Cooking With Shan, MyStorys

Why I’m NOT Vegan

Over the last few years more and more people have been opting for a plant based diet – known as being ‘vegan’. Now, I understand that a lot of people choose this kind of lifestyle because it is a meat free and dairy free diet. If you’re allergic to dairy, it’s an amazing diet to be on. Going vegan does have a lot of benefits, including lowering your blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and increasing your antioxidant levels. However being vegan does also have its disadvantages, like the loss of essential vitamins and minerals, the potential interference with existing medical conditions, and unrealistic expectations.

A lot of people believe that by going vegan, they are somehow choosing a healthier lifestyle because they’re cutting out meat products and dairy products. That isn’t always the case however, because when most people go vegan they aren’t doing it the right way and end up becoming ill because they aren’t getting the correct amount of essential nutrients that dairy products will supply them. I completely support going veggie, as you can still get all of the nutrients you need from other items except meat. For instance; protein from eggs.

I think what puts me off vegans is that SOME, not all, but some can be quite patronising. I respect that people choose to be vegan for health reasons. As long as they know what they’re doing in terms of making sure they intake enough protein, there isn’t anything bad about that. I respect that some people will want to be vegan because they believe it is beneficial to animals. That’s what I don’t get. Yes animals produce eggs and milk, but I DO NOT think it harms the animals to consume their produce. Those chickens are still going to lay those eggs, whether we choose to eat them or not, same goes with milk. In this day and age, wasting eggs and milk because you believe it hurts the animal is a massive reason why we waste so much.

I am personally NOT vegan because I do not believe that we are harming animals by consuming their produce. I think there are too many health benefits from eating animal produce to cut them out completely. I have cut my intake of dairy down since last year however, only consuming either 30g cheese each day or 250ml of semi skinned milk – to cut down on fat intake. I eat a lot of eggs and beans however, to keep up my protein levels as I do have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. I know a couple vegan people and most of them don’t constantly try and make me feel bad, and like I am a bad person for eating what an animal produces. I do however know a few who think they’re right for being vegan. What I have to say to those people is ‘good for you, what you put in your body is up to you but don’t try and preach that your lifestyle is better than the one I choose to live’. I believe that people at least need dairy products – especially if they aren’t getting any nutrients because they don’t eat meat.

Becoming a vegetarian is something I may consider in the future, as I do believe we don’t need meat to gather all the nutrients we need each day. And, I do like meat supplements, like Quern.

All in all, I have nothing bad to say about people who choose to be vegan, but, just like religion – I don’t need it shoved in my face. I will choose what goes into my body and I choose to NOT be vegan.

Shannon x

Cooking With Shan, Uncategorized

5 Baked Goods To Bake At Christmas Time

As Christmas is less then a week away, it’s time to head to the shop and stock up on all the essentials needed for Christmas day. The turkey, the table wear, party nibbles and of course the desserts and sweet treats. There is a lot on offer at most supermarkets these days, you can buy your Christmas pudding or yule log in the bakery section at most stores but nothing beats home baking, more so at this time of year! The smell of cinnamon and ginger fills your house while the gingerbread is cooking and all of a sudden it feels so much more like Christmas time. So, today I have listed my top ten favourite baked goods to make during the Christmas season.


Mince Pies 

Although I am not a fan of these small treats, I do like to make them and it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without taking a box of homemade mince pies to our family get-together on Christmas Eve. They’re simple enough to make whether you make them from scratch or use the cheat way and buy everything boxed, either way you do it, you’ll still get that homemade look and taste.

You could make your own pastry or mincemeat but if you’re new to baking or want a quicker way, buy the jarred mince at your local supermarket ( they range from around 90p to £5) and buy premade short crust pastry. All you need to do is; lightly grease a cupcake tin, cut the premade pastry into circles, add a spoonful of the jarred mince and cut out a circle or star shape and place on top, egg-wash and pop in oven for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top once cooled and serve! Easy enough right?

