Cardiff

My time in Cardiff Wales was very short, only one full day, but it was a lovely city with less hustle and bustle after coming straight from Liverpool.

The first place I visited was Cardiff Market, which was great because I got there early enough to avoid a big crowd. There was a great variety of interesting stalls including things like Indian spices, vintage records, palm reading, fresh produce, and my personal favorite, the yarn shop. It was called the Wool Pack, but she had a massive collection of acrylic yarn (all of the shelves on the left side), which I got a beautiful teal skein from.

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After getting lost (thanks, Google Maps) and having to ask for directions at a craft beer shop, my first food stop was at Crumbs Kitchen. It was worth the hassle though, because I had a very good lunch there. The first floor of the restaurant is a bit chaotic, due to that being where the orders take place, but there is a second story with extra seating away from the main crowd. I got the chili over brown rice, with rose lemonade and chocolate cake. The whole grain goodness of the brown rice was a nice welcome, due to my Workaway host at that time only feeding us less filling white rice. The serving was huge though, and I ended up taking half away for my dinner later.

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I gotta admit, part of the appeal of Cardiff was being a Torchwood fan. I never managed to get into Doctor Who (though I still find Weeping Angels terrifying), but I was addicted to Torchwood when I found it in Netflix. Because of this, I decided to brave the rain and wind and march two miles from my hotel to the area where they shot the show. It was odd to look at all these buildings in real life when before I’ve only seen them in panoramic filmed shots. Definitely worth a trip if you’re a fan.

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A place you must visit in Cardiff is Cinnamon Sticks, an almost painfully adorable tea room shop. Everything ranging from the wallpaper to the servers’ outfits is either floral, pink, or dainty. Though I’m not a huge tea fan (unless it’s cold, sweet, and Southern), but I did partake in their cake, which is beyond amazing. I got a piece of their chocolate peanut butter masterpiece and can say that it was probably the best piece of cake I’ve ever had. The peanut butter frosting was the perfect amount of rich and fluffy, and the chocolate cake was the perfect spongey texture. I was sad I didn’t have time or the stomach space to try their savory vegan options, but I’ll just have to get them next time I go to Cardiff, since I will definitely be visiting Cinnamon Sticks again.

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Liverpool Pt. II

My second day in Liverpool started with a nice breakfast at Brasco Lounge. They have an entirely separate vegan menu, and I ended up settling on their vegan breakfast plate. This was my first time trying baked beans since getting to Britain, and I was pleasantly surprised that I liked these. I usually find the American kind much too sweet. I’m more of a fan of savory breakfasts, so this hearty plate was right up my alley.

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The restaurant was conveniently located near the Liverpool Museum, which is a great free (!) place to explore. The best part for me was their large exhibit on the history and movement of transgender people.

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Albert Dock is also nearby and holds a few entertaining things to see. My favorite of which was the giant Echo Wheel. Although I’m not a huge fan of heights, I rode it anyway and had a great time being terrified on the squeaky ride.

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While wandering around the dock, I was drawn into a candy shop due to their amazing jelly bean portrait of The Beatles. Inside, I found some vegan vanilla Liverpool candy canes, which my inner tourist insisted I try.

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As a bonus: here’s a yarnbombing I saw at St. John’s Gardens.

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Liverpool Pt. I

Although my first two months of working abroad were spent mainly in Ireland, I took the time to visit parts of the UK also. The first place I saw was Liverpool, England. I was a bit intimidated before arriving because several people said “You’re going to Liverpool? Alone?!” when they found out I wasn’t going for a visit with friends or family.

It all turned out well though, because I had a blast in Liverpool. There were plenty of things to do, places to see, and vegan food to eat. Plus any time I got lost (which I’m embarrassed to admit happened a few times), passersby were always happy to help and point to a spot on the map or tell me that Google Maps had sent me the wrong way.

I stayed in the cutest hostel ever, called Podzzz. It was the perfect size and had everything I needed in the single room. Plus the staff there were probably the friendliest I’ve met on my travels.

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Liverpool left a great impression on me, and I loved all the interesting things you’d find walking around the city. Ranging from an urban wildflower field to street art.

