I am so excited to introduce my dear friend Kristin Cosgrove to you all. Otherwise known as Mamacino, Kristin is a mother of three, a businesswoman, author and whole food advocate. She is also one of the sweetest people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. Kristin is one of those people who I find incredibly inspiring and motivating. While her blog provides valuable recipes, it is also an educational tool, and one which makes me realise just how ignorant I can be about the foods I eat.
I’ve asked Kristin a few questions to get to know her better, and she has graciously shared one of her delicious recipes from her latest eBook, Chocolate Indulgence. So, read the interview, and then see the recipe that follows it!
When did you start to look into what your children were eating and how it was affecting their health?
When my first daughter, Lucia, started eating more solid food and drinking regular cows milk, we realised she had an intolerance to dairy products. She was healthy and thriving but yoghurt or milk would cause her to bring back up anything she had been eating. We avoided all dairy foods, the problem resolved itself and we forgot about it. When Francesca was born, it was very clear something was not right. She hardly slept, would wake screaming in pain and had very severe diarrhoea every day from the time she was a newborn. After our experience with Lucia, my instinct alerted me to investigate the foods I was eating while breast feeding her and later, the food she was eating herself. This was the real beginning of our journey.
What has been the biggest change you’ve made when cooking meals for your family?
After seeing many doctors, naturopaths, dieticians and alternative health practitioners, I became deeply passionate about health and well being and began to learn more about our bodies and the foods we eat. I realised how much processed food we were eating. Although it was labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘healthy’ most of the foods that made up our family diet were nutrient deficient convenience foods from the supermarket. Becoming passionate and committed to cooking real food from scratch as much as possible and investing in good quality organic and ethical ingredients has been the biggest and the best change in the way we eat.
We all know children can be fussy and often don’t welcome the introduction of new foods. Were your children enthusiastic or has it been a learning curve for all involved?
They are all different and like different things! Lucia loves vegetables, meat and cheese but won’t eat fruit, Francesca prefers vegetarian food and Leonardo would live on cake alone if allowed! I have very firm boundaries with my children and the food we eat, but within those boundaries there is a lot of freedom. I never force them to eat foods they dislike as long as they try everything and eat plenty of the good foods they do like.
You sell your own homemade Granola, tell us about it and was this where you went from blogger to businesswoman?
I guess it is! When my third child, Leonardo turned three, I was ready for a new project so I began a Farmer’s Market stall in my local town where I would sell all the whole food treats and granola that I made at home. It was incredibly well received! So much so, that I began selling my Mamacino Granola in shops in my region and now have it produced and distributed in collaboration with an award winning and well known bakery, LA Madre. I no longer run my market stall but our granola is stocked throughout the Surf Coast, Geelong and Melbourne now.
Why is refined sugar so bad for us?
Refined sugar is just as it sounds, refined. It is so highly processed that there is simply no nutritional benefit left for the body to use.
Is it hidden in many foods? What should we be looking for when shopping?
Sugar is hidden in many processed foods. Reading labels and being aware of all the different terms that mean ‘sugar’ such as glucose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, dextrose, maltodextrin…there are about 50 or more ways to sugar!
I was looking at your e book, CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE and I realised I was a little confused (ignorant) over some of the ingredients. Can I ask you (please) to explain the following; cacao butter, raw cacao, Dutch cocoa & carob powder… what’s the difference between these?
Sure! I definitely would not say you are ignorant! It has taken me a decade of learning to get comfortable with these ingredients and I still come across some that I have no idea what they are used for!
Cacao butter is the fat from the cacao bean. It is usually cold pressed to preserve it’s nutrient density. It’s used to make chocolate.
Raw cacao is basically cocoa before it has been highly heat treated. Raw cacao is cold pressed from unroasted cacao beans in order to keep it’s enzymes, vitamins and minerals in tact. It is high in caffeine and is best enjoyed in small amounts (yes, I know this from experience!).
Dutch cocoa is simply processed in a slightly different way to cocoa and is thought to have a richer, more earthy flavour.
Carob powder, though it looks like cocoa, is not chocolate at all! Carob powder is made from the ground pods of the carob tree. It is caffeine free and high in minerals and vitamins. I like to use it when I’m cooking for the kids, or sometimes I will use half raw cacao and half carob.
Why is the type of salt we use important? Is the Himalaya salt pretty because it’s pink… or is there a reason there are so many different salts when I visit the specialty food store.
There are so many salts available now. They all have different health benefits and different flavours. Good quality salt definitely has a place in our diet but what we need to look for are natural, whole and unrefined versions that have all of their nutritional qualities in tact. No more table salt!
All your recipes in your CHOCOLATE INDULGENCE book look amazingly delicious, but also not too complicated. Are your recipes aimed at all levels of cooking experience?
I like to keep my recipes simple enough for anyone to make because that is the way I like to cook. Simply and without too many dishes! We are all busy and if we want to make cooking and nourishing our families and ourselves a priority, it needs to be simple, fast and fun. And delicious, of course!
I’m really desperate to try the Salted Caramel Centred Raw Chocolates, as I adore dates and they are my go to treat when I’m trying to diet but need something sweet, would you please share that recipe with us? How many can we have (whilst dieting) as an after dinner treat without feeling like we just destroyed a day of self restraint. OR…. without feeling guilty? LOL
I never feel guilty about food. I try to listen to my body and give it the nourishment it needs. If that means a sweet treat every now and then, I’m fine with that! The Salted caramel chocolates are made from the best ingredients and they are RICH. Indulging on the best quality treats that have been home made with love is a wonderful thing, but I promise that one of these will be enough to satisfy your craving. Okay, maybe two.
Please tell us about the books you have published so far? Is there another one in the pipeline?
I love creating delicious, nourishing food and sharing it with others, it is my passion! So far, I have published one book, Kids in the Kitchen, which encourages children to learn the basics of whole food cooking and have fun experimenting with natural ingredients. I have also published two eBooks, Kids Party Time: Healthier party food for kids and Chocolate Indulgence: Healthy recipes for people who love chocolate.
I also publish lots of recipes on my website, mamacino.com and share lots of information, tips and hints on my Facebook page.
I do have a few very exciting projects for 2016 so stay tuned for more news soon!
SALTED CARAMEL CENTRED RAW CHOCOLATES
“These are definitely my favourite of all the chocolates I make. They are decadent, luxurious, delicious and absolutely worth hiding in the freezer behind the peas!” Kristin Cosgrove – Mamacino
Raw Salted Caramel Filling
- 1 cup Medjool dates, deseeded and chopped
- A good pinch of pink salt
- Raw Chocolate
- Soak the Medjool dates in some warm water for about ten minutes.
- Drain the dates, add the salt (to taste) and blend themm in a small food processor, adding a little of the soaking water to get a smooth, paste like consistency.
- Fill silicon mini muffin moulds 1/3 full with your raw chocolate base mixture (see eBook Chocolate Indulgence) and pop in the freezer for five minutes.
- Remove from freezer, and add a small dollop of the raw caramel to each chocolate.
- Cover with more raw chocolate.
- Place in the freezer until set, around 30 minutes.
- Remove from the moulds and store in a container in the fridge or freezer.