#Veganuary day three

Adam here. Day three. 11pm So hungry right now!

Sarah is making me a peanut butter and banana sandwich because I agreed to do the blog.

We both felt pretty weird last night, and I was queasy this morning. Maybe psychological, but I felt much better after going for a pre-work swim (making the most of a kid-free morning.)

Then I had a vegan protein cookie, which at the time seemed like the best thing I’d ever eaten.  I also started to feel like I might be experiencing super vegan vigour, but it didn’t last too long.

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I totally got hungry and had a bag of crisps in the morning at work. They were vegan at least, but maybe not in the spirit of Veganuary.

Lunch 

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We had spelt, green lentils, chickpeas and black beans mixed up with roasted carrots, squash and sweet potato and spinach, with a chipotle and lime dressing.

I cooked up a load of lentils, chickpeas and black beans which are in the fridge ready to go into meals. The dressing is ketchup, chipotle paste, salt and pepper, lots of lime juice and a splash of water. Super good.

Dinner

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Dinner was minestrone soup, made with onion, carrot, chilli, canned tomatoes, canned cannellini beans, chickpeas, spelt, wholewheat spaghetti, kale and spinach. It’s made with the truly exceptional (and vegan) veg stock made by our friends 9 Meals from Anarchy. That’s a slice of half-rye bread I made.

The minestrone was great. Definitely just as good as one with bacon in.

I’m having more of the bread now, with the aforementioned peanut butter and banana on.

Hope all of you other Veganuary chums are having some delicious stuff and feeling all of the mystical vegan vigour.

#Veganuary day two

Day two of Veganuary. So far, so good. No unusual side effects (I think).

We’ve both felt tired and hungry in the afternoons, but what’s new?

Breakfast

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Tried to start the day on a good foot. Papaya, kiwi and blueberries with lime juice. Then had some Ryvita with almond butter at 10ish.

Lunch

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Lunch was a good one. Baked sweet potato, refried black beans, guacamole, rocket and pickled red onions.

Prep level: intense. But making the most of the kids being at their grandparents’.

Dinner

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Black bean burger tacos with roast veg, roast cauliflower ‘wings’ and nacho cheese. The vegan nacho cheese is an absolute revelation! The recipe is from The Happy Pear – it’s essentially potato, carrot, oil and nutritional yeast flakes. I forgot to add the rice milk, and didn’t have any tapioca starch, but it’s still amazing.

Not feeling like a vegan superhero yet, and there are loads of dished to wash up. But no complaints so far!

I’ll be sharing some of our journey on Snapchat: @peacechic1

 

#Veganuary 2017

Hello,

So we’ve not been around in a very long time. My hats off to all those that have just started on the adventure of blogging and those who have faithfully, skilfully tapped away at the keys each week.

But were making a special comeback, in the name of Veganuary (which I’m sure you’ve all heard of). We have officially jumped on the bandwagon and are currently optimistic and full of vigour. Adam(my husband who co-writes this blog) and I are self-confessed foodies. We’ve flirted with the idea of going veggie, as we are very hot on animal welfare and eat quite little meat anyway. However, when it is ethically sourced and cooked to perfection (Adam does all the cooking) there is nothing like a nice topside of beef or sumptuous leg of lamb.

One of our other dreamy foods is cheese, all the cheese (expect for blue in my case). Manchego, brie, goats cheeses, buffalo mozzarella a strong vintage cheddar and picante red with chilies, all yummy…

So Veganuary is by no means a small feat. My mum turned vegan a couple of years ago (FYI – totally ahead of the trend) and after staying with her for the last couple of days, we have at least been intrigued by the strange items that adorn her cupboards. She almost made it sound achievable. Now armed with coconut oil, almond milk, flax seed and nutritional yeast flakes we begin our journey.

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Day one. Late evening snack (soooo hungry). Papaya with lime and Coconut Collaborative coconut yogurt. Banana, coconut milk oat and flax seed smoothie.

Oh, its worth mentioning at this point that our two wee ones, Bookworm and The Chap are excluded from Veganuary. There’s no way I can convince my three-year-old or seven-year-old to give up salami or dippy eggs.

The aim with popping up on the blog again is to write every couple of days with a diary of the food we have feasted on, a couple of recipes and capture how we’re doing. Some days may seem inspired and Instagram-worthy, but I’ll tell you here how were actually doing.

