Renna's Discoveries: November 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Chocolate Gifts by Morse Toad

Buying gifts for family and friends can be so stressful. You never know what to get them, what they'd like, whether they would even use it...... So, I've been leaning towards the foodie gifts as it will always be used and never wasted. However, some hampers can be expensive to send through the post, so here's another idea for friends and family who live far away.
Chocolate By Post !!!
Oh yes !!! How easy was that. Everyone loves chocolate (Ok well....Most people love chocolate) so this is the perfect gift.
Morse Toad is a very successful personalised chocolate card company, yes that's right....Chocolate Cards. This is the easiest gift you will ever have to order.
You very simply go onto the website, choose the design and how much chocolate you want to send and personalise your message, and that's it....hey presto. Done!! To top it off, if you order before 1pm, its the same day delivery or after 1 pm, its next day delivery. So if you forget someones birthday, you can quickly get them a card delivered too. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Black Farmer Chicken Flamenco Sausages

The Black Farmer is back with more Gluten Free Sausages !! Woohoo !! The difference is that these are made from Chicken!!
The Black Farmer knows not everyone eats pork, but still loves sausages, so he decided that Chicken Sausages should join his sausage family. 

Christmas With Pets - RSPCA Advice

Please read this and take note. 
The RSPCA have produced a wonderful guide for all us pet lovers at Christmas Time. 

I'll be buying my two doggies presents at Christmas....will you?

If you need further information from the RSPCA please see their website RSPCA Christmas Advice.
Please look after your pets and also think of future pets and sign this RSPCA petition

Thank you

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Christmas Energy Bars with PandaVita Baobab Powder - Superfood

Some mornings it can be such a struggle to get out of bed, especially as the days are getting shorter so it's dark earlier or you have to wake up and it's still dark. Then of course, it's getting to the end of year and somehow it is super busy. It's pretty much go go go from now until new year. Getting Christmas sorted, shopping, childrens plays and special assemblies, parent consultations, having the big pre-Christmas massive clear out of toys or clothes to make room for the new lot. The kids have events to go to which finish late, like family get togethers and birthdays, and then because they have a late night, I end up having an even later night as I like my 'me time' and catching up on TV that is not suitable for kids, and it's all just so tiring. 
Christmas Day itself is a very long day and by the evening, everyone's eaten too much and is just plain tired, which is why the Christmas Film is always a bonus. 
So this got me thinking that I need to design a energy rich recipe which is easy to do, and I can do quickly. 
Flapjacks it is! These are my favourite, I could eat them every day, and the best bit about flapjacks is that you can make them your own and add what you like. So I always use my base recipe and then customise it the way I fancy on the day. 
This time I'm going to add some proper energy boosting ingredients. 
Baobab powder is jammed packed with potassium, which is a slow releasing energy, like in bananas, which is why we love our bananas and banana smoothies for breakfast. However, its five times more!! Baobab powder also has a lot of vitamin C and magnesium which are of course great for our bodies and a great way to stay healthy.
Baobab powder is an organic produce that originates from Africa and PandaVita have packaged for us beautifully and easy to use and store, as well as being easy to deliver straight to your door. The packaging can be flattened easily for postage!! Bonus!!
Baobab is extracted direct from the fruit of the tree, and as it is left to dry naturally inside the pods it is completely natural and untouched.
I've been adding baobab to my smoothies and porridge, and it's been lovely. You can add it to energy balls too - recipe on previous post. You can even have it with just water, which I have to say, it quite nice actually. It's very citrusy so it's similar to a lemon drink. It really is a super food powder and well worth having to add to your morning drinks. 
Because of the powdered form, you can literally add it to anything.

Your standard flapjack recipe is approx: 250g porridge oats, 125g sugar and 125g butter, then you can add 2-3 tablespoons of golden syrup or honey to make it gooey and extra sweet, or add a mashed banana to make it chewey, Then customise it to what you want.
I then like to add whatever I fancy. I don't think many of my flapjack mixes are ever the's a few ideas for you to add.
 As its near Christmas, I decided on Christmas Energy Bars. So the dried fruit came out.

My ingredients:

100g Apricots
50g Dates
50g Craisins
1 Banana
Blend Together or Chop into small pieces

150g Butter
125g Sugar
2 tbs Honey
Melt in a Saucepan on a very low heat

Add the fruit mix and also add
2 tbs Baobab
300g Oats

Mix really well together and then pour into a baking tray. Use a metal spoon to push it all flat into the tray.
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees.
Leave to cool and cut into squares. Its so simple. It literally takes 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook.

