Courgetti with Tomato, Chorizo and Olives

As some of you may be aware I have been playing with a new spiraliser from UK Juicers.  This is a great gadget for making vegetable pasta and ribbons.  Using vegetables in place of pasta is a great way to not only cut your calorie intake but also to increase your fibre intake and nutrient intake.  With the new year and the time of new years resolutions approaching many of us are looking for inspiration for low calorie meals that do not compromise on flavour.  This dish does just that, my latest recipe comprising of courgetti, garlic, tinned tomatoes chorizo and more not only gives a pasta style dish with lower calories it also provides antibiotic qualities – garlic, anti-ageing effects – tomatoes and iron from the chorizo as well as a wealth of other vitamins and minerals.

Courgetti with Tomato, Chorizo and Olives

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Serves 2

Ingredients

4 courgettes

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

100g cooking chorizo

400g tinned tomatoes, chopped

16 pitted kalamata olives (66g) sliced into 3 or 4 pieces

150-200ml water

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Method

Spiralise the courgette and set aside.

Slice the chorizo into bite sized pieces and pan fry without out as it will release oil as it cooks.

Remove the chorizo from the pan.  Soak up some of the oil with a kitchen towel.  Leave a little of the oil and throw in the red onion and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes then add in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add in the tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper and water then throw the chorizo back in and cook for a few minutes for the flavours to infuse.

Add the courgetti and stir in well to thoroughly coat it.

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Cook for a few minutes and serve hot.

Enjoy x

Macabella Cupcakes Recipe & A Fab Giveaway!

I wanted to introduce you all to a super scrumpy chocolate spread with macadamia nuts called Macabella.  Macabella is fairly new to the UK but is set to do well having already been voted product of the year in the Consumer survey of Product Innovation by Australian consumers.  There are two varieties of Macabella to choose from Velvet and Crunch which are self explanatory.  These spreads are made with a divine creamy Belgian cocoa blend with a higher percentage of nuts compared to other spreads.  The texture is lovely and thick and the flavour is rich and delicious.

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These are great for spreading on toast for breakfast, adding to sandwiches, spreading on pancakes and can even be used to make cupcakes!

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 Yes it’s true and these cupcakes are amazing!!!!  I of course should know because I have created them.  My Macabella cupcakes use not one but both forms of Macabella.  The velvet version works well within the actual cupcake sponge and the crunch in the smooth rich and luxurious ganache that tops these super indulgent cupcakes.

Before I give you the recipe I just wanted to tell you why including Macadamia nuts in your diet is a good.  Here’s the health part!  Aside from their great buttery flavour Macadamia nuts are full of all sorts of nutrients including antioxidants like polyphenols, Amino acids, flavones, and selenium.  These antioxidants help protect us from external toxins and cell damage.  They are also full of monounsaturated fats which help to lower LDL (bad fats) and can help promote weight loss as they are rich in palmitoleic acid, and omega 7 fatty oil.  these provide building blocks for the enzymes and control the burning of fat and help to reduce the appetite.  Palmitoleic acid increases fat metabolism (yaaaaaaayyyyy) and reduces fat storage within the body. The fatty acid content of Macadamia nuts makes them an extremely satisfying food and you generally need just a handful to feel content.  Palmitoleic fatty acids have a positive effect on the skin as it delays the process of cell and skin ageing. As we age palmitoleic acid levels drop and this is why macadamia nut oil is a key ingredient in many anti-ageing products.

So now you have a small insight into how fabulous Macadamia nuts really are why not take a look at a simple and tasty recipe where you can use both the spreads that I mentioned.

I got to use my super shiny, new Russell Hobbs Mixer which I shall tell you all about at a later date.

Macabella Cupcakes

Makes 12-15 depending on how large you want them.

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes

200g caster sugar

3 medium eggs

1.5tbs heaped Macabella Velvet

120g butter

120g milk

240g plain flour

3tsp baking powder

For the Ganache

700ml double cream

2 heaped tbs Macabella Crunchy

Method

For the Sponge

You need 1-2 muffin trays and muffin cupcake cases.  Place these in the tray(s) before starting.

Place the milk and butter in a pan and heat lightly until the butter melts.  This can be done whilst you are doing the next step to save time.  Once it has melted set aside.

Measure out the sugar into the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla essence.  Mix well.  You need to get as much air into this.  You know it’s ready when it becomes a lighter colour and looks thick and creamy.

Add in the Macabella Velvet and mix.

Pour in the butter and milk mixture and stir well.

Combine the flour and baking powder and sift into the mixing bowl. Gently fold in using a spatula with a figure of eight motion.

Try not to over fold or the cake will lose it’s fluffy texture and become dense.

Once combined pour into the muffin cases and cook at 180 degrees for approximately 16-18 minutes depending on your oven.

Now the hard part, wait for the cakes to cool.

For the Ganache

Whisk the Macabella gently into the cream taking care not to over whisk as the nut pieces will get broken down and the cream will lose its shine.

mac2I know that you are all super jealous as the spread and cupcakes look amazing and as I am one for spreading the love and even the chocolate (It’s hard but I like to be fair) I am pleased to announce that 4 readers will get the chance to win a Jar of Macabella Velvet and a Jar of Macabella Crunchy.

That’s 4 winners with 1 jar of each!!!

Instructions if needed can be found here:

http://melaniesfabfinds.co.uk/competitions/how-to-enter-rafflecopter-competitions/

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck x

The Rose Renew Range from Baie Botanique

I love reviewing beauty products and there are so many gorgeous ones out there but the ones that really do attract my attention are those made with natural and organic products as it was in natural medicine that I was trained many many moons ago.  The use of natural and organic ingredients has grown in popularity over the past few years with consumers too which for me is wonderful news as there are many more lovely products to choose from.

One company that I have recently been introduced to is Baie Botanique.  These guys source natural organic ingredients that have specific skin enhancing effects from those which have been used for generations due to their remarkable effects on the skin in relation to anti-ageing and improvement of skin appearance. Currently they have 3 products available within their line but I am sure this will increase as they continue their research into the natural world and its effects on the skin.

Baie Botaniques aim is “To create a powerful botanical skin care range loaded with pure and natural ingredients and a high organic content whilst keeping preservatives to a minimum and always striving to find the most gentle and natural preservative system to save the skin from unnecessary irritation – Simply allowing the plants to work their magic as nature intended.”

I was sent 3 of their products from their ‘Regenerate’ line which include rose and rosehip to review and am here to report back with my findings.

They aim to use as many organic ingredients as possible although it isn’t always easy to do and you will see the % of organic content clearly labelled on the box of each product.  All their products have been carefully formulated to make them suitable for all skin types.  The ingredients are clearly listed on the packaging as are the benefits from using each product.  None of the products contain parabens, phlalates, synthetic colours or fragrances, pegs, EDTA, sulphates or petrochemicals.  Also mentioned on the box is that they are cruelty free and vegan which combined with the fact that they are natural and mostly organic are great reasons to try these.

Rose Renew – Regenerating Face Wash

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This smells amazing!

This comes in a gel form which makes it lovely and light and easy to apply to the face.  You only need a little of the gel and you simply massage this into your face and decolletage and then rinse it off with warm water.  The face wash is so gentle on the skin that you can incorporate it into both your morning and night time routines.  As you only need to use a little this lasts quite a while.

The face wash is great for removing make up and dead skin, it helps to hydrate and revitalise the skin leaving it with a lovely healthy glow.

Rose Renew – Regenerating Serum Anti-Ageing

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I love that this is pump action as it helps minimise waste and gives you the right amount for each application.  It’s a lovely light product and absorbs well into the skin.  I find this best to apply straight after using the face wash with slightly towel dried hands as the skin on the hands is still moist and doesn’t absorb the product allowing for better coverage.   Within approximately 1.5 to 2 weeks of use you should notice a difference in skin tone and appearance, the skin should appear to be visibly brighter then before use and also plumper which helps minimise the appearance of wrinkles.  I must get one of these for my mum as she was impressed by the difference the serum made to my skin.  The serum helps to increase collagen production which helps improve the skin structure and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.  The hyaluronic acid helps to boost the skin hydration levels so it’s great over the winter as heating can have a drying effect on the skin.  Again it smells amazing and the aroma is one from natural roses not a synthetic fragrance.  Again this can be used during morning and nighttime routines.

Rose Renew – Regenerating Face Cream Anti-Ageing

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The face cream is also presented in a pump action bottle to minimise waste and enable the user to get just the right amount of product.  Again it is beautifully scented by the natural rose ingredients.  The astringent properties of the rose help to give a skin tightening effect and the anti oxidant properties within the mix help to fight against free radicals helping to suppress the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  The cream itself is quite thick but is absorbed well into the skin leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth and of course smelling great.  With continued use along with the other products this resulted in my skin looking much more radiant and improved my skin tone.

I really loved using these products which not only smell fabulous but also work wonders on the skin.  These make a lovely practical gift for those concerned with the appearance of their skin and they will love you even more for it once they see the products and their effects on the skin.

I was sent the products featured in this post for and honest review.  If I didn’t like them, they’d have been disposed of and never made it onto my blog.

Sinensis: Marine Collagen Repair Day Cream

Approximately 3 weeks ago I started using a new face cream from a company called Sinensis.  The cream that I was sent to review was their Marine Collagen Repair Day Cream.  Comprising of a wealth of botanical ingredients from Arnica (which provides antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects), Rose (antioxidant – protective to the cells, antibacterial anti-inflammatory, astringent – pore tightening effects), Tea polyphenols (anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory effects) and more.  This cream is packed full of ingredients that should in theory do literally do what is stated on the jar ‘Revive and Renew’.  Working alongside the botanical ingredients are the skin science ingredients which include collagen which we all know is the main component that gives skin it’s structure.  Our skin has a reduction in this as we age resulting in the sagging and wrinkles that we see forming.  Hyaluronic acid which helps keep skin looking plump; 24K Gold which locks in moisture and gives skin a radiant glow.  It also speeds up healing and cell regeneration.  Squalane from olives provides deep moisturising and skin cell regeneration.  Vitamin E and Matrixyl also play important roles in this product.

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The brand Sinensis was created by a groups of doctors from AcuMedic as they were unable to find any suitable products on the market that their dermatology clients could use in between treatments as those available had hidden irritants and potentially toxic ingredients.  Even products claiming to be paraben free have had the paraben substituted with Phenoxyethanol which is a potentially dangerous.  It is often used used as an antibacterial and preservative but can have irritant effects, cause cancer, damage to brain cells and the central nervous system when used in high amounts.  Sinensis aim to formulate products that are high in botanical and skin science extracts.  They also use Chinese herbs and are free from toxic chemicals.  I think once my work load with the children eventually reduces I should probably look into formulating some creams with these guys using Western herbs.  Maybe I should have mentioned to the company that I am a medical herbalist.  My medical background gives me a deeper understanding of how the ingredients work in this product and that of course was what attracted me to work with this company initially.   It’s quite reassuring to be confident before you even open the lid of a product that it is likely to be effective!

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Initial Reaction

On first application I was impressed at how great a base this was for makeup.  The cream seemed to hold my makeup in place extremely well.  In fact this was better than most of the products I have used in a long will at holding make up in place. Not only did it hold it in place well it also made makeup application far easier and faster great for the early mornings when I do the school runs.

The cream was not excessively thick and absorbed well and quickly into the skin without leaving the skin feeling greasy.

The skin felt soft, smooth and looked hydrated after use.  There were no dry patches to be found.

I love the packaging it looks like a good quality product

The fragrance is pleasant with a light floral aroma.

I found that applying this after my morning shower was perfect as the moisture in the air and within the skin meant that less went further although this is quite an effective cream anyway and you don’t need too much to get a good coverage.

I quite liked the fact I could actually see the gold within the cream as you know it’s there.  This breaks up when rubbed into the skin.sinensis2

Did I Notice Any Difference?

I sure did!

This worked extremely well with the initial results being apparent within a week and progressively improving with continued use.  Within 2 weeks my skin was visibly brighter and in areas where I had hyperpigmentation there was a remarkable difference with these areas looking much lighter.  My skin was looking far more healthy with a gorgeous radiant glow.  By 3 weeks my skin also appeared tighter and I am hoping with further use I will see a marked improvement in the appearance of any wrinkles but only time will tell.

I loved this cream and would really recommend it. I was really impressed at how well this naturally made product has improved the appearance of my skin over such a short period of time.  I still have quite a bit left in the jar and at a guess would estimate the remainder will last me at least a further 2.5 to 3 months use which is great.  At £46.67 a pot this is an investment that is worth making.  Think about it just over £10 a month for gorgeous skin, you are worth it and it’s a bargain for what it does.

There are other products in the range which I have yet to try but having been so impressed with this one I want to try more.  I am even considering buying my mum a jar of this as I know she would love it just as much as I do.

I am curious now how much further the improvement might have been if I had been using the night cream at the same time.

Did I notice anything that stood out that was negative about the product?

No!

My recommendation: Make sure you try this!

Having had a chat with the guys at Sinensis they have kindly offered one of these gorgeous creams as a prize so without further ado here is a competition to win one of my favourite beauty products for this year.

Enter for yourself, your sister, mum, gran it would work well on men’s skin too!!!!! but make sure you do as one lucky person will find that this cream will give them the most beautiful skin.

Instructions if needed can be found here:

http://melaniesfabfinds.co.uk/competitions/how-to-enter-rafflecopter-competitions/

Not all of the entry options are compulsory but the more you do the more entries you will gain.

Look out for the daily entry options for extra entries.

Likes on Facebook are NOT compulsory but are very much appreciated plus it will ensure you don’t miss great posts, freebies and competitions.

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Watermelon, Black Forest Berry and Red Pepper Smoothie

I know it sounds odd but I felt like having something red to eat / drink the other day and when the urge takes me its best to just stand back and let me do my thing.  I used to be very in tune with what my body needed nutritionally prior to the constant exhaustion that came with having 3 mini people.  I am trying to tune back into myself so to speak and it seems to be happening, slowly.

My creation sounded a bit odd to me but I followed my instincts and hey presto I had a red smoothie.  Interestingly enough this actually tasted really good.  Of course I need to tell you a little about the nutritional benefit before I give you the recipe because well that’s what I do!

Watermelon is of course delicious when ripe as well as very refreshing.  It’s a great way to add water and nutrients to a smoothie.  It contains vitamins A, B6 and C and also interesting to know lots of lycopene so has anti ageing effects.

The red pepper contains vitamin C and has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

The berries are full of vitamin C, fibre, and have been said to help reduce mental decline with age when eaten regularly.  My grandmother had Alzheimer’s so naturally this is a concern and anything that helps reduce the onset is great in my books.

I got to take my nutribullet that I got off a great site called etefy.co.uk for a spin which was great.  This smoothie is tasty, super fast and easy to make.

 

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Ingredients

2 small slices of watermelon

Half a red pepper

100g Black Forest Berries, frozen (one of the premixed and frozen ones as it make life easier)

Method

Slice the pepper, chop the water melon and throw into a small nutribullet cup.

Blitz, then add in the frozen berries and serve.

See what did I tell you it’s so easy, enjoy!

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