Sunday, 27 December 2009

Kris's Cruelty Free... Bathroom and Make-up bag!

For a change of subject, I love trying out new toiletries and cosmetics, so I've decided to post a list of my favourites. So, in no particular order...

Barry M 3-in-1 mascara- I don't wear a lot of makeup for everyday, but having very light blonde eyelashes, I feel rather naked without my mascara! (I've tried dyeing them, but I like the volume mascara gives too). Just one coat gives a nice amount of volume that isn't too heavy for everyday wear, and it also lengthens and curls, so no need for curlers. Fellow spectacle wearers will also love that it dries nicely and won't smudge all over your glasses. Available from their own website, as well as and Boots and Superdrug on the high street.

Lush hair products for blondes- I absolutely love their The Blonde solid shampoo and Marilyn hair moisturiser pre-shampoo treatment. Like a lot of people's, my blonde hair has darkened as I've got older, and I've lightened it with highlights loads of times over the years. I was considering getting some more to brighten my mousy hair up a bit, but using these products gives me a a brighter, lighter colour after a while so I'm now a lot happier with my hair colour, and it's cheaper and less damaging than having it bleached at a hairdressers. They both smell pleasantly of camomile and remind me of baby shampoo.

I also really like their Veganese conditioner. I have very fine hair and I find a lot of conditioners can be too heavy, but this stuff is really light and leaves my hair soft and shiny but doesn't weigh it down. Has a nice fresh citrussy smell of lemons.

I love Montagne Jeunesse Moisture Miracle intensive conditioner and serum sachets. It leaves my hair in great condition and smells gorgeous and chocolate-y. Great stuff, I only wish they made it in big huge tubs as well as wee one use sachets!

Co-op own brand
sensitive toothpaste- this stuff really works for my sensitive teeth, they had been incredibly sore for a while but after using this they hardly bother me. It's also cheap and tastes minty fresh.

I also love co-op's own brand anti-perspirant deodorants and body sprays, which come in a variety of light, freshscents, all of which I've liked so far. The anti-perspirants last ages and don't leave white marks, and are pretty cheap too.

I use Simple facial wipes or eye make up remover liquid(*I looked for a link and they seem to have discontinued this product :( , although they do have a new lotion version which I think I'll try next time), as I have very dry sensitive skin around my eyes and these are effective and don't irritate my skin. I also like their Kind to eyes soothing eye balm.

Jay uses Simple's Anti-Dandruff shampoo which is very effective at getting rid of dandruff. It's also unscented, which is a bonus as many anti-dandruff shampoos have a strong, often unpleasant medicated smell.

We both use Original Source shower gels which smell delicious. (And I use the men's ones as well as the women's!) Their minty ones are especially great for summer as they're cooling and tingly! They used to make a tingly mint deodorant spray, now discontinued, which I wish they'd bring back.

This weird and wonderful product, Montagne Jeunesse's Chantelle blueberry refreshing foot talc, which is a lotion that magically transforms into a talc when massaged into the feet, tingles and cools gently, feels great and is ideal for doing foot massages with. Jay and I both love it.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

For Fox sake back the ban!

If you don't want want to see the hunting ban repealed, then please sign the petition at the link above, and write to your local MP and candidates about this issue(the site has a feature which allows you to do this online).

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Xmas potluck pics! With added cute!

I've got some photos from the Scottish Vegans' Xmas potluck, hosted by Penny of Scottish Vegan Homemaker and family, including this cute one of Susie the cat, above, peeking at as shyly from the stairs...
The cats might have been shy, but I got cuddles from doggies Daisy and Bobby, pictured above, snuggling in front of the heater....Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 13 month old Bree, daughter of the Two Vegans at Leaves and Twigs, was singlehandedly proving that veganism IS healthy for kids of all ages! :)

Here's the spread of just some of our feast... I brought the vanilla sandwich cookies in the tartan tin. There's also lemon curd tartlettes, chocolate, pecan and pear cake, 2 pumpkin pies, banana cake with chocolate chips, nut roast stars, cranberries and oatcakes in the picture, and we also had soup, roasted veg, snow day pie, spicy carrot dip with breadsticks, stromboli, Catalan chickpeas, and cacao and peanut ice-cream (not pictured, sorry, was too busy eating!)

Apologies again for the lack of recent posts, I'm still alive and well, though I've been busy and knackered (being behind a till this time of year will do that to you! ;) ) doing overtime at work so I haven't had the time for doing experimental cooking and blogging about it, although my hours will be cut after xmas so hopefully I'll post more often in 2010!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Restaurant Review- Chapter One, Forres

Jay, his parents and I have just come from a lovely meal in Chapter One, an omni restaurant in Forres, in the north of Scotland, as we're up visiting them. His mum booked a table in advance asking if they could cater for two vegans in the party, and was told that was fine.

The Vegan Banquet, made specially for us, went above and beyond our expectations. We're so used to getting measly portions and still being hungry afterwards in omni restaurants so we were delighted to receive huge, enormous potions, which included a spicy mushroom and nut paella, mushrooms in a tomato-based sauce, stuffed tomatoes with a caramelised onion filling, asparagus-filled filo pastry and vegetable skewers. We gave his parents a little off our plates to try and they both found it delicious as well. :)

I'm going to award Chapter One an impressive 10/10 for their efforts, and I highly recommend booking in advance and paying them a visit if you're ever up this way.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Animal Lovers' Fayre!

There's a Fayre tomorrow Sunday 1st November from 12 noon-5 pm in the basement of Stereo, 20-28 Renfield Lane, Glasgow to celebrate World Vegan Day organised by The Glasgow Vegan Meetup Group. There will be animal welfare stalls (info tables/displays with free leaflets, etc), a vegan art & craft stall, charity jumble sale, free films & snacks & 4 competitions with prizes. And upstairs at Stereo as it's World Vegan Day there will be 1/2 price food all day! A great day out and celebration of being vegan! :)

I've made this batch of choc chip cookies for the Scottish Vegans' bakery stall, and Penny of Scottish Vegan Homemaker is also bringing a variety of goodies- so be there if you want to sample some of our baking!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Potluck pics, Po-Jay-Toes, "Cheese"cake!

I was at another Yahoo! Scottish Vegans' Potluck today at Norma's, and here is a spread of just some of the tasty vegan food I was sampling...
I brought some Jammy Almond cupcakes, pictured above, my own adaption of Veganomicon's Jelly Donut cupcakes which I wrote about in my last post, and some chocolatey chilli, a spicier version than I usually make for Jay.
It was my 29th birthday a few days ago, and I got a birthday raspberry "cheese"-cake by Mama Cucina from Holland and Barrett, pictured above. It was expensive at £3-99, but delicious!
Sorry for the terrible photo here, I was halfway through eating dinner when i remembered to take it! I've been working late and coming home to tasty dinners cooked by my boyfriend Jay, like these baby potatoes, sliced into smaller pieces for extra crispiness and roasted in olive oil, black pepper, sea salt and thyme and roasted at 220C for 35 mins. I've named them Po-Jay-Toes after him and made him promise to make them frequently! They're served here with a grassingtons "peppered beef-style steaks" roast frozen parsnips, and there were some runner beans on the plate too before I took the picture.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Happy Accidents! Baked Tatties!

A while ago I started making Jelly Donut Cupcakes from Vegaomicon... then realised as I'd started putting the ingredients together that I was out of vanilla extract! I ran to my local branch of Spar just across the road to remedy this, but they were also out of vanilla!
I wondered how I could adjust the recipe and decided to try flavouring my cupcakes using almond extract instead of the vanilla, and just omitted using the nutmeg- and it worked beautifully, giving my cupcakes a lovely combination of jam and almond sponge flavours reminescent of a bakewell tart.
Now, whenever I make these cupcakes, I follow my own almond variation, which I actually prefer to the original. I'm quite glad now that I ran out of vanilla that day!
Next time I make these, I think I'll try sprinkling some chopped almonds on top too...
There's a Lurpak butter ad showing on TV just now where they insist baked potatoes are best baked in the oven, and not in the microwave. To some extent I agree with this as I don't like microwaved tatties either, but I start mine in the microwave for 5-10 mins depending how many tatties I have to bake, then finish them off in the oven for about 30-40 minutes to speed up the process, yet still get that lovely crispy, baked jacket effect.
I refuse to put Lurpak on my tatties however, as it's definitely not vegan!
We had these with a coleslaw homemade with Mayola vegan mayo(sorry, we were too busy eating and I forgot to take another photo!), but there are also vegan alternatives to butter such as Pure or Vitalite that can be used.

I've made 3 posts in this week alone since I've been on holiday, but as I'm back to boring work tomorrow and out the house for about 11 hours a day, sadly they'll be less frequent again as all work and no play makes for a slow blog! :(

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Visit to Wagamama's, and making cupcakes at my mama's house!

