Home Comforts.

Looking at my previous posts, I am sure you can tell I have had a touch of those ‘post adventure blues’. It would seem my plan to throw myself into all things work did not work as well as I had hoped and searching for employment is no easy task. It is not all bad though, I have had a few weeks to enjoy some home comforts, or at least try to without comparing everything and anything to New York.

But of course, nothing quite compares to exploring the beginning of autumn with my four legged friends! I have loved returning to jumpers, tights and all the autumnal colours. Nothing beats seeing Archie running in and out of the colourful leaves that are quickly falling. Being mindful of my surroundings and seeing the seasonal fruit appearing on the trees and enjoying that cosy feeling of coming in from a crisp walk.

Speaking of cosy feelings, a few weeks ago I went to visit my great grandmother. We popped into a cosy pub, it was a surprise to see vegan options, and gluten free to! I had the lentil cottage pie and it was a lot nicer than it looks. Don’t you think it is becoming easier and easier to be vegan?

With having to purchase a new car, being unemployed and well, trying to be somewhat independent, I am also feeling the ‘post adventure pinch’, as I am sure I am not the only one? Not that I am complaining, I mean I have been forced into getting creative in my kitchen and with the help from Deliciously Ella, forever browsing her app for inspiration, I have made a couple of lovely and very affordable dishes.

These recipes are very similar and simple to make.

Sweet potato and mixed bean stew, serves three
(two medium sweet potatoes, two tins of mixed beans, a handful of cherry tomatoes, one table spoon of tomato puree, one vegetable stock cube, a pinch of rosemary, cumin, chilli flakes, ground black pepper and steamed vegetables to serve)

First peel and chop into squares the sweet potatoes, part boil and roast for around 25 minutes.
Half way through, chop tomatoes and add to sweet potato for 10 minutes.
Whilst waiting for the sweet potato and tomatoes, rinse and boil the mixed beans, once boiled rinse again and transfer back to pan.
Mix in one crumbled stock cube along with enough boiling water just to cover the beans, put on a low heat and add tomato puree and seasoning, stir well and leave simmer for 10 minutes.
Add in sweet potato and tomatoes and leave on low heat for around 10 minutes, stir well and take of heat, allow to cool.
Once cool use a soup pulse or part blend, as if you were making soup, leaving a few sweet potato chunks and beans whole.
Once ready, for a crispy edge place into ovenproof dishes and cook for 20-30 minutes (or around 4 minutes in the microwave or hob).
I served this with steamed spinach, green peas, broccoli, roasted cashew nuts and nutritional yeast.

Warming green lentil and sweet potato soup, serves two
(one tin of green lentils, two medium sweet potatoes, two servings of sugar snap peas, a handful of cherry tomatoes, one table spoon of tomato puree, a tea spoon of gram masala, a sprinkle of cumin, turmeric, ginger, a pinch of chilli flakes and ground black pepper)

First peel and chop into squares the sweet potatoes, part boil and roast for around 25 minutes.
Half way through, chop tomatoes and add to sweet potato for 10 minutes.
Whilst waiting for the sweet potato and tomatoes, rinse and boil the green lentils, once boiled rinse again and transfer back to pan.
On a low heat add just enough boiling water to cover the lentils, stir in spices and tomato puree before adding the cooked sweet potato, tomatoes and sugar snap peas (cut to own preference).
Stir well and leave simmer on low heat for around 10 minutes.
Pulse or blend, adding water until you achieve your preferred consistency, I enjoy this soup quite chunky.
Enjoy straight away or let cool and reheat later.
I served this soup with some crispy kale and sprinkling of toasted almonds.

Like most of my recipes these can be left to cool and transferred into plastic containers, popped into the fridge or freezer until ready to be served.

There is no free from favourites this month but I have got to mention Rhythm 108’s tea biscuits, found in Aldi but also available online. I do not usually enjoy gluten free biscuits as they often taste like they are trying to be an alternative, non-gluten free biscuit but these are a biscuit in their own right (okay slightly over the top, but you should try them). The lemon and ginger are my favourite and are fitting for this home comforts post.

IMG_4551.jpg

Let me know if you try any of these recipes or if you also have any allergy and budget friendly recommendations?

Thank you for reading,

Nicole

Advertisements

May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).

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.

Continue reading “May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).”

Beautiful birthday gifts.

As I have told you many times before March is one of my favourite months and only partly because my birthday is in March. I love March because it means Easter is on it’s way, the warmer months are starting to appear, the fields are filled with Spring time blooms and everybody seems to be happier.

Whilst enjoying this month I have also been enjoying a few of the following finds and birthday presents to. Each year I am surprised at how well my loved ones know me, the thought that goes into a present and card fills me with gratitude for those around me, thanking every single one of you.

Starting with two atmosphere mists by Made by CoopersAwaken– An uplifting blend of five essential oils designed to awaken the soul and lift the spirits. Grapefruit, Orange, Black Pepper, Palmarosa and Frankincense.’ This mist is just that, truly uplifting and brightens up each morning, the perfect scent to wake up and start my day to.

IMG_4234

Calm– A calming blend of five essential oils designed to relax the mind and body.
Lavender, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Rosemary and Frankincense.’ Another perfect statement to describe this utterly calming scent. I spray this every night before I go to sleep and after having a few weeks of insomnia it has been a life saver.

IMG_4219

I can not recommend these products enough and I am already looking forward to trying more vegan and ethically friendly products created by the wonderful Made by Coopers.

Another new natural brand to me is Nathalie Bond Organics. Buying me soap is always a little daring as my skin is sensitive, thus I am trying to reduce the amount of chemicals I use. Going natural is not as easy as it seems, with companies quiet often using terminology to trick people into thinking their products are natural. Finding a brand like Nathalie Bond Organics is so helpful and so far, using their soap bars has reinforced my already belief of natural is always best.

IMG_4210

Here I have been using the ‘Rose Geranium and Patchouli-Combining the light and floral scents of rose geranium with earthy patchouli, the Rose Geranium + Patchouli Wash Block is both sweet smelling and bursting with benefits for your skin.’

And the ‘Peppermint and Eucalyptus– Dusky grey in colour and minty in scent, the Peppermint + Eucalyptus Wash Block is a stress buster, scalp healer and chemical cleanser. Often used in aromatherapy, peppermint and eucalyptus allow you to unwind and refresh at the same time.’

Each soap block leaving me feel cleansed as though my skin is beginning to heal. Also with soap usually long lasting I believe these will be a very good investment. Again, I adore finding new ethical, vegan friendly beauty brands and I can not wait to explore the store.

Those of you who know me, will know how much I love pyjamas, there is just nothing like a new pair of pyjamas! My friend, Rosie, bought me these Cath Kidston floral (of course) pyjamas and I adore them, I can not believe how soft they are.

As mentioned in my ‘March Free From Favourites’ these are the chocolates I have been enjoying this month but I am all ready for the Easter bunnies arrival.

As mentioned in my earlier post, ‘A different path’ this summer I will be working at a summer camp in New York, of course I will also be exploring and me being me I want to make the most out of every second. To do that I will have to be prepared and what better way to be prepared than by reading? Starting with all the tourist guides I can get my hands on, thanking my parents for each of these accompanied by bookmark post it notes, yay! Travel stationary is totally a thing.

Speaking of traveling how adorable is this Sass & Belle collection? With a beautiful vintage map print and sweet quotes, making me even more so excited. This travel tag and small note pad are packed away ready for my adventure to begin.

IMG_4224

Next is this light box, I am not sure where this was from but these seem to becoming very popular amongst bloggers, my brother being the last person I would have thought to buy me one. I have been using it to write positive quotes and sayings, I love putting it on with the rest of my fairy lights whilst I practice yoga and meditation.

IMG_4230

Lastly and one of my absolute favourites this truly unique, Aries print my sister bought me from Etsy, although I can not seem to find the artist. Etsy is filled with beautiful creations and this is no exception, I just love it. It’s bright, colourful and beautifully designed, personalised with my date of birth. Bringing a touch of Spring to my bedroom all year round.

IMG_4226

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, maybe it has given you some gift ideas, for yourself as well as others!

Nicole

January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)

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)”

A peaceful Christmas.

Hello all, I hope you have enjoyed Christmas time and are all well.

I write this post as a reminder to myself that looking after my mental health during this time of year is really rather important, a kind of follow up from my ‘A Healthier Christmas’ post.

Being completely honest my promises to myself were a little slack and keeping on top of meditation and mindfulness during this time was much harder than I had originally thought. I had a couple of moments of anxiety but I rationalised my thoughts and feelings and made a conscious choice to bring myself to the present moment.

Unlike past Christmas days, I kept well and I really enjoyed my day because of this, here are a few photographs to share with you. Beginning with Christmas Eve, I of course completed my Moo Free  advent calendar, I think I shall be opting for the same calendar next year to! I then wrapped some last minute presents including my fathers gifts for my mother (I just love to wrap!), visited my grandfather and helped my mother prepare some of the Christmas lunch, I then cuddled up with the boys and watched film after film, what better way to spend the night before Christmas?

CyyQEPcXUAAm7FN.jpg

Christmas morning was very relaxed, my family and I exchanged presents and awaited more family to arrive before having lunch. Of course there were many gluten-fee, vegan options including, a cranberry and cashew nut rose, rosemary and red onion sausages, seasoned roasted brussel sprouts and new potatoes, roast potatoes, red cabbage, peas and carrots, a vegan feast pictured before my second plate and a covering of tomato sauce and chilli flakes (it’s good to think outside the box, right?) Speaking of all things vegan my parents bought me this truly beautiful tin and filled it will all kinds of vegan chocolates.

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 08.18.45

Vegan Christmas dinner aside, my day was filled with family, laughter and a great feeling of gratefulness, I am truly blessed and very lucky to have such wonderful people (and dogs to) around me.

 

As tradition on Boxing Day my parents, Archie and I enjoyed a beautiful walk, in one of my favourites, Llangollen. We were blessed with blue skies and bright sunshine. It was also so lovely to see other people out walking and enjoying the morning.

After our walk my father and I had to drive over an hour to pick up my MacBook. During this drive, whilst sky gazing yet again, I was reminded of those not so peaceful times, my aunt used to take me out for drives to try and clear my mind and I couldn’t help feel such gratitude to be where I am today, to be healthy, happy and at peace with myself. For those who may be reading this who are where I once was please have hope, I promise it is possible.

15741181_231178230666001_9093352761700399139_n

A short post but one I hope you have enjoyed reading, I always love to hear other peoples Christmas traditions, and I couldn’t resist a little vegan ramble, what with ‘veganuary’ approaching.

Wishing you well,

Nicole