Banana blueberry oat bites


I had a spare half an hour and some over ripe bananas so whipped up these super quick, easy, healthy banana blueberry oat bites! These are a perfect snack at only 184 kcals (and really good fresh out the oven!) – a couple would make a great brekkie on the go too!

You can experiment with different options instead of blueberries – raspberries, coconut, chocolate chips etc would all work brilliantly! They are dairy free and can easily be made with an egg replacer if you want a vegan option, and can easily be made gluten free too if required (see below).

This made 9 bites (you could squeeze 12 out of the mix if you wanted smaller ones of about 154 kcals).

You need:

2 ripe bananas mashed

1 egg (or egg replacer if required)

1/4 cup liquid sweetener (maple syrup/agave etc)

1/3 cup nut butter (I used almond but any would work)

2 tbsp soya (or any) milk

A dash of vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder (gluten free if required)

2 cups jumbo rolled oats (gluten free if required)

1 cup blueberries

Add everything except the oats and baking powder to a large bowl and mix well. Add the oats and baking powder and combine, then fold in the blueberries. Bake for 15 mins at 180 C (or until set).

Eat! 🍌🍒🍪

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Apple, Plum and Blackberry Almond Cake 


I love this time of year – all my favourite fruits are just coming in to season. I was lucky enough to receive some delicious homegrown plums from my mum’s garden, some apples from my lovely friend Mandy, and we foraged for some wild blackberries locally so I couldn’t resist putting them all together in this yummy almond cake!

It’s so quick and easy to make and is gluten and dairy free too!


You will need:

125g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

200g Ground almonds

2 Eggs

100 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer

1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Late summer fruits of your choice – plums,apples, blackberries etc 

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and line and grease a 20cm cake tin – if you have a springform tin then use that as it makes it easier to get it out without it breaking. If not a loose bottom tin is the best option.

Add the oil and sugar to a bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together (you can do it by hand with a fork if not). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add in the extracts and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon. Once mixed pour in to the tin.

Prepare your fruit. Half (or quarter if they’re big) the plums, remove the stone. Peel, core and slice the apples, wash the blackberries. Place the fruit in to the batter. Push them down a little bit so they’re well bedded in there. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon.


Pop in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. It is worth starting to check it at about 20 minutes. Once a skewer comes out clean then it’s done. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then carefully remove it and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy!🙂

Ape Crispy Coconut Curls – A review of a delicious savoury snack!


Well these kinda won me over right from the off – the anthropologist and monkey Dr in me was naturally drawn straight to any snack called Ape Crispy Coconut Curls and thrilled to be sent some to try. They’re made by a small london based company which also ticks lots of boxes for me as I’m always keen to support small businesses.

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So unlike most coconut-based snacks these are actually savoury, not sweet – which is fab! Finding a healthy, tasty alternative to things like crisps can be really tough and I’ve tried lots of savoury snacks in the past but I think these hit the spot the best. They are little bags of delightfully crispy coconut shavings with either a light dusting of black pepper or salt.

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Coconut is an awesome thing to snack on – it’s full of fibre and has more protein and less carbs than other savoury snacks like popcorn or potato crisps. They’re also full of good fats – medium-chain triglycerides which are linked to lots of healthy benefits increased calorie burning and make a great fuel as they’re easy for the body to metabolise. They also have antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

So on to the curls themselves. They’re completely natural with only two ingredients – the coconut and seasoning and are dried, not fried. I tried both flavours and loved both of them! So much I wolfed them down!

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The slightly peppered flavour has just enough punch to give you a peppery hit without being overbearing and is super tasty. The lightly salted variety is also delicious – again not too salty but just enough to hit any savoury craving. The packs do look small so I was a bit worried they wouldn’t be enough but actually because coconut is so filling it was the perfect portion size.

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I will definitely be getting these again – they’re a brilliant on-the go snack, they’re only 107 – 109 kcals and are gluten-free and vegan so everyone can enjoy them! Grab yourself a few bags and start munching happy!

If you want to find out more check out their website www.apesnacks.com or their facebook page  and look out for them in Ocado, Morrisons, Planet Organic, As Nature Intended, Revital and Nourish (as well as some independent cafes etc).

 

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 🙂  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 🙂

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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, who 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 wanting refined 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 🙂

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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! 🙂

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

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think 🙂

 

Fossil Fuel bars – a review 


As you know,  i’m always on the lookout for new healthy snacks and bars. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of trying some new energy bars – Fossil Fuel bars. These bars are paleo friendly bars made of fruit and nuts and are a fantastic on the go refuel option. Although not certified gluten free or vegan they don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients in them, or dairy or other animal products so are perfect for anyone avoiding those things.

They’re made by a small UK-based company and the creators are keen fitness fanatics so definitely on my wavelength 🙂

They have two flavours – coconut and cashew, and cocoa and macadamia.

Both are really yummy – they’re packed with dates for sweetness and nuts for valuable protein and energy. I had them as my afternoon snack before my evening classes and they both hit the spot. The cocoa and macadamia one is definitely my favourite – it’s so moreish but also really satisfying. Neither is too sweet and they are both really filling. They make a great option if you want something healthier as a snack or even a brekkie if you’re rushing out the door and need something to grab. If you’re craving chocolate I’d definitely recommend the cocoa and macadamia one!

These are most definitely worth trying if you’re looking for a healthy snack on the go. Do check them out and let me know what you think. They’re available from their website :  https://www.wearefossilfuel.co.uk

ZooT energy and protein bars – a review


Those of you that know me know I’m always racing about between fitness classes etc and often I need something that’s quick and easy to munch on for a boost. I was very excited to discover these fab little bars from ZooTfoods. I was even more excited when they sent me some to review! woohoo!

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ZooT bars are fab little snack bars for anyone who wants to snack sensibly and have something healthy to grab on the go. They have 9 delicious flavours in 3 types and they’re all gluten free, and most are dairy free (except the banana choc chip and choc n’ orange) so there’s plenty of choice.

– ZooT BoosT – these are designed to give you an energy boost and include banana choc chip, choc ‘n’ orange and cranberry crush.

– ZooT EndurO – these are designed to give you longer lasting energy and so are packed with protein too. The flavours are brazil nut carnival, cashew supreme and roasty toasty hazelnut.

– ZooT FrooT – packed with 70% fruit, these are designed to give you one of your 5 a day, but also to be low calorie. The flavours are berry burst, pear ‘n’ ginger and tropical bliss

In fact all of the bars are under 200 cals so are a great option if you’re watching your calories too. 🙂

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I really loved these bars. The BoosT ones are absolutely perfect for me just before I teach a class – they’re light enough not to make you feel heavy or sick, low calorie and really do give you an energy boost. I love the fact that you they have the choice of banana and chocolate, chocolate orange and something fruity with the cranberry crush.

The banana choc one is great – not overly banana-y but yummy. Bananas are a classic food of choice for energy so there’s no surprise that it works well here, it’s also a great source of Vitamin B6. Choc orange is one of my favourite flavour combos soI  was very happy with this one. Sometimes fruit-based chocolate orange bars end up tasting really fake but not in this case, it has just the right balance of choc and natural tasting orange flavour.

The cranberry crush is delightfully tangy! Cranberries are a great fruit to eat – they contain phyto-nutrients and are also a great protection against inflammatory diseases and urinary tract infections – added bonus!

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All the BoosT bars also contain the quickly and easily digested carbohydrate, Maltodextrin. This helps the body to synthesise proteins which means post-workout they’re also great!

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The EndurO bars are a great option to add a bit more protein and I prefer to have these if I’m reaching for a mid afternoon or morning snack as it’s a more sustained energy release and leaves me feeling fuller. They’re still low cal which is fab. They’re all full of nuts and seeds which means they are packed with good fats and proteins. The hazelnut was my favourite but the others are really delicious too. I had the Brazil nut carnival one with a coffee yesterday afternoon and it was perfect for filling me up.

IMG_1740 The FrooT bars are fab! refreshing and light and nice and tangy. Even the pear and ginger – which to be honest I didn’t think I’d like, I really enjoyed! It has pineapple in it too which really rounds out the flavour and I think this is what does it for me. The berry burst is my favourite of this bunch as it’s really tart and sweet at the same time and packed with gojis and cranberries so a great vitamin C boost too. The tropical bliss is lovely – pineapple, mango and apple – what a combo! These make great snacks on a hot day. Both of these also contain gluten free oats to give an extra boost.

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I definitely recommend you get your paws on some of these and practice a bit of safe snacking! 🙂  I’m doing the Prudential Ride100 event in two weeks time and I’ll definitely have a couple of these packed in my bike bag to keep me going! You can buy these in local health food shops (those of you in my area of the UK in surrey can get them at the health food shop in Surbiton for example), in gym cafe’s and you can buy them directly from ZooT themselves (see here) or from Amazon.

Sweet Potato Brownies – sugar, dairy and gluten free


Brownies are a staple treat for me, my husband and our friends and it’s 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 that 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).  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 Apple Purée (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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