Vegan, Gluten-free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan food can be delicious. Don’t believe me? Make these and see for yourself =D

cookies

It’s a very easy and very tasty recipe!

Ingredients
250g gluten-free flour
170g vegan margarine
185g dark brown soft sugar
110g caster sugar
360g vegan chocolate diced
300g vegan peanut butter

Method
Preheat oven to 170oC

Melt the margarine in a large bowl. Add both sugars and stir until mixed. Melt the peanut butter and add this.

Gradually add the flour and stir in.

Add the chocolate chips. Mix through.

Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Bake for 15 minutes

Allow to cool on the tray (they will be crumbly when you remove them  from the oven until they cool)

Enjoy!

Three-letter F-word

Hello friends. I am angry.

I was going about my evening as normal, and then I suddenly became SO angry.

Let me tell you for why.

I remember when I was two. I was two and I was two stone. I really wanted to be heavier, because that would mean I would be bigger and more grown-up.

That didn’t last long.

By the time I was eight, that had changed. When we went back to school after the Christmas holidays, my teacher told us to write down a resolution that we would seal in an envelope. At the end of the academic year we would open that envelope to see if we had achieved our resolution.

My resolution was to lose weight. At eight years old.

How had I got to that point?

I’m glad you asked. Most of it was society at large. Little comments about my weight and others’. Things that added up over days and weeks and months and years until it infiltrated my mind enough to be the one thing about myself that I wanted to change the most.

Not to be kinder, or cleverer, or work harder, or learn a skill. To be thinner.

Because that’s what’s important, right?

Looking back at photos of myself from that time and after, I wasn’t fat. Not even nearly fat. I wasn’t skinny, either. I was a normal, healthy weight for my age and height.

But I didn’t know that. I couldn’t see that I was fine. All I could think was that I should be smaller.

And those thoughts limited me so much. There are so many things I wanted to do but didn’t because I thought I was too fat. That I would look ridiculous. That people would laugh at me. And so I didn’t do physical activities which meant that, if I didn’t have a weight problem before, I was more likely to develop one now.

So, I decided I’d diet to lose weight. Now, forgetting that the best way to moderate your weight is a mix of healthy eating and exercise, and dieting can just lead to yo-yoing and a myriad of other problems… anyway. The hours of my time I have spent thinking about dieting and planning dieting and trying to force myself to eat certain things or not to eat certain things…

This is time, from my limited lifespan on Earth, that is completely wasted. Time that could have been spent improving myself, or enjoying myself, that I will never get back. But it’s forever lost on these ideas of thinness.

Why?

The irony is, what I wanted isn’t even achievable. The perfect picture of lithe, bronzed, toned “perfection” doesn’t and can’t exist. At least, not outside of photoshop and someone’s imagination. Chasing that idea of happiness will never lead to contentment because you can’t have something that doesn’t exist, and that includes the perfect body.

Even if you have a person in mind whom you believe has the “perfect body”, I guarantee that if you actually spoke to them, they would give you a list of all their “flaws”.

Any person, especially women, can readily reel off a list of their biggest “imperfections”. Very few of them will tell you what they love about themselves.

This is ridiculous and unnecessary.

Even if you feel like society’s ideas of “attractive” and “perfect” haven’t affected you in any way, they clearly affect most people. This can be seen by the number of magazine articles about weight, from the individual anecdotes, the conversations at home and in the pub and in work and in clubs and everywhere about diets and weight and “oh I couldn’t possibly!”

I for one have had enough of this.

So, the weight thing is a cultural and social construct. Therefore, as a society we can deconstruct it. it’s too late for me and a lot of people – I will probably always have that voice in my head telling me that I am too big (too big for what, exactly? Whose space am I taking up?)but we can save others.

I am not encouraging people to put their health at risk by being overweight or not exercising. But I am advocating the end of size-based comments, of weight-based commentary, of photoshop, of impossible measurements being held up as the ideal.

It’s not healthy and it’s not fair to young people. Imagine your daughter, son, sister, niece, so on, being brought up in a world where they are taught that body fat is the biggest indicator of attractiveness and worth. That their brains, sense of humour, kindness mean less than the body proportions that they receive in the genetic lottery.

Think of that, and demand more for them. Demand more for yourself. You are fine. You are a valid, valuable human being in your own right. Don’t let anyone, even yourself, make you feel otherwise.

What to do with runner beans

My gran doesn’t understand veganism. I was vegetarian first, for eight years. She understood that, but she didn’t like it.

But the whole “no dairy” thing is tripping her up. She’s trying. She proudly presented me with Bisto gravy granules because “I read the ingredients and there’s no milk in them!” I didn’t have the heart to point out that they were beef gravy granules…

So she likes to buy me food. Seeing as she’s never sure, she normally sticks to things she knows are safe, like runner beans.

I live in Britain. The way that most vegetables are served here is as follows: boil until mushy, and preferably until it has lost all colour. Serve!

Less than delicious.

Gran very kindly gave me more runner beans on the weekend and I decided to try and make them more edible. And it worked! I’d like to share how with you now…

Ingredients:
350g runner beans
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 white onion
3 small cloves garlic
Splash vegetable oil
Pinch chilli seeds
Pinch basil
Pinch parsley

Method:

Pour the oil into a frying pan to warm. While oil is warming, finely chop the onions. Peel and finely grate the garlic. Add this to the pan.

Wash and drain the beans. Roughly cut them into strips ~2cm long. By now the onions should have softened. Add the beans to the pan and heat until the beans start softening.

Add the tomatoes and chilli seeds. Cook until beans are soft to taste (I recommend al dente) and tomatoes are reduced to a thick, tasty sauce.

Stir in the basil and parsley.

Serve and enjoy!

You could put this over pasta but I ate it with some seeded bread and it was lovely!

Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Red Lentil Pie

Made this earlier today. It only takes about an hour, is so easy and delicious!

Ingredients
Filling:
250g red lentils
Splash vegetable oil
1 large white onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 large carrots
2 medium courgettes
250ml vegan vegetable stock
Oregano
Thyme
Rosemary
Parsley
Basil

Pastry:
200g plan flour
100g cold vegan margarine
Small cup of water
Soy milk

Method

Put the lentils in a saucepan with water. Bring to boil and allow to simmer until soft.

While the lentils are cooking, peel and chop the onion.

Peel and finely grate the garlic.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and garlic and heat until soft.

Peel and dice the carrots. Add to onions and garlic.

Wash and dice courgettes. Add to the pan.

Allow this to cook until the ingredients are all soft. Then sieve the lentils and add these to the frying pan.

Add the vegetable stock.

Add the condiments to taste.

 

While the pie filling is cooking, sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl. Dice the margarine and add it to the flour.

Gently rub the margarine between your fingers and thumbs until the mixture has the texture of breadcrumbs.

Add water in small dribbles and mix in until your pastry dough is holding together.

Flour a work surface and roll out your dough until it is 5mm thick.

 

Transfer the pie filling to an oven-safe pie dish.

Carefully cover the top of the dish with the pastry, trimming the extra. You can use cutters or a knife to shape the pastry cutoffs to decorate your pie!

Brush soy milk over the pastry so that it browns in the oven.

Cook the pie at 180 Celsius until the pastry is golden-brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Holding a Mirror up to Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can be a great part of a person’s life, as long as they are used safely and responsibly in accordance with the advice of a qualified professional and checked regularly in contact lens appointments.

The Mirror published an article called How To Find Cheap Contact Lenses Online In The UK.

Now, while this isn’t as dangerous as when the Mail Online recommended using breast milk as a treatment for conjunctivitis and contact lens solution (which they later took down, though they still recommend it for ear infections!), it’s still a very bad idea.

The article doesn’t mention that it is vital to have a contact lens checkup yearly. Contact lenses are medical devices and so are subject to a lot of legislation for the safety of people who use them. Like other medical devices, if used wrongly, they can cause a lot of harm. One in six contact lens wearers in the USA have had to go to a health professional due to a contact lens related issue. These complications can be painful, long-lasting and lead to reduction in vision or blindness.

Without going to regular eye checkups, there is a risk that there may be eye problems that you aren’t even aware of. Also, without contact lens checks, contact lens wearers won’t be able to get the detailed advice and information that optometrists spend 4 years training to dispense in the patient’s best interest.

The article tells readers “you may prefer trying out other, cheaper brands instead now that you have the choice (just make sure you stick to your official prescription!).” This is not safe, even if sticking to the official strength written in prescription. The full prescription includes the specific brand and style of contact lens – they are not interchangeable. In your initial contact lens fit assessments, your optician will assess a certain lens on you to see if it fits. Just because one lens fits you, that doesn’t mean another kind will. By wearing lenses that don’t fit, you’re running the risk of several eye problems.

Contact lenses are a wonderful tool when used safely  – I wear them myself. But without regular checkups and advice from a qualified optometrist, they can also be dangerous.

Please go to regular checks with your optometrist, returning sooner if you have any problems or questions. That’s what they’re there for!