Here is the link to MY recipe on Lifeasshan! –


I have never actually thought of making these for Christmas before this year but I came across an image of these cute French treat with a reindeer design on top and an idea was formed in my head. So, this year I decided to make up some macarons which is quite easy once you’ve got the basics down. I used cocoa powder to make them a brown colour and filled them with a chocolate ganache(cream and chocolate; warm cream, add chocolate pieces, wait 30 seconds, stir and leave to thicken to desired consistency). Once my macarons were filled, I added white chocolate on the top, letting some drip down and added two red sweets and a fondant holly leaf to each macaron. These were my mini Christmas Cake inspired macarons (as a non lover of Christmas cake, these are a perfect sub for me…and they looked way cuter).

Chocolate Yule Log

A classic at any Christmas meal, I believe. This cake is great for the non Christmas cake lovers in the family (mainly the children), who will still get some cake and custard after their Christmas meal, just minus the orange peel and raisins). I love to make a yule log at Christmas because they can be personalised to your families preferences and the children can help decorate it with fondant snowmen and logs. My brothers pester me to make them this during the Christmas holidays.

Gingerbread People OR House 

Another classic at Christmas… gingerbread. Whether you keep it simple with gingerbread people or whether you like to create a whole house for your gingerbread people, ginger is one of those spices I always associate with this time of year. You can buy gingerbread house kits in the likes of Tesco for £4 or you can make your own gingerbread and create whatever kind of shapes you want.

Cinnamon & Honeycomb Pancakes 

Christmas morning is normally filled with eating chocolate out of your stocking and the afternoon spent starving waiting for your big feast. I like to make sure I have something proper for breakfast as we don’t eat till late afternoon and on Christmas day I am normally up early. I don’t want something boring on Christmas day like Weetabix, it’s Christmas! I want cinnamon and chocolate. So, I came up with these pancakes a couple years ago that are the perfect Christmas morning breakfast. If you’ve already got a busy day of cooking ahead on Christmas day or want to spend as much time with your family as possible, I suggest making the honeycomb and pancake batter the night before. You can follow any normal pancake recipe and just add cinnamon and chocolate chips to the batter and store in the fridge till Christmas day. Making the honey comb is pretty simple as well, just add sugar and syrup to a pan and heat and add bicarbonate of soda and pour into a tub, leave to set and break up into small pieces. Store in an air tight container. On Christmas day all you need to do is cook the pancakes and serves with chocolate sauce, honey or Nutella with the honeycomb pieces.

Honourable Mentions

 Is it weird that I have an ‘honourable mentions’ section? Oh well, here is some other things I like to buy or make as little extras during the winter months. They’re cheap to buy or easy and quick to make! So, these little treats may suit you better then carving out a whole 2 hours to decorate a gingerbread house to perfection.

If you’re looking for some Christmas inspired bakes, check out these youtubers/bloggers for their Christmas bake recipes! (These are some of my favourites)

Laura in the Kitchen; YouTube Channel and Blog

Cupcake Jemma; YouTube, Blog & Bakery Owner –

Jamie Oliver; Chef, YouTube Channel & Blog –

HowToCookThat; YouTube and Blog  –


I will be back in the New Year with lots of new, fresh posts. Next year is looking at being a very big and interesting one for me personally, so I imagine I will have a lot to write about, which is pretty exciting.

I hope you enjoy baking this Christmas season! Tag me in any recreations on twitter under the hashtag #xmasbakewithshan and remember to tag me @lifeasshanx. I am also under the same handle on Instagram!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! See you in January! 

Shannon x


***disclaimer – Images used are not mine, credit to original uploaders***
Cooking With Shan, Uncategorized

Mince Pies Recipe

You can’t have Christmas without Mince Pies. This recipe always goes down well with my family, at the Christmas party and as a festive snack during December. I am not yet ambitious enough to make my own mincemeat, though. Maybe next year? Here is my recipe for Mince Pies.

