Monday, 20 March 2017

Because I'm Vegan.



Because I'm vegan I decide every day, every meal, to put my own ethical and moral beliefs about animal agriculture and the way animals are treated above something that tastes or looks good. No amount of tasting or looking good is worth animal suffering, in my eyes. 

The way animals are treated in order for us to eat them or wear them genuinely makes my heart hurt. We wouldn't dream of treating cats or dogs in that manner, in fact it's a criminal act to do so. It's such a double standard that because a cow is a cow, a pig is a pig and a lamb is a lamb, society says it's OK to rape, torture and mutilate them. If you ask me it's totally backwards and looking back now I find it hard to fathom how I thought it was OK for the first 25 years of my life. How I didn't question the morality of it more. You see at the time, I thought I had questioned the morality of it and that I was OK with it. But the thing is I wasn't really questioning the morality. I didn't really see what was happening. I didn't really hear what was happening. I thought I did but now I know that I really, really didn't.

For me, as I've said before, it was Vegucated that lit the first spark. Vegucated made me really see the suffering for the first time. And just like that I was vegetarian. Literally just like that. I opened my mind and let it in and I knew from that point that I just couldn't be a part of it anymore. 

Even as a vegetarian I had maintained that I could never go vegan. But hey, I was a hard and fast carnivore that dropped meat overnight, stranger things have happened. And they did, because I decided to just try veganism for Veganuary. I was just going to try it, with the thought that if it didn't really impact on my life then I would stay vegan, because if it didn't impact on my life then there was really no excuse not to stay vegan. 

AND HEY GUESS WHAT?! It didn't really impact on my life! What a turn up for the books. So that was it, all my excuses for why I still chomped on chicken periods and cow lactation gone. I couldn't see any more reasons not to be vegan. I couldn't stand with society in saying that it was OK anymore. And honestly, I'm am SO PROUD to be vegan. I'm so proud that I stick by what I believe in. I'm so proud that I make a positive choice not just for the animals, but for myself and for the planet every damn day. 

By nature, I'm not really an activist. I'm not the type of person to stand on a street corner and shout about why you should be vegan (yet, again stranger things have happened). It's far easier for me to type this out than to talk it out. And so, for me, this is my way of sharing my thoughts and feelings with the world. 

However, please let it be known that just because I'm vegan, it doesn't mean that I feel my views and my thoughts and feelings are superior to yours. We are all capable of making up our own mind and making our own choices and I'm cool with that. I have no intent to be "preachy", but if my talking about veganism bothers you I think you need to reconsider why you feel so offended by it. I'm not going to apologise if it makes you feel uncomfortable, because that's your feeling so you need to own it find out why that is. I just want to encourage you to really see before you make your choice.

If anyone who reads this is interested in veganism or even just reducing the amount of animal products that you consume then there are a huge range of resources out there. Some of the films/videos I've found helpful are Vegucated, Forks Over Knives, Dairy Is Scary (warning, this is pretty traumatic however definitely highlights the very harsh reality of the dairy industry), Cowspiracy and the brand new vegan mockumentary Carnage. Many of these films are available to watch for free via Netflix, BBC iPlayer and Youtube and I'm sure there are many, many more out there. 

Because I'm vegan I'm standing up for animals and saying it's not OK to abuse them for our benefit. Because I'm vegan I feel that I am helping to make a difference. Choose love. Choose compassion. 


#becauseimvegan



Tuesday, 14 March 2017

RECIPE | Unicorn Cupcakes [VEGAN].


My General Life - Unicorn Cupcakes Vegan

I'm pretty certain that if you make anything pastel coloured and name it after the great mythical creature that is the unicorn, it becomes infinitely cooler. Now, in my eyes, cake is pretty cool already, however, stick some multi-coloured, pastelised icing on there as an ode a unicorn and you've got some seriously next level shit. So next level that I fear it would be cruel of me to not share this with the world. 

For the cupcakes, I used a good ol' vanilla sponge base, you can make this coloured to add to the badass unicorn theme, however, make sure you use a colouring that is bake stable (most off-the-shelf liquids aren't) and if you're going to use pink or purple, watch out for that sneaky E120 if you want to keep it vegan. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
(makes approx 12 large cupcakes)

Cupcakes:
♥ 220g self raising flour
♥ 200g caster sugar
♥ 200ml plant milk ( I use soy)
♥ 20ml cider vinegar
♥ 80ml oil
♥ 1/4 tsp baking powder
♥ 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Icing:
♥ 50g vegan margarine
♥ 50g vegetable shortening (I use Trex)
♥ 600g icing sugar (sifted)
♥ 1 tbsp vanilla extract
♥ plant milk (enough to get your desired texture)
♥ liquid/gel food colouring (I used red, blue, yellow and purple)

You will also need sandwich bags, clingfilm and a piping bag with whatever nozzle you like (I used a star nozzle) and unicorn inspired decorations - I used stars and edible glitter.

WHAT TO DO:

♥ Preheat the oven to 180 and prepare a muffin tray with cake cases.
♥ Place the plant milk and cider vinegar in a jug and leave to curdle whilst you gather your other ingredients.
♥ Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix through.
♥ Add the plant milk/vinegar mix, oil and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and quickly mix until combined with a metal spoon - you need to work fast because as soon at the wet meets the dry the raising agents will start to react with the vinegar.
♥ Once mixed scoop into the cake cases, again working as quickly as your can.
Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until you can poke with a skewer and it comes out clean - *VEGAN CAKE PERK* due to the lack of egg in the mix you can safely lick the bowl without any risk of getting sick, now if that's not a reason to try vegan cake I don't know what is!
♥ Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool.
♥ To prepare the icing place the vegan margarine, trex and vanilla extract in a bowl and gradually add the icing sugar, beating well to combine. You can also gradually add some plant milk in order to reach your desired icing consistency.
♥ Once mixed, divide the icing into bowls (the number depends on how many colours you wish to create).
♥ Gradually add the food colouring to each bowl and mix well until you reach the desired pastel hue. 
♥ Once you have the pastel icing mixed up, transfer each colour into it's own sandwich bag and lay a strip of clingfilm down on your work space.
♥ Snip the corner off each bag and squeeze each colour in a horizontal line next to each other along the clingfilm - just like this.
♥ The roll the clingfilm up and twist the ends as though you were making a icing sausage. You can then place this in the your piping bag, using the end of the clingfilm to pull the icing into the nozzle. 
♥ Snip the twist off the clingfilm and you're good to go.
♥ Now ice and decorate to your hearts content!

My General Life - Unicorn Cupcakes Vegan

A perk of using the clingfilm is that the inside of your piping bag should be fairly clean - which is great because I'm lazy and this recipe creates enough washing up as it is!

Although it's a little arduous having to mix all the different coloured icing up, this method is so effective for creating a gorgeous looking cupcake that tastes delicious too!

I'd love to see your unicorn creations, so if you whip these up yourself please share any photos with me either on Twitter (@mygenerallife) or Instagram (@generallifeblog).

While you're here, why not check out my previous post:  Vegan Pancake Ideas.

Did you know that you can follow My General Life on all these platforms?