Guilt Free Goodies – delicious treats! – a review


It’s been nearly 18 months since I first reviewed the lovely treats from Guilt Free Goodies. Since then it’s been such a pleasure to see Natasha’s business thrive and grow. I still regularly buy treats from her and have given them as gifts too. I thought I would repost my review just in case any of you haven’t yet had a chance to check out her goodies.

The best bit is that Natasha has very kindly set up a discount code for all of you lovely lot so if you place an order you will get 5% off! Just enter this code at checkout šŸ™‚ Ā NANCYGFG5%OFF

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Since my review her product range has really expanded with some truly delicious new treats – including delicious cookies, raw chocolates and chocolate truffles (as well as more flavours of her other treats like bites and bars). I’ve tried quite a few and they are all delicious – I particularly like the peanutter white chocolate truffles and raw raspberry ruffle truffle! Oooh and the salted caramel almond slice! Divine!

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There are also hampers available at the moment for christmas – you’ll have to get in wuick though if you want to pre-order them! check them out here.

And most exciting of all, Natasha has released her first ebook! So you can have a go at creating some treats at home! Order yours here. It’s beautifully put together and has a really lovely range of treats. It’s well written and set out and easy to follow so I’d definitely recommend it šŸ™‚

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Here’s my review from last year:

I had the great pleasure this week of being sent a beautiful box of treats from Guilt Free Goodies.

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This UK, home-based business is run by Natasha and her partner, whoĀ produce homemade, all natural, healthy goodies – from granolas, nut butters to delicious treats and cakes. They’re perfect for anyone looking for dairy-free treats, diabetics and those wantingĀ refinedĀ sugar-free treats (only natural sweeteners are used) or following the “paleo” diet. They’re also great for anyone who’s just health conscious and wants to watch what they eat. They can also make most of their products (granola, bites, energy balls and butters) suitable for vegans (some products do contain egg or honey).

I was sent this delightful selection of:

Peanut butter surprise muffin

Cashew butter, coconut and blueberry energy balls

Honey and peanut granola

Salted caramel almond bites

The first thing I noticed is how lovely the packaging was – all the items are beautifully packaged with lovely little touches like the handwritten notes. They’re also really securely packaged so nothing was damaged in transit.

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As instructed I popped the almond bites in the freezer (top tip – highly recommended!) and the first item I tucked in to was the cashew, coconut and blueberry energy balls. After a busy morning teaching spin and bodypump I was famished and needed something quick to munch on. These really hit the spot – full of goodness and flavour. Really satisfying and tasty too – not too sweet but sweet enough to satisfy šŸ™‚

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Later that afternoon I was in dire need of a boost so thought I’d try the granola next – I served it with some homemade compote from my friend Colette and a big dollop of soya yoghurt.

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It was absolutely divine – crunchy and crisp with a great mix of nut and fruit. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering either which was great. I had to eek it out as otherwise I’d have eaten it all in one go! As it’s full of good fats (from the nuts) it really sustained me for my evening classes which is exactly what I needed. This would be just as good served with a little almond milk or yoghurt for brekkie, or as a decadent treat you could serve it with some coconut yoghurt or ice cream for dessert! Yum!

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I saved the muffin for a mid-morning snack with a cuppa. This was a really nice treat. Now it’s not like a traditional muffin so don’t be surprised. It’s a lot smaller but it’s also much denser. I really like this about it – it’s moist and squishy (in a good way!) and although small it’s exactly the right amount for a snack. I loved the peanut butter in the middle of this one. The nice thing about these muffins is that they really fill you up in a way traditional muffins just don’t.

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I saved the best until last – the almond bites. I was most excited about these – they looked delicious and I’m such a sucker for anything almond-based so I had high hopes.

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I was not disappointed in the slightest. These were so good! They’re definitely best out the freezer – the base goes all crispy and the caramel stays soft. The combination of the caramel, a whole almond in the middle (!), and lovely chocolate on the top is just fab!

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So all in all I was really impressed with all these products. They certainly live up to their reputation and satisfy your cravings without ruining any of your hard work!

I just love that this is a home-run business, run by someone who clearly puts their heart and soul in to their products. I’d definitely recommend them so do go and try them. You can also buy hampers or sample boxes and they’d make great gifts for the health foodlovers in your life. I’m really looking forward to ordering some of Natasha’s other products now – especially the loaf cakes and nut butters! šŸ™‚

You can find out more about the products and place orders from their facebook page – here: Guilt Free GoodiesĀ or their new online shop here: Guilt Free Goodies Eshop.

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think šŸ™‚

 

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Sweet Potato Brownies – sugar, dairy and gluten free


Brownies are a staple treat for me, my husband and our friends and it’sĀ usually the dessert of choice whenever we go to our friend’s house for dinner. My usual brownie recipe (see all the various recipes here) is a firm favourite and is also dairy and gluten free but I needed a sugar-free version for this weekend. My very special friend Colette from The Pure Form Fitness Kitchen is in training for an upcoming competition and I just couldn’t bring dessert that she couldn’t eat!

So thinking cap on…. I knew I could use sweet potato to add some natural sweetness but I searched and searched online and couldn’t find a recipe thatĀ didn’t have any added sugar of any type (aside from fruit/veg sugar). Every recipe had maple syrup, agave, coconut syrup or rice malt syrup in it. So I decided to have a go at creating one myself, based on all the recipes I found (and there are a lot of sweet potato brownie recipes out there!).

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I have to be honest – this was a complete experiment, but I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s tasty, it’s got a natural sweetness and it’s actually really good (even better the day after they’re made).Ā  I’ve gone for the smallest amount of dates, apple and sweet potato possible to limit the amount of fruit sugars whilst still keeping the flavour.

You will need:

2 Sweet potatoes (approx 500 g in total – unpeeled weight)

50g AppleĀ PurĆ©e (make your own – recipe here)

60g Buckwheat flour

80g ground Almonds

75g Cocoa powder

6 Medjool Dates

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Preheat the oven to 180 C

Peel and dice the sweet potato and then pop in a covered bowl in the microwave. Microwave until soft (a couple of blasts of 2 – 3 minutes). Using a fork mash up the sweet potato and then pop into a blender or processor. Chop the dates and add them to the sweet potato (it’s easier if you do this while the potato is still warm). Blitz it until the dates are well combined with the sweet potato. I actually like a bit of substance to the dates so I’m not fussed if it’s not smooth but it’s up to you.

Mix together the flour, almonds and cocoa and then stir the sweet potato mixture in (it will be quite stiff). Add the apple and mix well. You want a sticky, quite thick mixture – thicker than a normal brownie batter. If the flour won’t all combine (as it will depend a little on the moisture content of the dates and apple) then add a drizzle of warm water, but not too much.

Pour into a lined tin and place in the oven for 30 -35 minutes. The top will be crusty and if you stick a skewer in it will come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin (if you can wait :)). Then slice and serve!

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CaramelĀ 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 withĀ Ā 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 šŸ™‚

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

OptionalĀ 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 toffeeĀ 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 šŸ™‚

Once set remove from the freezer, slice and serve!

If you want to decorate with raw chocolate thenĀ 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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Homemade Toffee Poppets! Raw, dairy-free Chocolate Caramel Balls!


When I was little my grandma (Nannie šŸ™‚ ) 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 šŸ™‚

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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 šŸ™‚ ). 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/cashewĀ 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_2738Ā 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 Ā – 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! šŸ™‚

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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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Chocolate Orange and Almond Brownies – dairy and gluten free


I think I’m in heaven. I’ve managed to combine three of my most favourite things – Willie’s Cacao Luscious Orange chocolate, roasted Almonds and my dairy and gluten free brownie! And wow – this is good! I’ve even managed to win over my orange chocolate hating friend! Win! šŸ™‚

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You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Orange extract

Handful of Almonds

1 – 2 bars Willie’s Luscious Orange chocolate (chopped)

For Icing

1 – 2 bars Willie’s Luscious Orange chocolate

50 – 100g Unrefined icing sugar (adjust quantity to depending how runny you want it)

Silver balls to decorate

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Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until they just start to turn brown. To make them even crunchier I let them cool to room temperature then chopped them and toast again briefly. Pop to one side until later.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl soak the chia seeds in the water. Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the water add them to the mix along with the orange extract, and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.

Stir in the chocolate and almonds. Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Then prepare the icing. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the icing sugar a little at a time until you get the consistency you want. Spread quickly on to the brownies and sprinkle the silver balls and any other decorations you want to use on to the top!

Enjoy!

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Peanut butter fruit and nut brownies – dairy and gluten free


Two very exciting things happened recently…Firstly I was given this beautiful pot full of scrummy raisins from my friend Dee šŸ™‚ and secondly I finally found some PB2 powdered peanut butter!

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The raisins… well that’s a long (somewhat amusing) story which I won’t go in to here, but needless to say they were very gratefully received :). Now PB2….What on earth is thatĀ and why would I be so excited to find it? Well for a start it’s a powdered peanut butter which means it’s a great way to get peanut butter in to your baking (if you want to.. which I do!). As an added bonus it has 85% less calories from fat compared to traditional peanut butter, but it isn’t full of rubbish. It’s all natural, slow roasted peanuts which are then pressed to remove the fat and oil. It comes as natural and chocolate (yum!) and you can either just add water to make it in to a butter to use as you would normal peanut butter…. or you can use it as a powder in bakes and shakes!

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So these two wonderful things were just crying out to be combined into something yummy…. and here it is! Peanut butter fruit and nut brownies! A great way to have a healthy treat with a little bit of a protein boost too!

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You can change the fruit and add different nuts if you like but I wanted to really give that peanut punch so I stuck with peanuts! You can also use peanut butter if you don’t have PB2 but it will change the consistency so I suggest you go a little lighter on the oil.

You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

4 heaped tbsp PB2 (if you don’t have this you can use normal peanut butter – 2 – 3 tbsp)

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Vanilla extract

100g dried Raisins

50g dried Cherries

Handful of natural roasted Peanuts (halved or chopped)

ForĀ topping

2 – 3 tbsp PB2 original

1 – 2 tbsp PB2 chocolate

a little Water

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder,PB2, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl soak theĀ chia seeds in the water. Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the water add them to the mix along with theĀ vanilla extract, and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.Ā Have a taste – if you want a bit more peanutty flavour you can add a little more PB2 now but mix it in really well.

Stir in the peanuts, raisinsĀ and cherries (cut them in half if they are large). Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 25 – 30 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Then prepare the topping. In separate bowls mix the original PB2 and chocolate PB2 with water. Add a little water at a time – you want a runny consistency but not too runny.Ā Ā Drizzle the original one over the brownie, then the chocolate one. Pop in the fridge to set Ā – or just eat straight away!

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