How To Give Up Milk Chocolate

Saying ciao to cacao is something many people aim to do for a plethora of reasons. I personally wanted to stop eating milk chocolate as it was the only thing holding me back from being a certified vegan (well, except for honey, so I guess I’m not fully there yet but it’s not like I’m calling myself a vegetarian who eats fish and chicken). Anyway, chocolate was my only stroke of wickedness in the food world and the thought of living in a world without decadent and not so decadent, melt in your mouth, ‘turn any bad day good’ chocolate delights seemed just wrong!

I’ve never been a dairy Mary except for the milk chocolate (Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate was my weakness and I’m sure they have noticed a significant decline in their sales since I gave them up back in April). So what convinced me to give it up for good? One read of the ‘Famous Milk Letter’ did the trick (see link at end). So, now I was ready to venture into a world without milk chocolate but how was I to do it? How would I cope with the inevitable cacao withdrawal symptoms of shaking, mood swings and mistaking strangers in the street for walking Kit Kats, Caramello Koalas and Toblerone bars? I wasn’t sure how to give up milk chocolate for good but as I clung tightly to my empty Green & Black’s chocolate wrapper, I vowed to find a way!

Here is how I gave up milk chocolate several months ago with no relapses. I truly haven’t found it hard at all and have enjoyed exploring the land of vegan chocolates as they are just as delicious (even more so), often quite good for you and leave you feeling much better after eating them!

Step 1: Replace the habit
I think this is the most profound step to breaking any bad habit. You need to do or eat something similar to your habit so the change feels easy and less of a shock. My routine involved some milk chocolate after dinner as my dessert so I made sure I had a vegan chocolate ready to eat in lieu of the milk chocolate for the evenings. Whatever time of day your cacao craving strikes, try and eat a vegan chocolate treat instead. You won’t feel deprived and there are so many delicious vegan options out there. Just remember, some people say it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit or even less to adapt to a new food or taste, so stick with it and it will soon feel very natural.

Step 2: Try eating delicious vegan chocolate

Booja Booja Truffles
These are hands down the product that make being a vegan with a sweet tooth easy. I never used to like truffles but one or two bites of Booja Booja’s Hazelnut Truffles is enough to satisfy any chocolate cravings. They are divine!

Plamil Chocolate
This is another great one that many vegans probably already depend upon as the range is just like the chocolates you once loved in bar form and in delicious flavours. From what I remember, when I first tasted this chocolate I did notice the texture was different but now that my taste buds have adapted, I often reach for a strip of this chocolate for a treat (especially the Orange Chocolate).

milk-chocolatePulsin Discs
These raw chocolate discs are blended with exotic and potent ingredients such as goji berries, vitamin C, maca and ashwagandha root. Try the energy bomb with guarana, korean and siberian gingseng and great tea extract before your next ashtanga yoga class or when that 4pm sugar slump hits. Other varieties include: Berry Burst, Bliss Bomb and Coffee Brownie.

Cocoa Loco Nakd Bar
I’ve found these bars to be great for those times when you’re on the go or can’t find a decent vegan lunch or snack. They are tasty, filling, vegan, raw, high in protein and contain no artificial ingredients. The Cocoa Loco bar contains: dates, oats, mixed nuts, raisins, apple juice, cocoa and natural flavouring.

Non-dairy Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate and ice cream lovers will have all their sweet needs meet in a tub of good quality vegan chocolate ice cream. I favour Booja Booja’s Hunky Punky Chocolate ice cream as it only has four ingredients and tastes incredible. I also like how their ice cream is light and refreshing and doesn’t leave you with that icky feeling so many dairy ice creams often leave you with.

Step 3: Drink some chocolate tea
Ideal for those moments when a chocolate craving strikes or you begin to miss hot chocolates. Sipping some chocolate tea is a healthy and light option that still offers a wonderful chocolate taste and aroma! Try Pukka’s Organic Pleasure Tea with cocoa, licorice, cardamom and chicory.

Step 4: Be a chocolate beauty

Perfect Organics Body Butters
A little chocolate scented body butter is great for you and your skin and thankfully Perfect Organics offer two delicious shea butters with organic cocoa butter: Mint Chocolate and Mandarin Chocolate (very natural and luscious with only four ingredients).

milk-chocolate-2Raw Gaia Raw Chocolate Orange Bath Melt
Soak in a decadent bath and let your chocolate cravings drift away as the organic cacao butter and sweet orange oil soften and repair your skin.

Raw Gaia Raw Chocolate Face Pack
Raw Gaia also do a fabulous antioxidant rich, chocolate face mask which leaves skin with a healthy glow (see end of post for review).

Akamuti Shea Cocoa Mint Foot Butter
Keep your tootsies soft and pretty with this lovely foot moisturiser containing organic cocoa butter and tingly, cooling organic peppermint and spearmint essential oils.

Badger Balm Cocoa Butter Lip Balms
Moisturise your lips with organic cocoa butter from Badger Balm. There are two packs to select from (Mint, Mocha & Creamy or Orange, Lime and Creamy). These lip balms also contain soothing organic aloe vera, moisturising olive oil and beautiful organic essential oils. The Mocha Cocoa even has extracts of dark roasted organic Arabaca Coffee beans.

Step 5: Read the Famous Milk Letter at Not Milk.

Luxury Vintage Fashion – Atelier Mayer

If you thought Atelier Mayer only stocked ‘I’m sorry, could you repeat the price again’ vintage fashion, you may be surprised to see that most of the following pieces are under £100. Remember, as my fashion-frenzied Aunt Winnie always used to say, ‘even the shops that are snooty will always have some bargain booty! It’s true, I didn’t have to look for long on Atelier Mayer (I just clicked the under £100 sign) and lo and behold there were quite a few affordable vintage treasures that caught my eye! By the way, I don’t really have an Aunt Winnie but that bit of sage advice sounds better coming from an eccentric aunt, doesn’t it? One last thing, don’t be frightened by the price of the last dress. It’s just that I exercised such commendable retail restraint on a site filled with luscious £1,000 gowns that I had to squeeze in one truly decadent piece!

hand-embroidered-bodiceHand Embroidered Bodice £50
I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘where will I wear a black and gold beaded bustier?’ Well, even if you’re not brave enough to wear this to the boadroom and are not appearing in Beyonce’s next music video anytime soon, you could still make this beautiful bodice work for you. Sewing savvy ladies could transform this into a dress. The potential is there, it’s just waiting for your creativity and vision!

Gold and Ruby Heart Ring £34.50
Statement rings will always be popular and this heart shaped ring is no exception. With ‘frosted black, ruby and white diamante detailing’ and a fairly decent price tag, this is a great young, fun and fancy purchase.

hot-tangerine-frou-frou-shift-dress-atelier-mayerHot Tangerine Frou Frou Shift Dress £138
I know, it’s expensive, orange and there’s a bow and fringed skirt but I totally love it! The dress is from the ’60s but I’m sensing a little ’20s, flapper influence in the style, which is always a popular look.

Gold Embroidered Evening Purse £40.25

This eye-catching purse has a fantastic, futuristic look. You can’t go wrong with a chic, petite ‘wow’ purse.

Gold Aztec Necklace £92
Oh my! I wish I could be more articulate about this divine necklace but its beauty speaks for itself. Because the price is under £100, I could definitely consider buying a stunning jewellery piece such as this. You would have this heirloom piece forever.

Burnt Orange A-Line Swing Jacket £84
Here is the perfect little jacket for Spring and Autumn. The cheery colour is super flattering and a nice change from the numerous black jackets already out there. By they way, this is Hermes!

geometric-embroidered-bagGeometric Embroidered Bag £55
Hello, 1960s and all of your geometric patterned loveliness! This bag has Brady Bunch written all over it (in a good way). This is too cute and will look great today, tomorrow and for years to come.

bob-mackie-striped-siren-gownBob Mackie Striped Siren Gown – £1,800 (I know, but it was so pretty I had to show it here).
Just in case you happen to be attending a red carpet premiere soon or spent most of today pondering what to do with that spare £1800 you had lying around, here is the ultimate vintage dress for you. It’s from the 1970s and is a slice of striped sublimity in my books! Yes, the price is difficult to look at but sometimes it’s just nice to stare at a pretty dress every now and again.

Vegan Appetizer Recipes

Galloping Horses – Olive Magazine, BBC Good Food
I should have included these in last week’s vegetarian Thai meals, but at least these Thai-inspired morsels can be enjoyed now. The sweet and sour mixture of peanut butter, sugar and soy sauce sits atop pineapple cubes and look beyond impressive and delicious. I’m not sure why they are called galloping horses? Perhaps your dinner guests start galloping towards the platter with horse-like appetites when they see them?

spicy-black-beans-and-avocado-canapesSpicy Black Beans and Avocado Canapes
– Kate Merker, image: Burcu Avsar
These not only look and taste great but they are really easy to toss together. Just make enough as they will be gobbled up in seconds!

kiwi-summer-rollKiwi Summer Roll – Body + Soul
These luscious little rolls will be great for summer. Love the unique idea of wrapping kiwi fruit, rice noodles, peanuts and a tasty sauce in rice-paper wrappers.

croste-di-polenta-con-cicoriaCroste Di Polenta Con Cicoria
(Polenta with braised chicory)

– Antonio Carluccio, image: Lisa Linder
Impress friends with this Italian recipe from Antonio Carluccio (via Jamie Oliver’s site). You could make these polenta patties even smaller into bite size pieces and leave out the chicory perhaps. Just substitute the chicken stock for vegetarian stock and enjoy the remaining ingredients which are vegan.

rosemary-focacciaRosemary Focaccia – Australian Women’s Weekly
Bountiful bread selections are always welcome alongside an array of appetizers. Making your own rosemary focaccia, garnished with rosemary sprigs or cherry tomatoes will make you feel like a genuinely proud, baking Betty!

grated-potato-pancakesGrated Potato Pancakes – Martha Stewart
So many people love potatoes and these little pancakes will be no exception! You’ll just need some oil, salt and pepper. It’s as simple as that.

fatayer-spinach-lemon-and-pine-nut-pastriesFattoyer (Spinach, Lemon and Pine Nut Pastries) – Waitrose
As this recipe explains, you can prepare these as ‘full-size pastries’ or as ‘bite-sized canapes’. I think they will also make a delicious and unusual lunch for work.

green-onion-pancakesGreen Onion Pancakes – Australian Women’s Weekly
This unusual recipe had me intrigued and one look at the minimal ingredient list, had me convinced to include them in today’s appetizer round-up. The green onion filling is infused with sesame loveliness and the dipping sauce of black vinegar, soy sauce and red chili is the perfect finishing touch.

Vegan Take-Out Meals to Make at Home

If you love Pizza, why not try… Pissaladière
(Vegetarian Times)
I can’t believe how difficult it is to find a vegan pizza recipe online with a pretty picture to match! Thankfully, I finally found this French, lattice-looking pizza made with sweet onions, roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. Even if you want to create a different vegan pizza topping, you’ll be pleased to find a quick dough recipe included that ‘takes under two minutes to mix and knead’.
View recipe at Vegetarian Times

vegetable-spiced-riceIf you love Fried Rice, why not try…
Vegetable Spiced Rice
(Nadia French, photo by Andrew Young)
Take-away fried rice is often greasy and laden with all the things you don’t want, but if you try to keep a supply of this healthy rice in your freezer, you’ll always have a tasty meal on hand. It would also be wonderful for a work lunch. There isn’t an egg in sight and you can choose to omit the plain yogurt at the end also if you wish.
View recipe at Taste Australia.

