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Friday, 29 September 2017

Autumn Recipes - In Collaboration With Yankee Candle

When Yankee Candle contacted me and asked me to create a couple of Autumnal recipe cards to go with their new 'Fall collection' I was so excited! I've been a Yankee Candle lover for years and always get so excited for new scents coming out, so this was a dream collaboration for me.

I was asked to create a recipe to compliment the Vibrant Saffron candle and the Mulberry & Fig Delight candle, so I came up with a delicious and warming vegetable curry with saffron rice and sweet Fig & Mulberry tarts. Both recipes are so comforting, so seasonal, full of flavour and easy to make. They're also both gluten free, suitable for vegans and refined sugar free.
I'm really proud to have collaborated with Yankee Candle and I'm delighted with the recipes I created, so of course I had to share them on my blog for you too!

The fig & mulberry tarts are the best autumnal sweet treat. The raw pastry is made of oats, ground almonds, dates and coconut oil - so all natural and all delicious, the fig jam is super easy to make and any leftovers are delicious on toast, the chewy dried mulberries on top add an extra touch of sweetness to the tarts and are full of nutritious goodness!


Monday, 25 September 2017

Smokey Lentil Quesadillas in GF Tortillas (Vegan)

I love tortilla wraps, always have done, but since being diagnosed coeliac and thus going completely gluten free I had to make the switch to gluten free wraps. Thankfully, BFree Foods make the most amazing gluten free tortilla wraps (in 3 flavours too!) with the healthiest ingredients and a texture just like regular tortilla wraps. The thing I really love about these wraps is how light they are, as sometimes gluten free products can be a little heavy or almost stodgy...these wraps are far from that. One of my favourite things to make with the tortilla wraps is fajitas, but this week I decided to get more creative and come up with a vegan quesadilla recipe using the multigrain wraps and they were a huge success!

 The BFree multigrain tortilla wraps go super crispy when cooked in a pan and the natural flavours in them seem to come out even more. Then there's the filling which is a delicious mixture of lentils and wholegrain rice in a homemade smokey tomato sauce, as well as nutritional yeast which is totally optional but adds a cheesy taste to the quesadillas - totally recommend if you can get your hands on it!


Friday, 22 September 2017

The Pill & Depression - My Experience

I was put on the pill 5 years ago by a doctor who told me it would help manage my symptoms of PCOS, but I didn't imagine it would effect my mental health quite as much as it did. I thought I would share my personal experience with the pill and depression, how it made me feel and my journey trying different versions of the contraceptive pill to find one that worked for me.
As I said above, this is my personal experience and my own journey and doesn't mean you'll have the same reactions as I did. I'm not a doctor and I'm not qualified to give advice, but if you have any concerns about how the pill is making you feel do make an appointment with your GP to talk it through.

I was put on the pill when I was 17 after being diagnosed with PCOS. I was first put on microgynon which made me so terribly sick, then I was put on another one which also made me sick, after this I was prescribed Yasmin which didn't make me feel sick at all and I had no issues with it. I took Yasmin for 3 years - it helped clear up my skin and regulated my periods. I was suffering from depression throughout this period of time but put it down to personal issues in my life rather than anything else. I decided to come off the pill in October 2015 because I didn't like the thought of putting artificial hormones into my body and I wanted to give my body a break from it! After 6 months I hadn't got my period back and my skin wasn't as clear as it once was, so the doctor advised me to go back onto the pill, which I did. I started taking Yasmin again in April 2016 and had a far worse reaction to it than I had done when I was 17! I felt incredibly sick, it was so bad I woke up in the night and had to go sit by my sink for hours on end. As well as this, I experienced extreme hunger and I seemed to be holding onto water a lot more than before. This died down a little bit but never went away until I came off Yasmin earlier this year. My mood during April 2016 and  Spring 2017 hit an all time low - I was having a depressive episode once or twice a week, my self confidence plummeted, my anxiety seemed to worsen and I found myself feeling really lost the majority of the time. Like before I didn't really think much of it - I've suffered with depression since I was 8 years old so didn't think this spell of darkness was anything to do with medication I was on.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (GF & Vegan)

This week is National Cupcake Week, I know...a pretty amazing week isn't it! So, to celebrate I just had to share a cupcake recipe with you - Nourishing Amelia style.

