Welcome to week two of my vegan for a month challenge. The week, my unstoppable sweet tooth almost destroyed me. It was Sunday night. After a long week of work, I was relaxing on the sofa, watching (you already know) Making a Murderer. I had eaten a good, vegan meal for dinner, and I was nice and full, until…my sweet tooth started singing.

After a very thorough search, I did not find one bit of vegan chocolate, biscuit, anything. What I did find was numerous half-empty boxes of roses and quality street. Yes, the Christmas leftovers were taunting me. Being honest, it was the first time I nearly caved. I thought ‘who will know if I just have one tiny little green triangle?’. But being as stubborn as I am competitive, I stepped away from the sweeties, and hastily googled ‘sweet vegan recipes’, and allrecipies.com came to my rescue with this little culinary gem – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/68436/vegan-brownies/. I popped all the ingredients together, and waited slightly impatiently while they were in the oven. I was not disappointed, and my sweet tooth shut up for the rest of the night. Gooey but still crunchy on the outside, these brownies would please even non-vegans! I gave a few to family and friends, and still had some leftover for myself to keep my sweet cravings at bay for the week.

Apart from overcoming my chocolate addiction, this week was fairly straightforward. The only thing I needed to stock up on was almond milk and fresh veggies; I’m finding that dry ingredients (lentils, beans, rice, etc.) last for a long time when you’re cooking for one, because you don’t actually use too much of them while cooking. The recipes I’ve tried tend to call for a lot of different things cooked together, rather than just one or two main ingredients. I’m guessing this has something to do with flavour, because a lot of vegan food seems to compliment each other’s taste. A good example of this is the whopper sweet potato and lentil curry I made during the week – find recipe here.

With all the vegetables, the kidney beans, and the lentils, it feels like you’re using a lot of ingredients, but they all combine together to create a wholesome, flavoursome dish. I halved the recipe and I still got about 5-6 servings out of it! I recommend halving most new vegan recipes if you try them, because you might not actually like the result, or you might want to change it up to suit your own taste next time. I’m finding this challenge is more about experimenting with cooking than anything else, and finding what ways I can alter recipes to suit my palette. I’m not a fan of spice, so, if there’s a lot of spice in a recipe, I just take it out! I used to prefer baking over cooking, because there was clear instructions and measurements: cooking, you could take this away, add this, and it just seemed too overwhelming trying to find what flavours go well together without being told. But the more you cook, the easier it gets…I never thought I could make something like this curry all by myself, but here we are, five delicious servings in my tummy later.

This might seem like common knowledge to most of you, but anyone reading who is scared of cooking like I was, just give it a go, even if it’s not vegan cooking. I ate the curry a few different ways, which is a good way to not get bored of leftovers. Rice the first time, then just with garlic bread (I made my own vegan garlic butter), then on top of some rye crackers. This curry was definitely my tour de force of week two.

The rest of the week when I wasn’t munching curry leftovers, I found myself eating mashed potato, loads of veg and then a protein of some sort: Linda McCartney sausages, bean burgers, nut cutlets, etc. or something even more simple like beans on toast. With the horrible weather this week I came home from work just wanting something warm and filling, which I had no difficulty whipping up even with vegan ingredients. I found myself more in the habit of the vegan lifestyle this week; I wasn’t accidentally grabbing the wrong butter out of the fridge, or planning recipes only to remember there was dairy in one of the ingredients, things like that just weren’t happening this week. I was faced with eating out for the first time as a vegan, in an Eddie Rockets style dinner where I knew there wouldn’t be much for me. So, I had a tofu burger and a salad at home before I left, and then sweet potatoes fries when I got there. I still got my protein, veggies and carbs, and didn’t miss out on the social outing. I feel great, my body doesn’t feel like it’s missing any nutrients, and I’m enjoying the cooking.

All in all a solid second week, and I’m more than ready for my third vegan week!