Sugar Free Rhubarb & Apple Pie

Sugar Free Rhubarb & Apple PieLately I’ve been obsessed with sugar. I check the ingredients list on all my products like a mad man… well mad woman actually… only to find sugar is in almost everything.

As we like baking I’ve decided to try to do some sugar free baking by replacing sugar with Natvia.

Natvia is a zero calories, 100% natural sugar replacement. It has low G.I and it is suitable for cooking and baking. Natvia contains no aspartame, no saccharin and no artificial ingredients; it is made from all-natural stevia and erythritol and it acts just like sugar does in the oven… well at least this is what I read, so I wanted to test this theory…

The information is right. You can bake with it and it works just as well as ordinary sugar… or should I say better as it is zero calories 🙂

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 200g flour
  • 200g unsalted butter; cubed
  • 5tbsp Natvia sweetener
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 3 drops of vanilla essence

For the filling:

  • 350g rhubarb
  • 350g apples
  • 1tbsp Natvia sweetener
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • A few handfuls of desiccated coconut

Method:

Sift the flour Into a large mixing bowl add the Natvia sweetener and combine, add the baking powder and vanilla essence and finally add the cubed butter. Bring all the ingredients together and add the egg yolk. Once you have a smooth and even pastry for our base split it into two halves and place in the fridge to settle.

Preheat the oven to 160C.

Wash and peel the rhubarb and apples, then trim the rhubarb and core/deseed the apples. Once cleaned up then chop them all up into small cubes.

Place them in a saucepan, add Natvia sweetener and cinnamon and gently cook until the fruit becomes soft, stir gently as you don’t want to turn the fruit into a mush.

Remove from the heat and put aside.

Prepare a small cake frame (around 12” X 12”) by lining with baking paper. Retrieve one half of your pastry from the fridge. Fill the bottom of your baking trey with a thin layer of the pastry either by rolling it out (if you are adept with a rolling pin) or just by patching piece by piece with your fingers (if you are not) – your pastry should be very easy to work with so this isn’t difficult.

Next cover your pastry with a thin layer of desiccated coconut then on top of your coconut layer spoon some of the stewed fruit filling; then again cover with a thin layer of desiccated coconut.

Take the second half of your pastry from the fridge so it is as chilled as it can be and using the “big eyes” on your grater grate all over the top.

Pop it into the oven and allow to cook for 30-35 minutes or until a nice golden colour.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Sprinkle with Natvia sweetener to give it a nice dusted finishing look.

Enjoy!

Sugar Free Rhubarb and Apple PieSugar Free Rhubarb & Apple Pie.My Sugar Free Rhubarb & Apple PieHave you ever tried Natvia before?

Have you ever attempted a sugar free bake, if so how did it go?

Yum

Do healthy sweets and treats actually exist?

We all know that eating too much sugar is bad for us… It has been shown that it is actually far worse than fat on our bodies. When you look around at products in your supermarket you will often see lots of fat free or reduced fat products but what about that sugar? A lot of companies are changing recipes and ingredients to reduce sugar in their products but is it enough?

Children aged 4 to 8 who average 1,600 calories per day should limit added sugar to about 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. This is such a small amount of sugar! You can find it in just one serving of breakfast cereals 🙁 And when you start looking at the ingredients list of product, sugar is almost everywhere even in your salted crisps or ketchup… we eat sugars in foods we wouldn’t normally expect it to be, for example it was in a salad bowl I bought for lunch one day, why? And then comes pudding time and time for a treat…

So my question is: Do healthy sweet treats actually exist?

Do healthy sweets and treats actually existWell, seek and you will find!

Have you ever heard about Marlenka Honey Cakes?

Marlenka is a delicious all natural honey and nut cake made according to an old Armenian family recipe. A secret family procedure is used to make the milk and honey cream mixture that holds the layers of cake together. The top of the cake is drizzled with chocolate icing. Thanks to its unique taste and attributes it has quickly become a favourite delicacy in many European countries and now it is present in the United Kingdom as well.

Marlenka cakes are 100% natural – no preservatives, synthetic colouring or thickeners.

Yes, they are sweet and yes, they contain sugar which is found in the honey but these are natural ingredients not processed, and natural products are much more healthy and beneficial for us, especially kids.

The Love Marlenka online shop offers a lovely selection of sweet treats suitable for any occasion. There are:

  • Snack Bars in classic honey, cocoa honey and lemon honey flavour. These are perfect one person snacks and have an RRP of just £0.99
  • Mini Cakes which come in original honey and cocoa honey flavour. These make a perfect treat for sharing or just for satisfying bigger individual sweet cravings and have an RRP of £1.99
  • Honey Cakes which come in original honey and cocoa honey flavour and are idea for a family celebration or just an after dinner treat. They retail at £11.99
  • Honey Nuggets, which yet again comes in a choice of three flavours just like the snack bars: classic honey, cocoa honey and lemon honey. Each box retails at £5.99 and contains 10 honey nuggets so a lot of small treats to go around.

I find that Marlenka products do not taste like anything else you can buy from the shops. They taste home baked and give me this warm fuzzy comfort feeling.