These chocolate peanut butter cupcakes are the ultimate indulgence - they're sweet, they're spongy, they're rich, they're fluffy and they have the best frosting. All of that plus they're gluten free, suitable for vegans and free from refined sugar. I know it's hard to believe but it's true.

Chocolate and peanut butter is one of my favourite combinations anyway, but throw it into a cupcake and it's like a piece of heaven! The richness of the chocolate and nuttiness of the peanuts compliments each other so well in this cake, which is wonderfully spongy yet light and the frosting which is irresistibly creamy.

The perfect cupcake for National Cupcake Week if you ask me!


Friday, 15 September 2017

Salted Caramel Popcorn Bars

I'm on a real popcorn kick at the moment - I've always loved it but I can't get enough of it recently! I'm particularly loving sweet & salty popcorn which may not be the 'healthiest' of choices but hey, I like it and a little treat every now and then never hurt anybody!

I decided to get creative and incorporate my favourite sweet & salty popcorn into an indulgent but healthier sweet treat, and I'm telling you's AMAZING! Introducing Salted Caramel Popcorn bars!

These little bars of heaven are simply divine. They're like millionaire shortbread but a million times better, and they're even gluten free, suitable for vegans AND refined sugar free (bar the popcorn on the could always use plain or just salted popcorn to change this but I really like the Propercorn Sweet & Salty flavour in this recipe).

Friday, 8 September 2017

A Coeliac's Experience In Paris

Last month my boyfriend and I hopped on the Eurostar for a few days away in Paris. We'd booked the  trip earlier this year and were so excited to explore the city and see the sights. Me, being the super planner that I am, took it upon myself to look up things we could do, places we just had to see whilst we were there and researching the best places for us to eat. As I have coeliac disease I always make sure I do plenty of research into restaurants and cafes that can cater for my dietary needs before going to a new place, as wandering around for hours searching for somewhere suitable when you're starving hungry ain't fun! Being coeliac not only limits my choice on the menu but I might not be able to eat at a restaurant at all if they don't have precautions in place to avoid cross-contamination - for example, I couldn't eat at a restaurant where they use the same knife or chopping board for the 'gluten free' food as they do for gluten containing foods.

When I was doing my (very in-depth) research I instantly noticed there seemed to be a lack of places providing gluten free meal options, whether cross-contamination was an issue or not, which kind of surprised'd think one of the most famous cities in the world would have lots of gluten free options! I did however manage to compile a list of around 10 different cafes and restaurants that seemed to offer gluten free options from their menus online, a few of the places were actually 100% gluten free which was amazing and made me super excited to visit them. Little did I know it wasn't all going to go to plan...

It turns out Paris is dreadful for coeliacs. Although I had the loveliest holiday and the most special few days away, the food side of things was a bit of a disaster and I wouldn't recommend Paris to coeliacs...especially in August! Everything in Paris seems to just shut down in August, and about half of the restaurants or cafes I had picked out were already scrapped because they were closed during the few days we were in the city (including Chambelland, LouLou Friendly Diner and Thank you, My Deer). It seemed crazy to me, I mean..can you imagine London practically shutting down during what is the busiest tourist month of the year? Nope, me neither.

Day 1 (Sunday)
We arrived in Paris just after lunchtime - we'd bought food at St Pancras to eat on the Eurostar and had plenty of snacks to keep us going until dinner. We checked into our hotel at around 3:30pm, settled in and had a freshen up before heading out for a wander. We walked up to the Eiffel Tower which was amazing - I always find it surreal seeing such famous sites close up, then we went to Notre Dame for a walk along the river and to see the breath-taking Notre Dame Cathedral. After this, it was time for dinner and we'd already decided to go to Hank Restaurant - a totally vegan burger & pizza restaurant with gluten free options, but on arrival we could see nothing was cooked separately. You could see into the kitchen and the 'gluten free' veggie burgers were just being chucked into the oven alongside the gluten containing burgers with crumbs flying around everywhere, not only that but apparently the 'gluten free chips' had flour on them. Needless to say we couldn't eat there! Plan B was to walk to Noglu - a totally gluten free restaurant about a 15 minute walk away, but on arrival we noticed it was closed. We then spend a good 2 hours wandering around the area, going into restaurants, looking at menus, searching online but by this point it was 10pm and everywhere was closing. We had to dash into a supermarket before it closed and pick up snacks to have for dinner....not the delicious gluten free feast I had hoped for on our first night!

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