Protein Berry Cashew Yogurt

This recipe couldn’t be simpler and yet it’s so surprising delicious! If you are following a plant based diet you probably know already that cashews are so versatile. They can literally be used in so many different savoury and sweet recipes and this is definitely one of my favourite. This yogurt is ideal for breakfast or is also a great option if you want a light and nourishing dessert. I love using frozen blueberries but you can totally use any other berries of your choice. It’s definitely best to enjoy this yogurt straight away but if you have any leftovers you can store them in the fridge for 1 day or 2.

In this recipe I have used FitDelis  Perform Mixed Berry protein powder which works so well in any kind of fruity kind of smoothies or even with simple porridge or overnight oats.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 cup of raw and unsalted cashews soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight
1/2 cup of frozen berries of your choice – i have used blueberries
2 scoops of Fit Delis Berry protein powder
1/2 cup of almond milk
a dash of vanilla extract
Optional: if you find the yogurt not sweet enough you can also add 1-2 teaspoon of maple syrup or 1 frozen or fresh banana (frozen will result in a thicker consistency)

Toppings:
granola
Quinoa puffs
Fresh berries or fruit

Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a blender with all the other ingredients apart from the almond milk. Add only half to start with. Start blending and gradually add more almond milk until you have super creamy an thick consistency. You might not end using all the almond milk or you might need to add a bit extra. I like to keep my cashew milk as thick as possible. Once it’s all blended serve it into bowls with some granola, quinoa puffs and fresh berries. Other great toppings are a drizzle of peanut butter, coconut chips or chopped nuts. Enjoy straight away!

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Double Chocolate & Vanilla Cream Sandwich Cookies

These cookies are just chocolate heaven in a bite! They slightly remind of Oreos but so much better, if I might say so! The creamy cashew filling goes so well with the crunchy chocolate biscuit and the rich chocolate coating. I managed to find a vegan caramel chocolate which is just perfect for these cookies but any chocolate of your choice will work.
They are the perfect afternoon treat to go with a cuppa or if you are feeling romantic they can also be the perfect edible gift for your loved one.

Makes about 6-8 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of plain gluten free flour – I have used Dove’s farm
1/4 cup of ground almond
2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
2 tablespoons of One Earth Chocolate Dream Blend – if you can’t find it just sub it for raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup or honey
2 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted
2 tablespoons of almond milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
A dash of vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/2 cup of raw cashews soaked overnight or for at least 3-4 hours
1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon of honey or rice malt syrup
A dash of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/4 cup of almond milk – you might need to use a bit more depending on your blender.

For the chocolate coating:
80gr of caramel or vegan white chcocolate – I have used Loving Earth salted caramel but if you can’t find it any chocolate will work

About 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs finely chopped (optional but makes the cookies prettier and add a nice extra crunch)

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Lay a baking tray with some parchment paper.
In a bowl mix together the flour, ground almond, coconut sugar, One Earth Chocolate Dream, salt and baking powder. Pour in the coconut oil, almond milk, brown rice syrup and vanilla extract. Mix everything together, first with a spoon and the your hands until you have a solid dough.
Dust your working surface with some flour and with a rolling gently roll out the dough. The dough can be a bit fragile so I found it easier to do only a couple of cookies at the time. Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter and place them on the tray. Repeat the process until you have used all the dough. Bake the cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to bake them for too long as they burn very easily.
While the cookies are baking make the cashew filling. Simply drain and rinse the cashews and place all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. If your blender is struggling add a little bit more almond milk. Pour the cashew cream into a bowl and place it in the fridge to chill. It will help to thicken it up.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down completely. Spread about 1/2 of teaspoon of the cream onto one cookies and cover with another.
On a double boiler melt the chocolate. Place the cookies on a cooling rack with the parchment paper underneath and the chocolate will drip everywhere. Cover half of the cookies with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the cacao nibs (if using).
Let the chocolate solidify for at least 40-50 minutes. Enjoy!

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Popcorn & Quinoa Chocolate Clusters

This is one of the recipes which they turn out to be a complete surprise. I was planning something totally different and then I remember i had some popcorn in my cupboard so I spontaneously decided to add them on and the result is super crunchy and a bit chewy at the same time incredibly chocolately clusters! These are possibly the best movie snack or whenever you crave something sweet to munch on. They are ridiculously easy to make and they are store in the fridge for few weeks.

Ingredients:

80gr of good quality dark chocolate – I have used 2 bars of Goodio Pure Nacional
1/2 cup of quinoa puffs (if you can’t find them you can sub them for rice puffs)
1/2 cup of popcorns – I have used salty as I love the contrast between sweet and salty
12 dates pitted
2 tablespoons of goji berries (you can also use raisins)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup of walnuts (almonds will work as well)

Place the chocolate in a double boiler and let it melt gently on a low/ medium heat. Once melted add the maple syrup. While the chocolate is melting place the dates into a food processor and blitz until they become very small pieces. Roughly chop the walnuts.

Add the chopped dates and walnuts to the bowl with the melted chocolate. Also add in all the reaming ingredients, popcorn, quinoa puffs and goji berries. Give it a really good mis sp everything is coated in the chocolate.
Line a baking tray with some parchment paper and with a spatula spread the chocolate mixture until it’s evenly distributed. Place the tray in the freezer for 1/2 hour until the chocolate is solid. Break it down with your hands in generous size clusters. Enjoy! I store any leftovers in a jar in the fridge.

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Aquafaba Chocolate Cake

I have to admit that my experience with aquafaba (chickpea water) was definitely not without any hurdles. The first couple of times I tried to turn it into meringues it ended up in total disaster. But this super fluffy and moist chocolate cake is definitely a success! I have used my Vonshef Stand Mixer to whisk the chickpea water until it’s super fluffy, almost like egg white. This special ingredient makes the cake very light and delicate and it’s also perfect in other recipes like muffins or waffles. The creamy vanilla cashew frosting makes this cake perfect for special celebrations, birthdays or dinner parties. I like to decorate it with fresh berries but please feel free to run wild with your imagination!

Ingredients:

1 cup of white flour
1 cup of coconut sugar
3/4 cup of soy milk ( I find this is the one that works best in this recipe) + 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup of raw cacao powder
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
6 tablespoons of chickpeas water ( a bit less than a can)
2 tablespoons of flaxseeds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of sea salt

For the cashew frosting:

1 cup of raw cashews soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight
1/3 cup of almond milk – or more if needed
2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Decoration (optional)

Fresh berries

Place the chickpeas water into the Vonshef stand mixer and set the higher setting for whisking. Whisk the water for at least 10-15 minutes until to starts to become white and fluffy, similar to egg whites. Add the flaxseeds and let it sit for 5 minutes.

While the water is whisking away in a bowl mix together the soy milk with the apple cider vinegar. Let it sit for 10 minutes until it starts to curd and becomes like buttermilk. To the milk then add the coconut oil an whisk it all together.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the chickpeas egg into the bowl with the flour, then add the milk mixture. Mix everything together.

Pour the cake batter into a cake tin (i have used a silicone one). If you are using a normal metal cake tin make sure to grease generously with oil. Bake the cake in the oven for 30-35 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius until slightly darker colour around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool down in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack for another 30-40 minutes.

This recipe is in collaboration with Vonshef.

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Protein Courgette Chocolate Bread

I have been literally obsessed with this recipe! It’s by far one of my favourite baking recipe as it has got the perfect moist cake consistency with just the right amount of sweetness and chocolate. You will never EVER guess that it has courgette in it! I have used the courgette in this recipe as when mixed with flaxseeds it helps to bind the cake together plus is a clever way to add extra veggies even into your sweet recipes! For extra protein I have used Fit Delis Chocolate vegan protein powder works perfectly well in any baking recipes as it doesn’t add too much sweetness. This cake is utterly delicious by itself but if you want to take it to the next level add a generous dollop of peanut butter and you will be in heaven! 🙂

Ingredients:

Liquid ingredients:

1/4 cup of apple puree
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil + extra for greasing
1/2 cup of agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons of milled flaxseeds + 4 tablespoons of water
1 cup of grated courgette squeezed out all the liquid
a dash of vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

3/4 cup of gluten free flour (I have used Dove’s Farm)
1/2 cup of oat flour (oats flakes ground into flour by using a blender)
4 tablespoons of raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of Fit Delis Chocolate Powder
2 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup of dairy free chocolate chips + extra to sprinkle on top

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Generously grease of loaf tin with some coconut oil.

In a large bowl mix together the flaxseeds with the water and leave it onto one side unfit it becomes gloppy.

In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients apart from the chocolate chips. To the flaxseeds mixture add the melted coconut oil, agave nectar, almond milk, vanilla extract and grated courgette. Mix everything together and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir everything together but don’t overtax it. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and gently shake it so it’s evenly spread. Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips on top. Place the loaf in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when pierced in the middle.

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Bali, Gili Islands & Lombok Travel Guide

Oh Bali, Bali where do I even start with you? Ok so let’s start saying that I went to Bali last Christmas for a total of 17 day. We flew from London to Denpasaar and our first stop was 2 nights at the Temple Lodge on Bingin Beach, south of Bali: https://www.thetemplelodge.com

We made the conscious decision to avoid the very famous but also very touristy areas of Kuta and Seminyak for essentially 2 reasons:

I live in London and I feel like I see enough humanity when I am at home, when I am on holiday the less people/traffic/chaos I see the better 🙂 And yes you can probably call me a total antisocial.
Apart from being antisocial I am also boring as hell, lots of bars, loud restaurants and clubs are definitely not my thing. Give me a palm tree and and an iced coconut and I am a happy girl.

The area around Bingin Beach is probably perfect if you want to avoid the mad crowds but still don’t want be completely isolated. There are a lots of different beaches to see and Uluwatu Temple is a definitely a must see if nothing but for the stunning views. But please be wary of really cheeky monkeys! One of them stole my sunglasses from my head and I almost died of heart attack 🙂

The temple lodge was by far the best hotel I ever stayed in. I am not a fan of big resort (something which i try to avoid as much as i can when travelling), I much rather stay either in an Airbnb or in small boutique hotels. Well, the Temple Lodge was simply my dream hotel. It’s tucked away in a quiet and calm corner of tropical paradise and overlooks the dramatic cliff of binging beach. It has different kind of bungalows and accommodations, all very distant from each other. The first 2 nights we stayed in Temple Suite which will make you instantly feel like a jungle princess. It has a private pool (never had that before in my life), a huge bedroom and an open air bathroom/shower. For 2 days it has literally been our corner of paradise. The small restaurant overlooking the beach serves daily dishes with lots of vegetarian and vegan options. Everything I tried was super delicious and fresh and they also have a huge selection of smoothies, juices and fresh coconut AKA heaven 🙂 I love that they are trying to be as eco friendly as possible so they only use bamboo straws (hurray) which you can buy as well, there is a water station where you can refill your bottles and all the toiletries and products used in the spa are very minimal and 100% natural and cruelty free.

It really sounds like I am sponsored by this hotel ( I wish I was) but I can’t honestly recommend this place more.
After Bingin we headed to what is considered the cultural centre of Bali, Ubud. Yes, I watched “Eat, Pray, Love” and I totally wanted to be like Julia Roberts and cycle through luscious green rice fields. Well, Ubud has definitely taken a special place in my heart as it has a very magical vibe which I haven’t found anywhere else. Although it can get quite busy and the traffic can go a bit crazy it still has a very Balinese languor and sense of peace and tranquillity. Although is inland there is sooo much to see! Neither of us can drive a scooter so we hired a taxi driver/ guide for 1 day and we went to visit rice terraces, waterfall and the Instagram famous Bali swing. I would definitely recommend to visit the rice terraces and the waterfall, the Bali swing although I have to admit it’s pretty cool to swing over jungle (and you get awesome pictures) it’s also pretty expensive (£25 per person)and very very touristy.

The other 2 days we just spent them lazying around Ubud, eating tons of vegan food ( at least I did!), buying fruit at the market and just enjoying the atmosphere. My favourite places to eat are definitely Seeds of Life which is a completely raw and vegan cafe with an insane cake selection and Acai Queen for mind blowing acai bowls.

