Into the West Blogger Network

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I have been meaning to blog about the ‘Into The West Blogger Network’ or what we hashtag as #itwbn which is a hashtag that has been all over my instagram!!😍😍😍

Firstly, the ITWBN is a huge support to anyone that wants to begin blogging or anyone that wants to ‘network’ with other bloggers. And, for the past 6 months, it has really has had an impact on me and my blogging.

For anyone that doesn’t know anything about this group it has been created by two
wonderful women, Saibh Egan

http://saibhegan.com and Sinead Carroll http:// http://www.yummymummy.eu.com/?m=1. It was created to give bloggers in the west of Ireland a platform and in a short time it has done incredibly well and is growing on a daily basis.

How I got introduced to ITWBN was that I have been friends with Saibh for about 15 years and I went to help out at the event and be a support when infact it has in turn helped me more!!!! She also recoommended I go and has been very supportive to me since day one of ne starting my blog…she really is one in a million!
The ITWBN host events specifically for bloggers, they have guest speakers attend with whom you can’t help but learn from and then have adequate time for bloggers to network and take selfies (it is a must at the events) as well as the introduction to some amazing local products and businesses.

I, believe it or not, really struggle in situations like this especially when I feel completely out of my depth as the people who attend these events are so talented at what they do. But, this feeling was squashed within seconds of the event. There are no egos and it is an entirely positive experience. I cannot explain the atmosphere it is electric, exciting, nerve wrecking but most importantly ridiculously positive! Anyone who knows me understands that I am all about the positive vibes ✌✌✌
As an added bonus, it has also introduced me to a plethora of people, really amazingly talented people at that!!! And also some amazing products which I especially love from Cocoa Brown http://cocoabrown.ie and Pixy Natural Skincare http://pixy.ie (which are all handmade in Ireland) to name a few. The goodie bags NEVER fail to disappoint and take me so long to get through…below is the most recent one 😍😍😍

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Photo credit to the Beauty Kemple http://www.thebeautykemple.blogspot.ie/?m=1 For all your beauty needs she is the girl to go to!😜

For me, blogging is an outlet and not something that I think I would be successful to go full time, I’m not that interesting 😂😂 I really didn’t think people would get much from my blog, but cooking and feeling good within yourself  is something I really enjoy and if I can help ONE person I am satisfied! The blog, however, grown (which is mad to me) and I really enjoy comments and messages from people as far away as Singapore to my beloved Galway😉;)

The last thing I am going to leave you with is that these events have given me the confidence to concentrate on the direction I want to go in; They have also made me think more carefully about my posts and also has created a community in the west that was badly needed. I am now part of this community and I couldn’t recommend ITWBN more for anyone that wants to be taken seriously in the blogging world!!!!😍😍😍

They also host workshops which can really transform your blogging abilities and you can find out more information below

http:// https://m.facebook.com/ITWBN?refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FITWBN

Any questions just drop me a mail 😜

Bonitas

Elaine 💕

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PROats – protein oats

These gems are the best thing going and to be fair, they sound absolutely disgusting when you read the ingredients. But I promise, you will not be disappointed!!!

I can vouch for this as my mom hates every single thing about eggs, and eventually… admittedly she now loves these. I also didn’t tell her there was eggs in them until she was in love…a little white lie… but since starting the blog I have found out a lot of people really do not like eggs!

If you are already eating porridge, by then including the egg whites you are jacking up the oats nutritional value and protein consumption!!

Almond milk also adds a little sweetness and nuts are a fantastic source of polyunsaturated fats and also a source of protein!

You can all also the below items to fortify the PROats
*Dried or frozen fruit – if you stir in frozen fruit whilst the proats are still in the saucepan they fruit will be thawed and cooked by the time you serve.
*Cleantella
*Cacao Powder – this is the unprocessed version of the cocoa powder we all know – this is SO much better for you
*Nut Butter Spreads – they add a richness and can alter the taste in seconds so you can change it up if this become your staple breakfast
*Nuts and seeds – I add to almost everything what’s not to love?

