Chocolate Bliss Balls

Growing this baby has made my sweet tooth ramp up to formerly unknown heights. After the whole liver thing 2 years ago (I cannot believe it’s been 2 years already!?) I cleaned up my diet a lot and pretty much cut out all refined sugar. I maintained it for quite some time, taking a break at Christmas (obviously), but for the most part I was a sugar free individual.

Then we went to Europe. And, well, what’s Europe without Italian Gelato and French pastries? Nothing, that’s what. So naturally I went on a sugar bender for roughly 6 weeks, and I do not regret a minute of it.

Once we got home though, my sweet tooth was tingling and taking myself back to a sugar-free place was challenging. But I tried. Once pregnant however, I found myself making exceptions, oh some chocolate here is ok, a little this and that won’t hurt. I am pregnant after all. And cravings are your body telling you what it needs!

I am pretty sure my body doesn’t need Crunch chocolate…

So, in an effort to tame my sweet tooth I decided I needed an alternative. Enter the Chocolate Bliss Ball. I’ve made a couple of batches but this latest one is definitely my favourite. Sweet, chewy, chocolatey and rolled in coconut. How can you lose?

raw chocolate balls

Chocolate Bliss Balls
(I adapted this recipe from another one that I can’t find now… when I do I’ll be sure post it)

Ingredients
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
12-15 medjool dates (depending how chevy you want them)
2-3 tbsp cacao
2-5 tbsp vanilla almond milk
Big pinch of salt
Desiccated coconut (for rolling)

Method
1. Blend your hazelnuts and sunflower seeds in a food processor until crumbly looking, you don’t want them to get to a paste stage
2. Add all you other ingredients and blend. Depending on how sticky and wet you want your mix you can add a little more milk here
3. Roll your balls and toss them around in coconut to coat
4. Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up

I store these babies in the freezer. They stay chewy and are sensational icy cold- I think that’s another preggo thing, really cold things.

Chocolate Bliss Balls

Anyway, a clean, vegan, refined sugar free treat that’s bursting with goodness and you don’t need to feel guilty about! But be warned… they are rather addictive!

Advertisements

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

Who doesn’t love banana bread?

But what do you do when you only have 1 over ripe banana? You scour your fridge for any other bakeable fruit, that’s what. And that’s how I ended up with this frankenstein bread-loaf creation.

I started with Teresa Cutter’s healthy banana bread recipe, but didn’t have everything I needed to got to making substitutions.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf

A little rice malt syrup here. A little melted butter there. Some grated apple instead of banana. And BOOM! You’ve got yourself a tasty and healthy snack.

Banana-Apple-Walnut loaf (based on Teresa Cutter’s Banana Bread)

Ingredients
1 ripe banana, mashed
2-3 large apples, grated (squeeze most of the juice out too)
3 eggs
200g almond meal
1/2tsp bi carb soda
1/2tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp rice malt syrup
1tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2-3/4 cup walnuts

Method
1. Preheat oven to 160*c
2. Combine banana, apple, eggs, vanilla, rice malt syrup, melted butter and apple cider vinegar
3. Add the almond meal, walnuts and chia seeds, mix it all up until combined
4. Spoon batter into a greased loaf tin
5. Bake for 45 minutes, test it with a skewer, if it comes out clean you’re done
6. Let it cool in the tin before removing
It should keep for about a week in an air tight container. You can also slice it up and freeze it in individual slices for a grab and go option.

Yum.

Cheesy Savoury Muffins (gluten free)

I’ve never really attempted a savoury muffin. I think it’s partly because I never know what to put in them. And also, as much as I can knock cupcakes out of the park, muffins always seems to allude me. It’s that whole “over mixing” situation. I always do it. However, when you take gluten out of the equation it seems to get a little easier.

savoury muffin

The reason I had an itch to make a savoury muffin was thanks to a spectacular one I enjoyed with a hot chocolate at the East Brunswick Project on a cold and rainy Saturday morning.

It didn’t take long to find a base recipe (this one) and took to tweaking.

savoury muffin

Cheesy Savoury Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
60g butter (melted)
2 cups cheese (grated)
1/2 red onion (finely diced)
handful chopped parsley
salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat over to 180*c (350*f), and line a 12 cup muffin pan
2. Combine almond meal, gluten free flour, baking powder, cheese, parsley and red onion, salt and pepper in a bowl
3. Mix up milk, melted butter and your egg
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix it up. Not too much!
5. Divide your mix up and bake for about 15 minutes
6. Enjoy!

savoury muffin

Play with your food: Paleo banana bread

Banana bread is one of those things that pretty much everyone has a soft spot for. I am no exception. It’s sweet. It’s smells incredible. It’s so easy to eat I can inhale half of one in little more than five minutes (I’m guessing I could of course… I’ve not actually tried, recently). When I took gluten and sugar off the menu I thought my days of banana bread were over. I mean what is banana bread without its gluteny, sugary goodness? Turns out, banana bread is pretty amazing in all forms.

Over the past few months I’ve been doing some reading up on the Paelo diet and lifestyle. I really like the sound of it, although I’d find it difficult to forgo my natural greek yoghurt and cheese altogether. So when I found this recipe on Move Nourish Believe I had to give it a try.

With all of the ingredients on hand I got to baking… I just made a few tweaks:

1. Instead of honey I used rice malt syrup
2. All of my pumpkin and sunflower seeds ended up in the mix, so I sprinkled some cocoa nibs on top

IMG_1562Ready for the oven. I initially thought that a tablespoon of cinnamon was waaaay too much, the raw batter was super cinnamonny, and I am a fan of the stuff. However, after a some quality time inside the oven (longer than the recipe called for)…

IMG_1563The flavours mellowed and blended leaving me with a kick-ass banana bread, if I do say so myself. Perfect as a snack, slathered with butter, or make it breakfast with some yoghurt and fruit. Either way, it’s delicious!

Play with your food: coconut-raspberry chia pudding

Like so many people, I get into the weekly meal rut and despite the fact that I am often bored as all hell of what’s on my plate I cannot for the life of me break out. The thing is though, I really enjoying cooking and baking and just generally being in the kitchen so it is time to stop procrastinating and actually make some of those recipes I’ve been hoarding on pinterest.

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day so it was only natural that my experimentation started here. Last August I stopped eating sugar- unless it’s in fruit form- and recently I have been trying to avoid grains and dairy, which eliminates pretty much all of your standard breakfast choices. I’ve got no problem with eggs, however didn’t really want to be eating them everyday (they don’t always agree with me… too much? Sorry, let’s carry on), but what does that leave a girl with? Fruit. Vegetables. I’ve been downing a green smoothie pretty much every morning, but I still need a little something else at 10.30ish to nudge me through until lunch, something dairy and grain free, which ideally doesn’t have to involve eggs. While staring into my pantry and fridge alternatively I was starting to think that I would have to get a new favourite meal because breakfasts were looking decidedly dreary… but then I spied a packet of black chia seeds and remembered a certain recipe I’d pinned when I first ditched sugar.

Raspberry-coconut chia pudding pops! Now, I didn’t need them in pop form, however the idea of a coconut based, raspberry spiked pudding sounded pretty darn good to me. So off I went to assemble the ingredients… I had everything I needed on hand, bonus. I tweaked a few  things
1. I used unsweetened shredded coconut
2. I added some vanilla essence (not that you could really tell in the finished product)
3. I added 1tbsp of coconut protein powder
4. I forgot the stevia (unintentional tweak)

photo (3)

please excuse my messy bench, I will have to improve my ‘here are all my ingredients’ shots in future. This is what happens when you are not thinking ahead about posting…

The recipe was simple enough, throw all ingredients together, rather than let the chia seeds expand in the container I turned my mix into 2 perfect breakfast size portions and stuck them both fridge to get all pudding-like overnight.

The following day when I cracked open my pudding filled mason jar I was pretty pleased with myself. And even more so when I actually tucked in to eat it…

photo (4)

Needless to say my hope for breakfast has been renewed and my curiosity for further experimentation alight.

Good mornin’ green juice

I am a green juice convert.

IMG_1426

There was a time when the mere mention of a green juice or smoothie would have had me screwing up my nose in distaste. Ick. Why on earth would I want to go and ruining a perfectly good juice or smoothie with spinach? It just made no sense.

But then I got sick, stayed in hospital for a week and a half, and quickly came around to the idea of greens all up in my morning beverages. I got on board pretty quickly and then I finally found kale popping up at my local Woolies and green grocers and boy oh boy am I a goner.

My days now start with a green juice, full of goodness and freshness and life. I follow the Tone It Up ladies (not in a creepy stalkerish way, that’d be difficult with me in Melbourne, Australia and them in Southern California… but I digress), so I also throw in apple cider vinegar, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, and you’ve got yourself a green bombshell spell- that’s what I like to think of it as anyway.

IMG_1424

Good mornin’ green juice
1 large handful of baby spinach
2-3 full (leaves and all) celery stalks
4-5 kale leaves
1 lemon
1 piece of ginger
1/2 green apple
1/2 pear
*optional extras, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, cayenne pepper

Juice all that fresh produce and serve over ice! Or pour into into a trusty travel cup and take it on the road.

IMG_1429

Whichever way you drink it, you’ll have a healthy (and maybe kind of smug…) glow for the rest of the day.

Protein-coconut ‘scramble’

It is occasionally necessary to improvise when in the kitchen. This morning for example I had intended to make myself a pancake for breakfast, however when I was throwing everything together I realised that I had no eggs- brilliant.

Hmm… what can you use in place of eggs in a pancake? A banana would have worked, but I didn’t have any of those either.

I flipped and flopped and tossed this and that into my bowl. It looked like pancake batter, kind of. Into the pan it went and it was quickly obvious that this creation of mine was not going to hold together. When it was flipped the middle broke out, so close, and yet so very far.

Rather than let it go to waste I scrambled my almost-pancake up. And you know what… throw on some greek yoghurt and strawberries, and you’ve got yourself a surprisingly delicious breakfast!

IMG_1439

Protein-coconut ‘scramble’

1 sachet perfect fit protein (or 20g of your preferred protein powder)
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup (ish) unsweetened shredded coconut (or to taste if you love/hate coconut)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
milk (cow, soy, almond, whatever takes your fancy)- as much as you need to get to your desired consistency

Throw everything in a bowl and mix it up until combined. Heat up your pan/skillet and add your choice of lubrication- butter, margarine, coconut oil. Pour in your batter and form into a rough pancake shape. When it’s time to flip it, do your best to get it all over in one go (the only part that flipped properly for me was the section that stuck to my flipper- it looked sad). Once you’ve got some flipped over, scramble it up! Flick it all around until it looks cooked, it shouldn’t take too long. Plate it up with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!

IMG_1438