2017: In Review

I’m aware I’ve been very quiet on here of late but hopefully that’s about to change as I really want to get back into the LVB blog life again.

To ease myself in and remind me of what a pretty good year I’ve had, here are some of my highlights from 2017.

Moving back to Shire

2017 saw me moving into my own place in the town where I grew up. Something I never thought I would do but I now know in my heart it was right thing. Being back in the countryside, near my friends and family is where I’m meant to be right now.

London marathon

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My second marathon and it was a toughy. In hindsight, I definitely over trained for this one, rocking up to the line with 3 20 milers, a 21 and a 22 under my belt. By the time April had swung round I had most definitely lost my running mojo. Still, the atmosphere pulled me round and the celebratory Wagamama with my friends was nearly worth it.

Lake District and Lakeland Trails

One of my favourite races last year, the Coniston Half Marathon made me fall back in love with running. It was a challenging and hilly course but so beautiful and spending the weekend with friends made it all the more wonderful.

Northampton Half Marathon

Sometimes, not often for me, you get those races where everything falls in to place. Having been ill the night before, my hopes of a sub 2 hour were left by the wayside but my friends who also happened to be Northampton Half pacers had other ideas. Running with my Run Club was so special and I enjoyed every moment. I finally got that elusive sub 2 finish to top off the day. Oh and that’s me in the middle of my gorgeous friends who also smashed it that day!

Florida

One of my favourite places in the world, I was lucky to tag on to a family holiday and visit Indian Shores in Florida again this year. Running on the beach everyday was a definite highlight and it was great to see how many more vegan options/places.

So many events, races and activities planned for 2018 so stayed tuned.

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5 Vegan Easter gifts

Easter is around the corner and every year the vegan offering of Easter eggs and gifts gets more extensive. Here’s my pick of some of my favourites:

 KamAlive Chocolates £3.99

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The first of our veganised creme egg alternates. This egg has a thick and rich 80% raw chocolate shell filled with a smooth cashew cream.

CocoCaravan 4 Boxes £21

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These hand made vegan easter eggs are made with smooth dark chocolate and filled caramel. Each box contains 8 caramel filled easter eggs. Perfect to share with the family…or not.

Moo Free Bunnycomb Egg £4.99 (approx) 

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It’s great to see this brand becoming more widely available as it’s now being stocked in major supermarkets. Bunnycomb is definitely my favourite variety. This dairy free chocolate egg has been infused with pieces of vegan friendly honeycomb toffee. Delish!

Consider It Giant Dream Egg £20

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The second of our vegan friendly creme eggs comes from one of my all time favourite chocolate brands, Consider It. A smaller version is available but really why bother?

Montezuma Dark Chocolate Cheeky Bunnies £4.99 and Dark Chocolate Button Egg £9.99

Montezuema continues to impress with it’s delicious vegan offering. I’m loving their chocolate button filled egg and cheeky dark chocolate bunnies.

Have I missed out your favourite? I would love to know.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

I am running the London Marathon for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

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Trek Protein Energy Chunks Review

My review of the new Trek Protein Energy Chunks, from the company that have brought us our favourite afternoon slump pick me up, Nakd bars. These Trek energy chunks are great for pre and post exercise. Each bag contains 12g of protein and wholefood ingredients to give you a sustained energy boost that won’t cause a sugar spike! They currently come in 3 flavours.

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Toffee Triumph 

img_6670The Toffee flavour really is a trumph. Tastes like a treat as it has a rather buttery flavour. Made with dates, cashews, soya protein crunches (that give all these chunks that lovely crunch), raisins and oats.

Cocoa Peanut

img_6671This Cocoa and Peanut combination is great. I would say more peanut than cocoa but that’s no bad thing. The main ingredients are dates, peanuts , cocoa and peanut butter.

Cranberry Kick

img_6674Also a really lovely taste. These seem a little sweeter than the other varieties with a nice hint of fruit. Dates, soya crunchies, apple juice concentrate , almonds and cranberries are included in this yummy snack.

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Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

I am running the London marathon this year for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

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London Vegan Bird

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Vegan Protein Bars

As I’ve been upping my workouts recently, I’ve found myself increasingly hungry and often after a long run, I want to refuel quickly so have been turning to some of these bars.

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Nakd Berry Cheeky Not strictly a protein bar, but I wanted to include a lighter option that’s great for an afternoon snack. The added oats means they keep you fuller for longer too.

Trek Cocoa Chaos Definitely one of my favourites and most eaten of all the protein bars. I love that the bar can be split into 3 chunks, so I tend to eat them separately. Great before a run in the morning.

Clif Bar Coconut and Almond Butter I had to sneak this one in despite the fact these are only available online and I actually purchased these when I was in Florida last year. I love them so much that I’ve been eeking them out to make them last longer. My absolutely favourite protein bar ever, the coconut and almond butter tastes indulgent and delicious.

Cliff Bar Crunchy Peanut Butter High in calories but also so tasty. I usually pick one of these up after a long run when I need to get some calories in me quickly.

9Bar Superseeds Almond and Raspberry I actually love to sprinkle this bar over porridge especially as a bit of extra fuel and nutrition pre long run day.

I would love to know what are your favourite bars and pre and post workout snacks.

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Where to get a Vegan Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza and right now, it’s never been easier to get your carb fix.  Here’s a few places to go in the UK if you fancy a vegan pizza. Let me know your favourite vegan pizza place.

Zizzi

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With 140 restaurants across the UK and a recently added vegan menu, this is definitely one to check out. They have 3 vegan pizzas to choose from as well as a ton of toppings. The vegan ‘mozzarella’ is made with coconut oil. If you’re not completely full, they even have a vegan dessert calzone on offer.

Pizza Express

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An oldie but a goodie, the Pianta vegan pizza from Pizza Express has artichoke , spinach, mushroom and rocket and it’s delicious. Additionally, all of their pizzas are made by hand so can be ordered without cheese.

Ask

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Ask is another chain of restaurants that have recently added a vegan menu. Top your vegan pizza base with grilled aubergines, caramelised onions and roasted peppers amongst other great options. I’m also happy to see a vegan kids menu.

Pizza Hut

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“Vegan Pizza” | avry | CC by-SA 2.0

The Pan Dough, All American Thin Dough and Flatbread Dough are all vegan friendly as well as the tomato or bbq sauce.  They, of course, have an abundance of toppings to choose from and don’t forget to go mad at the salad bar too – where even the bacon bits are vegan (I know)!

Papa John’s

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If you’re feeling a little more lazy and want to order in, all of Papa John’s pizza bases are vegan so just ask them to remove the cheese (I promise, you won’t miss it). The garlic dip is also suitable for vegans. Yum!

Vbites Frozen Pizza

Looking for a quick and convenient option? Choose from Meatless Feast which is topped with Cheezly, vegan ‘ham’, spicy ‘beef’ ; and ‘pepperoni’ pieces or the Cheezly and Tomato. You can find these on Ocado and in Holland and Barrett amongst other stockists.

So here are just a few easy to find options on your high street or to be delivered to your door. More vegan friendly options seem to be popping up all the time so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Abokado : New Vegan Menu

Abokado, the health focused quick service restaurant based across London has recently launched a new vegan menu and I was lucky enough to try it out.

Firstly for breakfast, new options include:

  • Peanut Butter Bagel , £1.29
  • Peanut Butter and Banana Bagel £1.90
  • Peanut Butter free porridge top

Abokado are now offering Pip and Nut peanut butter. Try it on a bagel with banana or in porridge.  I went for the Peanut butter and banana bagel and was not disappointed.I love this peanut butter as it’s super clean, free from palm oil and very tasty.

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The new vegan lunch options include:

Inari Veggie, £3.49 Eat in + £4.18 img_5619

Great for a light bite, this includes Inari, miso, avo, cucumber and rocket rolls with ginger, wasabi and soy.

Miso Avocado Wrap, £3.49 Eat in + Vat £4.19

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This was incredible. Fresh Hass avocado, cucumber, edamame, baby spinach, inari and splash of homemade fresh miso dressing in a wheat bran tortilla. Highly recommended.

Clean and Green, £4.49 Eat in  + Vat £5.28img_5621

For a larger lunch, try this  combo of some of my favourite things . The sesame and ginger dressing is a triumph! Miso, avo, cucumber & rocket rolls, veggie dumplings and nari with a fresh soy, ginger and wasabi.

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Verdict? Some great new options, all were complete winners, all healthy and delicious so if you have an Avokado near you, go check it out. http://abokado.com/

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Vegan Butternut Squash and Quinoa Casserole recipe

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 Onions, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 T fresh or dried sage
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cornflour
  • ½ cup plant based milk (I used Almond)
  • 3/4 Cup Breadcrumbs

For Cashew Cheese

  • 1/2 Cup Cashew nuts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/3 cup Oil
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with Greaseproof paper. Add butternut squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes
  2. Heat olive oil (or oil of your choice) in saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and sage and cook for 8 minutes or until onions have softened. Add in garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add in quinoa and squash and stir for another minute
  3. Add in broth, black pepper, sea salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Be sure to check often.
  4. Move the quinoa mixture to an oven proof dish. In a small bowl, combine plant based milk and corn flour and pour over the quinoa mixture.
  5. To make the cashew cheese, combine all ingredients in a blender and mix to desired consistency. Layer over top of mixture and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Cruelty Free Christmas Gift Guide

2 weeks until the big day. Here’s some last minute gift ideas for Women, Men and Children that are vegan and cruelty free.

Womens

  1. Stella McCartney Perfume 50ml £58
  2. Nanshy Luxury Travel Makeup Brush set  £36.95
  3. Votch The Pink and Gold £120
  4. Human and Kind Bathroom Bliss Gift Set 34.95 EURO
  5. Alex Monroe Nesting Turtle Dove necklace for RSPB £174
  6. Matt and Nat Weekender £145
  7. Hotel Chocolat The All Dark Collection £25
  8. Nature and Nurture Anti-ageing Skincare Pack £65

Mens

  1. Votch The Dark Grey £120
  2. Planet Earth 2 Book  £12.99
  3. Fairtrade Coffee pack £13.75
  4. Herschel Supply Co. Heritage Backpack £54.99
  5. Will’s Shoe’s Black Belt £31
  6. Brewdog Jack Hammer IPA Gift Pack £9
  7. Darth Vader 12oz Keep Cup £14.50
  8. Bull Dog Grooming Kit for Men £15

Kids

  1. RSPB Child Gift Membership £21
  2. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White £5.49
  3. Moo Free Selection Box £4.49
  4. Retro Kids 10 Stacking Blocks – Petit Monkey £15
  5. Lanka Kade Wooden Dinosaur Jigsaw £21
  6. Rosengarten Organic Vegan Milk Chocolate Santa £3.79
  7. Skin and Bliss Hatley PJs £21.95
  8. Skin and Bliss Hatley PJS £21.95

I hope you found this helpful.

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London Vegan Bird

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Vegan Carrot Cake recipe

img_4813Based on a recipe from The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek, this carrot cake is so easy to make and is deliciously decadent.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups Plain Flour

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Caster Sugar

2 cups Grated Carrot

1 cup Cooking Apple, stewed and mashed (or applesauce)

1/3 cup Soy milk (you can use any plant based milk)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/3 cup Walnuts

1/3 cup Raisins

For Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz Soy Cream Cheese (at room temperature)

1/4 cup vegan margarine

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3 cups Icing Sugar (depending on taste)

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Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 Degrees Celcius. Grease the sides and and bottoms of two 8 or 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with greaseproof paper.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, combine oil and both sugars. Add carrots, stewed apple, soy milk and vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in two batches, then add in walnuts and raisins until just combined. Divide batter between 2 pans.
  • Bake for approx 28 minutes, until cakes are golden and a knife comes out clean.  Cool on cooling racks in cake pans for 20 mins, remove baking paper and finish cooling on wire rack.

For Frosting: In large bowl, mix cream cheese, margarine and vanilla together. This can be done by hand or electric mixer.  Add Icing Sugar and blend to taste and thickness. Set in fridge if mixture appears a little runny. Spread thick layer of frosting between cooled cakes.img_4830

Let me know if you give this recipe a go and what you thought of it.

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London Vegan Bird

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Angelic Gluten Free Cookies

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Angelic was kind enough to send me some of their delicious cookies and cakes to try. The brand is gluten free and uses natural ingredients so I was excited to give them a go.

Chocolate, Coconut and Oat Slices

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I absolutely loved these slices. With the taste of a healthy chocolate flapjack, these were sweet and delicious despite containing no added sugar. Highly recommended.

Double Chocolate Cookies

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Very light and soft in texture, these cookies have a satisfying chocolatey taste without being too rich. Not bad.

Find out more about the Angelic range here 

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London Vegan Bird

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