Degustabox | February

We were sent a Degustabox for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

We always await our monthly Degustabox with anticipation. We love seeing what is in the box each month and there is usually something for everyone. You can order your own box here using the coupon code WDGX9 – the box is usually £12.99 but you can get it for just £7.99 including postage, thanks to the £5 one time discount my code offers you.

So what did we get in the box this month?

There was such an interesting selection of products in this months box. A few different cupboard items, some great snacks and some things that the kids would really enjoy.

Appy Kids Co Whole Milk – £1

My kids love milk so this was a welcome addition. The milk is delicious and is produced using Red Tractor approved milk. They loved seeing their favourite Paw Patrol characters on the packaging and these certainly didn’t last very long in our house!

Orangina Original – £1.30

Jack loves Orangina although usually opts for the no added sugar version. This was pinched straight out the box and enjoyed – he loved it!

Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli –  £3

We eat a lot of pasta but I’ve never tried pasta made from plant based protein. This will certainly be interesting to try and is a great addition to the pantry. It is organic, vegan and naturally gluten free.

CHOC CHICK Quinoa Pops and Plantain Bites – £1.85 each

These vegan treats combine the wholegrain goodness of quinoa and tropical loveliness of plantain with the finest Ecuadorian single origin organic cacao. These are dairy free and gluten free with 50% less sugar than your usual chocolates. These were intriguing to say the least.

Snaffling Pig Pork Crackling – Low and Slow BBQ/Perfectly Salted – 75p each

These were both enjoyed by Jack and Steve. They were apparently very flavourful and they will definitely be getting some more.

Deli Kitchen Folded Brioche Flatbreads – £1.25

We received two of these in the box so we’ve popped one in the freezer. These are a great alternative to bread for sandwiches and are super delicious.

Bebeto Watermelon Jelly Gums – 50p

We’ve tried Bebeto sweets before. These were absolutely delicious and we received two packs in the box which were readily enjoyed.

Clearspring Organic Seaveg Crispies Turmeric multi pack – £2.59

I must admit I wasn’t a fan of these at all. They are a toasted nori sea vegetable snack.

Sacla Reduced Fat Basil Pesto – £2.50

Sacla is a brand we often buy and I do love my pesto – even better when it is reduced fat. This is perfect for having in the cupboard for future use.

Overall, I was fairly happy with this box. I worked it out to be just over £22 when it comes to product value which is great when you consider the £12.99 price point; even better when you consider the coupon code too! There were a few items we weren’t too keen on but a few that we absolutely loved.

What would have been your favourite item in the box?

Degustabox | January (Review)

We were sent the January Degustabox for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

For quite a while now, we have been receiving the Degustabox food & drink subscription box in order to give our thoughts. I am happy to be continuing this into 2019 and am here today to give my thoughts about the January box. The box is £12.99 a month including delivery but you can get it at a discounted rate by inputting this code at the checkout: WDGX9.

Before it even arrived, I had an inkling that it would be a fairly healthy box, focusing on recovering from the excesses and indulgence of Christmas and New Year. I was right, receiving the January box, aptly named Recovery. I wasn’t too sure how useful all the products in the box would be to me and my family but couldn’t wait to see what was inside. So what were our thoughts?

Kallo Lightly Salted Organic Rice Cakes & Protein Packed Lentil Cakes – £1.30 each

Kallo are a brand I’ve seen around a lot before and have tried myself. I can give or take rice cakes but quite liked these lightly salted organic rice cakes. I’ve donated the lentil cakes to the food bank as I know we won’t eat them in my house so I’d rather they go to someone who will.

Miso Tasty Original Ramen Noodle Kit – £3.50

We’ve had Miso kits in the boxes before. I haven’t eaten this yet but it is in the cupboard for one of those days when I just fancy something like this.

Yes! Fruit & Nut bars – £1.20 each

These were a very interesting inclusion as they had such fun flavours. These are great for snacking and contain no added sugar and are one of your five a day. I opted to give these to Steve as they are much more his sort of thing.

Willy’s Apple Cider Vinegar – £2.95

I remember having this in a previous box and still have some of it left so although we will use it, I can’t see this getting used for a while. A useful inclusion nonetheless.

Hartley’s 10 Cal Jelly Pots – 75p each

As someone who is trying to get back on track on the Slimming World plan, these were very much a welcome addition and I was very intrigued by the flavours too! Blackforest gateau and lemon cheesecake are two of my favourite desserts ever so these jelly pots sounded incredible. I can testify, delicious!

Pipers Crispeas Matar Paneer – £1

Something quite unique here – these are a tasty, low calorie and vegetarian snack. These offer tasty different flavours and these were quite nice.

Pick Up! Milk Chocolate – £1.69

These were always going to be popular in my house and these barely lasted five minutes. We love these and are always happy to see them in the box.

Ryvita Protein Red Quinoa & Sesame – £1.59

No one in our family really eats Ryvita so I can’t really see these getting used up. These are headed to the food bank.

PBfit Peanut Butter Powder x 2 – 75p each

Whilst Steve loves peanut butter flavoured things, neither of us will use this so we are passing it on to a friend.

Lio Bites Freezer Dried Strawberry Crisps – £1.50

We’ve had these in one of our boxes before and we really loved them, especially the kids. These only lasted a few minutes after the kids came across them. One pack of these counts as one of your five a day and these are melt in the mouth delicious.

Overall, I found this box so-so. I’ve come to expect a box with a healthy/fitness focus in January so knew I wouldn’t necessarily use or like all of the products. We have used or will use the majority of the products but there are a few that we will be passing on to others. Considering the box retails at £12.99 including delivery, the contents of this box total over £21 so you’re making a saving of at least £8 while trying some fab new products.

What do you think would be your favourite item in the box?

The Complete Guide To Fair Trade Chocolate

In collaboration with Traidcraft

Did you know that the Fairtrade System currently works with more than 1.65 million farmers across 74 different countries around the world, bringing us some of the most delicious treats known to man — one being chocolate, a worldwide favourite. When it comes to determining what type of chocolate person you are, there is plenty to consider; are you a milk chocolate maestro or do you love to indulge in some dark chocolate?

Research suggests that annually, Britain consumes 660,900 tonnes of chocolate, which equates to 11kg per person. That is three bars a week (side note: I’m pretty sure I have more than this and the same can be said for most people I know too…whoops!) This highlights just how popular chocolate has become, but where does chocolate come from?

Cocoa from Bolivia: El Celibo

Chocolate creation requires very specific environmental conditions with every bar that is produced. This makes Bolivia a great place for production. But did you know that there are six million growers, farmers and processors across Africa, Asia and Latin America to meet the demands of the rest of the world? I bet you didn’t!

Chocolate is the end result of hard workers from one of the world’s poorest country; Bolivia. Bolivia has an estimated population of 10.89 million people and sits alongside Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, and Peru in South America.

It has a deep history of cultivating cocoa, starting in the 1960s, however the majority of growers seem to hail from the Alto Beni region. Some of the farmers have now started to grow organic bananas, citrus fruits and vegetables too.

Established in 1977, El Ceibo works with 50 co-operatives across Bolivia and reaches out to around 1,106 men and 194 women farmers from different ethnic groups. The majority of the additional money earned from their own fair-trade cocoa is handily used to fund the technical agricultural support they need, a programme that replaces cocoa plants and deforestation.

History of Chocolate

São Tomé, located on the West coast of Africa, is made up of two main islands, as well as several islets, and is often referred to as ‘Chocolate Island’. It has a rather small populations of 200,000 people so as you can imagine, many of the residents’ incomes come from cocoa and the island’s signature bean — criollo bean which has been farmed there since the 1700s.

But chocolate has a lot more history than you might think. Traidcraft Shop, KEYWORD have provided the following graphic:

Fair Trade Facts: Chocolate Edition

Do you know the main differences between traditional and raw chocolate?

Raw chocolate usually contains fewer ingredients than traditional chocolate — such as cocoa powder, cocoa butter, coconut blossom sugar, and raw fruit or seeds. The traditional chocolate we all know and love can contain milk, soya, sugars, sweeteners, soya, and a host of artificial flavourings and preservatives – not quite so natural, right? While Traidcraft’s fair trade vegan chocolate may not be raw chocolate, they have kept the recipe as natural as possible — fair trade, organic, and free from GMOs, cheap emulsifiers, cheap oils, artificial colours or preservatives.

Another thing you may not have known is that cocoa beans that are used for raw chocolate are never heated above 42 degrees – isn’t that interesting when you consider that when it comes to commercial chocolate, the cocoa beans are roasted at a temperature between 130 and 400 degrees – a stark difference, right? When drying cocoa beans for raw chocolate, some cocoa growers just leave their beans outdoors to dry naturally in the sunlight!

Do you know the main differences between cocoa and cacao?

Cocoa and cacao are technically the same plant and although the words cocoa and cacao are often used interchangeably,  cocoa is the usual term used for cacao that’s been fermented, dried, and roasted at high temperatures. It is then pressed until all the oils are separated and the solids that remain can be turned into a dry powder — cocoa powder. Cacao powder is made in a very similar way, but at a far lower temperature.

Where is cocoa originally grown?

The Theobroma Cacao has been used throughout time for nutritional and medicinal benefits and is native to Central America. This scientific name translates as ‘food of the gods’. These trees produce pods which contain 20-40 cacao beans,  these beans eventually get turned into chocolate. The Theobroma Cacao trees grow most successfully in a narrow band called the Cocoa Belt or the Chocolate Belt which extends up to 20 degrees north and south of the equator.

Was chocolate worth more than gold?

You may have heard this potential rumour in the past. It is true – back in the Mayan period, cocoa beans were worth more than gold and were even used as currency – how cool! The Mayans maintained the value of cocoa beans by restricting the harvesting of the beans.

Have cocoa farmers ever tasted chocolate?

The majority of cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate which I personally find shocking! But it is understandable as the beans are shipped almost instantly, as if chocolate was created in these typically warm countries, it would melt! Many cocoa farmers will have never tasted chocolate in their lives. In 2017, Traidcraft hosted Linda, a cocoa farmer from the co-operative Kuapa Kokoo (and who grows fair trade cocoa for the Divine Chocolate Company), and she reminded us that any chocolate left lying around in Ghana would just melt anyway!

Did you know all this about chocolate? Or did you learn something new today?

The Ultimate Quark Guide & Cookbook | Review & Giveaway

I was sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.

As someone who follows Slimming World (although I really do need to get back on track properly now), quark is definitely something on my radar. You may not have realised but it was recently World Quark Day. To celebrate on this day, Queen of Quark released an updated e-book copy of the guide & cookbook.

The Queen of Quark was born and raised in Germany and has been a lover of quark since an early age. Realising quark wasn’t used as much universally, she made it her mission to change that and introduce it to people across the world through some wonderful recipes.

I was kindly provided with a copy of the book for review which is great for me as someone who uses quark quite a bit. However I have often found myself making the same few dishes as I wasn’t sure what else I could use quark for. Well I need wonder no longer.

The guide and cookbook itself starts off with introductions, acknowledgments and all the usual stuff you’d expect. I also loved the quotes interspersed throughout the book about healthy eating and food. As someone who is getting back into the swing of healthy eating, this is really helpful.

There are a range of different recipes to try – from breakfast dishes to soups to delicious desserts. We’ve only used quark in the past for lasagne and a couple of different desserts so it was truly interesting to see what other dishes I could attempt. I’ve now got a list as long as my arm of dishes I want to try – there’s a few different desserts that the kids are desperate to try!

These are just three of my top picks from the cookbook. We love pancakes in our house so these are definitely worth a try and I can see these being a weekend staple breakfast for a while to come. I’m probably the only real soup fan in my house so I don’t make it very often but this will definitely be worth trying when I do.

Now what can I say about the cheesecake? How delicious does it look? Cheesecake is one of my family’s favourite desserts so I can safely say this recipe will be tested out soon!

All in all, I quite enjoyed this guide and cookbook from the Queen of Quark. I really liked finding out more about quark and discovering recipes that I would never have thought of using quark in. I can’t wait to tie these recipes into my healthy eating and see how I get on. This cookbook will certainly be getting a lot of use.

The Ultimate Quark Guide & Cookbook is currently available for pre-order on Amazon, due for release on the 8th of February 2019. Click below to pre-order your copy {affiliate link}.

Can’t wait until release date? Want the chance of winning a copy of the guide and cookbook for yourself? Here’s your chance! Just fill in the Rafflecopter below. This giveaway is UK only and ends at 23.59 on the 3rd of February 2019. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Degustabox | November

We were sent the box for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It’s that time of the month again, our thoughts on this month’s Degustabox. This is the ‘festive’ Degustabox – so what did we get in the box? (You can buy yours here for just £12.99 including delivery!).

Tabasco Original Red Pepper Sauce – £2

This isn’t something we use all that often but it is something we always have in our cupboard, just in case. Made with just three ingredients: red peppers, vinergar and salt; it has zero calories and is vegan too! I’ll definitely be using this at Christmas time.

The Bee’s Knees Non Alcoholic Sparkling Wine 20cl – £1.89

If you will be enjoying a festive tipple but someone prefers a non alcoholic alternative, this may be the drink for you. It is a sophisticated, vegan friendly alternative to sparkling wine, made from grapes and infused with green tea.

Mallow & Marsh Cranberry Marshmallows 

These were a lovely addition – we’ve had Mallow & Marsh products before and absolutely loved them.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Snowman – £3

This barely made it out of the box before Steve claimed it. He is a big fan of Reese’s products so this was a lovely seasonal treat – a peanut butter filled snowman with a chocolate coating. Steve certainly enjoyed it.

Amy’s Kitchen Organic Chunky Tomato & Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup – £1.80

These are the product of the month and I can see why. I think I’m in love. I adore soup at this time of year – well, anytime of year actually if I am being perfectly honest – and I absolutely loved these. They are a new brand to me but I will be certainly getting them again – especially the tomato soup as it was absolutely delicious!

Jules Destrooper Almond Thins & Belgian Chocolate – £2.19

Unfortunately these got a bit damaged in transit to my house however that didn’t affect the taste. I am not an almond fan so I didn’t like this – a shame as I love most other  Jules Destrooper products. Steve found them okay but the kids absolutely adored them! Goes to show you can’t please everyone all of the time.

Weetabox On The Go Kids – £2.99

Now I don’t know about your kids but my son loves breakfast drinks or even those little probiotic drinks you can get! Jack was very excited to see these – there are four single serve pouches in this multi pack and are a source of vitamin D, calcium, fibre and protein. They have no artificial sweeteners, colours or flavours.

Emily Veg Crisps Sweet Potato Sticks -£1

I’ve previously tried the Emily Veg Crisps and really liked them so I was very excited to see these new sweet potato sticks. They made for a great snack and were very flavourful as I expected.

Nick’s Coconut Bar – £1.45

A rich and delicious naturally sweetened coconut bar with no added sugar, this was a great snack and perfect for some guilt free indulgence.

Jack Daniel’s & Cola and Jack Daniel’s & Light Cola – £2

This is the second or third month in a row that we’ve had Jack Daniel’s products and whilst I am appreciative and the drinks have been different each time, it is getting a little monotonous now. As always, they tasted good but I’d like to see something different next month.

Kallo Organic Vegetable Stock Pots – £1.80

What is a kitchen without some stock pots or cubes? We always have some and these are natural, organic and have no added MSG or artificial ingredients. I was very happy to see these included.

With a price point of £12.99, this box works out as roughly around £23/£24 in content value which is a great deal – almost double the price you are paying. I was quite impressed with this box this month however for a festive theme, this could have been way more festive and I’d like to see a difference from Jack Daniel’s products in the future.

What would have been your favourite item?