Feel Good Fudge

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There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to enjoying eating in a healthier way. Many people claim they don’t have the time to eat well, or it’s difficult to do so when you’re eating out, or that simply, it just doesn’t taste as good. I think the best way of winning people over is showing them that you can actually still eat well with tasty and delicious food and one of the best ways (in my opinion) is with dessert!

This fudge came about when I had some leftover chickpeas. They are the magic ingredient in this dessert. I didn’t want to make something savoury with them and I thought if I blended them with some cashews and added in some cacao it could wind up being a simple and quick sweet tooth fix. After leaving the fudge to sit in the freezer for a couple hours, you have a healthy decadent dessert, all of which takes you no time to prepare with only six ingredients. This recipe gives you protein, fibre, and healthy fats that help to balance hormones and manage sugar cravings in a healthier way. And they are ingredients that you’ll feel far better in consuming and are kinder to your body than the usual refined and processed sugars that make up the conventional fudge.

You can change this up to suit what you like by adding some raw cacao nibs, chopped dark chocolate, or chopped nuts. Just mix it in at the end before you pop it in the freezer. This will not only take away a chocolate craving, it will fill you up before you get the chance to finish the whole pan!

Ingredients 

1 ¼ cups chickpeas

¼ cup cashews, soaked (4 hours minimum or overnight)

4 heaped tbsp. coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

4 tbsp. raw cacao

Optional: 1 tsp. maca, raw cacao nibs

Directions

  1. Blend chickpeas and cashews in a food processor until combined.
  1. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the raw cacao, and blend until smooth. Add the raw cacao and blend again until the whole mix comes together.
  1. Add to a parchment lined baking tray and pop in the freezer until firm, usually a couple of hours.
  1. Remove from the freezer, pop out of the tray, cut into squares and enjoy!

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Healthy Halloween: Raw Chocolate Pumpkins

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Raw chocolate.

If you’ve never made your own chocolate, from scratch, you are in for a treat. And seeing as Halloween is right around the corner, I thought it fitting to make it into pumpkin molds.

I shared making raw chocolate a while ago on Instagram by making little cups full of the stuff, topped with chopped nuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. They are such a delicious treat and once you have a taste of making your own, you’ll find it hard to go back to anything else.

I used a lollipop pumpkin mold and this recipe made four of them. You can just as easily make this recipe and pop the chocolate into cupcake cases or even spread it out across some parchment paper.

Cacao butter is the main component in making chocolate. I’ve seen a lot of recipes that substitute coconut oil, but I find this is an essential ingredient in creating the right texture and taste. The smell alone reminds me of what chocolate is all about.

I found it easiest to grate the cacao butter, but I have also just eyeballed the amount and let it melt that way. I would recommend measuring everything out the first time round just to be sure. I grated out 2/3 cup of cacao butter, which equals just about 1/3 cup when melted.

You can also add vanilla bean (although it might create more of a grainy texture) but I quite like it.

Feel free to also mix in things such as bee pollen; nature’s sprinkles as I like to call them, are the perfect colours for Halloween with their purple and yellowy-orange granules.

Have fun with it!

Ingredients:

2/3 cup grated cacao butter (approx. 1/3 cup melted)

4 tbsp. raw cacao powder

3 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

Optional: ½ vanilla bean or ¼ tsp. vanilla extract, bee pollen, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nuts or seeds to top

Directions:

  1. In a double boiler over just simmering water, melt the cacao butter. Whisk until it is completely melted.
  1. Add the maple syrup and cacao powder (and vanilla if using) and whisk until everything is smooth.
  1. Remove from the heat allowing to slightly cool for a minute or two. Pour into desired mold and mix any additions through.
  1. Place into a fridge to set for a few hours before gently removing from the molds.

These are best kept outside of the fridge once they’ve set as the cacao butter begins to rise to the surface of the chocolate resulting in a white appearance. If you plan on storing them for longer I’d place them in a sealed container, although they never last that long!

 

 

 

 

 

A Better Brownie

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I may or may not have had these for breakfast…

I’m not saying you should be eating brownies for breakfast, but you could probably get away with it with these ones. That’s because they contain the combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats with the addition of black beans and avocado. Not only do these ingredients create a great texture, they’re providing you with a host of nutrients.

I’ve found that the key to making good, fudgy, chocolaty brownies is in the baking time. There’s a fine line between baking them for too long and too short of a time; that’s why I’ve left a varied baking time as all ovens differ. I find they’re always best baked a little underdone. You want to check the brownies at 10 minutes, then every few minutes until they’re ready. You’ll know when you can smell them, the edges begin to turn brown, and a toothpick in the center comes out almost clean.

I’ve used the best cocoa powder I can find in the brownies but for the chocolate drizzle, I’ve used raw cacao powder. It takes two minutes to make and finishes the brownies off nicely.

As tempting as it is to enjoy these straight out of the oven, they taste really amazing once they’ve been left to cool and are even better the next day. Pop them in the fridge for an even fudgier treat.

Ingredients:

For the brownies:

1 cup black beans, packed

½ avocado

8 Medjool dates, pitted and soaked in hot water for 10-15 minutes

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean

1 cup ground almonds

3 ½ tbsp unprocessed organic cocoa powder

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of sea salt

Optional: Raw cacao nibs

For the chocolate drizzle:

½-1 tsp olive oil

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp raw cacao powder

Couple of drops vanilla

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F and grease an 8 inch baking dish with coconut oil.
  1. Drain and rinse your black beans and add to a food processor. Drain your dates, and add them, blending until they become incorporated with the beans.
  1. Add the rest of the ingredients, blending along the way until everything is combined. Scrape down the side of the bowl if needed to ensure everything is mixed well.
  1. Pour the mixture into your baking dish, smoothing out the top, then pop in the oven for 10-20 minutes.
  1. While the brownies are baking, make the chocolate drizzle by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  1. Remove the brownies from the oven allowing them to cool completely before adding the chocolate drizzle and if you like, some raw cacao nibs. Cut into squares and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Vegan Brownie Bites

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These are the easiest brownies ever! Okay, they’re not going to be the gooey, fudgy, super chocolatey ones you get when they come straight out of the oven, but they’re a really delicious raw alternative. They’re also vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. AND they only take five minutes to make!

You could play with these a bit and add in some extras if you wish. I’ve made a basic batch but things such as cacao nibs or some nuts and seeds could enhance them as well. I made mine with a 100% organic cocoa powder as I had run out of raw cacao but you could easily use either or. I would start with one tablespoon if using raw cacao and add more to your liking.

I like to pop these in the freezer for about an hour and then take them out for a few minutes before serving. This recipe doesn’t make too many but they’re pretty rich and moreish and you could always double the recipe if you’d like a few more.

Makes approx. 6-8 brownie bites

Ingredients:

1 cup ground almonds

2 tbsp. cocoa powder

2 tbsp. maple syrup

1 ½ tbsp. coconut oil

Optional add-ins: cacao nibs and extra cocoa powder to roll them in

Directions:

  1. Add all your ingredients to a bowl and mix well until everything comes together and combines evenly.
  1. Take ½- 1 tbsp. amounts of the mixture and roll into balls coating if you like in cacao nibs, cocoa powder, nuts, seeds, etc.
  1. Arrange on a tray and place in the freezer or fridge until ready to serve.

 

 

Dairy Free Soft Serve Ice Cream: Chocolate & Vanilla

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This is a revelation if you’re intolerant or have any sensitivity to dairy. I’ve probably always been sensitive to dairy but as ice cream has always been my favourite, I have never wanted to give it up! Until now. I have found an alternative. And it may actually be a hundred times better.

I am a massive chocoholic. I have a huge sweet tooth so generally when I get a craving or when I go to make something, chocolate is the first thing that springs to mind. Some time ago I made this discovery while attempting to find something quick and easy to put together to satisfy a craving. I remembered I had a can of coconut milk in the fridge as I usually keep one in there. (Coconut milk is so great for many alternatives to dairy. You can make whipped cream, thicken a curry, make frosting for desserts, etc.)

This time I had an idea. I added some raw cacao and maple syrup to sweeten and then I popped the dish into the freezer. An hour later I had the most amazing, creamy, indulgent, chocolatey soft serve ice cream you could dream of. Seriously. Use coconut milk for a lush treat in anything but pop it in the freezer and it’s magic. It’s also the quickest thing to make ever. Try it yourself. You will not be disappointed. I challenge people to even question whether they miss ice cream at all!

I’ve since made a few other varieties and I’m sharing the chocolate and vanilla versions now. I can’t wait to experiment with some more flavours moving into warmer weather.

Ingredients:

1 x 400mL can of coconut milk (full fat!)

1 vanilla pod

2 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp raw cacao

2-4 tbsp maple syrup (date syrup, honey, more or less as you like to sweeten)

Directions:

1. Leave a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. When ready to use, separate the can into two equal parts of coconut milk in two bowls.

2. For the vanilla version: cut and scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and maple syrup, then whisk everything together by hand or with a hand blender until combined.

3. For the chocolate version: add the raw cacao and maple syrup to the other bowl and again whisk everything together. Make sure there are no lumps from the raw cacao.

4. Divide into smaller portions or put the bowls as they are into the freezer for 1 hour. When you’re ready to eat, remove from freezer and let stand for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

P.S. You can totally eat this for breakfast: It makes the best addition to things like pancakes or french toast. You can even use the vanilla version as a vegan custard which is amazing with desserts!

 

Hazelnut Pecan Nut Butter Balls

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These are a healthy, nutritious version of a much-loved family favourite recipe I’ve been having ever since I can remember. Peanut Butter Balls are the original favourite and for every time we’ve had a holiday, they’ve always been the first to go. I get requests to make them all the time by my family in the UK and while they have always been delicious, they are made with an unhealthy amount of icing sugar. I wanted to make a healthy version but equally delicious and what a better time of year than now for Valentine’s Day?

These are made with homemade nut butter (I chose to make a hazelnut pecan blend) over peanut butter. They actually make these nut butter balls taste a bit more like a healthy Ferrero Rocher! As peanuts are quite prone to mold and contamination, I tend to favour other nuts over them. Of course, if you really love peanut butter, substitute that. Make it yourself with organic peanuts or buy a high quality peanut butter. Whichever you choose will taste great with chocolate.

Instead of using icing sugar to sweeten and make up the bulk of these I have made my own version using coconut sugar. You can simply add coconut sugar to a food processor and blend well until very fine. I keep a small quantity of this available to use in place of icing sugar if needed. For the most part I’ll use sweeteners such as maple syrup, honey, dates, etc. Feel free to use more maple syrup in these instead of coconut icing sugar if you like. I’d start with two tablespoons as it also acts as a thickener.

And if you haven’t made your own chocolate, you don’t know what you’re missing! Raw chocolate is phenomenal and you don’t ever have to feel guilty about it because the real stuff is pretty good for you. The combination of both the nut butter and chocolate is amazing and I guarantee you will love these. These make approximately 18-20 nut butter balls. So you can make some for your husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, someone special, and keep some behind for yourself!

Ingredients:

Filling:

1 cup hazelnut-pecan nut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)

3 tbsp coconut icing sugar

2 tbsp coconut flour

1 tbsp maple syrup

½ cup puffed brown rice (I used Rude Health’s; you can use some organic rice krispies)

Raw Chocolate:

½ cup cocoa butter

2 tbsp maple syrup (honey, date syrup)

½ tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

3 ½ tbsp raw cacao

Directions:

Add the nut butter, coconut icing sugar, coconut flour, and maple syrup to a medium sized bowl and mix until combined. Add in the puffed brown rice. Set aside in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up. When you’re ready, take the mixture from the fridge, make ½ tablespoon balls, and set on a lined baking tray. You can then pop these back in the fridge for a couple of hours, or just pop them in the freezer for another 20-30 minutes.

While the balls are setting in the fridge/freezer, make the raw chocolate. Add the cocoa butter to a double boiler on a low simmer to melt. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. When all is combined and melted, take it off the heat and whisk in the raw cacao. Allow this to stand to the side for 10-15 minutes so it’s not too hot when you dip the nut butter balls.

When you’re ready to dip the balls, remove from the fridge/freezer and dip them into the chocolate with a dessertspoon until completely covered, then let them set on a lined baking tray.

You can let these set in the fridge and then dip them again if you have some chocolate leftover. Dish them up on a pretty plate to serve or box them up as a lovely gift for someone to enjoy. Spread the love of chocolate with those around you and have a Happy Valentine’s Day! x

Chocolate Cake For Two

Chocolate Cake For Sugar Cravings, gluten free and dairy free

This flourless chocolate cake requires very little effort and is a perfect treat for two to share (or just for one if you’ve got a serious sweet craving going on!) It’s gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. If you aren’t using chocolate in its natural state (raw cacao) it’s best to try and use a dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids as that’s where you’ll find the healthy antioxidants that chocolate contains.

This is best served warm, a few minutes after coming out of the oven. Alternatively, if you have any leftovers you can pop it in the fridge and enjoy it as a fudgier treat the next day!

Ingredients:

100g dark chocolate

4 tbsp coconut oil

2 eggs

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Directions: 

  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and add with coconut oil in a double boiler over a simmering saucepan of water until melted. Set aside to cool.
  1. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Combine the rest of the ingredients into a food processor until combined. Add the melted chocolate and coconut oil.
  1. Grease a baking dish (with coconut oil) and pour the mixture in. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy!