Peanut Butter and Chocolate Blondies

My beautiful friend, Brooke forwarded me this recipe. It is amazing. I cannot describe how good these are. I’m taking them to dinner tonight (I agreed to bring dessert) let’s see how long these last…

If you love peanut butter, these are the blondies for you!

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Ingredients:

4 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
6 ripe bananas
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Chocolate sauce

4 tbs cacao

4 tbs maple syrup/honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup of coconut cream

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 180*C. Line a baking pan with baking paper.

Step 2: In your food processor add the rolled oats and pulse until they are are very fine. Place in a mixing bowl and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Step 3: Add the bananas, apple sauce, peanut butter, and maple syrup to the food processor. Pulse until it is liquified. Add this mixture to the oat mixture and combine with a spatula. Add the 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Step 4: Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan. The mixture will be thick, bake for 30 minutes.

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Step 5: Make the sauce while the blondies are baking. For the chocolate sauce, place the ingredients in a double warmer and stir until all the ingredients are melted and combined.

Step 6: Transfer the blondies to a wire rack. Poke holes in the top with a fork (while it is fresh out of the oven) and pour some sauce over the blondies to let it soak in.

Step 7: Cut into squares, drizzle more of the chocolate over the blondies while still warm and serve.

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You can freeze the blondies once cooked.

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A Past Adventure: Jean Paul Gaultier

A few weeks ago now, I met up with my gorgeous cousin Edwina and we visited the National Gallery of Victoria for an exhibition of fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier’s work.

There was no warning or advice about not taking photos. So, if you missed out- enjoy the few small moments that I captured.

It was amazing.

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The exhibition included inspiration pieces, garments, paintings, photographs and various art pieces that reflected the man Jean Paul Gaultier became.

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Ordered thematically, there were dresses worn by celebrities (Beyonce, Nicole Kidman, Dita Von Teese to name a few).

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Entire rooms were dedicated to each theme he his designs have represented. From boudoir, to movie costumes, anatomically printed garments, Brittish Punk Rock, cone shell boobs, corsets…

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The further I explored the exhibition, the deeper I felt involved and attached to his work. He demonstrates attention to such fine details and his designs always embody socio-political symbolism that (in retrospect) are streets ahead.

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Bold, emotional, textured, detailed and lavish are a few words I would use to describe the experience of the exhibition.

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This was the final piece at the exhibition. A metallic framework, deceptively made of leather.

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Eating for Nourishment vs Comfort

This post was inspired by the ladies from ‘Up For a Chat’ a podcast about health with 3 of Australia’s leading wellness women (Cyndi O’Meara, Carren Smith and Kim Morrison). Get on it, if you want to keep up to date with health and living an abundant life in all aspects of your being.

let food be thy medicine

Emotional eating is a concept that has taken me a long time to transform into one that is useful to me. It’s at times of vulnerability that we often turn for comfort, often through food. Chocolate, ice-cream, lollies, sugary foods, chips and alcohol are often the first things we turn to.

Everything we eat directly effects the person we become. Food is the foundation- the very building blocks for every cellular function our bodies exert. The body is a machine, the fuel we give it determines how we operate.

Feed yourself with good fuel
Feed yourself with good fuel

The relationship we have with food is a complex one. Going all the way back to the womb, your body started consuming food. Childhood is also the main place where we start forming emotional connections with certain kinds of foods. Think Tiny Teddies, or Sunday roast meals, juice boxes, sultanas. Did any of these things conjure up memories from years passed?

Sometimes we forget that these foods aren’t actually comforting to our body. The tastebuds may enjoy a brief moment of pleasure from salt, fats and sugar, even our brains go crazy for it! But consuming foods high in refined sugar, alcohol, unhealthy fats, causes inflammatory responses in our system and does nothing to make us feel better.

The mind is attached to the brain, and the brain is attached to the gut. Research is proving more and more that our stomach and brain are directly linked. Feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut improves brain function. BUT, when we try and deal with our emotions with unhealthy foods, it is a terrible cycle that will feed your brain unhealthy responses.

So, what needs to change in order to stop eating for comfort?

Step 1: THINK.

Eating to comfort yourself is a learned response. Somewhere along the line, we become attached to certain foods in response to specific emotions. Before you reach for the ice-cream, think about how you feel. What triggered you to reach for food? Are you sad, frustrated, angry?

Step 2: Deal with the emotion. Start viewing food for it’s nourishment, not comfort.

Rather than eating food to deal with your emotion, consciously delve into how you feel. Ask yourself why you feel this way? Ask yourself what you can do to feel differently?

Eat foods that build you up, strengthening you from the inside, out.

Step 3: Remind yourself that your attachment does not serve you!

Eat foods that care for your body, whole foods that empower you to undertake your daily tasks. A good place to start is replacing unhealthy fats with good ones, refined sugar for it’s natural counterpart sweeteners. Look to nature to satisfy your body’s needs. Try my Gooey, Fudgey Peanut Butter (N)icecream.

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Step 4: Create a new habit. 

Instead of ice-cream, go for a walk, take a bath or do something you love. Do something that allows your mind to repair itself. Nurture your mind and your body. Don’t let your emotions rule you.

Step 5: There is always a way to rebuild yourself.

If you fall off the band wagon and eat something that doesn’t nourish you… you have not failed. Learn to be with your emotions and learn to love and nourish your body with both your emotions and food.

 

Lunch Inspiration: Rice Paper Rolls

This is a great meal to have any time of day. If you’re strapped for time, or just want something light, yet filling. Rice paper rolls are super easy and if you’re using fresh veges they are crispy, delicious and full of goodness!

What I used: avo, carrot, capsicum, spinach leaves and some chicken pieces.
What I used: avo, carrot, capsicum, spinach leaves and some chicken pieces.

Get some good quality rice paper rolls, make sure they don’t contain any nasties like preservatives, colours, additives or refined ingredients.

Ingredients

Rice paper

Warm water

Fresh veges chopped length ways

Meat (if desired)

Dipping Sauces (I used sweet chilli + ginger, and Tamari)

 

Instructions- it’s best if you set up a work station ahead of time to work through quickly and efficiently.

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Soaking container, wet tea towl, veges, meat and of course the rice paper are all prepped and ready for show time.

 

Step 1: Place warm water in a container big enough to hold the rice paper when it is flat.

Step 2: Soak the rice paper for 30 seconds in the warm water, and have a wet tea towl on standby to place it on to, after it has soaked and become soft.

Step 3: Place on the wet tea towel, and flatten out all the edges.

Step 4: Place fillings of choice near the middle, on the edge closest to you, in a horizontal line.

Step 5: Wrap them up by tucking and rolling the rice paper away from you and closing the outer ends as you go.

Step 6: Eat fresh with your dipping sauce.

Mmmm 🙂 so tasty.

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Valentines day special: Gooey, Fudgy Peanut Butter and Chocolate (N)icecream

This one is for the dessert lovers. Regan and I are enamored with this recipe!

The weather has been intermittently steamy and hot, with cool rugged up pyjama days in between. You never really know what you’re going to get, but I always have some frozen bananas on standby for the days when the heat just won’t break.

So simple, this recipe is dairy free, made with ingredients that you (hopefully!) already have in the pantry.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of steps in this recipe- they are quick and easy and the results are totally worth it.

Ingredients

1 frozen banana (per serve)

2 tablespoons of coconut milk/cream

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

2 teaspoons of coconut oil

2 teaspoons of cacao powder

1 teaspoon of maple syrup/honey

1 teaspoon of cacao nibs/crushed nuts for garnishing

Instructions

Chocolate sauce

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Step 1: Melt the coconut oil (or if it’s a hot day and it’s already liquid, just use as is).

Step 2: Mix together the cacao powder, maple syrup and coconut oil. Set aside until serving time.

Icecream

Step 1: Combine frozen banana and coconut cream in a food processor (or a tall narrow container if using a stick blender). Blend until almost combined.

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Step 2: Add the peanut butter to the banana mix, and blend until it is combined and the consistency of ice cream.

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Assembling

Step 1: Working quickly, spoon the ice cream into a bowl.

Step 2: Pour over the chocolate sauce.

Step 3: Garnish with nuts (I used walnuts) and or cacao nibs for extra chocolatey crunch!

Eat immediately and enjoy every last mouthful!

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An Adventure: Raw Trader and Niew Amsterdam

Regan and I have had a big and busy few months. We decided it was time to visit the city and spoil ourselves a little, the best way we know how: food!

We did dessert before dinner. Because, why not!

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We popped in to Raw Trader for some organic and raw, sweet treats.

Regan had the cappuccino cheesecake, while I had the peach and passionfruit slice. Both were amazing in texture and flavour, but I have to say once I tasted Regan’s- I proposed a swap. He declined.

On to dinner!

There is a little bar/restaurant tucked away in a little laneway in Melbourne. Hardware Lane to be exact.

It has a dark exterior and a doormat out the front. Naturally, Regan and I wandered in. Downstairs is a dark bar, with booths and candles providing dim, flickering ambience. Upstairs, the restaurant component is light with big arch windows and tables in every nook.

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Upstairs resaurant- Niew Amsterdam

 

To start, we splurged on the scallops. BEST DECISION! I cannot even begin to describe how amazing this dish was. Scallops, mango gazpacho, avo and chillies. Wow.