 Such pretty colours and really Christmassy.
Tesco do great grease proof baking trays with push up bottom trays. So you never need to tip your flapjacks upside down...
The craisins make a gorgeous difference with the colours, and they really show through

There you go : Baobab Christmas Energy Bars.

So pretty, and they really do make a great snack. The amount of natural energy in one bar is enough to keep me going for a while. Alternatively, make loads as these make great gifts.

*Panda Vita has now ceased trading, however, there are plenty of other brands that stock Baobab Powder 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Perfect Woman 7 Vitamin Supplements

Food supplements are all over the shelves, in the shops and pharmacies. I tend to stick with powdered forms of supplements, however sometimes its nice to have a quick and easy way to consume all the nutrients that you need. Unfortunately as we get older, we need to look after ourselves just that little bit more. So the shops recommend supplement capsules like Seven Seas.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Goodyfull Energy Superfood Balls Recipe

Raw Chocolate Chia Energy Balls

Whenever I go out to the shops or foodie festivals I see so many energy bars or balls, and I've always thought, that these must be super easy to make at home, and would probably be a lot cheaper too.
So today I made pure raw energy balls with Chia Seeds and Cacao Powder alongside Coconut all with the help of Goodyful Organic Products.
What a lot of people don't know, is that nearly all energy bars have a base ingredient of Dates. Which is funny, as lot of people have never eaten a date on its own, or even realise its in there. I love dates, and will get very carried away eating them, especially medjool dates....they are soooooo good. A healthy sweet treat is what I like to call them. Instead of eating fudge or caramel, have a date instead. It's pretty much the same consistency.

Chia seeds are a true super food as they have natural energy boosting power and has been consumed for years and years as an energy foods. Even warriors hundreds of years ago used to eat them before they went out to battle. I bet you never knew that !!! Chia seeds are also also great for our skin as they are anti-ageing, they are great for our insides and also our bones and muscle growth as they contain a lot of protein. You can eat chia seeds in two ways, dry or wet. If you soak them in water or milk they turn to gel and you can eat them like a natural moose, and as they can soak up up to 10 times their natural weight in water, a small spoonful can turn into a filling meal. Another benefit I learnt is that chia seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid which is an omega-3 fatty acid. This has been linked to kill cancerous cells, so these little seeds are going to stay in my diet for a very long time. Cancer is in my family and if I can prolong it or reduce the risk, I'm in !!
Cacao Powder is a great source of pure energy and proteins too. It is also great for releasing endorphin's which boost your happiness. 

Coconut is rich in fibre and has all the essential vitamins. It is great for our insides and helps promote weight loss. Coconut is also another one that can protect your body against cancerous cells forming and has anti-ageing benefits too.

Here's my own recipe for Goodyfull Energy Superfood Balls

250g  or  1.5 Cups Pitted Dates
1/4 Cup Cacao Powder
1/2 Cup Fine Coconut
1/4 Coconut Flour
1/2 Cup Dried Apricots
1 tbs Coconut Oil

Extra Fine Coconut for Decoration
You will need a food processor or blender for this recipe. Blend up all the dates and then add the remaining ingredients one by one into the mix.

Once all the ingredients are nicely blended you will then need to take a teaspoon to a tablespoons worth and place it in your hands to roll into balls. So, depending on the size you can make big ones or tiny ones, its completely up to you. I made 18 small balls with my mix.
Once you have rolled your balls, as the mix is still quite sticky, you can roll them into fine coconut to coat the balls and make them easier to handle.

So these little chocolate balls are incredibly healthy and full of all good and beneficial ingredients. They are sweet, chocolatey, chewy, delicious and completely guilt-free.
Perfect for a pre-workout or a breakfast snack.
 Place them in a Tupperware box and refrigerate and then eat when desired. Simple.
Give them a go, and remember when you cook at home, you can customise any recipe to suit you. So you can add even more goodness like sesame seeds, goji berries, baoboa powder, matcha tea, other dried fruit chopped really small, and you could even add dark chocolate chips.

I used Goodyfull Organic Food products. They have an online super food shop with all the best organic produce which includes: Chia Seeds, Cacao Powder, Coconut Flour, Goji Berries, Acai Berry Powder, Hemp Protein Powder and Matcha Powder. Prices are from £4.98. They also have a subscription package where you choose what you like, and they will send you a reminder every week or month to ask if you want more and you say yes, and they will do it all for you.
Superfoods to the door !!! The product ingredients are superb and because the packs are flat, they will go through your letterbox with ease.

These also make for great gifts to add to any food hamper, or get the whole collection for a beautiful foodie gift.

*This post is in collaboration with Goodyfull Organic Foods.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Huel - The Future of Food Review

Have you heard of Huel?
Huel is a powdered food supplement that gives you everything that your body needs. It's not your ordinary protein shake, or slimmers shake, its a shake instead of food. Is this a good thing?
The company Huel wanted to design a food supplement that can help many people around the world and in the future.
I was very dubious of it at first, because I'm a firm believer of, if you can eat food then eat it. I also worry about how our body changes if we start drinking instead of eating as surely it must effect how our body works to digest foods. However, after using it and reading more into it, I can see that Huel has a lot of potential for many countries and certainly in the future.
I have personally described it as spacefood - as its a powdered form of everything you need to survive with very little materials needed. Infact all you need is water and a shaker.

Huel is only sold in two flavours at present. Unflavoured & Unsweetened and Vanilla. The Vanilla is a very subtle taste though. They have designed it this way so that we stop craving foods. All our lives we have been given foods that our bodies don't actually need, but then come to get to know, and after a while of not having it our body starts to crave it, although, we still don't actually need it. I now have a very sweet tooth, and I don't think that is ever going to change now.
*UPDATE: Huel now have flavour packs that you can buy with your Hiel, so you can have whatever flavour you like !!
Huel has only 7 ingredients: Oats, Rice Protein, Pea Protein, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseed & Coconut and contains all your vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. It's almost a miracle powder. So in total it contains 148g of protein and 35g fibre.

The other reason that Julia Hearn and James Collier BSc created this meal replacement was because if the world keeps going as it is with regards to population growth, we will get to a point where food could potentially become more limited, which seems strange to think that, but, it is already very limited in some parts of the world. People are still starving to death because they can't get the foods and nutrition that they need. As a nation we are trying our hardest not to waste food and to try and find ways of making foods more sustainable. Huel is suitable for Vegetarians and Vegans (so long as you mix it water) and this year they also now have gluten free versions. 
We do need to reduce our meat intake for the worlds benefit and we also need to reduce in unhealthy and fatty foods. What we eat effects our bodies and the world so much, it's actually very scary reading about it. 
So this is where Huel comes into it. Huel will cost you £45 for 14,000 calories, which is 28 meals at 500 calories each (you can reduce this to suit you, this is just one of their guides) which in turn only costs £1.61 per meal. Cheap ey !!!!!
Just think what you spend on your lunch every day in comparision to drinking Huel!! Its quite a scary thought. We waste a lot of money on food..... yes we eat it and we enjoy it, but most of it is just for pure indulgence. 

If you subscribe to Huel you can bring the cost of your 'meal' to ONLY £1.34. Yep....thats it !!!
So, this then made me think of reasons why there are actually lots of people who could benefit from this. There are charities buying food items to send abroad to starving people. Well......why don't they buy Huel which will last a lot longer, can be stored easily, doesn't spoil as it can be stored for 12 months, and doesn't need any form of electricity or fuels to make it. You literally just need water and a shaker. There are also loads of people who are on a low income jobs and they struggle throughout the year to pay their bills and rent and food. Well, Huel can help with this too. 
Then there are people who say that they don't earn or get enough money to eat healthy foods...... this really annoys me, as there are plenty of healthy foods out there, like vegetables, that are not that expensive and can be made into a variety of very healthy and very cheap meals. Then you get the other excuses of I can't cook, so I have to buy takeaways on a regular basis.....and then wonders why they have no money. There are also people with a fear of food and have fears that a tiny bit of fat in foods will stick to them like glue, there are plenty of people with food disorders. They become weak and their immune systems start to shut down as they are missing certain nutrients in their diet. Then there's the opposite side to that, there are people that eat way to much. They have stretched their stomachs so much that they never fill full up. Huel can fix all of these problems and really should be considered for a lot of people. Foodbanks, should include Huel to make sure that everyone has what they nutritionally need to survive. Buying Huel would save a lot of money and is also better for the environment and saves a lot of time (and washing up!!)
Then other reasons for people using Huel is travelling. People go on expeditions across mountains, across countries and people are sent to remote destinations to work or research and have to wait weeks for food to arrive. People who travel or work on boats..... goodness I could go on with a very long list... So although it's not food food, it really could benefit a lot of people.

OK, so how have I been consuming Huel:
The easiest way, is to follow the instructions -  400 mls cold water and 3 scoops of Huel. I've this a couple of times, but I felt it was too much for me and my tiny frame, so 1 scoop is plenty for me.
Taste wise, it definitely needs sweetening up and it reminded me of oat milk. They do recommend that you add something with a high flavour like coffee for example. My husband has been drinking his Huel with a lot of coffee to hide any taste that he's not keen on, and it says that actually makes it very enjoyable. He also prefers milk with Huel, as do I. However, when you add it to milk, you need less Huel as it can get very thick. Or even half and half which is generally how I've been drinking it. 
Other ways that I've been drinking it, is to mix my protein shake mix to it (purely for flavours) you can add naughty milkshake flavours to it, and you can also add fresh fruit blended up and adding healthy alternatives like Cocao Powder makes a great chocolate milkshake. 

This is a raspberry blended shake with a handful of raspberries with a scoop of Huel and 200ml approx of milk.
I've tried Huel with different fruits, like bananas, blueberries and strawberries, either individually or all mixed together. I do prefer Huel blended than shaken, as it makes it smoother to drink.

You can also add it to your normal foods to help bulk it up even more. However, I do have to say that they don't recommend always eating it cooked as it can ruin the nutritional values, but as I've been testing it out, I've had to try different ways to consume it.
I've added it to my morning porridge and I've made pancakes with it. I have also, sneeked a half or a quarter of a scoop into tomato sauce to go over pasta. I have sneeked it in to quite a lot of what we eat to help bulk it up, and because it makes you feel incredibly full, so you don't need second helpings. It's great in soups....
I haven't used it to make cakes or bread or cookies as yet, but I'm sure that time will come too. I have many ideas of where to hide it.
 Half a scoop added to porridge makes it really thick, and really filling. But if you have a sweet tooth like me, adding fruit or honey brings that sweetness back.
Chocolate Pancakes is really simple too.
1/4 cup of Huel
1 heaped teaspoon of Cocao Powder
Half a banana
1 egg.
That's it !! Blend it up and you will get two good sized pancakes from it. I drizzled mine with honey to give that alternative natural sweetener. They cook really easily, and because its a thick batter, you can shape it in the pan.

So, have I enjoyed it ?
Personally, the taste on its own is not really for me, but I have added many different flavours to it to help improve the taste so I can enjoy it. I don't drink coffee so I couldn't use that strong flavour to mask the taste. The best way to describe the taste is......a cardboardy flour. I know that's not a good thing, but, flour on its own doesn't taste nice either, which is why we use it in foods to make everything taste better or to thicken something up. So if you see Huel in a similar way, its easy to use and you'll know what to add to make it suitable for you.
I have enjoyed sweetening it up, as unfortunately, I am stuck with a sweet tooth and shakes to me, need to be sweet.
Huel do actually sell flavours to go along side it which you can buy direct from them, or just use a flavoured milkshake mix from the shops.

This is certainly a food that should be considered more. It is THE MOST FILLING DRINK I have EVER tasted. One shake, will keep you satisfied for hours, you actually get to a point where you don't even think about food as your body isn't craving anything. It also gives you plenty of energy. I've had a Huel shake for breakfast and then been ski-ing for a couple of hours and not eaten again until late lunch time.

So, if you need to save money you can use Huel, if you are trying to loose weight, you can use Huel, if you don't have access to a kitchen you can use Huel, if you don't like eating foods then you can use Huel.

If you are one of these people, Huel is worth a try for its ease, nutritional benefits and for convenience.

Buy your Huel direct from their website and if you subscribe, you can save even more money.

*I was sent this to review, all opinions are my own and completely honest

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Perfect Cars The Movie Christmas Gifts

My Son loves Cars The Movie, One and Two, and he loves playing with the toys that are associated with the films. We already have loads of the mini die cast cars. These are great value and not one of them have broken yet. These should last a lifetime. So as he loves racing these around, I knew he would love these two add ons. 

Dreamtoys 2016 - My Christmas Wish List for the Kids

I've previously written about Dreamtoys Top 12 Toys so now I wanted to tell you about what I would love to buy subject to having no budget and a huge house. This is my wish list that I would buy my kids!!
Dreamtoys is an event that showcases what the toy experts think will be the best selling toys of the year to help us parents buy the right toys for our children and for other peoples children for gifts and for Christmas. I did like most of the top 12, but.....some I just didn't understand why children need them. The ones I didn't like were either, same old same old, five minutes wonders or just plain old boring. So going through Dreamtoys list of almost 70 toys and taking out the top 12, here are my favourites that I would love to get, even if I don't like them, but I know my kids would.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dreamtoys - Top 12 Toys of 2016 - My Opinion

Toys Toys Toys !!! They are everywhere and now is the month that we all start to go crazy over what toys to buy the kiddies for Christmas. Dreamtoys is an event in London to show off the most popular toys of the year and the coming year. This is run by the Toy Retailers Association which I was very lucky to attend. So to make your life easier buying toys for Christmas, I am going to let you know what they are.

Friday, November 11, 2016 have launched Kids Clothing - Finally!!

November is here and it is COLD. Frost in the mornings, ice on the cars and its just going to get colder. So, of course it's time to get new coats for the kids. I already got mine a couple of months ago, as I saw a coat I fell in love with, so I bought it early and kept it until it was needed. I then bought my son a new coat, which strangely almost matches mine......So of course my daughter was waiting for her new coat. is an online clothing catalogue and they had originally concentrated on women's wear and then mens, and now they have just introduced the kids clothing section. It only launched in October and they are adding new products on a daily basis. They are all fantastic prices and the quality is really good too.  So whilst looking through, I thought I'd check out the coats for girls. I saw a coat that I thought my daughter would like, well.....hoped she would like.
Her favourite colour or shade is black, I'm not sure why, but that's what she told me so I was looking for a black coat. Plus it goes with everything so it wouldn't clash with any of her clothing. I also wanted something that would keep her warm. She doesn't like wearing lots of layers as she feels too constricted, so I needed something that was lined or had a lining in that could be removed if she wanted to. I found quite a few that I liked, then had to go through the elimination process, otherwise the girl would have had five new coats!!! I chose this one.....what do you think?

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Foodie Gift Ideas

Gifts for friends and family can be really difficult to choose, so I have started to do more Foodie Gifts, as this is always good fun, and will always be used.
I like to get a selection of different items that can be used for a cooking experience of different flavours or cultures. When people go shopping, they tend to stick with what they know or are comfortable with. So this way they can experience something new, or just try something different or even something that they really want to try, but dont think they can do it, like sushi for example. You can put everything in a hamper and it makes an amazing gift, and a thoughtful one, as you have chosen the food to be included yourself. 
Here's just a few ideas for you that can all be put in the same hamper or make them into smaller hampers for different people.
 Anyone that eats sushi, should try making it. Its fun, healthy, and actually isn't as hard as people may think. You can design your own and get really creative. Plus, little kiddy buddy chefs can join in too. Don't forget to add the wasabi and ginger too. Maybe you could add a tin of tuna and mayonnaise.

Taste of London Time - A Foodies Heaven !!!

Taste of London is back and I simply can not wait. It is held at Londons Tobacco Docks from the 17th November to the 20th November. It is an amazing venue with a lot of history to it. It is also perfect for a foodie event!!
Taste showcases a lot of restaurants and food companies, as well as homemade small business products. There will also be many famous chefs showing us how to cook the right way and to show off their amazing cooking skills, like Tom Kerridge, Angela Hartnett and the amazing Marcus Wareing. There are plenty of cooking demonstrations that you can actually book yourself in and try out new kitchen equipment and watch live cooking demonstrations. There is literally something for everyone.
For me, I just like walking around, trying out new food samples and buying goods that we enjoyed. I do like watching the chefs cook and gain ideas and just watch in complete awe of their effortless way of cooking. How do chefs makes everything look so easy????

Come along, get yourself tickets from their website. The Champagne package is the best value deal, so I would suggest that for a great day out.

Here's just a few exciting products and companies that will be on show at Taste this year. Perfect for Christmas Gifts and to go with Christmas Dinner.

and Wines Galore !!! 

There will be cocktails from Barsmith Event Bars,
Restaurants will include Foley's , Tredwells's , Hix SohoChi Kitchen, Tom's Kitchen, and native which I am very excited about. There are so many, I couldn't possibly list them all.

Come along, I'll see you there !! If you need more convincing read my previous blog post about Taste HERE from 2014.

Taste Tickets