The last day we joined a medicinal herbal walk (Bali Nature Herbal Walks) which I loved and I would definitely recommend it if you are like me are a natural remedies fan. It’s roughly a 2 hours walk and get to see the gorgeous balinese country side with endless rice fields plus you get the chance to learn about the medicinal and health properties of some of herbs/fruits/roots grown in Bali.

By the way in Ubud we stayed at the Villa Blessing which we found on AirBnb.https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/13036641

It’s a super well curated independent villa with a private infinite pool nestled in endless rice fields. The only downside is that it’s 6-7 km from Ubud so you will need either a scooter or a taxi to get into town.

I would have loved to explore more the inlands of Bali as I totally fell in love with the luscious green jungle, the less touristy vibes and the cultural aspects but if you are visiting during the rainy season (December to March) things can get pretty wet. We were lucky in Ubud as we managed to do all our excursions when it wasn’t raining but we did have few very heavy storm. So we decided to head to Gili Islands where they always have better weather conditions even during the rainy season. We took a fast boat from Sanur and in roughly 1 hour and 1/2 we arrived at Gili Trawangan, the largest and I would say the busiest of the 3 Gili Islands.

OK, in all honesty I didn’t love Gili Trawangan. I am really sad to say to say this as I did have really high expectations for the The Gili, dreaming of a tropical paradise. Let me explain why:

1- Because the island is so small there are no cars or scooter (i guess there is no petrol access either) so for taxis and to transport supplies from the boats to hotels etc they use horse carriages. You guys know I am a huge animal lover (that’s why I don’t eat them) so for me seeing horses used in that way made me sad every time I walked next to one.
2- Long strip of tacky bars– again, call me boring as hell but the last thing I want to see on holiday is a karaoke, burger/ tacos/ all day breakfast bars everywhere. That’s why we always prefer to go to rather quieter and less busy places, I guess with Gili Trawangan we didn’t research into it enough.
3- Rubbish – this is probably going to be a constant theme from now on but Gili Trawangan was probably the worst. We stayed at the Villas Ottalia which in itself it’s a lovely hotel complex with independent bungalows with private pools. Unfortunately it was situated right next to the island’s dump which was constantly burning. Because of that all I could smell when I was in our room was burnt plastic. We actually went for a bike ride around the island and we found the dump and it was literally one the saddest thing I have ever seen, piles and piles of all sort of rubbish in the middle of palm trees with lot cows peacefully rummaging around.

For all these reason we decide to leave earlier than we planned (we stayed 2 nights instead of 4) and to head to Gili Meno (the smallest of the 3 islands).

Gili Meno was definitely much more my cup of tea. It’s a tiny island, you can literally walk around it in 30 minutes plus it only has only a handful of ticky ticky bars, few restaurant and that’s pretty much it. The locals call it the Honeymoon Island and I can definitely see why, if you want to escape it all and have your castaway bliss this is the place for you. We decide to spend Christmas here so in total we stayed 4 nights and we stayed at the Gili Ottalia again since they offered us a discount because of the bad experience in Gili Trawangan https://www.lesvillasottaliagili.com

In Gili Meno the hotel is situated directly on the beach and our bungalow was right on it so it was absolutely amazing waking up every day and just go straight into the ocean.


There is no much to do on the island apart from chilling, sunbathing and snorkelling which was totally fine by me. The snorkel is absolutely amazing (the best I ever did) and you don’t need to do a boar tour, just get a mask and you will see amazing fish.

Overall the food on the Gili Islands was definitely not as good as Bali especially when it comes to vegan options. Although the Indonesian cuisine is very veggie friendly ( you can always easily order some veggies with tofu and rice) lots of restaurants were serving mostly seafood and fish and lots of touristy dishes, like burgers and pizzas which I am definitely not a fan of.

After 4 blissful days of doing pretty much nothing we headed to Lombok. We took a boat to Bangsal and from there a bus ride all the way down south to Kuta. Similar to Bali north of Lombok gets the worst weather during the rainy season ( when we arrived it was pouring down) wether the south seems to always be relatively dry and sunny.

In Kuta we stayed at the Bombara Bungalows which is such a cute little spot away from the hustle and bustle of the town. It’s a small hotel with only few bungalows and a communal pool in the middle surrounded by lots of plants and palm trees. The hotel is 5 minutes away from Kuta beach which the Lonely Planet describes as quiet and hardly developed beach, well let me tell that is not the case anymore! Kuta beach really sadly is undergoing a huge development, 2 massive resorts are in the process of being built and its everything apart form quiet.
Kuta town itself is quite lovely and it has a nice buzz but is not overly busy, there are lots of places to eat, my favourite has to be Kenza Cafe has it has a huge selection of smoothies, juices, smoothie bowls (yesss) and lots of vegan options. As sad it might sound I think we ate there pretty much the whole time we were in Kuta. There is another cute spot for breakfast or smoothie bowls called the Yoga bar which similar to Kenza has a good selection of vegan options.


The highlight for me of Lombok was when we visited the Benang Stokel Waterfalls which are about 1 hour and 1/2 away from Kuta. If you are visiting I would suggest to choose the options to see all of them, it’s a fairly easy walk of about 2-3 hours in total (including stopping and dipping in the water) and the luscious jungle is just breathtaking. I really felt I was completely away from everything, it was just the jungle, the water and us (+ the guide as you can’t do the route by yourself).

As simliar to Bali I felt that real beauty of Lombok was probably inland, in its luscious jungle and rice field, away from the busy touristy spots. Again if we were not visiting during the rainy season I probably would have loved to see more of the north of the island.
The thing which I didn’t like the most about Lombok were young kids selling bracelets pretty much everywhere in Kuta and on the beach. Some of them were literally not older than 5-6 years old and it really broke my heart to see them trying to sell stuffs on the streets, in bars and restaurants. Apparently they told us they do it during the holiday season when they are not at school but nevertheless it didn’t feel right. Will these children being on the streets selling bracelets if they were no tourists?
We stayed in Lombok a total of 3 nights and we decide to head back to Bali to the Temple Lodge (i told you it’s pretty special) to spend our last 2 days relaxing and doing pretty much nothing before heading back to London,

I left Bali with a heart of full of gratitude, wonder and mixed emotions. To sum it up these are the things I loved the most:

People – Balinese people are by far the friendliest and kindest people I ever met, they definitely made our stay extra special.
Nature/Jungle/Rice fields– If you are a natural lover like me you will be in your element, especially if visiting the inland of Bali.
Food – Glorious delicious food (not so much on the Gili Islands) lots of vegan options, incredibly abundant tropical fruits, everything was so delicious and extremely affordable.

Things I didn’t like:

Bali dogs– sadly stray dogs are everywhere in Bali, some of them you can tell they had a pretty rough ride and again being an animal lover it really sadden me that nobody seem to care about them.
Rubbish – especially on the Gili island rubbish is pretty much everywhere. Gorgeous white beaches which should be protected and cared are just left to get crammed with rubbished washed ashore from the sea. The locals don’t seem to care too much maybe because they don’t quite know what to do with it as the islands are so small and there isn’t any kind of rubbish collection in place.
Kuta kids – As selfish as it might sound I just couldn’t relax properly while having a meal or walking in Kuta as lots of really young children were always out and about try to sell bracelets to tourists. And most importantly it made me so sad seeing kids on the streets instead of at home playing.

I believe travelling sometimes also means facing things which we might necessarily don’t like or approve and in order to fully immerse ourself in the experience we should let go of all our judgements. By accepting what surround us as it is we can fully feel part of the country we are visiting. Every new country I visited has opened my heart and my mind a bit more helping me to become a more tolerant and compassionate human.

Thank you for reading this post, I really hope it can useful or inspiring if you are planning to visit Bali. I am off to Colombia in a couple of days so stay tuned for another travel blog post coming hopefully very soon!

Lots of Love

X

Elisa

 

 

 

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Chocolate & Jam Sandwich Cookies

These cookies apart from being super pretty, they are just the best edible gift to your special one or to just anyone you want to show some love, because Valentine’s day should be about love and not just in the romantic way! 😉 These cookies are also super easy to make and they are so incredible delicious! I love the contrast between the crunchy biscuit, the gooey jam and the rich dark chocolate. I have to warn you though, they are highly addictive so they might not last very long at all 😉

Makes about 6-8 sandwich cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of plain gluten free flour – I have used Dove’s farm
1/4 cup of ground almond
2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup or honey
2 tablespoons of coconut oil – melted
2 tablespoons of almond milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
A dash of vanilla extract

For the filling:

Strawberry or Raspberry Jam

For the chocolate coating:
80gr of good quality dark chocolate – I have used 2 bars of Goodio Chocolate
About 1 tablespoon of dried goji berries finely chopped (optional but makes the cookies prettier)

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. Lay a baking tray with some parchment paper.
In a bowl mix together the flour, ground almond, coconut sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour in the coconut oil, almond milk, brown rice syrup and vanilla extract. Mix everything together, first with a spoon and the your hands until you have a solid dough.
Dust your working surface with some flour and with a rolling gently roll out the dough. The dough can be a bit fragile so I found it easier to do only a couple of cookies at the time. Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter and place them on the tray. Repeat the process until you have used all the dough. Bake the cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Be careful not to bake them for too long as they burn very easily.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool down completely. Spread about 1/2 of teaspoon of the jam onto one cookies and cover with another.
On a double boiler melt the chocolate. Place the cookies on a cooling rack with the parchment paper underneath and the chocolate will drip everywhere. Cover the half of the cookies with the melted chocolate and sprinkle with the chopped goji berries.
Let the chocolate solidify for at least 40-50 minutes. Enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I absolutely love baking with pumpkin, it’s such an easy and versatile ingredient and it works so well in baking recipes. I also like the fact that it adds natural sweetness so you don’t need to use as much sweetener. Pairing pumpkin with chocolate is just a match made in heaven, in this recipe I have MIA Cranberry & Hazelnut Chocolate which works so well with all the warm spices.

Makes about 10-12 cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup of oats
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
2 tablespoon of coconut oil – melted
3 tablespoons of runny almond butter
5 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tablespoon of milled flaxseeds + 3 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
a pinch of sea salt
50gr of Mia Cranberry Chocolate chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped

Start by preheating the oven at 180 degrees Celsius. In a small bowl mix together the flaxseeds with the water and let it sit for 10 minutes until it becomes gloopy, kind of like a jelly.
Place the oats in a blender and blend until they turn into a flour.
Add the oat flour together with the ground almond, baking powder, bicarbonate, salt and all the spices. Give it a good mix. In a separate bowl mix together the pumpkin puree, coconut oil, almond butter, maples syrup and the fkaxseeds mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix everything together. Stir in the chopped up chocolate, pecans, pumpkin seeds and cranberry. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the cookie mixture and place it on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. With your hands roughly shape it into a cookie, don’t worry if they don’t look perfect, they will still be delicious!

Bake the cookies in the oven for 12-15 minutes. They will still be soft on the touch when they come out but they will harden top during the cooling process. Let them cool for 20-30 minutes and enjoy!

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Balance Me Skincare Range Review

I am so excited to write the first ever blog post about beauty!! You guys know that my main passion will always be foo but natural and cruelty free beauty and skincare is definitely another passion of mine.
Let me start saying that there is no miracle product out there that will give you the skin that a healthy, centred on whole foods, diet will. But I still believe is really important to have a gentle and as a natural skincare as possible that will help your skin to glow.

I also firmly believe that in 2017 there is no need to test cosmetics on animals so cruelty free skincare for me is the only way to go.

For the past 4 weeks i have been using Balance Me which is a 99% natural, cruelty free skincare range. I have used Balance Me in the past so I kind of knew I was going to like it although the products i tried this time were completely new to me.

