Hello beautiful kittens! How are you? It’s the Spring Bank Holiday, meaning that many in the UK had a Monday off: I’m one of those lucky people and it’s been lovely being able to have a little rest, mostly reading and spending some time in the garden (but not too long because it’s really warm). And I didn’t post yesterday, but I’m here to propose a Recipe-Sunday-on-a-Monday! As the weather has been really sunny, I have been eating more fruit and salads, so here is one recipe I love making, a Wild Rice and Watercress Salad by TheVegSpace.
250 g pack microwaveable Long Grain & Wild Rice
8 asparagus spears cut into two pieces
5 radishes finely sliced
1 spring onion finely sliced
60 g watercress
25 g parsley finely chopped
1 lemon juice only
3 tablespoon french dressing
2 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
Cook the rice according to packet instructions, then tip into a large bowl and spread around to cool.
Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, and add the asparagus. Cook for 3 minutes until just turning tender. Drain and add to the bowl with the rice.
Add all the remaining ingredients, and toss together until everything is fully coated with the dressing. Taste and season with a little salt if required.
Divide between two plates and serve immediately. (NB. If you are preparing this in advance, eg, to take to work in a lunchbox, leave the lemon juice and dressing off until you are about to eat it, or else the watercress will turn soggy and unpleasant).
Hello beauties! Are you enjoying your weekend? Here, it’s just been a lovely one, went to a local market yesterday with many nice local artisans. And I couldn’t believe it, but there were two stands totally vegan! While I am doing the Limpia at the moment, I had to take a couple of things from both of them and put them in the freezer so that I’ll be able to enjoy them after I finish the cleanse. And they should be back for another market in a few months. Really looking forward to it! As I am currently not eating things like pasta, bread, pasta, etc. I wanted something sweet that I could enjoy now and these Healthier Vegan Flapjacks by LazyCatKitchen are just perfect! Can have them for breakfast or for a quick snack. So, here is the recipe.
120 g / ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
Preheat the oven to 170° C / 340° F (no fan) oven and line a 20 cm / 8″ square baking tin (or similar) with baking paper.
Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in a mixing bowl, until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. I like to use a wire whisk for that.
Next, mix in well mashed banana, baking soda and salt.
Finally add in the oats. Stir until all the oats are evenly coated in the mixture and the ‘dough’ is sticky but not overly wet – if it’s too wet, add a little bit more oats (this can happen especially when using cups to measure the oats).
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tray. Compress the mixture really well to make sure the bars hold together after baking – using an upside down glass is a good way.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the oats start turning golden brown around the edges but resist the temptation to overbake as it will make the bars dry and crumbly.
Remove from the oven, compress the bars lightly again while warm.
OPTIONAL: Melt the chocolate over a water bath if using. Drizzle over the cooled bars.
Allow the bars to cool down completely and allow the chocolate topping to set before cutting with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to a week.
Hello beautiful kittens, I hope you are well! Here it is all good, just working away and juggling the various aspects of life: work, partner, looking after a lovely cat, trying to maintain a social life, looking to buy a house and getting ripped by the banking system, etc. Yes, this post is not going to be nice and fluffy.
Lately, I have been experiencing some issues with my mental health: I don’t want to say that I am depressed, but certainly, all that is going on in the world, doesn’t help.
In the past
Before lockdown, I just wanted to work in libraries. My first career was in a legal firm: I understood that I didn’t want to do it after a couple of months working as a trainee in a legal firm – had to work with solicitors, deal with clients and go to court. It was a cutthroat career and I felt it wasn’t for me.
Then I moved to the UK and the only jobs I could get were in hospitality: a restaurant and then a very popular pub in a small town. Have you ever worked in hospitality? If yes, you know it has many pros, like being able to leave work issues outside of your life. But it has many cons: from difficult shifts (in one of the places I had to clock in at 3am, having to get up at 2am) to having to deal with the weird requests of customers that never seem to be happy even if you bring them exactly what they want.
However, the main issue with hospitality, as a vegan, is that you have to serve dead animals – and you can’t say anything! Also, the chaos. The total chaos coming from not only customers but also staff and management. I didn’t mind the interaction with customers, but it wasn’t an easy task. And some of the staff/management were quite undermining and also the little groups that used to form where management used to give better shifts to their friends.
So there I was, looking for another career change: something that wouldn’t involve serving carcasses and would seek some more calm in the day.
On the library path
Looking at job offers, I saw that there were quite a lot involving libraries and that seemed to just be perfect! No dead animals, a quiet place, books. Since I was a little girl, I loved reading and libraries: once, when I was a teenager, my aunt took my cousin and I on a tour of some libraries and that was one great day: my cousin didn’t enjoy it much (her being more of a “disco girl”) but I LOVED it! I also saw that there was a university postgraduate course on Libraries and Information Studies and I thought I could do it: just a great decision, as I made many friends and it helped me get my first library job as a Library Assistant in a public library.
I really loved it – helping people find the right books as well as helping when they had IT issues. At some point, my coursemates from the university were working on an additional qualification, the Chartership from CILIP (Chartered Institute of Libraries and Information Professionals): as part of the work toward this, one has to choose some skills to improve, such as cataloguing, leadership skills, archiving etc. In the library I was working in, there was a local studies and archive department too and I was very much interested in it so I got some training from the Local Studies Librarian. Little did I know that this would have been my next step in my library career! Local Studies meant research and organising events and promoting the library services. It seemed unreal I could land such a cool job. Next thing I know, I got an interview for when the Local Studies Librarian retired…and I got the job! I couldn’t believe my luck.
When I started on this new venture, I was so excited: tried to learn as much as I could, attended conferences, webinars and online courses (yes, I love to learn new things) while working and doing research. However, the desk from where I am working is in a public room that people use to access public PCs in the library and this means that when people have some issues with IT they’re going to ask me. And it happens a lot. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love helping people and it is great being able to answer queries. Although not in my job description, I set up a day at the end of the week to help people that need more help with computers, tablets and phones, as 1-to-1 sessions that are totally free. And it makes me happy when people come to my sessions and you can see the progress they’re making and all.
To be honest though, I am one of those people that really loved working from home: I was doing research, organised online courses and I was experimenting with some creative ways to promote our resources using graphic design. And it was working really well. Until we were required to “go back”. With other colleagues, we have tried to tell upper management that working from home would be much more beneficial to conduct our tasks – especially for research and statistics, even having 2 days working from home, where we could perform said tasks from home and be able to dedicate the three days at the library for events and courses. Nothing. Change won’t come from them. They are actually asking us to do more hours, with less staff and without a real need to do so. Just because they want to go back to “before”.
Change is not happening
How mental can this be? The pandemic showed that for some professions it is possible working from home: my team has shown that we can do research from home while organising events and providing services for the community.
Some organisations are also experimenting with a 4-day week and we got an email saying that our managers were considering this – a few weeks later another email arrived to say that they did consider this but didn’t think it would work for our service. I’m sure they thought about that a lot…not.
In the past, people were working 6 days per week, if not 7. But things changed. Whether we want it or not.
With another colleague, we applied for flexible working: despite being totally supported by our line managers, both applications were rejected.
Upper management wants us always available to people for as much time as possible.
Change won’t happen with the current management.
For the introverts
This is really difficult to cope with as an introvert: the interruptions from patrons and staff really drain my mental energy.
During lockdown, I used to get up at 6:30am, go for a run, do around 30-45minutes of yoga, have a shower, make breakfast and be ready for work by 8:55am. Then, after work, I went for a long walk, prepare dinner, clean a bit, write and read.
Now I barely manage to get out of bed for 7:30am, do 10-15min of yoga, shower, wear work clothes, have breakfast and go to work to then come back, prepare dinner and sit on the sofa for the rest of the evening. I manage some cleaning once a week and on another day I try to write. It is more and more difficult to read. It seems that I am just drained.
Similarly, it’s so difficult to maintain a social life: I see my friends once every couple of months and it takes me that time to recharge and go out again. Even answering texts is such a strain: I haven’t replied to a friend since November and I feel really bad about this, but then time is passing and it’s always more awkward answering which makes it even more straining – it’s a vicious circle.
I feel that there is a domino effect in action with me being tired because of work and it affects my personal life.
A 4-day week would already be a start, but the best option for me would be working 3 days from home and 2 at the library. Is it mad? Maybe for a pre-pandemic society, but not to the current one.
I love my job as I enjoy the research aspect and organising new events. All doable from home. Then 2 days dedicated to the more customer-related tasks. Sometimes I look at job alerts, and think if I could change my job: but the position I currently am is pretty sweet, with good colleagues, supportive line managers and a sugarload of research. And there are no job that are similar to mine that are also fully remote.
When I go to work I feel I am alone in this sentiment and it seems that all my colleagues are coping much better than I am. But then I go to Instagram and Twitter and I see that there are actually many people that feel the same and I am a bit less alone in this struggle.
If you are in the same situation, know that I am with you. I send you all the support. We can do it: we will find a way. Whether it’s changing jobs or finding a new balance in our current positions or another creative solution.
And maybe it will be us who will help change the system.
Hey kitties! How are you today? It’s been such a long week at work, every day has been busy and my SAD is kicking in. So I needed something good and comforting to keep my spirits high and here we go, I found this recipe by chance and it was exactly was I was looking for! Easy, quick, and absolutely delicious. I couldn’t find a website attached to the YouTube channel, hence I am linking to the video of the recipe for Potatoes and Spinach by WeCookVegan.
3 potatoes 250g
250gr (9oz) spinach
300 gr (11oz) extra firm tofu
150ml (5fl oz) dairy free milk of your choice and preference
3tbsp nutritional yeast 2tbsp potato starch
1/2tbsp veg bouillon powder
1/4tsp turmeric powder
1tbsp fresh parsley
1/2tsp dijon mustard
Dice 3 potatoes.
Pour water and add a little bit of salt. Boil potatoes until fork tender.
Add 1tbsp of water to a deep frying pan. Transfer 250g (9oz) spinach to the pan and wilt. Stir occasionally.
When the spinach will start to shrink and release some water, turn off the heat and drain water.
Add potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Mix potatoes with spinach and set aside.
Time to make tofu mixture. Transfer 300g (11oz) extra firm tofu into a bowl. Pour 150ml (5fl oz) dairy free milk Add 3tbsp nutritional yeast, 2tbsp potato starch, 1/2tbsp veg bouillon powder and 1/4tsp turmeric powder. Blend it well altogether. Chop 1tbsp fresh parsley and add to tofu mixture. Add 1/2tsp dijon mustard. Stir well until all the ingredients are combined.
Pour tofu mixture into potatoes and spinach. Combine well together.
Crumple up the parchment paper in your hands, like a snowball to make it softer. Cover the baking dish (recipe calls for a baking dish size 20x5cm | 8x2inch) and transfer the mixture to the baking dish: spread potato, tofu and spinach mixture evenly. Top up with sliced in half cherry tomatoes (optional).
Bake in the preheated oven at 390F | 200C for 30 minutes or until golden and firm in the centre.
Hello kittens! Last week I was away all day on Sunday and didn’t manage to share any recipes with you, but today I have a delicious one that it’s great in every season: Vegan Welsh Cakes by DomesticGothess. I already mentioned them in this post, but haven’t shared the whole recipe. They are so easy and quick that during lockdown I have made them before work! And they work great for breakfast and for snacking. I am sure you’ll like them!
225 g (1 ¾ cups + 2 Tbsp) self-raising flour (or plain flour plus 1 tsp baking powder)
½ tsp mixed spice (pumpkin spice)
110 g (4oz / ½ cup) vegan block butter (Naturli Vegan Block or Stork block) cold and cubed
85 g (⅓ cup + 1 Tbsp) caster (superfine) sugar plus extra for dusting
65 g (2 ⅓ oz) sultanas or currants
2-4 Tbsp non-dairy milk
Place the flour and mixed spice (and baking powder if using plain flour) in a bowl and stir to combine.
Add the cold cubed butter and rub in using your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and no lumps of fat remain.
Add the sugar and sultanas or currants and stir through.
Gradually stir in enough milk to bring the mixture together into a ball of dough. Be careful not to add too much, it should be soft but not sticky.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 5mm/¼in thick. Cut it into rounds using a 6.5cm/2 ½in to 7.5cm/3in fluted cutter.
Bring the scraps together gently and roll out again to cut out more rounds.
Place a cast iron griddle or heavy bottomed frying pan over a low-medium heat and brush with a small amount of butter. Place some caster sugar in a bowl for dusting.
Cook a few Welsh cakes at a time until golden, about 3 minutes. Then carefully flip them over and cook for about 3 minutes more until golden on both sides and cooked through. They firm up as they cool. Keep a close eye on them, they can go from golden to burnt very quickly!
It can be tricky to get the pan to the right temperature so it is a good idea to cook a test cake first to make sure it’s not too hot.
Once the Welsh cakes are cooked, roll them in the caster sugar while still hot and repeat with the rest of the cakes.