Hazelnut Pecan Nut Butter Balls

Hazelnut Pecan Nut Butter Balls, Peanut Butter Balls, dessert, Valentine's Day, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free

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

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Honey & Cinnamon Face Mask

5 minute face mask, natural beauty, honey and cinnamon face mask

If you’re new to trying out natural skincare and don’t know where to start, this is a great place! This is a really easy, simple, natural remedy to try that’s inexpensive and great for your skin.

When I first ventured out into trying some more natural and holistic things in the beauty department, I came across many books and articles all about using honey. Honey is incredibly beneficial to consume but it’s also fantastic for so many other things! You can use honey to wash your face, heal a burn, to reduce spots, fight colds, and as a face mask in this case.

All you need for it are two ingredients: honey and cinnamon. Cinnamon is equally beneficial for you. Consuming it can help to control sugar cravings and helps with your circulation which is why it’s so great in this mask. The honey and cinnamon combined created a slight tingling across your face bringing warmth as your blood gets flowing! When you wash this mask off, your skin might be slightly red but that goes away after a few minutes. It’s just a sign that your skin has been warmed up by the spice.

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to hold off on the cinnamon, but you can still use the honey as it can be very helpful and soothing to irritated skin.

For the mask:

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (local and organic is best- try and avoid those squeezy bottles from the grocery stores, they tend to be heavily processed)

Pinch of cinnamon

Directions: 

Mix the honey and cinnamon together in a small dish. Apply to your face with your fingers avoiding your eyes. Allow to sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before gently exfoliating the skin in circles and rinsing off with water. Pat dry and use your favourite oil or moisturizer.

Remember to start slowly with adding the cinnamon, you can always add more the next time and you’ll still get the benefits from this mask. When I first started using this, I only used a pinch of cinnamon because that was plenty for me! Now I use about ¼ teaspoon each time.

I love to make this mask a couple times a week and then just let it sit on my face while I take a warm bath. You can just relax and let it do its thing. Added bonus: it smells amazing!

Homemade Almond Milk

almond milk

 

If you haven’t tried making your own almond milk (or any nut milk for that matter) you should definitely try it out! I had never given much thought to the difference between shop bought almond milk and homemade almond milk. Having made it myself I can definitely say that it is amazing and far outweighs anything that you’ll find on a shelf (which often contain fillers) It’s creamy and delicious and so very versatile in replacement of dairy milk. Making your own nut milk is a great way of knowing the exact ingredients you are consuming . It’s also incredibly good for you! This is how I make mine:

Ingredients:

2 cups of organic almonds (I usually buy the blanched almonds but you can easily use the ones with the skins on)

5-6 cups of filtered water (depending on how creamy you would like the milk)

pinch of sea salt

Optional add-ins: ½ tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp cinnamon

You will need: Nut-milk bag, cheesecloth, or muslin cloth

Directions: 

  1. Place almonds in a bowl of water to soak overnight. This not only softens the almonds to allow them to blend better but also breaks down the enzymes on the outer skin of nuts for easier digestion.
  1. When you’re ready to use, drain and rinse your almonds, then add to a blender with the 6 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth (Note: Depending on the size of your blender, you may want to do this in batches)
  1. Place your milk bag (or if using muslin cloth, line a fine mesh strainer with it) over a large bowl and slowly pour the milk through it.
  1. Use a spatula to lightly press down the liquid through the cloth and strainer in batches until you’re left with just the pulp in the cloth. Squeeze through the rest of the liquid and set aside the almond pulp.
  1. Return the milk to the blender adding in sea salt, vanilla extract, and/or cinnamon and blend again. When finished, add to a sealed jug and keep stored in the fridge to enjoy all week long.

Makes approx. 1 1/2 litres of almond milk

Use this in place of dairy milk in smoothies, porridge, breakfast, and baking recipes, or just on its own.

 

 

 

Jet Lag Remedies

plane

 

If you’ve ever travelled on a plane, to another country, or another time zone, you’ve likely experienced jet lag!

I’ve just been for a visit back home to Canada and got back to the UK this past week. When I head there, I can usually ease myself into adjusting much quicker. However coming back I always feel lethargic and constantly fighting sleep! I have a few things I like to do that make the transition a bit easier:

  1. I always stick to whatever time zone I’m currently in. If it’s daytime when I arrive, I stay up until nighttime and go to bed as I usually would. I never take any naps as I find this disrupts my sleeping and overall how I feel even more. Of course, trying to then get a good night’s sleep is always helpful as well!
  2. I don’t usually feel that hungry when I arrive somewhere so I try to stay hydrated with water and herbal tea and wait until breakfast the next day. Then I make sure to have a proper meal including something like a green smoothie with lots of veggies and nutrients and/or some eggs with avocado on the side.
  3. Instead of having a quick shower, I like to try and take a warm bath with Epsom salts and essential oils. The Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is great for your muscles (when you have been sitting in the same place for a long time) and helps you to sleep better. I choose an essential oil such as lavender, which is calming and relaxing for body and mind.
  4. Finally I like to do some yoga. Nothing too strenuous on the day of arriving, I keep it simple. A Sun Salutation or two, taking my time in Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold) and Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) stretching out my calves and legs. Viparita Karani (Legs Up Wall) is great for lightly stretching out hamstrings and for any lower back pain. Balasana (Childs Pose) is very grounding and relaxing before bed. I also personally like to add Pigeon Pose to relieve tension in the hips and thighs.

These are the main things I try to incorporate when travelling to avoid the symptoms that tend to arise from jet lag. They help to make the whole transition a bit smoother when settling into your destination!

eat beach sleep repeat

 

And do yoga. If only this was everyday life! Maybe one day…

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