Saturday, January 5, 2019

Welcome, 2019

Over 15 weeks have passed since I last logged on to Blogger. I was open about my plans to step back from blogging, but confess that I surprised myself by just how easy it was to do so, and so fully. Now that I am online less, I don't know how I found the time for it before.

Nonetheless, I felt a tug to come on and reflect on the final few months of the year. I also wanted to wish you all a very happy start to 2019. I hope you enjoyed the festive season and that 2018 finished off well for you.

Peak District, near Alstonefield

We spent Christmas in the Peak District, a beautiful part of the UK that I hadn't visited previously. It is more accessible for us than the Lake District where we have spent two previous Christmases and less crowded. As usual, we hired a self-catering holiday cottage and with a toddler in tow self-catered our Christmas meal and evening meals across the week. This is Mini Bite's third Christmas but the first she has really understood and it was nice to celebrate with her, and soak up her excitement at presents and holiday food.

Christmas lunch

On the topic of food, my main Christmas meal included lemony roast potatoes, sweetened and herb seasoned roast carrots and mixed vegetables, Linda McCartney veggie sausages, cranberry-sauced topped Quorn fillets, and a scattering of spinach. It was a delicious mix and we enjoyed vegetable leftovers for several subsequent meals. Whilst there are lots of vegan-friendly mince pies around, I am not a big fan of mince pies, Christmas pudding or Christmas cake so was content to pick my dessert choices from vegan chocolate tiffins, Jus Roll cinnamon rolls, and a vast and wonderful selection of vegan-friendly Hotel Chocolat chocolates from Mr Bite. 

Leftover roast vegetables with a broken up Asda red pepper burger

Before Christmas, I was delighted to receive a 'Goodness' box from my family in Australia, filled with different vegan items. I have tried or finished most of them now (!) and everything has been delicious.

Vegan Goodness gift box
L to R on top row: Olive tapenade, Pukka 'cleanse' tea, singy ginger drink; 3 different snack bars
L to R on bottom row: Mixed vegetable crisps; maple walnuts; Raw crackers

I love the lights and decorations that make UK Christmas so pleasurable, and which help to offset the dark start to winter. Before Christmas I took Mini Bite into central London by train where we soaked up the Christmas decorations in Trafalgar Square and up Regent Street. It was our first London trip without a buggy / pram and I am pleased we have reached that milestone, even if it is exhausting for my back to carry bags and, intermittently, Mini Bite herself.

There are always vegan Christmas (and non-vegan Christmas) products out in December and I ate a great many Marks & Spencer's 'no turkey feast' sandwiches. I had my first one with low expectations as the description featured things I don't usually like, such as a creamy dressing and onions. However, I loved the mix and the impressively turkey (or chicken) like soya pieces.

There are too many other new vegan products to comprehensively review, and with veganuary kicking off I expect there will be more this month. I thus share two somewhat random pictures as a snapshot of recent discoveries. I am in love with the low calorie Halo Top dairy free ice creams, pictured below in peanut butter cup, sea salt caramel, and chocolate flavours. They are less sweet than most ice creams and utterly delicious.

It seems I am less fond of jackfruit and will not be someone to get behind the jackfruit trend. I've tried it in a few formats and don't much like the texture. With that said, these packets of flavoured jackfruit from Tesco were nice to try for novelty value.

I've also been enjoying lots of bowls of soup, homemade and bought when out and about, and other 'normal' winter dishes like porridge. I'm adding sweet potato to lots of things and cooking up legumes and tofu with all sorts of warming spices.

As 2018 wound to a close, and my blogging break extended, I have also taken pleasure in time with family (and the charms of a toddler's imagination), more time for reading, and as much time as possible outdoors when the weather permits. On that note, I finish with two final pictures from our recent Peak District stay.

Happy new year, and may 2019 bring much laughter, love and good food to your household.


  1. I love the Peak District - I haven't been back for years, but I used to live around those parts and I'd visit regularly, especially in the winter. It's rugged country but they do a great line in friendly pubs with open fires! I agree about jackfruit too - I'm not enamoured, but always wondered if I wasn't cooking it right?
    I always enjoy reading your blog, however often you have time to post - hope to see you back later on this year.

    1. Thanks so much Joey. And you have lived all over! I'm glad I'm not alone in my jackfruit skepticism too.

  2. Happy New year to you Kari and your little family. Good to hear from you. I have only been to the peak district once but it was for work and I never got to enjoy it. I do think that D and me may go one of these days. I do like jackfruit, but prefer making it at home from scratch to break it down more to give it that pulled effect, rather than the readymade ones in the supermarket drenched in flavours and still thickish.Your festive holiday sounds wonderful and it so good to hear of minibites progress. Best wishes and look forward to your next blog post ps I know your on twitter - I am too as @SeasonalShaheen

    1. Thank you Shaheen and I recommend re-visiting the Peak District if you get the chance. Maybe homemade jackfruit is the way to go.

      I confess that despite being on Twitter, I never actually go on Twitter! I think I may automatically cross-post to it via any Bite-sized thoughts Facebook posts. I do follow you on Instagram though since finally joining that :-)

  3. Happy New Year Kari - so lovely to read a post from you, even just the occasional one. I just was at my parents where the NBN has wiped their internet and it was so lovely to have a few days offline. So I can imagine how relaxing just stepping back is. The peak district looks beautiful and your Christmas meals look great - how wonderful to have a toddler just coming into understanding Christmas, and a family to send such a great goodie pack from home. I haven't really been sold on jackfruit yet either though I keep expecting an ephiphany. It is always a bit wet for me. Enjoy your warming soups and porridges and enjoy the lengthening days now Christmas is over!

    1. "NBN has wiped their internet"...this probably deserves to be a catchphrase! :S I'm glad the upside was some quiet time over Christmas. I am indeed enjoying the lengthening days now they're starting!

  4. Happy New Year Kari! Your photos of the Peak District are lovely. I also enjoyed reading about your vegan treats.


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