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.

Peruvian adventures

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Peruvian adventures

Back drops that look like they’ve been painted, long limbed cactuses adding a splash of green to the grey but stunning desert and lefts that leave you with leg burns and jelly arms by the time you’ve caught a wave and paddled back out the back. What a mystical, beautiful and interesting country.

My trip was short lived, only a quick 10 days but I think the only time we sat down was for meals and to sleep. With how much we got done and how many amazing new people we were lucky enough to meet, I felt as though we were there for at least a month.

Our first stop was to Huanchacho, Trujillo. It’s a beautiful small coastal town, with a long left hand point break, which was peaky and playful.

The first day we were there I ran a cooking class for a few mothers of the children from Milagros, a volunteer educational center created to give the kids the opportunity to learn English in a fun way and to give them a better chance in the future. A project which Choclo is supporting this year.

It was a huge challenge for me as the women did not speak any Enlgish and my Spanish vocabulary extends as far as Ohla (hello) and Amigos (friend… I think). Luckily I had a Spanish translator, but it was hard to know how much information was lost or gained within the translation.
My aim was basically to get them to incorporate more vegetables into their own and their beautiful children’s diet… I cooked vegetarian “hamburgers”, which was basically sweet potato and quinoa burgers coated in sesame seeds with a mango and avocado side salad and a lettuce leaf “bun”. I also wanted to create awareness as to how blessed and lucky they are to have such amazing super foods readily available to them in their country of which Australia, America and I’m sure other countries are having to import. So I made a chia pudding and boosted it with super foods including coconut and coconut water, yacon syrup and maca powder.

The mothers were really interactive with me, asking questions, tasting the food and having a laugh every now and again… although I had no idea what they were laughing about I persisted to smile and laugh as if I were completely in the know. I felt as though I gave them a sense of the possibility of cooking with fruit and vegetables and showed that it doesn’t have to be boring and unsatisfying. One mother made a comment that she “can’t even taste the vegetables” and “it smells like meat”… so I’m going to take them as subtle but definite compliments J.

Next on the agenda was my trip to visit the beautiful Jaime Wilfredo Munoz Diaz. If you have not yet heard of Jaime he is a 16 year old boy, living in Peru with cystic fibrosis. His Mum noticed he had breathing problems as a bub and took him to get checked. He was then diagnosed falsely with asthma and dust allergies and his condition continued to get worse with the medicine having no success in relieving his symptoms. In the end of 2012, after many painful tests and visits from the doctor he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a autosomal recessive genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs but also the pancreas, liver and intestine. Difficulty breathing is the most serious symptom, which results from frequent lung infections being treated with antibiotics and other medications.
Jaime is a 16 year old in the body of a 7 year old. He is tiny, his organs are not as evolved as they should be and he is extremely thin and weak. He is now connected to an oxygen tank 24/7 of which is costing him 100 soles a day (about $50) and half of his heart has stopped working.

The Choclo Project have been supporting Jaime for a while now and I was told whilst visiting that if it wasn’t for their generous and continuous support, Jaime may not be alive today.

I was so excited to meet him and was blown away with his beautiful, cheeky, and loving energy. We both couldn’t speak one another’s language but he still managed to consistently make me smile. He is an extremely artistic and talented boy. Jaime showed me his art journal and I was blown away with the vibrance and creativity of each of his pieces. As he was such a talented perfectionist I was slightly intimidated but I did a couple of drawings with him and gave him some new journals and Posca pens to encourage his creative outlet. I left feeling really frustrated that such a beautiful, young and incredible boy can be so restricted in his way of living and can be suffering to an extent of which no one would understand. I please encourage anyone to follow this link http://www.gofundme.com/3xzxhc and donate any amount to help give Jaime a better and easier chance at life. And if anything… just a little more time to live his creative and talented dreams.

After visiting Jaime, we went just down the road to visit the school Milagros. Another part of the trip that completely blew my mind… such a simple yet effective and amazing system and set up. Run completely by volunteers… the school was created by the inspiring Coco Rim Amad (Jaime’s main supporter) who moved from Sweden, leaving behind her job as a lawyer and setting up this incredible school for all the local children after she was dissatisfied with what she had seen of the school systems when she first arrived in the area.

The school day started with meditation. We all sat down outside, instructed to put our hand over our eyes and listen to the music played to us. There was a lot of energy buzzing in the little ones but when asked what noises they heard in the music they all gave at least one answer and immediately seemed more focused and relaxed. What an incredible way to begin the school day… if only we had these sort of systems in our local schools. The beautiful kids then ran off to their allocated classes and it was then time for me to very reluctantly leave and catch my plane to the next part of my Peruvian adventure.

After our inspiring and eye opening time in Huanchacho, I left feeling so blessed and happy that I had the opportunity to meet the kids, Jaime, Coco, the other volunteers, share my knowledge on nutrition, surf some incredible waves and to have done a trip that wasn’t purely for my own experience but to give and enjoy something completely different.
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Coconut, banana and hazelnut chocolates

Clean Creations, Cooking, Fish out of the water, Food, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, YUM

RECIPE:

Chocolate
½ cup cocoa butter
3 tbsp of cocoa powder
3 tbsp of coconut nectar

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan on a low heat. Gently cook and stir until all melted and combined. Do not let it boil and set aside.

Coconut + hazelnut mix
3 tbsp creamed coconut
1 cup of desiccated coconut
1 tbsp of coconut nectar
3 tsp of hazelnut butter
1/2 cup of hazelnuts

Blend together and pour a thin layer of chocolate into the bottom of your molds. Then using a teaspoon put coconut blend evenly through chocolate in the mold then pour more chocolate over. Continue to do so once or twice. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Leave aside a quarter of the mix for next step.

Coconut bananacream topping
Left overs of coconut mix
2 small bananas
1 tbsp of chia seeds

Blend all together and pour onto pre prepared chocolate bases. Smooth evenly over the chocolate molds and put back into the freezer for another half an hour. Remove from the freezer and store in the fridge covered for 3-4 days.

Enjoy 🌸💗😘
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Antigravity Yoga

Charity work, Fish out of the water, Health, The Choclo Project, Training, Yoga

Antigravity yoga is easily my favorite type of yoga. For anyone who hasn’t seen or heard of it before, it may look daunting and a little strange but trust me when I say, it’s incredible.

It allows you to gain all the benefits of traditional yoga but with zero compression on your spine and joints. Being perfectly suited to older, stiffer bodies or for anyone recovering from an injury. It is extremely rejuvenating, challenging, relaxing and fun and there is forever a new pose or variation to try.

Here are a couple of the poses I did this morning in my Choclo gear. The Choclo product is so suitable and perfect for the antigravity yoga as there are no zips to catch and the fabrics work beautifully against the hammock. It keeps everything in securely and the colors look incredible against the white hammock.

Haven’t heard of The Choclo Project? They are one of my incredible sponsors and a brand of which I’m EXTREMELY proud to be aligned with. They produce ethical clothing for balanced living. Their fabrics are incredible and so comfortable you won’t want to get out of them. The best part about the Choclo Project is that the purchase of any Choclo product results in 5% of sales going directly to the children in the various centres they support. This concept not only gives the children a feeling of freedom as they tap into their imagination, but it will give the kids ideas of a positive way to make a living and change their lives. Please follow the link to find their amazing story and product http://www.chocloproject.com

If you know of an antigravity class near by you I completely encourage you to give it a go and give it a few tries as the more classes you do, the more familiar and comfortable you become in the hammock and the more enjoyment you will get out of the class. Image

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MIXED BERRY AND WHITE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Clean Creations, Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Vegan, YUM

Mixed berry and white chocolate cheesecake

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Now, this was one of those creations where my friend and I literally just threw things into the thermomix and hoped for the best. It ended up turning out incredibly and I’m almost going to claim it as the best cheesecake yet! Because it was such an experiment the measurements may be slightly off but just go with the flow and experiment yourself to find the right consistencies.

 I’m up in Lennox Head at the moment and this area has so much amazing food-spiration. I’ve got a thermomix and a huge kitchen so I’m so excited to be able to just experiment and have fun while having access to so much amazing, fresh, organic produce. There’s something about warm weather and living by the ocean that gets my mind and body inspired. I hope you love this cheesecake as much as my mum, my friend and I did because we ate it within two days!

Base

1 cup of almond

½ cup of hazelnuts

1 cup of medjool dates

Blend all ingredients together until consistently combined. Shape to bottom of a cake tin and set aside in the freezer.

White chocolate filling

4 cups soaked cashews

1 cup coconut cream (or coconut milk)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup raw organic honey

pinch of salt

Blend together until smooth. Set aside half the mixture for the berry filling and pour the other half evenly onto the pre made base and place into the freezer.

Berry filling

½ of the pre made white chocolate filling

1½ cups of organic, frozen mixed berries (or fresh)

¼ cup of raw organic honey

splash of water

Heat the water, honey and frozen berries in a small saucepan on a medium heat until the berries are defrosted. Pour the berries and the sauce from the berries into the left over white chocolate filling and blend again. Pour evenly over the pre prepared base and white chocolate layer and place into freezer for 2-3 hours to set.

Serve with coyo and store covered in the fridge for 2-3 days.
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CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CUPS

Clean Creations, Cooking, Fish out of the water, Food, Nutrition, Vegan, YUM

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE CUPS

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These scrumptious little choccy cups were another experiment as I had left over soaked cashews from the berry and white chocolate cheesecake I made a few days back now. I basically just threw in things with out accurately measuring so be wary of that when you’re re creating them as my measurements may be a little off but trust your instinct to find the right consistenciesand taste as you go.

They are SO yummy with some coconut yogurt and are the perfect sweet treat after dinner. Enjoy!
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Base
1 ½ cups goji berries
½ cup of almonds
½ cup of hazelnuts
1 tbsp of coconut butter

Blend all ingredients together. I used extremely moist goji berries so aim to get them if you can and if the mixture doesn’t seem to be sticking together well enough add in a few medjool dates or some extra gojis. Place into a cup cake tin and cover the bottoms evenly and flatten them out.

1 ½ cup of soaked raw cashews
¾ cup of coconut cream (or coconut milk)
¼ cup of desiccated coconut
3 heaped tsp of raw cocoa powder
1 tbsp of creamed coconut
½ a cup of a sweetner (maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut necter)

Blend all ingredients together until a smooth, fluffy consistency is formed. Pour into the pre prepared cup cake tin bases smooth out the top. Put into the freezer for 2-3 hours to set, then keep in the fridge covered for 2-4 days.

Mint and beetroot quinoa

Food, Health, Nutrition, YUM
Mint and beetroot quinoa salad
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This salad is such a simple yet delicious recipe that you can store in your fridge and nibble on throughout the week. It is such a delicious, healthy and vibrant meal I’m sure it will leave you feeling satisfied and with a smiling stomach.
Not only is this salad delicious but it is super charged with some of my favourite super foods. Beetroot is known to be great for boosting stamina and making your muscles work harder. It is full of goodies including magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, B6 and C and folic acid. Quinoa is one of my favourite foods. It’s a great alternative to rice and has the highest nutritional profile out of all the whole grains. It’s an extremely high energy grain and has been grown and consumed for about 8000 years. It contains all 8 amino acids to make it a complete protein, it is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium + vitamin E.Mint promotes digestion, soothes the stomach in cases of indigestion or inflammation and is even known to have very positive effects on alertness, retention and cognitive function. So now you can eat this meal and while enjoying the flavours, enjoy the fact in knowing how amazing all these ingredients are for you!
Recipe + Method
1 beetroot peeled and slice into wedges
1 apple sliced
½ and onion peeled and sliced into quarters
1 handful of mint
Blend the above ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped and combined. Set aside
1 whole avo diced
1 cup of sliced greens (spinach, rocket, lettuce, kale)
1 cup of quinoa

2 cups of water
Rinse quinoa then place in a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Remove from heat once the balls have become clear and are no longer crunchy (should take around 15 minutes). Place the quinoa into a large bowl and stir in beetroot mix. Add in the sliced greens and avo and mix.
1 cup of mini tomatoes
1 dessertspoon of coconut butter
salt and pepper
Melt coconut butter in pan and place tomatoes in over a medium heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook tomatoes for around 7 minutes until slightly cooked. Remove from heat and place on top of the salad. Halve the tomatoes if you prefer.
Squeeze a wedge of lemon over the salad, mix and serve with a good quality goats cheese. YUM!
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An inside view on the amazing creator of Keep Resin: Interview

A bit of fun!, Fashion, Fish out of the water, Inspiration, Keep Resin, My wardrobe, Respected Humans, Sponsors, Surfing

The past week I’ve been up in Lennox Head working on a project alongside doing a photo shoot for one of my most adored sponsors, Keep Resin. Keep Resin began at local markets around the Mornington Peninsula and a few boutique shops around Melbourne. It then expanded to interstate markets and exhibitions and is now stocked internationally in 3 countries all within a year!ImageImageImage

My friend and the brains behind the business, Alice Keep has been up here in Lennox, having a getaway with me and also doing a photo shoot for her summer range. Al is kind-hearted, constantly smiling, always inspiring and forever creating. I caught up with her to get an inside view on the her incredible jewellery range that is, Keep Resin.

Your designs are mesmerizing and unique… What inspired you to start creating jewelry out of resin?

 I have always been in love with jewellery and particularly chunky jewellery that makes a statement. I’ve always been one to buy a new necklace instead of a new dress, as it’s an easy way to update any outfit. Resin is such an amazing material to work with you can literally mold it into any shape that you want allowing it to have a really tactile feel to it.

What is your all time favorite design?

I really really really love the crown bangle. It’s a quirky and unique piece that looks great paired with another bangle or even on it’s own. This bangle was originally sculpted out of clay and then set into a silicone mould.

You’ve created a very successful business with very little help from anyone but your creative self… Where did you draw your desire and drive to turn your art into a business?

Thanks G! The jewellery initially started as a hobby that my sister, Mili, and I both enjoyed doing in our spare time. From there it grew into a business and I chose to put university on hold to pursue it further. I feel very privileged that I have the opportunity to do something that I love so much and get paid for it! That isn’t to say that it doesn’t take hard work and determination but it is really gratifying to see people loving Keep Resin.

What is your favorite part about running and creating Keep Resin?

I really love having the chance to create new pieces. My mind is continually racing about new ideas and it is a lot of fun designing a new range. The difficulty is finding a balance between looking towards the new range whilst still manufacturing the current range.

I hear there is a new collection in the making… Where do you gain your inspirations when designing a new piece or collection and can you tell us a little about what’s next for Keep Resin?

My inspiration really just comes from my environment. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by creative people as new ideas just continually flow. The new range is going to include not only new jewellery styles but some beautiful home wares including sugar bowls with organic spoons, salt and pepper bowls and salad servers.

And there you have it. The brains and ideas behind the creative Alice Keep. If you’re around Sydney this Saturday pop down to the Finders Keepers Markets as Keep Resin will have a store there with all sort of amazing creations. You can purchase her jewellery online at http://www.keepresin.com.au or follow her on facebook http://www.facebook.com/keepresin and instagram: @keepresinImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage