Tomato and Red Pepper Risotto

Monday, 30 May 2016
Vegan Tomato and Red Pepper Risotto

Before going vegan, I used to love making a big pot of super cheesy tomato risotto. It's one of those meals that is just so comforting. So, of course, I had to try making a vegan alternative. One pot, lots of goodness, an hour of cooking and you get a really yummy and satisfying meal. I used wholegrain risotto rice but you can use white risotto rice or short-grain rice instead. 

Vegan Tomato and Red Pepper Risotto

You will need (serves 2-3): 
1 cup whole grain risotto rice (soaked overnight) 
1 onion
1 red pepper
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic 
1x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tablespoons tomato puree
3 cups vegetable stock (made with one stock cube)
12 cherry tomatoes 
1 teaspoon herbs de provence 
1 teaspoon basil 
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
salt and pepper to taste 

- Finely chop the onion and cut the carrot and pepper into fairly small chunks. 
- Fry the onion, pepper and carrot in a little olive oil over a medium heat in a large pot for 5 minutes, until softened. 
- Mince the garlic and add this to the pot. Fry everything for a further minute. 
- Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add these to the pot along with the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, vegetable stock, risotto rice, herbs and a little salt and pepper.  
- Leave the risotto to simmer over a low heat for an hour, adding more water if necessary. 
- After an hour, add the nutritional yeast and stir through.

Vegan Tomato and Red Pepper Risotto

Why I'm Going Vegan

Thursday, 19 May 2016

This is a post I've wanted to write for a while now. Since deciding I'd like to try veganism a few months ago, I've been so eager to learn more about the lifestyle, to educate myself and to really understand the benefits of being vegan and why it is so important. I've watched so many documentaries and videos (I will list these at the bottom), read lots of articles and spoken to others. I feel like I've opened a door to a whole new world, one I'd only heard about before but never given a second thought, one I used to think was strange and one I used to never think I would be a part of. All of a sudden something clicked, though.

It was the documentary 'Forks Over Knives' that was the turning point for me. For the few months prior to watching it, I had been paying a little more attention to veganism, slowing becoming a bit more interested, so when Forks Over Knives caught my eye on Netflix I thought I'd give it a go. From then on I became hooked, I wanted to learn more and more about the vegan lifestyle. I watched Cowspiracy, Vegucated, Food Inc., and countless other documentaries and videos. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and anger towards the industry I had accepted as normal for my whole life. I couldn't believe I had supported the production of meat and animal products for so long. After watching and learning all I could, suddenly everything made sense, I had made the connection and there was no going back.

Vegan. It's who I am now. A lifestyle I have fallen in love with and feel so passionate about. I can't imagine ever going back to eating animal products, I will never buy leather again and I am trying my best to buy only vegan beauty products. Being vegan is about creating the least harm possible, it's about compassion and about love.

It wasn't too long ago that I used to wonder why on earth people went vegan, why would they give up so much? I'm sure the words 'I could never be vegan' came out of my mouth on more than one occasion, but I just wasn't interested before. I, like most of the population, was unaware and willing to turn a blind eye.

I think that everyone comes to this lifestyle for different reasons. My initial motivation was to see how it made me feel. I was curious to try a new way of eating and wondered if a vegan diet might help a skin condition that I suffer with (so far, so good). That was just what sparked my interest though because after becoming more immersed in the community and the lifestyle I realised there were so many other wonderful reasons to go vegan. From what I've seen, most vegans are vegan because of three main reasons: for the animals, for the planet, and for their health. These are the main three reasons why I am vegan and why I don't think I could go back to not being vegan. 

I had planned to write a lot more in this post on the things that encouraged me to change my lifestyle but it just wasn't sitting right with me. I believe that everyone has the right to make up their own minds about how they eat and so I didn't want to write something that came across as trying to convert people to what I believe. I think that if you are interested then you should go and do your own research and take some time to really decide if being vegan is for you. Watch the documentaries, read the articles, take some time to learn and discover what this lifestyle means and why people really believe in it. 

Personally, I've never felt better since becoming vegan. I feel so energised, happy and content. I feel like being vegan is the right thing for me and I feel wonderful living this lifestyle. Being a vegan is a part of me now, I only wish I had made the change sooner.

Going vegan is about going back to basics. It isn't difficult or scary or tasteless. Veganism is just so unfamiliar to people, which I think is why so many don't consider it until something suddenly clicks in their mind and they see meat industry for what it really is and how unnecessary it is. 

I've never felt more healthy, more alive than I do now. 

Veganism. It's just about changing how you think. 

If you are interested the learn more, these are a few of the documentaries and videos I found useful when learning about the vegan lifestyle:

Forks Over Knives
Food Inc.
Food Matters 

Mango, Banana and Coconut Porridge

Monday, 2 May 2016
Mango, Banana and Coconut Porridge

It was really only a matter of time before another porridge recipe popped up on here. In fact, I'm surprised it's taken me this long. I eat porridge for breakfast almost every single morning so I'm always coming up with new flavour combinations to stop myself becoming bored because, let's face it, eating the same bowl of oats every single morning would probably drive you mad. This mango, banana and coconut combo is one of my absolute favourites at the moment because it feels so summery. I live in Scotland where it's still freezing cold outside so I love having a big warming bowl of oats in the morning, but the tropical flavours in this one make it feel like summer, even though it definitely still feels like winter. 

Mango, Banana and Coconut Porridge

You will need (serves 1): 
1/2 cup oats  
1/2 cup coconut milk/drink* 
1 tablespoon desiccated coconut 
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds 
1 banana, chopped into slices
a handful mango chunks

*When I say coconut milk here I mean the kind you get in a carton that you'd use for cereal or drinking, not the type that comes in a can and is usually used for curries and cooking. 

- Add all the ingredients plus half a cup of water, leaving aside half of the banana slices and some mango, to a pot and mix well.
- Cook over a low heat for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly, until thickened. If the porridge starts to become too thick then just add a little more water until it's the perfect consistency for you. I find that if I soak my oats overnight I always need to add extra water while it's cooking. 
- Serve with the remaining banana slices, some coconut and a sprinkle of desiccated coconut.

Mango, Banana and Coconut Porridge