spicy-thai-tofu-with-red-bell-peppers-and-peanuts-featuredIf you love Thai take-out, why not try…
Spicy Thai Tofu with Red Bell Peppers and Peanuts

(Bon Appetit, Rozanne Gold and photo by Con Poulos)
Spice up your tofu repertoire with this Thai recipe which includes fresh ginger, garlic, lime juice, basil and dried crushed red pepper. Enjoy with jasmine rice or noodles.
View recipe at Epicurious

curried-red-lentil-stew-with-vegetablesIf you love Indian take-out, why not try…
Curried Red-Lentil Stew with Vegetables

(Gourmet, photo: Romulo Yanes)
Make your own nutritious Indian curry at home with this wonderful recipe. Red lentils and vegetables such as carrots, spinach and peas make this a scrumptious and satisfying main meal served with basmati rice.
View recipe at Epicurious.

portobello-and-pineapple-teriyaki-veggie-burgersIf you love a Burger, why not try…
Portobello and Pineapple Teriyaki Veggie Burgers
(Whole Foods Market)
Imagine if you could get fabulously healthy and delicious meat-free burgers such as this at the drive-through! I’m sure you would see more than one Prius in the queue! The combination of portobello mushrooms and pineapples make these burgers super juicy and flavoursome.
View recipe at Whole Foods Market

If you love a burger with fries, why not try…
Garlicky Oven Fries

(Vegetarian Times)
What’s a burger without fries? One bite of these garlic, parsley-coated potato wedges and you’ll be hooked!
View recipe at Vegetarian Times

Vegetarian Thai Recipes

1. Spicy Coconut Noodles

(Real Simple – image: Beatriz da Costa)
Scrumptious noodles and copious amounts of coconut. This is my idea of comfort food. It’s simple and light but incredibly satisfying!

thai-squash-and-pineapple-curry2. Thai Squash and Pineapple Curry
(Good Food)
Sweeten up your curry repertoire with some juicy pineapple. Combined with squash, green beans and spicy Thai red curry paste, this will undoubtedly become a favourite in your house.

vegetable-summer-rolls3. Vegetable Summer Rolls
(Gourmet, Epicurious – image: Romulo Yanes)
Wrap a delicious selection of vegetables and noodles in rice-paper and dunk into a divine peanut sauce made with hot red pepper flakes, garlic and onion.

spicy-sesame-noodles-with-chopped-peanuts-and-thai-basil4. Spicy Sesame Noodles with Chopped Peanuts and Thai Basil
(Bon Appetit, Epicurious – image: Pornchai Mittongtare)
Vegans can substitute the egg noodles for angel hair pasta and then carry on cooking with vegan-friendly ingredients. This dish calls for drizzles and dashes of wonderful oils and sauces such as hot chili oil, sesame oil and balsamic vinegar which creates a delectable coating for the noodles.

iceberg-lettuce-with-carrot-ginger-soy-dressing-with-cilantro-and-red-thai-chiles5. Iceberg Lettuce with Carrot Ginger Soy Dressing with Cilantro and Red Thai Chiles
(Food Network, Dave Lieberman)
Sometimes a wedge of iceberg lettuce needs a little ‘wake-up call’ and this recipe will certainly do that courtesy of a red Thai chile, ginger, rice wine vinegar and cilantro garnish.

spicy-sweet-potato-and-coconut-soup6. Spicy Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
(Real Simple, Susie Theodorou – image: Beatriz Da Costa)
When only a bowl of warming soup will do, this spicy recipe is sure to impress. It captures the flavours of Thailand perfectly with red curry paste, coconut milk and fresh ginger.

yellow-coconut-rice7. Yellow Coconut Rice
(The Australian Women’s Weekly – image: Ian Wallace)
If you are all riced out and crave a little twist on the usual steamed rice, you could try this recipe made with coconut cream, turmeric and saffron.

