My New Bestie Cacao!

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Since giving sugar the boot I’ve began a new love affair. It starts with a C and it rhymes with Kapow!

CACAO, also known as cocoa is little magic bean that answers your dreams!

So here’s 5 reasons why you’ll also fall in love with CACAO!

1.Raw cacao is the most antioxidant-rich food in the world.

Cacao contains over 300 important compounds! WOW…these include protein, fat, certain B-vitamins and minerals (calcium, sulfur, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper). Pretty impressive stuff!

2. It can improve your mood.

Cacao contains naturally mood enhancing chemicals (phenylethylamine (PEA) & anandamide). These are the chemicals that make us feel excited, the chemicals we get after dong things like exercising. And it’s these chemical which can help to fight depression. We all need some of that right!

3. It can help you lose weight.

Another nifty thing about Cacao is that it contains chromium, which can naturally regulate blood sugar and it also contains coumarin, which has been know to suppress the appetite, thin blood AND as if that wasn’t enough it has anti-tumor properties too.  Here’s the sciencey bit….Agriculture and Food Chemistry say the “compounds in the cocoa bean appear to disrupt the activity of enzymes normally used to digest fats and some carbohydrates. With this activity disrupted, the fats and carbs don’t get digested – so we don’t experience the harmful effects, including weight gain.”

4. It protects the heart/cardiovascular system.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the flavonoids in cacao can decrease or even block the oxidation of “bad” LDL cholesterol. This improves circulation and minimises the risk of heart disease. Well done cacao!

5.Focus!

Cacao also helps us to stay focused as it quickens our pulse rate. So if you’ve got a big deadline coming up try a cacao milkshake to stay on the ball. I’ve tried it and it really works!!!

How The Queen Of Sugar Kicked Her Habit!

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This is a post I never thought I’d write.

But the truth is SUGAR is bad. Yes I said it, it’s bad,  SO very bad. And what’s worst is that we look at sugar as an old friend, someone who can comfort us, someone who is always there to make us feel happy. After all sugar will never stand us up, sugar never argues back, and sugar will always taste sweet. But what’s that old saying….

“…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

Yes yes he does and the worst thing of all… you don’t even know it’s there and without realising it you and your family are probably well exceeding your sugar limit (6 tsps women, 9 tsps men).

Let me just blow you mind for a second… think about those 2 sugars in your morning coffee, think about that big dollop of sweet chilli sauce at lunch, think about that sneaky chocolate bar before dinner, think about that can of coke to keep you going. How much sugar, add it up, what do you reckon? Well for a start that can of coke contains over 9 tsps of sugar. That little bar of Dairy milk has 6.25 tbsps,  you get the picture.

And that’s only the things we KNOW are bad… what about all the other little things. When you start checking ingredients, it’s literally MIND BLOWING!

Ok, now onto the factsheet… because no doubt you need hard proof iF you’re gonna give up your best bud sugar… so here we go, why is sugar bad:

It makes us fat…. and yes, in the words of Bridget Jones,  I will always be just a little bit fat, but I’m talking about ‘obesity’ and THAT is dangerous.

It causes heart disease….sugar literally helps to damage the lining of your blood vessels, what a bastard!

Sugar has a way of suppressing your immune system…WHAT! It’s literally trying to kill you!

Sugar has an empty soul meaning it literally gives your body NOTHING.  Sugar also enjoys taking away valuable stuff such as zinc, magnesium, potassium and chromium, all the good stuff we have!

Bad bacteria LOVES sugar so it really is your guts worst energy… think yeast infections, autoimmune disorders, arthritis to name but a few.

Type 2 diabetes… yeah yeah we know the drill…but did you know that it can lead to cancer, coronary heart disease and strokes.

Sugar is ADDICTIVE. Meaning it makes you want it, even when you don’t REALLY want it and definitely don’t need it.

So now we can all see sugar for the devil it is… let’s see how we can move on with our lives and be the healthy goddesses we all know we are.