Ingredients
1/2 cup of oats
1/2 cup of almond milk
2 egg whites
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Method
Whisk all the items together in the saucepan off the heat. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until cooked. This should take 2-3 minutes.
*If you are adding frozen fruit, add now whilst the contents are in the saucepan so the fruit is cooked through
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Bonitas,
Elaine 💕
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Healthy Crunchy Yummy Granola

My best friend Maria makes the most incredible crumble I have ever tasted…when we were away travelling, even the smell of it baking took us straight back home – a definite home comfort of mine!!

Two weeks ago she excelled herself and kindly brought in granola bars to me in work🙂 so this is most certainly where the inspirstion for this recipe came!

This granola is packed full of goodness with sweetness coming from dried apricots and the pure honey, it definitely tricks the mind into thinking you are being really bad!

Also when purchasing the apricots – shop around…some actually have added riceflour to the apricots in order to preserve them, and some are more expensive if chopped, when it takes 2 minutes to cut them yourself! I used the forest feast brand apricots and they were around €3 for 250g in comparison to another brand that were €7.89 for 450g.

This morning, I added a sprinkle of the granola to the Proats I usually have http:// http://wp.me/p4qWLW-41 They add a bit of crunch and swetness and change it up completely! Warm, sweet and crunchy goodness – what we all need on these cold and dreary mornings…or evenings;)
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Ingredients
2 cups of oats
1/2 cup of chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
1/4 cup of seeds (I used the holland and barrett omega sprinkle – sunflower seeds, pumpkin or flax are all great options)
1/4 cup of wholemeal spelt flour (you can omit if you do not have)
1/4 cup of dried apricots
2-3 tbsp of pure honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp of coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
Pinch of sea salt

Method
Preheat the oven to 150°C or 300F
In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and give a small mix with a spatula or wooden spoon.
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Then add, the coconut oil, honey and vanilla essence. Keep mixing until everything has been combined.
Spread mixture evenly on a non stick baking tray or line with parchment paper.
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Bake for 10 minutes @150°C
Allow to cool. Break into pieces for granola or cut into bars
Store in an airtight jar and Enjoy!!! I made these 6 days ago and they are still perfectly fresh 😍
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Bonitas,
Elaine 💕

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Pancake Tuesday is nearly here…Pancake Recipes and Cleantella – Healthy Nutella Alternative!!!

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Feeding time at the zoo…my niece and nephew x

This post is very late but just in time for you to get some ingredients for the BEST DAY EVER….PANCAKE TUESDAY!!!!

I love this day so much,so much so that I convinced my whole family (on more than one occasion) that it was pancake Tuesday the week before…genius really…my poor parents!!!! Although, as they do say Karma is a b**ch and since my niece was born 6 years ago, pancakes have become part of our morning routine. Getting woken up at 6.30AM to make pancakes on my day off is not ideal, but safe to say moments I do cherish with my niece and nephew!!! Teaching a 4 year old to crack eggs is definitely a highlight and one everyone should experience!!!! Keep the kitchen roll at the ready!🙂

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Pink Pancakes :)

Pink Pancakes🙂

So,in preparation for this amazing day I have linked up all my previous posts below as well as a classic recipe for cheat days!!!!

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Classic Pancake Recipe

This recipe is taken from my “sisters” oldest cooking book!!!

Ingredients

  • 4 oz (115g) plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 pt milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Method

  • Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre, crack the egg in the well and mix.
  • Slowly add the milk and vanilla extract.
  • Whisk until the mixture is smooth and there are no more lumps.

**This is a good time to add the colour paste/food colouring**

  • Leave the mixture to stand for 30mins if you have time.
  • Cook and Enjoy!!!

Bonitas,
Elaine 💕

Juice Detoxing – Nutribullet Vs Cold Press Juicer

Juicing has been something I have been really interested in and for the past 4 months I have had a least one juice a day, everyday! I have really noticed the benefits in my skin, my immune system and energy levels.

Then at christmas my wondeful brother and fiancée got me my own Cold press juicer…and it is pink!!!How perfect for me!😍😍😍
The brand of the juicer is CUH and can be purchased on Amazon. I cannot say enough positive things about it. ..the only negative is that it takes a while to figure out how to dismantle it – but once you do it’s all good ☺

Why a cold press juicer and not a Nutribullet?
The reason for me choosing the cold press juicer instead of the Nutribullet is purely because I wanted to immerse myself with nutrients and enzymes. 

Life Principle.  Dr. N.W. Walker, in his book Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices refers to enzymes as the basic key to nourishing your body.  Enzymes enable us to digest food and absorb it into our blood.  Dr. Walker also states that “It has also been claimed that enzymes digest cancers.”  Enzymes are like electricity, they do not have a material body, but they activate substances of which they are an integral part.

Enzyme Functions:

*Aid in the breakdown and absorption of substances to provide more than 40 known nutrients for the building, repair and maintenance of tissue and for energy.
*Are necessary for all cell function. 
*Neutralize poisons in the body

With a cold press juicer it “presses” the fruit/veg to release the juice and enzymes. The enzymes are therfore not affected and you get the benefit of the nutrients and enzymes.
However, you do lose out on fibre as the juice is extracted and the pulp is waste essentially.

Im the picture below on the left hand side you can see the waste and on the right is the pure juice. And a lovely neat kitchen!!!!😂;) excuse the mess!!

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There is minimal peeling required only pineapples and lime need to be peeled.
**some fruit and are not suitable to be juiced like avocados and bananas.

Nutribullet
With the Nutribullet you get the nutrients and fibre, but the enzymes are affected. The nutribullet has an added benefit that the juicer does not – you can add nuts and seeds to increase the nutritional value. You can also use any fruit or veg ☺ you do however have to peel and core the fruit or veg….I am so lazy so this is a major con for me 👑 As all the items are blended together there is also little or no waste and less cleaning involved also ☺

Verdict
Either way they are both great machines it just depends what you want to achieve!!! Nutribullet can be used for many other meals not just the one functuon that the juicer offers.

The Detox
Last week, I planned on performing a juice detox for two to three days. This consisted of a lemon cleanse in the morning, 3 juices replacing your meals throughout the day and plenty of detox tea to keep warm.

Tips
*Lemon cleanse, this should be carried out every morning – it is the best way to starr the day and wake the body up from the inside out. Squeeze 1/2 the juice of lemon into a pint glass and then place the lemon in the glass. Fill up with boiling water, leave for a 15mins or add a small bit of cold water to adjust the temperature.

*The tea I used was the roberts apple detox tea, I hadn’t tried it before but it was gorgeous and at €4.29 for 40 teabags it is brilliant value. They are also caffeine free, this is really important so you are not kept awake at night!

*I use a lot of fresh fruit – berries and green veg such as brocolli, spinach and green beans. Frozen variations are just as nutritous as fresh fruit and are great ways to be economical. In Dunnes you can get 300g frozen raspberries for €2 in Dunnes and 750g green beans for 97c. You just need to remember thaw them overnight☺

*In the juicer, I process one of the apples at the start and another apple and a carrot at the end as they are harder fruits they seem to push any juice through that may have become lodged or too soft.

*I also add 1/2 cup of filtered water at the end to make sure all the juice has been processed. It saves on cleaning also.

Juices
There were 2 juices I made throughout the two days.

Juice 1
3 inches Brocolli stalk
1/3 pineapple
1 lime
2 apples (pink lady)
1/2 cucumber
1/2 courgette
1/2 carrot
**1-2 tsp wheatgrass powder**
Placed all fruit in juicer, I then stirred in wheatgrass afterwards…you must stir vigorously to remove lumps that the powder will form.

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Juice 2
1 celery stalk
1 lime or lemon
1 beetroot (boiled prepacked)
1/2 cucumber
1 carrot
1 cup of raspberries (I used frozen ones that had thawed overnight)
1 cup of green beans (I used frozen ones that had thawed overnight)
2 apples
**Wheatgrass powder as above**

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Juice 3
For the third juice I added half a blended avocado to Juice 1. It also saves on time. I blended the avocado in my hand blender then stirred into the juice to incorporate. I did this because avocados are full of polyunsaturated fats (the good ones) and curbef my fat cravings which I found were the worst in the evening time.

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I carried out this detox for about 40 hours, to me I think when I am working full time it is hard to function correctly just on juice. Personally 40 hours was enough for me as a detox and that only.
As a rule, I don’t encourage cutting any food group out so I will continue to incorporate the juices into my daily life. If you decide to perform a juice detox on the final day add in some raw fruit and vegetables so that you get adequate fibre.

Bonitas,
Elaine 💕

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Peach Butter

Peach Butter is something I have been researching for quite sometime and I am delighted to say it is as great as I thought.

Yesterday I bought a punnet of peaches and there was a whole range of ripeness out of the five peaches infront of me…which makes peach butter ideal especially in Ireland…no one wants to eat a bitter hard peach?!but for this recipe it doesn’t make a difference!

The reason for me researching this was because I wanted to create a butter/jam like product that could be used with my morning oats and as an alterrnative to jam etc…I have quite a sweet tooth and this turned out just perfect Sweet and jam like with no additonal sugar.

So to start I halved the 5 peaches and removed the stones. Then I placed them in a food processor until they were all combined.

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Then I placed in a saucepan over a medium heat for 30 minutes stirring all the time. (I am not a fan of cinammon but if you are you could add a tsp into the saucepan now.)

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Towards the end of the 30 mins I added a tsp of vanilla bean extract.
You know its complete when it has reduced and its consistency is jam like.

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Now as we havent added anything to this in order to preserve it…It will only last 1-2 days refrigerated.
5 peaches = 1 cup of peach butter

Or you can do as I did (see below) and make Granola bars with the peach butter🙂 as it is naturally sweet these bars are sure to curb any sweetness especially after the uptime boxes of christmas sweets and chocolates we have all indulged in!

Ingredients
1 cup of peach butter *cooled (method above)
1 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of raisins
1 cup of oats
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips/shavings

Method
Preheat the oven to 175°C
Place the walnuts and raisins in a food processor until combined and are paste like.
Slowly add the peach butter and process until combined
Then in another bowl place the oats and chocolate chips, add the peach butter mixture and mix.

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Place in a lined baking tray and bake for 20 mins
Cool for 15 mins on a wire rack
Cut and enjoy!

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Bonitas,
Elaine 💕

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Nutsnmore Peanut Butter Toffee Crunch

I have been hearing a lot of reports about nutsnmore and their peanut butter protein spreads….so when I saw the Toffee flavour when I was in Health+ getting my Quest bars I had to try it!!

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My verdict is that it is not like standard PB spreads texture wise and it is slightly sweeter hence the toffee flavour…so be prepared for that. All this aside it is beautiful and I am addicted… as I am quite the fan of protein it is ideal!

Its going to be my new experiemental ingredient so watch this space I’ll see how it cooks and post if its a success!

But for now..

I got an idea from my friend Mary who is a total fitspo for me…check her out on instagram http://instagram.com/maryclaudineh she grills her Quest bars (cookies and cream is my fave and below) and my god they go to another dimension when cooked!Add a dollop of nutsnmore on top of the quest bar…HEAVEN!!! And for an even bigger treat add some dark chocolate (70% or more)…yum 😍

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Moving on….
My favourite way to use it is with proats.
I cannot eat a lot in the morning time so I half the quantities below.

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup juvela gluten free oats
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Handful of frozen rasperries (or fresh)
Nutsmore Toffee PB crunch or any spread of your choice

Method
Whisk the oats, milk and egg whites together in a bowl then place in a saucepan and cook as normal.
When cooked add the raspberries and spread.
Give a quick mix and eat!!!

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Enjoy,
Bonitas,
Elaine 💕

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Healthy Pancakes

I am always looking for healthy versions of pancakes because I really do adore them but they can be so bad for you. Not to mention the fillings…check out my Cleantella recipe which is an amazing alternative to Nutella. These are both healthy alternatives and pancakes are special in my house as its our tradition when I mind them to make pancakes for breakfast…so why not healthy ones🙂

Ground Almonds have to be one of my favourite ingredients in the kitchen to use either savoury or sweet.
*If you buy in Aldi or Dunnes Stores (own brand) they are both €1.99 for 200g compared to other brands that retail at €4.99 for the same amount and nutrirional value.

Ingredients
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1/4 Cup water
2 eggs
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
*Coconut oil for the pan

Method
*Place all ingedients into a bowl. *Combine until all ingredients are mixed and a nice smooth mixture is formed.
*Using a small piece of coconut oil lightly grease the pan.
*Pour the mixture onto the pan to your desired size and thickness
*Flip until golden brown on each side

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I usually cut them into shapes so my niece has more fun and as a result eats more🙂

Banana Pancakes
Ingredients
2 eggs
1 banana
1tsp vanilla bean paste
*Coconut oil for the pan

Method
*Lightly mash the banana and place in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until combined
*Lightly grease the pan with some coconut oil
*Pour the mixture onto the pan to your desired size and thickness
*Flip until golden brown on each side.

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These recipes are ones I swear by and never fail to please🙂 They are simplistic and use ingredients we all have lying around the house🙂
Enjoy,
Bonitas,
Elaine ♥

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Healthy Peanut Butter Cups…that taste as good as Reese Cups ♥

So I have been seriously slacking on the blogging due to holidays and my family being home for abroad but I am back….. and back with a vengeance!

I have been trying LOADS of different recipes and have been really trying to perfect them and add as much extra nutrients as I can to them.

The girls whom I work with love Peanut butter and I have been dying to try these Peanut Butter Cups for aaaages so eventually did this morning!They turned out SOO well first time I brought them straight into work to get the approval! They were devoured in minutes which is what I always love to see!

They taste identical to Reese Cups and I actually think they taste nicer…for me knowing that they are healthier makes me feel better automatically!
Anyways…enough talk here’s the recipe…feel free to drop me a line or let me know any comments you nay have or questions!

Enjoy,
Bonitas,
Elaine ♥

The quantities below either make 5 regular cupcakes or 10 mini cupcakes

Ingredients
2 tbsp Coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp Maple syrup
5 tbsp Peanut Butter (You could use almond or any other nut butter if you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1-1.5 tsp of Cacao Powder
Dessciated Coconut to sprinkle

Method
Melt the Coconut oil and place in a bowl, add in the Peanut Butter and  Maple syrup. Stir until combined really well.
Place half the mixture into a separate bowl and set aside.
Place a dollop of the mixture into each case.Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

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Add in the cacao powder to the bowl that was set aside.Mix really well (Cacao powder can be quite bitter so add in a teaspoon and more if desired.)
Place a dollop of the chocolate mixture on top of the Peanut Butter mixture, decorate with shredded coconut and freeze for 45 minutes.
Enjoy ♥

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Avocado Cookies

These cookies are delicious and the smell they created in the house was as good as the real deal!!!!
Cookies are completely my downfall…they are sweet, gooey and caramelised pieces of joy…but jesus they are soooo bad for you….queue these guys! Guilt free tasty cookies!
They are gorgeous and taste best when out of the oven(I just reheated mine)…they take take minutes to make, an hour to set and ten minutes to bake!
Simples🙂

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Ingredients
Wet Ingredients – 1st bowl :
Avocado, mashed
1 Egg (could use flax/chia egg)
1tbsp Coconut oil
1 tsp Vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup of Maple syrup

Dry ingredients – 2nd bowl
1 cup of Oats
1 cup of Wholewheat flour
2 tbsp of Demerera sugar
2 squares of 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp bread soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Handful of chopped pecans (optional)

Method
Place all wet ingredients into a bowl, I mashed the avocado with a fork first, make sure all the ingredients are all combined well (the avocado needs to be ripe or it won’t mash at all and these cookies will simply not work)
Place all dry ingredients into a bigger bowl and give a quick mix.
Then combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, folding in.
The mixture will be really gooey but that’s the desired result.
Pop in the fridge for an hour, this allows all the flavours to enhance and gives the cookies a brown colour instead of that avocado green tinge🙂
Preheat the over to 175C
Then using my Bonzer Litegrip Portioner (available on http://vikingdirect.ie)

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This genuinely is the handiest utensil I have found in awhile. It gives precise equal portions without any waste which is brilliant. It is comfortable to use even if you’re using it over and over due to the handle design, easy to clean and is a brilliant price compared to the industrial stainless steel options on the market. I ordered it on a tuesday and it arrived the following day which was brilliant!🙂
Press each cookie down with a fork.
Bake for 8-10 mins
Enjoy,
Bonitas,
Elaine ♥

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