Friday, 9 December 2016

My favourite way to eat left over chips.

What's that I hear you say, left over chips?  Surely such a thing doesn't happen, you eat up all your yummy chips as soon as they pop out of the fryer/oven/takeaway.  But surprisingly sometimes there are left over chips, and this is how I like to eat them up.

My favourite way to eat left over chips. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #loveyourleftovers #chips #vegancooking

Chop the chips up roughly into bite size pieces.

Heat a frying pan and spray in a couple of squirts of oil.

Put the chopped chips into the pan, with a good sprinkle of paprika and
a finely chopped clove of garlic.

Fry for about 5 minutes, add a chopped spring onion for the last minute.

That's it.  Easy peasy, I like to eat it for brunch! 


My favourite way to eat left over chips. By UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #veganblogger #ukveganblogger #loveyourleftovers #chips #vegancooking


How do you use up your left over chips?  (if you ever have any, haha!)





Tuesday, 6 December 2016

What I've been reading.

Here's what I've been reading recently, lovely library books and some second hand finds too,

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Dumplin' - Julie Murphy
Oh I loved Dumplin'.  Dumplin' is a self proclaimed fat girl from Texas, a high school student with a job in a fast food joint and a mother who runs a teen beauty pagent.  When her aunt dies, Dumplin' enters the beauty pagent and confonts lots of her own (and others) beliefs about her body (thoughts that ring true to me, as someone who is currently plus sized, but who felt fat even as a size 10!).  There's also a brooding, hot co-worker, high school friendships and Dolly Parton.  Read it!

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Royal Wedding - Meg Cabot
This is the 11th book in the Princess Diaries series we probably all remember from our teenagery times.  In fact I found the whole collection of Princess Diaries books in a charity shop for 30p each and re-read them in preparation for reading Royal Wedding.  This 11th installment picks up the same characters in their twenties, it's nice to see where they all end up, and there's the promised royal wedding.  Perfect comfort reading.

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Hag-seed - Margaret Atwood
Oooh this is a clever book, as all Margaret Atwood books tend to be.  Hag-seed is a retelling of the Tempest, set in the unlikely (but workable!) world of a prison theatre group. I love Shakespeare and I love Margaret Atwood and I loved this book! 

Book reviews by uk book blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Dumplin, Royal Wedding, Hag-Seed, Craft for the Soul, lovely library books and secondhand books. #bookreview #librarybooks #ukblogger #ukbookblogger

Craft for the Soul - Pip Lincolne
Craft for the Soul is a nice self-help style book to help you live a happy and creative life.  It's nothing ground breaking, but I found it full of gentleness, inspiration and nice ideas.  I love the craft section at the back too.

What have you been reading?  

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Life lately, autumn 2016.

So, it's been pretty quiet on the old blogging front for the last few months.

The last few weeks have been the worst.  A couple of weeks ago I had a miscarriage, I was 11 weeks pregnant.  I *knew* I was pregnant since the day I was (I just felt it), so I had nearly 3 months to dream and hope and plan.  We were planning on telling everyone after the 12 week scan, but I've ended up telling pretty much everyone our different news, as I've been such a weepy, hormonal mess.  Miscarriage totally sucks and it's hurty and my heart's broken.  It was a really scary, traumatic experience and I'm really fed up of feeling poorly!  

But.  During those 11 weeks my body did something magic and made a tiny creature (my body also felt very very sick a lot!  And so sleepy.), and I was so happy and excited, and the way I think about so many things changed, and I fell even more in love with my husband.  I wouldn't ever take back those weeks of being pregnant.  Maybe this will be my only, short, experience of carrying a baby, and I don't want to feel bitter about it.  But I wish with all my heart it had turned out differently.  


Anyway, I'm trying to focus on nice, positive things and getting back to some kind of normality, so here's what else I've been up to these last few months,

Watching - all of the Netflix, the new seasons of Arrow and Flash, we saw Dr Strange at the cinema, and very good it was too.

Reading - so much comfort reading, I bought the entire series of Princess Diaries for 30p each in a charity shop, so I've been working my way through them.  I've just started Margaret Atwood's Hagseed too, I love a bit of Margaret Atwood! 

Home renovating - The kitchen cupboards are (almost!) in!  The quote for the stainless steel worktop was £3000!!!! We're going to have a plain white one instead!  Our new massive wardrobe with a slide-y door from IKEA is a thing of wonder.

Weddinging - My mum married her partner last month, ending a 12 month period where my brother, me and our mum all got married!  The wedding was lovely but that's enough weddings for now!

Auntie-ing - I was chief bridesmaid at mum's wedding, my main job being in charge of my neices.  I had a handbag full of distracting toys so each time they looked like they were making a break towards clinging to mum's legs (their location of choice!) I was on hand to offer Peppa pig colouring books/toy mice/bubbles/tiaras/dollies and so on.  Needless to say I didn't see much of the wedding!  


Printing - I went on a lino printing course, I printed a snail, it was so good!  When we sort our garden craft shed we're definitely having lino printing supplies in there!  We were taught by a local artist called Amanda Hillier, check out her prints, we were so lucky to be able to be taught by her!

Playing - a lot of words with friends with my mum! 

Buying - we bought a new mattress, funnily enough husband wasn't happy sleeping on the double mattress I've had since I was 15.  New mattress is king sized and so high I might need to buy a step to help me get into bed!

Being scared - by the American election results!

Working - the date we have to reapply  for our jobs keeps getting pushed further and further back, we'll be in December before we can submit our applications!  I'm doing some super fun freelance writing for a vegan leather brand that I'm really enjoying.

Guiding - My Rainbow Guide unit has closed and merged with another due to lack of adult helpers, I'm sad because I loved my little Rainbow unit.  I'm going to help at the unit we've merged with, hope it's nice there too!

Looking forward to - thank goodness that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, AND the new Gilmore Girls are both nearly out.  I'm realllly looking forward to both of them!  I can't wait for our traditional visit to Birmingham's Christmas market either.   

Blogging - well, I haven't really been blogging, but I will!  


Hope you've had a good autumn and have been finding lots of crunchy leaves to stomp through and making yourselves into blanket burritos and snuggling up! 


 
 


Friday, 28 October 2016

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016.

I have to hang my head in shame and admit I've neglected the garden (again!) this month.  I think I've been out there once all month, whoopsy!

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden


Having said that the garden isn't looking toooo bad, I've used a clever camera angle to cut out most of the mess though!

I even have some flowers still going! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

And my sweetcorn, minipops, is growing little cobs.  I planted it super late so I'm hoping to get a super late harvest before the frosts hit.

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

I'm not asking why the lettuce I planted in summer is only growing now, I'm just excited to be eating home grown lettuce in October!  This is my front garden raised bed, I cleared the fridge out and found lots of tiny garlic cloves we hadn't eaten so I planted them.  You can see them on the right of the raised bed, they've all grown so I'm hoping for bulbs in the spring!


Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

I've had a few ripe tomatoes from the tiny tim variety I planted from seed.  Only one san marzano tomato ripened, even though the plant had loads of tomatoes on it! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Look how beautifully red my blueberry bushes have gone.

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

My best garden thing this month is my raspberries.  I think I said before that I was letting the branches flop over to hide the berries from birds.  This has worked really well and the berries have been huge and delicious! 

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

Diary of a suburban, edible garden, October 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #gardening #subrbangarden

How's your garden this month?





Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Vegan review, Vegan Life Magazine.

Vegan Life Magazine is my favourite magazine, I'm always so happy when my next digital copy pings up on my laptop!   I thought I'd show you a little peek at October's issue.

The cover always has something really, really yummy looking on it!

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

You can check out the vegan diary to see if there are any fun events going on near you.

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

One of my fave sections is the vegan finds page, I love finding exciting new vegan friendly products!

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

There's a monthly feature to give you ideas on how to use the contents of your veg box.  I don't get a veg box delivered, but there's still lots of inspiration for how to use up seasonal fruit and veg.

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

Each issue contains a few interesting and well balanced articles.  I liked this one about teaching animal rights.  

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

And I'll just leave you with this carrot cake pancake stack, the recipe is in October's issue of Vegan Life! 

October's issue of Vegan Life Magazine reviewed.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganlifemagazine #veganblog

Don't forget to check out my other posts about Vegan Life Magazine too!


Disclosure - I get a digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine in return for giving them a shout out every month.  I only work with brands I like and all opinions and ideas are my own.  Images in this blog post are courtesy of and belong to Vegan Life Magazine.  Vegan Life Mag is ace, you can subscribe here.


Friday, 7 October 2016

How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food.

Now it's officially autumn it's officially time for comfort food!  Yey!

This vegan potato and lentil bake is my take on one of my Mum's vegan recipes.  We call it Monday Bake because Mum would cook it on Sunday night in the oven with the Sunday dinner then reheat it to eat on Monday after we'd all had a busy day at work and school.

I still call it Monday Bake, although it can be eaten any day of the week, and it's even good zapped in the microwave at work for lunch too.

How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #comfortfood #vegan #veganrecipe #veganblog
 
You will need
2 large carrots
3 medium sweet potatoes
6 medium potatoes
2 leeks
3 cloves garlic
6 handfuls fresh spinach, or a couple of handfuls of frozen spinach
2/3 cereal bowl of red lentils
a little oil
2 oxo cubes.

Steaming pan
ovenproof dish
bowl
jug

serves 6 (you can make it in a big huge oven dish, or split it into smaller dishes to store or freeze)

How to make your yummy vegan lentil and potato bake

Put the kettle on, or get some water boiling in the steamer pan.

First slice all the root veg into slices about half a centimetre or so thick.  Peel any veg you think needs peeling, but I usually make do with giving everything a good scrub.  Mix up the sliced veg and add it to the steaming baskets, then steam until they're soft.

Put the red lentils in the cereal bowl, and top up with water, just to soak them and help speed up the cooking time.

While the veg is steaming, cut the leeks up into fine slices, then fry in a little oil until they're soft and a bit caramelised.  Add the garlic, sliced or crushed, about 5 minutes before the leeks are finished.

Roughly chop the spinach.

Make up some vegetable stock, I do about 500ml boiling water with 2 veg oxo cubes.

Ok, so that's your prep all done and you're ready to layer up the bake then bake it! 

Put a layer of the leeks in the bottom of your dish, then a layer of lentils, then a layer of spinach, then a layer of the potato, sweet potato and carrot slice mixture.  Pour a little stock on to just cover the layers.  Carry on building layers until the dish is full up, or you've run out of mixture! 

Pop the dish in the oven to bake, about 200 degrees for an hour.  If you use a glass dish you can see all the layers and keep an eye on the lentils to let you know when it's cooked, if they're still orange and hard looking it needs more time! 

After an hour you can eat it, or let it cool and fridge or freeze it.  It's waaay better eaten the day after, the flavours get better the longer you leave it.  And it's best served with homemade garlic bread! 


How to make vegan potato and lentil bake, the perfect autumnal comfort food. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #comfortfood #vegan #veganrecipe #veganblog
 


   

 

Friday, 30 September 2016

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016.

I've had a few little bits and bobs of pickings to pick in my garden this month.  

I was really happy to get my first patty pan squash, it's only little but it's cute.  I'm not sure how to eat it though, any ideas?

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

I had my first cherry tomatoes (from plants grown from seed, variety 'Tiny Tim' and my first San Marzano tomato too. 

The tomatoes in the paper bag and the cucumber came to me as a kind gift from one of the lovely housebound ladies I choose library books for at work, we write letters to each other about our gardens so she knows I've not had much in the way of tomatoes this year!

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

My first pepper ripened too!  The variety is 'lipstick pepper' and they're a sweet pepper I've been growing in my conservatory since spring.

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

Another first, the first raspberries.  These are 'autumn bliss', and the berries seem so big and delicious this year.

My suburban garden harvest, September 2016. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #harvest #suburbangardening

So, not a massive harvest, but enough to keep me a happy bunny!


How has your garden been this month?  Have you had lots to harvest?


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Photo an hour, September 2016.

This month's photo an hour day was Saturday 24th.
Photo an hour in organised by Jane and Louisa, anyone can join in and post their hourly photos on social media throughout the day tagging them #photoanhour.  Why don't you join in next time?
Here are my photos,
8am - Bit of a grey day, I'm getting up and ready for work.


9am - On my way to work, where I didn't take any photos.


2pm - Oh the joy of coming home and tipping the bin over to retrieve your parcel! 


3pm - I'm trying to re-watch the whole of the Gilmore Girls before the new series!


6pm - Sooo, I may have had a nap!  And then watched Jem on Netflix.


7pm - It's really autumn, I have socks on! 


8pm - Sometimes only toastie soldiers will do, my last photo of the night, I had a pretty early night and read in bed.


This time last year I was also at work.  The photos from last September make me miss my library, it's all changed now.  Half of the library is now an IT suite with 60 PCs in for the school to use (it's a shared building with a library, gym, school, etc in it) and we're getting ready for the library to stop being a council run library and start being a 'community library' run by volunteers, so I won't work there for much longer (but my job's safe til January, I'll just be sent to another branch, and hope I get a job once we've reapplied for them!).  And our house is so different too, I thought our pink bedroom wall was new, but Joe painted it a year ago!  
 
Did you join in this month?   Let me know if you did, I'd love to have a nosey at your day!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016.

This month my strawberries have put out loads of runners and I've been trying to tame them!  There are a couple of strawb plants in each end of my front garden raised bed and they've put out a crazy amount of runners.  I've been training them downwards, into the gravel on the drive and round the base of the raised bed - I hope they'll grow happily there and I'll get a bumper crop of strawberries next year!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

Down the side of the house my herbs and fruit are growing well.  I'm about to chop that apple tree to a knee height stub, as recommended in the book 'Grow a Tiny Fruit Tree'.  It's a bit nerve wracking so I keep putting it off!  But if I'm brave and cut it soon (I've missed the time for summer pruning, but apparently I can do it in winter too) the tree should never get higher than head height, so I won't need a ladder to pick the fruit.
Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

My Autumn Bliss raspberries are doing really good, they're in their second year now.  I re-watched Alys Fowler's Edible Garden series on YouTube and she said to leave them to flop over, rather than staking them upright.  When they're flopped over the leaves hide the ripe berries from the birds, which means more for you!   It's working so far!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

I planted this kale last year and it's taken it ages to get going, but I think I might actually get to eat some kale from it soon!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing.  secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

I've been doing a bit of winter sowing and planting.  I've sown some greens, perpetual spinach, chard, red beet leaves, dinosaur kale and red kale, I think I may be woefully late but all my spring and summer sowings failed and I'm desperate for some homegrown leafy greens!  If the worst comes to the worst I'll resow in spring, but I'm hoping for a bit more sun to get these seeds started!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

I also bought some pretty bulbs and some reduced seeds (50p per packet!).  I'll plant the bulbs now and the seeds in the spring.

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

I've not had a great year for tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins or pattypans - I've had hardly any!  All my tomato plants have been grown from seed and they've all been weedy and horrible looking and only given me one or two toms per plant.  I usually grow tomatoes in this lovely butlers sink, but they're just not happy there!  Every flower on the plant on the right has shrivelled up and gone brown, and the plant on the left has given me one fairly small tomato!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

This is my most best and biggest tomato plant, a san marzano also grown from seed, it seems super happy here by the conservatory wall and has grown so big it blocks the path.  There are quite a few tomatoes on it, but they're all green so far. 

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

And here's the whole garden.  I have a lot of weeding to do!  But I'm happy with the evening primrose that's popped up!

Diary of a suburban food garden, September 2016. My front garden raised bed, tiny fruit trees, and winter sowing. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardening #suburbangarden #polyculture #ediblegarden

How's your garden this month?





Monday, 12 September 2016

Make one small change, save your own seed.

Making one small change at a time can make becoming eco friendly loads easier.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Make one small change, save your own seed. secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #seedsaving #gardening

Saving seeds from the fruit, vegetable and flowery plants in your garden is good for lots of reasons.  You get seeds for free.  You can share or swap your seeds with your friends.  You help preserve heritage or rare varieties of plants.  By saving seed from plants that are happy in your garden, strong ones with a good crop, you get seed that will be planted and grow up happy in the unique conditions present in your garden.  If you're favourite variety stops being sold, you have your own supply!  You won't be giving you pennies to questionable big agricultural companies.

You can't save seed from plants you've grown using seed labelled F1 or hybrid, you have to buy those kinds every year.  If you want to save seed you need to go for open pollinated or heritage varieties.

There's no better beginners guide to saving seed than the free one available on the Real Seeds website.  So far this year I've saved seed from my chives, and calendula plants!

Do you save seed?

Don't forget to check out my other small changes to help you live a greener life!