Category Archives: coconut

Chocolate Therapy

cacao

So I am doing the city to surf tomorrow! For those of you not from Sydney this is an annual 14 km running race that starts from the CBD and ends at Bondi Beach. I am totally unprepared as I signed up only 2 weeks ago and I have never run this far in my life! I am more of a swimmer than runner. The longest distance I have run is 8km and in the past year I have gone for a run probably 5 times, 4 of which were in the last 2 weeks lol! But hey, it has been on my bucket list for years and it just felt like the right time to do it! I’m not in it to win it, just to have some fun. It’s a bit late for tips for tomorrow but if you have any please share as I plan to do the bridge run in September (thankfully this is only 9km). How do you prepare for a relatively long run?

Now you’re probably wondering what has running got to do with chocolate? Well there is one more set back. This week I hurt my calf while running and I still do not seem to be able to run. Jog maybe but not for long. So it looks like I may be walking all the way to Bondi! And no I do not mean I have been drowning my sorrows with chocolate but it has played a role in my attempt at recovery.

So how do you help calf muscles recover? My wonderful trainer at Enliven Fitness gave me some simple yet valuable advice to rectify a calf injury: rest, stretch, heat, hydration and diet. Rest means I have not run but kept it moving with my walks to work. Stretching means I have stretched it out every night and lay my calf on my lacrosse ball to really release the localised pain in my calf muscles. Heat means I have applied heat with hot baths with Epsom salts and deep heat at night. Having a bath before stretching is especially helpful too as it warms the muscles up, allowing for deeper stretches.

My trainer advised that staying Hydrated is also very important which I am doing by drinking 2.5 L of water per day with a pinch of Celtic sea salt to aid absorption and drinking fresh coconut water after training. For my diet I should be increasing my magnesium intake by taking a magnesium supplement but I have run out. I remembered though that cacao is high in magnesium, which upon researching online I found that I was right. So whoopee!!! An excuse to eat chocolate! No seriously while it does sound tempting to eat chocolate every night this is not what I did, as chocolate also contains lots of sugar! Which we all know is not good for you.

The highest level of magnesium is found in raw cacao, however on its own this is very bitter and astringent. So I thought up some simple ways to eat raw cacao but still enjoy it. All of the recipes are gluten, grain and processed sugar-free and if you omit the dairy they are vegan and paleo-friendly too.
Every morning I made a delicious hot cacao drink instead of a coffee. This was great to have with my breakfast or for morning tea and with the coconut milk it is vegan and paleo-friendly. It is so simple too:

hot cacao

Just heat my choice of milk (full fat dairy or coconut milk are my choices) and whisk in 1 tbsp. of raw cacao. Pour it into a milk frother, froth it up or just pour it straight into the your mug. I like it like this but if that’s too bitter, you can sweeten it with cinnamon and/or maple syrup, or honey.

Now through my research I did find that the best combination for magnesium and hydration is coconut and raw cacao, so I also made my coco-berry power smoothie for breakfast, using the cacao variation. With the coconut water this is extremely hydrating and is paleo-friendly too! For a cheeky dessert I made a simple yet delicious raw coconut chocolate mousse. This is a paleo and vegan friendly dessert, so enjoy without the guilt!

See below for recipe:

 mousse

Serves 2

Ingredients
1 can of coconut milk, refrigerated over night
4 tsp. raw cacao
2 tsp. maple syrup (optional)
Raspberries, mint and/or bananas to serve
Toasted shredded coconut and/or cacao nibs and mint leaves to garnish

Method

1. Take coconut milk out of the fridge and do not shake it. Open the can and scoop the separated coconut cream from the top into a separate jar and pour the remaining liquid into another jar.

2.Measure out 8 tbsp. of the cream into small bowl.

3. Add raw cacao and 1 tbsp. of the coconut liquid to the coconut cream and mix to combine. Add the maple syrup if you are using it (I don’t use it but for some people it is a bit too bitter without it). Add more liquid if the mousse is too dry or more cream if it is too runny.

4. Return to fridge for 1 hour.

5. Serve mousse with fruit and garnish of choice.

Variations

Mix some crushed raspberries and lime zest through the mousse.

Drizzle some raw chocolate through the cold mousse that has been in the fridge. Chunks should form throughout the mousse.

Vegan Mango, Lime and Coconut Cheeze Cakes

I adore vegan baking. This kind cooking uses no animal products whatsoever and thus no animals are harmed in making the ingredients. My Karma points increase massively when I make these babies! Ethics aside though, I love vegan baking for the creative process and challenges involved. It provides new ingredients to explore and a diverse range of interesting dishes that many people have not tried or may not have even thought of. It’s a kitchen challenge that I love to give myself, seeing how I can make a cheese cake without cheese and a pastry without butter. It can also be a lot healthier and provides a different foods to add to my diet. Last week I made these little babies for yes, a baby shower. If you are new to vegan baking but want to put yourself up for the challenge, this is a good recipe to start with. The key is to make sure all the agar agar dissolves into the almond milk.

Ingredients

Crust:
1 3/4 finely ground wholemeal digestive biscuits (made from about 4 short of a normal sized packet)
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3 tablespoons of  rapadura sugar (unrefined cane juice sugar)
5 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon of almond milk

Filling:
2 mangoes flesh removed, 1/4 of it mashed into a pure` and the rest cut into thin slices small enough to fit into cup cake moulds.
1 tablespoon of caster sugar
1 1/2 cups of almond milk (unsweetened is preferable)
2 tablespoons tapioca flour
2 tablespoons of agar agar flakes
1 regular can coconut milk
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
zest of 2 limes (from a fine grater)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Makes 24

Method

For the base
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Place cupcake liners into 2 x 12 hole cupcake trays.
Combine biscuit crumbs in a bowl with sugar and coconut.
Drizzle in coconut oil and mix with a spoon to combine.
Drizzle in almond milk and mix again with a spoon until forms a crumbly dough.
If the mixture is too dry add more coconut oil and almond milk as needed but you don’t want it too moist. You want it crumbly but moist enough so it will stick together when you press it into the base of the cupcake moulds.
Spoon a a heaped tablespoon and a 1/2 into each cupcake mould and press firmly into each base with a teaspoon, making sure they are packed in firmly.
Bake for 5 minutes or until firm and golden.
Set trays aside to cool.

For the filling
Combine mango pure` with the caster sugar and heat for 1 minute to combine then set aside.
Whisk almond milk, tapioca flour and agar agar flakes in a saucepan on medium heat.  Whisk constantly for 5 minutes.
Turn heat up and bring to the boil and continue to whisk constantly for about 5 minutes or until starts to thicken, making sure the agar agar dissolves.
Turn heat down to medium.
Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, lime juice and zest.
Whisk on the heat for about 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat.
Whisk in vanilla and mango pure`.
Pour filling mixture into a pouring jug.
Pour enough filling into each mould to just cover each base.
Spoon mango slices onto the filling of each mould.
Pour more filling over the mango slices. I like to cover them slightly but still see some of the mango.
Cool on the counter for about 1/2 hour
Refridgerate for at least 3 hours until set.
Serve straight from the fridge with slices of mango and “Rad Whip” ( recipe to follow).

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