Russian Pirozhki With Two Potato Fillings (Vegan)

Before we jump into my obligatory ramble about the recipe, I would first of all like to wish you all an outstanding 2018. May you achieve everything you wish to achieve, finally live up to your New Year’s resolutions. May all of your dreams and intentions come true. And if they don’t? Well, any experience whether successful or unsuccessful, is worth learning from. You still have your entire life ahead of you. My 2017 was a year characterised by uncertainty and interminable ups and downs: I experienced some brilliant moments, many lows and had to make a few life-changing decisions. I learnt a lot not only about myself, but also the world around me and how I fit into it. Regardless of what it may be, I cannot wait for anything 2018 shall bring forth.

Vegan Pirozhki recipe

Vegan Pirozhki

Anyway, as I am writing up this blog post I am totally dreaming of the celebratory meal we had last night. As you may or may not know, I grew up in Russia, and while Russian people do not celebrate Christmas, they have a strong New Year’s Eve tradition and much like Christmas it is a time for spending time with family, giving gifts, eating copious amounts of food (I am talking to the extent that at times, there isn’t enough room on the table for people to actually set down their plates). There is even a Russian Santa (‘Ded Moroz’), but he wears blue as opposed to red. And in general, food happens to be an enormous part of Russian culture: for example, if someone visits your home and you hadn’t prepared a three course meal for their arrival and brewed several cups worth of tea, you become the definition of impertinent. Continue reading “Russian Pirozhki With Two Potato Fillings (Vegan)”

Three Party Table Treat Ideas (Vegan)

There is something special about bringing a meaningful dish, a product of hard work and the occasional shed tear, to the Christmas table and witnessing all the important people in your life fall in love with it. Especially when that reaction is genuine – I’ve had a few food failures in the past that I nonetheless decided to present for the consumption of others and I could almost see the tears glistening in everyone’s eyes in response to my wannabe gourmet creations.

Vegan salad recipe

Cheesy vegan recipe

I, however, like to believe that I’ve become a much better cook since those dark days and like to make celebratory meals of any kind a pleasant experience. While I am writing this, Christmas is a mere two days away and I am very excited to cook for the family. Christmas, of course, is much more than just food and presents, the former is still a universal language that brings everyone together and makes you appreciate having the ability to sit around a table with your loved ones, enjoy the deliciousness, appreciate the spirit in which the festive season is conducted. Actually making the food is very special to me – my mum and I have different schedules and rarely find time to spend together in the kitchen, and when Christmas day comes around it is always exciting to see what we can make when we combine our best efforts. Continue reading “Three Party Table Treat Ideas (Vegan)”

How to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time

I think we can all agree that December is a hectic time for many of us. On top of work and/or education, we have the added pressure of buying Christmas presents, attending Christmas parties, and if you are brave enough, sticking to a Blogmas schedule (I seriously applaud anyone who is brave enough to attempt it, you are the real MVP).

I’m in quite a fortunate position because the vast majority of my family members live in Russia and do not celebrate Christmas. I can focus on the enjoyable side of the holidays a bit more while taking it easy on my bank account. However, there have certainly been periods in my life – for example, when I was preparing for exams in May earlier this year – when I could not focus on anything other than a particular objective and ended up neglecting my exercise routine, which for me happens to be a vital form of self care.

Working out when busy

And by ‘neglecting my exercise routine’, I do not mean I went to the gym five times a week as opposed to six. I literally did not move from my chair for a wholesome twenty days except for walking to and from the train station, which is a decision that I lived to regret: finding some spare moments each day to get in physical activity would have only boosted my productivity, without being the dreaded waste of time I feared it would become. Moreover, when I eventually returned to the gym, my strength and endurance had decreased by at least a third, and I could not perform even the most basic exercises without a pain in my joints. Continue reading “How to Work Out When You Don’t Have Time”

Easy Pea and Avocado Pesto

I know I have been astoundingly bad at creating seasonal recipes and content in general, but I promise I will try my best to post something that is more in synch with the festive mood going around the Internet over the next couple of weeks. However, in my humble opinion this could count as a Christmas recipe? I mean, not only does its colour resemble a Christmas tree, but pasta could potentially make a delicious, even if somewhat unorthodox side dish for your holiday table.

During the winter months, I adore eating pasta whenever the chance arises. It’s very easy to make, super comforting and versatile. Definitely perfect for someone like myself, who struggles with dark evenings and cold weather (I know, I am probably the least stereotypical Russian you will ever meet). However, that is not to say that this pesto does not have a variety of other uses. It can be eaten on toast with some fresh tomatoes and dried herbs, stirred into salads, used as a dip for fries. I like to store a batch in the fridge for a couple of days and bring it out whenever I feel like adding a nice finishing touch to any of my meals.

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Vegan pesto recipe

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What I Eat in a Day (Vegan and Healthy)

I don’t know about you, but there is something fascinating about what I eat in a day type content – I always enjoy these videos on YouTube, and blog posts detailing what a given person has consumed on a given day. Maybe I am just super nosy, but the enjoyment these bring me signalled that its time to make a little food diary of my own.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the abundance of people sharing what they eat on the Internet makes it very easy to compare what we eat to the diets of other people, and forget that every body is fundamentally different – we have different metabolisms, activity levels, genetics, just to name a few factors which determine what and how much we should eat. I am sharing this simply for informative purposes. People are often curious about what vegans eat on a typical day, and I aim to prove that it certainly isn’t ‘grass’/salad/rabbit food – as you will see later, my protein consumption is probably higher than your typical omnivore’s. Hence, you should take posts like these with a grain of salt. There is a big different between using them for inspiration, while eating in such a way that makes you feel great, and copying exactly what someone else is doing on social media as a means of achieving the same results.

I like to switch up my meals on a regular basis and unless I have cooked it in advance, will not have the same dish two days in a row. There are people who eat pretty much the same thing every day, and I am not one of them. Nonetheless, this day is pretty typical in terms of amount and the types of dishes I consume – abundant, high in protein and carbs, very colourful. Because life is too short not to eat all the carbs and colourful food (and it’s also too short for small portion sizes).

Breakfast: Acai Bowl with Peanut Butter, Medjool Dates and Raspberries. 

Vegan smoothie bowl

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Three Vegan and Healthy Toast Ideas

I don’t know about you, but to me, toast will always be a classic, either as a snack or a full on meal. There are endless possibilities when it comes to toppings, and there is just something fundamentally cosy about a hearty slice of bread on a cold morning – essentially the only thing that can make crawl out from under my blankets (although, that probably my fault for sleeping with the window open, but I cannot deal with a stuffy room, at all).

I spent this weekend trying out new recipes, one of which was supposed to be a vegan version of a Russian classic – pelmeni, or boiled dumplings with mushrooms and peas. It failed. Badly. Not gonna lie, I wept a bit because it’s always a shame when you come up with a fantastic idea, but the expectations do not accord with reality and it quite literally falls apart before your eyes. After feeling sorry for myself and having something like an existential crisis, I decided to see the whole situation as a sign to make something that’s a lot simpler but definitely not inferior in terms of quality. After all, I am all about making vegan recipes accessible and easy to incorporate into any lifestyle, and toast couldn’t come closer to these parameters – it requires minimal preparation, can be eaten for any meal (although, does anyone else find it strange that we allocate certain foods to certain times of day?! this rule should apply to any food) and is perfect for lunch/bento boxes.

Vegan toast ideas

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Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Brownies

I am not entirely sure whether calling these ‘brownies’ is appropriate due to the noticeable layer of pumpkin, but the name seemed more concise than ‘big dessert thing with a dark chocolate and a pumpkin layer’. Brownies is close enough.

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Anyway, after a stressful week full of job interviews (because unfortunately, gap year travels cannot be funded from the magic money tree), finally finding myself a job and undergoing two days of intensive, last-minute training, I couldn’t think of a better way to unwind than with some baking. Every bureaucratic, grown-up responsibility has to be compensated with something that benefits the soul as well as the mind/my bank account. Moreover, our home severely lacks autumnal decorations, and I wanted to bring in a bit of seasonal spirit with the warming smell of pumpkin and cinnamon.

The result, for sure, was not disappointing. If you have a few cans of pumpkin laying around in your cupboards, there is no better way to use them up than through either brownies or baked oatmeal, and I decided to go for the former.

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Continue reading “Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Brownies”