Choc Macanana Smoothie


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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…

Raw Cross Buns

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

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My husband looks forward to Easter for one reason and one reason only; Hot Cross Buns! He lives for them. So considering we are both gluten intolerant now the prognosis of his HCB addiction hit him hard. I had to really talk him down from the bakery ledge the other day as he was going to throw bloatedness, itchiness and general discomfort to the wind for the sake of some gluten goodness. They say grief goes through 12 stages right? Poor soul. So I have been keeping my eye out for a gluten free recipe to try and ease his pain. And as soon as I saw this recipe on fab raw food blog Rawified I knew I had to give it a crack of my own version… and i’m pretty stoked with the result.

These little bun bites are delicious! They taste identical to hot cross buns which is slightly confusing as they are an entirely different texture (obviously they are not going to have that glorious fluffiness that only refined white bread has!). While I would have easily downed 3 hot cross buns in my past life these are so rich and nutrient dense that you only need one before you are totally satisfied. Plus they are full of Omega’s, protein, fiber and deliciousness. Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 cups raw almonds 
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashew pulp (made from cashew milk… see recipe here) OR 1 cup cashews if you haven’t made milk **see note
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (agave, raw honey, maple syrup etc)
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seed (aka linseed)
  • 3 large dates
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

** If you have prior notice to making these then I would urge you to try the milk! You are going to use the same amount of cashews in the recipe anyway and if you just soak them 6 hours before (preferably the night before) you can get a good litre of non-dairy milk as a bonus!

Icing

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener of choice – i used maple YUM (agave, raw honey, maple syrup etc)
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt (if you don’t have that table salt is fine)

Method

Dough

  1. Using a food processor grind up your almonds to a fine powder (and if you are using whole cashews instead of cashew pulp add these too)
  2. Add all other ingredients except the raisins. Pulse your food processor until the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Add the raisins and pulse so that they are mixed but not purified.
  4. Shape your dough into balls slightly smaller than golf balls. Flatten them with the back of a spoon. Get a butter knife and carve in a cross shape. As you press the knife in wiggle it side to side so the groove of the cross is opened.
  5. Set aside while you make the icing.

Icing

  1. Using a food processor grind up your cashews to a fine, even powder. This is your icing so you do not want it to be lumpy and bumpy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and combine until they are a smooth caramel coloured paste.
  3. If you have a piping bag use this to pipe your crosses. Otherwise I just used two butter knifes. I got a bit of icing onto the blade of one knife and then just scraped it into the cross grooves.
  4. Serve with a big smile.

Have a happy healthy Easter!!!

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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…

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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!

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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.

How To Make Almond Milk – Plus 3 Bonus Recipes!

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“Nut milk”. Is that not the most unfortunately titled of all food items? Actually… it might just be pipped by it’s cousin “Nut Cheese”. Putting immaturity aside for a second though this is seriously awesome stuff and has become my obsession since my clean living revolution (read about that here). My milk of choice would have to be almond. Nut Milk is super easy to make and because almonds are naturally so nutritionally dense you don’t need to fortify them with anything… making homemade just as good than store bought. Actually better because you miss out on all the waste associated with packaged milks. If you need more convincing, here are some of the nutritional benefits of Almond Milk;

Low in Calories – Considering nuts are so calorific and full of all those good fats, I was shocked to discover that it is low in calories – around 60 per 250mls (compared to 426 for the equivalent serve of cows milk!)

Easy to digest – Free of lactose, casein, gluten and soy making it the best choice for your non-dairy dairy!

High in protein 

Full of nutrients – Nut milks have no cholesterol and higher levels of minerals and vitamins than other non-dairy equivalents like rice and soy (a avoid soy anyway… for these reasons). This milk is full of vitamin E, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber and phosphorous. The high levels of vitamin E and flavonoids make it a cancer fighting tonic!

Tastes Delish!!! – Nut milk is a lot milder than soy and is delicate and sweet. It is brilliant in smoothies, baking and all sorts of other recipes (like Chia Pudding – yum!)

Almond milk doesn’t contain much calcium though, so it should not be considered a replacement for your calcium intake. 

Equipment

To make nut milk you need a nut milk bag or material equivalent. I use these Living Synergy nut milk bags which are produced by local raw foodie queen Jen Keenan (of Living Synergy Dunsborough retreats)! You can buy them directly from the link I provided or see the large list of Australia Wide stockists here. They are very reasonably priced at around $17. If you are outside of Australia, Amazon also has an impressive list available.

This being said if you can also make your own nut milk bags out of just about anything. Sew a bag shape out of cheesecloth or muslin or upcycle an old (washed) stocking (panty-hose). I have used the panty-hose trick before when I was making this Coconut and Cucumber Facial Cleanser.

Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • Raw Almonds (organic if possible)
  • Water (filtered if possible)

For every 1 Cup of almonds I use 3 Cups of water.

Optional Extras

  • Sweeteners – raw honey, agave, stevia, maple syrup, dates
  • Raw Cacao – chocky milk!!!
  • Spices – cinnamon,cloves, cardamom, cayenne?

MAKING ALMOND MILK

Method

  1. Soak your almonds in filtered water in the fridge for between 6 – 48 hours. The longer the better but if you don’t have time 6 hours is fine. 
  2. Strain the almonds. (I strain into a colander over a bowl and then use the ‘wasted’ water in the garden).
  3. Place in blender with new water – for every 1 Cup of almonds you make you should add 3 Cups of water. (If you want to make a nice thick almond cream use 1 Cup almonds:1-2 Cup of water)
  4. Add any additional items to the blender (sweeteners, spice etc)
  5. Blend on high until the milk is foamy
  6. Pour blender contents into your nut milk bag or cheese cloth. There are a few ways you can do this – I place the nut milk bag over the top of the blender and pour into a bowl. You could also place the bag or cloth into a jag and fasten with an elastic bag before pouring.
  7. Squeeze all the pulp in the bag to extract all the milk.
  8. Store in a glass container with an airtight lid (a sterilized old jar will work just fine!)

Your milk will last between 4 – 5 days in an airtight container.

Now you will notice that you are left with the pulp of the almonds. Now hold your horses… DO NOT THROW THIS AWAY. This byproduct is a versatile base that you can make a whole range of recipes from! Here are three that I have tried, but really the possibilities are as limitless as your creativity!

Bonus Recipes

Almond Pulp Crackers

I made these awesome crackers from a recipe from awesome vegan blog Figgy and Sprout. Served with homemade Baba Ganoush they went down a treat.

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See the recipe here.

Raw Almond Pulp Macaroons

Living Synergy (where I got my nut milk bag) provided this amazing recipe for Raw Almond Macaroons. I changed them slightly by leaving out the vanilla bean and using half dessicated coconut and half shredded (both unsweetened) and they are delicious! She the recipe here.

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Crunchy Cacao Balls

I then adapted that recipe into my own little nutritious treat! These little balls are delicious.

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  1. Place 1+1/2 Cups of unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 Cup nut pulp, 1/2 Cup dates, 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil and 1 Tablespoon of Raw Cacao into a bowl.
  2. Get messy and combine with your hands… squish and mix until you can form doughy balls. (or you can use a blender if you are feeling lazy)
  3. Roll mix into balls and then roll in cacao nibs.

What a resourceful way to get your milk!

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Raw Coconut Macaroons (Paleo, Raw, Vegan)

Paleo – Raw – Vegan – Gluten Free – Refined Sugar Free

Preparation Time – 10 minutes; Fridge Time – 40 minutes 

 

What a sweet little treat!

What a sweet little treat!

I have been completely embracing a new way of life lately – a life where I actually value the body I am trudging around in! This means I have forgone grains, refined sugar, dairy and opted instead for loads of vegetables, fruit and lean proteins. Not only am I aiming for a slightly lighter existence (post baby bod blues) but I have added motivation now. Since having my baby I seem to have developed allergies – itchy red rashy allergies! Strange but true. As you can see here The New York Times reported that due to weakened immune function, it’s not uncommon for women to develop allergies after giving birth. So with that in mind I am not only on a mission to discover what I am newly allergic to but I am also trying to balance that with breast-feeding cravings. Enter Sir Macaroon!

Strawberry optional... but was tasty I can assure you!

Strawberry optional… but was tasty I can assure you!

This fluffy, gooey ball of love was oh so simple to whip up. They are very sweet and moist and the perfect afternoon snack for that 3pm pang of sweetness. Next time I will dip them in raw chocolate and drizzle it over the top as well. (If you want to try this the raw chocolate recipe that I would use is the Ganache Icing from my Superfood Slice – see that here). Could be the makings of an indulgent raw dessert in there somewhere?

Ingredients

½ cup Coconut Oil
½ cup Coconut Butter (Buy this at health food store or make your own see here)
1 ½ – 2 Cups unsweetend shredded coconut
3-4 tablespoon of sweetener of choice (maple syrup, raw honey or agave)

Method

  1. Soften the coconut oil and coconut butter by heating in a small saucepan or by placing inside the oven at low heat
  2. Once melted to liquid remove from heat.
  3. Add your sweetener and combine.
  4. Add the shredded coconut bit by bit until you get the consistency you want. The mix won’t stick together like a traditional doughy mixture but it will cool down and harden into a solid form.
  5. Form the mix into whatever macaroon shape blows your hair back – little domes are tradition. You may have some liquid leftover at the bottom of the bowl… I poured these over the the mounds for extra richness. They will cool to be solid!
  6. Put in fridge to cool down.
  7. EAT THEM!
Snowy Stack!

Snowy Stack!

Fudgy Banana Brownie (Paleo, Vegan)

Paleo – Grain Free – Vegan 

Preparation Time – 15 minutes; Cooking time – 15 minutes; Fridge time – 1 hour

Everyone loves a brownie!

Everyone loves a brownie!

When I was pregnant everyone always used to warn me about any expectations associated with my post baby bod. They all said – “your body won’t just bounce back straight away”. I nodded politely but internally I was thinking… “Pfft – I haven’t gone mad with food during the pregnancy, I’ll snap back like an elastic band dammit”. Unfortunately majority won and I have been left with a little bit of a shock. I guess cultivating a human for 9 months does slightly affect you – who woulda thunk it! As such I have committed to giving the Paleo diet a go. This diet hinges on a high protein intake, lots of leafy greens, no processed foods and – the most important part – no grains whatsoever! One could be fooled into thinking this diet makes coffee and cake with friends impossible never fear – baked goods are actually surprisingly easy to Paleo-ise.

Almond Meal is a Paleo Bakers friend! Almond Meal is made from ground almonds and therefore is sometimes referred to as almond flour. It lends a moistness to any dish you use and is a high protein alternative to your standard nasty white flours. And the kicker… it partners especially well with chocolate! Zing zing zing! If you would like to make your own Almond Meal the Delighted Momma provides a fantastic tutorial here. (note: she specifies almonds without skin, but using ones with their skin on is completely fine!). Here is the recipe for my incredibly well-received Fudgy Banana Brownie. YUM.

Served with organic strawberries and an Alessi spoon = perfection!

Served with organic strawberries and an Alessi spoon = perfection!

Ingredients

*note – if you don’t like banana substitute the 2 mashed banana’s for 1 free range egg. This will obviously mean the brownie is no longer vegan though! 

Brownie Base

½ cup coconut oil (solid)
½ cup organic raw cocao powder (this is different to cocoa in that it is a superfood but you can substitute if need be)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup (can use honey or agave nectar)
2 mashed ripe bananas (I always keep a stash of frozen ripe bananas in the freezer… cut into chunks)
1 cup almond meal

Raw Ganache Icing

2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

Brownie Base

  1. Preheat a fan-forced oven to 160° Celsius (325° Fahrenheit)
  2. Mix the coconut oil, cocao powder and cinnamon in a bowl and combine well.
  3. Add the coconut milk, maple syrup and almond meal and mix until combined.
  4. Mash in banana (if using frozen I microwave it until it is mostly defrosted. This works really well and means you will have amazing delicious banana chunks in your brownie!)
  5. Line a small brownie tin with baking paper. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface of the mix.
  6. Place in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Insert a chopstick/skewer to check – the stick should come out with a bit of the mix on it. This means extra fudginess once it has cooled! Remove and allow to cool to room temperature (if you can resist digging in straight away!).

Raw Ganache Icing

  1. Remove 2 teaspoons of your coconut sugar and keep aside (this will dust the brownie!).
  2. Combine remaining coconut sugar with cinnamon.
  3. Whisk the cacao powder and coconut oil together until smooth .
  4. Add cinnamon coconut sugar mix and mix well.
  5. Pour on top of the brownie and refrigerate immediately.
  6. After 10 minutes remove from fridge and sprinkle on remaining coconut sugar. This will give a beautiful caramel fairy dust effect!
  7. Serve with strawberries!!!