The one where Abi becomes anally retentive about food in pots.

**PHOTOS TO BE POSTED SHORTLY**

Since I posted this photo on Instagram last Sunday, I have had a lot of people asking me about what I was cooking, which proves you are a bunch of vicarious, nosy sods.
Lately, I have been feeling a bit sluggish, a bit pants, and a bit stuck-in a rut when it comes to my diet. Since realising that avoiding bread was probably a really good idea, I had started to struggle with healthy lunchtime options. I am constantly on the go, and as a person who does not eat butter, mayo or any creamy sort of dressing, it is really frikkin difficult to find something on the hoof. In the winter months, I made batches of soup, but without a nice bit of bread to soak it up, the whole experience started to feel a little joyless and a bit boring. It is also really quite difficult to suddenly go straight to the salad leaves, leaving you absolutely starving by 2pm.
I just want to add at this point that this is not a faddy diet thing I am doing; about 2 weeks ago I started dramatically reducing my portion sizes after reading about what is considered a healthy portion (Google this for further advice, but I promise you it is a LOT less than you are thinking!) I started to think about making my food work harder for me. I have been enjoying Innocent Veg Pots as a concept for a while now, I take them on long days working and generally like the idea of them. At around £4 Rrp they are a bit costly for a regular lunch. I started thinking about making my own and managed to come up with 3 basterdisations, Mexican Chilli, Thai curry and Indian Dal.
I am just going to show you the Mexican Chilli one, because the others are pretty much the same idea/method. Please note that these are vegetable based purely from a cost and calorie perspective. You can add meat or protein to these, but please be aware that it will up the cals and will defeat the purpose of making a weeks worth of meals that keep in the fridge. This also has the added bonus of being super cheap to make.
For 5 days worth of eating-
You will need:
1 Large Onion
Red Chillis
Large Red Pepper
½ Butternut squash OR 1 Sweet Potato.
2 carrots (or one huge one)
Can of Butterbeans
Can of Kidney beans
Can of Chopped Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Clove of Garlic
Dash of Chilli Sauce (optional)
Tomato Puree
Red Lentils
Sea Salt and Black Pepper.
Rice & Raw Spinach to serve.
First dice your squash and carrot, we are looking for medium chunks here, so try to make them the same size to ensure they cook evenly, slice your pepper and set aside. Take your onion, and slice whist heating a little olive oil in a large non stick pan. Add your onions and cook until soft. After adding enough chopped Chilli and Garlic to the pan (totally up to you, I like a lot of chilli so I had 4 in mine!) Add the vegetables to the pan and cook until the carrots start to soften but not disintigrate. Add your chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with half a canful of water, leave to simmer and reduce, until the liquid has cooked the squash and the carrot through but not so much that there is no liquid remaining.
To the pan add your lentils and your handful of chopped cherry tomatoes.. I put just under a cupful in mine and continue to simmer until the remaining liquid has absorbed and the lentils are soft, this will provide the “meaty” texture that a veg chilli usually lacks. Add around half a can of butterbeans and half of Kidney beans to the chilli, taste and season. If you fancy a bit of zing to your chilli, then you might want to add a dash of sauce, if you have some. I quite like Nando’s peri-peri sauce but it is totally up to you. Continue to simmer until the chilli has reduced and everything is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, ready for potting!
You might decide to leave it as that and eat it alone but I like to cook up a small amount of Rice to make my meals go further.
The trick with this is the portion sizes- as a guide, I actually use old Innocent veg pots, but any similar sized microwaveable container will do.
A word about serving- The trick with portion size is to remember that your eyes really are bigger than your belly. When filling the pot, try to only put a scant amount of rice into the pot, around 1 heaped tablespoon of rice to 2 ½ tablespoons of chilli… that is just over half the pot. I like to fill the pot with a heap of raw spinach right up to the brim, but again, this is optional.

Store in the fridge, Reheat for around 2 mins in the microvave, stirring well or it is just as good cold!

Yield:5 Servings.

Note: Because eating one dish for 5 days is a bore, I like to make 2 different ones and alternate.

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The one where Abi becomes anally retentive about food in pots.

Why I will never diet for 30 years for anyone. A response to something I shouldn’t have read.

Oh Samantha Brick, you did it again, well done. You made me click on a Daily Mail link, even though I detest that paper and refuse to boost it’s circulation. I saw your smug face peeping out at me via Facebook link and I was lost. Perhaps it was your unstoppable sexual magnetism that drew me in, perhaps that as a heterosexual woman, I am not immune to your ravishing beauty. I clicked and was instantly caught up in your loquacious wordsmithery, factual reasoning and sparkling wit. What consumer of responsible journalism could refuse the opportunity to hear your honeyed prose drip seductively across the page like nectar?  I supposed that in the very act of clicking on that link, I have become part of the problem. If you didn’t write this shit, I wouldn’t get this angry.

 

I suppose that, after the last couple of things you wrote, I should not be surprised. Content aside your writing  is, at best, GCSE level. I have no doubt that if you turned your talents to writing personal ads, then your true calling would be at last clear to you. Instead, I am sad to see that you are just talking about you again. You, You, You. It’s all about YOUR (quite frankly mental) relationship with food, YOUR strange, moustachioed Gallic Husband and his outmoded views, and YOUR enormous, over inflated, caricature of an ego.  It is an indescribable pity to me that so many writers go unpublished, whilst you are given free reign to play at being a controversy-craving hack. One who in one fell swoop, manages to come across with about as much joie-de-vivre as a breeze block- the irony!

 

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword, which is just as well, as it would seem that poor, feeble, starving Samantha Brick, with her osteoporosis-willing diet of polo mints, does not present herself as a women with the ability to heft any weight at all. Least of all, the weight that is required to possess any journalistic gravitas.

Do the people responsible for this sort of article in the (Fe)mail really hate women that much? They certainly seem to, why not call the supplement “Hate” Mail and be done with it>  I suppose the true irony is that this paper will counter this with a headline that screams how teenage girls starve themselves to be like Kate Moss.. repeat to fade, yawn… order me a Pizza etc.

 

I imagine Brick, poor “I am on a constant diet” Samantha Brick, with her sensible (crazy) eating habits, penchant for breadless bagels and whatever other nonsense she defecates onto the page is nothing more than a little dim and just a teensy bit joyless. Samantha, in her infinite wisdom- “I even rented a house without a Kitchen!!”  does not strike me as a woman with a lot of good friends to call her out on her egotistical ways. The sort of woman, who greets gifts of chocolate with contempt, comes across as the kind of woman who will never fully enjoy any of life’s pleasures. Whilst it may be true that men prefer slimmer Women, it is also true that Men, (and indeed any sane person of either gender) also value the qualities of spontaneity, joy and gusto… At the risk of sounding crude here, any woman who hollows out a bagel and fills it with salad, comes across as a stone cold fish. I certainly would be interested to meet the sort of man who would actively seek carnal relations with;  and let me put this bluntly, a woman who is not only batshit mental, but does not seem to have a solid grip on nutrition. Women like this strike me as totally unfuckable, not least because her pelvis would probably shatter. It is hard to get on board with a person who seems so utterly opposed to fun. The legacy of 30 years of self loathing restriction, delusion and denial might give Samantha Brick a (average) size 12 body but it will not provide her with those amazing qualities that people who choose functional relationships with food possess.

 

I suppose what irks me the most about this irresponsible piece of tripe is that surely Brick, with her “Lovely Looks” and hordes of admirers, limping to her door under the strain of massive erections, should presumably not need the help of a diet to boost her uncountable beauty?

 

Food for thought, there Sam.

Why I will never diet for 30 years for anyone. A response to something I shouldn’t have read.

Time to say Goodbye.

