Review – Happy Nibbling Brownies

I am continuing my hunt for mail order Keto sweet treats as although I do make delicious cakes, though I say it myself, it is just nice to sometimes have something bought for you or a lovely treat that you haven’t made yourself.

I came across Happy Nibbling through the Keto Fitness Club as Carrie, who runs the business, is a fellow club member and a regular in the cooking classes. Carrie is launching her brownie business with Organic Coconut Brownies which are made without egg, gluten, grains, nuts or refined sugar. It has been fabulous following her on Facebook as she gets started on her new venture, and she already has had the required inspections and top hygiene rating which can give you confidence in this new sweet treat business.

I ordered the Raspberry Kiss brownies as they looked so good on a recent post. Currently you order from the Facebook page by sending a message and you can buy 6 or 12 brownies in a choice of Classic Dark or Raspberry Kiss, more options and flavours will be added in the future. It’s £12 for 6 brownies and £22 for 12 with £4 postage – so I just had to order 12 Raspberry Kiss – just for taste testing you understand! There will be a website in the future and a wider variety of flavours, but sensibly Carrie is building her business slowly.

Raspberry Kiss Brownies

I paid via a paypal link over the weekend and they were sent out 1st class post on Monday and were with me in time for elevenses on Tuesday. Well packaged and protected in the box and bag it came in – on opening the pack the smell that hit me was divine.

I could not resist breaking my fast early to try one, and as someone who can often be sensitive to the taste of some sweeteners, all I tasted was moist chcoclatey goodness with a hint of raspberry. Each brownie has 1.7g of carbs so it’s a treat that needs to be rationed but I am freezing the other 11 brownies to enjoy over the next couple of weeks. OK – so I may have just lied – I have frozen 6 and kept 6 in the fridge just to make sure they are as tasty a few hours later – and the 2nd one I warmed and had with a drizzle of double cream – warming the brownie seemed to release the aroma even more. Bought brownies can often be dry and hard in texture but these were neither of these things and were divine.

The biggest bonus is a really cannot stand coconut. It is not a flavour I have ever enjoyed. Since Keto I have started to use coconut flour in recipes but if someone described something as coconut I would avoid. I could not tell these were coconut based at all – huzzah!

Happy Nibbling brownies are definitely going on my list of special treats for my family to get me for treats and birthdays – and I will also feel confident in buying them for my coeliac sister or Niece with a nut allergy.

Review – Shokoladi Keto Chocolates

Through a business networking Facebook group I am a member of, Spaghetti Besties https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpaghettiBesties I heard about a artisan bean to box chocolate maker, and since turning Keto I was interested to see if she made Keto chocolates.

There were Keto options on the website, not many and quite expensive, but with a quality product for special treats I decided I’d like to trial them and see what they are like. This wouldn’t be an everyday purchase for me but a special treat on occasion.

Irma, the chocolate maker, has a facebook group where she keeps you up to date with what she is making, and the production runs are short so when it’s gone it’s gone. She had posted about Keto Hazelnut and Butterscotch chocolate using erythritol as the sweetener and mentioned she had been experimenting with the recipe to reduce the cooling affect of the sweetener Not everyone gets a cooling effect from Erythritol but I tend to notice it a lot which makes some sweet treats unappetising for me.

When I placed the order via email, as I had a specific request rather than using the website, Irma was quick to respond with the options and I chose to have 6 small bars for £21 with £4.25 postage. The flavours I am trying are Butterscotch and Hazelnut, White Coffee with Walnut and Dark Berry Crumble. I sent the payment via Bacs straight away to confirm my order.

I was gloriously surprised to find the order arrived the very next day – even though it was 1.30pm when I placed the order. That’s a big tick for customer service and delivery as other Keto stores I have used before I have taken weeks if not months to deliver.

Neatly Boxed

The box when opened (they came in a small cardboard box) smelt heavenly of the caramel and even though I had not broken my fast yet I could not resist having a taste.

Before Keto I was not a dark chocolate fan, Although I use 85% dark chocolate in recipes I never would choose to eat it as is from the packet. I tried the Butterscotch and Hazelnut first and although the butterscotch flavour didn’t come through in the taste as much as the smell did, it definitely scratched my ‘I want chocolate’ itch.

I tried the coffee one next, which I didn’t expect to like as I am not a coffee fan – it was ok but smelt a little too strong for me so I will pass it as a gift to a coffee loving keto friend.

The Berry bar was quite dark but the berry taste came through beautifully so that was a hit too.

Ingredients

It is so nice to find a treat of a keto chocolate bar which can be eaten which I haven’t had to make myself, and I will definitely buy these again for a treat or pass the web address on to friends and family – and I am sure Irma will be experimenting with new flavours in the future too so I will be keeping an eye on her Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ShokoladiMalvern for more options and perhaps chocolates rather than bars in the future. The website to order is https://shokoladimalvern.co.uk/.

Irma has offered a special 10% discount on Keto chocolates to any of my blog readers until the end of September 2021 – just email shokoladi@mail.com and mention my name, Alison Mead, to get your discount.

Experimenting with Keto Vegetables

I always struggled to eat vegetables as a child. I just didn’t like the taste or the texture. I just about managed a few peas but I picked onion out of anything. It was a struggle.

Fast forward to my Keto years as I think I shall call them and I now love recipes with leek, courgette and broccoli and even more with the delicious creamy cheesy sauces. Sprouts are now my favourite vegetable. These ones were harvested from my garden. Boiled for 5 mins, coated in oil, squished on a baking sheet. Salt, pepper and parmisan and baking for 20 mins made them super tasty. I saw the recipe on tiktok of all places.

When I started out I’d use the recipes from Keto Fitness Club like Cauliflower and Broccoli bake and Savoy Carbonara from the WTF cookbook. It doesn’t stand for what you think, it’s Where’s The Fat! You can get your own books from the website here https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/?ref=AloeAly or look there for the free recipe library.

I now have the confidence though to make certain substitutions for recipes otherwise you might end up with lots of half pots in the fridge. I don’t like waste and with keto I mostly only eat twice a day and could end up with so many half pots of cheese and similar products in the fridge.

Soured cream can be swapped with greek yoghurt. I prefer having Greek yoghurt spare as I add a few flavour drops and some nutty Granola from the WTF book and I have a great dessert too to use up a tub.

Cream cheese (make sure you get the full fat but own label brands are fine) is used in lots of different recipes. And when a recipe calls for mascarpone then cream cheese will do just as well. Also another lovely dessert is cream cheese with flavour drops and some granola. Do you spot a theme here?????

I get my flavour drops from my protein. My favourite flavour is white chocolate. It’s also lovely in warmed almond milk to make a delicious warm drink on a cold day. Just 5 drops in a cup is plenty. You can use my link to order form my protein https://www.myprotein.com/referrals.list?applyCode=ALISON-R4QJ&li

So tonight for dinner I had some beef meatballs which needed to be eaten and I wasn’t sure what to have. I also had some courgette peelings and left over cauliflower which I’d cooked and frozen. So I used the basic idea from the cauliflower and broccoli bake but added the courgette peelings in with the leeks, plenty of garlic and fresh broccoli with the defrosted cauliflower. I part cooked the meatballs in my Ninja Foodie and then used cream cheese and cream to make the sauce as I had a pot to use up. Mixing it all together and putting in an ovenproof dish, covered in cheddar and baked for half an hour made a tasty dinner all the family enjoyed.

I hope my little tips help you to experiment more with your food whether you are keto or not. It’s all great food cooked from scratch and totally delicious.

Review – Deliciously Guilt Free

Those who follow we on social media obviously know how I love cooking my own food and sharing pictures on my Facebook page and on Instagram as I just love sharing the fabulous recipes from Keto Fitness Club. But when it comes to Birthday time, Mother’s Day or Christmas family and friends want to be able to buy you something nice – and most commercial chocolates are just not Keto friendly. And also as I am also a Forever Living business owner so I don’t want skincare of bath products as I like to use the Aloe products as they just suit me. I am such a nightmare to buy for.

So I noticed on my Insta Account a like by a company based in Cambridge called Deliciously Guilt Free so I thought it was only right if I ordered some treats from them to taste test so if I like them I can subtly pass the details on to friends and family for future celebrations.

So I asked my friend Stuart, otherwise known as The Rambling Alchemist, if he would like to go halves on an order with me so we could sample a variety of flavours and qualify for free postage. These cakes are not the cheapest as each box costs around £10 for 6 or 8 cakes, but the ingredients used fit perfectly with my Keto lifestyle and the bonus are they are gluten free too.

The flavours we chose to sample were Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle, Pecan Butterscotch Blondie, Salted Caramel Blondie and Strawberries and Cream Blondies and as it was my first order I got 10% off by signing up for their mailing list.

I placed the order on Friday 19th March and the process was quite easy using my phone on their website. I did miss how to get the 10% discount at first but sent them a quick email and got a very quick response from Dan, thanks so much. It says on the website currently 1-5 days to dispatch the order – so I was really pleased to receive mine on the morning of Tuesday 23rd so it was only 4 days – quicker than I expected. Earlier in lockdown I ordered from a different company who took 2 months to send food I didn’t actually like!

The packaging was great, each flavour comes in a box which would fit through the postbox if it was ordered on it’s own – as we ordered 4 boxes they were well packed together. I couldn’t resist opening up the Strawberry and Cream Blondies to start as they were my first choice.

Taste test!

Now I struggle with Erythritol as I get a really bad cooling effect when I cook with it, so I tend to bake using a stevia/erythritol mix when I bake my own cakes, but these were so tasty I could tell it was Erythritol but the cooling effect didn’t bother me. You have to be careful not to eat too many sweet things at once with these sweeteners as they can have a laxative effect, but I could not resist through the day yesterday trying all 4 flavours. I experienced no side effects !

My favourites in order of preference are Pecan Butterscotch, closely followed by Blueberry and Lemon then Strawberries and Cream. The Salted Caramel was my least favourite and I probably wouldn’t order that one again, I think the others were just to full of nuts and fruit that these seemed boring in comparison. All the rest I would definitely order again. I will now freeze the ones I haven’t eaten yet to stop me eating them too quickly.

So I will definitely be recommending Deliciously Guilty Free to others – and I look forward to trying more flavours. If you place your own order use discount AMead10 for 10% off your order here https://deliciouslyguiltfree.com/

Keto Pizza

When I was first introduced to Keto it was by Mark from Keto Fitness Club bringing food for us to try to business networking meetings. He chose popular foods like chocolate brownies, pancakes and pizza just to show that Keto food can be delicious and quite normal too. I’d always go back for a 2nd slice of pizza if I possibly could.

Business Networking with 4N

I’d thought Keto Pizza would have to have a cauliflower base, and I’ve never liked cauliflower. It really was not something I wanted to try. But Mark showed us a recipe called Fathead Dough which only has 4 ingredients. Grated mozzarella, cream cheese, an egg and almond flour.

The first time I tried to make the recipe it was really messy and not that easy. It felt difficult but did make a great pizza. I found though that each time I made it, it got easier and now I can make it without even thinking about it. Practice makes perfect.

Also a suggestion was made that the dough doesn’t really need an egg added, and that was the messiest part, so now I just make it without the egg. In fact I have even converted my non Keto husband to preferring this pizza to a shop bought one, although I don’t like wasting them on him!

One batch of dough makes enough for 2 people, and you can either cook the base and freeze it untopped for another day, or make 2 x full pizzas and freeze to reheat. I like to have a pizza base in the freezer for those can’t be bothered days and I even took a base on holiday with me so I could easily make a pizza when the rest of the family got take out.

But fathead dough is not the only pizza base I have tried whilst on Keto. In the Keto Fitness Club there is Meatza which is a base of minced meat like turkey mince, but this was not a favourite of mine so I’ve only tried it once. But I did love the Megga Bread dough rolled out as a pizza base. One batch of Megga Loaf dough can make half a dozen bread rolls and a pizza base easily.

Another favourite base is a chicken breast butterfly cut and flattened with a rolling pin. And I was really pleased when I went to a Pizza chain in the UK and found they had an option on the menu which had the chicken breast base so I could keep to keto when out with friends.

I choose to top my pizza with passata, but I only need part of the jar as I’m not a huge tomato fan, so I freeze the unused portion in ice cube trays so I can defrost however little of much I need another day. Then I had ham or chicken and bacon, a cheeky bit of sweetcorn which you shouldn’t eat too much of and sometimes a little Leek or broccoli then smother in cheddar cheese.

And the best thing about the fathead dough without the egg is it’s really versatile, we call it Michele’s Keto Dough or MKD in the club as Michele has created recipes for all sorts of options like pasties, splats, and there’s sausage rolls too.

To access the free recipe library to see some of the recipes yourself then go to https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly. You won’t regret it.

Keto Success Story

I have always had a totally unhealthy relationship with food. I was so ill as a child I got away with being really fussy, I was the girl who had gravy pie as I didn’t like the meat, I didn’t eat any vegetables, and my favourite food was sausages.

And when I grew up I didn’t get much better. I don’t think I even tried a pizza until my best friend at University made me try one and I couldn’t stand salad. I ate a small range of foods and the only vegetable I touched was peas.

When I was married and became a Mum I put quite a lot of weight on with each child and moved from being 10 to 11 stone to, after two children, over 14 stone. Also my arthritis flared up regularly and in my mid 30s I had a hip replacement as I couldn’t keep up with my 2 kids. I did improve a little as I didn’t want my children to have the same issues with food I did and I hid vegetables from myself in the Shepherds Pie!

Feb 2007 after my hip replacement

When I discovered Forever Living and Aloe Vera Gel my health started to improve. I was also diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea and the Cpap machine helped too, and finally I started to lose weight and my tastes began to change. I had great success with the Clean 9 and used the Forever Living shakes to help me make healthier choices.

Except if I stopped calorie counting and ate ‘normal food’ the weight would pile on. If I calorie counted, was really careful, and exercised I lost weight but I felt like I was denying myself. I would keep getting stalls on weight loss even though my diet had improved and if I even looked at a biscuit I would put weight on. I was able to get a lot fitter and exercise more and my shape improved but I just felt stuck and miserable a lot of the time.

Then 3 years ago through business networking I met Mark Brereton from Keto fitness club and tried some of his low carb and no sugar recipe alternatives, and heard about a different way of eating. Avoiding beige carbs (bread, rice and pasta , and potatoes) cooking without sugar but using plant based natural sweetener alternatives to bake too.

In 7 months I lost a stone and was doing really well and really enjoying the new recipes. I even started to quite like cauliflower mash. Fathead dough was the most delicious pizza base and I made pancakes and Berry bakes with cream cheese and almond flour and loved them all.

Then I went on the holiday of a lifetime to New York with my husband, and had a real carb fest, and when I returned home I just couldn’t get back on the keto wagon. Every single week I meant to go back to my Keto habits, and apart from still cooking some of my recipes I didn’t cut the carbs and sugar and I really piled on the lbs and nearly snuck back to my original 14 stone weight. Something had to change.

New York

So almost 2 years ago I took the decisions to return to the Keto way of eating, but this time my mindset was different. It wasn’t a diet in order to get to a weight goal, it was a new way of eating with the focus on picking foods which wouldn’t trigger inflammation (my arthritis could return at any time).

Keto Fitness Club with Mark was also developing as a business and there were cooking classes, new recipes to try including a bread recipe which was new since my first Keto foray, and lots of support on the mindset and practical help with the recipes.

Megga Loaf Breaf

A year later lockdown came along and it could go one of two ways, and at first I was at risk of going the wrong way and putting weight on. But staying home and not going out meant I could take control and the Keto Fitness Club started regular online cooking classes, zoom coffee mornings, mindset chats and support. We shared favourite recipes, kitchen gadgets (we all love Ninja Foodie) and other kitchen accessories to make cooking easier.

