Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares – Dairy and Gluten free


When I was at school I used to take a Kellogg’s Rice Krispie Marshmallow square with me every day for my breaktime snack. Does anyone else remember them? I was addicted! All gooey and sweet… and delicious…but so full of rubbish…..

So I thought I’d recreate a healthier version of them! So I’ve had a play and come up with  Caramel Buckwheat Crispy Squares. Super easy to make and really scrummy! You could use any puffs you like – buckwheat, spelt, quinoa, rice…. These are better than the originals I think and not half as bad for you :)

You will need:

10 -12 medjool dates

2 tbsp Cashew or almond butter

1 – 2 tbsp warm Water

1 – 2 cups of Buckwheat (or any) puffs

Optional Chocolate for decoration:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Start by making your caramel. Pit and chop the dates and pop them in to your blender together with the nut butter. Add a little of the water and blitz. You want to nice smooth caramel which is thick enough to hold the puffs together, so you may need to add a little more water but not too much. I have to say, watching the caramel in the blender is very pleasing… look….

Once you have a smooth but sticky caramel remove it from the blender. You will probably have more caramel than you need but that’s ok as you can use it for some other yummy treats like my apple cinnamon smoothie or homemade toffee poppets.

Put your puffs in a bowl and add a few spoonfuls of caramel. Stir it through and keep adding caramel until you have a sticky mess! Line a tupperware pot or tray with some baking paper and press the caramel puff mess in to the tray and push down well.

Pop in the freezer for at least an hour to set. It won’t set firm – it will be all sticky and chewy :)

Once set remove from the freezer, slice and serve!

If you want to decorate with raw chocolate then combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars and then pop back in the freezer briefly to set. Enjoy!

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Apple Cinnamon Protein Smoothie


Perfect afternoon pick me up! I’ve been playing around with date caramel a lot lately and happened to have some homemade apple purée in my fridge so thought I’d whip up a caramel apple protein smoothie!

You will need:

1/2 Apple or 2 tbsp apple purée

2 tsp date caramel

1 cup non-dairy milk of choice

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Pure Form Fitness protein powder)

1 heaped tsp cashew butter

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup ice

For the date caramel – take 10 – 12 medjool dates, 2 tbsp almond or cashew butter, a dash of water and blitz in a blender until smooth.

Whiz it all together in a blender, and then top with little pieces of apple and a dusting of cinnamon!

Primal Snack Box – A wonderful box of delicious goodies! A review


I am lucky enough to get some pretty awesome things to review and this is definitely right up there with my favourites.

If you haven’t heard of them Primal Snack Box are the UK’s first monthly paleo snack box delivery service. You can sign up for a regular delivery or you can just buy a one off box and they have two types – Forest or Savannah (Savannah contains meat products). Now although I’m not “paleo”  the Forest box is vegan so totally ticks the boxes for me and they were lovely enough to send me one to try. They were even lovelier and also gave me a special code for you guys to get 10% off your first box! Just use the special code PUREANDSIMPLEBAKES on check out – just click through and place your order! (after you’ve read my review of course ;) )

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Now first off – the presentation is fab! It arrives in a lovely sturdy box, well packaged and really feels like you’re opening up a little gift – it’s so beautifully put together and there’s even a little menu! I think I’m in love already!

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This box arrived at a time when I was about to dog-sit for my friend for 2 weeks so I was constantly on the go and often needed something to grab and eat as I took the dogs out – this box was perfect. That also explains why most of the photos are in the woods!

Primal snack work with small producers which is another thing I really love  and it’s a great way of introducing you to products you may not otherwise have come across.The box contained all these wonderful things!

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Fit bites – these were really good – little balls of fruit and nut – like little power houses of energy. You get two in a pack, they’re generously sized and they tasted delish – great shot of energy for the walk.

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Lifebar – Berry, Maca and Baobab –  now this was a surprise  – never tried one before and wasn’t sure what to expect but it was lovely! Tangy yet creamy, chewy and really filling. Will definitely get these again!

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SAF Raw sweet potato crackers – I had these for my lunch, spread with wasabi hummus and tofu and they were fab! They’re a nice thick cracker, not super crunchy but with some crack and not soggy at all. They held up under the hummus too and didn’t go soft. Loved the flavour and they are super filling. Another one I will definitely get again.

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Roo’bar – inca berry – another delicious tangy bar – a good size for a snack and really tasty. Look how happy I am with it! :)

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MadeGood – almond apricot – now to be honest I was expecting an overly sweet, bog standard cereal-type bar here… but no – not at all. This is all nuts and fruit (naturally as it’s Paleo) and was really tasty. Sweet but not overly so and full of good stuff – tasted great!

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Wyldsson Italian Promix – This was probably the most unusual thing in there for me – I’m not used to savoury snacks like this. It was good – I downed half of it – it’s not too tomato-ey or salty but it is tasty. I sprinkled the rest over my salad :). Really nice and I wouldn’t have tried if it hadn’t been in the box as it’s not the sort of thing I’d go for in a store.

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Nothing But – Beetroot and Parsnip – these are exactly that – nothing but.. dehydrated beetroot and parsnip crisps. They’re really yummy – no added salt or flavour and make a perfect vessel to dip in to hummus! As a savoury snack on their own I think I’d want a bit of salt however, but that’s easily done. No nasties in them at all and the beetroot ones weren’t overpowering in flavour.

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Two bags of mixes from Primal themselves – the mulberry mix (almonds, mulberries and pumpkin seeds) and the good fats mix (cashew, macadmia and coconut) – perfect snack sized bags of 40g and both delicious. A great way to control your portion size too. Lovely combinations of flavours.

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Finally – Ombar – cranberry and mandarin. Now anyone who follows this blog knows I have a penchant for orange chocolate so this was bound to be a winner. This raw choc is lovely – and even nicer dunked (quickly!) in a cup of tea! Creamy smooth chocolate, but not too melty to the touch and a lovely hint of flavour – definitely the thumbs up from me!

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So all in all a pretty amazing box of goodies! What I really love is the way you get a great range and selection of snacks for your money – and things you may not otherwise have tried. There’s a good balance of sweet and savoury, slightly naughtier and also healthier treats and all packaged so beautifully. A box would make a fantastic gift for someone, or a great way to introduce someone to healthier snacking. I’m going to order myself another box right now!

Thanks again Primal Snack Box for keeping me going on those dog walks and vastly improving my snacking over the past few weeks!

Now don’t forget – you can get 10% off your first box by using the special discount code PUREANDSIMPLEBAKES – just click through and place your order!

You can order your own here: http://primalsnackbox.co.uk/

And find them on facebook, twitter and instagram!

 

Homemade Toffee Poppets! Raw, dairy-free Chocolate Caramel Balls!


When I was little my grandma (Nannie :) ) would come to pick me up on a Friday night from school and as a treat she’d take me across the road from our house to the newsagents to buy some sweets. I could have whatever I wanted… More often than not I went for a packet of Poppets – either mint, or the toffee ones (also known as Toffets). For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure – they were a little cardboard box full of nuggets of chocolate covered mint fondant or chewy caramel. I always associate them with those friday night treats and my Nannie and so they hold a special place in my heart :)

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I’ve been having a bit of a caramel craving lately so I thought I’d better try to recreate those yummy little balls of goodness. (I’ll have a go at mint ones too at some point :) ). As well as plain ones I also thought I’d try adding some coconut and nuts to the outside – you could coat yours in anything you like!

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You will need:

For the centres:

10 – 12 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter or Cashew butter if you don’t want the almond taste

(water as required)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup Cacao/cocoa powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup

Desiccated coconut/chopped roasted nuts to decorate if desired

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Pop the dates and almond/cashew butter in a processor and pulse until blended and smooth. Add water if you want a softer texture. Take small spoonfuls and roll into balls with your hand – this is easier if you can chill it in the fridge for a while first. Pop the balls in the freezer for as long as you can wait!

To make the chocolate combine the coconut oil, cacao powder and coconut syrup and whisk with a fork.

Take the balls out the freezer and pop in to the chocolate to coat. Use a fork to move them around until coated and then pop on some greaseproof paper to set. Once set a little bit turn so the bottoms don’t stick.

IMG_2738 If you want to coat them in coconut or nuts then as soon as you’ve coated in them in chocolate roll in the coconut/nuts and then place on the greaseproof paper.

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Then place in the freezer until ready to eat! All I need to do now is recreate the little cardboard box!

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Raw Almond Caramel Chocolate Fingers


I’ve been dying to make something nutty and caramel-ly for ages and just haven’t got round to it  – finally the other weeked I got all my ingredients out and had a play and I’m very very pleased with the results! These are delish! They need to be kept in the freezer and are best eaten cold otherwise they get a bit squishy… although… that’s not such a bad thing!!

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You will need:

For the base:

1 cup Macadamia nuts

2 – 3 Tbsp Coconut syrup (or any liquid sweetener – agave, rice malt syrup etc)

1/2 tsp Vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp Almond extract

For the caramel:

12 – 14 Medjool dates

3 tbsp Almond butter

1/8 tsp Almond extract

pinch of salt

A little Water as needed (it depends how dry your dates are)

For the chocolate:

1/2 cup Coconut oil (melted) or Cacao butter (melted)

1/3 cup Raw cacao powder

1/4 cup Coconut syrup or maple syrup (or any liquid sweetener)

1/4 tsp Vanilla powder or 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

First you need to make the base. Pop all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended and it forms a sticky dough. Line a small tray with baking paper and then press the base mixture in to the tray firmly.

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Pop this in the freezer and then start on the caramel layer. I find it easier if you chop the dates up a bit first, so chop them and pop in to the processor together with the other ingredients, but not the water. Pulse until blended in to a paste. If it’s a little too dry then add some water (carefully so you don’t add to much). Once you have the consistency you want (sticky but spreadable) then take the base out the freezer and spread the caramel on top. You may have some caramel left over – this is no bad thing, I rolled it into balls which I coated in chocolate for some extra little caramel bites! :)

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Place this back in the freezer for as long as you can – an hour or more if possible.

Once you’re nearing the end of your the hour you can make up the chocolate (if you want to make it sooner you can, and you can just gently warm it to re-melt it). It’s best to use a large bowl for this so your caramel fingers will fit in (it makes it easier to coat them). Add the cacao, coconut syrup and vanilla to the melted coconut oil or cacao butter and mix well using a fork or a small hand whisk. Remove the caramel from the freezer and slice into fingers (or any shape you want).

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Then comes the fun bit! First of call place a wire rack over some baking parchment (or a board – or anything you don’t mind getting messy!). Make sure your chocolate is melted and combined well, then begin the dipping! Dunk the caramel fingers in the chocolate and ensure they’re coated. Then transfer to the wire rack and allow to set. They will stick to the rack, so before they’re set just move them slightly. If you’re anything like me you will probably end up with a bit of a mess on the bottom side, don’t worry, just wait til the top is set (it won’t take long) and turn them over and drizzle chocolate over them to tidy them up.

If you find the chocolate starts to thicken while you’re still coating them then just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to re-melt (or even just place in a warm area – like on a radiator for a few moments – it melts so easily). Once they are all coated and lightly set (because the fingers are frozen it sets pretty quickly but will still be fragile) pop back in the freezer (I just popped them in a tupperware pot).

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Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.. then eat! They’re delicious as a quick pick me up.. and if you’re feeling really naughty they’re even better dipped in a tofu chocolate chili mousse (oh yes I did..!).

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Treating myself – Divaliciously Raw, a review


Every now and then it’s important to look after yourself, so when I stumbled across this site -Divaliciously Raw and all Gail’s amazing goodies I decided I should most definitely take the opportunity to treat myself to some deliciousness! I couldn’t decide what to try so went for the Valentine’s box, which gave me a taste of all her main products. Although that box won’t always be available as a package, all the contents are. They are all raw, gluten, wheat and egg free and vegan!

It arrived so beautifully packed – it really was like receiving a valentine’s gift! There was even a card!

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And then just look at how stunning these cakes look! I couldn’t believe it! Wow – just wow!

IMG_1275So in my box of goodies I got:

Raspberry Rapture Love Bomb

Magical Mint Love Bomb

Oriental Orange (Orange and Ginger) Love Bomb

Two Goji Bites

Ultimate bar

Zinger Bar

Unconditional Love Cake

Now where to start…Firstly they were all beautiful so it was really hard to know what to try first! I ended up going for the love bombs.

The love bombs were just perfect – lovely chocolatey coating, moist cake inside and then a surprise creamy filling. The flavours are really good in these and they really feel like a decadent dessert. They have a great nuttiness to them and a texture that really works. The creamy filling is definitely the best bit and it was hard not to eat them all at once! I’m not sure which my favourite flavour was to be honest – they were all so good!

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Goji bites – these were a lot larger than I expected – which was great! They’re a little harder in texture than the bombs and kinda crumble in to your mouth – which i really liked. Lovely flavours – nutty and with enough goji to really taste it and balance the chocolate.

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Ultimate bar and the zinger bar – these were both delish. The ultimate bar has mulberries, goji berries and buckwheaties in which give it a fantastic crunch and sweetness – this was great dipped in a cup of tea! The Zinger was just bursting with flavour from the Incan (golden) berries which were a great balance to the dark raw chocolate.

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Last and by NO means least – the unconditional love cake! Sharing is caring so I did share this – not only with my very good friend Colette, but also with my husband. And we all agreed this was out of this world. Raw chocolate, filled with raw chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, caramel and a malted cashew cream. Oh my word! This was just amazing! Definitely my favourite!

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So there you go! That was one big, delicious treat for me! I highly recommend you check out Gail’s page on facebook and place an order. The cakes aren’t cheap but the amount of love, care and sheer dedication that’s gone in to them mean they are most definitely worth every penny and they’re not small either so you’re getting a lot of cake for your buck! Do let me know if you try any!

 

 

Green Goodness Protein Smoothie


Starting today with this delicious, fully loaded, green glass of wonderfulness!

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If you’re worried about the kale and spinach – don’t be – you can’t really taste them. They just give the smoothie a lovely freshness and of course are packed full of fab nutrients.

I made up a batch of smoothie to last a couple of days so this will serve 2 – 4.

You will need:

3 bananas

2 cups of Almond/Soya milk

4 Tbsp Vanilla protein powder (I used Pure Form Fitness Protein Powder)

generous handful of Spinach

generous handful of Kale

handful raw Cashews

1 Tbsp Cashew butter (just to add a little extra creaminess but you could just add more cashews)

1 cup Ice

Optional – a drizzle of coconut syrup if you need it

Blend in a high speed blender and serve!

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