Are you doing Veganuary? Or are you already Vegan? If so, please pop a comment on the end of the post with any website/Twitter/Snapchat accounts you recommend that we should follow.

Running Wild at Delamere

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We love getting out to the forest.

If you look through our archive you’ll find a few posts about Delamere Forest. Our little ones love the Gruffalo and Stick Man trails, and building dens. Adam loves Parkrun and ‘just being’ in the middle of all the nature. I’m fond of just wandering around, splashing through puddles and breathing in some of that lovely foliage-y goodness.

Recently I was asked by the the Forestry Commission to check out their new running trails. The campaign is called ‘Escape the Streets’, which incorporates 1, 2 and 3k ‘Run Forest Run’ trails for beginners, and 5 and 10k ‘Wild Running’ courses for more seasoned joggers.

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As well as the waymarked trails, they’ve put together a six week inspirational email programme and a motivational Spotify playlist.

Now let’s get one thing straight. I’m not ‘a jogger’. I do not have the physique of a gazelle or the pertness of Maria Sharapova. But I did successfully complete the NHS’s ‘Couch to 5k’ jogging podcast, and then successfully ran my first 5k at Parkrun

. That kind of felt like job done. Then it was winter, and then Christmas, and jogging basically went out of the window.

Until our six-year-old, The Bookworm wanted to do a 5k charity run in May. She put in a sterling effort. We completed it together in 38 minutes.

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After completing our charity 5k in May.

So I was a little nervous when I was approached by them. I explained that I wasn’t a pro. Not even an amateur. More of a ‘wish I was-er’. Turns out that’s what they were looking for.

Unfortunately this weekend I felt horrible, in the early stages of a lovely summer holiday cold. I picked the 3k trail and took it at a leisurely pace. We got to the forest nice and early. (Adam was running the 5k Parkrun that morning. Annoyingly I think his 5k time was quicker than my 3k.)

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Cheering on Parkrunners.

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Adam doing his ‘athletic’ face.

Actually 3k is not a distance to be sniffed at, though I’d like to think that I could jog it a bit faster.

But thankfully these trails aren’t all about worrying about your pace too much, or being a superstar, PB-smashing runner. The aim is getting ‘off the streets’ and into nature, enjoying the beauty of the forest and gaining a little fitness at the same time, getting as sweaty as you like in the process.

The route had lots of interest: a few inclines, some muddy puddles and secluded canopies. The 3k took me through a section of the forest I hadn’t seen before. I loved being the only one around that early in the morning. The signs (designated a different bright colour depending on which track you’re following) guide you with motivational phrases and a distance tracker.

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I would much prefer to run the trails to my usual pavement, road, housing estate routes. And the smaller trails are ace for people with small children and those who are exploring jogging/power walking for the first time.

Of course there are miles and miles of forest to explore but the trails are great for some much-needed direction, motivation and a reliable distance route. The incremental structure of the trails (from 1km to 10km) allows you to start with a comfortable distance and work up when you want.

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There were a few temporary arrows alongside the permanent signs. But somehow I think I took a wrong turn around the 2.5k point and unfortunately didn’t find the ‘Congrats! You’ve done it!’ marker. But I definitely made up the distance trying to find the rest of the family. (They were having a picnic.)

Next time I’m definitely going to encourage The Bookworm to come and jog the 2 or 3k with me. This will give her such a confidence boost to complete a real running course. And I will attempt the 5k ‘Wild Running’ course. Eventually. (Promise.)


Full disclosure: the lovely folk at Forestry Commission hooked us up with free parking and a subscription to the Bounts app, which rewards your physical activity into treats like high street vouchers.

As well as Delamere, you can check out trails at Dalby, High Lodge, Sherwood and Bedgebury.

French yogurt cake

Here’s the scene. Day one of the half term holidays. Two kids and one dad. All a bit tired after a mega fun bank holiday weekend. I need to go grocery shopping and tidy the house, so we can’t go too far. What’s a guy to do?

Two things, actually. One: water balloon fight. Two: bake a French yogurt cake.

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What you’ll need

The cake was a bribe an incentive for the kids to be helpful when we went around the supermarket, and it worked pretty well. They were particularly helpful at adding things that I didn’t want to the trolley.

