chocolate mousse

I have always seen people post about healthy chocolate mousse and every time I do I make a mental note to try it myself! It has taken me a while but today I finally got around to making it. There seemed to be two key ingredients in all of the recipes I have seen around, banana and avocado. I kind of just experimented and chucked in a few more things. I didn’t really know what to expect but I’m so happy with how it turned out, completely delicious! I decided that I had to share this straight away and hopefully convince someone else to finally try this quick and healthy alternative to chocolate mousse. The perfect dessert!

INGREDIENTS

½ small ripe avocado

1 large ripe banana

1 tbs raw cacao powder

1 tbs maple syrup

small splash of water

*for an additional orange flavor

trade the water for orange juice

add the grated rind of one orange

**for extra thickness freeze the banana first

METHOD blitz everything together in a blender or food processor until all combined and smooth.

I decided to sprinkle some raw cacao nibs on top and ate mine in front of a Jennifer Aniston rerun on tv :)

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chocolate coconut roughs

These are one of the first things I ever made with coconut oil, it’s the perfect ingredient because it melts down to help mix all your ingredients together and then when chilled it solidifies and holds everything in place. These are the perfect little chocolate treat to curve your cravings without the guilt. I choose to add protein powder which turns them into the perfect little pre and post workout snack, however the recipe still works if you choose to leave this out!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup of raw cacao powder

1 tbs protein powder

1/2 a cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup shredded coconut

2 tbs natural sweetener

(makes approx. 20)

METHOD mix all of the ingredients together in a big bowl (once all combined I sometimes edit with more cacao or coconut to my desired taste and consistency) then place about a heaped teaspoon into the bottom of mini cupcake trays/chocolate moulds or make into patty shapes and place on a lined tray. Put in the freezer for a few minutes to set, then store in the fridge :)

traditional chinese medicine

If you follow me on instagram, you probably already know I’m having issues with my back at the moment. I have managed to quite badly sprain some ligaments in the top of my back/right shoulder. At first I was unsure how I had done this to myself, but then in talking with the physio I realized that I did it at the gym on Thursday morning while trying to push myself further in my abdominal exercises. I always do russian twists (side to sides with a medicine ball) but I felt like it was getting too easy for me and so my trainer took it to another level and started throwing the medicine ball to me as I twisted and then threw it back to him. In doing this I managed to damage the area that holds the muscles and ligaments responsible for twisting and turning. That night it felt as though my ribs were stabbing into my lungs with every breath I tried to take and left the whole upper right side of my spine, back and shoulders in agony. Id hoped that by the next morning it would have gone away, but sadly it was still there when I awoke. I was supposed to work from 9-6 that day but instead spent it immobilized in bed with heat packs and hot water bottles (which I then managed to burn my back on!) and a trip to the physio. She recommended taking it easy but said I could be back to normal in the gym in about a weeks time. However this morning (Saturday) it was still very sore and sensitive to move and I had a 6 hour shift to get through starting at 9 am, I set myself up with a permanent heat pack attached to my injury settled in for a day at the reception desk.

I work at an integrative medical clinic (extremely handy) and in passing this morning I explained to our Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner what I had done to my back. He immediately offered to take a look at it when he was finished with patients for the day, and I am so incredibly grateful for this. This was my first ever experience with Chinese medicine and I found it incredibly interesting. He took a look at my injury and decided to perform some acupuncture and cupping on my back. Within about 5 minutes of merely feeling my back and taking my pulse I felt like he already knew more about me than most people, it was like he could ready my body like a book and it told him everything he needed to know. Simply from the way my muscles and nerves responded to his needles he could tell that a) I always have cold hand and feet b) I’m not drinking enough water c) I have trouble sleeping and d) that I worry and stress far too much, verging on anxiety.. all without me saying a word and all true! When he asked me if I wanted to try the acupuncture I was so up for it and ready to try something new.. but then about 30 seconds before he put the first needle in I had an mini internal freak out when I remembered I don’t actually like needles..!! but to all of you out there with the same, not so irrational, fear I am glad to say that it actually wasn’t bad, or painful, as a matter of fact in some areas I couldn’t even feel the needle was there. I found that although I was trying to relax during the process I couldn’t help myself from asking questions and being genuinely intrigued by the whole practice. It was amazing to me that he did things like place a need in my ear to help me sleep, and didn’t actually do any acupuncture directly onto my injury. He really accessed my whole body with needles everywhere from my neck, wrists and right down to my ankles.

