This entire post is basically an excuse for food photos.
Although, it's true there are plenty of people who still, in 2015, cannot imagine what a vegan eats. And I get it. If you've never been exposed to a meat and dairy-free lifestyle, it can be overwhelming. What do you eat for breakfast? What do you eat when you want a treat? What do you eat EVER?!
I'm more than happy to answer these questions and show you a MASS of vegan food. Basically - what I've been eating over the last week.
I keep my food simple, healthy and as true to whole foods as possible. I want to be a vegan for the rest of my life and for that to happen, I cannot live on Linda McCartney sausages, however delicious they may be.
I've been very slowly shifting to a Raw Till 4 lifestyle recently, which I will write a full post about soon. For now that's not affecting my diet a whole lot, but there will be plenty of photos of bananas and potatoes, hope you don't get too bored.
If you want more inspiration, be sure to check out my: "Seven-Day Vegan Meal Plan Extravaganza Cleanse of Abundance and Deliciousness" which is great if you're just getting started on this lifestyle or aren't sure where to start.
Jumbo oats cooked slowly with organic soy milk and a sprinkling of cinnamon, finished off with sliced banana and flaked almonds.
I EFFING LOVE PORRIDGE.
When I'm running around "on the go" - I cannot go past Overnight Oats. I make them in the evenings after dinner, shake 'em up, pop 'em in the fridge and they're all ready to carry around the next day and eat at the first opportunity.
In my attempt to live more "Raw Till 4" - fruit for breakfast is ideal. And a lot of it.
Just mentioning here - the bananas below are not at ideal "ripeness". You want to eat them when they're a bit spotty.
For days when I'm craving it, you really cannot go past classic Avo on Toast. I mix in some lemon juice and a tiny bit of sea salt with my avocado.
These may not be the prettiest photos as the food in question has likely been rolling around in my bag all day, but here ya go! Seven Vegan Lunch Boxes!
(They're usually leftovers)
This right here is a great Raw Till 4 Lunch to be carrying around. I have a delicious salad plus some bananas to snack on and a giant bag of dates. God, I love abundant eating.
This was lunch out today at an amazing spot called Earth Cafe in Manchester.
The above dinner I cannot take credit for - but will happily promote! My partner is quite a cook and (thank God!) enjoys a wholefood, high-carbohydrate, vegetable-orientated feast as much as I do. You're looking at delicious tomato and celeriac soup with thyme and with it, crispy parsnip fries!
Above - Asian Rice Salad and a big Raw Green Salad (Spinach, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, spring onion, toasted almonds, red pepper and lemon juice). One evening I had friends over for dinner and made these two along with my Vegan Potato Bake.
Happy, abundant table :)
Below - Crispy potato wedges with homemade hummus, Brown Rice and a simple tomato, mushroom, spinach and bean sauce.
Dinner below is oven baked Sweet Potato, a simple salad with Hummus and some of the best god-damn potatoes I've ever made. Boiled and then dressed with lemon juice, crushed garlic, fresh basil, spring onion and sea salt.
THE VEGGIE STACK!!!
I love this recipe. This time I added a side of parsnip fries and a pretty incredible salad.
Okay - one of the best things I've made in a while. And delightfully simple.
A Vegan Mezze! So easy to adapt to whatever you like and improvise as you go along. Mine had homemade Falafel, Pita breads, Sweet Potato wedges, grilled artichoke, Hummus, Guacamole and Salad.
When in doubt? Go for Jacket Potatoes! I love a simple Jacket Potato dinner. Serve with a giant salad and a stuffing to go inside.
Sautéed onion and garlic, chopped mushrooms, 2 tins of Organic crushed tomatoes, black beans, lentils, fresh basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Let the flavours all marinate together and leave on a low heat until ready to serve.
And Some Treats to Finish....
And, what's a week without some treats? Yesterday I made some pretty banging Banana bread and do enjoy a good Mocha when I'm writing in a cafe....
I have a recipe for this particular Banana bread here. Too good not to share ;)
And there you have it! A weeks worth of low cost; super simple, mostly High-Carb vegan meals.
For daily updates - I post in Instagram constantly. Yes, maybe a little too much.
Have a great weekend everyone,
Love and Sweet Potatoes!
Perhaps I should have gone for a simpler title, but hey, food makes me excited. And VEGAN food makes me want to throw a damn party 24/7.
With this post, I hope to reach anyone who is considering vegan, or wanting a little "clean-up" of their system and show them how YUMMY, EASY, DELICIOUS, SIMPLE and HEALTHY vegan food is!
If you are lazy - vegan works. If you are inventive - vegan works. If you cannot cook - vegan works. If cooking is your passion - vegan works.
It's magical. Magical I say.
If you are curious about wanting to go vegan, but have no bloody idea where to start - this post is for you. This meal plan also works if you want some kind of health-kick. All the meals aren't perfect (I've included some fun meals, some gluten, etc) - but all will absolutely SERVE your body and do you far more good than harm!
Here is your sample meal plan! Mix it up as you like... and enjoy.
(Yes, this post is also an excuse to post food photos....)
The Rules ;)
On this plan I promise you will NEVER:
a) Feel deprived
b) Feel hungry
c) Feel unwell (unless maybe from Detox symptoms!)
d) Feel guilty
On these seven days there are only a few rules to guarantee success:
1) If you feel hungry: EAT.
It makes no sense to be hungry and not eat. If you feel hungry, your body wants food. Ideally, we have breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of a good size so you don’t really get hungry till meal-times, but if at anytime you are hungry and can’t eat a full meal – have something healthy like some fruit or a simple vegan snack. Easy. After a little while, you will become very in tuned to what is right or wrong for your body. If you're eating "right" foods (foods that make you feel good and are healthy) why not eat them? They won't make you fat! And again - if your body is asking for food - you must feed it. There is a trust relationship there that needs to be built. If at any point your body is worried about starving or not sure when its next food source is coming - it will store fat. Simple.
2) Eat a decent sized breakfast. The only way to stay satisfied till lunch-time is to eat a good-sized breakie! If you don’t have time for breakie – eat it on the go or while opening at work… etc. I often do!
3) Stop eating when you feel full.
4) This is NOT A WEIGHT LOSS PLAN. This is a VEGAN meal plan. If you eat healthy foods and don't over-eat, there is no reason why you shouldn't lose weight eating similar to this, but that is not my focus. My focus here is showing you how fun and delicious vegan food is. :)
Day One - Breakfast
Let's start easy, and go with an ABUNDANT, delicious, simple bowl of Banana and Cinnamon Porridge
Make your Oats with water or soy milk and finish with yummy sliced banana and a sprinkling of cinnamon. If you own some, add a tablespoon of Flaxseed - this adds essential fatty acids to your diet.
Smashed avocado and sliced tomato on toast. With a side salad if you wish :)
Tip: add a squeeze of lemon juice into your smashed avocado mix.... it's the bomb. And a sprinkling of salt and pepper!
An abundant, massive and delicious Roasted Parsnip and Mushroom Salad
Oven-roast some Parsnip, baby potatoes and Mushrooms with a sprinkling of Sunflower Oil and Rosemary.
Prepare a simple salad to go underneath (just spinach, tomato, capsicum, steamed broccoli and pine nuts). Combine all together and finish off with a spoonful of Hummus. Hummus is easy to make fresh (you can do it in ten minutes!) or just buy from the shop.
Day Two - Breakfast
Banana Berry Morning Smoothie! Recipe here!
Chickpea, Spinach, Avocado and Sun-dried Tomato Salad.
Always mound up your salads with as much or as many ingredients as you like!
Vegan Pizza anyone? It's easy to buy vegan pizza bases in any health food shop, but also SO EASY to make. You only need flour, yeast, water, salt and oil to make a simple Pizza base.
Roll out your base and layer with Tomato Sauce and a selection of yummy veggies! There are so many vegan cheeses available these days, which you are welcome to include.
My pizza below is just sliced Portobello Mushroom, Peppers, Tomato and Eggplant. Finished with fresh basil.
Day Three - Breakfast
Soaked Oats with Blueberries :) This is one of my absolute favorites and involves making some Overnight Oats.
Full recipe here.
Sweet Potato, Maple and Pecan Salad
Recipe here :)
Vegan Buddha Bowl with Roasted Veggies (or even converted into my Vegan Fine Dining Recipe)
Buddha Bowl's are great to make up and have plenty of leftovers in the fridge! They're basically brown rice, chick peas, veggies, herbs and spices. I have my recipe here!
Day Four - Breakfast
Yummy fiber-packed Muesli with Coconut Yogurt, fresh fruit and Soy/Almond Milk
Raw Kale, Tomato and Avocado salad - with a drizzle of Tahini and Lemon Juice.
Pesto and Potato Salad with whole Asparagus. Yum. Yum. Yum.
Day Five - Breakfast
Time for a fun, vegan BIG BREAKFAST, I feel?
If you have an amazing cafe near you that offers this - go order the works! Otherwise, it's really not hard to whip one up.
If you're even hungry after your amazing breakfast extravaganza... go for a lovely light lunch!