But we made sure to pick up the ingredients we needed for the French yogurt cake. Chief among them is a 150g pot of yogurt. But can’t I just weigh out 150g of yogurt from my big family-sized pot? you’re thinking. Why are you so wasteful, Adam? you cry.

Well the 150g pot of yogurt has a dual purpose. You’re going to need it to measure out all of the other ingredients, so you don’t need scales. Which is great because kids.

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The recipe

I can’t pretend this is my recipe. It is from a brilliant blog (and now online boutique!) called Croque Maman. Sarah met Helene from the site at BritMums Live last year. She is a geniune French woman, so this cake must be authentic.

What I love most about the recipe is that the kids and I actually enjoy the process of making it. Rather than me just getting stressed at them for 30 minutes, cleaning up for another 30 minutes and hoping to get one Instagram-worthy picture out of the whole thing. This one has no scales, no whisks, no whipping or blowtorching or sterilising or emulsifying. Just a bowl, a spoon and a yogurt pot.

Here’s Helene’s recipe. Which we followed to the letter. And then threw in two bags of chocolate chips.

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The Chap approves. He is in pyjamas at dinner time because we had just returned from the library, where he had urinated all over me. (Sigh.)

Enjoy!

The Lost Carnival, Crewe

May bank holiday weekend is one of the best of the year. Firstly, it’s my birthday. Secondly, there’s always good stuff going on. Last year we went to Geronimo festival. And this year the super team at Wild Rumpus invited us along to the second ever Lost Carnival*, which this year was in Crewe.

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Even before you get to the carnival, there are stories, podcasts and videos on their website to get you into the story of two rival carnival troupes, descending on Crewe to fight for survival — but is all as it seems? There was even a Charleston-style dance routine to learn, if you so wished.

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We rocked up at 5pm, still enjoying the remnants of a glorious sunny spring day. From the start, the vibe was quirky, Victorian, a little creepy. We were surprised by people’s commitment to dressing up, adults and kids. Crewe’s steampunk scene is thriving!

Before we got there we were worried that the whole thing would be too creepy for the kids, but it was just right. We chose to side with the bright, energetic Ingenue carnival, rather than the mysterious Birds — though two of us had defected by the end of the evening.

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The grounds were lovely and green, and nicely enclosed by trees. The whole thing was split into Ingenue and Bird sides. There were two craft big tops, little circus tents housing, among other things, a levitating wonder, a tattooed lady, and a temporary tattoo parlour.

Every hour we were beckoned to the main stage for a showdown between representatives of the two troupes. 5pm saw a standoff between two jugglers, which incorporated a hair-raising ‘walk of death’ with daggers. 6pm was an acrobatic clash. 7pm was time for the dance off, and 8pm a contest between the Ingenues’ Clare V’oyant (get it?) and the Birds’ magician, Max Mager.

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The Bookworm getting a dance lesson from two Ingenues and a Bird.

In between there were periodic performances all over the grounds. My favourite was Max Calaf Seve, from Spain, whose trampoline act was theatrical, physically impressive and genuinely funny.

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Max Calaf Seve losing his trousers…

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…and finding them again.

Sarah and the kids loved Pif-Paf, an acrobatic trio making exceptional use of a rotating 15-foot rotating metal wheel.

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Both of the children were transfixed for the whole half hour (which is no small thing for a six- and two-year-old). The Bookworm has been trying out her own acrobatic routine ever since, including some hair-raising stunts on a climbing frame.

We all loved Voodoo Love Orchestra, who roamed the whole site performing joyous latin-inspired brass music, before playing a set from the stage. The Chap got a shout out for his truly individual dance moves.

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As well as being mega-talented, all of the performers — each commissioned individually by Wild Rumpus — did a great job of staying in role throughout the evening, making the magic and rivalry all the more real for the kids.

In her review, the wonderful Geekmummy wrote about how safe, comfortable and relaxed the whole event felt, and she’s spot on. It was a really chilled evening. Sitting in the evening sun, watching our kids snuggle up and enjoy Pif-Paf, bellies full of pizza, chips and brisket — it was a beautiful thing.

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Can’t wait to see what they do next year.

And you can catch Wild Rumpus at Macclesfield’s Barnaby Festival this June (17th–26th) and the Just So Festival at Rode Hall (19th–21st August).

* we got free tickets — all views are our own, natch.

What did you get up to on your bank holiday weekend? Did anyone else head to The Lost Carnival? Let us know in the comments.

Adam