Snacking: Quinoa Crinkles from Burts Chips

I’m going through a distinct savoury phases with my snacking at the moment. It seems to go in cycles where for a month or so all I want is biscuits (rich teas or party rings preferable) and then suddenly the need for something savoury kicks in and I become a fiend for salt. That being said, I’m not really a fan of traditional crisps- I prefer roasted chickpeas, Hippeas and Burts Chips Lentil Waves over a packet of Walkers so when Burts Chips got in touch to announce the arrival of their new “Quinoa Crinkles” and offered to send me some to try I gratefully and enthusiastically accepted.
Made with (the currently very trendy) grain Quinoa these are deemed to be a wholesome and interesting alternative to the traditional crisp and claim to combine delicious taste, a boost of fibre and top quality ingredients. Each pack comes in at around 85 calories making them perfect for anyone who is watching their weight and the Quinoa Crinkles come in two flavours- sweet pepper & chorizo and west country cream cheese.

I still can’t make up my mind on the sweet pepper and chorizo flavour. On the one hand it’s beautifully strong and definitely unique, but on the other hand my palette struggles to make sense of two such bold flavours together with the over-tone of the sweetness. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these, because I did…they just aren’t what I’m used to- but they have me wanting more which must count for something.

The West Country Cream Cheese was lovely. My experience of cheese flavoured snacks only extends to Quavers and Wotsits so I didn’t have the highest of standards for these to live up to. These are cheese snacks for adults, with a bold yet creamy cheese taste with a slight hint of onion. Out of the two these were my favourite but I’d happily buy and either either of them again. I’m also a massive fan of the Lentil Waves but in terms of flavour and texture the mighty Quinoa comes out on top.

For more information, stockists and the full nutritional breakdown pop along to the Burts Chips website.

Tell me about your favourite savoury snacks in the comments.

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Big thanks to Burts Chips for the samples (and for setting off another snacking addiction).

Degustabox February 2017

So you’ve probably gathered by now that I’m a fan of the monthly delivery of Degustabox*, the contents of which nearly always impress me. Some months are better than others though in terms of what suits my personal tastes and the February box has probably been my favourite one to date. There were so many products I couldn’t wait to try- even if it did mean tackling a few fears along the way…I’m always up for a new snack or meal to add to my current rotation and this month has seen me add several new items to my ongoing shopping list.
I’ve been livening up my lunch times with these Kabuto Noodles and reduced sugar beans from Heinz (not together I hasten to add!). The Vegetable Laska noodles are gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and packed full of flavour and quality ingredients. A little pricey at £1.99 but worth stocking up on if I see them on offer for back to work lunches. I don’t actively seek out low sugar products but appreciate that it is important to keep an eye on one’s intake- these no added sugar baked beans have the same great taste you’d expect from Heinz with no added sugar/artificial sweeteners of flavours and go perfectly on toast for a warming midday meal (RRP 65p per tin).
From low sugar to ALL THE SUGAR with these items from Bebeto (£1.69 each). I’ll confess to being a bit excited by these Candy Crush gummy sweets as I’m a closet fan of the game (it helps manage my anxiety and provide distraction, honest). These were a delicious mix of some of my favourite sweets and perfect for sharing with my equally addicted mum. The cheese cake gummies were a novel idea and also pretty tasty but I’m not sure I’d rush out and buy them again. I really like Bebeto sweets though and often pick up mixed bags of various sorts in my local poundland.
More sweet snacks- right up my street! The dark chocolate coated banana chips from Maui and Sons were the product I was most excited by this month and they did not let me down. The pack supposedly provides two servings (for a reasonable £1) but I defy anyone to stop at half. As much as I love me some coffee I’ve never ventured in to eating the stuff but the New York Delhi’s Americanos (also £1) persuaded me to try. They certainly do pack a flavour punch and whilst they aren’t something I’d choose on a regular basis they did make for a great little pick me up.
I haven’t actually tried the drinks from this month’s box yet but based on past experience the Blossom Hill bottle will be a real treat, I’m actually saving it for when I have some friends round nearer my birthday- by which time the weather will hopefully be more suited to a summer fruits flavoured drink (£4.99). The pomegranate and basil mixer from Double Dutch isn’t something I’ll be racing to try (I’ve mentioned before my issue with fancy drinks) but I’m sure someone will enjoy it with some vodka or gin or something…
There was no information included on the Just Bee blueberry flavoured honey water and I really dislike honey so I haven’t braved this one but it looks like a healthy alternative to traditional soft drinks- feel free to chip in with a mini review if you’ve tried it! Again, juices aren’t my thing but the Coldpress fruity greens juice (£2.79) certainly looks wholesome and because they are made with 100% fruit and vegetables they are packed with vitamins and have less naturally occurring sugars than other juices on the market. The Koko Dairy Free Original (£1.50) is a product I’ve long been a fan of- I use dairy milk in hot drinks but prefer alternatives in my morning porridge from a taste point of view. I usually go for almond milk but I’ve really been enjoying this and it’s persuaded me to switch up my breakfast from time to time.
More snacks, yay! I loved the packaging for the Peppersmith sugar free mints and chewing gum (£1.50 each) and they taste great too. Pricier than my usual purchases but worth it as an occasional treat. The no added sugar wafer bar from Diablo (95p) tasted great- I am always a little wary of low sugar chocolate products tasting artificial but I didn’t notice it with this- a great little snack for anyone watching their sugar intake!
Finally we have some popcorn from Willy Chase (FITCORN to be precise). I’ve previously reviewed this flavour so knew I was kind of a fan despite disliking honey, I’m keen to seek out other flavours from the brand now.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.

If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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The First Degustabox of 2017

The January Degustabox* always tends to feature a healthier selection of products than most of the other monthly deliveries and it is always a box I look forward to. The first box of 2017 was no exception and from a first glance it looked as if this was going to be one of my favourite boxes to date…was I right to be excited? Read on…
Little’s Coffee (£2.69 in Waitrose) is a brand I’ve been buying for a few years now. I don’t drink nearly as much coffee as I used to but when I fancy a change from my default black Americano I look to a flavoured instant to get my fix. French Vanilla is a wonderfully smooth tasting drink and the flavours work perfectly together- ideal for anyone who loves vanilla lattes (try it with half milk and half water, I urge you). Also in the box was a chocolate disc from the Real Hot Chocolate Company for whom I don’t actually have any information about for you. But hot chocolate is always a winner and I’m saving this for a chilly day.
Also in the drinks selection this month was a can of Crabbie’s Scottish Raspberry alcoholic ginger beer (£1.89 from leading supermarkets for a 500ml bottle). I’ve passed this on to be sampled by someone else and don’t have much feedback yet- I personally don’t like ginger beer at all but this is an interesting idea and I’m sure it’s lovely if you have the right tastebuds.
I’ve always loved Fruittella sweets and it’s nice to see a lower sugar variety on offer. With the same delicious taste as always but 30% less sugar than the original these are really tasty and didn’t hang around long! (RRP £1.25)
This sweetener from Natvia is 100% natural and sweet like sugar but has only 0.4 calories per serving. Made from stevia and natural nectar this is a healthy sugar alternative and diabetic friendly. At £4.99 per tub it’s fairly pricey but will be used in more adventures in low sugar baking in the near future.
As my current food intake is ever increasing I’m always looking for things that I can use to boost up my lunches and these Finn Crisp snacks (£1.89) are perfect. I happily munch them on their own but they are also rather nice dipped in to soup or hummus. Another snack I rate are these new ridged snacks from Popchips (£1.99). Although bacon wouldn’t be the flavour I picked off the supermarket shelf these are un-deniably more-ish and are under 100 calories per serving so perfect for anyone watching their diet.
I don’t have much call for protein drinks with my current lifestyle so I passed this Protein Boost strawberry shake on to my friend’s sports mad brother. At £1.29 per bottle with 20g of protein this seems like a good value boost for when you’re on the go.
I’m loving the Quinola Mothergrain pouch (£2.49) which is a blend of ready cooked organic and fairtrade pearl quinoa and split peas. It can be eaten hot or cold, and both ways are delicious. This is a good lunch time option as part of a salad (with feta cheese and beetroot, yum!) or as an accompaniment to your evening meal. Gluten free and suitable for vegans. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for this in the shops. I’m still not brave enough for the chia seeds from The Chia Co. It’s a texture thing for me, but for those who are a fan then these handy little sachets are only 66p each and great for adding to breakfasts and lunches on the go.
I’m afraid I don’t have any information on the firey ginger hibiscus drink that came in the box and it’s not a product I have tried either (see ginger beer section). The Aspire Drinks I have sampled though. Aspire make healthy energy drinks that are calories and sugar free containing a premium grade green tea. These were nice, once I got over how un-sweet they are! I wasn’t expecting a Mango drink to not be sweet but once I got over that it was delicious! £1.45 each
I’ve reviewed Yushoi snacks on the blog before and was intrigued to see their latest flavour offering of coconut and chilli. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy these as although I love coconut I wasn’t convinced it’d work in a savoury snack but it does. It does brilliantly and I am addicted to these now. £1.79 per back- and so worth it!
Finally there was a voucher in the box to pick up a tub of yoghurt from The Collective (£2.00). These are gourmet yoghurts with a double layer of fresh fruit compote. I went for the spiced plum version which also has ginger in it and presented it to my grandad who loves that particular flavour combination. He’s a bit of a fusspot when it comes to food but declares this lives up to it’s gourmet claims. Having tried a mouthful (or two) myself I wholeheartedly agree and I may have an expensive new yoghurt habit forming.
For those who don’t know Degustabox is a monthly subscription box filled with 10-15 food/drink products, most of which are brand new to the market so it’s a great way to try things out. On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this.

If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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Valentines Treats and Giveaway with Holly’s Lollies

Ah, Valentines day…I’m not a huge believer in having a specific date for showing someone that you love them but I’ll admit there is something a little bit magical about it whether you’re in a relationship or just want an excuse to round up your best girlfriends and have some fun.

This year will be my first Valentines day spent single in a while and whilst I once assumed I’d be bothered, I’m really not. I actually have some really fun plans for the week with some of my favourite people and I’m more excited about that than I am worried about moping around on the 14th Feb.

If you’re looking for a gift idea for your loved one then may I point you in the direction of Holly’s Lollies (read this post to find out more about Holly and her magical creations). Holly has come out with the most beautiful selection of boozy love themed treats that are perfect for showing your partner, or your best friends just how much you love them.

Heart Shaped Lollipop duo* | Trio of Boozy Lollipops* | Prosecco and Elderflower Rock Sweet Jar*

Holly very kindly sent me a selection of the Valentines Range to try out- so far I’ve only tried the prosecco and elderflower rock sweets (which might just be my new favourite sweet, ever) as I want to share the lollipop love with my friends and family but from previous experience I can assure you that anything you buy from Holly’s magic kitchen is going to be an absolute winner.

Speaking of winners…Holly has also offered up a trio of boozy lollipops (worth £11) for one of my readers/followers to win- with delivery in time for Valentines Day too! If you fancy your chances then just follow the simple steps below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK only, giveaway runs from 2-2-17 until 9-2-17 and winner will be picked and contacted by the end of that day. If no response within 24 hours a new winner will be selected and contacted.

Good Luck!

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Healthier Baking Ideas*

January is not a good month to be someone who loves to bake for other people- everyone is either on some kind of new year diet or so over-saturated with the rich foods of Christmas that they just can’t face any sweet treats. With that in mind I thought I’d explore a few ideas for healthier baking, mostly simple ingredient swaps to serve (mostly) as inspiration for myself and also to inspire my fellow baking addicts- and nab your ideas for healthier cakes and biscuits too!

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One simple swap you can make is to reduce saturated fats by replacing butter with an ingredient like rapeseed oil. There are a whole host of healthy baking recipes if you click the link- I especially like the look of the date and walnut cake which of course carries the added benefits of the dried fruit and nuts.
Obviously baked goods are notoriously laden with sugar and it’s hard to avoid it completely. What you can do though is look for sweeteners that have more nutritional benefits than refined white sugar- honey, apple puree, banana or sugar alternatives such as the SugaVida I recently featured are all good substitutes.
You can improve the nutritional content of cakes and bakes by adding in ingredients such as flaxseeds (also a great alternative to egg in vegan baking) to boost fibre content as well as providing a good source of vitamins and minerals. You won’t necessarily taste the difference but the benefits will be there.
Using alternatives to standard white flour will also boost the nutritional content of your bakes- buckwheat or spelt flours will increase fibre whilst almond flour will add a protein and vitamin E boost.
Finally when it comes to topping your bakes try switching regular cream or icing for greek or natural yoghurts. There are plenty of recipes out there for healthier toppings and you’ll gain the calcium, vitamin B12 and probiotics that yoghurts provide.
I’d love to know what smart-swaps you make for healthier baked goods, I’m getting bored of not baking and would love to get experimenting on healthier treats that both myself and those around me can enjoy. I’m notorious for not eating my own creations and it’s about time I started!

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