You’ll Need; 

  • 225g Flour
  • 50g Icing Sugar( more if you want to dust with icing sugar).
  • 125g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Mincemeat
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt

*If you are making your own pastry, do that first. If you are using store bought pastry, you need to get it out the fridge 20 minutes in advance or 24 hours in advance if it is frozen.*


  1. To make your pastry, use a sieve and put your flour, icing sugar and cinnamon through it, onto a clean, dry surface. You need to then add the butter in cubes and use your fingers to bring the butter and dry ingredients together, they should look like a crumble mixture. After you have done this, make a well in the centre of your ‘crumble’ mixture and add the egg and milk. Combine the mixture until you have a dough, try not to knead the dough too much. Place in the fridge, in clingfilm for 30-40 minutes.
  2. Take ⅔ of the dough and place the other ⅓ to the side of now. Roll out the ⅔ of pastry on a floured surface until the dough it about the thickness of a 10p coin. Use a circle cookie cutter to cut out 12 circles. Dust the fairy cake tray with flour and add the circles of pastry into each hole. Use your finger to neaten up the edges of the pastry, then use a fork to pierce a hole in the bottom of each pastry circle.
  3. Fill each pastry circle with a teaspoon of mincemeat (homemade or store bought).
  4. Now, get the ⅓ pastry you had left over. Roll out the pastry the same way you did in step 2. You can use a star cookie cutter or the a circle one for this, depending on your preference. Cut out 12 stars ( I made 12 medium stars and 12 small stars and places the small stars on top of the medium stars for a prettier look).
  5. Place the stars on top of your mince pies and use an egg wash over the top of the mince pies, to make the mince pies golden brown and crispy, once cooked.
  6. Cook at gas mark 6 for 25-35 minutes, until the mince pies are golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.


You can keep these mince pies in an airtight container for 3-5 days.  

Cooking With Shan, Uncategorized

Nutella Cheesecakes


Nutella Cheesecakes are possibly my favourite dessert to have. The creamy and smooth Nutella cheesecakes are great as a sneaky treat, an indulgent party dessert or an after meal pudding. Whenever and whatever you make these Nutella cheesecakes for, you won’t regret it. And with the Christmas holiday now upon us, there is so many more reasons to make these, whether it’s for that Christmas party or as a treat for the children on Christmas eve/day. This recipe makes ten individual cheesecakes or one massive cheesecake.

You will need:

  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 150g Butter
  • 300g Nutella
  • 400g Soft Cheese
  • 200g Digestive Biscuits
  • Mini Loaf/Cake Bakeable Cases (10) or a removable cake tin. ( any cake case will do, but cardboard cases are best as they can hold themselves up.


ASDA’s loaf cases( the ones I used) –

Rating – ⅘      

Price(per serving) – £1.10           Price(for all ingredients) – £11


  1. Measure all ingredients. Crumble up the digestives with either the end of a rolling pin or use a food processor. Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and pour over the digestives, the digestives should resemble sand and not have any large pieces in the mix. Mix these 2 ingredients together until they are combined. Spoon the digestive mixture evenly into the loaf/cake cases.  Place on a baking tray ( to keep them together and put in the fridge, so the butter can harden.
  2. In a clean, large bowl, mix together all the soft cheese and icing sugar until, all the icing sugar is incorporated and the mix is smooth. Add the Nutella, and use a whisk or spatula to whisk the Nutella into the soft cheese and icing sugar mixture. You can add more icing sugar or even cocoa powder to thicken the mixture if you want to.
  3. Spoon the Nutella mixture into the cake cases on top of the digestive mixture. Smooth out the top of each cheesecake and put back in the fridge. Leave in the fridge to set for at least 6 hours.


*I recommend leaving the cheesecakes to set for 12-18 hours if making the individuals and 15-20 hours if you make the large cheesecake.*

These cheesecakes need to be kept in the fridge and eaten within 48 hours of making them.
*disclaimer – all images used are owned by me*

Cooking With Shan

Simple & Easy Sugar Cookies.

photo 4

It’s just turned fall and the start to my favourite time of the year, you can expect a lot of blog posts these next couple months. Most will be seasonal, with Halloween and bonfire night fast approaching, you can expect lots of recipe idea’s and seasonal posts. I love this time of year, including all the fun things that happen this time of year, so I will have lots of posts up, including baking/recipe posts, fall and winter makeup and hair ideas and DIY and decor posts. Today, I have one last summary post up for you all, a recipe. You can make these any time of the year but I like to make these ones around summer, but you can adjust these to any time of the year. Instead of making flowers and hearts, you could make cats and ghosts for Halloween, fireworks and bonfires for bonfire night or stars, trees and Santas for Christmas, all you need to change is the shapes and the icing colors.

With this recipe I made around 25-30 cookies(depending on how big your cookies are), so you could double this recipe or half it, depending on how many you want to make.