pumpkin-curry-with-chickpeas8. Pumpkin Curry with Chickpeas
(Good Food)
Rather than order in a takeaway curry (which often comes with too much salt, oil and packaging) try making a big batch of this healthy and hearty Thai curry yourself. You can make extra and store in your freezer for a nutritious curry in a hurry.

buckwheat-soba-pad-thai9. Buckwheat Soba Pad Thai
(Natural Health Magazine)
Trying to find a Pad Thai dish sans eggs and fish sauce can be tricky but here is one delicious and healthy vegan option. It’s made with julienne vegetables and a sauce made from creamy peanut butter, honey, ginger and red pepper flakes.

thai-tofu-with-zucchini-red-bell-pepper-and-lime10. Thai Tofu with Zucchini, Red Bell Pepper, and Lime
(Bon Appetit, Epicurious – image: Scott Peterson)
All the well-loved Thai ingredients are in this sublime tofu dish such as coconut milk, red curry paste and ginger. You can enjoy this for lunch served with rice noodles or for dinner, simply serve with hot, fluffy rice.

crispy-tofu-sandwich-with-peanut-ginger-sauce11. Crisp Tofu Sandwich with Peanut-Ginger Sauce
(Body + Soul – Martha Stewart)
For a unique and flavour packed sandwich, try this one served on a baguette and bursting with Thai-flavoured baked tofu and sauce. Heavenly!

Get Red-y the Vintage Way


Vintage Heart and Butterfly Brooch
– The Pudding Store Vint (Etsy) $11.50
This charming brooch will look beautiful pinned to any jacket, bag or hat.

vintage-red-apple-cookie-jarVintage Red Apple Cookie Jar
– Retro Kitsch (Etsy) $28
An apple a day or a cookie day? Tough decision but if you decide to opt for the cookies at least they will seem a little bit healthier when they are stored in this apple jar!

60s Asymmetrical Mod Red Jacket

– Ophelia Vintage (Etsy) $59.95
Wow, what a statement jacket! From the black and gold buttons to the signature stripe, it has it all!

Vintage Red Postbox Keyring
Rokit, £3
Carry a little bit of London with you wherever you go with this adorable keyring.

1970s Red Belted Winter Coat
Rokit, £60
Enduring the chills of winter won’t seem so hard when you can cloak yourself in this stylish and fabulous red coat.

vintage-wooden-duck-umbrellaVintage Wooden Duck Umbrella
– Jess James Jake (Etsy) $40
Red umbrellas always make grey, overcast and rainy days just that bit more prettier! And when you have a duck on the handle, you’ll be guaranteed to make a few people chuckle!

Seven Vegetarian Stir Fry Recipes

Stir-fries are quick, easy and often bursting with healthy goodness but if you’re tired of tossing together the same old sad stir-fry, here are seven new recipe ideas for a little inspiration. Get those woks ready!

Oriental Mushroom and Pak Choi Stir Fry (above)
– Angela Boggiano
View recipe at Delicious Magazine

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables

– Kate Merker, image by Christopher Baker
View recipe at Real Simple


Brown Rice Stir-Fry with Flavored Tofu and Vegetables

– Body + Soul
View recipe at Whole Living

Soba, Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

– Body + Soul
View recipe at Whole Living 

Crispy Szechuan Tofu Stir Fry

– Angela Boggiano
View recipe at Delicious Magazine

Ginger Pineapple Fried Rice
– Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez, image by Martyn Thompson
View recipe at Epicurious

stir-fried-tofu-and-shiitake-mushroomsStir-Fried Tofu and Shiitake Mushrooms in Spicy Black Bean Sauce
– Bon Appetit, image by P Mittongtare
View recipe at Epicurious

Stay Warm In These Long Sleeve Dresses

Mock the pseudo button dress and I, if you must but I appreciate its kooky quality. The second dress appeals to the travel writer within. What could be better than a pretty dress with a map on it? You would never be lost in the fashion world when wearing this. The final two dresses are classics. Sleeveless dresses are at their most stylish when they are done in a simple yet sumptuous red or black.