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

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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

0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ and ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste on the way!

STRAWS
Everyone knows they are the worst! Avoid plastic straw at all cost. They are the reason many turtles and other wildlife die. It’s so not necessary. If you really want to have a straw for a smoothie for example, choose reusable straws. There are many types: metal, glass, bamboo, silicone. I have silicone ones myself and I love them. I don’t think I’d choose them again (I bought them about 3 years ago) as they’re not recyclable, but I must say that they are great quality. I love the feel of it on my lips in comparison with the harder materials. Invest in a good (set of) straw(s) and make sure you always have on in your handbag if you like to use straws on the way. I’d go for metal ones if I’d choose again now.

CUTLERY
You can of course carry around a set of your kitchen cutlery around and that is totally fine. This is helpful whenever you want to buy something from a market stall or from the supermarket that requires cutlery. Though I invested in a travel spoon and fork (in one), made out of titanium. One side is a fork and the other side is a spoon. I totally love it! I keep it in my handbag and it has been super useful. It’s easy to clean and light + small to carry around. There are also complete travel sets including a full set of cutlery (made of metal or bamboo) and a straw. I think it’s a personal choice and also I think different people have different needs. Do a little research and find out what will work best for you.

TRAVEL CUP
I used to always drink my tea (sometimes every day, shame on me!) in a take away cup. So much waste! And then I’m especially talking about the lids. All plastic! So a few years ago I bought myself a travel cup. I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn’t mind investing in it at all. My one is just so pretty. I bought my one at Starbucks and it’s in my favourite pink colour. I don’t drink coffee (yuk!), but I use my one for tea, so I’m very happy with a medium size. There are so many brands selling travel cups though and as a coffee drinker you might want a smaller one. So go and explore the options. A great thing about getting your coffee/tea in your own cup is that in many coffee shops you actually get a (often 25p) discount. Yay!

WATER BOTTLE
An easy one! Using a reusable water bottle. Luckily many people are using one already. Are you as well? If not, please invest in a nice water bottle. I used to have a Bobble Bottle. I had many to be honest, because of heavy use they broke after a while. I love them, because they make water taste sooo much better. Especially here in the UK, because I think the water here tastes like swimming pool water. The downside is that they are made out of plastic and when they only last for about half a year, I was creating plastic waste. So I bought a metal one instead and dealt with the taste (I now add pieces of ginger and lemon to mask the flavour and it’s so much better!). I totally loved the bottle, but after a few weeks the water started to taste like metal, because inside the bottle it started to oxidate. What made me buy the HIP bottle, which I totally love, but is also a plastic one. This one will for sure last very long, because when I drink it keeps the shape. It’s also recyclable, but I do love to get a metal one again when I’m in need for a new one, as I think they are most durable. So tips are welcome!

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day life. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap on the way, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X

Dutch Style

Some might remember from 2 years ago, when I wrote about Sinterklaas. I created the recipe Sint Twist. Sinterklaas is a Dutch tradition. You can read about this in the Sint Twist recipe too. Sint Twist is a recipe, using the traditional little biscuits called ‘pepernoten’. This years Sinterklaas recipe is about how to make pepernoten itself. You can eat them just like that, as a snack, have them with a cup of tea, use them in cakes, ice cream, drinks.. they’re pretty awesome. Because of the lovely warming spices they’re great for the colder months too. The ‘speculaas’ spices are maybe a little hard to find in the UK, but take some with you when you’re in the Netherlands or google how to make the spice combination yourself. Might be rather fun to work with all these lovely smelling spices. The original recipe is quite unhealthy and that is why I made a recipe which is fairly healthy. I wouldn’t eat them instead of a carrot though, haha.. but looking at the ingredients, you hopefully get what I mean.

DUTCH STYLE 

Makes: 60

-1 cup spelt flower
-1/3 cup coconut oil
-1/3 cup palm sugar
-1 tbs agave nectar
-2 tbs oat milk
-1 tsp speculaas spices
-pinch of salt

-Preheat the oven at 170C.
-Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix them up.
-Then add the wet ingredients and mix it until sticky. The best way is then to use your hands and knead it into a dough.
-Make 2 rolls (from about 2-3 cm thick) and put them in the fridge for about 20 min.
-Cut them into slices of 1/2 a cm thick.
-Shape them a little with your fingers if you have the time and put them on a baking tin (covered with baking paper).
-Put them in the oven for 15-18 min.

Who is going to make this recipe? Even though you do not celebrate Sinterklaas, they’re still super yummy. Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Netherlands – The Hague

So 2 weeks ago I was in the Netherlands, visiting family and friends. I often go around October, just before Xmas, because you know what it’s like with Xmas, always so busy. Also Xmas still looks so far away in October when the last time you saw everybody was back in May. This year I also wanted to go because my best friend had a baby just before the summer and I still didn’t see the beautiful boy. Such a happy reason to go, even though there was also a less happy reason I really wanted to go. My grandpa was in the hospital and my grandma has to go to an old people’s home, because of her very severe Alzheimer. I always make sure I see my grandparents whenever I can. I went for a week and planned in al my most important visits. My mum also got her hands on some cheap train tickets and she treated my sis and me on a city trip day. It took us a long time to decide what city to go, but we finally decided on Haarlem (the city where my whole family is from), to then decide in the train that we’re going to The Hague instead. Haha!

The Hague is the city where all the Dutch politics are happening. I’ve been to The Hague 2 times already, but I never went with the purpose of hotspot hunting. We got on the train in Assen and lucky for us, it goes straight to The Hague from there. The first 50 min we had to stand, because it was so busy, but it’s never boring with my mum and sis (and Jace, my nephew came too!). My google maps was a bit all over the place and wasn’t planning on sending us into the right direction, but luckily there are a lot of signs and so we found the city centre soon. Nobody was hungry yet, because my sis brought a snack for in the train. So we first decided to go for a drink, but on the way we found this very nice shop, that we forgot about the drinks. The shop is called Søstrene Grenes. The colours and the materials in this shop make you feel super greedy. I bought a small silicone facial sponge. It will be so useful and it’s something that will last. No waste = win win! I also bought a very delicious drink, some black cotton yarn and a little bar of chocolate from iChoc.

After this shop we were hungry and so we walked to Foam for lunch. It was at least a 10 min walk from the shops, but I can already tell you that it’s so worth it. It was actually a really nice walk, because you pass all the politic buildings and ‘Escher in the Palace’ (The Escher Museum). I really wanted to go to this museum, but I was the only one and majority wins. I will go another day, by myself or with somebody who I can share my enthusiasm with. Definitely go when you have the chance though! Now about Foam. It already looks so nice from the outside and even nicer when you walk in. It’s a long narrow space, but with high ceilings and a little garden in the back, with lots of lovely daylight. We all went for a different latte (Turmeric, Hazelnut and Matcha). Foam is all vegan and so it took us a while before we were able to make a choice for lunch. My sister went for the pancakes, my mum for the BLTA sandwich and I went for the quesadilla. The food was wohw! In my opinion my mum won, because her sandwich was to die for! If I wasn’t planning on eating anything else that day, I would have ordered it to take away. I will come back for this sandwich (as I’m coming back for the Escher museum anyway), haha! The staff is super friendly and easy going. Their desserts look delicious too, so I ordered a take away pecan biscuit at the till and then we left. The biscuit was very yum btw!

On our way back to the shops we popped into a health shop called Madal Bal. We bought some chocolate here and then we walked towards all the politic buildings. There was a time when I followed politics and I found it was fascinating. But since I moved to the UK and find most politics one big corrupt lie, I don’t bother anymore. Despite of that, I do enjoy looking at the beautiful buildings. My mum and sis never seen it before and so it was nice to show them. Jace wasn’t interested at all and decided on a nap. We did some more shopping. We visited a nice EkoPlaza, where I bought some seitan and a drink and my mum bought a really nice salt light that I truly love. After some more shopping and scoring a nice gift for my grandma, it was already time to go back. Time goes so fast! But before we headed back to the station, we wanted to visit the Vegetarische Snackbar. It was also quite a walk, outside the centre. It’s the opposite from the The Hague HS station. But omg! It was so gooddddd.. A snackbar is something very Dutch and it’s as popular as a pub is in the UK. It basically is a cafe where you can buy chips and snacks. Snacks that are mostly meat and cheese based. The Vegetarische Snackbar opened a snackbar where everything is vegetarian and also a lot is vegan! We again didn’t know what to choose and so we decided on nearly half the menu. It was so good, I don’t have words for it. The chips are good, but the snacks are so so similar to the original, that you truly wonder why we keep torturing and killing animals (there isn’t a good reason anyway!). This vegetarian snackbar is the only one in the Netherlands, but we all agreed that there should be one in every city and of course that all snackbars should be like this one. When paying, we also bought both cake options (carrot and chocolate). We ate these in the train and they were so good too. Very moist and strong flavoured. Whatever you do, when in The Hague.. go to the Vegetarische Snackbar!

Oh I forgot another reason I went to visit the Netherlands. I still didn’t see my brother and sister in law’s new home. They moved to Groningen before the summer and I was super curious to see it. It’s such a lovely and cosy place and I stayed for a sleep over. We had such a good time. The next day I invited my sister in law to have brunch at Anat. Their flat is in such a good location, because within 20 min you are in the city centre by bike. So that is what we did and we enjoyed a yummy smoothie bowl at this amazing place. I mentioned them before in a travel post, but I will again, because it’s a must go! On my last day I visited my grandparents with my sister and Jace. We had a really good time all together. We bought some oliebollen (something else typical Dutch, we normally eat on NYE) and they were so good. But then all nice trips come to an end and so it was time to go home sooner than I expected.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Søstrene Grenes – Spuistraat 48, 2511 BE Den Haag.
Escher Museum – Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH Den Haag.
Foam – Frederikstraat 44, 2514 LL Den Haag.
Madal Bal – Denneweg 126B, 2514 CL Den Haag.
Eko Plaza – Grote Marktstraat 177, 2511 BJ Den Haag.
Vegetraische Snackbar – Stationsplein 5A, 2515 BT Den Haag.
Anat – Verlengde Grachtstraat 1, 9717 GD Groningen.

Have you been to The Hague yet? You should definitely go and check out these lovely places. Please let me know if you do! You can leave a comment or show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Sweet Reminder

Did you know that blueberries are great for your memory? So do you have a lot of studying to do for a test? This recipe will be a great breakfast or snack on the days you need it most. The dates and banana give you extra energy and the hemp seeds give you some protein. You can use frozen blueberries from the supermarket, but I prefer to freeze fresh blueberries myself. I personally think that it’s tastier this way. Make sure you use nice soft dates though. With the right ingredients, this is a super healthy smoothie + it’s super quick to make. It’s also very delicious and easy to take with you. Remember to drink this smoothie to remember!

SWEET REMINDER

Serves: 1

300 ml water
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-3 dates

-Blend the water with the hempseed until it’s milk.
-Add the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

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

Caramellos

Who doesn’t like meringues? I think a lot of people do, it’s quite popular in dessert these days as well. You make meringues from egg white though. Or is there another plant-based way? Guess what.. there is! Everything you can eat, I can eat vegan! By using the water of chickpeas you can very easily make meringues yourself, without any cruelty involved. You need a can of chickpeas, without added salt. As pure as possible. I used Biona chickpeas for mine and they worked really well. Meringues are a very yummy, light, but sweet snack. They go very well with coffee, tea or on top of some nicecream. By adding agave nectar and some palm sugar you really get like a sticky caramel flavour, which I love.. I hope you do to!

CARAMELLOS

Serves: 16-20

-1 can chickpeas (water)
-2 tbs agave nectar
-3 tbs palm sugar
-pinch of cacao powder (optional)

-Mixing bowl
-Electric mixer
-Baking paper
-Tray
-Oven

-Preheat the oven to 100C.
-Make sure you use chickpeas in water, with no salt.
-Separate the chickpeas from the water and put the chickpeas itself for another recipe.
-Put the liquid in a mixing bowl and start mixing it with an electric mixing for 3-5 min. You will slowly see the liquid turn into foam. When peaks form, it’s ready.
-Then slowly add the agave and the palm sugar whilst mixing on a low speed. Mix it in well.
-Put the baking paper on the tray.
-Drop 1 spoonful on the baking paper and form a circle.
-Put them in the oven for 1,5 hour.
-Let them cool down before sprinkling on some cacao powder.

Are you going to make these Meringues?  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

Vegan Advice #5 (Xmas edition)

I got more questions asked, that I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything from my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion though. The last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the following questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?’. As it’s almost Xmas, I thought of doing a Xmas edition of the Vegan Advice article. They aren’t per se Xmas related though, but recently I get these sort of questions a lot and I’m sure more vegans get these too: ‘Would you buy non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you accept non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?’. Here we go..

Would you buy non vegan things as a present?
No! Very simple and straight forward. I used to do it in the very beginning, but very soon I realised that it doesn’t make sense to spend my money on non vegan things. There are actually 3 reasons. First of all, I do not want a non vegan brand to get my support through buying it. Second, my biggest wish is for the whole world to go vegan. Giving other people non vegan things doesn’t only make them doubt about how serious veganism is for me and in general, but it also tells them it’s kind of ok that they still want products that involve cruelty and/or environmental damage. Third..I really like to show them that vegan things aren’t that weird, disgusting or hard to find. Giving vegan gifts is a nice way to show people how nice and positive veganism is.

Would you accept non vegan things as a present?
No! This is sometimes really hard and I understand that you might think ‘it doesn’t matter anymore now, because it has already been purchased’. But as I said at the first question as well, about other people thinking it’s kind of ok, this is the same for accepting non vegan gifts. People won’t take my decision to live a vegan lifestyle serious, but even worse is that if I would tell them it’s ok, they might do it again. If it’s about food, then it can also make me ill as I haven’t been consuming non vegan foods and drinks for years now. I think it also comes down to principles. It’s my principal that I do not want to be involved with non vegan things. It’s hard sometimes, because there are occasions people tried hard to get me something and then I have to disappoint them. But what helps me is thinking in this way: what if I had an allergy? I couldn’t accept it then, so why would I accept it if my reason is to consciously make the world a better place?

Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?
This is quite a hot topic. I know that a lot of people are struggling with this. A lot of people are the only vegan in their family and this makes it really hard, because you want to enjoy the Xmas dinner with your family, but then you have to sit at the table whilst there are people eating and complimenting the dead animals on the table. Personally I can’t do this. Luckily almost my whole family is vegan or vegetarian and we are having 100% vegan Xmas dinners for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky. If this wasn’t the case then I would not attend the Xmas dinner. I know that is quite radical, but I just can’t do it. I rather miss out (even though I love Xmas so much!), than to feel incredibly sad and have the feeling I want to cry the whole time. It would feel like torture to me. So how do you deal with this if you aren’t as lucky as I am? If you can’t bare it, then I suggest looking for like minded people (I’m sure they can’t be that hard to find) and organise a Xmas pot luck. I hope everybody will have a good Xmas though!

Do you agree with me or do you see it in a different way? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Nori Nori

I love nori sheets. You can make so many fun and yummy things with them. Of course you can make sushi, but that is quite time-consuming I always think. One of my favourite things to make and to eat are the nori rolls. They are easy to make and super super healthy too. You can easily make a whole bunch of them. They are also nice to serve on parties, for on the way, as a snack and of course just for lunch or dinner. And if your kids like them, they are great for lunch boxes (you might want to leave the sesame oil out as many schools don’t allow sesame products, due allergies). Also it’s best to eat them the same day you make them. Otherwise they can get a little soggy. Just in case: this will be a great creative addition to your Xmas dinner.

NORI NORI

Serves: 2 (10 rolls)

-10 nori sheets (half cut)
-10 long bits of tempeh (I used Tofurky bacon)
-150 gr fresh spinach
-8 big mushrooms (sliced)
-1 red bell pepper (sliced)
-60 gr alfalfa
-1/4 tsp coriander (optional)
-1/4 tsp ground cumin (optional)
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1/2 tsp soy sauce
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Fry the mushrooms (no oil) in a frying pan for just 2 minutes on a medium/high fire.
-Add the spinach for just a minute.
-Let it cool down, before you squeeze out all the water.
-Add the coriander, ground cumin, sesame oil and soy sauce + salt and pepper to taste. Mix it well. The best is to use your hand for this.
-Fry the bell pepper just until you see brown/black bits appear.
-Fry the tempeh both sides until gold brown.
-Put 1/10 of the mushrooms and spinach (about 2 tbs) on a nori sheet.
-Then add 3 bits of bell pepper, 1 bit of tempeh and 2 tbs of the alfalfa.
-Roll it all op. Use a little bit of water on the end of the nori sheet to make it stick.
-Do this 10 times.

Are you a fan of nori sheets, just like me? And are you gong to make these? Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

 

Nutty Treat

A biscuit is a good biscuit when you want to eat another one every time you finish one. Or are they maybe not so good then? Perspective! These Nutty Treat almond biscuits are delicious and I’m sure you can’t just only eat one. Are you having people coming over for tea or do you need some good biscuits for a high tea? These are your biscuits! Also good as a snack or to share with your friends or colleagues (..make sure you have the recipe by hand, because people will ask for it!). They are super addictive and so it’s a good thing they’re made with only good ingredients. So having a second one isn’t a problem. Yay! They’re not hard to make, especially when you have a food processor. So don’t waste any more time.

NUTTY TREAT

Serves: 12

1 cup spelt flower
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs water
pinch of salt
12-24 whole almonds

baking tray
baking paper

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Put all the ingredients, except for the whole almonds, in the food processor and mix until you have a sticky dough.
-Roll it into a cylinder shape (diameter: about 8 cm) and put it in the fridge for 1 hour. If the dough is too soft, then put it in the fridge for a bit, to make it more firm.
-Slice the roll into 1 cm thick biscuits and put them on the baking tray (covered with baking paper).
-Lightly push 1-2 almond (s) into every biscuit.
-Put them in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, until golden brown.
-Let them cool down before eating.

Are you ready to make some addictive biscuits to share? Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X