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My first meal in the city was at The Egg, a vegetarian cafe in the city center. Although the atmosphere was nice, I’m sad to say my meal was a flop.

20140727-184910-67750791.jpgI ordered the spicy burger, and when they brought out the plate I honestly thought they’d chosen the wrong dish. The sides were utterly flavorless and the “burger” was just like a large falafel with bland marinara sauce on top. It was the first time I have had a bad meal while eating at an all vegetarian/vegan restaurant before, so I was pretty disappointed.

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Unperturbed by my less than satisfying lunch, I wandered around the shopping district and found the holy grail of punk clothes and oddities: Grand Central Hall. This place was packed full of unique little shops with a variety of clothes, jewelry, comic books, and records. Everything was relatively well priced too, unlike a lot of these specialty themed markets I’ve seen.

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I also visited the Walker Art Gallery, which featured some amazing quilts by Grayson Perry. The place was huge too, and took about two hours to go through the whole thing.

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For dinner, I had planned to hit up a nearby vegan restaurant just down the block. Upon seeing their closed sign, I decided to meander down the street until I found a restaurant that looked like it had vegan options. Luckily for me, The Brink was right down the road. The staff was knowledgeable about what options were available, and I ended up settling with a bowl of creamy (due to blended potatoes/carrots) tomato soup. And also, I drank a bottle of the best root beer I’ve ever had! I’ll have a tough time finding something that compares to this in the States.

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Will Travel for Vegan Food

First off, I’m writing this post from my iPad, so if the formatting looks strange, that’s why.

I’ve decided to start blogging again because I miss it and it honestly motivates me to cook different food (aka not fall into a “food rut”). This summer I’ve been busy traveling by using the website Workaway and through it I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to meet new people, and collect lots of lovely recipes on the way.

I’ve worked in both Ireland and Scotland, and also visited the rest of the UK during my time here. From all of this I have a neat little notebook filled with recipes from almost all of my hosts (I’ve had four in total), and I can’t wait to go back home to recreate or veganize them, then share my tasty findings on LimaBeanLover.

But until I return home mid-August and have a chance to tinker with the recipes, I’ll just be sharing some of the delicious food from my trip. My next post shall be all about Liverpool, so be excited! For a bonus, here’s a picture from of me in all my nervousness before Peter left me at the airport for the flight to Ireland. I have since then conquered my fear of flight.

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Revamp

As mentioned in my previous update, life has gotten crazy busy! But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I’m actually having a pretty good time. Between school, work, running campus clubs, and coordinating the social media for Cosmic Forge¬†Studios¬†(check it soon for the new website), I’ve barely had time for homework, let alone the blog. This post was mostly written because I have time off from school due to some snow days (see picture below).

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I do not see things letting up any time soon, so Lima Bean Lover will now be a blog for recipes only. I’m still constantly cooking and baking, but have little time to write “Oh look how nice this meal looks!” posts. So whenever I come up with a new recipe (or steal one from my roommate), then I’ll share it here. I already have a few in drafts including sloppy joe pasta, wholesome banana muffins, and slow cooker navy bean soup. So know I’m still thinking of my readers and the blog!

Update

Hey everyone! Sorry if you saw any odd pictures on my blog lately, I had a mix-up trying to moderate a friend’s WordPress blog and some of his stuff got posted to mine.

I’m also trying to update everyone as to what’s happening with Lima Bean Lover. I’m super busy with school, a new part-time job, and being president of three different organizations. Needless to say, the blog is not top on my priority list. But I am not abandoning it, just letting it cool down a little. I’ll be posting the second half of my Vinegar Variety posts soon, and definitely one about Thanksgiving dinner.

So I hope everyone has a great holiday break, and I should be updating y’all soon.

Weekly Wednesday Round-Up – Muffins and Tattoos

Corn muffins with a vegan take on honey butter, agave margarine!

agave butter muffins

Pizza hummus with pita chips
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Pumpkin spice muffins made by my lovely roommate. I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

pumpkin muffinsAnd lastly my new tattoo! Which is in honor of the University of Montevallo’s Purple Side. Our symbol is the cow and also an old tradition used to be to throw Moon Pies at the opposing side. Now I need to veganize some Moon Pies!

cow tattoo