Sunflower Seeds – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sunflower seeds – small, tasty and healthy; eaten as a snack or as a part of a proper meal this fruit of the sunflower has a lot to offer us but just like most things in life, even sunflower seeds have to be consumed in moderation as too much simply isn’t good for us…

Some countries are much bigger on sunflower seeds consumption than other. I’ve read that in Russia for example, you can simply ask a friend for a handful of sunflower seeds once you run out, just like you would bump the proverbial cup of sugar from your neighbour in the UK; they are just so common and everyone eats them. I personally love sunflower seeds, to the point that Mark thinks I should look like a parrot by now. Anyways last night whilst multitasking (re-watching season 4 of House MD and playing Jelly Saga bubbles on my phone at the same time), I heard the episode with the diagnosis – B6 toxicity as a direct result of excessive sunflower seed consumption… well, this caused me to stop nibbling and got me thinking, so here I am sharing with you the headlines from what I have been researching for the last few hours 🙂

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of polyunsaturated oils; they are rich in Vitamin E, copper, Vitamin B, manganese, selenium, magnesium, folate and almost 70 other nutrients.

The main health benefits of eating sunflower seeds:

  • Weight control – due to their high levels of oil they will quickly take care of any hunger pangs, thus making a perfect snack.
  • Some anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits due to their high levels of vitamin E.
  • They help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Anti-depressant – high level of magnesium can help with low moods, as well as help calm muscles and ease blood vessels.
  • Antioxidant – the selenium in sunflower seeds can help with thyroid health and help to repair any damaged cells within our body.

All is good in the world of sunflower seeds that is until we eat too many of them… Well, one might ask how many it too many… apparently, a single 1oz serving per day is the magic number… eating more can lead to several undesirable effects and contribute to:

  • Weight gain! Yes, the same seed which promotes weight loss in moderate amounts when eaten uncontrollably (the habit of nibbling them is very addictive) will inevitably lead to way too many calories and fats and undesirable weight gain.
  • Excess salt, especially if you snack on the salted version of the seeds.
  • General mouth and dental problems due to cracking too many shells.
  • Stomach problems due to high levels of fiber from eating both shelled and unshelled seeds.
  • Vitamin or/and nutrients overdose. All those good nutrients which were highly beneficial in a small amount can lead to problems when over consumed, especially manganese, selenium or B6 (just as House said).

I still love sunflower seeds but I might stick to a serving of roasted seeds as an addition to my salad from now on and lay off snacking my way through a 100g pack of it every other day.

Do you like sunflower seeds?

Have you ever considered that something can be beneficial in a small amount yet can be harmful when over-consumed?

Smoked Mackerel Breakfast Salad

Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.

Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.For years our morning meal has contained a single item… a coffee. Well, we both aren’t morning eaters and the very idea of solid foods in the earlier hours of the day just isn’t very appealing to us, normally but things can change… Lately, we have swopped sitting in the office in front of the PC for more physical work like gardening or woodworking. This change has forced us to reevaluate our eating habits. We are now much more inclined to have a proper, high protein breakfast which will keep us going till lunch or maybe dinner time, depending on how busy we are. We have started to experiment with different food combos and this salad is just a perfect result from this experiment. Who would have thought that fish and a white cheese could go so well together? I know it might sound a bit off but don’t diss it before you try it. The smoky taste from the fish rounded out by the creamy white cheese, the mildest hint of mayo zinged to the heavens when a piece of spring onion is bit a truly wondrous combo.


  • 500g smoked mackerel
  • 150g soft white cheese*
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • Fresh cracked black pepper; to taste

*if you are in the UK you could check your local supermarkets’ Foods Of the World fridge section and see if they stock a Polish white cheese called twaróg  – it will work perfectly 🙂


Put a pan of water and 3 eggs on to boil, when done remove from the heat and allow to cool.

De-bone and flake the fish, then place it in a bowl. With a fork, mash it up a bit to reduce in size any large clumps of fish.

Add the white cheese and mash some more.

Once cooled and peeled, roughly chop the eggs and add to the bowl of fish and cheese. Sprinkle the spring onion over the top, add the mayonnaise and finally crack some black pepper and stir gently till everything is just combined.

Serve as a salad or even as a sandwich filling, it works perfectly both ways. And if you have any leftovers after breakfast time, pop it into the fridge and use as a dip for some crackers come evening time.


Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.

Sugar Free Blueberry Yogurt Cake

This light and fluffy sugar free blueberry yogurt cake makes for a perfect guilt free treat, at least on a sugar front. The recipe is fairly straightforward and it doesn’t call for any unusual ingredients so why not give it a try? You may just be surprised as it tastes delicious!

