Chocolate chilli, baked potatoes, salsa & lime cashew cheeze

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a recipe that I have been making for a few years now & every time I do it is thoroughly enjoyed by all. My sister loves it so much that she will almost make it every week, especially in winter when you crave comforting food like this.

Last week, Loving Earth, an Australian company which produces a huge range of sustainable & healthy chocolate as well as granolas, kale chips, superfood powders & basics like coconut sugar & coconut chips sent me a beautiful box of goodies to play around with. I have always loved cooking & experimenting with their beautiful products & receiving a gift like this from then was just what I needed to feel inspired again. So thanks to Loving Earth, I felt like blogging again & this recipe is a savoury way of using some of their products that I love.

The black bean chilli is of course great like this stuffed in the baked potatoes & with fresh salsa but it is equally as good in tacos or over steamed brown rice. The cashew cheeze isn’t an essential element, you could always dollop coconut yoghurt or natural greek yoghurt instead but it doesn’t take long at all & is so delicious. If you have some leftover it’s great on toast with sliced tomato!

Although there is a few different parts to this recipe it really doesn’t take long at all & as you’ve got the chilli bubbling away & the potatoes in the oven, you can quickly put the salsa together.

Chocolate black bean chilli

Serves 4

  • 1 C black beans (soaked overnight)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • Mexican spice mix (1 tsp ground cummin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp smokey paprika, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp sea salt & 1 tsp coconut sugar.
  • 1 large red capsicum, diced
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 C vegetable stock
  • 20g Loving Earth dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp Loving Earth cacao powder
  1. Drain the soaked black beans, place in a medium pot & cover generously with fresh water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat before turning down to low & cooking for 40 minutes, or until just tender. Drain & set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot then add the red onion. Saute for 5 minutes before adding in the Mexican spice mix. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Add the capsicum, tomatoes & carrot & cook for another 5 minutes. Pour over the vegetable stock & place the lid on. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the chocolate & cacao powder & cook for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Baked potatoes

  • 6 small/medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 medium royal blue potatoes (or a similar white flesh potato)
  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Wash & scrub the potatoes before placing on the tray & pricking each with a fork.
  3. Place in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning once.
  4. Serve hot, cut in half & filled with the chocolate chilli.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Corn & tomato salsa

  • 1 large cob of corn
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 400g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch of coriander
  • 1 large bunch of mint
  • 2 limes
  • 1 medium avocado
  1. Peel the husk of the corn and slice downwards to remove the corn from the cob. Place in a medium salad bowl. Add the sliced spring onions.
  2. Dice the cherry tomatoes, in halves or quarters depending on their size.
  3. Wash & spin dry the herbs before finely chopping & adding to the bowl .
  4. Peel, de-seed & dice the avocado. Add to the bowl & generously squeeze over the juice of the limes.
  5. Gently toss everything to combine.
  6. Serve spooned on the chilli filled sweet potatoes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lime & coconut cashew cheeze

  • 1/2 C raw cashews
  • 1/4 C Loving earth coconut chips
  • Zest of 1 lime, juice of 2 limes
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Sea salt & pepper to taste
  1. Soak the cashews & coconut overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  2. Drain & place in a high speed blender.
  3. Add the lime juice & zest, nutritional yeast & garlic.
  4. Begin to slowly blend adding approximately 1/4 C water. Keep blending until a smooth & creamy texture is achieved. Add up to 1/2 C of water for a thinner consistency.
  5. Add salt & pepper to taste before giving a quick final blend.
  6. Set aside in the fridge until needed. Dollop on top of the chilli & salsa stuff potatoes.

Enjoy!

Cacao & avocado shakes

It’s that time of year again when my parents avocado trees are dripping with fruit and the local markets are full of gorgeous avo’s ready for the picking. I’ve been filling my bag with them at the markets, for a very decent price, and I can’t wait for my parents visits when (hopefully) they come with arms full of them. Of course, nothing beats the simple avo on toast combination , and I can’t go past that. But when I have so many I look to other ways of including them in my diet. Smoothies are one of my favourite things and I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t have one. So it’s no wonder that the avo’s have ended up in my smoothies. They are perfect in a vibrant green smoothie, with lots of kale, mint, lemon and cucumber, adding a very welcome creamy texture.

Today I mixed it up with a very decadent shake, using the avocado to make the drink extra thick and creamy. This is the perfect breakfast treat or dessert. It’s packed with the goodness of raw cacao for that rich chocolate flavour, mesquite adds a lovely hint of caramel and is a good source of calcium & potassium as well as stabilising blood sugar levels and of course the hero avocado is high in vitamin K and healthy monounsaturated fats.

Cacao & avocado shakes 

Serves 2

Ingredients 

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp mesquite powder
  • 2 tsp almond butter
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2.5 C unsweetend almond milk

Method

Place the banana, avocado flesh, ice, mint cacao powder, mesquite powder, medjool dates & almond milk into a high speed blender. Blend for 1 minute or until thick & creamy. Pour into 2 glasses and top with an extra sprinkle of cacao & a few cacao nibs. Drink immediately.

Chewy chocolate bars

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Imagine crispy puffs of quinoa and buckwheat, crunchy peanut butter, creamy tahini, a hint of sea salt and dark chocolate all rolled into one bar. It’s the chocolate bar of my dreams. And now I can have it everyday because, really, it’s not as unhealthy as you might think. Puffed quinoa and buckwheat are both nourishing seeds, which makes them gluten frees, and they are packed with protein and calcium. So we’ve got a chocolate bar that’s both delicious and nutritious!

A little peanut butter and tahini are also great sources of protein and healthy fats, which will help keep you full for longer. These really are the chocolate bar you should be reaching for when the 3pm slump hits. That’s exactly what I’m doing now, along with a big cup of tea. It’s the perfect post tennis treat.

I also made these for my parents last weekend and they thoroughly enjoyed them. Especially my Dad. Now that the recipe is up, my mum might even make them for him!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Don’t be shy with your pinch of sea salt as it really lifts these bars to the next level. Also, feel free to add whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand instead of the pistachios and almonds. Of course, these bars can also be made vegan by using an alternative sweeter such as rice malt syrup or maple syrup, however I truly love the taste of a beautiful floral honey. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chewy chocolate bars

makes 16

  • 1 1/2 C puffed quinoa
  • 1 1/2 C puffed buckwheat
  • 1/4 C flaked almonds
  • 1/2 C pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 C chia seeds
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/4 C natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 hulled tahini
  • 40g drak chocolate (70% cocoa solids minimum)

method

  1. Combine the puffed quinoa, puffed buckwheat and chia seeds in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy based pan, gently toast the almonds and pistachios over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the honey, peanut  butter and tahini in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until combined.
  4. Add the toasted nuts and tahini mixture to the puffs, quickly mix to combine.
  5. Press into a lined lamington tin (30 x 15 cm), you may need to wet your palms slightly to prevent the mixture sticking to you.
  6. Refrigerate for about 4 hours, or until set firmly.
  7. Remove from the fridge and slice into even sized bars. Gently melt the dark chocolate then use a small spoon to drizzle it over each bar. Pop them back into he fridge for the chocolate to set. Serve, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

enjoy!

Cacao & Ginger energy bars

University goes back today, school has been back for a few weeks and I’m sure most of you have been back at work for at least the last month. For me, this means long days at uni filled with chemistry labs and the need something delicious and energising to keep me sustained. I have previously posted the recipe for my Nutty fruit cake, which is a great snack while you’re on the run and is often found in hanging around the bottom of my bag. These bars are another delicious snack and with the addition of cacao which is full of antioxidants, magnesium and iron they really will give you a boost.

I must admit though that these energy bars don’t travel nearly as well as the indestructible Nutty fruit cake however they are just as delicious enjoyed at home with a big cup of tea or a glass of fresh nut milk. Filled with the rich taste of cacao and spicy ginger these are the big kid addition of a chocolate bar so if you want to make them for some little people reduce the ginger and perhaps addd a little honey for a sweeter version.

Cacao & ginger energy bars

makes 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 C rolled oats, gluten free is necessary
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 C pitted dried dates soaked in just boiled water for 10-20 minutes
  • 2 C puffed quinoa or millet
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1- 2 pinches flaky sea salt
  • 3/4 C tahini
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp  freshly grated ginger

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place the rolled oats and pumpkin seeds on a baking tray and pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the oats are just golden and smelling delicious.
  2. Meanwhile, line a 20x30cm lamington tin with baking paper and set aside. Drain the dates, place in a small bowl and mash with a fork into a sticky smooth paste. Add in the tahini, coconut oil and ginger, mixing to combine.
  3. In a large bowl mix the puffed quinoa, cacao powder and sea salt. Add in the toasted oats and pumpkin seeds.
  4. Finally spoon over the date/tahini mixture and mix quickly to combine.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin and press down firmly with your palm. You may want to wet your hands very slightly to stop the mixture sticking to you!
  6. Place in the fridge to set for about 4 hours before slicing into bars.

 

 

Banana and dark chocolate cookies

Over the past couple of months I have been making these cookies when I have an overflowing bowl of ripe bananas and a need for something sweet other than banana bread. The bananas add a beautiful sweetness and chewy texture while also making these cookies a great energy boosting snack.

I have trialled these on a car trip, where they travelled well and satisfied all the passengers, even my sister who usually complains that nothing is sweet enough. The cookies also made an appearance on a bicycle ride with me today and they were the perfect halfway snack to keep us satisfied until lunch.

Without the chocolate I would be inclined to say these would also make a fabulous breakfast on the run, seeing as they are made of some of the usual breakfast suspects like oats, almonds, buckwheat, chia and coconut.

Banana and dark chocolate cookies

makes approximately 20 large cookies

Ingredients 

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper, the sweeter)
  • 1/2 C cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 C raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract
  • 1 1/4 C buckwheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C rolled oats (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 C almond meal
  • 1 C desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g dark chocolate (75% cocoa or more), roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a small bowl or jug combine the mashed banana, olive oil, honey and vanilla. Whisk with a fork to combine and set aside.
  3. Sift the buckwheat flour and baking powder into a large bowl then stir in the other dry ingredients.
  4. Add the banana mixture and mix to combine. Finally add in the dark chocolate.
  5. Roll large tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared trays and flatten with your palm (they won’t spread when cooking).
  6. Place into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack before enjoying with a cup of tea!

Almond butter and blueberry smoothies

Right now this is my go-to smoothie combo. If I could, I would have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I just can’t stop raving about it! Apart from telling all my friends various times, I also thought I better not let you beautiful readers down and give you this super quick and luxurious smoothie, so you too can rave about it.

It’s packed with almond butter and chia to make it super thick and creamy while also providing you with a generous dose of good fats and a complete source of protein. Cacao powder adds a rich but subtle chocolate taste while also being a great source of magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and potassium.  Maca powder is an ancient vegetable that is great for balancing hormones, relieving stress and boosting energy with a delicious malt flavour. It is best to start with a little if you have not had maca before and gradually increase the amount to suit your taste.  These ingredients really make this a super feel good smoothie far any day of the week! Plus blueberries and bananas, could it get any more super?!

Almond butter & Blueberry smoothie

serves 1 hungry soul for breakfast or 2 as a snack

Ingredients

  • 1 C almond milk
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 heaped tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 C fresh blueberries, to serve
  • Dried rose petals, chia, cacao nibs  and almond butter, to serve if desired.

Method

  1. Measure and place all the ingredients, except the blueberries, into the blender in the order listed.
  2. Blend on high for 1 minute or until thick and creamy.
  3. Pour into 1 large bowl or two smaller jars and pop into the freezer for 5 minutes. The chia seeds will gel and make the smoothie extra thick.
  4. Meanwhile wash your blueberries and slice some in half. Prepare any other toppings you wish to include.
  5. Remove the smoothie/s from the freezer and top with the blueberries and (almond butter, chia, rose petals and cacao nibs).
  6. This smoothie needs a spoon!

Enjoy! Show me your smoothies on Instagram #goodnessgraciouskitchen

 

 

 

Warming chocolate muesli

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This is definitely a weekend treat, maybe even just a Sunday morning treat when you feel like being indulgent. Instead of popping out to your local cafe, wake up a little earlier and toast these beautiful whole grains with natural honey, then stir through that little bit of decadence, dark chocolate chunks. Your whole family will wake up to sweet smells of honey and cinnamon and you’ll be everyones favourite for the day.

I made this on a chilly day when the rain just seemed to keep on coming down. I felt like something warm and nourishing for breakfast but also something a little special and different from my usual oats. Popped quinoa is a fabulous addition to any muesli as it has a beautiful nutty flavour and chewy texture. Quinoa is also a good source of plant protein, so along with the healthy fats from the almonds and complex carbohydrates from the oats you will be full until lunch. I have used organic dark chocolate, 85% cacao and dairy free, I would recommend using this or cacao nibs for a healthier alternative. Of course you won’t get the same marbling affect of the warm milk and chocolate if you opt for the cacao nibs.

Once again this is not your traditional granola or musli, so definitely a weekend or special occasion treat! Now i’ll just have to hide it in the back of the pantry so my sister doesn’t pour it on her cereal EVERY morning, or eat it all straight from the jar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate muesli

Ingredients

2 C rolled oats, gluten free if necessary

1 C popped quinoa

1/2 C popped brown rice

1/2 C raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 C shredded coconut

1/3 C sunflower seeds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 C unprocessed local honey

1/4 C goji berries

100g dark chocolate (85% cacao or more)

Warm almond milk, to serve

Fresh berries, to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, popped quinoa and rice, coconut, sunflower seeds and cinnamon. Pour over the honey and give it all a good mix. You will have a big sticky mess.

Carefully transfer this to your baking tray and spread it out. Place in the oven for 10 minutes before giving it all a good stir. Let cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until its all golden and toasted. Cool in the tray.

Once the muesli has cooled stir through the goji berries and dark chocolate.

Serve in small bowl with fresh berries and warmed almond milk.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight jar for 2 weeks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA