Cheap and Easy Vegan and Gluten Free Soup

Vegan and gluten free food does not need to be expensive or complicated in order for it to be delicious and healthy. This hearty cheap and easy vegan and gluten free soup is made using easy to find inexpensive ingredients. In fact it is likely that you have most, if not all of the ingredients at home already. The soup also only takes round thirty minutes to prepare and reheats well.

The recipe is fairly versatile so feel free to switch the vegetables for whatever you have available. You could use white or even spring onions instead of red or use another type of pasta or spaghetti. If you do change the ingredients keep an eye on the cooking times as different vegetables may need more or less time to cook. Broken up gluten free spaghetti could be used in place of the pasta for a minestrone like soup.

I hope you enjoy this vegan and gluten free soup.


vegan and gluten free soup


Serves 4
Total cost – under £2
Time needed – Approximately 30 minutes


1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tbsp oil
500g passata
400ml vegetable stock
1 can of haricot beans, drained
100g gluten free pasta twists
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp thyme

1. Heat the oil in large pan and fry the onions, garlic, celery and carrot over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Pour in the passata, stock and herbs and bring to the boil.

3. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are almost cooked through.

4. Add the beans and pasta and cook for a further 8 minutes or until the pasta is tender.


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Save Money on Heating with Cheap and Easy Insulation.

There are many ways to save money on heating your home including switching to a cheaper supplier or taking advantage of special offers and deals, buying portable heaters or electric blanket or wearing more layers of clothes. These are all useful and are things that most people can do easily at home themselves and enable them to stay warmer at less cost. However if there is a problem with your house such as gaps between windows and doors and their frames, no matter how much you wrap up the house will still feel cold and heat from any heating you do lose will be lost to the outdoors.

One room in my house has a set of wooden patio doors that are lovely in the summer but very drafty in winter. Since we moved here three years ago I have tried several ways of fixing the problem to help save money on heating the room, including using door sealing tape to fill some of the gaps. Some were too large and I also found that the tape was not very long lasting. While thinking about what to do to solve the problem that would not be too difficult, very expensive or mean that the room was then far to hot in the summer. I remembered the way many people use bubble wrap to insulate garden greenhouses and thought there was no reason that it would not work for internal windows and doors as well. Even better I had some large sheets of bubble wrap that had come in a parcel that I thought would be perfect for the job.

From start to finish the project took about 30 minutes. I used masking tape to stick the bubble wrap sheets to the door frame so that the gaps between it and the doors where completely enclosed. I decided on masking tape partly because it is easy to tear into pieces and also is likely to be easier to remove once it is warmer again than a more ‘stickier’ tape such as sellotape. Rather than measuring the bubble wrap I stuck it down on one side on the door frame and then held it across to the other side before cutting it to size. The tape needs run the entire length of each piece of bubble wrap otherwise the drafts will come through any gaps. If you need to join the bubble wrap at any point, the joins also need to be completely covered with tape.

The room is now much warmer even when the heating is not on and once the weather is warmer again I can remove the bubble wrap and store it ready for next winter. You do not need to buy special bubble wrap to use it as insulation and can reuse some you already have as I did. The bubble wrap needs to be seal all the way around the edges of the window and door as drafts and cold air will be able to pass through even the smallest gaps. If you need to join pieces of bubble wrap these will also need to be taped along the edges completely so that there are no gaps there.

Bubble wrap can be bought in rolls that would be ideal for this cheap insulation project, as it can then be cut to the required size easily and any extra stored neatly. If needed the bubble wrap insulation can be removed and re-rolled and saved meaning that only new tape will be needed next winter. These factors make this method and very cheap and effective way to insulate doors and windows. Even more so if you are able to reuse bubble wrap you already have. But even if you need to buy some now, it can be used in future and the costs overall are likely to be less than the money that you save on heating costs.

Save money on heating

All edges and joins should be covered completely with tape to stop any cold air coming through the bubble wrap.


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Delicious Vegetable Soups

I have never been much of a fan of soup but recently have been making and eating loads. I have been searching Pintrest for inspiration and have collected together some recipes for some yummy, comforting vegetable soups including Thai Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato, roasted carrot with honey and ginger, spicy tomato and lentil and Tuscan bean soups.

Follow Elderberry Arts’s board Soups on Pinterest.

Soup is such a versatile dish, from clear and thin to thick, creamy, chunky and filling. They can be made with almost any ingredient and can be as simple as cooking some chopped vegetables in stock and are ideal for using up leftovers or small oddments of vegetables, beans, grains and other foods. Pasta, noodles, rice, quinoa or barley can also be added to soups and can help to create a more complete and filling one pot meal that can be eaten curled up at home or taken out in a flask or reheated at work. Most soups also reheat and freeze well.

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Snowflake Earring Tutorial Now Avaliable

This tutorial provides step by step instructions with colour photographs showing how to create a pair of unusual earrings.

You will not need any prior knowledge other than how to open and close a loop using pliers in order to complete this tutorial. The cord and bead colours can be customized to suit your own preferences if desired.

Snowflake Earring Tutorial

Perfect for the winter season this full colour, step by step tutorial is now available to download from Jewelry Lessons. Every aspect of creating this unusual piece of jewellery is explained within the earring tutorial so it is suitable for beginner and more experienced jewellery makers alike.


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Winter Incense Recipe

Incense can be a perfect way to bring the scents and memories of a season, event or place to your home. The only equipment you need to create loose incense is a pestle and mortar and a suitable storage container. Loose incense is best kept in a dark, cool place. It can be stored in many type of container including glass jars and bottles, ziplock bags and small Tupperware or other plastic containers. Any incense should be labelled clearly with the name of the incense recipe and the date that it was made. You could include a list of ingredients if desired.

