Peanut butter and Popcorn Chocolate Bites

Cooking, Food, Health, Nutrition, YUM

Peanut butter and Popcorn Chocolate Bites
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1 cup of cocoa butter
3 tbsp of cacao powder
1/4  cup of sweetener of your choice (I used coconut nectar but maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar will do)
½ a cup of peanut butter
1 cup of cooked popcorn

Melt on a low heat the cocoa butter… adding in the cacao powder and sweetener as the butter melts. Continuously stirring, ensure it doesn’t start boiling. Place peanut butter and cooked popcorn into muffin tins lined with baking paper, greased with coconut oil or cupcake patty pans. Then once the chocolate is fully melted and evenly stirred, pour chocolate over each cupcake holder (over the peanut butter and popcorn) until at desired size. Place in freezer for 1-2 hours. Remove from freezer and store in fridge once set. SO YUMMY!

Creating a satisfying, delicious salad

Cooking, Food, Health

Creating a satisfying, delicious salad
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Recently my boyfriend expressed to me how he loves salad, loves how good it is for you but never feels like its quite enough to fill him up and satisfy him. It got me thinking that SO many people (particularly men) have the same vision on salad.  I think a lot of people’s vision on salad is that it includes lettuce, and a few other watery, raw veggies that realistically a rabbit would only be satisfied after eating.

For me, creating a salad for dinner is one of my favorite meals and creations. I love how versatile it can be. In my world… salad can involve grains, meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, super foods, herbs, spices, cheeses and basically anything I feel like throwing in!

I thought I’d do a post on how simple it is to take your salad from being a rabbits dinner to a man’s meal.

So firstly the base… A traditional salad would use a green base such as lettuce, spinach, and rocket. I say why not add the lot. Mix your greens, considering they’re so good for you throw them all in. ½ a cup of spinach, ½ a cup of lettuce, ½ a cup of rocket and even ½ a cup of kale for extra goodness.

A base to me is not just the green stuff… If were talking a man’s meal a grain MUST be added. My favorite grain to use in salad would definitely be quinoa.

Quinoa has been found to have the highest nutritional profile of all the grains…. It also conveniently cooks the fastest and is bursting with energy, B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and Vitamin E. Gluten free and the ideal food for endurance… need I say anymore? So chuck in a cup of cooked quinoa (two if you’re feeding a big group). If you’re not feeling the quinoa thing your options are endless… Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, kasha, amaranth, barley are all other amazing, nutrient rich grains that you can alternate with.

Next I think of the body. What type of mood I’m in, how hungry I am and what I’ve got in the fridge are basically all the factors that contribute to this phase. Generally I would throw in a few raw veggies and a few cooked veggies. My favorite raw veggies would be cucumber, capsicum, sprouts, tomato, occasionally carrot. Like I said what ever you prefer and what ever you have in the fridge.

Cooked veggies for a salad are AMAZING. Roasted, steamed, boiled, fried… I love cooked veggies and they make a salad so much more interesting and delicious. Sweet potato is a goody… particularly roasted with some coconut oil and Himalayan salts (heaven).  Zucchini cooked in the pan with some spices (cumin and paprika are a good combo) is a great one and roasted beetroot, carrots, and onions all intensify the flavor of your salad. This phase is really the phase to get creative and pick what suits your taste buds.

Now fruits. You may think eh? Fruit and salad? But trust me on this one… from apple, to figs, to grapes, to mango… fruit and salad is a match made in heaven. Some of my greatest meal memories are of mum’s famous sweet potato, mango, feta and beetroot salad. SO YUM.

Next we add the extra sustaining and filling ingredients. Nuts and seeds! Nuts and seeds are quite honestly my secret to making a filling salad. Candied nuts are food from the gods… If you haven’t done this before all you do is pick your nut (walnuts are my favorite) pour maple syrup or honey over them… place them on a tray lined with baking paper and put them in the oven at about 180 degrees celcius and cook for about 15 minutes. They are heavenly. If you’re not into the sweet/savory thing it’s as simple as getting ½ a cup – 1 cup of raw nuts and-or seeds (activated if possible) and throw them in the salad bowl.

Then there are the add ins. Whether it be for flavor, nutritional goodness or an experiment these little add ins can make or break a salad. My favorites are a good quality, organic goats chees, goji berries, seaweed, herbs (fresh mint and feta are an amazing combo with roast veg), lemon and lime, nutritional yeast flakes… again, get creative. Whatever is in your fridge or pantry will do.

Last but not least we have the dressing. No one likes a naked salad! Well some people do but dressing it again enhances the flavor, increases the nutritional benefits and makes it more filling (if done correctly). Here I will tell you my very secret ingredient to most of my meals, all of my dressings and something of which I have a personal addiction to…. TAHINI. Creamy, versatile, healthy, filling… you can add this stuff to anything and it will create heaven in your mouth and belly. So my favorite dressing at the moment is garlic, chilli, lemon, tahini, water, olive oil, cumin, and coriander. Blend/ mix it together and pour it over your salad. Basically tahini can be thrown in a blender with anything to suit your personal tastes and desires. If you are stuck for ideas just comment and ask me because I have plenty of ideas for you.

ANYWAY there you have it. A salad made into a man’s meal. YUM.

Why do we eat?

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I love food! I love the smell, the taste, its appearance… but most of all I love the way food brings together families, friends and loved ones. Because of todays busy society, its often we forget to be present whilst eating. How many times a day do you think you eat completely unconsciously? Simply put I have a deep belief in the importance of sitting down, being present, enjoying, sharing and LOVING your food. It’s something that I’m personally trying to work on as I’ve noticed eating has become something that I just do rather than experience.

It has become more common amongst society to eat ‘on the go’ or to be doing something whilst eating e.g. reading, scanning through social media feeds, driving, walking, talking on the phone. It’s like our eating time has become our ‘eat and get things done’ time.

To explain where I’m going with this I think it’s important to go back to the basic question of which I believe a lot of people have forgotten the answer to, that is… why do we eat? In my opinion, food is for survival, enjoyment, health and wellbeing. Really thinking about food, what it is to you and the value you have in eating and sharing a meal can be an amazing way of re connecting to what you are consuming and therefore the effect it has on your body and wellbeing.

Taking it back to the simple rules of a family dinner…

You may or may not be familiar with these but these are the rules I was surrounded with in my own and my friends homes growing up.

1. Everyone one must sit around the dinner table

2. The table must be set

3. Everyone must help contribute to the meal

4. No phones at the dinner table

5. TV must be switched off

6. Gratitude and appreciation must be given to everyone who contributed to the meal.

These rule basically go back to simply being present, appreciative and respectful at the dinner table and therefore enjoying each and every mouthful with your loved ones.

To me rule one represents the enjoyment, celebration and unity food creates in society. Food tastes SO much better when cooked by a loved one, with a loved one or eaten and enjoyed alongside a loved one. Rule two represents how setting the table tells your body and mind that you’re about to eat and therefore reminding yourself to be present. Rule three again reconnects us to sharing a meal, putting love into the meal as well as helping to unite as a family or a group. Rules four and five are the teenagers worst nightmare, but again take it back to being respectful to your loved ones, sharing a meal, creating engagement in the conversations at the table and spending quality time together. Rule 6 to me is a HUGE deal. This is in no way a religious thing more so just paying respect to where your food came from, who prepared it, farmed it and paid for it. What it is that your eating and the nutritional goodness and benefits that it will serve your body and mind.

Chew your food, smell your food, observe your food, taste the different ingredients in your food… completely finish and swallow one mouthful before you begin the next, feel and observe the different textures and flavors as you eat. I can guarantee physically and mentally you will feel SO much better and food will become a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

 

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