Amy’s Kitchen Breakfast Sandwich

Ingredients : (VEGAN) ORGANIC TOFU (26%) (FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SOYBEANS, NIGARI), FILTERED WATER, VEGGIE SAUSAGE (20%) (ORGANIC ONIONS, ORGANIC CHICKPEA FLOUR, ORGANIC COOKED QUINOA, ORGANIC MUSHROOMS, ORGANIC TOFU [FILTERED WATER, ORGANIC SOYBEANS, NIGARI], ORGANIC COOKED LONG GRAIN RED RICE, GLUTEN FREE OATS*, SUNFLOWER OIL, ORGANIC GREEN LENTILS, ORGANIC CELERY, ORGANIC CARROTS, ORGANIC BELL PEPPERS, SEA SALT, ORGANIC POTATOES, ORGANIC GARLIC, FILTERED WATER, SPICES, ORGANIC RICE FLOUR, ORGANIC FLAX SEED, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER SEED MEAL, NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOURING, ORGANIC TAPIOCA STARCH, ORGANIC OLIVE OIL, ORGANIC AGAVE NECTAR, BLACK PEPPER, ORGANIC SUGAR, YEAST, SOY LECITHIN), ORGANIC BROWN RICE FLOUR, ORGANIC TAPIOCA STARCH, ORGANIC KETCHUP (ORGANIC TOMATO CONCENTRATE, ORGANIC DISTILLED VINEGAR, ORGANIC SUGAR, SEA SALT, ORGANIC ONION POWDER, ORGANIC SPICE, NATURAL FLAVOURING), ORGANIC POTATO FLOUR, ORGANIC POTATO STARCH, ORGANIC OLIVE OIL, ORGANIC SUGAR, SUNFLOWER OIL, SEA SALT, ORGANIC MAPLE SYRUP, PSYLLIUM, BAKING POWDER (CALCIUM PHOSPHATE – RAISING AGENT, BAKING SODA – RAISING AGENT, CORNSTARCH – ANTI-CAKING AGENT), DRIED INACTIVE YEAST, ORGANIC FLAX SEED, YEAST, ORGANIC GARLIC, TURMERIC. *Certified Gluten Free. FOR ALLERGENS SEE IN BOLD. 91% OF THE AGRICULTURAL ARE PRODUCED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF ORGANIC PRODUCTION UNDER ORGANIC CERTIFICATION US-ORG-050.

 

I have been on a bit of a DIY binge here at Allergy Towers (I blame my new Veganuary-induced higher energy levels).  I really needed something I could prepare quickly while I was in the middle of painting the kitchen.  Two minutes in the microwave seemed pretty quick, although there was the highly time consuming bit where you have to stop the microwave after 1 minute and flip the breakfast sandwich over before continuing to cook it.

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Considering this is a gluten free, vegan ready meal is tastes pretty good.  The bun is a little chewy, but definitely not the worst gluten free bread I have ever eaten.  The scrambled tofu was quite crumbly.  I was sort of expecting it to taste like a McDonald’s McMuffin.  It didn’t.  It was much more pleasant and tastier.  Also, I didn’t feel a bit sick and sordid like I do after a McDonald’s meal!  It was smaller than I was expecting, but it was still quite filling.  I ate it with a cup of tea and that was sufficient to fuel some more hours of painting.

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I would definitely buy this again.  It’s not the best meal I have ever eaten, but it fits my food needs, the box would take up hardly any space in the freezer, and it will be so convenient as my emergency food.

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Nearly the end of Veganuary

It’s Day 30 of Veganuary.  I have had only one slip up.  This was when Allergy Little and I had an appointment.  The timing was lousy as there was not enough time to get home after dropping Big off at school, but we were early for the appointment.  We ended up filling time by walking around a seaside resort in January.  We got very cold and I forgot my packed snacks (but I remembered Little’s!) so I succumbed and drank a hot chocolate with dairy in.  The only vegan option was black coffee, which I don’t drink.

When I started Veganuary, I basically just dropped the animal products from my normal meals.  This led to some rather odd and unsatisfying meals so I started using a nutrition app to record what I was eating.  It was obvious that I wasn’t eating enough protein.  Luckily, I quickly discovered my new favourite thing, Taifun brand tofu.  Taifun make a rainbow of flavoured, ready to eat tofus.  Easy and yummy.  The side effect of recording what I was eating is that I have lost some weight (about 8lb).  It’s worth remembering that not all plant-based food is naturally healthy.  Chips are vegan!

Over the course of Veganuary, the question has changed from “should I be vegan?” to “should I return to eating animal products?”  I can not think of a compelling reason why I would start doing that.  However, this comes with caveats.  I am not a vegan.  To me, being a vegan is an ethical and philosophical stance about not harming animals in any way.  I clearly do not meet this standard.  I have a leather sofa.  I feed my children meat, although I would fully respect their choices if they decided not to eat animal products too.  And, if I am gasping for a cup of tea and my friend only has dairy milk at  their house, then I am probably going to weakly crumble and give in to my milky tea cravings.  At home, however, I am going to follow a plant-based diet for the time being.

