Peanut butter and Popcorn Chocolate Bites

Cooking, Food, Health, Nutrition, YUM

Peanut butter and Popcorn Chocolate Bites
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1 cup of cocoa butter
3 tbsp of cacao powder
1/4  cup of sweetener of your choice (I used coconut nectar but maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar will do)
½ a cup of peanut butter
1 cup of cooked popcorn

Melt on a low heat the cocoa butter… adding in the cacao powder and sweetener as the butter melts. Continuously stirring, ensure it doesn’t start boiling. Place peanut butter and cooked popcorn into muffin tins lined with baking paper, greased with coconut oil or cupcake patty pans. Then once the chocolate is fully melted and evenly stirred, pour chocolate over each cupcake holder (over the peanut butter and popcorn) until at desired size. Place in freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove from freezer and store in fridge once set. SO YUMMY!

Creating a satisfying, delicious salad

Cooking, Food, Health

Creating a satisfying, delicious salad
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Recently my boyfriend expressed to me how he loves salad, loves how good it is for you but never feels like its quite enough to fill him up and satisfy him. It got me thinking that SO many people (particularly men) have the same vision on salad.  I think a lot of people’s vision on salad is that it includes lettuce, and a few other watery, raw veggies that realistically a rabbit would only be satisfied after eating.

For me, creating a salad for dinner is one of my favorite meals and creations. I love how versatile it can be. In my world… salad can involve grains, meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, super foods, herbs, spices, cheeses and basically anything I feel like throwing in!

I thought I’d do a post on how simple it is to take your salad from being a rabbits dinner to a man’s meal.

So firstly the base… A traditional salad would use a green base such as lettuce, spinach, and rocket. I say why not add the lot. Mix your greens, considering they’re so good for you throw them all in. ½ a cup of spinach, ½ a cup of lettuce, ½ a cup of rocket and even ½ a cup of kale for extra goodness.

A base to me is not just the green stuff… If were talking a man’s meal a grain MUST be added. My favorite grain to use in salad would definitely be quinoa.

Quinoa has been found to have the highest nutritional profile of all the grains…. It also conveniently cooks the fastest and is bursting with energy, B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E. Gluten free and the ideal food for endurance… need I say anymore? So chuck in a cup of cooked quinoa (two if you’re feeding a big group). If you’re not feeling the quinoa thing your options are endless… Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, kasha, amaranth, barley are all other amazing, nutrient rich grains that you can alternate with.

Next I think of the body. What type of mood I’m in, how hungry I am and what I’ve got in the fridge are basically all the factors that contribute to this phase. Generally I would throw in a few raw veggies and a few cooked veggies. My favorite raw veggies would be cucumber, capsicum, sprouts, tomato, occasionally carrot. Like I said what ever you prefer and what ever you have in the fridge.

Cooked veggies for a salad are AMAZING. Roasted, steamed, boiled, fried… I love cooked veggies and they make a salad so much more interesting and delicious. Sweet potato is a goody… particularly roasted with some coconut oil and Himalayan salts (heaven).  Zucchini cooked in the pan with some spices (cumin and paprika are a good combo) is a great one and roasted beetroot, carrots, and onions all intensify the flavor of your salad. This phase is really the phase to get creative and pick what suits your taste buds.

Now fruits. You may think eh? Fruit and salad? But trust me on this one… from apple, to figs, to grapes, to mango… fruit and salad is a match made in heaven. Some of my greatest meal memories are of mum’s famous sweet potato, mango, feta and beetroot salad. SO YUM.

Next we add the extra sustaining and filling ingredients. Nuts and seeds! Nuts and seeds are quite honestly my secret to making a filling salad. Candied nuts are food from the gods… If you haven’t done this before all you do is pick your nut (walnuts are my favorite) pour maple syrup or honey over them… place them on a tray lined with baking paper and put them in the oven at about 180 degrees celcius and cook for about 15 minutes. They are heavenly. If you’re not into the sweet/savory thing it’s as simple as getting ½ a cup – 1 cup of raw nuts and-or seeds (activated if possible) and throw them in the salad bowl.

Then there are the add ins. Whether it be for flavor, nutritional goodness or an experiment these little add ins can make or break a salad. My favorites are a good quality, organic goats chees, goji berries, seaweed, herbs (fresh mint and feta are an amazing combo with roast veg), lemon and lime, nutritional yeast flakes… again, get creative. Whatever is in your fridge or pantry will do.

Last but not least we have the dressing. No one likes a naked salad! Well some people do but dressing it again enhances the flavor, increases the nutritional benefits and makes it more filling (if done correctly). Here I will tell you my very secret ingredient to most of my meals, all of my dressings and something of which I have a personal addiction to…. TAHINI. Creamy, versatile, healthy, filling… you can add this stuff to anything and it will create heaven in your mouth and belly. So my favorite dressing at the moment is garlic, chilli, lemon, tahini, water, olive oil, cumin, and coriander. Blend/ mix it together and pour it over your salad. Basically tahini can be thrown in a blender with anything to suit your personal tastes and desires. If you are stuck for ideas just comment and ask me because I have plenty of ideas for you.

ANYWAY there you have it. A salad made into a man’s meal. YUM.

A healthy Tim Tam

Cooking, Food, YUM

Not that long ago it was the 50th anniversary for Tim Tam… Before I discovered my path to wholesome and holistic, conscious living I wouldn’t have hesitated to sit down with a cuppa and a couple of tim tams but if you turn the packet over and read the ingredients you’ll quickly learn why I wanted to create an alternative.

Just as delicious but with out the guilt. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan and refined sugar free… HEAVEN. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!

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RECIPE:
Biscuit layer

•150 g raw nuts (I used Brazil nuts and almonds)

•3 tbsp cocao powder

•75 g dates

•2 tbsp coconut oil

•2 tbsp coconut nectar

+ Blend until combined but so the nuts are still quite chunky.

Ganache layer

•1 cup of coconut cream or plain @coyo_is_coconuts yogurt

•1/2 a pack of plain @lovingearth dark chocolate

+ Melt on a low heat in sauce pan and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and mixed through the coconut cream or yogurt

+ Remove from the heat and place in the fridge

+ Line a baking tray with baking paper and make tim tam shapes out of the biscuit mix with your hand and place on the tray

+Remove ganache layer and give it a good stir or a quick wizz in the blender to make it fluffy and put a thin layer on top of the biscuit layer

+Place into freezer

Chocolate coat

•1 cup of cocoa butter

•2 tbsp of cocoa powder

•2 tbsp of coconut nectar

+ Put all ingredients into a saucepan and cook on a very low heat, continuously stirring and combing as it melts

+Once fully melted remove from heat and let cool

+Remove biscuits from freezer and dip into the chocolate, completely covering the entire biscuit

+Place the biscuits into the fridge to set and there you go… A healthy, conscious, delicious and guilt free alternative to a tim tam.

Why do we eat?

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I love food! I love the smell, the taste, its appearance… but most of all I love the way food brings together families, friends and loved ones. Because of todays busy society, its often we forget to be present whilst eating. How many times a day do you think you eat completely unconsciously? Simply put I have a deep belief in the importance of sitting down, being present, enjoying, sharing and LOVING your food. It’s something that I’m personally trying to work on as I’ve noticed eating has become something that I just do rather than experience.

It has become more common amongst society to eat ‘on the go’ or to be doing something whilst eating e.g. reading, scanning through social media feeds, driving, walking, talking on the phone. It’s like our eating time has become our ‘eat and get things done’ time.

To explain where I’m going with this I think it’s important to go back to the basic question of which I believe a lot of people have forgotten the answer to, that is… why do we eat? In my opinion, food is for survival, enjoyment, health and wellbeing. Really thinking about food, what it is to you and the value you have in eating and sharing a meal can be an amazing way of re connecting to what you are consuming and therefore the effect it has on your body and wellbeing.

Taking it back to the simple rules of a family dinner…

You may or may not be familiar with these but these are the rules I was surrounded with in my own and my friends homes growing up.

1. Everyone one must sit around the dinner table

2. The table must be set

3. Everyone must help contribute to the meal

4. No phones at the dinner table

5. TV must be switched off

6. Gratitude and appreciation must be given to everyone who contributed to the meal.

These rule basically go back to simply being present, appreciative and respectful at the dinner table and therefore enjoying each and every mouthful with your loved ones.

To me rule one represents the enjoyment, celebration and unity food creates in society. Food tastes SO much better when cooked by a loved one, with a loved one or eaten and enjoyed alongside a loved one. Rule two represents how setting the table tells your body and mind that you’re about to eat and therefore reminding yourself to be present. Rule three again reconnects us to sharing a meal, putting love into the meal as well as helping to unite as a family or a group. Rules four and five are the teenagers worst nightmare, but again take it back to being respectful to your loved ones, sharing a meal, creating engagement in the conversations at the table and spending quality time together. Rule 6 to me is a HUGE deal. This is in no way a religious thing more so just paying respect to where your food came from, who prepared it, farmed it and paid for it. What it is that your eating and the nutritional goodness and benefits that it will serve your body and mind.

Chew your food, smell your food, observe your food, taste the different ingredients in your food… completely finish and swallow one mouthful before you begin the next, feel and observe the different textures and flavors as you eat. I can guarantee physically and mentally you will feel SO much better and food will become a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

 

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A banana, mulberry and blueberry raw cheesecake

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A banana, mulberry and blueberry raw cheesecake 

Recipe:

Base

1/2 a cup of activated almonds

1/2 a cup of walnuts

1 and 1/2 cups of dried dates

•blend all together until sticky and blended evenly and press into the bottom of a cake tin… Lined with baking paper, place in freezer.



Filling

1 cup of soaked cashews

1 cup of frozen blueberries

1 frozen banana

300 ml of coconut cream or coconut milk

1/2 a cup of mulberries

2 tsp of coconut nectar

•blend all together until creamy and evenly blended. Pour onto base and put back in the freezer to set for 1-2 hours. Remove from freezer for 5 minutes before serving. YUM!
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Peruvian adventures

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Peruvian adventures

Back drops that look like they’ve been painted, long limbed cactuses adding a splash of green to the grey but stunning desert and lefts that leave you with leg burns and jelly arms by the time you’ve caught a wave and paddled back out the back. What a mystical, beautiful and interesting country.

My trip was short lived, only a quick 10 days but I think the only time we sat down was for meals and to sleep. With how much we got done and how many amazing new people we were lucky enough to meet, I felt as though we were there for at least a month.

Our first stop was to Huanchacho, Trujillo. It’s a beautiful small coastal town, with a long left hand point break, which was peaky and playful.

The first day we were there I ran a cooking class for a few mothers of the children from Milagros, a volunteer educational center created to give the kids the opportunity to learn English in a fun way and to give them a better chance in the future. A project which Choclo is supporting this year.

It was a huge challenge for me as the women did not speak any Enlgish and my Spanish vocabulary extends as far as Ohla (hello) and Amigos (friend… I think). Luckily I had a Spanish translator, but it was hard to know how much information was lost or gained within the translation.
My aim was basically to get them to incorporate more vegetables into their own and their beautiful children’s diet… I cooked vegetarian “hamburgers”, which was basically sweet potato and quinoa burgers coated in sesame seeds with a mango and avocado side salad and a lettuce leaf “bun”. I also wanted to create awareness as to how blessed and lucky they are to have such amazing super foods readily available to them in their country of which Australia, America and I’m sure other countries are having to import. So I made a chia pudding and boosted it with super foods including coconut and coconut water, yacon syrup and maca powder.

The mothers were really interactive with me, asking questions, tasting the food and having a laugh every now and again… although I had no idea what they were laughing about I persisted to smile and laugh as if I were completely in the know. I felt as though I gave them a sense of the possibility of cooking with fruit and vegetables and showed that it doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying. One mother made a comment that she “can’t even taste the vegetables” and “it smells like meat”… so I’m going to take them as subtle but definite compliments J.

Next on the agenda was my trip to visit the beautiful Jaime Wilfredo Munoz Diaz. If you have not yet heard of Jaime he is a 16 year old boy, living in Peru with cystic fibrosis. His Mum noticed he had breathing problems as a bub and took him to get checked. He was then diagnosed falsely with asthma and dust allergies and his condition continued to get worse with the medicine having no success in relieving his symptoms. In the end of 2012, after many painful tests and visits from the doctor he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a autosomal recessive genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs but also the pancreas, liver and intestine. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom, which results from frequent lung infections being treated with antibiotics and other medications.
Jaime is a 16 year old in the body of a 7 year old. He is tiny, his organs are not as evolved as they should be and he is extremely thin and weak. He is now connected to an oxygen tank 24/7 of which is costing him 100 soles a day (about $50) and half of his heart has stopped working.

The Choclo Project have been supporting Jaime for a while now and I was told whilst visiting that if it wasn’t for their generous and continuous support, Jaime may not be alive today.

I was so excited to meet him and was blown away with his beautiful, cheeky, and loving energy. We both couldn’t speak one another’s language but he still managed to consistently make me smile. He is an extremely artistic and talented boy. Jaime showed me his art journal and I was blown away with the vibrance and creativity of each of his pieces. As he was such a talented perfectionist I was slightly intimidated but I did a couple of drawings with him and gave him some new journals and Posca pens to encourage his creative outlet. I left feeling really frustrated that such a beautiful, young and incredible boy can be so restricted in his way of living and can be suffering to an extent of which no one would understand. I please encourage anyone to follow this link http://www.gofundme.com/3xzxhc and donate any amount to help give Jaime a better and easier chance at life. And if anything… just a little more time to live his creative and talented dreams.

After visiting Jaime, we went just down the road to visit the school Milagros. Another part of the trip that completely blew my mind… such a simple yet effective and amazing system and set up. Run completely by volunteers… the school was created by the inspiring Coco Rim Amad (Jaime’s main supporter) who moved from Sweden, leaving behind her job as a lawyer and setting up this incredible school for all the local children after she was dissatisfied with what she had seen of the school systems when she first arrived in the area.

The school day started with meditation. We all sat down outside, instructed to put our hand over our eyes and listen to the music played to us. There was a lot of energy buzzing in the little ones but when asked what noises they heard in the music they all gave at least one answer and immediately seemed more focused and relaxed. What an incredible way to begin the school day… if only we had these sort of systems in our local schools. The beautiful kids then ran off to their allocated classes and it was then time for me to very reluctantly leave and catch my plane to the next part of my Peruvian adventure.

After our inspiring and eye opening time in Huanchacho, I left feeling so blessed and happy that I had the opportunity to meet the kids, Jaime, Coco, the other volunteers, share my knowledge on nutrition, surf some incredible waves and to have done a trip that wasn’t purely for my own experience but to give and enjoy something completely different.
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Raspberry, macadamia and coconut bites

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IMG_0620Base
•80g dried dates
•80g macadamias
•70g almonds
•20g shredded coconut
•20g cocoa nibs
•1 tbsp coconut oil

Blend all together and shape to the bottom of cupcake tins lined with cupcake patties or with coconut oil and place into the freezer.

Coconut cream layer
•100g soaked raw macadamias
•20g shredded coconut
•200ml coconut milk
•1 tbsp of coyo (optional)
•1 tsp creamed coconut (optional)
•4 dried dates

Blend all together and pour evenly onto pre prepared bases. Place back into freezer until set.

Raspberry cream layer

Repeat same as coconut cream layer but add in one cup of frozen raspberries. Smoothly layer on top of coconut layer and place into freezer for 2 hours or until set. Top with raspberries.

Enjoy!

Coconut, banana and hazelnut chocolates

Clean Creations, Cooking, Fish out of the water, Food, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, YUM

RECIPE:

Chocolate
½ cup cocoa butter
3 tbsp of cocoa powder
3 tbsp of coconut nectar

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan on a low heat. Gently cook and stir until all melted and combined. Do not let it boil and set aside.

Coconut + hazelnut mix
3 tbsp creamed coconut
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 tbsp of coconut nectar
3 tsp of hazelnut butter
1/2 cup of hazelnuts

Blend together and pour a thin layer of chocolate into the bottom of your molds. Then using a teaspoon put coconut blend evenly through chocolate in the mold then pour more chocolate over. Continue to do so once or twice. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Leave aside a quarter of the mix for next step.

Coconut bananacream topping
Left overs of coconut mix
2 small bananas
1 tbsp of chia seeds

Blend all together and pour onto pre prepared chocolate bases. Smooth evenly over the chocolate molds and put back into the freezer for another half an hour. Remove from the freezer and store in the fridge covered for 3-4 days.

Enjoy 🌸💗😘
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Antigravity Yoga

Charity work, Fish out of the water, Health, The Choclo Project, Training, Yoga

Antigravity yoga is easily my favorite type of yoga. For anyone who hasn’t seen or heard of it before, it may look daunting and a little strange but trust me when I say, it’s incredible.

It allows you to gain all the benefits of traditional yoga but with zero compression on your spine and joints. Being perfectly suited to older, stiffer bodies or for anyone recovering from an injury. It is extremely rejuvenating, challenging, relaxing and fun and there is forever a new pose or variation to try.

Here are a couple of the poses I did this morning in my Choclo gear. The Choclo product is so suitable and perfect for the antigravity yoga as there are no zips to catch and the fabrics work beautifully against the hammock. It keeps everything in securely and the colors look incredible against the white hammock.

Haven’t heard of The Choclo Project? They are one of my incredible sponsors and a brand of which I’m EXTREMELY proud to be aligned with. They produce ethical clothing for balanced living. Their fabrics are incredible and so comfortable you won’t want to get out of them. The best part about the Choclo Project is that the purchase of any Choclo product results in 5% of sales going directly to the children in the various centres they support. This concept not only gives the children a feeling of freedom as they tap into their imagination, but it will give the kids ideas of a positive way to make a living and change their lives. Please follow the link to find their amazing story and product http://www.chocloproject.com

If you know of an antigravity class near by you I completely encourage you to give it a go and give it a few tries as the more classes you do, the more familiar and comfortable you become in the hammock and the more enjoyment you will get out of the class. Image

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MIXED BERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Clean Creations, Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, YUM

Mixed berry and white chocolate cheesecake

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Now, this was one of those creations where my friend and I literally just threw things into the thermomix and hoped for the best. It ended up turning out incredibly and I’m almost going to claim it as the best cheesecake yet! Because it was such an experiment the measurements may be slightly off but just go with the flow and experiment yourself to find the right consistencies.

 I’m up in Lennox Head at the moment and this area has so much amazing food-spiration. I’ve got a thermomix and a huge kitchen so I’m so excited to be able to just experiment and have fun while having access to so much amazing, fresh, organic produce. There’s something about warm weather and living by the ocean that gets my mind and body inspired. I hope you love this cheesecake as much as my mum, my friend and I did because we ate it within two days!

Base

1 cup of almond

½ cup of hazelnuts

1 cup of medjool dates

Blend all ingredients together until consistently combined. Shape to bottom of a cake tin and set aside in the freezer.

White chocolate filling

4 cups soaked cashews

1 cup coconut cream (or coconut milk)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup raw organic honey

pinch of salt

Blend together until smooth. Set aside half the mixture for the berry filling and pour the other half evenly onto the pre made base and place into the freezer.

Berry filling

½ of the pre made white chocolate filling

1½ cups of organic, frozen mixed berries (or fresh)

¼ cup of raw organic honey

splash of water

Heat the water, honey and frozen berries in a small saucepan on a medium heat until the berries are defrosted. Pour the berries and the sauce from the berries into the left over white chocolate filling and blend again. Pour evenly over the pre prepared base and white chocolate layer and place into freezer for 2-3 hours to set.

Serve with coyo and store covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.
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