Saturday, 6 July 2013

Come on over!!

Come on over and check out my brand new, new and improved blog
Examples of what you might find?
peppermint slive
Come and check it out!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Raw Lemon Cream Cake with a crunchy "Cacao-Nut" base + blogging and other fun information

Raw Lemon Cream Cake with a crunchy "Cacao-Nut" base 

This might seem unusual as the general theme of my posts is "the recipe" and not much else. I might talk on a bit about how absolutely happy I am with a particular dish or maybe about how amazing it tasted but I generally don't go much further than that. Let's get serious for a moment though - this post represents something special for me. I don't even know if anyone will read it and even more-so if anyone will care, but I have come to the conclusion that this blog provides me with a wonderful opportunity to reach an incredible number of people - if I use it properly!
I see so many wonderful blogs out there which seem to have such a huge following and the bloggers behind those blogs seem to be extremely highly regarded by their readers. I then see some other people whose lives (and sometimes income) revolve around their blog and writing about their passion, which in most cases is "health and wellbeing" as those are the blogs I take interest in.
(Just to remind you that there is a recipe below :P)

As a person who participates in the dreaded "daily grind" of travelling for way too long in too much traffic for a 5 day a week, full-time job, I feel that I am wasting something. It seems that too many of us are happy to just go along with the "norm" and fit in with the expectation that once our studies are complete, we go to work to earn money, regardless of whether we actually enjoy what we do.
I am an Accredited Exercise Physiologist by training and completed a 3.5 year university degree to attain that qualification. In an ideal world I would have come straight out of uni and landed a wonderful job making change for the elderly in a Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic or improving someone's quality of life by guiding them through the development of new healthy eating and exercise habits and subsequently reducing their body fat percentage and/or their blood glucose levels. Unfortunately the job did not fall into my lap and I ended up doing something that has many many positive points, but does not allow me to fulfill my passion.
Why? Because in today's society it is essential for a young person to earn enough money to begin earning and collecting assets.
Today I came to the conclusion that I am "living a selfish life". Yeah, I feel that I am kind and helpful to everyone I come across, I do go out of my way to avoid offending or inconveniencing people and I definitely will make someone's day easier if the opportunity presents itself.. but who am I to go to work every day in a job that really does not impact the wider population nor require the full extent of the skills I developed at uni, simply so that I can earn money for my own personal gains.
Why should we all participate in the "norm"? Why don't we challenge ourselves by taking a chance and testing the boundaries. People say that "if you love your job, you wont work a day in your life", so why on earth don't we all love our jobs?
I'm not telling you to quit your job today and expect to be a professional sportsperson or a TV presenter tomorrow, but just think about it! Think about what your true passion might be and consider the crazy thought that maybe it isn't impossible to make a job out of it! I truly believe that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and work hard.
All of the above leads me to the point I should have made many many lines back. I have decided that I want to share my passion for health, food, self-love and the fact that self worth is the secret to living a healthy balanced life. I have already managed to reach a few thousand wonderful people through Instagram, who are interested in healthy food and finding ways to eat a healthy yet interesting and delicious diet.
I would love to eventually, dedicate my days to contributing to the empowerment of the population of Australia and the world in order to improve the health of everyone in it. If I can share my knowledge and ideas through (firstly) blog posts and eventually: books, seminars etc. then I will be one happy lady.

So this is me > and from today, I will be working towards making my passion my job. I am not 100% sure how just yet, but I have a few ideas - and I guess that's how things get done.

If I can do it, you can do - so I will try my best and hopefully one day we call all live our dreams :).
If any of you have any feedback or requests on things/topics/information/recipes that you would enjoy reading, please do contact me below. All information and requests are welcome. Anyone who reads my blog is now a part of my journey to creating my new self-generated and self-sustained career.
OK! In case some of you came to this page JUST for the recipe to my Raw Lemon Cream Cake with a crunchy "Cacao-Nut" base,  yes I will finally post it below. This recipe came to me after seeing some amazing raw creations online and then having way too much time in the traffic on my way home from work to consider how I might develop this cake.
Raw Lemon Cream Cake with a crunchy "Cacao-Nut" base


150g raw unsalted cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 tbs Cacao
6 fresh medjool dates
1/2 tbs raw almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil

Chocolate layer

4 tbs coconut oil
2 tbs cacao
2 tsp almond extract
4 tbs desiccated coconut

Lemon "cream" layer

150g raw unsalted cashews
1/4 cup coconut oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbs honey (I used Organic Australian Rainforest Honey)


Line a cake tin with plastic wrap.

In three separate stages (crust then chocolate later then lemon "cream" layer), combine the ingredients in each list in a food processor, cleaning the processor between each use.

As the layers are processed, place them in order (crust on the bottom then chocolate later then lemon "cream" layer on top) into the cake tin. Press down each layer firmly on top of the one/s below in order to make sure they press together.

Sprinkle with dessicated coconut (or other toppings) if desired then place in the fridge for at least 20-30 minutes. The cake does not need to be frozen to become solid enough to slice however you can place it in the freezer if you want it to cool quicker.

Remove the cake carefully from the tin by pulling the plastic wrap out slowly and equally on both sides. If this does not happen easily, the cake may need to cool for longer in the fridge or freezer as the base with be the most first part of the cake and will provide stability when removing.

The lemon in the top layer of this cake gives it a super fresh and light flavor. I would not have thought that it would go so well with a cacao base!

Give it a go!

Enjoy x

Ps. I apologise once again for the ridiculously long lecture length blog post! I do hope that at least some of you were interested and/or found it useful in some way :).

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Coming into the winter months, you really start to remember how comforting it is to relieve the cold weather with a nice warm cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately most of the store bought or cafe bought hot chocolates are filled with a range of unhealthy ingredients, with the most common offender being sugar.

The great thing is that hot chocolate also always features cocoa, which most of us already know has extremely healthy properties such as being high in antioxidants as well as improving heart heath and concentration through improved blood flow through the heart and also to the brain. When it comes to antioxidant concentration, a study conducted at Cornell University found the antioxidant concentration in hot cocoa is almost almost twice as strong as red wine. There are many other health benefits to be recieved through the consumption of cocoa which can be found here, here and (a slightly more scientific article) here.

So, when the weather turns chilly, instead of having your daily dose of antioxidants in the form of red wine, turn to one of the recipes below.

For a super simple, satisfying and light Hot Mocha, try my;

Almond Milk Hot Mocha
Single Serving

1-2 tsp organic instant coffee (as desired)
1 tbs cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Organic Honey
100ml unsweetened almond milk
Boiling water

Place coffee, cocoa and honey in a mug and add boiling water to fill the mug to halfway and stir. This will help to melt the honey (and also remove it from your spoon).
Once the mixture has dissolved, fill the rest of the mug with almond milk and heat in the microwave until desired temperature is reached.

This is my morning treat almost every morning at work lately! I have one coffee per day hence why I used a little more than a tsp and am ok with it. This is super quick and easy and makes my mornings at work much more enjoyable.

To transform this into an evening treat, I recommend leaving out the coffee and adding a little extra cocoa.

Decadent Coconut Hot Chocolate
Single Serving

1/2 cup almond milk
1 tbs coconut cream
1 fresh medjool date, pitted
1tbs cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into a mug then heat in the microwave until desired temperature is reached.

To make enough hot chocolates for multiple people, I would recommend multiplying the ingredients by the number of people, blending as above then heating in a saucepan over low-medium heat on the stove.
Separate when warm into separate mugs.

This thick and creamy mixture is rich and smooth and is heavier than the Almond Milk Hot Mocha (above). I would have to say, as an evening treat, it doesnt get much better than this.

Happy Winter!! x

Monday, 3 June 2013

Paleo zucchini pasta with avocado and basil pesto and turkey meatballs

Paleo zucchini pasta with avocado and basil pesto and turkey meatballs

I have wanted to try this for SO long after seeing people create these amazing dishes that trick you into thinking its a huge plate of pasta but it is actually the super healthy super-vegetable, zucchini!
I finally bought myself a julienne peeler on the weekend for about $13 (later to see one for $8 :| ) and it is proving to be a very worthwhile investment :).

I have done some research and have seen a number of different techniques people use to prepare their zucchini pasta once sliced. The one I ended up choosing worked really well so I will explain it below.

Basil is allllways delicious and paired with avocado, the sauce is incredibly creamy and smooth with a perfectly spiced mild chilli flavour. While the ingredients list looks long, I think it is safe to say that these are ingredients many of you might have in the fridge already. More importantly, this dish is well worth a trip to the shops on the way home.

I believe this pasta could either be served raw (obviously minus the turkey meatballs) or cooked (as mine was).

Before we start, here is the full list of ingredients: (separated into parts later on)

8 green zucchini's
Himalayan Crystal Salt
2.5 ripe avocados
3 cloves of garlic
3 small red chilli's
Juice from 1 lime
2 cups of fresh basil, loosely packed
Small handful fresh parsley
Small handful of fresh chives chopped
1/4 cup almond milk
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 whole egg
2 tbs almond meal
500g turkey mince
1/4 cup olive oil
Extra olive oil for cooking meatballs
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparing my zucchini pasta

8 green zucchini's - makes 4 big servings of pasta
Himalayan crystal salt

First, wash the outside of the zucchini's under running water.
With each zucchini, start peeling length ways with your julienne peeler to create spaghetti-like strands.
Peel until you reach the seeds in the middle and then begin on the other sides!
Place the zucchini pasta in a large bowl and grind some the salt over the top.
Toss the pasta with some tongs and grind more salt to ensure it is well spread through.
Leave this while preparing the rest of your meal and then in batches, rinse the salt off under cool running water in a sieve - let drain.
The purpose of the salt is to "sweat" the zucchini and you will find that quite a lot of moisture is released from the zucchini during this process.
Place the pasta in batches on paper towel in order to soak up the liquid as much as possible. You may need to discard of the wet towel and start with fresh towel to make sure maximum liquid is collected.
You want to get as much liquid as possible so that the sauce does not become to watery.
Leave the pasta to sit until it's time to add it to the sauce.

Now on to the rest of the dish!

Avocado and basil pesto

2.5 ripe avocados
2 cloves of garlic
2 small red chilli's
Juice from 1 lime
2 cups of fresh basil, loosely packed
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup almond milk

Combine all ingredients except almond milk in a food processor until well combined.

The texture should resemble a thick smooth paste.

Turkey meatballs

1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 whole egg
Small handful of fresh chives chopped
2 tbs almond meal
500g turkey mince
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients well in a bowl - I find it easiest to use my hands :).
Roll the turkey mince into small balls.
This mixture makes approximately 25 small balls. Make them as small of large as you like.
Place the meatballs into a lightly oiled fry pan and fry on all sides on medium heat until cooked through - approx. 10 minutes.


Place the sauce in a saucepan and add the zucchini pasta. Toss through the sauce and add the almond milk.
Simmer over low-medium heat with the lid in place for approx. 10 minutes to soften the pasta.

Once pasta is ready, serve onto separate plates or bowls and top with your desired number of meatballs!


Thursday, 23 May 2013

Sweet Carrot Bread

Sweet (grain-free and refined sugar free) Carrot Bread

*Big Sigh*

I am home!

The boyfriend and I have been travelling for the last (almost) 3 weeks throughout parts of South East Asia, which was absolutely amazing and definitely gave me some much needed time away from the daily grind. I thought I would miss cooking.. but for some reason, I really didnt! I think I had gotten to a point that my love for cooking and baking had meant that I was spending all day, every day thinking about what I would cook or bake next and then spending every night, before bed sampling everything as if it was my last meal.

I would go to sleep feeling so full every night.. and then regret it the next morning. Of course everything I make is maximally healthy however I firmly believe that too much of anything is bad and also that the major issue creating the obesity epidemic is over-eating.

While away, not only did I venture out and eat things that I wouldnt usually eat at home, such as; pasta, noodles, rice, baked goods made with "normal" ingredients, ice creams, milkshakes etc. but I also found that I was eating less and less frequently because I had become more lenient on myself. I think the psychology behind this is that if I have mentally decided that I am "allowed" to eat whatever I feel like, I dont feel deprived and I dont feel that I have to gobble down all the delicious food in sight right now!

SO! I was eating less, but eating things that are usually on the banned list... yet I felt more lean and confident in a bikini than I have in a long time!

In addition to this I did unfortunately end up with food poisoning toward the end of our holiday which made food the enemy for a good few days but the point of what I am saying is that my attitude toward food has definitely changed.

Since returning, I have reverted to many of my old eating habits (mostly paleo) largely because the foods I ate previously were foods that I genuinely enjoyed but instead of forcing myself to say no to a slice of "farewell cake" at work or making something different when the family has crumbed fish, I have eaten these things, brushed it off and gotten straight back to my normal eating. Of course I wouldnt have that piece of cake every day or even every week (and probably wouldn't feel like it every day/week) but on occasion, these things are ok. It sounds like the oldest trick in the book but moderation really is the key!

I could be very wrong and I may well start ballooning in a few weeks time, but I can say that before we left for our trip I was exercising more than ever and eating almost 100% "paleo-approved" foods but I was just eating too-much and had reeeally low self esteem. Too many "paleo" baked goods, too much coconut butter - I couldnt stop when I was full and lacked the strength because the evil half of me would say "but it's healthy!".

So - my return to baking happened yesterday (even though I said I would wait until June :| ) and the below recipe was inspired by a piece of carrot cake I ate in Ho Chi Minh City! It was delicious... and it got me thinking about a healthier version and how the flavours all work together to make carrot taste deliciously indulgent.

The experiment started with two bowls and whatever ingredients I had on hand, an oven and the desire to make a delicious warm bread for what was our coldest day yet this winter season.

Paleo Carrot Bread
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp almond essence
3 tbs organic Honey (I used Organic Australian Rainforest Honey)
1/2 cup almond milk
2tbs coconut oil (melted)
1 medium sized carrot (grated)
255g almond meal (this was one packet for me)
1.5 tsp baking soda
Salt (I used Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt)
1tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
Pre-prepare a loaf pan with baking paper.
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in the other.
Once the contents of each bowl are well combined, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix well and then pour into pre-prepared loaf pan.
Place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour (depending on your oven) or until the loaf has browned, springs back when lightly touched and also when a cake tester comes out clean from the middle.
Allow the cake to cool before removing!

This loaf is delicious served both warm, cold and at room temperature! It does not have an overpowering carrot taste by any means and is deliciously sweet without being too rich. Try it with some honey, almond spread or unsalted butter depending on your dietary preferences!

Bon Appetit!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Paleo Anzac Cookies

Hi everyone!

Anzac Day in Australia is held on the 25th of April every year and is a day to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice of our Australian and New Zealand diggers. Traditionally, the focus of Anzac Day is the battle in Gallipoli in World War 1 between the ANZACS (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) and the Turkish soldiers however these days, Anzac Day also recognises those who fought in other past wars or are currently fighting for a brighter future in the War on Terror.


Anzac Cookies which are traditionally made of oats, butter, sugar and coconut symbolise this day as I believe they were often sent overseas to our diggers during World War 1 due to being simple, cheap and deliciiouussssss.

These below are a Paleo take on those traditional flavours and only use 4 ingredients also!

The texture of these cookies is the most amazing texture I have ever gotten out of a home made cookie, and to know that they are super healthy just makes them even more satisfying!

Please read the notes before baking.

Paleo Anzac Cookies

1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup shredded coconut (processed to make it more fine*)
3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
2 tbs organic honey (I used Australian Organic Rainforest Honey)
1 tbs water


Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celcius.
Line baking tray with baking paper.
Combine almond meal and coconut in a bowl.
Add honey, oil and coconut oil to the bowl and mix well with hands - you will be able to feel for texture this way!
Separate the mixture into 6 and roll into balls then flatten and place on the baking tray.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until browning.


- These cookies do not expand much while baking, so you should shape them fairly close to the way you would like them to turn out before baking.
- If cooked correctly, the cookies will be a little soft when first removed - this is good as it means that once they cool, they will not be too dry and they remain soft and chewy in the centre.
- If the mixture does not roll into balls and hold together easily, add a small amount of water until they do.

*You could probably use desiccated coconut but may want to reduce the amount to 3/4 cup as the coconut may pack easier when measured if already fine.

Not only can these be eaten to celebrate Anzac Day but I look forward to experimenting with additions such as raisins and dark chocolate chips as these are a wonderful base recipe for any cookie!
Enjoy. x

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Paleo Chocolate Brownies

Paleo Chocolate Brownies

So it was Saturday morning and boyfriend and I were supposed to be heading to the Health and Fitness Expo in Sydney but as nature would have it, the heavens had well-and-truly opened and it was pooouurrrinngg with rain!

We were all ready to go when we looked at each other... noted that it was also very chilly, and decided to retreat to bed :). After all - the expo was continuing tomorrow and sunshine was forecast.

Unfortunately while my better half is wonderfully talented when it comes to sleeping, I do not have such a well developed (and practiced) talent - so instead of rolling over for a little bit more shut-eye, I answered his request for muffins and brownies and decided to get baking.

The specific request was "Banana and Raspberry muffins" which I answered, but unfortunately I feel that they could be better. The winner of the day however was these delicious chocolate brownies! This was a true impromptu baking session whereby I threw random amounts of things in the food processor and various bowls and I'm so happy with the result.


Paleo Chocolate Brownies
2 cups almond meal
4 tbs cocoa
1 tsp bi carb soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 tbs coconut oil (melted)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 tbs almond butter
2 eggs
4 medjool dates (pitted)
1 tbs honey*
500g dark chocolate, chopped. The darker the better - I used Green and Blacks Organic 85% cocoa.


Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius
Line a square cake/brownie tin with baking paper. Use coconut oil to help the baking paper to stick.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and combine with wooden spoon.
Combine coconut oil, almond milk, almond butter, eggs, dates and honey in a food processor and combine.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until smooth.
Add chopped dark chocolate and stir until evenly mixed through batter.
Pour batter into a square cake/brownie tin and spread evenly.

Place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the top springs back and a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the brownie sit until slightly cooled before removing from the pan otherwise it may break.


But seriously.... these are so good.

Would be amazing served warm with some coconut ice cream but they are also amazing eaten directly from the fridge!

*I used Organic Australian Rainforest Honey. I did a bit of an experiment with honey - between this honey < and the supermarket "home" brand honey. The taste is vastly different and is extremely overpowering in the cheaper supermarket brand. I recommend spending and extra dollar or so on your honey and enjoying a more natural, mild honey taste.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Raw Paleo Banana Choc Ice Cream with Chocolate Crumble


I hope you're all having a fabulous Tuesday and I truly hope that this recipe is able to make your Tuesday (and Wednesday and Thursday etc etc etc) even better.

While I wont say that im the first to come up with the base of this recipe - frozen bananas, I will say that this combo was a total "throw-it-all-together" job. I made the "crumble" to put on top of a raw acai bowl the other day and almost fell in love, so I decided that it would work perfectly with almost everything I eat in the future. Hence the following recipe.

Tuesday night, 2 days of work down - 3 to go, its warm and im feeling chocolately so - behold...

Raw, Paleo Banana Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Crumble

(Suitable for those adopting a paleo, raw, vegan, vegetarian, sugar-free, low carb, low fat, and/or HEALTHY diet : ) .. as well as no diet!)

Banana Chocolate Ice Cream (Serves 1)

1 whole banana, peeled, wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen (for a few hours or overnight)
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp almond butter (optional)
A good few splashes of almond milk (or your milk of choice)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and BLENNNDDDDD.
Add almond milk in small amounts until the mixture resembles soft serve texture - this should take no longer than 20 seconds.
If you want your ice cream more solid, place in freezer after combining.

Chocolate Crumble (Serves 2-3)

1 handful of raw natural almonds
1 tbs cocoa
2 fresh pitted medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until combined (approx 15 seconds).
> The mixture will most likely seem powdery, however this is PERFECT. It has a rich chocolatey flavour with a delicious crunch from the crushed almonds.

Sprinkle a good few spoonfuls of crumble over the fresh banana chocolate ice cream and you might just have the easiest, most satisfying and delicious dessert ever.

For added nutrients and deliciousness, top with fresh or frozen berries of choice.

.... Feel like dessert for breakfast, maybe? This is your answer ;)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Crunchy Chocolate Fudge

The No Added Sugar Challenge that I am taking part in through Instagram (explained in my post below) has forced me to try out some new recipes which still taste good, while omitting all sugars - including natural sugars - other than a moderate amount of whole fruit. I am oh-so glad that it did :).

The recipe below is possibly the simplest I have ever made. It requires no baking, no particular sequence of ingredient additions, very little cooling time and only 5 ingredients!

This fudge is super firm and gives that satisfying crunch which makes it the perfect healthy substitute for chocolate for me! I wont pretend that it tastes exactly the same or that the texture is identical - it has a very natural and rich taste which is perfect for dark chocolate lovers as well as the course texture of very fine coconut. I will claim that it has a melt-in-your-mouth effect which is something that draws most people to chocolate in the first place!

Now for the recipe...

Crunchy (Paleo and Sugar-Free) Chocolate Fudge


5 tbs coconut butter*
1 tbs coconut oil, melted
2.5 tbs cocoa
2tsp vanilla essence
2 fresh medjool dates, pitted

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Line a small loaf pan with foil and ensure that it is flattened to the bottom and sides.
Put mixture in the loaf pan then pack and flatten.
Place loaf pan in the fridge and wait for it to set!

Remove from loaf pan by lifting the sides of the foil carefully. It should be very solid so I don't think it's going anywhere : ).

Place the fudge on a flat chopping board and chop into squares!

The hardest part will be to try and not eat it all in one sitting :|

The good thing is;

Coconut Butter and Oil
Contain healthy medium chain saturated fatty acids which are resistant to storing within the body and instead promote the use of fat as the bodies primary source of energy. Coconut products also have a range of other benefits such as benefits for healthy skin and hair amongst many other things.

Contains magnesium
Reduces LHL cholesterol
Increases HDL cholesterol
High antioxidant content which can reduce the risk of Cardiovascular disease.

Vanilla essence
Believed to have anxiety reducing effects
Can regulate menstruation (sorry gentlemen)

High in fibre
Contain a range of vitamins and minerals
Contain Iron
Good source of potassium name a few!

*Coconut Butter: You can buy coconut butter from many health food stores but firstly, I don't see it everywhere and secondly it seems to be fairly expensive. My way - grab a few bags of shredded coconut, place as much as will fit into the food processor and switch it on! You will have to leave it for at least 10 minutes but very possibly longer depending on the strength of your food processor, until it reduces to a buttery and creamy consistency. Voila! There are so many things that can be done with this : ).

Friday, 1 February 2013

Raw Paleo Chocolate, Coconut and Walnut Fudge

Raw Paleo Chocolate, Coconut and Walnut Fudge
I am a little bit of an Instagram addict and I find it one of my biggest motivators when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. There are so many great people on there aiming for the same results; to be as healthy as they can possible be in the most natural and healthful way possible.
On Instagram I am currently taking part in the 'No Added Sugar' Challenge which has been set up by 3 extremely fit, healthy and focused IGers whom I encourage everyone to follow - @fitnessfoodandstyle, @tonedtannedandfit and @littlemissnutrition.
You can read about the challenge here.
I usually spend my weekends baking and creating new delicious healthy treats but I often use natural sweeteners such as stevia, honey and coconut nectar. For this 14 day challenge however, I have chosen to be a part of Team Fruits of Life, members of which are to omit these natural sweeteners from their diet to "Quit Sugar" completely. For the most part, these sweeteners are something that I will continue to consume as they are still natural however for the challenge I will try to refrain : ).
Instead, I will be only using whole fruit to sweeten anything I make, and trying to stick to a total intake of 3 servings of fruit per day.
Due to my craving for chocolate emerging on day 2 (!!) of the challenge, I decided to get creative with an extremely healthy chocolaty treat. Here goes!
Recipe makes approximately 17 pieces
You will need
2 cups shredded coconut
2 tsp cocoa
tsp almond butter
2 tbs coconut cream*
4 fresh medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1tbs coconut oil - melted
Place the shredded coconut in your food processor and process for approximately 10-15 minutes until it becomes a thick liquid. You will need to scrape down the sides every few minutes to ensure it all gets churned up. Once it is a liquid, you have Coconut Butter!! (which is generally really expensive to buy in health food stores : ).
 Once the coconut butter has formed add the cocoa, almond butter, coconut cream and 1 medjool date. Process until all combined and the consistency should be fairly thick but should stick together when pressed.
Line a small loaf pan/small slice pan with foil and make sure it is as flat as possible. You will need to foil to lift the fudge out of the pan without difficulty later on. I used my loaf pan as my slice pans are too big and for the amount of mixture, the loaf pan gave me the right thickness.
Empty mixture from the food processor into the lined pan and flatten. You should notice that the mixture is shiny when flattened and I could see some oil from the coconut emerging as I pushed it down.
Place bottom layer in the fridge.
Clean up your food processor and add the remaining ingredients (3 dates, walnuts, coconut oil) and process until combined which should only take about 30 seconds.
Place this mixture on top of bottom layer and flatten. Return the mixture to the fridge (or freezer if you're in a hurry). Once hardened, which should take no longer than 10 minutes, remove the fudge from the pan and slice.
Now I would have taken a nice picture of the "one" I ate on the plate... but I didn't put it on a plate because it didn't make it there and I didn't exactly eat just one either :| :). The good thing is.. These are so wonderfully guilt free (the real kind of guilt free) that having more than 1 is not doing me anything but good :) .. happy taste buds included.
*Place a tin of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours or overnight (I tend to always have one in there in case I want to use it), open the tin and scoop the cream of the top which will have separated from the coconut water. You will now have a thick creamy coconut cream to use!
Mel x

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Paleo Banana Bread

Paleo Banana Bread

This beautiful recipe has been adapted from the amazing and talented Teresa Cutter who is also known as The Healthy Chef. Teresa was my first and still is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to healthy, wholesome cooking. I was first introduced to her cooking the first day I met my wonderful boyfriend. He sent me off to work with a freshly baked Muesli Muffin made following a recipe of Teresa's. Since that day, I have gradually found my own feet through  reading the blogs and recipes of other healthy bakers, researching foods and ingredients and the way they work together, learning and loving the Paleo way of eating and experimenting (sometimes with failures) with my own ideas. The ingredients used in a lot of my cooking and baking are often less tried and tested than standard ingredients hence the need for experimentation. Luckily, almond meal subs into many cake recipes - and certainly banana bread recipes, almost as if standard processed flour was used. Personally I think that almond meal gives a nuttiness and moistness that flour does not.

This recipe has such a beautiful banana flavour and is somewhere in between the texture of a banana bread and a banana cake. The lack of refined flour and sugar along with the inclusion of heart healthy fat (from the almond and macadamia nut oil) makes this bread not only delicious as a morning or afternoon tea treat but also provides our bodies with goodness that you certainly don't find in store bought banana breads which are generally loaded with sugar and refined grains/flours. Enjoy this bread knowing that you are doing yourself a load of good.

Original recipe can be found here. I reduced the honey and the oil and added the apple sauce.


4 medium sized bananas - preferably heading towards over-ripe (not too ripe).
3 eggs
1 tbs vanilla essence
30g honey
30g macadamia nut oil
2 tbs apple sauce
Juice from half a lime
tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp baking soda
2 cups almond meal
30g chia seeds
Handful of walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 160 degrees C

Spray loaf pan with spray olive oil or spread oil of choice with scrunched up baking paper.
Combine 3 bananas, eggs, vanilla, oil and apple sauce in a bowl.
Add baking powder and lime juice - combine
Mix in almond meal and chia seeds.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf tin, halve the remaining banana and place on top as pictured if desired.
I have also topped the bread with some walnuts which I broke into slightly smaller pieces just with hands - these are optional and can also be added to the mixture if you wish to have a little extra crunch!

Bake for 45 min - 1 hour depending on oven and basically until the top has browned and a skewer comes out clean. This bread is fairly moist when cooked and especially when warm so it is important to let it cool completely before removing from the pan.

....If you are impatient like me, you could quite well lose the bottom of the loaf :|.

If you would like a drier loaf, I would recommend covering the top with foil to avoid over browning and letting it cook for a further 10 minutes or so. I have not tried this though so tread carefully! The moistness of the above recipe and method scored rave reviews from all of my trusty testers : ).

Yum : ).

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Paleo Choc Chip Cookies

Paleo choc chip cookies

Wheeeooowww.. wasn't the success of these just one of those special moments where you realise (or have it reiterated) that food is amazing and that HEALTHY food can be the most amazing. Also realised in this moment was that someone is a genius and unfortunately, that someone is not me. Today I have to thank and recognise the skills of Gina who writes "Running to the Kitchen" for this perfect recipe.

I have a cookie loving boyfriend whose cookie infatuation is sometimes the motivation to eat food that is on the not-so-good-for-you list (we don't actually have a list) and regret it later. So one day.. I was on a mission to make cookies that satisfied three categories. 1. They would satisfy my growing love for the Paleo way of eating, 2. would be easy to make with easy to source ingredients and 3. would not taste "healthy" in the way that some healthy baked goods so clearly taste "healthy". I am always disappointed when my baked-goods loving boyfriend is only 'kind of pleased' with my experiments. He tries to pretend he loves them, but I see through it : ).

On this day, I went googling and found many recipes for paleo choc chip cookies.. some of which sounded great but were either too complicated for a rushed night after working all day and some that I just was not sure would satisfy my criteria for lacking healthy taste. Gina's recipe caught my eye not only because of the simplicity of the recipe but the long list of great reviews stating that "you would never suspect that they are healthy" and that "they couldn't help themselves but eat the whole batch straight out of the oven". Bingo.

So far I have made these three times and reduced the amount of coconut oil used each time which made for a crunchier outside and a chewier (less soft/squishy) inside. The original recipe is here and my very similar recipe is below. :)

Paleo Choc chip cookies
Makes 12-15, depending on size.

3 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 tbs honey
6 tbs melted coconut oil
4 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbs almond milk
100g very dark chocolate (I used this one.)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Combine the almond meal, baking soda and sea salt in one bowl - mix to combine.
Combine the honey, melted coconut oil, vanilla essence and almond milk in another bowl - stir well to combine (a fork should work fine!)
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Roughly chop dark chocolate into small-ish pieces. There are no strict rules with the size of the chocolate chunks but the dough holds together a little easier if the chunks are smaller.
Combine with the mixture.
Separate the mixture into about 15 small balls of dough - I used my hands to shape them to make them nice and smooth :). You will want to flatten them slightly as they do not spread out much when cooking.
Place dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper
Place in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until golden.

They will be soft when first removed from the oven to be sure to let them cool a little before trying to move them. In saying that... if you do not care about maintaining their shape, they do taste delicious straight out of the oven : ).

Over the last few months since I have been an advocate of the Paleo Diet, my views have dramatically changed when it comes to my attitude toward counting calories. The Paleo way of eating has little regard for the Calorie/Kilojoule content of foods and rather focus' on the actual content of the foods and whether the foods we consume are "real". Many amazingly nutritious foods such as Avocado's, almonds, salmon and many others are high in energy (Calories/Kilojoules) and provide a much greater benefit to our bodies than something known to be low in energy such as low calorie/kilojoule jelly. Unfortunately it is the case that many people who are "dieting" and trying to lose weight, will gladly restrict higher energy foods such as the nurtitional powerhouses above and replace them with refined, processed, artificially sweetened and chemical laden foods without thinking twice.

Unfortunately, the notion that cutting calories from the diet is the best way to reduce our body fat percentage and to lose weight is very likely damaging our bodies. This idea is so wide spread however, through decades of emphasis on calorie restricted diets that many people miss out on consuming a wide range of nutrients for fear of high energy foods.

Despite this ^, some people still like to keep track of their energy intake, so as requested I have calculated the nutritional information for my Paleo Choc Chip Cookies.

Please note that while these cookies contain Saturated Fat, which is also often considered the enemy, Saturated Fat coming from coconut products (in this case, coconut oil) have a chemical structure that causes them to actually promote fat loss and discourage fat deposition.

Know that by eating these delicious cookies, you are consuming nothing but real food, created by nature.

Nutrition Information

Per Cookie - Large (If mixture yields 12)

Calories -              193cal
Kilojoules -           810.8kJ
Fat, Total -            14.5g
Fat, Saturated -     8.5g
Carbohydrates -    14.3g
Sugars -                12.2g
Protein -                2.5g
Sodium -               118mg

Per Cookie - Small (If mixture yields 15)

Calories -              154.5cal
Kilojoules -           648.7kJ
Fat, Total -            11.5g
Fat, Saturated -      6.8g
Carbohydrates -    11.4g
Sugars -                 9.7g
Protein -                2.02g
Sodium -               94.6mg