It does seem to be all about chocolate this weekend. Must be the magnesium I’m craving! Lol! If you’re not sure what I mean read my last post here and it will explain everything! Anyway I’m going to get straight into it. This recipe is a basic raw chocolate recipe I use to make a variety of different truffles and other chocolate goodness. It comes courtesy of the New York Times Bestseller, Practical Paleo, by Diane Sanfilipo, BS, NC. If you have not checked her out please do. She is a leader in the paleo-sphere! I also use my own recipe, which is nut-free too. You can find it here.
Makes 10 chocolates
2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. almond butter
3 tbsp. coconut butter
2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. pure maple syrup
Cacao and/or coconut for dusting truffles in
1. Combine all ingredients in a small-medium sized bowl, stirring until forms a smooth paste. It will be quite runny. Add in any of the extra ingredients you may want to use at this stage (see below for suggestions).
2. Place bowl in fridge for 20 minutes or until mixture starts to firm up enough to roll into balls or shape into rounds.
3. Shape chocolate into desired shapes and roll in cacao or coconut and return to fridge.
4. Store in fridge but take out 5 minutes before you eat them to allow them to soften slightly.
Add 3tbsp. of shredded coconut, 1 tbsp. of goji berries and 1 tbsp. of cacao nibs
Add slivered almonds and fresh raspberries.
Add 2 tsp. of mint extract for an after dinner mint chocolate.
- Chocolate Therapy (healtherella.wordpress.com)
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:
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:
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
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.
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.
If you’re looking for a treat for mother’s day. These hit the spot. Super decadent chocolatey goodness but no processed sugar or lecithin in sight! They are also vegan and Paleo friendly. I have given you the basic recipe which you can use to play around with different flavours or you could just make the almond butter cups (pictured). I have a few other variations that I’m working on, which I will add as I make sure the recipes are blog worthy. Some possibilities are raspberry coconut and cacao rocky road, walnut butter cups, pistachio and mint or just the all time favourite coconut rough! Would love to know if you try any of them or if you make up your own creations! Let me know how you go!
Basic Chocolate Recipe
Makes about 12 mini sized chocolates and 1 portion of chocolate for the other variations.
1/4 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup raw cacao
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 – 4 tbsp. coconut nectar
1. Combine raw cacao, vanilla, coconut oil and coconut nectar in a small bowl and mix to combine until no lumps. Add coconut butter and mash together with a fork until forms a paste.
2. Pour mixture into mini or medium silicon/paper cupcake moulds (or if you have them, use chocolate moulds) and place in the fridge for 1 hour or until set.
3. To serve take out of their wrappers/moulds and place on a platter. Nice with a warm chai or coffee or a glass of full bodied red wine.
Almond Butter Cups
1 portion of basic chocolate
3 tbsp. almond butter
1 tbsp. coconut oil
small pinch of Celtic sea salt
1. Divide half of the chocolate mixture between your chosen moulds. Make sure it covers the base adequately. If it is too thin the chocolate may break after it is set. Place in fridge to set.
2. In a small bowl mix almond butter coconut oil and salt together until well combined. Divide between the chocolate filled moulds, to cover the layer of chocolate. This is the middle layer that will be the filling.
2. Pour remaining chocolate mixture over the almond paste and return to the fridge for 1 hour or until set.
More Variations being tested, so watch this space!..
- Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls (healtherella.wordpress.com)
This dessert is raw, vegan and paleo as it is based predominantly of nuts with no cheese, processed sugar or dairy in sight. The base is made with a combination of nuts and sweet dates to stick them together while the filling is made from cashew nuts blended to create a beautifully smooth paste that takes on the flavours of lime and coconut perfectly. Diets aside though, this is a truly delicious cake that has been boyfriend and kid approved, so you don’t have to save this for those following a diet. Serve it to anyone and I guarantee they will be impressed.
8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
2/3 cup walnuts (Activated* are ideal)
1/3 cup almonds (Activated are ideal)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
pinch celtic sea salt
3 cups cashews
3/4 cup coconut nectar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice ( I used 5 but this will vary according to how juicy they are)
3/4 cup coconut oil
2 fresh mangoes, flesh removed (you could also use defrosted frozen mango)
lime juice and coconut nectar, to taste
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 lime, zest finely grated
1 fresh mango, peeled and flesh thinly sliced
coconut ice cream
1. Grease and line a 25cm round springform cake tin.
2. For the base, place the walnuts, almonds and coconut in the food processor and pulse until resembles the texture of bread crumbs. Add dates and pulse until well combined. Press into the base and place in the freezer while you make the filling.
3. For the filling, wash the food processor and add all the filling ingredients. Pulse at high-speed until smooth and creamy. Pour onto the base layer and spread out evenly. Return to the freezer to set firm enough to pour over the topping.
4. In a blender, blend the mango and add the lime and coconut nectar to taste. You won’t need much so add each in small amounts until you reach the right balance of sweet and tangy. Pour over set filling layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle over the coconut and lime zest and return to freezer to set for at least 4 hours.
5. To serve, remove from freezer to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Use a sharp hot knife to cut slices of the cake. You can heat the knife by placing it under hot running water. Do this between each slice. Serve with fresh mango slices and small scoop of coconut ice cream.
* Activated nuts have been soaked in water over night to activate the digestive inhibitor and then dried out at a very low temperature to retain their nutrients. For this reason they are considered to be more nutritious and easier to digest. You can find them at all good health food stores.
Recipe adapted from www.taste.com.au
- Apricot and Coconut Bliss Balls (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Vegan Mango, Lime and Coconut Cheeze Cakes (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Mango Coconut Sorbet (marriedtomeatloaf.com)
- Vegan ‘Cream’ (healtherella.wordpress.com)
- Roasted Strawberry, Coconut and Lime Icy Pops (starttobehealthynow.wordpress.com)
This recipe comes straight from the cookbook “wholefood for children” by the amazing wholefood chef Jude Blereau. This is a regular creation in my kitchen so I just had to share it with you. I’ve renamed them because they are absolutely bliss! But the recipe is exactly the same a Jude’s. These bliss balls are best eaten nice and cold and are a great afternoon pick-me-up or a nice addition to a sweets plate for a party. I usually make a combined tasting plate of these with my paleo chocolate cake and sweet ‘chocato’ truffles. The only sugar in these balls of bliss come from the dates and apricots, and the fat from the coconut fills you up and gives you slow released energy too so you don’t get that crash like you would from a processed sweet. Dates and apricots also provide you with a variety of vitamins and minerals and are a good source of fibre all of which you would not get from a candy or a chocolate bar. So if you are going to have a sweet treat try these little balls of bliss!
95 g dried apricots (preferably sulphur-free), roughly chopped
55 g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
185 gr coconut butter* (spread)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted, if required
25 g desiccated coconut
1. Process the apricots in the food processor until they are finely chopped and beginning to come together.
2. Add the dates and coconut butter and process until combined.
3. Scrape down the sides, if needed and continue to pulse again. If the mixture does not come together, add the coconut oil and pulse again.
4. Roll mixture into small balls and then roll them in the coconut and place on plate.
5. Leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to set.
6. The balls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
*Coconut butter is the coconut flesh ground into a paste. It is also sometimes called coconut manna. Do not mistake coconut oil for the coconut butter you need for this recipe, as some coconut oils call themselves ‘butter’. You must use the true coconut butter made with the whole flesh in this recipe, otherwise the balls will fall apart. So make sure you check the ingredients that it is made with the whole coconut flesh.
Do you like smoothies? I love them because they are a quick and delicious way to eat a nutritious breakfast. However you are much better off making them at home as the smoothies you buy from certain chains use sorbet and fat-free yoghurt that are full of sugar and most likely preservatives too.
