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Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Vegan Thai Vegetable Red Curry Recipe #veganuary

This fragrant vegan Thai vegetable red curry is easy to make but really delivers on flavour. It is a versatile recipe that can be adapted if required, allowing you to use up any veggies from the fridge along with chickpeas, tofu or vegan Quorn pieces to suit your taste. It uses Flora Freedom, the new dairy free spread from Flora that is 'powered by plants' making it better for you and for the environment.

vegan food, vegan recipe, Thai curry


Ingredients

25 g Flora Freedom
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 red onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (be sure to use a vegan one)
410 g coconut milk
500 g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
220 g green beans, trimmed and halved
400 g tinned chickpeas, drained
1 lime, juiced
1 pack basil (for garnish)


Directions

Heat Flora and oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion for about 5 minutes until soft.
Add crushed garlic and half the chilli and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the Thai red curry paste, coconut milk and 250ml water and bring to the boil.
Add sweet potatoes, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add green beans and chickpeas and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the sweet potatoes and beans are just tender.
Stir through the lime juice and garnish the curry with remaining sliced chilli and basil leaves.

Serve with rice.

Find more recipes for vegan, vegetarian and dairy-free dishes at flora.com

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Motivation for Veganuary with Flora Freedom

There is no denying that a plant based diet brings huge benefits to both your health and to the environment. However, many people are put off of plant based meals believing that vegans suffer from a restricted diet, forced to consume nothing more exciting than a salad. That said, interest in veganism surged in 2016, bringing the number of vegans in the UK to over half a million. Many brands, supermarkets and restaurants have upped their game and are introducing more vegetarian, vegan and free-from options to meet the rising demand.

So there has never been a better time to give a plant based diet a try, even if you do it on a flexitarian basis, eating vegan friendly food once or twice a week. Dabbling in animal-free alternatives by making a few swaps or by doing Meat-Free Mondays can really have an impact on our environment and can provide many health benefits, as well as giving us an opportunity to shake things up in the kitchen by adding some new healthy ideas to meal planning. As veganism becomes more mainstream, hopefully the stigma of being considered sanctimonious, preachy, self-righteous or just plain weird will disappear, and people will see those who choose to eat vegan food, either full or part time, as making a good choice.

My family are all vegetarian, but we tend to eat plant based meals about 4 or 5 times a week and we use a lot of alternatives to dairy products in our day to day diet. Since making the change, we have never looked back and we enjoy an incredibly varied and delicious array of food. There is literally nothing that we miss nor do we feel deprived because we don't eat meat. In fact, there are vegan alternatives to nearly every food I can think of. We can have mock 'duck', veggie 'bacon', burgers and sausages, even vegan 'fish' fingers. And they are all tasty too! They might replicate the taste and texture of animal products, but they are made using 100% plant based ingredients and no animal suffered for us to eat them, so it's all good. Some of the kids' favourite treats such as Original Hula Hoops, Oreos, BBQ Pringles and Party Rings happen to be vegan, so the little ones don't even have to miss out on their goodies. It is easier than ever to give it a try.

January provides a great opportunity for people around the world to give veganism a try as it is the month given over to Veganuary. This year over 50,000 people have signed up, pledging to give up meat and animal products for 31 days. It is a great start to the year, especially after the excesses of Christmas and participants have noted weight loss, better sleep habits and improved energy levels as positive effects from taking part. Flora have teamed up with Veganuary this year. With their 'Powered by Plants' campaign and their Flora Freedom dairy-free spread, they are a brand that is well placed to help families eat more plant based alternatives.

Here are some helpful tips from dietician and TV presenter Lucy Jones to demonstrate just how easy it can be to make the change towards a plant based diet, which incorporate switching to Flora Freedom.

7 Simple Tips to try this Veganuary

  • Swap the milk in your tea, coffee and cereal to a plant-based alternatives such as soya, almond, cashew, coconut, oat and hemp. Many come fortified with key nutrients like calcium and B12.
  • Tinned pulses are convenient and ready to use straight from the tin. They are a source of protein and fibre and are very filling. Add to soups, salads and veggie chilli.
  • Make a delicious cottage pie using soya, quorn or lentils. Combine with chopped veggies, tinned tomatoes, herbs and spices and top with mashed root veg made using Flora Freedom. Perfect comfort food.
  • Use the slow cooker to make a warming stew.  Use tinned tomatoes, chopped vegetables, lentils, chickpeas or beans and add some barley or potato for a warm filling dinner. Serve in a bowl with crusty fresh bread spread with Flora Freedom.
  • Try some vegan pancakes. Make your pancake mix using flour, a plant based alternative to milk, nut butter and mashed banana. Top with sugar and lemon, maple syrup or chopped fruits.
  • Don’t miss out on dessert! You can make a delicious crumble topping using flour, oats, sugar and Flora Freedom to top some seasonal fruits. Serve with a soya or oat based custard or cream or some coconut or soya ice-cream.
  • Nuts make a fantastic healthy vegan snack. Combine 30g of your favourite with some small chunks of rich 80% dark chocolate for an indulgent afternoon treat.
You can find some dairy-free and vegan recipes on the Flora website including one for some rather delicious vegan chocolate brownies! Being vegan does not have to be dull!  

flora freedom


I'll be trying out one of the recipes using Flora Freedom for my blog soon, so watch this space!


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Warm up this Winter with Heinz Soup

Fight the freeze with some warming soup


As winter sets in, commuters across the UK are being given a warming surprise after ‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ cases, containing a free can of the nation’s favourite Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup, were placed across cities. Throughout soup season, Heinz will be popping up in the coldest cities and towns across the UK, so keep your eyes peeled for one of the cases to get yourself a can of soup. Who said there was no such thing as a free lunch?!

soup, Heinz


The emergency soup boxes have been created following research that found that 75% of Brits agree that nothing beats a winter chill like a hot bowl of soup. According to figures, the north is the biggest soup 'hot spot' during the winter months, with Londoners' love of soup making the city come a close second. It is estimated that Heinz will sell over 20 million cans of soup this January, keeping the nation warm, comforted and cosy in the cold weather. 

Soup consumption increases by 65% from summer to the winter months, with demand increasing with every degree the temperature drops.  Soup is definitely the ultimate comfort food to keep us going when the weather is miserable and Heinz canned soups are so convenient to keep in the cupboard for a quick and easy bowl of warming soup to keep the cold at bay.

Top 5 facts about the nation’s favourite soup:

  • Approximately 1,600 cans of Heinz soup are made every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year
  • Heinz sells more than 65 million cans of Cream of Tomato soup a year, equating to 124 cans per minute
  • More UK households buy Heinz soup than lightbulbs
  • Heinz tasters take samples of soup from the end of the lines every hour to ensure it looks and tastes exactly right
  • Heinz uses specially selected ingredients to make its soup – every tomato is sun-ripened and grown in open fields
  • A can of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup counts as 1 of your 5 a day


Monday, 16 January 2017

Make Learning Fun with Education Quizzes

The new year has well and truly begun and my children are back at school getting used to the routine of early mornings, school runs, homework and spelling tests after a wonderful Christmas holiday.

With Freddy now in Year 3, his workload is getting progressively more difficult (much to his dismay!) He is not a fan of handwriting, hates learning times tables and he doesn't really enjoy reading for pleasure. However, he gets really motivated about learning when it involves the use of a laptop or iPad. I am always on the look out for websites that will let him play while he learns. He is pretty competitive and enjoys the challenge - as long as it's online.

One website that we've been having fun with is Education Quizzes. With educational quizzes relevant to KS1, KS2, 11+, KS3 and GCSE, Education Quizzes covers all ages from reception through to teens. Quizzes are divided into subjects including maths, English, geography, history, PSHE and science, and each subject has a selection of quizzes to choose from. With multiple choice answers and helpful tips to help children consolidate their learning, these quizzes are pitched at the right level to make them both challenging and enjoyable. They make great revision aids and are written by teachers in accordance with the school curriculum. Quiz based learning is a less formal and more appealing way for children to learn and they are happy to do it as they are having fun.

Education Quizzes has a no-strings attached rolling subscription charge of £9.95 a month for families, giving full access to all the quizzes across all the age groups. This offers great value for my family as both 7 year old Freddy and his 14 year old sister can both benefit from the quizzes.

The site is a great learning resource for the home, which perfectly supports each stage of a child's education. As a parent, I think it is important to keep up with what the kids do at school and this site is a great way to do this and polish up my own skills at the same time. (Although some of the GCSE stuff is a bit beyond me now!)  Sharing the quizzes together as a family is an excellent way to support children and help boost their confidence.

Schools can also subscribe to Education Quizzes, providing all their pupils with access to the site. The school's annual subscriptions can cost as little as £2 per student and is a great way to support the home /school partnership. The school's first year subscription is currently being offered for free, so be sure to let your child's school know about Education Quizzes!

There are some free quizzes online so you can have a look around the site and try them out to see if Education Quizzes is right for your family. Find out more at www.educationquizzes.com.

educational quizzes

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Keeping Pets Safe this Christmas

Some lucky cats and dogs have been treated to one night in ‘Pet Heaven’ by Vets Now, the out-of-hours emergency vet provider.  The fun experience was created to help raise awareness of the increased danger pets face at Christmas and you can watch the cute videos of the cats at a Catnip Bar and the dogs enjoying a Dog's Dinner!

