Cocoa-Hazelnut & Raspberry Balls

IMG_20170613_181509_507Well, I promised a recipe using the cocoa-hazelnut butter I reviewed a couple of days ago, and here it is!

Today we have a quick and easy recipe for a snack that you can keep in your fridge for times of need. These little snack balls have a rich chocolate-hazelnut, and sweet-tangy raspberry taste. The texture is almost creamy too, due to the oats mashed together with the nut butter. In fact, these remind me of a healthier after-dinner truffle…

Ingredients (for 16 balls)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut butter
  • 1/8  cup maple syrup
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 80g frozen raspberries, defrosted in the microwave and mashed to a puree
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 1tbsp almond milk
  • 2tbsp cacao

 

Method

  • In a large bowl combine the oats, chia seeds, 1tbsp cacao, and cinnamon. To this add the nut butter, and the maple syrup, stirring well to combine. Add in the almond milk and beat together well. Now beat in the raspberry puree, until a soft dough-like mixture forms.
  • Using a tablespoon measurer create 16 balls. Roll them to a smooth texture. Empty the other tbsp. of cacao into a dish, and roll each ball in the cacao.
  • Store in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight tub. Enjoy!

 

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…

 

Meridian PB & Coconut and PB & Pumpkin bars review

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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?

 

 

 

 

 

Meridian Peanut Butter with Pumpkin, Sunflower & Sesame Seeds?!

wp-1486237507849.jpgToday I am bringing you a long overdue nut butter review- because I feel like I haven’t reviewed a nut butter in a really really long time (who wants an updated nut butter collection post by the way?!)

Meridian sent me this in a beautiful little box about a month ago, and I was more than a little bit intrigued by this nutty combination.  Though they sent me a recipe card with a nutty carrot-y porridge on it, my first thought was actually : well I can’t put this on my porridge- it sounds so savoury! 

Oh how wrong I was. I do love it when a nut butter proves me wrong… Continue reading

Christmas Porridge No.1: Hazelnut, Chocolate & Pear

wp-1481464521141.jpgChristmas breakfast is one of my favourite things about the entire day. In fact, of late I’ve been diving for my breakfast before my presents. My top picks are always either something involving eggs or smoked salmon (or both), shredded wheat with loads of toppings- or, more often than not, a bowl of porridge. But since Christmas is a time for making things that bit more special, I’ve decided to make three different- more luxurious- Christmas  porridges for you over the next week. This is the first one…

Hazelnut butter is a mega-luxury as it’s so expensive, and so as Christmas is a time for pushing the boat out a bit, I like to use it this time of year. Alternatively, you can use whole hazelnuts, which are much cheaper- just chop them, and add them as directed below. If your are treating yourself to hazelnut butter, then I highly recommend Meridian- nothing has matched theirs so far. Chocolate on Christmas morning is something I know many of us enjoy, but this chocolate flavour comes from cacao, making it super-rich and just that little bit better for you, as it is richer in antioxidants. If you aren’t a fan of bitter dark chocolate-esque flavours, then go ahead and add in 1-2tsp of maple syrup to sweeten. Finally, the pear means you get in one of your 5 a day, provides a little sweetness itself, and it works beautifully with both the cacao and the hazelnut.

Now, a little word on the egg whites…these are completely optional. I love egg white oats, and so I added them. The extra protein makes this a well-balanced breakfast, and you can’t actually taste them. The texture just becomes super-thick (which is something I like in my porridge), and your breakfast super-filling. If you’re sceptical then feel free to skip them, or even sub in protein powder if you’re into that. For more on egg white oats you can read my post and recipe here.

Let’s get going…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup freshly boiled water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1tbsp cacao
  • 1 pear- three thin slices put to one side, and the rest chopped into chunks
  • 1tbsp hazelnut butter (I used Meridian)
  • Pinch of each: cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice (just a little!)
  • OPTIONAL: 2 egg whites, frozen berries, maple syrup (I highly recommend adding the egg whites- this recipe works fine without the berries, but they do add a little colour, and you can read about the maple syrup in my intro)

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Healthy Chocolate-Chip Chickpea Cookie Dough

wp-1484392750797.jpgFinally, finally, I have a perfect chickpea cookie dough. This has taken three attempts and numerous cans of chickpeas to perfect, but I think that I’ve cracked it. It has the perfect thick, doughy texture, melting pockets of chocolate, a slight saltiness, a subtle sweetness…its just more than satisfying to eat. And it’s also just in time for biscuit week on GBBO.

Now, I am not a sweet person; if you are then one change I would recommend you with this recipe is adding in another 1/2-1tbsp maple syrup, or a couple of fresh medjool dates (do try it without first though, as it tastes great already). If you choose to add the maple syrup, then you may want to reduce the milk by 1tbsp to maintain the thick texture.  As I haven’t personally made this adjustment you’ll have to let me know how it goes!

For this recipe I decided to use some sugar free chocolate I was kindly sent by Discover (review right here:https://ecstaticallyem.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/discover-mini-gianduiotto-review/ ). The texture of this chocolate worked so well in this recipe, but I know that it can be hard to get hold of in shops as its made down south (you can order online), and it’s also a little pricy for the Gianduiotto. The bars themselves are cheaper if you can get hold of them, but alternatively you can use any chocolate you have to hand and it will work just fine. These little chocolates have a hazelnut taste to them, and it really adds something to the recipe, so definitely try a nutty chocolate in the recipe.

With all that said, enjoy this super-easy recipe and let me know what you think! You can eat this just as the dough, serve it with some ice-cream, spread it onto sliced apple- or any other way you can think of. Let’s get going…

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