You got this……vegan challenge 042018

I decided to join the upcoming vegan challenge. Over 3000 participants have signed up already, and are committed to skip every animal product from their diet for at least a month. It has been a while since last time, and I’d really like to focus more on what I do and don ‘t eat, instead of simply choosing fast and convenient. I hope to find some focus again, and to be able to make some choices on how to continue once April is over.

It’s still a few days ’till April, but it won’t hurt to start focussing a bit more, and to remind myself of some of the tips and tricks that will make this challenge work for me.

Since I travel a lot for my work, trainrides, and lunches on trains -in between meetings – are part of my daily routine.

During our early morning family rush hours it is tempting to think ‘oh I’ll just buy a sandwich/snack somewhere, later today…..’

Which isn’t just unpleasant for your budget, it’s also harder to stick to a vegan diet this way.

With a little more planning, and a stuffed fridge, it’s easy to avoid these ‘Now what will I eat?’ – moments on the road.

I like to work with what I’ve got, and these energybars are easy to make:

Mix and chop any dry ingredients you like (such as nuts, seeds and grated coconut)

Mix in spoonful after spoonful of wet ingredients, such as peanutbutter, date syrup or agave syrup

Add a little coconut oil, and mix everything together.

Spread out on a tray, carefully cut through with a knife.

Place in your freezer until firm. Then, remove from the tray and pack your energybars in small containers. Keep them in your freezer and just grab one on your way out of the house.

There you go. You got this

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Vegan ‘hutspot’ and a celebration

In October 1574, after a siege that had lasted for months and left many people starving, a young boy climbed upon the citywalls of Leiden. He saw how  the Spanish soldiers  had left their campements, fearing the rising water. They left, leaving everything behind. This boy, Cornelis Joppensz, ventured outside the city walls to explore the deserted army camps. He found a pot, filled with a mixture of carrots and onions, and brought it home. Ever since that day, people in Leiden eat ‘hutspot’ on the 3rd of October.  And so did we….

3 oktober 2015 leiden After an eventful day on the fairground, I cooked a large pot of hutspot to end our 3 Oktober celebration in style.

Hutspot is usually eaten together with meat, but I went for a vegan variety!

For a hungry family of four you will need:

1 kg potatoes, 750 gr carrots, 2 medium parsnips, 3 medium onions, vegetable stock, olive oil, ground black pepper.

optional: vegan ‘meatballs’.

hutspot 2Clean the potatoes, carrots and parsnip, chop in roughly equal cubes, cover with water and cook for about 15-20 minutes (check in between: you want to mash your veggies, not make porridge).

Chop the onions and glaze them in some olive oil, and powdered vegetable stock and pepper to taste.

Drain potatoes,carrot and parsnip,  add onions and mash. You can make it as smooth or as lumpy as you like. Add some more oil and vegetable stock or pepper according to taste.

Et voila, you’re done!

Just fry some vegan meatballs or even falafel (did that last year..) to go with your hutspot and you’ve got yourself the vegan version of  Leidens ‘signature dish’.

Eet smakelijk!

Vegan bananabread

I think it’s two years ago since I first participated in the Vegan Challenge. During the Vegan Challenge, hundreds of people  sign up to eat vegan for an entire month, to share experiences and to receive tasty recipes in their inbox. The next edition starts on October 1st, over 1700 people have signed up,  and I’m in!

Ever since that first Vegan Challenge, I’ve started eating vegan more and more. I remember feeling like a failure when, during that first challenge, I somewhat gave up after a week or two. Nevertheless, that challenge taught me a couple of succes recipes that I still use. And over time, I tried again and again to eat 100% vegan. That, however is something I haven’t achieved as yet.

I do believe a plantbased diet is better for the environment, and for a lot of animals, and I feel healthier and ‘cleaner’ when eating vegan. Participating in this next edition of the Vegan Challenge I hope will help me focus more, and be inspired to cook, bake and eat vegan more and more…..

To get in the mood, I explored the Vegan Challenge website, looking for new recipes. I came across a recipe for vegan banana bread (hurray! all other recipes I found contained eggs or dairy), and this was a real must try since I had a couple of brown spotty bananas waiting on the kitchen table.

The orginal recipe can be found here, but I made some adjustments because:

A. it was Sunday evening when I baked this, and I had to work with what was available (use what you have etc…..)

B. I am trying to cut down on my sugar consumption so I wasn’t comfortable with adding 150 grams of sugar

C. I had only 2 bananas instead of the required 3, so I adjusted the quantities of the other ingredients a bit.

vegan banana bread

First, I pre-heated the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, Then, I mixed the following dry ingredients in a bowl:

250 grams of whole wheat spelt flour, 50 grams of coconut blossomsugar, 50 grams of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 75 grams of chopped apricots, 75 grams of mixed nuts (walnut and pecan), 2 table spoons of cinnamon (because I looooove cinnamon, and because an extra touch of cinnamon can compensate for the lack of sugar, I hoped).

Then, in the blender I mixed:

100 ml of water, 100 ml of sunflower oil, 2 ripe bananas and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

I added the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stirred a bit. Then I filled a small baking tray with this batter. I added  some raw cocoa nibs to the rest of the batter and filled 6 cupcake molds with this. I put it all in the oven and removed the cupcakes after 25 minutes. I baked the larger cake for 40 minutes, let it cool down a bit, put the kids to bed and made myself a cup of tea…..oh boy.

vegan bananabread2

From now on, I know what to do with overripe bananas!