Next came the Chinese cupping, one of the oddest sensations I have experienced. Try to imagine twenty little mouths all sucking on your back (sounds weird I know but bare with me) and then triple that feeling and leave it there for about 10-15 minutes.. the end result (as pictured above) is these circular shaped bruises which I have had compared to extreme hickies, hence the mouth analogy. Now he did warn me that I would bruise and it generally lasts a couple of days for most people.. but I’m not most people and have hyper sensitive skin, so I fully expect to have these marks on my back for well over a week. Its worth it though, he said that it may take a day or so for me to start to feel the effects of the treatment, but even minutes after if felt more mobile and that my muscles had relaxed. If you get the opportunity to do so, I would highly recommend trying traditional Chinese medicine and all the ancient and effect techniques it has to offer. It was an amazing new experience and I would definitely do it again.

out of action

Sorry for the repost of an old photo but I’m definitely not in a photogenic state right now – I am currently hauled up in bed (in my trusty onesie) with a heat pack and some pain killers. I’m not sure how I have done this to myself but I think I have managed to throw out either my back, hip, neck or ribs.. Or All of them? I don’t know but every thing hurts! Right now every time I breathe it feels like my ribs are stabbing my lungs, my spine and neck ache, my hips click when I twist and the whole thing is giving me one big headache! I have no idea how I have managed to do this to myself.. I think my body is just generally broken because these sorts of things seem to happen quite often. Apparently I’m too flexible for my own good because things slip and pop out of their proper place and I don’t notice until my whole body is put out whack because of it! Not a happy chappy right now because all of this means that I won’t be getting up for my morning workout as planned for tomorrow.. Or for probably any workout for the next few days :(
As frustrated as I am I know that rest is the best thing for my body at the moment (and an appointment with someone who can fix me!!) it’s better to take a few days off now than to really injure myself further and be out of action for possibly weeks (ah I just could not deal with that!) Im going to listen to my body and take as much time as I need to heal and feel at my best again. I want to be 100% ready before I attempt any new fitness goals. But for now, I must take the first step in my healing process and get a good nights sleep! Xx

banana oat and raisin cookies

Personally I find these to be the perfect warm treats in winter, they taste like a charming, chewy cookie version of cinnamon porridge that’s been topped with banana, raisins and a drizzle of maple syrup. This recipe has been based of the ‘two ingredient banana and oat cookies’ that are floating around at the moment. Feel free to do just that and only add those two ingredients, it works and you will get cookies, but I wonder what the point is when it takes two more seconds to chuck in a few more ingredients, and so that’s what I chose to do. You may not save as much time but you will gain a whole lot more goodness from eat bite… and to be honest they just taste better!

INGREDIENTS

2 ripe bananas

¾ cup quick oats (or regular oats cut up smaller)

1/3 almond meal

2 tbs maple syrup

1/3 cup shredded coconut

1 tbs melted coconut oil

1 ½ heaped tbs of raisins/sultanas

1 heaped tbs of chopped walnuts

½ tbs chia seeds

1 tbs sunflower seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla essence

 METHOD Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Put the bananas, oats and almond meal in your mixing bowl and mash the banana with the dry ingredients until its all combined, then just add and mix through everything else. Make even sized balls of cookie dough and then place onto a lined tray. This helps to make all your cookies the same size, then just flatten them out with your fingers or a fork. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes (I like to check them and rotate my tray at the halfway mark). I highly recommend eating at least one (I’ve eaten four while writing this) while they’re still warm and then place the rest in an airtight container and store in the cupboard for later!

 ** feel free to alter this to suit you.. take the out nuts, switch the fruit, trade the oats for quinoa to make them gluten free or make them a little sweeter if you prefer. I recommend doing a tester cookie before you bake the whole batch to make sure they’re as good as can be :)

 

ANZAC biscuits

If you’re not Australian you’ll probably have no idea what I’m talking about when I say ANZAC biscuits, but if you are Australian its just not possible for you to not know what they are! Now as patriotic as these cookies might be, they’re also just generally delicious so I make them even when its not ANZAC day. For those who don’t know what an ANZAC is all you need to know is that they’re sweet, chewy, made from oats and taste like little baked bits of heaven… just to be clear I was describing the biscuit.

