I’ve made no secret of the fact that I struggle with body image issues. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. I’m overly critical of myself, and my diet. To a degree. Whilst I will evaluate the amount of fat and sugar in every food that graces my lips, I don’t believe in extreme diets. I refuse to cut out sugar, carbs, dairy or chocolate. (I did cut out alcohol for a while, but that’s slightly different.) I just think everything in moderation is ok.
Except for Pepsi Max.
Or Coke Zero.
I’m not very good at moderating them, to Boatman’s chagrin.
Not personally, I don’t see the problem with my soft drink addiction, because a) I don’t have it every day, and b) There’s no sugar so my bum cannot get any bigger.
I also have carefully chosen to not read about the harmful effects of nutrasweet on the body, in the vain hope that if I stick my head in the sand, they will go away. I’m a little bit special like that.
Boatman, however, has read about it, and is not a fan at all. In fact it was his research that led to us adopting a lifestyle of Pepsi Next drinking, on account of the fact that it is made with Stevia as opposed to Nutrasweet. Winning!
So I was pretty keen to give Natvia a go. I’ve heard other bloggers using it, and swearing by it’s awesomeness, and the fact that it would mean I could stil put sugar on my Vita Britz guilt free, really appeals to me.
What is Natvia? Well according to their website:
“Natvia is a 100% natural sweetener….uses the very best Stevia, combined with naturally occurring nectar known as Erythritol.
Stevia is a sweet leafed plant, part of the Chrysanthemum family. The leaves of the Stevia plant have an incredible sweetness that is 300 times sweeter than sugar and are also non calorific. It has been part of the human diet for thousands of years but only since the 21st century, due to demand, has it been used for everyday use around the world.”
So I agreed to give it a go. Not because I am a blogger desperate for any kind of PR interaction, but because I was genuinely interested.
The first thing the kids tried were the Vitarium Milk flavourings. Upon opening the container, I was sceptical, cause it doesn’t look like Quick, and more like a dodgy knock off, but it was anything but. The kids loved it. Even the ones that aren’t usually a fan of strawberry milk. I really need to get hold of the adults range to try myself.
According to the instructions, when it came to the ‘sugar’ itself, it can be used in exactly the same quantities as ‘normal’ sugar, a fact I appreaciate because on trying to bake with stevia before, I’ve found the conversion charts mean there is a whole lot of substance missing from my cakes.
The ultimate test would be Banana Cake. I made the most awesome banana cake just over a month ago, but it did have a lot of sugar. I figured if Natvia could withstand the banana cake test, then it would pass with flying colours.
Now a word to the wise; upon disvoering the best banana cake recipe in the world online, do not shut the window, without first bookmarking or pinning said recipe to every pinterest board you own. Otherwise you may discover, that despite typing in all the ingredients you could remember into google, you may never find that beloved set of instructions ever again. And will then be forced to attempt to recreate the cake from memory.
The plus side of this, is then you can post the new recipe online and act like you totally made it up (which I kind of did.)
Jess’ Award (*cough couch*) Winning Banana Cake
125gm of Butter or Margarine (we use Nuttelex)
3/4 cup Natvia
1/4 cup sour cream (Optional I reckon)
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Bicarb of Soda
3/4 cup Walnuts
Tsp Brown Sugar (Optional)
1/4 cup Natvia
1 tbls Ground Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius
Cream butter and Natvia together. It works just the same as butter and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each edition.
Beat in the bananas. You can mash them first if you like, but I just put cut up chunks of it in, and let the mix master do it’s thing.
Sift over Flour and Bicarb, then fold in.
Put the mixture in greased cake tin.
In a separate bowl, mix the walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and extra Natvia (Note: the original recipe used only brown sugar, which kind of caramelised the walnuts and made it delicious. I planned on using half and half, but actually ran out of brown sugar, so used about a teaspoon and it worked just as well.)
Sprinkle the walnut mixture over the top of the cake, and then place in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
Cake is cooked when a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
The recipe could probably be tweaked a little, but the cake was awesome. It rose around and on top of the walnut’s leaving them scattered sporadically through out, like caramelised little nutty deliciousness. (On an aside note, did you know that walnuts are supposed to be great for your sex drive? More cake for me says Boatman!! ;))
The kids also agreed on it’s deliciousness.
So yep, Natvia ticks all the boxes for me. I think it can stay.
I have a Natvia pack to giveaway to one reader. Just leave a comment telling me what would you attempt to bake with Natvia?
And also how good does my cake look? 🙂
This is a game of skill. Winner will be chosen based on the degree of creativity and humour with which they answer this question.
Judges decision is final, and will not be entered into.
Winner will be notified via email, and will have 48 hours in which to claim their prize.
Entry is valid from June 14th to 23rd to Australian residents only.