Super simple, sweet, wholesome little chocolate jelly treats - perfect for Easter.
These are also deceptively good for you, with the star ingredient gelatin which is great for skin health, metabolism, immunity, mood and sleep health, hormone balance and digestion. It is important to use organic gelatin for maximum health benefits.
Kids love to help make and eat these as well.
This recipes comes straight out of my 7 Day Ditch The Junk Plan - which is on sale for until February 2019.
Eating too much processed food can leave us feeling heavy, flat, tired and sluggish. Challenge yourself to trying this 7 day plan to help you swap bad habits for good ones. There is no calorie counting or cutting out food groups - just lots of good, wholesome delicious food.
● 2 cups old fashioned oats
● ¼ cup sunflower seeds
● ¼ cup flaxseeds
● ¼ cup goji berries
● ¾ cup peanut butter
● ⅓ cup honey or maple syrup
● ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
● ½ cup cacao nibs or raw chocolate chips
1. Mix oats, goji berries and seeds in a large bowl. Add peanut butter, honey, and vanilla. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Mixture will be thick.
2. Place mixture into an 8in x 8in baking pan. Cover and place in freezer for at least 1 hour. Cut into bars or squares with a sharp knife. Keep leftover bars in the freezer.
Freezable lunchbox recipes that are wholesome, nutritious and beats those processed packaged snacks hands down every time.
Beetroot Bliss Balls
A rich source of vitamin C, fibre and cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
1 cup dates
¼ cup beetroot, peeled and finely grated
¼ cup baby spinach, finely sliced and chopped
1 ½ cup pumpkin seed or sunflower seed meal (make yourself by finely grinding seeds in a coffee/spice grinder)
1 cup shredded coconut
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ cup extra shredded coconut to roll balls in (optional)
Bliss balls will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Recipe credit: Mandy Sacher, Wholesome Child, www.wholesomechild.com.au
Banana Oat Muffins
1 cup oats
1 cup oat flour (you can blend oats in your blender or processor to make this)
¼ cup brown or coconut sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp ground flax seed
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup melted coconut oil
2 cups mashed bananas (about 6 medium)
¼ cup chopped nuts, optional
Freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe credit: Josie Carin, Ditch the Junk Challenge (starting 29 January 2018)
Pesto and Cheese Savoury Scrolls
2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 cup natural Greek or coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarb soda or baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
½ cup pine nut pesto (bonus points if you make your own)
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
Freeze for up to 4 months. Frozen scrolls can be warmed in the oven again.
Recipe credit: Mandy Sacher, Wholesome Child, www.wholesomechild.com.au
Mini Salmon Frittatas
Full of good fats, salmon has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and is full of antioxidants such as vitamins B, D and E, which are great for the immune system.
Butter, for greasing
½ cup goat’s cheese or grated cheddar
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed
100g fresh salmon, poached or baked (or use tinned salmon if fresh not available)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Dulse flakes, optional, to taste (available to purchase from here)
Freeze for up to 1 month.
Recipe credit: Lee Holmes, Supercharged Food for Kids, www.superchargedfood.com
If find myself recommending tahini to everyone lately, and so thought it was time to do a quick blog post on it. Tahini is rarely on any list of superfoods, but it should be.
Firstly, it is an amazingly high source of well-absorbed calcium.
Secondly, it contains essential fatty acids.
Thirdly, it's slightly bitter taste stimulates the digestive system, meaning that we break down food more thoroughly in the gut and increase our uptake of nutrients.
And lastly, it is soooo useful in recipes. You can use it as a thickener for sauces, dressing and dips, and it makes a good substitute for nut butters.
You can make your own by grinding sesame seeds - here is a great recipe, or pick up a jar of hulled or unhulled tahini in the health food aisle. Unhulled tahini is darker and has more nutrients, but is also more bitter. If you are trying tahini for the first time, then I recommend you go for the hulled version first.
