February 2017 - Rachel Ellen

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

1 Month of Being Vegetarian

Four weeks ago I set myself a task, no meat for the whole of February. 

It was a challenge, but I found some new recipes, I bought things I'd never bought before (aubergine, I didn't even know what the inside looked like) and I cooked equally as badly as I would if I was eating meat, though with less food poisoning.

But why did I do it. 

First, I'm a big fan of animals, I always have been and I've always disassociated the idea of meat from animals, ridiculous I know. 

Second, it's actually really bad for the environment, the emissions released from the meat industry are bad, my advice is to google it if you want more info. 

Third, I actually don't enjoy the taste of most meat very much, and recently was enjoying chicken less and less.

But, to the question everyone's (Yes everyone, I think they mentioned it at the Oscars, or was that the wrong envelope?) been asking. What is the future of my dietary life?

I think I COULD be vegetarian forever, but there are certain things I would miss.

I think what is important for me, is to not waste meat. Not to eat it for the sake of it. But to eat a meat because I really enjoy it.

I'm not going to rush out tomorrow and buy myself a bacon butty (although...) But I think I might take the title of a Meat Reducer. It's not hip and cool, it's not going to go in my Twitter or Insta bio like veggie or vegan might do. But I think if this was everyone's view, we could make a massive difference to the amount of meat usage in the country, we are a very privileged society who have this choice, we are not fighting for food, so why shouldn't we reduce our intake?

Have I inspired anyone to give veggie a go?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Ps. If anyone else wants to try being veggie or vegan, try not to do it in a vegetable crisis. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Did I Fail?

Oops, 11 days since my last post. I've not done a very good job keeping updated on the whole veggie month thing, but I have kept it up ... Mostly.

By my intention I have done well, other than using a few chicken stock cubes (wasting food I already have doesn't really feel like the veggie way of life)

But the other day my friend had some nachos in the pub and offered me a couple, I saw the guac, sour cream, salsa, cheese and though yeah these look great. On my second nacho I notice a chilli flavour, she had forgotten that she had beef chilli on them!

By no means does this mean I feel I have failed, I thought it was hilarious (and, I thought, "this would make a great anecdote to my blog posts")

But this goes to prove what I always thought about veggie life, it's hard. Not in the sense that I'm dying for a bacon butty (although...) in a sense of it's a strain on my social life. My friend came to visit, we found it hard to think what meal we could eat together, when my boyfriend comes to stay, we're finding it hard to make meals we can both enjoy. I need to check that anywhere I go to eat has more on offer than stuffed peppers. I need to spend a bit longer in shop reading the back of crisp packets.

Now I know what you're thinking, first world problems or what. But it is difficult, my brain is constantly switched on about what I'm eating and what I'm not eating. Today, I was offered a free sample, but had to refuse as it was chicken (after briefly forgetting, it was an awkward interaction of my excitement being overtaken by my February challenge).

As we are coming to the end of the month I am starting to think about what this all means for my future in food - sounds a little dramatic. 

Thanks for reading,

Also I have created a Facebook page for my blog finally, I'd love it if you followed! Link here

Rachel xx

Ps, I was wrong in my last post, Mcdonalds do a veggie burger, I would absolutely not recommend it, especially if you're looking for a hangover fix

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Meat Alternatives

12 days of being a vegetarian, in some ways, it's way easier than I thought, in other ways, how the hell do I eat at Mcdonalds?!

A couple of my housemates were grabbing a maccies and I thought, I might just have a cheeseburger. Oh wait..... without the burger. I guess that's just a cheese butty.

Mcdonalds is very limited in terms of veggie options, if you don't eat fish or meat can you even get a full meal? Now I know, a lot of people will be thinking "well duh, how have you only just realised this?" Because I don't pay much attention to the rest of the menu, a big mac meal and I'm sorted.

Shouldn't people be encouraged to choose the vegetarian option more often and not just burger after burger? 

This weekend's cooking has been a bit more trying out meat alternatives. Quorn mince is a very good contender, I've made chilli and burritos from it and they were super tasty. And actually I think in future I'd always buy that instead of mince now. It's cheaper, easier to cook, and less chance of poisoning yourself. Once the flavouring is on you don't even notice that much difference in taste which is great!

For tea tonight, I had sausage eggs and beans, don't judge me, I popped a yolk, nobody is more upset than me. But what a great meal to feel like normal food.

The sausages are Linda McCartney (recommendation from a uni friend, Danni, if you're reading, thanks!) They were only £1.29 in Lidl and after a bit of googling, might actually be cheaper at Asda. But the texture is very much sausage like, and they are quite tasty. They fit right into this meal that would go with meat sausages so good all round!

So judging by how good I have found these meat alternatives, Mcdonalds, don't you think it's time to make a veggie patty, or maybe a mac and cheese burger? (sorry if you're reading this Lucy, I stole the idea) Just anything to bring in the veggies, and maybe even a vegan or two and cut down slightly on the animal usage?

This post was brought to you by the hope that my friends actually read my blog posts.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Vegetarian Update

Being vegetarian, so far, is a lot easier than I thought, ignoring a chicken stock cube I used because I don't want to be wasteful with food.

My mum requested that I be totally honest with how I'm feeling about the whole thing so hear we go. I have a couple of times had a bit of stomach ache when I've eaten large amounts of vegetables. It can take your stomach a bit to get used to that, but in the best kind of way.

The only time so far that I struggled a bit without meat was Saturday night. I went to the pub with some uni friends, after a few drinks we were peckish, everyone went to KFC and me and my veggie friend had tuna sandwiches at Subway. I don't really enjoy eating KFC anyway, but a tuna sandwich didn't really fit the bill. Maybe I should have had a patty, has anyone tried one?

But along with that, I've had some really exciting meals. Last night, me and my house mate made a really nice vegetable lasagna with:
And then the rest normal lasagna ingredients. I was a bit worried as I'm not a fan of a lot of vegetables but when it's all mixed in you can't really tell!

We had a bit of an odd moment trying to soak the lasagna sheets before putting them in, so we had lasagna crowns all around the kitchen!

Last week, I made a spinach and sweet potato bake, which actually was so much nicer than it sounded, super easy to make as well! Check the BBC recipe here

Have I inspired you to try more vegetarian dishes? Or is there any you think I should try?

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Mushy Piles of Falafel

Last night I went to bed excited to cook the next day, knowing that I'd have a lovely blog post to write.

Today just isn't my cooking day. From the poached egg I accidentally boiled and then dropped on the cooker (the cooker was clean, the egg still tasted ok), I don't know how it happened. To the falafel incident.

I found a recipe in a little vegetarian book I bought (check out my post about a Meat Free February), it looked easy, even for a novice cook like me.

I adjusted the amounts slightly, admittedly, not perfectly, but I really feel like mine shouldn't have looked the way they did.

 I've had falafel before, but this didn't really seem right, I put way too much lime in and they tasted burnt and mushy. And it wouldn't stay stuck together.

Safe to say the mushy pile went in the bin.

If anyone has any good recipes for falafel, please let me know!

Yesterday, I made Carrot and Parsnip soup, check out the blog post I wrote last year about how to make it. Now you can see how terrible I am at cooking, you can see how easy the soup is to make.

Stir fry for tea, even after staring at a full head of broccoli for longer than necessary.

So far, my veggie month is a bit hit and miss, but it is only the second day. Maybe I'll stick to the simpler cooking from now on.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel xx