HOW I DELETED SUGAR FROM MY LIFE:

  • Smoothies: They are literally like the ‘get out of jail free’ card for kicking cravings and keeping your appetite satisfied. There’s a million different kinds, find what you love and get blending!
  • Bananas: Like them or not they offer a great energy and sugar fix. They are also amazing in smoothies, especially protein smoothies…My fav is unsweetened almond milk,  bananas,  cacao powder and organic peanut butter, that’s how I usually start the day.
  • Labels: this is the best way to check your sugar intake, because companies love to sneak sugar in wherever they can! After all… it’s addict, which means you’ll keep coming back for their products! Peanut butter, sauces, milk alternatives, cereal bars, sugar loves to hide in supposedly healthy places.
  • Fruit: pineapple, grapes, mango those super sweety fruits really give you the boost you need. If my family or friends are tucking into treats I have my own stash of fruit and cheese at the ready!
  • Drink green tea: for those who are wanting to loose weight in addition to cutting sugar, green tea is a wonderful way to reduce cravings and for many people it helps to loose weight.
  • Diary: Eating a little more diary really helped me, cheese and fruit are a really satisfying thing and also butter on toast, it stoped me wanting cake!
  • Visualisation: this was really good for me… visualising chocolate, cakes and sweets in a VERY negative way stops you wanting them! I imagined them making me feel sick, hurting my teeth and picturing all that oiling, sugary crap that they are made of.  It’s a good idea to check the indigents in your favourite ‘bad’ foods but beware it REALLY puts you off them!
  • Eat more: you’ll feel more hungry so always make sure you have nice snacks (nuts, cheese, fruits, smoothies, sandwich, shakes, sugar free cakes) eating little and often is the best way.

Finally I must tell you after a few weeks with 0 added sugar (not even honey, agave syrup etc) I felt pretty amazing.

My brain felt clearer, my skin was gooood, a cavity that was hurting before just stopped and in general I felt less mood swings and less tired! So a pretty big payoff for quitting sugar.

I’m going to do a month and then I’ll probably add agave syrup again, as the only thing I’m really missing is pancakes with bacon and agave nectar!

Have you given added sugar the boot, I would LOVE to hear your story!

NOTE: When I say SUGAR I’m talking specifically about added sugar. Sugar that has been added in during the making process I AM NOT TAKING ABOUT NATURALLY OCCURRING SUGAR. Fruit has natural sugar and is amazing, so don’t think of them in the same light.

Little Miss Matcha: The Lime Green Superhero!

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Introducing Little Miss Matcha, she’s lime green, comes all the way from Japan and is truly magnificent!

I’d wanted to try the miracle ‘matcha’ for a while… though I was always a bit put off by it’s crazy price tag (around £10 per 100g and that’s for the cheaper stuff).

However,  on reading about some of matcha’s super powers I decided to give it a whirl!

I’ve been on match every day for over a week, very early days, so I’m not going to comment on it’s effectiveness for me, personally… also I’ve eaten about 10KG of chocolate eggs this week, so I’m not sure if that’s undone any good work matcha may have done, oops. Be better next week, promise.

Anyho…Here’s some Matcha facts that you NEED to know:

  • Matcha Green Tea Powder has 137 times more antioxidants than a cuppa green tea! So it’s actually pretty good value for money, you only need half a teaspoonful.
  • Matcha is metabolism boosting. Just what I need after the naughty Easter bunny’s visit.
  • Matcha is detoxifying for mind & body. Yes and Yes.
  • Matcha is calming, many people take it to calm their anxiety or just to help focus.
  • Matcha is very rich in fibre (so you really need to be careful about your dose or you could be in for a bit too much of a detox, if you know what I mean!
  • Matcha is a mood enhancer, hell yeah, all need a slice of that pie!
  • Matcha helps to lower cholesterol and prevent all kinds of diseases, always a winner.
  • Matcha is rich in zinc, magnesium and vitamin c, these a pretty vital, yet another selling point.

Have your tried Match green tea, what DO you think, I always love to know?

Happy Healthy-ing (:

Whisky Banana Bread Pudding

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Colder nights are all about one thing… slow cooking! I’m pretty new to this slow cooker malarky and I was sceptical at the start, thinking,  how could I face preparing dinner before I’d even had my morning coffee!!! But I gave it a whirl and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome! Coming home to all manner of foodie delights bubbling away IS a very satisfying feeling. And so…today I’m sharing with you the ultimate comfort food recipe, slowly cooked with love…Whisky Banana Bread Pudding (It’s also got Amaretto but I didn’t want to get you over excited!).

Bread. Pudding. It’s just good stuff isn’t it, especially when it’s slow cooked into pudding perfection. This recipe is for a very wet kind of bread pudding, not the firm sort which is also divine.

Ingredients

Half loaf of bread

1 Jamaica Ginger cake

Shot of Whisky/ Amaretto/ BOTH

4 very ripe bananas

3 eggs

1/2 pint coconut milk

1 pint of milk

200g brown caster sugar

Chopped cherries/ nuts (optional)

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And you’ll love this, other than breaking up the bread and smashing the Jamaica loaf it’s just a mix-it- all-together kind of recipe. And then just wait for the magic to happen. The only rule: make sure all bread is covered by the liquid and sloooooow cook on ‘low’ for 6-8 hours.

I found it was tastiest served with natural yogurt as it is a pretty sweet recipe.  Enjoy! And please share your slow cook recipes, this rookie wants to know more!!!

Newest Nibbles (November)

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November already, how did we get here! Anyway, I’m sure you’ll agree the month before Christmas is a good time for some serious healthy eating (preping for the indulgence to come)…. So here’s some organic, fairtrade, good foodie treats, because being healthy doesn’t mean living in a chocolate-less/ burger less world! Happy month before Christmas! he he he

Daylesford Organic Cacao & Coconut Porridge 450g, £2.79 (currently on offer) I knew I’d love this, with this chilly days sometimes all I want for dinner is a big bowl of oats and berries, this is not sweet (a good sign is it not!) so I like to add honey. The cacao nibs and coconut, combine beautiful with the dates, so warming and comforting.

Waitrose Duchy Organic Dates 250g, £2.19 There’s something about dried fruit in winter just makes me so excited for… CHRISTMAS, yes!

CRAZY JACK ORGANIC AGAVE NECTAR 250ML, £2.25 (CURRENTLY ON OFFER) If you haven’t already jumped on the agave (cactus) nectar, which is not as sugary as honey and tastes divine, then jump aboard, it’s delicious!

DRAGONFLY GLUTEN FREE ORGANIC WALNUT & ALMOND BURGERS 200G, £1.75 What a wonderful surprise these were. And loved by the husband, amazingly, as he is totally nuts for meat, but now he’s nuts for nut burgers! They keep you full too and are super for days when there’s no time for proper cooking, these with a bowl full of spinach and mango chutney, yes!

Willie’s Cacao Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut & Raisin 50g, £1.35 (CURRENTLY ON OFFER) Such a deal on these at the moment, a brilliant stocking filler. A real top quality chocolate, this is what REAL chocolate tastes like.

Have you found any Organic delights this month? Let me know!!! Love your comments, happy eating (:

Bake Yourself A £500 Wedding Cake

petite-words-homemade-wedding-cake-uniqueI love cake. So I was quite excited about getting married… I mean it’s not the reason I got married ,but it was high on the list of reasons, he he he. Jokes aside, to many people the Wedding cake is the centre piece of their wedding, and can come at quite a price.

A simple 3 tier wedding cake costs around £250 and when you start customising, those sugary little details could double the price! And I had my heart set on something a bit special.

So what’s a girl to do… “Hey mama why don’t we make the cake?!” How cunning I thought we were being and what a grand design we set out to bake! I wanted a 3 tier wedding cake, totally covered with sugar leaves and flowers of all different types, sizes and colours. Easy peasy. And we’d spend the money saved on more champagne! Win win.

wedding-cake-decorations-petite-wordsHowever, we are not wizard bakers and this was our first attempt at sugar flowers. And aside from 1 YouTube tutorial mama had watched, we had no bloody idea what we were doing! But we made a start: I bought a whole collection of edible paints and a truck load of roll out icing and we dyed it ball by ball. This was actually much more time consuming than  you’d imagine as you really have to kneed the colour in. Think major hand cramps, and wow is it a messy job!

Then we began making the sugar flowers and leaves, how lovely we thought. I bought a little pack of tools and we have an experiment. I was bored after the first 10! And believe me when I say, IT TAKES TIME. We clocked up about 20 hours on flowers and leaves alone. And you cannot leave it to the last minute as they need days, preferably weeks to dry out nicely.sugar-flowers-homemade-wedding-cake-petite-words

We had to guess the number of flowers to make, since we had no way of knowing how many we’d need to cover the cake. But really, once you reach the point, where you’re consuming more flowers than your saving for the cake you know you need to stop. We made a few hundred then called it a day/ fell asleep under the table. BIG WORK to say the least but wow do they look pretty all lined up in a row…. ahhh we thought, almost finished, well just need to make, ice ad marzipan 3 cakes, then stick all these flowers on, OMG, how much was bought cake again, can we do this!?

Yes we can! And on we ploughed… a relative had made a gorgeous genoa for the bottom tier and mama super star had made a 2nd tier fruit cake and the top tier was a rainbow sponge for added quirkiness. After the cakes were made we inserted ‘cake rods’ which can only be described as filled in cardboard straws (though much more expensive!) and they kept the tiers just separated enough, making for easy cutting on the day. On to the icing….

