Mindful Bites - Nut Butter

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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Yup and it’s generally naughty little things like crisps that are our bad habit at The Amazing Blog We have been looking to substitute this potato addiction with ‘good snacks’, which is where Mindful Bites comes in. Founded in 2014 by Stephanie Peritore, Mindful Bites aims to change the way people snack, not on empty calories but on protein rich butters ‘one bite at a time’ they want to promote intentional eating.  We are finding that Mindful Bites' Nut Butters are the perfect vegan and gluten-free solution to our snack cravings.

Mindful Bites is built on the company’s four pillars of mindful eating (Intention, Attention, Gratitude, and Pleasure) and these pillars are reflected in the Nut Butter. The thick and creamy texture of the product slowly releases delicious flavours, which allow you to savour what you're eating. The carefully selected ingredients, including a blend of superfoods and high-quality nuts, also have you actively thinking about what you put into your body. However, it's not just the tasty and nutritious flavours that have us drawn to the Nut Butter; it is the way it makes us feel after eating it. The plant-based protein, made with no added sugar or sweeteners and palm oil, is a game changer for reinvigorating yourself during a mid-afternoon slump. Spread sparingly on some oatcakes  (in our case) it is filling and delicious and has made our cravings disappear resulting in a better, more energetic mood here in the office.

We had the chance to try all four of their  Nut Butter flavours (Hazelnut & Berries, Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs, Almond & Maca, Cashew Nuts & Baobab). Our personal favourite was Hazelnut & Berries. It has a rich taste of hazelnut, not dissimilar to Nutella, but with a yummy hint of a berry flavour which stays gently with you. However, if you want a more intense chocolate flavour, we suggest trying Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs. While nut butter is traditionally eaten on toast or straight from the jar with a spoon (not so good for an office share!) Mindful Bites suggests adding it to a smoothie, porridge, or yogurt for a protein boost.

You can purchase a single jar (185g) of their Nut Butters here for £6.99 or a box of all four for £25 here.

Fruits Of The Forage

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At The Amazing Blog, we love writing about brands that have adopted sustainable practices, especially food brands that have joined the fight against our current consumer-driven society. Fruits of the Forage, is one that has made it their mission to capture the ‘sustainable taste of the British landscape’ with their range of chutneys, jams, cordials, wines and beers which are made using less than conventional ingredients. Recently, they kindly sent us five of their amazing chutneys and chilli jams to try – and trust us, we were not disappointed!

Based in founder Freddie Throrneycroft’s hometown of Cheshire, Fruits of the Forage uses neglected fruits from abandoned British orchards and other wild British native plants in all their products. Chutneys, are widely used in South Asian cuisine, are made up mainly with a mix of vegetables, fruits and spices. Their tastes, spice-levels and textures can range as well depending on the concoctions of ingredients used. What we like about Fruit of the Forage’s products is that they have elevated jams and chutneys contain less-known ingredients such as Cheshire Damsons, heritage plums and even Hogweed seeds.

After trying their Hogweed Curry Chutney, Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, Perfect Pair Chutney, Damsloe Chutney and Hot Rhuby Chilli Jam, we can see why Fruits of the Forage has won not one BUT 10 Great Taste Awards in the last three years! Each of the jams and chutneys have a delicious and very individual taste which will suit all sorts of different taste palates. The Hot Rhuby, is made out of rhubarb, garlic and ghost peppers, is a good mixture of warm and spicy and, like Fruits of the Forage and is indeed very moreish. If you’re craving a more fresh and fruity spread, the Hot Crabby Chilli Jam, made with crab apples, adds a sweetness to cured meats, lamb or game. Or perhaps you want to add a savoury kick to your cheeses and meat? Fruits of the Forage’s trio of chutneys (Hogweed Curry, Perfect Pair and Damsloe) are a great mix of fruits, vegetables and pickling spices and add a great piquante to any food. For our vegan readers, don’t worry, all of their products are entirely animal-product free. We particularly liked spreading some of the Hogweed Curry Chutney on our veggies to give them that perfect little kick – Yum!

If you want to try Fruits of the Forage’s chutneys and jams for yourself, purchase a jar on their website here for £4.

Elements For Life - Hot Chocolate

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Are we all still desperately trying to cling to our New Year’s resolutions to go dry/ give up meat/ drag out the spandex and work each of our muscle groups, and supposedly therefore be a better person? Well, here at The Amazing Blog we may be able to offer you a glimmer of indulgence to ease up some of those more draconian ways to detox, all in the form of a chocolate … We know, chocolate is the root of many a slip up in the new regime schedule. However, there is a tin of gloriously burnished powder which should have a polished halo perched above its silver lid to signify its credentials. We are talking about one of our #amazingfinds Elements For Life – see our recent posts on their other products here.

Yes, we may be talking hot chocolate, but Elements For Life have created one is richly smooth, and sweet. This hot chocolate doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners, GMOs or soya, the sweetness is derived from the sugar from coconut blossom, the evaporated nectar of the coconut tree, adding sustainability and diabetically friendly to the worthiness (because of its very low average glycemic index) As if that wasn’t enough, the Elements For Life team have made it suitable for those who may be lactose intolerant, and vegan by keeping this wonder-drink completely dairy-free and containing no milk solids.

We tried the Original and Spiced versions. The Spiced is warmed up by the addition of the winter spices cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. All we need now is the toasty log cabin with open fire and we have nirvana. However, we aren’t tied to the usual hot chocolate with this blend, as there is also the option of adding some ice and blitzing away to produce a very refreshing tipple. The benefits of raw chocolate, in both health and taste have been known for a while - it stands to reason that a natural product which hasn’t been put through the usual manufacturing processes will inevitably retain more of it’s core nutrients, and therefore with many of us now having to take a serious look at the minutiae of what we eat, a raw chocolate such as this makes clear sense.

And to keep that halo gleaming brightly, the whole team behind the Raw Hot Chocolate brand are keen to show they believe the sustainability of a product in this day and age has to address the issues beyond the contents of our mug. All ingredients used in their range are sourced for their high ecological standards and are agro-chemical/pesticide free from small-scale growers and farming co-operatives to ensure fair trading. The packaging is also made from recycled material or re-used from other sources, including their boxes and printed material. Small wonder then that with such highly prized credentials, Elements For Life have walked away with award upon award for what they offer us in this market place - and most specifically these two tins of delicious warmth! Priced at £6.99 for 175g all available from their online shop here they also offer refills priced at £4.99. And now, back to that log cabin and open fire to keep warm!

Hokey Pokey

NEW blog template It is no secret that at The Amazing Blog we love our sweet and scrumptious treats with our gazillion cups of tea a day. We were lucky enough to be sent some Hokey Pokey Honeycombs by The Chocolate Society – a company that aims to raise the awareness of luxury chocolate in the UK. The Chocolate Society not only produces their own products, but they also look for exciting brands to introduce to their customers.

Hokey Pokey is The Chocolate Society’s best-selling brand and product, and we totally understand why! Hokey Pokey’s Honeycombs are handmade in small batches; apparently using a secret recipe, that includes real honey. Ironically, it seems that many companies that make honeycombs don’t use real honey – and Hokey Pokey swears their honeycombs taste better because they do use it! This real honey is taken from the bees that live on the farm that surrounds Hokey Pokey’s small farm in rural Somerset.

The Chocolate Society sent us Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and Naked Honeycombs for us to try. While I am not a huge fan of Dark Chocolate, I found that my favourite were the Milk Chocolate ones – the honeycombs are double enrobed in luxury Valrhona milk chocolate. My colleagues loved the Dark Chocolate ones, covered in delicious dark Valrhona 70% chocolate. And the Naked Honeycombs were perfect to mix with milkshakes and to use as decoration for ice creams!

Hokey Pokey has definitely helped us making our afternoon teas sweet and even more enjoyable. All the girls at The Amazing Blog agree when we say that Hokey Pokey offer the most exquisite honeycombs we’ve ever had – the quality of the chocolate, the texture and the honey remarkable.

Each bag of Hokey Pokey (Dark, Milk Chocolate and Naked Honeycombs) retail at £6.50 for 150 gr. There is a sale at The Chocolate Society website at the moment and you can get the Naked Honeycombs bag for only £4. Hokey Pokey also offers a truly amazing hamper that includes a selection of different honeycombs for £34.99 – perfect as a gift and incredibly delicious!

The Collective

A few weeks ago the folks at The Collective treated the gang at The Amazing Blog to the most delicious yoghurts we've ever had. The Collective's yoghurts have been the perfect mid-morning snack, and for some of us who always rush in the mornings, our breakfast. I've never been a big fan of yoghurts, they've always made me feel heavy and very full. I decided to give The Collective's a try as I loved the packaging straightaway; and oh well... let's just say that I've stocked up on these delicious yoghurts already. Based on a New Zealand recipe,but produced in England using West Country Milk, these scrumptious yoghurts are avaialable in a variety of fresh fruit flavours as well as Russian Fudge. The Collective's yoghurts are smooth and creamy, they melt in your mouth and tehir taste is intense and simply delicious. Their taste is unbeatable. All the yoghurts contain probiotics (cultures A, B and C), are gluten free, have no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and only contain a 5% of fat... almost guilt free! My two favourites were the Russian Fudge and Passion Fruit ones.

Were awarded two Gold stars by the Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards 2011, the highest award given to a fruit yoghurt, as well as being named the Top yoghurts and desserts launch in 2011 by The Grocer Magazine.

The Collective's fantastic and unbeatable yoghurt range is available at Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Tesco, Morrisons, Ocado, Wholefoods, Nisa and Booths.