food (for more ordering tips check out my “How To Order As A Vegan’ video)
  • Zambrero – this is a fantastic Mexican ‘fast food’ style restaurant. They have lots of vegan options including burrito bowls, burritos, tacos, chips and dips etc.
  • Little Loco Cafe – we came across this cafe completely accidentally but it was definitely a little gem. They have various vegan options including cocowhip sundaes, acai bowls and delicious whole foods bowls.

After a great few days in Cairns, we were off to Airlie Beach, not by plane but by bus! When I told dad that I had booked us an 11 hour bus journey he freaked…however, we both decided that it was one of the best things we could have done. The journey went really quick and it was a fantastic way to see the country. We loved seeing the change in vegetation from tropical to sub-tropical. The company I booked through was called Greyhound, who I would highly recommend; seats were comfy, free wifi was available at all times, there was charging points and an onboard toilet.

bus

We only had 2 nights here as our main reason for stopping here was to do a trip. On our only full day, we took a boat trip out to the outer (hardy) reef. Going to the outer reef is a lot more expensive than the inner, however, it is well worth the money. Having experienced both on this trip, I can definitely say that the outer reef is what you expect when you think of the Great Barrier Reef. We booked our trip through CruiseWhitsundays, who proved to be very accommodating, even providing me with a GF vegan buffet lunch onboard.

airlie beach

When we arrived in Airlie beach, the beauty of the town made us wish that we had booked to stay longer, however, by midday of our final day we were glad to be moving on as it appeared there wasn’t much to the town other than a base for trips.

Top Foodie Finds in Airlie Beach

  • La Marina – we came across the Italian restaurant on the first night and were so impressed that we went back the next night. It was situated right on the marina and the staff were beyond accommodating to my needs. I got the vegetarian pizza (no cheese) on a gluten free base and it was by far the best pizza I’ve ever had!

After a short stay in Airlie, we flew to Brisbane. Our flight landed around 8:30pm and I had booked us into the Ibis airport hotel for the night. This was extremely handy as we were taking another Greyhound bus to Gold Coast the next morning. I made the decision spend our final 6 days in Gold coast, opposed to splitting them between Brisbane and Goldie. I can’t say whether or not this was the best decision but both dad and I loved the Gold Coast and were very glad to be spending the remainder of our holiday there.

You maybe thinking ‘why did you not just fly to Gold Coast?’ well it worked out about $200 per person cheaper to fly to Brisbane, stay in the airport hotel AND get a short bus the next morning rather than flying straight to the Gold Coast, so the simple answer is saving money. These are the kinds of things that are so important to look into when booking trips as you can end up saving yourself 100’s of dollars by simply taking a slightly different route.

We fell in love with Gold Coast from the day we arrived. We stayed in Broadbeach and absolutely loved the atmosphere and general environment…it was like the Florida of Australia! Dad had picked a lovely hotel/serviced apartments (Meriton) which made the stay that bit more comfortable; I could easily have stayed a lot longer in this location.

During our time in Gold Coast, we spent a day at Movie World which unfortunately was a bit disappointing. I’m sure to many it is a great day out but I was expecting DisneyWorld which it was definitely not. Despite it being a very small park, we enjoyed the day and the atmosphere. We also spent another of our days at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was great to visit a place that gives the animals so much free space to roam around as they please. This is definitely a place worth visiting if you’re in the area.

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Top Foodie Finds in Gold Coast

  • Cardamom Pod – as I mentioned earlier, we were staying a 2 minute walk from this place which resulted in us visiting 4 times! The snickers acai bowl is a MUST but the savoury dishes are also absolutely delicious.
  • Mandala and Co – pizza pizza pizzaaaaa…this cute little hippy restaurant is an absolute charmer and their creamy mushroom pizza is a winner. If you are here, the cassava chips are also a must (dad said they were the best chips he’s ever had!).
  • Greenhouse Canteen – best meal of the holiday (according to dad and I). We went all out at Greenhouse with starter, main course, dessert and drinks but it was beyond worth it! For starter we got the chickpea fries, then we both ordered the Jackfruit enchilada for main and for dessert we shared the PB choc fudge cake. I got the blueberry pie kombuha to drink, while dad tried the homemade lemonade.
  • Saffron Indian – yet another fantastic indian meal. They offered me the choice of about 4 or 5 vegan options and I went for the chana masala which was delicious. A great pick if you are travelling with non-vegans.
  • Blend Love – this cute little cafe has the most amazing menu…with everything from avocado toast to burgers to loaded jackfruit fries! Everyone is sure to find something to satisfy their taste buds.

After a fantastic 2 weeks, we flew home from the Gold Coast. Unfortunately, our flight home didn’t go as smoothly as the travelling but things happen when you’re travelling and it’s all about being able to adapt to new and changing situations.
I hope this blog has been useful (or interesting) for you all.

Happy travels,

Emma xx

Lentil Bolognese (Vegan, Gluten Free)

I’m a huge fan of warm comforting dinners and this one was exactly that! This recipe is very easy, high in protein and fibre and a perfect winter warmer.

dinner

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of brown lentils (dried would also work)
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 carrots, chopped finely
  • 6 closed cup mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  • In a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the herbs and spices and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Next, add the mushrooms and carrots and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Serve with rice, jacket potato or make into a cottage pie!

This dish keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days and makes a great meal prep dish!

Enjoy,

Emma xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 must read books!

Over the last few years, I have developed a real love for reading, particularly self development books. I love picking up a book that makes me feel good and inspired to live life to the best of my ability. Today, I am sharing with you my top five reads. All of these books have changed my life in some way or another and have shaped the life I live today. So without further rambling, here are my top 5 must reads…

  1. Big Magic  – Inspirational and motivating…pretty much sums up this book. A fantastic read for anyone feeling like they are stuck in a rut of living a life they aren’t truly content with. It provides inspirational, yet real life, examples of making your passions your priority.
  2. You’re a badass by – This is definitely one of my favourite books of all time not only because of the message it portrays but it is also incredibly well written and easy to read. Another highly motivating read that encourages you to live your best life and enjoy the journey.
  3. Loving what is by – This one has probably changed my life the most. Not because it’s my favourite book, but because it provides practical advice of how to implement the message into your daily life. This is a fantastic read for anyone suffering with anxiety and fear that cripples them day in, day out.
  4. The Power of Now by – This was actually the first self-development book I ever read, however, I truly believe that what you take from this book depends on where you are in your life. When I first read this book, I was about 18, living life as you do, with little focus on making the most of the present time. 4 years later, I try to implement what I learnt from this book on a daily basis. It takes practice and time, but is well worth the read and the effort.
  5. Harry Potter by – Yes, a little random to stick at the end of a book list, mainly comprised of self development books. However, is a book list really complete without HP? this series holds a special place in my heart. I read these books a lot later than most people, however, it brought about a period of relaxation to my life. A period of learning to sit down, chill and escape to another world. If you haven’t read HP I would highly recommend.

And that is my top 5 reads. What are your favourite books? I would love to hear what your must read books are, because as a book lover, I am always looking for a new read.

Emma xx