Raw Sugar-free Salted Nut Butter Cups (Faster than running to the shops to get chocolate!)

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On rainy days like this I have trouble fighting my sweet cravings so rather than walk outside, in the rain to buy something that is full of sugar, I decided to try something for myself. I started following this recipe on the 'Julia & Libby' blog (one of my personal favourites) but I lacked all the ingredients so deviated from the plan. The result was amazing! I used silicone muffin trays but if you don't have them you will need to line a muffin tray with baking paper or cupcake papers.


You'll Need


For the Bottom Layer:

  • 3/4 cup Nut Butter - Any will do. (I used a combo of all natural peanut butter, as well as one I quickly whipped up in the food processor with Almonds, Macadamia and Cashews)
  • 1/2 Cup Unhulled Organic Tahini (if you don't have it then add extra nut butter instead)
  • 1 Tbsp organic Coconut Syrup or your sweetener of choice (e.g. rice malt syrup, Maple Syrup, 8 drops of Stevia)
  • 3 Tbsp melted organic coconut oil


For the Top Layer:

  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Coconut Syrup or your sweetener of choice  (e.g. rice malt syrup, Maple Syrup, 8 drops of Stevia)
  • 1/3 Cup Melted Organic Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Cocao Nibs
  • Sprinkle of Sea Salt

Method:

In a large bowl mix up all the ingredients for the bottom layer except the coconut oil and then when well combined add the melted coconut oil and mix through (it saves time before the coconut oil starts setting).

Place one desert spoonful in each muffin mould and smooth over so it forms a layer rather than a lump. Then place in the freezer while you prepare the top layer.

Clean and dry the bowl and then mix all the ingredients for the top layer (except coconut oil and sea salt) until well combined, then add the melted coconut oil. Mix well and then start moving quickly!

Place one small spoonful of the chocolate mixture in each mould, on top of the nut butter and then smooth over until completely covered. You'll need to move quickly before the chocolate sets in the bowl. Once complete sprinkle a tiny tiny bit of sea salt on top of each one and place them in the freezer to set.

They set in about 15/20 minutes and need to be stored in the freezer so they don't melt...

Let's see how long these last :)

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Winter Face Mask Recipe

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If you are anything like me then this dry, cold, wintery weather will leave your joints cracking, finger tips numb and skin dry. As a recent sufferer of eczema in winter as well as being a long time believe in natural products I have had to come up with some various recipes to keep my skin nourished to avoid possible eczema break outs.

Did you know that when the body is lacking energy then it starts taking energy from the non-essential organs in the body - the largest of which is the skin? Well apparently this is true; which makes sense because in winter our body is working a little bit harder to do anything due to the lack of vitamin D, often a lack in exercise and requiring extra energy just to keep us warm and ward off all those illnesses that are floating around at this time of year.

Now this recipe doesn't look very pretty when it is on but the effect of the yoghurt and the turmeric on the skin is pretty amazing. The zing in the turmeric invites circulation all the way to the skins surface.

These are the ingredients and what they do to help your skin

Yogurt - yogurt contains lactic acid which helps dissolve dead skin cells and apparently helps to fight wrinkles (yay!). The zinc helps regulate the oil in the skin which is great for those who get acne and the calcium helps skin regeneration.

Turmeric - This spice is an amazing anti-oxidant that helps fight free radicals. The colour adds a light glow to the skin (natural fake tan), and it also helps even skin tone and assists scar fading. Turmeric helps fight inflammation and skin discolouration (redness).

Honey - Honey is antibacterial so great for preventing acne and pimples. It is great for moisturising which helps during winter when the air is predominantly dry. The antioxidants help anti-aging and fight against wrinkes.

Cinnamon  - This spice brings the blood and oxygen to the surface of the skin which gives a natural 'plumping' look to skin and lips.

Mix a little together of each ingredient and put on your face for 15 minutes, and if you don't like it on the skin it also tastes great!

The full recipe would include eating foods that nourish your skin such as berries, dark leafy greens, avocado etc as well as keeping your body moving through yoga and walking to keep your energy moving through the body.

For more tips join myself and Yaz from The Happiness Cocktail for 'Salute Your Skin' a fun workshop where you will learn yoga poses, recipes and natural tips for keeping your skin healthy and will walk away with a goody bag worth over $100! Places are limited so please book soon. Peace Love & Yoga, Nadia

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100% Natural Coconut & Mushroom Soup in 10 Minutes

Soup

For the last week I have been completely avoiding oils, salt, sugar, spice, sugar and animal products which, as you could imagine, is a huge challenge. I have become quite creative with my cooking and thanks to the abundance of coconuts here in India (that cost around 30c each) I have created quite a lot of delicious new recipes including this one below.

This soup is delicious and tastes like a lot of food I have eaten in Thailand, minus the sugar. I find the coconut broth incredibly soothing. You could play around with different vegetables here - this is what I had on hand and tasted wonderful.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time : 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Coconut Water (Approx 3 cups)
1.5 cups of mixed mushrooms sliced (I used oyster & shitake)
1 large Carrot sliced
Fresh Coriander chopped
Fresh Lemon Juice (2 lemons)
Salt to taste
1/2 Cup Cooked Brown Rice (optional)

Method:

Bring the coconut water to the boil, then lower the heat and add the mushrooms and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes and take off the stove. Add the coriander and lemon juice. Serve  (with rice optional) and eat!

Variations: If you aren’t vegetarian and wanted a stronger flavour I think you could add fish sauce or a splash of tamari

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A Berry Yogic Muffin

Berry & Almond Muffins

Lately I have fallen in to a trap of having something sweet every day. I have been getting to 3 o'clock and indulging in a muffin or a brownie. So today, instead of trying to fight the urge for a little something 'naughty' I decided to make myself a batch of healthy Berry & Almond muffins. It also helped that I made almond milk to go with my breakfast this morning so had a heap of pulp left to use for something yummy.

These took me about 10 minutes to prepare and then another 30 minutes to bake. The pulp I used was wet though so think that took them a bit longer than they normally would, if you are using dry almond meal (almond flour) then just bake for around 20-25 minutes, checking regularly.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 Cup of Rice Malt Syrup or Raw Honey (I used a combo)
  • 4 Tbs of melted Coconut oil
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Vanilla Powder (I accidentally dropped more in and it made it even more delicious)
  • 2 Free-range Eggs
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup of chopped nuts (I used Pecans)
  • 1 Cup Berries (I used frozen blueberries and raspberries)

Method

  • Preheat Oven to 160 C and if you need to grease or line your muffin tray then do so (mine is silicon so doesn't require greasing)
  • In a bowl combine the top six ingredients from the list and whisk together until well combined
  • Add Almond Meal, Nuts and Berries and fold together using a spatula or spoon
  • Divide evenly amongst the muffin holders and then press down on the top with a spoon
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, checking regularly

These will need to cool before eating because the almond meal doesn't stick together so well. Enjoy with a cup of tea and try not to eat them all too quickly!!

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Eating for success By Angie Cowen

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It is with excitement that I publish the first blog by a guest blogger. Angie from Angie's Gluten Free knows all about mindful eating and eating for success.

Angie is going to be catering for the Winter Yoga Retreat in July 2013 and will be giving a wholefoods workshop for all who attend.

Please welcome Angie.... server One of the biggest things I have found when it comes to nourishing myself is to consider the whole of me rather than just my stomach. What is wanted? What is desired? What is needed?

Thinking of an empty rice cake as being a quick, light snack to satisfy my hunger and believing it will also help me stay nice and slim won’t actually help in my overall feeling of satiety and wellbeing. In fact, it does quite the opposite. I end up needing to eat more of those empty foods to reach nutrient and emotional satisfaction. This empty food is wrapped in plenty of wasteful plastic. The end result is very little value for me and plenty of drain on the planet.  No success.

Asking what I want and need to achieve in my day (and my life) and how my food is going to help me achieve my goals allows me to practice being more present with myself at more points in my day. It also, by joyous default, gives me more energy to complete my daily tasks, give more, and feel  more fulfilled at the end of it (because I achieved what I set out to). When being present with myself and the food I am eating, I generally experience a greater sense of nourishment and daily satisfaction.

This, of course, is a practice of total presence and it’s encouraged to be done so with a gently curious and loving approach. So how do I get there?

