You might remember me mentioning in the beginning of the year in this post that I went completely vegan for January ("Veganuary") and have tried to continue ever since - sometimes with more success, sometimes with less. My key rule has been to stay 100 % vegan whilst at home, so everything I cook is vegan, but when I go out of the house, I'll still have the odd vegetarian meal. This is partly due to lack of choice and me being lazy and not wanting to cause a fuss, and partly due to just wanting enjoy and not stress about eating. Maybe one day I'll be fully vegan, but until then I'll do my best most of the time and try to not feel too guilty about it - after all I never in my whole life thought I would even call myself a vegetarian - just ask my mum!
When I started my "vegan experiment" in January I thought I needed a bit of help. Whilst the internet is a great source for recipes, I've always loved going through cookbooks, marking down pages of the recipes I wanted to try, and, of course, looking at all of the beautiful pictures for inspiration. So I knew if I wanted to properly try this thing out, I needed a few cookbooks, preferably ones which would also talk a little bit about veganism in general and give me some tips on "how to do it". Luckily I came across the lovely books The New Vegan and Keep It Vegan by Áine Carlin which are both super informative and full of great recipes that are pretty easy to make too, even for the most amateur of cooks.
Like I said, I really wanted to learn more about the vegan lifestyle and cooking, so I was really glad to also find loads of information on Carlin's own experiences of going from meat eater to vegan and her tips on how to take the first steps, how to explain this new change to your loved ones, and, of course, how to keep a balanced diet now that you are eating a bit differently than you used to. There are meal plan suggestions and lots of information on where to get all those different nutrients now that meat and dairy are out of the picture. They really were an amazing help to me in the beginning of starting my new lifestyle.
I feel like I've barely mentioned any of the recipes! I don't want to ruin too much of the joy of flicking through the pages yourself, but a few of my favourite dishes (so far!) have been the Mexican lasagna (pictures in this post) which is one of the more complicated recipes but still absolutely manageable even for a novice chef like me. Other recipes I loved were the aduki bean & sweet potato casserole, orzo jambalaya & the black bean chilli. All of these are now pretty much already staples in our house, which just goes to show just how great these books are - I would absolutely recommend getting your hands on them ASAP!