Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Beautiful Baby Shower Deliciousness

 My baby shower was the most incredible day! It was so beautiful, my mum put in so much hard work to make it super special for me :) and most of my amazing friends were able to be there... One thing my mum had actually mentioned to me though, was - Maybe we shouldn't do it vegan as everyone may not like that kind of food. HA! Yeh right... It may sound selfish - but everyone knows I'm a vegan and that was the most exciting part for me; Making amazing vegan and raw vegan treats and praying everyone enjoy them! I said to her - no way! So my poor mum (just trying to give a suggestion and being totally shut down) went along with what I wanted (I'm a little strong minded...)

I was so excited to sift through the hundreds of possible recipes!! I wanted it to be a really healthy shower - mainly because I can't eat junk without being sick, and I wanted everyone to taste how yummy healthy can be. I didn't use any processed sugars or white flours (with the exception of the cupcakes which were made professionally by a lovely friend - and I will give you her details later on, and the punch which contained sprite).

I narrowed my options down and discussed them with my mum and the menu looked like this:

Organic Corn Chips with my Famous Guacamole
Seasonal Fruit Platter
Veggie Sticks with Hummus dip
Caramelized onion, Tomato and Thyme Tarts (These were all my mum and they were incredible!)

White Choc Chip Macadamia Cookies
Peach Tarts (Also all thanks to mum)
Banana Coconut Balls
Raw Chocolate Brownies
Raw Chocolate Truffles
Raw White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Fruit Punch
Sparkling Water with Fresh Lime
Appletiser (Sparkling Apple Juice)

My Famous Guacamole

2 Avocados, mashed (keep it chunky)
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1 large Tomato, diced
Small handful of coriander/cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 Lime
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir to combine
Serve with Organic Corn Chips

The fruit and vegetable platter was just a mixture of seasonal fruits (it was summer in Australia so there was an abundance of delicious tropical summer fruits) and the veggie platter contained celery, carrot, snowpeas etc. Serve with your favourite hummus - either store bought or you can whip up your own. There are plenty of recipes online. I like mine to be really garlicy :)

My Beautiful Mum

Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Thyme Tarts



White Choc Chip Macadamia Cookies

These cookies didn't turn out exactly as I'd envisioned. White Choc Chip Macadamia cookies were one of my favourites before going vegan, but I'd never attempted them in a vegan version, so I decided to give it a go for the shower. I made my own white chocolate chips, which were delicious, however they melted into the cookie in the oven. The cookies still had a white chocolate taste, but there weren't any chunks of white chocolate. Had I known this was going to happen I would have just bought rice milk white chocolate and used that. The cookie dough was also very sticky and wet and it was hard to cut out the heart shape moulds. I want to play around with recipes and different ingredients to create a perfect cookie, however I'm still including the recipe on here because to my surprise the cookies got eaten almost faster than the rest of the food.

White Chocolate Chips

2-inch cube cacao butter (30 grams, or 2 tbsp after melting)
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Powdered sugar (I used rapadura sugar and whizzed it in the high speed blender to create a "powder" like icing sugar)
1 Tbsp macadamia butter 
Very tiny pinch salt

Melt the cacao butter (on the stove). Turn off heat, then stir in all other ingredients. Pour into candy molds or a plastic container, and freeze until it hardens.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Sugar blend:
1/2 cup maple syrup 
1/2 cup Coconut or Rapadura sugar
3/4 cup Olive nuttelex or 2 sticks of Earth Balance Buttery Spread Sticks (if in America)
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 medium banana

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten flour or Xantham Gum
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking soda

Fold in:
1/2 cup vegan white chocolate chips
1/2 cup raw chopped macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Add sugar blend ingredients to large bowl. Blend with hand mixer until butter is creamy - a little chunky is still OK.
3. Add in the dry ingredients and mixer blend on lowest setting just until the mixture gets thick. Then remove mixer beaters and hand fold/stor the rest of the dough together.
4. Fold in the chips and nuts. Add more if you want.
5. Spoon dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets. 
6. Bake cookies at 180C/350F degrees for about 16 minutes.

