The past few weeks have been a bit busy for me, what with my final essays for third year being handed in tomorrow, and completing my poetry portfolio to hand in a couple of weeks… More
I know that it has been quite some time since I posted a review (or anything really- damn you essays!), but today I am making up for that. With a review of not one, but FOUR chocolate bars. I also figured out how to create a little collage of pictures at the top of the post- impressive, no? So, below is a quick review of four different chocolate bars, all of which would probably class themselves as “healthy”. But which ones taste great? I’ll leave links to the places you can buy all of these down below, and leave you to read on, because there is an iced coffee with my name on (literally) in the Starbucks around the corner…
Cavalier Hazelnut Milk Chocolate
RATING: 3/5 stars
This was okay. The chocolate didn’t have a weird aftertaste (which was an issue with two of these bars, as you will see). However, as I’m used to dark chocolate I also didn’t think it tasted of much. It was milk chocolate, but wasn’t super-creamy. Perhaps if you aren’t a dark chocolate or a super-creamy chocolate person you will find your perfect balance here. There are pieces of hazelnut in it, they are evenly distributed- they are also VERY small. However, kudos to Cavalier, there is more hazelnut here than in a bar of dairy milk. Sugar free, which for diabetics or the sugar-conscious is always an upside. It wasn’t the best sugar-free chocolate I’ve had (I love The Lite Company, and Discover for sugar-free), it wasn’t the worst.
Ombar Blueberry & Acai
This was the highest scoring bar of the bunch. Seriously rich, dark chocolate. Really fruity blueberry-acai taste. Its not one I would be eating all in one go (very often) because of how strongly flavoured it is. This could be an all-time favourite chocolate though. Looking at the ingredients this is suitable for vegans, if you’re a vegan on a chocolate hunt, and love berry flavours. Highly recommend.
Ombar Coconut & Vanilla Centres
I didn’t not like this bar. But it did have a slightly odd aftertaste. The texture though, was amazing. Creamy, smooth, super-decadent truffle-y centre (not too much, not too little for me- though I know some of you may find the amount slightly disappointing, I think it would be too sickly with any more). It’s vegan, so its also obviously dairy-free, in-case this is something that you look for. Intense coconut flavour, slight vanilla undertone. It was okay, but I personally would rather buy a different flavour if purchasing again.
Doisy & Dam Toasted Rice, Maple & Pink Salt
This was the most disappointing chocolate I tried out of all of the bars. I bought Doisy & Dam because it has recently been all over my favourite YouTube and IG accounts. Perhaps it was just this one flavour? There are LOADS of beautiful flavours on the website, and the majority sound very appealing. I only went with this bar because I ADORE salty-sweet, and this was available in a small bar. However, this was both too salty and too sweet. I have no idea how they managed this. I usually LOVE super-dark chocolate, opting for around 80%, so this wasn’t particularly too dark- but it was a bit too bitter for some reason. This could possibly be due to the super-sweet maple and the super-salty pink salt throwing my taste buds off. Disappointing. Still ate it. Still going to try the other flavours- but wouldn’t recommend this one. Coconut & Lucuma, or Goji & Orange, or Lemon, Poppy Seed & Baobab (that’s a white chocolate one) are on my to-try list. Fingers crossed that they taste better than this one.
Cavalier Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts right here
Ombars right here
Doisy & Dam right here
Hellooo there everybody! So. I know that a while ago I wrote a post telling you all about fear foods and overcoming the last few bits of my issues with food. Recently I have wanted to write a follow up, and I haven’t really been able to focus on any other posts but this one. Which means I am now writing it for you. Then I can get typing some other things for you as well.
It was very hard for me to admit that mentally I still struggle sometimes- because I genuinely love food, and love moving my body, and try to aim for balance. However, maybe 30-50% of the time I am not where I want to be, and I am not in a very balanced place. But I’m working on it. A lot has happened in the few months since that first post I wrote on the subject of fear foods, and I think that I’ve realised I have more to work on than I thought. So this is my update, which I’ve been planning to do for a long time but didn’t quite have the courage to, and so shall have to bullet pointed because I have way too much to tell you all…
The GOOD Stuff
- Began attending counselling again, and a support group to help me finally tackle the mental aspects of ED. This has been a HUGE help, and having other people around me who get it, and who can help, is a great comfort.
- Some fear foods I have tackled: sugar-free flavoured iced coffee, subway sandwiches, foods with refined sugar in them, pizza at a restaurant, a cinnamon bun, enchiladas made at home with some cheese on top (the cheese was the bit I was scared of), home-cooked pasta, hot chocolate, protein bars, food cooked by someone else….
- Some of the above foods I have since been eating on a regular basis, some of them I discovered I didn’t actually like after having them a few times, or will only be eating very rarely if I truly fancy them because they weren’t as good as I imagined (hot chocolate, cinnamon bun). Some I discovered actually made me feel ill. These foods I made sure to try at least three times to check it was the food, then accepted it just didn’t agree with me (this was the protein bar, which I became scared of due to their still being an “unhealthy health food”. However, I’ve tried a few different brands and found some I do like- such as protein cookies- which I will buy again. Not as a health food, but just as a packaged cookie that I want to eat).
- I began to try and scale hunger, and spot emotional hunger and eat according to the first. I also began eating what I fancied- well, trying to, things take time- and not trying to choose the “better” option.
- Disrupted routines have taught me I could be a bit more flexible. Going home for Easter meant working with my family’s schedules too, and not doing my own thing all the time. It’s helped me see that maybe I could move my gym trips around a bit, or wait a bit longer to eat, or eat out sometimes. I won’t lie, these still aren’t things I relish putting into practice, but I know I can do them if I feel the need to.
- I tried to do a “lean bulk”- it didn’t turn out so well. BUT! I learnt I can eat more than I thought, and that having done so my performance in the gym really went up. This upping portions was something that was still a tiny bit scary until then. As a result of doing so I upped my weights, I had more energy, I wasn’t thinking of food as much (when I began recovering weight-wise these things also happened, and so I took these as a good sign). And then I pushed it a bit too far and decide to stop with actively bulking, as you’ll soon see. I just wasn’t ready for it, and having tried it, I don’t think actively bulking is something I’m even interested in right now.
Annnnd the stuff that hasn’t gone so great (but which I now know I need to work on)…
I tend to go through phases with breakfasts. The porridge phase (okay, that one never ends), the pancake phase, the eggs on toast phase, the shredded wheat phase…and the overnight oats phase. This is one of my favourite variations on overnight oats. You’ll find plenty of recipes for them under the food section of the blog, though the combination of sweet pear, bitter dark chocolate (we’re using cacao, though if you really like things much sweeter you can either add maple syrup, or use a cocoa powder / hot chocolate mix instead), and juicy, sharp raspberries is amazing. Any overnight oats recipe is ideal for mornings when you know you’ll be in a rush, and short on time to make something. Continue reading “Raspberry, Pear & Chocolate Overnight Oats”
I feel like lemon and raspberry is a classic combination. It’s one of my favourites. So obviously I wanted to showcase this in pancake form- and top it all off with a creamy, sweet, nutty cashew butter and Greek yoghurt cream.
I used coconut flour, as I was given this a while ago, never used it- and it goes out of date later this year. However, feel free to use plain or self raising flour, but you will need to reduce the milk by a couple of tbsp. (as coconut flour is richer in fibre, and so apparently requires more liquid to form a batter). If I didn’t have the coconut flour I would be using self-raising flour, as I don’t see the point in going out to buy expensive ingredients that you’re only going to use for one recipe. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy it specifically for this is what I’m saying, though if you feel you’d experiment with it a bit more regularly than I do, then go for it- I hear that it’s great in baking.
Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Ingredients (serves 1)
- 1/4 cup coconut flour mixed with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 6tbsp almond milk
- Zest and juice of 1/4 lemon
- 1 large handful frozen raspberries
- 50g Greek yoghurt
- 1tbsp smooth cashew butter
- 1.5tsp maple syrup
- Mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon and baking powder, with the egg, milk, 1/2tsp maple syrup, and lemon zest.
- Spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray and bring up to a medium heat. Add the batter a little at a time to form pancakes. Onto each pancake crumble some frozen raspberry, then flip and cook the other side.
- Plate up. Beat together the Greek yoghurt and cashew butter. Top the pancakes with the mixture, some frozen raspberries, and the remaining maple syrup.
Lately I have been fancying pancakes. When I was little we made pancakes pretty much every weekend- Scotch drop scones are actually what we made. My mum was often the one who made them with us, and as that’s the pancake recipe she prefers, my brother and I grew up feeling these were proper pancakes. They’re small, fluffy, and much more “stackable” than crepes. These remind me a lot of those pancake-driven mornings.
This was the first time ever that I’ve ever used the flour in a recipe, and I actually quite like it (I’ve used the Seven Hills one here). There’s a subtle coconut-y taste and texture. Not as fluffy as regular pancakes, but really delicious. If you want mega-fluffy pancakes then I’d say use self-raising flour and omit 2-3tbsp of the milk (coconut flour has a higher fibre content, which mean you need more milk to form a batter).
This is a really satisfying breakfast, and the apple adds the height that guarantees a decent stack. The cashew butter is amazing when it melts into them. My top tip is this: stack them, adding cashew butter, then microwave for up to 1 minute. If you’re anything like me, then you’re quite slow at making pancakes and the first has gone stone-cold by the time the last is ready, so the microwave is your best friend. I also highly recommend adding a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt, or even a scoop of ice-cream if you’re pushing the boat out. Continue reading “Raspberry-Apple Cashew Butter Pancakes”
If you’re looking for a veggie packed, delicious comfort food style dish, then this is for you. I’ve posted a quorn chilli on the blog before, but I personally prefer chilli made up of beans and veggies on their own.
The chilli you see in the picture is actually my mum’s recipe, which I occasionally let her cook for me, and the same one that I cook when I’m at uni. Mum had to adapt to cooking vegetable chilli when I went off of meat, and I’ve got to say: she’s adapted well. This version of the chilli is suitable for vegans, veggies, omnivores, and any carnivores wanting a change. Ideal sides are rice, bulgur wheat, potato wedges/jackets, wraps, guacamole, sour cream, quorn meatballs, chicken chunks, or canned tuna…so many endless possibilities. Even if you aren’t veggie and want to ease yourself into simply trying more veggie meals, you can. I’m pescetarian, and love this with bulgur wheat, avocado, and either quorn or tuna.
The basic idea behind this chilli is that whatever veggies we have go on in there. I’ve used courgette, celery, various different beans, olives, peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes…anything you need to use up, whack it in there. In the recipe below we used only one can of kidney beans as that’s what happened to be in the cupboard, but feel free to mix up the beans, or add in two cans. Also, in my house (excluding my dad) we love spicy food. Which meant we added in a lot of chilli flakes- hot ones. If you aren’t a spice fan, then simply decrease the amount of chilli you add in. This is a completely adjustable recipe.
It was a toss-up between this, and ‘Everyday Sexism’. This won. And although this is Bates’s second book, I’m glad I’ve had this as my first experience of her work. I mean, it opens with a recommendation from Emma Watson. What more do you need to be sold on this?
If you follow me on IG then you may remember an instastories of this book, and that I felt it should be read in high schools across the nation- it was that good. ‘Girl Up’ is a book aimed at girls, of an age quite a bit younger than me (to be honest though, it filled in parts of my sex education that STILL had gaps in) -but I don’t think it would harm many boys to read it either. I think that its a really good idea to set reading for our teens when sex education begins. Just two books a year. Maybe only for one year, to get them started on looking into stuff they need to know. One book aimed at boys, one aimed at girls. And here’s the thing: both sexes read both books. Because the more we feel the opposite sex “get us” the easier it is to talk about sex, eradicate sexism, and basically make life a hell of a lot easier. Sexism is a focal point of this book, and sexism affects both sexes- historically, more so women (heads up: there’s a handy little snippet on why its called “feminism” if feminism is all about equality).
This is the thing: in Britain we have a pretty horrific attitude to sex. Sex education is on the same level as talking about haemorrhoids and bowel movements. Which is completely and utterly wrong. The less educated people are the less fun, and the more dangerous/disguising/confusing/embarrassing, sex seems. The more sex is something to be ashamed of, the more likely people are to turn to porn as education. This is in no way a good idea. Mainly because porn does create ideas of “how sex should be”- ideas which are dangerous, disgusting, confusing and embarrassing. Nearly all porn videos make sex into something that degrades instead of empowering women. In a real relationship all parties having sex should feel respected and should be enjoying it. Continue reading “‘Girl Up’ by Laura Bates: Review”