Saturday, 28 February 2015

Notice Board: Heavenly Organics Skin Care Review

Quite some time ago (in fact it was last October) I visited the West Midlands Vegan Fair and I had the pleasure to meet Mary-Anne who owns Heavenly Organics Skin Care. Her range is absolutely fabulous and you can purchase anything from soothing foot balms to body scrubs to dry shampoo. I'd heard good things about her products and had been a twitter follower for some time so it was great to meet Mary-Anne in person.

Mary-Anne started her business as she found it difficult to purchase organic and vegan skin care products. Every Heavenly Organic product is hand made and contains no chemicals, all products are vegan and use organic high quality ingredients. 

I asked Mary-Anne which product she was most proud of and it was the first product she created, her fabulous body scrubs.

I was quite honestly spoilt for choice with her display but Mary-Anne also had a fantastic show offer on where you could buy 3 products for the price of 2. I knew one of the products had to be a body scrub so after some smelling and chatting I decided on the following: 


Moisturising Orange & Lime Body Scrub
Lavender & Tea Tree Foot Balm
Orange & Line Body Oil

To top things off Mary-Anne also gave me a Tea Tree & Mint Lip Balm - Bonus! How lovely is that?

I've been using the products since last October and I can honestly say that her company name says it all; "Heavenly Organics".


The Moisturising Orange and Lime Body Scrub smells absolutely divine, good enough to eat in fact. Your skin feels alive after using it and so soft. The only ingredients are unrefined sea salt, extra virgin olive oil and two essential oils; orange and lime. That's it! All natural ingredients. 


The Organic Orange and Lime Body Oil was a perfect match after using the Moisturising Orange and Lime Body Scrub. As you know I am a great believer in aromatherapy, and the smell of this product is just gorgeous! It will keep you smiling throughout the day, thanks to the health benefits of orange essential oil, known for raising your mood and creating a relaxed feeling. The lime essential oil is also a great addition as it is great for your skin as well as helping to protect you from viral infections, such as the common cold.

When I first opened the little tin to reveal the Lavender & Tea Tree Foot Balm, I just loved the mould, how pretty, such a great start! The smell was once again divine and was so easy to use. Instead of scooping out a cream and 'losing' amounts on your hands you could just rub this over your feet. After a long day on your feet this is a great soother, revitalising your aching feet. 

I'm not one for using lip sticks or lip balms due to the fact that I have suffered with coldsores in the past, an outbreak of coldsores for me doesn't mean the odd one but my poor lips are covered in them making it extremely difficult and very painful to drink, eat and talk. So if I'm honest I was sceptical in using this product, but I needn't have worried. The Tea Tree and Mint Lip Balm was a pleasure to use and thanks to its organic and non chemical ingredients my lips haven't suffered and are well moisturised even throughout these cold winter months. Lavender essential oil is well known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties so I'm sure that has helped keep the pesky coldsores at bay. The smell was again divine and the peppermint essential oil gave my lips a cooling sensation when applied.

Overall the products that I have tried are fabulous and I wouldn't hesitate in trying out more products from the heavenly organic skin care range.

Jasmine x

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Notice Board: Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder Review

I was delighted when Jessica from Kiss Me Organics got intouch and asked if I wanted to review their Organic Matcha Green Tea. I adore Green Tea, I can't get enough of the stuff so I didn't hesitate in accepting her offer.



The Organic Matcha Green Tea I was sent is culinary grade and is reported to be the "ancient secret, to beauty, health and longevity". Kiss Me Organics provides lots of information on the benefits of incorporating the Organic Match Green Tea Powder into your diet on their website, but in a nutshell they state it provides the following:
  • All day energy 
  • Increased focus
  • Metabolism boost
  • Improved skin health
  • Up to 137 times more the antioxidants of brewed green tea
As the product comes in powder form you can make your creations as strong or mild as you like, you really have the control to adjust to your specific taste. I couldn't wait to try it out in a few different creations. Obviously you can drink it as a tea (hot or cold) or a latte, in fact on purchasing the organic match green tea powder you also get sent a whole heap of recipe ideas, bonus! Unfortunately most recipes aren't vegan but can easily be adapted. But who needs recipes, I couldn't wait to experiment.

What I made:
  • Green Tea Fruit Shake
  • Green Tea Loaf
  • Green Tea & Blueberry Oat Bars
  • Green Tea & Lemon Ice-cream/Sorbet 
I was not disappointed in the slightest! I love the stuff, I got that carried away making different creations (none which were disasters which is fabulous for me) that I didn't manage to make much tea at all. Thankfully I have some left and I've promised myself to enjoy it as cups of tea! My first creation was a Matcha Fruit Shake as it takes no time at all to whiz one up. For other fruit shake ideas see my earlier post. I've been having matcha fruit shakes for the last 5 days and I love them.

Organic Matcha Fruit Shake - Serves 1

Ingredients 
250ml soya yoghurt*
1 Tsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder**
1 Banana, sliced and frozen
¼ Pineapple, sliced and frozen

*I used Alpro Lemon and Lime
**Use more if you prefer a stronger taste 

Method
Add the ingredients to your blender in the order provided and  blend until you have a thick but smooth shake. Pour into a glass and enjoy. Caution: please check your blender is capable of blending ice cubes.

I love my fruit shakes and they are perfect for breakfast on the go, just pour into a screw top beaker and take with you. If you prefer to drink your fruit shakes through a straw I would advise that you use fairly wide straws as the mixture is thick!

My next creation was an Organic Matcha Green Tea Loaf using organic raisins and it went perfect with the fruit shake as a mid morning snack, or should that be meal!

Organic Matcha Green Tea Loaf - Makes 10-12 Slices
















Ingredients
1 Tbsp Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
300ml Boiling water
1 Tbsp Agave nectar
1 Lemon, juice only
250g Plain flour, sieved
150g Organic raisins
125g Sugar
2 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Method
Turn on your oven to a medium heat, around 180 - 190°C. Line a loaf tin with baking powder or a ready formed baking case, which is much easier!

In a jug mix the Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder with the boiling water making sure all the powder is incorporated. Add the agave and lemon juice and whisk in.

In a separate bowl combine the sieved flour with the remaining ingredients, stiring to combine fully.

Pour the matcha liquid into the flour mixture and stir to incorporate all the ingredients.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the loaf springs back when lightly pressed.

Let the loaf cool slightly in the tin before removing. Enjoy a slice with a cup of green tea or my match fruit shake.


I'll share my other two recipes with you over the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to purchase a packet of Kiss Me Organics Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder they sell exclusively on Amazon and you can find their product here.

Jasmine x

Friday, 20 February 2015

Suma Bloggers Network - Broccoli & Cauliflower Mornay

It's that time again, when the lovely folk at Suma Co-op send me a parcel of goodies that I have chosen and I whip up a recipe with the said goodies.

This is my fourth recipe for the suma bloggers network, check out my other three recipes:
This time I'm still craving comfort food and this is my go to recipe for just that. While my dad was poorly in hospital I made this a lot as it is really quick and super easy as the recipe uses store cupboard ingredients for the sauce. In fact I use this sauce quite a lot! The sauce poured over broccoli and cauliflower resembles a cauliflower cheese or the usual broccoli & cauliflower bake on pub menus for vegetarians!



You won't need all the sauce for this recipe, but the left overs keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, just shake before using. You can use the leftover sauce to make a vegan macaroni cheese or as a base to another pasta dish, just add other ingredients to tweak as you feel fit. I love adding mushrooms and basil and using as a pasta sauce. You will have around 250ml of sauce left over, unless of course you want more sauce to your mornay!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Mornay

Ingredients - Serves 4  

1 small cauliflower, broken into 8 florets
1 head of broccoli, broken into 8 florets
750ml Almond milk, unsweetened
125g Cashews
1 Tbsp White miso
50g Nutritional yeast
2 Tsp Mustard powder
1/8th Tsp Turmeric
1/2 Tsp Salt
20g Panko breadcrumbs

Method

Boil the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes, add the broccoli florets and boil for another 4 minutes. Drain straight away and return to the pan to steam dry.

Meanwhile make the sauce, which is easy as 1, 2, 3!

Pour the almond milk into a blender, (I use my fantastic Vitamix) and add the cashews, white miso, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, turmeric and salt. Blend until silky smooth, don't worry if you think the sauce is too thin, it thickens as it heats up.

Place the vegetables into an oven dish.



Pour over the sauce and sprinkle over the panko breadcrumbs. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the breadcrumbs have gone golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.



You can see how the sauce has thickened, it almost looks like a batter! 



Enjoy on its own or serve with a few chips and peas.

I've just noticed that 3 out of my 4 Suma recipes are 'cheese' based! I'll try and steer away from 'cheese' for my next recipe for Suma, perhaps another dessert? Anything you would like to see more of? Let me know in the comments.

Jasmine x

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Blueberry Oat Squares

As part of my Winter Wellness Series I shared my Winter Wellness Happy Bites, which were great as an on the go breakfast as well as mid morning fix. They freeze really well, I just take one out of my freezer just before I leave work and by the time I get to work they have defrosted ready to be eaten. As an added bonus I used the frozen oat bars on my tennis elbow on the way to work, perhaps that's why they defrosted so quickly as my elbow is HOT! Mind you I have been getting some weird looks on the bus!


This time I made the oat bars with fresh blueberries and dried cranberries and they were delicious! These freeze well too.

Ingredients 
200g Oats
20g Milled Chai seeds
25g Hemp seeds
2 Tsp Baing powder
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Tsp Lemon rind (heaped)
2 Ripe bananas
200g Silken tofu
50ml Vanilla yoghurt (vegan of course)
1 Tbsp Lemon juice
1 Tbsp Agave nectar
100g Blueberries
25g Cranerries

Method

Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Place the oats in a food processor and pulse until you have an oat flour. Tip into a bowl.

Add the next 5 ingredients to the oat flour and gently mix everything in.

Slice the bananas into the food processor and pulse until mashed, add the silken tofu and pulse again to combine.

Add the vanilla yoghurt, lemon juice and agave nectar to the food processor and process until everything is mixed in and you have a nice 'batter'.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add the blueberries and dried cranberries and stir through the mixture.

Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or when the mixture springs back when gently pressed. Cool in the tin and then tip onto a board and peel off the greaseproof paper. 

Cut into squares, eat some and freeze some, easy!


Jasmine x