Here are some ways that I use tahini:
A Changing Habits recipe
If you want to provide a non-chemical based vitamin C for yourself and your family, then Camu Camu powder is a must have! It is one of the richest sources of nature-based vitamin C available and based on scientific research, is more powerful than isolated, processed ascorbic acid (synthetically made Vit C). Camu Camu contains approximately 460x more Vit C than an orange, making it an incredibly immune boosting natural food supplement and a perfect addition to these immune boosting gummies. Manuka honey is also added for its antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties which helps the body to fight infection and prevent the growth of bad bacteria. It’s soothing to the digestive system and also helps remove toxins from the blood, as well as aiding the liver to function more efficiently. Gelatin is used not only for the setting agent, but also because of its immune boosting properties, aids sleep, easily digestible, supports skin, nail, hair and teeth health, aids detoxification and so much more!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
3.5-4.5 Tbsp grass-fed organic gelatin
1 cup filtered water
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
1-2 Tbsp Manuka honey
3/4 cup orange or lemon juice (mandarin is great too)
1 - 1.5 Tbsp camu camu powder
1. Mix the gelatin and filtered water together in a small saucepan, set aside for a couple minutes and allow it to thicken and 'bloom' . (Please Note: the more gelatin you add, the harder your gummies will turn out).
2. Once the gelatin and water have thickened, add the saucepan to the stove top and dissolve the gelatin on a low heat.
3. Once the gelatin has completely dissolved, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Then stir through all the other ingredients to combine.
4. Pour the mixture into a pouring jug (for ease) and carefully pour the mix into little moulds. Place in the fridge to set. Depending on the size of your moulds it will make around 50-60 bite sized gummies.
5. When they have set, remove the gummies from their moulds and place into an air tight container and keep them in the fridge. If you have trouble removing the gummies from the moulds, use a small teaspoon to make it easier (they won't look as pretty though).
We have all by now heard the very good news that chocolate can be beneficial for your health. In pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, chocolate was considered a “food for the gods”, was used in religious rituals and cacao beans were such a precious commodity that they were even used as a form of currency.
Today we are fortunate that chocolate is readily available, but the big problem is that a lot of commercial chocolate you buy is full of things that are best avoided… such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners, additives, preservatives, colours, flavour, powdered milk solids, and much more.
There is a lot of exciting research coming to light about raw cacao, and the benefits of the cacao bean and dark chocolate. These benefits extend to the heart, vascular system, brain, aging, mood and energy. This is in some part due to the fact that raw cacao is abundant in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and many unique properties. Cacao contains twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times that of green tea. These antioxidants can improve cognitive impairment and produce nitric oxide with some great cardiovascular benefits.
The ORAC Score measures the benefits of antioxidants. Here is a comparison of the ORAC score per 100 grams for some common foods known to have a high antioxidant level, listed in descending order.
• Dark Chocolate – ORAC 13,120
• Milk Chocolate – ORAC 6,740
• Prunes – 5,770
• Raisins – 2,830
• Blueberries – 2,400
• Blackberries – 2036
• Kale – 1,770
• Strawberries – 1540
• Spinach – 1260
• Raspberries – 1220
• Brussel Sprouts – 980
• Broccoli – 890
Another important nutrient found in cacao is theobromine (a chemical related to caffeine). Theobromine was discovered in cacao and a few other plants in the 19th century and by 1916 it had been extracted from the bean and was being used in medical treatment for oedema and angina. In modern medicine the compound theobromine is used as a vasodilator, this means it can dilate smooth muscle such as the blood vessels, bronchial tubes, large intestine. It is also used as a diuretic and heart stimulant. Recent research shows the effects of how theobromine can lower blood pressure as well as help with asthma.
Unlike caffeine, theobromine does not have an addictive nature or have the same strong affects as caffeine has on the nervous system. The cacao bean can have up to 10% of its weight made up of theobromine, the effects of the theobromine on the body can be up to 6 - 10 hours after consumption.
Importantly, as many of you will attest, chocolate enhances the mood and boosts energy.
So what is the best way to obtain the benefits of chocolate without the nasty hydrogenated fats and processed sugars? Raw cacao powder is now readily available in health food stores, along with raw cacao chocolate bars in an amazing variety of flavours.
Or experiment and make your own raw chocolate truffles. These make great presenters and look great packaged up in a pretty box or cellophane wrap and ribbon.
Raw Chocolate Truffles
• 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds (or any other seeds you have on hand)
• 1/2 cup walnuts (or any other nuts you have on hand – cashews are wonderful too)
• 1/2 cup dates
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1. Process the nuts in the food processor. Keep processing them until you can't see the nuts anymore, but stop processing before they get too soft looking.
2. Add the dates, sea salt and cacao powder. Process again until everything is well mixed and clumped together.
3. Roll the balls in your hand and form balls. You may also like to roll the completed truffles in goji berries, coconut, cacao powder, etc.
These keep well in the fridge.
It is getting chilly, and at the moment, a salad just doesn't cut it.
Here are 5 easy lunch ideas to try instead...
1. Ingenious Noodle Pots
3. Paleo Pizzas
Turmeric first came to my attention about 15 years ago when I was a naturopathic student and the spice had started to get some serious attention in both the natural medicine and scientific community.
We knew that in countries where people use turmeric extensively in cooking, that the intake seemed to be associated with a lower level of certain chronic conditions including arthritis, gastrointestinal diseases and even cancer.
Traditionally turmeric was used to strengthen overall energy of the body, to improve digestion, regulate menstruation, relieve arthritis, gallstones, bruising, immune conditions (such as cold and flu) and toothache.
Clinical trials are now showing evidence that turmeric can help with :
- Dyspepsia and peptic ulcer
- Hyperlipidaemia – such as high cholesterol
- Certain cancers
- Inflammatory disorders including asthma and irritable bowel
- Psoriasis (when used externally)
Some evidence is even emerging that turmeric can assist with mood disorders with greater effectiveness that Prozac, and also beats Ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory. However, unlike these medications, turmeric is safe and well tolerated in most people.
High-standard turmeric is now available in capsule form, however turmeric golden paste is a powerful way to get these benefits.
Personally, I definitely notice a difference when I haven't had turmeric for a couple of weeks - my little arthritic toes ache.
Below is an easy-to-prepare Golden Paste recipe, plus 7 different ways to use it in food.
I also share some thoughts on dosage.
WHY BLACK PEPPER BOOSTS TURMERIC BLOOD LEVELS
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and responsible for its golden color, but it is not readily absorbed by the body. Once ingested, most of the curcumin gets quickly metabolized before it can get absorbed. Piperine (the heat in black pepper) helps make curcumin more bio-available as it temporarily slows the liver from removing it from the blood.
We now know that the bioavailability, serum levels, and levels of absorption of curcumin all improved dramatically when both are present. (Although traditional cultures discovered this thousands of years ago).
One study found that when even 2 g. (a good dose) of curcumin was ingested, serum levels stayed very low. However, when 20 mg. piperine was added to curcumin the bio-availability increased by 2000%!
And it doesn’t take much. Even just a little pinch of black pepper – 1/20th of a teaspoon – can significantly boost levels.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE:
1/2 cup turmeric powder (125 g) – Use organic powder. I just love the Changing Habits Turmeric Powder, as I know that Cyndi goes out of her way to source raw ingredients which meet her strict standards.
1 cup water (250 mls) or a bit more to get desired paste consistency
1 teaspoons ground black pepper (7.5 mls) (or even 1/2 tsp. if pepper is too irritating)
1/4 cup (70 ml) un-refined Coconut oil – enhances the bio-availability of curcumin another seven to eight-fold
When eaten with fat as is done in India, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby partially bypassing the liver.
QUICK & EASY DIRECTIONS
Add turmeric to water in a pan. Heat gently along with stirring. Do this till you get a thick paste, approximately 6 to 10 min. Adjust thickness by adding some water or adding a bit more turmeric.
