Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cashew Cream Cake (raw and vegan!)

Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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Guys, it’s happened. I finally got around to making a raw cashew cream cake! Too long have I ogled at this beautiful creation and this one and tried to eat my screen with little to no success. I finally made the splurge and bought the cashews and coconut butter, and gave my blender a serious pep-talk. Don’t worry, dumpling month is charging on, we’re just having a minor cake break so that I can eat my way through the dumplings in the freezer.

I wanted fancy layers for my cheesecake because layers people. Layers are so much more exciting than non-layers. So the bottom layer is infused with cinnamon (because everything should be infused with cinnamon) and the top layer is mixed with poached rhubarb and vanilla compote. Holy to the yum. The compote itself was so amazing! I deliberately made way more than I needed so that I could eat it all week on my weetbix. I highly recommend this as you don’t need much at all in the actual recipe, but if fruit compote isn’t your thing, make a quarter of the recipe.
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The reason this post took so long to put up was because this whole week I’ve been super sick and just horrendous feeling basically. I went away for a week with my friends to a music festival and while that week was one of the best ever and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it, the following week has been rough. It’s been very rough. It started on the day we packed up and left the camping grounds and I’d completely, 100% lost my voice. I could not make a sound.

That transformed into a bad case of the flu, which today transformed into a stomach bug. I feel so nauseous I haven’t actually been able to try the cake yet….I KNOW! But my whole family and a number of friends have tried and raved, so I am going out on a limb and hoping it tastes as good assembled as it did on the back of a spoon when I was making it 🙂
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My blender honestly did die a bit in the making of this cake, but I have lamented here often that raw desserts can be tricky in my kitchen. Every time I decide it’s finally time to make an upgrade and start researching, there are so many conflicting accounts and opinions I give up and give my blender a hug.

If you don’t have a powerful blender like me, make sure you soak your cashews all night long. It really made the difference! Also give the blender lots of time to rest in between small batches, instead of trying to power through the whole thing in one go. This is definitely a cake to make, regardless of whether your crowd is vegan or raw! It feels so special with the pink layers and it tastes so light and wholesome. So I’ve officially joined the cashew cream cake bandwagon. Look to the future for more!

One Year Ago: Berry and Lychee Vanilla Yogurt Cake
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Recipe inspired by My New Roots and This Rawsome Vegan Life
Raw Cashew Cream Cake with Rhubarb and Cinnamon:

3 cups of cashews, covered in cold filtered water and left to soak overnight

1.5 cups walnuts
1.5 cups dates, chopped roughly
1 tbsp coconut oil

6 long stalks of rhubarb, cut into chunks
100g raw sugar
1/2 a vanilla bean
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup (185ml) coconut oil, melted if hard
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup (170g) raw honey or maple syrup for pure vegan
pinch of sea salt
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Line a 23cm baking tin with baking paper. Blend the walnuts, dates and tablespoon of coconut oil into a dough and press in to the bottom of the tin with your hands. Chill whilst you make the filling.

In a medium saucepan, very gently stew the rhubarb, sugar and vanilla bean (cut and seeds added to the pot) with a few tablespoons of water until completely soft but not straggly.

Drain the cashews well and put in the blender. Add the lemon juice, honey, coconut oil, salt and cinnamon. Blend until mix is as smooth as possible. Pour half into the cake tin and smooth around. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Blend the remaining half with about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of the rhubarb mix, to the desired colour and consistency (don’t add too much liquid – just the rhubarb pieces!) pour this on top of the cake and refrigerate the whole thing overnight. Serve cold, serves 10 – 12!
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Chocolate Bliss Balls two ways (vegan and raw)

Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Sugar Free

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 It’s been one of those post-exam weeks where I have literally achieved nothing with my time. I spent the first day sitting in front of the heater eating sultanas and staring at the floor. I spent the second day sleeping and playing with my dogs ears. The rest of the week has gone much the same way. It has been awesome. 

I had grand plans to share a new zucchini noodle recipe with roast tomato sauce, but alas I ate all the zucchinis. I also ate all the tomatoes, and the avocado as well. I’m sorry! I have a good feeling that next week will be zucchini noodle week. So instead this week turned into bliss ball week because you can never have enough recipes for these protein balls, and also cafe’s these days are selling them for like, $3 a ball. That’s not cool guys. You could make twelve balls for that amount of money! (And it would taste better. Sshh). 

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 Something exciting did actually happen this week. I got a tattoo! It’s a little sun on my left shoulder drawn by my friend Lilli, who designed the title here and is an amazing artist as well. I’d wanted to get a little sun tattoo for a year at least and when my friend said she would get one too, I thought yolo! It’s tattoo time! 

It didn’t really hit me that I’d got it until a few days later, but I’m very happy with it. The sun as a symbol means a lot to me and now every time I look over my shoulder, there it is sitting there. A little ray of sunshine. There’s a picture of it on instagram if you want to see, although I have to warn you I am a little bit nakey in that photo. (Please don’t report me!)

Ok, bliss ball time. Also, I promise I will quit with the dark lighting after this post! I’m going through backgrounds in colour phases to learn about my camera settings, which is why things are looking strange and repetitive lately ❤ Have a great week! 

One Year Ago: Apple, Quince and Walnut Crumble Pie

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 Basic Bliss Ball Recipe:

1 cup dried fruit: either dates, apricots, sultanas or a mix

1.5 cups nuts: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews or a mix 

Coconut and Vanilla:

Soak 1 cup sultanas in water for half an hour. Bash up 1.5 cups walnuts in a mortar and pestle. Add 3 tbsp desiccated coconut, and the seeds from half a vanilla bean. Blend everything together. Roll the balls in more coconut and store in the fridge. 

Chocolate and Cinnamon:

Soak 1 cup apricots in mandarin or orange juice for half an hour, and chop finely. Bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle. Blend with the drained fruit, 1 tsp cinnamon and 4 tbsp raw cacao powder. 

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Raw Lime and Coconut Tarts (vegan and gluten free)

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 I had the scariest nightmare the other day. It was so weird! I woke up in this parallel universe where everything was almost exactly the same as real life, but something was….different. I couldn’t put my finger on why everyone was slightly stranger than normal and why my house looked so different. And then it hit me. Everyone was RAW VEGAN! The whole human population! There were no ovens or stovetops, just built-in blenders and chopping boards.

Don’t get me wrong I think foregoing animal products is a great lifestyle, I basically am vegan myself. But raw vegans scare me. I didn’t even realise quite how scary I found them until my nightmare. I literally woke up feeling really weird and almost went down just to check we still had an oven. 

I know it’s a really healthy lifestyle. I mean have you seen raw vegans? They practically glow. They look like superhuman aliens that have come to earth to live forever and take over the future. But eating only raw products for the rest of my life…makes me want to cry. Very slightly steamed broccoli with some lime juice is the best thing ever. However completely raw broccoli is disgusting. Roasted pumpkin in cumin and olive oil is like heaven to me. But raw pumpkin is disgusting. I guess I just don’t see why it all has to be raw. Why the broccoli?! Why??

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 Well, I think these tarts could possibly change my mind. The other day I made the girl I babysit lime slice for her birthday, and as I was making it I couldn’t help fantasise about a completely natural version using avocado as the filling. It was one of those things where I thought the first time I made it would end in me throwing the entire thing in the bin, but something magic happened in my blender. 

They came out so nice! I took a little taste of the filling and actually went ‘huh!’ in surprise. It’s super creamy and sweet from the banana and agave syrup, and somehow the tiniest pinch of salt just makes it really moreish. I promise, it’s nothing like guacamole. It was hard to ignore the fact that the recipe was very similar…but just turn a blind eye to that green colour. And who would put banana in guacamole? No one that’s who. 

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 The base is the typical walnut/sultana/coconut base I made for my mango and banana coconut tarts and chocolate tarts, which I just pressed into tart moulds and froze for half an hour while I made the filling. I’m just going to put it out there, I could eat the filling with a spoon. You could definitely just make an avocado lime mousse and forget the tart base altogether for a simpler dessert, but it really does taste pretty good assembled as the full thing. 

You can top it with berries too. I piled on heaps of frozen blueberries to two of them and ate it in about 10 seconds flat as soon as I finished photographing them. You may or may not want to try that for yourself…

If you have any raw vegan friends coming over for dinner, this would be the ultimate thing you could make them. Or if you are a raw vegan, first of all I’m sorry for saying I was scared of you, and second please accept this tart recipe as a peace gift. Have a great weekend everyone 🙂 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Raspberry Layer Cake

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Raw Avocado and Lime Tarts:

1 cup walnuts, crushed

1 cup sultanas, briefly soaked in water

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 large fully ripe avocado

juice of 2-3 limes (taste as you go)

3 tbsp agave nectar (the light kind)

1/2 a ripe frozen banana

pinch of salt

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Method:

Blend the walnuts and sultanas together until crumbly. Add in the coconut and blend until a dough forms. Press into 5-6 small tart tins that have been lined with plastic or foil, to make them easier to remove. Keep in the freezer until ready to fill and serve. 

Blend the avocado, lime juice, agave, banana and salt until smooth and creamy. Spoon into the tart tins and keep refrigerated or even in the freezer until ready to serve. These tarts will last a while, but they look/taste best within the first three hours. You can keep them in the freezer and eat them the next day though, they will just lose their bright green colour.

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Chocolate and Coconut Tarts (using Coyo!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

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I hope you’re all ready for part two of the coconut appreciation week! The Coyo train continues. If you aren’t up to date, this week I am experimenting with coconut yogurt in a few of my favourite desserts. Coconut yogurt is thick and tangy like milk yogurt, with a pleasantly sweet flavour of coconut. It works perfectly in desserts because it’s naturally so rich and versatile. (Plus it’s super healthy- check out the benefits here). 

I have a habit of making something that tastes perfect as it is, and then adding a butt-load of chocolate to it. In my mind there’s not a dessert that can’t be made better with chocolate. I’m thinking…I’m thinking….nope. Well, possibly carrot cake would taste weird with chocolate. But then again now that I’ve said that…chocolate chunk carrot muffins? Anybody?!

With these tarts I was so happy with the first tarts I made, my mind naturally came to the conclusion that a chocolate version would be even more amazing. And I was right! These are possibly even easier to make than their fruity friends. The base is a raw walnut, chia and apricot crust with cacao and the filling is plain coyo flavoured with cacao, maple and a pinch of cinnamon. Possibly the best coconut dessert known to humans. (I don’t brag.) 

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I put them in the freezer to make them easier to photograph, and discovered how good they taste almost frozen! The base becomes so chewy and the middle is like a chocolate mousse ice cream, if that’s a thing. PS sorry if the above photo is kind of strange, I had major cabin fever when I was taking these photos and I started to imagine the tarts were my little friends. I had to stop myself talking to this one telling him he was the king tart sitting on his tart castle. 

I made these tarts mini sized, but I think it would work even better as a larger single sized tart. I didn’t want to make a big one because I promised my friend I would give her some, and making a whole tart would imply that I would be giving her that whole tart…without leaving any for me. But a bigger size would be easier to get the ratios right I think. Also I was planning on topping each tart with a cascade of beautiful red raspberries, but have you seen the prices of berries in Sydney lately?! $8.99 a punnet would break the bank! If you are blessed and live in a land of plentiful berries I think raspberries would be really nice as a topping. 

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With Easter right around the corner these would be a pretty epic Easter dessert. I can picture them with cute little dark chocolate easter eggs on top, or oh my gosh marzipan carrots! How cute would little marzipan carrots be! I saw a photo on pinterest the other day of a baby bunny pushing a mini shopping cart of baby carrots. It was so cute I almost cried. I almost cried! Anyway back to the tarts at hand…

Coyo is a completely natural product with no preservatives, so I would suggest not filling the tart until the day you want to eat it. It will last up to 2 or 3 days, especially if you keep them in the freezer. But it will definitely be best on the first day. Start the crust the night before if you want them to be super easy to handle from being in the fridge. Have a great week everybody 🙂 

One Year Ago: Ottolenghi Orange Syrup Cake

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 Vegan Chocolate Coconut Tarts: 

For the base:

1 cup dried organic apricots (use dates if you don’t have organic apricots) soaked in water

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 cup walnuts

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1/3 cup raw cacao

Crush the walnuts and chia seeds together briefly in a mortar and pestle. Drain and chop the apricots. Put everything in a blender and blend until a smooth dough forms. Line one tart tin, or 6-8 mini tart tins, with paper or plastic. Use your fingers to press the base along the bottom and up the sides, making sure the bottom is thick enough to be sturdy. Place in the freezer until you’re ready to freeze it (this will make it much easier to remove). 

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 For the Filling:

1 tub plain COYO or 750ml coconut yogurt

3-4 tbsp raw cacao, depending how chocolatey you want it

4 tbsp maple syrup (or honey) 

1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: raspberries or other fresh berries, to top

Blend all the ingredients together until smooth. Taste and adjust the cocoa or sweetener until you have the flavour you’re after. Fill the tart with the coconut mix and leave in the fridge to set before slicing. Top with the berries just before serving, to prevent them going soggy. 

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Vegan Chocolate Cream Tarts (gluten and sugar free)

Vegan, Raw, Gluten free and Sugar free

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 So, apparently all the photo files on my blog are enormous. Enormous as in instead of being around 500k to 1 megabite at the absolute largest! They are like, 6 or 7 megabites each. That’s proobably why they took ages to load on most people’s computers and proobably the reason for lots of people, no photos would ever come up at all…

I’m sorry! I never promised to be a computer genius! In fact I’ve often lamented my complete lack of technical skills in many a post. Don’t worry, I’ve started the arduous and horrific process of going back through each post that I deem important and re-uploading smaller sized photos. So hopefully things will start to come up a little faster around here. I was wondering why I’d already used up 10% of my available space in 6 months! 

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 I’m super scared of technological challenges, which is kind of annoying seeing as this blog here is one large technological…thing. For example, coding. What is it? I don’t know. How do you use it? I don’t know. All I know is that </p<p> means paragraph. People always talk about the CSS coding of their blog and how they’ve re-coded stuff to personalise it to their personal style…I’m just  like wuuuut. 

I never realised how much cray cray effort went in to even the simplest food blogs. Seriously, even for someone like me who loves to take the easy root, I spend a minimum of an hour cooking the thing, another hour styling/serving/arranging it and then, to be honest, only about twenty minutes to half an hour photographing it.

But then I edit the photos for at least half an hour, and write the post. That takes another half an hour, usually an hour. Then I check the whole draft and the coding and everything else that I could have stuffed up. Then I spend twenty minutes uploading the photos to pinterest and other foodie photo sites. That’s a minimum of three hours a post, and I usually do one or two posts a week. And that’s a lazy food blog! My lightroom editing program isn’t even working at the moment! I can’t even imagine what a professional website must be like to maintain. 

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I’ve never thought of giving it up though. I know as soon as I did, I’d make something like these vegan chocolate cream tarts and kick myself for not being able to share them! They’re absolutely delicious, and they’re gluten and sugar free as well. And completely raw! Talk about impressive. It took me quite a long time to perfect this recipe, and a lot of inspiration from some of my favourite blogs. But in the end, this here is what I consider the perfect chocolate tart. 

The crust is the same recipe as these coconut chocolate truffles minus the coconut. The filling is this chocolate mousse minus the chia seeds. I was completely inspired by this delicious chocolate tart from GI 365 and couldn’t stop thinking about it. The first time I tried the mousse the avocado I used wasn’t perfectly ripe, and it came out all stringy and disgusting. A little bit of tweaking later, and I had the smoothest and creamiest chocolate cream I could have wanted. I wrote the recipe in cups even though I’m a grams girl at heart, because with walnuts and dates and bananas etc I find it a bit too fiddly to get out the scales and a bit unnecessary when it’s raw. 

I used the same cute little tart cases that I did for my lavender and lemon tarts, lining the shells with plastic wrap so I could pull them out easily. I was really worried they would stick! These tarts last really well in the fridge and make a great dessert for a BBQ or picnic. You can adapt the recipe to make one big tart if you like as well. The benefits from the avocado, cocoa powder and walnuts are great for your body and there is nothing processed or derived from animals to be seen. The perfect chocolate dessert!

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 Chocolate Cream Tarts: Adapted from GI 365

Makes 6 small tarts, can easily be doubled

For the Crust:

1 cup walnuts

1 packed cup medjool dates (if dry and hard, soaked in water for 20 minutes)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Splash of soy or almond milk

Combine all crust ingredients in a powerful blender and whizz into a smooth paste. If your blender isn’t that strong, grind your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and cut up your dates into small pieces. Take your tart moulds and grease with a little oil or water so that the plastic wrap will stick. Line with plastic wrap. Use your fingers to press in the crust evenly, filling in all the cracks. Store in the freezer until ready to make the crust. This freezing makes them easier to remove and helps them keep their shape. Don’t worry, they won’t freeze completely solid. 

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For the filling:

1 medium avocado (it’s ok if the measurements aren’t exact)

1 medium banana

2 heaped tablespoons of raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter

3 tablespoons soy or almond milk

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Whizz all your mousse ingredients in a blender until completely smooth and combined. Remove your tart moulds from the freezer and carefully pull out from the tins using the plastic as handles. Fill the crust with the chocolate cream and keep stored in the fridge. Not the freezer. Lasts well for 2-4 days. 

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Tea Infused Raw Chocolate Brownies (vegan, gluten free and sugar free)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free and Raw
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Do you know what I find really unnerving? When someone tells me they don’t like chocolate. I’m serious. It’s not just a little bit strange. It’s not like I don’t like picky eaters. Or people that don’t like some delicious things, there’s lots of those people in the world. I have a friend that doesn’t like cheese. (I know…) And I can accept that. But telling me you don’t like chocolate, it’s like saying you don’t like joy. Or you don’t like friendship. It’s like saying you don’t like life! It makes me wonder what kind of person they really are…

Maybe that’s extreme, but you have to admit it’s weird. Chocolate is just so necessary in life. I eat something in chocolate form Every. Day. Not always rich and decadent, usually plain or in the form of cocoa powder transformed into something amazing but still healthy. Brownies are a life-long obsession that will never quit, so this week when the chocolate craving called that’s what it had to be. I’ve made black bean and avocado brownies before that did not taste like burritos! But were instead dark and fudgy. But I wanted to try something that was easy to make as well as completely raw, and I wanted to try a new flavour as well! 

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 There’s been so many iconic moments in my life defined by chocolate I can’t even imagine living without it. All my teenage sleepovers were defined by cheap cadbury milk bars, horror movies and packets of kit kats and chocolate mint slices. I remember once watching all three Lord of the Rings movies in a row in a marathon and eating eight, EIGHT pieces of dark chocolate caramel slice in the process. (I don’t even want to know what that says about me). So many special occasions have ended with big slices of celebratory cake covered in chocolate icing. Me and one friend once pulled a half-cooked tray of brownies out of the oven while they were still raw and ate the whole thing with a spoon. That last one was actually kind of a regretful memory…but still, so many sweet childhood moments. 

Cocoa powder has so many health benefits and natural antioxidants I don’t understand the negative hype around chocolate! No I’m only joking. But it is really good for you. In its raw form, the nutrients and benefits are still preserved. You don’t get that most intense of chocolate flavours that comes from Dutch processing, but good quality cocoa is so deep and dark naturally it doesn’t need to be missed. Also you can use a blend to have the best of both worlds! That’s what I like to do for cakes and special occasions where chocolate intensity is imperative. 

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 These brownies have the most amazing flavour from being infused with black tea before being blended. I used organic apricots as half of the fruit, because soaking medjool dates would make them too soft I think. Non-organic apricots (the bright orange ones) are not as sweet as their natural brothers and cannot really be substituted. Try sultanas, raisins or figs. My little piddly blender is not really up to making vegan desserts on a daily basis. They always seem to require such intense blending! If you’re in the same spot as me, simple solution. Just lovingly share the load of your blender. I pound the walnuts myself in a mortar and pestle, because once they go in the blender that’s the smallest they’re going to get. Soak your fruit for extra long, cut it up in to tiny pieces. Do it in small batches and let the motor cool down in-between ingredients. Love your blender and it will love you ❤

There are lots of great things in these brownies and they have a perfect truffle-like texture when cold from the fridge. Don’t be fooled, they don’t taste like a classic fudgy chocolate brownie. Of course they don’t! But they taste like something else that is just as good, if not the same. It’s strange how processed flavours have evolved from natural flavours found in plants and whole ingredients. Like caramel for example. You taste caramel tones in things like honey, dates and maple syrup. Things that all occur naturally but are often discarded as not being as good as the “real” thing. Or coca cola! Apparently according to Jamie Oliver  it’s meant to taste like poached fruit in cinnamon and spices. Hmm…They kind of missed with that one. I think someone accidentally added tar to the original recipe and they tried to adjust it with mountains of sugar. 
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I’ve been experimenting with lots of new recipes this week and I’m really excited to share them. There’s a very summery frozen yogurt in my freezer that I am ready to destroy! Yuuum. I’m sorry for all my Northern Hemisphere friends because I know your summer is coming to a close, but the weather is beautiful here! It feels like the middle of November and it’s only September! Plus! Exciting news, I’ve paid for all my flights for the end of the year! Hoollllla. If you haven’t read already, I’m going to Europe and Thailand for two months and am so excited! 

If you’re feeling under-brownied and want to try some healthy brownies I’ve seen around and been inspired by recently, check out these bad boys:

The classic raw brownie from My New Roots

Salted raw brownie! Yuum from The Vedge

Coffee and Chocolate match made in heaven from Gluten Free Vegan Girl

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 Tea Infused Raw Chocolate Brownies:

350g (1.5 cups) medjool dates

300g (1.5 cups) organic apricots or sultanas

2 cups fresh shelled walnuts
1 cup strong brewed black tea

80g (5 tbsp) cocoa powder

 Soak the apricots in tea until soft (at least 20 minutes). Blend all the ingredients together. Press into a plastic-lined 20 x 20 (8 x 8) pan and chill for at least 4 hours. Remove with the plastic and cut in to slices. Keep in the fridge and dust with icing sugar. Yum!

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Healthy Pear and Walnut Muffins

Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free and Low Fat

IMG_5132The sun came out today for the first time in TWOOOO WEEEEKS!!! Dance with me friends. I took my chubby dog Louis for a walk and tried to get him to jog. He went at a great shuffling pace for about ten minutes, then just sat down in the middle of the road and wouldn’t move until I kicked him in the bum. (Gently). 

 On the way home we saw the saddest sight! In the middle of the path there was a dead possum. He was all wet from the rain and his fur was all muddy, and his face looked so peaceful! Like he was sleeping. Pour little guy. Hopefully he died of old age and is up in possum heaven now. 

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 I made these muffins here when I got home, for my mum who can’t eat gluten, dairy, peanuts, cashews, berries, or oranges. This makes baking something she can eat quite a challenge. These are made with almond flour and sweetened with big chunks of pear and honey. The only fat is olive oil, which is very good for you. They are sticky and crunchy but still light, despite being gluten free. You could experiment with apples or different spices if you want, and even maple syrup in place of some of the honey. This is a good starting recipe for a lighter type of muffin. 

IMG_5083 Pear and Walnut Muffins: Adapted from these muffins./p>

270g (2.5 cups) almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg plus a pinch of cardamon and clove powder

3 eggs

225ml (1 cup) olive oil

225ml (1 cup) honey

2 medium-large pears, skinned and cut into chunks

a big handful of chopped walnuts (or pecans, hazelnuts or almonds)

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Preheat oven to 170C (340F). Line 12 cupcake cases with cupcake papers. In one bowl whisk together your dry ingredients. In the other whisk the wet ingredients. Stir in the walnuts and pear and spoon 2/3 full into each muffin cup. Bake for about 20 minutes. These last well for up to 4 days. 

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