Fresh green salad, avocado and hummus :)
Wholemeal Penne Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms, onion, garlic, sun dried tomato and spinach,
Finish off with roasted pine-nuts!
Day Six - Breakfast
A lovely, fresh, wholesome breakfast this morning! If you have access to ripe mangoes - they are my FAVORITE fruit (apart from dates).
Have a mango and banana feast.
Vegan Superhero Salad!
This amazing feast is complements of my workplace. When it comes to my Lunch, I think they just throw everything in a bowl that isn't an animal product. Genius, right? The result is an amazing quinoa, pea, cucumber, fig, onion and olive salad with a basil oil dressing! I'm sure there's more in there ;)
Open Mushroom Shepard's Pie!
Day Seven - Breakfast
I'm finishing off with my absolute favorite breakie..... Smashed Avocado on Toast.....
So simple. So yummy. So good. USE AMAZING BREAD! I'll always go for a good sourdough :)
Falafel Wrap and yummy side-salad!
Roasted Parsnip fries, steamed Sweet Potato, hummus, asparagus and side-salad.
Let's include at least one bloody dessert recipe! I'm a huge advocate of dessert, you only need to see my recipes to know that!
My favorite creation from the last year was probably my Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies! Give 'em a try.
You Can Do It!
In an ideal world - we will all eat an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies every day and the majority of our diet is simple Whole Foods (fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds) with minimal or no processed foods.
I am a big believer that you can be happy and healthy, while including vices in your diet. (My biggest vices are coffee and bread!)
Oh coffee and bread! I don't see myself giving you up anytime soon and don't think I should have to! I try to eat my greens, smash in the yummy fruit and I feel as fit as a fiddle.
Please do give the vegan diet a try! You may surprise yourself how easy it is and how much abundance is in this lifestyle. The above meal plan is just a simple guideline to show you how easy this is!
Click around the rest of my blog for more food ideas! And if you enjoy this to the point of thinking you may even GO vegan - check out my Going Vegan page for more info!
Love and Sweet Potatoes,
- Hannah! xx
Thank you as always to Lucas Smith Photography for the top and bottom shots! :)
This incredible picture:
Came from this....
The last two weeks I have learned a lot and had an absolute ball.
But most importantly, I've started taking my work here a little more seriously.
I have witnessed magic of proper food photography; the process that goes into creating a perfect image. Or - even better - when that image comes from an organic moment. (I.e - when the cook and the photographer have nearly eaten everything and decide the empty plates should be snapped.)
I'm used to making food, snapping it quickly with my good old IPhone and getting into the "eating" part ASAP.
Today and last week's photo shoot was all about detail. Detail. Perfection. Angles.
And I loved it.
Lucas of Lucas Smith Photography incredibly offered to start taking proper photos of my recipes and I was nervous. I love cooking and I LOVE sharing, but I wasn't sure if I was up to any kind of professional standard!
I pondered about what might look best, but, in true Hannah Style, I just went for it and made a lot of elements as I went along. I always get inspired by ingredients... sometimes plans change based on what flavors are coming out, what's looking freshest in the shop that morning... what you're craving... all sorts!
In the end - I always want to make food that is simple, fresh and delicious. Food that embodies what veganism should be all about - eating healthy, eating whole-foods and how that can be delicious without getting too complicated.
But will that photograph well?
Turns out, thank goodness, it will. Lucas was passionate about me making what I wanted to make and he would work his magic around it. From day one he was attracted to that idea of simple, fresh, summery food. And wow, work his magic he did!
I thought it would be fun to share a mixture of my photos "behind the scenes" with some of Lucas's incredible shots today.
All the recipes for these dishes are coming via the brilliant Vilda Magazine.
Not bad hey?
Once a week my tiny Manchester flat gets transformed into the cutest little studio ever.
On the start of the first day, I had no idea what to do or how to assist, I cooked, plated things up and kept offering Lucas more and more coffee. But as we go on - I feel far more comfortable arranging food, getting stuck in and even seeing photo options.
It's incredible the difference that a background, a pattern, an unironed napkin (sorry Lucas!), a dish, fresh tomato or naughty crumbs can make!
Quotes of the day.....
Lucas: "Hannah, you did polish that glass before you started plating, didn't you?"
Lucas: "BRING ME THE OATS!"
It goes without saying that this is the start of an amazing relationship and I cannot wait till our next shoot!
In the meantime - let's eat all the cold food and put our feet up. It still tastes good.
Check out all Lucas's photography here: www.lucas-smith.net
Or connect on good old Twitter @LucasCSmith and Facebook.
There are so many incredible images worth checking out, including photos of Manchester city and landscapes. I think they're my favourite. (Oh, apart from the food!)
Until next time,
Love and Sweet Potatoes! Xx (Do you think Lucas would snap just some sweet potatoes and hummus?) xx
I wish I could claim a lot of planning went into this recipe... but it was a Classic Hannah: toss it all together and see what happens.
This dish had a lot of different processes - but all relatively simple and can be done at the same time.
Trust me: it's worth it. My three friends who were over to sample this dish seemed genuinely wowed (very satisfying feeling!) And the best part? It's super healthy as well as being delicious!
Veggies, whole grains, veggies, beans, nuts! How can you go wrong? Devour it all, guilt free :)
Maybe save some for your guests.
2 cups brown rice
1 vegetable stock cube (optional)
4 Large Portobello Mushrooms
1 Tbsp Vegan Butter of choice (I use Sunflower Spread)
2 Garlic Cloves, diced.
1 onion, diced
1 can organic Butter Beans
1 yellow Bell Pepper/Capsicum
1 Cup Sun dried Tomatoes (marinated kind. Drained)
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 cups fresh Spinach
Salt and Pepper
Rosemary (dried or fresh is fine)
You will also need Hummus! Make it fresh here!
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Put two cups of rice in a large saucepan with four cups of water. Bring to the boil. Add a veggie stock cube if you like! I love adding a stock cube to my rice for extra flavor. Sneaky. Once boiling, lower the heat and leave until cooked. Should take approximately twenty-five minutes. You want your rice not overdone at all as we will saute it later with veggies - so if anything, make it slightly undercooked as apposed to OVER.
Slice the Parsnips and Aubergine (called "Eggplant" in Australia!) long-ways, ideally getting nice long strips. Place these onto a baking tray and drizzle a little Sunflower Oil and salt over them.
Place into the oven for about half an hour, or until nice and crispy. Turn over after fifteen minutes.
Place your washed Portobello Mushrooms into a separate baking tray with a naughty dollop of Vegan Butter on each. Top with your crushed garlic (leave some for the rice!), salt and rosemary.
Place these under the grill on a LOW HEAT. These can grill for a long time before going "bad" as they'll just continue soaking up flavor. But after about twenty minutes I recommend putting them in the oven to keep warm at a low heat so they don't overcook too much.
By now - your rice should be cooked. Wash the rice with cold water straight away so it doesn't over-cook. (You can do this with a sieve.)
In a large frying pan, or wok: heat up a tablespoon of Sunflower Oil and add the remaining crushed garlic and the entire diced onion.
Allow these to brown slightly. Add the cooled rice, butter beans, bell pepper and sun dried tomatoes. (When adding the sun dried tomatoes, include some of the oil it's marinating in for more flavor. Add as much or little as you wish. I used a few tablespoons.)
Stir continuously until all combined and keep heat even.
When all is combined - add some rosemary, salt and pepper and season to taste. You can taste this mixture as you go and adjust the flavor as you like!
Place your pine-nuts and almonds on a baking tray and oven roast for ten minutes. When you can smell the divine aromas, they are probably ready! Make sure you don't burn them!
Remove from oven and place in a saucepan with all the fresh spinach and one tablespoon of Sunflower Oil.
Save some almonds for presentation.
Add heat and gently mix around until the spinach is wilted and all flavors are combined.
We are attempting to make a tower. Build carefully :)
1) Spoon out some rice on each plate. Make sure each guest gets a bit of everything!
2) Top with two strips of Parsnip and two strips of Aubergine.
3) Add 2 tablespoons of Hummus
4) Place one Portobello Mushroom (which now should be delicious and soft) on top of the hummus.
5) Stuff the Mushroom with your spinach/nut mixture.
6) Finish with a few of the roasted almonds!
I recommend serving this with... well - WINE, a loaf of fresh bread and amazing company. Perfection :)
I'll be honest - right away calling this a "Shepherd's Pie" in any capacity is a bit of a stretch - but it includes mashed potato - so there.
Basically - this was "use-ups" night. Use up what is in the fridge, spend no money and see what happens. I'm proud to say the result was bloody delicious. (That's the best thing cooking vegan - it's hard to put a heap of vegetables together and fail).
For a "use ups" night, this is really is worth sharing. Fast, delicious, simple and incredibly healthy. Plant Strong!
There were a few things I didn't have in my cupboard that I felt could enhance this recipe - so adapt it as you wish. But, even just as it is: ultimate success!
