Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! Raw Dessert and Australia Part 1


Happy Easter to you and yours! I'm home just in time to celebrate the Easter weekend with J and my family. As I mentioned in my last post, I've just been on holiday in Byron Bay, Australia for a few weeks with my friend Ulyana who's from southern OZ and who you might recognize from my last Australian trip. It's one of my favorite places in the world and it's my third time here. If you've been here before you probably know what I'm talking about. Everything about it is great - the weather, the beaches, the people, the shops, the cafes - you can get fresh juice and smoothies in every cafe in town. Healthy, organic, raw, and vegan are the norm here.We rented rooms in a wonderful "yoga homestay" which I found on Air bnb. Awesome webite if you're looking for affordable accommodation and you want a kitchen. We also rented a car which is handy around here.

We snapped this pic during our road side picnic in the middle of nowhere on our way to the rain forest one sunny afternoon.


Here's our accommodation. We share the house with a girl from Germany.

It's a cosy little place...

...With a great back yard!

The yard is complete with a yoga studio! We were in our element and lucky to be able to use it almost any time we wanted.


Isn't it a gorgeous studio? We enjoyed taking a few classes from the woman, Elana, who own's the house and studio. Otherwise we did our own practice in here.


There's a yoga platform in the back yard. Just perfect - except when the mozzies are out!

We took advantage of this gorgeous spot to do a yoga photo shoot! But more of those pictures to come on Food and Yoga for Life along with the rest of the trip.


Byron Bay has the most incredible beaches. Long beach walks with my feet in the ocean on a hot summer's day is one of my favorite things to do.


More Australian adventures to come and will be posted on Food and Yoga for Life so stay tuned!

Have you been enjoying special Easter treats this weekend? Yesterday I made blueberry cheesecakes which we will enjoy this evening but since I don't have photos to share yet, here's what I made last year for Easter:

Mini Coconut Cardamom Cheesecakes with Chocolate and Coconut Crunch - Recipe HERE

Mini Strawberry Lime Mousse Cakes with Cherry Lime Jelly - Recipe HERE

Have a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter Berry Cheesecake


It's almost Easter! How did that creep up so fast? At this very moment I'm writing this post from a cafe on the beach in Byron Bay, Australia. More posts on that when I return home next week.

Before heading off to Australia I made raw strawberry cheesecakes. I think they're perfect for Easter and Spring! Light, fruity and delicious. We enjoyed individual sized cakes but the recipe will make a 12" cake. This is just the recipe for my raw lemon berry swirl cheesecake, but with the berries blended into the filling instead of swirled in.

I made a simple strawberry sauce to go on top. A blend of strawberries, dates, and lemon juice, to taste. For the mini cheesecakes I made the crust out of coconut, coconut oil, cashews, and dates.


Wishing you a great Easter! What treats will you be making??


Raw Strawberry Lemon Cheesecake
Makes one 12" cheesecake

Crust

1 1/2 cups almonds
2/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Grind the almonds into a flour in a food processor.
Add the raisins and continue grinding until broken down.
Add the coconut and vanilla. Grind again to incorporate.
Add another 1/2 - 1 teaspoon water if needed to keep the mixture held together when pressed in your hand.
Press evenly into the bottom of a 12" spring form pan.

Filling

4 cups quartered strawberries OR mixed berries
3 cups cashews
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup agave or other liquid sweetener
Pinch of salt
Lemon zest (from all juiced lemons)
1 cup melted coconut oil

Blend all except the oil in a high speed blender (may need the tamper).
Add the oil and blend again (or whisk in) until completely smooth.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust.
Chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Garnish with berries or whatever else your heart desires!

It's great as a large cake too, and I like the coconut shreds as a nice color contrast. 

Or make the swirled lemon berry cheesecake version!

Download a copy of Raw Chocolate Dream eBook if you want to make delicious raw chocolates for Easter!

Here in Byron Bay there are heaps of raw food options. At a lovely resto called Conscious Cafe, they make incredible raw desserts. The girls and I enjoyed a slice of cake one sunny afternoon.

I indulged in the raw vanilla and caramel cake. It was absolutely delicious but too rich for me these days. 

Uly ordered the vanilla and chocolate cheesecake. It was yummy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coconut Butter Cups - 5 ways!


Lately I've been laying low in the sugar and chocolate department in favor of higher protein and fat foods as my body and mind function so much better that way and its easy for me to get carried away on the sweet treats. The vanilla choco chip protein bars and carob protein bites  I posted recently have just enough sweetness from stevia and a bit of coconut nectar but today I have a treat that's completely sugar free.


I took advantage of coconut's natural sweetness in this treat. And the fact is, this is nothing new to most of us. We've all been eating coconut butter for ages, and DIY coconut butter has become increasingly popular too. For years I've been making my own in the vita mix but I find that there's an important secret for amazing coconut butter. The dried coconut must be high quality!!! I've found that pure, organic, raw coconut that's dried at low temperatures without preservatives/sulfites works the best. I tried it with regular storebought coconut once long ago in a pinch. I already knew the downfall of using crappy "regular" sulfite/preservative filled, high heated coconut but I did it anyway because I ran out of the good stuff. Oh boy, what a mistake. Never again... it tasted gross and the oils separated. I threw it out. And not to worry if you live in a place where you can't get access to good coconut, like me. There are many places to order online depending where you live.


Coconut Butter Cups

So here you have it. The best sugar free treat ever!!! They keep forever, but I doubt they'll last ;) Perfect treat when you need a little something. You can sprinkle coconut flakes into the bottom of the muffin cups first or just sprinkle them on the top.

3 cups dried shredded coconut
1 vanilla bean
cashews or other nut, optional
coconut flakes, optional

Blend the shredded coconut in a high speed blender (use tamper) or food processor until warm and liquid.
Add in vanilla bean seeds. Blend to incorporate.
Pour the mixture into mini silicone muffin cups or molds.
Push a few cashews down into the mixture and sprinkle with coconut flakes.
Chill in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Mint Chip Cups: Add peppermint essential oil, spirulina for green color, and cacao nibs!


Chocolate Chip Coconut Cups!

Simply add cacao nibs along to the vanilla coconut butter. Add a few drops of stevia if you want more sweetness.


Try other flavors too, like Orange Goji : Add orange zest or orange essential oil and goji berries. Lemon Coconut : Add lemon zest/essential oil, and coconut flakes.

The possiblities are endless! Add any dried fruits and nuts you like, essential oils or extracts.


I think they look so pretty with the coconut flakes on top. Delicious and easy! 

Shared at Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Fridays

Monday, March 4, 2013

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Protein Bars


Im on a kick with making protein filled treats. The carob protein bites you saw in the last post, I've made coconut vanilla protein balls that I'll share soon, and now protein bars. I've tried several protein bars over the years, but I've never liked the texture or the taste, and most of them are soy based. Not my thing. Recently I tried two bars from a certain company that were so bad I couldn't finish them... flavorless, dry, and hard. There's a third one sitting in the cupboard still.


So I set on out on a mission to make my own protein bars! Healthy, low glycemic, and packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. They can be made raw and/or vegan, or not.

Are they any protein bars on the market that you love? 

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

2/3 cup blanched almond flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder of choice*
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon psyllium
6 tablespoons shredded coconut
6 tablespoons almond butter
5-6 tablespoons coconut nectar
scant 1/4 cup coconut flour
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
6-8 tablespoons chocolate chips

In a bowl or food processor combine all but the coconut oil and chocolate chips (I used a bowl). 
Add the oil. 
Stir in the chocolate chips. 
Press into the bottom of a regular size bread pan lined with plastic wrap, or container of your choice. 
Chill in the fridge for a few hours. Slice into bars.

*I use stevia sweetened whey protein powder but you can use a vegan protein powder. 


Remember, today is the last day for the Arbonne sea salt scrub giveaway HERE!!! 


And check out my Red pepper kale quiche HERE. It's gluten free/grain free/low carb, and vegetarian.