Cashew Butter Blondies

This recipe for cashew butter blondies came to me as an epiphany of sorts.  I love blondies and my favourite recipe in the past was curtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.  Rich, buttery and completely indulgent, those blondies were fun to eat but not so great for my health goals.  So with this year’s baking challenge I decided to include a lightened up blondie recipe.

I thought that cashew butter would be a great addition to blondies and I spent a lot time Googling recipes trying to figure out how to achieve my blondie dreams.  I tried a few recipes that I found, and while they were good they didn’t feel like the decadent treat that I was searching for.  Then I came across a recipe for grain free brownies that was simple and sounded delicious.  I decided to use that recipe as a base and adapt it into the blondie recipe I had been dreaming of.

This recipe is simple but delicious.  These blondies are flourless and can be refined sugar free if you omit the chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 500g jar cashew butter

1 cup (250ml) golden maple syrup

2 organic eggs

4 Madjool dates, pitted and mashed

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp Baking soda

What to do:

Preheat oven to 320 degrees

Blend the dates and maple syrup until creamy

Mix in the cashew butter until completely integrated

Slowly stir in the eggs (one at a time)

Stir in the salt, cinnamon and baking soda

Gently fold in chocolate chips until just combined

Pour batter into a 8 X 8 pan lined with parchment paper

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown

Let cool before cutting into squares

img_1924

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Heavenly Hazelnut Cake

The very first flourless cake that I ever made was a hazelnut cake.  It may have been flourless but it was still full of fat and sugar.  While it was good it wasn’t great, there seemed to be something off and I just couldn’t figure out what it was.  Over the years I made the cake a few more times using the same recipe, always producing the same results – good but not great.

So in November, while searching thru my recipe books looking for dessert ideas I came across the recipe for hazelnut cake.  I decided to make a few modifications in the hope of lightening it up and producing the great cake I was dreaming of.  Thankfully the changes worked and I now have a recipe for hazelnut cake that I absolutely love.  Light, moist and delicious this cake can be enjoyed anytime of day.  Paired with a mug of lemon green tea, it is the perfect snack for when you want to take a moment for yourself and breathe.

Hazelnuts and chocolate together is an incredible food pairing, and I was hardly not willing to miss an opportunity to enjoy the two together, so I added dark chocolate chunks to the mix.  This is purely optional and this hazelnut cake is delicious either way.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of hazelnuts

6 large eggs (yolks and whites separated)

1 cup (250ml) of maple syrup

2 tsp of baking soda

1 cup of dark chocolate chunks (optional)

pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt

1 tsp cinnamon

What To Do:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees (F)

Line the bottom only of a 9inch spring form pan with parchment paper

In a food processor or blender chop the hazelnuts until 95% finely chopped

Add the maple syrup to the egg yolks and beat until they are a pale yellow

Gently fold in the hazelnuts, chocolate, cinnamon and salt into the yolk mixture

In a separate large mixing bowel beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form

Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture

Pour the batter into the spring form pan

Bake for aprox 50 – 55 minutes (until a cake tester comes out clean)

Cool completely before removing the sides of the pan

Enjoy!

XXS

img_1897

 

Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

Happy December Everyone!

I associate the holiday season with rich chocolate desserts more then anything else.  So while others have visions of sugar plums dancing I tend to dream of chocolate waltzing.  Bad joke?  Alright, I’ll stop before I hurt myself.

At the beginning of November I decided to challenge myself and create a few delicious dessert recipes that were decadent yet still moderately healthy treats. Eating well is a lifestyle not a diet which includes clean high quality foods that support your body without leaving you feeling deprived or overwhelmed.  To me, this includes desserts.  You don’t need to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to eating.  Simple swaps and little adjustments can make a big difference in your health and how you look and feel overall.  I created these recipes for my clients and for you, to give you options during the holiday season and beyond. For those of you who are intimidated by baking please note that I am not a baker by any means, I just really like to eat.  It’s also important to me to know what is in my food. These recipes are simple, easy and require minimal skill, ingredients or effort.  My kitchen is literally in a closet and I have zero counter space, yet these recipes still came together beautifully – if I can do it, I have faith that you can too.

First up: Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

These dark chocolate chunk brownies are the most perfect dessert that I have ever baked.  Rich, dense, moist and oh so good.  Did I mention that they are gluten free and refined sugar free?!?!

Cue happy dance

This amazing recipe has officially become my go to dessert recipe when I need a sweet treat.

Please note: All of the ingredients that I used when making these little bites of heaven were organic, but I understand that buying organic that can be a little pricey, so just try to keep your ingredients as clean and as high quality as your budget will allow.

Ingredients:

4 madjool dates (pitted and mashed)

1 cup of pure dark maple syrup

1 365g jar of creamy almond butter

2 medium organic eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1 heaping tablespoon of chunky almond butter

pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (or regular sea salt)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of organic dark chocolate chunks (minimum 70%) plus some more for the top

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 320

Line 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper

Beat the maple syrup and dates until creamy (I used a blender for this part to ensure that the dates were completely integrated)

Mix in the creamy almond butter, this will make the mixture extremely thick so slowly add in the almond milk to loosen up the batter and make it easier to mix

Slowly add the eggs

Add raw cacao, baking soda and salt and mix well until fully incorporated

Stir in the chunky almond butter and the chocolate chunks

Pour the batter into pan and top with extra chocolate chunks

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes

If you can resist eating some straight out of the pan before the brownies have cooled you are officially my new hero.  I on the other hand burned the inside of my mouth – it was totally worth it.

