My favourite Accidentally Vegan foods

When I first went vegan, my initial reaction was to panic about all the things that I wouldn’t be able to eat anymore.  I had this idea that my days of grabbing a tasty treat off the supermarket shelves were over.  It was easy to think that my grocery shopping was going to be limited to the produce and health food aisles, maybe snagging some tea bags in between.  And for the first few weeks, this is where I shopped.  It was extremely expensive because a lot of the speciality vegan foods are very pricey.  It didn’t occur to me to look in the regular sections of the supermarket and once I did I was pleasantly surprised by all the accidentally vegan foods that I found.

An “accidentally vegan” food is a product that doesn’t contain any animal products even though it’s not specifically marketed as being vegan.  Loads of delicious treats and snackfoods fall into this category, and they’re easy to find if you take your time to check the packaging when you do your shopping.  Today I thought I’d share some of my favourite accidentally vegan foods to show you that you don’t have to stick to the health food aisle when shopping for cruelty free foods.

Kettle salted caramel popcorn: I am a sucker for anything that’s Salted Caramel flavoured, but most of them contain butter.  This delectable popcorn is sweet and salty and is the perfect movie treat.


Pringles- Original and BBQ flavour: It cracks me up that often the BBQ flavoured chips are the ones that tend to be vegan.  Pringles have been vegan for a long time, but they’ve only recently begun labelling their cans with the Vegan sunflower symbol.


Skittles: These fruity lollies have been a favourite of mine for years, so you can imagine how chuffed I was to find out that they don’t contain any animal products.


Arnott’s roast chicken flavoured Shapes: Yet another example of a meat-flavoured snack that is vegan.  Sadly, the vast majority of the Shapes flavours contain milk or cheese.  But these tasty snacks get their flavour from herbs and onion powder.  Plus they taste absolutely scrumptious.


Sour Patch Kids: It’s really difficult to find jelly lollies that don’t contain gelatine or carmine.  But Sour Patch Kids hit the bill and are perfect for the vegan sweet tooth that likes a sour hit.

Arnott’s Lemon Crisp biscuits: Tangy and sweet, these go down a treat with an afternoon cuppa.


Cadbury drinking chocolate: Ironically, while most of Cadbury’s chocolates contain milk, their drinking chocolate has no dairy content.  Which is awesome because it’s probably the yummiest hot chocolate mix on the market.


Massel gravy: In addition to being incredibly delicious, the Massel gravy is probably the easiest instant gravy I’ve ever made.  Just mix a few tablespoons with cold water to form a thick paste, add boiling water and stir vigorously until the gravy thickens.  It’s incredible on roast veggies or tofurkey.

Calippo icy poles: These are an Aussie summer favourite. I always have a pack of these in the freezer for sweltering days.


These are just a few of my accidentally vegan favourites.  As you can imagine, there are still so many choices on the supermarket shelves for vegans if you’re willing to take the time to check the packaging.  I’ll admit, it is a bit time consuming to begin with, but once you’ve found the things that don’t contain animal products you’ll be able to get your shopping done in a jiffy.  There’s no need to miss out on treats and snacks just because you’ve decided to give veganism a whirl.


Do you have any accidentally vegan favourites to add?


Five Fandom Friday: My favourite fictional foods.

Food, glorious food!  How I adore it.  As a big fan of both cooking and eating, food has a very warm place in my heart.  And as such, I am eager to jump in and share with you my list of favourite fictional foods.  It’s a tiny bit tricky to write such a list when you’ve never actually tasted any of the items on offer, but I’m sure I’ll manage with my imagination to assist me!  Spoons at the ready, and bon appetit!


  1. Butterbeer from Harry Potter

I have a very clear idea in my mind of what butterbeer should taste like.  I imagine that it would be warm, creamy with a butterscotch twist topped with Irish Creme.  I have tried a number of butterbeer cocktails, but none of them have quite matched up to this fantastical idea of what a wizard’s favourite brew should be like.


2. Everlasting Gobstoppers from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As a kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was my favourite book.  I used to take it home from the library to read every weekend.  The very notion of such a magical place as Willy Wonka’s factory filled me with an indescribable glee.  As a child who had very little pocket money, I adored the thought that I might be able to buy bag of sweets that never ran out, and so Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers were always a wonderful idea in my eyes.


3. The Flaming Homer from The Simpsons.

I love me a good cocktail, so how could I resist a drink that’s the toast of Springfield?  Made with a dash from every bottle in the liquor cabinet, a splash of Krusty brand cough syrup and then set ablaze, this drink is sure to make you lose your wits (and perhaps also your drumsticks).


4. Bluth’s Frozen Banana from Arrested Development

Sure, I could certainly freeze a banana, then dip it in chocolate and nuts and eat it, but it just wouldn’t be the same as a genuine Bluth’s Frozen Banana.  For one, it wouldn’t come from the Big Yellow Joint, and secondly it wouldn’t be crafted by George Michael “Mr Manager” Bluth.  If I could actually pop down to the banana stand for a treat, I’d be tempted to order the Gob, with so much extra chocolate and nuts you need two sticks to support it.


5. Cheesy Blasters from 30 Rock.

Although they kinda sound like a recipe for a heart-attack, Cheesy Blasters combine all of my favourite junk foods: pizza, hot dogs and copious quantities of melted cheese.  Thanks Meat Cat!

What are your favourite fictional foods?  Are there any I’ve forgotten that you think should have made this list?



Things I love Thursday 5/3/2014

Hello to you, my lovely reader.  I hope that you’ve had a smashing week thus far and that you’re ready to leap forward into another list of things that are awesome.  Let’s go for it!

This week I love:

– The anticipation of going to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen.   Our local cinema is showing The Wizard of Oz as part of their “retro movie” series and I can’t wait.  The Wizard of Oz is my favourite film but I’ve never seen it on the big screen.  This is going to be a wonderful opportunity and I’m super excited.

– Duck watching.  I spent my lunch break on Monday down the lake checking out the antics of the local duck population.  Once the ducks were satisfied that I wasn’t going to share my food with them they settled down and went to sleep, some less than a foot from where I was sitting.  It was so cool to be able to watch them from such a close vantage point.


– This video, because I think it illustrates a really important point that we need to be reminded of occasionally: that the idea of “The Perfect Body” is a social construct which is constantly in flux.  There is no such thing as one perfect body type, all bodies are beautiful and the way we view beauty shifts.  Just because your body type isn’t the current fashion doesn’t mean it isn’t gorgeous.


– Doing the Arrested Development Chicken Dance with  my brother on his birthday.


This Bill Murray key holder.  I would be so chuffed to have Bill Murray hand me my keys every morning.


– Cooler nights.  Blankets on the bed.  Robes in the morning.


– River God by Wilbur Smith. I just started reading this epic tale of love and adventure set in Ancient Egypt.  My gosh, it’s fantastic.  I haven’t been this hooked on a historical fantasy novel since the Game of Thrones series.


– Compliments


– Grandfather clocks


– Peanut butter Tim Tams


– Eating a pomegranate roughly with my hands, which become stained a deep red.


– Taking a step closer to securing a spot at one of our best local craft markets.


What do you love this week?  Drop a comment with your own list of Thursday loveliness.

Sweet potato fritters recipe.

Wow, it’s been ages since I posted a recipe on my blog. I’m trying really hard to get back into cooking this year in a bid to eat a bigger range of foods.  I’m also trying out some different ways to cook some of my favourite vegetables, to include a bit more variety in my diet.

One of the most delicious vegies around is the humble sweet potato. Not only does it taste great, but it’s low in fat and sodium, it contains loads of vitamins (B6, A and C to name a couple) and is a rich source of potassium.  It is also low GI, which means that it will give you sustained energy and keep you feeling full longer.

I usually serve my sweet potatoes as chips or roast them in the oven for a delicious side dish.  But last week I decided to have a go at creating some pan-fried sweet potato parcels.  These yummy fritters are so easy to make, they are vegan and gluten free and they taste scrumptious.  I like to serve mine as a side with pan-fried tofu or some salmon.  They also go down a treat when slapped between a bun and layered with salad and a slice of cheese for a delicious burger.

You can make the mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours until you are ready to cook it.  This recipe makes about 6 patties.  You might also like to adjust the spices and herbs used to suit your own tastes.

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Sweet potato fritters (makes 6)


2 cups sweet potato

4 spring onions

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds

1 teaspoon parsley

1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil.


– Peel and dice the sweet potato and cook in a pot of boiling water until soft.

– Using a fork, mash the sweet potato and set aside.

– Finely slice the spring onions and add to the mashed sweet potato, along with the spices.

– Heat the oil in a frying pan.

– Using your hands, roll the sweet potato mixture into balls.  Each ball should use about 1-2 tablespoons of mixture.  You can adjust the size of the fritters if you wish.

– Place the fritters in the frying pan over a medium heat.  Use a spatula to press the fritters flat in the pan.  Cook until browned, and then flip and cook on the other side.

– Serve and enjoy!

If you wish, you might like to add an egg to the mixture to help it to bind together a bit better.  You may also like to add some other vegetables, such as peas or diced carrot, to the mixture to change the flavour.

Let me know if you’d like to see more recipes on the blog.  I’d be happy to share my cooking exploits if you’re interested.

Things I love Thursday 15/1/2015

Yippee!  What a magical week it’s been!  I’m ready to chuck myself headlong into my weekly love list.


This week I love:

– Starting my new job.  While it’s been great to have time off to recharge and relax, it is awesome to be back at work.


– Taking a massive leap and having it pay off.  A few months back I submitted an article to one of my favourite magazines, and this week I received word that they are actually going to publish it.  To say that I am thrilled would be a massive understatement!  I couldn’t be more excited.  The publication date is still a while off yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know when we’re getting closer.


-Stuffed capsicums.  I made these bad boys last week and they were extremely delicious.  I changed the recipe a bit to add more vegetables and they were totally awesome.  I can’t wait to make them again and experiment with different fillings.


– Waking up with a cat on either side of me first thing in the morning. It’s lovely to get smothered in hugs before you’ve even climbed out of bed.


– Cups of tea with my mum.


– St Vincent.  My Dad insisted that we all go to the movies to see this new Bill Murray film and I’m so glad that he did.  It was not at all what I’d been expecting.  I’d thought it would be a fairly slapstick comedy with a few heartwarming moments.  Although there were plenty of laughs, this film went a lot deeper and dealt with some pretty heavy issues, such as ageing, mental illness, the plight of carers, violence and death.  In spite of the heavy subject matter, I left the cinema feeling light as a feather.  Truly it was a great film.


– Awesome post-Christmas surprises from my friends.  I opened a package from the lovely Nina to find this super-amazing Game of Thrones Christmas card inside.  How hilarious!

In addition to the kick-arse card, Nina also sent me this adorable pendant featuring a picture of the 10th Doctor cuddling a kitten.  It’s been on my wish-list for ages and I can’t wait to show it off to everyone.  The pendant is from Nina’s store, Le Fancy Geek Boutique, which is stocked with all manner of geeky treats.  There are pretty pendants featuring your favourite characters from Parks and Rec, Disney, Dr Who, Marvel, Once Upon a Time and Game of Thrones, just to name a few.  If you’re looking for a Galentines Day gift for a geeky friend (or something cute for yourself) I’d definitely recommend taking a look.


– Planning a tie-dying session.  I’ve been stocking up on slips and camisoles from the op shop and I’m planning on spending an afternoon dying them wild colours.  It’s going to be pretty psychedelic.


– Cool showers.


– Elderberry tea.


– Feeling happy in my own skin.


– Awesome messages from awesome people.


– Raw cacao powder.  At the risk of sounding like a hipster, this stuff is totes amazeballs.  I like adding it to my smoothies or sprinkling it on some mashed banana for an intense chocolatey hit.


– Listening to Fleetwood Mac during a thunderstorm.  Perfect weather for a bit of Stevie.


What do you love this week?  Share your awesomeness in the comments!

5 Fandom Friday: My favourite things about Winter.

It’s more than a little bit ironic that I’m writing this post in front of the blasting air-conditioner while outside it’s a scorching 40 degrees.  Ah well, it’s time to cast my mind forward to icy days and chilly nights and thing about my favourite things about Winter.


1. Cozy knitwear


As a total yarn-a-holic, I can’t help but list knitwear as my number 1 Winter love.  I adore wrapping up in a cozy jumper and a silly hat and braving the elements.  I scour the op-shops months before the weather begins to turn cold so that I have a great collection of jumpers to wear as soon as the first chilly morning hits.


2. Layering on the blankets



Few things make me feel cozier than a pile of squashy blankets to cuddle up under.  When the wind is howling outside, I love to wrap myself in a crocheted blanket to watch a movie or read a book.  And in Winter my bed more closely resembles a nest with all the blankets and quilts I pile onto it.


3. Endless pots of tea



Although you can drink tea at any time during the year, in Winter it’s particularly warming.  I stock up on many different varieties and make endless pots of Oolong, Earl Grey, Melbourne Breakfast and Jasmine White to get me through those cold days.



4. Night time walks

There is something pretty magical about bundling yourself up in all your coats and scarves and going out for a night time walk in winter.  It sounds a bit mental, but it’s actually amazing.  I like to go at about 11pm, and there is nobody else around.  The sky is dark and the air is just so clear and crisp.  I feel like I’m the only one on the planet and I go home with a head full of ideas and a heart full of happiness.


5. Comfort food


Winter is definitely the season for good food.  One of my favourite ways to warm up is to cloister myself in my kitchen and whip up some serious comfort food. Soups, stews, curries, cakes, cookies and puddings are all perfect winter foods.  They’re deliciously warming, and they leave you feeling happy and satisfied.


What are your favourite things about Winter?  Leave your own list in the comments or send me a link to your own 5 Fandom Friday post.

Things I love *ahem* Wednesday 24/12/2014

I know what you’re thinking.  “Vanessa, it isn’t Thursday yet, why are you doing a Things I Love post on a Wednesday?”

Well, the simple reason is that tomorrow is Thursday and it’s also Christmas Day.  So I thought I would give myself a break from blogging and do my Things I Love post on Wednesday just for this week.

So, let’s get started shall we?

This week I love:

– Not shaving my legs.  Don’t get me wrong, I like having smooth legs in summer.  But I’m also sick of razor burn and the itchiness when my leg hair grows out. So for now I’m experimenting with not shaving.  So far, so good.

– Eggnog.  It’s the perfect Christmassy drink.

– Sparkling apple juice and gin and tonic on a hot night.  Refreshing and delicious.

– Baking gingerbread.  This year I tried out some fancy new cookie cutters, and had very mixed results.  The cookies tasted amazing, but the shapes didn’t turned out the way I’d planned.

This was supposed to be a candy cane, but turned out looking more like Mr Hanky, the Christmas Poo from South Park.

Ironically, the shapes that turned out the best were these dinosaurs: the only non-Christmas shape I made.  Oh well, at least these looked cute.  And my friends had a blast trying to guess what shapes the cookies were supposed to be.

– Catching up with good friends before Christmas and sharing stories, a cup of tea and some delicious sausage rolls.

– The Muppets.  Today, tomorrow and always.

– Chunky rings.

-Having Jelly join in with my yoga practice.  I call this pose “Reclining Rainbow”

– Getting hugs and kisses from all the old ladies at church.

– Attending a funeral for the wife of one of my old work colleagues.  Although it’s never nice to attend a funeral, this one was so beautiful.  The church was full to the brim, so much so that I had to sit up on a balcony.  In all of my twenty eight years, I’ve never been onto any of the balconies in that church.  The family of the woman who had passed told such beautiful stories about her and it was a really uplifting and positive service.

– My new Slinky shirt.  I bought this as a Christmas present for myself from Pulp Kitchen and I just love it.  They make some of the best tee shirts ever.

– Watching my cats snuggle each other in a rare spirit of friendliness.

– Stringing up Christmas lights in my bedroom.  Originally it was just going to be for decoration during the Christmas season, but my room look so magical that I think I’m going to have to leave them up all the time.

– Surprise packages in the mail from awesome friends.

What do you love this week sweetheart?  I’d be chuffed to read all about the things that are bringing joy to your world this week.

Also, I must wish you all a Merry Christmas.  I hope that the end of the year is somewhat relaxing, and that you have a chance to celebrate in your own way.  Look after yourselves and have a lovely Christmas.