This healthy version of an ANZAC could not be easier to make, so you can always have one around the house to beat those afternoon cravings. The only problem is because they’re healthier for me.. I eat even more of them!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2  cups rolled oats

1/2  cup desiccated coconut

1/2 cup chopped almonds

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

METHOD whiz it all together in the food processor, make into little biscuits then place them on a tray and bake in the oven at 160 degrees (celsius) for about 20-30 minutes. Last but not least, put the kettle on and enjoy a cup of tea with your freshly baked biscuits! (store them in an airtight container in the cupboard) **if you want them to be gluten free just swap the oats for quinoa xx

acai smoothie bowls

Acai smoothie bowls are one of my all time favourite breakfasts. I think I probably post about them a little too much on my instagram, as so as a result people are always asking me about them. Sorry it has taken me a little while to do this one but hopefully this post can answer all your acai related questions at once.

1. what is acai? Acai is a berry, its an amazing superfood native to south America. Acai is made up of a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids. It also contains essential omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 which aid brain function, vitamin A for your eyes and skin, vitamin C to boost your immune system, calcium for strong bones and iron for healthy blood. The vibrant purple colour is visual evidence of acai’s powerful antioxidants that help defend the body again free radical damage.

2. what sort of acai do you use? I use two different sorts of acai. The first acai I got was frozen acai berry packs which are designed to be added to smoothies. I now also have some acai superfood powder. I add this too my smoothies in addition to the frozen acai. However the powder is more versatile and can also be added to juices, mixed with yoghurt or added to superfood treats such as bliss balls.

3. where do you get acai? I get the frozen acai from Aunt Maggie’s in Carlisle st, and I get my powdered acai from Vitality Hub Pantry on Williams rd. I live in Melbourne so I’m sorry if this answer doesn’t help much. I would recommend checking out your local health food store and if they don’t have it, ask if they know somewhere that does.

4. what is a smoothie bowl? A smoothie bowl, quite frankly is exactly what it sounds like. A smoothie which is thick enough to eat out a bowl with a spoon, usually with something like granola and fresh fruit on top.

5. how do you make a smoothie bowl? I make my acai smoothie bowls a little differently each time, depending on the ingredients I have at home. But I do follow a basic guide/recipe. STEP ONE get your acai (powdered, frozen or both) STEP TWO add about one banana (I like frozen, but fresh works too) STEP THREE add extra fruit if you wish (I usually add one or more of these fruits – pineapple, pear, kiwi and frozen berries) STEP FOUR add a natural sweetener if you like (I like to use rice malt syrup, but you can use anything like maple, honey or stevia) STEP FIVE you need a bit of liquid to help it all blend (I use about 1/3 cup of cold water but you could also use any milk of your choice) STEP SIX blend it all together until thick and combined STEP SEVEN pour into a bowl and then add any topping you like (I use granola from Irrewarra Bakery or sprouted cinnamon cereal by Lydia Organics which I also get at Vitality Hub Pantry. I then add extra fresh pineapple, pear or strawberries)  STEP EIGHT enjoy a heavenly breakfast :) x

last friday night

When it comes to a social life… I don’t really have one. I would prefer to spend my Saturday night at home watching the lastest ep of criminal minds than at some club, listening to average music with sore feet because a friend convinced me to wear heels. No thank you. However smaller gatherings, catch ups with friends and birthdays are an exception. I like to actually socialing as long as the music allows me to hear what the person next to me is saying.
Last Friday a friend of mine had his 21st, the theme was movie characters. I find that if I really get into a theme and put effort into my costume I enjoy it more, so that’s what I did. I decided that I wanted to be Margot Tenenbaum for the night (from Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenenbaums, if you haven’t seen it then please stop reading this post right now, track down a copy and watch it asap because it is far more important that you see this iconic cult film then waste your time with what I have to say). I found myself a blue striped dress, added a collar, spent 10 bucks at an opp-shop on a faux fur coat, styled my hair to the side with a red clip, found a prop cigarette and went to town with my eyeliner!

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Personally I was pretty impressed with the end result, even if almost no one at the party had seen the movie (not good enough people!). I really quite enjoyed getting all dressed up and getting to pretend to play the part of someone else for the night, however at the same time as being Margot, I was also trying to be another person that I’m not, a drinker.

Alcohol and I have never really been friends, I just never cared much for it. I don’t have a taste for wine, beer or champagne and since finish school I can’t even look at a sickly sweet vodka cruiser. As I’ve gotten older I’ve also realized that I have developed quite a tolerance for alcohol, I can hold my own, or I guess would be defined as a ‘heavy weight’ drinker? This has just made the whole situation worse. When all your friends can have a couple of drinks and be tipsily giggling and enjoying themselves, it’s not too fun being the boring sober person. So sometimes I have a few drinks, that I don’t even want and there’s basically no effect anyway. Lately I’ve been feeling like I don’t get invited out with my friends, or even my boyfriend, because they think ‘oh well she doesn’t drink so she won’t want to come’ – I find this a bit unfair because it just isn’t true. I’ve learnt that I can still enjoy myself just as much and that me not drinking might be an issue for other people but it’s not for me. For some reason I forgot this on Friday night.
Margot decided it was a good idea to drink cider (one of the few things I actually like) and try to make the most of the party, I mean after all.. Everyone else was doing it right?Wrong! I am so disappointed in myself, firstly I felt completely sober the entire time I was at the party, but when I got home I then felt really ill. I didn’t manage to get any of the so called ‘fun’ effects, instead it felt like my body was trying to reject the horrible substance I had been pouring into it all night. My very unhappy insides kept me awake all night, and in conjunction with a splitting headache I was left feeling very unwell and very stupid.
I am someone who looks after my body, I eat healthy, I exercise, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs and my body thanks me for that. But sometimes it feels like my social life doesn’t. So for one silly night I decided I’d had enough of being the girl on the sidelines.. But I forgot who I am and why I don’t do things like that, I don’t enjoy it!
Friday nights experience really confirmed for me how important it is to say true to yourself and not pretend to be someone you’re not.
*disclaimer* I don’t want people to read this and think that I just don’t drink because I now live a healthy lifestyle. I have never liked drinking and now just chose to cut it out completely. If you’re a healthy person who likes to drink don’t be afraid to let yourself go out with your friends or have a drink on Saturday night, just because you’re healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself.

breaking up with bread

Bread. I have such a love hate relationship with bread that its not even funny. Since starting my new healthy, and usually low carb life style, I have been doing really well to wake up every morning and fight the urge for some fresh bread with butter or my trusty old friend, vegemite toast. However today, I am sad to say, bread has beaten me. On Saturday mornings we usually get some fresh bread, and watching dad walk into the house with it is usually painful enough. But this morning he decided to go and buy a freshly baked, olive bread baguette.. that is straight up torture. I came home at about 10am to find the bread on the kitchen bench and made the fatal mistake of thinking “just a little piece wont hurt”. Well I can tell you now that it did. I am honestly not kidding when I say that it is now 5:50pm, and this is all that is left of that baguette.

Oh god, how I wish I was kidding. Now I can’t be completely sure that I did this all myself, others in the family may have had some too, but I know deep down that I’m the main suspect here. The only other thing I’ve had all day is a cup of tea and a fruit juice, so for someone who is supposedly eating low carb.. I’m doing a pretty pathetic job!

I’m not letting myself get down about this or disappointed in myself, because I know that tomorrow ill be much better and that weak moments like this occur very rarely these days. However it has caused me to think about how it was only six months ago, that this would have just been a regular Saturday for me. I am so glad that I have changed my ways, no longer abusing my body the way I used to and I know that my body is thanking me for it too. I like knowing that I now know how to eat in order to properly fuel my body and am no longer controlled by cravings.. most of the time anyway.

I am okay with having days like this because it reminds me of how far I’ve come from my old bad bread habits and on the upside, today has hopefully settled my bread cravings for the next year!

watermelon, pineapple and strawberry granita

If you’re from Melbourne, like me, you’ll know that when it comes to the weather you can experience up to all four season in one day. The weather is so unpredictable people say that ‘if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes’, this couldn’t be more true. Yesterday was horrid, raining non stop, uncontrollable winds and seriously freezing cold! But then I woke up this morning to find a bright blue sky and the sun shining through. Thankfully it seems to be sticking around for a little while and so inspired by this beautiful day, I decided sit in the sun and make myself a fresh fruit frappe to sip on while I tried to pretend, just for a moment, that it wasn’t actually the middle of winter.

Here’s my watermelon, pineapple and strawberry granita recipe, perfect for a summers day (real or pretend)

Serves one

1 1/4 cup of frozen watermelon

1/2 cup of chopped pineapple

3-4 strawberries

a few sprigs of fresh mint

half a lime juiced

1/2 a cup of cold water

place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. I don’t add any sweetener because I thing its naturally sweet enough, but you can if you like. If you don’t want to wait for your watermelon to freeze, you can use fresh watermelon and then just add a cup of ice as well. The final product should be so lovely and icy that you can eat it with a spoon. Enjoy!

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