Yorkshire Provender Jumbo Oat Porridges Review!

1502734519014The first thing that attracted me was the fact that it was porridge. I was trying to figure out if I could eat it cold, when (lo and behold) it said it could be eaten hot or cold on the label. Ingredients check: oats (gluten free, if you’re interested), water (self-explanatory), whole milk (nice and filling- BUT one of the pots is dairy free so read on if this is an issue for you!), honey (I do love honey). No refined sugar. Nice, simple ingredients label with no unpronounceable additions- it was practically what I made at home. I was staying in Birmingham when all this went down, and these pots were £1.50 on introductory offer, as opposed to £5 for a breakfast box from the hotel. Problem solved.

Skip forward a few days, and Yorkshire Provender have sent me one of each of their delicious porridge pots! I mean, I like to think I make amazing porridge myself, but I’m also lazy at times. These pots have encouraged me to be lazier. And I thought I’d let you guys in on what I made of each flavour, because I know this time of year a lot of you are zipping around the UK, and are picking up quick food on the go. These pots are a great option for those times…

 

Honey

All the pots have this AMAZING thickness and creaminess to them. Literally, they are like a rice pudding made of oats. I prefer to eat these cold, and recommend you try this before heating them up! From other reviews I have read, it isn’t just me who feels this way. If you’re away from home you also genuinely have no option. Anyway, the cold texture is just incredibly creamy, so why mess with something already pretty good? This particular pot was smooth other than the oat pieces, so if you aren’t a chunk-age fan, then opt for this one. Slight sweetness to it, not too overpowering. It just felt wholesome to eat, and super-filling. I threw in some raspberries, to add in one of my 5 a Day.

 

Honey, Apple & Cinnamon

Very similar to the honey, but with chunks of tender apple, almost as if they had been poached. This pot contains the ingredients I have listed above in the introduction, with apple and honey added in. Now is possibly a great time to mention that these pots all use gluten-free oats. This pot could well have been my favourite, as I love the combination of sweet apple, and warm cinnamon- I feel like it’ll be a great breakfast for when you’re running late in autumn/winter.

 

Cranberries & Pumpkin Seeds (this one is DAIRY FREE!)

My second favourite pot- a close second too. The ingredients list is slightly different for this pot, as dried cranberries are used, and also pumpkin seeds. The pumpkin seeds added a beautiful crunch now and again, great for anyone who usually adds nuts or seeds to their porridge. There are pieces of the cranberries which have re-hydrated in the oats-and-milk mixture, making them juicier than your regular dried cranberries. YP threw a bit of a curveball here, and also threw in red quinoa. It adds a little more flavour and texture, and made this pot extra thick in consistency (we all know I like my oats so thick you can stand a spoon up in them). This is also the pot which is dairy free, using coconut cream, for anyone vegan or lactose intolerant.

I would definitely recommend these pots, and not just for breakfast. If I’m hungry in an evening I’m usually found rummaging around in the cereal tubs, but when I had these in I was headed straight for the fridge. You can buy them in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, thought my local stores don’t seem to have them in yet. I’m really hoping they come in store soon! You can also take a look at them on the YP website for further information.

MissFit’s Protein Powder Review

Okay, it has finally happened. We have a brand producing flavoured NON-WHEY PROTEIN! Until I saw this, I had seen two brands do a flavoured plant-based protein here in the UK. I’m not even sure one was made in the UK, and the other has sadly gone out of business (I bought their powder on offer as a protein shop was shifting old stock). However, we now have a new home-produced protein powder to try.

Overall I was really impressed, been as a flavoured non-dairy powder is hard to come across, and MissFits are definitely opening the door to some more interesting flavours. My only minor niggle is that all of the flavours could use a little less stevia added. I find pea protein sweet anyway, and so didn’t feel like stevia needed to be so close to the top of the ingredients list. However, I did love that they added in green tea extract, B12, digestive enzymes etc. to really help aid the post-workout recovery, energy levels, and boost a vitamin that diets free of animal products can be lacking. Whenever I used the powders in meals they kept me fuller for longer too (a challenge as I’m usually extremely hungry after I workout). I’m hoping MissFit’s release more flavours in the future (salted caramel, gingerbread, peanut butter, cinnamon- hint hint). If you’re going to buy these- or any other powder- I’d say incorporate them into something other than a protein shake, and make sure you aren’t using them to replace real food.

MissFit’s powder comes in four different flavours: Chocolate, Vanilla, Mixed Berry, and Coffee. They’re the best flavoured pea protein products I have managed to find, bearing in mind pea protein has quite a distinct taste. Let’s get down to the review.

Brand Overview:

The sachets are all part of ‘The Multitasker’ range of proteins which are described like this:

‘Gone are the excess calories, sugars and strange chemicals so often found in these kinds of products. Instead you’ll find top quality natural protein and an amazing nutrient blend, with nothing artificial. Simple.’

Sounds great to me so far. You can get all of the flavours in a vegan blend, and you can get the Vanilla and the Chocolate flavour in a whey blend, so there’s so wiggle room if you aren’t a fan of pea protein. The ingredients of each flavour are pretty simple. They seem to all contain the pea protein, a natural flavouring with some stevia, and enzyme blend, vitamin B12 (great if you are vegan), and then the other ingredients vary according to the flavour (e.g. freeze-dried coffee or berries, cacao powder, vanilla…). Each sachet has roughly 70-80kcals in there, maybe 1g of sugar, and around 15g of protein. So far, so good.

Vanilla

I had this sachet just as a shake for a snack, because I felt I did have to try at least one purely as a shake. I was pretty disappointed with it as a shake. Water in protein shakes is plain disgusting, so I used unsweetened almond milk. It was kind of hard to mix with the liquid, and the taste of pea protein does come through quite strongly. However, this is the case with whey protein anyway, and is just a standard protein shake problem. On the upside the vanilla really came through: a little sweet for me, but definite vanilla. My mistake was trying this as a plain shake, and in future I plan of incorporating it into a nice-cream, smoothie, or some pancakes.

Coffee

After the vanilla I was a little sceptical about how much I would like this sachet, but it was great in a smoothie. Again, the pea protein’s natural taste does come through (it has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour), and you definitely need the recommended 300ml of liquid MINIMUM to prevent a powdery texture. But you can taste the coffee too. Subtle, slightly sweet, but it still came through against the banana, maca, almond butter and almond milk I also had in there. Add 1tsp of instant coffee with this for more of a buzz, or more of an intense coffee flavour.

Mixed Berry

Tried this flavour in a different way again: proats. I added the whole sachet to my porridge one morning, and the entire kitchen smelt like super-sweet berries. The smell actually reminded me of strawberry laces. I expected this to be way too sweet for me, and I’m not a berry-flavour fan at the best of times. Adding it into porridge did tone down the sweetness, but I wouldn’t re-purchase this flavour. If you like sweet protein products, and berry flavours, then add this to your shopping list.

Chocolate

I put this powder into another smoothie, and was pretty impressed! I combined it with frozen banana, cinnamon, and PB for a post-workout snack, but I also fancy trying to make a mocha smoothie with it. Out of all of the flavours this was probably the best in my opinion. Still pretty sweet, but definitely chocolate-y. I’d also recommend adding to porridge, or banana nice-cream.

 

There you have it, my review of MissFit’s protein powders. Has anyone else tried these? If you have let me know what you thought down below…

Meridian Pistachio, Cocoa-PB and Cocoa-Hazelnut Butters…

IMG_20170506_071355_428Several weeks ago now (okay, bordering on months) I was sent three amazing new nut butters from Meridian. I planned to create recipes with all of them- however you’ll only be seeing recipes for the last two any time soon. Because I ate all of the pistachio jar. However, one empty jar and two half-empty jars does mean I feel qualified to give a pretty accurate review, before we get down to the recipes. Keep your eyes peeled for those in the next few days …

 

Pistachio

I was fairly hesitant to open this one, mainly because I felt like it would be my least favourite. Turned out to be my favourite. It’s a greenish hue, finely ground, and with some oil separation before you stir it (all good nut butters do this, due to the absence of stabilisers, and more nuts in place of them- nuts of course containing oil, which separates out etc etc ). How did I use a whole jar so fast? Mainly by eating it straight off of the spoon, but also dolloped onto porridge or shredded wheat, or mixed with thick Greek yoghurt, frozen raspberries, and honey or maple syrup (that last one is phenomenal). Pistachio butter has a slightly sweet, subtly nutty flavour, with a little saltiness- which you wouldn’t expect from the smell (it doesn’t really smell of anything). Its fairly runny in consistency, and so I feel like it would also work well in marinades for meats such as lamb, or made into a dressing for a couscous salad with pomegranate seeds, orange, and dried fruit in it. I plan on buying another jar very very soon, because I had a lot of recipe plans for this one.

 

Cocoa-Peanut Butter

Possibly my least favourite, not because its bad in any way, but simply because the other two are so amazing. If you love your classic peanut butter, and don’t like to veer too far from this, then a chocolate-flavoured peanut butter is right up your alley. It very thick, making it great straight off of the spoon, and on cereal or porridge, but it also makes it ideal spread onto toast, or a bagel, blended into a smoothie, or used in baking. I’d add it to muffins for sure. Think a grown-up-reeces-cup. Not sickly in any way shape or form, but instead a rich cocoa flavour, with a naturally nutty undertone.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Butter

This came a VERY close second to the pistachio butter. It does taste Ferrero roche-esque too (Instagram followers: you really wanted to know that). This nut butter can be used in all of the ways the cocoa-peanut butter can, but is slightly runnier in texture, and tends to separate out a bit more due to the higher oil content of hazelnuts. This also means it drizzles onto ice cream (and nice cream) really well. The texture is of very finely ground hazelnuts, so its closer to smooth than crunchy. Its also slightly thicker than the straight up hazelnut butter Meridian make, which I liked. Again, really rich cocoa flavour to it. Meridian definitely do chocolate and nuts well.

 

There you have it, my review of the three newest Meridian nut butters. I’d recommend each and every one of them, but as I think the cocoa-hazelnut will generally have the most appeal to people (the pistachio one isn’t as sweet, and is probably more of a love/hate flavour), then I’d say try and get your hands on that one first…

 

MULTIPLE Chocolate Bars Review?!

Helloooo chocolate!

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

4/5 stars

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

3.5/5 stars

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

1.5/5 stars

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

Little’s Coffee Review: French Vanilla, Swiss Chocolate, Rich Hazelnut and Island Coconut Flavours!

wp-1490538662524.jpgToday I am reviewing the instant coffee that rescued the most important relationship in my life so far. Excluding my dog.

I am of course speaking of my relationship with coffee.

A few months ago the unimaginable happened. I went off coffee. I suspect it had something to do with being a bit ill with some kind of infection, dehydrated, and my body telling me to slow down on the caffeine. But my taste buds decided after that after I was well again, we weren’t going to be drinking coffee for a while. Until I found these cool flavours, and began mixing them with 100ml of unsweetened chocolate coconut milk, and hot water- like a much healthier mocha. My taste buds and coffee were reunited. Thank god. Seriously, everyone needs to try the above combination.

I got mine between Holland & Barratt’s and Waitrose, and have waited until I’ve gone through a few jars to cast my judgement. In a nutshell: I am impressed. All of the below flavours taste of what they say on the label, which is some feat even outside of the coffee world. If anyone has ever read a herbal tea packet or the label on a bottle of wine then you’ll know this isn’t always the case (notes of apple and mango my arse Echo Falls).

There’s no added sweeteners, the flavours are all 100% natural, and (if you’re counting) each serving is 4kcal. I pretty much use a ladle to make my coffee so I’m going to disregard that last bit of information.

Now, to the flavours…

French Vanilla – 3.5/5

The most sophisticated flavour I think. Slightly sweet, smells incredible when mixed with chocolate milk to make a vanilla mocha. I feel like this would be great in overnight oats, or used to make affogato (ice cream with coffee poured over the top. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it).

Swiss Chocolate 4/5

I didn’t get a strong chocolate flavour here, though I did have my morning coffee with that unsweetened chocolate milk added, so this is possibly why. All in all, this flavour was more subtle, and simply seemed to bring the smoothness of the coffee out more. If you like subtle then opt for this one over the more out-there flavours (and they make Irish cream flavour, so this selection is pretty vanilla as far as Little’s goes)

Rich Hazelnut 4/5

Slightly sweet, smells amazingly nutty -and almost creamy. It smells like the sugar-free hazelnut syrup at Starbucks, but tastes a hell of a lot better. It tastes how you want Starbucks to taste. Its probably the sweetest of the four I’ve tried, but I adore it- possibly because it isn’t cloyingly sweet. This is fantastic in a banana-nut Frappuccino (200ml unsweetened almond milk, 1 frozen banana, 12g PBFIT or 1tbsp peanut butter of choice, 2tsp this instant coffee, and a dash of cinnamon. Blend. Dance with caffeinated joy).

Island Coconut 4.5/5

Between this and the above I think I’ve found my favourite (how could we guess it would be something nut orientated). The coconut scent of this coffee is AMAZING. It isn’t as strong when you drink the coffee, but it is definitely there in the aftertaste. I actually love that the coffee still comes through, and that Littles managed to achieve such a great balance of the two flavours. I can’t wait to make iced coffee with this one.

 

There we have it, a whistle stop tour of my current coffee obsession. The next flavours on my list to try and get hold of are the Maple Walnut, Amaretto, and Chocolate Caramel. If you’ve tried any of those and want to advise me, then comments are more than welcomed below…

Meridian PB & Coconut and PB & Pumpkin bars review

wp-1489598911302.jpg

If you’re a regular to this blog, then you’ll probably remember- way back- me reviewing the Meridian Peanut, Cashew, and Almond butter bars. And then the Peanut and Cocoa/ Banana/ Berry bars. Well now I’m reviewing the Peanut and Coconut/ Pumpkin Seed bars, because the others have proven so popular than Meridian have decided to expand their collection even further. My favourite before digging into these bars was probably the Peanut & Cocoa, so be sure to try that one as its already stocked in several health food shops, including Holland & Barratt’s. Out of these two newbies I think that the Peanut & Pumpkin Seed has won me over. The coconut one was equally delicious, but the pumpkin seeds just really did it for me. Both are great ideas for a pre/post gym snack on the go, a study snack, or heated up as a dessert with either some of Meridian’s sugar free jam on top, or (personally) I love the Jim Jam’s chocolate hazelnut spread on top…

 

Taste

PB & Coconut- Subtle coconut taste emerges once you’ve chewed it a couple of times, and you get a good coconut aftertaste. Not artificial coconut, just natural coconut flavour. The base is definitely peanut though, and the more savoury taste of this works really well with the sweeter coconut.

PB & Pumpkin- Mainly peanut, but the bits of pumpkin seed add in some earthier flavour. Seeds have a very specific taste that I’m not so great at describing; I feel like pumpkin seeds have a mild, sweetly nutty taste…slightly similar to a pistachio, but not as sweet, perhaps. Again, works really well with the slightly more savoury peanut.

 

Texture

PB & Coconut- The bar has a slightly looser, chunkier texture than the traditional PB bars, which are chewier. Chunks of desiccated coconut, and pieces of peanut throughout are what causes this, and I personally really liked it.

PB & Pumpkin- Much closer to the traditional PB bars. This bar is chewier, with pieces of peanut and whole pumpkin seeds throughout. As this was my preferred texture this was a huge thumbs up from me.

 

Ingredients & Nutritionals

Again, what makes these bars so great for post- workout is the combination of carbs and protein. If you have one of these with a regular skimmed latte or cappuccino then you’re hitting around 14-15g protein with the coconut bar, and 16-17g with the pumpkin seed bar, from just that combination. Your average protein bar/shake is around 20g of protein per serving, and so although this is fractionally lower, its an ideal alternative for anyone wanting an alternative to using protein powders (I know this is my preference, as I’m fussy with protein powders, and they can also be very expensive- though bear in mind the majority of your protein should be coming from a well balanced diet containing whole foods, not a powder or bar). The coconut bar is obviously higher in saturated fat than the pumpkin seed bar, as coconut does contain higher levels of fats, however considering that 20g is the maximum amount per day recommended for a woman I don’t particularly see this as an issue. If you are watching the sat-fat though, then the pumpkin seed bar only has 1.84g of saturated fat. Fats in total though are an asset of these bars, contributing to satiety value and so how full they’ll keep you (don’t shirk fats people).

PB & Coconut- Peanuts (41%), Brown Rice Malt, Coconut (20%), Rice Bran, Rice Protein, Concentrated Fruit Juice (Grape), Rice Starch, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin

kcal- 207.6kcal

fat- 13.44g

sat fat- 5.64g

carbs- 14.28g

sugars- 9.12g

fibre- 1.96g

protein – 6.76g

salt- 0.04g

 

PB & Pumpkin- Peanuts (52%), Brown Rice Malt, Pumpkin Seeds (10%), Rice Bran, Concentrated Fruit Juice (Grape), Rice Starch, Emulsifier: Sunflower Lecithin

kcal- 202kcal

fat- 12.68g

sat fat- 1.84g

carbs- 12.12g

sugars- 7.6g

fibre- 3.6g

protein – 8.04g

salt- 0.04g

 

There you go, my review of the new bars. Massive thumbs up from me, and I cant wait to get some more pumpkin seed bars. As with everything peanut butter (aka. the elixir of life), I encourage you to get your mitts on these if you can. At the moment they’re only stocked online, but hopefully will be coming to stores in the future.

Once you’ve tried them, then let me know: Team Coconut, or Team Pumpkin Seed?

 

 

 

 

 

The Lite Chocolate Company: Mint Dark Chocolate Review

wp-1489248086265.jpgIf you remember me falling in love with this brand a few posts back, then you won’t be surprised to hear that I had high hopes for the rest of the chocolate bars. Queue mint dark chocolate (I’ve left a link to where you can buy it just there, if you fancy trying it after the review), which is actually my favourite kind of dark chocolate, and so had a lot to live up to.

This bar still has the smooth chocolate of the orange bar that I reviewed, but doesn’t have any bits in it. Which means anyone who likes purely smooth chocolate can rejoice. The mint flavour is delicate, cool, and crisp. The chocolate is rich, being of the Belgium variety. I actually finished this bar in two sittings, which means it greatly impressed me. At approximately 200kcal per half a bar (40g of chocolate), and containing a tiny amount of sugar,  I  still class this as a treat- but a slightly healthier version of a treat. Not to mention that dark chocolate is also a probiotic apparently, and contains some antioxidants. Totally justifiable…

Which brings me nicely to nutritional values, because I know that if you’re looking for a lower sugar chocolate to take care of your teeth a bit more, or because you’re diabetic, or simply to switch up your regular Cadbury’s/Galaxy/Lindtt (have to say, I do love the latter) – then this is probably what you want to know. The chocolate is sweetened with stevia, which comes from a species of plant, and after research is currently considered to be a healthier alternative to regular sugar by the NHS. If you’re a coeliac, then this chocolate is also gluten free. If you track macros (I don’t) it’s low carbohydrate (my love of carbs prevents me from caring about this to be honest, but its a fun fact for you all).

So, the nutritional values, per half of a bar, as that’s what I ate:

195kcal, 15g fat (9.5g saturated), 6g carbohydrates, 1.2g of which are sugar, 14.7g fibre, 2.4g protein, 0.09g salt.

The chocolate is still high in saturated fat, at 9.5g per half a bar. However, a) you don’t have to eat half a bar in one go, I just did because it was delicious, and my diet tends to be low in saturated fats generally so I felt entitled to treat myself (#balance), and b) this is still chocolate, and so of course it will contain cocoa butter, and so will contain some fat.

The ingredients:

cocoa mass, fibre, cocoa butter, sweetener (miltitol), fat reduced cocoa powder, mint flavour, emulsifier, sweetener (steviol glycosides), natural flavours.

Not too bad when you check out the back of a regular chocolate bar! The cocoa content of the bar is 52% (that’s how dark the chocolate is), which did make me sceptical about how much I would like the chocolate itself, being a fan of super-dark varieties. However, the lower cocoa content does work here; still dark, but it allows the mint flavour to come through wonderfully. The lack of sickly-sweet flavour also means that the cocoa flavour itself isn’t lost. Equalling one well-balanced chocolate bar in the taste department.

All in all I would 100% recommend this chocolate as a healthier treat. It is still chocolate, but it’s a great alternative to some of the more artificial flavour/colour packed bars out there. I’d also purchase it for diabetic friends and relatives, should they be looking for a sugar-free chocolate. As with the orange bar though, this has probably become one of my favourite chocolate bars, full stop, in the universe of chocolate bars- whether they contain sugar or are sugar free.