Walk in the woods

I have been having my delicious bircher muesli for breakfast, and today I added a few chopped brazil nuts as a topping. It was super tasty! I love the fact that it is so versatile (like porridge really) and can be topped with all sorts. I also made with with cherry yoghurt and that made a nice change too.

Then we went for a walk in the woods (Bill Bryson style only no danger of bears) at a National Trust house in Bucks. On the way we stopped to pick up lunch- I had a lovely sandwich with philadelphia, roasted peppers, spinach and a chipotle relish (smokey, not too spicy, just how I like it).

It was so nice to spend a few hours walking outside in the fresh air, luckily the weather held out until we had to come home. We often go for walks in the evening but only by our house, so seeing different scenery (plus no cars) makes it much more refreshing.

Once home I made some cinnamon chai, and had a slice of the gone-wrong banana bread. This time I spread it with dark chocolate PB and it was amazing! The banana-PB-dark choc triangle has to be one of my fave flavour combos, and the banana bread has a lovely dense texture so it is quite a filling snack too.

After that I went in the garden and did some weeding, dug up the potatoes (a much better harvest than last year), cut some more courgettes (not sure what I am going to make with them yet- need to look through my recipes) and moved the strawberry runners. I have one strawb plant that is kicking out loads of runners- they are settling in my lettuce bed which is fab because I dont seem to be able to grow lettuce, so it is going to be turned into a strawb bed!

I am glad I got out there when I did because now it is raining again, honestly what is wrong with the summer?

We are off out this evening for a birthday celebration.

🙂

Downpour and decisions

Gosh it just absolutely tipped it down! I went to aerobics and was chatting to my friend outside when all of a sudden it chucked it down! Had to drive home very slowly as the roads were saturated, plus even the wipers on the highest speed were not clearing the rain fast enough.

Before aerobics I tried an oatmeal raisin walnut Clif bar- that thing was tasty! I found it in the health food shop, and decided to try them, as I have seen them on wiggle but only in big bulk buy boxes. It tasted like an oatmeal raisin cookie- really delicious and moist. The bar was 50g, and for that you get 189 cals, 31.5g carbs (perfect for before aerobics) and 7.5g protein (it has some soya in it). It also has loads of added vitamins and minerals (unclusing 23% RDA calcium and 13% iron), so in fact would have been ideal for me to take on holiday too. I have 2 other flavours; chocolate chip and peanut butter and am now expecting amazing things!

On to decisions- I had my opticians appointment today and as someone who is not good at making decisions it is so difficult! To begin with you have the actual eye test where they keep showing you “one, or two, which is clearer?” and you have to choose between the lenses. That is hard enough, but then when it comes to actually choosing new frames for the glasses it is even harder! They never have the frames from last time, so I then have to spend ages looking at all the types to find ones that are similar. Trouble is, as I wear them all the time I have to feel comfortable in them, whereas I think if I had them just for reading or just for driving then I could go for a more funky pair. Anyway, after ages of deliberating I have chosen them, and now comes the waiting game, where in my head I can’t remember what they look like and convince myself that they don’t suit me.

Hmm- you can tell I am not keen on the opticians!

Anyway, not much else to report really. I had to wait in for the post today so spent time updating the review bit on here (the section “Stuff I love”)- even with some fancy links in- hope they work!

I had some delicious rye bread for lunch with sunflower seeds in it, with some cream cheese, tomatoes and green pesto, plus an apple and a slice of the gone-wrong-banana bread.

That’s all folks!

Vegetarian Abroad!

Veggie holidays:

I have been vegetarian for many years, since I was a teenager, and I absolutely love holidays. Holidays are what I save up for (no expensive handbags for me). So I have travelled around a fair bit, and while in Switzerland I have been really impressed with the amount of vegetarian food available. Not only that, but it is often clearly marked on the menus as well. Now it’s not a totally fair comparison, because some holidays I have had almost ten years ago, and even in England things have moved on in ten years.

Past holidays:

When I think back to past holidays (in Europe or America) I did used to find it much harder, especially in France. Once in Paris I went in a bakery and got a cheese filled roll, only to find it had ham in it once I had taken a bite! Ten years ago I went to Boston with my parents, and had a few problems, including being given vegetable soup (so, vegetarian then) which had massive chunks of beef floating in it. These experiences early on led me to be very “safe” on holiday, opting for plain bread, margherita pizza, or pasta with tomato sauce. All nice options, but not particularly great to be eating constantly on a 2 week holiday. Luckily things have moved on, and for the last 5 years maybe it has been much easier.

Veggie in Europe:

 

When in Spain we were recommended a restaurant called Fresco (I think) which was the same as Sweet Tomatoes in the USA- a big salad buffet, and then help yourself to the hot items such as jacket potatoes, pizzas and pastas. It is a chain as we have been to it in Barcelona and Madrid, and a very good option for a veggie on holiday.

A while ago we went to Lisbon in Portugal, and that proved harder, because of the language more than anything. We stuck to the usual faves (Italian restaurants) as there were plenty of those to choose from.

In Switzerland most of the menus we looked at have had veggie options marked clearly. I had a nice veggie burger the other night- it tasted a bit like falafel and I think it was made with chickpeas. I have seen veggie fajitas, including one which was cooked with kidney beans (some veggie protein- I will get to that point later) as opposed to just vegetables. There are lots of cheese fondues, plus raclette’s (baked/ boiled potatoes with melted cheese and gherkins/ pickles) and rosti’s (lots topped with cheese or cheese and mushroom/tomato). I had some nice spaghetti with tomato sauce and fresh basil, and the same place also did ravioli stuffed with mushrooms in a pesto sauce. In another place (I mentioned previously) I saw both seitan and tofu mentioned on menus, and I think people generally understand the “no meat” concept, whereas before it was not understood. A little like the royal family clip of the grandma saying “she’s a vegetarian, maybe just wafer thin ham then?” or something to that effect!

Before Christmas we went to Denmark (Copenhagen) for a few days, and that proved difficult. Their diet is lots of fish (I don’t eat fish) and meat, and there were not too many un-Danish places. In the guidebook there was a veggie restaurant mentioned, but we couldn’t find it. So it was Hard Rock one night, and then a picnic of bread and cheese from the local shops on the other day.

I have not been to France for ages, in fact the last time was a trip to Disneyland Paris, which was not great! One of the children’s items was veggie (it might have been tomato pasta or something) and they would not sell it to me because I didn’t have a child with me! There were a few options around but I cant remember what now. A few French holidays have been self-catering, which is always easy because you can buy so much fresh produce from the supermarkets- I love walking into the fruit/veg section- normally they smell of nectarines-mmm.

Italy seems like a fab place for veggies (especially as I love pasta)- one of the places we went to has a local speciality of ravioli stuffed with pumpkin, which sounds amazing. I kept an eye out for it but didn’t see it anywhere-boo. I did have some lovely pesto (only made with basil, garlic and pine nuts- the parmesan was optional to be added at the table so I didn’t have any). There is lots of pasta, gnocchi and pizzas with veggie options too, plus the panini’s and salads etc. I had a lot of pasta with tomato sauce and basil, some nice pizzas including one with artichoke. As it is all made fresh they seem happy to amend things too. A while ago we went to Rome and we had no trouble choosing a place to eat. In Milan the rough guide recommended an ice cream shop with organic ingredients called “Grom”, and while in the queue I noticed that it had a list by the door of all the flavours, whether they were vegan (lots of the places did fruit “ice cream” which had no dairy at all- the mango flavour was delicious- like pureed frozen mango), whether they had eggs, nuts etc in them too. Pretty good. Also all the little spoon things were biodegradable. Plus the hazelnut ice cream was amazing.

A long time ago (maybe ten years!) I went to Turkey with my family, and it was the only time we did a half board holiday. The breakfast was fine, and the dinners were lots of salads, veggie rice dishes and loads of watermelon. All I remember having for lunches were grilled cheese sandwiches (but back then I had not tried hummus or falafel or anything like that)- I would imagine there would be a lot of choice.

 

More bircher muesli

Well have had a fab few days in Switzerland- have never been before and I love it! Lots of bircher muesli in the different hotels (last one had apple and plum in it). Italy is next on the list, not sure what there will be in store for me there.

I have been looking out eagerly for veggie options, and have started writing about being veggie abroad on holiday, so watch this space for my reccomendations!

Ciao!

Update from holiday

Hello!

I have had a good few days so far, travelling through France and into Switzerland. It is so beautiful here; so many pretty towns, villages, chalets, mountains and valleys.

I have been doing lots of walking, and this morning had some totally delicious bircher muesli at the hotel this morning, which had fresh blackberries in it-mmmm. There was a bowl of hazelnuts which you could sprinkle on top too- fab!

Food is super expensive, which has resulted in several bread and cheese meals. I was surprised (after dinner on a walk) to see a hotel serving seitan! There is also plenty of tofu and things being served too, and loads of restaurants have vegetarian options highlighted which makes it much easier. We had a pizza the other day and even though I had read in the guidebook that pepperoni means peppers (eg vegetables) I was still a bit worried about ordering it, so went for the plain one!

More walking planned tomorrow, and plenty of fresh alpine air- I love a good holiday.

🙂