Monday, 31 July 2017

Finding Joy Challenge [PLUS FREE PRINTABLE!].

Finding Joy Challenge - come and join in with my finding joy challenge - download your free printable to get started!

Modern life can be tough. There's so much pressure to have your shit together, to be doing something with your life, to look and behave a certain way, to buy certain things. Honestly, at times it can be so draining.

I believe it's so important that you make time to ground yourself. To step away from the hustle and bustle, even if it's just for a second. You could see it as escapism, or you could see it as just being in the moment. Being present in your moment and not worrying about someone else's moment. Letting go of all the pressure and the expectation that come not just from society, but from ourselves. 

And whilst you're in the moment, why not try to find the joy? It's in there somewhere. Do you ever stop to think about all the things that make you feel joyous in the here and now? Of all the little things that may seem insignificant to some, but are able to bring a big smile to your face. I think the world seems a brighter place when you look for the joy instead of the darkness. And I know that there are times when that can seem like an impossible task, but I challenge you to just try.

I challenge you to try for three days to find joy in three little (or big) things. And to help you out, I've put together a little "joy journal"  which you can download and print out in order to help you on your way. Just jot down three things for three days that bring you joy and then once the three days are up set yourself a future intention for how you intend to continue to seek joy.

[TOP TIP] 
I think it's important to spend some time reflecting on how you feel after seeking out and noticing your joyous moments, before setting your intention. Does it set you up to feel happy for the rest of the day? Do you feel more positive? Reflection supports personal growth, so don't forget to take some quiet time to consider what you want seeking joy to bring you and then focus your intention around this.

I'll be taking the time to find joy too, starting tomorrow (Tuesday 1st August). Use the hashtag #findjoy to share how you're getting on, if you join in I'd love it if you'd drop me a tweet too @_hellojordan - and don't forget to download your joy journal!


Finding Joy Challenge - come and join in with my finding joy challenge - download your free printable to get started!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Easy IKEA Style Gravy [VEGAN].

I'm sure I'm not the only one who loves a cheeky trip to Ikea. Not only for the homespiration, but for the meatballs and gravy too. There's something about that gravy that is just oh-so scrumptious. Anyway, since my switch to veganism over 18 months ago Ikea gravy has obviously been a no go, and I'm not going to lie, I miss it.

So what do you do when you miss something that isn't vegan? You set out to create a vegan version of course. Because let me tell you, there's ways and means of making most things vegan. And so, my friends, that is what I've done.

This gravy, even if I do say so myself, is pretty dreamy. It obviously goes very nicely with vegan meatballs (I've recently been using the Asda meat-free meatballs or popcorn chicken), but you could also enjoy it with homemade meat-free-balls, seitan, a burger or even just over veggies. I mean, honestly, I could happily drink the stuff. Or dip bread and butter in it. Oh the possibilities!

Now I highly recommend that if you don't have mushroom powder that you invest in some. I use the Indigo Herbs  Mushroom ??? and it honestly adds such good flavour to things like gravies. Mushrooms are great for adding a meaty flavour and I religiously use it my regular (non Ikea style) gravy, soups, stews and ramens.



IKEA STYLE VEGAN GRAVY

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

♥ 40g vegan margarine
♥ 50g plain flour
♥ 1 tsp mushroom powder
♥ 400ml unsweetened plant milk (plus extra too loosen if required)
♥ 125ml plant cream
♥ 1 1/2 tbsps mushroom soy sauce
♥ 1/2 stock cube
♥ 1/2 tsp garlic powder
♥ salt and pepper to taste

Want to find out how to whip up some delicious, Ikea style vegan gravy? Look no further because I've got a recipe for you right here!



WHAT TO DO:

♥ Melt the vegan margarine in a saucepan. Once melted add in the plain flour and mushroom powder and stir into the melted butter.
♥ Gradually add the plant milk a little at a time, stirring well as you go.
♥ Add the plant cream, mushroom soy sauce, stock cube and garlic powder. Stir well, bring to a gentle simmer, stir continuously until the sauce thickens.
♥ If the gravy becomes too thick you can add a little more plant milk until you reach your desired thickness.
♥ Season with salt and pepper and serve however you wish (*cough* on a spoon *cough*).


Let's start a conversation:
What meal would you serve this over? I'd love for you to share your thoughts either in the comments below, or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan



Thursday, 20 July 2017

5 Tips for Growing Out an Undercut.



5 Tips for Growing Out an Undercut - growing out an undercut can be a total pain, so today I'm sharing some of the tips and tricks I've learnt whilst growing out mine.

Growing out your hair can be a grade A pain in the arse. I like to think I'm a little bit of an expert seeing as I've grown out two pixie cuts and am now in the process of growing out my double undercut. Don't get me wrong, I loved my undercut and I didn't necessarily start out with the intention of growing it, I just got a little lazy with keeping on top of the trims and before I knew it I was well on the way to growing it out. 

It's not been entirely smooth sailing, however, I'm now at the point where my grown out sections aren't far off being as long as my slightly longer hair and, get this, I actually managed to get a little french plait in it today (definitely a sign that you're getting there). Given that I'm probably over the worst of it now, I thought I'd share some of my top tips to make tolerating your tresses as your undercut grows more tolerable - that was a lot of Ts!


FIND A CUT THAT WORKS WITH YOUR UNDERCUT


I think, for me anyway, having shorter hair has definitely helped me with the process of growing out my undercut. I've felt like the grown out sides blend in a little more with the overall cut, particularly as I tend to tuck one side behind my ear and the other side blends in with/is hidden by my slightly longer fringe.

Another bonus of short hair is that you can't really do a whole lot with it, so I'm not tying it up or french plaiting it like you might ant to do with longer hair, meaning that your undercut regrowth will likely be more noticeable.


EXPERIMENT WITH STYLING METHODS


Although my styling choices are somewhat limited, I've enjoyed experimenting with different options in order to find a style that works with the regrowth. I love adding some loose, beachy texture to my locks which adds volume but still allows me to tuck the shorter side behind my ear to hide the grown out section. I also feel that the shorter lengths blend in better with the textured look and don't seem quite so obvious.

I also enjoy getting the longer top area of my hair out of my face a little half-up bun (I like to refer to it as "the man bun"). I've found that leaving some of the longer hair above the undercut out to tuck behind my ears helps make the grown out sections look less obviously shorter than the rest of my hair.

5 Top Tips for Growing Out an Undercut


TRY TO KEEP YOUR COLOUR BLENDED


If you're hair is all one, natural colour, this doesn't really apply to you. However, I had bleached hair with fashion colours over top. I dyed my hair just after the last time I had my undercut shaved and haven't dyed it since (approx 8 months) which means I have some pretty significant roots. However, the fact that the colour of my undercut (which is all entirely my natural colour) is the same length as my root regrowth means that when my hair is behind my ear you can't tell the difference between the shorter and longer hair. 

I guess what I'm trying to say it that making sure your colour is consistent across your longer hair and undercut regrowth might help to blend it in more and make it less noticeable.


PRODUCTS ARE YOUR FRIEND


Mess it up, smooth it down, if you ask me products are wonderful for keeping that pesky regrown under control. Particularly if, like me, your natural, virgin hair is a wee bit fluffy. A lil' bit of wax or pomade to slick everything into place can work wonders.

5 Tips for Growing Out an Undercut - growing out an undercut can be a total pain, so today I'm sharing some of the tips and tricks I've learnt whilst growing out mine.


PERSEVERANCE

This is probably the most important tip of all. Persevere and try your best to not chop it all off when it reaches the annoying fluffy stage. Unless of course you have a change of heart and decide you desperately want the undercut back, in which case you go for it! But if your heart is set on growing it out then the best thing to do is just keep plodding on. Hair grows and before long you will have your tresses back to its full glory (unless the rest of your hair is down to your bum, in which case you could be waiting a while - but still, don't quit!)

If you're an undercut or general hair growing out connoisseur, what are your favourite tips or tricks for keeping your locks in check? Why not join the conversation on Twitter @_hellojordan

5 Tips for Growing Out an Undercut - growing out an undercut can be a total pain, so today I'm sharing some of the tips and tricks I've learnt whilst growing out mine.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Easy Pulled Jackfruit [VEGAN].

As a vegan I have to say that I get very easily excited by experimenting with different foods. I'm pretty positive that if you're vegan too then you'll understand my feels on this one. I just love finding new ways of creating delicious food with none of the cruelty, particularly meals that are commonly made using meat because I think it just goes to show that you really don't have to miss out by being vegan. 

I was dubious about jackfruit at first, more so because I have a bit of an issue with fruit in main meals (it's just not right). But, my curiosity got the better of me on this one and I'm so glad it did. Pulled jackfruit really doesn't taste like you're eating fruit, not one bit! It does, however, do a sterling job of replicating the texture of pulled meat with a fraction of the calories (which means you get to eat more - can you tell I'm a glutton) whilst being kind to the animals. 

And honestly, it's really pretty simple to pull together. In fact, the hardest thing will probably be finding jackfruit in the first place. I managed to find mine in a local thai supermarket, but you can also purchase it on Amazon - just make sure that it's not in syrup!

Easy Pulled Jackfruit [VEGAN]


E A S Y  P U L L E D  J A C K F R U I T

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

♥ 2 tins of young jackfruit (in water or brine)
♥ 2 tsp smoked paprika
♥ 1 tsp ground cumin
♥ 1 tsp ground coriander
♥ 1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder (depending on how garlicy you like your grub)
♥ 1/2 tsp chilli powder
♥ 1/2 tsp dried oregano
♥ 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
♥ 1 cup chopped tomatoes
♥ 1/2 cup water
♥ 2 tsp liquid smoke (optional but tasty)
♥ salt and pepper to taste

Today I'm sharing a simple pulled jackfruit recipe that you can pull together in less that 30 minutes - far quicker that pulled pork and perfect for a vegan Mexican themed feast.



WHAT TO DO:


♥ Start by draining and rinsing the jackfruit. I then like to take out any larger seeds and seed casings.
♥ Pop the jackfruit in a non-stick frying pan and place on a medium to high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes to start to dry the jackfruit out.
♥ Whilst the jackfruit is cooking mix up the dry spices and pop them in with the jackfruit, stirring well to evenly coat the jackfruit.
♥ Cook the jackfruit and spices for a further 5 minutes or until it starts to soften. At this point your should be able to begin pushing on the jackfruit to separate the strands - I've found that taking a potato masher to it helps it on it's way, particularly the firmer bits of fruit.
♥ Once softened add the BBQ sauce, chopped tomatoes, water and liquid smoke (if using) to the pan.
♥ Stir well and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes. You can always add a little more water to loosen it if it becomes a little dry. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Easy Pulled Jackfruit [VEGAN]


Serve on top of nachos like I have here alongside some pan fried veg, salsa, guacamole and vegan gooey mozzarella for some fully loaded nacho goodness. Or you could pop it in a taco, in a bun or on some rice - the possibilities are not far from endless. Who needs meat when you can make food this quick and tasty?!

Let's start a conversation:
If anyone would like me to share how I make my gooey vegan mozzarella, drop me a comment below or tweet me @_hellojordan to let me know and I'll get a post written up!

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Easy Vegan Dinners.

Hello there, Blogosphere. It's been a hot second since we last spoke - sorry about that. It's been a rather busy couple of months, but over the last few weeks I've been really missing my little baby blog. And so here I am seizing the moment and getting back into the groove. I'm feeling pretty motivated at the moment, and so I'm hoping that incorporating time for my blog back into my life will be doable - we'll see! One of my difficulties is that there's so many things that I'm interested in and enjoy doing and I just don't have the spare time for all of them, I'm trying to find a balance and use my time more effectively but please do bear with me!

Anyway, I'm sure that you're actually here to see what I have to say on easy vegan dinners, because as the title would suggest, that is what today's post is about. I think lots of people (mainly non-vegans) have the perception that veganism is this huge effort, that there's limited food choices in the absence of animal products and that you have to be able to devote hours of your time to meal preparation. But honestly, the opposite couldn't be more true. As much as I enjoy cooking, during the week after a long day at work the last thing I want to do is spend bloody ages in the kitchen knocking up some grub. Don't get me wring, some nights I do spend longer preparing a meal, but most of the time I like my food to be quick, reasonably healthy (ish), tasty and made with minimal effort on my part. I feel that I've got into quite a good groove with quick, easy meals and there's several that I have up my sleeve to whip out on those "can't quite be arsed" evenings.


Easy Vegan Dinners



M E X I C A N   B O W L

Mexican bowls are great as you can throw in anything that you have available including (but not limited to) leftover chilli or sweet potato, tinned beans (Heinz do a nice range of fancy beans, one of which is Mexican inspired), sweetcorn, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole or just plain avocado, stir fried veggies with fajita spice. They're so simple and can be so handy for using up bit of leftovers that you've got knocking about in the fridge.

C H E A T S   K A T S U  C U R R Y

This is a current favourite of mine since discovering a wonderfully convenient curry sauce paste in Tesco. I love to use the Fry's chicken style burgers or schnitzels as the protein aspect of the curry, which is either cook in a pan or in the oven. I also like to stir fry a few veggies to go alongside the rice (it's totally ok to use packet rice, I also love to use my Instant Pot which cooks white rice in just 5 minutes). All in all this can be pulled together in less than 20 minutes and it tastes fantastic.

Easy Vegan Dinners


S T I R  F R Y

If you ask me you really can't go wrong with a stir fry. I always have a bag of frozen stir fry veggies in the freezer in case of emergencies because I know it can be cooked up in just a few minutes. Throw in some noodles or rice, a sauce if you fancy (or just soy sauce with some sweet chilli mixed in can work just fine) along with some tofu or vegan meat strips for an extra bit of protein.

K A L E  &  M U S H R O O M  C A R B O N A R A

This is one of my favourite ,slightly more indulgent meals. It's not necessarily the healthiest but it's tasty and can be whipped up in not much longer than it takes to cook the pasta. I've actually shared the recipe for this on the blog, which you can find here.


Easy Vegan Dinners



H U M M O U S  T A R T

I first had this at a lunch at work and let me tell you, it's so tasty. But if you as me most things that are wrapped in pastry could be considered tasty! All it involves is roasting some veggies (red onion, pepper and courgette work great) and at the same time cooking a sheet of puff pastry. Once the pastry is cooked you can top it with your favourite hummous, I personally love Asda's sundried tomato hummous, and then the roasted veggies. Serve with a side salad for a simple, minimal effort summer dinner.

Let's start a conversation:
What's your favourite easy vegan dinner? I'd love for you to share your recipes down below or drop me a tweet @_hellojordan  so we can build up a collection of quick and easy meals and help make veganism even more accessible (which, let's be honest, is the dream!).

Just a little PSA - you may have noticed that I have changed my Instagram and Twitter handles to @_hellojordan, sorry for any confusion that this might have caused - I may also change my blog name in the future, but for now I'm sticking with My General Life.

Easy Vegan Dinners | My General Life - let's talk easy vegan dinners, click to read more!