No grandes, no talls just big coffee…

I love relaxing in a nice coffee shop with a hot coffee and a piece of cake, but let’s be honest, my usual hangout Starbucks is overpriced and the coffee is nothing to write home about! It was after spending almost £10 on a frappuccino and ordered in cake that I decided to find a new coffee shop to spend my time!

Couch is a coffee shop on Ecclesall road with a branch on Campo Lane in Sheffield City Centre. When I walked past and saw it was open I thought I would give it a try. The interior is amazing, think patchwork antique chairs, big comfy leather sofas, wooden booths and mismatched dining tables and chairs. The cakes are all served under bell jars, and books and board games scatter the book shelves along the walls. It has a lovely homely feel to it, and it would be easy to lose yourself in a good book whilst watching the busy traffic on Ecclesall Road pass by.

The first time I went I ordered a snickers brownie and a cappuccino for well under £5. The brownie was a huge slice (I asked for the biggest bit) and it had peanut butter running through it and of course whole peanuts. It was beautiful and moist, and so chocolately and rich, but in no way too sweet or sickly. Let’s be honest, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combo ever. They have loads of different flavours of brownie to try, such as Double Decker and Mint Aero which are all on the ‘to do’ list! They also have a huge selection of cakes, but when it’s between a brownie or cake I’m always going to go for the brownie!

Coffee

Brownie and Coffee

We took our brownies to our table and waited for our coffees, promising to only take a little nibble and to wait for our hot drinks to arrive. Needless to say the brownie was all but gone by the time our drinks arrived. (This isn’t a bad reflection on the staff who made the coffee in a perfectly acceptable time, but more a reflection at my lack of self-control and greediness).

The coffee is smooth and drinkable, and doesn’t leave a bitter or unpleasant taste in your mouth like some other coffees from certain chains can. It’s served in cute tea sets in all different colours; say goodbye to coffees the size of your head, “no grandes, no talls just big coffee” as their website says. It also says “our mum says our coffee is the best, and mums don’t lie” and their momma definitely didn’t lie! It’s as good as any coffee I’ve tried in Italy or the south of France. So far it’s the best coffee I’ve found in Sheffield. The best bit? You can get one of these lovely hot drinks for £1 between 8-10 in the morning!

I went for a second time for a bank holiday brunch. The breakfast menu is extremely reasonable with a bacon sandwiches for around £3.50. I went for a smoked ham eggs benedict for under £5. The food comes served on chalk board like slates, which to be honest I think is a little bit unnecessary but it does go with the decor. The eggs benedict was amazing, it was the perfect hangover treat, they were very generous with the ham, and I had two thick slices on my English muffin, with two perfectly poached eggs and just the right amount of buttery hollandaise sauce. My friends who both got bacon sandwiches watched on in jealousy at my brunch, food envy etched onto their faces. My only complaint would be that all the food was on top of half a muffin and I think it should have been served over 2, but then again I’m greedy!

Smoked Ham Eggs Benedict

Smoked Ham Eggs Benedict

I paired this with a caramel cappuccino, and I was not disappointed.

If you’re a coffee lover but you’re fed up of spending almost £5 on your morning caffeine hit, then stop by at Couch. I mean, for £1 during happy hour it would be stupid not to!

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My egg free, gluten free and vegan chocolate brownies

You will be mind blown when you bite into this moist, gooey and rich chocolate brownie, you will be even more surprised to learn that they contain no eggs, flour or butter. No one will know these are a healthy alternative! After experimenting with butter beans in my secret ingredient cookies I decided to try using chickpeas in my next recipe.

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The best bit about this recipe is that it is SO easy to whip up, it takes minutes. After browsing other chickpea recipes I found an amazing recipe for seasalt blondies here, which is where my inspiration for this recipe came from.

Not only are these brownies egg free and gluten free, if you substitute the chocolate chips for dairy free chips they are also vegan!

Recipe (makes 14-16):

♥ 1 1/2 cup of tinned, cooked chickpeas, drained.

♥ 1/4 cup unsweetened peanut butter

♥ 1 tbsp coconut oil

♥ 3 tbsp cocoa powder

♥ 1/3 cup maple syrup

♥ 1 tspn vanilla extract

♥ 1/2 tspn baking powder

♥ 1/2 cup chocolate chips of choice

Here comes the easy bit…

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.

2. Whiz everything except the chocolate chips up in a food processor.

3. Mix in chocolate chips.

4. Put mixture in a greased and lined baking tray and bake for 18 minutes.

I first discovered chickpeas made an epic brownie during the obligatory taste of the batter mix. As this is a vegan recipe there are no uncooked eggs to worry about so you can eat this ‘raw’ (not that it ever stops me anyway)!

Again, these taste incredible straight from the oven but you should probably leave them to cool before you try and cut them.

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These come in at around 90-120 calories a piece depending on the thickness and type of chocolate chips used, but they taste so indulgent and naughty, when they’re secretly good for you!

After taste testing these on two of my friends neither could tell they weren’t a traditional brownie, and both wanted another piece (to which I had to swat their hands away and hide my wonderful creation out of reach from prying hands).

One bite of these bad boys and you will be transported to chocolate, dessert heaven! The chickpeas give the finished brownie a beautiful nutty texture, and they’re packed full of goodness and nutrients. Enjoy!

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Peanut butter vs. PB2

Peanut Butter VS. PB2

Unfortunately living in the UK means I can’t get my hands on some of the amazing health foods available in America. This meant I had to fork out £11.69 for two jars of PB2 on Amazon. If like me you have a slight obsession with peanut butter and often find yourself eating it by the spoonful for a morning (and afternoon, and evening) snack, then I would recommend trying it out!

The nutritional info:

Nutrional Info

For every 2 Tbsp. of PB2 compared to traditional peanut butter you save 145 calories! And it has absolutely no saturated fat.

The best bit about PB2 is that it’s all natural with a minimal list of ingredients: Roasted peanuts, sugar, salt.

The best BEST bit about PB2 is that it tastes AMAZING.

It comes in a powder and the ratio is 2 Tbsp. PB2 to 1 Tbsp. water. You mix it up until you get your desired consistency…

PB2

…and eat it straight off the spoon with none of the guilt! Or you could put it on toast, and oh…my…goodness it makes for a delicious breakfast. It is possibly the best thing invented since peanut butter itself was invented.

Chocolate PB2

(chocolate PB2 is pictured in this photo.)

It even has little bits of peanuts once it’s been mixed up so it has a nice texture, and tastes just like normal peanut butter but without any of the fat!

Verdict:

Now here comes PB2’s ONLY downfall… It doesn’t come with all the great health benefits of natural, peanut butter as all the nutrients are taken out along with the fat. The fat in traditional peanut butter is a ‘good fat’ so I’m still going to be eating it for my breakfast, and it’s amazing to eat before/after a workout.

I’ll switch to PB2 when I fancy something sweet and not so calorific, possibly on the days where I’m not hitting the gym. I’m definitely going to try adding it to my baking/cooking, as all the peanut butter taste is still there, so watch this space for some yummy baked PB2 goodies coming soon!

My first attempt at chia seed pudding

After browsing various health food blogs and reading about the health benefits of chia seed I decided it would be worth a try.

You’ll soon come to learn that I have a ridiculous sweet tooth, I literally never get sick of sweet food; so when one blogger wrote that eating chia seed pudding for breakfast was like eating chocolate dessert, I was sold.

My first attempt was a bit of a flop. I added almond milk, stevia and cinnamon to the chia seed and left it in the fridge overnight. Although my clever placement of fruit made it look incredibly pretty, the taste was a huge let down. (Hence the massive dollop of peanut butter to cover the taste!)

Chia SeedIt has taken me 4 attempts but I now have the perfect recipe for the health conscious chocoholic like me. It is seriously good, it tastes creamy and chocolately and indulgent. You would never know this is a health food.

For one portion of pudding the ratio is 1 cup of nut/soya milk to 4 tbsp of chia seed.

Chocoholic’s Chia Seed Pudding:

– 4 tbsp chia seed

– 3/4 cup chocolate almond milk

– 1/4 cup coconut milk (NOT coconut cream.)

– 1 tsp cocoa or cacao powder

– Sweetener of choice to taste (I would recommend maple syrup to taste, but that’s just because I don’t like stevia.)

Mix it all up in tupperware box (or a pretty mason jar; a 0.5-0.8 jar will be around a single portion.) Give it a little shake and leave it overnight. You will have to give it a stir in the morning as the cocoa powder will have settled on the top. Add a drop more coconut milk to make the pudding your desired thickness and it’s ready!

chocochoaIt is the simplest recipe to prepare and only takes around 3-5 minutes to rustle up! Prepare it before bed and wake up to a seemingly sinful yet nutritious and filling breakfast.

To graze or not to graze?

If you’re unsure about whether to subscribe to graze box or not then read on for some helpful information:

I have a huge appetite and have to make sure I have my drawers stocked full of snacks at work otherwise I’m a bit of a nightmare to be around. As it’s Easter season (or as I like to call it Creme Egg season), I frequently find myself falling for the tempting, and oh so evil 3 Creme Eggs for £1 offer. As much as I love Creme Eggs and take advantage of them for the short and sweet time they’re around, this isn’t the healthiest snacking habit. I do bring healthy snacks into work with me such as almonds, dates and peanut butter, but it’s very easy to overdo it as they’re difficult to buy in single portions.

creme egg
Due to my uncontrollable sweet tooth I decided to sign up for a free trial of the graze box and have been hooked ever since! You can browse all their snacks on their website and pick which ones you definitely want to try, which ones you wouldn’t mind trying, and which snacks you never want to see in your box!

My ‘Love’ list contains mostly chocolate based goodies, however we all know dark chocolate is good for you (meaning you can eat as much as you like right)?

Graze Box
The graze box comes with a little menu with all the nutritional information of your snacks and full list of the ingredients so you know exactly what’s inside. All their food is natural and clean meaning guilt free snacking.

They have so many options to choose from, so if you think some of the snacks are slightly too calorific you can sign up to the light box with all the snacks coming in at under 150kcal. I have also recently discovered there is a CHOCOLATE BOX which I might have to switch to in the near future.

The snacks are conveniently packaged in individual portions, and you can get them delivered as often as you like to your home, office, or any address you choose!

Graze Box
graze has put together some really clever combinations of all your favourite treats such as rocky road, sticky toffee pudding, jaffa cake and many more, meaning you can enjoy some of your favourite flavours minus the carbs, added sugar, chemicals etc.

If you’re still not sure whether to try graze then they always have amazing offers which allow you to try a free box! I’m currently on an offer which gives me a free box, and then I get my 1st, 5th and 10th free. If you would like the same offer then here is a code for you to use (uk only):

D7YHNHGJB

Even if you decide you don’t want to continue you can cancel at any time and you’ve still had a free box.

Some of my favourite and recommended snacks:

The graze brownie: only 110kcal for three pieces of brownie and approximately 69% less saturated fat than other brownies!

Dark Rocky Road: With pecan nuts, dark chocolate buttons and cranberries it’s sweet yet tart, crunchy and satisfying.

My Thai: Sweet chilli sauce with baked soy bites and only 84 calories per portion!

 

My gluten free/guilt free cauliflower pizza!

I am here to make your day.

I have a recipe for you that will allow you to have pizza EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK without consuming an outrageous number of calories.

This pizza could probably serve 2, but I’m going to call it a single serving since I ate it all myself.  As it’s made from VEGETABLES it would be silly not to eat the whole thing (got to make sure you’re getting your 5 a day)!

I’ve attempted to make this pizza a few times and I think I’ve nailed it with this recipe. It’s chewy, packed full of flavour and can be picked up like a good pizza slice should be.

I mean… does this look healthy to you?

cauliflower pizza

Pizza Base Recipe:

♥ 1 small cauliflower head

♥ 2 tbsp almond meal

♥ 1 egg

♥ 2-4 tbsp grated parmesan

♥ 1 tsp garlic powder

♥ Small bunch of basil (or to taste)

♥ 1/4tsp oregano (or to taste)

♥ Pinch of salt and pepper (to taste)

Tomato sauce recipe:

♥ Half chopped onion

♥ 2 tbsp tomato puree

♥ 1 can chopped tomatoes

♥ 1 tsp chopped garlic

♥ 1/2 tsp oregano

♥ A few leaves of ripped up basil

♥ Pinch of sugar, salt and pepper (to taste)

Tomato Sauce:

1. Put chopped onions and garlic in a pan with olive oil and soften.

2. Add tomato puree to the pan and lightly fry.

3. Add chopped tomatoes along with herbs and spices and leave to simmer whilst the pizza base cooks until reduced.

Pizza Base:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c.

2.  Put your cauliflower in a food processor and blend until rice consistency.

image(1)

3. Put cauliflower rice into a tea towel and SQUEEZE as hard as you can to get all the liquid out.

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4. For a chewier base put the squeezed cauliflower in an oven for 10-12 minutes to dry out a little.

5. Mix all the ingredients together. It should hold together in a ball.

6. On a greased tray or piece of baking parchment shape the dough with your hand into a pizza base shape. image(5)

7. Put into the oven for approximately 20 minutes flipping half way through. (If it starts to go too brown cover with foil.)

8. Add tomato sauce and toppings of your choice to your pizza base and cook until ready. image(6)

From vegetable to an italian thin crust and healthy pizza in around 30 minutes!

pizza1

If you’re craving pizza this hits the spot. The base has SO much flavour because it’s packed with seasoning and herbs. You can add any toppings you like, and since the base is pretty much like eating a vegetable you can go crazy with your toppings, cheese it up!

 

 

My super skinny 100 calorie muffins (2 ways!)

Did you know that a classic blueberry muffin from Starbucks has 448 calories? Even if you go for the skinny versions they still come in at around 306-338kcal!

For all the taste but none of the guilt here is my recipe for super skinny blueberry muffins and/or lemon and poppy seed muffins that come in at approximately 100kcal each! Yep you read it right, 100kcal for a muffin meaning you can have three, (you can thank me later)!

They’re soft, fluffy and moist and give any coffee shop cake a run for it’s money!

muffins

Base Recipe (Makes 12):

♥ 190g~1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or flour of choice)

♥ 2 tsp baking powder

♥ 100g~1/2 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of choice)

♥ 80ml~1/3 cup apple sauce

♥ 80ml~1/3 cup coconut milk (or milk of choice)

♥ 1 egg

♥ 1tsp vanilla extract

♥ For blueberry muffins add 1tsp cinnamon and 100g blueberrys.

♥ For lemon and poppyseed muffins add lemon zest from 2 lemons and 10-20g poppyseeds to taste.

Optional-mix icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth to top muffins.

ingredients

Method:

1.  Preheat the oven to 200°c/400°f.

2. Spray 12 muffin cases with cooking spray.

3. Sift spelt flour into a bowl and add baking powder.

4. In another bowl mix the sugar, apple sauce, egg, milk and vanilla extract.

5. Mix the liquid into the flour until combined.

6. Seperate into two seperate bowls.

7. Add blueberrys and cinnamon to one mix and lemon zest and poppy seeds to the other.

8. Fill muffin cases to just over 1/3 full.

9. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes, making sure to stay by the oven as they turn brown very quickly!

10. They’re ready when a knife or skewer comes out clean.

I’ve never used coconut sugar before but was interested in using it as a white sugar alternative, and after trying it in this recipe I would suggest you do too. It gave the muffin mix a beautiful treacle colour and the batter… oh the batter! It was so tasty, and as the mixture was split into two that meant TWO spoons to lick… and two bowls to clean…with a spoon into my mouth. (Note: I am not responsible for the extra calories consumed in the baking process).

Batter

I’m a dessert fiend, so ate two of these straight from the oven; they’re delicious warm but if you can wait then I’d recommend drizzling them with lemon icing once cooled.

My super skinny muffins will satisfy your sweet tooth, and they make a lovely and light accompaniment to your morning tea or coffee. You’re also bound to be quite popular if you decide to share these (I won’t judge you if you don’t), especially when you drop the ‘low cal bomb’. Whether or not they believe you is another matter!