When hunger sets in and it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack time, start with how you actually feel on an emotional level – stressed, sad, relaxed, content, apprehensive. By connecting in with the feeling, you may be able to understand how it could affect what you choose to eat. Next, look at how your body is feeling – energised, tired, acidic, strong, hyperactive. This will help you decide what you need to be eating.

If after acknowledging that you are feeling a bit tired and knowing that sometimes you feel tired after eating heavy carbohydrates, you may choose a lighter vegetable rather than a heavier one. Or if you were feeling somewhat toxic in your body you may choose a fresher, more cleansing meal.

What time of day is it? Breakfast and lunch need to be of a decent size and nutrient dense as these are the main hours activities need to be achieved. Dinner is the last meal of the day and there is less digesting time before sleep, so it works well for the body to have the smallest meal of the day here. Less food in the stomach when resting means a more restful sleep.

Last but not least, look at how hungry you are – super hungry, a little hungry, not very hungry at all. Choose the amount you think you need and eat your meal slowly, with awareness in and on your body. Stop yourself from thinking about plans, events and work.

So the ultimate question is, what is your focus in this life? What are your dreams, plans, desires? By eating from the perspective of connecting to your whole self and seeing what is needed, you should feel more energised, satisfied and empowered, and have plenty of energy to focus on enjoying life and fulfilling your dreams and desires. Success!

For more on Angie visit her website http://www.angieglutenfree.com/ or come along to our upcoming Yoga Retreat
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Creating the Perfect Post-Yoga Meal in 10 Minutes

Easy Peasy Quinoa Scamby Eggs with Greens eggs Don’t you love it when you experiment and it totally pays off? Although I love to cook I usually follow or slightly change recipes. Today I went out on a limb and threw a bunch of things together and enjoyed the meal so much I felt compelled to share it with you.

I came home from practice absolutely starving this morning! I had some leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge that had to be used by tomorrow but really felt like eating eggs so decided to combine the two. And this is what I came up with – it took a total of 10 minutes including prep time.

This is what you need:


Approx one cup of cooked quinoa (I used white quinoa)

Green Veggies (broccoli and Kale), Chopped and washed

Grape or Cherry Tomatoes

Three Eggs

Milk

Spice of your choice (I used Garam Masala)

Coconut Oil or butter for cooking

Fresh Herbs (I used Parsley)

Start by preparing the eggs, crack them in to a bowl and whisk, then add some milk, salt and pepper and whisk it all together again. Set aside in the fridge.

In a fry pan or wok heat some coconut oil or butter and heat it up on medium. Add half a teaspoon of your favourite spice and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Then add the green veggies. Stir fry the veggies for about 3 minutes (I prefer mine a bit crunchy) then throw in the tomatoes and fry for another minute. Add the quinoa and once it is warm pour egg mixture on top and stir constantly until eggs are soft and fluffy. broccoli   Remove from the pan and top with fresh herbs. I also added hemp seeds on top . Yum!!

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Indian Spiced Cabbage & Sweet Potato Soup

indiansoup I get a box of fresh organic vegetables delivered weekly from Food Connect which is great because I end up with seasonal produce that is fresh and sourced locally. Another bonus is that I end up with vegetables that I often wouldn't think to buy if I went to the grocer myself. This week the last two items left were half a red cabbage and two sweet potatoes. So i jumped online and I found this on http://www.blogher.com. I have changed it slightly to suit my tastes  and was surprised by how delicious it was. I always thought of cabbage soup as being something watery and disgusting but this was really tasty and quite substantial for a yogi's dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 3-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon of garam masala
  • half a head of medium-size red cabbage, cored and cut into stripes
  • 2 medium-size sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of whole canned tomatoes with liquid
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs to serve (I used parsley from my herb pots but would have used coriander if I had any)

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottom pot over medium heat until it shimmiesand then add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot. Sauté until onion softens but not brown. Add in garam masala and keep stirring until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.Add in red cabbage, sweet potatoes, and vegetable broth. Turn up the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pot with lid. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes until vegetable are tender. Take off the heat and add in the can of tomatoes. Using a blender (I used a stick blender to make it easier) blend the soup in to a smooth paste. Stir in cannellini beans to soup.Turn the heat to medium high and bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with a sprinkle of parsley.

This made enough for about 6 serves. Enjoy!

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