Making smoothies at home is quick and easy and the ingredients are fresh, which is always the best! You are really only limited by your imagination and bravery for how many variations you can create. For some of you this recipe may require a bit of the latter as it does have raw eggs in it. Now I am not a fan of that ‘eggy’ taste (I don’t even like runny eggs) so I too needed some bravery to try this for the first time but you can’t really taste the egg and now I am hooked. The protein and fats from adding eggs and coconut oil keep you full for much longer than a regular fruit or green smoothie. If you are unsure start with 1 egg and progress to 2 when you’re ready. The reason I put raw eggs and coconut oil in it is because, as my trainer has advised me, it provides the perfect combination of protein and good fats that will be quickly digested to aid muscle recovery and help you power on through your morning. To reap these benefits though you need to drink it within 30 minutes of finishing your workout so prepare it at home and take it with you if you live or work far from your gym. Happy blending and let me know how you go with the additions of eggs! Or if you have your own variations I would love to know about it!
Serving: 1 1/2 – 2 tall glasses depending on how much liquid is in your coconut.
1 young coconut, opened
1/3 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup frozen raspberries
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp ground linseed meal (also known as ground flax-seed)
1 blender (high-speed is best)
1 tall glass for serving
1. Pour coconut water into blender
2.Scoop out 1/2 of the coconut flesh into the blender and add every other ingredient
3. Blend on high for 2-3 minutes or until all ingredients as blended well and smooth.
4. Pour into a tall glass and serve.
You can also add 1 tbsp of raw cacao or try 3/4 frozen banana and 1large handful of lightly sautéed english spinach.
These little cakes are absolutely divine! Being paleo means they are sugar, dairy and grain free so they are also a relatively healthy treat. The ganache` icing is not quite paleo but there is no sugar or dairy added, just what is in the chocolate. The icing compliments the cake so well, I could not use a different one!I cooked this with kids, so it is super simple. They ate it all up too, which means it must also be delicious, as we all know kids can be the toughest and most honest critics. Their parents loved it too making it a winner all round!
You can cut the cake into little baby cakes like I did or if your cooking it for a birthday you might like to keep it as a whole cake.
Since writing this recipe I have created a vegan and paleo version of the ganache`. You can get the recipe here.
Serves 10 small slices.
1/3 cup coconut flour, plus 1-2 tbsp extra if needed
1/4 cup good quality cacao powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
Butter or oil for greasing cake tin
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 batch of sweet potato chocolate ganache`
1 punnet of strawberries, thinly sliced into rounds.
1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl: coconut flour, cacao powder, baking soda, salt. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with electric beater until pale, light and very fluffy. Try to make them as fluffy as possibly as this will create a light and moist cake but keep an eye on them as you don’t want to them either.
4. Add the oil, maple syrup, water and vanilla extract into the egg and continue to whisk until combined.
5. Gradually pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir in gently to combine with a wooden or metal spoon. The batter should not be too runny but still fluffy and thick. You want it to be a batter that can pour out with the help of a spoon and scraper. If it is too runny add a tablespoon of coconut flour and if it is too thick add some more water, 1 tbsp at a time.
6. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and spread it out evenly.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a fan forced oven/20-25 min in a conventional or gas oven or until a skewer come sout clean.
8. Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes and then on a wire rack until room temperature.
9. Cover cake with ganache`.
10. Cut the edges off each side to make the cake even.
3. Top with strawberries.
4. Cut into small squares or serve as a whole cake with a bowl of creamy coconut ice cream to dollop next to each slice.
These truffles use the sweet potato chocolate ganache` in my previous recipe, with a few little changes to the ingredients. They make a great addition to any afternoon tea platter or a little after dinner sweetie. Wrap them up in a little foil and they are also a good pick-me-up to take to work! I am working on a paleo friendly version. I will keep you posted on my progress! In the meantime enjoy this version. Which may be a cheat but are super delicious for a little treat!
You can now find the recipe for the paleo and vegan version here.
1 cup sweet potato mashed (see method in sweet potato chocolate ganache` recipe)
200 g chocolate
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cacao and desiccated coconut for rolling the truffle balls in.
1. Gently melt chocolate in a metal or glass bowl over a pot of boiling water. You don’t want the water to be touching the bowl so put in about 1 inch of water. Set aside, once melted.
3. Add chocolate, maple syrup, honey, vanilla and coconut oil. Blend until combined.
4. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick enough to roll into balls.
6. Roll the ganache` into small bite sized balls.
7. Roll the balls in coconut or cacao.
8. Store in fridge for at least 2 hours. Serve straight from the fridge.