5 Benefits of Discovering New Food with Your Family… (Guest post by Jennifer Dawson)

Do you feel bored with eating the same meals everyday? Or, maybe you just fancy trying something different but the kids are too picky and you’d rather them eat dinner rather than waste a new dish you’ve just cooked. But what if they actually like it? And even if they don’t, what’s the worse that can happen? Trying new food not only boosts your healthy food habits but can open up to a world of fresh flavors and tastes for you and your family to benefit from, and here’s how.

1. Variety is the spice of life

Choosing to cook various food with different colours, textures and tastes can introduce a family to a more well-balanced diet in combination with learning about new cuisines and cultures. Starting off by bringing one or two new vegetables to the table to try before cooking a fully blown new dish can change the way daily dinners are cooked in your home and prepare the family to keep an open mind.

This Tuns with sesame and miso is a great choice! 

2. Expands nutritional variety

When you infuse new tastes to the table you’re also broadening the nutritional value that everyone’s eating. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a vegetable, fruit or grain from a subscription box, not only will it expand your palate by trying new meals but you’ll also be provided with health benefits and improve everybody’s immune systems.

3. Sets a good example

Obviously you’ll want to introduce new food that you think the whole family will enjoy but until they’ve all tried it, how will they know? By making the decision to enjoy chickpeas, eggplant or anything else, you’re setting a good example that trying new things is a positive thing which you can all do together.

4. Educational

When you get more enthusiastic about trying new food, you’ll also learn how to cook differently. By choosing a different cuisine on some nights of the week, you and your family can share knowledge about different cultures, the types of food they eat and where it comes from while learning how to cook it at the same time.


5. Being adventurous

If you’re all going to try new food, what do you have to lose? By making it fun and mixing it up at mealtimes can make it feel more adventurous, especially if, for example, you decide to have a Mexican or Greek night once a week. Get the whole family involved in the making and eating of new food where you’re all sitting down together to eat, as this has real benefits too.

Once you’ve got into the habit of trying new foods, you’ll be amazed how different mealtimes can be and the benefits it can have on the health of you and your family.

Lemon Cupcakes and a Raspberry buttercream (guest post by Cake Journal)

Spring and summer make the perfect time to bake something light, delicious and easy. At this time of year, shoppers can find so many great fruits to pick in the local stores. One fabulous way to welcome in the warm season is with a fresh and fruity dessert. At our company, we look for ways to use the vibrant produce all around us. One of my favorite recipes is this one. Lemon cupcakes are a great way to marry the tart lemon flavor with something sweet. The cupcakes remind us of long afternoons in the front of the porch sipping lemonade. I like to frost them with a rich raspberry buttercream.

Today, I’m going to show you how to make the cupcakes. I’m also going to show you how to make lemon cookies that can also be topped with any leftover raspberry cream. Treat yourself and your kids to something special just for the summer. Follow this recipe and you’ll get the perfect summer dessert every single time.

For the Cupcakes

To make the cupcakes, you will need Williams-Sonoma Lemon cakecup mix, an egg, a fourth of a cup of butter and a half cup of milk.



For the Cookies

To make the cookies, you want to have on hand Williams-Sonoma Lemon Sugar Cookie Mix, an egg and a cup of softened butter.

For the Buttercream

For the buttercream, start with a half cup of the freshest raspberries you can find. You’ll also need half a cup of softened butter, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, and a package or sixteen ounces of powdered sugar.


The Bake

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You need a cupcake pan that’s line with mini cupcake liners.

2. After this, it’s time to begin making the cupcakes. You want to thoroughly combine all of the ingredients. The whole box goes in the recipe so don’t worry about mixing with this one. You can use the mix to create a batter.

3. Pour the entire batter into the baking sheet. Since these cupcakes are not full sized cupcakes, they will not need as much time in the oven. I left them in the oven for twelve minutes and it was fine. The tops should turn a golden brown.

4. While they are baking, you can start on the lemon cookies. Just like with cookies, you combine all the ingredients to create a dough. Then you need to mix them up properly. For this task, I used a stand mixer.

5. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. It’s a good idea to put some flour on the pin so it’s easier to work with the dough. You can also use a nonstick rolling pin. Get it to about a fourth of an inch thick. Then start cutting out the cookies with a cookie cutter.

6. You can put them in the oven after you’ve rolled out the dough. I like to put a silpat on top of the cookies and the baking sheet. Put them in the oven at 350 degrees for about eight to ten minutes. You don’t want to over bake them. When they’re lightly golden, you can take them out of the oven to cool.

7. While everything is cooling down, I like to start working on the raspberry buttercream.

8. To make the cream, you want to completely cream the butter, salt and vanilla in a medium sized bowl. Your raspberries should be washed. I like to strain the juice before I begin. This way, you’re getting rid of the seeds. Gradually add in the sugar carefully. You don’t want to over mix the buttercream. Otherwise, it may become quite runny. That will make it hard to stick to the cupcakes. Keep in mind that the fresh raspberries will contain lots of water. Avoid over beating the mix and it should be just fine.

9. Now it’s time to put the entire thing together. I put my icing in my piping bag. Then I put in on the cooled cupcakes carefully to get the pattern I want. You can also add the buttercream to the cookies. This is what I did.

This is my end result!

My goal was to give you some fun inspiration for your spring and summer baking. If you have followed me and made the recipe, please share them. Thanks for reading our recipe. This recipe was provided by Cake Journal.

Snact bars; my thoughts…

Who else finds that, when shopping, the sugar laden, processed snacks are always the ones that supermarkets promote? It drives me crazy as there are so many other natural and healthier options available.

Lucky for me, I recently received a great box of snacks from Snact; they aim to help combat food waste by using fruit that was due to be thrown away and using it to make delicious snack bars and fruit jerky.

I was looking forward to trying these out as I think the idea behind them is brilliant. I hate food waste and it is shocking how much ‘good food’ is simply thrown out each day that is still perfectly edible and, on the plus side, all sugars in them, are completely natural too.

Snact have been making deliciously sustainable snacks to tackle food waste since 2013. Every day in the UK we throw out tonnes of perfectly good fruit. Snact saves surplus fruit and turns it in to tasty snacks. All snacks are packaged in fully home compostable wrappers to ensure that their packaging matched their ethos of creating less waste.


I received three different bars to try:

  1. Apple & Cinnamon Kick Banana Bar,
  2. Beetroot & Cacao Blast Banana Bar,
  3. Carrot & Spice Boost Banana Bar.
  • ✔ Each bar saves one banana from going to waste
  • ✔ Vegan
  • ✔ Gluten free
  • ✔ Part of your 5 a day
  • ✔ No added sugar
  • ✔ No additives or preservatives
  • ✔ In home compostable packaging
  • ✔ Definitely has no dates!

Apple & Cinnamon Kick Banana Bar

You can taste each of the flavours in this bar;  the combination of cinnamon and apple is my favourite too!

The ingredients are all easy to read and completely natural; Dried banana, gluten free wholegrain oat flakes, pumpkin seeds, dried apple powder, pecan nuts, apple fibre and ground cinnamon.

Beetroot & Cacao Blast Banana Bar

This bar tastes GREAT. Who’d of thought that beetroot and cacao would go so well together? It kind of tasted like my favourite raw brownies!

Carrot & Spice Boost Banana Bar

I loved the spices in this bar- it genuinely had the taste of carrot cake.

All of the bars were a great mid morning snack- they kept me from getting hangry before lunch and, as they’re only around 120 calories per bar, weren’t a too calorific mid morning snack.


As a teacher, I would also recommend them to the parents as suitable for snacks, or lunch products for children to bring in to school!

I thoroughly enjoyed trying these bars.  Snact bars can be purchased directly from the Snact website. Find out more about them on Twitter and Facebook.


Thank you Snact!



The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet by Jennifer Dawson

The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet

We all know about the importance of iron from watching Popeye as kids. While downing a can of spinach won’t necessarily give you superhuman strength, it does play an important role in healthy growth and development. It helps to make up the hemoglobin in your bloodstream, which is essential to transporting oxygen around your body.

Without enough iron in your diet, you’ll find yourself feeling fatigued, weak,and irritable. It may even lead to more serious conditions such as anemia, especially amongst women. As many as 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women don’t have a high enough level of iron in their bloodstream to support healthy functioning.

Luckily, it’s not hard to increase your iron intake. There are plenty of tasty and affordable sources of iron that you can make sure to include in your diet.

Iron 1

Eat More Meat

Heme iron is found in muscle tissue and is easy for the body to absorb. All meats contain heme iron, though some are a better source than others. Shellfish such as clams, mollusks, and muscles contain more iron in a single serving than you necessarily need in a day. Fish are also a decent source of heme iron, alongside beef, pork, and poultry. Chicken liver is a particularly good source of iron and tastes delicious in pate form.

Snack on Seeds and Beans

Nonheme iron is found in plants, and while it’s a little bit harder for the body to absorb, eating nonheme foods reduces the risk of accidentally consuming a toxic amount of iron. Cooked beans and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of iron that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well. In addition to iron, these foods also offer plenty of protein and fiber for healthy digestion which further balances the diet.


Eat Salads

As mentioned earlier, spinach has long been known as a good source of nonheme iron. It’s best to eat spinach leaves raw in salads, smoothies, and other light dishes. Other leafy green vegetables can also give you the iron that you need. Kale, chard, broccoli, and more can provide you with some of your daily iron needs, but you’ll probably have to supplement them with other nutrient-rich foods as well. 

Iron is an essential nutrient that’s important to include in your diet, especially for women. You can get iron from both meat and plant sources that also provide a host of other essential nutrients, keeping you feeling your very best.




Three Diet and Fitness Plans You May Want To Try by Jennifer Dawson

Not everyone likes the idea of following a specific plan to lose weight or get fit, but others are reliant upon it. A plan can help focus your goals and get you there more quickly and there are hundreds of options on the market. Obesity rates in the UK outstrip the rest of Europe and finding a plan, a sport or a nutritional programme which suits your needs can really be the start of the change needed to beat these statistics.

Food is absolutely key to any fitness regime. From proper meal planning to finding and recognising those foods which are problematic for you can really help in your journey. Having a specific plan or regime to stick to can be a step in the right direction, as can actually learning how to diet, which many people struggle with.

Tried and Tested Diet and Fitness Plans

It is no exaggeration to say there are hundreds of diet plans to choose from. Many comprehensive diet and fitness programmes are designed with the average person in mind while others are tailored to specific groups.


Here are just three you may want to consider if you’re looking for a structured approach to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle:

Cruise Control Diet

Designed with fat loss in mind the Cruise Control Diet really makes you think about what you’re putting into your body. As with all structured programmes you need to simply follow it step by step without missing a single stage and you’ll get the results you want. The Cruise Control plan encourages us to “eat natural” and restrict foods which cause inflammation and bloating such as processed and packaged food. One of the bonuses with this plan is that it recognises our need for “cheat meals” and builds them into the plan in a sensible and manageable way.

Whole Body Vibrations Workouts

If you regularly use the gym or have even just been a couple of times you’ll have seen the vibration machines. Using power plates and other similar technology it is possible to tone and work on specific areas of your body. Described as passive exercise these kinds of work out are dependent on the vibrations as much as where you position yourself and they can be a gentle way of getting into exercise if you’re unsure where to start, or particularly self-conscious.



Fat Loss Factor Diet and Fitness Programme

The Fat Loss Factor Programme is the creation of Dr Charles Livingston. It is a structured, stage-based programme which involves some degree of detox to get you started and then a more relaxed approach from then on. It has a loose basis around Low GI foods and focuses on ensuring you fill up on good quality lean proteins and fats.

Choosing a diet plan isn’t for everyone but if you are the kind of person who likes to follow rules, it could be your best bet at achieving the lifestyle you’re looking for.


Jennifer x

8 Cooking Tools That Make Cooking Easier and Healthier by Dom from standingmixers.com

The need to maintain a healthy diet is on the rise, and it’s especially important when there are so many easy ways to get fast food or other foods that are lacking in nutrition. One way to help combat this is to have cooking tools that make healthy meals easier to make. If it’s easy to do, it becomes less of a struggle to try to come up with healthy meals. This article is going to go over 8 tools that can help you cook healthier meals with ease.


Slow Cooker


Prepping and cooking a healthy meal can take time, and that’s time you may not have if you work all day long or otherwise spend a lot of time on the go. A slow cooker is an excellent tool to help solve this problem because it allows you to prep food when you can, and then add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook while you’re at work.


You’ll be able to come home to a cooked meal, which will make it a lot easier to avoid stopping by a fast food restaurant on the way home. If you get a larger one, slow cookers can also be used to cook up a lot of food at once, which you can then freeze and store to eat throughout the week.


Indoor Grill


The most helpful aspect of an indoor grill is that it’s able to drain grease away from the food you’re cooking rather than sitting in a pan, soaking in that grease. This can help even the greasiest foods to become a little bit healthier. It’s certainly not going to transform a burger into vegetables, but being able to enjoy the meat without the grease is a huge benefit in itself.


Many indoor grills have easy presets for various kinds of food that can help you to ensure it gets thoroughly cooked regardless of whether you’re grilling a burger or a chicken breast. Typically, these grills are easy to use, all you have to do is plug them in and get cooking!




Blenders can help you with making a number of things, from smoothies to salsas, soups and more without you having to worry about doing a lot of chopping. Cutting up a lot of vegetables and fruit can be time consuming, but a blender makes it a quicker experience.

Smoothies are great to make with a blender

It also allows you to find ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet. For example, some people like to blend some kale into their smoothies so that they can enjoy the health effects of kale with the taste of their favorite fruits. A quality blender can have various settings from chopping to liquifying, which makes it a highly versatile tool.


Digital Food Scale


One of the biggest issues with the eating habits of many people today is the portion size. Portion sizes keep getting bigger and bigger when the best idea is to seek out moderation and balance. A digital food scale can help you achieve that balance by ensuring that you consume only the serving size you want, depending on your own nutritional needs. That way, you don’t have to try to guess at how much of something you’re making. This is especially helpful for meat, which is not very easy to measure in any way other than by weight.


Some added benefits are that typically, digital food scales aren’t very expensive and only require one or two AAA batteries to run. They are a little tool that can go a long way towards making healthy eating easier.




A steamer is a great tool to have if you want to eat more vegetable and prefer them cooked rather than raw, or want a combination of cooking styles at your disposal. With a steamer, you won’t need any oil or other things to keep the vegetables from sticking. In small amounts, oils and other flavoring additions can be useful but it can also be great to avoid them when possible.


Steamed veggies are more likely to be healthier than those that are cooked in a pan or with a roast. They can also be an easy go to if you want something simple from time to time like rice paired with your favorite veggies.


Oil Mister


An oil mister is a useful tool that helps you to use just enough oil to keep whatever you’re cooking from sticking to the pan without coating it in too much oil. This can help with cutting down on unnecessary calories that can come from those oils. When you’re trying to eat more healthfully, it can be helpful to cut down on calories that you may not even realize you’re consuming because they are just side products that you use with your regular meal.


It’s also often easier to cut down on these empty calories because it’s something that is less noticeable in your day to day cooking anyway. The oil mister may seem like a luxury item, but it can actually help a lot with making cooking oils last longer by using less of them.


Food Processor


Much like a blender, a food processor can help with adding fruits and vegetables to your diet in easier ways. While blenders work well for soups and smoothies, a food processor can be great for dips, dressings or even just chopping up some vegetables to add to a recipe. In some food processors, you can also keep the prepped food separated easier, because each mixing container comes with a lid that allows you to easily store any leftovers without having to dirty another dish.

Energy balls are great to make with a food processor

They can also come in a variety of sizes, which can allow you to chop small amounts or, if you choose, you can also use some food processors to make smoothies or mixed drinks and use larger mixing containers more suitable for sharing. They’re a highly useful, versatile tool that can make many different kinds of food prep a lot easier.


Pressure Cooker


Pressure cookers are known to cook more quickly, which can be highly convenient when you don’t have a lot of time to cook an extravagant meal. Because of the quick cooking time, it can help things like vegetables hold in more of their nutrients.


When using a pressure cooker, you get the best of both worlds if you prefer cooked vegetables, because you’ll get the cooked flavor with more of the nutrients that would otherwise get cooked out of the food. This will make it a lot easier to enjoy cooked carrots, asparagus and other vegetable favorites in a shorter timeframe and in a healthier fashion.




Each of the tools in this list are useful in different ways, for different purposes. You may find that you end up needing all of them to create healthy meals sooner or later or there may be just a few that you come to rely on regularly. It’s all going to be up to your own personal preferences and budget. In any one of these tools, you’ll surely find something that will be able to allow you to cook healthy meals easily, making it much more convenient to maintain a nutritious diet.

Mindful running…

Running most definitely has its benefits; it is good for our hearts and our heads. I, and many others, have turned running into a habit that is undertaken more than once a week, not only for the exercise but for ability to slip in to another world and switch off.

I find it pretty normal for my mind to wonder whilst running; if someone I knew were to drive past me, I probably wouldn’t notice them. And the thoughts? Well, they can be related to absolutely anything; the run itself, work, life or just how beautiful the day is!


Why do I find mindful running helpful?

If before I get ready to go out running I am feeling anxious, during my run, I will take the time to think about why I am feeling like that, how I can resolve, is there any reason to actually be feeling that way?

If I’m feeling happy, I will use it to push myself further; quicken the pace, push my legs and lungs and really get the best out of my run.

Either way, I finish the run with endorphin’s that are making me feel more positive.

What do I/ can I focus on to run mindfully?

I often focus on my breathing; making sure I am taking nice deep breaths, rather than shorter, snappy ones.

Once I have focused on that for long enough, and have got in to a rhythm, I will begin to take in my surroundings. Admire the beauty around you and the things that when life is speeding by, you may miss.

Top Tip: If I get stitch, I focus on breathing out every time I stride forward with my right foot. This way, I am no longer focusing on the issue. 

enertor 2.jpg

Try to relax: 

As silly, and as hard, as this may seem, I try to relax when out running. I choose an object of focus, whatever it may be (my stride, bird song, cars, people, trees, my breath) and relax my mental attitude towards exercise. During the week, I push my body really hard when doing HIIT and weight training exercise, that I take this time to just go with the flow and allow my body to enjoy exercise!

How can you do it?

I’d say, follow these four steps:

  1. Focus on your breathing,
  2. Encourage yourself to focus on what is going on around you.
  3. Have a positive attitude towards yourself when you run,
  4. Relax and enjoy it!

Finally, reward yourself after you run! Be it a nice breakfast, a bath, shopping.. make it worthwhile! I love a stack of pancakes!


I hope this helps!


Hannah x