Sugar Cookie Recipe:

  • 280g Caster Sugar
  • 600g Plain Flour
  • 400g Butter
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs ( beat the egg whites for one minute, you do not want white peaks, just a foamy appearance)
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon( if you would like it, you could switch it out with nutmeg or more vanilla, or have nothing extra).
  • 400g Icing Sugar
  • 3-6 tablespoons of water or milk.

Other things you will need:

  • Cookie Cutters
  • Baking Tray
  • Bowl
  • Scale
  • Spatula or Spoon
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Piping Bags or Zip Lock Bags
  • Food Colouring ( I used red and yellow)
  1. Firstly, you need to weigh all your ingredients and preheat the oven to gas mark 5.
  2. You then need to cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl, add the egg yolk and partially beaten egg whites to the mixture, use a spatula to mix together.
  3. Add the salt, cinnamon and vanilla and continue mixing. Add the flour in 3 parts and mix until well combined. At this point you mix will have turned into a soft dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and place in fridge, for 30 minutes or freezer for 10 minutes, as long as the soft dough has become slightly firm, then you’re ready to take it out of the fridge.
  5. Place on a floured surface and roll out to about a 1 cm in height. Cut out the shapes you would like and place onto a well-greased baking tray.
  6. Bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, until hard on top and lightly brown. Place on a baking rack and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
  7. To make the icing, simply sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you have a paste, the paste shouldn’t be runny, but it should not be too thick that it doesn’t fall off the spoon if held up. You are looking for icing, that will easily pipe onto a cookie without running off the sides, but not leave a pattern like butter icing would on a cake.
  8. Use food colouring to make different colors for the different cookies and use a piping bag to pipe the icing onto the cookie. Start off at the sides of the cookie and work your way in.
  9. Leave the icing on the cookies to harden, in the fridge for around 30-45 minutes before you serve them, this makes them less messy to eat as the icing on top will start to harden.

I would suggest eating within 4 days. Keep them in a cool area in an airtight container. These are great to make at any time of the year, but I love making them around holidays, because they can be themed, for a party or occasion. You could make these with children because they are so easy and quick to make.

Shannon x

Cooking With Shan

How To: Make Rainbow Cupcakes!

So this week I decided to do a little cooking. I love cooking and coming up with new things and I’d never tried to make Rainbow cupcakes. So I decided to, I put a recipe together and they turnt out amazing! They are so Fun ,Easy and Quick to make. So I thought i’d share my recipe and method with you all. I hope you enjoy making them and eating them as much as I did 🙂    CHECK OUT MY TWITTER AND FOLLOW SO YOU CAN KEEP UP TO DATE WITH MY BLOG POSTS :).


rbs3rbs2These are the cupcakes I made :).

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6.               Makes Around: 12/13 Cupcakes


  • 200g Flour
  • 200g Sugar
  • 200g Butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • Red, Blue, Purple, Green Food Colouring
  • 1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract

Method I Used:

1. Cream together the butter and sugar in the large bowl. In the median bowl place the egg whites and place the egg yolks in a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, leave to one side.

2. In the large bowl, sieve in the flour and baking powder into the creamed butter, add the egg whites and yolk and continue to whisk into smooth batter.

3, Separate the cake batter into 4 small bowls . Add the food colouring to each. E.G Red to one batter, Blue to another and so on. Mix each colour in till you have a Blue, Red , Purple and Green cake batter.

4. Place muffin cases into muffin tin. Starting with the red add a teaspoon to the bottom of the cake case, smooth out and then add the Green on top, smooth out and repeat with all colours. The batter should only come half way up the muffin tin otherwise it will spill over while cooking in the oven. Use a toothpick to swirl each the cupcakes a little.

5. Place in the oven  for around 20 minutes. You will know when they are done when they are light brown op, spring back when touched and when pierced toothpick should come out clean.

6. After they are cooked. place into a cooling rack. I just used a basic buttercream to decorate my rainbow cupcakes.

Store in a air tight container for 5 Days.

I hope you try out these rainbow cupcakes. Show me your recreations with the Hashtag #Lifeasshanrecipes on instragrams and twitter! My username for instragram and twitter is @lifeasshanx

Comment below any requests and ideas for future blogs.