Monday Meditation: Relax with these Raw Tiger Nut, Cacao & Coconut Treats

9D53B3F2-CD26-408F-8731-EA58B260A9E2When life is relatively calm, ie no family crises, and I find myself alone with no urgent tasks, I like to sit down and just let my mind wander where it will. I might close my eyes and just wait for my breathing to slow, or I watch the birds, or just take in my surroundings: the paintings, the family photos, the gentle flames of the woodburner.

When I am completely relaxed, I might get the urge to be creative. This can mean painting rocks, making cards, or even writing a letter – the old-fashioned way! But often, I like to bake or cook. It needs to be simple, quick, and not require that I keep several plates spinning at once, and definitely no interference.

Cooking on my own at leisure is a different experience from the pressure cooking of doing a meal with other bodies around and people requiring my attention or getting in my way. I like to be free to select whatever appeals, create something for my own pleasure and not have to be mindful of others’ pernickety tastes!

B2D4B8E0-1499-443E-962E-920F164433FEI rarely follow a recipe, or if I do, it’s more of a starting point that inspires a variation of the original, as with these no-added sugar energy balls. I fancied a little something with my cup of tea and didn’t really know what the result would be, but on looking in the cupboards I found some Tiger Nut Powder that needed using and remembered a recipe on The Tiger Nut Company Instagram page for Tiger Nut Macaroons by Eve Kalanik.

I used the general measurements, but made some substitutions: almond butter for the cashew, cacao nibs for the coconut chips and coconut water for the plain water in the original recipe. I also added some wild berry-flavoured supergreen powder.

These take literally seconds to make in the food processor and once in the fridge, by the time you’ve cleared up and put on the kettle, they are ready to eat.

It’s easy to make your own substitions so long as they’re like for like, but the texture or flavour will be different.

These easy raw treats are Vegan, Gluten-free and can be made Nut-free if you use Seed Butter. 

Please note: Tiger Nuts are Tubers, Not Nuts.

Ingredients

100g Tiger Nut Powder

45g Desiccated Coconut 

1 Tbsp Raw Cacao Nibs, for a bit of crunch

2 Tbsps Almond Butter 

A pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

4g Vivolife ‘Thrive for Her’, Raw Green Superfood Powder, Wild Berry flavour

Approx. 4 Tbsps Coconut Water (or water or apple juice)

Pulse all ingredients except water for a few seconds. Add water and process for a couple of seconds to mix.

Scoop spoonfuls of the mix and roll into balls.

Makes about 10.

Place in the fridge to set.

Keep for days in an airtight container in the fridge and for a long time in the freezer if you can resist!

So much healthier and satisfying than a shop-bought biscuit or pastry to have with your afternoon cup of tea, and will give you a lift, making you more alert and energised without the inevitable slump afterwards.

The tea, by the way, is Pukka Herbs’ Licorice and Cinnamon. A perfect relaxing combination on your own or to share with a friend.

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Ginger & Lemon Bliss Balls with a Bite!

29398032_UnknownIt’s been some time since I posted a recipe for raw treats, even longer since we made energy balls, so when we were in the midst of an horrendous thunderstorm and planting had to stop for the day, the food processor was put through its paces and these are what we came up with.

Using lightly ground rather than finely ground Sweet Apricot Kernels and Sunflower Seeds, together with Raw Cacao Nibs, gives them a satisfying nutty bite rather than the fudge texture of most energy/bliss balls. Cacao nibs are dried pieces of raw cacao. If you can’t get Sweet Apricot Kernels, Almonds are a good substitute.

I’ve had a bar of The Raw Chocolate Company Ginger & Lemon raw chocolate for some time, waiting patiently for me to come up with a recipe. It contains tiny pieces of Fijian crystallised ginger which are really spicy! These were set aside when the chocolate was melted and used to decorate the treats.

These treats are packed with healthy ingredients including protein, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, healthy oils, and raw chocolate is mood-enhancing, so go on spoil yourself!

As always, these are vegan and gluten-free and they can be made nut-free if you substitute with other seeds, though the taste and texture will be a little different.

(All ingredients used were organic where possible).

Ingredients for basic energy balls:

1 Cup Organic Raw Mulberries*

1/2 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels (ground)*

1/2 Cup Sunflower Seeds (ground)

1/3 Cup chopped Medjool Dates

Juice & Zest of 1/2 Lemon (washed)

1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger

1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs*

Pinch of Pink Himalayan Salt

2 Tbsp Melted Cacao Butter*

Process all ingredients together until the mixture will stick together when pressed into a ball.

Make approximately 15/16 balls and place in tiny truffle cases.

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Chocolate Dip:

1 x 44g The Raw Chocolate Company Ginger & Lemon Bar for melting + 1Tbsp Melted Cacao Butter 

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Break up the bar into squares and gently melt with the cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water, stirring until smooth. Set aside the pieces of ginger for decorating.

Dip the energy balls in the melted chocolate and cacao butter.

29397888_UnknownAllow the dipped energy balls to set a little before gently placing a small piece of crystallised ginger from the melted chocolate on top of each ball –  it is quite strong so if you prefer, use a raw mulberry instead.

It’s also been some time since we got jiggy in the kitchen! RecentlyI was sorting through old cd’s and rediscovered The Lemonheads, so here’s a video of them – not very good reproduction, but worth a revisit.

*The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Carrot Cake Bites with CoYo Frosting – So Moreish!

img_3253I saw these on Instagram and had to try them! Before I became vegan and gluten-free, the only cake I really liked was carrot cake. This raw version from Charley’s Health comes pretty close and were perfect for our family visit with the littles.

I made some small adjustments: I used walnuts instead of pecans (I’m sure you can use seeds if you need to avoid nuts) and used half as much maple syrup in the frosting and they were perfect. Just sweet enough. I also used a little squeeze of fresh orange juice as well as the zest as the mixture was a little dry to manipulate – our medjool dates were quite hard so they were soaked in a little orange juice while everything else was prepared. I also used plain yogurt with a few drops of vanilla extract added as we couldn’t find vanilla yogurt. You could add a few drops of fresh orange juice instead.

The only thing I would point out is that this recipe makes a small amount, the slices are bite-sized – you wouldn’t want to eat more than a couple, they are very satisfying, but if you have visitors you would probably want to double the recipe.

There is no refined sugar, they are vegan and gluten-free. The base is done in the food processor and then frozen before mixing the yogurt and maple syrup for the frosting.

We made the base the day before and put in the freezer, the frosting was made next morning just before our little munchkins arrived. They keep well in the freezer (the slices, not the munchkins!).

As always, measurements are approximate and you may need to adjust to your own tastes and equipment.

Excuse the awful photos, there was no natural light – the sky was getting ready to send down a deluge – and I had to take them quickly before they were scavenged!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding Bites

img_2454I put a picture of these on Instagram as soon they were ready so as to have a record of the ingredients until I had time to write them down – it was a very busy day in terms of administration, phonecalls etc – and I very swiftly received a message saying ‘early!’ So I’m holding back this post for a couple of weeks, I don’t want to spook the horses (but as I write, we are only 5 weeks away and preparation is everything!)

We’ve used leftover almond nut pulp, but you can use alternative milk pulp or if you have a nut allergy, use ground sunflower seeds or similar, it will alter the flavour slightly . (See How To Make Almond Milk for the nutritional benefits of almonds).

These are healthy raw treats, full of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fibre and protein and contain no refined sugar.

Some people may find the golden berries a little tart, you can substitute for more gojis or dried apricots. See also Choco Almond Truffles for a sweeter version with coconut and maple syrup.

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Milk Pulp, squeezed dry (or any other nut/tiger nut pulp or ground sunflower seeds)

1/2 Cup Raisins

1/4 Cup Goji Berries, soaked in a few drops of the orange juice*

1/4 Cup Golden Berries*

1/4 Cup Dried Mulberries*

Juice and zest 1 1/2 small Mandarin Oranges

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder*

1 Tbsp Melted Raw Cacao Butter (4 Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons)

Blend all of the above in a food processor until it will come together and roll into balls.

Roll into balls and place in the fridge to firm up while you prepare the topping.

For the raw chocolate topping:

Melt approx. 1/3 bar of Pitch Dark or Orange Raw Chocolate*

with 2 Pulsin’ Cacao Butter Buttons (about 1 Tsp melted)

and a squeeze of the remaining mandarin orange

(do this in a bowl over a pan of hot but not boiling water)

Dip the balls in the melted chocolate and top with a goji berry moistened with a drop of orange juice.

Leave to set and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

http://www.pulsin.co.uk/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Spooky (but healthy) Halloween Treats!

img_2294These were a very last minute flash of inspiration, there was tiger nut milk pulp* to use up (but you can use nut milk pulp or rolled oats) and a family visit coming up, so something had to be done and pdq!

They are very fruity, soft and squishy with a very slight tartness due to the Bramley apple and lemon juice, offset by the sweetness of the carrot, raisins and mulberries.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and glutenfree and the only possible ‘nut’ allergin is the pine kernels used to decorate (which can be omitted), however I believe pine kernels are seeds rather than nuts. Tiger nuts are of course tubers, not nuts.

These are healthy treats, no refined sugar and won’t have the kids bouncing off the ceiling or in a funk next morning. They are full of vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats and micronutrients.

All measurements are very approximate!

Ingredients

1 Cup Raisins

1/3 Cup Chopped Dried Sulphur-free Apricots

1 Cup Tiger Nut Milk Pulp (you could use any nut milk pulp or swap for ground oats moistened with a little apple juice, but the taste and texture will be a little different)

1 /2 Cup Grated Bramley Apple (or any tart apple)

1/2 Cup Grated Carrot

1 Chia Egg (1 Tbsp Chia seeds* soaked in 3 Tbsps Water, stirred frequently for about 10-15 minutes until they swell)

1 1/2 Tsps Baobab Powder (we use Aduna)

1 Tbsp Melted Cacao Butter (we used 4 Pulsin’ cacao butter buttons)

1/4 Cup Desiccated Coconut

Good Squeeze of Lemon Juice – watch out for the pips!

Place all ingredients in a food processor, pulse and stir down as often as it takes for the mixture to come together and roll into balls.

Make small balls and decorate with cacao powder* or coconut for hair, goji berries*, dried mulberries* or pine kernels for eyes and mouths and slightly squash the sides or tops to distort the ‘faces’ a little.

Place them in petit fours cases and put them in the fridge to firm up.

Happy Halloween! 🎃😱

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*Nut & Seed Milks & Smoothie Recipes

The Raw Chocolate Company

The Tiger Nut Company

Aduna

Pulsin

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Oh-So-Chocolatey Hemp Seed Coins

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Chocolatey Hemp Coins with Spicy Raw Hot Chocolate and The Raw Chocolate Company Chocolate Mulberries*

This recipe is for all of you chocolate fiends who don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but crave a chocolatey something mid-afternoon. They do have a small amount of raw coconut palm sugar in them but as it is low GI and unrefined it doesn’t produce the same sugar rush or have that tooth-rotting sweetness of refined white sugar. They are easy to make, involve no cooking and are full of raw energy, but be warned, less is definitely more! I can only manage 2!

These are a good protein pick-me-up containing hemp seeds and sweet apricot kernels (like mini almonds).

The only possible track to jig along to while making these is Choco Choco Latte, so you can sing your heart out and expend some of that Raw Chocolate energy!

Here goes:

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Shelled Hemp Seeds*

1/4 Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels*

1/4 Cup Cacao Powder*

1/4 Cup Raisins

3 Tsps Coconut Palm Sugar*

1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

Approx 2 Tbsps Apple Juice

Raw Chocolate Mulberries Snack Pack*

Method

Put the Hemp Seeds and Sweet Apricot Kernels in the food processor and grind them finely.

Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well, adding a little apple juice at a time until the mixture is just moist enough to come together but not too wet.

Take small amounts of the mixture and form into little balls then flatten out into coins on some greaseproof paper.

Press a Raw Chocolate Mulberry into the centre of each coin and place in the fridge for a short time to firm up.

What you do with the leftover Raw Chocolate Mulberries is entirely up to you – but I won’t tell if you don’t.

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Raw Pitch Dark Figgy Almond Slices

Warning: Cycling season is back so fun Orica-GreenEDGE YouTube video at end of recipe!

There is always a debate in our house whenever nut milk is made as to what do with the leftover pulp. It seems wasteful to just discard it and you need to have some idea of what you’re going to do with it before you make the nut milk. Having soaked the almonds for the milk last night, I was lying in bed this morning trying to devise a way to use up the pulp. I had a nice long lie-in! There are already recipes using Tiger Nut Pulp on my Raw Treats Recipes Page and here’s the one I came up with using the Almond Nut Pulp.

See, I really was working not sleeping 😉

As always, measurements are approximate, substitutions of like for like are encouraged, whatever you have in your cupboards that behaves in the same way.

All ingredients are organic and vegan.

Before you begin, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, then break up the bar of raw chocolate into a bowl to be placed over a pan of hot water (not boiling) to melt when you’re ready to drizzle. Heat up some water in the kettle to melt the cacao butter ready to add to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients.

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Pulp

1 Cup Mixed Dried Figs & Dried Apricots – about 2/3 figs to 1/3 apricots

1/2  Cup Mixed Seeds – we used Sesame, Pumpkin & Sunflower

1/2 Cup Melted Cacao Butter*

1 Tsp Raw Maple Syrup (Optional)

1/2 Cup Dried Mulberries*

1/2 Cup Roughly Chopped Almonds + some more finely ground to sprinkle on

1 22g Bar Pitch Dark Raw Chocolate*

Method

Place Almond Pulp, Figs, Apricots, Mixed Seeds in processor

Pulse a few times, then process a few seconds, stirring down if it sticks

Add Melted Cacao Butter and Maple Syrup and process a few seconds, again stirring down to make it all come together well

Working quickly, add Chopped Almonds and Dried Mulberries

Process a few more seconds, they need to still be rough to give a little bite.

The mixture should come together when pressed

Quickly press into tray – the cacao butter will be setting – then melt chocolate and drizzle or spread over mixture, ours had a bit of both: The part that has chocolate spread over it also has finely chopped almonds sprinkled on.

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Place in the fridge for a few minutes then slice.

Makes about 12.

As the professional cycling road race season is back, here is a fun video of the guys from the Aussie Orica-Greenedge team having some fun with the kids in South Africa to ‘Uptown Funk.’ However bad your day is going, this is guaranteed to make you smile! Enjoy!

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Christmas Truffles

img_2880These are similar to the mix for the Spiced Fruity Raw Vegan Gluten-Free Christmas Pudding  The method is a little different, however. You may want to make individual treats for a gift or if you don’t need a whole pudding. They keep well in the fridge or freezer.

As always, measurements are approximate, substitutions are encouraged so long as they are like for like. If you don’t have enough dates, use some raisins or figs to make it up. The recipe contains no refined sugar.

The mix is vegan, gluten-free and all done in the food processor, so it’s easy-peasy lemon squeezy!

Different combinations of tart or sweet berries will give you a different balance of sweetness.

The fun bit is that if you really want, you can scoop out small amounts of the mixture and try them with a different combination of spices, or dust with a different powder eg cacao, lucuma powder, fine tiger nut flour,** finely ground sweet apricot kernels or almonds, and you can test as you go along: add a bit of this or that, see what you prefer and then next time do it all for real with your preferred combination!

Good for getting the kids involved rolling them in different ingredients and trying them out.

They also make a great gift.

So put on some Seasonal music – my antidote to all the shopping centre Christmas muzak: Miley Cyrus, Permanent December – and off we go!

Ingredients

Half Cup Sweet Apricot Kernels (or almonds, roughly chopped) pre-soak them while you get everything else ready
Half Cup Walnuts
Half Cup Dates
Half Cup Goji Berries
Half Cup Dried Mulberries
Zest and Juice of Half an Orange (or apple juice if you prefer a sweeter flavour)
Zest of Half a Lemon
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
Or whichever spices you prefer, adjust amount according to taste

Method

Pre-soak the Sweet Apricot Kernels
Soak Berries in the Orange Juice (or apple juice if you want it less citrusy)

Drain Kernels and process
Add remainder of ingredients
Process & Stir, Process & Stir, it will take a while, until you arrive at your preferred consistency.

Scoop spoons of the mixture and roll into balls in your hands.
Refrigerate to firm up.
Lightly dust with Raw Lucuma Fruit Powder or whatever else you fancy. It has a slightly malted flavour and is rich in healthy nutrients.

You could also dip them in melted raw chocolate, add a little raw cacao butter to make it dip easier and prevent it being too brittle when it sets.
Place in truffle cases, decorate with holly and gracefully accept all the compliments!

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

https://www.thetigernutcompany.co.uk

Copyright: Chris McGowan