Sweepo Spread

What do you put on your sandwiches? It’s a question I get quite a lot. Of course you can spread your toast and sandwiched with nut butters, jam or houmous, but there are so many spreads you can make yourself, to add nutrition and to enjoy something different. Today I’m giving you a spread made of sweet potatoes. The great thing about this spread is that you can make sweet and savoury combinations. Spread it on a piece of toast, sprinkle some nuts and drizzle some agave nectar on it and you have a great sweet breakfast or snack. Combine it with some spicy rucola and black peppers and you will have a yummy savoury variant. You can of course also add cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce.. you can combine endlessly. It’s great for a bbq too! Check out Vegan Partying for some bbq ideas and serve this spread for the baguettes (and salads). I’m sure everybody will love it!

SWEEPO SPREAD

-2 medium sweet potato
-1/2 cup chickpeas
-1 tbs tahini
-1 tbs lemon juice
-1 clove garlic
-1 tbs olive oil
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Preheat the oven to 200C.
-Wash the sweet potatoes and put them in the oven for 45-55 minuten (depending on size).
-Let the potatoes cool down.
-Put it all in the food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
-Add salt/pepper to taste.
-Store in a closed container and keep it in the fridge.

Are you going to make this yummy multi functional spread? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Fridgecurious #4

Today we take a look in the fridge of the Boer family and they will tell us a little bit about their eating habits. They are my best friends, Nienke, Jeroen and their 2 year old daughter Annemarie. Since about a year they became a lot more conscious of what they are eating and I hope it will inspire some people to do the same. They mainly eat vegetarian food, with some occasional fish. A lot of what they eat is vegan though and I love that! The reason they started to eat this way is because of the animal cruelty and they have a mini pig for almost 2 years now. This really helped a lot to make them think differently and to stop eating meat. Apart from all that, ‘Vegetarian options are delicious’ they say! Their milk and butter are always plant-based. Especially the chocolate milk is their daughters favourite, which I fully understand! At the moment there is organic yogurt in the fridge, but she often buys plant-based yogurt too.

Nienke doesn’t have certain days to get her groceries, because as a nurse her hours vary a lot. Most of the time she goes to the supermarket for het groceries and she buys little amounts at the same time. A lot of time she doesn’t know exactly what she has at home already, so she chose to have some products in stock. This way there is always something they can cook. She doesn’t go to only one certain supermarket, but she likes to go to different ones. For practical reasons (Annemarie is always coming) she mostly takes the car, but for some small things she also likes to go by bike or she takes the buggy. She doesn’t go a lot, but she sometimes also likes to go to the market: ‘Especially on a sunny Saturday it’s nice’. She loves the smell of all the different fruit, vegetables and nuts! In the summer she likes to get fruit which are in season, like strawberries and cherries!

On a day off Nienke and Annemarie like to take their time when it comes to breakfast. They drink tea and eat peanut butter sandwiches, with sliced banana or chocolate sprinkles on top and they always have a piece of fruit too, as there is always a full bowl of fruit to choose from. Jeroen takes advantage of that and often quickly grabs a banana before he rushes off to work. For lunch they have salads with toast or crackers, but sometimes as a treat they makes themselves some of their favourite banana pancakes! On working days Jeroen always eats at work and he can choose from a very wide range of foods from a buffet (lucky him!). Nienke is known for her fully loaded lunch bag she brings to work. She just wants to make sure she has a fresh lunch (or sometimes a delayed breakfast!). Very sometimes she also gets something at work, like a salad or a vegetarian soup for example. Dinner can be very diverse as they like to eat a lot of different vegetables and they combine that with pasta, quinoa, couscous or rice and then they have a meat substitute with it or the occasional fish. They prepare everything without salt, because any let overs will go to a very lucky piggy. Of course they snack some too in between their meals and this often is a yummy piece of dark chocolate, a piece of fruit and sometimes they also enjoy some biscuits and crisps.

I want to thank the Boer family to share their fridge and eating habits with us and to tell us how they try to live in a more conscious way. 

I hope this inspired you and if it did, please let me know in the comments! If you also like to show your fridge, please send me a message via CONTACT! Thank you! X

Vivera Meat Substitutes + recipes

A while ago Vivera sent me some of their products to review. Vivera is one of my favourite brands and if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a few pictures with it. I noticed that still not a lot of people know about this brand here in the UK and maybe some people in the Netherlands are also not aware of these amazing products they offer. So I decided to do an extra article about them. Vivera is made in the Netherlands, but since a while a few of their products are also available in the UK. You can get them via Ocado (burgers, chicken style pieces, mince etc.) and Sainsbury’s (kebab etc.). They don’t sell all of them yet, but they do have a few good ones. You do have to watch out, because though most of it is vegan, a few of their products are vegetarian and not vegan. But wait for it.. they will go 100% vegan before the end of this year! GREAT NEWS!! The burgers are really nice, very different from other burgers I know (structure and taste!), but also the chicken style pieces (you can hardly tell the difference from real chicken) and the mince style (think of lasagna and shepherd’s pie) are very good. I made a few recipes with them for you. Though with some of them you can also just get some fries and have it on the side, like I did here (above) with the chicken style burger. Not so healthy, but super yummy! I hope you enjoy the recipes and using Vivera. I do hope Vivera will sell more options here in the UK soon , like the steaks and the bacon style pieces.. because those are soooo my favourite!

KEBAB
Kebab King

serves: 2

-1 pack of Vivera shoarma
-4 pita breads
-1/4 iceberg lettuce
-1/4 cup el mayonaisse
-2 garlic cloves (minced)
-1 tsp olive oil
-1/4 tsp thyme
-1/4 tsp basil
-pinch of salt

-Put the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until it’s slightly golden.
-Mix the garlic with the mayonnaise and add the thyme and basil + a pinch of salt. Mix well.
-Put the shoarma in the frying pan and fry for a few minutes (3-4) until it hot and a little crispy.
-Cut the lettuce and toast the pita breads.
-Cut open the pita breads and spread some garlic sauce inside.
-Mix the lettuce with the shoarma and fill the pita breads. Drizzle some extra garlic sauce on top.


BACON STYLE PIECES
Veganara

Serves: 2

1/2 pack of Vivera bacon style pieces
-200 gr pappardelle
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-1/3 cup cream (I used Alpro)
-3 tbs  cream cheese
-1 tbs nutritional yeast
-1 tbs fresh parsley (chopped)
-1 tsp olive oil
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pappardelle as described on the package.
-Fry the garlic in the olive oil for just 1 minute.
-Then add the vegan bacon and fry for 2 minutes on a high fire.
-Add the parsley and fry for just half a minute.
-Lower the heat and mix in the cream and the nutritional yeast.
-Add the pasta to this and give it a good mix for another minute.
-Add salt/pepper to taste and sprinkle some extra parsley on top.


STEAK
Stamp-Pot

Serves: 2 

-1 pack Vivera Steaks (2 per pack)
-4 big potatoes (chopped)
-3 carrots (chopped)
-2 big hands spinach
-1 onion (chopped)
-3 tbs milk
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-1 tbs sesame seed oil
-1/2 tsp coriander (ground)
-1/2 tsp cumin seeds
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Put the potatoes, the carrots and 1/4 of the onion in a pan and let it boil for 20 min. Until the potatoes and carrots are soft.
-Fry the onion until the edges start to get brown. Add the garlic, the coriander and the cumin and fry for 2 minutes. Add the spinach in the last minute and until it slinks.
-Add this mixture, the sesame seed oil and the milk to the potato-carrot mix.
-Add salt and pepper to taste.
-Serve with Vivera fillet steaks.


CHICKEN STYLE PIECES
Kebables

serves: 2 (6 kebabs)

1 pack Vivera chicken style pieces
marinate
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sesame seed oil
1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of salt/pepper
veggies
1 red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 corn cob
sauce
3 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs ketchup
1/2 clove garlic
1/4 tsp thyme
olive oil

4 skewers

-Ideally marinate the chicken pieces a day before. Put the chicken style pieces in a container with lid and add all the marinated ingredients. Put the lid on and shake it (lightly) until it’s all covered. Leave it in the fridge overnight.
-Take the chicken style pieces and veggies and divide them on the skewers. Play with the colours.
-Put them on the bbq (or frying/grill pan) for about 5-10 min (depending on how hot the bbq is). Don’t forget to turn them once in a while.
-For the sauce: Fry the garlic in a little bit of olive oil and then add it to the rest of the sauce ingredients. Give it a good mix.
-Serve the kebabs with the sauce.

Do you know Vivera and have you tried their products before? I would love to see some creations of the recipes above! Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Messapica

Quite close to me is a very lovely restaurant, called Messapica. I walk pass it twice a day and I always wandered what they have to offer. Then a while ago I got a take away menu of them in the door and I saw very nice potential vegan pizza’s on there. I couldn’t only walk pass it now, so I decided to go in and ask about their vegan options. About that I want to mention that I got treated super nicely and they are very helpful. We looked at the menu together and I could ask questions. I wish every restaurants or cafe would be as helpful as they are here. They had a reasonable amount of vegan options, but nothing very different form other places though.

They offer a lot of juices and smoothies, which are (apart from one with whey powder) all vegan. They are very happy to take the whey powder out, but it might be just easier to choose one of their other flavours. They have avocado on toast and they offer a few types of bread you can choose from (sourdough, white, wholemeal). It originally comes with cheese (what is not clear on the menu), so make sure you mention you want a vegan version. You can also have toast with jam (they have several flavours) or marmite. They als do porridge and they are happy to make that with a plant based milk (they have almond and soy). The porridge comes with a fruit compote, which is vegan. I chose the Breakfast smoothie and the avocado on sourdough toast. It arrived quickly and it looked very good. One big downside is that the smoothie comes in plastic, event hough it’t not a take away. The smoothie was nice though, a little milky, but that does make it very soft. The avocado toast came with very fresh rucola and lime juice. That was a very nice combination. The lime really gives it something extra, very fresh. I really enjoyed my breakfast and I’m very happy to recommend it. For lunch and dinner you can also go to Messapica. They do salads with dairy every day, but there are always 2-3 vegan options. After 17:00 they also do pizza’s. I’m really curious to try them and I will soon. Note that they don’t do vegan cheeses and that the gluten free pizza is not vegan, it has egg in it. Something else I really liked, but what is not very clear on the picture, is the cutlery. The forks are quite big and unusual to see, loved it!

I really really love their interior. Especially the chairs, the white painted wooden walls and the floor. The whole style is slightly industrial, so lovely. At the till you can see all the salads you can choose form and they also sell some cakes etc. but unfortunately they don’t have any vegan cakes. They do sell 3 flavours of the ichor chocolate though, what was surprising and very nice. They also sell the ‘Eat Real’ crisps (love this brand!), several drinks including ‘Mangajo’, but also olives and really cool big pasta’s. All yum! After a little chat I recommended them to offer Oatly Barista too and I was really pleased how serious they took this.

I want to thank Messapica for my lovely breakfast!

WHO? Messapica.
WHERE? 109 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3NS.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Few good and tasty vegan options, very  helpful staff and a lovely interior.)

Did you already know Messapica? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Veganara

img_8105Are you vegan and did you used to like pasta carbonara? Or do you want to make something nice for an omni friend or family member? A vegan pasta carbonara: Veganara! This is definitely a good comfort food, but also very nice to make when you have company over. I’m sure they’ll like this! Did I mention that it’s also super easy to make? You can make this within 10 minutes. As you can easily make the sauce in the 8-10 minutes the pasta is cooking. You don’t even need that many ingredients to make this fantastic plate of food. For the bacon style pieces I used the ones from Vivera. They don’t sell these in the UK yet, but they will come soon. So until then, you need to use another brand or make it yourself.

img_8106VEGANARA

Serves: 2

-200 gr pappardelle
-1 cup vegan bacon (I used Vivera)
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-1/3 cup cream (I used Alpro)
-3 tbs  cream cheese
-1 tbs nutritional yeast
-1 tbs fresh parsley (chopped)
-1 tsp olive oil
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pappardelle as described on the package.
-Fry the garlic in the olive oil for just 1 minute.
-Then add the vegan bacon and fry for 2 minutes on a high fire.
-Add the parsley and fry for just half a minute.
-Lower the heat and mix in the cream and the nutritional yeast.
-Add the pasta to this and give it a good mix for another minute.
-Add salt/pepper to taste and sprinkle some extra parsley on top.

Are you going to try this super easy to make creamy goodness? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Italy – Rome

I actually wanted to post this travel article last Monday, but I didn’t plan my things too well and my mum came over, so that’s why it’s a week later.. sorry! I planned to go to Rome this year and so I booked a ticket for the end of May. Steven wanted to come with me, what was extra fun. It was our first real holiday together, even though it was only for 3 nights. Steven chose a lovely hotel, right next to Vatican City, what turned out to be a super location. We also got the Omnia Card. This is a card you can use for public transport, the tour bus, 2 tourist activities and Vatican City, all for one price. We got the 72 hour card for £113. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to get transport tickets everywhere and you can skip the (very long) queues. Especially when it’s 30C, you want this! I thought it was very handy and it worked well, until we used it for Vatican City though. This was because it’s the only thing you have to book in advance, but it was very unclear how to do it and it didn’t work. Luckily we did get in, but very last minute. More about this later.

We had to get up very early the Wednesday we left. We had a quick breakfast (thank you PRET and Starbucks!) at the airport before we headed to our gate. The journey went well and before we knew it, we were in Rome. We took one of the many coaches standing in front of the airport (€4,90). With the Omnia card you can probably take the public transport from there too, but we thought before we find out where the buses depart etc. this was just easier. It doesn’t take more than 45 min before you’re in the middle of Rome. The coaches drop you off at the Termini train station. Perfect! It was lunch time when we got out and I did a little research, so I knew that there was a vegan place not far from there. We walked there and though the place, called iPhame, looked lovely, it’s very small and we couldn’t sit there. So we went somewhere else. On our way there we did see another restaurant we liked because of the floor and bar. They actually didn’t do any vegan meals, but they were very helpful and totally ok with me telling them what I wanted. I ordered a pasta with veggies and it was super delicious! We then took the tour bus, very close from there, to see most of the tour. We got out at Vatican City, because from there it was only a 10 min walk to our hotel. We stayed at the ‘Infinity Hotel St. Peter’, what is a lovely hotel. It was clean, neat and the bed was very comfy. As we woke up so early and it was already the end of the afternoon, we took a refreshing shower and relaxed a bit. In the beginning of the evening we took a little walk to explore Rome whilst there was a lovely summer eve breeze. On our way back we stopped at a pizzeria and I ordered a pizza with mushrooms and olives. Our expectations were high, being in Italy. The pizza was quite disappointing though. It looked nice, but it actually had no taste at all. It made us laugh as it seemed quite ironic, eating a pizza without taste in the middle of Rome. On our way back to the hotel we enjoyed the views of Rome by night. Beautiful really!

The next day, Thursday, we had breakfast at the hotel before we walked all the way to the Colosseum. The breakfast was quite ok for a vegan by the way. There were some fruit options, cherry tomatoes, different types of bread, jam, juice and also muesli and cereals. I did email them a few weeks in advance to ask about this, but they never replied. A shame, but I was happy to see that at least there were some options. The walk to the Colosseum was already an activity on its own, because wohw.. Rome is a beautiful city! We passed the Altare della Patria and many beautiful little streets, but to stand in the Colosseum was truly amazing. Something so historic and it’s just almost surreal to be inside. Imagining the things that happened there many years ago.. it made me feel absolutely amazed. When we came out it was lunchtime and though we did go to a place where they serve a vegan breakfast with croissants (and I really wanted one!), they were sold out. What is a good thing I guess, but a shame I didn’t get to try them. So we kept walking until we found something else, but it was a little tricky. We eventually sat down at a place that looked nice, but they also didn’t do vegan food. They were happy to serve the side dishes though. So I had potatoes and some roasted veggies. The veggies were nice and though the potatoes tasted ok, the structure felt like they were heated in the microwave. What was much better.. the gelato we had for dessert at a place around the corner from there. I had coconut (with little pieces of coconut in it) and chocolate. Gosh that was very yummy! A lot of gelato places (and you see them everywhere) do vegan options. Just ask! It was very hot, like 30C, but we did walk to the Roman Forum anyway. It was something we definitely wanted to see and the Colosseum and the Roman Forum together, counts as one on the Omnia card. It was a beautiful place and I’m very happy to have seen it. It’s hard and at the same time so amazing to believe that people actually lived there. They walked on the very same ground you’re walking on. Though in ruins, the temples there were actually used. I just love things like this. When we came out, it was the end of the afternoon already. We were so hot and we really felt our feet, so we walked back to the hotel to freshen up and relax a bit. On our way we popped into a supermarket and I was so happy to see so many vegan options! There was so much.. a lot of choices in seitan for example. In just an ordinary supermarket. I wish my Tesco across the road would do that too, haha! Steven and I chose some things to take home. (In the meantime we already tried the seitan in some wraps and it’s delicious. Only the seitan with rosemary was quite intense. Nice, but just very strong.) I also really liked the pasta with spirulina and so we took that too. We didn’t try that yet though. We walked all the way back to the hotel. On my phone I could see we took more than 21.000 steps (14 km) and so we really deserved a good break. Close to the was a place called Flower Burger and we walked there to get a take away later that evening. And YAY! This is a place you have to go to. First of all the place is 100% vegan, the place itself looks amazing (great texts on the walls) and they do the most amazing burgers. All handmade right there and they are delicious!

On Friday we planned to go to Vatican City, but we weren’t able to book it online. We tried it several times via the website and the app (which appeared to be non-existent). So we went to the Vatican and asked there. Turned out we needed to use the email we got in the whole beginning for this. What isn’t mentioned anywhere in the guide. Really unclear. Luckily there was still space for us the next day, but we had to go with a guide though. We both are not a fan of this, but it was the only way. And as it was something we both really wanted to do, we accepted. So we had to change the plan for today. We decided to go to the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. We took the bus for the first bit and got out only a 5 min walk from the Pantheon. From there it’s only a short walk to the Trevi Fountain. I really liked seeing this. It’s also something you see in so many movies (including my favourite Eat Pray Love) etc. We took some pictures and of course we threw in a coin. We did it together.. how romantic! After the Spanish steps we decided it was time for lunch. The vegan places I looked up in advance turned out to be quite far from where we were, so we tried to look for something what looked nice. It was still quite early for lunch, but then Steven found a place with a vegetarian all you can eat buffet. Apart from 2 things, everything was vegan and I really loved the food. Very fresh and full of taste. It’s a cold buffet, so if you prefer a hot meal, you better skip this. We still had an activity to choose from our Omnia card, so in the afternoon we went to see Castel Sant’Angelo. But first.. some more gelato! We took the bus to Vatican City (Castel Sant’Angelo is next to that) and we had to go into a few shops before we found one who sold vegan gelato. This one did have so much choice though, so I had dark chocolate (obviously), banana, passion fruit and raspberry. We ate it on a wall in front of Castel Sant’Angelo, before we got in. It was nice to see the inside, but the best part was definitely to be on top of it. Not only a beautiful view from there, but also the first shot of the first Rome-scene of the movie Eat Pray Love, is filmed from Castle Sant’Angelo. I loved it!! Very hot though, but fantastic! We decided to go back to the hotel, to freshen up after we came down. Later that evening we took a stroll, trying to look for a better pizza. We found a place where the pizza looked good, so we sat down. The staff was very very unfriendly and unwelcoming. It kind of annoyed me, but we were too stubborn and determined to try a good pizza in Italy. The pizza was very nice luckily. The only thing was that they didn’t do sauce at this restaurant. Apparently the cheese was also the sauce and as I order without cheese, I got a pizza base with veggies. It was very yummy, so no complains about the food. It was just strange.

Our last day and it was Vatican City day. The day before, I bought little pack of Soy milk in the supermarket, so I was able to try the cereal and muesli at breakfast. I also suggest they put a plant based milk option next time. I hope they will. The whole guided tour started off a little odd. We had to walk around half the Vatican, before we entered and with a group of about 20 people and 813938134 tourists everywhere, it’s not the handiest thing and it takes a lot of time. Luckily we had a lovely guide and it was very nice to listen to all the things she knew about the Vatican. Being inside was ah-mazing!! I loved it, everything! So much art and all so detailed, it was fantastic really! Especially going into the Sistine Chapel and to see the famous work of Michelangelo was so amazing, that I have no words for it. Unfortunately I had a lot of pain in my neck this day and so going this day to admire Michelangelo’s work wasn’t the best combination (al lot is on the ceiling). I’m still very happy to have seen in though! Something super 
ironic and hilarious.. you were not allowed to talk in the Sistine Chapel (what is hard to begin with for me), but that every minute a man told everybody in 2 languages to be quiet.. very loud through a microphone, haha! And then, to finish our Rome adventure we went inside the St.Peter Basilica and wohw! I’ve never seen such a beautiful and such a big church in my life. It was breathtaking! We saw the Pietà and we walked around jaw dropping. We were both so happy, that in the end, we did get to see this all, even though the Omnia Card almost ruined it. We did have to keep an eye on the time for our flight that afternoon, so a few last pictures from the outside, before we went back to the hotel to get our bags. Not before we had another (pink) burger at Flower Burger for lunch though! Our flight was a little delayed, but it was alright, we just relaxed and before we knew it we were back in our beloved London!

You probably realised, after reading all this, Rome is a must go city! Rome is basically one big museum. Everything is beautiful and you keep walking around with your head turning from left to right and up and down (no wonder my neck was hurting the last day). You really feel like you don’t have enough eyes to soak it all in. I really loved seeing the Colosseum and the Vatican City, but I think what I loved the most is the little streets. There are so many beautiful little streets, with little balconies, flowers, amazing colours on the walls, old doors, going up and down, scooters lined up and even some great street art. I could walk these little streets forever. Also Rome is, surprisingly, very good with veganism. There are many vegan places and otherwise they are happy to make you something vegan. (Just make sure they have a fully understanding of what veganism is.) Most of the people we met were very helpful! Another handy thing in Rome is, that there are drinking fountains all over the city, where you can have a few sips or fill up your bottle. Perfect for when it’s hot and you have to make sure you stay extra hydrated. The thing I really didn’t like about Rome were all the people who try to sell you things, like selfie sticks, batteries, bracelets, water.. they are everywhere and even though you say no, they keep putting it (literally) in your face. It was a very aggressive way of selling and they’re everywhere you go. Try to ignore them though and keep looking around you!

HOTSPOTS:
iPhame – Via Agostino Depretis, 64, 00184.
Infinity Hotel St. Peter – Via Catone, 34, 00192.
Bar La Licata – Via dei Serpenti, 165, 00184.
Nest – Via del Leone, 23, 00183.
Flower Burger – Via dei Gracchi, 87, 00192. (!!)

TOURISTY:
Altare della Patria
Colosseum
Roman Forum
The Phanteon
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Castel Sant’Angelo
Vatican City (St.Peters Basilica + Sistine Chapel)

Have you been to Rome yet? Did you know about these cool hotspots or do you have any other recommendations? Are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Coconut milk / Rice cakes

COCONUT MILK
I love curries. It’s one of my favourite dishes to make, but especially to eat of course. It might be because it’s with coconut milk. I love everything with coconut, I’m quite addicted. A bar with coconut, a smoothie with coconut, a shower gel with coconut.. yes, yes and yes! Now to make curry and all these yummy recipes which include coconut milk (you might have spotted quite a few) I use the coconut milk from ‘Pride’. This is because it has more actual coconut in there than any other brand I know. A lot of times it’s around 50% water and 50% coconut or they added a lot of other very unnecessary ingredients (sometimes even sugar!). Pride coconut milk has 75% coconut inside. If you need the cream of the coconut milk, this is definitely your number one brand. Especially when you want to make whipped coconut cream. So much cream! It’s very tasty too. The only thing I don’t like is that it’s not organic, but you can’t have everything I guess. So the next time you make curry, a hot chocolate or a creamy soup, use this. You can get it in a lot of supermarkets, you get more worth for your money.. and it isn’t even expensive

RICE CAKES
A yummy snack or a healthy lunch, rice cakes are very great. Just a rice cake with nut butter is a perfect protein snack and when you put some cream cheese, humous, avocado and veggies on top, you will have a lovely lunch. You do need quite a lot of these ones if you want to have them for lunch though. Because they’re thin it doesn’t fill you up easily. So in general I think these ones are better as a snack. I love rice cakes a lot, also on its own. If I don’t watch out I will eat a whole pack. I actually especially like the thick ones, but I recently discovered a very thin one I like too. The multigrain thins form Sainsbury’s. They are healthy, have a nice bite, have a very different taste and you only need a little bit of something to put on there, perfect. I really like to have them with cream cheese, cucumber and some cracked black pepper. The only thing what is a little less nice is that they break quite fast. Some of them are even already broken in the pack. It is because they’re so thin.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you!

Harissa / Butter

HARISSA
Last year I discovered this yummy thing, called Harissa. I make a super easy to make aubergine dish with it. The recipe ‘Keen On Aubergine’ will be shared with all of you soon. I made it for a lot of people already and everybody loves it. Yes people, vegan food is delicious and we do not eat grass, haha! I also discovered Harissa is also very tasty on a sandwich. Just put some cream cheese, houmous or guacamole and with some raw veggies on a sandwich and spread a thin layer of Harissa over it too. I’m sure you will like it. Harissa is quite spicy, but it also has a unique flavour. Unfortunately several brands put sugar in it. This is super unnecessary and I don’t understand why they do this. But Sainsbury’s own brand is cheap, tasty and without any crap. Also, because it’s not very big it’s less likely to go bad. Unless I just got you addicted and you need a bigger jar.

BUTTER
Some people can be quite fussy about butter I noticed. I heard a lot of people struggling finding a nice butter in their vegan transitioning. I’m not fussy at all about this, as long as it’s vegan. Also I don’t use a lot of butter. Though, if I have to pick one, it’s definitely this one! It’s from one of my favourite brands again, Biona. It’s very spreadable (ok, if I have to fuss about butter, than it’s that I want it to spread and not break my sandwich!!) and has a slight coconut oil taste. I love everything with coconut and so this butter is just really my thing. What explains that this is the butter I keep in my fridge, even though I almost never use it. The one thing I use it for mostly, is if I’m snacking on a rice cakes with a slices of Vio life. This is definitely one of my guilty pleasures (of all time). So yummy!

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Yay for King’s Day!

As I’m Dutch myself, I’d like to give King’s Day some credit from over here. Everything in the Netherlands will be orange today! Today the Dutch people are celebrating the birthday of king Willem-Alexander. As we used to have a queen for very long (King Willem-Alexander is the 1st male monarch in 123 year!), it used to be Queen’s Day. The first Queen’s day was held on 31 of August 1885, in honour of the birth of Queen Wilhelmina. What means it’s a long going tradition. Later on, the date changed to 30th of April, the queens birthday. The next queen, Queen Beatrix, kept that date in honour of her mother and I’m sure part of the reason is also that her own birthday is on the 31 of January. Way too cold! Basically everybody in the Netherlands is celebrating this day. What means it’s probably the biggest birthday party in the world. People dress up, mainly in orange, but also in the colours of the flag: red, white and blue. As the lion represents the Netherlands, this is also a symbol you most probably will spot this day. But the most important rule seems to be: the crazier, the better! There are flea markets and activities everywhere, spread over the country, but especially Amsterdam is going totally crazy! Around 250.000-300.000 are traveling to Amsterdam, from all over the Netherlands and the rest of the world, to be part of it. Because for a long time the date used to be April the 30th, there are still a lot of tourists who come to Amsterdam, all dressed up, 3 days late! Poor them! Anyway,, I’ll not be in the Netherlands this time to celebrate, but especially for King’s Day I created 2 healthy (orange) recipes.. lunch and dinner if you like. Oh and if you are going: Enjoy!

RAWR

Can be eaten all raw (leave the bread out and use raw sesame oil). It might seems strange in combination with the strawberries, but I promise you it’s tasty.

Serves: 2

1 courgette
1 cucumber
2 carrots
6 strawberries
1 avocado (smashed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs sesame oil
salt/pepper (to taste)
fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp mixed seeds
2 pita breads

-Use a spiralizer for the courgette, cucumber and the carrots.
-Mix the avocado with the garlic, the lemon juice and sesame oil.
-Mix everything together and add salt/pepper.
-Shape the strawberries and the basil leaves into tulips and use them as decoration.
-Sprinkle the seeds over the salad and serve with warm pita bread.


KING’S MEAL

Super healthy and loaded with protein. Apart from eating this on King’s Day (to restore energy), this is a perfect meal for after a good work out.

Serves: 2

200 gr red lentil pasta (uncooked)
1 cup butter beans (cooked)
3 hands spinach
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1/3 chili pepper (chopped)
3 tbs houmous
1 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the pasta as described on the pack.
-Put the olive oil, the onion, the garlic and the chilli pepper in a frying pan and fry them until the onion gets brown edges.
-Add the beans and the spinach. Switch off the heat, just before the spinach all slunk.
-Mix in the houmous and then carefully mix in the pasta.
-Add salt and pepper.

Are you in the Netherlands today to celebrate King’s Day? Are you going to make these recipes? I’d love to see some pictures (of the food and of today..)! You can show them to me by tagging me in the picture or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. I look forward to it! Thank you! X

Low Budget Vegan

13405509_1164889170221851_1759293727_o‘I wish I could be vegan too, but I’m on a budget’. Well.. good news, you can be vegan from today! A lot of people think that being vegan is very expensive. Personally I think that is because there are so much so called ‘superfoods’ at the moment and people seem to think that if you’re vegan, you need those, otherwise you die. Though I sometimes do get these ‘superfoods’, I see it as a luxury product. You can totally survive without chia seed and you also won’t die if spirulina isn’t a standard product in your cupboard. Also, you don’t need to eat meat substitutes every day, just make sure you eat enough beans/pulses. Of course you can treat yourself to it, once in a while. You will actually see, that being vegan is a lot cheaper than being an omni. Especially with some good tips:

img_8343Make a meal plan. Once a week, take the time to sit down and make a meal plan. Make sure that 2-4 times a week, you make a little more of something, so you’ll have a quick meal for the next day. This is not only time saving, but also money saving.
Make a grocery list. By making a meal plan, you know exactly what you need. Make a list and only get that.
Buy in bulk. Make sure you always have things like rice, pasta, beans/pulses and grains in the cupboard. This way you only have to top of with fresh produce and only once in a while you top this up. At the Whole Foods Market for example, you can fill a bag yourself with rice, grains, beans, dried fruits etc. It’s a lot cheaper than if you get a pack from the shelf.
Buy in sale. Always buy (especially the more expensive things) when things are on sale. Like coconut oil for example, but also less expensive things like a nice pasta or soup.
Buy in discount. In the end of the day a lot of supermarkets have a lot of fruit/veggies and bread for a super low price. A bread for just 40 p or a bag of potatoes for 20 p! Most of the time they’re totally fine, but just because supermarkets can’t sell stuff what is out of date, it has to go and it goes away for cheap. Buying like this you’re also helping to reduce food waste.
Use coupons. In a lot of supermarkets and health stores you get coupons. Direct discounts or product coupons. A lot of times the coupons are for things you got earlier. So they will be things you most likely use anyway. Make sure you plan a meal where you will use this product, so you use them. Put them in a file and write down the dates somewhere, so you know when to use them.
fm2Go to the Farmers Market. At the farmers market you have really good fruit and veggies and mostly it’s a lot cheaper than if you get it in the supermarket. A lot of things at the Farmers Market are also organic, so win win!
Make things yourself. You can buy expensive lentil burgers, but with just a few ingredients you can make a whole lot yourself. Freeze them and you’re good for a while. Same way with making a yummy banana bread. Slice it up, pack them separately and put them in the freezer. This way you will have a nice cheap snack for at least 8-10 days.

In the beginning this might feel like a hassle. Making things yourself, looking for discounts all the time. But believe me, it will get easier, you’ll get the hang of it and eventually it will feel all natural. You might even start to really enjoy it. Make it a challenge to get your weekly groceries and keep the total as low as possible. This, whilst you make super nice meals of course. Good luck!

Did this help you to reduce the total amount you spend on groceries each month? Do you have a question or do you need more help? Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can do this by leaving a comment below or by sending me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X