Chocolate bliss balls {raw, vegan, gluten-free}

How do you know when you’ve been heading down a highway of unhappiness at 100km an hour? I only know when hindsight calls in and tells me to make a U-turn. By then, the damage has already been done – in one way or another.

Remember how I realigned my priorities this year? I was heading down that road. To get back on track, I had to address the root of the problem – my job.

It wasn’t just the environment I was in, it was the actual job. I applied for a job that encompassed a lot of the elements I enjoy, and the rest is history. Now, I’m a strategic storyteller who gets to finish my working day at 4.30pm (instead of 6pm) so I can eat better, sleep earlier and spend more time with my partner.

Now, I practice yoga at a small studio and have made it a priority to focus on what I’m consuming, like increasing the amount of organic food I prepare and eat at home, and being strict about sticking to gluten-free when I go out for a meal.

These bliss balls are contributing to my newfound happiness. They were an 11th hour effort before a few friends came over for a BBQ, and they were perfect from the get-go. I’ve made them many times since.

Chocolate bliss balls
Makes approx. 16

2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
8 dates, pips removed

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process on high for around 45-60 seconds.

Add a teaspoon of water to help moisten the dough if needed and process for a few seconds more.

Mould around one tablespoon of dough into a ball and repeat for remaining mixture.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

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Quick vegan chocolate fudge

I made no plans with the Easter bunny this year – being dairy and refined sugar free will do that to you. But, I just couldn’t escape the cheer – I was seeing chocolate everywhere. I came home for the long weekend and whipped up a batch of fudge.

On that note, it’s time for me to share my recipe for vegan chocolate fudge with you. This one happened when I had run out of cacao butter to make vegan chocolate and had to improvise. It quickly turned into a favourite.

Happy Easter everyone!

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Quick vegan chocolate fudge
Makes 12 pieces

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cacao powder
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Pinch of salt
Shredded coconut, to serve

Gently melt the coconut oil and butter on the stove. Remove from heat to cool slightly.

Add the maple syrup, cacao, vanilla, salt, cooled coconut oil and butter to a bowl and whisk until combined.

Line a small container or dish with a piece of baking paper (I use a small tupperware container for fudge as I don’t have any smaller dishes). Then, pour mixture on top and smooth with a spatula. Refrigerate for around one hour.

Remove fudge from the fridge and slice into small, bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with shredded coconut and enjoy.

Gluten-free vegan sticky date slice

It feels like it should only be May, but here we are, in November already. My ceramic work has been keeping me so busy that I only have one day at home on the weekends. The ‘one day’ weekend goes by so quick.

This is a case of when bad photos happen to good food. I am always in such a rush to eat this, that I forget about trying to get ~the~ shot. You’ll just have to trust me that this is good. I’ll come back and update the photos for this gluten-free and vegan sticky date slice later. In the meantime, I’m going to share this recipe with you so you’re not deprived of something so tasty any longer.

Sticky date slice

Gluten-free vegan sticky date slice
Makes 8 slices

For the slice
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup dates, soaked and chopped
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 tbsp aquafaba, whisked into soft peaks

For the sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup dates, soaked and chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Mix almond meal, coconut sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add dates, water, coconut oil and aquafaba. The mixture will be quite wet, as it is essential for the slice to be moist.

Pour into a lined tray and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until top is golden and knife comes out clean.

To make the sauce, heat coconut milk, coconut sugar and chopped dates over a low-to-medium heat. Remove from heat when sauce thickens.

Pour sauce over slice. Best enjoyed warm.

Raw cherry ripe {gluten-free, vegan}

Today we headed down to Killalea State Park. A monthly market is held there with heaps of food stalls. In fact, there were so many gluten-free and vegan-friendly options that it was difficult to choose just one, a rare occurrence! We sat on the top of the hill, which overlooks The Farm’s Beach and enjoyed our lunch – me, with my vietnamese salad and my boyfriend Jess, with his spinach and cheese gozleme. Then we walked along the beach and headed home.

Now that the weather has been warmer, it feels as good a time as ever to share with you my recipe for raw cherry ripe. I had been thinking about making it for a while and when I saw some beautiful cherries on special at my local green grocer, I knew it was a sign. It’s not as naughty as a real cherry ripe, but it has all the elements. Perhaps we can call this a cherry ripe for when you are trying to be good but you’re naughty at heart.

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Raw cherry ripe
Makes 9 slices

For the base:
1 1/2 cup almonds
4 tbsp raisin paste or 4 dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

For the filling:
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
2 cups desiccated coconut
1/4 cup maple syrup or other sweetener of choice
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp beetroot powder
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla powder

For the topping:
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup maple syrup

Blitz the base ingredients in a food processor until the almonds are roughly chopped. Spoon into the base of a square container or baking pan. Smooth out evenly and set aside.

Blitz the filling ingredients until combined well then spoon on top of the base. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.

Add coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup to a bowl and whisk until combined. Remove cherry ripe from freezer and spread the chocolate on top. Return to the freezer for another hour before enjoying.

Allergy-friendly ice cream sandwiches {GF, vegan}

I had the house to myself this weekend and what did I do with my time? Cleaned the house from top to bottom. Here I am at the end of yet another weekend having only scratched the surface of my to-do list. I’m doing far less of what I want to do in my spare time and far more of what I need to do, which has me wondering if I even have spare time at all. Finding time to cook is about all I have time for but I shouldn’t complain – there are far worse things in life!

Let’s talk about nice cream (ice cream made from bananas). Every second person I follow is on that bandwagon but I’m not 100% sold because, well, bananas. My 2-ingredient raspberry sorbet is just as easy and doesn’t have a banana in sight. I was thinking about using it as the filling for ice cream sandwiches a few months ago but time got the best of me, as it usually does.

These almond meal cookies are my go-to… in fact, as I type this, I realise I need to flesh out my cookie repertoire – this is the only cookie recipe I know! Leave that with me, and in the meantime, give these ones a go. These cookies have just 7 ingredients and sorbet has just 2… gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free ice cream sandwiches with less than 10 ingredients!

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Ice cream sandwiches
Makes 3

For the cookies
1 1/2 cup almond meal
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C, and combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Roll out the cookie dough onto a lined baking tray and use a cookie cutter to evenly cut out the cookie shapes. (A cookie cutter helps keep each cookie uniform… an important tool for ice cream sandwiches!)

Cook in the oven for 10 minutes. When the cookies come out of the oven, they will be soft to touch so it’s best to leave them for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

For the sorbet
2 cups frozen raspberries
3/4 cup rice milk (stored in the freezer for 4 hours)

Add ingredients into a bowl and use a hand blender to combine the raspberries with the semi-frozen rice milk.

Evenly spread into a shallow baking dish and place in the freezer for approx. 2 hours, to freeze into shape.

Once set, use the same cookie cutter you used for the cookies to cut out rounds of the sorbet.

Add cookie on either side of the sorbet slices and enjoy.

6-ingredient vegan paleo brownie

It doesn’t feel like winter, not when the skies are blue and my skin is warm from an abundance of sun rays. I’m not even outside, I am writing this from my sunroom table with a brownie in hand. I haven’t made brownies in the longest time. I don’t know why, because this recipe is so easy and only takes six ingredients.

Our house is coming along. Our furniture shipment will soon arrive, and then it will start to feel more like home, rather than a big empty space with a few pieces of furniture. I guess that’s what happens when you move from a studio to a small townhouse to an actual house – you don’t have much to fill the space!

Plants have made the space feel more like home in the meantime. I have fiddle leaf figs lining the windows, avocado trees I’ve grown from seeds (now up to my hips!), cacti, ivy, succulents and my prized pilea peperomioides and monstera adansonii pants, which took months to source and acquire.

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6-ingredient vegan paleo brownie
Makes 9 slices

1 cup apple and pear puree (do this yourself using organic fruit, or look in the baby food aisle to find organic fruit puree without additives)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
3 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp beetroot powder
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well until combined. If mixture feels a bit dry, add 1-2 tbsp water to help it bind.

Transfer the ingredients into a greased brownie tin and cook for around 20-25 minutes.

Let cool in tin before slicing and serving.

White chocolate cookie dough bliss balls {raw, vegan, gluten-free}

My first foray into raw food was making bliss balls. I was after a sweet snack to combat 3pm-itis and this was the perfect thing for me to enjoy as I weaned myself off every food I loved in this world. Fast forward to now, I don’t make them very often at all. But I should. I always forget how easy they are to make.

So, here we are with some cookie dough bliss balls made from cashews, coated in a white chocolate shell made from cacao butter. This recipe is quick, easy and simple. The hardest part? Stopping yourself at just one.

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White chocolate cookie dough bliss balls {raw, vegan, gluten-free}
Makes 14 balls

For the balls:
1 cup cashews
3/4 cup almond meal
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

For the shell:
40g cacao butter
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp maple syrup

Put cashews, almond meal, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil and salt in a food processor and process on high until mixture is sticking together and the oils from the nuts start to release. Transfer to a bowl and place mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Gently heat the cacao butter in a small saucepan. Once it has melted, add the coconut oil and maple syrup. Whisk and remove from the heat to cool.

Remove mixture from freezer and start shaping into 14 even-sized balls. Dip each one in the cacao liquid and once you have done all of them, repeat the process.

Return coated bliss balls to the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Eat straight from the freezer, or at room temp. Just be careful not to let them get too warm, or the chocolate shell will melt.