Plastic…. Not so fantastic

In this week’s blog post I’m not sharing healthy ideas or recipes; and I’m certainly not trying to sell you energy bites, raw cacao truffles or superfood cakes. Instead, I’ve decided to write about something that’s very close to my heart, so please read on…

Some of you may know that I’m a boatie at heart. I love the ocean and for many years, as a chef on board luxury yachts, I took great pleasure in sautéeing on the high seas. My love of sailing and being by the coast is something I share with my family, and Olivia has grown up with sea legs, feeling quite comfortable in a lifejacket. That’s why I felt compelled to act upon a change.org petition I recently viewed, highlighting the amount of plastic being poured into our oceans, more than 8 million tons every year, bringing our oceans to the brink of disaster. This, in turn, led me to the Plastic Oceans Foundation website. Plastic Oceans is a global network of independent not-for-profits and charitable organisations, united in their aims to change the world’s attitude towards plastic within a generation.

Sadly, as if deadly polluted oceans weren’t enough, an article in the current (7th September) Waitrose Weekend Magazine highlights that our beaches are also awash with litter.

But you can help turn this all around… Here’s how…

  • Visit the Plastic Oceans Foundation website, and start acting on the 7 Easy Things You Can Do to Reduce Plastic Pollution, there’s a handy infographic HERE.
  • Join the Great British Beach Clean from 15-18 September. Discover more about it on the Marine Conservation Society website.
  • Think about what you buy and how you reuse and recycle packaging. At Frog Hollow we don’t just care about your health we care about this beautiful planet too, so we use recyclable, biodegradable packaging and avoid plastic wherever we can. To reduce packaging we offer a refill option on the glass jars filled with our energy bites. If you buy our Raw Cacao Truffles we encourage you to reuse the little black box they are delivered in. Fill it with a gift for somebody else, keep your treasures safe or give it to your little ones to get crafty with! We’d love to know how you have used yours… Share your photos on line with us, using the hashtags #planetfriendly #froghollow. You’ll find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It’s time to get to work for the next generation!

Sussex Bounty

At Frog Hollow we’re grateful to be based in beautiful West Sussex, and we make the most of all the local bounty on our doorstep whenever we can.

You’ll find that we adapt the ingredients we use in our superfood cakes and energy bites to make the most of the delicious fresh produce on hand from season to season. It helps to tantalise your taste buds and by reducing our food miles whenever we can, we’re also doing our bit to preserve the planet!

Whilst strawberry season may be coming to an end, there is still some deliciously soft, ripe fruit out there, and it’s often these berries that are the best to make jam with. If you’ve been out walking the downs lately, you’ll have noticed the hedgerows are bursting with delicious blackberries; and while the rain may have dampened the spirits during the last few days of the school holidays, it will have done wonders to plump up the freebie fruit that’s available with just a little foraging!

So, once you’ve got the kids on the school bus this week why not take some time for yourself again? Start with a stroll through the countryside. Pack your Tupperware with energy bites to fuel your steps, then fill that container with very berry goodness on the way home. To spur you on in your quest for Sussex bounty here’s my recipe for all natural, bursting with berries chia jam…

Fruit Chia Jam

  • 125g fresh or frozen berries, (defrosted). Use blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, strawberries, or any other berries you have.
  • 3 medjool dates – pitted
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and whizz until completely broken down. Leave for 10 minutes for the chia seeds to become gelatinous and then whizz briefly a second time to finish.
  2. Keep refrigerated and serve with scones, on toast or sandwiched between the layers of a cake!

Don’t forget to check the archives for my healthy scone recipe, perfect as a base for your berry jam, they are free from wheat, gluten, dairy and refined sugar.

Beach days and backpacks… Picnics to nourish your nippers!

Hurrah, the sun is shining again! That can mean only one thing it’s time to pack a picnic and head into the great outdoors. But if you’re going to be out all day the owners of those tiny tummies will need nourishment to keep them on the go.

With that in mind, we asked our good friend Karen Lee at The Sensitive Foodie Kitchen, for some ideas and healthy alternatives to a cool bag laden with carbs or stuffed full of sugary snacks.

Here are Karen’s top tips for healthy picnic eats

  • Take crunchy snacks like carrots, celery, cauliflower chunks or breadsticks. Stack them in a lightweight pot where they will stay fresh longer, without going mushy or getting bruised. Grapes are always a good option too, but avoid strawberries (unless you can buy some wherever you are going).
  • For sensational sweet snacks, take cakes that travel well like banana and blueberry muffins or chewy tropical squares, or Frog Hollow energy bites of course!
  • When my kids were younger, I used to take a selection of the above and let them dive in and create their own smorgasbord of picnic food – they still like to make them now when they’re in their late teens!
  • Take bottled water to keep you well hydrated if it’s hot.
  • If you do get pulled in to buying junk snacks look for baked crisps rather than fried. Fruit lollies or sorbet are a healthier option than ice cream.

For the ultimate portable power packed snack order a Pick & Mix Jar of Frog Hollow Energy Bites HERE.

Disclaimer:  The sun was shining when I wrote this blog post… I hope it still is when you read it!

Rainy day activities that don’t cost the earth!

Let’s make no bones about it… It’s not been the greatest start to the summer holidays! It seems our mini heatwave from June has disappeared and Autumn has arrived early.

In the Markham household, we’re hopeful that we’ve not said goodbye to the sun for good, and that beach days are just around the corner, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a few rainy day activities that won’t cost the earth!

A Blue Peter Day – At Frog Hollow we’re all about reducing packaging, that’s why our energy bites come with a refill option. We also use recyclable, biodegradable packaging and avoid plastic wherever we can. Your recycling bin can gift hours of entertainment… Let creative minds run riot with empty egg boxes and loo roll holders. Add a paint set (and a pini!) for full “colour me happy” merriment!

Inside gardening – Just because the weather’s damp it doesn’t mean you can’t encourage green fingers… Just bring the gardening inside! Everybody loves a cress head! Check out this “how to” blog from Planet Science. Or, how about creating a miniature container garden? Clear a little space in the kitchen or utility room and let the littlies run riot with soil and stories. Here’s a great article with some tips and ideas for creating miniature gardens.

Tuppenny Barn – We couldn’t write this blog without mentioning the good people at Tuppenny Barn and their children’s activities. There’s something exciting going on every Tuesday during the holidays.

Get busy in the kitchen – Olivia had great fun making some healthy scones. Free from wheat, gluten, dairy and refined sugar. This recipe makes six scones.

  • 250g gluten free plain flour (Doves)
  • 2 level tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 50g coconut oil
  • 50g coconut blossom sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml almond milk (any nut milk will work)
  1. Pre heat oven to 220C. Measure flour into a bowl with the baking powder and sugar, stir to combine. Whisk egg and 130ml of milk together. Then rub the coconut oil into the flour until it starts to look like bread crumbs. Slowly add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. It will look quite sloppy at this stage, its normal. Shape into scone shapes with a small cutter or tablespoon, then brush with the remaining almond milk and sprinkle with coconut blossom sugar. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
  2. Leave to cool on racks. Store in a box in a cool dry place.
  3. Serve with coconut yoghurt and chia jam or fresh fruit.

When the weather cheers up again, you can pack your scones and take them on an outing, or order some portable power-packed Frog Hollow Energy Bites. Contact me to order yours.

Top marks for teachers

There are several African proverbs that roughly translate into the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Growing great adults is a big job; and no matter where you live in the world it’s likely true that you have a community of family, friends and professionals who help to instil great values in your mini-me, filling them with wisdom and confidence and contributing to their overall health and happiness.

It goes without saying that the village elders to be thanked at this time of year are your children’s teachers… Yes, we know that by many it’s deemed just another commercial opportunity and we also appreciate that teachers get paid to do their job. But let’s not forget that teachers work around sixty hours a week not just educating, but also contributing to the overall well-being of our children, surely that deserves a little recognition at the end of term?

To celebrate the end of term we thought we’d share the Frog Hollow alphabet guide (well, at least A to E) of why teachers deserve top marks!

  • A is for affinity – Teachers have an innate ability to put themselves in their pupil’s shoes and guide them through a problem or sticky situation with empathy.
  • B is for bright – It takes a bright person to be as resourceful as the lovely teachers we know. When time and budget is tight they still find ways to ignite young minds and deliver education with enthusiasm.
  • C is for creativity – A good tutor is always looking for new ways to fascinate their students and ensure that a lesson is not just learned but remembered.
  • D is for discipline – Yes, there has to be some! We’re not talking about exclusion and punishment, we’re talking about structure and organisation, two keys to a successful life.
  • E is for expectation – They believe in our youngsters as much as we do and their high expectations are a gift to their students, setting the bar to encourage and foster success.

PICK & MIX JAR

If you think your child’s teacher deserves a little end of term pep up, an apple might not do the trick but a jar of Frog Hollow energy bites is just the ticket for some added va va voom! For more details click HERE.

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