        


Vets Now sees a 41% increase in pet emergencies during the holidays, however half of all pet owners don’t have an emergency plan and wouldn’t know what to do if their pet fell ill over Christmas.

According to a survey for Vets Now, a third of pet owners will experience an emergency over Christmas, with many cases caused by pets eating novelty festive items or harmful foods. 5.5 million pet owners will unknowingly feed their pets something dangerous this year and 90% of pet poisonings will happen in the home. It is important for pet owners to know how to keep their furry friends safe.

Vets Now has created an emergency pet plan which owners can download for FREE to ensure heaven stays a place on earth for their furry friends.: www.vets-now.com/petemergency


The top ten festive hazards for your pets at Christmas:

1. Chocolate - chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine, which is severely poisonous to cats and dogs.
2. Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings - all grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are toxic to dogs.
3. Blue Cheese - contains a substance called Roquefortine C which dogs are extremely sensitive to.
4. Tinsel – dogs eat tinsel, which can cause dangerous blockages in the stomach.
5. Salt Dough Ornaments - the mix of flour and salt with water can cause a potentially fatal salt toxicosis if ingested by any pet.
6. Poinsettia, Mistletoe and Ivy – are all mildly toxic to both cats and dogs.
7. Wrapping Paper - while toxicity is low, eating a large amount of paper could cause an obstruction in the stomach.
8. Snow Globes - imported versions can contain antifreeze, which can be fatal for a cat
9. Candles - can burn paws and curious noses. Tails can also knock candles over, which could cause a house fire.
10. Alcohol - can cause severe liver and brain damage. As little as one tablespoon can lead to serious problems for cats or dogs.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Do You Want to Build a Primula Snowman?

I am a mum of five, auntie of eight, great auntie of one and nana of two, so over the Christmas period I am expecting to see plenty of little people coming to visit. Children, generally speaking, are happy if they have full bellies and have something fun to do, so I have combined both of these things and come up with an edible festive activity! 

Using Primula Cheese, I have made a DIY sandwich-making activity for kids to enjoy, which I've called "Do you want to build a Primula snowman?"  Bento lunches have increased hugely in popularity and children love to see favourite characters recreated using food, but I thought making it an activity for the children to do themselves added to the enjoyment. The fact that the children get to use the bits and bobs to create their own snowman, makes this a lot of fun and it uses their creativity. 

It is so quick and easy to prepare everything and you can use up any odds and ends of salad, fruits, vegetables, veggie meats or cheeses that you have. At Christmas, I always have lots of stuff in the fridge so it's easy to find enough goodies to use. Even the fussiest of little eaters will want to get involved! It's a great way to entertain and feed children at the same time - perfect for when you have unexpected visitors with children and want a few seconds peace and quiet!

I let 7 year old Freddy make his own Primula snowman and he loved creating it and then eating it. I think he did a great job and he said it was nice to be able to make his own snack and he thought the snowman looked really cute. He gave it a big thumbs up.

Primula, Christmas


Ingredients

sliced bread
Primula cheese
raisins
carrot
cucumber
vegetarian sliced ham

Primula cheese


To prepare:

Using two different sized circular cookie cutters, cut out rounds of bread.
Spread each circle generously with Primula cheese.
Prepare cucumber sticks, strips of veggie ham, carrot triangles and raisin pieces.
Arrange on a big plate.
Give each child their own plate and let them make their own snowmen with raisin eyes and buttons, cucumber arms, a veggie ham scarf and a carrot noise.
Enjoy having happy children!


bento lunch, snowman, Primula


Merry Christmas


I am a member of the Primula Blogger Club, which is a paid partnership.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

After Eight Brownies Recipe #AfterEightBakes

After Eights are such an iconic part of the Christmas festivities. We've always loved the yummy mint chocolate thins after our Christmas dinner. We've even played the game where you put one on your forehead and, without using your hands, have to get it into your mouth! But this year I've used them in a new way as an ingredient in some festive #AfterEightBakes.

After Eight kindly sent me a 300g box and some baking ingredients, challenging me to create a family dessert. I have made After Eight Brownies, a rich, chewy chocolate brownie with a layer of melted, minty After Eights running through the centre.

After Eight Brownies


Christmas, recipe, After Eight



Ingredients

150g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
100g Self-Raising Flower
2 Free Range Eggs
200g Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
300g After Eight Mints

Method

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until melted.
Allow to cool.
Whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric whisk until thick and foamy.
Stir the melted chocolate mix into the egg mix and add vanilla essence.
Sieve in the flour and fold in.
Pour half the brownie batter into a tin (12"  x 9 ") and top with a layer of After Eight mints.
Pop into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for about 25 minutes.
It is ready when the top looks papery and a cocktail stick comes out sticky but not wet.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and cut into squares when it has cooled.

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