Monday, March 19, 2012

Super-delicious Guilt Free Raw Chocolate Brownies

Hey fellow kind angels!!

I feel so ridiculously slack lately because I have so many yummy recipes I want to share with you, but I don't like just throwing up something.. I like each post to have TLC attached to it... Right now is a pretty busy and stressful time. Uni has been hectic, exams, assignments, study, yep it's all happening and we are only in week 5. But last week my Pa passed away, so I have been investing my time with family, especially my beautifully strong and amazing Grandma... So because of everything going on, I haven't been able to get on here, and really I shouldn't be on here now but I reallllyyy wanted to share SOMETHING with you all... And this recipe will literally, blow your taste buds!!

I love my sweets. I am a crazy sweet toothie and I get crazy cravings at the most random times. Usually when i DON'T have anything readily available... But this brownie recipe is so easy, quick, and unbelievably delicious, and the best part, it's totally guilt free! Yes it still contains sugar, but not refined or even cane sugar. It sweetened by nature :) and it is quite rich so a small slither really does the job at satisfying.

This is so great to have in your fridge, it requires no baking... All you need is a food processor and a small rectangle baking tray and it sets in the fridge.

Raw Chocolate Brownies

1 cup pecans
1 cup medjool dates (pitted)
5 Tbsp Raw Cacao powder
4 Tbsp shredded coconut
2 Tbsp Agave
1/4 tsp healthy salt (celtic/pink himalayan)

Place pecans alone in your food processor and process until the pecans become small and crumbly.Add dates to the raw brownie recipe and process again until the mixture sticks together and the dates are well processed.Add the remaining ingredients and process again until the mixture turns a lovely dark chocolatey brown. Stop processing before it gets too buttery. (There should still be air between the small bits so that you will be able to press them down into your brownie pan.)Dump the mixture into a brownie dish or small cake pan and press down firmly using your clean hands.Refrigerate this raw brownie recipe for a couple of hours. 
I hope you all enjoy these as much as I do!! YUM!

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chia Porridge

So yesterday morning I decided I wanted to try something new, and I'd just bought a new packet of organic chia seeds, but didn't have the time to wait for the seeds to soak and swell. So I ground the chia's and voila, I made a new delicious raw breakfast that is so quick and easy and tasty too!

Chia (said: chee-ah) seeds are quickly becoming very popular amongst many, but did you know that they were originally used by the aztecs as early as 3500BC? In fact, they were classed a sacred food, often used as medicine, and most popularly used as a food source for the soldiers, because of their ability for long lasting energy. Chia seeds were lost in existence for nearly 500 years, and are finally gaining the recognition and attention from scientists, nutritionists, herbalists, athletes, plant-lovers, health-enthusiasts, oh and yours truly!! The reasons are clear—chia is a “world-class” seed... A nutritional powerhouse all by itself. So while it’s hard to believe this miracle seed could be “lost” for half a’s harder yet believing it will be forgotten anytime soon. It’s just too good to forget!

So what are these amazing benefits chia's can offer?

Super-Energizing Power... For Greater Endurance and “Go Power”! Due to its unique blend of Protein, Essential Fats, Fiber, Complex Carbohydrates, and Antioxidants, chia is unrivalled among seeds and grains for providing energy to your body.

Improves Cardiovascular Health... Super high levels of heart-healthy EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids)...chia’s oil contains the highest-known percentage of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid, a whopping 62%–64%!

Stabilizes Blood Sugar... Reduces blood sugar swings...and supports conditions of hypoglycemia and diabetes.

Reduces Cravings for Sweets and Junk Foods—high soluble fiber content releases natural, unrefined carbohydrate energy slowly into the bloodstream.

Improves Mental Focus and Concentration... Chia’s balanced essential fatty acids can signficantly boost your brain power...and brighten your mood.

High-Quality Protein—Chia contains 20% or more protein...a higher percentage protein than found in other grains, such as wheat, corn, rice, or oats.

Builds Lean Muscle Mass... Plus it’s useful for weight loss and weight maintenance. Chia is suitable for all lifestyles and dietary regimens, including low-carb diets (though I do not suggest this and will be posting on this subject in the near future) and vegetarian/vegan diets.

Gluten-Free... Unlike grain-source proteins, chia seed protein contains no gluten. You can eat chia without worrying about gluten if you are sensitive to it…or about developing gluten sensitivity. Chia is an ideal food for individuals with gluten sensitivity, carbohydrate intolerance, hypoglycemia, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or anyone who wants to avoid common gluten-containing grains like corn, barley, and wheat.

An Ideal Food for nearly everyone, including individuals with food allergies, food sensitivities, or food and chemical hypersensitivity. One study found no evidence of allergic response to chia, even in individuals with peanut and tree nut allergies.

Super-Hydration and Electrolyte Balance... Chia’s soluble fiber (hydrophilic colloids) massively retains water...keeps you well-hydrated and maintains your electrolyte balance.
Supports Healthy Elimination and Detoxification—healthy oils and fiber contribute to greater regularity and comfort...beneficial effects not to be underestimated!
Uniquely Balanced. Chia offers an amazingly balanced ratios of macronutrients...better balanced than most grains, seeds, and many other foods.
Built-In Antioxidant Protection for long-lasting freshness. Chia’s powerful antioxidants protect its heart-healthy oils, keep it fresh, and significantly boost nutritional value. Even after you grind or cook it, chia’s antioxidants keep it fresh!

