Packaging Free Shopping in London

A while ago I was in London again for a few days. Even though I live fairly close to London, I’m there a lot less than I expected to be. I’ve had a great time being in my beloved city and I went back home with lots of inspiration. I stayed with my employer’s family, around Battersea, which is  a lovely area. The 2 most important things on my planning were, to visit Unity Diner (which I did, but will write a separate article about) and to visit the Whole Foods Market. I always go to the Whole Foods Market when I’m in London, because that is the shop I miss the most. They offer quite a range of products which you can buy in bulk and package free and that is exactly what I wanted to do. They have dried fruits, different types of rice, beans, seeds, nuts, oats, herbs and spices etc. I had a real purpose this time and I planned to do this on the last day, just before I’d go home.

On Saturday Portobello Road was on my to do list. This is my favourite part of London. Notting Hill is so pretty and there is so much life, inspiration and lovely things on Portobello Road. Especially on Saturday. It’s busy though, because on the weekend most of the people are tourist. I love all the market stalls, where I used to get lots of my fruit and veggies. It’s something else I miss. Where I live in the county side, weird enough, is no good farmers market, but in London there are so many. I wish I could carry it all home. I love to see new cafe’s, shops and (vegan) options everywhere and ever time I come to this lovely street, there are some. This time, the one that made me the happiest (apart from the vegan donuts) was a little shop called: Liberté Chérie.

Liberté Chérie is a zero waste, plastic and packaging free, shop! I obviously needed to go inside. There was only one other person inside and when she left, I had a lovely chat with the owner. A very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly Frenchman. He told me that they just opened this morning (how lucky was I?!) and that most of the products he sold were grown in England. A few were from France and elsewhere though: things that can’t grow in England or are not available (like almonds or certain peas for example). Also some of the herbs and spices came from countries like India or Turkey, but his aim was to have as much as possible from England. Even though it was a tiny shop, they sell quite a lot of different things. Of course there are the beans, rice, oats and seeds etc, but also oils, different types of vinegar and even soap nuts. Next to the pantry products, there is a small range of waste free/plastic free products like water bottles and lunch boxes etc. you can buy. It is a lovely shop, set up with a lot of passion. There was such a lovely atmosphere and I felt like I never wanted to leave again. Haha! I could have stayed there, staring at all these lovely products, listening to the stories of inspiration behind it all. I had more things to do though, so we exchanged Instagram profiles and I said my goodbyes. Unfortunately it was only midday and I didn’t want to walk around with lots of (heavy) things for the rest of the day and so I decided not to buy anything. Next time when I’m in London with my van, I’ll definitely get some lovely things here. Did I mention that the prices were quite compatible as well? Whenever you are around there or you live nearby, please visit this lovely shop.

It was such a coincidence, because on that same morning, when I walked towards the bus stop, I had to wait at a traffic light and when I looked up I couldn’t be any happier. Right in front of me, on the other side of the road, was a zero waste/plastic free shop! It was called ‘The Source’, what I think is a perfect name for a shop like that. It was closed though and I was on my way to visit the girls I looked after before. So I couldn’t wait for it to open (even though it was gonna open in 5 min). I promised myself to come back the next day. Now you understand that it was an extra nice treat for me to discover ‘Liberté Chérie’ a few hours later. Anyway, the next morning, I had to take the same bus from that same bus stop and so it was a perfect, cuz I was able to quickly pop in. I was so excited, that I was a little early and Nola (my dog) and I had to wait a little bit. When it opened we went straight in and it was heaven!! There was soooo much! It is quite a big shop and there are so many containers with so many different things. I didn’t know where to look and what to do first. The owner told me that they normally don’t allow dogs inside, but luckily Nola is very small and I carried her whilst we had a little chat. They also have a shop in Chiswick and so, from what I know of, there are 4 options in London to shop zero waste and plastic free. That is amazing! It makes me so happy that shops like this exist and can exist. He told me that it was going well and it was busy.. YES! I asked if I could take some pictures and that was fine. It’s a good thing that I was early, so I was able to take some nice pics, without having to wait for people to finish. Haha! They sell so many things.. too many to write down. One of the nicest things, was that they did freeze-dried veggies. I really wanted to buy things and I even brought my zero waste bags with me, but I was carrying too many things (3 bags and Nola) already. I still had the whole day in front of me and so I couldn’t. I should have brought my backpack, silly me! Later I did regret not getting a little bit of those freeze-dried veggies though, cuz they would have been light and easy to carry around. So next time, I’ll definitely get those. So for those of you who live in or around Battersea, please go and visit ‘The Source’ (and tell me how good those freeze-dried veggies are!).

Please, when you live in London, try to make trips to shops like this. These are the shops we want to support. This is the future. This is the way to no more plastic, a lot less waste and lovely wholesome and healthy food. Even when you don’t live very close to one, just go once in a while and buy in bulk. It will save you money too. Try to think of a way to go and help to make these shops work!

The Whole Foods Market: 63-97 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE.
Liberté Chérie: 291 Portobello Road, W10 5TD.
The Source Battersea: 99 St John’s Rd, SW11 1QY.
The Source Chiswick: 24 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1QP.

Do you already shop at shops like this? Are there any shops near you where you can shop waste free and without plastic? Or do you live in London and are you shopping at one of these amazing shops? I’d love to hear about it! You can do this in the comments below or via Instagram. Thank you! X

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Happy 3rd Anniversary!! + Cookie Dreams

I can’t believe it, Planet Manel is celebrating her 3rd anniversary! When I started 3 years ago I was feeling so motivated, because I finally found something where I could combine all my interests. I love creating.. I always did. As a child I was always drawing, making mood boards, writing short stories, designing.. With this many interests it’s sometimes hard to choose something. As I also really like animals, I studied ‘Animal Care’. After that I also did ‘Interior Design’. For both I have my diploma and for both things I’ve got a huge passion. Hence why I’m vegan, live in a van and design tiny houses for a hobby. My head is always full of ideas. Anyway.. before we get off the subject, I’m super proud that I kept blogging for the last 3 years. Some months I posted a lot and some months a little less, but I always kept going. I want to tank all my readers and people who followed my journey and parts of my life. Also all the people who made my recipes and a huge thank you for all the sweet messages. I couldn’t have done it without all of you. You are the best!

At the moment I can feel that I’m more focused and that the overall quality is improved. This motivates me even more, because it’s nice to see growth. Blogging is something I could only dream about. I tried it when I was a teenager, but without a real goal, I always gave up after a while. But this time the dream is bigger! I want to inspire you, make you feel happy, show you how easy it is to eat plant-based, to live with compassion and to just make the world a little better, starting with YOURSELF! Even when it’s only a little bit and it’s only changing 1 animal’s life at a time or when it’s your life.. to make you smile, to make you feel good and to let you taste yummy recipes. Talking about recipes. For the occasion I created these delicious vanilla, chocolate chip, cookies. To create the ultimate recipe I seriously baked 50+ biscuits. I had something in my head and I didn’t give up until I found the golden combination. I was so happy when I finally succeeded and I’m excited to share them with you! I called them ‘Cookie Dreams’, because they are a celebrations of dreams coming true.

COOKIE DREAMS

Makes: 6

1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs corn starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 tbs plant-based  butter
3 tbs plant-based milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 gr dark chocolate (chopped)

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Mix all the dry ingredients (except the chocolate) together in a mixing bowl.
-Add the oil, butter, milk and the vanilla extract and mix well, until you have a nice sticky dough.
-Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and flatten them (until they’re about 1/2-1 cm) on the (with baking paper covered) tray. Leave 3-4 cm between each biscuit, because they will go a little bigger.
-Divide the chocolate on top and slightly push them into the dough.
-Put them in the oven for about 12 min.
-Let them all cool down before getting them off the tray.

Make you dreams come true beautiful people! Oh and please let me know what you think of the Cookie Dreams. I’d love to see your creations.. you can do this on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Dark Moon (vegan) Chocolate

Last year I was delighted to see that there would be a vegan market in Newbury. As this is the closest town for me and there are hardly any vegan things around, I of course went to check it out. It was fairly small, but I was happy to see some familiar faces. I got a hotdog and a yummy brownie and when I made another round I saw something that attracted me like magnet. Big balls of chocolate covered in nuts! I’ve never seen anything like this before and so I had a little chat with the owner to get to know the product. Even though I just bought a brownie, I couldn’t resist getting one of these (in my eyes) magic balls too. I’m so happy I did, because they are amazing!! Since then I ordered them for Xmas and my birthday, in different flavours. I can’t keep them from you and I would love you to try them and so I thought it was time to tell you about this lovely inspiring brand: Dark Moon Chocolate!

First of all I’d like to introduce you to the owner: Dan (35), who was born in Bristol, now lives in a lovely market town Frome, which has a bustling independent trader scene. He used to work as a Food Production Manager at a Farm shop. This seems a bit strange for a vegan, but he wasn’t vegan when he started working there. One day whilst he was stroking some of the cows in the barn (he always used to go and feed them with all the veg scraps from the kitchen) it made him think. He thought ‘I’d always been an animal lover and yet I was eating these beautiful creatures that deserved better’. From that moment he stopped eating animals. He’d always worked in the food industry which he fell into by pure accident and it just turns out that he really loved it. I’m happy he does, because what he does now, makes everyone happy. Time to ask him some questions!

What made you decide to start your own business and why chocolate?
I started it out of necessity, after having to leave my full-time employment because of health problems. I’ve suffered with arthritis and mechanical issues in my legs since I was 19 and had a bad flare-up in my ankle last summer. I had to leave, as it was predominantly an on your feet job. I chose chocolate because I’ve always enjoyed making chocolates and it’s always been my favourite sweet food. I can also sit down when making them, which helps me manage my bad ankle. It seems funny that about 6 months before starting Dark Moon, I made a passing comment to one of my staff members, that I’d love to just make chocolates. Strange how things turn out! I’m now fully self-employed, doing three separate part-time endeavours, the chocolate is the one that really keeps me going though. I’m also an artist and craftsman.

How did you come up with the name ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
My star product is a sweet chocolate ‘scotch egg’. The non vegan version is a Cadburys Creme egg, wrapped in brownie. I just had to make it vegan. I make all the centres myself, so I can make loads of fabulous flavours. I wanted a name that referred to the chocolate in some way. I use dark chocolate and they also look a bit like a moon, so it kind of just made sense. When I searched for the name ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ on instagram, someone else had already coined it, although the account looked old and was based in America. Just to be on the safe side, I chose ‘Dark Moon Vegan’. I trade under the banner of ‘Dark Moon Chocolate’ at markets though. It also means that I can have a really cool logo of a dark full moon!

How did you get yourself out there?
Despite all the hype around social media marketing and online presence, for me the best way to get myself out there was to actually physically do it. Meet my customers and spend time in the real world. It felt a bit like jumping into the unknown at first, booking markets and not knowing if I was going to sell much. I was actually astonished at how well the chocolates did. Off the back of that, my online sales are also really starting to grow.

What are the ingredients you like to use and where do you get them from?
My go to chocolate is a bitter sweet dark Belgian chocolate, it’s 54% and it’s really well balanced. Most people who aren’t fans of strong dark chocolate, usually like this one when they’ve given it a try. The company also re-invests directly back into the cocoa farmers to create a more sustainable approach to cocoa farming. I use a fair trade sugar and coconut oil, that my partner gets from her health store. I use a gluten-free buckwheat flour from a company located in the south-west. All my packaging is recyclable and I don’t use single use plastics. I have now ran out of the parcel tape I was using for online orders and will be using an eco-friendly paper tape for my online orders.

Where can people order your chocolate?
I currently do orders through social media and email, I’ll be developing a website to make things a little easier very soon. My email is darkmoon.frome@gmail.com and my Instagram and Facebook is @darkmoonvegan.

Which chocolate is your personal favourite?
My favourite dark moon at the moment has to be ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ (I ordered 2 of these the last time and they are my favourite too, they are AMAZING!). It’s a salted caramel centre wrapped in a peanut butter brownie then coated on more chocolate and roasted peanuts. It’s inspired by a very well known chocolate bar – the clue is in the weird name! 

What are your plans for the future when it comes to ‘Dark Moon Vegan’?
I’m really just looking to keep things small scale, I’m happy doing markets and fairs and selling online. To keep things interesting there will always be new flavours to try and occasional one off products.

Is there anything else you like people to know?
I have a chocolate problem. (I’m happy he does!! Haha..)

Will there be a special for Easter by any chance?
Of course, I’m in the process of doing a regular monthly subscription box, which will contain new flavours and products. For Easter I am making Vegan Creme Eggs, Caramel Eggs and Chocolate Orange Eggs. There will also be little mini creme eggs, keep your eyes open as these kind of items will be limited edition!

Now, are you excited yet? An amazing chocolate brand, with ridiculous flavours, you can order online, without any plastic packaging! It won’t get any better than this!

Dark Moon Vegan chocolate is my favourite for sure (esp ‘The Monkey’s Knickers’ ..just Wohw!) and I hope you’ll find out for yourself soon. They also make a lovely gift btw! I’d love to hear what you think of these chocolates if you decide to try them. Please let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Thank you! X

No Eggelette

Everything you eat, I can eat vegan. Yes, even an omelette! You really do not have to miss out on anything. Except of a bunch of cholesterol. Haha! I heard that you can make omelettes with chickpea flower and tofu and I often eat the chickpea omelette at Paradise Planetbased in London (so good!). So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and eventually created this recipe. It’s so delicious and it definitely hits the spot. It’s so much better than the regular egg omelettes as well. I like to eat mine with a simple salad and avocado. You can also add some (sriracha) mayo if you like. The recipe is for 2 people, so if you just want to just make one, make sure you only use half of all the ingredients. Or you can keep half the omelette batter in the fridge, to make it the next day. Yum!

NO EGGELETTE

Serves: 2

omelette 
1/2 cup PB milk
150 gr silken tofu
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2-3 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
oil for frying

filling
1 tomato (chopped)
4 mushrooms (chopped)
2 babycorns (chopped)
1 spring onion (chopped)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful vegan cheese (grated, optional)
oil for frying

-Mix all the ingredients for the omelette in a kitchen machine until it’s a slightly runny paste.
-Heat the pan, with the oil of your choice, on a medium fire.
-When the pan is hot, pour half of the mixture in the pan and spread it out.
-Divide the cheese on top go the omelette and put the lid on the pan.
-Turn the fire down to a low and let it cook until it dried up and the bottom is slightly brown (3-5 min). Do the same thing with the other half of the mixture.
-In the meantime: Put some oil in a pan and fry all the ingredients for the filling (except the spinach) in a pan, for about 3 min.
-Add the spinach and mix it up until it shrunk.
-Carefully take the omelettes out of the pan and put it on a plate.
-Put the filling on top and fold the omelettes in half.

Did you know you can eat an omelette whilst eating a plant based diet? This recipe is really worth making! If you do, please show me yours on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #5: Cleaning

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ – ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ and ‘0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less (chemical) waste whilst cleaning!

SOAP NUTS 
We all need to wash our clothes once in a while. We sweat, we spill and we get dirty in all sorts of ways. What laundry soap do you use? There is a ton of choice, but did you ever think about what will be best for the environment? I never did, until a few years ago. All the soap you use will go through the drain and most of the laundry soap contain horrible chemicals and are not biodegradable. This is why I use soap nuts. I once bought a bag from Ecozone and I’m still using that same bag and it’s still pretty full. It last for soooo long. I use 5-6 nuts per cycle and I use those same nuts at least 3-5 times. So imagine how much money it will save you as well. It’s super easy to use and it’s such a natural product. I love them!

SUPERMARKET CLEANING PRODUCTS 
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, then at least try to use natural products that won’t harm the environment and come in a recycle bottle (and make sure you do recycle them properly!). The 2 most popular brands are Method and Ecover. Method is my favourite out of these 2 as their products smell amazing. I do sometimes use the fabric softener from Ecover for my towels and bed sheets. Both brands are biodegradable though and are safe to use around children and animals. I’d still recommend making and using your own products whenever you can, but otherwise this is a good alternative.

SPONGES/CLOTHS
Most cloths are made out of plastic, you need to search a little if you want anything else. You can get cotton cloths, which are a good choice, but I also really like these. They are a combination between a cloth and a sponge. They are lovely to clean with (tables, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens etc.) and the best thing of all, they are biodegradable. You’d probably think ‘but what about the plastic that they come in’? Guess what.. it’s biodegradable too (in municipal composting facilities). There are 5 cloths in 1 pack and each cloth can be used up to 300 times (as in, you can machine wash them for 300 times) and after that they can go into the compost. I like using these or I’d choose a cloth made out of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.

MAKE YOUR OWN
It’s totally easy to make your own cleaning products. I will give you a recipe that is a nice all-rounder and you can use around the kitchen, bathroom, all services (be careful with granite, stone and some wooden services though!) and all other things you can think of. I use the peels from the lemons I use in the morning for my morning water and the ones I use for my salad dressing, this way I use them again in such a good way. If you don’t consume lemons regularly (you should though, hehe..), you can maybe make a nice lemonade and use those peels. Anyway.. First step: purchase a nice glass bottle with a spray option (brown glass) and then follow this recipe:

Makes: 500 ml

Ingredients:
-Peels of 6-8 lemons
-250 ml white vinegar
-Essential oils (optional)
-Fresh rosemary (optional)
-250 ml water (spring or pre-boiled)

-Weck jar (500 ml)
-Glass spray bottle (500 ml)

-Put the lemons in the weck jar (until it’s nicely full, you don’t need to stamp them in) and fill it up with the vinegar.
-Add a few drops of essential oil or include some fresh rosemary.
-Give it a little stir before closing the weck jar.
-Put it away in a dark and dry place and leave it for about 3 weeks.
-Use a fine colander to separate the water from the lemons/rosemary.
-Pour it into your spray bottle and fill it up with cold (spring or pre boiled) water.
-Clean, clean, clean!

What cleaning products are you using? Will you make your own? I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know in the comments below, by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Pancake Yay

Tuesday it’s national pancake day. A very important day if you’d ask me, haha! Pancakes are so goodddd.. and it doesn’t matter what time of the day you eat them. It’s totally acceptable to eat them for breakfast, for lunch or dinner and even as a snack or dessert! I realised though, that there is no pancake recipe on my blog yet. I don’t know how that happened, but shame on me. So here we go, a delicious, easy to make, basic pancake recipe. This way you can easily add things, so they will turn out exactly the way you like them. Add a pinch of cinnamon or a tbs of cacao powder. Eat them with fresh fruit, raisins and/or maple syrup or simply eat them with some jam (This is my Jam). I like my ones with cinnamon, blueberries and maple syrup. Such a good combination!

PANCAKE YAY

Makes: 12 mini pancakes

1 cup flour
1 tbs (coconut) sugar
1/2 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup oat milk
oil for baking

-Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
-Add anything you like (cinnamon, cacao powder, raisins, fruit..) and mix it in as well.
-Slowly add the oat milk and mix until you have a nice smooth batter.
-Heat some oil in a frying pan on a medium-high fire.
-When the oil is hot, carefully put some batter in the pan with a big spoon (depending on your pan, you can bake 3-4 at the same time).
-When the pancakes are (almost) dry on the top, you can flip them over. They are ready when they have a nice golden colour.
-Do this until the batter is finished.

Did you know it was this easy to make pancakes vegan? And you will be surprised how nice and fluffy they will be. The perfect pancake for any time of the day! Will you make these on pancake day? Don’t forget to share it with me. You can do this by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

BOOK: The Inner Life of Animals by Peter Wohlleben

What if we could understand animals (better)? For example, what if we knew how they think, what they are capable of and how they survive and evolved in this world? There are many studies when it comes to understanding animals and ‘their language’. Peter Wohlleben was kind enough to translate this into a book: ‘The Inner Life Of Animals – Surprising Observations of a Hidden World’. He runs an environmentally friendly woodland in Germany after working for the forest commission for 20 years. Peter has a lot of animals himself, like dogs, horses and goats. Because he is out in the open a lot, mainly forest land, he is also surrounded by a lot of wild animals. He speaks a lot from his own experience, but then reflects on the behaviour found in the studies he mentions. This way it’s easy to understand and imagine.

Though Peter isn’t vegan himself, he almost writes like he is one. For example, he writes: “When people reject acknowledging too much in the way of emotions in animals, I have the vague feeling that there’s a bit of fear that human beings could lose their special status. Even worse, it would become much more difficult to exploit animals. Every meal eaten or leather jacket worn would trigger moral considerations that would spoil their enjoyment.”. Personally I find it a little strange that he understands animals so well and he can see it this clear, but then he can still exploit them himself. This is actually the only thing I think is such a shame, but other than that, I think this is an amazing book. Especially for people who are vegan for the animals or want to understand animals better. It’s fascinating how the animal world works. Some things will sound familiar to you, but others are so surprising and you can’t help but feeling compassionate and understanding even towards things you wouldn’t think you would.

Something I really like is that the chapters in the book are very short (mostly only a few pages long). This makes it very easy to read. All the subjects (different emotions, feelings etc.) are divided in different chapters. This makes it an easy read and a nice book to just pick up once in a while, instead of reading it from cover to cover at once.

I highly recommend this book to everyone who is curious about how animals see this world. Besides it’s eye-opening, it’s also entertaining. I really enjoyed reading this book myself. If you would like to read this book, you can purchase it here. Peter Wohlleben is also the author of the internationally best seller ‘The Hidden Life of Trees’. I haven’t read this book, but I’ve heard good things about it though.

Have you read this book or would you like to read this book after reading my review? I would love to know what you think of this book and if you have the same or a totally different opinion from my one. Please let me know in the comments below or contact me via Instagram. Thank you! X

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

When I was a child, we went to my grandparents every Sunday. My grandma always had a big pan of vegetable soup ready for lunch and I always liked it a lot. I just love vegetables and I love soup. But one of the main reasons I loved it, is because in the soup she always put little meatballs, made by herself, out of mince meat. I was always happy to have a lot. Obviously I don’t like that anymore, but if there is a way to make the little balls vegan, then why not right? A while ago I saw a very nice Dutch blogger (@wateetjedanwel), making the little meatballs out of a vegan mince meat. The brand she used, we don’t have in the UK, but we do have something similar from ‘The Meatless Farm Co’. So I thought I give it a go. I experimented a little to make it taste like my grandma’s and I think I came pretty close. I love this soup so much. It’s just so good! It serves 6-8 people, but I ate the whole pan in 2,5 days, all  by myself.. haha! If you can’t do this (and it’s very understandable if you can’t), you can freeze it too or share with your family and friends. It’s a great family recipe!

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

serves: 6-8 

soup
-2L vegetable stock
-1 can chopped tomatoes
-1 big onion (chopped)
-2 cups broccoli (chopped)
-2 cups cauliflower (chopped)
-2 cups carrots (chopped)
-2 cups green cabbage (chopped)
-1 cup leek (chopped)
-1 cup celery (chopped)
-1 tbs olive oil
-big handful fresh parsley (chopped)
-2 tbs nutritional yeast
-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-salt/pepper (to taste)

little meatless balls
-1 pack vegan mince meat (the meatless farm co)
-1 clove garlic (minced)
-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp onion granules
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp salt

-Put the onions and garlic in a big soup pan with the oil and fry for about 3 min.
-Add all the vegetables and fry it all together for about 5 min. Keep mixing regularly.
-Pour the vegetable stock over the vegetables, add the chopped tomatoes and let it come to boil.
-In the meantime prepare the little meatless balls:
-Put the mince meat in a bowl and add the spices. Mix it very well, using your hands.
-Roll little balls out of the mixture (about 2-3 cm).
-Add the nutritional yeast and the smoked paprika to the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
-When the soup is simmering, add the meatless balls and the parsley and let the soup simmer for another 10-15 min.

Will you make this soup? You won’t be disappointed when you do. Please show me your results on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. I’ll give you a shoutout when you do. Thank you! X

Thirty

It is true.. I’m 30 now! I still can’t believe it. It’s not like I can’t handle it, it’s more that I just can’t believe that I’m on this earth for 30 years already. Time flies. It makes me feel grateful to have reached this beautiful age, but I’m also living in a midlife crisis for the past 10 years already, haha! I always start overthinking it all and start panicking about everything I didn’t do yet in my life. I’ve got so many plans and there is just so little time. Now and again I just need a reality check though and I do realise I’ve done so much to be grateful for: I saved a pig (very important), started a blog a few years ago, converted a van (+ living in it) and I’m almost finished my nutritionist course. These are 3 things that I really really wanted to do in my life and were all on my bucket list. I can only imagine that, because I’ve done these things, life can only get better. Anyway, I thought it definitely deserved a cake and so I made a double cake for my 30th, with a nice filling in the middle. It’s an easy recipe, but all together it takes bit of time though, because of the cooling dow process. I hope you will love it though, just as much as I do (I’m actually having a piece whilst typing this.. YUM!).

THIRTY

serves: 10-12

cake
2 cups self raising flour
1,5 cup brown sugar
6 tbs cacao powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups yogurt
1 cup sunflower oil
4 tbs maple syrup
splash of milk
oil for greasing

filling
10 medjool dates (soaked)
10 biscoff biscuits
3 tbs coconut milk

buttercream
500 gr butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon

decoration
-1 tbs desiccated coconut
-2 tbs freeze dried rasp/strawberries
-1 tbs Biscoff crumbs

2 cake tins (same size)

-Preheat the oven at 180 C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a mixing bowl: yogurt, sunflower oil, maple syrup.
-Mix all the dry ingredients together as well: flour, sugar, cacao powder, cinnamon baking powder.
-Gradually mix in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and add a splash of milk to make it more runny.
-Grease 2 cake tins and divide the mixture in 2, before putting them in the oven for about 30-35 min.
-In the meantime make the filling: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Take the cakes out of the oven and let them cool down completely.
-In the meantime make the buttercream: put all the ingredients in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Put the filling on one of the cakes and put the other cake on top.
-Cover the whole cake with buttercream, decorate it and put the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

How do you deal with your age? Do you find it hard to get older or can you also be grateful about it? I hope you will celebrate though and maybe even by making this delicious cake. If you do, please tag me on Instagram, so I can give you a shoutout. Thank you! X

Honest Heart

What is better than a caramel covered heart? Well, I guess that would be a heart that truly cares about your heart. Isn’t that where love is all about?! Caring for each other. Real, honest love. Valentine’s Day is nice and all, but it’s also quite commercial. Make sure that the day of love isn’t ending in something superficial, but show the people you love how much you really care about them. You can start with making them this caramel heart. Hehe.. A pure honest heart, because there aren’t any bad ingredients in here. All healthy and good for you. In fact, the first ingredient you will see, are chickpeas! Sending you lots of love from me to you!

HONEST HEART

serves: 6-8

Cake
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of maple syrup
6 soft medjool dates
Splash of milk
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Topping
10 medjool dates
1/4 maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Dried (or fresh) berries (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste: peanut butter, maple syrup, dates and a splash of milk.
-Add all the dry ingredients to the paste: almond flour, coconut, cacao powder, baking soda and the salt. Blend until you have a sticky dough.
-Put the the dough onto the baking tray and shape it into a heart (2-3 cm thick). Put the tray in the oven for about 20-25 min.
-Mix the ingredients for the caramel sauce in a food processor until a smooth sauce.
-Let the heart cool down and put the caramel sauce on top. Decorate with fresh or dried fruit.

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Are you celebrating with your lover or with all the people you love? Whatever you do, spread the love!! I’d love to see your creations of this Honest Heart. Please show me on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X