January challenge: Veganuary summary

So a month of the year has passed. When did that happen?? I don’t know because it still feels like NYE was yesterday. Anyways, the January challenge was Veganuary. My goal for the month was to inspire you to eat more vegan and to eat as much vegan as I could myself. Like I told you in the beginning of the month I have been in a particular housing situation this month which made it tough for me to eat fully vegan, so that is why my goal was not to eat 100% vegan as I wanted to be realistic this time around.

So what posts did I share this month?

I started off with sharing some of my favourite vegan accounts and some vegan recipes to try out (btw if you haven’t tried the creamy noodle, you have too, it was AMAZING!!).

Then I continued with a post of my best vegan staples and one of good vegan protein sources.

I finished out the month with giving my best tips on vegan snacks and also how to make your own vegan “milk”.

An what about my Veganuary result? Well, the first part of the month I was very motivated and was more in charge of my own eating situation, so during that period I would say 9 out of 10 meals/snacks were vegan. For the second part it went a bit downhill. Because of some unexpected travelling and events and just getting a bit lazy I did not eat as much vegan as I would have liked to. Still, I found some nice recipes to add to my repertoire and I look forward to trying even more during the year.

How was Veganuary for you guys?

Vegan “milk”

rawpixel-1149532-unsplashVegan drinks or “mylks” that substitute cows milk have become increasingly popular and today there are more alternatives than ever in the stores. Did you know that making your own is both easy and can save you money? It also allows you to exactly control the ingredient list and to make just enough for you!

Almond, rice, soy, oat, cashew

My favourite is oat milk, partly because I like the taste, but also because it’s the best option for me living in Northern Europe. We grow a lot of oat here (none of the other crops are grown much in these areas) and in general oat milk is one of the best options since it requires less water than many of the other options and have quite low emissions.

So what you need in order to make some home made vegan milk is:

  • A blender (A strong one is advisable)
  • A cheese cloth or strainer
  • Water
  • Oats, cashews, almonds or whatever type of mylk you are making
  • Sweetener if wanted (dates or vanilla powder are great options)

Start by soaking the oats (or nuts etc.) for at least 30-60 minutes. A great idea is to soak overnight. Then drain and wash them.

Mix 1 part oats, with 3-5 parts water (depending on how thick you want your drink to be) in a blender.

When it’s fully blended, strain the mixture. If you want to add sweetener or to make flavoured mylk, put the mylk back into the blender and add spices.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will last, because I always go for the look, smell, feel, taste when it comes to food. So as long as it doesn’t look weird, smell weird, has a weird-ish consistency or tastes bad, I drink it!

The leftover oats or pulp that you are left with in the strainer/cloth can be used in other recipes like pancakes, bread or protein balls, so don’t throw it away!

Vegan snacks for when the cravings set in

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge snacker. In the evening I like to have a light snack to satisfy my cravings or simply because I am still a bit hungry after dinner. Sometimes I just snack because I think it’s nice, like on a Friday night in the sofa watching a movie or for having friends over for some drinks and quality time.

So for this Veganuary I am sharing some of my favourite snack idea with you!

Popcorn

I think everyone knows about this. When times is cramped or the energy low, popcorn is the way to go. It takes zero chopping, mixing och baking and is done in a matter of minutes. I usually go for the stove popping ones which reduces the use of material and contain less additives compared to microwave popcorn. If you want some “cheesy” flavour my best tip is to top off the hot popcorn with some nutritional yeast. Oh and salt!

Veggie chips

Chips are probably my biggest craving ever, in all categories, but as we all know they are usually not the most healthy option, as well as often containing dairy. So if you want a healthier option that is sure to be animal-free you should make your own! You can make chips out of many different veggies, but my best ones are kale chips, zucchini chips and of course, the classic, potato chips. Slices them up thinly, massage with some oil of choice and spice them up with your favourite flavours and then just spread out on a baking sheet and bake on a lower temperature until they start getting some colour. All ovens are different but I tend to go somewhere between 75-100°C depending on what type of vegetables I am using.

Veggies and dip

When I feel like a slightly healthier snack I turn to veggies and dip. For the dips you can either just take some vegan sourcream/fraiche and mix with spices and herbs or you can make your own (or bought) hummus, guacamole, artichoke dip, bean dip or green pea mash. For the hummus I like to switch it up with some different flavours like smoked paprika or sun-dried tomatoes. You can also make hummus with avocado in it, edamame, green peas or any other thing you like. As long as you have mixer or blender only your imagination can stop you. My best veggies to dip are carrots (A MUST!), cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, fresh broccoli and sugarsnaps.

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Nice cream

If you crave ice cream a lot, nice cream is your best bet. It’s like ice cream, but instead of making it on cream, you base it on frozen fruits. So it’s almost like a sort of sorbet. The classic base is with frozen banana that you mix up with other fruits and berries. If you like you can mix in chopped nuts or even chocolate. Whatever suits you!

Baked goods

Most of your favourite cookies and cakes are doable without dairy and eggs. Oat cookies,  raw berry pies with a nut crust, chocolate chip cookies, whatever you can imagine. When it comes to baking vegan, some recipes are fine with a 1:1 ratio of dairy – plant milk and chia eggs, but since baking is quite complex I would always try to find a recipe, there’s nothing worse than craving and baking something, only to have it fail!

So those are my best snacks for anyone feeling a slight craving but wanting to keep it vegan. Do you have any vegan snack faves?

Good sources for vegan protein

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The first concern that seems to come up when someone mentions that they are vegan (or even vegetarian) is: “are you getting enough protein?”. Protein deficiency is quite rare in the western world and as long as you eat a varied and somewhat healthy diet, you are most likely getting enough. Even if you only eat plants. Because what some people fail to understand is that veggies also contain protein.

Still, if you want to make a balanced dinner that is sure to satisfy your protein needs, there are some foods that are more suitable than others (unless you feel like eating 50+ cucumbers per meal…).

Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based protein often used in vegan cooking. For a long time I did not understand tofu, I though it was bland and had a weird consistency and could not understand why anyone would eat it out of free will. Today I cook a lot with tofu and know that the trick is to use the right type of tofu and to not eat it without marinade or spice.

Seitan

Made with wheat protein (gluten) and sometimes called mock duck/chicken in restaurants, seitan is a great substitute for chicken and poultry in dishes. It is great for marinating and spicing since it easily absorbs fluids and flavours.

Tempeh

Similar to tofu, but is made with fermented legumes. Can be marinated and flavoured just like tofu and seitan and can be cooked in several ways; fried, ovenbaked or as part of a stew.

Beans

Probably my favourite out of the vegan proteins. It’s cheap, tasty (in my opinion) and if you buy the cooked beans you can have a dinner ready in 15 minutes or less!

Lentils

Lentils are a great source of protein. In addition, they are cheap and quite easy to cook. I like them mostly in soups and casseroles but they work on their own as well.

Nuts

Most know that nuts are high in healthy fats, but they also contain a decent amount of protein. Since nuts are high in fat they are also quite caloric so I don’t build meals around them. Instead, I like them as an add-on on stews, bowl and similar, or make a pesto or sauce.

Veggies

Like mentioned above, vegetables contain protein. Some of the most protein packed ones are potatoes, spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, mushrooms and cauliflower. So by eating a big variety of vegetables you will get a big chance of satisfying your daily need.

Vegan “meats”

This option might not the best regarding the environment or the price, but I like to include it as an option as it is simple and fast, which makes it more accessible. For people switching over to a more plant-based diet this is often a given, since it gives the opportunity to cook similar dishes to before. However, I think it’s important to not get stuck in just cooking substitutes since they can be quite bland and expensive. My favourite brands for substitutes are the Swedish brands Anamma and Oumph!

 

My favourite staples for green eating

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Transitioning to a more plant-based diet can be challenging at times. When I stopped cooking meat I started stocking new products that were tasty and easy to cook. So for those of you that feel a bit lost with vegan or vegetarian cooking, here are some of my favourite green eating staples!

Cabbage

I love almost all types of cabbage! The greatness of the cabbage is the versatility, that they are nutrient dense, cheap and keep for long (like really long). Cabbage can be used as a filler in many dishes, it is great for stews, soups, casseroles, salads or just as a side. You can pickle it, make sauerkraut, kimchi, steam it, boil it, fry it or just eat it raw. My favourites are kale and red cabbage (preferable pickled in a bit of apple cider vinegar).

Onion

Similar to cabbage, onion is cheap and durable. I use all types of onion to cook: yellow, red, garlic, spring onion, shallots. They are anti-inflammatory and great for adding flavour to a dish. It is very rare that I eat something that does not include at least one type of onion, raw or cooked. My favourite is to add a bit of pickled red onion or fresh spring onion to top of a dish. It adds a nice touch!

Potato

Regular potato and sweet potato are my best carbs (sorry pasta, I still love you though…). They work great boiled, mashed, baked, fried or whatever way you would like them. In addition to eating them as a side (or as me the main), you can add them to curries and stews, you can make hash browns or patties by mixing them with some nice spices and herbs. I also love to make sweet potato tacos with some black beans and loads of cilantro!

Peas & beans

The great thing today about peas and beans is that you can buy them ready in tetras or cans, which is fast and accessible. But the cheapest way to to buy dried ones and cook yourself. They provide a great amount of protein and can be added to salads, soups, curries and most other dishes. If you do not like the taste or the structure, I would try to either blend them into a soup or marinate them to get some flavour. I mostly eat chickpeas, which I put in salads and curries, or black beans, that I use for tacos, bean patties and salads.

Tomatoes

I love tomatoes in any form! When I was a child I did not like fruit so my grandmother would cut up tomatoes for me to eat. Still today I tend to buy cherry tomatoes as snack for movie night! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a potent antioxidant, that has been linked to decreased risk for several diseases.
In my kitchen you can almost always find a few cans of diced or whole tomatoes. They are a great staple that keeps for long in the pantry and they can be used for soups, stews, sauces and what not. However, my favourite is to eat a perfectly ripe tomato with just a tiny bit of herb salt.

Grains

Grains are a great filler that you can put in salads, bowls or sub for when you have no rice at home. My favourites are quinoa, buckwheat and wheatberry. I tend to use then mostly for bowl base or as the side of a soup or curry, or to make breakfast porridge. They are great carbs, that fill you up, without being too “fast”, and I personally like the taste and the texture of them.

Lentils

If I am completely drained for food inspiration or seriously cramped on time, I make lentil soup. Lentils are a great source of protein and they are often very cheap. I prefer the red ones best, both for the flavour and for the fact that they are fast cooked. If I have more time I like to make chili with green lentils.

So if you are finding it hard to cultivate a vegan or vegetarian diet, you could try incorporating more of these foods into your your

Inspiration for Veganuary

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Going vegan for a month or even cooking a few vegan meals a week can be hard if you are used to cooking with meat and dairy, so I thought I would share some good resources for you to get started on eating more vegan!

I am not a vegan. I tend to avoid labels all together since I do not like it. The second you commit to a label you risk getting critiqued and I do not enjoy that. If I am to label myself, I usually go for pescatarian. I eat about 90% vegetarian with the last 10% being a little bit of seafood (which I can rarely afford, it’s mostly when visiting family) and very, very occasionally a little bit of meat. In addition to eating mostly vegetarian I eat a lot of vegan, basically half of what I eat is vegan. I am always up for trying new vegan recipes to add to my growing repertoire!

5 Favorite Vegan Bloggers & YouTubers

Since I like cooking vegan I have during the years found some really inspiring people that share their recipes with the world. Here are some of them:

The First Mess

I love the balance in this blog. Here you can find everything from healthy juices to sweet cinnamon buns, all vegan! She seems to have found that slow life when it comes to food and it gives a lovely feel to the entire blog.

Deliciously Ella

Ella went from being very ill, to healing with foods, growing her blog to huge followings, to actually opening her own deli and shop. I have always loved her colourful recipes and that you can find how-tos for how to make vegan basics as well as more advanced recipes.

Oh She Glows

Angela’s blog was the first vegan blog I discovered a few years back. In addition to being plant-based, most of her recipes are also free of gluten, soy, and processed foods. When I am looking for tasty, healthy recipes this is the first one I check.

Avantgarde Vegan

This is the only guy on the list. It is also the only YouTuber (even though he has a webpage as well). I generally prefer to read than to listen and watch (like YouTube), but this guy is so fun to watch so I have made an exception. He has a huge library of videos and he makes vegan dishes you could never believe were actually vegan!

Simple Vegan Blog

This is a great resource for any type of food you can imagine in a vegan form. The recipe library is extensive and full of tasty and simple vegan foods!

Extra one:

Minimalist Baker

I added an extra one for the list, a baker. If you struggle with baking vegan this is the blog for you! This blog has been going for a long time and you can find mostly anything on there (she also does post regular meals and not only sweets).

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10 Tasty Vegan Recipes to try out this Month

Below I have assembled some really nice recipes that you could try out during Veganuary or whenever you feel like a nice vegan meal. Making soups and stews or dishes from Asian or Latin cuisine are my biggest go-tos. Many Asian kitchen are traditionally vegan and I tend to eat a lot of vegan versions of tacos and South American food because I love the flavours and you can easily make them vegan.

Vegan Lentil Meatballs in Spiced Pumpkin Tomato Sauce

Simple burrito bowl

Kale Caesar Salad with Tempeh and Coconut Bacon

Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa & Spinach

Miso Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu

Ramen with Vegan Egg

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

Creamy Cashew Veggie Noodle Bowl

Thai Curry Carrot Lentil Soup

Carrot, Tomato & Coconut Soup

January challenge: Veganuary

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Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. – Veganuary.com

During this month I will inspire you to eat more vegan, since it is a good option if you care about your health, the environment and the animals. I am not a vegan, even though I eat a lot of vegan and always strive for a mostly plant based diet, and though I had initially planned on doing a strict 31 days of eating only vegan I have come to realise that it does not seem realistic to me right now.

Why might you say? Well, I have be talking about setting realistic goals to not set you up for immediate that will discourage you and that is what it is all about. My life situation at the moment will make it slightly inconvenient to do a strict vegan month. Since I have no home of my own at the moment, I will be staying at my boyfriend’s place for a big part of the month and at my parents’ for the rest while looking for jobs. Since none of them are vegan or even vegetarian it makes things more difficult. I will not always have the time to cook separate food for myself and thus might have to eat things that are not vegan. My hopes though are to eat as much vegan as I possibly can during the month and to try many new, tasty recipes!

So during the month I will be sharing some good sources for eating vegan, some favourite vegan staples and lots more. Are you planning on joining in on Veganuary?