In December 2020 I had a milestone birthday, I hit 50. The week of my birthday I hit my target weight of 11 stone and the bigger target of finally after almost 30 years of being together I weighed less than my husband. I had always weighed a significant amount more than him, always. And now we are the same weight. That was a HUGE milestone.

Happy 50th to me

But the best thing is I eat delicious food every day. I don’t feel like I am denying myself anything. I have cake and pizza and meat and cream and cheese. The only downside is that I have to cook everything myself from scratch. It’s fine most of the time but every now and again it would be nice to find a keto convenience food. But that’s changing gradually as more people come to understand the Keto way.

I have to admit I am a little concerned about keeping to keto once the world opens up and I can go out and eat socially again. But there is no way I am compromising my new way of eating. Eating sugar laden foods is no longer a treat so my ploy will be to take my own breads or treats when eating out and just being a bit more organised while waiting for the world to catch on that sugar is the enemy and not fat.

Arrowroot Yorkshire Puddings

If you would like the help and support of Keto Fitness Club then you can get access to their recipes for free here https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly. There is a public Facebook group you can join for free, linked to from the web link. Also if you are new to Keto the Kick-start session is a great way to learn all about what you need and will help you understand where to start. From there then there is a members group with fabulous cooking classes and fitness classes and lots more support. Getting involved with Keto Fitness Club has made my journey 100% easier and I know I would have got stuck in a rut with foods and got bored without it.

So if regular diets aren’t working for you, or you always put on the weight or get stuck on calorie restricted diets then why not try something different. You might just find you get unexpected results.

Jan 2018 to Feb 2021
Chocolate Caramels

Learning new Skills

Although personally up until now (is it week 5 or week 6 ??  who knows) in my lockdown I have been quite busy with my ‘day’ job, helping people understand the furlough grants and supporting my clients with their bookkeeping, I know there are many who are finding the time to learn new skills or try new hobbies.

So what have you tried out since lockdown?  What have you learned?  Can you share resources in the comments here that others might find interesting or useful?  If you fancy writing a blog post about something you have enjoyed, found useful or want to share then do get in touch as I’m always happy to feature guest bloggers here if I feel my audience would appreciate the information.

So what have I learned that’s new?

I have been following a Keto (low carb low sugar) lifestyle for over a year now and my health is so much better for it.  So even though I have been busy working I’ve been cooking from scratch from home every day, and so I don’t get bored and tempted to dive on my old favourites of highly processed sugary foods I have been trying different recipes.

The reason I have been able to stick to this way of eating for so long, and not drifted back to bad habits sooner, is that I have fallen in love with this food, and I have the support of my friends at the Keto Fitness Club, run by Mark Brereton and his family, who keep me engaged, amused and motivated in equal measure.

This week I mastered the Megga Bread recipe, which you can get from the free recipe library on the Keto Fitness Club link I have posted – I am so happy to have a decent slice of low carb bread to eat now that I am going to be using this one a lot.  Initially, I was short of yeast but I managed to get a delivery from BuyWHoleFoodsOnline.co.uk , and they supply the vital wheat gluten you need too – and I have plenty of the Oat Fibre but this can be replaced by ground Chia seeds which are more commonly available in supermarkets if needed.

Here is a little montage with a few of my favourite recipes like the Toad in the Hole, , Chicken Pizza, Haloumi Fries, Scotch Egg, Berry Bake, Megga Bread, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake and my absolute favourite crumble and custard! IMG_20200422_110354-COLLAGE

If you want to try some of these recipes then you can download them for free at their free online recipe library, then if you like them as much as I do you can then support Mark and his family by buying their recipe books also available on the site.

And the other bonus is some of the recipes use protein shakes in them to up the protein levels of the recipes, and I can use my Forever Lite Ultra Vanilla or Chocolate shakes in those recipes too.  Double Bonus!

Aloe Aly x