Choc Macanana Smoothie


choc manana

Liquid Cleanse. Two words that on their own are completely acceptable, even pleasant, but put those hands together and you have yourself a world of hurt. And it is only day one! Well actually I am being a bit dramatic. In general I find cleanses liberating, detoxifying, lightening and (funnily enough) cleansing! But of course they can be difficult and need a fair chunk of determination to get through. It is more of a psychological challenge than physical; because you know you can’t eat anything the mind plays tricks on you and tells you that you’re hungrier than you are. (Which is exactly the reason diets don’t work).Either way… by 3:30pm of Day #1 I felt faint, nauseous and panicky. I really felt I needed something hearty to keep my energy levels up enough to play with my 5 month old and pack our entire life into boxes. Enter the Choc Macanana Smoothie.

Also – for fun – whisper Choc Macanana in a deep tribal voice; doesn’t that sound like some mystical island legend? Can’t you imagine being around a campfire on the beach and Choc Macanana appearing with a fern headdress? Look, in my solids deprived brain I found that hilarious and have now been giggling for about 5 minutes. C’mon Em, pull yourself together!!! Anyway…

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A Little Word About Maca…

I will go into a lengthier post about Maca Powder later on but I just wanted to say that this is the one Superfood that I have felt instant and dramatic effects from. Maca comes in powder form and is made from a turnip-esque root vegetable of South America. The list of health benefits of Maca is too huge to list but the most common praise I had heard was it’s ability to balance hormones, give your energy levels a boost (your libido as well!) as well as giving you the most amazing glowing skin.

I had held off until a few weeks ago as I had heard from some that it can negatively affect anxiety levels – and considering mine were just starting to normalise I didn’t want to risk another surge. But in the end the pros outweighed the cons and I gave it a go. Even on the first day I took it I felt noticeably better which I have never experienced with a product before. Now after two weeks of 1 teaspoon a day I feel like a different person. My husband has commented on how much more positive I am, more patient. I have had a lot of comments on my skin. And – surprisingly – my anxiety management has improved again. I have since learned that Maca is renowned for it’s depression-busting skills too.

The point of this spiel is to recommend that you invest in some Maca if you have any of the ailments I mentioned. I use this product from Loving Earth and they deliver all over Australia. But hopefully you can find it in most good healthfood stores.

Prep time – 5 minutes; Serves 1

Ingredients

1 x banana

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used my homemade Cashew Milk using this recipe)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 teaspoon maca powder

1 teaspoon raw cacao powder

Pinch of cinnamon

2 x dates

Method

Throw all ingredients in the blender.

Blend until smooth.

If you want to get fancy sprinkle on some cacao nibs.

What is your can’t-live-without ingredient and why?

Would love to hear in the comments…

5 Steps to an Eco Easter!

Easter has always confused the hell out of me. One second i’m eating pancakes, the next my school principal is rubbing soot on my forehead, then I am told not to eat anything and then BAM I am sniffing out anything that has cocoa in it and gorging on said item! What a strange holiday it is. It is Lucy’s first Easter and it has definitely made me consider how I will bring her up to think of Easter. I have decided that it will be the same as Christmas – a time where family comes together. What it will not be about is the merciless destruction of all over-packaged, sugar-based food stuffs within a 10 kilometer vicinity. She’s already perky enough without the sugar thank you very much!!!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

SUGAR!!! Nom nom.. no!

So I started thinking about all the ways we could reduce our Easter impact while staying healthy at the same time…

1. Sustainable Good Friday Fish

If you are a fish eater make sure you choose an ecologically sustainable breed of fish for your Good Friday Feast. The Australian Marine Conservancy has a brilliant website that tells you exactly which breeds are best – see the list here. If you are not from Australia though the Marine Stewardship Council provides global information on sustainable seafood – see their list here.

2. Make Your Own Chocolate

Itty bitty eggs all wrapped in unrecyclable tin foil… every eco-minded individuals worst nightmare. By making your own chocolate you can completely avoid the packaging as well as making them a hell of a lot healthier. In this recipe I made raw Fruit and Nut Chocolate in a slab but you could easily pour it into a chocolate mold for a more traditional feel!

You could also try these AHMAZING Raw Easter Eggs from one of my favorite foodie ladies Adele (aka Vegie Head)…

Image and recipe courtesy from www.vegiehead.com

Image and recipe courtesy from http://www.vegiehead.com

3. Always Buy Fair Trade

It can be really hard to walk past beautiful brightly-coloured eggs that are so perfectly designed to catch your kids eyes. But it is important to remember that a lot of those eggs are produced in terrible conditions by children… just like yours. See the list of companies here that are doing the right thing and using certified Fair Trade cocoa. But if you are out and about and have forgotten the list, then make sure you look out for the FTA (Fair Trade Australia) logo…

fair-trade

4. Opt out of the traditional Easter Egg Hunt

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I loved Easter Egg hunts as a child. In fact, I still love ’em. I went to my brothers house last Easter and I had to be reminded that I was helping my nephew find eggs… not competing with him. But it does occur to me that it can be a glorified form of littering really? Running around and scattering bits of candy wrapped in non-biodegradable packaging around the garden. I am sure there is a percentage that get forgotten or that some poor animal finds first. BUT this doesn’t mean you need to forgo the hunt altogether. Why not try these ideas:

  • There are loads of funky reusable ‘eggs’ around which you can open and put in healthy treats. I haven’t found an Australian manufacturer yet but these ‘Eco Eggs’ are made from a non-toxic plant-based plastic that are fully compostable! (Although I’m not sure why you would chuck ’em… they would last for many many Easters). There are also gorgeous wooden eggs (see here) which you could paint and decorate with the kids.
  • I have never been to an op-shop and not seen a whole stack of wicker baskets for $2 each. No need for new! If that’s not the case wherever you are though, check out this gorgeous upcycled jumper basket…

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  • You could make your own eggs! There are plenty of gorgeous options from these little felt eggs (from the very creative One Inch World) or you could even make old greeting card boxes like these (from yours truly!) to hide treats in.
  • Instead of hiding eggs you could instead hide some gorgeous hand-painted rocks (hear me out!) and at the end of the hunt treat them like coupons. The children can come up to a ‘treat’ bar and exchange rock creatures for their treat of choice!

painted-rocks-resizedWEB

5. Avoid Palm Oil

Both Woolworths and Coles home brands of hot cross buns contain palm oil.

Consumers (a yucky name for you and me) are definitely wising up these days. It is so nice to that the tribe of people that give a shit is growing and that people are starting to speak up about unacceptable corporate behavior! Better yet… they are boycotting it. Coles and Woolworths have both used Palm Oil in their homebrand Hot Cross Buns this year. They have (rightfully so) copped some flak for this nasty inclusion (if you want to know more about Palm Oil I have written a blog post all about why it is so nasty – see it here). Don’t condone their use by buying these products, why not make your own instead. Total eco babe Alison (from Relauncher) posted this recipe for Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns. I am trying it out tomorrow!

Image and recipe from http://www.relauncher.com.au

Or if you are getting into the raw swing of things you can try my recipe for Raw Cross Buns here

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Happy Easter!

What are you doing to make sure your Easter stays eco? Would love to hear from you in the comments.

Teacup Cake

Gluten Free – Grain Free – Refined Sugar Free – Dairy Free – Paleo

Cooking time – 3 minutes, Serves 1

So is it a Teacup Cake or a Tea Cupcake?

A Mud Cake or a Mug Cake?

Scrumdiddiliumptious or Yumskiddilidumptious?

Some of life’s great questions. All I know is that I played around with a few healthy ingredients and ended up with the most gorgeous little cake-for-one recipe. This is perfect for when you have a sweet craving but cannot be trusted with the whole cake. This being said, it is a healthy (read; gluten free, sugar free, grain free, dairy free) recipe so even if you don’t limit yourself to just one cup you are doing okay!

I have to apologise for the photo quality… I didn’t expect to be successful so I was just playing around on my phone before putting it up on Instagram (come follow me! My user name is @oliveonblonde). Don’t worry, the photo quality is not representative of the taste. It is Delicious with a capital D.

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Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons Almond Meal
  • 1.5 tablespoons Organic Raw Cacao
  • 1 tablespoon Raw Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Coconut Butter
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt (try go for an unprocessed one like Pink Himalayan)
  • 1 Egg

Optional

I topped mine with some Cashew Cream I had already made and some Cacao Nibs.

To make Cashew Cream you need raw cashews, non-dairy milk, natural sweetener and a vanilla pod. I swear by Vegan Sparkles (one of my fave bloggers and friends) fail-safe recipe – see it here. (This will mean recipe takes about 10 minutes instead of 3)

It is perfect by itself but if you want something extra but don’t want to make the cashew cream get creative… berries, nut butter and honey. Get creative!

Method

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a teacup.
  2. Microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Optional: Top with Cashew Cream and Cacao nibs.
  4. That is it. Seriously.

NOTE: If you want to make a bigger cake, double the ingredients, put in a mug and microwave for two minutes!

Great for kids!!! (My husband wanted to add that he is proof that it is child friendly – even he managed to cook one!)

Raw Fruit and Nut Chocolate

Vegan – Sugar Free – Gluten Free – Paleo

 Preparation – 10 mins; Freezing time – 1 hour

Makes a massive block! 

Insanely yummy!

And just like that… my life will never be the same again! Everyday, bang on 2pm, I find myself with an all-consuming urge to seek and destroy all chocolate products within a 5km radius. Instead of denying myself though I wanted to try and make my own healthy version. Then I was reading a post on the Wellness Warrior’s blog where she provided a super simple chocolate recipe with just 5 nutritious ingredients and 6 easy steps. Surely it can’t be so simple? Well… IT IS. This is the best stuff I have ever made and both my husband and I took stashes into the office to experiment on our colleagues. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Woot woot! This will only take you a few minutes and is so deliciously indulgent that I can guarantee you will be hooked as well!

Where To Buy

If you can do a regular shop at a health food store or one that allows the bulk purchase of things like grains and flours then you will find all the ingredients you need in the one place. It’s also great for you to take your own container and go plastic free! Otherwise you can check out these alternatives…

  • Dates, Almonds and Maple Syrup – can all be found at supermarkets and grocery stores.
  • Coconut Oil – I have recently heard that Coconut Oil is available in supermarkets  in the Asian food section.
  • Raw Cacao Powder – I have only seen this at health food stores or bulk style shops.

Ingredients

  • 110 grams raw almonds
  • 170 grams coconut oil (try cold pressed, virgin if possible)
  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao
  • A handful of medjool dates, chopped (I will use more next time… probably 15. But I LOVE dates at the moment).
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (make sure it’s 100% pure – not just flavored syrup)

Method

1)   Line a baking tray with baking paper or alfoil and place in the freezer to chill.

2)   Grind almonds in a blender / food processor until they are finely chopped (not quite a powder though).


3)   If your coconut oil is solid, gently warm in a saucepan until it is all liquid (do not boil!).

4)   Remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients; almonds, raw cacao, dates and maple syrup.

5)   Pour the mixture onto your tray and spread it out evenly then put into the freezer until it has set. This won’t even take an hour!

6)   Chop the chocolate into chunks or rough squares. For Christmas pressies I am going to try and set the chocolate using cookie cutters shapes too!

NOTE: You’ll need to keep this stuff in the freezer between snacks. That is if you can hold out on the nom nom nom…

NOTE: That is a pregnant belly… not a chocolate belly!!!