Enjoy! XXS

img_9993

A Simple Detox Ritual To Start Your Day

Starting your day with hot water and lemon has often been suggested on every wellness blog and detox blog that I have ever read or perused.  I began to include hot water with honey and lemon into my morning ritual about 10 years ago after reading about the metabolism and immunity boosting benefits that it provided.  I began this ritual when I was in fashion school full time and working full time – I couldn’t afford to get sick. I truly believe that this simple ritual helped to keep me healthy.  Over the years I have adjusted this drink, at times I omitted the honey and included a pinch of turmeric and black pepper or a few drops of turmeric oil for an anti-inflammatory boost.  But drinking a mug of hot water with fresh lemon has remained a constant to my morning ritual over the years.

Because I often read about the benefits of drinking this simple warming drink, I just assumed that it is something that everyone does. But after working with clients and speaking with friends and family over the past few years, I have learned that I was wrong.  Despite the plethora of evidence supporting this simple detox ritual, many people have yet to get on board.  If you are one of those people – don’t feel bad, but I would like to encourage you to include this simple drink into your morning routine.

Reasons to begin this detox ritual:

  1. It helps to rehydrate your body by replacing fluids you may have lost during the night while sleeping
  2. Aids digestion as the lemon juice helps to flush out unwanted toxins and waste from the body
  3. Boosts your immune system, lemons are a great source of vitamin C and honey is anti-bacterial.
  4. Helps to balance your body’s PH level. Disease thrives in an acidic environment within the body and lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods (once metabolized), so they are superstars when it comes to re-balancing your body’s PH to a healthier level.
  5. Helps to keep you skin clear.  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant which combats free radicals, this in turn helps to decrease wrinkles and blemishes and boosts your glow factor.
  6. Aids in weight loss.  The pectin fibre in lemons helps to squash hunger cravings and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

What to do:

  • It’s a good idea to use spring or filtered water as you want to keep it as clean as possible
  • Use warm – hot (not boiling) water
  • Squeeze the juice of half of a fresh lemon into a mug
  • Pour in the hot water
  • Optional additions to your lemon water: half a teaspoon of raw or Manuka honey, a pinch of turmeric powder/a few slivers or raw turmeric/3 -4 drops of turmeric oil with a bit of black pepper

Some people may feel that including a mug of hot lemon water to their mornings may be time consuming and that they just don’t have the time for it as they rush to start their day.  I would suggest that if you are one of those people, then try to include this ritual into your mornings a few times a week when you are not so rushed (weekends perhaps?).  Another option is to fill your travel mug with hot lemon water to sip on your way to work and have your first coffee when you arrive at work.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Do you have any detox rituals that you swear by?  Let me know in the comments below!

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  XXS

Glow Getter Homemade Mask

I love beauty DIY’s and homemade masks are no exception.  Not only is making your own masks cost effective, but masks that you create at home are more natural and safer for both your skin and your overall health.  This honey and papaya mask is one of my favourites and it is very easy to make. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen.  There are many different versions of this mask online, but after trying a bunch of them I came up with this one using my favourite ingredients.  I have been hooked on it ever since!  Just ten minutes will help to leave your skin happy, hydrated and glowing.  Like with all beauty regimens, consistency is key so try using this mask once a week for long term results.

Some of the benefits of the ingredients in this mask include:

Papaya – this beta carotene rich fruit is filled with powerful enzymes that help to combat free radicals on the skins surface.  The alpha hydroxy acids in papaya help to dissolve dead skin cells by acting as a mild exfoliator.

Lemon – this natural astringent helps to tighten pores and lighten acne scarring.

Raw honey – is extremely hydrating which is perfect for the drying cooler temps

Turmeric – helps to tone the skin and is anti aging as it fights free radicals on the surface of the skin.

Ingredients:

3 teaspoons of fresh papaya

1 teaspoon of raw or manuka honey

1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon of turmeric

Directions:

Mash the turmeric with the back of a fork and combine it with the remainder of the ingredients.

Apply to clean skin with a brush.  Turmeric can stain the skin so applying it with your fingers may result in yellow nails and fingers.

After 10 – 15 minutes gently remove the mask with warm water and a wash cloth.  Continue with the remainder of your skin care regimen.

Bonus Tips:

  • It is best to use this face mask at night as some of the ingredients can increase skin sensitivity.  Make sure that you use sunscreen during the day to help protect your skin.
  • For people with sensitive skin, it is best to do a skin test first to ensure that your skin doesn’t react to this face mask.
  • You can use this mask all over your body including your neck and legs.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers and use it within two days.
  • Some people may find that the turmeric has lightly stained their skin (this really depends on your skin tone), cleansing your face should help to remove the colour.

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS