Vegan Rocky Road

 

Talented food photographer Natalie (Thephotographerstable) came up with this beautifully creative vegan alternative to rocky roads! A perfect little bundle of popcorn, sugar and happiness all rapped up in a rustic string! These little parcels are perfect as gifts or just for enjoying with friends!

 

VEGAN POPCORN ROCKY ROAD

INGREDIENTS

1 bar of Dark Chocolate
1 pack of Portlebay Popcorn Lightly Salted
50g Almonds
100g Glace Cherries
100g Vegan Biscuits

METHOD
1. Melt the Chocolate in a bain marie.
2. Add all the ingredients into the bowl and mix well
3. Allow to set in a lined square tin
4. Cut into tasty chunks and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Cacao & Banana Rocky Road ‘Nice Cream’ (with chocolate coated popcorn and peanuts!)

To tantalise your taste buds this week, thirteen year old food blogger from little beans kitchen created this cooling summer treat! A yummy mix of banana and chocolatey flavours topped off with popcorn and peanuts- the perfect bowl of ‘nice cream’!

 

Cacao & Banana Rocky Road ‘Nice Cream’ with chocolate coated popcorn and peanuts

Serves 2-3

(By little beans kitchen) 

Banana nice cream
•2 frozen bananas
•1-2 tbsp of cacao powder
•A splash of almond milk

-Simply place all ingredients into a blender
and blend till smooth.
-Then place into freezer if it’s too runny

For the rocky road popcorn & peanut mix
•1 bag of Portlebay sweet and salty popcorn
•Vegan chocolate of your choice, add as much of this as you want (depends how chocolate coated you want the mix)
•Roasted peanuts 1-2 Handfuls

-Melt the chocolate and mix in the popcorn and peanuts then place in to a tub
– leave to set in fridge for an hour or two

 

Finally bring it all together by either mixing the popcorn and peanut butter mix into the nice cream before freezing or you can sprinkle the mix on after the nice cream is frozen and put it into bowls.

 

Very Vegan- What’s It All About?

 

Here at Portlebay we are particularly proud of our vegan products, and understand the importance of these in a world where veganism is a increasingly popular lifestyle choice.  Currently three out of our six flavours are vegan friendly, these being the delicious Chilli & Lime,  Sweet & Salty and Lightly Sea Salted. Unfortunately some of our wonderful popcorn relies on ingredients such as milk (our seasonal flavours; Cinnamon swirl 1st October- 31st March and Lemon Sherbet 1st April-30th September) and bacon (in  our Crispy Bacon and Maple Syrup), however even these flavours are carefully hand-popped using completely natural ingredients and as always no palm oil!

For those of you who are completely new to the vegan world, veganism can be defined as the decision to abstain from the use of animal products and the belief in excluding all forms of exploitation or harm to animals for the use of food, clothing or any other purpose.

People choose to become vegan for many different reasons including dieting, compassion, health and environmental reasons. We decided to interview some young and vibrant vegans who go by the names of Elena, Imogen, Emmy and Naomi, to learn a bit more about the world of veganism and how it affects them on a day-to-day basis.

Each of these four lovely ladies are at a different stage of their vegan journey and are happy to give us a little insight into their vegan lives:

Emmy– A year and a half into the journey!

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Elena– One month into the journey!

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Imogen- 6 months into the journey!

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Naomi- 10 months into the journey!

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1. What Are The Main Struggles You Face With Being Vegan? 

Naomi: Definitely the lack of choices when going out to eat!

Elena: I’d say sometimes helping people understand why I’ve made this choice is difficult, particularly with older generations.

Imogen: Alcohol is a huge struggle. A lot are filtered through fish bladders, so finding vegan ones at the bar is difficult unless your vegan alcohol knowledge is faultless. Also, I hate how products can be marketed as vegan just as an excuse for it to be priced ridiculously.

Emmy: The main struggles I face being vegan is to know what’s vegan when you travel, especially abroad. Many places don’t cater for vegans, or don’t make it easy to identify which products are vegan or not. But I think many places in the UK are becoming increasingly better at this, and you can find some vegan options both from the shop ‘on the go’, or in restaurants. Also, I find it really annoying how almost all product have some sort of milk-powder or dried egg, even though there shouldn’t be a reason for it.

2. What Do You Tend To Look For With Vegan Friendly Products? 

Imogen: I look for fresh ingredients that are written in plain English (not chemistry compounds), no preservatives or artificial additives, it being organic is a bonus, it has to be dairy-free of course, and depending on the product I might see if it’s recyclable and what the brand’s ethics are, oh and the protein content.

Elena: Ingredients that I recognise and aren’t just full of loads of long weird chemical compound sounding names are a must. Otherwise I feel I’m back to square one. And yeah, it has to be macro-nutrient. The fact that Portlebay use natural ingredients as well as being vegan is a great bonus to me!

Emmy:  I look for ingredients and nutritional value in vegan products, and try to avoid stuff which has palm oil, high levels of saturated fats and sugar. I also try to find food with high protein levels, and fewer ingredients.

3. What Made You Decide to Become Vegan?  

Elena: I disagree with the meat and dairy industries ethically, the meat industry is one of the biggest contributors to the planet’s pollution problem, I don’t believe humans need animal-based products and in fact believe they are detrimental to our health. I just want to eat food that I know is good for me and leaves me feeling guilt free. This is a recent decision for me so I’m still learning and am transitioning my products and clothes slowly.

Imogen: environmental reasons, ethical reasons of course, so many of our British farm animals and homeless cats and dogs are put down it makes me so angry! Also, weight management and religious reasons too (the Hindu holy book, The Bhagavad Gita, states to not harm any living things which is interpreted by some Hindus as going vegan whilst others opt for vegetarianism). I also feel so much more energised on a vegan diet. I just like making sure what I put in my body is healthy and wholesome it makes all the difference mentally too.

Naomi: You guys put that perfectly, I’m literally exactly the same!

Emmy: I became vegetarian first for environmental reasons, but then got more engaged with ethical and animal welfare arguments, as well as the health benefits of a vegan diet.

4.What Do You Wish People That Aren’t Vegan Knew About The Vegan Lifestyle? 

Naomi:  People always assume it’s really expensive and you don’t get your ‘protein’ when actually there is so much more protein in beans, nuts and vegetables than there is in meat. A lot of people don’t realise the cruelty that happens behind closed doors especially in the dairy industry, I had no idea until I actually properly researched it! I feel like if everyone knew what meat and dairy products were actually made from and the process in which they are made a lot more people would become vegan, also people just don’t hear about the possible side effects of eating meat such as cancers, bowel problems and weight gain.

Elena: It doesn’t have to be some massive deal when you decide to be vegan and with a bit of research it’s not too difficult!

Imogen:  I wish people knew that it’s not hard to transition when you realise what you were taking wasn’t yours to begin with! So many places are now expanding their vegan range so it’s not as hard to find alternatives. It took me five attempts to become vegan but you get there in the end! Also, nutrients are easy to find in non-meat sources. Omega 3, commonly known for residing in cod liver, is actually in a whole range of things like Chia Seeds for example.

Emmy:  I wish people knew that it is not hard to get enough protein, and it doesn’t need to be more expensive to eat a vegan diet. Also, I wish people understood that when you truly believe in the reasons why one has chosen to become vegan, it’s not hard to avoid animal products.

5. How Has Being Vegan Affected Your Overall Lifestyle? 

Imogen: I’ve been looking after myself better as a result, going to the gym more because I feel great and energised and I am always coming up with new meals in the kitchen now. When I go out for food I am always discovering new flavours and I love that. I’m a little greener now too! Recycling more, growing fruits and veggies, being wary of our declining bee population and that sort of thing.

Naomi: I was vegetarian for four years and then became vegan in September 2018 and have lost over a stone! I also have less spots, my hair is way less greasy, I feel more energised and mentally I’m so much happier as well- so there are just loads of health benefits!

Elena:  I feel more lean already, I feel excited to carry on discovering new foods and am more mindful about what I put into my body and the way my actions affect the environment.

Emmy:  I’ve become more interested in nutrition, changed my cooking habits and experiment more with different ingredients. I probably have become much more aware of environmental sustainability, and may end up preaching ethical consumerism unintentionally at times. Other than that I wouldn’t say it has changed my lifestyle.

6. What Advice Would You Offer To Anyone Wanting To Convert To Vegan? 

Imogen: Listen to your body – you don’t need to go cold turkey vegan right away! Start by reducing meat and dairy and then eliminate over time, I found my body was initially not coping with the sudden change too well so that’s why it took five attempts for me! You shouldn’t do it just because its deemed an Instagram trend, do it for you and never stop educating yourself, get in the kitchen more and browse the web! There are so many vegan recipes out there to begin transitioning!

Elena:  Just don’t be too harsh on yourself, if you slip up just learn from it and don’t quit. Also don’t do it for anyone but yourself, consider it a self investment.

Emmy:  My best advice would probably be to educate oneself about the impacts of animal products on your health and the environment. Watch a few documentaries, read some articles and get familiar with your own reasons for changing your eating habits. Also, I’ve got lots of inspiration from vegan Instagram accounts as well. And lastly, not to be to hard on oneself. As I don’t think everyone has to be vegan for the world to become a better place, as long as everyone raises their awareness of issues related to animal products, and cut down their consumption of these.

Naomi:  My advice would be that any change is going to help, especially for the environment, even cutting down slowly, for instance, having one less meal with meat in a week and slowly making it less and less. Or have a list of companies that test on animals so you know that what you’re buying is cruelty free! Also just experiment with different food especially alternatives like milk, I had to try loads until I found one that I actually like!

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So, we hope this discussion of the vegan world has answered a few questions and maybe even made you consider your life-style choices. We, for one, can’t wait to tuck into one of our delicious vegan friendly flavours!
For more information about veganism visit: https://www.vegansociety.com/

Steph’s Portlebay Popcorn Granola!

 

 

 

Popcorn granola? YES PLEASE! The very cool and talented vegan recipe blogger Steph, also known as StephiDFitness, created this wonderful recipe which we think is super fun and guaranteed to help shift those January blues!

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Steph- The Vegan Blogger

Popcorn Granola and Granola Balls Recipe:

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yields: 4 portions or 12 balls
Storage: Sealed container (for the granola) or fridge (for the balls)

Ingredients:

  • 150g rolled oats
  • 50g almonds – lightly crushed (or other nuts)
  • 40g hazelnuts – lightly crushed (or other nuts)
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 30g desiccated coconut
  • 20g dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
  • 20g dried goji berries (or other dried fruit)
  • 25g Sweet and Salted Portlebay Popcorn

For Granola Balls:

  • 200g pitted dates (blended into a paste)
  • 3 tbsp. golden syrup

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150*C (fan oven)
  2. Add the oats, almonds, hazelnuts, oil and maple syrup and stir until thoroughly mixed
  3. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the oat mixture and bake for about 15 minutes until brown (make sure it doesn’t burn!)
  4. Then, in a bowl, stir in the rest of the ingredients
  5. Enjoy warm or cooled!

For granola balls:

6. Mix in the dates and golden syrup until all the dates are coated and sticky
7. Use your hands to form balls by squashing the mixture together
8. Optional: dip in vegan chocolate to finish and enjoy!

Do checkout The Vegan Recipe Blog, for many more sweet and savoury vegan friendly treats created by Steph! Be prepared to be made very very hungry! Also checkout her super inspiring Instagram page here!

Meet the Meco Tote

It’s Day 5 of our advent competition and today we are introducing Catherine and Emma, two Berkshire based mums, and the masterminds behind Meco! These two lovely ladies together created the perfect handbag, which is not only super practical but also very gorgeous too! This fabulous creation is called a Meco tote.

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The gorgeous Catherine and Emma

The Meco tote is a new concept in handbag simplicity. Made from silicone, each one of the six sumptuous colours looks fabulous carried by the hand or over the shoulder, and contrasts perfectly with the understated handles. It also has a hidden magnetic clasp which is an essential security feature. The tote measures 36 centimetres high x 30 centimetres wide x 11 centimetres deep, (excluding handles), making it the perfect size for every day use!

 

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The Meco Bag

This enchanting tote wears unbelievably well; you can throw mud at it, pour coffee on it or even colour it in with felt tips and it will wipe clean with a little soap and water! It doesn’t scratch, fade or stretch and is harder wearing than leather. What a dream come true!

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The Sea tote

Oh wait, there’s even more glorious news! The bag is 100% vegan and cruelty free,  and the silicone used to create the tote is a natural, sand based material which is recyclable. The PU handles are also less harmful to the environment and more durable than PVC – AMAZING!

We are in love. To be in with a chance of winning a Meco tote, pop over to one of our social media pages (Instagram, Facebook or Twitter) and follow the competition directions! BEST OF LUCK! (This competition launches at 5pm tonight)

Banana Oat Pancakes

Bored of your regular smashed avocado on toast? Fancy kicking your pancake game up a notch? Using no flour and no sugar, these banana oat pancakes are a barely naughty alternative to your regular Sunday brunch!

For 1 person you will need:

 

• 1 banana

• 1 egg

• 65g of rolled oats

• ½ a teaspoon of baking powder

• A pinch of salt

• A pinch of cinnamon (depending on your cinnamon taste levels)

• Whatever you would like to serve! We used maple syrup, fresh raspberries and cherries, and a sprinkling of Cinnamon Swirl Popcorn.

Method:

 

• Use either a blender or tonnes of elbow grease to mush up the banana and egg, and then use your remaining strength to mix in the oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

• It can be as smooth as you like it – we used a blender so it was silky smooth, but I’m sure it would be just as nice with a few chunks of banana inside!

• Let the batter have a little time out for 10-20 minutes so it can thicken.

• Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, and plop in a blob of coconut oil (or any oil you prefer).

• Fry generous spoonful’s of batter on both sides until golden brown, and good enough to wolf down in one bite.

• Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and lashing of popcorn and fruit!

Easy peasey lemon squeezy!

The Blindfold Run with the RLSB

Back in August 2016, we were asked by one of the brilliant team at the Royal London Society for Blind People to supply some of our popcorn for their “Blindfold Run” goodie bags. We are not ashamed to say a fair amount of Googling went into finding out just how one runs blindfolded, without falling into streams of traffic, bashing into innocent bystanders, and generally just surviving the journey.

But it really is simpler than you think. How do we know? Because we did it!

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At the start, feeling pretty good…

Those up to the challenge to take part in this extraordinary experience are tethered together in pairs, with one runner being blindfolded and the other being the trusted navigator. Halfway through the 5k or 10k course, you then change roles, so each person gets the experience of being guided blindly through the route.

The aim here is not to simulate sight loss, or imply that the experience will be the  same for everyone, but simply to get people thinking about sight loss, and be part of something completely unique!

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…nearing the end, feeling less so good

Imagine being in a pitch-black room; it could be your bedroom, sitting room, or just a place you are familiar with and feel comfortable in…but you’re in complete darkness. Sure you can feel your way around it, you can still smell the familiar scents of a place you would call home, but without being able to see, it would still be a touch intimidating.

Now imagine leaving that room, still in darkness, and running through unfamiliar territory. You have no idea  about your surroundings. Is that person you can hear close enough to touch or are they further away? Every tiny bump or slight turn is new and scary as you have no idea how to gauge it. It sounds ridiculous, but you forget how to turn your body left and right, whether you’re jogging too fast or too slow, and it feels like the world is coming in on you, even though it’s exactly the same as before…I blame that last point on running into some low hanging branches.

What a sweet luxury it was to take your blindfold off and see the world, and how lucky we are that we can do that.

The Blindfold Run is understandably the RLSB’s most popular fundraising event, and has raise dover 70k since it’s launch in 2014. All funds that are raised from the amazing participants goes towards goes towards helping blind children and young people living in the capital, with the belief that every single child can build the confidence and skills to fulfil their potential, even in a world that is sometime’s all about the visual.

If you would like to find out more about the brilliant work the RLSB does for those in need, or to check out the run and sign up for next year, check out their website here!: www.rlsb.org.uk