The reasons why are purely selfish.  I feel less sluggish and sleepy.  I think my skin seems a little brighter.  I generally just feel better.  The lack of animal cruelty and environmental benefits are nice bonuses.  But, I am going plant-based to benefit only one animal, me!

Real Nice Organic Banana & Raspberry Ice Lollies

Ingredients – Organic bananas, organic raspberries.  That’s it.

Bit of a confession, I only bought these because I needed to buy four frozen items from the Goodness Direct Website, but for the courier service you need a minimum of six items so I added the two cheapest frozen items to my order, and that was these lollies.  It did however make me feel like a super Mum, who can anticipate her children’s every wish, when a day or so later Allergy Big asked for a lolly on a stick, and I could instantly fulfil his wishes.

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In a sense, these are an incredibly easy product that you could make at home; it’s just smooshed up banana and raspberry.  Like many simple things though to do it right is difficult.  The puree is very smooth and seed free.  It is also frozen without the gritty ice crystals you get in homemade ice lollies.  For the Allergy Brothers, who are so often food outsiders, the fact that it comes in a packet and looks like other people’s food is a big plus.

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Unfortunately, for the Allergy Brothers, the uncompromisingly healthy nature of these lollies made them a bit too sharp.  Also, this was the flavour of Real Nice ice lollies that they are not allergic to, but it also includes a fruit that they are not that keen on, bananas (I know how can they not like bananas?, apparently it’s the smell they don’t like).  I enjoyed the leftovers very much.

Sugar Sin Caramel Fizz

Ingredients: Sugar, Invert sugar syrup, Water, Corn starch, Glucose, Acidifier (citric acid, tartaric acid), Natural flavours, Caramelised sugar syrup.

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Proof, if proof was needed, that vegan food does not necessarily mean healthy food.  However, if you are missing the flavours of caramel and toffee on a vegan or dairy-free diet then these will hit the spot.  We have stored them up in our crockery cupboard and whoever empties the dishwasher gets to eat one as a reward!  The well-designed packaging and palm oil free recipe are great bonuses too.

I have also found that marron glacé are a more than adequate toffee/caramel substitute.  They too are vegan, gluten-free and yummy.

Eat me! Jam buns.

Over the Christmas holidays, the Allergy Brothers really enjoyed watching the CBeebies pantomime, Alice in Wonderland (For our overseas readers, CBeebies is a TV channel aimed at pre-schoolers; pantomime, however, is much harder to explain!  It’s a theatrical show based on a traditional tale with songs, lots of audience participation, and cross dressing.  This is considered to be perfectly acceptable family entertainment.).  Alice in Wonderland has sparked an interest in jam tarts!  Unfortunately, the boys can’t eat the free from jam tarts at the supermarkets so I improvised a jam bun.  Luckily, this met with their approval.

Ingredients (makes 8 large buns):

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Flour for dusting, sprinkling etc. (I used corn flour)

125g ground almonds

100g tapioca flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp egg replacer

100g spread + a bit for greasing

100g sugar

2 tbsp milk (we used almond milk)

50g jam

Method

  1. Turn your oven on to 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6.  Grease a baking tray with some spread then sprinkle with some flour.  Give the tray a good shake to cover it all with the flour and discard any excess flour.
  2. Mix together the ground almonds, tapioca flour, baking powder and egg replacer.  Add in the spread.  Rub in the spread into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs.20160106_131529
  3. Stir in the sugar and the almond milk.  At this point, you might lose the faith because the mixture looks sloppy and weird.  Press on regardless.
  4. Use your hands to roughly shape ping pong ball sized pieces of dough.  This will be messy.  You are aiming for a flattened sphere shape.  Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation for the jam.  Fill the dent with jam.  Make sure there is space around each bun as they will spread.20160106_131425
  5. Bake the buns for about 10 minutes until they have risen and turned golden brown.  Leave them to cool on the baking tray for a while until they have hardened up enough to move to a wire rack.  Be very careful as jam can easily burn you when it is hot.  Definitely, don’t eat these hot from the oven!20160106_131218

 

Munchy Seeds Choccy Ginger

Ingredients: Belgian plain chocolate (Cocoa mass, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Soya lecithin, Natural Vanilla Extract), Sunflower seeds, Diced ginger, Pumpkin seeds, Glazing agents (Gum Arabic, Shellac).

Made in a factory that also handles Milk, Nuts, Peanuts, Sesame seeds & Soya beans.

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I thought that a little pot of these munchy seeds might make a welcome addition to the Allergy Brothers’ packed lunches.  Silly Mummy!  The seeds are very small, which makes them fiddly to pick up and eat.  Time spent eating fiddly seeds in the dining hall is playtime being a superhero wasted!  The Allergy Brothers have politely asked that these are not included in future lunchboxes.

Ah well, I enjoyed the munchy seeds.  They would make a great deluxe topping for porridge or, less classily, can be chugged from the packet.  Vitamin E, Iron, Zinc and Fibre never tasted so good!