Spicy Hallowe’en biscuits


I couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of my favourite biccies for Hallowe’en. These are so super easy! And I had these fun spooky icing eyes I’ve been wanting to use so I just had to make some.

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The original recipe is here (click here) but I’ll quickly run over it here.

You just need:

2 cups Spelt or gluten-free flour

1 cup unrefined Icing sugar

6oz dairy-free spread

Spices to taste – in this version I used

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

Pinch nutmeg

Preheat oven to 180 C. Mix the flour, icing sugar and spices together and then cream the spread in. Mix well until it forms a dough but try not to over mix. Pop in the fridge to chill for as long as you can wait! Then remove, sprinkle a little flour down on a clean surface and roll out to your desired thickness. Use biscuits cutters to cut in to shapes and then pop in the oven for 5 – 7 mins or until golden brown. Do keep an eye on them – especially if they’re thin!

Allow them to cool and then if you want to you can ice them – just mix icing sugar with a little water or non-dairy milk and then have some fun!

Enjoy Hallowe’en!

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The Chia Co Chia Seeds, Chia Pods and Oats+Chia Review


As many of you know I’m a big fan of chia seeds. They make an awesome egg replacer for baking, are delicious stirred into smoothies, yoghurt and porridge and are fab sprinkled over salads and in granola. So I was super excited to receive this wonderful bundle of goodies from The Chia Co to try.

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Chia is the richest source of plant based Omega 3, protein and fibre and is also full of vitamins and minerals so they’re a great food to include in your diet. The Chia Co are an Australian based company growing chemical-free, sun ripened chia and as well as producing packets of the seeds themselves they also make two awesome chia-based products to go – chia pods and oats+chia.

I was sent a big packet of chia seeds, four chia pods – vanilla bean extract and blueberry flavours, and the apple spice and mixed berry Oats+chia sachets.

So starting with the seeds – I use chia a lot so I used these seeds in my recent peanut butter brownie recipe (recipe here)

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I also sprinkled them in my granola, used them in my quinoa porridge (recipe here) and added them to my smoothie. The smoothie was based on this recipe here from Colette’s Fitness Kitchen – 2 large bananas, 1 tbsp cashew butter, 2 cups soya milk, 2 scoops of Pure Form Vanilla Protein Powder, 1tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp each of cinnamon, raw cacao and coffee and a cup of ice – blitzed together! Yum! 🙂

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So as you can see I LOVE using chia and these seeds from the Chia Co are fab! They’re beautifully packaged in a resealable pack and they also make them in little individual sized ‘shot’ portions which are perfect to take with you on the go!

Now on to the Chia pods! These are a serving of chia seeds, coconut milk and fruit (or vanilla extract) – all good and dairy free. I tried both flavours and although I thought I’d prefer the vanilla one the mixed berry was definitely my favourite. The vanilla one was good but I could only manage half this generous portion in one go – it was so creamy and rich.

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The blueberry one though was divine! I polished that up super quick! The addition of the real fruits really made this and lightens it up. It makes a fab brekkie, pud or post workout snack. They’re in really secure portable packaging too, with a spoon, so are easy to pop in your gym bag or handbag, or lunchbox.

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My absolute favourites of the products I tried though we’re the Oats+chia sachets. These are single serve sachets of chia, oats, coconut oil and real fruit which you just need to add water too. You can either add hot water directly to the contents of the pack, or you can add cold water (using the empty sachet to measure the amount needed – a feature I loved!) and then microwave it.

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The portions don’t look very large when you open them so I was a little worried to begin with.

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But once you add the water and let it sit for a minute as per the instructions it bulks up to a decent portion and it’s so lovely, creamy and filling that it really is the perfect amount. The apple spice flavour was delish – plenty of spices and real chunks of apple made this super tasty and filling. I had it as a post workout snack and it filled me up perfectly. I threw a blueberries on top but it would be just as nice without.

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The mixed berry flavour was my favourite once again – super creamy but wig a lovely tartness from the berries. I had this for brekkie and added extra berries and toasted almonds. It really didn’t need these either but I was feeling decadent! 🙂

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So all in all I’m really impressed. The Oats+chia sachets are definitely my favourite (well aside from the seeds themselves which are super useful for loads of things!). They’re a great portion size, are filling and full of flavour. They’re also really quick to make up and are so much better than other similar instant oat products which are full of sugar and artificial flavours etc. I can’t wait to try the banana and mango, and blueberry and lemon flavours! Oats+chia are available from Ocado.

The pods were fab too – especially the blueberry one. I’m hoping the mango and banana flavours will be just as yummy! The pods are available from Tescos, Waitrose, Whole foods Market, Planet Organic and some local health stores.

The seeds are available from lots of suppliers. For more info about the products and stockists check out http://www.thechiaco.com.au or http://www.facebook.com/thechiaco 🙂

Do try them and let me know what you think too! 🙂

The Primal Kitchen Energy Bars – a review


Any company founded by one woman, some nuts and a blender is always going to be good and The Primal Kitchen is no exception if these bars are anything to go by!

I spotted one of these bars in a local health food shop some time ago and quickly realised that not only did they sound delicious but the company was based locally in Surrey. I’m always keen to promote and support local enterprises, and review potential snack options for you all and I was lucky enough to be sent some of these bars to try.

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There are currently three flavours available (though there’s a delicious sounding Hazelnut & Cocoa fourth on the way!) – Coconut & Macadamia, Almond & Cashew and Brazil Nut & Cherry. They’re made with no more than 5 ingredients and are full of whole foods and free from gluten, dairy, refined sugars and grains.

I train a lot and am always on the look out for healthy, portable snacks to refuel with. and these tick the boxes on that score. Although in an ideal world we’d all be making our own protein-packed healthy snack bars, in reality it’s just not possible all the time. These are a great source of protein and good fats, bursting with energy for when you need to grab something on the go. They’d be great for children too.

So on to the bars – the Coconut &Macadamia bar was my first to try. This was really good – I love the combination of coconut with macadamia. It was chewy but with lovely big chunks of nut and had loads of flavour. It also looked great too.

IMG_1007The Almond & Cashew Bar was very tasty. Not too sweet, and not too bland with a really good balance between the nuts. It looks great and again has lovely chunky bits of nuts. I also like the fact that it’s not too oily (as some other similar bars can be).

IMG_1000I saved the Brazil Nut and Cherry one until last – both with trepidation and excitement. I’m not a big fan of Brazil nuts, but I LOVE cherries… so I was really keen to taste this one. Would the cherry beat those Brazil nuts and win me over? Well indeed it did! This is probably my favourite (though it’s so hard to pick one!).The sweet tartness of the cherries balances the Brazil nuts perfectly and I actually loved the combination. I often find Brazil nuts too rich for me but combined with the cherries they were great!

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They all looked homemade – which I love, and they were all really filling which is great. I also love the packaging and design of the products. They’re designed for people following a Paleo diet, but would suit anyone avoiding gluten, dairy or refined sugars in their diet and are great for anyone Paleo, or not, who wants a grain-free, healthy snack bar. The bars have been created by Suzie Walker, a Nutritionist, and you can really taste the love and thought that’s gone in to these and it’s brilliant to see snack bars which aren’t just full of sugar and other rubbish actually competing with the big boys. These bars are now available in Ocado and other online shops (see list here) and will soon be in Tescos too.

So go try them! I promise you won’t be disappointed.