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Regan ordered Beef Brisket with Kimchi, and I the Pork Belly with Sauerkraut. Both meals were tender, juicy and best of all- delicious! We sat swapping plates every few minutes because both of them were just that good.

Beef Brisket
Beef Brisket and kimchi veges
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Pork Belly with crackling and Sauerkraut

We ordered a side of greens with seaweed salt, and a naughty serve of wedges. Regan indulged in some craft beers from the bar, and I had a delicious cocktail.

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Niew Amsterdam was a little more on the expensive side of where we normally choose to dine. The service was amazing, with friendly, attentive staff; and the quality of the food was beyond what we expected.

Niew Amsterdam, we will be back. Thank you for an amazing dining experience!

 

Breakfast Inspiration: Smoothie Bowls

I have seen this craze, all over my Instagram (Follow me:  @cleangreenstudents) and it’s a meal that you can eat pretty much any time of day, but they’re most popular at breakfast time.

What is a smoothie bowl? It is a smoothie, wait for it, in a bowl. With toppings and pretty things on top.

smoothie bowl

I made a Tropical themed bowl. I used spinach, coconut kefir, dates, raw egg and banana in my smoothie. I whizzed that up with the trusty Bamix and poured it into 2 bowls (yes, I had to share with Regan).

On top I sprinkled goji berries, chopped pineapple, mint leaves, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and shredded coconut.

Was it good? It was AMAZING! It was sort of like eating cereal because of all the lovely crunchy things added. The tropical smoothie bowl was filling, nutritious and took about 10 minutes to prepare.

How’s that for a raw, clean green, Paleo, delicious breaky!

Why not make your own, and tag me in your Instagram photo 🙂

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Kale Basil and Walnut Pesto

This was such a delicious pesto! Perfect to use as a dip, or double the oil and make it a sauce to dress a salad or to accompany a meal.

Dairy free, grain free and gluten free this one will be a hit for anyone who is vegan, Paleo, raw or just avoiding those allergens.

This recipe is easy peasy- just blend it all together and voila! A dip/sauce/spread in about one minute flat.

Ingredients
2 cups chopped kale leaves, spine removed

1 cup fresh basil

½ cup walnuts

4 large cloves of garlic

½ – ¾ cup extra-vigin olive oil, or avocado oil, to desired consistency

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

A big squeeze of lemon juice

Instructions
Step 1: Add kale, basil, garlic and walnuts to blender or food processor.

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Step 2: Blend well, stopping to scrape down sides.

Step 3: Slowly start to pour olive oil in until you reach desired consistency.

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Step 4: Continue to blend, adding lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy tossed with pasta or as a dip or spread.

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10 days of Paleo: UPDATE

If you read my blog regularly, you will know that I’m undertaking a strict Paleo regimen for the month of February.

Have I maintained it? Well, no.

To be honest, I’ve had a few sneaky pieces of chocolate, I’ve cooked a few dishes with butter, had a cider or two, and I was scooping Hummus into my mouth whilst Googling ‘Is hummus Paleo?’ and it is not.

The next 18 days I will really pull my socks up for this challenge. Wish me luck, fellow readers! With Valentines day and a few outings in the mix, I need all the will power I can muster!

An Adventure: St Kilda Festival

Yesterday, Regan, Alister and myself made our way into the St Kilda Festival.

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By the time we got in there, it was 3pm and the crowd seemed to still be growing by the minute. The day started out overcast and cloudy, but by about 4pm the sun was beating down (Regan got a bit sunburnt).

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Thanks to daylight savings, the sun didn’t set until about 8.30pm and a sea breeze rolled in, cooling everything right down.

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The festival was alive and loud. The main stage was right on the beach, with a sandy floor and a first class sea view. Salsa music played at another stage, where dancers all formed partnerships and jived the day away. Buskers and vendors of all sorts lined the cordoned off streets, offering a feast for the senses.

There were rides, clothing stalls, leather goods, sunglasses stalls, fake tattoos, yoga, zumba, music, and best of all… food.

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Food stalls ranged from ‘Vegelicious’ vegetarian, to a Sicilian BBQ for the carnivores, organic icecream, fish and chips, Greek food, cups of roasted corn, the list goes on.

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The St Kilda festival is a free event.

– No entry fee- just wander on in

– Alcohol free, with lots of families and people of all ages having a great time

– Free Chia Pods were being handed out, and so we ate banana and chia for lunch.

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The last act on the main stage was Hot Dub Time Machine, a DJ who plays music in chronological order from the 1950’s to the current day. Everyone was dancing in the streets and having a great time to the old classics through to the modern hits.

It was such an amazing day, definitely an experience to look forward to again next year.