Recipe: Get Stuffed

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Get Stuffed

Get Stuffed

Ingredients

  • Standard: 200g packet of fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbsp. oil (I used avocado oil but olive or rapeseed would be fine)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 500g pasta sauce (I used an organic marinara sauce)
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, or on-the-vine tomatoes, quartered
  • Small tub of mascarpone cheese*
  • Bunch of basil, chopped
  • Packet of your favourite ravioli or tortellini*
  • Vegetarian: make sure the tortellini is meat free
  • Gluten-free: as above but use gluten-free pasta instead of the stuffed pasta and cook before adding the casserole dish
  • Dairy free: Avoid cheese stuffed pasta and omit the mascarpone
  • Vegan: Use dried and egg free pasta, boil before adding to the casserole dish, ensure sauce is suitable for vegans and omit all cheese. Add extra spinach, basil and/or tomatoes.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan/Gas 6
  2. Place spinach in a large colander and pour over a kettleful of boiled water to wilt. Yu may need more than one kettleful.
  3. Leave to drain then push the additional moisture out of the spinach with a spoon or your hands (be careful it's not too hot)
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions for 6-8 minutes until starting to colour
  5. Add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute or two more
  6. Pour in the pasta sauce, drained spinach and tomatoes, stir and cook through until bubbling
  7. Place the shredded basil, and the mascarpone in the base of the casserole dish, add the pasta (either fresh or the cooked gf version), no need to cook the fresh ravioli/tortellini
  8. Add seasoning and stir together
  9. Top with the tomato mixture
  10. Bake, covered for 20 minutes or until bubbling and hot through

Notes

Really easy to make and suitable for families where one or two members eat differently to the others - flexible and easily adaptable and saves making separate meals, just use different casserole dishes and adapt the ingredients and tuck in!

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2017/01/30/recipe-get-stuffed/

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Feminism is a Dirty Word

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My Social Media feed is FULL of feminism. It’s wonderful that such an empowering movement is gathering traction in the mainstream media (MSM). I’m not sure that everyone outside of the movement, however, actually knows quite what feminism is and how it should function.

Let me help. For me, feminism is about equality of opportunity. Men and women are not equal, they are different. That shouldn’t mean that they don’t have the same access to fundamental rights but calling it ‘equality’ allows for easy criticisms to be made about why men are more suited to this physically and women to that emotionally and blah blah blah. Using the term equality allows the justification of the status quo.  Worryingly, the most damning critiques of feminism I have seen in the last few days have been from women themselves. Women who are perpetuating the myth that feminism=men hating. That feminism exists to put men down. Sadly, these commentators are fuelling anti women sentiments with their ill informed commentaries.

Feminism is about equality of opportunity for EVERYONE but from a female perspective ‘cos, you know – we’re (mostly but not all) girls. I am just as concerned about fathers lack of parental rights and access as I am about women’s access to reproductive control. I hope that trans women feel accepted as feminists too, irrespective of their birth gender. You can use the same toilet as me any day of the week, well, when I say the same, I mean the next cubicle obviously. It’s not a white movement either because arguably white women are more privileged than women of colour and that needs addressing along with everything else.

I’ve read blogs from well educated but ill-informed ladies who state that there isn’t a problem with employment, that we’re smashing the glass ceiling so stop moaning. Completely missing the point that the fricken ceiling has no right to be there in the first place. You only have to look at the panel CNN assembled to discuss the recent women’s marches to see patriarchy in force. Gender balance – eh no! 8 white men and 1 white woman? How’s that for completely missing the point! There is a substantial gender pay gap. Interestingly the gap gets wider if calculated upon mean incomes across men and women but the standard measure is the median. Guess which statistic is most frequently used? You got it – the one with the narrower gap. You can get your statistic geek on here.

Now criticising the gender balance of the CNN panel doesn’t mean that those people have no right to comment, it just highlights how narrow the viewpoint is likely to be and how unlikely it is to be supportive or understanding of the key issues at stake. There’s no real balance. There’s so much misinformation out there and feminism is really a dirty word to many, a fair and representative platform to discuss it would have been a sensible start…

Why is this on my blog? Because size, weight and body image are all social constructs. They are all dictated to and commented upon by the world and I could argue that women’s bodies are under as much threat as ever before. In such an enlightened society why do we have boobs for sale on top shelf magazines but not always permitted socially for nursing? Who made that rule up? Why is it ok to comment on a woman’s appearance before her abilities? I’m no fan of Theresa May but for the love of God, I never heard much about DC’s suits – gie it a rest eh? When women are in newspapers, for example, they are typically objectified in some way. Take this example of images cut from The Sun newspaper over a period of 6 months…sun picturesThen tell me again that there isn’t a representation issue…

I defend anyone’s right to bare their body as they choose but in a system where those images are bought and traded and the people are portrayed as objects – then I have a problem. It’s increasingly popular I note to have bare torsoed men for women to drool over – that’s not ok either. That’s the most appalling double standard. I see many women my age posting such images and doubtless they intend it in a harmless manner BUT if their partners were to do the same with scantily clad women? There would be an outcry and possibly a public stoning! This is where feminism stands. Right at the point where there is an unfairness, a lack of representation, a lack of access, control or power. And not just for women but about women and those they care about; their partners, children and friends. Of all sexes and genders (and yes – there are more than two…).

Don’t we all want a better, more just future for our families? Next time you see some anti-feminist bile remember this. It serves those in power to reject alternative ideas, to disempower those who seek to share power, to those who deserve position. Those men in suits are not about to move over and share their toys with the rest of us, just make sure you’re not helping them by decrying the very movement that wants the best of opportunity for all those who seek a fairer, more just world.

 

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Healthy in 10, 9, 8…

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Mid January. Most New Year resolutions seem a tad over hopeful if not entirely neglected. The gloom sets in. Being healthy is too much work – it doesn’t work – it’s too expensive, too fiddly, too faddy, too much…

I hear ya!

I heard a lady yesterday bemoaning the fact that she just doesn’t know what to eat when cooking healthily for one. Her friends advised her the only real healthy option was a baked potato or Weight Watchers ready meals. I felt really sad for these ladies. I wanted to chip in – advise, offer help, tell them that there is so much wonderful tasty food out there and really quick easy things to make but as the lady opted for the budget, pre-packed macaroni cheese, I felt maybe this lady wasn’t quite ready for a random health food freak like me accosting her in a corner shop!

I’ve posted my top tips on my Facebook page since January. They’re all simple steps, easy changes to try. Getting healthy isn’t done overnight. It takes time, bit by bit. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. That’s why I dislike any quick fix or goal-oriented diet plan. Quite apart from the fact that they are based on outdated science and bowing to the sugar industry while ignoring the benefits of healthy fats, they aren’t in it for the long term. They don’t make any money that way…

Ok – I became a vegan overnight but I’d been a dedicated healthy eater for years before that and anyway, I’m not just anyone. I like a challenge 🙂

There’s no need to change everything overnight. Try one of the tips a week – see how you go? Any change is better than no change. You have so much to gain and really, nothing to lose.

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FOOD TRAINING TOP TIPS: How to change to a lifelong healthy eating plan.

  1. Substitute one evening meal a week for a substantial and tasty soup. Spiced lentil, Moroccan vegetables, potato and leek, split yellow pea…
  2. Swap one meat based meal a week for a low-fat, protein rich Quorn substitute: Sausage casserole, spaghetti bolognaise, chilli, fajitas – the family favourites. See if they even notice!
  3. Eat a rainbow daily. Not an actual rainbow – they can be as elusive as unicorn tears. A range of colourful food from purple through to orange and red.
  4. Make comfort food work for you. Switch to wholegrain and enjoy bread, pasta and rice dishes in moderation. Simples.
  5. Sugar is not your friend! Check the labels – there are up to 57 names for sugar in marketing – make informed choices. Avoid anything artificially low-fat. Chances are it is higher is sugar to compensate.
  6. Forget takeaway – have a fakeaway. Make your own Indian or Chinese meals, bake your own pizza. Even if you use packet or ready made sauces at least you can check the ingredients. Who adds Monosodium glutamate to their own home cooking? Thought not!
  7. Enjoy guilt-free snacking. Choose healthier options, raw cacao bars instead of chocolate, make some vegetable crisps, swap creamy dips for hoummus
  8. Eat breakfast. Without fail. choose high protein and low sugar breakfasts. Eggs, nut milks, seeds in your smoothies, get all overcado on toast. No packet cereal *tuts!!
  9. Fail to prepare – prepare to fail! Plan, write lists, make menus. Think about who needs to eat what and when. Think about leftovers for lunches. Plan for lazy Sunday brunches, evening snacks – everything. Most healthy eating plans derail because people make poor choices when picking up dinner on the way home.
  10. Be more – never less. If what you eat doesn’t add to your health it’s probably adding to your hips and your heart…

You know the best bit – it actually works. Go on – give it a go. Change how you eat, how you think about food and enjoy feeling healthier 😀

 

 

 

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