Life Lately – June

June has flown by, which is weird considering I’ve been out of the house a whole…one time! I’ve been very grateful for the, frankly shite, weather Manchester has had this month, as it’s been a well needed break from the crazy heatwave of May.

Pride Month

My love and respect goes out to the LGBTQ community as always, whatever your sexuality and however you identify. I’ve always been proud that I live in a city with year-round acceptance (in a general sense) and awareness. I think this is thanks to the The Gay Village, plus a great Pride Parade and festival.

Food

Been switching all month between having cups of tea with sausage and mash to having a cold beers and mezze.

Independent Artist or Business

GDBEE Art is by Geneva who makes the most gorgeous graphic art of women of colour. She’s also created the webtoon Hovergirls, about two alien fighting cousins who work in a coffee shop by day. The entire Hovergirls series is available to read on phone/device or PC.

Lifestyle

I’ve changed my bedroom from being the place where stuff gets dumped, into a place where I actually want to spend time. a) I’ve had a big clean and tidy b) I’ve brought in more storage c) Updated a dark toned LOTR poster to a lighter toned and very neat dragon canvas d) I’ve reduced the amount of Funko Pops and books/papers piled everywhere.

Reading

The Getaway Girls by Dee McDonald is roadtrip comedy about three rather different friends, all past middle age, who decide they are unhappy with their lot and want to start a new adventure through France and Italy. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it!

New Fringe

I was sick of my giant wavy fringe which needed cutting constantly and was way too hot and wide. I watched Birds of Prey (which I loved, but thought the bad guy was just plain annoying) and cut myself a new punky, shorter fringe. Freshly cut it looks a little too perfect but it does naturally have a lot of movement and looks spikey if I apply styling putty.

Here is me as a kid in the 80’s with a very different kind of fringe lol

I hope you’ve all been finding things to make you happy, in these turbulent times!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Sneak a Peak Into My Kitchen to See What Vegetarians Who Are Gluten and Dairy Free Really Eat!

I’ll be showing you what’s in my cupboards and freezer in a moment but first, a little context…

I think because the majority of food that the UK produces is milk and wheat based, it’s easy to think there isn’t anything else. All you have to do is look at other cultures and continents, Asia being a specifically apt example, to realise there is so much choice! Coconut milk instead of cows milk; gram (chickpea) flour instead of wheat flour and pea protein or tofu (bean curd) instead of meat are three of my most used swaps.

Pantry

(Clockwise)

Coop Free From noodles – I add chopped up veggie sausages and tomato pasta sauce with added tomato paste to make Spaghetti Bolognase.

Nairn’s Wholegrain Crackers – Much crunchier than original oat cakes

Grano Vita Mock Duck – Apparently it can be eaten cold on a sarnie or hot with your Sunday lunch but not tried it yet so take take my word for it!

Asda Free From Fiery Chilli Rice Noodle Pot – These are perfect for when you need something really quick.

Alpro Hazelnut – OMG this has to be the best milk substitute ever.

Pine nuts – Adds crunch and flavour to pasta with red or green.

Amy’s Kitchen Chunky Tomato Soup – I cannot believe this is dairy free and it is even richer with nutritional yeast flakes added for a cheesy/creamy flavour.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Lentil Curry – I’m glad they haven’t called this Daal because it doesn’t taste like the authentic Indian curry, more like a Mexican dish but it is lovely and very filling.

Tesco Free From Red Pesto – (I often get Saccla brand as well) for spaghetti bolagnaise or pizza.

(Out of shot)

Huge bag of rice, Genius Seeded Loaf.

Snack Cupboard

(Clockwise)

Kettle Chips, Sheese and Red Onion – I could eat these ALL day!

Eat Real, Lentil Chips, Chilli & Lemon – I love how chunky these are and that you get a robust flavour from the lentils along with the added zingy flavour.

Kind bars (just seen) – These are made of different kinds of nuts held together with dark chocolate, peanut butter or (contains dairy) caramel. Gives me lots of energy quickly.

Roasted Salted Peanuts – Great to put into Satay Sauce or Nasi Goreng Indonesian Chilli Salad or a Waldorf salad but also great to snack on while drinking beer. Cheers!

Pom-bear – Does anyone else buy a huge bag of these when on self-catering holidays abroad?

Tesco, Free From Onion Rings – So much better than those little 20p bags you used to get as a kid. I’m quite gobsmacked by them being free-from actually.

Ten Acre, The Story Of When The Cheese Met The Onion – Apart From the highly pretentious and, let’s face, weird tittle, these are delicious! You won’t believe they are dairy free. Their Pastrami flavour is fantastical well.

Freezer

(Clockwise)

Linda McCartney’s Rosemary and Red Onion Sausages – Not the best veggie sausages but certainly not the worst I’ve had, these are lovely with gravy; not so much for a sausage butty with brown sauce though.

Applewood Vegan Smokey Cheese – Wow! How on earn does a vegan cheese taste this good!? It even grates and melts perfectly.

Oomph! Kebab Strips – The best meat alternative I’ve ever found.

Deliciously Ella, Cauliflower and Lentil Dahl – Nope! Lovely flavour but tastes more like a mild Thai curry made with coconut milk. Tiny for the price but I like them breakfast/lunch on colder days.

Quorn, Comforting Cottage Pie – I add a bit of tomato or HP sauce and have this with steamed veggies.

Amy’s Kitchen, Veggie Lasagne – I add a tiny bit of Sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast to this. Really nice with the spinach inside.

McCains, Potato Smiles – Crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. 😊

What do use as substitutions and/or what tinned or packet ingredients do you mix together to make a meal? Have you tried any of these and do you have any recommendations?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Your Fave FOOD Photo’s From The Last 6 Months

(Clockwise)

Veggie black pudding with beetroot sauce and salad from Vertigo, Mcr.

Gf Seeded Nairn’s crackers with vegan Flora, Violife original ‘cheese’ and green olives and capers.

Veggie stew of everything from the back of the cupboard, the fridge and the freezer.

Mashed spud made with vegan Flora, Linda McCarneys gf Red onion and Rosemary sausages, green beans and peas with Bisto (happens to be gf) caramelised onion gravy.

Salad with Original Tofoo and tamari (gf soy sauce).

Salad with Smoked Tofoo, Gosh! falafel and Siriacha sauce.

Oomph! Kebab Strips, rice, pea and sweetcorn with chilli oil.

Smoked Tofoo covered in toasted sesame oil and grilled, with Helmans mayo and 1/3 tin of Co-op mixed bean spicy salad.

(Centre)

Gosh! Falafel and Violife White Block (taste and consistency of goats cheese not feta) salad with home made hummus (lots of tahini and olive oil).

I hope this has given you some ideas for simple and tasty veggie and gluten/dairy free food. 😋

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Can This Jackfruit Ready-meal Really Work?

I decided to get this ready meal as an introduction to Jack Fruit. I’ve tried other things from Tescos Plant Chef range and been woefully underwhelmed so this was more of an experiment for me.

Cooked (supposedly) after only 35 minutes in a pre-heated oven…

It looks so watery! Lets poor some of that away and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on the top. I hope the sauce is a nice flavour and that there’s a load of jackfruit underneath the potatoes….

Oh shit, it’s stone cold in the middle!

After another 15 minutes in the oven…

This tastes really nice! The BBQ sauce has a strong flavour and isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. Some of the potato is crispy with a nice flavour and the red pepper works well, not sure where the onions are though. I wish there were more Jackfruit, although there are some big chunks underneath the potato.

The texture of the Jackfruit is like pulled pork and it’s really absorbed the flavour of the sauce. It cooks much better in big chunks as the smaller pieces are a bit mushy.

The answer to ‘Can this Jackfruit Ready-meal really work?’ is Not without a lot of faffing about!

Rating 2/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Trying to get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 3

I’ve realised that the first two weeks were about finding the best products for the job and how best to use them. See week 2 here.

On the rare days I wear makeup I use the Vit C Daily Glow (by foaming it up, rather than massaging with the scrubby bits). I only use the Pixi Glycolic or The Ordinary Lactic Acids every other day. I use the micellar cleanser, moisturiser and oil everyday.

  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C, Cleansing Polish
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Micellar Cleanser
  • Pixi! Glow Tonic if at home or The Ordinary, Lactic Acid
  • Ecologue Bamboo Face Pads
  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rosehip Oil

Monday

I can see that I’ll be sticking to the above skincare routine from now on as there’s everything I need but it’s still nice and simple. My skin is looking slightly radiant even when I’m not standing in full sun, which is a first. Had crackers and ‘cheese’ with caramelised onion for dinner. Salt and pepper tofu for tea with chilli oil.

Tuesday

Had quite a few beers in the evening and forgot to take my makeup off because I forgot I was wearing any. Doh! Had veggies and cashews in black bean sauce with egg fried rice for tea. At least that was healthy!

Wednesday

Even though the Rosehip oil doesn’t smell great, I prefer it to the rose scent my other oils/balms have and it’s supposed to even out the texture of skin and really nourish it. We’ll see!

Spicy beans, falafel, iceberg lettuce, humus, Violife ‘cheese’ chunks, peanuts and lime pickle for a picnic type tea.

Thursday

The Body Shop Vit C Cleanser removes makeup so easily and leaves my skin so soft and moisturised. Never had a cleanser as good as that before! Had mushroom and onion stir fry with Satay sauce for tea.

Friday

Making a bigger effort to drink enough water, not just energy drink and ‘milky’ coffees. Skin feeling very grainy today as I’ve not used either of the exfoliating acids for the last two days. So doing full skincare routine today.

Had kebab strips with rice, sweet corn, peas and green beans with Soy sauce for dinner and then with chilly oil for tea.

Saturday

Before, when I’d massage in any skincare my face would get so flushed it would stay red for about 30 minutes but now it doesn’t react at all! After weeks of massaging it looks more toned, with a lot less water retention.

Sunday

To sum up at the end of the third week

  • A lot less redness
  • Less puffy and more toned
  • Actually radiant
  • Smoother
  • Balanced so it’s not going from dry when I wake up to slightly greasy on my T-zone before bed anymore.
  • Free-from pesto and pasta for tea.
  • If anyone has any tips, recommendations, or opinions, I’d love to hear them!

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Makeshift Gluten/Yeast Free Pizza

    At the moment it’s really difficult to find gluten free pizza or pizza bases (and impossible to find yeast free one’s full stop) in supermarkets but gluten or yeast free wraps and flat breads are more likely to be stocked.

    Base:

    Flat bread (gluten free), layer of red pesto & 1st kind of cheese

    Flat bread, layer of green pesto & 2nd kind of cheese

    Flat bread & topping of tomato sauce mixed with red pesto

    Topping:

    Fried mushrooms

    (would have liked fried onion but run out of onions)

    Red bell pepper

    Black olives

    Finley chopped sun dried tomatoes

    Mixed dried herbs

    3rd kind of cheese (strong Cheddar)

    Black pepper.

    Dairy free pesto is a fave topping/dip but I’ve not found any melty dairy-free cheeses that I like the flavour and texture of yet (plain Violife not bad but very bland). The Bloke surprised me with this so that’s my excuse! 🤭🤗

    What would be your toppings?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Monthly Life Update – March (Yup, I know we’re well into April)

    March was a bit of a non-month really. Me and the bloke started our quarantine, apart from him having an hour in the park every few days. It’s a big park with wide paths and wide gates so no need to be anywhere near anyone else. A Submotion Orchestra gig (dub, orchestral, hip-hop) got cancelled which was sensible but sad. Luckily we hadn’t booked anything else or made plans to go anywhere else.

    Lifestyle

    In January I made a secret resolution to avoid gluten as it effects my breathing and doesn’t help with my naturally challenged memory and concentration skills, as well as making me bloated. I’m doing better with the above which is wonderful and I’ve have discovered I have a little square chin, rather than the two (or even three) rounded chins that I normally have. Bonus!

    At first I thought the Jay was screeching at me for food, until I put some out and it ignored it. It carried on screeching right next me. I went into the kitchen at one point and noticed it stopped. I came back and it started. I realised it had looked at me, sat in my living room and decided I was too close to the branch that it had chosen and was shouting at me to go away! Erm…..!?

    This is Little Groot, the huge chilli plant we cut right back to a tiny stump when it stopped giving us chilli’s. It’s a tenacious little fecker and has come back with a vengeance, which we hoped but didn’t really expect.

    I find the trend of young women shaving the peach fuzz off their cheeks such a shame. It’s natural, your skin isn’t supposed to look as smooth and shiny as a Barbie Dolls and why are we adding yet another step in the relentless quest to look perfect’? Here’s me with my fluffy face (you can see it on the right hand side in contrast with the shadow) which most people find really sweet.

    Style

    I went through a pastel-goth moment (perfect style to cheer up grey, cold weather) and found this huge metal quote pin from Crazy Crafty Chick Club.

    I’m still rocking my custom Airforce 1’s and find that they go with basically everything. I can fit my orthotics in them and I can wear my ankle brace with them too. If you need spacious, stable but fairly light weight footwear, these are dream shoes!

    I’ve finally got all of the styles of boots I’ve ever wanted so I will not be buying any more, ever. The chunky pair are from Koi and the slimmer pair are from Newlook (detachable wings from Koi) and everything is vegan.

    Beauty

    I stumbled across this independent soap brand in Tesco of all places as it was the only soap left but it’s the best soap though, how odd!? Vegan, cruelty free and genuinely natural. They do a range for pets too!

    Cheered myself up with a sparkly coral mani.

    Food

    I bought this beautiful vegan porcini mushroom sauce and gluten free gnocchi in a huge (and perfectly timed) shop from Ocado just before all of their delivery slots got maxed out.

    First salad of the year! With Violife Greek Block (supposed to be feta, tastes exactly like goats cheese instead) and Gosh! Mediterranean Red Pepper Falafel. I do get boxes of cheap falafel mix from the corner shop as well but these are quick and easy for when I’m fatigued.

    Amy’s Burritos are the perfect size between a snack and a meal. This one is the tofu breakfast scramble and there are several others with rice and one with cheesy baked-beans. So good!

    I tried Violife extra cheesy block and ‘ham’ slices, which had such similar textures and even flavours, that they blended together to create one weird flavour in my sandwich. Fail! The ‘ham’ is perfect on a sarny with pickled onion/cauliflower or a teeny bit of mustard. The cheese is perfect on a sarny with spring onions or on a cracker with sandwich pickle.

    What a strange, almost surreal month that was.

    🖤✨Chrissie🖤✨

    ‘Everything Curry’

    Made this curry a few days ago from everything I had in the kitchen cupboard, fridge, freezer and vegetable rack.

    Ingredients used

    1 tin of chickpeas

    1 tin of sweet corn

    Frozen ginger and garlic paste (pre-frozen into portions in an ice cube tray)

    Frozen edamame

    Frozen green beans

    Frozen chillis (from chilli plant)

    Fresh button mushrooms

    Fresh courgettes

    Fresh sweet (Bell) pepper

    Ancient potatoes

    Ancient onions

    Forgotten about chunk of ginger

    Box of corn flower I found in the back of the cupboard to thicken sauce

    Curry paste from opened jar in fridge

    A load of basmati rice from giant 10kg sack

    8 servings!veggiecooking #simpleveggiecooking #simplevegancooking #easyvegancooking #easyvegcooking

    #viruscooking #isolationcreation #isolationcooking #makedowithwhatyouhave #cookingonabudget #simplecooking

    I’m interested to know what’s the nicest meal you could knock up from what’s in your kitchen right now?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Protein Salad using Gosh falafel and Violife Greek White Block.

    I know blogging about a salad is a little like when Carrie in Sex and the City resorted to writing ‘Men are like socks…’ because she’d run out of shit to say BUT we are on lockdown and to be fair it is a great salad, with two of my fave products, hopefully still available from your local supermarket.

    Gosh Mediterranean Falafel

    Black olives

    Red and green bell pepper,

    Ice berg lettuce

    Rocket

    Cucumber

    Humus

    Violife Greek White Block

    Olive oil, salt and pepper

    Sprinkle of mixed seeds

    The Violife block wasn’t remotely salty or crumbly enough to be feta but Is was uncannily similar to goats cheese, yum!

    I always steam falafel for a minute in the microwave to warm and soften it up a little. Gosh falafel is always tasty and never dry but if you get a brand that is, steaming will also help with that.

    What are your fave salad additions?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Can You Make a Cheese & Ham Sandwich Gluten Free & Vegan?

    I used to love the cheese, ham and English mustard or pickled onion butties my Mum used to make me for my packed lunches at school and even work if I was running late. As a lot of you will know, now I have a gluten and dairy free diet and I’m veggie, I try most of the time to be vegan because it’s the kind thing to do and I’m nearly there anyway.

    Here’s what I used

    Genius Seaded Loaf

    Vitalite Vegan Spread

    Violife Flavour Ham Slices

    Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavour Block

    Colman’s Mustard (a teeny bit)

    Verdict on the Ingredients

    The ham had some decent flavour and the texture wasn’t too bad, just a little soft. The last ham substitute I tried had the texture of a damp flannel, so this was an improvement.

    The block was, almost aggressively, cheese flavoured. It tasted more cheesy than cheesy puffs, Wotsits and Mini Cheddars put together and I have to admit that I liked it!

    OMG I do not remember English mustard being blow-your-head-off kind of strong. Whew!

    I love all kinds of Genius bread because it really is THE best gf bread you will find.

    Vitalite do one of the best dairy free spreads. It doesn’t taste strongly of olive oil (like some) and it’s not as wish-washy as others.

    The Result

    The ‘ham’ and ‘cheesetasted unexpectedly similar and the textures were identical. I should have cut the cheese chunkier but then the flavour would have been overwhelming. The ‘ham’ and the mustard where perfect together so I just stuck to that for the next sandwiches I made. Ive been eating the cheese on crackers with different sandwich pickles or in a toasty with fresh spring onions.

    Can you make a ham & cheese sandwich gluten free and vegan?

    Nope!

    Hope you enjoyed my little experiment. At least now you know what products are good for other things.

    What are your suggestions for gf vegan sandwiches?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