Peach Tarts


Banana Coconut Balls

These banana coconut balls are so simple, quick and easy to whip up, and have been a favourite of mine for a couple of years! Last minute drama and I ran out of coconut to roll the balls into, so I placed them in the fridge, got coconut but by then, the coconut wouldn't stick to the balls. They still taste delicious though ;)

1/2 cup ground almonds,
3 cups wholegrain oats,
1/2 cup sultanas,
1/2 cup medjool dates,
1/2 cup coconut and extra for garnish
3 tsp honey
1 very ripe banana
A little water to bind

Blend it in food processor and roll into balls and roll in coconut
Keep in fridge.

Raw Chocolate Brownies

I have already posted this brownie recipe on my blog, however here it is again for your convenience. For some reason I don't have an individual picture of the plate of brownies served at the shower so if you want to see a picture please go to my other blogpost here

1 cup pecans 
1 cup medjool dates (make sure u remove pits)
5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place pecans alone in your food processor and process until the pecans become small and crumbly.Add dates to the pecans 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 for a couple of hours. Store this raw brownie recipe in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long ;)

Raw Chocolate Truffles

These Raw Chocolate Truffles were one of the favourites for the day and I have had people dying to get their hands on the recipe! I was excited to make these, but nervous as to what response they would get, being that they are raw. Raw chocolate has a very different taste to "cadbury" and your normal milk chocolates. However the taste is real, not processed and GUILT-FREE !!(That's the best part)
I wish I could take all the glory for these bad boys, but they are all thanks to one of my favourite Raw Food Chefs, Russell James. Please see his website here: This recipe is from his "Raw Chocolate" Recipe E-Books that I purchased a couple of years ago. He has AMAZING recipes - check him out and subscribe to his email newsletters as he is always sending out free recipes.
2 cups cashews
34 cup cacao powder
1 cup cacao butter, grated or chopped small then melted
12 cup agave nectar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 teaspoon tamari
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons coconut oil
Raw pistachios, chopped and Coconut (to roll balls into)

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until
smooth, separate into 2 and place in freezer for an hour
or two to firm up.
Remove from the freezer and roll into small balls. Roll
the first half in pistachios and the second in coconut.
Return to the fridge until ready to eat.

Raw White Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

This next recipe is also from Russell James' "Raw Chocolate" Recipe E-book... Yum!!!

2 cups fresh strawberries
1 cup cashews
1 cup cacao butter, grated or chopped small then melted
34 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until
Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture and place in
fridge to allow to set.
If your chocolate isn’t sticking to the strawberries and
runs off, you can leave the chocolate to firm up a little
before dipping the strawberries.


Fruit Punch

1L Tropical Fruit juice
1L Sprite
Green Grapes
Kiwi Fruit

Chop up fruit and place in a large bowl with juice, sprite and some ice

Appletiser is just a store bought sparkling apple juice with no added sugars or preservatives!

And last but definitely not least - My gorgeous cupcakes!! Not so guilt-free, but absolutely amazing!! They looked incredible and tasted divine!! AND they were completely vegan - who ever said vegans miss out are crazy!!!

Please visit Little Miss Cakes and check out all Sharon's other beautiful work! She is an absolute artist and her cakes are just so scrumptious and creative!

So here it is... All the magical mouth-watering goodies from my baby shower - now shared with all of you beautiful people!

So go, make some yummy guilt-free treats and INDULGE yourself in some serious goodness! 

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherds Pie & my Vegan pregnancy so far

This post does contain the Shepherds Pie recipe - however it's also a tell-all about my experience in pregnancy so far :) Enjoy reading Earth angels xxx

I am loving being home in Carlsbad, CA with my darling hubby-to-be Jonathan. I have so so much organising to do for the baby's arrival which is keeping my days busy, and I'm not accidentally falling asleep on the couch from exhaustion (oops)... This pregnancy has definitely had it's low points but I'm absolutely loving being pregnant now. I feel good MOST of the time, I'm able to workout again - which I couldn't do for the first 19 weeks because I was so sick all the time. I'm enjoying FOOD again - which is a huge plus. But the great thing about my pregnancy is that I haven't been getting any silly cravings for weird and whacky things or for unhealthy food (Thank goodness). I've actually been craving fruit fruit fruit, and my naughty splurge when we eat out sometimes is a veggie burger and fries (can't go past a good veggie burger). I will honestly put this down to having already had a really well balanced and healthy diet before falling pregnant. 

My BIGGEST fear when I fell pregnant was that I would start to crave MEAT! For anyone that knows me - this is actually the biggest NO NO and it literally freaked the crap outta me! I believe in the rights of animals, but the reason I stopped eating meat to start with is because i DID NOT LIKE IT! And as I began researching more, I learned how much healthier a life without meat, is. And so my journey into thriving on a plant based diet began. I have been a Vegan for 3 and a half years now, and I was SO excited to continue my journey throughout my pregnancy and now into motherhood :) And best of all.. I'm sharing it with all my readers...

My only regret is that, because I was sick with ALL DAY sickness and working such long hours, that I wasn't able to document my journey through the early days. However I can tell you it went a little something like this:

Day One:
Wake up at 6am, feeling super nauseous - must eat before i faint.
Go to the kitchen - everything I see makes me want to vomit. Eat some fruit. I feel a little better - enough to take a shower.
Halfway through shower I feel even more nauseous than I did before I ate and I start shaking.
Put on the comfiest clothes possible and travel to work (wishing I could just curl up in bed)
Get to work at 8am - must work, but feel sick and exhausted all day long. Barely eat because everything makes me want to puke, but can't focus because I'm not eating enough.
Don't leave work until at least 6-7pm - get home by 7 or 8pm. Try to force some food down, and fall into bed and straight to sleep.

Repeat x everyday for 10 weeks.

After I stopped working, my days got a little easier. The sickness didn't ease up, but I was able to rest a lot more and trust me - your body needs it. I really have a lot of respect for women who work non stop throughout their pregnancy if they have a first trimester anything like mine because I just struggled and was not myself. I didn't like being pregnant and thought it would never end.

We then had to go to Thailand for our friend's wedding. It was nice to get away and have a little holiday - however it was far from a relaxing holiday for me feeling like total ass the whole time. And to top it off - the delicious Thailand street smells... Well lets just say that I did not stop gagging and was on the verge of puking the whole time. While we were at the resort it wasn't so bad. But I really got sick of all the food - VERY quickly. All I wanted was fresh foods... Fruit and salads... The fruit I got, the salads weren't so good and I really struggled trying to eat cooked food.

Once Jonathan and I got to America (a couple of weeks before Christmas 2012) I was a few weeks away from heading into my second trimester, however nothing really changed. I was able to eat more, but could not hardly get out of bed. I had so much to do, like find a house, furniture, car etc... But every chance I got I was curled up in bed. I met with my midwife and she said I may possibly be low on iron if I'm still feeling this tired in the second trimester. I knew it was a high possibility because we weren't in our own home with all my kitchen appliances so I wasn't having green smoothies or juices, or enough greens in general so I knew my iron was probably extremely low, especially with my blood volume increasing so rapidly. So my midwife put me on a vegan herbal iron supplement. Within a few days of taking it (by now I was back in Australia) I was feeling super again! It was amazing! I felt like I could get up in the morning, I wanted to go walking and lay out in the sun... That was for the first 4 days being home anyway - and then it was non stop torrential rain for the entire 5 weeks I was home.

Now - back in Carlsbad, feeling great, working out, I still get exhausted but I think that is just normal when you're growing a little person inside of you :)

My WEIGHT... Despite the fact I struggled to eat in the first trimester - i still forced myself to or I would have been even worse. Some women lose a little weight during the first and sometimes even the second trimester which, if they can't keep food down, is normal. I only vomited twice. Once was the night before we flew to America before Christmas. My nausea was the worse it had ever been, and I tried to eat to make me feel a little better and NOTHING worked. I went to dinner with my parents that night as a kind of send off and I was just horrible company and barely touched my salad, I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up the entire time. We came home and I lay in front of a movie and my stomach was just turning. I decided to try to go to sleep and as soon as I lay in bed I felt that feeling - JUMPED out of bed and ran to the toilet, and everything I'd eaten that day came up - please excuse the details but I'm a graphic person. I wasn't able to touch sushi again for a long while because all I could taste was my sushi coming back up.

Anyway back to the point, as I only threw up twice, and still forced food down, I still put on weight. At week 18 I had put on 4.5kg/10lbs. When I got back to Carlsbad I saw my midwife a few days later (one week ago) and I had put on a total of 5.4kg/12lbs. My midwife informed me that I should actually be gaining around a pound per week but I'm only gaining half a pound. I was actually shocked because I feel so much heavier than I actually am, but I also think that not working out and losing muscle mass and tone has made me feel soft and sloppier. So now I am focused on upping my good fats - eating LOTS of avocado, using more coconut oil when I cook etc. It is so important to, not so much count calories, but to make sure you aren't just eating empty calories.

So on that note... I will be documenting the rest of my pregnancy and then I will also be documenting (as much as I can with a newborn) after giving birth and my journey back to a healthy post baby body - the RIGHT way!

Now without further adue, here is the delicious dinner I cooked for Jonathan and I last night... If you love Shepherds Pie, this is a GREAT cruelty-free, healthier version :) yum!

Lentil and Mushroom Shepherds Pie

8 large or 10 medium potatoes2 tablespoons vegan butter1/2 cup rice milk
Garlic powder to tasteSalt to taste2 tablespoons coconut/olive oil1 large onion, finely chopped2 cloves garlic, minced170g/6 ounces button mushroomsTwo cans lentils, lightly drained but not rinsed (or about 3 1/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)2 tablespoons dry red wine, optional1 to 2 tablespoon tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos2 teaspoons all purpose seasoning blend 1/2 teaspoon dried thymeFreshly ground pepper to taste3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot220g/8 ounces baby spinach or arugula leaves1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)

Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
Stir the butter into the potatoes until melted, then add the rice milk and mash until fluffy. Add some garlic powder and salt to taste. Cover and set aside until needed. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the optional wine, soy sauce, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.

Add the spinach, a little at a time, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.

Lightly oil a medium-large casserole dish. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. Sprinkle some Rosemary (fresh or dried) on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.

♥ LOVE BEC ♥  


Friday, February 8, 2013

RAW Chocolate, Tahini and Hemp Protein Balls

Wow, well a nice big fat happy HELLO to everyone!!! It's been a good 7 MONTHS since i last posted!!! It doesn't feel like it's been that long because soooo much has happened in my life, but I guess like the saying goes, time flies when you're having fun!!

For those who don't know, I am almost 6 months pregnant with a gorgeous baby girl! :) And now living in beautiful Carlsbad, California!! Now that I feel like I'm finally settled again, and I have some time on my hands - I'm going to start blogging again like crazy!! I have sooo many exciting delicious recipes I want to share, and I'm super excited to start sharing my journey of health throughout my pregnancy and into motherhood... Losing that baby weight AND then of course my journey into raising the most healthy little baby you have ever seen ;) Very excited for what's to come and I will share more about my future plans with you all as they develop and unfold!! But BIG THINGS are in store for 2013!!

Right now, I am back in Australia with my family. It's so nice to be able to spend some quality time with them because once I go home to the States and my darling hubby-to-be, I won't be back here for a long while. My sister and I decided we wanted to make something sweet and was craving tahini! SO what did we do!? Make some delicious protein balls that are so easy to grab and eat as a sweet snack - but SUPER DOOPER nutritious as well as, of course, tasty!!

RAW Chocolate, Tahini and Hemp Protein Balls

1/2 C Hemp Seeds
6 T Cacao powder
2 T Chia Seeds
3 T Agave Syrup
1 t Vanilla extract
2 T Coconut Oil
3 T Unhulled Tahini

Put Hemp seeds, cacao and chia seeds into a bowl and mix
Add Agave, vanilla, coconut oil and tahini and mix until combined
You do not want it to be sloppy wet, add a little more dry ingredients if need be
Roll mixture into balls and place in a container, and then into the freezer
The mixture won't be firm, however the coconut oil will solidify the balls in the freezer
Store in the fridge of freezer, as any heat will melt the balls

Makes about 10 balls

♥ LOVE BEC ♥