1 clove of Garlic - smashed and diced
1 tin of Organic Chick Peas
10+ Brown Mushrooms, roughly sliced
1 large Zuchinni/Courgette
4 Potatoes, Washed, skin-on
1 Leek, sliced
1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp Sunflower Oil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Organic Tomato Paste
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1/4 cup water.
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Salad/Lettuce for serving
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Cut your potatoes into large chunks and place in boiling water. Boil until a knife cuts in easily. (Aprox. 15 minutes)
Once boiled, drain and leave in saucepan with a lid on to keep warm.
While your potatoes are boiling: chop and prepare all vegetables.
Heat 2 teaspoons of Sunflower Oil in a large Wok/frying pan and add the diced garlic. Add mushrooms, zucchini, leek and stir together continuously to soak up the garlic flavor. Continue until the vegetables are a little cooked.
Add your 1/4 cup water, gradually, stirring. Once all combined and vegetables are simmering away - add tomato paste.
Add chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cumin, salt and pepper and continue tossing together.
Add fresh basil and more seasoning if needed.
Take the lid off your potatoes - add 2 tablespoons of Olive oil, salt and pepper and mash together roughly. I love keeping the skins in my mashed potato for extra nutrients and flavor. I also like keeping things simple (as you can probably tell!) If you want a jazzier mashed potato - go for it! You can add vegan butter, seasonings, spices... whatever takes your fancy. I'm boring and actually really like the taste of potato, so even adding oil is enough for me!
To present: lay out some lettuce leaves on your plate - add a generous serving of your vegetable concoction and top with a dollop of mashed potato heaven. If you have any vegan cheese, you can sprinkle this on top too :)
ENJOY. DEVOUR. IT'S AMAZING.
Note: the "water" can be replaced with veggie stock if you have it for even more flavor. Though - this tasted pretty incredible without.
Organic, fresh potatoes from Abel and Cole :)
I try to have fun with presentation, but sometimes my greed and gluttony gets in the way.
Tonight was one of those nights.
So, I'm home in Australia for Christmas... and suddenly am reminded why I found it so easy to eat healthy living here.....
My first wander around a real Australian food market and I was ready to move back home.
In England, you shop in supermarkets... sometimes there are markets and I know there are more further out of the city, but most of my shopping days are indoors, wrapped in coats and faced with produce that looks about as exciting as wet paint.
It doesn't inspire you to go home and make epic salads. When I make giant salads in Manchester, I do it because I know I should. It's kind of an effort.
How could you NOT want to eat a bounty of fruits and vegetables when faced with sights like this?
Look at this Aubergine?! (In Aussie...it's an Eggplant) Also - check out the sun beaming onto my arm!
I have no grand plan for this blog post except to inspire you with photos of amazing produce.
If you live somewhere, ANYWHERE with access to foods like this, how can you not soak up every morsel of it? How can you not want to eat amazing fruits and vegetables?! There are just too many of them to be bored of and so many meal possibilities :)
In Manchester, I honestly have tried. I signed up for organic weekly food delivery and the quantity just is not worth the effort. You get a box of deliciousness, but with the amount I eat, it doesn't last the week....(or even a few days!) When you eat fruits and vegetables three meals a day - you need a lot of produce! This is why when I'm in England, I live on sweet potato, bananas and porridge! They are cheap staples that are good all year around, accessable and still are going to keep me relatively healthy. Organic fruits and vegetables in Manchester I've only found in giant chain stores and even then just aren't up to scratch.
TIME FOR MORE AUSSIE PHOTOS!!
See those bananas? AMAZING... Those are RIPE people! See those Mangos?!
I'm not pretending it's cheap... it isn't! I bought two mangoes to munch on while dancing around the market and it cost me eight dollars! Yep. Not cheap. BUT... I am someone who is happy to spend my money on good food. I don't drink alcohol and I don't smoke
After a shopping day like that, it's zero effort to eat a breakfast like this the next morning:
I simply want to flood myself with all this food and make the most of it. How could you be tempted to eat something greasy or disgusting?
The hot weather also has a huge impact... when the sun is shining its goodness on you non-stop, you want cold, juicy foods. In the UK, I can't pretend I'm craving fruit a lot, you usually crave stodgy, hot foods.... damn you weather!
What I've been eating....
In Australia, every cafe you sit at will have an Avocado on Toast option. This BAFFLES me about the UK. How can you not have discovered this yet? It's so simple and so delicous. Yes, maybe it's suited to hot weather, but personally... I can eat it anytime!
I rustled up myself and Mum some salads/lunch boxes to take walking. Look at this incredible produce that takes "organic" to the next level. All cucumber and salad leaves provided by the incredible Jenna Koda and her veggie garden!
A container of the above salad with some added beetroot and roasted almonds.
Simple bruschetta to utilise the gorgeous sourdough in the cupboard! Hummus topped with caramelised onion and pine nuts. Yes, it was as good as it looks :)
The hummus I made a little differently, improvising with what was in Mummy's bountiful pantry! I used a can of chick-peas, 3 tablespoons of tahini, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 sprig of rosemary, sea salt, pepper, juice of 1 lemon and a dash of water to thin out. It was amazing!
Now - I'm off to soak up the sun and try tan....
Thank you Australia.... I am loving being home for these (very brief) two weeks.... I will try and flood this blog with as much inspirational food pictures as possible! It's a hard life, hey.
Then guys, sorry... back to sweet potato and porridge. But I love that too!
EAT YOUR FRUITS :)
I'm not going to lie...it's an exciting time! I've scored an Acting job that I'm excited about, "Vilda Magazine" launches soon and I'm going home to Australia for Christmas. Woo!
Dream life also means I'm rehearsals most days. :)
The challenge: I'm broke (nothing new there), I'm super busy, but I actually care about my health and will not eat crap.
It's easy to feed yourself if you're broke and care zilch about what goes in your mouth (hello university days!) but now - I know how it feels to be full of energy, vibrant and at my best. I ain't kissing that goodbye without a fight! The good news is, I don't have to.
With some well planned meals, a love of carbohydrates and some good, old-fashioned staples, you can eat well, often, LOTS and feel truly amazing.
Here are a few days worth of my meals to give you an idea of what I feast on!
Cheap as chips.
Yep - you know it's porridge. Essentially I always have porridge in my house. I'll make it just with water or almond milk. A carton of good Almond milk here is less than two pounds. A box of porridge is about a pound. Hardly breaking the bank! I always put cinnamon in and fruit if possible :)
Or I'll make a banana smoothie with literally just bananas, cinnamon and water. Trust me - it rocks. Don't be afraid of putting in a lot of bananas. They're nothing at 100 calories each and a pound for 5! I always need a big breakfast to get me going - especially when busy and God-knows-when-lunch-will-be!
A few reasons why taking a healthy and cool-looking lunch to rehearsal makes me feel like a superhero:
1) It tells the world I'm organised (even though I'm not)
2) Shows I enjoy healthy-eating and do it proudly (don't be ashamed of your fruit!)
3) When I'm jumping up and down in rehearsal, not tired or sick, hopefully I make SOMEONE ponder the link?
4) I get to use cute containers
5) LESS MONEY!!!
I know it sounds stupid, but honestly, as an Actor, you really do have to treat your body like a temple. Rehearsals are draining, costumes are tight and days are LONG..... I LOVE this job, but it is that: a JOB. And like any other job you have to take it seriously. There are so many reasons to look after yourself if you want to be in this industry and I want to show you can FEAST on delicious food, still get into your costume and not get sick for show week. WIN WIN WIN.
Below - two lunches that are kinda similar! Both have spinach, avocado and some nuts goin' on. The first is atop some super organic Soba noodles I bought and the second has sweet potato!
When I can be at home and relax - dinner is my favourite meal of the day. Sit, unwind, cook. Also - after my time on the 80-10-10 Diet, which I LOVED, I have learnt not be scared of calories or carbohydrates, so when I've had a huge day at rehearsals and am eating fresh and "clean" I let myself FEAST at dinner time! Yum...
Sweet potatoes are staples in my diet. They're cheap and nutritious. My favourite meal these days is to cook up a heap and make some hummus. Homemade hummus can be a fun taste adventure or you can literally do it in ten minutes in your blender (just cooked chick-peas, tahini, lemon juice, water and cumin. Add oil if you like, but I honestly don't think it needs it!)
Another great, cheap meal is to do a Buddha Bowl. Again, this can have as many or as few ingredients as you like/can afford. My cheapest version will literally be brown rice, chickpeas and some vegetables tossed in!
I do believe that the simplest meals are the healthiest; fewer ingredients, great taste, less for the body to do and certainly easiest on the digestive system. I eat more now than I ever have and am the smallest I've ever been. Dare yourself to sit down to a giant plate of something simple :)
Eat till your full and know you're giving your body so much yummy fuel!
Both of these options also allow for LEFTOVERS. An important part of any broke-person's life.
Have a good week everyone!
Next week: performances. Let's see how many Dates and Bananas I get through.....
Banana bread is just one of those things you sometimes CRAVE and need...in your mouth...immediately.
I have worked in hospitality for a long, long time and banana bread is always on the menu. Is it ever vegan? HA! I wish. So, the other day, happily plodding along at work; it hit me. Like a sledgehammer. Fast, immediate and strong. I needed banana bread. I wanted the softness, the banana-ness, the cake-ness (without the sickness of eating cake).
After a quick-smart google of "easy vegan banana bread" to see if there was anything important missing from my pantry, I headed home to begin. I started with a recipe, but in true-Hannah style, begun diverting from it completely. I had dates, so I wanted to put them in. Veggie oil you say? I think I'll use coconut. Why not chuck some almonds in while I'm at it?
It's my inability to follow recepies that's created a lot of magic. And disasters.
Without further ado - I give you - my incredible Banana Bread. If we wanted to be all picky: I'd call it, Banana Date and Coconut Bread, but it doesn't have the same ring.
Trust me - it's incredible.
4 ripe bananas, mashed up
6 pitted medjool dates, diced
3 tablespoons pure organic Date Syrup*
1/3 cup melted organic coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/3 cup wholemeal self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup organic soy or almond milk
*the date syrup I added for some extra sweetness! You can always use more whole dates chopped if you prefer. I felt this amount was just right.
Begin by placing the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
In a saucepan, melt your coconut oil and stir in the vanilla essence. Add these wet ingredients (and soy milk) to the dry ingredients and fold together nicely. It's okay if the mixture seems a little dry, because next - you'll add the mashed bananas! Fold in the banana mixture, dates and date syrup until you have a lovely wet consistency.
If you're worried about the consistency being a little dry - add a dash more soy/almond milk.
Grease a loaf tin with coconut oil and pour in your batter. Finish off with a sprinkling of sliced almonds and then place into your oven for approximately 50 minutes. Check after 45 by seeing if a knife comes out clean - otherwise leave in for a bit longer.
And voila! Perfect, divine banana bread.
Enjoy with a lovely cuppa.
It's getting frostier and frostier in the lovely city of Manchester. I know it isn't even Winter yet, but hey - I'm Australian, so it's all cold to me.
Despite the cold: this week has been a dream. I've performed in two amazing plays and not many actors get that lucky so early on in their career! Every day it has been wake up, bus to the theatre, full day of rehearsals and then jump on a train to get to my evening performance. Busy, hectic and in true form of my "struggling actor" persona - I'm living on a very minimal budget. Public transport in the UK is no cheap feat and the world of acting doesn't exactly pay well until you "make it".
With nearly no budget and not a lot of time to prepare food: I had something of a challenge on my hands to keep well fuelled, full of energy and HEALTHY.
But you know me - I love food challenges. I've just completed my gluten-free challenge, an amazing success....so if this week's challenge becomes "Staying Healthy, Happy and Energised While Never at Home and Constantly Rehearsing with Absolutely no Money"?
BRING IT ON!
First thing's first - I cut back unnecessary spending and that's never a bad thing. Abundance of soy mochas, anyone? I am lucky enough to have the luxury of sitting in cafes a lot (my favourite place to blog) and sipping away on a coffee or two. But, once my budget gets tighter it's the first thing to go. Those innocent little pounds spent on coffee build up and it's a simple way to quickly save. Those pounds buy a lot of bananas!
Other unnecessary spending: buying meals out when I just don't need to. I love being social and having dinner with friends, but often I find myself grabbing food out, when I easily could have just packed lunch - so really the challenge becomes managing my time better and perhaps spending fifteen minutes before bed packing a lunch box (which is actually fun!) instead of watching the new episode of America's Next Top Model.
Most evenings - I make myself overnight oats to have ready in the morning and a very simple, HUGE lunch box to keep me fuelled up. Usually this involves dinner leftovers or a heap of chopped up vegetables with my home-made hummus. Or both. Then separate snacks like a bulk bag of dates. Dates are perfect for busy days like this! They give you lots of energy and are inexpensive :)
As ridiculous as it sounds - there are small ways to give yourself extra motivation to make packed lunches. For example - invest in some really cute takeaway containers and started collecting jars! When I did this, quite simply: I wanted to use them. Making a packed lunch became even more fun because I wanted to use my lovely gadgets and making overnight oats with my recycled tahini jar made me feel like some kind of God.
Another benefit from a challenge like this, is that I do genuinely feel healthier when my meals are simple. A big salad with just three or four ingredients digests like a dream and is packed with simple, delicious flavours.
Final benefit to this challenge? It's so nice to prove, meal by meal, that eating healthy is not expensive.
People often tell me that they could not afford to be a vegan or even to eat "healthy" and I find it such a strange claim. Fruits and vegetables are without doubt, the cheapest part of most grocery shops, vegan or not! You do not need weird, crazy supplements, you do not need organic oils you've never heard of, you don't need any fancy ingredients that don't appeal.
All you need are good, healthy staples and these do not have to be expensive!
A simple sweet potato, tomato and lettuce GIANT salad with a tahini dressing for my dinner. A jar of tahini can be as little as 2 pounds (yes organic!) and lasts a while, especially if you use just a tablespoon and bulk that up with lovely lemon juice and water to make a divine dressing.
If on a budget - fill your grocery bag with root vegetables, brown rice, porridge oats and bananas :) Obviously go for as much fresh fruit and greens as possible, but you'll get lots of energy and bang-for-your-buck from those good staples. A great recipe for the wallet, leftover containers and waist line, is a big ratatouille! YUM!
Just involves an onion, tinned tomatoes, whatever veggies you want to chuck in and then a base of brown rice. Cheap and DELICIOUS! Don't believe me? Look below at these ORGANIC tins!
Time to be a bit girly.....
Winter is my favourite time for fashion! I love big jackets, I love scarves and gloves and I love layering up. Winter clothing is the best kind to get from second hand shops! When you go into a charity shop looking for coats, scalves and cardigans, prepare to be wowed....
Again - feeling a bit pretty and dressing like a fox (without the involvement of any kind of real Fox) does not have to be expensive. I am also in love with these polkadott tights that I seem unable to take off....
Excess winter layers also means - yay....guilt free desserts! (I love that I'm pretending to ever feel guilty.) But seriously - no one is gonna be seeing me in a singlet for at least six months, so bring on delicious vegan flapjacks and midnight chocolate pancakes.
The other night, while watching a trashy rom-com, I had a craving and whipped up these bad boys you can drool over below. A very simple vegan pancake recipe with some cocoa sprinkled in. Finished off with a few squares of decadent dark chocolate that melted perfectly over them, hot-off-the-pan. Almost guilt free and took all of five minutes to knock together.
The Flapjack is full credit to one of my favourite spots: The Tea Hive in Chorlton. If you live in Manchester and haven't visited yet - please do. They always have vegan brownies and at least two other cake options. Their vegan sandwich is incredible also.
The other best thing about winter? Waking up to something like this:
Have a wonderful week everyone! Enjoy cheap eating if you must :) Otherwise - well...enjoy your decadent delicious vegan feasts!
I am so late to this band-wagon it's disgusting.
But, I FINALLY made my own hummus.
One hundred per cent credit to Mr Nick Newth, who stayed with me a few weeks ago and, in a very ninja-fied way, whipped up some hummus while I was at work one day.
I've been excited to tackle hummus because everyone seems to have their own recipe. Their own golden rules. Their own "do's" and "don'ts".... like a Bolognese or guacamole.
So - I did what any wannabe chef does - I listened to no one, went with my instincts and this is what happened!
And I must confess....I think it's quite delicious!
One thing I did that I haven't heard anyone say or read on any recipes (makes me slightly nervous) ....was that I added water. CONTROVERSIAL! The constancy just wasn't quite right and I wanted to avoid getting to heavy on the oil....so I just went for it, added some water and it was 100% the right choice. Yay instincts!
Do you have an amazing hummus recipe to share? Tell me what to change up next!
Also - I did this in my blender, as I don't have a food processor yet, but it was fantastic! I love my blender.
1/4 kilo of dry chickpeas
2 Tablespoons Tahini
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup water (#controversial)
Salt and Pepper
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
2 cloves garlic
The first thing you need to do is soak your chickpeas overnight, I'd say for at least 12 hours.
So a little pre-planning is necessary :) Just put your dry chickpeas in a bowl, cover in water (at least double the amount of peas) and then leave to expand.
Now: cooking time! Drain the chickpeas and transfer to a large cooking pot. Cover in water again, bring to the boil and then simmer for just over an hour. Test them after an hour and see if they're soft enough - mine ended up cooking for nearly an hour and a half. Then drain and leave to rest for about fifteen minutes.
Now - put your chickpeas into the blender or food proceccor. You can do this in parts if you like, but I like just chucking it all in there!
Halve your lemons and juice them in (mind the seeds!), getting every little bit of juice you can :)
Add two heaped tablespoons of tahini, the garlic cloves and your olive oil. Now, start blending. You will likely have to blend, stop, stir with a spoon and then blend again.
While "working it", start adding your cup of water to make life easier for the blender and begin to get the right constancy.
When the hummus is starting to look like hummus, begin adding the salt, pepper and cumin powder. You can add more to suit your taste!
And - voila! This should be divine....but do what you do, add your own twists and make it your own.
Now - I'm going to make some lunch!
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