Mel’s Famous Goji Berry Bliss Balls

The universe has been delightful again and has smashed me into contact with the absolutely gorgeous Mel from Raw Energy and Wellness. As Mel will tell you below, she is a Remedial Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer and has just moved to the my glorious end of Australia (the West). She also just happens to be a fellow IIN colleague and I am telling you now, she is going to do big things with her Health Coach qualification! I’ll hand the microphone over to Mel now to introduce herself and then share her protein-packed bliss balls… 

melAfter leaving School 15 years ago my first stop was cooking school. I wasn’t really sure what in the world I wanted to do but I knew I loved to cook for people so decided my new aspiration was to become a chef. After being told, quite politely, by my teacher at that time that I talked to much to be stuck in a kitchen everyday, I went on a career hunting adventure over many years. I tried soooo many things…Horticulture, waitressing, landscaping, accounting, started a business degree, interior design, sports management and finally found my calling when I qualified as a Personal Trainer and opened my first boutique gym 6 years ago.

Although I did love what i was doing I always had a deeper desire to further help people, so completed a number of extra nutrition and coaching certificates and enrolled myself to become a Remedial Therapist. I thought this would help me on the road to “fixing” people.

However, as before, I still felt that burning desire that there was something else out there for me to learn in order to motivate and inspire people to become the best version on themselves they could possibly be. This is when I stumbled across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, this is what I claim to be my “light bulb moment”. It made so much sense to tie in all of my knowledge and experience into this one qualification: a HEALTH COACH.

Since enrolling 3 months ago I haven’t been able to contain my excitement and so many doors have started swinging open. I am so grateful for the new path my life is taking and would you believe that after 15 whole years my passion for cooking has returned. Although this time around, after everything I’ve learnt over the years, the ingredients I am experimenting and creating with are far more pure and nourishing. I absolutely love shopping and hunting for yummy, quality ingredients. Then when I get home, have so much fun getting lost in the middle of a kitchen full of nuts, seeds and superfoods. And the best part, I get to talk just as much as I like!

To celebrate the rediscovery of my passion I would love to share my famous Gogi Berry Bliss Ball recipe with you. Goji Berries contain all essential amino acids and also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble yogi berry is a nutritional powerhouse.

Enjoy beautiful people!

Mel’s Famous Goji Berry Bliss Balls

Vegan – Raw

Makes 16 balls

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Ingredients

  • 15 dates 
  • 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 
  • 1/4 cup pepitas 
  • 1/4 cup goji berries 
  • 1 cup almonds 
  • 1/2 cup walnuts 
  • 1 tbs cinnamon 
  • 3/4 cup oats 
  • 1/2 cup coconut 
  • 1/2 cup almond milk 
  • 4 scoops vanilla protein 

Method

  1. Add all ingredients except milk to a food processor mix until you are left with a fine texture
  2. Transfer to a large bowl, add milk and stir 
  3. Roll into small balls using extra coconut for rolling in

How good do they look? If you want more recipes like that follow Mel here;

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What is your favorite healthy snack? Would love to hear your go-to food in the comments!

Healing Winter Soup

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Last week I experienced for the first time what it was like to be the parent of a poorly little poppet. Little Lucy got a nasty chesty cold with one of those horrendous barking coughs. As a result my body has been fighting it like crazy and that goes hand in hand with some very sleepless nights. It is true though that babies are born with universal intelligence. She knew exactly what to do. Lie down. Stop. Screw up the to-do list (which must have been stressful for her – she had to reschedule ‘chew remote’ and ‘chase dogs’). Cry those emotions out. Feel sorry for herself. Be gentle. Sleep.

Taking my cue from her I listened to what it was my body wanted. It wanted warm, grounding, healing soup. So I chose beautiful seasonal organic produce, chopped it all up and made a soup that can only be described as Bloody Bonza, Mate. (apologies to the non-Australian contingent of this readership). I then supercharged it with a whole load of ancient superfood spices and Bob’s ya uncle.

So I stopped with my daughter and we cuddled and I watched Death at a Funeral for the 34,824th time. It was lovely. 

And the more we slurped down the better we both felt. Our healing could be due to all the Vitamin C in the pumpkin and sweet potato though it is much more likely because of the soups magical powers. 

So if you are feeling sick or you just like delicious soup – this is for you! Lucy loved it…

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Healing Winter Soup

Vegan – Gluten Free – Paleo

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Ingredients

  • 1kg Pumpkin (Yam), cubed into 4cm cubes
  • 1/2 large Sweet Potato (Kumara), cubed into 2cm cubes
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 Onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups Stock or Water
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 3cms knob of Ginger, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • Bunch of Coriander (Cilantro)
  • 1 tablespoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds (Cilantro)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional

  • 1 can of Coconut Cream
  • Dulce Flakes

Method

  1. Heat Coconut Oil in large pot
  2. Add Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, Onion, Ginger, Garlic and the stem and roots of the coriander bunch. Stir until the onion is soft.
  3. Add Leek, Turmeric, Cumin, Coriander Seeds, Coriander Leaves (save some for presentation) and Nutmeg and stir until the spice has thoroughly coated the contents of the pot.
  4. Add Stock or Water and bring to the boil
  5. Then simmer until soft (approximately 20 minutes)
  6. Allow to cool slightly before blending (either in blender or with stick blender)
  7. Serve hot. If using coconut cream skim the cream off top with teaspoon and swirl on your soup for extra prettiness. I also dusted mine with Dulce Flakes.

Bored of the soup?

If you are halfway through your pot and are getting a bit tired of the same taste there are a few options.

Thai Pumpkin Soup – Add coconut cream, a pinch of cayenne, lime juice and your salty seasoning of choice (coconut aminos, tamari or fish/soy sauce). Add them all to taste and BAM – you have yourself a zesty pumpkin soup.

Curry Base – I sauteed some broccoli and onions in some spices (garlic, ginger etc) and then added a few ladles of soup. Served it on a bed of quinoa with a health handful of raw cashews for a super simple lunchtime curry!

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What about you? What is YOUR favorite healing food when you are feeling under the weather?

Super Duper Liver Cleansing Juice

As you may or may not know, I am on a serious detox mission. I am going through my life with a red pen and crossing out all the things I don’t like and rewriting my essay. I will update on this over the next few weeks but so far I am slowly moving through the sections of my life; career, location and exercise. Next up ‘toxic people’: people in my life that don’t enrich, support and inspire. But then it got me thinking… there was one little friend that I was neglecting. My poor liver! In the past I have been a bad friend and I almost wondered if our relationship was irreparable but then I read this quote and felt so much better;

Every 35 days, your skin replaces itself. Your liver about a month. Your body makes new cells from the food you eat.
Your new food literally becomes you. You have a choice in what you are made of.

Wow! Our bodies are amazing… and so forgiving. It was time to show that ugly little organ some love!

Instagram @oliveonblonde

Instagram @oliveonblonde

5 Foods that Cleanse your Liver

  1. Citrus in general, but especially Grapefruit, Lemon and Lime – Full of Vitamin C and antioxidants
  2. Leafy Greens – All the chlorophyll in these babies suck up all the nasty toxins in your blood stream. They also neutralize heavy metals and pesticides.
  3. Apples – The pectins in apples helps your body to cleanse and your digestive tract to release toxins. This lightens the load on your liver.
  4. Beetroot – Chockablock full of plant-flavonoids which are vital for getting that liver into gear. Same goes for carrots!
  5. Maca powder – Our liver break down excess hormones, so if it is not functioning to tip top condition it can actually create hormone imbalances. Maca is famous for correcting hormone imbalances. A match made in heaven!
    Condition: if you have any liver or kidney disease speak to your naturopath or doctor before consuming.

Note…

If you are wanting to detox your liver then try as hard as you can to source organic produce! Otherwise you are detoxing yourself with food full of residual chemicals which can be a little nonconstructive.

Recipe

These ingredients (using a cold-press juicer) made 2 big juices. You could easily get 3 out of it or 4 ‘shots on the go’ style juices. liver cleansing juice ingredients

  • 4 stalks kale
  • Quarter of a bunch of parsley (I used flat leaf)
  • 1 large beetroot
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/2 green capsicum
  • 2 apples
  • small knob of ginger
  • 2 teaspoons raw maca powder
  • 2 teaspoons bee pollen

Method

Place all ingredients except the maca and bee pollen in your juicer.

Any juice you are consuming then and there add maca powder and stir.

Garnish with 2 teaspoons of bee pollen.

Drink within 10 minutes.

Do a little jig to celebrate how nice you are being to your liver!

Juicing for Later?

I make juices to take out and about with me or for my husband to take to work. Fruit starts to lose it’s goodness after being juiced so it is important to immediately transfer it to an airtight container and keep in a dark place (fridge, esky, handbag). Old jam jars work a treat! You must consumer the juice within 48 hours though.

Do not add the maca and pollen in advance as your juice will go gluggy.

What is your can’t-live-without juice ingredient?
Would love to hear 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 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!!!