So these are the products I have been using:

1 – Balance Me Cleansing balm – I think this is probably one of my favourite products from their range and one of the best cleanser I have ever used. When my skin started to break out I remember one of the first thing I went out and bought was a “acne prone” face wash, do you know one of those super foamy, super harsh and drying cleanser? Yep, one of those. Everytime I washed my face with it I literally felt my skin was going to crack! Sadly you are lead to believe (by multimillion marketing campaigns) that when your skin break out you need to dry out every single bit of oil from your skin. After years of trial and error I can honestly say that’s not really the case. Especially when your skin breaks out you need to be extra gentle with it and definitely not try to make it even more inflamed by using harsh cleansers. Even more so if you only breakout in a confined area (i used to have hormonal sports only on my chin and jaw area) you really don’t want to reduce your whole face to sandpaper! 🙂 That’s why I now use only balm/ cream kind of cleansers. They are super delicate on your skin and they removed perfectly any make up or dirt. Just please make sure to use a wet face towel/muslim cloth to wipe off the cleanser.

2- Balance Me Face Mist – After the cleanser this is definitely my favourite product. I actually always though that toners or face mist were a bit of a waste of money. Might sounds really silly but I used to think “ surely they are just water?!” Well this face mist really made me change my mind. I spritz it on my face after I washed it before I go to the bed and I also use it in the morning before I apply my moisturiser. It really makes my skin feel really plumped and hydrated. So yeah maybe is not just water 🙂

3 – Balance Me Restore and Replenish Face Cream – I normally would have chosen a moisturiser for combination/oily skin but my skin has been consistently clear for the past 7 months so I decided to try a slitghly richer moisturiser this time. My skin also tend to get quite dry during the winter months, especially on my forehead (hello fine lines) so I actually think a thicker moisturiser is probably better for me in winter. What I love about this moisturiser is that is very hydrating but not greasy at all so I think it’s actually suitable for different skin types. If you are struggling with spots in just one specific area of your face I would actually recommend to use 2 different type of moisturisers ( i know, twice expensive) a lighter consistency one for the spot prone area and another for the rest of your face.

4- Balance Me Wonder eye cream – Well hello life after 30s! 🙂 I never used an eye cream before but being 32 years old I kind of felt it was about time I started to use one, if you know what I mean 😉 I don’t really have any other products to compare it but I really loved the light and silky consistency which get absorbed straight away into your skin. It’s definitely a product that I will keep using in the future. Also because I am not getting any younger..

All in all I have been really loving using Balance Me and I genuily think that it’s the perfect brand to go to if you are trying to switch to a more natural skincare regime. They have really affordable prices so it’s perfect if you have a limited budget but you still don’t want to compromise on quality.

FYI: this post is not sponsored in any way by Balance Me 🙂

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Protein Chocolate & Peanut Butter Waffles

This is just the perfect indulgent weekend breakfast. I love making these waffles on a Sunday as they feel like a real treat. They are super chocolately and I love the peanut butter flavour. To add plant based protein and make them a bit more filling I have used Fit Delis Chocolate protein powders which also contains other incredible superfoods, no artificial sweeteners, flavours and thickeners. I love topping them with caramelised banana which they just take this breakfast to the next level of deliciousness!

Makes about 3-4 waffles depending on the size of your waffle iron

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup of spelt flour
1 1/2 cup of almond or soy milk ( I wouldn’t recommend using rice/oat or coconut milk for this recipe as they are too watery)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 scoop of Fit Delis Chocolate Protein powder
2 tablespoon of raw cacao powder
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of runny and smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
A pinch of sea salt

For the caramelised banana:

1 banana cut into slices
2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
a splash of water

Extra toppings:

Peanut butter
maple syrup
Coconut chips
Cacao nibs

Place the milk in large bowl and add the apple cider vinegar. let it sit for few minutes until it starts to curd and become a bit like butter milk. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cacao powder, protein powder, salt and baking powder. Into the milk add the maple syrup, coconut oil, peanut butter. Give it a really good whisk then pour the liquid into the flour. Mix everything very well unit is all smooth and let it sit for 5 minutes while the waffle iron is heating up. Pour the batter into the waffle iron and cook them accordingly to the manufacturer instructions.

While the waffles are cooking make the caramelised banana. Simply place the coconut sugar and the splash of water into a pan and when it starts to bubble add in the sliced banana and let it cook for 5-7 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and you are left with a sticky caramel.

Remove the waffles from the iron and repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve the waffles straight away with the caramelised banana, drizzle of peanut butter, maple syrup and other toppings of your choice.

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