This photo of me (sorry if anyone finds the image disturbing!) was taken at Wagamama's restaurant in Glasgow, where I was trying to eat some very tasty vegan Saien Soba with chopsticks and a wooden ladle-thingybob.

Although they are an Omni restaurant, Wagamama's cater for vegans as well as other dietary requirements, and even though many items aren't vegan on the menu, you can ask the staff and they will suggest how they can adjust things for you- Jay and I both had Saien Soba soup(which the menu describes as "whole wheat noodles in a vegetable soup topped with fried tofu, beansprouts, courgettes, asparagus, red onion, leeks, mushrooms, mangetout and garlic. garnished with spring onion") without the soba noodles as they contain egg, and had Udon noodles in it instead.

Our meal was delicious and we'd both definitely go back there. We were especially impressed with their deep fried tofu. Here's a shot of Jay getting to grips with some chopsticks...

This little bottle contains coffee flavoured balsamic vinegar, which may sound like an odd combination but it tastes great! I got it in Oil and Vinegar, where they sell many other kinds of weird and wonderful flavours of these such as chocolate or strawberry flavour balsamic vinegars as well. I tried a few of the tasters but I liked the coffee one best.

This is an experimental Triple Chocolate Cupcake which I made a batch of at my family's house while I was visiting a few days ago and my wee brother asked me to give him a hand making cakes. Alas, there was no vegan marge, soya milk nor baking soda, but there was plenty vegan chocolate so we managed to come up with this recipe, which worked rather well!

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

(makes 12 )

200g flour
100g sugar
2tsp baking powder

4 tbsp cocoa

4 tbsp veg oil
200ml water
2tsp vanilla essence

50g vegan chocolate, broken into small chunks(alternatively use chocolate chips)

100g vegan chocolate(melted to ice- optional)

-preheat oven to 180C, arrange cupcake cases
-sift dry ingredients together
-stir in wet ingredients then add chocolate chips
-spoon into cupcake cases, bake for 25-30 mins, then leave to cool

-ice if desired by melting more chocolate and drizzling over the top of your cooled cupcakes. Leave to cool until the chocolate cools and hardens, then enjoy!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

More from my new toy!

Tasty homemade hummus, based on the recipe in Dino Sarma's Alternative Vegan, with some whole chickpeas on top for garnish. (I got the garnish idea from a ready-made moroccan style spicy hummus that I buy from Sainsbury's, but my chickpeas were a little bland so I don't recommend doing that unless your hummus is spicier- we enjoyed the hummus it underneath though!) Jay says it is on a par with shop-bought hummus- high praise indeed! :)

Tasty vanilla cupcakes (Golden Vanilla cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World) iced with my own experimental recipe of...

Extra creamy icing

2 tbsp vitalite,
2 tsp alpro soya cream,
1/2 a cup of vanilla essence
2 cups of icing sugar.

-combine the above ingredients, then ice cupcakes.
This tasty drink was a tropical smoothie, with frozen mango, papaya, pineapple and banana, with orange juice. The frozen fruit was bought ready to blend in a bag from Morrisons(see photo below, right) which I'd never heard of before but spotted while looking for frozen blueberries and was only £1-69 for a 500g bag- cheaper than fresh! And it's less prep work, plus being frozen as well as lasting longer it made the smoothie lovely and cool without needing any ice or refridgeration. I'd definitely buy this again. 5/5

Sunday, 16 August 2009

My New Toy! (Cheers Norma! :))

When my friend Norma got one of the legendary(amongst vegan bloggers!) Vitamix food processors, she very kindly gave me her Breville food processor- and while it may not sing, dance and heat up soup, it does make a nice smoothie!(see above pic) This is the first thing I've done on it, and there are more posts of processed food coming soon!

This here smoothie has plums, nectarines and orange juice(see below). For more interesting smoothie combos check out Penny's Smoothie Of The Day at the bottom of every post on her Scottish Vegan Homemaker blog.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Compassionate Living Fayre Food!

Compassionate Living Fayre Summer '09
Sat 25th July 09. 10.30am – 5.30pm
St Augustine's Church Hall, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

I've been busy baking for the Scottish Vegans' Stall for this fayre(details above) tomorrow- the picture above is a very large stockpot full of cake batter as my usual big pyrex mixing bowl still wasn't quite big enough to fit multiple portions in at once!
Here are the finished cupcakes all ready to go- it's the Jelly Donut cupcakes from Veganomicon, and I've also made some Chewy Raisin Oatmeal Cookies from the same book (same ones as I made last week for the potluck, but following the recipe properly this time so without the cranberries!).

