Tag Archives: healthy eating

Win a Nutriseed Nutri Box

If you’ve read my recent review of Nutriseed and been tempted to try them out then you’re in luck, I’m giving one lucky person the chance to try a Nutriseed Nutri Box for free. You can find out more about Nutriseed and their Nutri Box by visiting their website.

Nutriseed Nutri Box

If you’re a bit of a foodie, enjoy healthy eating or you’re just looking for interesting and exciting ingredients to cook with, Nutriseed is a great place to look for exciting things to cook with and eat. Their products are well packed and competitively priced – their website is definitely worth checking out!

Win a Nutriseed Nutri Box

To be in with a chance to win your own Nutriseed Nutri Box to try simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only.
2. There is no cash alternative offered.
3. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above. Please ensure you leave some contact details or I will not be able to contact you if you win.
4. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries. The winner will receive a Nutri Box from Nutriseed.
5. The competition will close on 3rd April 2016.
6. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
7. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winners, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
8. Your email address may be passed on to to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
9. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this competition.

Nutriseed Nutri Box

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Truffles made with Nutriseed

My local health food shop and deli make a delicious selection of raw chocolate energy bars and truffles, I have long lusted after them and wanted to try my hand at making them for myself. I often think making things from scratch is part of the fun, and these days when I’m trying to cut a few things like dairy out of my diet it makes sense to make some things myself. I was asked by superfood aficionados Nutriseed to try out some of their products, so I seized my chance to try making raw chocolate truffles myself. I was not disappointed.

I was sent a Nutri Box, a box full of nutritional goodies. I’d asked if my box could have cacao butter and cacao paste and I was happy to see some yummy goji berries and pumpkin seeds in there too. Nutriseed are an online nutritional food company based in London, creating vegetarian friendly, all-natural, raw, nutritional goodies by hand. 

raw chocolate truffles

My Nutriseed box was well packed and I loved the individual packets of goodness inside. Each of these “brown paper” packages are foiled inside so everything is fresh and in perfect condition, and they’re resealable too.

The Nutriseed website has so many different products to choose from including teas, treats, seeds, cereals, cocoa, capsules and superfoods. I think they are good value, for example my 500g of cacao paste was just £8.99 which I thought was very reasonable having priced up raw chocolate products elsewhere; delivery is free too if you spend over £29.99. Their product descriptions are packed with information, with all of the benefits of each product listed as well as nutritional information.

The Nutriseed website suggests that I use my Cacao Paste to…

  • Blend into smoothies for an extra nutritional kick
  • Sprinkle over yoghurt for a delicious breakfast
  • Bake into muffins, pancakes, or sweet bread
  • Add some to your breakfast porridge
  • Stir into a coffee for a homemade Mocha
  • Create a guiltless hot chocolate

But I wanted to make some raw chocolate truffles. There aren’t really many recipes around for making raw chocolate truffles with cacao paste, so I had to experiment a little with the quantities until I got it right. My recipe below is for cherry and rum raw chocolate truffles, but you could add whatever you wanted. I rolled mine in cocoa powder and dessicated coconut, but I really fancy making some pistachio truffles. Basically once you’ve made your chocolate truffle mixture you can add whatever you want. Here is my method…

Cherry & Rum Raw Chocolate Truffles

Yields 12
Delicious raw chocolate truffles made with cacao paste and cacao butter.

Ingredients
100g cacao paste
50g cacao butter
5 dessert spoons of carob syrup or similar
12-15 cherries
1 cap of rum
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of dessicated coconut

Instructions
Over a bain marie gently melt to cacao butter and cacao paste together, once melted remove from the heat and add the carob syrup, chopped cherries and a cap of rum, stir well. Put the mixture in the fridge to chill for two hours.

In a bowl mix the cocoa powder and coconut. Remove the chilled truffle mix from the fridge and using a teaspoon get enough mixture to make a truffle, shape in in your hands and roll in the cocoa powder and coconut mix, set aside. Make truffles with the remainder of the truffle mix.

Once all the truffles are made, chill in the fridge until they are to be eaten.

Notes
If you don’t want to shape the truffles using your hands, you could dust a silicon ice tray with the cocoa powder and pour in the warm runny truffle mix and leave that to set in the fridge. Just pop out a truffle as and when you need them.

I had a girls night in and offered my raw chocolate truffles around to my very discerning friends and they were a hit! We’ll be making some variations of these easy truffles in the run up to Easter and giving them as chocolatey gifts.

Raw Chocolate Truffles

I really loved my Nutriseed box, it’s the kind of grown up pick n mix of interesting and exciting ingredients a foodie can enjoy experimenting with. I’m already eyeing up several other of their hard to find ingredients for future recipes. 

Note: We were sent this Nutriseed box for review purposes, all images and opinions are our own.

Kids Health: The Smart Kids range from Bioglan

Like most parents I have a niggling worry that despite his love of broccoli that somehow my boy is lacking the essential nutrients he needs in order to thrive. Last October he had to take a week off school and was really quite poorly, he had a very nasty ear infection and spent the week on the sofa looking miserable. I’m keen to make sure he’s as healthy as possible so his body can fight off future infections. I was interested to try the Smart Kids range of supplements and to see how my boy liked them.

bioglan

We were sent the full range to try, here’s what the small boy thought…

Smart Kids Omega 3 Brain Formula
These supplements contain Omega 3, B Vitamins and Iron which all play a vital role in transporting oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body, as well as contributes to the normal cognitive development of children. I tried these first and they are little gummy  capsules which you chew and they have a squirty liquid inside which tastes of citrus. I really didn’t think he’d like these very much, but once he’d bitten into one he enjoyed it. Half the battle is getting kids to take the tablet and this is a little bit different.

Smart Kids Fussy Eaters Multi

These  multivitamins have been designed for fussy eaters, they contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. The tablets are small, chewy and taste of red berries, they’re also a bit fizzy in your mouth, these were my favourite. I warned the boy that they were fizzy and he made that lovely “sherbet face” you get when you eat something slightly sour. I’d be very happy to take these and I think he would too.

Smart Kids Happy Tummies
These were his very favourite, though he was skeptical at first. They are strawberry yoghurt balls designed to boost your child’s live culture intake and provide their tummies with the good bacteria they need. He loved these so much he would happily eat them as sweets and kept demanding more, which we didn’t give him obviously.

Smart Kids Superfood Shake

This is a very different product and I was looking forward to trying it out with him. I don’t know a child who doesn’t love a milkshake so this is potentially a great way to get some extra nutrients inside them without much fuss. The milkshake is apparently packed with lots of hidden fruit and veg. It’s simple enough to make, just mix it with milk, but it doesn’t dissolve like normal milkshake powder so you do need to whisk it. He did drink it and say it was yummy, but he did take his time over it and I thought it smelt a bit veggie. I’m not sure it’s something he’d drink every day, but as an occasional boost when he’s run down I think it would work well.

bioglan

I like the fact that the Smart Kids range from Bioglan has thought about different ways to help supplement and boost kids’ diets. I’d like to see more of the yoghurt ball style of supplement because that’s what our boy likes the best, but all kids are different and differently fussy and I think there is something for everyone in this range.

Bioglan supplements are widely available from a range of retailers.

Note: We were sent this selection of Smart Kids supplements for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Recipe: Sneaky Cauliflower Lasagne Sauce

Lasagne is one of those tried and tested family meals. It’s something everyone will happily tuck into and it’s perfect for sneaking a bit of extra veg into if you’ve got kids. I’ve taken things a step further; and for some think may be a step too far, but it’s just as delicious and a little bit healthier. Stick with me on this. I use blended cauliflower instead of béchamel sauce to make cauliflower lasagne sauce.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore béchamel sauce and find it to be incredibly easy to make and versatile. But, and here’s the big but. It’s just flour, butter, milk and seasoning and it doesn’t count as one of your five a day.

Over the weekend I made our current favourite lasagne. Generous portions of roasted butternut squash and parsnip, with handfuls of fresh baby spinach in a fresh tomato sauce, layered with lasagne sheets and topped with cauliflower sauce. It works, it really works and if you put enough cheese in it, it turns into an amazing lasagne-cauliflower cheese mash up.

Recipe: Sneaky Cauliflower Lasagne Sauce

Sneaky Cauliflower Lasagne Sauce

Sneak extra veg into your cooking with this delicious cauliflower lasagne sauce.

Ingredients
2 cauliflowers
400mls milk (I used semi skimmed)
200g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper (chilli flakes & grated nutmeg optional)

Instructions
Chop up your heads of cauliflower, they don’t need to be in pretty florets as you’ll be blending them. Add as much stalk as you like, it’s full of flavour and very frugal. Boil or steam until cooked through.