Finally, add the pepper and oil. Keep stirring to ensure that all ingredients are mixed properly. Allow it to cool.
Bottle in clean jar with tight-fitting lid and refrigerate it for 4-5 weeks or more. This will ensure you can make it once and use for days.
Okay, so now you’ve slaved (not exactly true, I know) to make your golden paste. What do you do with it?
7 EASY AND FABULOUS WAYS TO USE TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE
1.) Take half a small spoonful (~ 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and chase it with water…all done! It’s one very popular way if you don’t like the taste (over quickly, no fuss or bother) and my favourite to spread it out through the day. One teaspoon is equal to ~2,000 mg. Best to take smaller quantities 3-4 times per day, especially if battling chronic neuro-degenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune diseases, or cancer.
2.) Turmeric honey. Some may not like turmeric paste’s taste by itself. Adding good quality honey makes the job easy.
Raw honey has its own health benefits. Adding raw honey to paste enhances its already existing health benefits. Just mix the paste with honey (to desired taste)
3.) Add to warm or cold milk. Golden turmeric milk is one of the most popular ways to take turmeric daily. Turmeric milk is extremely popular in Asian countries. I prefer to use use almond milk, cashew milk or additive-free coconut milk as dairy is inflammatory for some clients.
Simply add some turmeric paste in your milk and maybe a little honey or stevia (please not artificial sweeteners).
4.) Add to meals and hot soups. Simply add a dollop of golden paste. I’ve found I can ‘hide’ it in dishes with other stronger flavours.
5.) Add to smoothies. There’s no limit to innovations you can do here. Experiment. Add turmeric golden paste to all kinds of smoothies and make your favourite ones even healthier.
6.) Add it to rice. Turmeric golden paste can easily be added to rice. You can add 1 or more teaspoons after you have cooked the rice while still warm which enables smooth mixing.
7.) Turmeric tea. You can add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric golden paste to a hot cup of already-brewed tea, add honey, maybe a splash of almond milk, and your quick turmeric tea is ready. The taste and texture may not seem like a “normal tea” as it has black pepper and oils … but it is tasty; I have tried it.
DOSAGE FOR TURMERIC GOLDEN PASTE
Ground Turmeric: 1 teaspoon (2,000 mg. or 2 grams)
According to the traditional medical community, 2,000 mg – 3,000 mg, and this is considered the maximum amount of standardized turmeric curcumin you should take per day, although some studies show that 8,000 mg per day can be taken without any effects of toxicity. If taking higher doses, it is always best to work with a healthcare practitioner, especially if you are pregnant or wanting to conceive.
Studies show that you will start to notice a positive effect after 2 weeks, however as most conditions which benefit from turmeric are chronic, treatment with turmeric should be considered long term.
(References available upon request).
This morning I went to make my favourite Bliss Balls for Easter. I usually use the I Quit Sugar recipe, as it is so chocolatey, and not too sweet.
But halfway through getting prepped I realised that I only had a tiny amount of nut butter. So I substituted half with tahini. The result was very successful! Tahini adds a creaminess plus loads of calcium - definitely a winner.
1. Place nuts and oats in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. The mix should be slightly chunky to help hold the balls together.
2. Place nut and oat mixture in a large mixing bowl and stir through the cacao, cinnamon, chia seeds and sea salt. Add the nut butter, tahini and rice malt syrup.
3. Using your hands, rub the ingredients together. The mix should be quite dry and will not stick together. Gradually add in the hot water, using your hands to work the moisture through the mixture.
5. Once mix starts to come together, shape mixture into balls.
6. Roll in desiccated coconut and store in an airtight container in the fridge to harden up before serving.
Everyone loves these bikkies - crisp, sweet and suitable for gluten and nut-free lifestyles. I prefer to use Rapadura Sugar (evaporated cane juice) for maximum minerals and a lovely caramel taste.
Adopted from a recipe at http://www.superhealthykids.com
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist