Is Greggs Vegan Stake Bake any Good?

The Bloke surprised me with this the other day and I HAD to share it with you!

First off, Id never know the flakey pastry was vegan, in fact it holds together much better so you don’t get covered in it. More importantly, it tastes EXACTLY like meat in a thick savoury gravy.

One thing to mention is The Bloke cheated on me and ate one without me! Seriously though, he said his was “…a bit more chunky, like proper little steak pieces.” My two bakes where more mince meaty; you could have had the filling in a (vegan) Cottage pie. Hmmm, not sure what to make of that inconsistency!?

I’m sure all three were vegan though, otherwise our tummies would have let us know very quickly!

Verdict Amazing! 5/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Best Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Products & Places 2019

Best Meat Free Options

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Oumph! Kebab Spiced (soya based, gluten free) Incredible flavour, very filling, really easy to stir fry or grill, chunky and chewy!

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Like Meat, Like BBQ Chicken (soy based, gluten free) Ah-maze-ing! Similar taste and texture to a BBQ thigh but nicer. Another very versatile replacement but this time not as chewy.

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Quorn Fishless Fingers (Vegan, Not gluten free) Better than the fish fingers that I remember; these are lovely on a butty with citrusy or vinegar flavoured crisps or on a plate with beans and chips.

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Aldi No Sausage Rolls (Vegan, Not gluten free) If I didn’t already know these were vegetarian I would never have guessed. My only complaint is that the filing only fills 2/3rds of the width.

Best Dairy Free Ice Cream

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Perfect World, Caramel Pecan Ice Cream (Vegan, gluten free) This is full of flavour and vitamins and minerals. Personally, I’d have made the pecans chunkier but I’d still buy it again.

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Cornetto Vegan (Vegan, gluten free) The only noticeable difference between these and the usual ones are that they’re quite a bit smaller.

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Ben & Jerry’s, Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream (vegan, gluten free) Gorgeous! As good as Chunky Monkey, almost as good as Cookie Dough :op

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Bouja – Bouja, Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free, organic) Very strong – almost smokey – flavour, really creamy consistency but the pecans and pralines are too blended. I add broken up digestive biscuits for more texture.

Snacks and Treats

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Manomasa, Tortillas (gluten free, dairy free) – Full of flavour and perfect for scooping up dips.

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Bouja-Bouja Chocolate Truffle Collection (dairy and gluten free) – Vanilla and rhubarb, cherry, salted caramel, caramel, hazelnut, ginger, rum, Champaign, espresso are the flavours in these truffle selections. Possibly the best dairy free chocolate in the world.

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KIND Snack Bars Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt (gluten free, NOT dairy free). Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt (gluten free, dairy free). Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate (gluten free, dairy free). These are expensive at £1.50 each (!) but they are full of complementary flavours and really substantial.

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Genius Double Chocolate/Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free) Nommmmmm, that’s my breakfast and supper, right there.

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The Coconut Collaborative, Banoffee Pots (dairy free, gluten free) If you are getting these teeny pots of joy for your kids, you’ll want to buy a second lot for yourself – believe! Similar to creme caramel that’s been stirred around but with the addition of banana.

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Gu, Strawberry & Rhubarb/Lemon Cheescakes (gluten free, dairy free) Not quite as solid as traditional cheesecake but equally delicious, these two flavours are both sweet and refreshing.

Manchester Vegan Takeaway/Dinner

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V Revolution This is the place for an incredibly creative take on traditional American junk food. Vegan mains, sides, milkshakes, cocktails and cake. The atmosphere is pop-culture with a twist. In the photo above my expression is a mix of excitement and wondering how the hell I’m going to fit this burger in my mouth!

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Zad’s Vegan with very little gf options but incredibly well thought out food. The ZFC (rather than KFC) fried cauliflower is an utter revelation, the pizzas and burgers are well balanced and not too sweet and they sometimes give away free cupcakes. Hardly any remote customer service but lovely and friendly in person.

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Vegan Shack This is the place to order from if you are either dairy free or vegan and gluten free as they have gf options of pizza (including the above topping) and one of their kebabs (on request). Their online customer service is fantastic and delivery times are reasonable. My only complaint is that the cheese is on the sweet side as is the sauce. More salt please!

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Pizza Express They have many gf, df and veggie option for mains, sides and deserts and can be flexible (up to a point) with changing food to suit dietary needs. It will be such a shame when they cease trading late next year.

Bonus

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Aside from the Gu, these are free-from items I like but don’t absolutely love. Clive’s gf pies are surprisingly good microwaved (like a chip shop Pudding); This Gosh! falafel is the best falafel I’ve tried; Dragon fly make small but substantial gf burgers; Soulful pots make two wonderful nut curries/meals that I would happily pay for in a restaurant. Their other options have the usual veggie/bean tangine flavours.

I hope you found this helpful and it gave you food for thought – sorry!

🍔Chrissie🍔

 

 

Would You Rather tag (with bonus christmas questions)

I came across this on the awesome Hunida’s blog. It originated with The Newbury Girl  (I think) but I wanted to keep the chain going so I joined in!

1. Would you rather lose all of your money or all your sentimental items?

When I first read this question I immediately thought I’d want to keep sentimental items (I do have a giant shoe box as a ‘memory box’) but having no money would take away all of my independence and make me totally reliant on others. So it would have to be the items *sob*

2. Would you rather experience unrequited love or never love at all?

I don’t think I’d like to be incapable of love. The guys I’ve loved haven’t loved me back to the same extent and vice-versa. So to never be madly, intoxicatingly in love again would be okay with me!

3. Would you rather own your own business or work for someone else?

I don’t have the executive functioning to be my own executive (bad Aspie joke) and I’ve actually liked a lot of my bosses, so I’d work for someone else.

4. Would you rather give up television (including streaming/YouTube) or reading?

I get eye strain really easy when reading and I love that I can watch telly with people and chat about it.

5. Would you rather give up sushi or tacos for the rest of your life?

I’d give up tacos. The ones in the UK are really hard and crispy and just break in half as soon as you bight them. I love veggie sushi, it’s so refreshing but filing.

6. Would you rather live in your hometown and never travel anywhere, or live in another country but never visit home?

I have lived in my hometown all my life and love Manchester but it would be cool to live somewhere else and have my Dad visit me (he loves travelling btw).

7. Would you rather live in the desert or live in a frozen tundra?

Hmmm, extreme heat fatigue probs or terrible circulation probs. I’d be unconscious with the heat so frozen tundra it is.

8. Would you rather eat dessert (but never dinner) or dinner (but never dessert)?

I’m such a salty person – so to speak. I find a lot of deserts too sickly after a while.

9. Would you rather run a successful blog or a successful YouTube channel?

Blog! I hate the sound of my voice as my Dyspraxia means my pitch and tone can accidentally be a bit over the top (too dramatic) or really monotone (too sarcastic sounding), plus when I’m fatigued I sound a bit pissed, ha!

10. Would you rather give up all makeup/cosmetics products or give up “dressing fashionably”?

I need skincare but I actively try to avoid wearing anything that happens to be in fashion at the time. So I’d bin fashion (or the idea of things being in or out of fashion) in general actually.

5 Bonus Christmas Questions!

1. Christmas jumper or Christmas Jewellery?

These 5 are my questions so I can cheat and say both jumper and jewellery, and a Crimbo scrunchy and pin badges and socks and…

2. Classic or Contemporary Christmas Songs?

Contemporary as in Stay Now by East 17 and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah.

3. Christmas dinner with ALL of your family or dinner cooked by your fave chef in a restaurant?

Well seeing as my Dad is going on holiday and he’s my only family, it would have to be a restaurant in this scenario. There’s a really fit Asian chef that was on Celebrity Masterchef this year.

4. A big surprise present or five things off your wish list?

As I’m (just about) financially stable and can’t buy my own stuff, I’d love a big surprise! Maybe a trip to see The Northern Lights.

5. Snowball fight outside or ice skating at a rink?

I tried to ice skate once, for fifteen terrifying minutes. I’m ace at snowball fights though, tactical and ruthless!

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Please feel free to join in with this tag and include your own photos of your choices if you want, or just comment instead!

🎄Chrissie🎄

Tips For a Stress Free and Safe Night Out

Learned from over 21 years of Friday and Saturday nights out, my realistic tips include prep, keeping track of your mates, getting there and back and keeping the fun going while you’re there.

1. If you’re unsure about the area, speak to friends or locals to find out about the streets or places to visit AND to avoid.

2. Phone a taxi company before hand a book a return cab for a realistic time (probably a little bit before the club/bar chucking out time) and agree where to be picked up. Have other local cab company numbers in case it doesn’t work out or find where the nearest base/office is.

3. Buy a stylish cross-body handbag bag that has a zip or solid clasp so your bad doesn’t get ‘dipped’ by thieves. Wear it inside your coat when out on the street.

4. Always store enough money for food and a taxi in a separate part of your purse, bag or (ideally pocket) so you don’t accidentally spend it.

5. Have a pair of fold up ballet flats in your bag. So no limping around on blistered feet at the end of the night. Practical and it doesn’t make you look like a target.

6. Always be friendly to the door and bar staff, you never know what they might be able to help you with.

7. If you are in a big club or area and go separate ways, agree on a place to meet back up.

8.  If your good mates say you are too pissed, believe them and get them to escort you to the toilets to freshen (sober) up a bit. You do not want to get suddenly thrown out on your own by the doormen, making you vulnerable.

9. If you do end up worse for wear, it’s safer to trust groups of women rather than a man, no matter how charming they may seem.

10. Keep an eye on your drink at all times or ask someone you know and trust to watch them. Don’t accept physical drinks from strangers, instead go to the bar with them, order it and then let them pay.

11. Before leaving a place check you have everything (coat, bag, phone) and everyone. No one wants to get left behind because they went to the loo!

12. When walking to a place either walk the same speed as the slowest person or break into two groups (if there’s a lot of you), with clear agreement on where you are heading.

13. Same as when you are getting food. Everyone needs to make it clear where they are going and who they are going with or if they want someone to wait for them.

14. Don’t be that dick who just goes home without telling anyone. People will be worried if you just disappear.

15. Make sure you are getting into a registered taxi. Is the logo familiar? Do they have photo ID with their driver number on ? If you have booked it, they should know your name and address. Agree on a price first so they can’t inflate the fare.

16.  When you’re at home, message each other to say you’ve had a top night and you’re home safe.

Happy partying people!

Zad’s Vegan Takeaway Manchester

Last Saturday I treated myself to Zad’s takeaway in Chorlton; it was a treat because the minim order for delivery (even if you are only a mile away) is £15 which is expensive for me. Still, I’ve had their wonderful food before and thought it was worth it.

I ordered a 9” vegetable pizza, curly fries, ZFC – spicy fried cauliflower instead of chicken – which tastes weirdly like KFC and a salted caramel cupcake.

I ordered using their app at 8.00pm and selected delivery for the earliest available 9.00pm as I was starting to feel hungry. By 9.50 I had to make a snack as I was getting really bad hunger pains. I’d tried to phone several times but it just rung out. My food arrived at 10.10pm! No apology or acknowledgment that it was over an hour late .

The pizza was hardly warm, the fries were cold and soggy. I was so hungry and gutted! The ZFC was amazing as was the cupcake. I didn’t have the energy to reheat the pizza and bake the fries in the oven so I had to save them for the next day. They were both awesome once heated/cooked again but that’s the opposite of why people get a handy takeaway.

I left a polite complaint via email but that as well as two other phone call attempts have been ignored.

I really want to give Zads a great review but I can’t because of how late the food was, how soggy the food was and how non- existent their customer service is.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

 

I Share the Veggie, Gluten and Dairy Free Contents of My Cupboards, Fridge and Freezer!

“You’re vegetarian, gluten and dairy free, so what do you eat then?” I’m often asked this question because lots of people are some of the above but most people aren’t all of those things. So here is my response in photo’s.

I Eat

Crisps, natchos, bombay mix, nuts, seeds, cake bars, sweets, cooking sauces, gf pasta, gf gnochi, rice, soup, daal, chilli, gf muesli, ratatouille, roasted peppers, falafel, smokey sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts in garlic oil, tamari (soy sauce), gf pies, gf tarts, Vitalite, quinoa, lots of pickles, veggie kebab strips, veggie chicken pieces, McCain Smiles (crunchy on the outside, fluffy in the middle), humous, df cheese, curry, burritos, tacos, all manner of fresh veg, garlic mayo, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salad cream.

I Drink

Strawberry/chocolate protein powder and rice/almond/coconut/hazelnut milk, innocent smoothies, orange/pomegranate/mango/guava  juice.

[I’m sorry that some of the photos could be clearer but it’s so difficult taking pictures inside a very deep cupboard and of backlit items in a fridge.]

If you have any queries about brands and ingredients, I’ll do my best to help you out :o)

Chrissie

Shopping at Ocado for Free-from Food & Review of Items

Why Ocado?

I’m not able to get out of the house much (especially in the warmer weather) and I feel awful sending my Dad and my bloke out with lists of incredibly specific items that not every individual supermarket stocks. Imagine my Dad asking a member of staff for “This quinowaa stuff in a tub? It was on the Instagram.” “Sounds exotic, try the foreign isle.” (That’s the only thing they ever suggest because they can’t be arsed looking) and my bloke trying to explain that “No, harrisa paste won’t be in the DIY section!”

Is it easy?

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So easy! For a start there’s a ‘Browse Shop’ tab (top left) which reveals all of the different sections of the shop including toiletries, gardening, baby as well as frozen, fresh etc. I chose ‘Free From & Organic’. From the next list I choose ‘vegetarian’, ‘dairy free’ and ‘gluten free’. You can also filter by brands and what’s on offer. Minimum order is £40, which I would say is an average family, weekly shop anyway.

Booking and deliveries

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It’s displayed on an easy to understand grid, with the dates across the top and the 1 hour delivery times underneath. I’m not sure how far into the future you can schedule a delivery but it’s best to bear in mind that a product may be available when ordering but not necessarily available by the time your delivery happens.

You can alter your delivery times and edit your basket (you do have to check out again for the latter) up until the day before it’s due to arrive. You get a text the day before your delivery reminding you of the time, then another on the day telling you the name of your driver, the colour of the van (‘lemon’ which had giant lemons all over) and the reg. It also tells you if any item is unexpectedly out of stock. I found it amusing that, of all things they’d run out of my plain old toothpaste.

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Staff are so friendly and will carry your shopping right into your kitchen for you. Everything comes in named and colour coded bags so you can see where everything should go.

It is easy being green!

A little green van symbol indicates ‘greener delivery slots’. These are when an Ocado van is already doing another delivery in your area, so less millage and fuel burnt. You keep your bags and hand them back and any cardboard beer/wine holders on your next delivery.

The Food

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The Good

Everything by Sacla is always perfect.

Biona Fruit Bears are so much juicer better than Haribo.

Nakd Salted Caramel Bars are perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. They are so soft that it’s better to store them in the fridge on hot days.

Livia’s Nuglets are similar in flavour and also better kept in the fridge, for that chunks-of-cookie-dough-in-ice-cream effect.

Gu Spanish Lemon Cheesecakes are absolutely dreamy!

Gosh! Spinach and Pinenut Bites are basically a mild, soft falafel. These taste great with a few drops of water splashed on and warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds, then teamed with humus and salad.

Soulful One Pot, Brazillian Tomato and Black Bean with Cashews and Quinoa was so creamy for something dairy free and the ingredients were all so perfectly balanced, it was a delight to eat.

Violife block of cheese is the best dairy-free cheese I’ve eaten. Like a giant block of Dairylee slices.

Quorn Peperoni slices do contain milk in the flavourings but not enough to have an effect on me. Perfect cold in sandwiches with American mustard or hot on a pizza.

The Bad

Bakery of Main GF Muesli Banana flavour – No where near enough banana pieces!

Warburton’s GF Loaf – Sticks to your teeth like a sponge rehydrating it’s self. schaar white loaf is so much better.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Vegetable Curry – I was expecting something like an Indian daal, what I got was a Mexican chilli. Hmm.

The Meh…

Soulful One Pot, Mexican Bean and Sweet Potato with Quinoa – I thought I might not like the flavour of the quinoa but it was pleasant. I was disappointed that the flavour of the sweet potato was barley noticeable. I found that I was begrudgingly plodding my way through it, simply because I was hungry.

Clive’s Pies – These came out of the oven so damn dry! It didn’t say to microwave them but I did and they came out like a pudding from the chippy, nom! Still not a patch on other veggie pies I’ve eaten as they are stingy on the filling. Sort it out Clive!

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I’ve found the whole experience so much less stressful and time consuming than doing a physical shop. It wasn’t anymore expensive and I now have a fully stocked kitchen of lovely food that won’t make me ill. I accepted my second delivery (filled with more every-day type stuff, as well as a few new things) as I was typing this. After I’ve tried everything I’m going to edit my favourites list online and then just have it as a repeat order every month I reckon.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

Drink 1 Litre of Water for 5 Days Challenge

Hi lovely people!

I don’t know about you, but I need to drink more water as I’m feeling thirsty far to often and my skin and energy levels hate me for it. So you’ve probably heard that Beyonce drinks 2.5 litres of water a day but seeing as I ain’t busting my arse in a studio or on stage and my day is much shorter, I thought I’d reign that goal in a bit. I’ve decided that 1 litre is more realistic for me, plus I like a few beers in the evening so I don’t want to end up all bloated trying to cram in too much liquid.

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The rules

  1. As my body has always loved to piss away most of the water I drink, rather than absorb it and because I have chronic fatigue, I’m filing the bottle up like this 1/3 energy drink, 2/3 water, with a pinch of salt included.
  2. I’m using the same bottle for each day
  3. I’m not counting tea, coffee, orange juice or beer.
  4. I’m starting at 12.30pm when I get up and finishing at 4.30pm so leaving tea-time and evenings free.

The Bottle

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It has a fancy button which pops open the spout and a button to lock that button so it’s safe to travel, oh and a handy carabina clip. It also has times for morning and afternoon down one side and measurements down the other. Really though you could up-cycle any bottle as long as you draw lines to show where each litre and half litre is. My memory is bobbins though so I appreciate that it’s divided into hours.

Day 1

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On track…

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Lagging behind by an hour and a half!

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Just finished it at 6.12pm. It was a real effort and I noticed that it really curbed my appetite so I’ve only eaten a small bowl of nachos and humus all day. That can’t be good can it?

Day 2

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Way ahead today as I woke up thirsty and it was a warm day.

Day 3

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Stopped at 3.30pm as I really fancied sitting in the sunshine with nice cold shandies. I did finish the rest off later though.

Day 4

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Kept perfectly on track all day and found it easy.

Day 5

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It was one of those days where the weather is changing like crazy – from getting baked out of bed and drinking water and craving a glass of cold, fresh orange – to it turning cold and making me need a coffee with 2/3 hot hazelnut milk in to warm me up. I’ve met my liquid intake goal, it just wasn’t all water.

Verdict

My skin does look really healthy and I must admit, I didn’t once get that ‘Oh, I really should get up and get a drink but I’m tired or busy so I’ll do it in a minute.’ attitude because the water bottle was always right next to me. I’ve been going to the loo for number two more regularly and seem to digest heavier foods quicker, which has made me less bloated. Was that TMI?

Doing this can be a great way of making sure you stay hydrated but I still think we should be intuitive and listen to what our body needs and when. There is no point in trying to force water into your body when it might need something else. Two things that weren’t factored into this challenge were a) The space in my tummy that food took up and b) I have a mainly plant based diet so I absorb water (a lot more easily) from my food.

I’ve kept up trying to drink my litre-of-water-a-day for just over a week now, with varying degrees of success but that’s ok as long as I’m not thirsty or too bloated! :o)

Chrissie

Oumph! Kebab Spiced

Oumph! Kebab Spiced strips really do taste like Greek or Turkish kebabs made with traditional spices.

I’ve used them to add texture and protein to a salad; I’ve had them in a wrap with fried onion, mushroom and bell pepper with a little yoghurt sauce and thinly sliced cucumber and as a simple burger replacement topped with melted cheese, tomato sauce and lettuce.

The first word that comes to mind when describing the texture is chewy. ‘Very resilient hot dog sausage’ is a fair comparison. Be aware that this does not change, no matter how much you fry them.

I love them for their authentic flavour, versatility and yes, even the texture. A girl can only eat tofu for so long without wanting a change.

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream

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That’s quite a name isn’t it! I absolutely loved those caramel and coconut flavoured Bon Bon’s as a kid, so I was proper chuffed when The Bloke came home with this from Tesco.

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The two main flavours were perfectly balanced and the added chocolate chunks were huge! I didn’t notice the cookie content so I wished there were some little caramel chunks in there as well as it being swirled through, instead.

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You would never know that this is vegan ice cream and the flavour of the almond milk it’s made with isn’t noticeable.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie