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!

Roasted pumpkin soup

A couple of weeks ago I was wandering the aisles of Coles before work trying to decide what to have for lunch. Pumpkin soup caught my eye, delicious, right? And pair it with a cheesymite scroll, you’re onto a winner (for those of you not from Australia this is a cheesymite scroll, they’re salty, cheesy and delicious… if you’re a vegemite fan that is).

I stuck it in the microwave until it was piping hot and eagerly anticipated my first mouthful, only to be thoroughly disappointed upon it touching my lips. Let’s be real, canned or packaged pumpkin soup is, well, rubbish.

So, the following weekend I did what any sane person with a pumpkin soup craving would do, I made it myself.

I am sure there are as many recipes for pumpkin soup on the internet as there are for chocolate chip cookies, a whole lot. But I am pretty darn proud of mine, it’s hearty, satisfying, smooth, pumpkiny, and can be vegan with a switch of stock. Simple! The key, in my opinion, is roasting up all your veggies first. Roasting, my friends, makes all the difference.

pumpkin soup

Spiced and oiled and ready to roast. Oh yeah.

Roast those babies for 30 to 45 minutes. Don’t stress if they get a little black and crispy on the edges. Black and crispy leads to flavour-town.

pumpkin soup

From pan to pot.

pumpkin soup

Add your liquid. Cover your veggies. Boil and bubble. You can let this go for as long as you like really. Set it to low and let it go.

pumpkin soup

Personally I like my soup smooth, so I blend, blend, blend. This step is best done when you’ve let it cool a little, otherwise you will end up with scalding soup spitting at you. Best to avoid that.

pumpkin soup

Mmm… soup.

The best thing about whipping up a big batch of this on a Sunday afternoon is that you can eat it all week long. Or, if you’d prefer, hide a couple of servings in the freezer for a rainy day and a crusty roll. Trust me, you’ll have enough.

pumpkin soup

Rosted Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients
1 butternut pumpkin (squash)
1 wedge of japanese pumpkin
2 brown onions
garlic, the amount really depends on your taste (I used 10ish cloves)
1 sweet potato
2 parsnips/turnip/swede (parsnip is my personal favourite)
salt, pepper, paprika, Mexican chilli powder
1lt stock + enough water to cover you veggies
olive oil

Method
1. preheat your oven to 180-200*c
2. peel and chop all of your veggies into chunks, except your garlic leave that in its skin, toss them in a bowl, drizzle some oil and add your spices to your taste
3. roastin’ time, throw them into the oven for 30-45 minutes
4. throw roasted veggies into a big pot, add your stock and top up with water until the liquid covers all of your veggies. Set it to low and let it bubble away for up to 90 minutes
5. allow to cool a bit before blending
6. serve it up to devour immediately or package up for future enjoyment!

Vanilla almond choc-chip cookies

IMG_4803

 

I baked cookies. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t have because I’ve already eaten 3. It happened. The recipe is from The Whole Pantry app, which if you’ve not discovered yet I highly recommend. It’s full of tasty, healthy recipes and general goodness.

All of these healthy hints are perfect when trying to change your eating habits, as I have been since returning from Europe (we’ve now been home longer than we were gone, that means it’s time to plan the next trip, right?) I’ve been focusing on real, whole foods, nothing processed or refined. The only time that feels a little difficult is when you want a treat. But not anymore!

These babies tick a whole heap of boxes… Paleo- check! Vegan- check! Gluten free- check! Refined sugar free- check! You can even make them nut free, by substituting sunflower seed meal in for the almond meal. There are only a handful of ingredients, and they come together and are ready for the oven in less than 10 minutes flat. IMG_4799Dry ingredients meet wet ingredients… the warmed up honey and coconut oil smelled absolutely incredible. IMG_4801Crumbly but combined. At this point you have to exercise some serious self restraint to not eat the whole bowl like this. I managed to hold off until I had twelve cookies ready to go- then I ate the remaining mixture and was tempted to eat one two cookies raw. IMG_4802Ready for the oven. I put them in for 10 minutes to start with, and they didn’t need anymore (keep an eye on them just in case). They’ll be super soft when you pull them out of the oven but they firm up as they cool.

I will most certainly be making these babies again. I briefly considered making a second batch today- it may still happen…

Vanilla almond choc-chip cookies (from The Whole Pantry app)

Ingredients:
1.5 cups almond meal
2.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
0.25 cup cacao nibs
2 tbsp maple syrup (I used honey due to my lack of maple syrup)
1 tsp vanilla
0.25 tsp sea salt (I forgot this…)
0.25 tsp baking powder

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 170*c (340*f)
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (I melted my coconut oil and honey together first)
3. Mix it up
4. Portion onto a lined baking tray, press down slightly
5. Bake those suckers for 13 minutes (as I said mine only needed 10, but I may have a hot oven)
6. Leave them to cool- yes this is necessary, they’ll fall apart if you try and sneak one early
7. Eat ’em! IMG_4791

Play with your food: Blueberry and vanilla protein overnight oats

I am officially not a coeliac. This wonderful news for a number of reasons; the largest of which is that I can now enjoy baguettes, pizza, pasta and countless pastry treats while on the Euro-Gypsy-Adventure. Another, less monumental reason is that I can now have overnight oats without potentially causing harm to my digestive system. Hurrah!

The craze that is overnight oats has been floating around on pinterest and instagram for a while now. Me being set in my breakfast eating ways had resisted the temptation… until yesterday that is when the lure of hearty oats, fruit and all the other bits and pieces became too much for me. IMG_2234 This happened in my kitchen last night. I looked at a few recipes before embarking on my own creation, but gave them very little thought ones things were being spirknled, tossed and poured into my jar. All of my ingredients went it, I screwed on the lid, and into the fridge it went.

I will admit I was skeptical. I had no idea how it was going to turn out. IMG_2249And I didn’t exactly feel relief when I cracked the jar open. Not the most attractive of breakfasts is it?IMG_2250Once I dug in it was a little better… oh hello there blueberries!

The little jar of goodness was CRAZY FILLING. I actually had to take a break part of the way through and sip on some hot water. I finished it though, don’t you worry.

My verdict on overnight oats? AMAZING! They were tasty and filling and even after a few hours my belly is still pleasantly full. What more can you ask for!?

Blueberry vanilla protein overnight oats

Ingredients (this is just what I used, you could mix it up however you please)
50g fibre cleanse muesli
1 scoop vanilla Sunwarrior protein
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp maca powder
Seeds and nuts as you please

Method
1. Start off by combining your almond milk, protein and maca powder, shake them up in whatever you’ve got handy.
2. Take half your museli (or oats of choice) and dump them into the bottom of your jar, add to this half a tablespoon of both the chia seeds and flaxmeal, mix them all around.
3. Pour in half of your almond milk mixture and give it a stir. I didn’t stir it particularly well and there were a couple of unsoaked chunks today.
4. Blueberries next, throw them on in, I didn’t bother defrosting them seeing as a night in the fridge was going to do that for me.
5. In goes your remaining museli, chia seeds, flaxmeal and milk. Give it another stir as best you can with the blueberries all up in there.
6. Sprinkle your toppers, I went with sunflower and sesame seeds, and pepitas.
7. Seal it up and refrigerate overnight.
8. Crack it open in the morning and devour! IMG_2255I am already thinking about what to add next time… cinnamon and shredded coconut are definitely on the list.