This light and fluffy sugar free blueberry yogurt cake makes for a perfect guilt free treat, at least on a sugar front. The recipe is fairly straightforward and it doesn’t call for any unusual ingredients so why not give it a try? You may just be surprised as it tastes delicious! Ingredients:

  • 180g flour
  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 50g + 1tsp Natvia*
  • 100ml natural Greek yogurt
  • 125g blueberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4tsp baking soda
  • 1tsp baking powder


Preheat the oven to 180C if fan assisted otherwise 190C.

Lightly grease one 8” loaf tin.

Sift and mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Add one teaspoon of Natvia into your yogurt and stir until incorporated.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter and 50g of Natvia. Please note that it doesn’t beat in the same way as you would expect when using regular sugar, you will most likely end up having a crumb like texture but don’t worry about it, it will get fixed later on in so far as resembling a traditional cake batter.

Add the eggs, one at the time and continue mixing.

Add half of your flour mixture and mix until combined, then add the remaining flour and the yogurt and mix on a low speed until the mixture has an even texture.

Your batter will be quite thick, it should be like this so again do not worry.

Add the blueberries and using a spatula fold them gently into your batter.

Pour into your earlier prepared loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45-55min or until golden brown and it passes the dry toothpick test.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for around 10-15 minutes, then remove from baking tin and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Make yourself a nice cup of your favourite tea, or coffee if you prefer and then take your cake and cut, serve and enjoy!

This light and fluffy sugar free blueberry yogurt cake makes for a perfect guilt free treat, at least on a sugar front. The recipe is fairly straightforward and it doesn’t call for any unusual ingredients so why not give it a try? You may just be surprised as it tastes delicious!

And just in case this is a little too adventurous for you and you are wondering, yes, you can make it full blown standard refined sugar, just replace the Natvia with 150g of caster sugar. You will still have a light and fluffy cake just not as healthy and definitely not as low in calories.

Have you done any sugar free baking lately?

What’s your favourite sugar replacement?

*Natvia is a natural, zero calories sweetener. It only contains erythritol, a substance naturally found in fruit and steviol glycosides from Stevia plants. Natvia doesn’t contain aspartame, saccharin or anything artificial.

The Ultimate Chocolate-less Chocolate Cake

In celebration of #EvenBetterBaking competition, Dr. Oetker has challenged me to bake my own version of their Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake. They provided me with a baking hamper so I could get to work almost straight away 🙂

The original recipe sounded great and it looked even better but as I am trying to get my eating habits under control I wanted to come up with a more diet friendly version of it…

I decided to replace the rich chocolate cake with a light fat free cocoa based angel cake and the indulgent fudge layer with… well… chocolate-less chocolate cream, which is actually made entirely from superfoods.

I called my creation the Ultimate Chocolate-less Chocolate Cake.

The Ultimate Chocolate-less Chocolate CakeIngredients:

For the cake:

For the drizzle:

  • 75ml strong coffee; sweetened

For the cream:

  • 5 ripe avocados
  • 5tbsp natural honey
  • 3tbsp good quality cocoa powder


Prepare 3 standard sized, round baking tins by greasing the bottom part or lining it with baking paper. Do not the cover sides.

Preheat the oven to 160C.

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, make sure that all the ingredients are well mixed.

Separate the eggs and put all the whites into large bowl.

Use your mixer and start beating them. You want to achieve stiff whites but be careful not to overbeat them.

Once the whites are starting to form peaks slowly add the sugar, a spoonful at a time and keep your mixer running.

When all the sugar is incorporated you should have super stiff glossy whites, just as you would if preparing for meringues; now turn your mixer down a notch and add the yolks; one by one but still mixing.

Add the vanilla essence, mix for five seconds and then stop the mixer.

Now comes the hard part – gently fold your dry ingredients being flour, baking powder and cocoa into your mixture. Be very careful not to over mix it; fold it gently and try not to mess around with it for too long.

Split the mixture between the three baking trays and pop in to the oven for around 20 – 25 minutes.

Once you can smell your cake all over the house it most likely means that it is ready. Check with a toothpick and if it comes out clean and dry then it is definitely done, turn your oven off and remove the cakes.

Now, something you might not expect… take each tin and drop it on the floor (you need a hard solid floor not the lino or carpet) from a 30-40cm height. Don’t be scared nothing bad will happen.

Put the cakes aside and allow them to cool.

Prepare your drizzle – 75ml strong coffee and some sugar, sweetener, honey… whatever you fancy using to make it sweet – I used 1tsp of Stevia based sweetener. Put it aside and let it cool.

Time to make the magic chocolate-less chocolate cream: in a food processor place the avocados (with no stone and skin… just to be sure), cocoa powder and honey; then mix until you have totally smooth paste. Do not add water or any other liquids – use the pulse option and the ingredients will combine eventually.

Check on your cakes; once they have cooled down it is time to get building…

Remove each cake from the tin and trim theirs top if needed. I needed to trim two – the bottom and middle layers in order to achieve an even level cake and left the top one as it come from the oven.

Once the cakes are trimmed, use your drizzle mixture and drizzle it all over your cakes – remember to turn the top layer of the cake the other way over and drizzle it from the bottom.

Place the bottom cake on a cake stand and spread half of your chocolate-less cream on top of it; repeat with the middle layer; then cover with the top one and sprinkle with a little bit of icing sugar just to finish the look.

Well, that’s all! We are done.

My Ultimate Chocolate-less Chocolate Cake #EvenBetterBakingThe Ultimate Chocolateless Chocolate Cake #EvenbetterbakingThe Ultimate Chocolate-less Chocolate Cake #EvenbetterbakingThis is my bake for #EvenBetterBaking competition – I’ve turned a luxurious chocolate oozing cake into its healthy alternative. My cake contains no fat (well if we don’t count what’s in the avocados but those are the good fats), it is fairly low in sugar (depending on what sweetener you chose for the drizzle) and it looks just as good as a proper chocolate cake and tastes just as awesome!

Bake with Dr. Oetker to win!

Send your bakes that you have made using Dr. Oetker products and tell them what inspired you to make it with #Evenbetterbaking.

Each week Dr. Oetker will pick a Star Baker who will win a goodie bag, and entry into their prize draw to win an Ultimate Baking Hamper worth £500.

To keep up to date with all the latest Even Better Baking news, follow Dr. Oetker on Twitter @DrOetkerBakes, on YouTube DrOetkerBaking or like them on Facebook.

So, what do you think?

Do you like my creation?

Will you be entering #EvenBetterBaking competition in hope of becoming a Star Baker?

It is all about soup! GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup Range

Soup – a liquid dish, typically savoury and made by boiling meat, fish, or vegetables etc. in stock or water.

It sounds very uninspiring doesn’t it? When in fact soup can and does provide an amazing dining experience.

When I moved to the UK, I must admit I was a little disappointed by the lack of soups on the British menu. In Poland, soup is an indispensable part of every day dinner. I really missed my soup a lot at the beginning… then I slowly became used to the lack of soup on the dinner table, but in the last year or so I have turned back to my roots and the humble soup is now more often found present on our table, which my regular readers might have notice by the amount of soup recipes I am sharing with you 🙂

Just before we went for our holidays GLORIOUS! sent us some shopping vouchers to purchase and try their healthy SkinnyLicious Soup Range. I confess, I don’t buy readymade soups very often. The reason for it: they are usually boring and often bland in taste, at least in my opinion… but looking at the funky names of GLORIOUS! soups a seed was sown that grew and grew until in the end I really, really wanted to give them a try. Well, I am so very happy I did as they are far from boring, and no one can say they are bland. They are actually quite amazing dishes as soups go. Their flavour combination is very unusual and extremely tasty and at times very surprising.

It is all about soup! GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup RangeCurrently there are 16 different flavours in the GLORIOUS! Soup Range and half of this selection, being eight, are SkinnyLicious Soups, which boast that they are less than 2% fat and under 150 calories per portion. Perfect!

I had the pleasure of trying 4 of the SkinnyLicious Soups plus I purchased one “full fat” version especially for Mark, to stop him grumbling.

It is all about soup - GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup RangeAll the soups we tried, without exception, were divine. I honestly couldn’t make better myself. San Antonio Fiesta, which is a chilli sin carne with black eye beans, haricot beans, black turtle beans and red kidney beans was a little bit too spicy for my taste but Mark loved it.

From the selection of soups we tried the Thai Tuk Tuks & Tumeric was my favourite. A fragrant carrot soup fused with coconut, lime and lemongrass – totally delicious. “Please Sir, can I have some…”

So, if you ever fancy a soup for lunch or dinner, I can honestly recommend GLORIOUS! Soup Range and if you are counting calories try one of their SkinnyLicious Range, you will not be able to tell that these are diet friendly soups, I promise.

It is all about soup! - GLORIOUS! SkinnyLicious Soup Range - San Antonio FiestaThank you GLORIOUS! for the opportunity to try something new and discover your range. I have to admit I most likely would never have purchased them otherwise but now that I’ve tried, we will definitely be buying more on a regular basis.

Do you buy readymade soups?

What’s your favourite soup flavour?