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I’ve been a HelloFresh meal subscription user for a few years now and haven’t stopped singing their praises ever since, sharing a couple of posts on here and you can also watch the Instagram story on my highlights tab at the top of my home page (apologies if you’re viewing this link on a laptop, Insta stories are only viewable via mobile)

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Roasted Vegetable and Cheddar Cannelloni #Dolmio #ThankGoodness

This is quite possibly one of my biggest and sneakiest parenting triumphs to date! My kids are relatively healthy although but there is still lots of scope for more fruit and vegetables in their diet and I think I might have just cracked it with this recipe. Not only did they wolf it down without so much of a grumble, they got all their 5 a day in one sitting and ate mushrooms which they’ve been reluctant to try for many, many years.

The golden rule to feeding fussy eaters is to chop the vegetables up into very small chunks, which also helps when filling the cannelloni, and the lashings of Dolmio Bolognese sauce helps it all under the guise of tomato sauce. With 10  tomatoes, tomato puree,  onion,  sunflower oil,  garlic, basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water, the sauce alone kept my midweek meal full of healthy goodness! watch the video to see for yourself…..

Clean plates and no grumbles was the only feedback I needed from my busy teenagers who failed to notice the feel good mum smirk on my face as they carried their plates to the kitchen, washed up their plates and fled back to their rooms without ever knowing how happy those clean plates had made me.

One small step for mankind, one giant leap for a mum trying desperately to make sure her kids eat healthy!

If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s the recipe I used, it can be prepared the night before and baked in the oven the following day.

Ingredients 

2 carrots

1 onion

I courgette

1 aubergine

1 red pepper

4 balls of frozen spinach

4 large mushrooms

1 bottle Dolmio bolognese sauce

200g cheddar cheese

100g Parmesan cheese

250g  cannelloni

Sea salt & pepper

1 tsp Smoked lazy garlic or 2 fresh garlic cloves

Method 

  • Pre heat the oven to 150’c
  • Chop the courgette, red pepper, mushrooms, onion and aubergine into small chucks, keeping the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Grate the carrots and cheddar cheese

  • Place the aubergine, courgette and red pepper on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Mix everything thing thoroughly then place in a pre heated oven for 20 minutes on a middle shelf, checking to make sure nothing is burning after 10 minutes and giving the tray a gentle shake.
  • Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes then add the garlic,  mushrooms  and carrots and fry for another 5 minutes.
  • Put an pan of water on to boil ready for steaming the spinach.
  • Add the cheddar cheese and roasted vegetables to the frying pan mix, stirring everything through.
  • Steam the spinach over a pan of boiling water while you get on with filling the cannelloni.

  • Using a table knife, fill each cannelloni tube with the mixture then layer them in a greased dish.
  • Place a layer of spinach and slice grate half the Parmesan over the first layer of cannelloni and spinach.

  • When you finished filling, pour a jar of Dolmio over the top, making sure the cannelloni rolls have slight gaps so the sauce can seep through the middle.
  • Finish with the rest of the Parmesan over the top and bake in the middle of the oven 160’c for 20 minutes.

  • Serve straight away as it is, there’s so many vegetables you’ve already got your complete meal good to go.
  • If you’ve made it in advance, made in advance too, just add an extra 5 minutes cooking time.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness.”

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What to do if a vegan is coming to dinner

There may have been a time, many moons ago, when having a vegan over for dinner was almost unheard of. Vegans were perceived as hippies, extremists, people who wanted to be off grid, and separate themselves from society or just cause trouble. Clearly this was a skewed view, but happily that way of thinking is mostly in the past now. Nowadays, the vegans are here in force  and over half a million of them occupy the UK according to a study conducted last year. Having a selective diet is just not that out of the ordinary I’m sure you can name one or 5 vegetarians, flexitarians, pescatarians like myself,  meat free monday fans, vegans and raw vegans. 

But right now, I’m focusing on the vegan diet. Even if you don’t currently have a vegan coming over for dinner, it might be worth having some sort of backup plan for if it does happen because ‘free from’ sales show it’s getting more likely by the day! You might also want to experiment with a bit of vegan cooking yourself, because it’s nice to try something different that according to reports, is good for your body, the animals and the planet. Even a 5 day detox is worth a try now and then.

So, what do you do, if a vegan is coming for dinner?

what to do if a vegan is coming to dinner

No Need To Chuck The Meat Just Yet

A lot of people assume that vegans will walk back out the door at the first hint of meat, but this simply isn’t the case. Everyone is different and some may find it more difficult than others, it all depends on their approach to veganism and their approach to being around meat eaters. The best way to approach it is with sensitivity you would afford any guest. Sure they would love for everyone to eat vegan at your dinner party, but if that is too far a stretch for you, some basic adjustments will likely do just fine. Try to:

  • Have the meat covered or carved out of sight if possible
  • Keep the meat away from the vegan items of food
  • Keep the meat cooking smells to a minimum as much as you can, AKA keep the kitchen door closed

Ask Them

A lot of people think a vegan will be offended if asked about what they can and can’t eat. In fact, anyone with specific dietary requirements is likely to be happy to specify, to avoid an awkward presentation of food they can’t eat in front of a table full of people.

Do Your Own Research

It is so easy to buy vegan ingredients now, even a little research online will show you how easy it is for you to find vegan ingredients in all major supermarkets, and on the high street. There are also countless vegan recipes listed online and lots of inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram.

 

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A Fitter, Healthier Me. The Story So Far

We’re well into 2015 now so I thought I’d give you a mini update on how my last year of being 30 bucket list is going. I’ve managed to make a few lifestyle changes for a better, healthier me. I’ve given up meat, tried to reduce my sugar intake and have embarked on a fitness challenge  all without feeling like I haven’t sacrificed too much. The water thing is still something I need to work on and I will, pinkie promise. Just after I finish this coffee.

While sticking to a vegetarian diet has been an easy switch, I have to admit that I’m running out of ideas for a varied diet as everything pretty much centres around cheese and mushrooms. I’m using the turn in weather as an opportunity to try out some vegetable packed meals and take me out of the humdrum carrots, broccoli and peas by toying with the idea of an organic vegetable box delivery. I say toying as last time I tried it, it was 75% swiss chard every week, which my boys hated.

I’ve also been sent some superfoods from Of The Earth Superfoods  to try out and boost my diet. As a chai latte lover already, I was excited to try out the real thing ( I never realised it was supposed to be green!) and the berry truffles have been a welcome energy boosting snack alternative to biscuits and cake. I’m waiting for one of my healthier friends to pop round and show me how to use the matcha rooibos, I need encouragement as I’m such a coffee lover!

making a healthy lifestyle switch with of the earth super foods

So it’s onwards and upwards as I head into the final few months of 2015 and 6 weeks until the big 40, the fitter, healthier me is still work in progress but it’s all going in the right direction. My Miles4MAMA fitness challenge is still going strong, 25 miles a week is not as easy as I thought but achievable, especially with this little smilier joining me!

My fitness saviour, as an active mum, keeping fit is child's play with my Mountain Buggy Terrain!

Off on another hike with my super smilie toddler!

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