I have written about Mum here before, how she died, what it was like and pretty much all the associated trauma that stems from that.  Perhaps it is a conversation that, if we found ourselves face to face at a table, we would be able to have without the risk of me sounding melodramatic, as I always tend to do in print. This is something I am acutely aware of whenever the topic of losing a Parent comes up in conversation. I somehow assume the role of veteran, someone who has been there. For me, losing a parent was my own personal ‘Nam and I am not entirely sure why I always feel this is a role I must assume.  I suppose that loss and grief are my Mastermind specialist subjects. I have always know what to say, and what to do when people die. Mostly because I had so many people say the entirely wrong thing to me.

I now find myself in the unique position of having spent exactly half my life with my Mum and exactly half my life without her. Soon, the balance will tip, and I will be in the inevitable position of having truly lived a lifetime apart from her. I didn’t really see this coming until the significant birthday rolled around, I must admit, the realisation hit me hard. I had always anticipated the standard milestones that highlights the loss of a loved one, but for some reason this one had slipped under the radar.

When I was a child, I used to lie wide awake at night, worrying that my Parents would die and leave me. Ironically, my wakeful night’s imaginings sadly came to pass. Now an adult, with a dead Mum and a Father as absent as it is possible to be, I sometimes catch myself wondering if that little girl somehow willed this all to happen to her. But, life really does go on and we fill our lives with other people to love and though nothing really ever replaces that person, the people we place around us become our buffer to the scary world, and distract us from our core fears of being alone in it.

Our Parents, are our anchors in the world, they provide a template to either aspire to or an example we vow to never, ever be like. The childhood Abi, who would tiptoe downstairs just to satisfy herself that her parents had not infact died in the living room whilst she slept upstairs, would probably have conceded that yes, her parents would probably die sometime. But not now, not until she was a Mother herself, not until she lived in a flat, had a pet of her own and not, especially not until she was at least 30!

I am at the age where friends of mine are dealing with sick parents. Those Kids with similar bedroom fears, are now Adults with Parents, now in their late 60’s and beyond. One by one, the people around me, who have been shielded from this very specific kind of loss, begin to face the inevitable. The long periods of diagnosis, the nursing, the family gatherings and the goodbyes. The truth is that people don’t die an old person’s death. They don’t get the opportunity to luxuriate in their own passing and set their affairs in order. The things that are designed to take the people we love from this life, never usually play out like the death of the Albert Finney character in “Big Fish”. People get ill and deteriorate, they lose their minds and their memories and they always take a little bit of you with them when they go. Perhaps this is the trade-off for more of a lifetime together. The longer we keep those that we love, the more time there is to regret the things we didn’t do for them. I have no doubt in my mind that my own Mother possibly only enjoyed roughly 18 months of “good” times with me in total. At fifteen, I have no problems admitting that I was a selfish, stubborn bitch. If there is anything to regret pertaining to my situation, it is that we never got to go for a coffee on a Saturday, or that she never got to come shopping in Bristol with the late 20’s version of me. I tell myself that she would have loved that. I would have loved that.

I used to think I was in a unique position, that nobody around me understood what it was like to grow up without such a pivotal person in their life and yes, I can tell you that it was pretty fucking awful. It is still fucking awful. Would I trade everything I had to keep my Mum into my adult years? Would I be able to care for her as the person I am now? Would I even be the person I am now? I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. I only know that in losing her when I did, I was given back a tiny assurance, that I would not have to carry the fear of saying goodbye as an adult around with me anymore. Because as a grown up, we tend to think we have this covered, we like to think that when all is said and done, that we will have made our peace with being terrible children and that our parents will know that we know that they did their best for us. Parting as grown-ups seems like an overwhelming rush to say “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” all at once.

And it is really, really sad.

 

I realise now that, even as a child, I was never really scared of my parents dying, I was more scared that I would simply never recover.

Time to say Goodbye.

The Boring Makeup Post.

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Image Credit: (TBA)

I am posting this because the last 5 comments in my comment queue were asking me about my makeup and I posted a photo on Twitter yesterday which some people seemed to have questions about, so I thought I would change tack and blog about cosmetics. I am not an expert, nor a makeup artist. This is not a typical post for this blog so please don’t go thinking I have gone all “beauty blogger” on your ass.. I haven’t.

Continue reading “The Boring Makeup Post.”

The Boring Makeup Post.