Once cooked, drain and put into a blender (you may need to do this in batches). Season generously and add the milk, blend until smooth. If you want a smoother sauce you can pass it through a sieve at this point and/or add a little bit more milk.

Whilst the sauce is hot, stir through the cheese and taste. Add more seasoning if you feel it needs any. Layer the sauce into your lasagne as you would do with your normal white sauce.

Notes
You can add as much cheese to the sauce as you’d like. I haven’t added much at this point because I know I’ll be sprinkling more cheese on top of the lasagne when I cook it.
I sometimes add a spoon of soft cheese with garlic and herbs which give it a nice background flavour.
Try adding chilli flakes to add a bit of a kick, or a touch of grated nutmeg because it just works.

Recipe: Sneaky Cauliflower Lasagne Sauce

I think my cauliflower lasagne sauce has lots of potential. I can imagine it working really well in something like moussaka. It’s such a great way to sneak extra veg into your life.

This recipe could easily be adapted for vegans too. Just swap the milk for soy milk or similar and leave out the cheese.

Cauliflowers are incredibly cheap in the shops at the moment, so we’re cooking with them a lot. This would also work well with frozen cauliflower. But not broccoli, broccoli is a step too far!

Have you got any tips for sneaking veg into your family meals?

 

Recipe: Sneaky Cauliflower Lasagne Sauce

Review: The Snack Organisation Rice Crackers

Way back in October in my monthly Degustabox I discovered a packet of sweet chilli rice crackers from The Snack Organisation. I’d had rice crackers before and they were a bit meh, nice enough, but you needed a good dollop of dip or a wedge of cheese to make a decent snack out of them. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was mightily impressed by these little healthy disks of flavour. So much so that I now buy them regularly. 

The Snack Organisation got in touch with me before Christmas and arranged to send me some healthy snacks for New Year. I’d only tried the sweet chilli flavour so I was keen to try the teriyaki and the lightly salted to see how they compared.

Rice Crackers

Each cracker is around 25 calories each, they’re small, but big enough to pile on some hummus or cream cheese. They cost around £1 per pack and there are stacks of rice crackers in each pack. I sampled each cracker “naked” ie without a topping, and then I spread a laughing cow cheese cube on (14 calories each), making each cracker approx 40 calories in total.

The sweet chilli rice crackers were still as dangerously moreish as they were the first time I tried them, just the right amount of sweet chilli heat, bags of flavour and crunchy. With the soft cheese on top these turned into what felt like a treat, but fairly low calorie. I’m having to stop myself from eating the whole packet!

Next up were the lightly salted rice crackers. I wasn’t expecting them to be too exciting, but they worked incredibly well on their own, really snacky, I could happy go through a bowl of these whilst watching TV of an evening. If you’re prone to snacking on a bag of crisps or two, then these are a good alternative, hitting all the right crunchy, savoury notes but being better for you and more filling than standard crisps. 

soy sauce, sake, ginger

I was surprisingly less keen on the teriyaki flavour, but hubs liked them the best, so that’s a happy ending. Teriyaki has soy sauce, sake and ginger flavours, so maybe they just didn’t go so well with my cheese cubes. I didn’t dislike them, they just didn’t hit the spot for me as much as they did for hubs. But the sweet chilli flavour will be my downfall!

These rice crackers are a great little snack, pretty healthy, definitely more filling than crisps and really flavoursome, your taste buds will never guess that you’re giving your body a healthy treat!

Note: We were sent these rice crackers from The Snack Organisation to try for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Exploring The Really Interesting Food Co.

Over the last few months I’ve been trying out a number of different healthy food brands, the latest one is The Really Interesting Food Co. who make a range of vibrant and imaginative soups and meals inspired by cuisines from around the world. I was sent a couple of their best sellers to try, and I was impressed!

The Really Interesting Food Co.

I tried the Spanish Chickpea Casserole and the Balinese Lentil and Pepper Soup. I was impressed by the vibrant flavours and the heartiness of the casserole and the soup, I served them both with a hunk of bread and they were filling and delicious meals in themselves. They’re a great store cupboard saviour, meaning when I’m tired and hungry I could just open a tin and have a healthy meal in minutes.

The Really Interesting Food Co. also have in their range –
~ Moroccan Chickpea Soup
~ Mexican Bean Soup
~ Sri Lankan Lentil and Coconut Soup
~ Thai Temple Curry
~ Thai Green Curry

The products from The Really Interesting Food Co. are free from artificial additives and preservatives, and are gluten, wheat, dairy and GM free, as well as being suitable for vegetarians and vegans too.

Products from The Really Interesting Food Co. range are available from all good supermarkets and health food stores.

Review: Free & Easy Foods

These days food intolerances are being taken more seriously. I know several people who are gluten-free and worryingly I am starting to develop a dairy intolerance, meaning if I have a lovely unctuous cheese sauce or nice creamy pudding I am very, very ill, so I’m starting to avoid dairy as much as I can, which does make life a little bit sad for someone who loves cheese as much a I do.

I discovered the Free & Easy Foods range, which are a boon for people with intolerances, or those who just wish to avoid certain foods. The Free & Easy products range from sauces and gravies, through to ready meals,curry pastes and natural soft drinks. Free & Easy Foods are available from health food stores, fine food retailers and online.

Free and easy foods

Free & Easy Foods are free from wheat, gluten, dairy, soya, celery, mustard, nuts and preservatives. They are low fat and suitable for both vegetarians and vegans.

I was sent a selection of nice things to try. I almost wept with joy at the sight of the red onion gravy. I’m a vegetarian and good gravy in a packet is hard to come by. This had sausage and mash written all over it and it was delicious, really flavoursome and with nice chunky pieces of onion. It would be brilliant with a nut roast!

The next thing we tried was the dairy free cheese sauce, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I griddled some courgettes and tossed them through the sauce with some tagliatelle. Neither of the boys notices the dairy free cheese sauce was missing the key ingredient and I wasn’t really ill afterwards. This is definitely going to be a staple in my cupboard from now on.

Working from home I do like to keep a tin or two of soup or something heartier in the house for those times I fancy a hot lunch. I tried the lentil and red pepper soup and the organic three bean chilli which were both perfect for lunch, really tasty and hearty. I ate them with a chunk of fresh bread and they kept me going all afternoon.

Lastly we tried the tikka curry paste and the rogan josh curry paste. These were really easy to use. For the boys I just marinaded some chicken in the paste for a few hours and then cooked the chicken in a sauce I made with some more paste, vegetables and reduced fat coconut milk, I served this with rice and they really enjoyed it. I made a veggie version of the curry using quorn, but you could also use it with paneer or just lots of lovely fresh vegetables.

The Free & Easy Foods range is great if you’re avoiding certain things in your diet, the food doesn’t taste like you’re missing out on something, which is a very good thing. Free & Easy foods are packed with flavour and are low fat and healthy, what’s not to love?

Review: Taste of Nature Snack Bars

I was recently sent a selection of Taste of Nature snack bars to try, I’m a bit of a snack bar addict, they’re really handy for me as I tend to be out and about a lot and it’s not always easy to find something reasonably healthy to eat when you’re out. Taste of Nature snack bars are made with 100% organic ingredients and come in flavours such as Apple, Persian Pomegranate Garden, Cranberry,Goji, Coconut, Almond, Brazil Nut, Blueberry and Peanut.

Taste of Nature snack bars are a good source of energy, fibre, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements and are great for throwing in your bag when you’re out and about or for during those mid-afternoon belly rumbles we all get.

Over a few days we all tried the Taste of Nature snack bars we were sent, my stand out favourite was the peanut which was so delicious, yummy peanuts set in something a bit like a hard but not brittle caramel, it was a real treat. The small boy liked the fruity ones best, with the apple being his favourite and Hubs liked the coconut one. They were all tasty, really filling and felt healthy and nutritious to eat.

The bars are contain blends of nuts, seeds and dried fruit and are a nice firm texture. Taste of Nature snack bars are certified organic and are gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, free from GMOs and each bar costs just £1.39. You can find out more about the Taste of Nature snack bars on their website.

Taste of Nature Snack Bars

These hunger busting, energy packed bars are brilliant for busy, active people and they’re quite delicious too! 

Note: We were sent the Taste of Nature snack bars free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: CLIF Bar

As a busy working Mum I often forget to eat properly, grabbing bits of toast here and there as I remember I’m hungry. We often have cereal bars or energy bars in the house just to grab and munch on the go if I need to. I’m a sucker for an oaty energy bar, so I was excited to try the CLIF Bar, a new energy bar from America. 

CLIF Bars are made from organic rolled oats and are a source of protein and fibre. They’re intended to be eaten before, during and after exercise and they come in a range of six different flavours…

  • Chocolate chip
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
  • Blueberry Crisp
  • Chocolate Almond Fudge
  • White Chocolate Macadamia

CLIF Bar

The bars themselves look like and have the texture of a dense flapjack, with fruity pieces, nuts or chocolate chips, depending on which one you’re munching. They come in at around 250 calories each. I was surprised that they weren’t really sweet, I thought they would be, but they don’t contain any artificial sweeteners or corn syrups and are as natural as they can be.

My favourite flavour was the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, whereas hubs preferred the Chocolate chip. I liked them all but I especially liked the Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Almond Fudge.

CLIF Bar

I’m currently giving the 5:2 diet a go and as the bars are quite filling and just 250 calories, it occured to me that I could cut one into chunks and nibble on them throughout the day and then have a meal in the evening. I think I’ll try that.

I love the packaging too, it’s very retro and eye catching and the bars are something you can just sling in your bag for when you’re out and about. Their texture means they won’t crumble like biscuits would, so they’re ideal for languishing in the bottom of your bag waiting for a hunger emergency or an energy dip.

Clif Barsare available from a variety of UK stockists, you can find the full list and more information on the CLIF Bar website.

Review: What is Just Drink Aloe like?

I’ve never been one for New Year resolutions, or falling for that ‘New Year – New You’ nonsense. But I think after the heavy duty gorging over Christmas, it’s natural to want to eat things which may contain traces of salad. I was feeling a bit run down and cream filled after the festivities, so a few healthy changes were required. Fortuitously I was sent some Aloe Vera juice from Just Drink Aloe to review. So what did I think?

Just Drink Aloe sent me the mango, strawberry and lychee flavours, though they also make pomegranate, passion-fruit and original flavoured juices. Each bottle contains 500ml and a serving is 100ml. I decided to drink one serving of Just Drink Aloe a day to see how I’d get on.

Just Drink Aloe

To the uninitiated Aloe Vera juice can seem a bit alien. It’s a clear-ish juice with bits of Aloe pulp in it. It’s hard to describe, but my best advice would be try it a few times before making your mind up, because it might take a bit of getting used to.

I started with the mango flavour, it didn’t have a strong smell and it tasted nicely of mango but was not overpowering. It was a refreshing way to wake up in the morning. I suspect the Just Drink Aloe mango flavour would make a nice ice lolly.

The strawberry flavour was the one I was least looking forward to. I don’t like strawberries (yes I know I’m weird). This had a stronger smell than the mango and unsurprisingly it tasted like strawberry juice, it was quite delicate. I could drink it for the five days but it wasn’t for me, I just can’t get along with strawberries. If you love strawberries though you’ll probably like this.

My favourite flavour was the lychee. I wasn’t sure what to expect really, but what I got was a lovely delicate, almost rose flavoured drink. I literally couldn’t keep my hands off it. Every time I went near the fridge I’d be sloshing a bit in a glass. Sweet but not too sweet, the lychee did not last the five days it was supposed to which was entirely my fault. Oops.

Just Drink Aloe

Update 2017: Just Drink Aloe have added two new flavours to their range Hawaiian Pineapple & Coconut and Tropical Passion Fruit, Mango & Orange. These are a interesting addition to the range and I was especially fond of the Tropical Passion Fruit, Mango & Orange, whereas my husband preferred the Hawaiian Pineapple & Coconut. Both are true to the brand, fruity, sweet and packed with Aloe Vera pieces, which personally is something I enjoy.

Review: What is Just Drink Aloe like?

Just Drink Aloe drinks have no artificial preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours and are made from fresh juice and pulp, not powder. They contain just 27 calories per 100ml serving and are apparently an excellent source of vitamin C. Aloe Vera juice has long been associated with a range of health benefits including balancing the immune system, encouraging a healthy (and regular) gut and digestive system, improving the condition of skin and hair, healthy joints and lots more.

It’s difficult to gauge in just two weeks the effect of drinking Just Drink Aloe juice on me. But my digestive system wasn’t as sluggish as usual and my skin looked a bit brighter too. I felt that if I continued drinking 100mls a day over a period of time then I’d see a bigger difference. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, so I’d much rather have a slug of aloe juice every morning than a handful of vitamin tablets, especially with the other benefits which aloe gives you in terms of digestion etc.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for their lychee flavour (I’m addicted now). So if you spot any, do let me know!

You can find out more about Just Drink Aloe on their website.

Note: I was sent these Just Drink Aloe drinks for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.