Cheesies Review and Giveaway

Hooray, it’s Friday, the weekend is here. We’ve made it. This week has been a shocker weather wise hasn’t it? The chickens have needed snorkels, my hair has been permanently frizzy and it’s been cold. There was only one thing for it- I made soup to warm up ( spicy butternut squash if you’re wondering).

But what are those crouton things on top? They are the new kids on the block- Cheesies . These are in fact popped cubes of cheese that are great on their own but work brilliantly with a soup or salad.

They come in 3 flavours ( at the moment). Cheddar, Emmental and Gauda. The cheddar is strong, with a great tang to it. The Gauda has a more subtle flavour and the emmental has a melt in your mouth quality to it. I do love the fact they are all low carb, and I think popped cheese is a really clever concept. They are all crunchy and hit the spot when you are after some nibbles.

Now you all know me – I’m honest. I do think these are great, if not a bit addictive. Do you know the best bit- you to can try them as well.

I’ve teamed up with Cheesies so one lucky winner can win and try the range for themselves ? How I hear you cry? It easy just click the link below. ( U.K. Residents only)

https://gleam.io/ky6AU/win-a-selection-of-cheesies-19

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post with Cheesies. The product was gifted, my views are my own and completely honest.

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It’s Coeliac Awareness Week

Yes it’s that time of the year again and Coeliac awareness week is up on us once again. It is running from 13th- 19th May. This year it is focusing on diagnosis.

Coeliac UK is the national charity that helps to raise awareness of this autoimmune condition. It is a great place to start for those who are newly diagnosed, and for those of you who think you might have Coeliac disease.

I thought at this point I would tell you about my story to diagnosis. I was roughly fifteen when I started getting symptoms that were problematic, such as bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers and tiredness. Initially after a few GP visits I was told IBS was the most likely cause- due to exam stress from my GCSEs that were the big exams that I was starting to study for- this didn’t seem right to me as I’m not a stressed person, and certainly wasn’t worried about exams etc. Nevertheless I took the advice, changed diet and lifestyle and tried the prescription of anti- spasmodic medicines. Guess what- it didn’t really work, and back to the doctor I trundled.

IBS was still being branded about, until I happened to mention that both my Nan and aunt had Coeliac disease. I was then sent off for a blood test. Sure enough these came back as positive. I was expecting to be sent for a biopsy but after being referred to the hospital, a further blood test and positive genetic test confirmed the diagnosis of Coeliac disease.

I felt relieved and overwhelmed straight after diagnosis, but after my first dietitian appointment, and armed with lots of information of what I could and couldn’t eat I ventured into the supermarket to embark the first chore of Coeliac disease ( and allergies) – label reading.

I won’t lie you will spend A LOT of time label reading, the only thing I can say is that over the years the “Free From” aisles have expanded hugely so the choice offered is getting better and better. You still need to be careful of the dreaded “may contain” warnings ignore them and you can get caught out. – Walkers crisps were my enemy the one day in case your were wondering.

What I can say is that within a week of switching to a gluten free diet I felt so much better. It really is that dramatic. My only side effect of my Coeliac disease is that I’m also one of the 1 in 10,000 that also suffers from Dermatitis Herpetiformis, an intensely ( and I mean intensely) itchy skin condition linked to Coeliac disease.

It is the absolute worst, my first flare up was at university after a pasta mix-up. 2 days later I felt unwell and itchy, by day 4 the rash had appeared, if I could have torn my skin off I seriously would have. It is awful. My GP was flummoxed at first, as he hadn’t seen many cases of it. I was sent for a skin biopsy and the results confirmed it.

Thankfully I don’t get too many flare ups, but nevertheless when I do I tend to go to ground. The appearance of the rash and how rotten I feel puts pay to wanting to go out.

BUT it’s not bad at all having Coeliac- I could have a lot worse. I’ve made some great friends over the years. My top tip is to start at Coeliac UK for advice, and then the Coeliac and allergy community on Twitter and Facebook is brilliant. It’s live a great, big friendly free from hive- there’s always someone that can help answer your questions.

I hope this has helped some of you- Just remember, although it’s daunting being newly diagnosed, you are never alone.

My Favourite Christmas Products ( So Far)

Yes, yes, yes I know it’s only October, but I will not be apologising for the fact that I LOVE Christmas. I really do, and since having mini me I has become even more magical, but I can be a bit of a challenge for those of us with food allergies and intolerances, so I thought I’d share with you lovely lot my favourite products so far- gone on confess it you’ve bought some things to??

This year ( so far) I’ve been really excited by this panettone (£3) from Tesco. I can here coeliacs everywhere rejoice. I’ve tried it- for the sake of my followers, and it doesn’t disappoint, it really is lovely. My only downside is it’s quite small for the price, but hey it’s Christmas. Sainsbury’s are also doing a larger panettone for around £14 but I’ve yet to locate and try one. I’ll keep you posted.

Also from Tesco, and another gluten free find is this Black Forest wreath. At £5 it looks great and will feed a whole lot of guests with no effort. Sadly it does carry a nut warning though ( boo) so will probably not be on my Christmas table

My one last exciting find in Tesco is their Christmas pudding, mainly because it covers so many free from categories including nut and dairy free. As to what it tastes like, in all honesty I don’t know, it’s firmly on my to try list.

My other exciting find is this pretty dairy free chocolate box from M&S although at £8 it’s expensive. It also carries a nut warning despite Kinnerton making the chocolate- don’t worry we are keeping on at them to change it. However it would make a great gift or after dinner treat.

Other things to look out for is the gluten free and vegan mince pie and Christmas cake from Costa, and well as a very cute dairy free chocolate penguin from Asda.

Fear not I’ll update this post when I find things.

Nb- this is not a sponsored post. Just my honest opinion.

Blackberry Smoothie- Dairy and Gluten Free

I know we are in the throws of a heat wave here in the UK, but I couldn’t help noticing that the wild black berries are starting to ripen.

Well it would be rude not to combine these delicious berries with some ice and blend into a smoothie for a refreshing, cooling drink ( or breakfast n my case) wouldn’t it?

Also I LOVE the colour that blackberries produce so always use it a lot at this time of year. This little lovely is also gluten, dairy and nut free as well- hooray

Ingredients

  • Serves 1
  • 100g blackberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1-2 tbs of gluten free oats
  • 1tbs of chia seeds ( optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Good squirt of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
  • 250 MLS of milk of choice ( I used coconut).
  • A few ice cubes
  • Put everything into your blender/ nutribullet and whizz is all up.
  • Serve up and enjoy straight away.
  • Right back to enjoying the beautiful sun, with a refreshing drink in hand. I’ll be back this week with a review and hopefully a new recipe for you all to try.
  • Summer Berries Pavlova

    I know we were spoilt last week with the beautiful weather, but I’m sure it will be back again- maybe. I hope so anyway, on the strength of it all we toddled out and got a new BBQ. Obviously we then had to try it which leads on to one thing- alfresco eating.

    I always think that summer puddings should be easy to prepare, not to heavy and a perfect way to end those outdoor get togethers. Enter my meringue it’s soft and mallow centre combined with a crisp outer shell is perfect for pavlovas and Eton mess alike. The only negative is the lack of oven use for anything else whilst it’s cooking and cooling. I mean it’s not really a negative- you could just make more meringues.

    This pavlova is flavoured using the fabulous Sugar and Crumbs strawberry milkshake flavoured icing sugar. (This isn’t an ad- I just really love these, and they are free from nuts, dairy and gluten). It’s also pink, due to the request from the tiny human, i could not refuse.

    Ingredients

    • 4 egg whites
    • 180g caster sugar
    • 50g icing sugar ( mine was flavoured)
    • 1tsp corn flour
    • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
    • Gel food colouring if needed

    Method

    • Heat your oven to 120°c
    • In your mixer use the balloon whisk and whist the whites until they start to form soft peaks.
    • Gradually add the caster sugar 1 spoon at a time whilst the mixer is on a medium speed. Do not over beat
    • Sift in the icing sugar and cornflour and fold into you egg whites gently.
    • Add the food colouring and vinegar for a final beat with the mixer. If it’s ready the mixture will not fall out of the upturned bowl.
    • You can pipe the meringue into rounds or make one large pavlova it’s up to you.

    Now with the baking I find ovens are temperamental things. My new one is definitely hotter than my previous one. I put the meringue in at 120° and bake for about an hour ( it was longer in the old over) after this time turn the cooker off and leave the meringue to completely cool in the oven.

    When cooled whip some cream and pile those berries high. Then enjoy your efforts sat outside ( dodging the bugs) at the BBQ.

    Pancake Day…. My Free From Way.

    Rejoice it’s pancake day, and may I say it’s always greeted with much gusto and enthusiasm. I’ll admit I’m rubbish at tossing a pancake, it gets stuck on, the cat, or the ceiling or in the pan, I opt for a spatula or let my husband do it. However I do make a pretty mean American pancake, or drop scone, or whatever the heck you want to call them.

    This year has seen an added challenge. Mini me is ( temporarily I’m hoping) having to avoid both gluten and dairy, as well as nuts. So can you make a delicious dairy free pancake? Oh yes you can- and here’s how I do it.

    Ingredients

    • 110g gf self raising Flour
    • 25g teff flour
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1-2tbs caster sugar or 1-2tsp maple syrup.
    • 1 egg
    • 140mls milk of choice ( I used rice milk for the dairy free version).
    • I added chocolate chips ( from Moo Free) but blueberries or just plain work well as well.

    Method

    Mix all the ingredients together to form a batter. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    I use a Tefel pancake pan with no oil. Pour some batter in, when it starts to show air bubbles it’s time to flip and cook the other side.

    There you have it, super easy and great for pancake day.

    Mini Donuts Gluten, Nut and Dairy Free

    Yep you did indeed read the title correctly. Now gluten free donuts ( until recently) have been a bit like unicorns – not real, mythical and things you can only dream about.

    In fact there are 2 delicious producers that I recommend these are Borough 22 and wheat free bakery direct. Check them out if you can ( btw this is not an ad I just really like these).

    Any way I’ve digressed, for Christmas I got a mini donut maker. I mean I got a fab new bag as well, not just this electrical item, but I was impressed with it. This got me thinking will gluten and dairy free work? Only one way to find out…..

    By golly it did, want to know how I did it?? Have a read below.

    Ingredients

    • 125 g gluten free plain flour
    • 120g caster sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 egg
    • 120ml of milk of choice
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
    • 1tbs butter or dairy free butter melted.

    Method

    • Put dry ingredients into a bowl,
    • Make a well and pour in all your wet ingredients
    • Whisk until you have a smooth batter

    • Heat your donut maker
    • mine takes about 3-4 minutes to cook the little lovelies.
    • Either toss in cinnamon sugar, or ice however you fancy.

    There you go, so easy, and so tasty. Even my husband ( who hates donuts) said they were good.

    Until next time, have a great week.

    Layered Breakfast Pot Gluten free

    For my third Blogmas post I’m sharing a recipe, (well sort or recipe) with you. The lovely people over at Naturelly were challenging people to create a layered jar. I took the challenge and my mango layered pot was the finished result, so far, I’m working on a truly Christmas twist for my next one.

    If you have never heard of Naturelly they produce fabulous jelly/ juice pouches for children. Nut free, gluten free, dairy free and 36 calories so great for little ones- but who says the kids should have all the fun? I’ve given them a grown up twist.

    Anyway the best thing with these jars are they are quick and so easy to make ( or assemble really). They would be so cute on a Christmas morning breakfast table, all prepared so the all important family time and present unwrapping isn’t interrupted. Win win all round.

    I can’t really call it a recipe but here goes any way.

    Ingredients

    • 1 pouch tropical naturelly
    • Chopped mango
    • Yoghurt of choice
    • Granola ( I used Nutribrex)

    The method is simple, layer up how you fancy. I chose mango, yoghurt, granola, mango then naturelly.

    The next step is simple- dive in and enjoy your breakfast.

    Do you like layered jars? What’s your favourite flavour? Let me know in the comments below.

    Disclaimer: I was sent the naturelly to create a recipe, all views and ideas are my own.

    Review – Sainsbury’s Free From Apple Pie

    Well it’s most definitely getting colder, and autumn has set in with considerable force. The chickens did not like Ophelia the other day, poor things resembling feathered ping pong balls. They were wise and retreated to their run, likewise we battened down the hatches and stayed in the warm.

    The other day I spotted this apple pie in the fresh free from counter in Sainsbury’s. It’s the right time of year for fruit pies, and my pastry is usually hit or miss so I thought I’d give this a go.

    Like a lot of gluten free products this is best eaten warm so 15 minutes later out it came looking all golden and tempting.

    So did it pass the taste test? Mostly yes. The pastry was lovely and buttery, with no soggy bottoms here although I didn’t particularly like the sugar on the top, it gave a texture that was grainy and too crunchy for my liking.

    The filling is generous and has a good tang with I think a Bramley apple filling should have. You can actually taste the apples, this is a bonus for gluten free- I do feel some brands over compensate with sugar, instead of trying to perfect taste.

    On the whole I was impressed and despite the crunchy topping I would buy this again. It’s great if you are in a rush and need a dessert or ( like me) pastry isn’t your strongest point.

    Have you tried these apple pies? Or anything else from the Sainsbury’s range? Let me know in the comments below.

    Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I purchased the items and all views are my own personal ones.

    Days Out With Allergies- Drayton Manor Theme Park

    My Daughter is Thomas mad, I mean obsessed with Thomas. We had a disaster of a holiday, resulting in a broken narrow boat and being stranded by a lock ( thanks Hoseasons) so to make up for said disaster we had our first trip to Drayton Manor Park.

    Munchkin spent the first hour in a mixture of excitement and amazement, and I have to admit it brought back nostalgia from school trips and summer holidays in my teenage years. Thomas Land is fantastic, lots of rides all perfect for little ones, plenty of photo opportunities and trains, lots of trains.

    Personal highlights are the Troublesome Trucks, and Winston’s Car ride. We loved it so much we booked an over night stay a few weeks later in the hotel for the much anticipated 4th Birthday.

    Fast forward to this point, the check in was smooth and very easy. For £30 extra we were offered the themed Thomas bedroom. We said yes- they are amazing from Thomas bunk beds, stunning painted walls, track carpets and breakfast with The Fat Controller the next morning I’d really recommend a stop over if you can ( this is not a sponsored post it REALLY is that great).

    This leads me on to eating in the hotel and park. In every outlet there is full allergen menus, many you do t need to ask its all displayed on the walls. This is from The Burger Kutchen, an actual burger that’s both gluten and nut free. Thumbs up all round ( delicious it was to).

    The Grill in is another excellent choice. Both chef and magnet sign to say your food is safe to eat. They even did a extra safe special treat for mini me on her birthday. We were so touched and could not sing their praises higher.

    I really recommend you go for a day ( or two) to Drayton Manor it’s great fun for all, with or with out allergies.

    Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. It’s all my own views and I was really impressed.