To create this winter incense recipe you will need:

2 tbsp juniper berries
2 tbsp mugwort
1 tbsp pine needles or pine resin
1 tbsp bay leaves
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp cloves

1. Crush the juniper berries and cloves. You can completely crush these to powder or leave them in larger pieces if preferred.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the crushed juniper and cloves. Mix well and crush together lightly.

If you wish you can continue to crush the incense until it is powdered.

Winter incense recipe


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Vegetarian Chilli Soup Recipe

Vegetarian Chilli Sou[

Photo Source: Glenn, [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Flickr

This vegetarian chilli soup is perfect for warming up on a cold winters day. Packed full of delicious beans and spices it is a hearty and healthy meal. The recipe is very versatile so feel free to substitute the onions and pepper for another type if those are what you have available. The type of beans used in chilli is normally kidney beans but others will work just as well. You could also use a tin of mixed beans or even chickpeas. The heat of the finished chilli will depend on what chillies you use and whether you leave the seeds in or remove them.

This vegetarian chilli soup recipe could be adapted to be suitable for vegans by replacing the quorn mince with soya mince or a vegan mince. the mince could also be left out and replaced with lentils or a second can of beans.

Serves 4

500g quorn mince
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, finely chopped and deseeded (leave in the seeds for a hotter chilli)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 large can beans, drained
3 tbsp paprika
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 pint of water
Olive oil for frying


1. Gently fry the onions in a little oil until they are soft.

2. Add the chillies, garlic and red pepper and fry for another minute.

3. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.


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Delicious Sunshine Vegan Salad Recipe

Vegan food can often seem difficult or time consuming to prepare to many people. This doesn’t just apply to vegans but also to people who are not used to catering for anyone on a plant based diet and need to. In many cases there is also the added issue of needing special ingredients or equipment such as a high powered blender or a dehydrator.

When creating my vegan recipes I try to focus on using everyday ingredients that are easy to buy or that anyone may have at home already. I also try to avoid the need for equipment people may not have.

This vegan salad recipe is nice as a lunch, part of a buffet or as an accompaniment to other foods in a main meal. Perfect for the summertime or with it’s bright happy colours as a reminder of warmer, sunnier days at colder times of the year. I have included the basic recipe as well as two variations  but please feel free to try you own by adding in favourite ingredients or swapping for whatever you have available. The recipe serves one person if the salad is eaten alone but can easily be created in larger quantities if needed. This vegan salad recipe is also great for using up small amounts of veg you may have left from other recipes and meals.


Sunshine Vegan Salad

Sunshine Vegan Salad

2 spring onions, sliced
5cm piece of cucumber, deseeded and diced
1 tomato, deseeded and diced
1 yellow mini pepper or 1/4 a small pepper, diced
1/4 tsp sesame seeds

1. Place the spring onion, cucumber, tomato and pepper in a bowl and mix well.

2. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and mix briefly to distribute them through the salad.


1. Add two small cooked and diced beetroots to the salad in step 1.

2. Top the salad with one sliced tofu sausage (or vegan sausage of your choice) and then stir this into the salad.


Vegan Salad with Beetroot

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Professional Crafters Guild Christmas Book is Out Now.

This interactive online book has listings detailing many of the members of the Professional Crafters Guild. It has information on the beautiful crafts and services that they offer as well as full colour photographs and weblinks. The book is perfect for Christmas and winter holiday shopping  from the comfort of your own home while also enabling you to support small businesses. There are items to suit every taste and budget including crocheted items, soaps, Christmas stockings, jewellery and candles.



The Professional Crafters guild was established in 2011 in order to help those who work in crafts to be taken seriously. They offer a wide range of services including registration certificates and badges to display on your website or offline, websites and lots and lots of friendly support. Joining the guild if free though there is also a premier member option with even more great benefits.

Visit their website at for further information.


Professional Crafters Guild membership


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Delicious Vegan Smoothie – Banana, Pear and Flax

This delicious vegan smoothie is quick and easy to make. It is perfect for quick breakfast or healthy snack any time of the day. There is no need to peel the pear, just remove the stalk and core if desired before adding to the other ingredients. This vegan smoothie is also gluten free.
Serves 1

1 pear
1 banana
150ml non-dairy milk
2 tbsp vanilla soya yoghurt
2 tbsp linseeds

Place all ingredients into a blender or smoothie maker and blend until smooth.



  • Use plain, strawberry or coconut yoghurt instead.
  • Use different milks such as soya, rice, almond, coconut or hemp.
  • Use other seeds or even nuts in place of the linseeds.


Hints and Tips

  • Freeze into delicious and healthy smoothie pops or ice cream.
  • Can be kept but will turn brown after a while. Even if this happens the smoothie is still ok to drink.
  • For lower powered blenders use ground flaxseed instead of linseeds. These could be swapped for ground almonds or other nuts and seeds.
  • Add a couple of strawberries or use a very ripe banana for a sweeter smoothie.



Pears are available in a variety of types and can be soft and sweet or firmer and crunchy. They are packed full of health giving nutrients including fibre, antioxidants, vitamin C, copper, iron, potassium and B complex vitamins making this vegan smoothie a great and healthy choice.


Bananas are a healthy choice when looking for energy rich foods. They also help to give this vegan smoothie its creamy smoothie texture. Bananas are soft and easily digestible so are a great choice for children, the elderly or anyone who is unwell. They are a good source of vitamin-B6 and also contain vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, fibre and manganese.


Linseed, or flaxseed as it is often known are packed full of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, riboflavin, thiamin, folate and pantothenic acid. These chewy seeds also contain a range of minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium.

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