Chia Porridge
1/4 cup ground chia seeds (black or white)
1 Tbsp ground flax (linseeds)
1/3 cup almond milk (see my recipe here)
1/3 cup water
2 tsp Raw organic honey OR agave nectar
1 Tbsp pepitas (soaked for 10-15 mins)
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds 
(soaked for 10-15 mins)
1 Tbsp goji berries (soaked for 10-15 mins)
1 Tbsp sultanas
1 Tbsp shredded/flaked coconut
1 Tbsp Bee Pollen
1/3 banana, sliced
Add any other fruit you may desire: Blueberries, strawberries etc
Put the ground chia and flax seeds into a bowl and add the almond milk and water.
Stir together, it will become a thick "porridge" consistency.
Add remaining ingredients and stir.
And there it is... SO simple, quick, easy, deliciously tasty and filling!!!

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Friday, March 9, 2012

Almond Milk

For my first Raw food recipe I thought I'd start with something super duper simple... Almond Milk. 

Almond Milk is a delicious alternative to cows boobie milk. It contains protein, Vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus, trytophan, copper and calcium. It also contains flavanoids that lower bad cholesterol and protect the heart. According to studies done at Boston University, there are powerful antioxidants in almond milk that inhibit the growth of free radicals and support a strong immune system.

SOAKING: Soaking is extremely important in order to activate your nuts. The reason is because they contain phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients to prevent them from sprouting in unsuitable conditions. This is nature’s brilliant way of protecting the seed until the conditions are right for it to produce a plant. Phytic acid can act as a barrier and combine with minerals in the intestinal tract blocking their absorption. This can lead to bone mass loss and mineral deficiencies. Enzyme inhibitors can really put a strain on the digestive system, even when buying these food items raw, causing gas and bloating. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. Soaking vastly improves the nutritional benefits of the food and increases the protein content of grains. Sprouted seeds have almost double the protein content of unsprouted seeds!  During the soaking process, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins partially break down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

So basically, to gain the most from your nuts and seeds, to allow for better digestion and absorption and to activate the enzymes you need to be soaking them first. Not all nuts need to be soaked for the same amount of time, but when I post recipes I will specify how long to soak for.

Almond Milk

1 cup raw almonds, soaked in filtered water overnight (or 10-12 hours. Add more water to allow the nuts to swell)
3 cups filtered water
4 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 20 minutes
1 nutbag/cheese cloth/fine sieve 

Drain the soaked almonds and rinse well. 
Put the almonds, water and dates into blender and blend well.
Pour the milk through nutbag/cheese cloth/fine sieve into a large bowl. 
Once the milk is completely strained through, pour into a glass bottle or jar and store in the fridge.

Variation: Add 1-3 tsp Vanilla Extract (depending on your taste) or 1 Vanilla bean


♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Why RAW?

That is a fabulous question... why raw? For most people who are unaware of the Raw movement, eating raw sounds a lot like living off carrot and celery sticks right? WRONG! Raw food is a delicacy of its own and there are absolutely NO limits to experimentation! I eat pizza, burgers, pasta, chips, pudding, chocolate cake, cheesecake...the list goes on... and yes this is ALL RAW AND VEGAN! Ok, but why raw though, what's wrong with cooking? I hear you say... 

It seems ridiculous that companies aspire to make products as natural as possible, but in the process they're killing and destroying the very natural ingredients. In today's society we are surrounded by "convenience" foods, but these foods are not doing our bodies ANY good whatsoever. For our body to function properly we need these building blocks: Enzymes, Vitamins, Minerals, Carbohydrates, Phytonutrients, Protein/Amino acids (essential aminos are those that cannot be produced by the body and must be sourced from food), Essential fats and fiber. All these things are involved in the growth, maintenance and repair of the body. 

First... Let's look at Enzymes... We need enzymes to digest food. For every other operation and chemical reaction to take place in our living bodies, we need enzymes as well. Enzymes break down the food we eat into chemical structures so it can pass through the cell membrane lining the digestive tract and into our bloodstream. However their job doesn't stop there. Enzymes are the living proteins that direct life force into our metabolic and biochemical processes. They help make hormones, store and transform energy, dissolve fiber and prevent clotting. they also help in balancing and restoring our immune system and heal many diseases. Our body hosts two types of enzymes; metabolic enzymes which run our bodies, and digestive enzymes which help with the digestion of food. When we heat food over 45°C/118°F it destroys many of these enzymes, affecting our ability to naturally digest the food. Only raw and living foods come with their own enzymes to aid in digestion, and they are responsible for the release of nutrients out of the foods we eat. Enzymes help foods to break down (rot), preservatives are used in foods to prevent this from occurring. These preservatives not only kill the enzymes in the food, but they end up in your body as well, often killing enzymes you already have in there.

Ok, so what about Vitamins? We all know that vitamins are important, but do we really know why? Vitamins enable our cells to function properly, and if they weren't our organs would suffer and eventually we wouldn't be able to survive. Vitamins help to convert fat and carbohydrate into energy, help to regulate metabolism and assist in bone and tissue formation. Guess what happens when you cook food? Yep, you've got it! A large amount of the vitamins are destroyed!

Minerals ... Seventeen out of the thirty elements, essential to life are metals. Mineral deficiencies are so common these days, and they do cause diseases. Minerals also work synergistically with vitamins. They help each other to help us, but when you cook food you are destroying or altering many of the minerals in that food also. This causes them to be useless and no assistance for our friends, vitamins.

What are Phytonutrients you ask? They are what gives fruit and vegetables their colour. Phytos protect our body and help fight off disease. They provide medicine if you will, for our cell health, and again, phytonutrients in fresh fruit and vegetables can be destroyed through cooking.

So doesn't it just make sense that if cooking our food destroys the vital and essential nutrients we require in order to stay healthy, that eating raw foods will do the exact opposite? I know that for me, when I am eating a lot of raw food I have more energy, I feel happier, healthy and more motivated as well. Having said that, I want to make one thing here clear... Taking a holistic view on this whole situation, I believe it is VITAL to listen to your body. Sometimes I just want a really hot curry, and brown rice. Sometimes I feel like baked sweet potato fries... Sometimes I want a veggie burger! I will not deprive myself of these things if my body is really craving it. 100% Raw may work for some, and for others it may come as quite a challenge, but what I want to do, is educate you so that we can all make a confident and informed decision to incorporate MORE raw into our diets and reap the benefits.

Experimenting with Raw food is the best way to go about taking your first step. I will be posting lots of yummy recipes and I will also do some posts on my favourite Raw Foodists, and people I really look up to in the Raw food world. There are a few kitchen appliances you need to really thrive on Raw food, but for experimenting there is plenty you can do with just a great set of knives and a blender...

So with no further adue, I leave you to ponder... This is where the real fun begins because I will be uploading Raw recipes galore!! Until then, Happy Saturday! :)

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eggplant and Lentils with Almond Parmesan

Hello all my beautiful kind angels!!! 

This week has been interesting... I started out fabulous, waking up at 6am every morning and going for a 45 minute power walk. Coming home and having a fabulous protein smoothie (NOTE: I don't add protein powder) I just use fresh almond milk and goji's (those babies contain all your essential amino acids plus more, making it a complete protein)!! yum yum!! I will pop my recipe up asap, it's so simple and deeeelicious, Tommy absolutely FROTHS over it every morning... I then have a yummy Raw muesli with fresh home-made Almond Milk!! Yummm!!! Off to uni and I would then have a green smoothie mid morning (or whenever I was hungry again) and a salad a couple of hours later. Then I'd go to pilates or yoga or another class. Then something delicious for dinner. Fitting study in where ever possible of course... THEN, yesterday PMS hit... I know, I'm sorry, a little too much info for some people, but I'm a very honest, open person so get used to it :) So anyway.. ALLLLL my hard work and healthy eating went OUT the window when I decided I couldn't control my craving anymore and went to the supermarket at about 8pm and bought some chocolate soy ice cream, and had two bowls last night AND FOUR bowls today!!!!!!!!! I honestly want to neck myself!! I feel soooo sick!!! I do not eat cane or any sort of refined sugar, so I had the worst headache from it and just felt disgusting.... So not worth the craving, but when you've got one at this time of the month, you usually can't do much to stop it unless you give it what it wants, don't you agree?? Now I don't often eat dessert so I don't keep ice cream in my freezer, BUT if I ever have it, I have Raw ice cream... Cane sugar free, soy free etc... but of course, the shop that sells it wasn't open at 8pm on a Wednesday and I needed something! Long story short, I'm back onto 100% Raw food tomorrow after this little binge. It's incredible to notice how my body felt and rejected crappy food!! From now on, I'm going to make sure I'm pre-prepared with decadently delicious raw desserts for this little monthly cravings!! :)

Ok, now that my little vent is over, I can get on with it... Tonight I decided to make a nice hot meal and chose pasta because, lets face it, I'm having cravings for a reason.... lol, but you could also have it with rice, any other whole grain or on its own.

Eggplant and Lentils with Almond Parmesan

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large eggplant, cut into quarters lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 can lentils, rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils)
ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika or cayenne pepper, optional
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (I used coconut yoghurt)
1 cup fresh basil, minced
Almond Parmesan - See below
Saute the onion in a large, non-stick skillet until it begins to brown. Tip: Add a small pinch of baking soda to speed up browning. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the eggplant, water, and herbs and stir well to coat the eggplant with the seasonings. Cover tightly and cook until the eggplant begins to soften, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the fresh basil and Almond Parmesan. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until eggplant is tender and sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt, add fresh basil, and serve over pasta (I used multi grain and quinoa) or brown rice or other whole grain. Top with Almond Parmesan, if desired.

Almond Parmesan
To make Almond Parmesan, process 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/3 cup whole raw almonds in a blender or food processor until crumbly. Store in refrigerator.

Servings: 4