I love honey and I love cakes (which you most likely know judging by the amount of bakes on my blog) so a honey cake is simply the perfect combination for me; add to this that it’s all natural ingredients and you have the perfect sweet treat, which not only taste delicious but is good for you too.

Have you ever tried any Marlenka products?

What is your choice for a healthy sweet treat?

Are you concerned by the amount of sugar in our diet these days?

Review – Silicea Direct by Hübner – Beauty in the box

Silicea Direct by Hübner – Beauty in the box

What is Silicea Direct?

Silicea is a food supplement that can help maintain healthy skin, hair and strong nails, preventing (to a degree) the signs of ageing and it keeps hair, skin and nails looking beautiful. It can also play a role in the maintenance of healthy muscles and bones.

What’s inside the pack?

Silicic Acid gel (90%), fruit mix from fruit concentrates: Grape, Elderberry, Blackcurrant, Strawberry, Raspberry; Fructose, Thickening agent; Pectin, Xanthan gum; Acidifier Malic acid, Natural Flavour, Selenium and Biotin.

This means that the product is 100% natural. Silicea contains silica, one of the body’s essential nutrients, which is used by all the connective tissue. Our body uses up silica on a daily basis as flakes of skin, hair and nails are discarded, so this is an easy and convenient way of replacing it. Silica is one of our most valuable minerals and one of the most important ‘beauty’ nutrients: it helps to support the formation of collagen and elastin which strengthens skin, hair and nails by encouraging the body to hold on to water and other vital nutrients.

Silicea Direct by Hübner - Beauty in the box

And what’s inside the pack for real?

The answer is still the same; just as above 😉 It comes in the form of delicious red berry ‘smoothie’ shots that are providing mineral silica in a highly available form for better absorption. Hübner’s convenient silica shots provide a measured dosage in a sachet form and because they do not require refrigeration, are ideal for people on the move.

Suitability:

  • 100% natural
  • Dairy, lactose, wheat and gluten free
  • No preservatives
  • GM free
  • Not tested on animals
  • Suitable for vegetarians and vegans

Directions:

Take one sachet (15ml) daily between main meals.

Treatment Time:

The recommended treatment time is 3 months at least twice a year.

It might sound like a long term project, but one finger nail needs around 6 months until it is fully re-grown, skin needs around 28 days to regenerate and hair grows just over one centimetre per month… so no rush there…

Price:

£12.95 for 15 x 15ml sachets

Availability:

Hübner Silicea Direct is available to buy from health stores nationwide and at Healthy2U online.

My thoughts:

Interesting product, this was the first thought that came to my mind. I know there is a huge range of beauty supplements sold as pills or tablets or even a powder which you mix with water but I’ve never seen or tried anything in the form of a gel. If I had to describe the product in just one word it would be weird. You might ask if it is a good weird or a bad weird … Actually neither…it is just weird. The reason for this is the texture. It is a bit like watery jam, but what is the weirdest part is that not all of the shot has the same consistency; so some portions within one sachet are thicker than others. It really is quite surreal experience. Taste wise it is fruity and you can’t miss the berry flavour but it also has quite strong metallic taste. I guess this is how silica tastes 😉

As I received only one pack and used it for just over two weeks I can’t really comment as to the visible benefits of it.

As food supplements go, I like the idea of this one. I think helping our skin, hair and nails from the inside are important. I will get myself a bigger pack for a longer test but I think I will try the capsule version. Yes, they have it in a capsule version too.

Did you ever try Silicea Direct or any silica based products?

Silicea Direct by Hübner; Beauty in the box

* I received one pack of Silicea Direct for free for review purpose. All opinions about the product are honest and my own.

MyPure Choice – Munio Candela Soy Wax Candle

Munio Candela Soy Wax Candle from MyPureLast month when making MyPure choice I decided to be less selfish and picked something which all members of our household will enjoy – I decided to try Munio Candela Soy Wax Candle Poured in a Paint Can. First of all they look amazing – just look at them… I really like the combination of the shiny cold looking silver tin and the natural warmth of a canvas which goes around it. Lots of candles these days look nice but these one are just stunning. Secondly they are soy candles; I’ve never had a soy candle before so I really wanted to try it for myself.

Let’s start with a website description of the product:

Munio Candela candles are completely handmade using only 100% natural all-soy wax, the finest lead-free all cotton and wooden wicks and herbs from the baltic countryside. Soy candles are simply better for you, your family and your environment.

  • Better for the indoor and natural environment.
  • Burns without toxins, carcinogens or soot.
  • Burns up to 50% longer than traditional candles.
  • Cruelty free, contains no animal products.
  • Contains no genetically modified material.
  • Biodegradable and derived from renewable carbon neutral sources.
  • Cleans up easily with soap and hot water

All these are very valid points, which made me want to try them. Munio Candela Soy Wax Candles Poured in a Paint Can are available in two scents: vitality and inspiration. They are supposed to improve a person mood, cognitive functions and wellness. They are fragranced with 100% pure essential oils.

Munio Candela Soy Wax Candles

So how are they in use? Munio Candela Soy Wax Candles have a wooden wick, which I have never had the pleasure “to work with” before. I was wondering about how it will burn… surprisingly it burns pretty well and with no problems, but you might get some small pieces breaking off which will make your candle looking a bit dirty inside. Oh and they “talk”; it is not a quiet candle, you will hear some very subtle crackling of the wood as it is burning.

Candle in a tin, isn’t this going to get hot? This was yet other question going through my mind before I used it… yet again surprisingly it doesn’t. After hours of burning (the candles are not supposed to be burned for more than 3-5 hours at the time) you are still able to lift it and move it around without the need for oven gloves.

So far so good, but now we are getting into the scent… and here I have a bit of a problem… the scent is almost none existent. There is nothing wrong with my nose, I would even go as far as claiming that my smelling abilities of scents is much more sensitive than a “standard” person but I just don’t get these candles. I tried them both; I even put them very close by on a side table and still nothing.

For me a candle serves a purpose on two occasions – I want to create a romantic environment and have dim lighting or I want to create a relaxing environment which is full of a soothing scent, or any combination of both.
As much as I tried to love these candles in use, I just can’t. Due to the candle being in a tin and soy wax being much lower than the rim, you are not getting a lot of “light” coming from it… and as the scent goes… hmm… maybe they forgot to add some to mine.

Munio Candela Soy Wax Candles Poured in a Paint Can are priced at £23 (currently on sale at £11.50), which is a lot for something which doesn’t work all that well. Despite that fact that these candles aren’t brilliant as a candle, they still look stunning and would make a perfect house decoration piece.

What do you think – do candles need to have a strong scent or would you be happy with something so subtle that it is almost none existing?

Munio Candela Soy Wax Candle

* Products featured in this post were provided for free by MyPure for review purpose.

Review – Pure Chimp Super Cream

Funky name, isn’t it? For some reason it immediately makes me think of a product destined for apes AKA men, but in fact it is not… Pure Chimp was founded by a man, but their products are suitable for everyone age 3+ 🙂

When you look at the label about what is inside the jar and how it was made, Pure Chimp stands out from the pack, leaving other brands behind.Pure Chimp Super Cream

No animal Testing

Suitable for Vegans

100% Natural

Handmade in the UK

Super Cream ingredients list: Hemp Seed Wax, Safflower Oil, Sunflower Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Lavender Oil, Wheatgerm Oil – that’s it!

I have very dry and sensitive skin. I love to experiments with a lot of toiletries – soap, shampoo, shower wash etc but when it comes to face care I tend to stick with what I know works for me.  When I visited the Pure Chimp website and read their statements about the Super Cream such as:

  •    #1 Cream in the World containing hemp seed wax
  •    Unique blend of omega 3 & 6 repairs and nourishes your sensitive skin
  •    Quickly & easily absorbed by your skin
  •    Gently reduce inflammation and hydrate your skin naturally
  •    No nasties & naturally perfect for sensitive skin…

I was intrigued by it and wanted to test their claims. Yes, some of them are uncheckable by me, unless I take the cream to a lab, but others I could unscientifically verify by using the product. So I decided to give it a go.

My Pure Chimp Super Cream arrived fast and securely packed for transport.

Super Cream from Pure Chimp

The cream has very simple packaging – a jar with a straight forward black and white design which is surprisingly easy on the eye. All the relevant information you need is stated on the jar itself including full ingredients list, batch number, and use by date, application instructions, full company address and the obligatory website address. I am not a huge fan of creams coming in a jar… I normally prefer a tube or best a pump applicator, but hey we cannot always have what we want…

Pure Chimp Super Cream inside the jar

The cream itself has the texture and colour of heavy whipped cream with one small difference, once you touch it, it doesn’t feel smooth. It is quite hard to explain to be honest – it has a slight grainy texture to the first touch but when you actually rub it in it feels smooth… a very weird sensation when you first start to use it I am telling you…

Pure Chimp Super Cream in use

After application the cream absorbs very quickly and leaves your skin smooth and soft; feeling very silky and with a healthy shiny glow. You can really tell the difference between which part of your body was doused with a cream already and the parts you have missed. It doesn’t feel heavy, which for me is a huge plus as I hate creams which you can sense on your skin giving that dragging down feeling through the day.

I have slightly mixed feeling about the cream. I love what it does to my skin, there is no question about it but I do have a problem with the smell. I know that we cannot have it all and sometimes we have to compromise in our quest for beauty; something has to give… in this case, it is the “fragrant” aroma given off by it. Pure Chimp Super Cream smells very oily… it doesn’t stink but it does have a very distinctive smell, which for some people might be a put off. For me, the jury is still out… I am leaning towards sticking with Super Cream from now on but let’s see how it goes… after all what really counts here is a final effect I can achieve by using it.

Pure Chimp Super Cream costs £10 for a 60ml jar and £15 for 120ml jar. You can also buy it as a part of a super combo deal which will obviously reduce the price even further.

So what do you think?

Would you be tempted by this Hemp Seed Wax / Oil based cream?

For now Super Cream is staying on my main “to use” beauty shelf 🙂

Super Cream Pure Chimp.

I received one 60ml jar of a Super Cream for free for review purpose. All opinions are honest and my own.

Family Fever