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Reggae Reggae Review and Potluck Food!

Although I haven't blogged since the last potluck a month ago, I am still alive- just been busy doing loads of overtime at work! Anyway, I'm taking this curry and these cookies, pictured above, to the Yahoo! Scottish Vegans potluck at Penny's tomorrow.

The curry is based on this vegan society leaflet recipe, but instead of using ordinary chickpeas, I've used brown Kala Chana chickpeas(they're Pride tinned, and I got them in Morrisons' ethnic foods aisle) and IMHO they're nicer than regular ones!

The cookies are Veganomnicon's Chewy Raisin Oatmeal cookies, and I've mixed up dried cranberries with the raisins, and added double the spices for extra spiciness!
This here is tofu and onions in Reggae Reggae cooking sauce, served with rice and peas. I've loved all the varieties of Reggae Reggae Sauce I've tried so when I saw their new cooking sauces, on offer in Morrisons' at 2 for £3, I bought them to try! It's a bit pricey, even when offer, but I loved this one too- very, very spicy but is absolutely delicious, and very similar to their ketchup sauce in taste. 9/10

Review for the Caribbean Curry variety coming up soon!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Potluck pics...

The potluck was a sucess with lots of good company and tasty vegan food! On the spread on the table are Jane's peanut butter cookies, Penny's lentil and sunflower bake, Norma's Upside-down pear cake, Sooz's brownies and sausage rolls, as well my things I posted in yesterday's entry.

Not shown in the pic (as they were still heating up while I took it- d'oh!) but also worth a mention (and a thank you for bringing as they were yummy!!), were Norma's chilli and tortillas, and Sylvia's corn chowder and baguettes.
Sylvia with JohnnyNorma and Sylvia
Sooz, Penny, Jane and John

Luckily there aren't any scary pics of me!! :)
Thanks again for coming guys!

This isn't a pic from the potluck, it's Ryvita with new Pure "cream cheese" spread and strawberry jam- very tasty indeed! I love the new Pure spread myself and would score it 4/5, although I've read mixed reviews for it. It is rather sweet and I'm not sure whether it'd work quite so well as a savoury, but if you're using it in a sweet dish like I did then it's delicious.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Potluck preview...

Long time no post, but I'm still alive, just been super-busy lately! I'm hosting a potluck for the Yahoo! Scottish Vegans group tomorrow and here's some of the food I've made for it...

Pictured above are my own recipe lemon and poppyseed muffins...
A tomato-tahini pasta bake with breadcrumbs-( it's this recipe, then put in a casserole dish, cover with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of nutitional yeat, and bake for 30-40 mins at 220 C)
Bird's eye chilli pasta salad, following a serving suggestion on the packet... definitely not for the faint-hearted as these chillis are HOT!
And last but not least, some chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing! As seems to be compulsory when I make things for potlucks, this is the one that went a bit wrong as the frosting was a lot runnier than I'd intended it to be, and it was in an icing syringe by then so it was too late to fix! Luckily it still tasted fine though!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Nibbling on cookies with cacao nibs!

I bought a bag of Suma cacao nibs- chocolate in it's purest form!- from a local health food store and decided to make cacao nib cookies with it. I made two kinds, a chewy chocolate cacao nib cookie, above, and oatmeal chocolate cookies, pictured below.

Here are the recipes for both...

Chewy chocolate cacao nib cookies....

115g margarine

125g sugar

1 tsp molasses

2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/4 tsp almond essence

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

100g cacao nibs

-preheat oven to 190 C

-in a small bowl, mix margarine, sugar, molasses and vanilla and almond essences

-in a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa baking soda and salt

-add small bowl of mixture and cacao nibs to large bowl and mix well

-scoop spoon sized portions into your hand, roll the dough into a ball and flatten then place on cookie sheet

- bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are slightly browned, and let cool before removing

Oatmeal chocolate cacao nib cookies

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups oats
1 cup cacao nibs

-preheat oven to 190 C

-in a small bowl, mix oil, sugar, maple syrup, soy milk and vanilla essence

-in a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt

-add small bowl of mixture, oats and cacao nibs to large bowl and mix well

-scoop spoon sized portions into your hand, roll the dough into a ball and flatten then place on cookie sheet

- bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned, and let cool before removing