Beetroot Dark Chocolate

Beetroot has been studied extensively for its high nitrate content.  Studies suggest that a daily dose of 500 ml of beet juice could lead to a 15% increase in the time taken to reach exhaustion.  This is good news for athletes.  As its not practical to juice everyday, I’ve been thinking of other ways to incorporate beetroot into my diet.  So I decided to make some beetroot chocolate using beetroot powder.

I had intended to use Cacao powder but as I didn’t have any to hand, I used some dark chocolate that I had at home instead.  Coconut Oil has been known to be a super food so this was a good opportunity to throw some in.

I’ve used the following ingredients to taste:

Beetroot powder, Dark Chocolate, Almonds, Peanuts, Cinnamon Powder, Virgin Coconut Oil.

Method:

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in a pan on very low heat.

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Add the cinnamon and beetroot powder to the melting chocolate and stir.

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I put quite a lot of beetroot powder to give the chocolate a natural sweetness.

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Meanwhile, melt some virgin coconut oil.  Roast some peanuts and blend them coarsely.  For the almonds, I used a pestle and mortar.

Add the coconut oil, almonds and peanuts to the mixture and stir.

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Once the mixture is nice and smooth, pour into a tray and refrigerate.

Once the mixture has solidified, chop the chocolate up into small bite sized portions.

 

Store in an airtight container away from heat. Enjoy!

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Clove and Mandarin Soap

I tried making soap using the hot process in the past but unfortunately it ended up being a disaster.  I was not careful monitoring the temperature of the mixture and this resulted in it bubbling and getting spoilt.

Anyway, I thought I’d try the cold process this time. This is slightly easier but does mean waiting for 4-6 weeks before the soap is ready to be used. We have enough soap at home at the moment so I don’t mind the wait.

I’ve used Lye, Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil, Neem Oil, Beeswax and Mango Butter and essential oils of Clove, Mandarin, Sweet Basil and  Lemon.

cold pressed rapeseed oil lye

I think I got carried away with the beeswax and mango butter. I should have used a lot less because when I mixed the lye with the oils and melted butters, the solution solidified very quickly and it became difficult to blend the mixture with the blending stick.  Anyway, I put the final mixture in containers and left it overnight to solidify.

Result: The soap in the silicone container was relatively easy to take out.

bars of soap

But the other stuff in the two plastic containers wasn’t.  I ended up having to break one container.  I made a bit of a mess with the soap from the other plastic container trying to wedge it out with a knife.  Ideally you need to use parchment paper in the container before you pour the mixture in it so that when it solidifies, you can just pull the soap out of it easily.

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As you can see, the soap is a bit squidgy.  It has to be left for around 6 weeks in a cool dry so that it hardens and is ready to use.

uneven bars of soap

I’m not that fussed about the shape and the size of the soap.  What I was worried about was if it actually worked!  I took a little lump and tried washing my hands with it.

lather on hand

It lathered quite well and washed off well too.  By the time I got a decent picture using manual focus on my SLR with one hand, most of the lather had washed off!  The beeswax and mango butter makes the soap less drying on the skin.

Overall, am quite pleased with the soap. However, it is a bit of a faff to make but probably worth it as you get a good supply for family use.

No Nonsense Energy Bites

I bought Chia Seeds a while back as I knew they were a good endurance food and had great nutritional benefits.  Chia has more calcium than a glass of milk, more Omega-3s than Salmon, and more antioxidants than blueberries.  They are also rich in antioxidants, fibre, magnesium, zinc and iron which are all essential nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.

I used to make a big glass of Chia, Lemon and Honey drink to have before a long run or race.  But it was difficult to consume in one go before a race and also difficult to carry during the race.

So I’m now making  something more practical and also highly nutritious that can be carried on long rides.  Unlike shop bought energy bars, I know this one will have no gunk in it and will be safe for regular consumption.

I’ve decided to use the following ingredients: Chia Seeds, Roasted Peanuts, Beetroot Powder, Cinnamon Powder, Dates, Unrefined Coconut Oil and Vanilla Extract.

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Vanilla Extract

Beetroot has been getting some great press recently as it has been proven to increase athletic performance. Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates and these compounds are the precursor to a very important signalling molecule that our body needs to function – Nitric Oxide. We can increase the availability of Nitric Oxide in our body by eating nitrate rich food such as beetroot.  Nitric Oxide acts as a vasodilator in functioning skeletal muscle, increasing the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen flow.

I haven’t measured the ingredients but just used as much or little according to taste.

Here’s the method:

  1. Melt the coconut oil.
  2. Pip the dates and blend them in a food processor till you get a paste or mush.  dates blender
  3. Crush the peanuts coarsely.   IMG_4561
  4. Mix the coconut oil into the Chia seeds, roasted peanuts, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract and beetroot powder

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5. Take small handfuls of the mixture when the coconut oil has started to set and          make it into little bite sized balls. Place them in the fridge so that they become        nice and solid.

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I’ll be carrying these on my next long bike ride.  Hopefully I won’t have to make any changes to the mixture, but if I do, I’ll update this page.

Vegan Chamois Cream

 The last Chamois Cream I made has done well but some cyclists contacted me to ask if I could do a vegan option.  So I’ve decided to cut out the beeswax to make a cream that will suit vegans.

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The only other ingredient I have added to the recipe is Orange Essential Oil.  I chose Orange Essential Oil as it has been proved to be effective against 22 bacteria including 12 fungi.  The study was published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8893526

shea butter

Shea Butter is useful in moisturising, softening, healing and protecting your skin. Coconut Oil is naturally moisturising and acts as a powerful anti-bacterial. Almond Oil is rich in Vitamin E and Zinc and has been known to heal and nourish the skin and soothe it from irritation and inflammation. Tea Tree Oil is known for its antiseptic, anti-fungal and infection-reducing properties.

    coconut oil

  The combination of Orange and Tea Tree Oil works well and gives the cream a subtle neutral smell that should appeal to both men and women.

tea tree and orange oils

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Water Based Cream

Making a water based cream is difficult to get right. My past attempts at making this type of cream have left lots of water droplets in the overall mixture which meant the cream could get spoilt easily.

I did however realise that using Rose Water or Orange Blossom Water could potentially lessen the chances of the cream getting spoilt. Still it didn’t mean that the process of making the cream would get any easier.  What I didn’t want was there to be any water droplets at all.

Anyway, I’ve done a bit more research and have tried to follow a formula and hope I’m a bit more successful this time.

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I’ve decided to use Almond Oil, Mango and Coconut Butter and Beeswax as an emulsifier to allow the oils and water to mix. I’ve also used some boiled water to make up the proportions.

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After melting the oils and butter, the trickiest part is getting the temperature of the water and oils right and then mixing them together.

IMAG3882The water needs to be added to the oils very very slowly and the mixture needs to be blended continually. Our new blender decided to give way so I ended up blending the mixture in our old food processor which meant removing the lid every few seconds to pour the water mixture in.

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Well after sufficiently blending the mixture, I think I’ve got the right consistency.

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The cream feels soft and I haven’t seen any water droplets yet. I’m probably ready to make a bigger batch soon.

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Frangipani and Orange Blossom Face Butter


I've been using Neem Cream at bed time on my face for quite a while.  
I thought it was time I made a face butter which smelt a bit more flowery 
and soothing, unlike the Neem Cream which although works wonders, smells
 a bit bitter. Orange Blossom and Frangipani came to mind. 

Shea and Orange Blossom Face Butter 

I’ve created a unique blend of Shea and Mango butter with Sesame, Baobab and Rosehip Oils, Rose Water and Orange Blossom.   You can smell the Orange Blossom straight away but I’ve also used essential oils of Rose and Frangipani to give this butter a truly beautiful fragrance.

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Evergreen Frangipani (Plumeria obtusa,L.).

Shea Butter has been recognised for its magical and nourishing powers.  It accelerates cellular renewal and repairs the hydrolipic film, which is a protective film that covers the entire surface of the skin.  It also protects the skin by acting as a barrier, helping to prevent moisture loss.

SHEA measured

Baobab and Rosehip Oils are rich in anti-oxidants and are known to improve skin elasticity and regeneration of skin cells. Sesame Oil is rich in Vitamin E and Zinc.  Zinc helps to produce collagen and gives the skin more elasticity.  

This face butter should really help to protect and nourish dry and dehydrated skin.

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