Loaded Veggie Sandwich

This sandwich is for all you out there who don’t find salads appealing in the slightest but want to make sure you’re getting your 5-a-day in!

So simple, quick and fresh.

Hummus forms the base…

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then add all the veggies!

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Roasted red pepper would also work really nicely.

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Variations could include:

  • Red onion
  • Diced celery
  • Avocado
  • Mashed chickpeas
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Portobello mushroom

Be warned, as delicious as it tastes, it’s rather a challenge to get your chops around. However, it’s well worth every smear of hummus across your face!

 

Eggless Meringues {GF, DF, Vegan}

I know what you’re probably thinking – excuse me? How? What? Why?

Let me tell you, I had exactly the same thoughts when I first came across the concept on Pinterest. I cannot take credit for the recipe as it was the brainchild of Wallflower Kitchen. Go over to her blog to check it out. I can however, confirm that it works and the end result will blow your mind. It certainly did mine!

I don’t want to give the recipe away but I will tell you what the main ingredient is: aquafaba (chickpea water to you and me). You heard right, chickpea water can create this:

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You can even perform the famous hold-the-bowl-upside-down test!

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The final product:

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I crumbled a couple of them up, added some summer berries and a dash of Oatly cream. On a completely unrelated side note, if you’ve never tried Oatly’s chocolate milk then I suggest you add it to your shopping list. Tastes even better than the real thing.

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Just a couple of notes on the recipe.

  • Don’t skip the vanilla extract – you need it to eliminate the subtle chickpea taste.
  • I cooked mine for 2 hours, as the recipe says, and they were very sticky and chewy so could maybe have done with a little bit longer. It all depends how you like your meringues though: crispy = cook longer vs chewy = perfect cooking time.

5 Tips to Help Ease Inactivity

Besides a recent drastic change in my location, there has also been a significant change in my activity levels (i.e. they have decreased significantly).

It has been a shock to the system going from being on my feet for 8 to 10 hours a day, to now being on my backside for 8 hours a day. Nearly 2 months in and I’ve made little changes that have really helped me.

  1. LUNCHTIME WALK

A trap I fell into during the first few weeks was spending my whole lunch hour sitting at my desk idly browsing on my computer. 3 o’clock would roll around and I’d find myself fidgeting in my chair and struggling to concentrate.

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Solution?

Move when you can. For me that means for at least 45 minutes of walking at lunchtime: headphones in, trainers on and no looking at screens.

I’m lucky as the office I work in is right next to the river so you can feel immersed in nature even though you’re in a city. I always smile to myself when I see the same men and women in suits (wearing their Nikes) doing exactly the same thing. Must work then?

River or no river go and pound the pavements for at least 30 minutes, your body and brain will thank you for it.

2. Drink, drink, drink 

Obviously by this I mean water, unless it’s been a particularly taxing day!

I have a large bottle of water that I’m constantly filling up and this way I know roughly how much I have (or haven’t drunk). Conversely, to get more steps in, drink out of a small glass and then you’ll have to keep getting up to fill it up, but make sure you do!

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3. Hourly breaks

This tip is more for your brain and helping productivity. Remember all the way through school and university being told that the best way to revise was to work solidly for an hour and then have a ten minute break? Well why not carry on doing this at work?

Nobody can concentrate for hours on end and maintain the same level of productivity.

4. Healthy lunch

Eat whole foods that are going to stabilise your blood sugar and keep you satisfied for hours after. Everyone is different but my lunch almost exclusively always consists of the following:

Leafy greens (kale, rocket, spinach, mixed salad leaves)

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Vegetables (salad, broccoli, green beans, courgette, carrot etc.)

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Carbohydrate (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, white potato)

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Protein source (beans, lentils, chickpeas)

Something I’ve found saves a lot of time is making double of whatever I have for dinner and putting half in a container and having it for lunch the next day. Who says you have to eat salad or sandwiches for lunch?

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I made this salad for lunch today and doubled it up and have the other half ready for work tomorrow.

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These are all meals that I’ve made recently and taken the other half with me to work.

If you need more inspiration then I’ve recently created a foodie Instagram account @newlyplantbasedgirl – go check it out!

5. Make the most of the weekend

I’m not going to be Miss-All-High-and-Mighty and pretend that every weekend without fail I’m out and about doing things. Some weekends the weather is less than inspiring and all I want to do is hibernate at home.

As a general rule I try and go for a nice long walk, do some yoga or go shopping (a more expensive form of cardio) every weekend.

 

 

June Favourites

I’m writing this post taking comfort from the famous saying ‘better late than never’. June was hectic to say the least but I’m finally finding more time to start doing the things I love. Well, technically, a slow day at work yesterday meant I had a little spare time to jot these down…

  1. Maybelline Color Show 31 Peach Pie Nail Polish

One big requirement I have for a nail polish is staying power. I need a polish that’s going to withstand cooking, cleaning and more importantly the dreaded washing up.

This Maybelline Color Show ticks all three of those boxes. I had been wearing it a week before there was even a hint of a chip!

*WARNING: if you don’t like feet then look away now!*

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I did plan on taking painting my fingernails and taking some nice, more aesthetically pleasing pictures but my fingernails are not currently photo-worthy in any way!

I love nude colours like this one as they’re understated and will go with any outfit you wear.

I definitely plan on buying more colours from this range, very impressed!

2. Camper Johns

If you like puppies, in particular golden retriever puppies, then let me introduce you to your newest crush.

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His parents are YouTubers Marcus and Kristin Johns and Camper is the newest addition to their family.

If you’re having a bad day or just need your daily dose of cuteness then go and watch their introduction video. I have. Upwards of 12 times – no shame here though.

3:13 and 4:29 are two of my favourite parts.

3. Harem pants

The office I now work in is situated above a KFC and a Thai restaurant. So what with the smell of fried chicken and garlic at 10 o’clock in the morning there’s the inevitable fact of the heat. As we know from physics, heat rises. 34 degree heat (thank you heatwave) coupled with the heat from two commercial kitchens means that we have been working in sauna like conditions.

A few weekends ago, out of sheer desperation, I ventured into H&M and ended up buying shares in their harem pant section. Flattering they are not but cool and airy they are. They may also be slightly see through as on several occasions (unless paranoia is alive and well) I definitely thought people were staring at my nether-region.

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4. Overnight oats

Eating my breakfast al-desko means no time for idly cooking my oats on the stove top *sob*. That being said, with the warmer weather, a steaming bowl of hot oats isn’t exactly appealing. Enter overnight oats. Chuck oats and milk in a tupperware the night before, pop in the fridge overnight and add your fruit/toppings before you head out of the door and breakkie is sorted!

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5. Podcasts

Living alone means silence is an inevitable occurrence. In an attempt to combat it I’ve recently found solace in podcasts of all things. I’ve always been a video/YouTube kind of gal – I still am – but podcasts are perfect for just wanting something to listen to whilst still being able to get on with jobs.

Recently I’ve been loving:

1.At Home With…. by Lily Pebbles and Anna Newton. I love these two, they have such a lovely friendship and they’re just such normal, down to earth girls!

2. S-Town I was glued (in a listening sense) to this one. Such an intriguing story and the main speaker’s voice is oddly soothing.

3. Serial: This American Life  I’ve only listened to the first episode of the first season but I love a good murder/crime/mystery story…

 

Apple Crumble Oat Bars

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Aside from my recent change in location and career there has also been a dramatic change in my diet. It’s an area that I feel really passionate about and has quite frankly revolutionised my life in a lot of ways. I definitely plan on doing a whole blog post dedicated to the topic so watch out for that one!

Busy weekdays mean that I only really have time to indulge in baking at the weekend. Being a real foodie (comes with the territory of having parents and grandparents in the business) I really relish any opportunity to try new recipes.

Growing up my Mum made the best apple crumble out there. It was a regular feature of our Sunday night dinners, alongside lashings of her homemade custard. One portion not being enough, I was caught on more than one occasion sneaking back into the fridge on the hunt for seconds. On the same night – the addiction was real.

These bars are so adaptable and can be eaten as a snack, dessert or even breakfast. I plan on crumbling mine up into a bowl and pouring a little bit of almond milk over the top, kind of like baked oats.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large or 4 small eating apples, cored, peeled if preferred and chopped into bit size pieces. Royal Gala are my favourite but Pink Lady are also nice and sweet.
  • 200g raisins
  • 250g non-dairy butter
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 100g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 500g oats. Alternatively 250g of rolled and 250g of jumbo oats would add a nice texture.
  • 2/3 tsp cinnamon

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 190ºC.
  • Line a 24 x 24 cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • On a low heat melt the butter, agave nectar and sugar in a pan.
  • In a separate pan cook the raisins, apples and 2 tsp cinnamon for about 10 minutes until they start to soften. Add a splash of water to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Measure out the oats and stir through 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Once the butter mixture has fully melted, stir through the oats and mix well to combine.
  • *Layer the bottom of the baking tin with half of the oat mixture.
  • Layer the apple and raisins on top of the oats.
  • Cover with the remaining oat mixture.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. 25 minutes for chewy bars and 30 for crispier bars.

*Alternatively you could just combine the oats and apple mixture all together and place in the tin.

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Crumbly by name, crumbly by nature….

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Happy baking – let me know if any of you try these!

Alice xoxo

Travel Talk | Florence

Although it’s been nearly 3 years since I was on my year abroad I kept a diary whilst I was away and I documented everything I did/ate/saw/visited etc. Anyway, I just so happened to stumble upon it the other day whilst clearing out (or at least pretending to) my bedroom.

I haven’t done a travel post in a while and I thought it would be a nice change to share my trip to the Italian gem that is Florence.

Living in Verona was the perfect base as it’s conveniently placed in between lots of amazing other must see places!

Florence definitely lived up to all the hype, every street you ventured down was brimming with culture and history.
It took us just over 2 hours to get there on the train from Verona and we decided to stay overnight to make the most of it!
We went in March which was perfect as it was just the right temperature. In all honesty it was crowded but not as suffocatingly crowded as we were told it can be during the summer months.
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Until you see The Duomo in person you just can’t appreciate how grandiose it is.
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Despite having to queue to get in we only waited about 10 minutes.

Travel Talk: Florence

You must look up when you get inside, you won’t be disappointed.

I have to admit that once inside the Duomo I was slightly underwhelmed. If you go to Florence during the peak season and don’t manage to make it inside then don’t worry because the exterior definitely overshadows the interior.

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Il Ponte Vecchio

You must stroll over the bridge and look at all the quaint, little jewellery shops that line the walkway.

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La Santa Croce 

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Frescos in the Piazza Santa Croce 

We didn’t plan to do specific things, we just wandered around and did things as we stumbled across them. There’s no better way to properly discover a city than on foot.

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One of my highlights was walking up to the Piazzale Michelangelo, a vantage point overlooking the city.

Beware, it’s a walk but definitely definitely worth every huff and puff. It was so surreal to be able to look down on the hustling bustling city from high up in the calm and then turn round and see the Italian countryside behind you.

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The view  over the city from Piazzale Michelangelo. 

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There was a little park at the top complete with pond, a calm haven.

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We decided to keep walking and stumbled across another beautiful church called San Miniato al Monte. 

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The only ‘museum’ we ventured into was the Palazzo Medici Riccardi which was presided in by the Medici family who presided over Florence for much of the 15th century.

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The outdoor courtyard was bursting with fruit trees.

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Before heading back to Verona we decided to catch a bite to eat at a restaurant called Pescheria San Pietro near the train station.

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The squid was fresh and juicy.

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To sum up:

VISIT:

  • Il Palazzo Medici Riccardi

SEE:

  • Il Duomo
  • La basilica di Santa Croce
  • Piazzale Michelangelo
  • Il Ponte Vecchio

I’d say these are the main highlights if you’re only in Florence for 2 days like we were.

EAT:

Vivoli Gelateria

Florence didn’t turn out to just be a treat for my eyes, my tastebuds were also treated to what was the most delicious, creamy, rich gelato I have and will ever taste. It tasted fresh, organic and clean, unlike some of the tourist traps where there is nothing natural about some of the garish, eye-popping colours of ice cream they have on offer!

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Some of these images I’ve borrowed from my lovely friend Catia whose proper camera outshone my then iPhone 5.

 

 

Best of 2016

Here’s a little run down of some of the things that stood out for me in 2016.

  1. Lonchamp Le Pliage Large Shopper

I received this bag as a Christmas present last year after seeing them countless times at Uni and now I get the hype because it’s the most useful bag I’ve ever had. Not only is it the perfect day bag but I also find myself using it in the evening too. I carry a lot of things around with me: water, keys, glasses, makeup, purse etc and this bag is just the ticket to fitting it all in. The only downside is that there are no real pockets and as such finding things isn’t always an easy feat.

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       2. Avocado and egg on toast

I know how much of a cliché this one is but for good reason. Delicious and filling, there are so many ways you spice this dish up. Poached, scrambled, fried, boiled egg. Lots of black pepper and salt. Top it with some crumbled feta cheese. The possibilities are endless.

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      3. Pyjamas

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Over the course of the last 12 months I have managed to acquire, not one, not two, not three, but yes, four pairs of pyjamas. 2 pairs are lighter cotton for the cooler months and the other 2 are flannel and perfect for cold winter nights.

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Love the pastel colour of these!

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Both pairs are from Cath Kidston and as I like my pjs to be quite loose I opted for a size M in both. However, on reflection they’re maybe a bit too roomy and I have to roll up the waistband on the bottoms.

I’m a dog lover so these from Joules just scream me all over. They’ve now been reduced in the sale to £11.95!

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Again from Cath Kidston I bought these in a size S but having been through the wash a few times they’re starting to feel a bit cosier.

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You’re never too old to wear pjs with red buses and soldiers on them.

4. Benefit ‘They’re Real!’ Mascara 

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For months I had been using Maybelline Masacara Falsies  and I loved the effect it had on my lashes but I started noticing it drop more the later into the day it got so decided to try out a new product. The Benefit mascara hasn’t let me down and I’ve had so many people ask me what brand of fake eyelashes I use… 😂

5. Yo Sushi

I’ve mentioned my obsession with Yo Sushi in a previous post but decided that it had to feature again. During the summer a new restaurant opened up about 10 minutes away from my house so I now eat there on average 3-4 times a month…

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Although it’s not the healthiest option on the menu, the Ebi Roll is my absolute favourite! I can easily have multiple plates and still want more….

6. Yeonmi Park In Order to live

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Originally it was my granny who bought Yeonmi’s autobiography after seeing her being interviewed on This Morning. Gripping, heartfelt and painful, this is truly one of the most moving books I’ve ever read. The suffering and tragedy she has endured is eye-opening and a stark reminder of how cruel humans can be to each other.