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This is probably the trickiest bit and where not being professional cake makers really got the better of us. Do you know how hard it is to ice cakes? It feels like rolling silk to lay on chippings! And you’re thinking “Where did all those lumps and bumps come from!” and “OMG my cake has cellulite” and “Is it too late just to buy a cake” and yes it was… but did is matter? NO! because the genius thing about this cake is no matter how messy the icing looks it’s all going to be covered with beautiful little flowers, carefully hiding all the flaws!

With all the cakes marzipaned and iced we could finally we could piece it together. But oops, minor set back, we’d made the top tier the same size as the 2nd, I mean the other tier was right there, we could clearly see they were identical! A moment of madness, I think by this point we were so desperate to eat the cake mum had purposely sabotaged the top tier knowing it would need to be trimmed (sneaky wedding cake bites taste amazing by the way). And so a little snip snip here and there, and a few bites of cake later, we were back on track.

homemade-wedding-cake-diy-petite-wordsNext we sealed all the ugly edges and gaps. We used piped icing to tidy it up, although it really wouldn’t have show, but mama chief was having a meltdown at the cakes imperfections, so we did it. Now the finish line was sight, so wine was poured and out came the edible super glue for the final (and most fun) stage. Let the flowertastic fun begin! Of course mama, being the loveliest mama in the world allowed me the honour of sticking all flowers and leaves on the cake.

It took about 2 and half hours to do, and big shout out to the edible glue. When you first use it, it’s like water, and I had serious doubts it would be up for the job, but it was.  Apparently icing just isn’t sticky enough, especially to hold anything of weight, so I highly recommend the glue.

flower-icing-decoration-wedding-cake-petite-wordsAnd the final touch a finally a sprinkling of golden glitter dust and a little creative piping round the back, because it turned out 200 flowers wasn’t enough to cover the whole cake! I went for an Indian pattern style, using the edible glitter dust and white icing, it turned out really lovely.

 And so there you have it one garden fairy princess wedding cake…. Mama and I both agree it was our biggest life achievement to date. And would we do it again, a million times over, because yes, we saves hundred of pounds but more importantly we made something totally unique that was so special money couldn’t by… and the look on your guests face when you unveil it at the wedding… priceless!

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Now for the serious stuff….Below if a breakdown of the cake costings (so you KNOW it can be done!):

Roll out icing 1KG X 8 =£17.60

Marzipan = £5.22

Edible glue =£2.99

Colours (pack of 12) = £12.99

Gold glitter dust = £1.99

Flower making tools = £0.99

Cake rods = £2.00

Cake boards = £6.99

Genoa: = £12.00

Fruit cake = £8.00

Rainbow sponge cake=  £3.99

Cake box (essential)= £12.00

TOTAL= £86.76 (WOW!)

Newest Nibbles (October)

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Happy October! I’m immensely enjoying these first crisp mornings, when you feel snuggly yet refreshed, isn’t this time of year lovely!!? Ask me again next month when I’ll probably be sick of soggy boots and lemsip, but for the moment autumn is my bestie. Anyway, Organic tastes good in any season and I’ve got some super organic goodies to warm your autumn chops, enjoy!

Grove Organic Fruit Co. Premium Apple & Pomegranate Juice, 1L £1.96

An apple juice with a twist. Sometimes I find apple juice just a little too sweet, this one is the perfect combination of sweet and sour, with hints of berry. And of course we all know how great pomegranates are for you. Groove Organic also do all kinds of lovely juices, check them out!

Doisy & Dam Ginger, Chilli Flakes & Hempseed Chocolate, 40G, £3.00

So so moorish and what a kick. I’m a big fan of spicy chocolate and I really love D & D’s whole collection.

WAITROSE COOKS’ INGREDIENTS ORGANIC COCONUT MILK, 400ML £2.15

I love coconut milk, but it’s gotta be organic and this one is really nice. It is thick and creamy, but not intensely coconutty, so I find it’s really perfect for cooking.

RED LENTIL, APRICOT + CHILLI SOUP, £2.89

Super yum, not as sugary as you’d imagine ans it has really subtle flavours. It’s a refreshing combination, with a fiery kick. Isn’t this just a time of year for warming soups and hot buttered bread!

BIONA ORGANIC RYE & PUMPKIN SEED BREAD, 500G £1.23

How lovely this is, feels especially nice for winter. It’s already sliced which is such a luxury with rye bread and the pumpkin seeds add a little sweetness, my favourite rye bread to date!

So that’s if for this month, pop by again next month for more organic loveliness! And of course my ears are open to hear about new organic treats you’ve been sambling !

Newest Nibbles (August/ September)

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Where did August go! I seem to have misplaced an entire month. My summer has been stuffed with a mound of projects, leaving me a bit frazzled, so after a little chill time I’m back with some super delectable treats to see you though September.

PROPERCORN SWEET & SALTY MULTIPACK 6 X 14G, £1.79

Being a picky little one I always like a mix of salted and sweet popcorn so I was super pleased to discover these. And of course there’s no nasties so a good treat for little one’s pack lunches!

ThreeSixty Organic Peru Coffee 227g, £4.99

More than I usually spend on coffee but this curious to try it. I love the whole concept of ThreeSixy coffee, each bag contains coordinates so you know exactly where the coffee comes form, you know you’re getting the bees knees.

Yarden Greek Style Aubergine 250g, £1.80

Truly scrumptious, though one little tub is never enough! Sweet, juicy, stuffed with flavour, perfect with salad, bread, eggs, anything really!

Cranks organic bread wholemeal 800g, £1.55

I’m not a lover of wholemeal bread but my husband adores this and it’s definitely a healthy alternative, packed with fibre. It’s firm and wholesome, you really feel like you’re getting a satisfying loaf of bread.

WAITROSE LOVELIFE 4 CHOCOLATE BROWNIES 150G, £2.19

Delectable, my husband and I love brownies but sometimes I find there much pricer to make than to buy  (well if you do it the right way, real choc and ground almonds) so I’m always searching for supermarket alternatives. These are great, try for yourself as I’m sure you SO deserve it!

Have you discovered any new organic/ fairtrade / free-from treats this month, I’d love to know.

 

Newest Nibbles (JULY)

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July, welcome! I cannot believe you’re here already, really, where does the time go! So, celebrating the start of summer with some truly wondrous organic treats, I hope you’ll be inspired to step into the world of Organic eating!

Belvoir Organic Ginger Beer 750ml, £2.59 

Summer is a perfect opportunity for cocktail’s in the garden, YES! And I used this ginger beer as a wonderful mixer with gin and lime for a London Mule (gin, London, get it!?). My absolute favourite cocktail.

Roots & Wings Organic Sherbet Lemons 100g, £1.99

A favourite with my nanny, whose had 80 years experience as a sweetie connoisseur… and now I’ve got her hooked on Organic sweets! Talk about mission completed. And these are such fresh little sweets, not syrupy and they don’t leave a sugary feeling in your mouth.

Higher Living Organic Green Tea Chai, £1.99

I love the soothing spice of Chai tea, but also the tummy helping benefits of green tea. So, what a wonderful combination this is!

Tropical Forest – Organic Honey 454g, £4.29

Delectable honey, simple and you know it’s non nonsense. I love adding honey to numerous dishes and really believe in it’s health benefits, but only with pure honey. So much of the honey you get in supermarkets is a mix of sugar and bad quality honeys, so I always go for raw/ Organic.

Cafedirect Fairtrade Organic Machu Picchu Coffee 227g, £3.50 

Coffee has got to be Organic for me. It’s such a pure and beautiful thing, you really CAN taste the difference. There’s increasing more wonderful Organic coffees to choose form, and this one’s gorgeous.

What Organic delights are you enjoying this month?

Dairy Free Coconut & Orange Choco Bites

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Chocolate, how loved you are but sometimes you just don’t agree with people. And so I give you a little choccy alternative. No dairy bit taste and what an energy boost it give you. However, be prepared for the hit that dark chocolate delivers because this is really a rich treat with a strong bitter taste that might not be for everyone.

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Ingredients

1 clementine

100g organic coconut oil

50g coco powder

4 tbsp maple syrup/ honey/ date syrup

2 tbsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp orange essence

  1. First things first heat your coconut oil in a clean bowl positioned in a larger bowl of boiling water.
  2. Next zest and peel your clementine. Now, using a small baking tray lay the clementine segments along your tin, evenly. Add other fruit or seeds (cashew nights and cherries are my fav).
  3. Combine the coco powder, essence, and syrup, mix well with the coconut oil.
  4. Pour your mixture over the clementine segments and sprinkle with the zest and more nuts/ seeds if you choose.
  5. Finally, off the the fridge to harden overnight, then sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. And bite bite bite, enjoy!!!

Keep refrigerated, as you can imagine it softens rather quickly!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, check out my other quirky yum yums!