Today, I am going to be telling you all about my favourite local, coffee stops. So if you are ever in the North East Wales area and are in need of a coffee, here is your guide. I feel there is something very special about finding somewhere local, somewhere that gives you the feeling of being ‘your place’, almost a little secret or comfort in someway.
Besides being local, I adore popping somewhere for coffee, to have a few moments to myself, to be mindful and to watch the world pass by, if only for a few moments. As well as a comforting, warm drink, it gives me a few moments to hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the busy days.
This month favourites sees all things from my new travel cup to a country pub, it is the little things like these that make a difference, not only to me but to the planet too. I have tried my best to ensure each of the products mentioned is gluten free and vegan but please always double check.
The new year has been filled with all things vegan, with Veganuary more popular than ever and companies feeding the demand for vegan products, it has been a month of vegan finds, with a few surprisingly gluten free products too. Resisting the urge to post all my new findings, here are a few of the best!
I originally called this post ‘here, there and everywhere’ but after rereading the post I realised I have had a month of doing all the thing I love to do. This month has been filled with talking about mental health, exploring, seeing friends, family and somewhere amongst that finding gluten free, vegan goodness to. I am so very grateful.
As you will see I seem to have spent more time on a train than I ever have before, not that I am complaining! It has been wonderful, even the train part, giving me chance to read ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon, I have only a few chapters left, so please no spoilers.
A little early, with a few added rambles. Last week I saw a woman standing in the free from aisle, staring aimlessly at the limited selection of food choices as she asked the shop assistant “is this all?” The shop assistant looked at her, sighing with sympathy, she replied “I will take you to the refrigerated items to”. The woman followed the shop assistant looking disappointed at her basket filled with expensive and pretty-tasteless items. This was one of the many scenes I have noticed since being gluten free; the confusion, the frustration and the disappoint of the newly diagnosed, or even more so, the pity of the non-diagnosed, ‘normal eating’ family member.
This reminded me of why I write these ‘free from favourites’ posts, because I have been there. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance over two years ago now. My first time to the supermarket resulted in me crying whilst squishing every rock-hard loaf of bread, desperately trying to find something edible and inexpensive.
Since then, I have become very supermarket savvy, you know those television programmes, supermarket saver? I could own an allergy friendly one! As could some of the other people I have met whilst both staring at the free from aisle. The amount of conversations I have had there, each person either welcoming advice and tips or offering them.
Enough of the ramble and onto the post.
Beginning with Tesco’s frozen Vegetable Patties, £1 for six, what a bargain? Since going gluten free, every vegetable burger I can find seems to be coated with bread crumbs or is made with gluten free bread crumbs, resulting in them being very overpriced. With a new recipe, making these burgers now gluten free (I thank you Tesco!), not the most luxury of burgers I know but I love them! They make the perfect quick and easy, childhood meal. Perfect with added sweet potato, beans and peas.
Whilst in Tesco, I found BFrees pitta pockets, I love the brand BFree, personally I think they are one of the best gluten free brands out there. Top tip, always use your freezer, BFree’s bread and pittas both freeze well, I just take what I want out and pop them into the toaster or in the oven for a few minutes. The pitta pockets are great for packed lunches, without those gluten free holes, they can hold a decent sized filling without falling apart as soon as you look at them. My favourite filling is hummus and falafel, basic but delicious.
Of course, to get the best deals you have to shop around and Aldi is always my go to, Aldi’s free from range just gets better and better. Aldi’s cashew nuts, raw fruit and nut bars, falafels and 55 pence- hummus, are always on my list.
A slightly more expensive but trust me when I say they are worth it, is Livia’s Kitchen Raw Millionaires Bites, perfect for those ‘coffee and cake’ moments. Not overly sweet but sweet enough to leave your sweet tooth feeling satisfied. With a lot of ‘raw’ foods, I can tell they are raw, they taste great but I can tell that it is different, unlike these. I honestly could not tell the difference, actually I could, these taste better! I found these little packets in Sainsbury’s free from aisle. Our of the two the Chocolate Orange are my favourite, hopefully I will come across more from Livia’s Kitchen to try, have you any recommendations?
Moving on to my non-free from aisle finds, the woman I mentioned earlier also asked about crisps. As she picked up the overpriced ‘free from packet’ before seeing the price and putting them back. People who are diagnosed do not realise the amount of gluten free items on the ordinary aisles, with more brands becoming naturally or ‘accidentally gluten free’.
Rice, pasta and noodles, with most free from aisles only stocking a handful of choices, more often than not the higher priced brands to, you are best of looking on the normal aisles. Of course, rice is naturally gluten free but I often find the microwavable rice packets containing either wheat or milk, Tilda are usually my go to for things like this. It would seem that more and more supermarkets branching out with pastas made from peas, lentils, brown rice and even buckwheat to, all naturally gluten free. As for noodles, most rice noodles are gluten free, even the instant ones.
Also, most sauces, spreads and condiments can be found without a ‘free from’ label and ‘free from’ price. Supermarket own brands are great for things like tomato sauces, jams and now even nut butters! What ‘accidentally free from’ item have you found?
As for being gluten free and vegan on the go this October, Pret a Manger has been my ultimate ‘go to’, with their vegan friendly options growing, I have been able to spot a few new gluten free options to. Featuring in free from favourites before, it is no surprise that I love Pret a Mangers soups, especially this time of year, I highly recommend trying their vegan chilli or the spiced corn and quinoa, both making the perfect autumnal lunch.
That is all for this month, I am sure Novembers addition will be starting to look a little more Christmassy (how exciting?!).
Before we start this ‘free from favourites’, I want you to know that I am not sponsored by any of these companies, I just like sharing with you all a few of my favourites in the hope it can help. I remember all too well how frustrating and difficult it was when I discovered my gluten intolerance and whilst being vegan seems easy enough, pairing the two started of being quite hard.
I had hoped Januarys Free From Favourites would have been the return of these monthly posts but it would seem my health posts have taken over, oops. Fear not March is here at last and it has been, as always, a great month for all things vegan and gluten free friendly, enjoy!
After not writing a ‘free from favourites’ in such a long time, this month I have decided to, attempt to, bring them back, I say attempt because well, my months seem to be getting busier and busier.
I find posts like these so helpful wether it be vegan, dairy free, gluten free or both, I always find reading posts such as this great for not feeling like ‘the fussy one’, finding new foods and places I didn’t know were allergy friendly and with Veganuary seeming more popular than ever I thought it was the perfect time to get started. Continue reading “January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)”→