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!

Spectacular Superfood Slice (Paleo, Vegan, Raw)

PALEO – VEGAN – RAW – GLUTEN FREE

Preparation Time – 20 minutes; Fridge Time – 1 hour

Oh my!

Oh my!

Now I don’t want to blow my own trumpet here… actually screw that! – get me my trumpet, my trombone and even my flugelhorn god-dammit because this is my most successful clean living recipe yet!!! It is vegan, paleo and raw not to mention being chockablock full of superfoods. And while I am sure there are many recipes that boast the same credentials this one is so unbelievably tasty that you would never believe it was good for you! I would gladly serve this as a dessert option to the most devoted of junk food eating, sweet tooths. It is a perfect healthy alternative for the 3pm sugar rush or as an after-dinner treat. It is so indulgent that you only need the tiniest amount to satisfy yourself.

It's sweet.... its salty... its spectacular!

It’s sweet…. its salty… its spectacular!

Can you tell i’m proud of this one? I sound like i’m on an infomercial! “And if you make one slice today… i’ll send you these 3 attachments FREE!” So, while i’m selling it, here are the superfoods you’ll find within its chocolatey walls:

Goji Berries – filled with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that may help prevent cancer and other illnesses including heart disease. Also boosts the immune system and lowers cholesterol.

Raw Cacao – filled with iron, dietary fiber, calcium, zinc, potassium and antioxidants. Helps oxygenate the blood. A rich source of magnesium, which helps in balancing brain chemistry. It is also rich in sulfur, which builds strong nails and hair, and promotes beautiful skin.

Cacao Nibs – Refer to raw cacao benefits above.

Raw Cashews – decrease risk of heart disease, full of dietary fiber, good source of protein anf full of magnesium which promotes burly bones, nerve functioning and a natural heart rhythm!

Coconut Oil – contains lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid and has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial and soothing properties. Therefore helps to maintain cholesterol levels, aids weight loss, increases immunity, helps proper digestion and metabolism and  provides relief for a host of diseases (including kidney problems and heart disease).

Himalayan Pink Salt – Other than being pretty this salt is a natural, chemical free alternative to table salt containing 84 essential minerals. Himalayan salt has no additives and can alleviate the symptoms of a variety of conditions

If you need any more convincing than that I give up!

The perfect amount of gooeyness and crunch

The perfect amount of gooeyness and crunch

Ingredients

(Aim for as many organic ingredients as possible and try get cold-pressed coconut oil)

Fudgy base

    • 2 cups raw cashews
    • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 260g medjool dates (pitted)
    • 100g goji berries
    • 1 cup raw cacao powder
    • ½ cup maple syrup
    • ½ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt (I used a whole teaspoon because I love the combination of salt and chocolate but if you are trepidatious add it bit by bit and taste the mix as you do. Remember, the ganache icing will be sweet so it will balance that out!)

Ganache Icing

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (try get cold pressed for ultimate health benefits)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • Generouse pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Optional Toppings

  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Goji Berries

Method

Fudgy base

  1. Place cashews in the bowl of food processor and grind until very finely ground (be careful to not over process the nuts into butter
  2. Add the shredded coconut and process until well combined and fine in texture.
  3. Add the pitted dates and goji berries and process until a soft paste forms.
  4. Add the cacao powder – process again.
  5. Finally add the maple syrup and the salt and process to combine until you have a nice creamy texture!
  6. Press firmly into a dish lined with baking paper.
  7. Place in fridge while making the ganache topping.

Ganache Icing

  1. In the food processor, blend together maple syrup and coconut oil until well combined.
  2. Add in cacao powder and a pinch of salt and process until smooth.
  3. Pour over fudge base and spread out evenly over the top.
  4. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and goji’s and return to fridge to set and firm for at least one hour.
  5. Cut into squares and serve the fudge cold. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

These will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months (though I doubt they will remain uneaten that long!) and you can also freeze them if needed.

ENJOY!

Perfect healthy snack food for kids!

Perfect healthy snack food for kids!

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!!!

Olives’ Healthy Anzac Biccies! (Vegan)

Vegan

Preparation time – 10 minutes; Cooking time – 10 minutes

Makes 12 big beautiful biscuits

Finally… after literally years of deliberation… I am ready to plant seedlings into our veggie patches. Helping me with the job is my delightful sister-in-law and my beautiful niece and nephew. So how does one ply a 2 and 3 year old to actually assist with the planting rather than setting themselves to ‘distract and destroy mode’? Well, surely you can’t go past a good old Aussie biscuit for that job? So I quickly make a batch of my version of Anzac Biscuits. While they aren’t super-duper healthy they are free from dairy and are a million times better than anything you are going to find in a packet. Instead of being chock full of butter I used coconut oil and I slightly reduced the flour content by bulking it up with sultana’s instead. Best thing – they took 10 minutes and are delicious.

Such an easy way to create a waste-free healthy treat! And I think it is safe to say that my bribe worked and the little gremlins were all too happy to help with the planting afterwards…

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup wholemeal self-raising flour (if you use plain make sure to add 1 tsp baking/bicarb soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of boiling water + 1/2 tsp salt at Step 3)
  • 2/3 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 Cup sultana’s
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2.5 tablespoons golden syrup

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Grease a baking tray in preparation.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients: oats, flour, coconut, sultana’s and sugar.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat. (if you have used plain flour add the bicarb mix now!)
  4. Pour your golden syrup/coconut mix into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Roll the mixture into 12 even balls (I used a soup spoon to measure them out). It may be a little crumbly so just squeeze it tightly into a ball with your hands.
  6. Place on baking trays and softly press the center of them down with a fork so they are slightly flattened.
  7. Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown.
  8. They will still be very soft when you remove them from the oven – don’t let it fool you into putting them back in. Everyone loves a soft biccy! Let them cool before removing them from the tray.
  9. Take your prompt from John and… NOM!!!

Nom nom nom

Perfect Spinach Salad with “Creamy” Dressing

Vegan – Soy Free – Gluten Free – Paleo

Serves 8 as a side, 4 as a main

I would like to officially motion that making a tasty plant-based salad is an art. Maybe I am fussy but I die a little inside when I arrive somewhere and find that the only option I have is some iceberg salad with a few quartered tomatoes on top. And sometimes I find myself blankly staring at a pile of vegetables and I draw blanks too so it is completely understandable. Who would have thought something so seemingly simple could be so hard to perfect? This is why I have set myself a goal this summer – I am determined to master the art of scrumptious and simple salads! Considering it was 34C today I got to try this one out at a good old family BBQ… and it’s a goodie!

The dressing is a particular win for me! It literally took 5 minutes to make and could be stored ready for any other occasion. Once a massive fan of the Caesar Salad I still sometimes find myself craving a creamy dressing. This is the perfect alternative as the Dijon Mustard makes it feel rich without all the nasty side-effects that come with heavy dairy-based dressings.

Also wanted to shine the spotlight on my newest favorite things!!! At the Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta the other day I bought some reusable produce bags from one of my fave company’s: Onya Bags. They are light, washable and come in a whole range of funky colours (in packs of 5 or 8) and you can buy them here. So if you can… make sure you wrap your baby spinach in these sustainable solutions rather than useless plastic produce bags.

Ingredients

Salad

  • Baby Spinach (enough to fill your platter… as this is the base you can judge how much you use)
  • Green Olives – I used about 20. (chilli and garlic went really well!)
  • 2 x Avocados, sliced
  • 1 x Cucumber, sliced
  • Sundried Tomatoes, cut into strips (as many as you want)
  • 50g x Pine Nuts, (I used more because I love ’em)

Creamy Dressing

This dressing will keep for up to a month if you leave out the herbs! I left out the herbs until just before I served with the salad.

  • 3 Tablespoon x Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon x White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon x Dijon Mustard
  • Some fresh herbs finely chopped (I used a small handful of basil)

Method

Arrange all your salady bits on a platter in a pretty way

Roast or dry fry your pine nuts. Set aside to cool slightly… those little buggers can get hot!

Mix all your dressing ingredients together and shake well. Pour over salad just before serving.

Aaaand… nom nom nom.

Goodwill Wines – Plonk That Makes You Feel Good!

I have always said that if it was more socially acceptable, I would have wine on my muesli for breakfast. Well… looks like my dreams came true! I would like to shine the spotlight on one of my absolute favourite Australian companies – Goodwill Wine. Wine with a conscience? Fill me up, Buttercup!

The Bittersweet Background Story

Human kindness rises from the ashes.

I am sure the Black Saturday bushfires will replay in the nightmares of many Australians. I think of it as one of the “I remember where I was when” moments. The founders of Goodwill, David Laity and Ali Rees, were two of the many that lost all their worldly goods (home and job) in the fire but – most importantly – escaped with their lives. They credit the unwavering kindness and support they received in these tough times as the reason they were able to make it through and rebuild. Moving forward they vowed to use kindness as way of rebuilding their own future! Using funds donated from the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal (read the touching thank-you section here), Goodwill Wine is paying it forward and sending some seriously good karma out into the world. I love nothing more than those that refuse to become victims and instead choose to make any situation (no matter how Black) bright again!

The Concept

An example of a Goodwill Wine Label (this one supporting CFA)

Goodwill Wine is an online wine store with a massive difference. Firstly they are dedicated to sourcing the best quality boutique wine from independent wineries across Australia. In their own words “We are not about making money from bulk, cheap wine. Our commitment is to quality.” But the major draw is that they are a licensed fundraiser which pledges 50% of the profit (a minimum of $20 per case) to a charity of your choice! You even get a pretty customised label dedicated to your charity.

The Charities They Support

Any registered charity or NFP in Australia!!! Goodwill have a massive list of profiled charities which come with their own customised label (see the list here) or you can choose the generic ‘Goodwill Label’ and select any registered organisation in Australia to receive the profit of your purchase! Most of the charities have a green focus on conservation and animal rights/welfare and if you can think of a charity that would benefit Goodwill implore you to contact them and they will try their darndest to get them involved. Another benefit is you can click on any charity profile and see how much Goodwill has donated to them so far – here is the Animals Australia page to show what I mean or see the image below.

An example of the Edgars Mission charity profile

The Wine

There is a seriously large range of wine to choose from – see them all here. You can buy a minimum of 6 bottles and then the amounts range from 12, 24 (case) and some allow up to 60 bottles of the same wine at a time. For all you vegans out there they even have Vegan Mixed cases without any of those nasty fining agents!

The Environmental Cred

Goodwill Wine not only uses 100% recycled cartons but they also offset all their freighting around the country with Greenfleet (another super company!) planting a variety of native trees in permanent forests that help to reduce soil erosion and provide essential habitat for native wildlife! Are you as in love with this company as I am?

All in all…

I can’t think of more reasons to love and support this company and along with it some truly deserving charities. Coming up to Christmas I am already putting my orders in and can’t wait to tell the receivers of each bottle about the company and spread the good word. If you work in a company that gifts wine bottles to Clients why not suggest using them? This company is checking all the boxes and I am sure now that you know about them you will choose to support them too!

It’s simple: Good Wine, Good Price, Goodwill.